Junior Boys – It’s All True album review

Junior Boys Channel the Old and the New

Itchy Fingers; Playtime; Banana Ripple…Credit should be given to the Junior Boys for coming up with the most original song titles for their newest album It’s All True.

Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus offer a whole new outlook on what it means to be a rare band these days. In fact, it’s a risky thing to channel the 80’s especially when the younger generation probably has little to no clue what 80’s music actually was.

It’s even riskier when you think of the band’s history of rejections and misses. They don’t, however, make any apologies. There’s no guarantee that you’ll instantly fall in love with the album. Though, if you have a little faith, once you listen to a couple of tracks, you just can’t help but want to listen to more—especially when you can hear tiny remnants of old INXS popping in. Or, if that’s not enough to wow you, pay attention to the soft Asian melodies on some of their tracks. Strange, but oddly interesting.

Itchy Fingers, the first track off It’s All True, hooks you in with its lyrics, “So patient, so kind…keep wondering if you are playing with my mind”, while “You’ll Improve Me” grabs you by its melody.

“Playtime” even offers a unique twist on “bedroom music” as its slow and sensual tones tease the ears and play with your taste.

Though, what really takes the cake is “Banana Ripple”. I wish I could say it was the title alone that caught my eye—or ear I should say. Nine minutes of fascinating beats and playful harmonies—and you probably will find yourself using the repeat button.

Pure X – Pleasure album review

Pure X is truly a band of mystery. The unconfirmed facts are that they are a three piece band out of Texas. They used to go by Pure Ecstasy, a name they came up with while camping. One thing is clear though. Pure X has a hell of a sense of humour. Jesse Jenkins (bass, vocals) once described their sound as “40 degrees + raining + out of coffee + out of cash.” And that pretty much sums it up.

Pleasure is not just an album title it’s a state of mind, better yet a state of heart. This is the album you save for a rainy day. It hangs heavy. It feels like a day where everything went wrong: your cigarettes got wet, your girlfriend dumps you for a guy who wears hipster glasses. Pleasure is a day where you are just “Stuck livin” (Track 7). You just want to slap the album on, have a pity party for one, and maybe try to hang yourself in the shower. Pleasure just hurts so good.

Overall, the album sounds like grunge under water. To fit the mood, the guitar is bleachy and dwindling.  The vocals are circumstantial (try to wrap your guitar strings around that metaphor). The whole album sounds purposefully tired, or simply disinterested, a state I am sure familiar to most. It’s like Pure X is shaking their heads and on exhale utter, “I need a vacation from this vacation.”

The pure magic of pure X is that while they sound like they’re not really trying, they are continuously praised for beauty. Oh, and what beauties they are. They’re like girls so pretty, they don’t even have to try in bed. For a band called Pure X, they are the musical version of vitriol.

The band leaves off on a semi-optimistic note with the last track, “Half Here.” And who knows? Maybe everything will be okay. Maybe we will all recover. Maybe the next album will be called “Brightened” or “Tiger Blood.” No? Well, stop teasing us with rays of light then, Pure X.

THE HEAD ANNOUNCES INITIAL TOUR DATES NEW SONG, LADY LOVELY, AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD UPCOMING ALBUM, HANG ON, OUT JUNE 21st

THE HEAD ANNOUNCES INITIAL TOUR DATES NEW SONG, LADY LOVELY, AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD UPCOMING ALBUM, HANG ON, OUT JUNE 21st

Atlanta, GA-trio The Head are excited to announce initial tour dates in support of their upcoming album, HANG ON, out June 21st. Beginning July 1st in Birmingham, AL, the summer tour will see the band bring their endearing harmony-fueled guitar pop to fans across the country.

To get fans excited, the band is offering the piano driven “Lady Lovely” for free download at http://soundcloud.com/theheadmusic/lady-lovely

Melding their influences into one impressive sound, HANG ON is powered by exceptional songwriting, infectious melodies and forceful performances, giving the record a memorable spirit.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution praises the band’s “old-school power-pop that recalls the Shoes, the Spongetones, the Raspberries and many other under-appreciated ’70s and ’80s guitar-pop outfits. It could sound nostalgic and contrived, but it doesn’t. So many times, attempts to bring power pop into this millennium just sound retro, but it feels perfectly natural and organic in the hands of The Head.” Performer Magazine goes on to call The Head a “power-pop powerhouse.”

Tour Dates (more to be announced shortly):

June 17th The Fivespot Atlanta, GA * Record Release Party
July 1st The Nick Birmingham, Al
July 3rd JJ’s Bohemia Chattanooga, TN
July 6th Pianos New York, NY
July 7th Arlene’s Grocery New York, NY
July 9th Comet Washington, DC
July 12th Triple Richmond, VA
July 15th New World Brewery Tampa, FL
July 28th Elbo Room Chicago, IL
August 13th The Strand Marietta, GA

Basin Street Records to Release Dr. Michael White’s Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 1 on June 21, 2011

Basin Street Records to Release Dr. Michael White’s Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 1 on June 21, 2011

Download “West African Strut” HERE

Basin Street Records is pleased to announce the June 21, 2011 release of Dr. Michael White’s Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 1 (Part 2 will be released in early 2012). This is the fifth release of Dr. Michael White’s on the Basin Street Records label following A Song for George Lewis, Jazz from the Soul of New Orleans, Dancing in the Sky, and Blue Crescent.

Adventures in New Orleans Jazz is an exciting journey of sound which blends traditional jazz with influences and songs from diverse sources, like Africa, the Caribbean and popular music from the 1960s and 70s. This idea of converting tunes from other genres into the New Orleans jazz language goes back to early pioneers like Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong – who all contributed their own unique variations of the style.

White has recorded 10 projects under his own name and has participated on over 40 recordings including the latest projects of Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, and Marianne Faithful.

Dr. Michael White is a leading figure in traditional New Orleans Jazz and one of only a few to creatively carry on the rich clarinet sound and style of that city. He is a descendant of several first generation jazz musicians, including clarinetist Willie Joseph and reedman Earl Fouche. He studied clarinet with noted band director Edwin Hampton and was a member of the esteemed St. Augustine High School Marching 100 and Symphonic Band. In line with New Orleans tradition, White began his jazz career by playing for several years in local brass bands for social club parades and jazz funerals.

Among the numerous awards and honors White has received are the French Chevalier of Arts and Letters and the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship Award. In 2010 he was named Louisiana Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and he also won the Offbeat Magazine Best of the Beat Award as Clarinetist of the Year, and Gambit Magazine’s Big Easy Entertainment Award for Traditional Jazz Artist of the Year.

Basin Street Records is a New Orleans based label that is currently the only label with 3 projects on the Billboard Jazz Chart (printing 5/21/11 #10-Rebirth Brass Band’s Rebirth of New Orleans, #11 Irvin Mayfield’s A Love Letter to New Orleans & #16 Kermit Ruffins’ Happy Talk.

Agnes Obel’s New EP, iTunes Live From Paris, Out Today! Agnes Touring The U.S. in June! Dates in NYC, LA, Philadelphia, D.C., San Francisco, Seattle and Portland

Agnes Obel’s New EP, iTunes Live From Paris, Out Today! Agnes Touring The U.S. in June! Dates in NYC, LA, Philadelphia, D.C., San Francisco, Seattle and Portland

Appearing on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic June 3rd!

“It’s a rarity: a new album that…is great from beginning to end.”
– Chris Douridas, KCRW

“Obel’s music is as sparse as the snow-swept Scandinavian backcountry, and mostly scored for piano, voice and an occasional cello or harp. Yet it brims with a barely concealed passion that has helped make her quiet riot-in-the-heart album a huge European seller. ”
– Time Magazine

“…offers a stark, minimalist palette reminiscent of Cat Power and Joanna Newsom.”
– Details

Danish songwriter/composer Agnes Obel is proud to release her latest EP, iTunes Live from Paris today. Recorded at the iTunes Opera Store in Paris and sold exclusively through Apple, the EP features some of Agnes’ classic tracks from her debut record, Philharmonics, as well as Agnes’ haunting take on Elliott Smith’s “Between The Bars.” Click HERE to hear the track on Soundcloud (feel free to post and share).

Agnes Obel is also preparing for her first full U.S. in June. Agnes’ new tour will feature extensive runs along the east and west coast (see full tour dates below). And to kick off her tour, Agnes will also be performing on KCRW’s signature daily music show, Morning Becomes Eclectic on Friday, June 3rd.

The last year has been a whirlwind for Agnes Obel. Since releasing her debut record, Philharmonics on PIAS America earlier this year, the Danish songstress has turned heads worldwide. Stripped down and centered around her evocative voice, Philharmonics has stood out as a fan and critic favorite. Comparing Agnes to artists like PJ Harvey, Joanna Newson and even Roy Orbison, Agnes has earned praise from a wide range of critics, including Time Magazine, KCRW, Details, Perez Hilton, and NYLON. Anges has also has become something of a phenomenon overseas, going platinum (100.000 albums) in France, double platinum in Denmark, and sold out venues across Europe.

Agnes Obel Tour Dates:
6/4: SANTA MONICA, CA @ ­McCabe’s
6/6: HOLLYWOOD, CA @ Hotel Cafe 8pm
6/6: LOS ANGELES, CA @ Bardot – Chris Douridas’ It’s A School Night
6/7: SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ Rickshaw
6/9: PORTLAND, OR @ Alberta Rose Theatre
6/10: SEATTLE, WA @ Freemont Abbey Center
6/13: WASHINGTON, DC @ Sixth & I
6/14: NEW YORK, NY @ Joe’s Pub
6/15: PHILADELPHIA, PA @ Tin Angel

Tracklisting:
1.Over The Hill
2. Riverside
3. Katie Cruel
4. Just So
5. Between The Bars (Elliott Smith Cover)
6. Philharmonics

The Kooks new album Junk Of The Heart information

THE KOOKS SET TO RELEASE BRAND NEW ALBUM “JUNK OF THE HEART” ON SEPTEMBER 13th

THREE EXCLUSIVE U.S. SHOWS IN JUNE

FAN PRESALE JUNE 1 AND PUBLIC ON SALE BEGINS JUNE 3

The Kooks will release their eagerly anticipated new album, Junk of the Heart, on September 13th on Astralwerks Records, preceded by the release of a debut single of the same name on July 11th. Additionally, the band is proud to announce a limited and exclusive round of U.S. tour dates in June (see full listing below).

Written by The Kooks, produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, Air, Belle & Sebastian), and recorded in The Sound Factory (Los Angeles) and Sarm Studios (London), the band’s third album sees them consolidating their position as a bona fide album band with trademark breeziness and catchy hooks.

Kicking off with a dramatic breakbeat, the opening track builds across acoustic guitar and warm washes of synth before collapsing into a chorus you’ll be singing for days. It shows, that despite the change in their influences, the band still have a firm grasp on how to write killer hooks and pop songs without compare.

“It’s upbeat; an album to play in the sun” explains frontman Luke Pritchard of the forthcoming 12 song collection, “What we really wanted to do was build a proper, full album. Something you can listen to from front to back. We’re an album band and this is a journey you come on with us.”

Junk of the Heart follows the Kooks’ multi-platinum debut, Inside In/Inside Out (2006) which peaked at number two in the UK Album Charts and its platinum selling UK number one follow-up, Konk (2008). The Kooks have sold over 2 million records globally.

Having sold out several US tours including two sell-out nights at Terminal 5 in NYC, The Kooks are eager to play to American audiences once more. The upcoming exclusive live dates will be on sale exclusively for fans on June 1st (passwords will be emailed to Kooks and Astralwerks email subscribers). The public on sale will be June 3rd for the NY & LA shows and June 5th for the SF show.

The Kooks U.S. Live Dates
6/22 San Francisco Slims
6/23 Los Angeles The Troubadour
6/27 New York Bowery Ballroom

Eastern Conference Champions Begin Headlining Run In New York On June 11th

Eastern Conference Champions Begin Headlining Run In New York On June 11th

Eastern Conference Champions will begin a run of headline shows in New York on June 11th when they perform at Piano’s. The band released their new album Speak-ahh on April 26th on RockHampton Records and recently just wrapped a string of dates with Neon Trees.

Recorded in downtown Los Angeles, Speak-ahh is a departure from the sound of their debut album. The trio, which consists of Josh Ostrander, Greg Lyons and Melissa Dougherty are excited about the direction of their new album.

“After we recorded Ameritown with Owen Morris, we had a hell of a time pulling off some of the songs live, it just got away from us in the studio,” Josh reflected. “Since we began recording on our own, we always go into recording a song with a ‘are we gonna be able to pull this off live’ mentality. We never put two guitars down when one will do the job. We prefer the bones of it to an orchestra. We love the rawness.”

The first single “Atlas” debuted at #1 on the FMQB SubModern Singles Chart and the album debuted at #1 on the SubModern Albums Chart as well.

Eastern Conference Champions made waves last year when they were tapped to contribute an exclusive song “for the third installment of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The unsigned act was chosen from more than 400 bands competing for the coveted soundtrack slot, and the resulting song, “A Million Miles An Hour,” received rave reviews and raised the band’s profile considerably.

ECC UPCOMING TOUR DATES
6/11 Piano’s – NY, NY
6/12 TT The Bears – Boston, MA
6/13 The Rock Shop – Brooklyn, NY
6/14 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY
6-16-6/18 NXNE – Toronto, Canada
6/20 Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
6/22 Snug Harbor – Charlotte, NC
6/23 Purgatory – Atlanta, GA
6/26 Emos – Austin, TX
6/28 Rhythm Room – Phoenix, AZ

Willamette Week’s MusicfestNW announces initial lineup for its 2011 festival, scheduled for Sept. 7-11 in Portland, Oregon

Willamette Week’s MusicfestNW announces initial lineup for its 2011 festival, scheduled for Sept. 7-11 in Portland, Oregon

Bands appearing include Band of Horses, Explosions in the Sky, Iron & Wine, The Kills, Archers of Loaf, Butthole Surfers, Neurosis, Blind Pilot, Blitzen Trapper, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Also appearing: Olivia Tremor Control, Cass McCombs, Dirty Beaches, Sharon Van Etten, Crooked Fingers, Shabazz Palaces, Dam Funk, Charles Bradley, The Antlers, Sebadoh, Ty Segall, Twin Sister, The Thermals, Big Freedia + tons more

Willamette Week is thrilled to announce the initial lineup for MusicfestNW 2011, now in its 11th year of showcasing the finest in national and regional music in one of the most compelling urban areas in the country.

MusicfestNW is once again returning to the historic Pioneer Courthouse Square—Portland’s civic living room—for three outdoor performances headlined by rootsy indie rock outfit Band of Horses (Sunday, Sept. 11), celestial instrumental-rockers Explosions in the Sky (Saturday, Sept. 10), and the backwoods folk of Iron & Wine (Friday, Sept. 9).

Since MFNW’s beginning (as North by Northwest), it has aspired to put on a diverse event, one that honors one of this region’s best exports—the Northwest music scene—while looking to the future beyond the horizon.

That horizon includes a kick-off show by bluesy-punk duo The Kills on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at the Crystal Ballroom. The star studded festival also features performances by reunited indie rock legends Archers of Loaf and Butthole Surfers, atmospheric metal titans Neurosis, local folk-rockers Blind Pilot and Blitzen Trapper, and up-and-coming Seattle hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Here is a very partial list of past MFNW performances: The National, The Decemberists, Smashing Pumpkins, Modest Mouse, Vampire Weekend, TV on the Radio, Sunny Day Real Estate, Spoon, Girl Talk, M. Ward, Built to Spill, Arctic Monkeys, Cat Power, Panda Bear, Black Lips, and the Silver Jews.

Festival wristbands and tickets for shows at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Crystal Ballroom, Roseland Theater, and Aladdin Theater go on sale on Friday, June 3. Festival wristbands are on sale at two price points:

– $115 for an all-inclusive wristband that gets you into all three outdoor shows and the rest of the five-day festival.

– $70 for a ticket to one of the three outdoors shows (Band of Horses, Explosions in the Sky, or TBD band) and admission to the rest of the festival.

For further ticket information, see musicfestnw.com/tickets.

2011 Initial Lineup – Alphabetical
A Storm of Light
Akimbo
Alela Diane
Anais Mitchell
And And And
Archers
Archers of Loaf
Avi Buffalo
Band of Horses
Bare Wires
Beat Connection
Big Freedia
Black Prairie
Blind Pilot
Blitzen Trapper
Blouse
Boat
Bobby Bare Jr.
Butthole Surfers
Caleb Klauder
Cass McCombs
Celilo
Centro-Matic
Charles Bradley
Climber
Crooked Fingers
Crypts
Dam-Funk & Master Blaster
Dangerous Boys Club
Death Songs
Dennis Coffey
Diesto
Dirty Beaches
Dirty Mittens
DJ Anjali
Dolorean
E Rock
E3
Elitist
EMA
Emily Wells
Eternal Tapestry
Explosions in the Sky
Fernando
GIVERS
Glass Candy
GRAIL
Hammerhead
Handsome Furs
Heavy Cream
Holcombe Waler
Horse Feathers
Iron & Wine
Jared Mees & the Grown Children
Jeffrey Jerusalem
Joe Pug
Kelly Blair Bauman
Kylesa
Lifesavas
Little Dragon
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Mad Rad
Marius Libman
Mnemonic Sounds
Monarques
Morning Teleportation
Natasha Kmeto
Nether Regions
Neurosis
Old Light
Olivia Tremor Control
Operative
Phantogram
Pierced Arrows
Pig Destroyer
Portland Cello Project
PS I Love You
Purple & Green
Quiet Life
Rabbits
Rebecca Gates
Reporter
Rhett Miller
Richmond Fontaine
RTX
Sean Flinn & the Royal We
Sebadoh
Shabazz Palaces
Sharon Van Etten
Sleepy Sun
Soft Kill
Talkdemonic
Ted Leo
Tennis
The Angry Orts
The Antlers
The Dimes
The Gaslamp Killer
The Globes
The Hood Internet
The Horrors
The Incredible Kid
The Joy Formidable
The Kills
The Ladybug Transistor
The Minders
The Miracles Club
The Moondoggies
The Needful Longings
The Soft Moon
The Thermals
The Vaccines
The Wizard Rifle
Thee Oh Sees
Thornes
Thousands
Transient
Twin Sister
TxE
Ty Segall
Typhoon
UME
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Violet Isle
Viva Voce
WEINLAND
White Hills
Wild Ones
Witch Mountain
Y La Bamba
Yacht
YOB
You Am I
Zuzuka Poderosa

Heirlooms Interview

Heirlooms was one of the featured performers at the BOMB Festival in Hartford, CT this weekend. I sat down with them after their set to learn a little more about this up and coming Connecticut band. This six piece new americana band has a lot to offer and I expect to see and hear great things out of them. Their current line up is as follows and during the interview I refer to each member by their initials.
Continue reading “Heirlooms Interview”

Nodzzz – Innings album review

Garage rockers Nodzzz new release, Innings is a very simple record at first glance, but the subtle undertones really give it a noticeable charm. The fuzz fueled pop of Nodzzz is truly something of an acquired taste, and unfortunately it becomes even more difficult to appreciate in this record. There are certain elements that at first appear to be charming, but they quickly lose this merit.

The most off putting part of this record, and even possibly this band are the vocals. They become incredibly irritating right off the bat, and really take away from the clever muscianship that Nodzzz has to offer. The repetitiveness and simple rhythmic patterns of the vocals also make it hard to appreciate the efforts gone into this CD. Other than the annoying vocals, Innings has an undeniable charm, and the music really shows this. There are many different genres weaved into their harsh sound, but it never feels cluttered. Heyday Past Heyday Due is really one of best examples of this, but once the vocals kick in it quickly becomes unbearable. This is one of the truly unfortunate flaws of Innings, and Nodzzz in general. It really is a shame that one element of a band can be so detrimental to whether or not it is enjoyable.

This album is really 50/50; the instrumentals are very enjoyable, but the vocals take so much away that it almost becomes pointless. Unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend Nodzzz, as the vocals are just too much of a negative factor, and this is really a shame because these guys are clearly capable of creating catchy and creative music. As an album however, Innings falls short because of this.