April 9, 2008

Today's Hotness: The Swimmers, The War On Drugs, Meneguar

The Swimmers, photo by Dawn Walsh>> [PHOTO CREDIT: Dawn Walsh] Philadelphia indie rock upstarts The Swimmers recently completed a small strand of tour dates, but the quartet is continuing the good vibes by sharing a cracking live recording of their March 22 show at The Hideout in Chicago. The audio is clear and punchy and the performances are sharp. The live set is largely comprised of tracks from the band's long-awaited and recently released full length Fighting Trees, which we reviewed here in early March. The Swimmers harness the rootsiness of Wilco and the economic pep of Spoon, and as such it is unclear to us why the foursome doesn't enjoy a higher profile outside of Philadelphia. Check out the live version of "Pocket Full Of Gold" posted below, and if you're jazzed also hit the link for a .zip file of the whole show, which closes out with a pleasantly ragged version of the Hall & Oates chestnut "Rich Girl." If you can't get enough of that live stuff and you are in Philadelphia Friday you can catch the band at Johnny Brenda's with BC Camplight and The Capitol Years.

The Swimmers -- "Pocket Full Of Gold (Live)" -- Live at The Hideout, Chicago, March 22, 2008
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[to get a .zip file of the whole show right click on this link]
[buy Fighting Trees from Newbury Comics right here]

>> Thanks to the Internet, we are more able now to consume Philly-reared musical victuals than we were when we lived there in the late '90s. It also helps that we have money now, we suppose. We're tempted to turn Today's Hotness into an all-Philly edition so we can talk about the new Windsor For The Derby tracks and the review of the Yah Mos Def record at PantsFork, but we see some other things we need to get to, so a little bit about the recently reissued -- and free -- 2006 EP from Philly quintet The War On Drugs will have to suffice. Incidentally, The War On Drugs likely hit our radar via coverage in the inimitable Philebrity.com. But it was when we saw this item at BrooklynVegan saying the act -- which recently signed with Secretly Canadian -- was giving away a free EP that we finally checked out the band. And you know what? The Barrel Of Batteries EP is dynamite. Mixing laid-back Byrds-ish strummery and vocals with some rich production flourishes and the occasional odd interstitial, the small stack of tunes is a promising harbinger of what a planned full-length Wagonwheel Blues will bring. To whet your whistle, we've posted below an MP3 of "Arms Like Boulders," a different version of which will appear on the full length, which is slated for release in June. If you dig that you can snatch a .zip file of the entire EP at the other link below.

The War On Drugs -- "Arms Like Boulders" -- Barrel Of Batteries EP
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[download the entire EP as a .zip file from Secretly Canadian here]

>> Brooklyn-based indie rockers Meneguar were responsible for our favorite record of 2007, and we've known for some time that more recordings are in the offing. And although we've stumbled across some things on the Internets over the last couple months -- and memorialized said things here and here -- we've been in the dark about what the band would be releasing when. Well, our RSS percolated up two items from the band yesterday. First, Meneguar has released via its own Rear House label the vinyl-only full-length The In Hour, which is available for mail order directly from the band [details here]. The record purportedly showcases the foursome switching up instruments and creating a spontaneous, self-recorded set. Meneguar itself characterizes The In Hour as "a serious departure," but contends the recordings "hold true to the band's undeniable pop sensibility." Needless to say we mail-ordered it straightaway. In other news, the band has uploaded to YouTube a video [linky linky] for the new track "Some Other Life." Frankly, we don't think the video is much to shout about, although once certain of the actors don full-body cat costumes things improve dramatically, in a creepy, "The Shining" sort of sense. If anything, the video is important because it is the only chance you have to hear the track without hunting down the band or ordering the vinyl or hanging out at its MySpace wigwam.

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