Articles posted in October 2010

Choking on some modern fruit

Yes, he's wearing a Slanted Baby shirt
Such as I understand it, the Slanted Baby story goes like this:

Teenager doesn’t really know how to play music, but starts writing songs anyway. He records them on a cassette four-track. He doesn’t like the sound of his own voice so he either speeds up or slows down all of the vocals.

Dude records a number of albums over several years, gradually getting better at the instruments he doesn’t really know how to play. And some of the results are bizarrely brilliant.

Here’s the surprisingly proficient and generally awesome “Street Covered Angel,” which comes from an album called Kiss My Car. It sounds a bit like Guided by Voices, with a lo-fi blend of acoustic strumming, electronic beats and surreal, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Kind of like this stream-of-consciousness blog post. Sorry, it’s been a fifteen-hour workday. This song is good, and the outro guitar solo is amazing.

MP3: “Street Covered Angel”
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They were smoke and we were fire

Hey guys, pull my finger
Here’s the latest from Times New Viking, “No Room to Live.” After several albums that were the perhaps the shittiest of shitgaze (sonically speaking), this track is relatively clean. It’s still lo-fi, but this time it’s not entirely soaked in speaker-blown fuzz, and the low end is a little fuller.

Go to Exclaim! to read my article about this song and learn about the band’s upcoming album.

MP3: “No Room to Live”
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I mean it more than anyone

Love thyself
The Go! Team‘s Thunder, Lightening, Strike is one of the most joyously danceable albums in recent memory, except it’s not that recent anymore, since it came out back in 2004.

Here’s the outfit’s new single, “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.,” which is an upbeat, horn-punctuated rager that’s bound to invite any number of cheesy ‘force of nature’ puns. A whirlwind of rhymes! A swirling blast of beats! Bill Paxton-style chants! Helen Hunt!

This will be on the awesomely-titled Rolling Blackouts, due out in January. Thanks to Pitchfork for this.

MP3: “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.”
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Will your bones attack me?

As seen through a church window
Meligrove Band‘s press materials describe the Toronto-based group’s music like this: “Catchy hooks sit alongside violins, organs and brass, wired through any number of guitar pedals—all atop a pounding, fuzz-bass rhythm section.”

Sounds a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel, right? Well, not really. Click below to listen to “Bones Attack!!!,” which is far too upbeat and bouncy to have come from Jeff Mangum’s twisted imagination. The group vocals, barroom piano and joyful melodies mean this one will appeal to fans of Canadiana rock ‘n’ roll and powerpop alike.

The band’s Shimmering Lights is out now via Nevado.

MP3: “Bones Attack!!!”
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England is mine, it owes me a living

The Julie Powell of Morrissey
Oh man, this is great. A woman named Janice Whaley has decided to record a cover of every song by the Smiths as part of the Smiths Project. She’s aiming to do them all before the end of the year, which makes this kind of like the Julie & Julia of the Smiths. Just as Julie Powell is to indulgent foods, so Janice Whaley is to indulgent indie pop.

The San Francisco songstress has recorded over three dozen covers already, which you can listen to and download here. They’re largely a cappella and contain densely layered choral vocals. Below, I’ve posted “Still Ill,” which has always been one of my favourite Smiths songs. (Incidentally, tracks 6-9 on the Smiths’ self-titled album might be my favourite four-song run ever.)

MP3: “Still Ill”
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I’ll just cry forever

Like I said, milkshake tattoo
Katy Goodman (aka Kickball Katy) is a woman with a milkshake tattoo on her arm (see the picture to the right), so it’s no surprise that she’s got a penchant for vintage girl group pop. Here’s “Never Come Around,” which is the A-side of her new single as La Sera. This one is a little softer than her work with Vivian Girls, but the massive Phil Spector-style production means that it’s equally fantastic. In fact, it sounds a hell of a lot like the solo work of her former bandmate, Frankie Rose.

Thanks to Gorilla vs. Bear for this. Apparently the song will appear on a full-length, coming out in 2011. The 7″ is due out November 16 via Hardly Art, and comes backed with a track called “Behind Your Eyes.”

MP3: “Never Come Around”
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Concrete and cracks won’t cut you deals

Just the cutest
Holy hell, Matt & Kim are unbelievable live! I reviewed them for Exclaim! a couple weeks ago and just about lost my mind. I wish I could upload their new single, “Cameras,” but as far as I know it’s not cleared for posting. So I’ll settle for this remix of “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” by Glasnost. Frankly, it’s a little absurd, and is by far the trashiest dance song I’ve ever posted on this blog. Oh well. If you have a time machine, take this one back to 1997, do a bunch of E and wave around a glow stick.

Or you could listen to “Cameras” here, watch some music videos and marvel at how Matt & Kim are just the cutest.

MP3: “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare (Glasnost Remix)”
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I don’t care about nothing

Sweaters are soft
A few days ago, I saw the Drums and Surfer Blood when they came through Vancouver. Surfer Blood is great, but the Drums were clearly the better of the two. Read my review at Exclaim! to learn why.

Come to think of it, I also reviewed Surfer Blood a few months ago for BeatRoute, which was the last time that the band came through town.

Here’s the Drums’ “Let’s Go Surfing,” remixed by the Raveonettes. As you’d expect when the Raveonettes are involved, the song gets a shoegaze-y makeover, with searing electric guitars and a thick gauze of reverb. There’s a great new chord change around 2:36 that wasn’t in the original version, so watch out for that.

MP3: “Let’s Go Surfing (The Raveonettes Remix)”
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I’d rather be plaster

The metaphysical you
I’m not entirely sure why Plus Perfect‘s “The Physical You” reminds me of Billy Bragg. Maybe it’s the mutual affinity for the Clash, or maybe it’s lovelorn lyrics like “There is strength to be found / In our separate rooms / But I’d much rather be / With the physical you.” In any case, whenever the refrain kicks in at 1:55, I invariably think of Billy.

The track comes from Plus Perfect’s new LP, New Atlantis, out now via Plans to Make Plans.

I interviewed keyboardist Mike Gittens for Exclaim! and frontman Andrew Candela for BeatRoute. In the latter article, try to ignore the bit where I use the word “half” three times in the same sentence.

MP3: “The Physical You”
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Bloody visions of a world so torn

The kind of band that signs its address as The Universe
I’m not sure how many pieces I’ve written for Exclaim! in the past year, but it’s easily in the four-digits. Still, in all of those articles, this is the first time I’ve written an interview for the hard copy of the paper. It’s with Black Mountain frontman Stephen McBean (not the first time) and it appears in this month’s issue. I also reviewed the new album, Wilderness Heart.

Here’s the single “Old Fangs,” which I still haven’t posted. This is a duet with a slow-chugging groove, some Deep Purple-style organ and spaced-out synth atmospherics—so it’s pretty much the prototypical Black Mountain song.

MP3: “Old Fangs”
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