12.16.2008

Love Is All - Steals the Show (and a bit of a song by The Clean)



As I mentioned a couple of nights ago, last night brought Columbus the great triple-bill of Times New Viking, Love Is All, and Crystal Stilts. Early in the evening it looked as though the turnout was going to be very thin. But, by the time Crystal Stilts took the stage the room had started to fill up. And the crowd gradually got thicker as the night progressed. I think that it would be a safe assumption that nobody left the show disappointed (unless, of course, they got trapped in the curiously meaty mosh-pit that formed during Times' set) , as all three bands fulfilled the promise of their albums. However, one band, Love Is All, stole the show for me.

Both Crystal Stilts and Times New Viking turned in inspired performances, faithfully recreating winning tracks from their recorded outputs. But, Love Is All, with their energetic blend of pop, punk, and no-wave, were just so much more fun than either. It is always a great thing to see a band so clearly enjoying performing their songs on stage. They were so gleeful, animated, and playful that one found it nearly impossible to not get swept up in their energy and exuberance. They ran through a tight set of all of the best songs off of their two releases and made sure that every normally self-conscious, crossed-armed, stationary indie kid in the room was moving.

One of the standout numbers from their set was a song called "Wishing Well" (see the video above), off of A Hundred Things To Keep Me Up At Night. I've only had a chance to closely listen to that album twice since it came out. So, I'm not entirely familiar with most of the songs, which would be the only explanation for my not yet noticing how much "Wishing Well" had in common with "Tally Ho!" the classic first single from Kiwi-pop legends The Clean (this single was actually the impetus for the creation of the venerable Flying Nuns record label). It is hard to understand how no review that I've yet read of "Wishing Well" mentions the fact that the organ melody that drives both songs along is nearly identical (see the "Tally Ho!" video below). I don't fault Love Is All for this borrowing (though, I would say that they are lucky that neither Mick Jagger nor Keith Richards were in The Clean!). I just figured that I'd give credit where credit is due.


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12.15.2008

Ida Maria - "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked"



Were I to live in a world where I got to go to all sorts of fun parties populated by people who shared my musical sensibilities, I have a feeling that Ida Maria's "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" would be getting played at quite a few of them. As things stand, this exuberant blast of pop bliss is getting played and replayed at my apartment for my party of one.

This song comes from her debut album Fortress Round My Heart, a solid collection of punk-infused pop songs that are quite enjoyable, though not quite as good as some less polished demos that are floating around. My other favorite from this release, "Queen of the World," is also worthy of your time and attention. And, in case you were wondering she's originally from Norway, but launched her career in . . . (you guessed it) Sweden.

Purchase: Fortress Round My Heart and other Ida Maria releases.
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Monday: Times New Viking/Love Is All/Crystal Stilts at The Summit (Columbus,OH)

This week, Monday's arrival brings with it not only Jack Rabid's new podcast, but also about the best damn triple-bill I can remember seeing in Columbus! Hometown heroes, Times New Viking, will top a bill that also includes Sweden's Love Is All and Brooklyn's Crystal Stilts (whose Alight of Night landed in the fourth spot on my Top 10 Albums of 2008 list). This should be a delightfully noisy affair that is not to be missed.

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Download: "Call And Respond" by Times New Viking
Purchase: Stay Awake EP and other Times New Viking releases.

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Download: "Make Out, Fall Out, Make Up" by Love Is All
Purchase: A Hundred Things To Keep Me Up At Night and other Love Is All releases.

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Download: "Crystal Stilts" by Crystal Stilts
Purchase: Alight of Night and other Crystal Stilts releases.

