Mean Lady es un dúo de Delaware (Samuel Nobles y Katie Dill) que se dedican a facturar un Dream-Pop con trazos ensoñadores y melodías etéreas a lo Chillwave, esa nueva etiqueta algo descafeinada. Incluyen igualmente algunos samplers en su música. Algo así a lo que realizan Beach House, pero algo más enfrascados en el sonido de las nubes. Su Ep de presentación es este Kid Friendly (2010), que ofrecen gratuitamente en su Bandcamp, para que todo el mundo pueda disfrutarlo.
“I have been totally jamming out to the infectiously upbeat vibes of Newark, Delaware’s Mean Lady ever since stumbling upon one of their tracks previously posted by one of my favorite colleagues, the ever awesome Smoke Don’t Smoke. Despite the misleading name, Mean Lady is actually a duo consisting of Samuel Nobles and Katie Dill. I included them on Turntable Kitchen’s Top EPs of 2010 list, and it doesn’t take very long to hear what it is I liked about them. The jubilant and boisterous piano on opening track “Lonely” balances against Dill’s smokey, elegant vocals. Give it a listen below, and then follow the link above to download the rest of the EP from their bandcamp page” (turntablekitchen.com)
Para hoy tan sólo he preparado un menú con dos singles. ¿Por qué? En primer lugar porque no dispongo de demasiado tiempo (si os dedicáis a las ventas, y os encontráis en época de Navidad, sabréis de lo os que hablo). En segundo lugar porque estoy preparando, para este fin de semana, un Mixtape con una selección de lo mejor que he oído este año. Aparecerá en dos volúmenes, probablemente entre el Sábado y el Lunes.
Ghost Wave son un cuarteto de Auckland, Nueva Zelanda, de los que sé poco (he estado indagando en su MySpace y su Facebook): tan sólo que tienen un par de singles y que preparan un disco grande. Los dos temas que conocemos son Gold, en su versión demo; y este Hippy, un buen tema, en los que encontramos la huella del sonido Surf mezclado con algún toquecillo Post-Punk que la hacen una canción más que agradable. Por si fuera poco, es de descarga gratuita.
Ésta es la versión que ha remezclado David Van Bylen (Estereotypo) de Religión, un tema de Lori Meyers, incluido en su último álbum, que ha quedado convenientemente maquillado y retocado para la ocasión. Incluso acompañan de vídeo. Podeis descargar el tema aquí.
El sello Pop Up Música hace un repaso de la breve pero intensa trayectoria de Estereotypo, que resume en este EP. It’s time (Estereotypo dance their first singles) recopila las canciones más sonadas de los dos álbumes de la banda, Join the electro funky party! y Love your city y se completa con la versión que grabaron del Love me do de The Beatles para el recopilatorio ‘Homenaje 50 Aniversario The Beatles’, compartido con otros grandes del pop español. Además, dos de los temas, Think outside the box y Pleasure han sido remezclados y remasterizados para la ocasión. Info : Indie Spain.
Os dejo la entrevista que el portal musical The Line of Best Fit realizó a The Posies. En ella abordan diferentes aspectos: sus comienzos, cómo entienden la música, los conciertos; una valoración de su nuevo disco… es bastante interesante.
With Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer, the band’s “musical polymaths” back working together for the last five years, the second act of The Posies‘ ongoing and far-reaching career is continuing and thriving.
On the eve of the release of their much-anticipated 7th studio album Blood/Candy, Jude Clarke put the same set of questions to the pair, and got these thoughtful, detailed and fascinating answers, providing great insight into their influences, history, and how they collaborate to produce their brand of “moderate, brainy, literate, melodic indie rock“.
You’ve both had long musical careers. How did you first get into “the business”: were you in bands at school / college etc? Have you ever had non-music jobs? If not, what non-music job would you take, if you *had* to?
Ken Stringfellow: Jon & I were in bands long before there was business to do. We took ourselves quite seriously, and worked on things every day, while we were in school. After school each day we’d head to Jon’s where he and his dad had put together a formidable little studio–the REC. room you could say. Haha. I was also in bands before I knew Jon, starting in about 1980, at which point I was 11. It just came naturally, and grew naturally. It’s not like the first stuff I did was awesome, but practice is practice.
When the Posies started, we made what was meant to be a demo, but turned out to be an album-length recording of very good quality. And then bam–it was on commercial radio. The first radio station we gave our ‘tape’ to, put it in heavy rotation straight away. Something that’s not supposed to happen. At the time, I was attending the Univ. of Washington in Seattle, and Jon had I believe by that time already sort of left W. Wa. Univ. in our hometown of Bellingham. Neither of us really had our hearts in our studies, and of course as soon as the music hit we did everything to fan that fragile flame. I quit school soon after and took a job in a futon company warehouse, unloading trucks, fulfilling orders, and supervising a crew of mischievous Cambodians who were the futon makers. It was actually fun, and I knew it wasn’t going to last forever. I did that for about a year, and by then we could live off the band (barely).
I like the idea of working, but not of a job. A job is an obligation; but for me, work is a pleasure. I like working hard. I could imagine being a kind of teacher, it’s basically what I do as a producer, anyway. A writer, an editor…all this appeals. I’m good with words….then again, I see the guys down at the fish shop every morning and they look damn happy (as clams, perhaps?), and I know they make shitloads of dough, so…I could do that. They are a family, too–I think *who* you work with makes a difference too.
Jon Auer: My father was a musician and I grew up in a musical household, went to concerts from the moment I was born really, and there were always instruments and musicians around. My parents were involved in grass roots concert promoting and musicians used to come to town and stay at our place all the time, so at a very early age I got a taste of ‘the life’, the whole kind of community/family aspect of it. I started playing drums at the age of 3, violin at the age of 4, guitar at 6, and the rest just kind of happened after that, I never stopped, became obsessed, and luckily had the tools and support around me to grow and flourish. My father eventually put a modest but powerful little recording studio in our house during my teenage years and he never used it passed a certain point so I just took hold of the reins and kind of ran with it, got a crash course in production and engineering. It’s where the Posies made our first record and arguably the reason The Posies had the early success we did. I also learned you could make some pretty decent money being a producer, something I still do a ton of.
