Thursday, May 25, 2006

Music That's Better Than You. Week 4

Hey. Get on board the Better-Than-You Bus or your ass can walk home with The Snow Patrol fans.


Everyone now, all together,

“Wha- wait, Gomez?”

Yeah Gomez. They’re back.

It is among a music nerd’s most supreme and hallowed pleasures to find a band, once stellar- now mediocre, suddenly rocketing from the depths of mediocrity right back into the best-of-the-year fray.

It’s been six years since Gomez released something both moving and artful. Their last several albums, although not explicitly poor were sub-par offerings from a group that gave us the jazz/blues/roots-soul rock of Liquid Skin and Bring It On.

I had written these English boys off. VERY few bands snap out of a six year funk to release something truly quality.

Well sometimes I love being wrong.

Not to say How We Operate is on a perfect level with ‘Skin or Bring It On, but if I were to rate those albums as 9.0s (which I do) How We Operate is easily an 8.0. (Only because some of the choruses on the later tracks are a bit strained and sappy.)

Sounds like:
Um, Gomez- thank god.

No really, sounds like:
“Wow someone turned up the tech; their guitar player really stepped up his gam- wait, wait that’s not a guitar… is that a goddamn banjo- “

[STREAMER] Gomez - How We Operate [NEW.ALBUM]
[STREAMER] Gomez - Get Miles [Live]

[THE ‘SPACE] Gomez

[HOME] Gomez

peeping tom

Mike Patton. Michael fucking Patton.

I don’t even know where to start. I think it might be fair to say Mike Patton is to indie music what Quentin Tarantino was to indie film; an artist who could wear the phrase ‘style-over-content’ as a badge of honor across his chest. The only difference between these visionaries is that Patton was fame-struck early in his career as opposed to Q who has slowly amassed his following.

However both men luxuriate in homage and a reckless urge to push their genres out of their normal restraints while fusing them with whatever strikes their creators as stimulating and hip.

The results are painfully eclectic and hopelessly goddamn cool.

Patton’s vocals range anywhere (and everywhere) from a gravel-throated slang to piercing falsetto chorusing and even sweeping angelic undulation.

And that’s warming up.

Throw Patton’s peerless voices on top of some of the most sinister and deft production he’s done to date and you’ve got something unlike anything you (or anyone else) has ever heard before.

Peeping Tom may be one of Mike’s best projects, ever. If you have an experimental bone in your body do yourself a favor and get on the ride.

(In case the above statement didn’t properly warn you- this is a release 95% of you will not enjoy. For that 95%, my suggestion; Snow Patrol just put out a new album, idiots.)

Sounds like:
Dan the Automator, Massive Attack, Kool Keith, Kid Koala and Norah Jones (Yes, That Norah Jones) guesting on an album built with wicked dark beats and narrated by Patton’s twisted and eerily gorgeous vocals.

The Gorillaz penning the score to a battle between Heaven and Hell might sound like this.

I don’t know man.

No really, sounds like:
A cartoon painted in blood across the marble floor of a pristine chapel.

[THE ‘SPACE] Peeping Tom

[HOME] Peeping Tom

Head Like a Kite

I like bands that don’t shy from mixing styles and genres. Head Like A Kite is a little bit indie, a little bit glitch pop, a little shoegaze and a whole lot of Prada sheathed toe tapping.

Yes, this sound is part of The Killers neverwave movement, but where The Killers beg for air play, bands like a Head Like A Kite wouldn’t be caught dead on their knees- they’re too busy gyrating against your girl’s ass with a cigarette in one hand and martini in the other.

The music on ‘Kite’s first LP, Random Portraits of the Home Movies does threaten to break into a drunken dance party at any second but the nearly hypnotic vocals manage to sooth the inflammation and keep things blissfully low key. It’s a nice twist on a strong drink.

Sounds like:
“Think Four Tet, The Notwist, Mouse on Mars, and The Dismemberment Plan hosting a party in Manchester during The Factory heyday.” - Head Like A Kite Homepage

(Shit if they are gonna do it for me…hey, I’ll take hand outs.)

No really, sounds like:
Swaggering riffs and slutty runs played across a field of dangerously danceable rhythms.

[MP3] Head Like A Kite - Tell Mommy You Want a Sip of Beer
[MP3] Head Like A Kite - Noisy at the Circus

[THE ‘SPACE] Head Like A Kite

[HOME] Head Like A Kite

Russian Circles

These kids have been touring with Minus the Bear so I’m sure they’re all kinds of old news, but even I move slow on some artists. Although in all fairness ‘Circles first LP was released only a few days ago. Still I know, I know, I should have had it back around Christmas, right?

Russian Circles is at a point in their career where fans should treat them as an investment. Listeners must choose to invest their precious time and energy into a group that in all likelihood has some growing to do and leaving their end prodcut some what nebulous. Yet Russian Circles have managed to build themselves a sound that is intriguing and a bit unique; they take a more technical and aggressive approach to the instrumental/post-rock field, however there is nothing truly groundbreaking or revolutionary in their form. Still, if these kids continue playing and writing I foresee something much greater in their future.

This may be one of those bands whose tenacity presently outreaches their level of talent but if they strive to master their craft, eventually both skill and scope could meet for some truly impressive results.

Time will tell.

Sounds like:
Minus the Bear got long winded and picked up some of the haunting (and breath-taking)dynamics of Jeniferever.

No really, sounds like:
The majesty of a distant mountain peaks wreathed in clouds, and then the eruption that cloaks them in ash and fire.

[MP3] Russian Circles - Death Rides A Horse

[THE ‘SPACE] Russian Circles

[HOME] Russian Circles

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Music That's Better Than You. Week 3

Still here. Still better than you.

The Whole Fantastic World

You want smart pop? I got your smart pop.

Listen to this band and guess how many people are in it.

If you said anything but three you’re wrong.

And if you guessed three, you’re lying, because this is one of those rare bands comprised of members so talented their sound must belong to a group literally twice their size.

Chicago based Fantastic World has somehow managed to go unnoticed for a couple of years which is damn near a tragedy considering the group’s quality. Their music is simultaneously experimental but catchy, artistically daring yet instantly accessible, all of which is executed with a playful grace. Quite a trick.

Beyond the music itself it’s also very important to note that The Whole Fantastic World is one of those great, great bands willing to share much of their material in mp3 form (I took all of the below links from their site) so if you enjoy their sound please support them (and their willingness to entertain you for next to nothing.) Shell out some cash and show artists like this that greed doesn’t pay nearly as well as respecting your audience and trusting them to make intelligent and conscientious decisions.

Sounds like:
Built to Spill armed with pop brilliance of The Rolling Stones' caliber. Yeah. I said that.

No really, sounds like:
Jangly, groove-thick indie rock songs with enough wit to kill the casual listener.

[MP3] The Whole Fantastic World - Colossus
[MP3] The Whole Fantastic World - Color In Your Cheeks
[MP3] The Whole Fantastic World - Eloise
[MP3] The Whole Fantastic World - To The Lives and Loves We've Known
[MP3] The Whole Fantastic World - Monsoon
[MP3] The Whole Fantastic World - Under Red Umbrellas

[THE ‘SPACE] The Whole Fantastic World

[HOME] The Whole Fantastic World

Death to Tyrants

Screamo and post-rock would seem like adverse styles to most people.

Most people are wrong.

There’s something about the way screamo bands can flow seamlessly from spastic violence right into serenity that lends itself to post-rock’s soaring sonic peaks and yawning valleys.

Of course maybe it’s just something in Europe’s water; the best and brightest in both genres seem to hail predominantly from that part of the globe.

The post-hardcore genre is personified by acts like Death to Tyrants who perfectly utilize the simultaneous fusion and juxtaposition of both mesmerizing melody and viscous blistering discord.

Death to Tyrants are releasing their first full length shortly, keep your eyes open.

Sounds like:
The mammoth aerial melodies of The Mercury Project or The Emery Reel offset with the blood thirsty swank of Saetia or Takaru. Think Funeral Diner but even more expansive.

No really, sounds like:
Carpet bombing a twilight meadow moments after the fireflies take flight.

[MP3] Death to Tyrants - Track 4 [NEW.ALBUM]
[MP3] Death to Tyrants - Death To Tyrants
[MP3] Death to Tyrants - Female [LIVE]

[THE ‘SPACE] Death To Tyrants

[HOME] Death To Tyrants

Tiger Lou

Some bands exist solely to push the boundaries of their genres forever clawing towards that dream of ‘The first to...’

Some bands operate entirely in niche realms; not necessarily doing something ground breaking – just something with a thin range of interest.

Some bands try to do the exact opposite of the niche performers and create the most accessible and mass-appealing sound possible (we call these people whores.)

And then there are some bands that do none of the above. They do something even harder: they make good music.

This last breed of artists won’t shy from the tenements of pop or clutch to the purism of experimentation. Instead they do what it takes to get the job done; be it classic song structure and snappy choruses or the latest underground noise and rhythm permutations.

Unfortunately these bands are regularly ignored by critics and the zealous underground for their overtly appealing nature while at the same time being too small or ‘unmarketable’ to be pushed on the unwashed masses lumbering pop labels. So ironically the "good music at all costs" approach can often leave bands utterly unnoticed and condemned to a role as the middle children of the music world- forever destined to be overlooked and ignored.

Unless of course their sound happens to resonate with a young Elite Opinionare.

Sounds like:
Somewhere in between The Police, Radiohead and Team Sleep. (Ha!)

No really sounds like:
A subtle emotional engagement, weeks before your brain figures out why.

[MP3] Tiger Lou - httpThe Wake/Hooray Hooray
[MP3] Tiger Lou - The War Between Us
[MP3] Tiger Lou - Warmth

[THE ‘SPACE] Tiger Lou

[HOME] Tiger Lou

(Special thanks to Last.Fm’s Sharry for taking my “there’s music in Sweden??” comment personally and using the chance to school my ass.)


These days I can’t spend ten minutes on the internet without falling in love with three or four post-rock bands.

You know what I’m talking about; five skinny white kids led by a vocalist concealed behind a veil of long hair and armed with a guitar wider than his waist. You can find these gourps traveling across the globe in vans packed with more effects than George Lucas threw at all six Star Wars movies (I mean three, there were only THREE.)

Laura is seemingly no different, and yet they're more majestic and profound than many of their peers. Laura’s full length album Mapping Your Dreams is the sound your life makes the very first time you hold hands with a loved one and stare across the lights of a distant skyline- and then watch the skyline pummeled rain of tractor trailer-sized meteors.

And yet! As the glowing ash of radioactive city debris floats slowly back down to earth blanketing all with faintly incandescent fallout, these are the melodies that reverberate within your head in your last haunted moments.

Sounds Like:
The dire highlights of a Godspeed You Black Emperor record lit by the pyrotechnics of Explosions in the Sky.

No really sounds like:
A tapestry of echoes and mood texturized by delicate shimmering notes-work, all propelled by a relentless rhythm section driving the entire ensemble to mountainous heights.

[MP3] Laura - Ariadne live

[THE ‘SPACE] Laura

[HOME] Laura

Music That's Nearly As Good As You. Week 2

People with bad taste go to hell. Seriously.

Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready To Heartbroken EP

Yeah let’s keep rolling the music clock back. This release puts us where, 1963? Not even the good drugged-out ’63, the lame poppy nearly musak weak-wristed ’63.

Tell you what let’s roll everything back. How about medicine, I don’t need penicillin. Indoor plumbing? HA, shitting in a bucket, that's indie. Oh look, Pitchfork just gave electricity a score of 4.0 saying, “perhaps the applications would merit the hype if it wasn’t so predictable when properly conducted and frenzied when unrestrained.”

Look its okay to take cues from your predecessors; just don’t take their melodies, form, production lyrics, vocals etc, etc

Danielson - Ships

Hey, Bright Eyes, close the fucking door. You’re letting all of the creepy art-folk-indie-acts out.

This is what happens when too many college kids buy records from Nebraska.


Angles and Airwaves – We Don’t Need To Whisper

What’s a worse fate for a once nearly respectable “punk” band,

A.) Staying together and putting out an album infested with pop cues and pseudo-political agenda aggrandizing, like say.... Greenday

B.) Breaking up and leaving the most ignored member to release an album with a death-grip on all four of the simplistic sounds that made his albums sell 10 years ago, like say... Tom from Blink 182.

The answer is of course that both are equally despicable but at least Blink never claimed to be more than perverts- any assertions that Greenday was punk? Laugh with me kids.

Honestly, I usually don’t bother lambasting such obvious targets. I’d rather save the hate for bands who actually garner critical praise and seemingly legit credit… but have you seen what Tom said about this project??!!

(All of the below was shamelessly lifted from I Guess I’m Floating who compiled these highlights)

Tom DeLonge speaking on Angles and Airwaves:

"The best music made in decades."

"It sounds like it has the conceptual depth of Pink Floyd, the anthemic architecture of U2- but with Tom from Blink writing all the melodies. All the songs are very cinematic, anthemic and epic-sounding. The music sounds angelic. Every song gives you the chills and you feel like you want to cry but you're conquering the world at the same time. It sounds like stadium rock done by a band that's meant to be the absolute biggest band in the world."

"The songs are all six minutes long, and [the music] feels like you're going to cry but you put your fist in the air and you can conquer the world... It's built on a punk-rock foundation, but it definitely doesn't sound like Blink."

"Imagine if you were in a jet plane, soaring through the clouds. That's what it sounds like."


If Tom could play guitar nearly half as well as he can write his own hype, he’d be Jimi fucking Hendrix reborn.

I always liked Mark better anyway.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium

Guys, take off the scarves and put the socks back on.

Now who wants to do needle-drugs?!

Remember kids: s sober artist is a BORING artist.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Keep Hope Alive and Screaming

If post-hardcore still has a creative pulse it sounds like Circle Takes the Square. In 2003 CTTS released As the Roots Undo. They named it an EP despite containing seven tracks and clocking in at over 45 minutes.

Things have never sounded the same.

As the Roots Undo was a dizzying marriage of screamo and grind composed unlike anything the two genres had ever birthed before. The album was as much poetry as it was sonic dissonance and for all of the usual caustic emotional discharge and brutal technicality there was beauty, absolute beauty. CTTS crafted songs that changed pace and style with such fluid grace and poise that no two minutes of one track sounded like the next; blast beats disappeared into jazz drills and then faded entirely into gentle exotic guitar ambience only to suddenly explode back into skin pealing vocals and grinding instrumentation.

And this revolutionary instrumentation was only ever eclipsed by the vocal leadership of the band. CTTS has dual screamers that punctuate their nearly Shakespearean word-play with styles that range from hypnotically interwoven high-pitched shrieks to softly spoken secrets and even a few reverently sung breath-catching anthems.

As the Roots Undo changed my view of hard music and it's limitless potential, forever.

Unfortunately CTTS may have spoiled us all be raising the bar too high; I’ve yet to find their peer.

So believe me when I say that Circle Takes the Square’s next release is my single most anticipated in ANY genre.

So I’ve waited for three years and now it seems there are stirrings in quiet shadows of the scene, there is a disturbance in the force… the wait may soon be over…

The link below may only be an impromptu jam session, but for those of us waiting on the edges of our seats with eyes wider than crash cymbals this recording is nothing short of glorious.


[LIVE.SHOW] Unnamed Song [NEW]

[MP3] Circle Takes the Square - Non-Objective Portrait of Karma

[MP3] Circle Takes the Square - Crow Quill

[THE ‘SPACE] Circle Takes the Square

[HOME] Circle Takes the Square

Friday, May 12, 2006

Music That's Better Than You. Week 2

Originaly posted on 5/10/06 on Last.Fm


Hey what’s the difference between The Stills and The Killers?

Figure that out and you’ll know the difference between poser post-punk bands like Franz Ferdinand and their most dangerous rivals; bands like Cities.

Oh also, as an added bonus once you’ve puzzled that out, you’ll also know the difference between cliché soulless modern pop rock and well crafted music.

Cities is a surprisingly angsty and honest version of a sonic brand that’s always tried to dress itself with both of those features, usually resulting in a thinly veiled, shallow pop act.

Traditionally the bar seems to drop when it comes to the vocals for an indie band, so for fans with higher expectations Cities is a pleasant change of pace. Here is front man that can actually hit and sustain notes and melodies, often being haunting and spacey without being too abstract and wandering like the recent slew of Thom York mimics I’ve run into.

But that’s not to say that Cities doesn’t have a few Radiohead moments. The guitar work especially dabbles in OK Computer era aerobatics and moaning.

Ultimately in a time when Brit Rock (and the alike) bands are rushing into the greasy light to pose and strut Cities self-titled Yep Rock release seems eerily content to stare from the shadows, biding it’s time and waiting it’s turn to do something awful.

Sounds like:
The grim conclusions and mood of The Still’s first album in conjunction with Muse’s love of both stage shaking balls-out rock and almost psychedelic melody.

No really, sounds like:
A knife-fight soundtrack. Perfect for a blood letting under a full summer moon.

[MP3] Cities - A Theme

[THE ‘SPACE] Cities

[HOME] Cities

Jose Gonzalez

No, this isn’t a Calexico solo project; it’s the indie-folk work of a lone man from Sweden.

Now if you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t even know they had music in Sweden. Apparently, they do and it sounds like Nick Drake. SO for those of you keeping track, that puts this year’s scores at:

Sweden: +1
Canada: -26

Back in 2005 Jose Gonzalez released Veneer, an entirely acoustic album supplemented solely with vocals sung so gently you’d swear Gonzalez recorded them in bed beside his sleeping Swedish lover.

Or maybe he records in an apartment like mine. And Maybe Jose lives in perpetual fear of creating any noise above 2 decibels- which is the minimum requirement for setting off your neighbor’s dog, a hell-spawned creature capable of barking for 6 hours straight without breaking for food, rest or air.

Actually this post is dedicated to my landlords. Who needs insulation between apartment walls? Nope, not me.
Slime bags.

Sounds like:
Nick Drake covering Iron and Wine.

No really, sounds like:
If you were backed into a corner by a rabid wolverine, who’d only moments ago caught you nailing his girlfriend in the middle of their living room, and you happened to be armed with an acoustic guitar - these are the most calming and melancholy songs you would play soothe the foaming murderous beast.

[THE ‘SPACE] Jose Gonzalez

[HOME] Jose Gonzalez

Taking Back Sunday

Shut up and listen to me.

I don’t like fast food. Not McDonalds, not Burger king, no, not even Wendy’s. That’s not to say I don’t like burgers and fries. I just don’t like my burgers flat, oiled and consisting of an inordinate percentage of rat meet. And if I’m gonna eat fries let me get some thick beer battered crispy browned fries.

See where I’m going with this?

I don’t mind hooks, power chords and radio-friendly song structure as long as they are done right. Guess who does it right? Taking Back Sunday does.

I give them big credit on Louder Now for maintaining their signature sound while pushing the album's tones in directions they’ve never ventured into before. Yes, there are the anthemic sing-alongs and huge pop guitar riffs and all the snappy drumming you can find on a pop-punk album BUT you’ve also got the production values of Eric Valentine darkening up their usual grinning pop sound and twisting it into something less like a dude whining outside of a high school dance and more like a dude cracking his knuckles outside of a local bar.

Sounds like:
Eric Valentine finished scratching a raw rock itch he'd caught while producing the Queens of the Stone Age.

No really, sounds like:
Metal solos and grooves that prove TBS is growing out of the post-hardcore/mallcore movement and into something less likely to induce tears and more likely to induce the holy art of air-guitar.

[THE ‘SPACE] Taking Back Sunday

[HOME] Taking Back Sunday

Aussitot Mort

It takes a special kind of band to make me feel like a relapsed drug addict.

A French post-hardcore screamo band to be precise.

Understand that at this time last year I was listening to screamo like the throat-shredding screams and fret-bending riffs held a secret message only divinable through audio osmoses. I went so far as to create another website entirely devoted to this scene in hopes of helping (enabling) other fans to find (score) more brilliant underground screamo (crack.)

However in the end I did burn out. I heard too much of the same genre and it all began to blend together into a single chaotic wailing chorus of shrieks and blistering distortion. (It wasn’t as cool as that sounds.)

And then a few weeks ago I see Level Plane is re-releasing an EP by a little French band called Aussitot Mort. LP hasn’t been real active recently and when they stretch themselves to put out something from over-seas you’d better take double notice ‘cause it probably slays. Sure enough this four song EP is a destroyer. It has all of the epic swells the European screamo scenes are so famous for (the same structure that led me right to an addiction to post-rock) and it has all of the twinkling spacey melodic breakdowns that define the genre… but there is something else here… the format is more creative, the notes a little more daring and expansive. This is a fresh sound midst a field swollen with nearly one hundred other bands all roaring and thundering on the same structures and principles. Each song on this EP feels like its nine minutes long, yet none of them breach five. The guitar runs are all simple but clever and the riffing is large and weighty. But there is just a depth to this release that reminds me of what makes Envy so unique; a huge quality to the music that defies a simple definition. It’s like seeing the fin of a huge shark peak above the water; you know the beast is there and that jagged hint is more than enough to scare you shitless.

So for those of us who’d become a little jaded with the screamo movement Aussitot Mort is a vicious treat. And for those of us who’d thought we’d kicked our problem Aussitot Mort could be a new start to an old bad habit.

Sounds like:
Envy, Daitro and Amanda Woodward decided to craft a simple four song definition of the European screamo sound.

No really, sounds like:
Guitar born ambience and echo soaked phrases punctuated with bombardments of distortion and rhythm.

[MP3] Aussitot Mort - Mmoria Grigia
[MP3] Aussitot Mort - Le Dsespoir Des Singes

[THE ‘SPACE] Aussitot Mort

[HOME] Aussitot Mort

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Music That's Not Nearly As Good As You. Week 1

Originaly posted on 5/3/06 on Last.Fm

This is the evil twin brother to my other weekly post.
These are bands and albums that you should avoid like the HIV.

So I don't want to hear it. You've been warned.

Wolfmother – S/t

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery these guys are giving out free blow jobs to anyone who owned a guitar between 1965 and 1983.

Tom Zé - Estudando o Pagode

Have you heard of this album?
For those of you who you haven’t heard of O Pagode, don’t go and ruin a good thing.
I think this album might actually be a soundtrack for a cartoon show, on Telemundo.
If you ever wonder why the hell professional music reviewers get off on this kind of record it’s because after listening to 400 bands aping either The Arcade Fire or My Chemical Romance a soundtrack to a Spanish cartoon show sounds like a triumphant blast from the choirs of heaven descending in rapture to take your sorry ass to paradise.

The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth

I hated this band when they were cool. I hated this band when they weren’t cool. And guess what- three albums, a new producer and a new outlook on their career later-
And I still hate the mother fucking Stokes.
At least in their first album they didn’t bother to sober up the lead singer before he slurred his way through though 11 tracks of monotone rambling. And just when I thought he couldn’t get any worse I got a nice fat surprise: this time around my least favorite front man sounds like he’s off the bottle and nearly as bored and miserable as ‘First Impressions of Earth’ makes me. I’ll buy you a beer dude.

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I Am Not

Oh good. I had almost gotten the stink of the Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand out of my skull. Glad to see we’ve got new contender for the brit-rock ‘let’s ruin indie rock’ competition.
Hey rehashing rock music written 30 years ago is sooo weak. Now rehashing the bands who rehashed rock music written 30 years ago, that’s sheik. No, that’s Satan launching a personal attack against the eight of us who still have good taste on this sad titling globe.
And it’s working.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Music That's Better Than You. Week 1

The following was original posted on 5/3/06 on Last.Fm

This is the maiden voyage of a brand new weekly jump-off in which I will school you in all of the music that you will need to live a healthy, well rounded, long and succesful life. Come back next Wednesday for another four or five recommendations. Now please, enjoy some music that is way better than you:

Metal Hearts

If the rumors are to be believed the creative duo piloting this project is barely old enough to legally drink in these Unite States. So for those of you who still think life is fair this should be the last nail in the coffin.

Metal Hearts put out their first album this year on Suicide Squeeze.

Sounds Like: Carissa's Weird would if instead of turning into Band of Horses they took some production cues from The Notwist

No really, sounds like: Soft rythmic indie to sleep or weep to.

[MP3] Metal Hearts - Socialize

[HOME] Metal Hearts


Have you heard of The Promise Ring?
Haha ‘course you have, you’re not some kind of an asshole. Have you heard of The Dismemberment Plan?

Wait no? Oh.

Well maybe you are an asshole.

But relax bro- if you get into Maritime you’ll pull yourself out of that musical-karmic-nose dive. See Maritime is a band most notably comprised of The Promise Ring's lead singer as well as The Dismemberment Plan bassist. The resulting album is deftly crafted to balance compelling artistic maturity with pathological catchiness- it is a fine line to walk. Accordingly We, the Vehicles (2006) threatens to break into the indie-pop fray at any moment yet delights in restraint and never deviates into the realm of polished pop rubbish like so many other new indie releases...

I didn't say Death Cab- did you?

Sounds Like: The Promise Ring lead singer hooked up with the ‘Plans bass player and they agreed to toss in some of Pinback’s simple fuckin genius and tech. There are also distinct lush and feel-good-midwestern-indie-emo Matt Pond Pa style production vibes on this album too.

No really, sounds like: Subtly techy and hopelessly melodic. This is smart indie pop with a surprising level of depth and invention lurking just below the surface.

[MP3] Maritime - Calm

[HOMEPAGE] Maritime

Brightblack Morning Light

I gotta admit this band is a real new-comer and I don’t have a lot of info on ‘em. What I do know is that they have an overt pro-nature and sticky-icky-icky stance.

Believe me when I tell you this is 2006's soundtrack to toke to.

The fine folk of Brightblack hale from some rural Americountry, namely down in the durty durty, and I’ve never been so glad of Baptist gospel influence (that’s a lie.)

Matador signed this crew so you know something interesting is going on. Album ain’t out yet- the mothership lands June 20th and tis self titled.

Sounds Like: Zero 7 kicked back with Skynard and toked themselves into a new dimension of blastedness.

No really, sounds like: If the good lord had intended Gospel to be slow, funky and deliriously baked out- yeah. This.

[MP3] Brightblack Morning Light - Everybody New

[HOMEPAGE] Brightblack Morning Light

Under Byen

If I asked you if you liked Sigur Ros and Bjork I might as well be asking you if you like good music.

Okay maybe that’s not fair. Maybe I’d just be asking if you like ICELANDIC music.

No. Never mind.

The names of both artists really are synonymous with “good music.”

So if I told you Under Byen sounds like a joint venture between the above mentioned Icelandic heavenly weights (don’t look at me like that) you’d have to either be out of your mind or comatose not to be interested.

Well I’m not going to say Byen lives on the same brilliant dimension as Bjork or ‘Ros but then again who the hell does. And if any other group is living on the borders it’s these guys.

Their latest album Samme stof som stof came out this year- but god knows where you can find it stateside… so what are you missing? Well more than before. A lot more. While I enjoyed their first two LPs both lacked the crucial X-factor in all great albums that exude the character and longevity that all classic discs must have.

This new album is different. The entire mood is darker, trippier, more aggresive and at times disticntly like old-school Portishead.

From Post-Rock to Trip-Hop?

Yeah, you need this album.

Sounds Like: All the normal Icelandic sweeping majesty- but now with something more sinister and hip...

No really, sounds like: Breathy airborne vocals soaring through torrents of epic mood- composed in a nearly classical tense and prose. A soundtrack to true beauty.

[MP3] Under Byen - Hjertebarn
[MP3] Under Byen - Plantage
[MP3] Under Byen - Af Samme Stof Som Stof [NEW.ALBUM]

[HOMEPAGE] Under Byen

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

2006: An Early Take

Well we are almost at month 5 and what has 06 given us?

More Pitchfork-hyped indie/folk whinners from up north aye.

I hated the NY scene movement (Strokes,Vines,Hives,White Stripes) when it served it's time in the lime light, but at least that scene had a bit of a punk pulse somewhere under the hype..

I can't say that about this latest indie mutation. Artic Monkey Arcade Fire Yeah Yeah Yeah Destroyer Islands..


God knows rap's sold it's soul and now indie's tearing down the same path, apparently its taking folk along for the ride.

Oh well.

There are a few bright spots in the miasmic gloom... here's what I got at the moment:


Genghis Tron - Dead Mountain Mouth

Bigger, faster and techier than their EP this may very well be the hard album of the year. Grind meets glitchy Aphex Twin beats and brutality. Actually if Converge and 65daysofstatic put out a record it might sound like this.

[Homepage] Genghis Tron

[MP3]Genghis Tron - Chaples

Post-Hardcore Prog

The Sound of Animals Fighting - Lover, the Lord Has Left Us

Anthony Green tends to polarize listeners; people absolutely love to love him, or absolutely love to hate him. Being a natural born hater you can imagine which camp I fall into.

That was until The Sound of Animals Fighting. SoAF is Green's third band and while I enjoyed the spirit of their EP, Duke and the Tiger it's always seemed like a weak attempt at the Mars Volta sound.

Well if SoAF is running with Volta then Lover... has triumphed where Francis the Mute failed.
As experimental art rock goes THIS is how to do the damn thing.

SoAF first full length has transcended simply eclecticity and achieved a work that is nothing short of absolutely fearless. Apparently this cd is so avante garde nearly everyone who's heard hates it. That's the first sign of a true masterpiece right there.

[Homepage] The Sound of Animals Fighting

[MP3]Sound of Animals Fighting - Skullflower


Mason Proper

And speaking of eclectic this is probably the best album to be pressed in The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Six. These guys touch on every great indie sound from Old (read:good) Weezer to Beck to Radiohead to The Notwist to Built to Spill to Elbow to Old (read:same as weezer)coldplay to ___________ (insert phenomenal indie band)

Every time I listen to this album it gets markedly better.


[Homepage] Mason Proper

[MP3]Mason Proper - The World is Smaller Than You Think
[MP3]Mason Proper - A Chance Encounter

Post Rock


Absolutely beautiful. Lead singer has a kind of classic emo/midwestern-indie simple majesty tonality and he is supported by a band producing some of the most dreamy and lush music since Sigur Ros' early stuff.

[Homepage] jeniferever

[The 'Space] Jeniferever

Hip Hop

Gnarls barkley

DJ Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo. Yep.

Remember what Dan the Automator did with Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo?

This is that- but instead of post-hardcore meets dance punk we have Dire Soul meets underground Hip Hop

Awesome. Just awesome.

[Homepage] Gnarls Barkley

[The 'Space] Gnarls Barkley