Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Cymbals Eat Guitars - "Definite Darkness" (Originally scheduled to be released in September, Barsuk Records moved up the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album Lenses Alien to this week. The fuzzed out guitars and catchy melodies remain on the 90's guitar rock revivalist's' new album. Catch them on tour with the like-minded Hooray For Earth.)

2. YAWN - "Acid" (Chicago psych-pop band throws everything into the kitchen sink on their debut album, Open Season, out now on FeelTrip/Englophile. Tribal, world music rhythms collide with electronics and gaze-y guitars for a sound that will, wait for it...not make you yawn!)

3. Jacuzzi Boys - "Cool Vapors" (The Miami-based trio released Glazin', their second album this week on Hardly Art Records. The new album may be a bit more polished, but that just allows their neon, punk-laced power-pop to shine like the hot South Florida sun even though it was recorded in Michigan.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Male Bonding - "Endless Now"

London trio Male Bonding returns with another batch of noisy, 90’s-loving pop-punk on their sophomore album Endless Now, out now on Sub Pop Records. The super-melodic and energetic new album was produced by John Agnello who has manned the boards for many of Male Bonding’s influences like, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. The band fine-tuned their sound to include even more guitars and loads of hazy vocal harmonies with Frankie Rose (Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls) adding her touch throughout.

The first single, “Tame The Sun” opens the album with a blast of pummeling drums, hard-charging guitars and a surf rock-influenced chorus. “Carrying” features both spiky and jangly guitars and waves of background vocals. Standout track “Seems To Notice” chugs along with a persistent drumbeat and features the album’s sweetest and catchiest chorus, showcasing an earnestness beyond the wall of squalling guitars. “Bones”, the second track released, lasts nearly six and a half minutes long and never loses steam with a rush of furious guitar chords and layers of infectious vocals. “What’s That Scene” amps up that infectiousness with touches of 60’s psych-pop and handclaps. Later, “Can’t Dream” trades in the psychedelia for sunny Beach Boys-like harmonies that complement the 90’s grunge rock barrage well. “The Saddle” is a short and stripped down with acoustic guitar, highlighting the songwriting underneath. And the album closes with the pogo-inducing “Dig You Out”, with its noisy guitar interludes as well as the short, aptly-titled “Reprise” with a reversed-guitar riff, which acts as a metaphor for the back to future sound they create.

90’s revivalists Male Bonding prove that they are here to stay with an improved focus and hooks for miles on their excellent new album Endless Now.

Download "Bones" here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Pomegranates - "Softness" (Acoustic-based opening track from their new double EP In Your Face Thieves/Chesnut Attic out now on vinyl and digitally from Lujo Records. Both 5-song EPs were recorded with their friend Caleb Groh and features his vocals on two of the songs. Stripped down, mostly acoustic and without any restrictions, the Poms have given us an intimate gem as we wait for their next move.)

2. Gold Leaves - "Cruel/Kind" (New project of Grant Olsen from Seattle folk duo Arthur & Yu adds touches of R&B and doo-wop, orchestral instrumentation, and lush backing vocals from Thao Ngyuen and members of the Moondoggies to his brand of folk on his debut album, The Ornament, out now on Hardly Art Records.)

3. Alyssa Graham - "Watching The Sky" (A duet with Alyssa and Jesse Harris taken from the folk-pop singer-songwriter's new EP Lock, Stock and Soul out now on Sunnyside Records, has a breezy, jazzy vibe like Jesse's mid-90's project Once Blue. The excellent, iTunes-exclusive EP also features appearances by David Garza and Meshell Ndegeocello as well as a cover of the Grateful Dead's "High Time".)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Active Child - "You Are All I See"

Active Child, the electro-pop project of Pat Grossi, is set to release the highly-anticipated debut album You Are All I See today on Vagrant Records. Like light refracting through stained glass windows, Pat creates music that is vivid, inspiring, and intimate on his debut album.

The album opens with plucks of angelic harp and Grossi’s choirboy vocals floating above ambient synths on the dreamy and transcending title track, “You Are All I See”. “Hanging On” is ethereal and atmospheric with an R&B beat, cascading keyboards and an enveloping choir of beautiful voices that come from every angle. The first single, “Playing House”, a stunning vocal collaboration with Tom Krell of like-minded bedroom-R&B project How To Dress Well, features a danceable beat that could easily have been in rotation on late 80’s or early 90’s FM radio. The moody and ambient “See Thru Eyes” sounds like the perfect soundtrack to an underwater diving scene. “High Priestess” battles gravity and wins with light-weight synths and feathery falsetto crooning that never once touches down to Earth. The mostly instrumental “Ivy” climbs to a cinematic crescendo and with little vocal assistance. “Way Too Fast” is haunting yet hymnal with rafters-reaching vocals and 80’s-inspired synths on the stand out track. And “Johnny Belinda” closes out the album like it opened, in a dream-state, with shimmering, trance-inducing washes of keyboards and chiming bells. Also included on the digital version is the exclusive b-side "Call Me Tonight" and a psychedelic remix of "Hanging On" by White Sea.

