Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sarandon

Download: Sarandon -- "Mike's Dollar"

Download: Sarandon -- "Welcome"

Man, is it great to have Slumberland Records back around (not that they really went anywhere, but they were sorta dormant for a bit there in the public eye). I am really excited to be working with them as a fan of the jangle and twee and...what's this? KILL Twee Pop? Haha. The irony probably wasn't lost on Slumberland, nor was the insane post-pop that Sarandon cranks out here. It's jittery, it's spastic, it has mind-melting drums, and it's also catchy as all hell. This record is pretty damned unique, a real sleeper.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lousy Robot



Download: Lousy Robot -- "Welcome To All My Weird Awakening"

Download: Lousy Robot -- "It's Getting To Me"

Lousy Robot is a four-piece power pop/rock group from Albuquerque. Lousy Robot are well known for creating catchy, noisy songs aimed at the cynical but somehow resonating with the hopeful. Songs about the not-so-everyday lives we deal with everyday. Their second LP, Smile Like You Are Somewhere Else, is a great slab of killer hooks and sing-a-longs that recalls everything from the Replacements to the underrated Deathray Davies. These are pretty likeable jamz.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Balustrade Ensemble


Download: The Balustrade Ensemble -- "The Drowning Calm"

Download: The Balustrade Ensemble -- "Incarnadine"

The Balustrade Ensemble is like the aural background to a Victorian science fiction film, a group has developed their own musical style of some type of steampunk-ambient. Capsules, out on Dynamophone Records, is an otherworldy collection of adroitly-crafted pieces of rich acoustic guitar pickings, mellotron, orchestron, claviola, cello, piano, pedal steel, and voice. Delicate and sometimes spooky, Capsules is like the lost soundtrack to a Brothers Quay film, a collection of lovely, brittle compositions viewed through a hazy, antique looking-glass.

The group is made up of guitarist and composer Grant Miller (Mandible Chatter), arranger and engineer Scott Solter (Mountain Goats, Boxharp, John Vanderslice, Pattern is Movement), and vocals by Wendy Allen (Boxharp), assisted by select players (including Liam Singer and Matt Henry Cunitz) contributing to the blend of vintage keyboards, cello, piano, and pedal steel. The group's music embraces the textures and invention of the modern era in conjunction with a more formal –even at times, antiquarian– sensibility. Still, on the whole, it is more progressive than regressive, moving the listener forward toward new promises.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Moomaw




This past year, Moomaw finished a project in which he wrote and recorded one song for every month he was twenty-six. Before the end of each month he published the song on his website along with an original piece of art and a journal entry of the lyrics. What has come of his year long project is his album, 26. Moomaw is a musical project of San Francisco-based artist Nathan Moomaw, who plays lo-fi, psychedelic, country folk in the vein of Damian Jurado, Iron & Wine, citing influences of Donovan, Leonard Cohen and The Byrds. He typically plays solo, using jangly loops to employ instruments like toy piano, hand percussion, musical saw, mountain dulcimer as well as ukuleles and guitar. Moomaw has had various folk and twee-pop collaborations including one called Meli, with Miwa Gemini.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Graham MacRae



Influenced by everything from Jimmy Page to John Fahey (and a creeping fascination with the works of Eno and Robert Wyatt), Graham MacRae doesn't follow the traditional singer-songwriter tropes of strumming chords in favor of something more complex and less confining. Graham's album is one of contemplative arrangements and quiet emotionalism, with an undercurrent of unease that's darker and stranger than it seems at first blush. It was recorded by David Newton (formerly of the Mighty Lemon Drops) at his studio, Rollercoaster Recording in Burbank, CA. Lee Ladouceur of the Little Ones stopped by to play drums, glockenspiel, and keyboards. Renowned producer Scott Solter handled mixing duties.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

My Favorite Things: Doctors & Dealers!


