Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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”]


REVIEW: Kathryn Williams’ personal journey contemplative, intimate

Kathryn Williams’ latest release ‘The Quickening’ is a highly agreeable personal journey shared by the artist that fits like a favorite shirt and leaves the listener with a feeling of having spent a season contemplating some of her most intimate thoughts and experiences.  And being a better person for it.

Williams embarks on her current musical trip with “50 White Lines”, a rhythmic sing-along about tooling down the highway with the wind in her hair and troubles at her back while her travel partner carefully counts off the painted white dividing stripes to pass the time, offering possibly the album’s most obvious choice for a single.  That rhythm-of-the-road theme carries over to “Just a Feeling”, which leaves you with just that thanks to a cool, easy tempo and what sounds like possibly a 12-string guitar (I’m working off a demo copy with few liner notes) being deftly picked atop the casual cadence.


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.


The Mighty Mighty Bosstones bring back their signature sound with Pinpoints and Gin Joints

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Pinpoints and Gin Joints

The album starts with a sound familiar to any fan of ska music. It’s an instant reminder that The Mighty Mighty Bosstones haven’t lost it, even after all these years. The band started in back in 1983 playing something completely new: a mixture of punk rock, hardcore and British 2 Tone ska. They were together until 2003 with few line-up changes. From 1989 to 2002, the seminal ska band released 7 albums and reached legendary status in the scene.

After a 4 year hiatus from 2003 to 2007 the band reunited and performed a few small tours. In 2008 they announced they would be recording a new album, and on December 8th, 2009, the band released the first new album since 2002’s A Jackknife to a Swan. This new album, Pinpoints and Gin Joints, really shows that ska is still alive and skanking.

Latest from Aloha, Home Acres, blasts indie prog into perspective

The latest effort from American indie outfit Aloha is bold and refreshing: While not necessarily the pinnacle of progressive indie rock from Aloha, it’s 1) something new, and 2) something good. How many other indie rock bands are out using marimbas and bells? Home Acres features plenty of their musical trademark, but we get some delicious additions. The guitars are  magnanimous in their distorted quality, and I think at one point, we may hear an idiophone with gourds — maybe the balafon — resonating and buzzing away. Home Acres hits shelves tomorrow.

Purchase Home Acres

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.


Matt Pond PA’s “The Dark Leaves” is a musically mature, folk influenced, indie-pop/rock masterpiece

Matt Pond PA (credit: Jacob Pritchard)

With their upcoming release, The Dark Leaves, Matt Pond PA has made some positive adjustments to their usual indie-rock-influenced style. Matt Pond PA, while retaining their notable pop sound, seem to be floating into folk territory with this album with the soft-spoken lyrics, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and accompanying strings — dropping much of the electronics heard in their previous album, Several Arrows Later.

The first track, “Starting,” sets us off in the right direction — poppy, flowing lyrics, strings, and keys provide us a genuinely delightful music listening experience that begs the listener to snap right along with the music. “Starting” is done in a style mostly reminiscent of their previous album, Several Arrows Later, unlike the rest of the album which gives us a new and unique style.

Matt Pond PA — “Starting,” from The Dark Leaves (2010)

Vampire Weekend’s new album “Contra” is just as awesome as you hoped it would be

Vampire Weekend's Contra

Vampire Weekend's Contra

Vampire Weekend’s Contra really isn’t new news, since it was released last month on Jan. 11. However, the album has recently spiked in popularity due to their celebrity-filled video for “Giving Up the Gun” being released last week. Featuring Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lil’ John and RZA, the video is a perfect blend of band members vs. actors. “Giving Up the Gun” isn’t as tropical sounding as their songs tend to be, but other tracks such as “Diplomat’s Son”, “Run” and the bonus track “Giant” make up for that.

Thankfully, their second album raised my lowered-expectations. They managed to pull off almost a completely different feel without leaving their old sound behind. They’ve also included a free download of “Horchata”, the first track on the album, on their website. But if that’s not enough for you, the album is available for purchase at $9.99 on iTunes.

Sit back, listen to Contra and go on, go on, go on.