Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A mess'a songs to cheer on the fall season



The Scotsman recently published a piece questioning whether the Twilight Sad are doomed to be the choice of critics and musicians, never to see any major acclaim from a proper fanbase, but critics and musicians are people with favorites, just as non-critics and non-musicians are, so if this is the case, very well. Still, there are a lot of people missing out on a brilliant act.

Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave, their fourth, gets released in one week.



From Year of the Flesh, its second single, by Icelandic Denmark resident Snævar Njall Albertsson. This new Dad Rocks! album is grand and beautiful, all brass and intricate finger-picking and completely, wonderfully predictable for a Scandinavian release.



Boy + Kite is an Austin-based band, rather reminiscent of acts like Death Cab for Cutie and American Analog Set and quite a lot of softer, mildly technical rock acts that were popular in and around 2004. They've got an EP out today called Blueprint.



Benson, Minnesota-based Tiny Moving Parts have got this video in which they release bobble heads into space and track their movement via GPS. The story is quite fantastic:

"On August 13th from our home in Benson, MN, we sent three bobble heads replicas of ourselves into space using a 600 gram weather balloon. The 2 hour flight was captured by a GoPro camera enclosed in a styrofoam cooler alongside a GPS tracker and a stack of heat packs to help brave the -60 degree F (-15 C) temperatures. The spacecraft reached a height of over 80,000 ft (24,384 meters), capturing the Earth's curve and the beauty of a world just beyond our grasp. About 2 hours into its journey, the GPS stopped sending us signals. We drove all over the farmlands of Minnesota with the slim hopes of it turning up somewhere. Eventually, we gave up and lost hope. It wasn't until October 10th, almost 2 months later, that we received a call from a farmer, our new friend Kurt, almost 50 miles away who found the pack while combing through his bean farm."

They're currently touring with Dads (not to be confused with the aforementioned Dad Rocks!) and will be at the Echoplex in Los Angeles on Nov. 11.



Finally, some brand new Vaadat Charigim! It sounds completely different from the stuff of their debut, not as dreamy, but much trippier, lazier, more -- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club? -- and precedes a new record that'll be released on Burger Records in spring 2015.




And, last but not least, a brand new video from L.A.'s own Girlpool, animated by Catleya Sherbow. The Girlpool EP gets released Nov. 18.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hooray!



Naturally, no reunion dates are scheduled for Los Angeles.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Not re-inventing the wheel: Native America

New Orleans four-piece Native America is picking at the end of the Shins' Oh, Inverted World, with a rather reliable brand of fuzzy, retro guitar pop. There's no reinvention happening here, no innovation, and while they seemingly aspire to the dreamy, not-yet-psychedelic magic of the British Invasion period, they're unmistakably American, and unironically sunny. What Native America does well is tried and true, but lyrically and vocally, "Naturally Lazy" (below) almost reminds of the honesty of Belgian Fog's Robert Dale.

Grown Up Wrong gets released on Inflated Records on Nov. 18. They also go on tour, starting tonight!

10/17 Montevallo, AL @ Eclipse
10/18 Memphis, TN @ house show
10/19 Nashville, TN @ Stone Fox
10/20 Greensboro, NC @ Hellraiser Haus
10/21 Brooklyn, NY @ Trans Pecos (8:30 pm)
10/21 New York, NY @ Cake Shop (10:30 pm)
10/22 Brooklyn, NY @ Drom (6:45 pm)
10/22 Brooklyn, NY @ Grand Victory (10:25 pm)
10/23 Brooklyn, NY @ Muchmore’s (10:30 pm)
10/24 Brooklyn, NY @ Radio Bushwick (2:15 pm)
10/24 New York, NY @ The Delancey (5:15 pm)
10/25 New York, NY @ Piano’s (9:15 pm)
10/27 Boston, MA @ TBA
10/29 Providence, RI @ Dusk
10/30 Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar
10/31 Washington D.C. @ Paperhaus




Farewell, summer.



Summer's been over for nearly a month, but it's essentially always summer to an extent in Los Angeles (except when it isn't), and shiny, chipper pop always seems appropriate here, at least when our bands aren't making the effort to appear dark and mysterious. Which is often. So here we are, mid-October, and there's not much Halloween spirit to go around -- take a drive and you'll see very few decorations out, not really much evidence of the season. It seems perfectly appropriate, then, to celebrate this non-fall with (ironically NYC-based) Jack + Eliza, a duo whose instrumentation is similar to (L.A.-based) Girlpool, and whose sunny style would smoothly provide transition between the Mamas and the Papas and Best Coast on a summery mixtape. Jack + Eliza just released the No Wonders EP, available at their website.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The east coast, by way of New Orleans



Ex-Breathers, Ovlov, Gnarwhal and Woozy have got a four-way split coming out on New Orleans-based Community Records on Nov. 18. The Ex-Breathers track is bonkers, classic hardcore, and can be heard at Impose. The new Ovlov, above, is an inch into sludge territory, almost Melvins-adjacent.

The split will be available for sale at Bandcamp! More here:

Girlpool and Slutever just released a split today!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Revisiting Ummagma



A couple months ago, I had the chance to talk a bit with Shauna McLarnon of Ummagma, a project between Canadian McLarnon and her Ukranian husband Alexander Kretov, right as the two were sorting out a way to get their family out of the Ukraine and back to Canada as the prospect of a draft started looming overhead. Said conversation resulted in this post, and McLarnon has since left Ukraine, sans Kretov.

In the month to follow, Ummagma released an album in conjunction with Moscow act Sounds of Sputnik, a debut for the latter called New Born. The album featured a combination of five original tracks and remixes of "New Born" and "Light Scheme" that ranged from club-ready (Oleg Mezherovsky) to relatively downtempo (OMD) to the rather MGMT-style closer by Mind Movies, who offered perhaps the best contribution to the second half of the album.

Mind Movies will be contributing a remixed track to the upcoming Ummagma release Kiev - The Remixes, based on "Kiev," an auditory ode to the Cocteau Twins from 2012's Antigravity that now runs parallel to the violence currently occupying Ukraine. Kiev - The Remixes gets released on Emerald & Doreen Recordings on Oct. 31.

From New Born:

Thank god for Girlpool



Amen for Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, an impossibly young duo from Los Angeles rebelling against the hordes of L.A. groups going for dark, sexy, dreamy, mysterious. Bands that go for the mysterious vibe really don't have much of anything interesting going on, in truth.

Girlpool, nothing more than guitar, bass, and honesty, are what riot grrrl was built on, and first single "Jane" is the perfect feminist follow-up to the Peppermints' "Nancy," which already, sadly, seems long forgotten. You can pre-order their Girlpool EP (released Nov. 18) here prior to visiting their Monday night residency at the Echo in December!



Psst -- they're playing with Slutever on Dec. 1.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Oscar #Worldpeace, hopefully not prompting a trend of stage names with hashtags

Kinkajous!



It's not often that a pop act gets to boast about its clarinet, but the instrument is rather sensual, understated, and underused, and so it's with a bit of enthusiasm that I get to mention Kinkajous, the work of London-based French duo Adrien Cau and Benoit Parmentier, whose electronic-jazz fusion is dreamy, dramatic, and worth so much more than a background soundtrack. Their first EP gets released October 18.

Something slightly old: