March 26, 2008

New Spinto Band :: “Summer Grof”

Yeah, we’re not gonna pretend to know what a grof is. Sounds like something from a Harry Potter book? Or perhaps forgotten slang for pubic hair. Either way, it doesn’t appear to have English roots.

But that does not mean that this new song about it from Delaware indie-powerpop outfit Spinto Band can’t play a starring role on your next brightly-hued summer mix.

From their blog: “The video was conceptualized and directed by one Albert Birney. We shot the whole thing in Tom and Sam’s parents backyard, then ate a huge feast and celebrated birthdays and played board games and guitars until we forgot why we even got together to begin with.

I saw Spinto Band at Noise Pop 2007. Dudes were into it. They put on a very fun show. They’ve been on the road with The Whigs and Tally Hall in support of their forthcoming release Moonwink.

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March 6, 2007

Noise Pop: “I’m nervous when I’m near you, as if I have fallen ill”

Saturday night at the Rickshaw Stop was a beyond-sold-out affair of tightly wound and very playful tunes. The club is smaller than some yuppies’ garages, all draped in red velvet fabric and strung up with globe lights with a stage barely elevated above the heads of the voluminous crowd. The indie kids turned out full force in their Vans, leggings, chunky glasses and skinny jeans, ready to dance. Featuring sets by The Old-Fashioned Way, The Changes, Dios (Malos) and capped by The Spinto Band, this was one show I was most excited about at Noise Pop. I was not disappointed.

The Old-Fashioned Way opened with an enjoyable set, and had the quirky dork-rock vibe down to a T. Their music was multi-instrumental and lighthearted. I jotted in my little notebook (yes, I took notes. With so many shows, my memory ain’t what it used to be) that they sounded a bit like the rumbly baritone of Nick Cave meets the playful music and harmonies of Mates of State. There were seven members packing the tiny stage, with most of the girls in frocks that looked handmade and a frontman that defied typical lead-singer stereotypes.

Before the set by The Changes, I was flagged down by Noise Pop photographer Peter Ellenby, whose work I’ve written about here. He asked me to photograph the next set for him and handed over his camera.

I was a rock photographer for a spell, and was ridiculously excited, as that is a job I have long thought would be so interesting and cool. I perched atop a piano by the stage and happily started clicking. If only I had known better how to operate all the bells and whistles on the camera, I could have possibly done some neat things, but as it was I told Peter that I’d be happy if even one or two shots turned out worth keeping. I was so thrilled to get to try.

The music from Chicago’s The Changes is infectiously good power-pop with hummable choruses and jangly guitars. I am expecting their album Today Is Tonight in the mail shortly, which was recorded at the same Chicago studio as The Redwalls. I hear a little bit of similarities in the vibe of the two bands, and I am looking forward to enjoying the entire album.

VIDEO: The Changes, “Water Of The Gods

I was expecting a lot from Dios (Malos). They’d performed an acoustic set earlier in the day at the Noise Pop Expo, which I heard was amazing, and I’ve heartily liked all the studio material I’ve spun from them. They took the stage illuminated only by a garage-variety shoplight behind them, which lent the set an eerie backlit vibe and cast monstrous shadows (which were fun to watch).

Their performance was good but unfortunately not great, with the flow often interrupted by friends of theirs climbing on stage, or discussion about what to play next. I selfishly wished they had been a little tighter as they ripped through their set because they really are a quality band (with an animated drummer that I adore). Check his entirely translucent blue drumset:

VIDEO: Dios Malos

Spinto Band
finally took the stage around 11:30, and they were jittery and spastic and insane. Made me nervous just to watch them, but in a good way, as if the stage could barely constrain their need-Ritalin exuberance. As they set up their instruments, I felt like we were preparing for a high-school battle of the bands, but despite their unassuming and freshfaced looks, these kids have all the pieces in order and definitely know how to rock a crowd.

They launched straight into “Crack The Whip” which is my favorite song off their excellent 2006 album Nice and Nicely Done, and it was all pleasantly upbeat sailing from there. Check this video from later in their set:

VIDEO: Spinto Band

I’d shell out to see each of these bands again, they were awesome. What a night.

April 25, 2006

The M’s and Rogue Wave on WOXY

Thanks to Dodge over at My Old Kentucky Blog, I now know that many of the varied and rich Lounge Act live sets from are available as mp3s that you can download, not just as streaming audio. So you can take ‘em with you and listen over and over.

