4.6.07 | Cat In The Hat, Er, Bass Drum
For a long time, we’d been trying to get the Shmat to sit inside of the bass drum. He wouldn’t have any part of that so we gave up years ago. Then, just the other day we came home and found him sitting comfortably inside. I dunno why he decided it was safe all of the sudden – if he hears drums he usually goes into hiding…
Eisenhower Field Day
Let's Not Tell Lies
Funny, I nearly put this CD by Eisenhower Field Day aside after hearing the first few tracks of “Let’s Not Tell Lies”. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for the music at the time.
Then, a half hour later I took another look at the press kit and saw that this disc also contains their older EP “Our Time In The Colonies”. On a whim, I put the CD back in and was immediately struck by how good the songs were. I’m not sure why that happened… later after returning to the earlier album I saw what they were going for. I do like a few of the newer tracks, but so far I seem to identify with the older ones more. Lucky for them, they put their old EP on here or else I probably wouldn’t have written about the CD at all!
This is a louder sort of melodic power pop/punk that they’re playing that really harkens back to early 90s indie rock. The band they most remind me of is Superchunk, I think it’s that Noah’s voice reminds me of Mac. I immediately loved “Don’t Throw Away” which is really catchy. The drums are being played really fast on nearly all the songs. “Exit 51″ is great as well, but my favorite track is definitely “On The Weekend”. (The guitar part on the song will remind some people of a Smashing Pumpkins track, but don’t let that fool you.) “Five After” has an off-kiltre sort of groove to it that reminds me of Dismemberment Plan and several other tracks have that same feel. For the newer album, I ended up liking “National Sunday Law” the most. I’ll probably have to go back and give the new stuff some more listening time later on.
Eisenhower Field Day website
Trading Twilight for Daylight
Boy, I’d been meaning to make a post about Great Northern for quite awhile now after getting their latest album “Trading Twilight for Daylight”. The CD’s been on my favorites list in Itunes for quite awhile now, but as with all things with Palebear it’s just taken so long to write them up. I’m pretty sure they’ve gotten their fair share of good press though, so this entry is nothing more than a footnote about their music.
Hailing from the famous Ship collective in my neck of the woods (Grandaddy and Earlimar count themselves as members of that collective), they make some of the greatest dreamrock that I’ve heard since the Delgados. And actually, the first track “Our Bleeding Hearts” was SO like the Delgados that I did a double take. I think it was the delicate bells in the background, the dreamy atmosphere that slowly lopes along like a wolf, and the great vocals from Rachel Stolte.
Their dramatic songs definitely reminds me a bit of other Silverlake bands like Giant Drag and Silversun Pickups. I also felt a little Viva Voce sneaking in there perhaps. The structure of other songs like “Telling Lies” sound like they were written by Aaron Espinoza or Elliott Smith. The hits on the album are pretty much non-stop, at least I felt that way. They put together some really amazing music in this album that’s all about setting up a distinct dreamy mood – it’s like swimming through songs. Really great stuff – I don’t think the album is officially out yet, I believe mid-May is when you should be able to get your hands on it.
Great Northern website
4.3.07 | J. Forte – Lines To Follow
Lines To Follow
Psst. Here is some secret pop music, so secret, I guess that the album is actually called “Secret Pop”.
All kidding aside, this is a delicious energy bomb of a song by J. Forte. Late of Ape House (never heard of ‘em) and now of Lejeune (never heard of ‘em as well), Mr. Forte offers up some delicious pop in the vein of Silver Scooter, Subset and Beulah (I’ve definitely heard of ‘EM). Maybe a bit of Magnetic Fields and Matthew Sweet in there as well. Come Back Now Baby is also a great energetic track.
Secret Pop – J Forte
J Forte’s website
4.12.07 | KV 1922-2007
“We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodley do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.”
Goodbye, Kilgore Trout.
Songs For Ice Cream Trucks
OK, if ever there was a CD I got that screamed “gimmick” on first look, it’s got to be this one. But the problem with dismissing Michael Hearst’s Songs For Ice Cream Trucks like that is that the songs are so damn delicious while retaining their intended funny bone attitude. That attitude might be a little like Mr. Rogers meets early Magnetic Fields or something.
Michael uses a large number of different instruments (including melodica, chord organ, claviola theremin and more, all detailed on the site) but the best parts are the glockenspiel and other bells which really makes me hungry for ice cream. Some sort of primal thing, I’m sure – a deeply ingrained Pavlovian response that people have to ice cream truck sounds.
Many of the tracks aren’t really songs – they sort of remind me of the quirky music that pre-dotcom-bust tech companies used to have playing in the background of their 30 second commercial pitches. There’s a strange sort of “new but old world” sound to a lot of the tracks. I think kids would definitely dig this stuff, but adults are going to get a kick out of these instrumentals as well. I have trouble describing what genre this might fit under… ice cream twee? The only other band I can think of as a reference might be They Might Be Giants – especially in regards to their kids album “No!”
You can check out the songs and the ice cream truck attitude on the website (which is all in Flash, and someone obviously took a ton of time to design it).
Songs For Ice Cream Trucks
4.11.07 | Miou Miou
I can’t believe I missed this band Miou Miou, who are from the Czech Republic. This must be about 9 months after they sent me the email – ah well, you know how it goes. Miou Miou plays a delicious brand of quirky pop which sort of sounds like the Cardigans plus Stereolab plus Ivy. The track I heard was “A l´été de la Saint-Martin ´68″ off of their 2006 release “La La Grande Finale”.
The other tracks that I heard from their Myspace page are quite a bit different – they are almost all more mellow than Saint-Martin. Oh, I forgot, I think they are singing in French (and sometimes English?) but it sounds like a different type of French to me. Not that I speak it at all. But anyhow, back to the songs… those mellow ones like “360″ and “Mon Minet” almost remind me of Innocence Mission, Shoestrings or Yum Yum. Very pretty and sweet, but not saccharine sweet. Bells, twee drum machines and softer acoustic guitars make for some very enjoyable tracks.
Miou Miou website
4.8.07 | Oh! Custer
I’ve been enjoying a few tracks from Oh! Custer lately… I’d meant to post about them after seeing them on another music blog months ago. (I keep wanting to call them “Oh! Custard”, no offense to the guys) Don’t know too much about the band except they are a Swedish duo who play some great melodic shoegazey songs. Reminds me a little bit of East River Pipe plus Galaxie 500, with Peter Bjorn and John singing. There’s a bit of a lo-fi twee thing going on in the background, but the chords are very dreamy sounding. The two songs listed below are from their EP “Leaves”, but I think they have another EP that’s coming out soon (or already out?) called “States”.
4.21.07 | Palebear Blurbs – Apr 22
Gah, this particular Palebear Blurbs has become necessary in order to at least give a mention of some of the music coming in. Because there has been so much new stuff lately that it’s overflowing out of my ears. I usually like to try do a full writeup on bands, however long it may take (read: 12-18 months sometimes!) but time has been short lately. Oh well, better than nothin’, ey?
2. Rows Of Homes – Western States Motel (Man, this reminds me of a Grandaddy Song)
5. Phoenix Rising – Dora Flood (Black Rebel Motorcycle plus The Church?)
4.3.07 | Palomar
I had heard a great track called “How to Beat Dementia” from the band Palomar on WOXY the other day. This track isn’t available on the site but a number of other ones are on their MySpace. Excuse me, I meant on MyDisgrace – sure am slipping up in my old age…
Interesting thing about the band: they seem to be naming all their releases with their name plus a roman numeral… so you’ve got Palomar II, III. They’ve also got a funny sense of humor as evidenced by their press photos and the video for Albacore. Man, anyone who names a song after a tuna is all right in my book.
The music itself – I’m not going to attempt to make yet another leap to That Dog, but there are a few similarities. Bit of Rilo Kiley perhaps. For the most part they’ve got great melodies going over jumpy indie pop that’s immediately likeable. That one track I heard – for some reason I had mentally filed it away under “shoe-gaze”. But if you listen to any of their Myspace tracks it’s definitely more poppy.
Their latest release for the Brooklyn band is out on Misra (who they recently signed with – incidentally I think Absolutely Kosher and Misra merged awhile ago!) and is called “All Things, Forests”. Oh, but no roman numerals for this album…
4.5.07 | Randi Russo – Shout Like A Lady
Shout Like A Lady
I surprised myself taking a shine to this album by Randi Russo (incidentally, I’m having a devil of a time trying to make my brain spit out “Randi” instead of “Rene”). “Shout Like A Lady” surprised me by sounding a whole lot less mainstream than I thought it would. There are going to be some obligatory comparisons to Liz Phair, although Randi isn’t her splitting image or anything. The attitude is similar, though the sound is much difference.
Some Naysayer, a little Kim Gordon, maybe echoes of PJ Harvey. Lots of rough and bruised vocals over what appears to be standard folk-rock at first. But I liked the drony quality of a few of the tracks like “Dead Horse, Live Ground” which makes it a bit different than some of the other stuff I get sent. “Ceiling Fire” has a nice, lazy drawl to the music and sounds almost like a Red House Painters song. Other tracks throw in a little more honky-tonk blues, and for the most part I could do without those. But there’s some very worthwhile tracks on the album if you like any of the artists I mentioned.
Randi Russo on Myspace
Randi Russo’s website
4.3.07 | Rogue Wave – Heroes Soundtrack
Ok, a confession: I’m not quite there on the cutting edge of TV shows. Yep, hard to believe but true. Only recently, I “discovered” the show Heroes because they’ve released all the episodes up until now on the web as a free stream. I’ve quickly become addicted.
In the pilot episode for Heroes and I think in a few of the other episodes there was an absolutely great acoustic song playing in the background. I knew right away it was an indie band, but I just couldn’t place it – for some reason it reminded me of a tender and sweet early Sebadoh song. Or maybe a solo Ben Gibbard thingy. It turns out that it’s called “Eyes” by Rogue Wave. It you go back to watch the pilot, you’ll recognize it as the song where they keep singing “in your eyes…” over and over again.
I did a quick search on the web and it’s apparently been used previously in the soundtrack to the movie Just Friends. I was trying to figure out why I hadn’t heard the song before because I’ve got both Descended Like Vultures and Out Of The Shadow. It turns out it’s a B-side for “Publish My Love”.
Rogue Wave is one of those bands who just took an inordinate amount of time to grow on me. It wasn’t until I heard “Eyes” and simultaneously checked out their cover of The Pixies’ Debaser that I realized how much I actually liked the band. Better late than never, eh? The phrase “Slicin’ up Eyeballs” never sounded so mainstream…
Rogue Wave website
4.3.07 | Speaker Speaker – We Won’t March
We Won't March
Once in a great (great) while I feel the need to speed up my usual slowcore, acoustic guitar loving brain. In that case I usually reach for jumpy stuff like PB&J or Masters of the Hemisphere. But Speaker Speaker might also do for those times as well. Frenetic, fast paced slamdance indie rock is the name of the game for the Seattle based band on their We Won’t March EP.
They’re like a nosebleed on overdrive, coming down hard on you like The Thermals with extra snarls, a little Mission of Burma, a little old school 90s punk grunge. The emo moments don’t please me as much, but you can’t ignore their enthusiasm. The better moments are when they soar rather than scream. I sort of wish they were a little more melodic and less rawk. Still, they’ll give you a punky earful – have a listen.
Speaker Speaker on Myspace
Speaker Speaker website
4.19.07 | Spraydog – Karate Summer Camp
Karate Summer Camp
I rather like this album we got in from Spraydog the other day. The band hails from Newcastle upon Tyne but there are some connections to the U.S. (they released off the familiar Kittridge label earlier). Really soaring and powerful indie rock songs on the album – there’s that definite hint of off-kilter guitar chords that will lead you down the path of Sonic Youth. The simultaneous boy-girl vocals, however, remind me of indie pop bands like Butterglory or Imperial Teen but with a definite rock edge. Listening to them is like being in a bit of a timewarp back to the early 90s, when this type of sound ruled the indie roost. But this is definitely my type of sound – immediate, shoegazey, a bit noisy and with great melodies.
4.30.07 | Welcome to The Monkey House
Hey. Interested in having a chance of getting your record reviewed? Here’s a tip: DO NOT EMAIL US ABOUT THE STATUS OF YOUR RECORD. DO NOT CALL US TO ASK ABOUT IT. DO NOT CONTINUE TO BOTHER US REPEATEDLY OVER SEVERAL MONTHS. DOING SO SEVERELY WASTES OUR TIME.
DO NOT LIKE IT? I DO NOT CARE.
</ Rant, Shouting Off>