27 December 2009

The Rebel Spell - Days of Rage

My hard drive was corrupted or something, killed my OS and would not boot. It took me several days (i'm a busy/lazy man) to get my computer back in running order. Fortunately, i back everything up regularly so i still have my treasured music collection. A minor setback which i am sure the collective you does not care about. Sarah tells me she reads these, i think most other people just pass through via google to look for album links and don't read my little writings. You're missing out!

The Rebel Spell is a pretty awesome punk band from Vancouver. If you enjoy Knucklehead you would likely enjoy this. Conversely, if you enjoy this, check out Knucklehead.

Fun as hell. The good kind of hell.

P.S. Merry post-Christmas-pre-New-Years-no-man's-land-week aka eye of the storm


I Would Set Myself On Fire For You - I Would Set Myself On Fire For You

I would. Really.

Anyway, defunct screamo band from Atlanta. They had an interesting thing going on for a screamo band. Dual male/female vocals, and a viola. Some jazz.

Girls: singing in a punk/hardcore/screamo/whatever band is a plus.


Bobby Fuller Four - I Fought The Law (1966)

Why? Because it's fucking AWESOME, that's why. You'll probably recognize a few of these songs. Whether you do or not, you should listen to this because, as i said, it is awesome.

Ignore the fact that they appear to be wearing matching double-breasted red pyjamas on the album cover. It was a different time, double-breasted pyjama gangs ruled the streets with an iron fist.

Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli - Souvenirs

I love gypsy jazz. Particularly Django Reinhardt. He is likely my favourite guitarist ever, and has had a tremendous influence on my guitar playing (almost 10 years).

He was a genuine French gypsy, and had his left hand badly burnt in a caravan fire. He played guitar using only two fingers of his left hand due to the damage caused by the burns, and still managed to be better at guitar than practically everyone. He pretty much single-handedly invented the genre of gypsy jazz, also.

23 December 2009

Timber Timbre - Medicinals

Really excellent album from Timber Timbre (primarily Taylor Kirk), from Oshawa. Lo-fi, eerie folk music with some gospel and Eastern European folk influences and a strong sense of isolation. Really fantastic songs, and the album performs seamlessly from start to finish. 'Like A Mountain' is especially good.

Shares some similarities with bands like The Wooden Sky, but is ultimately a very original thing of its own. Winter music?


19 December 2009

The Microphones - Little Bird Flies Into A Big Black Cloud (2002)

Occupying the space somewhere between musical journal, spoken poetry, solo unaccompanied album and something else altogether, i've not really heard an album like this anywhere else. Just Phil Elverum, switching back and forth between a piano, some sort of organ and spoken word. You can hear him turning pages and shifting in his chair between songs, and gives the impression it may have been done in one take. All the songs are untitled, and it is a uniquely melancholy and intimate album the likes of which i have not seen before. Listen to it beginning to end, perhaps while in bed or something.

I show you myself as a buoy, And you see an anchor/ I sing you my welcome; And you - you ship - are pulled under/ You've got courage to knock on any door, Until you come to freeze up mine - It swung wide / Oh, you coward! You're afraid / You coward! You're the anchor / You coward! You're the fortress / You coward! You're afraid

17 December 2009

Eric's Trip - Love Tara (1993)

Band from Moncton, NB that was around from 1990-1996, briefly in 2001, and from 2006-current to play a few shows here and there.
Reminds me quite a bit of Sebadoh, going back and forth between acoustic songs and messy Dinosaur Jr. type songs.
Bassist Julie Doiron currently has a successful solo career. Which includes, incidentally, a fantastic collaboration album with Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie).


Battle of Wölf 359 - The Death of Affect

British screamo band. Catchy, metalish riffs; high energy, crashing, and somewhat eerie.
They're really good!


12 December 2009

The Microphones - Song Islands (2002)

Phil Elverum, aka The Microphones, aka Mount Eerie is a guy from Anacortes, WA that has one of the most outstanding and unique personal musical styles i've ever heard. He's the songwriter and only permanent member of The Microphones, and recorded most of the Microphones-era tracks on a broken 16-track reel-to-reel tape recorder. The sound quality is fantastic, don't get me wrong. Way better than the modern digital recording shit.
Kind of eccentric, heartbroken, lonely but beautiful lyrics. Transitions from deafeningly loud, crashing, feedback-laden guitars to gentle acoustic songs that never seem forced or unnatural. If you get into it there's a large and varied catalog to explore, and it is worth it. He dropped The Microphones moniker in 2003 and changed to Mount Eerie, which is more acoustic-based.

'The Moon' (track 11) is one of my favourite songs of all time. Listen to it or you aren't my friend anymore.
Other great songs from this album are 'I Lost My Wind', 'Lanterns', 'I Listen Close', and 'There's No Invincible Disguise That Lasts All Day'.

P.S. Listen with headphones, there's a lot of subtle things going on appreciated best with clear stereo


Failed Attempts at Facial Hair - Girls, Friends, and Girlfriends

Failed Attempts at Facial Hair is John Crodian. Just a man and his ukulele, singing songs about girls. For 'that guy' in all of us.

Similar to A Drum And An Open Window.


Apocalypse Meow & Andrew Jackson Jihad - Pug Life (Split)

Short split album from Apocalypse Meow and Andrew Jackson Jihad. Some good solid pop-punk from Apocalypse Meow, and two songs from the inimitable Andrew Jackson Jihad. Could be longer, but oh well.
I have yet to find anything else that Apocalypse Meow has released.

Little Joe Gould - Little Joe Gould

Former name of Murder By Death. They released one album under this name before changing their name to Murder By Death and releasing Like The Exorcist But More Breakdancing. Stylistically this is a lot more like Like The Exorcist than their later albums which really developed their cellocentric-spaghetti western-americana-rock style.
I had a hell of a time finding this so i know someone out there is looking for it as well.


06 December 2009

Secondstar - Teeth

Secondstar is Liam Carey and friends. Lovely indie-folk songs, some mournful, some not. Occurs somewhere in the spectrum between Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, while retaining an original spirit. The whistling on track 2, 'Kites & Arrows', kills me with its fantasticness.


Pygmy Lush - Mount Hope (2008)

Formed from the ashes of legendary screamo band pg.99, Pygmy Lush's album Mount Hope is about as far from pg.99 musically as you can get. Expansive, slow, reverbed folk.
Their first album, Bitter River, was an unusual blend of this type of acoustic folk and the aggressive screamo of pg.99.


30 November 2009

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Etiquette (2006)

Owen Ashworth, aka Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, has been making music on a Casio keyboard since 1997. The perfect example of the 'indietronica' genre described below.
He's reasonably well known now, and while i admit this probably isn't for everyone, i really like it. Autumn/winter music for sure: pleasantly melancholy and bitter lyrics, synths, and an ever-present electronic drum machine.


Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Letting Up Despite Great Faults (2009)

Letting Up Despite Great Faults, from Los Angeles, is a band that probably falls under the category of 'indietronica'. Normally i hate portmanteau genre names but i think this one works. Electronic drum machines, synths, heartfelt lyrics and a melancholy sound. It's something different, and that's always good, right?


29 November 2009

The Gunshy - Souls (2005)

The Gunshy is Matt Arbogast, a man with a Tom Waits-y raspy voice who plays self-aware-ly sad, mostly acoustic songs. All of his albums are excellent but this is a great place to start.

Music for sweater weather. If the phrase 'music for sweater weather' doesn't mean anything then there's no hope for you.


Sonny & The Sunsets - Tomorrow is Alright

Modern indie pop/rock evocative of jangly '60s California pop like The Beach Boys and such things.


The Wooden Sky - If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone

Folk-rock from Toronto with a very apparent gospel influence.
Strong voice, powerful but fragile songs.
I'm not feeling very wordy today but it's really good trust me.


Brandon Peck - Demo

I don't have any idea where i found this, but i'm glad i did. One guy, a guitar, and some awkward, honest songs. Reminds me at times of Paul Baribeau.
If there's one thing i never get sick of it's homemade, heartfelt acoustic songs.


21 November 2009

Nothington - All In (2007)

Formed from the demise of Tsunami Bomb, Nothington is another fantastic example of gritty, southern-influenced punk rock like HWM, The Tim Version, etc. Raspy shouted vocals; catchy, driving punk rock.


19 November 2009

Kind Of Like Spitting - The Thrill of the Hunt (2006)

Kind Of Like Spitting was around from 1996-2006. KOLS was essentially a vehicle for singer-songwriter Ben Barnett's songs.
This was their last (and i think, best) album. Throughout KOLS's large discography there are tons of really amazing songs, but i think this is the most solid whole album. Something about it feels oddly, undeniably, familiar or nostalgic to me but i can't quite put my finger on it.


13 November 2009

Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis - Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis (2008)

Despite all appearances, Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis are actually a contemporary band. Three teenage (16, 21, and 18, respectively) multi-instrumentalist siblings from the UK that record '50s revivalist music on only '50s vintage instruments and equipment (no computers involved in recording at all). It's like a time machine. A brilliant time machine of revivalist perfection.
They have a very unique thing going on, and the fact that they're all younger than me actually depresses me a bit. Don't pass this up if you have any amount of appreciation for '50s music at all.


David Rovics - Behind the Barricades (2003)

Radical left-wing protest music, in the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, etc., but about contemporary issues like Iraq, globalization and the exploitation of South American countries. Strong anti-corporatist, anti-elitist, and anarchist themes.
David Rovics allows free downloading of all his music on his website, saying:
"Feel free to download these songs. Use them for whatever purpose. Send them to friends, burn them, copy them, play them on the radio, on the internet, wherever. Music is the Commons. Ignore the corporate music industry shills who tell you otherwise. Downloading music is not theft, you're not hurting anyone, I promise."

Even if you don't agree with his politics, he shows that intensely political folk music is not just an anachronism from the 60s. Strong, singable melodies; inspiring lyrics; and energetic acoustic guitar. Worth checking out. This is a best of, and a good place to start.


Dead Hearts - Bitter Verses (2006)

Hardcore from Buffalo, NY. Similar to Ruiner or The Carrier. They split in 2008.


06 November 2009

Castevet - Summer Fences (2009)

Indie/emo in the tradition of Cap'n Jazz, American Football, etc (aka the good kind of 'emo'). It's great, and definitely worth checking out. Reclaim dishonoured genres!


The Ergs! - Jersey's Best Prancers (2005)

Speaking of The Ergs!, here's another album from them. More pop-punk gold.

Zatopeks - Ain't Nobody Left But Us (2005)


British pop-punk band with a strong '50s pop influence. It appears from the album cover that they have some pretty crazy eyebrows, but it's a very well-written, high-energy pop-punk album. This album in particular has a lot of '50s greaser culture nostalgia in it.
So think a British Buddy Holly/The Ergs! hybrid. Or Something.


01 November 2009

Pretend You're Happy - Pretend You're Happy (2008)

Pretend You're Happy. Don't ask questions, just do it.

One night they might be a stripped down acoustic 2-piece, the next an 8-piece electric entourage including two drummers, a doublebass player, and a clarinet-noise player. Their music takes influence from divergent genres such as folk, classical, and hardcore.


Hymie's Basement - Hymie's Basement (2003)

Part of the anticon family, Hymie's Basement is composed of Yoni Wolf and Andrew Broner (of Fog). Shares some similarities with other Yoni Wolf projects like WHY?, Reaching Quiet, and cLOUDDEAD. Indie-folk-hiphop, and unabashedly... anticon.


Radio Moscow - Radio Moscow (2007)

70's-styled psychedelic blues-rock trio. For fans of The Black Keys or 70's blues like Cream etc.


25 October 2009

23 October 2009

Witch Hunt - Blood Red States (2006)

This is what I'm listening to tonight. Loudly.
An anarcho-punk band from Philadelphia with dueling male/female vocals that work fantastically.
It's angry, aggressive, and loud.


Ghost Mice & Saw Wheel Split

Split album of Ghost Mice and Saw Wheel.
Ghost Mice features Chris Johnston (founder of Plan-It X records, the label or former label for many of the bands posted here). Kinda cheap (in a good way) folk-punk - just dual male/female vocals, acoustic guitar, and violin. The songs are really good, and I don't think the inherent DIY-ness of it does anything but make it better.
Just as a matter of interest, when I bought a few CD's from Plan-It X a while back, the package came with a hand-drawn picture of what appeared to be a pirate cat saying "Thank You Very Much, <3 Chris" (the aforementioned Chris Johnston). Buy from Plan-It X and maybe you too will get a picture.

