11.9.05 | Ellery – Arizona
I heard this really nice, mellow track on SomaFM the other day by a band called Ellery. I guess what made me remember their name was that there is an Ellery Lake that I’ve visited many times near Yosemite and I have a lot of good memories from that place. So when it came time to write a post, that little random thing stuck in my head.
Tasha and Justin Golden continue the popular husband-and-wife team trend (Low, The Handsome Family, Viva Voce) as the band Ellery (previously known as Dividing The Plunder). The track I heard is called Arizona and is from their EP release “Make Your Troubles Mine” which swims sweetly along at a speed that’s not going to start any hearts racing. But this is what they do best. They play gentle pop songs that might qualify for alternative adult radio, which is sort of interesting because I normally don’t gravitate toward these type of songs. But there were some really good tunes on the EP. Know Better Now which is the last track is particularly beautiful.
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11.2.05 | Grandaddy – Honda Civic Commercial
[Honda Civic Commercial]
Continuing the car commerical parade, about a month ago I began hearing Honda Civic Hybrid commercials featuring the band Grandaddy. Seeing as we’re all huge Grandaddy fans we immediately recognized Jason Lytle singing on what seemed like a somewhat psychadelic commercial a la Polyphonic Spree or something with cartoon drawings leaking into the real life video. The song of theirs featured in the commercial is called “Nature Anthem” and is recognizable by it’s aw-shucks attitude and lyrics “climb up the side of the mountain…”
What was more difficult was figuring out where that song was from. I knew I’d seen a song title “Nacher Anthem” before somewhere and a bit of searching reminded me that it was originally released as a video off of the limited-edition version album of Sumday which featured an enhanced section that included a wiggy video a short film of theirs: “Nacher Anthem“. I’d completely forgotten about that.
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11.22.05 | Nada Surf – The Weight Is A Gift
The Weight Is A Gift
A long time ago, in a music galaxy far away, there was a great band called Nada Surf whose spectacular rise from humble garageband to MTV rotation regular culminated in the band’s abrupt dismissal by disgruntled biggiewigs at Elektra Records. Or so it’s been said. They then promptly vanished from the indie music scene. More than seven years later, the band released another album (Let Go) to pretty good reviews and fast foward to today where they’ve got a pretty good following and now reside on one of our favorite indie labels, Barsuk Records.
Though a long time may have passed (band years are like dog years; so you could say Nada Surf has been kicking around for 70 years in those terms) they still write some of the best straightforward indie powerpop tunes this side of Matthew Sweet. Their latest album is called “The Weight Is A Gift” and it certainly is a gift in its instantly likeable and hummable pop tunes.
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11.16.05 | The Light Footwork – One State Two State
The Light Footwork
One State Two State
Welcome to the doldrum days of winter. If lately you’ve been feeling a hankering for an injection of wonderful sunny-pop from the now defunct band Beulah (who broke up awhile ago), you should all head over to The Light Footwork website and get musically medicated. Though their new album “One State Two State” is not out for a few more weeks you can listen to a few of the awesome tracks there, including “Coastlines are Landmines” and “Rapture Good Rupture Bad”. Side note: a pretty fun takeoff on Dr. Seuss for the cover…
The Beulah connection is no doubt heightened by the fact that the band features several members of that band playing on the album, though the main songwriters are Jay Underwood and Becca Wilhelm. Man, this stuff is the real deal… I’ve had the tracks on my Itunes on repeat for a couple weeks now and it gets better and better. It’s seriously good and while the resemblances to Beulah on songs like “Coastlines are Landmines” (a reference to the album “The Coast Is Never Clear”?) are uncanny, this is not a rehashing of the former lineup. The songs are deliciously structured indie pop pizza pies filled to overflowing with saucy instrumentation and stretchy melodies that aren’t cheesy at all. Haha, ok now I’m getting hungry…
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11.19.05 | The Maybellines – A La Carte
A La Carte
[Best Friends Records]
I’ve been a fan of The Maybellines’ semi-twee style of indie pop ever since their Shelflife EP release. I was recently passed their new EP “A La Carte” off of Best Friends Records and was happy to note that the quality of the songs have continued to shine brilliantly. This is indiepop in its most vibrant and yummy colors, but what I like about the band is that they balance the sweetness so nicely that you won’t get musical toothaches.
Denverites Mike, Julie, Al and Dave sidestep obvious comparisons to twee-minded faves like Tullycraft by writing terrific songs that are a little less jokey and pretty melodic, but still extremely fun to listen to. Julie’s vocals are light and airy (sometimes almost like Stereolab or Broadcast) and fit well with stripped down electric guitar riffs and the simple but nicely thumpin’ drum beats. Sometimes they feel a little bit like the great indiepop band Sissybar, though again the emphasis is more on the songs themselves than novelty.
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11.22.05 | World Leader Pretend – Punches
World Leader Pretend
I must say that I knew nothing of the band World Leader Pretend even before I received their most recent CD “Punches”. And the funny thing is that I feel like I know even LESS about the band after listening through it a couple times. Let me tell you that this band and their music is just completely wild. If ever there was a case of multiple personalities in a band, this is it.
Even more strange is that the CD is released on a major label -Warner to be exact. I’m not sure how that happened, but good for World Leader Pretend I guess! Their songs are just so off-kiltre and wacky at times. I don’t mean that they are totally goofing off. It’s just that the style of the songs change with a frequency that’s likely to make your head spin. I think that Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, Warner is pretty much content to just let them run with whatever ideas they have… at least for the time being.
Strangely, I find that lead singer Keith Ferguson reminds me the most of … BONO. Yes, Bono of all people. I saw a few others had noticed this similarity too. Can’t remember the last time I mentioned Bono in a review…
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