Sunday, February 28, 2010

Record Review: Laarks - An Exaltation of Laarks

Every review I've read (should I be reading reviews?) of An Exaltation of Laarks compared them to Postal Service, so I was in no rush listen to the album. And then I got the album in the mail. And I listened to it. Thank the heavens, the album sounded nothing like that oft-made comparison. In fact, I'd say it has more in common with Gibbard's other project Death Cab, than The Postal Service. But Laarks differentiate themselves from any Gibbard project in the best way possible: They don't have Gibbard's whiny voice. Instead, they trade up for Ian Jacoby's sweet vocals and witty lyrics. The album is rocking where it needs to be rocking, mellow when it needs to be mellow, poppy when it needs to be poppy, and sweet when it needs to be sweet. It's a real gem that is probably hampered by it's oft made comparisons.

Catch them on their current tour, especially those of you in Phoenix, Laarks will be playing at The Trunk Space this Tuesday, the 2nd at 8pm. $8

Laarks - All the Words You Can't Say Right mp3

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever

I know all the other even semi-hip music blogs have covered this, and better than I will, but I still think it's important to share. The Hold Steady have a new album due out May 4th called "Heaven is Whenever" In the press release, it is stated that "Piano and keys take a backseat to guitar on the new record" and we're left to wonder why, because it couldn't have anything to do with the departure of the fantastically-mustached piano man Franz Nicolay. There are no dates in Arizona in support of the album yet, but be assured they'll be here, and when they are, be prepared, this is not a band to be missed. Track list below, along with a live video of title track "Heaven is Whenever" (Which may have a different name now, as it's not on the track list).

1 The Sweet Part of the City
2 Soft in the Center
3 The Weekenders
4 The Smidge
5 Rock Problems
6 We Can Get Together
7 Hurricane J
8 Barely Breathing
9 Our Whole Lives
10 A Slight Discomfort

Monday, February 22, 2010

Upcoming Show: We Were Promised Jetpacks

That's right all, everyone's favorite Scottish emo act will be in town tomorrow night. If you haven't seen them yet, these kids have a lot of energy and a real love for their craft. It'll definitely be a worthwhile use of your time.

Rhythm Room
8:00 PM $10

We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices ">mp3

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Upcoming Show: Cheese on Bread

Dearest Cheese on Bread,
I am a terrible friend. I'd understand if you'd never want to talk to me again. I have neglected to write about your upcoming show until mere hours before it was set to start. Better late than never right? RIGHT?

Seriously though, readers this show will be nothing short of magical. I've been listening to Cheese on Bread's album "The Search for Colonel Mustard" solidly for about a month and it is way more fun than music this good should be. Cancel your plans and bring your date to the show, you wont be disappointed. All the info for the show is to the left. Check out the band's website and buy an album! Really! Totally worth it. Check out a song below.

Cheese On Bread - Dreamail

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Upcoming Show: Harlem

Don't miss the chance to see these guys in such an intimate venue. I guarantee this will be your last chance to see them in such a small place. This band is going to blow up. They're touring in support of their upcoming album "Hippies". The album is stellar. The band is an asset to the garage rock genre.
Thursday February 18th
Trunk Space
1506 NW Grand Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85007
Check them out below!

Harlem - Gay Human Bones

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New Thermals - Canada

Did The Thermals get contracted to do some music for the upcoming Olympics? Or is this just our first listen to the new album due in December? Either way, more pop-punk gold from the genre's King Midas. It may not be the lyrically strongest, in fact I have a sneaking suspicion that the Canadian board of tourism contracted the band for this song, but I'll be darned if I did not find myself singing along by the end.
The Thermals - Canada by killrockstars

YACHT covers Weezer... What?!

In the world of unlikely pairings, this ranks among the top in my book. Weezer was one of my first truly grown up musical loves. In fact, Blue Album was the first album I ever bought myself. Last year, YACHT made my list of the best album of '09. In my head, those two things never really seemed to intermingle. Well, today my mind was blown. On YACHT's blog today, they posted a cover of Weezer's Blue Album classic "Holiday" off of a new iTunes session the band did. The only real similarity is the lyrics, but it's still fun to check out. Check it out here.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Special Odd Blood pre-sale on Amazon

It sure feels like it was a long time ago when Yeasayer's 2010 album, Odd Blood leaked. The official US release date is tomorrow (Feb. 9) and today for Europe. I am already taking advantage of this opportunity to legally listen to the album today on Spotify ;)

For those who cannot wait, Amazon is having a pre-sale today which you can get the album for only $3.99.

Grab it while it's hot.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Upcoming Show: Huge Bicycle Tour

This Tuesday there's a show at Trunk Space that will definitely be worth checking out.
First of all, Joe Jack Talcum from The Dead Milkmen. When I first started discovering music for myself, I was in love with "Punk Rock Girl" from the Milkmen. Joe Jack isn't quite as punk rock as he used to be, but he does lay down a great folky vibe with the same witty lyrics that made his previous band great. He promises to play new solo work along with older Milkman material.
Beyond that, there are a handful of musicians that I haven't got a chance to really give much time to yet, but I've heard great things about pretty much every band on the line-up.
Finally, my local faves, Andrew Jackson Jihad will be doing a set. If you haven't had a chance to see these guys yet. DO IT!
If you didn't get it from the flier, the show is at 7 at the Trunk Space on Tuesday Feb. 2nd. Entrance is $8 at the door.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Grizzly Bear cover Hot Chip

Check this out, Grizzly Bear are down in Australia right now touring. They did a radio performance while down there, and among the other gems, they played a cover of Hot Chip's "Boy From School". It's really quite good, but I guess that's the nature of the beast! (Get it? it's a pun!)

Grizzly Bear - Boy from School(mp3)

Via You Ain't No Picasso

The xx and jj Tour / jj - no. 3

Two agendas in this post.

The xx and jj Tour
London-based band, The xx and Swedish jj have been the sweethearts of the indie-music scene in 2009. I cannot say which I like better but I love them both a lot despite the unenthusiastic/crowd-sobering performance by The xx witnessed in Stockholm two nights ago. (ahem). Anyway, I am happy that they are doing so well and I am especially happy that they are returning the love for their fans in the US this year. Check out their tour dates here.

Here are my favorite tracks from these two bands:

The xx - VCR

jj - my hopes and dreams


jj - n° 3 (2010)
jj this. jj that. I know, I know. Everyone is blogging about jj this week. I cannot help it, though. jj is just that good--they/she(?) totally deserve(s) it, I swear. Even has corrected the name to its proper lowercase, which I am very pleased about this week. Now, onto the important news...

jj - n° 3
Due out: March 9, 2010
Secretly Canadian

Track list:
1. my life
2. and now
3. let go
4. into the light
5. light
6. voi parlate, io gioco
7. golden virginia
8. you know
9. i know
10. no escapin' this

In continuation of the 2009 debut album, n° 2, jj is expected to release the next album this year called n° 3, featuring a track from the n° 1 single, Let Go. The new album will be released by Secretly Canadian on March 9.

jj - let go (mp3)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Scandinavian Gold

Scandinavian Gold (2009)

Track list:
1. El Perro Del Mar - Change Of Heart
2. Figurines - The Air We Breathe
3. Wildbirds And Peacedrums - There Is No Light
4. I Was a King - Norman Bleik
5. Johnossi - Execution Song
6. El Perro Del Mar - God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)

Amazon is offering a free album sampler from the great Scandinavia, featuring El Perro Del Mar, Figurines, et al. If you ever wished you'd discovered more music from Scandinavia, go download this album. It is a good start. You would not say no to free music, right?

Friday, January 15, 2010

[Video] Death Cab For Cutie | Don't Your (forget about me)

As Jeffrey mentioned earlier... Death Cab for Cutie was on Critics Choice Movie Awards tonight and they did a great version of Simple Minds, Don't You (Forget About Me), as a tribute to John Hughes.

Death Cab for Cutie to cover Simple Minds

Alright Death Cab fans, it's time to turn on your TV. Tonight on the Critic's Choice Movie Awards, they will be covering Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" from the movie The Breakfast Club as a tribute to John Hughes. John Hughes was somewhat of a movie legend and is responsible for some of the most memorable movies (along with their soundtracks) of the 80's and 90's. Tune into VH1 at 9PM to catch the performance. Also stay tuned here and we'll ty to dig up a video to post (provided "The Man" doesn't vanquish all of them from the internet).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

R.I.P. Jay Reatard

The news is spreading fast, but it's official: Jar Reatard was discovered dead in his apartment at 3:30 this morning, He was 29 years old. As you may or may not remember, I am a huge fan of Reatard. This is very sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with Jay's family, friends and fans through this hard time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New MIA - There's Space For Ol Dat I See

The interwebs have been all atwitter with rumors of a new MIA video, possibly from her new album due out later this year. Well, just a few minutes ago, via her twitter, she posted it. Here it is:

*Update: Word comes that the song is officially called "Space Odyssey" Just FYI

Saturday, January 09, 2010

galax54 (lo-fi/post-rock from Croatia)

As I have very limited Internet access these days, I apologize in advance that you will not hear from me as much this year...

galax54 is quite the gem of the past decade that I had shamefully missed. Of course, good music is easy to miss when it comes from obscure places to look for music at such as Croatia. My recent discovery of this very pretty and gentle experimental/lo-fi/post-rock/quiet music is currently doing a lot of good to me lately as I deal with the transition of dramatic changes this week/this year--culture, climate, and all.

galax54 - marbles and tourette's (mp3)

The notable releases of galax54, Sleepers vs. Satellites and The Thursday Machine stand out so much in my collection of quiet music that rank among my favorites such as mum, Dntel, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, and so on. It is diffucult to compare this band to any sound that I am ever familiar with as it delivers nothing quite like any of the said bands. The elements employed in these releases are rich in creativity, style, variety of intrumentations that range from electronics, synths, gentle vocals, and samples of real-life settings from public spaces. Even though that sounds like a lot is going on in their music, galax54 still manages to prove a legitimate sense of post-rock/lo-fi environment throughout the experience of listening these wonderful albums.

If you're looking for a good new music that you do not want it to pull many stunts in the album, but you do not want it to put you to sleep either, this is it.

galax54 - the idiot (mp3)
from the album, The Thursday Machine (2005)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Vampire Weekend - Contra

Vampire Weekend had a huge task in front of them in creating a follow-up to their much beloved debut. They were enormously hyped from the time their first CD-R was released. The album was loved by every type indie hipster under the sun. And that hipster's mom. and all that hipster's friends. and probably that hipster's teacher too.

When a band is hyped that much from before their first album is released, it's often hard for them to do anything but try to recreate that album over and over again. Luckily (and very surprisingly) that's not the case for Vampire Weekend.

Contra is not nearly as immediate as the self-titled debut was, but it still has it's fair share of hooks. For the most part, the band has mellowed a bit more. They retain the cheesy prep school lyrics, but hey, write what you know. The afro-pop influence is still present, but not nearly as prevalent.

The first half of the album plays like a slightly more mellowed revision of the first album. Mostly, it's quite good. I could do without the auto-tune on "California English" but it's also not so obnoxious that it completely ruins the song. After that is where the band starts playing a bit more. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Taxi Cab is probably the most mellow VW song to date. It's carried by the vocals, a distorted string line, a piano and a small background beat. It works extremely well. "Giving Up The Gun" doesn't work nearly as well. It sounds like average top 40 radio pop. A rather boring song. The song "Cousins" is a highly energetic almost pop-punk sounding take on Vampire Weekend. It also proves to be one of the best songs on the album. Ezra Koenig has declared his love for Punk Rock and Hardcore in multiple interviews, and here that love really shines through. The album finishes up the almost interesting but ultimately too long and disconnected "Diplomat's Son." A song that samples an MIA song that isn't "Paper Planes." The closer is "I Think UR a Contra". It's a very ethereal song with the only real definable rhythm to the song not coming in til about halfway through and fading out just as quickly. It's an interesting song, but it feels like it is just missing something.

Ultimately, Contra is not a bad album. It's definitely not as bad as pretty much everyone expected it to be. Instead of trying to recreate their stellar debut, credit has to be given to the band for attempting to grow while retaining elements that made them great. They may not have done a perfect job of that, but this sounds more like a transition album than that of a band resting on it's haunches and trying to relive it's glory days.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Fionn Regan - The Shadow of an Empire

One of the best concerts i have been to in my life was, Fionn Regan in Limerick Ireland. His debut album, The End of History is still top 10 on my ipod play list.

Fionn himself announced on his twitter account that he had a blog, which has one post: Here, announcing his up coming album: The Shadow of an Empire. The track list is blow and the cover art is above... the album hits the stories in the UK on Feb 8th... no date in the states yet.

Protection Racket
Coat Hook
Genocide Matinee
Violent Demeanor
Lines written in Winter
House Detective
Little Nancy
Lord Help My Poor Soul
The Shadow of an Empire

His myspace account describes this album as "sound of towns and dimly lit streets; heartfelt and with a ragged edge."

Lots of Cool Bands are Covering Bowie for Charity

Warchild has announced it's new charity compilation, and yet again it sounds pretty great. True, there aren't as many big names on this one, but there are enough to excite just about any indie fan. Plus, they're all covering Bowie tunes! Track list:

01 – Exitmusic – Space Oddity
02 – Vivian Girls – John, I’m Only Dancing
03 – Megapuss (Devendra Banhart) – Sound + Vision (en espanol)
04 – Carla Bruni – Absolute Beginners
05 – Lights – World Falls Down
06 – VOICEsVOICEs – Heroes
07 – Duran Duran – Boys Keep Swinging
08 – MGMT – TBA
09 – Charlift – Always Crashing in the Same Car
10 – Aska w/ Moon & Moon – African Night Flight
11 – A Place to Bury Strangers – Suffragette City
12 – The Polyamorous Affair – Theme From Cat People
13 – Keren Ann – Life on Mars
14 – Swahili Blonde (feat. John Frusciante) – Red Money
15 – Marco Benevento – Art Decade
16 – Corridor – Be My Wife
17 – Aquaserge – The Superman
18 – Warpaint – Ashes to Ashes
19 – Rainbow Arabia – Quicksand
20 – We Are The World – Afraid of Americans
21 – Laco$te – Within You
22 – Ariana Delawari – Ziggy Stardust
23 – Pizza! – Modern Love
24 – St Clair Board – Secret Life of Arabia
25 – Caroline Weeks – Starman
26 – Amanda Jo Williams – The Man Who Sold the World
27 – Mick Karn – Ashes to Ashes
28 – Soulwax – TBA

Via You Aint No Picasso

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Stream Vampire Weekend's new album Contra

Head over to Vampire Weekend's myspace NOW to listen to the new album IN FULL! This must be some kind of preemptive strike as the album hasn't leaked yet!