Archive for the ‘’ Category

Artist Spotlight: Soul Distraction

Soul Distraction

If you’ve ever dug through your parent’s vinyl collection and felt a slight sense of apathy you can’t really explain, trust in me that you are not alone.  Most of us in our 20’s and early 30’s know that there was a period of time, in which some of us were actually alive, that you could turn on the radio and hear a song that was absolutely to die for.  Although most of us can’t really remember such a time.

Soul Distraction — “Talk About It Later”
[audio:|titles=Talk About It Later]

Now, we all know such ideals are pretty much dead and gone (save for the resurrection of Cee Lo Green), and we are more app’ed (get it?) to digging around on our iPhones and finding the next underground sensation from a city we may have never heard of, and will probably be disbanded within a year after a SXSW appearance and a west and/or east coast tour.  We love the music for the music.  But, we seem to have lost the Cheap Tricks and the Deep Purples that once were ruling the airwaves, as well as our hearts.  And if you long for that classic rock vibe that has seemed to disappeared into the depths of the indie rock sea, fear not, because the sound has been recaptured in a way you probably never imagined.  And the high definition lens showing us the future, as well as the past, is seen through the eyes of Portland’s Soul Distraction.


Album Review: The Seldon Plan – Coalizione del Volere

The Seldon Plan

In the world of music criticism, there are a few on rules that are supposed to be followed, but are routinely dismissed.  One is using the first person reference in a review.  Thankfully, blogging as completely destroyed this concept, so we, actually I, can say whatever the hell I want.  Amongst the probably hundreds of other ridiculous rules is to never make assumptions about a record/artists/burlesque show if the standards are too high for a band that can’t live up to the expectations you have set.  It’s also not a good idea to use foul language.  So, on that note:  The Seldon Plan’s Coalizione del Volere is an album that I believe is absolutely fucking fantastic, and you will absolutely adore it.  Rules are meant to be broken.  And with an album like this, it is perfectly acceptable to raise the bar all the way to the heavens.  They have the means to back themselves up on product alone.

The Seldon Plan — “Fractionation”
[audio:|titles=The Seldon Plan – Fractionation]


Music Video: The New Pornographers – “Moves”

This is a great video — it’s “Moves” by The New Pornographers, and it features a veritable cornucopia of comedy gold. Contributions from fellow Matadorian Jon Wurster and a slew of Daily Show members make this really enjoyable, and the “story” is just brilliant. From such humble (-seeming?) folks, this is a great video!

Written And Directed By Tom Scharpling
Producers: Robert Hatch-Miller & Puloma Basu

Cast: Jon Wurster, Julie Klausner, Kevin Corrigan, Wyatt Cenac, Horatio Sanz, Ted Leo, John Hodgman, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, Todd Barry, Donald Glover, Esther Crowe, Michael Lisk, Gabe Delahaye, Max Silvestri, Jay Norton, David Rosenblatt, Terre T., Anna Copacabana, Rob Cuthill, Brian Turner, Alex Scordelis, Jonathan Fernandez, Therese Mahler, Candace Mills, Christina Stanley, Christine Tadler, Owinema Biu, Chris Spooner, Jacob Wolk

Music Video: Dreamend – Magnesium Light

Check out this video for Dreamend’s “Magnesium Light” from So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite. It’s a bit on the bizarre side but nothing terribly out of sorts.

Artist Spotlight: Andy B

Andy Botterill

The danger with lo-fi pop is pretty obvious.  It draws the same sort of sometimes warranted typecasting of non-creativity that punk music received in the late 1970’s to the mid 80’s:  it all sounds the same!  Now, those who actually listen to the music know that this is not entirely true at all.  But, give one good reason why The Ramones are world renowned, and The New York Dolls, although critically and cult acclaimed, are just a quick blip in history.  Both were sensational in their own way, but someone always has to stand out.

Andy B – “Talk About it Later Baby” from Days Pass Me By
[audio:|titles=Andy B – “Talk About it Later Baby” from Days Pass Me By]


Released This Week: Esben and the Witch – Violet Cries

Esben and the Witch - Violet Cries

Violet Cries is the full-length debut from Esben and the Witch, and it’s been launched on the ever-effervescent Matador Records. It’s a brooding, self-reflective release and it’s hard to catch the vision sometimes. Those difficulties are quelled throughout, but lingering doubts harm the effectiveness of this record.

Esben and the Witch – “Warpath” (download)
[audio:|titles=Esben and the Witch – “Warpath”]

Throughout Violet Cries, I’m never sure whether something more exciting is going to come into play — and that’s after several listens. When the pace gets frenzied, I almost expect something bombastic and vibrant, but instead, Esben and the Witch stay the course.

It’s hard not to be impressed by this debut, but it’s also hard to fully enjoy it during the first few listens. I can’t complain about the result, and while it was a hard one to dig into, but I’ve since gained a real appreciation of it.

January shapes up exciting 2011 music scene

Here's where I destroy the mystery of what I've pegged as number one for January.

January brought with it some stunners. I won’t bore you with exposition; let’s just get to the music.

5. Braids — Native Speaker
Native Speaker is mysterious and draws a bit long. It’s even kind of clumsy. Somehow, though, Native Speaker is satisfying — invigorating, even.

Braids — “Lemonade”
[audio:|titles=Braids – Lemonade]

Read my review at No Ripcord.

4. Robert Pollard — Space City Kicks
I worry sometimes when I talk about music from Robert Pollard. He’s sort of a demigod in the indie rock world, having been in the driving seat for many years with the inimitable GBV. Thankfully, Space City Kicks sees him to return to parsimonious songwriting again, and there are some really memorable tracks here.

Read my review at No Ripcord.

3. Ensemble — Excerpts
This is future chamber pop. Really, I think some French-speaking space aliens swooped down in a time travelling spaceship, dropped this indie pop at the band’s door, and it’s hit the world.

Ensemble – “Things I Forget”
[audio:|titles=Ensemble – “Things I Forget”]

Read my review at No Ripcord.

2. Smith Westerns — Dye it Blonde
Smith Westerns have taken their fragmented, noisy approach and spiffed it up. Dye it Blonde is fuzzy, exciting power pop. It ventures into euphoria sometimes. Yum.

Read my review at No Ripcord.

1. Destroyer — Kaputt
Destroyer, that brilliant man. Or Dan Bejar, that brilliant man. Something like that. He can hardly do wrong. Kaputt is everything done correctly. As a result, this is an early contender for album of the year — when the end comes, don’t forget about this January masterpiece.

Destroyer – “Chinatown”
[audio:|titles=Destroyer – “Chinatown”]

Read my review at No Ripcord.

And if you’re looking for more to check out:
• The Decemberists — The King is Dead. Good stuff, that. It’s the same band doing something different again. Keep it at, Meloy.
The Beets — Stay Home. Fuzzy, lo-fi, but some fine songwriting beneath it all.
Minks — By the Hedge. Hazy, noisy pop, but it’s got some good moments.
Oh No Oh My — People Problems. Refined, not brilliant. Not so sugary. I don’t mind.

And just wait for February:
• Esben and the Witch — Violet Cries. This is great stuff — brooding, mysterious, engaging wrapped in a very strange package. First listen was not great, but now I can’t get enough.
• Bright Eyes — The People’s Key. Conor Oberst as Bright Eyes: He’s back!
• Mogwai — Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. Post-rock goodness from part of the ruling class.
• James Blake — James Blake. Interesting Brit dubstep. Not my favorite of February so far, but I’ve set it as my alarm album a couple times to good effect. A little too dreamy to wake up to, but it’s fun.
• Asobi Seksu — Flourescence. I’ve not listened to this yet, but I have some high expectations. Not too high, but high.

Damn, I love Dreamend

Ryan Graveface, the man behind Dreamend, has had my ear for a number of years now. He first landed on my radar when I, on a bit of a whim, bought As If By Ghosts. I was, I think, duly impressed, and I’ve since paid some attention to Graveface, his label. Some of what’s released by the man is brilliant.

Maybe We’re Making God Sad and Lonely is no exception. This is a delectable mix of post-rock and pop; the swells, the drops, the hesitant approach and the glorious return: It’s all here, and it’s all masterfully done. This LP is among my favorite in my collection.

Listen to “New Zealand” below.