The Lovegoods

The Lovegoodsartist: The Lovegoods
album: The Lovegoods EP
genre: folk/indie pop
label: 825 Records

listen on spotify
The Lovegoods :: North Tide
The Lovegoods :: Snowing In My Veins

The Lovegoods

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 Matty Amendola 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.

– DMitch

 

Pop-Punk :: Oxymoron or Out Like Pluto?

artist: Out Like Pluto | album: Take Cover | genre: pop-punk, alt-rock | label: The James Polk Shuffle Music

Out Like PlutoThe 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.

Take Cover - Out Like Pluto

– DMitch

 

…follow the beat…follow the drum…follow the sound

Circle - Radi Safi, Dan Shaw, Rebecca Shaveartist: Circle
album: The Middle
genre: alternative
label: Monday Records

Fashion Me A Drum (Clip)
Half Race Girls (Clip)
Brothers (Clip)

The Middle - Circle

 

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.

– DMitch

 

P.S. Tell me this video isn’t the most hipster thing you’ve ever seen…

Sick Of It All? Try Going To Venus

Leaving Venus“Sick Of It All”, the title track from Leaving Venus’s most recent EP made me smile right from the get go. You know the moment in the movies when a fledgling band in the late 1950’s excitedly listens to their song on the radio for the first time… and then it quickly cuts mid-stream to them playing it live? Well yeah, that’s the exact vibe you get at the 30 second mark. And the style of music in this track fits the image as well… a rockabilly styled tune, simple chord changes, but catchy and lyrically clever. Then right at the 1:20 mark you get a refreshing 10 second change in tone that brings to mind something you’d hear from The Connells, maybe like from the “All Sinks In” track off of One Simple Word. In fact it’s a glimpse of what the other tracks on the EP are like.

 

I had a hard time choosing which other track from the EP to add to the broadcast. Ultimately I chose
“Comfortably”, mostly because it had me tapping my foot halfway through my first listen, and had me wanting to sing along by the second. I suppose that’s as good of a test as any. “Comfortably” probably also does the best job in showcasing Michael Miller’s mellifluous voice. Sometimes I do wish he’d do just a bit more vocally, but in this track it feels just right, well “comfortable” actually.

Leaving Venus – DMitch

 

Meet The Wheel Workers

The Wheel Workers - UniteI have a penchant for socially conscious bands. Somehow the music and lyrics let us all experience just a bit more of the human condition. From the plight of 20th Century Ireland voiced by U2’s War album and Black 47’s “James Connolly”. To The Housemartins’ “Caravan of Love” becoming an anthem for the striking coal miners of northern England and their railings against the British monarchy in the album The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death. To The Farm’s “All Together Now” heralding the soldiers of World War I who took a break from the trenches of war to play some footie on Christmas Day. And even to Chumbawamba’s anarchist bent. I could keep going, but I want to talk about a new band to add their voice to the amalgam of social ideals.

Froglix is pleased to add to The Big Mix two (2) tracks from The Wheel Workers debut album Unite. The Wheel Workers consist of Steven Higginbothom (vox, guitar, ukelele), Jason Williams (bass), Craig Wilkins (guitar, keyboard), Allison Wilkins McPhail (keyboard, vocals, theremin), and Jason Carmona (drums). Their sound ranges from alternative pop to folk to rock. And their music and lyrics will go from the atmosphere of a ragtime band on Bourbon Street to a fight for the proletariat against Wall Street.

My favorite track from the album is probably “Stereomad”. Steven’s steady and smooth delivery perfectly juxtaposes against the slightly ephemeral quality of Allison’s voice, over the backdrop of masterfully crafted alt-pop tunage. “The MOP” carries the sentiment of all who have a minimum wage job on their résumé typified with the lyric “let’s kick out the bosses and run it our way”. Now I’ve held both minimum wage jobs and “professional” jobs, and I think that desire is universal. I’ve even felt that way when I’ve worked for myself.

There are a bunch of other standout tracks. I’ve had the hardest time trying to pinpoint what “Open Door” sounds most like, maybe something like The Klaxons?? The middle of the album holds tunes perfect for an afternoon daydream in songs like “Spidermazes” and “Soft”. They kick it back up a notch right at the end with the stellar “The Seal and Whale”.

Grab the album for yourself…

Unite - The Wheel Workers

And apparently their sophomore album is slated to come out this summer, so look for that on here as well.

– DMitch

 

The Train Keeps Rolling

“It’s Americana-ish!” is how Andy Hawk describes his latest studio effort with the Train Wreck Endings and if you’ve heard any of their previous work you’d find it hard to put them into one specific category or genre too.  This, my friends, is a talented group of musicians that effortlessly blends folk, blues and rock into their own special brand of truly American music.

In addition to a new set of original tunes, the soon to be released disc entitled Another Storyline also includes a rocking cover of New Order‘s “Temptation” that features a mandolin as a stand in for the synths….very nice. “Sunshine Street,” my favourite original track, starts with a punchy little bass line paired with the perfect drum cadence…add in some excellent vocal harmonies and, of course, more mandolin and you’ve got a cool little ditty.

Froglix greatly appreciates Andy and company for allowing us a “sneak peek” at Another Storyline and would be remiss if we didn’t do a little pimpin’on their behalf by promoting their upcoming CD release party.

  • When: Friday, November 11 @ 8pm
  • Where: Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville, VA.

Be sure to check out www.andyhawk.com for details, tickets, etc.

– Drago