Monday, December 29, 2008

Burning Hearts

It's not often at all we have the chance to feature music from Finland, but thanks to a heads-up from Matthew Bice of Portland, Oregon label Shelflife Records (Shelflife MySpace), we find ourselves with another favourite release for early 2009. Burning Hearts is the Finnish duo of Henry Ojala (instrumentation) who often serves as the drummer for Åbo/Turku based outfit Cats On Fire (flaming feline MySpace) and Jessika Rapo (vocals) with her beautiful voice that can also be found as a driving element of Helsinki band Le Futur Pompiste (LFP MySpace). Together they've created an impressive music project and now have a debut album, titled Aboa Sleeping, that is set to be released through above mentioned Shelflife Records on February 10, 2009. Do yourself an enormous favour and have a listen to this track from the upcoming debut Aboa Sleeping.

MP3: I Lost My Colour Vision

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twiggy Frostbite

We are off to complete some last minute Christmas shopping and pick up supplies for our first annual attempt at a Mexican-themed holiday dinner/margarita-fest tomorrow. For this reason the writeup will be brief, but the artist is muy bien and, to be honest, this particular song has been waiting patiently on our computer desktop for over a month now. Twiggy Frostbite is a five piece indie pop outfit consisting of musicians Elin Lindfors (vocals), AnnaKarin Berglund (keys), Emma Sjöberg (bass), Joel Thedéen (guitar) and David Kramer (drums) from Gävle, Sweden. The band has been performing together since 2006 and their debut album, titled Though Fire, is set to be released through Stockholm based label Despotz Records (Despotz MySpace) on Feburary 19 in Scandanavia and April/May 2009 in the UK. Today's featured track is a beautifully warm pop offering that borders on an equally dark simplicity, with Elin's vocal strength providing illumination for the journey. There is an excellent animated video for Heroes as well as additional information and music to be found by visiting the Twiggy Frostbite MySpace page. This one is well worth some of your time...

MP3: Heroes

As a holiday related side-note:

We recently discovered that the town of Gävle, Sweden is known for having the world's largest "Yule Goat", known as The Gävle Goat (Gävlebocken in Swedish) that was originally built in 1966 for the town square. Just about every year since that time, local vandals have attempted to burn this helpless straw goat to the ground and we felt a bit sad, yet amused, about the whole thing. You can find all of the unfortunate events surrounding our new goat-friend by visiting this Wikipedia page. It will be our new holiday tradition to report on the well-being of Gävlebocken every year from now on. Poor thing.

2008: 10,000 people turned out for the inauguration of one of this year's goats. No reserve-goat was built to replace the main goat should the worst happen, nor was the goat impregnated with flame repellent (Anna Östman, spokesperson of the Goat-committee said the repellent made it look ugly in the previous years, like a brown terrier). On the 16 of December the Natural Science Club's Goat was vandalised and later removed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So Shush

As much as we'd love to paint ourselves as typical 70s kids who grew up listening to Edgar Winter with black-light posters and incense burning in the basement or attic of a parental nest, our childhood music memories might be a bit closer to early Black Flag or Siouxsie Sioux blaring out of a beat-up car stereo while loitering in the parking lot of a local pub. For reasons that might become obvious after first listening, today's featured artist seems to have a solid grasp on both of these worlds and the result has us absolutely smitten. So Shush is the long time music project of Carole Smart and Ian Drumm from Manchester, UK who were in various local bands throughout the 1990s and have been working together since 2000. The influences vary widely, from My Bloody Valentine to The Hollies or even Yes (yes that Yes), and so a well seasoned Hammond organ and generous helping of guitars are exactly what we have in store for you this evening. The first track for listening will soon belong to an upcoming Skratch Magazine (Skratch MySpace) music sampler that will be the latest in a series of 49. Here you go.

MP3: People Need Something

After listening to People Need Something, an overwhelming thought of Homestead or Sarah Records snatching this band up back in the day is an easy one to fathom. If you are looking for more of the classic sound we mentioned earlier, a track from the self titled, 2008 debut release, complete with a decidedly retro progressive rock intro, can be found below as a definite bonus. For information on how to grab a copy of this debut CD, a visit can be made to either the So Shush MySpace joint or Carrie's supplemental So Shush MySpace extravaganza complete with all-things Hollies. Plenty of good music to be found in both places. From the debut... nice!

