Pangea | A Review of Living Dummy

Pangea is a garage band from Newhall California and their juvenile musical antics just might bring a smile to your face.  The Album Cover for Living Dummy needs a small analysis before we can get started on the music. First off, does that purple woman have three breasts and is she growing out of the top of a tunic wearing man’s head? The album art is reminiscent of some of the more insane works of Charles Bronson, the most notorious inmate to ever serve time in a British prison. However the image’s senselessness only adds to its allure, if you look closely (beyond the three breasts) you can see that all of the elements of this cover art are interconnected, linked through the strange fingers that seem to sprout from every imaginable part of each character pealing the eyes open of the tunic wearing man who bears a striking resemblance to a certain Clock Work Orange character. But that should be enough about the pervy purple people who adorn this album cover.

Pangea’s sound is very rough around the edges; its harsh and energetic sound is inspired by a Sex Pistol era punk rock. Lively and somewhat disturbing lyrics permeate all of this album’s tracks with great imagery. Far from brilliant but entirely endearing, Pangea’s Living Dummy is yet another one of those fast and dirty garage band’s to release an album over the past year.

 No Feeln’ and  Living Dummy are by far the most memorable songs on the album and make any of the band’s shortcomings forgivable.  


Japanther | A Review of Beets, Limes and Rice

Japanther may invoke the image of a giant black cat attacking Tokyo but that would not be a proper description of this Brooklyn New York band. The band which is made up of Ian Vanek and Matt Reilly is more of an arthouse punk. The tracks that populate their latest album Beets, Limes and Rice have simple enough lyrics matched with fairly straightforward instrumental play but the band adds texture to its music by layering in spoken word segments and some unconventional background vocals such as with Meet You Later.

If you had to put your finger on what makes this band and its latest work standout from other current releases it would have to be in the way their music taps into the psyche of a certain generation. It’s in the way they use the simple punk melodies of bands like Ramones and The Clash and dress them up with their own endearing lyrics and background layers. Whether it is intentional or not Japanther has created an album that both manipulates and entertains the listener. Right from the onset of Beets, Limes and Rice the minds behind the album are not so subtlety telling you off only to suck you in; the first lines from the album are literally “First of all Fuck You All!”. The third track off of the album Porcupine is by far the best of the album, railing in with distortion heavy guitar and a lightly sung background tonal portion. This all leads up to a song about reminiscing about a prickly ex-girlfriend while listening to some records. The song is short but that makes its impact all the more remarkable. 


Transmission Party | A Review of Transmission Party

The sole member of Transmission Party comes from Millbrook New York and he has managed to create a memorable number of tracks. His name is TJ Byrnes and he seems to take his musical cues mainly from British Psychedelic.  When it comes to independent releases like that of Byrnes they often fall prey to the one note syndrome, in that every track of the album has an almost identical beat and lyrical content. Only a few musicians can succeed in creating a singular atmosphere for their album while not making every track sound like the one that came before it. Byrnes also has a knack for making great pop hooks and the chorus for Beautiful Breakdown is proof enough of this particular talent.

Transmission Party is similar in style to another current band with Psychedelic influences called Dumbo Gets Mad which hails from Italy. Both bands are a part of a growing neo Psychedelic movement that is more of a phenomenon that exists solely in the peripheries of main stream music. Perhaps it is in part because of all of the pageantry associated with soulless pop music, the sort that is created by musicians who are more occupied with celebrity than with song. Byrnes collection of songs are available for download on his web page.

Take a look at his music video for Beautiful Breakdown. It has a slight hind of Halloween goodness.



Uniform Motions | One Frame Per Second

Uniform Motion is set to release its third studio album called One Frame Per Second. The album itself has a number of good tracks on it, but the music video that was created for the single, I Was Crushed By A Forty-Foot Man is simply mesmerizing. This little paper cut out of what looks like a storybook illustration goes on a woodland adventure which follows the music. This is a perfect example of how a simple inexpensive concept can be used to make a very good music video.   

Forty Foot Man from Uniform Motion on Vimeo.


Deer Tick | Divine Providence Review

Deer Tick is an indie folk rock band that has been making a good impression for the past few years on a number of discerning ears. Shit that rhymed, which in fact is rather apropos when talking about a band that in the past have produced very impressive narrative driven songs. Their 2010 album Black Dirt Sessions contained a number of deep thought provoking tracks such as the wildly emotional Goodbye, Dear Friends and The Sad Sun. Tracks like these turned the atmosphere of this album into something powerful and memorable. For the new album Divine Providence, Deer Tick has gone in a different direction, perhaps as a result of having to perform the deep and soulful tracks of Black Dirt Sessions over and over again during their last tour. In the new album the tone is far lighter, this album demonstrates the more playful side of this band, leaning on a more bar background friendly subject matter; namely, drinking, playing and much too much of both.

Chevy Express is by far the best track off of this new album. It’s with tracks like Chevy Express that Deer Trick really hits their stride; the lyrics are thoughtful and paced in a style that just sucks you right into a world of their creation. Then there is the booze ballad, Let’s All Go to The Bar on this album. It is more of a fun track that embodies the spirit of a good night of heavy drinking out without any omissions or apologies. Divine Providence is a welcome lighter addition to the Deer Tick catalogue.    


Clem Snide | Taking A Look at Journey

The three piece based out of NY City has released yet another album for the forlorn heart. About a year ago Clem Snide released Meat of Life, an album which for all intents and purposes was a delightful smalts fest. The Meat of Life may just have the most sappy, heartfelt song made in the last ten years called Denver. Sweet Jesus that song is sappy but in the best possible way, when you can sing a song about how he knocked up an under aged girl and then confess this wildly horrible action to your long time love. What a song. Their latest album called is a tribute to the legendary band Journey but it bares all the marks of this band, it’s an extension of their creative force.

Not unlike the project created by Beck, to recreate some amazing albums from the past but with current artists, Clem Snide has taken on the lofty challenge of reimagining some of the most recognizable songs within our culture. This band’s rendition of Journey’s Any Way You Want It is the love song of the summer, if the summer wasn’t already over. It’s slowly paced and tightly executed and has a softness the original version just wasn’t intended to have.  If you are looking for some sentimental 80s throwback Journey goodness, then this album is for you.

Rodney Dangerfield would be proud.


Bombay Bicycle Club | A Review of A Different Kind Of Fix

A Different Kind Of FixBombay Bicycle Club is an English indie band that has released a new album called A Different Kind Of Fix. This latest album has a definite penchant for the dream pop vibe.  Some might think that the band has taken a new direction, stylistically, if they had only listened to their last album Flaws. You see 2010’s Flaws album was essentially an indie folk album laced with acoustic guitars. That is not the case, with the band’s first album there was more than enough electric guitar and catchy pop hooks. That being said, A Different Kind Of Fix is more of a return to form and it is quite impressive.

Like any good album A Different Kind Of Fix has some standout tracks. The first track off of this album How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep is a slow burning one that nicely reintroduces you to the band with this delicately driven song. The second track, Bad Timing, feels like a mixture between the Foals and Silversun Pickups. The last real standout is the track Beggars, it features some excellent pacing and percussion. The album as a whole is rather good, but the tracks mentioned above are the real highlight and make this album more than just another one of those indie albums that should have stayed an idea of a would be artist.    


Team Genius | Taking a Look at Pop Song

The term pop song is often associated with a style of music that is over played on the radio and has no real enduring substance. Then there is the flip side of the whole idea of a pop song, in that it’s popular, and popular for a reason. The reason behind why good pop songs are popular should have little to do with how much advertisement they receive and more to do with how well they capture and reflect the spirit of the age. That brings us to Team Genius. The band was formed in New York City some time in 2007 and they have a unique talent, they are: “really good at making big catchy pop songs.” The six members of the band have set out to release several EPs over the course of 2011 and 2012; the first of which is titled Pop Songs. This EP, which came out August 23rd, consists of four tracks that put out a sort of playfulness and energy that would capture the hearts and minds anyone fortunate enough to hear them. At some points the band feels like a fusion of the Ramones and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but when the keyboard takes center stage in tracks like Home you are reminded that Team Genius have their own identity. For a relatively new band, they certainly have found a groove when it comes to their sound; it’s fun, catchy and filled with great hooks. Essentially, what you would look for in any good pop music. And if this was Team Genius’s goal, mission accomplished.

You can check out Team Genius’s music at their band camp web page here


The Matrimonials | About Their Album New Jams to Slam In Your Jam Box

The four boys who make up The Matrimonials are set to release their new album New Jams to Slam In Your Jam Box. Before we get into anything about the band, let’s just study the title of the album for a moment.  At first glance one might think that the new album’s title is just terrible and poorly thought out. New Jams to Slam in Your Jam Box doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue.  But you would be forgetting one thing, in order to appreciate the music of The Matrimonials’ you need to put yourself in a playful mindset. Think back to when you were a teenaged dirt-bag and then read the title of the album again. Jam Box is obviously referring to something else, what else is referred to as a box and can be slammed?

After the immature part of you stops chuckling at the pussy joke in the album’s name and you start to listen to what this foursome from Baltimore have produced you just might be impressed.  Consisting of mostly rattle and hum punk rock tracks The Matrimonials have a familiar tone with rough lo-fi edges. This band isn’t about creating ornate introspective indie folk rock pieces that can comfortably be played in the background of your local Starbucks. No The Matrimonials sing songs like Ryhthym and Booze, a song that touts a bantering conversation with an abused liver and the person philosophy of many people, that life is better when you’re fat and full of booze.     

That is essentially what you get with The Matrimonials, a playful, energetic style of music with wonderfully juvenile undertone.  However, this album does lack some of the magic from the last one. There is no Taylor Swift type of song on New Jams to Slam In Your Jam Box, which is slightly disappointing. 

Now here is a video of the band having a sophisticated talk on politics. 


Moonface | A Review of Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped

Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped [+Digital Booklet]Spencer Krug is at it again with yet another band. For those of you who don’t know the name Krug he has been making the rounds in terms of indie music affiliations for a number of years.  The list of bands that he lends his distinctive vocals to are quite numerous.  Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes and Swan Lake are among his affiliations. He is one of the lead singers for indie band Wolf Parade. Moonface is his latest effort and surprisingly it’s not as trippy as you might think. You see generally speaking for the past couple of years Krug has had a penchant for producing music that has a very hypnotic psychedelic quality.  From the never ending anthems to surreal and imaginative lyrics up until now Krug has been keeping his music unreal (for lack of a better term).
 Now in Moonface’s new album we are hearing songs with a more down to earth quality, focusing less on descriptions of “dream catchers hanging from the mirror of a minivan parked along the water’s edge” and  more on how “Peter loves a girl”. Even though the lyrics are less trippy the extended anthems are still very much intact, there are more keyboard solos on this tiny album than most 80s albums. That shouldn’t deter anyone from picking up this album, there are a number of tracks on it that just have that sought after listenability to them. 


Band In Heaven | The Band’s Latest Tape Seven Minutes In Heaven

Among the many up and coming artists who find their outlet in an ambient style of music, Band In Heaven is one of the standouts. This band from West Palm Beach, Florida has been fine tuning their sound for a few years now. They have a way of eking out tracks a few at a time but as a result they have a relatively large if not spread out catalogue of music. Band in Heaven have an atmospheric sound populated with distortion and driven rhythms. The latest release in July of 2011 is a bit more polished in comparison to their previous demos. The two tracks, Sleazy Dreams and If You Only Knew have a strong tone and illustrate the band’s growing confidence and stylistic direction. You can get their music from the band’s bandcamp page here.


Graham Wright | Shirts VS Skins

Do you have a deep-seated hate for sweater wearing cool kids and a strange fascination with soviet era spy satellites while inebriated? If you do, you may have a new go-to album. Graham Wright of the Toronto based band Tokyo Police Club is releasing a solo album and it’s called Shirts VS Skins. The first impression that the album may give you is that Graham Wright is a cheeky bastard with a penitent for writing lyrics that will make you laugh.  The lyrics in Shirts VS Skins are not the only selling point on this solo endeavour of Wright’s. No, the playful structure of the songs give you as the listener the sense that there is real momentum behind each track. The first song on the album Chucklefucks, is a prime example of Wright’s cheeky style, with its deeply insulting lyrics sung ever so genteelly.  And after you hear it, the song does make you wonder; who will pick up all those cups and plates after the Chucklefuck’s party is done.  Was that’s Wright’s job?

Soviet Race is another highlight from this album. It combines a pleasant pop melody with a nerdy underlying story surrounding soviet era paranoia.  Evening Train from Kingston Station is another oddly strong track, simply because of how it just explodes unexpectedly in the middle.

Graham Wright’s Shirts VS Skins album is full of light-hearted songs, perfect company for the summer month.  


Pure X | A Review of Pleasure

Pleasure Austin Texas trio Pure X is set to release their latest album Pleasure worldwide on August 22nd. The band’s sound is ambient rock and it really takes that minimalist style to heart. Repetition is key to this style of music and you can hear similar themes throughout the record which produces the desired effect. When in a situation where you are in need of some hazy escape band’s like Pure X are the way to go.  Besides a few unfortunate tracks Pleasure strikes that solemn trance inducing tone with the best of them.   If you are looking for some music to relax to, Pure X’s Pleasure would make a good pick.   


My Grey Horse Have A New Music Video

My Grey Horse has recently released a music video for their newest single. This is the first single that they have released with their new label and the track is called Waist of Air. Waist of Air appeared on the Saltway EP however it is going to be the song that will hopefully introduce My Grey Horse to a wider audience. The video was directed and edited by one of the band members Peter Butler.  The elements in the video are full of very vivid colors, which stands in contrast to the song itself. Waist of Air’s message is rather somber.  On the whole though, this music video does provide a nice visual introduction to the band. 
Check it out. 


He's My Brother She's My Sister

He's My Brother She's My Sister EPLet’s play a game. Name a band that has dueling siblings as lead vocalists, an affinity for covering David Bowie tracks and uses a tiny tap dancer for background percussion? The answer is an up and coming band that goes by the name He’s My Brother She’s My Sister and their music is something that may just excite you. The band is a six-piece that hails from L.A., so they have a bit of a penchant for the theatrical. Not the least of which is Robert Kolar’s (the male side of the vocals) affinity for Slash style top hats.  As well, in place of a drum kit the band uses a full body percussionist whose tap dancing you can hear on almost every one of the band’s tracks.  

Their sound is similar to that of She and Him, in that, it’s quite mellow with country duet style influences, though it’s more charming than any country song that you may have heard of late.  On their debut EP the band has this amazing rendition of David Bowie’s (sorry Arnold Corns) Moonage Daydream. Their single How'm I Gonna Get Back Home Tonight best illustrates where this band’s strengths are, in playing songs that are both familiar and authentic. The original material on the EP is quite good, but for the Bowie fan, the low key reimagining of this classic piece of 70s glam rock is the sweetest sort of musical treat.

He’s My Brother She’s My Sister also recently opened for Alexander and Fam of Edward Sharpe and the Magentic Zeroes. That should not be much of a surprise because they seem to share the same underlining artistic momentum, that being, a drive to produce music that is both reminiscent of a bygone era but also bringing with it an authentic sense of musical glee. It is fun to play with the medium of music and He’s My Brother She’s My Sister is all about playing. In fact, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister will be performing at Mississippi Studios in the Portland area on June 27th


Handsome Furs | Sound Kapital

Sound KapitalThe Montreal indie rock duo, Handsome Furs are set to release their third effort on June 28th of this year called Sound Kapital.  Handsome Furs are more than just a musical duo, the two members Alexei Perry and Dan Boeckner are husband and wife. You can think of them as the Sonny and Cher of the indie electro punk underground. They travel all around the world together performing their music. In fact, the CNN news channel thought that the two of them were interesting enough to be given their very own documentary style web series called “Indie Asia: On Tour with Handsome Furs”.      

The band’s sound has changed, leaning almost entirely on the keyboard portions that accompany Dan Boeckner’s vocals. In their previous album Face Control there was always quite a bit of guitar in each track, but this album feels even more heavily influenced by synth 80s pop than its predecessor.  However, Sound Kapital is anything but pop music. It might have some of the club friendly beats that litter the some backgrounds of tracks like What About Us, but that is where the commercial side of the album comes to a close.  It might be worth mentioning that the album art also reinforces the idea that Sound Kapital is exactly for the musical meat and potatoes of your average yuppie.

For fans of the Handsome Furs, Sound Kapital is a nice throwback to the band’s first album Plague Park. The major difference being that Plague Park was a far more somber album while Sound Kapital is more playful.  The keyboard portions on this album have a pace that could best be described as brisk. Like any Handsome Furs album Sound Kapital will no doubt take time to grow on listeners. In the end though, this new album only adds weight to the growing achievements of this little band from Montreal.


The Coathangers | A Review of Larceny and Old Lace

An all lady Post Punk band from Atlanta Georgia, The Coathangers, will be releasing their latest album called Larceny and Old Lace. The album combines standard punk melodies with a few pleasant variations thrown in for shits and giggles. With a coarse lo-fi style of music, The Coathangers ring every bit of life out of each track that populates the Larceny and Old Lace album.  Filled with lyrics that have both playful and pissy bits the album exudes a certain attitude, one that any good punk album should. The lead off track for the album Hurricane is a fast paced song that belted out on spent vocals accompanied by background vocals provided by the rest of the band.

Each track off of the album is strong in its own right, but the best off of the album are: Trailer Park Boneyard, My Baby and Tobbacco Rd. The only real contemporary of The Coathangers in terms of musical style and all female line up is a band that hails from Toronto Canada called Magneta Lane. So, if you like The Coathangers then you will also appreciate Magneta Lane. 


Sunshine | A Review of Karmageddon

Sunshine, a band from the Czech Republic city of Prague is set to release a new album that will no doubt find some commercial appeal called Karmageddon. The album is yet another expression of the Post Punk genre of music, Sunshine’s version is a very down to earth style that is in keeping with the tone any punk band should have but also has the accessibility of any popular radio single. The four members of Sunshine have not reinvented the wheel with Karmageddon. However, what they have produced is easy and pleasant to listen to. Some key tracks off of Karmageddon are; Today (is Not the Day), Neny and The Night is on Fire.

And despite what one of the lyrics from The Night is on Fire insists, most of the tracks on this album are pop songs and love songs. The good news is they aren’t bad ones.


Sam Roberts Band | Collider A Review

The Montreal indie rock group Sam Roberts Band is set to release their fourth album Collider. This album comes three years after the band’s last effort Love At The End Of The World, which produced the much loved/hated single Them Kids. Sam Roberts Band has been making waves in Canada for about a decade now, their first single Brother Down was a wide spread radio hit and placed the Quebec based band on the forefront of the Montreal music scene. Although, Sam Roberts Band never gained the world wide acclaim seen by another Montreal band, namely Arcade Fire, the Sam Roberts Band has steadily been making music some amazing and some mediocre. To date, their strongest work came with the 2006 album titled Chemical City, which can be best described as a somber love note to the band’s home town of Montreal.

What is new for Sam Roberts Band on the Collider album? Aside from a slight infusion of rhythm and blues, Collider maintains a status quo in terms of quality, but lacks a lot of the imagination heard in the Chemical City album. If anything this album is a highlight real of the more radio friendly singles produced by the band. Collider isn’t an album that fans will be able to listen to from start to finish without having the urge to hit the skip periodically, due to the overly familiar nature of some of the tracks. However, there are a number of great cuts off of this new album that should draw in new listeners and please seasoned fans alike. Tracks like Sang Froid, No Arrows and Partition Blues will no doubt become favorites of many over the summer. 


My Morning Jacket | A Review of Circuital

CircuitalJim James is back and it’s not as a Monster of Folk! My Morning Jacket is set to release their sixth studio album called Circuital on May 31st. Circuital is the follow-up album to My Morning Jacket’s breakout hit album Evil Urges, which was met with critical/fan praise. The popularity of Evil Urges even when on to spawn a television episode of Fox’s American Dad that was devoted to the music of Jim James the lead singer of My Morning Jacket. It’s funny that a cartoon could so clearly demonstrate just how the interest in a particular artist can take on an overly intimate tone when fans become too, well, fanatic. Evil Urges in comparison to Circuital was quite eclectic and exuded a certain dream like quality. Circuital has a more down to earth collection of lyrics that are feels as though they come from a place of realization and maturity. 

Don’t be mistaken though, My Morning Jacket is still the same band from Evil Urges. They still draw their influences from classic, psychedelic and country inspired rock. One of the stand outs on the new album is Wonderful (The Way I Feel), a feel good track that is about as easy as easy listening can get, filled with lightly played acoustic guitar and the constant lyrical reminder that James “Feels So Wonder”. Another wonderful track is Outta My System, which chronicles the need for youthful exploits such as drug use, theft and anything fun that generally happens after the clock strikes midnight. The only thing that Circuital is missing, are the true anthems heard on Evil Urges along the lines of I’m Amazed and Smokin from Shootin.  Other than that, My Morning Jacket’s newest album should please critics and fans alike.    


Red Light Driver | Taking A Look at Their New EP Celeste Celeste

The Indianapolis band Red Light Driver has released a new EP called Celeste Celeste. The band has a straightforward sound which draws influence from New Wave and Psychedelica. Moreover, Red Light Driver has a very bar friendly sound, you just get this sense, when listening to the new EP, that you will be hearing this band’s music playing in the back ground of a local pub. It’s that sense of familiarity and the excellent execution that makes Celeste Celeste a memorable EP and leaves the listener wanting more. Though there are only six tracks on this EP, it delivers on an overall experience not unlike a good full length album should. You can still hear that leftover residue that all relatively new bands have lightly coating each track, but sometimes it’s those seemingly extraneous parts that make music worth listening to.

When it comes to the release of EPs, the purpose is to make an impression and Celeste Celeste does just that. A good EP should exude an energy that says, this is what we do best, and leave a lasting impression on the listener.  And the resulting impression that Celeste Celeste leaves you with will make you want to see Red Light Driver in concert, which must be a good thing.   


Film School's Latest Music Video When I'm Yours

 The San Francisco based band Film School released their fourth album last year called Fission. Since then, the band has come out with a very elegant music video, one that will no doubt be emulated by other bands that have little cash and a bit of a perverted sensibility. The music video is for the song When I’m  Yours. Enjoy.


Chad VanGaalen | Taking a Look At His Latest Album Diaper Island

Chad VanGaalen is a musician who is native to Calgary, Alberta and he has released three albums prior to Diaper Island. It has been about three years since an album release from this artist under his own name.   VanGaalen took some time during 2009 to do a side project using the band name Black Mold under which he released Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz. So, for fans of Chad VanGaalen’s solemn brand of crooning it has been a while since they had a new album to bite into.

The music of Diaper Island stays true to the style of VanGaalen’s previous work, in that it feels like a hybrid of English musical acts Travis and Damien Rice, which you could really hear in his first album Infiniheart, especially in the track After the Afterlife. Diaper Island does have a different tone that is notably more energetic than that of VanGaalen’s previous work. The first track off of the new album Do Not Fear has a driving drum rhythm that is pushed forward by the guitar portions which accompany VanGaalen’s echoing anthem. Another cut on Diaper Island, Peace On The Rise, stands out as one of the star tracks on the album and as the title eludes to the song is very peaceful, relaxing and an absolute pleasure to listen to.

If this album has proved anything it’s that Chad VanGaalen doesn’t have any signs of running out of excellent music to deliver to his fans.  You can buy Diaper Island on May 17th 2011.


Thao & Mirah | A Review of Their Self-Titled Album

Thao Nguyen and Mirah Zeitlyn have teamed up for a Self-Titled album set to be released in late April of 2011. The two paired up to do this collaboration after touring together with their respective bands; Thoa and the Get Down Stay Down and (just) Mirah. Thao and her band came out with a critically well received album not to long ago called, We Brave Bee Stings and All. It was a well crafted indie folk rock album that was reminiscent of Feist’s later work. As for the collaboration between Thao and Mirah, one might be hard pressed to find something negative to say about it. The two singers share the vocal duties on this album and they also manage to pull out some truly amazing harmonies. Their voices blend in a way that would make Simon and Garfunkel envious.

The album itself has a distinct grass roots vibe to it, some tracks even boarder on country. The real standout track on the album is Folks, which leans heavily on the vocals of Thao more so than Mirah, but it’s the horns that make this track subtle and sweet. Thao & Mirah’s album is loaded with tracks of a high caliber that are worth multiple listens.   


Let's Fucking Wrestle Again | A Review of the Latest Let’s Wrestle Album Nursing Home

London based band Let’s Wrestle is set to release their second album Nursing Home in May of this year.   For those who appreciated the band’s debut album a follow-up was felt like a long time coming, even though it has only been two years. Their debut album, In The Court of the Wrestling Let’s was one of the most impressive and fully formed freshmen album released in 2009. Their musical style is a somewhat stripped down rock with minor detuned harmonies that permeate the band’s sound. The music of Let’s Wrestle is best suited for gritty little bastards who have problems with authority but none with women.  The boys of Let’s Wrestle Wesley Patrick Gonzalez, Darkus Bishop and Sam Pillayl have always had a touch of smugness to their lyrics that speaks to the listeners more sardonic sensibilities. You know those feelings. The ones that make you smirk and roll your eyes at sappy platitudes and aphorisms and also at people with overly developed vocabularies.       

Nursing Home starts off with In Dreams Part II, a tip of the hat to one of the band’s previously released songs. The new album starts off with a rattle and hum tracks, which is not totally unexpected from Let’s Wrestle. The track In The Suburbs feels like it’s paying homage to Arcade Fire’s last album of a similar title. But instead of being an introspective piece about the seemingly endless cycle of growing up, fleeing from and then not wanting to die in The Suburbs, Let’s Wrestle takes a more practical approach and focuses on the niceties. This track might have some of the familiar elements in it, but doesn’t take on that dismissive tone characterized in the band’s first album. In The Suburbs is just a bit too sweet.  By the middle of the album you start to wonder, where are the My Schedule and We Are The Men You'll Grow To Love Soon sort of songs on Nursing Home? Luckily the album shifts gears after the endearing, if not slightly depressing, track For My Mother, which recounts the passing of a loved one beat for beat. The tone of the album becomes more recognizable as that of Let’s Wrestle when the track I’m So Lazy turn arrives on the album’s queue. I’m So Lazy is an anthem for the post-modern stackers among us, those who are brutally self-aware of their own apathy and don’t really give a shit about it.

How does Nursing Home stack up against In The Court of the Wrestling Let’s?  The number of memorable tracks of the new album is far fewer than that of their first, but in the end Nursing Home turns out to be a solid follow up to Let’s Wrestle’s fantastic debut album.      

Release Date May 17th


Fleet Foxes | Is Helplessness Blues A Good Album?

Unlike Fleet Foxes Self-Titled freshmen album, which was almost an unfettered explosion of melancholic emotion, Haplessness Blues has that same harrowing sense but goes even further exploring the anger side of the Starbucks friendly band. The Seattle based folk band made a sizable impact on the music scene when they came out with their Self-Title debut back in 2008. They were everywhere and on every movie and television soundtrack that was in need of a moment with a hint of longing to it. And even though it was the band’s first album, Fleet Foxes were in their rightful place with an album that had a level of quality that spoke for itself. Their popularity spurred on a host of other bands that tried to make their own mark on the indie folk scene. The amount of pressure on Fleet Foxes must have been immense, given the success they had right out of the gates.

Helplessness Blues does not tout a massive shift of style for Fleet Foxes. No, their brand of harmony riddled vocals and acoustic guitar portions, that would make any fan of the first album tingle with joy, permeate Helplessness Blues. One clear difference between this album and their last is a distinct aggression and angst imbedded in the lyrics. The track Battery Kinzie off of the new album is particularly interesting because of how its lyrics recount an obvious and surreal anxiety dream that would put the fear of god into any musician, the line goes: “I woke up one morning, all my fingers rotten.” The rest of the track continues in the same abstract direction, and makes for one of the strongest songs on the entire album. There is still sweetness in the music of Fleet Foxes, if you are a listener who is looking for more of an Oliver James kind of track, you will find it in Lorelai.

It turns out that Helplessness Blues is a great album and a solid follow up to the band’s first album.


Timber Timbre | A Review of Creep On Creepin On

Timber Timbre, a band out of Toronto Ontario, has been making some indie waves over the past few years. The band has put out three other albums, 2006's Cedar Shakes and 2007's Medicinals and a Self-Titled album in 2009. Their latest effort is called Creep On Creepin On, which is a bit of a continuation of their third album, with its dark and consoling distinctive musical flavour. Lead singer of the band, Taylor Kirk possesses a distinct vocal aptitude when singing and is able to reflect both an understated strength and overwhelming unease.

Timber Timbre takes its influences from a host of genres and eras, what results is a style of music that is getting harder and harder to place. One thing is for certain though, Creep On Creepin On should be listened to now, by anyone looking for something a bit Grimm in their musical library.
However, when comparing Creep On Creepin On to Timber Timbre’s Self-Titled album their latest album is without a doubt less somber than the last. A gently played piano fills the backdrop of the entire album, accompanied by the Kirk’s voice, there is a certain atmosphere created, one that Billie Holiday could call home.  The album will drop on April 5th 2011. 


Dumbo Gets Mad | Elephants At The Door A Review

Originally from somewhere in Italy the unknown artist behind Dumbo Gets Mad is now based out of Los Angeles. His debut album Elephants At The Door has garnered critical praise due to its timeless musical feel and overall quality. Dumbo Gets Mad is essentially a throwback psychedelic album, something that would lift the hearts of The Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa fans alike. The album’s tracks play out like scenes from ‘60s Fellini films, very abstract and engrossing.

There have been a number of good psychedelic albums to come out in recent memory. Dr. Dog, Sunset Rubdown and anything with Jim James in it are some of the more noteworthy contributors to this musical revival. Any band that takes on this diverse style of music needs to accomplish one thing, and that is creating music that is both unpredictable and entrancing. Dumbo Get Mad is hazy and dreamlike throughout its first album and manages to take the listener to interesting places. This vintage feel only becomes more endearing as the album runs through its ten tracks. Elephants At The Door is not perfect though, the track Sleeping Over has some of the most undesirable vocal portions you will ever hear. Besides this one misstep, the freshmen effort of Dumbo Get Man is one that any fan of psychedelic music should listen to.  


Return of The Strokes | First Impressions of Angles… Not Earth

 It’s been five years since The Strokes last album was released back in ’06, but since First Impressions of Earth members of the world famous band have produced some memorable side projects. Not the least of which was lead singer Julian Casablancas’s solo album Phrazes for the Young, which touted a heavy array of musical elements that would never be heard on a The Strokes album, such as synth loops and melodies that diverge from The Strokes garage band style of music.

Angles as an album has much of what you would expect from a The Strokes, great hooks, a sense of raw emotion behind the lyrics and a philosophical undertone that says; I’ve been fucked with but I don’t really care anymore. The track Games has a synth portion, so it looks like Julian’s side project has bled into the creative development of Angles after all.   

Call Me Back is the most distinctly unfamiliar track on Angles, its pace and tone are all but strangers to the band’s catalogue of songs. With a The Beatles-centric soft and slow picking progression that fills the track’s background, this track stands out as a new direction for a band that is known for rattle and hum tracks like New York City Cops.  Gratisfaction has a bit of a Queen vibe to it, mostly because at times Julian’s vocals lean a bit on Freddy Mercury’s all or nothing style of singing and the familiar drum rhythm.   

As an album that was described by the band’s bassist as “a return to the basics” there are plenty of innovative songs on Angles that are far from what you have heard from The Strokes in the past. When it comes to where this new album stands along side that of its predecessors, Angles would fall in second to last place, right after Room on Fire and beneath First Impressions of Earth and Is This It.


Fleet Foxes | Helplessness Blues

The Fleet Foxes will be releasing a new album May 3rd 2011 called Helplessness Blues. For those of you who remember, Fleet Foxes released their self-titled debut album back in 2008 to rave reviews. The folk infused baroque pop style of the band left a distinct impression on anyone who had the please of listen to them. Dreamy and gentle are the best ways to describe the Seattle, WA. based band and they have not missed a step with their latest Helplessness Blues. Listen to the title track from their upcoming release. Enjoy.


The Pauses | Review of A Cautionary Tale

The Orlando, Florida based three-piece The Pauses will be releasing their debut album entitled A Cautionary Tale on March 8th. The Pauses have a surprisingly well formed sound for a relatively new band. Its members, Tierney Tough, Jason Kupfer and Nathan Chase don’t pull any punches with their straightforward brand of indie rock. The band’s lead singer, Tierney Tough has a vocal style that bears a similarity to that of one of Canada’s leading ladies in the indie rock scene, Emily Haines of Metric. Don’t think so? Listen to the third cut off of the album, The Migration and you will be pleasantly reminded of a few tracks on Metric’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? album.

The album art which was done my Travis Lampe of Chicago may lull any potential listeners into a scene of childhood nostalgia. A Cautionary Tale cover depicts what looks like a re-envisioned interpretation of Random House’s Little Golden Books children series. The choice of a debut album cover in style that evokes childhood memories may be intended to create a pavlovian response for record store shoppers. So, if you find yourself reaching for A Cautionary Tale before bed just know that The Pauses have rung their bell and you came. Don’t feel bad though, because you will be listening to a diverse album with enough of familiar and original elements to keep you engaged for a long time to come.

This may be the first time you’ve heard of The Pauses but based on the quality of their first album it will definitely not be your last.       


Fishboy | Taking a Look At Classic Creeps

The lighthearted indie pop act from the great State of Texas, Fishboy are set to release their seventh album Classic Creeps. If you are only hearing about Fishboy for the first time you’re not the only one. The band, which is based out of Denton Texas, has spent the past ten or so years in relative obscurity. Hopefully their seventh album will mark a change in their obscurity, because one thing is for certain, Classic Creeps is a special kind of wonderful.  

Classic Creeps has a distinctively upbeat style that closely resembles that of a long done indie act Neutral Milk Hotel. Healthy amounts of horns, piano and guitar, matched with the vocal styling’s of lead singer (the Fishboy himself) Eric Michener come together to make something that might remind some of The New Pornographers, lest Neko Case. All of these elements come together in Classic Creeps to tell the stories of people and places that have been brought to life by individual needlepoint portraits which accompany each song and also collectively constitute the album cover. That’s right Fishboy’s album cover is rocking grandma’s needlepoint handiwork French Knots and all. There is nothing like a little make it yourself initiative in creating a unique album cover, just ask the boys of My Grey Horse. These individualized needlepoint portraits that accompany each track do serve a purpose, in that they provide the listener an instant point of reference otherwise who would about Alyson Revere’s internet addiction or Alberto Simmons’ bloody nose. Each person’s song on Classic Creeps, fictional or not, have been brought to life by the natural texture depicted in the lyrics of each song. The songs depict regular people through the eyes of charismatic musicians making each track on the album pleasant and colourful character studies.     

Fishboy’s Classic Creeps is no doubt going to make it onto a few "best of" list by the end of 2011.       


The Study Band | A Review of the Suns Single

The Study Band is a relatively new act currently based out of Portland Oregon. This duo, made up of Eric Morelli and Jack Roberts, has already produced and toured with their debut album From a Limb. More recently, The Study Band released a new single, entitled simply as Suns. The three tracks of the Single, Suns I, II and III, are meant to mirror the movements of the sun itself, but we will get into that in a minute.

Eric Morelli who handles the lead vocals and guitar for The Study Band also released an EP last Halloween under the band name Neon Death Ranger.  The contrast between Neon Death Ranger and The Study Band’s tone and content is a testament to either Morelli’s versatility as a musician or the influence Jack Roberts has over The Study Band. Morelli may have been good in Neon Death Ranger EP but his star really shines in The Study Band’s Suns.

Suns I is a mostly instrumental track.  Piano, guitar and some light background synth make up the majority of Suns I, it’s calm and pristine like any good dawn should be. And if you ever wanted to know what a sunrise sounds like for the duo that constitutes this band, this track would be it. Suns II has a distinct quality to it, whenever you have sleigh bells permeating an entire song you might think its Christmas, but they fit well with the song none the less and the tracks vocal are reminiscent of Keane’s Tom Chaplin. The final track, Suns III moves back and forth from spoken word to more of a pop-centric refrain powered by a hip-hop loop. 

The Study Band’s Suns Single is worth a listen for anyone who is interesting in new and emerging musicians.               


John Blaze | Taking a Look at Album 3

John Blaze is an up and coming artist who hails from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. His style of music ranges from synth riddle instrumental numbers that can have a somewhat electronic funk vibe,   but they can also be more abstract and include various home brood samples. Blaze also dips into the rare human effect on Album 3 with a song that has actual lyrics. Album 3 is a collection of all of Blaze’s previous musical offerings and out of the 12 tracks there are a few standouts. The track White Lightning is more traditional with its piano portions and deep echoing vocals; it has a jazz style quality to it.  3927 – John Blaze is one of the more abstract instrumental pieces on Album 3. It’s a quirky original song that was born from an eccentric young man, his keyboard and several samples of nursery rhymes.

A Single off of John Blaze’s Album 3 may not find its way to the top 40 countdown anytime soon but for people who have a taste in his style, they may find a new source of pleasure with Album 3.  You listen to the whole album from his bandcamp page here.   


Trend Fox & The Tenants | A Review of the Mess Around EP

Trend Fox & The Tenants are set to release their debut EP Mess Around on February 22nd courtesy of Kind Turkey Records. The band which definitely draws stylistic influences from the 50s and early 60s, have been working their way through local venues in Milwaukee. You can almost imagine Dick Clark introducing them on American Bandstand, they have that sort of analog sound to them, with their fast pace guitar riffs and great background vocals Trend Fox & The Tenants are a taste of an era gone by. Make no mistake though; this is not a group of Baby-boomers trying to rekindle childhood dreams. The group is full of 20 somethings that bring an energy and excitement to the music they play.  The lead singer can sound like a less raspy and more enthusiastic version of Deer Tick’s John McCauley. Don’t be worried, there is no country influences to shuffle your feet to when Trend Fox & The Tenants are concerned.

The Mess Around EP has a raw and unpolished quality to it that should draw in any garage band aficionados.  You can listen to all five of the tracks from this EP at kindturkeyrecords.com


PJ Harvey | Let England Shake A Review

PJ Harvey 8th Studio Album entitled Let England Shake is set to drop later this month. The English singer/songwriter Polly Jean Harvey has been putting out notable music for well over two decades now and judging by the quality of her latest work as no signs of slowing down. She has had a long and colourful career receiving critical praise from across the board, from being voted artist of the year by Rolling Stone to topping a list of greatest women in rock music according to Q Magazine. Her latest album Let England Shake may have been recorded in a church but its subject matter is far from peaceful. Let England Shake delivers a sense of newness and exploration in terms of musical composition. While still being recognizable as rock album Let England Shake also takes stylistic detours into less familiar territory. The lyrics are deeply associated with war and its complex nature, often describing the cheers of war stained by the loss and suffering. The album has an experimental feel to it, from the vocal styling to places certain tracks and their melodies take you.


Bright Eyes | The People’s Key Review

The People's KeyBright Eyes is set to release their tenth and reportedly final album called The People’s Key.  Bright Eyes front man Conor Oberst has been splitting his time lately between Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk. Both bands have a similar style to them with their folk inspired melodies with a slightly modern twist. A little synth here and there is always a useful commodity when trying to maintain the “indie” in your band’s description these days.  As for The People’s Key, Oberst has put together one of the more interesting albums to be released, in this still very new year.

The album begins with the track Firewall which at first is a spoken word discourse on reptile aliens in Sumerian tablets. You know the ones; they interbred with humans, lived in the Garden of Eden and could shape shift, yeah those ones.  Well, after this profoundly entertaining introduction, which included many different elements including Hitler, the direction the universe spins, and of course nature of love, the song begins. Firewall goes from a crazy person rant to a slow burn rock number. It always hints at that moment when the bottom would just drop out in the song but Firewall is a big tease and never really gives it up, in a good way.  The album as a whole has many memorable lyrics and has a rather eclectic sense about it; with synth portions mixed with folksy instrumentals make this album great.  

Intermittently, the wild ramblings of same man who spoke of the reptile aliens pop in at the end of tracks throughout this album. They are often broken thoughts peppered with grandiose ideas of love and harmony, vibrations that universally recognizable. As a final act for Bright Eyes these spoken portions of the album are perhaps meant to be a reflection of what music is without a tune. Maybe the kinship between a mad man and a musician is measured in how well one can play an instrument.

The People’s Key is one of the best new albums to come out so far this year. And who knows maybe it will bring to light the reptile alien agenda once and for all.

The People’s Key due out February 15th.         

The End of The White Stripes – A Sad Day For Concert Goers

After a number of years and a hand full of hit songs The White Stripes have called it quits. Front man Jack White and ex-wife Meg White are no longer going to be making music together. This is not a big surprise given Jack White has been getting involved in more and more side project such as The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and others. It isn’t really the fact that the band will no long record albums; it’s that they will no long be performing live.

Anyone who has seen a live performances of The White Stripes knows that they were a must see live act. The energy generated from the two on stage was incredible. On the tour for the Icky Thump album the stage was all dressed in black and red as were the performers which gave the performance a distinctive character.  Whenever watching them you couldn’t help but think, all of this music coming from just two people. Jack’s massive vocals rained onto the crowed and the ever present deep seeded bead provided by Meg seemed to log right in your sternum and just hum.  It was incredible, and the greatest loss of this break up will be of those who will never have the chance to experience that for themselves.