Articles posted in November 2010

Did any other man frig you?

Hip-hop, straight up
We are here and it’s now. This is a thing that’s actually happening. Vancouver jangle punks Apollo Ghosts have recorded an experimental hip-hop song using words taken from James Joyce’s personal (and extremely sexual) letters to his wife Nora.

The rhythm section lays down a steady groove while frontman Adrian Teacher makes his way through a series of paranoid and pornographic questions, found sound clips and string samples flickering in the background. At 5:56, it’s nearly twice the length of any other track that the band has previously released, and it culminates in an extended jam, with the instruments engulfed in a swirl of samples.

In other words: what the fuck? It’s the last thing you’d expect from Apollo Ghosts, but it’s great.

There are only 20 copies left of the magnificent Mount Benson, which are being sold for just $5 a pop over at MySpace.

MP3: “Dirty Letters to Nora”
 
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I woke from a coma summer

Working for the Weekend
It’s almost the weekend! I’m tired as shit, so TGIF. Appropriately enough, here’s Weekend, a noise rock outfit from San Francisco. The band recently released an album through Slumberland (a label that rules).

Click below to hear the six-and-a-half-minute opus “Coma Summer.” Unlike most current noise rock bands, this one is more Sonic Youth than the Jesus and Mary Chain.

Go to Exclaim! to read my review of the band’s recent Vancouver show with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

MP3: “Coma Summer”
 
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No difference between wrong and right

Should have splurged for a dozen
The Dears have a high turnover; according to Wikipedia, the band has fourteen past members. One of them, Jon Cohen, has since gone on to start a project of his own, the Jon Cohen Experimental.

Don’t be fooled by the band name—there’s nothing too experimental about “Brain Pollution,” the second track from the band’s new album, Behold. Trilling guitar licks skitter across a bubbling bed of drums, wordless harmonies and echoing vocals, making for a subtly atmospheric rocker.

MP3: “Brain Pollution”
 
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Her hands around my waist

Wake me up when Movember ends
I have a big ol’ list of bands that I’ve been meaning to blog, but I’m going to save those for another day in favour of my latest discovery. I only just got around to listening to Twin Shadow today because, honestly, I kept getting them confused with Twin Sister.

That was my loss, because Twin Shadow rocks hard (but peacefully). If you thought ’80s new wave-revivalism had run its course, the sparkling synth rocker “I Can’t Wait” will prove you wrong. Just wait for the shift that comes at the 40-second mark, when a bass enters and anchors the song’s blissful dance pulse.

MP3: “I Can’t Wait”
 
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Stacked up by the hand of glory

Blau's words are Teacher's
My wireless was on the fritz this morning, so I’ve had to work out of a Starbucks all day. To drown out the blaring mix of Mumford & Sons and Norah Jones, I’ve been listening to My Words Are Yours, the new album from Apollo Ghosts frontman Adrian Teacher. The ultra lo-fi collection was made using free lyrics posted online by songwriter Karl Blau.

Below, you can download the song “Come Home Sailor,” which is the opening track. It’s mostly just a solo acoustic performance, but there are some vocal harmonies and twinkling guitar overdubs that create a gorgeously peaceful atmosphere.

Go to the Georgia Straight to read my interview with Teacher and get a download link for the album.

MP3: “Come Home Sailor”
 
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The way you look now

Four more years! Four more years!
Vancouver (well, Abbotsford) chillwaver Teen Daze sent over his latest track, “Watch over Me.” This one is labelled “November 2010,” so it’s apparently brand new. Just as you’d expect from Teen Daze, it’s soaked in gauzy reverb and laden with tick-tocking beats and bleary synths. It’s not your average glo-fi track however; the breakdowns feature a prominent acoustic guitar (string squeaks and all) and tinkling, new age-y keyboards.

MP3: “Watch over Me”
 
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Kept in the dark

Love the Pacific Northwest shots
Lovers of creepy pop should take note: Vancouver duo Falcao and Monashee‘s Fools is available now as a free download. You can pick up individual songs or the whole thing right here.

All of the songs are good, but there’s no clear standout, so it was hard to pick which song to post. Here’s the harp-laden “Merry Go Round,” which kind of reminds me of the film Coraline (remember this song?), as it has a baroque atmosphere that’s somehow peaceful and a little eerie at the same time.

I reviewed the album for the latest issue of the Georgia Straight.

MP3: “Merry Go Round”
 
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We didn’t realize that we had arrived

Anyone for Tennis?
What I like about Tennis‘s “Marathon” is that it’s completely straightforward. The opening lyrics—”Coconut Grove is a very small cove / Separated from the sea by a shifting shore”—are so matter-of-fact that they could almost be lifted from Wikipedia. Even the arrangement is almost stupidly obvious, with a ’50s-esque melody giving way to a wordless chorus and snare hits that always come right on the two and the four. It might sound like I’m insulting it, but it’s this simplicity that makes it so instantly charming.

Go to Exclaim! to read my article about the band’s upcoming debut album.

MP3: “Marathon”
 
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All we want to do is love

Press shots in the Tokyo subway
We could be looking at the next Canadian breakthrough band here. Braids are from Montreal (via Calgary), and on January 18 will release their debut album, Native Speaker, via the awesome combination of Kanine and Flemish Eye. Here’s the first single (and lead track) from that album, “Lemonade.” It’s almost seven minutes long, building from a cyclical guitar figure to a shamanistic indie rock pulse, reminiscent of Feels-era Animal Collective. It rises and falls a couple times, but never quite explodes like you expect it to (although there’s a pretty great moment at 4:32).

Speaking of Flemish Eye, I recently wrote a story for Exclaim! about the label’s new zine.

MP3: “Lemonade”
 
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I’m sorry we can’t be friends

Cloud This Guy
No matter how many fuzzy lo-fi pop acts I write about, there’s always more. Here’s Cloud Nothings, a band led by Cleveland songwriter Dylan Baldi. While many of the other bands in the same vein favour chirpy bubblegum pop or retro garage rock, “Even if It Worked Out” has got more of a ’90s alt-rock vibe, especially during the chorus.

Cloud Nothings will be releasing a self-titled LP next year. Go to Exclaim! to read my article about it.

MP3: “Even if It Worked Out”
 
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