Tags: Girls At Our Best, Kleenex/LiLiPUT, Long Blondes, Pang, Wire
If you are still lamenting the demise of Long Blondes, or maybe you still pine for the sounds of Kleenex/LiLiPUT or Girls at Our Best. If you answered yes to any of the above you should definitely check out Pang. The Oakland, California band has just released its second 7-inch single Young Professionals. The single is really an EP since it has five songs. All of them are packed full of umbrage, intensity and punk glamour. The title track and companion So It Goes especially are guaranteed soon to be classics.
Tags: Blooper, Buzzcocks, Jason Falkner, Manic Pop Records, Razorcuts
Seattle’s Blooper are back with a near-perfect slab of white vinyl. It’s out now on the plucky new Minnesota upstart Manic Pop! Records. Four songs that don’t let up off the pedal. The lead track You Won’t Miss Me When I’m Gone is a buzzing blast of Razorcuts, Buzzcocks and Jason Falkner that is as vital sounding as anything that’s ever come out of this city.
The band had their record release party this past weekend at Heartland and blasted through a sugar coated adrenaline fueled (it was all ages) set that included a cover of Beat Happening‘s Teenage Caveman. A killer good time. If you’re in Seattle you can get on the good times because Blooper has some upcoming shows:
Feb 07 at Sunset Tavern with Zebra Hunt and Detective Agency
Feb 21 at Columbia City Theater with Neighbors, Chastity Belt, & Marvelous Good Fortune
Everyone else, grab that new 7-inch!
Tags: The Girls
I should start calling this single of the fortnight, but that sounds pretty dumb. So it’s The Girls with the single of the urm, week. The Seattle band just released their second album titled Yes No Yes No Yes No a few weeks ago. The Girls have been accused of being a one trick pony, that trick being tightly wound 80’s new wave, but in small doses it hits all the right buttons. Singer Shannon Brown has a voice that may instantly remind you of Howard Devoto, so those Buzzcocks and Magazine comparisons make sense. For some reason though, the Girls remind me of John Fox era Ultravox, even the album cover reminds me of their album ha! ha! ha!. Brown’s voice which seems to have an English accent, like Fox’s has a similar waver where you think he could lose control at any moment. Not I starts off with a spaceship like keyboard and then Brown starts emphatically claiming he didn’t steal your bicycle which you know damn well he did, and then he starts singing about raining martian babies and testing for rabies. I have no idea what he’s on about, but with a buzzing guitar riff and thumping bass the Girls take it to the Maximum!
See the Girls out on tour:
Oct 22 @ The Funhouse Seattle, WA*
Nov 7 @ Piano’s Manhattan, NY
Nov 8 @ Abbey Pub Boston, MA
Nov 9 @ Don Pedro’s Brooklyn, NY
Nov 10 @ Brighton Bar Long Branch, NJ
Nov 11 @ JC Dobbs Philadelphia, PA
Nov 12 @ Side Bar Baltimore, MD
Nov 13 @ Now That’s Class Cleveland, OH
Nov 14 @ Reggies Rock Club Chicago, IL^
Nov 15 @ Reggies Rock Club Chicago, IL^
Nov 22 @ Wildrose! Seattle, WA
* w/ Human Eye
^ w/ Ben Weasel
Tags: The Legends
Buying a Legends album is a proposition that require some degree of a leap of faith. Reason being, is that you can pretty much guarantee that it will sound nothing like the previous record. Their first album Up Against the Legends was a slice of C-86. Second album Public Radio was all minimalist, deep, and dark with melodic bass like early New Order, Cure and Felt. Then album number three, Facts and Figurines went all light and synthy euro disco. So if you’ve followed the legends at all, you can pretty much guarantee that the album number four is not going to sound like the last one.
So what can you expect from the Legends for their next album? According to sources, main legend Johan Angergård is in desperate need of noise and is holed up in the studio surrounded by effects pedals and broken amps creating new kinds of distortion for the next Legends record. As a primer, they have a new single called Seconds Away which is being offered up on 5 November from Labrador records. It’s a welcome return to familiar territory of the first record. Pop songs honey drenched in squealing feedback like the Jesus and Mary Chain made de rigeur on Psychocandy specifically, Never Understand and Living Inside Me. Ear piercing feedback will fill your head throughout most of the song, but there’s a point mid way in it where the distortion falls away and gives way to a melodic bass line like the ones Adorable use to do. With Seconds Away, The Legends have dialed it in to near perfection.
Tags: Park Hotell
When we last heard from Luleå, Sweden’s Park Hotell they had just released their Guest Who Stayed Forever ep. On that outing they were using synthesizers and sequencers. That was over a year ago, and it seems in the interim the band have gone totally organic, emphatically stating that their new album contains no artificial ingredients as in synthesizers and drum machines. They’re about to release their first album on Ultra Radio Records. It’s produced by Jari Haapalain who, when he’s not playing guitar for the Bear Quartet, produces albums by the likes of the Concretes (S/T first album) and Ed Harcourt (Strangers) and Camera Obscura (Let’s Get Out of this Country). Haapalain not only is twiddling knobs for Park Hotell, but he’s also plays drums on the record in lieu of a drum machine.
Whenever I hear Park Hotell I can’t help but be reminded of the under appreciated Close Lobsters, and Dead Ringers, the first song they’ve released from the new record is no exception. The song starts off with singular pounding drums that quickly builds into a ringing anthem. The soaring vocals and sharply jangling guitars are nicely topped off with backing vocals from Taxi Taxi! twins Johanna and Miriam. You think that the dizzying chorus is going to be the best part of the song, but just before the end the manic jangle of guitars turns into a Big Country type e-bowed guitar solo that will have you reaching for the repeat button, like I have done so many times with this song. Bring on the album!
Tags: Julie Ocean, Shake Some Action
Did powerpop ever really go out of style, or come to think of it, was it ever in style? It seems like music history is littered with great bands and songwriters too numerous to mention, that wrote short catchy juiced-up songs that should have been hits. The two bands with killer singles this week are both named after two other great bands. So they’ve not only got great songs buy great pedigree too. I’m partial to bands naming themselves after songs of their favorite bands, as you might have guessed based on this blog’s name.
Single of the week number one comes from Shake Some Action who are named after a Flamin’ Groovies song. The Seattle band have just released their second album entitled Sunny Days Ahead, and it’s a corker. Especially the lead track Get It Together, James Hall’s voice booms over crunching, screaming guitars urging someone to get it together, and with a song this convincing how you not Get It Together?!
mp3: Shake Some Action – Get It Together (buy: Sunny Days Ahead)
Single of the week number two is by a band named for an Undertones song. Washington, DC’s Julie Ocean is fronted by Jim Spellman of Velocity Girl/High Back Chairs/Piper Cub fame and Terry Banks of Tree Fort Angst/Saturday People/Glo-Worm fame. All of those bands knew their way around a good song and Julie Ocean is no different. Teenage Fanclub and the afore mentioned Undertones have got nothing on these guys with their jangly Rickenbackers and ooh-ooh and ahh-ahh choruses, it’s saccharine sweet. Half the songs on their debut album could be hits in that powerpop netherworld, but #1 Song is the standout. And yes, it should be a number one song, Casey Kasem, Rick Dees, et al be damned!
Tags: Boat, Magic Marker
BOAT return with a slab of vinyl and it’s just about the perfect thing to start your summer. It’s got songs, baseball cards and bubblegum, and I bet if you buy it from them at one of their shows they’ll autograph it too. When D. Crane sings I’ve got a wife, I’ve got a job, a record store that knows my name, I can’t help but love him. Plus the fact that BOAT are pop geeks that learned to read from Baseball Cards and Comic Books, well it just hits a little too close to home. Are they singing about me? No, they don’t even know me! This is the catchiest BOAT has ever sounded, starting off with echoey keyboard, and ahh-ahhs, and then comes the killer guitar hook that really clinches it. Easy, single of the week!
mp3: BOAT – Topps(buy the record)
You can buy the record from Magic Marker or directly from them on their upcoming tour. It really does come with bubblegum and baseball cards, hand drawn ones at that! I wonder if the gum is hard, crunchy and stale like the sticks that came in packs of baseball cards? And if you want autographs, they’ll be making their way across the country to a town near you. Here are the dates for the ‘We Jam Super Econo and a Bit Cramped’ Tour:
July 5th–Showbox w/ Long Winters and Cops–Seattle, WA
July 12th–Sunset Tavern w/Tullycraft and Fishboy–Seattle, WA
July 13th–Club POW–Sacramento, CA
July 14th–Sue’s Java Lounge–Redding, CA
July 15th–The Knockout–San Francisco, CA
July 16th–Mr. T’s Bowl–Los Angeles, CA
July 18th–Biko’s Garage (All Ages)–Santa Barbara, CA
July 19th–TBA–Oakland, CA
July 20th–The Someday Lounge–Portland, OR
July 31st–Neumo’s–Seattle, WA
August 15th–Johnny Brenda’s–Philadelphia, PA
August 17th–The Cake Shop–Brooklyn, NY
August 18th–PA’s Lounge–Boston, MA
August 20th–Union Hall–New York, NY
August 21st–The Lantern–Blacksburg, VA
August 22nd–TBA–Pittsburgh, PA
August 23rd–TBA–Chicago, IL
Tags: Antoine et les Problemes, Thee Headcoatees, Wire
Getting this in just under the um…wire. It’s been kicking around in zeros and ones for a few weeks, so if you’ve heard it already, then here, listen to it again because it is worth the repeat listening that I’ve been giving it. Wire are gearing up for their 47th release, it’s a full album and is called Object 47. Guess why. So in order to get you excited about release number 47, the song One of Us has been posted to their site as the first single/teaser to the record. Continuing in the a similar vein as last year’s Read and Burn 03, One of Us has an Ideal Copy feel to it, an excellent slithery bass line, a few flourishes of synthesizers and Colin Newman singing in his icy voice about ruing the day he met someone. Wire is back again, be amazed and be thankful!
mp3: Wire – One of Us (from Object 47 out 15 July)
Now for the other stuff: If you haven’t checked out the Slumberland podcasts, you really should get on over to the pod cast section and check out June’s edition. It’s done by this collective called I Smiled Yesterday and it’s nothing short of amazing. Not only do they include some current favorites of mine like the Vivian Girls and Let’s Wrestle, and old favorites like the Bodines, but there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that I’ve never heard of that is so totally ace. It’s like a treasures trove of favorite music you’ve never heard. I’m already ordering a whole bunch of stuff from that mix, and number one is Antoine et Les Problemes, if you like Jacques Dutronc, Antoine is like his long lost cousin!
Podcast: Slumberland/I Smiled Yesterday
mp3: Antoine et Les Problems – Il Suffirait d’un Rien (from Antoine Recontre Les Problemes)
Popfest NYC was this weekend. I missed it on the count of I live on the wrong side of the country to go, but my friend Bill who happens to live in the NYC environs has been attending and posting over at his blog about the many fine bands that are playing. Do Cats on Fire, Cannanes, Hermit Crabs, Oh Custer! and the Orchides get you excited? Then click over to Sound Bites to hear about it and to get the latest about the mysterious Pelle Carlberg guitar that seems to keep appearing at every single PopFest local.
mp3: Thee Headcoatees – Have Love Will Travel (from What Do You Want a Japanese To Do Again?)
Tags: The Muslims
This is what all songs strive to be. It’s drop dead catchy, a little mysterious and has loads of attitude. Drop dead catchy in that surf guitar line that could have easily been plundered from Jan and Dean. Mysterious in what the hell is singer Matt Lamkin on about when he sings ‘With my UC ADD’, and ‘With your BBC ED …SAT IQ’. And attitude in the way these guys just ooze confidence despite The Muslims only being a band for eight months. These guys just have it, and it doesn’t seem to be a contrived it like the Strokes, though both share a VU similarity to their sound. In interviews they claim to not be fans of the Velvet Underground, but of the Byrds, Kinks, Ramones, Replacements, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray. The Muslims have a sound you don’t think too much about, it’s primal and immediate. Just go with it!
mp3: The Muslims – Beside Myself
The 12″ they released on 1928 Recordings apparently is sold out. The band promises that it’s getting repressed and back in print in July. For a few more mp3’s head on over to Love is Elusive where you can download the entire session they recorded with Omar on Rainydawg Radio back in April.
Tags: Crystal Stilts
Remember back in the day, NME would review singles and crown some lucky band with their single of the week? I haven’t picked up a copy of the NME in years so I have no idea if there is such a thing as single of th week anymore. Well, here at the finest kiss, we’ve still got a single of the week, at least in my head if not in these pages. Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts’ Crippled Croon is easily my single of the week and though the summer has barely begun, quite possibly single of the summer. It’s got a vocal doused in reverb and drums that echo all over the place with a surf guitar lick that will have you heading for the beach. If you’re a Flying Nun circa 1985 or early Mary Chain fan then this is the second coming. And they didn’t forget to write a cool vocal melody either, it’s also got kind of a happy, effervescent thing that reminds me of Phil Spector’s hit factory from the 60’s. What else could you want for a summer sound track?
photo from farinas flickr photostream.