Friday, January 30, 2009

Like Bells Chimes In

It only seems appropriate that the second I go on a tirade about post-rock, along comes yet another band that fits into that category that's actually quite good.

Introducing, Like Bells. Predominantly instrumental, this trio of Oberlin College / Conservatory students don't shy away from a catchy melody and songs of pop-song length...utilizing their instruments to their fullest (violin /viola, guitar, drums, cpu) to create songs and arrangements that are both beautifully complex and accessible.

Sounding something like the Dirty Three meets Godspeed and maybe even Do Make Say think, their songs are melodic and pretty damn good. Their album hasn't come out yet, but you can check out a couple of songs from it.

Download: Atlas
Download: Yeti

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Submarines/Morning Benders Tour Give Stuff Away

The holiday season might be over, but don't let that mid-winter blues settle in just yet… The Submarines (the Iphone band) and The Morning Benders have one more present for you...In conjunction with their upcoming North American tour (kicking off on Today), The Morning Benders covered a track by The Submarines…and The Submarines returned the favor by covering a Benders song; and they're giving them both away to you for free!

Here are the dates of the tour...
Jan 29 2009 The Loft at UCSD La Jolla, California
Jan 30 2009 Detroit Bar Costa Mesa, California
Feb 1 2009 Club CongressTucson, Arizona
Feb 3 2009 Stubb’s BBQ Austin, Texas
Feb 4 2009 The Pontiac Garage Dallas, Texas
Feb 7 2009 Local 506 Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Feb 8 2009 Black Cat Backstage D.C., Washington DC
Feb 9 2009 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Feb 10 2009 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Feb 11 2009 The Bell House Brooklyn, New York
Feb 13 2009 Middle East Boston, Massachusetts
Feb 14 2009 Il Motore Montreal, Quebec
Feb 15 2009 The Drake Hotel Toronto, Ontario
Feb 17 2009 Schuba’s Tavern Chicago, Illinois
Feb 18 2009 Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, Minnesota
Feb 20 2009 Hi-Dive Denver, Colorado
Feb 21 2009 Kilby Court Salt Lake City, Utah
Feb 23 2009 The Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver, British Columbia
Feb 24 2009 Chop Suey Seattle, Washington
Feb 25 2009 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, Oregon
Feb 27 2009 SLIM’S (Noise Pop 2009) San Francisco, California
Feb 28 2009 Troubadour Los Angeles, California

Download: Tour Single (Zip File)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Georgia Armada Has Been Unleashed

I'm not the biggest fan of post-rock. For the most part, I think alot of it is just muso wank. Mogwai can go fall in a ditch as far as I'm concerned. There's a reason why bands are post rock...because they couldn't write a proper pop song if their life depended on it.

In addition to being the most pretentious musos on the planets, I can't stand most post rock because these guys that go by the names Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, David Sylvian, Bill Nelson etc etc have already been there and done that and did it ten times better. That being said, there are exceptions. Every once and a while some instrumental band will come along and actually create beautiful music that doesn't call for vocals. A. Armada are one of those bands. Their album Anam Cara is a massively epic wide screen sort of record with guitar riffs that go on for miles and miles and then for a few more miles. It's spacey shoegazey stuff that kills. This is a band that truly needs no vocalist to tell a tale, their melodic cascading waves of noise do that for them. Yeah, ok I like them.

So, if you think of post rock the same way I do then you can think of A. Armada as the post rock band it's ok to like.

Download: The Moon Shifts The Sea The Sea Shapes The Shore The Shore Shakes The Sand The Sand Sinks The Ship

Quick...Venice Is Sinking!

Venice is Sinking plays orchestral pop, that's lush, rather expansive, and absolutely adorable. Founded in Athens, GA in 2003, this five-piece outfit eschews facile categorization. Its sound is familiar but hard to pin down, rooted in cinematic arrangements, subtle genre tweaks, and clear, ringing harmonies. The band’s 2006 debut LP, Sorry About The Flowers, gained national attention for the crystalline male/female vocals of singers Daniel Lawson and Karolyn Troupe and for Troupe’s deft layering of her instrument of choice, the viola, which makes few appearances in rock history.

The new album, AZAR, finds Venice is Sinking widening its palette and deepening its focus, tackling the idea of location’s ability to influence our lives. Growing musically since the band’s debut, the group, challenged by engineer Scott Solter (Mountain Goats, John Vanderslice, Pattern is Movement), shed some of their past influences and started from scratch. As a result, AZAR is a dynamic work of beauty and ambition: the songs are meticulous, vertical creations, tackling tiny, specific moments and exploding them outward. It's a beautiful effort and when that viola chimes in it's pop heaven. Orchestrated chamber pop hasn't sounded this good in a long time.

Download: Ryan's Song

Dead Heart Bloom Return!

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Boris Skalsky formed New York City-based Dead Heart Bloom in 2005. The band has garnered a sturdy fan base since then, receiving comparisons to the "eclectic eccentricity of Beck" and the "dramatics of Bowie" from the rock criterati. Reviewers have also named Mark Kozelek, Jeff Buckley and even "Pet Sounds"-era Beach Boys as comparisons.

Earlier in 2008, the band released the first and second of their three EP series, Fall In and Oh Mercy. Dead Heart Bloom now returns with In Chains, continuing the stylistic experimentation of the series but exploring a softer dimension. In Chains is wrapped in reverberated vocal lines, poignant acoustic phrases, and laid back drum shuffles. The EP is a fitting end to the series: lyrically and musically wistful, settling in a sigh of resignation.

The lead track is a great hazy, foggy tune that's sweeps in like a breeze and carries you away to another time and another place. It's like the best Simon and Garfunkel song you've never heard and will haunt your soul with its dusty swept drums and pedal steel guitars. See for yourself...

Download: Flash In a Bottle

You can check out the other EP's at the Dead Heart Bloom website.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This is Indie Rawk.

What is it about living in Chapel Hill? Is it something in the water? It seems that if you live there you sort of instinctively have the ability to RAWK. Alabama transplants, Western Civ seem to be no different. In their short time in the capital of all things indie this band has started to sound like it belongs on Merge and hanging out with Polvo and Superchunk while watching UNC basketball games.

I guess you could say that Western Civ is yet another band that's been beamed from the 90's to 21st century indie world. Listening to their album, Shower The People You Love With Gold you would find it difficult to believe that this band doesn't have textbooks filled with notes on how to make noisy, obnoxious rock and roll from the library of Steve Albini.

Making their album even more appealing is the fact that it was recorded with the assistance of one Mitch Easter. This of course means the thing is going to sound unbelievable and up the RAWK quotient even more. That being said, Shower The People You Love With Gold comes out on February 24th and should be worthy of some attention.

Download: Capitol Steps
Download: I Am A Waterfall

Time For A Happy Fun Party

Anybody out there remember the early 90's when bands like Material Issue ruled the world? When Urge Overkill was singing about Sister Havana (my ex-lived across the street from where they filmed the video). I do...and apparently Middle States do as well.

Here's this band in the tail end of the first decade of the 21st century and they sound so much like every band from 1992 I had to make sure I wasn't still doing my radio show at UM. Think of Middle States as a comfort food if you happen to remember the golden age of Indie.

Anyway, songwriter, singer and guitarist Wes Morden enjoyed mild acclaim as a sideman with a variety of Minneapolis acts (that sort of explains the bands sound), as well as peculiar notoriety as a busker of ‘50s Rock and Roll music. The desire to front his own band led him to enlist guitarist Ben Glaros (an accomplished solo performer in his own right) to form the Middle States. Without backing or promotion, the Middle States released their EP Great Portland Street in 2004. Wes and Ben re-grouped, made several line-up changes, and slowly assembled what would become Happy Fun Party. Yes, the title is ironic and only took them five years to put together. But what's five years when you've been beamed in from the early 90's?

Download: No Curse, No Drunk, No Fight
Download: Thought Control

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ruby Isle Are At It Again...

The crazy kids that are Ruby Isle have been going nuts lately covering songs by other artists. They've been taking cues from everyone and everywhere over the last three weeks and have given songs that you would never think of electronically a stroke of electronics to make dreadful things sound better.

It's fun to hear what they've come up with, especially since they're a fantastic band to begin with. They've done three covers thus far and I have to say that they're all really really good. Even the Bon Iver cover.

Anyway, check out the covers below and check out the older Ruby Isle post I did as well. Synthpop shtick awaits you.

Download: Ruby Isle vs. Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
Download: Ruby Isle vs. Bon Iver - Skinny Love
Download: Ruby Isle vs. The Decemberists - The Rake's Song

Original Ruby Isle post: HERE

De Rosa De Facto

For those of us fortunate enough to be acquainted with De Rosa’s 2006 debut Mend, the wait for album number two has been arduous and seemingly interminable; thirty months is a long time by anyone’s standards but given their lead singer’s aspirations, it was unlikely that the album was going to be rushed.

Finally complete and packaged with original artwork by Glasgow’s literary titan Alasdair Gray, Prevention builds on the promise of their debut and goes some way towards establishing De Rosa as one of the most accomplished and (dare we say it) cerebral bands writing today. It’s certainly been a long wait, but for many, Prevention will be one of the anticipated releases of 2009. It's released in March so prepare yourself accordingly. Check out the single's a moody corker of a tune. Think Death Cab for Cutie w/Scottish accents and you'll kind of have the general idea.

Download: Nocturne For An Absentee

Friday, January 16, 2009

Their Hearts Are Naked

The Naked Hearts formed in New York City in January 2008. Their brand of pop combines the grungy, stripped down style of early 90's bands such as The Breeders and Madder Rose with the structured elegance of bands like Blonde Redhead and Autolux.

Songwriters Amy Cooper (San Francisco) and Noah Wheeler (St. Louis) met in NYC while both playing the same night at the same club. Soon after Noah joined Amy on the road promoting her second solo release. While on the road, they began writing songs together and they recorded the first few songs onto a 4-track.

In July 2008 they recorded These Knees, their debut EP, with producer/engineer Dan Long (Film School, The Jealous Girlfriends). The recording is set be released on 12-inch vinyl and as a digital download in January, 2009.

It took me a while to figure it out, but the so remind me old Madder Rose it jogged my memory and made me want to listen to them again. In any case, it's pretty good stuff that has that sort of 90's sheen to it.

Download: Cat and Mouse
Download: Call Me

Girl Talk Comes to Florida!

With hardly a minute at home to catch up on sleep and DVDs, Girl Talk is kicking off 2009 with a host of shows across the U.S.! In the months ahead, Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) will hit several towns throughout the slushy Midwest, stop off in Arkansas, M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i and the mountains of Montana, and then make his way south for the sunshine of sandy Florida. (Not to mention a two week trek in between to New Zealand and Australia.)

Still reeling from the craziness of Girl Talk's fall tour for Feed The Animals, the Steelers continuous killer season, plus making all of those best of 2008 lists and winning $600 at black jack in Vegas, Gillis continues on. Before he knows it, he'll have played all 50 states by the end of 2009!

Girl Talk 2009 Tour Dates:
Fri. Jan. 16 Bloomington, IN @ Jake's Nightclub w/ Grand Buffet
Sat. Jan. 17 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall w/ Grand Buffet
Sun. Jan. 18 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall w/ Grand Buffet
Thu. Feb. 12 Little Rock, AR @ Revolution Music Room w/ Mad haPPy
Fri. Feb. 13 Oxford, MS @ The Lyric Oxford w/ Mad haPPy
Thu. Feb. 19 Missoula, MT @ University of Montana Ballroom w/ That 1 Guy
Fri. Feb. 20 Bozeman, MT @ Gallatin Co. Indoor Arena w/ That 1 Guy
Tue. Mar. 3 Pensacola, FL @ Sluggos w/ Grand Buffet, Hollywood Holt
Wed. Mar. 4 Gainesville, FL @ The Venue w/ Grand Buffet, Hollywood Holt
Thu. Mar. 5 Tallahassee, FL @ The Moon w/ Grand Buffet, Hollywood Holt
Fri. Mar. 6 St. Augustine, FL @ Harvest of Hope
Sat. Mar. 7 Orlando, FL @ Club Firestone w/ Grand Buffet, Hollywood Holt
Sun. Mar. 8 Miami, FL @ Langerado Music Festival 2009 @ Bicentennial Park

Girl Talks Feed The Animals is available to purchase, or download via a "pay what you want" plan at

Download: Here's the Thing

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Florida Band Alert: Kingsbury Release New EP

From May 2007 to July 2008, Kingsbury tried numerous different writing and recording strategies in their home studio, Sugarwood, in Winter Park, FL. The band (Mark Freeman, TJ Burke, Samantha Christine, and Bruce Reed) was still involved in promoting their critically acclaimed debut full-length The Great Compromise and touring across the country, but used what little time they had to write, record, and craft music in ways outside of what they were used to. The result is Lie To Me, the follow-up EP to The Great Compromise.

Lie To Me
exploits the more atmospheric elements of what Kingsbury does. With six songs, it still clocks in around thirty minutes. The songs share a strong emphasis on subtlety and dynamics, but remain incredibly gripping and may remind you of Calla, Low and the somewhat popular Radiohead.

Download: Lie To Me
Download: Back In The Orange Grove

Fake Shark Real Zombie

Normally, when I see the words post-hardcore, I kind of just move on. But every once and a while a band comes along that's a bit more daring then the rest of the pack and demand that you pay attention. Fake Shark Real Zombie is one of those bands.

Often called the Canadian Blood Brothers or some other screamo, hard core, black hair dye, skinny jeans wearing band that loves white belts, the band obviously comes from a certain school of thought. But musically, this band isn't too proud to allow others to tinker with their overpowering tunes.

And tinker people have. Fake Shark Real Zombie have fallen prey to the remix monster and who has taken something that was once far more obnoxious, beaty, strange, and pretty damn good. And if that wasn't enough, Portishead has even taken a liking to the band and remixed their cover of "Sour Times."

Download: Angel Lust (Ghost Frequency Remix)
Download: SOS (Kevvy Mental Remix)
Download: Sour Times

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Franocois Virot Makes A Choice

Fran├žois Virot is a rare bird, who belongs to that endangered kind of musicians that are so devoted to their art that they never care to spend some time at home.

You may not know it yet, but in the last few years, this hyperactive musician, originating from the city of Lyon, (he also plays the drums with his brother Charles in the ballistic noise pop trio Clara Clara) spent more time on the road than your three favorite bands put together… And together with the zillions of Clara Clara records, our boy found the time to fiddle, record and wrap up no less than 17839 demo CDs to sell at the back of the basements and spacey flats he played in.

Yes Or No may be his first official album but as you can tell Fran├žois is no newcomer. Yes Or No is the record of a sage, recorded by a kid. Achieved with one guitar, sometimes two, one voice, sometimes two, or three, plus an acoustic rain of hands on wood, and other bits and pieces of things to be used as percussion.

What you will hear on Yes Or No? Well it's something that's either melancholic or joyous with a folksy feel, a fake grand reunion recorded onto tape in total solitude, and moments of Pavement mixed with the Beatles and maybe a bit of the ever popular, Animal Collective. No matter what it sounds like, it's truly magnificent stuff.

Download: Cascade Kisses
Download: Say Fiesta
Download: Not The One

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Art Whiplash Kills!

What would happen if Boys Noize got really pissed off? Art Whiplash would. You see Mr. Whiplash aka Vincent Jardin creates a whole hell of a bunch of racket that sounds like a pack of T-1ooo's unleashing death upon your stereo.

His latest outing, Party Sex and Bullshit is a violent little EP that is a bit Atari Teenage Riot, Revolting Cocks, Justice, and the aforementioned Boys Noize. To say that the combination of those kinds of influences is nearly lethal would be an understatement. It's harsh shit that throws you up against a wall, beats the living hell out of you, and then thanks you for the experience.

Throw in remixes by the Toxic Avenger, Youth Attack, and Kiwi and you have a four song EP that will lay waste to anything in its way. The Toxic Avenger is probably my favorite rework. It's like listening to a Speed Garage record while being fed through a wheat thresher and for that very reason it rules.

Thanks to Vincent being one hell of a cool chap, he's giving you the whole EP for FREE!

Download: Party, Sex and Bullshit
Download: Party, Sex, and Bullshit (Toxic Avenger Remix)
Download: Party, Sex, and Bullshit (Youth Attack Remix)
Download: Party, Sex, and Bullshit (Kiwi Remix)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Escape to Pinkmountain

Before changing his name, Scott Rosenberg carved out a successful career as avant composer and free jazz saxophonist who worked with the likes of Anthony Braxton and other pioneers of modern music. He has been called 'one of the best creative saxophonists in America' by the All Music Guide, and is a founding member of the psych band Pinkmountain, which includes Sam Coomes (Quasi, Elliot Smith) and Gino Robair (Tom Waits, Thinking Fellers Union).

The metamorphosis began five years ago when Scott adopted Pinkmountain as his last name. He formed the band PAF with two other Mills College grads who shared his mission to combine their avant training with American roots song writing. Together they recorded Fingerprints, Medicine in 2006 and Phoenix in 2007, before disbanding in 2008. But rather than closing the door, Pinkmountain set his sights on a bigger goal. He swept up the broken pieces of his band and spent six months with engineer Eli Crews (Deerhoof, Why?) assembling a mighty and emotionally fractured mosaic called The Full Sun.

In the rarest of cases, more really is more: Scott Pinkmountain's The Full Sun blends improvisation and avant composition with classic song writing and more musicality per square inch than most box sets. Using upwards of 60 musicians, including a full orchestra, an eleven-piece big band and numerous experimental hybrids, Pinkmountain channels music with freedom, precision and raw earthy emotion.

Picture Elliott Smith if he would have been heavily into theatrics and actually sort of happy and you can kind of put together, to some degree, where Scott Pinkmountain is coming from. The songs are rich and orchestrated, which I guess should be expected when you're using upwards of 60 people. In the end though, it's quite good stuff that could get lumped into the chamber pop category or sit alongside someone like Scott Walker pretty easily.

