In Photos: Braid at Turner Hall

Turner Hall – Milwaukee, WI

All Photos by Martha Kubica

Braid is:
Damon Atkinson – Drums
Todd Bell – Bass
Chris Broach – vocals/guitar
Bob Nanna – vocals/guitar

Braid Turner Hall - Milwaukee, WI 12/22/2011

Braid hit Turner Hall with fellow Illinois rockers The Smoking Popes. The night was a special one with toy donations being taken at the door for Toys for Tots. The support from their Midwest fans showed last Thursday night as they had enough toys to fill two cars with toys for local Milwaukee children. The toys went to the Milwaukee Chapter of United Way who help local families receive the gifts for Christmas. If that weren’t enough, they also raised another $200 in donations through poster sales from that night.

Photos from Braid’s set:

Braid Online:

In Photos: The Smoking Popes at Turner Hall

The Smoking Popes
Turner Hall – Milwaukee, WI
All Photos by Martha Kubica

The Smoking Popes is:
Josh Caterer – Vocals, Guitar
Eli Dixon Caterer – Guitar
Matt Caterer – Bass
Neil Hennessy – Drums

Smoking Popes Turner Hall - Milwaukee, WI 12/22/2011

Chicago’s very own The Smoking Popes has been busy.  The band is currently on the road for a mini tour including the East Coast. The East Coast tour concludes in Philadelphia, PA with their first ever non-Chicago New Years Eve show!  This past summer they played dates with fellow Chicago rockers Alkaline Trio.  Last week The Smoking Popes  stopped at Turner Hall in Milwaukee opening for BRAID.

Photos from their set in Milwaukee are below.

Tour Dates:

December 28, 2011 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop  Details
December 29, 2011 Poughkeepsie, NY The Loft  Details
December 30, 2011 Boston, MA House of Blues  Details
December 31, 2011 Philadelphia, PA North Star Bar  Details
February 3, 2012 Columbus, OH The Basement  Details
February 4, 2012 Toledo, OH Frankie’s  Details
February 11, 2012 DeKalb, IL Otto’s  Details

More photos of Smoking Popes:

Free Music Download: The Good Natured – Video Voyeur (Remixes)

The-Good-Natured-Photo1Last week Britain’s pop-noir trio The Good Natured, released “Video Voyeur” as a free download for fans, today they have their remixes up for grabs too!  Lead singer Sarah McIntosh shared a statement with fans, “We’re very excited to share with you our brand new track ‘Video Voyeur!’ This is just a little taster of what is to come on our album released next year! You can download this track for free from our Website & Facebook!

The band is set to hit the States on January 16th in New York and end in Los Angeles at the Bardot. To cap off their mini US tour, they are set to make their  mark on US television with Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! on January 23rd.

Stream and Download the “Video Voyeur” Remixes below:

Video Voyeur (No Ceremony Remix)DOWNLOAD TRACK HERE!
Video Voyeur (No Ceremony Remix) by The Good Natured

Video Voyeur (Cruelty Remix) – DOWNLOAD TRACK HERE! Video Voyeur (Cruelty Remix) by The Good Natured

Video Voyeur (Adrian Lux Remix – Extended Edit) – DOWNLOAD TRACK HERE!
Video Voyeur (Adrian Lux Remix - Extended Edit) by The Good Natured

Video Voyeur (Adrian Lux Remix) – DOWNLOAD TRACK HERE!
Video Voyeur (Adrian Lux Remix) by The Good Natured

Want to grab a Free Download of the “Video Voyeur” Video?  You can do that HERE!

The Good Natured Tour Dates:

January 16 : New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
January 17 : Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands
January 19 : San Francisco, CA @ Popscene
January 20 : Los Angeles, CA @ Echo
January 23 : Los Angeles, CA@ Bardot

The Good Natured Online:

Music Video: Tristan Takes on Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die”

Tristan Clopêt covers “Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey

Tristan Clopet turned the tables of of Lana Del Rey and covered “Born to Die” during Tristan’s Living Room Session. It’s all piano and melodic vocals. Take a listen.

Music Video: Foster The People’s “Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls)”

Foster the People’s “Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls)” Music Video

Foster the People’s newest video “Don’t Stop “Color On The Walls” is directed by the award winning duo of Daniels. The music video features a driving exam that goes awry and leads to a car chase that destroys a small town.  It stars Foster the People and Gabourey Sidibe (from the movie Precious).

Foster the People are headed out on tour in January. Check it:

Date Location Venue Tickets
Jakarta,Indonesia Tennis Indoor Senayan Tickets
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Hall 4, KL Convention Centre Tickets
Singapore Fort Gate – Fort Canning Tickets
Osaka, Japan Big Cat
Tokyo, Japan Liquid Room Sold Out!
Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Unit Sold Out!
Auckland, New Zealand Big Day Out Tickets
Gold Coast, AU Big Day Out Tickets
Brisbane, AU The Tivoli Sold Out!
Sydney, AU Enmore Theatre Sold Out!
Sydney, AU Big Day Out Tickets
Melbourne, AU Big Day Out Tickets
Melbourne, AU Palace Theatre Sold Out!
Adelaide, AU Big Day Out Tickets
Perth, AU Big Day Out Tickets
London, UK O2 Academy Brixton Tickets
Paris, France Bataclan

Free Music Download: School of Seven Bells’ “That Night”

School of Seven Bells Ghostory

Stream: School of Seven Bells’ “That Night”

School of Seven Bells - The Night by Vagrant Records

The School of Seven Bells premiered “That Night” on Pitchfork yesterday.  They are prepping for their 3rd studio album release, Ghostorydue out February 28th, 2012 via Vagrant Records/Ghostly International.  Ghostory has a theme and I bet you can guess what it is. The story is of a young girl, Lafaye, and the ghosts that surround her life.   For now fans can enjoy “That Night,” off Ghostory,  as a free download.

Free Music Download: School of Seven Bells’ “That Night” HERE!

Over The Rhine at Le Poisson Rouge

On a cool, crisp evening in New York, the fans of Over the Rhine descended into the cellar of Le Poisson Rouge.  The real life couple of Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler rose to the stage starting off with “Born” off their 2005 Drunkard’s Prayer album.  The crowd was in for a treat as Karin thanked the masses for coming to their holiday tour.  Getting down to the holiday spirit, Karin crooned “All I Ever Get For Christmas in Blue” with her signature pipes.  Before continuing the festive caroling with “White Horse”, Linford asked his wife if it was true that she once put a plastic horse under the Christmas tree in the hopes it would be a real horse Christmas morning.  Karin admitted she did and that her mother was relieved when there was no Christmas morning miracle.

Then the evening really heated up when the cable to the kick drum shocked the drummer as they started into “I’m On A Roll”.  They dug deep into their 20 years of songwritng to fulfill a request by singing “Suitcase” from their double album Ohio. Though they did treated fans to oldies but goodies, they played a majority from their latest album The Long Surrender, including “The King Knows How”, “Undamned”, “All My Favorite People” and “Rave On”. The pair also debuted a new song “Sacred Ground” and a new as-yet-named holiday tune. Of course they dusted the set with Christmas songs from their previous holiday recording Snow Angels. The true Christmas gift was their Hank Williams cover of “Still in Love With You” with the accompaniment of openers, The Milk Carton Kids.

All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue
White Horse
I’m on a Roll
The King Knows How
Sacred Ground (new song)
New Christmas song
Snow Angel
Pull Through
North Pole Man
All My Favorite People

Rave On
Drunkard’s Prayer
Still In Love With You (Hank Williams cover)

The Felix Culpa’s Final Show at The Metro 12/9

The Felix Culpa Final Show Poster at the Metro

Felix Culpa Final Show
When: Friday, December 9th, 2011 (5pm – 10pm)
Where: The Metro – Chicago, IL
Tickets: All Ages / $11 Purchase via The Metro here
Doors: 5:00 PM  Start Time: 5:45PM

The Felix Culpa announced that after 8 years they would be breaking up the band.  Before doing so they are hitting The Metro in Chicago one last time on December 9th, 2011.    Their set will be 2 hours and feature album favorites from the early years to the present. Also on the bill to help celebrate the band’s final so are El Oso, Sainthood Reps, and Monday’s Hero.

The Felix Culpa’s official statement:  “Eight years ago we decided to be a band. Tonight we decided to stop. Whether you have been with us since the Divine Cup days in Rockford, IL or you heard us for the first time tonight, thank you. With every ounce of our four hearts, thank you. You have been the reason we were The Felix Culpa and each one of you were with us all along. For those of us in this band, it has been a life changing experience that profoundly shaped who we are as people, but seasons change and songs end. Now, we humbly ask you to be with us one last time as we celebrate the music, friendship and memories that were made along the way in a final performance in Chicago… Until then, chin up. No tears. Only from endings can new beginnings be born.”

The Felix Culpa’s new “Sever Your Roots / Bury The Axe” LP+EP is out now on No Sleep Records.

Free Music Download: Anna Calvi’s “Wolf Like Me”

Anna Calvi

Photo Credit: Adriana Russo

Anna Calvi is headed back to the States for a mini tour! While some of us will miss out of this tour because of our location, Anna released her song “Wolf Like Me” as a free download via Stereogum!

Download “Wolf Like Me” HERE!

Anna Calvi Tour Dates:
December 3rd Los Angeles, CA @ The Orpheum Theatre (KCRW Holiday Party)
December 6th San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
December 8th Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
December 13th Brookyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn Vegan Holiday Party)*
December 10th Montreal, QB @ Cabaret Mile End

*w/ Eleanor Friedberger

Anna Calvi’s “Wolf Like Me” Music Video:

Chiwawa: A Good Story with an Indifferent Sound

Satellite Records Canada

Chiwawa Element CoverSometimes you just want to relax and enjoy a disc. You read a lot about the group – you get the back-story and you want to root for them. In an ideal world you put on the disc and the music is solid and you realize that the good feelings you preconceived for the band will be rewarded.

Then there are times that the music just falls flat and you feel hoodwinked. You cringe your way through the review (no one really enjoys writing a bad review – no true music lover does anyway).

Chiwawa is that rare band that doesn’t commit to either one. Their story is a beautiful, modern day Indie film that may have been written by Diablo Cody. Two impossibly beautiful people marrying for citizenship only to blossom into true love. I’d buy that for a dollar.

“Element” is their latest release and it is just another one-dimensional electro-pop collection rife with repetitious beats and forced rhymes. The troubling element is that it isn’t terrible and it isn’t great. It is just a predictable computer generated dozen cuts designed to get your rump shaking and that is about it.

Krassy Halatchev and Laurie Gordon complement each other very well. You can hear the seamless collaboration on these electronic offerings.  You just find yourself wishing the stakes were higher.

“Another Moment” is the exception.  The quixotic blend of sounds – the haunting melody – the sweetness of Gordon’s vocals show what the duo could do if they were so inclined.

They have an impressive discography and their downloads are priced to be fan friendly. They are obviously doing something that is connecting. I just can’t figure out a way to put my finger on it.

Stand Out Track
Another Moment

Eleanor Friedberger whites out Le Poisson Rouge

On a crisp evening in New York City, Eleanor Friedberger, one half of the brother sister duo The Fiery Furnaces, graced the stage of Le Poisson Rouge, performing selections from her debut solo album, Last Summer, as well as new material. Eleanor opened with the first single “My Mistakes”, donning a full white suit and matching white Keds.  Who said you can’t wear white after Labor Day?

Eleanor peppered her show with new material “a song about falling in love”, “Stare at the Sun”  and the rocking “That Was When I Knew” for the encore.  Her lyrics present sharp narratives with decisive repetition.  It’s especially noticeable live when she chimes “Wrong, wrong, wrong” in the later newbie and even in “Inn of the Seventh Ray” where a broken promise rings over and over in her memories.  She even counted out 2-0-1-0 for “Glitter Gold Year”.

Behind her mint green electric guitar and manicured bangs a la Patti Smith, she was completely comfortable on stage, except a moment before kicking into “Roosevelt Island”. Eleanor had to hold up saying she was tipsy and blamed it on the suit.  Fashion is painful.  She took a mini breather and a sip of her Corona.  All good!

Eleanor was happy to play an early show because she was due to attend a wedding post-concert.  Maybe an explanation for the all white ensemble?  Drawing from her recent album she performed “Scenes from Bensonhurst”, “Early Earthquake” and ended the set with “I Won’t Fall Apart on You”.  The fans at the lip of the stage bopped “on and on and on” to the conclusive song.  Post show, Eleanor got behind the merch table.  Let’s hope she made it in time to that wedding or her white hotness would have been missed for the matrimonial bliss.

First Aid Kit mends and heals Mercury Lounge

The sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg (aka First Aid Kit) arrived upon the stage of Mercury Lounge with matching cosmos patterned dresses.  Johanna strummed the autoharp as the pair began their set with “New Year’s Eve”.  Klara told the crowd that for the evening they would be joined by a Swedish videographer.  The show would be taped for Swedish television.

As the drummer counts off in Swedish, the gals barreled into a new track “Blue” off their forthcoming album, The Lion’s Roar, produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk).  Klara spoke to the technician in Swedish and a fan requested more of the Scandinavian tongue.  Klara asked if anyone knew Swedish and a few “hej’s” were uttered.  She graded us with a C in Swedish.  Fair enough.

It was revealed that oldie, but goodie “Tangerine” was written by a young 14 year old Klara.  From there, the gals treated the audience to a lovely acoustic version of “Ghost Town” sans mics.  Fans joined in singing “And I found myself attached to this railroad track / But I’ll come back to you some day / To you /To you/ To you/ Some day”.  The Söderberg sisters were truly touched by the impromptu sign along.

Though drawing mostly from their last album, The Black and The Blue, fans were introduced to new material including the sweet “Emmylou”.  Their new album The Lion’s Roar hits stateside on January 24, 2012.  In the meantime, they open for Lykke Li tomorrow in the Garden State and will be back in New York on March 28 at Webster Hall.  They also served as backup singers for Lykke Li on David Letterman a few hours before their show tonight.  They didn’t get to shake Dave’s hand unfortunately, but they will be soon enough.

Set list
New Year’s Eve
You’re Not Coming Home Tonight
Hard Believer
In the Heart of Men
Ghost Town
Our Own Pretty Ways
Heavy Storm
The Lion’s Roar

Waltz for Richard
I Met Up With The King

Robert Schwartzman’s “Double Capricorn”

Robert Schwartzman
Double Capricorn

robert Schwartzman Double Capricorn coverIt seemed – at first – that Robert Schwartzman had fallen into a deep sleep and had woken up in 1982 in a recording studio.  His quirky-alt-80s sound is endearing if not a bit kitschy. The electro-bump of “Out of My Mind” kicks off “Double Capricorn” sounding a bit like a Human League on happy pills.

“Double Capricorn” is a collection of songs in which the instruments are played (almost) entirely by Schwartzman himself. The interesting thing – he actually pulls it off. The recording is tight and the arrangements – while a bit dated – are no worse for the wear.

It would be a little more compelling in Schwartzman had backed off of the affectations and let the music find its way over to its own invention. The songs seem to be written with the tongue firmly in cheek – a left-handed-homage to music designed to make you homesick for music that you missed the first time around.

Robert Palmer, John Lennon, The Pet Shop Boys, and the Beatles are among the filters Schwartzman employs on his way to being hipper-than-thou. His take on early 80s Elton John is spot on. He created a record the 20-something hipsters can call their own while being enjoyed by the 40-somethings who actually remember this music the first time around.

There are a lot reasons to buy this disc. Not the least of these reasons is all profits from the sale of this album are being donated to the Tibetan Healing Fund. Let “Double Capricorn” heal you at the same time.

Stand Out Tracks
I Know Why
Funny Money
All My Life

Feist goes full “Metals”…kinda

Available now

It’s been four years since the ubiquitous “1234” graced the iPod nano commercial and skyrocketed Leslie Feist to a guest spot on Sesame Street.  She spent the time off jamming with old friends Broken Social Scene and retreating to a cabin in Big Sur to write her latest album, Metals.

Feist is back with a more percussion heavy effort, as opening track “The Bad in Each Other” thunders into a gush of tenor thumps and snare whips.  “The Commotion” causes quite the bombastic hiccups of choral crescendos, while “Undiscovered First” jiggle jangles and rattles through horns.  Feist doesn’t diverge too much from her sound, in fact “Caught A Long Wind” brings memories of “The Water” from The Reminder, with its stark piano and her vocals on full display.  The first single, “How Come You Never Go There” struts in with a bittersweet ditty of heartbreak.

The setting of where she recorded can be heard in her references to “horizon lines” on “The Circle Married The Line” and song titles like “Cicadas and Gulls”.  Other choice tracks include “Bittersweet Melodies” and “Get It Wrong, Get It Right”, which will not disappoint Feist fans (or as some would call the brunchwave).   You can listen to the whole album below to make your verdict.  Brunchers unite!

Track list
The Bad In Each Other
Caught A Long Wind
How Come You Never Go There
A Commotion
The Circle Married The Line
Bittersweet Melodies
Anti Pioneer
Undiscovered First
Cicadas And Gulls
Woe Be
Comfort Me
Get It Wrong, Get It Right

Tour dates
11.06 – Atlanta, GA  / Tabernacle
11.08 – Dallas, TX / Majestic Theatre
11.12 Los Angels, CA / Wiltern Theatre
11.14 San Francisco, CA / Warfield Theatre
11.16 Portland, OR / Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
11.17 Seattle, WA / Moore Theatre

Betta Promotions Presents: Aktar Aktar November 12th at The Subterranean

Betta Promotions Presents:
Aktar Aktar
The Noise FM
Harrison Hudson
Into Arcadia
When: Saturday November 12th
Where: Subterranean – Chicago, IL
$6 in advance, $10 day of
Doors at 8:30 PM

Akatar Akatar

Betta Promotions will be hosting a four-band bill at Chicago’s Subterranean on Saturday November 12th.  The show will feature performances by:

Aktar Aktar- Aktar Aktar hails from Chicago and stays true to the city’s rich history of indie rock and folk music. Cleanly sung melodies are met with well-placed harmonies, all placed on top of elementary rock arrangements. With the release of their newest effort “Mothershipman” the band ensures music critics that it will be around for years to come, and a glowing edition to the country’s ever changing rock scene.

The Noise FM – While incorporating syncopated elements from modern dance-rock groups, The Noise FM demonstrates a rounded out knowledge of rock music, filled with long scale vocal melodies and driven guitar riffs. Finding itself nestled in the Midwest music scene, The Noise FM commands attention with their determined rendition of indie rock.  Energetic guitar hooks paired up with relentless percussion keeps listeners attentive from song to song.

Harrison Hudson – Harrison Hudson finds the pocket between traditional pop acts and energetic rock music.  The vocal melodies are clean and pristine, and the instrumentation serves as a tasteful vessel in the form of basic rock arrangements with quirky key parts.  Hudson’s songs give off a vintage vibe, giving listeners a flashback to 50s pop music.

Into Arcadia – Glistening through low-fi recordings is Milwaukee’s Into Arcadia.  The quartet’s rock styling is familiar but not blatant.  The delay driven guitar hooks, catchy choruses and persistent percussion sounds like something that calls alternative radio airwaves its home.

Cass McCombs returns with his second album of 2011

Cass McCombs
Humor Risk
Release Date: November 8, 2011

The prolific Cass McCombs doles out his second album in 2011.  The first was Wit’s End, which contained charmer “County Line” as well as other moody waltzes.  With Humor Risk, Cass rocks it out a bit more.

The opening track “Love Thine Enemy” trembles in with an incessant bass line, and Cass even breaks out the electric guitar for “Mystery Mail”.  At the heart of Humor Risk is poetic lyrics set against melancholy cadences.  On “To Everyman His Chimera”, Cass spits  “California makes me sick. Like trying with a rattle snake.”  OUCH!

Classic Cass for fans.  A little country.  All little rock.  All heart.

Track list
Love Thine Enemy
The Living Word
The Same Thing
To Every Man His Chimera
Robin Egg Blue
Mystery Mail
Meet Me At The Mannequin Gallery

Tour dates
11.30 – Los Angeles, CA / The Echo

12.1 – San Diego, CA / Casbah
12.4 – San Francisco, CA / Great American Music Hall
12.6 – Vancouver, British Columbia / Electric Owl
12.7 – Seattle, WA / Tractor Tavern
12.8 – Portland, OR / Doug Fir
12.9 – Eugene, OR / Cozmic

Music Video: Emily Hurd’s “Long Lost Ghosts”

Emily Hurd is returning with her 8th studio album Long Lost Ghosts.  The music video was directed by Tony Bartman. Emily is an indie singer/songwriter from Chicago who’s last album Daytime Fireflies knocked our socks off!

Emily also does a really cool thing for fans every Christmas season where she puts together something special for fans that’s only available at Christmas time.  Keep an eye out at for more details!

Music Video: Lucy Rose and the Bombay Bicycle Club “Video Games”

Lucy Rose and The Bombay Bicycle Club joined forces to cover Lana Del Ray’s “Video Games” for BBC Radio 1.  Lucy Rose is currently on tour with Bombay Bicycle Club and providing vocals for the band.

Need to hear some of her music? Lucy recently released her newest single  “Middle Of The Bed” in the US along with a remix by Jack Steadman (singer of Bombay Bicycle Club). Check “Middle of The Bed” below:

Lucy Rose - Middle Of The Bed by Lucy Rose
Lucy on Facebook

MENEW’s “Wide Awake Hello”

MENEW (pronounced “men-u”)
Wide Awake Hello
Redcore Music Group

Shade – Vocals
Nathan Samuel Philip – Drums, Backing Vocals I
Key – Piano, Synthesizers


Hello David Bowie! MENEW is a trio of brothers Canada that were heavily influenced by British Rock. They are all classically trained on the piano and have a deep love and appreciation for music.  The brothers’ last EP, Of The Future, was a hit among critics and landed them recognition by the Grammy Awards as well as placement at the top of the Billboard charts of top written songs back in 2009.  As for their name, it is more of a symbol than a name. Shade explains, “It originally came from merging two signs in our garage rehearsal space. We liked that it was ambigram.”

MENEW Group Photo

Photo Credit: Deborah Anderson

Wide Awake Hello is their first full length studio album. It’s packed with songs that demonstrate their knowledge of British rock and synthesizers.  It’s songs like “Sinking Ship” that immediately reminds me of David Bowie.  Yet “The Neon Light (Part 1)/In Debt (Part 2)” has the alternative rock vibe. When Shade hits the higher octaves I feel like I am listening to Chris Cornell.

MENEW’s “Don’t Give Up on Us Now” Music Video:

The entire album is infused with a balance of pop, synths, and rock. It’s tasty ear candy in a world of mundane music. Pick it up if you are looking for a bit of British Rock fused into your rock ‘n’ roll!

Standout Songs
Wide Awake
Sinking Ship
Official Website
Official MySpace
a href=”” target=”_blank”>YouTube Channel

Betta Presents…The Greatest Cover Up at The Beat Kitchen!

Betta Presents…The Greatest Cover Up

Where: The Beat Kitchen
When: Saturday, October 22nd
Doors: 7:00 pm
Show: 7:30 pm
Tickets: 17+ $6 advance ticket –

Betta Promotions Presents The Greatest Cover Up

Betta Promotions Presents The Greatest Cover Up THIS SATURDAY!

When bands dress and play as other bands fans can’t go wrong! It’s a very cool concept for a Halloween Show and guarantees lots of good times to be had! Head out to the Beat Kitchen this Saturday for the fun festivities presented by Chicago’s own Betta Promotions!

The line-up and set times are below:

Old Soul Company as Avett Brothers  11-11:20
Magic Milk as The Rolling Stones 10:25-10:45
Droughts as Cursive  9:50-10:10
Carbon Tigers as Pink Floyd   9:15-9:35
Late in the Playoffs as Saves The Day 8:40-9:00
K. Serra (of Automata) as Joni Mitchell 8:05-8:25
Gabe (of Dastardly) as Morrissey  7:30-7:50

Little Red is a Must-Have

Little Red
Get a Life
Liberation Records (AUS)
True Panther Sounds (US)

Little Red Midnight Remember

Good pop music is like a cool ripe juicy mango on a hot summer day. You sink your teeth in and pull away chunks and the sweet juices flow down your neck and you kind of look silly –but you don’t care because you are really enjoying the experience on every level. You really feel good.

Little Red is the best mango I’ve dug my teeth into in some time. The Australian quintet offers delicious, juicy melody lines over buoyant arrangements that are filled with sweet surprises.

Little Red might feel – at times – like they are weighed down by the influence of pop bands that have come before them – specifically when it comes to lyrical ideas, but the result is fresh and wholly their own. The songs on “Get a Life” offer a penumbra of 80s radio-pop without sounding like a tribute disc.

Rock It” with the thumping base and hi-hat intro almost sounds like a cogent riff on Jukebox the Ghost, again Little Red will tease you with musical ideas that seem like they might have come before – but really haven’t.

In My Bed” showcases the quintet’s ability so soar vocally. Their harmonies are tight and the arrangement keeps them relevant – but not overbearing.

I Can’t Wait” is another beauty. It just feels good to listen to. It is smoky with a shade of melancholy even if the message is more hopeful than the arrangement will allow.

Little Red – the band – has created a sweet treat for your ears. Dig in and let the juices flow. Who cares how you look – if you feel good.

Stand Out Tracks
Rock It
In My Bed
I Can’t Wait


1. Get A Life
2. Slow Motion
3. Rock It
4. Little Bit Of Something
5. All Mine
6. In My Bed
7. I Can’t Wait
8. February
9. Chelsworth
10. Follow You There

Little Red online:

Free Music Download: Company of Thieves’ “Won’t Go Quietly”

Here’s your chance to hear some new Company of Thieves music -if you haven’t already.  The dynamic indie rockers from Chicago have hit the road with Jack’s Mannequin and have several shows with O. A.R.

The free download is from Inner Circle’s Facebook Page.  They require and email for free download, which is nothing new but slightly annoying. Click on the image below to access the free download of “Won’t Go Quietly” from their newest release Running From a Gamble.

Company of Thieves won't go quietly

Company of Thieves Tour Dates:

Oct 18 – Nashville, TN – The Cannery – w/ Jack’s Mannequin, Motion City Soundtrack
Oct 20 – Austin, TX – Emo’s East –w/ Jack’s Mannequin, Motion City Soundtrack
Oct 26 – Myrtle Beach, SC – House of Blues – w/ O.A.R.
Oct 27 – Greenville, NC – Minges Coliseaum @ ECU – w/ O.A.R.
Oct 28 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre Center
Oct 29 – Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre – w/ O.A.R.
Nov 3 – Indianapolis, IN – Butler University Starbucks
Nov 4 – Marietta, OH – The Gathering Place @ Marietta College
Nov 7 – Des Moines, IA – House of Bricks
Nov 9 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
Nov 10 – Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep
Nov 12 – Tempe, AZ – Venue 104
Nov 14 – San Francisco, CA – Café Du Nord
Nov 15 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern
Nov 16 – Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg
Nov 19 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theatre
Nov 20 – Seattle, WA – Vera Project
Nov 29 – Columbus, OH – LC Pavilion!/cotlife

Swede Return: Jens Lekman takes Music Hall of Williamsburg (Night one)

Jens Lekman’s been on the road, but he hasn’t neglected his fans on his “small talk” blog:

“Currently I am on the road and I won’t have time to reply to e-mails. But I made a little FAQ for the most common questions:

Q: Can you get me into the show somehow, maybe you have a guestlist I could be on?
A: No, I couldn’t even get my mum into the show if I wanted to.

Q: It’s my friends birthday the day of your show, can you do a shout-out / sing happy birthday etc etc?
A: That’s really sweet, I wish I had friends like you. But I get this question maybe 20 times per day, so I’ll have to say no to all to be fair. Instead, take your friend out to the show, have an excellent time and then make pancakes in the morning.

Q: What is this topic of the month thing?
A: The topic of the month is the compulsory main subject of your e-mail when you write to me. If you wanna talk about something else you will have to make associations, find reference points. This is mainly because I see our communication as an exchange, not a service, so there needs to be some groundrules to keep it consistent and creative.

Q: What is the topic for October?
A: The topic for the month of October is “Highways”

That delightful exchange was only a snippet of the self-deprecating humor and charm that Jens brought to the first of three sold out shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. The always adorable Jens showcased songs from his latest EP, An Argument With Myself, including the title song and “Waiting for Kirsten”, an ode to stalking Kirsten Dunst in his hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden.  Jens also played crowd favorites from previous albums Oh You’re So Silent Jens and Night Falls Over Kortedala.  “I Saw Her At The Anti-War Demonstration” and “A Sweet Summer’s Hammer Hill” ensued infectious hand claps.

Jens then got nostalgic about his three months living by McCarren Park and how everyone says how great Brooklyn and New York is.  Unfortunately, Jens’s time ended with him taking the Q train to Coney Island for a lonely walk in the cold of November.  He did say he was growing to love Brooklyn again, which lead into his dedication of “The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love ” to the broken hearts.  He stripped down “Black Cab” beautifully to his voice and the slowed down strum of his acoustic guitar.  The rendition might even rival the one he performed for the Black Cab sessions.  “The Opposite of Hallelujah” was an interesting set up with only his drummer Addison Rogers.  Jens pushed a few buttons on his drum machine to create horn players.

Jens returned for not one, but two encores.  Turning the encore into a session for deejay Lekman, he mixed in Ten City’s “That’s The Way Love Is” which caused a dance party.  Opener Geoffrey O’Connor joined in on the encore goodness as well.  For the final tune, it was just Jens under the spotlight crooning “Pocketful of Money” with the audience backing with lulls of “You set my heart on fire.”

Still haven’t gotten enough of your Jens’ fix?  How about you write him at, but remember “only personal matters”.  (He) reads all and responds to most.

Set list
Every Little Hair Knows Your Name
An Argument With Myself
Waiting for Kirsten
I Saw Her in the Anti-War Demonstration
A Sweet Summer’s on Hammer Hill
I Broke Up A Fight
The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love 
You Were in My Dreams
Black Cab
Golden Key interlude
The Opposite of Hallelujah

That’s The Way Love Is (Ten City cover)
Sipping on the Sweet Nectar

**Encore 2**
Maple Leaves
Pocketful of Money

Video: The Bleeding Knees Club’s “Teenage Girls”

If Katy Perry were a band of boys you’d get The Bleeding Knees Club! The band consists of Alex and Jordan and Matt Woods. The band names one of their interests as “skipping” …gotta love it!

Their newest video is “Teenage Girls” and it’s a cute and poppy homage to the lovely teenage girls that boys fawn over. Check it below:

You can keep up with Bleeding Knees Club on Tumblr and Facebook.   Their debut Virginity EP comes 10/18 on IAMSOUND Records.


10/20   The Delancy, New York        IAMSOUND Showcase
10/22    Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn     Windish Showcase
10/22    Fuzz @ Milk in NY
10/ 24   Bardot, Los Angeles
10/26    Satellite, Los Angeles

No Thanks Lyonnais!

Transitive Properties of Youth
Self released

LyonnaisThere is an iconic – often recited (sometimes even correctly) scene in the 1987classic “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.” Steve Martin tells John Candy, “Here’s a good idea – have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener!”

That is exactly what went though my mind as I listened to the blathering known as “Transitive Properties of Youth” by Lyonnais who just might be the last band in American to have a myspace page.

There is precious little on this release that doesn’t have me running for the stop button (or a knitting needle for my ears.)  It is the most inconsequential music I have ever had the misfortune of listening to. It has less musical value than a Cadbury Easter egg and about the same nutritional value.

On their myspace page they claim to be psychedelic. Even the most psychedelic band I have ever heard had a point – they had something to say – even if they were spacey and nebulous with the way they said it.

This is just droning – poorly produced tripe that I had to endure for hour after hour as I listened on a variety of days to assure myself it wasn’t my mood that was making me have such a negative reaction to the music.  Then I realized they were the reason that my mood always went sour after listening to them for more than three songs. (Thing is – you can’t really tell when one song ends and the next one begins.)

Being a music writer is usually the greatest job a guy can have. It is typically a pleasure – until you meet Lyonnais and “Transitive Properties of Youth” at which point it becomes more tedious than being an accountant.

Stand Out Tracks
Whatever the last track is be cause that means we are done listening to this.

The Way Sound Leaves a Room

Sarah Jaffe
The Way Sound Leaves a Room
Kirtland Records

sarah jaffee the way sound leaves a room cover Sarah Jaffe’s The Way Sound Leaves a Room features some heartfelt singing and some strong songwriting, but it just isn’t consistent enough to be a compelling choice when seeking music to work with or just chill out with. Her sense of irony seems to almost weigh down her energy and the sense of play that resulted in songs like “A Sucker for Your Marketing.”

In fairness – after the fifth or sixth listen – it did kind of grow on me. It may have been familiarity – it may have been the uniqueness of Jaffe’s voice. It may have been the slightly less than traditional arrangements (“All the Time”). The trouble with that is most people aren’t patient and want to fall in love with their music before they are distracted by the next new thing.

“Clementine” – a lovely piano ballad – is worth the time. This song will surely put Jaffe on the musical map. No longer encumbered by the necessity to buy an album – this is one download that will surely define Jaffe and help her to develop the following she deserves

While she shows some serious musical intelligence (and diversity) on this release – some different sounds and different arrangement paradigms, she rests carefully – almost gingerly – in world of country-tinged indie-folk music. Even in the most sparsely populated songs – she finds a way to fill the sound with textures and colors.

“Louder Than Ever” is the rare song that reflects itself with uncanny precision. The mood set by the instrumentation reflects the whispy vocals which support the ethereal lyrics. The song seems the perfect opportunity for Jaffe to break into the mainstream – which tends to be afraid of anything new or valuable.

If you have the time to fall in love with some sweet music – give “The Way Sound Leaves a Room” a chance. If you need instant gratification – Bruno Mars will surely have something more to your liking out any day now.

Stand Out Tracks
“Louder Than Ever”
“Shut It Down”

We Were Promised Jetpacks blasts off

We Were Promised Jetpacks
In the Pit of the Stomach
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Fat Cat Records

Can there be a more amusing band name? We Were Promised Jetpacks hails from Edinburgh, Scotland and have supported fellow countrymen Frightened Rabbit in late 2008.  On their sophomore effort, In the Pit of the Stomach, the Scots bring fuzzy guitar heavy indie rock that ignites from the start with opening track “Circles And Squares” with a thrashing one minute interlude before even the first lyrics are sung.

Their second single from the album “Medicine” sputters a frenzy of guitar riffs that don’t let up until the last lick.  The foursome bring it down a notch for “Act On Impulse” as the melodic chord progression is slowly roused into a climax with an increasingly rapid drum beat.  This is probably the kind of song that closes out an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”.  The track was most notably shortlisted by the All Songs Considered gang over at NPR.  “Picture of Health” is strangely reminiscent of the Foo Fighters without the leadership of Dave Grohl.

Overall the album sways between stadium rock and Scottish brogue musings.  The rock often engulfs the potential of a decent rock ballad.  For instance, “Sore Thumb” opens with an over two minute instrumental before lead Adam Thompson sings from what seems like 25 feet from the mic.  It’s pleasant and then the crescendo of guitars, drums and cymbals washes over.  Don’t get me wrong I love a good rock out, but really?  At least, it ends sweetly and with a crash of a cymbal.

You can stream the entire album over that the AV Club and be the judge yourself.

Disclaimer: Never heard the WWPJ’s debut These Four Walls, but from the comments on the stream.  More of the same for you fans!

Track list
Circles And Squares
The Drawing Board
Act On Impulse
Hard To Remember
Picture Of Health
Sore Thumb
Boy In The Backseat
Human Error
Pear Tree

Tour dates
10.26 – Harrisburg, PA / The Abbey Bar
10.27 – Washington, DC / Black Cat
10.28 – Boston, MA / Paradise
10.29 – Philadelphia, PA / Union Transfer
10.30 – New York, NY / Webster Hall

11.1 – Cleveland, OH / Grog Shop
11.2 – Chicago, IL / Metro
11.3 – St. Louis, MO / The Old Rock House
11.4 – Norman, OK / Oklahoma Memorial Union
11.5 – Dallas, TX / Trees
11.8 – Phoenix, AZ / Crescent Ballroom
11.9 – San Diego,  CA / Casbah
11.10 – Los Angeles, CA / The Music Box
11.11 – San Francisco, CA / Bimbo’s
11.12 – Eugene, OR / WOW Hall
11.13 – Portland, OR / Wonder Ballroom
11.15 – Seattle, WA / Neumos

Fool’s Gold shimmers at Mercury Lounge

Late into Thursday evening, Fool’s Gold hit the stage of the Mercury Lounge.  The LA outfit led by Luke Top and Lewis Pesacov, which once had 8 players, has downsized a bit to a quintet.  With the bulk of the set deriving from their latest album Leave No Trace, Lewis started off the night with a twangy instrumental interlude into “Bark and Bite”.  From the new to the oldies but goodies, a heavy bass line throbbed and the saxophone blew into “Nadine”.

Luke didn’t chat much, sticking to the music to entertain the crowd.  “Wide Window” had the crowd clapping along and shuffling about on the dance floor.  Then, saxophonist Brandon Claukins picked up his shakers and went at it to open up “The Dive”.  Luke’s vocal were reminiscent of Morrissey’s over a sunnier composition.  Luke also showed off some of his native tongue singing “Tel Aviv” in Hebrew.   The crowd really got into it when the band went back to their self-titled debut album to jam through “Surprise Hotel”.  As if that wasn’t enough of a treat for fans, they  extended the song which elicited a dance party.

Sadly, Luke announced “Street Clothes” would be their “last” song.  He couldn’t end the set without announcing that  sax player Brandon was celebrating his 21st birthday.  Jokingly, Luke said the tour has really aged him.  It was all in good fun as Brandon later joined Luke at the mic.  So instead of exiting the stage which is a cumbersome endeavor at the cozy venue, the band played one more for the road.  To get in on the Afro_Hebrew dance party, head to Brooklyn Bowl Saturday night, September 24 to get your groove on.

Dirty Beaches crashes into Mercury Lounge

Alex Zhang Hungtai (aka Dirty Beaches) exudes an effortless cool with his rockabilly style while toting an electric guitar.  He looks like he has step out of a Wong Kar-wai film.  (Funnily enough most of Dirty Beaches’ You Tube videos are posted by a wrongkarwei.)  On the early Tuesday evening, Alex gracefully ascended the stage at the Mercury Lounge to set up his various pedals and loops for his set.  He was checked with 10 minutes to spare, so decided to start ahead of schedule.

Expanding from a solo outfit, Dirty Beaches added friends Francisco on saxophone and Jesse on drums and percussions.  Playing the recorded drum beats off loops, Alex and gang rocked through tracks from Dirty Beaches’ recent effort Badlands and new songs.  For instance the newish song “Shake That Thang” rings with an R&B heavy sound set against jarring guitar riffs.  Another new song declared “New York, I love you.”  Alex screamed into his mic.  At the tune’s conclusion, Alex exclaimed, “I love you New York.  I work so hard for you.”

All through the night, Alex was spitting on stage like the old grannies and gramps in neighboring Chinatown.  There was a  few disgusted comments from the crowd, which was funny as Alex complained in his lyrics, ” Why you got to say that shit to me.”

Under the distortion and production of Dirty Beaches’ songs is Alex’s ability to channel a sea of cacophony into a symphony.  Many have asked about his sampling and in his blog, he has replied:

* To all inquires in regards to samples *

I sampled vintage drum machines I couldn’t afford from youtube and other software programs that compiled the drum sound files. All the prior releases before badlands were written by me and played by me. Misc instruments were midi triggered software instruments from: Mellotron, Chamberlin, and Optigans (i.e. Synths, orchestra, flute, strings, horns, choir, etc) The rest are keyboards and guitar. Hope this explains to all the questions in regards to my recording and sampling set up.


Alex seemed genuinely thankful and appreciative of the crowd.  At one point, a fan yelled, “That was so hot!”  He sheepishly replied, “Thank you.”  Indeed the evening was concluded perfectly with fan favorite “Lord Knows Best”.  No encore, but fans didn’t mind so much.  The crowd were loving him and he was truly thankful.

Whales: Not a Big Deal


I just can’t seem to figure out the talented quartet of musicians known collectively as Whales. Nor can I figure what on God’s musical landscape they are trying to do. Individually they are extremely talented – but when you put them into the studio – they seem to cancel each other out. The listener is the one that suffers here.

The music ranges from progressive darkly textured jazz to jaw-popping-yawn-inducing-navel-gazer. They claim navel gazing as a genre – I am seeing that more and more these days – but just because there is a lot of a genre does that qualify it to be good or necessary. (One genre we could do without is/was boy bands.)

Having said that – Whales and their recent eponymous release has some interesting moments – but they just aren’t strung together with any cogent line that makes me compelled to listen to the rest of the disc. (I – of course – did and I did more than once.)

It is frustrating to hear the hints of what could happen if this group was performing music that is intrinsically interesting or relevant. If they were schlock purveyors, they would be easy to write off and move on, but they clearly work diligently and have created something that is musical and interesting – just not compelling. There are too many things competing for space in my ear – so you’ve got to be compelling.

I would not recommend running out and buying this music part and parcel. Try one song at a time – if you are into navel-gazing or “noise pop.” If you like your music a little more traditional – this isn’t the disc for you.

Standout Tracks

Fruit Bats and Vetiver buddy up at Bowery Ballroom

Subpop labelmates Fruits Bats and Vetiver graced the stage of the Bowery Ballroom for a good ol’ jam session.  Vetiver covered most of their latest release The Errant Charm, much like their set a few months back at Mercury Lounge.  Andy Cabic and crew strummed through the delightfully summery “Everyday” from their last album Tight Knit.  The greatest treat of the set was when Eric Johnson of Fruit Bats joined Vetiver on a cover of Bobby Charles’s “I Must Be In A Good Place Now”.   You knew it was a special night as Andy had previously told Yours Truly, “It’s always great to play this song live in places that you had a great day cause then it just ties them all together.”

The good vibes continued as Fruit Bats took the stage to a rousing welcome, as they open up with “Heart Like An Orange” for their latest Tripper.  Eric relinquished his guitar to croon “Darling you better leave ” as hand claps ensued.  After the experience, Eric quipped that it was the first song singing like Bono sans guitar and comparing his performance to a few David’s – Bowie, Byrne and Matthews.  Band played the first few chords of “Crash Into Me” for laughs.  Though most of the set was peppered with tracks from Tripper, old fans were delighted to hear “Lives Of Crime” as they sang along and bopped about.

The encore was full of love to openers Citay and “super tight bros” Vetiver.  Eric and company jingle jangled into “Primitive Man” from their previous album The Ruminant Band.  Then the dance floor erupted as the kick drum thudded to open “When U Love Someone”.  To top the night, Eric’s falsetto on “You’re Too Weird” left him striped of guitar and hat. It was a easy breezy night of west coast singer songwriter goodness.

VIDEO: Washington’s “Holy Moses” and Tour Dates

Megan Washington “Holy Moses”

Insomnia was released to her Australian fans as an 8 track album to coincide with the release of I Believe You Liar.  Now US fans can purchase both as a set starting October 21st:  I Believe You Liar + Insomnia Collector’s Edition.

This fall, Washington steps out with 80’s legends OMD for a U.S. tour in support of her debut album I Believe You Liar. To catch her on the road with OMD check out the tour dates below:

September 16 Miami,FL Grand Central
September 17 Orlando, FL Beacham Theatre
September 19 Baltimore, MD Ramshead Live
September 20 New York, NY Irving Plaza
September 21 New York, NY Irving Plaza
September 22 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of the Living Arts
September 24 Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
September 25 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
September 26 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
September 29 Seattle, WA The Showbox @ Market
September 30 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
October 1 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
October 3 San Francisco, CA The Warfield
October 6 Anaheim, CA House of Blues
October 7 Los Angeles, CA Club Nokia
October 8 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
October 9 San Diego, CA Humphrey’s by the Bay
October 11 Dallas, TX House of Blues
October 12 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
October 13 Austin, TX La Zona Rosa
October 15 Mexico City

Memoryhouse lulls Brooklyn Bowl

Straight off their Fashion Night Out gig for Steven Alan last Thursday, Memoryhouse brought their hazy dream pop to Brooklyn Bowl. Lead vocalist Denise Nouvion declared that it was the first time they had actually played a bowling alley, but seemed charmed by the realization. This duo hailing from Ontario, Canada were an interesting opener to headliners Peter, Bjorn and John.  Many of the audience were there for the trio of Swedes, however the peppering of commentary assured a few new fans emerging after the Canadians’ set.

Evan Abeele was up first of the band to sound check his guitar.  I was disappointed to discover that Denise’s videos would not be shown in the background as in previous concerts.  The videos are almost as much of the band as their languid compositions.  There’s a great example of this at Yours Truly.  Despite the missing videography, the band was in fine form on the eve of the release of their EP “The Years“. They played tracks “Lately”, “Sleep Patterns”, “To The Lighthouse” and “Quiet America” from that album.  They also treated the crowd to some oldies (“Heirloom”) and somewhat new songs (“Walk With Me”).  The duo ended with a cover of My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep”, which was the perfect send off.

You can stream The Years below.  Don’t be surprised if you get drowned in a wave of synth pop.   It’s gloriously refreshing.  New Yorkers catch them this October as they hit the CMJ 2011.

Sarah Jaffe to Release “The Way Sound Leaves A Room”

The CD/DVD Collection is out September 27th

Sarah Jaffe, who broke out in 2010 with her critically acclaimed debut Suburban Nature, has grown, tinkered, and experimented to create The Way Sound Leaves a Room.  The CD is a collection of demos, covers, and an acoustic version of “Clementine” (the single from her debut album) and is being released with a DVD that captures a stunning live performance and behind the scenes footage from her sold out Wyly Theatre show at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District.

The Way Sound Leaves A Room is out September 27th on Kirtland Records and is meant to bridge the gap between her debut album and her second full-length studio release which Sarah is currently working on for an early 2012 release.  Fans and critics alike can get a glimpse of Sarah’s evolution in sound by listening to her home demos: “Better Than Nothing Outro,” “The Way Sound Leaves A Room,” “When You Rest,” “A Sucker for Your Marketing” and “All That Time.”  She further showcases her exploration with sound through her cover of the Cold War Kids “Louder then Ever” as well as Drake & The Dream’s “Shut It Down.”

The Way Sound Leaves a Room is a snapshot of where she is at right now, with more to come on her second full length release.  Please contact us for a digital or physical copy of the new CD/DVD.  Also catch her at CMJ 2011, details to be announced soon.