4.3.06 | Absinthe Glow – Contradictions
I cherrypicked this band off of 3hive… originally was drawn to the E. Smith comparisons. I gotta say from the track available on their site “Contradictions” the only similarities to him seem to be the straight 8 bar strumming with the guitar and perhaps the melody. It’s still a pretty good song… it seems to combine a bit of electronics a la Postal Service with more Beach Boys-ish sounds.
There’s actually another band that’s been doing a similar thing that you might be interested in if you like Absinthe Glow… Lost On Purpose. The vocals and song setup especially remind me of them. The songs have a background feel to them that’s a bit dreamy and slow, but the songs are more uptempo than most bands like that.
4.4.06 | Blanket Music – Love Translation
I have been really digging this disc of covers by Blanket Music lately. The band is the project of Hush Record’s Chad Crouch and though I’ve never really heard his stuff before, I’m really glad I scored a copy of disc 2 of their latest double CD release.
The Portland, OR band decided to make their 4th release a double CD with a slight catch. The first disc is called “The Love” and consists of an original “collection of love songs rooted wholly in earnestness.” However, the 2nd disc is called “Love Translation” and features the band covering different artists that are friends of the band.
This is a pretty neat idea, because they’ve covered some pretty familiar indie names… two of the most prominent being The Decemberists and M. Ward.
Continue reading “Blanket Music – Love Translation” …
4.28.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – Apr 28
Hello there, here are the blurbs:
1. Amy Obenski – Carousel (Gillian Welchian Natalie Merchant)
2. Shiloe – The Rat (Thurston Moore singing in The Pixies)
3. Track A Tiger – Glad To Be Scattered (Yo La American Analog Set plus hint of Mojave 3)
4. Joy Zipper – Christmas Song (Air plus Beach Boys plus Breeders)
5. Get Dressed – Correspondence (The Sea and Cake vs. Death Cab for Cutie)
4.7.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – Apr 7
Hello and welcome to April. Well, it’s already 7 days into it but it feels like it just started. Today we’re running another special Blurbin’ Fridays here on Palebear. Please feast your senses on some of the songs from the awesome Keep Recordings label.
Based in Tuscon, AZ this great label has always been one of my favorites because of the quality of their artists as well as the great packaging. Even though their earliest releases were all CD-Rs, the packaging completely kicked the ass of many manufactured releases out there. The designs are sometimes letterpressed and other times laser printed, but in both cases are imaginative and unique. You really feel like each CD is a “keepsake”… something that is fast disappearing in the Itunes-driven indie music landscape.
Lately, they have been moving toward the direction of fully manufactured CDs though the same attention to detail in the design and packaging is still there. As far as the music goes, they are a bit like a Hush Records of the southwest. In any case, here are some tracks for you to judge for yourself:
4.14.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – April 14
This Blurbin’ Friday is notable because I think it is the first made up entirely from tracks from CDs that have been sent in to Palebear. Enjoy…
1. Aid – Mexico (Bits ‘o Barlow)
2. Frequent Flyer – Reach For The Sun (Loungey Gerbils singing Postal Service
3. Cameron Ember – Mourning Song (Lori Carson plus Tori Amos plus Red House Painters)
4. Mike K – Pretty Sure (Badly Drawn Boy plus Bedroom U2)
5. The Happies – Sun Don’t Shine (Aaron Espinoza dancing in the Fountains of Wayne)
4.21.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – April 21
Sorry kids, this week has been a bust as far as posting music news and reviewing CDs. Battling cold viruses and all. Next week’ll have more stuff! But for now, here are the Blurbs (last 2 are from out of the States, Netherlands and France):
1. Trespassers William – Safe, Sound (Stereolabial Red House Delgados)
2. Northern – These Walls (American Analog Album Leaf)
3. Chris Brown – All My Rivals (Beatles and Fountains of Wayne)
4. Reaganesk – Lately (Dutch-Irish Wilco by way of East River Pipe)
5. Sons of Frida – The Last Time I Smiled (My Bloody Sonic Swirlies from France)
4.5.06 | Camera Obscura Podcast
For some reason or another, I missed downloading the latest Merge Records Podcast which features the loveable Scottish band Camera Obscura who became more well known after their beautiful second release Underachievers Please Try Harder came out in the U.S. on Merge (previously released on Elefant).
They have a new album coming out in June of this year called “Let’s Get Out Of This Country” and on the podcast they include a couple mini-snippets of the songs from the new album. Here are the tracks featured, along with what the band members said about the songs in the podcast: If Looks Could Kill (retarded Motown), Country Mile (quietest, most spacious, least buzzy, prettiest song on the record), Let’s Get Out Of This Country, and Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken.
Tracyanne Campbell – guitar and vocals
Carey Lander – piano, organ and vocals
Kenny McKeeve – guitar, mandolin, harmonica and vocals
Gavin Dunbar – bass
Lee Thomson – drums
Nigel Baillie – trumpet & percussion
Albums available on Itunes:
4.27.06 | Dandy Warhols – Pontiac Commercial
The Dandy Warhols
I Love You
I know that we are supposed to be somewhat of the “shiznet” when it comes to posting about indie music in commercials, but lately the finds have been far and few between. I’m not sure why that is because if anything the amount of indie bands being contacted to have their music appear in commercials has increased (well, maybe they’re all being asked by Hummer or something).
So when I heard the Dandy Warhols song “I Love You” the other day on TV, I immediately put down my soggy TV dinner and went to the computer to write about it. I just forgot to post about it until today. The song is off their 1997 release “The Dandy Warhols Come Down” and it’s difficult to mistake as it features them singing the words “I Love You” over and over again. I have this album. Not the worst song on it, and I guess it completely fits what the commercial for the Pontiac Solstice is trying to convey. But the ad agencies have already picked the Dandies catalog over to death. It’s time for something new, guys…
4.25.06 | Frankel – Chatterbox
[Three Ring Records]
I nearly missed talking about the great Frankel EP out on Three Ring Records. I got this album late last year and had been listening to it for quite awhile. But the disc started to skip on me a bit so I got distracted and accidentally filed it away in the “done” pile.
Anyhow, when I found it the other day and put it on, I was reminded of the very first thing that I noticed on listening to the first track “Pass Out”. There is a “phone-off-the-hook” noise in the beginning of the song that ALWAYS gets me to look at my phone to see if I’ve left it off the cradle. This happened to me no less than 3 times. Funny how something like that sound is so universal that it affects everyone the same way.
Now, I was going to segue that thought into something about how this album is “universal” and “timeless” but I can’t quite seem to find the right transitions. Well, I DO think that a lot of people who dig quieter and mellow pop in the vein of Elliott Smith and Pedro the Lion will definitely like this album. Frankel mixes mostly quiet acoustic guitar with wonderful folk melodies, but there is an orchestration that reminds you of Smith and maybe also Wilco or Lambchop.
That first track as well as the next one,”Don’t Leave”, definitely does remind you of Elliott Smith filtered through The Field Mice and Tahiti 80.
“The Antidote” is my favorite track and sort of sounds like Ken Stringfellow singing on a Fountains of Wayne song. There’s that buzzy middle keyboard section in here that picks the mood up a bit and makes everything more bouncy. “Method Actor” starts off with much stranger background music, like one of the Sparklehorse B-Sides songs merged with an Air song.
“The Great Unknown”, while a bit cliched in its evoking of a”Kashmir-like” feeling in the strings at the beginning of the track, actually reminds me a lot of a Bill Santen track at times. “All Satellites” starts out as a dreamy quiet tune but quickly makes its shoegazing powers known with a requisite dreamy and droning guitar. This is just a 6 song EP, but the initial taste test is definitely a positive one. Looking forward to hearing any of Frankel’s new stuff…
Albums on Itunes
4.12.06 | Nire – We All Shine On
We All Shine On
I received this CD-R from the band Nire a few months ago and have been enjoying it on and off. I must say that this type of music is just definitely up my alley – hushed, soft folky pop songs with boy and girl harmonies. The Portland, OR band is actually going to be touring with the excellent Ponies In The Surf band who we’ve covered at Shmat earlier.
Like the Ponies, Nire makes music that is often introspective and quiet, perhaps referencing bands like Mojave 3 and The Yum Yum. The same minimalistic approach is there but where they differ is in the flavoring; where the Ponies use a slight Latin-American influence to spice up their songs, Nire’s secret weapon is Erin’s muted piano playing. The songs are a little less whimsical as well.
This actually works really well as simple held chords in songs like “New Pair Of Shoes“, or more active plunking on “Something More” and “Let Go”.
It is also interesting how the album is called “We All Shine On”, because while there could be some shades of Lennon here, the piano instrumentals “Prelude” and “Interlude” seem to have a definite modern sort of influence to them, using repetitive arpeggios to create a minimal soundscape.
“So Small” definitely reminds me of Yum Yum, who were a great hushed folk-pop band with similar boy-girl singing. This song, like the rest of the ones on the album, is just so pretty and is my favorite track right now.
“We All Shine On” has become another great rainy day disc to put on when the skies turn grey outside. I’m actually hoping to catch them live with the Ponies when they come through town…
Josh Hinton – guitar / vocals
Erin Morgan – piano / vocals
4.27.06 | Norfolk and Western – The Gilded Age
Norfolk & Western
The Gilded Age
I have to admit that I’ve needed to keep the new Norfolk & Western album The Gilded Age percolating in my Itunes “To Review” playlist for quite awhile before taking a stab at giving it a review.
You see, I’ve been a huge fan of theirs (the band revolves around Adam Seltzer and Rachel Blumberg) and have been following their work since 2003 or so. The general feel to their music is, well, it is often “hushed” and introspective (small wonder they’re on the Hush label). And I LOVE this kind of stuff, and the band has never disappointed. They take porch rock and imbue it with all sorts of instruments like banjo, pedal steel, and strings. Long before the Decemberists hit it bigger with their carnival-like atmospherics, N&W were the band who filled that niche for me.
But with their latest album they completely deconstruct the folky notions that I’ve had about their music. And not surprisingly, it ends up working due to their musicianship and songwriting capabilities. I mean, the first song is called “Porch Destruction”. What do YOU think that’s about? They’ve definitely upped the rawer and distorted side of their music, though I’d argue that they’ve had that potential all along. I always felt they were more of a band with the dynamics of say Low, Red House Painters or Lambchop than straightahead folk music anyhow.
Interestingly, the music for “Porch Destruction” really reminds me of an old Sparklehorse song. And despite its name, the real fireworks don’t start until nearly halfway into the song and it’s tempered by strings and xylophone. The title track “A Gilded Age” starts out right away with distorted and delayed guitar fighting it out with a funny little banjo line.
“Watch The Days Slowly Fade” may be the track on the album that sounded the most different to me. The chords and melody remind me of Neil Young plus Matt Pond PA. This one really rocks out at times which was cool. The sound collage “There Are No Places Left For Us” is classic Norfolk and Western … it’s an instrumental intermission that’s almost like a creepy Russian radio broadcast.
Continue reading “Norfolk and Western – The Gilded Age” …
4.10.06 | The Like – Converse Commercial
What I Say And What I Mean
We were watching TV the other day and a Converse Commercial came on with a punky sort of backing music track. In the commercial, a girl gets dropped off by a car at private school and then runs up the steps and into the bathroom where she proceeds to secretly change her look (including her hair, tie, makeup and most noticeably her argyle socks).
I’ve got indie radar for music in commercials so I immediately knew this was an indie band, and probably one whose CD I’ve got. We thought it might have been Giant Drag right away and a little searching proved we were on the right track. The band is the fairly well known punkyteen trio The Like, who have played with Giant Drag before.
Continue reading “The Like – Converse Commercial” …
4.17.06 | The Sems – Any Day Ago
Any Day Ago
Even though The Sems are essentially just the one man act Pete Bogolub with friends, their CD “Any Day Ago” has been a frequent flyer in my Itunes list “To Review” playlist. Since about January in fact. Dreamy and mellow, this is definitely pop music that has been carefully orchestrated and thought out.
Droning bass lines, minimal melody changeups, and great guitar soundscapes make up the bulk of the album which supposedly takes on influences from MBV and Jesus and Mary Chain. This is what I hear though – American Analog Set. The first two songs “A Lonely Place To Be” and “Leaving Is Easy” certainly contains all of the elements of that great band. There are a few vocal touches thrown in that go more in the direction of Stereolab/Broadcast.
The Sems also drift into the territory of such pro-instrumental bands as Scenic and The Sea and Cake, especially on tracks like “As Others Live” and “I Don’t Believe”. “The Last Noise”, however reminds me more of the DCFC song “405″. “Should I Stay” ventures into Field Mice territory.
Despite the overall mellowness of the album, there ARE hints of the louder bands mentioned in the bio (My Bloody Valentine and J&M Chain). But the similarities are more in general feel and perhaps some of the higher vocal harmonies. This is a much more mellow disc, which is fine with me. Great for driving around to.
Albums on Itunes