Thursday, 30 June 2011

Valleymakers: Gorgeous Chamber Folk or Why Every Day Is Canada Day

It's OK to be jealous that they thought of a better band name than you, but be happy that they're putting it to good use. Valleymakers' self-titled EP is gorgeous and knows it. And, for all of the bands that come out of Montreal, they turn the lineage into something meaningful: Leonard Cohen's close-to-God sparseness gives way to lush, quietly cathartic orchestration. The best argument I've heard for virtuousity in a long time.

"It's My Body In The Tree You're Tearing" from Valleymakers EP, available to stream and purchase here.

Best Coast - Gone Again

A new track from Best Coast, with a free download here.

A summer with Gorky’s - Ffa Coffi Pawb

I have been on a Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci kick as of late, the Welsh psych/folk/pop group that was active in the the 90s and early 20002, and thought I would share some of the band's music as well as the precursors and projects that came about after the group's breakup.

The first up is Ffa Coffi Pawb (pronounced "Fuck off everyone" in English, but translates to the much more family friendly "Everybody's Coffee Beans") is an early super-group of sorts. Some of its members would go onto form Super Furry Animals, while Rhodri Puw would join an early version of Gorky's.

The band released a retrospective in 2004 that is readily available to buy and download, and has most of their best songs.

Gafael Yn Dynn

Breichiau Hir

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Clout: All Girl South African Power Pop

Clout were a South African girl group best-known for their cover of the Righteous Brothers' album track "Substitute" in 1978. Their take is punchier and more dynamic than the original, with some neat piano flourishes. It went to #1 in South Africa and Europe but would have fit in nicely on American 70s AM radio, as well. The power pop sheen turns the song's hook into a wry, unromantic come on: "If she doesn't come back / I'll be your substitute / Whenever you want me."

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Indochine: The New French New Wave

I heard the Parisian new wave band Indochine in a record store in Montreal a few years ago and bought their album off the turntable. The Francophone store owner gave me a dirty look for not knowing the group, which was probably justified. Indochine are not "growers" -- their music is immediate to the extent that listening to an entire album can be exhausting. Taken a few songs at a time, though, it's exhilarating. Cheesy new wave textures from both sides of the Atlantic (think synth horns AND surf rock guitars) gel into something addictive and improbably well-crafted.

"L'aventurier" from "L'aventurier" (1982)

"Canary Bay" from "3" (1985)

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Sexies - Start Fights!

Some friends of mine from way down on the California/Mexico border, playing trashy garage rock. Recorded sometime in 2005/06. They have long since disbanded, but this record is free to download here.

(OMG....The Whips!)

UPDATE: Audio fixed.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Hidden Shoal Turns 5, and Rich Bennett

Hidden Shoal Recordings from Australia, a favorite around these parts, recently celebrated their fifth year anniversary. Today's market is not friendly to any record label, but for a small indie like HSR to last this long is a crowning achievement they should celebrate. To commemorate this monumental occasion, they have released a free sampler that provide you with enough incentive to support these folks and all the things they do for independent music down-under.

While he isn't an Aussie, I have been enjoying Rich Bennett's Hidden Shoal release, which is an instrumental concept record. Lush, and in keeping with the Shoegaze perspective his label has championed. Check out the following track, and throw a few bucks HSR's way.

(Aisle 2: Entrance)

90s Psych Folks with Damien Youth

Damien Youth was an elusive figure in the 90s, popping out limited cassette tapes with little in the way personal information. He picked up some more attention in 1998 when his "Bride of the Asylum" got some significant distribution.

He has been making a lot of his material available via Bandcamp, and is well worth it for those who like Robyn Hithcock psychedelic folk music. The following tracks are free and available on Damien's site.

("Gently Johnny")

("Waterloo Sunset" [Kinks Cover])

Friday, 17 June 2011

Nope, it's not Ride, it's the Ropers!

The Ropers were one of the many Shoegaze/Dream Pop bands to come out of the early 90s, but unlike My Bloody Valentine and Ride (a band they clearly borrow a great deal from), these lads came out of Baltimore. Doug Bailey and Mike Hammel were the key drivers behind the group, and were students at the University of Maryland when the short lived British Shoegaze movement roared across college campuses. They put out a few records and then called it quits, and here is a free download to one of their better songs.

("I don't mind")

Space Hip-Hop from Steve Spacek

Steve Spacek cut his teeth releasing records with his London based band Spacek, but he eventually packed his bags and headed to LA and put out one of the best records of 2005. “Space Shift” was arguably an r&b/Hip-Hop record, but its freaked out and disjointed approach placed it just outside popular radio's grasp. It was championed by folks like Mos Def and Shafiq Husayn, and crossed over into more than one musical community. A truly awesome record, and here are two tracks to prove it.

("Dollar" - fet. Jay Dilla)


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Chris Isaak - Baja Sessions

Everyone knows the Chris Isaak hit from the 90s titled Wicked Game. A beautiful, sun-drenched song that played well to a David Lynch film, and featured the beautiful and seductive Helena Christensen. But Isaak has had plenty of great records that unfortunately did not earn the respect they deserved. His Baja Sessions was one of those records that deserved more attention than it earned in its day. Recorded on tour and in-between sets, this collection of songs best encapsulates the surf-heavy focus of Isaak's music, and presents some of his best work that deserve your attention today. Allmusic has this to say about the record:

"Returning to the calmer but still potent romantic angst and celebration familiar from his earlier records, Isaak and his core band, with new recruit Hershel Yatovitz on lead guitar, tackle a slew of cover songs, some re-recordings of older material and a few new songs as well. It's a much more relaxed outing in comparison to his previous work, by no means raw or rough, though -- Erik Jacobsen, Isaak's producer from start to end, or so it seems, keeps the focused, sweet sadness of Isaak's singing and music as pure as one could ever want it. The emphasis is on mostly acoustic performances with soft drumming from Johnson, usually with brushes. The calm, gentle flow of the band's work here means the new versions of older Isaak cuts like "Back On Your Side" and "Two Hearts" sound especially lovely, having a serene, relaxed sparkle to them.

Pretty Girls Don't Cry

Back on Your Side

Castle Oldchair becomes Japatucky

It is always good to hear from folks involved with the music we post here. We had a post focusing on Castle Oldchair some time ago, and we were blessed with info about the frontman's current projects. He has apparently been playing with the Indiana group known as Japatucky, and we have some of there music bellow as well as places you can download it for yourself.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Sinforiano Diaz and some pretty acoustic music

Sinforiano Diaz is a solo project from Thomas Diaz and is reminiscent of the layered acoustic sounds I grew accustomed to while living in Connecticut. I guess this record was never officially released, but has had legs in the internet realm since its recording three years ago. Mixed Vegetablez has a copy of the record to download for free.


Theme from the Tracks

Algernon Cadwallader will Twinkly that shit up

A friend turned me onto these kids out of Philly, and who are just about to drop a brand new record and go out on an epic tour across the US and A. I will be checking them out in San Francisco, and you should see them when they come to a town near you. For anyone who likes Cap’n Jazz inspired bands and late 90s Emo, these guys are for you. I hear they put on a great show, and while you will be able to pick up copies of their newest record (Parrot Flies) at their shows, they were kind enough to make it available free to download.


Springing Leaks