Friday, August 31, 2007


Spokane originates from Richmond, Virginia. Its principle vocalist and songwriter Rick Alverson founded the band in 1999, after the dissolution of his previous 10-member project Drunk, with the intention of exploring that small, quiet, sometimes disturbing (and most often ignored) space in life between events and behind the glare of the overtly mentionable, and as a vehicle to stand (however quietly) in objection to the west's cultural addiction to the fast, loud and ostentatious.

He released Leisure & Other Songs the following year, a deliberately vacant document of the American experience. Soon thereafter Courtney Bowles joined as drummer and vocalist, and, along with violinist Karl Runge, the band released its sophomore album The Proud Graduates, which firmly established them as "minimalist leaning, devastatingly subtle craftsmen of the quiet pop form, mixing delicate melodies with a strange, conflicted emotion." Its title track contained the memorable phrase "you combed your hair/ just like your father told you to/ but your room just isn't the same" representational of the longing present on much of the record, along with the barely veiled critiques of western escapism.

The band then quickly recorded and released a Spanish EP entitled Close Quarters. They toured the US and Europe and upon return in 2002 immediately set about producing their 3rd full length release Able Bodies. On returning home from the initial recording session in Bloomington, Indiana, the three suffered a serious interstate car crash and, though they fortunately escaped unharmed, the event proved a turning point in the bands career. Karl Runge moved to Chicago and Courtney and Rick welcomed friend and LaBradford alumni Robert Donne to the fold on bass. The three all shared a distaste for the American political establishment and animal byproducts. Their next record Measurement (coined so as to analogously reflect the accidental profession of "carpenter" that fell upon both Robert and Rick), featured the patient, imperialist-critical, "Protocol" and sent the band once again to Europe to tour where they were welcomed by receptive, quiet crowds. But the tour proved financially difficult and the group returned to Richmond for a rest.

After a four year hiatus, in the spring of 2006, the band undertook the building of a replica nineteenth-century federal home, designed by Rick to the specs of a gutted historic house down the road. The building was a difficult, conflicted process, haunted by the idea of perfection and questions of what separates us from what we disdain, during which their 5th full-length album Little Hours was written and recorded. Released in 2007, it serves as an aural parallel to that year and event. Recommended!

Spokane - Thankless Marriage
Spokane - Thankless Marriage (vid)
Spokane - Minor Careers (vid)
Spokane @ MySpace

Arrah & The Ferns - Evan Is A Vegan (2006) !!!
Cub - Betti-Cola + Come Out, Come Out !!!
Serenaide - The Other End Of The Receiver !!!
Talulah Gosh - Backwash !!!
The Guild League - Private Transport + Inner North !!!
The Most Serene Republic - Underwater Cinematographer !!!
The Polyphonic Spree - Together We're Heavy !!!
Tricycle Bicycle Cycle - Tricycle Bicycle Cycle's First Manatee Hugging Party !!!
Tullycraft - Beat Surf Fun !!!
My Favorite - Love At Absolute Zero !!!
Annemarie - 1 !!!
14 Iced Bears - In The Beginning !!!
+ Astronautalis, All Girl Summer Fun Band, Celestial, Calvin Johnson, Kimya Dawson, Marcy Playground,
Marshmallow Coast, My Little Airport, Sister Vanilla, Sufjan Stevens, The Boy Least Likely To,
The Lucksmiths, The Moldy Peaches, Math And Physics Club, Postal Service, Arcade Fire, etc.
Richard Hawley - Lady's Bridge (2007) !!!
Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
Ray LaMontagne - Till The Sun Turns Black + Trouble
The White Stripes - Icky Thump (2007)
Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos (2007) + When Dream And Day Unite
The Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist (2007)
+ The Exploited, Wu-Tang Clan, Pink Floyd, Megadeath, The Alan Parsons Project, etc.
Interpol - Our Love To Admire (2007)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The GoStation

Transporting listeners to a place where melody reigns, cultures clash and combine, and feedback fills the sky, The GoStation is a state of mind as much as a band. Hailing from New York City, this five-piece force is on a musical mission to restore rock to its rightful place — the hearts and minds of the people.

Embracing the art of the anthem, The GoStation have willfully eschewed the structureless noise of many of their contemporaries, opting instead for epic compositions marked by masterful guitar interplay, a steady rhythmic punch, and huge sing-along choruses. Calling to mind everyone from Oasis to The Strokes by way of U2, the band are far more concerned with reviving the classic art of songwriting than becoming the darlings of any fickle scene.

