Infinite Shuffle

April 24, 2011

Outroversion threeplay #3

Filed under: B, Dublin, Lake Worth Fla., Los Angeles, Outroversion, R — assman41 @ 12:01 am

In my latest installment of goodies that I found over at Simon’s site, I give you a band that needs to stop making music, another that already has and one that has yet to put out an official album.

Billy Boy On Poison

When you hear, “On My Way”, the opening track on Billy Boy On Poison‘s 2009 debut, Drama Queen Junkie, you’re immediately sent a few years back in time when the band Jet ever-so-briefly ruled the world.

Billy Boy On Poison – On My Way

However, just like their Australian counterparts, BBOP don’t have much staying power. It quickly becomes apparent that they are just a one-trick pony, churning out glam/garage-rock that conjures up thoughts of bands such as The Subways and Living Things.

Although this five-piece band hails from Los Angeles, at times you would swear that it was borne out of the same scene that begat British rockers the Arctic Monkeys and the Fratellis.

They do try to slow things down on occasion, and do so successfully on the introspective “4 Leaf Clover”. But, aside from a couple of good tracks, this album is a throw-away.

The group, which takes its name from a quote in A Clockwork Orange, is said to be working on a sophomore album. But if it’s anything like the first one, don’t waste your time on it.

The Rocking Horse Winner

I begin this entry on a sad note. After putting out two very solid albums at the turn of the century, The Rocking Horse Winner has since disbanded. But their music lives on, and I shall now attempt to describe it.

Fronted by the soft, angelic voice of Jolie Lindholm, TRHW sounded like a less-rocking Shirley Manson fronting Dashboard Confessional. In fact, Lindholm has sung on several of that emo band’s recordings.

Evoking memories of The Sundays in their heyday — and perhaps the Cranberries without the accent — TRHW deliver emotionally raw tunes that uplift rather than depress, like their emo brethren.

The Rocking Horse Winner – When Songbirds Sing

The Lake Worth, Fla., outfit formed out of the ruins of the band As Friends Rust. Lindholm joined as the vocalist and, after making a split demo, they released their debut State of Feeling Concentration in 2001. They put out Horizon the following spring, but within a couple of years, they had called it quits.

The various band members have since gone their separate ways. In fact, unsurprisingly, guitarist Henry Olmino is now touring with Dashboard Confessional.

Meanwhile, Lindholm is fronting a new band, Popvert, which released its second album in 2009.

You can still hear some The Rocking Horse Winner’s songs on their MySpace page.

And, on a sidenote, the band’s name is derived from the title of a short story by D.H. Lawrence. I actually had to read it in high school and watched the movie. It was an interesting one. You should check it out.

The Riot Tapes

It’s difficult to make a good comparison for The Riot Tapes, mostly because there aren’t any well-known acts out right now that sound like them.

This female-fronted pop-rock five-piece from Dublin are most similar to what you might’ve heard on the radio around the late ’90s and early Aughts.

That sound is most prevalent on their first single, “Photograph”, where they sound a lot like Garbage, with Elaine Doyle playing the role of Shirley Manson.

“Open Eyed Dreams” starts out slow, with Doyle baring her soul about a lost love — I think. And song ends with that late ’90s vibe.

That retro label isn’t meant as a bad thing. The Riot Tapes definitely have modern feel as well, especially on the more electro-based tracks “Sun Keeps Beating” and “Everything Is Local”

The Riot Tapes – Everything Is Local

As of yet, The Riot Tapes have only shared some demos online and have not yet put out an album, but when they do, it should be pretty solid.

You can hear six tracks, including a live one and a remix of “Photograph”, on their MySpace and Facebook pages.

May 9, 2010

Outroversion threeplay #2

Filed under: F, NYC, Outroversion, Sweden, U — assman41 @ 6:01 am

Despite having not checked out the website as much lately, the Outroversion blog is still a gold mine for great new music. Here are three more bands I discovered through the site, including one I probably would rather not have.

UUVVWWZ

This band has pretentious written all over it. The first time I heard UUVVWWZ (pronounced “Double U … Double V … Double W … Z”), I thought it sounded like Belle & Sebastian or Stereolab fronted by a riot grrl. On second listen, it’s probably closer to Deerhoof, which, as far as I’m concerned, is not a good thing.

