Monday, August 30, 2010

The Shape Of Punk To Come?

A band that seemed to appear out of nowhere and then completely do a 360 hail from the UK and go by name of The Horrors. Their first release Strange House was a brash blast of dark punky sounds that caught the attention of the British music press. Then came their second release Primary Colours which took the band in a completely new direction. Produced by Geoff Barrow (of Portishead) the album was much more lush and washed in sound. A throwback to early 90's shoegaze it did not disappoint and showed that The Horrors were more than a gimmicky band. The tight black outfits and dark look still remain but I look forward to seeing what this band will do next. It's hard for a band to switch directions without losing fans but those fans probably wouldn't want to hear anything but the same stuff on repeat. So kudos to the band for trying something that worked and then some. Take a glimpse:

"Sheena Is A Parasite"

"Death At The Chapel"

"Sea Within A Sea"

"Who Can Say"

"Mirror's Image"


Monday, August 23, 2010

Lost In The Sea

A band that has long gone unnoticed and will most likely remain that way until years after their demise is British Sea Power. They are a strange band hailing from Brighton, England and have a penchant decorating their stage with foliage and plastic birds and shows generally finish with a semi-improvised song called "Rock in A", which sometimes lasts for over 20 minutes. Various members often climb riggings and tear down the foliage, Eamon walks around the audience beating his marching drum, and a ten-foot bear, Ursine Ultra, occasionally makes an appearance - often taking a beating from various band members. This has become one of the signatures of the band. All of the band members go by one name Yan, Noble, Hamilton and Wood. They first caught my attention with The Decline Of British Sea Power and then captured my heart with Open Season. After those first 2 albums they have released Do You Like Rock Music and a soundtrack to a documentry film Man Of Aran. Eamon, who played live keyboards, went on to form Brakes with Electric Soft Parade brothers Tom & Alex White and eventually left British Sea Power. They are of the few bands that sound comfortable in any music style they play from their punkier 1st album to their more melodic second album. Have a gander at these strange lads from a far off place...

"Remember Me"


"It Ended On An Oily Stage"

"Please Stand Up"

"Oh Larsen B"

"Waving Flags"

"No Lucifer"

"Man Of Aran"

So I implore you to dig deeper into what this band has to offer and you never know what you might find...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's That Sound?

Going to talk about a great Danish band today by the name of Mew. They have a melodic sound that can't really be put into one specific category but if you want the band's opinion then they refer to themselves as "pretentious art rock", jokingly. Mainly noticable by lead singer's Jonas Bjerre falsetto, the band have released 5 albums so far A Triumph For Man, Half The World Is Watching Me, Frengers, And The Glass Handed Kites and No More Stories Are Told Today, I'm Sorry They Washed Away // No More Stories, The World Is Grey, I'm Tired, Let's Wash Away. For the track "Why Are You Looking Grave?" they managed to get J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr fame) to do guest vocals. Another interesting fact about their last album No More the opening track, "New Terrain", if played backwards reveals another song entitled "Nervous" which is added as a bonus track to the vinyl edition of the album. Sink in:

"She Came Home For Christmas"

"Am I Wry? No"


"Comforting Sounds"

"The Zookeeper's Boy"

"Introducing Palace Players"

Mew are another one those bands that will slip through the cracks but if you manage to hold on they may not be lost forever...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Instrumental Break

Now to focus on some bands that are only instrumental. There is a large cannon of acts that have just used to music to express themselves without words. These bands vary musically but are all trying to achieve the same idea that music is not always in the lyrics but the song. A couple of acts I will be focusing on this time are Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mono. I know there are more but no need to use them all up at once.

Let's explore Mogwai to begin with from Scotland. They are an amazing band that I have had the pleasure of experiencing in a live setting which is where they are most deadly. Using the quiet/loud dynamic their songs just evoke so many different feelings without anyone having to say a single line. They have 6 albums thus far including Mogwai: Young Team, Come On Die Young, Rock Action, Happy Songs For Happy People, Mr. Beast and The Hawk Is Howling. Also they have a great collection of EP's including 4 Satin, No Education=No Future, EP, EP+6, Travel Is Dangerous and Batcat. Dive in to the sound:

"Like Herod"

"Punk Song"

"2 Rights Make 1 Wrong (featuring Gruff Rhys)"

"Hunted By A Freak"

"Friend Of The Night"


Secondly is Godspeed You! Black Emperor from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They are an instrumental band in every sense of the word. They share and have members from several different bands from the Constellation records company (hint if you like Godspeed you will most likely be into the other bands on the label) including Fly Pan Am, A Silver Mt Zion, Do Make Say Think. Shrouded in mystery and only releasing a handful of material they remain an enigma. They have released 4 albums including All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling (a limited release cassette), F♯A♯∞, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven, Yanqui U.X.O. with their only EP Slow Riot For A New Zerø Kanada. Very impressive in the scope of their songs and the attention they have created for themselves. Learn from the beginning:

"The Dead Flag Blues"



"Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls"

Lastly but certainly not least is Mono hailing from Tokyo. They are absolutely amazing to see live and will not disappoint that I can tell you. They have been together since forming in 1999 and have managed to tour incessantly throughout the world. So far they have released 5 albums including Under The Pipal Tree, One Step More And You Die, Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined, You Are There and Hymn To The Immortal Wind. Like the other bands mentioned they stir up so much emotion with their songs using only their instruments to speak for them. Take in a breathe and listen:

"The Kidnapper Bell (Live)"

"A Speeding Car"

"Halcyon (Beautiful Days)"

"Are You There"

"Follow The Map"

These bands should have some effect on almost everyone who hears them and make great accompaniment to laying in bed as you drift away. Soothing and beautiful for what they evoke from your emotions through each song. Such underrated acts that will be those hidden gems for years to come. Close Your Eyes...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Can You Dig It?

First off want to apologize for the long delay in posts but I promise I will be posting regularly once again and introducing all you fine folks to more and more bands. Hope that I have at least opened some of your ears to some new tunes and remember pass them along to others.

I know I am not going to be the first to rant about these next 2 bands but maybe you'll hear it from me first and then can brag when they are bigger. The 2 bands are Surfer Blood and The Drums both from the US. Surfer Blood are from West Palm Beach, Florida and were formerly known as Jabroni Sandwich. They released a full length album titled Astrocoast in January 2010. They have a very pop-esque sound reminiscent of bands like Weezer but more in the garage rock vein. Excellent band with a very ear pleasing sound. Tune in below:


"Floating Vibes"


Next band is The Drums from Brooklyn, New York. When they first released their EP Summertime, one wouldn't be too far off by saying they were a surf pop kind of band. When they released their self titled album proper it went many other ways then just the songs on their EP. Already being hotly tipped by the music press as the band to watch in 2010, these guys are on their way with a great sound. The band cite their major influences as The Smiths, Joy Division, The Wake, The Zombies, The Tough Alliance, The Legends, The Shangri-las and Orange Juice. Jacob Graham (guitarist) also mentions that reverb in general has played a major role in their sound: "...If reverb didn´t exist we wouldn´t have bothered trying to start a band.". Catch a ride on the wave:

"Let's Go Surfing"

"Best Friend"

"Forever & Ever Amen"

"It Will All End In Tears"

Both bands have songs that seem to stick on your head all day long. Be it "Swim" by Surfer Blood or "Let's Go Surfing" by The Drums, I dare you to walk away and not be humming or whistling at least one or both of the songs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

All By Myself

So I must first apologize for the long delay in posting as I was recently out of commission for a while and will be AWOL again for a bit. To make up for the time past and going forward I will be updating everyone with quite a few new bands. The London Apartments, Simple Kid, Red House Painters, Sparklehorse are a string of bands that are basically solo projects for some amazing artists. First there is The London Apartments who are a Canadian band that Justin Langlois uses as a moniker. Very mellow and with a voice that just soothes listener's ears. They have 2 albums Romanticism Aside and Signals & Cities Are Forever plus an EP Logistics and Navigation. Check out the soothing sounds below:

"(Put A Jacket On)"

"Streetlights Are Soldiers"

"Summer Takes All My Time"

"Telephone Lines"

"Oh, The Brightest Light"

Next is Simple Kid from Cork, Ireland which is the moniker for Kieran McFeely. He does all of the recording himself on an 8 track which he then feeds into his computer to add additional sounds. Simple Kid as 2 albums simply titled 1 & 2. Catchy doesn't even begin to describe it:

"Truck On"

"Staring At The Sun"


"Lil' King Kong"

Red House Painters is basiclly Mark Kozelek's project that has been around for some time with a revolving group of backing musicians. They also have a sweet, soothing sound that lulls the senses. They have 6 albums Down Colorful Hill, Red House Painters aka Rollercoaster, Red House Painters aka Bridge, Ocean Beach, Songs For A Blue Guitar and Old Ramon. Also along with playing music Mark Kozelek has appeared in 2 Cameron Crowe movies, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky & Shopgirl. He's also released several solo albums and more recently formed Sun Kil Moon. Definitely recommended listening with fall soon approaching. Have a listen:

"Medicine Bottle"

"Katy Song"

"Uncle Joe"


"Have You Forgotten"

"All Mixed Up (The Cars Cover)"


Mark Kozelek - "Up To My Neck In You"

Sun Kil Moon - "Ocean Breathes Salty (Modest Mouse Cover)"

Last but not least is Sparklehorse who is the project of Mark Linkous. They had a modest hit with "Someday I Will Treat You Good" in the US. They toured with Raiohead after they released their first album. He managed to release 6 albums Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, Good Morning Spider, It's A Wonderful Life, Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, Dark Night Of The Soul (with Dangermouse and David Lynch) and In The Fishtank (with Fennesz). Always a very sad character in music and in life Mark overdosed on a combination of anti-depressants, valium, alcohol and heroin in a London hotel room. Unconscious and with his legs pinned beneath him for almost fourteen hours, the resulting potassium build up caused his heart to stop for several minutes after his body was lifted up. The ensuing surgery almost caused him to lose the use of both legs and left him wheelchair-bound for six months. Sadly Mark ended up committing suicide March 6, 2010 by shooting himself in the heart. Sad end to such a great span of music that was just getting better. Listen to the beauty below in all senses of the word:

"Home Coming Queen"

"Someday I Will Treat You Good"

"Sick Of Goodbyes"

"It's A Wonderful Life"

"Dog Door (with Tom Waits)"

"Don't Take My Sunshine Away"

"Little Girl (from the Dark Night Of The Soul album)"

"Goodnight Sweetheart (from In The Fishtank)"

Hope these open your eyes and ears to a bit more than you previously knew.

Listen Up!