PHW - July 2010

Moving this weekend - probably won’t hear much from me for a few days. Check out the best of the new music I heard/shared this month in the meantime:

MP3 :: We Scatter Light - Soft Black
MP3 :: Baltimore - Tennis
MP3 :: Let’s Go Surfing - The Drums
MP3 :: Silent Time of Earth - Candy Claws
MP3 :: Saturday Mourning - Slow Animal
MP3 :: Heart To Tell - The Love Language
MP3 :: Life Is A Problem - Marah
MP3 :: Pale Blue Eyes - The Kills
MP3 :: Angel Echoes - Four Tet (Caribou Remix)
MP3 :: Revival - Deerhunter
MP3 :: Eyesore - Women
MP3 :: Love More - Sharon Van Etten
MP3 :: All The Best - My Morning Jacket
MP3 :: Three Sisters - J. Tillman

[video] Tennis - "Cape Dory"

Tennis - Cape Dory (Underwater Peoples Records) from RichsLaw on Vimeo.

Another goodie surfaced today from lo-fi indie/pop newcomers Tennis. “Cape Dory”, which can be found on the soon-to-be-released Baltimore 7” that I mentioned last week, is another garage rock nugget with a vintage pop melody that this band seems to churn out with relative ease. Check out those mp3s down there if you don't believe me. Not to be missed. Look for it over at Underwater Peoples. Via GvsB.

MP3 :: Baltimore
MP3 :: Marathon
(from Baltimore 7”. Pre-order here)

[video] Bowerbirds - "Northern Lights"

It’s been over a year now since Bowerbirds dropped Upper Air, but they’ve just recently released an official video for the gorgeous, pastoral folk of “Northern Lights”. Fittingly, the video’s imagery, like the song, is heavy on love and nature and the delicate balance of the two.

MP3 :: Northern Lights
(from Upper Air. Buy here)

[mp3] J. Tillman - "Three Sisters"

After releasing two of 2009’s finest records, I figured J. Tillman would keep quiet on the solo front in 2010. After all, as the drummer for Fleet Foxes (who are busy on their next release) it would seem he would have his hands full these days. Well, Western Vinyl announced today that that isn’t the case. The ever-prolific Tillman found 3 days back in February to lay down his 7th studio album, the upcoming Singing Ax. “Three Sisters” is the stark opening cut, and one of the only songs on the album to feature more than just Tillman’s weary voice and acoustic guitar. The fact that it was recorded by Steve Albini in Chicago’s Electrical Audio seems appropriate - that’s where Albini recorded Songs: Ohia’s Magnolia Electric Co., a truly great recording by a band that Tillman’s last few albums have echoed.

Look for Tillman on tour with Phosphorescent (a brilliant pairing if ever there was) this summer. Dates here.

MP3 :: Three Sisters
(from Singing Ax. Info to come)

[mp3] Marah - "Life Is A Problem"

Photo by Andre Allegre

My Old Kentucky Blog recently shared the title track to Marah’s best and most exciting album in a decade, Life Is A Problem. The song is a raw, banjo & electric-guitar driven mini-epic inspired by an old blues song of the same name by Sister Ola Mae Terrell. It's the perfect introduction to the promising new phase Philly’s perennial underdogs have entered with this record. In addition to the previous digital release, Life Is A Problem is now also available on gatefold vinyl and cassette. Seems like the only medium it isn’t out on is CD, but who listens to those anymore anyway?

MP3 :: Life Is A Problem
(from Life Is A Problem. Buy here)

[video] Titus Andronicus - "A More Perfect Union" (live from Pitchfork Music Festival)

Has there been a better indie-ROCK song this year? Honestly, I don‘t think anything‘s been close.

MP3 :: A More Perfect Union
MP3 :: Four Score And Seven (Part 1)
MP3 :: Four Score And Seven (Part 2)
(from The Monitor. Buy here)

[mp3] Tennis - "Baltimore"

Tennis have slipped out a couple of songs this summer, and each has been a super lo-fi/pop gem in its own right. Underwater Peoples will release a 7” from the duo later this month that collects a couple of those tunes. You may have already heard “Marathon”, the sparkling, throwback pop b-side, or seen the video for “South Carolina”. If not you’ve been missing out. Now check out “Baltimore”, the vintage sounding collage of jangly guitars, big booming drums, and Alaina Moore’s sweet-as-salt water vocals that kicks the thing off (via Pitchfork).

MP3 :: Baltimore
MP3 :: Marathon
(from Tennis 7”. Pre-order here)

[video] The Drums - "Let's Go Surfing"

I’ve been busy this summer, the hottest we’ve had in years. The days are long and my shirt is stuck to my skin at the end of every one of them. Music hasn’t taken a back seat, but I have a lot less time right now to immerse myself in it than I usually do. The Drums’ self-titled debut is one of those albums that I would have certainly spent more time with if I only had a little more to give. As it is I’ve only given it a few cursory spins, but from what I’ve picked up it’s perfect summer music - bright, catchy, new wave (eww, pun) beach/pop that’s part Factory Records, part Feelies, and part of the herd of like-minded young lo-fi bands that sound like they grew up within walking distance of the ocean. The video for “Let’s Go Surfing” (which may be kind of old, not sure) is sporty, but The Drums aren’t going to be confused for jocks anytime soon. And though the night time jog scene doesn’t really capture the spirit of the opening line (“Wake up, it’s a beautiful morning”), the song is memorable enough to withstand a good but imperfect video. Then again, maybe it was just so freakin’ hot that the guys couldn’t bear to film during the day.

MP3 :: Let’s Go Surfing
MP3 :: It Will All End In Tears
(from The Drums. Buy here)

[video] Arcade Fire - "Rococo" clip

Untitled from Arcade Fire on Vimeo.

The Suburbs drops 8/3 via Merge, like you didn‘t know. Arcade Fire & Spoon are taking over MSG for two nights (8/4 - sold out, 8/5 tickets here).

(Preorder The Suburbs here)

Four Tet - There Is Love In You

I’ve slept on There Is Love In You for most of the year, but the first new full-length album from Four Tet since 2005's Everything Ecstatic is just a flat out gorgeous record that’s had me hooked for the past few days. Though the pulsing, dream-like soundscapes of Kieran Hebden often get pegged as electronic (or worse yet, folktronic), there’s something completely natural and organic at work here - elements of folk, jazz, dub, and IDM all working together perfectly. The album is filled with the sort of glistening melodies and intricate craftsmanship that reward repeat listens. Opener “Angel Echoes” echoes Burial’s brilliant Untrue with its chopped vocal samples, and “This Unfolds” does just that, not so much building as growing over its near 8 minutes into something magnificent. The highlight though is the majestic “Love Cry”, which begins as just distant static before bursting into a harrowing, eerie dancehall jam.

Stream :: Love Cry
Stream :: Sing
(from There Is Love In You. Buy here)

MP3 :: Angel Echoes (Caribou Remix)

[mp3] Candy Claws - "Silent Time Of Earth" & "Sunbeam Show"

You may have read about or seen the pictures of the recent car fire that disrupted what should have been an awesome summer for Candy Claws. With a couple of tracks making their way around the blogs/Pitchfork and a modestly-hyped debut dropping in early August, things were definitely on the up for the Colorado duo before that crazy incident. Hope they get back on the road soon. Listen below to a pair of musically lush, vocally fuzzy Beach Boys-inspired indie-pop songs from the forthcoming record, Hidden Lands (Two Syllable, 8/3), below. (via MBV).

MP3 :: Silent Time Of Earth
MP3 :: Sunbeam Show
(from Hidden Lands. Info here)

[video] Beach Fossils - "Golden Age"

Pitchfork TV had a video up today of Beach Fossils performing the sun-dappled “Golden Age” from their excellent self-titled debut. Check it out, and hear some recent singles below if you haven’t yet.

MP3 :: Youth
(from Beach Fossils. Buy here)

MP3 :: Time

[mp3] Land of Talk - "Swift Coin"

Saddle Creek’s Land of Talk will release Cloak And Cipher on August 24. “Swift Coin” is a big indie-rock song that hits pretty hard. Also, Kanye digs ‘em.


[mp3] The Kills - "Pale Blue Eyes"

The Velvet Underground’s adulterous masterpiece “Pale Blue Eyes” is one of the most oft-covered songs in the indie-rock canon, but that doesn’t stop U.K. duo The Kills from having a go at it. The song wouldn’t work if the matter-of-fact melody and lyrics were tampered with, so Alison Mosshart doesn’t fuck with perfection here, as she and Jamie Hince offer an affecting, stripped down take that stands with the best versions I’ve heard.

