Tuesday, January 31, 2006

porch song

Chapel Hill's music scene was burgeoning hotbed of indierock in the early nineties with the Archers of Loaf and Superchunk representing the hometeam. one of the bands arguably lost in that mix was the alt country of Trailer Bride, a band started by writer, singer, guitarist Melissa Swingle in 1993. Swingle's ghostly vocals conjures up the idea of Nico fronting a moody country group. Trailer Bride would find a home at Bloodshot Records soon after there self-titled debut release, where over the course of five albums, they were perhaps the labels "darker" purveyors of twang, offering up some country-noir if you will. content approaching the familiar topic of lost love, Swingle is just as comfortable unraveling songs about snakes and ghosts. she attests that the darkness is not intentional, but rather internalized angst coming the surface. this track is off their second album, Smelling Salts. it's admittedly not as full-on porch picking, hick-sounding as some of the tracks seemingly preferred by fans, but it's a rather pleasant song about as much.

Trailer Bride "Porch Song"

Monday, January 30, 2006


so we finally welcome a new writer into the fold. it was my intention from the start to have a few of my friends chime in over time and my buddy josh has been on the top of that list for some time. i don't think i've met anyone who spends as much on import records as he does. always a good sign if you ask me.

Before I get into the meat of this post, I'd like to offer a (very) brief introduction. I'm the second Josh to write here, because one is never enough, but I am not related to the two owners. I first met Jason in college and spent a few years as his electronic music director. Jason ran the music department at the u. of co radio station While I can certainly enjoy a good pop song, I have about a spoonful of knowledge in that area compared to Jason's swimming pool. The result is that any entry you'll see here from me will have a beat to it, and most likely be hip-hop related. Without further blabbering, the first track I'd like to share is Aceyalone's "Fire" from the forthcoming Magnificent City (due Feb. 7th). This song has the quality that will always get a song into my favorites list. "Fire" is one of those songs that whenever I hear it, I want to make a mix album. Granted, I don't always make a mix tape out of songs like this, but the fact that it triggers the thought process is what I like. There's no one song style that has this quality, and it's not something I can even define. Certainly, songs that fit into this category will be different for everyone. In this case, it's the summery funk that gets my brain cranking, for other songs it might be a political message, or some sort of love theme.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the track was produced by one of hip-hop's most skilled producers, RJD2. RJD2 is one of those artists that has infiltrated my collection a bit more subconsciously than other artists. Most of my favorites get purchased on or near release day, but RJD2's albums have all showed up later, and now it's at the point where I realize I own just about everything. Aceyalone is in the category of "favorite artist I haven't gotten around to buying an album of." It's something I'll be fixing in a few weeks, but for now, this will have to do. - Josh N.

Aceyalone "Fire"

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Devil & Daniel Johnston Trailer

The trailer for The Devil & Daniel Johnston is now ONLINE at Apple.com.

up against the wall

the hip hop duo Group Home featured Lil' Dap and Melanchi the Nutcracker. the pair got their start supporting Gangstarr, a relationship that would eventually lead to Guru producing and DJ Premier dropping the beats for their debut album, 1995's Livin Proof. while this is considered one of the most underrated bangers of the nineties, there is differing opinions about the album's mcs. while the pair carry a good, though at times bizzarely constructed flow, there's many who question the wit and creativity in the rhymes, suggesting it's amatuer at best. the reason the album sticks out though for even the critics of Dap and Melanchi is because many will point to Livin Proof as one of Premier's greater moments. this track lends support to that argument. two versions of the tune exist on the album, both with starkly different tempos. the Premier genius at work here is what he does a two-second loop that runs thru the entirity of the four-plus minutes.

Group Home "Up Against the Wall (Low Budget Mix)"

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ticket to Ride

So today I noticed that Destroyer and Electric Magnolia Co. were playing a show together here in NYC at the Avalon Nightclub. Avalon!?!?! Isn't that the ravers paradise formerly known as Limelight? Maybe, but it now seems they're booking rock shows- good ones too- like Mogwai. So of course I went to get me some tickets. Only 14 bux! Not bad....BUT it's through Ticketmaster so...$24.50 for one ticket after TWO processing charges. I know the craziness of Ticketmaster has been brought up a million times before, but seriously, boycott them if you can. I feel horrible for the bands especially because I know there are at least a few more lo/no wage freelancing souls out there like myself who just aren't gonna go to a great show like this (and support emerging acts) because of the extra 10 bucks and that really sucks. Luckily many venues including the Mercury Lounge/Bowery Ballroom/Webster Hall trio and Southpaw use Ticketweb.com. Yes, they also charge a pocessing fee but it's much much lower.

That said, here is Josh's upcoming concert calendar of tickets bought with my unemployment check or kindly donated by concerned and wonderful friends:

02/02: PLUG AWARDS featuring The National

03/03 Belle & Sebastian / The New Pornographers

3/10 Rob Dickinson (of Catherine Wheel)

3/15 Isobel Campbell

3/24 The Books, Jose Gonzalez

3/26 The Minus 5, Richard Buckner

Also I'm looking forward to seeing Neko Case in April at Webster Hall as I'm smitten with her sudden transformation into an indie-rock Stevie Nicks.

inside the golden days of missing you

on days where i find myself running late to work it always seems best to break out the cover songs because even if what i write is underwhelming, perhaps the familarity will help distract the listener for the time being. this will only work today though if you are a fan of the Silver Jews, which most people should be. this version of "Inside the Golden Days of Missing You" is by Lenola. the jersey-founded four-track project began self-releasing their blend of psyche-noise rock on their Tappersize label in 1996, growing into a quartet and relocating to the philly music scene where they would become a fixture for the next eight years prior to disbanding following the release of the final album, still unavailable in the us being released in both japan and europe. their second to last album, treat me to some life, on File 13 records would be a highpoint, borrowing heavily from bands like the Flaming Lips and My Bloody Valentine (sounds like an audiophile wet dream basically). the Electric Tickle ep preceded that release and that's where you'll find this tune.

Lenola "Inside the Golden Days of Missing You

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


there have been so many buzz-worthy british indierock bands in the last few years and while i've been a fan of quite of few of them, i have not so instantly connected with any brit band as much as i did with one that never really made much of a splash here in the states. that would be the band Seafood. they began in the late nineties, releasing a number of singles on Fierce Panda records. i had discovered them via the success of their labelmates, the Llama Farmers, on the college station i was working at. in 1999 they released Surviving the Quiet, which went on to be one of top five albums that year and had three top 100 singles in the u.k. if would be two years before the album was released domestically, albeit without much fanfare. i never understood how they didn't take off here. the band sounds very american, emulating the better parts of Pavement and Sebadoh, bands that many people, including myself, are emphatic about. it was kind of a no-brainer. that year the group recorded their sophomore effort, When Do We Start Fighting?, in new york with eli janney of GvsB. in a last gasp to find an american audience the group toured in 2002 with Dashboard Confessional (much to my dismay because i couldn't afford that ticket at the time). while a 2004 release never quite made it here, Seafood plans to release their fourth album later this year and perhaps more people will be ready for it unless it's still early to be nostalgic for a decidingly nineties college radio sound.

Seafood "Belt"


Monday, January 23, 2006

splicing Push King dna

"the 0.1" is something my friend andy and i will refer to every once in awhile when the topic of my favorite pop band in college comes up. it is the ranking attributed to the final Push Kings record on a certain pitchfork website in one of the most unoriginal and lackluster reviews ever to grace that website, which like many pieces in the fork's infancy said very little about a record while singularly focusing on an often cliche idea regarding what is cool. in this case the idea was that commercial sounding pop music being released to the indie scene was apalling. naturally a pop record executed in this clean, crisp, catchy manner is presumed to deserve comparisons to third eye blind and britney spears followed by an uninspired attempt to somehow make sense of the album by potificating about dawsons creek and abercrombie and fitch. the review, suffice to say, was not the highest caliber of music criticism, probably passed off to someone eager to write a memorable record review in lieu of other writers disinterest. still there is an ounce of truth to be drawn from "the 0.1" and that is the Push Kings were a band who ultimately failed to catch on because they were playing pop music far to polished to be fully embraced by the indiepop scene that they were essentially being marketed to. i would often compare them to Squeeze because aside from what they shared in sound, both seemed to be lost on that fine line of commercial pop and the carefreeness that afforded them a more alternative-minded fanbase. it kept the more famous of the two bands from being recognized as one of the best pop bands ever and it kept the Push Kings from making another record after Feel No Fade. there may have been a point in history where the four lads from southern new england, who moved out west in search of a major label might have succeeded in their goal, but the time they sought to do this unfortunately was onc that saw radios blaring nu-metal and cookie cutter boy bands. maybe it was fluff, but hey, i own bubble gum compilations and i definately was way into the Push Kings.

the Push Kings "Macy Macy"
(aka best pop song ever. my friend even named his cat Macy after this song)
the Push Kings "Sunday on the West Side" from their second album Far Places

two projects have surfaced since the disbanding of the group. carrick moore gerrity started up the trio Everybody Else, appropriately taking their name from a Kinks b-side. his brother, finn moore gerrity, now Finian McKean, moved back east, settling into brooklyn to begin a solo career. the reason i entitled todays entry "splicing PK dna" is because listening to material from both it becomes obvious who brought which components to their previous project. Finian's solo debut album, Shades Are Drawn, is soulful and introverted whereas Everybody Else is has turned the guitars up a bit, but still contains a familiar pop bounce and boyish strut.

released late last year, i was especially excited to hear Finian's record because i tended to prefer the PK songs he sang on. several bloggers have tackled the release and it made my morning when i received an e-mail from the man himself asking if i'd be interested in listening to it. a nano-second later i had reply with a run-on sentence containing the instances i drove and flew many miles to see the Push Kings, which roughly translates into "definately." i drove around this weekend listening to it quite a bit, curious what became of one of the pop stars of my waning college years. it was quite a surprise. it's hard to place a genre-specific title to the work. at times it suits the growing, warped folk sound and other times it alludes to his self-admited interest in the country and presumably the sound it suggests, but underneath the noticiably darker lyrics is at times a pop-rock sound that draws me towards the more enjoyable musical comparisons taken from the seventies. anyone familiar with the Push Kings and their raucous behaviour would likely be curious what life experience lead to these eremitic tunes. the voice is so familiar, but musically Finian is doing something certainly classifiable as a departure. it is good and no one will be referring to it as fluff any time soon. here is my favorite track from the album along with an a track from the aforementioned Everybody Else.

Finean McKean "Oh My Heart is Heavy"
Everybody Else "Faker"

looking at this weeks releases

it's a pretty amazing week for new record releases, enough that i thought i'd cover (or at least glance over) it today. i do pause though to wonder how ones anticipation for a record can be effected by the growing number of music blogs. most people know that the new Cat Power record is coming out this week because blogs have been leaking tracks as far back as early november. ditto for Jenny Lewis' solo release with the aid of the Watson Twins. the lead time there arguably has created more buzz for the twins than miss Rilo Kiley. for the last month we've seen a handfull of tracks for the anticipated Tortoise & Bonnie "Prince" Billy cover songs collaboration as well as Compound Eye, Robert Pollard's album. Jose Gonzales' Stay in the Shade ep sees a stateside release this week. some have declared sheffield, england's Artic Monkeys as indierocks next big thing and the moment of truth has arrived. Muzzle of Bees has tracks from their KCRW performance.

there's a handfull of albums from groups that maybe haven't received as much attention, but have sure to be good records released tuesday including East Rive Pipe, Ester Drang, Rocky Votolato (here's a link to 2 mp3s), Gossip and more. now the two that i've already had put aside for me...that would be releases by the Test Icicles and Love is All.

i've been listening to Test Icicles for the past few months and i want to call it punkish, but it's really all over the place and a fun album. Love is All were already declared by Pitchfork to be the "it" band of 2006 and thus masses have taken notice. a few savvy bloggers have known about this Swedish group for some time ago as i believe it was matthew at Fluxblog who posted the following track as far back as 2004. i've been putting it on mix tapes for over a year wondering if they'd be anything else. the album was due last year, pushed back and now releasing this week. i heard they were amazing live, but i also heard the album was a mish-mash of hits, but also misses. we'll see.

Test Icicles"Circle Square Triangle"
Love is All "Make Out, Fall Out, Make Up"

anyway, given the nature of this weeks bevy of releases, feel free to chime in with what's got you most excited.

Friday, January 20, 2006

wonder twins power activate

form of some birthday top five list:

1) sebadoh - bakesale ("Magnet's Coil")
2) teenage fanclub - thirteen
3) jesus and mary chain - stoned and dethroned
4) smog - julius ceaser
5) the softies - winter pageant

top 5: The Special 29th Birthday Edition

Top 5: Albums That Made a Significant Change/Dent in Your Life

01. The Ramones: Ramonesmania
02. Johnny Cash: Live From Folsom Prison
03. Modern Lovers: Precise Modern Lovers Order
04. Elliott Smith: either/or
05. Afghan Whigs: Gentlemen

Thursday, January 19, 2006

the size of a cow

thought i'd keep going with the decade old pop music. when you think of arrogant british bands you may think of Oasis and frontman Liam Gallagher. well let me tell you, the whole "we're the greatest band since the Beatles" thing was pretty passe by the time those guys hit the uk charts. miles hunt, the frontman of the Wonder Stuff became a darling of the british music press for his brashness years earlier. when the group released their debut album, The Eight Legged Grove Machine, uk music was pretty...well, drab. even the dancy music was quite depressing and then came the Wonder Stuff with their injection of young, pop mischief and cockiness, blending poppy brit punk, new wave grooves and stadium filling hooks. the group became huge in england, perhaps willing it by way of hunt's self-importantance laced banter in the press. after four albums, the group disbanded in 1994. ten years later Miles was on the comback trail, albeit to the dismay of his former band members. a greatest hits album was released and soon followed by a new album...and line-up. curiously Miles took the band on tour in the states last year even though they never really broke with american audiences. the college radio station i worked at actually still has a Wonder Stuff poster up on its walls and at the time i was there i was only familiar with just one of the bands songs, this one, because they would often play it back on the modern rock station (wbru) where i grew up. after a trip to montana, someone's copy of Never Loved Elvis mistakenly ended up with my cds and so i'll throw it on every once in awhile.

the Wonder Stuff "the Size of a Cow"

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


i thought today i'd make a real stretch for pop fans. the few people that might recognize Anna Domino probably do so from the first Sixths album where she sang "Here in My Heart". in the early eighties Domino, born Anne Taylor, spent the infant years of her music career simutaneously trying to break into NYC while unexpectedly finding early success in belgium. she settled into brussels long enough to begin work on a mini album followed by her self-titled debut album, which was released on Factory Records in 1996 after her single Trust in Love caught on and was a NME single of the week in the uk. the Factory release was a success and she found herself frequently touring europe. comparisons were made to acts such as Everything But the Girl and Suzanne Vega given the poppy, subtlely danceable vibe of her music, but the lyrics are deceptively quite sad, full of self-doubt, frustration and fear of failure. her second album, This Time maintained some of the uptempo dance tracks, but also saw a number a ballads. the album was a commercial success in europe and also gained fans in her native japan, but attention the u.s., where she began her music ambitions continued to ellude her even as she took up residencies in new york clubs when she could have been continuing to tour overseas. Mysteries of America was her third and last proper album. at this point she had attained a cult following in the states, championed by fellow musicians, and many pointed to this as her most accessible and "american sounding" album. unfortunately it went widely unnoticed. this song is from that album. Domino would release a record in 1999 with a new band called Snakefarm, pairing up with Michel Delory who helped arrange her second album. Snakefarm is more of mish-mash of folk, blues and trip hop. i fell in love with Anna Domino's albums in college, intriqued by an international pop diva sound and whispers of a breakdown made believable by her wonderful lyrics. these three albums can be very challenging to find. fortunately their is a canadian release from the mid-ninties collecting what was dubbed "Favorite Songs from the Twilight Years" that has many of her great songs and is a bit easier to find.

Anna Domino "Paris"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

alien idea

guitarists wyatt cusick and matthew troy formed Trackstar in san francisco during the early ninties. the duo released a number of singles, a split cassette, an attention grabbing 10" (on silver girl records) and then two albums, the 1997 release Communication Break and 2002's Lion Destroyed the Whole World. their first full length, in my opinion, remains one of the most underlooked 90s indierock albums. it offers up that familar transistioning of soft, lazy melodies and fits of guitars with down on itself lyricism. cusick would go on to co-found the Aisler's Set after this album, which may account for the poppier follow-up (which is also noticably more angular given the addition of former Lowercase drummer brian girgus). it's a good album, but still doesn't come close the earlier die young stay pretty/sub pop release that belongs alongside the slack-mentality indierock a'la sebadoh and pavement that precided over 90s college radio and turntables.

Trackstar "Alien Idea"

soundtracks of our lives

So I'm very happy to report that things are really starting to shape up at Loud Monkey Music. Check out today first detailed mix, an imagined soundtrack for a sequel to the horror film 28 Days Later. Also, I just bought a scanner for my impending birthday (1/20) and should soon be adding some of the silly mix tape artwork that I've given and received over the years to the site.

Monday, January 16, 2006

down from dover

longtime bandmates thru several projects, Sally Timms
and Jonn Langford first released Songs of False Hope
and High Values in 2000 as a limited edition, fairly
exclusive mini album available online on their
acoustic tour that year. three years later an extended
version was released in austrailia. both versions are
long since out of print (but available on iTunes!).
for me it served as the epitome of a strange journey,
watching a pair of art-punk Mekons from Leeds behind
one of my all-time favorite songs ("All I Want")
moving to the states and embracing country music. not
surprising because the Mekons had been experimenting
with folk music and towards the later years were
hinting at the now familiar alt country sound, but
intriguing because two brits relocated to exceed at a
non-native genre of music. both artists had relocated
to Chicago and began recording for Bloodshot Records,
Langford with the Pinevalley Astronauts and Waco
Brothers and Timms as "Cowboy Sally." i had a chance
to interview the pair on the corresponding tour where
i picked up the album that has been a favorite of mine
since. it was one of the few interviews where i was
really intimidated in the precense of influementional
musicians who had been around as long as i had been
alive and who were still making marvelous stride.
crammed in a van i nervously asked away and they
unraveled some amazing stories in spite of my likely
silly questions. it would only be natural that the
recorder didn't work properly and all was lost. the
following track from the album seems to be many folks
favorite. it is a Dolly Parton cover entitled Down From Dover.

Jon Langford & Sally Timms "Down From Dover"


Friday, January 13, 2006

a song by your campfire

faint traffic. birds chirping. rain. louder traffic. footsteps. a door. cheree jetton's gentle voice. strumming. the gentlest sounding, feedback-like tone. "down, down, down." birds. footsteps. a door opening and closing.

the Pilot Ships "A Song By Your Campfire"

the Pilot Ships formed in 1996 as side-project for members of Stars of the Lid and Monroe Mustang. they released two albums; There Should Be An Entry Here and The Limits of Painting & Poetry, the latter containing some music subsequently used for the independent film George Washington. both albums drew positive comparisons of everything from Low to Badalamenti's Twin Peaks score. it very much does have a soundtrack feel...that to the slowed paced, hushed moments of life. it's sublte, entrancing and quite lonely feeling. Brian McBride released a solo album on kranky in the fall of 05 that while closer to his Stars of the Lid work, features guest appearences by fellow Pilot Ship members.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

And Now, Your Own Anthems

I found a Guided By Voices Title Generator online. Tons of fun for you GbV obsessives.

My top 5 so far:

1. Six Zero Radio
2. Turgid Fading Delight
3. Windmill Battery School
4. Acceptance Happening Paradigm
5. Curious Gnome Galloping

more than you know

Kevin over at So Much Silence is having a remix week on his blog. earlier this week he broke out the De La Soul remixes. this lead to the familar "De La Soul are so great" conversation in which i promised to post one of my favorite De La tracks that wasn't from one their albums (well until 04's Mix Tape album of rarities and such), namely "More Than You Know" from Prince Paul's amazing Prince Among Theives album, which in 1999 set the standard for the hip hop opera. the album tells the tale of a budding rap star who turns to his mentor, now a drug dealer, to make some money to release a demo. the mentor, jealous of the rappers skill sets him up for a fall. when the young rapper first takes the streets he encounters the characters of the trade, voiced by Chris Rock and De La Soul and this is the song that follows. Paul was in fact the person who "discovered" the band in the late eighties and who would produce 3 Feet and Rising.

