This was a lovely summer weekend of champion gyro-eating at the Greek Festival (and watching the dancers click their heels about in traditional garb), summery new Japanese-abstract print bedding, and some indoor thrashing of the Rock Band drum pads. Pretty soon I’m clearly going to be an expert; for now it would help if I could follow along with which side of the screen I was supposed to be playing to.
Summer is also bursting with juicy tunes:
“Stomp, clap, point at the map. Nod, shake, we’ll head to the lake. We’ll dive off the floating dock into the green unknown. This Denver threesome might own the copyright on summer this year.” [linesthroughlines blog] Oh, Young Coyotes, you had me at hello. This Denver collective comes to us through the deaths of a few other bands, and consists of people who like “campfires, chanting, oceans, deserts, spontaneity, and lots and lots of drums.” I like all of those things although I haven’t chanted since…Coachella. There is a charming rawness and joy that permeates this music from the opening handclaps. Young Coyotes are currently unsigned and living just up the highway, finishing their debut album. They are totally down to soundtrack my summer.
The Morning Benders
This foursome from Berkeley just announced fall tour dates with Ra Ra Riot, which means an excellent evening wherever that tour lands them. Classically-constructed and sunny, The Morning Benders make spry pop music that tries for nothing more than to be authentic and honest. This particular sampling rises and falls, marches and prowls with that vibrating surf guitar and the best bits of the British invasion. Their debut album Talking Through Tin Cans is out now on +1 Records and they are relentlessly on tour, with We Are Scientists now and Ra Ra Riot come autumn, hitting Monolith and Treasure Island in between. Heck, they can almost see Treasure Island from where they filmed this video.
Black Ghost / Black Girl
The Clouded Staircase album definitely looks like something I would find in my parents’ old walnut laminate record cabinet, nestled cozily amidst the Keith Green and The Mamas and the Papas. The halcyon light on the cover and swirling cursive letters give it away. But hey, drop the needle on this album from Ann Arbor’s Starling Electric and you’ll be surprised to hear a variety of decades and moods reflected in lush and heady music that’s absolutely sublime — “a call to arms for anyone still interested in melodies, harmonies, and the power of a good pop song.” Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (of The Posies/Big Star) fell in love with this band and were early and vocal proponents. I also enjoy the picture on their MySpace of drummer John being wrapped in Robert Pollard’s loving embrace (Pollard invited them on tour with him). Clouded Staircase is out August 19th on Bar/None Records, with a record release party that night at NYC’s Mercury Lounge.
We Are From Venice (La Serenissima mix)
The Bloody Beetroots
Italy possesses some of the best nightlife in Europe — nay, the world. So it makes me happy inside to see how duo The Bloody Beetroots are rocking those dirty dancefloors with their electronica, while moving to take over the rest of the world. Masked in a potential crosscultural salute to the Mexican luchadore (?) this duo is signed to the Dim Mak label and cranks out headspinningly filthy sounds. I’m not sure what’s going on with the masks, but at least they’re having fun. Be sure to check out the new Bloody Beetroots 8-song mini-mix over on the XLR8R podcast last week, and Los Angelenos can see them (well sort of, with the masks and all) this Saturday with N*E*R*D and labelmates MSTRKRFT & Steve Aoki.
When Fuel/Friends first mentioned this freshfaced Brooklyn quartet with a ragged retro sound, Locksley were just preparing to self-release their own album. Don’t Make Me Wait is now seeing re-release with two bonus tracks and a wider distribution through Fontana Records on August 19th. “She Does” is a screamer of a song that possesses some of the eager roughness of very early Beatles material, back when they’d still unleash those screams with a teen-angst edge. Locksley has toured with The Dandy Warhols & The Hives, and are playing now with Rooney, so you get a delightful idea of what you’re in for. Locksley will be at Denver’s Walnut Room July 22.
And sweet goodness, did you see that Sub Pop is resurrecting their epic Singles Club for a limited time? Details here. And since I don’t have to rely on allowance and babysitting income anymore, I might actually JOIN this time around!