ARTIST / BAND: TORPEDO
SONG (MP3): Assembly line
ALBUM: IN THE ASSEMBLY LINE
FILE UNDER: Indie / Rock
INFO: Swedish melancholy with German kraut
Celebration - Evergreen
ARTIST / BAND: Devendra Banhart
SONG (MP3): Seahorse
ALBUM: Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
FILE UNDER: Folk / Indie
LABEL: XL Recordings
INFO:In the age of computerized music-listening, calling an album "too long"-- a dubious complaint even two decades ago, when CDs first made track-skipping simpler-- seems absurdly outdated. After all, it's easy enough to make an iTunes playlist of a record's best songs, right? So I don't get it when people call Devendra Banhart's albums too long. Not only is that problem easy to rectify, but his rambling style needs room to breathe, and space to wander toward its inspirations. Banhart's valleys have rarely diminished his peaks, and often provided ramps to them.
ARTIST / BAND: Scout Niblett
SONG (MP3): Kiss
ALBUM: This Fool Can Die Now
FILE UNDER: Lyrical Indie
LABEL: Too pure
INFO:Scout Niblett records with Steve Albini, has toured with Cat Power, and reduces audiences around the world to jibbering wrecks with the sheer force of her performances. A pretty girl in a wig, playing the drums and singing so loudly and gleefully it sounds like her lungs might burst: 'It's all for you!' she yelps onstage, like a kid offering a present of slugs and petals and drawings. It's all for you!
It's not so surprising that she plumped for Scout as her alter-ego, after watching the film of Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird': 'I fell in love with Scout and I fell in love with Gregory Peck' she says with a grin. Peck reminded her of her dad, and Scout obviously reminded Emma of herself. Growing up in Staffordshire in the '70s, Niblett saw in Scout a smart, brave kid taking risks and having adventures. 'I've always been quite determined. And I've had to be independent cos I left home quite early. And I'm an only child, so that makes me self-reliant I think?'
ARTIST / BAND: Jesu
SONG (MP3): You Wear Their Masks
FILE UNDER: Metal / Shoegaze / Electronica
LABEL: Hydra Head
Jesu is an experimental rock band formed in 2003 by Justin Broadrick following the breakup of Godflesh. Jesu was the name of the last song on the final Godflesh release, Hymns, and Broadrick decided to adopt it as the name of his new project.
Jesu's sound is heavily layered and textured, drawing from and incorporating an eclectic mix of influences, ranging from ambient music and drone doom, to shoegazing, downtempo and even industrial music. Their recent releases have been described as "avant-pop".
ARTIST / BAND: Jens Lekman
ALBUM: Night Falls Over Kortedala
FILE UNDER: Indie / Down-tempo
INFO: Jens Lekman opens Night Falls Over Kortedala with the sure step of an artist in complete command of his creative self. Imbued with epic grandeur, "And I Remember Every Kiss" fades in with a melancholy timpani roll, a stirring string section and Jens crooning with every wistful bone in his body. After the first verse, the strings passionately swell into a wall of sound and - with one gravity-defying pass-through - Jens delivers his death blow to cynicism by declaring, "And I would never kiss anyone / Who doesn't burn me like the sun / And I remember every kiss like my first kiss;" illustrating just why many consider him one of the most important of the hopeful broken hearts coming of age in contemporary music. Like a modern day Chet Baker, Jens absolutely loves to sing about heartache.
ARTIST / BAND: Babyshambles
SONG (MP3): Delivery
ALBUM: 7" vinyl single
FILE UNDER: Alternative / Indie
INFO: BABYSHAMBLES Delivery (2007 UK Limited Edition 2-track 7" vinyl single, issued exclusively with the 15th September issue of the NME, includes the Bumfest Demo version of 'Delivery' on the A-side [an acoustic version], with an interview featuring all five members of the band recorded at the Boogaloo Bar, North London, on the B-side, the single comes housed in a picture sleeve with artwork by Pete, and comes with the NME with features a cover image of the band plus 3-page feature with an interview with the band) read more from the source...
