Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Art for Drinking

Many props to longtime friend Natty for this really bitchin' piece of artwork. Make sure to click on it to get a better look. The teeth are nice globby pieces of white acrylic paint. Sweet. The gentlemen, whom some say looks suspiciously like myself, looks a bit like Nick Cave to me. Be sure to click on the above link to check out some of the really cool pieces she has for sale.

it's boo

i was at a show last night and a few people there had mentioned that they had gone to seen the Charlatans UK the evening previous and in between drinks i kept reminding myself to get some nineties britpop up on the site the next day. i was never into the aforementioned band, but after waking up borderline late for work, i was able to snag a compilation with a song from underrated uk popsters the Boo Radleys.

the Boo Radleys formed around liverpool at the end of the eighties. trying at first to emulate and then distinguish themselves from groups like My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr, the Boo Radleys eventually abandoned the fuzz pedal from their earliest work, including Giant Steps, an ambitious album on many critics year end lists, and started unloading unapologetic, hooky guitar pop. the tweaking paid off as did being championed by John Peel and being on notable record label Creation. timliness also played a factor given the movement of britpop into the mainstream around the time. audiences responded in droves and in 95 the Boos scored a number one in the uk with their album Wake Up! (it's from that album that today's track appeared.) now despite this transision, songwriter Martin Carr was often point blank with the press that he did not consider the band part of the britpop phenomenon and that the group intended to always release music that consciously didn't "fit in" to what was going on. thus, not all too curiously, amidst the height of their popularity, they followed up with C'mon Kids, an album that's sound was more on par with the noise and shoegaze of the groups they once distanced themselves from and naturally the fervor died down despite postive reviews from the press. last year Santuary released an excellent two-disc retrospective.

the Boo Radleys "It's Lulu"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

miss your lover

i got lazy and took the holiday off. said holiday was spent breaking any diets to eat tasty barbeque and then taking in the new X-Men movie, which sadly was not as enjoyable as the first two. i think they simply tried to cram too much into this one. i also watched Everything is Illuminated and can recommend it. the biggest movie news of the weekend, however, came So Much Silence.

now on to the music. my memorial day soundtrack pretty much consisted of old Built to Spill and some Simon Joyner. i first came across Simon Joyner when i went through a cassettes-only label phase. the omaha-based singer-songwriter has a glut of releases and would fall under the catagory of musicians who rather quietly are merely interested in producing art and not outwardly interested in the periphreal aspects of releasing music. as a result, his music has gone underlooked at times, but also as a result it's been elevated in regards to maturation of his songcraft. much in the folk aesthetic, Joyner began releasing simple, yet personal, introspective songs on which he performed alone and it was only over the course of several albums that he's brought onboard additional performers who've brought a subtle chamber pop feel to his sparse and gloomy tales. as loftier comparison cannot exist, with several reviewers noting something Dylanesque in Joyner's music because while he does not immediately come off as naturally gifted singer, the songwriting and the delivery are what grows on you and makes a lasting impression. earlier this year Joyner released a collection of (highly recommended) singles and compilation tracks and a new album is in the pipeline. today's track, however, is from the 1998 2-disc release Yesterday Tomorrow and In Between.

Simon Joyner "Don't Miss Your Lover"

Friday, May 26, 2006

hissing prigs in static couture

today is one of those arbitrary looks at one of my all-time favorite albums. Hissing Prigs in Static Couture was the third album released by the dayton, oh-based group, Brainiac. it was their first album for influential indie Touch & Go. with Hissing Prigs, the band made a leap from the basement indierock experimenting of their previous work and committed themselves to a noisy, high-energy blend of new wave and garage rock that utilized countless electronic effects and some unconventional moog playing. perhaps the change was egged on by producer Eli Janney, who was making simular changes with his own band, Girls vs Boys. cliche aside, the inspired cacophony within sounds like it was recorded by a sci-fi protagonist worthy schizophrenic robot (perhaps the cracked machine of the albums final track) and while the album can be fairly abrasive and weird at times, the group was rumored to be making the jump to a major soon after its release. sadly frontman Tim Taylor died in a car accident during the recording of a follow-up album and the group disbanded. while you seem to never hear much about the album or band, perhaps because their time was short, this album actually made top albums of the 90s lists for both pitchfork and alternative press. i can still put it on and feel like i'm being given something good that i haven't heard anywhere else.

Brainiac "Vincent Come On Down"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

only with you

the aforementioned summer tunes over at MoB came at an appropriate time given that for the past week weather in colorado has been pushing over ninety or close to it. the most obvious response from me might have been a Beach Boys song if i wasn't so fond of the song i choose instead. i recall one of my first summer visits to california where we drove along the coast listening to Beach Boys albums, every bit aware of just how cliche that was. back in 2000 the german label Marina records put out a compilation of Beach Boys covers from around the globe entitled Caroline Now! that made for an interesting listening because a majority of the artists opted to cover more obscure and in some cases, unreleased songs. today's track, from that album, is by June & the Exit Wounds, a project by Todd Fletcher who is an IL-based keyboardist that had played with Nikki Sudden as well as Very Secretary before embarking on his strangely titled project, noted for it's Beach Boys-like vocals over the course of two releases. Fletcher opted to cover a song from Sunflower, a Beach Boys album from the early seventies that began a period of struggle between the band and it's labels, who would either scrap or ask to have several of their recordings reworked. in fact the band's first post Capital recording was scrapped and Sunflower was the response, a return to the groups mid-sixties orchaestrated pop sound, following several years of the band experimenting with rock music. while the album flopped in the u.s. and was deemed "too conservative," the album marked personal highpoint for the group as Sunflower was their first true group effort, with each member penning songs. Brian Wilson co-wrote "Only With You" along with Mike Love and the song includes the chord changes and harmonies that at least for me makes them not just the summer band, but of course the best pop band of all time.

June & the Exit Wounds "All I Wanna Do"

Summer Lovin

Muzzle of Bees has a new feature spotlighting the favorite summer songs of various bloggers and yours truly (J & J) helped kick things off. Go Check it out.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

we can't be friends

today's post is inspired by something pretty favorite pin. i don't even remember how i ended up with a Black Tambourine pin, but for whatever reason i've always liked it. the short lived washington dc-based band has a brief history, but not an uninteresting one. members included pam berry, co-founder of Chickfactor, guitarists archie moore and brian nelson from Velocity Girl and Slumberland records proprietor mike schulman. formed in 1989, the foursome released eight singles and played four live shows before disbanding after two years. it would not be until 1999 that schulman released the bands collection of complete recordings and gave people the chance to see just how representative the band was of the indie sound of the era that followed them even if it was merely a coincidence. Black Tambourine first owed a debt to underground british pop, introducing the influence of bands like the Pastels to the u.s. and coated that sound with same noisy "wall of sound" that inspired bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. it's primordial indiepop from a time that the genre didn't always suggest a saccharine sweet sound and a cutesy image. the following track was originally released on One Last Kiss, a compilation that marked the first release for the Spin Art label back in 1992.

Black Tambourine "We Can't Be Friends"

Monday, May 22, 2006

exeter, rhode island

when you grow up in a state as seemingly irrelevant as rhode island, any song that references your home state can be kind of exciting. i was over at the Matador Records website getting ready to download a track from the new Mission of Burma to cover for the website today. the legendary group hails from boston, a defacto second home for rhode islanders because it serves as a much easier point of reference for strangers you may meet. upon looking for a mp3 i came across this one from recent Matador signee Jennifer O'Connor, whose first album for the popular indie label, Over The Mountain, Across The Valley, And Back To The Stars, is due late august of this year. undoubtably signed following the glowing reviews of last years The Color and the Light, an album favorable reviewed as gloomy indie-folk on par with the departed Elliot Smith with the edge of a since-gone-batty Liz Phair, the nyc-based O'Connor is on t-minus status for blogdom popularity. exeter, for the record, is a fairly dull and sparcely populated rural city known for its campgrounds and vampire folklore that borders the state of ct., where O'Connor grew up.

Jennifer O'Connor "Exeter, Rhode Island"

Friday, May 19, 2006

nothing to lose, everything to remix

very excited about this album, which arrived in the mail this week. Versions is the second remix compilation to be released by the DJ duo named Thievery Corporation. Rob Garza and Eric Hilton began the collaboration in washington d.c. in the early nineties, with Hilton previously taking in the aesthetics of the cities storied punk/hardcore scene while Garza on the other hand, seems to be responsible for the subtle nods to classic and atmospheric rock found on their albums. it was a shared interest in jazz and bossa-nova though that led to the pair not only forming Thievery Corporation, but also starting the Eighteenth Street Lounge Music label (named after the DC club owned by Hilton). Thievery's diverse mix of trip-hop, soul jazz, psyche-pop, dancehall and dub finds itself recreating seventeen tracks that range from usual suspects such as Astrud Gilberto, Herb Albert, Transglobal Underground and Bebel Gilberto to a few surprises such as the Doors and Fear of Pop. there is also an original track featuring reggae singer Sister Nancy. the end results are hyptnotic and soothed, the perfect soundtrack to a stylish, but relaxing, downplayed weekend.

Isabelle Antena (Thievery Corporation) "Nothing to Lose"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

it shouldn't hurt so bad

with the release of the 24th volume of Little Darla Has A Treat for You this week, i thought i'd revisit one of the very first bands the series turned me onto some ten years ago or so. Holiday Flyer was formed by a brother and sister, john and katie conley, who released a number of singles on Silver Girl records before rounding out the line-up with the addition of verna brock (of Beanpole and Rocketship). the northern california group disbanded in 2002 after releasing several albums of comforting, sugary indiepop marked by wistful lyrics delivered in tandem by the siblings. they would branch into the bands the Calfornia Oranges and the Sinking Ships. Holiday Flyer were a staple act on the early Darla comps and would end up recording several albums for the label. the following is off their 1998 ep entitled Blue Harvest.

Holiday Flyer "It Shouldn't Hurt So Bad"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

might as well

Acetone's self-titled album, released in 1997 on vapor records, is generally considered their worst album, panned by critics as sounding lazy and frequently out of tune. it also happens to be my favorite Acetone record, showing you what little i know. the la-based group, formed by three art school friends from the ashes of a punk-surf band named Spinout, debuted as Acetone in the early ninties with the album Cindy and a touring gig as the opening act to vernon yard labelmates the Verve. that album was a bit all over the place, with garage-y rock, guitar pop and droneiness interceptingone other. on their follow-up ep the group scrapped everything and released an album of country and folk covers and then with I Guess I Would, they then abandoned the twang and focused on harmonies and the dreary pop that would carry over for their remaining albums. their label imploded and Acetone were picked up by the Neil Young imprint label, vapor records, that released their final two albims. perhaps my love of the first of those two albums stems from the fact that they toured with Spiritualized to support it and it was one of the best shows i've ever been to. it's dirt slow downtempo pop fueled by heavy drinking and heavy sentiments. following the release of York Blvd., vocalist/bassist (and accomplished artist) richie lee committed suicide (thus the story behind the Spiritualized song "the Ballad of Richie Lee"). the band became yet another from the los angeles area that many expected to get big, but who instead put out some fine albums and then faded into rock's history.

Acetone "Might As Well"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Stack of New Releases (Snow Patrol/Walkmen)

I have a stack of CDs I've meaning to go through for some time. Included are the new albums from Snow Patrol and Walkmen but what really caught my eye was this description stickered to the front of one disc: "vocal sounds of an old saloon with the haunting strings of a Hungarian folk dance and the hard driving rhythms of pure rock and roll, somehow simultaneous reminiscent of both Johnny Cash and Radiohead." Oh, and it was produced by J Robbins of Jawbox and Burning Airlines fame. Wow- could it really be the Tom Waits-Firewater-Johnny Cash-Radiohead hybrid I've been looking for my whole life? Unfortunately it did not fully live up to its stickered promise. Not bad per say, some of the elements were there. I won't embarrass the band by naming them because well, we only say nice things about bands here at I just though the sticker deserved mentioning. Maybe I'll give it another listen in the future- if my memory serves me correctly I hated the first Destroyer album I bought until 4 months later when I put it on and was floored. Sometimes it happenes that way. Anyway, at least I have the new Snow Patrol and Walkmen records to listen to. Here are some choice samples including Snow Patrol name checking Sufjan.

Snow Patrol "Hands Open" (I'm really digging this song alot- lovable anthemic indie rock!)

Walkmen "Lost in Boston"(A song that would make Jonathan Richman proud- which is one of the highest compliments I think one can recieve.)

I think both songs will finally replace Band of Horses' "The Funeral" in the jukebox in my brain.

Friday, May 12, 2006

my bonnie brae

a quick and easy post today because i have a lot of work to get done, but am only working a half day. i noticed that the Twilight Singers popped up on the denver concert calendar recently. Greg Dulli is out on the road supporting his new album, Powder Burns, which releases next week. Afghan Whigs were one of those bands josh was really into and eventually i came around. unfortunately i never saw them live. thus i will have to settle for the aging version of the white man soul. our favorite Drunkard posted this track last month and i've been listening to it alot. bonnie brae is coincidently the best place in denver to get ice cream, which is perhaps subconsciously why i like the song. here are the complete tour dates:

5/18 Minneapolis MN @ Varsity Theatre
5/19 Chicago IL @Metro
5/20 Newport KY @Southgate House
5/21 Indianapolis IN @The Vogue
5/23 Columbus OH @ Little Brothers
5/24 Cleveland OH @Grog Shop
5/25 Detroit MI @ St. Andrews Hall
5/27 Toronto ON @ Lee’s Palace
5/28 Montreal QC @ Cabaret du Musse Juste Pour Rire
5/29 Boston MA @ Paradise Rock Club
5/30 Philadelphia PA @ Theatre of Living Arts (TLA)

6/01 New York NY @ Irving Plaza
6/02 Washington DC @ 9.30 Club
6/03 Carrboro NC @ Cat’s Cradle
6/04 Nashville TN @ Mercy Lounge
6/05 Atlanta GA @ Smith’s Olde Bar
6/07 New Orleans LA @ One Eyed Jacks
6/09 Austin TX @ The Parish
6/10 Dallas TX @ Gypsy Tea Room
6/12 Denver CO @ Larimer Lounge
6/13 Salt Lake City UT @ Club Sound
6/15 Portland OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
6/16 Portland OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
6/17 Seattle WA @ Neumo’s
6/19 San Francisco CA @Great American Music Hall
6/21 Hollywood CA @Avalon

Twilight Singers "Bonnie Brae"

Thursday, May 11, 2006

red sea

another record i've really been looking forward to this year has it's release just weeks away. on the 30th new york-based Asobi Seksu will release their sophmore effort Citrius. i've heard about half the album and the comparision i'm surprised to make is that it reminds me alot of Lush. as much as i loved their self-titled debut from two years ago, i think this album may actually be better. bilingual lead singer Yuki Chikudate embraced the dream pop vocals well-enough back then on a handful of tracks, but the album was a lot more playful pop rock whereas Citrus has a fantastic wall of dissonance that helps shifts her vocals from cute and sweet to delicate, but soaring.

Asobi Seksu "Red Sea"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

i can't figure out these bottle caps

Super XX Man once became the side project of Scott Garred, who moved to texas and fronted popular austin-based popsters Silver Scooter for a trio of albums. with the release last month of his latest album, X, the solo endeavor has once again become his full-time music gig. after adopting the moniker, a reference to a short film made by Kodak some time ago, scott has been releasing his simple and heartwarming bedroom pop for eleven years now and currently can claim the curious job of working as a music therapist for the state hospital's maximum security wing. the job has returned him to the northwest were he has made Hush records his new home. a handfull of reviews have pointed to Scott's curious job to explain the simplicity of his songs, but his albums haven't strayed from the formula for some time and i'd suggest it may have been his music that made him right for the work. each of the albums seems to have one song about a lonely guy and X is not without such a song marking the existence of this figure. it's the track, subtitled "(I'm A Lonely Guy)," that i've chosen for today.

Super XX Man "I Can't Figure Out These Bottle Caps"

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


another of my obscure tracks that i myself admittedly know little about (we've previously posted about "lost acts" such as ESP All-Stars and the Miles). the song "Scrub" by Junebug appeared on a promotional cd from capitol records years back. it was amdist a time were the label underwent some major turnover at the top due to it's inability to compete in the blossoming hip-hop market. they had invested heavily in alternative music, winning big with some acts like the Foo Fighters, and losing on some critical favorites like Verbena and Van Bran. with the changing of the guard, many acts were dropped before even releasing their first album for the major (including Ida...kind of interesting to think they were almost on a major). as far as i can tell this lead to the Junebug album never being released. i've searched high and low online and found very little to confirm an album was ever released, nor have i been able to find any kind of website for the artist. the reason i've broke it out for today though is i think the track would appeal to a section of the current musical climate. it's folky pop that's kind of like a cross between Neko Case and Mazzy Starr. if anyone has any information, please feel free to chime in

Junebug "Scrub"

Monday, May 08, 2006

divine thing

thought i'd use this monday morning to revisit one of my favorite albums from the nineties. i'm talking about Hotwired by scotland's Soup Dragons. with only one album left in them after this one, the group had fully fleshed out their pop rock sounds in the direction of many uk alternative acts by embracing the influnce of dancier music. the band had hinted at it earlier on their album Lovegod, which many dismissed as sounding too much like Primal Scream. imitation is no stranger to the Soup Dragons who began as a blantantly Buzzcocks-esque pop-punk band that then on their second album moved towards a heavier guitar sound, gaining popularity behind a Rolling Stones cover, but it was this co-opting of the madchester fallout that led to the groups best album. perhaps it was moderation as Hotwired wasn't as clubby as Lovegod and even balanced things with a few inovations for them including some gospel inspired bits, but what did remain was themes that continued to embrace the personal freedoms implied in many club tunes from that time. numerous critics would remark that it was with Hotwired that the Soup Dragons finally lived up to their potential, but curiously frontman sean dickson replaced the entire band for their next album despite hitting this stride. the following was the big hit off the album. it never fared well here in the states, but i caught a video towards the end of 120 Minutes one night and fell in love with it and then the album...a precursor to a familar brit-pop phase in my music listening.

Soup Dragons "Divine Thing"

Friday, May 05, 2006


i went and saw Brick with some friends last night and the more i think about it, the more impressed i am with it. in it's tale of a disenchanted, lovelorn teenager as self-made detective, uncovering murder and vice amidst the high schools drug underground, Brick brings a dedicated adaption of the film noir genre to a River's Edge quality teen drama. at the same time, it is not afraid to satirize that moody crime genre, which has become wrought in stereotypes, especially in the portayal of stylized lingo, since it's emergence in the forties. the cynicism, humor, and california murder-mystery that shows the dark soul of the states sunny suburbs make altman's the Long Goodbye an obvious comparison, especially in regards to cinematography and in protagonist depiction (Joseph Gordon-Levitt following up Mysterious Skin with another edgy role to make people dismiss his youthful sitcom past). and then of course there's the music (this is a music blog, no). the soundtrack was crafted by Nathan Johnson of the Cinematic Underground (who will be playing the bluebird in denver on the 15th of this month) and like the music he's created with that band, Johnson's Brick score is quite the musical junkyard, pulling from an array of unconventional instruments to create interesting sounds that double as music laced with film noir idioms. today's download is from an italian podcast that featured Johnson and several pieces from the film.

Cinematic Underground Podcast featuring Nathan Johnson and music from Brick

Thursday, May 04, 2006

i need all the friends i can get

todays track is from my most anticipated album of the year, namely Let's Get Out of This County from Camera Obscura, which is due in early june on merge records. one in a long line of glasgow bands i've become infatuated with, i've already pre-ordered the album as the label is offering it as a bundle with the pre-release single. tracks from the album have been leaking in several places and so far i've enjoyed what i heard, but still look forward to the album as a whole. their previous album, Unachievers Please Try Harder, was my top album two years ago; partly because it was a great pop record and partly because it became the unofficial soundtrack to a summer affair and thus marks the last time anything interesting was going on in my life. guess we'll see what Country brings soon enough.

Camera Obscura "I Need All the Friends I Can Get"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

la verdad

with an upcoming summer tour with Jose Gonzales and a new album (her fourth) out on domino entitled Son, argentinean singer Juana Molina is primed to pick up some casual fans. i say casual because her previous work has been primarily championed by music critics, making top ten lists, but sadly missed by music lovers at large. the timing is also right because Molina's breezy, organic folk for the digital age sound is finding itself in vogue. after attaining success as a comedienne and television personality, Molina walked away from tv to travel. it was in paris and then in los angeles where the singer began working full time on her musical gift. her father, a musician, taught her to play guitar early on in life and she had always dabbled at home admist her acting. perhaps harkering back to those tinkering days, Son is the first album she's recorded entirely at home. as per the language barrier, Molina once stated "My lyrics have to be capable of transmitting the mood and sense of the song even if the listener doesn't understand the language." and she definately succeeds in that it feels intimate, inviting even, regardless of the lyrical content.

Juana Molina "La Verdad"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

2 For Tuesday: Wolfmother & The Submarines

While, Jay focuses on some of the better and often overlooked bands of the last 15 years or so, I've been...well, really neglecting my job to comment on some of the new music out there right now. I've just started a new job and things have been mighty busy/crazy but I'm gonna see what I can do to continue to keep things regular around here.

So far I'd say the the best albums I've heard this year were delivered to us from Islands, Man Man, Destroyer and Band of Horses. Today I'd like to add two more to that list.

I'm not sure what more that I can add to all the hype surrounding Wolfmother except that it's mostly well earned. Previously we featured the band in a list of five bands that prove hard rock/metal is not dead. I managed to get a copy of their self-titled LP that comes out today and I've been listening almost non-stop. It's recommened to fans of Sabbath, The Doors, Nirvana, The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and everything inbetween. It's a balls out rock headtrip where the aforementioned reference points are more than obvious. Lets just hope for their sake that these Australian lads blooming popularity isn't of the Jet variety and that they are allowed to evolve.

Wolfmother "White Unicorn"

The Submarines were a wonderful and unexpected treat, finding its way into my mailbox recently and answering the question, "What ever happened to Jack Drag," a favorite Boston act of mine famous for its low-fi 'Wall of Sound'. Well, John Dragonetti has married another Boston musician, Blake Hazard, and moved to Los Angeles. Well- that's the short version. You can visit their website for the full story. Anyhow, they've banded together for an album Declare A New State, that itself is a wonderful marriage of easygoing indie pop stylings and heartfelt "he said-she said" songwriting. It's all quite lovely, reminiscent at times of both Mates of State and Stars. The more I keep listening to it the more I keep falling in love with it. You can purchase the album on iTunes or wait until June for the CD but here's an advance track along with my favorite Jack Drag song.

The Submarines "Modern Inventions"
Jack Drag "Best Friend"

Monday, May 01, 2006

strange as snow

i was getting ready to post an older tune from the of my favorite bands not many have heard of. i quickly went over to their website to learn that had i stayed on top of things betterm i would have seen earlier that they released a new album, entitled Parallels, in march and so i've changed gears to bring you a new song off of that. the Turn-Ons have always impressed me with their mish-mash of space rock, glam, and shoegaze...making them one of the finest british-sounding american bands in recent memory. the group, which formed in 1997, also seems to have an eye for art, always updating their website and offering aesthetically pleasing posters and pins. they're playing several dates this month, albeit all in the seattle area. be sure to check out there website for several downloadable songs from their previous efforts.

the Turn-Ons "Strange as Snow"