Birmingham's Iroha brings supergroup melancholy shoegaze to our ears.
Band of the Day (3.29.11) Iroha
I’ve always been a big fan of shoegaze, mostly the moody kind that fits a rough day. Jesu was a perfect mix of power chord shoegaze filled with walls of electric guitars, slow beauty that is accompanied by slowly paced beats.
Former members of Final, Jesu, Godflesh and Napalm Death have created something melancholic and surprisingly good be it that came from such a mix of metal heads. See we all knew those rock dudes had broken hearts. Hear the brilliant tracks from their new record now….hell stream the whole thing below. Thank you to the Arizona Turk…we’re missing your music. Send some more brother.
Hometown: Birmingham, Midlands, United Kingdom
Members: Andy Swan, Nic Bullen, Justin Broadrick,
Sonic Soulmates: No Joy, New Order
“Last Day of Summer (Jesu Remix)”
I’m a sucker for a pretty voice. Aren’t we all though. If you really think about it, a pretty voice just makes your day so much better. She can make sad moments more uplifting and can make happy moments happier. Fine, I’m softening up in this so called Year of Rock Revival, but what do I care…really. Mechanical Bride’s label Transgressive sent over her lead track this morning and it took me approximately 18 seconds from the moment I hit play to start this post. That’s fast folks, super fast because I think the 25 year old songwriter and self-taught maestro Lauren Doss has something special, a very pretty voice and a history some great music. I doubt I’m the first to write about her sound since she was the owner of 2009’s beautiful folkish Rihanna cover of “Umbrella”. Much like Belleruche last week, Lauren Doss AKA Mechanical Bride, has a voice that really is special. Thank God they coupled her music with some fantastic production, layered self-harmonies, splash drums and a simple piano structure. She’s released some EPs, that have awarded her some critical acclaim, but she still needs our love to gain the fame and riches. Take a listen and spread the word. Her voice is one part PJ Harvey a whole lot of Bat for Lashes and maybe a dash of Björk
Hometown: Brighton, UK
Members: Lauren Doss
Sonic Soulmates: Bat for Lashes, PJ Harvey and Björk
“Colour of Fire” – Soft piano driven tune with beautiful production.
Grab the exclusive stream. ‘Colour Of Fire’ is available to download for free from the Mechanical Bride official site now. ‘Colour Of Fire’ is taken from Mechanical Bride’s debut album ‘Living With Ants’, released June 7th via Transgressive.
Belleruche is was and is our Hummingbird for 2011...GREAT!
Band of the Day (3.23.11) Belleruche
It was 2009 when we went to see Belleruche. We heard good things, but we weren’t sure what to expect. Well we got something incredibly awesome. But time passed and we got busy. So when we saw them at SXSW last week we couldn’t help but take our love and re-post it. If you don’t know Belleruche — First, the DJ spins a intoxicatingly hip but dark backing track. It’s Portishead on crank. Then the vocals are sexy, and Kathrin deBoer of Belleruche pushes her to the top as my favorite female vocalist. The tracks waste no time, they get in and get out. They perfect pop perfection. deBoer is accompanied by DJ Modest on turntables and Ricky Fabulous on bass and guitar (occasionally you’ll find backing vocalists, more decks, cellists and, a typewriter…). I’ve posted three tracks and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll love Belleruche as much as I do. I thank Ed of MudHut for keeping Belleruche at the top of my email inbox. Paid off brother, they kick a$$ and their dusty turntable soul music should be on every NBD fan’s rack.
Hometown: Established in 2005 from London, UK
Members: Kathrin deBoer vocals, DJ Modest on turntables and Ricky Fabulous on bass and guitar.
Sonic Soulmates: xx, Portishead, PJ Harvey, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Christian, Cut Chemist bass lines from Metallica, DJ Modest rivals DJ Shadow and others
“3 Amp Fuse” – PJ Harveyesque and the most recent single from 270 Stories, GOOD!
“Northern Girls” – Released in 2009, quite possibly still my favorite song 2 years later.
Modern day classic soul from Charles Bradley...A hummingbird is waiting.
Band of the Day (3.22.11) Charles Bradley
Born in Gainesville, Florida in 1948 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Charles spent the better part of his childhood living on the streets. This is probably the first time we’ve had an artist make his debut at the youthful age of 63. But as I’ve read many times, age is only a number and Bradley brings a timeless classic to our ears with his new debut record No Time for Dreaming. Soulful, heart-wrenching vocals make you feel as if the 60’s never ended. Charles heals his broken heart on this record and you can hear every painful to healing moment.
Charles is, was heavily influenced by James Brown, having toured for 20 years under the Black Velvet moniker. Through hard times and incredibly strong determination, Charles, down on his luck, was approached by Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records. After several singles, bands disbanding, etc. Charles met Thomas Brenneck, songwriter and guitarist for the Bullets they hit it off and began working together. They released two singles on Daptone under the name “Charles Bradley and the Bullets,” but the Bullets soon dismantled. Charles lost his brother in a tragic shooting, that emotional loss led to the core of his songwriting. Putting words to paper to the microphone, Bradley and Brenneck created a masterpiece with the Menahan Street Band. The album is a beauty and Bradley deserves the love. His SXSW sessions were amazing and I thank Rafi (Tenacious Hand Stamp) and The Marina Machine for this artist rec!
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY (Bushwick)
Members: Charles Bradley, The Menahan Street Band (Leon Michels, Toby Pazner, Nick Movshon, Aaron Johnson, Mike Deller, Daniel Fodder, Dave Guy, Homer Steinweiss, Fernando Velez, Bosco Mann)
Sonic Soulmates: James Brown, Bill Withers, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Tyrone Davis
“The World (Is Going Up In Flames)”
If By Yes is a creative collaboration that is brilliant!
Band of the Day (3.21.11) If By Yes
he buzz from Austin this year centered around last year’s buzz bands like Cults or James Blake. I also saw a ton of Mexican Summer artists’ like No Joy, etc. It was also a hip-hop reunion event with Snoop, De La Soul, etc. What wasn’t obvious was that the female lead is taking over 2011. With bands like Puro Instinct,Gypsy Death and You, Wye Oak, La Sera and many many more. I didn’t hear the buzz from our favorite females which means they need more love. That’s why today we present the incredible If By Yes and their debut LPSalt on Sea Glass, a collaborative project created by two fairly well known indie pop leads. Petra Haden, the vocalist behind the groundbreaking vocal projects Imaginaryland and Petra Haden Sings The Who Sell Out, is Elizabeth Frazeresque with her complex vocalizations and searing falsetto harmonies. Yuka Honda is the electronic wizard behind Cibo Matto, but she’s dabbled in jazz, and hip-hop over the past decade and half in NYC. These ladies and men are accompanied by David Byrne and Nels Cline of WIlco and their debut album is shockingly good.
If By Yes also includes guitarist Hirotaka “Shimmy” Shimizu and drummer Yuko Araki, both long time members of the Japanese band Cornelius. For Salt On Sea Glass, special guests include David Byrne (vocals & lyrics) on “Eliza”, guitarist Nels Cline, and remixes by Keigo “Cornelius” Oyamada. Also…you’ll find Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle/Fantomas/Madlove) on bass, Michael Leonhart on trumpet and Courtney Kaiser on backing vocals.
Buy the debut album on 3.22.11 (My Birthday) here
Hometown: New York
Members: Yuka Honda, Petra Haden, Hirotaka “Shimmy” Shimizu, Yuku Araki and guest appearances from David Byrne and Nels Cline
Sonic Soulmates: Sia, Cocteau Twins, Zero 7, Dead Can Dance
“You Feel Right (Cornelius Remix)” – Beautiful etherial mix.
“Eliza (Featuring David Byrne)” – David Byrne makes this a classic track. Yuka Honda shines here.
James Blake is our modern day soul singer. Saying that, so is Bon Iver. It’s heavy electronic chillwave background instead of, let’s say, Ray Charles’ piano. Nicholas Jaar takes it up a notch by adding some international flare. He was born in NY, then quickly moved to Santiago, Chile. His love of electronic experimentation started at the ripe age of 14 and now he’s perfected the sound on Space is Only Noise. The latest fare from Jaar sounds a whole hell of lot like James Blake a sprinkle of Roger Waters’ Pink Floyd and a dash of Bon Iver. It’s brilliantly produced and it’s what will make 2011 a stand-out year.
Montreal is not just Arcade Fire land...it's home to the coolest band of 2011 The Luyas
Band of the Day 3.15.11 The Luyas
Another Canadian band, and this time it’s an ensemble with three records to their credit. The Luyas performed live for the first time in December 2006, released their first record, Faker Death in August 2007, and now have Too Beautiful To Work , one of the coolest records of the year. Buy it here on Vinyl please. They’re part Stereolab’s cool free form electronic rock/jazz with the simplicity of Architecture of Helsinki and the celebration of Los Campesinos! At times I think I’m listening to a clever Bjork album with Jessie’s vocals, but really I find her vocals to be right in line with our past BOD La Sera. It’s a moody album and the band definitely shows it’s Arcade Fire DNA. If you’re already a fan, then pass the link along, if not let them know how cool they are.
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sonic Soulmates: Los Campesinos!, La Sera, Stereolab, Tortoise and a little Arcade Fire
Trackables: “Tiny Head” – My favorite track from the new record!
Chet where are you? We love these Victoria, BC natives
Band of the Day (3.14.11) Chet
It’s been two years and this vote is more of a call to action. Four albums and Chet has been in hibernation. It was CBC3 that reminded us of their brilliant folk sound. It’s part Devendra, part Nick Drake and a little MMJ. Where the hell have you gone Chet? We’re so sad but yet we hold out hope. Four albums, and two years of hiatus. Their last album Chelsea Silver, Please Come Home was a brilliant record, addressing love lost, heart and soul. From what I know and have read, Canada’s greatest living song writer is a vineyard field hand and postal worker living in rural Western Canada. Ryan Beattie, the lead dog of Chet writes from the heart, with a similar approach to Conor Oberst. He can articulate heartbreak and acceptance of flaws so well. Just listen and help bring Chet back to us!
Spoke with Ryan last evening and he mentioned that their priorities have shifted and Ryan is focused on Himalayan Bear. His second record Attacks The Brilliant Air was just released and it’s quite good. Check it out here:
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Patrick Beattie vocal, organ, guitar
Issac Flaag drum
Ryan Beattie guitar, vocal
Megan Boddy viola, vocal
Thomas Sheilds bass guitar, trippy shit
Matt Skillings piano/wurlitzer, head banging
Sonic Soulmates: Devendra Banhart, Nick Drake, Neutral Milk Hotel
“The Night The Night”
Manchester heroes might just have their moment with Lifeline - The Answering Machine
Band of the Day (3.9.11) The Answering Machine
The boys and one gal from Manchester have been creating music since their days at the University of Manchester, circa 2005. Martin and Pat wrote songs together in their final year at university, and Gemma joined on bass shortly afterwards. Do they qualify for a Laney Boggs award? Yes they do, having worked their tails off touring, releasing several albums and capturing a fairly large following along the way, but still haven’t had their moment in the sun. It’s really the release of Lifeline, that’s catapulted them into a stardom, though it still does irritate me that labels can’t break a British act in the US. Why the hell can’t they. The Answering Machine are part The Radio Dept., the vocal soulmate of Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke and whole lot of bell ringing and melodies from Sparklehorse or Los Campesinos!
Hometown: Manchester, England, UK
Sonic Soulmate: The Radio Dept., Bloc Party, Sparklehorse, Los Campesinos!
Trackables: “Hospital Lung” – A good quick little Bloc Party ditty from The Answering Machine
“Video 8” – The Radio Deptish track
“Lifeline’ – Title track and it captures the best of the band. Great work here.
Ahhhhh I’ve been waiting to present this band for some time. The AZ Turk sent me Wye Oak’s most recent release Civilian I was giddy. We’ve loved them since 2008 and 2010, was their moment. But, today we call Wye Oak day, because Civilian is a brilliant piece of artwork. It’s layered electronic folk sounds, wailing electronic guitars and a catalog. Really, if this XX/XY duo didn’t take their lead from Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot we’d be shocked. The band is part Rogue Wave, part Stars and whole lot of Wilco’s experimental fuzzy rock. Hell, it could be Crazy Horse playing back-up for Stack and Wasner. Wasner has that gruffy Aimee Mann sound and it works with all that noise. I love this record, I love this band and I thank God every day that I have two ears that work….
Buy the new album on vinyl here
Hometown: Baltimore, MD, USA
Members: Andy Stack (drums, keyboards, backup vocals) and Jenn Wasner (vocals, guitars)
Sonic Soulmates: Rogue Wave, Wilco, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Aimee Mann
“Civilian” – Title track and it’s quite good. Already racing up our Hummingbird list. It’s part Wilco, part Rogue Wave and a little Neil Young & Crazy Horse
“Plains” – Bring it down a notch and enjoy the beautiful Wasner
“Holy Holy” – Wilcoesque
“Doubt” – Secret love tracks are my favorite. The album has such great progression and it just closes so beautifully with this track.
I’m sitting on a flight to NY on Virgin America with my headphones on listening to a bunch of new bands. Great stuff coming for this week. I’m in a particularly dreamy mood, writing a business plan and thinking about emotional stuff. iTunes was in a weird mood on the flight and my shuffle played three shoegaze tracks in a row. The first two sounded the same, then Slovak Republic played and I couldn’t help but stop working to discover the track. I put the entire album on and I was impressed. Slow moody shoegaze tracks, coupled with melodic self harmonies, then blasted with drums and soft pianos. My favorite track “Alexandria” is amazing. Digging into the band, I see that they recently changed their name from Slovak Girl to Slovak Republic…okay…I am 50% Slovakian so that does help in today’s selection and an extra bonus point for the name change. Derek Lang leads this self produced, unsigned dreamy band. Czech out their two tracks below, then head over to BandCamp to grab the album.
Hometown: Houston, TX
Members: Derek Lang
Sonic Soulmates: Tamryn, Smashing Pumpkins (Without the Corgan whine), Mathemagic
Must hear tracks:
Collective XX/XY melodies coupled with heavy guitar conjure up Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros, but it’s primarily that resurgence of Garage punk that keeps us interested. We told you it’s the year of rock and we’re not letting up. Arizona won’t stop so why should I! It’s that folky garage rock sound that will help Mind Spiders rise to the top. These boys from Fort Worth, Texas are SXSW faves and they easily draw the comparisons of the late Jay Reatard and they’re on Dirtnap Records. These Garage rockers are so good and they’re new record is good, good, good. Hear three of our faves below:
Buy the self-titled album from Mind Spiders – Mind Spiders on vinyl now
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Members: Mark Ryan, Mike Throneberry, Stephen Svacina, Gregory Rutherford, Daniel Fried
Sonic Soulmates: Jay Reatard, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Dead Ghosts
Must Hear Tracks:
“Don’t Let Her Go” –
“Going Away Tonite” – By far the track that will take them to the top!
RIchmond's Boas is Tyler Newbold and it's electronic bliss
Band of the Day 3.1.11 Boas
It’s the first day of March and after almost 60 days I don’t think we’ve profiled an ambient heavy electronic solo artist. Well Boas is Richmond, VA Tyler Newbold’s solo effort and it’s tough to place him into a genre or a sonic family. It’s one part experimental, one part psychadelica and a whole lot of cleverness. Take Thievery Corporation and place them in the studio with Stereolab. What do you get a gigantic experimental sound that rival the moodiness of Radiohead. It’s a bold statement and comparison, but what do we care, it’s TRUE. Boas can be that good, this is just the start, so follow now!
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Members: Tyler Newbold
Sonic Soulmates: Thievery Corporation Meets Radiohead Meets Broken Social Scene Meets Stereolab
Must Hear Tracks: “A Little Less Familiar” – Heavy beats, high falsettos and a brilliant track
“State of Colliding” – What the hell is this, I happen to adore it. Just get to 4:00 minutes and you’ll be in love
“No Reflection” – Just a disarming amount of layered beats. Wowoowowowo