Saturday, April 30, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-12: Shit Robot; Belleruche; Bomba Estereo

Shit Robot is Marcus Lambkin. Marcus lists his home town as Dublin, New York and Stuttgart.
He recently released the video for "Losing My Patience" from the 2010 debut LP From the Cradle to the Rave:

Shit Robot - Losing My Patience from DFA Records on Vimeo.

In addition to creating very good house/disco/electronic dance rock, the videos display an inventive visual style.

"Take 'Em Up"

"Tuff Enuff"


Belleruche is a London based three piece consisting of Kathrin DeBoer, DJ Modest and Ricky Fabulous. They record on the Tru Thoughts label, and their LP 270 Stories was released in October 2010. Their sound is bluesy electronic soul.

"Clockwatching" (2010).

"Fuzz Face" (December 2010)

"Late Train" (2009)

"You're Listening to the Worlds" (2009)

Bandcamp stream of Liberty EP HERE.


Bomba Estereo is a electro pop dance group from Columbia. The members are Liliana Saumet, Simon Mejia, Kike Egurrola, and Julian Salazar, and they formed the band in 2001.



"Pa Ti"


Friday, April 29, 2011

Okay, see if you can pull a theme out of this.

It's Friday, and time for old stuff. I decided to go all thematic on yo asses. See if you can guess what it is. I'm trying to make it challenging, but I'll give you a hint: It happened, and you now will be able to return to your normal existences.

As a big thank you to our curiously large Danish readership, we'll start in Copenhagen, 1977.

Assuming a right turn at Albuquerque, the route from Copenhagen naturally passes through Bakersfield.

And we all know it is a very short distance from Bakersfield to Parts Unknown.

And for the denser (or more patient) among you -- there are older versions of this out there, but the crowd banter here is worth the click in and of itself.

Old Stuff Friday - The Soul Corner - Bettye LaVette

Bettye LaVette's story is too long to do justice to here, but, after being signed and ignored by Motown as a young singer, then snapped up by the great Jerry Wexler and Atlantic Records only to again be dumped without ever releasing an album, the Detroit native toiled in obscurity for decades.

Then in 2005, Joe Henry produced a remarkable collection of songs (I've Got My Own Hell to Raise) all written by females, perfectly suited for Ms. LaVette, and she got her first widespread recognition. Here's a live solo performance of one of that record's stand out tracks "I Do Not Want What I Have Not Got" (Sinead O'Connor), bare, brave and bold:

That album was followed by another terrific CD, Scene of the Crime, where Bettye was backed by the Drive By Truckers and produced by lead Trucker Patterson Hood. The Truckers gave her a greasy Muscle Shoals style of rocking soul that fit her tough and powerful voice well. And with those 2 releases, Bettye, by then in her '60s, suddenly had herself a successful career, with wildly great press, many TV performances and near constant touring.

Bettye doesn't just sing a song, she takes it hostage, redefines it, transform it from her own hardscrabble life experience and drains every last bit of emotion out of its lyrics and melody.

She's an American treasure and a testimony to never ever giving up your talent or dreams.

If you aren't familiar with her, do yourself a favor and pick up I've Got My Own Hell To Raise, easily one of my favorite CDs of the past 10 years. Here's "Joy" from that record (penned by Lucinda Williams) which then leads into "Let Me Down Easy" one of her earliest releases from 1965:

Bettye LaVette web page:

Friday Old Stuff: Index -- Black Album + Red Album + Yesterday & Today

Partially reflecting my inherent personal preferences, and probably also reflecting the era in which I started listening to popular music, I've always been drawn to psychedelic and garage rock sounds. I wouldn't want an exclusive diet of that music any more than I'd want an exclusive diet of quality ale...[Sorry, I think this analogy is broken beyond repair and I'm going to shut it down now]. Anyway, for those who share such tastes, I recently learned that Lion Production has combined the two mid-60s LPs, and a disc of previously unreleased material, from Index. Index hailed from affluent, suburban Detroit (specifically, Grosse Point) and played a druggy, edgy, psychedelic/garage rock. They weren't really well known even in their day, but give the music a try. You might just question whether Ian Curtis listened to Index before or during his Joy Division days, but I don't think there is any doubt that Iggy was a fan. The name of the compilation is Black Album + Red Album + Yesterday & Today.

"Fire Eyes"

Index's work boasts feedback, fuzzy guitars, an upfront rhythm section, and psychedelic riffs. But the fans find the beginnings of punk in their music as well, and I can't say they're wrong.

"Rainy Starle"

Index members were guitarist Jim Valice, drummer John B. Ford and bassist Gary Francis. The songs recorded by Index include original compositions and covers by other groups. But even in the case of the covers, the band makes the song their own.

"Israeli Blue"

The band's original name was Chicken Every Sunday. Originally, they were a party band, but became more interested in pursuing the psychedelic space in 1967 after hearing Jimi Hendrix recordings.

"Street Crime" has a more garage rock feel:

Founded in the mid-60s, the band was done by the end of the decade.

Lion Productions
Band biography

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cool Video Thursday

We featured Scottish garage/dirty surf band SHe's HiT last month. In advance of the June release of their LP, they are releasing the wonderful "Shimmer Shimmer" as a single. Here is the video:

An Horse will be discussed in the future, but for how here is the video for "Postcards"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Okkervil River: I Am Very Far, due out May 10

For some reason, these guys never really captured my attention until I spent some time with the disc they did with Roky Erickson last year, True Love Cast Out All Evil:

... that thing is a masterpiece, and I really got in sync with Okkervil River, and am consequently very excited about their upcoming disc. I'll add them to the list of awesome Texas rock bands I can't say enough good things about: Centro-matic, Old 97's, Deathray Davies...

This song, "Wake and Be Fine", is terrific.

Free track available here:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

REVIEW: The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar

Big sound, really an immense rock sound from this Welsh trio (my first exposure to them, in fact, was one of Rocksteady's early Midnight World Pop Scout posts). I'm not sure I've heard guitars like this on a pop/rock record in quite a while... sure, Swervedriver, Teenage Fanclub, those bands really crank them up, but even at their loudest, I don't recall hearing their guitars shred like they do on some of these songs. And that doesn't even mention the drumming, which is gigantic, too. I'm reminded of Big Country, remember them? Look, I know my Welsh from my Scots, but still, there are similarities... the guitars are loud, strong and make all kinds of cool sounds, the drumming propels and anchors the big sound and of course, music like this requires a very strong vocalist.

