Posts by: Nicole L. Browner
May 8, 2013
The Dodos announced recently that they’ve signed to Polyvinyl Records — also the new home of local band Painted Palms, as well as Sonny + The Sunsets. Details on their first release with the Illinois-based label are yet to surface, other than this silly teaser video that contains a snippet of an upcoming track:
Since No Color came out in 2011 on Frenchkiss, The Dodos have remained fairly quiet, aside from a light show schedule. Later this month, the band will travel overseas for an Asian tour, including Thailand, Korea, China and Taiwan.
Hear cuts from post-punk band Creative Adult’s new 7″ (release party at Thee Parkside Saturday 5/4/13)
May 3, 2013
The paths of “life after hardcore” bands have been known to go all ways, and Creative Adult is one of those bands taking a pretty interesting stylistic route. Cut from the same fabric as the once hardcore, continually slowing Ceremony, the four members of Creative Adult find themselves together after being in other former hardcore bands, honing in on a sound that combines both the elements of past and future hardcore punk. Their first 7-inch Dead Air played out the slowed down, fuzzed out, but still kicking post-punk vibe, whereas their new EP Bulls in the Yard takes on a Bauhaus-inspired dark wave angle (especially its title track).
The band has seen some considerable recognition so far for the EP, and recently premiered “Tabloid” on Brooklyn Vegan. They will celebrate the new EP with a record release show this Saturday at Thee Parkside with Reno’s Spitting Image, The Videos (a sideproject of members in Ceremony), and Know Secrets (who are playing their first show, with Punch‘s frontwoman Meghan O’Neil on bass).
The a “pre-release” version of the Bulls in the Yard 7″ should be available this Saturday at Creative Adult’s record release show at Thee Parkside, otherwise preorders can be picked up on Run For Cover Records, shipping May 14th.
Creative Adult, Spitting Image, The Videos, Know Secrets
May 4, 2013
May 1, 2013
By the start of Tuesday night’s show at Bottom of the Hill, the turnout was a little concerning. With a bill headlined by Metz (one of Sub Pop’s newer novelty punk bands) and their Canadian tour mates White Lung, you’d think it would have a heavy attendance. But at 9:15, when San Diego surf pop openers Mrs. Magician started their set, the room was maybe a quarter of the way full. By White Lung, it was packed, and rightfully so, for a pretty solid lineup of loud and heavy.
It’s often been argued that Metz falls into a 90s punk/indie revivalist movement, referencing such cohorts as The Men, Future of the Left, Cloud Nothings and Japandroids. All of the theorizing is definitely true, and their self-titled record out on Sub Pop speaks even more truth to that.
Metz throws some extra sandpaper on things, more reverb in their vocals, sludgier bass — and live, they rip. Having gone out of my way to see them twice at SxSW this year, their second Bottom of the Hill performance matched the excessive energy seen in Austin. Needless to say, they had reason to be stoked: during their set, they mentioned how much more crowded last night’s show was compared to their last Bottom of the Hill show back in November.
Probably the coolest thing about last night’s set was that for the first time in probably over 100 shows I’ve seen at Bottom of the Hill in the last 10 years, they turned off the overhead stage lighting and let the band be backlit by floodlights, exposing the color spectrum of the hologram wallpaper along the stage’s back wall. The effect was perfectly fitting, especially for the handful of moshpit-dodging photographers up in front.
April 30, 2013
Is post-psych a thing? If not, Date Palms could definitely qualify it as a term to comprehensibly describe their interdisciplinary sound of drone, Indian classical and ambient. The band’s core is duo Greg Kowalsky, who plays keyboards and electronics, and violinist/flutist Marielle Jakobsons, but currently perform as a five-piece to return with their third LP, The Dusted Sessions, out June 11 on Thrill Jockey. The video for the album’s second-to-last track, “Dusted Down” was premiered this week on Tiny Mix Tapes.
According to the label site (which dives much deeper into this release’s strong art direction and compositional symbolism), “Dusted Down” was “inspired by the Eureka Dunes, where the Kowalsky and Jakobsons watched dust devils form and slowly traverse the sands. The counterpoint formed by violin and bass mirrors that steady, slow roll of wind across the desert.”
The LP is pressed on a limited run of 500 “dusted pink” vinyl with gatefold packaging, proudly designed in the underlying theme of the dustbowl and imagery of the American West. It was recorded by Date Palms’ label mate and local engineer Phil Manley (Life Coach) at LCR in San Francisco; adding to its deep symbolic qualities, it was partially tracked during the annular solar eclipse on May 21st, 2012.
April 26, 2013
Exray’s Jon Bernson and The Fresh & Only’s Tim Cohen “got the band back together” last year to release Window Twins‘ second LP, Wish. The album was first made available by the cassette label Crash Symbols, which has since sold out. Southern California’s Volar Records released a limited run of colored vinyl this month, for sale in their online store.
Window Twins - 'Other Worlds (Uptown Sinclair's TripWave ReMelt)'
In celebration of the vinyl production, we have a Window Twins remix to premiere! The Wish track “Others” received an industrial uplift by Uptown Sinclair — aka Isaac Edwards of Odawas.
Wish continues down the dark, echo-y chambers of experimental, lo-fi folk Bernson and Cohen together explore in their collaboration. Having moments of pure deconstruction, reverby tangents, and even breaking out into somewhat jazzy percussion, the album is a trip, for sure. It is the follow-up to Window Twins’ debut LP I’m This Tall City, which was released in 2009 on Howells Transmitter.
