Special Monday Morning Tape – #104

The Shiverslove is in the air
(taken from their 2011 release More)
Typhoonsummer home
(taken from their 2011 release A New Kind Of House EP)
Little Hornbridges break
(taken from their 2011 release Twelve EP)
Nick Jaina (w/ Jolie Holland) – you were so good to me
(taken from his 2011 release The Beanstalks That Brought Us Here Are Gone)
Gold Leavesthe ornament
(taken from their 2011 release The Ornament)
Arc In Roundii
(taken from their 2011 release II EP)
The Mastwild poppies
(taken from their 2011 release Wild Poppies)
Miwa Geminipioneertown love story
(taken from her 2011 release Fantastic Lies Of Grizzly Rose)
King Post Kitschwalking on eggshells
(taken from their 2011 release The Party’s Over)
Efrenlike a coat
(taken from their 2011 release Rise On Up And Melt)
(taken from their 2011 release Champion Of The Noisy Negativists)
The Trophy Firethe last american phone booth
(taken from their 2011 release Armor EP)

Elias KrantzTony Motmot

Acid House KingsWould You Say Stop?

Yourself And The AirSick Days

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Mini-Beats – May 2011 – Edition 43

(Editor’s Note: Starting with this edition all mini-beats reviews will feature links to buy the album on vinyl…if available, of course. Sweet, huh?)