On You Are All I See, Active Child has expounded greatly on the blissful bedroom pop found on last year’s excellent Curtis Lane EP with a debut that seems destined to be a benchmark for the genre for years to come.

Download "Playing House" here:

For more info click here: and

Friday, August 19, 2011

Free Friday: Broadcaster - "Joyride" EP

Long Island, NY trio Broadcaster self-released their new EP Joyride on their Bandcamp page last month. They create bouncy, nostalgia-laced pop-punk with slightly snarling sing-along melodies and a raw, honest approach similar to early Get Up Kids and the Smoking Popes. Not bad since they formed to be just a fun, covers band to play out at local shows.

The 4-song Joyride EP can be downloaded here:

Help spread the word, if you like what you hear!

For more info click here:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Braid - "Closer To Closed" EP

Now I must admit, I got into Braid after discovering Hey Mercedes and I know, for most people it is the other way around. Well, either way Braid is back with a newly recorded EP Closer To Closed that was released this week on Polyvinyl Records. It features 3 new songs as well as a cover of Jeff Hanson's "You Are the Reason" and was produced by Frame And Canvas producer J. Robbins.

All original members return and guitarist/vocalist Chris Broach takes lead on the bouncy opening track and first single, "The Right Time". Bob Nanna (guitar, vocals) takes his turn on "Do Over", with its fast-paced math rock rhythm and bittersweet lyrics. Bassist Todd Bell brings the weight to the light-hearted piano-led cover of "You Are The Reason". And drummer-extraordinaire Damon Atkinson's thundering drums and fills provide more than just a backbeat to standout closing track "Universe Or Worse".

For their first new material in over a decade, Closer To Closed is well worth the wait as they have brought the energy and nostalgia back but with added dimensions that show their growth and new found influences. Braid currently has just a few shows lined up with no major tour or recording plans but hopefully that will change, because I can't wait to hear more!

Download "The Right Time" here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Mister Heavenly - "Bronx Sniper" (New project from Nick Thorburn of Islands and The Unicorns, Ryan Kattner from Man Man and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse. For their debut album, Out Of Love, out now on Sub Pop, they have created their own self-described genre of "doom-wop", a grungy, art-punk influenced form of the sock-hop and romance invoking, 50's rock of the past with a modern edge.)


2. The War On Drugs - "Come To The City" (Buzzing and insistent new single from Slave Ambient, the sophomore album from the Philadelphia band led by Adam Granduciel features an even broader pallette of sounds to complement his already kaleidoscopic sound of atmospheric and anthemic Dylan and Springsteen-loving indie rock.)


3. The Great Book Of John - "Robin Hood" (The new project led by Taylor Shaw formerly of Wild Sweet Orange, who creates lyrically rich arena-sized anthems with ethereal arrangements and a crooning voice reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. The self-titled sophomore album was produced by Jeffery Cain (Remy Zero) and released on his Communicating Vessels label this week.)


Bonus: Tim Kasher - "The Jessica" (To coincide with his current solo tour, the Cursive frontman has released a new tour EP Bigamy: More Songs From The Monogamy Sessions today on Saddle Creek. It features seven new songs similar in scope and written during the same sessions as his debut solo album The Game Of Monogamy, released to great praise last Fall. The EP also features a very "Kasher-like" cover of Azure Ray's "Trees Keep Growing".)

Download "The Jessica" here:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Maria Taylor - "Overlook"

Maria Taylor is set to release her fourth solo album, Overlook today on Saddle Creek Records. The new album was recorded after a move back home to Birmingham, Alabama with her dear friends and family lending a hand to her self produced album which perfectly showcases her beautiful voice and diverse and interesting arrangements.

Unlike any Maria Taylor song before, “Masterplan” opens with loud, cascading drums and driving guitars and synths, signaling the change in sound the new album holds. Catchy first single “Matador” stands out with marimba, a shuffling beat and an unhinged guitar solo by Browan Lollar from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, who plays guitar throughout the album. “Happenstance” features Maria’s breathy, inviting vocals wrapped around ethereal lap steel that mimics the swirling wind and cold she invokes on the song’s refrain, “On this cold night in Alabama”. Maria lets her Southern roots shine on the next two tracks. “Like It Does” fills the room with vintage organ swells played by her brother Macey Taylor and a laid-back country vibe, while “Bad Idea?” is an old-timey saloon strut with a mandolin solo from Maria’s father, Macey Taylor Sr. and a playful rumination on growing old. “Idle Mind” is a dream-like ballad with a flute matching Maria’s lilting vocals. A song of love gone wrong, the bouncy “In A Bad Way” stands out with a beautiful string synth arrangement and a bluesy guitar solo by Browan. The album closes with the juxtaposition of bright guitars and the aching melodies of the bittersweet “This Could Take A Lifetime” and Along For The Ride” which carries over the former track’s atmospheric lap steel with a chorus of angelic voices for a hypnotic lullaby to end the album.

