Saturday, June 28, 2008

Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain Lookout Sea


It took me a little while to "get" Lookout Mountain Lookout Sea. Siver Jew's usual blend of amazing lyrics with oddball vocals is there of course, but this album is a bit more stripped down and the writting comes across as more personalized prose/poetry filled with Berman's usual sense of humor. That is both great and offputting at the same time. Once the album sucks you in, however, it's really great. For example, the opening line of "Strange Victory Strange Defeat" is "Squirrels imported from Connecticut." I'm not even going to give the bridge to this song away...you have to hear it for yourself. If you have a few weeks of your life to spare, go grab this album.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Earlimart - Hymn and Her


I'm not sure I can say enough great things about Earlimart. Their new album Hymn and Her is due out July 1st and is loaded with one beautiful song after another. What really sets Earlimart apart is the amazing percussive sounds they generate with their acoustic instrumentation. It's as if they transcend the realm of guitar, piano, drums, and cello and move into a whole different stratosphere of aural pleasures that are not easily created by the ordinary musician. Hymn and Her is low-key, but never, ever boring and you never get the sense that this is just another band doing the same old thing that several other bands are doing. They are unique. They are genuine. They are sincere. And they are phenomenal. Stand out tracks include "Great Heron Gates" and "Town Where You Belong." July 1st is just around the corner. Make a note.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cars Can Be Blue - Doubly Unbeatable




A good friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Athens, GA band Cars Can Be Blue's new release Doubly Unbeatable and I am awfully glad he did! CCBB is comprised of guitarist/singer Becky Brooks and drummer/singer Nate Mitchell. The style is really well done bouncy pop that some might consider to be more on the side of twee! However, I have never heard such dirty minded twee in my life, lol...The songs range everywhere from sweet songs of love and breakups to songs about sex and genetalia! My favorite tracks thus far are "Eyeballs" and "Sun Blows Up", though "Just Because" and "Merch Song" certainly have their charms! If you have a sense of humor, you will love this band.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer


I have been a huge Wolf Parade fan since I first heard their self-released EP several years ago. It upset me a bit that those songs were re-recorded for use on their Sub-Pop debut two years ago. They seemed dulled down, over produced and for some reason it really saddened me. I am ecstatic to report that At Mount Zoomer feels like a return to the organic, less produced, passionate sound that originally made me a fan. Their brand of syncopated rock is a true original. Tracks "Soldier's Grin" and "California Dreamer" are the frontrunners for my personal favorites. This will be in my CD player for quite some time.


Friday, June 13, 2008

The Wedding Present - El Rey



I have been a fan of The Wedding Present for almost two decades now. I was delighted to hear they worked with Steve Albini on their 8th full length release El Rey. While this release doesn't reach the nearly impossible mark set by Watusi and Seamonsters, El Rey works famously well, especially if you are already partial to David Gedge's song stylings. The rockin' songs are ok, though they have lost a bit of oomph over the years. However, the album soars on mid-tempo numbers such as "I Lost the Monkey", "The Trouble With Men", and "Don't Take Me Home Until I'm Drunk." If you are a fan, go get this record! If you are new to The Wedding Present, please go check out Watusi and Seamonsters before tackling El Rey.

THE WEDDING PRESENT

Thursday, June 12, 2008

She & Him Tour Dates


Not that She & Him really need our help getting the word out...But I really love them, so here are their upcoming dates! Go see them live if you have the time.


Wednesday, July 23 Toronto, ONT @ Opera House
Thursday, July 24 Northampton, MA @ Academy of Music
Friday, July 25 Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
Saturday, July 26 New York, NY @ Terminal 5
Monday, July 28 Carrboro, NC @ Cats Cradle
Tuesday, July 29 Atlanta, GA @ Varsity Playhouse
Wednesday, July 30 Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
Thursday, July 31 Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
Saturday August 2 Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
Tuesday, August 5 Chicago, IL @ Park West
Thursday, August 7 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
Friday, August 8 Madison, WI @ Barrymore
Sunday August 10 Washington, DC @ V Fest

Music Blogs That Do It Right!

So, I guess it's kind of odd for a music blogger to step outside of herself and start writing about other music blogs! But, there are literally hundreds of good blogs out there, not counting the big ones like Pitchfork and Stereogum...So, here are some you might consider taking a look at:

DAYTROTTER: A really well put together blog with amazing artwork, exclusive interviews, and a great indie sensibility.
CABLE & TWEED: Fantastic blog about indie and comics with great ticket give aways, thoughtful writing, and an honest enthusiasm.
GORILLA VS BEAR: Excellent indie music site. Check out their Best of 2008 (thus far) breakdown.
ROCK INSIDER Very informative blog with a great sense of fun and a real love for music.
OBSCURE SOUNDS Perhaps the most thorough writing I have run across on a music blog. I wouldn't even know how to write this much!

Just for giggles...here's two that get it wrong:

DUSTED MAGAZINE Looks great! However, once you get into the meat of it, a good portion of the reviews are poorly written, overly venomous, and they can't be bothered to even get basic details of releases or band bios correct. It's everything I am desperate not to be as a blogger.
Indie-Music.com Ok...I think this is really some sort of sales site pretending to be a music review page. I can't figure it out. It seems to skew more independent musician than indie. It's just plain odd.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cassettes Won't Listen - Small-Time Machine


I totally love Cassettes Won't Listen. If you didn't know, CWL is the invention of multi-instrumentalist and producer Jason Drake. Small-Time Machine is his first physical release. It's really well made, lovely pop that out "Ben Gibbards" almost all the quasi-indie pop wanna-be bands trying to make a name for themselves. Three tracks to look out for are "Paper Float", "Freeze & Explode", and "The Broadcast." I am pretty certain Cassettes Won't Listen will be launched into the next tier of no longer indie but not quite mainstream acts like Modest Mouse and The Decemberists. But, the music is worthy. It's pretty darn good.



LA Tool & Die - My Brother In Law Won't Go To Your Show 7"


I don't get a lot of vinyl sent my way...probably because it's really hot in Greensboro and would melt on my porch while waiting for me to get home and listen to it! LA Tool & Die has created a fun little 7" here. A-Side is My Brother in Law Won't Go To Your Show. I spoke about this track a little before when I wrote up their full album a few months ago. Basically, it's the hysterical tale of the indie rocker who grows up, stops being able to follow the scene, and sits at home listening to his Built to Spill and Silver Jews records from the mid-90s. The line "He used to DJ College radio, but that was 13 f*ckin' years ago" cracks me up as I often feel the same way. This track is a must listen for any indie rocker who is feeling the sting of the aging process. B-Side is 1983 (The Year Corey Hart Exploded in My Pants) which is full of amazing 80s synth riffs and goofy guitar sounds. It's about as 80s as you can get without getting out your knit tie and Van's French Legion hat with the flaps in the back. This is worth your time.



We Vs. The Shark - Dirty Versions


Everyone who is a fan of We Vs. The Shark will totally cream themselves over Dirty Versions! As always, the rock is brought-en, big time. My standout track is "I Am The Contempt Machine." Though, "Keep It Wolf" is a close second. For those of you who haven't checked out We Vs. The Shark, the best way to describe the sound is the spastic, over-caffinated bastard child born of a Math Rock father and face-melting Freak Rock mother. There hasn't been anyone else rocking this hard, this well on the indie scene in the last decade.



Back From Vacation!

Hi!
Sorry this wasn't updated for several weeks! I was on vacation in Europe! Gloating is good me!
Here come the updates!
Yours always,
Viva!