3.27.06 | Airport Cathedral – Jetlag
I nearly missed listening to Airport Cathedral‘s Jetlag album, but I’m really glad I got the opportunity. Reading the reviews about how lead singer Andy Fitts sounds a lot like David Bazan was enough to pique my interest. So does it sound like Pedro? It sure does, but in a damn good way.
The opening track, “Cure-Alls“, struck me as a cross between Pedro the Lion and Idaho’s Jeff Martin. The sometimes drawled but sincere vocals are a great match with the energetic yet enigmatic indie rock that the band plays. Fitts assembled quite a roster of contributing musicians to help him out on his debut, including Subpop’s Rosie Thomas, David Broecker (backing for John Vanderslice) and James Mendenhall (The Prom).
“TKO” definitely has Pedro The Lion’s phrasing hallmarks stamped all over it, but Fitts also sounds a bit like Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza on this track and the next one, “The Tease“.
While pundits (like us) are quick to jump on the Bazan bandwagon when describing the music, Airport Cathedral is no one trick pop pony. There are some seriously well-constructed songs on the album. As you step through the songs one by one with no decrease in quality of craft, that fact becomes even more readily apparent. This musical strength of the later non-”suggested” tracks is an indicator that this is a band to keep an eye on. I’d put my money on bands that are able to deliver throughout an album, as opposed to massive one-hit wonders any day.
3.28.06 | Band of Horses – Everything All The Time
Band of Horses
Everything All The Time
Somtimes I really hate Pitchfork.
I’d gotten the new Band of Horses pre-release of Everything All The Time more than a month ago and it had taken up residence in the trusty Ipod. Slowly winning me over with their intoxicating blend of dreamy and orchestral horsey musings. Forget Brokeback Mountain’s cowboys, I’ll take this band of horses anyday. I’d come up with a perfect opening comparison for them and was just about ready to take on writing them up. Then, the other day I turn on Pitchfork and see the EXACT same comparison waiting there for me.
What a bummer. Anyhow, what I had thought was an immensely original comparison was that Band of Horses remind me of My Morning Jacket fronted by James Mercer of The Shins. Looking back on it, that wasn’t such an amazing intuition. This is exactly how they come across to me.
I guess you snooze you lose. We don’t have a staff of millions. But enough about us, what about the amazing Band of Horses? Well, they are amazing.
Like The Shins, their music goes for the gut, with grand, sweeping, bold-is-brilliant aural colors. The differences are that they venture frequently into the alt-country outback frequented by a band like Wilco. Also, every song on the album is extremely strong which is quite unlike Shins albums to me. With Shins, the hits are farther apart. With BOH it’s nearly non-stop.
Continue reading “Band of Horses – Everything All The Time” …
3.10.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – Mar 10
By Jove, here is your spectacular listening mission for today which is Blurbin’ Fridays on Palebear:
1. Scissors For Lefty – Ghetto Ways (Blonde Redhead Lounge Nintendoing Strangeness)
2. Matmos – Roses & Teeth (the Everyday Object Sample Kings)
3. El Ten Eleven – Lorge (Quasi meets Tortoise in a Silverlake Bar)
4. We Ragazzi – Walking Before All Shadows (The Fall on a Dismemberment Plan)
5. Parks and Recreation – Maybe The Moon Knows Something (Slomo Rabbit Kicking Franklin Bruno)
3.17.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – Mar 17
Hello there, Luck of the Irish and Shamrock Shakes and all… We’re running a special Blurbin’ Fridays on Palebear for this St. Patty’s Day. All of today’s bands come from THEE great Asaurus Records (recently relocated to Athens, GA by way of Ann Arbor, MI), one of the best CD-R labels in existence. Please take a listen, and if you should feel like it buy a few of their CD-Rs. We’ve been a fan of the label since near when it first launched in 2001. We should actually be covering some of their releases in more depth in the coming weeks…
3.24.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – Mar 24
Gah… it is yet late Thursday night again and I have not prepared Thee mystical Blurbin’ Fridays yet. This is what you get for partying too hard. Or watching late nite TV.
1. The Electric Needle Room – You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About (East River Piping in Kansas)
2. Terrene – Media Sift Through Heart Rises (Apples In Stereo meets Doves)
3. Yo La Tengo – Speeding Motorcycle (Fave Daniel Johnston Cover)
4. M. Ward – Fuel For Fire (Got Lonesome?)
5. Fingerpops – Garageland (Garungeland)
3.31.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – Mar 31
Last night was spent with the Ipod on listening to a few things here and there. Recently, there was a huge going out of biz sale at a local record shop and I picked up tons of stuff for a dollar each. Some of the below songs are from CDs from that haul. As usual the band descriptions I try to put in parentheses are pretty far off the mark. Oh wells… hope you enjoy anyhow!
1. Aberdeen – The Boy Has Gone Away (Field Mice Fever)
2. Chris Schoen – Understand (Minimalist Leonard Cohen / Bill Santen)
3. The Cubby Creatures – Wallet (Elephant Sixing the Television Personalities with XTC)
4. Billy Brush – What You Were Dreaming (Air stuck in The Matrix)
5. The Casting Couch – Song About Dying (Juliana Hatfield plus Mercury Rev)
3.3.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – March 3
Wow, it’s too early in the morning. Nevertheless, here is TGI Blurbin’ Fridays on Palebear.
1. Mission of Burma – That’s When I Reach For My Revolver (Punk Blasters from the Past)
2. Slowline – Persona (Watching a Bloc Party on Television)
3. Terrible Friends – Always Be Cresting (Minmae riding a Silver Scooter to Paul Westerberg’s house)
4. Tom Thumb & The Latter Day Saints – Preach (Grandaddy wrapped up in My Morning Jacket)
5. Quasi – The Rhino (Screamin’ Crazy Keyboard Machinations)
3.15.06 | Capital Sons – S/T EP
There’s a bunch of different ways to look at Minnesota’s Capital Sons. On the one hand they mix up interesting vocals reminiscient of either Mark Eitzel or The Posies with the pop-punk punch of the Replacements. That side is apparent on “Miss Understood”, the first song off their recently released self titled EP. It’s a great track, just brash enough to break free of the bonds that the early 90s record label punk-puppets were enslaved under. Guitar and drums driven pop, with a bit of soaring in the choruses. Feel-good stuff.
And then they follow it up with “On Your Side”, which is just a little too Counting Crows for my tastes. Granted, they make no bones about their love for roots-rock hooks. It’s just not my thing. The same goes for “Halo” which made me feel like I was at a Pearl Jam reunion. For me, forgettable guitar licks and Eddie Vedderisms are better left buried in the 99 cent bargain section at Amoeba.
The dirtier songs seem to swim along better. When the Capital Sons keep it simple and rough, they can be very good. Or when they slow it down, like in “Spark” which feels even a little shoe-gazey at times. The closer, “Paint This Town” brings back a little of the poppunk magic from the opening track. I’ve got mixed feelings about the disc, but there are certainly at least a few good pop songs worth a listen here.
Karl Obermeyer – Vocals/Guitar
Jesse Thomas – Drums
Gary Vogel – Guitar/Vocals
Keefe Russell – Bass/ Vocals
3.16.06 | Casey Dienel – Doctor Monroe
Hush Records is well known for releasing indie artists who march to a completely different drummer, with a tendency toward more mellow and sparse artists. Their latest release comes from Casey Dienel, a singer-songwriter who packs a double punch of astute lyrics with slightly loungey, staccato piano riffs. The general feel of the music is jazzy, but comes with an indie sensibility. Think Mirah playing quieter Ben Folds. Or Tori Amos without all the erotic fluff and flutter.
A recent transplant to New York from Boston (via a “small seaside village”), Dienel released “Wind-Up Canary” after a long history of penning bedroom songs that no one got to hear. One of the amazing things is that this is her FIRST recording ever. It sure doesn’t sound like it. It sounds like she’s been recording most of her life.
The music is pretty different, which is expected being on Hush. It’ll never be confused with teenage rock anthems and will remain on the “quiet-time music” backburner for a majority of folks. But the music is nearly instantly likeable. And intimately friendly, which is becoming somewhat of a lost art these days with all the aloof indie musicians running amuck.
Albums available on Itunes:
3.6.06 | Dandy Warhols – Veronica Mars
The Dandy Warhols
We Used To Be Friends
The music of the Dandy Warhols has shown up in a ton of different commercials like The Gap, as well as shows like The OC, Smallville. Most recently, they’ve contributed the theme song to the Veronica Mars TV show. The track is called “We Used To Be Friends” and is off their 2003 album “Welcome To The Monkey House“. Hellooo Vonnegut…
I remember hearing a radio interview with the Dandies and them saying that they toiled for quite awhile unloved in the U.S. before capturing the attention of the British and European press. Then when they came back, the hoopla followed them… and there was the ensuing fawning over them by the various music press who didn’t give them the time of the day a couple months earlier. One thing I also remember reading is that they’re true old school rock stars in the sense that they actually WANT to act like rock stars… none of this, OK we’re big now but it’s cooler to make like we’re not all that successful.
Continue reading “Dandy Warhols – Veronica Mars” …
3.1.06 | Rocky Votolato – White Daisy Passing
I’m not exactly sure how we missed checking out Rocky Votolato seeing as how it’s plastered on the splash screen for Barsuk Records. But miss it we did; it was probably one of those “I’ll just check it out later” things that got misfiled. (I was reminded of him from a post on faves 3hive)
Anyhow, though his last name may be a bit of a typingtwister (I keep typing Voltotado), his music is contains some really fine and serene folk-based acoustic musings. From Barsuk’s Northwest backyard via Texas, Votolato’s latest release is Makers out on Barsuk this past January.
“White Daisy Passing” was the first song I heard, and there’s a good chance that you have as well seeing as it was featured in the television show The OC a little while ago. That show has got a serious case of indie-artist-itis… not that it’s a bad thing. For us at least.
Anyhow, “White Daisy” is a really pretty folk tune that has a feel similar to The Shins “New Slang” of all things. The songs have a poignant as well as lonesome feel to them like they were created in wide open spaces. I wonder how much of that has to do with his Texan roots.
The songs are more straightforward folk than the Appalachian tunes of Sam Beam and seem a bit more upbeat instead of overly mopy. He has a pretty strong voice as well, and does some beautiful harmonizing with his own vocal melodies. He includes harmonica in a couple tracks, though that doesn’t make an appearance on “White Daisy Passing”.
Hmm.. interestingly, I read that he used to be in an “emo” band before? I’ll let that slide. Some good songs to be had from him.
Albums available on Itunes:
Makers (2006 Barsuk)
Light and Sound EP (2003 Second Nature Recordings)
Suicide Medicine (2003 Second Nature Recordings)
Burning My Travels Clean (2001 Second Nature Recordings)
Rocky Votolato (1999 Status Recordings)
Rocky Votolato’s Webite:
3.6.06 | Shmat Records Partnership
Well, this will probably come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following the Palebear and Shmat Records sites. But now it’s official. Palebear will now be the review publishing arm for ALL material that is submitted, leaving Shmat Records to concentrate on releasing music.
In the past, we’ve shared a PO Box with Shmat so nothing really changes. If you’re coming here from Shmat Records and are interested in having your music reviewed, you’ll be happy to know that the drill is pretty much the same: please read the submission policies. Then send your music in.
Note, there’s no need to email to ask if we’ll accept it. We will. Whether it gets reviewed is a different story. We will not guarantee we will review ANYTHING. I don’t care if you’re the most famous indie band on the planet. Or the least famous indie band, for that matter.
The good news is… we DO accept web submissions of links to MP3s, if you would like to submit that way instead of snail mail. Shmat Records‘ policy was no electronic submissions, but in keeping with the times Palebear DOES. Blame it on the Itunes revolution. However, please read the submission policies about how to submit songs for review electronically.
Ok, that’s that… we’ve got to get busy on reviewing some of the Shmat packages that have come in. See you all soon.
3.21.06 | Surrounded – In Comfort’s Tight Clothes
In Comfort's Tight Clothes
This isn’t the album cover for Surrounded‘s upcoming release, but actually a Deep Elm Records release from 2003 called “Safety In Numbers”. Still, I wanted to post about them because I recently received a three song demo for the upcoming release and it was totally amazing.
Imagine the more structured “Vivadixie…”-era Sparklehorse songs and you’ve got a good idea of Surrounded’s shimmering, intimate rock songs. The first track off the sample disc was “In Comfort’s Tight Clothes” and it’s almost too close to Mark Linkous material for comfort. The Swedish band (oh yes, we do like bands from Sweden and yes, the country should be known for more than just winning the Olympic gold in hockey) creates a very dreamy soundscape to house Marten Rydell’s whispery vocals. Truly amazing song there.
