Wednesday, October 31, 2012

3 Songs: On Repeat

Wax Fang – “Mirror, Mirror” (The shredding title track to the Louisville-based duo’s new 4-song EP out now on Karate Body records comes just in time for Halloween, as they mix psych-pop along with darker elements into their cosmic brand of classic rock-leaning indie rock, which is bolstered by frontman Scott Carney’s soaring and anthemic croon.)      

Harouki Zombi – “Objet Petit A” (Harouki Zombi is the new art-pop DJ project from Orenda Fink of Azure Ray and Nina Barnes from Of Montreal who released their debut EP Objet Petit A on Polyvinyl last week.  The EP was produced by Orenda’s husband Todd Fink of The Faint and features a track written and produced by Nina’s husband Kevin Barnes.  The title track and single, is built on a danceable hip-hop inspired beat and some classic Casio synths on the “human voice” setting.  The EP also features two remixes of the single, one by Rewards and one by Deniallabs.)   

The Eeries – “Should’ve Stayed Home” (Sneering punk rock and 50’s rock-and-roll ethos collide with jangly 60’s pop on the Philadelphia-based garage-pop band’s debut album Home Alone, released last week on Evil Weevil Records.  They make catchy and scrappy anthems for “the greasers”, sounding like Nobunny fronting The Beatles!)    

Monday, October 29, 2012

Show Alert: R. Ring Record Release at Omega Music

R. Ring is the exciting new project from Kelley Deal of The Breeders and Mike Montgomery of Ampline.  Their debut recording, the "Fallout & Fire" b/w "See" 7" is due out 10/30 on Misra Records (Southeast Engine, Shearwater, Destroyer).  But you can get the beautiful limited-edition orange-colored vinyl tonight and you can also see the band play their sparse, catchy yet haunting guitar-led art rock tonight at 7PM during their record release party at Omega Music!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something” (The excellent first single taken from Danzig In The Moonlight, the new solo album from the former frontman of The Posies and member of Big Star and REM, is a classic country-style duet with Charity Rose Thielen from The Head And The Heart.  Out now on Spark & Shine, the album blends folk, chamber-pop and electronic elements with his distinctly deep and emotional voice and stellar songwriting.)  

2.  Santah – “Indigo” (The Chicago-based indie rock quartet released their new EP You’re Still A Lover this week on Saki Records as a follow-up to their equally great debut White Noise Bed.  This stunning track recalls the end of summer and closes out the reverb-rich 5-song EP with a buoyant bassline, ringing guitars, thick vintage organs, and the dreamy, familial boy/girl vocals of brother and sister Stanton and Vivian McConnell.)

3.  Murder by Death – “Lost River” (Lilting strings and cyclical guitars highlight the rollicking new single from the orchestral indie-folk band’s new album Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, released last month on Bloodshot Records.  With the help of producer John Congleton (The Walkmen, St. Vincent), they have captured their brooding beauty with darker elements as deep as frontman Adam Turla’s booming baritone voice.  The album is also the first with contributions from their newest member Scott Brackett, formerly of Okkervil River and Shearwater.)  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jason Lytle - "Dept. Of Disappearance"

Today Jason Lytle released Dept. Of Disappearance on Anti- Records, his second solo album since the 2006 breakup of his former band, Grandaddy and the first since his 2009 debut, Yours Truly, The Commuter which was an excellent return to form.  Lyrically, the new album is filled with the same images of loneliness, deserted mountains, and the contrast between technology and nature that have always been staples of Lytle’s lyrics.  Musically, keyboards whirr and gurgle alongside fuzzed-out bass and acoustic guitars but Jason’s subtle yet sticky melodies and stellar songwriting take the spotlight once again.
The title track “Dept. Of Disappearance” opens the album with soaring synths and chugging guitars set to a tale of loner escapism.  The standout first single, “Get Up And Go” features bubbly synths and an upbeat and affirming positive message.  On “Last Problem Of The Alps”, Jason creates a swirling, wind-swept symphony of synths that is transportive and immersive, like being stranded on the freezing cold Alps yourself.  The noir-ish and Cormac McCarthy-inspired “Your Final Setting Sun” would make the perfect soundtrack to a movie with its spy-themed synth and guitar lines.  Jason’s friends in the Swedish band Division Of Laura Lee played on the standout track which also has a cinematic video created by skateboarder and artist Mike Aho.  The 11-track closes out with the over 8-minute long “Gimme Click Gimme Grid” and its classic rock guitar solo and theatrical piano runs.
I am glad Jason Lytle hasn’t’ actually disappeared himself, because just like Grandaddy in their prime, he has hit his peak with his excellent new album Dept. Of Disappearance.   

Friday, October 12, 2012

Free Friday: Floating Action - "Live At The Grey Eagle"

Floating Action is the moniker for Black Mountian, North Carolina based musician Seth Kauffman and last month he released his new album Fake Blood as a split release between Jim James's (of My Morning Jacket) Removador Recordings And Solutions imprint and Harvest Recordings.  The excellent new album features Kauffman's unique take on folk rock that incorporates everything from Motown to Memphis with ambient passages, soaring melodies, and scrappy surf-rock guitars.  The standout single, "Seized" captures a moment of beauty with a bouncy rhythm and some soulful guest vocals from Maxine Gwynn.  Another standout, "Not What I Came For" features jangly guitars and a catchy sing-along chorus.  Yet another standout track, "Been Broken" features a pumped-up beat and lilting falsetto vocals reminiscent of Jim James. 

Although it was released in 2008, the 10-song live album,  Live At Grey Eagleis still a great way to get a taste of what Seth Kauffman and Floating Action have to offer.  And you can download it for free on their Bandcamp page.  Be sure to catch them on tour with their two-drummer attack now with their friends and fellow North Carolina heroes Band Of Horses.  

Download Live At The Grey Eagle here:  

For tour dates and to order the new album Fake Blood, click here: 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Black Marble - "A Great Design" (Hot on the heels of their excellent debut EP Weight Against The Door, the NYC duo Chris Stewart and Ty Kube create dark 80's inspired neo-goth synth-pop with icy synths and baritone vocals that have a contrastingly organic vibe on their debut album A Different Arrangement, out now on Hardly Art.) 

2.  METZ - "Wet Blanket" (The Canadian post-hardcore power-trio brings Sub Pop back to their punk rock roots with their abusive and abrasive self-titled debut album out now on Sub Pop.   Slivers of subtle melodies exist under layers upon layers of headache-inducing distortion, noise and thundering drums.)

3.  The Calm Blue Sea - "Mary Ann Nichols" (After a lengthy departure, the Austin-based post-rock band announce the arrival of their sophomore album, Arrivals & Departures, out now on Modern Outsider Records.  Epic wide-screen cinematics and haunting beauty collide with heavy indie rock for a monumental headphones-worthy listening experience.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Everything In Motion - "Red" 7"

Everything In Slow Motion is the new solo project from Shane Ochsner, the frontman for Christian post-metal band Hands.  After recording the last Hands album, 2011's excellent Give Me Rest, he spent some time alone in the studio wrestling with ideas and the resulting 2-song debut 7" titled, Red was released late last week on Facedown Records as an extremely limited (only 330 copies) hand-numbered vinyl edition and as a digital download.

The A-side, "Red" features a very direct and powerfully affecting vocal message of hope in this broken world set to a soundtrack that is equally heavy and churning as well as anthemic and anthemic.  The B-side, "Exosphere" is just as intense and epic with a cosmic ambience and more emotional soul-baring lyrics.

Stream Everything In Slow Motion here:

For more info and to order a copy click here: and

Friday, October 05, 2012

Show Alert: Dayton Music Fest 2012

The 8th annual Dayton Music Fest is this Friday and Saturday and boasts an exciting lineup of local indie rock curated by scene vets Don Thrasher and Kyle Melton.  For only $10 for a weekend pass you can check out over 30 of Dayton's finest acts including, indie-pop darlings Vanity Theft, jittery noise-rockers Astro Fang, the throwback rock of Duke Of Owls and The Dirty Socialites with their nostalgic 90's indie rock sound.  The Motel Beds and Me & Mountains will also show why Dayton's scene is alive and well and Captain Of Industry will reunite once again.

I am most looking forward to seeing the rootsy Southeast Engine pay tribute to local legends Guided By Voices by covering the A-side of their classic album Bee Thousand, along with a regular set, on Friday at the free kick-off show at Omega Music and then play the B-side on Saturday night at Canal Street Tavern.

The Dayton Music Fest will take over such venues as South Park Tavern, Blind Bob's, and Oregon Express, along with an outdoor stage at the Midwest Outdoor Experience at Eastwood Metropark.  Come be a part of the Gem City's thriving and eclectic music scene!

For more info and a schedule of events:

Listen to a few of the bands that will be playing:

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Jemez Mountain Hawkz  - "California Bound" (New project from former punk rock band Scared of Chaka members Dameon Lee Waggone and Dave Hernandez (also formerly of the Shins) as well as Drew Church of Little Cuts, and Steven Barci of Chasers.  Their brand of folk and country-leaning indie pop on their debut EP Hey-Mez, out now, captures the spirit and essence of 70's FM radio and their previous bands yet with a modern twist.) 

2.  Balmorhea - "Pyrakantha" (For their fourth album, Stranger, released this week on Western Vinyl, the Austin-based experimental instrumental band focuses on cosmic, other-worldly sounds, incorporating some exciting new sonics to their already broad palette, with the addition of steel drums, spacey synths, loops and even ukelele.  Though the biggest change to their lushly layered sound is the swapping out of acoustic guitars and piano for electric guitars and wild percussion.)    

3.  State Lines - "Win Free" (The Long Island-based pop-punk band released their excellent new self-titled EP on Tiny Engines this past July and it features four energetic and nearly-perfect hardcore-informed anthems with Braid-like complexity and super-catchy melodies reminiscent of Saves The Day.  In a word, "classic".)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Micheal Burgin - "Some Heavy Hammer"

Indie folk singer-songwriter Michael Burgin just self-released his fourth solo album, Some Heavy Hammer at the end of August this year and it comes hot on the heels of his 2011 album, Sick On The Noon Day Sun.  Hailing from Western North Carolina, Burgin incorporates old timey music like blues and Appalachian folk while adding his own unique voice and hints of indie rock and a punk rock spirit, for a timeless yet modern Americana sound.  Michael sings and plays guitar and harmonica and is assisted in the studio by Cyrus Atkins who provides backing vocals and lends his classical and resonator guitar skills to the mix. 

The album opens with the stand out title track, “Some Heavy Hammer” which features a cyclical fingerstyle guitar figure and the perfect introduction to Burgin’s raw and punk-infused vocals, which are reminiscent of Tim Kasher of Cursive and Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes.  His witty lyrical wordplay is also on display as he cleverly references historical figures like John Henry, Joan Of Arc and Scarface and their mythical deaths, while he sings about having the strength to overcome a heartbreak.  “Spade Is A Spade” follows with a train whistle-sounding harmonica, insistent acoustic guitar strumming and some howling vocals that ache with the pain found in the emotional lyrics.  “Mole In The Ground” is a cover of the traditional folk tune “I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground” which like Burgin, has its roots in the mountains of North Carolina.  Originally written for and played on the banjo, he puts his own spin on the song by replacing the plucky banjo with wiry resonator guitar to great effect.  Standout track, “Women” is built on the same strained, emo punk-informed folk foundation that Bright Eyes perfected with a driving guitar riff, a catchy refrain and some biting lyrics like, “I hope he breaks what’s left of your heart”.  The fiery “Burning Out” solidly closes out the A-side of the album with a hopeful and anthemic call to arms to anyone suffering in a dead end job.  And the second side of the album opens with another cover, this time of the traditional folk ballad “The Shadows Of The Pines” which like “I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground” was also recorded by 1920’s Western North Carolina folk troubadour Bascom Lamar Lunsford, who also known as the "Minstrel of the Appalachians" and is an obvious influence for Burgin, and rightly so.  Another standout, “It Doesn’t Work” is highlighted by the front porch jam-like interplay between the high-pitched resonator plucking and the steady, strumming acoustic guitar along with Michael’s snappy vocal cadence.  Much like his other folk rock influences like, Bob Dylan and Billy Bragg, Burgin wears his political heart on his sleeve and “Something Like A War” carries on in that folk-singer-as-protest-leader tradition with some sharp-tongued commentary on the modern world.    The haunting and melancholic “Warpath” continues in that snarling political vein, with heavy lines like, “You went on a witch hunt and made sure you found one”.  The ten song album closes out with “I Take It All Back” and its chromatic harmonica scales, upbeat strumming and self-aware lyrics, leaving you wanting more.               
Although Michael Burgin has recorded four well-received albums, an EP and several singles all while making quite a name for himself in his native North Carolina, it is almost a crime that he has flown under the radar.  But the solid songwriting and thought-provoking lyrics along with the memorable Americana melodies found on his excellent new album, Some Heavy Hammer, should finally gain him the recognition that he has worked hard for and deserves.