Posts tagged ‘Pop’
HAPPINESS IS A LIT FUSE: The Powder Kegs’ new 5-song EP “Empty Side” (2010) is decidedly pop-based, but not in the way you might think. It overflows with Beatlesesque melodies, and soft phrasings. Lyrically, on a track like “Shake Me Down”, it’s easy to see John Lennon singing: “Your world is mapped out on a grid / Where avenues grow long and sidewalks never end / And every place you try to go / You find out that you’ve been there many time before.”
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THE BRIDGE-MAKER: The songs on Sam Amidon’s album “I See the Sign” come in like a cool breeze, his voice soft among an elegant rustle of brass and woodwind, arranged by the talented Nico Muhly. It’s so seamless, Amidon makes these eleven intricate and complex arrangements feel as easy as swinging in a hammock. But the textures within these songs are a departure from the uber-laid back sways of “All Is Well”, Amidon’s second full-length album. Shahzad Ismaily adds his wide world of percussion to “How Come the Blood”, a traditional song about a man who kills his own brother.
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COMING SOON: The Morning Benders won over Bay Area fans and more with two self-released EPs and their 2008 album, Talking Through Tin Cans. Now the band is back with Big Echo, slated for release March 9 through Rough Trade Records. For those in the Midwest, set your dates, as the band makes its rounds for The Vaudeville Mews, in Des Moines, Iowa (one of my favorite venues) on April 9; The Maintenance Shop in Ames, Iowa on the 10th; and at Huckleberry’s in downtown Rock Island, Illinois, on the 11th as guests of Daytrotter. The band is offering a free song, “Promises”, at their website. If you want to see and hear The Morning Benders go old-school, like being transported back to 1950s America with a collection of their best San Francisco buddies, then click here.
The Morning Benders “Promises”
NEW MUSIC ON THE WAY: I still can’t believe this news is flying so low under the radar. The eclectic Marc Anthony Thompson, is ending his long run as alter ego Chocolate Genius Inc., with an album due out sometime this month called “Swansongs”. Chocolate Genius first entered the scene with the gorgeous and melancholic wonder “Black Music” (1988) — featuring a song entitled “My Mom” written about his return home to a mother who was suffering from Alzheimers. It’s still one of the most beautiful songs in music. A shout out to Cristiano Loschi for the update from his Facebook fan page dedicated to Chocolate Genius. If “Swansongs” is as good as his previous albums, which includes “GodMusic” (2001) and “Black Yankee Rock” (2005) — then we’re all set for another masterpiece. There just isn’t anyone out there who makes music like his. Also, from Loschi’s fan page is a photo of the album sleeve, showing Thompson has, once again, brought in friend and guitar great Marc Ribot — who has worked with everyone from Cibo Matto and Elvis Costello to Tom Waits and Joe Henry. — Words, art by David D. Robbins Jr. (Design manipulated from album art)
Chocolate Genius “For One More Look At You” (Album: GodMusic)
NEW VIDEO: Click here to see “Like a Nurse” from “Swansongs”
Tracklisting for “Swansongs” is as follows: 1. Intro (Without a Paddle); 2. She Smiles; 3. Enough Of/For You; 4. Get Out of Here; 5. Like a Nurse; 6. Polanski; 7. Ready Now; 8. How I Write My Songs; 9. Mr. Wonderful; 10. Lump; 11. Sit + Spin; 12. Duded; 13. When I Lay You Down
VIDEO BELOW: Performance of “My Mom” at Sessions at West 54th in 1999.
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 and pretty melodies seem like a beckoning — to where, who knows. This opiate song was released as part of a combo. It’s paired off with a flip-side remix of “A Dictator’s Lament” — a track from their previous album “You Can Have What You Want”. The band is Quever, Graham Hill (Drums), David Enos (keys), and Frankie Koeller (Bass).
Papercuts “White Are the Waves”
SWEDISH EXPERIMENTAL POP: Fredrik have a new sophomore release coming out this month called Trilogi. This Swedish band released the track “Locked in a Basement” (click to play) a few months ago and now they have a second song called “Vinterbarn.” Apparently, it’s a Swedish word for winter children — those born in the cold months. Earlier in December, Stereogum described the band as “baroque pop”. If by baroque they mean Fredrik uses an array of instruments and is dynamic in form — then I tend to agree. It’s a sort of experimental pop. “Vinterbarn” is dark — with dreamy rhythms, ornamented with piano, looped vocals, bells, (and yes, whistles) and layered harmonizing set to a devilishly increasing pace like a horse’s gallop. Here’s a very cool stop-time video for the song.