Amazingly, the only other jobs I’ve had have been music related: I worked at two record stores, one in Bellingham, the town we made our first record in and Ken and I met/lived during our teens, and a store in Seattle I worked at when I moved down to Seattle to join Ken, who had left for college the year before, and give the Posies a real try. We worked our asses off – really, we were so determined, but not in a ‘douche bag’, opportunistic way – we were just so into music and did nothing else, lived and breathed it.
If I had to pick a non-music job, I think I’d take a crack at the film industry, I love film so much, but maybe that’s too closely related. My father was/is a teacher at Western Washington University in Bellingham, I suppose I could do some of that…but I bet it would be related to the teaching of music somehow, haha!
If really pressed, maybe some work involving animals…can’t get enough of the little buggers…although arguably I already do a bit of that in the music biz as well, haha…!
What, in your career, would you say was your finest moment, or the record of which you felt most proud?
KS: My finest moment might possibly be when I talked Miss Czech Republic 1999 into coming back to mine. But seriously folks. I think if your life has just one ‘finest’ moment, that’s not the full monty. There have been so many experiences where I’ve come off a show feeling like I’ve just shared something incredible with an audience and feeling great. But those moments didn’t come very often until more recent years–it took a long time to get the skills to be able to guide the situation of being onstage into the places I want it to go. And of course, not all the finest moments are musical–the births of my kids, opening a fantastic bottle after aging it in my cellar for decade, having a laugh at home with Mrs. S.–this is all good stuff, and in those moments, I am definitely not thinking of Ken Stringfellow, musician-at-large.
I happen to be very proud of this new Posies album, I think it’s what we’ve been working towards all these years. And I still think we could do more work just as good or better from this point forward.
JA: Honestly, I’m not sure how to gauge things on a scale like this – * really *. This whole business of ‘picking one’ just doesn’t sit well with me. There are moments I remember being super excited, like when Ringo Starr covered a song of ours I wrote called “Golden Blunders”, that was an amazing moment – I mean, there are only a few people in history who can say they were a member of The Beatles and one of them covered our song – that’s pretty cool.
But really, some of my favorite moments are the quiet ones, the ones no one else might see, just being somewhere in the world, traveling, and just feeling really lucky to be doing what I enjoy, and having a lot of good people in my life I get to do it with, be around. That is ultimately the reward of rewards.
If you could erase or change one moment, what would that be?
KS: Oh, god. Many. I almost killed a chap in a bar brawl some years back. That could have gone so much worse. I was very lucky.
On a musical note, I wish we’d taken our label’s advice and remixed at least some of our second album, Dear 23 (DGC, 1990). John Leckie, who produced the album, did a great job recording it, but I think he hedged his bet too much in the mix and tried to slick it up with digital effects and such. There’s a much more interesting record underneath.
JA: Besides the birth of Sarah Palin? Oh jeez – there are a few, aren’t there? Many of them were hairstyles I believe…But seriously, it might behoove me to compile a list of said moments one of these days so I can refer to it at times like these, haha…
Life is full of moments you wish you could live over, ‘tests’ you wish you could ‘retake’, yes? Anyone who says they have no time they’d like to relive is lying. I will say some amazing things in my life have come as a result of what I perceived as horrible experiences at the time. Sometimes you get so down the only place to go is up and if you’re paying close attention, you can really learn something invaluable about yourself and life. So yes, I’ve had my ‘moments’ but for the most part I’m happy to report that a majority of the ‘clouds’ in my life have come with silver linings. You just have to wait a bit for them to reveal themselves, have a little faith. Sometimes it takes years.
I’m really enjoying the new album. Where would you place it on the scale of your overall body of work? How’s the feedback that you’ve been getting for it?
KS: Excuse me, place my body on a working scale, what?
I view this album as potential, realized (at long last). Anything that came before–we were either naive doofuses, like on our first two albums, or wildly undermined by doubt and insecurity and emotional weirdness. And not the good kind. So, this really is what we can do when we achieve, and don’t hold ourselves back, or shoot ourselves in the feet.
Feedback has been excellent. I saw a couple thumbs down on the blogosphere which immediately led me to believe this has to be a good sign–there’s people out there whom I’m *glad* aren’t our fans, I don’t need more douchebags in my life.
JA: I think Blood/Candy is up there in the top three for me, and it’s easily our most sophisticated in terms of overall layering and scope. Most folks are really impressed with the variety and the way we’ve managed to juxtapose styles and textures. There’s still plenty to enjoy for long term fans but we’ve also introduced a few wild cards into the mix, upped the creative ante a few notches on songs like “Accidental Architecture”, which is almost from some alternate Posies universe, a universe where time gets stretched and rearranged. “Licenses to Hide” is also unlike anything else in our ‘oeuvre’, if you will.
Could you tell me a little bit about how you and Ken/Jon work together? Do you parcel things out, or is it more organic and collaborative? Who would win in an “artistic disagreement” these days?
KS: I think the person who wins in our artistic disagreements is: you, the listener. We take the points seriously we each have to make. I like to see us as a kind of federal government, with a system of checks and balances so that the “Jon-dicial” and “Ken-gressional” branches don’t overstep their mandate (there is no “Posie-dent”, if I may complete the cycle of rancid punnery). If it’s not representative of each of our visions, it’s not a Posies album. It’s K or J solo album with the other guy guest appearing, and that’s not what you want in the end.
These days, we each write songs, at home, away from the others, and send the demos around (or not) and then get together and start learning the songs from the demos. We exercise a lot of precious, protective bullshit over our songs like any songwriter will do, but we try and remember that the people we have in this band are trustworthy people that will bring only good things to the picture….easier said than done.
After that–on this record, there was so much work to do that Jon & I then went off with the songs we were responsible for and worked on them at home and other places. Jon has been the liaison with with the visual arts side of the album, working with the designer and illustrator to make sure the package comes out like we want it and do all the paperwork. I do a lot of tour managing and logistical work for the band, and we both have a hand in what you might call management.
JA: The initial part of our collaboration involves more hunting and gathering than anything else; it’s later that it becomes a bit more confrontational. Most of what we do together comes so easy and natural that it’s a bit scary really, like second nature. A lot of “I was just going to say that” or “You read my mind” occurs and we value each others’ opinion tremendously, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get a bit tricky at times trying to get both of our needs met and voices heard. But hey, that’s a * good thing * – it’s par for our course. Understatement: Ken and I are both incredibly headstrong and we work our material together to the nth degree until we feel we’ve given everything a fair shake and sometimes that is an intense process. It’s both inevitable and necessary. That’s what makes us The Posies.
If you could choose to only tour or only write and record material, which would you take?
KS: Oh, touring for sure. I’ve been touring for 6 years on the same solo album (Soft Commands, Rykodisc, 2004) so obv. that’s what I like. Since that album has come out I’ve toured South America, Asia (twice plus a visit to Israel), Africa, prob. 200 shows in Europe, plus the US, Australia and New Zealand. I love to connect with people, and see new places. And you’d be amazed–I have heard many times that hip hop is the world’s music, but from what I’ve seen….kids all over the world are into indie rock. Everyone wants to be a hipster.
JA: Will you think I’m a grump or a stick in the mud if I say I hate these either/or type of questions? Too bad…(haha)…Regardless, for me there is never really a fair or accurate answer in these situations. You’re asking me to pick between two things I can’t live without at this point. It’s like having to choose between food and water. Granted, I pretty much grew up in a studio, like I mentioned before, and it’s a very comfortable place for me to be. There is so much I associate in my life about and with it, a lot of formative experience that will never be erased from the memory banks. During high school, I used to work in my father’s home studio until the sun came up on weekends, by myself, completely driven. I was seriously obsessed.
That said, I could never have predicted how fucking addictive playing live is. Really, it’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s like getting a ‘fix’ every time it happens and I know for a fact I get depressed if I don’t play live for a while, so I try to keep something on the performance schedule as often as I see fit. Between some other back to back sessions for other artists I’ve been producing, I just returned from a solo trip to Singapore and before that had a couple of shows in New York City. The Posies record kept me in a studio for like a month and a half will little or no reprieve, and as soon as I hit the stage at these shows, I got that shot, that rush, and the light bulb turned on in my head yet again. It’s like a kind of hyper reality and when it’s happening I don’t want it to end.
But, since you asked – say, if I was forced at gunpoint…or needlepoint, perhaps…nah, forget it. I’m not gonna choose. Not gonna happen. Next question!
What other bands and artists are you enjoying at the moment? Are there any other bands that you think are directly or indirectly influenced by The Posies? If so, is that flattering, or irritating?
KS: If we include *indirectly* then…well, pretty much you’d be laying all of modern, brainy, melodic, literate etc. indie rock at our feet. Posies fans are everywhere–you’ll find them in the lineups of Snow Patrol, Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, and so on and so on. Is there any way that could be irritating? If I become destitute, I can always call in a favor and wham: I have employment cleaning a swimming pool, somewhere.
At the moment, I’m on vacation, and I just haven’t had the heart to listen to demos, etc. I recorded a band from Cambodia (the Cambodian Space Project) in a garage near my summer place the other day, that was marvelous. Mostly I listen to bullshit on French radio as we drive around the island where we live during summer. Uh, French radio this summer is 99% Owl City, tho. And the Gossip song that sounds like “Pump Up the Jams”.
Summer holiday is when I catch up on cinema and literature, as the rest of the year it’s all music, all the time.
JA: I don’t think influence is ever irritating, but how one is perceived can often be. I get a little miffed at the lazy categorization of The Posies sometimes. We’ve been lumped into genres at points in our career that I just don’t feel do us justice and that can be frustrating especially when the labels and tags are propagated. There is a lot going on musically with The Posies, to say the least, a lot of layer and nuance and I don’t think we ever fit easily into any one ‘box’… but what can you do, except bitch about it in interviews? haha!
My favorite times are when I meet someone in a band who sounds nothing like The Posies and they tell me what a fan they are. I’ve been touring behind a solo record of mine since 2006, Songs from The Year of Our Demise, and I’ve been all over the world with it, Europe, Australia, Japan, Singapore, etc. and I constantly meet people in bands who like what I do and what we’ve done together. I remember doing a sound check at the Mercury Lounge in NYC and this kind of Stoner Rock-looking dude turned up and just stood in the middle of the showroom and watched me perform. Turned out to be a really lovely chap named Mike Dyball who was in town with his band, the band Priestess from Montreal. They had a gig that night so he came by to see my check because he was going to miss my show and wanted to say hi, had my solo record already and was a big Posies fan. I’d never met him before in my life. Now, maybe, if you judged the book by the cover, I’d wager most Priestess fans would never guess he’d be into what I do, but there you go. I love it when that kind of thing happens.
Conversely, who would you say are the main bands or artists that have influenced *you* over the years?
KS: Oh, well, at the beginning of the band (1988) i can say it was 50% early 80s braniac manic pop like Squeeze, XTC, Elvis Costello…and a hodgepodge of indie faves of the day–Husker Du, the Smiths, The Replacements, Black Flag REM. I have to see we really admired Seattle’s The Young Fresh Fellows, who were by turns poignant, clever, and inspired. And still are.
Over the years, we discovered how much we didn’t know. We heard Big Star, at one point. That changed everything. And on our first US tour, in 1990, the soundtrack was Teenage Fanclub, which sort of changed everything again.
And now? You’re talking to people with tens of thousands of records, files, whatever…it’s all in there. If we’ve heard it, it’s an influence, yes?
JA: Music is pretty much all I do now, every day of my life there is always something going on related to it, even when I’m not technically ‘working’. The gears keep grinding in my head; it’s just compulsory really. Ultimately, you end up influenced by everything you are a part of if you’re present and paying attention. You can’t help it, it just rubs off of you, either in the sense that you are moved and affected by what is happening or in some cases unexpected ways. Honestly, I can be just as influenced by discovering what I don’t like or don’t enjoy about something as well, things I see and hear that I maybe I would like to avoid becoming. In fact, sometimes that can be the ultimate influence, the true catalyst.
Also, since I’m immersed in musical matters most of the time, a fair bit of what influences me these days is outside of the music world. I’m obsessed with film and I freely admit I use it for meaningful escape/inspiration a lot of the time. Robert Altman and Stanley Kubrick send me. Fellini’s 8 & 1/2 is a perennial fave. So is Hal Ashby’s Being There. Film is quite similar to music to me in many ways – except that you can see it, haha.
Could you tell me a bit about your connection with Broken Social Scene?
KS: Darius, our drummer, is genetically Canadian. He was born in the US, but….man…talk about God missing the free throw–that boy was meant to be up in the Land of the Loons. A fanatical connection with the band Rush is just the beginning of the story. Anyway, he lives there now. Also, he’s been playing a lot with Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg, who’s been living in Seattle for years, and I think shared quite a few bills with (uh, hahah let’s not further investigate that image) Broken Social on tour with Scott. Darius is extremely likable, Canadians are friendly, and Bob’s your dad’s brother. So, D is good friends with that crew, and when I was imagining who could sing the female part on our album, D suggested Lisa. He played with them in London in mid May, and she was into the idea, and we all met when we played the same festival outside Seattle at the end of May, we all got on well, and as they had a break in the tour after that show, she could do the singing with Marty, their live and studio engineer at his place, just in time to make into the mix.
JA: I first met them in Australia in 2006 through Spiral Stairs of Pavement (whose recent album on Matador/Domino, The Reel Feel, I produced and mixed BTW) when we all played a festival called Laneways there together. Our drummer Darius ended up getting to play with them a few times and I would go see BSScene shows with him whenever they were in town and hang out. Nice folks, crazy musician/artist types in a very civilized way and amazing performers, transcendent live.
What do you think of the current debate around availability of music online. Do you think intiatives like Spotify are a good way forward, or do you have concerns around the future of “records” and bands being able to financially sustain long-term careers?
KS: I have no worries about long term careers, any more than I ever did. Music and art have a value, and there’s always a way to translate that value into something to live off of. The way you meet that money may change, but it just pays to pay attention, and be creative (that’s our job, anyway, right?). My opinion of Spotify, or whatever, is irrelevant–it’s here. Radio has been free since long before I was alive. I taped songs off the radio. Home taping was killing music, right? Wrong.
JA: The thing I find kind of odd is how little people are willing to pay for music sometimes. I mean, a lot of people are hard pressed to spend $10 or 10 quid on a CD or record they can arguably listen to for the rest of theirs lives, but they won’t blink an eye when it comes to spending that amount on a latte or two or a pack of cigarettes on a daily basis, something transitory.
Maybe we need to develop a method for caffeine or nicotine delivery via music…maybe that’s the answer. Would someone get to work on this? Please let me know when you figure it out.
What about social networking and blogging type sites? Do you think they’ve changed the relationship between musicians and their fans? Do you make much use of twitter, facebook etc?
KS: Uh, do I think…haha….what if I said ‘no’? I mean, of course….I am very comfortable with the idea of people having access to me, if that excites them a bit…and it seems to…and it seems to stimulate a lot of loyalty if you are a little accessible. And the nice thing about it is, you can turn it off. Boom. Not accessible. Seems like a win win to me.
Ha hah, I was thinking of a one panel gag with a musician at the computer: “man, this social networking has revolutionized the way I do business, and my relationship with my fans! I’ve got all the crumpet already lined up FOR THE ENTIRE TOUR!!!”
Ahem. I digress. But, it’s kind of true in a way–I mean, along comes the internet, this glorious invention that will set us all free and end all wars, and then, along come the pornographers, like 40 minutes later. Boom.
I monitor the world (my world) on Twitter. I communicate with fans on FB. And there ya go.
JA: I use all of the above and love it. The Posies started as a DIY band, we made our recordings, ‘manufactured’ them one piece of product at a time, and sold them direct to stores initially, literally out of backpacks we’d tote around with us. Man, could we have used the Internet then! People who have always had it, growing up with it today, have no idea how much harder it was to network, haven’t a clue. You actually had to leave your house to do it – imagine that! Sure, you get the crazy Internet stalker presence sometimes as well, and the spam and theft, but the good far outweighs the bad IMNSHO. I love being able to eliminate the ‘middle man’ in the relationship between musicians and fans; there is less to get ‘in the way’. The more direct the better.
Finally, if you had to nominate one of the above questions as being the one where your answer will differ most dramatically from Ken’s/Jon’s, which one would it be?
KS: I’d have to say #6, that’s my prediction. Jon seems to be slightly more into studio work and slightly less into touring than I am, based on how we use our time. But that’s not to say Jon doesn’t tour much and I don’t do much studio work. But, I couldn’t imagine Jon not in a recording studio ever again and I couldn’t imagine me not touring again.
JA: Out of all these 12 questions, I’m going to nominate question number 13. There, I said it – now it’s out there in the open. Make of that what you will…
El nuevo álbum de The Posies es un gran disco. No sólo porque nos trae de nuevo a una de las grandes bandas que nos dieron los noventa, sino porque es, en sí mismo, una obra coherente y bien realizada, hecha con el poso de la madurez creativa de un grupo que ya no es el animoso combo de Seattle que nos sorprendió en la pasada década. Más años (y más kilos) han dado como fruto un disco de sabor dulce y no demasiado difícil de digerir que nos trae a la banda en un momento de madurez creativa. Su contundencia ya no es la misma (no esperemos los pildorazos Power-Pop de Frosting on the Beater, 1993), pero su sonido es como una pesada losa de Pop hecha con un esmero máximo. Una obra de orfebrería que nos ofrece temas como So Caroline, The Glitter Prize, She´s coming down again!, Take care of yourself, Cleopatra Streets, Notion 99 o Plastic paperbacks que son canciones por las que muchísimas bandas de menor repertorio matarían instantáneamente. Su sentido de la melodía combinada con un desarrollo a medio camino entre el Power-Pop y el Indie hacen de The Posies una banda única. Hay otros temas más calmados en el disco, como For the Ashes o Accidental architecture. La primera tiene un aroma McCartney/Wings tremendo, y me parece genial. ¿Acaso no es Macca uno de los mejores compositores/íntérpretes de la historia del Pop? Accidental architecture es un tema en el que los canadienses se toman la licencia de expandir su sonido algo más allá, utilizando desarrollos incluso jazzies. La misma License to hide es una especie de ópera-rock desarrollada en cuatro minutos. Blood/Candy, su séptimo álbum de estudio, es un gran disco, para el que se han tomado los años que han creído oportunos; un disco de madurez pero para nada de banda acabada. El grupo de Ken Stringfellow y Jon Auer aún tiene mucho que ofrecer, ya sea como The Posies o como aventuras en solitario.
