Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ken Burns' The War (part 1)

Respite on Okinawa (from the National Archives)

“Time and again we found that footage and photographs, however graphic, and words, however eloquent, could not alone do justice to the magnitude of the war’s devastation, could not fully convey the barbarity, bravery, depravity, resilience, and generosity of spirit that the conflict evoked in the millions of human beings who were touched by it.”
–Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, from their liner notes
to THE WAR soundtrack album

Perhaps no other name has become synonymous with scholarly documentaries to the American public as Ken Burns. Indeed, there's even a filming technique named after him: The Ken Burns Effect (where the camera zooms in on one part of a still picture and then slowly pans to a different part of it). Starting with his epic work on the Civil War in 1990, he has gone on to produce notable pieces on baseball, Mark Twain, and most importantly for music fans, Jazz.

His latest masterpiece, six years in the making, is simply titled The War, and is a seven part documentary covering World War II. Unlike previous documentaries from other producers, and much like the greatly lauded HBO series Band of Brothers, Burns' zeros in on individuals and the part they played in the larger picture. He focuses on four American towns: Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; Waterbury, Connecticut; and Luverne, Minnesota. From these towns he follows soldiers who hailed from them and the people who stayed behind to contribute to the war effort in other ways.

View the trailer for the series here: Windows Media / Quicktime

Just as he artfully crafts the visual aspects of his work, Burns applies equal attention to the audio portion of it as well. Accompanying the documentary is a masterful soundtrack which includes pieces from the period as well as some songs penned especially for this project (including works from Norah Jones, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis and Joshua Bell). Considering the breadth of the work, it would be nigh well next to impossible to fit all of the music on one disc; therefor, besides the soundtrack there will be three companion albums that will all be sold individually. They will also be packaged together in a special commemorative box set featuring a 24-page booklet essay by Ken Burns interspersed with 17 rare and moving images from the period, and a PBS Series Viewers Guide (buy it here).

stream Norah Jones - American Anthem : The War: A Ken Burns Film, The Soundtrack

Bing Crosby with Les Paul - It's Been a Long, Long Time
: The War: A Ken Burns Film, The Soundtrack


"To wartime America, music provided both entertainment and uplift. There may have been rationing and general shortages, but dance halls flourished as never before, fueled by the big bands of the era."
-from the back notes of I'm Beginning to See the Light,
Dance Hits From the Second World War

One of the three companion discs is titled I'm Beginning to See the Light, Dance Hits From the Second World War, and as the title suggest, includes swing songs from the biggest band leaders of the era: Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Glen Miller, Gene Krupa, Count Basie, and others. If you enjoy the big band sound, then this compilation really gathers together the cream of the crop.

Glen Miller - In the Mood : The War: A Ken Burns Film, I'm Beginning to See the Light, Dance Hits From The Second World War

Gene Krupa - Let Me Off Uptown : The War: A Ken Burns Film, I'm Beginning to See the Light, Dance Hits From The Second World War

(read part 2 on Songs Without Words, one of the other two companion CDs, and part 3 on Sentimental Journey, the last companion disc)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

SLAVE to the SQUAREwave

Try to imagine this: Devo meets David Bowie, asks him to take on lead vocals for them, firms up their Duran Duran riffs, and then proceeds to rock out some retro-new wave dance music like its 1980. Only it's not 1980, it's September 25th, 2007, the band's name is SLAVE to the SQUAREwave, and they've released their new album Big Change.

The band first formed back in 1990 in Toronto when singer Colin Troy and keyboardist Rob Stuart were each playing solo sets at a rave, met, and realized their mutual attraction to New Wave music. Since then, they've added Andrew Starr on guitar and Doug Lea on drums and have put together a veritable tribute to music that ruled the airwaves (and MTV for that matter) in the early 80's.

SLAVE to the SQUAREwave - Big Change : Big Change

SLAVE to the SQUAREwave - Pumpin' Up the P House : Big Change

Visit their website, their label Sparks Music, and become their friend on MySpace.


Devo - Girl U Want : Tank Girl Soundtrack

David Bowie - Alabama Song (Bertolt Brecht cover)
: The Best Of David Bowie 1980-1987: Sight & Sound

Friday, September 28, 2007

Junior League Moving Up

Fans of Brandi Carlile will NOT want to miss the debut album Oh Dear from up and coming band Junior League. Formed around the sweet yet strong vocals of singer and songwriter Lissy Rosemont, the band puts forth a slice of Appalachian bluegrass tinged folk music that feels like it's rooted in tradition yet still puts forth something modern to claim for its own.

