Wednesday, July 29, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat



1. The Dead Weather - "I Cut Like A Buffalo"




2. Screaming Females - "Bell" (opening for The Dead Weather. Sleater-Kinney mixed with Built To Spill and shredding guitar solos!)

Download: http://www.myspace.com/dongiovannirecords (Not a direct link to mp3)



3. Bluebrain - Ten By Ten" (awesome new Lujo Records signing!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Scream The Prayer Tour





Sorry, no review today. I will be attending the Scream The Prayer Tour. For tour dates in your area click here: www.myspace.com/screamtheprayer


3 Songs: I want to hear at the show


1. The Chariot - "And Shot Each Other"



2. Project 86 - "Sincerely, Ichobaod"



3. Haste The Day - "Pressure The Hinges"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Portugal. The Man - "The Satanic Satanist"



Not even a year after releasing their last album, Portugal. The Man are ready to release yet another album. “The Satanic Satanist”, the bands’ fourth album in as many years shows their love and passion for music of all styles and their endless well of talent and creativity. In a way, they have come full circle as they have finally made the funky Soul record they have been on a path to create since Church Mouth but also add in the odd loops, beats and samples they abandoned since their first album, Waiter, You Vulture.

The album opens with the folk-inflected anti-war anthem, “People Say” which includes an uplifting sing-along chorus and twangy country-tinged guitar. The hammer to the nail, rhythm-driven “Work All Day” has a chain gang sing-along that reflects the bands’ work ethic. The vibe on “Lovers In Love” recalls the classic 70’s soul records with the smoothed out programming, fast and furious congas and soaring falsetto vocal melody on the bands’ first “love” song. Like the rest of the album, the piano-led “The Sun” features a more focused, less complex arrangement as well as a massive brit-pop like chorus and thick vintage organs. “The Home” uses multi-tracked vocals throughout as vocalist John Gourley sings (“I will make my home here”) about his parent’s courage to escape to Alaska and settle in a new and exciting land, which also reflects his bands’ courage to not adhere to any genre or set of musical rules (“I don’t run with the sheep…”). “Guns and Dogs” settles into a sunny groove with soothing “woo, woo, woo” background vocal with a battle between organic versus electronic instruments. “Everyone Is Golden” is a gorgeous, straight-forward pop song with a lilting Lennon-esque melody and over the top production from producer Paul Q. Kolderie, who helped the band focus their energy into more precise song structures. The album closes with the sweeping, cinematic “Mornings” with its smoldering guitar solo and Gourley’s rafters-reaching falsetto.

After spending less than two weeks in the studio just months after their last album was released, The Satanic Satanist is Portugal. The Man’s most focused and accessible album yet, showcasing once again their immense talent, creativity and willingness to blur the lines of classification and create on their own terms.

Download "People Say" here: http://media.equalvision.com/evr164/audio/people_say.mp3

For more info click here: www.equalvision.com and www.portugaltheman.net

Friday, July 17, 2009

Interview: The Republic Tigers


The Republic Tigers, whose pop-perfect debut album, Keep Color is out now on Chop Shop Records have also recently recorded their version of Frank Sinatra's "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" for the iTunes exclusive Sinatra covers record, His Way, Our Way out now. Adam McGill the guitarist for The Republic Tigers took the time to answer some of my questions. Find out about his "super duper sexy" solo project, what hidden gems are on the band member's iPods and how actor, Steve Buscemi could step in if a band member goes down!




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

Adam: I like "Give Arm To Its Socket" the most right now. It just seems more interesting to me than other songs on the record because of the time changes that happen in it. It also has one of the most clearly defined "lead vocal" parts on the record.



AA: People compare you to other bands and make assumptions about your influences, but who do you say you are influenced by?

Adam: All the guys have different influences. Big influences for me personally right now would have to be: the "spaghetti western" arrangements of Ennio Morricone, Stan Getz during his samba period, the older "Bollywood" arrangements of Kishore Kumar, the Zombies, the Beatles, Air, Blonde Redhead, Radiohead, Burt Bacharach (especially some of the arrangements he did for Dionne Warwick). I've also been listening to a ton of afrobeat stuff like Tony Williams, &Fela Kuti. Actually, there is an album on iTunes right now called Nigeria 70 that has a lot of really amazing music on it. The list could go on forever but I'll stop while I'm ahead.



