Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
As part of our Kickstarter campaign to press the Vinyl for Golden Age, we offered to record a cover song - whatever song our backer wanted. Wendy and Chris Duby were generous enough to commission this track, and we're super grateful to them. Chris is Evan's brother, and the truth is when we found out he had selected that reward, we were sure he was going to ask us to record the most ridiculous and challenging song possible. Something embarrassing, all in good fun. It took a while to come up with the song, but once he did, I was pretty excited and relieved. I love alot of Madonna's music, and this song has always been one of my faves. So here you go - this is a cover song commissioned by Wendy and Chris, which feels more like a dare than anything else. We had alot of fun recording it. It's fairly ridiculous, and has the dubious distinction of being the first Beat Radio recording ever to feature the human beat box.
MP3: Beat Radio - Don't Tell Me (Madonna Cover)
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Adebisi Shank _ This Is The Second Album From A Band Called Adebisi Shank
Original blend of guitar/alt rock with modern electronics and interesting beats. See the appropriately titled "Logdrum."
As Blood Runs Black _ Instinct
Aptly titled hardcore/metal.
Travis Barker _ Give The Drummer Some
An insane guest list can't even help this confused rap/rock blend.
**Caitlin Rose _ Own Side Now
Unique, stylish American folk, RIYL She and Him. See "For The Rabbits," "That's Alright."
Cornershop _ Cornershop and The Double-O Groove
Wild fusion of Indian music, Britpop, and electro.
The Damnwells _ No One Listens To The Band Anymore
American indie band release their own record after raising almost $35,000.
Death Set _ Michel Poiccard
The Dodos _ No Color
Percussion heavy art/pop. Only $2.99 at amazon.
Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Brit electro hipsters go for the biggest synths ever. See "Wrestling," "Pull out My Insides."
Eleventh Dream Day _ Riot Now!
Funeral For A Friend _ Welcome Home Armageddon
Vets still doing their signature hardrock/emo.
The Joy Formidable _ The Big Roar
Welsh rockers debut full length lacks the consistency of 2010's "A Balloon Called Moaning."
Nick Lowe _ Labour Of Lust
English songwriter has a lot to offer.
Steve Martin _ Rare Bird Alert
Shockingly good banjo tunes.
J Mascis [Dinosaur Jr] _ Several Shades Of Why
Solid folk, see "Not Enough," "Can I."
New York Dolls _ Dancing Backwards In High Heels
Original punk rockers still have it. See "Streetcake," "Talk To Me Baby."
**Noah And The Whale _ Last Night On Earth
Cinematic electro. See "Just Me Before We Met," "Give It All Back."
Oh Land _ Oh Land
Danish youtube sensation makes hip electro.
Rise Against _ Endgame
Punk's angriest are cheesier than ever.
Screeching Weasel _ First World Manifesto
Vets bring their trademark snide punk.
Smoking Popes _ This Is Only A Test
Fun, rocking set from indie punk vets. See "Wish We Were," "Punk Band."
**Telekenesis _ 12 Desperate Straight Lines
Catchy, stylish indie rock. See "You Turn Clear In The Sun," "Dirty Thing" and try to resist.
Dionne Warwick _ Only Trust your Heart
Second only to Aretha on the billboard charts, Dionne plays adult jazz.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Indie pop/rock act would benefit from a few more hooks.
Esoteric _ Boston Pharoah
Sara Evans _ Stronger
Riley Etheridge, Jr _ Powder Keg
**Ellie Goulding _ Lights
Quality straightforward pop from the UK. Artist to watch at SXSW.
Grails _ Deep Politics
Spacey but intricate instrumentals.
Jonny Greenwood _ Norwegian Wood (Soundtrack)
Greenwood scores a Japanese flick as only a Radiohead member could.
Avril Lavigne _ Goodbye Lullaby
The genius behind "Sk8er Boi" still writes like she's in high school.
**Lupe Fiasco _ Lasers
Finally an art-rap record that might be appreciated by hip-hop fans and mainstream music.
Alexi Murdoch _ Towards The Sun
Warm voiced singer/songrwriter has some magic. See "Some Day Soon."
