Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Friday: And The Giraffe - "Something For Someone"

And The Giraffe are an ambient dream-folk duo and they have recently self-released their self-produced debut EP Something For Someone for everyone as a free download on their Bandcamp page.  Gainsville, FL-based multi-instrumentalists Nick Roberts and Josh Morris trade vocal duties on every other song and create a wispy, hushed brand of folk with ethereal arrangements and interesting lyrics.

"Underground Love" opens the album with a Modest Mouse-like cascading and echoing guitar riff, a marching band beat and a soft saxophone solo.  A syrup-slow pace on the atmospheric standout "1055" brings to mind mid-90's "slowcore".  Another standout, "Magic 8" fills every space with emotional ambience.  The slow-waltzing "Masquerade" features layers of stummed acoustic guitars and ringing electric guitar that rise and crash to end the song with the loudest moment on the EP.  And the cinematic and melodic "Still" closes out the excellent 6-song EP.  They make music for blustery days and lonely nights.

Download Something For Someone here:    

For more info click here:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Russian Circles - "Mladek" (The Chicago post-rock instrumentalists return with Empros, their new album out now on Sargent House.  The trio mixes in shadowy Black Metal extremes with propulsive Krautrock on their heaviest album yet.)  


2.  Peggy Sue - "Cut My Teeth" (Six-minute opening track sets the tone for the London/Brighton-based trio's louder, electrified sound on their sophomore album Acrobats, out now on Yep Roc Records. Singer/guitarists Katy and Rosa along with drummer Olly abandoned their critically acclaimed acoustic folk for an excellent blast of Sonic Youth and Breeders style early 90's punk.)


3.  Dntel - "(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan" (Sub Pop is re-issuing an expanded edition of Jimmy Tamborello's 2001 album Life Is Full Of Possibilities which was originally released by the Plug Research label.  Most known for The Postal Service, his collaboration with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie, this song, featuring Ben was the spark for that project.  The 2-disc or LP set includes new remixes as well as B-sides.)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gregory Scott Slay - "Horsethief Beats (The Sound Will Find You)"

Horsethief Beats is the posthumous album of Gregory Scott Slay, the late drummer of Remy Zero.  The album was released last week on Communicating Vessels, the record label owned and ran by his fellow Remy Zero band mate Jeffrey Cain.  Slay died on January 1st, 2010 but worked furiously over the years prior on this beat-driven album that is filled with both resignation and hope.

The album opens with the hauntingly atmospheric intro "Moony Pt. 1" with the voices of his wife and daughter echoing in the ether.  The first single "Keep It Secret" features a scratchy hip-hop beat, flickering guitars from Cain and some seriously skronky saxophone provided by Slay's father Han.  The sinister and slinky "Kindred Spirit" with its off-kilter rhythm and crackling noises stands out with strong lyrics that taunt the disease (Cystic Fibrosis) that he was battling.  The futuristic funk of "New Loop, Old Hope" features more saxophone with pounding piano notes, and spacey side-swiping synths.  "Visit With A Snowman" sounds like it was broadcast from a dimly-lit, back alley with a shadowy spoken word-like vocal.  "Birds Next Door" creates a barren atmosphere with a plodding beat and droning synths.  "Hidden Among The Somethings" is upbeat with a soulful vocal and a noisy cresendo to end the song.  Another standout, "And When She Speaks" features a Afro-pop inspired beat with 80's synths and a rafters-reaching chorus.  Building off of the theme of Pt. 1, the album closes with "Moony Pt. 2" and some more sweet baby talk samples from his daughter, Honeymoon.              

Horsethief Beats was created with a palpable sense of urgency that can be felt in every beat and is a lasting and final testament to Gregory Scott Slay's excellent musical career.

Download "Kindred Spirit" here:

Download "Keep It Secret" here:

For more info click here:

Stream the album here:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Yellow Missing Signs" (Super-poppy synth-driven track shows another side of the band.  Released today on Polyvinyl Records, Tape Club is their 2-disc, 26-song collection of B-sides and home recordings archived over the band's 10 years together.  You can stream the whole thing here:


2.  Turf War - "For The Last Time" (Super-catchy and energetic, punk-flavored garage rock band hails from Atlanta whose debut, Years of Living Dangerously, out now on Old Flame Records, was produced by the like-minded Ian St. Pé of The Black Lips.)


3.  Pujol - "Mayday" (Electrifying first single from his new EP Nasty, Brutish and Short, his 10th release in the last two years and first for Saddle Creek Records.  A gritty, T. Rex-inspired lo-fi garage rock party from Nashville.)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ryan Adams - "Ashes & Fire"

Ryan Adams returned last week with his new album Ashes & Fire, released on Adam’s own imprint PAX-AM through Capitol Records. The gorgeous album was produced by the legendary producer Glyn Johns (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who) and takes on a more mature Adult Alternative-leaning sound while also focusing the spotlight on his soulful vocals and somber lyrics. Also, gone are the Cardinals, his long-time backing band and in their place, Norah Jones provides her jazz-folk piano prowess and vocal harmonies, and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers adds his piano and Hammond organ assistance, along with Ryan’s wife Mandy Moore and Chris Stills, who provide background vocals to the excellent guest-heavy album.

The album opens with the slow-building “Dirty Rain” and its classic country vocal delivery and acoustic guitar strumming alongside Norah’s jazzy piano. The title track, “Ashes & Fire” is a stand out with honky-tonkin’ piano and a twangy electric guitar solo. The aching long-distance love song, “Come Home” features hushed vocal harmonies from the trio of Norah, Moore, and Stephen Still’s son Chris. “Do I Wait” provides the album’s loudest moment with a psychedelic, organ-filled 70’s style freakout to end the song. And the upbeat “Chains Of Love” follows with a moving string arrangement and gospel-inspired vocals. “Invisible Riverside” stands out with a rich, earthy guitar tone and a bluesy vocal melody, clearly indebted to Chris Still’s underrated solo work. Another standout is the stirring, slow-waltzing beauty of “Kindness” and its 70’s-esque melodies and swells of vintage organ.

Ryan Adams clearly stepped up his game to match up with his excellent guests and Ashes & Fire is his most cohesive and best album since his breakout Heartbreaker.

For more info click here:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Free Friday: Belle Adair - "EP"

Muscle Shoals, Alabama-based folk-pop band Belle Adair have just released a new 7" on Speak/Sing Records after self-releasing their self-titled debut EP on their own in January.  The band, led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Matt Green is preparing to record their debut full-length album this fall, with plans to release it next year.  In anticipation and in celebration of their 7" release, the band is giving away their EP as a free download on their Bandcamp page. 
The six-song EP opens with the sprawling, slow-burning ambient folk of "STN", featuring Matt Green's inviting vocals which are reminiscent of Eric Johnson's of the Fruit Bats.  "No Reply" is a slice of slightly jaunty folk-pop in the vein of early Wilco.  And the power-pop of "Paris Is Free" stands out with room-filling vintage organ and dueling guitars.  All of the songs have crafty arrangements and "Happy To Pretend" adds banjo, harmonica, dobro, Wurlitzer and a fuzzed-out bass line to the mix with everything fitting right into place.  "Eye To Eye" is a piano-led ballad with beautiful harmonies and Beatles-esque melodies.  "History Of Dreams" closes out the excellent EP with ethereal female guest vocals from Amber Murray.         

UPDATE: The EP is no longer free but worth the small price!

Download the Belle Adair EP here:

For more info click here:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Casiokids - "Det Haster!" (The super-catchy and danceable first single from the Denmark band's first official full-length Aabenbaringen over aaskammen, which translates to "The Revelation Over The Mountain" and is out now on Polyvinyl.  You may not have any idea what they are saying but their upbeat, synth-laden dance grooves are universal!) 


2.  Still Corners - "Cuckoo" (The delicate breathy vocals of singer Tessa Murray are the perfect match for London-based songwriter Greg Hughes' retro yet modern brand of cinematic and atmospheric soundscapes.  Featuring 80's-inspired synths and thin New Order-esque guitar lines, their stunning debut album Creatures Of An Hour is out now on Sub Pop.)


3.  Witches - "Black Dog" (Jangly 90's indie rock-inspired guitars and subtle melodies abound on the single from Athens, GA-based trio led by vocalist/guitarist Cara Beth Satalino whose excellent debut album Forever was released on Bakery Outlet Records (Holpaw, Landlord) in June.  Look for a solo album from Cara soon...)


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Loney Dear - "My Heart" (Church bells chime on the first single from Emil Svanangen's sixth and most grandiose album yet, Hall Music, out now on Polyvinyl.  The emotionally charged new album wraps itself around you with complex, orchestrated arrangments split between the synthesized and organic with an understated beauty.)         


2.  Talkdemonic - "Revival" (Portland-based intrumental duo Kevin O'Connor (percussion, programming) and Lisa Molinaro (viola) return with Ruins, their excellent new album out now on Isaac Brock's (Modest Mouse) label Glacial Pace Recordings.  The dynamic album is filled with spacey and textural soundscapes that depict both lightness and darkness.) 


3.   Guineafowl - "Little Fingers" (Australian songwriter creates an anthemic lyrical painting set to propulsive synth-based electro-rock on the first single from his debut EP Hello Anxiety out now on Dangerbird Records.)


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Interview: Extra Classic

Extra Classic is the new dub and reggae inspired project from Adrianne Verhoeven (The Anniversary, Dri, Art In Manila) and Alex deLanda.  Their excellent debut album Your Light Like White Lightning, Your Light Like A Laser was released last week digitally on Manimal Vinyl, with a physical release to follow.  An homage to the Jamaican records that inspired them, the album was recorded authentically on all analog equipment to deliver a warm, rich tone that complements their psychedelic brand of reggae and Dri's soulful vocals well.

Below is an interview with "Dri" from Extra Classic, where she explains the positives and negatives of working with all analog equipment, her musical influences and she tells of the hottest show she ever performed and the possibility of a supergroup she might be involved in...    


Atlas and the Anchor: Since the break up of The Anniversary, you have been involved in many different projects like Fourth Of July, Art In Manila and your own solo album under the name "Dri". What influenced you to record a dub-inspired reggae album?

Adrianne: Looking back, it seems like a very natural progression. I feel when listening to my "Smoke Rings" album (Dri) that the sound/style that we moved towards was starting to shimmer through a bit. Once Alex and I began writing songs together, it happened very naturally. Alex and I have garnered a pretty solid collection of Jamaican albums, so we were influenced by the music that we were listening to. Also, it was a very conscious decision, with how we decided to record the album- all analog, on 8 tracks, bouncing tracks, etc. The processes we chose to use were very mid-late 70s - Lee "Scratch" Perry - Black Ark - inspired. Our music is as much 3D Psychedelic as it is dub-inspired...

AA: You seem to be a musical chameleon! What are your biggest musical influences?

Dri: My biggest influences musically are strong female singers, huayño and cumbia Andean Music, functional music and music that lets the soul shine through.

AA: You recorded the album with a vintage analog approach. What were the positives and negatives from that experience?

Dri: Positive Experiences: bottom line, analog sounds better sonically. Also, for what we did on "Your Light Like White Lightning, Your Light Like A Laser Beam", the recording and the songs were an integral process. We wrote the songs with recording analog 8 track in mind. So, the analog recording process affected the song writing process and vice versa.
Negative Experiences: technical difficulties- regular technical and mechanical problems throughout the recording process. For example, a broken tape machine in the middle of recording isn't a fun experience.

AA: The cadence of the vocals on "Metal Tiger" makes it my favorite song on the album. What is your favorite track and why?

Dri: I don't necessarily have a favorite track...I feel as if our album is quite eclectic though at the same time very cohesive. All of the songs are challenging in their own ways and I love singing/preforming all of them with our band.

AA: You are getting ready for a short West coast tour to promote the album with Moonface, the new project from Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade, but are there any plans for a longer tour in the near future?

Dri: Absolutely, we're working on more and more shows and tours and we're shooting to travel overseas to play (hopefully before the year is over!). Our official vinyl gatefold LP release show for the album is here in San Francisco on October 26th at the Make Out Room. King Tuff is headlining and Audacity is also playing. We'll play in between the two bands. Good times.

AA: You have toured and collaborated with many great artists but in a dream scenario, who would you most like to collaborate with?

Dri: Gram Parsons

AA: I interviewed Orenda Fink a couple of years ago and she told me about how you and her were talking at SXSW about starting a project with Laura Burhenn. That would be a "dream collaboration" in my opinion. Has any progress been made with that? What other projects are you currently working on?

Dri: I'll have to remind Orenda and Laura about that - it would be dreamy! That would be a treat...we have all been very busy with our respective projects this year. Orenda is as prolific as ever with music & art- she is always very inspiring to me, and Laura put together the beautiful Mynabirds album and has been touring this year with Bright Eyes. Alex and I are currently working on writing new songs for our next Extra Classic album, which we're very excited about!

AA: Zach at Range Life Records he told me that one of my favorite bands Fourth Of July are recording a new album. Will you be contributing to it to complete the hat trick as you were featured on both of their first two albums?

Dri: I believe I will be contributing some vocals to the album, yes. I spoke with Brendan (Hangauer) about it when I was in Lawrence, KS last month. From what I hear, Fourth of July have begun recording and it's going great!

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

Dri: "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" written by Chips Moman and Dan Penn (older) & "Horserider's Smile" by Hanz Bronze (current)

AA: What music are you currently listening to?

Dri: We listen to so much music it's hard to articulate one thing. Tonight we listened to "Meat is Murder" by the Smiths. We're also listening to a lot of Wackies records.

AA: Well, I am sure you remember meeting me at the gas station after your show with the Get Up Kids in Indianapolis in 2000...That was one of my favorite shows of all time with Koufax, The Anniversary and The Get Up Kids!

Dri: Wow, Awesome. I think that was the hottest show we ever played, no joke. So cool that you were there- I totally recall the gas station encounter- haha!
Thank you, Justin. Happy to do the interview- thank you for the opportunity. We appreciate the support.


Stream "You Can't Bring Me Down" here:

For more info click here: and