Saturday, August 20, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-28: Active Child; The Baggios; Jamaican Singles

This weekend's edition brings wide-scope indie/electronica from L.A., rock and roll from Brazil, and dancehall from Jamaica. Please enjoy!

Active Child is Los Angeles-based Patrick James Grossi. The simple description of his music is electronic indie pop, although his artistic range and interests are broad enough to stretch that description in interesting ways. His debut album, You Are All I See, is released on August 23 on Vagrant Records.

"Playing House (featuring How to Dress Well)"

Active Child - Playing House Ft. How To Dress Well [Audio Stream] from Active Child on Vimeo.

Trailer for the new album:

You Are All I See - Album Trailer from Active Child on Vimeo.

"I'm In Your Church At Night" from the Curtis Lane EP

Active Child - I'm In Your Church At Night from Active Child on Vimeo.


The Baggios are a promising Brazilian rock duo. Júlio Andrade plays guitar and sings; Gabriel Carvalho plays the drums. The band was formed in 2004. And they are giving their album away free on their website, which is linked below. If you prefer, lots of good stuff is available at the Soundcloud link as well. Wait, rock and roll from Brazil, you ask? Yes--listen to "Can't Find My Mind":



And now, for some tunes high up in the charts in Jamaica.

Naptali, "Deceitful"

"Delilah" by Movado

"Keep Me Original" by Shabu and Rebellion

Toya feat. Beenie Man with "One Man Woman"

Shabba Ranks -- "None A Dem"

REVIEW: The Pack a.d. - Unpersons

The Pack a.d. is a rock/blues/punk duo (sound familiar? Well, it gets a little moreso) from Vancouver: Becky Black (guitar/vocasls) and Maya Miller (drums). They produce a strong, strong sound and have three albums out, including 2010's we kill computers. Now they're about to release Unpersons, a disc they've recorded with Detroit mastermind Jim Diamond (yes, that Jim Diamond: he puts his pants on one leg at a time, but when his pants are on, he makes DIRTBOMBS, WHITE STRIPES and OTHER great records). You can make the obvious comparisons, White Stripes being maybe the most obvious, and those comparisons will serve you well if they lead you to give this thing a listen.

Here's the Soundcloud page where you can listen to and download "Sirens", the first song. It's a great little piece of noisy drumming, distorted guitars and melodious vocals:

Sirens by Riot Act

For a band with just two people, there's a decent variety in tempos, guitar sounds and even vocals - some of it with a real snarl - with the common denominator being that it's all rocking. Where "Sirens" has a real nice vocal and garage-rock base, song four, "8" is pure punk... with a tribal drumbeat, snarled vocals and a shouted call-and-response on the chorus. Then a little further along, "Positronic" gets kind of psychedelic.

Here's a recent live video which shows you that, yes, it's two humans making all that rock:

And here's a video from a previous album, notable for being hilarious and rocking:

They're embarking on a tour soon, and the album is due for release September 13.

The Pack a.d. Website

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Soul Corner - The Four Tops - "7 Rooms of Gloom"

Back to Motown, a battered but still determined city, and by the way, today the home of the great Justin Verlander, the best pitcher in baseball.

No voice ever captured the soul and grit of Detroit better than that of the late Levi Stubbs. A voice as strong, defiant and fierce as the streets of Detroit.

I could play you the Four Tops catalogue but the one song that does it for me every single time is "7 Rooms of Gloom".

Motown was beginning to rock things up a bit, borrowing from the garage rock sound of the times. The harder style fit Levi Stubbs's voice perfectly. The Funk Brothers really kick out the jams here, led by the amazing James Jamerson's bass lines.

And Stubbs got one of the finest musical tributes ever when Billy Bragg honored him with his classic "Levi Stubbbs' Tears":

REVIEW: Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers - Luck

There are bands that play at rock and roll, and there are bands that play rock and roll. And there are bands whose art is so convincing that you can say that they have a rock and roll heart. The rock and roll heart beats strongly in Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers. On their debut release, Luck, they don't give you slick music with soaring harmonies. But they do make you want to move and sing along, and they validate that life can be hard and cruel but if you're still breathing, still sipping your drink, you're winning. Most importantly, they make you feel. And if you don't feel what Jacob's feeling, the music just might remind you to think about something else you should be thinking about. (Of course, if you don't want to think about it, you can drink to forget.)

In general, the sound is a mix of blues, punk, swampy southern roadhouse Americana, rockabilly, Tom Waits storytelling, bar band and Glasgow urban rock. And the songs are fleshed out by Jacob's direct, observational and somewhat outrageous lyrical expression. The instrumentation is guitar, bass, drums and piano/organ. Listen to them and you can hear the authenticity of the descriptions of Jacob's music as "Doom Wop" and "Horror R&B". Think Tom Waits and Nick Cave channeling Junior Kimbrough. But why just think about it? You can hear it in one of my favorite tracks -- "Can't Stop":

There are eight tracks on Luck. Some of them are stompers, and some of them are mid-tempo musical stories. The opening track, "Mark", is one of the doom wop stompers, and kicks off proceedings with a fittingly dark tone. The following surrealistic psychobilly of "Black Dog" leads us to another of my favorites, "Mary Hell". "Mary Hell" is a horror R&B impression of the Maryhill area of Glasgow, complete with descriptions of Jacob's legless father and a barbecued cat. "Dundee" is a musically softer, but continues the dark tone. The fifth track is the above "Can't Stop". The sixth through eighth tracks encapsulate the band's range. "Vessels" is a serious and stately piano-driven piece with bitter lyrics. "Lemonade", which I've provided below, is a rousing slide guitar bit gem of bluesy pop/rock. "Luck" closes with "When You Left Me". And this final track underscores why the music of Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers is so much more than a weekend night's good times soundtrack. The somber subject of the death of Jacob's dad is told in a way that conveys love, loss, anger, and abandonment, but is infused with sufficient deftly phrased levity to provide genuine depth to the story. I suggest you treat yourself to a session with that song at the Bandcamp link below.

Popular track "Lemonade" (as a backdrop to a biking video):

Escaping the city from Stefan Morrocco on Vimeo.

Overall, the album is both boisterous and dark. To understand the darkness, you need to realize that since the music is based on Jacob's observations, it reflects a certain Glasgow experience. Experience with a city in which a sizable segment of the population is being treated for drug dependency, and many dwellers deal with drugs, gangs, joblessness and sectarian strife. It is just a different facet of the modern human condition illustrated by Kimbrough, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Hound Dog Taylor and other greats in America.

Thanks to Re:Peater Records, you can stream the entire album below:

Jacob's actual surname is Lovatt; Yates is his mother's maiden name. The band is listed as "Jacob Yates, Jamie Yates, Rick Yates and Michael Yates", but the other three actually are Richard Holmes (guitar), Michael Bleazard (traps), Jamie Bolland (keys and guitar). Luck was recorded at the Green Door studio and is released on Re:Peater Records. As is the case with the band's labelmates, She's Hit, the attractive album art is by Hrafnhildur Halldorsdottir.

I love this album. For me, it is one of those essential branches of rock music that some of us who grew up in America, decades ago, find to be hard wired into our brains. Even if this edition, and the stories it tells, come from Glasgow. Should you be interested in agreeing with me, I've provided the Bandcamp link to Re:Peater records below.

Bandcamp link for album
Facebook for Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers
Hrafnhildur Halldorsdottir's website

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Best Video of the Year?

Mere words won't do this justice:

REVIEW: Touche Amore - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me

This is just a short note to join the chorus of positive reactions to the new album by LA hardcore/screamo band Touche Amore, called Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. Released in June by Deathwish, the label started and run by Jacob Bannon of Converge, it's an old-style 13 song, sub-30 minute slab of loud.

After just a couple of times through, though, the loud starts to reveal its contours and colors as being more than just three bar chords and a couple of cusswords. Listen to the terrific guitar sound achieved by Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt on 'Home Away From Here' in this nicely produced video.

The rest of the band includes drummer Elliot Babin, bassist Tyler Kirby, and vocalist/songwriter Jeremy Bolm. Here's a video of 'Amends', from the new album, performed at a festival in the Czech Republic on 31 July. The sound quality's pretty rough, but it's always fun to watch a quality band get after it like this. In fact, this vid's worth a look for the stage diving alone. Stage diving is the very definition of lameness to begin with, and this crowd takes it to new heights of ridiculousness. Thankfully, the band is unfazed. Enjoy:

As I often point out, I'm not a big lyric guy, but Bolm's got a really nice ear and has loaded his songs with interesting lines and images that defy you to ignore them. Exhibit A is the album opener, denoted by a tilde mark that I can't do in html. Check it out.

In a feature on Alternative Press, Bolm says he wrote the song below during a time when he had the National in heavy rotation. See if you don't hear strains of 'Murder Me Rachael' when you click play. All right, me neither, but that doesn't mean this isn't a kickass song. Heck, they all are.

Touche Amore website

Deathwish Records website

Get to Know: The Postelles

The Postelles are a young New York City band with a pop/rock sound that reminds this listener of The Strokes, The View and The Kooks. The comparisons to The Strokes seem inevitable, as Albert Hammond Jr. of that group produced this groups recently released album, unsurprisingly titled The Postelles.

"White Night"

The band consists of Daniel Balk (Vocals, Guitar), Billy Cadden (Drums), David Dargahi (Lead Guitar), and John Speyer (Bass). They will be touring this fall in support of the album.

"Sleep on the Dance Floor"

"123 Stop"

These sorts of things are tough to predict for bands that are just starting to get national buzz, but I think they have the talent to stay a while. And meanwhile, we are happy to give them some press.


Parson Red Heads - Free Download of "Burning Up the Sky" available!

Following up on JD's excellent interview/feature on this group, here's an opportunity to get a free download of their song "Burning Up the Sky" from Yearling.

Cool Video Thursday

Hiatus and Shura with "Fortune's Fool"

Here is something interesting and quite different:

Quad Time from The Joy of Box on Vimeo.

"Too Much to Lose" by Sun Glitters

Sun Glitters - too much to lose from Victor Ferreira / Sun Glitters on Vimeo.

"Winter Beats" from a band previously featured on Midnight World Pop Scout, I Break Horses

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lo-Fi Freebie: Sneakpeek

I promise that I won't drone on and on about Sneakpeek, although my economic approach has more to do with having very little real information to share than any affection for economy of expression. What I do know is that the band is a Los Angeles garage/psych/lo-fi outfit influenced by the likes of Galaxie 500, My Bloody Valentine and Singapore Sling. Sneakpeek are Dora Hiller (bass/vocals), Aric Bohn (guitar), Aaron Haack (drums), and Mike Motz (guitar). and they have provided one free song and two songs available for one dollar. The band has said that the intend to release an EP soon.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Punk Discovery: Fay Wrays - "Comrade Weather" from Strange Confessor

Here's a punk group from Fresno. Well, it's not all punk... for example, on the 5:21 "Painting Dollar Bills" they really stretch out and play some guitars. And for that, I like them even more. Strong guitars and a heavy bottom, that's a nice combination for a band that just wants to rock.

And they've got some stuff that reminds me of Swervedriver, at least in spots... check out "San Francisco (in) General". Well worth a listen, and at $5, I don't know why you wouldn't just buy the darn thing on Bandcamp.

Fay Wrays page at Riot Act Media

Download "Painting Dollar Bills"

Feature Story: The Parson Red Heads - Yearling

WYMA has been such a booster of The Parson Red Heads that their new record label, Arena Rock Recording Company, asked us to write a feature story about the band to include in their press kit as a way to introduce people to the band and their great new CD Yearling.
Finally, the record release date is here. Fans of skilled pop music must get this record, one of the year's very best.