With Overlook, Maria Taylor proves that “home is where the heart is” as she gathered her Birmingham-area musician friends and family together for a loose session that truly brought out the best in her for her most cohesive and captivating album yet.

For more info click here: and

Download "Matador" here:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Interview: A Lull

A Lull the percussion-driven, experimental Chicago-based band have a new EP, Confetti Reprise due out on August 16th with 4 tracks taken from the same sessions as their excellent debut album Confetti that was released this past April on Mush Records.

While on a short tour with the Cold War Kids leading up to Lollapalooza last week, multi-instrumentalist Mike Brown of the band took some time out to answer some questions about the tour, the album and their Jazz-heavy influences.


Atlas and the Anchor: So you are currently on tour with the Cold War Kids. I think you guys are the perfect match to tour together with your rhythm-driven sounds. How has the tour been so far?

Mike Brown: We toured with them back in March of this year for a while and it was great. They are some of the most stellar dudes you’ll ever meet, including their crew. This weekend we just did a few dates around Lolla with them, which went very well. It was great to catch up and hang out. We love going out with them.

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

(MB): We love being on the road as much as we can be. I’d love to go out with St. Vincent. I really like her new stuff, and feel we’d fit very well. There are so many other bands we are into and would love to tour with too, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

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

(MB): I listen to a lot of Fela Kuti, Talking Heads, Brad Mehldau, Paul Simon, Bola Sete, Miles Davis, Albert King, etc…

AA: Your debut album Confetti came out this past April and it is amazing! The way the vocals are used like another instrument on "Weapons For War" makes it my favorite song. What is your favorite song on the album and why?

(MB): Thanks! My favorite song on the record is Sidemen. I really like the female vocals at the end of the song done by our friend Dana Falconberry from Austin TX. As far as playing live goes, my favorite song is "Aytche". We do a much heavier version live with a lot more guitar.

AA: Your unique sound is kind of hard to pin down and you have been compared to some great bands but who and/or what do you say are your musical influences?

(MB): I am completely honored to be compared to some of the amazing artists we get compared to. I answer this question a lot, and as far as influences goes, I feel we are just inspired by other artists that can find themselves in their music. We strive to find ourselves and be musicians like that.

AA: You have a new EP, Confetti Reprise coming out on August 16th comprised of 4 songs that just didn't make it onto Confetti. You also had 70 songs written and recorded during the process; can we expect another full-length album soon?

(MB): We are in the process of recording all new material for a future release. As far as the rest of the Confetti sessions go, they will probably never be released or reworked. I feel we’ve grown a lot and the new stuff is a lot stronger.

AA: Do any of you have a solo or side project that we should know about?

(MB): None of us have any musical side projects, but we are always working on other sort of projects or art. A Lull takes up a lot of our time, and we put as much as we can into it.

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

(MB): Man… I’ll just pick the first to come to mind, probably Bob Segar ‘Night Moves’ or Marshall Tucker Band ‘Can’t You See’.

AA: Not that you would want to, but if you had to, whom would you choose to replace yourself in the band?

(MB): John McLaughlin. What he did on Bitches Brew and in Mahavishnu Orchestra blows my mind.


Download "Pot Luck" from the Confetti Reprise EP here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Pepper Rabbit - "Murder Room" (By fusing both electronic and organic aspects, the duo of Luc Laurent and Xander Singh create a bouncy, infectious and psychedelic brand of indie-pop on their debut album, Red Velvet Snowball, out now on Kanine Records.)


2. The Horrors - "Moving Further Away" (The UK band's third album Skying delivers on the promise of their mind-blowing, genre-shifting 2009 album Primary Colors. The new album is a technicolor blur of danceable beats, haunting psychedelics, and vintage synths while retaining a slight 60's garage-rock edge.)


3. Being There - "Tomorrow" (Summery first single from the mysterious London-based lo-fi power-pop band brings the 90's back. Currently at work on their debut with producer Richard Formby, who has also produced for Wild Beasts. Hear more at their Bandcamp page.)


Friday, August 05, 2011

Free Friday: Tin Armor - "Life Of Abundance"

Columbus, Ohio folk-pop band Tin Armor is set to self-release their sophomore album Life Of Abundance on August 16th and in anticipation for its release, they are offering the album as a free download on their Bandcamp page. The quartet fashions a sound that takes the soulful roots rock and harmonious vocal interplay of The Band and mixes it with the piano-led power pop sensibility of Ben Folds, while adding in touches of Gospel for a rich and crafty album that just begs to be heard.

