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:
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.
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.
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
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]