7.28.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – Jul 28
A random selection filled with questions. For today’s Blurbin’ Friday. Because life is filled with questions. Have at it:
1. O The Deed – Nethers (Elk City? Neko? Viva Voce?)
2. Alive Until Saturday Night – Hexes and Ohs (Postal Service and OMD?)
3. Green Cowgirl – Laura Veirs (Kristin Hersh? Rebecca Pearcy? Mirah?)
4. Brightblack Morning Light – Everybody Daylight (Lambchop plus Air?)
5. The Admiral – White Whale (Decemberists and Big Star? and Conor O?)
7.7.06 | Blurbin’ Fridays – July 7
This Blurbin’ Friday started out as normal: some submissions and others not. But it quickly got taken over by Beirut.. the band Beirut, that is. Some great stuff from what has been described as an “entire Balkan gypsy orchestra playing modern songs as mournful ballads and upbeat marches.”
1. Jenny’s In Black – The S-1 Committee (Denton’s J&M Chain)
2. Take Some Time – Rose Melberg (Ex-Softies, Tiger Trap)
3. Interior of a Dutch House – Beirut (Belle and Sebastian, Neutral Milk Hotel plus Reindeer Section)
4. Postcards from Italy – Beirut (Sufjan Franklin Bruno Stevens)
5. Mount Wroclai (Idle Days) – Beirut (Ok, So We Like This Band A Lot, Can You Tell)
7.11.06 | Bye Syd Barrett
Just heard that the great Syd Barrett passed away last Friday. I have to say that as my tastes went more indie the past decade or so, he remained one of the few things about Pink Floyd that I still felt like listening to. His influence was widespread, and the Elephant 6 kiddies owed a lot to his music. I still put on Piper at the Gates of Dawn every so often.
Cassettes Won't Listen
Cut Your Hair
[Dope Lotus Records]
So I was driving back from the post office listening to KCRW (and I usually don’t because good ‘ol Nick sort of sucks extra hard in his choice of music in my opinion). But anyhow, all of the sudden I heard the familiar strains of “… hit me where it muzzles, hesitate you die…” but it was an electronica arcadepop sort of band playing it instead of Pavement. I decided to listen till the end, if only to see whether they’d sing “career” or “korea” (I couldn’t tell with them either).
Not a bad cover, and it turns out the cover of “Cut Your Hair” is by a band called Cassettes Won’t Listen. Side note: have you noticed how many bands nowadays have the word “tapes” or “cassettes” in their names? Interesting, maybe we’ll see a resurgence of cassette tape decks (If you’re of the iPod era, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Incidentally, we should be having a feature on indie cassette tapes coming up one of these days).
Anyhow the synthesizers buzz twiggily and the drum machines plop quite well on this rendition of “Cut Your Hair”. Out on Dope Lotus Records now, Cassettes Won’t Listen is from New York although the four members are all originally from the San Fran area.
Here’s the track, off the Dope Lotus website:
Selected Albums on Itunes:
7.13.06 | Chris Koza – Patterns
Got this nifty CD entitled “Patterns” from Minneapolis popsmith Chris Koza. When we say popsmith, I should probably say alterna-country-folk-popsmith. Sounds like I did a little more work coming up with that. But truthfully, he has a knack for making some great pop tunes. Granted, some of these songs lean right up against the edge of mainstream AOR. But they’re still some great songs here.
I note he’s been compared to a ton of different folks; for mine, let’s try Matt Pond P.A., Jon Brion, and M. Ward. The acoustic guitar songs are often introspective. Personally, I like more of the pop-rock stuff like “Midnight Rose” and less of the rootsy-rock harmonica songs like “Candle in the Dark”. His more mellow tracks like “Goldmine” do indeed remind me of Wilco as the press kit mentions.
7.10.06 | CSS – Cansei der Ser Sexy
Cansei De Ser Sexy
Ok Brazil you didn’t win the World Cup but at least you gave us CSS. No, you HTML nerd, not Cascading Style Sheets! I mean the Brazillian boppity discoduck electro-splut Cansei de Ser Sexy, the latest band out on Subpop. Wow, they are as out there as any artsy band from Brazil can be.
Five gals, one guy. They actually sing in English instead of Portugese, reportedly because the native language “sounds too serious or beautiful”. Interesting. You might also be interested that “Cansei de Ser Sexy” was a quote from Beyonce which means “tired of being sexy”. Fun.
So what do they sound like? Here, I’ll take a stab: imagine The Go Team mixed with Ladytron with some funky 70s disco sounds thrown in for good measure. A couple of their songs sound similar to a favorite old band of mine Star Ghost Dog, but heavier on the synths and weirdness. Almost like a Brazillian version of Sissybar plus Blonde Redhead. Vocals could be Chan Marshall or Annie Hardy on speed.
Some of the songs sound like they’re completely thrown together at the last minute… there’s definitely a lo-fi type of high school cheerleading squad element. The word on the street implies that they got together without knowing how to play their instruments, but I don’t know how much the usual “amateur beginnings” to believe in press spinning like this. In any case, they’ve got a great fresh sound that you should check out.
Lovefoxxx (Luisa Matsushita) – vocals
Adriano Cintra – drums, guitar, vocals, production
Carolina Parra – guitar, drums
Ana Rezende – guitar, harmonica
Luiza Sá – guitar, drums, keys
Iracema Trevisan – bass
7.10.06 | Hem – Liberty Mutual Commercial
I was watching TV the other day and a Liberty Mutual commercial came on that had pretty cool music, sort of like Sarah MacLaughlin but definitely different. Then I realized I’d heard it before and it was from the band Hem off of their Rabbit Songs CD. I couldn’t remember which song it was so I looked it up and it’s called “Half Acres”
Actually, what struck me most about the commercial wasn’t the music but the content. It depicts a chain of “random acts of kindness” where one person helps another (by picking up something the other person has dropped, for instance) and then the kindness is “transmitted” by someone else watching the kindness being done. What I like about the way it’s handled is that the person who helps another person DOESN’T necessarily receive some act of kindness themselves. It’s all about kindness without a selfish thought: you never know who’s watching so your actions can affect how other people act.
The commercial is called “Responsibility. What’s Your Policy” and is put together by Hill-Holliday (you can read more about the campaign at their site).
Selected Albums on Itunes:
7.3.06 | Les Issambres – S/T
We seem to get a lot of Swedish pop bands in the mail, and the thing is that so many of them are so GOOD. It’s a bit strange, I wonder if it has something to with the weather over there or something in the water. Les Issambres is a quartet that plays a great brand of sunny indiepop songs. Instead of being straight twee though, there is a bit more seriousness in the music. Some has to do with Stefan’s droll and deadpan delivery of the lyrics. A nice counterpoint with Karin’s more playful delivery.
There is a Galaxie 500 like feel to “Santa Fe” which is a super-sunny but driving pop tune – I think it has something to do with the flute which reminds me of one of the Galaxie 500 songs that I can’t put my finger on. Sometimes it also lends a Free Design or Os Mutantes touch to the music. The flutey beginning of “Second Hand Store” feels like it’s taken straight out of a Masters of the Hemisphere song. But “Kicked Out Of The Blue” actually reminds me of a song from The Church. What I like a lot about the Swedish pop bands like this is that they seem to come across really straightforward in approach without being overly boring. There is variety without making the listener jump through too many hoops. Very nice pop songs here…
Stefan Jacobson – vocals/guitar
Karin Jacobson – vocals/drums
Tomas Tirén – bass/piano
Jan Pettersson – flutes
No One Makes A Sound
We see a lot of these one man electronica bands around but rarely is there anything there to actually take notice of. I mean, it’s a ONE MAN band and it sounds like it. Leb Borgerson who makes up the Quiet Countries is one exception to that rule. Inventive and generally catchy without being overly beat-bombastic, his strange creations leave you feeling like you’ve been trapped in some mystical computer program. The instrumentation is very nice, in particular the use of glockenspiel and organ accents.
One of the main things I like about Quiet Countries is the fact that it de-emphasizes the beat in favor of texture and atmosphere. This is nice for electronic bands because it makes the music sound less like “drum machine plus a few keyboards” and more like an actual song. When the beat does take over in his songs, it doesn’t overpower the feel of the songs but complements them. I actually suspect (though I could very well be wrong ) that this has everything to do with the fact that Borgerson is a drummer himself (ex-Laserhawk).
While many elements of the songs are lush, smooth and mellow, there is always an underground current of unease. Sort of like someone has spiked the morning coffee pot with something more potent.
Leb Borgenson – all instruments and vocals
7.31.06 | Sam Roberts – Chemical City
[Secret Brain Records]
You know, I could probably have said something like Sam Roberts = “updated version of The Band” and be done with this review. I felt a little guilty about that, especially since that similarity is mentioned twice in his band’s bio. And anyhow, it’s not entirely accurate. The Canadian indie rocker has definitely more to his music than just a rehash of 60s jams. At his best, he comes across like Wilco, Supergrass or Dios Malos on more than a few songs.
Subpop’s new alt-country rock heroes Band of Horses might also get a mention or two. Where the music threatens to derail him is when it meanders like garishly, overdone Pink Floyd. Roberts has a strong voice which surely deserves better company. Granted, for the most part the music is pretty good and energetic indie pop. Interestingly, one song “Mystified, Heavy” totally reminded me of Elliott Smith, at least in the beginnning. Pretty cool.
7.14.06 | Skipped Blurbin’ Fridays – Jul 14
Whoops, sorry we are skipping the Blurbs today… we should be back next week as usual. Hopefully, this won’t become a bad habit since it’s notoriously difficult to be motivated on Thursday nights.
Added: Actually, due to some website and hosting issues Palebear is taking a much needed vacation / break from CD reviewing the rest of this week July 17 – July 24. Everything should be all back in a bit…
7.31.06 | Yo La Tengo – Pass The Hatchet…
Yo La Tengo
Pass The Hatchet...
Almost forgot, there’s a new Yo La Tengo track from their upcoming long, long ass named album “I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass”. It’s up on the Matador site, I think for awhile now but I had forgotten to download it. The song is called “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind”. Whew, if you are a fan of their 13 minute crazy distortion jams with James thumping away on the same bassline for what seems like hours on end (and yes, I am) you are going to like this one. Ira sings, when he’s not destroying the air with his ghee-tar. A lovely track, nearly as drone-rockin’ as old school Painful. Here ye go: