Saturday, July 23, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-24: Amy Winehouse; Guerre; Bachelorette; Lindstrom & Christabelle

Edition 24 comes with two songs from Amy Winehouse, who died in London today, two young acts from down under, and a collaboration from Norway.

RIP Amy Winehouse. Troubled and undeniably talented, I see no point in blathering about the matter. She put out a couple of very good albums with a few brilliant songs. And "Rehab" is one:

And "Back to Black"

Guerre (AKA Lavurn Lee) is an ambient, electro-pop/soul beatsmith and singer from Sydney, Australia. He released the 7 track album Darker My Love in June 2011. Guerre's music seems perfect for those late, weekend night moments.

There also is a remix set of the album tracks available at Bandcamp.

Bandcamp (for the album)
Bandcamp (for various singles)
Soundcloud (many tracks)
Tumblr (main website)

Bachelorette is New Zealander Annabel Alpers. Currently living in New York, she calls her music "psychedelic computer folk". Her recently released album, Bachelorette, manages to combine girl group style pop and psychedelia on an electronic platform. "Blanket" and "Polarity Party" are from the new album. Bachelorette is released by Drag City in the United States.


"Polarity Party"

"Her Rotating Head" (from the 2009 release)

Drag City

Lindstrom & Christabelle is a two person Oslo, Norway act. Their music covers downbeat, dance and electronic psychedelic. The 2010 LP Real Life is No Cool included the smashing "Lovesick".

Friday, July 22, 2011

REVIEW: Black Wine - Summer of Indifference

This is our fourth piece featuring a band on the New Jersey-based label Don Giovanni Records. I'd say that's overdoing it, if the stuff wasn't so good. Black Wine has a very interesting sound (really, a combination and overlap of sounds) On their Bandcamp page they use the label "psych punk", which works for me, and really, I'd say they cover all four P's in different places. The band consists of Jeffrey Schroeck, Miranda Taylor and Jason Nixon, and apparently all three write and sing. Listening to Summer of Indifference, I find myself veering from Minutemen to Creedence to Black Flag as, if not influences, analogues. And they all apply, in different places.

If you're looking for some punk rock that somehow combines hardcore tendencies with pop-punk catchiness over the course of nine fairly short songs (longest just under 4:00, five under 3:00), this is well worth checking out.

Here's "Through the Foam"... I really like this song a lot, and I think it gives a good sense of their sound, their talent and why they remind me of the Minutemen:

And here's "End of Days" so you can hear Taylor's vocals, too. Check out the cannot have a good punk band without a great drummer:

Here's the Bandcamp site:

The album was released in late June, they're on tour currently with Brick Mower:

Fri. July 22-Wilkes-Barre, PA
Sat. July 23-Syracuse, NY
Sun. July 24-Buffalo, NY
Mon. July 25-Cleveland, OH
Tue. July 26-Ann Arbor, MI
Wed. July 27-Dayton, OH
Thu. July 28-Chicago, IL
Fri. July 29-Appleton, WI
Sat. July 30-Duluth, MN
Sun. July 31-Minneapolis, MN
Mon. August 1-Iowa
Tue. August 2-Milwaukee, WI
Wed. August 3-Bloomington, IN
Thu. August 4-Cincinnati, OH
Fri. August 5-Columbus, OH
Sat. August 6-Hanover, PA

Black Wine Facebook page

Don Giovanni Website

Old Stuff Friday - The Soul Corner - "Green Onions"

Booker T and the MG's "Green Onions" is an all-time classic. It's 12-bar blues rhythm, clean Hammond organ lines, Steve Cropper's surf style guitar lines, Al Jackson's drumming and the song's perfect structure are so distinctive and memorable that the song is etched in our brains and an iconic moment in American culture. It's damn near our Beethoven's 5th. You almost forget it is an instrumental -- and wouldn't even the best lyrics and singing merely get in the way?

The title came from a cat named Green Onions in the cartoon Green Badger; the cat's style of walking is said to have inspired the distinctive organ line.

