1.25.07 | Apostle of Hustle
I just may be the very, very, very last person in the universe to hear of Apostle of Hustle, unless one of you is going to come clean and say this is the first time you’ve heard of them too.
They’ve got a bit of angular quirkiness on top of some thumpy, straightforward beats – like The Strokes married to Blonde Redhead and Masters of the Hemisphere. Or something. Almost disco-ey beats at some points, but not electronica.
This is the side project for Andrew Whiteman, who’s also a member of Broken Social Scene. There’s a new album coming out in early February called National Anthem of Nowhere which contains some standout tracks, in particular the title track and My Sword Hand’s Anger. They’re currently on Arts and Crafts.
1.31.07 | Asobi Seksu
For some reason, for the longest time I just assumed Asobi Seksu was an ambient or electronica band without bothering to take a listen. Kinda weird – something to do with their name I guess.
Instead it turns out they play this rad swirling, distortion-fueled dreamrock. The echoing sounds are sometimes cavernous. You will of course say MBV, but other RIYLs might be Swirlies, Lush and a local band I like called Katie The Pest. Lead singer Yuki Chikudate sings both in Japanese and English, her sometimes breathy voice a great counterpoint for the swirling lush guitars.
From the sample tracks I’ve heard so far, this is really great stuff – you’ll excuse me if I’m still a newbie getting acquainted with their music. But in case you haven’t heard of them too, here are some places to get started:
1.10.07 | Bedroom Eyes – Embrace In Stereo
Embrace In Stereo
I caught this Swedish band off of 3hive yesterday and they’re great, like many of the smaller and unsigned pure indiepop bands coming from that country. I don’t know what it is, but the music of indieSwedes just seem to really agree with me (I wonder if it’s the fact that they like handclaps so much in the songs.)
Anyhow, this is Jonas Jonsson’s wonderful little bedroom EP project Embrace In Stereo under the name Bedroom Eyes and it’s available in its entirety for free on the website. Backing him up are Emil Karlsson (drums), Mattias Andersson (bass) and Patrik Zackrisson (keyboards).
The poppy flavor of the songs include a bit of 90s (or is that 80s) throwback with a hint of twee mixed in. And a bit of Teen Fanclub influence perhaps. Jonas’s voice also reminds me a bit of Tim Booth. My favorite track is “The Skywriter” which contains a surprisingly drony and driving outro, somewhat at odds with the rest of the tracks which are more pure pop.
1.1.07 | Cat Power – Diamond Commercial
How Can I Tell You
I had meant to post about the Cat Power – A Diamond Is Forever connection months ago. Perhaps I’m a bit too proud that I knew it was Chan Marshall from the first couple of seconds of the commercial the first time I saw it. But hey – you gotta be proud of something, right?
Really, though, she has a really distinctive voice that doesn’t make it tough. What was tougher was finding out that the actual song she was singing was by a fellow “Cat”. A fellow former Cat, that is, since Cat Stevens now goes by the name “Yusuf”.
Anyhow, the cover song for the Diamond Is Forever commercial is his song called “How Can I Tell You”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually exist as a real song (the link is to the Cat Stevens version.) . Also, it’s probably NOT a good idea to email Matador about where you can find the song.
Continue reading “Cat Power – Diamond Commercial” …
1.5.07 | Clinic – If You Could Read Your Mind
Because I know you haven’t gotten enough fruit in your diet, you should check out the newest Clinic video “If You Could Read Your Mind”. Sorta reminds me of Fruit of the Loom Commercials meets The Da Vinci Code. Or something.
I know that Clinic’s already known for wearing hospital masks in their shows, so these new antics are probably to be expected. But for the record, I was originally attracted to their songs by their melodica solos.
1.25.07 | Coachella Tickets
Just on the wee chance that you haven’t marked your calendars three months in advance for the upcoming Coachella festival, here is a tiny reminder that tickets already go on sale this Saturday January 27, 2007. And in case you need a kick-me-in-the-ass to get you going, here is the lineup as of now.
Nice to see Sparklehorse, Gillian Welch, Blonde Redhead, Jose Gonzalez and Silversun Pickups listed on there. But geez, why is Bjork‘s name so farking large on the bill… ugh.
