Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Steal My Horses and Run (Tee Pee)
release: May 20, 2008
style: life is killing my rock 'n' roll
[rating: ***1/2] Another band from Sweden that sounds American, Blackstrap swaggers through the desert with black sunglasses fuzz that borrows heavily from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The musical resemblance is dangerously uncanny for most of Steal My Horses, mainly credited to Jonatan Westh's voice, though the organ and occasional female vox from Maria Linden save them from being a complete replica. Plus, the band made themselves even cooler by recording in a freezing cold Amsterdam bunker. Although the quintet is usually rocking and rolling, they slow down to about 35mph on "The Open Road," which sees the band running most smoothly. "Repulsion" also steps over the band's state line, switching the dial to a noise-pop frequency. The last two pretty songs further support this being a first and second half sort of record. -Kenyon
Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow (Darla)
release: May 20, 2008
style: ambient bliss
[rating: ****] i'm having a flashback here. Yea, i'm getting that personal. Flashback to around 1994 when i first heard the dazzling lunar modulations of Transient Waves. Hammock's latest is on par with the Waves. They've been creating hypnotizing moods for a handful of albums now and with Maybe They Will Sing, the duo is at the top of the ambient hill. A minimal use of instruments is found, yet the pieces are full and layered. The usually studio-based Hammock braved a performance of the material last year at an after-party with the presence of Sigur Ros' Jon Thor Birgisson. That's kinda a big deal. -Kenyon
Friday, May 23, 2008
interview by Kenyon Hopkin
The imaginative lo-fi bedroom pop duo the Terrordactyls--not to be confused with the spelling for prehistoric bird Pterodactyls--have a colorful anything-goes lyrical palette enlivened by a youthful energy, even though the band name suggests otherwise. Sometimes on either side of the country, but mostly together in the same state, Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl continued on their journey after the departure of two other members who formed another band, the Pharmacy. The current two guys have a Juno-worthy song with Kimya Dawson and when they aren't being as cute as heck like that, the Dactyls range from Elliott Smith-like solemness to 4-track style rock in the basement. Their big tour coming up in the autumn will expose the country to a wicked fondness for the kazoo. [Kenyon knows how to write a feature story but doesn't have that kind of time. So here's the ever-popular Q & A. press-type photo credit- Sarah Cass.]
Advance Copy: There are cows in one of your videos. Do you think you will be able to save any from premature death?
Michael: Probably not, but they have pretty decent lives... relatively.
Tyrel: Those cows live at my parents…and they have great long lives and are delicious.
AC: Did you name the band after the Masters of the Universe creature?
M: No. We just wanted a really tight metal band name.
T: Have you seen Masters of the Universe lately? Doesn’t quite hold up like I hoped it would. And that new series is just weird looking.
AC: The Terrordactyls used to have other band members. Will you add people ever?
M: We might depending on what we need for tour and recording, but it seems as though Tyrel and I will always remain the permanent members.
T: As long as we have friends I think you can count on other people in and out of the band, but since most of friends have their own sweet bands it seems like we’ll always have to return them.
AC: Your influences include Fifteen and Pregnant. Any music influence?
M: No. Music is dumb.
T: I love music, but I’d rather go see Speed Racer for a third time or watch the Mighty Ducks trilogy.
AC: You made a cute video with scissors singing. Do you enjoy making inanimate objects speak and sing? How long did it take to make that video?
T: We are pretty down with anything involving magic, so we get pretty excited about any chance to make inanimate objects do things. That video took us 24 hours from start to finish.
AC: You met Andrew WK. You're big fans yes?
M: Yes. He makes really extreme music. He also seems like an exceedingly earnest and nice person.
T: That guy is doing everything right.
AC: You are from Vashon [an island in Puget Sound, Washington]/Brooklyn/Olympia. Where are you each currently living and why? How can you possibly deal with being far apart?
M: I live in a little cabin by a creek on Vashon Island four days a week and work in Seattle the other three.
T: I’ve been living in New York the last couple years working as a designer on a kid’s show and a bunch of other junk. Michael was here for a while too. We’re actually together more than we’re apart and I’m planning my triumphant return to the Pacific North West by the end of the summer.
AC: How great is it to start a tour from the Northwest (Oregon, Washington) and have the midway point be New York in October, just in time for the CMJ music marathon?
M: We both have a good number of close friends and family in New York, so it is really nice to spend some time with people that you know really well and vice-versa. I get burnt out on all of these crazy music conferences pretty quickly, but we are going to be playing a showcase or two while we are in town.
T: It will be nice to visit while we’re in town. I agree with Michael about the music conferences. They’re a bit too much for me. I pretty much hate music by the end.
AC: Have you seen Kimya Dawson lately? She got more popular after the Juno soundtrack. Is she seen as a superstar now?
M: I don't think that I've seen Kimya since SXSW and I didn't really get a chance to talk with her there. I'm not really sure what people see her as, but I'm pretty sure that despite all of that Juno craziness, she is still an incredibly genuine and humble person.
T: Yeah, I can’t imagine her changing no matter how popular she gets? The new stuff she’s been playing at shows from her Alpha Butt kid’s album is really amazing.
AC: Your music seems a perfect fit for Kimya, had you known her for a while? How did you end up meeting?
M: I think that I first met her in Tyrel and Brendhan's living room in Olympia.
T: Brendhan and I saw her play at a pizza place in Seattle five years ago and he asked if she would play at his birthday party. She did and his band The Pharmacy ended up touring as her back up band and opener that summer.
AC: I see you are wearing pajamas at a show. Do you thrive on being youthful?
M: I mostly just thrive on emotions like hate and contempt.
T: I don’t think anyone should be in a hurry to grow up.
AC: You have some unique, interesting items for sale other than cds, such as the custom turkey hand drawing for $2. Do you sell many of those?
M: Way more that I would have ever expected.
T: But still not enough to quite our day jobs so we have a ways to go.
AC: Are you f-ing psyched about the kazoo sponsorship? i'm so jealous.
M: I'm actually really excited about it. Normally, I wouldn't really be into something like that, but it's KAZOOS and they are made in the US, so I don't feel like I'm stepping all over somebody else's human rights just to get free kazoos. From what I can tell, they seem like nice people. And their kazoos are pretty cool too.
T: We are really excited about it. Kazoobie Kazoos are far superior to the kazoos we were using before and Rick the guy who runs the company is a library of kazoo knowledge. Pick some up at http://www.kazoos.com/ and tell them The Terrordactyls sent you.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
A Soft Kill (Eenie Meenie)
release: June 3, 2008
style: one man band indie pop
[rating: ***1/2] A Soft Kill is an indie pop record's indie pop record. The many touchstones are evident on Mario Hernandez' third record in eight years. A guitar riff for one tune is a knock off from a vintage girl group song, like Vanilla Ice taking Queen's "Under Pressure." Another holds in its arms a recognizable melody from a semi-known New Order song. Perhaps that is listening too deeply. The point is, even if we've heard the pop-influenced pop before, a Soft Kill is chock full of the ABC's of ice cream indie, albeit comprised of the commonly contrasted solemn lyrics. To be release digitally and on vinyl, the latter of which comes with a t-shirt! Bu-bu-bu-bubblegum! -Kenyon
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Ladytron 2008 tour dates up the yinyang.
May 20 2008 - The Starlite Room (All Ages) Edmonton AB
May 21 2008 - The Warehouse (18+) Calgary AB
May 23 2008 - Commodore Ballroom (19+) Vancouver, British Columbia
May 24 2008 - Showbox Seattle, Washington
May 25 2008 - Wonder Ballroom (All Ages) Portland, Oregon
May 27 2008 - The Fillmore Auditorium (All Ages) San Francisco, California
May 29 2008 - Henry Fonda Theater (All Ages) Los Angeles CA, California
May 30 2008 - Henry Fonda Theater (All Ages) -Sold Out Los Angeles, California
May 31 2008 - Belly Up Tavern (21+) Solana Beach, California
Jun 2 2008 - In The Venue (All Ages) Salt Lake City, Utah
Jun 3 2008 - Gothic Theatre (16+) Englewood, Colorado
Jun 5 2008 - Palladium Ballroom (All Ages) Dallas, Texas
Jun 6 2008 - Stubbs BBQ (All Ages) Austin TX, Texas
Jun 7 2008 - The Meridian (All Ages) Houston, Texas
Jun 8 2008 - House of Blues New Orleans (18+) New Orleans, Louisiana
Jun 10 2008 - Czar Tampa, Florida
Jun 11 2008 - Studio A (18+) Miami, Florida
Jun 12 2008 - Club Firestone (18+) Orlando, Florida
Jun 13 2008 -Variety Playhouse (All Ages) Atlanta, Georgia
Jun 15 2008 - Bonnaroo Music Festival (All Ages) Manchester, Tennessee
Jun 16 2008 - The Pageant (All Ages) St. Louis, Missouri
Jun 17 2008 - Vic Theatre (All Ages) Chicago, Illinois
Jun 18 2008 - Saint Andrews Hall (All Ages) Detroit, Michigan
Jun 25 2008 - Terminal 5 (All Ages) New York, New York
Jun 26 2008 - Fillmore at the Theater of Living Arts (All Ages) Phil, Pa
Jun 27 2008 - Sonar (All Ages) Baltimore, Maryland
Jun 28 2008 - Merriweather Post Pavillion (+Thievery Corporation & TV on the radio) Washington DC
Jun 30 2008 - Paradise (18+) Boston, Massachusetts
Jul 2 2008 - Metropolis - Jazz Fest Montreal PQ
Jul 3 2008 - Theatre Imperial - Quebec City International Festival (All Ages)
Jul 4 2008 - Harbourfront Centre (All Ages) Toronto, Ontario
Jul 5 2008 - Blues Festival Ottawa, Ontario
Jul 12 2008 - Creamfields Central Europe Breclav
Aug 8 2008 - Pantiero Festival Cannes
Oct 1 2008 - Tivoli Brisbane
Oct 2 2008 - Corner Hotel Melbourne
Oct 4 2008 - The Great Escape Festival Sydney
Oct 5 2008 - Bakery Artrage Complex Perth
Thursday, May 15, 2008
(Chemikal Underground re-issue)
release: June 17, 2008
[original release 1997]
style: post-rock experimental
Chemikal U offers a deeper listening of the original Young Team, first made available in the U.S through Jetset records (the band moved to Matador from there). Unlike most remastered albums, the Scotland group's debut gets much-deserved retooling, as Young Team was a rush job with even the band acknowledging its shortcomings. The unitiated will be understandably bored by the record's lack of vocals and the 7 to 10 minute pieces. Most of this bores ME. Not to mention the (always pretentious!) scattered semi-field voice snippets, with the exception of one track that has some legit vox. If you love this kinda sh*t, you may as well start with album closer "Mogwai Fear Satan," a definitive 16 minutes featuring guitar squalling balanced by flute. If you hate this kind of sh*t, try Mog's Rock Action, which has more to like if you're into electronics, melody, vocals and warmth. Some other places of note on Young Team are "With Portfolio," which has some trippy noise panning action that gave me a decent buzz and "Yes! I am a Long Way from Home," which is like a reprise of Smashing Pumpkins' "Drown." A bonus second disc, comprised of studio and live recordings from 1997-1998, is somewhat of a revelation. Woo! "I Can't Remember" is mad dark and sinister. A pretty cover of Spacemen 3's "Honey" (!) gives in to vocals and we also get a volcanic live version of "Like Herod." -Kenyon
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
July 20 - Chicago, IL @ Union Park
July 21 - Nashville, TN @ City Hall
July 22 - Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
July 25 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
July 27- New York, NY @ Terminal 5
August 1 - Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
August 2 - Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
August 3 - Montreal, QC @ Parc Jean Drapeau
September 6 - Toronto, ON @ Toronto Islands Park
September 17 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
September 27 - Austin, TX @ Zilker Park (Austin City Limits)
here's the new single -"Summertime"- via an unofficial, fan-made (?) video with clips from their heyday. note the eerie similarity to the end chorus of Bobby Brown's "Roni."
Monday, May 12, 2008
release: May 13, 2008
style: swirly dream pop
[rating: ****] Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub, among other bands) was the perfect choice for producer of Pia Fraus' latest confection. Possessing the ingredients for indie pop, twee and shoegaze, After Summer was right up Blake's alley. In fact, most any song from the Estonian group could have been on that famous C86 comp. Every segment, from the dizzying "Doctor Optimism" to the trippy "Mute the Birds," is soft as snow and warm inside. Allowing its instruments to flow on their own, Fraus has put together one of the most pretty, natural-sounding recordings of the year. A welcome addition to the Clairecords catalog. -Kenyon
release: May 20, 2008
style: gentle emo rock
[rating: ***] Formerly of Warped Tour-style act JamisonParker, Explosion's Jamison Covington has gone the way of Trent Reznor, jumping off the Interscope ship and onto a boat that is free to sail the seas. Covington even has a song name similar to NIN titled "You Know Who You Are." It happens to be one of the top songs on Heartbeat, which was recorded with producer extraordinaire Dave Trumfio. The debut is emo ballad city, though with drum machine, breathy vocals and the occasional strings or piano, it is at least a sparkling full sound. "Antarctica" emits warmth rather than ice cap coldness. And like the ice caps, the girls will be melting after being exposed to this kid's lovelorn charm. Rated E for everyone. -Kenyon
Drowned in a Sea of Sound (Clairecords)
release: May 13, 2008
style: shoegaze, dream pop
[rating: ***] An obvious title for the style, Drowned isn't noisey like mbv or ocean-wavey like Slowdive, so getting drowned in a sea will be unlikely. We go a few feet into the water, maybe up to our hips and then spin around a little and feel the water and see the blue sky without stepping on a crab. Much of the chilly ringing guitar from this latest ethereal rock discovery is repetitive, though the drums are full and the female vocals--prettier than that of the male--allow for decent gaze. Opener "Release the Kraken" (hey! that is NOT very dream pop! i think that's from "Clash of the Titans"?) is like a gaze take on "Don't Fear the Reaper." "Twilight Bloom" improves and makes like Slowdive's Souvlaki at twice the tempo. "Summerdreamer" is even better. Aside from the swirly instrumental "Space Whale Migration," the latter half of the record feels tacked on. -Kenyon
Friday, May 09, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Gallimaufry (Bus Stop)
release: June 10, 2008
[rating: ***] Actual brothers from the woods in California, the Incredible Vickers have taken notes from at least a few genres. And though it varies to the point where the duo is indecisive about what path to take, the songs stand proudly. "Blues for Frankie Valli" is an updated version of Simon and Garfunkel before they shift quickly to bright 1960s-style British invasion pop for "What She Does" and "Things Slowly Change." An optimistic country song about getting along with someone features violin and ukelele. Slouching are the last few average songs, with the exception being "Record Collection Blues," which sounds like 1920s music that is being played on a turntable from that decade. -Kenyon
release: April 1, 2008
style: indie rock
[rating: *1/2] Everything gets off to a rocky start. Pomegranates recorded quickly--which doesn't always hurt--and the songs sound unfinished. They possess maybe a tad of wide eyedness, as the Ohio band sounds young but amatuerish. "Late Night Television" is a standout and makes me forget about the conflict in Iraq for a few minutes even though it has the vocal pitch of Ween's "Push th' Little Daisies". The alternating vocalists are cutesy though doesn't make for a substantial outing. They are trying too hard. Next time just let it flow. I mean, i can picture these guys playing at a youth rec center. Nothing beyond that. Now i'm thinking about Iraq again. -Kenyon
Saturday July 19, 2008
STEPHEN MALKMUS AND THE JICKS
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE (whatever)
THE HELIO SEQUENCE
TIMES NEW VIKING
THE DODOS (that's right, i interviewed them)
PARTS & LABOR
DRAGONS OF ZYNTH
THESE ARE POWERS
it's gonna be hipster and poseur-hipster city that day. blech.
Monday, May 05, 2008
first single and video right here and now!
This past couple weeks in music have been HUGE. First, the whole my bloody valentine reunion thingy, then the Verve show, then this wild Brian Jonestown record and now......Spiritualized. Pitchfork may be over there peeing themselves and sh*tting bricks about mbv headlining ATP upstate New York. Well listen to THIS Pitchy>>> i just sh*t an entire building made of bricks. The official release of Spiritualized's album Songs in A&E is May 27 and the first promoted song is "Soul on Fire," aka a very typical Spz song title. The song itself is the chill side of Spirit--as opposed to the blues rock n' roll noise side. The sixth album was delayed due to Jason Pierce's life-threatening illness a couple years ago and follows the uneven Amazing Grace. Get ready. Here we go>>>>
and now the album cover>>>
remember when Spiritualized used to sorta be like, a band? i do! i do!
Saturday, May 03, 2008
My Bloody Underground
release: April 15, 2008
style: experimental neo-psych
[rating: ***] By now, we should learn to expect the threshold of psychedelic insanity from Brian Jonestown. Tracks on My Bloody Underground--on yet another new label for the band--are not without welcomingly bitter and critical titles such as "Bring Me the Head of Paul McCartney on Heather Mill's Wooden Peg" and "Automatic Faggot for the People." As usual, BJM fulfills its psycho-delic quota. This, however, has to be the most acid-tripping, nonstructured, absolutely mindboggling record Anton and co have produced, miles away from Going to Hell or Methodrone. Vocals are almost nonexistent, buried in drone. "Just Like Kicking Jesus" has echoes of Loveless, a few tracks are redundant jams, while other pieces that could have been done by the experimental Liars are so out there that it challenges psychedelic rock itself. Bloody Underground will have fans of previous BJM outings divided, with some appreciating the unrestrained boundaries and others finding it entirely inaccessible. It is undoubtly an unusual record, one which may be better judged with time. -Kenyon