Here's a great live version that appears to be from a TV show:

And then there's this one from 1966 on the TV show Shindig:

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 20: Dolfinz; Maydays

This week's edition features two unsigned bands. But do not read "unsigned" as "just OK bands". Both bands are very good, and should have a good future. Trust me, I've been sent albums from recognized labels in recent months that are nowhere as good as the music from Dolfinz and Maydays.

First challenge is how to describe Dolfinz an unsigned band from Stonehaven, Scotland. My best effort is that they live in the garage band neighborhood, somewhat close to the border with the grunge neighborhood, and taking lo-fi transportation to work. However, I emphasize that Dolfinz are not just another garage band. Their songs are catchy; their guitars delightfully hooky. And as indicated by the name of the band and the titles of some of the songs, the boys eschew the over-seriousness that infects many young bands.

I would not be surprised to see this band's star rise rapidly, and you can get in on the ground floor by downloading any or all of six tracks at the Soundcloud link below. Apparently, among the lads' fine qualities is a useful generosity!

"Hot Pants"
HOT PAN†S by DðlfinZ

"Coral Reefer"



Maydays originate from Caithness in far northeastern Scotland, but apparently now reside in the Edinburgh area. The band has endured some lineup changes, but now consists of Joe (vocals), Swannie (guitar), Kev (guitar), Tittles (organ), Calvin (bass), and Darren (drums). Their music is well crafted indie pop. But you don't have to trust my opinion, you can listen to, and download, three songs below.

"Eternal Optimist"
Eternal Optimist by maydays

Routine by maydays

"Meikle Ferry Roundabout"
Meikle Ferry Roundabout by maydays


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Video Update: A Band's Just Gotta Have Fun....

Fruit Bats gave "You're Too Weird" from their new album Tripper this utterly awesome send up of 1980s era music videos. Chest hair, blow dry, wind machines, lace, porn 'staches and the works. It must have been fun to make, and it is fun to watch.

Cool Video Thursday

"Shake the Shackles" by Crystal Stilts

Crystal Stilts "Shake The Shackles" from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

"Do You Really Wanna Know" by Papercuts

Papercuts- Do You Really Wanna Know (OFFICIAL VIDEO) from Sub Pop Records on Vimeo.

"Sweet Tooth" from Kids on a Crime Spree

Kids On A Crime Spree - Sweet Tooth from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

"'Round Your Way" by Brilliant Colors

Brilliant Colors - 'Round Your Way from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

I don't know much about this one. It is listed as a promo, with the participants being Aestrid, Samantha Whates, Allert Aalders, Jesse van den Doren.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"It's a Burning Hell"

William Faulkner died and was buried in Mississippi 49 years ago last week, and William Styron went to his funeral. I have tried explaining to those who have never experienced it the sheer oppressiveness of high summer in the American South, and must always return to Styron's simple description of his friend's funeral:

"But the first fact of the day, aside from that final fact of a death that has so diminished us, is the heat, and it is a heat which is like a small mean death itself, as if one were being smothered to extinction in a damp woolen overcoat. Even the newspapers in Memphis, 60 miles to the north, have commented on the ferocious weather. Oxford lies drowned in heat, and the feeling around the courthouse square on this Saturday forenoon is of a hot sweaty languor bordering on desperation."

It surprised me when I learned that Raleigh and Oxford roughly share a latitude with Casablanca and Kirkuk, and the fact that I was surprised suggests to me that I must not have learned this in July. So with all respect to my blogmates, I do not think of breezy melodies and jangly guitars when I step outside in the North Carolina summer. In fact, the act of thinking itself makes me sweat. It inspires not lassitude, but frustration, anger and aggression. Thus, my July soundtrack would start off something like this:

Very few can do pure aggression like David Sardy, and that's why I'm putting two of his old band's songs next:

Killing Joke were doing aggro before just about anyone -- in fact if the dog providing opening harmonies in this song were still alive, it would be at least 210 (in dog years).

I hope David Yow lives in a cool climate. He's unsettled enough as it is.

My favorite current practitioners of the aggro craft are Allentown's Pissed Jeans. A buddy of mine from school was from Allentown. His name was Rom, and his first post-college job was driving a dynamite truck. Oh, and check out the angry sun in this video. Thematic consistency.

I'll sign off with classic Brainbombs (with nice Zep intro) -- "It's a Burning Hell."

Rogue Valley - False Floors (and three more just like it!)

Talk about ambitious... Rogue Valley is a Minneapolis-based rock band that in April released this record, which is described as the "fourth and final album (the Winter chapter) in a season album cycle".

It sounds great, and as with so much of the music I've discovered lately, I heard it on KEXP... "Onward and Over" was the song of the day podcast for June 21, 2011.

I'm looking forward to working my way through all four records, which are available for "name your price" at Rogue Valley's Bandcamp page:

And here's a video for "Cleaning Slates" from the Fall album, Geese in the Flyway:

Prolific, ambitious and talented, with a real good sound. If you like folk rockers like Joseph Arthur, Neil Halstead, The Kooks... do yourself a favor and give a listen.

Rogue Valley Website

New Music: A Few Recent Singles - Dum Dum Girls, The Drums, Discopolis, Veronica Falls

We've become aware of some new singles that might interest you, so we've collected them in this single post for your convenience.

"Coming Down" from Dum Dum Girls

The Drums
The Drums - Money by WorkItMedia

Discopolis with "Zenithobia"
Discopolis - Zenithobia by discopolismusic

"Come On Over" by Scottish/English Veronica Falls
Come On Over by Veronica Falls

Ballboy at Bandcamp

Yes, I know the title reads like an announcement that a sports mad child has elected to attend a bandcamp this summer rather than hone his skills at a sports camp, but that is just a coincidence, I assure you.

Our two prior posts regarding the music of Edinburgh's Ballboy (which can be found HERE and HERE) were well received. So when I learned that the band's sometimes-hard-to-find-in-the-US albums all are now available electronically through Bandcamp, we thought it would be information useful to pass on to the readers. The Bandcamp link is below, so have fun browsing, listening and choosing.

And just for fun, here is an embed of I Worked on the Ships. It is the Ballboy album with which I'm least familiar, but it contains a number of delightful songs.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Soundtrack: The History of Apple Pie

Unsigned London band The History of Apple Pie is a perfect addition to our mini Summer Soundtrack series. They feature a great indie sound with female vocals and uptempo melodies. The band consists of Stephanie Min (Vocals), Jerome Watson (Guitar), James Thomas (Drums), Kelly Owens (Bass and Backing Vocals), and Aslam Ghauri (Guitar). The single, "You're So Cool", was released on Roundtable Records in June.

"Science for the Young"

While the above tracks show the band's twee side, the following two versions of a couple of their songs demonstrate the ability of The History of Apple Pie to make some noise. The first is a chugging indie pop number called "Tug". The second is from a festival performance.

The History Of Apple Pie - Tug by The History Of Apple Pie


Monday, July 18, 2011

REVIEW: WU LYF - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain

Never let it be said that the Raleigh bureau of this far flung enterprise is avant anything. I pretty much learn about new music the way you do – over the internet. Every so often I’ll be lucky enough to see something live that hasn’t gotten properly appreciated on these here webs. That happened a few months ago with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Within hours of that awesome set I had banged out what I assure you was going to be a groundbreaking post. I was going to be for UMO what Jon Landau was for Springsteen. Alas, you mix this Blogger program setup with a few beers and you eventually find that you have a new and unrelenting editor. So once I lost the post, I just said screw it and waited until they released their great new album to post about them. Actually waited until about a month after. Again, the Trailblazers are in Portland, not here.

So it is again with a measure of sheepishness that I crawl out from under my rock to make a pronouncement that is likely to generate a few “FRANCO STILL DEAD!” comments, and that is this: Manchester’s WU LYF have released a brilliant debut full length called Go Tell Fire to the Mountain that is more than worthy of the massive hype that has accompanied it. And although it’s been favorably reviewed by all the big names out there, I consider it my job to come through and authoritatively say, “Hey, those hipster d-bags were right this time.”

Check out the excellent tune “Spitting Blood”, here serving as audio accompaniment to a fan’s interesting, if violent, video interpretation.

