Saturday, October 5, 2013

Victor Niglio - "Jiggy" featuring Mr. Man


Victor Niglio is a Philadelphia producer who makes delicious contributions to the electronic dance music scene, whether as a remixer, collaborator or solo producer.  Here is "Jiggy", featuring Mr. Man.  Stream it, download it free at the Soundcloud link below, and then start dancing while the bass knocks things off of your shelves.



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REVIEW: City Riots - Sea of Bright Lights


City Riots is an Australian trio playing a pop/rock with a very big sound, summery and hook-filled but with a lot of reverb and a fairly heavy rhythm section. The band consists of brothers Ricky Kradolfer (vocals/guitar) and Dan Kradolfer (drums) and Matt Stadler (bass/vocals). Without knowing this, I would have guessed that this was at least in part a drummer's band, because Dan really does play up a storm here (check out "Sucker Punch" - a fast-paced song that features surf drumrolls to go with some Dick Dale-style guitar runs, and a punkish backbeat throughout).

There's a real sheen to the music that, in the hands of a less-talented band, would lead to music that is heard, digested and forgotten. But there's something about City Riots, the way their hushed vocals, soaring guitar lines and crashing drums meld together just about perfectly, that make their music memorable.

Here's "Wait For You" - a simple, repeated guitar line, with some layered vocals and reverb-laden guitar parts that take it over the top:



Here's "Catch the Sun" - a bright, beautiful guitar explosion at the beginning sets the tone:



The album has actually been out in Australia since 2012, but it's now available worldwide, and they are playing some US dates to familiarize folks over here with their sound. I know it's October, but wherever these guys are playing this sound, it's going to be summer just a bit longer. If you're in NYC, you're in luck:

10/14 – The Rock Shop – Brooklyn, NY
10/15 – Cake Shop (daytime show) – New York, NY
10/15 – Lit Lounge (Official CMJ showcase) – New York, NY
10/19 – The Delancey (Aussie BBQ) – New York, NY
10/21 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
10/22 – Pianos – New York, NY
10/23 – Bowery Electric – New York, NY

You can buy it now (released Sept. 18) - more information and streaming of the whole album is available at their website.

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REVIEW: King Khan and the Shrines - Idle No More


















Given this blog's love of garage rock and soul music, I'm not sure how we haven't written about King Khan before, but we're about to fix that.

Let's get the preliminaries out of the way. Mr. Arish Ahmad Khan is a Canadian who's been playing in garage and soul bands since the mid-90's. His wild James Brown meets Iggy Pop stage persona is the stuff of legend. Prior to Idle No More, he hadn't released a record for 6 years as he went through a very rough stretch following the death of some close friends and other challenges that found him landing in psychiatric hospitals, Buddhist monasteries and diving deep into the culture of indigenous peoples.

Idle No More is simultaneously a cathartic release, a street party and a serious artistic statement from a man more known for wild stage antics than gravitas.

Equal parts soul and high energy garage rock, Idle No More has a deep party groove that reminds me more of Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones than anything. Few current bands use horns like this.

Let's kick it off right with "Bite My Tongue":
Here's one of my favorites "So Wild":
Interestingly, the "official" video is perhaps the most out of character song here, the deep soul of "Darkness", which recalls nothing less weighty than Nina Simone:
And on and on this fine CD goes, 12 songs of heart, swagger and soul. 
You can stream it all here at Spin Magazine web site.  
King Khan and his full on 9 piece soul band The Shrines are launching a tour now, the stage being where King Khan truly earned his crown: 
October
11 San Diego CA Casbah
12 Los Angeles CA Culture Collide Festival Festival 10/9-10/12
13 San Francisco CA Slims w/ Hell Shovel
14 Portland OR Dante's w/ Hell Shovel
15 Vancouver CAN The Rickshaw Theatre
16 Seattle WA Neumos w/ Hell Shovel
17 Boise ID Neurolux
18 Salt Lake City UT Urban Lounge w/ Hell Shovel
19 Denver CO Larimer Lounge
20 Kansas City MO The Record Bar
21 St. Paul MN Turf Club w/ BBQ Show, Toxic Shrews, Hot Rash
22 Madison WI High Noon Saloon w/ Hell Shovel
23 Chicago IL Bottom Lounge
24 Cleveland Heights OH Grog Shop w/ Hell Shovel
25 Detroit MI Magic Stick w/ Hell Shovel
26 Toronto CAN The Horseshoe Tavern
27 Montreal QC CAN La Tulipe
29 Boston MA Brighton Music Hall
30 New York NY Webster Hall
31 Philadelphia PA Union Transfer
November
1 Washington DC The Black Cat
2 Durham NC Motorco
4 Atlanta GA Terminal West w/ Hell Shovel
5 Birmingham AL The Bottletree w/ Hell Shovel
6 New Orleans LA Siberia w/ Hell Shovel
8 Austin TX Fun Fun Fun Fest Nov 8-10
9 Puerto Rico Hacienda Siesta Alegre
12 El Paso TX Tricky Falls w/ Hellshovel
13 Phoenix AZ The Crescent Ballroom
Great stuff. 

"I Won't Wait" by Creases


Brisbane four-piece The Creases has a lot to celebrate now.  Not only to they have single "I Won't Wait" coming out in November, but they have signed to UK label Rough Trade (Remote Control will handle Australian distribution of the single).  The band is founding members Joe Agius and Jarrod Mahon, joined by Aimon Clark and Bridie McQueenie.  Their music echoes classic Australian and brit pop sounds; its familiar, welcome and well done.  Check out the song here.



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Friday, October 4, 2013

"Bud", from Honeyblood


Stina Tweeddale (guitar/vocals) and Shona McViccar (drums) of Honeyblood may reside in Glasgow, but their bittersweet guitar pop seems more of the western United States than central Scotland.  There is the sweet pop of Best Coast and Haim, and, at times, the darker tones of The Breeders or Throwing Muses.  And I must say there are some shaggy garage band edges, which are charming.  They have been signed to FatCat Records, which will be releasing their two track single on November 7.  Reportedly, an LP is in the works as well.

The single consists of "Bud" and "Kissing On You".  I haven't hear the later, but the former is the kind of track which makes a music writer sit up and take notice.  I think we will hear good things from Honeyblood.  You can stream it and/or watch the video below.








Fall UK Tour Dates for Honeyblood
Oct 22 Sheffield - The Great Gatsby
Oct 23 London - Servant Jazz Quarters(single launch)
Oct 24 Guildford - Boiler Room
Oct 26 Brighton - Sticky Mikes
Oct 27 Manchester - Fallow
Oct 29 Glasgow - Broadcast
Oct 30 Edinburgh - Electric Circus


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REVIEW: Stubborn Heart - Penetrate 12"



UK electro-soul artists Stubborn Heart are back with a 12" single Penetrate.  The single includes three versions of the title track (including Leo Taylor and Walter Ego remixes), and "Nighthawks".  I think the record clearly reveals Stubborn Heart's ability to balance the modern electronic groove and the soulful emotion of the melody and vocals.





Stubborn Heart is Luca Santucci and Ben Fitzgerald. Penetrate is out now via One Little Indian.

Remaining fall 2013 tour dates:
4th October Prince Charles Berlin (Germany)
9th October The Exchange Bristol (UK)
10th October Bungalows and Bears Sheffield (UK)
11th October Nation of Shopkeepers Leeds (UK)
7th December La Peniche Lille (France)

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Friday Nuggets: The Cramps "Garbageman" / "Goo Goo Muck"


The Cramps were one of the most outrageous and memorable bands of the American punk movement. They combined Link Wray rockabilly, surf music, garage rock, The Ramones, R&B, B movies, and sci-fi and created an insane amalgam the critics called "psychobilly" and the Cramps themselves termed "gothabilly".

