Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I have a confession to make. Despite the date on this post saying February 28th, I'm actually posting it retrospectively, in late July. This is because - in case you haven't spotted this - we're updating (or back-dating, rather) the archives on here with the stuff we've been featuring on our MySpace group since November 2005. Nothing wrong with that, but I just had to explain that bit so that it'll make sense when I say: wow... I can't believe how much great stuff we've featured on that group and that I've totally forgotten about in the ensuing months! This band being a case in point. I've just sat here listening to them for the past hour, and have to say that this is absolutely beautiful stuff, and that their dreamy, languid sound is just perfect for the oppresively hot summer's day on which I find myself sat here writing this post. Heavenly, in fact.

Siblings Tim and Steven Batke formed Faunts in their hometown of Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) in autumn 2000, with Paul Arnusch and Joel Hitchcock joining shortly afterwards. They signed to Friendly Fire Recordings in 2005, and released the album High Expectations/Low Results (from which this song is taken) last November. Given that I've already 'fessed up to the fact that I'm writing this in July, not February, I can tell you that the band have suffered a few hitches over the past year, including Joel Hitchcock leaving the band and the cancellation of a US tour they had planned (note to band: please schedule another one for sometime when I'm in the States!), but that things look to be picking up again: the good news is that they've been working on new material, including a new EP set for release this September, and have added some new members to their lineup.

I could wax lyrical about how very lovely this music is, but that would just embarrass us all - my powers of description are somewhat lacking when it comes to music like this, and I think Faunts deserve to be have theirs heard rather than subjected to my hopeless attempts to capture it in words! So now I just need to tell you where you can go to find news on the band, listen to more music, and more importantly, buy the album. Here goes: the Faunts website and MySpace page are both good bets if you're looking for news updates or want to hear/download more of the band's material. And should you wish to purchase the full album (and after hearing this song and the other tasters the band have put out there, how could you not?), you'll find it at the Friendly Fire Shop for USD $10, shipping included. Hell, why not pick up some stuff by their equally wonderful labelmates Asobi Seksu while you're at it...

MP3: What I'd Love To Hear You Say

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Wanteds

The Wanteds
is the one man pop project of Portland, Oregon area musician Tommy Harrington. From some of the reviews I read, he moved to Portland from L.A. in 1999 and started collecting musical instruments of all kinds. His live performance is quite the spectacle and often controversial. If you like this, check out his website and MySpace page for some more songs to listen to from his debut release Let Go Afterglow (2004). He is playing in Provo, Utah tonight and Boise, Idaho Sunday evening to round out his current tour...

MP3: Maybe I Won't

Friday, February 24, 2006

American Suitcase

With a name like American Suitcase you'll be surprised to learn that this band is from Oslo, Norway. Most of the reviews I read about them were from 2003 and earlier. In them, they are repeatedly compared to The Byrds, Teenage Fanclub and Matthew Sweet. (I kind of hear The Posies in there also.)

The American Suitcase website looks outdated so I was almost certain they were no more... but it looks like they just played a benefit this past December. There are a couple more songs there to listen to, and some on their MySpace page too. This is really nice power pop. I checked around briefly and it doesn't seem like they have a distributor here in the states. Hrmmm....

MP3: Lloyd Christmas

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Patrick Phelan

Today's song comes from Patrick Phelan, whose third full-length album as a solo artist (he was previously in South and has collaborated with various other artists over the years) was released in December after a four-year hiatus during which Phelan spent time studying human rights and cooking in Italy. Like his previous releases, 2000's Songs of Patrick Phelan and 2001's Parlor, Phelan's latest album Cost is available on the Jagjaguwar label. If you like this, check out his MySpace page where you can hear more music; all three releases can be purchased here at the Jagjaguwar shop, priced at $13 USD each plus shipping.

MP3: Favor

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Page France

Page France
began life when Michael Nau started writing and recording songs with his friend Clinton Jones in the summer of 2004, attracting the attention of Baltimore label Fall Records who subsequently released the band's debut album Come, I'm a Lion!. Page France's live performances started to get them noticed, drawing an ever-growing following to them. From what I've read, it sounds like a Page France live show tends to be quite a group effort, with assistance from assorted friends and collaborators on various instruments.

A second album, Hello, Dear Wind was released in late 2005; this song, Chariot, is the first track on that album. Both albums as well as some EPs can be purchased from the Fall Records online shop, and you can find more information on the band, as well as more songs, on the Page France website and MySpace page.

MP3: Chariot

Monday, February 20, 2006

Eiffel Tower

Okay... this writeup might have to be a bit on the short side as I just sent myself cross-eyed trying to quickly glean some info from the band's website; is it just me who is driven insane by those impressive-looking Flash sites? Maybe it is - they look impressive, after all, but I just want to find stuff quickly!

