Monday, May 7, 2012

Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires - There Is A Bomb In Gilead - new live video, free download of live show.

If you've been lucky enough to score a copy of this record along the tour featuring Bains and The Alabama Shakes, you know what the rest of the world is about to discover - Alabama rocks. Absolutely, completely rocks. There Is A Bomb In Gilead is due out May 15.

Here's the band performing "Everything You Took", a sweet slice of rock and soul that showcases Bains' voice and the band's guitar attack.

Here is a free download of a full live performance - click here.

And here's my previous post describing just how terrific I think this record is. Rather than repeat myself, I'll just give you a nod and a link (to the previous post).

REVIEW: The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Aufheben

Aufheben is a German word meaning both "destroy" and "preserve". Anton Newcombe has said he loves the idea of artistic creation that involves destroying something to preserve it, like a sculptor might take a clay creation apart to invent something new.

Now sober for the past 2 years, Newcombe is utilizing aufheben to reinvent the Brian Jonestown Massacre. It's been nearly a decade since the documentary film DIG! captured BJM in all their decadent dysfunction, a truly gifted rock band out of control. But that image persisted, reinforced by many years of touring where people came out seemingly to watch Newcombe melt down, taunting and egging him on, and not infrequently getting their wish. At times brilliant, at times sad spectacle, and often in the same night, what got overlooked about the Brian Jonestown Massacre was the music. This was unfortunate because more often than not over 13 full length releases and now 20 years, this band has been remarkably good.

But give this band credit - they've kept what was great, cleaned up the mess, and moved forward both personally and artistically.  They have managed to sober up and not only still get down but do their thing even better.

Aufheben is a bold step for the band, a highly cinematic work, with many international influences, no doubt inspired by the band's frequent touring around the world, and Newcombe now residing in Germany. Newcombe says he was going for something that sounded like a movie soundtrack.

Aufheben has transcendental elements, some instrumental songs, and it sounds particularly good played loud on a long highway drive. And those who love Newcombe's frequent play on words on new song titles with well known musical touchpoints will not be disappointed here with "Blue Order/New Monday" and "I Wanna Hold Your Other Hand".

You can listen to the entire CD here:

Here's a terrific track "Stairway to the Best Party in the Universe":

One more, "The Clouds are Lies":

This CD also marks the return of guitarist and songwriter Matt Hollywood to the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The band did much of its best work with Hollywood. His more straight ahead garage/pop rock was always a perfect compliment to Newcombe's more echoey and out there psychedelia.  The band also recruited Will Caruthers (Spacemen 3).

I was inspired to review this record seeing them live in Portland last Friday. The show was spectacular - focused, professional, well paced, and all out rockin', the newer material highly effectively introduced around all the old hits. And 5 guitar players! Newcombe has gone through a very high number of personnel through the years, but has assembled a highly skilled and complimentary collective now.

I highly recommend catching this tour:
May Tue 8th - Denver CO- Bluebird Theater
May Wed 9th - Salt Lake City UT- Urban Lounge
May Fri 11th - San Francisco CA- The Fillmore
May Sat 12th - Los Angeles CA- The Wiltern
Thursday 17th May Metro Theatre, Sydney
Friday- 18th May ANU Refectory, Canberra
Saturday-19th May Forum Theatre, Melbourne - SOLD OUT
Sunday-20th May- The Gov, Adelaide
Tuesday-22nd May Astor Theatre, Perth
Thursday-24th May Hi-Fi, Brisbane
Friday- 25th May Level One-Newcastle Leagues Club, Newcastle
11 June 12 Berlin - Lido
12 June 12 Groningen - Vera
13 June 12 Rennes - L'Etage
14 June 12 Toulouse - Le Bikini
16 June 12 Spain - Azkena Rock Festival
17 June 12 Montpellier - Le Rockstore
18 June 12 Zurich - Abart
19 June 12 Bologna - Bolognetti on the rocks
20 June 12 Dudingen - Bad Bonn
22 June 12 Aarhus - Vox Hall
23 June 12 Copenhagen - Amager Bio
24 June 12 Oslo - Rockerfeller
25 June 12 Helsinki - Tavastia
26 June 12 Stockholm - Strand
27 June12 Malmo - Debaser
28 June 12 Amsterdam Bitterzoet
29 June 12 Nijmegen - Doornroosje
30 June 12 France - Le Rock Dans Tous Ses Etats
01 July 12 France - Eurockennes
03 July 12 Clermont - Ferrand, La Coopérative de Mai
04 July 12 Paris - Le Trianon
06 July 12 Scotland - T in the Park
07 July 12 London - Shepherds Bush Empire
08 July 12 Manchester - Ritz Ballroom
09 July 12 Birmingham - Academy 2
11 July 12 Tel Aviv - Barby
Thu Aug 16th Minneapolis MN @ First Avenue
Fri Aug 17th Milwaukee MS @ Turner Hall
Sat Aug 18th
Mon Aug 20th Atlanta GA @ Variety Playhouse
Tue Aug 21st Carrboro NC @ Cats Cradle
Wed Aug 22nd Washington DC @ 9.30Club
Thu Aug 23rd Philadelphia PA @ Union Transfer
Fri Aug 24th Boston MA @ Royale
Sat Aug 25th NY NY @ Webster Hall

REVIEW: French Wives - Dream of the Inbetween

Those of us that follow Scottish indie music have been hoping for a full length album from Glasgow's French Wives since they began capturing our hearts, and ears, in 2008.  Finally, via the Electric Honey label, we have Dream of the Inbetween.  And the album is just what we had hoped for.

French Wives make glorious indie pop.  The melodies please the ear and the instruments and vocals build into soaring anthems.  The songs are varied, packed with hooks, and convey an infectious sense of energy.  All five members contribute to the vocals.  And in addition to the typical drums, bass and two guitars, the band features a violin.  While their music always has been pop music, some of their earlier work contained folk elements.  But Dream of the Inbetween  is a pure indie pop album from the opening note.

Numbers, the second track on the album, is an example of the fine sounds produced by this band --

French Wives are Siobhan Anderson (violin, vocals), Chris Barclay (bass, vocals), Stuart Dougan (vocals, guitar), Scott WD Macpherson (guitar, vocals), Johnathyn Smith (drums, vocals). They all met while in college, and have only recently finished their studies.  Previously, they released a few singles and an EP.  The band was in North America this spring for SXSW and Canadian music week.

"Younger" is track nine.  It was intended to be a big track, and it succeeds --

Dream of the Inbetween was produced by Tony Doogan (who regular readers will recall also produced Hey Rosetta!'s album that drew our praise last week). It should be available at all the usual online places, including the band's Bandcamp site.  By the way, Electric Honey is the in-house label of Stow College, and released the first work from Belle& Sebastian.

"Sleep Tight" --

Twitter ( @frenchwives )

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Johnny Headband - 8-bit Nintendo remix of "And Then Again" from Who Cooks For You?

Somewhat playful, somewhat sizzling, Detroit new wave rockers Johnny Headband have released an interesting remix of "And Then Again", one of the best songs on their recently-released Who Cooks For You? (WYMA Review here).

And you can have the whole album - all they ask is that you enjoy it, and tell your friends if you do.

Second H. Sam - S/T EP out now

Second H. Sam is Italian lo-fi blues/psych rocker Samuele Gottardello, who has been lead singer in some pretty awesomely-named bands: the Hormonas from Venezia, the Buzz Aldrin from Bologna, and the John Woo, a punk wave band from the 2000s. To further entice you to give a listen, consider that he lists influences from Johnny Cash to Daniel Johnston to Syd Barrett to Fabrizio de Andrè.

It's a cinematic and expansive approach - definitely hear hints of spaghetti Western soundtracks in there -  and, at the same time, pretty sparse and lo-fi. Listen for yourself - here's a teaser for the EP, featuring hedgehogs, sneakers and Sam's bearded countenance:

You can listen to samples and order the EP at the website:

New Track from The Mokkers - "Wild Man"

I expect that like me, most of you got out of bed this morning and said to yourself "I hope Scott posts some new garage rock by a all-female German band".  But unlike the rest of you, I then said to myself -- "wait, I'm Scott".  So I got to work.

Here is a fresh track from The Mokkers.  And I mean fresh; it was made available four hours ago.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crocodiles - new song available - "Endless Flowers" (title cut from album due out June 8)

We're pretty excited about Endless Flowers, the upcoming release on Frenchkiss Records by psychedelic guitar rockers Crocodiles.

And even more so since we have the opportunity to share with you this free download of the title cut in advance of the album.

Previously we shared a video sneak peek of the album, then a video for the song "Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9")... today it's a free song:

They're going to be on tour for the next month and a half, both Europe and US. Check Crocodiles website for dates and more information, including a way to preorder the record.

Stream of Holy Esque EP

When we wrote about the debut EP from Glasgow band Holy Esque recently (link), we only had one song to share with you.  The generous lads have now made the entire EP available to stream on Soundcloud.  In my view, it is one of the better EPs of the year so far, so enjoy!


"Green Sea" - new single from Fear of Men

Fear of Men has featured on these pages several times in the past 16 months.  They are, quite simply, one of my favorite lo-fi pop groups.  The group is Jess, Dan, Alex and Mike, two men and two women, split between Brighton and London.  They are releasing their second 7",  "Green Sea", June 18 on the Sexbeat label (pre-order link here).  I understand that they will be touring with Best Coast soon, as well.

The single a great showcase for Fear of Men.  Yearning, aching vocals, well-crafted instrumentation, urgent delivery and spot-on harmonies.  The band is developing rapidly, and while we enjoy this song, we really look forward to more in the future.

Soundcloud link for "Green Sea"
Twitter ( @fearofmen )

Friday, May 4, 2012

REVIEW: Strange Hands - Dead Flowers

Strange Hands is a garage rock band from Bordeaux, France, playing an engaging brand of lo-fi noise pop.  Struggling to come up with something to compare it to (my musical vocabulary being somewhat limited), I summoned "The Ramones and R.E.M. meet ? and the Mysterians at Roky Erikson's place". It is the most ridiculously catchy, dirty, snotty bit of psychedelic garage rock I've heard in years. It might end up being my favorite album of 2012.

So, are you intrigued? Here's a video for "Love Illusion":

All right, did you see that? Do you seriously need to read any more from me? Just go buy it. It'll be available next week at the website of their label, the charmingly-named Shit Music For Shit People (SMFSP for short -based in Italy and Portugal). It is a joint release with SMFSP and French label Azbin Records. You can listen to a few of the songs, and even download "Love Illusion", at their Bandcamp:

Seriously, I could go on about Ramones comparisons, Seeds influences, hazy "Nuggets" memories, early Elvis Costello (though their sound more resembles the punk of "Mystery Dance" it occurs to me that the band name could have come from a phrase in "Every Day I Write The Book"), but I'd rather just listen to some more Strange Hands.

Here's "Revenge of the Beggars" from their 2010 EP Dead Frozen Deer:

Here's a bonus: if you are into psychedelic art, Lucas Donaud, who is in Strange Hands and designed the album covers, has a website.

Introducing: Kissing Tigers

Do you like crunchy, jangly California indie rock with lots of hooks and soaring melodies? I expect that if you are reading these pages the answer is "yes".  So please be introduced to Los Angeles' Kissing Tigers.  They have put their talents on internet display today with the release of an eight song album titled Belmont Woods.  You can listen to the entire album, and purchase it, at the Bandcamp link below.  To give to a taste, we've included a couple of tracks below.

The members of Kissing Tigers are James, Eugene, Daniel, Mark, and Joel. With song titles such as "Fucking in the Woods" and "Her Socks Don't Fit", you can expect that a sense of humor rides along with the musical ability.


The Soul Corner - "The Love I Saw in You Was Just A Mirage"

A year plus into the Soul Corner and nothing from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles? Well we must fix that pronto.
When praised for the umpteenth time in the 1960's as America's best poet, Bob Dylan replied that he wasn't close to the best poet even working in pop music, pointing to Smokey Robinson.

And one need look no further than "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage" (1967) to see why Bob might say that. This song is amazing- great vocal, terrific musical performances by the Funk Brothers and a composition of the highest quality. Seldom has betrayal sounded so gorgeous.  Enjoy:

REVIEW: The District Attorneys - Slowburner

We admit that three of the contributors to When You Motor Away are burdened with law degrees, and two of us are still practicing (one has escaped).  Nevertheless, we assure you that our decision to review the recent full-length album from The District Attorneys is not due to professional courtesy.  The fact is, Slowburner is a damn fine album, and--as a debut--a remarkably mature and consistent album.  OK, you say, what does it sound like?  To my ears, the instrumentation reflects a measure of west coast jangly indie rock and an equal measure of crunchy southern guitar.  Similarly, the vocals include lots of sunny harmony, but a good dose of soul as well.  And there are plenty of hooks and a layer of grit.  It all works together because the songcraft and delivery are so good.

The District Attorneys are Drew Beskin, Chris Wilson, Frank Keith IV, T.J. Mimbs, and Walker Beard, five guys from Atlanta and Athens, Georgia, who formed the band in 2009.  They claim a wide variety of influences, including The Replacements, Beach Boys, Modest Mouse, Rilo Kiley and Fleetwood Mac.  I think it is a tribute to their talent that I only hear some elements of those influences; these guys are carving their own path.

