Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Globes - "A Stitch Couldn't Save the World" from Future Self

Maybe this isn't new to you. But it is to me, so here you go. Globes is a band from Spokane, Washington that plays rock music. They released an album, Future Self, on May 10, featuring the excellent song "A Stitch Couldn't Save the World". [UPDATE: The band's management sent a link to this official video which premiered on "My Old Kentucky Blog"].

Listen at MySpace:

Future Self by the Globes

Download the track "Stay Awake"here, or "A Stitch Couldn't Save the World" here, and visit their label, Barsuk Records, to buy the music and learn some more about their ongoing tour.

They're touring this summer with Archers of Loaf, the Get Up Kids and some other acts. These guys are pretty good, and seem like just the type of up and coming band to upstage a headliner. Bet the headliners tinker with the volume on their speakers...

Emerging Northwest band: Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside

A fresh and delighting new discovery is Portland, Oregon band Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. The band has a retro sound that fuses jazz, big band, blues and classic pop. And if you give the album a listen below (you're a bit of a fool if you don't), you'll discover that it all sounds a bit dirty, too, which is no criticism in my mind. As you'll discover, Sallie has a really big voice and the band is a very good set of musicians.

Here a video that travels through time and genres:

Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside - I Swear from Matthew Ross on Vimeo.

Sallie moved to Portland from North Carolina in 2006; the band was formed in 2008. The members are Sallie Ford, Jeff Munger, Tyler Tornfelt & Ford Tennis. The band's full length, Dirty Radio, was released on May 23rd. And you can give it a trial spin here:


Monday, May 30, 2011

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 16: King Post Kitsch; The Spook School

Our lead off act today is Charlie from Glasgow, um, I mean King Post Kitsch. The King's music seems to me to be lo-fi noise/garage folk, and I enjoy it quite a bit. Here is the title song of his new album, "Don't You Touch My Fucking Honeytone". By the way, for those of you who lead sheltered lives, a Honeytone is a type of portable amp with a belt clip that a street musician might carry around (What? You thought I was going to explain another word in that song title?).
King Post Kitsch - Don't You Touch My Fucking Honeytone by Song, by Toad
His Majesty records on Matthew Young's Edinburgh label, Song By Toad Records. The album is available at Matthew's site.

And if you'd like to listen to more of His Majesty's musical musings, you can listen to Some Call It Hell, But Its Home, his previous EP, here. And it is available free at the Bandcamp link below.


A band that is quite new to me but seems quite promising is Edinburgh "indie-pop-rock 'n roll"outfit The Spook School. The band consists of Naomi Todd, Adam Todd, Anna Cory, and Niall McCamley. As of this point, they are unsigned, but the band's nice two song EP is available for streaming here, and for hard copy purchase or name-your-price download at their Bandcamp site:

And if you buy the CD, the gang would like you to know:
They're all individually numbered, so you can say "I was there man! I liked them before they sold-out and did that advert where they ate McDonalds in the back of a Mercedes with Rupert Murdoch whilst kicking a small dog until it died a slow and painful death."

Their entertaining Website

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-16: Vieux Farka Touré; Burning God Little; Dog Is Blue;

Ah, we are up to our 16th edition of pop from around the globe. Yes, we work our fingers to the bone scouting good music, and all you need to do is relax and enjoy it.

I operate with very few rules here: Write about music I like, spell most words correctly, don't press the "publish" button unless mostly sober (this one is more of a guideline than an actual rule), don't insult anyone's close relatives, and pay attention any time Vieux Farka Touré releases and album. So here we are, with Touré releasing The Secret on Six Degrees Records.

The opening track, "Sokosondou"

The Secret, produced by Soulive's Eric Krasno, builds on Touré's strengths in combining traditional music of his native Mali with American blues. Moreover, it includes collaborations with Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, John Scofield, and another African guitar legend, Vieux's father, Ali Farka Touré.

"The Secret" -- Father and son, in their last recorded session before Ali died. Nothing more needs be said.


Six Degrees Records

Chill sounds from Burning God Little is our next offering. Burning God Little is the performing name for Martin Hartgen from Oslo, Norway. Hartgen's music fuses elements of shoegaze, dream-pop, and electronic. It is good, upbeat stuff.

"Notes on Being Snowblind"

Here is "Tusen Bita"

Tusen Bita by Burning God Little


Toronto duo Dog is Blue describe their music as "garage folk". As I understand it, the idea is to take the themes from folk but leave behind the earnestness. The members are Paul Watson and Laura Heaney.


"Southern Ontario"


Another Gil Scott-Heron comment

His voice still was strong last year. His 2010 album I'm New Here included this wonderful title track:

My second favorite track on the album was "Me and the Devil":

RIP Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron died yesterday after years of struggle with various demons.

But his legacy is significant. "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" in 1970 was like capturing lightning in a bottle. Staggering. If you've never heard it, or at least not for a long time, you owe yourself a careful listen.

And seemingly every Facebook friend I have has posted something about Gil since yesterday. I had not seen this video before. And what a great piece of music.

I woke up today thinking I'd do this next week for the Soul Corner but it shouldn't wait.

Obituary: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/arts/music/gil-scott-heron-voice-of-black-culture-dies-at-62.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Gil+Scott-heron&st=nyt

Friday, May 27, 2011

Did you hear? Radical Face.

One of the joys of my life is that my teenage daughter has impeccable taste in music. By that I don't mean to say she likes everything I like. That actually would amount to a certain level of taste on my own part that I do not claim. Our relative musical leanings could be charted with a two-circle venn diagram, with the overlapping part making up the majority of the surface area. (I have this buddy, Jay, who lives in San Diego. I don't really know what he does, but I do know he can do awesome venn diagrams. If I can find one of his old ones, I'll try to link to it. They're freaking awesome. You don't think a venn diagram can be awesome until you've seen one of Jay's.) But she can't stand some of the harsher crap I play, and sometimes she'll put something on that she thinks is great but which is unidentifiable as to genre, unless there is a genre called Utter Shite.

But were it not for her, we'd never have played bands in our house like Neutral Milk Hotel, or Silver Jews, or, more recently, Girls and Frightened Rabbit, and bunch of others. For whatever reason, I'd considered and never pulled the trigger on any of those bands, and she thankfully corrected those mistakes. Then there are the times she'll bring something home that I've not only not considered, but never even heard of, and one of those times is what this post is about.

A couple of years ago she put on the album Ghost, by a Jacksonville Beach, Florida musician named Ben Cooper who records as Radical Face, among other things. She said 'you have to hear this.' I probably responded with an appropriately skeptical "you have just wasted your money" paternal grunt or something, and then was pretty much blown away at first listen. It's so expansive and beautiful that it's hard to believe it was recorded in a bedroom studio by one guy. It's mercifully spare in electronics, and rich in acoustic guitar -- except where the drama of a symphonic flourish is necessary.

Really, though, the best way to describe it is to say it's a movie score looking for a Wes Anderson film. Here's a really nice video for the first proper song on the album, "Welcome Home.

The album didn't receive many reviews when it came out in 2007, and those it did receive included a few tepid responses. I think full-on terrific, all the way through. Here's another track off Ghost, called "Wrapped in Piano Strings."

I found myself checking up on Radical Face recently and discovered they/he released a 6 song EP, Touch the Sky, via Berlin's Morr Music, and that the plan was to release 3(!) full-lengths, 40 songs all told, during 2011. Apparently a dispute with the label erupted, and the damned lawyers got involved (imagine: German Lawyers! Ja vohl!). Now he appears to have put that behind him, and is planning to do the releases himself. I'll keep an eye out, because who doesn't want to reward that kind of DIY spirit? Here's a really nice tune from the EP, called "Doorways."

Radical Face website -- Ben's a really good writer. Check it out.

Tournamental Update - Neil Young Shouldn't Need Our Help, But He Does...

I'm intrigued enough to subscribe to the RSS feed for this little music competition bracket, and learned to my horror today that Iron Maiden is beating Neil Young. I guess Neil's a pacifist and all that, but still.

Vote if you wanna: Tournamental - Neil Young v Iron Maiden

Why do I care? I have no idea...

Update... and it ain't an Iron Maiden video:

Old Stuff Friday - The Soul Corner - Stevie Wonder

The Soul Corner takes requests and this week we got one for the great Stevie Wonder, whom of course we were going to get to at some point. I am from Detroit after all, and Stevie is one of my mainest of main men. He's a gifted giant of a musician, and a talented writer, philanthropist, community leader, singer, producer, and a great American. He's in the Bob Dylan / Ray Charles stratosphere, in a league of his own.

So we can't highlight just one song as we generally try to do here.

Stevie's most creative period was 1972-76 when he released 5 classic concept albums that took Motown and R&B to heights not achieved before or since. The Beatles and Stones might have put 5 in a row out this good, we could argue the point, but that's about it. This run was and remains a staggering achievement. The musical and thematic reach of these records cannot be overstated.

We could write a book on this period, but we'll settle for 5 quite varied songs to ever so partially tell the story.

We'll go in chronological order, starting with Music of My Mind, which along with Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, took Motown to far more personal and experimental terrain. This vid is a later live version of "Superwoman" from that record. It was a bold step forward for Stevie, far from the standard Motown sound. I love this vocal, especially at the song's conclusion. You've heard thousands of break up songs in your life, but few with this kind of raw emotion.

Next up, from Talking Book, the great "Superstition", which took Stevie and Motown to rock radio, and used the Hohner clavinet keyboard to great effect:

Following on that was Innervisions with one of my personal favorites "Livin for the City", an unflinching tour of urban black America at a time long before CNN or Spike Lee or any understanding of that world for a great deal of America:

Fulfillingness' First Finale came next, what a great name for a record by the way, which included "Boogie On Reggae Woman", just as Bob Marley was catching on the US. But unlike Eric Clapton or Johnny Nash, Stevie didn't water it down just crassly looking for a hit. Stevie took the innovative beat, bent it, experimented and transformed it into something even more fresh and exciting. This is one of the great all time jams:

And last but certainly not least in this quintuplet of genius, was the double record Songs in the Key of Life, one of those pieces of nearly unparallaled American artistry that everyone needs to own a copy of. The choice here is "Pastime Paradise", a bold experimental song that broke a ton of new ground and influenced everything after it from prog rock to hip hop. It's an incredible piece of music.

Rock, soul, R&B, experimental, progressive, love ballads ("You Are the Sunshine of My Life"), a classic ode to a child coming into the world ("Isn't She Lovely"), Stevie did it all and then some in these 5 records in just 4 years. He was at the top of his game -- composing , producing, writing profound lyrics, and playing nearly every instrument. Wow. The Soul Corner bows down to the uniquely talented and peerless Stevie Wonder.

REVIEW: Seapony -- Go With Me

By any reasonable measure, Seapony is having a good year. The buzz for the Seattle band has been building for months, their LP is being released on May 31 by Hardly Art, a subsidiary of Sub Pop, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart selected them to open for them when they played here in April. And as you listen to "Dreaming", the opening song of the album, you can see that the buzz is well deserved.

