Saturday, December 18, 2010
I decided to start a new column on this blog, where various personalities of distinction music related and non music related, will be approached on a spontaneous basis, and will be asked to tell me their name along with a story. Of course many of the people featured in this column are people that I am familiar with musically or non musically, some of them I have already met, and some of which I have not met before. Anyways, enjoy!
edition #1 - Matt Beat from the band Electric Needle Room
(non omitted text below)
"I am a big history dork, and I have always been fascinated with the lives of the ordinary people who have led our country as President. For a few years, I've envisioned writing and recording songs about each of the 43 Presidents of the USA. I finally got around to recording the first song, about George Washington, in the fall of 2009, and I've been recording them ever since. As a true dork, I am recording them chronologically, and I am currently recording a song about Grover Cleveland. I'm halfway done with the project! I'm releasing the first batch of President songs on Presidents Day (go figure!) 2011. I'm actually trying to raise money right now to properly release the album. To find out the details of this, check out http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1845346621/the-presidents-of-the-united-states-of-america-alb. To hear the songs already recorded, check out http://electricneedleroom.bandcamp.com/track/george-washington. I like to think the songs are not only catchy, but educational as well!"
Haleiwa hails from Sweden. The project is a solo effort of Mikko Singh, whom I’m quite fond of musically, largely because he is doing his own thing. In comparison to his previous offering, his most recent offering “Pura Vida dude”, also has a diverse assortment of instruments. The fact that the instrument selection is so diverse and also that he places what appears to be an unusually large emphasis on his instrument play are just some of the enablers in his creation of a distinguishable sound, with all practicality his own.
There is an abundance of interesting information among Mikko’s notes, and here I offer a passage he has made “Pura Vida Dude. Go out and live life. Skate Forever. Peace and love. Let’s be kind to each other, the earth and the animals. Meat is not food. Beans, fruits and vegetables. Healthy and positive lifestyle. Meditation, prayer and contemplation. Freedom of mind. Positive approach on things. Laughter and jokes. Waves breaking over a tropical beach. Have dreams. Fun and create. Palm trees. Two dolphins came by to say “Hello!”. Friends. Hope and meaning. Goodness. Sunlight.” Disclaimer: Bono had no part in that passage.
If there were more musicians like Mikko whom began to show the musicianship qualities of which he hones so well, we would most definitely feel a better known impact and importance of this artist on a music community far and wide, but until then, enjoy his songs.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Gabe Cahill aka You Don’t Know Me, hails from Omaha, Nebraska. Musically, Gabe’s music is just as strange as it is diverse. He reaches vocal heights that recall moments of Stephen Malkmus, Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley and a dash of Conor Oberst era Desaparecidos. With regards to genre diversity, I hear recollections of Detroit Garage music all the way to eerie folk pop. At times, the songs muster up no more hope than you would find in music by Elliott Smith or Nick Drake, while briefly reaching cheery heights.
On the web: http://www.myspace.com/gabecahill
Recommended if you like: Stephen Malkmus, Jeff Buckley, The Odd Fiddler, Beck, Elliot Smith, Desaparecidos, Nick Drake, Manchester 80’s scene…
Friday, November 12, 2010
Without a doubt, there is uncertainty as to where the physical format is going in terms of self releases and record labels, yet I still believe in the physical format. Upon looking around at the current activity, the definite change in cultural landscape of the ‘label’ has been spotted, there is an 'influx' of artists/bands running their own labels (self-release labels) in place of traditional labels, due to ‘label walkouts’ that appear to be all too common within the past several months.
These ‘self-release labels’ are currently taking the void for the ‘traditional label’, yet many of these self-release labels only intend to release ‘their own’ work, solely. For those still operating traditional labels, I think it is important to be a 'hold out', and by that, i mean not giving up, because by the time someone gives up, opportunities often times continue to show and result in ‘misses’, and it appears that in 'down times', we are more likely to be subject to more positive interaction, opportunities, you name it, than in a time when the market has fewer opportunities per an over abundance of seekers.
Some people don't like to wait too long, but when there is resurgence, those of which stay are certain to see quicker results. What I've learned is that despite the times, people come and go as they choose, and at times like these, it allows dead wood to be removed and allows those of which were meant to stay, to simply stay put.
This is a subject that recurs, but one of which undergoes little attention today, with special respect to those which have truly worked/aspired to ‘develop’ artists/bands whether it be local, regional, national, international; In order to encourage growth, it is ever important to support what is active today and it doesn’t have to be purely through ‘record sales’, sometimes sending letters/e-mails, what have you, in support of the things you enjoy, and with those certain efforts of appreciation, it is certain to perk some of us up a little, and may keep some more of us active.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
This Girl, That Boy, is a Canadian band, hailing from Edmonton Alberta Canada. Any band that has been around a few years, a band of which marks their only official release to date, as a 5 song self titled EP, isn’t likely going to be a story line that will capture a lot of interest, which makes it safe to say this band has been tremendously under looked considering their current musical accomplishments, and their forthcomings, which are said to be very near. In all kindness, to me this band sounds very little like their influences, all because there is a certain originality flowing in throughout their songs. Although influences may be the bread and butter for upstart bands, this band has enough confidence to go out there and for all practical purposes, to do their own thing.
