Friday, February 26, 2010

Album Review: Kevin Greenspon+Nicole Kidman-Blue Crush

Quirky. That’s probably the best way to describe this album. This is coming from the mastermind of the great Bridgetown records himself Kevin Greenspon, as well as frequent Bridgetown contributor Nicole Kidman. Together they have made Blue Crush, which happens to be a split, collaboration and concept record all in one.

All the songs are about love during your school life in a sweet indie dork/twee sort of way., but the songs aren’t twee sounding at all. Almost all of the songs are based around a drum machine beat or loop, layered with a fuzzy guitar or wobbly piano. Both artists’ music have a distinctive side though, with Greenspon capturing the awkwardness of the age, and Kidman the pain. Opener “Maybe” sounds like a demo for Archers of Loaf’s “Web in Front” with different lyrics. Electronic beeps on “Pieces” and bedroom 4-track rock on “Graduated” all follow on Greenspon’s quest for the girl. Kidman’s music is were it gets a little darker. “Littletrux” is both sweet and sad, a minute 30 slice of Guided By Vocies style piano. He even crafts a fuzzy ambient track (“Yearbook”) that oddly doesn’t feel out of place on the album. The best tracks are the ones with both artists working together though. “Tyrone” is such a sweet super fuzzy tune, it’s what the Magic Kids would sound like if they went lo-fi. “Loser” is the shortest song I’ve heard dedicated to self-deprecation, but the feedback filled guitars manage to make it work.

This album is a bit silly, but works in a way you need to hear to understand. I really hope these two work together in the future again. The cassette is already sold out and there are barely any copies of the CD left, so act fast.

(mp3) Kevin Greenspon + Nicole Kidman-Tyrone


Kevin Greenspon's Website

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Year End List: Top 20 Songs of 2009

(A note to record labels: Please email me at if you see any mp3 posted that you want me to remove. I will take them down, so there is no need to remove this post. Thanks)
I almost didn’t post this. Despite my new years resolution to start post posts on time, and am horribly behind on all my posts, especially with my year end lists. Still it would have been dumb to just leave you with two year end lists, so here is my 3rd of 4. Expect my albums of the year this Friday. Feel free to spam away as to why your favorite track deserves to be added to this list.

20.Japandroids-Wet Hair Japandroids would not be the front runners for “Lyrics of the Year Award”, but with noise-garage rock this good, they don’t need to. It still blows my mind that two kids from Canada are making all this noise, which actually manages to make the music sound interesting, but make the lyrics sound like the truest statements ever.

19.Micachu-Lips This song is less than 2 minutes long, but that’s all the time Micachu needs. Some of the weirdest instrumentation of the year, with everything sounding off-kilter, from the singing, detuned toy guitar, and kissing noise for the beat. But it all comes together in some unholy mess that is both quirky and glitchy.

18.Times New Viking-Move to California It is one of their longest songs to date. It has some of their cleanest production (that’s not saying much, but still), and features a semi-normal song structure. It is also one of TNV best songs to date as well. A simple tune about running away with/leaving your love, it’s sweet, even if it has the dark mood the band is famous for.

17.Neko Case-This Tornado Loves You As much as doesn’t show, I actually like music besides lo-fi indie rock. For example, Neko’s newest album was one of my favorites, as was this song. A weird love story between a girl and a force of nature , all guided by Neko’s incredible force of nature voice.

16.Screaming Females-Bell “Bell” is just addictive. The moment Marissa Paternoster strikers her guitar to jump start the song, you will be compelled to hit repeat over and over again till your finger hurts. It’s hardcore filtered through pop-punk and ‘77 style punk and that is meant in the best way possible.

15.The White Wires-Ha Ha Holiday Despite this being re-released on the great Douchmaster Records, this somehow managed to go right over everyone’s head. Which is a shame, because this is a modern day power-pop classic. Garage-y power pop with some the biggest and best guitar hooks ever, to hear it one is to listen to again and again until your ears fall off.

14.Atlas Sound-Walkabout/Shelia Ok I really chickened out on this one. There was no way I could pick between the two, so I choose both. But I would like to meet the person that could. From the youth and electro-beeps of “Walkabout”, to the love story and sweet post-shoegazeness of “Shelia” these are that really defy categorization, and that’s what is so great about them.

13.Wavves-So Bored Love him or loath him (as some people do), Nathan Williams put out some really catchy shit this year. None better than “So Bored”, a 16 year old’s anthem to drink, smoking pot, and doing nothing, backed by some very nice lo-fi guitar and drum machine.

12.Circulatory System-Round Again It’s the album no one expected to see. But finally after almost 9 years, Circulatory System blessed us with their second album, and it was well worth it for gems like this. Fuzz guitar and bass meet Will’s pencil sharp voice and 60's style arrangements, with a load of sound effects and noises for good measure. It is the most inperfect pop song done in the most perfect way.

11.Sonic Youth-Antenna It’s nice to know that after all these years, Sonic Youth can still be this good. 6 minutes of pure Sonic Youth-y goodness, switching between noise and hard hitting but great power chords, all while giving the cryptic story of a city goer. Just another day in the world of Sonic Youth.

10.Rain Machine-Give Blood Everyone was expecting Tv on the Radio lite from Kyp _ solo project Rain Machine, but what they got was so much more. Case in point “Give Blood”, off-kilter guitar with weird percussion and vocals that go from singing to chatting. A bit strange, but still great.

9.Eddy Current Suppression Ring-Anxiety I had never listened to Eddy Current Suppression Ring until this track got posted on The Great Pumpkin, as much good press as they had gotten. All I’ve got to say is I really need to make up for lost time. Garage rock that isn’t garage rock, with a spring-loaded bass and a simple yet addictive riff, all layered below Brendan Suppression’s smart lyrics about just not wanting to fuck up.

8.Cold Cave-Life Magazine My musical world was filled with lo-fi and garage rock this year, but thankfully Cold Cave appeared to add some needed synth and darkness to it. Fuzzy synth, hand claps, an actually good sounding drum machine, and Carlee McElorys’ sweet voice all mush together to make one grim and appealing song all at once.

7.Cloud Nothings-Hey Cool Kid In a 2009 sea of lo-fi guitar tones, “Hey Cool Kid” manage to rise above the rest. An extremely catchy guitar riff, lyrics that were ironic and intelligent, and a sound that was both familiar and new at the same time added up to one great song.

6.Fresh and Onlys-Peacock and Wing My friend said it the best, “If someone made a movie out of my life, and it had a montage of my childhood, this would be the song playing during that scene”.

5.No Age-You’re A Target Morphing from a ambience intro to a shredding guitar riff in a split second, No Age crafted one of the best punk songs of year. For the whole time, the song grabs you by the ears and won’t let go, not that you would want to with a song this great.

4.Girls-Lust for Life I didn’t fall as head over heels for Album as so many other people did, but “Lust For Life” was so insanely catchy I didn’t feel that bad about it. From the opening notes, your transported to the band’s slightly skewed world of sunshine and happiness, were the simplest things of life are the best, and you never want to leave.

3.Best Coast-Sun Was I (So Was I) My gosh, this isn’t the number one song of the year, I am as shocked as you are! But really, this was my first exposure to Best Coast and still one of my favorite to date. From the moment that shoegaze guitar kicks in, till it fades out, you are trapped in 2 and a half minutes of pure California bliss.

2.Nosferatu D2-Srpingsteen One guitar. One drum kit. One singer. That’s all it took to make one the greatest and vile spewing songs of the year. Originally recorded in 2007 but not released until now, this is one of greatest indie rock gems ever, period, and no I am not exaggerating. A wonderful cry against every wrong in this generation and the world around him, emotional without being emo, and the intro/build up is one of the best ever in a song.

1.Animal Collective-What Would I Want? Sky- Ok I’m going to just say it: “What Would I Want? Sky” is better than “My Girls”. I don’t care what you say, it’s true, and anyone who say’s other wise is LYING. From the 3 minutes of drug hazy drumming and jamming into the wonderful off-kilter pop that ends it, “Sky” is just perfect from beginning to end.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Album Reivew: Trudgers-Always Crashing Heaven

Great news Joy Division fans! Ian Curtis was secretly resurrected, moved to California, and is now fronting Trudgers. Ok, all kidding aside, there is some serious Joy division love from Trudgers frontman Brently Mitzner. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing at all, just a big key influence on the band. Really, to paint a better picture, this is the type of music that gets played in indie movies when the main character is driving through the city in the dead of night and no one else is around. It is very forbidding with a little industrial tone, and a darker shoegaze style on the guitars. The drumming is encoded great and it’s impossible to tell if it’s an actual person playing or just a machine. The music can come off as dark and gloomy like previously stated, especially on tracks like “Moist Mouths Eject”. However, some the later tracks like “Wait For Me” or the stellar “Nothing Perfect Ever” have a speedier beat and slight hopefulness to them that gives the music, as well as the band, more dimension.

The album is only 7 tracks and recorded live, but thankfully is a good recording. The instruments all sound crisp and while the vocals seem a little low, it could be Mitzner’s natural monotone, and it just adds to the feel of the music. It’s hard to say where they will go from here, but any band that can make a Smashing Pumpkins’ song original again (“We Only Come Out at Night”), is worth keeping an eye on.

(mp3) Trudgers-Wait For Me


Trudgers on Myspace
Buy the CD here, at Bridgetown Records

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Video: Golden Triangle-Neon Noose

One of my favorite up and coming garagey lo-fi bands , Golden Triangle, have just released the video for one of their best songs yet, “Neon Noose”. The video was obviously made with a budget of less than a hundred bucks, but it still manges to match the song's dark party and club tones. Check it out:

(mp3) Golden Triangle-Neon Noose

The song is from the band's upcoming debut album Double Jointer which is due out March 2 on Hardly Art. The band has a bunch of previous cassettes, 7", and 12", all of which have sold out and will be probably showing up on Ebay soon. Check them out when they leave Brooklyn to tour later in March.


Golden Triangles on Myspace
Pre-order Double Jointer here, at Hardly Art

Friday, February 12, 2010

Titus Andronicus Announce Two-Part Tour And a Need To Sleep On Your Floor

The great indie rock hopes of New Jersey, Titus Andronicus, are hitting the road again with their two new band members to support their upcoming sophomore album The Monitor, and it’s a huge tour, even for Titus standards. The tour (dubbed The Monitour) starts in March with the band playing at multiple records shops across mid-east and east coast for free. Then after playing all their sets at South By Southwest, kickoff a country wide tour playing for about a whole month straight. If that wasn’t enough , the band has said that for anyone who will provide a PA system and decent venue, the band will play for you during their few off days without any shows. To reiterate, YOU can get the incredible Titus Andronicus to play to your out of the woods town with just a PA system and a venue. The band is also sticking to tradition and asking fans to provide a place to stay after shows. For anyone who wants to let the band stay over at their place or get them to perform, contact them at

(mp3) Titus Andronicus-For Score and Seven (via GIMME TINNITUS)

Tour Dates:

03-06 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
03-08 Fords, NJ - Vintage Vinyl (in-store)
03-09 Lakewood, OH - My Mind's Eye (in-store)
03-10 Columbus, OH - Used Kids (in-store)
03-11 Athens, OH - Ohio University
03-12 Louisville, KY - Ear X-Tacy (in-store)
03-13 Chicago, IL - Reckless Records Wicker Park (in-store)
03-14 St. Louis, MO - Vintage Vinyl (in-store)
03-16 Dallas, TX - Good Records (in-store)

03-17-20 Austin, TX - SXSW
03-21 El Paso, TX - Black Market
03-22 Phoenix, AZ - Chryo Arts
03-23 Los Angeles, CA - Bootleg Theater
03-24 Santa Barbara, CA - Club Mercy
03-26 Visalia, CA - Cellar Door
03-27 Sacramento, CA - Luigi's Fungarden
03-28 San Francisco, CA - Slim's
03-30 Seattle, WA - Vera Project
03-31 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
04-01 Vancouver, British Columbia - TBD
04-02 Missoula, MT - The Palace
04-04 Fargo, ND - The Aquarium
04-05 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
04-07 Chicago, IL - The Bottom Lounge
04-08 Detroit, MI - Majestic Cafe
04-09 Toronto, Ontario - Sneaky Dee's
04-10 Montreal, Quebec - Green Room
04-11 New Paltz, NY - St. Paul Lutheran Church Parish Hall
04-12 Allston, MA - Great Scott
04-13 Bronx, NY - Rodrigues Coffee House (Fordham University)
04-14 Purchase, NY - SUNY Purchase Student Center
04-15 Philadelphia, PA - The Barbary
04-16 Washington, DC - Positive Force DC (St. Stephen's Church)
04-17 Charlottesville, VA - Random Row
04-18 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
04-19 Atlanta, GA - 529
04-20 Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio
04-22 Columbus, OH - Summit
04-23 Harrisburg, PA - Abbey Bar
04-24 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's


Titus Andronicus' Website
Titus Andronicus on Myspace

Album Review: Los Campesinos!-Romance is Boring

This could be so much easier for me. I could just type out “This album is fucking, fucking great, buy it already you nincompoops” and my job would be done. But instead, I will be pouring over it in minute detail in order to explain how great this possible album of the year is (yes, I’m calling it already, sue me).

In any other circumstance, this album would get the “2nd album” label, with people saying it is too much of a departure from their first album. But thanks to We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, everyting just seems like the next logical step for the band. They manage to sound even bigger than they previously, how I don’t know. The mountain of sugar high energy fueled indie rock is brought to greater heights with some very twisted horns and vocal layering, with even the new, slower songs having that high octane feel to them. Harriet’s violins manage to sound so well timed and always actually add to the songs unlike so many bands who incorporate them for no reason. Gareth has also grown even more as a lyricist, not to say he was bad before. Few other people can express so much, communicating humor, pain, and passion and you knowing exactly what he’s getting at, yet coat everything a crypticness that could leave you examining and reexamining one line again and again.

Of course at the end of the day it all amounts to how good the songs are and so many obvious concert staples are created here. “In Medias Res” opens the album in the most unlikely way, with a build up and-gasp-acoustic guitar. A Xiu Xiu style break in the middle and girl show expansion while girl and death wallowing connect you back to the source. The one-two punch of “There are Listed Buildings” and “Romance is Boring” hits you with classic LC , full of super jangly riffs and hooks, shouted lines and the mission statement of the album. “Plan A” dives into pure noise rock and the post hardcore the band is actually found of, with a sweet candy center course that’s actually sour at the center. “Straight in at 101 is one of the most addictive and funny songs on the album, with Gareth singing about romance and sex and having one of the best opening lines ever of a song (“I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock”). It moves nicely into “Who Fell Asleep In” a stab at the church, religion, and their effects on the song’s love life. It is one of the slower songs that relies on its beauty and semi-painful lyrics and pulls it off. “Hear Swells/100-1 a treat 45 seconds of pure depression transcending into “I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know”’s explosion of an intro and another one-two of classic Los Campesinos from the gossip tale of “A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; or, Letters From Me to Charlotee”. “The Sea is a Good Place to Think About the Future” is the most depressing song Los Campesinos have wrote, a tale of a truly hurt friend, not romanticized in anyway. Topped with drum triggers, build ups and course crashes, and you get one of Los Campesinos ’s best songs to date too.

This album will split fans like hairs. Some will see it as their best to date and a band they love maturing gracefully, others that they are growing up way too fast and they gotten much too dark and obsessed with themselves. Or as Aleks’ finally curtain call, who left after their most recent American tour. But if you push past all that, you find an album that’s both super catchy and masterfully lyrical as well. Unsurprising coming from Los Campesinos , but still impressive none the less. The band isn’t maturing so much as getting out of their awkward teen years. Oh and to reiterate, this album is fucking, fucking great.

(mp3) Los Campesinos - The Sea is A Good Place to Think About the Future


Los Campesinos Website/Blog
Los Campesinos on Myspace
Buy the album here, at Arts & Crafts

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Shark?: Noise Maker EP

Shark?'s story is a good one. The people behind the great Quiet Color blog decided to put their money where their mouth is and form a band, now becoming staples of all the cool Brooklyn venues. So after the upteenth post about them on Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, I finally broke down and gave the band a listen. Thank god I did. 70's style garage rock mixed with indieness and 90's lo-fi. An added plus for the lyrics being both witty and funny. Now the band has just released the 6-track Noise Maker EP. And just like their previous Fear! EP and single, it is free to download from the band's website. When are these guys coming to Austin?

(mp3) Shark?-I'm An Animal (via Pop Tarts Suck Toasted)
(mp3) Shark?-Let's Roll (via Pop Tarts Suck Toasted)


Monday, February 1, 2010

Year End List: Top 10 Singles of 2009

The 7 inch. Cruelly absused for so long, it has finally been risen to it’s former glory with at least 15+ blogs dedicated to the format and too many bands to count releasing one faster than you can blink. Reducing my entire year’s collection to ten was hard, but these 10 make the list not only for using the format right, but for just putting some great songs to wax.

10. Andrew Cedermark/Family Portrait Split (Underwater People) I think that this is currently the most under appreciated UPS release to date, which is a real shame. Emotional post-shoegaze on Cedermark’s side, and Real Estate style jams on Family Portrait’s. Rainy afternoon bliss.

9. Sonic Youth/Beck Split (sold out) Yes, a Records Store Day exclusive, but worth tracking down. It’s equal parts hilarious and spooky to hear Sonic Youth preform frap for their cover of Beck’s “Pay No Mind”, and Beck actually manages to do “Green Light” justice.

8. The Evaporators/Andrew W.K. split (Mint) A new Evaporators track, 3 stellar covers, liner notes that explaining every song, art work by Mitch Clem, all on white vinyl. What more do you want?

7. Best Coast- Self Titled 7 inch (Art Fag, sold out) The immortal “Sun Was High (So Was I)” captured on vinyl, along withe equally as good “So Gone” and an uncheesy version of the cheesy “that’s the Way Boys Are”. Best Coast hit the perfect spot between lo-fi and 60's music with this release.

6. Mission of Burma-Innermost (Matador) I said in my review for this that Mission of Burma were dumb for leaving these tracks off their album, and I stand by it. These represent everything great about Mission of Burma, and are as anthemic and addictive as the band gets.

5. Superchunk-Crossed Wires (Merge) The kings (and queen) of singles return with another two more classics of power chord heavy 90's style indie rock. God, how I missed them. Fingers crossed they make due on that new album.

4. Times New Viking-Stay Awake (Matador) 5 tracks of Times New Viking at their catchiest and no-fi . . .est. But just listen to “Call & Response” or “Sick & Tyred” and I dare you try to put this single down.

3. Carrie Nations-Self Titled 7 Inch (Stankhouse) A late contender for sure, but one not to be ignored. A testament not only to an almost forgotten band that should have been more popular, but to how great real pop-punk can be.

2. Boris-Japanese Heavy Rock Hits vol1 (Southern Lord) All three volumes were great, but 1 stands out for how dark “Hey Everyone” is and how great “8" is. Boris doesn’t release a lot of singles, so here’s hoping this is the start of a loving relationship with the format.

1. Best Coast-Make You Mine (Group Tightener, sold out) Ok, you could see this coming a mile away, but that doesn’t make it any less of the right choice. 4 tracks of absolutely perfect California style lo-fi and “In My Room” cover ten times better than the original. This is why 7 inches were invented.