Oh Mercy, By the Collar
Sons & Daughters, Breaking Fun
Lykke Li, Love Out of Lust
Radiohead, Give Up the Ghost
Tomorrows Tulips, Lull
Au Revoir Simone, The Boys of Summer
Team Me, Kennedy Street
Jolie Holland, Remember
The Bewitched Hands, Sahara Dream
The Gift, Made for You
Diva, Glow Worm
Sarah Jaffe, Two Intangibles Cant Be Had
She Keeps Bees, Farmer
Shenandoah Davis, Pellet Gun
The Dresden Dolls, Half Jack
Dressy Bessy, Second Place
Dreamdate, Best Friends
Drugstore, Solitary Party Groover
Drink Up Buttercup, Heavy Hand
Dutchess/Duke, Let It Die
Ear Pwr, Babyhouses
Dum Dum Girls, It Only Takes One Night
Dubstar, I Will Be Your Girlfriend
Dynamite Club, Pi
The Duhks, Magalenha
Eels, Spectacular Girl
Love Inks, Wave Goodbye
Femme Fatality, I You We
Male Bonding, Carrying
Dead Trees, Slow Faze Fast
Brothers of Brazil, Punch You
Touch My Rash, Single By Choice
Buzzcocks, What Do I Get
Sleater-Kinney, Words & Guitar
Sleeping in the Aviary, Another Girl
Blind Shake, Man Leaves House
Sloe, White Lightning
Runs, She Don’t Want Me
The Oops, On the Life
The Unseen, Force-Fed
The Turbo A.C., Hypnotized
Cova, Chalk Line
Wiretaps, Call Waiting
BrakesBrakesBrakes, Crush On You
Cerebral Ballzy, This is Yours
The Eyeliners, Sealed With a Kiss
Clay Wheels, This is Yours
Horrorpops, Drama Queen
This Distillers, I Am a Revenant
Killer’s Kiss, Let Down
Broken Bottles, California Sun
Archive for August 2011
Oh Mercy, By the Collar
My girlfriend calls this “throat singing.” My rebuttal is that you can’t sing this style in any other fashion. At any rate, this is standard indie rock with a female lead singer who is one octave higher than normal. It works better when all the instruments are going. “Arcadia” gives you solo singing, fully accompanied singing and male backing vocals that really complete the picture.
“Let It Go” has a lot of energy from the vocalist. She’s really pumped up, but I don’t know enough to know why. Still, there’s no substitute for passion, so it’s nice to hear nonetheless. “B58″ does this as well, but I can’t figure out whether it’s about a really weird bingo card.
A Fine Frenzy fans will appreciate “Row.” This one is probably pretty good live. They would do well to get the audience involved by doing that thing where they get everyone to clap.
“Light On” is more of a power-pop track and brings some whimsy to the table. The last track is “Any Time Any Day,” which doesn’t have a comma on the record but does in iTunes. I figured I’d add a dependent clause to that sentence so I could sneak a comma into the title. This wouldn’t work if it were BBC radio. The song itself? It’s a bit of a take on ’60s girl groups. It’s fine, but it’s not what the band usually does.
Another RPM diva singing over a beat. I can never get enough of this shit. Katy B in particular gets the job done, but I don’t want to make her out to be a truck stop whore. She’s more than that. But don’t expect any surprises. She just knows how to give what people want. I appreciate her having a clue.
“Power on Me” is a good example of what she can do for you. Competent singing and 4:4 beats make for a good time to be had by all, even if you’re out of steamed hams. “Why You Always Here” uses the mid-’90s synths that have fallen out of favor in the years hence. Perfect for me!
I think it is funny that there is another song called “Go Away.” I guess she sings to more than one person. This one is more soulful, and the beat sounds like something Luscious Jackson would do.
“Broken Record” has high production values and seems to have been mixed to be a single. I’ll bite. Maybe that’s what the “B” in Katy B stands for. “Easy Please Me” is similar to “Go Away.”
The last track is “Hard to Get” and has more of a house feel to it. I can’t get more specific than that because I’m trapped in a 1999 time warp, so I don’t know what the kids call anything these days. Ask Scrawny.
I don’t practice Santah, really. This is just another indie rock band, which of course is just alternative rock with a folk element. I know, you were wondering. “Irish Wristwatch” is first and sets the tone for what today’s kids really seem to like. I can respect that this is good stuff. It’s just that I’ve already heard enough of this genre. Don’t let me stop you.
There is more energy in “Chips of Paint,” so that’s a better way to go on here. The title track is also good. It focuses on the vocals, which do just fine.