But despite the obviously campy, high concept performance art aspects, it worked then and holds up well today because it was deeply musical and the songs were really good. Killer choruses, great bridges, 2 guitars and no bass initially (though they later added bass guitar), minimalist drums, and an underlying R&B vibe. Leaders and husband and wife Lux Interior (vocals) and Poison Ivy's (guitar, bass) were stunningly great performers. And they rocked it so hard.

"Garbageman" from 1980 was the Cramps at the very top of their game, and a fitting song for Friday Nuggets as it names drops various garage rock classics like "Louie Louie". I jumped for joy when I found this video:  


The Cramps are so great, you deserve one more. Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present The Cramps doing "Goo Goo Muck" (1981), a cover of a previously obscure song by Ronnie Cook and The Gaylads from 1962. 
 

You'd better duck when I show up!  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Northwest" and "Wolves", free songs from Glaciers


Today's special offering is a two-track free download from Melbourne dream pop group Glaciers.  The members are Sim, Nals, Tom and Tilly.  Their music is melodic and jangling, and seems to make good use of pedals for the guitars.  You can hear a resemblance to The Radio Dept., Deerhunter and Wild Nothing, and I think there is a bit of The Bats in there as well.  It sounds really good, and my only complaint is that it is over way too soon.  I guess that is what replay buttons are for.  Also, their Bandcamp page leads you to a free download of a few demos from 2012.



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Happy Noose - Amagosa EP


Happy Noose is a trio, playing a darkly psychedelic, heavy yet upbeat take on punk and darkwave music. In their 4-song EP Amagosa I hear traces of Joy Division (whose unreleased "Pictures In My Mind" they cover), Peter Murphy and the solo work of Richard Lloyd - the music is evocative, as is the voice of lead singer Ryan Scott, who conveys a lot without a lot of inflection. The band consists of Scott (vocals, bass), Timothy Grisham (guitars) and John Dahlin (drums). All three previously played in different bands, but they bring together their experience into a unified approach that's somehow dark and evocative yet upbeat and exhilarating, with crashing drums and guitars that alternately slash and swirl.

Here's the title track:



The second track, "Eye of the Storm" has some beautiful guitar work, and the Joy Division cover shows their (and Joy Division's) punk roots clearly. The final track is "End Song", and it bears a strong resemblance to "Pictures In My Mind", but the band stretches it out to over 4:00 with some terrific guitars.

Amagosa is out now (released Oct. 1), through Dead End Social Club Records and was produced by Tim Green (The Fucking Champs, Nation of Ulysses). It's terrific, a bit of a time capsule in a 4-song EP. I eagerly anticipate more from these three.

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Rerelease: Sandra Phillips - Too Many People in One Bed (produced by Swamp Dogg)

Today's treat is another rarity rescued from the vaults of producer/writer/performer extraordinaire Jerry Williams - aka Swamp Dogg.



Sandra Reaves-Phillips was southern soul diva Sandra Phillips before she became a Broadway/movie/TV regular. Her career includes a credit in the critically acclaimed 1986 film 'Round Midnight. She was a recipient of a Woodie Award for her work on Broadway in the revival of "Raisin in the Sun." Reaves-Phillips has also been a frequent guest singer and performer on “Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion” and has performed alongside the legendary Ray Charles.



In 1970, Sandra Phillips was rescued from the chitlin circuit, signed to a contract, and had a album produced by Jerry Williams - AKA Swamp Dogg. Swamp Dogg remembers: "I signed Sandra Phillips to Wally Roker’s Canyon label and then took her to Macon, Georgia, where I had a magic lantern that produced a band consisting of Johnny Sandlin (drums), Robert Popwell (bass), Pete Carr (guitar), Paul Hornsby (organ & piano) and me, also on piano. My genie wouldn’t let me do wrong. I had a production deal with Wally for as many albums as I wanted to do, with complete autonomy. I’m damn sorry he went belly-up. The album that you are drooling over was never officially released. Canyon shipped it and then Canyon bought the farm. I gave Sandra an unconditional release and we have remained friends."

Re-release is a misnomer. The album Too Many People in One Bed is finally being released by Alive/Naturalsound Records. While missing much of the Dogg's convoluted sense of the absurd, it exhibits his masterful production skills combined with a great backing band and the impeccably arranged Swamp Dogg horns. Swamp Dogg is a peer to the finest producers at Stax. This band does not miss a beat in comparison with the Memphis Horns and Booker T and the MG's.



The core band went on to become consummate session players. Pete Carr contributed to songs like Bob Seger’s “Main Street,” Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night,” Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome,” and Luther Ingram’s “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right,” among many others, and worked on countless other hits as an engineer and producer.  The others can be heard on recordings by B.B. King, Levon Helm, Wet Willie, Bob Seger, Duane Allman,  Charlie Daniels, Chuckie Leavell, the Allman Brothers, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop.



Too Many People in One Bed has been recognized as a classic by Britain's "Northern Soul" movement. You can finally treat yourself to this long lost exemplar of southern/country soul. Order it as vinyl or cd at the Bomp! store here.



"Einstein's Theory" by The Sunset Strip Club


The Sunset Strip Club are Christopher Howard, Simon Wake and Joseph Nicholson, three men from the UK who have abandoned the English weather to live in Nice.  Yes, being a party band on the French Riviera is a tough gig, but these guys are determined.  The band has refined their pop/rock sound, and recently recorded an album  The first single to be released is "Einstein's Theory".  The album and the single can be downloaded from their website, which is linked below, and iTunes.  Check out the single here.  I think it has a nice clean sound with a good melody, driving rhythm and catchy hooks.



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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

REVIEW: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Fill Your Lungs


What a great and utterly lovable, shaggy beast this album is!  Hard psychedelia (yes, even a sitar on the final track), garage rock, a bit of pop and R&B.  All done with a scruffy swagger and deserved confidence.  Fill Your Lungs has all the elements of an album that will not leave your music rotation for a very, very long time.

The smorgasbord commences with the 16 minute "Head On/Pill", which offers the listener an epic musical journey through the psychedelic world of Melbourne's King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.  The following three tracks, including the first track provided below, continue to paint in psychedelic colors, although with plenty of variation including drone/shoegaze and blues.  On "Let Me Mend the Past" the band nimbly dances through an R&B flavored romp.  Then, in one of my favorites, the band swaggers through the garage stomper "Mystery Jack".  We have already featured singles "30 Past 7" and "I'm Not A Man Unless I Have A Woman", so we'll feature a couple of other tracks.  You can stream/buy the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.

Here is the bluesy psychedelia of "God Is Calling Me Back Home" --


R&B flavored "Let Me Mend the Past" --


Finally, the twangy garage rock of "Mystery Jack" --


King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is Stu Mackenzie, Joe Walker, Eric Moore, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Lucas Skinner, Cook Craig, and Michael Cavanagh.  The album is available in CD/vinyl/digital formats.

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The Spires - Eternal Yeah


The kind of music played by Ventura, California's The Spires nestles in the sweet spot for several of us at When You Motor Away.  There is the hallmark Californa jangle of The Byrds and the Tyde, and some southern hemisphere melancholy reminiscent of New Zealand's Flying Nun bands and Australia's The Church.  But you'll notice psychedelic and post punk touches as well.  It's all perfectly appropriate as California is the melting pot of the melting pot.

Their latest recording is the 11-track Eternal Yeah, which is available at the Bandcamp link below.  The CDs are sold out, but digital downloads are available and a vinyl version may be ready as well.  If you like this kind of music, you would be cheating yourself if you didn't give this album a chance.  Here are a few tracks --





The Spires were formed in 2004 by Jason Bays and spouse Colleen Coffey (who currently is out on playing mother instead of playing drums).  The current line-up for The Spires is Jason Bays (guitar/vocals), Catie Kindred (bass), Bryan Russell (guitar), Brook Dalton (drums), and Jeff Sparks (organ on "Response to An Inquiry").

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REVIEW: Zoo Zero - Zoo Zero


Zoo Zero is a London-based guitar rock band with an intriguing set of influences – they claim the guitar noise rock of Sonic Youth and Mission Of Burma as well as the psychedelic pop of Julian Cope, Robyn Hitchcock and XTC, among others. I'd throw in a dose of motorik a la Kraftwerk and the like, although perhaps that's implied in some of the artists mentioned above. I know Kraftwerk's influence runs deep in European post-punk guitar rock.

Here's the opening track, "Fraktion", where I find the motorik influence particularly strong:



However, it's not just a band that creates locked-groove instrumentals. In the words of guitarist/vocalist Tom Pinnock, "I guess we’re interested in music where noise and weirdness clashes with melody. It’s way too easy to make some avant-garde, instrumental record – it’s harder to combine the unexpected with actual songs.”

The band’s line-up consists of Pinnock (vocals, guitar), Matthew Barnes (drums, vocals), Jonathon Lines (guitar) and Christian Sancto (bass guitar), and they take their name from the French film starring Klaus Kinski. The album was recorded at west London’s Sofa Sound Studios with engineer Scott Knapper (Scott Walker, Van Der Graaf Generator), and they are producing a strong, melodic hard rock sound with a variety of intriguing influences.

Here's "Show Me Your Flag" - a great combination of an upbeat, yet slightly disaffected pop vocal with some experimental, sort of sideways rhythms and a galloping drumbeat:



There's also a bit of psychedelic, Middle Eastern-sounding guitar on "Double Cross" - at 5:41 one of the tracks on which they stretch out and slow things down a bit, with an repeated guitar riff and an understated vocal echo behind a slow guitar build-up that gets fairly heavy with feedback over the last 1:30. "Stationed" is all punk energy at the beginning, with a cascading guitar run to close it out. There's a good variety of tempos and even song styles here, which is one of the things that kept me coming back to this record. Pinnock's vocals are a bit reminiscent of Tame Impala's Kevin Parker - and based on the strength of this album, I'd put Zoo Zero with Tame Impala and Pond in a small group of psychedelic-leaning guitar rock bands whose future output I'm greatly anticipating.

The album is available through Crest Cont. Records now (released Sept. 30) as a download or on white vinyl.

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"In The Dark", new free song from Being There

One of my favorite albums of 2012 was Breaking Away by young London band Being There (review).  The band is back again with a bit of a line-up change with the single "In The Dark" via Young and Lost Club.  Featuring a brighter, cleaner sound and a floating melody, it is a great song to for the change in seasons.  Oh, I should mention that it is a free download.



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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

REVIEW: Saint Rich - Beyond the Drone


We first heard Saint Rich back in the summer, and noted what I heard as T Rex influences. The song "Officer" was the advance track, and Christian Peslak's vocal (along with Steve Marion's guitar) definitely bear out that comparison. But there's a lot more here than echoes of classic glam rock (as welcome, really, as those are). This is an interesting record - one could play "spot the influences" enjoyably for a while. As mentioned, there's a definite Bolan/Bowie/Eno guitar glam lean to "Officer":

Saint Rich - "Officer" from stereogum on Vimeo.


You can download that track here:



But digging further, there are pure pop moments, on songs like "Dreams" that call to mind classic Ray Davies songcraft with its warm vocal and gently insistent, catchy guitar riffs. There's straight-ahead guitar rock like "Black and Brown" and "You Ain't Even Worth the Night" (but even there, the big guitar riffs give way to a gentle, sinuous vocal), and there is even some Americana, sort of a folk rock/California country influence notable in "Already Gone".

Echoes of classic pop rock, easygoing psychedelia, but a truly original sound, born of a partnership accidentally struck up but years in the making. Peslak and Marion had been playing in the New Jersey rock scene for years when Peslak was recruited into Marion's Delicate Steve project - and at some point, they started working on material that by no means fit their Delicate Steve sound, and Saint Rich was born.

This album is a unique combination of immediate catchiness and a depth of song structure, making it something that will be pulled out years from now and create a mood - something like your old ELO or Kinks records. You can learn more, and actually stream the whole album at their Merge Records page - links below.

Saint Rich at Merge Records
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REVIEW: Bailterspace - Trinine


Balancing dense, chugging riffs, droning shoegaze, psychedelic swirl and blasts of noise with infusions of melody, the New Yorkers from New Zealand Bailterspace have been one of the better, if not better known, bands working the territory also occupied by Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.  The origins of the band were a Christchurch band called The Gordons, formed in 1980.  Then they were Future Shock, then Nelsh Bailter Space, and then Bailter Space.  The band moved to New Zealand's north island, and then far, far North to New York City.  They began a long hiatus in 1999, but returned with Strobophere via Fire Records in 2012.  And their return to the scene without loss of form is emphasized with the release this week of Trinine, also on Fire Records.

The album is a showcase for the Bailterspace's strengths.  While there is plenty of subtle interplay and intelligent exploration of layered textures and intertwined sounds (in my view, more of that than on Strobophere), when the band has a choice of seducing you softly or drenching you in sonic waves while you enjoy the nuanced touches, the latter is chosen.  Is that a good thing?  In the hands of this band, yes, yes it is.  And without point fingers, I'll go so far as to say that Trinine's strengths illustrate that much of the current shoegaze bands lack dynamic vision.  While this album is uniformly good, the title track, "Tri5", "In the World" and the following track, "Films of You", could be offered as a course in how to do it right.



Bailterspace for Trinine is the original core members: Brent McLachlan (drums/samples), Alister Parker (guitars/vocals/samples), and John Halvorsen (bass/guitar/samples).

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REVIEW: Radkey "Devil Fruit" EP



We've been keeping an eye on Radkey for awhile, writing about them here earlier this year. These three teenage brothers, from St Joseph, Missouri have just released a 4 song EP that bursts not only with potential but with right now.

These guys have it all - a really good lead vocalist, fantastic guitar sounds, kick ass rhythm section - the sound and the fury. Whatever label you want to throw on them - punk, garage, thrash - will work well enough but there's a signature sound here.

Check out the lead track here "Romance Dawn":



What I like best about this music is how tuneful it is. And the big singalong harmonies take me back to one of the greatest Midwest punk bands of all time, Naked Raygun, who I hear glimpses of in my favorite song here "Little Men".



The third song "Start Freaking Out" is pure adrenalin, unabashed rock, guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  "Overwhelmed" finishes off the EP, which moves at a Ramones pace and with that kind of joy, so it seems over almost before it starts.



An EP is not nearly enough fellas - we want more.

It is amazing that 3 teenagers are turning out this sound. I realize the music industry is in shambles, but some record company needs to sign this band, invest in them, nurture them and watch them rule the world in a few years. While I wouldn't say they sound like Pearl Jam, Radkey hit me a bit like Pearl Jam did the first time I heard them - just such a real band, one for all, all for one, with a unified and clear sense of their own sound.

The absence of black rock bands has long been a mystery to me. Black America not only invented rock'n'roll but all of its influences, a fact that British rock bands always seemed to grasp better than American kids. It's not too late to fix that.  

WYMA is all in for Radkey.

Radkey Facebook page.
They are touring the UK in October- dates here at their web page

Monday, September 30, 2013

More Finnish Guitar Rock: Matti Jasu - Pin on the Map


Matti Jasu is a Finnish singer/songwriter playing a tried-and-true take on guitar rock. We featured his previous EP (WYMA post here) and are glad to hear from him again. He's got a good voice - kind of clear and vulnerable - and is one heck of a guitar player - seriously, in places he's Crazy Horse-good. Feedback and all. Here's the title track from his new album, Pin on the Map:



The last three minutes of that song are a guitar lover's dream come true. No pretense, just a loping rhythm section and a guitar workout that would make Young and Sampedro proud.

And even though the best stuff (to me) is the guitar-heavy rock, he plays some very engaging folk rock too. Here's "She Won't Come Back":



And some Americana-leaning piano-based rock - here's "Love That Didn't Fail":



You can listen to the whole album, read more and buy at the links below.

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The Naysayers - Dee Eye Why: Or How We Lost All Our Money And Decided to Record It Ourselves


Here is a six-song EP of garage/blues rock with spaghetti western touches, all for the very popular "name your price" at the Bandcamp link.  The generous submission comes from Melbourne's The Naysayers, who are Nathaniel Parbery (vocals/bass), Gordon Holland (vocals/guitar), Simon Gemmill (drums) and Harrie Kingston (guitar/vocals).  Dee Eye Why is balls to the wall garage rock goodness, and if you don't have a copy by nightfall you are at least a little bit stupid.





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"Zero to Eleven by the Julian Taylor Band


Songwriter and performer Julian Taylor has had a long, distinguished career.  He was signed to a publishing deal while still in high school, and to a major label soon thereafter.  The was the frontman for a successful band called Staggered Crossing, had released seven albums and had ten top forty hits in Canada.  For his current project, the Julian Taylor Band, Taylor is moving in a funk rock/R&B direction.  A new EP is in the works, and this new song is getting well-deserved attention.  Enjoy "Zero to Eleven" --



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Review: The Parson Red Heads - Orb Weaver


WYMA has been in love with the Parson Red Heads and their intelligent and tuneful West Coast pop for some time. Their brand new CD Orb Weaver (release date October 1 on Fiesta Red Records) is a step forward for the band and a good progression from their last CD Yearling, one of our favorites of 2011. Where Yearling was carefully put together over a long period of time in various studios with different producers, Orb Weaver was banged out fairly quickly with Scott McCaughey (Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows, The Baseball Project) producing and getting a much grittier spontaneous sound closer to the Parsons' live shows.

The band settled on a steady 4 person lineup, eschewing the extra members they tended to earlier, and toured a great deal following Yearling, which lead to a more confident and muscular sound here, while still very much with the harmonies and winsome pop sensibilities that define the Parson Red Heads.

Here's a standout track "Every Mile":



The band shows a more experimental flair here as well, dipping into some trippy psychedelic folk on "Lost Again" and the slow building 6 minute "Beginning".

While Evan Way continues to be the principal singer and songwriter here, guitarist Sam Fowles continues to grow as a singer-songwriter, contributing two terrific Beatles-Big Star influenced tracks. Here's Fowles in the studio, with one of Orb Weaver's standout songs, "Borrow Your Car" coming in at the 1:16 mark:



 Fowle and Way's guitar interplay remains the foundation of this band's sound. Never flashy or overpowering, they use space very well and know what notes not to play. A great example of that is "Times", another slow building track. This one has grown on me tremendously:

 

 There's an intangible to this band that defines them. These are good people and their thoughtfulness seems only further enhanced by drummer Brette Marie Way giving birth to her and Evan Way's first child last year.  They not only strive to be a better band, but to be better people, and somehow that comes through the music, the live shows, how they interact with their fans and treat each other. In such a cynical, manipulative, 150 characters, superficial world, The Parson Red Heads stand for something better, something deeper. They manage to wear it on their sleeves without the slightest hint of preciousness or pretension. It's all real. And I love them for that.

 Orb Weaver will please your ears and your soul.

Parson Red Heads Facebook page

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Introducing: Dora Maar


I don't know much about Edinburgh band Dora Maar, and attempts to find out more via the internet revealed that the name isn't unique to the band (or, obviously, to the one or more other bands that use that name).  But I feel fairly confident in saying that this is the only band named Dora Maar in Scotland.

The band describes themselves as 'two Andrews, and Erika and a Liam'.  They play a brand of music that I personally term urban noir guitar pop.  Other bands I place in this category are Josef K, Orange Juice, Vic Godard & the Subway Sect, The Monochrome Set and Wake the President (and probably a large number of the residents of Brooklyn).  The guitars are clanging, jangling and spiky, and the melodies are compelling.  The crooning lead vocals (presumably by a band member not named Erika) recall the dulcet tones of Glasgow hero Edwyn Collins.  A great introduction to the band is their song "Jessica Says" --



"Jessica Says" is one of four songs on the band's Soundcloud page.  For your convenience, I have embedded the set below.  You are welcome.



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