Today's My Favorite Things come from Sparrow of Doctors & Dealers:

Parties
I don't know if I can call a party "a thing" but I do love it. But the parties look different for me now than they did a couple of years ago, then I'd start drinking at a bar, then walk from club to club, and for every new entry I did the music got louder, the drinks got cheaper, the people got younger and when the people looked so young that they could be my own kids I knew that it was time to leave. Leave to the afterparty that is. And then I'd walk home with the sun up and shining, a quick stop to buy a burger or something just as greasy, get home, fall asleep with my shoes on and with the burger in my pocket, wake up 10 hours later, asking myself "what the hell happened?" and then get ready for a new party. Nowadays I can't waste my days like that. I get older and must be more careful with my days. So I start partying early at home with some friends, and we start HARD. It's the whole race - beer, drinks, vodka-shots, wine to fill it up, then some quick shot-races. When it's time to leave for the club I'm so drunk that I can't even find my keys to get out of the apartment, so I crash on the couch, just like before, only now it's only 11pm! So I'll wake up in decent time the day after, I save money from cabs etc and I can wear the same outfit many parties in a row cause no one ever sees it.

Jeans
I'm a little jeans-crazy, I have more than 50 pair. I don't think I can live without my jeans. As a poor musician I work extra in a jeans-store, and that's like heaven for me. I think the first week I worked there I bought over 20 pair of the same kind of drainpipes jeans, in different colours though. It reached that point that I bought so much jeans that I almost had to pay to get to work instead of getting paid, then I had to slow dowm my endless shopping spree.

My little studio
When I started doing music I had nothing. No guitar, no piano, not even a simple keyboard. Cause I didn't know how to play any of it so what would be the point? I did have a bass, I had got it from an old boyfriend, but, as been said, I had no idea how to play it! But a friend of mine had a computer and a cheap synth, so thanks to him I could get started. But it sucks to rely on other people's stuff, so I bought a proper studio-computer, a book about how to set up your own studio, books about how to play all these damn instruments, some guitars (which I still don't know how to play properly so I leave that to other people), a fancy mic, all the percussions in the world, a little piano and so on and suddenly I had created heaven on earth! I can sit in my lil' studio for hours, it's like nothing exists outside of it. When/if I get more money I want to build different rooms for drums and vocals but this will do for now.

Energy drinks
Ok, it's not a secret that I have an addictive personality, and it's been both a struggle and a blessing. Some of my addictions I'll swap for something else (hopefully something healthier..) but there is something that I probaly never will quit - my energydrinks. I should be the spokesperson for Red Bull or something, cause I live on that shit. I can panic if I know that I don't have a single Red Bull at home, so I try to plan my purchases in advance so I never have to deal with one of the most horrible problem on earth - no Red Bull just when I wake up!! Oh sweet lord of mercy, just the thought of it... Ugh.

Spring
Well, I guess this is not "a thing" either, but what would I be without it?! Just a wet blanket I guess... Everyone is getting a little bit prettier, a little bit smarter, a little bit nicer and the days are getting a little bit lighter, a little bit longer, a little bit warmer. And life is getting a little bit better, a little bit more human, a little bit more reasonable. And the future gets brighter than ever.

Download: Doctors & Dealers--"Snow Child" MP3

Lemuria



Download: Lemuria -- "Dog/Dogs"

Download: Lemuria -- "Pants"

Lemuria is guitarist/vocalist Sheena Ozzella, bassist Jason Draper, and drummer/vocalist Alex Kerns. The band formed in 2004 and, in true DIY fashion, self-released several EPs and 7”s over the past few years. In 2006, they released a split LP with Kind of Like Spitting, which was released on Art of the Underground, a record label/distro run by drummer Alex. They’ve also done a 5-week tour of Europe and generally tour around the States 4-5 months out of the year. This April they are doing a mini tour of Puerto Rico. Seriously…the band has been keeping busy.

Get Better consists of tight melodic punk songs, led by vocals provided from each member, though mostly from Sheena. Their sound has been compared to Superchunk, Discount, and Jawbreaker, while their list of influences includes the Lemonheads and Husker Du. Bust magazine reports that Get Better is "oh so satisfying" while Skyscraper predicts that "these D.I.Y. darlings will be on the tip of a lot of people's tongues in the coming year."

The Buffalo-based indie pop/punk trio Lemuria is releasing their first full length LP, Get Better, on Asian Man Records. What's more you can catch them on the road real soon:

Spring/Summer Tour

04/11 - Mayaguez, Puerto Rico @ Bunkers #
04/12 - Cata
ño, Puerto Rico @ SOS Burger &
04/13 - Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico @ Teatro Diplo %
04/26 - Athens, OH @ For Real Fest
05/02 - Cincinnati, OH @ Warner House
05/17 - Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place ^
05/22 - Carmi, IL @ The Punkhouse *
05/23 - Lansing, MI @ Macs *
05/24 - Chicago, IL @ Reggie's Rock Club *
05/26 - Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club *
05/27 - Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar *
05/28 - Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre *
05/29 - Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep *
05/30 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Venue's Club Sound *
06/01 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon *
06/03 - Sparks, NV @ The Vixen *
06/04 - Orangevale, CA @ Boardwalk *
06/05 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill *
06/07 - Los Angeles, CA @ Safari Sam's *
06/08 - Long Beach, CA @ Alex's Bar *
06/09 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah *
06/10 - Phoenix, AZ @ Brick House Theater *
06/11 - Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad *
06/12 - Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory *
06/13 - St Louis, MO @ Bluebird *
06/14 - Covington, KY @ Mad Hatter *
06/15 - Huntington, WV @ TBA *
06/17 - Nashville, TN @ The Muse *
06/19 - Wilmington, NC @ Soapbox Laundro *
06/21 - Wilkes-Barre, PA @ Cafe Metropolis *

# with Anti Sociales, Gio y Los Policias
& with Diente Perro, Juventud Crasa, Un Final Fatal, Jenny Fatale & Los Degolladores
% with Los Nervios, Hay Silencio
^ with The Ergs!

* with The Queers, Bomb the Music Industry, Andrew Jackson Jihad, and Kepi Ghoulie


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Water Fai



Download: Water Fai -- "Kaiyon"

Influenced by Mogwai, Styrofoam, and Electralane, Osaka, Japan natives Water Fai bring a feminine approach to the post-rock genre, so often dominated by male artists.

Founded in 2002, Water Fai, dynamically contrast intricate melodies and soft harmonies with violent guitar-noise and electronic effects. Members include Yuko Kureyama (guitar, vocals), Yumi Norimoto (guitar, vocals), Makkiko Toba (bass), Mayumi Ennaka (keys), and as of 2007, sole male member, Tadahiko Aono on drums.

Before the formation of Water Fai, members Yumi, Yuko, and Mayumi longed for form an all-girl band in the vein of Cibo Matto or OOIOO. They added Makiko into the mix and formed the band, not knowing how to play music. Makiko didn't even know how to play the bass. A few months later, they performed for the first time, playing five original songs that are included on Girls in the White Dream.

This Spring, Brooklyn-based White Shoe Records will re-release Water Fai's self released debut album, Girls In The While Dream, on April 18th. The songs were record between 2004-2006 and bring their own translation of the sentimentality captured best by the Album Leaf and Yo La Tengo.

Friday, April 04, 2008

pacificUV



Download: pacificUV -- "Need"

Download: pacificUV -- "Tremolo"

pacificUV, former Athenians currently residing in Portland, have a new record out on Warm Electronic Recordings, succinctly titled longplay 2. Both songs available for download above are from the new record. Good stuff, eh?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Chatting With The Stars: Laura Jordan of the Billionaires!



Laura Jordan is an actress. She is also in the phenomenal getting-drunk-obsessed pop band, The Billionaires. And she talked to me, which is more than most women are doing these days. Ahem. Anyway, I talked with her on the phone about all kinds of stuff for this interview, but I couldn't type fast enough to catch it all, so here is a redacted version in which we discuss the writer's strike, Canadian summer camp, and bird calls.

Did the writers strike affect you?

I went to Paris. Well, first, my manager told me to do this job even if it wasn't the wow project for me. I went to Vancouver and worked on a horror movie.
I came back right during the writers' strike I had an emotional time and took off to Paris for a month. We came back and started rehearsing big-time and booking shows.
I'm pretty laid back about my career--which maybe isn't a good thing. I'm not constantly, actively seeking out my next role and I wait around for good stuff, like indie stuff, and it doesn't always come along. Sometimes I'm waiting in vain, but at least I get to play music with my boys in the meantime.

What do you do live in the band?

Joe and I share keyboard duties and in the middle of "Eighties Movies" we switch out. People seem to like that.

How would describe your live show?

We've worked really hard to get it in shape. We have this really great clean-sounding album that we need to be able to perform. When we wrote these songs, we recorded them as we came up with the ideas, so these weren't the songs we'd been playing for a year. If Joe had a melody, we'd just hit record and do it. Or if we recorded something instrumentally, then someone took a verse or a chorus. What we've recently figured out is how to play these songs. The rest of the guys have been playing in bands for a long time, and I didn't really have the confidence to play the keyboards and sing, but they encouraged me and I'm getting better..

What's it like to be a band in LA?

Hold on, my neighbor's making bird calls to me, and he's 70 and he's really cute. I heard that song and he was poking his head through the bushes and making bird noises.

What do you think about birds?

I love birds. I've been thinking about birds a lot lately. Joe got shit on by a bird yesterday. Do you think that's going to bring him good luck? I think he thinks that. I live in this shack at Silverlake right now, and it's all overgrown, and it's like being in the wilderness and there are hummingbirds everywhere. My adorable older neighbor in his red hat making bird calls. There is a bird house up in a tree here and it's so hard to get to to put seeds in it. When I watch these little hummingbirds, I just want to be them, buzzing around there, not a care in the world.

Are you interested in other animals?

I like snakes. When I would go to summer camp, and the French Canadian girls were always mean to the English Canadian girls, but I wasn't afraid of snakes, so I had an advantage. I would put snakes in their sleeping bags and then sneak out. But pretty soon they started to put it together because I was the only one who would pick up snakes. The feeling of lying in my bunk, pretending to read, to watch them get in their sleeping bags with the snakes was amazing.

How cool is Planet Earth?

My best friend was on the Ellen show and they gave the whole audience the box set of that. Oh my God, I just watched hours and hours and hours of it. That shot of the shark jumping out of the water to grab the seal...it's elegant and beautiful, but it's also sad because he's eating it. I've been thinking about stuff like that lately.

Do you guys really like to get drunk as much as every song indicates?

[laughs] Yeah. Yes. Yes, we do.

---------------
Download: The Billionaires--"End of Summer Song"

Lo Fine



Download: Lo Fine -- "Remotely Together"

Download: Lo Fine -- "#37"

On April 8, 2008, Lo Fine ,of Northhampton, MA, will release their newest LP Not For Us Two on Pigeon Records. Lo Fine creates expansive, beautifully literate songs that slip under one's skin with a welcome ease. Less is decidedly more, for this group, and the emotive resonance of the music speaks volumes.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Lach



Download: Lach -- "Egg"

Download: Lach -- "I Want To Be With You"

In 1983, a club booker at Folk City, located in Greenwich Village, turned down Lach, a young singer songwriter. His reason? Lach’s style of folk was too punk. Lach then opened up his own club on the Lower East Side called the Fort; which hosted its first event the same week as the New York Folk Festival. His event was called the New York Antifolk Festival, which is still held annually, now at his new club, the Sidewalk Cafe.

Lach is credited with coining the phrase ‘Antifolk’, which has served as a launching pad for musicians like Beck, Michelle Shocked, the Moldy Peaches, and Regina Spektor. His music is influenced by his conflicting love of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, versus his love of The Jam, Sex Pistols, and the Clash. He has released four albums in twenty years, each one receiving rave reviews from everywhere from Billboard to Mojo to the NY Times.

The Calm Before, is available through Fortified Records and delivers classic Lach tunes influenced by his love of folk and punk. As always, Billy Ficca from Television handles the drum duties on the album.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Billionaires video

Oh, man. I haven't posted here in forever. So here is a Billionaires video for you:



Those are some serious harmonies. I like it.


Download: Doctors & Dealers -- "Snow Child" MP3

Download: Doctors & Dealers -- "Summertime Love" MP3

Swedish one-woman band, Doctors & Dealers, will release her first album, Confessions of a Drunken Mind, on her own Bluesong record label on April 22, 2008. Adhering to a DIY/Antifolk philosophy, Confessions...is an album of charming, witty, and perky homemade pop music that has garnered comparisons to Kimya Dawson, Regina Spektor, and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone.

Formed in Stockholm in late Summer 2006, Doctors & Dealers is the result of songs sprung from suspended moments in airport bars, train-stations, smoky New York cafés and walks in the twilight. The face behind D&D, Sparrow, has crafted a bevy of retro-tinged tunes perfect for lazy days in the park, crazy nights in a bar, and the "blue" parts of the evening. Guided by simple, unpretentious melodies with signature handclapping, Casio keyboards, lots of finger-snapping, and sincere, quirky lyrics, the songs have already garnered significant attention in Sweden and France with international interest growing everyday. The album was entirely home-recorded and produced by Sparrow in the Swedish-indiepop tradition, but Sparrow is already in the studio (for the first time!) working on her next album. Sparrow plans on touring the US in 2008.