IN which sometimes one can be sucked into the gravitational pull of an unknown band by a list of influences: As Dodge from My Kentucky Blog says “Fans of Voxtrot, Belle & Sebastian, The Beach Boys and Orange Juice will probably love this band.” This is where I think to myself: “I like all of those bands!” and check them out. Guess what, Dodge is spot on, and I have a new band to follow.
This is sunny pop music, that is ultimately really safe (who doesn’t love pop music?), ends up being compelling enough to warrant the “instant order overload” You know, where you listen to a few songs and then order everything you can find? That is what I just did. Check it out.
In the process, I see that Cloudberry records is 73 records into some kind of series… awesome.
UPDATE: I just got word that I ordered a 3″ CD-r, not a 7″. I could take this down, but won’t.
a1: The Hollows
a2: By Torpedo Or Crohn’s (a remix by Dntel)
b1: Yoyo Bye Bye (a cover by Xiu Xiu)
b2: Pre-teen Apocalyptic Film Acting (Medley) (a cover by Half-handed Cloud)
Order directly from Anti-Con! (or get the UK version from TomLab)
This is Yoni Wolf (cLOUDDEAD, Hymie’s Basement, Reaching Quiet) and his brother playing really dark indie-style music – and it really works nicely. Just really solid songwriting and sharp production. There are two versions of this – the US version is the one I have, with all of the remixes being interesting enough (and the Xiu Xiu cover is worth a listen), but you are going to want this for “The Hollows,” which is worth tracking down both versions for.
The US version comes in Orange (1000 copies), and the UK version is in Purple (500 copies).
a: Throw it away
b1: Slate Train
b2: New Violence
Purchase re-press directly from Criminal IQ
French Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has a bit in one of his books where he talks about “selection/evaluation” – in that, with so much coming at us, it is impossible to account for all of it, so we end up tuning out large chunks of information. Pink Reason is a great example of this. Times New Viking, a band I have been really going crazy over in the last couple of months are one of the four or five bands that have put out LP’s on Siltbreeze, alongside Psychedelic Horseshit (who I have also been getting into) and… Pink Reason. Then for some reason I am on Myspace (looking for the impossible to find Times New Viking/Psychadelic Horseshit tour only 7″), and both band’s “top ten friends” (or whatever) contain Pink Reason. I was just not seeing them for whatever reason. My selection/evaluation device was selecting and evaluating this out of my world.
Finally, someone off of the message board of people who used to be into Guided by Voices (don’t ask) posted a sendspace link to some Pink Reason mp3’s, and all it took for me to check it out was the following description: “a more traditionally musical version of Jandek’s atonal folk-blues” – and suddenly I have a new favorite band this week. I’ve spent a lot of time in the interim tracking down everything I could find (I like it when it isn’t easy, more fun that way – I just got word from trickknee that I just paid for their last copy of the “By a Thread” 7″). This 7″ especially – originally released in 2006 (but reissued this fall) is, if nothing, one of the most haunting, removed and compelling pieces of vinyl that I have heard in a long time.
Finally, last night, the Pink Reason myspace page had a bit about how the band was finished, but that blog post has been removed with a post about how one should “avoid winding up the sole member of your band. The in-fighting is much more trenchant and fierce when you’re alone.”
Thanks to all who entered in the Times New Viking contest; I am keeping all of the entries for an upcoming “Fuck Buttons” picture 7″ contest, so stay tuned for that.
Also, look for my “Top 7″ releases to waste your days tracking down” list on Friday.
This is a crazy release, and I am not sure what is going on here except that I am a sucker for nice packaging and a good story behind a release. Apparently, is 7″ was a Russian bootleg that was seized by Austrian customs officers. The label got permission from the bands to officially release this, and so they decided to release it with crazy packaging and extras. The bootleg label SINRAFT (ok, I just got what is going on here) hyped the release as:
HERE IS THIRD RELEASE OF ILLICIT RECORDINGS OF SINRAFT RECORDS. LIVE RECORDED ON LONDON FROM KOSTYA DROBIK. INCREDIBLE AROUSE GUARANTEES. DOUBLE SUPER LIVE RECORDINGS OF NO WAVE ROCK!!! BOTH GROUPS IN SKIN GRAFT RECORDS.
AIDS WOLF IS CRAZY BAND OF MONTREAL ON CANADA!!! (HEARING LIKE “ARAB IN RADAR”!) PRE IS MAD BAND OF LONDON ON THE GREAT BRITAIN!!! (HEARING LIKE “MELT-BANANA”!) TOGETHER IS TWICE INTENSITY!!!! BONUS IS IMPROBABLE RECORD SLEEVE CALENDAR OF PRE AND AIDS WOLF GIRLS AND BOYS NO SHIRTS IN FULL COLOURS!!!! IS SUPER SEXY 2!!!
For those of you who don’t know about AIDS Wolf, they play music that, if I’m being honest, scares me a little. It’s so crazy, so loud that I am afraid listening to it in my room will open up a portal to another dimension (or get me evicted, one or the other). The Russians describing Pre as sounding like Melt Bannana, I suppose that is about as accurate a description as you are ever going to get.
For $8, you get the 7″ which comes packaged in a 7″ x 7″ eight-page calendar sleeve with topless pictures of both bands in full-color, and mailorder copies also include a double sided PRE / AIDS Wolf poster and seizure sticker. Which is a pretty good deal if you ask me. Or, if you throw in another couple of bucks, they are going to send you the bootleg Strangulated Beatoffs 7″ as well. That’s what I did, so I’ll write about this again when it comes in the mail.
a1: Little Green Onion Man
a2: Rich Man’s Girl
b1: Wigstomper 07
Pre-Order directly from Off Records
Another day, another Robert Pollard 7″ (my collection houses so much Pollard, they almost needs their own room). This one is another offering from The Takeovers features Chris Slusarenko, Decemberists drummer John Moen, Quasi’s Sam Coomes, and Brian Berg of 44 Long. “Little Green Onion” was originally on this year’s Takeover’s album “Bad Football” (which also had Steven Malkmus on it, and was easily in the top five things Pollard released this year).
The 7″ is coming out February 12 on Off Records, (950 CDs and 950 7″s. 500 of the 7″s are hand-numbered).
Also, first quarter 2008 will bring you the following Pollard releases (consider that Coast to Coast Tunnel of Love and Standard Gargoyle decisions was released only a few weeks ago) :
Robert Pollard – Superman Was A Rocker mini-cd/lp (Happy Jack Rock Records) late January
Psycho and the Birds – We’ve Moved full lgnth cd/lp (Happy Jack Rock Records) late February
Yet, of all the Pollard releases coming out in 2008, I am most excited about is “ Town of Mirrors : The Reassembled Imagery of Robert Pollard,” Pollards art book coming out June 2008 on Fantagraphics Books.
Velvet Claws, a two piece bass/drum duo that is notable for the fact that “Sticky” Henderson takes on lead vocals and bass. For those of you unfamiliar with the Mid-90’s Canadian indie-rock scene, Sticky used to play in a band called Weeping Tile, who were notable as “the band that used to have Sarah Harmer in it.” Sticky also wrote songs with Peaches…
What I love about this 7″ is the tone of the bass… reminds me of The Imbreds; actually, musically this is fairly engaging as far as two piece bands go. I just hate two things; 1) Sticky’s voice, which reminds me of the 1990’s in a bad way and 2) their cover of Brian Eno, which sounds horrible to my ears.
a1: My Head
a2: R.I.P. Allegory
b1: Allergy (The Petticoats cover)
b2: Western CIV
(Sold out already)
So, I got two of these in the mail today, and seeing as how these appear to be sold out already (and for good reason – have you heard the mp3 of the a-side yet?), I am going to give one away to one of my faithful readers. Email me your info to quartermass (at gmail.com) by this Sunday at MIDNIGHT, and I will do a random draw on Monday.
I honestly can’t think of a band that has excited me this much this year. The raw noise that assaults you before sucking you into the well concealed melody, the hook that just gets you every time. The a-side here, which I have been listening to constantly (though I will admit putting it into cool edit and ramping down the volume a bit, seeing as how every time it would come on, I would have to frantically find the volume knob), is just as good as it gets. The b-side stands up just as well – short, bratty and with energy that you just can’t deny.
The first b-side song “Allergy” is a cover of a Petticoats song, yet I have been unable to find out anything about them; anyone out there have any info?
Here’s hoping that Times New Viking blows up in 2008 (insound has pre-orders available for the full length coming out next month), and takes independent music out of the bloat we are currently experiencing.
a: Freak Out / Starry Eyes
b1: North American Scum (Onanistic Dub)
b2: Hippie Priest Bum-Out
Available at Scratch.
You know, sometimes being a completist can be really annoying, especially when the bands you love and actively “complete” are such dicks about doing over-seas only versions and then randomly repackaging them and re-marketing them. This is like a dare from the band – “we dare you to buy these same songs again.” I hate that shit.
James, let me get this straight: you are telling me that I can now purchase these tracks, which were previously available in the UK only (“Freak-Out” being the “All My Friends” 12″ b-side, and “Hippie Priest Burn-Out” was the b-side to the UK version of the “North American Scum” 7″) have been repackaged again (all three being available as well on the US version of the 45:33 CD that came out last month)? Especially since “Freak Out / Starry Eyes” is the only thing worth listening to on this, with “Hippie Priest Burn-Out” being such a snore-fest.
James Murphy I love you, but you’re bringing me down.
a: Kiss feat. Bonnie “Prince” Billy
b1: Centaurs R Us
B2: Do You Want To Be Buried With My People (Live)
Purchase from Scratch Records (though it isn’t coming up on the search…):
I think this is finally available domestically, which is nice. The “I think” qualifier comes from the fact that I can’t actually find it other than in the last Scratch records email. I’ll do some more work if anyone is interested in this.
This is the first single to be taken from Scout Niblett’s most recent album “This Fool Can Die Now.” Not really a huge fan of Scout, though I am a Wil Oldham freak, and this duet does a nice job of playing to both of their respective strengths. A down tempo, melodramatic love song that is perfect for anyone who just had their heart broken by an insensitive lover too cheap to buy Christmas presents. Epic. The video is awesome too:
This is such a nice change of pace; going back to basics with rudimentary pride. It only took two songs each to convince me that I need to follow both of these groups with funimentalist passion.
First up is Chicago based Cococoma, who do garage-punk like it never went out of style, and deliver the goods like few other bands I have heard on this genre recently. Their original “Never Be True” sounds like it belongs on a compilation of garage bands that you haven’t heard of, but with every track being a classic. Their cover of The Hipshakes “All I Give” made me want to fight, and also to listen to The Hipshakes. Which is convenient, because the flip side presents The Hipshakes in their fantastic glory, doing a fantastic job of giving it everything they have for two 90 second-ish songs.
a: Blow Me Down
aa: As Soon as Now
Hear both streaming on Myspace
Purchase from Rough Trade
This came with the Cajun Dance Party 7″ yesterday, and though I can’t even remember ordering it (or my reasons for ordering – I think it had something to do with the self-release nature and the comparison to the Wooden Shjips and Spacemen 3), but I can now say that my seven inch collection would have had a hole in it without this.
The classic “double a-side” format is appealing, though bit of a misnomer (“Blow Me Down” is clearly the a-side, “As Soon as Now” is clearly a b-side, which is not a put down). “Blow Me Down” starts, and immediately paints the wall of whatever room you are listening to it in with a coat of grime that you won’t ever be able to get off. Not to put too fine a point in it, but this is the culmination, the summary of every UK group that has made it big since Joy Division.
The aa-side is strong (though not as strong), with droning-acoustic guitars and some singing that, though I know this is lazy, sounds like Oasis (not the bloated corpses that fly around the world pretending to be Oasis).
This is an independent release limited to 500 copies, but you can get it from Rough Trade UK (I know…).
Another great 7″ from this group of kids out of the UK, and since their last 7″, it looks as if they went and got signed to XL. Good for them. “Amylase” is another strong single – not quite as immediate as “The Next Untouchables,” but almost as catchy. The B-Side, “Fill the Cups” is less successful, and I suppose works as a b-side, but not much more. The b-side is kind of disappointing really…
The packaging on this release is the draw here. It comes in a “hand stitched” outer sleeve, and the only way to get at the music (which includes the 7″ and the CD single) is to tear it open. I actually thought to myself “I can’t rip this!” but did anyway… I wonder how many people decided to keep theirs without opening it? This 7″ was limited to 500, and in the time between ordering and delivery, it has already sold out. Crazy. The only way to get it is on ebay (I saw one listed at 16 GBP, but linked to one that is more reasonable).
This is one of those things that you hear for the first time, and think to yourself “this is going to blow up.” I’ve always fancied myself with a talent for spotting bands that are going to eventually be huge, for example when I was in grade 6, I was into MC Hammer before anyone else in my grade 6 class room; I was listening to Blink before the 182; now with I am using this talent (my only talent of note) and I am telling you that this band is going to be huge.
2. They take a pre-existing (but tired) genre that everyone knows and loves (in this case, that mix of new wave fashioned pop-punk, with just the right amount of the “e” word thrown in, you will recognize the sound as soon as you hear it) and makes it relevent by being just different enough to seperate themselves from a glutted music market
3. They are uber prolific… check out the discography on their myspace page:
Broadway to Boundary are going to be a label to watch. This Mutators 7″ kind of comes out of nowhere, and the upcoming lineup features a Shearing Pinx 7″ in January and a Sex Negatives 7″ in December. It is nice to see Vancouver producing a scene like this, and it doesn’t hurt to have a local label to distribute it beyond the rockies.
I am going to agree with Jason’s assessment here; this is pretty damn good, but I can see some people absolutely hating the music. Too abrasive, too challenging, too fucking harsh. You have this band completely thrashing out, but with that element of drone that a lot of these West Coasters are going for.
On top of that, you have this woman absolutely screeching into the mic, getting that “screeching into the mic” distortion that we all know and love. Remember when the screamo sound went somewhat mainstream a couple of years ago? Especially in Canada, when Alexisonfire and Billy Talent blew up? That was nice screaming; this, on the other hand, will hurt your feelings.
The Mutators 7″ comes in blue vinyl and is limited to 300 copies.
I ordered this on a whim a month or so ago, after reading Thurston Moore’s guest list thing on Pitchfork, calling UK act Temperatures his favourite new band. Intrigued I hunted this down and then forgot all about it until it arrived yesterday.
Musically, this is experimental noise at its finest. Really off the wall, and after a few listens, I am starting to pull it all together in my head, but the effect of the noise and the randomness is really jarring at first. Of limited appeal to most music fans, but for those who are looking for a nice detour into the noise genre, this is a great place to find that.
The sleeve is amazing – one one side you get this glittery snowflake, and on the other, it looks as if the band heated up an element and individually burned each sleeve. I am a sucker for that kind of DIY treatment, and combined with the ultra-low release number (219 copies), this is a winner for me.
I ran across this on Pitchfork this morning, and it is still blowing my mind. Toronto band Fucked Up is releasing a charity single to benefit the Toronto Food Bank and George Herman House, a transitional housing program for women living with mental health issues.
The A-Side is from their upcoming album The Chemistry of Common Life. The b-side (and this is the mind blowing part) is a “Do They Know It’s Christmas” type deal that features:
LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy
Black Lips’ Cole Alexander
The Faint’s Jacob Thiele
the Horrors’ Faris Rotter
Rites of Spring’s Mike Fellows (!!)
Chromeo’s Dave One
Shenae Grimes of “Degrassi: The Next Generation”
AFI’s Davey Havok
What’s Your Rupture? label guy Kevin Peterson
Panthers’/Orchid’s Jayson Green
Poison Idea’s Jerry A.
Terror’s Scott Vogel
Attack in Black’s Dan Romano
Face to Face’s Trever Keith
According to Fucked Up’s blog, this is limited to 1000 copies, and while it is initially available only at the benefit show, it will be available online after the show. As they put it:
So don’t worry if you are some asshole from Omaha that needs a copy of the 7″ so you can sell it on eBay (“this record has never been played”), you will be able to obtain one.
a1: Someone Great (Album version)
a2: Time to Get Away (Gucci Soundsystem Remix)
b: Get Innocuous (Soulwax Remix)
c: Sound of Silver (Carl Craig Remix)
d: Us V. Them (Any Colour You Like Remix by Windsurf)
Its telling that every time anyone talks about Sound of Silver, it is prefaced with “album of the year.” I like that. LCD Soundsystem, bringing the people together! Even the people who hate a thing because everyone else likes that thing give terribly weak reasons why LCD aren’t among the most entertaining, most interesting “working” band.
Yet. if I am being honest, it took me a couple of months to actually fully embrace the album as a whole. I just couldn’t, for whatever reason, get into it. It wasn’t until I got Sound of Silver on vinyl that I fully understood what I was missing.
Here we have the third single from the album (the first being “North American Scum” which is available in 12″ and 7″ versions; the second being “All My Friends”, which is available as one 12″ and two separate 7″ that had Franz Ferdinand and John Cale covering the songs). James Murphy is continuing his trend of “dance songs go on the 12 inch/rock songs go on the 7 inch”, and that is exactly what we have here – remixes oriented towards the “dance” side of the equation.
The key selling point of this is the Carl Craig remix of the song “Sound of Silver,” and you have to give it up to the man – he does the most interesting remix on this single. Everything else does a serviceable job, but present the problem I generally have with remixes – growing up as part of the punk scene, I never really got the need for the dance remix if you weren’t using them to dance to. Give me the original any day. I suppose this is how I feel about this single; I like most of the tracks here, but, given the choice of listening to this or the LP, I am going to chose the LP every time.