Saturday, October 8, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-32: Models Can't Fuck; Mozam Beaks; Lo-Fi-Fnk

The edition of the Midnight World Pop Scout features its first ever Hungarian representative, as well as artists from Boise, Idaho and Sweden. Remember, it always is midnight somewhere.

The poetically named Models Can’t Fuck is the project of Hungarian Árpi Szarvasis. Despite the somewhat in-your-face stage name, the music is very good gentle dream pop/shoegaze. The September release, Move to Iceland (EP), provided below is available for free download.

"Ghost Kid" is a track from December 2010:


Mozam Beaks is a Boise artist producing a dub/electronic music with a psychedelic, surfy feel. I think it's great for relaxing on a Saturday night with a good beverage or two. The following recording was released on June 4, 2011:
Cremé de la Kremlin


Lo-Fi-Fnk are Leo Drougge and August Hellsing (plus Link Drougge when performing live) a Stockholm, Sweden group that plays well-constructed, polished, synth-based pop music. Their album This Summer was released this year. "Kissing Tate", "Last Summer and "Shut the World Out" are three of the tracks from the album:


New Stuff - Lisa Hannigan

I go to a lot of live shows and have done so for decades. And this week I saw a performance that will stick with me for as long as I'm lucky enough to be around.

Lisa Hannigan is from Kilcloon, County Meath, Ireland. She writes great songs and sings like an angel. Her phrasing and vocal tone are impeccable. Hannigan's voice can soar or she can bring it down to a near whisper, always at just the right moment. I found myself leaning in, hanging on her every note.

Hannigan oozes kindness and sincerity. She's everything I love about Ireland rolled into one person - the music, mysticism, literature, magic, beauty, and the laugh. She plays multiple instruments, including in Portland this week, a beautifully crafted homemade ukulele that someone in Portland made and gave to her before the show. She does that to people - you hear her and you want to give her a gift because every time she opens her mouth to sing she gives you one.

Hannigan got her start in music as a member of Damien Rice's band before embarking on a solo career.

Her brand new and second CD Passenger was produced by WYMA favorite Joe Henry, and it certainly will be on my top 10 list at year end. Mr. Henry's production is, as always, tasteful and soulful, bringing out the absolute best in the songs. Here's "Knots" from Passenger:

Here's two delightful videos of older songs:

Hannigan closed the Portland show with a cover of "Personal Jesus". Once Johnny Cash takes a song, that's usually pretty much it and there's no point in another approach. But with all due respect to Mr. Cash, this version more than holds its own. When I think of this song from here forward, I'll hear this in my head:

Lisa Hannigan is on tour in the US now, dates below at her web page. Her band is terrific, various multi-instrumentalists there too, proper gents with ties and jackets. Do not miss Lisa Hannigan if she's coming your way. She's the real deal.

Lisa Hannigan Tour Info

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Soul Corner - "Devil With a Blue Dress" Shorty Long; and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels

We had another thing planned, but the fantastic series clinching win by the Tigers over the Yankees sends us back to Detroit.

Shorty Long's "Devil With A Blue Dress" (1964) is not one of Motown's most famous or best selling releases, but certainly one of its bluesiest with one of its slinkiest grooves ever.

She's looking so fine, "The cats are too nervous to even say hi":

Of course another Detroiter (Hamtramck actually) made the song famous in 1966 with what I consider one of the greatest rock'n'roll versions of a soul song of all time. But somehow You Tube does not have a version up there that I consider worthy of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels' or WYMA's standards. But you know it, or if not, should know it and should rush out and go buy a copy.

Though I did find this version honoring the Mitch Ryder arrangement as part of a show-stopping medley done in 1979 at the No Nukes concert by another rocker you might know:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

REVIEW: Radio Moscow - The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz

Radio Moscow, for those not already acquainted, is a heavy, heavy psychedelic blues rock band from Iowa (now California) whose first, self-titled album was produced by kindred spirit Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) in 2007. They released a second album, Brain Cycles, in 2009 and they're back with more - The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz will be out October 11 on Alive Naturalsound Records.

This is a classic heavy rock power trio: Parker Griggs on guitar and vocals, Zach Anderson on bass and Cory Berry on drums... although Griggs plays them on the record, and very well. Griggs apparently plays everything but bass at some point, including the keyboards. I could throw enticing influences (Blue Cheer, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath) at you all day, and continue to play the Black Keys card, if that would induce you to give a listen.

The record starts out in medias res, truly in mid-jam with the drums pounding and guitars wailing on "Little Eyes" (available for download here). It's a spectacular 4:46 of brain-melting heavy guitar, drums and bass with strong rock vocals and some tasty keyboard licks thrown in for good measure. Second song, "No Time", has some classic boogie a la The Allman Brothers with more heavy guitar solos throughout - one thing I like about this band is that while they definitely take advantage of the length of their songs to play plenty of solos, there's not any noodling. It does not feel like time's being wasted - they fit a lot of sound in a relatively compact space. Half the songs clock in under 4:00 but are still filled with delicious, heavy and spacy guitar solos. It rocks, hard, but is plenty psychedelic.

Here's a performance video from Binic Festival in France earlier this year:

Here's "The Escape" from their previous album:

These guys are completely and unapologetically committed to a heavy rock sound. If you're not familiar with their previous records, and you like this sound at all, you are in for a treat.

Radio Moscow Website

Stream The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz via Rdio

Cool Video Thursday: The Eversons, Evelyn Evelyn, Mayer Hawthorne, Miniature Dinosaurs, White Laces, Gem Club

We spotlighted an EP from New Zealand's The Eversons earlier this year. Here is a nice video for one of the tracks, "Hyacinth Girl".

Bandcamp site for the EP

This video for "Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn" from Evelyn Evelyn is a favorite

"The Walk" from Mayer Hawthorne reminds me of how healthy it is to give vent to your emotions when you are in a relationship. Take notes, kids.

We've also featured Scottish band Miniature Dinosaurs in a New sounds of Scotland post. Here they are again with the official video for "Alligator".

"Hands in Mexico" from White Laces does not have a happy ending.

Hands in Mexico from White Laces on Vimeo.

"Breakers" from Gem Club

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Brief Obituary: Bert Jansch

Born in Glasgow in 1943, Bert Jansch is primarily known as a folk artist. His long career included prolific solo work and the group Pentangle, an acoustic supergroup that included John Renbourn. He was a central figure in the folk revival in the '70s. Known as a gentleman who cared little for the trappings of stardom, he lived in London with his wife Lauren at the time of his death.

Jansch was lauded for his skill with an acoustic guitar. Johnny Marr, guitarist for the Smiths has said:
He completely re-invented guitar playing and set a standard that is still unequalled today - without Bert Jansch, rock music as it developed in the 1960s and 1970s would have been very different. You hear him in Nick Drake, Pete Townshend, Donovan, The Beatles, Jimmy Page and Neil Young. There are people playing guitar who don’t even realise they’ve been influenced by him one step removed.

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Bernard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs are big fans. And Neil Young compared Jansch to Jimi Hendrix: "As much of a great guitar player as Jimi was, Bert Jansch is the same thing for acoustic guitar...."

"Black Waterslide"

"Blues Run the Game"

"Do You Hear Me Now"

Bert Jansch was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009. He died this morning.


Prog Rock Discovery: Dark Loft, out Oct. 11

Dark Loft will release its self-titled debut album on October 11, and fans of well-played prog rock should not miss this. The band consists of Jason Crosby (vocals/violin/keys/guitar), Paul Dooley (vocals/guitar/keys), Bill Titus (guitar/vocals), Carter Bales (drums/percussion) and Kevin Reilly (double bass). Crosby's vocals, keyboards and violin are featured throughout, but there's a lot of good guitar work and the rhythm section of Bales and Reilly (whose work on standup bass is especially outstanding) is as good as you'll hear. Tempos and musical influences are varied and, to me, that keeps this from being another jazz fusion record where everything sounds the same.

The record is full of terrific musicianship, reminiscent of blues-rock, jazz fusion and prog rock forebears (and contemporaries) as disparate as Government Mule, Phish and The Jeff Beck Group. The band's list of credits is long, varied and distinguished... Crosby's played with Robert Randolph, Carlos Santana, Bruce Springsteen and Susan Tedeschi, to name a few.

Here they are playing at Phan Fare earlier this year:

You can listen to a few tracks at their website - click on "Music" at the top of the site, and you'll see three songs to listen to. The first song, "Backlash" is probably my favorite.

New Garage Rock: Toto & the Bad Eggs; Teenage Moonlight Borderliners; Swampmeat

Perhaps it is the economy, but this week I'm highlighting good free music. Today's offering are three garage/punk/lo-fi rock EPs on London's Punkslime Records. The first is more garage, the second a bit more punk, and the third is more of a lo-fi, punky singer songwriter vibe. At least that's what my ears tell me. In any case, I think all three projects deserve a listen, and it is the least you can do for them since they are offering you free downloads.

The first project is named Toto & the Bad Eggs. The members are Jerry Tropicano on vocals), Mark ( from Brown Brogues) on guitar, Ben (from the Brown Brogues) on drums, and Luke (from Sex Beet) on guitar. The lads have provided the EP Wallet Droppin for free, and it definitely is worth your downloading time.

Bandcamp page for Toto & the Bad Eggs
Toto post at Punkslime site

The second band is Teenage Moonlight Borderliners, whose Live At PNKSLM EP also is released by Punkslime Records and available for free download.

Bandcamp page for Teenage Moonlight Borderliners

And finally, we present Quaker Street Recordings PT. 1, a two song offering from Swampmeat.

Bandcamp page for Swampmeat

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 28: Honey; Stevie Jackson; The Bird and The Monkey

"Free, but not stealing" is today's theme. We bring you three bands that are willing to give you some free tunes to play over and over. One hopes (and certainly they hope) that you will be moved to buy some of their music at some not too distant time. I must confess, that there is a bit of stealing on my part, because although I'd heard of all of these bands before, I only became aware of their current generosity through the Scottish blog Peenko. So thanks for the tip Lloyd, you have a nice blog!

Honey is a Glasgow dream pop/psychedelic/shoegaze band consisting of Nick Donnelly (vocals/guitar), Gary Waugh (guitar/vocals), David Sloey (bass/vocals), and Alan Duncan (drums). The guys released this excellent "Nowhere Floating" single last week. And it is free.

And if you like that, you'll also like the Taste It and See EP from last June. And you'll certainly appreciate the price. These lads are generous!


And who is Stevie Jackson? He is better known as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with Belle & Sebastian. However, he has released a solo album, (I can't get no) Stevie Jackson, on Banchory. If the two songs below are representative, it is a high quality pop recording.

(I Can't Get No) Preview by banchory


The Bird and The Monkey is a "left field pop" duo consisting of sculptor Sarahjane Swan and indie musician Roger Simian. Their Ossie Dean EP is released today (October 3) on Athene Noctua Records and is available for free download in the "music" section of the band's website. After listening to a few songs and watching a few videos, I understand why the band refers to their music as left field pop. But it also is interesting and engaging. Give it a try.

"Ghost: Apparition" is one of the tracks on the new EP

"Do You Wanna" has been screening in Edinburgh since September 19 as part of the BBC Music Video Festival 2011.


Lo-Fi Freebie: PreTeen

San Francisco lo-fi, minimalist rockers PreTeen have made their EP, Keep It Nice, available for free download. I'd say that is keeping it quite nice indeed. And I think it is a very nice little album -- fuzzy, dreamy and reverby. Give it a spin.

And for your listening and viewing pleasure, here are some videos for non-album songs from PreTeen.

"Dream Babies"

"Controlled Chaos"

"Make It December" (demo)


Monday, October 3, 2011

Rocksteady's Single Pick of the Week: Wake the President's "She Fell Into My Arms"

"She Fell Into My Arms" is the just released single from Zumutung!, the late October release from Glasgow's Wake the President. The tune is released by a collaboration of the band's own We Can Still Picnic label and Tri-Tone, and is available through iTunes as well. We'll have more on Zumutung! later in the month, but today's post celebrates this excellent slice of Scottish guitar pop from Erik and Björn Sandberg.

"She Fell Into My Arms"

Wake the Presidents on Facebook
We Can Still Picnic

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Matthew Sweet - "She Walks the Night", free download from new album Modern Art

On first listen, this is an intriguing record that I predict will grow on me. Some of the longer songs do kind of meander and get weird, but songs like this one, with the trademark jangly guitars and gorgeous vocal harmonies, take absolutely no time to burrow into your brain and make you push "repeat"...

Matthew says he changed his creative process a bit for this record. You can read about it in an interview (and order it, along with the 20th anniversary release of Girlfriend) on his website here. And you can stream the record at