Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Iowa Super Soccer “Lullabies To Keep Your Eyes Closed” LP

Iowa Super Soccer are like a warm cup of tea on a cold winter’s afternoon. They are soothing, beautiful and well matched to your mood. Their 2008 LP “Lullabies To Keep Your Eyes Closed” is one to listen to in an intimate environment.

The bands’ website says “Iowa Super Soccer was concerting with artist like Mark Kozelek (USA)” I’m going to go ahead and assume that means they opened for him, which would make sense: a good unsigned act opening up for a more established one. The comparison is also slightly relevant in terms of the “feel” of their sound, if that makes any sense.

They started as a band in July 2004, 2006 saw them release 2 demo EP's ('Iowa Super Soccer' and ‘Teenage dreams so hard to beat’). This LP is their debut LP and is out on GUSSTAFF RECORDS/LETTERBOX.

On certain tracks there is a major contrast between the female and male singers. Really soft and luscious vocals against the slightly obscure Polish male voice creates an interesting play, there are some awesome background harmonies too, listen to "Cold" it's great.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ben Shoben - s/t ep

The vocals on the self-titled ep by Londoner Ben Shoben are charmingly buried under crisp guitars and distant drums. They peek out at just the right times during these 3 pop songs. “Don't You Go Changing Your Mind” is a nice dreamy opener. “Five Long Miles” throws in a twist about halfway through the song with some more aggressive guitaring … it's a nice change. “Right Place, Wrong Time” is a bit more upbeat and probably fits the “britpop” description better than the other songs. This is a nice offering … I'm ready to hear more.


The Upstairs! - "Hockey Please"

The Upstairs! - “Hockey, Please”

The Upstairs alternate between cute pop songs and utter rock-outs. Normally, I'd say pick one or the other, but this really seems to work on “Hockey, Please.” Maybe it's the lo-fi production. Maybe it's the singer's voice that makes the cute songs not quite as cute as they could be. Either way, it's all pretty seamless.

“Hockey, Please” opens with the sing-along “Hockey League Of Her Own.” It's a toe-tapper for sure. After a very quick 2 and a half minutes, the song disintegrates into reverb and feedback, which opens the surfy, rockin' ballad “I'd Surf Pine Trees.” It builds, it falls and before you know it, you're back in full-on cute mode with “I Love Wednesdays.” It keeps going like this … alternating, until you get to what might be the gem on this album, “She, She, She, She.” “She” bounces along with stacatto drums and upbeat vocals.

Bottom line with this record: Go to their MySpace, send them the $6 and get a copy of “Hockey, Please.”


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Iris Waves ep

Iris Waves is from Oslo, Norway. The music project consists of Ida Nicoline & grand guests. This CD came to me with very lovely drawings that consisted of a grown cuddly looking bear sitting on a log having tea with his/her little dog friend. The songs are very peaceful, lovely and playful all in one. The voice is very distinct sounding and could be compared to some of the finest female vocalists in our own music collections.

Check em out here: www.myspace.com/nicolines

Kites With Lights "The Weight Of Your Heart" ep

This artist has a very well produced grouping of 5 songs, though the information surrounding this release is a tad bit over stated. The songs take on their own life at times while most times they come across as a very strong derivative of bands like Postal Service. Each song of Kites With Lights nearly matches the emotional output of songs by artists such as Junior Boys.

The beats for this album are very dreamy sounding with some of the beats worthy of being replayed until you get rather sick of them and then require playing them again. This smallish grouping of songs is a sure start to something that could be very special. I highly appreciate receiving a danceable album such as this.


Secrets In The Salt - "Krill Through Baleen"

All that jangle … all that head-bobbing goodness you've been hearing so much about … it's all provided by Secrets In The Salt. Handclaps, catchy rhythms, harmonies, whistle solos and jingling tambourines round out the offering on “Krill Through Baleen.”

The band mentions The Shins and The Kinks, among others, as influences. I'd agree.

The problem with “Krill Through Baleen” is it's too short. Just as it starts to really pick up and draw you in it ends after only six songs. The gem on the short album (and sounding most like The Shins) is the first proper song, “Hello Sam.” Keyboards open before tambourine and sweet vocals kick in. By the time the pace picks up a bit your head is already bobbing … and it'll keep bobbing until the album ends.


Some Beans - "Fear and Loathing"

So Noel left Oasis … and Blur hasn't really done anything as a band in recent memory. So what. Who cares? Just listen to Some Beans instead. Some Beans should be able to get you that brit pop fix you need. With some song sounding like Oasis' early offerings and some sounding Blur's more experimental songs, Some Beans have their bases covered.

“All Too Real” opens the CD with a great bass line before the smooth vocals kick in. A great looped beat carries us deeper into the album. “Dark Days” offers a good comparison to Oasis. From song structure to vocals, Liam and Noel would be proud. “All About You” has an almost ’70s R&B sound to it. It really works though and adds some depth to the album. On a few songs I'd swear I was listening to Damon Albarn. “Fear and Loathing” ends well with the low-key “Eight.”

Though Some Beans obviously borrows heavily from Oasis and Blur, it doesn't really matter. Honestly, I'd rather listen to Some Beans.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nebraska Pop Festival: fan photos, review & results

The 2009 edition of the Nebraska Pop Festival (A benefit for local UNO College Radio named "Mav Radio), I personally consider a success in the sense that new friends were made, it was fun for all, & we had 24 great bands that took part in playing during the festivals' 4 days. Each member from each band that I personally met seemed to be genuine and passionate about playing Nebraska Pop Festival & supporting UNO's Mav Radio. Also enjoyed meeting and interacting with the supporters in attendance. Of the special guests that traveled from outside of Nebraska many of them did so out of the kindness of their hearts and came on vacation and others had the success of building a tour around their appearance at the Nebraska Pop Festival. While the traveling bands were in Omaha they enjoyed the many beautiful attractions in which Omaha had to offer including the world renowned Henry Doorly Zoo, The Art Gallery(s), The Old Market, Live Music, the Parks & Trails, Omaha Royals baseball game(s); among other things. And also many of them were able to enjoy the unique tastes of food from a variety of restaurants in the Omaha area.

If any of the fans/bands have photos or videos of Nebraska Pop Festival
in which you would personally like to share instead of hoarding them, we would appreciate that you send them to nebraskapopfestival@gmail.com or let us know about them on myspace.

I would like to say that proudly, we announce that WE ARE COMING BACK AGAIN FOR A 2ND NEBRASKA POP FESTIVAL IN 2010. Stay tuned.

Official list of the bands that performed NEBRASKA POP FEST 2009 is: Zanin's Magic Crayon (UK/Italy/Brazil), Argyle Wishlist (Milwaukee), The Sleepover (Lincoln, NE), Honey & Darling (Omaha), The Tinycakes (Chicago), Pennyhawk (Ames), Spiders For Love (Omaha), Transmittens (Lawrence KS), Mr & Mrs Muffins (Seattle/Jakarta Indonesia), Poland (Seattle), Strega (NYC), Talking Mountain (Omaha), Electric Needle Room (Omaha), Hanwell (Des Moines), Labrador (Germany/Denmark), Cleemann (Denmark), Dereck Higgins (Omaha), Mammoth Life (Lawrence KS), Thunder Power (Omaha), The Love Technicians (Omaha), Andy Butler & band (Lincoln, NE), Cowboy Indian Bear (Lawrence KS), At Land (Omaha), The Mother Z's (Chicago), Darren Keen (Lincoln, NE);


UNO's Mav Radio & personnel, the fans, Pizza Shoppe in Benson for providing discounted meals to the bands, The City Weekly, The Reader, OWH, Tim McMahan, Slam Omaha, Joseph Walsh (Australia) for designing flier/logo/CD cover, Chris @ Indiepages, Dereck Higgins, Nui Noraset, Hype Machine alliance blogs, the wonderful community of Benson/Omaha & those from abroad, equipment sharing of local bands, the local bands/musicians/fans that hosted traveling bands for safe place to stay during the festival and for meals provided, We'd like to thank the sound guy's Jeff @ Barley Street & also Jeremy @ The Waiting Room. We would like to also thank Jeff for sharing a night of the festival at Barley Street and would like to thank Marc & Jim for supporting UNO MAV RADIO & for sharing (3) nights of the festival @ The Waiting Room. A very special thanks to Hiroho of Japan for the MANY handmade commemorative pop festival compilation- distributed for free to fans @ Nebraska Pop Festival & in Old Market. Thanks to those in the local music community that helped spread the word. Special thanks to Brando for putting up fliers in Omaha and also would like to thank the local bands for this also. Would like to thank Matt Beat for the fliers/participation/contacting the blogs/helping bands with directions ;) & for his foot work in Omaha with the promoters;.We'd like to thank Matt from Omaha for video graphing during all 4 days of the pop festival. Also a general thanks to all others that helped make this possible. A thanks goes out to Christopher (myself) for organizing the bands that played the Nebraska Pop Festival and responding to the over 1000 messages sent by e-mail & MySpace on the behalf and for the good of this special Nebraska Pop Festival. Very sad the the festival had to come to an end following (4) great, fun & memory filled days. As I have said proudly above and I will say it again, WE ARE COMING BACK AGAIN FOR A 2ND NEBRASKA POP FESTIVAL IN 2010.

many hugs,