Download: You Gave Me This
Download: I Shall Not Be Released

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tigers Can Bite You

Aside from have a tasty acronym for a band name (TCBY) Tigers Can Bite You's indie rock roots are strong, lead by singer/guitarist Dave Woody, who has previously collaborated with the likes of Death Cab For Cutie and Grandaddy and was in another semi-legendary band Fiver. This new three piece group sets themselves apart from their predecessors and contemporaries with electronics that have more in common with Ladytron and M83, and a songwriting structure that is wholly unique.

Their new album, Steve Ward Hears Voices is the realization of the unique sound the band has been building towards since its inception. Imagine Ben Gibbard being noisy and roughed up a bit while listening to Swervdriver and you can start to picture what Tigers Can Bite You sort of sound like. With song lengths barely making it over the three minute mark, tracks can end before they've finished building up, leaving you wanting more. Which, depending on how you look at it can be a good or bad thing. For the most part, Steve Ward Hears Voices is a damn fine album that occasionally needs to finish the point it's trying to get across.

Download: Colleagues
Download: Taking and Running Away

Canadian Band Alert

The D'Urbervilles began in the Toronto suburb of Oshawa, Ontario as a means for childhood friends and underagers Tim Bruton (guitar, synth) and John O’Regan (vocals, guitar, synth) to see rock shows at local bars. Equipped with little more than a borrowed amplifier, an Echo and the Bunnymen cover, and a band name lifted from a 19th century English novel on their high school reading list, these enterprising young men played a few gigs and liked performing enough to keep the band together even after they had reached the legal drinking age. After a few months they had left town for arts school at the University of Guelph, Ontario, where they met future band member Kyle Donnelly (bass) and began to immerse themselves in a vibrant independent music scene that produced acts like Constantines, Gentleman Reg, and Royal City.

Although it was common to see the band performing with a different drummer on each tour, they managed to lay down tracks for their full length debut in a cavernous warehouse on Toronto's east end in 2007. 
Their finished collection of sensitive yet street-tough songs is titled We Are The Hunters and was released to critical acclaim within Canada on Toronto indie label Out Of This Spark in February 2008.

Since adding drummer Greg Santilly following the album release, The D'Urbervilles have not only further refined their raw yet heartfelt brand of carefully measured exuberance, but finally got themselves a van and hit the road for real. Whether playing pizza joints in northern British Columbia, opening for Montreal's Handsome Furs and Land Of Talk, or selling out venues in their new home base of Toronto, The D'Urbs are well on the way to proving themselves a consistently cohesive crew.

Keep an eye out for The D'Urbervilles in 2009 when they unveil a new collection of casually devastating pop songs at South By Southwest showcases and venues across Canada and the United States.

Download: Hot Tips

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Padre Pio Says A Hail Mary

Padre Pio was started in 2006 in a run-down carriage house turned living and rehearsing quarters in Bushwick, Brooklyn. In spite of, or perhaps because of the leaking ceilings, as-of-yet unidentified species of spiders and constant hum of diesel engines, The Madeline EP was written.
The songs were composed by Portland transplant David Mosey and produced by New York keyboard legend Joe McGinty. McGinty is most widely known for his five years as the keyboardist for The Psychedelic Furs and has also worked with Ryan Adams, The Ramones, Nada Surf, Kevin Ayers, Martha Wainwright, Devendra Banhart, Ronnie Spector, Jesse Malin, and others. The result of Mosey and McGinty’s partnership is a lush, vocal-driven, pop album that sounds something like Hedwig and the Angry Inch meeting David Bowie and Leonard Cohen in a smoky cafe to chain smoke cartons of cigarettes. It's arty, theatrical, stuff that's pretty damn cool.

Download: Madeline
Download: High Fives
Download: Common Day

Return To The Great Northern

Great Northern, the band know for their grand, nudging, fuzzy, and memorably melodic songs, are back with a new album. Following up their 2007 debut full length, Trading Twilight For Daylight, Great Northern will release Remind Me Where The Light Is on April 21, 2009.

For the next 3 months leading up to release, the band will release teaser videos following them through photo shoots, interviews, behind the scenes footage, and debuting brand new songs. Below, you'll find a link to a brand new teaser video, featuring a clip from a brand new song, entitled "Stop".


Download: Home
Download: Low Is A Height

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Great Return...

It's been a LONG while since I've done anything. I basically took the holidays off and had one hell of a great time being away from Jacksonville. But coming tomorrow...Wednesday, January 7th, 2009, The POP! Stereo returns with posts and music aplenty.

Prepare accordingly.

Until tomorrow....

Paul POP!