3.29.07 | Celestial – Dream On
I keep messing up on Skipping Stones Records releases… for some reason we have reviewed very few of their albums, even though the majority are awesome releases. (I know we’ve missed talking about Dyrdin and The Charade, two great bands that they released stuff by). They’ve all spent some time on repeat in the playlist. So finally, here is one of their newest releases – Celestial’s “Dream On”.
It could be just coincidence, but this is another Swedish artist – Andreas Hagman is the brains behind this band. And you know how we like the Swedes. I don’t think it’d be going out on a limb to say that this album of great pop songs reminds me very much of The Field Mice, TBS, Galaxie 500, and East River Pipe… that’s for starters. Great swaths of dreamy pop melodies and reverbed, jangly electric guitars. The songs seem to neatly bridge the gap between shoegaze and twee – like a lot of the Sarah records which are said to be somewhat of an influence in the press bio.
There’s also a strange jangly undercurrent which reminds me of early REM at times. That feel doesn’t come up that often, but it’s there. Even after repeated listens, no one song on the album stands out as the best for me – all of them are keepers. If you liked your old school indie pop thick and dreamy, then you’ll like this album.
Celestial on MySpace
3.7.07 | I’m From Barcelona
On first impression, you’d be damn tempted to label the group I’m From Barcelona as a Swedish Polyphonic Spree – just because of how many members there are. Then you’d be tempted to say, well they only made it because of all the latest interest in all things musically Swede. Whatever the case, these dudes and dudettes create goofy ensemble pop songs sung in an entertaining orchestral twee style.
Meaning there’s a choral element and a whole lot of instruments thrown into the mix. Originally created by Emanuel Lundgren as a gag type of collective where he just invited all of his friends to participate. Twenty eight of them or so took up the challenge, many who had no musical experience at all. Then the band started to get airplay and web word of mouth spread them wide. It’s a story you hear told a lot nowadays. Sometimes it’s all hype but in their case, it’s deserving – the songs are really good. I just would hate to figure out how to split royalties among 28 people…
And yes… they are not actually from Barcelona – I don’t think Lundgren had even BEEN to Barcelona before naming the band.
I’m From Barcelona website
3.26.07 | If You Can’t Take The Heat, Don’t Submit
I am very A_N_N_O_Y_E_D. Here’s the deal. No matter who the hell you are, if you decide to submit your music to a music publication then that’s your right. However, it is NOT your right to ask to remove a bad review. That would be UNETHICAL, wouldn’t it? No? Well, screw off. That’s how I work, and I can’t think of too many major music publications that work otherwise. If you submit your music for review, we reserve the right to drag it through the mud and crap on it. We reserve the right to give it an “F-” score. We reserve the right to tell you that your music sucks. We reserve the right to tell you to keep your day job. If you don’t like it, I don’t particularly care. Talk to my hand, which is flipping you off.
(Disclaimer: The great majority of music submitters are VERY nice and wonderful folk and the above definitely does not apply to you. Sorry, but this is what you sign up for when you submit music to the Palebear pseudo music blog.)
3.5.07 | Kristoffer Ragnstam – Sweet Bills
“KR” is going to get abbreviated in that fashion heretoforth because of his keyboard-tripping name that ties up my fingers whenever I try to type that. Besides the name, the eclectic Swede has been turning my ear upside down with his trippy songs that ride on classic 70s melodies and sounds (Stones, T Rex, Late Beatles, etc.). I’ve also heard him being referred to as a “Beck of Swedes” but that’s not exactly accurate.
So what is accurate? No idea. The songs on Sweet Bills are definitely more straight rock at times but there is just an overall weirdness that permeates all the songs. He’ll throw in weird samples every so often and mixes in electronic stuff and over-distorted drums. Lots of funky horns thrown in the mix. I think you just have to hear KR and decide for yourself.
Do You Want A Piece Of Me EP
Kristoffer Ragnstam website
3.5.07 | M Coast – Say It In Slang
Say It In Slang
I woke up this morning and just realized how ASTRONOMICALLY behind I’ve fallen on getting new music posted on Palebear. We’re definitely not at a loss for new music… it’s coming out of my ears. Need to play catchup, so the reviews are going to come fast and short.
I’ve been trying to figure out M Coast (AKA Marshmallow Coast) for awhile now ever since I got their album in the mail. The first song, “Sailing Around The World” = Stereolab or Broadcast. The second song, “Out of the Water” = Folk Implosion. The third song, “One Fine Day” = Masters of the Hemisphere plus, uh Free Design? Does that give you a general picture? I hope so, because that’s all you’re going to get to go on from me.
Seriously though, this is another super excellent indie pop album that just slipped through the cracks. Oh, and by the way this is an E6 collective band so that explains the “sounds like Masters” comment.
3.13.07 | Midnight Movies – Lion The Girl
Lion The Girl
[New Line Records]
You know, I have to say I was guilty of judging a book by its cover. The name Midnight Movies just sounds like a band I wouldn’t be into – like ugh, Ska, or something. It turns out that they’ve got a cool modern sound mixed with a tinge of 80s – but they’re definitely more along the darker rock or dreamrock scheme of things. No Ska here.
Their sound reminds me a bit of Clinic and Blonde Redhead (who they’re touring with) though the vocals are sort of Nico plus Stereolab. Funny, on the slower areas of the songs I also hear Madder Rose? The music can come across a bit detached or distant at times, though that’s definitely on purpose. They also bear a resemblance in style to the great Silversun Pickups, and I believe they’re also a local band right here in my backyard.
I was sent their new release “Lion the Girl” the other day and I have to say it’s one of the stronger albums I’ve received this year. It ain’t going to replace Loney, Dear as the front runner, but it’s pretty high up there. And it’s a totally different sound – rocking all tomorrow’s parties in every way.
Midnight Movies on Myspace
Midnight Movies website
3.23.07 | Newt, Knut, Gnute
Ahh… look at ze polar bear. See the polar bear. Be the polar bear. Hoorrayy polar bear!
At the Berlin Zoo.
3.18.07 | Palebear Blurbs – Mar 18 07
Whew, boatloads of music coming in the door lately. And many more to be found just looking around on the web. If there was only more time, time, time to listen, listen listen! Anyhow here’s a few to check out:
1. Switchblade Heart – Star (MBV, MBV, MBV, Swirlies)
2. Birds – Eric Mattsson (a bit of Swedish Hayden)
3. The Ballad of John Ashley – Kelly and David (Some kind of Americana plus Bluegrass plus Neko Case)
4. Will We Ever – Your Heart Breaks (twee like Tullycraft plus Gerbils)
5. Spoiler – Oh! Custer (Galaxie 500, PB&J, Loney Dear)
3.5.07 | Sparrow House
I’ve really been noticing that compared to a lot of other music review blogs, I tend to post in clumps. Their coverage is pretty much every other day, or even multiple times a day. I tend to save up all the new music until the end of the week and post it all at once. Makes for a bit of confusion keeping track of all the bands in my head though.
Which is why I’ve started doing massive numbers of blog “drafts” to try keep it in order until they can be posted later on. The unfortunate thing about that is that sometimes I’ll forget and a great band won’t get mentioned for another few months.
Sparrow House is one of those bands. I’d heard “You Sang Along” on SOMA and immediately went to check them, or him, out. Him being Jared Van Fleet. That song sounded like a mixture of N. Lannon and Earlimart – some good mellow stuff. The other tracks run a similar vein, with “When I Am Gone” sounding an awful lot like an Iron and Wine track. You’ll have to visit Jared’s myspace page to listen because there’s not currently much on the homepage, and actually the EP “Falls” is sold out though he’ll be getting in some more product soon. Interesting, he’s doing 4 EPs in a row, one for each season of the year.
Jared’s also in the band Voxtrot, but after listening to the tracks I have to say personally I dig his solo stuff more.
Sparrow House on MySpace
Sparrow House website
3.5.07 | SXSW Preview: The Femurs
The Femurs offer up a frenetic style of acoustic indie rock with punk rock count-em-off stylings like the Ramones. At least that’s what it’ll seem like on the surface – however they’re much less distorted (actually, no distortion), which is where I guess the Violent Femmes comparison comes from. The track offered on the SXSW site is “Not Giving Up” is really energetic and a little big wiggy with the superfast acoustic guitar line underneath that sounds almost like a spaghetti western played by Dick Dale. Fun songs from this Seattle based band.
SXSW Friday March 16 11:00 p.m.
at Whisky Bar
Not Giving Up
Femurs on Myspace
3.16.07 | The Album Leaf – Cadillac Commercial
The Album Leaf
Always For You
So Cadillac keeps throwing them at us. Earlier they’d served up both M. Ward and Luna as backing music for their commercials. This time around they pick the instrumental part of a great song by The Album Leaf. The song in question is “Always For You” and it’s the 2nd song off of their latest album “Into The Blue Again”.
Once again, I don’t remember too much about the actual commerical except that it was for the Cadillac Escalade. I always seem to get distracted when recognizing background music in commercials that’s from an indie band. I recognized it right away because I have both this album and their earlier one “In A Safe Place”. This one should be pretty good – since there are no words in the section (I wonder if it was a loop or a snippet?) of song being used, you’d probably have a harder time trying to google the lyrics…
Actually, if you liked the part of the song that was used in the commercial you’ll probably dig the rest of their stuff. They tend toward mostly instrumental mellow songs that are “electronic” in the sense that they use a lot of different sounds, but there is an amazing organic feel to the tracks.
They might come across very similar to Postal Service. Who, by the way, have gotten one of their songs used again recently in a UPS commercial. The EXACT SAME ONE in fact that was used for Kaiser Permanente (I don’t even remember the name), which calls for a rant: a word to UPS – stop trying to jump on the cool-indie-music-in-commercials bandwagon and find your own damn songs. That’s what you’re overpaying your music directors (or whatever it is they’re called nowadays) for. They could have picked any other Postal Service track or any other similar indie band, but NO… they were just too damn lazy. OK, rant off – have a nice day!
Always For You, by The Album Leaf
3.8.07 | The Besties – Rod ‘N’ Reel
Rod 'N' Reel
It’s been awhile since I reviewed an actual record. Not that we haven’t been getting them in the mail – but I just have either forgotten or put it off till later. This delicious little 7″ from The Besties showed up on my doorstep the other day. The two songs are Rod ‘N’ Reel and Working Title and both are delectable little twee nuggets destined for more than a few plays on the old turntable. Yes, a turntable, the little thing that makes the vinyl discs go round and round , for all you Itunes-only folks…
Besides this Hugpatch release, they have also have a new CD out on Skipping Stones called “Singer”. Nice melodies from this Brooklyn band. Also, a connection with Shumai the Boston band I think I reviewed awhile back…
The Besties on Myspace
3.22.07 | The Hazzards of a Gay Boyfriend
Oh, I am ashamed. Ashamed because somehow or another I missed watching this video when it first appeared in 2002. I just have been completely out of the social networking loop, it appears. Five years down the line, I’ll try to make amends by posting the link here.
The “band” is The Hazzards, and the song is called “Gay Boyfriend.” Which I just heard on SOMA FM. I didn’t even know there was a video – I was just kind of intrigued by their ukelele-pop plus Shaggs type of singing. Actually, the reason I noticed the song was that I thought it was some sort of outtake for the All Girl Summer Fun Band song “Canadian Boyfriend”.
If you have not watched it you must watch it now. So you, too, can once again fall back into the woooonderful social networking fold. Go…
The Hazzards – Gay Boyfriend
The Stalking Horses
This Is Your Signal
I have two words for you: Bettie Serveert. Indeed, I’d only recently looked up that group which was one of my fave bands of the 90s and found that they were still making music. So when I put in The Stalking Horses CD I thought that maybe for some reason I’d accidentally gotten a Bettie Serveert album mixed up with it. Sarah Pinsker reminds me so much of Carol Van Dijk, of course minus the Dutch inflections.
However, when the second song “Push On” kicks in, its clear that there are other musical ideas afoot. I definitely do hear the damaged post-punk reference to Afghan Whigs in the music, though the everything isn’t as over the top as Greg Dulli and company can get. The underlying music is more rootsy than punk. I have to confess I’m not such a big fan of “roots-rock in the heartland” type music, however indie it is… in fact if it weren’t for the Bettie resemblance this might have been a CD I’d have passed on. However, listening to the CD a couple times the whole thing started to grow on me.
They have other songs like “Still Be Here” that are a bit more varied and mellow, almost alt-country like if that phrase still means anything nowadays. A bit of an Americana-rock feel to other tracks. For some reason I also hear the echoes of a 90s band called Madder Rose. This is another worthwhile release from The Beechfields label.
3.13.07 | This Guy Can Run
Ok, I am sorry but there is absolutely no way that this guy is not completely RAD.
Source: via Wired
3.16.07 | Tobias Fröberg – Panasonic Commercial
Oopsydaisy. I’d earlier posted about Tobias Fröberg who was a great find while doing SXSW previews. Turns out I didn’t realize he that his music was also used for a Panasonic Lumix Commercial. The song used is called “When The NightTurns Cold”
In case you’re new here, I’m big on discovering when companies use the lesser known (or famous) indie bands and artists in their commercials. I try to post about them whenever possible – interesting, but more than once this has solved a mystery for more than one person looking for who wrote the music in a commercial! Neat.
You can watch the actual commercial here, and the link to the track on Itunes is below.
3.26.07 | Wax and Wane – Winter
Wax and Wane
I feel uneasy. That’s the mood that Baltimore’s Wax & Wane puts me in. I got a copy of their Winter CD and its spent a good amount of time in my Itunes playlist so far. Word is that they’re channeling Broken Social Scene.
I guess that could be correct, but the truth is they are channeling a TON of stuff here. There is a lot of moody strings haunting the tracks which definitely adds to the strange uneasy feeling they put you in. This seems to be another one of those great collective-type groups (Reindeer Section, New Pornographers – although there are only 5 members listed) where everyone plays “Various Instruments”. The other instruments range from horns and piano to what sounds like handmade bells.
Lead vocals switch from male to female nicely. Other RIYLs might include Low and Norfolk and Western. Uh, a little American Football perhaps? Anyhow, I dig the organic songs, dig the pretty melodies, and dig the overall folksy mood. Beautiful stuff.
Wax and Wane on Myspace
Valiant Death Records