Author Archives: The Beat

Special Monday Morning Tape – #118


Palpitationwe don’t need to, we don’t have to
(taken from their 2011 release I’m Absent, You’re Faraway)
(taken from their 2011 release Make Up)
Pat Jordacheget it (i know you’re going to)
(taken from his 2011 release Future Songs)
Gold Beachgold beach
(taken from their 2011 release Habibti)
Trips and Fallsmarginally more than mildly annoying
(taken from their 2011 release People Have To Be Told)
Jupe Jupesuspicions
(taken from their 2011 release Reduction In Drag)
Extra Armspowerlessness
(taken from their 2011 release In Parallel)
Roberts & Lordwindmill
(taken from their 2011 release Eponymous)
Richard Swiftwhitman
(taken from his 2011 release Walt Wolfman EP)
Princess Chelseacigarette duet
(taken from their 2011 release Lil’ Golden Book)
(The) Caseworkernational runner
(taken from their 2011 release Letters From The Coast)
Blessed Feathersby song through the americas
(taken from their 2011 release From The Mouths Of The Middle Class)

YuckShook Down

Veronica FallsBad Feeling

Fair OhsEverything Is Dancing


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Night Birds – The Other Side Of Darkness

There’s not much more to be said about Night Birds. Over the last couple years they’ve released a slew of 80’s inspired surf punk 7″s, and their debut album on Grave Mistake is more of the same. However, just because they are mining the same territory, doesn’t mean I can’t dig in there with ’em. I suppose instead of saying things like “Adolescents meets Agent Orange!” I can come up with new comparisons like “State of Alert meets Man Or Astro-Man?!” Heck, I might even be justified to name drop For Science, Pysched To Die, Hunchback, and the Ergs! since the band is comprised of members of those groups. But nay, I’ll attempt to be above such drivel. Time to delve in a little deeper and see if I can’t do an old-school follow-the-tracks review!

The album starts off with “Demon Haunted World,” a pummeling pile of hardcore, surf riffs, and a bit of melody that feels like the soundtrack to a punk rock nightmare. It shoots seamlessly into “Neon Gray” which is slightly more straightforward and catchy, and that leads us to “Born of Man and Woman,” which inspires even more of a dark-basement-sing-along. It’s a song from Mike H., and it’s reminiscent of old Hunchback went they leaned more toward memorable horror punk than towards straight up weird. The climax of catchiness concludes with “Landfill Land.” Perfectly simple (the kind of song you can hear once and shout and bounce along with before it’s even over), perfectly dreadful.

“One Eye” and the title track are both solid, but plateau at the “more 80s hardcore/surf” level. The instrumental “Day After Trinity” picks things up again, giving us more evidence of the band’s musical prowess. They play fast, hard, and leave no ounce of energy out of the performance. That might go without saying considering they charge through 13 tracks in 22 minutes, but I’ll include it just in case. I consider it a good sign when a band can rip through an album faster than I can type about it.

The second half of the album starts off with “Hoffman Lens” which again has all the cylinders of influences working overtime and “Sex Tape,” which surprisingly is the closest thing to a love song on the album. The speed (even compared to the rest of this adrenaline blast it’s moving) of “Failed Species” is impressive and captivating. They bring it to a slower chug with “Can’t Get Clean,” but end everything on the best notes possible with their old “hit” “Paranoid Times” and “Oblivious” which I’m sure will be their next one. Will this album end up on my year-end best-of list? My magic 8-Ball says “Of course, don’t be stupid.”


Filed under Reviews, The Super Mega BTID Hype-o-tronic Capacitor

Special Monday Morning Tape – #117


Southerlywithout a cause
(taken from their 2011 release Youth)
Crooked Fingerstyphoon
(taken from their 2011 release Breaks In The Armor)
Trophy Wives(you’re like a) bad song
(taken from their 2011 release Old Scratch)
The Migrantthe hurricane
(taken from his 2011 release Amerika)
IfIHadAHiFiarson, you let me down
(taken from their 2011 release Nada Surf EP +3)
Jesse Paynetake me
(taken from his 2011 release Buffalo)
Big Treethis fall
(taken from their 2011 release This New Year)
Wild Flagglass tambourine
(taken from their 2011 release Wild Flag)
Family Lumberno worries
(taken from their 2011 release Look To The Sidelines EP)
Turf Warsummertime booze
(taken from their 2011 release Years Of Living Dangerously)
Meg Bairdthe finder
(taken from her 2011 release Seasons On Earth)
Vanish Valleyraces
(taken from their 2011 release Get Good)
Dum Dum Girlsbedroom eyes
(taken from their 2011 release Only In Dreams)

The Band In HeavenSleazy Dreams

Little ScreamRed Hunting Jacket

Sun AirwayPut The Days Away (Invisible Children – Silver Series)


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Mini-Beats – August 2011 – Edition 49

