Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hammin It Up!

During a busy summer, backing Vic Chesnutt in Europe, touring with Elf Power, and recording with Liz Durrett as her backing band on, Outside Our Gates, Ham1 somehow found the time to hit the studio. With the help of engineer Jason Nesmith of Casper & the Cookies, they found time to record their follow-up to last year's acclaimed Orange Twin release The Captain's Table.

Named The Underground Stream, the album continues the enigmatic path charted by Ham1, a band whose sound is familiar but always hard to pin down, with influences ranging from Western surf guitar, loose Velvet Underground-style stompers, and Southern gothic ballads. It's like a scratchy, late night broadcast from a remote AM radio station that plays Link Wray back-to-back with Lou Reed. Meaning you can't change the station and you definitely can't stop listening to them.

Download: Toothless Frontlines
Download: I Wave Back
Download: Adirondack Chair
Download: The whole album....The Underground Stream

Nothing Like Some Peachcake To Go With That Coffee

Peachcake, the spectacular, incredibly strangely named but positivity-charged audio-protectors from the Planet Awesome, have come to rescue you from the mundane and take you away to a soundtopia of electronic pop extraordinaire, with the their recently released album What Year Will You Have The World?

Say what you will about the name...and yeah, it borderlines on being just plain dumb, but Peachcake make up for it with sugary sweet synth pop that will give you cavities. The stuff sounds something like Magnetic Fields if Stephen Merritt ate a lot of candy...a lot...and then recorded everything he said while he was on a sugar high or the Pet Shop Boys if they were indie.

If that wasn't enough Peachcake's eclectic and extremely interactive live show is rounded out by a rotating cast of characters and is renowned and revered for its use of full-on crowd participation. This includes but is not limited to props, pajamas and dance circles. The result is a show that commands your complete enjoyment and audiences routinely leave (against their will) knowing that the sound waves are safer.

Download: Welcome To The Party To Save The World

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Local Natives Cross Country

For six months Local Natives (formerly known as Cavil at Rest) bunkered down in a two-bedroom house in Orange, CA. During that time songs were written, rewritten, and then recorded as their first full-length album with the help of producer Raymond Richards. Yeah that's pretty damn quick don't ya think? Anyway, the debut album earned the title of Gorilla Manor as homage to their humble abode and will likely be released in early 2009.

Local Natives have that sort of Arcade Fire, Beirut, and Broken Social Scene, Modest Mouse thing down pat. And that's not a bad thing to be honest. I summary their songs are arty and complex but still has a sense of what makes a song good.

While they have that arty-indie thing mastered what really makes this band stand apart is the sense of united celebration amongst the group and the audiences they play for. From three singers sharing harmonies and lead vocals, extra percussion from friends and fans, and band mates switching positions and instruments, a Local Natives show unfolds more like a tribal pow-wow.

You can see for yourself as Local Natives are preparing to cross the country playing just about everywhere but Florida! (surprise).
20 San Clemente, CA @ OC Tavern
21 San Marcos, CA @ The Jumping Turtle
27 Lake Forest, CA @ The Gypsy Lounge
28 Scottsdale, AZ @ Rogue Bar
29 El Paso, TX @ Black Market
30 Austin, TX @ Beauty Bar
02 New Orleans, LA @ Hi Ho Lounge
04 Memphis, TN @ Buccaneers Lounge
05 Nashville, TN @ The Muse
06 Cincinnati, OH @ The Comet
07 Pittsburgh, PA @ Garfield Artworks
09 New York, NY @ Pianos
10 Brooklyn, NY @ Public Assembly
11 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
14 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
15 Detroit, MI @ Old Miami
17 Chicago, IL @ The Horseshoe
20 Lincoln, NE @ Box Awesome
21 Denver, CO @ Benders Tavern
23 Cheyenne, WY @ Synergy Cafe
24 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
25 Las Vegas, NV @ The Beatles Revolution Lounge

Download: Airplanes
Download: Warning Sign
Download: We Come Back (Holiday Song)

Put Some Passion Into That Pit of Wallpaper.

Back in the beginning of April, Fingers On The Pulse announced a contest encouraging all to try their hand at remixing one of the year's best songs, Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead". But in the end, only one rang victorious in eyes of Passion Pit - Oakland, California's Wallpaper. was declared the winner. Wallpaper. is the enigmatic onstage existence of Eric Frederic. In another life, he fronts a prog-rock powerhouse (indie stalwarts Facing New York), but in this one, he's a pop-pushing kingpin as interested in art as artifice.

While on the subject of remixes, on December 23, Wallpaper.'s T REX ep will be re-released in new form, as T REX RMXd. Enlisting the help of friends Andrew Maury of The Remix Artist Collective, Bomarr of Restiform Bodies (Anticon), and Gavin Castleton (Five One, Inc.) to remix the ep.

Download: Passion Pit - Sleepyhead (Wallpaper Dio Remix)
Download: Wallpaper. - Evrytm We Do It (RAC Maury Remix)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Art Punk The Old Fashioned Way

Credited as godfathers of the D.I.Y. movement, The Homosexuals: Bruno Wizard with guitarist Anton Heyman, bassist Jim Welton and a cast of revolving collaborators accumulated a treasure trove of other-worldly art-punk in the late 70s and early 80s, shunning the sniffs of big-label bloodhounds, only sporadically performing, and self-pressing tiny quantities of their own records only to disband completely by ‘83. Two recent archival releases, The Homosexuals CD (ReR), and the triple CD Astral Glamour (Hyped 2 Death), have brought the Homosexuals legacy back into focus.

That being said, Serious Business Records proudly presents Love Guns?, the first piece of new vinyl issued by UK D.I.Y art-punk instigators The Homosexuals since the early eighties. The Love Guns? EP is being initially released as a hand numbered 300-piece 10” vinyl pressing. To make things even more interesting, Bruno Wizard has hand written a story across the entirety of the 300 pieces, with a unique sentence, a fragment or a few words appearing on each copy. Fans can compare their unique inscriptions, upload photos, and slowly piece together the entire story at

Download: Slow Guns

It's A Block of Yellow

A Block of Yellow began when the dual dueling Vox & Guitar boys, Alex Whalley and Anthony Nastasi, wanted to get their crafty song-craft beat-powered and bassified in truly beautiful fashion. Recruitment of Dan Tomas on bass line creating bass and Rich Baker on beat creating drums followed and rounded out the quartet.

Conceived under the influence of The Kinks, The Clash, and The Stone Roses, the glorious BritPop sounds of A Block of Yellow certainly work wonders on tired and lonely ears. It's like listening to old Of Montreal in a fist fight with The Kinks doing, "Victoria." It's jangly, slightly twee and has a 60's feel to it. In other words...better pop you are unlikely to find.

Their album Do I Do was recorded and produced by Don Kerr of Rheostatics and Ron Sexsmith fame over two years of hot summers and cold winters in Toronto, Canada.

Download: Do I Do
Download: You Shook My Head
Download: Are You Sure

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Who The Heck Is Meck?

The name MECK has been everywhere of late thanks to the UK number 1 smash hit single Thunder In My Heart Again. The record gained the support of among others Radio 1s Pete Tong, who went on to play it for 10 consecutive weeks and made it his Essential New Tune.

As people have subsequently found out, Meck is the DJ and recording alias of Craig Dimech, the former head of free2air recordings and now head honcho at Frenetic Music which he's firmly placed in the epicentre of cool, clubbing culture.

His latest choon, Windmills takes a bit of Dusty Springfield and tweaks into a huge monster of a tune that's so upfront it's blasting in your front yard right now. An absolute massive tune that's so epic it could part the seas and as some has pointed out it's the perfect follow up to the Audio Bully's Shoot You Down.

Download: Windmills (Club Mix) (via SoundCloud)
Download: Dusty's In The House (via SoundCloud)

My Synthesizer Won't Behave

For its fifth release, Monsta Music is proud to present the debut solo EP from George Cochrane, aka Origami. Though his name may be new to the ears of many, his music has been heard by the dance music community for years through a variety of partnerships, including his work with DJ2, Andrew Phelan & Origami, Cubik & Origami, and The Fingermonsters.

The Spencer Spiketail EP has been getting rave reviews, with a perfect 10/10 in iDJ, comparisons to Green Velvet, Freaks, and Classic Recordings, and DJ support from the likes of Satoshi Tomiie, Luke Solomon, Laurent Garnier, Johnny Fiasco, Onionz and M.A.N.D.Y. to name but a few.

It's one heck of a tech house tweaker that kind of klangs along while Cochrane rambles on about his set up. You can almost picture him kicking his synths as he was recording this tune and the machines responding back. It's pretty clever stuff and it's quite good to boot. It'll definitely remind you of Green Velvet, all that's missing is the "I don't give a shit" chorus somewhere.

Top stuff. Download's courtesy of SoundCloud.

Download: My Synthesizer Won't Behave (Original Edit)
Download: My Synthesizer Won't Behave (Andrew Phelan & Origami Edit)
Download: My Synthesizer Won't Behave (The Fingermonsters Edit)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not From Sweden: Jensen Sportag

Jensen Sportag over the past week has gotten tons of press Fluxblog, MYOKB, Tripwire, etc. In case you’re unfamiliar, Jensen Sportag is a Nashville-based artist who creates some laid back housey vibes with a bit of downtempo thrown in for good measure. Their tunes have a bit of an 80's vibe mixed with some Ibiza lite to create a sort of live organic feel that's a bit abstract but still ridiculously catchy.

They’re releasing a short-player on December 2nd called Sergio. The duo has made fast friends out of the Paw Track stable of artists – Ariel Pink contributed vocals and cover art to their self-titled 2007 debut, and new-signing Dent May recently invited the band out to his Mississippi ranch to collaborate.

They’ve also got a big fan in the form of Domino Records’ Max Tunda, who recently released a promo mix featuring one of their songs, "Cocktease," (and if you pay attention to his version of Hot Chip's Playboy, you'll notice he replaces the line "Blazin Out Yo La Tengo" with "Blazin out Jensen Sportag"). He's also tapped the boys for his forthcoming remix LP, and has invited them to open up for a forthcoming tour.

Download: Power Sergio
Download: 2x2
Download: Max Tundra Promo Mix

The Theater Fire is Unstoppable

The Theater Fire, a roots-influenced, seven-piece indie-pop band from Texas, releases its third LP Matter and Light on December 9th, 2008. Matter and Light contains a wide range of instruments, combining horns, pedal steel, banjo, piano, fiddle, accordion, found percussion and singing saw with the standard bass, drum and guitar lineup. The result is a distinct fusion of country, jazz, zydeco, folk, blues, and rock.

The two singer songwriters Don Feagin and Curtis Heath, along with the rest of the band, take us on a trip through the annals of music, drawing on influences such as Bob Willis, Mississippi John Hurt, George Jones, The Velvet Underground, Will Oldham and Lambchop.

Normally, I hate stuff like this. I just can't get into Americana noodling and meandering but I listened to, "Uncle Wayne," and it cracked me up. It's so melancholic and darkly funny that you can't help but like it. If this track is any indication of how the whole album is, Americana might just stand a chance in the ol' POP! lexicon.

Download: Uncle Wayne