January 6, 2008

Today's Hotness: A Weather, Mobius Band, Wye Oak

A Weather
>> The final solicitation of 2007 to catch our fancy was a pitch for A Weather, a Portland, Ore.-based quintet. A Weather's serenity and domestic intimacy recall for us the quiet rock of Track A Tiger, although we expect there are more on-point comparisons if we stop and think (perhaps Rocketship crossed with The Softies?). The verse of A Weather's "Spiders, Snakes" quietly marches and purrs and yearns, envisioning a tryst consummated while Bedhead plays on the hi-fi. The chorus offers some relief in the form of bright optimism, or at least some pragmatic pleading for managed expectations. On the whole the track is a perfect love song for the indie-conscious, cardigan-wearing set we struggle to believe survived the mid-1990s. No less affecting is the track "Oh My Stars," whose fractured waltz layers vocals into a spine-tingling minor crescendo in its final minute. Cove, A Weather's debut, will be released by Team Love March 8. The label also released a single by the band, "The Feather Test" b/w "One More One Night Stand," last spring.

A Weather -- "Spiders, Snakes" -- Cove
A Weather -- "Oh My Stars" -- Cove
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[pre-order Cove from Team Love].

>> Daytrotter commences 2008 correctly by posting this new session featuring Brooklyn-based cyborg rockers Mobius Band. The session features four tracks -- although the ID3 tags suggests a fifth was also recorded -- including "A Hint Of Blood," "Friends Like These," "Hallie" and "The Loving Sounds Of Static." And while we take every opportunity to embiggen the formerly Massachusetts-based trio, the recordings of the first two tracks sound a little flat. The songs, of course, are excellent, each one a highlight of the band's near-decade of existence. But somehow the live mix here makes the songs sound small -- certainly much smaller and less potent than their studio counterparts. Whatever the problems, they are dispelled on the recording of "Hallie," which sounds significantly more peppy, despite the tune's down-in-the-mouth story. And the bluesy, almost Palace-ish rendering of "Static" with haunting and woeful vocal harmonies is a pleasant surprise. Download the tracks from the good people of Daytrotter here. Mobius Band released its sophomore set Heaven on Misra/Ghostly International in October.

>> We checked out Merge's new act Wye Oak on Frank Chromewaves' recommendation and we are saying "yes" to the Baltimore-based duo. Thank god bands are putting feedback back into their recordings. Or at least some of them -- we popped over to the band's MySpace wigwam and some of the other tracks are more basic acoustic numbers. Wye Oak releases its Merge debut If Children April 8. It is touring in an erratic path throughout January (Brooklyn last night, from the Carolinas to Florida next week, and then on to the Pacific Northwest); check out all the dates at the MySpace linked supra. Here is the first promo MP3 for a delightful cut entitled "Warning."

Wye Oak -- "Warning" - If Children
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>> Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla characterizes the quartet's forthcoming release as "polarizing," "dissonant" and "abrasive," according to this Billboard article, which all sounds very promising to us. While we admit to only having heard half of the record, we didn't find much of interest on the popular indie rock band's major label debut Plans beyond "Marching Bands In Manhattan," and the record made us miss the Death Cab of We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes. Or even Transatlanticism, of which we were surprised to read recently there is some perception out there that the record is slagworthy. What? The Seattle quartet's next record, its second for Atlantic, is as-yet untitled and is slated for a May release.

>> Wow, Warner Music Group's ADA distro arm bought Insound.com, according to this bit at GloNo. Hope all those old school Insound dudes got paid, assuming they are still with the company. The full story, such as it is, is at Billboard.biz here.

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