The Parson Red Heads will soon embark on a US tour with fellow Portlandians. Viva Voce. Tour dates are listed here

Here is our feature story --

The Band members:
Evan Way - songwriter, vocals, guitars
Brette Marie Way - drums, vocals
Sam Fowles - guitars, vocals, songwriter (“Happy We Agree”, “I Was Only”)
Charlie Hester - bass, vocals

Produced by Raymond Richards, Chris Stamey and The Parson Red Heads
Mixed by Chris Stamey

Additional Engineering by Mitch Easter

By any definition, The Parson Red Heads are in harmony:
har·mo·ny noun \ˈhär-mə-nē\
1 tuneful sound
2 the combination of simultaneous musical notes in a chord
3 pleasing or congruent arrangement of parts
4 internal calm: tranquility
5 an interweaving of different accounts into a single narrative

It is impossible to discuss The Parson Red Heads without acknowledging the remarkable chemistry among the four members, their fans and friends. The band’s generous spirit is inseparable from their masterful songwriting, gracefully finessed guitar lines, precise arrangements and gorgeous three and four part harmonies.

With their new and second full release, Yearling (Arena Rock Recording Company), The Parson Red Heads deliver on the great promise that has been steadily building during their eight years as a band. Yearling was carefully recorded over a series of many months first in a familiar setting, Red Rockets Glare Studio in their former home of Los Angeles, with close friend and sometimes member Raymond Richards producing. Several of the songs on the record were done later on unfamiliar terrain, at Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium in North Carolina with alternative pop legends Chris Stamey and Mitch Easter producing and engineering, respectively. Stamey mixed the record.

Stamey pushed the band in a manner they had never experienced. Lead singer-songwriter Evan Way explains: “Chris was a different type of producer for us, especially vocally. We’ve always pretty easily done a take and it is in tune and sounds good and it’s fine. But Chris would have us sing ten or twenty more takes and he was consistently pushing. He’d say ‘That sounds great but I don’t feel like you are really singing the song.’ Chris wanted to hear every word, and make us convey what the lyrics really mean. He didn’t care as much about perfect pitch compared to if we were conveying the true emotion of the song.”

"When I first worked on some string and brass arrangements for them,” Stamey says, “the gentleness and warmth of the songs and the approach came across in spades. It wasn't until I saw them live that I realized what a powerhouse they can be, as well. They played spur-of-the-moment shows here while we were recording and--how else to say it? -- kicked ass."

Stamey came away a big fan: "There's something about this band that lifts your spirits. It's not facepaint, it's all the way down to the grain. In the sixties, we would have said that they are totally 'together,' and they do have an all-for-one and one-for-all ethos, you can hear the musicians' genuine affection for each other in every skywriting chorus and every sweeping improvisation.”

Yearling celebrates appreciating your friends, living thoughtfully and creating an intentional meaningful life, reflecting the heady maturity of a band whose members are in their mid to late 20’s. Evan Way says: “I don’t know if the theme was totally intentional. But all the songs came out about learning the best way to live. There are love songs in there, but it’s more about growing up, your memories and taking everything you’ve learned to make your life better.”

“We came up with the name Yearling as the title,” Evan continues, “which is a horse between one and two years old. That word captured the idea of something growing up. And the record took us a long time to make and we learned so much making it.”

You can listen to a bit of each song here.

This focus on growing and getting better finds its way into many lyrical lines here, such as “Think of the man you used to be, he is less than the man you’ve become” (“Time is Running Out”), or “Every day I wake up saying, I look the same but my soul is different” (“Unemotional”), hardly the typical voice of a band in their 20s.

And the Parson Red Heads have literally grown up together, forming while still their teens. Evan and Brette went to high school together, then became bandmates, then married in 2006.

Part of the band’s development is the musical maturity to slow down the tempos a bit to allow the songs to breathe and the vocal harmonies to best serve the lyrics. Two of the standout tracks here, “When You Love Somebody” and "Seven Years Ago", are especially effective in how they rein the speed in a bit like a great Beatles pop song. These recordings are far more skilled and deliberate than the Parsons’ prior CDs.

Yearling has a timeless quality that continues and expands the classic pop-country-rock lineage stretching from The Byrds and Fleetwood Mac to the Jayhawks and Wilco. Evan hears those reference points, but says the band feels a stronger musical kinship with contemporaries such as Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, Dawes and The Fruit Bats.

"It's easy to hear a connection to the Byrds in some of the material,” Stamey opines, “in the vocal harmonies and guitar stylings, but maybe the real connection is in the sense of balance and poise both bands share. It's a confidence in what they are doing that makes a listener want to lean in to it, to soak it up, instead of having to fend off a sonic assault."

Other musicians immediately appreciate the Parson Red Heads. Various LA musicians sat in with the band over the years, with their live lineup swelling to more than a dozen members on many nights. Members of Blitzen Trapper and Wilco attend their shows, as do Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey from R.E.M., who have joined the Parsons on stage to rip through a cover of Tom Petty’s “You Wrecked Me”.

Peter Jesperson, the longtime manager of the Replacements and now handling A&R and Production at New West Records in LA, says this about what turned him into a major booster of the Parson Red Heads: “First and foremost - the singing. Evan as a lead singer with Sam and Brette doing harmonies is one of the best things going on in rock today if you ask me. First live show of theirs I saw, the vocals quite literally took my breath away.”

While many of the songs on Yearling start in a mid-tempo, they tend to go off into a looser and rocking instrumental direction near the end of the song (check out “When You Love Somebody”, “Hazy Dream” and “Time is Running Out”). When I asked the band about it, I hesitated to use the term “jam”. Evan laughed, “It’s okay, you can use the word. My alternative to a bridge is usually some sort of guitar solo and my tendency is to put it at the end. I like to put it at the end because then we have the freedom to do what we want without having to worry about going back to the song.” Brette adds, “We can’t help it now. We just keep playing and something cool usually happens.”

The band also rocks out, particularly on “Kids Hanging Out”, a power pop gem that is a highlight of their live shows. The record opens with “Burning Up the Sky”, which is a perfect introduction to the band’s warm vibe, with their defining big vocal harmonies front and center.

“Hazy Dream” reflects the band’s characteristic psychedelic folk sound and strong melodic sense. “Unemotional” is a particularly affecting and sophisticated highlight of the record, made all the richer by Stamey’s additional piano work and Mitch Easter’s bottle-neck slide accents.

A major role in their growth as a band came from their five years in Los Angeles, where they moved in 2005 from Eugene Oregon where the band formed in 2003. Brette tells the story: “When we played our first show there, we said ‘Oh that was really bad. This is embarrassing.’ We made a decision and said we are not going to be that. So we practiced three hours a night, three days a week. We were all working 40 hrs a week day jobs with a commute. We call it the dark times. We were exhausted and probably malnourished.” Evan adds, “Meanwhile we were playing shows the other four days of the week, any place that would have us, the weirdest gigs.” Brette says, “It was crazy, but all the playing and practicing really helped us.”

The band moved back to Oregon in 2010, settling in Portland where they have quickly become beloved favorites on that thriving local scene.

So where did The Parson Red Heads get their name? Evan explains, “Brette and I both have red hair. My dad was minister, a parson, and people say we remind them of the Byrds [Gene and Gram Parsons], but it doesn’t have anything to do with any of that.” “At first we were called Vulture Town,” Brette recalls, “because I had a dream that we were called Vulture Town. Of course that didn’t sound anything like us, so after awhile we started searching for a better name.” Evan continues, “Our friend and former band member Anastasia opened up this big jazz dictionary, found a reference to the Pearson Red Heads, and she totally misread it and suggested ‘Hey how about The Parson Red Heads?’ And we said that sounds pretty good. The entry said they only played 2 times in the 1950s with Benny Goodman and they never recorded. And so we were like ‘Oh yeah, we could totally steal that. That’s the one, we’ll steal that name.”

