Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bring Me The Fucking Riot... Man: Solidarity Died And So Did We

 Over five years have passed since our first mention of today's featured artist, in January 2007, so we were more than a bit tickled when opening a recent email to discover a brand new album was at hand. Stockholm, Sweden based four piece Bring Me The Fucking Riot... Man have now recorded and christened a new full-length collection of ten songs, titled Solidarity Died And So Did We, that was just released through local label Selective Notes last week. One click and a few minutes listening was all that we needed to begin our realization that this long-lost band hadn't strayed for a single nanosecond from their original course. Colored in light humor where both delivery and often sound are concerned, Bring Me The Fucking Riot... Man makes perfectly certain you are aware of their raw guitars, driving rhythms and how brutally honest the underlying message of each track happens to be. Beautifully raucous and well worth each ounce of volume your computer speakers can produce. Listen to this...

MP3: Enough! We Demand The Abdication

The next live performance will take place tomorrow night, May 11, at central Södermalm venue Debaser Medis. There is also a new video from this latest album, for the lead track There Is Something Wrong With Your Head. Your Brain Is Dead, that is compulsory viewing. Love this band all over again.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Cold Blue Kid: Mimic (EP)

 Where more recently released music is concerned, traces of influence from various artists or genres, both past and present, are not all that uncommon for us to notice. Mentioned or otherwise, we always enjoy quiet little comparisons while listening and have a definite treat for sharing today. Chicago, Illinois based Cold Blue Kid began as the solo music project of multi-instrumentalist Alex Longoria in the latter part of 2010. After a debut, self-titled album was recorded bedroom-style that same year, Alex enlisted the accompaniment of local musicians Andrew Sole (percussion), Evan Holmes (guitar, vocals), Sarah Gallagher (bass, vocals) and Jenn Romero (keyboards, vocals) to complete the full band lineup. Earlier this year, with the now five piece outfit in place, a collection of six new songs were made available in the form of an EP titled Mimic. From the very beginning of our listening session(s), a growing sense of JAMC influence gives way to lightly threaded hints of New Order that seem to float out into an open sea of Scandinavian pop inspiration. All similarities aside, the occasional and unexpected launch of drifting guitars lay claim to a rare sweet spot in the ear, leaving our minds on the sun-drenched lawn of an imaginary summer music festival. Impressive new music from a band we hope to follow up on.  

From the February 2012 EP Mimic MP3: Mimic

 **BONUS** From the January 2011 debut release Cold Blue Kid
MP3: Stay Alive

 This Sunday, May 6, the band will perform live at local Chicago music venue Subterranean. For additional information, visit the Cold Blue Kid Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Free Electric State: Monumental Life (LP)

Admittedly, we are hardly ever punctual in mentioning new records that become available to us, but in this particular instance a date has arrived and the listening is more than a bit splendid. Alarm clocks chime and we can now report that Durham, North Carolina based four piece Free Electric State have an impressive new full-length album, titled Monumental Life, to share with all ears. Originally featured here with an introduction in November 2009, then again for their debut LP Caress in April 2010, contributing musicians Shirlé Hale (vocals, bass), David Koslowski (guitar, vocals), Nick Williams (guitar, vocals) and Tony Stiglitz (drums) continue to evolve their low key sound while making certain that consistency is key.

Released only just today, through lovely Virginia Beach record label Custom Made Music, the new LP Monumental Life is now available on both CD and a limited edition vinyl press. Within the feel of this latest collection of nine songs, brought on by a series of recent tragedies among band members, exists a series of dark moods reflecting both loss and regret to fuel a decidedly hollowed out backdrop. Even with the semi-purposeful influence in sound, a solid and downright beautiful delivery gives every track our full and repeated attention. Another early favourite for 2012? Please have a listen.

MP3: All Done Before

The next live performance will take place on May 18 as FES takes the stage at local Durham venue The Pinhook.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We Run

We Run is a Brooklyn, New York trio consisting of musicians Alexander Gruenburg (guitar, vocals), Martin McDonald (bass guitar, synth) and Jeremy Duvall (percussion) who only recently formed to create music in January 2012. Already there have been a handful of local performances and a debut, self-titled, mini EP presenting three songs, the first of which found us reaching for old Sabbath records to dust off at our inaugural listening session. A measured pace, along with endless potential in each raucous turn of those driving guitars leaves our ears and outdated computer speakers wanting for much more in the volume department. Visit the We Run Bandcamp for more listening and look for certain MML updates on this straight-up rock. Enjoy the love with a track called Like.

MP3: Like

We Run is also tentatively scheduled to perform live on June 2nd at local Brooklyn/Park Slope venue Union Hall. Please check the links above for updated info.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Sugarettes: Destroyers Of Worlds (LP)

It's been quite some time since we've had the opportunity to listen in on the musical offerings and impressive lineup of Eindhoven, Netherlands-based label Subroutine Records, but now there is a new release from the very first artist to make us fall head over heels. The Sugarettes instantly became a favorite back in January 2007 when we highlighted their debut EP Sugarette City, then grew on us exponentially later that very same year after releasing the LP Love and Other Perversities and allowing us another shout in September 2007. Since that time, the band has been on an extended hiatus, with members involved in spinoff music projects The Very Sexuals [MML review: June 2008] and Nikoo [MML Review: March 2010] All history aside, the brand new full-length record, titled Destroyers Of Worlds, was just made available a couple of days ago and the eleven tracks belonging to this most recent release could not have made the delicious chills move up our collective spine any more quickly. From the beginning rumbles of Love In Stereo, and throughout this entire roller coaster of meaty guitars and celebratory vocal cheerleading, The Sugarettes manage to deliver both their original flavor and lightly-threaded classic alternative influences while boasting more energy in the evolution. Destroyers Of Worlds is a brilliant record that serves to remind us that it is never too early for keeping a Best of 2012 list somewhere in the back of our minds. Two lovely songs for you.

MP3: Love In Stereo
MP3: Spring Break

The next live performance will take place on April 22 as The Sugarettes inhabit a stage at Hoensbroek music festival Brookpop 2012.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Purplespace + Starring Me

We have a fairly long history of being smitten with the music of Jacksonville, Florida trio Starring Me. First mentioned on MML with an introductory post in October 2007 and then again in July 2009 for their seven track CD release Parallels, primary musicians Tara Clendenen (vocals), Reed Clendenen (bass/vocals) and John Hashtak (guitar/vocals) have become a staple of our listening regimen. Along the way, the band enlisted musical assistance from friends and formed a side project, Purplespace, which was also featured here in both Feburary 2009 for the LP A Tiny Little Spark and August 2010 with their follow up EP Eventually Juliet. Since 2002, this music collective has been writing and recording music together and have now remastered some of their early tracks with added accompaniment of synth/drums for an 11 song collection, simply titled Purplespace + Starring Me, earlier this year. The result is an exceptional listen and an opportunity to revisit a range of years when shoegaze was just being realized again for the first time in well over a decade. Although this particular genre of music has been poked, prodded and dragged in less fortunate directions by many similar artists, Starring Me/Purplespace maintain a consistent and signature sound that escapes remix-cliche while managing to give admitted purists like ourselves a reason to stay tuned. In other words, this is great shoegaze...of the electro variety.

MP3: Never Be The Same

As a bonus, we also have a lovely cover song of a favourite 80s alternative band as recorded by Purplespace a few years ago. You don't want to miss this one.

*Bonus* MP3: Pretty In Pink (Psychedelic Furs cover)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Silo Halo: Night And The City (LP)

Keeping in loose touch with some of the record labels who have graciously donated sounds of their artists has certainly kept us ear-deep in lovely music for more than a few years. A blessing indeed, but this time we have the fortune of revisiting an MML favourite, with musicians from two previously showcased bands. The Washington, DC trio of Christopher Goett (featured in 2008 and 2009 with Girl Loves Distortion), Greg Svitil (featured in 2007 and 2008 with The Antiques) and Christin Durham have now blended their multi-instrumental talents to form Silo Halo. Since their initial collaboration in 2010, the band has written and recorded material for a debut full-length album, titled Night And The City, which is set to be released through local label ETXE Records next week on April 10th. A live performance will also take place to celebrate the new record on April 14 at local DC venue/table-sport/pizzeria Comet Ping Pong. If only we lived closer.

Somewhere between the beautiful drone that begins with intro track Silhouette, and ferocious roar at the close of side one with I'm Still Slamming My Head Against A Brick Wall, we found our sweet spot in the song Wonderful Gift. Speaking of gifts, any one of the understated songs belonging to Night And The City could easily serve to highlight this impressive LP, while also reminding us why we continue to love the hollow, medium-fi offerings from ETXE Records. Silo Halo is a definite keeper. Have a listen?

MP3: Wonderful Gift

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LUFF: Maybe It's Just Sleeping (EP)

It's almost impossible to believe that nearly five years have passed since we first opened our battered old mailbox to find an envelope containing the music of today's featured artist. Originally spotlighted in June 2007, with their self-released full-length album Blanket Ice, Brooklyn, New York based outfit LUFF eased into our collective spine with the hum of heavy guitars to highlight some of the most beautifully warm female vocals ever to echo from this little page. Since our previous review, the lineup has been updated, with founding musician Sheila Sobolewski (guitar, vocals) enlisting the instrumental assistance of Robin Pickering (guitar), Aleks Gylys (drums) and Mike Hurst (bass) to complete the full band. With this in mind, we are now more than giddy to report a new single that happens to be our first exposure to an upcoming EP release. Have an extended and repeated listening session before we continue...

From the April 2012 EP Maybe It's Just Sleeping
MP3: Through Here Like Our Fathers

With a distinct and consistent sound that contains every low-key ounce of dry melody that left us smitten years ago, LUFF now presents a lovely preview of their new album, set to be titled Maybe It's Just Sleeping, which should finally be made available for consumption on April 3. The subject matter is based, and music written, on the back of recent personal tragedies among band members, so expect celebratory hints of life and an honest look at death threaded into each turn of the music. For a preview of an accompanying music video for the new single Through Here Like Our Fathers, please check out the following teaser. It was directed by award-winning Leah Meyerhoff and is very well done. We are most certainly looking forward to the new EP.

Previous Review: June 15, 2007

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Never Setting Suns: Meet Me There

Nearly two years ago, in March 2010, we presented an introduction to a favourite (sadly now defunct) music venue that included tracks from a local band we had just discovered. Two short months later, our attention once again focused on the trio of Corey Larrison (guitar, vocals), Chris Courts (bass) and Tyler Griffin (percussion) who make up the Cincinnati, Ohio music collective The Never Setting Suns with their sophomore release And Now We Are Not Alone. As a follow-up, the band now has a brand new single, titled Meet Me There, that will eventually belong to a third album, Time & Eternity, which is set for a release date of March 24. Our first taste of the new material swirls with "I Break Chairs" flavours of Damion Jurado and energetic moments Paul Weller might even enjoy... all while the band maintains a unique and level sound of their very own. Exciting new stuff from local musicians with plenty of potential outside of I-275. For additional information, check them out at The Never Setting Suns Facebook page. Love this new single.

MP3: Meet Me There

Monday, August 15, 2011

Courtney E. Smith - Record Collecting for Girls

One long-ago day in 1995 I was sitting in the Cafe Iguana with my friend Dulcie, washing down lunch with a pint, when she asked me if I’d read High Fidelity yet. This was the first time I’d heard of Nick Hornby or his debut novel. Until that point, “High Fidelity” was something I associated with the mysterious concept of “Dolby NR” and the backs of record sleeves.

“You have to read it,” she told me, “it's about us!”

She was right. That book was about us. It was about our life. We both worked in a small record shop that specialized in all things collectible with a heavy bias towards the obscure, the rare, the white-label promo, the test pressing, the limited edition 10” clear vinyl in hand-stamped dayglo gatefold sleeve and the acetate recovered from the skip (that’s a dumpster to those of you in the US) by the apprentice studio engineer. If you are a record geek, all of the above will make sense to you. If not, I may as well have been writing in Swahili. Anyway, where was I?

On Dulcie’s recommendation I hied me to the closest branch of W.H. Smith to pick up a copy of High Fidelity, and promptly found myself wondering if this Hornby guy was in fact one of my curmudgeonly male colleagues writing under a nom de plume. Or did everyone who worked in secondhand record shops while away the quiet weekday hours refining their Top Five lists and scaring away potential customers by offering unsolicited judgments on their musical selections? Apparently so. Our shop only differed from Hornby’s fictional one in that, well, ours had girls working in it. Us.

