February 23, 2010

Today's Hotness: Tadoma, PODS, A Weather

>> Tadoma. You don't remember them. It's OK, it's been a couple years. The Philadelphia-based ambient electronic concern helmed by former Diagram principal Joe Patitucci resurfaced this week with the digital release of the first in a series of EPs. The new, evenly blissed-out collection is titled Field Notes, and after spending time with it we can report that our 2008 assessment of the band, "Boards Of Canada meets More-era Pink Floyd," still holds true. Tadoma's Field Notes is both generous -- at 10 tracks -- and expedient -- it clocks in at a little more than 25 minutes. The spooky, pastoral songs are constructed from e-bowed and acoustic guitars, vintage synths and Fender Rhodes electric piano, and -- unsurprisingly given the title of the EP -- field recordings. From the sleepy opening drone of "Recovery Operations" through the closer "Reconstruction" you will feel as if you are channel surfing through sedate, early '70s BBC sci-fi programming. It's decidedly wintry, overnight sound. Tadoma fetes the release of Field Notes Saturday night at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, on a hot bill supporting Philly shoegaze standouts Arc In Round. Full show details are right here. A physical CD version of Field Notes will be available next week.

Tadoma -- "Red Raleigh" -- Field Notes
[right click and save as]
[buy Field Notes from Secret Station Records right here]

>> Regular readers are aware that we follow closely the carefree antics and horseplay of Cambridge, Mass.-based pop-punk enterprise Varsity Drag. The band, of course, is a vehicle primarily driven by former Lemonhead co-fronter Ben Deily. While we had sussed out in recent years that Mr. Deily had a band in the early '90s called PODS, that band's musical output has been largely a mystery to us beyond the comically titled It's A Bummer About Bourbie EP from 1992 (which we most likely turned up here). All of this changed earlier this month when the PODS discography -- and now, a number of rarities -- was uploaded to Bandcamp. All of the tracks can be freely streamed or downloaded for a nominal fee. Certain titles will jump out at Varsity Drag fans as being part of the band's current repertoire, which is interesting (such as "Blackout," "New Strings"). Anyway, if like us you've been wanting to fill that Deily-shaped hole in your mid-'90s music library, the Internet once again provides the answer. We're embedding a stream of the hot rocker "Name In Vain" below to tease you along. Dig it.

<a href="http://pods.bandcamp.com/track/name-in-vain">name in vain by pods</a>

>> Oh, A Weather, how we've waited and waited for the follow-up to your best-of-the-decade debut Cove. Our patience has finally been rewarded with the delivery of the Portland, Ore.-based slow-core unit's forthcoming sophomore set Everyday Balloons. The record is fantastic, and we'll have substantial thoughts to relay about it in the coming weeks. But for now, get familiar with the pre-release promo track "Giant Stairs." Team Love releases Everyday Balloons March 2.

A Weather -- "Giant Stairs" -- Everyday Balloons
[right click and save as]
[pre-order Everyday Balloons from Team Love right here]

February 18, 2010

Today's Hotness: Young Adults, Yuck


>> There is a new, noisy Boston-based indie rock band out there. OK, there are like 10,000 of those, newly minted just about every September. But fledgling post-punk trio Young Adults -- only in its fifth month of band-ness -- is building a profile on the back of a demo recorded with Dan Gonzalez at Boston's Esthudio in January. To borrow a phrase from our beloved Varsity Drag, the Young Adults demo sounds a bit like it was recorded in a metal shipping container, but the scritchy, swaggering tracks shine through a low-hanging haze of white noise and reverb because of undeniable melodies and infectious energy. Actually, to say "shine through" suggests that the white noise and reverb are an impediment, but in fact the opposite is true -- not unlike as with the great Minneapolis duo Red Pens we wrote about here last month. Young Adults was cool enough to let us offer an MP3 from the demo, so below you will find the tune "Annulation." The band has two shows coming up in the next several weeks, which shows you can read more about at the band's MySpace dojo right here.

Young Adults -- "Annulation" -- Demo 2010
[right click and save as]

>> We've got It's Getting Boring By The Sea to thank for introducing us to Yuck, although we don't have a lot of hard information to share about the band. We think it is a duo, as we've seen photos including either a guy or a gal. And we think that they are based in London, although the band's MySpace shack helpfully also offers New Jersey and Hiroshima as possible locales as well. There are three Yuck tunes rapidly winding their way through the internerds like a burning fuse right now: a spare piano ballad titled "Automatic;" the flanneldenimcigarettesSSTsoggyweekend strummer "Sunday," which is a jangly revelation; and the uptempo, tambourine-appointed rocker "Georgia," which suggests a steady diet of Yo La Tengo and Teenage Fanclub. The latter track will be released as part of a split single March 15 by Transparent Records; the single will be limited to 300 copies and is Transparent catalog number TP11. We haven't a clue how you order/pre-order the "Georgia" split single, but we expect if you refresh the Transparent MySpace page enough times a buy link will appear at some point. To help you maintain what should be a very substantial level of excitement about Yuck, we're posting the version of "Sunday" we scored from It's Getting Boring By The Sea.

Yuck -- "Sunday" -- Demo
[right click and save as]
[keep clicking this link until you can figure out how to pre-order the "Georgia" split, then buy it]

February 15, 2010

That Was The Show That Was: We Were Promised Jetpacks | Middle East Rock Club | 14 Feb.

Last night in America there was only one rock band that mattered: We Were Promised Jetpacks. The fiery Glaswegian quartet played to a thronged subterranean nightclub, desperately and as if their souls were on the line. You only get one chance to see a band turn in a performance like what we witnessed. Despite it being eight months after the release of its debut full-length These Four Walls (FatCat Records), We Were Promised Jetpacks played like they had a lot to prove.

The four seeped onto the stage and conjured an incredibly riveting, completely annihilating "Keeping Warm," and from there launched the act's first, incendiary single "Quiet Little Voices." The latter completely unhinged the demonstrably ecstatic crowd. Band fronter Adam Thompson shook with sentiment as he belted lyrics, usually shouting and almost always repeating for emphasis. Mr. Thompson's intensity was unrelenting: he frequently stepped away from the microphone to shout directly over the audience members' heads, and occasionally clutched the microphone under white knuckles and shouted over top of the microphone as he repeatedly stabbed himself in the throat with it. For its part the assembled masses rewarded We Were Promised Jetpacks' shattering, cataclysmic performance with long, loud ovations. Last night's nearly sold-out (by the looks of it, although we were able to score tickets at the door), hour-long show was wedged between a sold-out evening in Washington, D.C. Saturday night and another in New York tonight. This is a band that is at the peak of its powers, and we urge you to get out to one of the remaining dates on the tour; we list the dates below.

We Were Promised Jetpacks made the track "Ships With Holes Will Sink" available for free download via a link at its MySpace; we're saving you the trip and posting the track below. The track was released by FatCat in November along with "It's Thunder And It's Lightning" as a double-A-sided single. There are two prior singles: "Roll Up Your Sleeves" b/w "Back To The Bare Bones" released in June 2009, and "Quiet Little Voices" b/w "Let's Call This A Map" released in May 2009.

We Were Promised Jetpacks -- "Ships With Holes Will Sink" -- These Four Walls
[right click and save as]
[buy We Were Promised Jetpacks records from Fat Cat right here]

We Were Promised Jetpacks: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

02.15 -- The Knitting Factory -- Brooklyn, NY
02.17 -- Casbah at Tremont Music Hall -- Charlotte, NC
02.18 -- The Masquerade -- Atlanta, GA
02.19 -- The End -- Nashville, TN
02.20 -- Maxine’s Pub -- Hot Springs, AR
02.21 -- Hailey’s -- Denton, TX
02.23 -- Rhythm Room -- Phoenix, AZ
02.24 -- The Loft -- San Diego, CA
02.26 -- Troubadour -- Los Angeles, CA
02.27 -- Slim’s -- San Francisco, CA
03.01 -- Biltmore Cabaret -- Vancouver, BC
03.02 -- Neumo’s -- Seattle, WA
03.03 -- Doug Fir Lounge -- Portland, OR
03.05 -- Kilby Court -- Salt Lake City, UT
03.06 -- Hi Dive -- Denver, CO
03.07 -- Jackpot Saloon -- Lawrence, KS
03.08 -- The Waiting Room -- Omaha, NE
03.09 -- Varsity Theatre -- Minneapolis, MN
03.11 -- Lincoln Hall -- Chicago, IL
03.12 -- Grog Shop -- Cleveland, OH
03.13 -- The Summit -- Columbus, OH
03.14 -- Radio Radio -- Indianapolis, IN
03.15 -- The Old Rock House -- St. Louis, MO
04.15 -- Hoxton Bar and Grill -- London
04.16 -- Fleche d’Or -- Paris
04.18 -- Knust -- Hamburg
04.20 -- Gleis 22 -- Muenster
04.21 -- Werkstatt -- Cologne
04.22 -- Schlacthof -- Wiesbaden
04.23 -- Beatpol -- Dresden
04.24 -- Lido -- Berlin
04.26 -- Melkweg -- Amsterdam

February 14, 2010

Be Prepared: Screaming Maldini | And The Kookaburra | 22 Feb.

Sheffield, England-based progressive pop geniuses Screaming Maldini finally issue their debut EP in mere days via the charming English indie Alcopop! Two of And The Kookaburra's five panoramic tracks were previously circulated to the Internerrrds as demos a year ago, as we reported here. The three heretofore unheard tracks on And The Kookaburra are no less impressive and exhibit additional range (there's quiet, there's heavy) and patience. Not only is the intricacy (by which we mean incredible ease at making 5/4 pop music) and musicality (by which we mean incredible ease at making tuneful progressive pop music) of Screaming Maldini's debut startlingly impressive, but also the production is remarkably pro sounding (in a good way) for an indie act. Further, the band produces a decidedly British sound (singer Nick Maldini's voice even approximates Paul Weller's, and later-period Jam is not an inappropriate reference point for Screaming Maldini in general).

We're here to tell you that if you were blown away by the Sheffield sextet's demos of "The Extraordinary" and "Secret Sounds" last year -- as you should have been -- just wait until you hear the mini-epic "I Know That You Know That I Would Wipe That Snowflake From Your Eye." It's mind-bogglingly good. Alcopop! has very kindly consented to our offering you the new version of "The Extraordinary" for download, so make with the clicking and start listening forthwith. To promote the EP, Screaming Maldini launch a small circuit of live engagements around England on the eve of the its release; the complete tour itinerary is below. Alcopop! is offering a deal to the first 20 or so who seek it that packages the EP along with a t-shirt for something like 10 pounds.

Screaming Maldini -- "The Extraordinary" -- And The Kookaburra
[right click and save as]
[pre-order And The Kookaburra from Alcopop right here]

Screaming Maldini: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

02.21 -- The Grapes -- Sheffield
02.22 -- The Old Blue Last -- London
02.23 -- The Albert -- Brighton
02.24 -- The Labour Club -- Northampton
02.25 -- The Cellar -- Oxford

February 13, 2010

Be Prepared: Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson | Self-titled | 1st March

Above is the art for the magnificent sophomore full-length from Oslo-based post-rock standouts Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson. The act enlivens the increasingly tired post-rock formula by blending in the urgency and immediacy of second-wave emo; think Christie Front Drive and Mineral (one of the songs from the new album curiously references Weston, too, although we don't hold them in quite the same esteem). The seven-year-old septet's Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson is a limited edition double-disc set packaged in an A5-format, 32-page hardcover book in one of four colors (as above, as well as green, white and grey). The first disc is subtitled "Puzzle," and the second "The Detective."

The new music, the band's first since its 2005 debut Unnoticable In A Tiny Town, Invisible In The City, will be issued 1 March by How Is Annie Records. It costs 19 Euros and How Is Annie accepts Paypal; the latest exchange rate makes that $25.87 in U.S. currency. Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson offered a free preview track late in 2009 via its MySpace dojo. It is the closing track to the "Puzzle" disc, "To Sit Down Or To Follow, So I Follow," which we have taken the liberty of posting below. The stirring, elegiac track has a wonderful, subdued middle section with cello and shouting buried in the mix that is very compelling.

Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson -- "To Sit Down Or To Follow, So I Follow" -- Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson
[right click and save as]
[pre-order Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson right here]

Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

February 10, 2010

Today's Hotness: Her Magic Wand, Bitches

>> Parisian dream pop concern Her Magic Wand self-released Jan. 31 the remarkable Catch A Rainbow EP, a five-song set that situates dense sheets of melodic guitar chords between airy, earnest vocals and icy, electronic rhythm tracks. The resulting music will entrance fans of Slowdive or M83. Her Magic Wand is the brainchild of a fellow named Charles who is joined by a coterie of performers when performing live. Charles launched the project in 2005, and recorded but never released one previous EP, appropriately titled Rough Draft, in 2008. Both EPs can be streamed at the Her Magic Wand Virb page (yes, we are surprised as you that people still use Virb) right here. At said Virb page fans can download the murmured guitar anthem "Mistakes," which touts layers of delicious guitar reminiscent of the best Yo La Tengo tracks, but we've gotten permission to offer you the track right here below. Dig it.

Her Magic Wand -- "Mistakes" -- Catch A Rainbow EP
[right click and save as]
[buy Catch A Rainbow from Her Magic Wand's Bandcamp page right here]

>> Readers reacted positively to the completely bonkers video we posted earlier this month from thrashy London duo Bitches for its new single, which is offically released today. The video was for the A-side, "Winner," and we're pleased to report that Bitches have agreed to let us offer one of the two B-sides to our readers. While "Winner" caused some to cite Black Flag, we feel like "Can Not Love" has a bit more dimension. It has Bitches' characteristic drum-and-bass bash 'n' throb, but in brief moments the song actually approaches tuneful -- the pair actually deploy harmony! Anyway, download "Can Not Love" below, and then click this link to buy the vinyl single via the band's Big Cartel store.

Bitches -- "Can Not Love" -- "Winner" b/w "Sleepwalk" and "Can Not Love"
[right click and save as]
[buy the "Winner" single here]

February 3, 2010

Today's Hotness: The Parade Schedule, Arc In Round, Castevet

>> Things are happening in Louisville. In December we made mention of the cracking alt. country combo State Champion, and then in early January we were pitched a largely quiet, folksy album from Louisville's The Parade Schedule. The latter act is primarily Matt Kinder, who is abetted Lilys-style by as many as 33 collaborators on his two-years-in-the-making debut full length Seeds To Be Planted, Trees To Be Cut. Mr. Kinder sings about the things you used to have that hurt you now because you'll never get them back: innocence, young love, you know, that stuff. His music evokes that feeling of laying in the cool grass in the yard on a humid summer night, lover's head resting on your shoulder as you pass a sweating beer back and forth. Elements of the production and mood suggest scene progenitors Palace Brothers to us, although the world of The Parade Schedule seems less gothic and generally more peaceful. Seeds To Be Planted, Trees To Be Cut was released last month by The Record Machine. While the tempo and dynamics pick up in places on the record ("Making A Way" is pretty southern rock, whatever that means these days), it is the pensive, acoustic tracks that hit home most. The paired tracks "Backyard" and "Dye Your Hair" present Kinder's music at its most goosebump-inducing. The former track in particular trades in the sort of palpable, wistful nostalgia we referenced supra. Sadly beautiful. Here's "Backyard."

