Monday, January 12, 2009

New Music News and Notes

Trying to make the most of my flying-solo weekend, I spent Saturday night cruising around the county, listening to XMU on my satellite radio, and I stopped for an hour at the Coffee Bean on Harbor & 19th to sit outside, enjoy a cup of coffee, and ingest the first KEXP podcast for 2009. The sheer joy and twinge of guilt at sitting outside without so much as a jacket at 8:00 on a January night while poor CSD Julie was freezing her tail off in Detroit was not lost on me, which is why I made the commitment to spend the full hour of the podcast soaking up the above-averageness of the weather, and to take notes on the selections from this best of the best for 2008 podcast.

Below are some of those notes and links to support these new artists.

Bon Iver- Skinny Love: Every indie outlet across the nation played the hell out of Bon Iver through 2008. I first heard this track on a much earlier KEXP podcast, and then heard it a few times on satellite. Every time I hear this, or any other Iver track, I like it more than I did the last time. For the fullest enjoyment, give it a listen through a pair of headphones. If you still don't like it, listen to it two or three more times and you'll be surprised...

The Dears- Disclaimer: With an opening riff reminiscent of U2's All You Can't Leave Behind album and a sax background that would make Morphine proud, this Montreal band is another solid reminder that Canada is where it's at for new music. Listen for the tambourine just before the vocals start at about 2 minutes in. It adds a Velvet Underground feel to the track that's more flattering than mocking. Very good stuff.

Cloud Cult- The Ghost Inside Our House: The acoustic guitar intro has that folk-ballad 'squeak' that comes from chord transitioning but adds a realistic home-studio quality to the sound. I'm not sure what I dig so much about that little unintentional sound, but it's almost like a hidden 'behind the scenes' peek at the song. This one is more about the lyrics than the tune though with Beat allusions, (see lyric: 'packed up my clothes in a grocery bag') and a decidedly Simon & Garfunkel feel, ('watched you sleep until 5am') culminating with a less-than-standard bridge provided by violin and this Minnesota seven-piece is aiming for a long run on the college and folk radio circuit.

Elliot Brood- Write it all Down for You: What's this? Another Canadian? This gravel-grunge voiced 'Folk/Acoustic/Soul' trio combines the elements of modern folk seen in a majority of present-day college radio tracks mixed with a 90's grunge flair that allows them to stand out from their countless and nameless contemporaries. At 2:48 listen for a little 'found percussion' breakdown reminiscent of a third generation of indie rock, the new wave sound of early Adam & The Ants. Score another one for the Great White North.

Mochipet- Sharp Drest: This Cali tongue-in-cheek hip-hop act is effing awesome. Like Humpty Hump teamed up with the Bloodhound Gang and brought Salt-n-Pepa along for the ride. Between dropping love for the Rat Pack and quoting ZZ Top they're 'chillin on the beach like they was San Diagans.' Once in a while you've had enough breaking-point idiosyncratic emotional drama songs and just want a little fun. Insert Mochipet here...

The Acorn- Flood part I: It's a little scary how in-tune CSD Julie and I are. I gave this track a listen on Saturday night, and highlighted it to blog about as I'm doing now. The following afternoon (Sunday) I receive the following message on Facebook from my dear wife as she's working on the other side of the country. "Music that Matters is playing the band The Acorn, song: The Flood. Very cool and a little Vampire Weekend sounding..." I didn't hear much VW in it, although they both incorporate a world beat sound. What I was impressed by is the 'polished' nature of the sound. As a matter of fact, before the DJ mentioned the artist I was convinced it was a track from the new David Byrne / Brian Eno album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Instead it's from a sophomore full length out of guess where? Canada!

Frightened Rabbit- I Feel Better: This four piece's Myspace page proclaims- 'You are currently reading about Frightened Rabbit. They are a band who live in Glasgow and have done for some time. They record in bedrooms, cupboards and kitchens. Anyone can be in Frightened Rabbit. They have played some live shows in this city, but want to meet people from other cities, in order that they can come and blow into tubes when they play live. Lets keep pop music alive by getting it out of that dress and into a sweater.' My impression is they sound like Glasvegas mixed with... Well, they sound a lot like Glasvegas, and there's nothing wrong with that. Strap on a sweater and give them a listen!

Bang Bang Eche- 4 to the Floor: We finish our world tour of indie newness with a quintet of young Kiwi's. New Zealand's Bang Bang Eche combines dance, indie, rock, new wave, and pop with a vocal delivery oddly similar to The Stranglers. Think the spoken-word style bravado of Peaches more than the pop assimilation of Always the Sun. Is this the new sound of revolutionary garage rock? It's quick, it's dirty, and it's as DIY as it gets. From their Myspace: 'Unsigned but you better believe we're Major.' I'm willing to wager from the exposure that the 'unsigned' part won't be true much longer...

Hope you enjoyed the year's first new music rundown. As part of my 2009 goal to pay closer attention to the newest of the new I'm going to try and make this a recurring feature. Feel free to drop a line in the comments if there's something 'hot off the presses' I should check out. I bend to the whims of others with great ease...

2 comments:

OCKerouac said...

I got busy riffing and I missed my favorite note on the Bang Bang Eche track. As I was sitting out at the coffee place finishing my large dark roast, a fire engine blasted down 19th and fit perfectly into the back beat of the song. I wouldn't have known had it not been for the flashing lights...

CSD Julie said...

That's too funny. I like all of these too...we'd better start saving for all the new music we're going to have to buy.