The album opens with the solemn, hymn-like title track, “Life Of Abundance”, that leads into “Plain Limbs”, which is led by fat, vintage organs and jangly guitar strums and a rafters-reaching chorus. The first single “I Am Resolved” sounds like Ben Folds leading a Sunday service with a sweet, gospel-inflected melody. And the revved-up “Wayward Kites” stands out with a strutting bass line and catchy vocal melodies.

Download the excellent Life Of Abundance here:
and then order your physical copy from the band here:

Download the single "I Am Resolved" here:

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Love Of Everything - "Sooner I Wish" 7"

Love Of Everything is the long-running solo project of Bobby Burg (Joan of Arc, Make Believe, Vacations) and his new 7”, Sooner I Wish, was released this week through Polyvinyl Records . The new 7” features four songs in less than nine minutes and features Bobby’s most personal lyrics, as the songs were written after his recent divorce from ex-LOE drummer Elisse. New drummer Matt Holland (Vacations, Air Waves) takes over to provide the backbone to Burg’s stripped down lo-fi pop songs which were recorded live with a loop pedal to capture the energy of his unique live shows.

“Three Way Answers” opens the side-A with pounding drums, scaling guitar lines and one of Bobby’s catchiest choruses ever. The title track, “Sooner I Wish” is charged up with a surf rock rhythm and subtle, bittersweet melodies. The B-side consists of the instrumental “Here Come The Warm Regrets”, which speaks for itself like a metaphor for his divorce as the track slowly unravels at the end with each instrument dropping out one by one. And the record closes with the short and sweet “Want”, with just a simple refrain that aptly leaves you wanting more.

The Sooner I Wish 7” is available digitally and on white vinyl limited to 300 and black vinyl limited to 700. So get yours today!

Download "Three Way Answers" here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Collections Of Colonies Of Bees - "Lawn" (Taken from their new album GIVING, their first new material since their highly praised collaboration with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver in Volcano Choir. The instrumental post-rock band explodes with proggy rhythms and soaring melodies, showcasing their well-honed skills on the 28 minute, 4-song album out now on Hometapes.)


2. Eulogies - "Better Than Nothing (Wurlitzer Mix)" (Peter Walker, the songwriter and vocalist for Eulogies decided to tear down the tracks from his latest album Tear The Fences Down, replacing the guitars with a Wurlitzer organ and giving the new mixes away as free downloads. The mix on "Better Than Nothing" turns the song into a rumbling, hip-shaking slice of power-pop that rivals the original. Look for more remixes to be released on the band's site.)


3. Mittenfields - "My Mind Is An Avalanche" (The D.C.-based 5-piece band has just self-released their debut EP The Fresh Sum. Their sound incorporates the rhythm-centric sound of their hometown with a fuzzed out 3-guitarist attack and a quirky pop sense for a worthy debut!)


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Fruit Bats - "Tripper"

Eric D. Johnson and his now, decade-old band, Fruit Bats return with their fifth album Tripper, out today on Sub Pop. The new album is a slight departure from the sunny, guitar-based folk of his previous albums, instead featuring more synths and a focus on story-based lyrics, all while retaining Eric’s high tenor and penchant for 70’s pop.

“Tony The Tripper” opens the album with tinkling piano and pump organ played by Richard Swift on the tone-setting psychedelic, road-tripping song. “So Long” is dreamy and spectral, adding a touch of girl-group sheen to the longing lyrics on the standout track. First single, “Tangie And Ray” is twangy, shuffling and upbeat despite the darker lyrical themes. “Shivering Fawn” shimmers and shines with rippling washes of synths and Johnson’s knack for writing about nature. “You’re Too Weird” features his falsetto against a smooth, piano-led pop-number with a faded guitar solo and a sing-along chorus. “Heart Like An Orange” is led by a rollicking beat, vintage synths and angelic background vocals on the swelling chorus. The super-poppy “Dolly” stands out with rich synths and a tapping, danceable beat. “The Banishment Song” begins with an instrumental interlude of acoustic guitar and ambient nature sounds, then flows into a laid-back, jazzy tune with falsetto vocal melodies. “The Fen” is a short, moody instrumental with lilting organs. Next is “Wild Honey”, a cover song in tribute to friend and Chicago songwriter Diane Izzo who passed away of brain cancer the first day of the recording sessions for the album. And the introspective and charming “Picture Of A Bird” closes the album in an upbeat mood.

After working singularly on film soundtracks (Ceremony), and collaborating with a full band on 2009’s The Ruminant Band, as well as touring with the Shins and Vetiver over the last few years, Eric found the perfect balance with Tripper for the best Fruit Bats album yet.

Download "Tangie And Ray" here:

For more info click here: and