Damon McMahon – Mansions (Astralwerks, July 25)(plus the Airfields, Idaho and The High Violets)

I like the fact that acoustic artists (a guy/gal with a guitar) are getting their fair share of attention. Is this a result of the Nick Drake car commercial, the continued influence of Jeff Buckely or the emergence of Jose Gonzalez as an international star? Probably none of the above or a little bit of each. Either way Damon McMahon, a founding member of the NY band Inouk, has his debut record coming out in July on Astralwerks of all places.

Despite the sound/philosophy of the label there is nary a drum machine or synthesizer in sight. Donovan hangs with Miguel Mendez among others if that gives you a clue to his sound. He may be a bit of a scenster for Songs:Illinois but the music on Mansions is just about perfect. The song below features his trademark exagerated vibratto and it is an emotional tour-de-force.

Somewhere In France [Download]

A couple of bonus tracks from Inouk, including their minor indie hit “Elected”

ElectedNo Danger [Download]


Here’s a couple more posts that never made it to prime time.

It’s funny just last night I was going to sit down and write a little piece on the band The Airfields and their new ep laneways. Something came up and I proscratinated. But then the next day lo and behold in the mail from Humblebee was laneways.

Laneways comes out April 18th and is a little gem of a jangly, echo and reverb filled shoegazer “dream pop” (the term “dream pop” comes courtesy of Shake Your Fist). I’ve written about nearly everything Humblebee puts out and at this rate I’ve got no reason to stop. You can order this directly from Humblebee here.

Nowhere Left To Turn [Download]

Oh yeah and p.s. did I say they were from Canada (nudge, nudge say no more, you know what I mean ;)


Idaho is the ultimate in underground bands, keeping listeners at bay with odd sounds, beats, four string guitars and lyrical manpulations. On their new record for Talitres and their retrospective on Retrophonic Jeff Martin of Idaho shows why he was the leader of the slocore movement as well as perhaps why he has broken away from that movement.

The retrospective, We Were Young And Needed The Money, is out now on what seems like Idaho’s own label – Retrophonic. Buy both release here. (sorry waited too long to post this and Retrophonic has gone under)

When Sunday Comes [Download]

Much Closer Now [Download]


This is a slightly different sound than what you might usually hear on Songs:Illinois but the band sites Galaxie 500 (but what they really meant to say was Mazzy Star) as a main influence and so that still goes a long way with me. To Where You Are by the The High Violets (remember The March Violets) comes out January 31st on Reverb Records and that is a fitting label for a band that keeps the sustain, distortion and wah wah pedal plugged in and turned on at all times.

Here’s “Sun Baby”. Order it now here.

Sun Baby [Download]

P.P.S. Said The Gramophone has a guest post by Beirut and no surprise here he writes about some Balkan braas bands.


One Response to “Damon McMahon – Mansions (Astralwerks, July 25)(plus the Airfields, Idaho and The High Violets)”

  1. kevin says:

    the term dream pop has been around for ages, years in fact and is a pretty widely known music genre and term..