Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Here's a little "Post Techno" for your morning commute. Jensen Sportag are an unsigned duo residing in Nashville, TN. The cover pretty much says it all. Keyboards, trashy 80's beats, post punk weirdness, and an arty sense of the absurd, coalesce into a freaked-out batch of surprisingly catchy songs. This band even has a softer side reminiscent of the Junior Boys, as exhibited on "Just a Part of Me". Above all, Jensen Sportag seem to cherish a playful sense of humor. This is displayed prominently on the wildly divergent track "Dont Matter". The band starts of in their comfort zone, synth driven, hyperkinetic, melodic techno, and then branches off into southern rap, country, latin house, and 80's rock balladry, then returning to the dance beat from whence they came. It is a surprisingly enjoyable exercise in genre hopping.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Here's an oft-overlooked band who's just starting to get the due they deserve as innovators in the noise genre. Bill Meyer of Dusted Magazine sums it up nicely here:
"Despite receiving scant honor throughout their 17-year existence (the last couple Dead C albums were self-released in editions of 500), they’ve carried on making their patented entropic racket. But it’s a nuanced cacophony, neither monolithic nor monotonous. Brute power chords, processed machine sounds, field recordings of passing traffic, all are grist for the Dead C’s mill."
This excellent comp compiles a little bit of everything from over the course of the band's existence, from early recordings blanketed in tape hiss, to more recent extended jams with increased sonic fidelity (keep in mind it's all relative). I'm not an expert on these dudes nor do I feel the need to pretend to be. Check the links below for more info about this band's significance. If you're a fan of artists like Growing, Throbbing Gristle, Sonic Youth, and many others in the Drone/Noise category, you should really give these guys a shot.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
What's this? A double post?!! That's right. 1 album from 1993 + 1 album from 2006 = Math Rock then and now. Polvo were one of the foremost exponents of the Math Rock subgenre in the mid 90's, as well as a crucial part of the fertile Chapel Hill, NC indie scene. Their layered guitars, odd time signatures, dissonant chord structures, and predisposition for noisy (albeit melodic) songs, built them a cult following in the underground art/indie rock scene. Today's Active Lifestyles is Polvo's second LP, and for the adventurous listener it's well-worth hearing. There is a bit of something for "everyone", from the clattering, distorted guitar jabs of opener "Thermal Treasure", to the loping, quasi-psychedelic ramblings of "Lazy Comet".
Oxford Collapse is a band of young men from Brooklyn (of course). This is their third album, and first for the almighty Sub Pop label. Though Oxford Collapse is by no means a Math Rock outfit first and foremost, there are moments throughout this excellent album that recall the off-kilter explosiveness of those bands. "For the Khakis and the Sweatshirts" bears the imprint of bands like Polvo, with its vaguely Eastern, winding guitar lines, and heavily accented rhythms. There are also whiffs of another Chapel Hill group: The indie rock heavyweights and Tigers-of-Love-approved Archers of Loaf . Times being what they are, though, this record is much more pop accessible than most 90's Math Rock. The single, "Please Visit Our National Parks", is built on a insistent guitar riff that gives way to catchy hook and sing-a-long chorus. Check out the video for this song, featuring sheep and a seriously malfunctioning walkman: Here. This is a band to watch, as they only seem to get better with each album.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Baffling indeed, if not downright criminal. Luckily, the incessantly upbeat pop contained on this record will help you overcome the anger of injustice. The Girl/Boy vocals recall in spirit, if not in style, the waves of indie kids that are still crashing on our shores with their twee pop, cute haircuts, and irreverent take on life. The four members (2 guys 2 girls) that make up The Free Design are all siblings, and their songs seem to be extensions of their childhood. "Bubbles", the opener, is a favorite. It has a bouncy bassline and jazz inflected harmonies. I have heard this record described as "the one where the Free Design discovered funk". "Bubbles" certainly makes a good case for that. "Butterflies Are Free", likely inspired by the Leonard Gershe play of the same name, is an uplifting ode to personal freedom supported by some lovely horn arrangements. "That's All, People" is a triumphant, horn driven The Free Design have always delivered superb covers of other people's songs, and the inclusion of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" here is no exception. Like they'd done previously for The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Mammas and The Papas, the group adds their cascading vocal harmony style and jazzy backing to a recognizable pop song and makes it their own. While it is possible to overdose on the sweet sugary-goodness that is the Free Design, sometimes a little hit of their unabashed sentimentality is all that you need to get over the hump.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Monday, April 2, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Stream "Yellow Roses"
Monday, March 26, 2007
Stream "Each Day is a Lifetime"
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The 2006 album Springfield collects previously unreleased work, as well as early versions of songs already available on other Russell releases. This album highlights Russell's electro-dub dance music persona, and finds the title track in three versions, one of which is an awesomely appropriate remix by the DFA (James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem). Musically, there is a discernible 80's synth-drum sound to much of the percussion, as well as synth-horns, ominous cello basslines, and Russell's fragile vocals. It is an oftentimes beautiful mix, with Russell's muffled voice floating over the churning, electronic rhythms. This music is timeless and highly enjoyable, and definitely some of the most interesting stuff released this past year. Hopefully this will inspire you to pick up some other Russell releases. Good places to start: Calling Out Of Context, World of Echo.
Stream "Springfield (Detail)"
Arthur Russell Links:
The New Yorker
Monday, March 12, 2007
Stream "Woodland Bop"
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
|ALLMUSIC.com Review||by Tim DiGravina|
Collecting most of the singles the Pastels released on Fire, A Truckload of Trouble: 1986-1993 is a fine introduction to any newcomer and a vital piece of any fan's collection. These songs see the Pastels at their shambolic best, whining guitars blazing and ringing, alternating slurred and dreamy vocals punctuating the finest ever C-86 tunes, and blending pop and punk in the most aesthetically sublime way. Throughout the album's running time, one can't help but marvel about the sheer number of bands these songs inspired, and repeat listens make it obvious that the Pastels were a stepping stone between so many great bands and styles. In bottling up and mixing potent influences like the Fall, the Ramones, the Smiths, and the Velvet Underground, they opened the door for further experimentation by offspring such as Yo La Tengo, My Bloody Valentine, Magnetic Fields, Built to Spill, Beat Happening, and Belle & Sebastian. As steeped in the classics and as inspirational as these songs are, their most glaring attribute is just how catchy, raw, and invigorating they are. Though it covers periods of major lineup changes and rampant stylistic shifts, Truckload of Trouble is a cohesive listen from start to finish and a vital portrait of a band marching to the beat of different drum.
Stream "Nothing To Be Done"
Monday, March 5, 2007
|ALLMUSIC.com Review||by Jason Ankeny|
Unreleased for over 15 years, I Am the Cosmos is nevertheless an enduring testament to the brilliance of Chris Bell; lyrically poignant and melodically stunning, this lone solo album is proof positive of his underappreciated pop mastery. While cuts like "Get Away," "I Got Kinda Lost," and "Fight at the Table" recall the glowing, energetic power pop of Bell's earlier work, the majority of the songs on I Am the Cosmos are more reflective and deeply personal; the title track is a harrowingly schizophrenic tale of romantic despair, while other cuts like the lurching "Better Save Yourself" and the lovely "Look Up" are infused with a spiritual power largely missing from his Big Star material. The album's highlight, "You and Your Sister" -- which features backing vocals from none other than Bell's Big Star mate Alex Chilton -- is simply one of the great unknown love songs in the pop canon, a luminous and fragile ballad almost otherworldly in its beauty.
Stream "I Am The Cosmos"
|ALLMUSIC.com Review||by Mark Deming|
A lot had happened with the Flamin' Groovies in the nearly five years that separated the epochal Teenage Head album and their return to American record racks with Shake Some Action. The Groovies lost their record deal with Buddah, lead singer Roy Loney had quit the band leaving Cyril Jordan as uncontested leader, and they had spent a lot of time in Europe, building a significant following in the United Kingdom. As a result, the Flamin' Groovies on Shake Some Action almost sound like a different band, albeit one driven by a similar obsession with the utter coolness of pre-hippie rock & roll. (The fact that Jordan and bassist George Alexander were the only holdovers from the Teenage Head lineup probably had a lot to do with the different approach as well.) The rawer blues and rockabilly accents were gone from the Groovies' sound, with the guitar-fueled cool of the British Invasion era taking their place. While this version of the Flamin' Groovies didn't rock out with the same manic fervor as they did on Flamingo or Teenage Head, they could indeed rock when they felt so inclined, as demonstrated by the glorious "Please Please Girl," "I Can't Hide," and "Let the Boy Rock and Roll," while the Brit-flavored take on "St. Louis Blues" showed that some shades of the old band were still visible. And the title cut was a stunner -- a brilliant evocation of the adventurous side of British rock circa 1966, "Shake Some Action" was tough, moody, wounded, and gloriously melodic all at once, and by its lonesome served as a superb justification for the Groovies' new creative direction. If Shake Some Action was the first salvo from the new and improved Flamin' Groovies, it also demonstrated that this edition of the band had as much promise as the Loney-fronted group.
Stream "Shake Some Action"
Stream "You Tore me Down"
DOWNLOAD PART 2 here
Stream "Waves Wash Over Me"
|ALLMUSIC.com Review||by Peter J. D'Angelo|
The final studio record from the Archers of Loaf is a far cry from their early days of fast, dirty, and unrelenting indie rock anthems, but it is also a phenomenally progressive album for the band as well as a fitting swansong. The opening, "Fashion Bleeds," is the closest the band comes to its days of yore, with a chugging drumbeat and vocalist Eric Bachman's strained vocals leading the way. The presence of a keyboard that soon starts to drift in sets the tone for the rest of the record, a dark and moody venture with some unexpected styles emanating from the group. They still get raucous and loud on occasion, but sometimes they mask it under a wave of distorted sounds or in the guise of a slowed-down dirge. The closing title track is also of note, in that its sinister keyboard and drum machine sounds, along with Bachmann's oddly throaty and melodic vocals, are exactly what the singer went on to do with his next group, Crooked Fingers. In fact, White Trash Heroes sounds more like a mix of the two groups than an actual Archers record, a fact that anyone familiar with the latter group will certainly realize to be a good thing. This is certainly not the simple and sloppy indie rock outfit that churned out short poppy hits in the mid-'90s, but the band clearly developed into something equally astounding and, with a few listens, the emotion and craftsmanship of these songs prove to be a truly impressive feat.
Stream "White Trash heroes"
Saturday, March 3, 2007
| Bring on the REVERB! This is a great, rare album I discovered recently. Check out the cover of the Supremes "Keep Me Hanging On", here known only as "Keep Me".|
A haunting psychedelic oddity that's sort of a timewarp meeting place between the Byrds, Dick Dale, Hendrix, and the Velvet Underground. With their raw garage attack and over-the-top enthusiasm for feedback and wah-wah, the Index were very much of their time; with their brooding minimalism and savage, almost experimental electric guitar electronics, they sound oddly contemporary. Highlighted by the greatest cover of "Eight Miles High" ever attempted, and the closing instrumental bash of "Feedback," which is fierce psychedelic guitar distortion pushed to its white-noise limit. Look for the 1984 Voxx reissue, which, although itself hard to find these days, is still much easier to locate than the rarer-than-rare original (only two copies of which are known to exist).
Stream "You Keep Me"