Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If It's Fall It Must Be Twee

Screens is the name of the Chop Chop’s new album. Like its predecessor, the songs combine pop, rock, and electronica, with influences ranging from the 1930s to the Bee Gees to Run DMC, and somehow sound ridiculously huggable.

This time around the band used quaintly analog instruments like the French horn, keymonica, and a toy Zylophone have been tossed into the mix alongside cranky, craggy digital synthesizers and electric guitars. The result is a record that will make you laugh, will make you cry, will make you dance, and it will haunt you and mysteriously force its way to the beginning of your iPod shuffle queue.

Screens is the sound of the seasons changing from summer to fall and it's sugary sweet little songs will warm the cockles of your heart. After hearing Chop Chop's record I've come to the conclusion that not only is 2008 the Summer of Twee, but it's well on the way to becoming the Fall of Twee as well.

Download: Northern Armies
Download: C Train David

How Do You Say That?

Based in Copenhagen, Slaraffenland was an idea created in 2002 by Christian Taagehøj, Mike Taagehøj, Bjørn Heebøll, Niklas Antonsson, and Jeppe Skjold. They expertly expanded on the guitar-bass-drums standard with brass and woodwind instruments, various racket-makers, and transfixing gang vocals. Many of them childhood friends (and Mike and Christian near-identical twins), they've spent years developing a sound that conjures everything from free jazz to noise to melodious addictive rock.

Slaraffenland joined the Hometapes label family in 2006 and have, since then, taken the US by storm: tours (bookended by festival appearances), special projects (they were featured on Stereogum’s tribute to Radiohead’s “OK Computer” last year), sneaky appearances (they played with Akron/Family at SXSW back in March), and, of course, their records have all combined to create an amazing entity whose name, which means "the land of milk and honey." With all that stuff happening over the last year, they would like you to believe that everyone now is surely learning to pronounce Slaraffenland! That's probably not the case and I wish you good luck with just trying to pronounce that name. Einstezende Neubauten is easier.

Anyway, the band's new Sunshine EP will be released October 7! First incarnated as a sold-out limited edition tour-only EP from their recent Spring 2008 US tour with Efterklang, Sunshine is a five-track masterpiece that captures Slaraffenland’s evolving sound and provides a true preview of their upcoming 2009 album. It features two covers: Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” and Scandinavian forefathers A-Ha’s “Take on Me” along with three brand new tracks that shook stages across the country just weeks ago. The EP is packaged in a custom wallet featuring luscious spot color printing.

And no...it doesn't come with a pronunciation guide.

Download: I'm A Machine

We're Listing To The Left

Listing Ship invites you to explore A Hull Full Of Oil and Bone, their self-released, nautically-inspired, fourth full length album. This reinterpretation of the classic country song and folk ballad adds violins, violas, 10 string guitars, banjos, the vibraphone, and 3 part harmonies to craft songs of war, government corruption and love so moving even whale hunting seems relevant.

Founders Lyman Chaffee and Heather Lockie (known a decade ago as Leather Hyman) recruited Shawn Lockie, Julie Carpenter, Laura Steenberge, Michael Whitmore, and Kyle C. Kyle to collectively share the stage and tour Italy earlier this year.

They have played with Low, Pedro the Lion, Lou Barlow, Imaad Wasif, DOS (Mike Watt, Kira Roessler) and Carla Bozulich (Geraldine Fibbers), and cite influences as diverse as Johnny Cash, the “presence of sun” and Abba for this record.

A Hull Of Oil and Bone lands October 14th and trust me as someone who generally hates anything too folky, this is quite enjoyable. In fact, I would almost say that Listing Ship hovers more around twee territory then the folky wasteland I dread. Theatrical, dusty and dear, Listing Ship are a fascinating band.

Download: Depression
Download: Voice of the Future

What Decade Is It?

Formed in 2006, The Rollo Treadway started as a two piece with David Sandholm and Blake Fleming (former drummer of The Mars Volta) and has expanded into a quintet with Tyler Wenzel on guitar and vocals, Jörg Krückel on organ, and Grant Zubritsky on bass and vocals.

Although the Brooklyn-based band's brand of psychedelic pop is built upon the foundation of the Beach Boys and the Zombies, their sound is undeniably fresh. With The Rollo Treadway, Sandholm has crafted his own style—often combining dark lyrics with cheery music to create an album so sonically intriguing that it should be listened to in its entirety.

The Rollo Treadway's self-titled album begins with a kidnapping and ends with a lullaby. The surprises don't end there—throughout the record, musical cues referencing everything from merry-go-rounds to old time radio shows weave around lead singer/songwriter David Sandholm's intricate melodies and lush harmonies.

The album is a charmer; it's so 60's chamber pop, you'll feel like wearing paisley after listening to it. Sure it's from the 21st century, but The Rollo Treadway is really a quite good pop record and I highly recommend this especially if you admire anything from that decade. It's nice to know that in a world currently stuck in 1985, that there are bands that still idolize the best period of rock and roll.

Download: Kidnapped
Download: Dear Mr. Doe

Saturday, September 13, 2008

We Landed on the Moon!

We Landed on the Moon!: John, Melissa, Josh, Jon, and Spence, recorded their self-titled debut album in 2006. The band formed after Jay Chandreskhar (Super Troopers, Beefest), asked them for a song for the soundtrack for Dukes of Hazard. Perhaps it was the tasty astronaut ice cream enclosed in each package or just dumb luck; the band, which blindly sent out their record to radio stations around the country, was a hit! After successful shows in their hometown of Baton Rouge, the quintet went on to conquer other cities around the United States in a van that ran out of Freon every hundred miles or so.

The band now brings you their second LP, These Little Wars; an album filled with beautifully intimate female vocals, whirling synthesizers stacked on interlocking guitars, danceable rhythms and wonderfully layered songwriting. In the vein of Velocity Girl or the Lemonheads, These Little Wars is a fresh take on rock with a 90s influence. The album was recorded in a place John Lambremont lovingly calls “Dead Grandma Studios”, which actually means they recorded These Little Wars in his deceased grandmother’s house. Mark Bingham (REM, Flat Duo Jets, Glenn Branca) at Piety Street, an old studio by the Bywater district of New Orleans, mixed the album.

Download: Re: Your Letter

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends.

Matthew and the Arrogant Sea's eerily named full length Family Family Family Meets the Magic Christian isn't a Republican diatribe (it wouldn't be on this blog if it were) BUT it is the first release from the newly formed label Nova Posta Vinyl, which is an LP only label created by Bella Union recording artists Robert Gomez and Eric Pulido of Midlake.

Matthew and the Arrogant Sea, like Midlake and Robert Gomez, are from Denton, Texas and share more than a passing similarity to Midlake as well as groups like Fleet Foxes or Tacks, The Boy Disaster, and maybe even a little Beach House.

It's quirky, kind of spooky folky stuff that's hauntingly cool and if you like anything by any of the above bands than chances are you'll dig Matthew and the Arrogant Sea.

Download: Pretty Purple Hat
Download: Mock Origami

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I've Found My Mojo

The Mojomatics are a two-man band -- MojoMatt (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and DavMatic (drums, percussion) -- based in Venice, Italy.

The duo released the Devil Got My Woman EP on Shake Your Ass Records in 2003 and began to tour relentlessly through Italy and the rest of Europe, opening for such incredible bands as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The (International) Noise Conspiracy and Old Time Relijun. The German label Alien Snatch agreed to release the duo’s debut album A Sweet Mama Gonna Hoodoo Me in 2004. Songs For Faraway Lovers, the second Mojomatics full-length album was released in 2006.

The band embarked on another European tour, playing in Italy, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Norway and opening for such bands as Black Lips, Arctic Monkeys, Gogol Bordello and Radio Birdman. The band's new record Don't Pretend That You Know Me heaps together hillbilly blues, old country, folk, and bluegrass and injects it with the melody of British Invasion pop, firing it all out with the breakneck energy of the best garage/punk/rock'n'roll.

