My favorite indie rock band of the moment (in fact for the last two years) has a new record called Let It Die coming out on Kill Rock Stars. I’m not cool enough to have any pre-release music off the new one although Rcrd Lbl has a track here. But after a little sleuthing I did find a Shaky Hands demo from 2004 that was never released of a song called “Little Word”. Even with (or because of) the distorted vocals and bad production this song easily rivals the new material from the band.
I was first introduced to Salim Nourallah by way of his group Nourallah Brothers that he had with his brother Faris. Ever since hearing that record I’ve tried to keep up with the output from both brothers. But it’s become increasingly difficult as Salim’s records become harder to find and Faris’ recording output continues to slow. Take for instance Salim Nourallah’s new record Constellation (produced by Austin based singer-songwriter Billy Harvey). There’s no mention of it on his website (which actually hasn’t been updated since 2007). And only a cursory mention on his blog and is only widely available on the German label Tapate Records. The record, like other stuff from Salim, is very personal pop music. It deals with the struggles of his childhood, his feelings of alienation, and a little bit of his life in Texas (as an outsider).
I’m drawn to the song “Western Hills” as it’s a completely autobiographical tale of growing up with his dysfunctional family. Listen to the lyrics and enjoy the sumptious pop sounds Salim surrounds them with. Buy Constellationhere from Dallas’ Good Records.
Besides simply loving the name of this Cincinnati based band I love their loose scattershot indie rock. It’d probably be a cliche to say that Wussy sound anything but (more Wussy here, here). But that’s true. The band’s made up of half women but they are not wimpy or staid. They rawk with a capital W.
Btw have you heard the Pixies rumors? A new Albini produced album and possible tour. I lived through the Pixies era and was a huge fan, but I could give a shit that they have a new record coming out when there is music so vital being produced right now by bands like Wussy. They haven’t had a lot of blog love. In fact Each Note Secure (their hometown blog) is the only one who’s covered the new s/t record out now on Shake It Records.
I asked the band to send me any song from their new record since I was so confident I’d like anything on there. I was not let down by the B-52′s meets Chrissie Hynde rocker “Maglite” (I’ve got my crossbow, you’ve got your Maglite”).
The band comes to Chicago for a rare show at The Charleston in Bucktown on May 30. Check `em out.
This is the type of record I would have found down by St. Marks back in college that I would have fallen in love with on first listen (“you had me at the cover art”). I guess not much has changed since then. The bubblegum pop songs on Patience are thrown into a garage rock tumbler and come out as something entirely different. Think Ramones, think Smithereens and yes think The Beatles (with a little Yoko meddling away in the background).
Somehow in my wanderings around the internet I learned of a new record by the Twin cities based band Western Fifth. I’d like to be able to say I heard their excellent debut EP when it came out in 2006 but I haven’t. But now I will. The new record is alt-countryish; the band creates roots music filtered through an indie aesthetic. The song “In The End I Went Away” has a hazy sheen over it’s americana roots. Banjos sound distant, guitars and vocals are distorted and loneliness and pain are the overriding emotions. In other words it’s wonderful.
If you’re a fan of special guests than you’ll be happy to know that there are contributions from Dave Boquist of Sun Volt and John Dehaven (who plays with Bon Iver). If you were going to drop a name Wilco would be the obvious choice, but I think I’d go a bit more Mercury Rev or even Built Like Alaska.
You won’t be able to buy the new record for several months (unless you see the band live) but join me in picking up their 2006 debut EP here.
I initially wrote about Bart Davenport (here) because he didn’t fit into any of the convenient genres and thus didn’t seem to receive his fair share of press. His style hasn’t changed much since that first post and he’s still on SF’s Antenna Farm Records. What has changed in the four years since that post is the arrival of Flight Of the Conchords. Their send-ups of 60′s lounge soul, while extremely funny, also points to the staying power of a genre that favors smooth sounds over clattering guitars and hummable vocals instead of noisy screaming.
Bart’s new record is called Palaces and comes out on Sept 9. Here’s two tracks (check out the bossa nova of “Jon Jon”) from it, plus the video for “A Young One” (which could be an outtake from Flight Of The Conchords).
I’m back! Traffic to Songs:Illinois has dropped off precipitously since I left for vacation. I hope you all come back and I hope you didn’t miss me too bad! Here’s a post I put up on Swedesplease this morning but as with all things concerning Hello Saferide it deserves more attention than simply being relegated to the Swedish music grotto.
Annika Norlin’s group Hello Saferide has just released its first single from her upcoming Razzia Records sophomore effort More modern short stories from….. The song, “Anna”, continues her string of confessional pop tunes with a twist. Here she bemoans the fact that had she and her beau stayed together they could have had a wonderful, bright, young girl who could have supported them in their retirement and to whom Annika could have taught guitar. Instead she’s left with nothing; no future, no child, and no relationship.
The new record will be available on September 24. As you can imagine this is a highly anticipated release here at Swedesplease and throughout the Swedish music community. I’ll have more soon from Hello Saferide.
Hotel Lights is one of the few moody indie piano based bands I like. I wrote about the band back in 2006 when they were on the small label Sit N Spin. They’re now on Bar/None (I featured that label in a YouTube retrospective compilation here).
Leader Darren Jessee was famously a part of Ben Folds Five once upon a time. His solo music has always been a lot more somber and thoughtful than BFF, and to me that’s mostly a good thing. But still I wonder if on this new record there are any truly dynamic shifts in sound or tempo. Find out for yourself by pre-ordering this now from Bar/None here.
I know I may seem like a wimpy fan of folk and singer-songwriters, but I’ve always had plenty of room in my heart for power chords and power pop. I was an early fan of Sloan, The Posies, and even Urge Overkill, let alone Mathew Sweet and Big Star. So this new record from San Francisco “supergroup” Parker Bros with it’s huge electric guitar strums, references to summer, drugs, and the California coast is a wonderful retreat from the such serious music.
The new record is called First. Best. Last. and is out on July 8. More info at the band’s MySpace page here.
The other night I was wondering to myself how all those indie rock music blogs do it. How do they manage to write about what could be the most boring, lyrically dull, and musically naive rock music day in and day out. I rarely side with uber intellectual rock critics like Sasha Freer Jones, but when he came out with his anti-indie rock polemic a year ago (responses here) I nodded in knowing approval.
With that said it may come as a surprise that I’m linking to a song from the Greensboro based indie rock group Embarassing Fruits. “First Time” is taken from their upcoming 5 song EP that will be out August 5 on Trekky Records. It’s hard to put a finger on why this is different from mp3 blog darlings like The Ting Tings, Fleet Foxes or Wolf Parade. But for me it harkens back to an earlier sound that I’ve yet been able to get over. It’s the sound of early Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Big Dipper, Galaxie 500, Superchunk, Meat Puppets and on and on. Man I love that sound…what ever happened to it?
It’s been nearly three years since The Last Of The Blacksmith’s unleashed their self-titled debut on the world. I loved that first record. And now as I work my way through several of the new songs on Young Family Song, I’m beginning to realize that the new record is a late night slow jam soul record with languid beats, otherworldly organ fills, bluesy guitar solos and sleepy vocals. In other words it’s a perfect late night summer record.
The new record is called Young Family Song and is available here.
There’s a bit of sad record label news this morning. Asaurus Records has announced it’s taking a permanent vacation. Asaurus is/was one of the coolest little lofi records on the planet. Their catalog consists of seminal recordings by Colin Clary, the Mathletes, Pants Yell!, Red Pony Clock and Capstan Shafts.
The last threatened release should be something new from The Mathletes in June. It may or may not include these cover songs released this year as a free download. Here’s “What Goes On” by VU and “Seeing Other People” by Belle and Sebastian. In the meantime head over to the Asaurus store before it closes for handmade, cdr releases from all of the above plus many more.
The new single from David Karsten Daniels continues the recent trend of solo artists beefing up their sound and making it more diverse. “Martha Ann” is the first single from Fear Of Flying; it’s only a little over 2 minutes but is full to the brim with clever ideas – both musically and lyrically.
David had this to say about the new record, “I set out to make a classic rock album, and I’m not sure where I ended up, but I don’t think it’s in the 70s.” You can preorder Fear of Flyinghere. David’s playing multiple showcases at SXSW but perhaps the best place to see him is at Central Presbyterian Church with Bowerbirds, Peter and the Wolf, and Ola Podriga on March 12.
This is a test of the emergency mp3 blog notification system. This is only a test, don’t freak out and call me a sellout for posting this video by the Radar Bros. (faithful readers will remember a YouTube Saturday feature on the band when I noted how much I’m looking forward to the new record).
Anyway this is really a test of the email subscription box I just added to the right. I have no idea what it’ll do but I encourage you to sign up. I believe it’ll give you a friendly email reminder each time this site is updated.
Without further ado Radar Bros. new video for the song “When Cold Air Goes To Sleep”
The Lonelyhearts record for one of the best labels in the country, but don’t just take my word on it, they were voted that by readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian. Three Ring Records and the band are prepping their full length debut but in the meantime they have released a four song ep called The Four Wheel Drive EP. Three of the songs from the EP will also be on the debut full length.
As you can see from the photo above The Lonelyhearts are a duo. For just two guys they produce a full, rich full sound. These are two of the songs that should be on the forthcoming full length. “New Virginia” has a bit of the historical rock that the Decemberists have popularized in the last few years but musically the band has more of a western/dustbowl sound than the Victorian feel of some of that band’s best work.
Why the hell does the Dallas, Texas native Salim Nourallah have to release his records on the German label Tapete Records. It’s a good label, but it’s in Germany for Christ’s sake. Can’t some great local label (yes I’m talking to you New West, Compadre, Peek-A-Boo and Idol) sign Salim so he doesn’t have to have his records available at import prices. Between Faris, Salim and The Nourallah Brothers I’ve shed a lot of ink on these guys. But I love their work, it reminds me (if I would have been alive at the time) of classic 70′s AOR radio.
Anyway, starting December 4 you can pick up his new record, Snowing In My Heart, from Tapete Records. Here’s a podcast from Salim all about the new record.
Rubies, the California electro folk trio, are huge in Sweden (and Norway and Japan). They have friends among the highest level of Swedish pop cognoscenti including Karl Jonas Winqvist of Blood Music, Maria from The Concretes, and the up and coming electronic duo Studio. All these artists as well as members of Kings Of Convenience, Dan Judd and Leslie Feist helped out with the new record. Their new record, Explode From Center, was partially recorded in Stockholm and the bands website is peppered with live photos from their time in Sweden.
If you’re wondering what the band sounds like think Mama and The Papas (sans Papas) powered by cheap casios and electric guitars. For now there is no US release date, although the record should be available from Telle Records (Norway) and a single is supposed to be released through Rallye (Japan) in October.
Glad you found me at my new url. Songs:Illinois is committed to writing about music that is under-appreciated and unique. I've found that the music I write about shares a couple of traits. And they are: lyrical integrity, musically diverse, and written/performed by compelling characters.
Most songs found here are free and legal and have been provided by either the artist or label. If for some reason you'd like to have a song removed, please email me at cbonnell (at) gmail.com.