The group consists of Jen Weidl, the singer, Danny Rowland, the primary songwriter and guitarist, and Ian Brewer, the bassist. Danny and Ian have known each other since high school days in Oklahoma. They moved to Washington in 2001. Danny then spent a few years in Ohio, meeting and moving back to Washington with Jenn in 2010. "Dreaming" had been composed back in Ohio, but the remainder of the songs on the album were composed after the group was formed last year.

"Blue Star"

The most obvious components of the band's sound are the female vocals and the fuzzy, jangly indie pop guitar. The music is simple, honest three chord songs of under three minutes with engaging hooks and lyrics focused on romantic matters. Timekeeping duties fall to a simple drum machine. To me, the band's sound is a blend of Beach Fossils and Pacific Northwest icons, Beat Happening. The Beach Fossils reference is obvious, and most relates to sound. As for The Beat Happening comparison, I think it is more in terms of structure and attitude. I admit that Jen's engaging, breathy vocals won't be mistaken for Calvin Johnson's deep tones. But the simple melodies, DIY feel and emphasis on the classic song performed with conviction is what Beat Happening brought to the table. And it seems to me that Seapony does that as well. Music like that can get overlooked when the listener is looking for showmanship, wild guitar runs or clever electronic beats (all of which can be quite nice, by the way). But joys of a Seapony song won't fade away when faced with a new musical fad.

"Go Away" is worth comparing to songs from Beat Happening"s You Turn Me On:

I expect this band to grow and provide its fans, which includes me, with good songs for a long time. But for the present, I doubt that fans of indie pop will find a more perfect summer album than this one.

The album's closer, "With You":

And if you want to taste the entire cake to evaluate for yourself, here is a generous chance to stream the entire album. Enjoy, lucky people.
Seapony - Go With Me (yourstru.ly stream) by yourstrulysf

One final note for Seattle fans, the band's album release party is June 2 at the Vera Project, and the other band on the bill is 14 Iced Bears. For Seattle fans of live indie pop, you may not have a better gig available for a long while. Here is the Facebook event link.

Hardly Art website

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Will Johnson and Centro-matic - Little Raider EP and new track to download

Just a great little six-song EP Will Johnson of Centro-matic sat down with Jim Eno of Spoon and recorded in February. All acoustic and pretty stripped-down, though there's a bit of reverb here and there.

Buy at Undertow. (and I should mention here that the folks at Undertow are very patient and helpful with customers, like me, who can't seem to operate a simple zip file download)

Here's an interview with Will subtitulada espanol, as they say in Spain. Talks about Texas, the origins of Centro-matic, the new album (out June 21, tour starts the next day) and other things.

Finally, download the track "Only In My Double Mind" here. You may recall, we posted the video here back in January...

Centro-matic Website
(tour dates, other videos and downloads available)

Cool Video Thursday

First off of the bench is the new Video for The Raveonettes song "Apparitions", one of the tracks on Raven in the Grave:

For reference, here is our review of the album.

Seattle group Beat Connection is touring Europe at the moment, if I recall correctly, but they have released an official video for their song "In the Water":

Glasgow's dance rock outfit The Dirty Cuts gives us "2 Page Spread", making it the second week in a row we've featured knife crimes in Cool Video Thursday. What is happening to this place?

2 Page Spread / The Dirty Cuts from Robert McKillop on Vimeo.

And now for something completely different, Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells provide a song and video showcasing Moffat's off kilter sense of humor and Well's stunning musical sense -- "Copper Top". As Moffat says in the song, "Birth, love, and death: The only reasons to get dressed up."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Semis: Primitive Mind, out soon...

Here's a terrific power-pop band from Florida. Released an album, Back to the Beach, with an absolutely wonderful "single" (shoulda been a hit), "Popov". I heard it on Indiefeed, a pretty good song-a-day podcast, back in the fall. Now comes word that The Semis have a new album coming out, and I'm looking forward to it:

There's plenty of power-pop, but listen to the guitars begin to wail at about 1:50 of the title track. What are they saying on the outro? "This song is made out of metal"? Great stuff...

The Semis on Facebook

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy 70th Birthday Mr. Bob Dylan!

My friend the great musician/writer/producer Joe Henry said this at his Facebook page: "Let us begin to celebrate the 70th birthday of the man who for some of us has been thomas jefferson, harriet tubman, james dean, federico fellini, and muhammad ali, all stitched upon a single frame. rave on, bob..."

I can't do justice to my hero Bob Dylan in a few words, so I'll just honor the day with two songs. First, one of him as a young man, a song that captured a pivotal moment in American history and galvanized a generation:

And also, my very favorite of his more recent work, a song that captures all the uncertainties of a middle aged man. The span of Bob's artistry and reach is literally a lifetime, many lifetimes actually, mine, his, and many who came well before and well after ours.

(can't embed this one for some reason):


I am posting a short bit on a soul song every Friday for the Soul Corner, a WYMA feature this year. For 2012, I'm leaning towards Bob Dylan Friday.

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 15: Miniature Dinosaurs; We See Lights; Crayons

The city of Stirling gives us indie pop group Miniature Dinosaurs. The groups consists of Barry Maclean (Vox, Guitar), Alban Dickson (Bass Guitar), Craig Ferrie (Guitar, Synth), and Sam Waller (Drums). The group only has been actively playing shows for a couple of years, but have released two EPs and a single in that period. Somewhat unusually, they have a clothing endorsement contract.

Here is a live studio performance of "Cold Shoulder". I like the vocal styling on this song; it reminds me of Franz Ferdinand.

"Fight or Flight" is a single released in March 2011:


We See Lights are an Edinburgh area collective that was formed in 2007. They list their members as follows: "We See Lights are from time to time; Stephen Bogle, Paul Dougall, Ross Harvey, Jonathan Lapsley, Allan Rae, Paul Livingstone and many others." The style is twee pop, indie pop, folk rock. They released a six song EP, Twee Love Pop, on April 30, 2011, on the Heroes & Glueplots label.

"Hope You Like the Smiths"

Stream the entire EP here:

Bandcamp link to EP

In spring of 2010 they released an album entitled Ghosts & Monsters


Crayons are from Dunfermline, Scotland. The sound is indie pop, but the difference from many bands, I think, is in the somewhat unusual rhythms. There music seems to reflect a number of influences, and the result seems to be more of a weave, than a blend, so you can appreciate the components as you listen.

"Bella Laide"

Crayons are Sean Defrancesco, Greg Robins, Andrew Carty, and Nick Hernandez, and they are another unsigned band chosen to play T In The Park this summer.

"Planet Waves"


Crayons Facebook

Monday, May 23, 2011

REVIEW: Restorations - Restorations

Philadelphia has given us some of the most enjoyable, if underappreciated, rock music of the last 10 years or so. Think about it, there's Marah, Living Things, Dr. Dog, Free Energy, you could probably think of another quick dozen or more off the top of your head. These are bands that collectively have made and are continuing to make great record after great record, and yet relative to their considerable artistic merit, they remain frustratingly obscure. How about a little more frustration?

The Philly band Restorations (if you want to google them without getting every home improvement site out there, try "restorations the band") recently released their self-titled debut full-length, and it's a shoo-in for my year-end top 10. At just under 35 minutes and 8 songs, it's really a tremendous album, with big, indulgent song structures and sheets of beautiful sound.

Consider, for example, "Neighborhood Song", with its crashing bar chords giving way to a melancholy verse about remembering your childhood as you grow older (I think). The song ends with a pounding bassline, over which Jon Loudon's shopworn voice sings, "The song of the neighborhood/Sung like the song of the world" and then all sonic hell breaks loose for another minute, and then slows down before it breaks loose again for another couple of minutes. You'd think a band these days couldn't get away with a lyric like that, but it works so perfectly here. Listen to it, and it'll make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

People who hybridize music tend to be insufferable, like a bunch of idiots dressed in black standing around talking about what they taste in a glass of wine (It's peppery! I taste marbles!) but dammit I'm going to do it. Rocksteady and I are huge fans of the now defunct Brooklyn band Pela, and I think there's a good bit of that genius flowing through these songs. So maybe Restorations is like Pela with a good deal more noise heaped on top (which is never a bad thing). That noise has connections to shoegaze acts like Catherine Wheel. Loudon's hoarse vocals do remind me of Rob Dickinson at times. These songs also will make you think at times of some of the Scottish bands that make melodic noise, like Frightened Rabbit or Twilight Sad, or just melodic music, like, I swear, Glasgow's Blue Nile (mainly because the vocal melodies at times sound like Paul Buchanan).

In the end, though, it's really an American sounding record, with American excesses that make it one of those off-the-radar albums you shouldn't miss. Here's another fantastic tune, "Broken Vacuum", with a beautiful, chiming lead that, if you're old enough, will resurrect dim memories of the Alarm or Wire Train.

For all the talk of great vocals and guitars and bass, if anyone gave me a Heisman vote on this album I'd give it to the drummer (I'll edit if I'm able to figure out his name -- I did, courtesy of the Restorations page at the site of their record label - Tiny Engines. Oh, his name is Carlin Brown). In this wonderfully produced record, drums are put front and center, and are a propulsive, emotive force. In the dozens of dramatic changes in the songs, it's the drums that lead the way, most notably in the middle of the second track, "West River." There's not a lot of quality sounding live stuff up yet on youtube, but here's a pretty decent (and criminally underviewed) version of that tune.

Bands this great deserve your support. Here's the Bandcamp page where I was able to download this excellent album cheaply and without adult supervision.

Restorations Bandcamp page

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Preview: Parson Red Heads

I'll be writing much more on the Parson Red Heads as the release of their new CD Yearling approaches this summer, but here's an audio peek and way to download the lead track "Burning Up the Sky".


It has all the features that make me love this band so much - gorgeous harmonies, tremendous lead vocals by Evan Way, positive spirit, tight writing and disciplined arrangements, just perfect power pop music.

Here's a very recent live performance of a new song that gives you a glimpse of the Parsons' warm vibe:

The new record is a big step up for the band, who got great production and engineering help from alternative pop legends Chris Stamey and Mitch Easter.

But here as a further introduction is a film for "Punctual As Usual", the best of their old songs:

Fans of Rocksteady74's Scottish pop series should like this band this a lot. Stay tuned in months ahead as WYMA will be all over the Parson Red Heads and Yearling.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-15: Discopolis; Drums of Death; TD Lind

Here is this week's edition of our series of pop music from around the globe. We scout, so you don't have to. We won't make this saintly, because if you're reading this you haven't been raptured.

The fine young band known as Discopolis presented a bit of a dilemma for me as I was unsure whether to place them in a New Sounds of Scotland post, or a Midnight World Pop Scout post. Ultimately, I decided that the music was more house and than it was shoegaze, but obviously that is a subjective decision and it really doesn't matter much as long as I bring them to your attention.
"Lofty Ambitions"

Discopolis - Lofty Ambitions by discopolismusic

Discopolis are Fergus Cook (synth/vocals), Laurie Corlett Donald (synth/guitar), Dave Lloyd (synth/drumsfx), and Louise Kernaghan (photograph). The band lists their style as "House/Alternative/Shoegaze", but also allows that it sounds like "digital fucking".

"Summer Nightmares"

Discopolis - Summer Nightmares by discopolismusic

This Edinburgh-based group is one of the unsigned bands chosen to play the T in the Park festival this summer. If you like their tracks above, check out the Soundcloud link below. There are seven tracks, all added this year.


Another Scottish musician I've switched to the Midnight World Pop Scout roster is Drums of Death, who signs his checks "Colin Bailey". Bailey's music is released on the Greco-Roman label. He has actively gigged, recorded and remixed since 2008.

"Got Yr Thing and LFO of My Heart" live on the BBC:

Drums of Death performs with black and white paint on his face. Apparently there is a rumor that he is the object of a voodoo curse and his heart has been replaced by a drum machine. I'm personally not giving odds better than 50/50 on that one.

"Lonely Days" from his 2010 album, Generation Hexed:

"Everything All At Once"


I think that this week we'll end with something a bit more mellow--music from the soulful TD Lind. Lind is an Englishman who has been living in Los Angeles for the past several years. He composed the score for a recent indie film called "Feed the Fish", which included songs from his album Call Me Sinner.

Here is "Goodnight from Hollywood", live from The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood in 2010:

Following is the trailer for his new album The Outskirts Of Prosper on the Dramatico label:

Mr. Lind is new to me, but I think he bears further investigation. What do you think?

Stream Call Me Sinner here:

Call Me Sinner by TD Lind


Friday, May 20, 2011

Old Stuff Friday - The Soul Corner - "Every Little Bit Hurts"

Following a bit on the theme of our recent Bettye LaVette post, here's another little known Motown artist with an amazing voice and singing style who got unfairly lost in the shuffle.

Brenda Holloway is hardly a household name. But you'd be hard pressed to name many more memorable soul ballads than this. What a vocal performance.

Friday Old Stuff: The Chills

The Chills, along with The Bats and the Clean, were part of the music scene that put New Zealand on the indie rock map. The Chills were formed in Dunedin by Martin Phillipps in 1980. The first three singles were "Rolling Moon", "Pink Frost, and "Doledrums" which, in addition to being stunningly good songs for a new band, defined the broad spectrum of The Chills' artistic range: Psychedelia; Folk; Pop; and Rock. The band's sound was characterized by chiming guitar hooks and vocal harmonies, but with a rock/indie edge.

"Rolling Moon" is one of my favorite songs from the band:

There were many line up changes in their journey; I recall reading that there were ten different versions of The Chills, with Phillipps being the only constant member. The original drummer, Martyn Bull, died of leukemia a few months after "Pink Frost" was recorded. The band had a successful European tour in the mid-80s, but two members resigned at the end of the tour. Phillipps added bandmates and recorded and lived in New Zealand and London. In 1992, Phillips ended The Chills. There were brief subsequent editions in '97 and 2004, but the albums produced didn't make an impact with the public. As noted at the bottom of this post, there is a current version of the band.

In addition to Phillipps and Bull, players over the 1980-1992 period included Peter Gutteridge, Alan Haig, Jane Dodd, Rachael Phillipps, Fraser Batts, Terry Moore, Peter Allison, David Kilgour (briefly), Martin Kean, Caroline Easther, Andrew Todd, Justin Harwood, James Stephenson, Gillian Dempster, Steven Schayer, Earl Robertson, Lisa Mednick, and Craig Mason.

"Heavenly Pop Hit", shows The Chills in their most pop mode:

Perhaps The Chills' best know song is "Pink Frost". The song was the subject of much discussion regarding whether the death discussed in the song was an actual death. Apparently it was a song about a dream of a partner's death, but the speculation that it concerned a real incident probably helped the song's popularity. This video is from a 1988 live performance:

I don't know how many of The Chills' recordings from 1980 to 1992 remain available, but New Zealand's iconic Flying Nun label released a compilation entitled Heavenly Pop Hits in 1994. It includes all of the band's singles from that period plus a few uptempo favorites of The Chills' fans.

My research shows that Martin Phillipps has formed The Chills yet again. The current members, in addition to Phillipps, are Todd Knudson, James Dickson, and Erica Stichbury. The website and Facebook links are below.

Website for current version of The Chills

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cool Video Thursday: Boy Friend; Aidan Moffat and the Best Ofs; Hot Bodies in Motion

Here is the official video for "Lovedropper" by Austin band Boy Friend. The band consists of Christa Palazzolo and Sarah Brown, but I haven't had much time to find out more.

BOY FRIEND - Lovedropper (Official Video) from HELL, YES! on Vimeo.

This video is a couple of years old, but it is a favorite of mine. It pretends to be a You Tube fan recording himself miming to "Big Blonde" by Aidan Moffat and the Best Ofs. The joke is that the man in the video is former Arab Strap member, Aidan Moffat.

Of course, it helps that it is a good song.

Seattle band Hot Bodies In Motion has released the following video for their song, "Old Habits", about some guys working in a pizza shop who shouldn't have gone to work one particular day.

Hot Bodies in Motion - Old Habits from Zeek Earl on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Do you like surf and garage guitar styings, primitive rhythm, lo-fi ambiance, 60s girl-group vocals and a dark, brooding atmosphere? If so, give Cults a try. Cults are Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin. The duo are former film students from California, but their current location as the East Village in NYC.


The music is moody, sleek, a bit louche. Listen to "You Know What I Mean" below, and see if you agree with me that it could be the soundtrack for a prom in a remake of Blue Velvet. Phil Spector with a handful of 'ludes?

"You Know What I Mean"
Cults - You Know What I Mean by cultscultscults

There isn't a lot of information about them, but there are several more songs available on You Tube. And you can stream and evaluate Cults' not yet released 7" below:


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

REVIEW: Alela Diane & Wild Divine

I just discovered Alela Diane on the recent release of her 3rd CD Alela Diane & Wild Divine (Rough Trade Records). What a terrific singer and writer. Maybe I somehow missed the boat because she was often lumped into the "freak folk" scene, which I'm not totally sure what that is, but nonetheless never signed up for their newsletter. But this full band effort is quite varied stylistically. It's a rich, warm and very moving set of songs.

Expectations are a tricky thing in music - they can bring you in, push you away, make you give something much more of a chance, or give up on it more quickly. This record for me is the experience we've all had where some patience was greatly rewarded. I liked the record on first impression, but find it dialing in more with each successive listen. Now I can't put the CD away, am moving it from home to car to office.

Alela's singing is a rare combination of multi-octave technically great, emotionally expressive, tasteful, super cool, and never overdone. She delivers the song.

The production by Scott Litt (R.E.M., Nirvana, the Replacements, and a long list) is outstanding, using a filled out sound to capture the full expression of each song but still keep the focus on Alela Diane's strong, memorable voice.

My favorite songs here are not the slightest bit "folk" (not that folk songs or even "freak folk" songs are bad): - one is a gentle and perfect pop song, "Desire", two are country songs "Long Way Down" and "Of Many Colors" and "Heartless Highway" is this slightly jazzy slow groove with a killer vocal hook about two minutes in ("But I've got to get back, I've got to get back..."). Listen here:

There is some excellent guitar work here too by Tom Bevitori and Tom Medig, Diane's husband and father, respectively. It's a family affair.

Not many videos available to embed yet, but there are excellent studio performances of "Elijah" and "To Begin", songs from this CD here (see left column in link), along with a great deal of other artist info: http://www.aleladiane.com/
In the end, it's all about that voice. Truly special. Here's a taste:

Monday, May 16, 2011

REVIEW: David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights - Left By Soft

David Kilgour is rightly a guitar legend for his work with the Clean as well as his excellent solo albums. On his latest release, Left By Soft, the guitar takes front and center -- acoustic, electric, two and three guitar tracks on top of one another, and some spectacular leads. In addition, there's plenty of jangle. In fact, after about a 30-second intro in which the first track seems to be going in almost a heavy blues direction, the first chiming lead guitar takes off, and the record stays aloft from there on out.

There's some psychedelic guitar work on "A Break in the Weather" and a few other tracks, but most of it is pretty straight-ahead guitar rock, the kind of stuff you'd expect from Kilgour (as you would from, say, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and The Feelies) and it doesn't all sound the same so much as it all sounds absolutely wonderful.

To me, the highlight and centerpiece of the reocrd is the 6:10 "Diamond Mine", the 8th of 11 tracks. Composed of multiple overlaid guitar tracks, it's seamless and easygoing, but with fierce leads that take you here and there, while the band keeps things anchored. It's pure joy and a perfect example of the best of Kilgour's work.

Download "Diamond Mine" here:

If you're at all unfamiliar with his work, let me recommend Frozen Orange and The Far Now, both relatively recent releases. The Far Now has the same band on it. But I'd recommend all of it, including the old Clean records, because there are no low points.

In addition to Kilgour on guitars, the band consists of Taane Tokona on drums, Tony de Raad on guitar and keyboards, and Thomas Bell on bass and keyboards. They've made a wonderful record.

For a limited time, you can stream the whole release at Merge Records. Check it out.

Here's a strange little video of the song "Living in Space" that showcases Nashville, where Frozen Orange was partially recorded... no videos from the current album, yet.

David Kilgour Website

David Kilgour at Merge Records (2 downloads available)

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 14: Aerials Up; Cancel the Astronauts

In this edition, we are featuring two of the several unsigned bands selected to play the T in the Park festival this summer.

Aerials Up plays orchestral indie pop. They may remind you of the good parts of Arcade Fire, but with more hooks and less superfluous drama. The bands debut EP, Superglue, is available at their website.

Here is the trailer for Superglue, which gives you a good taste of their music:

Aerials Up - Superglue (promo) from Aerials Up on Vimeo.

Aerials Up members are listed as Kemy (lead vocals/guitar), Debbie (vocals/guitar/glockenspiel), Murphy (bass), Neil (guitar/vocals), Chris (drums), Cat (violin/vocals), and Ruth (cello/vocals). The large number of talented players allows the band to produce intricate music and, when necessary, a very full sound.

"All Your Mothers Daughters", live:

"First in the Fire" from their 2010 T in the Park performance:


Edinburgh indie pop group Cancel the Astronauts has been a favorite of mine for a while. The members are Matt Riley, Kieran McCaffrey, Michael Craig, Neil Davidson, and Chris Kay.

"Funny for a Girl"

Cancel the Astronauts played their first gig in 2007, and they have released two EPs. They are promising an album later this year.

Stream the "Funny for a Girl" EP

And here is a deal that is too good to pass up -- Download their first EP for free here. The first song is particularly good, and funny. Darkly funny.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

REVIEW: Wye Oak - Civilian

Along the lines of artists like Centro-matic and Sparklehorse, Wye Oak traverses the line between carefully-assembled, really beautiful acoustic rock music and equally gorgeous (to my ears, at least) feedback-filled squalls of electric guitar, with some truly spectacular leads.

Throughout, Jenn Wasner's vocals are well-sung and very well-recorded. And like Centro-matic (I promise, this is both an apt comparison and a compliment), the drummer, Andy Stack, plays a huge role in anchoring the music. Check out his drumming on "Dog's Eyes", and the great keyboard work on the title track when it really gets rolling.

I liked this record when I first heard it, but have liked it more with each additional listen. If every song rocked as hard as "Holy, Holy" this would still be a spectacular record... but the variety in volume and tempo make things even more interesting, really make the record a little stickier. .

Here's the video for track 6, "Fish":

Wye Oak - Fish (Official Video) from City Slang on Vimeo.

And here's the title track with a link to their Bandcamp page:

Sometimes I will happen upon a band and develop an instant affinity for their style... such is the case here. And to discover the extent of their back catalog: two albums, 2008's If Children and 2009's The Knot, plus a 2010 EP My Neighbor, My Creator... well, that's an added pleasure and makes me all the more excited about this band. If you like good, honest, well-crafted rock that doesn't mind cranking up the guitars, check this out and spread the word. Wye Oak deserves to have more than just an "indie" audience.

Wye Oak website at Merge Records

Wye Oak Homepage

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-14: Marthas and Arthurs; Wolf Gang; Is Tropical

And here is 14th in our series of pop around the world. We scout so you don't have to.

Tom Ball, Esther Ball, Mary Douglas-Home and Matt Hart are Marthas and Arthurs, and they might sing some of the best indie pop you've ever heard. The Guardian's reviewer referred to their sound as "Belle & Sebastian backing Mamas & Papas".

"Sally Started it All", supposedly about a girl named Sally who started out signing with the group:

Some of their earlies performances were at care centers, chosen because the residents 'couldn't run away'.

"Clamour for a Fudge"

I recommend that you check out the Bandcamp link below, as it offers a free download of their Apes in Aeroplanes EP.


Wolf Gang is a London-based one man band. His debut album, Suego Faults, is scheduled for release on June 27 on the Atlantic label.

"Dancing with the Devil"

Suego Faults sampler:
Suego Faults Sampler by wolfgang


Is Tropical is a London electro-rock group.

"South Pacific"

"Tan Man"


Friday, May 13, 2011

Old Stuff Friday - Ann Peebles "I Can't Stand the Rain"

I've got a great live performance of a terrific one for you today. The intro gives you a chance to hear the backstory behind the song, as told by legendary Memphis producer Willie Mitchell, who recently passed away. Mitchell is the architect of the classic Al Green sound, which you can hear here as well.

Most people are far more familiar with the later version of this song by the great Tina Turner, but I'm partial to this original.

And while we have a beautiful day here in the Pacific NW today at least, it's been an absurdly wet Spring, so I've been humming this tune a lot the last few months.

I was worried that Google's technical issues would keep the Soul Corner from running today, but we're back in action here at WYMA HQ.

Friday Old Stuff: Monks

After Hardy broke the barrier on rude (or loving, depending on your perspective) language earlier this week with his post on the Fucking Cops (and welcome to all our new readers whose search engines provided them with this site rather than something more, um, physical), I thought we should have a religious themed Old Stuff entry. And what could be more appropriate that that respectful, pious, quiet classification of religious folk known as monks?

But perhaps we should listen to the monks chant, I mean, the "Monk Chant", while we discuss them further:

Monks were Gary, Roger, Eddie, Larry and Dave. Originally, they were the Torquays, and the band was formed by former GIs in Germany in the mid 60s. They enjoyed some popularity, but yearned for bigger crowds, better venues and record contracts. Their management team decided that they needed a striking image to go with their aggressive sound and their new christening as Monks. The result was distinctive garb for performances and street wear, and haircuts that reflected the tonsure of actual monks.

"Love Came Tumblin Down" is one of my favorites. There actually is a pop song buried in this track. I promise.

As you can hear, their sound was fuzzy, primitive and loud, with big rhythms and plenty of social commentary. The band tells of being treated respectfully in Hamburg because of their appearance, until the residents saw them chasing women and drinking whiskey. Hamburg was, perhaps, the perfect place for them and they built a following. As one monk said, the good kids followed the Beatles, the bad kids followed us.

Here is a 1965 live performance of "Complication" from German TV:

There are good arguments that the Monks are the seminal garage/punk band. As an act, they were a creature of the 60s and their time as a popular act ended with the decade. The players were burned out and the social and musical landscapes had shifted.

"I Can't Get Over You"

Fortunately, the wonderful Seattle label, Light in the Attic Records, has issued two Monks compilations. One is the essential Monk compilation, Black Monk Time. The other is The Early Years: 1964-1965. Both collections contain history and photos and are very well compiled. According to the label, they are available in CD or vinyl.

Monk's page at Light in the Attic Records
Light in the Attic Records website

The Monks website contains some historical revelations from the band, and is a fun read.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Warren Haynes: Man in Motion

Somehow in the midst of his relentless touring and session playing schedule, Warren Haynes found time to assemble an almost unbelievable band and record what sounds like a modern blues rock classic.

Here's a video in which you can hear Warren discussing how this album came together. It sounds terrific, and based on my experience with Warren (Allman Brothers, Govt Mule), it's assured that the guitar and vocals will be great. The cast he has assembled boasts unassailable credentials in rock, soul and blues... Ian McLagan (Faces, Rolling Stones), George Porter, Jr. on bass and Ivan Neville on keyboards (The Meters), Raymond Weber of Dirty Dozen Brass Band on drums, blues singer Ruthie Foster (who previously guested on Govt Mule's The Deep End) and tenor saxist Ron Holloway.

You can download a track at his website:

And finally, here's a live performance of the title track from a concert in December when Warren unveiled it:

Warren Haynes Website

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thursday Odds and Ends from Saadiq, Yuck and Times New Viking

First is my "Cool Video Thursday" entry, from the talented Raphael Saadiq. Mr. Saadiq has a new album, entitled Steady Rollin', and this is the title track:


Next, we have a new song from one of the best young noise/psych pop outfits, Yuck. The song is "Milkshake", and is one of the two tracks on their new single.

Milkshake by Yuck

Yuck Blogspot

And from the very good new album, Dancer Enquired, by Ohio's Times New Viking, we have the cool video for "Ever Falling In Love". I think this album deserves a review, soon.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Put down your beer! It's the Fucking Cops!

I thought about putting an asterisk in the title to this post. You know, to make it less offensive. Because if we are to go by internet usage, there is a large group of people in this world who are repelled by seeing the written phrase "The Fucking Cops", and yet with a simple modification, viz: "The F*cking Cops", their panties remain magically unsoiled. If I were really clever I'd have done the heading something like: "The Fuck*ng Cops", and sought feedback on its offensiveness. I don't know, maybe that's not so clever.

When I was young, profanity was all I needed. "Bodies" by the Sex Pistols is a great song in and of itself, but given its lyrics, it could have been sung by the Eagles and I'd have worn out the grooves on my copy of it. Now I've got kids, and although there's pretty much zero censorship of music amongst the family unit, when it comes to sexual or scatological band names, I get a little squirrelly. And when you mix the two? Well, you get bands like Ass Ponys, and I must cop to never having bought an Ass Ponys record.

The point here, belatedly arrived at, is that now that I'm supposed to be mature and everything, a band that has a cuss name had better be damned good, and there's this Cleveland punk rock band called the Fucking Cops that's a whole lot better than damned good. Last week they released their second EP, "Fuck You Up With Some Truth", and in the middle of a bunch of other good music being released by good bands, I cannot stop listening to it.

Here's the video from the second of the six songs, "Sweating or Freezing". Awesome song, Blatz beer, High on Fire poster, and backward tape loops that are no doubt satanic earn it the WYMA seal of approval.

There aren't any other videos or live recordings from this EP, but trust me on this, every tune is terrific. Crunching guitars underneath non-ostentatious, solo-Mould-esque leads, a very high functioning rhythm section, good vocals and great group shouting (maybe tone down a bit of the angst in the lyrics, but what the hell am I doing listening for the lyrics anyway?).

My favorite tune, and, really, maybe my favorite song I've heard this year, is "For Whom the Taco Bell Tows". This is authentic minor key punk rock, redolent of some of the best efforts of Japandroids (but with a nice guitar solo as a bonus). Go to the bandcamp site and check out that song. Then buy this and their very strong EP from last year, "You Have the Right to Shut the Fuck Up." Here's a video for a great song from that record, "Paycheck", which offers a nice panorama of their hometown, including a stagedive into Lake Erie. Cleveland is a very cool place, and these guys should make it fucking proud.

The Fucking Cops on bandcamp

New Sounds of Scotland--Part 13: The Little Kicks; POST

The Little Kicks is one of the projects of Aberdeen musician Steven Milne. The band has four members, with Milne (on vocals, guitar and keys) joined by Scott Kelman (drums, vocals), Lewis Porter (bass), and Toby Brunning (lead guitar). Their first album, Boxing Clever was released in 2009 and was well received in Scotland. The band's sound is a brand of upbeat pop/rock, and if you like it, there are quite a few songs to stream at the Soundcloud link below. The band will be releasing their second album later this year.

"Call of Youth" (free download at Bandcamp link below) will be on the 2011 release:

"I Know It's Over" is a nice jangly pop tune:

I Know It's Over by THE LITTLE KICKS

The band are energetic performers and good songwriters. While success is difficult to predict for any young band, an indication of The Little Kick's quality is the list of bands that have chosen them as a supporting act, including The Vaccines, Foals, Maximo Park, Editors, The Kooks, Brakes, Maccabees, Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Broken Records, The Rakes, and Lightspeed Champion. I also get the sense that there is a bit of the necessary ambition about these guys.

"We Came Alive", from 2009:

Video from "Optimist", in 2006:

Bandcamp with free download

POST plays energetic, spiky and a bit punky rock, and the two videos I've included are entertaining to watch. Musically, they remind me more than a little bit of Glasgow icons Josef K. Would you like to know more about them? Well, so would I, but I haven't been able to learn much. They have a debut single which was just released, and is comprised of the songs provided below. They are part of the interesting Scottish music collective We Can Still Picnic, which I have linked for you. Happy listening and, if you like them, happy hunting!

"Knocking Down the Same Door"


We Can Still Picnic

Monday, May 9, 2011

Emerging Seattle Bands: Ravenna Woods (updated)

Ravenna Woods plays a distinctive brand of folksy indie rock (not folk rock). The band describes their style as "indie/acoustic/experimental" and that seems to be a good tag. Instrumentation included guitars, violin, mandolin, xylophone, and "paranoid words". The members are Chris Cunningham, Brantley Duke and Matt Badger.

Here is the video for "Graves", one of the tracks on their May 6 release, Valley of the Headless Men:

Below is a partial stream of the new album:

The back story is a interesting. Cunningham started working on songs while a contract teacher in the Marshall Islands in 2007-2008. When he returned to Seattle, he met Duke, a musician and recording engineer, and they started playing music together. They added Badger in 2009.

The intricate vocals, varied acoustic instrumentation and dark-tinged vocals make Ravenna Woods a compelling listen.

Ravenna Woods' first album was Demons and Lakes, released in 2010. "In the World" was one of the tracks on that LP:

"Ghosts", also from Demons and Lakes, about the devastating effects of nuclear testing in the South Pacific on nature and people: