Friday, June 27, 2008

All Systems Go!

System and Station formed as a three piece in Boise, Idaho in ‘98. Despite frequent moves to and from the West coast (though now based in Portland, OR), mainstay Heise has guided the band through three full length records, three EPs, 18 national tours and 12 breakdowns (some in -20 degree weather, some strictly mental.)

System and Station returns with its fourth full-length A Nation of Actors (Latest Flame Records) to deliver its most solid work to date. Principle songwriter and anchor of the band, RFK Heise, introduces elements of the gentle (at times plaintive) ambiance formerly reserved for his side project Protest Hill. A Nation of Actors rides through poppier terrain that its predecessor Here Is Now, without sacrificing the angular guitar work or the two ton rhythm section.

From catchy melodic pop to disarming vocals and pensive lyrics, A Nation of Actors glistens from beginning to end.

Download: The Magnetic North

Real Genius

There’s something distinctly retro about Team Genius’ sound and the way it makes you nostalgic for awkward middle school birthday parties. The band’s earnest poppy sound resonates of the Ohio heartland and its infectious beats leave the crowd dancing. Team Genius has recently immortalized their nail-biting, awkward-kid-you-sat-next-to-in-Algebra-class anti-scene in their new music video to the song “I'm Just An Idiot.” Watch it below. After self-releasing the EP Hooray, Team Genius is ready to get the gears moving on some new projects – namely a full-length slated for release in the fall.

It's fun stuff in a less morose Arcade Fire vein or even a little like old Wolf Parade with crazy vocal gymnastics. It's folky and goofy and not something that takes itself to seriously and that is a very good thing.

Download: Handclaps in E Major
Download: Sing Song
Download: I'm Just an Idiot

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bonus Tilly!

So as you may or may not know I featured Tilly and the Wall over the weekend as one of the Top 10 Tracks You NEED! I posted, "Pot Kettle Black." on that blog. Well as fate would have it, I've stumbled upon yet another Tilly track for you to check out. And if you want you can even watch the video for "Pot Kettle Black."

Download: Cacophony

Sunny Day...erm...Not Real Estate

For everyone hoping this was about Sunny Day Real Estate, I'm sorry...we're 4,000 miles east of the States in the UK to talk about Sunny Day Sets Fire.

Ostensibly a band founded in London, Sunny Day Sets Fire is a group with many homelands, many talents and many sounds. Collectively, the band hails from Hong Kong, Italy, Sardinia, Canada, and of course, London.

The result is something of a pop hybrid where 60’s rock collides with new patents. The quintet’s unique brand of hummable surreal pop is a perfect soundtrack to summertime that could perhaps best be compared to artists like Blonde Redhead, The Flaming Lips, and Architecture In Helsinki.

The mid-summer release of Summer Palace will certainly establish Sunny Day Sets Fire as a reference point unto itself. One can only begin to envision the sorts of cakewalks the group will go through after this very promising debut is unleashed on the American masses.

If you like Mystery Jets, Guillemots, and even the Delgados you'll love SDSF. Check out the remix below; about half of it is kind of like a Blade Runner sort of thing before it gets all chopped, glitchy, and noisy.

Download: Stranger
Download: Brainless
Download: I Dream Along (Trilobisk Remix)

Static In My Head

May and June have been busy months for Sheffield’s 65daysofstatic. The Cure have taken this bright and promising group all over North America, bringing their epic instrumental rock to arenas like The Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks, the Sasquatch Music Festival, and NYC’s Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall.

This past winter, while the group was resting between these massive tours, the band went into the studio to record The Distant and Mechanised Glow of East European Dance Parties EP to accompany their 2008 tour dates. Comprising two very different takes on the The Destruction of Small Ideas track of the same name, plus two completely new songs, The Distant and Mechanised Glow of East European Dance Parties EP answers the question “What happens if we put these instruments down for a couple of seconds and create a 16 strong choir from our own under rehearsed voices?”

The result is a brilliantly executed single produced with the sonic exploration of their previous records, while pushing the band towards their dark and dance-club-friendly electronic side. The EP was released on 65daysofstatic’s longtime label, Monotreme Records and when it landed in the UK it received an early spin on the national BBC Radio 1. DJ Dan Carter of BBC Radio 1 introduced “Dance Parties (Mechanized)” as the “hottest record in the world right now!”

Download: Dance Parties (Distant)
Download: Dance Parties (Mechanized)
Remix the single HERE.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturdays=Youth Sundays=Laziness

It's been out for a while now, but M83's new album Saturdays=Youth is still floating around my damn brain. I think the first thing that drew me to this record was the photography and how it looked like a scenester influenced Benetton ad. It was just the right amount of bizarre and cool to sucker me in and then I actually heard the thing.

The record marked a change to a friendlier, pop-shaped direction for the band and after being around producers Ken Thomas and Ewan Pearson it's easy that they did a fantastic job. Thomas gave M83 a big sound and Ewan Pearson gave Saturdays=Youth a smooth modern edge.

According to M83 himself, "The idea was to have the sound of the Eighties and at the same time have the sound of nowadays," says Gonzalez. "But what I really like about this album is that it sounds like nothing that's around now. Nothing has the same ambiance."

If you haven't heard the new album yet, judge for yourself below.

Download: We Own the Sky (Maps Remix)

Everything You've Done Is Wrong

Sloan's follow up to last year's 30-track epic Never Hear the End of It, new album Parallel Play finds the Canadian quartet in top form. In accordance with Sloan's unique creative dynamics, band members Jay Ferguson, Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland and Andrew Scott each contribute three songs to Parallel Play (with Andrew clocking in at 4).

Patrick Pentland says of the Sloan process, "I think we create better separately than when we try to do it together. Some times collaboration works, but we're such different people, and all of us are capable song writers and producers, that it doesn't make sense to try to force the band to adhere to some preconceived idea of the typical rock band architecture."

A term taken from the science of developmental psychology, parallel play is a behavior seen in young children in which they enjoy independent activities in the company of other children, something the four boys in Sloan know a lot about.

The album is out now on Yep Roc Records. You can buy it from the e-store or probably even Target.

Download: I'm Not A Kid Anymore

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Even More Amplive

Fresh on the heels of his recent MGMT/Of Montreal mash-up, Bay Area producer Amplive has released a second remix from MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular. This time out he’s tackled “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters,” nicking the song’s finest synth line and fleshing out a track around exclusive verses from North Oakland MC Mistah Fab.

You might recognize Fab from the most recent Snoop single, “Life of the Party.” Or if you’re well versed in Bay bangers, you’ll recall his Ghostbusters-nodder “Ghost Ride It” and its endlessly entertaining video, wherein Fab and company ghost ride a short bus (no joke).

Either way, his turns here are memorable in and of themselves, and serve as the perfect compliment to Amplive’s shimmering synth-driven production.

Download: Of Moons, Birds & Monsters [Communication Edit ft. Mistah Fab]

In Bloom!

Toronto quintet The Great Bloomers specialize in galloping roots, deliciously sloppy indie rock, and spindly guitar-led noise nuggets that pack as much potency in three minutes as neatly-composed pop records do in 40.

Formed only a few short years ago, The Great Bloomers have quickly transformed into one of Toronto's most inspiring young bands. Their ascent can be chalked up to, among many other things, the strength of last year's compact debut EP.

Both reminiscent of 90's giants past, and slacker rock icons to come, tracks like the sprawling, triumphal, "Catching Up," cobble together harmonica, swathes of noise, and awesomely atonal Malkmus noodlery to create deeply affecting, timeless indie rock.

Enjoy it!

Download: Catching Up

My Keyboard Has Broken Letters

Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, The Broken Letters exist as the primary medium for the songwriting and vocal lyricism of David Hickox. Sounding something like Nick Cave meets old Songs Ohia with distortion the band has a crooked craft of melody and a penchant for dark and Biblical delivery. The Broken Letters create songs of love and death, birth and pain, of the moon and of a great fire. Their full-length LP, Sing the Burning Alphabet, is out this summer.

On their latest record, Sing the Burning Alphabet, Hickox and company explore a more lose and direct feel, focusing the energy of the songs on the preternatural realm instead of wasting in the physical realm by focusing on perfection-- the fool's pursuit that renders modern music rather lifeless. Songs were captured as the were being created, caught on tape at their birth, and with the electricity that can't be reproduced at any other time.

Oh...and that Carcass shirt rules!

Download: Another Morning
Download: Licht
Download: She Brings the Rain (Can Cover)

Unicycle Loves You!

A pop music chimera influenced by music from the 50s, the psychedelic 60s, and rock of the 80s, Chicagoan rising stars Unicycle Love You are releasing their self-titled debut album on Highwheel Records (Airiel, La Scala, Arks) today! Produced by Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse), it's an absolute pop explosion that'll charm you and soundtrack your summer.

Unicycle Loves You was formed in the Summer of 2006 in Chicago by Jim Carroll (vocals, guitar), Jon Pollock (guitar, vocals), and Nicole Vitale (bass, vocals); practicing a variety of songs Jim had previously recorded solo under the moniker Unicycle. Shortly thereafter, Adam Labrada (keys, harmonica) and J.T. Baker (drums) were added to the roster and the band played their first show in November 2006.

Unicycle founder Jim Carroll crafts tunes and lyrics that can be simultaneously dark and toe-tapping. Hear a Unicycle song once and discover it has burrowed into your frontal cortex. Jon Pollock, after just a few mega-calorie-burning minutes on stage, has the appearance of a hallucinating shaman emerging from a sweat lodge. Nicole Vitale, Baker, and Labrada provide a percussive wall of often bouncy, always novel punk driven beats that buoy three-part harmonies and conjure up tuneful artifacts of pop evolution from 1958-2008.

Download: Highway Robbery
Download: Hawaii

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This Week (June 12th) at POP! at Eclipse

After two weeks in a row of insane bands, we figured it was time to take a rest. If you missed last weeks show with The Feeling of Love, you missed one of the loudest shows EVER at Eclipse. It was so ridiculously loud, I had to leave the building.

This week, instead of bands we'll be showering you with free stuff from the Lords of Britpop, Supergrass! Yes, it's true, they still are around and still cranking out some great tunes.

We'll be giving away copies of the new album, Diamond Hoo Ha Man all night long. I've got DVD's, CD's, and LP's to giveaway, so come out and get some free stuff, have a dance, have a drink and hang out with us. It's all night dance party with free stuff on top.

Until tomorrow night, check out some Supergrass...

Download: Diamond Hoo Ha Man
Download: Caught By The Fuzz

Monday, June 9, 2008


LP3 is the third studio album from Ratatat, the follow-up to 2006's Classics and 2004's self-titled debut. Since the release of Classics, Ratatat have toured relentlessly, headlining shows around the world. They were asked to open for Daft Punk at Los Angeles Sports Arena back in June 2007, before they jetted off to play shows in Hawaii and Japan. They have also added their unique sound to a recent remix of Bjork's 'Wanderlust' and released the second in their acclaimed 'Remixes' series, featuring bootleg remixes of Notorious BIG and Young Buck among others.

LP3 has a much broader palette of sounds than the band's previous albums. It's more dynamic with a leaning towards keyboards more so than guitars, and live percussion rather than programmed beats. It sounds like the album Ratatat have wanted to make for some time; equally stripped back and fuller sounding. LP3 is overflowing with ideas and with more pop and dancefloor moments mixed in with their unique take on atmospheric, instrumental rock. Ratatat, as per usual, will be touring and touring and touring and more than likely will be back in Florida!

Download: Mirando

Summer of Twee Continues!

Coke-and-Spiriters, the second album from New York’s Dream Bitches, is yet another record from the Summer of Twee! Packed with snarling pop anthems and hyper-literate acoustic ballads, this concise collection captures the Bitches at their most vibrant and volatile. Yoko Kikuchi and Ann Zakaluk, friends and collaborators since their New York City tween years, began the group as a duo in 2003, each fresh out of art school. By the time their first album, Sanfransisters, was released by Olive Juice Music in early 2005, Yoko and Ann had recruited a backing band that would become an integral part of their sound and style. A playful folk-pop affair, Sanfransisters boasted jangly guitars, catchy choruses, and wry lyrics in the wordy tradition of anti-folkies Kimya Dawson (K) and Jeffrey Lewis (Rough Trade).

Dream Bitches’ sophomore release finds the now five-piece band sporting songs with bigger hooks and biting, schizophrenic subject matter. Where Sanfransisters celebrated friendship, the relationships chronicled on Coke-and-Spiriters are beyond dysfunctional. Despite the misanthropic lyrics, the music is far from introverted. Dream Bitches’ sound has expanded tremendously since their last record – it’s bigger, brighter, and bolder than before, but still rather twee in that K Records/Up Records sort of way. Think of Little Red Car Wreck meets the Breeders.

Coke-and-Spiriters was recorded by Mark Ospovat at Emandee Studios (CocoRosie, Wooden Wand) in Brooklyn, NY, and produced by Casey Holford (Cheese on Bread, Daouets). The record is out now on New York’s Recommended If You Like Records and the band will play select dates throughout the United States soon, hopefully Florida is in their somewhat immediate future.

Download: Bad Luck Bill
Download: Mother's Day
Download: Me and the Major (B&S cover!!)

Summer of Twee!

The Fairline Parkway's Zachary Okun and Raj Gadhia met in a quiet summer of college unemployment. Raj recognized Zach as the guy in the back of the dusty university anthropology lab who diligently slept through monkey documentaries, waking from deep sleep only to angrily protest discernible differences in the skull specimens forced upon the class every week. In this manner things came to a head and they were graduated, just as they decided to have a good run at actually thinking. Reeling in denial, the two began recording together in 2002. They were promptly kidnapped by an enthusiastic fan and ushered into a studio. Shortly after, their self titled debut full-length emerged.

The wind blew Zach west to Arizona, then Portland OR to work as a studio engineer. Raj found himself earning his stripes and making marks with Roofwalkers (formerly Pagoda) in Washington DC, Zach splitting his time between Antlerand (Sound Family), the Kingdom (Arena Rock), and the Minders (Future Farmer) in Portland. Meanwhile, someone left the mic on in the hall while old friends (Ben Licciardi), new neighbors (Krista & Elmer Sharp), and evening guests arrived at the door. Before they knew it, the parlor was full of sound, the tape ran out, and The Fairline Parkway's sophomore effort, A Memory of Open Spaces, delivered itself in 2007. The band made an appearance at SXSW and the buzz has begun. So put your ear to the glass and listen close.

Check out the video and single below which are so Twee it hurts. The tune itself reminds me of Beulah at their best and has summer single written all over it. If the album is half as good as this single we could have the indie pop album of the year on our hands!

Download: Westward Bound

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Week (June 5th) at POP! at Eclipse

Last week's show was something special. It was like Twin Peaks meets Of Montreal in a day-glo bike short factory. It almost seemed like it wouldn't be possible to top that. Then along comes The Feeling of Love! And they've come a LONG way, all the way from Strasbourg, France! As to what they're like, imagine French POP! in a bar fight with the Birthday Party hopped up on heroin and you kind of have an idea. Needless to say the show should be awesome.

Of course, after The Feeling of Love, I'll be DJing the rest of the night and we'll be giving away records and CD's from VHS or Beta and CD's and stuff from The Virgins (courtesy of our door guy Steve!).

So come out and hang out. It's super cheap to get in and we give you stuff, and hell there will be real live Frenchmen in our humble little club. Culture comes to Jacksonville!

Until tomorrow, check out some tunes from VHS or Beta and The Virgins

Download: VHS or Beta - Can't Believe A Single Word
Download: VHS or Beta - Burn It All Down
Download: The Virgins - Teen Lovers
Download: The Virgins - Rich Girls (Demo Version)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You Know People I Know People

Morning State signed to a label last fall and recorded You Know People I Know People. The band then headed to the CMJ Music Marathon for several performances, including a VIP late night party with hometown heroes Black Kids, and Peter and Bjorn (of PB & J, of course!). Shortly after returning home, the band learned that its label had collapsed and was seeking money for the master rights to the recordings. With this, the band quickly terminated its ties with the label and decided to re-record the album with close friend Asa Leffer (The Whigs, Dark Meat, The Pendletons) at DARC in Athens, GA. The album was re-recorded in about 11 days.

Several outlets have gotten behind the album in the past month including E! News but don't let that turn you away. Morning State are a really frickin' good band. You can check out the review I did on First Coast HERE. (pardon the typos)

Following sets in packed out rooms in New York, Chicago, and throughout the southeast, the band is taking a short rest. More tour dates are expected to be added soon and hopefully Florida will be included. Then again, Atlanta isn't that far away and there's always Sweet Water beer to be had and Little Five Points!

Anyway, the band has released another song from the re-recorded album You Know People I Know People. Check it out below.

Download: That's Quite A Rash
Internet: Morning State

Happy Anarchy!

Happy Anarchy a band from Staten Island, NY, with a really really bad name, but with influences ranging from The Beatles and The Who, to Radiohead, to Modest Mouse and The Flaming Lips things can't be all the bad right? Thankfully, they aren't. Happy Anarchy's music is all about trading complex guitar lines akin to Built To Spill, majestic wall of sound production like Mercury Rev, and intelligent-beyond-their-years lyrics. Add to that, the fact that each song on their album Reset is different from the previous and you have a fun band.

Reset is littered with a whole host of trumpets, sax, violin, congas, group vocals and various guitar effects which makes the album sound something like an aural symphony conducted by Brian Wilson from his sandbox.

Originally an eight piece band they lost members on the road somewhere and briefly became a power trio. Within a short period of time, they were soon back to being a five piece with two new members and five former members still lost in middle America somewhere. The new grouping has been together now for over a year, and it was this lineup that redefined the sound and soul of Happy Anarchy. As for the missing members...they're probably all working at Waffle House somewhere.

Download: Is That Right
Download: In Reverse
Internet: Happy Anarchy