“The first track on Headlights’ newest album is called “Telephones”, but there are a half-dozen other songs on Wildlife that could’ve feasibly been titled the same. Phones are all over the indie pop band’s third full-length effort: they ring with no one to answer them; calls are short and only reinforce the distance, both literal and emotional, between yourself and the ones you love. The telephone serves as the great motif and most pernicious tool in reinforcing the album’s overriding theme, which is how frail, fraught, and difficult to maintain the connections are between family, lovers, and friends.
You may be thinking this synopsis sounds pretty heady for an indie-pop record, especially coming from a band that rather guilelessly trumpets itself as “Indie Rock for People Who Love Pop” on its web site, and that made its biggest splash to date with a politely infectious single called “Cherry Tulips”. It’s actually quite easy to listen to Wildlife as a breezily low-key indie pop record if that’s what you’d prefer, though that short-sells the group’s admirable conceptual accomplishments. Musically, the album is largely loose-limbed and friendly, from the ringing, melodic guitar lines of “Telephones” to the easy sun-kissed vibes of “Get Going” to the almost cheekily hollow trashcan drumbeats of “Love Song for Buddy”. “I Don’t Mind at All” approximates the tense propulsion of Broken Social Scene, but that’s about as sonically pensive as it gets. Even the group’s purposefully moody musical bum trips are mostly too benign to really sting, and the album’s generally undemonstrative character makes it ripe for an ignorable listen assuming you’re not feeling inclined to really dig beneath its placidly shimmering surfaces.
So Wildlife isn’t exactly bursting at the seams with earworms, but it’s a worthy achievement for taking a poignant, powerful emotional state and carrying its thread for 42 minutes. The band’s bio admits Wildlife was a difficult album to make, the recording process marked by a near-total scrapping of material at one point as well as the eventual departure of guitarist John Owen. It seems this tumultuous experience– along with other, unspecified personal hardships– deeply affected the outlooks of songwriting principals Tristan Wraight and Erin Fein. More than anything, emphasis seems to be placed on how difficult it is to maintain friendships throughout the passage of time– maybe it’s something as simple as the fact that you’re “so far from home” (“Telephones”), or maybe your friends are physically close, but are just “too busy growing old” (“Dead Ends”). Fein in particular tries desperately to break through, pratically breathless in her desire on “Secrets” to know another’s darkest moments and deepest agonies. By the end of Wildlife, it’s almost as if the effort of trying to connect and understand has left everyone emotionally exhausted– without wallowing in nostalgia, the closing “Slow Down Town” muses on “Easier times/ When your friends were around/ And they called you on the weekend/ And you knew where all the people hung out.” If you’ve stayed with Headlights this long, chances are when the record ends you yourself will be grabbing a phone and making a call, and hoping you don’t get sent to voice mail” (pitchfork.com)
Toda esta parrafada viene a colación de presentar este Universo MySpace, donde intentaremos descubrir bandas que tengan algo que decirnos a nosotros y a todos vosotros. Oficialmente la inauguramos hoy con esta banda británica llamada Free-State (con guión para no confundirnos con otra banda australiana de mismo nombre). El combo lleva desde 2007 luchando por hacerse con un pequeño hueco en la escena musical británica pateándose de gira en gira numerosos escenarios. Tienen abiertas una serie de páginas MySpace por diversos países europeos y os diré que navegan sutilmente entre sonidos más o menos indies pero con cierta tendencia a acercarse al Rock-Adulto en forma de baladas y medios tiempos que sinceramente no creo que sea el material más adecuado para su repertorio. Si por algo los hemos traído aquí (además de su gentil invitación a oírlos y comentarlos) es porque en su MySpace aparecen tres temas que son absolutamente recomendables y que sí merecen la pena aparecer en cualquier single cualquier día de estos. De hecho la banda ya está finalizando sus primeras grabaciones. The Dream es el título de uno de estos temas que nos han gustado: Gran canción que destila influencia de The Charlatans por todos sus poros, hábilmente combinada por unas frases y un solo de guitarra ejecutada de forma precisa. El sonido que aparece en su MySpace es el de una maqueta, y éso le añade un componente de energía y rotundidad que nos ha sorprendido gratamente. El otro gran tema que aparece en la colección es I want you, otra maqueta aún más cruda que la anterior, y otro tema de tendencia más rockista y enérgica, de nuevo con otros teclados la mar de resultones y un trabajo de guitarra más que competente. Para acabar, Sunshine valley es otra canción que combina la frescura de la Americana con el Pop más británico. Insisto en que si ésta es la corriente que van a seguir sus trabajos, les auguramos un futuro al menos prometedor. Sinceramente, la tendencia de los medios tiempos y las baladas tienen más cabida en gentes como Coldplay, y éso ya está más que trillado.
Disco de variados registros, desde el más intimista hasta el más popero y costumbrista o al descaradamente divertido, en el que seguro que podrás encontrar algún tema que te guste si eres buen aficinado al Pop.
Por cierto, a finales de septiembre la banda sufrió un desgraciado accidente de furgoneta en el que la mayoría de sus miembros salieron con heridas de cierta gravedad. Sabido es cómo funciona el sistema sanitario y los seguros médicos en Estados Unidos, por lo que el grupo está seriamente necesitado de ayuda económica para poder sufragar los gastos médicos y materiales. El día 30 tiene lugar en su Chicago natal un concierto de ayuda, y también puedes colaborar con un Paypal leyendo aquí.
“Chicago-based chamber pop collective The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir aren’t your typical debauched rock stars reveling in a pastiche of self-destructive clichés. Leading a band that’s shared the stage with both the Arcade Fire and Ira Glass, Spoon and Dave Eggers, it’s clear that lead singer, guitarist, and keyboard player Elia and his scrappy group are comfortable straddling the divide between the debased rock ‘n’ roll world and the high-minded literati. As it turns out, both shoes fit. Not content with merely performing with some of the most notable names in independent music, the band has explored their connections with the literary and theatrical worlds, performing with Eggers, DeRogatis, This American Life’s Glass, author Joe Meno, and Saturday Night Live regular Fred Armisen.
With Welsh-born Elia as the ringleader, The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir is a free-spirited collective of musical visionaries who turn out exuberant and rough-hewn chamber pop. Among the talent that performs and/or records with the Choir includes core players like bassist and recording engineer Mark Yoshizumi, guitarist and vocalist Mary Ralph, drummer Jay Santana, violin player Ethan Adelsman, keyboardist Alison Hinderliter (Le Concorde), and a brass section made up of Sam Johnson (Mucca Pazza, Hawk & a Hacksaw) and Matt Priest (Canasta). The extended Scotland Yard family is comprised of a who’s-who of the Chicago underground music community, boasting the likes of cellist / vocalist Ellen O’Hayer (Bright Eyes); Sally Timms, Nora O’Connor and Kelly Hogan, who sing backup on the self-titled album; and Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley), and Brett Whitacre (Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers).
In a few short years, The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir has become one of the Chicago indie music scene’s best-kept secrets, with Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis opining upon “Jennie That Cries,” the single from the band’s debut i bet you say that to all the boys, “[is] a beautiful, lulling single, with special emphasis on the gorgeous vocals.” The band’s music has served as a backdrop to many television shows, including The OC, What About Brian and the movie Special, and their self-released debut received attention from Time Out NY, Billboard, and Popmatters” (bloodshotrecords.com)
“With bands like the Angelic Process, Alcest, and now Phil Elverum (aka Mount Eerie), a whole new world has opened up for heavy music, large in part because of Jesu mastermind Justin Broadrick’s tireless effort to not settle for the conventional sounds of metal. The effort has become to make this loud, abrasive music become melodic and sentimental—something Jesu’s latest track, “Deflated” is somewhat the pinnacle of. Its drop-tuned doom riffage is buried into a swarm of melodic guitar melodies and quite possibly one of the best vocal performances of Broadrick’s career. The track builds beautifully behind slightly atonal sustained chords into a stoner shoegaze haze while Broadrick chants, “You give me reason.” How’s that for hardcore.
Oddly enough, it somehow makes sense that Opiate Sun, the EP on which this track is contained, will be released on Caldo Verde Records, Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon songsmith Mark Kozelek’s imprint. Hands down, this is the heaviest thing Kozelek has ever released (and he is doing so after being duly impressed by a Jesu show in 2007), but he is no stranger to spastic guitar passages –- something he experimented with earlier in his career. Opiate Sun is due out October 27th, and info on what formats it will be released on is TBD” (popmatters.com)
“Broadrick also announced that a new EP, titled Opiate Sun, would be released in July, 2009. The EP had originally been mentioned in 2008 but a title and official release date had yet to be announced. This four song EP will be the first studio recording to include the lineup of Justin Broadrick, Dave Cochrane and Phil Petrocelli. This lineup is featured on two of the four tracks, with the classic lineup of Broadrick, Parsons and Dalton performing the other two tracks. Opiate Sun has since been rescheduled for October 27, 2009, and will be released on Mark Kozelek’s record label Caldo Verde. The Daymare edition of the album will be released on November 6, 2009 in Japan and will include a “demo” version of one of the four songs as a bonus track” (wikipedia.org)
“Not everyone was interested in following OK Computer’s example of using electronic music for texture so much as another avenue towards anthems, and tracks such as “Bittersweet Symphony”, “Pure Morning”, “All You Good Good People”, and, yes, “D’You Know What I Mean” proved a natural fit between massive, if rudimentary hip-hop beats and what might otherwise be flag-waving, stadium-filling radio smashes. And so then, the lineage continues with the Big Pink’s mighty “Dominos”– it’s such an undeniable, simple hook, and such an undeniably locomotive but lumbering beat that it steamrolls any doubt you have about the rest of it being underwritten or misogynistic.
