Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Morning Benders ▼ The Big Echo

Like many of you, I've fallen prey to The Morning Benders with the The Big Echo Orchestra video of "Excuses" straight out from their newest album, "The Big Echo". Like many of you, my jaw dropped, gaping wide throughout the 5something minutes of the song. What probably, added to the unexpectedness of the video is, they all look so damned young. Normally, you get bands their age (say, Wavves or The Drums), not having a particularly solid sounding album, ie; they're still in the process of figuring themselves out. But don't let their youthful exuberant facade fool you - they are like seasoned vets as opposed to the former two bands. They have toured extensively, in support of Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Au Revoir Simone, The Submarines, Ra Ra Riot, Yo La Tengo, MGMT and The Kooks, just to name a few (its a long list, really.)

The Morning Benders ▼ Excuses

Chris Chu, and the insanely succesful Chris Taylor (the Grizzly bear guy. And no, he's not furry.) , produced 10 tracks; in the big echo ; in 11 days. What resulted was, a brilliantly composed piece(s) of music. Chris Chu wanted it to be produced with reference and inspired from 'Phil Spector's Wall of Sound'. That meant getting oh, a few hundred or so drummers, guitarists, violinists, and alot more percussionsists and piling them alongside Ooh-Aah singers. It's like these rag-tag bunch took a step back in time.

And 'ere is the original video that got me (and alot others) into them;

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Really, these boys are just full of surpises at every junction. *Not Reccomended for those with a weak/failing heart. Then again, nothing is reccomended if you have a failing heart. Sorry mate*

The Morning Benders ▼ Promises

You can follow their blog, here. They post regularly, so that's great.

The Morning Benders The Big Echo
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Buy It.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lost In The Trees ▼ All Alone in an Empty House

The 13 piece folk orchestra ensemble (they have taken up to 21 members so far) have got ALOT to keep in par with their previous album 'Time Taunts me' to their newest, 'All Alone in an Empty House'. We've seen countless cases where a band makes a debut drawing good reviews and criticisms, only to fade back into obscurity a few moments later. We'll its too early to say whether they would tragically fall into the same conclusion, but, having an ambitious frontsman like Ari Picker, its hard to lose their drive. Covering a wide array of percussions and instruments alike, they're definitely worth checking out. Songs like 'All alone in an empty house' (named after the album title, or is it the other way around?) where there's a smooth transition of intense emotion-fuelled vocals,

For all I care, cause I hate your soul, oh how I hate your soul;
I'll punch holes into the walls but I'll never hurt anyone.

- 3:37-4:02 gave me chills. Some of the songs don't work too well with each other though, an example would be 'Mvt. 1 Sketch'. I just think they are going abit overboard in trying to showcase what the band's capable of pulling. Simillarly for 'Mvt. II Sketch' - go figure eh? Aside from slight hiccups here and there, they're worth a listen or two.

Lost in the trees ▼ Fireplace

The Current line-up is,
Ari Picker
Drew Anagnost - cello
Scott Carle - drums
Mark Daumen - tuba/bells
Leah Gibson - cello
Will Hackney – mandolin/vox/accordion/bells/guitar/bass/cornet
Seamus Kenney - trombone/accordion/bells
Emma Nadeau – french horn/vox/bells/accordion
Lauren Paynter - violin
Alyssa Reichardt – euphonium/accordion/bells
Joah Tunnell – bass/guitar/vox
Jenavieve Varga - violin
Kathryn Wyatt - viola

i dont really know why this is here i thought it looked good and so here it is stop complaining.

Lost In The Trees ▼ All Alone in an Empty House
Try it,
Buy it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Dress Well & Cokc Dokc ▼

The guys at NO CONCLUSION are aflutter with their newest find, "How to dress well & cokc dokc", and for a good reason too. Having released 6 ep's within a few days apart from each other, one would expect it to be flimsy and under-produced but noooo, not these guys - R&B-lofi-ambient soundish music - they guys at how to dress well will be big. They sound ridiculously solid, like they have a straight, non-narrow path, and intend to get to the other side of the moon or someplace equally inaccessible, but is. Trust me on this one. Their current 6 ep's are available at their homepage here, or you could just download them down below.

▼▼▼▼ Born Bodies

▼▼▼▼ Five Souls

▼▼▼▼ Like in the night how the heart becomes the truth

▼▼▼▼ Will you sleep

▼▼▼▼ Friday morning hymnal

▼▼▼▼ The eternal love

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nurses - Apple's Acre ▼

Portland based psychedelic pop trio - Aaron Chapman (vocals, guitar, keyboard) , John Bowers (backing vocals, keyboard), and James Mitchell (percussionist) - Nurses, recently released their second album "Apple's Acre". Taking a more whimsical & theatrical approach, and deviating from their initial release - "Hangin' Nothin' But Our Hands Down", it could either make or break them. Personally the switch was a good move, but someone else might agree to disagree. It's the little attempts at experimental noise, so subtle your mind unconciously picks it up and incorporates it into an euphonic experience. Little chimes, whistling, clapping, small shakes of the tambourine not quite overpowered Aaron's vocals. There have been mixed reviews on Nurses, and I have stated my 2cents. To listen or not to listen, that is the question. Your move.

Nurses - Technicolor

Nurses - Apple's Acre (2009)
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Buy It

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Polvo - In Prisms ▼

Well shit. It's 2am and my impeccable train of thought is keeping me wide awake. Oh yes, I swear I can feel bacteria eating at the insides of my eyeballs. What better time than now to get stoned to math rock (for a lack of better word) quintet Polvo. These old chaps jumped on the defunct-now-reformed bandwagon of bands that .... well, reformed. Saints aboard the bandwagon include Gang of Four, MBV, The Jesus & Mary Chain and Young Marble Giants. There really is alot more I didn't include, I'll leave you to your own devices. Give a man a fish, and he would be satiated with seafood for the day. Point him the direction of the nearest Walmart, and he would worship you like the deity you are. Wait, that seemed a little off. That aside, Polvo reformed early 2008 with Brian Quast replacing Eddie Watkins on drums, to tour whereever it is that they godamn want to.

Polvo - Thermal Treasure

New Material up : In Prism (2009) through Merge Records. One would think that 20 years off the radar, and these middle aged men would be eating nachos in their shoddy shorts, watching shoddy television on their shoddy couches. No siree, they have been sexing up & experimenting with their beats and complex fixated loops, hell bent on gathering up a storm like a messiah's second coming. The entire album is reminiscent of their previous work, Today's Active Lifestyle & Exploded Drawing, ah it's all coming back now. Their queer, detuned guitars making all that fuzzy, dissonant guitar and that raw tone. But wait, something is amiss. Their sound has changed over the course of 20 years. Their vocal's seems so much clearer now, reflective even. From straight edge teeth-baring vocals (Right The Relation) to melancholic tones, these guys managed pulled another show stopper off.

Polvo (I strongly reccomend you to listen to Today's Active Lifestyle & Exploded drawing before In Prism)

Today's Active Lifestyle (1995)
Try It
Buy It

Exploded Drawing (1996)
Try It
Buy It

In Prism (2009)
Try It
Buy It

All Along the Watchtower ▼

Reheard this tune. Get it, or you'd be doing yourself a huge disfavor.
"There must be some way out of here", said the joker to the thief
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief
Businessmen they drink my wine, plowman dig my earth,

None of them along the line know what any of it is worth"

"No need to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke,
"There are many here among us who think that life is but a joke
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late"

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view,
while all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl

lyrics by bob dylan

Electric Ladyland

Monday, February 8, 2010

The xx - (Live, 7th Feb) ▼

The xx

Oh what a night. Freshly plucked from obscurity are trio - Oliver Sim (vocals/bass), Jamie Smith (Synths/Misc) and Romy Madley (vocals/guitar) - from The xx. I'm sure almost everyone would have heard about The xx by now, if not, which rock have you been living under? Owing much of their commercial success through word of mouth & blogs/indie websites - ala metacritic and pitchfork (they're okay when they aren't too bitchy). Childhood friends since young, they have been composing music since before 2005, when the band officially formed. Much of their sound had been catalyzed by R&B - predominantly audible through Romy & Oliver's harmonizing duets - and a much darker/somber sound ingeniously and ornately crafted by Jamie. For their self titled ep, they sound incredibly mature, there is a web of comfort if you may, surrounding their self-titled (and self produced, thumbs up to Jamie, again!) EP "xx". A large part of that sense of ease maybe due to their collective childhood together, growing up and that sort of stuff.

To the present. Countless young-things turned up in black, possibly attracted to The xx's prominent dark persona. They opened up with the song 'Intro' go figure, eh? Jamie's dexterous fingers were put to good use, keeping exact time and beat for Romy to follow. Oliver, doing a sluggish dance with his bass, enticing the audience's attention. An apparent jump-start had the crowd going - 'Crystalised'.
Again, intimate vocals by Oliver & Romy thronged through almost minimalist guitar riffs. The last quarter of the song saw both singers singing entirely different verses, but they manage it as such equals that you'd have a hard time telling them apart.

The xx - Crystalised

I've been down onto my knees ;And you just keep on getting closer
(So don't think that I'm pushing you away)
;(When you're the one that I've kept closest)

Their apparent shyness possibly due to being new to touring. Oliver kept mumbling on the mic inbetween songs and few lines were exchanged between the audience and the crowd. That didn't affect the aura they had one bit. It was a kind of unspoken comfort when with a life-long friend or whatever. Up next - VCR, Jamie toyed with playful notes, demanding innocence from his other two friends. It spells of teenage romance ;

The xx - VCR

You, you still have all the answers

and you, you still have them too.

But you, you just know, you just do

'Islands' ; a song about finding the significant other, with focus on the 'finding'. Romy had palm-muted plucking while singing, a pause, and Jamie and Oliver breaks out with their synth's/bass respectively. Jamie added alittle extra effects to what seemed to compliment the song. It was perfectly suited to dance to it, or even to share shoulders with that someone. Magic. The band played a couple more notable tracks like, Basic Space, Fantasy. Time seemed to fly, and alas they we're down to their last, Infinity. A song of heartbreak, and not wanting to let go. I for one, was captive for that particular instant. Pangs of sorrow could be detected from Romy's vocals. Her exchange of lines with Romy had a connection, it kept building, and building.... and building. Tension was building.Unbearable, unbearable. Everyone except for the trio were silent, eagerly waiting for the climax.

The xx - Infinity

Give it up....
I Can't give it up.

When it seemed like they were going to go on forever, the triplet totally, and completely bowled the audience over. Oliver, lowering his bass, picked up two Timpani Mallets. He then proceeded to bash the hi-hat into submission. He looked somewhat like a deranged percussionist school boy who just found out his pet hamster had been murdered. The hi-hat; the murderer. Awash with flourishes of ornate electronic wizardry, Jamie accompanied in possessive instinctive beats on his synth. Coupled with delayed guitar playing, the stage lights going crazy, energy was aflutter in the theater and everyone in it. Made my skin crawl, in a good way of course.

The xx - Self titled EP
Try It
Buy It