Sidenote: This show is being brought to us by Ben Co Presents. I haven't had the good fortune to meet the guy behind this operation yet (Mr. Ben Co, if you happen to stumble across this post, drop me a line), but he is doing Columbus a great service right now by booking a slew of good shows (recent ones include Darker My Love, Marnie Stern, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, The Constantines, and Blitzen Trapper, to name a few). All music loving Columbusites should bookmark his website in order to stay on top of what he'll be serving up next. Since the death of Little Brothers the number of good shows in Columbus has definitely gone down, but it seems that Ben Co and The Summit are finally providing a remedy to this problem!
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12.14.2008

The Tallest Man On Earth - "I Won't Be Found"



Kristian Matsson, who performs and records as The Tallest Man On Earth, might ape the pre-1966 Bob Dylan more than the pre-1966 Bob Dylan aped Woody Guthrie. While such a slavish reproduction of another's sound can sometimes get in the way of one's enjoyment of an artist, it is easy to look past when the resulting song is this good.

"I Won't Be Found" is the lead track on The Tallest Man On Earth's debut full-length Shallow Grave which saw US release on Gravitation in March of 2008. And it is a stunner. Nearly three minutes of delicate fingerpicking, hushed nasal inflected singing (where the Dylan influence is most readily apparent), and touching lyrics that address the age-old question, "Would anybody even notice if I died today?"

Sidenote 1: In a folk tradition that spans centuries, Matsson liberally borrows lyrics from the traditional folk song "I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground" by Bascom Lamar Lunsford. That song was recorded in Ashland, KY (my birthplace) in 1928. This shows that The Tallest Man On Earth has been doing his homework. And, while this cribbing would be frowned upon in some types of music, in folk music it is typically viewed more as tribute than theft.

Sidenote 2: This artist is yet another Swede. While this isn't a Swedish music blog, it sure does feel like it sometimes. As every other post seems to relate to an artist hailing from that nation. This just speaks to the great pool of talent there, an exciting development in indie music right now.

Download - "I Won't Be Found"
Download - "I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground"
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Lazy Sunday: Mini-Playlist #5


The Kinks - "Death of a Clown"


The Kinks - "Dead End Street"


The Kinks - "Sunny Afternoon"


The Kinks - "Waterloo Sunset"


The Kinks - "Tired of Waiting"

Long before anyone had ever heard of Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, I was compiling an infinite playlist of my own. "Lazy Sunday" is a constantly updated list on my iPod. There are certain songs that just scream Sunday-listening; the kinds of songs that you want to play on a chilly Sunday afternoon, while you're nursing a hangover, drinking a pot of coffee, reading the newspaper, or cleaning your apartment. There's nothing easily definable that ties all of these songs together, just a certain ease or melancholy that lends itself to the overall Sunday vibe. These are the types of songs that get added to the list. I thought that it might be fun to share some of them with you. So, check back every week for a new batch of songs from my "Lazy Sunday" playlist. This week celebrates just a few favorites from my all-time favorites, The Kinks.
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12.13.2008

Top 10 Reissues of 2008

It seems that more often than not I am listening to music in digital form now. That's not always how I'd prefer it to be. That's just how it is. I have a 60g iPod that leaves me constantly at odds with myself about what to load it up with and what there just isn't space for. What I typically do is fill it up with all of the albums newly added to my collection, a smattering of all-time favorites (the kind of LPs that I must listen to all the way through, where no song is better or worse than the one before or after), and then a bunch of hits collections or self-made compilations of tracks from all of my favorite bands. This way I can explore the new stuff, get lost in my favorites, and indulge in the best from the rest with a few movements of the thumb.

The beauty of reissues in this era is that they provide the impetus for reacquainting oneself with albums that otherwise might not get the amount of loving spins that they still deserve. This isn't to say that I haven't listened to nearly all of the albums listed below in their entirety sometime in the last few years, and prior to the reissues. It's just to say that the new release of these records puts them back at the top of the pile, so to speak.

One note, many of the bands listed below gave the reissue treatment to more than one worthy album this year. In the interest of diversity and not giving multiple slots to Mission of Burma, The Replacements, New Order, and Jesus & Mary Chain (to name a few), I have included just my favorite selection from each. Also, since I consider all of these records to be timeless classics, I chose not to rank them. So, without further ado:

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Jesus & Mary Chain - Psychocandy
Mix one part Beach Boys pop song structure, one part Velvet Underground "Sister Ray" fuzz and feedback, and one part Phil Spector Wall-of-Sound production value and the result will be Psychocandy. These days this is a musical recipe that is not all that unfamiliar. But nobody, before or since, threw all of these elements into the pot, stirred them up, and came out with something that sounded this great or this original. Psychocandy is like capturing the sound of 60's pop being played on the side of the road as a fifteen car pile-up takes place just a few feet away, or, like the sight of a few early blooms peaking through an early-Spring snowfall.
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Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
I don't know how to write about jazz. I've never really done it before. I do know that this album is perfect. I don't mean technically perfect. I mean, it could be technically perfect, but I don't know that. I can't tell you about modal structures, chord changes, or any of that other stuff. What I can tell you is that this album is ideal listening for rainy days. It makes the perfect soundtrack for a walk on a sunny afternoon. It's great to fall asleep to. It's amazing if you put on headphones and crank up the volume. It cheers you up. It makes you cry. It's a smokey basement bar. It's a grand theater. It's about being in love. It's about not knowing what love is. This album is perfect because it can and will be anything to anybody at anytime.
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Mission of Burma - Signals, Calls, and Marches
"That's When I Reach For My Revolver," "Academy Fight Song," "Max Ernst," "This Is Not A Photograph." Most bands would kill to write four songs of this lofty caliber during the course of a career. Boston's Mission of Burma has them all right here on one release (comprised of their early singles and the Signals, Calls, and Marches EP). Call them art rock, or punk rock, or indie rock. Call them whatever you want but the bottom line is that these guys make flat out passionate, uncompromising, challenging, but unpretentious rock-and-roll. And a perfect place to start to recognize their genius is right here on this raw, heartfelt juggernaut of an album.
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Replacements
- Let It Be
It's hard to believe that an album boasting song titles like "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out" and "Gary's Got A Boner" also happens to be an inarguable classic. But when it also includes "I Will Dare," "Androgynous," and "Unsatisfied" there can be no debate. This is the album where we see the 'Mats poised for adulthood, but still boys at heart. They're mature enough to have grown-up feelings and concerns, yet childish enough to laugh at anatomical jokes. As on prior releases, they play sloppy, carefree blue-collar punk, but for the first time they prove that they can also do introspective ballads and love songs as well. These Twin Cities natives would go on to make more polished records but never another that so fully bore their souls or represented the essence of who they were and where they came from.
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Chameleons
- Script Of the Bridge
How many lazy rock critics did you hear drop a Joy Division reference in a review of Interpol's Turn On the Bright Lights? Just about every single one. No doubt, Paul Banks' vocals do bare similarities to those of Ian Curtis. But if you want to hear where Interpol's sound really comes from, look no further than Script Of the Bridge. This 25-year old majestically produced masterpiece is twelve songs worth of icy, precise guitar interplay, reverb, and tasteful synths. And there isn't a sub par moment to be found.
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Graham Nash
- Songs For Beginners
If you only listen to the music, this LP is a relaxing, sun-drenched, afternoon walk in the park. If you listen to the lyrics it is an introspective journey through the thoughts of a man grappling with big issues, both internal and external. The internal, dealing with Nash's recent break-up with Joni Mitchell. The external, in regard to the social turmoil caused by an unpopular war that was splitting the States down the middle. The former is always relevant in pop music. The latter, especially on a track like "Military Madness," is especially poignant right now because it could have been written yesterday. Mostly absent here, mercifully if you ask me, are the lyrical and musical hippie cliches that, in my opinion, sometimes lessened the impact of Crosby, Stills, and Nash's catalog. I know that is probably going to be a contentious point of view. But, hopefully we can all agree that Songs For Beginners is a classic worthy of our praise.
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Pere Ubu
- Dub Housing
Cleveland's Pere Ubu is, without a doubt, the most challenging band to grace this list. Dub Housing, the most challenging album. But, for every casual listener who gave up a few songs in, there are others who allowed themselves to fully absorb this album and to eventually come to terms with its oddball genius. This is music that sometimes feels as if it could only have come from a post-industrial city such as Cleveland. There are still shades of Ubu's Rocket From the Tombs garage-rock roots on this album, but they are buried in dissonance and placed side by side with bleak soundscapes that evoke an urban wasteland. On top of all of this are David Thomas' spastic, yelping, hiccuping, barely decipherable vocals. If that description doesn't make you the slightest bit curious I'd recommend just steering clear of this one. Otherwise, press play, dive in with an open mind and open ears, and wait for the brilliance of Dub Housing to reveal itself to you.
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Johnny Cash
- At Folsom Prison
If you want to know why Johnny Cash holds such appeal for punk rockers, why he was the country artist who was able to escape the country stigma, why his choice of dress is not the only reason he's known as The Man In Black, you need only give At Folsom Prison a listen. During the course of this record Cash morphs from an artist brought into Folsom to entertain, to just one of the guys. He speaks for the oppressed, the downtrodden, and the marginalized. And he does so convincingly. With wit. With bite. With empathy. With attitude. And without a hint of insincerity.
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R.E.M.
- Murmur
Murmur, R.E.M.'s first full-length, is the sound of a band too on-the-move to worry about the details. You almost get the feeling that they wanted to get these songs recorded as fast as possible, lest they forget how to play them. The vocals are borderline unintelligible. The muddy production sometimes gives one the feel that they are listening to the album through busted speakers. But the urgency, the immediacy, and the poignancy of the tunes on display is obvious. This is often viewed as the album that launched "college rock." It's an amalgamation of postpunk, folk rock, and jangle pop that is neither inaccessible, nor status quo. Its varying influences foreshadow the great career that these Athens, Ga. boys had ahead of them and hints at the touchstones of the playlists of hundreds of campus radio stations in the 1980's. And if you really dig in, you will find some of their most well-crafted songs and some of the best lyrics that Micheal Stipe would ever pen.
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NewOrderMovementCover
New Order - Movement
Rock critics tend to view this, the first New Order LP, as merely a transitional album between the more spare, industrial sounds of Joy Division and the later more danceable New Order albums. And it is. And that, the same reason that they underrate it in favor of later releases, is the reason it is my favorite. This album is dark, emotional, and ruminative. It finds a band coping with the loss of a friend and a partner, searching for a new sound, a new voice, a new direction, but not entirely turning their backs on the past. It is the resulting friction, of the point where past and future butt heads in the present, that make this album so powerful.
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12.12.2008

Peter Bjorn & John - Shut the F#$% Up



You guys remember Peter Bjorn & John, right? They of the insanely catchy, totally unforgettable, almost ubiquitous, indie-gone-everywhere 2006 hit, "Young Folks." How could you forget. Well, after a year featuring the lackluster sort-of-side-project Seaside Rock and a very bland solo release from Peter Moren (the Peter in the band's name) I thought they might have begun their slow fade. That is, until this video surfaced on the internet a few hours ago. It is rumored that this is a preview of a song from their next album. However, no details, not even a song name, are available yet. Needless to say, this track sounds like it'll be another immediate winner on the hipster party circuit and should give us all a reason to look forward to the rest of the album. I don't think PB&J will be winning any awards for their lyrics. But who cares when they can be this much fun!
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A.C. Newman's 'Get Guilty' Out Jan.20

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For those poor unfortunate souls who aren't familiar with A.C. Newman, he is the pop mastermind behind Zumpano, New Pornographers, and the brilliant 2006 solo record, The Slow Wonder. You can don a dunce cap in the corner until you've caught up on all of those. For the rest of you, I have news that should assure that your pop sweet tooth will soon find relief in the form of Newman's forthcoming second solo effort, Get Guilty. The album will be released by Matador Records on January 20.

Just a couple of days ago they also posted the first single, "Submarines of Stockholm," on their blog. While the track features Newman's trademark sugary sweet vocals, catchy-as-hell melodies, and memorable chorus, it also ventures in a new psychedelic direction that I've never really detected on past Newman-related projects. I'm anxious to see if the psych vibe is distributed across the entire album or just limited to this track. Either way, "Submarines" assures us that A.C. hasn't let up a bit and that we can continue to expect nothing less than top-notch material from him.

Download: "Submarines of Stockholm"
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The Pogues Get My Vote



A few days ago on Pop & Hiss, the LA Times music blog, there was a post asking who the greatest "bar band" of all time was/is? The Urban Dictionary defines a "bar band", in part, as:
A band that plays primarily in bars and always sounds better when the audience (and most of the time) the band is drunk.

With those parameters in mind my vote goes, without a second of hesitation, to The Pogues whose famously haphazard blend of punk rock and traditional Irish music practically screams for listener and band alike to just add booze.

And since Christmas is fast approaching, I figured that this whole "bar band" discussion would provide me with ample excuse to post a video of The Pogues shambling their way through their Christmas classic "Fairytale of New York." Enjoy!
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New Jay Bennett Album - Free Download

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Jay Bennett, a member of Wilco from 1994-2001, is the latest addition to a growing list of artists offering up their new albums for free digital download. Bennett wrote, played, and produced Whatever Happened I Apologize and he does nothing at all to damage his strong reputation in all of these areas on this release. Download it at Rockproper and give it a listen. What do you have to lose? It's free.
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12.11.2008

Smiths Reunion in '09?!?!?



Okay, even the speculation is kind of making me lose my shit here. Gigwise.com reported today that a Smiths reunion is a distinct possibility in 2009:
The Smiths are said to be on the verge of reforming after Morrissey and Johnny Marr settled their past differences.

The band, who split in 1987, would likely embark on a series of live shows in 2009.

A music industry source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "The very fact that they are talking again is the most hopeful thing in years."

I will absolutely allow for the strong possibility that this is just over-the-top speculation from the always over-the-top UK music press. However, I'm going to forget my usual pessimism and try to believe the unbelievable in this case. I haven't had a dream in a long time. So, Smiths, please please please let me get what I want this time!

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12.10.2008

Loney, Dear - New Album Due Out Jan. 27th



I was excited to read today that Loney, Dear, one of Sweden's better acts, has a new album coming out on Polyvinyl on January 27th. The LP is called Dear John and will reportedly boast a greater synth presence than past offerings. Which essentially means only that it will include synths, as they haven't been very prevalent in the mix before. I hope that this inclusion will be tasteful, rather than just a belated attempt to cash in on the everything-80's-is-great-again craze. I guess we'll find out in January.

Loney is another case of one unassuming man's, Emil Svanangen, home recordings ending up in the right hands and getting him signed to a record label (like Passion Pit, who I've covered here in the past). The next logical step in this progression is that he formed a band and got to record a proper album. The result was Lonely, Noir, a wonderful album filled with warm, playful indie-pop songs that recalled acts such as Belle & Sebastian and less dour moments from the catalog of fellow Swede Jens Lekman.

The standout track was called "I Am John" (I don't know who John is or what their fixation with him might be), a slow builder that morphs from background to foreground as it progresses, from sweet and quaint to frantic, joyous, and immediate. See the above video.

You can also visit Brooklyn Vegan to hear the first single from the forthcoming album, "Airport Surroundings" and check out their American tour dates with Melpo Mene (who I've also covered here).
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Minor Threat - Vinyl Remasters From Dischord



D.C. label Dischord has just given the vinyl remaster treatment to two classic Minor Threat 12" EPs, Out of Step and First 2 7 Inches. If you don't have anything from this legendary hardcore band then you'd be best advised to head straight for Complete Discography which compiles their entire recorded output on one CD. However, if you're a collector, completist, or just want to hear these songs with a bit more polish, these releases might be right up your alley.

For those that are at all interested, Minor Threat is one of a handful of bands that I can honestly say changed my life (sounds cheesy, but it's true). I heard the song "In My Eyes" at a time when I was only listening to 20 minute Grateful Dead songs. It was shocking at the time, the polar opposite of all that I was used to. I was struck by the sense of emotion, urgency, and immediacy that that song possessed, but was notably absent from the majority of the music I was used to hearing. Shortly thereafter, I became addicted to my new copy of Complete Discography, started exploring other punk, then postpunk, and so on, and the rest is history. So, here I am saying thanks to Minor Threat for being one of the bands that pointed me in a new direction.

Above is a clip of Minor Threat doing "In My Eyes."
You can buy the new 12" EPs at Dischord's online store.
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12.08.2008

Lazy Sunday: Mini-Playlist #4


Built To Spill - "Twin Falls"


Emmy The Great - "City Song"


Jens Lekman - "Black Cab"


Mama Cass Elliot - "Dream A Little Dream of Me"


Ron Sexsmith - "These Days"

Long before anyone had ever heard of Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, I was compiling an infinite playlist of my own. "Lazy Sunday" is a constantly updated list on my iPod. There are certain songs that just scream Sunday-listening; the kinds of songs that you want to play on a chilly Sunday afternoon, while you're nursing a hangover, drinking a pot of coffee, reading the newspaper, or cleaning your apartment. There's nothing easily definable that ties all of these songs together, just a certain ease or melancholy that lends itself to the overall Sunday vibe. These are the types of songs that get added to the list. I thought that it might be fun to share some of them with you. So, check back every week for a new batch of songs from my "Lazy Sunday" playlist.
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12.06.2008

4AD Digital Sampler: Free Download

4AD has decided to be the Oprah of the net this year; "You get a free sampler, and you get a free sampler, and you get a free sampler, and you get a free sampler!" So, right now they are offering a 12-song sampler for free download at their website. When you look at the tracklisting, entirely composed of current members of the 4AD stable, you will understand why they can just give away music. Thanks to TV On the Radio, Deerhunter, Department of Eagles, Stereolab, Bon Iver, and the rest, 2008 has been a hugely successful year for the label, in terms of finances and the high quality of the releases that they sent to the marketplace. Download here:





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Doves: New LP Due in April!



Doves
have been one of the most consistent bands around so far this decade. With three stellar LPs under their belt, 2000's Lost Souls, 2002's The Last Broadcast, and 2005's Some Cities, and a killer live show to boot, Doves (no "The") are batting 1.000. But it's been nearly four years now since a new recording, nearly two since a tour. If you, like me, have found yourself wondering what was up with the lads from Manchester, wonder no more! Billboard reported yesterday that we can expect a new release in April of '09. They are adding the final touches to this yet-to-be-titled album right now.

Over the course of their three albums Doves have experimented with various sounds to one degree or another while always maintaining that unmistakable something that allowed one to easily differentiate between them and peers (such as Coldplay and Elbow). Lost Souls found them peddling sprawling, anthemic, atmospheric britpop gems clearly informed by shoegaze and dreampop. The Last Broadcast highlighted a band in transition, brightening up their tone and adding some electronic, and orchestral, flourishes that were less prevalent on the earlier offering. Some Cities offered tighter, and brighter, songs than we'd yet experienced from Doves, the focus on many seeming to move from the atmospherics to the backbeat, the range of influences widening to the point of even including Motown.

So, what can we expect in April? Never a band to stick to just one formula, it seems that Doves will be adding more to the pot next Spring. The Billboard article reports that we can expect at least one "country-tinged" song and others influenced by Kraut luminaries like Kraftwerk and Can (!!!). Were I not as confident in this bunch, I would find this to be a worrisome mix for one record. I'm always a fan of very "even" records, the ones that have a mood or tone that tie everything together. Albums featuring too many different styles don't feel like as much thought, effort, or care were put into crafting them. But, given that they have yet to put out a dud, I'm remaining cautiously optimistic that this will all make more sense when we finally get to hear the album.

Above is one of the best cuts off of Some Cities, "Black and White Town."
If you need to brush up on Doves, or fill in a gap in your collection, check out their website.
Read the full Billboard article here.
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12.02.2008

UK Folk Revival: Mumford & Sons



Of late, there seems to be something of a folk revival taking place in the UK. And when I say folk, I'm not referring to the "freak folk" that has so captivated the indie-loving masses and the blogosphere in The States for the last few years, but that I don't personally care for. Instead, the artists that comprise this scene (including Noah & the Whale, Johnny Flynn, Laura Marling, Emmy The Great, Mumford & Sons, and Jay Jay Pistolet, to name some of the key players) are taking their cues from a more earnest traditional kind of folk, peppered with occasional indie-pop accents. A welcome development if you ask me.

While the buzz has started to build for this scene in Britain, it has not really started to catch on here just yet, with the notable exception of the use the Noah & the Whale single, "5 Years Time," in a Saturn Commercial (probably their poppiest song, at that). It is my hope that this will soon change as I've become quite captivated by a number of the associated acts recently.

While not yet the most established, Mumford & Sons is the best the best of them. Led by Marcus Mumford, who has also lended his services to N&TW and Laura Marling (who was nominated for this year's Mercury Prize), these guys have released a pair of solid EPs this year (Lend Me Your Eyes and Love Your Ground). Their sound is highlighted by their confident, spot-on harmonies and the way that nearly all of their songs start rather softly and simply, and then slowly build to powerful climaxes. Their music can variously be linked to folk, bluegrass, and pop and ranges from simple bare-bones folk to grander, more ambitious sounds.

My favorite track they have done so far is "The Banjolin Song." And, lucky for you, I found a charming clip of them performing it on a balcony above a busy street for a Dublin, Ireland TV show (see the top of this post. Also, is it just me or does Mumford, on the left, bare a striking resemblance to the early-60's John Lennon in this video?). As I said, I 've been quite taken by many of these acts, so you can expect to hear more about the UK folk revival at TWLC in the coming weeks and months.

View Mumford & Sons' Myspace Page.
Purchase Mumford & Sons music here.
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Low Releases Xmas 7", I Post a Video of a Listenable Low Song



After seeing a creepy video of Low's new Christmas 7", "Santa's Coming Over," on Stereogum, I had to listen to Things We Lost In the Fire a few times to remind me of why I like this band so much. I have a feeling that this 7" is not going to win over too many fans. I could barely watch it all the way through and I love this band.

Low is a three-piece from Duluth, Minnesota. They are one of the most well-known and accomplished acts to be tagged with the "slowcore" label, known for its trodding, dark, and morose sound. The power of the songs comes not from volume or speed, but from the lack thereof. "Dinosaur Act," the video posted above, is one of the best tracks from Things We Lost In The Fire. Hopefully this video will erase your memories of "Santa's Coming Over."
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Worth A Click: 12/2/08


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12.01.2008

A Different Kind of Best-Of List

vinyl record

While music blogs, websites, and magazines of all stripes are rushing to compose their year end Best-Of Lists, Vice Magazine has come up with a hilarious, and characteristically snarky, take on this practice. Rather than actually post a list of their favorite 2008 albums, Vice deconstructed the practice and came up with a list of criteria for composing such a list.

A few of the highlights:
Number 34: Reserved for Britpop 'survivors' who’ve made 'their best album in years'.
Number 32: Something from Iceland.
Number 24: You've never even heard of this one. You never will. Even as your read the blurb, you find your mind simultaneously erasing the entry.
Number 16: Cheesy pop band masquerading as 'wonky-pop'/'nu-pop'/'underground pop', which only barely disguises the fact that they're Roxette with alt. dress sense.
Number 13: Hyper-obscure album everyone was bamboozled into voting for cos Pitchfork gave it a 9.9, despite sounding like every other folk album ever.
Number 11: Dizzee/Bizzle (pop grime slot shared on a rotational basis)
Number 10: Album described as a 'groundbreaking fusion of dance and rock'.
Number 1: Coldplay (Q), Arctic Monkeys (NME), Sven Vath (Mixmag), Neil Young (Uncut), Neil Young (Mojo), Neil Young (Classic Rock), Neil Young (Home & Garden), people humming transcendentally over distorted tape loops of concrete being laid (The Wire).

If you are into this sort of thing and you follow these lists, you will find that it is great fun to sit and plug band names into the appropriate spots on the list. It's also funny to start looking at lists at various magazine where the above rules seem to hold most true.

You can check out the whole list at Vice's blog.

You can find a comprehensive list of online Best-Of lists (including my own) at Large Hearted Boy.

And while we are on the topic of funny stuff, here is a link to my favorite article that ever showed up on The Onion, which is about the same people that typically compose Best-Of lists.
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