EP’s rarely blow people away due to their shortness and also since they are normally served to tease and wet appetites, and this was no exception, although this self titled release certainly gives me the feeling what is next for this band certainly holds the potential to blow our ears away. What may attach listeners to This Girl, That Boy perhaps could be the emotions captured, and the poignancy of the vocals. They leave me waiting and wondering, which direction will they go and how far. Why would I worry this? I want them to play right here in Nebraska : )
On the web at: www.myspace.com/thisgirlthatboyband
Recommended if you like: Hideka, Ivy, early Keane, The Wandering Bears, Spencer McGillicutty, early Stills, late Mahogany, Sondre Lerche, Honey and Darling;
The Soft Hills are an American band hailing from Seattle Washington. This band has made what I would describe as one of the best ‘under the radar’ albums of which I’ve ever heard. Some great bands on early releases base a certain commonality of sounds within all songs within a said release, but this newer band captures something uniquely different within their sound from song to song, within practically every song. I foresee that fans of the album(s), Kings Of Convenience “Quiet is the New Loud”, Coldplay “Parachutes”, Radiohead “Kid A”, Radio Dept “Lesser Matters”, may certainly be fans which find complete joy in the hard work displayed on The Soft Hills full length release “Noruz”.
On the web at: www.myspace.com/thesofthills
Recommended if you like: Kings Of Convenience, Radiohead, Radio Dept, Vashti Bunyan, Nick Drake;
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Stars in Coma's latest LP And the Cloud Withdrew From the Sky is a goodun.
Let me be the first to tell you: it's really lush. The electronics are very well programmed and have a strange way of walking a fine line by being gestural and well orchestrated.
The release is out on Kingem Records - a little label started by Mark Zonda. It is the very first release on the label, but they have since released another, to all the DIY nuts out there I recommend getting on this stuff straight away so that you can have a label's discography!
Having said all that, the album has its quiet and introverted moments, namely My Hidden Fears, which I would say is my favourite track on the album, but is not necessarily the quintessential Stars in Coma number. Theres a song called NYE which is number 9.
Anyway the album is available on iTunes and through the website, as a CDR, with gorgeous artwork made by Håkan Carlsson and Mark Zonda. Staying true to the national Swedish identity, this is catchy indie-pop that will stay on your music player for extended periods.
Check them here.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
My name is Christopher and I am the curator and organizer of Nebraska Pop Festival (www.myspace.com/nebraskapopfestival), I am writing you to let you know about the second edition of Nebraska Pop Festival. The beneficiary for the 2010 Nebraska Pop Festival is UNO Mav Radio. All proceeds made from the festival will go directly to the station.
The Nebraska Pop Festival 2010, will be held on September 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19 (those dates being Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday), with a pre festival show on Saturday, August 28th
35 independent pop bands have joined forces with Nebraska Pop Festival 2010, with representation including Local, Midwest, Coastal and International;
The bands will be coming from (11) different states: Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Washington, New York & California. Also the Nebraska Pop Festival 2010 will include international bands from Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, France and Canada.
Tickets are $5 nightly and are available at the door only, anytime during each Nebraska Pop Festival event. The Friday and Saturday shows in September will be all ages. The shows held on Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and the pre festival show, requires those attending to be 21 years and older.
Nebraska Pop Festival 2010 lineup of performers
Saturday, August 28th (pre-festival show) @ Barley Street Tavern. Official start time 8:00PM with end time approximately 1:30AM (This show is 5 USD at the door) *21+
1. The Love Technicians (Omaha, Nebraska)
2. The Sleepover (Lincoln, Nebraska)
3. Platte River Rain (Omaha, Nebraska)
4. Mumford’s (Ames, Iowa)
5. I Am The Navigator (Lincoln, Nebraska)
6. The Renfields (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Wednesday, September 15th NIGHT ONE @ Barley Street Tavern. Official start time 8:00PM with end time approximately 1:30AM (This show is 5 USD at the door) *21+
1. Panda Face (Lincoln, Nebraska)
2. Cleemann (solo) (Copenhagen, Denmark)
3. Coney Island (Madison, Wisconsin)
4. The Bedsit Infamy (Denver, Colorado)
Thursday, September 16th NIGHT TWO @ Barley Street Tavern. Official start time 8:00PM with end time approximately 1:30AM (This show is 5 USD at the door) *21+
1. You Don’t Know Me (Omaha, Nebraska)
2. Normandie Wilson (San Diego, California)
3. Dexter Poindexter (Wheeling, Illinois)
4. Electric Needle Room (Kansas City, Kansas)
5. Pezzettino (Brooklyn, New York)
Friday, September 17th NIGHT THREE @ The Pizza Shoppe Collective. Official start time 7:00PM with end time approximately 1:30AM (This show is 5 USD at the door) *ALL AGES
1. Floating Opera (Lincoln, Nebraska)
2. Gilbe (Des Moines, Iowa & Chicago, Illinois)
3. Kissing Party (Denver, Colorado)
4. The Mother Z’s (Chicago, Illinois)
5. Seaside Stars (Berlin, Germany)
6. Alone With Everybody (Toulouse, France)
7. Thunder Power (Omaha, Nebraska)
Saturday, September 18th NIGHT FOUR @ The Pizza Shoppe Collective. Official start time 7:00PM with end time approximately 1:30AM (This show is 5 USD at the door) *ALL AGES
1. Eric In Outerspace (Omaha, Nebraska)
2. Mammoth Life (Lawrence, Kansas)
3. Matty Cries (Seattle, Washington)
4. Paris When It Sizzles! (Omaha, Nebraska)
5. James and the Express (Olympia, Washington)
6. Doug Hoyer (Edmonton, Canada)
7. Maid Marian (Iowa City, Iowa)
Sunday, September 19th FINAL NIGHT @ The Sydney. Official start time 7:00PM with end time approximately 1:30AM (This show is 5 USD at the door) *21+
1. Seedlings (Des Moines, Iowa)
2. Paper City (Long Beach, California)
3. Cleemann *full band (Denmark/Omaha & Lincoln Nebraska)
4. Modes of Resuscitation (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
5. Spencer McGillicutty (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
6. The Homestories (Winterthur, Switzerland)
7. The Wandering Bears (Iowa City, Iowa)
I would greatly appreciate it if you could help us spread the word about the festival.
Here is a free mixtape from the bands playing the festival
NB: if you need information about bands, press passes, coordination of interviews, etc. please contact Christopher @ NebraskaPopFestival@gmail.com
Curator and lead organizer of the Nebraska Pop Festival (2009 & 2010)
Post Office Box 875
Columbus, Nebraska 68602
firstname.lastname@example.org & www.myspace.com/nebraskapopfestival
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Paper City hails from Long Beach California. For a few years now, I’ve been overly familiar with member Marisa Predisik’s various recording projects, and received a most proper introduction to her moniker of “Paper City”, in late 2009, with her self titled full length release. The “Paper City” album is filled with confidence, intelligence, and unique instrumental/vocal delivery. Vocally at times, the songs visibly recall Elliott Smith, and vocally, lyrically and instrumentally, the songs often recall Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson.
Although there are no songs on this particular album titled “steppin’ out”, “miss misery” or “peace, love and understanding”, the Paper City album is surely more than enough to keep the listeners content.
Check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/papercityband
Recommended if you like: Elvis Costello, Spoon, Joe Jackson, The Cars, Brian Wilson, Belle and Sebastian, The Smiths, The Beatles, The Police, Cocteau Twins, Elliott Smith, The Sea and Cake;
Anthony Rochester hails from Hobart, Tasmania Australia. I’ve been listening to his songs since sometime 2007. My most memorable introduction to the music of Anthony Rochester came in the form of a handmade record titled “Music for the Spaceship”. Upon first hearing that record, it didn’t leave my player for many weeks.
Overall the songs were very well crafted, and although he did have precious contributors on his album, he did the lion’s share. On a high note, Anthony Rochester closely evokes Erlend Oye (vocally), Kings of Convenience (all the way), and Jens Lekman (lyrically, at times). Anthony Rochester has successfully released a few full lengths, and a series of EP’s, appearing on various labels, stretching from California, to his home land of Australia. Also Anthony Rochester is well known for his collaborations with Japan shoegaze artist Hideka, and members of Testbild!, among other notables.
Check him out here: http://www.myspace.com/anthonyrochester
Also hear some of his collaborative efforts including “aaah” featuring Hideka: http://www.myspace.com/thesunshinespectacular
Download (3) free and legal songs from “Music for the Spaceship” here: http://indiepages.com/seriestwo/025.html
Recommended if you like: Kings of Convenience, Testbild!, Jens Lekman, Belle and Sebastian, The Hepburns, The High Llamas, The Lucksmiths;
Friday, July 2, 2010
After an unannounced JUNE break, starting this month JULY, I will be back in the process of writing and adding additional reviews to the Even In The Future blog ++ also I will catch up with the weekly recommendations as well.
Thank you for your continued support.
Monday, May 31, 2010
The Tinycakes hail from Chicago Illinois. The sole member of the band is Jim and he plays guitar and keyboard and also sings. The first time I came across his music was a few years ago, when he had sent me his (2) CD’s along with several lovely homemade comics of which come highly recommended by myself and precious others. His music to me is very simple yet honest and well crafted. Through his own words and he makes his songs for himself, but also for “People to listen to and forget about the bad stuff”, a message that he successfully conveys through humor, honesty and also through his various emotions of which he expresses from song to song.
Vocally he sounds very original to me, but at times his voice can cause cracks of laughter from listeners, especially through his humorous lyrics. In recent years Jim has succeeded in finding more opportunities for himself to perform at various independent live music venues with many of his favorite up and coming artists in Chicago.
His influences include: Jonathan Richman, Tom Waits, Syd Barrett, They Might Be Giants, Robyn Hitchcock and more.
Check him out here: http://www.myspace.com/thetinycakes
(9) free and legal downloads available here: http://indiepages.com/seriestwo/087.html
The Big Picture hails from Beijing China via Stockholm Sweden. It is primarily one member named Mikael Salomonsson, though he receives help from several talented musician friends. He’s been making music under this moniker for about 5 years now, and has successfully held performances in both Sweden and China. Basically a few years ago he had moved to Beijing to further study Chinese and while there he settled with a label which helped him release his music in China and the label also helped him with live performances there too. That label is 1724 records. Mikael’s voice has a great range, best described by me as a style closely evoking late great Elliott Smith.
His self titled known to be debut full length album was released in 2008 in USA and later also released in China. When performing live, The Big Picture has consisted of a revolving cast of musicians including Lina Cullemark (Springfactory) and Peter Gunnarson (SKWBN) among other talented musicians.
Hear more here: http://www.myspace.com/picturethisbig
Download (3) free and legal mp3’s here http://www.indiepages.com/seriestwo/027.html
Recommended if you like: Elliott Smith, Springfactory, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Jose Gonzalez, Minakumari, Spiders for Love, Oh Sweet Music!;
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Sweet Sweet Concorde hails from Orebro Sweden. It is a solo project of Anders, whom also has played some with a very well known Swedish indie band named Robert Church and the Holy Community. To date his primary released recordings appear on a collection he has titled “Life In The Canopy” which is a solo effort of 10 songs, of which are apparently recorded in a bedroom. Initially without having the knowledge he had played in Robert Church, the recording quality reminded me of what it would sound like if someone recorded on the same equipment as R.C.
Whether that is in fact true maybe doesn’t matter all that much. A notable characteristic of Anders is his creativity appears to peak within every song, and this rarely occurs, especially on a debut album.
Recommended if you like the follow qualities: energetic, charm, heartfelt, genuine, humor, playfulness, etc.
(3) Free and legal downloads available here http://indiepages.com/seriestwo/041.html
Hear even more here: http://www.myspace.com/sweetsweetconcorde
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Broken Folk Transistor hails from Collingwood Ontario Canada. I received a package from Ryan including (3) full CDs of music he has made under 3 different monikers. The album that struck my fancy the most is his solo project Broken Folk Transistor. One might think already, three different band names, what does this guy do with his time? Well in Broken Folk Transistor, Ryan conveys his message through 21 songs, and further cements the title of being “prolific”.
Sometimes albums by solo musicians with this quantity of songs, usually achieve quantity over the overall quality of an album, but this piece will certainly be one of the most sublime 20+ song records I’ll probably ever hear. Ryan’s lyrics, vocals and instrumentation qualities surely outmatch the work of several members within many bands. Never having heard of Collingwood before in my life, it’s easy to assume that in obscured areas that most of the time you have to do things yourself, the DIY way, as opposed to exhausting searches for band members. If/when Ryan decides to take a step out of Collingwood, he will surely garner a lot more notoriety for his musical talents.
Heavily recommended if you like early recordings from the following: Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Beck, Jesus and Mary Chain;
Check em out here: http://www.myspace.com/brokenfolktransistor
Saturday, May 8, 2010
My Autumn Sons hails from Sweden. There are four total members, each of them having significant roles within the band. The vocals of Anna Ödlund could be described as “lush” and evoke Dominique Durand (Ivy), & Tracyanne Campbell (Camera Obscura). The male vocals tend to have a darkness/ borderline gothic sound evoking 80’s Manchester bands.
Overall the songs have a very catchy melodic basis to them, and the vocals/lyrics also take just as strong of a hold within the songs on a regular basis. There are several side projects; one I’d recommend highly is Leonwalls. Among their several videos, I choose to post their video for song “Plain”.
Recommended if you like: Ivy, Camera Obscura, The Chameleons, The Smiths, Joy Division, Peter Bjorn and John, Radio Dept, Adrian Borland;
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/myautumnsons
(3) Free & Legal downloads here http://indiepages.com/seriestwo/058.html
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Modes of Resuscitation is a quartet which hails from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. One thing that has always amazed me about this band is the variety of sound that they offer up in their songs. “Triggers” for example recalls my good memories for 80’s Manchester bands like The Chameleons and The Sound. “Triggers” also evokes Joy Division in a very odd way, more so instrumentally and not at all vocally. This observation and artistry has been rarely achieved by followers of Joy Division, they usually mess up the song by trying to make their voice sound exactly like Ian Curtis, but to his own credit, lead vocalist Matthew has a distinct voice.
The band describes their sound as “New Wave, post punk, folk, and blues. Thankfully, not all rolled into one, though”. I’d say that statement is quite valid, and makes their music all the more intriguing to the beginning listener. Lyrically, Matthew would fit in quite well with the late great Adrian Borland (of The Sound fame).
Recommended if you like: 80’s Manchester including The Smiths, Joy Division, The Sound, The Chameleons, New Order; Also recommended if you like: Mahogany, Cleemann, Magnetic Fields, High Llamas;
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/modesofresuscitation
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Äänijännite hails from Helsinki Finland. The first I heard of them was in 2008 and it was their song “Quantum Leap” that struck my fancy. When exploring more of their songs it becomes more and more clear the electronic basis in their songs and also a great emphasis on keyboards as well. Äänijännite’s sounds remind me of how Radio Dept could be if they were upbeat. It is normal for music in this “vein” to not catch my attention all that much, but there is something very special about this band. One significant attribute of this band is not only are they all over the place but also the clear fact that they keep things interesting.
Recommended if you like: Cleemann, Radio Dept, Television Keeps Us Apart, early Keane, SKWBN, Stereolab, early vhs or beta, Thurston Moore, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, early The Rapture;
Check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/aanijannite
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Chuck Morgan hails from Goteborg Sweden. I must let the cat out of the bag; his real name is actually Anton Ekman. One of the most interesting qualities I find in the music of Chuck Morgan is the voice sounds very fresh, and clear. The melodies in the songs are very catchy, and accompany his voice very well. Also another interesting quality is that Anton is really quite young, in his early 20s. His song “Our Future Could Be So Bright” catches the irony. His sole full length to date is “Patchworks” and it’s a collection consisting of some of Anton’s finest songs to date.
Recommended if you like: Nick Drake, Kings of Convenience, Cleemann, Radio Dept., Ossian Ekenger, Oh! Custer, Jose Gonzalez, etc.
(3) Free and legal downloads here http://indiepages.com/seriestwo/070.html
Hear more here: www.myspace.com/chuckmorgan8
Saturday, April 10, 2010
James & the Express hails from Olympia Washington. When I first heard their album “Are Your Tomatoes Safe?”, I was quickly satisfied by the sound. I felt this way because the playfulness in his songs, the emotions being shared, the joy that can be heard from the vocals and the melody, among other great qualities. In the lyric writing, there is clearly parts that appear to have spontaneous lines that are classic, for example “Something New”. Songs such as “Built for Two” for example contain bucket loads of charm and loveliness.
Recommended for fans of: Anything melodic and poppy, including: Lucksmiths, Eggstone, Marshall Crenshaw, Spearmint, Magnetic Fields, Elvis Costello, Neil Young, and Beatles. Pretty much most 60's pop and Swede pop.
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/theslappies
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Spiders for Love hail from Omaha, Nebraska. I’ve seen this band perform live three different times; try to understand this, ok? First time I saw them play, they had two members, 2nd time they had three members, and the 3rd time they had four members. You probably know where this is going ha! Anyways now that this tidbit is out of the way lets talk about the music.
Member DL Diedrich shares vocal duties with his wife Cryssy Jean-Diedrich and as you could possibly guess, they go back and forth in song. Originally when I first heard their songs, I thought Beat Happening meets Adam Green. On the “Shotgun Wedding ep”, DL Diedrich reminds me a lot of early Beck recordings, and it’s important to note that the vocals appear to come out forceful (at times) yet pleasantly capture moments of humor.
Despite the recordings being relatively lo-fi, they are still good to my ears. As a side note, the Diedrich’s operate Hell-o Ferocious Records of Omaha, which has made some hand releases to date; also recently they started a tape label. Both projects primarily focusing on releases for bands from the Omaha area, and they legitimately strive to be inclusive. Also Spiders for Love member Sara also plays in Omaha indie/pop band Honey & Darling.
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/spidersforlove
& here www.helloferociousrecords.com
CranKlan hails from Japan. What interests me most about this band is their huge sound, which is instantly recognized when the album is first played. After the first two songs, the 5 song EP mellows out quite a bit, becoming very poppy. The first pair of songs reminds me of what it would be like if Jaga Jazzist met Radio Dept. Vocally, the remaining songs remind me of a Japanese version of Dominique from band Ivy and also surely remind me of a Japan artist named Hideka.
Recommended if you like: Dream Pop, MBV, Hideka, Ivy, Radio Dept, Jaga Jazzist, Asobi Seksu, Mahogany, mid-late 90’s indie/alternative;
Check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/cranklan
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Dexter Poindexter is Tommy Komorowski. He hails from the suburbs of Chicago Illinois. Unlike the previous recommendations, Tommy is significantly different. Instead of having years under his belt, he has very few of those in music, but those years he has spent already have been precious one’s. To me, his music lightly evokes Lou Reed, Jens Lekman, Lloyd Cole, Felt, and Klas.
Tommy’s earlier recordings appeared to be focused lyrically and musically on two common lovely themes, those are life and love. His most recent material appears to emphasize largely on enjoying himself more and being playful within the songs. A clear favorite song of mine would be “Life of an Annual”. I held a conversation with Tommy a few months back; because it was relatively hard for me to decipher what music he enjoys (influences, etc.). Usually it’s very common to just throw about names, but with Tommy, he’s apart of a younger generation that is just trying to do their own thing.
Tommy’s list of coolest bands ever includes The Modern Lovers, The Fleshtones, New York Dolls and specified his favorite band as being DEVO. Some of his biggest influences include Johnny Thunders guitar playing, American Football, Sam Zurick, the vocal harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel, the lyrical styling of Adam Cox, and largely “…most of my influence is drawn from my love of Wheeling Illinois and how I feel living there, and the love for my friends”.
