DENTON DARLING | Sarah Jaffe

Words and art by David D. Robbins Jr. New album “Suburban Nature” out digitally April 6, 2010; in stores May 18. (Design incorporates photos taken by artist Melanie Gomez, and others.) A CLOSER LOOK AT SARAH JAFFE: Sarah Jaffe’s first record was a six-song masterpiece, titled “Even Born Again”. In 2008, I was so compelled…

UNDERWATER LOVE | Coyote Clean Up

LIQUID LUST: “Double Trouble Do Do Bubble” is a groove-saturated, electronica and R&B-influenced spell of fuzzed-out aquatic love. Coyote Clean Up released its massive 23-song gem online for free. This album is for lovers of chill house-styled trip-outs, with echoed vocals that make you want to get stomach-to-stomach on the dance floor. We’re not talking…

ON THE VERGE | Mesita

MELODY MAKER: Why stop the one-man band vibe now, eh? Mesita is the project of a 21-year-old guy named James (a self-described paranoid about throwing his full name out there in digital-land), who records music in his Littleton, Colo. basement. He uses a laptop hooked up to what he calls a “slightly broken” Roland digital…

BOY WITH THE YELLOW BALLOON | Twin Shadow

IT’S BROOKLYN, BABY: There are a number of trends going on here. First, the Brooklyn music bonanza is in full effect. (Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Battles, School of Seven Bells, Dead Leaf Echo, TV on the Radio, Glass Ghost, The Antlers and now Twin Shadow). Second, the moniker is officially back. Third, a number…

UNIFIED FIELD THEORY | Massive Attack

WELCOME TO HELIGOLAND: Trip-hop’s biggest studs, Massive Attack, are back with their first LP in seven years, “Heligoland” — named for an island situated in the North Sea. The island is known for being a bomb-testing ground for the British Royal Navy after World War II. “Heligoland” (release date Feb. 9, 2010) feels like the…

BY ANY OTHER NAME | Caribou

HOLDING ITS WATER: I first heard Dan Snaith (aka Caribou) under the stage name Manitoba — through his wildly inventive track called “Skunks”. (Right click, “open link in new tab” to hear song.) That song clanked, smashed, and stormed like a runaway train teetering on disaster. Cymbals clashed off rhythm, a trumpet squealed with delight,…

TANTALIZING TRIO | The Living Sisters

NEW SCHOOL GOES OLD SCHOOL: Okay, so they’re not really sisters. Los Angeles-based Eleni Mandell, Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Inara George (The Bird and the Bee) formed the band The Living Sisters — and plan to release their album, “Love to Live” on March 30th, 2010. This trio creates sweet harmonies, lullabies, country-soul and…

RAW POWER | Scout Niblett

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: Scout Niblett’s upcoming release, “The Calcination of Scout Niblett”, is as raw as a skinned knee. Like P.J. Harvey on “Dry”, she feels comfortable to let loose of any pretense. Restrain and sense be damned. But this album is less “Sheela-Na-Gig” and more “Victory” or “Happy and Bleeding” — snaking it’s way…

DARK SOUL | Gil Scott-Heron

HE’S BACK: Gil Scott-Heron says on his new album, “Being blessed is not  just being able to float on air. I’m saying …. if uh, you gotta pay for things you’ve done wrong … uh … I’ve got a big bill comin’ … at the end of the day.” Scott-Heron is a man who has…

DAYTROTTER | Brazos

FREE MP3s: Our friends at Daytrotter have recorded Brazos — a band I have been enjoying for months. The music website posted five live tracks, four from Brazos’ album Phosphorescent Blues and one previously unreleased song entitled “Interlocking”. Listen to the track below, then click on the illustration (by Johnnie Cluney) above to take you to Daytrotter,…

A WOMAN OF SHOES | David Byrne & Fatboy Slim

Leave it to former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne to come up with what is one of the more bizarre ideas for an album I’ve ever heard.  Byrne collaborates with Fatboy Slim on a 2-disc, 22-song concept album about former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos. Huh? The album is entitled “Here Lies Love” (release date…

BELOW THE SURFACE | Phantogram

EARFUL OF DIAMONDS: You may not know what they’re called, but you’ve probably seen a phantogram before. A phantogram is an optic distortion that works on how the eyes use perspective to interpret depth-of-field, changing 2-D images into 3-D. I’m guessing Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, of the band Phantogram, view their music in a…

TRANSFERENCE | Spoon

A CLOSER LOOK AT SPOON Artwork & Words by David D. Robbins Jr. © Album: Transference •  Release Date: Jan. 18, 2010 (US) /19th (EU) (Right click on song names, open in new tab to see YouTube videos.) It’s time for a Spoon retrospective … When Spoon released its debut full-length LP Telephono, in 1996,…

WEIGHT TO HER WORDS | Sarah Winchester

Sarah Winchester is the same songstress you may have heard singing in the band “A Weather.” She’s released a 5-song set of demos entitled “Northeast Kingdom”. There’s something enchanting about Winchester’s song-writing and the way she staggers her lines in the title track, “Northeast Kingdom”. It’s as if each sentence fragment stops, inhales, and then…

JULY FLAME | Laura Veirs

TAKE A BITE: Laura Veirs’ newest album is named after a variety of peach, with the tint of the album feeling just as sun-drenched and warm. It sounds as if  the Portland, Ore. native is feeling at home. Her music has taken a turn from the tumultuous topics and wild sounds of 2007’s Saltbreakers to…

THE SOUL IN STRINGS | Papercuts

CHARMED, I’M SURE: The Papercuts’ song “White Are the Waves” is awash in lush synth-strings that roll over a stuttered tom beat, fuzzy guitar and fever-dream vocals. Jason Quever, the lead singer, does an intricate job of half-whispering over the instrumentation in just the right way — to produce a hypnotically-seductive popish pillow-song. Its delicate…

LOOK OUT WORLD | The Go Find

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: The guitar line reminds me of  Thom Yorke’s “Black Swan”. The overall sound is reminiscent of The xx’s “Crystalised”. This is a very cool track created by the band, The Go Find. Belgian singer Dieter Sermeus and his band are releasing the LP  Everybody Knows It’s Gonna Happen Only Not…

LEAVING THE LIGHT ON | Joey Kneiser

THE INTIMATE SONGSMITH: What a mind Joey Kneiser has. He’s a troubadour. He’s a rural reveler. A wanderer. A beautiful observer of things. A storyteller of the first order. In the song “The Big Ocean” — he describes one character as the kind of man who “could con a flood into thinking it needed rain.”…

EAT THIS PEACH | The Shape of the Earth

GOOD OLD-FASHIONED FUN: Sometimes indie rock is just that — good old rockin’ fun with heavy hooks, clear vocals and a style without affectation. That’s the three-piece California band, The Shape of the Earth, on their new EP entitled “Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?” It’s a title that should perk up the ears of…

HEADPHONE HEAVEN | Lusine

NO GRAVITY: Maybe this is the kind of music we’ll all be listening to in the future. (Along with Nosaj Thing, This Binary Universe and Lullatone.) It will be a future where all sex occurs underwater (using special breathing devices and weight control functions) — with only the aquatic silence accompanying our ocean-muted groans. Or maybe we…

THE HIGH ROAD | Broken Bells

NEW TRACK: It’s safe to say Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) is all about creating good music. In fact, the last time Burton combined with James Mercer, the lead singer of The Shins, it was for a song on this year’s album “Dark Night of the Soul” — which didn’t get officially released due to…