Tags: Chook Race, Close Lobsters, Seattle, Tenorio Cotobade, Tenth Court, The Bats, The Feelies, Trouble In Mind, Victory Lounge, Zebra Hunt
Taking on America with an extensive 25 date tour is ambitious for any band, but when you’re Chook Race, a little known three piece jangle pop band from Melbourne, Australia it’s downright impressive (and maybe a little insane). The band made its way into Seattle Wednesday night to play the Victory Lounge, a bar with no stage in East Lake. This is one band I thought I would never see in Seattle, but after self-releasing their first album, Chicago label Trouble in Mind signed them making their second LP widely available in the United States as well as this tour a reality.
Singer and guitarist Matthew Liveriadis has a slight monotone delivery, but drummer Carolyn Hawkins provides a beautiful juxtaposition with her backing harmonies. The trio played an energized and jangly set inspired by the Bats and Close Lobsters mixing soon to be jangle pop classics from their first LP with ones of a slightly more classic pop sound from their new second album Around the House. In their short existence the band already have a stash of A-list songs and they didn’t leave any of them out including jangly diamonds like Dentist, Time, Sometimes and Hard to Clean and Older. The band’s tight sound and laid back attitude easily won over the likely already won over folks in attendance and made us all appreciate the long trip they had made to get here.
Like minded Seattlites Zebra Hunt opened for Chook Race with a set that consisted almost entirely of new songs (Half Right was the only old one). Apparently the new album is nearly ready and based on this evidence I would agree. One song really stood out with its Feelies-like crazy rhythm, even slowing down and then rebuilding itself into something quite raucous. Zebra Hunt has still got it!
Tags: Blur, Male Bonding, Omi Palone, Primitive Parts, Sauna Youth, The Kinks, Trouble In Mind
Much ado was made about the return of Blur earlier this year, and then after everyone heard the new record it quickly flamed out. Not surprising since it featured little of Graham Coxon’s sharp, jabbing guitar playing. If you like were hoping for something along the lines of Modern Life is Rubbish then Primitive Parts‘ debut album should do the trick.
Kevin Hendrick and Robin Christian of Male Bonding and Lindsay Corstorphine of Sauna Youth combine to create minor maelstroms of sharp guitar focused punkish pop. Sometimes a band shoots their wad on one or two singles and then releases a disappointing album. This is not the case with Primitive Parts. They deliver on the promise of last year’s two very good 7-inch singles on Sexbeat and Faux Discx, and then some!
Primitive Parts LP Parts Primitive is out now on Trouble In Mind Records
Tags: Buffalo Springfield, Chop Suey, Dragnet Records, Grateful Dead, Mazes, Proper Ornaments, Seattle, Trouble In Mind, Ultimate Painting, Universe People, Velvet Underground, Veronica Falls
Remember when Ride lost the plot after Going Blank Again and tried to morph their sound into some neo-psychedlic 60s blend of the Byrds, Velvet Underground and Buffalo Springfield but ended up sounding like the Black Crowes? Tuesday night at Chop Suey the UK’s Ultimate Painting demonstrated the tangent that Ride should have taken. Their set brimmed with paisley tinged psychedelia that trod the fine line of subtle melodic turns, buzzy droning and all out jams.
The group’s self-titled album came out last year on Chicago’s Trouble in Mind. The record has a subdued sound to that features major nods to the Velvet Underground’s prettier side, but live they crank up the danger levels into White Light / White Heat territory. Talking Central Park Blues was a great example of this, with Jack Cooper taking the lead on this New York narrative that is their sister Ray making it sound a lot more energized than the recorded version. Cooper also plays in Mazes. In Ultimate Painting he shares guitar and vocal duties with James Hoar from Veronica Falls and Proper Ornaments. It seems like a true collaboration, with both contributing to the songs. Cooper may take a lead vocal, while Hoar takes the lead guitar part, and both contributing harmonies to the other’s vocals.
They also included a couple new songs from an album that they said would be coming out in August. One of them showcased the influence of the Grateful Dead (Casey Jones) that I hadn’t noticed before, but is fairly obvious given the group’s twitter icon. The set closed with with Ten Street which they turned into an extended jam. The rhythm section provided a great stage for Cooper and Hoar to get a little crazy playing off of one another, going into a few rabbit holes of guitar goodness. It lasted for about 10 minutes but it could have gone on for 20 and no one would have complained. Live Ultimate Painting seem to have an innate sense of when to head off on a tangent extending their solid album into something better and much more interesting.