Singer Ritzy Bryan has the vocal presence to stand in front of a band with a gigantic sound, which is saying quite a bit, and the harmony vocals are outstanding, too.

Video for "Whirring":

I think "Whirring" is the album's centerpiece and it certainly showcases all that this band is doing: the amped, treated guitars, the huge drum sounds and of course the strong, clear voice of Bryan. But they keep the pedal to the metal throughout and hit very few low points from beginning to end.

Here's another track: "Austere"

The Joy Formidable sound great to me, and they sound familiar in a way. I find myself trying to summon the exact analogue, but the best I can do are references like the above, and another band that I really liked, Creeper Lagoon. Like the music supplied by Creeper Lagoon in Orange County, this band's songs could certainly supply the emotional underpinnings of a coming-of-age movie with a twist. Who knows, perhaps the deal's been struck. They are on a major label, after all.

I suppose great things are expected, and I hope they come for this band. But even if they never make anything else quite this good, The Big Roar is worth celebrating... and cranking.

The Joy Formidable Website

Lost in the Trees

My favorite piece of music is not, as I may have expressed in a less guarded moment, Mclusky's 'whiteliberalonwhiteliberalaction.' My favorite musical composition is, rather, much more refined and civilized -- too civilized, in fact, for the likes of this damned place. Believe it or not, after a few beers the other night, I dialed up a version of it on youtube and almost -- almost -- posted it. I didn't, though, on the theory that if a friend lets you move into their apartment after you've just won your commitment hearing, you don't automatically rearrange the furniture, despite that such would, objectively, class up the place.

Anyway, that favorite musical composition is 'Fantasia on a Theme By Thomas Tallis', by Ralph Vaughan Williams. It's a breathtakingly powerful piece of late romantic classical music. Vaughan Williams is among my favorite composers in great part because he was obsessed with his native country's folk music, and his music was infused with it in very much the same way Yeats's poetry was an expression of his own obsession with what he perceived to be a vanishing Irish literary tradition. For both Williams and Yeats, the traditions they sought to preserve were largely unwritten, but rather passed orally from generation to generation. Williams, thankfully, took many trips into the English countryside to "collect" his country's folksongs by transcribing them. Many of these found their way into some of the most beautiful orchestral compositions of the twentieth century, including "Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1", "A Lark Ascending", "In a Fen Country", and his "Fantasia on 'Greensleeves'". His symphonies are crammed full of folk music, most notably, to me at least, his 5th ("Pastoral").

I really love classical music, but when I take a step back and think of my favorite composers, they seem to be the ones who are infatuated with their native music traditions. These include Bedrich Smetana, the "father" of Czech music, Mahler, Sibelius, Borodin, and even 'post-modernists' like the recently departed Henryk Gorecki. Of the Americans who borrowed heavily from native folk music, the most accomplished (to me) are Charles Ives and, of course, Aaron Copland. The Ives 2d Symphony is quintessentially American music, as are "Central Park in the Dark" and the later "Three Places in New England." Really, the only reason these works aren't regularly cited on blogs such as this is that the arrangements are for orchestral players. But make no mistake, those players performing Ives are truly kicking out the jams. They also are mining and thereby enriching our indigenous music traditions in very much the same way as a Cass McCombs or Titus Andronicus are -- and I'd argue just as unselfconsciously.

Well, that was supposed to be a much shorter and less didactic lead-in to a note about a very exciting band out of Chapel Hill called Lost in the Trees. The band is a collective (there are 7 of them right now, I think) of classically trained musicians who passionately play orchestral instruments in arrangements of the band's own rural folk songs. To be sure, there are also acoustic guitars, accordions, and other noises you don't hear at the symphony, all mixed in with frontman Ari Picker's beautiful, eerie yet unaffected vocals. There's also a certain gothic tinge to some of the songs, bringing to mind things like "Country Death Song" by the Violent Femmes. Check out the stunning video for the title track of their 2010 album on Anti- Records, "All Alone in an Empty House" and I imagine you'll agree. Ari Picker, by the way, is the dude watching events unfold from the chimney, and the ethereal backing vocal is by Emma Nadeau (I think). Just a fantastic song.

Much of the dark subject matter that permeates LITT's music flows from some gut-wrenching personal tragedy Picker has endured. To his credit, he's not afraid to talk about it, but to the band's credit, the songs certainly stand on their own musically and lyrically. A quick google search will find all that stuff. What am I, your waiter or something? Check out another really pro video for another great song -- "Walk Around the Lake".

The intrepid Chapel Hill label Trekky Records put out the original iteration of "All Alone in an Empty House", and the band's earlier EP "Time Taunts Me", so here's to them and their vision. Lost in the Trees is on the road (playing in Seattle as I write). Go say hello to them and buy their records.

Lost in the Trees website

Trekky Records website

Emerging Seattle Bands: Whalebones

Do you like '60s and '70s Neil Young/Crazy Horse style rock? If so, I think you might like Whalebones. Whalebones are a Seattle three piece composed of Justin Deary, Faustine Hudson and Bradford Button. The music reflects psych and folk rock influences with a lot of fuzzy guitar. The group is finishing an album for release later this year.

"I Don't Want to Live in the City No More"

"Surrounded by Fire" live at the Sunset Tavern in Seattle, April 2, 2011:

"Hawk Feathers" live at the Comet Tavern in Seattle, February 2011:


Monday, April 25, 2011

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 11: Zoey Van Goey

Zoey Van Goey is referred to as a Glasgow band, which makes sense as they are based in Glasgow and are signed to the respected Chemical Underground label founded by the members of The Delgados. The details are a bit more complicated as the founding members are non-Scots Mike Brennan (from Canada), Michael John McCarthy (from Ireland), and Kim Moore (from England), all of whom met at Glasgow University. Adam Scott added to the mix in 2010 (I don't know his country of origin).

Their first single was "Foxtrot Vandals" (2007)

The band's talent is evident by their music, and by the people they attract. "Foxtrot Vandals" was produced by Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch and released on Say Dirty Records (the label founded by the twins who anchor Glasgow band Wake the President). Their second single, and first LP The Cage Was Unlocked All Along, both were produced by Paul Savage, the former drummer for The Delgados. The style is adventuresome and eclectic. One reviewer referred to them as 'the Postal Service with a sense of humor', but I think that is too limiting. My view, which is rarely wrong, is that they are more like a combination of Yo La Tengo, the poppier stylings of The Delgados and The Magnetic Fields. And that alone should interest the discriminating reader. The second LP, Propeller Versus Wings, also produced by Savage, was released in February 2011.

