Archive for October, 2009

Internet Forever, God Help The Girl, Rural Alberta Advantage

Internet Forever’s MySpace page notes that they are “good at songs, bad at fidelity.”  I know nothing about their personal affairs, but I’m sure the fidelity comment doesn’t mean they’re all cheating.  Instead, they write concise pop songs with rough-around-the-edges production values.  But unlike other lo-fi bands of the moment, the wall of noise doesn’t overwhelm.  The cleanest and catchiest entry is Pages of Books (found on their MySpace page) – which hints at some of more recent popular girl brit-pop.  Break Bones is also a great schoolyard romp…
This next entry may fall under the heading of paying my djeddieo.com rent.  God Help The Girl is a nostalgic indie-pop tip of the cap to 60’s girl pop.  The side project of Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, he uses this vehicle for songs that he felt didn’t fit the B&S model.  On the whole, maybe a little pastiche, but the song Funny Little Frog is a gem on any playing field.

Finally, a friend has been pushing the Royal Alberta Advantage on me for months.  I finally gave in to my initial cool reactions and gave them a real chance.  Lesson learned.  Their album Hometowns is a great listen.  Blending both indie-folk acoustic strumming with some sharper guitar parts (a la Bloc Party), topped off with a fairly unique (if you don’t count Neutral Milk Hotel or Clem Snide) vocal styling; this is a very enjoyable album that plays upon its own themes to create a consistently entertaining whole.  In The Summertime is one of the more subdued entries, but gives a great glimpse of what this band has to offer.

P.S.  The time is nigh… NY is near… run eddieO run.  Good luck my friend.

The new and the not so new….

I find myself scribbling down the names of songs and artists that catch my ear while listening to internet radio – all new to me, but often the littlest bit of research reveals that they might not be all that new. These songs may be well known to you (in which case, why didn’t you tell me about them??), or they might be as unknown to you as they were to me. Let’s start with The National’s “Fake Empire”

The National

The National

Released in the spring of 2007, I vaguely remember reading the name of the band, but I don’t believe Boston radio ever played this gem. Still their current album (next one slated for spring 2010 release), The Boxer featured guest appearances from Sufjan Stevens and Doveman, and was hailed as among the best releases of the year by stereogum.com and Paste magazine. The song “Fake Empire” was featured on a number of hip (but where are they now?) TV shows, like Chuck, Southland, and One Tree Hill (that one may still be on….I’m old) and was used often by the Obama campaign on its way to the White House. I must really have not been paying attention. Formed in Ohio in 1999, now based in Brooklyn (where else?), their MySpace page and website have all the relevant info. Here’s a 2007 Late Show appearance:

The Horrors

The Horrors

Now they just look like my kind of band! Trying too hard, maybe, but their look certainly matches their sound, with its Chameleons UK and Bauhaus overtones. Check out “Whole New Way”, formerly a B side off their Primary Colours LP, May 2009, it’s now slated for its own official release November 2.

Of course British, their MySpace and website will fill in any details you seek.

Emiliana Torrini is no stranger to these pages (pages?); the Icelandic singer with the Italian name has been mentioned a few times since the release of Me And Armini in 2008. “Heard It All Before” is another cut off of that, and, believe it or not, this video is fan-made…not official (and you think I have a lot of time on my hands!)

Emiliana’s website and MySpace, blah blah blah.

There’s always room for another pretty voiced female singer-songwriter on my iPod, and this week’s is Anna Ternheim.

Anna Terheim

Anna Terheim

A Swedish 21 year old, Anna’s got 4 LPs under her belt already, the latest being Leaving On A Mayday, which features the beautiful song “What Have I Done”. You can hear the LP version on her MySpace or website, but check out this spare and lovely piano-only video version (what’s with the chimp portrait Anna?):

Bad Veins is a duo out of Cincinnati with big buzz.

Bad Veins

Bad Veins

Their single “Gold & Warm”, still a free download at spinner.com last I checked, has plenty of Strokes influence, but with more studio tricks and polish. Still, the raw garagey nature of the song shines through (or more like dulls through the shine). Read all about them if you like at their website, listen to more of their tracks on their MySpace , or check them out on tour, currently working their way back east from Oregon. Click this player in the meantime.

The Rapture

The Rapture

Maybe you don’t need me to tell you about The Rapture, because a song of theirs I’m hearing on Indie 103.1 turns out to be from 2002! As I hear it, I ask myself, “is this the same The Rapture that recorded…..” and I come up blank. Why does their name even sound familiar?No amount of research has revealed a familiar track, and now my head’s starting to hurt. That certainly can’t be from listening to “House Of Jealous Lovers”, which is awesome in a nice Gang of Four way.

Someone please read about them at their website and listen to the stuff on their MySpace page, and tell me how/why I know them (or think I do).

Lastly, Young Marble Giants is a band I’d love to claim I’ve known about for years (but I haven’t). Formed in 1978 and split in 1980, this Welsh trio, sometimes quartet, featured the Nico-like vocals of a girl called Alison Statton, now a chiropractor back home in Wales (I couldn’t make this stuff up). Due to a Pixies-like reunion tour, they’re getting new attention, and I’m glad to be subjected to it.

A song off 1980’s Colossal Youth called “Credit In The Straight World” had me running to my pencil and paper, assuming it was some new, undiscovered band. No, it’s an old undiscovered band (though Kurt Cobain – naturally – was fond of them).

God only knows how they sound now, nearly 30 years later, but I can tell you that The Pixies reunion tour did not disappoint. Check out their MySpace for whatever details might exist. …and here’s a vintage live performance of the track (one can only hope she doesn’t resemble Frank Black nowadays);