Saturday, May 23, 2009

Twin Piloda - "Brother Jona"

Sweden's Twin Piloda site "american music" as one of their influences... they aren't kidding. It's easy to pick up on the Posies, The Church, R.E.M., Paul Westerberg and Go-Betweens sounds they also mention as influences.

"Lake By The Sea" is probably the most "college rock" sounding song on the album. It's got some great ’90s harmonies over driving acoustic and electric guitars. Not to mention a great harmonica solo.

The fourth song on the album, "Easy on the Eye," slows things down a bit with a nice synthy opening. Sparse acoustic guitar accompanies boy/girl vocals before the tempo picks up a bit and turns somewhat dancey. Oooohs and ba-ba-bas round out a great tune.

The album ends on a bit of a folky/americana note with "Not Invented."

For someone who's used to hearing "Sweden" and thinking about the poppiest of pop songs... Twin Piloda offer a refreshing alternative.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Yellow Melodies – High

Released in 2000, the Yellow Melodies’s High holds up today. Slow, gentle melodies and drifting singing. The voices go a little soaringly here and there, but it’s always pleasant and relaxing. The cover of the album is pure Belle and Sebastian, a yellow photo of a girl wearing a bandana holding a cup of something, but the melodies are denser, less skippy, less playful.

“Brand New Way,” is probably the stand out track. It’s about a boy who’s a “cool boy in a cool world” who’s just trying to find a “cool place” to find his place, or else he has to disappear! The harmonies and melodies coat the lyrics in a syrupy concoction that’s perfect for summer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Telepathic Butterflies - Breakfast in Suburbia

The Telepathic Butterflies is a psychedelic name for a band, fittingly their music aides this notion. Psych pop, wait – this totally sounds like it could be released on Rainbow Quartz, let me check…Holy s***, there actually is a Rainbow Quartz logo on the back. Another sweet signing by the R-B Q team. (That actually happened – I had to physically get up from my desk and look in an envelope).

There is a Joe Jackson feel coming through in a couple of the tracks, the difference is the level of reality in the voice - if that makes any sense. What I mean is the singer has the kind of voice that you can relate to. The TpBf’s sing about personal issues, in an open manner, the vocal harmonies that feature across the release are the type that you try to emulate, but can never get, unless you have had a little bit to drink, in which case you will totally get it.

I recommend this band to anyone looking for a sweet sweet summer sounding band. Though these guys are from Canada, which isn’t all that sunny. Never the less, this is what they sound like: beautiful sunsets and golden romance found on a fun night out - with a dose of the morning after, yeah.

Aycliffe Sunz

Dear Aycliffe Sunz,

You totally rock, there is no two ways about this. In terms of indie-pop your guitars, melodies and timing are up there with the greats. I could spend my time making correlations to bands you are similar to, or better than.

Instead, I send a musical SOS – please get a vocalist.
What you make is really great indie-pop, but it would be ever better with some sweet vocals, though choose wisely, and make sure they complement the music. I think female, or male of Asian descent.

Listening forever,


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Movie – White Whales

On their myspace page, Movie lists Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine as their influences, but it’s really Joy Division filtered through Galaxie 500 that I hear. The precision of the drum is there, but so is the reverb and the slowness, the extra space. They layer the extra space in droney vocals, separating the words just enough from the churning guitars. The deadpan vocals are delivered just slightly, charmingly, off-key, in a spoken word manner. In other words, they list the appropriate influences, but then, as Galaxie 500 did, they make the record their own shimmering pop song.

The whole album centers on nautical themes, and the second song, “Island” is a dreamy stand out. The singer “steps slowly off the land” and is “driven by the wind.” There is feedback, charming feedback, that will possibly call to mind the hazy waves of My Bloody Valentine, but Movie is so much more peaceful, so much more in touch with others, even though the lyrics sum up a drift between the singer and other people. Overall, this is a band to keep an eye one.

Rachael Dadd - After The Ant Fight

Sounding like something of a female version of Sufjan Stevens, Rachael Dadd's "After The Ant Fight" could probably fit in right between "Seven Swans" and "Greetings From Michigan." Just before Stevens went off on the epic (stalled) 50 states project.

Banjo, guitar, piano, trumpet fills, ethereal folk-pop vocals... they're all here. The music rambles on, rising and falling behind Dadd's sweet voice. Harmonies punctuate at just the right places.

"Table" might be the gem on this album, opening with piano and light vocals. The song gently crescendos, adding drums and horns. It backs off slightly before building again with Dadd's vocals on the chorus. "And So It Wells Up" opens brightly with drum and horns before Dadd's familiar voice begins. Horns punctuates throughout. Banjo and piano on the title track close out the album.

Dadd's own embroidered textiles, which she sells on tour and from her web site, provide the impressive album art.

Cameretta Whispers - Recipes for Sad Chickens

Two words: chicken samples. At least that's what it sounds like. There's definitely come clucking and cooing in the background of these songs. These Italian girls definitely have a weird thing with chickens going on. You know what? It works.

