Friday, November 27, 2009

Awesome New Republic

Awesome New Republic (ANR) is a 2-piece indie band from Miami, FL comprised of core members Michael John Hancock and Brian Robertson and featuring touring/studio drummer Jorge Rubiera.

MJ and B-Rob both graduated from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and have been cultivating their sound in “Magic City” for the past 5 years.

ANR self-released ANR So Far to critical and popular acclaim in 2005. They recorded Rational Geographic Volumes I and II, over the winter of 2008, and released them as FREE downloads via their website in Spring of 2009.

Hearts is the end-all product of various recording sessions over Spring and Summer of 2009. The band posted up in their Miami studio for 2 months, re-recorded all 11 tracks and had the disc mastered by Mike Lazer (Gnarls Barkley, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club). The album has been released at October 27th. Recommended!

Awesome New Republic - Dark Water
Awesome New Republic - Alleycat
Awesome New Republic @ MySpace


SONG OF THE DAY: Sia - You've Changed
(from We Are Born, out Spring 2010)


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Monday, November 16, 2009

Polka Dot Dot Dot

Three people. One adventure. Cosmic alignment? Polka Dot Dot Dot, based in Olympia, WA, formed when three travelers (Jordan O'Jordan, Onyx of Olympia, and Colleen Johnson or Twig Palace) met on the treefern-speckled shores of New Zealand. Combining their solo sets for a last-minute spot at the Camp A Low Hum Music Festival, the Dots charmed crowds with their refreshing blend of folk, tin pan alley, and a cappella styles.

Their first album, Love Letter to New Zealand reflected this impromptu musical spirit. On their 2nd full-length release, Syzygy (a term that refers to planetary alignment), the Dots deliver a record that is unique, beautiful, and more patient than their last. Written after two US tours and a return trip to New Zealand, these songs deal with the fleeting nature of movement, friendship, and infatuation. While still full of their characteristic 3 part harmonies and instrumentation (guitar, banjo, ukulele, musical saw, harp, and hand-clap percussion), Syzygy expands the Dots' sound with more orchestration and vocal arrangement. Yet, despite the fairly existential themes of this new record, Polka Dot Dot Dot have crafted an album that floats and bobs on a cosmic sea, and is neither too heavy nor too light. Here, gravity has a gentle touch and allows us along on this trip, leaving us star-speckled and beaming at the end. Recommended!

Polka Dot Dot Dot - Invisibrother
Polka Dot Dot Dot @ MySpace


SONG OF THE DAY: Jason Boesel - Hand Of God
(from Hustler's Son, out January 12th on Team Love Records)


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Heather Greene

As one of the world’s only female Scotch whisky experts, Heather Greene has quite a life. After selling out venues throughout the U.S. and Europe and receiving exposure on major radio stations worldwide, Heather moved to Scotland to explore her heritage and work on her music. It was there that Heather discovered a zeal for whisky. Arriving in Scotland, she threw herself into the world of Scotch, and her voyage of discovery led her to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh, where, as the first American woman to be invited to serve on the tasting panel and eventually joining the company as a U.S. Glenfiddich Ambassador.

It was also in Scotland where her second album, Sweet Otherwise, was conceived. Recorded when she returned to New York in 2008, Sweet Otherwise evokes lush, pastoral landscapes as potently as it captures the urban pulse of a vibrant city, weaving a kaleidoscopic array of musical elements – from classic 1960s-era folk to twangy country to textural electronica to upbeat, hooky 80s pop – into one of year’s most poignant records.

After performing in Philadelphia October 6th, Heather Greene is excited to announce the second installment of her “Whisky Song” series on October 8th in Brooklyn, NY. Heather will host an evening of intimate songwriting paired with a tasting of Scotland’s finest whisky. Recommended!

