The Brute Chorus – How The Caged Bird Sings Review

The Brute Chorus – How The Caged Bird Sings

The Brute Chorus will make you want to put on a pair of saddle shoes and wish sock hops had never gone out of style. British folk  has always created a particular buzz, but these blokes are hard to peg. Lead singer, James Steel, has a voice that can sit delicately on the edge and then unexpectedly tear open and leap out. Their new album, How The Caged Bird Sings, is a testament to old time rock and roll. “Could This Be Love?” could have been played at a high school dance in a John Hughes film.

Then, Steel’s wild and ambitious voice hits a sultry mark. “Startling” and “Wife” are soft and mysterious, teary songs you may hear on a lonely night at a dive bar.”Birdman” will take you back again into that bepob ’80s spunk that makes this album so likable. Think Oingo Biongo meets Arctic Monkeys. Think handsome fellows in skinny ties singing the blues. This music makes bruding look hip.

“Whipping Boy” is spiritual and moody, lyrical repetition with serious Jim Morrison undertones. It is perhaps the most memorable song off the EP. Finally, “Heaven” closes out How The Caged Bird Sings, complete with a bridge that chops and breathes, “Hea–eh–eh–ven.” Somehow this calls to mind the “ki-ki-ki-ki, ma-ma-ma-ma” scenes in Friday The 13th.

The Brute Chorus is a melding of different genres, but if one thing’s for certain, their new album is soulful and timeless. It gives us a taste of rockabilly sensation and then turns it over to caramelize the entire moment.



Norway’s preeminent space disco maestro, Lindstrøm, is making three rare appearances in the US this November. This is his first trip over since the release of Lindstrøm & Christabelle’s Real Life Is No Cool earlier this year on Smalltown Supersound. Hearts will beat faster and space will be felt on all three coasts. Don’t miss out!

Friday, Nov. 12 – San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine
Saturday, Nov. 13 – New York, NY @ LPR
Sunday, Nov. 14 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle

Additionally, fellow conspirator in all things electronically innovative Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, has remixed the undeniable Lindstrøm & Christabelle track “Lovesick.” Perhaps you’ve heard it somewhere? Pitchfork calls the remix a “shades-drawn treatment,” while Time Out New York says Hebden creates “a subdued, lightly bossa-fied, rainy-Sunday-afternoon take on the track” that “lifts the song’s inherent melancholy to the fore.”

Listen to/Share Lindstrøm & Christabelle – “Lovesick” (Four Tet Remix)

“Groove-pop duo Lindstrøm & Christabelle represent the finest disco that Oslo has to offer . . . Christabelle slathers her smooth-like-butter, sexed-up vocals over electro-pop veteran Lindstrøm’s beats—it’s what might happen if Chromeo teamed up with Cat Power and the ghost of Michael Jackson.” – Black Book

“…this collaboration with chanteuse Christabelle soars into equally trippy realms. The Moroder-indebted tunes on Real Life [is No Cool] are more pop-friendly, but the chopped-up vocal samples on opener ‘Looking for What’ are guaranteed to meld minds, while airy centerpiece ‘Keep It Up’ defies gravity via handclaps and delicately chiming bells.” – SPIN

“…a miraculously celebratory piece of pop…” – The Onion’s A.V. Club

Jeremy Messersmith and Eric Power Team Up Once Again for Halloween-Themed Video: “A GIRL, A BOY, AND A GRAVEYARD”

Jeremy Messersmith and Eric Power Team Up Once Again for Halloween-Themed Video: “A GIRL, A BOY, AND A GRAVEYARD”

A Girl, a Boy, and a Graveyard – Jeremy Messersmith- The Reluctant Graveyard

Minnesota-based songwriter Jeremy’s Messersmith and the very talented Eric Power have teamed up once again to bring you another fantastic video for Messersmith’s song, “A Girl, A Boy, And A Graveyard,” just in time for Halloween!

If you missed it last time around, Power is responsible for the built-out-of-construction-paper Star Wars Trilogy in 2 Minutes that Messersmith wrote the song “Tatooine” for. The video has been featured on Yahoo!, BoingBoing, Gizmodo, NY Mag, Wired, Nylon, Interview Magazine, USA Today, Washington Post, and NPR, among others. Wil Wheaton was a fan as well!

“A Girl, A Boy, and a Graveyard” is the latest collaboration between Power and Messersmith, and the song is featured on Messersmith’s third album and final installment in a trilogy, The Reluctant Graveyard. The video presents a charming depiction of a sweet love story that involves two werewolves! There are also many more of our favorite Halloween characters in here, and of course, a graveyard or two.

If you can’t get enough of the undead, also check out the duo’s spooky video for “Organ Donor,” and download the mp3 here. Click on the link below to go back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Teletextile announce Reflector EP – Free mp3s and Release show


Brooklyn, NY avante pop band Teletextile proudly announces the release of their new EP Reflector. As a preview they’ve made the tracks “What If I” and “I Don’t Know How To Act Here” available for download at To celebrate the release the band will perform live at Pianos November 20th, a night hosted by Stark Online. Also performing are Motel Motel, Dinosaur Feathers and Cat Martino and Roadside Graves.

Free at
What if I
I Don’t Know How To Act Here

Teletextile is the creation of multi-instrumentalist (Harp, Piano, Violin, Guitar) and vocalist Pamela Martinez. A follow up to a previous release Care Package, the Reflector EP was recorded with her primary band members Caitlin Gray (Bass, Guitar, Vocals) and Luke Scheiders (Drums, Bells), as well as friends Brian Hamilton (Cymbals Eat Guitars), Aynsley Powel (Tigercity, St. Vincent), Elliot Krimsky (Glass Ghost), and Dave Sheinkopf (The Subjects). Producer Al Carlson (Games, Oneohtrix Point Never, St. Vincent) helped work the boards as they recorded through most of the first half of 2010. The dreamy soundscapes alternate between delicate plucking of the harp strings to a adorned voluptuous sound, all making the bed for Martinez’ boundless vocals.

A San Antonio, TX native, Martinez began her love affair with the musical arts at a young age. Family sing alongs alternated between her mother and grandmother’s love of Ettta James, and her father’s affection for George Harrison. When her punk rock aunt would baby sit, the two would watch The Labyrinth and Hairspray on repeat, fostering her affection for the stranger more festooned side of life, art, and music. After attending University in Boston, in 2007 she moved to New York where she worked with the group So Percussion. Through that experience she met the likes of Matmos, Paul Lansky, Tristen Perich, Zeena Parkins, Lesley Flanigan and others. All composers that used both electronics and acoustic instruments in their music, the relationships she formed in those early days in the city remain an influence in the present.

Reflector represents the latest step in Teletextile’s unfolding journey towards self-discovery, and the listener is encouraged to come along for the ride. Martinez’ sites one of her main motivations of creating and playing music as finding a way to replicate the experience of dreaming. “You should want to close your eyes when listening to music,” she says, “it should be your own story, your own vision.”

Reflector EP Tracklisting
01- The Moment (intro)
02 – I Don’t Know How To Act Here
03 – What if I
04 – John
05 – What if You

November 20, 2010- Reflector EP Release Party
(In Conjunction with Stark Online)

Pianos – 158 Ludlow, New York, NY 10002

Teletextile, Cat Martino, Dinosaur Feathers, Motel Motel, Roadside Graves



The 1900s’ Return of the Century out November 2 on Parasol

Chicago darlings The 1900s are embarking on a quick Northeast and Midwest tour in support of their new album Return of the Century (out November 2 on Parasol) before crossing the pond to play the Belle & Sebastian-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties. Armed with swooning 60’s pop hooks, instant-hit melodies, and perfectly-layered harmonies, The 1900s are guaranteed to win the hearts of every audience they encounter.

Their self-made video for Return of the Century’s “Amulet” depicts two of the band’s original members, Caroline and Edward, acting out the story (based partially on the true tale of The Incredible String Band’s Licorice McKenzie) about a woman who gets lost in the desert…

Watch their Southwestern adventure unfold here in the video for “Amulet”

Listen to, download, and share The 1900s’ “Babies

And finally, you can check out Return of the Century streaming in its entirety here

The 1900s’ Tour Dates:
Fri. Nov. 5 – Chicago, IL @ Reckless Records (Wicker Park in-store – 5:30 PM)
Tue. Nov. 9 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Comet
Wed. Nov. 10 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox
Thu. Nov. 11 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (early show – 6:30 PM)
Fri. Nov. 12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s w/ Buried Beds, Tunng
Sat. Nov. 13 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Rock Shop
Sun. Nov. 14 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East (upstairs)
Fri. Dec. 3 – Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle

“This Chicago band’s remarkable second album mixes sweet and sour, employing graceful chamber pop to illuminate twisted relationships… gnawing unease has rarely sounded so appealing.” – SPIN

“This hip-shaking debut single is a blast of California sunshine, flushed with tambourines, violins, and gorgeous three-part harmonies. Be sure to pay attention to the piano-violin interlude at the 1:20 mark — it’s one of the prettiest lines we’ve heard all year.” –

“…their easy, breezy approach to ’60s and ’70s pop-dom has more in common with British-American blues-pop chart-toppers Fleetwood Mac. Boy-girl belted vocals sits neatly atop clean guitar tones with warm, whistful melodies that guide you through tales of passion and lost love.” – Chicagoist

“The 1900s cull elements from their namesake century’s best pop music and reassemble them, to great effect, in this one. The sextet volleys from jagged guitars and caffeinated drumbeats to languorous strums and fiddles, all anchored by three unpretentious lead singers, nimble guitarists, and a propulsive rhythm section.” – Utne Reader

“The 1900s have succeeded brilliantly at striking a balance on Return of the Century, seamlessly merging their ’60s sensibilities with crisp modern pop production and stylistic experiments to create their strongest release yet.”
– Windy City Rock



Buke & Gass are at it again! After the release of their debut album, Riposte, the duo played WNYC’s “Soundcheck”, then hit the road on a month-long nationwide tour with Efterklang, played Pop Montreal and CMJ, and now are gearing up to take their inventive, polyrhythmic and deceptively melodic show back on the road. These two and their impressively full sound are sure to blow you away! As each week passes, they gain more and more very-much deserved attention. We urge you to give them a shot and see what all the fuss is about!

As if Buke & Gass weren’t resourceful enough (who else out there makes ALL of their own instruments?!), Arone Dyer & Aron Sanchez have made a video for “Page Break”, a song off of Riposte. In regards to the new video, Arone has this to say: “Intentions are best left at the base of one’s backbone, unless heeding to impulses actually gets one somewhere, in which case, trouble might arise and one must be prepared with ones pants belted tightly.” Hmmmm.

Watch Buke & Gass’s video for “Page Break” here:

Buke & Gass – Page Break video

Buke & Gass Tour Dates:
Thu. Nov. 4 — Princeton University Art Museum
Thu. Dec. 2 — Boston, MA @ TT the Bears w/ Talk Normal
Fri. Dec. 3 — Montreal, PQ @ Casa Del Popolo w/ Talk Normal
Sat. Dec. 4 — Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dee’s w/ Talk Normal
Mon. Dec. 6 — Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle w/ Talk Normal
Tue. Dec. 7 — Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop w/ Talk Normal
Thu. Dec. 9 — Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel w/ Talk Normal
Fri. Dec. 10 — Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Talk Normal
Sat. Dec. 11 — New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge w/ Talk Normal

“Gorgeously clattering. . . “ –

“kinda dying to see Buke and Gass live” — @sfj (Sasha Frere-Jones via Twitter)

“It’s a showcase of both deft multi-tasking and distinctive songwriting that’s just bizarre enough to crack the shell of your calcified mind.” – SF Weekly

“OMFG, Buke & Gass blew me away tonight.” — @michaelazerrad (Michael Azzerad via Twitter)

“. . . each work their mutant string creations while simultaneously kicking away at a smorgasbord of percussion and effects pedals. Think two Mark Sultans at once, with good-timey rock vibes replaced by art-damaged intricacy.” — Flavorpill

“It’s this year’s most exhilarating illustration of the way proggy ambition and indie-style rawness are commingling to create a new art-rock benchmark. If Buke and Gass’s instruments are merely odd, the sounds they produce are downright magical.” – Time Out New York

“Buke & Gass use odd but effective pacing and homemade instrumentation over which Arone Dyer’s more traditional vocals bring the songs back to reality to be marveled at.” – KEXP blog

“Buke and Gass’ inspired, melodically rich avant-pop threatens to turn an otherwise memorable night into the stuff of legend.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The Brooklyn duo offers fascinatingly earnest and often ecstatic prog-tastic pop experiments on homemade hybrid instruments.” – Time Out Chicago

“. . . the results are positively arresting.” – Pitchfork

“. . . a piquantly pointy-headed pop played on homemade hybrid instruments, spiced with loping African polyrhythms and other odd meters. B&G’s happily lopsided ‘song’ structures are custom-designed to encourage deep-in-though chin-stroking even on the dance floor.” – LA Weekly

“. . . gritty, carefully composed songs which both excite and delight.” – WNYC Culture

“. . . it stands as proof that the marriage of ingenuity, aggression and a push toward musical bliss can still yield unexpected results.” – Dusted

Living Days Debut EP

The new Brooklyn band, Living Days, is teasing us plenty with their debut album, Make Out Room, Part 1. Released through The Muse Box on October 12th, Living Days flirts with faded images of spin the bottle and  shoulder padded romance.

Lead singer Stephonik Youth is rhythmically nostalgic,  a hauntingly familiar voice much like Robert Smith of The Cure. If an album had to feel like a year, I’d call this 1983, but if you’re assuming this is a sugary sweet ’80s concept band, you’re mistaken. There’s something dangerously romantic about Living Days, like they’re the kids from Hollywood who crash Julie Richman’s party in the valley. Maybe new wave needs a second wave, and Living Days is totally on top of it.

“Lets Kiss” will be the most notable single to come off the album, and with good reason. It’s airy and blissful. Another notable song I’ve taken a liking to is “Romeo and Juliette,” which has just enough power to sweep you off your feet and carry you into your teenage bedroom where you wrote in your high school diary.

Living Days is hinted perfectly with what made bands like The Cars, Joy Division and The Jam pull at your heartstrings and make you snap your fingers.

Lovers On Tour With New EP: Dark Light

This past Sunday, I ventured to the Sorrento Hotel in downtown Seattle, to witness Portland based band, Lovers, play a soul crushing gig. I mean that in the best way possible. Lead singer and songwriter Carolyn Berk, affectionately known as Cubby, is the life-force and creator behind the trio comprised of keyboardist Kerby Ferris and drummer Emily Kingan. They’re in the midst of touring the country to promote their newest EP, Dark Light, the fifth album they can now wear proudly in their back pocket. It’s clear the band is trying out something new, since, after all, this is the first album to feature all three gals. Ferris contributes a peppy synth-pop sound, hopping about behind her deck of instruments with a curious smile on her face. Off-stage, Kingan and Berk have created a bit of a cult following with their Youtube videos: “Man Times.” (Or, maybe I’m the only one who tunes in.) The two are best buds, and are so comedic with each other.

Looking through my collection, Lovers’ first EP from 2002, Starlight Sunken Ship, was folksy and intimate. Off this album came “Peppermint,” an emotionally driven song that’s been reprieved in Dark Light with an electro makeover. There is a richness in Lovers, but it’s a simple sentiment. Berk’s lyrics are a work of poetry, words etched within and without relationships, or simply, the idea of it—the questions about love.

Despite being a bit nervous at the Seattle gig (I’m going to blame it on the wood paneled room and crushed velvet seats), Berk closed her eyes and motioned her hands and arms above her head and around her face—a spiritual, almost ritualistic humbleness in her every gesture. Admittedly, I was thrilled to hear their new material, because Lovers are a total package. You feel the melody, you bop your feet up and down, but more than anything: you don’t forget the lines that grip you.

“Figure-8” will be the favorite among fans. It’s catchy and reminscent of a different time. In “Don’t You Want It?” Berk sings, “I make alliances with appliances / I try to get them to talk to me,” describing the emptiness of a house after someone leaves. It suggests years and years of introspective genius. (But don’t tell that to Cubby, I have a feeling she’s unaware of her romantic intensity.) “Boxer” is another gem. It’s quintessential Lovers and does what they do so well: it shoots ideas together in a string of words, “Boxer don’t knock me down / Writer don’t write me out / Stranger let’s not stay estranged / Lover are we going seperate ways / And don’t I have a say?”

After the show, I had a chance to chat with Berk while I bought some of their merch. It’s cool to see a band that mingles with the crowd, and a ton of their Seattle based friends turned out for the show, too. Berk was so approachable and even slightly shy, an endearing trait among lead singers to possess. Lovers just covers that fragile aching, the things left unsaid, and then it allots a space for you where you can go with your thoughts and sit idlely, while you ponder what love means to you.