The GoStation fired the first shot from their arsenal with the release of their debut EP, Quiet Zone, in 2005. The disc's five songs received major support from outlets as diverse as Seattle's KEXP, NYC's 92.3 K-Rock and Q104.3, XM and Sirius satellite radio, and Performances at CMJ, SXSW, and the NEMO festival's ASCAP showcase followed, along with in-studio appearances, a spate of rapturous reviews, and shows with bands including The Dears, Diamond Nights, White Rabbits, Sons & Daughters, The Bravery, The Mooney Suzuki, The Upwelling, Locksley, and Elefant.

But the EP was just a teaser for the real fireworks: 2007 sees the release of the first full-length album from The GoStation, Passion Before Function. To bring this long-awaited project to life, the band once again teamed up with producer/engineer Bill Racine (Rogue Wave, The Flaming Lips, Phantom Planet) to record amidst the cacophony and hysteria of their native metropolis. Over a year in the making, the album finally brings the sounds that have been living in our heroes' heads to full, sparkling life. Recommended!

The GoStation - All Together Now (from Passion Before Function)
The GoStation - Wandering Away (from Quiet Zone EP)
The GoStation @ MySpace

Eisley - Combinations (2007) !!!
Jesse Lacey (Brand New) - Acoustic Set (Live At Downtown 2004) !!!
Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service) - Acoustic Set (Live On NPR 4-10-2007) !!!
The Get Up Kids - The Get Up Kids Final Show
Paramore - B-Sides
St. Vincent - Marry Me (2007) !!!
The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America !!!
The Gothic Archies - The Tragic Treasury: Songs From A Series Of Unfortunate Events !!!
Malcolm Middleton - A Brighter Beat (2007) !!!
iLiKETRAiNS - Progress Reform !!!
White Rose Movement - Kick !!!
The National - Boxer
The Dears - Gang Of Losers
Bat For Lashes - Fur And Gold
Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
+ Bloc Party, Curve, Band Of Horses, Dalek, Richard Butler, The Rakes, Billy Idol, etc.
The Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist (2007)
Art Brut, Battles, Dan Deacon, Joanna Newsom, LCD SOundsystem,
Peter Bjorn And John, The National, The Arcade Fire, etc.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Ham1, an Athens, GA mainstay that released its self-titled (and free!) debut to much acclaim in 2005, has been picked up by eco-conscious Orange Twin Records for its second album, The Captain’s Table. Ham1 is the brainchild of Athens songwriter and schoolteacher Jim Willingham, and his newly solidified lineup features Eric Harris of the Olivia Tremor Control on drums as well as contributions from Liz Durrett (whom the band frequently backs up), Kris Barratt of the Capes, and Pete Erchick, also of Olivia Tremor Control. Ham1 takes equal inspiration from old movie soundtracks and modern dilapidation, drawing from jukebox rock and roll archetypes, spaghetti westerns, and flea market lost and found sounds to create original pop songs and instrumental scores. Ham1 will soon embark on the “Three On A Tree Tour” supporting Liz Durrett and Vic Chesnutt and acting as both acts’ backing band.

A ringing attribute of Jim Willingham’s songwriting is that it manages to be both exuberant and high-minded -- inviting and literate -- all at once. Combining the terse acoustic propulsion of the late-model Feelies with the breezy, half-stoned-on-the-beach pop-ambiance of Dean Wareham’s Luna, Willingham nevertheless brings a distinctive Athenian warmth to his Captain’s Table. It figures: there are horn-charts and string-sections, burst veins of Link Wray-ish guitarplay, pastoral keyboard-drones, tremulous bits of Hawaiian slack-key guitar and some country-fried saunter up under the rhythm section. Chiefly, though, there’s that friendly storytelling voice -- half-sung, half-spoken – escorting you through the broken waltzes, atmospheric ballads and jittery rockers, all.

For his first Orange Twin release, Willingham capitalizes on his longstanding musical relationship with a pair of veteran Elephant Six luminaries; former Olivia Tremor Control members, drummer/multi-instrumentalist Eric Harris and keyboardist Pete Erchick, make key textural and compositional contributions to the new disk. Rounding out the idiosyncratic lineup are Athens fixtures Jacob Morris and Chris Sugiuchi on cello and trombone, respectively; acclaimed local songstress Liz Durrett, whom the band often backs on stage, lends her rich vocal harmony to two tracks.

A solid couple years of playing around the south have shorn up the group’s ensemble sound, and The Captain’s Table is strong proof; the group’s intricate instrumental chemistry frames the record perfectly, coalescing Willingham’s sprawling vision into a unified artistic whole -- this is no loose collection of songwriter-plus-band musings. Producer Andy Baker’s shimmering, vibrant patina serves each song with minimal intrusion; there’s an airy, informal atmosphere to the album that makes for rewarding repeated listening: you can choose to skate along the brilliantly crystalline surface of each song or dive full-bore into Willingham’s weird and beautiful lyrical world. Highly Recommended!

Ham1 - White Rat
Ham1 - Hare Lipped Bust
Ham1 @ MySpace

Moving Units - Hexes For Exes (2007) !!!
The White Stripes - Icky Thump (2007)
Back Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl
Sum 41 - Underclass Hero (2007)
The Protomen - The Protomen
Billy Shea - The Candlelight [EP]
The Plastic Constellations, Alexander Tucker, Rogue Wave, Nick Castro & The Young Elders, etc.
Paolo Nutini - These Streets
The White Stripes - Icky Thump
Kelly Clarkson - My December
Interpol - Our Love To Admire (2007)

Monday, August 27, 2007


With its origin as a home recording project between college classmates Jen Appel and Marc Goodman in 2002, Originally named Illumina, Illuminea grew to become a seven-person band as friends and lovers joined them. Illuminea’s debut album Nightlight was self-released in 2004.

Out of Our Mouths, the second album from the Philadelphia-and-New York-based indie-rock mini-orchestra Illuminea is out now. The album, was produced by Joel Hamilton (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Sparklehorse) and features 12 songs, varyingly sung by the band's three songwriters. Illuminea, which was recently serving as the backing band for Anti- recording artists The Book of Knots, played a tremendous record release show this past Friday at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia.

According to various people that we don't know, Illuminea is a "stunningly attractive" "mini-orchestra" who "create stunning music without the ego" and "nurtures four songwriters, a string section, and one very curious ("crazy cute") percussionist as they spend their nights sharing tales of the greatest barbecues and dreams of the west." Apparently, "discovering a band of this caliber at the beginning of their career is every music reviewers dream." Cool. Check It Out!

Illuminea - Homewrecker
Illuminea - Sugaring
Illuminea @ MySpace

M.I.A. - Kala (2007) !!!
Editors - The Back Room + An End Has A Start (2007) !!!
LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (2007) !!!
+ Frank Black, Jose Gonzalez, CSS, Beck, All Seeing I, Dalek I Love You, Nouvelle Vague,
Silver Mount Zion, The Breeders, Pixies, Saint Etienne, Public Enemy, etc.
The New Pornographers - Challengers (2007) !!!
The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army (2007)
Rilo Kiley - Albums
+ Mindless Self Indulgence, Goners, etc.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Vacation Time

Hi Folks!

In the next days I'm gonna make my summer vacation. I hope you've enjoyed the music presented to you via Indie Surfer in 2007. If I'd try to make a selection of all the good releases that we've had in the first half of the year, I'd certainly spend a lot of time doing it, and in the end I'd probably miss something, so I'll let it better to you this time. (the real truth is that I didn't have enough time to do it properly :))

So to all of you - I wish you a very special summertime. Buy your favorite music, go to concerts, make love, enjoy the life!

A couple of tunes to make your summer 'spiced':

The Arcade Fire - Intervention
The Spinto Band - Oh Mandy
The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover
Los Campesinos! - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
Interpol - Heinrich Maneuver
Editors - Smokers Outside The Hospital Door
The Cribs - Men's Needs
White Rabbits - The Plot
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
M.I.A. - Paper Planes
Bishop Allen - Rain
Maritime - Guns Of Navaron
Black Lips - Cold Hands
1990s - Risque Pictures
The Besnard Lakes - Devastation
The Long Blondes - Once And Never Again
The New Pornographers - Myriad Harbour

Note: I'll continue posting from the end of August.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent is the band of singer-multi-instrumentalist, Annie Clark. The 24-year-old is a veteran guitarist for two musical armies, The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Steven's touring band. "Marry Me," St. Vincent's debut record, is now available on Beggars Banquet. On Marry Me we see a smartly crafted deluge of guitar, bass, and beats pulsing forward with warmth and immediacy alongside Annie’s classy soprano. Her lyrics can be weird or tongue-in-cheek or dead serious, capturing verily what it feels like to be 24 years old in America and caught up in the delirium of love blues and wartime blues and the various swashbuckling adventures of existence. Horns and strings cry out brassy and full-bodied over digital keyboards. Songs rock out vigorously, break down into squiggling post-noise-rock deconstructions, roll out mellow and slow-flowing as a river. Backing harmonies and kiddie choirs loom in the distance, rise, and lilt above the stately grandiosity. And she keeps good company. David Bowie’s longtime pianist Mike Garson shows up on two songs, as does Brian Teasley from Man or Astro-man but, mostly, it’s just Annie, a multi-instrumentalist for a new era. Highly Recommended!

St. Vincent - Now, Now
St. Vincent @ MySpace

St. Vincent - Your Lips Are Red (Live)

St. Vincent - Paris Is Burning (Live)

St. Vincent - These Days (Live)

The Go! Team - Proof Of Youth (2007) !!!
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum (2007) !!!
Midnight Movies - Lion The Girl (2007) !!!
The White Stripes - Icky Thump
Simian Mobile Disco - Attack Decay Sustain Release
Nightmare Of You - Nightmare Of You !!!
Panic! At The Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
Common - Finding Forever (2007)
Chrisette Michele - I Am (2007)
Davina - Return To Soul V 1.0 (2007)
Corrine Bailey Rae - Corrine Bailey Rae

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pawnshop Roses

Though they are family now, Pawnshop Roses were four strangers who came together for the purpose of making good music and having a good time doing so.

Years ago, singer and primary songwriter Paul Keen discovered MTV and Oasis and began teaching himself how to play on his mother's old acoustic guitar. With his new found passion and armed with a head full of songs he dove into the scene looking for right people to play his songs. Fast-forward a few years later and Keen forms Pawnshop Roses with Kevin Bentley and Justin Monteleone whom he met through a "musicians wanted" ad. Both Kevin and Justin are versatile instrumentalists who function as guitar players, bass players and vocalists in the band. Percussionist/vocalist Rich Fogg is the most recent member to join and has added much to their sound with his harmonies and skilled druming. The band is solidified and has become a well oiled live act, performing hundreds of shows a year. And with a sound that could have come from a jam session between Hank Williams, the Rolling stones and the Replacements, the band has built a fan base that craves it's electric all-out rock shows as much as they appreciate the band's stripped down unplugged sets that showcase the organic songwriting at the heart of their music.

In 2004 the band released its first EP "Dead Man's Radio" taken from a line in Keen's song "Here We Go," and sold out its first few pressings rather quickly due to a solid following and grass roots marketing. In 2005 they were selected out of hundreds of bands by legendary Philly radio station WMMR to open for Velvet Revolver and Hoobastank. WMMR (heard in PA, NJ and DE) has graciously helped the band by frequently playing their song "Fading Out" having them perform on-air and promoting their shows whenever asked. 2006 started out like any other year for PSR, and saw the band writing songs, being broke and playing lots of shows. However, the band got an early Christmas present when they were informed they won the YouTube Underground Video contest for Best Live Video for their video of "Gets so Hard" from their forthcoming Live DVD (coming winter 2007).

As a result of the win, the band appeared on ABC's Good Morning America to millions of viewers and has since gone to do interviews with Relix magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer and Time Magazine to name a few. Recently the guys also played live on the local NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows which was ironic considering these guys are fans of the nightlife and haven't seen a proper "morning" in some time.

Around the same time, the band signed with Earvolution Records, a small indie label that shares the same ideas and visions as the band. The band is currently working on their first full length album titled "Let It Roll", to be released in 2007 and it promises to be full of heartache, hangovers and hell fire. Check It Out!

Pawnshop Roses - Here We Go
Pawnshop Roses - The Life We Lead
Pawnshop Roses @ MySpace

Tegan & Sara - The Con (2007) !!!
Minus The Bear - Menos El Oso + Highly Refined Pirates
The Organ - Grab The Gun
Sleater-Kinney - The Woods + The Hot Rock
The Album Leaf - In A Safe Place
Zero 7 - Simple Things
Children Of The Bong - Sirius Sounds
Air - Premiers Symptomes + Moon Safari
The Wolf Parade - Apologies To The Queen Marry
Garbage, Foo Fighters, Erroll Garner, Mc Hawking, Donald Fagen, etc.
Minus The Bear - Planet Of Ice (2007)
Cat Power - The Greatest
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Jack Johnson - Brushfire Fairytales
Nickelback - All The Right Reasons
Pearl Jam - Rearview Mirror (Greatest Hits 1993-2003)