On its self-titled debut album that came out in July 2009, the band alternates between misguided and annoying. Lead singer Teal Gardner keeps getting in her own way. She and the band have the potential to make some decent music, but instead, she sings grating, bratty vocals over instruments that seem to have no clear path.

But to prove that listening to this album more than once wasn’t a total waste of time, I did sorta like the opening track.

UUVVWWZ – Berry Can

Fine Arts Showcase

One of many bands fronted by Gustaf Kjellvander, this Swedish outfit is unabashedly a post-punk band, through and through.

With Kjellvander channeling the vocal stylings of Ian Curtis and Peter Murphy, The Fine Arts Showcase encapsulate all the best qualities of the early goth sound — including the deep, haunting vocals and the heavy synth beats.

Formed in 2003, the band has churned out four full-length albums, most recently of which was last year’s Dolophine Smile.

Their whole catalog is pretty strong, but these are the first two songs I heard through the Outroversion blog, and they’re still my favorites, by far.

The Fine Arts Showcase – Chemical Girl

Freelance Whales

Of the three bands reviewed in this post, Freelance Whales is the only one I’ve seen mentioned by other sources. The New York City group experimented with a hodgepodge of instruments on this year’s debut album, Weathervanes, and in the end, produced a sound that conjured up Postal Service and Owl City.

What those two acts have in common is that one is a Ben Gibbard side project and the other just sounds like one. Freelance Whales falls into the latter category, creating an alternate universe in which Mr. Gibbard has taken up new instruments, such as the banjo, xylophone and tambourine.

This group is a definite must for anybody who’s still waiting on that never-gonna-happen Postal Service follow-up.

Freelance Whales – Starring

February 7, 2010

Outroversion threeplay #1

Filed under: England, F, NYC, Outroversion, Sweden, T — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Shortly after beginning this blog, I stumbled upon Outroversion, and it quickly became my go-to music blog — especially for stuff from across the pond.

I have since downloaded many an album and track from the site, most of which I haven’t even listened to yet. But during a recent trip home, I had plenty of time to finally delve into my iPod, and here are three solid acts that I probably never would’ve discovered if it weren’t for Simon’s offerings.

Frank Turner

I wasn’t sure of the best way to describe Turner. But then I saw on his Wikipedia page that his music falls into the “folk/punk” category. While those two genres seem pretty disparate, that’s actually a perfect description of the sound on his third and most recent album, Poetry of the Deed.

The first couple songs, he’s sort of introducing himself before he seems to find his rhythm. From Track 3 on, I was reminded of Dexter Holland’s vocals from The Offspring’s single a few years ago, “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?” It’s fitting since Turner considers The Offspring a huge influence and toured with them throughout Europe in 2009.

His songs have a lot of Irish trad/punk/rock vibes, so it’s no surprise he also recently toured with Flogging Molly.

Here’s one of his least punkish songs …

Frank Turner – Sunday Nights

First Aid Kit

The only comparison that really came to mind while listening to this Swedish duo’s Drunken Trees EP was Joanna Newsom fronting the Fleet Foxes. Coincidentally, one of the singers is named Johanna and they cover a Fleet Foxes song on the disc.

Considering my annoyance with Ms. Newsom, that might sound like something of an insult, but it actually works here. Sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg don’t go off into a bunch of crazy-sound-filled vocal solos. They stick to the music and we’re all the better for it.

They just released their first full-length album, The Big Black & The Blue, in late January.

Here’s the song that first got them noticed by Swedish radio stations …

First Aid Kit – Tangerine

fun.

Of the three bands listed here, fun. is the only one I’ve actually seen other music bloggers mention as well.

The trio from New York City has a solid pedigree and is something of a supergroup. fun. formed when Nate Ruess’s band The Format split up and he joined forces with Andrew Dost (Anathallo) and Jack Antonoff (Steel Train) in early 2008.

After listening to the band’s debut album, Aim and Ignite, the only thing I could think of was Mika — for those of you not familiar with him, imagine Freddie Mercury at his most flamboyant.

But upon listening to the disc again, I realized fun. has a pretty full, robust sound, with all three members making notable contributions.

They seem to be at their strongest and most theatrical on this single …

fun. – All the Pretty Girls

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