1) Boy Problems - I Swallowed a Bug
2) Bound Stems - Up All...
3) Kickball - Fortune Cookie
4) Joan of Arc - Gripped By the Lips
5) Tristeza - Stumble on Air
6) Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Caltrain Song
7) Duster - Cooking
8) Deerhunter - Agoraphobia
9) Noyes - Birds and Marbles
10) Algernon Cadwallader - Motivational Song
11) Lovedrug - Blood Like
12) Pomegranates - Thunder Meadow
13) French Kicks - Atlanta
I saw these guys play a house show a while back. I had heard of them beforehand, but the trio absolutely blew me away. Hardcore that is refreshing. It obviously has some roots in various '90's scenes long forgotten by most by now, and they do an excellent job keeping things nearly seamless and thematic.
It comes to no surprise to the few of you that The Album Leaf is much like a pristine, clear and glassy stream -- gorgeous and a spot you'd come back to if you can push yourself to split from the city-daze and rural boredom. One Day I'll Be On Time is my fairweather favorite of Jimmy Lavalle's. It's soothing apartment music, soothing MARTA music, soothing music for when I need soothing. Just an absolute delight.
Athens/Atlanta natives -- yeah, we sort of have a scene. These guys are like the Polyphonic Spree (in terms of size) but with a whole lot more snark and without the uniform dress code. This album is fantastic.
Buy It Here:
Pere Ubu- Modern Dance
A goddamn must-have. Avante-garde that isn't nearly appreciated enough today.
Things I've been listening to and wish to pass on to you.
Air Formation - Daylight Storms
A wonderful, wonderful post-rock album. Very pretty, and a great listen all the way though. Shoegazers will get their fill, but there's enough shimmer to blur genre boundaries.
Buy It Here:
Look Mexico - This Is Animal Music
Okay, okay. I drastically underrated this album when it came time for me to review it. I was younger, and felt a little cheated after hearing so much about Look Mexico -- then hearing the album. No, this band does not sound like American Football. And fuck anyone who still thinks so. This Is Animal Music is still one of my most listened to albums. Just a fucking fantastic listen.
I said it better a while ago, so I'll go with the quote Deep Elm personally took from my review for this great album...:
"Free Diamonds have been deemed 'pogo-punk' because they've got enough bounce in them to get any would-be head-banger interested. Therefore, By the Sword should tickle my fancy enough to recommend it above everything else this month, right? Absolutely. I would totally have dirty, dirty sex with tracks like "Hugs and Kisses" [and "Midnight Rainbow"] if it was possible. This band's charm is just so contagious. Paul Cosgrove's bass bubbles over every song's surface like the froth of a milkshake you can't help but take a sip of. Scott Anderson's vocal work gives the album that strangely unique kick to set Free Diamonds apart. The energetic vibe he radiates is just so undeniably fetching. Whether I was destined to come across Free Diamonds' By the Sword to quell my fear of dancing or to lighten up my summer, it has successfully managed to accomplish the latter. As for dancing, it may take a little bit longer to throw my self-conscious shit out the window, but Free Diamonds have certainly helped me reconsider such. Figures it'd be an English band to do so, because God knows I haven't heard such a wonderful dance-infused album come out of this stiff scene."
Her Space Holiday - The Young Machines Mush Records, 2003
This album is one of the better hidden gems you'll find. Her Space Holiday is a self-proclaimed "indietronic" band that has been relatively prolific since sole musician Marc Biachi first left his first foray into music -- a short-lived, but influential band called Indian Summer. The Young Machines is well-known to be Marc's finest output to date -- if not simply for the gorgeous, must-have songs "Japanese Gum", "Sleepy California", and "Tech Romance". The violin is used frequently and expertly throughout, giving each of the songs an appropriate "majestic" glide. Marc's songwriting and lyricism is at its best; involving past loves, dying mothers, and "the luxury of loneliness". This album is probably my most highly recommended of the albums I have covered so far. Don't miss out.
Polvo - Today's Active Lifestyles Merge Records, 1993
Are you sick of fighting over the qualifications of "math rock", or fighting about whether it exists in general? I suspect Polvo's Today's Active Lifestyles is all you really need to listen to to get an idea of what the foundations of the genre entail. Jangles and angles, this is one of the best, if not the best, examples of the early progression from simply "progressive rock" or "avant garde" to what we consider math rock today. Ash Bowie, later bassist of Helium, really set in motion the idea of the quintessential indie vocalist; passionate as anything but never quite on key. His voice creates a unique layer of its own while overlaying what sounds like thousands out interweaving instrumental layers under it. This is one of the best gems from the 90's you could get. A great record shop find, for sure. You'll look good carrying that one to the register.
Do Make Say Think - You, You're A History In Rust Constellation Records, 2007
The best instrumental album you will own.
Though on two instances this album features vocals, a first for the band, it will detract you from the absolutely, unspeakable beauty of the instrumentation on this album. It is almost unspeakable how gorgeous this album can be. Each song is thematically bound by what can best be described as cascading instrumental rock with a rustic tinge. This an absolute must-own. One of the best, if not the best, album released last year.
This week has been a good week for myself, in terms of finding new music. This is surprising because summer is normally a time when I stick with the music I'm familiar with, climbing out of my cave only during fall when things get a bit colder and I find myself indoors more often. Here are some albums I HIGHLY recommend giving a listen.
Japanther - Skuffed Up My Huffy
Why I never got around to checking these guys out is beyond me. I was in love on first listen to their song "Challenge". They're going to be compared heavily to No Age, and I suspect they already have. Utilizing only a bass guitar, a drumset, and a tape deck, this duo creates some rather stunning no-more-than 3 minute long songs. A witty or pertinent recording from a TV show or movie or otherwise opens each song, giving the album a seeming obsession with pop-culture. It's a quick album, but I promise you that you'll replay it as soon as it ends.
Buy It Here:
The Wrens - The Meadowlands
Again, a band I'm very embarrassed for not getting into earlier. I can see why this album, and band, are constantly the subject of conversations revolving classic, inspirational bands. Just a downright must-have on ANY one's part. You'd be silly not to have this masterpiece in your iPod.
Buy It Here:
Beat Happening - Jamboree
An old, old favorite of mine. This was a heavy listen my junior year of High School, and I'm beginning to fall in love with it all over again. Beat Happening are just a fucking classic. They somehow keep their musicianship at the level of a rookie, yet they use that to their advantage by using the simple instrumentation to perfectly-parallel Calvin Johnson's boyish observations. This band is the true epitome of the beginnings of Sub Pop.
Collections of Colonies of Bees - Customer
Polyvinyl Record Co., 2004
A band said to sound like Pele with schizophrenia. Customer is surely our cure -- from the mundane, the safety of similar instrumental bands. The test with this album is finding that one situation in which it could possibly soundtrack. Its beauty is hard define, and even harder to relinquish once experienced. This is a Thomas Pynchon nightmare -- audio post-modernism that storms and stresses, slipping through cracks of grasp and definition along the way. Which front will you choose to become? -- the tittering melodies that drip and caress like a soft drizzle, or the electronic stutters and sways that hover like a cloud with thunderous intent. 5/5
The One AM Radio - The Hum of the Electric Air! Translucence and Alone Records, 2002
This album has been in the stereo of my girlfriend's Jeep Liberty for months now. This isn't new, to have a particular band begin playing every time we get in the car to drive to some coffee shop or some concert down the street. Previous bands have been American Football, Do Make Say Think, and there was even a little Idiot Pilot phase. The One AM Radio is something else, though. Recalling elements of Owen melodious delicacies, the foggy strum-and-sing of Phil Elverum, and the patient electronics of Her Space Holiday -- The Hum of the Electric Air! presents the band's earliest, yet most honest and beautiful tendencies. It feels like a family keepsake, delicate and important, always calling to mind a sense of hope and circumstance. If you're not necessarily one for entire albums, then remember: The rolling beauty of "Flicker", the enlightening upbeat of "The Landmine", and the absolutely fucking gorgeous instrumental "Measured Mile Begins" are not to be missed. 4/5
Record the static between your home's walls, and if examined closely -- there may be unsuspecting beauty in those creaks and rattles, silent loneliness. The graininess of the recording would offset the sound of your brother running down the nearby stairs; a collision of loud and quiet dynamics. Duster is that contrast, but with less counter-existence than you'd think there'd be. I could actually cite some fellows who said similar things about the band, but less people give a fuck about bands on Up Records than is acceptable. Lo-fi to the bone, Contemporary Movement feels like just that -- a movement, a silent underground era that seeks nothing but confide in the desperate and dirty. The dusty is beautiful here, though. If the opening track "Get the Dutch" isn't the most goddamn enthralling thing to you within the first seven seconds -- then get the fuck out of this blog. Lament echoes and keys, bass soon to override with swooning deep-sea textures -- this is the sister-shoegaze sound that never caught on. This is an island album if I've ever heard it, because it'll allow you to look out at that rapturous Atlantic water and see it as a sort of cosmic oblivion, a stellar sound you're one step closer to deconstructing. 5/5