MP3 :: Pale Blue Eyes (follow link)
(free download through Levi’s Pioneer Sessions 2010)

[video] Broken Social Scene - "Meet Me In The Basement"

Broken Social Scene - Meet Me In The Basement from Arts & Crafts on Vimeo.

Forgiveness Rock Record’s surging mid-album instrumental “Meet Me In The Basement” gets a rather volatile fan-made video, made in response to June’s G20 Summit in Toronto. Though they had nothing to do with its creation, Broken Social Scene are “very proud to share this mash-up with you.” You can stream the whole album, one of the year's best, below.


[mp3] Slow Animal - "theFUNsun" b/w "Saturday Mourning"

New Jersey’s Slow Animal play fuzzy, lo-fi garage/pop that captures a beach bum/sun-in-your eyes vibe as well as anyone out there (and God knows, there are a lot of these bands in 2010). A free E.P. is available at their Bandcamp page, as well as a recently released limited edition 7” single (250 copies) through Jax Art. Download both sides below (via Pitchfork) and keep your ears open for more from these guys in the future.

MP3 :: theFUNsun
MP3 :: Saturday Mourning
(from theFUNsun 7”. Buy here)

[video] Disappears - "Superstition"

012 Disappears from Kyle Obriot on Vimeo.

Here’s some beautifully shot b/w footage of a new Disappears song called “Superstition” which will appear on their next record, Guider. Their impressive debut, LUX, was released earlier this year on Kranky and is still a favorite around here. It isn’t to be missed by fans of the stoned, pre-punk guitar-rock of The Velvet Underground or The Stooges.

MP3 :: Magics
(from LUX. Buy here)

[stream] The Walkmen - "Stranded"

Apparently the above image is the cover art for The Walkmen’s upcoming Lisbon. NPR is currently streaming a new song from the NYC band’s fifth album. With its slightly buzzed horn parts and soulful vocals, “Stranded” is reminiscent of You & Me’s (2008) “Red Moon”, and singer Hamilton Leithauser even told NPR that, “it was maybe the second song we wrote for Lisbon, so it sort of exemplifies our sound from maybe two years ago. I guess it sounds more like our last record, You & Me, than a lot of the other songs on Lisbon.” Hopefully Leithauser isn’t the best judge of his band’s sound, because personally I would love another record that sounds a lot like You & Me. Lisbon lands September 14 from Fat Possum.

Stream :: Stranded
(from Lisbon. Info here)

Phosphorescent Van & Gear Stolen after NYC Gig

Hot on the heels of an excellent new album, Here's To Taking It Easy, and the start of a long summer tour, the rental van and gear of Phosphorescent was swiped last night in Greenpoint, Brooklyn following the band's show at Pier 54 in NYC. Over $40,000 worth of gear and merchandise was lost in the heist, so obviously the band and label are doing everything in their power to retrieve whatever they can. They've set up a PayPal link for fans to donate a little $$ to help the band get back on their feet - go here if you're interested. From Dead Oceans: "Among the stolen items was Matthew Houck’s custom, irreplaceable 1955 Gibson ES-125 guitar, vintage amplifiers, and a vintage pedal steel with losses totaling around $40,000. If anyone has ANY information or leads on what might have happened, or if you see any of this gear in pawn shops, on Craigslist, etc, please call the NY Police Department, Vector Management, or anyone you think might be able to help recover this gear." The following is a list of what was lost:

1955 Gibson ES-125 Hollow-body Electric
1968 Gibson EB-3 Bass with slotted headstock (brown)
197? Fender Stratocaster – Custom, Blonde wood finish. No brand names or markings anywhere.
197? Emmons Pedal Steel Guitar – Push-Pull Model

1973 Fender Twin Reverb (Silverface) w/ Indian Sun Worshipper Tapestry affixed to grillplate
1978 Music Man 112 RD500 Custom Amp w/ 10″ SpeakerSWR Workingman’s Bass Amp
196? Fender Deluxe Reverb

