Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bird Names - Sings the Browns

Sings the Browns is the latest in a long line of great releases from Chicago's Bird Names. Experimental at their core, Bird Names seems to draw their musical compositions from bits and pieces of virtually every genre creating an interesting sound that, when at its best, fits somewhere between the easy-breezy sounds of early 70s folk-pop, mid 90s Japanese noise, and children making music with their Fisher Price tool kit. Somewhere around track 5 ("Natural Weeds"), this album takes off and never looks back culminating in eight songs in a row that will dazzle you with brilliance. My highlights include "Production", "I Had A Girl", and "Taxicabs & Bicycles." Give this record a listen, it's well worth your time.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

7 Silly Questions w/ Projekt A-ko!

I will have to admit a bit of a bias towards Projekt A-ko. I have been following the music of these crazy kids from Glasgow, Scotland for at least 13 years. Those in the know might remember Fergus Lawrie, Elaine Graham, & Ian Graham from their hugely popular previous band Urusei Yatsura (in the US, they were released simply as Yatsura). The music of Projekt A-ko still contains the high energy, fun loving spirit of Yatsura, but it is beautifully tempered by years of experience and the natural musical maturation process. The result is a truly magical collection of songs that only seasoned indie rock veterans can deliver.

Recently, Projekt A-ko released a fantastic full length CD Yoyodyne. Yoyodyne is the name of the secretive and possibly malevolent corporation in Thomas Pynchon’s book ‘The Crying of Lot 49’. You can preview many of the tracks in the player above. You can also download some MP3s to check out for yourself here: Free Projekt A-ko MP3s!

We caught up with Fergus and Elaine via the internet and convinced them to answer some of our highly suspect questions!

Viva: What's the most embarassing band you loved as a kid?
Fergus: Steeleye Span, still got a soft spot for them.
Elaine: My parents had a collection of those Top of the Pops albums with the saucy record sleeves and the dodgy cover versions. I didn't know they were cover versions for years and thought it was a band. That's pretty embarrassing.

Viva: Who smells the worst in van after a show?
Fergus: I do. I always sit as far away from myself as possible.
Elaine: Ian, no question. But then he is usually driving so it's best not to mention it or you could get left behind at a service station.

Viva: If Eiko Magami invited you to the Graviton High School prom, what song would you most want to slow dance to?
Fergus: Joe Le Taxi by Vanessa Paradis, just to maximize that kitsch ‘80s vibe.
Elaine: Little Trouble Girl by Kim Gordon/Kim Deal

Viva: What's the funniest thing that has happened to you on the road?
Fergus: Our dressing room got robbed in New York. That wasn't particularly funny, in fact we were very stressed out. We went back to the hotel room after the show and drank vodka while Ian phoned his insurance company in the UK. It was a bad line and whoever was handling the call wasn't used to Scottish accents. Ian kept on having to shout and repeat himself. Eventually they asked him to spell his name using call signs. He was having an increasingly hard time being understood and coming up with words for letters and when he got to the 'G' in Graham he said 'G for Gnome'. You had to be there.
Elaine: I once saw a woman with an accordian fall in a hole back stage at Pheonix festival. What a brilliant noise.

Viva: What other band names did you seriously consider before going with Projekt A-ko?
Fergus: None, it was a no-brainer once we found out about the connections between the Urusei Yatsura and Projekt A-ko films.
Elaine: I can't really say as we still might use them one day.

Viva: Who's in heavy rotation on your iPod?
Fergus: 'Yoyodyne' by Projekt A-ko, embarrassingly. I've just got a random play guy so I cleared everything else off to listen to the album when I got the final cut and I've yet to find time to put anything else back on.
Elaine: My iPod is busted so there are ghost tracks on it that I can't delete which fill up a load of space, luckily for me these are mainly from Sonic Youth's Sonic Nurse album.

Viva: What was the worst fight over nothing that you got into with each other after being road weary and exhausted?
Fergus: Can dolphins eat crisps. You know, trying to open the packets with flippers would be pretty tricky.
Elaine: We excel at these kind of arguments. Take your pick:
What is the best way to eat a chocolate eclair (the sweet not the cake)?
Cricket - what's the point?
Posters - is it ever acceptable to have a bands big fat faces on them?
Top of the Pops - don't get Ian started.....


Friday, June 19, 2009

First MP3 Released From New Polvo Record!!

Thanks to the fine folks at Merge Records, we all get a sneak peak at the first new MP3 from Polvo's In Prism due out Sept 8th. The song is "Beggars Bowl". It's pretty darn great. Enjoy!

Download Beggars Bowl MP3!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

7 Silly Questions w/ Hot Lava!

Twenty seconds after pressing play on my iPod to listen to the song Apple+Option+Fire, Richmond, VA’s Hot Lava had me in their corner. Their refreshing brand of indie pop is so infectious, you might just have to call the CDC to get their songs out of your head. The release of Lavalogy on Bar/None Records last fall cemented their place as one of the most entertaining and most respected indie bands in the country.

Hot Lava started out as art school buddies, Allison was design focused, Jared and Andrew did film and Matt did illustration and design. Their background had them playing in galleries and underground warehouse parties. “When we started playing live in late 2006, we didn't really have a niche. We played with a lot of local bands, but there wasn't a lot of chemistry at times,” explains Allison “We started playing shows with out of town bands (The Videohippos, The SadCobras) a couple months later and realized that we were all pretty likeminded folks. We've all networked a little now, and we’re part of a community that sort of spans up and down the East Coast. We're all friends of friends of friends and fans of each other's music. The internet has sort of fueled a new weird music revolution that's happening right now.”

We caught up with Hot Lava “boss” Allison Lava via the interwebs and told her if she didn’t answer our questions we would simply die. Thankfully, Allison spared our lives and agreed to answer some highly suspect interrogatives.

Viva: What's the most embarassing band you loved as a kid?
Allison: I really, really like Tracy Bonham. Mother Mother was the shit. She dispeared.

Viva: Who smells the worst in van after a show?
Allison: We all smell terrible!

Viva: Better Hot Lava song - South Park or B-52s?
Allison: B-52s for sure.

Viva: What's the funniest thing that has happened to you on the road?
Allison: Jared and Matt smashing beer cans against their heads to see if they can break them...their skulls and the cans.

Viva: Who would win in a fight? Unicorns....or Narwhals?
Allison: Unicorns. Narwhals can suck it.

Viva: Who's in heavy rotation on your iPod?
Allison: XTC & The Zombies

Viva: What was the worst fight over nothing that you got into with each
other after being road weary and exhausted?
Allison: I am always secretly pissed that I'm "not allowed" to drive the van. Although, sometimes I drive.

Download Mummy Beach MP3!
Download Apple+Option+Fire MP3

Check out these great Hot Lava videos!

*The second paragraph was taken from their Bar/None press page! It was written better than the crap we were coming up with!

Jenny Lewis - Black Sand Video!

Great new video from Jenny Lewis off last year's Acid Tongue.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Woods - To Clean Video

Woods have released a gruesomely great video for their song "To Clean" off their 4th album Song of Shame! Enjoy!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Moustache of Insanity - Moustache of Insanity

Ok, these guys are officially one of our favorite new twee pop bands. Hailing from the UK, Moustache of Insanity tackles mundane subject matter with such maniacal glee that you can't help but to laugh your ass off. Their debut EP Moustache of Insanity on Wee Pop Records has songs about Uno, gloating over beating your girlfriend's ass at pool (even though she doesn't know how to play), getting a deal on remnant biscuits at the biscuit factory tour, and a host of other delightful subjects. If you like to have a good time, we urge you to check these guys out. If you like to stand around at shows, arms folded, staring at your shoes, pretending not to be impressed by anything, we urge you to fuck right off, then go check these guys out.


Little Tybee - I Wonder Which House the Fish Will Live In

Atlanta's Little Tybee are releasing their fantastic, 7 song debut EP I Wonder Which House the Fish Will Live In on July 14th. I've not experienced a band that so beautifully incorporates cheesy 70s style electric piano and casiotone drum beats, with violin, real piano, and traditional musical arrangements. There is a sincere quality in the vocal performances that quickly endears the listener to the material. Check out their free download "Glass Brigade." It's pretty great, but hardly the best track on the album. I highly recommend "Dear Emily" and the title track "I Wonder Which House the Fish Will Live In." Little Tybee really are doing their own thing, which is really saying something in this day and age where so many bands sound alike.

Download Glass Brigade MP3!


Monday, June 8, 2009

7 Silly Questions w/ Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun!

If you aren't familiar with Atlanta band Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, then get ready for treat. This indie electro-pop four piece is poised to conquer the nation with it's dance-tastic sounds, scintillating melodies, and charming good looks. But, it's their commitment to touring around the Southeast, putting on amazing live shows that is allowing TTMTTS to rapidly build its reputation.

Perhaps their self description best sums things up:
"Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun is about the collaborative. It’s about the connections between sound and people. It’s about the heart and the head. It’s for mistakes and triumphs, and against arrogance and underconfidence. Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun is about sharing the ideas that are created by four friends in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s all for sharing much further than there, penniless or plentiful."

We caught up with Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun while they were taking a brief respite from their hectic schedule and convinced them to answer some highly suspect questions!

Viva: What is the most embarrassing band you loved as a kid?
LAUREN: New Kids On the Block
CREGG: Amy Grant
MICAH: Nelson
JEREMY: Nelson

Viva: Who smells the worst in the van traveling to shows?
TTMTTS: Jeremy! (that was an easy one)

Viva: You use a lot of technology to produce your dancetastic sounds. Does your gear ever betray you on stage?
TTMTTS: All the time. We have seances to exorcise the demons from our electronics on a regular basis.

Viva: What's the funniest thing that has happened to you on the road?
TTMTTS: It's a four-way tie:
(1) While on tour w/our friends Club Awesome, we went Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC to watch the sunset over some drinks. Well, after the sun was finished setting & nighttime fell, we were standing in the courtyard of this beautiful resort, surrounded by various wings of the hotel rooms. All of a sudden, we noticed that the curtains were open in a few peoples rooms, & that's when we started seeing things-- first it was some old lady boobies. then, her husband walked out of the bathroom totally naked. People were seriously walking around naked in their hotel rooms with the shades wide open for everyone in the courtyard to see (unbeknownst to them)! The people in the room next to them were doing the same thing. It was crazy. Yeah, we all watched.
(2) Last time we played in New York, as we walked by the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Harlem, a big fat rat runs across Micah's foot, wrapping its tail around her ankle. Chuck E. himself!
(3) While driving down the highway, Cregg & Jeremy started watching the girl in the car next to us. They said she was picking her nose, then eating her boogers. Lauren & Micah didn't believe them, but looked anyway, & sure enough, for about 10 minutes straight, this chick was digging for gold, then smelling it, then eating it.
(4) Again in Asheville, we were eating at the fancy McDonalds near the Biltmore Estate, & Cregg came out of the bathroom telling us that "black Princess Lea" is in men's room. Jeremy then went in, & came out saying the same thing. Once again, the girls did not believe them. We ate our meal for 1/2 hr, then right before we were leaving, this dude emerges from the men's bathroom--Princess Lea braids & all.

Viva: Who would win in a fight? Unicorns....or Narwhals?
TTMTTS: Some of us think that, unfortunately, the narwhal would impale the unicorn before the unicorn could even get close enough, BUT, others feel that depending on the level of magical powers the unicorn has, it just might be able to freeze the narwhal as it's lunging out of the water to impale the unicorn and then the unicorn pulls off some swooping karate kicks to the horn, knocks it off and unfreezes the narwhal and then he's so bummed about losing his big stick that he just sulkily swims away. Poor narwhal.

Viva: Who's in heavy rotation on your iPod?
TTMTTS: Currently- White Lies, Land of Talk, old Cure, & Bloc Party

VIVA: What was the worst fight over nothing that you got into with each other after being road weary and exhausted?
TTMTTS: There were some words exchanged on the road about driving "styles"...Stuff about riding the left lane if you're not currently passing anyone. Apparently, we all have different driving styles. :) Or...there was once a heated discussion about lottery rules--whether or not you can win the lottery in some states if you're not a resident of that state. LOL. We've gotten pretty good at agreeing to disagree when it comes to this sort of thing!

Free Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun MP3 Downloads!
Arpeggiator MP3!
Never. Always.Good. MP3!

Like It Or Not Video!

Like It Or Not from today the moon, tomorrow the sun on Vimeo.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lullatone - We Will Rock You..To Sleep

Lullatone is Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Seymour from Nagoya, Japan who have been releasing conceptual pop albums since 2002, displaying artwork, touring the world, and even hosting a Japanese children's TV program. Lullatone began out of necessity when Shawn Seymour was schooling in Japan and could only travel with his portable Casio SK-1 keyboard, sampling sine tones, he crafted quiet pop tunes in the apartment to not wake Yoshimi; now his now wife and vocalist for the band, as she was sleeping. For those who need to catch up, We Will Rock You... To Sleep is an introduction to Lullatone, featuring tracks from several previous albums, but also serves as a single for "A Mobile Over Your Bed" which will be featured on their forthcoming album entitled Songs That Spin in Circles. Although it is forty minutes in length it is priced as a "rock bottom," single price, and closes with an "Extended Lullaby Remix" as an exclusive B-side. Run, don't walk, to the record store on June 9th and pick this record up!

Download A Mobile Over Your Bed MP3!

Here's a great video from a previous release!


Friday, June 5, 2009

LA Tool & Die - Don't Touch My Mustache

Here's a hysterical first video from the guys at LA Tool & Die. "Don't Touch My Mustache" features a cadre of unicorns, dancing monsters, and a whole host of silly goodness, but not one single member of the band. This one is high on our list of favorite video's thus far in 2009!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Polvo Comes Home to Merge - Will Release First Studio Album in 12 Years!

On September 8th, Merge Records will release In Prism, the first studio album from Polvo since 1997’s Shapes. In Prism was recorded at Echo Mountain in Asheville, North Carolina with Brian Paulson in March of ‘09, with additional recording in Carrboro in May of ‘09.

Polvo formed in 1990 in Chapel Hill, NC. Their lineup consisted of vocalists/guitarists Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski, bassist Steve Popson, and drummer Eddie Watkins. The band released 2 full-length albums and 2 EPs on Merge Records, and 2 full-length albums for Touch and Go before disbanding in 1997. Polvo, joined by drummer Brian Quast (Cherry Valence), reformed in 2008 when asked to perform at ATP by Explosions in the Sky.

You can expect a full review as the time gets closer. Everyone here at VivaIndieRock just can't wait.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rio en Medio - Frontier

Rio en Medio's Frontier, originally released on a small scale in Oct 2008, is finally getting a nation-wide release thanks to the fine folks at the Manimal Vinyl label. You may remember Danielle Stech-Homsy's delicate, haunting voice from their 2006 release The Bride of Dynamite. But for those of you new to Rio en Medio, you are in for a beautiful surprise. All 11 tracks on Frontier skillfully meld electronic and organic sound, balancing delicate vocal harmonies on oscillating synth riffs and driving dance beats offset with gamelan-like percussion. Download the free MP3 for "Fall Up" and be certain to watch the great video for "The Umbrella." Frontier is due out July 14th.

Fall Up Free MP3!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Superchunk - Crossed Wires 7" Due Out July 7th!

This new Superchunk single was produced by Scott Solter (John Vanderslice, The Mountain Goats) at Overdub Lane in Durham, NC, and will be available in a limited edition of 1,000 copies on clear vinyl. "Crossed Wires" comes in a beautiful picture sleeve featuring artwork by New York artist Will Yackulic, and comes with a digital download code that gets you both songs plus a demo version of "Crossed Wires."

Preorder at Merge Records