I suppose after allowing me to babble about the band, I should reward you with a song.  So here is the first single from Slowburner,  "Confusion of Trust" --

And here is a live version of the excellent "California Fire" --

Slowburner was released on April 24 by the This Is American Music collective.  And I can't think of a more appropriately named label for the sound of this band.  Our Portland contributor, Jim Desmond, spent several days in Atlanta recently.  Being a diligent music journalist (and probably looking to submit an expense report to WYMA headquarters), he asked folks who the best young band down there is.  He reports that 75 percent replied The District Attorneys.  These people know something, and now we know it, too.

Bandcamp (earlier, free, EPs)
This Is American Music (label)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Spanish Blues-Rock/Boogie Discovery: Betunizer - Boogalizer

On Boogalizer by Spanish band Betunizer, the title is something of a declaration of purpose. They certainly do boogie. I'm reminded of The Minutemen and the Pixies, or going a little further back, maybe Captain Beefheart. Then again, there's that swing, the boogie - in the opening cut, "Cedric Ceballos" the drummer is definitely leading the way while the guitar slashes and the singer rages... and cowbell! On song two, "Silver Agers", it starts out very much like vintage Minutemen, especially as to the guitar intro.

Here's song three, "Imagina que matas a jota":

Here's a video of them backing Daniel Johnston on "Speeding Motorcycle":

And here's another live video of them performing "Rave en el chateau":

Betunizer is really good at keeping the beat. Perhaps that is the literal translation of "Boogalizer", a word I am unable to locate in any dictionary.

Check it out at BCore Disc.

Introducing: The Machine Room

Edinburgh's The Machine Room plays shoegazey, dream poppy, electro-pop, and they do it well.  They released their Love From A Distance EP earlier this year.  It only is four songs, but I think it promises a good future for this band.  The music has varied and interesting textures, compelling rhythms and plenty of hooks.  My favorite track is the dream pop song, "Your Head on the Floor Next Door" --

The members of the band are Adie, Cecilia, John, Ryan, Scott and Tom.  Apparently they were formed at Edinburgh's musically fertile College of Art.

The video for the third track, "Camino de Soda" --

You can stream all four tracks here:

Twitter ( @the_machineroom )

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Update: Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan tour US together in June

Joe Henry (WYMA review here) rarely tours at all and Lisa Hannigan (WYMA post here) doesn't make it to the US all that much, but them touring together is beyond our dreams.

Expect duets and collaborations and magic. If WYMA had big money behind it, we'd be sponsoring this tour. Fancy tour buses, 1990 vintage Barolos, 18 year old Jameson's and 25 page riders for everyone!

11 US cities are very lucky:

June 8 - Chicago / Park West
June 10 - Toronto / Phoenix Concert Theatre
June 11 - Montreal / Coronta Theatre
June 13 - Boston / Paradise Rock Club
June 14 & 15 - New York / Highline Ballroom
June 16 - Philadelphia / TLA
June 17 - Washington DC / Sixth and I
June 19 - Los Angeles / The El Rey
June 21 - San Francisco / Great American Music Hall
June 23 - Portland / Wonder Ballroom
June 24 - Seattle / Tractor Tavern

Tickets are on sale for most of these shows now at Mr. Henry's web page:

Introducing: Big Wave

Big Wave is five guys and girls from Torquay, Devon, in the UK.  They play excellent jangly dream pop.  The Another Year or Two EP was recently released, and in June on Scottish label Soft Power (which is displaying excellent taste this year) will be putting out the group's 5-track release The Roots of Love (Come Tumbling Down).  The title track of the current EP is showcased in the nice self-made video below.  You can stream the entire EP, and download the title track free, at the Bandcamp link.

"Another Year or Two" --

Here is a stream of all three songs on the EP--

Twitter ( @wearebigwave )

New Guitar Rock Discovery: Soft Science - Highs and Lows

Sacramento band Soft Science has an absolutely irresistible sound - crashing Spectorish drums, ringing guitars and high female vocals - think of, perhaps, Juliana Hatfield fronting Teenage Fanclub or Swervedriver...

Members are Katie Haley - Vocals, Ross Levine - Drums, Mason Demusey - Bass and Matt Levine - Guitar. While it's a new discovery for me, this record came out almost a year ago.

Here's a video for "When Will You Come Home" - man, I love the feedback:

Here's "Closer To Me", which stretches out a little more, with some almost-country sounding riffs and great harmony vocals:

The contrast between the noise-filled instrumentation and the high, clear vocals creates the kind of tension that makes good noise pop - highly recommended.

This record is from Test Pattern Records, which features a few pretty good jangle bands (including Desario, who we featured recently). You can listen at Test Pattern's website.

