Friday, May 30, 2008

New album release... The Stills

The Stills formed in Montreal in 2000, and shortly thereafter relocated to New York as one of the first signings to Vice Recordings. The band rose to prominence in 2004 with the release of their debut album, Logic Will Break Your Heart, which spawned the hit singles "Still in Love Song" and "Lola Stars and Stripes".

Oceans Will Rise, the band's third album and first for Arts & Crafts, is set for official release throughout North America August 19, 2008. Recorded and produced once again by Gus Van Go with Werner F, Oceans Will Rise marks not so much a departure for the band as a bold new musical stride forward, meshing together and elaborating distinct sounds of their previous two records. "We’ve never felt such a raw energy of inspiration before," commented Tim Fletcher, "We’ve never felt more driven collectively as a band as we do right now and I think you can feel that throughout the album." The result is a fresh, invigorating trek through a landscape at once familiar and entirely new; a sound that had call "exciting and hook-hungry" following a winter club performance which showcased some of the new material. The new album is set for release on August 19, 2008. Recommended!

The Stills - Being Here
The Stills - Rooibos / Palm Wine Drinkard
The Stills @ MySpace

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The seeds of Passenger were sown when Uni drop-out turned troubadour Rosenberg bumped in to Bafta award-winning film and TV soundtrack composer Andrew Phillips at a Free Burma event in London, featuring the likes of Faithless, Travis and Horace Andy. Rosenberg had blagged a one-song solo slot and Phillips was performing with the band Slovo. “Andrew and I met backstage, starting chatting about music and football and hit it off straight away,” recalls Rosenberg. “He had just moved to Brighton and set up his own studio, so a few months later, we met up to try writing together.”

Brighton based British band, Passenger, are set to release their first EP, Night Vision Binoculars, digitally in the U.S. on June 24th this year. They will be following this up with their debut album release Wicked Man's Rest later in the summer, giving American audiences a taste of their poignant tales told through strong melodies and thoughtful lyrics.

Passenger's songs are like mini-movies and when you see the band perform live, songwriter and vocalist Mike Rosenberg becomes the star of each film. His sincere voice and knack for creating and inhabiting memorable characters is at the heart of Passenger's unique sound.

Passenger have already had success in the UK, with shows opening for Kate Nash, The Hold Steady and Newton Faulkner and have also become a favorite on the UK festival circuit with a second year confirmed at both The Great Escape and V Festival. A performance at Scotland's Connect Festival has been slotted in for this summer where they'll share a bill with Sia, Sigur Ros, Franz Ferdinand and many more. Passenger's name is quickly spreading in the UK and the band is looking forward to their debut NYC and LA performances this June! Recommended!

Passenger - Do What You Like
Passenger - Night Vision Binoculars
Passenger @ MySpace

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New album release... The Morning Benders

Equally indebted to the Shins, Brian Wilson, and John Lennon, the Morning Benders mix sunny pop songcraft with jangling guitars, double-tracked vocals, and collegiate wit. Frontman Chris Chu launched the group as a solo project in 2005, using a single microphone and laptop to record his early songs. The Loose Change EP arrived in September 2006, and Chu subsequently opened the Benders' doors to several of his UC Berkeley classmates, including drummer Julian Harmon, bassist Tim Or, and guitarist/organist Joe Ferrell. A second EP, Boarded Doors, appeared in early 2007 and was well received by such Bay Area publications as The SF Weekly, prompting Chu to take a part-time job as a studio engineer in order to finance an additional record. Largely produced, engineered, and mixed by Chu himself, the full-length Talking Through Tin Cans arrived in May 2008 on the newly minted +1 Records label. The Morning Benders are currently on the tour supporting the Kooks. Highly Recommended!

The Morning Benders - Boarded Doors (from Talking Through Tin Cans)
The Morning Benders - Crosseyed (from Talking Through Tin Cans)
The Morning Benders - Grain Of Salt (from Loose Change EP)
The Morning Benders @ MySpace

The Morning Benders - Boarded Doors

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Forest City Lovers

In the heart of Canada’s largest city, Forest City Lovers — Kat Burns (vocals/guitar/piano), Kyle Donnelly (bass/guitar/vocals), Mika Posen (violin/piano/vocals) and a string of drummers — have strived to tame the urban wilderness and add some melody to the chaos.

