Saturday, February 18, 2012

REVIEW: Gabriel and the Hounds - Kiss Full Of Teeth

Out next week, Kiss Full of Teeth is a terrific, somewhat uncategorizable record by an artist with a lot to say, and no shortage of musically interesting ways to say it. Gabriel And The Hounds is Gabe Levine, the lead singer of Takka Takka (have to admit I was previously unfamiliar with them or him until hearing this record). On this record he's pulled together a pretty large group of musicians, including members of The National (at whose studio he also recorded some of this record). Sure, he's a singer/songwriter and this is a solo record, but there's a lot of rock in here, and layer upon layer of sound.

The first song, "The World Unfolds" is available for free download at Soundcloud - I love the strummed electric guitar and the guileless vocals, but am also entranced by the well-placed strings. I will be accused of hearing Pollard everywhere, but this reminds me of nothing so much as the more "orchestral" GbV - maybe some of the bigger-sounding cuts on Isolation Drills and Earthquake Glue. And if you know me, you know that's a big-time compliment. Another touchpoint? The "Sweet Jane" guitar riff is always a welcome addition.

Here's a short video, for "An Ending (Between Friends)":

It's a little bit brooding, pretty artistic, and yet very grounded in singer/songwriter rock tradition - think Springsteen, Lou Reed, Richard Buckner... Highly recommended for folks who are looking for some new singer/songwriter rock with orchestral touches and an indie rock edge.

Gabriel and the Hounds at Ernest Jenning Record Co.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Soul Corner- King Floyd "Groove Me"

Got a request for this one and I thought hell yeah.
New Orleans' soul man King Floyd with his 1970 smash hit "Groove Me". It put "awww sookie sookie now" into the lexicon of soul.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Update: The James Low Western Front - Whiskey Farmer

Back in December, we gave you an early preview of Whiskey Farmer, a gem of a record from a terrific Americana band from Portland, The James Low Western Front. That record will be released on February 21. To get ready for the launch, Low's publicity firm has made this single "I Would Have You" available for listen.

And here's a video for "Thinking California":

Here's our prior review if you missed it.

There is a great deal of positive buzz on Whiskey Farmer as it garners airplay in both the US and Europe. I highly recommend this CD, a great combination of strong songwriting, excellent performances and highly effective vocals.

Upcoming tour dates in Western US:

02.23.12 - Portland, OR @ Al's Den w/Lewi Longmire
02.25.12 - Portland, OR @ Laurelthirst: CD RELEASE w/C. Beck
03.31.12 - Eugene, OR @ Sam Bond's Garage
04.13.12 - Hood River, OR @ Cebu Lounge
04.14.12 - Pendleton, OR @ Great Pacific

James Low web page

Get to Know: Detective Agency

Citing the Beat Happening as an influence is a pretty good way to get my attention. But the Detective Agency hits more buttons than the BH influence. They also are a local Seattle Band and have musical similarities with my beloved Shop Assistants. Dear readers, this band is pre-ordained to appear on this page.

The music of Detective Agency is a raucous brew of noise/jangle pop. The band has posted its Daggers EP on Bandcamp, and you can stream the entire EP right here:

Detective Agency is Ulrika Larsson (drums), Amy Tisdale (vocals, guitar, tambourine), Nate Kruz (guitar, vocals), and Gwen Stubbs (bass). At this point, they are unburdened with the obligations of a label contract. As of yesterday, the EP was free on their Bandcamp site, and if it still is, I'd consider that the deal of the week. We're hoping that a full length recording is in the works.

This video is of a live performance in Seattle last November:


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

REVIEW: Poliça - Give You the Ghost

This year is proving to be a good one for musical surprises. Minneapolis' Poliça wasn't on my list of bands to cover a week ago. But when the album Give You the Ghost hit my inbox, I listened. Then I listened again. And again. The next day KEXP's influential DJ (and former Minneapolis resident) Kevin Cole played a track. While I feel confident about my taste, it is nice to have confirmation.

What is the music of Poliça? It is grounded in post-punk, blues and jazz, but infused with synthesizers and layers of vocal effects. And it features prominent bass and percussion. Try album opener, "Amongster" --

Poliça is a quartet consisting of singer/songwriter Channy Leaneagh (formerly Casselle), Chris Bierden on bass, Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu both on drums. Ryan Olson of Gayngs co-produced Give You the Ghost with Jim Eno of Spoon. Apparently Olson is a behind the scenes composer for the group as well.

