Archive for January, 2011
It was a couple weeks ago that I spent the day with the guys from The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact. I helped with the last few details of production on their new record and got to sit in on their rehearsal. Later, I followed them to the Meadowlark for the first in a series of concerts curated by Speaker Snacks. Gem Trails and Thundercade also played… then the venue flooded and I went home.
The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact, rehearsal
The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact, performance
The unpolished demos of those original songs quickly spread throughout the internet and soon everyone was talking about “sail-rock” and “the next big thing out of Denver.” For Denver locals it came as a bit of a surprise: not many people in Denver had ever seen Tennis live since it was really an overnight affair. Following a fall tour with The Walkmen and getting signed to Fat Possum Records, Tennis prepped for the release of Cape Dory- a collection of polished songs out earlier this month.
For those who were familiar with their demos and 7″-releases, Cape Dory came as no surprise. Most of the songs on the record had already been released in one form or another; however the versions appearing on the full-length were certainly different than previous renditions. While songs like “South Carolina” or “Baltimore” were delightfully fuzzy and loose on the demos, their LP-counterparts were more polished and tighter.
Cape Dory is an excellent set of summery songs about the sea; however it was the rawness of the original songs which attracted me to Tennis in the first place. For those interested in hearing what everyone has been talking about, Cape Dory provides an opportunity to hear all of Tennis’s ocean-inspired tunes in one place.
Stream “Take Me Somewhere” below
Rob Drabkin’s actual birthday is today, but you’ll have to wait until Saturday for the party. Each year for the last four years Mr. Drabkin has thrown a birthday bash, and every year the party gets bigger. Last year we covered the party at the Soiled Dove Underground and this year we’ll be at Casselman’s to celebrate. After the birthday show (and a few more local dates), Rob is set to hit Europe in March before coming back to the western United States in April/May as a part of the Muse’s Market Tour. Presale tickets for Rob Drabkin’s Fourth Annual Birthday Bash can be purchased here.
1. Never Ending Math Equation: The first Modest Mouse record I ever heard was b-side compilation Building Nothing Out of Something. This album-opening track made its debut as a part of the Sub-Pop 7″ club. Due to the nature of this song, it might be viewed as a transitional piece linking the more-produced The Moon & Antarctica with seminal indie-jammer The Lonesome Crowded West.
2. Tiny Cities Made of Ashes: Of all the songs on The Moon & Antarctica, this track has the most infectious bass-line. Coupled with four-on-the-floor beats and a few inventive lyrics, “Tiny Cities” stands out for its simplicity and tone.
3. Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine: Another album-opening track, “Shoeshine” is a multi-part journey into the tragedy of western suburbia. From it’s straightforward opening to the somber bridges claiming “the malls are the soon-to-be ghost towns,” it is a fitting opener to The Lonesome Crowded West.
4. Black Cadillacs: 2004′s Good News for People Who Love Bad News brought Modest Mouse into the mainstream with “Float On” and “Ocean Breathes Salty.” While the record as a whole isn’t my favorite, “Black Cadillacs” always piqued my interest. I think what caught my attention was the attention to detail with regards to lyricism and composition.
5. Paper Thin Walls (live): While the studio-version of this track appeared on The Moon & Antarctica, my favorite rendition came on the official-bootleg-live record Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again. After the brief track Isaac Brock proceeds to explain why Modest Mouse will never, ever play “Free Bird” in one of the greatest rants ever recorded.
6. Interstate 8: I’ll end this post with a jammer from the 1996 EP of the same name. This track really embodies the classic noodley-guitar work that helped to define the group’s sound and influence a wave of non-traditional guitar-based music.
Mike Marchant, the man behind Widowers and The Outer Space Party Unit (in addition to playing guitar for Houses), is currently giving away his first three EPs as a “thank you” to fans. For the next few days Marchant’s solo work will be available for free through his bandcamp page (Marchant suggests putting a zero in the name-your-price box, also don’t worry about any threats of an obnoxious email list, he’s not a fan of such devices). News of this giveaway comes on the heels of Marchant’s announcement that he’s starting a new band:
I’m about to begin work on a full-length with a new band. I put an absurd amount of time into writing the songs, and am very excited to share them with you. Details (band name, members, etc) will come soon. Happy new year, and thanks again for listening.
While the overall tone of Marchant’s work is relatively cohesive, each EP explores different aspects of pop, folk, lo-fi, space, and electronic styles. In addition to the three EPs, a $1 release for the single “You Were A Runner” is also available through Marchant’s bandcamp. To give you a taste of this release, we’ve embedded it below.
There must be something in the water. I am unsure if this phenomenon occurs elsewhere, however it may be safe to say that Denver has had its fair share of bands consisting of 10 or more people. In the past we’ve seen Everything Absent or Distorted, Pee Pee, and other groups with big bands and big sounds to match. Enter All Liver No Onions, a group with at least 15 people.
Mix a little Neutral Milk Hotel with a bit of mewithoutYou, toss in more horns and youthful bliss and you’ve got Dolphin Dreamz, the new demo from All Liver No Onions. The four tracks swing from soft horns to loud raucous sing-a-long choruses and return back. Perhaps what makes this release so charming is that it is unpolished- rather than investing all of their energy into over-production All Liver No Onions used their momentum to record a handful of delightful tracks.
Listen to Dolphin Dreamz below and download it here.
Maybe it’s the snowy weather, maybe it’s popular trends, maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve been introduced to so much good gaze in the last few months. In any case, here are three bands gaze/ambient/dreampop/experimental acts for your consideration.
This duo from Toronto, Ontario (that’s in Canada, for those of you who never took geography) combines ethereal melody with a certain 80′s pop sensibility. I recall first seeing the video for “Heirloom” (embedded below) and being swept away by the beautiful visuals and healthy dose of reverb. Memoryhouse is currently in studio recording a debut full length and has released several singles and EPs. For more information and demo recordings, visit the group’s tumblr page.
2. Heinali and Matt Finney
A mix of spoken-word and layered ambient music, the music of Heinali and Matt Finney sounds a bit like My Bloody Valentine mixed with introspective voice-overs from an art film. To understand the full cinematic nature of this group, watch “Under God’s Heaven” (embedded below). Heinali is from the Ukraine and Matt Finney calls Alabama home; the two are currently working on a new record.
3. The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact
Disclaimer: My tape label, the Buckingham Pie Group, is releasing the new KCSP record on Tuesday. I will not post a purchase link for my label (due to the conflict of interest), rather all links will take you to the band’s pages.
As a side-project of local group Fellow Citizens, the Kevin Costner Suicide Pact focuses more experimental, ambient, and improvisational music. Songs take shape from repeating loops, a plethora of effects pedals, samples, and live instrumentation. In its live form KCSP ebbs and flows from one musical thought to the next. In recorded form layers of sound build to peaks and sink into white-noise. Decay, the newest record from KCSP drops tomorrow (1/11/11).
Bonus: Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine
Recidivism is a state of repetitive, habitual criminal behavior. While RECIDIVIST, the new record from The Raven & The Writing Desk, may not address civil crime, it instead focuses more on the relapse of emotion into former habits. “Space Grenade” cries out “Save me again!” as the protagonist pushes into issues of control and desire.Throughout the record a thread of nostalgia winds its way through songs such as “Walk in the Water.”
Musically speaking, RECIDIVIST doesn’t take any large strides outside of traditional piano-based pop music, however it does manage to artfully provide a folksy frame for female vocals and well-thought lyrics. Julia LiBassi’s voice initially reminded me of Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries), although upon further listening it is clear that LiBassi’s vocals have a unique soft charm. A prime example of the vocal talent represented by The Raven & The Writing Desk comes in the form of “Firefly,” a song with rather minimal instrumental backing and a generous amount of beautifully matched voices.
Stream “Space Grenade” below and catch The Raven & The Writing Desk live at the Walnut Room on January 13 and February 10. Click for more from The Raven & The Writing Desk.
July may be seven months away, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to mark your calendar for the 11th annual Underground Music Showcase. The festival, which features over 300 bands in 25 venues, will go down July 21-24th. More information is available via the UMS homepage and Twitter feed.