MonumentGoes Canoeing (2011, Tiny Engines) ♥♥♥
:DC-inspired and bred, this rabble-rousin’ crew have a penchant for hyper post-hardcore with equal parts dissonance and melody: (buy vinyl)
Royal BangsFlux Outside (2011, Glassnote) ♥♥♥
:Flux didn’t pack as much punch as their previous two LP’s but I don’t think this will stop devoted fans from enjoying this; be sure to check out their recent performance on Letterman…; RIYL Royal Bangs, The Slats: (buy vinyl)
Viking Jews / SmyckenSplit LP (2011, Release The Bats) ♥♥½
:a mixed affair featuring two artists from Sweden; Viking Jews offer up a 20-minute slow-burning, delay-driven drone piece that failed to make any lasting impression and Smycken delve into deconstructed pop territory with beats that can be loosely classified as ‘indie R&B’: (buy vinyl)
Apex ManorThe Year Of Magical Drinking (2011, Merge) ♥♥♥½
:I expected this to be good after hearing all of Ross’ output with his previous gig, The Broken West; much like that band, Apex Manor is an outlet for him to present his version of modern power-pop that would definitely appeal to indies…though you probably already knew that with it being on Merge and all… RIYL Brendan Benson, Matthew Sweet:
Noah The WhaleLast Night On Earth (2011, Mercury) ♥♥
:all the personality and depth of their ’09 release is gone and in its place is a glossy, lifeless collection of songs with more than an allowable share of stock synth lines; those of you comparing this to Lou Reed or awesome-period Springsteen are straight-up three hipsters short of a biergarten: (buy vinyl)
Dave HauseResolutions (2011, Paper + Plastick) ♥♥♥½
:this LP is really no match for seeing Dave play these songs out live; when a critic describes a songwriter as ‘earnest’ and ‘blue-collar’ this is what he really means; check out his main gig, The Loved Ones for a pop-punk version of his craft: (buy vinyl)
Nathan EdwinWillow Spillow EP (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥½
:folkie who channels the spirit of early period Dylan; though this type of stuff is normally dime a dozen and Nathan Edwin doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue with ease, he manages to impress with little to no adornment in these ‘b-sides’ left over from his latest LP; available as a free download here; RIYL Tallest Man On Earth:
MonogoldThe Softest Glow (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
:a surprise treat from this Brooklyn (no surprise) collective that features a less-serious take on AC’s good vibes and warm, inviting arrangements; quite possibly the best opening 1-2 punch I’ve heard this year and rad artwork too…someone press it to vinyl! RIYL Sun Airway, Magic Man:
The ShiversMore (2011, Silence Breaks) ♥♥♥½
:Brooklyn’s most overlooked outfit returns with another solid batch of piano soul and organ-driven dirges anchored down by Keith Zarriello’s unmistakable (dare I say ‘sexy’) croon and a bountiful supply of self-deprecating/lovelorn musings: (buy vinyl)
ShouldLike A Fire Without Sound (2011, Words On Music) ♥♥♥½
:the band’s first true LP since 1998’s unheralded classic Feed Like Fishes thankfully continues along that tradition of harmony-driven, minimal dream-pop and slowcore; there isn’t much to discern one song from the next here but, from my experience, it’s fairly typical of the genre; RIYL Low, Ida:
SnowingI Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted (2011, Count Your Lucky Stars) ♥♥♥
:angular emo action (like Cap’n Jazz but not nearly as spastic) from the nearby Lehigh Valley; they seem to be having a lot of fun and all but I couldn’t really latch onto anything that would make me come back to this: (buy vinyl)
Little ScreamThe Golden Record (2011, Secretly Canadian) ♥♥♥
:this is beautifully arranged and Laura soften the hardest of hearts with her effulgent vocals but the songs themselves seem to be lacking that extra element to make this album stand out: (buy vinyl)
Run, ForeverThe Devil, And Death and Me (2010, Solidarity) ♥♥½
:Pittsburgh melodic punk band with a lead singer who more than favors the vocal stylings of Conor Oberst so I guess you could compare this to Desparecidos?: (buy vinyl)
SloanThe Double Cross (2011, Yep Roc) ♥♥♥½
:many have said this is formidable notch in this 20+ year old power-pop band from Canada’s belt and, while I agree to a certain extent, there are some real formulaic clunkers on here; however, the two opening tracks are infectious pop nuggets that many of us have come to know and love…perhaps an EP would have fared better?: (buy vinyl)
The Builders and The ButchersDead Reckoning (2011, Badman Recording Co.) ♥♥½
:unfortunately for the B&B, their lead singer is a dead ringer for Colin Meloy, who I share no musical affinity for; a shame because normally I’ll gobble this minimal backporch/Gothic Americana stuff right up with a ladle: (buy vinyl)
Alcoholic Faith MissionAnd The Running With Insanity EP (2011, Paper Garden) ♥♥½
:Danish band straddling the line between folktronica and indie-pop; I was a little disappointed with this as their 2010 release featured a few tracks that showed innumerous potential:
The World/Inferno Friendship SocietyThe Anarchy and The Ecstasy (2011, Chunksaah) ♥♥♥
:every punk’s favorite vaudevillian/cabaret folk, weirdo-pop opera troupe (that’s featured Franz Nicolay and members of Dresden Dolls in the past) beams with good intentions on record but you mostly have to see this live to fully appreciate their vision: (buy vinyl)
Echo LakeYoung Silence (2011, No Pain In Pop) ♥♥♥½
:pleasant reverb-and-synth-drenched dream-pop from the UK on up and coming NPIP label; RIYL A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Tamaryn: (buy vinyl)
Laura Stevenson & The CansSit/Resist (2011, Don Giovanni) ♥♥♥½
:a worthy follow-up to 2008’s beautiful debut with another batch of diverse, Spector-inspired tunes peppered with banjo and horns and Laura’s genre-defining croon; download for free here: (buy vinyl)
Akron/FamilyS/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey Of Shinju TNT (2011, Dead Oceans) ♥♥♥♥
:these guys have taken a bit of slack lately from the hipster and indie-type crowds because of their unabashed hippiness but based on videos, their live shows are intense and their catalog is slowly filling up with near-classics like S/T II: (buy vinyl)

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Special Monday Morning Tape – #103

I’m From Barcelonaalways spring
(taken from their 2011 release Forever Today)
Moonfacefast peter
(taken from their 2011 release Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped)
Here We Go Magicsong in three
(taken from their 2011 release January EP)
Roadside Graveslove me more
(taken from their 2011 release We Can Take Care Of Ourselves)
Miracle Fortressmiscalculations
(taken from his 2011 release Was I The Wave?)
Fan Modinethrough the valley
(taken from their 2011 release Gratitude For The Shipper)
(taken from their 2011 release Night Trains)
Ty Segallyou make the sun fry
(taken from his 2011 release Goodbye Bread)
Quiet Lightssimple mechanics
(taken from their 2011 release The Big Fear)
Wise Bloodpenthouse suites
(taken from his 2011 release These Wings EP)
Chad VanGaalenpeace on the rise
(taken from his 2011 release Diaper Island)
Handsome Fursrepatriated
(taken from their 2011 release Sound Kapitol)

PanditKathryn, My Love

DodosBlack Night

Secret MountainsRejoice

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Hop On Pop

I first came upon the music of Todd Leiter-Weintraub via his humble but promising solo disc, Lo-Fi Is Better Than No-Fi At All, and then again as the honcho of Hop On Pop, producing As Drawn By Ethan, Age 2 back in 2004. Todd and his rotating cast of popsters are back, and since I’ve let two previous solid releases go by without much of a peep, I figured I’d throw down an old school dissection for the latest, Chicken On A Bicycle. The earlier output stayed within a well-defined but nonetheless enjoyable border of Big Star and Guided By Voices, and there is some of that here too, but the album purposefully branches out on a much wider scale, held together only by Todd’s steady vocals and his melodic sensibilities rooted firmly into the ground.

The opening track “Here” is playful pop with odd harmonies and keyboards, not as immediate (nor cheesy) as some sequencer pop but there’s definitely potential. “Sheila Of The Worms” is a live number that sounds very fresh. It’s upbeat and catchy and has the crowd singing along despite being a debut performance (always a good sign). “Tortured Artist” and “Hey” are the GBV workouts – You’d think Bob Pollard with his 5,000 songs has found every possible way to create a unique pop/rock song, and yet Hop On Pop somehow manage to find a few more. We take a dark turn at “C’mon Angel” – very well written, and Johnny Cash’s American Recordings is good influence to have, but I’m not sure the conviction is there in the vocals. I love the high end bass on “I’m Pathetic” and the overall Camper Van Beethoven-esque sound of “Leo Goldberg’s 2-Step.” Not all experiments fair as well as others (I’d much prefer more solo acoustic nuggets like “Say You Will” over the semi-orchestral pop ballad “C’mon Let’s Go”). As enjoyable as the album is, it’s versatility works against me recommending it as an introduction to the band. Grab the earlier stuff if you want to dip your toes in, but feel free to dive over to Spade Kitty if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous.

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Special Monday Morning Tape – #102

Jackie-O Motherfuckerin the willows
(taken from their 2011 release Earth Sound System)
Washed Outeyes be closed
(taken from his 2011 release Within and Without)
Elliott Broodnorthern air
(taken from their 2011 release Days Into Years)
The War On Drugsbaby missiles
(taken from their 2011 release Slave Ambient)
Lost In The Treestall trees
(taken from their 2011 release Time Taunts Me)
Gloriefull circle
(taken from their 2011 release Glorie)
Las Kelliesperro rompebolas
(taken from their 2011 release Kellies)
Fan Modinejulu
(taken from their 2011 release Gratitude For The Shipper)
The Electedbabyface
(taken from his 2011 release Bury Me In My Rings)
Hospital Shipshoney, please
(taken from their 2011 release Lonely Twin)
Mount Moriahonly way out
(taken from their 2011 release Mount Moriah)
Monster Rallysurf erie
(taken from their 2011 release Deep Sea EP)

JEFF The BrotherhoodMind Ride

TelekinesisPlease Ask For Help

Lia IcesGrown Unknown


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A Kick In The Pants # 7 – Night Birds


I pumped up the Night Birds at the end of last year with an early review of the Midnight Movies 7″, and then again when counting down the best releases of 2010. After seeing them splash, slice, and writhe through a set in some punk’s living room last month, and giving their latest release, the singles collection Fresh Kills Vol. 1 a few dozen spins, it’s time to kick you in the ass again, so that finally the message gets through.

I’ve already given the low down on the sound. 80’s surf punk that roars at you with menace and insanity. Like that crazy guy on the corner, hollering about the end of the world. He’s obviously nuts, but whether the warning or the performance intrigues you, you have to stop and listen. The songs albeit morbid are infectious, and before you hear the last resonating note of their cover of Eddie & The Showmen’s “Squad Car,” you’re ready to hear them all again. “Midnight Movies” and “Bad Biology” pay homage to B-movie icons while stirring up a catchy ruckus, “Killer Waves” isn’t too much on the nose of horror surf, and “Prognosis: Negative” is a hypochondriac’s worst nightmare. “Paranoid Times” might possibly be the most classic 80s punk track of them all – a scathing breakdown of our government, the military, and the fear mongered/mongering that surrounds us in this country. Overall, pretty scary themes that match the intensity of the music.

This disc will catch you up on everything the band has recorded so far, and will hopefully prepare you for the forthcoming full-length. The whistle has blown, the ride is about to begin. Grave Mistake will hook you up with boarding passes.


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