ARTIST / BAND: The Intelligence
SONG (MP3): Secret Signals
FILE UNDER: Thrash / Pop
INFO: What makes the songs on Icky Baby, the Intelligence’s first for In The Red and the follow-up to last year’s Boredom and Terror, different from the rest (because really, this post-punk poser has been way into Beyonce and Jay-Z since before they were into each other) is that Finberg finally found the right accomplices. If you’ve been playing along at home, you probably got the feeling that Finberg never could settle on just the right three people to drag along behind him. But the current incarnation allows him the perfect balance between the four-track seclusion of his bedroom punk and the rough and tumble real world. In the jelly-rolled psycho babble of “Confidence,” you’ll hear the geometric churning of drummer Matthew Ford, bass player Calvin Lee Reeder, and Nicholas Brawley’s guitar.
ARTIST / BAND: Prints
SONG (MP3): Too Much Water
FILE UNDER: Indie Pop
LABEL: Temporary residence limited
INFO: When notoriously prolific multi-instrumentalist Kenseth Thibideau (Sleeping People, Howard Hello, Pinback) invited Sacramento native Zac Nelson (Who's Your Favorite Son God, Hexlove) to collaborate on a new endeavor, the two could not possibly have expected the results to be this arresting. Merging the eclectic instrumentation of Talking Heads with the ethereal vocals of Peter Gabriel, the two mingle the precision of Brian Eno and the jubilance of Brian Wilson. It is perversely appropriate, then, that they christened it Prints.
ARTIST / BAND: Year Long Disaster
SONG (MP3): Per Qualche Dollaro In Piu
ALBUM: Year Long Disaster
FILE UNDER: Rock
INFO: Year Long Disaster took Salvador Dali’s words to heart when they began constructing the mainframe ideas that would form their fundamental musical intentions. Modifying, in their own right, the original blues models of the early 1970’s southern rock movement, Year Long Disaster is more apt to play shuffles as the base backbeat and to define choruses as whichever dynamic moment of the song appeals as most memorable. This moment may manifest itself in a riff, a recurring vocal line, or in a sonic assault stemming from sheer energy. Riffs may extend past 4 bars. Lyrics may not repeat themselves. Year Long Disaster embraces the humanity and simplicity in songwriting with the ability to improvise, allowing the audience to be involved in moments that will never exist again.
ARTIST / BAND: Celebration
SONG (MP3): Evergreen
ALBUM: The Modern Tribe
FILE UNDER: Psychedelic / Soul
INFO: The eleven songs that comprise The Modern Tribe find Celebration in even more electric and full-blooded form, expanding the dimension and scope of their songwriting to include a more blatant and extroverted emotionality on stunning songs like opener "Evergeen" and the aptly titled "Heartbreak." Furthermore, they make the most unabashedly dance music they have yet produced, as on the sinewy, teasing "Pony" and even engage in full blown anthemry with "Tame the Savage." (whose soaring singalong coda, "They say the world has just begun to tame the savage heart of men," could be read as a sort of core mantra for Celebration's work) Overall, The Modern Tribe finds a more complete confluence of lyrical and musical content than on any record in recent memory, as the album's varied calls to shed the unhealthy layers of civilization's skin resound powerfully in the hypnotic, overwhelming beauty of the music. It is possessed of the sort of triumphant, world-healing energy harnessed by everyone from Michael Jackson to the Boredoms, and raw nerves of hope are threaded throughout the songs.
ARTIST / BAND: Giantess
SONG (MP3): Snake Bite
FILE UNDER: Rock / Indie / Rock
LABEL: Soft Abuse
INFO: Giantess, formerly known as The Battles, are a rock n' roll band from Vancouver, British Columbia. Stephen Wood formed the group in 1997 to record and perform his songs, and in the ten years since has experienced a shift in personnel that has seen members of Destroyer, New Pornographers, Black Mountain and Precious Fathers pass through the ranks. The new album, Giantess, is an exercise in profundity. Veering wildly from accelerated rave-ups to introspective ballads that tug at the heart (often with tongue planted firmly in cheek), the blistering Giantess is delivered with the poetic grandeur of Bryan Ferry or Graeme Downs at their absolute peak. The band has never sounded better.
ARTIST / BAND: Ween
SONG (MP3): Your Party
ALBUM: La Cucaracha
FILE UNDER: Alternative
LABEL: Rounder Records
INFO: Ween has penciled in an Oct. 23 release date for "La Cucaracha," its first studio album in four years and its debut for Rounder Records. The set will be supported by an extensive fall tour, beginning Oct. 16 in Bloomington, Ind., and running into December.
"La Cucaracha" was recorded with longtime producer Andrew Weiss at a converted farmhouse in Pennsylvania. It opens with the horn-heavy instrumental "Fiesta," which has been a part of Ween's recent live shows, and closes with another road-tested track, "Your Party," which boasts a guest turn by jazz saxophonist David Sanborn.
PRODUCED BY KOMUNIKATORI
Baobinga & I.D. Present Big Monster - Get Up Get Hype Ft. Virus
Syndicate (Vocal Mix)
Benga - Roller
Skream - Blip Stream
Tes La Rok - Santa Claus is Lost
Babylon System - Dancing Shoes
Fullness - Butterfish (Marlow Remix)
The Bug Feat Killa P & Flow Dan - Skeng
Matty G - West Coast Rocks (Caspa Remix)
Rusko - Cockney Thug
Skream - Dutch Flowers
Tayo meets Ctrl Z - Lovers Rock
Nargeezah Soundsystem - Sunset Riddim
Zombie - Spliff Dub
Skool Of Thought - Sludge
Skool Of Thought - Rasperry Dub
Radar - Lunacy (Tayo & Undersound Remix)
ARTIST / BAND: Hot Springs
FILE UNDER: Thrash / Pop / Psychedelic
LABEL: Quire Records
INFO: Montreal’s Hot Springs don’t want to be your Facebook friend. They don’t care about what haircut you have. They don’t care about your blog. They simply want to freak you out. With more and more bands attempting to placate and sedate by mimicking current trends, Hot Springs actually dare to bring something new to the table. Leaving dance punk and current saveurs du jour in the dust, Hot Springs have completely reinvented themselves with their first full length: Volcano. The album dishes out a combo of perfect pop that sinks its fangs in, rock that doesn’t stoop to knuckle draggers, ballads that are fluff free, throws a flurry of psychedelia into the mix (guaranteed to leave marks) and, yes – you can even dance to it. Lead-off single, “Headrush”, holds their contemporaries at arms-length with a hard-rocking seventies vibe, hinting at Heart, with the piss and vinegar of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, still managing to distance themselves from the current crop of bands hogging up the blogosphere, discovering Gang of Four for the first time. All of the songs hang off the lyrical pearls and inventive vocal workout that come straight from the gut of songstress Giselle Webber.
ARTIST / BAND: Nada Surf
FILE UNDER: Rock / Indie / Pop
LABEL: Barsuk Records
INFO: Beloved New York-based band Nada Surf will be releasing their new record, lucky, on February 5th, 2008. This will be Nada Surf's fifth record and third for Barsuk, following the successful and critically lauded let go (2003) and the weight is a gift (2005). The record is filled with songs of restlessness, longing and the elusiveness of love. Yet, in its inimitable way, the band beautifully counterbalances its signature lyrical wistfulness with its singular musical buoyancy. Intimate tunes become we're-all-in-this-together anthems, thanks to the chiming guitars, propulsive beat, and the ever-present yearning in singer Matthew Caws’ voice.
ARTIST / BAND: SCOTLAND YARD GOSPEL CHOIR
ALBUM: Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
FILE UNDER: Indie / Pop / Other
LABEL: Bloodshot Records
INFO: We are a chambery folky punky band based in Chicago. We've played with The Violent Femmes and The Arcade Fire. We've been glowingly praised in Billboard and Time Out NY. Elia's songs from our first album have been featured on The OC, in a Michael Rappaport film, and in a play at Second City.
ARTIST / BAND: BIGELF
FILE UNDER: Rock / Indie
LABEL: custard records
INFO: Hex, from Bigelf, is a reissue from 2003. Bigelf combines Beatles harmonies from the late sixties, along with Black Sabbath riffing, and more than a large, heaping spoonful of Pink Floyd/ELO harmonies and psychedelia, in their music that is pure throwback to the glory years. And it’s quite a tasty mix. Throwing in a touch of the glam sound and embracing the early 70s Sabbath look, Bigelf is an act ready to go.
ARTIST / BAND: BEN JELEN
FILE UNDER: Rock / Pop / Alternative
LABEL: custard records
INFO: Jelen was discovered by Joseph Janus of Fearless Management, who originally wanted to sign him as a model. Instead, Jelen handed him a demo, and shortly thereafter, he was signed to a label and released his debut album Give It All Away in May 2004, promoted by appearances on TRL, AOL Breakers and Rock the Vote. The album also debuted at #13 on the Top Internet Albums chart, #120 on the Billboard Comprehensive Albums chart and #113 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the United States, making it eligible for the Top Heatseekers chart, a chart of artists who have never entered the top 100 of the Billboard 200. The album debuted at #1 on the Top Heatseekers chart, but slid quickly, falling to #12 in its second week and #37 in the following week.
FILE UNDER: Experimental
INFO: Richard Youngs (born 29 May 1966) is a British musician with a prolific and diverse output, including many collaborations. Born in Harpenden, England, and based in Glasgow since the early '90's, his extensive back catalogue of solo and collaborative work formally begins with Advent, first issued in 1990. He plays many instruments, most commonly choosing the guitar, but he has been known to use a wide variety of other instruments and objects, including the shakuhachi, theremin, oven tray, dulcimer, a home-made synthesizer (common on early recordings) and even a motorway bridge. He also released an album which was entirely acappella.
He has toured only once (in 2002, supporting Low) and live appearances were, for many years, very occasional and almost always in Glasgow; he has stated publicly that he finds live performance "incredibly nerve-racking: stomach cramps, tension headaches...". In recent years, he has performed more regularly and many of his recent shows have been predominantly vocal - he told The Wire (issue 284) "I went to a laptop concert and decided I was going to sing".
FILE UNDER: Indie / Folk / Acoustic
LABEL: Talitres Records
INFO: The Sleeping Years is the new project for singer songwriter Dale Grundle.
Recently signed to Talitres Records in France, The Sleeping Years’ music has this year been featured on Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 podcast, in the Guardian writers’ playlist and on a cd sampler with Rolling Stone magazine. Dale has also been heavily played on French radio with each EP being championed by Bernard Lenoir.
The Sleeping Years have released two EPs so far this year, ‘You and Me Against The World’, and ‘Setting fire to sleepy towns’ The debut album is planned for Feb/March 2008. Setting fire to sleepy towns' is out now. All the songs on 'Setting fire to sleepy towns' were written, played and recorded by Dale at home. 'You and me against the world' EP is now sold out in CD format but available as a download from emusic, etc (link below).
FILE UNDER: Indie
LABEL: Domino Record Co
INFO: Cass McCombs was born in California in 1977. He began playing guitar at the age of 14 and has a public high school education. Since, he has traveled and lived in many places. His first collection of recorded songs, “Not the Way E.P.”, was released in 2002 by Monitor Records of Baltimore, MD, followed the next year by a full-length, “A”, also on Monitor. Both albums were recorded in San Francisco and inspired partly by the events surrounding 9/11/01 and his experience living in New York City at that time. 4AD records of London began to license the albums abroad. In 2005, now joined by a band, McCombs released a concept-album, “PREfection”, through Monitor/4AD. “PREfection”, recorded very quickly in Michigan during the icy month of February, experiments with diverse lyrical subject matter. Although the band dissipated, McCombs performed extensively in the U.S. throughout the next year, mostly as an opening act in the lower rock circuit, picking up band members where he could.
FILE UNDER: Showtunes
LABEL: What Delicate Recordings
INFO: This group are quite hilarious in their own way. The only problem is trying to work out whether they mean to be. Usually playing (god only knows where) in the North West, apparently Condor Moments “are regularly invited to New York where [they] have built up a following among the S&M contingent and a variety of other extreme perverts – of all ages”. I dread to think how far the upper ranges extend.
Condor Moments summed up in a phrase? Camp S&M cabaret, and definitely not suitable for a PG audience. No matter what the truth may be, from hearing the demo I can only ever conjure up an image of a stage full of middle-aged men wearing PVC Speedos and singing a plethora of piano-accompanied expletives in the most operatic way possible, with completely straight faces.
It is probably safe to assume that the majority of readers find this image more than a little disturbing, although they are rather funny in a Little Britain kind of way. Lyrics include “I don’t fancy yours much / Go and shoot her in the head”. I’ll leave you with that thought.