Ultimate Painting’s self-titled album is out on Trouble In Mind.
Seattle’s Universe People opened the show playing songs from their two albums as well as new one. They were solid as usual. They’re jerky angular songs keep you on your toes. The Modern Girl, Chemistry, Druids and Vampire Prison were all present in their set and demonstrated how great this band is.
Tags: Ennio Morricone, Ravi Shankar, Serge Gainsbourg, The Limiñanas, Trouble In Mind, Velvet Underground
In French, the ground floor of a building is not the first floor it’s the rez-de-chaussée. The first floor is the second floor and so on.So if you’re on the third floor in France, you’d be on the fourth floor in the US. The Limiñanas have just released their third album. It really is their third album, the French don’t count albums like the floors of buildings.
The Limiñanas are not quite classic french pop. More like classic french pop through a haze of hashish wafting from a dark room filled with strange characters smoking from hookahs. Walk out for a breather and the brightness temporarily blinds you as you squint to adjust to the undulation of the sea breaking on the beach. The Limiñanas record in their Mediterranean cocoon and take in the unique sights and sounds of their surroundings and mix them better known quantities like Velvet Underground, Serge Gainsbourg and Ravi Shankar to make records that sound partly like the place they live and partly of some made up world that only exists in their imaginations. Costa Blanka is an album with a unique sense of place. Put it on and be transported to that place, rez-de-chaussée…premier étage…étage supérieur.
Tags: Jacco Gardner, Syd Barrett, Trouble In Mind
Quick, how many animals can you spot on the cover of Jacco Gardner’s Cabinet of Curiosities? I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time studying the cover of Jacco Gardner‘s debut album which came out on Trouble in Mind earlier this year while listening to it. Mind altering substances, be they Gardner’s songs or something else, help you find more creatures, some real and some imagined. The record is a sound & site to behold.
If you haven’t figured it out, Gardner is something of a Dutch Syd Barrett at least in song writing style, hopefully not in acid taking regiment. The album is good but since Gardner played and sang the entire thing except for the drums, it can sound a little canned at times. That is why I’m looking forward to his date at the Barboza (aka Neumo’s basement) this Wednesday night with a full band. The already good songs will undoubtedly break free of their earthly shackles and become wild animals in the night. Hiding in the trees like on the cover leaping out at you from where you hadn’t the faintest idea they were lurking. No other mind alter substances required.
You can pick up Cabinet of Curiosities and/or his brand new single The End of August from his label Trouble in Mind.
Here are the remaining dates of his US tour.
Wed. Oct. 9 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Thu. Oct. 10 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
Sat. Oct. 12 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
Tue. Oct.15 – Washington DC @ Black Cat Backstage
Wed. Oct 16 – Oct 19 – New York, NY @ CMJ
Mon. Oct. 21 – Montreal, QC @ Le Divan Orange
Tue. Oct. 22 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
Wed. Oct. 23 – Hamilton, ON @ This Ain’t Hollywood
Fri. Oct. 25 – Detroit, MI @ Garden Bowl
Sat. Oct. 26 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Sun. Oct. 27 – Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog
Tags: Aarght!, Cherry Red, Daughn Gibson, Girls Names, House of Love, Jacco Gardner, Little Black Cloud, Myron & E, Ooga Boogas, Slumberland, Stones Throw, Sub Pop, Trouble In Mind, Universe People
Welcome to day two of the half year round-up. Giddy-up! Here are the next set of seven records from the first half of this year that I think deserve your attention. It’s kind of an eclectic bunch but in at least one warped world they go quite well together.
Myron & E – Broadway (Stones Throw)
It seems like it’s been ages since those first couple Myron & E singles came out. I had nearly lost hope of them ever releasing an album, but the wait was worth it. Broadway is more than worth the wait, evoking Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On which is no easy feat. The Motor city may be bankrupt, but its soul legacy keeps paying dividends. Top notch stuff.
stream: Myron & E – They Don’t Know
Daughn Gibson – Me Moan (Sub Pop)
Part of Me Moan sounds like Gibson grew up with the Stuart Copeland and Stan Ridgway song Don’t Box Me In on repeat. The other part sees Gibson reading from the same book as Dan Bejar was on Destroyer’s Kaputt. Both parts consist of lush and sweeping 80’s inspired pop from a unique voice.
Stream: Daughn Gibson – The Pisgee Nest
Universe People – Go To the Sun (Little Black Cloud)
Descending from the Intelligence family tree, this Seattle trio fronted by Australian ex-pat Jo Claxton deliver serrated pop that teases and caresses before puncturing skin. This very sharp record deserves way more attention than it has received, because it’s pretty damn brilliant and would look fine next to your Intelligence, Fall and Dolly Mixture records.
stream: Universe People – Druids
Girls Names – The New Life (Slumberland)
The new life sounds like dark era Cure (Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography) without being too obvious. It didn’t immediately grab me, but its hypnotic bass and vocals has made gradually overcome my conscious and now The New Life is my go-to record when the need often comes to zone out into the horizon which is quite often.
Stream: Girls Names – Drawing Lines
Ooga Boogas – Ooga Boogas (Aarght!)
Ooga Boogas have not left their garage roots, but the garage has been remodeled or converted rather. The record walks the line between ECSR and Total Control and sidesteps into Velvet Underground, Tubeway Army, the Fall, Modern Lovers and the Soft Boys territories.
stream: Ooga Boogas – A Night to Remember
House of Love – She Paints Words In Red (Cherry Red)
House of Love guitarist Terry Bickers acrimoniously left the band during the recording of the band’s second album. Since then he mad ammends with HOL frontman Guy Chadwich and they made a reunion record Days Run Away back in 2005. It was ok. Eight years later they’ve record a follow up that is immediate, elegant and while not quite reaching the heights of their debut it feels like they’ve recaptured the fire that blazed in their creative partnership.
stream: House of Love – Holy River
Jacco Gardner – Cabinet of Curiosities (Trouble In Mind)
Dutch wunderkind pulls out all the psychedelic stops on his debut album. Amazing harmonies done to the backing of exquisite chamber pop backing. If you ever thought that the Left Bank sounded too effeminate and that Syd Barrett was too zany Gardner strikes just right balance.
stream: Jacco Gardner – The One Eyed King
Tags: Mikal Cronin, Trouble In Mind
Moonheart and Ty Segall collaborator Mikal Cronin is set to release his first solo album and it’s a stunner. It’s not quite from out of nowhere, but the quality here surpasses anything he’s done previously. Here’s my track by track take on this very good record.
Is it Allright – Beach Boys oohs but with crunchy guitars and a flute freakout courtesy of John Dwyer. A grand statement for the first song that sets the bar high.
Apathy – To say that Cronin sounds like his sometimes collaborator Ty Segall is stating the obvious. Listen closer and you notice that Cronin’s voice is sweeter and mellower, plus he knows how to use a saxophone to great effect.
Green & Blue – starts out with Tomorrow Never Knows drums and then a huge soaring riff swoops in with the vocals arriving buried in the mix. This isn’t so much a song, but instead one mega-giant riff.
Get Along – Two favorite parts in this song: 1) Cool backwards guitar solo in the middle. 2.)Near the end he strips away the noise and it’s just acoustic guitar and Cronin singing “I’m not thinking about you”
Slow Down – slow mood piece that reminds me of Hollow Life by Frankie Rose. Where Hollow Life was the lead track to set the mood on Roaes’s album, Cronin puts his in the middle to give you a rest from the intense first half of the record and let you know that the second half is going to be something of a different beast.
Gone – few records these days put the best song as track one on side two, but in the current vinyl resurgence we may start seeing more of this again. A huge bassline in this one bubbles up out of the depths and a huge chorus to match it. Gone is the go to track on the record.
Situation – How do follow a giant pop song? With another one of course. This minor key hook that is quite sublime. A two minute pop song with no fat on it.
Again & Again – I like how this album progresses it seems to mellow. Less distortion and reverb here and Cronin is all the better for it. Again & Again has a hook that may or may not have been swiped from Steve Miller.
Hold On Me – The mellowness continues. Hold On Me is like a lullaby that conjures a hallucinogenic version of Buddy Holly. Complete with whistled outro. Sweet.
The Way Things Go – Epic final song. It’s like the Electric Light Orchestra where The kitchen sink gets thrown in an it nearly works until Cronin seems to purposefully fuck it up at the end. It’s as if he’s saying yeah I could do this, but I’m gonna warp it into something unlistenable because I don’t want to make the perfect album….yet.
Mikal Cronin’s self-titled debut comes out 2o September on Trouble In Mind.
Tags: The Limiñanas, Trouble In Mind
If you didn’t know any better you might think that Trouble in Mind dug up a long lost 60’s record from some dusty Parisian attic. the Limiñanas debut album is Jacques Dutronc, Velvet Underground and Françoise Hardy rolled up into a single slab of wax. You literally throw this record on and you feel like you’re doin’ the time warp en français. It conjures such an authentic 60’s vibe that I bet they have bands lining up to record with them to get that sound. After two top notch singles earlier this year, one on TIM and the other on Hozac I was really looking forward to this record, but a little afraid I would be disappointed from heightened expectations. No such problem, expectations met and exceeded.
mp3: The Limiñanas – Down Underground
mp3: The Limiñanas – Funeral Baby
The Limiñanas debut is due very soon from Trouble In Mind on both LP and CD formats. If you’re into this kind of thing, be sure to check out Les Bellas which the Limiñanas were part of and whose album just saw the light of day earlier this year.
Tags: Nick Lowe, The Pets, Tropical Sleep, Trouble In Mind
I seem to be on this late 70’s power pop kick lately and Tropical Sleep continue that kick. Tropical Sleep is the latest vehicle of Dan Wood who’s previous band the Pets set the bar pretty high with their Misdirection album. Talk about an album packed full of two minute blasts that are kinda Kiss and kinda Cheap Trick. It’s pretty relentless, but in a good way. The first Tropical Sleep single comes in the latest batch of Trouble In Mind singles and reminds me a lot of early Nick Lowe. Two sides that leave me wanting more Tropical Sleep. The band will in Seattle on 1 October for a gig a the Funhouse.
stream: Tropical Sleep – (Hadita) Girl With The Diamond Tooth (buy it from Trouble In Mind)
mp3: Nick Lowe – Heart of the City (from the Jesus of Cool)
mp3: The Pets – I Can’t Keep Myself Straight (from Misdirection)
The latest batch batch of four singles on Trouble In Mind includes Tropical Sleep, Hex Dispensers, Night Beats and Sticks N’ Stones. all of them are available from the label direct. Keep your eyes peeled for new ones from Wounded Lion, Personal & the Pizzas and an album from the Liminanas all coming in October.
In other power pop news Paul Collins (the Beat) and Seattle’s Cute Lepers will be at the Funhouse 2 October for a double dose of the stuff.
Tags: HoZac, Liminanas, Trouble In Mind
As they say in La France: Quelle surprise! The two singles currently on the street from The Liminanas were something of a surprise to me for a couple reasons: It’s not often that you hear a band wrapping Stereolab, Ye-Ye, surf, and a bit o’ that wall of sound thing into a soufflé and; You don’t expect to hear a band like that on Trouble In Mind or Hozac. Both labels are Chicago based and known for their grimey punk singles, not the beaches of the Mediterranean. The band call Perpignan, France their home. Perpignan is a short drive, or bus ride to the beach, which seems to color the bands music. The b-side to their Trouble in Mind single evokes sunsets, crashing waves and bonfires. The a-side would more likely be found in a disco than the beach. The spoken dialog reminds me of listening to how to speak French tapes, only there’s groove a mile wide that will make you want first Dance and then start speaking French. The perfect hot and cold single.
mp3: The Liminanas – Je Ne Suis Pas Trés Droguee (order your copy from Trouble In Mind)
The second Liminanas single out on Hozac is a little more in line with the Garage/Spector sounds of the day, but no less agreeable. This time singing in English, the band go for the jugular with Baby I’m Dead, and then switch back to 60’s Ye-Ye style for the b-side. Trouble In Mind are promising to release the band’s first album later this year. It will be the first 12 inch from the exclusively 7″ singles label to this point. A Liminanas album could quite possibly be a genius move for both the Liminanas and Trouble In Mind. In the meantime, get these two singles and count the days until the album appears.