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!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Introducing Boy-Girl Band Hatchet Wound

"Efficient" - Click to order

  • Hatchet Wound - "Efficient" 7" (Sixteen Tambourines) [MySpace]
    • A boy with drums and a girl with a bass play rock-'n'-roll in Austin, Texas, and share their creations with the world. We are blessed. "Minimalist" describes their sound very well.
    • They like to post nonsense on their MySpace blog.
    • It has two A-sides, "Efficient" and "Stampede". This is so underground that I can't find a place to listen to them online!
    • But you can hear the B-side, "Baby to Bed", on MySpace.
    • Buy the wax here.

I hate to have nothing for you to play here, so here they are playing a cover of Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead" in El Paso this past summer.

Hatchet Wound - "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (Bauhaus cover, El Paso, 2010)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh Man, Good Music Week

Shake the Shackles
"Shake the Shackles" -
Click to order

  • Crystal Stilts - "Shake the Shackles" single (Slumberland) [MySpace]
    • Get the free MP3 here. B-side "Magnetic Moon" is on MySpace.
    • Lo-fi post-punk goodness with an organ.
    • A 7" vinyl edition is available, and you can also order both MP3s here.

"Constance" - Click to download
  • The Studio Era - "Constance" single (Beko) []
    • Mellow enough for Sunday morning, interesting enough to belong on this blog. Good stuff.
    • They say they're from Portland and Brooklyn. They don't post pictures, so they're kind of mysterious.

New Chain
New Chain - Click to order
  • Small Black - New Chain (Jagjaguwar) [Blogspot]
    • Chilled new wave. Keyboard-y. Found it here (password =
    • They call it "chillwave". And I approve. Four boys from Brooklyn make beautiful noise together. You should really check it out.
    • You can get the first single, "Photojournalist", for free at Pitchfork. It and another track, "Search Party", are on MySpace.

I think I like the Crystal Stilts single best of these. Here's "Shake the Shackles".

Crystal Stilts - "Shake the Shackles" ("Shake the Shackles" single, 10/26/2010)

Monday, October 25, 2010

All-Girl Band Warpaint Releases Debut Album

  • Warpaint - The Fool (Rough Trade) []
    • Found it here, but it's streaming free at their Web site.
    • Hard to describe. It's interesting, winding rock-'n'-roll with heavy reverb, harmonic vocals and a slightly psychedelic bent. The tracks are rather long. Very nice, though. These girls can really play!
    • Also available as a vinyl double-disc and an MP3 download.
    • From L.A. but currently touring Europe.
    • The Fool
      The Fool - Click to order
    • Worth checking out.

Here's a particularly impressive track that someone just uploaded this morning.

Warpaint - "Bees" (Rob da Bank session, BBC Radio 1; 9/18/2010)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Other Stuff I've Checked Out

Another Man's Treasure
Another Man's Treasure -
Click to order

  • Ima Robot - Another Man's Treasure (Werewolf Heart) []
    • Their third full-length album and their first on a small label. Their first two were on Virgin. I guess they're too hip for Virgin now.
    • Streams free with bonus tracks at
    • It's like afro-brit pop with computers...I don't know. Must be a hipster thing. Are they competing with Gorillaz? That's how it sounds.
    • Extremely well produced. These guys must have some serious gear and a lot of money.
    • Ridiculously loooooong.......and the more I listen, the more it wears on me.
    • This is similar enough to other stuff I post about that it seems to belong on this blog, but I'm not sure what it contributes musically. It's interesting, and it will sell well because it's Ima Robot, but not necessarily because there's anything really special or new here. As long as the hipsters get their T-shirts that make their co-workers/classmates go, "Whaaa...he must be cool!"
    • Or maybe I just don't get it.

  • Gram Rabbit - Miracles & Metaphors (Cobraside) []
  • Miracles & Metaphors
    Miracles & Metaphors -
    Click to order
    • Streaming free at Bandcamp. Kind of a mish-mash of styles with everything from country to high-energy dance to pure rock. Both male and female vocals, but primarily female. Difficult to pin down, but maybe a good party album.
    • Their fifth full-length album. They've been prolific since 2004, but I never heard of them until today.
    • At least this one doesn't sound like it was made for hipsters. It's extremely well produced also, but I think it's a lot more interesting and unique than Ima Robot's album. This one's for true music lovers.
    • All in all, it's pretty good stuff. It's one of those albums that has something for everyone.
    • They're on tour now and will be playing at the Rumba Cafe here in Columbus tomorrow night.
Here's track 2 from Miracles & Metaphors performed live a month ago. These guys are interesting! You won't be able to see anything until 25 seconds in.

Gram Rabbit - "Candy Flip" (Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival; 9/18/2010)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Sunny Day in Glasgow Give Away New Album

Autumn, Again
Autumn, Again -
 Click to download
    • MP3s are available at Amazon, but the band started giving this away for free (and accepting donations) on Monday at I guess you have to pay attention to know these things!
    • Eleven tracks recorded at ten different sites, running under 34 minutes.
    • The girl on the cover is saying, "Autumn, again," and the dude says, "Sigh."
    • This dreamy six-piece pop band from Philadelphia cranks out some nifty sounds and heavenly harmonies. Anyone who is into dream pop will love this, I'm sure. All vocals female.
    • Track 2, "Fall in love", is about as powerful and impressive as dream pop gets. I'm gonna have to recommend this.
    • Order the vinyl version here. The Decibel Tolls reports that it glows in the dark. [Edit: He was kidding.]

Here's the track that wowed me so much.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow - "Fall in love" (Autumn, Again, 10/19/2010)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Brilliant Pop Music Out Now

Brave New World -
 Click to order
  • Wonder Wheel - Brave New World (Sixteen Tambourines) [Blogspot]
    • On cassette only, but four tracks are on MySpace. (Scroll down to the last four, "Think Too Much", "Eyes", "After Dark" and "IMHO". You can tell these tracks are new because they have very few plays so far.)
    • Beautiful, fun, distorted California pop. Recommended!

Modern + Rarities - Click to order
  • Blackbird Blackbird - Modern + Rarities (Sixteen Tambourines) []
    • Also on cassette.
    • Also beautiful, fun, distorted California pop. But different. Girls sing on a few of these tracks.
    • This guy's still in high school. Amazing talent. I'm very impressed.
    • Check out "Starlight" and "Modern Disbelief" on MySpace. Great stuff.

"Gobble Die" - Click to download

  • Of Mice and Mental Arithmetic - "Gobble Die" single (Beko) [MySpace]
    • Fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek, multi-vocal pop music from the UK with guitars, keys, drums, bass and horns. 
    • Creative, smart lyrics and fun song titles like "Fish Cannot Carry Guns" and "Ants and Bees Are Communists".
    • a.k.a. Omama. Features members of Lardpony and The Deirdres. Band members are listed as "fairy, gemma, sophie, and tom". 
    • I think this is math rock? *shrug* Probably not. Why label it, anyway? Whatever it is, I like it a lot.

Here's a video for Wonder Wheel's "After Dark", track 2 on Brave New World. With scenes from classic films...

Wonder Wheel - "After Dark" (Brave New World, 10/12/2010)

WONDER WHEEL - After Dark from Moduli TV on Vimeo.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blast From the Past: Cincy's Candy Afterlife

I don't have much new to write about today, so I thought I'd mention a band I heard on Radio this week. I won't be doing this often, believe me.

I haven't come right out and said it, but this blog tries to focus not only on underground artists, but especially on pop music that makes use of "noise" as a medium. This certainly includes shoegaze.  I don't consider myself a typical shoegaze fan, though. I'd have to worship Slowdive to be a true 'gazer, but I'm not a fan of their slow, emotional style. I like the punkier stuff.

Having qualified my opinion in that way, I'd like to introduce one of the best shoegaze albums I've ever heard. Around ten years ago, I guess, some number of mysterious young people in Cincinnati, Ohio, released a record on some mysterious label. All I really know is that the band was called Candy Afterlife, and so was the album. They managed to take everything I personally love about shoegazethe driving, distorted, swirling guitars that drone up and down the scale, the machine-like drums that punctuate every phrase, the reverb that soaks everything until it's dripping wet, the distant, glossy vocals that call out dreamlike for the listener to lose him/herself in ecstasyand jam it all brilliantly into nearly every track. There's only one ballad in the bunch, and it's a good one, summery and surfer-like, so I don't mind.

Ok, enough mushy praise. I can't find any place in the world to purchase this album, so no one should feel guilty about going here and downloading it for free. All eight tracks are available free at anyway, so it looks as though the band intended them to be free to the world.

But if you need convincing, here's one of the really powerful tracksthe final track on the album. This one's practically metal.

Candy Afterlife - "Beechild" (Candy Afterlife)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wolf People's Album Sounds Like '70s Psych Rock

Steeple - Click to order

  • Wolf People - Steeple (Jagjaguwar) []
    • English psychedelic rockvery '70s feel, but knowing it's new feels good, especially when it's done so well. I'd compare it to Jefferson Airplane, but what do I know?
    • First full-length album. According to the label, it was "recorded in a converted chicken barn on the grounds of a 17th century Welsh mansion." 
    • Got it here, but you can stream it on their Web site for free. Also available on vinyl.

Here's the official video for track 2, which is either "Tiny Circle" or "Tiny Circles". There seems to be some confusion between the band and their label.

Wolf People - "Tiny Circle(s)" (official video, 2010)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some Music This Week

"Face It" / "Distance"
Face It/Distance -
Click to order

  • Beach Fossils - Face It/Distance 7" (Captured Tracks) [MySpace]
    • Laid-back, So-Cal feel from a Brooklyn band. Electronic drumming. I like it lots.
    • Kicking off a European tour in Brooklyn this weekend. Well, that's what their schedule shows.
    • Both tracks are on MySpace. Get the vinyl here.

Stay Home

  • The Beets - Stay Home (Captured Tracks) [MySpace]
    • Not the band from Doug. Pure, fun rock-'n'-roll from the Laguardia Airport area. Flute a'plenty.
    • The album art is pretty funny.
    • Track 1, "Cold Lips", is on MySpace. That's the only album track I can find, but alternate versions of tracks 4 ("Watching T.V."), 6 ("Floating") and the final track ("Flight 14") can be found on Daytrotter.
    • I can't find any place to order this yet, even though it's supposed to be released today. But at least you know about it.
  • Kelley Stoltz - To Dreamers (Sub Pop) []
    • Track 9, "I Don't Get That", is on MySpace. I would also call this pure, fun rock-'n'-roll, but not like The Beets at all. This is more like the Kinks, while the Beets are more like the Velvet Underground? Just a first impression.
    • I like the lo-fi feel of Stoltz's tracks. Sounds like he recorded them in his living room.

Now here's Beach Fossils! Here's the B-side of their new 7".

Beach Fossils - "Distance" (Face It/Distance 7", 10/12/2010)