"The Cake and Eating It", from the new album:

The songs on Propeller Versus Wings touch on a number of styles, but all seem to spring from that same artistic personality, a bit goofy, a bit nerdy, a bit adventuresome, and a penchant for entertaining.

"You Told the Drunks I Knew Karate", from the new album:

"My Aviator", from the new album:

My Aviator from Eoin .N. Devlin on Vimeo.

By way of background, "We Don't Have That Kind Of Bread" from the 2009 release The Cage Was Unlocked All Along

Artist's page at Chemikal Underground

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-11: The Rayographs; Morning Favorites; Jamaican singles

The Rayographs are Astrud Steehouder (guitar & vocals); Jessamine Tierney (bass & vcoals) and Amy Hurst (drums & vocals). They play a their own take of bluesy psychedelia with more than a touch of garage. Their first LP, Rayographs, will be released next week.

"Space of the Halls"

By the way, the band seems to be somewhat indifferent to whether "The" appears before "Rayographs". But don't confuse this band with "Rayograph" (singular), as that is a different artist.

When a fairly new band draws comparisons to Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, The Pixies, and Throwing Muses, and their recorded work is likened to Nick Cave's Tupelo, I'd be crazy not to take notice. And so would you, dear reader.

Live performance, October 2009


Last year French group Morning Favorites released an album entitled The Five Red Flags. Here is the single "Every Single Day":


Members of the group are Remi Denis, Maxime Morredu, Romain Villard, and Jean Marc Wenger. The music is psychedelic pop. Check out "Closed Up in a Star" on the Myspace link below.

Myspace (with more songs)

And now for a modern reggae set from Jamaica. First, Shaggy, Mr. Vegas and Outlaw Josey Wales laud "Sweet Jamaica". The video was filmed in 14 parishes on the island.

Next is the sweet voiced Gyptian in "Nah Let Go".

(Baby) Cham, with Bounty Killer and Mykal Rose, in "Stronger".

Friday Old Stuff -- Archers of Loaf / C.O.C.

Despite, or maybe because of, a healthy crop of new bands emerging from the Chapel Hill - Raleigh - Durham scene the past few years, we've also had a bit of a renaissance in these parts, with brilliant recent albums from area titans Superchunk and a reunited Polvo. Hell, there even have been multiple sightings of the great 90s punk band Pipe. Still, I think most of us were shocked a few weeks ago to read in the music press that Archers of Loaf had made an unannounced reappearance, playing a set at the Cat's Cradle as the opener for Raleigh's The Love Language.

Even so, there wasn't a whole lot of reason to believe it might be a full-blown "we're getting the band back together" sort of thing. Eric Bachmann has quieted down (some may say "matured"), and gone on to create a beautiful, separate music legacy with his Crooked Fingers project. In fact, the last I had heard, he had moved away from Chatham County and was living out west somewhere -- probably with a bunch of damned hippies or something. Then last week it was announced that AoL will be playing a nationwide tour this summer. So is it too much to begin hoping that this will be more than a nostalgia trip, and that we'll be seeing some new material making its way into their sets? Go see them and find out.

I think my favorite Archers song is "The Lowest Part is Free" from the EP "Vs. the Greatest of All Time." It's a pretty acerbic take on the music industry circa 1995 ("got nothing to say and you say it anyway").

And here's "Might", from "Icky Mettle". Can one, in two minutes, better capture the sound of the Chapel Hill scene in '94 than this?

It's coming on 30 years since a hardcore punk band called Corrosion of Conformity played its first shows as a band at the old Fallout Shelter at 2 S. West Street here in Raleigh. A lot has changed. The Fallout Shelter was replaced by a neighborhood gay bar in the mid-90s (I know the owners and they're great folks), and Woody Weatherman's parents' jewelry store a half mile up Hillsborough Street closed a couple of years ago and is now a Loco-Pops. Some things haven't changed. The Roast Grill is still across the street, and still has the old Coca-cola sign with the big block letters advertising "HOT WEINERS"-- all the more amusing given the "new" tenant across the way.

And COC changed as well. These changes were not only in the lineup (and there were many of those), but also in musical direction, as they seamlessly became one of the better metal bands in the 1990s. With "Blind", "Deliverance" and "Wiseblood", COC could point to a five year output of groundbreaking music that has been matched only rarely in any decade. I don't know that it's accurate to say COC ever "broke up", but last year they began playing shows as a trio again for the first time since the 80s. The lineup of Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean and Reed Mullin last played together in support of the 1985 album "Animosity", but are back in the studio recording an album of new material. They are also back on the road, playing last week in Holland at the Roadburn Festival (curated by Sunn O)))) (yes I spent some time wondering what to do about closing that previous parenthetical).

Here they are last week playing "Holier" from "Animosity".

Here's the classic "Big Problems" from the "Clerks" soundtrack.

This is a good live clip of "Wise Blood" from a show in Spain. Woody can really shred.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Old Stuff: Neil Young with Dylan and The Band: "The Weight" from Wolfgang's Vault

Wolfgang's Vault is really an amazing website. You truly never know what you're going to find on there, and the updates are well worth subscribing to. Here's an example:

Concert Summary

Bob Dylan - guitar, vocals
Neil Young - guitar, piano, vocals
Tim Drummond - guitar
Ben Keith - pedal steel guitar
Rick Danko - bass, vocals
Garth Hudson - keyboards
Levon Helm - drums, vocals

Following the outstanding performances that proceeded it, this closing All-Star set from the 1975 Bay Area S.N.A.C.K. benefit had a lot to live up to. With a lineup that featured Neil Young and Bob Dylan, backed by two members from Neil's group, the Stray Gators, and three from the Band, one would expect this to be an incredible set. In some respects it certainly is, but the lack of rehearsal opportunity and technical problems prevent it from being the extraordinary performance it had the potential to be. This is not to say that there's anything less than enjoyable about the set, but it's more of an example of great musicians getting together for the sheer fun of it than a demonstration of collaborative innovation. The performances are loose and ragged, but definitely not without their charm.

Listen to more Neil Young at Wolfgang's Vault.j

It seemed fitting on an Old Stuff Friday to give these fine folks a plug, just in case there's anyone coming across our blog who doesn't already know about Wolfgang's Vault.

REVIEW: The Raveonettes - Raven in the Grave

The Raveonettes have always sounded both fresh and familiar, an updated swaggering sound that evokes fond personal memories and more generalized feelings of excitement and a hint of danger. The familiar is easy to understand because there is a decided retro feel to the reverb and distortion of the instrumentation and the boy-girl vocals. The freshness derives from the care in production and musicianship, as well as the evident intensity in the delivery.

For me, the world conjured by The Raveonettes' previous albums was the world of warm summer nights and running a Dodge Charger through the 1960s-1970s from town to the waterside bar at the Chain of Lakes (my kids aren't reading this, are they?). The only sure promise was cheap beer and the chance of checking out the other sex. But there was the chance of more--loving, fighting, crashing. Some nights ended happy and some did not, but all ended with stories.

So now we come to the 5th album from Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, Raven in the Grave. The first single and opening track is "Recharge and Revolt". The beginning is recognizably The Raveonettes, but after the introduction, the synths swell up and provide a carpet of sound to carry the song.

The second track,"War in Heaven" begins with spare instrumentation. When the vocals drop in, they are soft and haunting. Several tracks later in the album take this approach as well. But whether the song is fast or amped up, or slow and soft, the music is enveloping and gorgeous.

The third track, "Forget that You're Young", is worthy of being a single. It has a bit of the bounce of previous work from the band, but feels more restrained and a bit sad:

To my ears, this album continues the magic that is The Raveonettes, but that doesn't mean it is the same. It still is night music, but generally it is slower and darker. It evokes coming home well after midnight, tired and driving slowly while peering though the fog. Or talking with friends about disappointments or opportunities past, friends that didn't make it that far or who might not make it much farther. The generous use of synths, in addition to the characteristic careful guitar work, enhance the somber atmosphere.

"Ignite" is one of my favorite songs on the album:

It isn't that album I thought it would be, but I very much like the album that it is.


Old Stuff Friday - The Soul Corner - Ray Charles

Is Ray Charles a soul, blues, country or a jazz singer? Yes.

Whatever genre or style of song Ray attempted, he redefined it as his very own and infused it with an astounding amount of soul.

I'm watched many Ray clips this week looking for just the right one, a wonderful if damn near impossible task. My conclusion: We could select a Ray Charles video every Friday for the next year and have a great series here. While we have to go with just this week, we will stretch our usual limit of just 1 song to 3 songs, as after all, this is Ray Charles.

First, up, "My Bonnie" reportedly recorded live in Brazil in 1963. Love Ray's vocal and David "Fathead" Newman's sax solo:

Next up, the classic "Hit The Road Jack" from the same concert. The Raelettes backing is terrific, especially the searing solo vocal by Margie Hendricks, one of the great all time moments in American music ("You ain't got money, you're justa no good!").

One more, the original recorded version so perfect we're going with that. Again, Margie Hendricks' vocal is slamming. Here's the great Ray Charles, tearing it up in the Soul Corner, on "(Night Time is) The Right Time":

Thursday, April 21, 2011

REVIEW: Ringo Deathstarr - Colour Trip

Oh, man is this good. Texas band with a retro-pop sound and a goofy name; have I heard that before? Yes I have...though I'm pretty sure they don't share any members with the great Deathray Davies, perhaps John Dufilho's band name was an inspiration of sorts... Ringo Deathstarr prove once again (if proof were still needed) that originality is overrated. What are we hearing? Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, sure, but it's really well-done.

They released a self-titled album in 2007, a single in 2009, and this album Colour Trip in February 2011. They're hitting on all cylinders: short songs, short album, lots of fuzz and great female lead vocals (Alex Gehring), offset by an occasional duet with male lead vocalist Elliott Frazier. These folks deserve a wider hearing. Tell all your friends.

Ringo Deathstarr Facebook

Ringo Deathstarr at SVC Records Website

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Morning Jacket: Circuital, due out May 31...

My Morning Jacket has a new one due out soon, in case you haven't heard... Looks like it is timed, coincidentally or not, to lead right into Bonnaroo... Follow this link to sign up and receive a free download in your mailbox.

And here's the video, such as it is...

Song sounds pretty good, that guy sure can sing and they've got some pretty good guitars on this one. Looking forward to it.

New Sounds of Scotland--Part 10: Penguins Kill Polar Bears; Johnny Reb

It seems that a large percentage of bands these days celebrate "the bear". We have Grizzly Bear, Bear Bones, Bear Driver, Panda Bear, Panda Su, and so on. Well, these lads from Edinburgh buck the ursine trend by unabashedly celebrating the little known bear killers--penguins. Penguins Kill Polar Bears describes their genre as loud, vocal post punk. You may notice a similarity to The Twilight Sad. They are signed to Mountain Halo Records in the UK and Dromedary Records in the US and have released a couple of EPs. The band sports a twin guitar attack, plus bass and drums. The members are Ben Proudlock, Gavin Cormack, Kieran McGuckian, and Fraser Sanaghan.

"Sapling" is a new video that will be released on May 23rd:




Johnny Reb is a Glasgow pop band. Their album, The Portugal Years, was recorded near the end of 2010. The band is Matt Mellor (vocals/guitar), Felix Bucklow (drums), Phil Hunter (bass), and Joe Bucklow (lead guitar). I think I'd describe the sound as punky Celtic (think Mike Scott's Waterboys) indie pop, but if you need another opinion the producer called it "Dire Straits on speed". But labels aside, I really enjoy the album and hope you will as well.

The biography on their Facebook page is amusing, but perhaps not 100 percent factual.

Bandcamp -- Free download of album

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 9: Little Eskimos; Zoobizaretta; Nevada Base

We're happy to present three excellent bands from Scotland today:

What do you do when suffering from heartbreak? If you're Kevin Harper, you write a bunch of kick ass songs, find some bandmates and found Little Eskimos. In addition to Kevin, the band may consist of Alban Dickson, Neil McCulloch, William Shearer and Nick Cheetham. Then again, it may not. The Facebook page is somewhat contradictory on that point.

"Merry Christmas My Dear"

Merry christmas my dear by Little Eskimos

Little Eskimos self-released Are You Still With Us, and are working at writing and playing new music. They are based in central Scotland.

"Get Yourself Together"

Regardless of the impetus for starting a band, this is not music for moping. It is good indie rock, and I wish the band good luck.

"Broken Heart Brigade"

broken heart brigade by Little Eskimos

Soundcloud (six songs)

Zoobizaretta is a Glasgow indie pop group with a big sound and male/female vocals. Their entire album, Foam & Leachate, is embedded below. I especially like the second track, "Something New". However, I sincerely recommend the entire album; it is note perfect pop music.

The band members are Matt Clark, Marlous Peterse, Lynsey McCabe, Ali Simpson, Jay Simpson, Toby Ross, Wull Swales.


Another band I expect to hear, and hear more of, in the future is Glasgow's Nevada Base. The band members are Albert, Andy, Gus and James. The play unabashed electro pop/rock. They remind me a bit of Depeche Mode, and seem destined to provide the soundtrack for many a dancefloor. I don't know much about them but their new single, "Love in My Mind", is very good. It was filmed at Glasgow's famed live venue -- King Tut's Wah Wah Hut and is released this month on the Flowers in the Dustbin label.

"Spacer Woman"

Here is a Soundcloud set of their songs, including a few remixes:

Releases by NevadaBase

Flowers in the Dustbin

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Emerging Seattle Bands: Tea Cozies; The Lonely Forest

Garage rock/British indie rock Tea Cozies aren't signed, which is a shame. The band consists two females and two males -- Jessi Reed, Brady Harvey, Jeff Anderson and Garrett Croxon -- and has its origins in Colorado, although Seattle now is home. The band released a 5-track EP in 2009, and then an LP entitled Hot Probs. The single below was released earlier this year and the group is working on their second LP.

"Dead Man's Sister", a download of which is available at Bandcamp

Dead Man's Sister from Tea Cozies on Vimeo.


The Lonely Forest is a rock band from Anacortes, Washington, on the shores of Puget Sound. The members are singer/guitarist/keyboardist John Van Deusen, guitarist Tony Ruland, drummer Braydn Krueger, and bassist Eric Sturgeon, and they formed the band as teenagers in 2005. The band won a best new band competition, gigged extensively, played the Bumbershoot and Sasquatch festivals and played a sold out show at Seattles Showbox venue. They are signed to Trans Records, the label founded by Chris Walla, producer and a member of Death Cab for Cutie.

"We Sing in Time"

"Woe is Me" from the 2009 release:

KEXP inStudio 26.2 - THE LONELY FOREST from More Dust Than Digital on Vimeo.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Record Store Saturday - Music Millennium, Portland OR

The kids and I headed out to Music Millennium in inner East Portland today to celebrate Record Store Day. I took WYMA's advice and picked up the new Feelies record.

Music Millennium, like Grimey's in Nashville covered in an earlier post by John below, is a great independent record store, and an institution in Portland.

It's a rambling funky labyrinth of a store, with a couple stairs leading up to a narrow mezzanine where they keep their current top selling new releases (which today included Red Fang, Kurt Vile, the Decemberists and R.E.M. all covered in recent WYMA reviews below, and local artist Alela Diane). Continue on and you'll find a few stairs that lead up to the blues section in a crowded balcony. Don't miss the electronica section near the bottom of those stairs.

Across the large middle of the store is a terrific used section, near the jazz, R&B and hip hop sections, which lead to another room with the country, folk and children's music. At the far end of all that is a door that will take you into what is in essence a separate store, the very large classical area. Personally, I have no idea what goes on in there, but my hunch is it's remarkably robust.

Sale bins and sound stations and big box set areas are scattered throughout, wedged here and there. Stuff is crammed everywhere, including a ton of vinyl, plus music books, magazines, posters, pins, stickers, you name it.

Plastered on one wall are lists of each employee's top 10 releases of the previous year, with a mid-year reckoning coming soon. I've discovered many a great new record there over the years, able to line my tastes up with one of the resident experts and thus willing to risk a new purchase of something unknown.

The staff are all ages, some have been there seemingly forever, and they are absurdly knowledgeable. This is record nerd central, not that I know anyone like that. It's the only place in town I could go on the day Solomon Burke died and know I could talk to someone even sadder than I was but far more versed in various odd import and other releases of The Bishop's.

The store is also the headquarters of the "Keep Portland Weird" movement, its black and gold bumper sticker a ubiquitous sight in this city.

All of this wonderful mayhem is overseen by Portland's king of music, store owner Terry Currier, a warm and generous bear of a guy whose love of music is surpassed perhaps only by his love of his customers and staff. And Terry is a fixture at live shows in Portland, supporting both local bands and touring acts, many of whom come by the store for in-store appearances while in town. Steve Earle will play up in the store's small balcony this Mother's Day, while the Drive By Truckers recently played there as well.

Here's a clip of The Walkmen playing an in-store at Music Millennium:

Read about Terry in this terrific feature by my friend Peter Carlin:

Any trip to Portland should include a stop at Powell's Books and Music Millennium. If you aren't coming here soon, check out the store's web site:

Midnight World Pop Scout-10: Jamie Woon; Hiatus; Dirty Beaches

This week's edition of our look at music around the world

This week British songwriter/performer Jamie Woon released Mirrowriting on Polydor. Woon, who is the son of Celtic folk singer Mae McKenna, previously mined the singer songwriter genre, but Mirrorwriting has a decidedly more urban, beat oriented feel that well-suits his vocals. So, it is a bit of dubstep, a bit of R&B, and a bit of indie pop. Purists from any of those genres may decry the compromises, but I think they would be missing the point. It seems to me that Woon's music is not consciously wed to any genre, but picks and chooses as needed. It is a good album.

"Lady Luck"

"Spiral" (live)

"Night Air" (2010)


Hiatus is the performing name used by Cyrus Shahrad. Shahrad's family fled Iran at the time of the revolution, and he was raised in the Brixton neighborhood of London. He has worked as a journalist as well as as a musician. The first video is "Save Yourself", which uses footage of pre-revolution Iraq.

In a trip to Iran in the last decade while on assignment for the Sunday Times of London, Shahrad discovered his father's old music collection in his grandmother's house. He started experimenting with mixing the music that reflected his London experiences with his father's middle eastern music. The result is his album Ghost Notes:

Ghost Notes LP by Hiatus

Here is another album track, "Insurrection" about the Brixton race riots in the early '80s, using vocals from reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson:

(Thanks to Ed at the 17 Seconds blog for exposing me to Hiatus' work.)

Dirty Beaches is the project of Taiwan-born, Canadian-based Alex Zhang Hungtai. The album Badlands was released in March. The style is dark-tinged late night roots rock.

"Lord Knows Best", from Badlands:

"True Blue"

The 2010 7" "IBB006 Golden Desert Sun"

Alex's blog which is a worthwhile read.

REVIEW: Midgetmen - Loud Enough

From Austin, Texas comes self-described "slop-punk" outfit The Midgetmen. Judging by the sound, the similarity to d boon's long-lamented outfit cannot be a coincidence... especially given that some of this album put me in mind of a British blues shouter (say, Ronnie Lane) fronting a "turn it up to 11" punk bar band. So, Ronnie Lane fronting the Minutemen. Got it?

First two songs are a declaration of purpose, to the pursuit of fun and beer. These guys are a bar band, and as my co-writer JD has said, more eloquently than me, there is nothing like a good bar band. "Beer's gone, we're gone..." how many bands have lived that out? These guys just put it in a song. "Unforgettable" is a thrash-it-out raver...

But it's on songs 3-6, "King Kong", "Glue Factory", "Race to the Bottom", and "Honus" that they really show their stuff. While different, these songs are all memorable and well-done. Some of the playing betrays an intent by the Midgetmen to "outgrow" the slop-punk label (at least to my ears)... but then, you're into "Sword Fight" and some splendid devolution.

You can check out some of their old stuff on their Bandcamp page:

Midgetmen on Bandcamp

And you can buy it on iTunes, or wait for the great unveiling/Titus Andronicus show on April 21 in Austin... I'd expect they'll be selling some there or you can order via their website:

Midgetmen Website (Buy Here)

And here's a videoj of them performing "The Rodeo Came to Town" from 2008 release Show Pony:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Old Stuff Friday: Robert Plant in the 80's

Sometimes you'll see this guy around Nashville. And even with all the very, very famous and talented people who live and work in this town, he draws stares. Yes, I know he's hit it big with the alt/country crowd by teaming up with Allison Kraus, but I still remember when he started out on his own... it was a bit of a shock, the synthesizers, the drum machines, even the phrasing, it was all very different from the raw sounds of Led Zeppelin.

My favorite song from this period, by far, is "Ship of Fools" from 1988's Now and Zen... I'm a sucker for the phrasing in the little "I know why" phrase he repeats between verses. The guitar's okay, of course his singing is very good, but that little break makes the whole song for me.

If you listen to a good bit of this stuff, you can't help but picture the 80's - Arnold Schwarzenegger's shades, Miami Vice linen leisure suits, an oiled-up Sly Stallone... Plant himself observed as follows in an interview he gave to Uncut magazine in 2005: "by the time Now and Zen came out in '89, it looked like I was big again. It was a Top 10 album on both sides of the Atlantic. But if I listen to it now, I can hear that a lot of the songs got lost in the technology of the time."

Yeah, but the guy sure can sing.

New Sounds of Scotland (New Videos)

Here are two bands we've covered previously, but they've released some videos that I really like, so I'm sharing them with you. Yes, it all is included in your WYMA subscription. And the third video is a Scottish band I don't know much about yet, but they seem to be a dance rock outfit.

"You Only Went Out to Get Drunk Last Night" was one of the really good songs on last year's Shouting at Wildlife by Kid Canaveral. But it only gets better with this stop action treatment:

"The Boat Ride" by Weather Barn got the retro treatment in this video:

GoGoBot, "First Class Fool":

Old Stuff Friday - The Soul Corner - "I Can't Get Next to You"

Motown's forays into more of a rock'n'roll sound weren't always successful. But The Temptations were well suited for it. For my money, "I Can't Get to Next To You" released in 1969 was not only the best Motown rock'n'roll moment, with its wah wah guitar and psychedelic sound, but also simply one of the all time great Motown songs. And of course this is after one of Motown's greatest singers David Ruffin had left the Tempts, though they still had Eddie Kendricks, Dennis Edwards and the rest of the crew.

The first 25 seconds here show the real genius of Motown. "Hey everybody, hold it, hold it, listen." Cue the beautiful little Earl Van Dyke piano roll, then the music comes with a quick triple shot - bam bam bam! Then be still you loud horns for a little more gorgeous piano then a new bam - the vocals "I [pause] can turn the greyest sky blue...."

The song has barely begun yet it already has about 4 pop hooks under its belt! Then they really get it going - you are a goner by the time they get to the fantastic chorus.

I've heard this song thousands of times, and it still kills me, makes me really happy.

Had a bad week? This'll cure what what ails you brothers and sisters.

A song so good Al Green covered it. No surprise, his version is wonderful, slowed way down with the Rev's signature all over it. Though of course we knew Al Green could make a ship sail on dry land.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

REVIEW: The Feelies - Here Before

Aside from Glenn Mercer's solo release Wheels in Motion in 2007, we haven't had any new music from these folks in 19 years. NINETEEN years. And I have missed them tremendously.

Of course, the anticipation (dare I say, trepidation) was high as I popped in the disc. Would they be a mere shadow of their former selves? Or would the intervening 19 years melt away in a wash of layered guitars and laid-back vocals? The latter, definitely the latter. Given that nobody's voice sounds exactly like it did 19 years ago, I'm impressed at how well the Feelies have managed to recreate their signature sound without sounding at all as though they're going through the motions.

There are a few differences, a little bit more "out-front" guitar on a few of the tracks... but if you've come looking for what I always loved about the Feelies -- a cool, Velvets-inspired fusion of punk and power-pop -- you will not be disappointed. Yes, much of it sounds the same. And it has been that way with the Feelies since The Good Earth... the piano on the beat with the guitars on "Should Be Gone", the way the backbeat moves along under the guitars, from strumming along to blazing solos, and the understated vocals. But when you have a sound this great, why would you change it up? Aside from a couple of surprises: the intro and solo on "When You Know", which quite honestly put me in mind of something by the Sex Pistols, and "Time Is Right", which reminds me in a good way of The Stooges, the record delivers just what you'd expect... and just what I'd hoped for.

Listen to "Should Be Gone"

Should Be Gone - The Feelies by BarNoneRecords

And stream the record here:

AOL Spinner Full CD Stream of Feelies' Here Before

Website: The Feelies at Bar-None Records

Website: Night of the Living Feelies

REVIEW: Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

I stumbled on this when it was playing in the record store recently. I couldn't leave the store until the record was done, thinking the entire time that the next song couldn't possibly be as good as the last one, only to be blown away again and again, one by one. By the time I got to the stunning finale "Ghost Town", I was at the Music Millennium counter gladly handing over my $14.

I didn't know anything about Kurt Vile, had never heard any of his prior stuff and honestly can't tell you if it's all this great. But I sure will vouch for Smoke Ring for My Halo.

It is a record that reveals itself with multiple listens, making you work a little for your money. The beautiful finger picking acoustic guitar work is offset by the tough and melancholic singing. Vile's voice grabs you, pulls you in, makes you try your best to really hear him, wondering what he's truly trying to tell us. The lyrics are emotional and nearly conversational without being the slightest bit indulgent.

Here's the opening track "Baby's Arms":

Just when you think you have a handle on this understated trippy folk rock thing he's doing, he comes with the electric guitars on "Puppet to The Man" and adds all this noisy texture.

If you haven't heard him, he's hard to pigeonhole, which is one more thing to like about it. I hear some Brian Jones-era Stones, and even some Brian Jonestown Massacre, but also some really disparate stuff like Neil Young, Dinosaur Jr., Smiths, Low Anthem, Lou Reed and Joseph Arthur, and a whole lot of Kurt Vile. This is a strong and original voice.

I love the production here, shout out to John Agnello. The piano, tambourine, keyboards, percussions, harp, mellotron and various hard to identify sounds just sneak in there, subtle, beneath the guitars and voice. But just right. I'm especially digging the terrific drum sounds, especially on songs "Society Is My Friend" and "Ghost Town".

Here's a good intro to this terrific record by my favorite discovery of 2011, the Philadelphia-based Kurt Vile, with what is probably the most accessible song on the record:

Artist web page:

He's on tour now, so catch him if you can. Attention our loyal readers in Denmark, Mr. Vile will be in Copenhagen on May 12.

Record company link:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Record Store Day, April 16! A look at Grimey's in Nashville...

Coming Saturday, April 16, Record Store Day. With too many promotions and limited issue items to list here (check the link for more comprehensive info)...

Well, I was gonna write a little profile of my favorite music store and the wonderful folks at Grimey's, but I can instead point you to this excellent interview posted by Wax Poetics magazine (which, by the way, I can't recommend highly enough for their excellent writing and research in the areas of funk, soul, reggae, dance and other pop music, as well as their promotion of vinyl and other physical forms of music).

Vinyl Fanatics Unite! RSD Elite Record Store #2: Grimey's

I do, however, want to say a few words in praise of Grimey's, which I've been fortunate enough to patronize since it was a little used music store in a house on Bransford Avenue around the corner from 100 Oaks and Baja Burrito. I met My Morning Jacket's Jim James there. As MMJ was delivering copies of its CD At Dawn to record stores, Grimey's founder Mike Grimes was kind enough to introduce me to MMJ's manager, who he observed was "another one of those GbV fanatics". I bought a copy of At Dawn, which was playing on the speakers and when Martini introduced me to Jim, I said "This is really, really good." Jim looked me in the eye and said "You should listen to it with headphones on."

My first exposure to the Black Keys was via former employee Mickey Parks, who not only played the CD Thickfreakness for me because he thought I'd enjoy it, but sold my daughter a vinyl copy of The Big Come-Up when she was looking for a birthday present for me. Seriously, could you ask for better service?

Speaking of GbV, it's great to have a fellow Pollard fanatic in town and stocking the shelves at a record store. Co-owner Doyle Davis is a tremendous local resource in so many ways: Funk DJ, impresario, artist manager...

If you live in Nashville or the surrounding area, likely you already know about Grimey's. If you don't, you're in for a treat. Otherwise, if you ever plan to visit Nashville, make sure you leave a little time to visit this shop. Great music, great folks and a great, great vibe.

Here are a few features folks have been inspired to write about Grimey's over the years:

Grit and Grimey (Nashville Scene, 1999)

Grimey's Record Shop Rejoices in High Fidelity Coolness (MTSU Sidelines, 2004)

At a Mainstream Record Store, Mainstream Country Fights for Shelf Space (NPR Music News, 2010) Local Store: Grimey's (2010)

Check the website for the Record Store Day schedule at Grimey's. Among other things, Jason Isbell will be playing there that day... and many of the 100's of special releases and treats planned by record companies to promote and support independent retailers like Grimey's will be available as well.

I think you can still get a copy of this EP. And if your timing is right, you might be there for the next ridiculously exclusive rock moment.

And if you're not in Nashville, check AIMS (Alliance of Independent Music Stores) or CIMS (Coalition of Independent Music Stores) for a similar retailer near you. They're sure to be having some fun on Saturday, and great music all year round. Feel free to post a comment in support of your favorite record store, too.

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 8: Edinburgh School for the Deaf; Sebastian Dangerfield; Admiral Fallow

Edinburgh School for the Deaf is an Edinburgh band formed from the ashes of two members' former project, Saint Jude's Infirmary, and renamed from Deserters Deserve Death. Fortunately, their musical chops exceed their appetite for change. The music is self-described as "deathjangle" and "noise pop", and they employ the soft loud technique reminiscent of The Delgados.

Here you can stream their not yet released EP She Shot Him A Disinterested Glance below, but if you only want to listen to one track to try them out, here is the demo for "Orpheus":

EP Stream:

The members of the band are Ashley (vocal and "sweet" guitar), Jamie (drums), Grant (shouting and bass) and Kieran (vocals and "sourer" guitar).

"11 Kinds of Loneliness":


And just for fun and a bit of background, here is a video for "Goodbye Jack Vettriano" by Saint Jude's Infirmary. The Scottish artist, Vettriano, appears in the video, smoking in the beach chair. And the lyric "'love' is tattooed on his knuckles, 'cut here' on his wrist" just slays me.

Sebastian Dangerfield are Jason Irvine, Stuart McGachan, David Thompson and Jim Watson from Edinburgh who play indie rock with a big dose of Americana and a touch of crunchy southern rock. I think their first recorded output will be an EP named The Sound of the Old Machines is officially released later this month but you can stream, and probably buy, all four songs right now at the Bandcamp link below. And it is really worth listening to, not because the genre is anything new but because they do it well.

"You Played Your Part, Singer"

You Played Your Part, Singer! by sdangerfield

"The Sycamore Tree"

The Sycamore Tree by sdangerfield


Admiral Fallow released a fine folk rock album in 2010 (to my ears, far better than the Mumford gang) that also boasted one of the best album titles of the year: Boots Met My Face. (The album was produced by Paul Savage, drummer for the disbanded Delgados who is making a name for himself as a producer.) The band played SxSW last month. Here is their single "Squealing Pigs" from that album:

Until last year they were known as the Brother Louis Collective. The band is fronted by singer-songwriter Louis Abbott and also includes Kevin Brolly, Phillip Hague, Sarah Haynes, and Joseph Rattray. Instrumentation includes guitars, piano, clarinet, flute, and upright bass.

"Subbuteo" from their live performance and the T in the Park festival in Glasgow last year.

Shared artists' site

Monday, April 11, 2011

REVIEW: Crystal Stilts -- In Love With Oblivion

The noise pop Alight of Night by Crystal Stilts was one of my favorite albums of 2008, so I was eager to listen to their second album In Love With Oblivion, which will be released tomorrow. The album opener, "Sycamore Tree" begins with a building cinematic-style wave of sound. At about the one minute mark the instrumentation becomes a guitar groove that, along with bass, drums and organ, propels the song along with a bit of Ennio Morricone feel. The vocals are a baritone reminiscent of the late Mark Sandman of Morphine. While the song is recognizably a Crystal Stilts song, it also is a clear and intriguing expansion and refinement of their craft. At that point I suspected that I was in for a musical treat.

If the first song was the nibble at the bait, the second song springs the trap and captures me for the duration of the album. Not only is it my favorite song on the album, to my ears it is a power pop masterpiece that ranks as one of the best songs of the year so far. Here is "Through the Floor":

Crystal Stilts "Through The Floor" from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

The third track, "Silver Sun", is a delightful jangle pop song that begins with the sound of a car crash. The album continues with slower songs such as "Alien Rivers", which successfully merges a vamping rhythm with jangly guitars and an ominous vocal, and the delightfully twangy and jangly "Precarious Stair, as well as faster delights such as "Flying Into the Sun" -- a furious, but still melodic, epitome of noise pop -- and this album highlight: "Shake the Shackles":

Crystal Stilts was founded by Brad Hargett and JB Townsend in Florida, but currently is based in New York. The current line up also includes Andy Adler and Kyle Forester. Frankie Rose (formerly of The Vivian Girls) was the drummer until her recent departure to work as a songwriter and performer in her own group. The band is signed to Slumberland.

Crystal Stilts' sound has always pushed the right buttons for me: Jangle; distorted noise pop; and baritone vocals. This outing includes organs and a touch of surf to go with the psychedelic. While their first album contained several gems, this sophomore effort seems more focused and more varied. The songs don't rely on guitars and style, but include a more noticeable rhythm section and vocals higher in the mix. Even more impressive is the band's ability to craft songs that reflect the musical touchstones from the 60s, 80s and more recently, while still being unmistakably original and unconfined.

"Flying Into the Sun"

Stream the entire album here.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Violet May: "What You Say"

Sheffield band, formed in 2009, with some impressive connections... I would say you ought to check out the Violet May if you're a fan of Doves, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, or (for the older readers here) Jesus and Mary Chain (they've made a video with Douglas Hart)... they seem to be generating a bit of buzz in Europe.

This track "What You Say" will be part of a 5-track EP to be released in June. We'll be looking forward to it. You can visit their MySpace (link below) to view videos, listen to additional tracks and learn a bit more.

Free track to download:

Violet May on MySpace

REVIEW: Mars Classroom - The New Theory of Everything

The New Theory of Everything finds Robert Pollard working with a new team in a power trio that plays everything from angular pop/punk to wistful jangly ballads, and plays it as well as anyone working today. The band consists of Gary Waleik of Big Dipper and Volcano Suns on guitars, bass, keyboards and Robert Beerman of Pell Mell on drums.

The first song, "New Theory", is a power pop masterpiece... the drumming, the guitars and of course Bob's way with a chorus all combine to kick off the record with a winner, and they never let up. "Man, Wine, Power" drives along a little faster and, again, the drums and guitar are terrific, as is the insistent chorus lead-in - "Every day of the year" - where the vocals and a guitar riff are on the same beat, tension is created by repetition the first two times it's played and then on the third repetition it's released into a soaring guitar solo.

"There Never Was a Sea of Love" has a wistful quality that Pollard fans will recognize from previous collaborations with Tommy Keene (The Keene Brothers) and Mac McCaughan (Go Back Snowball). If those aren't familiar to you, you've got another treat in store. "Pre-med's a Trip" is one of those wonderful Pollard conversation songs with lots of changes in a short timespan... "It's Good to Be Bug Boy" combines the goofy title and lyrics with Wire-style pop/punk music...

This record's got a little bit of everything, including Bob's wonderful wordplay, instantly catchy melodies and some excellent musicianship from Waleik and Beerman... and I do mean excellent. While instantly recognizable as Pollard's music, this is a different combo with a different sound, and the whole thing comes together so well it's hard to believe they haven't been a band for years. Just goes to show, I suppose, that the Four P's are something of a universal language.

I won't go song-by-song, although I certainly could. The record can be sampled (and bought in digital format) here.

But the final song deserves your attention. It's a beautiful ballad with reflective lyrics:

Without a smile or a frown
these kids don't want to go down
and that's the difference between
you and the cyclone machine
they say you're too tightly strung
that's why you're not having fun
but that's not what it's about
you're trying to figure things out
too many obstacles flung
I guess you wish you were young

And here's a nice video someone did on YouTube, combining the song with some footage from a family reunion. I think it's inspired, really:


Buy the disc at Factory of Raw Essentials.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-9: Airlines, Honey Pies, Alpine, Deadly Winters

Our weekly exploration of pop music of various genres from around the world.

I think we're all ready for some "Island Disco", aren't we? Well, Airlines is banking on it (please ignore the bad pun). And where would you expect to find the perfect merger of chill island tranquility and disco? Why, Los Angeles of course, where crafting fantasies is both art and industry.

Below is the entirety of the EP Visions that was released earlier this year.


And since we're in a fun mode, and an island mode, and headed west anyway, why not check in with Australia. Tonight, the island continent presents The Honey Pies. The Honey Pies are four guys who describe their style as pre-post-rock, or, as they explain "Combining the unassuming guitar pop of the 50’s and 60’s with some of the fuzzier, kookier rock of the 90’s and pre-apocalypse". Here is their video for the song "Don't Mention the War" (which I expect is a Monty Python reference, and that earns points in this blogger's world):

Of course, being a diligent reader, you probably can't avoid noticing the frequent use of Gary Busey's visage in the video. I know how exciting that is for all of us, but the band provided the following notice: "PS. Obviously we want to avoid any unnecessary confrontation that might arise as a result of this video, so please, if you are friends or friends of friends with Gary Busey, please don't let him know about this video. We are fucking terrified of him."

If you want to check them out further, you can stream their album Think of England here:


Staying with our island these, we now present Alpines -- a London-based group. They use the term night pop, but I've also seen their style described as electronic dubstep.


"Ice and Arrows"


Let's end with some acoustic music from further north on the same island: Edinburgh's The Deadly Winters. The four members are Masters Gregory Jones, Graeme Chyla, Michael Edie and Christopher Blair. The band writes that they formerly were a rock act but are transitioning to "story based music". The song is "Tura Mae" and it is available free at the Bandcamp link below:

"The Liar and the Thief"
The Deadly Winters - The Liar and the Thief (demo) by The Deadly Winters