Not only is the music very much in the Sparklehorse vein, but the imagery in the sprase yet evocative lyrics really reminds me of Linkous too, especially on “Bolder Acrobat.” Still, there is something very different about them and the music that I can’t quite put my finger on.
“Terra Firma Legion Farewells” is a beautifully hushed tune containing keyboards or strings reminiscient of Mercury Rev or Air, with an AM radio broadcrast in the background. The song later expands to include drums and chiming guitars before fading out quietly.
When I first heard these songs I sorta forgot about the 35 CDs in line in front of them for review and jumped them up to the top of the stack. So, you can imagine I’m going to be keeping an eye out for their full release which is happening ? For now, you can visit the site and listen to tracks off of their older album.
Marten Rydell – vocals, guitar
Marcus Knutsson – guitar
Erik Edwardsson – drums
Tom Malmros – bass
Albums available on Itunes:
Safety In Numbers (Deep Elm 2003)
3.13.06 | SXSW Tonevendor
Since everyone and their mom is posting things about the upcoming SXSW (South By Southwest) extravaganza on their music blogs, I figured we might as well get in on the action. But we’re going to focus exclusively on the Tonevendor/Clairecords SXSW shindigs.
A word about them first: Tonevendor is one of the best indie distribution houses (as well as physical music store) around. Dan and Heather run a really tight but friendly ship. They WILL give smaller bands the time of day, amazingly. They also PAY artists what they’re due, unlike many others. I don’t have many nice things to say about other distros in general, but we’ll save all the negative thoughts for later.
Anyhow, they also release records on their own Clairecords label and they are holding a few musical get-togethers at thie year’s SXSW. Hm.. Hey wait-a-minute SXSW is this week already! Oops, we slacked so this newspost is just barely on time. Hate when that happens.
Their first get-together is a SXSW Daytime Party which is sponsored by them and Thirty Ghosts and Ace Fu. It takes place on March 15 at the End Of An Ear Records shop. Listed on the bill are: Tuung, My Education and Rachel Goldstar.
The actual Tonevendor / Clairecords showcase is that same night at 8PM till 2AM and takes place at Habana Calle. Interestingly, the show will double bill with the Absolutely Kosher showcase outside and Tonevendor inside. Featured on the bill are My Education, Sciflyer, The Brother Kit, Belong, Rachel Goldstar and Luminous Orange.
I actually haven’t heard all of the bands before though I do know that many will fall into the noisy shoegaze category (a la MBV, etc.). I actually have heard the deliciously buzzy and drony Sciflyer before though. The latest release from this Alameda, CA band is “The Age of Lovely, Intimate Things” and I believe they are touring the Western part of the U.S. currrently.
I got a chance to listen to Japan’s Luminous Orange just now, and they were quite good… very MBV/Swirlies/Stereolab.
Here are links to songs by the participating bands available for download on the Official SXSW website:
Tunng – Tale From Black
Rachel Goldstar – Christmas Day
My Education – Snake in the Grass
Sciflyer – Like An Ion
The Brother Kite – Death Ray
Belong – October Language
Luminous Orange – Drop You Vivid Colours
The full posting for the Tonevendor SXSW schedule is available on their website at: www.tonevendor.com/sxsw.
3.30.06 | The Devil and Daniel Johnston
In honor of the new Daniel Johnston movie coming out tomorrow on Sony Pictures Classics (which is appropriately called “The Devil And Daniel Johnston”), here are some of his albums found on Itunes:
You may be wondering who the hell Daniel Johnston is: I don’t want to regurgitate various well-known blurbs about how he’s a manic-depressive crazy genius child-man songwriter who is well-respected by everyone from Sonic Youth to Sparklehorse to Yo La Tengo and how he once tried to crash himself and his father in an airplane, because then perhaps I might be giving away parts of this movie that you are of course planning to go watch as soon as it comes out.
How’s that for a sentence.
3.20.06 | The Harpeth Trace – Man and The Cousin
The Harpeth Trace
Man And The Cousin
There used to be a band called Boxing that the Shmat had reviewed on his site awhiles back, but at this particular point in time he can’t seem to find that CD. It could also have something to do with wiggy confusion over all the bands that have “Box” in the name that have been reviewed such as: Boxborough, Boxing Rebellion, Box Underscore, The Boxer Program, etc etc…
But anyway, Josh from Boxing sent the Shmat this nice little EP called Man and The Cousin which is from his new band The Harpeth Trace. The overall sound of the songs tends toward the dreamy, creepy and darkly carnivalesque, but Josh’s voice is not your typical dream-folk rocker’s. There’s a bit of a gravelly smoker’s tinge to these songs, like Dylan or Will Oldham singing Red House Painters songs that the Shmat liked.
The music is sparse, spare and undeniably minor, sometimes sounding like echoey Dirty Three or Songs:Ohia. The feel also reminds the Shmat sometimes of a great band from Denton called Shiny Around The Edges as well as a bunch of the artists from Hush or Keep Recordings.
“Cottontail” combines angular guitar chords with a falsetto that occasionaly reminded the Shmat of My Morning Jacket. “A Letter To The Room” is arguably the most upbeat of the songs. Fair warning – if you don’t like slower music, you might be falling asleep. The title track is a porch rock waltz that sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair filtered through dirty leaves and Southern trees. “Ghost and You Know It” could be a Mazzy Star outtake. At least the music could be, with its slow drumbeat, oozing bass and restless guitar in the background. Very evocative songs.
Rob Poynter – drums, percussion
Barry Poage – bass guitar
Josh Kasselman – guitar, vocals
3.14.06 | The Higher Elevations – Who’s Sleeping
The Higher Elevations
[Best Kept Secret]
Currently wading through stacks of CD submissions backdated to over six months ago… but here’s something interesting. Anyone remember Cassette Tapes? Or were you born after that particular phase of recorded music… Anyhow, Alessandro from the excellent Best Kept Secret in Italy keeps the tradition strong by releasing honest to goodness cassette tapes, a few of which made it to our door earlier.
This one is by The Higher Elevations, a Swedish band who actually have a newer CD release out I believe called “Always The Same”. This cassette tape “Who’s Sleeping” is also quite good though. More mainstream folks are going to name The Strokes among the influences, but imagine Nothing Painted Blue singing over Interpol styled riffs. That’s more what they remind me of.
The tape has a good mix of rockin’ songs and more acoustic stuff, demos and outtakes. One of the more interesting tracks is “In The Night” which features none other than Richard Lloyd (of Television) doing some guest lead guitar.
There aren’t too many sound files available from this tape, but you can listen to an acoustic version of “There Is A Town”, as well as a song called “Fiction” from another EP:
3.8.06 | The Like Young – For Money Or Love
The Like Young
For Money Or Love
[Polyvinyl Record Co.]
I’ve been a fan of the super-energetic poppypunk of The Like Young ever since I was passed the “Looked Up” Plus Four EP off Kittridge Records. (“You Can’t Get It Back” is a serious pop anthem on that record).
What’s that? You say there’s another band called The Like that I might be getting them confused with? Not so… and in fact IMHO The Like seem a bit overrated. Give me The Like Young anyday over them.
To make matters even more confusing, the married musical couple of Amanda and Joe Ziemba (remember the band Wolfie? That was them) have just been signed to Polyvinyl Record Co. who are home to another, slightly more famous married duo… Mates of State. Though the Mates are pretty cool, they never really knocked my socks off… I always thought their songs were a bit jarring. The Like Young, however, have been regulars in our CD players for some time and provide that winning combination of un-pop punk smarts with really good pop songwriting.
Anyhow, they are coming out with an album called Last Secrets on Polyvinyl in the spring but until then you can get a taste of what’s to come by listening to their track “For Money Or Love”.
By the way, apologies that the thumbnail above is NOT the album cover but just a pic of them. I’ll change it out when the album comes out.
Brash and bratty vocal melodies by mop-topped Joe are wrapped in Amanda’s cooling vocal harmonies and the whole thing is rolled unceremoniously up in head-bobbin’, chugworthy punk rock. Imagine mid-period Sleater-Kinney with a guy on lead, or Quasi with much less acrobatics and keyboards. There’s also a throwback to the simpler pop-punk times of Weezer, The Rentals, even X at times.
This is a band that you just gotta root for. One reason for that is unlike some bands that have a tough exterior shell around their music, all the tough and crazy problems that The Like Young have survived through both as a musicians and as a couple are laid out bare in their songs. And according to the website, their next album is going to have even more of that heart-sleeve angst. They’ve truly lived through this. I mean, that one song is called “For Money Or Love” which pretty much says it all. Powerful, catchy stuff.
Joe Ziemba – guitar, vocals
Amanda Ziemba – drums, vocals
Albums available on Itunes: