Stranded In Stereo: March 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wheat at Home This Weekend

After a three year hiatus and a stab at the major leagues, Boston based outfit Wheat return with a new album this year. The cryptically titled Everday I Said A Prayer For Kathy And Made A One Inch Square is every bit beautiful as it can be noisy at times. More of a prettier Sonic Youth at times than My Bloddy Valetine will ever be, it's definitely one of those albums where multiple first listens are required through headphones; you'll definitely find yourself picking up new things with each well deserved listen. Being equally epic and grand moments a la The Soft Bulletin and being coated with the most saccharine shoegaze moments on Souvlaki, Kathy is a devastatingly beautiful record about love and loss and how one is to cope and move on from the past, but not without carrying that little reminder with you wherever you go.

To tide you over until the release of Kathy on May 22, the band will be playing a few shows around the northeast. You can also snatch up the five-song EP That's Exactly What I Wanted...Exactly That, featuring Kathy single "Little White Dove" and four non-album tracks.

Download: "Little White Dove" [mp3] /// [Buy EP Here]

Wheat Tour Dates:
03/31 - TT The Bear's - Cambridge
04/28 - Northstar Bar - Philadelphia
04/29 - Mercury Lounge - New York

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Noticing How East Coast Traffic Blows"

You know that I can't blog here and not mention my all-time favorite, my hero, my Jesus, my personal NKOTB, ex-Guided By Voices lead singer Robert Pollard. His umpteenth release, the "mini LP" Silverfish Trivia, is out April 17th (isn't he just dreamy in that track jacket??) Originally slated to be the follow-up to last year's super pop that is Normal Happiness, Trivia went from a 15 song bombast to a mere seven tracks. Bookended by two string instrumentals, the album also features the epic "Cats Love A Parade," an eight minute suite featuring fragments of songs originally on last year's All That Is Holy, one of Pollard's numerous side projects on his about to be defunct Fading Captain Series imprint. With that being said, Trivia is on the newly created Prom Is Coming imprint (that being named after a song on Bob's first solo album, 1996's Not In My Airforce.)

Another song featured on the upcoming release is "Circle Saw Boys Club," a very moving number that was debuted during Pollard's short tour last fall in support of
Happiness. The song looks to be a return the more prog-like moments on his other solo album from last year, From A Compound Eye. Either way, it's just Bob at his best (then again with me, Bob is always at his best.)

Download: "Circle Saw Boys Club" [mp3] /// [Buy Here]

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"How Am I Not Myself?"

Jason Schwartzman, star of such memorable films like Rushmore, Shopgirl and an all time fave, I Heart Huckabees has returned to his gig as a rock and roller. After departing Phantom Planet (he was their original drummer,) Schwartzman concentrated on making films but is now back with a solo project, dubbed Coconut Records. The debut album, Nighttiming, features guest appearances by Incubus guitarist Mike Enzinger and Schwartzman's ex-lover, Zooey Daschnel. The songs are reminiscent of his days in Phantom Planet and at times his brother's band Rooney but definitely have a fresh sound to them. The title track could be an instant hit this summer; what with its sampled strings and phat beat, "Nighttiming" could easily be a instant hit in the clubs of the 1970s and today. Nighttiming is available now via iTunes, and out on Young Baby Records this summer.

Download: "Nighttiming" [mp3] /// Buy Here

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Release Tuesday

This Tuesday, Rusty finds that there are a handful of amazing records you should check out this week at your local independent record retailer (what, you really think Wal-Mart will carry the new Panda Bear?)

One album I cannot get enough of so far this year is the sophomore effort from LCD Soundsystem. James Murphy returns this week with an album that outdoes its predecessor by keeping up with the cowbell and exploring new sounds and textural plateaus. My review of Sound of Silver is up at the SiS site. Do check out the amazing Diplo mash-up of Silver's shining moment ("Someone Great") with something great by Mr. Timberlake.
Download: "My Love (Diplo Mix)" [mp3] /// Buy Here

An album I still cannot get in to at all is the new one from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. There are some great moments on their 4th album, Living With The Living, but there are also too many moments in general. Over the course of an hour, the 15 songs make Living hard to digest, with many different musical styles being tried and tested. It's almost as if there's a lot of filler among an album that could be trimmed down by a few songs and be morphed in to the best thing since Hearts Of Oak. Do track down the limited edition bonus EP, Mo' Living; I'd even go out on a limb and say the track "Old Souls Know" is Mo' interesting than any song on the album it comes packaged with.
Download: "Bomb.Repeat.Bomb.(1954)" [mp3] /// Buy Here

Johnny Marr joins Issac Brock and the rest of Modest Mouse on another one of the more anticipated albums of '07,
We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. Logically progressing from the 2004 breakthrough, Good News For People Who Love Bad News, Sank is anchored in lots of references to the sea, amidst flourishes of strings ("Dashboard,") and lots of brass ("Spitting Venom.") The best part about this album is that with the addition of Marr they don't try to sound like his former band, but instead just work on perfecting their own sound. Do look out for a cameo by Shins frontman James Mercer on "We've Got Everything" and "Fire It Up."
Download: "Fire It Up" [mp3] /// Buy Here

Finally, this is an album I honest cannot get enough of. I was never really in to Animal Collective, but am in love with Panda Bear (not to be confused with the Panda Band.) Panda Bear is Collective's Noah Lennox and his third album,
Person Pitch, can easily be likened to Brian Wilson and his triumphant Smile LP. The album is a sonic haven of bright and beautiful sounds, competing with a lo-fi ethic that doesn't hold back Lennox's attempt at being grand. Check out the video for "Bros," it's definitely a trippy one.
Download: "Take Pills" [mp3] /// Buy Here

Friday, March 16, 2007

Kings of Leon Tour; Rusty Mails SiS v5

So, yes this week is SXSW and I'm not there (Exitfare is having some good coverage, btw._ Instead your loyal blogger stuffed many an envelope to send out the newest issue of Stranded In Stereo. I hope you all enjoy it! Next time I'll take pictures so you can see all the fun that is involved with putting stamps on envelopes and stuffing them with great music and videos that will make your ears and eyes happy for a moment in time.

In better news, Kings of Leon will be releasing their third album,
Because Of The Times, on April 3. It's a bigger, badder sound in comparison to their previous efforts. People are calling this their make it or break it record in the states (they are well established and believe their European fanbase has kept them going.) I have yet to formulate my opinion on the album; ask me again in a few weeks.

In better news, though, the band has announced the first leg of the US tour. Do catch them when they come to your town this spring / summer.

The video for "On Call," an interesting choice for the first single but one of the better songs on
Times, can be found here

Kings of Leon Tour Dates:
04/28 - Coachella - Indio
05/02 - Moore Theater - Seattle
05/03 - Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom - Portland
05/05 - Denver, CO Ogden - Denver
05/06 - Kansas City, MO Voodoo Lounge @ Harrah's - Kansas City
05/07 - Tulsa, OK Cains - Tulsa
05/09 - Austin, TX Stubbs - Austin
05/11 - New Orleans, LA House of Blues - New Orleans
05/12 - Houston, TX Warehouse Live - Houston
05/13 - Dallas, TX House of Blues - Dallas
05/15 - Indianapolis, IN Vogue - Indianapolis
05/17 - Milwaukee, WI Rave - Milwaukee
05/18 - Minneapolis, MN First Ave - Minneapolis
05/19 - Chicago, IL Riviera - Chicago
05/21 - Louisville, KY Headliners - Louisville
05/22 - Cleveland, OH House of Blues - Cleveland
05/24 - Bogarts - Cincinnati
05/25 - Pageant - St. Louis
06/01 - Tabernacle - Atlanta
06/02 - Orange Peel - Asheville
06/05 - Roseland - New York
06/06 - Avalon - Boston
06/07 - Electric Factory - Philadelphia
06/12 - Kool Haus - Toronto
06/15 - Bonnaroo - Manchester

Friday, March 9, 2007

MD Of The Week: Evan From WKDU

This week we go back to where it all began for me, but not really. I grew up outside of Philly and the second station college station I ever listened to with any regularity was Drexel Univeristy's WKDU, a station that saturates The City Of Brotherly with all of the awesome tunes that the other stations won't touch. Instead of asking Evan about cheesesteaks, Wawa and Randall Cunningham [that's in part 2], we talked about the station, the city and some killer new tunes.

1. How and/or why did you get involved with college radio?

A Professor at my school who teaches some classes about radio, spoke in my university 101 class. I decided to join, and went down to the station to get some hours of work done and helped the current music director. The next day I came in and she said she didn't have enough time to do it and that I should. Without hesitation, I did it.

2. Name five bands you are currently in to at the moment.
Modest Mouse’s new album We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank is constantly on my stereo. It's such a good album.

Other than that....

Deerhoof, Heavenley, Animal Collective and as always, Lou Reed. I recently picked up a Street Hassle 12." That in my opinion, it’s one of the best songs ever written.

3. What kind of show do you do? When is it on? How can people listen to your show (do you stream online, frequency, etc.?)
On my show, I usually play a ton of new indie pop, but I completely balance it out with the bands that started it all, and I tend to focus a lot on "twee pop." It can be listened to on Mondays, noon to 3, and you can check that out on's live feed.

4. How does your station help the community?
We promote brotherly love and peace through music. Free people, free format.

5. Can you give some advice to other MD's out there?
It may get tough at times, but all the promoters are so awesome and there is so much new music to be heard, so never stop expanding your horizons.

Menomena (doo-doo-doo-doo-doo)

One of the more hyped about bands coming from the Northwestern U.S. so far this year is Portland, Oregon's own Menomena. Named after that Muppets song (or was it an actual muppet?,) the band have a fresh and original sound (at least I find it to be worthy of using the words "fresh" and "original." Their third album and first for Barsuk, Friend and Foe, has been garnering much critical praise, including some kind words from our Stranded In Stereo's own Eavvon O'Neal. Check out his review here.

Subterranean Blog has the video up for the album's "Wet And Rusting." They claim it's the band's first music video, ever, yet it is not. They also made a clever video for "Cough Coughing" from their 2005 debut, I Am The Fun Blame Monster. Make sure to catch the band on tour with Field Music and at SXSW if you so lucky to be in Austin for the music industry spring break, 2007 edition.

"Cough Coughing" video:

Menomena at SXSW:
03/14 - Gen Art Showcase @ Beauty Bar - Austin
03/15 - Barsuk Showcase @ Buffalo Billiards - Austin
03/16 - Pitchfork Party @ Emo's - Austin
03/17 - Hot Freaks Showcase @ Mohawk - Austin

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

SXSW Preview - Bluhammock Brunch

Saturday March 17th is not just St. Patrick's day, but also when the Bluhammock Brunch will be going down at the Iron Cactus during SXSW. From 12PM until 3PM, stop by and see Kristoffer Ragnstam (who is featured on SiS v5) and Swati while grabbing some free food. the event is hosted by Perofmring Songwriter and CIMS.

Kristoffer Ragnstam "Breakfast By The Mattress"

Swati "Small Gods"

New Release Tuesday

Every Tuesday, Rusty tells you about some great CD's and DVD's you should probably stop pirating and go out and buy at your nearest retailer.

Easily one of the most anticipated albums is yours for the taking as
Neon Bible, the second album from the acclaimed Arcade Fire, hits shelves today. The best part about the follow up to 2004's lauded Funeral is that the Fire don't try to add anymore flames, but instead just follow the same formula and bring about even greater results. Pitchfork even surprised its readers with the 8.2 review posted yesterday (then again, they did give Funeral an astounding 9.7, and named it their album of the year in 04.) At any rate, it's definitely worth the wait and the buy. Especially for the re-working of "No Cars Go." If you feel like spending an extra couple bucks, pick up the deluxe edition which features two 32-page flips books in super special clamshell packaging.
Download: "Black Mirror" [mp3] /// Buy Standard or Deluxe Here

Making his way as the first member of the Strokes to release a solo project, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.'s debut hits shelves in the states today after a warm reception overseas last fall. And for those who already spent money importing the album who don't think it's worth picking up again, the U.S. version has two bonus tracks, including a cover of "Postal Blowfish," originally done by Guided By Voices. Make sure to see him on the road this month opening up for Bloc Party.
Download: "In Transit" [mp3] /// Buy Here

Tour Dates [w/Bloc Party]:
03/23 - Congress Theatre - Chicago
03/24 - Royal Oak Theatre - Detroit
03/25 - Kool Haus - Toronto
03/27 - Metropolis - Montreal
03/28 - Orpheum - Boston
03/30 - United Palace Theater - New York
03/31 - United Palace Theater - New York

What should easily be known as one of the funniest movies of the past quarter century, Borat - Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, is released today on DVD. For those who couldn't get enough laugh, the DVD comes packed with a half hour worth of deleted scenes. I remember seeing this in the theater and laughing so hard I cried. The first time I saw it I couldn't catch my breath during what is the greatest scene of the film (I won't spoil it for those reading this who might be living on Neptune.) Not so sure how they're going to pull of a sequel, but according to 20th Century Fox it is in the works.
Visit: Borat [website] /// Buy Here

Friday, March 2, 2007

MD Of The Week: Rachel from KTCU

So all of us here at Planetary love our stations -- I mean, they're great kids to talk to, they play our records and one time long ago, we were music directing at stations ourselves. We know it can be a bit stressful and crazy at times, and a pat on the back is quite nice on occasion! The first station in our continuing series is KTCU, and their Music Director Rachel Evans. KTCU is located deep in the heart of Texas, the Fort Worth/Dallas area to be exact, and while it is the home of a million annoying Cowboys fans [I am from Philly], it still is a pretty cool place that is home to a damn awesome station. But it's time for Rachel to take the floor.

1. How and/or why did you get involved with college radio?
The truth is, I'm a stowaway. Considering radio's not my major, I'm technically not supposed to be anywhere near this station's controls, and yet I've smuggled my way in! Music is a passion. Being both a musician and a self-proclaimed rock snob, I have always been chin-deep in the new music scene. Being an MD and being to then get on-air and share all this amazing but widely-unknown music to the world is an incredible opportunity.

2. Name five bands you are currently in to at the moment.
Albert Hammond, Jr.
The Hold Steady
Honnorable Mention: U2 - exclusively
War and The Joshua Tree albums.

3. What kind of show do you do? When is it on? How can people listen to your show (do you stream online, frequency, etc.?)
Tuesday nights from 10-1 (CST) are "New Music Tuesdays", where I play the best of what we've gotten in the past month! Wednesday nights at the same time I do an amazing Modern Rock show, blending the foundations of the underground rock scene (bands like The Libertines and
Sugarcubes) with just about everything notable that has founds its way onto the scene since!

KTCU streams LIVE 24/7 at

Our site is newly re-designed and you can see our Top 5 CMJ album plays on the front page! I also do a periodical album review for the site as well!

4. How does your station help the community?
Our largest current service to the community is our weekly community callednar, where we broadcast for free announcements from people and organizations throughout the Fort Worth community. We are also transitioning to a complete local charity focus with our PSAs, which are produced by our DJs and play frequently on-air. We also provide our production facilities and talents to the needs of the community.

We are currently searching for a local charity to partner with exclusively next semester and hold fund raisers and activities to raise money for that cause.

5. Can you give some advice to other MD's out there?
Believe in the rule of second chances!

The joy of our job is that we listen to a lot of music! The downside to our job is that we listen to a
LOT of music. It's easy to lose objectivity. Set aside albums to revisit.

Also, your DJs and your listeners are the two most important parts of your station. Listen to what they have to say, it'll make them happy. But also don't be afraid to say no.

That's it. More from SIS next week, plus look for a profile on WKRP.

Apples In Stereo: The SiS Interview

Hit up the Stranded In Stereo page for my interview with The Apples In Stereo. It's a rather good one, I say. Best thing I've written in years.

"Same Old Drag" video:

"Stephen, Stephen" by Robert Schneider [mp3]

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Planetary SXSW Skewer BBQ

Well, it's March, and you know what that means: South by Southwest is mere weeks away.

On Thursday March 15, 2007, join The Planetary Group and a horde of other sponsors for The Skewer BBQ Day Party at Maggie Mae's.

From 12 noon to 5:30 PM, stop by and catch some of the hottest acts on two stages including: The Wombats, Children Collide, Division Day, The Wildbirds, Mink, Kristoffer Ragnstam, Robbers On High Street, and several other noteworthy acts.

Planetary will be giving away bags filled with fun stuff and, what else, bbq.

Stay tuned to the SiS blog as we will be having live posts from SXSW all week long. To tide you over, check out some MP3's from some of the bands whoo will be playing the day party.

"Breakfast By The Mattress" by Kristoffer Ragnstam [mp3]
"Don't Make Me Wait" by Locksley [mp3]
"Moving To New York" by The Wombats [mp3]
"The Fatalist" by Robbers On High Street [mp3]
"Tigers" by Division Day [mp3]
"Telephone" by Lemon Sun [mp3]