November 25, 2009

Vacation : Montreal !!!!!

Be back next week...and hopefully with a ton of cool records found at various shops in Montreal.

Um, yeah...I pick vacation spots according to the quality of record shopping.

Mini Reviews I did for WRIR

Artist: Summer Cats
Title: Songs for Tuesdays
Label: Slumberland
Recommended tracks: 5, 1, 9, 13, 4,7
Yay or Nay: YAY!
Review: In case you haven’t notice, C86 jangle pop that is more about energy than playing perfect notes (or playing in perfect time) is back and more popular than ever. Okay, maybe it isn’t super popular among the masses but it is certainly a style of music more bands than ever are playing and lucky for the label Slumberland, it is their singnature. Upbeat, playful, and charming in a crooked smile sort of way, the Australian band Summer Cats are the Go-Betweens for the next generation.

Artist: Matt the Band
Title: Don’t Worry
Label: Slanty Shanty Records
Yay or Nay : Yayish
Recommended tracks: 2, 3, 5
Review: I never thought I would hear a record and have the opportunity to say this record is clearly influenced by Atom and his Package but ALAS that day has come. No longer a one man band, Kevin has been joined by his lady who comes baring synths. Their sound is something like Andrew W K if he wrote music for the Care Bears with the Go-Team. Move over Mates of State, this couple who rocks together also bakes cupcakes for their shows. Yummy tummy tickling goodness.

Artist: Clark
Title: Totems Flare
Label: Warp
RIYL Caribou, Ninja Tune, Warp Records Electronica
Recommended tracks: 2, 3, 9
Yay or Nay : YAY!
Review: Clark knows how to mix chunky analog synthesizer sounds with complicate beats and kooky timing. He goes from glitch hop to heavyweight house to delicate dance in a wink. If you have been as bored as I have been by electro crossover artists as of late, this is a much listen to. The only time your ears will be bored is when they are waiting for the next track to kick in.

Artist: God Help The Girl
Title: s/t
Label: Matador
Recommended tracks: 2, 10,12, 13
Yay or Nay: Nay
Review: The problem with epic stories told on a record about teen life is these tales are brought to life by people who are way past their teens, What could be less cool and off the mark than grown ups playing 60’s inspired pop tunes with a 45 member orchestra trying to talk the talk of youth using very adult voices (with the exception of a girl from Smoosh). It doesn’t work BUT when it is done by Belle & Sebastian leader Stuart Murdoch, you will have people who will give this modern day musical minus the performance on a stage major props. Sorry, I find this record 100% squaresville.

Artist: Silk Flowers
Title: s/t
Label: PPM
Recommended tracks: 4, 1, 10
Yay or Nay : Nay
Review: And you thought Interpol liked Joy Division. This Brookyln trio takes that upside down smile sound to a whole new electro level. Somewhere members of Suicide are hoping they get a royalty check from these kids. Its hard to write a review when I am doing the robot and trying to look at miserable as possible. I am tempted to file this under comedy just cause I am a jerk like that.

Artist: Cass McCombs
Title: Catacombs
Label: Domino
Recommended tracks: 3, 2, 5, 8
Yay or Nay : Ya(wn)
Review: What makes this American label proclaimed “troubadour” so special? Well he is on a hip well respected label and has opened up for Modest Mouse as well as the Walkmen which is code for I can’t tell you what makes this man’s music terribly special and unique. A touch of Paul Simon, Sufjan, Red House Painters, Gravenhurst, I wouldn’t call Cass a musical leader of the pack but that doesn’t make his music bad, either, it mostly just makes him run of mill decent or great for rainy days and early AM.

Artist: Tiny Vipers
Title: Life on Earth
Label: Sub Pop
Recommended tracks: 3, 7
Yay or Nay: Nay
Review: A female Bill Callahan AKA Smog, and great for those of you who are turned off by the vocal styling of Karen Dalton or Cat Power. There is less smoky drama to her voice but she is no less haunting and still heavy with sadness. Warning : this record if listened to during one sitting will make you sleepy and yes this is a polite way of telling you that for some this spells boring times ten.

Artist: The Most Serene Republic
Title:And the ever expanding
Label: Arts and Crafts
Recommended tracks: 1, 2, 4, 8, 11
Yay or Nay: Yayish
Review: There aren’t many labels I can do this with but I am pretty certain if you blindfolded me and played me a bunch of new indie rock – all the ones with charming handclapping massive sounding pop songs are probably all on Arts & Crafts. This label really has corned the market on this good clean fun boy/girl rock. Broken Social Scene, Stars, Los Campesinos…TMSR is a perfect fit to the label’s now trademark sound. I still haven’t liked anything as much as their debut but like always there are a few keepers to be had and track 8 sounds like Shellyan Orphan for you old school alt rockers.

Artist: Magic Magic
Title: s/t
Label : self released
Recommended tracks: 1,2, 5,6
Yay or NAY: YAY!
Review: I am not gonna lie, I thought there was a girl in this band but alas, just a gent with some an incredible set of lungs on him. Imagine an Arts and Crafts band pop sensibility with just enough ooomf to excite BBC radio. One more note. I have played 10 CDs today at the record store and this is the only one a customer has asked to know more about. I am picturing them on a mix with Broken Social Scene, Flaming Lips, Camera Obscura and Radiohead. Magic Magic is a band an 09 band to watch and a must listen.

Title: s/t
Label: Saddle Creek
Recommended tracks: 1,3,5,9
Yay or Nay: Nay
Review: The band's name is a DJS worst nightmare only because their band name is tough on the mouth. Pronounced double – yoo – double you vee – double double yoo zee. Now that we have that behind us I can tell you they sound like next generation nowave which means a less exotic Blonde Redhead or a less headache inducing Marnie Stern / Deerhoof.

November 19, 2009

November 19th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : A Place To Bury Strangers

In an effort to balance out the calming quiet sounds that last week's set was comprised of, this week we are going to blow the speakers out of your home and car with two hours of music based around the low end rumbles of chainsaw guitar bands.

Blue Cheer might have been called the loudest band in the world but that makes A Place To Bury Strangers the loudest band in the solar system. We are talking heavy to the point of volcanic earth splitting distortion. This New York City band creates a wall of sound more epic than the Great Wall of China and that signature style of the band also ties into the the guitar pedals of founding member Oliver Ackermann. He not only uses a ear shattering variety of them but he makes them himself and runs a company called Death by Audio who makes pedals for such rock and roll luminaries and U2, MBV, and Lighting Bolt.

Not sure what exactly a shoegaze band sounds like verse a shitgaze band? Looking to get schooled on the difference between space rock and psych rock? Tonight will be the night!

So many great bands in tonight's set: Spacemen 3, Telescopes, Skywave (pre APTBS), Lily's, The Cure, MBV, Crystal Stilts, BJM, Big Pink, Cocteau Twins, and plenty of other guitar bands that offer the best white noise around!

PS: Want to hear three songs from my favorite record of the year? Tonight will be the night!

Listen live from 7pm to 9pm on 97.3 FM in RVA or stream us live at

November 18, 2009

Amoeba Co-founder Writes Book for Teens

I was actually looking for the "record store girl" article from the Onion, when I came across this article about Amoeba Music co-founder Yvonne Prin's upcoming book - "The Vinyl Princess". The book is about a 16 girl who goes to work in a hip record store in Berkeley while starting her own music blog.

Since the book isn't out until December 22nd, there haven't been many reviews. But if you're thinking of a last minute gift for that hip teen niece, you have a very good option.

November 17, 2009

November 13, 2009

Friday Flashcard : Name That Metal Band

I haven't done one of these in a long time but this band's logo made me want to bring this themed post back from the dead. And you know, what could be more metal than bringing something back from the dead?

There isn't a lot of creativity in metal logos these days. I might go as far as to say we have hit a wall within this art form in general. Upside crosses, barbed wire, daggers or some kind of weapon, blood or thorn like letting...blah blah blah. Yawn. So, when I see a metal band stepping out from that stereotype, I feel drawn to applaud them, even if their music isn't brilliant.

That brings me to the flashcard of the week, an unsigned one man band from Germany who has taken a bold step in the band logo but has softened that wild step apart but also including the must have picture of self in the forest and a picture of drinking beer. Check and check.

Kayser - the sole member, I salute you sir for taking your metal art in a most interesting direction. Don't worry, the great music part can come later.

Click on the comments section to see the name of the "band" and the link to the site.

November 12, 2009

November 12th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : Kings of Convenience

We are on day three of steady rain and wind here in Richmond so what band could be more perfect for soft light and the gentle tapping of drop after drop than Kings of Convenience and the musical family tree. Coming to us from Bergen, Norway they have been card carrying members of the quiet is the new loud movement since 2001 and continue to explore the more hushed side of indie rock bathed in folk.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM we will explore the music that has influenced their playing style style and production values (Simon and Garfunkel, Nick Drake, Donovan), more modern influences such as The Smiths, Arthur Russel, Badly Drawn Boy and Belle & Sebastian, and then showcasing many of the bands in their sound circle. (Fink, Taken By Trees, Jens Lekman, Jose Gonzalez)

While there is a touch of sleepiness and melancholy among this set of music, there is still an undeniable toe tapping force behind all of the music. I am not sure if anyone has been lulled to rock before but we are going to try our hand at it tonight.

You can listen to us on the dial in Richmond at 97.3 FM or stream us live at

November 9, 2009

Ace Hotels: Vinyl Junkies Welcome

A turntable in every room makes perfect sense to me! Check out the interview with Alex Calderwood, the man living up to the idea that home really is where your records Portland, Seattle, New York, or Palm Springs.

November 6, 2009

Guitar Boat!

Thanks Chope for passing this along.

November 5, 2009

November 5th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : The Pixies

Just when you think you know a band or a song, occasionally when placed into a new context, it comes to life in a whole new way. I thought I knew the music of The Pixes but when studying more closely their musical roots and the bands who owe their careers to them, I found myself listening to some very classic songs in a whole new way. Gun Club, Talking Heads, Nirvana, Husker Du, Iggy Pop, Nirvana, Radiohead...they all gain an exciting new context when placed under the header of The Pixies.

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR we will be playing the music of The Pixies as well as their multiple off shoot bands PLUS some familiar songs along side some lesser known bands who all are clearly inspire by The Pixies.

You know that whole familiar musical style of massive dynamic shifts from quiet to loud and back again? Well The Pixies pretty much wrote the how to manual for that sound.

Listen to us on the dial in Richmond at 97.3 FM or stream us on

November 4, 2009

November 2, 2009

5 ans de graffiti sur la maison du Gainsbourg

Artist Arnaud Jourdain has created a stunningly beautiful video documenting 5 years of graffiti at Serge Gainsbourg's former residence in Paris, France.