According to Lissy, her music harkens back to three major influences: 1) her mother waking up the house every morning by playing hymns on the piano 2) her father waking her up in the middle of the night to sing his favorite Hank Williams tunes to his buddies and 3) her family's fiddler festival in Union Grove, NC where she has been performing or watching her father, Hal Beaver, play since she was a child. With banjo, mandolin, fiddle, accordion and harmonica blended in purposeful amounts, you can see where the band's roots lie, but they aren't tied to imitation.

Junior League - Charm : Oh Dear

Junior League - Chess Records
: Oh Dear

Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.


Brandi Carlile - The Times They Are A Changing (Bob Dylan Cover)
: Live at the WXPN All About The Music Festival 7-23-06

Hank Williams - Honkey Tonk Blues : The Initial Music Collection

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Doh! It's the Simpsons!

It's genuinely hard to believe that we've been sitting on our couches watching the Simpsons gather on their couch for over seventeen years now. That's right, the first episode premiered on January 14, 1990, and they've been going strong ever since. Joining Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and other Springfield regulars have been more musical artists that you can shake a stick at, and for all of those seasons Alf Clausen has been composing or arranging most of the music that accompanies the shows.

There have been a few other Simpsons' albums released, but this one, The Simpsons: Testify (A Whole Lot More Original Music from the Television Series), includes thirty-seven songs from seasons 10-18 and four more that were unaired tracks. I could make a list of actors, musicians, and Springfield characters who appear on the album, but... I'm not. Trust me, it's impressive. If you're a Simpsons fan, you'll find yourself constantly reminiscing about past episodes. If you're not a huge fan, you'll still find the songs thoroughly enjoyable.

The Alf Clausen Orchestra - "The Simpsons" Main Title Theme : The Simpsons: Testify (A Whole Lot More Original Music from the Television Series)

Apu, David Byrne, Homer Simpson, Lenny, Marge Simpson, Moe, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy & William Shatner Featuring David Byrne - Everybody Hates Ned Flanders [Medley]
: The Simpsons: Testify (A Whole Lot More Original Music from the Television Series)

Sideshow Bob Featuring Kelsey Grammer - Hullaba Lula (Featuring Kelsey Grammer - previously unaired) : The Simpsons: Testify (A Whole Lot More Original Music from the Television Series)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

There's a Baby Elephant in the room

Riddled with skits like a Fugees album, Turn My Teeth Up!, the debut album by the trio known as Baby Elephant, aims to bring the P-Funk to your neighborhood. It includes more guests than a Conan O'Brien show including some old school alumni like George Clinton, Yellowman, David Byrne (former Talking Heads frontman), Nona Hendryx (of Labelle), and Shock G (probably better known to you as Humpty Hump from Digital Underground). Add all these together and you've got an album that's heavy on funky grooves that's not too proud to get a little silly while having a good time. You'll find no gangsta stances here; rather a lighthearted collection of songs that bring together a bunch of classic sounds in a refreshing mix.

Baby Elephant - Plainfield (Featuring Shock G) : Turn My Teeth Up!

Baby Elephant - Turn My Teeth Up! : Turn My Teeth Up!

Visit their label Godforsaken Music and become their friend on MySpace.


Run-D.M.C. - Roots, Rap, Reggae (Featuring Yellowman) : King of Rock

Digital Underground - The Humpty Dance
: Sex Packets

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic - Atomic Dog : Live at Montreux 2004

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Legend of Slowhand

On October 9th, Eric Clapton will be releasing Complete Clapton, a 2 disc career spanning retrospective AND Clapton: The Autobiography. I'm praying to the heavens above (since as the famous picture above states, Clapton IS God) that I don't need to include a career summary here for you to grasp the importance, the impact, the accomplishments of such an incredibly talented guitarist and song-writer. Forty plus year career, eighteen time Grammy winner, triple inductee in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Yardbirds, Cream, and a solo artist), yada yada get the picture.

For more information, check out the official site.

BB King, Eric Clapton, and Phil Collins - The Thrill is Gone : BB King and Friends (live 4-15-87 Los Angeles, CA at the Ebony Theater)

Visit his website, his label Reprise Records, become his friend on MySpace, and join his Official Fan Club.

Afuche - Gesundheit!

To label Afuche's self produced, self distributed EP Carajo Is worse Than Hell as simply eclectic would be doing it a great disservice. Although it's only a small package of five tracks, those five pieces carry us around the world on a trip of musical exploration. Starting out in the old country, home to Beirut (and more recently Sea Wolf, who I talked about here) with the first track A Cue to Bathe, somehow, miraculously, then switches gears, travels thousands of miles to the Carribean in Umm Champ Chemp with some Latin spice, while still keeping one foot in the gypsy camp. Then in track three, Gaspar Noe, it leaps with a distinct Afro-Cuban flavor that makes you want to mambo. Before you get too comfortable though, prepare for some more traditional jazz a la Charles Mingus with a healthy dose of clarinets thrown in for good measure. All this in the form of track four, One Word with Three Syllables, offered below.

So all that being said, if you're in the NYC area, check out Afuche live. The nucleus of the band is Zach Ryalls and Ruben Sindo Acosta, but they have a whole revolving crew that assists in their stage performances. Enjoy the following and contact the band to purchase some of their work for yourself.

And if you are still wondering what an Afuche is, head here.

Afuche - Gaspar Noe : Carajo Is Worse Than Hell

Afuche - One Word with Three Syllables : Carajo Is Worse Than Hell

Become their friend on MySpace.


Beirut - A Sunday Smile : The Flying Club Cup

Dizzy Gillespie And Machito - Calidoscopico : Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods

Mambo UK - Cubanismo! : Margarita Mix

Charles Mingus - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat : Mingus Ah Um

Monday, September 24, 2007

Beginnings and Eulogies

Derived from the Latin word meaning “praise,” the word eulogy usually is associated with a written or spoken tribute, a sort of story-telling, about a recently deceased loved one. And in a way, the band, Eulogies, stays true to the word’s origin. Their recently-released (September 11th) self-titled debut album is just that: a collection of thirteen “stories” through which they share thoughts and feelings of love, loss, and pain...minus the funeral. Assisting in its production was labelmate Hrishikesh Hirway of The One AM Radio.

Reminiscent of Radiohead's earlier sound with its mellow vocals and driving drum and bass beats and echoing vocals, the band Eulogies formed on the road. Then solo-artist Peter Walker (guitar, keyboard, and vocals) blended with Chris Reynolds (drums) and Tim Hutton (bass) to form a truly talented group of story-tellers. Primarily classifiable as rock, with an often melancholy twist, the songs are catchy, yet each has it’s own unique sound. This is an album that you can listen to over and over again, and each time feel like you come away understanding a little more about yourself.

The band will be on the road in October and November with Film School. Check below for dates. In the meantime, enjoy the following:

Eulogies - One Man : Eulogies

Eulogies - Can't Relate : Eulogies

Visit their website, their label Dangerbird Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Film School - Sick Hipster Nursed By Suicide : Hideout

Tour Dates (with Film School)

10 Seattle, WA - Crocodile Café
11 Portland, OR - Dantes
12 Sacramento, CA - Blue Lamp
13 San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of The Hill
16 Austin, TX - Emos
17 Dallas, TX - Cavern Club
19 Atlanta, GA - The Earl
20 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
21 Washington, DC - Rock N Roll Hotel
22 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas
24 Boston, MA - TT The Bears
25 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
26 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwells
28 Cleveland, OH - Beachland
29 Toronto, ON - El Mocambo
30 Pontiac, MI - Pike Room
31 Chicago, IL - Schubas

01 Chicago, IL - Schubas
03 Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar
05 Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
08 San Diego, CA - Beauty Bar
15 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Follow Trances Arc

Hailing from Athens, GA (home of former indie poster band turned uber-pop stars R.E.M.) fivesome Trances Arc is set to release their sophomore release titled Xoxox. The band got a big break earlier this year when uber-trendy coffee with too complicated of names purveyor Starbucks included their song Champagne Wishes (from their debut album Buona Fortuna where it is simply called Champagne) in a music compilation titled Off The Clock Vol. 1. Hopefully, this slice of success will springboard the new album (which is due out October 16th) into music playing devices everywhere over-priced coffee is sold. If it finds its way into yours, you'll need to dust off your air guitar and get ready to jam, as the album is definitely a guitar driven affair. The only other thing I can say about it is that it sort of reminds me of Cheap Trick (especially Eric Toledo's lead vocals), but maybe that's just me.

Trances Arc - Birds Collide : Xoxox

Trances Arc - (Star Spangled) Xoxox : Xoxox

and from their last album (and the Starbucks comp),

Trances Arc - Champagne
: Buona Fortuna

Visit their website, their label Slush Fund Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Cheap Trick - Surrender : Greatest Hits

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The 1900s in the 2000s

Looking for a new confectionary treat of twee-tinged-pop to take a lick of? Well look no further than Chicago's own the 1900s. That's right, it's not a typo, Chicago. The band is poised to release their first full length album, Cold & Kind, on October 2nd, after receiving a hearty welcome for their debut Plume Delivery EP. It's a playful album from the first note to the last and one can hear shades of Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura (depending on who's singing the lyrics - I'm not sure which band members do but there are some songs with a female lead and others with a male - hence the two references about the bands above - and at this point I'll end this rather lengthy side explanation) joyfully skipping in the background.

The 1900s - Georgia : Cold & Kind

The 1900s - When I Say Go : Cold & Kind

and one from their debut EP:

The 1900s - Bring the Good Boys Home : Plume Delivery EP

Visit their website, their label Parasol Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


The 1900s - Everybody's Got A Collection : Cold & Kind Outtake

Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap : The Boy With The Arab Strap

Camera Obscura - Greyhound Goin' Somewhere (Bobbie Gentry cover) : Peel Session 7-10-04

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Arrrgghh Matey...prepare for Sea Wolf

Having been listening to Sea Wolf's advance EP Get To the River Before It Runs Too Low for a while now, their complete album Leaves In the River, which comes out on the 25th, brings no surprises. And that's a good thing. In fact, that's a very good thing.

Alex Church, A.K.A. Sea Wolf, brings forth a sound that evokes connections to the old world, very reminiscent of Beirut, but perhaps not quite as thoroughly rooted on the other side of the ocean. While there some songs that feel very gypsyish (try the title track below - my favorite track from the album), others such as You're A Wolf lose that Eastern Block aura. What's striking about the vocals is that Alex's voice many times comes across as very even-keeled, subdued in a way, yet he still manages to convey whatever message or emotions that are behind the particular song.

Along with some supporting musicians, Sea Wolf will be touring with Nada Surf, who are working on their next studio album (finally). Look for dates below to see if they're coming to a town near you. In the meantime, listen to the following and then pick up the album on the 25th.

(watch the video)

and one from their last EP:

Visit their website, their label Dangerbird Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

Tour Dates (with Nada Surf)
15 Columbus, OH - Basement
16 Cincinnati, OH - 20th Century
17 Louisville, KY - Jim Porters
18 Indianapolis, IN - Birdy's
20 Chicago, IL - Schubas
22 St. Louis, MO - Gargoyle Club
23 Nashville, TN - Exit In
24 Birmingham, AL - Bottle Tree
26 Tampa, FL - State Theatre
27 St. Augustine, FL - Cafe Eleven
29 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
30 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
31 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle

01 Charlottesville, VA - Satellite Ballroom UVA
02 Baltimore, MD - 8 x 10


Beirut - Prenzlauerberg : Gulag Orkestar

Nada Surf - Pressure Free : Karmic

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The sublime Nire

Simple, melodic, intimate, introverted : all words that could be used to describe Nire's debut full length album Vespers, which is set to be released October 9th.

When I say simple, I don't mean simplistic. With Nire, it boils down to Erin Morgan and Josh Hinton on vocals and acoustic guitar as the primary means of conveying their musical vision to the listener. Some bands try to get away with sparse instrumentation simply because they can't play anything else or they don't have the support to back them up. That's not the case here though. The atmosphere created by hushed lyrics and well chosen notes is a deliberate one that draws you into a world of your own. The melodies they create, with some delicate piano notes here and there, pull you into a state between sleep and awake.

In some ways, their music reminds me of The One AM Radio, but it is even more stripped down, more sublime.

Nire - Girl In the Moon : Vespers

Visit their website, their label Abandoned Love Records, and become their friends on MySpace.


The One AM Radio - The Harvest : This Too Will Pass

Monday, September 17, 2007

Shawn (NOT Jared) Fogel

Not to be confused with Jared Fogle (the Subway guy), Shawn Fogel is set to release his latest EP, titled One Day In the Desert, tomorrow (September 18th). Although his name might not be familiar, Shawn's released a handful of EPs and one full length album back in 2004. If you haven't heard any of them, his sound reminds me of a mix between Elvis Costello (try Leaves, Corners, Stones below), who he even looks a little like to me, and The Beatles (listen to Millions of Miles Away).

Not only is Shawn set for his latest release, but it was just announced that he'll be playing the Halifax Pop Explosion which will take place October 16-20th. He'll be joining an illustrious list of performers including Apostle of Hustle and Tegan & Sara.

Shawn Fogel - Leaves, Corners, Stones : One Day In the Desert

and one from his last full length album:

Shawn Fogel - Millions Of Miles Away : Millions Of Miles Away

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

All Hail The Loose Salute

When you first spin The Loose Salute's new album Tuned to Love, the first track (ironically titled Death Club) is guaranteed to make you think it's going to be a sunshiney bubble-gum country album of happy-go-lucky tunes that will dredge up memories of top 40 hits from the 70's. All in a good way of course.

Then you get to the second track, which retains the country tint but which adds horns that will remind you of an Ennio Morricone song or Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire. At that point, you know that you're not in for a run of the mill twangy alt-western album. Heck, just look at the picture above and you could guess that. (Is it just me or does the pair on the right look like Captain & Tennille? Come to think of it, the first track sounds like a Captain & Tennille song. Maybe they've reformed with some support?)

The album has some great harmonies and that 70's every thing's groovy kind of flow. Grab the record while you can and hold on to summer for as long as possible.

The Loose Salute - Death Club : Tuned to Love

The Loose Salute - Through the Stratosphere to the Bars : Tuned to Love

Visit their website, their label Graveface Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Ennio Morricone - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Main Title) : A Fistful Of Film Music [Disc 1]

Captain & Tennille - Love Will Keep Us Together : Captain & Tennille's Greatest Hits

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A 70's flashback with Alberta Cross

While listening to the opening track of Alberta Cross's debut LP The Thief & the Heartbreaker (which also happens to be the title track), you are instantly transported back in time to some point in the 70's with Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young playing in the background. It's uncanny how close the resemblance is; in fact it sounds like it could be a missing studio track that never made a CSNY album.

Unlike CSNY though, Alberta Cross formed in London in this century, not the last. Their debut is short, only seven songs long, but that's by design. "It’s a battle against weak verses and big choruses and we want to make classic albums, not albums with four singles and a bunch of fillers.” The whole album has that classic rock flavor to it with an updated feel. Try the following two songs, then get the rest of the LP for yourself.

Alberta Cross - The Thief & The Heartbreaker : The Thief & The Heartbreaker

Alberta Cross - Lucy Rider : The Thief & The Heartbreaker

Visit their label Fiction Records and become their friend on MySpace.


Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young - Woodstock
: Deja Vu

Friday, September 14, 2007

The truth about Liars

Off-kilter notes, echoy reverbed vocals that feel like they're bouncing around a dark crypt, gloomy tones that make you want to look around for pentagrams: welcome to Liars self titled album, their fourth since forming in 2000.

The album very much reminds me of another release from earlier this year: Clinic's Visitations. Both offer an air of despondency, notes that seem out of whack but somehow piece together into music, a dark driving beat that is muted as if run through a handful of filters.

Liars is on tour opening for Interpol as you read this. Listen to the songs below, then see if they're coming anywhere near you.

Liars - Plaster Casts Of Everything : Liars
(watch the video with Karen O cameo)

Liars - Leather Prowler : Liars

Visit their website, their label Mute Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


09-14 New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
09-15 Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theatre
09-16 Raleigh, NC - Disco Rodeo
09-18 Orlando, FL - Hard Rock Live
09-19 Miami, FL - BankUnited Center
09-21 Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
09-22 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
09-23 New Orleans, LA - Sugar Mill
09-25 Houston, TX - Verizon Wireless Theatre
09-26 Austin, TX - Stubb's Bar-B-Q
09-27 Dallas, TX - Palladium
10-10 Kansas City, KS - Uptown
10-12 Minneapolis, MN - State Theatre
10-14 Denver, CO - Fillmore
10-15 Salt Lake City, UT - McKay Center
10-16 Boise, ID - Big Easy
10-18 Seattle, WA - WaMu Theater
10-19 Portland, OR - Memorial Coliseum
10-20 San Francisco, CA - Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
10-23 Los Angeles, CA - The Forum


Clinic - Animal/Human : Visitations

Interpol - Specialist : Matador at Fifteen

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Division Day winner

Congratulations go out to Alyssa, who was the winner of Division Day's new album, a t-shirt, and a pair of tickets to check them out at Union Hall in Brooklyn. For those of you who didn't win (or enter), here's a remix of a track from the album.

Division Day - Ricky (Tandemoro Remix) - Original version on Beartrap Island

Visit their website, their label Eenie Meenie Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Unlikely Place for Love

I've been listening to Josh Ritter's latest album lately (The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter) and I'm very much enjoying the song The Temptation of Adam. Maybe it's because compared to the rest of the album (which is quite different from his folk-rock ways) it more closely resembles his previous work, or maybe it's the unlikely juxtaposition of a story about love taking place in a place of war, but the song has really hooked me.

It's not often you hear anything about missile silos now a days never mind find a love song that takes place inside one. In fact, I would hazard to guess that a lot of younger listeners might not even know that much about the history of real missile silos during the cold war in the 1960's, a time fraught with tension. Missile silos were originally intended to carefully house the nation's nuclear weapons in time of war to protect them from a first strike by an enemy. As such, they were housed fairly deep underground as defense against being destroyed by an attack, and were designed to be self-sufficient in case of nuclear fallout.
Oh Marie if you would stay then we could stick pins in the map
Of all the places where you thought that love would be found
But I would only need one pin to show where my heart's at
In a top secret location three hundred feet under the ground
All of the sites were decommissioned in the 60's, some after only being in operation for 4 years, and anything of value was removed. Since then, many have fallen into private hands, and you can actually buy them for your own use if you have enough money and technical skill to renovate them. While you're enjoying the song, poke around in the following sites to learn more about the history behind the song's setting:

Read and see the history of the development of missile silos at SiloWorld.

Take a virtual tour of a missile silo HERE and HERE.

Want to buy one? Head over to this site.

Visit Josh's website and become his friend on MySpace.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Meet Girl Nobody

Look what we've got
A guitar keyboard and a chore
To create our art
To love it breathe it and to flow right from the start
So sings Marta Jaciubek-McKeever from the Canadian band Girl Nobody in their song Two Left Shoes. To create, love, breathe and flow, and so the band does in their sophomore release Balaclava Casino Heist which came out last week through Jericho Beach Music. The band has been on hiatus for several years but has regrouped to produce a follow up to their 2004 debut.

I'll first say that it's hard to put your finger on the band's style. The album begins with the title track (offered below) which is a fast tempo, electronic sort of get up and rave sort of experience that gets you ready for a Bjork meets Moby sort of album, which it absolutely is not. The album slows down somewhat with tracks two and three, I'll Shake It and Sniffin' Glue, but there's still that edge of danceability to it. When you reach the middle of the album, things really come down a few notches, but that electronic element remains which reminds me of Portishead, although I would qualify that statement by saying Marta's voice is not nearly so gloomy as Beth Gibbons.

Just as you're getting comfortable with the direction you think the album has settled into, you get to Grandfather, track 9. I have to say that this song just doesn't quite fit. I wouldn't say it's a bad song, it's just out of place. It's the one track with a male vocalist (not sure which of the band members) and it's texture just doesn't flow like the other ten tracks. It's followed by an instrumental piece (one which feels more at home than the previous track), and then what I would call an acoustic hula ditty with Marta back at the microphone that reminds me of the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

I know it looks like the album is a mish-mosh of styles and sounds, but it flows well (except maybe track 9). Try the first track below, and then get the rest of the album to see for yourself.

Girl Nobody - Balaclava Casino Heist : Balaclava Casino Heist

Visit their website, their label Jericho Beach Music, and become their friend on MySpace.


Moby - Hymn (This Is My Dream) : Hymn (CD E.P.#1)

Portishead - Mourning Air : Help: A Charity Project For The Children Of Bosnia

Squirrel Nut Zippers - Lover's Lane (live) : Live from 6A

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Pink Floyd, 40 Years Ago

"It was 40 years ago today...that Syd Barrett taught the band to play..."