I wouldn’t recommend listening to “When I Couldn’t Move” on your mobile phone, but it’s still a good track. “Bat Suite” makes me batshit crazy.
The last track is “Neighbors & Cousins (Are We Lovers?),” which is little more than an excuse for me to put four different pieces of punctuation together. It’s borderline alt-country but still easy to listen to. Santah may not be the business, but they are probably one of the other sections of the newspaper, probably local.
These guys remind me of a mature version of Sweetheart, and that they’re from San Francisco makes it likely that they at least have some mutual friends. There are synths, but you can’t really call it synthpop or electronica. In a lot of ways they’re just a Massive Attack ripoff, but in the nicest way possible.
“If You Give It to Me (Our Summer of Love)” is the first track and provides a good representation of what to expect from this band. “Float Me” uses a little bit of guitar as well as more loudly mixed percussion. This also works, but thankfully we still get a lot of keyboards out of it.
Some guy helps the vocals out on “Get Me Through Another Lonely Night.” The beat makes me think of Usher, but the song itself could be a Sade duet with Random One-Night Stand Man.
“Epic” is clearly the one Karmacoda wants others to hear. It’s a dead ringer for Portishead’s “All Mine.” Not that the rest of the record is bad, but this one is definitely the one to recommend. No surprise that there is also a reprise, which is 3:17 long. Seems long considering the original is 4:46.
More male vocals can be found on “Love Will Turn Your Head Around.” If you want dudes, this takes care of that, I guess. Musically it sounds like all the others.
I enjoy this record, and if they perform locally, which they oughta because they are from here, I would see them at least once.
Once again I get to review this compilation. Last year I reviewed it in June, which only means one thing: I’m way too behind. Since I didn’t comment on all 40 tracks last year, I won’t comment on all 41 this year. Thank goodness for precedent.
The Shivas do melodic indie pop the Portland way (how redundant is that) on “Gun in My Pocket.” The same style but with a fake Peter Murphy singing? O Bruxo does that on “De Colores.” I’m a fan. Or I guess now I just like it. Stupid Facebook.
“Alien Observer” by Grouper has haunting synths but isn’t depressing the way a traditional gothic song would be. Lovers fans rejoice: They’re well-represented here with “Boxer.” Yet another fine track from them. If you want traditional female-led R&B, “Baby What You Do to Me” by Reva DeVito is top notch.
Bright Archer sound better than Tasmin Archer on “Hidden Systems.” This one is a female-fronted ballad with a lot of piano.
The most fundamentally sound track is buried on the first disc. “Majoring in the Arts” by Blue Skies for Black Hearts has a strong chorus with backing vocals and guitar that connects the verses seamlessly. Very straightforward indie rock that hits on all cylinders.
“(Don’t) Panic” doesn’t sound like Portland to me, but regardless the Ascetic Junkies are in charge here. It’s got a Midwest female indie rock feel to it. The musical accompaniment is so strong that it’s easy to overlook the quality vocals that are also present.
The second disc leads off with Viva Voce. “Analog Woodland Song” sounds like Rilo Kiley. The chords aren’t the most inspired, just like Rilo Kiley, but the singing quality and mixing more than make up for it, just like — well, you see where I’m going with this.
If you want metal with a female singer, the comp even offers that. The appropriately named Witch Mountain sings the appropriately named “Veil of the Forgotten.” It’s exactly what you expect it to be.
Synthpop fans will appreciate “I Want You” by Sex Life. It’s modern in the sense that today’s synthpop is a bit of a throwback to 30 years ago. But it sounds like today’s renditions of the early ’80s, rather than the early ’80s themselves. Sort of like The Looney Tunes Show on Cartoon Network. You can tell.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra sound a lot like the Blue Skies for Black Hearts song, so if you liked that, you’ll like “Thought Ballune.” And not to be confused by the Viva Voce song, there is also a band called the Woodlands. “In the Dark on Monday” is to die for. It is more of a late-’80s synthpop song, and this indeed is my favorite era.
More of the haunting female vocals can be found on “Roan Wolf,” by Mojave Bird. This one doesn’t have the dark overtones of Grouper. Rather, it makes you think of Cocteau Twins. The following track is very similar as well. Blouse is a little more focused on the guitar, but “Into Black” still has a great sound.
Almost everything on the comp is fantastic. Once again the guys behind this have put the time into finding what truly deserves to be showcased.
It’s not a bad idea, but I can’t help but think Catherine Anderson is a privileged Gen Y’er who wanted to make a pop rock album. “Lifeguard” has a melody and chords I’ve heard countless times in the ’90s and ’00s.
Murmurs fans will appreciate “Morning.” The lyrics aren’t as clever, but again, you should just be happy that we have more of this type of music out there. There’s even a token song with swearing in it.
The thoughtful song is “White Noise.” Nobody did the thoughtful song better than Veruca Salt (“Sound of the Bell”), but this ranks right up there. The only other song I’d recommend on here is “Beg.” It’s like a downgrade to Fiona Apple, you could say. She does sing “please judge me” on this one, so I will: Your music has no passion, but I like it anyway, because this is one of my favorite genres of music. Next time, put the money into vocal mixing, and you’ll be fine, opening for Damone or, if you’re lucky, Metric.
Sons & Daughters, Breaking Fun
Oh Mercy, What Good Is That
The Dahlmanns, I Love You Baby, (But I Hate Your Friends)
Stars, Bitches in Tokyo
Blondie, What I Heard
Jolie Holland, All Those Girls
Team Me, Me and the Mountain
Bethesda, Upon This Rock
Fereshta, Untie My Hands
The Luyas, Cold Canada
Molly Picture Club, Satellites
Victoria George, That Makes Two of Us
Vandaveer, As a Matter of Fact
OK Go, Do What You Want
The Distillers, Lordy Lordy
The Dollyrots, Hysteria
The Do, At Last !
Sarah Dougher, Little Thing
Julie Doiron, When I Awoke
Dora Flood, Filling My Days With Illusion
The Donnas, Gimmie My Radio
Doctors and Dealers, He Said That I Was Crazy
Tanya Donelly, Pretty Deep
Spoon – I Summon You
Television – Venus
Ramones – Teenage Lobotomy
Randy – Cheater
Turbo AC’s – Hypnotized
Fucked Up – Life in Paper
Rye Coalition – One Daughter Hotter…
Touch My Rash – Winners Never Quit
Sahara Hotnights – Hot Night Crash
Jonny Manak and the Depressives – I Had a Friend
Thee Oops – Fake News
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Date with the Night
Weezer – American Gigolo
Babes in Toyland – Sweet 69
400 Blows – Down the Hatch
Butcherettes – I’m Getting Sick of You
Los Vigilantes – Echame La Culpa
Cerebral Ballzy – Cutting Class
Executioner – Marked to Die
Drain STH – 20th Century Boy
Dark Mean, Smoke Lake
Jolie Holland, Little Birds
The Pussywarmers, I Had a Dream
Abbe May, Disney on Acid
Sarah Jaffe, Adeline
Love Inks, Down and Out
Oh Mercy, Lay Everything on Me
Ursa Minor, Lead & I Will Follow
Black Ryder, The Greatest Fall
Marissa Nadler, Daisy, Where Did You Go?
Agnes Obel, Just So
Emilie Mover, Dance All Night
Victoria George, Lost My Way
Molly Picture Club, Blue Print
Vandaveer, Beat, Beat My Heart
Dirty Projectors, Stillness Is the Move
Distant Dice, I Stand Alone
The Dishes, Got Something to Tell You
Natalie D-Napoleon, You Shook Me All Night Long
Portugal the Man – Got it All
Interpol – Try it On
Little Dragon – Shuffle A Dream
Alkaline Trio – Nose Over Tail
Wolfmother – Cosmic Egg
Clash – Train in Vain
NoFX – Remnants
Touch My Rash – Some Things Never Change
Clutters – Finer Things
William Shatner = Common People
Fucked Up – The Other Shoe
Shinobu – Teachers Get Tired
Papercuts – Do You Really Wanna Know
The Record Winter – Live in Studio
Imperial Mammoth, Real People
OK Go, I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe
The Dry Spells, Rhiannon
Ursa Minor, Guerilla
Sarah Jaffe, Black Hoax Lie
Love Inks, Blackeye
Oh Mercy, Met a Wizard
She Keeps Bees, Saturn Return
Black Ryder, Gone Without Feeling
Carolyn Malachi, Orion
Dark Mean, Happy Banjo
Abbe May, Mammalian Location
Twin Sister, Bad Street
Jolie Holland, Wreckage
The Decks, DTC
Dinosaur Jr., There’s No Here
Detroit Cobras, Shout Bama Lama
Die Mannequin, Dead Honey
Ani DiFranco, Hello Birmingham
Diet Kong, Beautiful Blackout
The Distillers, Ask the Angels