Review & Video: On experiencing The Postal Service’s ‘Give Up’ a decade after it was one’s favorite album @ Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, 4/10/13
April 11, 2013
When The Postal Service released their only album, Give Up, a decade ago in 2003, I was just getting my driver’s license. It quickly became the only album in my car, a fitting choice as its songs lyrically validated everything I felt as an emotional 16-year-old. Regardless of one’s age, so many people are still tied together by Give Up, with many viewing it as a seminal coming of age album or their soundtrack to young love. Ten years later, anyone who didn’t see the band in 2003 is now being offered the first chance to see these songs performed live.
Last night, The Postal Service played their second show in nine years at the Robert Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis, where I attended college. I left San Francisco early to beat traffic and paid a visit to the local record store to kill time. I was there alone, browsing the “Used New Arrivals” section (finding a Mikal Cronin LP in there!), and who walked in, but a young man clad in undersized running gear and clear-rimmed glasses: Will Wiesenfeld (Baths)! As I continued on through the record stacks, I asked myself: should I mention to him that after SxSW and Treefort Music Fest this will be my fourth Baths show in less than a month, and thank him for favoriting all of my tweets about it?
Instead, I kept browsing, contemplating the rationale of the mbv LP being sold for $44.95, when Ben Gibbard, Jenny Lewis, Jimmy Tamborello and Laura Burhenn walked into this hole-in-the-wall record store with barely a corner section of records. I remained the only person in the place that wasn’t playing a sold-out show at a 1,800-person concert hall, besides their manager. Needless to say, 16-year-old me was starstruck.
The show itself was more incredible than imagined — infinitely more than an expected plug-and-play, run-around-the-stage-and-dance-type of performance of The Postal Service’s 15-odd songs — if solely due to the level of musicianship its members possess (and which carries over outside their collaboration). Lewis and Gibbard established a strong on-stage connection, riffing off of each other on songs with dual guitar parts like “Recycled Air,” or the playful duet, “Nothing Better.” Gibbard took to playing live drums on “This Place is a Prison,” while Lewis added electric snare on “Sleeping In” and “We Will Become Silhouettes” via a drum pad. Lewis recorded vocal loops before commencing a few songs, and at one point starting screaming into her guitar pickups, charged with the raw energy one might feel while playing in a band that hadn’t been on stage much in the last decade.
April 1, 2013
On March 26th, NYC’s Caveman continued on their SxSW-induced tour with a headlining performance at the Independent with Portland’s Pure Bathing Culture and local opener Steakhouse. Although not completely full, which can be forgiven due to the fact that it was a sleepy Tuesday night, Caveman delivered both their new and old songs in an equally polished manner.
Caveman’s follow up to their incredible first LP is now streaming on NPR, and will be officially released tomorrow (4/2/13) on Fat Possum. Caveman is a solid successor to Coco Beware. The first record’s strengths are really simple: consistency and a super dialed-in sound characterized by soundscapey guitar parts, tight song structures, and vocal melodies that linger long after the songs end. The first single on Caveman — “In The City” — demonstrates the more synth-heavy direction the band is taking, but it doesn’t stray far from the clues dropped on the first record.
It’s been an interesting run for Caveman so far. Being one of the few bands that truly felt like a “discovery” at CMJ in 2011, they’ve matured as a live band incredibly early, as if they’d been together at least twice as long. Their confidence during Noise Pop’s SxSW day party this year, despite playing in a small sweaty room to a bunch of slightly attentive drinkers, showed promise that the supreme qualities of this band are further blooming with the new songs. “Over My Head” was probably the biggest shocker – singer Matty Iwanusa ditched his guitar and the floor tom he usually switches between, taking only the mic for a soulful, slowed down ballad with fuzzy synth, melodramatic reverb and tranquil 3-part harmonies. He did it again at the Independent, with repeated charm.
If there are any areas to improve, my claim would be that Caveman is still just scratching the surface of a potentially higher dynamism that could be achieved between all the talent in the band. The guitar parts are creative, but leave you feeling a little underwhelmed at times. You want to buy them a round of whiskey shots and tell them to let loose a little, maybe extend one of their songs an extra couple of minutes. At this point it’s acceptable; if the confidence is there, surely they can develop some more energy down the road.
Overall, Caveman will be on heavy rotation this year as long as the volume is turned all the way up, exposing all of its mesmerizing subtleties.
March 29, 2013
B. Hamilton funded the pressing of his first full-length Everything I Own is Broken last year, and returns with a new EP titled Stupid as the Sun, due out in late April. Here’s the title track off of the album, an extended delivery of raspy, angered lines and quick riffs over the even textures of new drummer, Tyler Corelitz (Man/Miracle).
Corelitz joined Ryan Christopher Parks on the recording of the EP, along with Andrew Macy (Aimless Never Miss, Pale Blue Dot), Joel Robinow (Howlin’ Rain, Drunk Horse, Once and Future Band) and Eric Kuhn (Silian Rail, Eric and Erica, Michael Musika). It was recorded with Adam Myatt (James & Evander, Pale Blue Dot) at Sharkbite Studios in Jack London Square.
B. Hamilton, Eight Belles, Joel Robinow
Friday May 29, 2013