Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pallers Are Lost In A Sea of Memories

Pallers is an interesting lot. Named after a suburb of the Swedish town of Ahus, the band creates a fusion of their interests. Comprised of two members the guys have known each other for half their lives as friends, explored half of Europe, hung out in clubs, but never ever thought of forming a band together...until now. That's where Pallers comes in.

Half of the duo nurtures a love for love for ambient, trip hop and electronica while the other is deeply involved in the world of pop. Pallers integrate the seemingly tricky components with such ease it almost seems effortless – turning it into something new - something of their very own.

Download: Come Rain

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Soft Metals Mesmerize

Patricia Hall and her boyfriend Ian Hicks have been enchanting one another with song since the spring of 2009. Their first meeting was an audition. Ian was looking for a voice to compliment his moody, cinematic synthesizer sketches and Patricia hoped to meet the right partner to help put her day dreamy poems to music. Their mutual love of early 80s synth pop, the nascent incarnations of house and techno, ebm, krautrock, post punk, and the first wave of industrial music set the course. After a few sessions together the partnership proved to be exactly what they had both been searching for and Soft Metals was born.

This summer marks the release of their first full length, a self-titled release with Captured Tracks. A collection of bittersweet electronic pop songs balanced by a delicate surrealism, a patient sense of experimentation that leaves you floating in your subconscious and moving to the beat . The sonic landscapes are sleek, but never icy. Even at her most dreamlike, Patricia's vocals reach an eerie beauty that is always deeply emotional. 

Think early Human League meets the Cocteau Twins and you might be able to see where Soft Metals are coming from.  If the single, "Psychic Driving," is a hint of what the whole album will sound like it'll be as if Lush were resurrected w/synths instead of effects pedals.   Soft Metals are post shoegazing electro pop that picks up where Seefeel left off and continues to head out into space.  These guys in a word are awesome. 

Download: Psychic Driving

About to Short Circuit

Like a robotic amalgamation of disco and punk influences Andrew Verner is electronic songwriter Short Circuit. Born and raised in Los Angeles, his blend of robo-pop and disco creates ends up as a unique brand of bedroom pop thats equally fitting for night driving and the dancefloor.

The son of a small record label manager, Verner was raised around guitars, keyboards, and a turnstile of talented songwriters. On his debut EP, Late Night Drive, Short Circuit draws inspiration from those times, placing genuine songwriting within the context of the world of sequencers and vintage synthesizers. Earnest and heartfelt songwriting highlight the 6 song release, which straddles the world of the club and the world you have to come home to afterwards.

"How We Speak" exemplifies Short Circuit's dichotome, vocoded vocals leaving the listener both nodding their head and feeling the heartbreak of the song. Themes of lost love and hope make Late Night Drive the kind of album that will stick in your head for more reasons than just the hooks.

Download: How We Speak (Fabian Remix)
Download: How We Speak (Sam Padrul Remix)

Moonbell Cast A Spell

San Francisco's Moonbell was formed in 2010 by Garen Ingleby, David Paslay, and Lisa Colvin, after two thirds of the trio had departed another outfit in pursuit of their own project with a more primal, hypnotic sound.

Fixated on varied elements of light and dark, Moonbell draws on influences as diverse as Spacemen 3, early Ride/Verve, Broadcast, and Harmonia for inspiration. Built on a unique bass groove of crackling analogue synth, a swirling haze of guitar and spacious percussion combine to deliver a compelling sonic storm, best experienced via their live performances.

Their sound continues to evolve and expand, as their creative output increases and it all sounds like the greatest exploration of inner space ever recorded. The group just finished recording its first e.p. Figurine at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco.

Download: Figurine

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Shivers Aren't Cool

The Shivers hail from Queens, NY, and are fronted by songwriters Keith Zarriello and Jo Schornikow.

The band scraped together enough cash together to travel across the pond to Manchester to record to tape in an all analog studio. The resulting album, More, runs the gamut of American rock ’n’ roll, delving into everything from gritty Lou-Reed-inspired rock to the swaggering soul of Nina Simone.  The single below...really sounds nothing like any of that...but I promise you those elements are in there somewhere.

Anyway, while I go pass out...enjoy the single below. 