Brette finishes the story: “Then a couple years later when we were getting ready to put out our first record, I tried to look them up and I couldn’t find anything about them. So I called up Anastasia and asked her if she still had that book, and she looked at it and said ‘Oh my gosh, I totally misread it. It’s the Pearson Red Heads.’ And I said ‘Then I guess we didn’t steal the name!’ But of course then our name means nothing.” [Evan and Sam crack up laughing].

The years of hard work, a careful recording process this time around and the band’s well-earned good karma have paid off with Yearling, a majestic pop record and a huge step up for The Parson Red Heads. The band members feel good about where they are and emphasize how much fun they are having. “Music is the main thing I care about,” Evan says. “I discovered something that I not only love doing, but I feel like I have something to contribute. And I want to make sure we do it right and work hard at it. But I also make sure everyone’s contributions are important, because if they don’t feel a part of all of it, they won’t have fun. For a band to work, everyone needs to have fun and then they’ll contribute their best.”

Brett’s final thoughts: “I am in the perfect band, because everyone is easy going, but these guys have a great work ethic. They work really really hard. I don’t know a lot of people like Evan and Sam, who just generally have good attitudes and are nice all the time, but are not bums. They are not bums at all!”

Band web page:

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 24: Spaghetti Anywhere; Shambles Miller; Letters

Spaghetti Anywhere edges into qualification for our New Sounds of Scotland series by reason of the origins of one of its members, and it lists London, Glasgow and Rome as its home. The band's sound is a wistful brand of twee indie pop most similar to Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura. The members are Francis, Valerio, Nathan and Dave.

I've included their new EP, Doolally, below. I think the whole thing is very nice, but if you only have time to give Spaghetti Anywhere a one song trial, check out "Super Special", a tragi-comedy about an alcoholic. Oh, hell, listen to "Hulk" as well. It will remind you of those times you have a bit much to drink and feel more powerful and bullet-proof than you have any right to feel. That only leaves out the song "Drugs", about a guy who likes to drop acid and walk around naked, and it is between the other tracks, so you might as well listen to that as well. That's that, then. Can't be helped. By the way, the three track EP is free at the Bandcamp link.


Shambles Miller is a folk punk artist from Glasgow. While I'm not active in seeking out folk artists, there is a good dose of the punk here, and Shambles has a way with words that captures my imagination.

The delightful "Things that Make Me Angry"

Here is his description of the song "Rapture":
Y'know how when it's the end of the world, so you use it as an excuse to tell a girl you like how you feel? Then you write a song about it? Well, thats what this is

Rapture by ShamblesMiller

Strike! by ShamblesMiller


Letters are an Edinburgh band consisting of Kerr Donaldson (drums), Dougie Fuller (bass), Georgie Williamson (cello/vocals), Ed Ellis (guitar/vocals) and Mikey Ferguson (guitar/vocals). The band's own description is that they are "5 piece Dark Cello pop noiseniks". Letters released a double A-side in February consisting of the following two tracks.

"Pipe Dreams"
LETTERS- PIPE DREAMS by Soundandvisionpr

"The Grand National"
LETTERS- GRAND NATIONAL by Soundandvisionpr

New single "Flash! Lights!
LETTERS - Flash! Lights by Soundandvisionpr

The above tracks all are available for free download on the Music page of their website.


Monday, August 15, 2011

New Discovery: The Tamborines

When I think of instruments used by pop bands, tambourines are not among those that spring immediately to mind. Guitars, drums, keys, the odd horn and, of course, plenty of cowbell. But tambourines, not so much. Nevertheless, that instrument seems to pop up as a band name somewhat more often than, say, "piano" or "bass guitar". There is the iconic noise pop band Black Tambourine (1989-1991), and the very good Black Tambourines from the UK, which we profiled HERE. And now we have the quite excellent fuzz/twee indie band from London -- The Tamborines. Founded by Lulu Grave (drums/ organ/percussion) and Henrique Laurindo (vocals/guitar); bass guitar is attributed to Chokis. The band's first album, Camera & Tremor, was released in 2010, and they are working on their second.

In April of this year, they released a single with "Black & Blue" as the A-side and "Indian Hill" as the B-side. Here is the demo for their single, "Black & Blue"

"Indian Hill"

Indian Hill by The Tamborines

The following three songs were included on Camera & Tremor:

"Sally O'Gannon"

"31st Floor"

"Come Together"


Sunday, August 14, 2011

REVIEW: Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter - Marble Son

From the beginning of the 8:00-plus opener "Hushed by Devotion", Jesse Sykes' husky, haunting voice and Phil Wandscher's rugged, ragged guitars combine to let you know you're in for a singular experience, a strong and truly timeless record. Self-produced by Sykes and Wandscher, and released on the band's own Station Grey record label, the band is to be congratulated and applauded for creating this heavy, beautiful masterpiece.

In playing "guess the influences," I'm coming up with echoes of Sticky Fingers-era Stones, Fillmore East-era Allmans (check out the way the guitar swings in the title track - manna to your reviewer here, who has always thrilled to "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"), heck, even Meddle-era Pink Floyd... it's hard to come up with a precise analogue, but perhaps this is piquing your interest.

Of course, nothing works quite as well as giving a listen. Check out the opening track, recorded in a live performance in KEXP's studios (and a big thank you to KEXP, which is where I heard the opening track on a Song of the Day podcast):

And here is "Your Own Kind"... the guitar, oh man, the guitar:

To accompany lyrics like these:

To live a life completely;
to have lived a life complete,
you must first let go,
of everything that you know.
You must let go.

it makes sense that the music would be pretty unrestrained. There are a lot of lyrics about the ends of things, regrets and letting go, and the music supplies a haunting backdrop for the exploration of those ideas. It also supplies a sort of runway for letting go, with extended fierce guitar runs throughout the longer songs.

Can they "play it pretty," you ask? Well, yes. There are a couple of hushed tracks that really feature Sykes' voice up front, with some delicate acoustic backing. Here's "Wooden Roses":

Heavy rock, folk, country, blues, psychedelia... To try to classify this record is to minimize their accomplishment...Marble Son is recommended for people who like any kind of rock music.

Jesse Sykes Website

Midnight World Pop Scout-27: Midday Veil; Carnival Moon; Sweatshop Union

This weekend we have a Seattle band followed by two Canadian bands. And so far, it is a nice fall day in Seattle.

Midday Veil is a Seattle band whose music is a psychedelic synth/drone/new age brand of experimentation. The band was formed in 2008, and now consists of David Golightly (synths), Emily Pothast (vocals + rhythm guitar), Timm Mason (lead baritone guitar), Jayson Kochan (bass guitar and clarinet), and Chris Pollina (drums and the occasional banjo).

"Asymptote II"



I guess we're slipping a bit. Carnival Moon released Our Little Hourglass EP on August 12, and we're just getting around to alerting all of you. Things just get very sloppy in the summer. Anyway, it is a very nice bit of electronic folk from Toronto, and you can stream it below. The primary players are Elaine Kelly-Canning & David Scanlon, with help from Stefan Banjevic, Will Whitwham and Scott Bouwmeester.


Sweatshop Union are a hip hop group from Vancouver, British Columbia. The members of the Union are listed as Léon Nordlund, Pigeon Hole, DirtyCircus Undertakings, Ronnie Mejia, Kyprios BayDay, Mo Moshiri, Lee Marrmalade Napthine, and Metty Dert Merchant. Yes, I know that hip hop isn't something I usually bring to the table, but when something is good, it is good.

"The Thing About It"
Sweatshop Union - The Thing About It by Anver

"Oh My" (2009)

"Humans Race" (2007)