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Wednesday, May 31, 2006
  Monsters are Waiting
their name sounds a bit like that old Nickelodeon cartoon or a Maurice Sendak book - but in fact, it's a band. you may have expected this, coming from a music blog.

Monsters Are Waiting is an LA group that will probably be pigeon-holed as emo. i suppose they dress the part - dark hair, moody stares, defiant and ...emotional. but i'll tell you what. their sound is different; their songs are raw, prickling with intensity and waiting to spring. it's more she wants revenge with a female vocalist (and less interpol lusting) than it is.. my chemical romance. you hear dark melodies, pretty awesome basslines, and they at least break up the indie pop, alt-country, and folk rock that dominates my everything.

their upcoming debut is titled Fascination, and it comes out June 6th on the developing Retone Records -but thanks to their myspace page, they already have quite a few fans awaiting the release.

they have a few tour dates already scheduled in random places:

June 6, 2006:: the Troubadour - West Hollywood, CA
June 7, 2006:: Galaxy Theater - Santa Ana, CA
June 8, 2006:: Brick by Brick - San Diego, CA
June 9, 2006:: Mardi Gras - Scottsdale, AZ
June 10, 2006:: Plush - Tuscon, AZ
June 14, 2006:: the Wiltern Theater - Los Angeles, CA
June 15, 2006:: Popscene - San Francisco, CA
July 18, 2006:: Black Cat - 1811 14Th st. NW Wdc
July 19, 2006:: Piano's - New York City, NY
July 20, 2006:: Piano's - New York City, NY
July 22, 2006:: Great Scott - Allston, MA

you might see us at Great Scott... come out and say hi.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
  around the block..
  • Good Hodgkins just put up his latest feature on covers. read it here. very well done, as usual, and pretty awesome contribution line-up, including John Vanderslice.

  • Filter has a pretty comprehensive listing of the Band of Horses tour. we'll be in Hoboken on the 17th. [don't ask.]

  • mp3 of the day at AmpCamp is "Musikbyrån Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack" by Pelle Carlberg. you know this guy because he's swedish, and also the frontman of Edson. this is off the new album Everything. Now! (twee).

  • Deerhoof is losing a member to another band, The Curtains, so their new EP of covers and live cuts is free for download off of this site. Pitchfork gives it a 7.4, if that means anything to you.

  • there's a lull right now, but we've got an interview coming, and a feature, and good reviews just around the corner. don't you worry.
    Saturday, May 27, 2006
      My Morning Jacket interview
    as usual, Something Glorious has put out - well - something glorious. this interview with My Morning Jacket is well done, relevant and pretty envied by yours truly. i suggest you go read it... and, while you're at it, go buy the album from Amp Camp, because they're still the coolest kids i know.
    Friday, May 26, 2006
      the hotter the wetter the better.
    okay. it's time to plug a really great band.

    you all should know about Apollo Sunshine.

    Apollo Sunshine

    around these parts, the biggest and the best of the indie crowd get noticed and syndicated by WFNX, the local independent/alternative radio station, and The Phoenix, which should need little introduction. they run a Best Music Poll, and Apollo Sunshine has won Best New Artist, Best Artist, and now Best Act (2006 Best Music Poll) - which you can read about here.

    anyway. last night Jesse Gallagher, Sam Cohen, Jeremy Black, and semi-newbie Sean Aylward got a sweet break - in the form of opening up for Matisyahu at the Boston (Bank of America) Pavilion with Atmosphere. this is a part of their Best Music Poll win - and it's pretty exciting. they're definitely the best local band (from Andover, MA) and people swear by seeing them live. i am one of those people. they're quite the charmers, and they know how to party.

    they're alt country, definitely, but more Wilco and less... pop. their self-titled sophomore release is a significant maturing from their first album, Katonah, in terms of developing their personal genre and style. as far as this goes, they don't like to be pigeon-holed, certainly: just listen for yourself at their myspace. basically they're an all-around, up-front, crazy ass rock band - but they have their flair. and you hear Wilco quite a bit. for more refined ears, you hear a very heavy Beatles influence, especially the White Album: songs like "Helter Skelter" and "Why Don't We Do It In The Road," and even some "Long, Long, Long.".

    it just so happened that i was at a backyard performance by these guys a while back. you guys deserve a look.

    jesse gallagher and sean aylward sam cohen
    jeremy black jesse - wild guy.

    the original three

    they're pretty sweet. check out their tour schedule and go see them.
    i don't know this band from their last release; i'm one of the dweebs coming in late to the tune of their new album, wishing i could claim i've known them and loved them all along.

    schey, sam, marko, nate, don

    this is The Format.

