Infinite Shuffle

October 17, 2013


Filed under: C, Scotland — assman41 @ 1:31 pm

Not too long ago, I wrote about the recent trend of bands using monikers that were difficult to search for online — BOY, Girls, Women, The Men.

The band CHVRCHES could have had a similar issue, but they purposefully used the Roman V instead of a “u” in their name so as not to get confused with actual churches during searches.

That’s not exactly reason enough to trumpet the band — although it’s close. Thankfully, its debut album is filled with catchy songs that need to be appreciated.

The Bones of What You Believe was released late last month to much critical praise. The group’s main sound isn’t anything new — female vocals on top of a ton of synths. The thing that separates CHVRCHES from the rest of the pack is Lauren Mayberry, the siren who dominates every track on the album.

Whereas many of their contemporaries — such as The Naked and Famous, Cut Copy and Shiny Toy Guns — bury the vocals under synths and production effects, CHVRCHES put an emphasis on the vocals.

The trio is the latest export from Glasgow, and they’ve been slowly building buzz since forming in 2011. A breakout set at SXSW and opening slots for Depeche Mode and Passion Pit were followed by the release of the Recover EP this past March.

The full-length album is filled with single-worthy tunes. In addition to the above two tracks, other notables include “Recover”, “Gun” and “By the Throat”.

The group is on a lengthy tour with most of the shows overseas. It will make a swing through the U.S. in November but only in the southern half of the country.


August 14, 2012

125 – Django Django

Filed under: D, England, Scotland — assman41 @ 2:23 am

If you and I have ever had discussed music for any period of time, chances are that I came off as a pretentious, know-it-all indie snob. I don’t mean to act like such a prick, but I tend to be pretty passionate about the music that I love, and the snark just kinda happens.

I’m well aware that my knowledge of music — and musicianship — is very limited, and my taste usually doesn’t jive with that of most people I encounter. As for this blog, one of my main missions is to share good, new (or newish) bands with anyone who happens to stumble upon the site.

And occasionally, I’m willing to put aside my feelings and write about a band that I’m not necessarily keen on but think others with similar tastes might enjoy.

And that brings me to Django Django.

The above track is the first single off the self-titled debut from this Edinburgh-bred, London-based quartet. Defying all labels and belying any influences, these lads mix electro, psychedelia, tribal percussion and a whole host of other sonic blurs into a wall of sound that is definitely an acquired taste.

I first discovered the group a month or so ago via And Pluck Your Strings. The Aussie-based blogger considered the album to be among the best of the year thus far.

Obviously, I don’t concur. But you can be the judge.

May 30, 2010

29 – We Were Promised Jetpacks

Filed under: Scotland, W — assman41 @ 12:01 am

This review mostly came about because I recently had one the band’s songs stuck in my head for most of a day, even though I hadn’t heard it in several weeks or even months.

That’s the sign of a great song, and, clearly, “Quiet Little Voices” — the seventh track and first single off of We Were Promised Jetpacks‘ debut album, These Four Walls — is a great song.

I first heard about We Were Promised Jetpacks through NPR’s Song of the Day, when they featured the aforementioned single about a year ago.

I immediately fell in love with the song but couldn’t find anything to download initially. So they were pushed to the backburner until my friend, Scott, started praising them and suggested we see them in concert.

We saw them at the Empty Bottle in Chicago in mid-October along with fellow Scottish bands Brakesbrakesbrakes and The Twilight Sad and even hung out with them a little after the show. They seemed like a great bunch of guys, and I hope to see them again when they swing through the Windy City in a couple months.

As for their music, they sound like a mix between The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit, all of whom are on the same label, FatCat Records.

Some other good songs off their debut include “Moving Clocks Run Slow”, “It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning”, “Ships With Holes Will Sink” and “Short Bursts”.

Earlier this year, they released a five-track EP, The Last Place You’ll Look, which includes two songs from their debut album.

The band just announced some dates for another North American tour. Do yourself a favor and check them out in person.

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Moving Clocks Run Slow

April 11, 2010

23 – Frightened Rabbit

Filed under: F, Scotland — assman41 @ 12:01 am

My first two memories of the band Frightened Rabbit both occurred while sitting at my desk at work a couple years ago. The first came while I was listening to my old, portable XM player and the song “Good Arms vs. Bad Arms” came on. I immediately liked it and took note of the band who sang it.

Then, within a day or two — it might’ve actually been later that night — a friend called and mentioned wanting to see the band in concert. Even though I’d only heard the one song, I figured it was all a sign that I needed to go to the show.

I saw them at Double Door in Chicago — my friend actually had to miss the show, but I was accompanied by a couple lady friends, so it was his loss. They opened for French Kicks, but in my mind, Frightened Rabbit was the best band on the bill. I ended up picking up a signed copy of the group’s debut album, Sing the Greys, to go along with my then-recently burned copy of their follow-up, The Midnight Organ Fight.

Frightened Rabbit released its third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, last month, and it’s a continuation of their signature fast-slow, soul-baring Scottish rock.

I recently began listening to, and a common song element I’ve seen is “repetitive melodic phrasing.” That’s a pretty apt description of Frightened Rabbit’s tunes. Their entire catalog is full of songs that seem to have been written with the soul purpose of getting the choruses stuck in your head.

According to Pandora, similar artists include Band of Horses, The Decemberists, The Shins and Modest Mouse — so you can see why I like them so much. But, personally, I think they sound most like one of their Scottish brethren, Twilight Sad.

Here’s how Heather Phares of All Music Guide describes the band on Pandora:

With each release, Frightened Rabbit’’s music grows by leaps and bounds: they offered humble, moody folk-pop on Sing the Greys, which they expanded into searching rock on Midnight Organ Fight. On Winter of Mixed Drinks, they focus and polish Organ Fight‘’s epics — and add a healthy dose of optimism.

It’s clear that I don’t have that polished of an ear. My critique of Frightened Rabbit is that it seems like they only have about two or three songs in their repertoire, and they’ve just kept repeating them over three albums now. But it’s tough to hate on the band, because any time I play their music, any contempt I may have quickly melts away.

Head over to their MySpace page and listen to “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”, their catchy first single off Mixed Drinks. They have a few other songs there for your perusal.

As for me, the song that first introduced me to the band is still my favorite …

Frightened Rabbit – Good Arms vs. Bad Arms

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