"Lay Your Cards Out"

The songs on the album cover a bit of landscape. You may hear a bit of Portishead, Bjork or Flaming Lips. But it all ties together with the emphasis on rhythm and sonic texture, and Casselle's voice. As noted by other writers, she uses Auto-Tune. However, the use of Auto-Tune on this album demonstrates that the device can be used in to enhance, rather than distract from, the listener's enjoyment of the music.

"Violent Games"

Give You the Ghost is out this week on Totally Gross National Product. It is a promising debut, and we'll look forward to more from Poliça.

Twitter ( @thisispolica )

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine from Mr Vegas and Jovi Rockwell

A Valentine from Wake the President


A Valentine from Bob Marley

A Valentine from Ballboy

You used to play piano for a living
You stand 6 foot 3 in your heels
And now you're table dancing for a living
And your world has gone to hell

You flew straight into london out of moscow
In 1998
And now some stupid fuckwit in a puffa jacket
Is throwing money at your feet

You do it for the money, you do it for your family
You do it for the best
You think about the money, you think about your family
And don't think about the rest

Now it's just what you do, another day comes
And you just close your eyes and dance
Everyday's the same now, another day comes
Another day another dance

So let's fall in love and run away from here
So let's fall in love and run away from here
So let's fall in love and we can run away from here
So let's fall in love and run away from here



A Valentine from Bubblegum Lemonade

Glasgow guitarist/vocalist Laz (Lawrence McCluskey) has released this single under his Bubblegum Lemonade banner for Valentine's Day. It's a nice one, so enjoy it and hope for your own Valentines.

"Your Valentine Takes Me Back In Time"


The Next Shiny Thing - "Maceo! Blow your horn."

Happy 69th to Maceo Parker – alto, tenor and baritone sax player for James Brown, the JB's, Parliament/Funkadelic and as a solo artist. "Maceo! Blow your horn!" That's how James Brown would dynamically signal his favorite horn player to take another stinging sax solo -- and Maceo Parker never once let his boss down. Parker's jabbing workouts in the midst of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "Cold Sweat" made him a household name among '60s funk fans -- not bad for a kid fresh out of college who got the gig primarily because Brown coveted his brother Melvin's drumming chops.

Maceo was to headline a tribute to Clarence Clemons on Sunday's Grammy Awards. The tribute was pushed aside to to “honor” Whitney Houston. This birthday provides the opportunity to honor one of the pillars of funk. Here is just a taste of what Maceo did.

A number of classic James Brown concerts are available on the web. At the 2:30 mark, Maceo rips loose on “Papa's Got a Brand New Bag'” from a '67 concert at the Olympia in Paris.

In 1968 at the Boston Garden, Maceo heats up “Cold Sweat” at 3:00.

Prince and Maceo "Make it Funky."

REVIEW: Field Music - Plumb

For those that have followed the careers of Sunderland, UK brothers Peter and David Brewis, either in their guise as Field Music or in one of their solo or other collaborative projects, adventuresome, ambitious, well crafted and quirky pop music is expected. And the brothers meet or exceed all those expectations on Plumb, their fourth Field Music album which is released on February 13 in the UK, and February 14 in the US.

This is pop music made with keyboards, guitars, bass, percussion, voice, but that only begins the story. The songs feature several signature changes, music hall flourishes and multiple styles in single tracks. I think that overall the album has an English feel to it. After listening to it a few times I wondered whether this might be how Ray Davies and Robyn Hitchcock might sound if they employed synthesizers rather than guitars.

The fifth track, "A New Town", serves as an introduction to the style of the 15 songs on the album --
"A New Town"

"(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing" is an uptempo song featuring guitars. I sense a bit of glam in this one.

This track is available to download at Field Music's website, which is linked below.

Plumb is released on the Memphis Industries label. This album celebrates creativity, and it feels like it is meant to entertain you. If you like you pop on the adventuresome side, this might be your February choice to explore.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Update: Patterson Hood & the Downtown 13, "After It's Gone"

Athens, Ga is an idyllic Southern college town, with a cool vibe, successful locally owned shops, a few good restaurants, the venerable 40 Watt Club and a great tradition. And more than a little good local music.
Some of Athens' finest musicians, led by longtime WYMA favorite Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers), with help from Mike Mills (R.E.M.) and many others (members of Widespread Panic, Futurebird, Hope For a Goldensummer, and more), put out a new song, "After It's Gone", to raise attention to the grassroots movement to protect downtown Athens' character and economic vitality.

It's a pretty song, with Hood's characteristically honest and heartfelt lyrics. The issues raised in it are hardly unique to Athens.

The Athens music community has long played an active and effective role in local politics. There is a lot of pride the musicians take in their town. Musicians at the level of Patterson Hood and Mike Mills rarely stay residents of small towns like Athens. So I applaud their commitment and deep civic engagement.
You can read more about the issue and download the song for free here:

REVIEW: Rickolus - Coyote And Mule

Rickolus is Richard Colado, and if you're not familiar with him and his work, I'm happy to introduce you. Homemade, self-produced (he played everything) and full of sonic variety, Coyote And Mule fits right into the tradition of one-man-band visionaries like Sparklehorse and Badly Drawn Boy. Like those two, Colado's got a genuine pop sensibility and real talent to go along with the wild creativity on display throughout his music. There's a sense in which this reminds me of music from Velvet Underground, Jonathan Richman and Syd Barrett, and on repeated listens, it's every bit as charming as my favorite music from the latter two.

My favorite song is "Candy Blood", mostly because of the kind of raggedly psychedelic electric guitar work, but everything on this record is well worth checking out. If you're into cassettes, you're in luck here because apparently he's releasing two different cassette versions with different sets of songs. With the variety and talent he's displaying on the songs I've had a chance to listen to, you would be well-served to get both.

Here's a free download of "Candy Blood".

Here's a video of him performing the title cut at a record store appearance:

One more thing - in searching for more of his music, I discovered some performances with a Radical Face. It rang a bell, so I searched our site and found this post from Hardy, posted in April 2011, about Radical Face (Ben Cooper)... two buddies from Jacksonville, Florida, both made it onto our little blog, about 10 months apart. What are the odds? Well, pretty good. Just like their music. Here they are, telling a story and singing a song.

You can listen, pre-order and starting on Tuesday February 14, purchase and download at the Circle Into Square Website.

REVIEW: Young Magic - Melt

Melt, the full length debut from Young Magic, probably sounds like nothing else you've heard lately. And I think that's a good thing. Every listener discerns different influences, but to me it sounds like a wonderful mash up of African rhythms, synthesizer dream pop, and trip hop, with a rubbery, elongated bass running through it. Here it standout track "Sparkly", which will serve to lure in all but the most resistant potential listener --

The band is based in Brooklyn, but quite appropriately for a band with such global influences, that is simply the current resting place Isaac Emmanuel and Michael both are from Australia, who traveled around the world separately before ending up in New York. Melati Malay, the other member, is from Indonesia. And the wanderlust not only informs the band's background, but the album itself. There are recordings from ten different countries, and contains samples of music from the band's travels mixed with the programmed percussion and synths; male and female vocals float over the mix.

Track three, "You With Air" --

The production on Melt is lush, and nearly all tracks bring little details to the party that flesh out the sound and distinguish Young Magic from their peers. The album is about textures and related nuances. Even the vocals seem part of the fabric of sound, rather than a separate statement, and are mostly chorus and often have a chant-like quality. But that is and observation, not a criticism; the approach fits the concept well.

"Night In The Ocean" --

If the question is whether there is a current album that is both relaxing and exciting, accessible and somewhat exotic, the answer it Melt. The album is released this week on Carpark Records. The band is touring this spring and will be at SXSW next month.

"Drawing Down the Moon"

Drawing Down The Moon from Young Magic on Vimeo.

Twitter ( @ItsYoungMagic )

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New track from Cursive upcoming album I Am Gemini

Building toward the February 21 release of its concept album I Am Gemini, Cursive has released another single for free download: "Wowowow".

This one has more guitars than the first song "The Sun And The Moon", which we featured earlier. I like it:

Read more, look up tour dates (including dates with Conduits) and pre-order the album here.