But more promising is how in spite of the IMAX-ready sonic presence of previously released singles like “Dominos” and “Crystal Visions”, History rarely feels something other than hand-crafted. Furze and Cordell produced the album themselves, with engineering done by Rich Costey who, judging from the latest Mew and Glasvegas records, knows his way around huge. A Brief History stills sounds surprisingly nuanced in headphones– you can enjoy how the group fits an entire album’s worth of power chords into a swath of synthesizers that honor their 4AD legacy on “Dominos”, but from the anticipatory shaker that leads into the hook or the feedback-scratched bridge, repeat listens are rewarded long after they’ve been demanded. “Too Young to Love” hurtles by on momentum more than melody, its raga drone breaking up into shards of scree like a comet through the atmosphere. But almost as hypnotic is the passionate vocal performance on “Velvet”, which reveals a similar endlessly upward arc to “Fake Plastic Trees”, right down to the distorted blow-out midway through.
Though History never fails to sound elegantly wasted at any tempo, its majority goes in buffet-style on the last two decades of UK’s beat-minded rock, united by Furze’s Jason Pierce-ing sneer. “At War With the Sun” nicks Stone Roses’ jangle with nastier distortion pedals, while “Frisk” is halfway between Damon Albarn’s early forays into funk and the more silken prog of Mansun’s Attack of the Grey Lantern. Two years ago, you might’ve caught Cordell releasing early singles from Crystal Castles and Klaxons on his Merok label, so it’s not a surprise that learning on the job resulted in nu-rave wondering how it missed out on shrieking dumb fun like “Golden Pendulum” and “Tonight”.
Despite all the cavalcade of classics that A Brief History of Love conjures, my favorite comparison for these guys is actually another youthful, romantically minded British act: The xx. By “comparison,” I don’t mean “sounds like”– the two bands seem like they’re operating while diametrically opposed. Some might find the Big Pink churlish or even anti-romantic (though I’d argue they hardly spend enough time acknowledging women enough to really comment on them) compared to the restrained and unusually mature xx, who hew more comfortable notions of gender relations. “Love in Vain” tries a little tenderness, but “if you really love him, tell me that you love him again,” hints at vulnerability before “then go” turns the sentiment as cavernous as the reverb surrounding it. But while sometimes you fall for the art of seduction, there’s the part of us that want to be overwhelmed– A Brief History of Love is a study in the enormity of sound doing just that, each reverbed kick drum, phasers-on-stun guitar, and wastrel vocal refuting the idea that you need to talk about the passion to express it” (pitchfork.com)
“Also notable was the festival’s innovative sound system, designed and built by audio engineer Abe Jacob, who started his career doing live sound for San Francisco bands, and went on to become a leading sound designer for the American theatre. Jacob’s groundbreaking Monterey sound system was the progenitor of all the large-scale PA’s that followed. It was a key factor in the festival’s success and it was greatly appreciated by the artists — in the Monterey film, David Crosby can clearly be seen saying “Great sound system!” to band-mate Chris Hillman at the start of The Byrds’ performance”
Igualmente como curiosidad os diremos que en el festival se dieron a conocer los primeros sintetizadores analógicos, que partieron de los primitivos Theremin desarrollados por el ingeniero electrónico y físico Robert Moog, de ahí que ése fuera el nombre que recibieran esos primeros artilugios electrónicos, usados en seguida por gentes como Roger McGuinn en The Byrds, The Doors o The Rolling Stones.
“Electronic music pioneers Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause set up a booth at Monterey to demonstrate the new electronic music synthesizer developed by Robert Moog. Beaver and Krause had bought one of Moog’s first synthesizers in 1966 and had spent a fruitless year trying to get someone in Hollywood interested in using it. Through their demonstration booth at Monterey, they gained the interest of acts including The Doors, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel and others. This quickly built into a steady stream of business and the eccentric Beaver was soon one of the busiest session men in L.A., and he and Krause earned a contract with Warner Brothers”
En este tercer disco podréis disfrutar de grupos como los blueseros Butterfield Blues Band, Steve Miller Blues Band, The Electric Flag; y los inclasificables Quicksilver Messenger Service.
BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND
01. Look Over Yonders Wall
02. Mystery Train
03. Born In Chicago
04. Double Trouble
05. Mary Ann
06. Droppin’ Out
07. One More Headache
QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE
08. All I Ever Wanted To Do (Was To Love You)
STEVE MILLER BLUES BAND
09. Mercury Blues
THE ELECTRIC FLAG
10. Drinkin’ Wine
11. Groovin’ Is Easy
12. Night Time Is The Right Time
Disco, en definitiva, que según he leído por algún lado, es un intento -loable- del dúo por acercarse al lado más hedonista del Pop, abandonando algo su pose algo más seria, incluido en el aspecto de las letras. Ésto está bien, pero personalmente encuentro que lo que realmente ha bajado el dúo, quién sabe si intencionadamente, ha sido su intensidad sonora: la distorsión es mucho más apagada, muchas guitarras están en un plano más secundario; las cajas de ritmos empleadas no aportan el matiz sonoro característico del dúo. Intensidad que por ejemplo, sí encontramos en otro grupo con componente femenino en sus filas: Gliss. Bien harían Sune Rose y Sharin Foo en volver a la senda perdida.
