Monday, July 31, 2006
When I first heard this song my immediate comparison was Jawbox meets Rocket From the Crypt. I'm a huge fan of both of those bands so this one gets the Monday "kick me in the pants with rock stuff" feature. I write these reviews the night before they go on so please be assured I will be in my office hungover as you read this. Beer count is at 9. This band could probably be any band but for some reason I hear more in them. I usually shy away from southern California bands. I call it the Red Hot Chilli Pepper syndrome. These guys, however, sound more like home with a midwestern dry tank local 'rust belt' feel in their sound. Please don't ask me to say that 3 times in a row or explain anything regarding my above mentioned statement. You will get a blank stare.
Hot Like (A) Robot are four musicians from San Diego, California. There really is not much of a bio on the band website. I was reluctant to feature this since they have around 47,000 page hits on their MySpace page but once I heard more songs there it was a done deal. In other words, this band is really good. They are signed to the Skeleton Crew label which gave me more hesitation. Either it is truly a post-hardcore label or a front for straight edge, emo or christian related bands... I can't figure it out. Regardless, I highly recommend this song as download material and the other songs you can hear on the Hot Like (A) Robot website. I don't want this to come off as backhanded in any way. I am only giving my honest opinion. These guys rock. I hope you like the drunken review.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
This is another of those bands (like Radiohead) that I know full well I saw live several times when I was around 15/16 years old, but (due to the amnesia-inducing powers of cider) whose performances I can remember nothing about. So while I can tell you I was right there at the front when Slowdive played in some of my (and their) favourite local dives, I wouldn't be able to describe the experience for you even under hypnosis.
Like most of the original crop of what came to be known as shoegaze bands, Slowdive emerged from England's Thames Valley, formed in the town of Reading by childhood friends Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead along with Nick Chaplin, Christian Savill and Adrian Sell (quickly replaced by Simon Scott on drums) and taking their name from a Siouxsie and the Banshees song. They signed to the now-legendary Creation Records, putting out three EPs which were received very positively by the UK music press, followed by their debut album, 1991's Just For a Day which met a more lukewarm response, mainly due to the fact that the media's ever-limited attention span was increasingly concentrating on all things grunge by this point.
This song is taken from the band's second proper studio album (and probably their best known), Souvlaki, released in 1993. It came out as a single, on the Outside Your Room EP, and is three minutes and fifty seconds of blissful perfection, to my mind marking the point where shoegaze became pop, and none the worse for its accessibility.
Despite the relative success (in the UK, at least) of Souvlaki, the shoegaze scene's days were already numbered and the band failed to either break America or follow up on Souvlaki's success with their third studio album, Pygmalion; they were dropped in 1995 by Creation shortly after its release. Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell and Ian McCutcheon (who had replaced Simon Scott on drums after his departure in 1994) went on to form Mojave 3, signing to that other bastion of all things shoegaze, 4AD, while Christian Savill formed Monster Movie.
You can find plenty of information about Slowdive on this fan site, and there's a MySpace page devoted to them too.
Sometimes the writeups here are half ridiculous but I hope it isn't too much. I only do it to broaden what is normally a business writing world for me. It's also a good way to blow off steam after work while having a cheap beer or 10. With that said, this will be a brief account of an extremely talented band. I have house projects to attend to today. Today takes us to one of the birthplaces of American alternative rock and the current music I've heard coming out of that city is doing that town much justice. These guys are no exception, rather a highlight.
Duplomacy is a five piece from Minneapolis, Minnesota that held my attention like very few other bands that keep a similar tempo. The full band was evolved from the solo work of Andy Flynn. His voice is understated and easy on the ears while not coming off like a handful of sleeping pills. I can understand the Pavement comparisons I read in the reviews but the DCFC ones not so much. Today's featured song is from the recent July 13th release All These Long Drives and is available through 2024 Records. There is also a 2024 MySpace page. To save you the hunt, just go here to buy it. The was quite confusing and had little info so I suggest you visit their MySpace page to hear plenty of music and tell 'em what you think. Really nice music for a Saturday (or any day.)
Friday, July 28, 2006
I know I know... Another band from Sweden?? Oh Yes! When I wind up with some sort of pattern during any given week here in the group, I like to end it by kicking off the weekend in the same spirit. I usually reserve Fridays for the rockin stuff and this band fits right in. Of course, I could probably lie and say they were from South America since most people don't take the time to read my trite blathering anyway... so here it goes. From the rainforest of Southern Guatemala I bring you TORPEDO!!! [insert mandatory applause]. Honestly, this band has some really good indie rock going on. There are plenty of young bands out there that list Gang of Four as a major influence for their sound. Unfortunately, not many can bring it to the table. I think these guys, however, do a good job of things.
Torpedo is an indie rock quintet from Stockholm, Sweden. They formed in 2004 with 2 of the members also being part of the band Tiger Lou and another from Je Ne Se Quoi. They released their debut EP Anticlockwise on the German label Strangefruit in April 2005 then decided to go label-free. They've toured all over Europe in the past with the likes of Ted Leo and Cursive. According to the official bio they are currently writing new material and setting up tour dates. If you visit the Torpedo Website you will find that you can buy that EP by simply putting a bit of money in an envelope to send to them. Also visit the band's MySpace page to hear good new songs including this one. Enjoy.
MP3: Hang Me High
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Since the artist we featured yesterday was from Sweden, I felt compelled to search for another band from that same region of the world. I didn't have to look too far at all to find one. Since I leave my computer on 24 hours a day, I still had the Adrian Recordings website up on a browser window. After looking around there for a bit, I ended up listening to a track from today's featured artist. Unfortunately, it was not downloadable. I clicked a few links, found a proper MP3 and now here we are. This is a great song, but I started getting confused about a few things about them. I'll explain...
Sharif is a band from Stockholm, Sweden that formed in 1999. They released their debut album Sharif's Slumber that very same year. After a re-release of the material in 2001, the band broke up. Let's fast forward a bit. In 2005 they apparently reformed (not sure if it was with all of the original members or not) and in May came out with Lost Causes-Causes Lost. This release doesn't show up on the Adrian catalog as far as I could tell, although a song from it is featured there as "song of the month." I'm also not sure if the Sharif website has been updated since last year either. I then found the Sharif myspace page and read a really interesting bio which intensified the mystery. I can only hope they are still making music but can't be certain at all. Again, this is great stuff. I might email them to find out if the 2005 album is available for purchase.. If anyone has further info, please message me. Thank You.
MP3: You Don't Know
All photos by Charlotte Lindberg.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Sometimes the best way to find music is to get onto MySpace and skip around the friends lists of other bands and labels you like, and that is exactly how I found this one. I was almost ready to call it quits last night when I checked out the profile of today's band. After almost an hour of clicking links, reading up the on the artist and listening to the music, It was easy to settle on today's feature. Hopefully, the planets are aligned so that our music hosting site, MySpace and Blogger are all working properly. That way you can actually get to hear this outstanding music. Also, hit the links below to find more info.
The Fine Arts Showcase is the music of Gustaf Kjellvander. From the official bio, I read that he had quite the international youth. He was born in Sweden, then lived for some years near Seattle, Washington, and then returned with his family to Sweden where he began to write music. He now lives in London, UK. If you visit The Fine Arts Showcase website there is much more information on the 2006 full length release Radiola. It is available in Sweden presently through Adrian Recordings (you can find them on MySpace too) and will be released for the rest of Europe via German label Stickman next month. If you are here in the states, you might want to message Gustaf on the band's MySpace page to ask how to go about buying the new CD.
MP3: Chemical Girl
Monday, July 24, 2006
I woke up early yesterday morning and had no cigarettes. On my way out to the car I saw what must have been a 13 year old girl with bright red hair leaving the house of a 40-something guy that lives around the corner. She was completely messed up on cocaine or something similar and wiping her running nose. Her awkward shaking "hello" as we passed was disturbing. Sometimes the world is an ugly place but I hope she is sleeping it off somewhere safe now. That has absolutely nothing to do with the music besides the fact that the chorus of this song reminds me of that particular moment. This band is incredible and ready for mass distribution although it may not be what they want to hear. I wasn't sure whether or not to feature them since I was certain a sound like this would get constant radio play. They also have quite the music blog following but this was too good to pass up.
Hot IQs are what I would consider a fuzz-pop power trio and hail from the mountainous city of Denver, Colorado. I'm sure this is the first band I've featured from that town. I couldn't find a specific year they were formed but will make a big guess and say 2003?? Am I even close this time? They are former radio DJs that decided to take things to the next level and most people listening right now are probably glad they did. The Hot IQs website has info on the upcoming tour, music and a video for this song you HAVE to see and download. The band's MySpace page is good to hear more also. I haven't done it for a while so here is my ridiculous comparison. They sound like a cross between XTC and Naked Raygun... although it might just be me. To purchase the Hot IQs' music you will need to visit Morning After Records. My Monday is better already.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
The year was 1996 and I had just graduated from Ohio University. Sometimes I'd like to tuck myself safely away back in my trashy old $350 per month (utilities included) college apartment back in Athens, Ohio. Today's music is something I vaguely recall from that time period and maybe you remember it also? I found this on a really well done music blog and everything started coming back to me once the music began. Funny how that works ah? If you recently started checking out this blog and couldn't guess, Sunday is reserved for classic music that is usually at least 10 years old. I hope you enjoy this one and if you have suggestions for other classics give me a shout. Next week has yet to be decided, however, I have some shoegaze (not the band you are thinking) for ya if nothing else comes my way.
Ryan Bassler and Eric Haugen are the duo from Champaign, Illinois that started honing their odd musical skills together under the Lorenzo Music banner in 1992. Due to the threat of a lawsuit by some random voice-over person they needed to change the band name and La Musique Populaire (LMP) is what they came up with. This song kind of sounds like Ween and another artist from that time period I can't put my finger on. Today's feature is from the band's 1996 release Aunt Canada. You can still purchase much of LMP's older material on their very own PolyHoliday Records label. The song is also part of a compilation called Tiny Idols Volume 2 on Snowglobe Records. The release date is set for August 8, 2006 and there are plenty of lost indie bands from the mid 90's on it. Sadly, I can give you no further details on LMP and I can't even find a MySpace page for them. If anyone has additional information on this band please let us all know?
MP3: Beautiful Noise
Saturday, July 22, 2006
The weekend is underway and it is supposed to rain all day. After listening to today's artist I started feeling the mood and am actually waiting in anticipation for the storms. My 8 year old daughter will be arriving around lunchtime and due to the weather will be bugging me to mess with the new laptop. Barbie.com it is! (uggg.) If vocal fitness and talent mean anything to you then today's feature will be right up your alley. Her voice is opera trained and absolutely beautiful. My stepfather is a bass baritone for the Columbus Light Opera so I have attempted to evolve an ear for such things. If you listen to the lyrics closely you will understand my storm reference. Nice music for a rainy Saturday.
My Brightest Diamond is the music of Shara Worden. Originally from Michigan, she sang for the church choir and eventually during this write up I will quote the rest of her history directly from the official bio. She now lives in NYC and her new release Bring Me The Workhorse is set for release on August 22nd through her label Asthmatic Kitty. (that's 4 days after my birthday Michelle *hint hint*) If you go to the My Brightest Diamond website you can get news on her extensive upcoming tour and more. She also has a MySpace page with more songs to listen to. Oh yeah, l almost forgot the quote from her bio. Here ya go:
"Shara honed her musical prowess singing along to Whitney Houston music videos and Mariah Carey albums. When pop music wasn't enough, she enrolled in the music program at the University of North Texas, immersing herself in the songs of Purcell and Debussy. After college, she moved to New York City and fell in love with its cold winters and busy streets. She continued to study opera on the Upper West Side during the day, but at night she frequented downtown clubs such as Tonic, Knitting Factory, and The Living Room, catching performances by Antony & the Johnsons, Nina Nastasia, and Rebecca Moore. She began to spend less time sight-reading Mozart and more time de-tuning her Gibson electric guitar to play her own newly-written songs. Coaxed out of recital halls and onto the small stages of bars and clubs, Shara assembled a coterie of musicians to accompany her with bass and drums, music boxes, wine glasses, and wind chimes"
MP3: Something of an End
Friday, July 21, 2006
Last week turned out to be a "Shoegaze-fest" that ended in a blaze of glory and I've still got last Friday's song embedded on my own MySpace profile. In the same spirit, this week was destined to turn into an indie rock extravaganza. I will try to mix things up a bit more next week but for now we are shifting into guitar overdrive. These guys just plain rock. I am not about to explain what you can already hear so I will only mention that the Rocket From The Crypt recommendation on the bio I read is extremely accurate. There are a few people on my MySpace friends list from the Nashville area and several more we added to the group a while back. I hope at least some of those people have seen these guys live and can give some sort of account. I read that they are out-o-hand good on stage. What a good way to kick off the weekend!!
The city of Nashville, Tennessee leads many to think the obvious when it comes to music, but that deserves no additional mention here. Instead, those folks might want to re-think and listen. Apollo Up! has been around since 2002 and is a great power trio from an ever present and growing scene in that town. I plan to feature more from the area soon. They are signed to Theory 8 Records and have a new release in Chariots Of Fire which came out June 13th. There is plenty to do on the Apollo Up! website and if you would like to hear more (as always) check the band's MySpace page. There is a video waiting for you there. Oh!! I almost forgot. Apollo Up! is playing at Lemmon's in Saint Louis, Missouri tonight. If you are close you will want to scratch any post-happy hour plans and go to the show.
