Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light album review

I honestly feel bad for Jason Pierce, the primary songwriter and only consistent member of Spiritualized. He’s one of those musicians who happen to have the misfortune of having created a landmark, career-defining album. Most of these albums are nearly impossible to live up to. Oh sure, there’s a small amount of people who can do it – your Dylans, your Stones, your Radioheads – but even they tend to only be able to do it for so long, and with a whole lot of ups-and-downs along the way. And the rest of them, the ones that aren’t so lucky? They have to live out the rest of their careers in reaction to that one album, churning out release after release amid the constant disappointing cries of “Yeah it’s good, but it’s no *blank*”; such is the unfortunate situation that Pierce, finds himself in with every Spiritualized record since Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.

After the full-out orchestral craziness of Let It Come Down and the somewhat more subdued Songs in A&E, Spiritualized’s newest record Sweet Heart Sweet Light is something of a return to form. Most of the songs are drone-y, self-indulgent mini-epics, every inch of space filled out with layers of guitars, female back-up vocals, and string sections. The new thing here is that it seems like Pierce has discovered indie rock, so “Hey Jane” thumps around with cool garage rock melodicism, like a White Stripes song stretched out to nine minutes and with layers of stuff piled on top of it; and underneath the screeching guitar noise, “I Am What I Am” is really just a mellow R n’ B track.

These songs lend a sense of experimentation to the record, but it really feels like it’s playing in the same sandbox as earlier Spiritualized material – for the most part, the songs are the same really big-sounding space-rock anthems as before, but with a couple new elements thrown in.  It’s not a reinvention, but it is a solid set of tunes, which lends it to be being a bit of a “grower” – it takes a few listens to really get into.  The problem is that once it clicks, it may not be entirely worth the effort; all of the songs are very pleasant, but none of them match the energy of opener “Hey Jane”.  There’s a sense that Pierce, while still as capable a songwriter as ever, isn’t really taking any risks here; it’s a very safe record.  So instead of being transcendent, it just kind of is what it is; a solid release by a pretty consistent band.  In the end, it’s definitely good – but it’s no Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.

Chains of Love – Strange Grey Days album review

Like any other sucker for rock and roll, I’m partial to reverberating guitars and cheeky tambourines. So while I’m predisposed to enjoy Strange Grey Days by Vancouver-based band Chains of Love, the album fails to highlight the driving force behind the group’s garage soul sound, vocalist Nathalia Pizarro.

Channeling Mary Weiss of the Shangri Las, Pizarro owns every woeful ballad and contemptuous cry on Strange Grey Days but struggles through superfluous processions of organ and drums, making the otherwise fine instrumentation sound rather grating by the end of each track.  That being said, each song has a stellar intro that is largely due to the timing and flavor of the drummer and organist. These ladies sure know how to introduce a tune, particularly “Lies Lies Lies,” and if they learn how to reign in their instruments, they can accentuate their talent without taking away from Pizarro.

This excess of noise does not include the work of guitarist Rebecca Marie Law Gray, who also adds harmonies to the band’s badass vocal performance. Gray gives Chains of love the grit it needs to it on the wild side of rock/pop, and her solo on the album opener, “He’s Leaving (With Me),” is the rawest moment of the album.

Chains of Love has some work to do, but Strange Grey Days is a fun and playful effort that is a nice addition to the current girl-group movement.  Based on the album’s final, eponymous track, I believe we can expect a lot from the band in the next few years.  Bringing down the tempo and spark of the previous tracks, “Strange Grey Days” is reflective song that asserts, “everything is the same.” Perhaps these lyrics are an introspective look at Chains of Love’s classic but all too familiar qualities, or maybe it’s just an ode to the timeless qualities of rock and roll.

Orcas (Benoît Pioulard + The Sight Below) Premieres New Music Video for “Arrow Drawn” on Noisey

Orcas (Benoît Pioulard + The Sight Below) Premieres New Music Video for “Arrow Drawn” on Noisey

Self-titled Debut Album Out This Week

“Meluch and Irisarri have crafted a genuine, coherent album that conjures immense shadows and immense depths worthy of its namesake.” Pitchfork (7.7)

“The preponderance of the material here creates its own world, on its own terms, and beckons you to go inside. And you will.” – BLURT

Watch “Arrow Drawn” and read a Q&A with Rafael Anton Irisarri at Noisey

Listen to “Carrion”

Orcas aka Haze-pop auteur Benoît Pioulard and post-minimalist composer Rafael Anton Irisarri (The Sight Below) have premiered their new video for “Arrow Drawn” with Noisey. The single is lifted from their self-titled debut album, out this week with Morr Music. Consequence of Sound says the duo “conjure washes of bass-forward sound…peppered with airy lyrics and fleeting repetitive wisps of piano, guitar, and percussion.”Orcas bridges together the furthest aspects of the two’s previous solo work that’s been published on Kranky, Touch, Miasmah, Room40, and Ghostly International. Together, they create a careful balance of chiaroscuro elements, where pop hook and spatial ambience converge. Orcas has taken an immersive, fluid vector for their passions; a resonant call like sonar from the depths.

More information about Noisey:

Noisey.com is the music channel from the makers of VICE. So you know its going to be good. And fun. The shows are about anything and everything concerning music-the best live jams, geeky record stores clerks, smarmy critics, boob-flashing fans, destroyed hotel rooms, and roadies. Never underestimate the roadies. The Noisey Youtube channel made its debut in February with M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls,” and VICE-produced A$AP Rocky video, “Wassup.” Since then the channel has racked up loads of online content with everyone from David Lynch to Odd Future. On YouTube, Noisey offers music fans the most extensive slate of original online music programming to date, covering not only the artists that matter most, but the trends and opinions that make up today’s music culture. See for yourself: youtube.com/noisey

Orcas Tracklisting

1. Pallor Cedes
2. Arrow Drawn
3. Standard Error
4. Carrion
5. A Subtle Escape
6. Until Then
7. Certain Abstractions
8. I Saw My Echo
9. High Fences

Alex Winston unites with NYC, once again

“I can’t believe it’s been a fucking year” were the words declared by Alex Winston regarding her absence from performing in New York City. To say she had a strong comeback performance would be an understatement. That night Winston rocked the Knitting Factory, hard.

Petite in physique but with a load of personality, Winston began her show with “Fire Ant.” Typically it takes the artist a little warming up to the crowd before they literally immerse themselves into it. Winston’s endearing personality didn’t require any intros before she had the audience’s hearts. With her leopard maxi-skirt, a tambourine in hand, and a charismatic personality, Winston could have sang anything and had the audience’s attention. There wasn’t a song that didn’t pass where everyone wasn’t singing along.

One of the beautiful parts of seeing a live show is seeing the musician in their raw and sincere form. Between the high and low notes, the fast and the slow paces, Winston demonstrated her true talent. After she crowd surfed, invited everyone to her barbecue at her apartment (with her provided address), and played the best variety of her songs, she ended with “Choice Notes.” A good note to end. Now I’m just waiting for more of her tracks to be released.

White Fence interview

instant obsession: WHITE FENCE

White Fence (Tim Presley’s successful solo project) recently released their new album, Family Perfume Vol. 1. He is currently touring with Ty Segall and is coming to NYC’s Webster Hall May 16th. This is a show not to be missed.

What’s your favorite part about being on tour?

Missing home.  and then while back home: missing tour. It’s a sick and twisted thing. And also to see which friends in different states have the best/cleanest homes.

What are the some of the things (musical, non-musical) that have inspired you?

Love & hate. Human interactions. I haven’t been inspired by music much lately, which is a good thing for me. Being inspired solely on music is like fishing in a trout farm.

I noticed your Blogspot, “White Fence Art Collective.” Do you create some of the poster art yourself?

I do. I love trying to out-do the last one. When I was in a punk/hardcore band I was fanatical about flyers and posters for shows. Still am kinda.

Many garage/psychedelic rock bands have came from LA/San Francisco. Do you think the location has made a large influence on your sound and style of music?

No. I would be doing the same music if I lived in Montana. I feel like Joe Montana. 

What do you like most about having a solo project? Is it ever hard to separate your style/sound between White Fence, Darker My Love and the Strange Boys?

Since I have been concentrating on White Fence, I haven’t had to separate from much other than myself. I feel like the same person musically with any band I play with. but depending on who else is there to mix with. What I mean is, I play guitar the same way for every band. I sing the same. What I like most is that I trust myself now. He’s ok.

What would you say is the main difference between your albums Is Growing Faith, and your most recent, Family Perfume Vol. 1?

Well besides the obvious, the lyrical content is more of a reflection of my life post-growing faith. And perhaps I got better at the 4-track. Physically, I got thinner. I smoked more cigarettes. But besides all that, they actually feel the same to me – an extension of the other. Or a hair, but Family Perfume Vol. 1 & 2 is just closer to the scalp. 

How has the state of rock n’ roll evolved with the resurgence of lo-fi garage rock? What do you think the future holds? For instance, is there a certain direction/type of rock that you think will dominate the scene?

I think songs dominate, the good ones will stick out. As far as I’m concerned “Lo-Fi” has been around since the blues. I don’t have a crystal ball, so its hard to say about direction. But I feel Rock n Roll,  I feel it coming again. It always comes back to the believers. Its too real to just die. There’s been a lot of trash over the years, but that’s every genres. If you don’t wash your hair it will get greasy again.<

Bright Moments Gets Remixed by Shuttle (Nate of Passion Pit), Readies East Coast Tour Dates

“pop songs that leap and tumble with an exotic, diverse mix of sounds…a wildly creative album, packed with energy.” – NPR: World Cafe ‘Next’

Download the remix

Download the original version of “Tourists

NY-based Bright Moments (aka Kelly Pratt, multi-instrumentalist for Beirut, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem), has debuted a new remix of “Tourists” by Shuttle (Nate of Passion Pit). The original single or as Stereogum describes it, “a piece of Eastern European-influenced indie-pop,” is taken from his debut LP Natives, out now with Luaka Bop. Bright Moments performed as a five-piece at SXSW ’12, with TIME Magazine deeming them one of the festival’s “12 Amazing ’12 Bands You Need to Hear Right Now.” The full band will take on the East coast this summer with it’s dexterous live set, after performing this Saturday 4/28 at NYC’s 92YTribeca. Tune into WNYC’s Soundcheck on 93.9fm this Friday 4/27 at 2pm to hear Bright Moments perform live on air.

Natives was recorded with Beirut’s rhythm section (Nick Petree and Paul Collins) and accordionist (Perrin Cloutier), as well as the drummer from Pratt’s former Afrobeat band Akoya. Pratt played most of the instruments, recording it in his apartment studio during the New York City winter of 2010. He’d snip a shaker in half and sample the sound of sand pouring out to make a beat.

Natives is the spiritual sequel to his earlier band Team B, whose 2008 album was hurriedly recorded into the microphone on a MacBook in hotel rooms and backstage demo sessions while he was on tour with Arcade Fire and LCD. (Members of Beirut, Antibalas and LCD all helped). For Bright Moments, however, Pratt wanted to make sure to take his time.

Brights Moments in Concert

04/28 – New York, NY @ 92YTribeca
05/02 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie #
06/15 – Danbury, C @ Heirloom Theatre *
06/16 – Portland, ME @ SPACE Gallery *
06/21 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
06/29 – Washington, DC @ 930 Club *
06/30 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre

# = w/ Suckers
* = w/ Jukebox the Ghost and Savoir Adore

Natives Tracklisting

1. Tourists
2. Milwaukee Protocol
3. Behind the Gun
4. Interlude: Ghost Dance I
5. Drifters
6. Travelling Light
7. Interlude: Ghost Dance II
8. Travelers
9. Lightning
10. The Sailor

One Direction Adds Additional Dates To 2013 Summer Tour


Due to an overwhelming demand from fans across North America, One Direction have added nine more dates to their recently announced 2013 summer tour. The 2013 tour was announced earlier this month and the fans were quick to show their support for the band leading them to schedule nine additional shows. Additional stops include Louisville, KY, Philadelphia, PA, East Rutherford, NJ, Houston, TX, Dallas, TX and San Jose, CA and second shows have been added in Hershey, PA, Chicago, IL, and Las Vegas NV. The Live Nation promoted tour kicks off in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on June 13, 2013 and hits New York, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas and more (full list of dates below). Tickets will go on sale in select dates in May 2012 (see list below) at Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com. For more information visit: www.onedirectionmusic.com.

“We are really excited to be adding dates to our 2013 tour of North America. We’d like to thank all our incredible fans who have already bought tickets. We can’t wait until next year to start our World Tour!” Zayn Malik, One Direction

One Direction’s debut album Up All Night has reached #1 in 15 countries including the US and is available in stores now.

One Direction 2013 Summer Tour Dates, New Dates in BOLD:

6/13 Ft. Lauderdale, FL BankAtlantic Center
6/14 Miami, FL American Airlines Arena
6/16 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center – on sale 5/4/12
6/18 Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena
6/19 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
6/21 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
6/22 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena (formerly RBC Arena)
6/23 Washington, DC Verizon Center
6/25 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center – on sale 5/5/12
6/26 Boston, MA Comcast Center
6/28 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
6/29 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
7/2 East Rutherford, NJ IZOD Center – on sale 5/5/12
7/4 Montreal, PQ Bell Centre
7/5 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium – on sale 5/5/12
7/6 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
7/8 Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center
7/9 Toronto, Ontario Air Canada Centre
7/10 Toronto, Ontario Air Canada Centre
7/12 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
7/13 Chicago, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
7/14 Chicago, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre – on sale 5/5/12
7/18 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
7/19 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
7/21 Houston, TX Toyota Center – on sale 5/5/12
7/22 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center – on sale 5/5/12
7/24 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
7/25 Salt Lake City, UT Maverik Center
7/27 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
7/28 Seattle, WA KeyArena
7/30 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion – on sale 5/5/12
7/31 Oakland, CA Oracle Arena
8/2 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
8/3 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center – on sale 5/12/12
8/6 San Diego, CA Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
8/7 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
8/8 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center

One Direction gained notoriety in 2010 after appearing on the X-Factor UK. Their global smash debut album, Up All Night, entered the charts at #1 in 15 countries and has been certified triple platinum in Ireland and double platinum in the UK, New Zealand & Australia. One Direction made history as their debut album Up All Night entered the US Billboard 200 chart at #1 with over 176,000 copies sold making them the first British group ever to debut at #1 in the US with their debut album release. Their debut single “What Makes You Beautiful” has recently been certified platinum in the US for sales in excess of 1,000,000 units.

The Up All Night: The Live Tour DVD will be available on May 29, 2012. The live DVD features a 73 minute concert of their hit songs, plus never before seen, behind the scenes footage and three music videos (“What Makes You Beautiful,” “Gotta Be You” and “One Thing.”

One Direction are Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. All of the group hail from the U.K., save for Horan, who is from Ireland. All five of the boys (ages 18-20) auditioned for the UK X Factor in 2010 as solo artists. However, at the suggestion of Simon Cowell they joined forces as a group, quickly becoming one of the competitions most popular acts of all time, finishing in the final three and garnering a gigantic fan-base along the way.

Blues Control Announce Tour & Share New Track, “Iron Pigs”; New Record Out June 19th


As previously announced, Blues Control has entered the Drag City realm, and will be releasing Valley Tangents, their debut album with the label, come June 19th! At this point, all one knows is that this Valley Tangents has songs titled “Love’s A Rondo,” “Iron Pigs” “Opium Den/Fade to Blue,” and “Gypsum,” to name a few, and was recorded far from the maddening crowds they’d previously swarmed with and composed among. We’re pretty confident you’ll learn a little more of what Blues Control has in store with Valley Tangents by listening to the playfully blended, full spectrum of rock colors ever so prevalent in the previously mentioned “Iron Pigs.” AdHoc, who premiered the song this morning, call it “a genre-blending war march gone prog, showing off the duo’s wild imagination and the musical roads less traveled. The amount of ground they cover in just one track is stunning.”


Lea Cho (keyboards) and Russ Waterhouse (guitar, synth, tapes) will be leaving their new home of Lehigh Valley, PA and taking Blues Control on the road this summer.

Thu. June 21 – Baltimore, MD @ Floristree Space
Fri. June 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA w/ Birds of Maya, Slow Tongued Beauty
Sat. June 23 – Brooklyn, NY @ 285 Kent w/ Purling Hiss, Tonstartsbandht, Jordan Redaelli, DJ Brian Turner, DJ Paul Major
Wed. July 25 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Gooski’s
Thu. July 26 ­- Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
Fri. July 27 – Chicago, IL @ Hideout w/ Chandeliers
Sat. July 28 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/ Pink Reason, Day Creeper
Sun. July 29 – Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog
Mon. July 30 – Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar
Tue. July 31 – Toronto, ON @ Parts & Labour
Wed. Aug. 1 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore w/ Natural Child
Thu. Aug. 2 – Burlington, VT @ Signal Kitchen
Fri. Aug. 3 – Allston, MA @ O’Brien’s Pub

Darker Than Ever Before and Created In Berlin… Clare and the Reasons To Release New Record – KR-51- July 10th (Frog Stand) Announce European Tour, Bonnaroo and NYC Dates

Darker Than Ever Before and Created In Berlin… Clare and the Reasons To Release New Record – KR-51- July 10th (Frog Stand) Announce European Tour, Bonnaroo and NYC Dates

Release First Single for Download – “The Lake”

Watch the KR-51 teaser video at YouTube


Clare and the Reasons have announced the release date of their third record, KR-51, available July 10th in North America (Frog Stand) and July 4th in Japan (P-Vine). KR-51, created in Berlin, follows the band’s critically acclaimed 2009 release, Arrow, and their debut album, The Movie, which included collaborations by Sufjan Stevens and Van Dyke Parks. In anticipation of the KR-51 release and a forthcoming tour, the band has debuted their first single “The Lake.” Clare and the Reasons will play in NYC twice next week before embarking on a set of European dates, and their first ever appearance at Bonnaroo this summer.

Clare and the Reasons call Brooklyn home, but after touring around the world extensively with Van Dyke Parks, My Brightest Diamond, and on their own, they needed a new setting – one that would make them see and hear differently. For eight months in 2011 they lived in an apartment on Berlin’s Bergstrasse, on the western edges of what used to be the East. They got a 1968 Schwalbe moped – model KR-51 – and sped around the city at a velocity the congested New York streets would have prohibited. While riding under the vast skies of Berlin, the city a blurred filmstrip of cobblestones, trees, and graffiti, they dreamed up the sounds of this new record. After months of writing under the influence of Berlin they packed up a van and drove to Haldern-Rees, a little German village, to record KR-51. In Oct-Nov of 2011, they recorded for long hours, in between bicycling in and around cow fields, under an unimaginable number of stars.

The band sunk themselves into a city of many histories, a city of concrete boxes and fluted columns. Those contrasts, at times stark and streamlined, at times grandly lush, show up in the 11 songs on KR-51. They carry the meticulous orchestration and innovative songwriting Clare and the Reasons are known for, while also carrying a little more sorrow, a lot more distorted guitar, and a little more darkness of heart. Clare studied the way Lotte Lenya delivered so convincingly, and you may hear the adventurous attitude of early Kate Bush in Clare’s writing. The great James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens) played drums on the album, filling it with crunch and bang, driving the record. In a world of sound banks and sequencers, an orchestra made up of members of the Orchestre de Paris materialized, and was recorded live in Paris, something Clare and the Reasons consider a miracle.

Clare and the Reasons’ third album, KR-51, will be released July 10th on Frog Stand in North America, and July 4th on P-vine in Japan.

This album is their Berlin.

Clare and the Reasons In Concert

4/29 – Brooklyn, NY – Jalopy – with Geoff Muldaur
5/02 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub, Happy Ending Music & Reading Series
5/10 – Berlin, Germany – House of World Cultures
5/12 – Ghent, Belgium – Handelsbeurs
5/16 – Köln, Germany – King Georg
5/17 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands – De Balie, Indiestad
6/06 – Asheville, NC – Lexington Avenue Brewery
6/07- 09 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
6/10 – Richmond, VA – Gallery 5

Miike Snow on Letterman Tomorrow

Miike Snow on Letterman Tomorrow

The acclaimed group will perform “Paddling Out” supporting their new album Happy to You. Watch the show on CBS at 11:35 pm / 10:35 pm central.

Also, Miike Snow has officially released the Dirty South remix for “Devil’s Work” from their latest album Happy to You, which was named by Pete Tong (BBC Radio 1) as an Essential New Tune during Miami Music Week. Dirty South takes the sprawling piano driven track and turns it into a progressive big-room EDM track that’s absolutely massive.