Continue reading “Coachella Tickets” …
1.8.07 | Deerhoof – +81
[Kill Rock Stars]
There’s a cool new song up on the KRS website from quirk-popsters Deerhoof. This is off their upcoming Friend Opportunity, called Deerhoof – +81. Actually, I don’t know too much about Deerhoof myself, but I thought I saw that this song had already been released as part of a +81 EP.
In any case, I’ve been meaning to at least make an attempt to buy into the Deerhoof hype for awhile now. First impressions – Blonde Redhead meets MBV, Sonic Youth and Stereolab, plus the obligatory Yoko Ono comparison. They’re more poppy to me than SY, but occasionally go off the deep end. In a challenging but good way.
Other MP3s and Movies:
Wrong Time Capsule Video
MP3 EP of Live and Cover Tracks (including the Beatles’ The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, Herman’s Hermits’ There’s A Kind Of Hush and My Bloody Valentine’s Lose My Breath)
1.8.07 | I Heart Big Bunnies
Hello, what have we here. It is a big rabbit. A really big rabbit. The greatest thing about this rabbit is the feet. Look at how those feet stick out like some cartoon character. The feet are saying, “hey look, grab onto me!” Fun.
This was found on Wired’s Table of Malcontents and like they say the large rabbits (German Giant Rabbits or Giant Angora Rabbits?) are indeed real although they usually don’t get THAT big. As in 17 lbs and 3 feet tall when standing on its hind legs. By the way, it’s been confirmed on Snopes.
I think Wallace & Gromit’s Curse Of The Were-Rabbit was inspired by these types of rabbits. But I’m almost hoping that the bunny has fangs like Bunnicula. It could drain a watermelon or two completely dry.
I can’t think of anything else to say about the bunny. It’s just too cool. The rabbit’s name is Herman. Hmm…I think Hem should have used a picture of Herman for the cover of their Rabbit Songs album…
Read: Biggest Bunny
1.9.07 | I Want The iPhone Godamn Now
Ohhhkay. I’ve already seen enough of the new Apple iPhone to know that I want one, and I want it yesterday night. Jesus, who wouldn’t want one? I ain’t going to go into the specs, you can read any of the various blogs to find out more. It’s a phone. It’s an iPod. It’s a browser. It’s a media device. Etc, etc, etc. Give me one now!
Remains to be seen how they can get away with calling it an iPhone since Linksys owns that trademark. Maybe Apple will just buy them. After all, Cingular, Google, Yahoo… they’re all in Apple’s iPocket right now. Let’s just merge all of the companies into one…
And on the subject of name changes, seems they’re to be called “Apple, Inc.” from now on instead of Apple Computer, Inc.
1.19.07 | Laura Gibson – If You Come To Greet Me
If You Come To Greet Me
I’ve been enjoying the Laura Gibson disc that came out on Hush quite a bit lately. I was enjoying it so much, actually, that I completely forgot to post about it. I had it in the background while we were doing renovations here at PBHQ. To me, this is always a good measure of a decent folksy album… that I forgot that this was a “submission”
Notice, I said “forget” and not “fall asleep”. Important (but subtle, for some) difference!
Anyhow, If You Come To Greet Me is quiet but it’s still quite engaging. I think that definitely has something to do with it having the Norfolk and Western stamp on it. Indeed, most of the members of that Portland band take a turn backing up Gibson.
The resulting folk music is a bit emotional and even raw, and it’s going to remind the casual indie listener a bit of Chan Marshall. To me, it’s less bluesy and insistent but just as immediate. The musical instrumentation does get more fleshed out in certain songs than others, but remains firmly rooted in quieter, melodic folk and Americana. I’ve read a comparison of her voice to “sepia-tones” and “aged photograph” That pretty much sums it up well – this is a beautiful album that I think I’ll be able to put on the stereo 10 years from now and still enjoy.
1.5.07 | M. Ward – Cadillac Commercial
Here Comes The Sun Again
M. Ward, m. Ward, m ward – seems like everywhere I go the sky is pouring M. Ward. For good reason, I’d guess. I had really got into his songs after getting Transistor Radio and seeing him open up for Dios (Malos), but his latest album Post-War is just as strong. The music is so good, I totally forgive him for being music buddies with Conor Oberst on that Bright Eyes performance on Austin City Limits.
Here’s another place you’ll hear his songs in: commercials. This is another one I’d meant to write about immediately but it got pushed to the backburner for so long. Cadillac has been stepping up to the plate when it comes to using “indie” artists in their commercials.
The M. Ward song used in the Cadillac commercials was “Here Comes The Sun Again”. I heard it almost non-stop for awhile some months back and then they stopped playing it. I don’t even remember which model it was for (typical), but what I remember most about the commercial is the car being driven through a forest and the sunlight filtering through the leaves. It’s a great song – he really has that “ancient wise voice stuck in a young person’s body” phenomenon going.
Interestingly, I keep getting this particular song mixed up with “Paul’s Song” which is a few tracks back on Transistor. And that’s actually where I bit the first sentence of this post from, hehe.
Here Comes The Sun Again
1.18.07 | MBV Reunion
I know how much you all love to read old, second-hand (or third-hand in this case) music rumor news. But hey – it’s just like smoking: it has the same effect as the first-hand variety. Anyhow, here you go:
According to the latest Magnet magazine there is going to be a fricking new album from the seminal shoegazers My Bloody Valentine. While I know Shields has always remained involved with music, mostly through collaborations, it appears that in the mag he says he is “100 percent going to make another My Bloody Valentine record”.
Wow. I still put on Loveless on the stereo every so often. And seeing as how they’ve been nearly canonized by most indie music publications, I think there will be quite a few peeps interested in it.
Ok, Kevin. We’re all waiting with bated breath. Get crackin’.
Selected Albums on Itunes:
Sites to Visit:
1.28.07 | Origami Ghosts – Solving My Own Puzzles
Solving My Own Puzzles
[Hand to Mouth]
Got in this rather nice CD from Origami Ghosts the other day that’s been making the rounds on my Itunes. Though the band is mostly the vehicle of John Paul Scesniak from Seattle, he doesn’t drive the car all by his lonesome preferring to create some rather nice soundscapes with the help of various musical friends.
The influences listed include Modest Mouse and Pinback, which might be a good starting point. I especially here that in the vocals. But there is less rockabout and a stronger, evocative Americana /Folk type of feel injected throughout many of the songs. Part of this probably has to do with the different instrumentation (hammered dulcimer and cello?).
But it’s also inherent in the songs themselves which mostly run in the vein of moody acoustic folk dirges punctuated by occasional off-kiltre drum outbursts. The overall effect is fairly artsy, but not beyond the average listener’s reach.
A few of the artists brought to mind are Matt Pond PA (must be the cello), Built to Spill, Sam Prekop, American Music Club and Joan of Arc though Origami Ghosts don’t by any means sound exactly like any ONE of those bands. I liked at least 3/4 of this disc which is saying a lot in the new Palebear review format. Which is pretty darned picky…
1.15.07 | Owen – Bad News
All right. Time to get back into it. The music that is. For awhile, I’d been interested in picking up some of Mike Kinsella’s (drummer from Joan of Arc) stuff. In particular, his American Football endeavor because the few tracks I heard reminded me so much of American Analog Set.
I completely forgot about it. But I was reminded to plop American Football onto my Amazon wishlist again after hearing something from Kinsella’s other current vehicle “Owen”. (Side note: “Owen” seems to be an immensly popular name to choose for bands – I recall getting a couple different Owen CDs for review back in the day).
Anyhow, if this beautiful opening track “Bad News” is indicative of the quality of the rest of the album, I guess I’ll add Owen onto the list as well. It’s very hushed with acoustic guitar and piano, simple melodies and Kinsella’s mellow voice – again very much reminding me of Andrew Kenny. It’s split into two halves, the first part is very American Analog Set while the second is something of a throwback to Blue Guitar era Red House Painters, especially those acoustic guitar triplets.
1.24.07 | Rare Shark
No, not rare shark steak on the barbie. It’s an actual rare shark. Palebear likes de sharks, so this is what you get for today’s post. Ah, it’s been a long day.
Apparently, this is called a Frilled Shark and is rarely seen because it lives almost half a mile down under the sea. They only got this one by chance that was spotted by a fisherman and it died soon after.
Weird, crazy bulb like head stuck on a long body… really wickedly cool. I like this science stuff, especially the oceanographic variety, so look for more posts like this in the future to go along with the music reviews. Maybe this’ll morph into the first indie marine-music blog…
Read: Frilled Shark
1.1.07 | SSLYBY – Oregon Girl
Wow, this is some hooky stuff. I know absolutely nothing about Somebody Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (conveniently abbreviated SSLYBY), but their song “Oregon Girl” is an absolutely catchy and delicious track. The dossier says “Pavement” and “Shins” but I’m hearing more Fountains of Wayne coming through in the vocal melodies. As far as pure pop goes they’ve really got it down – hopefully will get my hands on this CD soon.
1.8.07 | The Go! Team – Civic Commercial
The Go! Team
So you heard a Honda Civic commercial the other day with a track that sounds sort of like your local high school cheerleading squad playing hiphop punk. You just heard The Go! Team doing “Huddle Formation” off of their Thunder, Lightning, Strike album. They slam through a crazy mishmash of resampled beats mixed in with live sounding cheerleading-like chants and guitar. Really weird instrumentation all over the place.
This is another one I’d been meaning to post forever. I usually just leave a little note to myself as a blog draft when these indie music commercials come up. But I usually forget about it, sometimes for months at a time. I vaguly remember the commercial itself was sort of similar to the Grandaddy commercial with stop motion married to film, flying paper airplanes, etc.
Although I’ve forgotten completely how the commercial went since last seeing it, one thing I do remember is actually hearing the same song being used for some sort of promo on one of the major networks, just a little while ago. So I guess The Go! Team is getting around. Now if only they would drop that pesky exclamation point that my Shift-Key impaired fingers stumble over every time I type their name…
1.3.07 | The New Year – Disease
The New Year
[Touch and Go]
Hm… so this is the new year. And to bite a DCFC lyric or two… I don’t feel any different.
Well, maybe a bit different. I feel like writing about music more now that the CRAZY REVIEWING MONKEY PRESSURE is off my back…
Back to talking about the new year. I somehow or another missed getting any CDs from the band The New Year which is amazing since I was a huge fan of Bedhead and saw them in shows many times (believe they opened for Yo La Tengo, or was it Red House Painters at the Alligator Lounge). After 1998 when they split up, I just somehow lost interest.
The Kadane Bros. new outfit isn’t such a new outfit after all, but it’s new enough for me. And if you’re expecting something other than the extremely dynamic, slowcore moody music that Bedhead was known for, prepare for disappointment. I love their new stuff, however. Same tinge of darkness, same emotion (before “emo” was something to cringe about).
The latest album they put out was in 2004 and is called “The End Is Near” which isn’t a very auspicious title for a band called The New Year. Anyway, the song I heard from them that I liked was called Disease and you can watch the video for it on the Touch and Go site.
1.30.07 | The One AM Radio – This Too Will Pass
The One AM Radio
This Too Will Pass
I am not quite sure what is going on, but lately I’ve been getting a ton of great music in the mail. I’m only surprised because 2006 was a year of so many bad or mediocre albums that found their way to our door. It’s sorta weird – the minute I decided to hell with being an “official” review blog, everything started to work out.
Well, I also DO have a soft spot for most of the stuff off Dangerbird too (hooray for SS Pickups). But for some reason I’d never heard of The One AM Radio before. This is the musical project of Hrishikesh Hirway who combines beautiful hushed vocals with extremely smooth and muted beats in his songs. It’s the kind of semi-electronica I can dig – a la Tristeza and Postal Service.
Hirway’s voice exudes unbelievable calm and it meshes with the songs amazingly well. I’d say that on more than a few levels he does remind me a bit of Jose Gonzalez or Kings of Convenience. I think he also might give N. Lannon a run for his money. But more than a few tracks like “Cast Away” and “You Can Still Run” have a Mark Kozelek feel to them – folk-drone shoegaze, or something in between.
Other songs like “Coming Back” and “A Brittle Filament” are almost orchestral or movie-like in feel. Trumpets, violins, upright bass are sprinkled throughout the album liberally among the beats. Interestingly enough, Pontiac did use one of his older tracks (“What You Gave Away”) in a commercial.
His latest album is called This Too Will Pass and I have to say that I didn’t need any convincing – I was into it right away, but then again this kind of music is right up my alley. Very evocative stuff…
1.21.07 | The Shins – Wincing The Night Away
Wincing The Night Away
A funny thing happened to me on the way to the post office box the other day. I got the new Shins release Wincing The Night Away in the mail… I guess it’s not such a FUNNY thing, but I’d thought that with all the lack of coverage at Palebear that I’d been booted off their promo list. It seems like every other blog (and their mom) had this release already. Good to know I’m still on the list, albeit at low priority. =)
Anyhow, too much has probably been written about the new record. I’ve surreptitiously been avoiding reading about it. You probably just want to know: is it worth picking up. The answer so far, in the 10 listens since I received it, is generally Yes. I can hear the Shinfanatics yelling at me now.
I guess it just didn’t grab me as hard as Inverted World or Chutes did right away. Sure, you’ve got your anthemic hits like “Phantom Limb” and “Turn On Me” which will always elevate them high in indie hearts. But it took a full 5 listens to get into many of the other songs. The quirkiness which has always been their strong suit is definitely still there. But in my opinion it’s often overly squandered on the louder material. “Sleeping Lessons” contains an interesting Air-like arpeggio mapped onto a double time snare-fest worthy of the Interpol or the White Stripes. “Australia” bounces along quite nicely, but “Pam Berry” is basically just a gratuitous Dick Dale Pulp Fiction surf line. “Sea Legs” sounds like a Beck outtake, while “Girl Sailor” is also an outtake but of the Belle and Sebastian variety.
Continue reading “The Shins – Wincing The Night Away” …
Bright Yellow Flowers...
I’ve been a fan of The Zephyrs for awhile now, having heard so many of their tracks on SomaFM. But I never got around visiting the website until recently.
The Scotland-based band creates dreamy soundscapes that range from Mojave 3 to Spirtualized to Low and Dirty Three.
They don’t have too many full songs for download but they do have a full length video for the song “So Called Beau” which mainly looks like pastiches from old home movies of waterfalls and the woods. The song I kept hearing on Soma was the beautiful slow-jam slide guitar driven “Galicia” which for some reason reminds me of a track off Beck’s Sea Change. Some really nice songs here for fans of shoegazey plus acoustic stuff.
1.9.07 | Will Westbrook of The Gerbils
I’m somewhat ashamed at not knowing that Will Westbrook from The Gerbils passed away last month. In my defense, I was supposed to be on Vacation From Music. I think their Are You Sleepy? is just about my all-time favorite E6 album there is (well, maybe tied with Beulah’s “When Your Heartstrings Break”). Spazzy and shaggy, The Gerbils made lo-fi indiepop into fuzzy sweetness. “Is She Fiona” is one of my favorite tracks of theirs. Like many E6 bands, definitely a hint ‘o tweeness, though I heard their later CD was less so.
They broke up in 1999, but the sad thing is that they had just recently gotten into playing again and even did SXSW this past year. I was thinking maybe I’d get a chance to see them play live if they toured.
I only ever had the one CD from them, but it was enough to really like their music. Anyhow, here are some video clips from them playing SXSW I found on the E6 Townhall Forum
and other Gerbils Links:
1.10.07 | Yo La Tengo – Live Sessions EP
Yo La Tengo just put out a 4 song EP that is available only on Itunes. I’m not such a big fan of locking things up exclusively in DRM, but if you’re a really huge fan (sigh, I USED to be) then you’ll want to check this out. The tracks were recorded live at a radio performance. Here’s the playlist, the middle two tracks are from their most recent album “I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Am Going To Beat Your Ass”.
Personally, I am not sure if such a small selection of 4 songs is worth it. Especially when you can find those rad WFMU live sets of them playing cover songs floating around in various blogs. But that’s just me…
1. El Es Gay
2. Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind
3. The Weakest Part
4. Luci Baines (Arthur Lee cover)