I’m in a female vocalist mood this week. Stumbled on three very good bands led by females this week. Sambassadeur are a Swedish pop band formed in 2003 in Gothenburg actually in Skövde, a much smaller town in Sweden. Anna Persson has a silky voice with a twinge of attitude. The band are signed to the Labrador label, releasing three studio records. Their third album, European, was released in February 2010. I think I’ll call them The Younger Sibling of The Cardigans with a flair for the Metric, Emily Haines dramatics. Best description I have. “Albatross” is a great track and makes the album download worth the listen.
Jana Hunter, brings spaced out mid-fi, fuzzed out sounds with Lower Dens. Having worked with Devendra Banhart early in her career, Jana cut her teeth with Phosphorescent and CocoRosie. Lower Dens is the resurfacing of Jana, away since late 2007, and she is the first artist to be featured on Devendra’s label Gnomonsong.
Lower Dens is a foursome that co-habitats in Baltimore, though Jana is originally from Texas. Their sound is reminiscent of early 80’s rock, with clean guitars, fuzzy synth and awesome vocals. I won’t place them in the XX category, but they sure do cross over that sonic sound several times on this album. Jana’s voice is a combination of Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey and the gutteral sounds of Fiona Apple.
It’s a miracle or a damn shame that British bands don’t break in the US. So many labels try, but the mainstream American ear is primed for processed drivel. It’s people like Arizona Turk me and our faithful listeners who understand, support and evangelize their favorite Brit rockers. I told the stories about Doves, Travis, etc. etc. etc. etc. but for God’s sake, someone please take Mystery Jets and make them big. They have 45,000 followers on Facebook, three albums and that’s not enough. They need a TV show, a big movie, an iPhone ad, a VW campaign, something. I put Mystery Jets in the UK files as “Yet Another Fantastic Example Of Sunken Atlantic Treasures.” Maybe it’s the trek across the Atlantic, but never-the-less, here is some good old fashion afternoon listening.
Mystery Jets, stormed onto the scene in 2006 from Eel Pie Island. Yes this is a real place, a tiny island on the river Thames and it was a musical haven in the 60’s. In 2010 they introduced Serotonin, their third record, and it’s good. They bring big, rock pop sounds that are complex but don’t suffer from any Northwest echoed vocals. It’s what you expect from a big bad British rock band. It’s heartfelt, and it gets right to the point. It’s synthesized with clap machines and 70’s glam riffs but it quickly delivers Rush type vocals with simple clean British guitar riffs. The 80’s synth is an accompaniment, not a detriment. I say they’re one part The Coral, a dot of Travis, a sprinkle of The Killers, frosted with Geddy Lee vocals. By the way, Mystery Jets have more Facebook followers than Geddy Lee. Go figure.
“Melt” – My favorite track from the new record
How to Dress Well is Tom Krell, a Bon Iverish vocalist that accompanies 90’s R&B beats. A clever sound from a clever man. He is a daytime philosopher from Cologne, Germany and a nighttime DJ who’s created a brand new sound. His vocals are eerie, his sound is familiar but unique. I think you’ll find this album one of your favorites of the year. Love Remains came out on September 21st. Get it here. Think Jodeci with a drop of LL Cool J, a spoonful of Tangerine Dream and a pound of Bon Iver.
I heard the track “The Shore” and thought I was listening to the band The Shore. Totally f’d me up, then I realized, wow this is a great first wave rendition of what was great about post-punk LA, London and New York. Dark, desperate, alone and searching for meaning in music. The Joy Division desire to have music define your death. Then you hear the second coming or as we call The Second Wave of New Wave…no it’s not that electro-clash crap that has ruined dance music, for the most part, but it’s the combination of Interpol and now Chapel Club, tugging at your eye-lids to not dose off and have your eyes doze off to your shoes. It’s not shoegaze Indie Rock, but The Second [New] Wave, the one that makes goth music, cool. The bands that do this well, JJ72, My Vitriol, Death on Wednesday, Interpol, Chapel Club. It boggles my mind that British bands can’t break in the US. Labels literally have no idea or luck in their pursuit to break these artists. Some of our favorite bands hail from the big island, and we’re shocked to see their tour schedule or Billboard sales. I challenge you to find a better band than Chapel Club. Now spread the word and start the fire. Maybe you can make the difference.
I love the track “The Shore” because it’s heart-wrenching, while it’s uplifting. The chorus from these London boys, pull you off your feet, wipes off your Harry Potter prep school coat and keeps the Joy Division Tee intact. It’s meant to be hurt your feelings, but it wins by patching things up at the end. I love when music does that. Thanks again to our own Arizona Turk
Sometimes life does a funny thing. You ask the universe for something and it delivers. I was thinking that I hadn’t heard a band recently that just kicked my ass. A band that changed the way I looked at the day. I also commented a few days ago how the The Fresh & Onlys have officially brought back the SF music scene. Well, now the universe delivered the greatest gift of all. A band that blew me away and they’re from NBD’s homeville, San Francisco. Tamaryn is gazy, airy and most of all, sonically similar to the best album of the 00’s, My Morning Jacket’s At Dawn. Tamaryn met Rex John Shelverton in NYC, they relocated to Rex’s hometown of SF, kicked the goth crap and rooted themselves in a fast forward sound. It’s not as purely brilliant as MMJ’s early work, but it’s damn good. Tamaryn brings her best Mazzy Star and this album, Waves, will be a dominant force for many many years to come. I will even venture to say that Tamaryn could be NBD’s Band of the Year.
“Sandstone” – It’s makes me feel the same as when I heard “Heaven or Las Vegas” by Cocteau Twins
When Arizona Turk gets excited, my ears perk up. He sent me some new tracks from Australia’s finest rockers The Black Ryder. Sitting on an airport Wi-Fi to download three songs is absolute torture, but when they finally started playing, eleven minutes and thirty seconds later, I was in. Three tracks that blast you away, but they all sound completely different. XX/XY with a twist, they have a ton of guest artists and they really rock. Some tracks drone a bit, but the diversity is stunning. I love “Grass” because it really has the BRMC vibe due to the Leah Shapiro and Peter Hayes guest appearances. Oh and if you love Brian Jonestown Massacre with a mix of BRMC, then you’ll love the sounds of The Black Ryder. See them live now with The Cult….
“Let It Go”
miss aimee nash
scott von ryper
archi read (rocker)
miss kimi recor (black flamingo)
miss jules ferrari (los sundowners)
ricky maymi (b.j.m)
leah shapiro (b.r.m.c)
peter hayes (b.r.m.c)
rob potts (hell city glamours)
kate wilson (the laurels/the holy soul)
luke o’farrell (the laurels)
adam edwards (ex-wolf + cub)
graham bonnar (swervedriver)
tim powels (the church)
Awhile back we were on a tear here at NBD talking about the cool SF scene that was emerging. So many cool bands, most of which were featured on our Facebook only days, visit here to see. Bands like Girls, which were Band of the Day #3 for us, or Sonny and The Sunsets have helped rekindle the cool scene here in the Upper Bay and we’re loving it. It’s been awhile since a rock band billowed from the fog. Well The Fresh & Onlys have inspired our turn-tables, iPhones, and Macs here at NBD.
Their vocals are from the new waves first wave, gloomy, dark and eerily cool, because the lyrics are brilliant, think Joy Division with a purpose to live. Their music is twangy, Indie and full of great musicianship. No overdubbing echoes, just twangy blues rock. Their production level has escalated and it’s time for this band to break. I promise these guys are fantastic and you’ll love them. One track and you’ll be hooked.
Ahhh what Austin City Limits brings it takes away. Sweet Tea debuted back in June of 2009 on ACL and it’s been over a year since we’ve heard from them. Friends Alex Maas (Black Angels) and Erika Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards recorded their amazing takes on classic country. A single released earlier this year from Fat Possum included the first single, the studio version of “If I Were A Carpenter,” and the Ray Price classic “Crazy Arms.” Oh Heartless Bastards, please hand Erika back to our good man Alex so we can get an album from these two….PLEASE….listen to the single below and download “If I Were A Carpenter”
Alex Maas – Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
Erika Wennerstrom – Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Jesse Ebaugh – Bass, Pedal Steel
Dave Colvin – Drums
“If I Were a Carpenter” – In their best classic June and Johnny Cash duet form…
Grizzly Bear sonic twins, Gamble House, hail from the heart of Silverlake, CA. Yeah it took Ben Becker’s stint at NYU to create this masterpiece, but the move to LA solidified them as true rock stars. They are rockers at heart, with clean guitars, classic vocals that rival Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear. I am fan, because they are classically California and they maintain their own sound. Yeah they have The Pet Sound, but they pull at your heartstring in a way you don’t get from the other PSers. Ben Becker, Keith Karman, Ben Cassorla and Brian Mclaughlin make up the sound of Gamble House. They deserve to be signed and they deserve the accolades. Listen to “Bonny Doon” only because the song is beautiful and I love that part of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s up there by Boulder Creek and if you have time see a show at The Brookdale. It’s very memorable. See them on tour with Rogue Wave and get these dudes a label deal, they deserve it!!!
Andrea Estella leads the Twin Sister sound. It’s almost a fantastic update on St. Etienne, but minus the Parisian snootiness and whole lot of NY attitude. It’s shoegazing, but you don’t get lost in a wall of sound, it has that St. Etienne kindness that keeps each track moving along melodically. I equate the music to a nice smooth train ride with your head out the window on a warm spring evening. Estella’s voice is unique, but there are times where I say, oh she sounds like….I think you’ll enjoy the music and the Long Island natives deserve your love. PLEASE LISTEN TO “LADY DAYDREAM” !!!!! It’s quite possibly the single of the year.
Udbhav Gupta sitting in a tree.
“Lady Daydream” – This could be the single of the year. I love everything about this song!!!!!
I first stumbled on Keep Shelly in Athens (KSIA) from another BOD Danniel Radall. He shares the same love that I have for the downtempo, electronic mastery that RΠЯ and Sarah P. deliver. They are a XX/XY mystery Grecian duo and they truly call Athens home. Their sound is a blend of hardcore downtempo maestros like Kruder and Dorfmeister and modern day pack leaders like Air. I think you’ll enjoy these unusually warm Fall nights with a little KSIA. Here are two tracks for you to enjoy:
I love José González…bottom-line, he’s inventive, his voice is soft, elusive but pure. He’s made me cry before and his music has been there with me through some pretty amazing moments. I think his music has made those moments amazing. So when I heard that that Junip, his original trio of very talented folksters prior to his Zero 7 fame, were releasing a new single, I couldn’t wait. “Rope and Summit” is exactly what you would expect from José González and his trio of all-stars. It has the perfect blend of acoustic guitars, synth and drums to perfectly set the undertone for José’s voice. JUNIP are amazing in that you can’t help but wonder who provides the music. In most José González tracks you get lost in his voice and the sounds comes second. But in JUNIP you don’t get that. Elias Araya is on drums and Tobias Winterkorn plays keyboards.