Monday, June 29, 2009

Therefore I Am - "The Sound of Human Lives"

Therefore I Am are a breath of fresh air with a sound that hearkens back to the D.I.Y. days of hardcore on their debut full-length, The Sound of Human Lives, mixing post-hardcore elements with melodic outbursts with sung/shouted vocals.

On the opening track, "Death By Fire", the spoken word sample that leads into gang vocals, shouting, "Wake up!" recalls old-school hardcore and includes some great Snapcase-like guitar hysteria. The fiery "Eleven, Seventeen" features a melodic and passionate fist-in-the-air chorus, turning the song into one of the catchiest on the album. "Splinters" opens with a half-time beat and more melodic vocal trade-offs. Lyrically, "My Father, The Fatalist" is more introspective and personal and has the album's best breakdown at the end of the song. As a change of pace, "For The Sake of Skin" starts off with some interesting programming and guitar work, flirting with radio-friendliness with a huge chorus before launching into an equally huge breakdown. The album is split by the instrumental title track, "The Sound Of Human Lives" which captures the essence of the band and conveys the pain and suffering of the human condition, all in three and a half minutes! The anger-fueled break-up song, "I Am Only An Island" explodes with fury as the most aggressive and brutal song on the album. "No Face In The Crowd" and its sweeping guitars and haunting programming combined with the chant along passages, makes this song a sure fire live staple. Album closer, "You Leave" is a little more experimental with impressive vocal harmonies and feedback-drenched guitars.

Accessible enough for the "Hot Topic" crowd yet still raw enough for more "hard-core" hardcore fans, Therefore I Am have created an album both melodic and menacing, and should gain them the attention they deserve. Check them out on the Warped Tour this Summer!

To order their album and get more info click here:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dream Concert: Magnolia Electric CO

I have never seen Jason Molina play live and he is at the top of my list with Wilco, Dylan, Death Cab and Bright Eyes. As luck would have it, Magnolia Electric Co. will be playing at the Southgate House in Newport, KY on July 14th. I will be there. Hopefully... Of course, I will not get to choose the songs but here are the songs I would choose if given the chance.

Set list:

I've Been Riding With The Ghost

Hard To Love A Man

The Rock Of Ages

Farewell Transmission

Don't Fade On Me

Dark Don't Hide It

Almost Was Good Enough

Lonesome Valley

Trouble Will Find You

John Henry Split My Heart

Cross The Road

Ring The Bell

Coxcomb Red

It's Made Me Cry


Werewolves Of London

Hold On Magnolia

The Lioness

I chose some of my favorite Songs: Ohia songs also. They probably wouldn't play those live but...hey, it could happen!

Magnolia Electric Co. tour dates:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Contest: Jeff Buckley - "Grace Around The World"

In celebration of the life of the great Jeff Buckley and to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the release of his debut, Grace, a new DVD/CD set called, Grace Around The World was released earlier this month. It includes live versions of "Hallelujah", "Grace" and "Last Goodbye" as they were performed on various radio shows around the world and versions from MTV appearances.

Atlas and the Anchor has a prize pack including the Grace Around The World set and a limited edition t-shirt!

Just sign up for Jeff Buckley's official newsletter here: then shoot me an email here: letting me know you signed up for the newsletter, your shirt size, and your favorite Jeff Buckley song.

Check out the shirt here:

One winner will be chosen on Friday, July 3rd and notified by email. Good Luck!

Also, if you are in the area, there will be exclusive screenings of the DVD at these locations:
(Mary Guibert, Jeff's mother, will be attending these events)

June 28, 2009 – Austin, TX @ Mother Egan’s
August 8th, 2009 - New Orleans @ The Howlin' Wolf
August 2009 - New York, NY (date and venue TBD)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Of Montreal - "For Our Elegant Caste (Depressed Buttons Remix)"

2. Modest Mouse - "The Whale Song"

3. Yourself and The Air - "So You've Come To Mingle"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yourself and The Air - "Friend Of All Breeds" EP

Chicago’s Yourself and The Air have self-released, Friend Of All Breeds, their third recording. Their organic brand of angular and intricate indie-rock on this EP, should gain them the attention they deserve.

“Heartstrings” opens the album with chiming guitars and a laid back drum beat before channeling Modest Mouse, changing into a bit with rolling drums and winding guitars. Standout track, “So You’ve Come To Mingle” is charming and reminiscent of Broken Social Scene, complete with “whoa, oh, oh” sing along and intermingling guitar lines. The vocals come unhinged for a cathartic release mid-song, revealing a wild vulnerability while remaining deliciously catchy. Jangly and intricate dual guitar work and passionate vocals mix with the subdued keyboards on “All The Ways”. The ambitious, “Less is Less” is a perfect slice of late 90’s indie rock with shouty vocals and tom-heavy drums as the guitars provide a dreamy gauze, filling in the empty spaces. Thankfully, the last song, “My Friends Are In Love With A Feeling”, is more of the same. And as prolific as YATA have been, with 3 recordings over the past 2 ½ years, another EP is scheduled for release this Fall. More details on that later...

Check out Yourself and The Air on tour this Summer, and pick up a copy of Friend Of All Breeds.

Order the EP here:
For more info click here: and

Listen here:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Interview: Alligators

Alligators recently released their pop-perfect debut album, Piggy & Cups and will be touring the West Coast soon. They took some time out to answer some of my questions. Learn about their influences, what inspired the album title and their obsession with John Madden, specifically, the 1995 edition of his famous game franchise...

Atlas and the Anchor: You recorded Piggy & Cups at Jason McGerr’s studio, Two Sticks Audio and that has been a highlight in the press clippings. How, if at all, was he involved in the recording?

Alligators: He was involved in the buying of all the equipment for the studio, the building of the studio, renting the studio space, probably the paying of his employees. Other than that, he was not involved at all. He was there for a few minutes one of the days, but had family and Death Cab things to tend to. I remember him saying something about having to fly to Europe the next day. That was all we saw of him. Nice guy, though.

Atlas: It has been written that you are influenced by a lot of great bands like Radiohead and The Beach Boys but who do you say you are influenced by?

Alligators: I think some of us would say we are influenced by those bands. Doves, Phoenix, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jeff Buckley, dance bands, Beach House. Those are a few bands we are influenced by. Tyler says church music influenced him growing up. Unfortunately, I think all of us agree with that.

Atlas: My favorite song on Piggy & Cups is “Where Does It Hide?” because of the subtle style shifts throughout the song. What is your favorite song on the record and why?

Alligators: I don’t know if we have a collective favorite, but we all enjoy playing “Snow Children” and “Why Aren’t You Weeping (All In Your World)”. We also enjoy playing “Original Fear” and the groovy “Magic Woman”. “Conqueror” is a good one, too.

Atlas: You just wrapped up touring the West Coast, are there plans to tour the Midwest and/or East Coast?

Alligators: Actually we plan on touring the West Coast in a month or so, but no plans as of now for the Midwest or East Coast.

Atlas: What were/are you listening to in the tour van?

Alligators: We were/are listening to South – With The Tides, Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus, Doves – Kingdom of Rust, The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement, Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps, Sunny Day Real Estate – The Rising Tide, JR’s mix CD – Jamz Mang, and many more.

Atlas: Piggy & Cups is a strange name for an album. What does it mean and what was the direction for the artwork on the album?

Alligators: While we were recording and writing the album, we played a lot of catch with the Piggy (football) and drank a lot of cups (coffee). We thought it would be a good name. Is it? Tyler did the artwork, and with that info you should be able to guess the direction of the artwork. Except for the oranges. Those just looked cool.

Atlas: Are any of you working on a side or solo project?

Alligators: Not really. Tyler had a project called Kids On Bikes that turned into a band that most of us played in, but none of us are active in any side projects. We all write and record stuff on the side, but I wouldn’t call them “solo projects”.

Atlas: What one older and one current song do you wish you would’ve written yourself?

Alligators: “Heart of Sunrise” – Yes
“Star Spangled Banner” – Francis Scott Key
“Paranoid Android” - Radiohead
“Halo” – Beyonce

Only one??

Atlas: What bands would you like to collaborate and/or tour with?

Alligators: Neil Young, Buffalo Daughter, Sigur Ros, Sonic Youth, Leonard Cohen, John Madden.

Atlas: Not that you would, but if you had to replace yourself in the band with one person, who would you choose?

Alligators: Tyler – Fieldy (from Korn)
Josh – Gavin Rossdale (Bush)
Brad – Monkey (sic) (From Korn)
Kit – John Madden (from Madden 95)
Danny – Ricky Martin (from Latin)

Thanks to the Alligators for taking the time to answer my questions! Check them out on tour on the West Coast and pick up their debut album, Piggy and Cups, that Jason from Death Cab For Cutie had absolutely nothing to do with!

Download "Conqueror" here:

Read the Atlas and the Anchor review of Piggy & Cups here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

3 Songs: "More Metal Than Your Ma's Kettle"

1. August Burns Red - "Thirty And Seven"

2. Killswitch Engage - "Starting Over"

3. MouthEater - "Guts"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Closure In Moscow - "First Temple"

Australia’s Closure In Moscow are ready to invade our shores with their ambitious and explosive debut album, First Temple, released last month on Equal Vision Records. Combining the soaring, high-range vocals and technically clever guitar work similar in style to The Mars Volta and Coheed and Cambria, Closure In Moscow have created an epic album with mountains and valleys of spastic energy and introspection.

Album opener, “Kissing Cousins” kicks the door down with shifting time changes and a big melodic chorus with energy to spare. Followed by the equally energetic, “Reindeer Age”, which sounds like The Mars Volta without all of the World Music flourishes, though the Asian-influenced riffing on “Sweet#hart” does bring a touch of that to the table but with an instantly catchy chorus to sing along to. The inventive guitar noodling on the propulsive, “Vanguard” and wild soloing on “A Night At The Spleen” shows off the skills this relatively young band possesses. On “I’m a Ghost of Twilight”, eerie pedal steel is added to give the song a brooding atmosphere that continues into the next song, “Permafrost” which is the aural equivalent to the desolate emptiness of Siberia which serves as a nice break between the two sides of the album. “Deluge” begins with some pretty vocal harmonies and settles in as the most straight- forward and more accessible songs on the album. “Afterbirth” crashes in with some creative, robotic guitar sounds. To close out the album, “Couldn’t Let You Love Me” an ambient, mostly instrumental song bleeds into the last track, “Had To Put It In The Soil”, a sweet and soaring almost-ballad that acts as the come down from the album’s energetic assault.

The similarities to other great prog-rock bands like Coheed and Cambria, The Mars Volta are there but their careful attention to melody and inventive arrangements make listening to First Temple satisfying enough that all of that is forgotten.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Miniature Tigers - Daytrotter Session and The Interface

"Cannibal Queen" by Miniature Tigers is my favorite song right now. Their quirky mix of Vampire Weekend and Weezer style indie-pop, makes for repeat listens. The album art for their debut album, Tell it to the Volcano even reminds me of a Wes Anderson film. They are currently busy building their buzz and have stopped by the Daytrotter studios for a live session as well as's The Interface. Check it out.

Watch the video for "Cannibal Queen" here:

For more info click here:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat (Random Edition)

1. Okkervil River - "Kansas City"


2. Galactic - "The Corner" featuring Gift of Gab


3. Meshuggah - "Bleed"


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Features - "Some Kind of Salvation"

After four years, The Features are set to release their second album, Some Kind of Salvation on July 28th. Their eccentric mix of folksy Southern charm, and energetic, off-kilter pop is a welcome respite from the state of radio today.

"Whatever Gets You By" opens the album with a short and quirky, sing-a-long set to a shuffling beat that bleeds into the first single, "The Drawing Board" that should get a ton of radio attention with it's infectiously catchy chorus and bleating saxophones. "Foundation's Cracked" is piano-driven and spotlights songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Matthew Pelham's emotional, yearning, Southern-style vocals. The next song, "GMF (Genetically Modified Fable)" infuses the most psychedelic XTC-like melody into a 70's glam-rock stew with great vintage keyboard sounds that makes for one of the more compelling songs on the album. The uplifting song, "The Temporary Blues", could be adopted as a national anthem during these hard economic times, with lyrics like, "One day we're gonna make a change. We're gonna turn this mess around." The saxophones return on "Wooden Heart" with a steady swagger. The acoustic guitar and clicking percussion on "Baby's Hammer" mix well with the plinking piano and pretty violin arrangement for a nice change of pace. Near the end of the album, The Features throw in a nod to their energetic, New Wave past with the electronic drums and 80's inspired synths of "Concrete".

Some Kind of Salvation should make many year end lists because of the accessible yet off-center pop sensibilities and stellar songwriting skills that The Features...feature yet again.

For more info click here: For the price of an email address at their site, you can download the song "GMF" for free!

Monday, June 08, 2009

New Lujo Records Sampler

Check it out! One of my favorite labels has released a FREE Spring Sampler available now digitally. It includes new songs from The Pomegranetes, Mouse Fire, The Dark Romantics, and this Summer's hottest, "windows down", Springsteen-esque single, "Big Schools" by Baby Teeth. And it has exclusive sneak peeks of future Lujo releases from Summerbirds in the Cellar, Nayonettes and Cincy faves, Enlou!

Download it here:

For more info click here:

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Modest Mouse - "Guilty Cocker Spaniels"

2. War Tapes - "The Night Unfolds" (gloomy, doom-pop. for fans of Interpol and New Order)

For more info click here:

3. Bonfire Madigan - "Lady Saves" (riot girl punk on a cello)

For more info click here:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Middle Class Rut - "25 Years EP"

Middle Class Rut is a two-piece rock band from Sacramento. Their debut EP “25 Years” was released last month on Bright Antenna Records. Their sweat-soaked, bluesy mix of pounding drums and noisy guitars and sung/screamed vocals make for a great debut.

“25 Years”, the opening song, first single, and title track, explodes in a fury of pummeling drums and heavy, grungy guitars. While guitarist/vocalist Zach Lopez's vocals have the same melodic pitch and phrasing as Perry Farrell, though he also unleashes a throat shredding roar as well. The catchy "Dead Set" is set to a tom-heavy drum beat and guitars dripping in reverb with suprising harmonized vocals. "I Guess You Could Say" is reminiscent of early Secret Machines with a huge beat and psychedelic touches and multi-tracked vocals. "Tied Up" is the catchiest song on the EP with a melodic, fast-paced vocal cadence and insistent beat. The last song, "I Don't Really Know" stretches out a bit to include more jamming and spacey soloing along with their Jane's Addiction meets Black Keys meets Secret Machines sound.

Evoking a grimey sound that you wouldn't expect from a Californian band, Middle Class Rut have proven to be a force to be reckoned with on their debut EP.

Download the title track, "25 Years" here:

For more info click here: and and