According to the band’s entertainingly inscrutable website, the record was recorded in a church, and you certainly can hear the large space in the production. I’ve seen a dozen or so bands invoked to describe the music – from Arcade Fire (not really) to Explosions in the Sky (nice one). I’d also throw in Abe Vigoda, at least at certain of the more upbeat moments. More entertaining are the attempts to describe the vocals of Ellery Roberts – Issac Brock crossed with Tom Waits; Ian MacKaye crossed with Tom Waits; Tom Waits crossed with a drowning dachshund. Whichever of these is most apt, the combination is utterly original. This one is “Cave Song”.

There’s some good new live stuff from them that’s hit youtube in the past couple of weeks, suggesting that the band is a force onstage. Check all that stuff out, but don’t forget to buy the album. This is the studio version of the last tune, “Heavy Pop.”

The band website is definitely worth the petrol to get there.

Rockfour - The Beautiful World

Rockfour is an Israeli rock band that plays psychedelic guitar rock music. Just a little bit of backstory: In about 2000, they came to the states, were signed to the great psychedelic label Rainbow Quartz, went to Detroit to team up with Jim Diamond (Dirtbombs, White Stripes, etc) and produced two great albums in English. If you don't have them, please do yourself a favor and go get them.

[EDIT: please feel free to supplement my meager informational offering by reviewing their Wikipedia link, which is pretty comprehensive]

Now, it appears they have recorded their newest album The Beautiful World in Hebrew. It's terrific and if, like me, you find most rock lyrics to be secondary to the sound anyway, it's a great listen.

Check it out at their "Youtubeplayer":

If you have a strong desire to sing along and don't know Hebrew, fortunately there are five other really good Rockfour records for you to enjoy... from their early releases through the two Rainbow Quartz releases (Another Beginning and Nationwide), and their 2007 release on Cooking Vinyl, Memories of the Never Happened. Here's "Goes Around" form that record:

If you're fortunate, you might be able to scare up a used copy of For Fans Only, the fan club cd they put out containing great psych covers of bands like The Byrds, The Beatles, The Creation and Pink Floyd (check out this killer cover of "Astronomy Domine"):

Here's another Pink Floyd cover, "Arnold Layne":

They really are an amazing band, deserving of a much wider hearing. Do what you can...

Rockfour Website


New Sounds of Scotland-Part 19: Will Hanson; The Barents Sea

Will Hanson creates atmospheric and intense music with engaging pop sensibility. You'll probably hear elements of Nick Cave, The Delgados, Mazzy Star, Jeff Buckley and Portishead, all of which are among the many influences he cites in connection with his new album, Moving A Body, which will be released on August 22 by 12/26 Music. In advance of the album Will is releasing a double A-side, "Deathbed Conversion / The View From Ebury Bridge"

Hanson originally is from London, and spent time in New York as well. But sometime after the breakup of his former band, Proxy, he moved to Glasgow. I'm not familiar with Hanson's prior work, but I'm impressed with both songs on the double A-side.

"The UnGodly Hour"
The UnGodly Hour by Will Hanson


The Barents Sea is a post punk band from Perth, Scotland. The members are Grant George (vocals & guitar), Tom Mitchell (lead guitar), Kieran Andrews (bass) and Steve Cairns (drums). The band issued a free release in 2009. They released a single, "O’ Brother Of Mine", in 2010, and are working on an album and touring. Meanwhile, they will be giving away a free single "Born in a Ghost Town" in August. Here is a live version of that upcoming single.

"O’ Brother Of Mine", the debut single.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Modern Hut - "Wrong", new single out soon

Modern Hut is a new band featuring Joe Steinhardt of For Science, Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females and Fid of The Measure (SA), and they have released a two-song single. First song is "Wrong", which exhibits a definite Jesus & Mary Chain lean. The other song, "Life", features male/female vocal call and response over kind of a treated acoustic guitar sound, and some fairly dark lyrics... Siouxsie Sioux comes to mind, at least the way her vocals are done. Good stuff, and hopefully more to come.

Listen at Bandcamp, and see what you think:

Also, it's my understanding that you can see this combo if you're in the NYC/NJ area.

Modern Hut Tumblr Website

Modern Hut Bandcamp