Hear it here: www.myspace.com/dexterpoindexterband
Friday, March 26, 2010
Double Dan hails from Malmo Sweden. These days it’s remarkable seeing all the band names already in use, and that it is so hard putting together a band name unless you think “irony”. And irony there is, there is two Dan’s in this band, Dan E. and Dan L. Anyways now that we are through with the band name thing, let’s talk about their music. When I first heard this band a few years ago, I was not immediately aware they consisted of members whom have/are playing with Double Dan, Acid House Kings, and Starlet among others.
That fact was clearly a pleasant surprise. I liken their sound to a quality that is just as good as all three of those bands, and perhaps just a little better. Sadly it is not uncommon for “side projects” to slip through the cracks and achieve less notoriety, but an artist like Double Dan is more than just another “side project”, they are deserving of your ears attention. Purveyors of Swedish pop can expect to be wowed by this band.
Recommended if you like: The Honeydrips, We & Lisa, The Embassy, Club 8, Acid House Kings, SKWBN, Sambassadeur, Radio Dept, Felt, Field, Mice, Belle and Sebastian, Erlend Oye, Most Valuable Players, National Bank, Ivy, Junior Boys;
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/thedoubledan
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Bamboo House hails from Annandale, New York. Some of the most interesting lyrics that I’ve heard in recent memory are conveyed within these songs. Though at times the lyrics appear to have a little gloom and doom feel to them which is reminiscent to Elliott Smith’s in some ways, some of the songs do have humor attached to them, which when thinking of some of the lyrics days later, can make you crack a smile or chuckle. There are many creative lyrical phrases within the songs of Bamboo House, many phrases which I’ve not quite heard before which is an extremely rare quality these days with a lot of music having excessive usage of derivatives.
The vocals surely evoke Erlend Oye and Jose Gonzalez which is an interesting combination. The melodies have a post modern Nick Drake feel to them, but with the way the vocals are displayed along with the melodies, that eerie feel you’d hear from Drake’s songs is nearly non existent.
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/bamboohousemusic
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Malkovic hails from Moscow Russia. The group features prominently two members, Alesha and Sasha, both of which have an interest in creating sounds, as described by them as “indie-lounge”. Ever since I became aware of their music sometime in 2006, I’ve been a consistent fan of their work. Their most recent release “Little Estrada” is highly recommended by me, and to date is their sole full length album.
Little Estrada is a diverse album, which would most definitely appeal to fans of lounge, pop and bossa nova. Malkovic draws a lot of influence from such artists as The Free Design, Kings of Convenience, and The Notwist among others. There are a lot of great qualities to the music of Malkovic; I’ll name three such qualities: their lovely melodies, their lovely vocals, and the diversity of their sound. Another notable contribution behalf of Malkovic is they have songs written in English, Russian and French.
They do have some interesting videos to go along with their sound scapes, you may check them out here:
The music of Malkovic is highly recommended for fans of the following:
The Free Design, Kings of Convenience, The Notwist, Ivy, Prefab Sprout, Acid House Kings, Stereolab, Anthony Rochester, Swedish Pop, Soviet Retro pop, Field Mice, Sondre Lerche, The High Llamas, Air France, Chamber Music, Bossa Nova, Lounge, Pop, etc.
Check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/malkovic
Friday, March 12, 2010
Mammoth Life hails from Lawrence Kansas. This “big” band includes synthesizer, violin, drums, keyboard, guitar, bass... along with soaring male and female vocals. Some of their most favorite artists include the Beach Boys and Devo. In their new song “Boy Blue, An American Lion”, their guitars evoke The Smiths’ “Meat Is Murder” and the vocals remind me a lot of the finest moments from Mew’s “Frengers” album. The genre of Mammoth Life is best described by them as Orchestral Western Pop, Kaleidoscopic Art Pop, and Western Pop.
Their music comes highly recommended by me, especially for fans of: The Beach Boys, Camera Obscura, Sondre Lerche, Belle and Sebastian, Thunder Power, sincerity and individuality.
Mammoth Life goes on tour June/July and will be playing over 3 weeks of shows in Midwest and West Coast of the USA.
See a Mammoth Life video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Loxn_ES4kII
For more info see:
Friday, March 5, 2010
The Odd Fiddler hails from Stockholm Sweden. Within his lyrics, main member Pell P. Arvidsson conveys charm, naivety, desperation, frustration, depression, love and death, among other things. What makes The Odd Fiddler unique is that his music is nearly incomparable to other artists, and the way in which he projects himself is a style that has allowed many listeners the ability to fall in love with the songs, or hate them to pieces. The obscurity in style is surely what attracts listeners to The Odd Fiddler, in addition to his charm and his overwhelming humor. See “The Odd Fiddler” video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B9BXSrXPHU
Check out The Odd Fiddler here: http://www.myspace.com/theoddfiddler
Check out Pell’s newest creations here: http://www.myspace.com/pellparvidsson
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Normandie Wilson hails from San Diego, California. Recently she mailed me a full length CDR of her songs, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had so much joy in hearing her songs that I allowed the album to be played a few times before I caught some sleep. The joy from listening took me back to a time when I discovered the sounds of Sondre Lerche.
The vocal styling reminds me a lot of standards’, the confidence within the vocals is nearly unmatched today. At other times her vocal styling reminds me of the youngsters/twins Miriam and Johanna, of which make up Taxi! Taxi!. The lyrics are very remarkable; at times they evoke Cole Porter. The piano playing reminds me a bit of Elliott Smith and Schroder from “The Peanuts”.
In all, everything from the percussion, the piano, the trumpets, etc. all appears in the right place. Normandie’s songs are all over the place musically most obvious the lounge and pop feel, but also at times perhaps borderline jazz? Anyways I’m very happy that my ears met them.
Hear more here: www.myspace.com/normandiewilson
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Television Keeps Us Apart hails from Stockholm & Linköping Sweden. They make very “hip” sounding pop music with beats that one can easily dance to. I believe the main story lines to the songs are based on life, love & relationships. When I first heard them was a few years back, it was their song “Never Be Alone” that received the repeated attention of my ears.
The most recent release from Television Keeps Us Apart is their six song EP “A SLIGHT CHANGE OF LIGHT”, which you may download for free at their site here http://www.litdeparade.org/ via clicking their name. Cal and Axel, the sole members of Television Keeps Us Apart have been together for 4 years now, and will hopefully be around much longer.
Television Keeps Us Apart is very highly recommended to fans of many Swedish pop bands including: The Radio Dept, The LK, Oh! Custer, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Springfactory, Oh! Sweet Music, The Big Picture, among others…
Check them out here as well: http://www.myspace.com/televisionkeepsusapart
Friday, February 19, 2010
Artisokka hails from Helsinki Finland. They are a six piece band with arrangements of great maturity and complexity. Artisokka is clearly one of the best sounding followers of Nick Drake that I’ve ever heard. What I like most about this band is how eclectic their sound is, with perfect sounding elements of jazz and lounge in addition to their common folk and pop sounds.
When I put this album in a few months ago, the words “more horns please” came into my mind. I’d heavily recommend Artisokka to fans of Kings of Convenience, Sondre Lerche, Nick Drake, Poland, Jaga Jazzist, and Radiohead’s “Kid A” among others.
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/artisokkanet
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The Argyle Wishlist hails from Milwaukee Wisconsin. He’s been around for years making short and lovely indie pop songs. First Jesse Bell got his start with a garage pop combo in Michigan named the Keen and in 2004 began writing under his new moniker. He’s self released several EPs on his Pickupsticks label including some splits, and has appeared on compilations and has released some full lengths, his most recent being “My Thoughts Exactly”.
Recently Jesse from The Argyle Wishlist has collaborated at a distance with a French artist named Stephane, also known as Skittle Alley. Together they have penned several songs, some of which they plan to release on their imprint named The Postcard Music. Also within the last few months, Jesse has added members to The Argyle Wishlist band including Zach on bass guitar and Tim on the drums. Jesse Bell has also made some music videos including one for his song “More Midwestern” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql_QlRvK8Uc and also a video for Seattle’s favorite chamber pop band named Poland for their song “Your Sunday Book” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ5TpRlJuhY
The Argyle Wishlist has listed the following influences:
The Bats, The Beach Boys, Beat Happening, The Beatles, Beulah, Buddy Holly, Burt Bacharach, The Clash, The Clean, Elvis Costello, The Jam, The Kinks, The Lucksmiths, Matthew Sweet, XTC, The Zombies, etc.
Check out The Argyle Wishlist on MySpace here: http://www.myspace.com/theargylewishlist
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Oh Sweet Music! hails from Stockholm, Sweden. Although the name is only known by relatively few people, the whistling in their song “Four Long Years” is surely recognizable already to many. Recently their song “Four Long Years” was used in a major ad campaign to help others relearn life without smoking. See the commercial here (again) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_4iNXwG7Mc
Oh Sweet Music! is influenced by world politics, and the cheery Malmo Sweden music scene. His music is highly recommended by me for those that love short Swedish pop songs with emphasis on lovely melodies, vocals, humor and of course whistling. Also their music is highly recommended if you like artists such as Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Tafra, Springfactory, Klas, Loney Dear, Oh! Custer, The Big Picture, Robert Church, The Sound of Arrows, and other great Swedish pop bands.
Magnus is the main man behind Oh Sweet Music! but also included in the songs are members Mackan, Riley, Amanda, Mathias, Mikael, Valdet and Wilhelm.
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/ohsweetmusic
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Antony Harding hails from Malmo Sweden, but also has former ties to the UK. I discovered his solo project “Ant” around 2005 through his album “A Long Way to Blow a Kiss” (2002). That album in particular struck my fancy the most. Before his solo project, Antony Harding was a drummer for the indie band named “Hefner” whom featured Darren Hayman on the vocals. Antony Harding later collaborated at a distance with poetry writer/ cartoon artist Eivind Kirkeby of Norway, and together they formed the music project known as “Lonely Boy” and released one album together which struck my fancy also.
The music of “Ant” and “Lonely Boy” is strongly recommended if you like heart felt acoustic songs with lovely vocals.
You may download (3) free and legal songs from “Lonely Boy” at this link http://indiepages.com/seriestwo/017.html
Check out Ant and Lonely Boy at MySpace
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Old Time Radio hails from Gdansk Poland. They are a three member band which formed initially almost 10 years ago. The band has a very eclectic sound which I’d associate with simplicity, obscurity and all out lovely. Together as a band, Old Time Radio has completed a few albums with their most recent offering being a long player of Christmas songs, all of which are written by the band.
Old Time Radio comes heavily recommended to fans of bands such as Kings of Convenience, Stereolab, Camera Obscura, Radio Dept, Warm Morning, Robert Church, The High Llamas and others.
The members of Old Time Radio are as follows: Tomasz Garstkowiak (vocals, guitars), Magda Szkudlarek (vocals, synthesizers) and Piotr Salewski (bass guitar).
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/otradio
The Royal Chord band hails from Melbourne Australia, with ties also in Guatemala and the UK. Among the many many bands/artists in Australia, Royal Chord is one of the most interesting that I’ve heard from that land since my introduction to artists such as Anthony Rochester and Agnes Kain. The lyrics to Royal Chord’s songs seem simple yet they are very meaningful. The vocals recall early Feist, early Cat Power, and the Dreamers. The backing music has certain uniqueness to it as it reminds me of what I would hear from early Beach House.
Royal Chord has been touring the world off and on throughout the last few years, would be good to make the effort to see them.
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/royalchordroyalchord
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Tweefort is music and art collective which hails from New Haven Connecticut. Dan and Aileen started Tweefort in 2009 with a mission. That mission is to bring “pop” bands through New Haven to do live shows and to work hard in hopes of building a cohesive following around the music they promote. Recently they expanded their mission into also promoting artists via physical compilations which they have released on Tweefort. Tweefort has also started releasing free download net releases of singles and ep’s from bands which they like.
Everyone’s contribution to music is unique regardless of whether they are a fan, a promoter or contribute to a band. The theme of the compilation series is to showcase bands from Connecticut and abroad, with some of the bands already having played a show organized by Tweefort and some with hopes of doing so in the future. Tweefort has a new compilation coming forward in February, and certainly many singles, ep’s, etc. releases coming out this year as well.
Tweefort has a broad sense for the many sub genres of “pop” bands and welcomes those interesting in playing a show to contact them.
More info here: http://tweefort.com/about/
Kissing Party hails from Denver Colorado. Their lyrics have certain sweetness to them and are presented with a natural sing along structure. The vocals are soft and lovely. Their melodies recall early Stills, early Strokes, Joy Division, and Hearts By Darts.
Although Kissing Party may not be very well known yet, these songs certainly provide a potential for far more. One important aspect of quality to note is that there are many indie/pop bands which haven’t quite made it as far in terms of progress and recording quality as Kissing Party has reached in their 4 years as a band. Recent trendoid bands like PAINS haven’t quite done it for me or much of anyone. Bands with a little more seasoning than PAINS such as Kissing Party are perfectly capable for filling the void from those feelings of disappointment.
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/thekissingparty
Monday, January 25, 2010
A good friend Alessandro has put to rest his life long labor of love. Below is a statement which he released regarding the demise of Best Kept Secret.
"January 2010: just a quick note to let you all know that twelve years and one-hundred and fifty-two releases (well, one-hundred and fifty, since a couple of them never actually happened, despite having been given a catalog number) later, Best Kept Secret is ceasing operations for good.
A number of circumstances (mostly personal) have left me without much of a choice and have thus led me to eventually make such a painful decision.
There are a million things I may write about how fun it was to run Best Kept Secret, the difference the label has made in my life since its early days and what the support of anyone I have come to know (and sometimes meet) and dealt with over the years has meant to me, but I believe that some things are better left unsaid, as I guess that everyone is aware of how it feels when factors we have no control over force us to give up on things, situations or people we really care for.
I will therefore go ahead and send out a big THANK YOU and just as big a HUG to anyone who has helped us with things we could not do ourselves, to all the bands/artists who have trusted us with their music and to anyone who has taken the time to write about our releases or has otherwise supported us along the way by buying or trading for our tapes or simply by showing appreciation and providing encouragement with a few kind words.
As for the back catalog, I will do my best to maintain availability of the releases that are currently not deleted already for some time (possibly through the end of the year). Both the main site and this page will also remain visible for a while yet.
And this is about it, I guess.
So long, everybody."
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The Desks are from Australia. It is a boy named Jeff and his guitar. Some of the songs are upbeat while others have the ability to tug on the heart strings quite a bit. A quality in songs that is very similar to early Bright Eyes or Teitur for example. One thing that sets The Desks so much apart from other songwriters of his kind is he can surely jam pack an album full of songs that seemingly fit together remarkably well.
Check em out here: www.myspace.com/desks