Parts & Labor _ Constant Future
Disappointing follow up to 2008's Receivers.
Raekwon _ Shaolin vs Wu-Tang
Rap's best storyteller claims his well-earned spot in the mainstream
**Reks _ R.E..K.S
Top-notch underground MA rapper gets help from some of the best producers in the biz (Hi-Tek, Premier, Pete Rock).
REM _ Collapse Into Now
Rival Schools _ Pedals
Post-hardcore act return with their first album in 10 years.
Turisas _ Stand Up and Fight
Theatrical Russian metal.
Kurt Vile _ Smoke Ring For My Halo
"Constant hitmaker" has potential but is inconsistent on new disc. See "Baby's Arms," "In My Time."
WC _ Revenge of the Barracuda
Familiar West Coast rappers over XXL beats.
Wye Oak _ Civilian
Wye Oak _ Civilian (3.5/5.0)
With their first two records, If Children and The Knot Baltimore duo Wye Oak operated largely under the radar. They joined the latest generation of indie rock DIYers briefly with self-released If Children in 2007, until catching the attention of Merge records a year later. The Knot (2009) was dark, gorgeous, and moody all at once, and cemented the band as one to watch in the future. Two years later the band returns with Civilian, retaining their dark hazy atmosphere while enlarging their sound to reach a wider audience than ever before.
A trebly guitar welcomes the listener over a restrained snare, before expanding into an expansive chorus followed by shimmering harmonics. The second track "The Alter" finds the band in unfamiliar territory with the attention removed from the guitar and shifted to a bouncy keyboard part and huge rhythm section. This could almost be a Black Keys song, but the noisy build of the chorus reminds you who you were listening to if you had any doubts. "Holy Holy" is one of the best tracks on the album; a simple guitar progression chugs along before the tension is released with a sparse chorus before a massive wall of guitars comes crashing down all over again.
The tracks are arranged in away that maximizes contrast and commands the audience's attention; the heavy darkness of "Holy Holy" is followed with the quirky stuttering guitars of "Dogs Eyes," and the uneasy build of the title track, which provide a welcome respite from the onslaught. Just when things may have been getting sleepy synths pick up in the chorus of "Fish" offering yet another variation on the bands penchant for large, dark choruses.
"Plains" is a change of direction and one of the prettiest tracks the record has to offer; simply strummed guitar chords plod while delayed noises swell and explode into their trademark heaviness. The staggered pounding of "Hot As Day" is reminiscent of a National song, the restrained "We Were Wealth" acts as the beginning of the ending, and "Doubt" closes the record in singer/songwriter mode. The overall result here is an artful, cohesive record full of depth and emotion, warranting repeat listens and keeping Wye Oak on our short list of bands to watch.
Highlights: "Holy Holy," "Plains," "Civilian"
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Our song "Geography" which is the last song on our new LP was one that I wrote in memory of Mark. Some of the lyrics are direct references to Sparklehorse songs. Here's an mp3 of us playing the tune live last week at our rehearsal space.
Beat Radio - Geography (Rehearsal tape 2/11) (mp3)
Here's a tribute to Mark from NPR.
RIP Mark. "There's a heaven and there's a star for you"
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
**Alexander [Edward Sharpe, Ima Robot] _ Alexander
Alex Ebert plays more of the upbeat folk that saw his last record as Edward Sharpe take off. See "In The Twilight."
Mark Ballas _ HurtLoveBox
Cheesey pop attempts to channel Timberlake, Maroon 5.
Beady Eye [Oasis] _ Different Gear, Still Speeding
Oasis minus Noel return with a rock album.
Davila 66 _ Tan Bajo
Interesting Beach Boys-esque indie-pop by way of San Juan.
**DeVotchKa _ 100 Lovers (1.28)
The masterful band plays their signature brand of nostalgic, operatic neo-folk.
Dropkick Murphys _ Going Out In Style
Quincy, MA rockers play their widely popular Irish-punk.
Linda Eder _ Now
Streisand disciple sings show tunes.
Eisley _ The Valley
Texas girls still feature unique vocals and rich harmonies but lose some of their indie appeal with big production.
Everyone Dies in Utah _ Seeing Clearly
Super melodic screamo act borrow inspiration from Underoath.
Forever the Sickest Kids _ Forever the Sickest Kids
Gen Y pop-punk features nasal vox, slick production, even synths!
Go Radio _ Lucky Street
Emo lives on Fearless records.
Kopek _ White Collar Lies
Agro/hard rock by way of Dublin.
Lewis, Aaron [Staind] _ Town Line
Remember "It's Been Awhile(ft Fred Durst)"? Want More?
Lykke Li _ Wounded Rhymes
Sweedish songstress is on a major label but retains warm, artful production.
**Middle Brother _ Middle Brother
Debut from supergroup featuring frontmen of Deer Tick, Delta Spirit, and Dawwes manage to equal the sum of their parts.
Papercuts _ Fading Parade
Popper, John [Blues Traveler] _ And the Duskray Troubadours
Warm, familiar roots-pop.
Rural Alberta Advantage _ Departing
Faced paced roots-folk similar to Mumford & Sons.
Ron Sexsmith _ Long Player Late Bloomer
Well established Canadian plays smooth, soft rock.
**Those Dancing Days _ Daydreamers and Nightmares
Dense up-beat pop tunes from female fronted act by way of Nacka, Sweden. See "Reaching Forward," "Help Me Close My Eyes."
Watt, Mike _ Hyphenated-Man
Career bass player makes predictably weird record of 15 tracks under 2:04 in length.
**Williams, Lucinda _ Blessed
Strong folk rock from one of America's top songwriters.
Papercuts _ Fading Parade (2.0/5.0)
For Papercuts mastermind Jason Quever the challenge isn't making pleasant music. as he's repeatedly demonstrated his capabilities on 2007's Can't Go Back, and 2009's You Can Get What You Want. The challenge now becomes about keeping a coherent narrative and maintaining interest through ten-tracks of his hazy guitar driven "dream pop." The band's success in doing this on their Sub Pop debut is debatable.
The opener "Do You Really Wanna Know" is a promising beginning, featuring a strong vocal melody and bright instrumentation. Comparisons to the spaced-out guitar pop of the Shins will abound, and the lead single "Do What You Will" continues in the same vein. Unfortunately it's almost all downhill from here as the band's reverb soaked instrumentation and songs begin to run together in a forgettable melange. "I'll See You Later I Guess" plods along in a slow drone for nearly five minutes, and "Chills" borrows an Eliot Smith melody that doesn't feel quite right. The sludge-fest is continued with "The Messenger" which while 100% pleasant has shockingly little in the way of melodic interest, offering little more then a repetitive four word/note refrain.
Melody returns with "White Are the Waves" which might be the strongest track on the record, differentiated with a strong upright piano melody and interesting vocal line. "Wait Till I'm Dead" is another sleeper, built on a pretty chord structure but the vocals feel weak and anemic, guiding the song halfheartedly. The album ends with some of the record's strongest tracks; "Marie Says You've Changed" is by far the most upbeat track (but still lacks a clear hook), and "Winter Daze" and "Charades" finds the bands dream-pop march at it's most effective as the drums over echoing keys and guitars.
This record is totally listenable and could initially make it past the undiscerning ears of hipsters from Portland to Williamsburg, but the lack of substance will leave a limited population returning for repeat listens. In a music world saturated with indie/art/dream rock listeners will have to decide for themselves if hazy styling and carefully calibrated reverb can make up for a serious lack of substance.
Highlights: "White are The Waves," "Winter Daze," "Charades"
Looking forward to a spring of good new music - a few records we’re looking forward to getting our hands on:
Raekwon _ Shaolin vs Wu-Tang (3.8)
Wye Oak _ Civilian (3.8) (streaming free @npr.org!)
The Strokes _ Angels (3.22)
Panda Bear _ Tomboy (4.12)
Radiohead _ King of Limbs (5.9)
Okkervil River _ I Am Very Far (5.10)
Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi _ Rome (5.17)