Wednesday, November 25, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Euphone w/ Tim Kinsella - "Friend in Common" (From the forthcoming Joan of Arc Presents Don't Mind Control album which features 41 performers from Joan of Arc's history)

2. Tape Deck Mountain - "Scantrons (City Light Remix)" (Self proclaimed "mid-fi" indie rock, shares label with Neon Indian on Lefse Records)

3. Jason Karaban - "Succeed 101" (L.A.-based songwriter for fans of Jason Collett and Ferraby Lionheart with unique instrumentation)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Interview: The Bloodsugars

The Bloodsugars' stellar debut album, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On was released this week on Engine Room Recordings. After their short Midwest tour last week, including a great show in Cincinnati, singer/guitarist Jason Rabinowitz was able to take some time to answer some questions about the creative process and theme of the new album, some of their new favorite bands and the their new-found love for Bobby McFerrin.

Atlas and the Anchor: My favorite song on I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On is “Sleep Well”. What is your favorite song on the record and why?

Jason Rabinowitz: Honestly, it changes from time to time. Lately my favorite song off the record is Happiness. I love how it came out. It’s also a simple and sincere song that feels emotionally real to me.

AA: It has been written that you have been influenced by a lot of great bands but who do you say your influences are, especially for the new album?

Jason: That is also a long answer. Truly we all thrive on listening to pretty much as diverse a musical banquet as possible. I’d say our influences for this record would range from Pointer Sisters/The Time/Hall and Oates/synth-pop way of doing business to a more electro Phoenix-Alphabetical-era/Postal Service/Calvin Harris thing. All the old-gold standards Bowie/Beatles/Troggs/Faces. Maybe throw in some Dirty South, lace it with the funk…put that in your pipe and smoke away??

AA: The lyrics bite of tragedy but the music is upbeat and joyous. Does it help the sting of playing the songs night after night and/or what is the theme of the record?

Jason: Yes, that I’d say is an accurate read. The album was written and recorded while a very close, immediate family member of mine was going through cancer treatment. It was an utterly brutal year. It changed our lives forever. To risk sounding pedantic, life is full of shit like this. There is always something to harsh an otherwise mellow time. These peaks and valleys...One of the ways I and the guys in this band cope is through celebration. It’s a celebration, bitches…Gotta persevere, gotta push through and enjoy. This is sort of the undefined, loose, philosophy in this record.

AA: I remember hearing “Falling Makes You Blue” on your WOXY Lounge Act performance from 2008 and I love the changes the song took on with the additional vocals from Olga Bell. Was that a way of making an older song feel new again? Please explain the creative process for that song.

Jason: Thanks! “Falling Makes You Blue” started as an acoustic demo with three teeny guitar lines that intertwined. We used to play it with literally all 3 guys at the keyboards, Kenneth would play a drum patch on the keys. Then we figured it would be really cool if he could have a loop and actually play the drums and do his thing. It went through another transformation when we recorded it. Our producer, Bill Moriarty heard something none of us had yet, which was bass…(amazing case for working with a producer, btw “This song needs something… what could it beeeee…..” “How bout bass?” “REVOLUTIONARY! I LOVE IT!”) Having Bell sing on it was fantastic because I actually always heard the song as a boy girl duet. We just usually have Brendan sing like a girl. As for making a song feel new, that’s something I struggle with from time to time. I want to constantly re-invent things and need to be reminded that people might like the songs as they are and need to hear them a couple of times that way before they’re re-invented. So, in general, now after recording the record we have some arrangements I think we can live with for some time.

AA: I first heard of The Bloodsugars when I saw you live for the first time and I was hooked. You are playing in Cincinnati again for the third time this year, do you enjoy playing here and what do you guys have planned for the tour to support the new record?

Jason: We love playing in Cincinnati about as much as playing a hometown show. It was great the first time playing there, and it keeps getting better and better. The people are fantastic, the scene is real. It’s just freakin great! We should be back in a few months, around late January. The album comes out on Nov 17th, 2009. We’re having a big LP release party in NYC at The Studio At Webster Hall on Sat 11/21 with our good friends Savoir Adore and Project Jenny Project Jan. We’re also putting together a little orchestra of sorts to play onstage w/ us, made up of some of our friends that played on the record. Kyle Resnick, who tours w/ The National, Ben Lanz, who plays w/ Beirut, Colette Alexander (Rilo Kiley, Jens Lenkman, Rachel Yamagata), and Alicia Jo Rabins (Golem, Girls In Trouble), among others.. There will be a special on the album on through this week.

AA: What bands would you like to collaborate with or tour with?

Jason: We really love Tigercity, and Francis And The Lights. It’d be pretty awesome to tour with either of those guys. VHS or Beta would be a pretty amazing tour too, I think. Wow, so many bands, now that I think of it. There is so much great music out there now.

AA: What have you guys been listening to in the tour van?

Jason: Lots of shuffle. We’re also fond of Car Talk, Science Podcasts, and some great mixes my lady made us. But I think the golden find of this tour is a cassette collaboration by Jack Nicholson and Bobby McFerrin. Jack reads Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories”, and Bobby “boops” and “do-wee’s and makes this really otherwise trippy background music. The pace is slow and psychedelic. It’s pretty freakin amazing!

AA: Are any of you working on a side or solo project and/or were you in any bands of note before the Bloodsugars?
Jason: We all do all sorts of things. Matt does his own solo thing under the moniker Friday Nites, Kenneth moonlights as the drummer for Elysian Fields.

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

Jason: I was honestly listening to “American Boy” the other day and I absolutely had the thought “I wish I wrote this song” verbatim so there’s that one. As for an older song, there really are SO MANY! The one that’s coming to mind is “Through The Night” by Cindy Lauper. Although maybe I’d pick like “Borderline” or something cause the royalties would be pretty ridiculous! NO NO! “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurythmics. That song is utterly breathtaking.

AA: Not that you would but if you had to replace yourself in the band with someone, who would you choose?

Jason: Wow, that’s a tough question. This is fantasy right, so I could say Prince, right??

Download "Light At The End Of The Tunnel":

Read the Atlas and the Anchor review of I Can't Go On, I'll Go On here:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Landlord - "Skate Jam" (Sounds like Dinosaur Jr. jamming in the garage with Meat Puppets and reminds me of 7th grade)


2. Bluebrain - "Bring Out Your Dead" (Synthy goodness from the Brothers Holladay on their debut EP on Lujo Records)


3. Six Finger Satellite - "Wilson P." (A swaggering fuzzy bass line and organ fuels this bands' return from hiatus)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We Came As Romans - "To Plant A Seed"

After a successful self-released EP and tireless touring and self-promotion, We Came As Romans are ready to spread the love on their debut full-length, To Plant A Seed released Nov. 3rd on Equal Vision Records. They have created a melodic metal sound interlaced with orchestral moments and bruising breakdowns along with a singing/screaming two-vocalist approach. Their lyrics reflect themes of love, compassion and brotherhood for a positive message that is a welcome change to the genre.

Album opener “To Plant A Seed” delivers a knockout blow from the start with a crushing breakdown in the first 30 seconds and mixes in some poppy programming on the chorus and gang vocals as a strong statement for what is to come. “Broken Statues” features glitchy electronics intertwined with intricate guitars and a catchy chorus. “Intentions” has a marching symphonic breakdown that gives the song as well as the album an epic, full sound and the same can be said for the programmed strings and auto-tuned vocals on “Roads That Don’t End And Views That Never Cease”. The brutal heaviness of “I Will Not Reap Destruction” is also a standout track on an album that is all killer and no filler.

The album also features stunning artwork by Paul Romano who has designed artwork for Mastodon and Chiodos and flawless production from Joey Sturgis (The Devil Wears Prada, Emarosa). Their energetic live show is not to be missed as the passion displayed in their lyrics comes out in their live performance as well.

For more info and tour dates click here: and

Friday, November 13, 2009

Free Friday: The Sun - "Don't Let Your Baby Have All The Fun"

Ex Warner Bros. band The Sun return after label woes and the loss of two bandmates for their first release since 2005. Through the web only record label Rock Proper, The Sun is offering their new album Don't Let You Baby Have All The Fun for free as a digital download. The Columbus, OH based band have previously worked with Jay Bennett (ex-Wilco) and this album was produced by Mike McCarthy who has produced every Spoon album since Girls Can Tell.

The Sun create a catchy, fuzzed-out 60's inspired indie-rock with a playful, punk spirit in the vein of Spoon and Supergrass. Two of the standout tracks are "In Perfect Time" which sets up a wall of fuzz that only the catchy melody can bring down and "So Long, Sundays" with its steady beat, acoustic strumming, hummable organ riff and a gritty vocal from singer Chris Burney.

Download "So Long, Sundays":

Download the entire 10-track album here:

For more info click here: and

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Asobi Seksu - "Rewolf"

One of the last sessions ever recorded at London’s famous Olympic Studios, Rewolf is an acoustic reworking of some of your favorite Asobi Seksu songs. Out now on Polyvinyl Records, it is their third release this year, including the Transparence EP and their stellar sophomore album, Hush. Most of the songs are taken from Hush, but also getting the acoustic treatment are “Thursday” and “New Years” from Citrus as well as a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Suzanne”.

Their wall of sound, electronics and studio tricks are replaced by piano, acoustic guitars, xylophone, voice and little else, spotlighting their songwriting skills on these bare bones remakes. The new arrangements are beautiful and remain lush especially on “Meh No Mae” where dream-like layers of instruments and voices fill every empty space with the spotlight on Yuki’s voice. Elsewhere, “Blind Little Light” is a simple take with piano and vocals that uncovers the pretty melody from under the original’s studio layers. The cascading guitars and multi-tracked vocals on “Familiar Light” are a standout as well as the upbeat, café-folk of “Urasai Tori”, whose original is found on the Transparence EP. The lightweight version of “Thursday” here may be the hardest to get on board with only because the original introduced us to their trademark sound, but is made more delicate with a French spoken word part in the middle of the song.

Overall, Rewolf is a nice addition to the growing Asobi Seksu collection, giving merit to their songwriting and providing an enjoyable, easy listening experience.

Available in limited edition 180-gram purple vinyl which includes free mp3 download code and on CD that includes a 16-song label sampler.

Download "Thursday" here:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

3 Songs: New Music

1. Yellow Fever - "Hellfire" (Male/Female art pop duo on Vivian Girls' Wild World Label)


2. Get Busy Committee - "Chillin' Out Maxin" (GBC is Ryu and Apathy with producer Scoop Devile and features a sample of "Parents Just Don't Understand")


3. Fin Fang Foom - "Magnetic North" (First release in 6 years from the post-rock trio)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lissie - "Why You Runnin' EP"

Today marks the release of Lissie’s debut EP Why You Runnin’ on Fat Possum Records. Lissie has a voice of timeless quality fitted to bluesy Americana music produced by Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses.

The first single, “Little Lovin’” introduces a country-inflected vocal with a bluesy guitar riff and weeping pedal steel that steadily builds with ringing guitar and heavy-handed piano to a stomping, clapping and wailing dust-up to end the song with Southern charm. “Wedding Bells” is a visceral cover of a little known Hank Williams, Sr. song with haunting background vocals. The piano led “Oh Mississippi” sounds almost hymn-like with the focus clearly on Lissie’s beautiful voice. “Everywhere I Go” is also spiritual, with angelic background vocals and a soulful, soaring melody. “Here Before” is ghostly and atmospheric, using Lissie’s voice as another instrument to help create a wall of sound on the closing track.

The long awaited release of Why You Runnin’ sheds light on a beautiful voice and new talent and increases the anticipation even more for a full-length.

Download "Little Lovin'" here:

Download "Everywhere I Go" here:

Check out Lissie's Daytrotter session here:

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Flicks: "High School Record"

After its release and entrance in Sundance in 2005, the highly praised High School Record has finally been released on DVD by Factory 25.

Directed by Ben Wolfinsohn and starring members of Los Angeles noise-punk bands No Age, Mika Miko as well as Mike Watt and Lavender Diamond, the film is shot in the mock-umentary style, following four teens as they stumble through life. Capturing the hilarious and awkward lengths they will go to meet girls, avoid tests and to belong; laugh out loud moments involve tinfoil shorts, self-competitive “school-climbing”, and a “doughnut-hawk” haircut, just to name a few.

The DVD release also features extras including a short film that influenced the film and 13 hilarious deleted scenes. Buy it now at

Click here for the trailer:

Download Mika Miko - "Capricorinations" here:

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Holopaw - "Oh, Glory, Oh, Wilderness"

After four long years, Holopaw finally returns with their third album, Oh, Glory, Oh, Wilderness out now on Bakery Outlet Records. After some lineup addition and subtraction, the main songwriters remain in John Orth and Jeff Hays. The new album expands their inventive indie rock-country sound with new instrumental embellishments alongside John’s undeniably pretty falsetto and folksy poetic lyrics.

To open the album, John adopts a quivering vibrato on the chorus of “The Art Teacher and the Little Stallion” which also features playful background vocals from Erin Tobey of Pink Razor and softly chugging violins to great effect. “The Lazy Matador” is pure beauty with a shiver-inducing combination of strings, clarinet and vocals. “P-A-L-O-M-I-N-E” is upbeat with chanted group background vocals, chiming guitars and an arrangement filled with peaks and valleys. The jubilant horns announce Holopaw’s return on “Little Stallion with a Glass Jaw” along with a loose chugging guitar riff that leans more toward a 70’s soft-rock sound than the spacey folk of their debut. On the other hand, “The Last Transmission Honeybee)” is the most similar to their debut as it references lyrical touchstones an Appaloosa and a Palomino, while blending John’s voice with whining pedal steel and softly picked guitar. “Oh, Glory” ushers in rubbery guitars, more horns and a string section that tries to match the inherent beauty in John’s lilting vocals. “Boys On Motorbikes” plays with cascading and echoing guitars, crashing drums and Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies on the standout track. “The Cherry Glow” bounces on wiry guitars and a cyclical vocal melody to a cathartic release. Another standout, “Black Lacquered Shame” builds momentum with spooky background vocals, a stirring guitar solo and repeats the ominous mantra of “It’s all over, all over, all over” from “Little Stallion with a Glass Jaw” before changing tempos to end the song. The last song, “The Conductor and The Hobbyist (Avalanche)” burns slowly with an emotional vocal before erupting into a caterwauling display with multiple instruments leaving the listener wanting more as a good last track should.

With Oh, Glory, Oh, Wilderness, Holopaw definitely made it worth the wait between albums. I just hope the wait for album number four is a lot shorter...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

3 Songs: New Music

1. Capgun Coup - "Bad Bands" (Snarling country-punk from their sophomore album, Maudlin. On tour with Cursive)


2. Hurricane Bells - "This Year" (Haunting and moody solo project from Steve Schiltz of Longwave)

3. Dragon Turtle - "Island of Broken Glass" (Trippy ambient art-rock)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Bloodsugars - "I Can't Go On, I'll Go On"

The Bloodsugars return with I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On, their debut album and follow-up to last year’s excellent BQE EP, out today on Engine Room Recordings. On their EP, they mixed indie rock and danceable synth-pop. The new album takes them on new “electric avenues” and further into 80’s inspired dance-pop.

The cool, strutting rhythm of “Light at the End of the Tunnel” opens the album with jabs of guitar and keyboards and heavenly cello as vocalist/guitarist Jason Rabinowitz’s smooth vocals carry a sweet, uplifting melody. Standout track “The Pedestrian Boogie” features an arena-sized stomp and clap beat that you will pound along to on the steering wheel and a super-catchy “whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh” sing along, showcasing their ability to make you move to a memorable melody. For “Sleep Well (Cottage Industry)” the band takes a hip-hop inspired beat and turns it on its side with handclaps, sweet vocal harmonies and shimmering, cascading synths before launching into the mid-section with barreling drums and guitars. “Falling Makes You Blue” incorporates icy synths, an electro beat and features the Bjork-like vocal talents of Bell. “Happiness” is a swirling, head-bobbing Reggae-inspired dance track with horns from Kyle Resnick who has also contributed to The National. The retro-futuristic “Form/Function” sounds like the soundtrack to a chase scene from Tron. Similarly, “Girls At” sounds like Prince and Cameo jamming in 1985 with a slap and popped bass line, and rad 80’s synth sounds. “I Want It Back” begins like it would be a sweet ballad complete with finger snaps but busts into a hip-shakin’ groove for a modern take on disco with a chorus as catchy as the Swine Flu. “Fly Along” like most of the album is a fun nostalgic look back to the 80’s but is held back from pastiche by their skillful songwriting. Album closer, “Before The Accident” is atmospheric and emotional yet uplifting which seems to be the theme of the record of looking for the “light at the end of the tunnel” and dancing the pain away.

The Bloodsugars have created an incredible debut album steeped in an innate pop sensibility which is revealed in their stellar songwriting along with the energy on display at their live shows, for the complete package. I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On deserves all of the attention it will get and more!

Download "Light At The End Of The Tunnel":

For more info click here: and and