Download: Used To Be

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Doug Hoyer Walks At Night

Doug Hoyer
is among Edmonton’s premier pop practitioners. Having toured Canada several times in support of two previous EP’s and 2010’s Two New Songs From Doug Hoyer 7”, his long awaited full length debut Walks with the Tender and Growing Night has finally arrived via Old Ugly Recording Co. June 30th.

Commonly known as a ukulele troubadour, that sound has grown immensely. If you've had a chance to enjoy his recent 7" you will have already witnessed this transformation beginning. Doug's newest endeavor is heavily danceable and involves a deluge of different instruments, record samples, field recordings, and sound-makers on every track. Produced by Calvin McElroy (Gobble Gobble, Kuhrye-oo), the album's focus on infectious melodies and crooning heights is very much deliberate.

Download: Northern Lights
Download: Oh the Wind Will Blow

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mister Heavenly's Doom

Mister Heavenly
is comprised of indie rock veterans Nick Thorburn (Islands/The Unicorns), Ryan Kattner (Man Man), and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse). The band is at the forefront of “doom wop,” which is a state of mind rather than a nitpicky micro-genre.

Born from a shared love of 1950s vocal-based R&B classics by ensembles like the Penguins, the Platters, and the Moonglows, as well as a fascination with ill-fated romance Mister Heavenly came to be . The album title, Out of Love, is both a nod to passion as a motivator (“I did it out of love”) and also the absence or dissolution of same (“She fell out of love with me”): two seminal lyrical themes in the annals of pop music.

As it happens, the actual Mister Heavenly song “Doom Wop” owes as much to grunge and art-punk as it does ’50s pop. When you mint your own style you can take such liberties.

Mister Heavenly will embark on a 14-date musical voyage in support of their debut release, Out of Love in-stores on August 16th.

The Tour...
8/18 Portland, OR @ Branx
8/19 Vancouver, BC @ The Bilmore Cabaret
8/20 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
8/22 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
8/24 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
8/25 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
8/26 Omaha, NE @ Toyota Antics Block Party
8/27 Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
8/28 Norman, OK @ Opolis
8/29 Denton, TX @ Hailey's
8/30 Austin, TX @ Mohawk
9/1 Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
9/2 San Diego, CA @ Bar Pink
9/3 Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Festival

Download: Pineapple Girl

Braid Are Back! Seriously.

Hey folks.  I'm absolutely buried in all kinds of stuff right now that's not musically oriented, so rather than being my usual snarky self I'm going to rely on a fine series of publicists to provide you commentary for the next couple of days.  Enjoy. 

Polyvinyl is pleased to announce the release of Closer to Closed, Braid's highly anticipated, long-awaited follow up 1998's seminal Frame and Canvas. Closer to Closed is the first collection of new Braid material in over a decade and will be available August 16th on limited edition 180-gram white vinyl, CD, and digital formats.

To quote its members, "Braid played 597 shows, 47 states, and 18 countries...and counting."

Aside from highlighting one prominent aspect of Braid's enduring legacy (their relentless touring ethic) the statement also makes one other fact crystal clear: the group does not view their career as a closed book, but rather one in which chapters still remain to be written.

In mid-2010 the members of Braid -- Chris Broach (guitar/vocals), Bob Nanna (guitar/vocals), Todd Bell (bass), and Damon Atkinson (drums) -- became excited about the idea of releasing something for Record Store Day 2011 and decided to set aside time in December to get together and see what would happen.

That happening became Closer to Closed.  And like their last studio album, Closer to Closed crackles with energy throughout. From the immediately hummable Broach-sung opener "The Right Time" to the rapid fire drumming that fills closer "Universe or Worse," Braid expands its trademark sound with new layers and textures.

Although no plans are currently in the works to record a full-length, the group is certainly open to the idea.

Download: The Right Time

Friday, June 10, 2011

Remove My Gold Mask!

In the tradition of the great artistic couples (Fred and Ginger, Gram and Emmylou, Kinski and Herzog) Rochelle and Armondo better known as  My Gold Mask conjure a mood rather than a simple sound or idea. Their music is a part art-pop, part sonic poetry, and part personal chemistry and in a word moody.

Slightly Gothic in their aspirations, My Gold Mask hide behind a veil of sweeping beats, soaring vocals, and an impending sense of doom.  Believe it or not, it's good stuff that might remind you of later period Siouxsie & The Banshees.

The band has recently had several tracks remixed, two of which are below.  They've also been working on their follow up to last years EP and are planning on bring the Mask to a city near you this summer.