Our acceptance within those hallowed, vinyl-lined walls of male-dominated music-geekdom didn’t come easy, though. I’d wormed my way into the place not long after it opened a few years previously, pretty much by virtue of spending all my free time in there, poring over every piece of vinyl the owner had in stock. At one point I came in to sell most of my record collection so that I could afford a ticket for the Reading Festival, and I think the guy took pity on me. Hell, by this point I probably knew the exact shelf location of any given record better than he did and had been instinctively re-alphabetizing the things for months now, as if they were my very own. He offered me a Saturday job, and I gladly accepted. Dulcie came along a couple of years later; the daughter of a bona-fide rock journo, she’d been schooled in the proper way to obsess about music since the day she exited the womb.

Are you still with me here? Thought not. If by some chance you are still reading, though, you might just be the kind of person who will tolerate the music-loving ramblings and anecdotes of some random girl you don’t know, in which case you may well enjoy reading Record Collecting for Girls. Author Courtney E. Smith is a random girl with a respectable music-industry pedigree and all the additional insight that may afford her, but she’s still a random girl for all that. And that’s OK. My point, such as it is, is that this book is one for the seriously not-faint-of-heart music devotee. One who isn’t afraid to stick with a chapter on why Smiths fans don’t make great boyfriends, or why one should never, ever date a boy who is in a band.

What we have here is basically a girl I would probably want to be friends with if I knew her in real life, a girl who obsesses and fixates to just the right degree (that is to say, the nth degree) about the bands she likes, the bands she doesn’t like, and the bands she might like but hasn’t heard yet. What’s not to love about a girl who can’t get enough of Swedish indie music, keeps a special place in her heart for Car Wash Hair by Mercury Rev, and who lets slip that she has listened to Pulp’s Razzmatazz forty-one times since 2008? Nothing, that’s what. (Wait... only forty-one times?!)

The title “Record Collecting for Girls” is a little misleading, or maybe just not meant to be taken literally; this book is not some kind of “guide” to being a female music lover. It’s actually part memoir, part collection of essays on the music industry and its treatment of women, and on music fandom from the female perspective. Smith seems like someone who would be fun to sit in the pub with, putting the musical world to rights over a few pints.

For the most part, this book made for an enjoyable, engaging and interesting read. It didn’t bring me much in the way of new insights into sexism in the music industry or what it means to be a music-fixated female. Then again, I’ve spent the better part of the past twenty years being a music-fixated female more comfortable holding my ground in arguments with boys about favourite Bowie albums and the like than discussing proper “girl” subjects with my female counterparts, so I already know what that means, inside-out. While I can’t say I learned much from the book, I mostly found myself nodding along in agreement with what Smith had to say. Well, except for the Beatles vs. Stones debate, on which I will always come down firmly on the side of the Stones. More to the point, the better part of five decades on, it's as irrelevant and hackneyed a debate as it’s possible to have.

There were a few occasions while reading where I zoned out and found myself flicking through the pages until we could get back to something I could relate to. These chapters would include those when Smith was detailing the ins and outs of her longtime affection for bands that do absolutely nothing for me, and the one where she exhaustively debates whether there will ever be another Madonna, and if so, whether it might be Lady Gaga. The latter subject is one I could not have less interest in if I tried, and which I tuned out in this book just as I do whenever it (not-infrequently) comes up elsewhere in the media and in other people’s conversations.

For me the great thing about this book is that it’s the first music-related memoir I’ve read that’s written by someone of roughly the same age as me, and the fact that that someone is female comes as a bonus. I enjoyed reading the thoughts of someone who’s grown up (albeit on a different continent) with the same musical landscape as me. All in all, hats off to the girl for getting her point across, exposing the fact that even now us “chicks” are often put at an extreme disadvantage in the world of all things musical, no matter how much we may pride ourselves on thinking we’re on an equal footing.

Record Collecting for Girls will be available in bookshops from September 7th. I'd recommend it to anyone, female or not, who’s grown up and learned to make sense of the world via a borderline obsessive interest in music.

Michelle's top five of total (but wonderful) randomness:

Soda Fountain Rag - I Wanna Be Your Cat
Architecture - Pregnant (R. Kelly Cover)
Tomihira - World Class
The Floor is Made of Lava - Do Your Sister
Hello Saferide - High School Stalker

Casey's top five for listening while the wife fetches his pipe & slippers:

The Fine Arts Showcase - Chemical Girl
Atombook - All The Ways to Find Nothing
The Legends - Seconds Away
Sticklips - Bedding Wells
Luff - Blanket Ice