Stranded In Stereo: July 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Datarock Video: "True Stories"

True story: as usual, my dedicated listening schedule to WOXY introduced be to Datarock and their new song, "True Stories". True story - the lyrics, every line, every last word are - you guess it - Talking Heads song titles. Even the song title, which is also the name of the album that was the soundtrack to that David Byrne movie from the 80s that also featured an apperance by John Goodman.

Born Under Punches
Crosseyed And painless
Slippery People
I’m Not In Love

Houses In Motion
A Road To Nowhere
Once In A Lifetime
I’m Not In Love

Don’t Worry About The Government
The Democratic Circus
Cause Mommy Daddy You and I
Are Burning Down The House

Psycho Killer
Television Man
I’m Not In Love

Puzzling Evidence
Seen And Not Seen
This Must Be The Place
I’m Not In Love

Don’t Worry 'Bout The Government
The Democratic Circus
Cause Mommy Daddy You and I
Are Burning Down The House

I Get wild
Wild Gravity
Wild Wild Life
The Big Country

Their new album, it's called Red, also features a song about Molly Ringwald called "Molly". Anyone want to let Spong know? Ha.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

They That Cried Wolf

When a fellow blogger excitedly contacts you about a band that they want you to listen to, you HAVE to check it out. Bloggers are a jaded lot, bombarded with music by every great and awful band out there, so when David at Separated By Motorways reached out to me about They That Cried Wolf, it immediately made its way to the top of my list.

The band hails from Yeovil, South West England, a four piece made up of long time friends. While they claim their influences as Tellison, Kings of Leon, and Wolf Parade, the music is much more interesting than that.

"These Kids" is a 'perfect summer song' and it's on their debut EP Hunters in the Snow, which is out now.

[mp3]: "These Kids"

"These Kids"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trashcan Sinatras on Tour

Scottish band the Trashcan Sinatras formed in 1986, and despite all of the hoopla surrounding reformed groups these days, this band has been going strong since day one.

The band's fifth album, In the Music, is out now. You can catch them on tour throughout the US this summer. According to their official site:
"the trashcans have signed a licensing agreement in north america with hensley music group. hensley is affiliated with emi records. the band were signed to hensley by john wooler, a former senior executive at virgin records and multiple grammy nominee and winner. in the music will be released in north america in july."

Also, look for the band's back catalogue to be reissued with bonus material in the near future.

[mp3]: "I Wish You'd Met Her"

july 28, 2009 san diego, ca casbah

july 29, 2009 los angeles, ca troubadour

july 30, 2009 san francisco, ca cafe du nord

july 31, 2009 san francisco, ca cafe du nord

aug 2, 2009 portland, or aladdin theater

aug 3, 2009 seattle, wa triple door

aug 5, 2009 salt lake city, ut club vegas

aug 6, 2009 denver, co larimer lounge

aug 7, 2009 boulder, co albums on the hill
- in-store at noon
aug 8, 2009 st. louis, mo firebird

aug 9, 2009 chicago, il schuba's

aug 10, 2009 milwaukee, wi shank hall

aug 11, 2009 cleveland, oh grog shop

aug 13, 2009 washington, dc rock & roll hotel

aug 14, 2009 philadelphia, pa tin angel
(early show)
aug 14, 2009 philadelphia, pa tin angel
(late show)
aug 15, 2009 new york, ny bowery ballroom

aug 16, 2009 boston, ma t.t. the bear's

"Oranges and Apples"

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Stranded Q & A: Dark Room Notes

Dublin is known for a lot more than beer and cloudy skies. It has an amazing local music scene that is bustling right now with acts like Sweet Jane, the Brothers Movement, Hooray For Humans, and electro-pop four piece Dark Room Notes, who we recently chatted with via the interwebs.

1. Who have been your biggest influences both lyrically and musically?
Lyrically we try to create ambiguous images in listeners' minds – we like to ensure that no-one is ever 100% sure that they have interpreted the song correctly. Musically it changes all the time. Rock still plays a role, but more and more we're turning to all forms of electronic music, especially the more minimal forms of techno and house.

2. Why did you choose to take an electro-rock approach to music, as opposed to a more straight-ahead rock sound?
The choice was thrust upon us when our bass player left some years ago. We first started programming our basslines, but soon became more and more interested in the possibilities that electronic and dance music presented. The more we listened, the more we absorbed. Right now the only non-electronic instrument we're writing with is a guitar. And I'm often tempted to put it down.

