Articles posted in October 2010

What is better about him?

Where your Nightcrawlers at?
Following a self-titled EP, Henry and the Nightcrawlers are back with a full-length, 100 Blows. Here’s “The New Guy,” which captures Henry Alcock-White at his most Elvis Costello-esque, griping about an ex-girlfriend with equal amounts of self-pity and sass. Throw in a quasi-ska rhythm and some catchy group backing vocals and you’ve got a winner.

100 Blows comes out tomorrow (November 1). Henry and the Nightcrawlers will play CD release show on November 27 at the Billy Bishop Legion Hall here in Vancouver.

MP3: “The New Guy”
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I think the kids are doing fine

Not a bird, not a gun
Doing a Google search for “baby eagle” is weird, since it brings up a mixture of insanely cute birds and handguns. It also brings up Baby Eagle, the solo project of Constantines guitarist Steve Lambke.

Here’s “Day of Our Departing,” a grunge-y folk rocker from this year’s Dog Weather LP. It’s steeped in Crazy Horse-style grit (complete with a wheezy harmonica solo), but Lambke’s half-spoken vocals make it sound closer to Lou Reed.

MP3: “Day of Our Departing”
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Now we can’t be friends

Coldplay video stand-ins
It’s been a few months since Crystal Castles released their second self-titled LP, but I’m still digging it. Just see the glowing review I wrote in the Georgia Straight when it first came out. On the other hand, I recently wrote an Exclaim! story about their apparent douchiness.

The album has plenty of moments of poppy sweetness; take a listen to the synth-dazzled “Not in Love,” a surprisingly gorgeous cover of a schlocky tune originally by Platinum Blonde. Now, the band has upped the prettiness even more by recording a version with the Cure‘s Robert Smith on vocals. Disintegration is one of my favourite records of all time, so this is pretty much perfect.

My neighbours are currently listening to the last track on Chad VanGaalen‘s Soft Airplane really loud, and it’s terrifying. I’d better crank up “Not in Love” and mellow out super hard.

MP3: “Not in Love (ft. Robert Smith)”
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We can never get away from the sprawl

I painted this for you
The new Arcade Fire album is pretty cool, but I can’t say that I’ve been listening to it very much. The words “I really want to listen to The Suburbs right now” never seem to cross my mind.

The exception is “The Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” since that song was my summer jam. I haven’t posted it because it’s not been cleared by the band or label, but here’s a remix by Thunderlust. It’s fairly similar to the Blondie-indebted original, as it sticks to the melodies and chord progressions pretty closely. The biggest difference is that it’s sped up significantly, which changes the tone from resigned desperation to joyful abandon.

MP3: “The Sprawl (Thunderlust Remix)”
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A violence I cannot dispel

The shimmering sun
Hype works in mysterious ways. I’ve heard very little about Shimmering Stars on a local level, but the Vancouver band has started getting coverage from some of the big guys. It’s well-deserved — just listen to the dreamy slab of of retro pop that is “I’m Gonna Try.”

The song has a video, which you can see here. Most of it was shot a few minutes down the road from my apartment. I have to cross that bridge when I go downtown in about an hour.

This tune comes from a four-song 7″ EP, which you can stream here.

MP3: “I’m Gonna Try”
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When the going gets going

When they eat dinner together it's a Fooded Hang
Bad news: I don’t like the new Belle and Sebastian LP very much. I wrote about the album for Exclaim! and I gave it a mixed review. It made me sad, since the band’s past releases have been a huge part of my life.

To get my fill of sensitive indie pop, I’ve been turning to Toronto’s Hooded Fang. Here’s the lovely track “Laughing,” which brings together boy-girl harmonies, mournful horns and fey, lilting melodies. That hits the spot.

Thanks to the awesome Herohill for the heads-up on this one.

MP3: “Laughing”
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I’m not as young as I used to be

Girls know that love is an astronaut
Girls‘ first garnered attention with their single “Lust for Life,” which, despite the title, wasn’t an Iggy Pop cover. Now, the band has released a new track called “Heartbreaker,” which isn’t a Led Zeppelin cover. Instead, it’s countrified rocker, with phasing guitars and singer Christopher Owen’s usual lovelorn moping.

Despite some excellent past singles, I’ve never been entirely convinced that Girls are worth the hype. This new tune is a good one (I especially like the heartbroken lyrics), but it still doesn’t quite make me a believer.

Go to Exclaim! to read my article about the upcoming EP Broken Heart Club.

MP3: “Heartbreaker”
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Big boss with the magaphone

Drinking themselves into a state of mindlessnesslessness
As of late, I’ve written a few article for Exclaim! about Hot Panda‘s new LP. I did a combination review/Q&A about the new album, and interviewed frontman Chris Connelly about the band’s upcoming move to Vancouver. I also wrote a news story when the album was first announced.

Here’s “Mindlessnesslessness,” which is a bold choice of lead single. It’s a manic stomper, more discordant than catchy, and there’s no real chorus—just some barely-intelligible hollering and some quirky keyboard breaks.

MP3: “Mindlessnesslessness”
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Resurrect all of the lovers

Forest fire, you guys
I love Slumberland Records. Not only has the label been churning out amazing indie pop for over twenty years, but there are always plenty of free MP3s offered on Slumberland’s website.

Here’s Crystal Stilts‘ “Shake the Shackles” from the 7″ of the same name. It’s half shimmer, half fuzz, with jangling Britpop-style guitars and an urgent, pounding rhythm section. This track distinguishes itself from the rest of Slumberland’s indie pop catalogue thanks to singer Brad Hargett’s looming, Ian Curtis-style vocals. There’s no fey sensitivity here.

MP3: “Shake the Shackles”
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My heart’s been breaking

Meet them in Montauk
When Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind came out in early 2004, I was an eighteen-year-old with a lot of feelings, so it pretty much rocked my world. One of my favourite things about the film was Jon Brion‘s score, in particular the brief guitar ditty “Phone Call.” It’s barely a minute long, but I remember sitting in my dorm room, listening to it over and over and feeling sentimental. (If you don’t know it, check out out here.)

That’s why I’m pretty happy that Memoryhouse sampled the track for the song “Lately (Deuxième).” Singer Denise Nouvio and producer Evan Abeele add some subtle prettiness of their own, but they mostly stay out of the way, allowing the beautiful backing to do its work.

Go to Exclaim! to read my article about Memoryhouse’s upcoming single.

MP3: “Lately (Deuxième)”
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