This lo-fi "bedroom music" drones on with light strumming on a guitar with a broken string and soothing vocals. Random clicks, clacks and other noises fill out the background ... almost giving the impression of being in the girls' home with them while they play.

"Are You Making Love with Loneliness" seems to be the hi-light of the album, with haunting harmonies and a sweet folky sound. "Witches eat Sandwiches" starts with horror-movie organ and cawing birds before the guitar and slightly more upbeat vocals kick in. The last track, "Lullaby for Me," is a droner, the last few minutes of which are dripping water sounds that go silent just before a hidden track complete with frog croaks closes out the album.

This could be the perfect soundtrack to a sad, rainy day. that's a good thing ... those days need soundtracks.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Shoebox Scrap "late start"

Shoebox Scrap hails from Highland, California. It is the project of one Ron Anderson. The songs are very lovely and as you listen on the songs you hear this irresistible charm attached to them. It's sort of heart wrenching for me to hear the resemblance to some of Elliott Smith's most fond moments. With the acoustic the songs evoke quite a bit of Simon and Garfunkel. These 7 songs are very well rounded and deserve much more praise and attention and if kept up by Ron Anderson he will surely get it done.

Check em out here:

Mikko Singh "Uskotko että siellä on kukkia?"

For those looking for music that is so interesting in a not so vague sense or unique, then this album would fit in find and dandy with you. This album is jam packed full of instrumentals and sounds that are sometimes eerie but are often pleasant one's too. It's very easy for me to imagine "surfers" having this music in their IPOD, etc. And it's also easy for me to imagine fans of Kings Of Convenience and fans of Jack Johnson's "Brushfire Fairytales" album being particularly those that will be most interested in this chill CD by Mikko Singh.

Check em out here:

Beacon Street Radiants "First Degree Desperation"

Beacon St. Radiants hail from Finland which has taken me by surprise since I have recently been introduced to a large amount of great bands coming from there and in the past few years I heard very little stuff that struck my fancy coming from Finland. This artist comes across as sounding quite a bit like early Jesse Malin stuff. Other comparisons could be "Love as Hell" era Ryan Adams and early Pete Yorn. Funnily the three of them Ryan Adams, Jesse Malin, and Pete Yorn never really stayed consistent to me. I got into them early and as time went on they started making stuff that didn't appeal to me as much as their earlier stuff. Some agree on this especially the earlier fans. If Beacon St. Radiants is able to keep this songwriting on the level as it appears on this album they are likely to gain many fans in time and keep the original fans at bay.

Check them out here:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Blank Tapes – Landfair

Propulsive, and with good lyrics, Matt Adams and friends make up the Blank Tapes. Their songs go chantingly round, circular surprises. In “I Tell Myself Again and Again,” the title makes up almost the entirety of the lyrics, “I tell myself again and again/she’ll never be more than just a friend.” Other words drop in and out, with just enough variation to keep the listener amused. The searingly upbeat guitar jangles the verses along.

Other songs start with a Beatlesequse “Ahh-ahh,” and “There Goes the Day” even uses a melody politely nicked from one of their songs, I won’t name which one, before setting into pleasant lyrics about “there goes the day/there goes the sun.” Time passes but with this record this it’s hardly noticeable you’re enjoying the music so much. The songs may set up drab situations with the lyrics, but the sunny pop melodies obscure the boredom the singer might be suffering.

Dizzyingly quiet and lovelorn, these songs show a diverse and pleasant range.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Godsmania - Tyre Kicker

I'm not sure it gets any janglier. Godsmania's “Tyre Kicker” EP is five songs of pure vintage indiepop in the style of C86 or even Postcard Records.

They start things off right with the head bobbingly good “Thanks But No Thanks.” A nice little bass line carries you into “Don't Go” before the jangle of the guitar kicks back in to hook you. The slower, ambling vocals of “Going To Be Blue” with fuzzy background guitar make a good interlude leading into the droopy, but heartfelt “Lost In You.” The EP finishes up on a high note with the driving “All Gone Wrong Today.”

Godsmania lists Teenage Fanclub, The Wedding Present, Orange Juice, The Mighty Lemon Drops and the Smiths as influences, among others. I can't disagree with any of those. This is a definitely an album with seeking out.

EZ Basic - Hocus Focus

From the first notes of Hungarian band EZ Basic's “Hocus Focus” you know what you're going to get — pure, unadulterated new wave. Although they don't specifically mention these bands as influences, I'm going to surmise they're fans of New Order, Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls. They might even be fans of Franz Ferdinand or The Futureheads.

EZ Basic does site Bauhaus, My Bloody Valentine, Interpol and Phil Spektor... and there is a distinct “wall of sound” to some of these tracks. You will find yourself bobbing your head along to these songs.

“Nice1” opens the album with Simon LeBon vocals. “Plot Hole” has a very Seagulls-esque intro. Dancy Franz Ferdinand choruses are throughout, accompanied by that familiar humming guitar and steady drum beat.

This is a very enjoyable listen and is recommended for fans of new wave, synthpop and just about anything in between.