    The Format is impossibly vague about their personal info. Myspace tells us that they're from Peoria, in the US, but i don't have the slightest idea where that is. i'm also not even sure that they have only or all of five people in their band; based on myspace, i'm assuming that number is correct. but they have no biographical information - at least not about the band, anyway. if you'd like to know the life story of Nate, however, you can go to their official page (linked above) and read all about it in News & Updates. of course: the most important fact is that their newest release, Dog Problems, is released July 11th.

    as i listen to this album, i go through several stages of one essential reaction. the overall feeling is: wow. these guys are really... on their way. sometimes i think: holy shit, this is fantastic! listen to the instrumental liberality! hear the integration of musical elements, the crossing of genres, the spunk! they sound like they're having a great time, like they're ready for anything, daring anyone and everyone to hear what they have to play. really: they accomplish all of that.

    but let me say something, before i continue on this ecstatic report of yet another wonderful omg-you-have-to-hear-this band. they fall just short. sometimes such extensive integration can lead to an undefinable, almost unreachable band. not that definition is entirely necessary - but sometimes, just every once in a while, you want more from them. you sense potential, heart, absolute passion for the world of music and for performance. but this hovers just above the mark. you want them to pick a genre, any genre, and show what they can really make of it - what they're really made of. i want to say to them: you're too talented to sound like this.

    i want not to end on this note. Dog Problems is a delight; it draws strongly from alt country, has everything from horns to Queen-style harmonizing to what i'm almost positive is an accordian. on "I'm Actual," it sounds like they actually have an entire orchestra backing them - with a full choir to boot. piano is almost always extremely strong. vocals are interesting; i'm not sure who the frontman is, but while his tenor is perfect for any pop song, it can sometimes push it to that scary border between indie pop and whiny emo pop. that's a scary border, as far as i'm concerned. "If Work Permits" and some of "She Doesn't Get It" go there for me. they have great hooks, catchy rhythms, and you can always count on being able to sing along. essentially: they dabble in everything, and everything comes out well. you just want more of... something.

    go listen:
  • their creepspace, as they dub their myspace on their official site
  • get mp3s from IGIF and Music For Kids.

    did anyone notice i said "dweeb," earlier?
  • Thursday, May 25, 2006
      matt pond PA: NfT highly recommended

    Largehearted Boy recommends my (possibly) very favorite band, matt pond PA, in today's "Daily Downloads." go check it out to download "Grave's Disease," a very beautiful choice off of what i think is their best album, Emblems. Lily Two is maybe literally my favorite song ever (ooph! what a claim) - but i have my other [old] blog, to sort of prove that that's true.

    buy it from EMusic.
      if you don't know by now
    i love when track titles work really well to the subject of my posts.

    there is a buzz rising about this band Office, and i can see why. they seem to have been discovered by the blogosphere when they played at SxSW this year - and the consensus is certainly that it was a shame they weren't signed. i have to agree, because though i wasn't at SxSW, i wished hard enough that i was, and also their album is really damn good. oh, it really is.

    don't try searching for them, because it's impossible. also, don't expect to learn too much about them, wherever you do look (you'll find the same press photo everywhere, too - i purposefully tried to switch it up). go to their myspace, which i linked you to above, or go to their bare-bones official site. you can also go to Good Hodgkins (which i highly recommend) to get not one, not two, but three free and wonderful mp3s from their self-released album Q & A. i guess it's only available at their concerts right now. whoops.

    I Guess I'm Floating also got these guys a few days ago, and if you want to read anything else, Office shamelessly lists their reviews on their myspace. but go to IGIF to get one more mp3.

    i actually really like their band name, even though Google hates it (as GH humorously pointed out, but was apparent by my own searches as well).
    Wednesday, May 24, 2006
      Herbert weighs in

    and there's matthew herbert.

    can i just comment, for a second? this guy kind of freaks me out. if you go to his old page, here, the dude is really terrifying. and yet - his music is total genius. it's entirely innovative, almost undefinable, and (usually) accessibly thematic; and now, next week, his new album Scale comes out on Studio !K7.

    i don't have the slightest idea where to begin in terms of classifying this album into a genre of music. i'm supposed to call it micro-house, but i barely have an idea as to what that is. basically, it's pop, with some electronic, with some r&b/soul, with some... well, it sounds a little like Beck sometimes. sort of. and dare i even say... Jamiroquai...?

    look: you have to check out this album. it's incredible. it's highly-rated and highly anticipated (mmm, yes, Mr. PF). it's also one of the most accessible albums he's ever made - especially in comparison to last year's Plat du Jour, into which the poor guy put his whole soul. but hey. souls can be freakishly weird, especially realized in thematic electronic albums.

    there's a special site dedicated to the new album, which drops... the 29th, supposedly, but that's a Monday, and around these parts it's Tuesday that's the weekly Christmas. but hey, whatever. here's the site. it's almost a full orchestral piece, at times; and the theme, this turn around, has to do with "the idea of distance in our lives," but really it's just an admittedly doomed-to-fail attempt to "to bring down Tony Blair [and] the American empire, a withdrawal of troops in Iraq and [to] bring about an end to our reliance on oil." join the club, matthew. or should i call you Doctor Rockit?

    possibly my favorite fact about Matthew Herbert is that he worked with Roisin Murphy on her latest album.

    as usual, you can get a few free mp3s here at Harmonium. if you're keeping score at home, i've linked you there twice in this post. go find the other link, and you'll win something. i promise.

    yes... i had to do the punny title.. i apologize..
    Tuesday, May 23, 2006
      more Margot
    as promised, more pictures from the festivities in Allston. if i actually do have better photos, it's because i take them excessively. i know no restraint with a digital camera.

    ...i might be taller, too.

    the setup before the show.
    the fun corner: Hubert Glover on trumpet, Casey Tennis rocking out, Jesse Lee on cello.
    some rocking: Emily Watkins and her piano and microphone, Andy Fry on electric guitar, Richard Edwards on acoustic guitar and vocals.
    less rocking.
    smashing things (like drums with guitars) and making lots of noise for the finale. you can see Chris Fry on drums back there and maybe some of Tyler Watkins playing bass.
    the breakdown as soon as the show ended, with a better shot of Jesse Lee.

    all in all, a great show. i, too, feel a little bad that we skipped out on Film School, but we did go for Margot and we both had to work at an unnaturally early time for kids our age.

    unrelatedly, it looks like i have a thing for disco rock. expect blurbs on Rock Kills Kid, Boy Kill Boy, and Every Move A Picture in the near future. Snow Patrol's new album will be in there somewhere too, but that isn't disco rock in the least.

      Margot at Great Scott, 5.22
    oh, i love shows. i love them.

    last night we bombed over to Allston to see Margot &TNSAS's at Great Scott. i just love those guys, and after seeing them live, i'm totally sold. they are the most eclectic kickass eight-person live act i have ever seen. i guess they're the only eight-person band i've seen live...

    i love it when bands don't conventionally play all of their potential single-sounding songs first, but start off with a few alternative openers - and that's exactly what these guys did. Talking In Code was a very cool second song - and then the crowd cheered as they smoothly launched right into the single, Skeleton Key. this song is extremely good because of all its little intricacies, but it's a little like a wham-bam affair when it's live and you can't necessarily hear every ping and twiddle. that's right. ping and twiddle. you can get this mp3 from Chromewaves, here.

    the rest of the set was pretty amazing. my personal favorites were the two closers, Quiet As A Mouse and Barfight Revolution, Power Violence; they were a reverberating entity of powerful sound and volume. we were right there at the stage, and we were almost blown away. they were so into their music... especially Casey Tennis, who on their band bio is described as the guy who "played more drums and banged on things with mallets." he's basically the most entertaining individual in the room - nevermind on the stage. go see them and you'll know what i mean.

    here's an at-a-glance version of the set list:
    Talking In Code
    Skeleton Key
    On A Freezing Chicago Street
    Paper Kitten Nightmare
    Vampires In Blue Dresses
    Quiet As A Mouse
    Barfight Revolution, Power Violence

    note: my track-name-from-memory prowess was a little crippled. i knew track #s more than names. hence the blanks.

    and yes, we were bad kids and left before the very amazing and talented Film School. but that's because we were bad kids that had to work in the morning.

    you'll get another post from alex with better photos. this is usually the case. is it because he's taller....?

    ALSO, what's up with this bullshit?! sound team finally announced a headlining tour i can track and yet, do you see the east coast on that list? they don't even have NY. i would trek to Bowery or something to see them. sigh.
    Sunday, May 21, 2006
      mind me: The Minders
    when you come into something late, it's hard to remember the importance of catching up on its history. but back in the day, when i first started diving into this indie hipster universe, it was instantly apparent that Elephant 6 was something i needed to know about.

    Neutral Milk Hotel for those of you who need a little background, this story is the ultimate couple-swapping example relating to my Free Love post. regarding my immediate concern today, i don't really need to tell you much about Elephant 6. but if you'd like to know, there is an overwhelming wealth of information over at the official unofficial site of E6. but, essentially, Elephant 6 is a music collective started in the early nineties that championed a DIY ideal. the creation of the collective involves the three bands The Apples In Stereo (my personal introduction to E6), Neutral Milk Hotel, and now-defunct The Olivia Tremor Control. the bands of E6 now swap members and labels and founders and co-founders constantly, making the tracking of their involvement an arduous task.

    my whole point involves a band that is considered a part of the whole collective. they formed in 1996, and are now releasing a new album on spinART this July.

    The Minders is a gem band. i say this because one like it doesn't come by very often: they get everything right. on their latest It's A Bright Guilty World, they have an intro track ("There Goes My Formula!") so good that it will probably be used on every opening cut of my mix CDs from now until... well, until the next great find. "Don't You Stop", their single, is incredibly catchy in a way the big bands get you - The Shins, Nada Surf, The New Pornographers... well, just go to Sub Pop or Barsuk and see the machines at work. "Crest Of The Hill" is a perfect pop melody and one of my personal favorites, and who can tell me they don't sound exactly like a with-band Elliott Smith on tracks like "Saturday Morning." ( i suppose it helps they toured together in 2000.) to boot, there are a whole 14 tracks; when was the last time an indie label artist gave us more than 10? Modest Mouse, maybe? (, exaggeration.)

    the album also has one of those formulaic feels: "okay kids, the single has to be Track 2, we'll put the slower song here, the experimental ones should go near the back..." but i totally fall for it. it's pleasing. during the first run-through that i do while i'm not really paying attention, just for background noise, my attention was constantly called to the intricate melodies and mature range from folk rock to alt country to just plain indie pop. already a recipe for a favorite band in my opinion.

    lastly, they end in one of my very favorite ways for bands to end an album. this is really an important thing for me - if, by the time i get to the end of your cd, i want nothing to do with your closer - you're taken down a whole slew of notches in my eyes. The Minders avoid this fall; "Guns of August" is absolutely fantastic, maybe one of the best tracks on the entire record. in his louder moments, the frontman sounds a little like A.C. Newman; the better, more grungy parts are much less big-pop and much more unfiltered ambient noise with a true-ringing bird song of guitar. oh, so good. so so good.

    go to Harmonium to read another review and download two free mp3s (scroll all the way down). have fun. don't go too crazy.
      i would like to be your friend.
    there must be a better way to track the best bands of the UK other than NME.

    i did just recently stumble upon this band, however, with a funny sort of name: introducing The Zutons, a Liverpool based band with that whole four-guys-and-a-girl thing. their music is different - for instance, the girl is the token saxophone player. but it's good stuff - cheery, "blue grass rootsy stompy" as their site says (whatever that means) - but really it's just indie rock, with that blue grass rootsy stompy flair. their album, Tired of Hanging Around, you can buy at Amazon for an insanely high price [think import], or you can head over to TTIKTDA for a couple mp3s.
    Thursday, May 18, 2006
      a good laugh.
    i've been meaning to do a full album review of Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, basically just because i'm obsessed with them. but you're still not getting one yet.

    instead, i'm going to direct you to MOKB, where you can get an awesome podcast mp3 that was ransacked from AOL. flippin' AOL. get it here and listen, because they're amazing.

    also, i haven't laughed this hard in YEARS, it feels, as when i read this post by GvB and listened to the songs myself. her name is Maya Bond, and she's a four-year-old asian indie pop singer, they say. really, it's just a good joke (it HAS to be, come on) and the greatest lyrics to a song that i have read in my entire life. everyone remember The Shaggs? she's not as bad. but you'll laugh as hard.

    [p.s. if you don't know them, get yourself acquainted with the Shaggs here at wiki, and click on the link above to download their infamous My Pal Foot Foot single. because it's something you should know about.]

    lastly, the new Guster album is on its way, and deserves a formal review. but for now you can go to their myspace page and listen to a few tracks. just being loyal to the best boston bands...
    Wednesday, May 17, 2006
    it's always weird when you get to the point where you find a band you like, have two mp3's by them, and literally can't find anything else.

    why? because they've honed their popularity on myspace. sigh.

    their name is Lemon Sun. their name sort of makes me think of sour candies, yeah, but their music is just plain good; it's really an infusion of early 60's British Invasion rock and the bigger, more soulful sound of the 70's. plus they have that 2k6 indie pop energy. yes, i said 2k6.

    the only real place to find them is, of course, at their myspace. you can download the first two songs (the best, in my opinion, is The Face). if you like what you hear, trek on over to CD Baby for their self-titled EP. those guys at CD Baby are truly great. they pretty much send you personal emails after your order to make sure you got everything okay. plus they champion artists without record labels. hello... what are we bloggers doing? i'd say the same thing.

    do you kind of think the frontman looks like Billie Joe Armstrong?
      you can't buy what you can't find.
    it's monsoon season in the northeast, and we're still riding a wave of new music into the summer. but don't worry, toaster has an extra pair of floaties. here's a quick review, while the noise is still pertinent.

    The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
    V2 Records/Third Man

    so Jack White [of the White Stripes], in his downtime, has come up with this new band. don't call them a side project; they're far from that. Jack had publicly promised that he wouldn't abandon Meg, but in an interview he then went on to say that right now he's doing what feels right, and that is The Raconteurs. so we'll see where his career ends up taking him.

    Broken Boy Soldiers is not the White Stripes. Jack has joined with Brendan Benson, Patrick Keeler, and Jack Lawrence to form this amalgamation of classic rock, blues, and a bit of a Beatles spunk. with a fellow songwriter in Brendan Benson, the music is more coherent, more structured, and tighter than anything the White Stripes have produced. where Meg had [has] little musical experience or training, the rhythm section is solid. the guitar riffs are reminiscent of classic rock, with driving distortion and tight vocal harmonies over the top. the title track, Broken Boy Soldier, has the flavor of Deep Purple meets the Middle East. the closer, Blue Veins, has a southern blues rock flair that is also persistent throughout many other songs on the short, thirty-four minute and fifteen second album. as the lead-off single, Steady As She Goes is driving and catchy but still different from almost anything else you're hearing on the radio right now. there is definitely a nice flow to the album; you'll find yourself in the same laid back groove throughout the course of Broken Boy Soldiers, from the first snare hits to the driving 80s guitars and synth overtones to the counter melodies and signature Jack White falsetto lines. quite the accomplishment from the man in the two-piece outfit that plowed its way into the mainstream with its simple drum beats and catchy hooks.

    Pitchfork's review
    buy it from Amazon
    Tuesday, May 16, 2006
      Vancouver and Free Love
    one of my favorite quotes ever comes from a book by Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, 1976). any of you who know Robbins's writing will know immediately that it's easy to pick one of his lines and quote it in oddball situations. like a music blog.
    "Love is dope, not chicken soup... I mean, love is something to be passed around freely, not spooned down someone's throat for their own good by a mother who cooked it all by herself."
    Free Love? you bet. toaster loves that kind of thing.

    but really, i'm bringing up this point as a comparison to how musicians sometimes treat eachother in their bands. they swap members, do side projects, and basically drive us all crazy with names and connections that we need to keep up with. i feel like toronto is famous for this, especially.

    but here's a case in point: The New Pornographers. these guys are really cool, and you probably already know them (canadian band, eightish members, happy "all guns blazing" pop; big sound, catchy good stuff). but what you might not know (i'll admit it! i didn't at first! exclamation point!) is that at least three of its members have side projects that are pretty damn successful. like:

    Neko Case: ANTI Records
    i secretly really love this woman's name. it's really hard to forget. her voice is also pretty unique, and hard to get out of your head, so all in all this chick has me tuned in. she's probably the best known out of all the NP's side projects. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is her latest album, and it's absolutely amazing. sort of alt country, folky crooning... yep, crooning. you heard it here.

    Destroyer aka Daniel Bejar: Merge Records
    anyone whose first song on an album is nine minutes long has got to be either a self-indulgent jackass or a reasonably self-assured, talented guy. he could be both, i'm not entirely sure. but with the rest of the album to follow, i really feel like he's the latter guy: Destroyer's Rubies is a fantastic, complex album with a sound that will last you way longer than, say, The Killers. yeah. it's just above all that.
    ...also. you must read Pitchfork's review of this album. not only does he speak directly to the hype that was rampant throughout the blogosphere, but it is a CLASSIC example of the pretentiousness that is Pitchfork's entire existence. hail the royal pitchfork staff. gotta love that.

    A.C. Newman: Matador Records
    lastly on this list is the frontman of the NP himself. his voice is absolutely unmistakable. it is perfect for the sound he so obviously prefers; though The Slow Wonder is very much his own creation, it still sounds much like the NP records. it is catchy, hooky pop that does it for him best. here, though, it's stripped down a bit, with less of that happy in-your-face pop and more of a variety, with ballads to boot. the guy knows his shit. you just can't deny that.

    there are others. they're incredibly talented people. to know more about their projects and individual endeavors, click on "other projects" when you get onto their site that i so kindly linked you to at the top of this post. crazy Vancouverians. (that doesn't exactly work.)

    buy any and all of these artists from Amp Camp, and tell them hello from me.
    Monday, May 15, 2006
      a nice sampling of things.
    a few quick CD reviews with other places to grab the mp3s. because for now, we're freeloaders too.

    SOUND team
    Austin, TX: Capitol Records
    around these parts (these being the blogosphere, i suppose), everyone is waiting with breath caught in their throats for sound team's Movie Monster to be released. as the tripwire says, "Sound Team basically churned out an album that will be the soundtrack to every indie kids' summer, effectively constructing a defining moment in each ones' lifetime that they will refer to for years to come as 'that summer when I listened to Sound Team until my ears fell off.'" i love you, tripwire. and they're right (well, Matt DuFour is right) - it's the next big thing. it helps just a bit that they're on a major label. but the album is fantastic - straight indie rock, versatile sounds, never a dull moment. i've listened to it about 36 times. - scroll to the bottom to download free mp3s
    myspace to just listen

    The Weepies
    Boston/Topanga, CA ish: Nettwerk
    by the sheer amount of times i have listened to this CD in only a week, i have to recommend this band. when a friend tipped me off to them after "The World Spins Madly On" was on Scrubs, i instantly fell for their sound despite the mushy, cutesy band name. it is simple, wonderful acoustic/rock pop with a folky flair. Deb Talan's voice, in particular, is unusual and captivating. lovely, kids. keep going.
    The Weepies official site
    - listen especially to the first two tracks
    The Weepies on Nettwerk

    Persephone's Bees
    Oakland, CA: Columbia Records
    it's a little weird that i have two bands with major labels so far. the thing about this one is: their album isn't coming out until August. so i'm a little early. frontwoman Angelina Moysov is, no surprise, from Russia, and her accent gives the prog pop rock a foreign twang (if a Russian accent can actually twang) that is refreshing and fits in well especially with their first single, Nice Day. go get the mp3 from my old kentucky blog.
    official site - media player, "Nice Day" starts playing

    Margot & The Nuclear So And So's
    Indianapolis, IN: Artemis
    this - count 'em - eight person band is extremely, extremely good. they are a complicated and wonderful mixture of my favorite genres: indie pop, rock, folk and alt country. their album Dust of Retreat came out on March 28 with very little press, but i've got them now and discovered just in time that they're playing at Great Scott on the 22nd. i think i have to hit that up. in the meantime, take my word for it. this album is a complex and lovely integration of every style of music you love. i mean it.
    official site
    Sunday, May 14, 2006
      if i kiss you where it's sore, will you feel better?

    okay, i'll admit it.

    when a friend sent me a Regina Spektor song about a year ago, i didn't like it. it was from Soviet Kitsch, of course - "Better," i think - and to tell you the truth, i just couldn't slow down for it. i was obsessed with Bloc Party at the moment, and i was throwing in similar speeds like Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Hot Hot Heat, and some other really overdone stuff. it was just a bad time.

    this is sort of unfortunate.

    now here i am, looking at a June 13th release date for Begin To Hope on Sire Records (aka WB), and thinking: wow. good job, shan. you really missed the boat on this one.

    so i'm making up for lost time now by telling you, believe me. believe the latecomer. believe the one who finally got around to believing everyone else: it's good. Begin To Hope is a wonderful album, full of the same attitude and "anti-folk" fun as before - same piano, same visiting instruments, even a little more guitar this time. perfect.

    still time to get Soviet Kitsch. and i recommend it, as i was recommended. since you probably don't own an amphibious vehicle, it means you won't dare drive out in this flooding rain, so go buy it from Insound.

    really, really well done: official site
    Reg on myspace
      yes, literally, The Avalanche
    so it's raining like fucking hell around here, and i'm wondering when my teeny hometown was relocated to the Seattle area. or, you know, the Indian monsoon region. just asking.

    in the meantime, the pouring-down of all this water reminds me of something.. rocks, snow, pummeling down great steep slopes, being buried.. ah, yes, an avalanche. The Avalanche, if i may: Sufjan Steven's upcoming release.

    you may be disappointed with this post. i will not gush. there will be no raving. instead, i'm going to point you in his direction if you don't already know him:

  • his myspace, where you can listen

  • asthmatic kitty records, his only site for now (another pending)

  • a wiki write-up, for convenience

  • don't be shy. links open in a new window. click the myspace if that's all you have time for.

    it's soof-yan, by the way.

    the rest of this post will piss most of you off. why? because i have to say something.

    i love him so much. i love his music with every inch of my noise-hearing paraphernalia. toaster does too, god damn it: it's Illinois or bust. he is an absolute genius: just check out the wiki article devoted to Illinois alone.

    but the thing is, it's too much. the appropriateness of his upcoming's title is almost laughable, because it's essentially what it is. every god damn indie lover and their music-savvy grandmother appreciated and adored his last album with every muscle fiber (and his others, if they knew their shit). now the outtakes? and they're just as amazing and brilliant and fulfilling as the last album?

    can any of us actually stomach that much perfection?

    sufjan. you have been said to be the future of music, far ahead of your time. and i entirely agree. i love you.

    but maybe i just love you too much.
    Saturday, May 13, 2006
      No Surprises.
    so, i guess the buzz is that Thom Yorke - you know him as infamous Radiohead frontman - made a project of his own: "No it's not a radiohead record." it was a rumor for a few days, what with a strange post on green plastic. but it's definite now: here's the crazy page for the project, called The Eraser. NME confirmed and everything. so hell. it must be true.

    stereogum knows what i'm talking about.

    The Eraser release date - July 11th

    omg, guys.

    also, if you don't know this site, please go look and read and enjoy. they are tiny mix tapes. they're a blog... or are they? nope, they're the full deal, with great CD reviews and features and a dedicated staff. click.. go do..
    Wednesday, May 10, 2006
      cha cha cha

    i wanted to go on forever about my feelings on Rolling Stone and why indie-scenesters can't just discredit it, though i'm sometimes tempted to myself. and so i did. but i did it elsewhere. click to read all of that.

    as for bands, here's a real find.

    The Little Ones, Sing Song EP. this unsigned LA band is (maybe) the best i will be including on this list. i adore them. i adore their sound, i adore their representation, i adore their influences. they are blogosphere darlings, inevitably sunshine pop mixed with that occasional folky twang, and so yeah: they sound like your usual suspects, spearheaded by the shins. sorry, guys. is it possible to write about them without the reference? they set themselves up with the cover art. thetripwire review

    the kids love this one. until i get my act together with this mp3 business, you can grab most of the tracks off of the ep by visiting the following mp3 blogs, all of whose visitor traffic is just slightly higher than ours:
    Rock Insider
    LA based blog. admittedly, JAX gave them away to me back in april.


    as i understand it, they haven't really gotten their asses out of california, and considering toaster is boston-based i see it useless to post their show dates. sigh.
    Tuesday, May 09, 2006
      you beautiful bastard.
    ugh. what to do when it rains.

    besides trudge around my house in pajamas, sample Riesens and Rolos and Reeses (i'm not really kidding, though they all start with r's) and wonder how the hell i've been out of school for a week already...

    well, i do the music-finding thing, of course.

    now, i will not indulge you in what i was listening to in 2000. you'll have to stalk me and rummage through my closet for old mix CDs to get any kind of handle on that priveleged information. but what i will admit is that i was not marking my calendar for the release of this record by The Sea And Cake called Oui - - but i wish i had. these guys are truly great, and they formed all the way back in (gasp) 1993, and still ten years later they turned out One Bedroom. i find a quote from one amazon "spotlight reviewer" pathetic, humorous, and maybe right on the mark: "The latest confecton from Chicago scenesters the Sea and Cake is a floating ripple of subtly colored light across a breezy sunlit hillside." this is, of course, from One Bedroom, the sound of which is more refined and tweaked and tuned and polished. sometimes those qualities do not give leave for such raw beauty found on the tracks of Oui.

    they are very much like a slowed lounge version of Broken Social Scene. BSS are a very influential Toronto indie ambient-pop band, whom i have blogged about elsewhere to catch you up to speed, because they are very dear to moi. The Sea And Cake come in somewhere between the bored, airy, guitar-plucking vocals and the pillowy excess noise, and fall just short of the almost-art-rock status that BSS brings to the table. TSAC are also older. officially five years older, at that.

    it's jazzy, it's electronica, it's airy and often described as catching up to you like "afternoon sun in your eyes." sure to set the mood for leisurely drives with the windows down, doing that thing where you let your hand ride the air waves as they stream past your car...

    oh, god, guys. my only warning is that its potential to slip you into a coma is very high. you can get lost strolling in those breezy, grassy hillsides, and these guys will lead you there. be ready with some uppers, if you can. i highly recommend The Raconteurs (if you'd like, you can brave their official site, which is really fucking cool but slightly intimidating). and don't worry. i'm sure they'll get their blog time too.
    Saturday, May 06, 2006
      "they took a vote and said no." actually, we'll be going with yes.
    so by now, we all know wolf parade. their 2005 Apologies to the Queen Mary was ultra-anticipated by all your usual suspects. pitchfork's review of their sub pop release was just about the best it can get. they've got the some of the best on their side, with Isaac Brock producing the majority of the album. so they're just about as mainstream as you can get in the indiesphere. that is, without actually being Modest Mouse.

    so when you hear about Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade going off and doing his own thing, the intrigue level has to be high. what does a man of sub-pop success do on his own time? are we talking Ben Gibbard, The Postal Service style? or are we talking about Dallas Green of alexisonfire, City and Colour style? [do check city and colour out. good "acoustic/rock/folk" as he wants to say, but i would dare to admit it's really kind of emo acoustic, and yet good. apparently that's possible.]

    nope. we're just plain talking about Sunset Rubdown.

    and he's great. he recruited a few more indie loves, hopped on board his Frog Eyes label Absolutely Kosher Records, and started recording. he started, of course, not with Shut Up I Am Dreaming, but with Snake's Got A Leg(2005), and judging by the Pitchfork review I just linked you to, there's a good reason why the extremely lo-fi release wasn't widely spread or why I admittedly hadn't heard of it. then the EP, as every budding band will do, and now this.

    i advise you to grab a lip-smacking sample from Insound [click there and you will download the mp3 "Stadiums and Shrines II", nothing to it]. you will not be disappointed. though Krug's vocals are immediately reminiscent of Wolf Parade and his indie rocking style, there is nothing Wolf Parade about it - it is very much its own brilliant entity, with a clean and refined sound, a mastery of pop and warbling indie. clearly, i highly recommend it.

    you can actually find a copy among the racks in Newbury Comics, under "Misc. S" of course, but go grab it from Amp Camp, because those guys are so freaking cool, and plus i linked you there. now you have no excuse.

    go do.

      california, rest in peace
    so. my first post on here. i have quite the reputation to uphold going into this, what with toaster looking on from just above, and shan just below. well, let me introduce myself:

    i like puppies and cupcakes and long walks on the bea-

    wait. scratch that. music.

    the red hot chili peppers are releasing a new album on may 9th. i know, i know, they sold out, they're so mainstream, how can you listen to that crap... but hark! stadium arcadium, their first album in four years and one of the most anticipated albums of the spring, proves more of a return to their funk rock roots. there is still plenty of that smooth pop rock that we have grown accustomed to, but flea is back with a vengeance and anthony kiedis's vocals will have you thinking you're listening to blood sugar sex magik all over again at points. even the first single, "Dani California" (from whence come the lyrics that make this entry's title), is full of funk and leaves room for a guitar solo breakdown after some catchy choruses and interesting falsetto b-sectins.

    and even better [or more bizarre?] - the chili peppers are headlining, in the sense that they are probably the most mainstream act and first listed, lollapalooza. also on the bill, 130 bands which you may or may not have heard of. kanye west and matisyahu among them, but more importantly the shins, death cab for cutie, the flaming lips, the raconteurs (jack white's new endeavor), the new pornographers, the dresden dolls, nada surf, of montreal, and so on and so forth until we come to

    mute math. those who know me would say i only like them because they have to do with math, but that's not true. sure, it made their name catch my eye, but they're good. they're listed on myspace as alternative/indie/rock, but what does myspace know. they have some of the electronic flavor of radiohead and some slightly slower ballad-feeling songs with instrumentals almost reminiscent of minus the bear, and you'll be convinced you're listening to sting and/or the police for a good portion of the cd. the cd, which is not available in stores. so click the album cover to the right and buy direct from them. i'm told they put on a hell of a show, too, and i believe it. good thing we'll be there in august.

    Friday, May 05, 2006
      so begins our alabee
    introductions feel necessary.

    so this is toaster the goldfish.

    he’s a good guy. a little demanding, a little haughty. but deserves to be so, because he's so damn smart.

    he also has really great taste in music. that's why we're here. he's picky as hell and not really good at using a computer mouse, so we've got his back.

    in the meantime, those you'll be conversing with are alex and shan. you can call him alex or alexander, he doesn't mind. and don't worry about her. she's just shan. you can learn more about us if you venture into the blog profiles. we do not encourage shyness.

    and as it appears... we are indeed another music blog... but not just any, because we have the culturing of a helpless orange creature on the line. it's important business. we'll bring you back his opinions of any new music we find, or shows, or travels or pictures or other blogs or other goldfish or just anything that seems worth commenting on.

    so? so. rock on, roll the windows down, play it loud.

    [title is of montreal. mmhmmmm.]

    NOTE: as much as toaster loves free music, he'd like to encourage you to buy the cds of the artists you enjoy. he'd also like to remind you that any music hosted by or linked to from this page is property of its respective owners, so if that's you and you'd like it to not be here, just let us know.

    READ ME: if files are not working properly upon opening or saving [ex: unknown file type], make sure that there is a .mp3 at the end of the filename, and all will be well.

    also: all files posted will only remain available for two to three weeks. if you find something in an old post that you'd really like to hear, tell us.

    be our god damn myspace friend. damn it.