Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Washington, DC's Dot Dash was only formed in 2010, but it has excellent bloodlines, as discussed below. More importantly, the foursome of Terry Banks, Hunter Bennett, Jim Crandall and Danny Ingram has a great sound--evoking Creation Records/Postcard Records/C86 jangle as well as the southern alternative guitar rock of the dB's and early REM. Evoking, but not imitating, as Dot Dash puts their own robust delivery on the post-punk genre, making songs that are fresh and immediate, grabbing the listener from the opening chords. And the proof is in Spark>Flame>Ember>Ash, their fine debut album which was released in November on Ottawa, Canada's The Beautiful Music label.
If you require a modern touchstone for Dot Dash it probably would be Army Navy. But rather than blather on trying to describe their sound, I'll let your listen to one of the album tracks here: "Tragedy Destiny" --
Tragedy Destiny - Dot Dash by thebeautifulmusic
Here is a live version of that song:
Terry Banks (guitar and vocals) and Hunter Bennett (bass) were in the beloved guitar pop group Julie Ocean (taking its name from and Undertones song). Terry also was in Tree Fort Angst and Saturday People, while Hunter also was with Weatherhead. Bill Crandall (guitar) was formerly in Modest Proposal (among others), and Danny Ingram (drums) formerly was in Swervedriver, Strange Boutique, Youth Brigade (among others). Given that background, it is no surprise that Dot Dash understands what they do well, and knows how to deliver it. There aren't any slow ballads or long jams. But while the band eschews diversity, they fully deliver on energy and swagger, with a live feel that suggests a real time, one or two take recording process. The album delivers fourteen songs in a bit over a half hour, and I think the songs are just the right length for this brand of guitar pop. My favorites are "That was Now, This is Then", "There and Back Again Lane", "No Reverie", "Alright, Alright" and the shadowy chugger "Dissolve". But the album is full of delightful songs and has no tracks that I would consider filler. Planning for skiing this weekend, I loaded the entire album into my skiing playlist on my iPod.
And here is the aforementioned "There and Back Again Lane" --
There And Back Again Lane - Dot Dash by thebeautifulmusic
The Beautiful Music (label)
Monday, December 5, 2011
Been on a bit of a noise pop binge lately, and along with the Chambermaids, part of the blame goes to Weekend, whose song "Hazel" (download available below) really caught my ear recently:
Giving the whole thing a listen, it's clear that "Hazel" is the most accessible song - opening track "Sweet Sixteen" is a bit more brooding, menacing and very slow building, with a lot of echos and guitar effects... a bit of a trip back to Bauhaus, maybe. But things pick up with "Hazel", and the rhythm section on "The One You Want" is downright peppy. The six-plus minute closer "Golfers" is hypnotic yet rocking, reminiscent of what I've always liked about Swervedriver.
For a brief, five-song EP there is a decent amount of sonic variety... but for the most part, it revolves around super-catchy fuzzy guitars. Weekend are well worth checking out, and I'm looking forward to a full-length sometime soon.
They're on Slumberland Records, a label you'll be familiar with via Rocksteady's earlier explorations of Terry Malts and Veronica Falls.
Weekend at Slumberland Records
Catwalk is a project started by Nick Hessler in Oxnard, California in 2005, when he was in junior high school. His demos led to the release of two singles on local label YAY! Records. The band has endured some line up changes, but not consists of Nick Hessler and Arin Fazio, and they are signed to Captured Tracks. The band is working on a debut LP, which they hope to release in Spring 2012.
The music is a brand of indie pop that manages to be very engaging, while maintaining a bit of mystery. Based on what I've heard, I think these guys are very good at what they do, and I'm very interested in hearing the album. Try a few tracks below--
"Please Don't Break Me"
"One By Words"
Twitter ( @catwalkgoespop )
Sunday, December 4, 2011
They continue to mine that terrific sound commonly described as "shoegaze", and bring back fond memories of Wire and Jesus & Mary Chain (to me, at least). Here's hoping they are making some progress toward a full album.
The Chambermaids Website
Saturday, December 3, 2011
The Mokkers are an all female garage band from Berlin. They have a five-track EP, The Mokkers out on Holy's Hit Records. Catch the infectious sound on this instrumental--
Actually, all the clips I have are of live performances. But I think that's a good thing when were talking about garage bands.
Here's one in English--
"Dead Pigeons", live--
Tom Fool is the solo project of Rick Webster, the vocalist for the recently disbanded Unkle Bob. The songs were written by Webster and Andy Gill of Gang of Four.
The Photograph EP
Twitter ( @TomFoolesq )
I know a thing or two about bad band names. In college I played in a band called In My Shrubbery. In high school I played in a ‘metal’ band with such an unintentionally bad name that, even though I had nothing to do with thinking it up, I’m still too embarrassed to divulge it here. Sometimes a band name becomes bad passively, simply through the incessant unfolding of human events. It was thus that my current band’s name, Jerry Sandusky’s Army, suddenly went from totally great to decidedly not great. We are trying to rename the band right now, and I have thrown out the idea of calling it Grim Carnes, as a nod to our death metal cover of “Bette Davis Eyes”, which is a crowd fave. You have to admit that’s a pretty great band name. Yeah, I think so too.
And then there are bands with names that are so randomly, yet cleverly, bad that they are actually awesome. At the top of this list is Gauntlet Hair, from Denver by way of Chicago. In October, this band with the awesomely bad name released an awesomely good self-titled debut. The band records as a twosome – Andy R. on vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards, and Craig Nice on drums and drum effects – and tours as a foursome. Forced to hybridize, I’d call them a cross of Wu Lyf and Abe Vigoda (both cool band names). That comparison might stem mainly from all three bands’ heavy use of delay pedals, creating that beautiful spacey, chiming guitar sound. Check it out on the brand new video for the second track, “Top Bunk”, featuring ze govanatah:
Gauntlet Hair's very own band site which is not all that current (the sign of an in-demand touring band).
Gauntlet Hair on Facebook
Check out all the great bands at Dead Oceans
Many years ago I lived in Chicago, but I've spend much of the intervening years ignoring its music scene. I'm being roused from my neglect of late, because it seems that the city of big shoulders has a good indie label or two, and a number of interesting bands. One of those bands is psychedelic/garage outfit Radar Eyes. Radar Eyes consists of Anthony on guitar and vocals, Shelly on drums, Lucas on bass, Nathan on guitar and Russ on guitar and organ. They are releasing an LP on Chicago's HoZac Records early in 2012, but you can get a taste of their sound on this previously released single below. I think you'll understand why I'm expecting the LP to be a Rocksteady74 favorite next year.
Radar Eyes also released a two track 7", Miracle on HoZac Records last month. A site at which you can stream both tracks is here. You won't regret listening.
Friday, December 2, 2011