Thursday, July 30, 2009

All Points West

So this will be my last post until, well, I don't want to commit to date, so I'll just say sometime next week. I'll be going off to the All Points West festival in Liberty State Park in good old New Jersey, and I have to say that I am looking forward to it immensely. Despite all of the flak that the organizers of the festival got last year, I remain optimistic that this will be quite the experience. Even though Radiohead was the headliner last year, I have to say that upon comparing this years lineup with last years, this years lineup is much, much stronger overall. Anyway, I'm going to keep it brief and leave you with some mp3s from some of the lesser known bands that will be taking the stage(s) this weekend at All Points West, that should at least be on your radar.

PT Walkley - Somebody
Hey Champ - Cold Dust Girl
Ghostland Observatory - Vibrate
White Rabbits - The Plot
Black Gold - Plans & Reveries
Steel Train - I Feel Weird
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis - Mean Son of a Gun
Lykke Li - Tonight

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

White Lies

I've been wanting to get my hands on the debut album from West London band White Lies, entitled To Lose my Life..., for quite some time now, but as with anything I don't get my hands on right away, I tend to forget about them, only to rediscover them later. Anyway, I finally snagged a copy, and it is phenomenal. I remember how the band quickly became a critic's darling, hailed as one of those post-punk bands that made it okay for the indie hipsters to dance to, which is partially correct. While the band certainly seems to be greatly influenced by Joy Division (although the band claims they're not big Joy Division fans), and while they seem to fit right at home with contemporary gloomy peers Interpol and Editors, they also fit quite nicely in with the likes of Kings of Leon (whom they have supported in the past), relative newcomers Glasvegas, and even the likes of Snow Patrol (who they have also supported) and Coldplay. While White Lies, at the very surface seem to be gloom obsessed alt rockers fond of their effects pedals (some of their song titles will back up this idea), repeated listens and a familiarity with the lyrics and subject matter of each song will subtly reveal that this band is, in fact, uplifting. The boys of White Lies are not lamenting missed opportunities or dwelling on past regrets, they are, instead, calling for some action, and believe me when I say that these guys get off their asses and just plain rock.

White Lies - To Lose My Life
White Lies - Unfinished Business

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cassette Kids

Cassette Kids are a band hailing from Sydney, Australia that I had only recently discovered. Given the fact that a number of the bands that I enjoy very much come from the land down under (Cut Copy, The Presets, Howling Bells, Van She, etc) I figured I'd give these guys (and gal) a shot as well. I was especially inclined to do so considering the band had won the Unearthed Sydney 2008 Big Day Out competition, and were nominated for a 2008 Unearthed J Award (ed. note: I am not familiar with either one of these awards, however they are still awards so therefore I have to admit that I am impressed). The band released an EP (can seven tracks still be considered an EP? A mini-album perhaps?) in 2008 titled We Are. I've only listened to it all the way through once, but I have to say that i enjoyed it very much. I would have to say that they sound very similar to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, the most apparent correlation being the vocal similarity of Karen O and Cassette Kids' Katrina Noorbergen. Definitely recommended.

Cassette Kids - Meant to Be
Cassette Kids - Anywhere But Home (BMX remix)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Van She

I was watching Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome the other day and I started thinking about all of the Australian bands I have come to enjoy over the past few years and I realized that I had yet to post about what is quite possibly my favorite Australian band, Van She. I have one word to describe this band. Infectious. For those of you who actually read this little blog Van She is a band that hails from the land down under (specifically Sydney), and like most of the bands who hit it big around the globe, they craft electropop tunes that can be described in any combination of adjectives that you choose to use. Their label, Modular, describes them as Their label introduced them as a "new band from Sydney fresh on ideas, fresher than Flavor Flav, fresh like coriander, fresher than the Fresh Prince." While that may seem a bit kitcshy, and perhaps a little contrived, the bottom line is that they have honed their synth-based sound to create luscious, danceable tunes. Do yourself a favor and check them out.


Van She - Kelly
Van She - Changes
Van She - Memory Man
Van She - Cat & The Eye

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

As Tall As Lions

I'm a little surprised that I haven't written about this band before, but as anyone who frequents this website knows, there are prolonged periods of time when there is nothing but the equivalent of white noise on this site. But I'm trying to turn that around and stop being so lazy. Anyway, As Tall As Lions is a group from Long Island, New York, and before you jump to any conclusions based on the fact that they're from Long Island, believe me when i say that it is worth your while to give them a shot. The band got together in 2001 and have since released two full length albums, Lacfadio and the self titled sophomore album. Their third album is due out August 18th of this year and is titled You Can't Take It With You. I have to admit that I have only had the pleasure of listening to their self titled album (I have to thank Carlos for intorducing them to me as we both worked at a paint store back in 2006), however after hearing it I immediately acquired it and imported it onto my iTunes. Since I've only heard their second album I can't comment on their sound as a whole, but their self-titled second album is a thing of beauty. Haunting lyrics, earnest and humbling vocals that conjure memories of Jeff Buckley and subtle, sweeping piano and guitar guide the listener through the song until the ultimate crescendo of arpeggiating guitar riffs, crashing cymbals and thumping bass. While none of it is exactly groundbreaking or new, this band definitely knows what they are doing and it creates for a worthwhile listening experience that you will find yourself putting on repeat. Do yourself a favor and check out "Ghost of York", at the very least.


As Tall As Lions - A Break, A Pause
As Tall As Lions - Be Here Now
As Tall As Lions - Love, Love, Love (Love, Love)
As Tall As Lions - Ghost of York

Saturday, July 18, 2009

All Points West 2009

So I will be in attendance at this years All Points West Festival, and to tell you the truth, I am pretty excited for it. I wanted to go last year (the main reason being I wanted to see Radiohead), however the plans I had fell through and ultimately I didn't end up going. No Radiohead this year, but the lineup for '09 is considerably stronger over last years. Many people attested to the fact that last years festival was little more than a two-day Radiohead show preceeded by hours and hours of no name opening bands, which to a certain extent, it was. I've been hearing horror stories about how the lines for the bathrooms are ridiculous and because it is being held at a state park, there are some rather strict alcohol limitations (most notably being the fact that folks 21+ get a bracelet with seven tabs, order one drink, one tab is ripped off, meaning a total of seven overpriced beers for something like ten hours). Despite these drawbacks, I think i'm going to have a good time, mainly because having lived on the east coast all my life I've never actually attended a large music festival, so it will be an experience to say the least. Whether it's a good or bad one, well, I'll let you know when I get back. For now, check out the lineup below, you can still get your hands on tickets!

Friday, July 31: Beastie Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (mp3: Zero), Vampire Weekend, The National, Fleet Foxes, MSTRKRFT, Q-Tip, The Pharcyde, Organized Konfusion, The Knux, Ra Ra Riot, Seasick Steve, Telepathe, Shearwater, Heartless Bastards, Flying Lotus, College Humor Live, Arj Barker, Eugene Mirman and Bo Burnham.

Saturday, August 1: Tool, My Bloody Valentine, Gogol Bordello, Arctic Monkeys, Neko Case, The Ting Tings, Yelle, Crystal Castles (mp3: Crimewave), St. Vincent, Tokyo Police Club, The Cool Kids, Kool Keith, Cage the Elephant, Chairlift, White Rabbits, Electric Touch, The Postelles, Black Gold, College Humor Live, Tim & Eric, Judah Friedlander and Jim Jeffries.

Sunday, August 2: Coldplay, Echo & The Bunnymen, MGMT (mp3: Electric Feel), The Black Keys, Elbow, Silversun Pickups, Mogwai, We Are Scientists, Ghostland Observatory, The Gaslight Anthem, Etienne De Crecy, Lykke Li, Akron/Family, Steel Train, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, College Humor Live, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Showalter and Todd Barry.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness is a band hailing from Austin, Texas. I've had their debut album Fear Is On Our Side, for about two years now (it was released way back in 2006), however I never really paid it all that much attention, and aside from a few choice tracks that i would throw on every now and again, it was always one of those discs that I just kind of kept on the backburner but was always afraid to remove from my iTunes completely because there was just something about it that told me not to. I'm glad I listened. I'm not entirely positive as to how to describe this band. there are a bunch of adjectives and buzz words that I could toss in your direction however, in my humble opinion, you'll probably just head straight for the mp3s anyway. Long story short, the drumplay matches the driving thumps of the bass to foreshadow the vocals that shimmer somewhere off in the distance, as the guitars earnest look upward for something until it all comes crashing together for a payoff that is well worth it. If you could stomach that little summation of their sound then you can probably guess it's soemwhere along the lines of Interpol (or really any band that dresses the part) meets Explosions in the Sky. The sound is sweeping and epic, yet steeped in paranoia and disillusionment. Check out the tracks below for a taste, especially "We Choose Faces".

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - The Ghost
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - According to Plan
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - We Choose Faces

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I stumbled upon the band Catpeople only a few days ago, and despite their absolutely horrific name (which may or may not be inpsired by the David Bowie song of the same name that was in turn inspired by the 1982 film, which was in turn a remake of a 1942 film of the same name), they're actually pretty good. The band is from Spain, so what little information there is on these guys, it's all in Spanish, and despite what my job application says, I am less than proficient at Spanish and frankly I'm too lazy to have Firefox translate it for me. Band biography or not, what it comes down to is that these guys craft some damn fine post-punk songs that I have been enjoying very much, with driving bass lines and catchy, emotive hooks. Upon first listen, one's minds eye will immediately conjour up images of Joy Division, or Interpol, and while yes they do sound similar to a lot of the post-punk bands that are out there right now, one can't deny their melodic songwriting capabilities. Check out the videos below (sorry no mp3s!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 4th in NYC with Jenny Lewis & Conor Oberst

So I went into the city to check out the free concert in Battery Park, featuring indie-folk-pop-rock heroes Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst. The show itself wasn't bad, and I did manage to snap some decent shots, however there were a couple of drawbacks to the overall experience, first and foremost, there is no booze allowed in the park (which sucked but we more than made up for it once we left), and the ridiculous time in between sets (which we passed by playing the drinking game Asshole, albeit without the booze). I'm not a huge fan of Jenny Lewis or Conor Oberst, but I have to admit that I had a fairly decent time. I posted a couple of mp3's of some of the songs that they played below for your sampling pleasure, and I hope your fourth was as good as mine.

Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Conor Oberst - NYC Gone, Gone
Conor Oberst - Souled Out
Conor Oberst - Sausalito

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mother Mother

Mother Mother is a five piece band from Canada that I don't know all that much about other than the fact that they craft catchy indie rock pop that is incredibly infectious. Apparently after only being around for two years they inked a deal with Last Gang Records (Death From Above 1979, Metric), and have since released two full length albums, neither of which popped up on my musical radar at all. I have to give credit where credit is due, but Rob over at Vanmega brought these guys to my attention, as they were recently featured on one of his monthly mixtapes (to be fair he's from Canada, so he's got one up on me). Anyway, they're pure, unabashed fun, so definitely check them out, as I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we hear this band being blasted through the earphones of hipsters and pumping through the speakers at Urban Outfitters.

Mother Mother - Hayloft
Mother Mother - Body of Years
Mother Mother - Ghosting
Mother Mother - Polynesia

Friday, July 03, 2009

La Roux

Being the big fan of electropop that I am, it was only a matter of time before I jumped into English based band La Roux, and in very quick summation, it's all very, very good. La Roux is a synth duo band made up of singer and synth player Elly Jackson, and co-writer and co-producer Ben Langmaid, who, as I understand, prefers to stay behind the scenes, hence the reason why I could only find pictures of the fiery-headed (and possible fire crotch?) Elly Jackson. Their sound very much borrows from 80's electropop staples, so they aren't necessarily breaking any new ground with their work. That being said, their tunes are all catchy, the lyrics are poignant (or at least as poignant as an electropop synth-heavy song will allow), and I was able to sit and listen to the entire album all the way through in one sitting. I recommend, it's good fun summer music.


La Roux - Quicksand
La Roux - Tigerlily