Saw Wheel is RJ Cresswell, formerly of One Reason. Sounds similar to Rumbleseat or Chuck Ragan.

The singing throughout this album is... not spectacular, but i think it works.


18 October 2009

Gay Witch Abortion - Maverick

Gay Witch Abortion is a band from Minneapolis. I don't know much about them, but they could win in a hilarious band names contest. They sound kinda like a mostly instrumental, louder Black Keys on speed with amps that sound like they're about to explode.


Pg. 99 - Document #8 (2001)

Pg. 99 was a hardcore punk and/or screamo band from Sterling, Virginia, around from 1998-2003. They had a total of 14 releases, titled Document #1 through Document #14. This is, obviously, their 8th release. They formed as a 6-piece band and had as many as 14 people at one point.
Loud and awesome.


Cecil Otter - Rebel Yellow (2008)

Cecil Otter (aka Jake Smith), a member of the Doomtree hiphop collective, makes music comparable to Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, etc. Good, interesting, hiphop.
The first track honestly creeps me out a bit but the album as a whole is excellent. I found this via SXSW 2009.


17 October 2009

Jordaan Mason & The Horse Museum - Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head

The most recent album of Toronto musician Jordaan Mason. It kinda sounds like a cross between Foot Ox and Adrian Orange to me. That is to say, it has a similar weird aesthetic to Foot Ox, but with slower, layered sounds as per Adrian Orange.
His website describes the album thus:
14 songs that tell the story of a failed marriage between two people of confused identities and genders, complete with suicidal horses, shotguns, carnival horns, a henry darger-inspired glandolinian war, unexpected male birth, semen, haircuts, sickness, and the end of the world in 1990.

Arrows - Knives Are Falling From The Sky (2007)

Arrows (currently known as Cursed Arrows), released their debut album in 2007. Featuring husband-and-wife duo Ryan Stanley (formerly of The Vermicious Knid) and Jackie Stanley, Arrows draws influence from Nirvana and The Pixies to some extent. It's loud, towering, emotional, and thoroughly enjoyable.


09 October 2009

Fake Problems - It's Great To Be Alive (2009)

The most recent album from Fake Problems. Normally I would refrain from posting the most recent album of any band, but this album is just so outstanding from start to finish I've been listening to it several times a day for like 4 days. This album is a huge evolution from their previous album, while still being easily recognizable as the same band. Singer and primary songwriter Chris Farren retains his Tom Gabel-esque vocal tone while the songs branch out into all sorts of different sounds while remaining fully coherent and distinctive.
There is not a bad song on the whole album, but "You're A Serpent, You're A She-Snake" stands out as my favourite. This band deserves more attention.


Jumbling Towers - Classy Entertainment (2008)

I don't know how best to describe Jumbling Towers. They're like some fucked up circus... punk... thing. It's ridiculously catchy though. Definitely unique; if the description appeals to you give it a listen.


Lemuria - Get Better (2008)

Lemuria is a pop-punk band from Buffalo, NY. Featuring dual male/female vocals and a can't-put-my-finger-on-it rhythmic unusualness, this is Lemuria's only full-length album. They also released a few LPs and splits (with The Ergs and Kind Of Like Spitting), as well as a compilation album of said LPs and splits.
I hate to use the word 'cute' to describe music cause I think it puts people off a bit but Lemuria is pretty cute. Really good though, make no mistake.


03 October 2009

Dirty Three - Ocean Songs (1998) & She Has No Strings Apollo (2003)


I used to like instrumental post-rock a lot. Now I mostly don't. I do, however, still love the Dirty Three. They're an Australian band who differentiate themselves from the legions of cloned post-rock bands by the absolutely stunning violin playing of Warren Ellis (also known for his long association with Nick Cave, including working with him on the soundtrack to The Assassination of Jesse James).

I bought a violin in an attempt to be as awesome as Warren Ellis, but it hasn't worked yet as I am godawful at violin.