Michael Weybret recut his short film “An Early Autumn’s Hope” into a music video for the song that helped inspire the story. Just so happens to be “Hold Me Closer” by Froglix favourite Small City Calling. Check out the video below.
So far Australia Week has taken us to Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane. And today our tour of Australia takes us to Melbourne. We’ve covered goodbyemotel a couple of times on here already. And they continue to impress. Check out the video for “Graham Calender”. This was the first single released off their latest EP released in September 2012 entitled People.
One of my favourite new bands from anywhere right now happens to come from Sydney. So of course I was going to try and include Circle (check out my original review if you are so inclined) in Australia Week if I could. And they make it so easy. It seems they are releasing a “studio demo” every other week now, teasing us with what they’re working on.
The latest creation they’ve let us have a peek in on is “Shake It Off”. It’s interesting hearing the bare bones germ of a song. And this track has me very excited to hear the final product.
On the first day of Australia Week we are looking back to two bands that made their appearances in our inaugural year of 2009. And unfortunately, we haven’t heard anything from either of these guys since. Black Knight and Highway Blonde (formerly Smart Artists) are both solidly in the rock genre. Highway Blonde is a bit more modern rock while Black Knight is a bit more on the post-punk side of things. Over the years I’ve found myself humming a tune or two from these guys. It’s always a testament to me whether a band is good or not if one of their songs can find their way into your head just out of the blue.
So, without anything new since 2009 from either, check out a couple of videos from their glorious pasts….
Arguably, one of the most underrated alt-rock bands of the 80’s & 90’s, The Smithereens, to this day goes down as one of my all-time favs as I quite literally have every album and know most every song, even the deep tracks, by heart. So, naturally, when they came to the Northern Virginia’s State Theatre a while back I just had to go. Some may say that the band has long since passed their prime…and they’d be right. However, these cats still rock out loud. They are not even the least bit pretentious. In fact, they are far from it. While most of the alt-rock veterans would rather play their “brand new” stuff (that nobody cares about) the Smithereens plastered the filled to capacity crowd with their most notable tracks from every album in their arsenal. It was epic.
I was fortunate enough to actually meet and hang out with the band a little bit after the show (that’s me with drummer Dennis Diken) and they were the epitome of cool. In fact, I talked with bassist Severo “The Thrilla” Jornacion about playing the bass line to “Blood and Roses” featured above. His response? “The first time I played it I thought I my fingers would bleed…it is such an honor to play that song.” With all the nit-picking in the music industry today it’s somewhat refreshing to hear someone give deference to their predecessor, in this case, former bassist Mike Mesaros.
We could have picked any number of tunes from The Smithereens catalog…“A Girl Like You” or “Only A Memory” would have been the more than obvious choices…but “Blood and Roses” was one of the tunes that was instrumental in my alt-rock conversion. Thusly, I pay homage to the song and the band today on the Friday Flashback. Enjoy my friends
Check out all the stuff by The Smithereens on [itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-smithereens/id529246?uo=4″ title=”Smithereens on iTunes”] !
Let me first tell you a little something about this outfit called 825 Records. I don’t know a ton, so if anything is wrong please correct me. 825 Records is owned and led by the talented Matty Amendola, Instagram’s best afro as you can see. From what I can tell, Matty is a bit of musical savant who has directed his gift into developing, mentoring and promoting the musical talent in others. He’s a master in the producer’s chair, perhaps fueled by his talent, his passion for music, but also what seems to be a genuine desire to help the artist in front of him succeed. Now, of course I don’t really know Matty…so maybe he’s actually a grade-A jerk, but c’mon, with hair like that he’s got to be a cool cat. But really I’m digressing. This was all meant just to be a lead-in for introducing one of his relatively recent projects, The Lovegoods.
I’m going to start with the sad news. The Lovegoods came to an abrupt end when one half of the duo, J.J. Gluckman, passed away late last year. Lois Burnett, the other half of the partnership, eloquently describes their music and the passing…
“A very unique and intimate friendship occurs when you begin to write songs together,” says Burnett. “You have to be so open with each other – so vulnerable to one another. We put our hearts in each other’s hands and trusted that the other would do it justice. When you do that, you put a faith into someone that can never be broken. I still feel the weight of J.J.’s heart in my hands and that weight will not be lifted until I have fulfilled his dreams – the dreams that we had intended to conquer together.”
The good news is, although it does feel shallow, the EP J.J and Lois were working on is available. From the opening lyrics of “North Tide” it becomes immediately apparent the connection between artists that Lois was talking about. The perfect blend of voice is just the first hint at the chemistry between them. But listen to the words, and we can share just a bit in their vulnerabilities as well. “Snowing In My Veins” successfully achieves one of my favorite twists found in music: upbeat music with lyrics addressing the sad or dark. Your head starts nodding, your foot finds the beat, then the words burst from your mouth to join in on the chorus “it’s snowing in my veins tonight”, and then it hits you… what is this song about?? Oh wait, this is sad. J.J.’s heartfelt plea towards the beginning of the song “how long will it take for you to see that I’m not clean?” completely passed by me on my first listen. For me, the whole song becomes a metaphor. How many of us package ourselves into a happy, up-beat facade? But if anyone was really listening they’d hear us begging for help.
The very first line from the bio on their own web sites goes, “Out Like Pluto is not here to revolutionize music, but they do want to make you dance.” And to that I say, “Thank you!” We all know fun music when we hear it. We want to sing along to our music. We want to tap our feet. We DO NOT want to have to think about it to appreciate it. With a couple years of writing music reviews under my belt, I’ve decided that whenever somebody describes their music as “experimental” what they mean to say is, “Here is some crap for you to waste five minutes of your life listening to.” No thank you! Out Like Pluto is NOT experimental. As they self-describe themselves, they deliver on the tried-and-true. It’s foot-tapping, catchy, but super strong alt-rock. From watching some clips on YouTube of them performing live, you can tell they are just having fun, and it’s contagious. And there is nothing wrong with music just being fun. In fact, it’s what makes me like these guys so much.
The latest album Take Cover came out last January from this Seattle five-piece. First formed by Andy (drums) and Kari (vox), the Out Like Pluto lineup is flushed out with Mike and Ben (guitar) and Jeremy (bass). The first single off the album, “Bridge”, is featured in the video above. My other favorites include “Placebo (Turn Me On)” and “Starring John Stamos”. “Papercut” also stands out as it showcases a softer side of Kari’s voice accompanied by strings, and in the process shows just how strong her singing really is. Every track on the album will make you feel good though. So, yeah, it’s nothing earth-shattering, and it’s very nostalgic of alt-rock from the 90’s…. but we all love the alt-rock from the 90’s, and besides, feeling good is exactly what I want in 2012.
artist: Attack Ships on Fire | album: Vegas Soul | genre: rock, punk | label: SquidHat Records
Labour Day is fast approaching likewise, coincidentally, the end of Summer 2012. If they haven’t already done so, young chitlins, angst ridden teens and future college drop outs all around the world will soon be starting their Fall classes and, thus, ending life as they know it. Fortunately for these wayward yutes there is a new album dropping from Oregon’s Attack Ships on Fire that should help in tiding them over until…well…with their limited attention spans Thanksgiving might be a stretch but I think Halloween is in the bag for sure. The (12) tracks that encompass the Pride of Portland’s third album entitled Vegas Soul were actually inspired by a new book from author P Moss called Vegas Knockout that is due to drop on Sept. 6th as is album #3 from the aforementioned ASoF.
We got a sneak peek…err listen…to the album’s title track and it’s delovely. Driven doesn’t even begin to describe it. This one, my friends, comes at you fast and furious with a musical double tap that is true pandalerium. I freaking love it…sounds a bit like Coheed and Cambria meets the Sex Pistols but that’s what I dig about it.
Many thanks to our friends at SquidHat Records for sharing the love. Peace…
I usually like to compare a band to other, often better known, bands. Doing so for Circle doesn’t seem fair though. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of something like Death Cab For Cutie in a track or two, then others are reminiscent of Swedish bands The Legends or Acid House Kings. Sometimes the taste was something a bit like The Cocteau Twins. But Circle isn’t really any of those other bands. What they are is yet another brilliant alternative band from Australia delivering some of the best alternative/electro pop/indie rock (or whatever you want to call it) music I’ve heard in awhile. Seriously, what’s in the water there?
Although the band has been playing in some form since 2005, The Middle is first studio album from Circle. The wait is worth it though because Radi Safi, Dan Shaw, and Rebecca Shave surely have created a masterpiece here. It’s not often I listen to a brand new album on my morning commute and then find myself throughout the day singing to myself multiple tunes off of it. The album really kicks off, for me, with track two’s “Fashion Me a Drum”. The pulsating beating intro, layered a moment later with synth chords, then finally the slightly airy but understated Radi vocals draw you into the song immediately. The sucking in continues when Rebecca joins in on the chorus, but the coup de grâce is when Rebecca’s solo kicks in. When I find myself singing along “I will follow the beat, I will follow the drum, I will follow the sound… the sound that made me love you”, I really really mean it.
Other tracks along the lines of “Fashion Me A Drum” are “Half Race Girls” and “Brothers”. Both are incredibly accessible, having all the hooks you’d ever want and will have you singing along in no time at all. (I hear my 4 year old son singing the melody of the “ooooh ooooh ooooh”s from “Half Race Girls” all the time.) The tracks “Gorgeous”, “All The People”, and “Hold” are what gave me the glimpses of The Sundays and The Cocteau Twins I mentioned earlier. Ephemeral, melodic, hypnotic…brilliant.
P.S. Tell me this video isn’t the most hipster thing you’ve ever seen…
What are you doing this Friday? If you happen to find yourself in Houston, TX then I highly recommend you check out The Wheel Workers Vinyl Release Party. The release features two(2) re-imagined and re-mixed tracks off their Unite album. (By the way, you can read my original review of the album if you want.) I have to say, I originally didn’t see “Right Way To Go” and “Spidermazes” as album standouts, but these new remixes are incredible. My previous favorite track from Unite, “Stereomad”, now has a serious competitor with the now more amped up “Spidermazes”. I’m adding both tracks to The Big Mix, so you can check them out here or grab the vinyl (or CD) from the release party. Or find the original album versions on iTunes.