Those dates...
•Chicago, IL @ Ribfest 2011 (South Stage)
Friday, June 10 at 7:00pm

•Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub
Wednesday, June 15 at 9:00pm

•Pittsburgh, PA @ Garfield Artworks w/ Super Vacations
Thursday, June 16 at 8:00pm

•Easton, MD @ Nightcat
Friday, June 17 at 8:00pm

•Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Saturday, June 18 at 10:30pm

•Cambridge, MA @ T.T. The Bear’s
Tuesday, June 21 at 10:30pm

•Brooklyn, NY @ The Rock Shop w/ Smoke Fairies
Wednesday, June 22 at 7:30pm

•New York, NY @ Pianos
Thursday, June 23 at 9:00pm

•Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern w/ Fangs Out
Friday, June 24 at 9:00pm

Download: Violet Eyes (Eyes In The Forrest RMX by Baryshnikov)
Download: Ghost In Your Bed (Robots With Rayguns RMX)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Fruit Tree Foundation Grows

9 of Scotland’s finest artists have launched a brand new collaborative record as part of 2010’s Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. Featuring: James Graham (Twilight Sad), Scott Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit), Rod Jones (Idlewild), Jill O’Sullivan (Sparrow and the Workshop), Emma Pollock (The Delgados), Karine Polwart, Jenny Reeve, Alasdair Roberts and James Yorkston The Fruit Tree Foundation is a new independent project in partnership with The Mental Health Foundation, Scottish Wave of Change and Breathing Space Scotland.

The project has grown from the annual Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (1-24 October 2010) and aims to raise awareness of mental health and well being and challenge perceptions of mental health problems by creating great art.

This ambitious new project sees some of Scotland’s finest and most exciting artists from the indie and folk music scene come together to explore the relationship between creativity and mental health by writing and producing a brand new album; featuring unique pairings and one-off collaborations between some of our most intriguing song-writers.

The album was exclusively available at two special concerts in Edinburgh and Glasgow last year and is now being released internationally by Glasgow’s seminal record label, Chemikal Underground and will be available to buy for the first time since the concerts in October last year.

You can find out more HERE

Download: I Forgot The Fall

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Aaaaaaah It's Blog 9 From Outer Space!

Blog 9 From Outer Space, is latest and greatest compilation from Coco Machete and their sub-label Buzzard Gulch. The A&R team at Coco Machete has scoured the blog world, Facebook, Soundcloud, your backyard, your hard drive and lord only knows where else to find the next generation of sonic instigators…

As per usual, the fine folks at Coco Machete have done a spectacular job at putting all this together.  To say this album is a monster would not only be a bad pun (in a post filled with them) but the truth. 

Blog 9 From Outer Space is chocked full of ghoulish beats that will paralyze the living and resurrect the dead. It’s unfathomable, 15 tracks of brain melting extraterrestrial sounds in this, the 5th in the series.

Can your heart stand the shocking beat down of these blog robbers from outer space? Can your music device handle the beats?   Only time will tell.....

Download: KRMPCK - Bass Ink
Download: S-File - Out Of Control

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kraak & Smaak

Really, some things just shouldn't be touched. And really, OLD Aretha Franklin is one of those things. You just don't mess with the Queen of Soul even if she is wearing that hat. But, Kraak & Smaak apparently don't think the same way I do.

So, what have they done? Well, they've taken one of Aretha's classics and smothered it in polyester and unleashed it on the dance floor. The result = TUNE! Holy hell have they made this song a beast. While I still think what they did is sacrilegious, you can be damn sure I'm going to cane this thing.

Jake Bailey Is Lost In Acres Of Sky

Jake Bailey
is like you and me. Five days a week he works in an office schlubbing away. But unlike me and probably you, he has an unnerving desire to make music...constantly.

As he puts it, "I'm a humble British man with a home recorded album I'm trying to share with a little piece of the world. I have no pretensions or massive aspirations, all I know is that I couldn't stop if I tried."

He goes on, "I was a child of the 80’s but rejected all things 80’s, drawn into the sweet scented music of the 60’s and 70’s. I guess my musical awakening came from the endless mix tapes my folks would play on driving holidays around the UK...Cat Stevens’ perfectly executed songs, Hendrix’s raw experimental magnetism, Dylan’s honest and world-weary stories, and Van Morrisson’s rustic charm provided the soundtrack to these wild and rambling trips. Since then, the world has flashed by faster than I ever imagined possible and a myriad of other sounds have joined the throng, creating a wonderfully strange and beautiful cacophony, which, very occasionally falls into focus, creating perfect moments of elation."

