Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Mix Tape

Year-end top-ten album lists are so overdone. I'd much rather share some great tracks that came out this past year. Presenting my long, dark and dreary winter 2010 mix, courtesy of 8tracks.com. This time it's all from 2010, and none of it has been posted here before.

I have thirteen tracks for you this time! I tried to make sort of a story out of the track titles, just for fun.

If the widget gives you trouble, you can listen to the set here.

Top Surprise
Tracklist: (Links lead to downloads)
Procedure Club – Snowy (feat. Sore Eros)
Top Surprise – More Than Cool
No Joy – Still
Tan Dollar – Waiting
Weekend – Landscape
Light Leak – Snow
Blank Dogs – Treelines
Small Black – Search Party
Virgo Rising – To Deal Without It
Serena Maneesh – Opium Priest
Naked Hearts – Dark Shade
EDH– Longwasted
A Sunny Day in Glasgow – 100/0 (Snowdays forever)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Christmas Song From The Aislers Set

  • The Aislers Set - "Cold Christmas" [aislersset.com]
    • Pretty light on the noise (and a bit late for Christmas), but I'm a fan of songwriter Amy Linton and her former noise-pop band Henry's Dress, so I think this is pretty darn cool.
    • It's a fun Christmas duet, in which Amy trades lead vocals with an unnamed male counterpart (perhaps Wyatt Cusick? I hear he moved to Sweden...). Complete with jingle bells.
    • Self-released on their MySpace just in the last day or two. Give it a listen there.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cheveu is One Strange French Band

  • Cheveu - 1000 Mille (Born Bad) [MySpace]
  • 1000 Mille
    1000 Mille - Download here
    • Wow. This is something new and different. This is like, how weird and loud can we be with a keyboard, a sampler and an electric guitar?
    • This French trio regards itself as an electrogaragepunk band. Seems about right. The vocals are mostly spoken rather than sung.
    • Definitely worth checking out the three tracks that are on MySpace: "Charlie Sheen", "No Birds" and "My First Song". Not an album I would consider purchasing for myself, though. Maybe I'm just not ready. But it's very interesting.

Hear for yourself, though. Here's "No Birds", from their own YouTube channel.

Cheveu - "No Birds" (1000 Mille; 12/13/2010)

Excellent Podcast From Mexican Summer

Me You Us Them actually wrote li'l ol' me an e-mail on Saturday to thank me for speaking well of their new track here on Friday. They even sent me an MP3 of "Research" and said I can play it when I start my podcast back up on 1/11/11. Pretty sweet!

Stream their podcast here
Speaking of podcasts, Mexican Summer posted a second one to SoundCloud a couple of weeks ago, but they didn't put it on their site until Friday night. It's a great mix of recent noise pop and other good stuff, featuring tracks from Puro Instinct, Beaches, The Young, Gauntlet Hair, No Joy, The Miracles Club, Dungen, Soldiers of Fortune, and Tamaryn. No stinkers here. 

It also includes interviews with No Joy's delightful Laura Lloyd, Honey Owens from The Miracles Club, and Linda Perhacs, whose 1970 psych-folk album Parallelograms is being reissued on MS. There's a great track from that album on the 'cast, as well. Lots of talk of sandwiches, too. Great to hear from some of the people behind this awesome music. What a fantastic soundtrack to a Monday. Gotta love this label. Check out the podcast here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Me You Us Them Track Finally Online

  • Crystal Stilts - New songs on Pitchfork Tunnelvision [MySpace]
    • "Blood Barons" and "Flying into the Sun" were performed exclusively for Pitchfork and released as a video on their site.
    • It's good. Kinda scary and post-punkish. As much organ as guitar, but the heavily reverbed vocals are way at the forefront. The last half of the second song includes a harmonica and trumpet duet!
    • Check it here.
  • Me You Us Them - "Research" (Triple Down) [meyouusthem.com]
    • Triple Down finally announced that the long-awaited Bloody Knives/Me You Us Them split 7" will be released some time in January.
    • The MYUT track, entitled "Research", is now up on this Brooklyn four-piece's MySpace. And it KICKS ASS. Crazy noise punk!
    • You should drop everything and go listen to it now.
And if I could think of a way to put it right here, I sure would. But here's the link again. Now go, young man!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Pains of Being Disappointed

Yesterday's post became my most-viewed post within an hour of posting it. Not sure how that happened. I'm guessing some kind of bot is looking for a free copy of The Sunshine Factory's new album? Sorry, I still don't have one for you (Though you can stream the album at their site now that it's been released. I was rightit's good.). But here's this:
  • The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - "Heart In Your Heartbreak" single (Slumberland) [thepainsofbeingpureatheart.com]
  • Heart In Your Heartbreak
    "Heart In Your Heartbreak" -
    Download here
    • Released today and streaming here.
    • A pure pop single in advance of this NY four-piece's second album, due in February. Includes B-side "The One".
    • I was expecting something noisier. Is this a slightly new direction for them? I'm not a fan, so feel free to comment.
    • They hired the big guns this time. This stuff was produced by Flood (Smashing Pumpkins, U2, PJ Harvey) and mixed by Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Jesus & Mary Chain, Arctic Monkeys). Good grief, is that really necessary? Apparently they want to be the "it" band this winter/spring.
    • Not what I expected, and not an album I'll be interested in. I hesitate to even call this noise pop, and they obviously don't want to be underground, so I might not even bring it up again here.
  • Winter's Fall - Tracks from forthcoming album At All Angles (Velvet Blue Music) [wintersfallmusic.com]
  • At All Angles - Preview here
    • An Americana five-piece from Berkeley, CA, that sounds very much at home with the Velvet Blue family. The merger was announced yesterday.
    • Countrified So-Cal music with keyboards. A very unique sound that the San Francisco Weekly described as western meets sci-fi. 
    • Irresistible and recommended for fans of Starflyer 59's later output.
    • "Anyways" and "Who's to Say?" can and should be streamed at their site or at Velvet Blue's site.
    • The album is coming February 15th on VBM.
    • I just realized how clever their band name is.
  • J Mascis - "Not Enough" (Sub Pop) [jmascis.com]
    • Not noise pop at all, but where would the genre be without him? And it goes well with the Winter's Fall stuff, so I thought I might as well mention it.
    • Basically an acoustic folk song with a back-up vocal ensemble.
    • His new album, Several Shades of Why, will be released on Sub Pop on March 15th. It's all acoustic with lots of special guests, including Kurt Vile.
    • Stream the single here.
  • The Young - New 7" (Mexican Summer) [Blogspot]
    • This Austin four-piece started a U.S. tour on Friday and have a few vinyl discs with them with two new tracks. I have no idea what they are, but judging by the free tracks on their Blogspot, from their album Voyagers of Legend, it's got to be good.
    • Their tour brings them here to Columbus on Sunday, December 19th. See their site for the full schedule.
Wish I could stream one of those new tracks by The Young. Those guys kick ass. But you've got to hear "Anyways" by Winter's Fall...anyways. It's pretty special.

Winter's Fall - "Anyways" (At All Angles; coming 2/15/2011)

I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend a blog with a similar theme. SEE THE LEAVES has five contributors from California who don't miss much when it comes to noise pop. They've been at this for a year now. If you like noise pop, you can be sure not to miss a thing if you're reading 8-Tracks Fierce and SEE THE LEAVES.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunshine Factory Make a Statement With 2nd Album

My wife's from Alabama, so maybe I can even get her interested in this one...
  • The Sunshine Factory - Sugar (The Sugar Collective) [thesunshinefactorymusic.com]
  • Sugar - Buy it here
    • To be released tomorrow. Recorded at The Sunshine Studio in Mobile, AL. They love their sunshine and sugar in 'Bama.
    • I wasn't expecting much from this southern four-piece until I looked at their MySpace and saw that their influences were the same as my own when we recorded our album over the last year. Pixies, Swirlies and My Bloody Valentine? Oh, yeah. But they also like Cocteau Twins, and it shows a little. To each his/her own. Once I clicked "Play", I was pretty happy, and that's the important thing.
    • A little too sugary for my taste, but at least it's appropriately titled. I prefer a little less sweet when a man is singing. Just makes me a tad uncomfortable.
    • Still, it's a great sound, lovely enough for the more typical shoegaze fan but just noisy, gritty and interesting enough for noise-pop enthusiasts like myself. Not quite on the level of their influences, but that would be tough for any band.
    • This is their second full-length album, the follow-up to July 2009's Vintage Revolution, which is available by donation.
    • There's been at least one attempt to upload the album to the Web today, but someone took it down pretty quickly. I've only been able to hear the two streaming tracks on MySpace and BandCamp so far. But that's enough for me to recommend it.

The single "My Sugar Cane" is a pretty righteous track. It originally appeared on the rare Sugar EP last year (Tracks 8 and 9 were also on the EP). So now they have a Sugar EP and a Sugar LP. Sweet.

The Sunshine Factory - "My Sugar Cane" (Sugar; 12/14/2010)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dirty Beaches' Ultra-Cool Daytrotter Set

  • Dirty Beaches - Daytrotter's Pop Montreal session [Blogspot]
    • About as simple, minimal and raw as noise pop gets. Very, very cool. This is rock 'n' roll.
    • This was recorded yesterday in the same studio as the BRAIDS session last week. Dirty Beaches is one man, Alex Zhang Hungtai, so it may not be quite as raw as it sounds. I'm guessing he sang and played guitar over pre-recorded loops that included bass and percussion, and even piano on one track. Though if he created the loops very shortly before the engineer pressed "Record"...that's still pretty raw for a one-man band. Don't know if he just brought the loops on his MP3 player, though.
    • Very interesting singer with a rockabilly style. Manly lyrics about driving and other macho stuff. Very nice guitar work, too.
    • It's sort of like baked rockabilly surf punk with a fuzzy, 2 a.m. backdrop.
    • Four snazzy tracks you can stream or download for free here. These are from his forthcoming LP Badlands, which will be released by the Dum Dum Girls' label Zoo Music this spring. Recommended!
    • Zoo Music announced yesterday that Dirty Beaches will be on the same tour with Dum Dum Girls and MINKS that I mentioned in my last post. The tour dates are here.
Check out the previously unreleased track "Speedway King". Did I mention this is very cool?

Dirty Beaches - "Speedway King" (Daytrotter session; 12/9/2010)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mellow Pop Music From the Past Week

And it's all free...
  • BRAIDS - Daytrotter's Pop Montreal Session [Blogspot]
    • Sound effects, interesting instrumentation and an ensemble of harmonized voices make for a rather unique pop experience. 
    • This may be borderline hipster, but it's worth a listen if you're in the mood for something light, airy and a little whimsical.
    • Recorded at Breakglass Studio in Montreal, where the band lives, last Wednesday.
    • Four songs combined into one continuous stream in one file that you can stream or download here.
    • Their first album, Native Speaker, is due out January 18th on Kanine and Flemish Eye. Hear the seven-minute single, "Lemonade", here.
  • Raw Moans/Lay Bac - Split single (Beko) [BandCamp] [MySpace]
  • Raw Moans/Lay Bac split -
     Download here
    • San Diego's Raw Moans plays spare keyboard pop with an industrial feel.
    • Austin's Lay Bac plays funky electronoise with minimal, harmonized vocals.
    • Two tracks each on this split release. Download here.

  • Dum Dum Girls - "Trees & Flowers" (Zoo Music) [wearedumdumgirls.com]
    • A mellow noise-pop track released on their site late last week. Pretty.
    • This is a cover of a song by '80s new-wave band Strawberry Switchblade. By request from Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT
    • This San Fran four-piece will be touring the U.S. with Brooklyn's MINKS this spring.
And here it is:
    Dum Dum Girls - "Trees & Flowers" (12/2/2010)

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Tan Dollar's "Unofficial" First LP [WRONG!]

    Hello, hope you all had a nice holiday. I'm back at work, finally, and back to blogging, too.

    As you can see, the blog has a new banner. And after the debacle of last Monday, when I had negative comments for a new album that were immediately picked up by a member of the band and some of its appreciators, I thought this would be a good time to define this blog's purpose, for my own sake as well as for any readers who might be interested.

    So what is 8-Tracks Fierce?

    The weird name comes from the podcast that I started doing a year-and-a-half ago and quit after five episodes, which you can play in the sidebar player. I would talk about eight recent tracks that I found at least mildly interesting, and the "fierce" part was just sort of added on for kicks.

    I started this blog a couple of months ago and plan to reboot the podcast in January (1/11/11, to be exact). The blog was a little all over the place at first, but I quickly started focusing on noise pop and shoegaze. Last week I realized that there is a certain type of shoegaze (I call it "flower-gaze") that I will never appreciate, so it doesn't make sense for me to write about it here.

    So from this point forward, this is simply a blog about new noise pop. If a shoegaze album can fit into the noise-pop category, I'll talk about it, but if it's a style that doesn't fit that description, you won't see it here because I would have little good to say about it. By the same token, if a noise-pop album or single comes out and I think it's crap, I will write about it because it's noise pop.

    So now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about the new Tan Dollar album, which came out of nowhere just this morning.

    Change Your Mind - Download here

    • Tan Dollar - Change Your Mind (Beko) [Blogspot]
      • A sing-songy album from this three-piece from Irvine, CA, with eight tracks that seem to be all about lost summer love. Features a new drummer.
      • Fun, cheap keyboards in the left speaker, jangly guitar in the right on most tracks.
      • Vocals often out-of-tune, but in that noise-pop way that can sound so right when done well, as it does here.
      • Short, no-nonsense, straightforward pop tunes. '60s-inspired bubble gum in the best way.
      • Exactly what So-Cal noise pop should be. Absolutely perfect. And completely free. Beko delivers again, and so does Tan Dollar. 
      • Beko considers it their second LP (the first was the latest Procedure Club album, shared here previously). Could this be considered Tan Dollar's first full-length album? No, but it's a fantastic signifier of what their first album could be like. [Edit: Mr. Sam Farzin left a comment pointing out that Tan Dollar's first album came out last January! It has 13 tracks and is entitled Your Body As a Temple. It was released on the Life's Blood and Mirror Universe labels. Thanks, Sam! I sure feel silly. I'll have to check that out!]
      • Download here.

    The B-side opener is a mind-blowing psych-out tune complete with xylophone.

    Tan Dollar - "How Can It Be True?" (Change Your Mind; 11/29/2010)

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Sway's Album Has Nothing New

    This is going to be mostly a skip week, since I'm on vacation and yet swamped with baby care, and my folks are coming up from St. Louis for Thanksgiving. But I've got this for you:
    This Was Tomorrow
    Download here
    • Sway - This Was Tomorrow (self-released) [swaypop.com]
      • Second full-length from this San Luis, CA, four-piece. Officially released tomorrow.
      • Pretty shoegaze with electro beats, if you're into that. Nothing really new here. 
      • The vocals remind me of Death Cab For Cutie. And I don't say that in a good way.
      • For me, this is about as bad as shoegaze gets. But many will like it a lot.
      • You can stream it for free here if you're interested.
    Sorry, I can't be bothered to stream anything from this album for you here, but you're not missing much. Have a great week. I'll be back in full force next week. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    No Joy's New Album Just Kills

    The little ones are keeping me awfully busy, but I found some time to hear some great new tunes. Check it out.
    "Julie" - Download here
    • Outer Limits Recordings - "Julie" 7" (Olde English Spelling Bee) [YouTube]
      • One-man band making very melodic and structured noise pop. Strong work.
      • Releases everything through his YouTube channel, but you can buy his latest vinyl from OESB.

    Ghost Blonde
    Ghost Blonde - Download here
    • No Joy - Ghost Blonde (Mexican Summer) [BandCamp]
      • Possibly the one you've been waiting for. I'm pretty jealous of their sound.
      • It's just the kind of echoey noise pop I love. Kicks my ass. Female vocals. Incredible album, really.
      • From Montreal, but seems to be inspired by a West Coast aesthetic, especially with track titles such as "Pacific Pride" and "Hawaii". 
      • Recently played with Kurt Vile, Weekend, Best Coast and A Place To Bury Strangers. You could say they're going places.
      • Found it here. Enjoy.
    Here's "Hawaii".

    No Joy - "Hawaii" (Ghost Blonde; 11/16/2010)

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Free Loving Anarchists Comp on Beko

    Turns out I did miss something pretty cool the day my kids were born. Beko released a compilation of bands on Houston's Free Loving Anarchists (FLA) label on November 1st, and though it's a week-and-a-half stale, it definitely deserves a late mention here. I never heard of any of these bands, but I'm excited about all of them now. Here's the playlist of previously unreleased tracks:

    FLA comp - Download here
    Rape Faction - "Future Brain"
    Lois Magic - "Desert Colour"
    Pink Playground - "Low" (alternate vox demo version)
    Young Henry - "Striped Lights"
    The KVB - "Into The Night"
    Virgo Rising - "To Deal Without It"
    Wicked Crafts - "Without You"
    Sacred Space - "Tear Me To Shreds"

    I'm going to try to keep up with FLA and all these bands from now on. This is perfect music, a real treasure, and completely free. You wouldn't know it from listening to the radio or watching TV, but we're living in amazing times.

    Maybe I'll give this to my girls, when they're ready for it, so they can know what kind of mysterious and amazing music was introduced to the world the same day they were.

    Download the comp here.

    Not all the artists are from Houston. Check out Young Henry (BandCamp), a one-man band from Minneapolis. The blog Unholy Rhythms called his music "cloudgaze".

    Young Henry - "Striped Lights" (FLA comp, Beko; 11/1/2010)

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Weekend Releases Awesome Noise Album

    Needed some time off to bring two beautiful little girls into the world. Looks like I didn't miss much. But look what we have now:
    "Solo ('4' Claire)" - Stream here
    • Wise Blood - "Solo ('4' Claire)" 7" (Transparent) [MySpace]
      • Sounds like Moby if he were cool. That's probably the best way I can think to describe it. And it is cool.
      • Not officially released until November 22nd, but you can hear both tracks here.

    • Weekend - Sports (Slumberland) [WordPress]
    • Sports
      Sports - Click to order
      • Released today. Streaming at NPR until today, so hurry. You can also stream it at Slumberland's site, but you can't pause it to get a bagel there.
      • 45 minutes of noisy San Fran shoegaze with distant, echoey vocals. Yeah, this is pretty good stuff.
      • Order the MP3s here or the vinyl here.
    The second track of Sports blew me away. Check this out.

    Weekend - "Youth Haunts" (Sports; 11/9/2010)
    Weekend - Youth Haunts by youandmeintheecho

    No word yet from Kill Red Rocket or Triple Down on that Bloody Knives/Me You Us Them split. Man, can't wait for that one.

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    My Band's Album Reviewed

    Since I don't have anything else to post about today, I thought I'd announce that my own band's noise-pop album was finally reviewed this week, five months after its release. Shameless plug, I know, but it fits here.

    The writer at Columbus Music Review, Steve Dustcircle, says his reviews can be quoted anywhere, so here it is:

    Awful Lot of Tigers - You May Be Susceptible--Here Are the Signs 
    The husband and wife duo from New York (now Columbus, OH) brings twelve tracks that sound like they were recorded from home, but it gives you an idea of what a producer could do with their songs.

    The electronic, alternative sounds are happy and reminds me of Sonic Youth, and 10,000 Maniacs' first recordings. Not quite industrial or new wave, they do have a post-punk feel.

    The mix is rough, the drum sequences needing to be brought more up front. The guitar riffs are simple, but it works for the genre. The "noise" is a bit overpowering, but was probably done so that you can tell the intentions of their sound.

    The songs are composed well, and have a youthful feel about them. Pop music for all ages, this is fun music, but definitely a demo. For fans of Sonic Youth and early 10,000 Maniacs, this is up your alley!

    ALoT's CD, "YMBS-HAtS," is for download only at ReverbNation and SoundCloud. [$10.49 at the time of the review]

    My reaction:  I can't really disagree with anything he wrote here, but Mr. Dustcircle doesn't write about many noise-pop or shoegaze bands. I don't think it's a genre he typically listens to or is able to appreciate very well. What would he think of a band like Procedure Club? He might very well call their album a "demo", too.

    At the same time, I am far from a professional producer, and from the perspective of a pro, this is a demo. So I can't argue.

    The only things I thought were a bit off were calling it an "electronic" sound (second paragraph), when only the drums are electronic, and saying that the drums need to be more up-front. The drums are the only instrument that aren't actually performed; they're programmed, so why should they be any louder than they are? In some tracks they're on the verge of being too loud.

    Judge for yourself by streaming the album at SoundCloud. You can buy the MP3s here.

    Have a great weekend, and happy Halloween. Next time you hear from me, I'll be a dad twice over!

    Awful Lot of Tigers - "Nothing At All" (You May Be Susceptible--Here Are the Signs; 5/15/2010)
    Nothing At All by Awful Lot of Tigers

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Ghostland Observatory's Fourth Album

    Codename: Rondo
    Codename: Rondo -
    Click to order

    • Ghostland Observatory - Codename: Rondo (Trashy Moped Recordings) [MySpace]
      • This is kind of cool, I guess. Dancey, computerized funk with glam-rock vocals. Great for parties, I'd imagine. It's fun and ironic; nothing serious here.
      • Their fourth full-length album in as many years.
      • The whole thing is streaming on MySpace.

    Here's a recent video of them playing track 1 of this album.

    Ghostland Observatory - "Glitter" (First Avenue, Minneapolis; 2010)

    A little note: My wife is having twins this weekend! So posting might be a bit spotty next week. Hopefully we can talk about the new Wise Blood single, the new Bloody Knives/Me You Us Them split, and more, while they're still fresh!