FILE UNDER: Acoustic / Electro / Acoustic
LABEL:SILVER MOUNTAIN MEDIA GROUP
INFO: His Name Is Alive is an experimental rock band/ project from Livonia, Michigan. After several self-released cassettes, they debuted on 4AD Records in 1990, starting a long run at the label. Throughout the band's long history, leader Warren Defever has been the only constant member, with a variety of musicians and singers contributing over the years.
FILE UNDER: Rock / Experimental
INFO: Cinemechanica is an American, four-piece rock band from Athens, GA. They blend aspects of post-rock, punk rock, and math rock in order to produce their own energetic and intricate brand of rock. Cinemechanica has played shows with Deerhoof, 400 Blows, We Versus the Shark, Maserati, The Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower, So Many Dynamos, and A. Armada.
They formed Hello Sir Records which houses and promotes a few other like-minded, young bands located in Georgia who incorporate various styles and sounds.
FILE UNDER: Rock / Pop / Alternative
INFO: The L.A.-based foursome's debut full-length Beartrap Island stands as a wildly diverse combination of both supremely hard-hitting and finely-shaded exploratory tracks. Like its rather portentous title might suggest, the album takes the listener on a tour of a mysterious and ultra-moody place, where they will find scenes of both utter exhilaration and fearsome foreboding. It's a place that might, just might, refer in passing to the band's adopted hometown of Los Angeles.
ARTIST / BAND: Penny Century
SONG (MP3): Nothing Burns Like Bridges
ALBUM: Between A Hundred Lies
FILE UNDER: Pop / Folk / Indie
INFO: Penny Century hail from Ostertsund, a town in nothern Sweden renowned for, er...not an awful lot, until now. After releasing four Eps, Between A Hundred Lies, their debut full length offering, is an exceptional and inspired collection of intelligent and, frankly, mature song writing, delighting with its uplifting melodies and the heavenly voice of Julia Hanberg. Demonstrating a canny knack for composing songs that combine elements of 60s girl groups and new wave pop (a la Blondie and The Pretenders) such as 'Please Don't Go', they're also smart enough to add effective brass, with an occassional touch of viloin and banjo too, that helps propel their brtight, infectious sound skywards. Between A Hundred Lies is a glorious debut from a Swedis band displaying a disproportiante amount of talent for such a young age. Absolute pop perfection.
-Sean McGhee, Rock n´Reel Magazine
FILE UNDER: Psychedelic / Japanese Pop / Korean Pop
LABEL: Parasol Records
INFO: Cold & Kind is the debut album from Chicago septet The 1900s. From the morning moment of ‘waking up’ in “Georgia” until ‘the end of day’ in “Supernatural”, the entire album is a grand trip into the unknown that makes no distinction between outer and inner worlds, personal and political, utopia and apocalypse. And oh yeah, it sounds totally sweet as well. Cold & Kind is a highly ambitious record overflowing with erotic melodies and of course, the band's trademark vocal harmonies. Recorded mostly live to tape, the record captures the energy of the band's remarkable live show while also benefiting from the addition of large string and horn sections. While Clocking in at exactly 40:00 minutes (in honor of finishing the album on the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Peppers), Cold & Kind keeps one foot in the past, one in the future and another foot in your heart. You'll dig if you dig: Tommy James, Fleetwood Mac, Velvet Underground, Cat Power, Supremes, Roy Harper, Arcade Fire, Dr. Dog, Midlake, Leon Redbone, Bill Clinton on sax or Russell Crowe's band.
ARTIST / BAND: Hopewell
SONG (MP3): All Angels Road
ALBUM: Beautiful Targets
FILE UNDER: Indie / Soul
Label: Tee Pee Records
INFO: A brief scan of heraldic press clippings from CMJ, the Village Voice, NME, Time Out, Wire and Magnet divulges a clear journalistic pattern of describing Hopewell in terms of opposition: delicate & visceral, sublime & stabbing, crushing & romantic, immense & fragile. Those who follow the group recognize volatility as an immediate and clear touchstone of both its music and history. With their new album Beautiful Targets being released July 2007 on Tee Pee Records, Hopewell have come full circle; not only recognizing, but exploring and ultimately embracing this tension to mature and stunning conclusions.