That leads us to now, and the record he sat down and recorded...while not at work of course. He says that putting it all together has been like chasing a dream from long ago. He's been in pursuit for ages trying to recapture that dream. He says, "These ten songs are the closest I’ve come, in ten years of trying. I hope you like them."

So here Jake his, on his own, away from his PR job, as a musician. His album comes out on 20 June but you can check out, "All Our History," now. How can you not like a story and a musician like that? He's like you, like me, like the guy next door...who just happened to be make a record.

Download: All Our History
Listen to the whole album...HERE

Archers of Loaf Reissues to Start In August

Good news for old school indie rock fans...Merge Records will reissue all four Archers of Loaf studio albums, starting with their acclaimed 1993 debut album Icky Mettle on August 2.

Re-mastered by Bob Weston and featuring new liner notes by Robert Christgau, Icky Mettle will come with bonus material including the entire Archers of Loaf vs. The Greatest of All Time EP as well as singles and b-sides from the Icky Mettle era. It will be available in stores beginning August 2 on CD, limited-edition blue vinyl and digital download. Reissues of Vee Vee, All the Nation’s Airports and White Trash Heroes will follow next year.

Singer/guitarist Eric Bachmann, guitarist Eric Johnson, bassist Matt Gentling, and drummer Mark Price formed Archers of Loaf in Chapel Hill, NC in 1991. Icky Mettle was the first of four studio albums for the band that seemed to personify what SPIN Magazine deemed "a tremendously optimistic time in underground music, that 15-minute period in the early 1990s when it looked like indie rock really might take over the world."

Download: What Did You Expect

Friday, June 3, 2011

Plant Plant's Go About Things The Weird Way

As the lines between underground electronic music and savvy, accessible pop continue to blur London duo Plant Plants are set to strike while the iron is hot and show the world the leftfield pop that they've been honing to perfection quietly on their own.

Spawned by two friends, the band share a mutual love of films scores, weird guitar tunings, and heavy beats. They're quirky but not in that cute, cuddly way, but rather in a head scratching way. They mix the widescreen vibe of a film score with some sort of downtempo indie thing to get an atmospheric effect that's hypnotically intriguing.

What's really cool about Plant Plant's is just how easily they shift between influences and how smoothly that blend it all together. It's impressive how things can be almost hip hop like and then nearly ambient. It's a strange mix that shouldn't really work at all but somehow does and I suppose that's why they're hard to turn away from.

Download: She's No One

Thursday, June 2, 2011

So Many Wizards Cast Spells

So Many Wizards is not the name of a World of Warcraft raiding party.  Not one member is named Leroy Jenkins, but they are three geeky dudes who make musical magic.

Weaving a spell of jangly north western pop that will remind you of just about everyone who has played a jangly guitar up to the north of California, So Many Wizards are a fantastic band that have the songs to match.  What's truly weird about all this is that while they sound like the long lost cousin of Modest Mouse or even Arcade Fire they reside in Los Angeles...whether or not the PCH has had an influence on them is up for debate. 

While you're mulling that one over, know this, So Many Wizards are set to release the “Inner City / Best Friends” 7-inch on a limited edition 70 gram colored vinyl pressing on boutique label, Seven Inch Project.

Download: Inner City
Download: Best Friends

Gold Leaves Present The Ornament

Gold Leaves is the brand new project of Grant Olsen, better known as the Arthur portion of Seattle folk duo Arthur & Yu. Hardly Art will release The Ornament, the debut LP from Gold Leaves, on August 16th.

Recorded and co-produced by Jason Quever (Papercuts), The Ornament is equally informed by subtle R&B touches and 60's Brit-pop production.  It's classic AM Pop if it were made in your bedroom and sounds like it was recorded in 1964.  It's relatively unpolished stuff that sounds as if it might all fall apart by the end of its run.  The Ornament is shambolic, fragile stuff that has a warmth and honesty to it and that's what makes it so good. 

The Ornament is setting itself up to be the album of the fall.  Dressed in turtlenecks and swilling brandy, an autumnal character imbues the nine songs that make it up.   Since the fall doesn't arrive for a while yet, you can enjoy the title track and at least pretend.

Download: The Ornament