Archive: Apr 2005

  1. Get your rock on

    7 Comments
    rock it!

    “The Coast is Always Changing” by Maximo Park
    Ok, so I saw these guys perform in NYC with Hot Chip a little while back, and at that point I’d not really heard what they were about, only had one of their songs, etc. But I was really pleasantly surprised at how much fun they were, how tight they were as a band, and how genuinely funny they were. All dressed up sharp, with the lead-singer a spastic bundle of energy, trained in the Ian Curtis school of hand chops, mic stand smashes, and wide/wild-eyed facial tics.
    Basically, they were a lot of fun to watch, and despite not knowing their material, I found myself singing along to the choruses. It was fun too because it was their first show in NYC – I spoke to the lead singer for a bit after the show, told him I enjoyed it a lot and he seemed genuinely pleased to hear it, as he had been both really excited and nervous about playing for a New York audience.
    The band is made up by Tom English (drums), Duncan Lloyd (guitars), Paul Smith (vocals), Archis Tiku (bass guitar) and Lukas Wooller (keyboards). They’re from the northern English city of Newcastle Upon Tyne – when I first heard the vocalist sing, I thought maybe they were Scottish, but that’s just the strong northern accent at play.
    Now I’ve come across their EP of four songs, collecting the two 7″s they’d released previously – all the songs rock loud, each one blasting off with martial drums, rubbery basslines, real guitar chops and great keyboard lines. They’re all great little songs about life and love – what rock music is supposed to be about, right? I think this is my favorite song of theirs that I’ve heard so far. However, there’s a new single, “Graffiti” coming out this next Tuesday – its another garage-y burner with a really massive sound. Its good stuff for sure.
    You can buy their music from the band or download their songs from their label, WARP – yes, they’re one of the very few rock-bands on the experimental electronic WARP label. I also highly recomend catching their live show if you can – they’re playing loads of dates in the UK in May, and hitting mainland Europe near the end of the month and beginning of June.

  2. Darkness comes and darkness goes away now

    8 Comments

    Yellow PillsBecause every Saturday needs a strong dose of sugar, I thought I’d post something from the new Yellow Pills: Prefill compilation.
    In the early ’90s, Jordan Oakes was the publisher of the power pop fanzine Yellow Pills, full of bands you’ve never heard of and a Beatles-like sound that you know very, very well. Reissue label Numero Group approached Oakes to come up with some tracks for a comp, and Prefill, just released on Numero Group, is what he came up with.
    I’m gonna be honest with you – it’s great. And not great in that “these are obscure gems from a bygone era” way, but great in that “I LOVE THESE SONGS!” way. The bands and songs are, however, pretty much obscure gems from a bygone era, but it’s an era – kickstarted by bands like Big Star and Badfinger – that was bygone to begin with. Like Big Star’s “September Gurls”, all these songs sound like hits that never were.
    Thanks to the people at Numero Group, who gave me permission to post a couple tracks. I had a hard time choosing from the 33 songs on the 2-CD set, but I settled on these:
    The Toms – Sun
    The Kids – There Goes My Heart Again
    I’m especially partial to “Sun”, which, to someone born in 1979, sounds like something off Wilco’s Summer Teeth CD. How about that pre-chorus backbeat, and that Lennon-esque voice? And “There Goes My Heart Again” is just pure pop, and pure joy.
    You can order Yellow Pills here, and I really recommend doing so. With two packed discs and an informative, 27-page booklet at $23, it’s a great deal. And the joy, the joy!

  3. The grimy streets of London

    12 Comments
    run the road

    “Let It Out” by Roll Deep
    Now, I don’t know as much about the grime scene as some folks do, but I do know a good rap tune when I hear it, and this is one of them for sure. This is a crew track, courtesey of the east London-based Roll Deep Crew – their roster reads like a who’s who of the grime scene with Wiley (who’s Thin Ice LP was lauded by basically everyone), Breeze, Flow Dan, Jamakabi, Jet li, Bubbles, Scratchy, Pitbull, Titchy Stryder (his star is currently rising big time too), Riko, trim, and vocalist Roachy, DJs Karnage and Maximum and beats by Danny Weed, who produced this joint. (Dizzee Rascal, who’s two full-length efforts have blown up in the US and have been HUGE in the UK, is a former member of Roll Deep too.)
    Right now they’re seriously big time, these guys, but like many in the grime scene, they got their start by rapping over self-produced, super-stripped-down instrumentals, rapping at underground parties and raves, and selling their records out of car-boots (much like the Jungle scene of the mid-90s) – basically they’ve kept the scene evolving since the 2-step and UK garage phases – the first two records by crew-members that saw major attention outside of the scene were “Eskimo” by Wiley and “I Luv U” by Dizzee. Since then, the scene, which has been noted in the UK press for its violence at club-nights, and infighting between different crews, has grown to a full-fledged musical movement. I love this song, not only because of the different guys’ voices, but because of the way it lurks slowly along with that druggy piano riff and the electro-drop-bass sound that creeps in – lyrically speaking the song is about trying to find that door, just on the verge of making it. Like the pre-Sega Genesis and Half-Caret Diamonds parts of “Juicy” maybe? Solid.
    The 679 label has put out a compilation of some of the best tracks out there called Run The Road – luckily for us in the US, its also recently been released by Vice Recordings – besides this RD crew track and a few solo crew-member tracks, the CD also features some of the other big names in the game, such as Kano, Shystie, Demon, the Streets (another Robots favorite), and rising female star Lady Sovereign (look for her own LP coming out really soon). This cd is serious heat, so I’d definitely reccomend you buy it here or here if you’ve got any interest in where the scene is going. In further good news, Roll Deep signed a recording deal with Relentless Records in October 2004, and their much-anticipated album, In At The Deep End will drop at the end of May.
    Big up!
    PS: Peep the Streets’ mates the Mitchel Brothers video for “Routine Check” – sounds like a Skinner beat-production, but anyone got more info on these guys?
    PPS: For you NYC robots, there’s a Grime party on May 14th at Crash Mansion (199 Bowery) with guests Crazy Titch, J2k and DJ Cameo – its put on by these guys and should be pretty hot.

  4. The Plants Are Dead on the Back Side

    5 Comments

    Saxon ShoreSaxon Shore – July 5
    Each day I come home from work and empty the mail. There are usually at least two packages in there, stuffed with cds. There’s probably another package with some vinyl in it waiting upstairs in my apartment. I’ll look it over, not recognize the band names and put it in my bag for the morning. Then, at work the next day, I’ll give each one a spin and see what happens. Lately it’s been pretty tired. I mean, the music isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not very inpsiring at all. Just kind of there, ya know?
    So today, I looked at this soft little EP cover from the Saxon Shore, with a smooth creme background and a trio of flowers slowly growing out of a stump, and I had no idea what to expect. Turns out, Saxon Shore make incredible instrumental music, much like a God Speed or Mogwai. It was a wonderful surprise and I’ve got a new band to check out.
    The band is on Burnt Toast Vinyl in Philadelphia. Not necessarily a full band, Saxon Shore is basically a guy named Matt Doty , who uses a circle of collaborators on his various albums. This latest incarnation of Matt Stone (Guitar, Keyboards), Steve Roessner (Drums), Oliver Chapoy (Guitar, Keyboards, Programming) and Will Stichter (Bass) seems to be working like magic. I could listen to this music all day. It’s slow and beautiful and spacey. The entire EP is this good, if not better. You can order all of their albums (including this one Luck Will Not Save Us From A Jackpot of Nothing) directly from their site. Highly recommended. This is the best EP I’ve heard in a minute.