3. Who do you think is at the most cutting-edge of music today? Where do you think the music industry is going?
There are so many acts out there making amazing and sometimes alarming music. The ones that are the most cutting-edge are generally the ones that very few people have heard, and this reflects the current direction of the music industry. Record labels are looking for a guaranteed return on their investment. In this sense they're more interested in what will sell rather than what is cutting-edge. There are a few exceptions, Radiohead being one obvious one.

4. Any other Dublin bands we should be watching out for?
Subplots and Villagers are two that spring to mind immediately. We just played with Villagers at the Oxegen festival, and Subplots are another band produced by our unofficial fifth member, Ciaran Bradshaw.

5. How was your experience recording 14 songs in 14 days? Do you think more bands should take a similar approach?
Exhausting. We undertook that project for economic and artistic reasons. As an electronic band, we were wary of sounding over-produced and sterile on record, so we decided to record as live as possible. This enabled us to complete a song every day, but some of those days contained more than 24 hours. Our second album will probably have a different approach, but I can recommend trying it at least once.

6. What drove you to pursue music?
As a kid it was the usual desire to be a rock star, but this was soon replaced by an appreciation of the joy that can be experienced by writing, recording and performing your own music. Hearing something truly amazing by another band is all the fuel you need to keep challenging yourself to improve your own craft. That and the fact that I'm not much good at anything else, apart from driving a large van containing a band around the country.

7. What was the best gig you’ve ever played?
We played with Kraftwerk last year. However due a late venue change and some confusion regarding the stage times, we played to about 50 people. Later that night we took out our frustration in front of a similar sized crowd in a tiny room upstairs in Whelan's in Dublin. It was a barnburner. I think we play best when there's some tension in the air.

(Interview by Veronica Bianqui)

[mp3]: "Shake Shake My Ceiling"

"Let's Light Fires"

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Stranded Q & A: The Audreys

Australia is a large country. If you think there is nothing between the coasts in the U.S. (you'd be wrong), then Australia takes that to a completely new level. Bush country really is the middle of nowhere. Australian band the Audreys hail from Adelaide, a city on the nation's south coast, but they play music that brings to mind the best from America's flyover country. The band will be in Los Angeles later this month, so we caught up with them via e-mail.

The band plays in Los Angeles on 27 July @ Spaceland and 30 July @ Hotel Cafe.

1. You guys are doing some gigs in LA soon. Have you been here before? Are you excited? Tell us how the trip came about.
We've been through the LA airport more times than we care to remember, but haven't managed to get into the city yet, so yes we are very excited. Our guitarist Tristan just wants to hang out on street corners and seedy bars like he's Tom Waits waiting around for Rickie Lee Jones. We're really looking forward to playing the shows too.

2. Tell us a bit about your new album. What went into the songwriting process? How has Australia taken to it?
We actually wrote most of this record at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. Now there's a great place to soak up some inspiration. The album has been really well received here at home and we are very keen to see how an international audience will take to it. We've just released both our albums on vinyl here in Australia as well, and it's been great to see folks really getting into The Audreys on wax.

3. When/why did you guys form?
We formed in Adelaide, South Australia in 2004 in order to take over the universe with banjos and ukuleles.

4. What American bands have you played with in the past? Do you have a dream bill?
We've shared Australian festival stages with dozens of amazing American artists, like Keiran Kane & Kevin Welch, Cat Power, The Mammals, Ben Harper, Michael Franti, Modest Mouse and Buddy Guy....just to name a few. I'd love to be on a bill with great American female singers like Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Lucinda Williams.

5. What are you hoping to take back from your American trip?
Vintage guitars!!

[mp3]: "Paradise City"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Animal Kingdom Video: "Tin Man"

If Coldplay and Snow Patrol are too mainstream, but you still like that sweeping, cinematic indie rock, then Animal Kingdom is for you. This great tune got a great video to go along with it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top 10 Songs of 2009...So Far (Dany edition)

So Rusty decided to post up his favorite songs of the year without asking me for input? I am not really angry, but I am determined to get the last word. There's no real order to this, but these are some of the best tracks I've heard so far in '09, and as usual, Rusty and I will not agree on anything.

The Joy Formidable "Whirring"

They ended their set at Oceans Rooms (during the Great Escape in Brighton, UK) with this song. Best musical moment of the year so far.

Bombay Bicycle Club "Dust on the Ground"

I actually like "Always Like This" more, but the pricks at their label won't let me embed that one. The band's debut always is amazing.

LoveLikeFire "Stand in Your Shoes"

A great song off of a stunning album.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart "Young Adult Friction"

Surprisingly, a good album.

Chew Lips "Solo"

I skipped out on these guys at the Great Escape, but after hearing this song, I totally regret it.

Pulled Apart By Horses "Meat Balloon"

From the ashes of Mother Vulpine and It Takes Bridges. One of the most dynamic bands I've seen play this year.

Jamie T "Sticks N Stones"

Yet another brilliant tune from this guy.

The Answering Machine "Cliffer"

A great single off of an album full of singles.

Wintermute "Dead or Not He Was Wearing Sunglasses"

The band that could do for math rock what Bloc Party did for indie dance.

The Maccabees "No Kind Words"

While their sophomore album may be bland, they picked a great tune to lead off with. The guy on the right is Mat Horne from Gavin & Stacey.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Morning Newsletter (7-13-09)

The terrifying and somewhat dangerous Middlesbrough, UK band Drunk in Hell have put up their demo for free download. These are soaked in fury and feedback. This is a band that will kick you in the balls and laugh. Download here.

Former Silver Jews frontman David Berman has written a book of cartoons called The Portable February. For some reason Drag City Records thought that was reason enough to print it up. The band only broke up in January… so one can only assume it didn’t’ take long to write or alternately that Berman already had a plan B.

Yeti has published The Art of Touring by former Electrelane guitarist Mia Clarke and Erase Errata’s Sara Jaffe. It features contributions from Devendra Banhart and members of Times New Viking, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Thurston Moore. It comes with a DVD loaded with backstage footage.

Word has it that Dave Grohl, and Josh Homme are recording a project. Rumors have been persistent since 3005, but recently Homme's wife Brody Dalle of Spinnerette blabbed that the rumors were true. She did comport herself like a good secret agent : "I'm not at liberty to talk about it.”

Pearl Jam has announced that they will be the headliner for the first night of the Virgin Festival in Calgary, Alberta, Canada this August. It will be their first show this year.

Lady Gaga recently admitted that she has gone bankrupt for the fourth time. Columnists lay the blame on her excessive wardrobe and touring stage show. José blames the ultimate freshmaker: cocaine. The devil’s dandruff is more expensive than any bustier.

The Fall Of Troy have finished their new as-yet-untitled album. This will be their third for Equal Vision records and is scheduled for a release this Fall. In an unrelated note the band has pulled out of their European tour with Alexisonfire, Anti-Flag and The Ghost Of A Thousand. José suspects passport trouble.

Dinosaur Jr.
have recalled a European pressing of their new CD Farm. Ironically the album was mastered about 3 dB too loud causing unintended clipping and distortion. Buyers can either check the bar code – copies with the number 5414939004926 are affected. Pias Entertainment is offering a free swap program to replace the bad pressing.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Desolation Wilderness: "Boardwalk Theme"

You know when you're on your third listen of a record, it has to be good. I just feel ignorant for letting it sit in a pile on my desk for so long. Honestly, I think it's been here since May, the new Desolation Wilderness album, New Universe. It would've been perfect on the We Be Grilling mix I put together when I was at home for the birthday this past Memorial Day. The album is like the soundtrack for a humid day all aglow in the hazy sunshine: the guitars shimmer through murky pastures, the passages of vocals buried deep in the mix like someone telling a lovelorn tale from the bottom of the sea floor. Think of the Crystal Stilts taking a vacation on the west coast, visiting a Santa Monica pier by way of Olympia. Think of a just as immediate version of The Tyde, yet there's more of a bonfire vibe than a hang ten surfer dude mantra about this record.

New Universe is out August 4th on K Records.

Download: "Boardwalk Theme" [mp3]

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Top 10 Songs of 2009 ... So Far

So, last week I know I teased with the fact that I had a put together a list of the 10 Best Songs of '09 so far and I just now realized because of all the BBQ and beers and such, I forgot to share it with the world. How terrible of me. So, anyway, here we are again in the fairest of orders which is alphabetical, here's the Top 10 Songs of 2009 .. so far?

"Brothersport" - Animal Collective
"And The Hazy Sea" - Cymbals Eat Guitars

"Stillness Is The Move" - Dirty Projectors

"Vacationing People" - Foreign Born
"Two Weeks" - Grizzly Bear

"Tunnelvision" - Here We Go Magic

"Lalita" - The Love Language
"Little Secrets" - Passion Pit
"Actor Out Of Work" - St. Vincent

"Awkward Kisser" - Telekinesis

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Ice Palace Video: "Thoughts/Facts"

One album I have yet to mention from this year by accident is the new one from Minnesota's Ice Palace. Tying together the best parts of Archers of Loaf and Wolf Parade, Wonder Subtly Crushing Us features 10 rockers in quick succession. The songs are pop gems and art rockers. They've toured with labelmates Cloud Cult and Margot & The Nuclear So and So's. A few months ago I read about and saw stills for the video for the catchy number "Thoughts/Facts" and finally last week the video was spotted on YouTube. Speaking of spotting, can you tell which band in the video is Ice Palace? It's not that hard.

Friday, July 3, 2009

SIS The Best of 2009 ... So Far, Part Two

As we approach the 4th of July weekend, we take a look back at the second half of what we started yesterday: the best albums of 2009 ... so far, that is. These 10 albums, listed in nothing but alphabetical, could be and are the top contenders thus far for the Top 10 of '09, but we still have many months to go, and many albums to come yet to shake things up. But until then, if the year ended today the Top 10 would include these fine albums.

Japandroids / Post-Nothing / Polyvinyl
The first time I heard this record, it was loud and it was abrasive and I couldn't find anything I really liked about it. But with every subsequent listen, I found the melodies hidden beneath the maniacal playing of this Vancouver-based duo. And then on headphones, besides the musical jewels, you listen to the lyrics and you realize this must be a concept record. All this talk of girls and their homeland, getting the sweats and the shits and "x-o-x-o-x" that end letters and text messages. I was listening to it just yesterday and "Sovereignty" and there was one lyric that sealed the deal on this being a great album and a great concept on that I dubbed Teen Angsty Love, Canadian Style: 'It's raining in Vancouver / But I don't give a fuck / Cause I'm in love with you tonight." But their not in love with just girls, but a city, a place far from home that is their hearts.

Peter, Bjorn & John - Living Thing - StarTime / Almost Gold
For their fifth album, the Swedish trio drop their guitars, fire up the samplers and drum machines, and make the best record the 80s just couldn't handle back then. Choruses of kids belt out there's nothing to worry about, and it's true: for those who feared the band wasn't the same band, they still are. All the catchy melodies are there just presented in a different form. The title track with it's nod to Graceland and the first UK single yelling out 'Hey shut the fuck up boy' are just some of the gleaming moments. "I'm Losing My Mind" veers back to what we can now call classic PB&J with a psychadelic guitar riff driving the album, but that's its low point. I much prefer the dark and ominous jams like "4 Out of 5" that will protrude from my car stereo all summer long.

Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer - Jagjaguwar
Those who say this third album from one of Spencer Krug's many guises is his most accessible are truly right in their sayings. But for me, I always thought Sunset Rubdown was accessible and easy to get in to. This album features everything you'd want - epic prog moments ("Dragon's Lair," "Black Swan") and driving, hard hitting anthems ("You Go On Ahead," "Idiot Heart"). For me, what I like most is picking up on subtle nuances or just taking in the things no one else would. Like the swirling keyboard notes that open the record on "Silver Moons" or the way everything starts to collide on the aforementioned "Swan". Hell, even their cover of "Paper Lace" (cover because it was originally done by one of Krug's other outfits, Canadian indie supergroup Swan Lake) is worthy of debating whether their version is better than the original. As prolific and as talented as this band is getting along with a spot in the limelight, makes you wonder if this could become Krug's day job over some Wolf group he plays in.

Telekinesis - Telekinesis! - Merge
It's not just because of my allegiance to the infamous label that turns 20 this year, but every year I feel they always put out a new record from an up and coming up that just resonates with me like no other. This year it Michael Benjamin Lerner, aka the Seattle-based Telekinesis. On this record, Lerner teams up with producer Chris Walla to brings us tales of obsessions with foreign lands and time zones that, while it appears he's visited on the surface, his bio will tell you otherwise. And boy are the songs catchy - we all know my love for "Awkward Kisser," but the acoustic punch of "Great Lakes" and the soaring guitars of "Tokyo" all give way to the 'I'm in love with you, return the favor' serenade of "I Saw Lightning." Dare I say this is a perfect record?
Wilco - Wilco ( The Album) - Nonesuch
So, yeah, everyone's favorite band from Chicago caught a lot of flack for the Dad-rock infused Sky Blue Sky. I know back upon its release two years ago I wasn't a big fan of it; I never even blogged about it once! But their new album, it just immediately stuck with me. It's not this mid-tempo 70s record like Sky, and it definitely veers from their meandering ways of A Ghost Is Born. It's not Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, though - but it's on par with the now legendary album. "Bull Black Nova" builds and build over repetitions before exploding. "You Never Know" is driven by a clanging honky tonk piano. "Sonny Feeling" is just that and essentially tells the entire tale of an album full of upbeat moments, and tongue-in-cheek-ism's down to the title track and band theme song.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

SIS The Best of 2009 ... So Far, Part One

I'm going to go out there on the limb of bloggerdom and just say it: 2009 is so better than 2008. I don't remember ever in the history of me charting a course of the best albums of the year (started back in 1998) that by the halftime show already being stacked up with so many quality albums in where I might just have a three-way tie for first. OK, that's a lie - the classic line-up of Guided by Voices couldn't reunite and put out their best album ever in an attempt to top out what is #1 so far. No, I'm not going to give away the high order just yet. Instead, we let the alphabet take precedent as we look back at Part 1 of the Best Albums of 2009 .... so far.

Cymbals Eat Guitars / Why There Are Mountains / Sister's Den
It's pure coincidental that the first album mention was the first to make its impact on me this year. It was a record that 10 years from now I'll still be able to point my finger on the moment I first heard it. After frantically searching the internets, this Staten Island-based quartet's first album was blasting through my Macbook. For a month straight it was all I heard. And now it's everything else the indie world is listening to and more will soon be joining the pack. After a glowing Pitchfork review, the band is playing festivals and hitting the road with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart this fall. Their star is on the rise.

I know of at least one person, a former co-worker, who gave me shit for mentioning this one because it's a compilation, but damnit if it isn't a good one. You get Feist dueting with Grizzly Bear ("Service Bell,") you get Feist dueting with Ben Gibbard ("Train Song"). You get Yo La Tengo committing to tape one of their obscure covers ("Gentle Hour,") and you get new music from every other hot commodity on the indie scene (Spoon, The National, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver.) It's like some great Time Life comp or what have you that was advertised in the 70s for the indie generation, something like a Nuggets compilation except not because these aren't a bunch of one hit wonders, but rather an established sect of bands getting together for a cause. Hopefully the Red Hot organization has another good comp or three in them.

Eels / Hombre Lobo / Vagrant
E had a lot riding on this one for me - he had to follow up the winner of my Album of the Year 2005, the double-opus Blinking Lights & Other Revelations. Since then he occupied the time of myself and the other Eels fans with three grueling tours, penning his memoirs, and putting out a best-of and double-disc set of rarities. So when it came time to finally make a new studio record, he brought the beard back to reivisit the "Dog Faced Boy" of 2001's Souljacker. It's an album that sonically is a gritty sounding Shootenanny: bluesy 60s guitars covered in static and lo-fi aesthetics. Everything's cranked up to 10, there's next to no overdubs unless hums and hisses of feedback count. It a song-cycle based on longing and desire, things E has always written about, but not so much from the third person.

Foreign Born / Person To Person / Secretly Canadian
This album, the second from the California natives, gets almost a daily spin here at the SIS HQ. If you love the French Kicks, you'll love this, maybe even more then that Brooklyn trio. Person comes off as the album Swimming is not: it's bright and sunny and the guitars shimmer, all the instruments coalesce and co-exist in perfect symmetry. There's not a bunch of jangly guitars bogged down by an organic production and darkness, they beam like the sun. "Vacationing People" is a strong contender for one the year's finest tunes, while the album ties itself together with other songs like "Can't Keep Time," "Blood Oranges" and "Can't Keep Time" keeping it in check.

Grizzly Bear / Veckatimest / Warp
I remember writing the Can't Stop Spinning column/letter of love back in February and the second it was done, I was sad it was available for all to read. Months later when the album finally came out and we all helped it get to #8 on Billboard (I bought the CD and the LP and tickets to three shows,) I still was finding new things I loved in and out about this record. A year after debuting it to the world, "Two Weeks" holds up as one of the strongest songs of the year, but it's not just an album about songs it's about the building blocks that make the songs. The lush arrangements on the grand "Ready, Able" and the perfect harmonies of "All We Ask" and the epic angels and demons allusions of Daniel Rossen vs. the Brooklyn Youth Chorus in "I Live With You" are just a few of its perfections making it a strong contender for not just Album of the Year, but Album of the Decade, if not, my lifetime.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New Elvis Perkins Video: "Chains, Chains, Chains"

We're halfway through 2009. I'm compiling the Top 10 So Far (Albums and songs this year, for the last time[!?!]) and I thought this would be a fitting little video to post. One of the albums that may/may not be on the Top 10, most certainly in the year-end Top 30, will be the newest one from Elvis Perkins in Dearland. Their eponymous album is near perfect, though upon my first listen I was more attracted to the first half of the record. Eventually the whole thing came together for me and it's easily one of the year's finest. Definitely a band one should catch live if you can; seriously, I've seen the man and his band five times now and they've never let me down once. Do enjoy the video for the song "Chains, Chains, Chains" which was directed by Sean Pecknold. Wonder if he's related to that Robin Pecknold guy from Fleet Foxes? Either way, the album is out now on XL.