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

Adam: How about: The Reckoner by Radiohead, and La chanson de Slogan by Serge Gainsbourg. Neither of which I hear as incredible "songs" per se. They each just have such amazing grooves and some fairly haunting, memorable melodies.



AA: Are any of you working on any side/solo projects we should know about?

Adam: No not really. I mean we all have songs that we write that we know the Republic Tigers will never do because they don't fit within the scope of the band. I think Ryan and I both have put up myspace sites for "solo material" that's not really anything that we take all that seriously. They are just songs we throw together for the pleasure of it and never really plan on doing anything else with them. My little site is www.myspace.com/adamisuperdupersexy. I haven't invited a single soul to "be my friend". I just posted it for fun and thought maybe if somebody is really lucky they'll stumble onto this by accident and like what they hear. I'm not sure what the address to Ryan's music myspace is or if it is even up anymore.



AA: You got to go across the pond and tour with Travis and just toured the States with them. Have you guys become great friends from those experiences?

Adam: Well, the thing is they're Scottish and well..... um.... let's see..... How do I put this delicately? Just joking, they're really amazing guys. They're incredibly generous taking us out with them and introducing us to their audience. The crew they take with them are all great guys as well. There's always a really pleasant atmosphere backstage with Travis and we do really, genuinely like each other. At least I think that's the case. We genuinely like them, I'm pretty sure they like us.



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

Adam: We loved playing with Travis. We loved playing with Nada Surf. We hung out with Matthew Caws from Nada Surf in Brooklyn after we played Webster Hall on our last tour. It would be amazing to go back out with them. They're terrific guys and really fun to be around. They are also really impressive live. As far as collaborations go,... I'd love to do something sometime with the Dap Kings, or Tony Allen, or Air, or Radiohead, or....., I'll just stop my list there otherwise it just turns into a Christmas list of wonderful gifts that I will never receive.



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

Adam: Oh, tough question. It would have to be somebody really talented, and extremely handsome. He would have to have the strength of a bear but the agility of a panther, or maybe some kind of wolf. Actually, I'll just make this easy and say Steve Buscemi. He played guitar in "The Wedding Singer" and he played bass in "Airheads" he seems like a very well rounded musician. Plus,... he's Steve Buscemi,.. he's great.



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

Adam: That depends on who's iPod is charged. If it's my ipod the list is probably pretty similar to my list of influences that we already talked about. If it's Marc's iPod we're listening to 60's R&B and soul. If it's Ryan's iPod we're listening to the "Night At The Roxbury" soundtrack, or "Jock Jams," or Sebastian Tellier. Justin's a drummer, he doesn't know anything about the current "iPod technologies" so he uses what in the old days we called compact discs. But many of his compact discs contain the music of The Pet Shop Boys, or Duran Duran. The only time Kenn really breaks out his iPod is when he wants to show us a Dream Theatre song that he really likes. We also get CDs from bands we play with on tour and we'll listen to those when we get them.



AA: What is the meaning behind the album title “Keep Color” and what inspired the artwork?

Adam: "Keep Color" is a phrase from our song titled "Contortionists." It's a phrase that in its nature is designed to mean multiple things. To me I think it's just sort of a positive idea to try and "Keep Color," to hold onto something that's valuable, to not fade away, or let your life become sepia and bland. Our friend Tad Carpenter designed the artwork. He's just a really talented graphic artist that is familiar with things that we like visually. He presented several different ideas and that was the album cover that we liked the most.



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

Adam: Yeah. We're pretty much always working on the next album. It's a perpetual thing. Right now we're writing and demoing new songs. So far the process has been pretty productive and had very positive results. We have a few songs that are definitely going to make it onto the next record, as well as a several songs that are well on their way to being possibilities to go on the next record. I think our next record is really going to impress people.

For info on the Sinatra cover record "His Way, Our Way" click here: http://tinyurl.com/republictigers-itunes

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Bloodsugars - "BQEP"





I have discovered many of my favorite bands by seeing them open up for another band. For example, I saw The Shins open for Modest Mouse when they only had a self-released CD-R of music for sale. Similarly, I discovered NYC’s The Bloodsugars opening for The Pomegranates last week in Cincinnati. They put on a tight and energetic show that displayed their sticky sweet songwriting. After the show I talked to singer/guitarist Jason Rabinowitz, who was all smiles onstage and off and he gave me a copy of their debut EP to review. The BQEP was released last Spring on Engine Room Recordings with their debut full-length set to be released this Fall.

“Purpose Was Again” opens the EP with Jason’s smooth and soulful vocals over fragile guitar chugging before crashing in with a proggy passage that leads into a melodic verse with accenting keyboards showcasing the band’s knack for inventive arrangements. Stand out track, “Bloody Mary” is an irresistible synth-pop dance fest with clever keyboard riffs that are equally as infectious as the vocal melodies, a drum machine-tight beat, gurgling bass line and hand-claps for good measure. “Cinderella” continues the dance party with a steady shuffling beat, a bass line that colors outside the lines and a chorus with catchy cascading back-up vocals. “Breakfast On The BQE” mellows out a bit leaning more on the band’s indie rock tendencies with a soaring vocal and jangling guitars taking place of the playful dance-pop of the prior two songs. “Saint of Containment” picks it back up with a funky, jagged guitar riff and more unique keyboard hooks, making it one energetic, danceable indie-rock song. The last song, “Uh Oh” is gorgeously textured, filling the empty spaces with acoustic guitar and washes of soothing background vocals that contrasts and complements the rest of the album's energy.

With their excellent debut EP and live show, The Bloodsugars have created a buzz of anticipation for their album release this Fall.


Download “Purpose Was Again” here: http://thebloodsugars.com/mp3/01PurposeWasAgain.mp3



For more info click here: http://www.thebloodsugars.com/ and www.myspace.com/bloodsugars

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Baby Teeth - "Hustle Beach"


Today, Baby Teeth return with their third album, “Hustle Beach” after releasing separate solo projects in the last year. The ever-prolific bandleader, Abraham Levitan wrote one song each week for one year for a blog called, “52 Teeth” and then selected eleven of the songs to comprise “Hustle Beach”.

The first single and opening track, “Big Schools” is an upbeat, windows-down, Springsteen-esque rocker complete with a big, fuzzy lead bass line and stadium-sized keyboards. Abraham can spin a story like no one else, this time posing as yuppie baby boomer parents unable to relate to their children. With their trademark no guitars, keyboards/bass/drums brand of smart, vintage-leaning indie-pop “The Part You Play” incorporates layers of vintage organ sounds, both thick and shimmering with a yearning vocal melody over a strutting rhythm. The sweaty title track, “Hustle Beach” is dripping with the swagger of 70’s-era machismo like sweat from a terry cloth headband with a head-bobbing beat, a repeating mantra of “work, work, work…” and the frenzied freak-out of a keyboard solo at the end. “I Hope She Won’t Let Me” mellows out a bit with romantic and soulful vocal harmonies and a simple arrangement. Incorporating more of an 80’s synth sound, the robotic “Shrine” becomes a stalker’s anthem with its bouncing beat. “Snake Eyes” begins with a wailing, siren-like synth and dense bass line that anchors the beat as Abraham let’s go of all restraint with an unbridled wail, making the song one of their heaviest to date and an instant standout on the album. The twinkling piano and glam-affected vocals on the “Let It Roll” recall Bowie just as the chorus on “The Swede” is reminiscent of the melody to “And She Was” by The Talking Heads, making the songs instantly catchy, fun and nostalgic at the same time, which is the band’s motto. The handclaps, steady piano and floating vocal harmonies make “I Tried To Figure You Out” a classic pop song in the truest sense. The earnest album closer, “Hard To Find A Friend” sounds like it was written to be included on the soundtrack to a hypothetical Disney movie starring James Taylor and Randy Newman as down on their luck buddies.

After all of the writing the band has done over the last year, hopefully the well has not dried up because Hustle Beach is Baby Teeth’s best album yet and leaves you wanting more.

