June 30, 2008

Monday Music Roundup

I’m still recovering from my weekend, what with all the SoCo-sponsored libations in the hot hot sun that set off other fun and unexpected happenings (like my rookie winning streak at the Klacker dice game, netting me a championship $7 –seven dollars!!– all in singles). Incidentally the SoCo also improved both my Cornhole game and my Rock Band skills (oh! doubtful!!).

Here are a handful of new songs I’ve been digging lately, the first two from bands I saw this weekend:

Photograph
Eagle Seagull
This was the first thing I heard coming into the festival Saturday, and I was impressed with the soaring, rich layers of melody and caught by the singer’s voice. Eagle Seagull are from Nebraska, and something has been made of them sharing the same “scene” as fellow Cornhuskers like Bright Eyes or Tilly And The Wall, but I frankly hear more similarity to British bands like The Cure. In fact, I incorrectly thought they were from England, and that I’d caught a hint of accent there. I especially enjoyed watching their cool-as-ice violinist play her minty green instrument with panache. This tune is from their 2004 debut Eagle*Seagull.

LSD (Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds remix)
Bassnectar / Insane Bangers
I wrote some in the Paste article just how much I enjoyed the set by DJ Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar, an SF/Berkeley artist who I’d never had the thrill of seeing live before. He only played for an hour but I doubt there was a single person there who was not enjoying themselves, stretching that 60 minutes out into what seemed like much longer. Amidst all the flailing dancers, even this guy got into it (and he tried to dance with me but I didn’t want to break him or anything; he looked brittle!):

Ah, Colorado. Anyways, this song was one of the crowd highlights of the set — made better when combined with the delight that Ashton took in watching all of us as he recreated it with his laptops and turntables. I recommend an experience with Bassnectar when he comes through your town.

Alphabet
The Notwist
As previously mentioned on Fuel/Friends, German ambient-indie band The Notwist are finally giving us some new music, and the day is here (er, past). The Devil, You + Me was released June 16 on Domino Records, and I am loving its muted elegance, deceptively urgent percussion, and swirling overall presence. I’d wondered what they had been up to and according to a reader, they’ve been busy with side projects in between 2002′s Neon Golden and the new album. They released an album with spoken-word/rapper Dose One as 13&god in 2005 and some members are also in the Munich band Lali Puna, who released their third album in 2004. But it’s good to hear a full new Notwist album, and I think it will sound especially fitting once the summer heat dies and the crispness of autumn hits the wind.

Song For
Earlimart

There’s a delicious thrum and counteractive pause on this song, almost like holding your breath — an atmospheric sense of foreboding. Named for a small California town halfway between Fresno and Bakersfield (some hot fun to be had out there, let me tell you), Earlimart has been making oft-dreamy tunes for almost a decade. For this new record, the rotating cast of Earlimart whittled down to just Aaron Espinoza (him) and Ariana Murray (her), their graceful harmonies intertwining like a dance. Because of Espinoza’s friendship with the late Elliott Smith, many comparisons will never cease, but he has acknowledged the ways that the friendship influenced his music — here there might be something between the lines, a quality in the timbre and the breath. Hymn and Her is out tomorrow on Shout! Factory.

On My Mind
Romantica
Irish band Romantica first blipped onto my radar with singer Ben Kyle’s gorgeous duet with Ryan Adams when they opened for him on tour last Fall. A chance encounter with that cover on my iPod this weekend (and the consequential singing along in harmony all the rest of my day) sent me trawling to their MySpace to see what they are up to. On this song, I find the combination of his Irish lilt alongside a very American-heartland brand of music to be simply irresistible, as he sings typical lyrics of desperation and heartache like “You’re too young to get married, honey, you ought to be sleeping around” (listen for that fantastic pronunciation of the final word). Their MySpace lists shared hometowns of Belfast and Minneapolis, and this song sings about MPLS locales like First Avenue with a charming brogue. I’m just getting into their 2004 album It’s Your Weakness That I Want, and you can catch them all this week at Summerfest (4 shows?) if you’re a Milwaukee type.


Also folks . . . it’s a time of change around these parts — I start a new job tomorrow, among other major shifts. Wish me luck! Also, go download “Mover,” a new b-side from The Verve for free this week on their site. It’s a big song.

[top image credit orange32]

9 Comments »

  • isn’t that Mover like pretty old song, they played it live back in ´97-98…?

    Honeybunny — July 1, 2008 @ 12:16 am

  • Cornhole is awesome!

    Anonymous — July 1, 2008 @ 5:37 am

  • good luck with the new job!

    Anonymous — July 1, 2008 @ 6:01 am

  • Thanks for the Romantica track – I’ve been meaning to check out more of their stuff after hearing that gorgoes cover, and keep forgetting!

    And best of luck with the new job, and whatever other changes are on the horizon xx

    last year's girl — July 1, 2008 @ 7:36 am

  • best of luck at the new job…but i hope it doesn’t take you away from Fuel/Friends too much! :)

    carolyn — July 1, 2008 @ 7:52 am

  • If you like Romantica’s 2004 album, you should really check out their 2007 album “America.” It features some outstanding tracks and you’ll note some similarities to Ryan Adams when he plays with the Cardinals… a bit more country-ish twang – but Belfast style. Ben Kyle’s amazing.

    Staciaann — July 1, 2008 @ 11:28 am

  • Honeybunny – 1994 actually!

    heather — July 1, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  • Hah. It’s good to see Eagle Seagull getting some more attention. They’re hometown Lincoln friends.

    Good Stuff!

    http://www.myspace.com/shyawaysongs

    Anonymous — July 10, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  • Is it possible to get a new link for the LSD Bassnectar remix? Been looking for it everywhere!

    Anonymous — September 28, 2008 @ 6:52 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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