Once a month we look back on the stuff we wrote that got the most attention. We don’t do any special weighting for items that appeared later in the month, or anything fancy like that. These are simply the things that received the most views last month, according to our stats. If an item carries over from last month’s chart, its prior rank appears in parentheses.
We covered the reunion of one of Chicago’s favorite bands, The Blacks, in a couple of original video features (documentary, live return) in 2006. Now it looks as though bassist and namesake Gina Black has a new project with Chicago multi-instrumentalist Marshall Hanbury Jr. The result is a collection of lovely acoustic numbers heavy on harmonies and simple production called Pinstripe 45s. Hanbury has a great sense of melody and his and Black’s voices mingle into a lovely tone that sounds more like one complex sound than two that compliment each other.
There’s a good bit of traditional folk rock leanings in there with hints of Dylan, Donovan or Bonnie & Delaney, but it’s not simple rehashing or revisioning of late-60s/early-70s folk rock (as much as I love that too). There is something decidedly contemporary about these songs, even if they have one foot firmly planted in the past. And isn’t that exactly what you want from a folk singer?
College bands are the best. Some of my all-time favorite groups were formed in the basements and public areas of dorms. That their reach rarely extends beyond campus is irrelevant to those who partake in the excitement of watching your friends create music and magic amid the sweat and alcohol and sexual possibilities of youth. College bands are the best.
Lightning Love hails from Ypsilanti, which Michigan natives will tell you means they are either your average students from Eastern Michigan University or broke students from neighboring University of Michigan. Their quirky—sometimes self consciously so—approach to indie rock captures all the great qualities of a great college band with self-referential lyrics, ironic stylings, and DIY promotion. The difference being that their songs are at least as catchy as any current indie darlings (I’m looking at you, Ting Tings).
The question is will they stay together post-graduation and will they move to a city that embraces their brand of cuteness rather than crush it into industrial dust and dismiss it as youthful distraction? In other words…will they take junior management jobs in Dearborn or open for Where’s Fluffy in New York?
Has the disappointment over the last couple of Wilco albums turned you off of the band for good? Or are you looking forward to seeing what they come up with next? Despite some quibbling over the band’s recent directions, we still definitely fall into the latter camp. Gluttons for punishment? Not really. We all believe that Jeff Tweedy is a great songwriter; we just want him to loosen up a little.
Looks like we won’t have to wait much longer to find out. A yet to be titled album is “currently scheduled for late June” on Nonesuch Records.
Jim Scott and the band spent the last few weeks mixing in Jim’s studio in Valencia, California and here’s a list of song titles spied on the reels — note this is not necessarily complete and not in sequence. Deeper Down – Conscript (aka I’ll Fight) – One Wing – Solitaire – Wilco (the song) – Country Disappeared – Everlasting – Bull Black Nova – Sonny Feeling – You and I
Rumors and blogs regarding a guest appearance on that last track are, amazingly, quite true. Feist does indeed lend a great vocal to You and I. Other details will emerge in the coming weeks.
There may be no other musical sub genre I love more than the neo-psyche folk rock inspired by the ocean waves and grainy film of David Crosby macking chicks in a Big Sur hot tub. Maybe it’s my combined fascination with 12-string guitars and Charlie Manson (who is getting old, dig his recent mug shot-ed.) but there’s something about that wigged out feeling you get from the sound of blissed out chicks in miniskirts and Squaw fringe chanting and singing behind some freaky dude in a jean jacket. It’s my bag, man.
Enter Eagle Winged Palace, the latest in a line of those following in Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe‘s wandering footsteps. Leaning more on the harvest golden tint of things than Anton’s penchant for violence, Eagle Winged Palace is no less spooky. Just because Squeaky Fromme is smiling doesn’t mean she won’t twist the knife in your belly.
Hand of Doom, the debut EP from Los Angeles’ Eagle Winged Palace is available today from Park the Van Records.
I love me some Gorillaz. I’ve been a fan of Damon Albarn‘s music since the early 90s when Blur was still mistakenly associated with “shoegazing” and “madchester” by music rags when in fact they were creating something entirely different and uniquely British.
Blur crumbled (and are now slated to reform) and Albarn flew off in a variety of directions. The most commercially successful is the fictional cartoon pop band Gorillaz he formed and fronted with Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl. They’ve gone on to sell some 11 million albums and inspire pasty white English kids to grind they hips like krunked up Souljah Boys.
Now comes a documentary on the band and their following. According to the press release, “Bananaz is an un-sanitised, free-wheeling documentary film, taking down the virtual walls of Gorillaz in an intimate, honest and often hilarious account of the working relationship between Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett and their extraordinary creative process.”
The film will debut online on April 20, prior to the film’s subsequent theatrical release. (Secret: You can also catch a special screening at the Soho Apple Store in New York TONIGHT, March 24, 2009 at 6:30 PM. Shhhhh!)
Much of the press around Elephant Micah seems to be about how there is so little press around Elephant Micah. I can tell you from being in bands around which there was little press that it is nothing to brag about.
What Joe O’Connell, under the name Elephant Micah, has in spade that other no-namers don’t is truly heartbreaking songs. It’s slow, it’s mournful, it’s deep and brooding and it’s pretty as all get out. If it were a character in an indie film (which is the only film Elephant Micah would be in because…you know…nobody knows about him), he would most likely look like Emile Hirsch and want to talk to you all night about how great your mom is.
Elephant Micah’s Exiled Magicians will be available April 7 from Carrot Top and directly from Third Uncle Records.
I grew up in the Midwest. I know how boring and awful winter can be. I know what it means to hole up in your basement for months on end, drink, and bang away on a guitar until your fingers are calloused and numb. There’s a reason the Replacements are a product of Minneapolis.
The Most Beautiful Losers hail from Canton, Ohio and have clearly spent some time chugging whiskey, banging on guitars, and listening to the Mats. If they tour with GLONO faves Two Cow Garage then you might as well lock your liquor cabinets now.
There was a time in the early 90s when the Pacific Northwest was rotten with bands like The Gary. A certain amount of angst, a certain measure of attitude, and a DIY approach that prefaced today’s proliferation of bands with something to say (and the means by which to say it), if not something substantial to say.
The Gary is a throwback, and I don’t mean that as a slam. They proudly list bands from Touch & Go, Dischord and Drag City among their influences and that’s just being honest. I have a feeling we’re entering a new era of appreciation for the bands that pioneered grunge and The Gary might be leading the charge.
I have a thing for buzzy, reverb drenched guitar tones. It creeps me out in a good way. Electric Black also creeps me out in a good way. Lead singer Johnny B. sometimes plays a little too close to Tom Waits, but is that such a terrible thing? I mean, we all have our influences and if you’re going to wear them on your sleeve then Waits looks good with anything. Electric Black isn’t just another knock-off though and their sonic palette seems to pull as much from early 60s electric blues and psycho-garage as Frank’s Wild Years.
From the band’s EPK: “Out of the sentiments of Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmie Rodgers, and Woody Guthrie, in conjunction with the poetic license of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bukowski, and Pablo Neruda comes a new Experimental Blues Sound, self-proclaimed ‘American Gypsy Music.'”