“On, off and then on again, in that fractured career pattern that typifies the longer-serving bands, The Posies have, since the mid 1980s, been bringing us their deceptively effortless-sounding songs of love and life, wrapped up with some offbeat observations, arresting metaphors (“frosting on the beater” anyone?) and some of the most gorgeous, sunshine-drenched vocal harmonies this side of the Beach Boys.
In our recent interview with them, the band’s Ken Stringfellow told us that he thinks that this – studio album number seven – is “what we’ve been working towards all these years“; and with old rifts healed and the creative partnership of Stringfellow and Jon Auer very much back in full effect, that might not be too bold a claim.
At least two different ‘types’ of songs can be found here. Complex, intricate tracks (both lyrically and musically) that switch around in style, sound and melody (‘Licenses To Hide’, ‘For The Ashes’, ‘Accidental Architecture’) are offset by the simpler likes of ‘Glitter Prize’ and ‘So Caroline’. If it is in the latter that fans from the band’s earlier days will hear most that they recognise (the gentle, dreaming quality of the vocal; the instant-earworm melodies), it is perhaps the inclusion of the former that adds depth, weight and a longer-lasting resonance to the album.
‘For The Ashes’ opens with elegiac Let-It-Be piano, and is a moving contemplation of mortality – “Some day I’m gonna wake up dead I know / My breath released into the open sky“; while ‘Accidental Architecture’ too has both Beatles and Beach Boys musical references as well as a stunning set of different segments which vary musically, rhythmically, stylistically while still maintaining sufficient coherence to hold together as one track. ‘Licenses To Hide’, meanwhile, with guest vocal from Broken Social Scene’s Lisa Lobsinger, is practically a mini Rock Opera rolled up into a 4 minute pop song.
On the other hand, the effectiveness and straightforward rock/pop pleasure of ‘Oh Caroline’ is also a highlight. This is unshowy, gentle and fundamentally warm-hearted stuff which – along with ‘Glitter Prize’ and ‘Notion 99′ – serves as a reminder of just what gifted songwriters Auer and Stringfellow remain, and how lightly they (and their songs) wear their song crafting skills.
The lyrics touch on the usual themes of love and romance (‘Plastic Paperbacks’, ‘Glitter Prize’, ‘Licenses To Hide’), either with a youthful / teenage slant (“When will you stop those adolescent trends?”) or with a wiser looking-back-on-it-all perspective. References to casualties along the way – from ‘Take Care’ with its damaged protagonist cutting “into your arms” to the incredibly moving ‘She’s Coming Down’ (“What a shitty way to end a life) – are more regretful and elegiac than angry or bitter: this is not music that would lend itself to a protracted depiction of bitterness.
This band has a clear love of the way certain words sound when combined, and lovely couplets like “What dynamic could feel the damage“, “… the glow and the glee“, “Brittle remains of the wide-open plains” and most of all “stucco ceiling with stars” [just try saying this out loud for an idea of how well it works] are included, and delivered, with obvious relish.
Often simply and lazily described as “powerpop”, The Posies have always been so much more. Later on in that TLOBF interview Stringfellow describes their sound as “modern, brainy, melodic, literate etc. indie rock“, which is a better approximation. On this album, though, they demonstrate just how varied, diverse, beautifully crafted and deceptively complex a band can become, while still somehow producing songs that speak to - no: lift – the heart” (thelineofbestfit.com)
Nicole Schneit es una chica inquieta de Austin que en este pasado mes de Noviembre ha editado un disco titulado Dungeon Dots, bajo el pseudónimo de Air Waves. El single de anticipo del mismo es este Knockout, una preciosa gema de Folk-Pop adornado con simples arreglitos propios del género, como esa mandolina que suena machaconamente durante todo la canción. Particularmente me parece un temita agradable y más que ameno. Su distribución es gratuita, y en TJB damos buena cuenta de él.
“Knockout” is a seemingly simple folk-pop gem, elevated by new Austin resident Nicole Schneit’s (aka Air Waves) casually poignant lyrics and her apparently effortless knack for crafting warmly familiar, bittersweet melodies (a nice assist from Jennifer Moore of YellowFever helps too). The wistfully rolling heartbreaker is the opening track from Dungeon Dots, Air Waves’ stellar forthcoming full-length, due later this month on Underwater Peoples” (gorillavsbear.net)
Franc3s es el primer disco del 2011 que aparece en The JangleBox. Se trata del debut, tras dos Ep´s previos, de esta banda gallega que se ha labrado una incipiente carrera maquetera currándose escenarios, festivales y emisoras de radio. Su propuesta es original, y su formación de trío Guitarra, Teclados y Batería es un tanto atípica. Su sonido es una especie de mezcla entre Post-Punk, Pop siniestro y ciertas dosis de Shoegaze. Sus letras son entre surrealistas y tétricas, empleando un fino sentido bastante negro del humor. Su propuesta a veces nos recuerda -quizás demasiado- a la que proponían Parálisis Permanente en la España de los ochenta. Evidentemente, el panorama musical es absolutamente distinto, y la propuesta liberadora de la banda de Eduardo Benavente ya no nos epataría ahora como entonces. En cualquier caso, Franc3s retoman de alguna manera una temática que en cualquier caso había quedado bastante abandonada. Lo que sí que es cierto es que los gallegos tienen una forma más que personal de entender la música y en ningún momento parece que estén dispuestos a dejarse llevar por formalismos ni fórmulas más o menos estereotipadas del mundo del Pop. Puedes escuchar y disfrutar de su álbum de debut pinchando en su Bandcamp, además de poderte descargar el disco.
“Entre los grupos más destacados de la escena maquetera gallega, posiblemente los que estén a la cabeza del pelotón a punto de escaparse son Franc3s. Tras varias maquetas con fantásticas acogidas, a finales de enero debutan en Los Enanos Gigantes, la (ex-) discográfica de Fernando Alfaro.
En cuanto a su debut en largo, y sin haber profundizado en su escucha (que todavía tenemos mucho de lo que hablar de este 2010, pero hablaremos más de ellos), vemos que mantienen canciones de sus maquetas, como ‘Nosotras tenemos fe en el veneno‘ o la genial ‘Me gustaría verte sangrar‘, pero quizá con mayor claridad en su claustrofóbico shoegaze, en el que se diferencian (algo) más nítidas las voces, con algunas y novedosas melodías pegadizas (’Golpes y resonancias de carnes de molusco’), pero sin dejar su energía noise como en ‘Absolutamente modernas´
Aprovechando la grabación de este álbum, y las abundantes colaboraciones con las que han contado (Isa y Rodrigo de Triángulo de Amor Bizarro, Erik y Florent de Los Planetas, César de Schwartz o Marina de Klaus & Kinski), y bajo los mandos de Fino Onoyarte (ya sabéis, el responsable del ‘Super 8’ o, sin ir más lejos, del fantástico ‘Luz, oscuridad, luz’ de otros gallegos, Nadadora), se han unido para grabar ‘Aislamiento‘, versión del Isolation de Joy Division” (hipersonica.com)
El sello eslovaco EXITMusic.org continúa apostando por propuestas arriesgadas y por la distribución libre de la música por la que apuestan. Gwerkova es otra de estas bandas de público absolutamente reducido y poca proyección. Sólo por eso le vamos a dar espacio en TJB. Su sonido tiene más que ver con la Electrónica que con el Indie que solemos degustar por estos parajes sonoros. Pero tiene también que ver con el Dream-Pop, y con el Ambient, y con el Post-Rock. Una propuesta arriesgada, como decíamos, la de este trío eslovaco liderado por dos chicas: Gaspi y Zsuzsi, ambas con bagaje musical anterior y empeñadas en descubrir un lado original a su idea de la música. Lo más parecido al sonido de Gwerkova serían Memory Cassette o JJ. Mejor lo escuchas y te formas una opinión, porque su Ep de debut lo ofrecen en descarga legal y gratuita para todo el mundo.
“Gwerkova is a kind of music project, which was formed in the year 2008 in purpose of self-entertainment. Two girls, who lived together in Bratislava on the famous Gwerkova street, decided to collect such music ideas, which seemed to be useless concepts for other bands. (You can find us in Sick-Gaspi and in Moustache-Zsuzsi as well.) We went through several changes and several kind of music: from unplugged to electro- folk, from pop to ambient. Even more, in the year 2010 Jani Ürögi, the electronic music producer joined Gwerkova. Earlier he used a lot of nicknames for several music projects. The latest one is Illl, under which he runs his own stuff. Nowadays we are trying to create more spherical music combining with electro,-folk,-IDM,- dunkelpop,- field recording or experimental elements. Take the chance to listen to our songs as our very first EP- 6 EARS is out now! You can download the tracks via EXITlabel here:http://bit.ly/a8kDio Enjoy our music and stay weird’ Yours truly, Zsuzsi, Gaspi and Jani” (MySpace)
Si por algo se ha caracterizado el talante de TJB, especialmente durante el último año, ha sido por concederle espacio a bandas que se han puesto en contacto con nosotros para hacernos llegar su música. Evidentemente, la mayoría de ella tiene un nivel más que elevado, y no es difícil hacer una cierta criba para seleccionar material que postear en el blog. Una de mis mayores alegrías es comprobar cómo mucha de esa música consigue una cierta difusión y es entonces cuando conseguimos uno de los objetivos principales del blog: dar a conocer nuevas bandas. Queremos finalizar el año dándole un repaso a buena parte de lo que ha llegado a la bandeja de entrada de nuestro correo. Es el caso de The Ills, una banda instrumental eslovaca que factura un interesante sonido a medias entre el Shoegaze y el Post-Rock, creando una delgadísima línea imaginaria que es muy difícil de traspasar. De hecho The Ills navegan más que a gusto entre ambas sonoridades, fundiendo la calma y la relajación de los largos desarrollos instrumentales (Inmense, Eleemosynary, Vulnerable, Extinction), con las alambicadas nubes etéreas que rodean a la mayoría de sus temas (Sröde, Oblique), o la distorsión controlada (Ventriloquists, A Milestone). El resultado final de este primer disco grande (habían editado dos Ep´s previos) es el de una cierta calma contenida rodeada de distorsiones y ambientes relajados. Música para oír en el sillón. Su discográfica, EXITmusic.org, ofrece el disco para descarga gratuita, aunque tú puedes contribuir con ellos adquiriendo el mismo desde su página Bandcamp.
“The Ills. The name was originally created as a joke involving a jam session from which a track was created. After that moment in Septemper of 2008, it was a joke slowly transformed into a serious group effort. Growing together and discovering their own unique soundscape influenced by post-rock and shoegaze, they quickly garnered attention through several gigs in the Slovak and Czech scene and played at festivals like Creepy Teepee in Czech Republic or Wilsonic in Slovakia. Their first EP called We Love Silence, But Silence Is Awkward was released as a free download through slovak netlabel EXITmusic.org. After this release The Ills played their first slovak tour with band Čisté tvary, supported Trespassers William in Vienna, A Sunny Day in Glasgow in Košice or Hákon in Budapest.
