Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Marnie Stern - " This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That"

Now here is the perfect example of not judging a book (or album) by its cover. For the person who has never heard of Marnie Stern, one look at this cover may lead them to judge Marnie as another acoustic guitar strumming indie folk princess. And nothing could be further from the truth. Marnie actually shreds the electric guitar like she is cutting down a tree instead of hugging it! A part of the indie rock crowd, but if it wasn't for her broken pop stylings, her finger tapping techniques would fit right in with a prog-rock band. Her voice is high pitched, sounding like a cheer leading Yoko Ono or Satomi Matsuzaki (Deerhoof) but it lends itself well to her brand of spazzed out experimental rock. Joining her again, producing and matching wits with her on the drums is Zach Hill of Hella and The Ladies.
Check out the track "Transformer" here: http://www.toolshed-media.com/ts/marnie-stern-transformer.mp3 and judge for yourself.

Listen to her excellent cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" here: http://www.myspace.com/marniestern1

See the video for "Tranformer" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5an39V3AbWU
Pre-order the album before its 10/7 release date on Kill Rock Stars and get a limited edition coloring book. Coloring inside the lines optional...
http://www.buyolympia.com/killrockstars/item=krs486

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shearwater - "The Snow Leopard" digital ep

Hot on the heels of the release of "Rook" and Okkervil River's "The Stand Ins", Shearwater will release a digital EP on October 14th. "The Snow Leopard" includes several songs culled from live radio sessions and B-sides as well as the brooding title track, one of the standout closing tracks from "Rook".

Here is the track list:
1 The Snow Leopard (album version)
2 So Bad (iTunes bonus track)
3 North Col (vinyl and iTunes bonus track)
4 Henry Lee (live from KUT)
5 Rooks (live from Radio K)
6 I Was A Cloud (live from Radio K)
7 South Col / The Snow Leopard (live from Florence Gould Hall, NYC)
You will be able to download it 10/14 at your favorite digital music marketplace (iTunes, eMusic, amiestreet, etc.).
Download an mp3 of "The Snow Leopard" from "Rooks" here: http://www.matadorrecords.com/mpeg/shearwater/shearwater_the_snow_leopard.mp3

31Knots - "Worried Well"

There really isn't much that I can say about 31Knots that hasn't been said before. But their new album, "Worried Well" could be considered the perfect soundtrack to today's confusing times. With their own brand of eccentric, frenetic post-rock and Joe Haege's vocals-reminiscent of a deranged carnival barker, 31Knots gives this year a voice. Although the lyrics to 31Knots songs are usually oblique; "Compass Commands" sounds like an anti-war party complete with a call and response bridge with female background singers answering: "kill or be killed" when asked about "the universal rule of thumb". For all of the dissonance and disjointedness of the music, there is always something- either a vocal melody, or jumpy piano line, for example- that catches your ear and gives the song some pop sensibility. I cannot stop listening to "Compass Commands" you can not stop listening to it here: http://www.31knots.com/mp3/1.mp3
To order "Worried Well" go here: www.polyvinylrecords.com

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mates of State on Tour

UPDATE: The show was awesome! They even played "Proofs" as an encore even though it was on the wrong organ. The added instrumentation to the new songs (cello, guitar and sequencing) sounded great. Good times, indeed.
My wife and I are going to see Mates of State on Saturday at Southgate House in Newport, KY. We used their song, "Like U Crazy" in our wedding last year. They put on a great show. Don't miss them!
For tour dates in your area, click here: http://www.barsuk.com/bands/matesofstate/shows
Here is a live (on KEXP) mp3 of "You are Free": http://barsukmusic.blaireau.net/adv/MatesOfState_YouAreFree_071108.mp3

Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains

You may know Sebastien as the drummer/singer of his previous band, Death From Above 1979. They were an athemic dance-punk duo whose sweaty energy and aggressive rhythmic sound led to the break though album, "You're a Woman, I'm a Machine". They broke up shortly after and Jesse continued on, creating the dance oriented MSTRKRFT. And now Sebastien has finally chosen his next path. A more melodic, personal style instead of the agressive punk stylings of his past may surprise some of the followers of his early works. Don't worry, he hasn't gone soft...he still knows how to rock, just with more layers of sounds, personal lyrics and deeper song arrangements.
"American Names", a song found on both the "American Names" EP and the full-length, showcases his new direction. The driving rhythm and anthemic chorus are what you would expect but the vocals are more soulful and melodic. Check it out here: http://www.saddle-creek.com/sounds/SebastienGrainger_AmericanNames.mp3
"Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains" will be released on Saddle Creek Records on October 7th. You can pre-order it here: http://store.saddle-creek.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SCOS&Product_Code=LBJ-128-2&Category_Code=Grainger_Sebastien

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"

Jenny Lewis is back with "Acid Tongue", her second solo album and all Rilo Kiley fans will rejoice. It is hard not to compare Jenny's solo work with that of her band Rilo Kiley. The last Rilo Kiley cd, "Under The Blacklight", was a disappointment to fans as it took a turn toward the mainstream with disco/dance beats and side-stepped the alt. country/indie pop we fell in love with. Luckily, Jenny stays the course of "Rabbit Fur Coat" and lets her amazing voice take the spotlight again while the music maintains its dusty, disparate quality.
Again, Jenny enlisted many collaborators, such as: Johnathan Rice, M. Ward, Dave Scher of the defunct Beachwood Sparks, and Benji Hughes (who opened for Rilo Kiley on their last tour), Zooey Deschanel (The "She" in She & Him) and a duet with Elvis Costello on "Carpetbaggers"...the list goes on and even includes background vocals from her sister, Leslie.
The title track is as simple as it can get with just acoustic guitar strums, Jenny's soulful voice, some background vocals and a sharp story.
Check it out here: http://www.toolshed-media.com/ts/jenny-lewis-acid-tongue.mp3
And for more info: http://www.jennylewis.com/

Land Of Talk - "Some Are Lakes"

After signing in July to Saddle Creek Records, Land Of Talk is ready to release their debut full-length, "Some Are Lakes". The dissonant energy of the debut EP, "Applause Cheer Boo Hiss" remains, but is contrasted with a more focused and reflective group of songs. Singer/guitarist and songwriter Elizabeth Powell has put the focus on her voice and story telling this time around with the help of Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) who lent his vocals and perspective to nine songs.
The title track is an anthem of unending love and is a perfect example of the new sound of the album. Check it out here: http://www.saddle-creek.com/sounds/LandOfTalk_SomeAreLakes.mp3
"Corner Phone" is a track that could have been included on the EP, as it is more in line with the Sonic Youth comparisons that have been made in the past.
Check it out here: http://www.saddle-creek.com/sounds/LandOfTalk_CornerPhone.mp3
Although the physical release of the album isn't until 10/7, if you pre-order it from Saddle Creek, you can download the album immediatly and the cd will be shipped on 9/23. To pre-order, go here: http://store.saddle-creek.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=SCOS&Category_Code=Land_of_Talk

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Submissions and Promotion

If you would like to have your band's music reviewed by Atlas and the Anchor, email me at: atlasandtheanchor@hotmail.com. Thanks!

These United States - "Crimes"

Just six months ago, These United States released their debut, "A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden." Just 9 weeks after that release, they spent 6 short days in a KY studio to record "Crimes", their shorter titled new album. These United States remind me of Dr. Dog in that they are a retro-thinking band that is true to the sound and not just the image. With song titles such as "Honor Amongst Thieves" and "West Won", TUS invoke the spirit of the Old West with the lyrical imagery and the twang and grit of the rollicking saloon send-ups on "Crimes." The new album features better production and less electronic flourishes while holding on to the strange freak-folk tendencies of "Eden".
Download "Get Yourself Home" and raise your root beer mug and sing along! http://www.toolshed-media.com/ts/these-united-states-get-yourself-home.mp3
Also grab the first track, "West Won" here: http://www.unitedinterests.com/images/TUS2/westwon.mp3
This album is already on my Top 10 list for this year. For fans of Wilco, Okkervil River, M. Ward and Bright Eyes.
http://www.theseunitedstates.net

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Populous - "Drawn In Basic"


Usually, I am not a huge electronic music fan. I really don't have an explanation. Every once in a while, something will get my attention. The last CD to do that was M83's "Saturdays = Youth." And now the latest is, "Drawn In Basic" by Populous with Short Stories. I like the My Bloody Valentine-shoegaze haze and 80's feel throughout. Populous is the recording moniker for Andrea Mangia, who incorporates the warm sounds of the synth with the feedback of "shoegaze" to create some interesting indiepop/disco. MC Short Stories (Michael McGuire) contributes the gloomy lyrics and vocals to provide an analog heart to the digital body.
Check out the song, "Only Hope" here: http://www.toolshed-media.com/ts/populous-only-hope.mp3 "Drawn In Basic" will be released 9/30/08 on Morr Records.
To hear and see Morr click here: http://www.morrmusic.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/populous