Prince Paul feat. De la Soul "More Than You Know"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

all jets are gonna fall today

last year i took in my first nfl game. i went and saw the jets get trounced by the broncos. i was very much not sober and throughout the afternoon this tune was stuck in my head. this is a track for fans of everything with even the loosest ties to Neutral Milk Hotel. formed in Tampa Bay in 1989, one of Chocolate USA's founding members was none other than a teenage Julian Koster who before wowing people playing a musical saw during NMH shows was vocalist for this ambitious group of lo-fi pop misfits. the group was rounded out by violinist Liza Wakeman and drummer Keith Block with a number of friends contributing. i say ambitious because they didn't simply self-release a demo (under the name Miss America before a lawsuit), but began a low-fi tape of the month fanclub, hosted a radio show on WMNF and co-organized a popular annual indie fest. the group was picked up by Bar None who gave their demo cassette a proper release followed by their second and final album, Smoke Machine. Smoke Machine featured an expanded line-up that included two future members of Olivia Tremor Control. parts of that album were recorded in Athens, where much of the band eventually relocated and which is when Koster probably hooked up with the fellows who would also have a short, but much celebrated run of it with. meanwhile Liza went on to form noise rockers and Terrastock veterans Alva. the following is the titular track from their first album and sound wise serves as a fairly on-par predecessor to the artfuly-instrumented retro pop of the Elephant 6 hey day that soon followed the groups disbanding.

Chocolate USA "All Jets Are Gonna Fall Today"

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


those of you planing to compile a mix tape for someone special sometime soon may want to take note of todays track. this is twee pop mix tape gold at it's finest. theres very little that can be said about Majestic aside from the fact that they put together two albums of damn fine catchy pop music. both albums, released on Shelflife Records are sadly now out of print. the southern californian band began as a dronier pop band named Majestic 12 and carried on following the amicable departure of their singer (who went on to form the Arrogants). the group seemlessly blends the vintage, sixties california pop sound with swedish pop, tossing in horns, trumpets and simple, adoring easy to sing along with lyrics. this song is from their 1998 debut Live It Up! and just oozes of boyish charms while exposing an all too familiar sentiment.

Majestic "Wonderful"

Monday, January 09, 2006

tie back your hair

Sackville was a montreal-based band that formed in the mid-nineties (in an attempt to harnest their fanship of the sounds of Giant Sand according the band) and who showed up on the Constellation label for their final release when contributors to that label such as Do Make Say Think, Fly Pan Am and Godspeed You! Black Emperor were making waves in the indie scene. while they had the deceivingly familiar, plaintive sound, creatively bending rootsy genres like many american bands, they subsited in the background of that brief northern invasion. the few reviewers that did pick up their albums would often paint them as one of many Palace-sounding bands. nonetheless, their albums These Last Songs and the Principles of Science are the releases from that "constellation period" i find myself returning to more often years later and with last years revitalization of the montreal scene, i thought i appropriate to bring them out of the vaults. they do have an urban-country sound that at times could best be compared to another canadian band, Royal City...but with more violin than banjo. all told the band released three albums and a split with the Handsome Family. curiously enough, a visit to the bands website alludes to an album recorded some five years ago that to this day has not been released.

Sackville "Tie Back Your Hair"

Thursday, January 05, 2006

c'est super

another trio who only recorded two albums, only this one is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin (not chicago, the home often attributed to them). for those of you unfamiliar with the cultish 80s teen flick Three O'Clock High, the bands name references the psychopathic new kid at school who calls the nerdy protagonist out for touching him. reviews for both the groups debut, September, November, and their follow-up, American Matador, cited the bands sound as a fluid evolution of early nineties indierock. in other words, it's the type of moody pop that in 1998 might have been coined emo when that word suggested groups such as Boys Life and Christie Front Drive rather its current place as a deragatory term for metrosexual teenage lameness and bad haircuts. they are probably the only band to have a record receive a review rating over 9.0 while having their guitar chops compared to Tortoise and still not fall into vogue, leaving bloggers to debate their musical worth. the group once had quite a following in the mid-west, but not releasing a record in five years is usually a sign. i'd highly recommend this song. it's not just one of many records in my collection, but in fact one of my favorite songs of 1999.

the Buddyrevelles "C'est Super"


if i gave you a smile

todays post is for anyone who thought nothing good could ever come from the notion of a post-EMF band. EMF guitarist Ian Dench met up with vocalist Kerry Shaw in 1996 and formed the band Whistler. eventually taking on violinist James Topham, the London-based trio began unleashing a number of well-reviewed singles in the UK. comparisons ran from the then in-vogue folky pop of Belle and Sebastian to the wistful twee pop of Heavenly. unfortunately the group would never attain the success of former or even the cult-like following of the latter. in fact they only have two albums, but both are worth looking for, especially their debut self-titled release on Wiiija Records. Shaws sing-spoken vocals wryly criticize matters of love and the seemingly sparse accompaniment of acoustic guitar and violin teases out a large pop orchestra that offers a beautiful, almost serene contrast to Shaws singing. here's the bookend tracks from that album:

Whistler "If I Gave You A Smile"
"Please Don't Love Me Anymore"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

dearest darling

one frequent music topic i like to tackle is great bands on Matador Records that never took off. one of my favorites is Liquor Giants. undoubtably the band was partly signed on the strength of Ward Dotson's noteriety as the guitarist of Gun Club, though sound-wise it's a seemless transition from his first post-GC band, Pontiac Brothers. Liquor Giants, like PB, is considerably more lighthearded than Gun Club's blues afflicted punkabilly, exploring Dotson's interest in 60s and 70s pop music as well as a desire to perform to a more upbeat audiences. Dotson was the Liquor Giants only permanent entity as he brought in a number of LA-based musicians for each album and tour. the groups fourth and fifth albums, both released on Matador, were probably their strongest. in fact 1998's Every Other Day At A Time was one of the best power pop records i heard in the latter half of the nineties. it's solid purist, catchy pop start to finish that can at times ache and other times get you bouncing. that album includes several hidden cover tracks (including an amazing rendition of the Moves "Fire Brigade") that would also show up on an all-covers album by the band later that year. Liqour Giants amassed a following in Austrailia, where the group released one last album before disappearing in the shadows. if you are a fan of Beach Boys melodies and guitar driven power pop hooks, the aforementioned album is not to be missed. here are two tracks.

Liquor Giants "Dearest Darling"
"It Only Hurts When I Smile"

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

let her go

Birdie was formed in the mid-nineties by Paul Kelly and Debsey Wykes who met soon after stints playing back-up on tour for Saint Etienne. (previously Dykes had been vocalist for influential, indiepop predecessors Dolly Mixture). in 1998 the pair recorded their debut album, Some Dusty, but it would take two years before the album graced u.s. shores. the groups pop, drawing from pop divas of the past such as Dusty Springfield as well as an unusual blend of folk-rock a'la Love and the loungish pop of Saint Etienne, found a few fans in the states including Summershine who released a seven inch thru Sup Pop in 1997 and the founders of Kindercore records who would release the debut album. while the duos nuanced pop suited the label and it's stable of acts drawing upon the 60s pop scene themselves, it surprisingly didn't take. as a result their second and final album, Triple Echo was never released in the u.s. thusly securing that many missed out on a group worth a revisit. the following is Birdie's second uk released single, which i picked up on a visit to new york because...well, i liked the artwork.

Birdie "Let Her Go"

Spin City

Another part of the new master plan for Audio For Drinking invloves less Josh. No fretting though, I've spun off a new website, Loud Monkey Music, where I'll be posting a mix tape every other day. I'll be drawing from years of carefully contructed declarations of romantic intentions, manifestos of adolecence and cheap birthday presents. Check-check-check it out.

can even blogs have new years resolutions or will they like individuals talk a talk that fades in days? as i was in new york for the holidays, i was at a bar with some friends and talking about music. i had mentioned my collection of three thousand albums amassed in the last ten years or so. it occured to me it would make more sense to be delving into that collection for this blog. thus i've decided to commit A4D this year to music from the past...undiscovered, underlooked or escaped tunes from the semi-recent past.