Their debut album is called after the Cure song To Wish Impossible Things and is a first physical release of EXITmusic.org Tabačka label. It consists of eight shoegaze influenced post-rock tunes, which only three of them appeared on previous free EPs. Also it’s the first recording of The Ills from professional studio, even though the band mixed and mastered album by their guitarist Martin Krajčír, also known as Isobutane” (Promotional Press Release)
Continuamos con la sana costumbre de regalar singles casi a diario en TJB. En esta ocasión nos vamos a detener con un grupo australiano formado exclusivamente por chicas. Uno de esos sencillos ante los que no te puedes resistir porque el sonido es auténticamente tremendo: el comienzo del tema es espectacular, con uno de esos hooks de guitarras que se van repitiendo a lo largo del mismo y que no te puedes quitar de la cabeza. La fórmula la crearon los grupos de garaje de los sesenta y la perfeccionaron gentes como Mudhoney y Sonic Youth en los ´90, pero el resultado no puede ser más espectacular: distorsión y Noise a mil. In a while es un temazo. Y además es gratis.
“I can throw names around for the sake of laziness; Sonic Youth (you’ll recognize the traces of SY’s “Dirty Boots” on the a-side), MBV, Throwing Muses, The Breeders, amped-out shoegaze, sirenian(not the animal) psychedelia, maritime garage rock on acid… and they sound better than the sum of those mere words. But before all, you may have noticed a conspicuous thing about Beaches - again, the name, which is Beaches. And ironically, that could be ignorable in a sense; It’s understandable if you’re irked by yet another Beach-esque band, moreover the most blatant one in this case. Don’t be, though. It won’t hurt you an inch to put your pet peeve to bed once for all. Their soundscape is near the size of the mother ocean, compared to those of many others that simply trace out her vignettes. They trade in vertiginous wild ass guitar licks by wholesale – the true believers in the guitarheroine-ism! As a unity, they’re adept and energetic enough to fill in a stadium. It wouldn’t be strange to see them on the same bill with Comets on Fire and White Hills. I go out on a limb even to say this 7″ reminded me of Happy Trails -era Quicksilver Messenger Service to some extent. I’ll leave you to judge for yourself. But I guess you’re already affected by my pitch” (perfectionofperplexion.wordpress.com)
The Shilohs son una banda canadiense menos al uso de las que normalmente suelen proliferar por esas tierras, ya que su sonido tiene poco que ver con el clásico Pop-Indie que conocemos mayoritariamente en aquellas tierras. Sin embargo, tienen un referente más que cercano si tenemos en cuenta el tipo de música que realizan: The Sadies, paisanos canadienses y fans absolutos de la herencia de Gram Parsons. The Shilohs facturan un sonido absolutamente enraizado en el Country-Rock de los 60/70, y en cierta corriente norteamericana que suele mantener un cierto inmovilismo en cuanto a esas influencias se refiere. Sin ser demasiado prolijos, diremos que The Shilohs tienen un talento innato para la composición de impacto súbito y alarma emocional. Canciones de esas imperecederas que uno nunca se cansa de escuchar pese a que sabe que no es nada nuevo: da igual. La calidad y la emoción son lo que tienen, y The Shilohs la tienen de sobra. Éste es su primer Ep, y andan enfrascados en la grabación de su primer álbum, que tendrá como productores a JCDC (Destroyer, The New Pornographers, Tegan & Sara).
“The Shilohs have in short order positioned themselves as a quintessential band’s band. These four guys have the songwriting talent, chops and the oddball cool to make any gig memorable. Like the late greats before them a la Big Star, The Replacements, and even Crazy Horse, they have the chameleon-like ability to meld into the scene – be it a roadhouse jam, a drunken house party, a warehouse art opening, or even some of our own larger local stages. Their songs, which continue the cannon of classic west coast rock by weaving together an infinite number of influences, take on a life of their own before an audience as their performances become more about the communal energy transforming typical fan – band dynamics. Yes, this is a good time. Dig their debut recordings – just a taste of the next majestic mess to come!” (MySpace)
Y éste sí que es el último regalo navideño de este curso 2010. El recopilatorio que he preparado para vosotros con todos los grupos que han ido apareciendo por TJB en estas últimas semanas, aportando cada uno su granito de arena de forma musical. Con todos ellos, he preparado esta recopilación que creo que ha quedado bastante bien, formando una colección de temas aportados por muchos grupos que han cedido gratuitamente sus temas para su descarga legal. No creo, pues, que haya ninguna traba legal para disfrutar del Mixtape. Se admiten comentarios para mejorar en futuras recopilaciones. En cualquier caso, está hecho con cariño, que es lo mejor que podemos dar en estas fechas… ¡¡Felices Navidades Janglies!! / Happy Janglie Christmas!!
01-The Boy Least Likely To – Happy Christmas Baby
02-The Fantasies – How The Fantasies stole Christmas!
03-The Forest & The Trees – Santa Claus is coming
04-The Pippettes – Santa´s on his way
05-The Werewandas – I´ve got a great big Christmas tree
06-Ex Autres – Teenage Christmas
07-Sool – Sool Yule medley
08-Los Campesinos!- Kindle a flame in her heart
09-The Artic Flow – Silent night
10-Viola – Wayne Koyne, be our Santa Claus
11-Beach House – I do not care for the winter sun
12-Hexicon -See that day
13-Cherry Berry – Berry Xmas.
14-Joshua Dumas – Please come home
15-La Habitación Roja – Volver a casa
16-Sleepyhands – Noel
17-Pallers – Artyc hymn
18-I Like Trains – Last Christmas
19-Hillary and The Democrats – I want an alien for Christmas
20-Deertick – Christmas all summer long
Aun siendo día festivo, en TJB no paramos, y para hoy os he preparado los dos últimos regalos de los días navideños. El primero es el que el sello norteamericano de nombre enrevesado e impronunciable Where it´s at is where you are (Wiaiwya) ha publicado: una recopilación navideña para que podais disfrutar de manera gratuita incluyendo varios grupos de su área de influencia. Una mezcla de lo más variada que nos sirve para despedir este año la Navidad como se merece, con música gratuita para tus oídos.
Just Like Xmas (In Cottonopolis) – The Social Interaction Foundation (AKA Help Stamp Out Loneliness)
I’ve Got A Great Big Christmas Tree – The Werewandas
Jonâ€™s Christmas Makeup – Betty and the Werewolves
Teenage Christmas – Eux Autres
Every Year – Jeff Mellin
Midnight Mass – The Understudies
Winter – Gregory Webster
There In Bristol After Christmas – Howard Hughes & David Tattersall
Christmas Isthmus – World Of Fox
Spirit of the Season – The Hillfields
Sool Yule Medley – Sool
Hey Santa – The Birthday Girl vs Alexander’s Festival Hall
Stay Another Day – The Ei8ht
Vinden Susar i Advent – Action Biker
I Want An Alien For Christmas – Hillary and the Democrats
Jingle Bells – Weisstronauts
2000 Miles (Meek Mix) – DJ Downfall
See That Day – Hexicon
Christmas Island – The Vatican Cellars
Walking in the Air – Hong Kong In The 60s
El segundo volumen navideño de Holiday Records es este A Holiday Friends Christmas Treasury, Volume Two, Part One (2010). Es decir, anuncian una segunda parte que aún no ha sido editada. Por lo pronto, aquí tienes este segundo volumen de villancicos tal y como los entienden en el sello californiano.
1. VIctory VIII – So When I’m Old I Can Look Back
2. Travelogue – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
3. Jes Maybe – Christmas Time
4. She’ll Be Eating Her Nails When I’m Famous – I Wish You Married Christmas
5. The Arctic Flow – Memories To Hold
El penúltimo regalo navideño de la temporada viene de la mano de la NetLabel Holiday Records, quienes, además de regalar un single cada mes, esta Navidad, nos han obsequiado con dos volúmenes navideños preñados de las mejores intenciones y el mejor Christmas-Pop. La mejor, la versión a lo Slowdive de Silent Night que facturan The Artic Flow. Como todo lo que editan, lo puedes descargar gratuitamente pinchando en el enlace.
1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas- Church Library
2. Silent Night- The Arctic Flow
3. Christmas Time- Bonfire Kids
4. Have A Holly Jolly Christmas- The SeÃors of Marseille
5. Snow Day- Historical Society
6. O Little Town Of Bethlehem- Victory III
Los finlandeses On Volcano se han autoproducido el que es su segundo Ep, este New Blood. Un disco en el que la banda encuentra su formato ideal. ¿Por qué decimos ésto? Porque este formato de Ep o Mini-Lp, como se les llamaba en los ochenta es el contenedor ideal para la música de On Volcano: una especie de mezcla de Shoegaze, Post-Rock y Synth-Pop. El formato perfecto para no entretener demasiado la atención del oyente ante los largos desarrollos instrumentales de sus medios tiempos. Una fórmula acertada la que han conseguido reuniendo estos cuatro temas entre los que encontramos esos rasgos que mencionábamos: El Shoegaze/Synth de The Explorer y The Mission; unidos a los sonidos más cercanos al Post-Rock de Acceleration of heartbeat y Ume Blossoms. Un bonito Ep editado por ellos mismos y que ofrecen en descarga gratuita desde su propia página, para que su sonido esté al alcance de todo el mundo: su deseo es que si lo descargas, expandas su música por tus contactos.
“Once again Finland outdoes itself with such amazing beauty. This time its a band called ‘On Volcano’. Since getting in touch with me over the weekend their EP ‘New Blood’ is all I have seemed to be listening to.
Every so often a band comes along that have managed to create, What I would call to be indescribable musical genius.
There is so much music available today that bands are often overlooked. Anybody can make sounds, I find few can make music articulated in such a way that it effects your emotions, and isn’t that what it’s all about. A way of expressing. I understand that one mans gold is another mans dirt but I think everyone can admire something that has been artistically created and well designed. And that is exactly what On Volcano have done here.
The four piece from Tampere have released their new EP for free so make sure you head on over to their website now to download” (sos-music.co.uk)
El single navideño de hoy corre a cargo de los australianos Sleepyhands. Han editado un tema muy en la línea de su producción: sonido folkie y arreglitos a lo Fanfarlo o Fleet Foxes. Por supuesto, el single es de descarga gratuita y en breve formará parte de la recopilación navideña de The JangleBox.
La sensación que queda tan sólo con escuchar los primeros acordes de Let´s fall asleep together, el primer tema de Beach Dreams, es la de una sensación de paz absoluta, la de la calma que da el Pop manufacturado con mimo. El aire Surf-Pop de la canción entronca de alguna manera con la música de Best Coast o con el espíritu juvenil de Wavves. Su tono Lo-Fi es sumamente adecuado para lo que un disco de estas características requiere: esmero en la composición y extremo cuidado en la ejecución de los temas, aunque su grabación es casi básica. Cuatro canciones que se van en un suspiro, en lo que dura escribir este breve comentario.
“A cool ocean spray, the warm dry sand beneath your feet, the hot burning summer sun—Teen Daze capture that all in charismatically low fidelity bedroom and garage fashion on Beach Dreams. Despite the recent overabundance of all things “teen” and “beach” related in popular and indie music, this small batch of songs is able to capture the innocent spirit of youth and summertime without falling to a single cliche” (everybodytaste.com)
El dúo americano de Sampler-Pop The Fantasies nos felicitan la navidad con este enigmático single titulado How The Fantasies stole Christmas/How The Fantasies saved Christmas. Un ejercicio Retro-Futurista de Pop espacial con resultados espectaculares, igualmente recomendado para pinchar en cualquier party navideña (o no). No nos preguntéis más información sobre The Fantasies porque no sabemos absolutamente nada más de ellos, más allá del single, ya comentado en TJB hace pocas fechas. Lo importante es su música, que puedes descargar gratuitamente desde su Bandcamp.