Monday, 7 June 2010

Straight up Metal with Saviours

I have been on a NWOBHM kick lately, spinning a lot of Iron Maiden, so I thought this would be a good time to share one of my favorite metal throwbacks from Oakland. Saviours came to be near the end of my time in Nor-Cal, but they grew out of one of the better hardcore bands on the scene in the late 90s, Yaphet Kotto.

There second record, Into Abbadon, sounds like a time machine back to the early 1980s. If they had been born 20 years earlier, these guys could have opened for Saxon or Judas Priest. Any fan of old school metal styling will find something worth listening to on this record. You can buy it here.

(Raging Embers)

(Into Abbadon)

Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Notes - Those Days, Those Nights

Perhaps you have visited Holiday Records through our links section. They put out a weekly digital single of a pop act that could have easily fit into the Sarah Records roster. And because they know times are tough, all the songs are free.

Here is one of my favorite tracks released this year form a band from Southampton called The Notes. The pretty vocals and jangly guitars are perfect for summer BBQing.

(Those Days, Those Nights)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Castle Oldchair sounds pretty swell

I first came across Castle Oldchair in Oregon on one of my tours, and he was he an exceedingly nice gentleman. He had already built a pretty comprehensive mystic around him, and put out an underappreciated but excellent record on Standard Recordings. It was the backing soundtrack to my mornings working as a maintenance man back in 2004, collecting fix-it tickets that I would eventually get to midday.

As far as I can tell, Castle Oldchair only put out one record. Here are two tracks from it.

Swallowing Stars

Speaking of Diamonds

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Carlee Hendrix - The Northbound EP

I don’t know much about Carlee Hendrix and the Whole Earth Catalog, but they do make poppy songs that could easily fit into the background of an MTV reality program, an episode of Gilmore Girls, or a high school mixtape to a male interest. Not really the kind of stuff that I generally put on the turntable, but I do like their songs and I figure they could use some more exposure.

You can download their Northbound EP for free if you like what you hear.

(Holes from the Northbound EP)

(Northbound from the Northbound EP)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Mark Linkous - RIP Sparklehorse

It's been a month since Mark Linkous shot himself, and since I wasn't posting during the last few months, I failed to post a tribute to the man behind Sparklehorse.

The first Sparklehorse song I ever heard was "Hammering the Cramps" on the Chicago Cab soundtrack. It's a jangly fuzzed out mess of a pop song, and it was instantly attractive to my burgeoning music snob ears. I rushed out and picked up "Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot" and was hooked. In the subsequent years, I've always gobbled up and enjoyed his music, and when I was making real American dollars doing record reviews for a far to brief amount of time, I had the honor to review one of his last releases Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain and I've already written about him on this site too. "It's a Wonderful Life" has to be my favorite album of his, and something that I will continue to go back to for many years. Filled with great guests and brimming with emotion, it speaks of his brilliance and also of his saddness, something that apparently he was unable to overcome. In his far too few years on this planet, he left a mark on my life, and I'll be forever grateful to him for that.

Hammering the Cramps - Sparklehorse (from "Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot")

Sick of Goodbyes - Sparklehorse (from "Good Morning Spider")

Comfort Me - Sparklehorse (from "It's a Wonderful Life")

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer – Self Titled

I watched BBC 4’s documentary Prog Britannia the other night, a decent look at the development of Progressive Rock in Britain during the 1960s, and its eventual decline into excess in the 70s. I generally hated the stuff coming of musical age in the 1990s, but I had friends who were dedicated to early Prog rock in high school. I now respect the fact that they were listening to King Crimson and Yes when everyone else was worshiping Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It wasn’t until later that I was gifted with a huge box of vinyl from the 60s and 70s that I gave the style an honest chance, and I ended up digging some of the harder edged material. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer was one of the bands I found myself enjoying.

Don’t get me wrong: this band made some real shit. I doubt the band itself would disagree with that. But some of their early records have some great moments, and contain some great rocking jams. If you can forget every grotesque, overblown, and ridiculously condescending Prog record that followed it, you can find plenty of things to enjoy in the first ELP record. Here are two of my favorite tracks from the record.

You can download the record here (as well as the band’s worst piece of shit ever), or buy a nice remastered copy here.

(Knife Edge from ELP- Self Titled)

(The Barbarian from ELP- Self Titled)

Monday, 5 April 2010

MOON8 - Dark Side of the Moon, meet NES...NES, meet DSOTM.

I remember getting an old school 8-bit Nintendo as a child. It was a very rewarding Christmas. I still have it, it's now hooked up to a giant 50+ inch widescreen HD TV. We've come a long way.

I don't remember the first time I listened to Dark Side of the Moon, however, but I do remember the first time I heard MOON8, the 8bit tracked version of Dark Side of the Moon that is apparently blowing up on the internets these days. It was less than a week ago, and I've been pretty much listening to it whenever I have my headphones in.

While Dark Side of the Moon is one of those aurally dense and perfect recordings to get lost in, one where you hear new things even after listening to it 100s of times; MOON8 is a perfect reduction of it to its finest elements. Everything that's great about the original is still present, and for those of us who grew up on those amazingly kitschy sounds emanating from the trebly speakers of our insignificant barely 24 inch TV, it transcends the simple to become sublime. Brad Smith is the composer of this amazing recreation of a classic, and, honestly, it's just as good as the original. Below is a Youtube version of "Money." You can download the album for free in the links above.

Brad Smith - Money (from "MOON8")

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Boxharp - Loam Arcane EP

Another solid release from Hidden Shoal Recordings. Boxharp is a duo that makes very rewarding ambient pop music. Built around found sound/field recording collages, producer Scott Solter gives the music a cohesiveness the belies its origin. Layered on top of this wonderful sound is the Tori-Amos-meets-Liz-Phair vocal styling of Wendy Allen. Delicate and strong, her delivery takes charge of the EP and makes you want to listen to the scant 16 minutes of music over and over and over. If you're not hooked by the first 20 seconds of "FanFin," there's probably something wrong with your ears. You can pick up the digital only release here. Included below is the more toned down single "Rainbirds," enjoy it, and keep on the lookout for more music from both Boxharp and Hidden Shoal Recordings.

Boxharp - Rainbirds (from "Loam Arcane EP")

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Muhsinah - day.break 2.0

It didn’t take long for Muhsinah to find an audience among committed music fans. Her lo-fi/hip-hop self produced “day.break 2.0” record has been in pretty constant rotation in my playlist as of late, and deserves greater attention. She has just released a new single (produced by Flying Lotus) from her full length “The Oscillations: Triangle.” Here is a song from “day.break 2.0”


And here is the video.

Muhsinah // "Construction" - The Oscillations:Sine from Rock Slinger Incorporated on Vimeo.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti

It has been awhile since I dug into the old Jazz vault here at Some Lost, Some Found. It was high time that I posted some tracks from the great Jazz guitarist Eddie Lang and violin virtuoso Joe Venuti. Both men had long careers in the music biz, and had a great influence on a number of later greats. Lang played alongside some of the biggest names of the 20s and 30s (like Paul Whiteman and Bring Crosby), and his innovative guitar playing would later have an impact on Django Reinhardt. Venuti was born on a boat to America by his Italian immigrant parents, and also shared a stage with Whiteman and whose style found its way into Reinhardt’s 30s and 40s work.

JSP Records has re-released a large number of the two men's combined performances (You can pick up a 4 disc box set for less than 25 dollars, which spans almost 10 years of their career). These recordings have always reminded me warm sunny days sitting in the yard, having a BBQ, and enjoying a nice cool drink. Essential seasonal music.

(Going Home)

(Blue Blood Blues)

(A Handful of Riffs)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Tina Kaffeyah Kicks Ass

Tina Kaffeyah is a little rock band from Philadelphia that recently sent their new EP to us, asking if we would have a listen. They also said that they would allow us to have their baby if we reviewed it, and since I don’t have any known offspring, I figured I would take them up on their offer. I look forward to the insemination process!

As for the EP, it is good. Very good. It’s entirely instrumental, and the band crunches through four tracks of riff heavy post-hardcore. The songs on this record bring back memories of Baltimore’s Oxes, although I don’t know if that’s what these guys were intending. The band experiments with the formula enough to keep you interested: on “Why did I Drink that Colt 45?” they play with time changes and empty silence, until they finish off the track with a pulverizing set of chords. The end the EP with “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice things,” a track that clocks in at over 11 minutes but doesn’t get tired or overly repetitive.

If these cats would have been playing in the Bay Area in the late 90s, they would have been huge. Well, at least with kids who listened to hardcore. The band gets extra points for reminding me why I fell in love with this kind of stuff to begin with. Hopefully they find a home with a label that will treat them right.

Check out their site here to download the EP, and their Myspace page if you want to hook it up with one of the guys in the band.

(Songs About Dying)

(Why Did I Drink that Colt 45?)

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Lhasa de Sela - RIP

I was saddened to hear from comrade Jams that Lhasa de Sela, a respected Mexican-American singer-songwriter passed away at the young age of 37 this winter. She died of breast cancer in her Montreal home on January 1st, 2010.

Lhasa released three full length records in her short career, but she lived a full and adventurous life. Her website writes “Lhasa's unusual childhood was marked by long periods of nomadic wandering through Mexico and the U.S., with her parents and sisters in the school bus which was their home. During this period the children improvised, both theatrically and musically, performing for their parents on a nightly basis. Lhasa grew up in a world imbued with artistic discovery, far from conventional culture. An old friend of Lhasa's, Jules Beckman, offered these words:

"We have always heard something ancestral coming through her. She has always spoken from the threshold between the worlds, outside of time. She has always sung of human tragedy and triumph, estrangement and seeking with a Witness's wisdom. She has placed her life at the feet of the Unseen."

Her music surely demonstrated an incredible level of creativity, and her inspired songs garnered popularity worldwide.

Here are two tracks from her first record, “La Llorona.” You can buy her records here.

(De Cara a la Pared from "La Llorona")

(Payande from "La Llorona")

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Kim Jung Mi (김정미) - Now

Korea’s music scene has always played second (or third) fiddle to Japan’s forward minded music culture. Most non-traditional Korean music simply mimicked American or Japanese sensibilities following the Korean War, but that doesn’t mean there have not been standout musicians from the Hermit Kingdom.

Enter Kim Jung Mi, an acid-rock singer from the 1970s. Anyone who is familiar with Korean pop music will either recognize her vocals or the manner in which she sang them; in my mind her delivery is quintessential Korean 70s.

Jung Mi worked with Korean fuzz pioneer Shin Jung Hyun (신중현), who gave her recordings the echoey, psychedelic feel. When Park Chung Hee was dictator of South Korea, some Shin Jung’s songs were banned as "vulgar" or "noisy", and in August 1975, he was arrested for "involvement" with marijuana. Lord knows what “involvement” with marijuana meant, but thankfully both Jung Mi and Shin Jung have found an audience since their peak, and have left some strong records in their wake, as well as made positive contributions to the local Korean music scene.

Here are a few tracks from Jung Mi’s excellent album, “Now.” The excellent imprint World Psychedelia has reissued some of her finer records for western audiences, and can be purchased at Dusted Groove Records. Unfortunately, “Now” is currently out of print, but you can download it at Mutant Sounds.

(Wind in the Trees from "Now")

(Spring, Spring, Spring from "Now")

(Lonely Heart from "Now")

Saturday, 6 March 2010

George Duke: Faces in Reflection (1974)

I realize it's been a while since I posted any music. What can I say? I have actually been busy.

All of my previous posts have been on the heavy tip whether that's metal like Tank and Cirith Ungol or hardcore like RKL, Stalag 13, the Accused, and Excel.

At this point I'm switching gears and moving into my other musical tastes. For those who like the hard stuff, please be patient, I'll get back to it eventually. In the meantime, here is my first jazz post.

This is a classic album. In case you don't know anything about George Duke, a good friend of mine told me Duke had an aversion to synthesizers and was strictly a piano and Rhodes man before he hooked up with Frank Zappa. After spending some time in Zappa's band, he began to embrace the fusion sound that was so influential in jazz during the 1970s. So this is a serious departure from the smooth jazz Duke would be known for later in his career.

I know what you're thinking, fusion jazz = weak jazz. But there is a lot of good fusion out there if you are selective. Have a listen to see what I mean. I like all the tracks but my favorite is "Psychocomatic Dung." And if you dig this album, check out some of the other material on MPS Records.

Joining Duke on this session are Leon Ndugu Chancler on drums and John Heard on bass. Download here.

Track List:
1. The Opening
2. Capricorn
3. Piano Solo 1 and 2
4. Psychocomatic Dung
5. Faces in Reflection No. 1
6. Maria Tres Filhos
7. North Beach
8. Da Somba
9. Faces in Reflection No. 2.

George Duke: The Opening

George Duke: Capricorn

George Duke: Psychocomatic Dung

George Duke: North Beach

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Can you handle 新宿ゲバルト?

新宿ゲバルト (Shinjuku Gewalt) is an awesome glitch-pop band from Japan. Japshare recently hosted some of their songs, and although I can not find a lick of information about the band (they do have a website, but it is completely in Japanese), they have made some great songs that should be heard by folks outside of Japan.

If you know anything about the band, please leave a comment. I would love to get a physical copy of this stuff.

(8時だヨ!全員集合!!(アレフガルド公演Ver.1.0.2 from Shinsekai Roudouka Sen)

Friday, 19 February 2010

Troubadour tales with In Gowan Ring

In Gowan Ring is a one man project by Portland's multi-instrumentalist B’eirth. He plays what psychedelic aficionados likely believe roaming minstrels in medieval England sounded like if they had access to acid. He has been churning out some great tunes over the years, occasional working with members of Woven Hand, and has just released a book/CD under his Birch Book alter-ego titled “A Hand Full Of Days.” Only 50 copies have been made, so get it while you can or expect to pay exuberant amounts buying one on Ebay.

(Hazel Steps from "Hazel Steps Through a Weathere")

Friday, 12 February 2010

Adam Balbo Fixes your local campfire

We have been running Some Lost, Some Found for a few months now, and we have started to receive a steady stream of mail from artists/labels asking us to take a listen to their records. We will continue to talk about classic bands and records from the past, as well as some of the newer more current stuff coming out, and we are glad to see so many returning readers each day.

One of the new releases sent our way recently was Adam Balbo’s new record, “Fix.” Adam plays short, upsetting and yet stirring acoustic music. The kind of stuff you would play around the campfire if your friends had better taste than to strum out some shitty John Mayer cover in an attempt to get into some girls pants. Songs like “Sharp as a Horse” and “That’s Him. He’s Your Guy” have the downhearted lyric content which appears welcoming and friendly until you process what exactly is being expressed in the narrative. Balbo’s voice never gets out of hand, and works well with the minimalist guitar strumming accompanying each song, giving the short stories represented on the record a fuller body than is immediately recognizable.

Balbo has a slew of older records up to download for free at his and CLLCT pages. His newest record, “Fix” is for sale here. Check it out.

("That's Him, He's Your Guy" from Fix)

("Obligatory Highway Analogy" from Fix)

Monday, 8 February 2010

The Who: Quadrophenia

Apparently there was a major sporting event yesterday and apparently there was a band that played during the middle break of said game that I am a big fan of. Earlier in this blog, I made statement that may have been "fact: Quadrophenia is the greatest double LP of all time," well, it's time to unveil the the truth behind the statement. Yeah, Tommy's pretty good, people seem to like The Wall, and I suppose David Bowie, Lou Reed, Genesis, and a slew of metal bands have all put them out too, but when it comes to raw power and effectiveness, a storyline that makes sense (a deaf, dumb and blind boy playing pinball that becomes the new Jesus...really Pete?!), nothing comes close to Quadrophenia.

