Friday, July 29, 2011

The Shakes

 Keeping with some new faces in southern fried music. Here are The Shakes from Athens Alabama a highly unknown unsigned soul-rock group. In the constant search to find artists that have that "it" factor, I feel like I've struck gold with these guys. The frontwoman pictured above has a cannon of a voice, knows how to evoke strong emotions from her listeners and can play a mean guitar lick. 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Turf War

All the way from Atlanta come Turf War. These newcomers have a record produced by The Black Lips producer that is being released in September. They have released the first track from that record "Cheers to the Years." It doesn't get more straight-forward rock n roll that this. This is perfect summer backyard party rock. 

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Monday, July 25, 2011

The White Stripes

The White Stripes may be gone and my hopes of seeing this titanic duo live again have faded, all is not lost for fans. Jack White's Third Man Records are slowly releasing White Stripes rarities and b-sides from their vault. Their most recent offering includes an Otis Redding cover of "I've Been Loving You Too Long." I've heard the original and I consider myself  a huge Redding fan, but I've got to give Jack major props here because he took Mr. Pitiful's words and made them his own. Jack sounds happy singing this song but the real pain and torment he pours into his guitar. I am so glad this song was kept in storage until now, because I feel like if this had been dropped as a B-side to a single it would not have been as appreciated. I can only hope there is a plethora of White Stripes vault material that will keep a piece of my favorite band alive for me for a long time to come.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Jeff The Brotherhood

For fans of duos of rock and roll such as The Black Keys here is a newish team that is making waves in the indie industry, Jeff The Brotherhood. Where The Black Keys and White Stripes gain influence from classic blues artists, Jeff The Brotherhood seem to take from The Ramones and other punk artists from that era. This is straight-forward fun cock rock and roll.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Tiger Lillies

The Tiger Lillies are going to be a challenge for some of you. I can tell you right away most of you might be put off by their sound initially. However, if you are a fan of the avant-garde and the whimsical then these Brits are right up your alley. My Itunes playlist tries to label their genre as "Dark Cabaret" it's more like Dark Brechtian Punk Cabaret inside a big top circus. If you like Tom Waits or the Bonzo Dog Band these guys to me sound like a mix between them with a little Tiny Tim thrown in. If you're trying to get into The Tiger Lillies good luck, their discography is massive and even I am having a tough time deciding where to start. My favorite song so far has to be "Crack of Doom" off of Blood + Blasphemy which I have posted below. Though some of you might not enjoy them, you can't say they are not original. They tell vivid often gruesome tales through their accordion-laid circus antics. They don't come stateside that often but when they do tour they often set up shop for multiple days and  perform in a sort of twisted Barnum & Bailey setup. Also check out a recent performance of The Tiger Lillies covering Tom Waits's "Diamonds & Gold"

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Crack of Doom

Friday, July 15, 2011


Like Bon Iver? Check out his former bandmates' band Megafaun. I played basketball with these guys a few years back, good times. This song is very heady, but I love the fact that they sample the sounds of cicadas in the background. Look for their new album in the fall.
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These Words

Friday, July 8, 2011

2011 So Far...

Half of 2011 has come and gone and already people are shaping up what their end of the year lists are looking like. A lot of bands have released some very very good records this year, but not a lot of what has been released has blown me away and left me wanting more. Many albums have failed to surpass their predecessors in my opinion. Take for example, Bon Iver. Everyone loves that man's falsetto siren of a voice and as of right now it's Pitchfork's favorite album. But not one track on that record captivated me like "The Wolves (Act I & II)" did or half of the other songs on For Emma. We can argue and nitpick over why certain releases this year should be loved or disliked, but let's just get into it instead, I guarantee you this list will change drastically come December.

1) tUnE-yArDs - W H O K I L L

This album is a chaotic mess of swirling sounds that just somehow manage to come together into a powerful and ingeniously fun record. Frontwoman and ukeleleist Merrill Garbus's voice is what really makes Tune Yards work for me, she has an uncanny ability to sing with such varying character that makes every single track on Whokill unique.

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2) Bill Callahan - Apocalypse 

Apocalypse is easily the most aptly titled record of the year. Callahan is to country/folk like Cormac McCarthy is to literature. Callahan paints a bleak Dante-esque landscape of "the country" that becomes more and more daunting the further he travels down the rabbit hole, however the closing number "One Fine Morning" breathes a sigh of relief and signals a more hopeful and redemptive sign of hope showing us the beauty of the prairie. His lyrics have the ability to seem cryptic and extremely present at the same time. Bill Callahan is our generation's Townes Van Zandt folks, get used to it.

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3) Cut Copy - Zonoscope

With LCD Soundsystem sadly gone, there is room at the top for the next huge dance/electro/punk band. Australia's Cut Copy has put forward their candidacy with Zonoscope. This album is a party from start to finish. The opening track "Need You Now" makes me feel like I can run track at The Olympics and the epic 15 minute closing track "Sun God" is the best long dance jam I have heard since The Juan MacLean's "Happy House." It's going to be hard to top this album as best dance album but we'll see the year is young and there's still a new Rapture album to be released. 

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Need You Now

4) Low - C'mon

Some of you may be scratching your heads on this one, I haven't talked about this record on the blog yet and Pitchfork gave it only a 7.2 but they're fucking idiots. I am fairly new to Low though they've been around awhile and I've heard their most acclaimed record The Great Destroyer but I think this one is better. C'mon weaves in and out of sparse quite lullabies and pounding anthems. This album has something that very records I've heard this year have, drama. The members of Low are clearly going through some sort of internal struggle that translates beautifully into their music. Check out my favorite track "Majesty/Magic" which starts out ominous and slowly builds and builds.

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5) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

The title track for this album helps the rest of the record out immensely, because it is my favorite song of the year so far. "Helplessness Blues" is the kind of song that this country needs to hear right now, a politically charged track that has a deep rooted philosophy attached to it. It's the kind of track that can help people through tough times and help them to see the light. It just so happens that one of the prettiest sounding bands, Fleet Foxes gets to deliver this message. While Helplessness Blues is not as memorable nor does it surpass their previous album, it is certainly more complex and they don't rely too heavy on the harmony which is exactly what I wanted from this band, so thanks guys!
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The Shrine/An Argument

There were a lot of other albums that barely missed the cut that you should expect to see towards the end of the year and should check out in the meantime:
Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts, Man Man - Life Fantastic, PJ Harvey - Let England Shake, The Weeknd - House of Balloons, Shabazz Palaces - Black Up, Ty Segall - Goodbye Bread

Monday, July 4, 2011


Happy 4th Everyone! Add this to your BBQ Playlist, one of my favorites of 2011.
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Bill Callahan - America!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital

Though I am still lamenting the loss of Wolf Parade, an indie supergroup that combined the best elements of Handsome Furs and Sunset Rubdown into one of the most solid bands in all of indiedom, I am very excited to hear new material from the Furs. Sound Kapital has caused quite a lot of controversy due to the NSFW album cover. Many people think it to be pornographic, I disagree I find it beautiful and very artistically done, it might even be my favorite cover of the year. Despite the naked lady, this is Handsome Furs best album to date, so though the death of Wolf Parade may get me down at least Dan Boeckner has had time to perfect his other group.

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