Wednesday, April 29, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Okkervil River - "Millionaire" (from the Pop Lie Single)


2. Dirty Projectors - "Stillness Is The Move"


3. A Lull - "Skinny Fingers" (new band signed to Lujo records)


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Northern - "Remind Me Where The Light Is"

Great Northern return with their sophomore album, Remind Me Where The Light Is, released today on Eenie Meenie Records. This time around, their dreamy indie-pop is polished and laced with more rock attitude culled from their past experiences; Rachel as singer of 90’s post-hardcore band Whirlpool and Solon as guitarist in 30 Seconds To Mars. This is a nice contrast to the melancholic undertones that hover over most of the songs.

Opener, “Story” chugs along with a punchy, insistent drum beat and the catchy chorus slides in on a whining E-bow guitar line. Equally as steady and even catchier, “Houses” is built on a melodic vocal foundation as strong as concrete and ready for airplay. The next few songs including, “Snakes” with its plodding keyboards and swooping strings, and “Stop”, a slow burning dirge, drift into a more atmospheric sound that resembles the 4AD/psychedelia of Trading Twilight for Daylight from 2007. The new album was produced by Michael Patterson who also worked with Orenda Fink’s (Azure Ray) new project, O+S, who toured with Great Northern this past Spring. There are similarities in the production, especially on “New Tricks” which sounds like an apocalyptic funeral march. “Mountain” returns to the upbeat, guitar driven vibe one last time, before the final songs swell and swirl, as Great Northern fans have come to expect. The last song, “33” mixes both elements into an anthemic, layered-vocal catharsis.

The contrasting light and dark elements on Remind Me Where The Light Is, adds another dimension to Great Northern’s sound and should attract more airplay and tv and movie soundtrack opportunities and more fans!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dukes Of Stratosphear - "25 O'clock" and "Psonic Psunspot" Reissues

At the height of their fame, XTC tried to anonymously release music under the name, Dukes of Stratosphear. Of course, it didn’t take long to pin the tail on the donkey, as Andy Partridge’s signature voice and the quirky, off-kilter pop style gave them away. As the Dukes, they were able to dig into their old record collections as they focused on more of a psychedelic 60’s sound while remaining true to XTC’s sound.

The Dukes of Stratosphear releases have been reissued before but are being re-released today on Andy’s own Ape House Record label with collector-friendly bonus demos, extra tracks and videos.

Their first release as The Dukes of Stratosphear was the 6-song EP, 25 O’clock which includes the trippy title track as well as the first single, “My Love Explodes” and the spacey noise-pop of “Bike Ride To The Moon”. It also includes demos of those songs as well as “Susan Revolving”and “Nicely Nicely Jane” which weren’t included on the original release. One of the extra recordings, “Open A Can Of Human Beans” starts off sounding like an XTC song, with it’s humorous lyrics and jangly guitar before warping into a psychedelic frenzy to end the song. The reissue also includes the video to “The Mole From The Minisrty”.

The second and final release was the more XTC-sounding full-length album, Psonic Psunspot. Album opener, “Vanishing Girl” is straight up pop, drenched in Beatles melodies and Beach Boys harmonies. “Have You Seen Jackie?” plays with layers of high pitched vocals, a big organ sound and a shouted chorus that will have you shouting right along. “Braniac’s Daughter” again plays up XTC’s love of the Beatles with a melodic, piano driven pop gem with a whimsical solo in the middle. The reissue of Psonic Psunspot also includes demos of six songs including, “Shiny Cage” and “Little Lighthouse” and the video to “You’re A Good Man Albert Brown”.

XTC completists will want these reissues for the demos, extra recordings and liner notes but the casual fan or new listeners will find plenty of psychedelic pop-goodness to get started on their own XTC obsession!

For more info click here:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

Phoenix - "1901"


Beep Beep - "The Whispering Waves"


Silversun Pickups - "There's No Secrets This Year"


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Silversun Pickups - "Swoon"

Silversun Pickups are set to release their second album, Swoon, April 14th on Dangerbird Records. Without reinventing themselves by drastically changing their sound and without playing it too safe, they've added a few tweaks including orchestration and darker themes but still stay true to their sound. The record is still drenched in distortion with contrasting bright, shimmering keyboards and Brian Aubert’s Billy Corgan-esque nasal-wail.

“There’s No Secrets This Year” opens with sparkling guitars over a pounding beat, thick distortion and a bittersweet vocal melody that is undeniably catchy. And after the success of Carnavas and recent promotional push, Silversun Pickups definitely will not be a secret this year. “The Royal We” assures that they are ready for any fan backlash or critic abuse with the lyrics like, “We are ready for the siege. We are armed up to the teeth.” The strings are deployed on this song to great effect, swirling and chugging along with the guitar. They add to the song instead of feeling like the obvious “second-album/bigger budget” tack-on. “Growing Old Is Getting Old” is slow burning and atmospheric with washes of synths and glimmering guitars for half of the song, before picking up the pace with more distorted guitars and a shuffling beat to end the song. “It Nice To Know You Work Alone” begins with a locked-in groove and chugging guitars as it builds, adding strings and keys along the way. The bass line is the focus of the first single, “Panic Switch” that along with bursts of caterwauling guitars makes it as jittery and paranoid as the title suggests.

There is no doubt that Silversun Pickups sounds like the Smashing Pumpkins. That is an easy comparison but what matters is that any of these songs would fit right in on the radio in the early 90’s or now. And the nostalgic feeling you get while listening to Swoon, is more than enough to warrant repeat spins.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Record Store Day aka My Birthday

How fitting is it that the day they chose to celebrate Record Stores is also my birthday? It is more than coincidence I think.

I can remember being 12 years old and begging my parents every weekend to take me to Karma Records so that I could buy a cd. In fact, the guys at the record store got to know me and they would let me come back behind the counter and look through the promotional cds. I would carefully pick out five or six discs, holding myself back from taking more becuase I didn't want to wear out my welcome. They allowed me to take them home and listen to them and then give my opinion when I brought them back. They would always let me keep the ones I liked. I had my first taste of bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Sebadoh and I was hooked! This continued for the next four years and the week I turned 16, I was offered a job there. Amazing! I worked at Karma Records for over 6 years and discovered great music, made great friends and helped others to discover great music even if most just wanted the latest Creed, I.C.P. or Korn release! I am admittedly old school. I have an iPod and a Zune but I would much rather listen to a cd or album any day. I have to have that tangible product in my hands to pour over every word, every picture and every note.

So support Record Store Day at your local indie record store. I will be at Gem City Records in Dayton, OH. See you there!

The organizers for Record Store Day have teamed up with almost every leading indie label to release exclusives just for the occasion. Check out for the participating record stores and list of the exclusive releases.
Here is a list of mine...

Modest Mouse - "Satelite Skin"/"Guilty Cocker Spaniels" 7"
New tracks. Might not be ready for release on RSD...

Magnolia Electric Co. - "It's Made Me Cry" 7"
Jason Molina's first 7" in years

Black Kids - "Wizard of Ahhhs" 10"
Prev. only available in mp3 form

My Morning Jacket - "Celebración De La Ciudad Natal" CD and double 10" Vinyl
Recorded LIVE in Louisville, includes classic tracks from "Evil Urges".

Wilco - "Ashes of American Flags" DVD
DVD is released exclusively for indie stores 2 weeks prior to intended release date.

Cursive/Ladyfinger (ne) - Split 10"
Includes 1 album track and 1 new song from each band.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Interview: The Pomegranates

The Pomegranates' new album, Everybody Come Outside! was released last month to wide-spread critical acclaim. It is already cemented on my Top 10 list for this year. Tuesday, April 14th marks the release date for the physical CD on Lujo Records.
Joey Cook from The Poms took the time to answer a few of my questions. Find out about their first SXSW experience, their favorite places to play live, and what is playing in their tour van!

Atlas and the Anchor: Are any of you working on any side/solo projects we should know about other than Joey's project, FIRS?

Joey: As far as I know there are a couple of really awesome projects in the works, between Isaac and Josh. However, I'm not sure if either of them are far enough along, or if I'm at liberty to speak about them at this point.

AA: People compare you to other bands and make assumptions about your influences for the band. Who do you say you are influenced by?

Joey: We're all into Talking Heads and Brian Eno. At least for some/most of us Prince is up there. Any good motown or R&B. The Beegees. And I think our friends are an influence to us as well. For example, Javelins' new album, "Heavy Meadows" is incredible, and Enlou's new songs have me wanting to write so bad.

AA: Name one current and one older song you wish you had written.

Joey: I probably can't speak for the entire band on this one, but I'd have to say...
Current: "Can't Believe It" by T-Pain or maybe "Bluish" by Animal Collective
Older: "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runner's or "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson or "Third Uncle" by Brian Eno. That's a toss up.

AA: What are you listening to in the tour van?

Joey: There are a lot, since we spend most of our time there. Recently we've listened to that new David Byrne/Brian Eno album, which is great. "Walking on a Dream" by Empire of the Sun has gotten a few listens. "Keepers" by Deastro is awesome. It's a hand-picked selection of his songs from previous albums re-mastered for the label he's on, Ghostly International. Also, "The Evening Descends" by Evangelicals has been listened to more than a few times. It's one of our new favorites I think.

AA: Who are some of your favorite bands to play with and/or who would you like to collaborate with?

Joey: We just finished a couple of weeks with our friends in Headlights, which was a fantastic time. Matthew Shelton is our friend from Cincinnati, and whenever we play with him (in any one of his different embodiments) it is excellent. We love him. Enlou is finally playing shows again, which is a relief because they've been one of my favorite bands since I heard their first ep.

AA: Though the new album has just been released, are you working on ideas for a new album?

Joey: We are. It seems like we're always working on something new. As Neil Diamond said, "Hey! We're headed for the future!"

AA: I just saw you play at the Southgate House in KY, and you killed it. Where is your favorite place to play?

Joey: Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. The Southgate House has been consistently a really fun place to play. Any of the rooms are good. The staff is all really helpful and cool. We've also recently played in NYC at The Bell House which was one of the best times ever.

AA: If you could replace yourself in the band with another musician, who would it be and why?

Joey: I don't understand why I would want to do that really... but if I had to it would probably be Andrew Clark. Because he's a pro.

AA: What is your favorite song on "Everybody Come Outside!" and why?

Joey: I think I like Beachcomber the most. I like the fake ending. And then I REALLY like the real ending.

AA: How was your first SXSW experience? Any interesting stories? Did you discover any new bands?

Joey: It was a lot of fun. I got to see The Beats, Evangelicals, School of Seven Bells, Still Flyin', Beach House, These are Powers, and it was all awesome! We played a show with Twin Tigers, who were great. They reminded us of Sonic Youth a little bit I think. It was a wonderful time. I hope we get to go next year

Thanks again to Joey for taking the time to answer my questions during this hectic time of release dates and tour dates!

Check out my album/live show review of The Pomegranates here:

To order Everybody Come Outside! click here:

Tune in to on Monday, April 13th at 4 PM ET for a live in-studio performance by The Pomegranates here:

Download "Corriander" here:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Rush - "Retrospective 3 (1989-2008)"

"Don't call it a comeback". "What come around goes around".
After performing last July on The Colbert Report, for their first American TV performance in 30 years and showing up to perform in the new movie I Love You, Man you can use any number of cliches to describe the fact that Rush is back in the "Limelight" again!

On March 3rd, Rush released their third retrospective collection, including all of their hits and favorites from the Atlantic Records years. One of my favorites, "Roll The Bones" is included as well as remixes of "One Little Victory" and "Earthshine" by Richard Chycki, the engineer on Snakes & Arrows, who cleans up the original production to great effect. The highlight of the album is the improvisations and extended jam at the end on the live version of "Ghost of a Chance". Most casual Rush fans probably only recognize Rush from their hits from the late 70's and 80's but there are some great songs on their later albums as the Rush Retrospective III proves.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

3 Songs: Soft, Soft, Rock!

MarvelAnn - "15 Below"

Elvis Perkins - "How's Forever Been Baby?"

Mastodon - "Oblivion"

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Beep Beep - "Enchanted Islands"

After a lengthy wait and a few changes to the lineup, including the loss of founding members Chris Hughes and The Faint's Joel Peterson, Eric Bamberger continued on to create, Enchanted Islands. The second album was released by Saddle Creek Records on 3/24. Compared to Business Casual from 2004, Enchanted Islands is a little less abrasive and angular, allowing the off-kilter pop songs to emerge.

With that said, "Mermaid Struggle" opens with frantic guitar noodling but gives way to smoothed out strums and Eric's falsetto vocals, and back and forth. "Secrets For The Well" rides a bobbing bass line with burst of tinny guitar that gives the song a Talking Heads vibe. "Return To Me" and its clean classic country sound is complete with Eric's twangy guitar trills and shuffling beat. Standout track, "The Whispering Waves" sounds like a looser, dissonant cousin to The Fixx's "One Thing Leads To Another". The rubbery guitars on "Goodbye Sunshine" give the listener the nausaous feeling of being cast about at a good way. It also includes more Nashville noodling and an electronic hand clap, and it's these little details, like the skronking saxophone solo in "Wooden Nickels" and the abrasive, spirialing guitar freakout in "Seppuku" that makes listening to Enchanted Islands, wait for it...enchanting!

Download "Mermaid Struggle" here:

Download "Secrets For The Well" here:

For more info click here: and

Friday, April 03, 2009

Interview: O+S

Orenda Fink and Scalpelist (Cedric LeMoyne) from O+S who just released their self-titled debut last week on Saddle Creek Records, took the time to answer some of my questions. Find out what influenced them to create this project, their plans for a second album and Orenda's all female super group with Jenny Lewis and Maria Taylor!

Atlas and the Anchor: I know your experiences travelling the world inspired this album; what other influences helped inspire you to create O+S?

Orenda: I listened to a lot of David Lynch soundtracks and also 10cc.

Cedric: My touchstones were classic 4AD stuff like Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil, and instrumental records by artists like Colleen and Biosphere.

AA: Which song on the album is your favorite and why?

Orenda: I think that "We Do What We Want To" is my favorite song. I love the sample that runs beneath the song. It called out to me and told me exactly what to write over it. I also really loved the music that Cedric made to put over it.

Cedric: "Survive Love" is my favorite. It's a very still, painful song. And Orenda's lyric on this one perfectly sums up the spirit of the whole album.

AA: The new album has just been released but are there plans to continue with this experiment and record a second album?

Orenda: Absolutely. We have had so much fun with every stage of this project. I can't wait to start on a new one.

Cedric: Without question! We've already started to bounce around ideas of how to approach the next one, and if I have my way it'll be ready by the end of the year.

AA: Orenda, you have collaborated with a lot of great musicians lately (Scalpelist, Adrienne, etc.) Who would you like to collaborate with next and/or who is your "dream" collaboration? May I suggest something with you, Adrienne and Laura Burhenn? That would be amazing!

Orenda: That would be awesome! Do you know that Laura has been touring withour O+S band this month? She is great and I would love to collaborate further with her. She and Adrianne and I actually hung out together in Austin at SXSW and had a great time...One of my dream collaborations may actually happen soon. Jenny Lewis, Morgan Nagler, Maria Taylor and I want to start an all-girl rock band. We had one great practice. Hopefully, our schedules will allow more!

AA: Cedric, are you working on any other projects right now?

Cedric: I'm always working with Jeffrey and Gregory - my old bandmates from Remy Zero - on whatever they have going. The latest from that camp is Jeffrey's new project Dead Snares. We also do film/tv music together. But I feel very fortunate to have Orenda's attention right now, and I want to take full advantage of it! So as far as projects to call my own, all of my energies go to O+S.

AA: Name one current and one older song you wish you had written.

Orenda: "Working Class Hero" by John Lennon.

Cedric: Current: "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. Is that current enough? If not I'll say 'Nude' by Radiohead. Older: "How Soon Is Now?" by The Smiths or "Heroes" by David Bowie.

AA: You played a few shows with Great Northern and went to SXSW, how difficult was it to replicate the sounds of the album on stage?

Orenda: It could have been hard but we had the most amazing musicianswith us who worked really hard to pull it off.

Cedric: Replicating the sounds wasn't exactly the problem, it was bringing them to life in an uncontrolled environment. The songs were born out of sound experiments with no thought to ever playing them live. So there were a lot of things - subtle but important musical loops, for instance, or juxtaposing very soft vocals over sonically busy tracks - which were easy to do on a recording but took a bit of effort to pull off on small rock club sound systems! But as Orenda said the musicians we brought were great at pulling out the best parts to play over the tracks, making it more human and exciting.

AA: What were you listening to in the tour van?

Orenda: Stevie Wonder, School of Seven Bells, Allman Brothers, Smog, Prince, Sleepwell, Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Lucinda Williams.

Cedric: David Bowie, Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, AC/DC, Gnarls Barkley, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Neko Case, Elliott Smith, Queen, MGMT, The Smiths...

AA: Are there any plans for a longer tour in the future...hopefully with a date in the Cincinnati area?

Cedric: Hopefully! We're scheming and planning to do as much as possible in the next few months.

AA: Remy Zero is one of my favorite bands of the late 90's and "VillaElaine", one of my favorite albums all time. Is a Remy Zero reunion a possiblility in the near future? Sorry, I had to ask!

Cedric: We actually got together and started a few songs not too long ago. The musical spark is still there but I think a little more time has to pass if we're really gonna do it again. Lots of water under the bridge to contend with. I appreciate your asking...

AA: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I can't wait to hear what both of you do next! Thanks again.

Download We Do What We Want To

For more info click here: and

Read my review of the O+S album here:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

John Vanderslice - "Fetal Horses" (from Romanian Names due May 19th on Secretly Canadian)


Project Jenny, Project Jan - "Pins and Needles" Feat. Fujiya and Miyagi (from The Colors EP)


The Ropes - "Be my Gun" (from the Be My Gun EP)