A prelude that introduces the major musical themes throughout the work starts us off and sets the stage for the ride Jimmy will take through the mod and rocker world of early 60s Britain. Popping pills, fighting, and contemplating life's most depressing elements....Jimmy's life isn't all that great, but I'll be damned if I don't relate and hang on to every note and word. It's intense enough to keep you intrigued, but never feels forced. The ebb and flow of the album should be studied by anyone wanting to create a modern day rock opera.

Pete Townshend's writing is the star here. No ultra heady themes as touched upon earlier like in Tommy, no futuristic forecastations about what technology is going to do to our society (eerily accurate I might add, but when put through a mid70s vernacular laced with new age ideas it does not age well); it's all about the universal idea of growing up, the struggles everyone faces on some level, the need to fit in, the need to find love and understanding, and the need to just try and find out who you really are after spending almost two decades being who your parents want.

I wish I could just post the entire album, because everyone needs to experience Quadrophenia from start to finish, but below are two of my favorites.

I'm One - The Who (from "Quadrophenia")
5:15 - The Who (from "Quadrophenia")

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Tales From The Crypt with the Mummies!

Sit down kids, its story time with good old grandpa Roland. See, when I was young, cable TV was a rarity to find in my neighborhood, and VHS players were practically unknown. So when an old horror film from the 30s, 40s, and 50s came through the good old bunny ears on the TV set, proper young boys made sure they were there watching it. It was our chance to get a glimpse into a whole era of films that seemed distant and lost to time. Bella Lugosi and Boris Karloff were ambassadors to a film tradition that had been forgotten, and it made an impact on my young and impressionable mind.

These films must have left an impact on San Mateo’s the Mummies as well, who played trashy, surf minded garage rock all while dressed as mummies. They put out a slew of great records in the 80s and early 90s (strictly on vinyl until recent reissues) and made a few infamous TV appearances. Countless bootlegs have been released over the years, but with the re-invigoration of the garage aesthetic and sound in the early 2000s, an effort has been made by the band and labels associated with them to re-release their music for a new generation to enjoy. And now that new cohort can include you.

The band got back together in 2008 and did some international touring to boot. They left this cryptic (haha, get it! Crypt! God I am a genius) note on their website before crawling out from their tombs.
That's right, after 15 years of incessant nagging by every Tom, Dick and Larry, someone finally convinced the boys to travel forward in time to 2008 to play a show. Needless to say, the boys were appalled at the state of the future we all live in. Where are the flying fucking cars like in Blade Runner?! What the hell kind of future is this shit anyway? What, the best you can do is eBay? What happened to all the cheap equipment? Where did Thrift Center in Hayward go?! Where's Savers next to Thrift City in Redwood City?! Oh shit... where the fuck is Thrift City???

In my opinion, they were and are the best garage rock revival band on the planet.

Download two of their records here.

(A Girl like You)

(I Should better be lookin for Dangerman)

(Stronger than Dirt)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Phosphorescent: The name pretty much sums up the sound.

Phosphorescence can be described as "emitting light without appreciable heat as by slow oxidation of phosphorous," which is a fancy way of saying that something stays glowing before fading away even after you take away its energy source. Which is precisely what happens with the music of Phosphorescent. It's slow burning, haunting, and sticks with you well after you've turned the music off.

The band Phosphorescent is, for all intents and purposes, a solo project by Matthew Houck who hails from Georgia. He plays a Countrified Americana style of music that's never really upbeat but never too dour either. It just smolders and simmers with sparse percussion, a panel of stringed instruments, and a vocal styling that may take some getting used to as it isn't pretty, but it's far from ugly.

Phosphorescent - Dead Heart (from "Aw Come Aw Wry")
Phosphorescent - Cocaine Lights (from "Pride")

Like what you hear? You can also download some of his Daytrotter Sessions that were recorded in 2007 and 2008.

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Fog: Before Fog was Fog they were The Fog.

Back in 2000 (or maybe 1999), Andrew Broder released an album under the moniker The Fog. It was written and recorded mainly by himself (with a great spoken word intro by MF Doom), the album pieced together multi-layered turntablism with the occasional smattering of drums, guitar, and vocals. It wasn't a hip-hop album nor was it electronica and it most certainly wasn't a rock album, yet it was all of those things at the same time. Seeing him perform the songs live was truly an experience. The songs were loud and abrasive with a cacophonous wall of sound that pummeled you until the set was over. And every set he performed with his band was better than the last, and each time the songs morphed into something totally different than the album versions.

After a few years, The Fog was changed into Fog, and he re-released his first album on Ninja Tune, dropping some songs and adding a few others for the official release. I'll probably speak more of the individual releases at a later date, but for today, I'm sharing songs that you probably won't ever be able to find that showcase an amazingly talented musician.

Heartcrusher - The Fog (from "The Fog")
Just a Kid Growing Up - The Fog (from "The Fog")

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Money doesn't mean much to the Shermans

I have been listening to a Sarah Records compilation lately, and so British minded indie pop has been on my mind. The Shermans are an excellent little group from Sweden that has released a few records on Shelflife Records that owe a great deal to the prolific London based label. They formed in December 1997, and were initially made up of Mikael Matsson and Torbjorn Thorsen; vocalist Ingela Karlsson came along a big later after a previous member left the band to join Aerospace. Clean and crisp hooks with pleasing female vocals was their forte, and while their sound has been milked by countless bands over the last few decades, they put together a great number of pop jingles that would compliment any record collection.

Download some of their mp3s for free.

(Adulthood for Beginners from "Happiness is Toy Shaped")

(Lousy Judge of Character from "Happiness is Toy Shaped")

Friday, 29 January 2010

Agnostic Front: Victim in Pain EP (1984)

This one is a classic and played a major role in setting off the NYC hardcore scene. Roger Miret on vocals, Vinnie Stigma on guitar, Rob Kabula on bass and Dave Jones on drums. A lot of people outside of NY thought they were racist skins but Agnostic Front always had a solid American working-class ethic:

"United and Strong, Blacks and Whites. United and Strong, Punks and Skins. United and Strong for everyone. UNITED AND STRONG!"

The o.g line up of AF from "Victim in Pain" are playing in Brooklyn a couple of weeks from today and I am torn about attending. On the one hand, this will be an incredible show but I don't know if I have the gumption or nerve to slam. Wifey says just hang out in the back and lay low. But that sort of timidness does not compute.

Track List
1. Victim In Pain
2. Remind Them
3. Blind Justice
4. Last Warning
5. United & Strong
6. Power
7. Hiding Inside
8. Fascist Attitude
9. Society Sucker
10. Your Mistake
11. With Time

Agnostic Front: Blind Justice

Agnostic Front: United and Strong

Agnostic Front: Fascist Attitude

Monday, 25 January 2010

City of Satellites: They built their city on dreamscapes of pop.

Australian based duo City of Satellites is a band that wears their influences on their sleeves, yet they don't get caught up in the trappings that many 'throwback' bands do. Often these bands get stuck on the idea that they have to follow the rigid formula that they see in their genre of choice, but City of Satellites take ideas from what once was and blend them together to create beautiful songs that form one amazingly tight and cohesive album. Built on a foundation of shoegaze fuzz and synth pop charm with splashes of IDM beats and sweet, soothing vocals, "Machine is My Animal" never disappoints and comes highly recommended by this fair listener.

City of Satellites - Victor! Burn City Lights (from "Machine is My Animal")

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Negative Trend "We Don't Play, We Riot" EP (1978)

I was generally more into Southern Cal punk than the Nor Cal scene. Perhaps it was just a fact of where I grew up. But when I heard Negative Trend on KCSB, I was hooked. Tracked down their single and was not disappointed. Mikal Roberts was the vocalist. Bassist Will Shatter and drummer Steve DePace would later go on to found Flipper and guitarist Craig Cray started the Toiling Midgets.

Song List:
1) Mercenaries
2) Meat House
3) Black and Red
4) How Ya' Feelin'

Mercenaries is a classic, non-pc, punk tune.

Download the EP here.

Negative Trend: Mercenaries

Saturday, 23 January 2010

What appears to be wholesome fun with Paean

Paean is a band from Colorado that looks like a lot of fun to be involved with. Just look at that picture; I bet they have potluck dinners and then bust out matching accordions for a rousing family sing along. And I am pretty sure they never get into fist fights or throw up due to a heroin overdose in their friend’s bathroom. They simply look too nice for all of that.

They also happen to sound great as a band. I am sure they get the comparison a lot, but they seem to have taken a page or two from the Arcade Fire and other orchestral minded groups. They have a full length coming out in a few months called "Songs For Us To Sing” on Act So Big Forest records, but in the meantime you can download an EP of theirs for free here.

(Empty Course from "Paean EP")

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Norfolk and Western: M Ward and The Decemberists got famous, they didn't.

Portland, Oregon in the early 2000s must have been fun. Seems like some of the greats of the nuevo-folk-Americana music scene were just getting their start there. I stumbled on Norfolk and Western around the same time The Decemberists and M Ward were just getting some major recognition (in the indie world I suppose), and I thought it was great to have 3 wonderful bands from the same scene all getting their well deserved breaks on a national level. Yet I feel that Norfolk and Western got left behind, whether by their own choosing or because of bad luck, I don't know.

They have a bit more of an old school country flair to their sound when compared to the other acts listed, and don't really have any barn burners of songs, but Adam Selzer has a beautiful voice and their musicianship is rock solid so I highly recommend checking out a great band to sit and unwind to. It's hard to pick a few songs from a band that has a pretty large back catalog, but I'll do my best!

Norfolk and Western - Disappear (from "Dusk in Cold Parlours")
Norfolk and Western - All the Towns Near Boston (from "Winter Farewell")

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Stop the Press: Restiform Bodies Make Music

When I left Northern California a few years back, I was pretty tired of the area. Sure, it’s beautiful and the climate is pleasant, but we had grown apart culturally and I was looking to try my hand at living elsewhere in the United States and the world at large. My world view had altered slightly which ended up breaking a number of relationships I had with friends and comrades, and I needed a new local to get my head back on straight. But one thing I missed almost immediately upon leaving Nor-Cal was the music scene, which continues to be great.

The alternative hip-hop label Anticon is a staple of the Bay Area music community, and has made a home for a number of great groups like Why? and cLOUDDEAD. I recently picked up Restiform Bodies 2008 release “TV Loves You Back,” which mixes glitch sample based pop jams with avant hip-hop sensibilities. Yea, that sounds like a lot of bullshit, but that’s the best I can come up with. I don’t get a big fat paycheck to come up with ways to describe this stuff, you should just check it out for yourself and file it where you see fit.

(Opulent Soul from "TV Loves You Back")

Friday, 15 January 2010

Leafes - Yes google, I mean Leafes.

Here's what I know about the Leafes (and all you really need to know too):

1. They're Swedish
2. They release very limited amounts of each of their releases (on cd-r or cassette)
3. They're great.

Really, #3 is the most important thing. I implore everyone to go to their page and download the one album you'll probably only be able to find of theirs. They're lo-fi acoustic pop, with surprisingly solid English lyrics, and have a touch of electronic noise swirling in the background to give a bit of depth to their songs. If you want to impress your hipster friends, you can buy the album here and get one of their cassettes there.

Leafes - Leafes Howls With the Wolfs (from "In the Mountain's Belly")

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Excel: Split Image LP (1987)

Excel --Dan Clements on vocals, Adam Siegel on guitar, Sean Ross on bass, and Greg Saenz on drums--were thrashers from Venice, CA with a definite Suicidal Tendencies influence. They were fast but they played with an intricacy uncommon to hardcore at the time. I'm not talking about the ludicrous arpeggios of so many speed-metal bands of the late 1980s but a seriously heavy groove.

I had the chance to see these dudes many times across the south land. Depending on the location, things could get out of control. It wasn't the band's fault, but you occasionally had knuckle-heads showing up to get into fights. One time I went to see them at Fender's in Long Beach with Blast, RKL and the Exploited. A bunch of Nazi skinheads* charged in and started sieg heiling. A few seconds later the Suicidals in the place tossed them out. I think someone ended up getting stabbed and shit.

Footage of the show available here but the audio quality is crap.

Song List:

1. Your Life, My Life 03:15

2. Insecurity 02:10

3. Split Image 05:10

4. Never Look Away 03:40

5. Wreck Your World 02:54

6. Social Security 03:35

7. Set Yourself Apart 02:22

8. The Joke's On You 02:45

9. Looking for You 02:58

10. Spare the Pain 05:13

Download here.

Excel: Your Life, My Life

Excel: Never Look Away

Excel: The Joke's on You

*I know there are cool skins. I had friends who were down with Suicidal as well as those who were skinheads and I can remember many skins having my back and picking me up in the pit, so no hate mail please.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Hard Psychedelic with Cave

Psychedelic music didn’t catch my interest until 2002 or so when I saw Comets on Fire for the first time at a house show in Santa Cruz. I had friends growing up who were dedicated Roger Waters fans, but the pace of the music wasn’t my idea of a good time when I was a teenager, and I had generally associated the ex-Pink Floyd front man with the style as a whole. So hearing bands apply the psychedelic ethos to more aggressive music was exciting to experience, and there have been an ample number of groups in recent years putting out records in this fashion.

Cave is one of those bands. These are not chill out tunes to sit back and smoke pot too, but full on rock attacks. They have a full length out on the excellent experimental label Important Records (who release Acid Mothers Temple and Merzbow records here in America). The following tracks are from their 2009 release, “Psychic Psummer” which was one of my favorite records last year. You can download mp3s for free here.

("Gamm" from Psychic Psummer)

("Requiem for John Sex" from Psychic Psummer)

Friday, 8 January 2010

Sonic Youth: Avant noise rockers still rocking.

I had the joyous pleasure of seeing Sonic Youth last night here in San Diego so I thought I'd share two songs from this tremendous band who still kicks a lot of ass after all these years. Whether you call it "no wave," "noise," "experimental," or "proto-punk;" the music Sonic Youth creates is undeniably original and refreshing, even as they approach 30 years of releases. The first album I heard of theirs was "Bad Moon Rising." Consisting of a more sparse approach to noise, the album marks a transition between their start up as a band and finding their own voice on the avant noise scene. And since the concert last night consisted mostly of new songs from their latest release "The Eternal," I thought I'd include my favorite track from an album that shows how the band has matured and reigned in their spastic youthful energy.

Sonic Youth - Society is a Hole (from "Bad Moon Rising")
Sonic Youth - Antenna (from "The Eternal")

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Spanish Songstress Ainara Legardon

Ainara Legardon is a musician from Spain that played for the band Onion before coming to prominence as a solo performer. She has recorded two records with the help of notable musicians from around Europe, who have helped bring her melancholy vocals to life. I learned of her recently, when she toured with Bonnie “Prince” Billy around Europe, and was lucky enough to get a copy of her excellent “Each Day a Lie Record” which was released in 2006. She has just released a new record titled "Forgive me if I don't come home to sleep tonight" which I have yet to hear.

(“Hope Defeated” from Each Day a Lie)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Felix: You Are the One I Pick

From Nottingham and signed to Kranky, the duo of Lucinda Chua and Chris Summerlin known as Felix create low key and minimalist chamber pop. A classically trained musician, Chua is the main focus of the album. She sets the tone with her semi-nonsensical ramblish lyrics delivered in a soothing quiet lilt over her sparse piano and string arrangements. Summerlin's guitar work is definitely meant more as a side dish to the main course of Chua. He's not necessarily filler, but there just to brighten up the songs occasionally. Together they created a fascinatingly relaxing album that you can pick up here.

Felix - Death to Everyone But Us (from "You Are the One I Pick")
Felix - Back in Style (from "You Are the One I Pick")