MP3: Walking The Plank
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The weather is still unbearably humid here in Ohio and I've switched from proper ale to 1 part water / 1 part light domestic beer... Can you imagine my sacrifice? I promise not to bring up too much randomness while I start this writeup but I need to mention a festival that happened in the beginning of May of this year. The MIDI Music Festival has been held in Beijing, China since 1997. There have been a couple of years where it couldn't take place but here is a short youtube video clip from the event this year. The reason I mention this is because today's featured band was one of 18 foreign artists that were invited to (and played) the event. I try to keep this group as internationally flavored as possible and today is a good day in that respect. Oh, and did I mention that the band is really good also???
From the historic rock town of Liverpool, UK I present to you the power pop-punk trio known as The Wombats. Murph, Tord and Dan have been playing since 2004 and have some great 7' vinyl singles already under their belt. If you like this as much as I do, you might want to contact them directly on The Wombats MySpace page. There is also a really good video there. The latest single is available on KIDS and the band's EP will be available soon. You can also visit the Wombats Website for news and suchlike. Yep...this is another DIY outfit that are going places for sure.
MP3: Lost in the Post
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The heat continues here in the Midwest and to top it off we are having thunderstorms that you would think might possibly take away some of the humidity... Not a chance. Yesterday's music was wonderfully understated and today is a variation on that same low-key indie rock theme. I recently read that Money Magazine is set to rate Columbus, Ohio the 8th best large city to inhabit in the US. I only mention this since the featured band performed here last month. They just need to play a better venue next time. There is also a funny picture below of the marquee when they performed in Bowling Green, Ohio (eeeek!!) that same week. Pleeease oh please let me be the TSLOS regional consultant the next time they pay a visit to our fine State?? That aside, this is a great band I have had on constant rotation for the past 24 hours. If you've been listening while reading this you will know what I mean. I think the influences are also similar to yesterday's band as well.
The Secret Life Of Sofia are an indie rock quartet from Brooklyn, New York. Although they list no formation date, I learned from the band bio that Kyle and Ian attended music composition school together in college while Eric and Steve played in several local bands for the better part of 7 years. They've just finished touring and have a limited edition EP CD (recorded at Bento Box Studios) that you might be able to get your hands on if you visit The Secret Life Of Sofia Website. There are 3 more equally good songs to hear on the band's MySpace page as well.
MP3: Hospital Inside Me
Monday, July 17, 2006
The weather turned extremely hot and humid this weekend, and since I only have a window air conditioner in the bedroom I was stuck in there with the door shut for the entire time. My computer is in there so I spent a better part of my weekend online. After checking out ridiculous websites about dogs dressed as bees and an unfortunate Kentucky baby nursery (too funny) I decided to explore a couple of artists that had left comments on our MML MySpace page. Glad I did. As you can probably already hear, today's band is heavily influenced by the music of Lou Barlow and his well established outfit Sebadoh. For this type of undertaking they sound remarkably like themselves instead of what can sometimes come off as just another simple cover band. These guys do it up right and some of the other songs have quite a different sound that gave me a definite reason to feature them. This one just happend to be my favorite but I am also I'm diggin on the song names from the 1989 movie Slacker.
Eye Was an Ion is the duo of Mac Colasimone and Ryan Kitchen from a small town outside of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. From their bio I gathered that they have been making music for quite some time. They enlist the help of friends for the purpose of recording and live shows. Some of those folks might wind up permanant members eventually if they are not careful. The band is currently finishing up their debut CD as well as constructing a website so you will need to visit the Eye Was an Ion MySpace page to hear and learn more. If the planets are all aligned properly they will be performing next time I make my way through Windsor en route to see an upcoming Uncut show in Toronto. Many thanks to Mac & Ryan for letting me feature the music.
MP3: Happening Soon
One of the fun things about doing this group/blog thing is running into other folks that enjoy searching for new and different music. Recently, I met this really cool blogger gal (yes I said gal) Lizzy. She has this great website called Come Pick Me Up that I highly recommend you visit for new music. Featured there the other week was a band from Atlanta that I was immediately taken with. I can think of no better way to follow up one of the greatest bands of the past than to present you with a really good indie rock band from the present. The sound might be different but for some reason they still have that same dry tank local feel to their music. Give this one a chance to kick in and you will thank me.
Variac is a 5 piece rock outfit from Atlanta, Georgia that has several variations of their bio on the band website. I was confused (and laughing) enough to go with the following quote from them:
"In fall 2002, indoor rowing champions Kris Sampson and James Pinkstone, in conjunction with Mens Health magazine, commissioned guitarist Ryan Pitchford to write for them a victory hymnal, to be broadcast throughout the many gymnasiums to which their rowing tournaments led. Moved to tears by the beauty and power of the piece, coach Tom Tjoflat emerged from retirement, not to once again train up-and-coming indoor rowers for victory, but to proudly play percussion to what he then called the beautiful music.
By late 2004, however, indoor rowing CD sales had plummeted, and its place in youth culture had begun to wane. At the recommendation of their record label, Pitchford and Tjoflat set out to seek a vocalist who truly understood the merit of, and discipline in, championship indoor rowing, and to once again connect with the youth-driven sales market. JT Hall, a longtime fan of Tjoflats coaching skills, was the obvious choice."
There you have it...Great bio ah? You might be surprised to find out that this band is unsigned at the moment!?!?! I can't see that going on much longer at all. They have an EP in the works and there should be some sort of demo out soon as well. Check out the Variac MySpace page for more info, tour dates and a really cool video. Thanks Liz... I owe ya one.
MP3: Fitted Phrase
Sunday, July 16, 2006
The year was 1984 and I was an awkward freshman in High School. I used to jump on my moped and ride to the Ohio State University campus area whenever I had two cents in my pocket to look for new music at the crappy little record shops. The album pictured below was one of my purchases. I remember being so disappointed when I got home to find that it wasn't the full scale punk rock assault I had been guaranteed at the record shop. Times were changing and bands like The Replacements and Hüsker Dü were maturing into a sound that would gain more widespread appeal. In both cases it was done with great care so as not to lose the original message. It wasn't until around a year later that I put away my Black Flag records and finally gave this one a serious listen. These were great times and this song brings it all back for me. I hope it does for you as well.
The Replacements were a 4-piece from Minneapolis, Minnesota that started out in 1979 and are familiar to most of you. I'm not sure when or where but they gained the name "The 'Mats" from an insult where they were referred to as "The Placemats" when starting out. There was also always a buzz of competition between them and local so-called rivals Hüsker Dü. I heard a recent online interview with Bob Mould and he laughed at the question saying they all hung out at the same clubs and it was a ridiculous take on what was happening at the time. I could keep blathering on but will instead give you the fan websites to visit. They have plenty of info on the history of the band.
Color Me Impressed
There is also a fairly active MySpace group dedicated to The 'Mats you should check out if you get the chance. After 5 years on Twin Tone Records and several years on major labels The Replacements broke up in 1991. The subsequent solo work of Paul Westerberg pretty much sounds like an ongoing version of his song from the 1992 movie Singles. I honestly can't recommend anything he's done solo with good conscience. Chris Mars, however, had an incredible 1992 release (to me anyway) in Horseshoes & Hand Grenades and has some great art work also. I can't find that old cassette tape anywhere... grrrr. Happy Sunday!
MP3: I Will Dare (1984)
Saturday, July 15, 2006
The past few days have been good here with some extra nice shoegaze bands but in the spirit of mixing things up a bit, I wanted to bring something highly energetic to the table. I've got a ton of stuff to do tomorrow and will only have to drink one Red Bull and click on the group to hear this for a kickstart to my day. This is a great song that lands somewhere between the stylings of several bands I like. I can't put my finger on any one comparison and I think that's a good thing. There was an interesting Dutch review of the band by Heet Stof that you should check out for sure.
Russian Spy Camera is the duo of Ryan White and drummer Andy Turner (with the possibility of a third member soon.) They are based in Athens, Georgia and have a very recent release in You Are a Vulture. There are 3 more songs on the band's MySpace page and you can hear much more on the Russian Spy Camera website. They are listed as being on Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records and all you have to do to purchase the new release for $10.99 (that includes shipping) is visit their store. All songs that I heard are very good and catchy.
Friday, July 14, 2006
The Brother Kite (yeah I am totally distracted by how good this is also) are an indie rock quintet (+ Apple iPod) from Providence, Rhode Island. The sound is familiar to most of you and done quite well. In June 2004, after developing for almost 3 years, they released an 8 song CD and today's feature just happened to be on it. Check The Brother Kite website for news and upcoming tour dates. You might also want to visit the band's label Claire Records on the web or on myspace. TBK also has the compulsory MySpace page with two more songs to download and all of the merchandise is available through Tone Vendor. I think I'm all 'linked out' for now but will also mention that the new CD Waiting For The Time To Be Right is coming out on September 12, 2006... How's this for Friday music ah??
MP3: Simply Say My Name