Download the title track, "Hustle Beach" here: http://lujorecords.com/media/01%20Hustle%20Beach.mp3

Download "Big Schools" here: http://lujorecords.com/media/01%20Big%20Schools.mp3

For more info click here: http://www.lujorecords.com/ and http://www.babyteethmusic.com/
And click here to check out the 52 Teeth Blog: http://52teeth.wordpress.com/

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Dead Weather - "Horehound"



Jack White from The White Stripes and The Raconteurs is back with his new project, The Dead Weather. Jack puts down his guitar and sits in on the drums, returning to his pre-Whites Stripes instrument. He played drums in the early 90’s in the Detroit area southern-punk band, Goober & The Peas. The Dead Weather also includes Jack Lawrence (Raconteurs) on bass, Dean Fertita (Queens Of The Stone Age) on guitar and organ, with Alison Mosshart of The Kills on vocals with all members contributing to the songwriting. With Horehound, Jack continues to add to his impressive blues-rock resume, this time venturing into darker, heavier and jammier territories.

Horehound opens with the reverb-rich, rubbery blues riff on “60 Feet Tall” and includes not one but two feedback-fueled, blistering guitar solos with Alison sounding like a possessed PJ Harvey. On the gritty “Hang You From The Heavens”, Alison sings “I like to grab you by the hair, and hang you up from the heavens” with a deceptive sexiness, over top of a huge, steady beat and a fuzzy bass line. The surprisingly funky “I Cut Like A Buffalo” struts, with thick organs, a Reggae influence and duel vocals between Jack and Alison, standing out as one of the album’s best tracks. The Mosshart-penned “So Far From Your Weapon” is brooding, with call and response vocals and a driving drum beat. The first single, “Treat Me Like Your Mother”, is explosive with swaggering vocal duel, a hip-hop inspired callout near the end of the song and a lock-step groove. Their cover of Bob Dylan’s “New Pony” is heavy as lead and loud, with a snarling attitude, making the song their own. “Bone House” boasts a lyrical bravado (“I always get the things I want”) that matches the music with its cymbal-heavy drumming and surging synths. The haunting keyboards and jungle-thick bass line on “No Hassle Night” lends to the album’s overall sinister and grimey atmosphere. And finally, Jack White picks up the guitar for the acoustic, “Will There Be Enough Water?” a spooky, more traditional blues jam with pretty piano, a plodding beat and prickly guitar runs to end the album.

Fans of The White Stripes will not be disappointed and neither will fans of blues-heavy classic rock, proving that once again, Jack White has the “midas touch”. Now we can only hope for another album from The Dead Weather, as we look forward to what may he may do next…


For more info click here: http://www.thedeadweather.com/
Download "Treat Me Like Your Mother" here: http://thedeadweather.warnerreprise.com/

Friday, July 10, 2009

CIV - "The Complete Discography"




Equal Vision Records has released the complete 43-track discography of NYC punk-rock band, CIV, containing Set Your Goals, their 1995 debut and their second and final album, Thirteen Day Getaway as well as live tracks and b-sides. Best known for their hit song "Can't Wait One Minute More" and for their influential punk roots. Lead singer, Anthony "Civ" Civarelli formed Gorilla Biscuits in the 80's other members of CIV were from hardcore bands Youth Of Today and Judge.

The music on Set Your Goals was a poppier incarnation of the positive minded hardcore of Gorilla Biscuits. "Can't Wait One Minute More", "Set Your Goals", "So Far, So Good...So What" and "Choices Made" were just as catchy as anything on the radio in the mid-90's but CIV never found a mainstream audience beyond the fleeting MTV hit, "Can't Wait One Minute More" and their tour with No Doubt. Beyond the pop-punk, songs like, "Trust Slips Through Your Hands" and "Gang Opinion" have the fury and gang vocals that make them sound like unearthed Gorilla Biscuits songs. The bonus live tracks, including, "United Kids" and "Can't Wait One Minute More" captures the energy of CIV's live show.

At the time, the music on Thirteen Day Getaway, felt like CIV was reaching to hard for mainstream success by leaning on horns, organs and a more polished sound and letting go of the aggressive punk sound they were built upon. Of course it didn't translate well with fans but looking back now, you can appreciate that they took that chance. The power-pop bounce of "Secondhand Superstar" and dub-stylings and big hook of "Big Girl" make for a great listen still today. The included demos versions of "Everday" and Secondhand Superstar" complete the package.

CIV - "The Complete Discography" is available now on iTunes and eMusic or here: http://www.equalvision.com/

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Rural Alberta Advantage - "Hometowns"



The songs that comprise Hometowns by The Rural Alberta Advantage are singer/songwriter Nils Edenloff’s way of coping with the homesickness and loneliness following a move from his hometown. Heartfelt and energetic, the descriptive songs act as aural postcards.

The opening song, “The Ballad of The RAA” is slow burning with a steady beat underneath the well orchestrated flourishes and pining vocals. “Rush Apart” adds in Paul Banwatt’s clattering, front and center percussion work that gives the songs a percussion-driven sound similar to The Dodos. The frantic “The Dethbridge in Lethbridge” is a standout with more raucous drumming and strumming with howling vocals and Amy Cole’s contrasting, calming background vocals. “Don’t Haunt This Place” combines the two voices and cinematic cello with a techno-like, quick-paced beat with beautiful results. “Drain The Blood” is gritty but gorgeous at the same time, starting out at half-speed before kicking up the dust with a rumbling drum beat all while anchored to a catchy vocal melody. “Frank, AB” recalls the icy wind of the Great White North with its insistent beat and sweeping vocal harmonies. The wistful “Sleep All Day” is keyboard-led and like its title, never really shakes from its dreamy slumber as a nice change of pace from the wild energy of the rest of the album. The upbeat “Edmonton” is a poppy ode to his old hometown. And “In The Summertime” closes out the album on an introspective note with droning keyboards that, just like Summer, ends before you are ready.

After self-releasing the album last year and piling up the praise from bloggers as well as being featured on Emusic.com, Saddle Creek Records signed the band to give Hometowns a proper release on July 7th.


Download "Don't Haunt This Place" here: www.saddle-creek.com/sounds/RuralAlberta_DontHauntThisPlace.mp3



For more info click here: http://www.saddlecreekrecords.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/theraa and http://www.theraa.com/

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat


1. The Rural Alberta Advantage - "Frank, AB" (Look for review soon...)
Download: www.saddle-creek.com/sounds/RuralAlberta_FrankAB.mp3


2. Himalaya - "Melt Away" (for fans of Jesus & Mary Chain, etc.)
Download: www.aampromo.com/himalaya/himalaya_melt_away.mp3

3. Discovery - "Orange Shirt" (Vampire Weekend + auto-tune = ...)
Listen: http://lala.com/zBsY

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

UUVVWWZ - "UUVVWWZ"


Saddle Creek Records will release the self-titled debut album by UUVVWWZ (pronounced double-U, double-V, double-W, Z) today. With a name as eccentric and strange as their music, UUVVWWZ take the energy of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, and the avant-experimentalism of Deerhoof and combine it with the accessible poppiness of both bands to create a stunning debut. The first track, "Berry Can" opens with little else but Teal Gardner's jazzy vocals before a shots of feedback-drenched jagged guitars break the mood like a bully at a birthday party.

The bouncy rhythm, big fuzzy bass line and quirky lyrics on "Shark Suit" shows off the bands' potential for a fun and energetic live show. The arty jazz-pop of "Jap Dad" is similar...

(The rest of the review has been removed twice and is lost forever but check out the songs below and see what you think...)

Download "Shark Suit" here: http://www.saddle-creek.com/sounds/UUVVWWZ_SharkSuit.mp3

Download "Jap Dad" here: http://www.saddle-creek.com/sounds/UUVVWWZ_JapDad.mp3


For more info click here: www.myspace.com/UUVVWWZ and www.uuvvwwz.blogspot.com and www.saddlecreekrecords.com

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat (and 1 video)






1. Yourself and The Air - "Bicycles Plus" (Daytrotter Session)





2. Wilco - "Bull Black Nova"




3. Simon Joyner - "Roll On"



4. Dirty Projectors - "Stillness Is The Move" Video

(A lonely llama farmer, indie-choreography and the song of the year)