“On a superficial level The Raveonettes’ bittersweet allure has been obtained by filtering surf guitar motifs and doo-wop standard-bearers like the Ronettes through whatever electrical machination it was that gave The Jesus and Mary Chain their brittle searing edge. Which may sound like a simplistic idea on the face of it, but these two poles have provided the Danish duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo with four albums of distinctive, sometimes dark, frequently beautiful vignettes.
And though they’ve been hugely accessible and often great (their previous album, Lust Lust Lust, was outstanding and certainly worthy of consideration as one of 2007’s best), In and Out of Control is the most immediate material The Raveonettes have released to date. The vast wash of reverb and static that typifies their sound is still there to a greater or lesser extent – particularly on ‘Break Up Girls’, which is the sole track that makes real concession to the side of their character that luxuriates in offensive noise – but in the main this veil has been drawn back somewhat, forcing the melodies and bones of the songs to the fore; they feel cleaner, happier, and carry less baggage to get in the way of the obvious pop sensibilities.
It is a quite subtle but very real change in focus. In tracks like ‘Bang!’, ‘Suicide’, ‘D.R.U.G.S.’ and ‘Gone Forever’ big choruses dominate and though dark and dangerous lyrical themes abound, the delivery of them is sweet, almost removed – even on the saccharine ‘Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)’. Similarly, ‘Last Dance’ sounds like a suicide at a prom, which is conveniently what it is about, on the face of it; that, or the last in a long line of overdoses, at least, which amounts to the same thing.
These regular grabs for attention stick a little – there’s a slight impression that some of the themes have been skipped across like a flat stone dancing across a deep lake, purely for effect: Drugs? Check. Suicide? Check. Rape?…but it’s to the Raveonettes credit that the superficiality and dark hunour with which these subjects are broached is ultimately liberating. Indeed, it’s not this that causes lingering doubts so much as The Raveonettes continued dependence on a one-trick formula. They can be either more overtly poppy, or more overtly noisy but those are the long-established and hard-set parameters and as a result a stationary if well-studied repetoire of songs is ultimately mined.
That not to say that you’d have them change; they were around before a host of bands trading on similar stock, and had a fair old dose of Shoey’ in them from the start. Besides, The Raveonettes won’t change. This is their thing, their schtick. And for the most part, bending phil Spector out of shape and dragging him by his hair through a raft of distortional devices and all the while kicking the hell out of the ‘Leader of the Pack’ is a very good thing” (drownedinsound.com)
“Almost every aspect of The Monterey International Pop Festival was a first: although the audience was predominantly white, Monterey’s bill was truly multi-cultural and crossed all musical boundaries, mixing folk, blues, jazz, soul, R&B, rock, psychedelia, pop and classical genres, boasting a line-up that put established stars like The Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel and The Byrds alongside groundbreaking new acts from the UK, the USA, South Africa and India.
…Monterey Pop was a seminal event: it was the first real rock festival ever held, featuring debut performances of bands that would shape the history of rock and affect popular culture from that day forward. The County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California… had been home to folk, jazz and blues festivals for many years. But the weekend of June 16 – 18, 1967 was the first time it was used to showcase rock music”
Igualmente sirvió como rampa de lanzamiento para numerosos músicos o bandas que no eran del todo conocidas en los Estados Unidos, incluido Jimi Hendrix, quien recordemos que inició su corta pero intensa carrera musical en el Reino Unido, donde a mediados de los sesenta se produjo un verdadero resurgir del Rythmn and Blues.
“The festival launched the careers of many who played there, making some of them into stars virtually overnight. The Who and Jimi Hendrix had each already been sensations in the UK and Europe but were practically unknown in the USA. Other artists who rose to popularity following their appearances at Monterey included Janis Joplin, Laura Nyro, Canned Heat, Otis Redding, Steve Miller and Indian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.”
En este segundo disco podrás disfrutar de las actuaciones de Canned Heat, banda pionera en mezclar Country y Blues Rural; Janis Joplin, formando aún parte de la Big Brother and the Holding Company; Country Joe and The Fish y Al Kooper.
“Monterey Pop was also one of the earliest major public performances for Janis Joplin, who appeared as a member of Big Brother and The Holding Company. Joplin was seen swigging from a bottle of Southern Comfort as she gave a provocative rendition of the song “Ball ‘n’ Chain”. Columbia Records signed Big Brother and The Holding Company on the basis of their performance at Monterey. “I became a supporter of feminism watching Janis Joplin at the Monterey Festival”, says John McCleary, author of The Hippie Dictionary. “A lot of people had similar experiences watching female role models with that kind of power, unafraid to express themselves sexually while demanding their rights” (wikipedia.org)
1. Rollin’ and Tumblin’
2. Dust My Broom
3. Bullfrog Blues
4. Down On Me
5. Combination Of The Two
7. Road Block
8. Ball And Chain
9. Not-So-Sweet Martha Lorraine
10. Fixin’ To Die Rag
11. Please Don’t Drop That H-Bomb
12. Section 43
13. (I Heard Her Say) Wake Me, Shake Me
“It’s 1985 in the Crack Babies world. Specifically 1985 with a copy of the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Psychocandy” in hand. “Shine” kicks off and you are automatically absorbed by the lo-fi, feedback driven scorching sound. There is no greater homeage to the Reid brothers vision of pop music than this.” – SoundsXP
“Here is a seventeen-minute EP covering seven tracks delivered with jackhammer-like decorum. Yet, as usual, persistence pays and a careful listen beyond the surface throws up a few melodic delights like the first song ‘Shine’ – melodically a dead ringer for New Order’s ‘Ceremony’ with layers of feedback added. Other songs are reminiscent of Motown anthems unceremoniously mugged by a gang of ne’er-do-wells. All told, it’s primitive, raw yet fertile stuff.” – Leonards Lair
“Back in 2005 Lostmusic Recordings released this seven song EP titled Smoking at Gas Stations from the one man band project The Crack Babies based out of Sweden. During its initial run of very limited copies it sold out and was then offered as a free download, which amassed quite a few of those. However with the aforementioned label now gone and nowhere to download, Odd Box Records has risen to the demand after persistent requests to do another limited run of the album on CD for anyone that missed out the first time. If you’re a big fan of 80’s noise-pop, lo-fi, or just JAMC worship in general then by all means don’t miss out on it again.
The Crack Babies are very much what you think they are, incredibly blown out shoegazy noise. However, on this EP the decibels are driven even further upward landing them in the same area as fellow past limit pushers Skywave. Whether the aesthetics of the record were intentional or not (it was recorded with an extremely low budget), the results greatly work to its advantage. At times the vocals hit a high blown out yet muffled pitch that often reminds me of Scott Cortez’s work under the Astrobrite moniker. Anyway, check out the tune below” (builtonaweakspot.com)
The Crack Babies – Honey Believer
Found at skreemr.com
El promotor Lou Adler dijo al respecto:
“…Our idea for Monterey was to provide the best of everything — sound equipment, sleeping and eating accommodations, transportation — services that had never been provided for the artist before Monterey…
We set up an on-site first aid clinic, because we knew there would be a need for medical supervision and that we would encounter drug-related problems. We didn’t want people who got themselves into trouble and needed medical attention to go untreated. Nor did we want their problems to ruin or in any way disturb other people or disrupt the music…
Our security worked with the Monterey police. The local law enforcement authorities never expected to like the people they came in contact with as much as they did. They never expected the spirit of ‘Music, Love and Flowers’ to take over to the point where they’d allow themselves to be festooned with flowers” (wikipedia.org)
Pero lo que nos interesa del festival es la música, y podeos ofrecer el pack de todo el festival completo. Para ello, en el Retro-Visor inaguramos una sección que nos llevará nueve semanas, que son los discos que componen esta nueva edición del Monterey Pop Festival, que supongo que será la definitiva, porque en ella están todos los artistas que actuaron en Monterrey. Espero poder dejaros todos los enlaces y que la tarea no sea interrumpida, como ocurrió con Woodstock, del que os tenía preparados dos volúmenes hasta que el post fue eliminado. Como siempre, podéis disfrutar de los discos pinchando en su portada. Agradecimiento al blog The Ultimate Bootleg Experience (T.U.B.E.), de donde hemos tomado los enlaces.
El primer disco corresponde a actuaciones del primer día del festival, donde destacaron, como era natural, Simon and Garfunkel, y unos reformados New Animals, liderados por Eric Burdon. Junto a ellos, el guitarrista Johnny Rivers, el cantante soul Lou Rawls y los amenos The Association:
Disc 1 (Friday Evening 16.06.1967)
1. John Phillips Festival Introduction
2. Along Came Mary
4. Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing
5. Dead End Street
6. Tobacco Road
ERIC BURDON & THE ANIMALS
8. Paint It Black
9. San Francisco Nights
10. Ginhouse Blues
11. Hey Gyp
SIMON & GARFUNKEL
12. Homeward Bound
13. At The Zoo
14. Feelin’ Groovy
15. For Emily
16. Sounds Of Silence
18. Punky’s Dilemma
“Whilst all has seemed eerily quiet and calm on The Voices front, a series of one off incendiary shows and long studio sessions has finally helped mould and complete the third album in the bands career. However with 10 tracks completed and demoed The Voices scrapped this material in order to alienate themselves from their previous efforts. Without undoing the steps they have taken to help become a modern shoegaze band (The Voices are deeply proud of these roots) the trio decided to rework and reproduce their most intriguing album so far, and the first collaboration between the band and Phase One recordings. The album has been produced and engineered by The Voices with CS Munday in control. The band have finally let the listener take a few steps towards their hearts and minds, all be it on their own terms – vocals and lyrics becoming far more prominent, rhythms and drums taking a lead through the bands epic storm of feedback, noise and destruction. Death of a Lover’s song is The Voices producing pop songs -an album to be listened to from start to finish. With no time to catch a breath, every song leads on from the last and contains its place in what will surely become a modern day classic to turn to in your moments of need” (tonevendor.com)
“Outside of all those free downloads and EPs, Atlas Sound is following Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel with the second proper full-length Logos. According to a note from Cox written on July 4th, the 11-track collection’s more in the spirit of Microcastle than his past Atlas Sound work.
My last album was a bedroom laptop type thing. Very introverted. Logos is an album that was recorded all over the world. It’s not about me. There are collaborations with other musicians. The lyrics are not autobiographical. The view is a lot more panoramic and less close-up. I became bored with introspection. This was also the case Deerhunter’s Microcastle LP, which was written during the same period.
He continues, including a mention of past leaks, Logos’ compositional process, and background info on how Noah Lennox and Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier ended up contributing.
I started recording December of 2007. I recorded the first version of the album, which was not intended for release. Due to some unfortunate mistakes on my part, this “sketch” of the album was leaked. Many of the songs where simply “placeholders,” songs I created quickly to help design the “arc” of the album.
I did not react well to the leak, in retrospect. It became the kind of internet-fueled drama that I was quickly learning to despise. I had always desired to speak through music, not blog posts and interviews, etc. I considered abandoning the project.
I toured for a period in Europe with Animal Collective, whose band dynamic was very inspirational to be around. On the bus, we often played improvised iPod games. We would take turns formulating a theme or unifying concept and then play three songs. The goal would be for everyone to try and figure out the theme. During one of these games, someone played “What Am I Going to Do” by the Dovers. I was amazed at the hook – a weird organ thing with drums and electric bass. I mentioned to Noah that someone should really sample that riff. He agreed and he taught me a little about sampling and matching up beats. This ended up as the collaborative effort “Walkabout.”
Each song on the album has a similar story. That might be my favorite thing about the album. It’s a collection of songs. There is no “filler.” There are little scrapbook details everywhere. Sasha Vine [of Sian Alice Group] provided a double-tracked improvised violin part to “Attic Lights” which was recorded backstage at a Deerhunter/Sian Alice Group show in Brighton. It might be my favorite moment of the album. I played it for some younger friends of mine. They cringed. They wanted more songs like “Walkabout.” Something with a big beat. I told them when they get older they will appreciate things like harmonicas and violins more.
Laetitia from Stereolab, who I idolized as a teenager and would later befriend on tour, contributed words and vocals to “Quick Canal.” The song was originally about 15 minutes long. I had zero ideas for vocals and asked if she could give it a shot. Andy Ramsay [Drummer for Stereolab] took a dub of the original and recorded Laetitia’s vocals at his press play studio in London. It was quite a treat to hear the finished product, now at an economical 9 minutes.
Almost everything you hear on the album is a first take. This makes it almost like a “live album” where a band sets up in a studio and just rolls tape. There are songs on here I don’t even remember recording” (stereogum.com)
“Norwegian rock duo Kings Of Convenience will break a five-year silence this fall with its third studio album, “Declaration of Dependence,” due Oct. 20. The 13-track set is led by the single “Mrs. Cold,” which has been making the rounds on blogs in the past week.
“Declaration of Dependence” is the follow-up to KOC’s 2004 album “Riot on an Empty Street,” which has sold a career-best 78,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Recorded in Bergen, Norway, and Italy, the new album is more stripped-down than either of its predecessors, with a host of the tracks consisting of nothing more than voice and acoustic guitar.
“Declaration of Dependence” begins with the hushed voices and plaintive guitar plucking of Eirik Glambek Boe and Erlend Oye on “24-25,” a wistful look back at “dreams burned.”
“Mrs. Cold” is one of the more up-tempo track on the album, its toe-tapping rhythm accented by strings and upright bass. The same instrumentation can be found on “Boat Behind,” a jaunty tale of a rekindled relationship.
Other highlights include the burnished, Simon & Garfunkel-ish folk of “My Ship Isn’t Pretty” and “Power of Not Knowing,” which showcases the duo’s finger-picking prowess. Elsewhere, the pair utilizes an uncommon falsetto for the harmony vocals on “Freedom and Its Owner” and “Me in You.”
Kings Of Convenience’s members have spent the past several years working on side projects; Oye with the Whitest Boy Alive and Boe with Kommode, which features members of his pre-Kings Of Convenience band Skog” (billboard.com)
“Bristol based six-piece The Fauns however, are far from being mere copycats of some well-thumbed blueprint. On closer inspection, the band draw from a broad and interesting array of related influences from the Cocteau Twins to late 80’s jangle pop. Second up on The Fauns eponymously titled debut is ‘Cool Stuff’ a mid-paced wash of symphonic keyboards akin to late 80’s Sarah Records bands such as The Field Mice or East River Pipe. Likewise, ‘Understand’ is a delightful cover of a lovelorn indie classic by Brian from the post-Smiths jangle-pop era. Faithful in it’s execution, this version is not too dissimilar from the original, yet somehow fits seemlessly into this very different aural environment.
Personally speaking, I believe that musical ‘vision’ usually makes for better creativity than merely being a good musician. The Fauns, I’m glad to say, are living proof of this. Their story began two years ago, starting simply as one-man-and-a-laptop, a bedroom-based vision by Mike Savage, a musical novice who had never played an instrument in his life! His acute vision though, quickly grew into a fully fledged band. Now, just two years on from one man’s humble spark of enthusiasm, The Fauns are set to release their rather impressive debut perfectly timed to meet the renewed interest in their genre.
Fronted by the heavenly singing of Alison Garner, lyrical depth is dropped in favour of phased, amorphous melodies buried behind layer-upon-layer of warm, fuzzy guitar, giving the vocals a dreamy and laconic ‘voice-as-an-instrument’ vagueness. The drums are also buried low in the mix, allowing the guitars to soar to towering heights in a sonic musical landscape of uplifting etheral numbness.
Further into the track-listing, the dynamic instrumental ‘Black Sand’ delivers sonic chasms of depth contrasted by a top layer of floaty drum noodling akin to the Canadian post-rock of Do Make Say Think. Sending the album to a triumphant climax is an epic fifteen minute ‘hidden’ instrumental, a remix that steers the listener into another musical territory – ambient electronica. Here, layers of hypnotic hum slowly fill the stereo field delivering a sizemic colossus of drone. Think early Warp artists such as Seefeel or, more recently, names from the Kranky label roster such as Stars Of The Lid and you’ll be getting warm. This remix comes courtesy of Robert Hampson, formerly of veteran drone-rockers Loop. It’s as good as anything else currently on offer in the ambient genre, and to that end, my only fear is that fans of pure electronica could well miss out on discovering this exceptional example, discreetly tagged on the back of a mostly guitar-based album.
Reassuringly, The Fauns don’t suffer from the middle-class pretention and overblown studio budgets that the original British shoegaze scene was often saddled with to it’s detriment. By contrast, The Fauns have deftly executed a well produced album themselves on a modest budget. Laptop technology combined with ‘proper’ band personnel have successfully engaged to create a highly promising eleven track platter that points as much to the future as it does to the past” (bristolrocks.co.uk)
“What sounds, bands and musicians have influenced ZAZA?
Danny: We both will always love the Beatles.
Jenny: The experimentation of St. Peppers, as unapologetically ordinary as it sounds. I can remember the first time I heard My Bloody Valentine and how it fucked my guts up sonically. I was confused. That turns me on. New York history and archetecture influence us. The Russian Ballet. The haunting half steps of Badalementi. The run on sentences of EE Cummings. Scandanavians-ie Sareena Maneesh (thank heavens for that Elvish Prince) also, the Raveonettes- all their vintage beauty inspire us to turn it up and tune it down. The operatic range of Roy Orbison. The back pocket flowers and back handed comments of Oscar Wilde (also this wardrobe!” (dronemagazine.com)
Ahí sí que podríamos encuadrarlos con más facilidad. Su sonido, como dije, es denso y lleno de matices, va desde el Dream-Pop de The call, Sooner or later o Always on a una sonoridad algo más oscura, como la que aparece en Arms lenght, Repetition o Faith in the faithless, con influencias cercanas al Ambient y a gentes como New Order. El disco, pese a ser un Ep, personalmente me parece un tanto largo y sosote en su concepto, demasiado oscuro y pausado, y en general, opino que en la composición de los temas falta un puntito de frescura para darle a este Cameo una nota algo superior al aprobado. Recomendable, no obstante, para shoegazers acérrimos.
“As you can probably glean from a previous post, I’ve been enjoying Zaza‘s EP Cameo immensely since downloading it. This love has only stretched further since interviewing the Brooklyn-based band recently.
The best word I can think of to describe Zaza‘s sound is ethereal – and by that I don’t mean it’s in anyway flimsy or lacking in depth. Cameo is a collection of four beautifully written and recorded tracks. Layered, transient and esoteric at once, Zaza create music that both challenges and entices the listener.
Every element on Cameo seems to have been thoughtfully considered – from vocals and lyrics, melodies and song structures, to the EP’s recording techniques. As I’ve learnt from talking to the band, it’s a consideration they also dedicate to their live performances” (dronemagazine.com)
Zaza – “Repetition”
Found at skreemr.com
“One would be hard pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground and Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album’s sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what’s most surprising about this album is its diversity. Here, the Velvets dipped their toes into dreamy pop (“Sunday Morning“), tough garage rock (“Waiting for the Man“), stripped-down R&B (“There She Goes Again“), and understated love songs (“I’ll Be Your Mirror“) when they weren’t busy creating sounds without pop precedent. Lou Reed‘s lyrical exploration of drugs and kinky sex (then risky stuff in film and literature, let alone “teen music”) always received the most press attention, but the music Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker played was as radical as the words they accompanied. The bracing discord of “European Son,” the troubling beauty of “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” and the expressive dynamics of “Heroin,” all remain as compelling as the day they were recorded. While the significance of Nico‘s contributions have been debated over the years, she meshes with the band’s outlook in that she hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist, and if Andy Warhol‘s presence as producer was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground and Nico, and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue more than 30 years after first hitting the racks” (allmusic.com)
“What makes You Will Never Know Why special is that it is very sophisticated. The intelligent, understated lyrics are far from trite. This is not another clichéd, independently produced low budget pop record. Songs are laden with groovy pulsing bass lines and there is both a Bossa, Latin and post-punk feel to the songs. There are beautiful chords, immaculate sounding acoustic guitars, complex rhythms, odd time signatures, dramatic and interesting melodic changes, lush strings, and highly imaginative sound effects. So much goes on with the Sweet Trip sound you couldn’t possibly tire out after a thousand listens.
Unlearn your shoegaze from space rock, drum n’ bliss from glitch n’ beat, ethereal from experimental as hybrid band Sweet Trip demonstrates uniqueness by blurring such definitions yet again. Their newest record: You Will Never Know Why is an auditory jigsaw puzzle – a collection of analog and digital pieces forming a soundscape that sympathizes with the human ability to cope when life splinters painfully upon itself.
“Conservation of Two” kicks off the album with testosterone injected bass lines, not angry mind you, but forceful and fearless. The drum beats race perfectly with the bass, like an earthquake tearing through the ground. “Face. Guard Those Eyes from the Gloom,” wise vocalizations backed by a shimmery progression of half clean, half distorted fender guitars, all necessary to elevate you from the sinking cracked earth. “Misfortunes are Cruel“: Modernized New Order? Or a cousin to Broadcast’s “America’s Boy?” It’s the record’s most *electronic* song, with Sweet Trip waving its usual magic wand creating a synthesized spell of pulsing beat programs, throbbing bass lines, glittering arpeggios, crystallizing sound effects. The guitars are simple but memorable. “To the Moon”: Sort of post-punk, marvelous track, pay attention to the dramatic changes — this is what Sweet Trip is so good at! This is a song that will make your feet move uncontrollably, your breathing irregular because of the beauty of the strings and the thrill of the guitars. Hit the repeat button again and again and rock on! “Forever“: Dark and contemplative, heavy drum beats, sounds and keyboards have a rather vintage, Wurlitzer feel, deep and impactful and velvety. The song is short but impressive and again, it truly rocks. “Acting“: Complex drums, Bossa Nova influences, odd time signatures, driving beats and complex arrangements. The guitars, keeping up with the odd time signatures are all too exhilarating. This is the longest song in the album but you wish it would never end. Epic. A million exclamation points!!!!!!!!!
“It makes sense that the new album from The Lemonheads sounds like a mix tape slipped to you by a music-obsessed friend anxious to turn you on to something new. In fact, the idea for the band’s new covers record was inspired by Gibby Haynes, ringmaster of the Butthole Surfers, who for years has made mixes for his longtime friend Evan Dando. “Making a good mix is an art, and Gibby has it down,” says Dando. “I thought it would be fun to share these songs with other people like he shared them with me. So I picked the ‘greatest hits’ from his mixes and covered them, along with a few other songs I always wanted to play.”
Varshons was produced by Haynes and features Dando along with Vess Ruhtenburg (bass) and Devon Ashley (drums). The collection is filled with strange bedfellows – from G.G. Allin to Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt and garage rockers The Green Fuz. The Lemonheads make each track their own, with help from actress Liv Tyler, singing back up on Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye,” and Kate Moss, who sings over the dance groove of Arling & Cameron’s “Dirty Robot,” which also features lead guitar by John Perry on loan from The Only Ones.
Varshons unearths a pair of psychedelic treasures with “Yesterlove” – a song recorded in 1969 by the group Sam Gopal featuring future Motorhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister – and “Dandelion Seeds” from July, record collector’s Registered Landmark Band. For “Layin’ Up With Linda,” the band filters Allin’s cold-blooded tale through the swaggering country-honk of The Stones’ “Dead Flowers.”
Filled with obscure nuggets, the tracks on Varshons cut a wide swath, jumping from early British psychedelic to Dutch electronica and like all good mix tapes, you never know what is coming next.
“Falling Over” has also become a staple of the band’s live sets and shows a new side of the band. A brooding synth-led tune that recalls New Optimist touchstones like Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, “Falling Over” is as yearning, lovelorn and dreamy as pop gets, and an excellent addition to The Pains’ canon. “Twins” turns up the fuzz, a mid-tempo rocker with a sing-along chorus and catchy-as-heck guitar lead as the hook. This is quintessential Pains of Being Pure At Heart — slot it into a mix tape between Teenage Fanclub and an old Lilys song and you’ll be happy as a clam. Rounding out the EP is an incredible Balearic dub-disco remix from ace UK producers Saint Etienne. Spacey yet totally danceable, the Saint Etienne remix is certain to burn up the dancefloor.
Higher Than The Stars is the start of the next chapter for The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and it looks to be just as exciting as the first.