Archive for the ‘Artist Spotlight’ 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”
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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.


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]


Graveface relaunches titles following flood damage

The Seven Fields of Aphelion — Periphery

One of my favorite record labels, Graveface Records, went through a bit of a tragedy earlier in the year when parts of their catalog were damaged in a flood. This left some very good records unavailable — three of them: The Appleseed Cast’s Two Conversations, The Seven Fields of Aphelion’s Periphery, and Dreamend’s Maybe We’re Making God Sad and Lonely.

With some great help, Graveface is now able to relaunch the records, and they’re now taking preorders. Get them while you can. I can’t recommend any of them enough.

The Seven Fields of Aphelion – “Mountain Mary” from Periphery | download
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· Check out the Graveface store

Quick Track: Keith Canisius – “The Beach House”

Keith Canisius - This Time It's Our High

Here’s a bit of fun, engaging shoegazey stuff for you. It’s Keith Canisius, dream pop craftsman, with something from his second release, This Time It’s Our High. Check it out; it comes highly recommended.

Keith Canisius — “The Beach House” from This Time It’s Our High | download
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Jack Dishel, Moldy Peaches alum, strikes out on his own

Photo by Martin Hausler, courtesy of Sneak Attack Media

Jack Dishel (or, if you will, Yevgeny Leondovich Dishel) — best known as the former Moldy Peaches guitarist, is off to those indie rock races again, this time on his own under the name Only Son, and this time with a new album. As a preview for his forthcoming Searchlight, to be released Jan. 18, 2011, check out “Magic.” If the rest of the album continues with this pop nous, there will be something very good here, no doubt. For a video of the track, read after the jump, or just check out this mp3.

Only Son — “Magic” from Searchlight | download
[audio:|titles=Only Son — “Magic”]


The Fun Police are, well, fun

The Fun Police

The Fun Police are… well… fun! A quick listen of their most recent EP, Spring Break EP, had me dancing in my seat. Released for free at their website,, the EP is three songs long with “Gringo Merengue,” “We Don’t Want No More,” and “Rather Be Dead.” The Fun Police are a refreshing reggae/ska band from Tacoma, Wash., with an impressive range of musical talent. With hints of blues, jazz, and frequent tongue-in-cheek lyrics, the band guides listeners through layers upon layers of funky, fun music. Definitely worth the listen, even (if not especially) for those not familiar with the genre.


People Eating People, Nouela Johnston’s jazzy new solo project, is catching fire

Nouela and Brian at The Sunset (credit: Christen Shaw)

People Eating People is the solo piano pop project of Seattle artist Nouela Johnston, and it is absolutely astounding. Johnston has gone through much turbulence to arrive at her current position. In 2007, Johnston was locked into a contract with Mon Frere, the band who won the SoundOff! Battle of the Bands in 2007, which she immediately regretted. Johnston dropped from the band which caused her “[…] a shit-ton of legal messes,” as she explained to The Stranger earlier this week. Unable to release her own music until, among other things, the sum of $5,000 be paid to Cake Records, and she played and toured for-hire with three other bands: Say Hi, Fall of Troy, and Creature Feature. All the while, Johnston was recording a demo which eventually reached the hands of Nabil Ayers, current label manager for 4AD, who offered to release her full-length album.

Her self-titled album, People Eating People, released in November 2009, is an emotional outpouring of jazzy vocals and piano. Johnston is classically trained in jazz piano — she began performing recitals by the age of 4. Being that she is classically trained, her music is technically masterful and complex — her vocals are to match. Her lyrics are personal and emotionally driven; we can see such in “I Hate All My Friends.” Pounding and fast jazz keys supplement her apparent anger as she sings a tale of lies and deceit. With “All The Hospitals,” Johnston shows her flexibility as a jazz pianist. Fluctuating, complex rhythms, all the while delivering the similarly fluctuating jazz-style vocals. A highly emotional tale of depression, making references to suicide amongst other things; “don’t cut too deep, take all those pills…don’t swallow… everyone you love is on your side.”

People Eating People — “All the Hospitals,” from People Eating People (2009) | download

See below for upcoming shows, live videos, and a video interview.


SPOTLIGHT: Lightspeed Champion releases new full length LP

Lightspeed Champion

Lightspeed Champion is the brain child of Devonté Hynes and has been active since 2005. In 2007, he released Falling off the Lavender Bridge to critical acclaim. This record was recorded and produced in Omaha, Nebraska with the help of Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis.   Mogis is most famous for his work with Connor Oberst and Bright Eyes. Falling off the Lavender Bridge has a star studded guest list, including Nate Walcott, pianist and trumpet player for Bright Eyes, and The Faint drummer Clark Baechle.

Now, in 2010, Hynes has finally released the followup to 2007’s Falling off the Lavender Bridge, titled Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You and is a bit more complex than the initial Lightspeed Champion release. Where Falling off the Lavender Bridge is often simple and poppy, the new record is thick and speckled with new sounds. Now, it’s not to say that Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You doesn’t feel like the same band that captured the indie folk scene’s heart back in 2007, but it is definitely a departure from the earlier release. Devonté’s voice is definitely stronger on this release. The 2007 release had a kind of sweet nervousness to the vocals, which have since been replaced with vocals soaring with confidence and intention.

You can currently purchase the both Lightspeed Champion albums at Domino Record’s website on vinyl for $12.99, CD for $8.99 and digital for $7.99. The band is currently touring the UK and western Europe.