Sunday, December 28, 2008

Guitar: Honeysky / Saltykisses
release: November 11, 2008
(originally issued 2004/2005)
style: shoegaze, dream pop, ambient pop
sim: Swallow, Flowchart, His Name is Alive, M83
[rating: ****] German Michael Lueckner (guitar/programming) and Japanesian Ayako Akashiba (vocals) follow the blueprints of My Bloody Valentine's "Soon" for a large portion of these two albums. This isn't a surprise for an artist like this. What is unexpected is that they put a world-influenced spin on Honeysky and Saltykisses, which were not released in the USA until now. Lueckner surrounds himself with sound effects in achieving quintessential, vibrant dreampop that is an out of guitar experience. Guitar explores the other side of the coin with acoustic/organic pieces that belong together on a separate collection. Next album due February 2009. Yay. -Kenyon

Someone gets shot for talking during movie. it's about time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Raveonettes 2009 Tour Dates
1.15.09 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
1.16.09 New York, NY Webster Hall
1.17.09 Washington, DC Black Cat
1.23.09 San Francisco, CA Bimbo's 365 Club
1.24.09 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theater

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The 1900s: Medium High EP (Parasol)
release: January 20, 2009
style: indie pop
[rating: ***1/2] This 7-track collection of previous, mostly early unreleased songs from the Chicago group can be sorted next to Belle and Sebastian, not only for a close resemblance of vocals but also for an underlying somberness. The psych indie pop has touches of 1970s soft pop in "When I Say Cohen", "Making Love in Summertime" and more. A timeless afternoon delight. The album cover is sorta bad though. -Kenyon

: Throwing Sparks (Clairecords)
release: November 11, 2008
style: dream pop
[rating: **1/2] Life is too short to be spending 2.5 years on a record. My Bloody Valentine is the exception, of course. Work on the debut eight-song record by Florida-based Averkiou caused hundreds of re-takes and a member threatening "to smash his guitar into the wall." So dramatic. Life is too short for perfectionism. Averkiou's multi-layer vocals and waves of dense guitar crash somewhere between early MBV and M83. The only problem is the lack of a catchy melody to push Throwing Sparks beyond average shoegaze/dream pop. -Kenyon

The Secret History: Desolation Town EP (Le Grand Magistery)
release: November 11, 2008
style: indie rock
[rating: ***] Featuring ex-members of indie pop band My Favorite as well as daughter of David Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, Secret History is deep in tragic literary poetry. Like the latter day My Fav EPs, i'm sure there is a theme on Desolation Town relating to historical figures, though there are also some religious references. Secret History is musically rootsier than My Fav, though still maintains the urgent pop, like in the Stars-esque "The Ballad of Haunted Hearts." -Kenyon

Lowfish: frozen&broken
(Noise Factory)
release: October 14, 2008
style: minimal electro
similar: Kraftwerk, Luke Slater, Solvent
[rating: ***1/2]
Producer Gregory De Rocher is Lowfish, which proves there is still life to be given to minimal electro. De Rocher's brand of electronics is done with analaog synths and IDM blips. There are no vocals, not even use of vocoder for this guy who has toured with Adult. There are some steady tempos on frozen&broken, though it's more for the headphones than the dancefloor. -Kenyon

Sunday, December 21, 2008

U2 > No Line On The Horizon > March 2, 2009

Saturday, December 20, 2008

2008 is so last year. Obligatory top albums of 2008 and other year-end acknowledgements without looking at other top lists so i would not be influenced.

1. Glasvegas: Glasvegas (Columbia)
2. M83: Saturdays = Youth (Mute)
3. Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
4. Lykke Li: Youth Novels (LL)
5. Ting Tings: We Started Nothing (Columbia)
6. Ladytron: Velocifero (Nettwerk)
7. Crystal Castles: Crystal Castles (Last Gang)
8. Bloc Party: Intimacy (Vice)
9. Ruby Suns: Sea Lion (Sub Pop)
10.Futureheads: This is Not the World (nul)

others of note:
Tapes 'N Tapes: Walk it Off (XL)
Walter Meego: Voyager (Almost Gold)
Pack A.D: Funeral Mixtape (Mint)
Does it Offend You, Yeah?: You Have No Idea... (Almost Gold)
Forward Russia: Life Processes (Mute)
Magnetic Fields: Distortion (Nonesuch)
Passion Pit: Chunk of Change EP (Frenchkiss)

top 5 songs

1. Ting Tings- "Great DJ"
2. Kings of Leon- "Sex is on Fire"
3. Uh Huh Her- "Not a Love Song"
4. The Verve- "Love is Noise"
5. Ladytron- "Ghosts"


Wierdest album- Brian Jonestown Massacre: My Bloody Underground
Artists i was sick of hearing about in 2008- She and Him, Vampire Weekend, Black Kids
Best concert - My Bloody Valentine. duh!
Best non-local band performance at local venue- Shiny Toy Guns
Biggest let down on film- X-files: I Want to Believe
Best live WWE wrestling event- Royal Rumble
Most awesome wrestler - CM punk
Saddest non-music story of year - Polar bears resorting to cannibalism
Dumbest local news story- Montauk monster
My own most-spoken quote- "Obama's in the HOUSE!" and "The ice caps are melting, we're all going to die soon and Obama can't save us."

Best humorous video to sum up 2008--- McCain gets Barack rolled.

thanks for reading. and now i go look at other best of 2008 lists.

update: aha! fleet foxes tops on pitchfork. hercules and love affair #1 song? they are out of their f-ing minds. that song is sh*t.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Autodrone: Strike a Match (Clairecords)
release: November 11, 2008
style: noise pop rock, dream pop
similar: A Place to Bury Strangers, Experimental Aircraft, Swoon 23
[rating: **1/2] Crashing into the noisier, darker side of the dream pop spectrum is Autodrone, who finally gets proper release of its first full-length. The female vocals, which aren't buried in the mix like one might think, are balanced against the brooding guitar tricks of Jeremy Alisauskas, who has credit with Projekt artist Unto Ashes. The band sets the sun on fire with effects and white noise while also embracing its passive side, even bordering on a melodic jangle. Through most of the album, however, Strike a Match can feel like noise for noise's sake. -Kenyon


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bloc Party >> "One Month Off" >> new video.
Because one band isn't enough.
Perhapst >> audio

John Moen of the Decemberists and previously and currently of a ton of other bands and peoples fronts Perhapst. His self-titled debut stays close to the home of his primary band. Although Moen plays most of the instruments for Perhapst, guests include Stephen Malkmus. Did i mention Moen is also the drummer for Robert Pollard's Boston Spaceships? god dammit! you know, some of us have ZERO BANDS.

[mp3] - "Quote"
[mp3] - "Incense Cone"
[mp3] - "Aren't You Glowing"
Peter Bjorn and John >> new audio + video.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

new audio>>>the Faunts

"Feel.Love.Thinking.Of." [mp3]
from album out February 17, 2009
new audio>>>The Raveonettes - "Come On Santa" [mp3]
do the Raveonettes really need a photo right now? come on, you should KNOW they look cool!

new audio>>>Frank Hoier

"Jesus Don't Give Tax Breaks to the Rich" (mp3)
This folk porched Hoier is hitting the road with The Weber Brothers. "Jesus Don't" is from his Lovers & Dollars, issued November 11, 2008.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Combichrist. new audio + video - "Sent to Destroy"

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Tractor Kings: Homesick
release: October 28, 2008
style: country indie rock
similar: Follow the Train, My Morning Jacket
[rating: ***] The one consistent member Jake Fleischli is missing home and some other things on a lonesome western rock road. Obvious titles are "See You Again" and "Black Hole in My Heart" to name a few. His thoughts are a common subject for song and his sleepy vocals may be hitting some flat notes, but Homesick is heartfelt, especially in opener "Bright Lights and Headlights," which, because of the pedal steel, is like a guy fronting Mazzy Star. Once again produced with Matt Talbott of Hum, the Tractor Kings walk a line of ringing guitars and shuffling drums that fade into the dusk. -Kenyon

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dirty on Purpose (who have been interviewed by me) will be playing a "farewell show" with A Place To Bury Strangers (who have yet to answer my interview questions) on New Year's Eve at Mercury Lounge, NYC.

From the DOP camp: "We got back from tour about a month ago and sat down to talk about recording another record, and realized we didn't really want to record another record. Not now anyway. So we're going our separate ways. We're still playing music and we hope you'll come support our other projects: Joe and Doug harmonize sweetly in Neckbeard Telecaster; George shreds the bass in Coin Under Tongue; Joe helms Joe and the Flying Spoons; and Doug plays with Purse Snatchers and Black Acid. We reserve the right to change our minds and get back together in six months if we feel like it."
Margot Blanche [New York] - Her name fits into the first half of the 20th century, just as her music does. But Blanche updates it, using big band/jazz backgrounds ala the Real Tuesday Weld, complete with back-up singers. Comparisons to Amy Winehouse are futile. Margot Blanche's sultry voice helps keep her true to the roots and with exceptional composure to boot. It's quite a surprise she hasn't had more exposure in the mainstream. You know, like stupid Entertainment Tonight or something. -Kenyon

Moosejaww [Brooklyn] - Thank goodness they're not Moosejaw (one w). That band is HORRIFIC. This Moosejaww band with extra W needs to be careful not to be confused with them. Which should not be difficult. The band harnesses 90s pop-rock with a smooth vocal style somewhere between Sebadoh and Coldplay, especially for "Rollercoaster" and ballad "It Takes Two to Know One." -Kenyon

Wounded Buffalo Theory [Brooklyn] - WBT is progressive not so much for the music itself, but rather because they don't limit themselves. They're influenced by Pink Floyd, Eno and Sigur Ros as much as heavier bands like Tool. "Didn't Go Outside" even has in there some Husker Du (one of their influences). It's a connundrum how and why they stretch across the rock spectrum like that. They like to play really long sets, so that helps. The cosmic jam "Revolution Mine," which better damn be an original, is a direction the band should persue. -Kenyon

Friday, December 05, 2008

Longwave- new audio + video. "Shining Hours"

latest record, Secrets Are Sinister, out now.

tour dates:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sensory Underload (1996-2008)
(Hidden Agenda)
release: October 28, 2008
style: indie pop
similar: Jeff Hanson, Darren Hanlon
[rating: ***] Lead by Jarid del Deo, Unbunny was around just when this new thing called the internet was picking up steam. So? Unbunny better get on Wikipedia! There is a myspace, thank goodness. Sensory Underload is a collection of EPs, singles, rarities and unreleased tracks which include the out-of-print Typist EP released by Important Records in 2005. "Dental Hygenist" is a cute story of romance and a peach among the quiet calm indie pop. As long as it stays that way, Unbunny is cool. The louder songs (only a couple) encourage del Deo to raise his voice and unfortunately that strains the vocal cords. Keep it cute and soft like the bunny! -Kenyon
Hotel Hotel: The Sad Sea (Silber)
release: November 4, 2008
style: experimental ambient
[rating: ***] If true, it is indeed a fantastic story. A fantastic voyage, even. The Sad Sea was derived from Hotel Hotel's expedition with a sailor/sea captain searching for a ghost ship. i am so high right now. i'm doing an interpretive dance to this. -Kenyon

Electric Bird Noise: le vestibule - vestibule transitoire (No More Stars)
release: November 4, 2008
style: ambient experimental
[rating: ****] The latest from EBN (interesting enough, the same initials for Emergency Broadcast Network) is two tracks of about 25 minutes each. Because of this, instead of informing us of "key" or "recommended" tracks, the label gives us "recommended transition points." I think this is a first. Brian Lea McKenzie's experimental drones --produced mainly by guitar---are stunningly unearthly. If there are indeed cosmic soundwaves eminating from the depths of the galaxy, the Bird Noise is eerily close to its representation. -Kenyon

Champagne Riot: Paris and I (Shelflife)
release: November 12, 2008
style: Euro indie pop
[rating: **] CR's melancholy soft ultra indie is from one guy of Denmark who keeps it in the studio, focusing on creating "simple and melodic music and getting the most out of primitive equipment." Wow i never thought of THAT! Using groovebox beats and guitars, Riot wants to keep the music scene at a distance. i'm not sure if that's pretentious or righteous. -Kenyon
Crystal Castles (not the band)
The Pretenders
North America tour dates.

Current line-up of Chrissie Hynde, Martin Chambers, James Walbourne, Eric Heywood, and Nick Wilkinson is supporting Break Up The Concrete, released in October 2008. New songs at their myspace. Hynde is too thin.

29 Albany, NY The Palace Theatre
30 New York, NY Roseland
31 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata-Music Box
2 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
4 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
5 Jim Thorpe, PA Penn's Peak
6 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
7 Ledyard, CT Fox Theatre
9 Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Theater
10 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
11 Indianapolis, IN Murat Theatre
13 Cincinnati, OH Taft Theatre
14 Akron, OH Akron Civic Ctr Theatre
15 Chicago, IL Riviera Theater
17 Milwaukee, WI Northern Lights Theatre
18 Milwaukee, WI Northern Lights Theatre
20 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
21 Kansas City, MO Ameristar Casino
22 Tulsa, OK Brady Theater
24 Denver, CO Paramount Theatre
25 Aspen, CO Belly Up Aspen
27 Dallas, TX House Of Blues
28 Houston, TX House Of Blues
March 1 Austin, TX Stubbs
March 4 Phoenix, AZ The Dodge Theater
March 5 San Diego, CA House Of Blues
March 6 Pala, CA Pala Casino-Cabaret Room
March 7 Las Vegas, NV House Of Blues
March 8 Anaheim, CA The Grove
March 10 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
March 13 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
March 14 Reno, NV Silver Legacy Casino

Monday, December 01, 2008

Well sh*t on ME. i bet the main guy from M83 is sh*tting a brick right now and will be sh*tting an entire building of bricks when this tour gets underway. M83 opening for the gosh darn Killers. Who would have thought. Oh, oh and that's not all. It's been a BANNER year for the M83. The latest record hit the top of the CMJ chart and is the #1 record of 2008 at Urban Outfitters. Blah? In December, M83 is opening for the Kings of Leon in the UK. Get mad jealous.

with the The Killers--

17 Denver, CO Magness Arena - Ritchie Center
19 Minneapolis, MN Northrop Auditorium
20 Chicago, IL UIC Pavilion
22 Detroit, MI EMU Convocation Center
23 Toronto, ONT Air Canada Centre
25 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
26 Boston, MA Agganis Arena
28 Washington, DC George Mason University Patriot Center
29 Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues
30 Atlanta, GA Atlanta Civic Center
31 Nashville, TN Grand Ole Opry House
2 Houston, TX Verizon Wireless Theater
3 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center
4 Dallas, TX Nokia Theatre
Doomsday industrial-electro artist COMBICHRIST will release TODAY WE ARE ALL DEMONS on January 20, 2009 through Metropolis. Samples of each track at the myspace. Huge extensive U.S and Euro tour through winter. www.myspace.com/combichrist

Say Hi (formerly Say Hi to Your Mom) signs on with Barsuk. Oohs & Aahs out March 3, 2009.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Bodies Obtained
From the Top of My Tree
(Finding You Attractive)
release: November 25, 2008
style: bizarre avant-garde rock
similar: Fad Gadget, Black Happy Day
[rating: *1/2] When your band name is from Joy Division lyrics, you better bring it. Bodies Obtained only brings a disconcerting oddness. The music actually has no similarity to Joy Division, though in the band's words in the press info they seem to justify it. So let's just cut to the chase here-- this mysterious artist from Detroit is only going to appeal to a specific and small audience. From the Top is the musical equivalent of a sideshow ala the Residents. The lyrics aren't wierd, but the delivery is wholey unorthodox. Various synth tones bloom all over the place like wild flowers, while the barely-sung, mostly unmelodic vocals embrace the no-wave of the early 1980s. In track three i'm positive there's a sample from Pac-Man circa Atari 2600, don't think i didn't notice. -Kenyon

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hot Panda
Mint Records' latest artist, Hot Panda, will release its debut full length Volcano... Bloody Volcano in early February 2009. From Edmonton, Canada, the kooky indie rock band has enjoyed comparisons to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Daniel Johnson (not necessarily a good thing) and The Talking Heads. Although lately we seem to have enough bands with Panda and Hot already, they do have a cute press photo.
ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS, A.C. NEWMAN, NO AGE, GOBLIN COCK, CLUES and DEAR AND THE HEADLIGHTS scheduled for 17th Noise Pop 2009. February 24 through March 1, 2009 in San Francisco, CA.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Beach House tour dates + new video - "Used to Be"

Dec. 06 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts*
Dec. 09 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg #
Dec. 10 Providence, RI Club Hell #
Dec. 11 Northampton, MA Iron Horse Music Hall #
Dec. 12 Boston, MA Museum of Fine Arts #
Jan. 19 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern*
Jan. 20 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda*
Jan. 21 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore*
Jan. 23 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom*
Jan. 24 Seattle, WA Neumos*

* = w/ The Walkmen
# = w/ Tickley Feather

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

hello little boys little toys.
Shiny Toy Guns at Crazy Donkey November 24, 2008

on a rainy monday....

Friday, November 21, 2008

We All Scream for Ponytail !!
interview by Kenyon Hopkin

photos- Frank Hamilton
Freak-out noise band Ponytail has found its place among the likes of fellow art-noise band Deerhoof. If Deerhoof doesn't ring a bell, think a Japanese Sonic Youth throwing a childish fit. The band's videos are of people dancing as if on an acid trip, which seems to accomodate thei music. Its members, who met at the Maryland Institute College of Art, are Molly Siegel (yelping), Ken Seeno (guitar), Dustin Wong (guitar) and Jeremy Hyman (drums). Their 2008 album release, Ice Cream Spiritual, is out on We are Free records and was produced by underground rock phenom J Robbins.

You're playing Halloween in Brooklyn, is it gonna be mayhem? A party?
Dustin: Hope so! I want to pull off becoming Robin Hood but I can't promise anything really. I might be a shitty ghost for all i know. It's going to be a colorful evening for sure.

Whats the wildest show you ever had?
Dustin: Market Hotel hands down, the hottest hottest night I have ever played. I have never sweat so much in my life.

From where does Ponytail get its inspiration?
Molly: Fleetwood Mac, Dragon Ball, our Moms
Dustin: I think mainly positivity

Are there ever lyrics in the vocals or is it just random hollering?
Molly: There are some lyrics. A few of them are scrawled along the inside of the CD
Dustin: no way dude, molly knows exactly what she is doing

What do you think about the comparisons of Ponytail to Yoko Ono?
Molly: I am honored by the Yoko comparisons. She's for real.
Dustin: Its awesome! Yoko Ono is great.

Is Ice Cream Spiritual a different take or wordplay on Ice Cream Social?
Molly: Yeah you know, but spiritual, get it?
Dustin: It is, but you can also read it as I Scream Spritual too.

I am sure that your music is not for everyone. What is the worst thing any critic or anyone ever said about Ponytail's sound?
Molly: Someone said I was a bitch on their blog once, just for singing.
Dustin: Someone called Molly a whore once on a blog. That was totally inappropriate

Do you guys have day jobs? What are those jobs?
Molly: I work at a Children's Museum in Baltimore called Port Discovery.
Dustin: I work for my mom. She makes Blythe dolls. I make jingles and promotional animations for her.

What's the first significant thing you're going to do when you get home after your tour this year?
Molly: Well depending on what you mean by significant... I am going to sleep for sure.
Dustin: I think i might try to get into that TV series Heroes.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

movies left for dead.

Modern Girls (1986)
rating: **** >> Taking place through a night in Los Angeles, the lighthearted Modern Girls personifies mid-80s club life and culture without falling into most of the typical stereotypes of the era. Starring the likes of Virginia Madsen, the film follows three girls and a guy from early evening to early morning, each of them with their own agenda for love. An excellent soundtrack includes Jesus and Mary Chain, the Call and Depeche Mode. -Kenyon

Zombie Honeymoon (2004) rating: *** >> Only one zombie instead of an army of zombies, a man gets randomly infected by a zombie that walks out of the ocean. His new wife struggles to keep loving him even if he is killing and eating people. It's been done elsewhere, but usually not with this much heart. -Kenyon

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972) rating: no stars >> Tedious zombie flick and misleading title (no children here). The zombies don't even appear until there's like 20 minutes left. And boy, they take their time. When they do show up, it's a horrible rip-off of Night of the Living Dead. There's also some wierd necro thing going on with one of the characters. Blech. Here's the kicker- the recently deceased director Bob Clark went on to direct Christmas Story, Porky's, the original Black Christmas and (ugh) Baby Geniuses. -Kenyon
Luke Jackson
...And Then Some (Popsicle)
release: November 4, 2008
style: singer-songwriter indie power pop
[rating: ***1/2] His dear special guests that include string arrangements by Robert Kirby (credits include Nick Drake) made Luke Jackson so happy and appreciative. Jackson (not to be confused with the basketball player) should dare not sell himself short either on this album that's as big as the sum of its parts. His upbeat chamber-indie is near tops this year in this category. And Then Some includes the moving on, Billy Bragg-style song "Goodbye London," an overseas answer to Ryan Adams "New York, New York." The strings, lap steel, et al expand the simple songs into something a little more grand, adding life to lyrical content regarding moving away to a destination unknown. -Kenyon
US Christmas: Eat the Low Dogs (Neurot)
style: steamrolling sludge rock
[rating: **1/2] One time this North Carolina band unleashed an uninvited 20-minute sonic assult at a bar, interuppting basketball on TV. That's hardcore. i wonder what Obama would think about that. This stoner spaced rock is powered by mountaineering guitar riffs and otherwordly synth and theremin, all of which are more welcome than the scruffy, tuneless vocals. -Kenyon
Kinetic Stereokids: Have a Nice Day EP (Overdraft)
release: Oct 14, 2008
style: junkyard folk noise
[rating: *1/2] These guys opened for Trail of Dead, Secret Machines and Explosions in the Sky. WTF. The Michigan group's prelude to their next full album is three tracks including a live cut at KEXP. Although it would have been better titled "Tumbleweed" since they keep repeating the word, the title track earns a respectable comparison to Lou Barlow solo. But then comes "Blunder," which attempts to get all dramatic and dives into a self-indulgent mess of folk junk noise and some samples. The recording at KEXP is...oh no..did they sample a laughing baby? They did. Noooooo! -Kenyon

Friday, November 14, 2008

classic vintage video.
Curve - "Coast is Clear" (1992)
2009 artist to watch

Plushgun [Brooklyn]
My first thoughts were dang, Tommy Boy...this is hip-hop. Plushgun? Probably a boring generic rock band. Boy was i incorrect and will burn in hell. Plushgun's next album, Pins and Panzers is out from Tommy Boy in February 2009. Ravishing Postal Service/Joy Electric sputtery bounce led by Daniel Ingala. Listen to the wowy zowy of "Just Impolite"HERE.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Smiths
The Sound of the Smiths
(Rhino Reissue Repackage)
Release: November 11, 2008

If you've had any inkling at all to the post-proper studio album releases from the Smiths, you'd be aware of their now infamous best-of and singles comps, whether approved by Morrissey and Marr or not. Today Rhino releases this latest collection (in one-disc and two-disc form), which does get a helping hand from the songwriting team. Of course, The Sound of is suited better for an introduction to the band, as everything on the first CD is already known by any serious Smiths fan. The two-disc version has the B-sides and live tracks, though most of these have already been available and heard.

These are the only noted unfamiliar rare songs on the second disc, aka ones i've never heard. And half are covers. A difference does it make?

"Jeane" – Single B-Side
"Wonderful Woman" - 12" Single
"Money Changes Everything" - Single B-Side
"What's The World" -Live In Glasgow

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mt. Sims
Happily Ever After (Hungry Eye)
release: October 21, 2008
style: gothy electronic plop
similar: Cruxshadows, She Wants Revenge, dark Bloc Party
[rating: **1/2] Back in 2002 (wow, life was sure different then huh), Mt Sims aka Mount Sims aka Matt Sims, revealed himself and his stage dancers as an absurd, sexually-charged electro act. Like the second album in 2005, Happily Ever After is a much different Sims, though just as peculiar. Sinister and less robotic, Happily favors live instruments over electronics. Along the lines of dark cabaret and goth/post-punk are "What's the Big Deal?" the revengeful "The Bitten Bite Back" and the Bauhaus-like "Window Window." Sims will hopefully grow tired of this direction, cause boy, i am yearning for his catchier "Black Sunglasses" right now. There is HOPE. Either X-files style or Obama style. -kenyon
These Arms are Snakes: Tail Swallower & Dove (Suicide Squeeze)
release: October 7, 2008
style: post hardcore
similar: Uncut, Blood Brothers, Russian Circles
[rating: ***] You seriously don't mess with a band named These Arms are Snakes. The band has been hot for a few albums via Jade Tree and now Tail Swallower is here to attack, sting and burn. The band continues to break down the walls of rock using complex drum patterns and tongue tied guitar swoops. -Kenyon
Johnny Cash Remixed (Compadre)
release: October 14, 2008
style: disasterous
[rating: *] Johnny Cash has got to be rolling in his grave right about now. Not exactly "remixes," these are more like "songs" that sampled Cash. The worst offender is first: Snoop Dogg of all people ruins "I Walk the Line" for one of the most pointless reworkings ever. A couple of efforts are effective, namely the Midnight Juggernauts' mix of "Port of Lonely Hearts" and maybe the Wolf take on "Rock Island Line." Some of these other ones would make sense in a Fatboy Slim or Crystal Method big-beat track in the late 1990s, but the only level it works on is to introduce the uninitiated to Cash in general, which the recent film already accomplished. Try the originals instead. -Kenyon

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cineplexx: Picnic (Portia)
style: exotic singer-songwriter lounge pop
similar: Air, Serge Gainsbourg, European dudes named Sebastian
[rating: **1/2]
Picnic is sung in Spanish and acts like French pop for the hipstees. Sebastian Litmanovich's easy-going vocals are replaced only once in English by veteran Euro indie pop guy Duglas Stewart, one of a few notable guests. "Belle & Sebastian" shows one of Litmanovich's influences, one that i'd rather be listening to right now. Oh snap, no i didn't. -Kenyon

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Castile Jackine is Vooded at Broonus: Volume 1
(Helmet Room)
release: November 11, 2008
style: indie folk freakout
similar: Moldy Peaches
[rating: **1/2] Despite this Denver band's name, Pee-Pee doesn't have its head completely in the toilet bowl. Lead by Doo Crowder, the ensemble's simple psychedelic folk grabs a load of instruments causing a Brian Jonestown Massacre filtered through naive fifth-graders. This is mainly a positive thing on wholesome, slightly charming songs such as "I Hope My New House Feels Welcoming for You." In a short while the roving tracks wear out their welcome. This includes "Pee-Pee Song" and of course the 10-minute, self-explanatory "Freakout Jam." -Kenyon

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Northern Valentine
The Distance Brings Us Closer (Silber)
release: November 4, 2008
style: cold ambient
[rating: ****] Lead by a married couple from Philadelphia, Northern Valentine glides through definitive icy spells that are remarkably created by guitars and no post-production. Having already set a mood by placing a photo from Iceland on the album cover, Amy and Robert (along with two other guitarists and a bassist) easily evoke any kind of wintry, arctic imagery. These are also some of the most haunting ambient sounds put to tape, some of which play like the soundtrack for a crumbling and crashing ice sheet. -Kenyon

Friday, October 24, 2008

they're actual size and now we are even older
they might be giants
live at the crazy donkey. farmingdale long island NY. October 23, 2008

set included (not in order) : don't let's start, ana ang, the guitar, spider, they might be giants, birdhouse in your soul, new york city, polk, racist friend, dinner bell, fingertips, istanbul, the sun, the revised updated sun, particle man, doctor worm, experimental film, mesopotamians, seven, older, cyclops rock, take out the trash.

clicky on photos to make bigger.

Monday, October 20, 2008

International Jetsetters [Oxford]

similar: Monster Movie, Snowpony, BRMC
"Inside Yourself" - [mp3]
While Andy Bell is still getting his kicks as a member of Oasis, his bandmate from Ride, drummer Loz/Laurence Colbert, has a new band along with singer/guitarist Mark Crozer (who played in Jesus and Mary Chain), bassist Bert Audubert, guitarist Paul Crozer and vocalist Fi McFall. Their Heart Is Black debut EP hit the ground a couple weeks ago through Planting Seeds records, and it's got the goods you'd expect from people who have played in JAMC and Ride. "Inside Out" uses the same type of noise-pop as Yo La Tengo's "Sugarcube" and "Inside Yourself" motors down the highway wearing black sunglasses and a leather jacket. -Kenyon

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Divys
[New York City/Philly]
Similar: Foxglove Hunt, Book of Love
Undeniably indebted to vintage new wave pop, the Divys (William Rule and Kliff Ritz at the core) play the kind of tunes that would have been in a low-budget 1980s romantic-comedy. The Divys' "Sloppy Kiss," "Damaged Goods" and "Freak Boy" have an 80s-cheese awareness. These are songs that seem impossible to have been written after the year 2000. Which only makes the Divys incredibly joyous and in a wierd way, respectable. -Kenyon

The Bolts [California]
Similar: Weezer, Fountains of Wayne
If i was a high school kid in this band's town, there would be excitement in the air when they play small local shows. Three brothers and two friends get the party started (they say they are available for school dances, company parties, weddings, etc) with the funfilling, catchy harmony-driven pop rock of "Like a Fantasy", "Dead of the Night" and "Hero in Disguise." They also do a cover of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song. i bet these guys get a lot of girls. dang. They're playing at freaking Disney Land tonight. geez. -Kenyon

Caw! Caw! : Wait Outside EP (Slant Shanty)
release: September 23, 2008
style: lo-fi indie rock
[rating: *1/2] Lo-fi recordings are great but this Chicago band needs the tunes to go with that. "Organisms" could have been an early practice session from No Doubt when they were 15, as there is a sax and a generic ska-like guitar chugging. The drums are higher in the mix than the nasally vocals, which aren't the kind of vocals that are supposed to be suppressed. If this was recorded in the late 1980s when indie rock was in its early days, then fine, Caw! Caw! might be something to make a small shout about. Otherwise, Wac! -Kenyon

Friday, October 17, 2008

classic vintage video.
The Alarm- "68 Guns" (1984)

The still shot you see above and at 1:48 appears
to be Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Past Lives: Strange Symmetry EP
(Suicide Squeeze)
release: November 4, 2008
style: indie art rock
[rating: ***] For whatever reasons they had, the Blood Brothers broke up and most of them continued as Past Lives. Now, i can understand the transition of a band like Slowdive. They evolved from something that arguably peaked in the early 1990s to the simpler Mojave 3, which shed all the guitar effects and ethereal vocals. But Past Lives? Where's the evolution? It's most of the Blood Brothers and there is little change to the sound. Well to be fair, Past Lives doesn't scream and sound like they're wrecking their instruments. They brought the volume and intensity down a few notches, perhaps cause they're older now. -Kenyon
Other Lives: Other Lives (tbd)
release: October 21, 2008
style: lilting organic folk
[rating: ***] Until they are able to make a name for themselves, Oklahoma group Other Lives are going to be known as the band who had the second release from tbd records. The first of course being Radiohead's In Rainbows. Other Lives does resemble some Radiohead, specifically the quietness of, say, "The Tourist." Piano and cello stand-out as the focal points, taking over by the time the last track is heard. -Kenyon

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

More Amor - "Same Damn Song" [mp3] Doesn't start out too promising, but chill cause it improves. The melty "bah bah" harmonies wrap around the fluttering synth. This cancels out the detection of emo pop-rock type vocals.

dates with the nite
10/10 - The Electric Theater - St. George, UT
10/13 - Modified Arts - Phoenix, AZ
10/14 - Burt's Tiki Lounge - Albuquerque, NM
10/15 - The Black Sheep - Colorado Springs, CO
10/18 - Mojoes - Tinley Park, IL
10/21 - Rehab - New York, NY (CMJ)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Antony and the Johnsons new audio + video. "Another World"
From EP out October 7 on Secretly Canadian. Full album in January. The song touches from a distance, the interpretive dance is a snoozefest.

Live Dates
10/14 Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles, CA
10/16 Apollo Theatre New York, NY
10/30 The Barbican London, ENG
10/31 The Barbican London, ENG

Sunday, October 05, 2008

An Albatross
The An Albatross Family Album (Eyeball)
release: October 21, 2008
style: over the top post-hardcore prog noise
similar: Man Man, the Blood Brothers
[rating: ****] So named for including all band members of the past decade, the dizzying Albatross Family Album may be one of the most sprawlingly noisy concept records ever conceived. Saying Family Album is like carnvial music moving at light speed would undermine this ambitious outing, though it is a good place to start. This fantasy concept effort about a tribe of voyaging pilgrims finding the framework for peace hits its climax with "The Electric Proletariat Rides a Velvet Chariot" prior to completing the mission with the rumbling "3000 Light Years by Way of the Spacehawk." -Kenyon

Saturday, October 04, 2008

into>>the>>future. El Goodo

There's been many recent artists that use the blueprint of 1960s psychedelia. Welsh band El Goodo (not to be confused with El Guapo) is one of the most authentic-sounding of the bunch. It's a result of using the appropriate instruments (vintage Hofner bass, vintage Ludwig drums, Vox Continental, etc) and reverberated vocals. Super Furry Animals took them under their wings, bringing them on tour and in 2005 releasing El Goodo's first album under their Placid Casual label. El Goodo's second album will be on Grease records in January 2009. The first available cut, "Feel So Fine," is HERE.
TK Webb and The Visions get to play with Secret Machines.

October 16 - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC *
October 17 - The Trocadero - Philadelphia, PA *
October 18 - Webster Hall - New York, NY *
October 20 - Middle East - Cambridge, MA *
October 21 - Les Saints - Montreal, QUE *
October 22 - Lee's Palace - Toronto, ONT *
October 24 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY #
# Kemado CMJ Showcase (w/ Dungen, Marissa Nadler)
* w/ Secret Machines

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ten Kens: Ten Kens (FatCat)
release: September 23, 2008
style: reverbed avante rock
similar: Elbow, TV on the Radio, Black Mountain
[rating: ***1/2] The previous Ten Kens record took a year to record. On this one they spent two weeks, albeit all day and night. Before burning out, the Toronto band was able to mount an album loaded with loneliness and sorrow. The band's earlier available track, "Y'all Come Back Now," was quietly lilting, so most of Ten Kens is an eye-opener. "Bear Fight" and "Spanish Fly," for example, are louder on guitars and percussion, though the vocals remain skeletal in the mix. Actually, "Spanish Fly" borders on early Nirvana. On some of the later tracks, the band is heard at its most complex and focused, resulting in some of the best dreariness this year. -Kenyon

Monday, September 29, 2008

Letters to Cleo to play first shows in eight years.

What an unbelievable year of re-united groups. the Verve- yes! mbv- yes! Swervedriver- yes! New Kids- ummm...yea sure! Letters to Cleo.... yea dude, Letters to f-cking Cleo! They had one hit song ("Here and Now") on the heels of the grunge era and the video was on Beavis and Butthead. And then they fizzled, later playing cover songs in the terribly unrealistic 10 Things I Hate About You. So, first shows in eight years. Ha, eight years, thats all? -Kenyon

November 8 - Los Angeles CA - The Roxy
December 8 - Boston MA - Paradise Rock Club
December 9 - Boston MA - Paradise Rock Club
(New York tba)