Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Myracle Brah - Can You Hear the Myracle Brah LP

Myracle Brah is a dude called Andy Bopp, from Baltimore.
Remember that friend you had in high-school who had a really chilled and cool big brother, now imagine this dude was in a psyched-out power pop band. This is about the best description I can give for Myracle Brah, that and they are signed to Rainbow Quartz.

Rainbow Quartz is madly underrated, The Parties (the 2nd last album I reviewed) are on this label. A visit to their website showed me how many sweet acts they have signed. Bands that you know and/or will love are on Rainbow Quartz.

On the introductory listen there are some uneasy qualities apparent in the combination of psych and pop. But once you familiarise yourself with Myracle Brah, those things once uneasy become interesting facets in the blending. I found numerous times that I was unaware of how much atmosphere Myracle Brah pack into their songs, they sound realised and mature which is no surprise considering Myracle Brah’s large back catalogue.

The vocal harmonies apparent on this LP (courtesy of Chad Hopkins and Caitlin Bopp) are in line with a power-pop ideal, and the guitars make for the psych element. But it’s how the two are put together that make Myracle Brah different, the structure of the songs are bordering on the abstract, yet are very intelligent.



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Georga - Den Heliga Dårens Tal LP

Genre hopping is a term thrown around a lot. Like if one track on an album doesn’t have vocals and the rest do, it’s hopping. But I can safely say that this fits the aforementioned classification. Just because there is a lack of corresponding flow doesn’t mean this music is bad, it is interesting and capturing. Georga is from Sweden, the indie-pop capital of the world (well, to me it is) and that is largely reflected in these songs, he sings as though he is upholding a reputation, but is wary of this, and as such tries to do something different.

Dabbling in many styles but never commiting, although the first few songs of the album don’t necessarily ready you for what lays ahead. Song #5 is titled “En Man” and this is where things start to change, funnily enough I found this to be my favourite song on the album, it’s got a grunge type zig-zag that is contrasted with softer almost acoustics moments.

Folk/electronic/psych/indie-pop, Georga is good, but he needs to define a sound. Considering this album was released by Primary Rock (his own label – from what I can gather) means that no one is complaining about his varied sound, which is a positive, as it will allow him to decide on a sound and come back with a more linear release. Georga lists himself as “Other / Alternative / Pop”. Two vague descriptions preceeding the word Pop, that’s pretty much what this album is. It’s like a really sweet mixtape, where he made all the songs.

www.myspace.com/primaryrock - get diverse.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Her Vanished Grace

Her Vanished Grace are a wonderful noise pop band from New York, and this is a review of there 2009 release 'Blue'.

The bands myspace page describes there sound as that of “the wind as you careen down a hill with the engine shut off in the quiet moonlight”, I don't know if this is how they really think they sound or if they are just having fun with there myspace page, but, I do like to think that this sums up the bands sound in a very indirect, abstract manner.

Want a more specific description? Sure...Dark, dreamy, pop....These are three words you could, and I would, use to describe Her Vanished Grace. Swirling/shimmering/sweeping guitars, lush vocals and and sonic textures all add up to create Her Vanished Grace's sound, and it is pretty darn cool if I don't say so myself, urgent, epic and crushingly beautiful at times. The melancholy of The Cure but with more of a pop sensibility (whatever that means).



Monday, March 16, 2009

Member of the Wedding "Chapter & Verse EP"

Member of the Wedding "Chapter & Verse EP" is interesting. The way the vocals come out they remind me quite a bit of Jens Lekman and also oddly recalls Ian Curtis. The lyrics are quite funny to me and in a good way. The songs have their charm and can easily grab your attention. For those that are familiar with the vibe to early Adam Green songs this album basically sums that up. The album will be released in April.
Check em out here: www.myspace.com/memberofthewedding

Oh, dearest! EP

Oh, dearest! make a very nice new 5 song EP. It sounds fresher and much better progressed than the previous. The coolest thing about this release is it recalls early Elliott Smith songs which I had grown up listening to. Without a doubt these songs would be very interesting to hear when performed live. The unlimited potential of main singer/songwriter Mikael Mellberg and his friends is easily visible on this disc.
Check em out here: www.myspace.com/ohdearestmusic

mummel radion "Tiden EP"

mummel radion makes a very lovely pop album. The songs are all in Swedish which is something i don't mind. This particular release has been the most exciting Swedish language pop album that I have ever heard. The songs remind me so much of Swedish pop band named Band In Box. Also they remind me of many other lovely tiny pop bands from Sweden.

The music in a sense could be played and enjoyed by those of all ages. For music lovers that are in love with the bedroom pop bands currently in Sweden at the moment this band is highly recommended for you to hear. Also the artwork is just so adorable : )

contact the band here at mummelradion at gmail dot com

Haunted Stereo "Tree House EP"

Haunted Stereo makes pop songs that are not typical to regular pop songs you most often hear or are accustomed to. The disc provides for a very interesting listening experience. Their playing style is somewhat similar to arrangements that you hear sometimes coming from Punk bands that incorporate Violin into their own songs. The vocals at times can be compared to Damien Rice. The songs overall bring in a lot of cheer & also some of the violin parts bring a big smile to my face actually. If you want to see this band play live they have a dozen or so live performances coming up.
Check em out here:

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Parties - Can't Come Down

You know how most music sounds better when you’re driving fast in beautiful surroundings? It took this to make me realize just how good The Parties are. They are mod psych, they make you want to experience life more than just listening to MP3’s on your computer.

Titled “Can’t Come Down” and complemented by it’s typography, this LP is the main course, you won’t need an entrée or dessert. It starts off kindly, in a dreamy manner, soothing vocals, sweet sweet guitars, then groove bass with a snare. “Love For Sale” could lead you to expect a more pop-ish album than this really is. But don’t be deterred, this is for fans of second psych era bands like The Beavis Frond and Les Fleur De Lys, in the vocal and guitar correlation.

Lovey isn’t so much a verb as an adjective when used in reference to this LP, not in a love songs manner, but an appreciative one – you love this, it heightens your appreciation for non-peak hour traffic, and the lyrics are honest to love and break-ups. Though general romance is common, this is more the other side of romance, instead of addressing it, focusing on the space around it.

The Parties are a magnificent example of psych surviving all the way into the late naughties, highly recommendable and applicable to everyone. This is an LP to revisit, many times over.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pharmacy Spirits - Every Song Ended in 94 EP

The title of this EP Every Song Ended in 94 got my attention, I kind of wanted to know why. It has that figurative fuzzy glow that songs made ages ago have, more just to do with a mindset as opposed to recording capability. Oh, and it’s on a CD-R that looks like a vinyl ☺

The guitars on the first 2 songs are similar to The Clean’s earlier releases, and seeing as one of their members was once in an acoustic Joy Division cover band, the influence is there. Mostly in the sterile drumming that features on the first track. The bass in “Excuse Me Lady” is the kind that you want to rock your head back and forth in rhythm with, very catchy kind.

The vibe changes on track 3, moving to pent up energy in the vocals and screams, the music speeds up as does the vocal emphasis, there are some great hooks in this, and there is a barren feeling behind the guitars, which is generated by a haunted bass.

The 4th song, “American Roulette” follows on nicely, in the same manner as the previous, then there is 11 one minute intervals of silence, before a 5th, or 16th songs starts, they had been waiting for the first four tracks to bring this to light where they balance bass and energy. Personally I prefer the first two songs, though it is all very good. Everyone loves a hidden track, especially on a sweet EP.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scarlet Youth - Breaking The Patterns

Scarlet youth is a 5-piece band reigning from the frozen realm of Finland. They are an alternative shoegaze band. They really put those effects pedals to work here. The sights and sounds they potentially experience in the pristine stillness of a cold Finnish night is produced in their music. Breaking The Patterns is eerily atmospheric at times and yet retains a sense of serenity. If I lived in Finland, I know I would try to join this band. There is a darkened sense of hope emanating from their sound. There are just 6 songs on this album, but they're really more than just 6 songs. The album starts of dreary and atmospheric and by the end, turns eerie and upbeat. Overall, this CD is nicely polished and provides the listener with a dreamscape for the ears, while still being awake. It's like, "Hey, am I dreaming? What's going on?" and then you realize you're still awake and that this beautiful noise isn't just a part of your imagination. The echoing voices, the clear drumming and bass playing, and the symphony of guitar sounds create a very unique journey. The Scarlet Youth are for me and you.

Tiny Tide - The Ronta EP & Febrero

Tiny Tide is a creation from the nation of Italy. They are self-proclaimed as spawning from a “Mark Zonda cover band.” Mark Zonda is the guitar-holding and keyboard-wielding front-man, Manuel plays violin and bass, Mic Starr plays drums, and Dendrix plays guitar. They refer to themselves as an indie pop arcade rock else group. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. Tiny Tide has a solid sound. It’s nothing over the top. The Ronta EP contains five songs, with one of the songs being a remix of another song on the EP. It actually makes the song “Girls From Ronta” kind of annoying because it’s placed back-to-back. It’s an okay first attempt for their debut, which leads us to their first full length, Febrero. The first track, February surprised me greatly! After the Ronta EP, I wasn’t expecting much more from Tiny Tide, but they seemed to start let loose and begin experimenting with their sound. The choice was a vast improvement for the band. The sound originally seemed contained in The Ronta EP, but seems to blossom in Febrero. Febrero contains a menegeraie of sounds producing a wide musical experience. They seem to be having fun with what they do. Isn’t that what music is all about?

The Simple Carnival - Me And My Arrow EP

The Simple Carnival

The Simple Carnival is also known as Jeff Boller, who appears to be the happiest man living in Pennsylvania. I would be too if I was as talented as this man. His songs have an air of optimism in them; just an overall sense of positive nature. He flawlessly establishes several layers of instruments and couples it with various vocal layers, which I think makes his songs stand out. Yes, there are times when his voice stands alone, but there are many other times where his voice totals about 20 more voices at the same time. It’s great stuff. I read everywhere that he is influenced by Brian Wilson and also the Beach Boys. All I know about Brian Wilson is that a couple of years ago I saw him on a Bass Player magazine. I respected that. The Beach Boys I don’t particularly like. Not much respect for them. However, if they influenced Mr. Jeff Boller, they must have done something right, so I respect that. I like The Simple Carnival. The songs on this EP are all solid. I’d have to say my favorite song on this EP is Over Coffee and Tea. I will say though, the more and more I listen to Really Really Weird, the more and more I like it. I watched the video Jeff made for it and it was really awesome. I read that he used like just under $8 of office supplies to make the video. I’d check it out if I was you. Jeff Boller knows what he’s doing and it’s fun to listen to. The Simple Carnival is, simply put, happiness in simplified form.

Leonard Kage - Time EP

Leonard Kage is the type of sweet stuff I try to fit on a mix-tape to give to my girlfriend. I say sweet because it is enjoyable on two levels, turn it down it’s soothing, then turn it up and there is a good degree of energy, through the combination of electric and acoustic guitars.

Now I haven’t checked this, but I can imagine the understated energy apparent in these songs has been referred to as “Kaged” energy, by many a sassy indie critic. I disagree; but downplayed, yes. Göteborg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden is where he lists as his location, which really threw me off. This is not stereotypical indie-pop. His voice is like the indie-pop version of Thom Yorke’s, if Thom Yorke was a pleasant and romantic fellow.

Lay Me Down/The Colours, the third track of the EP involves some slow dreamy guitars that are beautifully suited to morning time. Almost like an alarm that you love, instead of curse. This is followed by is a 20 second long track named “Pause”. This is unexpectedly a positive, as it makes you appreciate the previous song and then leads in to the final track in which the vocals sound slightly different but complements the EP’s progression.

"Time EP" was a promo released in the summer of 2008, consisting of five songs. This spring a full length CD full of new material will be released on ‘Feels Like Home Records’ an American label.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Little Pony "Think Too Much"

My Little Pony hails from Norway. The album "Think Too Much" is full of lovely pop songs. Some of them to me sound like maybe they were dreams made into songs. The way the lyrics come along the title of the album seems to fit each song and also the story lines also fit that mold. Out of the records in my own collection the only thing that comes close to this would be Teitur's "Poetry and Aeroplanes" album. Also the vocals recall Wayne Coyne at times and also some of the early Neil Young.

I've always wished there was more pop bands like this in Norway. Other places in Scandinavia especially Sweden has an over abundance of great pop bands. Norway's pop scene is small yet cheerful but in need of much more. It's very likely though i have far greater expectations of Norway's pop scene because Sweden is such a hot bed for great indie pop bands and in large numbers. I am still happy though that the great small land has produced such artists as Matias Tellez, Princess Niko, Sondre Lerche, King Of Convenience, and other notables.

check em out on myspace here www.myspace.com/mylittleponyoslo


What is so interesting about this band is their main songwriter Henrik Svedlund used to jam out with Rickard who ended up forming Robert Church and the Holy Community.
Chimneyheart makes some mean good pop songs. Chimneyheart draws their influence from Henry Chinaski, Charles Bukowski, Syd Barret, Joy Division, John Frusciante, Van Raveschot, Daniel Johnston, The Cure and others. It would have been interesting if anything ever came of Rickard and Henrik's jam sessions. Cos if they were both in a band together this day it would sure be something to look out for. I am very content though with Henrik's contributions to Chimneyheart. For me I feel really awkward saying this but they remind me of the hip bands from the UK that people fuss about at the festivals and such.

check out Chimneyheart and find out more about their 4 song ep on their myspace: www.myspace.com/chimneyheart