MP3: Lucid Dreamer

As an extra bonus and thanks to Ian and Carole for sending their music in our direction, we just had to do this:

MP3: The Hollies - Carrie Anne (1967)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Sound of Arrows

So we opened a message from one of our favorite labels today, but had no idea just how much fun was in store for us. Honestly, the timing couldn't have been more perfect for a couple of bloggers who are admittedly feeling the effects of this cold and gloomy grey season. The Sound Of Arrows is the lovely indie pop duo of Oskar Gullstrand and Stefan Storm from Stockholm, Sweden, and their latest single M.A.G.I.C. will be released through Labrador Records on January 28. For today's featured song, a classroom of chanting children as well as the accompaniment of a vocalist from Tokyo, Japan were enlisted and the result is exactly what the track title suggests. To check out a video clip that serves as an introduction for the new single, you can visit The Sound Of Arrows website and for additional information or music there is also The Sound Of Arrows MySpace page. It seems almost impossible to imagine a happier start for early 2009. Listen Listen!

MP3: M.A.G.I.C.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Herr Nilsson: No Man is Iceland

Temperatures are dropping to the extreme here in Cincinnati, with precipitation that looks more like stuffing from a faulty 1970s era beanbag chair rather than any type of proper snowflakes. In order to warm the ears this evening, we have an update on the Bergen, Norway musical collective Herr Nilsson who were featured here just over a month ago [October 29 review + download]. Guitarist and vocalist Terje was kind enough to send us a link to the new Herr Nilsson Blog where we found a brand new EP, titled (for now) No Man is Iceland, completely free for download. The songs were recorded in true bedroom fashion with limited polish or production and the lo-fi result of these efforts deserve nothing less than a high recommendation by our estimation. The big sounds and more information can still be found on the Herr Nilsson MySpace page and hopefully the Herr Nilsson website will be finished addition sometime soon. For now, we decided to share a couple of must-listen tracks from this DIY release. These songs are outstanding.

MP3: Olympic Fire
MP3: The More You Change, The More I Stay The Same

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Eksi Ekso

The end of the year is quickly approaching and we've decided once again to escape the scramble for last minute offerings in order to bring you music we happened to have missed earlier this year. A belated message was received this past week from Lindsay and Joel of Covington, Kentucky based label The Mylene Sheath (TMS MySpace) and we couldn't be happier with the release they sent, not to mention the realization these dry-tank local folks exist just across the Ohio River from our Cincinnati home. With that out of the way, we need to get started in digging into the music. Eksi Ekso is a six piece from Boston, Massachusetts consisting of musicians Nate Shumaker (vocals, guitar), Tom Korkidis (bass, vocals, keys, samples), Clara Kebabian (violin, vocals), Beth Holub (viola), Sean Will (trumpet, keys, samples) and Alex Mihm (drums). They were previously known as The Burning Paris and eventually On Fire, but have since changed up much of the mechanics, or at least the instrumental duties involved, in order to create a June 2008 full length debut release titled I Am Your Bastard Wings under this new moniker. For those who've not had the chance to listen to this debut album from Eksi Ekso, a first exposure is definitely in order.

MP3: Killing Texas

After taking a few evenings to explore the collection of songs that make up I Am Your Bastard Wings, we immediately discounted any genre classifications made in the handful of previous reviews we read. With music this beautifully intelligent and effortlessly focused, it almost seems a crime to describe the sound as any sort of random texture, soundscape or ice cream flavor. Instead, we will simply ask you to listen to another lovely track with us.

MP3: Just Leave

For more music and information, be sure to check out the Eksi Ekso website as well as the Eksi Ekso MySpace page. I Am Your Bastard Wings is also available through Fredericksburg, Virginia based label Magic Bullet Records (MB MySpace) and, from what we've gathered, a follow up release is also in the works for 2009 with recording set to start in the spring. The next live performance will take place tonight, December 13, at legendary Worcester, Massachusetts venue Ralph's Diner. Before I forget, below is a YouTube video of a live performance from the release party for the debut CD on June 21. Once again, the song is Killing Texas. Enjoy.