Forest City Lovers, burst onto Toronto’s music scene with the release of their 2006 album, The Sun and the Wind. Released independently with the help of some talented friends, The Sun and the Wind a ten song journey through landscapes of cities and summer days, was a breath of fresh air and exposed the talent of emerging songwriter Kat Burns. Chart called the record “delightfully engaging” while Exclaim proclaimed Burns “enigmatic and subtly inventive.”

While touring in support of their debut record, Forest City Lovers developed into a cohesive and complete unit. With their new collaborative approach the band headed back in the studio to record twelve new songs.

With the help of their dear friends, previous drummer Jamie Bunton and Heather Kirby (Ohbijou), the band hunkered down for nine-months at their fledgling studio, Kirby’s Dreamland, in Toronto.

These sessions birthed Haunting Moon Sinking which straddles the line between heartbreakingly beautiful and intimately powerful. Forest City Lovers’ new album explores themes of love and life with lush and poignant orchestration. With members of Ohbijou, Snailhouse, Hylozoists, the Pill and other Toronto talents filling out chorused vocals and swelling string arrangements, Haunting Moon Sinking steps into a natural progression from the band’s previous effort.

The songs of Forest City Lovers are catchy, yet fragile, and hope to melt your heart, or at least make it beat. Recommended!

Forest City Lovers - Don't Go (from Haunting Moon Sinking)
Forest City Lovers - Scared Of Time (from The Sun And The Wind)
Forest City Lovers - Closet Genius (from For The Birds)
Forest City Lovers @ MySpace

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Meho Plaza

After gaining a devoted underground following due to the success of their sold-out, limited-edition EPs, Meho Plaza is set to bring their experimental, herky-jerky, synth-driven pop to Better Looking Records (The Electric Soft Parade, Tristeza, The Jealous Sound, etc). With hypnotic, angular guitar riffs competing against fuzzy, warm casios, their first self-titled full-length album is often simultaneously reminiscent of Brainiac and early Sonic Youth.

Meho Plaza consists of keyboardist, Jennifer Hwang, singer/guitarist Mike Thrasher and drummer James Connelly. Their stripped down live performance has earned them significant critical praise; The Los Angeles Times has called the experience a "rush" and further described their unique sound as an "energetic yet oddly dreamy approach to synthesized minimalism.

The Los Angeles CityBeat aptly called "The Beach," a song initially included on the band's EP, "quirkily specific without being pointlessly obscure," demonstrating the band's off-the-beaten path approach to combining raw edges with smooth lyrics and melodies. Pitchfork included the track on the Infinite Mixtape Series (now known as the Forkast), the popular music site's compilation of "only the very best of [their] favorite new tracks."

Additionally, the new album features highlights "Let's Play Police" and "I Sold My Organs," tracks which LA-Underground promises "will have you reliving your days of Daydream Nation with all their angular psych-pop bliss." Recommended!

Meho Plaza - I Sold My Organs
Meho Plaza - The Beach
Meho Plaza - 106 Beats That (Wire Cover)
Meho Plaza @ MySpace

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New album release... Bound Stems

Chicago quintet Bound Stems are set to release their sophomore full-length, The Family Afloat, September 9th on Flameshovel. Bound Stems struck a distinctive chord with their ’05 debut ep, The Logic of Building the Body Plan, quickly garnering attention from the media and following with the expansive, eclectic, ’06 full-length, Appreciation Night, that received laurels from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Alternative Press, URB, Chicago Tribune and Reader. The album incorporated elements of the band’s home town, found sounds helping to shape the feel and texture of the songs, that were explosive pop celebrations, swept off into the bustling city. With The Family Afloat Bobby Gallivan, Janie Porche, Dan Fleury, Evan Sult and Dan Radzicki continue to explore the idea of the home and family, further refining their skills and proving themselves worth every accolade that has thus far come there way, and deserving much more ahead.

The Family Afloat proves well worth the wait. While Bound Stems quit their day-jobs to tour relentlessly throughout 2006 in support of Appreciation Night, the band returned home ready for new challenges, and made the communal decision to return to the more stable life of work weeks and strong roots; Gallivan’s job as a history teacher is particularly influential in his lyrics and topics. Meanwhile the band continued to play the odd show, including Lollapalooza last August, write songs and began work last fall on a new record.

The Family Afloat includes the track, “Happens To Us All Otherwise”, filled with punchy rhythms and an unforgettable chorus, available for download now. Bound Stems will take to the road this summer showcasing the new material and will offer for sale, exclusively, The Family Afloat, on 12” vinyl. July 11th in Chicago at Schuba’s, will celebrate the first availability of the record. Highly Recommended!

Bound Stems - Happens To Us All Otherwise (from The Family Afloat)
Bound Stems - Andover (from Appreciation Night)
Bound Stems - Western Biographic (from Appreciation Night)
Bound Stems - Wake Up, Ma And Pa Are Gone (from The Logic Of Building The Body Plan)
Bound Stems - My Kingdom For A Trundle Bed (from The Logic Of Building The Body Plan)
Bound Stems @ MySpace

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Friday, May 16, 2008

The Impossible Shapes

From corner to corner of their dew spritzered discography, now five full-lengths deep, The Impossible Shapes of Indiana have electrically projected what stands as a direct and feverish summoning on the late 60s sugar-sandoz-lick of the pop-folk format. Whilst 2005's critically pumped Horus initiated escalation into a milkwood tapestry of a man vs. earth vs. spirit conceptual acorn, Tum, the 300 edition LP issued just months before is their most thoroughly realized confirmation of man as freedom as seed. Principal songwriters Chris Barth & Aaron Deer nefariously split that nut into mighty gush, fattening this garage cum psyche-chamber session enough to peel back grooves from the cornerstones of Shirley Collins' Folkways side False True Lovers to Bobb Trimble's Harvest of Dreams.

Formed in 1998 the Shapes -- Barth (guitar, vocalist), Deer (organ, bass) Jason Groth (guitar) and Mark Rice (drums) -- have kept a profoundly articulate sense of classic song/dream structure whether they are billowing in drenched multi-tacked gauze like Indianapolis forefathers Zerfas or snarled in amp-buzz annihilation of power-quartet stage performances.

The title of The Impossible Shapes seventh proper full length is a sigil. A sigil is often used in magic and can take an aural form. This particular sigil is a potent symbol of desire, but, this sigil is unpronounceable - so you can call the album "The Impossible Shapes". The Impossible Shapes have been merrily musickmaking for a decade now. With this release the band has recorded songs which were flushed out over many live performances over many tours all across the globe. Although the individual songs vary quite a bit, this is perhaps the band's most cohesive album to date. This album is their pinnacle song mound that could have been issued by Zapple, if times had been different. At the root, these four long-hairs are a pop band -- kinda like how Byrds became a meta group -- who've been strained through British folk as well as the whole post/beat/mystic literate gob.

The Impossible Shapes are a band that Charles Aaron of SPIN Magazine describes as "Indie rockers who trip nervously like Love and muse enigmatically like Pavement. Few bands daydream and flake out with such a mature sense of purpose". This self titled album is perhaps the Bloomington, Indiana band's best manifestation of this sentiment. And The Impossible Shapes want to show you. Highly Recommended!

The Impossible Shapes - Hey!
The Impossible Shapes - Let The People Build What They Will (mov)
The Impossible Shapes - Free Tracks @ eMusic
The Impossible Shapes - Daytrotter Sessions
The Impossible Shapes @ MySpace

The Impossible Shapes - Let The People Build What They Will

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Sweet Serenades

"Martin and Mathias found each other for the first time in May 1991. They were both wearing the same CCCP-cap (a hip thing among pre teens in northern Sweden at the time) and riding similar BMX-bicycles. Ever since then they've been inseparable.

The Sweet Serenades was officially formed in Stockholm, Sweden 2002. The sound is mainly influenced by great songs, broken hearts, sexual frustration and musical acts as Tom Waits, Clap your hands say yeah, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, ACDC, Eddie Meduza, ABBA, The Technicolors, The Perishers, The Shins and many more. We call it Jungle Rock. Or testosterone Pop.

So far the band has performed around 50 shows and recorded 2 EPs.

The band is at the moment working on the debut album to be released in 2008 on Leon Records. Highly Recommended!

The Sweet Serenades - Coming Closer
The Sweet Serenades - I Can Never Die
The Sweet Serenades - First Taste Of Trouble
The Sweet Serenades @ MySpace

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