Anyway. What I did gather before abandoning the task was that Brooklyn, NY's Eiffel Tower is principally the music of Benjamin Wheelock, who has been playing music since a very early age, being the song of a classical composer and a music historian; his lifelong immersion in music can be heard in the complexity that lies behind the catchiness of Eiffel Tower's songs. After the release of a debut album on which he sang every word and played every note (the album's called Eiffel Tower and available from Monitor Records), Wheelock started working with some more New York-based musicians, Trevor Bajus, Sarah Siplak, Martin Olson and Chris Mueller, resulting in a more complex sound still. Eiffel Tower's first album release as a five-piece will be Smallish Things, which comes out on Zero One Infinity, the digital-only offshoot of March Records, on March 17th - check the Zero One Infinity site for more info on where to get hold of it.

More information and music can be found on Eiffel Tower's website (where I just managed to find the non-Flash online press kit, which would have made things much easier on my poor eyes - d'oh!), and also their MySpace page. This is very nice stuff, I can't stop listening to it.

MP3: Cannibalized

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Chin Up Chin Up

Photo by Chris Strong

Chicago, IL's Chin Up Chin Up began life in 2001, formed by guitarists Jeremy Bolen and Nathan Snydacker, and soon joined by percussionist Chris Dye and bassist Chris Saathoff, then (after the release of their debut EP in January 2002) by keyboardist Greg Sharp. Extensive touring with the likes of the America Analog Set, Broken Social Scene and the Appleseed Cast was drawing a lot of positive attention to the band and things were looking rosy. However, the band suffered a tragic loss when Chris Saathoff was killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking home from a show. For the ensuing months the rest of the band spent a lot of time together, mourning the loss of their friend, with music the last thing on their mind. They later decided to continue working on the album, keeping the bass lines Chris had recorded as intact as possible, with Nathan playing the remaining bass lines almost in homage to his friend's style.

Photo by Martha Williams

The album We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers was finally released on Flameshovel Records and is available, along with the band's self-titled EP, from the label's online store. Chin Up Chin Up are currently working on their second full-length release, due to come out on Suicide Squeeze later this year. For more information and to listen to more of their material, go to the Chin Up Chin Up website and MySpace page.

MP3: We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers

Friday, February 17, 2006


The utterly fantastic Ex-Boyfriends (now there's a collection of words you don't see used in that sequence too often...) are an energetic indie trio from San Francisco who started recording together in 2003. The songs are irresistible and infectious and I can guarantee that after a couple of listens you'll find them stuck indelibly in your head for weeks. With Robert Smith-esque vocals and a repertoire of songs about (as the band's bio puts it) "their own ex-boyfriends and girlfriends, love gone wrong, addiction, drama-addled friends and the need for you to dance at their shows", really, what's not to love about this lot?

This song is taken from the band's new album, Dear John, released this coming Tuesday. You can buy it from their label, Absolutely Kosher; go here to order it for $12 USD (shipping is free within the US) - they take Paypal, which makes things easy.

You'll be wanting to find out more and to track down more of their music, so allow me to direct you here (that'll be the band's website) and here (their MySpace page).

MP3: Him For Me

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Childhood friends Christian Hjelm, Andreas Toft and Claus S. Johansen formed the Copenhagen, Denmark-based Figurines sometime in the mid-90s. They released an EP, The Detour in 2001, subsequently signed to Morningside Records, and were then joined by Kristian Volden to complete the band's lineup. In April 2003 they released their debut album, Shake a Mountain, followed two years later by Skeleton, from which this song is taken. The album will be available in the US and Canada from next month and you can find details on where to buy both releases on this page of Morningside's site.

The Figurines website is definitely worth visiting for news, information and a selection of songs to download; check out their MySpace page too.

MP3: The Wonder

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


It has to be said that sometimes, no matter how taken I am with a song, I struggle to find anything much to write about the artist that made it (given that, as I've said before and I'll surely say again, actually describing the music itself is something I'll do anything to avoid; who was it who said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture? They were dead right). That says more about my clumsy and awkward writing skills than it does about any of the musicians we feature on here, but it's rare that I'll find myself with so much interesting stuff to say about a band that I don't even know where to begin. I'll warn you: it's going to be a long one.

Photo by Ted Liscinski

The two members of Devics, Sara Lov and Dustin O'Halloran came together when they met at art college in Santa Monica, California. Both had lived in Los Angeles as children, but had rather eventful lives between then and the point when they met. At the age of four Sara Lov was kidnapped by her father and taken to Israel; it was over a decade before she was able to return to the US with the help of an uncle. She decided at the age of six that she was going to be a singer. Dustin O'Halloran, too, had a happy and unremarkable Los Angeles early childhood, but when his mother became ill he had to go and live with his father on the remote Hawaiian island of Kauai, only returning to Los Angeles years later, and finally meeting Lov at art college in the mid-90s. The pair instantly clicked, and became a couple; that relationship faded after a while, but their creative partnership in Devics is still going strong. Lov has described the band as a child they have together.

Photo by Ted Liscinski

Devics released their first proper album, following a compilation of early demo material, in 1998, on their own label, Splinter Records. This attracted the attention of former Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde, who was so impressed that he invited them to sign to Bella Union, the label he runs with other-ex-Cocteau-Twin Robin Guthrie. The release of 2001's The Beautiful Sinking Ship on Bella Union and the subsequent exhaustive tours that took in Western Europe, the Eastern Bloc, and even Russia, resulted in Devics developing a firm fanbase in Europe. Lov and O'Halloran moved to Italy at around this time, a country in which they were known thanks to filmmaker Giuseppe Bertolucci who had used their music for the score of his film L'Amore Probabilmente, in 2001. The next Devics album, The Stars of Saint Andrea, was written while the pair were living deep in the Italian countryside, having made their home in an old farmhouse. The album brought them yet more acclaim and recognition from the music press across Europe.

Photo by Stefano Masselli

In 2004 O'Halloran released an instrumental solo album, entitled Piano Solos, which was also positively received by the music press, particularly in the UK. After so much success in Europe, Devics were determined to carve a name for themselves in their native country, and so returned to the US in 2004 to work on their fourth album, Push the Heart, which should be released this spring, on Bella Union in Europe, and Filter in the US. This song, Distant Radio (which reminds me very much of the Sundays - I'm sure I'm not the first person to say that), will be on that album, and is also available on a five-track EP of the same name. You can listen to more songs, and buy them too, on the Devics website, (you can also buy their stuff from the Bella Union online shop), where you will also find all the news, tour dates etc, you could possibly need; they also have a MySpace page with more of the same. Oh, and they have a video up on the Filter US Recordings site, too.

This is beautiful music, and I can guarantee you'll want to hear more. And if you don't, well... what's wrong with you?!

MP3: Distant Radio

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Right, some lovely, jangly, short-and-sweet guitar poppiness today, courtesy of Irish band Crumb. The band consists of Eamonn Davis and Derrick Dalton (both formerly of Hey Paulette, who you can also find on MySpace if you're so inclined), along with Dez Foley (who also plays with Eamonn Davis in Mexican Pets - again, they have a MySpace page if you fancy a look & listen...) Just to confuse you even further, the whole of Crumb also play in another band called Melba.

formed in 2004, and released their debut album, Evenings and Weekends in April of 2005, on their own Disques Fridge label (formerly named Mickey Rourke's Fridge back in their Hey Paulette days) - if you click here you'll find info on how to get hold of a copy depending on whereabouts in the world you are - you can also buy a copy direct from the band for 13 euro (inc. shipping) if you have PayPal. The song featured here is the first single to be taken from the album. Lately they've been demoing new material, so keep checking the Crumb website and MySpace page for more information, and to hear (and download) some more tracks.

MP3: Follow Me Home

Monday, February 13, 2006

Jens Lekman

You might well know today's featured artist as he's already become quite well-known in Europe, the US and further afield; but if you have heard his music, I doubt you'll object to hearing it again, and if you haven't... we have a treat for you.

Photo by J Stlhammar

Twenty-five year old Jens Lekman is from Gothenburg, Sweden, and has been recording and releasing music since 2000, with his first privately-released material appearing under the name Rocky Dennis quite by accident; this was the title of an EP he put out, but a confused radio station thought Jens himself was called Rocky... and it took him several years to correct that misapprehension! Since 2003, though, he's been releasing his music without any accidental pseudonyms, and has put out several EPs and one album, 2004's When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog. The song featured here, Black Cab is taken from a long-sold-old EP released in 2003, but is also available on 2005's Oh You're So Silent Jens, a CD compilation of some of Lekman's earlier EPs and assorted other tracks.

Photo by G. Olson

I'd definitely recommend a visit to Jens Lekman's website, where you'll find plenty of news and information, as well as lots of stuff to listen to & download, an interesting sort of blog, and an online shop run by Jens's sister ("to help her quit her boring job at Burger King") - there's a fair bit of Jens's material available on there, and to make things easy you can use PayPal.

Photo by Jessica Yateman

I love this song, and ever since I heard it for the first time I've not been able to get it out of my head. But I'm not complaining, and I don't think you will be either... enjoy.

MP3: Black Cab