Monday, December 08, 2008

East Hundred: Passenger

While plenty of bands seem to wait until the closing months of any given year to release new music, we are noticing an increasing number of artists choosing to wait until after the holiday rush for January and February to unleash their goods. So would be the case for today's featured music and since notification that an early copy was mailed in our direction, thanks to a certain drummer, our ability to wait for its arrival was nothing less than a challenge. Once received and opened, an incredibly professional press kit was our prize but, to be perfectly honest, they could have simply scotch taped a bar napkin to the CD and scrawled something like "play this" in crayon and we would have been no less excited. It wouldn't be the first time. East Hundred is a five piece from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania we originally featured in June 2006 with a follow up in February 2007. The lineup remains the same for a brand new full length CD, titled Passenger, which is set for a launch date of January 13, 2009. Before we begin our most recent gush-fest regarding EH, let's check out the second track from the album... ready?

MP3: Plus Minus

As if that song were not enough incentive for a mad stir to kick early 2009 into motion, we've also included a video below for the lead track Slow Burning Crimes which is an equally good view and listen for the current direction of the band. After taking some time to experience the new release in heavy rotation over the past week, some notable observations were made and we felt the need to share just a couple of them. The familiar sound East Hundred originally endeared themselves to us with is kept fully intact for Passenger, however, a new urgency emanates from all angles with more aggressive rhythms combined with an enhanced layering of guitars that will surely please most any indie rock-minded listener. This would all be well and good enough for a stellar MML review, but what ultimately sent our thoughts over the top were the enchanting vocals of Beryl Guceri which have become much more powerful as a guiding element for the band. Since the East Hundred website is currently being updated, a visit to the East Hundred MySpace page should be your destination for additional music and information from the band. The next live performance will take place tomorrow night, December 9, at local Philadelphia venue Johnny Brendas.

And now for the video. It was suggested we feature the Vimeo version of Slow Burning Crimes (which is far and away better quality) but we honestly had no idea how to embed it into the blog without sending the width restrictions of blogger into a tailspin... so here is the YouTube version for quick reference. Yeah, the above Vimeo link is what you should view for full effect. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jelly Belly

If you happen to visit our music blog on even a semi-regular basis, it will be no mystery that we adore plenty of music that was released during the late 1980s to early 1990s on labels such as 4AD, Creation and Sarah Records. If you are familiar with this era and the specific sound/direction of which we speak, it might be assumed that more recent offerings of a similar persuasion would most likely be found in the UK or maybe even a few larger music scenes here in the states... ahh, but locations aren't always this obvious. The city of Bandung, in West Java, Indonesia is where you will find musicians Buddy (bass), Vian (guitar), Aduy (guitar), Oscar (drums) and Devita (vocals) who make up the ambient shoegaze influenced outfit Jelly Belly. The band has been together, with a few lineup changes along the way, since 2000 and have been featured on a number of compilations as well as releasing a debut titled Intro EP in 2005. As a long-overdue follow up, there is another upcoming EP that will be released through Bandung based music label Maritime Records, titled A Gorgeous Day To Remember. All of the details and additional music can be found by visiting the Jelly Belly MySpace page or the Jelly Belly Last FM profile. Don't let the playful name of the band fool you for a second... Jelly Belly is more than capable of sending any skeptic into a dream-like state with their impressive take on one of our favourite genres of music. Have a listen to this track from the new EP...

MP3: Farewell

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bliss City East

It's been a busy holiday week spent away from computers, mostly being traditional consumers of seasonal food, spirits and retail goods, but all the while new music has been filtering into our email inbox and we need to get back to things in a hurry. Tonight we start once again on familiar ground with a side project and new demo tracks from our friend Perry, a founding member of the Chicago, Illinois shoegaze outfit Skylight, who we first featured in March 2008 with a follow up in September 2008. The new, mostly solo endeavor from Perry is Bliss City East and the idea for the music couldn't be more simple or effective. Using only two chords for each song, surrounded by an accompaniment of beautiful noise and drifting vocals, a series of what could easily become impressive soundtracks take shape around each and every droning turn. From what we have learned, there are more songs, nearly completed, that will be available for listening on the Bliss City East MySpace page in the coming weeks.

In another bit of related news, we were informed that Skylight is moving forward with 2009 plans for a split/mixed EP (or something of the sort) with Seoul, South Korea based Vidulgi OoyoO as well as The Beijing Tangs from Scottsdale, Arizona. From the links you will find that all three of these artists have been featured on MML... so we can't wait to listen when the time comes.

MP3: Need Another (demo)
MP3: The Sun Is Cold (demo)