Sunday, July 31, 2011
New to me, though it's been out since February. This is a San Diego band, a trio: Steve Kuhn on guitars and vocals, Kyle Conwell on bass, guitars and vocals and Keith Andrew on drums and percussion. I like their sound, reminds me a little bit of Pinback, Modest Mouse, and maybe Eleventh Dream Day... you can check out a song for yourself at their label site (link below). Good stuff, well worth your time.
Here's a video of them performing (rehearsing) "Freight Train Riders of America" which is on the album:
Tall Ships at Minority Records
Here's the video for "Plate Tectonics" from There Is Nothing But Chemistry Here:
I'm sure that there are seaside communities all around the world full of young men who are entranced by the concept of taking to the sea on tall ships, and so there may be perfectly good bands with that name in New Zealand, Alaska and Maine for all we know. But the ones in Brighton, UK and San Diego, CA are both real good and we at WYMA don't think you should discriminate or make the mistake of thinking "I've heard one, I've heard them all". You've heard from the Californians, check out the Brits. Members are listed as Jamie, Ric and Matt.
Latest tracks by Tall Ships
Tall Ships (Brighton, UK) Myspace Website
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Trwbador is a Welsh band consisting of Owain Gwilym and Angharad Van Rijswijk. They call their music folktronica. Trwbador have released two EPs, It Snowed A Lot This Year and Sun In The Winter EP. Their sound is a precocious wide-eyed wonder kind of pop.
Sun In The Winter EP by Trwbador
Clams Casino is the performance name used by Mike Volpe, from New Jersey, whose primary fame is in building backing tracks for rappers. However, he now is becoming known for his own more chilled out tracks consisting of his own beats and samples of other artists. He recently released the Rainforest EP on Tri Angle, and not long ago he released Instrumental Mixtape.
"She's Hot", from Mixtape
"Treetop", from Rainforest
"Waterfalls", from Rainforest
Top Girls is Evan from North Carolina, and he makes ambient, electronic, gaze pop, and soul music. What do all those terms mean, especially when mashed together? Click the play button below and find out.
Rise, released this month.
Attraction, released in June 2010.
Friday, July 29, 2011
So this week in a shameless effort to please our favorite fan, the Soul Corner presents both - an unheralded original version by an overshadowed sibling.
I'm guessing that few of you know the original version of "You're No Good" by Dee Dee Warwick. (Did Dee Dee Ramone take his name from her? I have no idea but it would be cool if he did). Yes, Dee Dee is Dionne's sister. That's a tough break right there. Good luck naming 5 better 60's R&B singers than Dionne Warwick.
Dee Dee's potential hit song was produced by the great team of Leiber and Stoller. It seemed to have it all going on.
But somehow the more pleasant and jazzy version by Betty Everett climbed higher on the R&B charts just months after Dee Dee's release in 1963.
Of course the mega-hit version was in 1974 by Linda Ronstandt. You know it and love it. And let's be clear here - Linda Ronstandt is a truly great singer. As good as it gets - Dionne Warwick good.
The song was later covered by Elvis Costello, Reba McEntire, Ike and Tina Turner, Van Halen, Michael Bolton and many others.
But Dee Dee Warwick's version was first, and not to be forgotten. When she proclaims "you're no good" or says "left a scar", there is no doubt she means it. And that whole party line of "feeling better now that we're through"? I'm not buying that.
One of my favorite bands a few years ago was Brooklyn-based Pela. I thought their LP, Anytown Graffiti was excellent and earned them the right to stardom. Regardless of the validity of my opinion, the public was not completely on message. As the group worked to record a follow up, a variety of tensions, including contractual and financial issues, pulled the group apart. The album wasn't finished, but the group was. The entire story is longer and more complicated, and is available on their Website linked below.
Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson of Pela stayed together, becoming over time, Augustines, and now We Are Augustines. The album they created is Rise Ye Sunken Ships, which was released last month as a digital only release on iTunes. "Book of James", which I've provided below, was written by McCarthy after his brother James, a diagnosed schizophrenic, committed suicide. In my view, it is the centerpiece of the album.
"Book of James":
The wonderful "Augustine", which gave rise to the band's name:
Most of the album was written while Pela still existed. The songs reflect the turmoils of the band, and the various components of McCarthy and Sanderson's lives. Both come from family backgrounds of substance abuse, and McCarthy's mother, as well as his brother, was schizophrenic. With that emotional weight, the album could have been a weepy morass. Instead, it is a triumph born of excellent songwriting and heartfelt performances. The songs are confessional, and speak to the potential for redemption. The sound has a blue collar, anthemic indie rock feel pleasantly reminiscent of Springsteen.
McCarthy and Sanderson have added drummer Rob Allen to the group. Oxcart Records is listed as their label.
We'll close with "Chapel Song", which has a more mid-tempo pop feel to it:
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Unsigned Glasgow rockers United Fruit get in your face. Not in a bad way, it's just that they are rockers of a type less often seen and heard these days, and they understand that an assault on your senses is the way this music is played. And oh, they play it well. United Fruit's recent album, Fault Lines, hits with a frenetic pace from the opening note, and doesn't let up. If there is any justice in this music world, this album will mark their breakout.
The members of United Fruit are
Iskandar Stewart (vocals and guitar), Stuart Galbraith (guitar and vocals), Marco Panagopoulos (bass), and Ross Jenkins (drums).
Glasgow-based John Wean are Conor Cartwright (vocals and rhythm guitar), Jude Smith (vocals and bass guitar), Stuart Anderson (lead guitar), and Simon Coakley (drums). The band has been honing their indie pop sound for a couple of years now, leading to the recent release of the single, "Desperate Dan (She Told Me She Was Single)". The song is classic indie about a boy falling for a girl who fails to disclose that she has a boyfriend. A tough boyfriend.
While their isn't much recorded output from John Wean at this point, I'm betting that we will hear more good tunes from them in the future.
"Is It Me" by The Kooks provides a bit of a history lesson regarding old technology.
"Legacy" by Alcoholic Faith Mission
"Easy" by Pure X
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Of course we here at WYMA are totally in the tank for all things Joe Henry. But damn does this sound good. Joe explains the song to NPR in his own words, and it's always a treat to get a peek behind the curtain from an artist of this magnitude.
Sometimes, when considering Robert Pollard's recorded output, the word "sprawling" seems small. But let's start there... Let It Beard is big, real big. Kind of like the sound of a good '70's arena rock band, that big. Six listens through, and I still don't have a favorite song big... but the early candidate is certainly the four minute, sprawling (there's that word again, doing its best) "Tourist U.F.O." with its icing-on-the-cake J Mascis solo on the way out. "Hey, you got Mascis in my Pollard! No, you got Pollard in my Mascis!" But who's complaining?
Starting with the opener, "Blind 20-20", which changes at least four times in 3:03, this album is in fact a thrill ride and, as Pollard stated "a concept album about the sorry state of rock and roll"... the concept being, it would seem, "Let's quit screwing around with this precious crap and bring back the four P's". It's got all the ingredients of a great Pollard record: humorous double-take-inducing lyrical non-sequitirs, constant instrumental and tempo changes, razor-sharp guitars underpinned by a terrific rhythm section. Actually, in most cases it consists of Chris Slusarenko and John Moen underpinning, well, Chris Slusarenko, who does a great job both ways and is given credit for essentially pulling together the instrumental structure of the record. And please note well: Moen, who has played with Elliott Smith, Steven Malkmus and The Decemberists, is a hell of a rock drummer.
Other highlights include "I Took On the London Guys", featuring Steve Wynn on a very psychedelic-sounding lead guitar, "Make a Record for Lo-Life", which has a real Big Star swagger, "Let More Light in the House", which features a bit of prog art-rock - Soft Machine with banjos? Bob even sounds a little bit like Robert Wyatt to me on this one... "You Just Can't Tell" features some throbbing Colin Newman (Wire) punk guitar and "Chevy Marigold" will strike a chord with anyone who has a fancy for great blues-based rock music.
And to cover the Pop in the four P's, here's a nice ballad, "Christmas Girl", with a strong Pollard vocal and a sweet trumpet break :
Download Christmas Girl MP3
Pollard's fifth release this year is his best, and that is taking nothing away from the previous four, the Lifeguards' Waving At the Astronauts, Mars Classroom's The New Theory Of Everything and Pollard's Space City Kicks and Lord of the Birdcage. He's certainly in the zone with five quality discs just a little over halfway through the year, not to mention wrapping up the GbV Classic Lineup Reunion Tour. Folks, let's hear it for the Iron Man McGinnity of rock and roll.