  5. More noise from down under…

    7 Comments
    boing!

    “Killer Kat (Demo)” by Expatriate
    Expatriate, from Australia, is a project put together by frontman Ben King. King, like so many of us, first really understood the power and meaning of music when he was in High School, when a cute girl introduced him to Depeche Mode via a mixtape.
    Fast forward many years and King has a handful of songs that he records with a group of friends. They include Chris Kollias on drums, Tim Rogers on bass, along with Damian Press, producer and owner of Ginsberg Studios in Petersham, Sydney. The end result is this EP, called LOVERS le STRANGE that the band sells at shows. Word is it will be available very soon via your favourite indie record stores…
    Since recording the EP, King has also formed a live band and they have been playing around Oz, opening for bands like Red Riders, The Presets, Dappled Cities Fly, Cut Copy and Fiery Furnaces. Not a bad bunch of bands to play with or open for, right?
    I found these guys via the ‘reccomended listening’ section of Modular People’s website. Be sure to check out Expatriate site for more other song downloads – I know this song is super-duper-short, but its such a gem of a song I thought it was worth posting here – BUT there are also a couple more demos and two other solid tracks from the EP on the site. You’ll also find tour and contact info there. I’m curious to see where these guys go in the next months, as I think they’ve got something good going on. I can’t help wondering if they’ve attracted any label attention yet…

  6. Bon Mots

    5 Comments

    M - Ma MelodieM – Ma Melodie .
    So last night I was at the Res screening. Lots of great videos, not the least of which were was the Basement Jaxx “Red Alert,” Dead Prez’ “Hip Hop,” the new Gorillaz, the new Arcade Fire, etc. But, this little line art video from M really caught me off guard. It’s a quaint little melody, reminiscent of Moon Safari-era Air, which says more about my lack of French pop knowledge than anything else. Anyway, it’s a solid song from a solid artist with a wonderful, whimsical little video. Definitely recommended viewing.
    For those of you who speak French, you can check out M’s website. For those of you interested in his music, you can pick up an import copy of his album (which came out in Jan. 2004) over at Amazon . You can also get it slightly cheaper at Insound. Recommended for fans of French Pop, crazy hair, theatrics and downright good music. To learn more about director Cyril Houplain, visit his site here

  7. refluxology

    1 Comment

    NEMHF 2005
    Reflux — The Keats Persona
    Back from the sweaty, bloody, heavy metal endurance test that is the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival.
    When you’re listening to bands from one or two narrow genres for three days straight, your ears begin to crave something a little different; something that doesn’t sound like every other band. This year, the band that really delivered that for me and was the clear pleasant surprise of the festival was Reflux, out of DC.
    I’d never heard of them before and they were supposed to be playing on the second stage which I’d been unwillingly boycotting because the layout of the venue made it almost impossible to get in or out of. But something got messed up with the schedule and they ended up playing on the main stage early saturday afternoon while my friends and I were waiting around for a Strapping Young Lad signing that never seemed to happen.
    When they came out, it was just the guitarist, drummer, and bassist and they launched into about five minutes of insane, fast, tight, proggy, instrumental rock that caught our attention in a hurry (It may have even been the song above, but I can’t say for sure). I was a little disappointed when a vocalist came out later and started screaming along. I was really excited about an instrumental set as a nice change of pace. The vocalist wasn’t too bad though and the band kept up the intensity and complexity.
    After their set, I made a beeline for the merch table and picked up a copy of their album, “The Illusion of Democracy”, which you can (and should) buy directly from Prosthetic Records. The Prosthetic site also has the mp3 for “Above the Pyramid and the Eye,” which has vocals and is more indicative of their overall sound (“the Keats Persona” is an instrumental).
    They get additional style points for working in a Chappelle Show soundbyte into their set immediately before launching into a song: “We learned that white people can dance if you play the right music: electric guitar.”

  8. Delta on my side

    1 Comment
    PaB f'ing rocks

    Pearls and Brass – Highway Sermon
    Pearls and Brass – Stone Leaves

    This is music best played as loudly as possible.

    While this s/t album is already two years old at this point it maintains a really fresh energy like some other recent Robot favorites. Pearls and Brass has a truly progressive Sabbath-esque 70’s blues sound, not some bull-shit stoner rock. The trio has been playing together for the last ten years or so since they met in high school. Josh Martin hammers out the backbone of the band on drums while front-men guitarist Randy Huth and bassist Joel Winter provide warm bluesy to heavy growling vocal styles.

    Their live performance abilities show a lot of technical development since this last album released. While their show last week in Philly at the North Star displayed their talent for longer blues jams, I was told they’re moving in a more experimental percussion based direction. I’d like these guys to get back in the studio so we can hear some more, hopefully here on M.F-R. For now, buy the album here, and write the band here.