Heather Greene - Moon Hangs Fire
Heather Greene - Why Don't You Say Yes
Heather Greene @ MySpace


SONG OF THE DAY: Omar Rodriguez Lopez - Mundo De Ciegos
(from Xenophanes, out November 10th on Rodriguez Lopez Productions)


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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Blakes

The origins of the Blakes are rooted somewhere in the backwoods of central Maine, where brothers Garnet & Snow Keim created a shared ambition to deviate from their seemingly inevitable fates as lifelong paper mill employees (or something of that nature), and try their hands at music. In the spring of 1999, the duo found themselves in Seattle, where they ended their epic search for a drummer in Bob Husak, who was toiling away as a barista. From there, the trio took off for the sunny skies of LA landing at the Days Inn in Glendale and recording their first full-length album during the TV off-season at CBS studios. Here is where they decided to take on the name "The Blakes." The name came to Garnet in a dream after he¹d attended a showing of the works of William Blake.

The newly formed Blakes recorded two EP's in succession. The Bottle was recorded in 2004 and another called Little Whispers in 2005. AND along with a relocation back to Seattle, The Blakes had become notable for their chaotic and highly energetic live shows. Ever ambitious, the boys recorded over forty songs for their third full length. When it was whittled down, The Blakes personally took several copies over to KEXP, which immediately championed the band and catapulted them to #1 on their charts. They eventually signed to local indie imprint Light in the Attic Records. In the summer of 2007, the label issued an EP, Streets, which featured three album tracks and two exclusives.

In the meantime, the band played several high profile Northwest shows, including appearances at Sasquatch, Bumbershoot and Capitol Hill Block Party and started embarking on cross country national tours. In Europe, the boys played the TV show Album de la Semaine in France and toured with the Gossip, the Kills and Pete and the Pirates as part of the Musicale en Tournee tour, which was filmed and edited into a TV special for Canal + and supported the Wombats across the UK. Other touring partners abroad include the Brian Jonestown Massacre in England, France, and Germany. Festival dates in the US followed including Sasquatch and Bumbershoot, and also performed at Lollapalooza, SXSW, MusicFest NorthWest, CMJ and Sunfest in Miami. iTunes voted the Blakes album one of the Top 10 records of 2007. Garnet and Snow put out a full-length record consisting of more introspective songs as BEADS earlier in the year.

The Blakes released full length Souvenir on October 13th, the long awaited follow up to the Streets EP & the recent reissue The Blakes LP. Recomended!

The Blakes - Basket
The Blakes @ MySpace


SONG OF THE DAY: The Mary Onettes - Puzzles
(from Islands, out November 3rd on Labrador)


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Monday, November 02, 2009

Stricken City

When Iain Pettifer (guitars) and Rebekah Raa (vocals/keys) first met in maths class they were wearing exactly the same clothes and quickly coupled over a mutual appreciation of introverted, romantic guitar music; not to mention a palpable sense of detachment from the cool kids. Rebekah spent her entire student loan on a guitar and 8 track recorder while Iain educated her with his extensive music collection including of a full set of Twisted Nerve 7”s and the complete works of Richard Hell. Soon joined by Kit Godfrey (drums) and Mike Hyland (bass), our heroes holed themselves up for hours on end, making and breaking songs about life and loss, love and desperation, hatred and hunger.

Defined by their clattering guitars, the scattergun pounding of the drums, basslines bursting with hooks and the strikingly voiced melodies of otherworldly front woman Rebekah Raa; Stricken City produce an indie-pop of hitherto untapped gems drawn from influences Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Young Marble Giants and The Slits as well as those lost sources of alternative melodica Life Without Buildings, The Sundays and Bow Wow Wow.

Fresh off their US debut performances at CMJ, the debut by Stricken City, Songs About People I Know, is out this Tuesday, November 3rd. The US version also includes two bonus tracks, Tak o Tak and The Traveller and will be out on 180 gram color 45rpm vinyl and CD. Recommended!

Stricken City - Small Things
Stricken City @ MySpace


SONG OF THE DAY: Molina And Johnson: Almost Let You In
(from Molina And Johnson, out November 3rd on Secretly Canadian)


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