Boston Spaceships Website
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I like bands that can describe their music in interesting ways. Seattle/Tacoma's Motopony describes their music as "glitch folk", "hard soul", and "hope and roll", and they sum it up as "Chief Seattle's revenge channeled through a hybrid engine drone". My translation is that Motopony plays indie pop with folk elements and a persuasive, but restrained, use of electronics. And on their recently released album, Motopony, they also are innovative and adventurous in finding ways to delight their listeners.
Motopony's flexibility is demonstrated by the first three tracks on the album. Album opener, "June", is an engaging dream pop piece reminiscent of Cloud Cult. The second track, the catchy "King of Diamonds", is the first single. Some have compared it to Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, but vocally and in terms of rhythm it reminds me of Rusted Root. In it, vocalist Daniel Blue sings of searching for something he realizes that he already has:
"Seer", the following track, takes a very different approach, laying down a sinuous groove. While lyrically introspective, musically it is an invigorating bit of funk from the glitch poppers.
The band consists of Daniel Blue (vocals and guitar), Buddy Ross (beats and keyboards), Brantley Cady (lead guitar), and Forrest Mauvais (drums). Their ablum is on the tinyOGRE Entertainment label. The band presents many interesting facets: Excellent songwriting; a marriage of electronic and organic instrumentation; and unusual tunings. This debut album, and all of its components are a success, but it might be worth buying just for the gorgeous "God Damn Girl", which begins with the repeated phrase 'God damn girl your wounds are beautiful'. I don't have a studio recording of the song to share with you, but here is a version from a live show.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Here's the link to the NPR streaming site (which will probably be taken down after August 2)...
And here's a link to Buckner's website, with a tempting offer of a limited release bonus track, "Willow", if you preorder on iTunes.
On first listen, this is exactly what I'd hoped it would be and, like all previous Buckner records, so much more than I'd have reason to hope for. His voice, his guitar work and the arrangements are spare, haunting and absolutely beautiful. I can't think of anyone outside Neil Young who can use an acoustic guitar and his voice (with some hushed piano, slide guitar or synthesizer in places) to evoke this much feeling. For example, listen to the piano backdrop to "Collusion", and the overlay of piano, synthesizer and deep acoustic guitar behind his sparse vocals on "Thief".
Buckner will be touring with David Kilgour in the second half of August. Sounds like a great double bill to me... and these are already two of my favorite records of 2011.
In terms of geography, Brilliant Colors reside in neither Scotland nor New Zealand, but very roughly between the two in San Francisco. But musically the band seems to have one foot in the Creation Records/C-86 camp, and the other in the Blue Nun camp. The result on their new album, Again and Again, on Slumberland Records is jangly, noise pop bliss with a punch.
"'Round Your Way"
Again and Again is a developmental step for the three ladies that comprise the band -- Jess, Diane and Michelle. The more punk stylings of their earlier album often are embellished here by engaging melodies, warm guitars and confessional, wistful songs, such as "How Much Younger".
However, the punkier, and darker, side edges back into the mix with songs like "Back to the Tricks", below, or "Painting Truths".
Again and Again eschews traveling a broad spectrum of influences and styles to provide a cohesive, even disciplined, set of perfect summer music. And its been on daily rotation on the Rocksteady74 players since summer arrived in Seattle (which was less than a week ago, unfortunately).
By the way, album track "Cult Face" reminds me of The Shop Assistants, and that is a foolproof tactic for getting my attention.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Don't know exactly what they've got in the water in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but whatever it is, it's got folks making really catchy, melodic rock music. In addition to MN rockers Rogue Valley, who inspired a WYMA post earlier this week, Joey Ryan and the Inks (who were also featured on here a while back) have got a new one, Dennis Lane, coming out July 30. Extremely catchy and well-crafted, Ryan's band does pop-rock as well as anybody playing today.
In the reviews on the band's website, there are some comparisons to the Beach Boys, and I guess in terms of melody and the harmony vocals, there's a comparison to be made, but I don't think that's the first place I'd go for a comparison. To me, Joey Ryan and the Inks' music more calls to mind some of the great Southeast pop rock titans like the dB's, Let's Active and the Connells, and later, Superchunk. There's even a little bit of R.E.M.-style jangle.
Here's a video of them performing "Jester In the Wind" in The Current (Minnesota Public Radio, 89.3) studios:
You can listen to "The Troubled Poet" from Dennis Lane, as well as several songs from the previous album Well, Here We Are Then, at the band's website:
Joey Ryan and the Inks Website
Saturday, July 23, 2011
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.
"Her Rotating Head" (from the 2009 release)
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
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 drumming...you 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
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:
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 PAN†S by DðlfinZ
CORAL REEFER by DðlfinZ
BLOWHOLE by DðlfinZ
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 by maydays
Routine by maydays
"Meikle Ferry Roundabout"
Meikle Ferry Roundabout by maydays
Thursday, July 21, 2011
"Do You Really Wanna Know" by Papercuts
"Sweet Tooth" from Kids on a Crime Spree
"'Round Your Way" by Brilliant Colors
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
"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."
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
"Coming Down" from Dum Dum Girls
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
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
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
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.
[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...
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
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
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Lorelle Meets The Obsolete is one of the more interesting discoveries I've made lately. The menu is noise pop, no-wave, psych from Guadalajara, Mexico, performed by Lorelle (vocals, electric guitar & electric bass) and The Obsolete (drums & percussion, electric bass, casiotone, electric & acoustic guitars). According to the notes from Bandcamp, they also had help from Hugo Quezada (supersonic pads, ring modulator, omnichord & electric bass treatment) for the On Welfare LP provided below.
On Welfare was released on May 24, 2011, on Captcha Records.
And here is a video for a live version of "Taken"
Next on the bill is Electric Wire Hustle, which was brought to my attention by my fellow WYMA contributor, John Hyland. EWH is from Wellington, New Zealand. I'd describe the music as electronic soul with a bit of hip hop and trip hop. Nice groove, good vocals, good use of space and background. Their US, UK, European and Australian label is BBE. Their New Zealand label is Every Waking Hour. Their debut self-titled album has been out for a while. It isn't as well known as it deserves, but has received some very high praise.
Interesting video of the band in NYC:
Here is the video for "Again"
Fan Modine, based in Carrboro NC (adjacent to Chapel Hill), is singer-songwriter-guitarist-keyboardist Gordon Zacharias and an all-star cast of mostly local Tarheel musicians including ace guitar player Ash Bowie (Polvo).
Gratitude for the Shipper, Fan Modine's first new release in 6 yrs, is a lush pop joyride. It doesn't hurt to have the help of the Southern pop hall of famers - Chris Stamey producing and arranging the strings and horns, Mitch Easter helping out on guitars, and Peter Holsapple on steel guitar. For extra measure in regard to the Southern jangle pop history, the closing song "Waiting for the Distant Light" honors Big Star and the recently deceased Alex Chilton ("the star that shines so bright will reach us first").
This record should appeal strongly to the regular readers of WYMA's Scottish pop band series, although there is nothing low-fi going on here, as Gratitude for the Shipper is big, baroque pop in line with Belle & Sebastian and the Teenage Fanclub.
Every time it appears to be veering into territory a bit too er, twee, for my tastes, in come the great horn lines and big string arrangements, which give the songs a much more compelling sound and rich texture. And the big pop hooks are offset by Zacharias' sometimes dark and always interesting lyrical story lines.
You can listen to the entire release here, but I'd suggest starting with songs 2 ("Juju Road"), 6 ("Wormwood Scrubbs"), 8 ("Another Eventail") and especially the finale "Waiting for Distant Light", a compelling closer to a great pop record.
Band web page: http://fanmodine.com/1/
Three songs from Bwani Junction. By the way, my personal view is that this guitar pop band has a great sound and a really good future. I'm looking forward to their debut album release later this year. It already has been recorded at Chem 19 studios by Paul Savage.
I'm remiss in not profiling Three Blind Wolves in my New Sounds of Scotland series. Here is a good set of their Americana influenced sound.
The set from Edinburgh's Kid Canaveral. Their 2010 self-release Shouting At Wildlife is being re-released this month by the Fence Collective.
Here is the set from the rockers Xcerts.
The Mars Patrol hails from Edinburgh, but now resides in London.
Friday, July 15, 2011
This is a very talented young Brooklyn band on New Jersey-based Don Giovanni Records (same label as recently-featured Screaming Females). Knocked out by the first run through, I wanted to give Sit Resist a few listens to see if it stands up... and it just got better.
Here's the video for "Master of Art"... like a lot of good artists, they aren't easy to pigeonhole, but everything they try seems to succeed. There's a bit of Spector "wall of sound" going on here:
And here's a link to download "Master of Art".
As I said, there's a lot of variety here. The common element is Stevenson's voice, which is clear, bright and stands out no matter whether the song is a rocker, a country or folk ballad, or even, in one case, what sounds like a sea chantey.
Highly recommended, and we should expect to hear more from this band as they gain a wider audience; they exhibit the kind of talent and work ethic that makes indie rock worth seeking out.
They're playing a few dates in the Northeast soon:
Thursday, July 28 - Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell’s (with Air Waves) - 8PM
Saturday, August 13 - Brooklyn, NY @ Europa - 6PM
Thursday, August 25 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
For our European readers, good news... they're touring over there in September:
02/09/11 Berlin (DE), Lovelite
03/09/11 Dresden (DE), The Sound Of Bronkow Festival
04/09/11 Hamburg (DE), Astrastube
05/09/11 Koeln (DE), Tsunami
06/09/11 Paris (FR), Café de la Danse
08/09/11 Amsterdam (NL), Paradiso
10/09/11 Haarlem (NL), Patronaat
11/09/11 Southampton (UK), The Joiners
12/09/11 Cardiff (UK), 10 Feet Tall
13/09/11 Glasgow (UK), Nice’n’Sleazy
14/09/11 Nottingham (UK), The Maze
15/09/11 Manchester (UK), Castle Hotel
16/09/11 London (UK), Windmill Brixton
18/09/11 Grenoble (FR), Le Ciel w/ Nadeah
19/09/11 Zuerich (CH), Hafenkneipe
20/09/11 Padova (IT), Carichi Sospesi
21/09/11 Carpi (IT), Mattatoio
22/09/11 Martigny (CH), Les Caves du Manoir
23/09/11 Luzern (CH), Treibhaus
24/09/11 Dachau (DE), Kultur-Schranne
26/09/11 Erfurt (DE), Franz Mehlhose
29/09/11 Graz (AT), Forum Stadtpark w/ Handsome Furs
30/09/11 Celje (SI), Kino Metropol
01/10/11 Vienna (AT), Haus der Musik Festival
Buy at Don Giovanni Website
Laura Stevenson and the Cans Website
But the 70's were not just disco and bad prog rock. Soul music became more experimental, more political, and in many ways more musical, certainly less formulaic. We've looked at some great 70's artists here at the Soul Corner - Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, etc.
As one highly informed Soul Corner reader suggested his week, it's time to shine a spotlight on the late Donny Hathaway - extraordinary singer, composer, arranger, keyboardist. Not a lot of soul or rock songwriters cite Stravinsky and Debussy as influences as Hathaway did.
Hathaway is perhaps best known for his duets with college classmate Roberta Flack, including "Where is the Love."
Here's a live version of "Everything is Everything" that shows off his deep soul and musical chops:
And for his gut-wrenching emotional vocals, check out this live cover of the Leon Russell classic "Song for You":
As many of you know, this story did not end well. Hathaway's death in a New York City hotel in 1979 was ruled a suicide. It followed a lifetime struggle with severe depression. But he left behind great work and a powerful musical legacy.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I happen to share Hardy's ardor for this band... Here's another song to listen to, "Ffur", complete with links to buy the album digitally at UMO's website. It appears that buying it there gets you three exclusive bonus tracks:
Folks, that there is an excellent rock and roll song. I can’t resist loud sheets of guitar noise, and I really appreciate solid, not over-the-top vocals like this. It’s got a self-assured wistfulness to it, rather than a “holy-crap-if-she-doesn’t-come-back-to-me-by-god-I—will-torch-myself-like-that-monk-on-the-cover-of-that-rage-against-the-machine-album” that makes me reach for my Mclusky. Here’s another crunchy pop tune:
Bear Bryant once said, “Sure I’d like to beat Notre Dame, don’t get me wrong, but nothing matters more than beating that cow college on the other side of the state.” Although that has nothing to do with anything except to prompt me to point out that he never did beat Notre Dame, he also taught his players to “act like you’ve been there before.” And I guess the thing that sets The American Scene apart from the thousand other bands trying to do that sound is that these guys don’t seem to have to try too hard to be heard. It’s like they’ve been there before.
The American Scene on Facebook
Pure Noise Records