OK, so maybe it wasn't exactly today, but over 40 years ago (August 5th, 1967) Pink Floyd, with Syd Barrett at the helm, released their debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn on the unsuspecting masses and rock music would never be the same again. With songs about Grimble Gromble the gnome, space, and bicycles, and shoegazing sessions that seem to last an eternity, the album had a huge effect on psychedelic rock of its time and much of what was to follow it. Regardless of the fact that Syd's name is so often attached to the band's mystique, it was the only Pink Floyd album to actually have him leading the band as he left during the recording of their second album and was replaced by David Gilmour.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the album's release, Capitol / EMI records is reissuing the album in two different versions: a two CD set that has the album recorded in both mono and stereo (the original album was recorded in mono, then released in stereo on vinyl a month later, and then in stereo on CD in 1987) and a three CD set that resembles a cloth covered book with an 8 page reproduction of one of Syd Barrett's notebooks and a third disc that includes all of the band's single from 1967 plus the B-sides and several unreleased tracks.

To give you an idea of the difference in sound between the two recordings (mono and stereo), listen to both with Astronomy Domine below and then enjoy The Gnome (also in stereo).

Pink Floyd - Astronomy Domine (mono) : The Piper At the Gates of Dawn Disc 1 - Mono

Pink Floyd - Astronomy Domine (stereo) : The Piper At the Gates of Dawn Disc 2 - Stereo

Pink Floyd - The Gnome (stereo) : The Piper At the Gates of Dawn

or get the 3 CD Limited Edition version HERE.

Watch some rare streaming video footage of Arnold Layne.

Visit their website, their label Capitol Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pash this way!

With a title like The Best Gun, you might expect a country album with some dueling vocalists battling back and forth. Sort of like the western version of a dueling piano bar. Thankfully, you'll find no such music on Pash's debut album, which came out the last week of August. Instead, what you will hear is some invigorating and electrifying guitar playing backing up Merideth Munoz's vocals which leap, sail, and soar through upbeat lyrics that remind me of the sweet pop perfection of old school Boston rockers Belly (and new school Boston rockers Static of the Gods).

Pash - Swears and Bearings : The Best Gun

Pash - ABCD : The Best Gun

Visit their website, their label Exotic Fever Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Belly - Super-Connected : King

Static of the Gods - Cycles Follow Signs : Cycles Follow Signs

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Division Day Contest

OK, so here's a brainteaser to pose at the next party you go to...

Question: How can you have a debut album that has two different release dates a year apart?

Answer: If your band is named Division Day, you've signed over to Eenie Meenie Records, you've recorded a couple new tracks to add to it, and you're re-releasing it.

That's right, previously released in 2006, Division Day's debut full length album Beartrap Island is getting polished up, added to (two new tracks), and sent back out into the world on iTunes on September 18th and in stores on October 2nd. In anticipation of the excitement, the band will be releasing unreleased cover songs and remixes every Tuesday for the next eight weeks. First up, a cover of Sunny Day Real Estate's song Every Shining Time You Arrive, which you can listen to below.

For those of you who didn't catch the hype wave last year over these Los Angelites, think 80's synth sounds emo-ized with some occasional outburst of absolutely wailing guitar work and feedback that would make a shoe-gazer proud. If any of that makes sense, then give them a try.

And if that did make sense, and you do want to give them a try, now here is your chance to win a copy of the new and improved album, a T-shirt (pictured to the left), and a pair of tickets to catch them play at Union Hall in Brooklyn, NY (look below for schedule and to pick your date). Simply leave a comment (or e-mail me) with your name and e-mail address and I'll pick a winner sometime next Wednesdayish and let them know super pronto.

Division Day - To the Woods : Beartrap Island

Division Day - Colorguard : Beartrap Island

Division Day - Every Shining Time You Arrive (Sunny Day Real Estate Cover)

Visit their website, their label Eenie Meenie Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Sunny Day Real Estate - Every Shining Time You Arrive : How It Feels to be Something On

October Tour Dates

02 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo [CD release show]
04 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of The Hill [CD release show]
05 Reno, NV - Satellite Lounge
06 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
07 Denver, CA - Larimer Lounge
09 Chicago, IL - Subterranean
10 Pittsburgh, PA - Club Café
11 Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall
13 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwells
17 New York, NY - Canal Room [CMJ ASCAP showcase]
18 Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall
20 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 [w/ Eulogies & Film School]
25 Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall