Friday, May 28, 2010

Bambara - Dog Ear Days (2010)

I'm going to provide a list of adjectives that do their best describe this record: Gloomy, noisy, trippy, spooky, alarming, unexpected, unparalleled, dark, layered, enveloping, dirty, foreboding... Get the picture, yet? If you thought no, then good. That was the correct answer. You will not understand this record until you hear it for yourself. It never plays the same way twice, either. With each listen, one discovers something new. It's an acquired taste, as in, "You better acquire a taste for this, otherwise, you're missing the fuck out."

For fans of: Cocteau Twins, Sonic Youth, Maserati

Monday, May 24, 2010


Released in 2009 by Louisiana's GIVERS, this self titled EP is made up of five tracks that will have your brain dancing in whimsical confusion. The band itself is such an amalgamation of sounds and vibes that trying to accurately compare their sound to other artists is like trying to divide by zero. Suffice it to say though, that these five songs are some of the most fun your ears will ever have. Enjoy!

For fans of: The Flaming Lips, The Color Bars, a third band or artist I can't quite put my finger on

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chris Zabriskie - O Great Queen Electric, What Do You Have Waiting for Me? (2008)

Described by the man himself as "an album about failed love, lost religion and horror movies," O Great Queen Electric, What Do You Have Waiting for Me? is the sophomore solo release by composer and musician Chris Zabriskie. The record opens with "Time Life," a humorous recording of a voicemail (left by lo-fi legend Marc With a C) that brings the listener's guard down right before they get hit in the face with the awesomeness that is the second track, "I Can Be Your Love," a song filled with the fuzzy goodness that Neutral Milk Hotel and Sleep Station fans have come to love so much over space age synths that sound like they came straight out of the record store scene in A Clockwork Orange. The album is also home to a track called "I'm On a Talk Show" which sounds like it could've been taken from one of Ben Gibbard's solo tours. Intellectual listeners should be sure to check out the album's closer, "Joss Whedon." Long story short, this is nine tracks of sheer brilliance.

P.S.: All of Chris Zabriskie's records are available for free download on his website.

For fans of: Now It's Overhead, Ben Gibbard, Sleep Station

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Bad Plus - These Are the Vistas (2003)

This album does to your record collection what sugar does to corn flake cereal. It instantly makes it better. The sophomore effort and major label debut of Minneapolis jazz trio The Bad Plus, We Are the Vistas is a zestful blend of ebullient... Oh, fuck it. It's jazzy. I know, I know. Sailing on the old Redundant Sea there, but it's true! Jazzy record is jazzy. Banter and memes aside though, it's really good. It mixes fresh original pieces with a handful of covers, including Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," (which Cobain always felt was a bit of a Pixies ripoff anyway) and Richard D. James' (better known to some as Aphex Twin) "Flim." This one is not to be overlooked, friends.

For fans of: Ornette Coleman, Avishai Cohen, Happy Apple

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Ethnographers - The Ethnographers (2009)

This is the eponymous debut record by Greenville, NC indie septet The Ethnographers, and before reading the rest of this, you should click on the link below and begin the download. No, really. I'm serious. Every second not listening to this album is a second that is seriously lacking in the aural wonder department. Go ahead, click it. I'll wait. Got it? Good. Now we can continue. Where was I? Oh yes... Well, by now you're probably thinking, "What the hell? What makes this record so great?" I'll tell you. This album takes the ingredients to regular old cookies and ends up baking you a giant delicious cake (See? The cake is NOT a lie). The record opens with "The Trouble with Sleeping," which actually opens the door to the record and leads the listener into the first gem in the collection, a song called "Fine and Dandelions," which, like Maritime's "Guns of Navarone," makes the listener feel a sudden need to get up and dance. The combined vocals of lead singers Megan Kennedy and Danielle Eiler, as well as those of keyboardist Sam Hollen compliment each other in a way that's not been seen since Kanye West caught a glimpse of his own face in a reflection. The next track, "The Marathon Runner," reveals another layer of the band, introducing guitar work akin to I Was a Cub Scout's first (and well, only) record. "Avec Moi" is a must for George A. Romero fans, or those who like upbeat and unsullied pop, or those who possess the ability to hear, really. "I Was Young Once" contains vocals that combine Heathers-style harmonies with a lot of balls behind them. "Looking Eyes, Holding Hearts" is a song that sounds like it floats on waves that have been caused by the thumps of a heartbeat, and is then followed by "Grandfather Said," which introduces the listener to the vocal stylings of guitarist Ian Collins, which blends with the other vocalists in an almost uncanny way. We've reached the point where I've decided to end this track by track synopsis because if you'd followed the directions at the beginning, you'd be hearing it for yourself now, wouldn't you? If per chance you're the kid that payed attention in class, but didn't follow directions, then now's your chance to catch up. Besides, who likes spoilers, anyway? For a band with seven members, nothing ever feels cluttered or unbalanced. Everyone in the band has a part that compliments the other six members, which is a rarity in itself, and now you, the listener have been given an opportunity to indulge in said rarity, and this is only the beginning! If this is the band's On Avery Island, I can't wait to hear what their In the Aeroplane Over the Sea will sound like.

For fans of: Stars, I Was a Cub Scout, Lowry

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I (1999)

Hailed, revered and a third word with similar meaning, Emergency & I is the groundbreaking third record by Washington D.C. indie rock band The Dismemberment Plan. This record finds its home atop many top ten/twenty/fifty/one hundred/etc. lists of the 1990s, and rightly so. It changed the face of the indie rock record. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

For fans of: Q and Not U, Travis Morrison, Burning Airlines


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On!Air!Library! - On!Air!Library! (2004)

This is the only full-length release from New York City's three-piece experimental outfit On!Air!Library!, and what a release it is. Between gaining a bit more exposure by releasing a split with The Album Leaf and going on tour with Interpol, twin sisters Claudia and Alley Deheza and Philip Wann recorded this gem of a record. This is one of the few choice albums that the listener can just let play from beginning to end. No skipping tracks 'round these parts, sir! Nine tracks of shoegaze-y vocals over semi-regular glitches and resonating melodies do a body good.

For fans of: School of Seven Bells, The Album Leaf, Ester Drang

Various Artists - Guilt by Association Vol. 2 (2008)

This album can be summed up in three words, taken from a quote by a hip hop duo from Detroit famous for wearing makeup, "...pure motherfuckin' magic." Engine Room Recordings followed their 2007 release Guilt by Association with this, proving that lighting does indeed strike twice. They gathered up some of the most talented names in indie rock and had them cover their favorite guilty pleasure pop songs. I've posted the track listing below, items in bold are not to be missed.

1. My Brightest Diamond - "Tainted Love" (Soft Cell)
2. The Bloodsugars - "Self Control" (Laura Branigan)
3. Robbers on High Street - "Cool It Now" (New Edition)
4. Frightened Rabbit - "Set You Free" (N-Trance)
5. Matt Pond PA - "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" (My Chemical Romance)
6. Takka Takka - "In the Air Tonight" (Phil Collins)
7. Kaki King - "I Think She Knows" (Justin Timberlake)
8. Francis and the Lights - "Can't Tell Me Nothing" (Kanye West)
9. Lowry - "Africa" (Toto)
10. The Forms - "We Didn't Start the Fire" (Billy Joel)
11. Rafter - "If You Leave" (OMD)
12. Cassettes Won't Listen - "Need You Tonight" (INXS)
13. Jukebox the Ghost - "It's a Beautiful Life" (Ace of Base)
14. Max Vernon - "I Kissed a Girl" (Katy Perry)
15. The Bloodsugars - "Self Control (Acoustic)" (Laura Branigan)

For fans of: Toto, Katy Perry, Ace of Base, Phil Collins