Midway and Buried in Records- Part 3

The pile is getting a little lighter, but I’m still buried. Welcome to part three of the first ever mid-year round-up of 2013’s best records.
La Femme – Psycho Tropical Berlin (Born Bad)

“La Femme are dark wave surfers from Paris that ride waves of synths and guitars into a globally warmed tropical Berlin.This groop has read their share of le Carré spy novels, had their fill of Ventures records, probably have an original pressing of Les Visiteurs Du Soir by Mathématiques Modernes, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they listened to the Intelligence since they share a label with them in La France.”

stream: La Femme – Amour Dans le Motu

The Courtneys – The Courtneys (Hockey Dad)

The Courtneys debut album is snotty, adolescent fun that reminds me of Tuscadero, Tacocat and Bratmobile.  The record is full of super melodic and slightly shambolic songs. It’s nothing new under the sun, but it is so consistently good which is something that is somewhat rare under the sun.

stream: The Courtneys – Insufficient Funds

The Purrs- The Boy With Astronaut Eyes (Fin)

“The Boy With Astronaut Eyes is the Purrs’ sixth (or seventh) album and it may be their best since The Chemistry That Keeps Us Together. Bassist and songwriter Jima has come up with a great batch of songs that rivals Chemistry’s top shelf stuff. The songs are  dusty, gritty, cosmic and road-ready. They feel like futuristic wild west space tales.”


Legs – Pass the Ringo (Log Lady)

Oakland band Legs have a melancholy 60’s vibe and they add in an 80’s indie jangle to come up with a winning combination. I have no idea what Pass the Ringo refers to. If it means pass a plate of food that looks like what’s on the cover, no thanks. If it means putting on this record and kranking it up then yes please. Bonus points for writing the companion piece to the Tyde’s Go Ask Yer Dad in their song Go Ask Your Mother.

Stream: Legs – Go Ask Your Mother

Monnone Alone – Together At Last (Lost and Lonesome)

“Mark Monnone’s first solo album stays firmly in Lucksmiths territory, good songs, some slightly silly lyrics, a few serious lyrics and a general good time.  He also finds some new inspiration and stretches out a bit to ensure that it doesn’t sound like a total retread.”

stream: Monnone Alone – The Business World

Warm Soda – Someone For You (Castleface)

We knew that Mathew Melton was capable of pop goodness from his previous band Bare Wires, but Warm Soda sees him honing his powers to killer effect. Some For You is like the Raspberries mixed with Teenage Fanclub and King Tuff.  The hits keep coming and coming on this record.

stream: Warm Soda – Jeannie Loves Pop

Big Deal – June Gloom (Mute)

The boy girl duo Big Deal know how to do big pop hooks the same way the boy girl duo Joy Zipper use to do. Crunchy hooks draped with all of the accoutrements of big production that is reminiscent of early 90’s and the work of Butch Vig. Big sounding production more often than not is a mistake, but Big Deal writes songs that beg to sound big.

stream: Big Deal – In Your Car

The War for Intelligence

The Intelligence take the octopus by the head
photo from the Intelligence MySpace

Do you ever wish you were smarter? If the answer to that question is yes, I have just the thing for you. The new album from Seattle’s the Intelligence, and if that’s not enough how about two new albums from the Intelligence? The first new album, Fake Surfers, is the one I’ve been looking forward to since seeing them play a lot of it back in December at the Sunset Tavern. Fake Surfers is album number four and their third on In The Red. 2007’s Deuteronomy seemed like a major step forward for the band, with leader Lars Finberg shedding his bedroom lo-fi tendencies to make a record in a real studio. Fake Surfers was recorded down in the OC and continues the cleaner sound of Deuteronomy, but not the band’s skewed take on pop. It seems like there are a lot of acoustic guitars throughout the record, which is something I’ve not noticed on previous records. Don’t let the acoustic guitars scare you off, because Finberg and company have certainly not lost their cockeyed and warped pop sensibilities. What I mean is that every song has big meaty hooks, but there are always strange descending atonal vocals, strange keyboard flourishes, weirdly tuned guitar noises or Lars yelling I don’t have time for squids making everything sound just a little off. But in the universe of the Intelligence everything that is off is of course right on. Fake Surfers is 11 new originals and a cover of Wounded Lion’s Pony People.   They could have included songs from any one of the handful of  singles they’ve put out on Plastic Idol, Raw Deluxe and April 77, but the only song that I had previously heard was Debt & ESP that came out on Plastic Idol last Year.

Apparently not content to put out just one record at a time, the Intelligence have two coming out. To the apparent ignorance of most everyone (me included until I read Victim of Time), French label Born Bad has just released another new Intelligence record called Crepuscule with Pacman.  This one is a more lo-fi affair with the ever prolific Finberg locked in a room with an eight-track creating more warped pop mayhem.    The fact that these guys have flown under the radar for so long is probably only due to the fact that the band almost treat self-promotion as a major sin.  A while ago, I remember a timid announcement from the band that they were going to start selling some of their records on their MySpace page.  It was almost an apology for venturing into capitalistic means to support and promote their band.  Instead the Intelligence choose the old school way of taking to the road and touring like crazy.  They just started a short west coast jaunt before heading off to Europa for a couple months.  I’d like to think by the time they get back to the states the kids will have finally figured it out, and the Intelligence will be huge.  When asked the question, are you a fan of Intelligence, people will realize they’d be fools to say no.

mp3: The Intelligence – Thank You God For Fixing The Tape (from the forthcoming Fake Surfers)

You can get Fake Surfers from In the Red and Crepuscule with Pacman from Born Bad, and the long list of tour dates after the click:

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