May 31, 2008

Today's Hotness: Johnny Foreigner, She, Sir, Armalite

>> This is our 900th post. And that only counts Blogger posts. Factoring the old home-made Comcast sites and posts to Junkmedia's World Of Sound blog and various other stints and guest positions and, well, we sort of wonder whether we would have been better off devoting the time to learning tennis or something. OK, that's not true. We like rock.

>> If you live in the U.K. you have many things for which to be thankful, nationalized health care among them. But also there is the small matter of the release of Birmingham, England indie titans Johnny Foreigner's full-length debut. Waited Up 'Til It Was Light is released by Best Before Records Monday. We haven't heard the set ourselves (well, at least not all together in a row with the CD case in our hands), but the acclaim seems largely positive, although not as effusive as it was for the release of the band's annihilating Arcs Across The City EP. Even so, it is understandable that faced with the task of releasing its first full-length, the trio might end up with one or two tracks that are less than stellar in the running order. That said, Waited Up 'Til It Was Light is some 13 songs in length -- the band could have easily held some back, but that's never been Johnny Foreigner's style. The deal has always been that the band writes songs and presents them and fans listen to them. Recall that this is an act that gave away a 16-song demo for free, and at least in the good old days would just email the tracks to you. So despite some criticism of certain tracks on the new record (even we are not crazy about "DJs Get Doubts," although there was a time when we were on the fence about "Henning's Favorite," which of course we grew past), we remain largely excited to hear the entire thing from start to finish. And with huge tracks such as "Salt, Pepa And Spindarella," "Eyes Wide Terrified" and "Our Bipolar Friends," Waited Up 'Til It Was Light already has hits to spare. Speaking of "Eyes Wide Terrified," the band recorded a version of the track last fall for a Radio One session and we, uh, borrowed it from the band's MySpace player for safe-keeping. It is slightly different from the album version, and we're posting it below. It's brilliant, and every time Alexei gets to the lines "I'm not that lucky, these t-shirts don't fold themselves" we get chills.

Johnny Foreigner -- "Eyes Wide Terrified" -- Radio One session
[right click and save as]
[buy Waited Up 'Til It Was Light from RecordStore.Co.Uk right here even though with the exchange rate suckage; and the economy generally in the crapper; and with the fuel crisis likely never resolving because we are all fat slobs who can't ride a bike; you should instead use the money to buy groceries or a hand-cranked radio or whatnot]

>> Austin, Texas-based shoegaze supergeniuses She, Sir are featured here in a new interview segment at something called Vimby. The core duo of Russell Karloff and M. Grusha discuss its glorious 2006 EP Who Can't Say Yes and the forthcoming full-length Go Guitars. Having loved and lost a great shoegaze band many times before, we are slightly concerned, as the new set is apparently a departure from the '90s-referencing shoegaze sounds of the EP and will feature fewer guitars and broader instrumentation, including brass and woodwinds. "On the newer stuff we're doing, you know, we're sort of taking it back even further, trying to bring back a real sort of vintage, kind of a '60s sound, you know, trying to bring back a lot of that professionalism I think has somehow been lost since the '60s," Mr. Karloff tells the invisible Vimby interviewer. The apparent stylistic shift conjurs memories of RIDE's unforgivable 1994 mis-step Carnival Of Light. That said, we haven't heard any of the forthcoming She, Sir and it could very well be amazing. It certainly sounds interesting. "I'm hoping that there won't be much guitar in this at all, which I'm looking forward to as a contrast from the EP," Karloff continues in the video. "We're bringing in flutes, oboes, I think there's going to be an accordion in there, french horn, in addition to that we'll have a stack of vocals, you know, females, guys, crowds."

>> Hardcore supergroup Armalite -- which features former Fracture/Atom And His Package dude (and hockey fan) Atom Goren and that guy Dan Yemin who is in every great Jersey hardcore band -- will play a rare show at Richmond, Virginia's Best Friends Day festival. Curiously, the festival is actually three days long, Friday Aug. 15 through Sunday Aug. 17. This is the festival's eighth year, and seventh with music; more details here. Armalite's Armalite was one of our favorite records of 2006; read the whole list here.

Armalite -- "I Am A Pancreas (I Seek to Understand Me)" -- Armalite
[right click and save as]
[buy Armalite from No Idea Records here]

No comments: