Wednesday, September 30, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Will Hoge - "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" (Bluesy modern troubadour with the voice and road experience to prove it)


2. Hatcham Social - "Crocodiles" (Smiths-style post-punk, on tour with Echo & The Bunnymen)


3. Panther - "Love Is Sold" (Piano-driven indie dance-pop, from new album Entropy)


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sea Wolf - "White Water, White Bloom"

Sea Wolf, Alex Brown Church’s project returns, this time with a full band and a more grandiose and ambitious effort for their second album, White Water, White Bloom. Out now on Dangerbird Records, the album is autumnal, vivid in its lyrical weight and floats between orchestral folk and guitar-led indie-rock.

“Wicked Blood” opens the album with on a swell of strings, chiming piano and Alex’s descriptive poetic lyrics about a beautiful temptress. “Dew in the Grass” is cinematic with lush orchestration providing the song’s main melody and stabbing electric guitar adding atmospheric accents. The chugging strings match the emotion in the yearning vocals on “Orion & Dog”, adding more substance to one of the albums more sparse, acoustic moments. The guitar driven “O Maria!” is charging, off kilter, and reminiscent of Wolf Parade with a clever arrangement including pounding piano and a stomping beat. Like much of the album, the title track, “White Water, White Bloom” sounds both modern and from a different era. Alex enlisted Mike Mogis as producer/instrumentalist to help bring his homespun melodies and organic instrumentation to life. “The Orchard” is a hauntingly beautiful mid-tempo ballad with a lush but not dense atmosphere of orchestration. “The Traitor” begins with plinking piano and dueling guitars and violins but is one of the more up-tempo, rocking songs on the album. Album closer, “Winter’s Heir” features bellowing vintage organs, steady acoustic strumming and crisp electric guitar lines that weave in and out of the cozy, folksy arrangement.

Sea Wolf has easily avoided the “sophomore slump” by raising the bar with the new dynamics and expanded arrangements gained from the full band experience on White Water, White Bloom, making for an engaging and fulfilling listen from start to finish.

Download "Wicked Blood" here: (via

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Shudder To Think - "Hit Liquor (Live)" (From their live reunion tour cd, Live From Home)

2. Codes In The Clouds - "Don't Go Awash In This Digital Landscape" (Cinematic post-rock in the vein of Pelican and Explosions In The Sky)


3. Alvin Band - "Ate" ( Solo side project of Alvin from Miniature Tigers)


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monsters Of Folk - "Monsters Of Folk"

If you don’t already know, the Monsters of Folk are Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, producer/instrumentalist Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and solo artist and one half of She & Him, M. Ward; a supergroup in all of its glory. Every song was written and played by each of the members without any outside help. Also, do not get too hung up on the “folk” moniker as they entertain all of their whims, including funky R&B, Beatles-esque power-pop and back-porch blues, while keeping everything tied together on their self-titled debut, out today on Shangri-La Music.

Jim James opens the album with his smooth falsetto over the funky trip-hop on “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F)” on which all three trade verses with their unique voices including, M. Ward’s smoky cadence and Conor’s warbly wail. First single, “Say Please” is a rollicking pop-rock song with Beatles-esque melodies, an out-of-the-shadows unhinged guitar solo by Mike Mogis and drums by James. The next three songs each sound like the respective singer’s day job but with enough new dynamics to make it refreshing. The Conor-led “Temazcal” is more atmospheric and folky with ethereal backing vocals and sweeping synths over subtle but steady acoustic guitar strumming. With mandolin and whining steel guitar, “The Right Place” leans toward a more traditional Country sound with Jim James’s providing his rafters-rumbling falsetto. And like a train barreling down the tracks, “Baby Boomer” is led by M. Ward with assistance from Conor and more steel guitar. Standout track, “Losin’ Yo Head” is pure power-pop filtered through a saloon window with plinking piano and some of the best harmonizing on the album. “The Sandman, The Brakeman And Me” is another standout track with Matt’s soft acoustic chugging and picking along with subtle synths and more gorgeous vocal harmonies. Adhering to one of the main lyrical themes of the album, “His Master’s Voice” tackles religion with sweet vocals, serene sirens and gentle guitar picking to close the album on an introspective and calming note.

On first listen, the self-titled debut by Monster Of Folk is packed with excitement as you never know whose voice you may hear next or what style they might shift into. But what makes the album great is that even after the excitement wears off, you are still left with a well written and performed record that demands your attention for long after and is everything that you would expect from the members of this indie-rock supergroup.

For more info click here: and

Also, watch their performance tonight ( 9/22) on Conan!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dappled Cities - "Zounds" and album giveaway!

Dangerbird Records released Zounds the colorful new album by Dappled Cities this week. And to celebrate, they are giving away their last album, Granddance as a free download! There are numerous adjectives to describe their sound, which is probably why they summed it all up with a new word: Zounds. If you have never heard Australia's Dappled Cities, take advantage of this offer and download the grandiose Granddance and then buy the new album now!

Click here to download Granddance:

Click here to download the Granddance bonus disc:

Click here to download "The Price" from Zounds:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

3 Songs: New Music

1. Land Of Talk - "May You Never" (From the upcoming ep Fun And Laughter)


2. ARMS - "Kids Aflame" (Lo-fi solo project of Todd from Harlem Shakes...ukelele!)


3. The Blakes - "Basket" (From their upcoming album, Souvenir. For fans of Dandy Warhols)


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Drums - "Summertime!"

Summer will soon be over but The Drums and their debut EP Summertime! instantly brings you right back into the surf and sun. The Drums are Jonathan Pierce of the disbanded major label act Elkland and Jacob Graham of Horse Shoes. They fuse their love of New Order and new wave with 1950’s surf music into a fantastically infectious debut.

The opening song “Saddest Summer” makes a splash with tinny guitars and bass, a hop-scotch beat and the contrast between the gloomy, Factory Records sound and a sweet and catchy vocal melody. “Let’s Go Surfing” is so catchy an amnesiac would still remember it! Not only is the chorus catchy but the whistled melody is even more memorable and there is a playful, school-yard jump rope breakdown on this standout track. An echoing high falsetto on the verse of “Make You Mine” is reminiscent of 50’s crooners and includes a stomp and clap beat and another catchy whistling hook. Much like the theme of the album, “Don’t Be a Jerk, Johnny” is care-free and fun as a duet with a female counterpart pleading the song’s title as singer Jonathan defends himself singing, “It’s out of love” as the female snarks back: “No it’s not.”; all of this over bubbling synths and a Joy Division-like guitar melody. “Submarine” focuses more on their dark romantic 80’s pop influences but adds in some Beach Boys-esque background vocals to great effect. The last song, “Down By The Water” is a beach blanket ballad reminiscent of a more innocent era with a soaring melody and great harmonies.

Summertime! is catchy and nostalgic and clearly one of the best debuts of the year. Look for their full-length early next year.

Download "Let's Go Surfing" here: (via Pitchfork)

Go here to download more songs from The Drums:

For more info click here: and and

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pronto - "The Cheetah"

The Cheetah is the second release of 2009 for Pronto, the side project of Mikael Jorgensen, instrumentalist for Wilco. Where All Is Golden was a snapshot of all things pop, The Cheetah is more of a historical experiment with musical technology. Mikael used outdated computer-based programming platforms such as MAX/MSP by Cycling ’74 and vintage 80’s synthesizers along with guitars and drums to create the ambient soundscapes that became the 12 songs on the album. Written and recorded between 2001 and 2003 and put on a shelf as Mikael has been busy touring and recording with Wilco, The Cheetah was finally released digitally on Contraphonic Records on September 8th.

“Tectonics” the opening song, rumbles and shifts with some Kraftwerk inspired bloops and beeps and a snapping beat. The jazzy-prog of “Ginny Wrapped In The Sun” features cornetist Rob Manzurek and showcases Mikael’s skill of creating music that has one foot in the past and one in the future. Stand out track “Catch That Martian” is upbeat and poppy with animated synths and a rhythm provided by drummer Greg O’Keefe. Title track, “The Cheetah” moves slowly with Chris Girard’s glimmering guitar and would provide emotional weight to a film or tv show soundtrack. The bizarre “Biarritz” features sliding synths and a danceable beat. Incorporating jazzy guitars and layers of electronic components with a shuffling off-beat rhythm, “Tardigrades” is a futuristic prog-rock jam worthy of repeat listens. Here in its original form, the pounding rhythm and memorable Rock-Si-Chord melody on “The Monster” became the stand out track, “Monster” on All Is Golden.

After releasing a straightforward album of classic pop, Pronto took a detour with a more experimental and instrumental side with The Cheetah, that is no less listenable than All Is Golden. Not many bands these days can pull that off that trick.

Download "The Monster" here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Orenda Fink - "High Ground (feat. Isaac Brock)" (First song from her new solo record)

2. CFCF - "Monolith" (Nostalgic electronic...label mate of Sally Shapiro)

3. Wolf & Cub - "One To The Other" (Australian psyche-rock)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. The Chinese Stars - "Rabbit Face" (Raw rock-n-roll from ex-members of Arab on Radar)

2. Bygones - "Click on That (Smash the Plastic Death)" (Power-duo of Zach Hill and Nick Reinhart)

3. Pugwash - "Apples" (Power-pop from Andy Partridge's Ape House Records)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Vandaveer - "Divide & Conquer"

Vandaveer is the indie folk project of Mark Charles Heidinger who plays bass for These United States. Divide & Conquer, his sophomore album was released on 8/25 with Supply & Demand Records after first being released in France in April. Divide & Conquer is a fuller and more punctuated than the stripped down folk of his debut, Grace & Speed.

The opening song and title track, “Divide & Conquer” premieres the delicate chamber-folk that is to come with beautiful harmonies provided by his sister, Rose Guerin and a pretty piano run. The grim “Fistful of Swoon” builds slowly with dark overtones and ghostly background vocals into a crescendo at the end of the chorus. “Resurrection Mary” brightens the room with spirited instrumentation and more lilting harmonies and vocal melodies. Stand out track “A Mighty Leviathan of Old” is classic 60’s folk with a pronounced bass line, a dusty waltzing beat and a rafters-reaching, Band-like vocal hook. With “Turpentine” and “Before The Great War”, Mark spins more grim but gorgeous tales with his troubadour-like storytelling and fantastic voice. He also plays almost all of the instruments on the album save for some assistance from his fellow These United States members; Justin Craig and Robby Cosenza.

After receiving great praise from critics in France, Vandaveer is set to conquer the US with his timeless brand of lush indie-folk. Divide & Conquer is definitely for fans of the classics; Dylan, Drake and Waits and the modern troubadours Elvis Perkins and Damien Rice.

Download "Turpentine" here:

For more info click here: and and