FILE UNDER: Alternative / Indie / Rock
INFO: Brady Erickson, guitarist and vocalist of the band, is obsessive. Unquestionably. After touring the US and Europe on the drums at age 17, attending art school, and traveling through the Middle East with a single pair of pants and a notepad for lyrics, Erickson coincidentally met bass player Marisa Dupuis on a double date. Marisa is a valley girl with an edge. Her uncommon sense of abstract creativity and energy found the two seeing eye to eye about music right away. A few late-night songwriting sessions later, and the foundations of the band were in place. Searching for that last element, they contacted (through MySpace, of course) a friend of a friend, Bryan Zaebst, to try playing some drums. A native of Texas who came to LA for art school and the music scene, Zaebst had been flirting with a number of music projects but felt right at home with Erickson and Dupuis. They decided immediately that he belonged with this line-up. And hence, it was a band.
INFO: There’s this song by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (remember them?) whose title I always liked: “The Old New Un.” I always figured that it meant they’d taken an old idea and made something fresh from it; then again, maybe it’s about fish and chips. Anyway, I heard that song not long ago, and it made me think about Maritime. Dan Didier, who plays the drums, said something to me—and he said it sincerely, not giving me some marketing spiel—about how Heresy and the Hotel Choir, his band’s third album, really feels like their first. Why is that, you ask? There’s a reason, and it doesn’t discount the contemplative, mellow chewiness of 2004’s Glass Floor or the comparatively brash rockingess of 2006’s We, The Vehicles. It’s just to say that those records (and subsequent tours) were inspired by the energy of flux, and this one is about solidity. Glass Floor took tentative steps away from Didier and singer-guitarist Davey von Bohlen’s old band, the damn-near-legendary Promise Ring (remember them?), adding former Dismemberment Plan bassist Eric Axelson to the mix. Slow chaos followed: Somewhere in there, Axelson left; other people came and went, all amicably.
INFO: On a late summer evening in a not so distant past, the sky was roamed by big white cotton clouds and the air was filled with the smell of freshly cut grass. The sun had just begun glimpsing its last red colored light over the flat horizon, lulling the country of Denmark into a sound sleep.
A party of four close friends with a love for music, all a bit woozy from drinking wine, sat down and began reflecting upon the nature of good and evil. They soon established that everybody else in the world seemed like animals. No exception!
Maybe it was just the wine speaking, maybe it was their young ignorance or maybe it was pure and blunt arrogance. Never-the-less these four guys felt it was true and they also felt that something had to be done. The world had to be changed!
INFO: After disbanding post-punk emo progenitor Mineral just after the band signed to a major, and taking an indefinite hiatus from shoegazer follow-up The Gloria Record midway through recording a fourth record, Chris Simpson virtually disappeared from the music scene for two years. It is this quiet period of Simpson’s career that has proven his most prolific to date. It allowed him time to step back, regroup, and remember what he loved about music in the first place - penning songs and performing acoustically. Eventually he packed into an Austin studio to record live: loose, impromptu songs replete with shaking tambourines, exuberant horns, honky-tonk keys, and, at alternating turns, lyrical depth and whimsy. The new body of work boasts a supporting cast of musicians comprised of former Mineral and Gloria Record members and new collaborators (indie-folk artist Alex Dupree, Sad Accordions, and Zykos), and brings Simpson back to his roots.
INFO: Tarwater, a duo comprising Germans Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok, have recorded several albums of distinctive, mostly instrumental music tagged post-rock because of Lippok's involvement in To Rococo Rot -- a German trio that has recorded for experimental independents such as Soul Static Sound and City Slang. Guitarist/bassist/programmer Jestram and drummer/vocalist/programmer Lippok met in an East German punk band, and began recording together even while Lippok recorded with To Rococo Rot and Jestram worked in his Bleibeil studio.
INFO: Everyone who went out buying multiple copies of Slowdive, Ride and Chapterhouse albums seemed to end up making electronic music of some sort, at least that's what it feels like right now. Already this year we've had albums from Ulrich Schnauss and M83 and the whole nu-gaze thing was supposedly over, so it's surprising to see another drawing in from the mists, this time from electronic music veteran Marcus Schmickler's Pluramon project. With releases dating back from the mid 90s in the early days of Mille Plateaux, it was with his last album that Schmickler finally made the dent in the music scene we always knew he was capable of, and that was thanks in some part to his collaborations with a certain Julee Cruise. Yep, that would be the same Julee Cruise who made her name lending her smoky tones to David Lynch for the Twin Peaks soundtrack, and her vocals made Schmickler's 'Dreams Top Rock' album something of a milestone in the genre.
ALBUM: Our Fathers And The Things They Left Behind
FILE UNDER: Indie / Alternative / Folk
Four years ago, The OaKs's Ryan Costello sold everything he owned, joined a humanitarian organization and moved to Afghanistan. Costello lived there for two years, working in the Central Afghan mountains with returned refugees, teaching them creative agricultural techniques and becoming fluent in their native language, Farsi. Late at night, while the dust storms blocked out the stars and rattled the windows, he would sit and work out impressions of what he had seen and heard that day on his acoustic guitar.
SONG (MP3): Anna Leigh
ALBUM: New Seasons
FILE UNDER: Rock / Psychedelic / Country
LABEL: Yep Roc Records
INFO:And the perfect counter-balance to neo-italo-disco is probably something gritty and bluegrassy like this--although note that the boys in the band start this one off kinda smooth-like, with pretty harmonies (note, too, however, the wavery organ sound: all is not necessarily well). Soon enough, in any case, the finger-picking beat kicks in and we're all minor-key and traditional-sounding in pursuit of a forboding tale about a lover who dreams of her lover's demise and is trying to get him not to go on the trip he's about to take. Maybe it's just me but now that I'm thinking about it, I like this stark, fiddle-free approach to bluegrass, which to my ears accentuates the stalwart melody and gripping narrative. The Sadies are a quartet from Toronto who have been recording since 1998. They are perhaps best known these days as having been Neko Case's backup band, but it would seem they deserve a bit of their own spotlight as well. "Anna Leigh" is a song off their latest CD, New Seasons, which comes out this week on Yep Roc Records.
SONG (MP3): Quit While You're Ahead
ALBUM: A Wheel Within a Wheel
FILE UNDER: Other / Folk Rock / Indie
At the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, amongst the mobile homes, mail pouch barns, and satellite dishes lies Athens, Ohio. Athens shares some bonds with its more famous namesake down in Georgia - a university, a cool record store and extremely cheap rent. But this isn't the South, humid with lackadaisical charm and mint juleps. 175 miles south of Akron and 135 miles east of Dayton, caught somewhere between the notions of the mid-west and the heartland but with a soul that's closer to Austin, another city that's an oasis for modern creative folks, Athens, Ohio is an offbeat and curious little town. For Southeast Engine, it's home.
SONG (MP3): Don't Do What Your Body Tells You To Do
ALBUM: Gold Thriller
FILE UNDER: Rock / Experimental / Indie
INFO:This is indie-pop for the undead: solid, consistently danceable rock with a brazenly psychotic, progressive edge. Child Bite's blend of sophisticated noise-pop and indie rock has enough time changes and feedback layering to please hipsters and experimental rockers alike, recalling bands like Brainiac, early Deerhoof, and Pere Ubu. The deceptively danceable music of this band only masks true experimental flair. As you would be able to tell from the sleeve of Mr. Bungle tattoos on Shawn Knight's arm, they've flirted with the darkest of experimental and progressive sounds, only to emerge with a very twisted take on (post?) indie rock.
SONG (MP3): Digital Sea
ALBUM: The Alchemy Index: Water
FILE UNDER: Rock / Experimental
INFO: The California-based quartet, who’ve also been busy of late making high-profile main stage appearances at the Coachella, Reading & Leeds and Bamboozle festivals, have followed the New Pantheon Award-nominated Vheissu’s radical metamorphosis with The Alchemy Index, a four-volume collection spread between two releases comprised of four EPs, each devoted to one of the classical elements in nature—fire, water, earth and air—with each EP sonically and thematically tailored to evoke the atmosphere inherent in its corresponding element. This fall marks the release of the first two volumes of the series—Fire & Water—while Earth & Air are scheduled for a spring debut. For Thrice, it’s the realization of a year-long process of writing and recording, which was done primarily in the band’s own studio and engineered by guitarist Teppei Teranishi, without the assistance of an outside producer.
INFO: Candians essential fun fact: Canadians bassist Massimo Fiorio is the author (with Riccardo Bidoia) of a bestselling Italian book I Fermenti lattici dello yogurt di Chuck Norris sono tutti morti, which sums all the satirical facts and jokes about martial artist and actor Chuck Norris. Yes, you read that correctly! Canadians released its self-produced debut EP The North Side Of Summer in 2005 and immediately found critical acclaim. Blogs and webzines were the first to realize just how catchy and interesting the Canadians' songs were (Fiorio is a blog star in Italyin his own right -- his blog dietnam.blogspot.com receives thousands of hits a day) and soon after magazines followed with amazing reviews. Although the EP was self-released without distribution, it sold out and forced a repress. Their debut album A Sky With No Stars will be released by the Varese-based indie label Ghost Records in October 2007. The album showcases the great ability of a band playing indie pop anthems that are catchy, unforgettable and timeless.
SONG (MP3): Pound That Beer
FILE UNDER: Hip Hop / Emo Rap
INFO: This Kansas City, Kansas native and 2001 Scribble Jam finalist is best known for his battle rhymes. However, from philosophical pontifications to societal statements to X-Rated sex raps, Mac covers all of the bases on his professional debut, with help from super-producer Blockhead on two of the album's thirteen tracks.
SONG (MP3): Smooth Brotha
ALBUM: Rue Melo
FILE UNDER: Pop / R&B / Alternative
LABEL: Fighter Records
I was born and raised in Paris until the age of 10 when I moved to New York City with my mom and brother. After a few years struggling in the Bronx we moved on to Cali where we now live.
I got lucky growing up in an artistic environment. My father is a musician of Uruguayan descent, my mother was a ballet dancer and stage actress.
In the spring of 2005 I met up with guitarist Martin Estrada, bassist Bryan Bush and drummer Idris Tate to form the band, from our first jam I knew they were the players I needed to back me up. One of our earlier jams together went on to become one of my favorite songs, "Can't Deny," which is featured on here. We've been recording and writing lots of songs since . Because I grew up with both spanish and french speaking parents some of my songs have French and spanish in them, which allows me to express myself in m ore than one way. Stay tuned for more updates.
SONG (MP3): Handy
ALBUM: Songs From the City on the Sun
FILE UNDER: Indie / Alternative / Acoustic
LABEL: Red Cat Records
“Boy in the Bubble play an arresting game of musical hopscotch…Alternating between soft and sighing, loud and sloppy, [singer Josh Seidenfeld] knows exactly where he's going—and he's intent on taking us with him. Call Songs From the City on the Sun indie-rock at a burlesque show. Call it David Bowie on the verge of a meltdown. Call it what you like, but don't miss this Sun set.” – Performing Songwriter
Boy in the Bubble is rough-around-the-edges indie rock that's sometimes ferocious, sometimes tender, and always compelling. This is music for art's sake that also knows how to shake its ass. BITB combines ambitious songwriting and immediately distinctive vocals with an engaging, energetic stage show. Download record that KCRW's Nic Harcourt has been playing on "Morning Becomes Eclectic" right here:
SONG (MP3): Minnesota Weather Map
ALBUM: 20th Century Accidents
FILE UNDER: Rock / Country / Alternative
LABEL: Fat Caddy Records
INFO: Most of an artists’ best work is created when they are bushed. Whether they are tired of routine or just tired of the banality of existing art, from weariness comes excellence. That line of equilibrium is balanced on Macon Greyson’s newest studio album, 20th Century Accidents. The lyrical content on the album addresses many significant topics and the musical backing provides a breathing force of pure guitar bliss. Steadying away from being pigeon-holed, the album declines participation in the simple categorization of country and instead gives the listener ample opportunity to rock out.
SONG (MP3): Drag the Lake
ALBUM: Forging a Future
FILE UNDER: Pop Punk / Indie / Rock
LABEL: Wednesday Records
There was a time, and not that long ago, when supporting punk music meant heading off to your local fire hall or basement on a Friday night to see five bands for five bucks. Friends manned small tables in the back of the room selling hand-screened shirts and patches. Meanwhile, the bands played as we stood shoulder to shoulder celebrating the alternative we created to crowded parking lots and thirty-dollar ticket prices.
On "Forging a Future," San Francisco's First To Leave suggest that perhaps somewhere amidst the fashion of the current scene, we have forgotten what is truly important about punk rock. It is the music and the ideals it carries. It is the concept of hope, and the promise that a network of kids working together can make a difference.