Natural Child
1971 (2011, Infinity Cat) ♥♥♥
:lots of vintage Stonesy blues ‘n roll for the enthusiasts but I don’t think this has enough character to extend itself beyond that audience; that said, this album could serve as a suitable backdrop for a party involving rednecks, cheap beer/drugs and the confederate flag: (buy vinyl)
The War On DrugsSlave Ambient (2011, Secretly Canadian) ♥♥♥♥
:the full album experience didn’t stray too far from the general feeling one got after listening to the first couple of singles for weeks on end; picture Bruce Springsteen cooing/howling into a steady, swirling stream of guitar atmospheres and then point it through a prism of current-day indie rock somebodies = the exact opposite of a sophomore slump; RIYL Kurt Vile: (buy vinyl)
Paul SimonSo Beautiful Or So What (2011, Hear) ♥♥♥½
:Simon can still write the occasional brilliant song and while this will not add up to his work with Garfunkel or Graceland, it manages to incorporate enough charm, personality and depth to propel this on to many writer’s year-end lists: (buy vinyl)
The Michael J. Epstein Memorial LibraryVolume One (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥½
:buoyant, ‘intelligent’ indie-pop not unlike anything you’d have heard on the Magic Marker label over the years… features members of Neutral Uke Hotel and The Motion Sickness:
13 Chambers (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
:I am no fan of mashups in general but this combo brought me much pleasure and not just for nostalgic purposes; these beats, rhymes and grooves go together like chocolate & peanut butter & my mouth; mountains better than The Grey Album:
Young Buffalo
– Young Von Prettylips EP (2011, Cantora) ♥♥♥½
:somehow this Mississippi collective has flown under the big indie blog radars; I say this because their sound is very in – a culmination of 90’s indie rock moves blended up with quirky newcomers like Fanfarlo, Local Natives and Cloud Cult; lots of big choruses and call-and-response vocals to please the ‘now’ indie crowd:
Christine OwmanThrowing Knives (2011, River Jones) ♥♥♥♥
:Christine is a Swedish-born multi-instrumentalist infatuated with the burlesque; as her press sheet and several live videos will attest, she is known for her spontaneous actions and homemade video projections during live performances but on record you’ll find very capable songwriting with lots of cello, uke and dimly-lit undertones…kind of like the female counterpart to Nick Cave..this also has a bit of an early Liz Phair feel to it:
Sad AccordionsThe Colors and The Kill EP (2011, Rainboot) ♥♥♥½
:it’s kind of weird, almost every track here immediately reminded me of another band that I love whether it be GBV, Wolf Parade, Clap Your Hands or The Antlers so the EP was a little difficult to pin down to just one sound but, hey, quality songs are quality songs, right?:
JoasihnoYou Say: Oh Well (2011, Red Can) ♥♥♥♥
:Joasihno is really just Germany’s Cico Beck (great name, if I do say) and he likes arranging pretty songs that run the gamut from quiet/hushed folk to sparkling chillwave type numbers; one of the many great discoveries from the monthly Musical Alliance Pact mixes:
Oscar & MartinFor You (2011, Two Bright Lakes) ♥♥♥♥
:I tried really hard to not like this for it calls upon the recently-trendy R&B/dubstep school-of-thought but there’s an adorable geek element to these songs that made me want to keep playing it over and over again; Sean from StG got it right when he described this as a combination of James Blake and Dirty Projectors…I’d throw house favorites CocoRosie in there as well; best thing I’ve heard from Oz in a few years; formerly known as Psuche (Ensemble) to their fellow countrymen:
Gem TrailsTimeshares EP (2011, The Curatorial Club) ♥♥
:this is basically the soundtrack to any number of ‘life on earth’ Discovery channel shows you stumble across while fumbling through your TV guide; I expected something a little more scintillating from the Woodsman frontman…good news is he’s giving it away:
The Gifted ChildrenThe Portable Sun EP (2011, Tinhorn Planet) ♥♥♥♥
:another classic entry into the seemingly endless TGC catalog; much like recent releases Jeff & the gang have perfected the art of minimalist dream-pop focused around piano ballads and, in the case of this EP, pessimism:
Big Spider’s BackMemory Man (2011, Circle Into Square) ♥♥♥
:a swirly, yet gentle, concoction of tempered bliss-pop and ambience from Seattle’s Yair Rubenstein; there’s a couple of real gems here (like whoa, Black Chow) but not enough stimulation to make me recommend the album as a whole: (buy vinyl)
Unknown Mortal OrchestraUnknown Mortal Orchestra (2011, Fat Possum) ♥♥♥
:shortly after sitting down with this I realized I had heard half of these songs many times over from my travels on ‘indie’ rooms; for those unfamiliar you’ll be greeted with an amalgation of 60’s psyche, soul and funk all awash with reverb and wrapped up into something the kids can dance along to; RIYL Peter Bjorn & John, Foster The People, Dungen: (buy vinyl)
The Japanese War EffortSurrender To Summer EP (2011, Song, By Toad) ♥♥♥♥
:see front-page review: (buy vinyl)
Turf WarYears Of Living Dangerously (2011, Old Flame) ♥♥♥
:mid-fi, meat-and-potatoes garage-punk-rock from the bowels of Atlanta, GA; couple of nice party jams to be extracted from this release:
Y La BambaLupon (2010, Tender Loving Empire) ♥♥♥½
:it takes a few listens to get over Luzelena Mendoza’s sweetly irresistible voice and reveal all the charm and eccentricity strewn about this album’s 11 tracks like the downright depressing ‘Monster’ or the haunting backdrop of ‘Juniper’; love love love the tracks with multi-part harmonies (Fasting In San Francisco); also see their poignant Tiny Desk Concert: (buy vinyl)
BeirutThe Rip Tide (2011, Pompeii) ♥♥♥½
:admittedly, I’ve not been a huge supporter of Zach’s endeavors since the unstoppable duo of albums from ’06/’07 (Gulag Orkestar & Lon Gisland EP) but this has struck a favorable chord with my scrutinous earholes even though the formula is quite basic – brass, marching band drums, Zach’s sleepy-eyed croon and a batch of quality songs: (buy vinyl)



Filed under Mini-Beats, Reviews

Special Monday Morning Tape – #116


Rocketship Parkstuck with me
(taken from their 2011 release Cakes and Cookies)
Woodsmanin circles
(taken from their 2011 release Mystic Places)
Stephin Merrittforever and a day
(taken from his 2011 release Obscurities)
Pterodactylschool glue
(taken from their 2011 release Spills Out)
Peggy Suecut my teeth
(taken from her 2011 release Acrobats)
Savaging Spiresbending the rules of time
(taken from their 2011 release Savaging Spires)
Memoryhousequiet america
(taken from their 2011 release The Years EP)
Rocket From The Tombsi sell soul
(taken from their 2011 release Barfly)
Firs Of Preywhat you say
(taken from their 2011 release Well, I Don’t See Why Not Vol. 3)
Built Like Alaskaantique love
(taken from their 2011 release In Troubled Times)
Soleyi’ll drown
(taken from her 2011 release We Sink)
Blessed Feathersstinging nettle, honeysuckle
(taken from her 2011 release From The Mouths Of The Middle Class)


YellowbirdsThe Rest Of My Life

Kids On A Crime SpreeSweet Tooth

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{WAX ECSTATIC} The Japanese War Effort – Surrender To Summer 10″

The Japanese War EffortSurrender To Summer 10″ (Song, By Toad)

It would appear that the internet has had only a minimal effect on America’s isolationist attitude toward music. I know this for a fact because Edinburgh-based label Song, By Toad Records has not been featured on any American blogs I’m following. This is a shame – not only because I’ve enjoyed almost every release I’ve heard from the catalog (Meursault’s All Creatures Will Make Merry was my very favorite album of 2010) – but because SBT’s modus operandi is very much in tune with why I continue to do what I do with this website and record label. This undeserved lack of attention is why I decided to kick off a new BTID feature with one of the label’s most recent releases.

 The Japanese War Effort is not a collective of any sort nor does it have anything to do with Nippon’s nationalistic battle cry to arms – it’s merely a side project for Martin Moog (or James Scott, to his mother), one half of Glasgow’s electronic duo Conquering Animal Sound. Surrender To Summer clocks in at less than 15 minutes but Moog accomplishes quite the lot of hazy, pop pyrotechnics within that short span. Remember chillwave? ‘Pool Attendant’ has the same lo-fi recording approach deployed by the thousands of PBR-soaked post-graduates with samplers/synths/gadgets in their parents basements. The crystalline squall of noise opening Beach Buddies gave me a warm, fuzzy Washed Out/Houses vibe. However, Moog’s end result, while it can be tagged ‘bedroom electronica’, is comprised moreso of quirky substance and hypnotic grooves rather than geek chic and Barbary pants-on-too-tight dance offs. Lead-off track and, undoubtedly, one of my favorite singles of the year, Summer Sun Skateboard glides along on a bossa nova beat, stringy guitar basslines and a tasteful collage of electro-adornments. Moog’s vocals might be acquired taste for some though his accent isn’t nearly as thick as some of his fellow Scottish contemporaries. I like his style (a lot) and although he loves hip-hop and claims to not be able to rhyme himself out of a paper bag, I could see supporters of Why?, Emperor X or Dosh spooning this up right quick.

You can pick up the 10″ on the Song, By Toad website for a fair price (considering the int’l shipping!). As you can see, the record was pressed on eye-popping funfetti vinyl. A visit to TJWE’s Bandcamp will yield more pleasantries for those looking to hear more.

Summer Sun Skateboard

Yr Tanlines (Le Metrohead Version)


Filed under Reviews, The Super Mega BTID Hype-o-tronic Capacitor, Wax Ecstatic