Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Morning Shorts: Laura Gibson

Daytrotter has a new session from the incomparable Laura Gibson. These four songs showcase her voice in all its sweet, paralyzing, lonely beauty, and this is especially clear on the rendition here of If You Come To Greet Me lead track "Hands in Pockets". Damn if these don't transport you way way out of your cubicle. Why she isn't bigger is really, truly beyond me.

I've still never seen Hayden live, but Europeans will get a chance when he opens some dates for The National in November. There's a new album sometime relatively soon, and in the meantime he's contributed a new song "Message From London" to the Yer Bird comp Folk Music for the End of the World. You can stream a clip of the song here (oh the tease of a few ba-da-da-das from Hayden!) and buy the record here. It's got a whole bunch of artists I keep meaning to check out - Elephant Micah, Alina Simone, and Nic Garcia included - so I'll be picking this up.

Idolator remembers underrated DC band Unrest's out-of-print Perfect Teeth.

Tiny Mix Tapes gives the new Vic Chesnutt, North Star Deserter, 4 and a half stars:

Admittedly, Chesnutt has been off my personal radar for the last number of years, after I hastily concluded his hit-and-miss albums (like 1998’s Lambchop-assisted The Salesman and Bernadette, which has since grown on me) were something I could do without. Thanks to his latest disc, North Star Deserter, I am not only pleased to be proven wrong, but also ecstatic that I’ve rekindled my on-again relationship with this truly distinctive songwriter.

Scout Niblett continues to burnish her standing as a Cat Power for those who miss 90s Cat Power, but wish she was only a little more manic. She duets with Will Oldham on "Kiss" from the forthcoming This Fool Can Die on Too Pure.

MP3: Scoutt Niblett - Kiss

Monday, August 27, 2007

Murder Mystery

It's hard not to like Murder Mystery's debut album Are You Ready for the Heartache Cause Here It Comes. Retro with a refreshing lack of pretense, the band turn out slice after slice of Yellow Pills-worthy power-pop, low on substance but high on hooks. There's nothing earth-shattering or even remotely original here, but pop-underground fans looking for a skinny tie fix will dig this.

Mostly guitar-driven, as you'd expect, the oddball is "Love Astronaut", an astoundingly catchy New Order-bubblegum mashup that proves mighty difficult to get out of your head.

MP3: Murder Mystery - Love Astronaut
MP3: Murder Mystery - Honey Come Home

Buy at Insound

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Morning Shorts

Today's the day to pick up David Dondero's Simple Love, and I promise you won't regret it.

The Voyces have hit the blogosphere big time. My Old Kentucky Blog features their charming video for "Kissing Like It's Love".

Clem Snide fans will want to check out the new flick Rocket Science. Eef Barzelay did the soundtrack, which features lots of pretty instrumentals with haunting, elliptical arpeggios, some classic Snide, and a few new tunes, including an awesome cover of "Battle Hymn of the Republic", which you can hear on Eef's MySpace. The soundtrack is available on Amazon or iTunes. The movie's pretty good, too. I never knew big-time high school debaters had to talk like Gilmore Girls.

Idolator tipped me off to a heartbreaking feature in the Guardian on the recovering Edwyn Collins, whose "Fifty Shades of Blue" always cheers me up when it spins around on a mix CD that hasn't left my car in a while.

Pitchfork has Gram Parsons doing a really worthy version of "Long Black Limousine" from the upcoming Amoeba reissue.

MP3: Gram Parsons - Long Black Limousine

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Morning Shorts: Dept. of Corrections, Amy Annelle, et al

First of all, thanks to Adam over at RAD for setting me straight: the company is selling skateboards, not surfboards, along with the excellent new Little Wings record Soft Pow'r. Not only was this an error on my part, it throws off my whole Jack Johnson reference, and rest assured that the iff editorial staff is hanging their heads in shame...

In any case, make sure you check out Soft Pow'r; it turns out you can hear the amazing track "Free Bird" over at Spin, so get to it.


Amy Annelle, AKA The Places, is hitting the road in the next month-plus with former Bad Liver Ralph White, winding all around the greater western US and sharing a bunch of stages with the living legend Michael Hurley, among others. Drop that correspondence course in gun repair and get yerself to one of these shows. Check The Places website for updates on shows lacking full info.

8/21 Lubbock, TX, TBA
8/22, NM, TBA
8/25, Centennial, WY, Beartree Tavern (Upland Breakdown: Joe Carducci's (SST Records) mountain maverick music festival. Amy Annelle accompanying Ralph White; with Souled American, Michael Hurley, Michael Hurwitz, Stop & Listen Boys)
8/26, La Porte, CO, Swing Station (Upland Breakdown: same lineup as 8/25!)
8/28, Denver, Sliding Door Gallery (w/ Dang Head and Michael Hurley)
8/31, Salt Lake City, Burt's Tiki Lounge (w/ Michael Hurley)
9/2, Trout Lake, WA, Last Chance Barn Dance (w/ Michael Hurley and special guests)
9/3, Seattle, Tractor Tavern (w/Michael Hurley)
9/5, Astoria, OR, Fort George Pub (w/ Michael Hurley)
9/6, Portland, Laurel Thirst (w/ Michael Hurley)
9/7, Portland, house show TBA (w/ Tara Jane O'Neil)
9/8, Davis, CA, Delta of Venus (w/ Garret Pierce)
9/11, San Francisco, Hotel Utah (w/ Dave Mihaly's Shimmering Thieves)
9/27, Austin, Lovejoy's

MP3: The Places - Just a Bum (Michael Hurley cover)
MP3: The Places - Half-Right (Elliott Smith cover)

Said the Gramaphone has commentary on a Michael Hurley track, "Be Kind To Me".

Pitchfork has the latest Jana Hunter news.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New Release Tuesday: Little Wings

It's not every record label that will sell you a surfboard, but new Marriage Records offshoot RAD is happy to oblige. The imprint of Little Wings mastermind Kyle Field begins with his band's new album Soft Pow'r, and while I've missed the previous discs on K, this one makes me a fan.

Woozily beautiful tunes fill Soft Pow'r, and while the surfboard might lead you to think Jack Johnson, the sound here is thankfully more along the lines of the Radar Brothers, with a bit of Lambchop or doped-up Vic Chesnutt for good measure. Lead track "Scuby" is a happy-sad lament to stick in your late night playlist; even better is "Free Bird", one of the more beautiful tunes I've heard this year, which makes sleepy slowcore almost anthemic. Through it all, Field's vocals are double-tracked and treated just enough to enhance the intimacy, and the arrangements highlight subtle percussion or simple piano to good effect.

Buy the record, and the surfboard, here.

MP3: Little Wings - Scuby


Chicago's Ezra Furman & The Harpoons take an appealingly garagey approach to Dylan/Johnathan Richman homage. Their new album Banging Down the Doors (buy it) is out on Minty Fresh. Beyond "I Wanna Be Ignored", download more songs from their MySpace.

MP3: Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - I Wanna Be Ignored

Longtime iff favorite Mirah returns with yet another tagalong troupe, Spectratone International, for Share This Place (buy it). The whole insect theme, and the pronounced jazziness of the preview cuts don't really excite me as much as a more conventional studio album might, but new Mirah is always welcome.

And for those with inclinations to doomy 90s-era sadcore, Jagjaguwar brings out new Spokane in Little Hours (buy it) and Magnolia Electric Company drop the massive Sojourner box set (buy it) through Secretly Canadian.

MP3: Spokane - Thankless Marriage