Infinite Shuffle

October 25, 2010

48 – The Drums

Filed under: Brooklyn, D — assman41 @ 2:29 am

On the surface, the sounds emanating from The Drums’ self-titled debut full-length album are all poppy and synthy. But if you listen closely, you can definitely hear a post-punk sensibility that borrows from such forebears as The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen.

Additionally, there’s a little taste of early punk and ’50s-style surf-pop thrown in.

Released June 7, this 12-track album is perfect summertime fare. Most of the songs are fast and free and would go well while hanging out on the beach — especially the aptly titled “Let’s Go Surfing”, which briefly samples the old kids’ tune “Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop” and includes a whistling intro that calls to mind Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks”.

Not all the songs are this peppy. Toward the end, the band slows things down on “Down By the Water” and “It Will All End in Tears”. The former actually seems to channel the Beach Boys’ “Sloop John B”.

In regards to the band’s background, The Drums are a four-piece from Brooklyn. Founding member and vocalist Jonathan Pierce was formerly the leader of Elkland, which put out a strong debut album (Golden) in 2005 before disbanding a year later.

The Drums have received a lot of critical praise during the past year and have been touring with several “It” bands from England. They recently toured the United States but are currently overseas.

To hear more from The Drums, visit their MySpace page or check them out at RCRD LBL and download some tracks, including my personal favorite, “I Felt Stupid”.


October 17, 2010

47 – Best Coast

Filed under: B, Los Angeles — assman41 @ 12:01 am

The band Best Coast first entered my field of vision early in my recent vacation, while I was browsing an Urban Outfitters in suburban St. Louis. The store’s music section was very small, and there was only a couple of actual CDs on display, so it wasn’t too hard for the postcard-looking cover of their debut LP, Crazy For You, to catch my eye.

Considering UO has already earned my respect with its musical tastes, I figured this album was probably worth picking up. But I wasn’t going to buy sound unheard, and since there was no listening station to be found, I walked away but kept it in the back of my mind.

A few days later, before leaving my friend’s abode to experience Portland some more, my e-mail lit up with a Best Coast selection on NPR’s Song of the Day. Two points for Best Coast.

So, by the time I got to Jackpot Records later that day and saw the album in the listening station, I made sure to give it a whirl.

It’s very reminiscent of the girl groups of the ’50s and ’60s — except that it’s just one girl singing this time. And there’s hardly any production value whatsoever — rather than lo-fi, think no-fi.

That being said, it’s not too bad.

If Best Coast sounds familiar to groups such as The Vivian Girls or Dum Dum Girls, that’s because the drummer is Ali Koehler, who joined the group in July after leaving the aforementioned Vivian Girls.

The band was formed by songwriter and frontwoman Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno. It went through a couple of drummers before landing on Koehler.

In addition to putting out the album in July, Best Coast has released three EPs and several singles since 2009.

To hear more of their stuff, check out their MySpace page. And keep tabs on their goings-on by following their blog.

October 10, 2010

46 – The Megaphonic Thrift

Filed under: M, Norway — assman41 @ 12:01 am

The Megaphonic Thrift, a four-piece from Norway, conjure up thoughts of Dinosaur Jr. and Built To Spill, falling somewhere in between twee-pop and the distorted, fuzz-rock of Sonic Youth. One contemporary that definitely comes to mind is the early work of fellow Scandinavians The Radio Dept.

The group has been together for a little while but didn’t release anything noteworthy until the past year. Last October, they dropped the six-track EP A Thousand Years of Destruction, followed in March by their first full-length, Decay Decoy.

I’ve listened to each about four or five times in the past couple weeks, and they’ve really grown on me. I first discovered the band on RCRD LBL’s Oya Festival playlist.

Other than that song, there are few standout tracks. Mostly, The Megaphonic Thrift is perfect background music — not necessarily chill-out music, what with all the distortion and guitars, but music to work to.

Between their MySpace and Facebook pages, you can hear nine different songs, including my favorite, “Dragons vs. Dust”.

October 3, 2010

45 – Jaill

Filed under: J, Milwaukee, Wisconsin — assman41 @ 12:01 am

I’ve been putting off doing a review of Jaill, mostly because I’ve had a hard time thinking of an apt description for their sound. That’s because they are influenced by multiple different scenes, spanning several decades of the rock spectrum.

Most prominently, Jaill does a good job of channeling the ’60s pop sound — specifically the British Invasion vibe, even though they’re four guys from Milwaukee. Occasionally, they’re also reminiscent of the garage/surf rock of that era.

But they do all this through a modern frame of reference and include some of the lo-fi ethos of the early ’90s. The description they give in their own bio is pretty spot-on.

Up-tempo, guitar-driven twang-twee with punk attitude … disarmingly cheerful at surface level. But, dive into the lyrics and things get weird. Jaill hooks the ears with insistent, upbeat pop and twanged-up garage elements, which grow deliciously darker with further investigation.

I occasionally thought lead singer Vinnie Kircher’s vocals reminded me of the leader of the Cold War Kids, especially on the song “The Stroller”.

True to their early forebears, few of the songs on their second album, That’s How We Burn, crack the 3-minute barrier, which makes the 11-track disc go by quickly. It’s like a shot of pop-rock to get you through the day.

I’ve already listened to it about 10 times since first discovering the album at a couple of record stores while vacationing in Portland and Seattle.

The fact that the band is signed to Sub Pop Records should be reason enough to pick up the album.

Head over to their MySpace page to check out a few of their songs, including a trio from their debut album, There’s No Sky (Oh My My).

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