The end result of all that is a record that is filled with dance floor mayhem in sta-press slacks. They're freakin' brilliant garage rock fueled fun that you'll find difficult to stop listening to.

Download: Miss Me When I'm Gone
Download: Clean My Sins
Download: Wait A While

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Junglist Massive!

“To understand pH10, start by imagining The Beastie Boys growing up on Slayer rather than Afrika Bambaataa. Then, you’ll need to figure out how records created with no electric guitars in site manage to be this damn heavy. Finally, a lesson or two in over driven analog circuits at the community college is in order. - Alternatively you could just pop in one of their disks, start shaking your ass and it’ll all come to you naturally” – Time Out London

Brooklyn-based pH10 has been making records and playing shows for ten years. Concerts are hyped up parties with intense visual projections, a massive wall of sound and strange occurrences including strobe light helmets and dancers wrapped in vacuum hoses. Having played all over the US, Canada and Europe, pH10 has developed strong performance skills to back up their studio recordings. This is a finely tuned stage show that leaves audience members danced-out and smiling. Although the pH10 crew insists on light-hearted antics in their performances, they take their productions seriously.

Check it...

Download: Enter the Underground (ft. Pete Miser & Jamalski)

The Department of Eagles

The Department of Eagles originally started in 2000 when New York University assigned freshmen Fred Nicolaus and Daniel Rossen to share a room. To pass the time during an uneventful spring semester, the two began making music together, collecting samples and turning them into songs using pirated software and a microphone borrowed from their neighbor Chris Taylor.

In 2004, Daniel joined Grizzly Bear where he ran into Chris Taylor once again. During that time, Daniel was obviously pretty busy handling vocals, guitars, and even songwriting for the group. His partner in crime Fred, on the other hand was working 9 to 5 but still found time to come up with ideas for DOE.

By the end of 2007, the sun and moon had aligned and the old duo began to work on their latest album, In Ear Park. In Ear Park is a colorful and expansive album, an intimate and personal collection of songs; much of the material that Daniel brought to In Ear Park draws on memories from his childhood, especially those relating to his father, who passed away in 2007 and to whom
the album is dedicated (the title track is a nickname for a park in Los Angeles that the two
used to visit). Many of Fred’s contributions relate to similar themes of nostalgia and mortality, giving the album at times an elegiac feel. In Ear Park is also full of joyful moments, lush production and concise songwriting.

It will be released this fall on 4AD.

Download: No One Does It Like You
Download: In Ear Park

Swimming in The Coral Sea

The Coral Sea's lead singer and songwriter Rey Villalobos makes sure to always carry his acoustic guitar with him everywhere he goes, just in case inspiration strikes. One of such places was his car, where the rudiments of the majority of the new album were composed.

The band has created a sound that is emotional and vulnerable, as well as structured, layered with atmospheric ambiance. They have blended gorgeous orchestral arrangements with indie rock for a warm, dreamlike quality.

Think Yo La Tengo or Sigur Ros coupled with David Bowie. In describing The Coral Sea's debut album, Firelight, Relative Theory Records said, "Very few times do you see a band come out of the gates with such emotion and amazing structure as The Coral Sea. I can only hope that this is not their peak, and that The Coral Sea continues to provide us with wonderful albums in the future."

Check them out for yourselves...

Download: I Know You'll Find A Way
Download: More Than You Know

I'm In A Temporary Residence

Temporary Residence is one heck of a record label. Musically, they're all over the place in every sense of the word. From heavy as fuck sludge rock to DFA endorsed remixes, the label covers it's bases and then some.

They've had a busy 2008 releasing things from everybody including your mom. As of late they've released stuff from Prints, Maserati, Genghis Tron, Young Widows, and The Loved.

As a service to you, here's a sampling of some of their more recent releases...

Quickly following their debut full-length, Prints return to stir the pot with a little more pop, their usual dose of psychedelia and an intoxicating amount of dance. Once again produced at home by multi-instrumentalists Zac Nelson and Kenseth Thibideau, the songs here were originally conceived as b-sides for a proposed single for "Too Much Water" from the group's eponymous debut. By the time three new songs were completed, they stood too strong on their own to be pushed out as b-sides, so the decision was made to forfeit the single and instead offer the songs as a stand-alone EP.

Download: Yippy

Young Widows
Arriving two years after their debut, Settle Down City, Old Wounds completes Young Widows' transformation into a top-shelf rock band firing on all cylinders. Forging the best parts of Nirvana, The Jesus Lizard, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Fugazi and The Melvins, Old Wounds is a series of dynamic, thoughtful tunes anchored by cavernous grooves that will certainly push most speakers to their breaking point.

Download: Old Skin

The Loved
Formed in 1996 and disbanded less than two years later, The Loved were an accidentally mysterious pop trio from the unlikely locale of Louisville, KY. In truth, they were just three ordinary guys making Beatles-inspired pop with a few nods to some 70s and 80s guitar gods. Their shows became notorious in Louisville; loud, sweaty affairs where the crowd knew all the words to songs that weren't yet recorded, much less released (a remarkable feat in the age before downloading or record leaks).

Download: Lydia/Spinning

Genghis Tron
The inaugural album in the ambitious Board Up The House Remixes series opens with Zombi's Steve Moore expanding the very beginning of "Board Up The House" into a sprawling European film noir soundtrack; Jesu's Justin K Broadrick takes the schizophrenic grind of "Colony Collapse" and transforms it into a dirty booty-bass track just screaming for a Missy Elliott hook; Rob Crow incidentally pioneers Mariachi-core by adding some Spanish guitar and festive vocals to "Things Don't Look Good"; and Eluvium reimagines the 10-minute closer "Ergot" as an outer space funeral dirge for the 24th Century. Packaged in a jacket featuring "remixed" album art by Jon Beasley, this pressing is a limited edition of 1,000 copies on a special colored vinyl that corresponds to the artwork.

Download: Things Don't Look Good

Follow the Deer Tracks

The Deer Tracks are David Lehnberg & Elin Lindfors, both children of the Swedish town of Gävle.

Despite participating in other projects (Leiah, Ariel Kill Him & Twiggy Frostbite), all roads led them into the electromagnetic mist of melodies that became known as Deer Tracks. And so, around the turn of 2006/07, they met to shape electro landscapes as sparkling as the snow and ice that sheeted the long and hard winter nights. As one would expect in Sweden!

Deer Tracks songs are expansive airy ambient like compositions that sound something like M83 meets Eno meets Bjork out in the snow in mid-January. They're chilly tunes that are glistening and beautiful with just enough of a pop edge to them to allow them to freeze your brain.

Good stuff then that's as epic and wide open as Scandinavia.

Download: Yes This Is My Broken Shield
Download: Slow Collision
Download: Before the Storm (Sizemoreisms Deer In The Headlights Remix)

The Sunset

Bill Baird is the brains behind Austin based band and recording project {{{SUNSET}}}. Formed in 2006 by Baird the band has already released two full length albums on Austin label Autobus; 2007's Bright Blue Dream and 2008's The Glowing City. Both albums are literally filled to the brim with psych and shoegaze pop brilliance.

The band's music is sort of like an amalgamation of Beck, Bowie, Eno, The Flaming Lips tripped out on some Syd Barret era Pink Floyd. Currently on a white-hot creative streak, {{{SUNSET}}} is prepping even more releases for 2008.

Here's a fun fact about the band, the band tours in Baird's '84 Mercedes station wagon, which is rigged to run on waste veggie oil they're picking up from restaurants. Ridin' on 24" Dubs and fuelin' it all on grease!

Download: Zombies
Download: Graveyard Dog
Download: The World is Awaiting