Introducing - Wet Illustrated

Naming the Soft Boys and Guided by Voices as influences is sometimes rumored to be certain bait to attract a WYMA contributor.  Let me put the rumor aspect to bed--it is, in fact, a way to get our attention.  But to get on the page, we have to think the band does it well.  And the Bay Area's Wet Illustrated does it very well.  Tim Hellman, Chrys Nodal, Robbie Simon and Will Ivy play an organic, loose, psychedelic garage rock that really pleases my ears.

They have released recordings through Corvette City Records and True Panther Sounds.  Here is their 13-track October 2011 release, 1x1x1 --

There are some other recordings on the Bandcamp page.  In my opinion, they all are worth checking out.  This could be your new favorite garage band.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Mallard on tour (and new video)

As readers of this blog know, I think San Francisco's The Mallard is one of the most exciting young bands to debut an album this year. I loved their brand of rootsy, surfy garage rock and lauded Yes On Blood when it was released.  Greer McGettrick, Dylan Tidyman-Jones and Dylan Edrich are touring in late April, May, July and August.  Stops include the Pacific Northwest (yea!), the Midwest, and California.  The tour list is further down on in this post, so you can check to see if there will be a stop close to you.  Fortunately for me, they are stopping in Seattle twice.

The Mallard also has just released this Hannah Lew video for "Mansion", one of the tracks on their 2012 LP, Yes On Blood.  And here it is:

04/28/2012 Brick and Mortar San Francisco CA w/The Fresh and Onlys, Young Prisms
05/02/2012 Independent San Francisco w/Ty Segall, White Fence, Shannon and the Clams
05/16/2012 Brick and Mortar San Francisco w/Thee Oh Sees, Burnt Ones
05/18/2012 Northern Olympia WA w/The Wooden Men
05/19/2012 Portland, at the KNOW with Woolen Men and the Happening
05/20/2012 Comet Seattle WA w/Koko and The Sweetmeats
05/31/2012 Verdi Club w/Wet Illustrated, Swiftumz, Chris Thayer
06/16/2012 Brick and Mortar w/Burnt Ones, Cosmonauts
07/07/2012 Bottom of the Hill w/Blasted Canyons, The Maxines
07/08/2012 Doug Fir Lounge Portland OR w/The Wimps
07/09/2012 Funhouse Seattle WA w/The Wimps
07/10/2012 The Manor Caldwell ID
07/11/2012 Zoo City Missoula MT
07/13/2012 The Aquarium Fargo ND
07/14/2012 Turf Club St. Paul MN w/Blind Shake
07/15/2012 Panache Party Empty Bottle Chicago IL w/Blind Shake, Terrible Twos
07/17/2012 Frank’s Power Plant Milwaukee WI w/Blind Shake
07/18/2012 Gabe’s Oasis Iowa City IA w/Blind Shake
07/19/2012 Replay Lounge Lawrence, KS
07/20/2012 UMS Festival @Hi Dive Denver CO
07/21/2012 Burt’s Tiki Lounge Salt Lake City UT
08/08/2012 Tractor Tavern Seattle WA w/Shonen Knife
08/09/2012 Dante’s Portland OR w/Shonen Knife
08/10/2012 Bottom of the Hill San Francisco CA w/Shonen Knife
08/11/2012 Blank Club San Jose CA w/Shonen Knife
08/12/2012 Alex’s Bar Long Beach CA w/Shonen Knife
08/13/2012 Casbah San Diego CA w/Shonen Knife


REVIEW: Evans The Death - Evans the Death

With twelve high energy tracks full of hooks and melody, and lead vocals by a young indie pop diva in the person of Katherine Whitaker, London's Evans the Death is poised to make a strong bid for recognition with today's release of their self-titled debut.  The music is loud and poppy, and the album's 12 tracks reveal a band with an impressive command of the indie spectrum.  But there is no slavish mimicry of past heroes here, Evans the Death is merely showing their aptitude with the tools of the trade.  And because of their wide-ranging competence, they won't be lift in the wake as indie pop fashions change.  The songs also display a great lyrical dexterity.  A fine example of the quality this band delivers is the album's first single, "Telling Lies" --

Evans the Death takes its name from the undertaker in Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood (the play seems to be a popular source of inspiration as Lord Cut Glass is also named after a character in that work).  The band members are Dan Moss (guitar, vocals), Katherine Whitaker (vocals, keys), Olly Moss (guitar), Rob Mitson (drums), and Lan McCardle (bass) (original guitarist Matt Gill left the band following the album was recorded).

"Threads" --

Evans the Death gives the impression of a band that is brash, determined, and fully capable of taking the main stage.  The album is out this week on  Slumberland Records in the US and Fortuna POP! in the UK and Europe.

"I'm So Unclean" --

Twitter ( @evansthedeath )