The Parade Schedule -- "Backyard" -- Seeds To Be Planted, Trees To Be Cut
[right click and save as]
[buy Seeds To Be Planted, Trees To Be Cut from The Record Machine right here]

>> It's been 13 months since we reported that Philly-based shoegaze quartet Relay transmogrified itself into Arc In Round. Our verbiage from December 2008 includes praise for a track posted to MySpace titled "2" which reminded us not a little then of the now-recently reconstituted shoegaze phenoms Lorelei. Well, the latest iteration of the track is still awesome (now going by the Roman numeral "II"), we can report, based on three tracks Arc In Round placed on SoundCloud in late January. We checked in with band fronter Jeff Ziegler (who is also a very busy live sound guy and studio engineer) to get an update on what the four has in store for us. Mr. Zeigler reports that Arc In Round will self-release a debut EP by early April, and the band continues to put the finishing touches on that. A full-length record is apparently already in the can and a fall release date is likely; Arc In Round is also gathering up remixes to package with the planned releases. No labels are currently attached (officially, anyway) to either the EP or the full-length; Relay was signed to Bubble Core. While we all sit around and wait for the EP to drop, how about streaming the shoegaze-arific "II," a finished version of the track we raved about in that 2008 blog post that will be included on the planned full-length. If you can't get enough of that, two additional tracks are posted at the SoundCloud page: "Spirit" will appear on both the planned EP and full length, and "Said Astray" will appear on the LP only.

II  by  Arc In Round

>> Another record we've spent a lot of time with over the last couple months is a planned EP from Chicago emocore outfit Castevet. The EP, The Echo & The Light, was to be released Feb. 23 in the UK by Big Scary Monsters; it also had the distinction of being Big Scary Monsters' U.S. division's planned first release. However, a publicist told us last week that Castevet and the label have amicably parted ways. For its part, Castevet is returning to the studio to re-record the tracks from The Echo & The Light and record two new songs, which presumably will become part of the final product. We're told the band is already talking to a new label and hopes for an early summer release date. Big Scary Monsters continues to aggressively charge ahead with other releases, include an amazing one-two punch of an Andrew W.K. single and a heavily anticipated Walter Schreifels solo set. Anyway, the shelving of what we suppose we'll call the erstwhile Big Scary Monsters version of The Echo & The Light makes the following MP3 of "Midwest Values" something of a collector's item. So dig it.

Castevet -- "Midwest Values" -- The Echo & The Light (erstwhile Big Scary Monsters version)
[right click and save as]

>> One thing we failed to mention in our Johnny Foreigner post last week: the digital version of the forthcoming single for "Every Cloakroom Ever" will be issued Feb. 8, which is, like, really soon. Fans who pre-ordered the vinyl version of the single were promised high-quality MP3s, which would hope will arrive on the same date, as otherwise eager vinyl purchasers will end up being in the position of waiting for something it has paid for that the general public is out there happily snapping up. Are we projecting? Nah, just eager, as the prospect of two new b-sides we've not heard is terribly exciting. Anyway, start counting down the days.

February 1, 2010

Footage: Bitches Deliver A "Winner"

This is the most refreshingly rocking thing you will probably see and hear this week (unless another Sir Yes Sir tune looses itself upon the Interzizzles). Besides the bludgeoning awesomefest that is the song and video above, we know very little about Bitches, a guy/gal bass/drums duo operating out of London. What we can report is the following: the pair will self-release a single "Winner" b/w "Sleepwalk" and "Can Not Love" Feb. 10; previously Bitches released on Deathbomb Arc a cassette-only EP. You can pre-order the "Winner" single right here. All of that aside, we think the song and video for "Winner" are chicken soup for the soul. This winter is starting to feel a little too long and a little too cold. Bitches are here to help.