Here are some good recent performances that you might enjoy (I did!):

Have fun! Head over to MOKB for the full list to keep your ears happy.

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March 20, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

So, back from a long snow weekend with the gals, I am wishing you all a Happy First Day of Spring! Unfortunately, Colorado did not get the memo, and this is what I awoke to this morning:

As gorgeous as the falling snow is, I think I am ready for the ice to be gone. Over the weekend I was sitting in the hot tub with my friends (looking at the beautiful and dramatic mountains in the moonlight) and as I tried to run back into the lodge barefoot (it was freezing once you get out of the water! and I was wet!) I did an elaborately choreographed (and almost comical) fall down a few steps after I slipped on the copious ice. So I am all scraped and bruised on the skin that was bare. No more ice! Bring on the Spring, says me! Egad, if I keep pulling these slip & fall deals, what will happen to your musical consumption? For the love of all things holy, I think I need to be more careful. Ghastly bruises.

And, sorry, we are temporarily goin’ ole school today with uploads to Savefile (right click, open in new window for most links) since EZArchive bastards seem to be taking the morning off. 3pm: It’s fixed now, they are direct links.

Crack The Whip
The Spinto Band
Pitchfork’s description of this song, by current Arctic Monkeys tour opener The Spinto Band, caught my attention: “Four-on-the-floor ‘Crack the Whip’ lashes the make-up alternapop zeitgeist, whippin’ the Killers at their own neu-dance-wave game before ascending to a gates-of-heaven Beach Boys chorus like this was the Biblical, non-DFA Rapture.” That is one of the best-written music review sentences I have read in a while, and I am digging the song in a big way. These guys just rocked SXSW from what I hear. Check out their 2005 release Nice and Nicely Done.

Skinny Boy
Amy Millan
The female-vocals half of fabulously harmonic & smooth Canadian pop band Stars, Amy Millan is releasing a solo album May 30 called Honey From The Tombs. Any album title with the word honey in it is apt for Ms. Millan, since that is usually the word that comes to mind when I hear her lush voice. This song treads familiar Stars ground, with a bit more acoustic touch. I like the way she wraps her voice around the lyric “You’ve got lips I could spend the day with.”

Zero 7 Featuring José González
The layered electronica sound of Garden-State-darlings Zero 7 (“In The Waiting Line”) meet the breathy vocals and gently plucking guitar of Argentinian folkster José González in this pleasing track off the vinyl 7″ and 12″ limited-run single. The song is from the upcoming Zero 7 release The Garden. Thanks to Connor for tracking this one down, I really like it. Downtime bliss.

The Shining (Capitol K Mix)
Badly Drawn Boy
Funny, I just accidentally typed “Badly Drawn Boi” instead of Boy. No, that would be Avril, who we don’t support here (sorry grrrls). I wonder if I hate the word “boi” or “grrrl” more. Tough call. ANYWAY, so this is a sonic assault best listened to on headphones as the remix takes you through dark layers of this song, a thousand miles from the relaxing orchestration of the original. Fascinating. It sounds like the soundtrack to a jerky David Lynch-type film vignette meets Sigur Ros-type atmosphere. From the 2000 remix EP Once Around The Block, Pt. 1.

Always On My Mind
Iron & Wine with Calexico
So, I just “found” this on my iPod, although I’ve had it for a few months (from their excellent appearance on NPR’s All Songs Considered). I somehow hadn’t listened to it yet. So I was quite excited to hear this lapping-ocean-tide reinterpretation of the classic made popular by Elvis and Willie Nelson. A touch of slide guitar, Sam Beam’s soft and relaxing vocals, and it’s an earnestly-sung treat. I think I originally got this off the excellent So Much Silence blog, which, paradoxically, is always giving me good gems to fill the silence.

And you, lucky reader, you get THREE bonuses this morning. First off a kind reader ripped me this mp3 of Brandi Carlile singing Hallelujah from that KCRW stream. So now you can have it on mp3. I got a great response to my posts about her, seems like many of you have been as blown away as I was by this talented gal.

Also, Chad has a simply lovely cover of Norah Jones singing Patsy Cline (with a hot bass line addition), and Aquarium Drunkard has a hilarious post with a little love advice for the non-slick (and a stomach-turning tounge-kiss photo of everyone’s favorite ex-VP).

Have fun, champs.

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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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