(1) Line 6 DL4 Delay Pedal
(2) Fulltone Full-Drive 2 Mosfet
(1) Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Plus
(1) Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff
(2) Electro Harmonix 80’s Memory Man Deluxe
(1) MXR Power Amp Pedal
(2) Boss TU-2 Tuner
(1) MXR Phase 90, CSP-026
(1) Fender Tuning Pedal

DW “Collectors Series” Drum Kit – Black Matte finish
22″ kick drum
16″ floor tom
12″ rack tom
14″ Yamaha, Anton Fig snare drum, with maple hoops
(1) Ludwig boom cymbal stand
(2) yamaha boom cymbal stands
(1) DW9000 Hi-Hat pedal, DW7000 kick pedal
(1) Yamaha, double braced snare stand
(1) Ludwig double braced snare stand
(1) Ludwig drum throne/stool.
(1) 20″ Zyldjian Constantinople ride cymbal
(1) 17in Zildjian A Custom crash cymbal
(2) Zildjian Constantinople Hi-Hats (paired)

Black Arai Profile Full-face Motorcycle Helmet
Durango Boots – Brown Harness Boots

150 Vinyl (To WIlle/Pride/Here’s to Taking it Easy)
150 CD’s (To WIlle/Pride/Here’s to Taking it Easy)
(from Here's To Taking It Easy. Buy here)

[mp3] Women - "Eyesore"

The very un-feminine Women played a unique brand of jagged, experimental garage/pop on their overlooked gem of a self-titled 2008 debut. Now the band is gearing up for the release of their sophomore album, Public Strain, which drops September 28 in the U.S. on Jagjaguwar. Listen to the 6+ minute album closer “Eyesore” below.

MP3 :: Eyesore
(from Public Strain. Info here)

[mp3] The Love Language - "Heart To Tell"

Last year Raleigh, NC’s The Love Language snuck out an impressive self-titled debut full of fuzzed-out garage/pop. Merge Records took note, and the esteemed label is readying the band‘s follow up. Libraries drops July 13 and you can check out the infectious first single, “Heart To Tell”, below.

MP3 :: Heart To Tell
(from Libraries. Info here)

[mp3] Sharon Van Etten - "Love More"

Here’s a haunting new song from Sharon Van Etten, whose new album Epic drops through Ba Da Bing! on October 5 (via Muzzle of Bees).

MP3 :: Love More
(from Epic. More info eventually)

Soft Black - We Scatter Light EP

Brooklyn psych/folk studs and PHW favorites Soft Black have just released a brand new 5-song EP of new material called We Scatter Light. The EP is the follow up to 2009’s stunning The Earth Is Black, an album that regular readers of PHW no doubt know found its way to the upper reaches of my year-end list last December. That record's immediacy hasn’t dimmed one bit in the time since (check the recently released shlock-horror video for the title track here). According to lead-singer/songwriter/guitarist Vin Cacchione, We Scatter Light was written and recorded during a period of homelessness, and “is in a lot of ways a bridge between the what has been and what will be, in the universe of Soft Black”. When he says “what will be” he’s referring to The Witching Hour, the next Soft Black album, to be recorded later this summer.

We Scatter Light once again finds the band pumping out a batch of folk-rock bangers that have heavy tinges of psyche and glam rushing through their veins. The glistening title track chorus practically dares you not to sing along, though it was “written in Sackville, NB Canada whispered in the middle of the night with an acoustic guitar into a tape recorder.” The other four tracks are equally impressive, from the deep groove and sprinkled piano of “I Was Born Drenched In Mud” to the cathartic “He Leads You By The Hand”, making sure no one mistakes this EP for some kind of between-album stopgap. It’s only a matter of time before Soft Black starts getting wider recognition - make sure you listen up and get in on the secret now.

MP3 :: We Scatter Light
(from We Scatter Light. Stream and buy here)

[mp3] My Morning Jacket - "All the Best" (John Prine cover)

Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows, the John Prine tribute album I mentioned a few months back featuring Justin Vernon, Conor Oberst, Drive-By Truckers, and My Morning Jacket, among others, is now available through Oh Boy Records. I haven’t had the time as of yet to check out the whole thing (though you can stream it here), but the MMJ contribution, “All The Best”, has been made available as a free download. Jim James and the boys turn in a polite, country-tinged performance that would sound right at home, vocals and all, on Dylan’s Nashville Skyline.

MP3 :: All The Best
(from Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows. Buy here)