LA’s Peach Kings are our new favorite band. The joyful slow roll of “Easy” will melt you instantly. Do not sleep.The Peach Kings – Easy
California-based, Nick Waterhouse & The Turn-keys’ “Some Place” puts a gritty, raw, and rhythmic spin on contemporary Jazz and R&B. The beginning vocals, reminiscent of the legendary Buddy Guy, are almost shriek-like and lets you know right away that you’re in for something special. The song has a loose and stirring flow and will have you putting your arm around your girlfriend/boyfriend in no time. Contributed by Trevor MeyerNick Waterhouse & The Turn-keys – Some Place
How many great songs does SSLYBY have to release before they become a regular part of that Best American Bands of The 2000’s conversation? Tape Club is a triumph. By deliberating staying away from their most popular tracks, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin has released a compilation equally representative of their talents, proving that their B and even C-sides are of great merit. The first half of the collection (through the Cobain meets bubblegum “Not Worth Fighting”) will be very familiar to fans of the group, mainly consisting of cuts from their first two pre-Broom EPs, Gwyn and Grace and Someone Still Loves You Michael Holt. “Let’s Get Tired” and “Song W & Song L” reside among their best work. “Lower The Gas Prices Howard Johnson”, an angsty yet innocent love song, could most easily have been inserted onto Broom. The Wilmington Demo of “Dead Right” is probably better than the original Pershing version on account of the warmer production and harmonies. “Cardinal Rules”, about the Springfield, MO minor league baseball team, and “We Can Win Missouri” explore the same issues of autochthony and personality of place as on “Yellow Missing Signs”. It would’ve been cool to see a live cut (they’ve been known to cover “Mr. Wendal”) or something from Daytrotter at least, but fortunately the collection has much of interest for even the most avid devotee. As for the SSLYBY neophyte, new bands will form on both sides of the Mississippi after listening to the 26 choice gems which comprise Tape Club. Contributed by Chris Gedos
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Dead Right (Wilmington Demo)
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Cardinal Rules
Girls came to Lincoln Hall in Chicago last week to headline a show. You’re seeing these words, so I can assume you’re interested in this band. I’m interested in them too; I even like them and have for a little while now. Their new album came out last month, and that’s why this show happened.
A four piece named PAPA opened the show. Their name is in all caps. First of all, I have to tell you that they have a singing drummer. If I were you, I would really want to know that before anything else.
Aside from the fascination I have with the sheer phenomenon of the singing drummer, Darren Weiss immediately snapped feeling into the room. With accents from organ and electric guitar, the rhythm section drove every number forward without coming close to sacrificing a song’s pace. Each tune carried a simultaneously pulsing, easy, and forceful tone. “Ain’t It So” hung with me throughout the set. I don’t want to be that guy that names other acts, but I was thinking Walkmen and the Band at various times throughout the set. What may be an unusual sentiment during an opening band, I never found myself waiting for PAPA to stop playing.
Nobunny came on stage next. You know he wears a rabbit mask and no pants, right? Anyway, there’s this place across the street that has a pretty decent Mexican hamburger with avocado. I opted for waffle fries on the side. It was really good.
You may have seen pictures or videos of Girls’ recent performances. No gospel choir showed up, but keeping with tradition for this tour, rainbowed bouquets of flowers lay across amps and hung from all mic stands. The two constant members, front man Christopher Owens and instrumentalist JR White, walked on stage backed by none other than good ol’ PAPA.
They tumbled right into the show leading off with “Laura” off their first record. Not my first guess or preference, but after ten seconds it sunk in and carried on as the perfect choice. A not-so-fast, jangly start felt just right and led into the rest of things. After a short lull, “Honey Bunny” and “Alex” came next. Probably two of the best songs on the new album, they sounded tighter and more energetic than
I would’ve imagined them being on stage. Not bad! But wait it gets a little better right here.
After another healthy dose of forced banter and tuning after the first lump of songs, Girls let loose with the acapella intro to the album’s yearning soul track, “Love Life.” The plaintive jam immediately pulled everyone together in attention. Smiles and nodding abounded. I do want to pause and tell you that Christopher was wearing blousy, caramel colored corduroys topped with a denim shirt. All white oversized Air Force Ones completed the ensemble. Song after song, he poured himself into each number while seeming genuinely somewhere just short of disinterested and careless. During instrumental breaks, Owens writhed and twisted away from the microphone doing a ‘luuded-out Bo Diddley type thing; I was feeling it.
Compared to what was sitting on Girls’ two albums, these performed versions seemed to care nothing about their recorded counterparts. The songs were unfurling, new things unto themselves, and they looked and sounded killer. “Die” is the guitary, soaring, rock track on Father, Son, Holy Ghost; I normally flip past it. As both guitars started into the live version, out rolled galloping, crunchy harmonies. It sounded completely right. It wasn’t quite what one would expect from the wistful, druggy, west coast rock dudes, but it leapt out and left everybody full and grinning. During the focused mess, Owens stood upright with unusually good posture strumming sometimes aimlessly, and occasionally earnestly and haphazardly. His face was about two feet right of the microphone, but his lips casually mouthed “Ba ba bas” while he pointed half-closed eyes in no specific direction. You could tell these songs were supposed to be like this.
From that point there were five or six more songs. The band seemed less and less keen to be playing for the people watching them. I can’t really blame them; there were a lot of girlfriends-rubbing-their-boyfriends-back-during-the-show type of folks. You know, the people who actually make it into the show that sells out early. Yeah, bummer. Some of the last songs got iffy. “Hellhole Ratrace,” the hazy, slow building (and best) track off the Girls’ first album, was played in its entirety. But it was also done in half the time. And with that, their forced encore, the band left the stage.
I don’t think I would’ve preferred a show that built to multiple crescendos brimming with smiling musicians that gave the crowd compliments in between applause. Girls aren’t a flawless band, and they don’t have a flawless sound. They stick with you by way of all their nicely bent corners and familiar frayed edges. Why would we want anything less when they stood right in front of you? Contributed by John Ennis. Photos by Joe Annoreno and John Ennis.
We recently had a chance to catch up with Australian songstress Washington amid her US tour with OMD. We chatted about her forthcoming Insomnia LP, Bosendorfers, British weather and more! Also peep “Holy Moses” previewed from her Insomnia LP below.
Is there a particular inspiration that you attribute to the exploration of jazz early in your career?
I grew up being fascinated by old Hollywood musicals. Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Ruby Keeler, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron; I suppose you could say they were my idols. When I got a little older, I think I was naturally drawn toward old jazz standards because they were already familiar, they were the songs from all those old films. Irving Berlin and Cole Porter and Lerner and Loewe basically educated me in everything until I discovered rock and roll at about 20 years old. After that my tastes certainly expanded, but the core of my understanding of music is definitely rooted in show tunes and all that’s razzly and dazzly.
Reflecting back, is there anything that you take away from earlier experiences as a keyboardist and back-up vocalist for artists like Ben Lee that’s prepared you for the spotlight as Washington?
I learned a lot in those years playing in other people’s bands. I learned how to tour, (which is a skill you don’t realise you need until you need it), I learned how to structure set lists according to the venue size and crowd size, I learned how to rearrange the recorded songs for a live band… I learned a lot. I wish I’d learned to play guitar better but I’m still working on that. It also afforded me the opportunity to travel the world and play at lots of festivals and see a lot of music that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see.
Can you compare being a singer/songwiter in Australia to that of the United States, UK or elsewhere? Is there anything particular about the culture or landscape from your point of view?
I don’t know whether I can really answer that question faithfully… I think that the experience of being a songwriter is different every day, with every song, and every city. Certainly Australian crowds are generally a little more boisterous compared to, say, a typical German audience, where I guess culturally there’s a little more of a ‘recital’ spirit to the show, but that’s an awfully strong generalisation and I can think of plenty of instances where that hasn’t been the case. Touring in America is very similar to touring in Australia; the drives between shows are long because the countries are so vast. My thoughts about the UK are simply that it’s always FREEZING because I’ve only ever been there mid-winter. So now I know how to drag my keyboard through snow!
When is your favorite time to write? Is there something that inspires you… favorite instrument of any sort?
I really can’t go past a Steinway grand piano. I also love Bosendorfers but they’re terribly hard to come across. I generally write quite late at night, usually around midnight, although there’s also this strange thing that happens when I’m running late to leave the house I have this odd compulsion to sit down and write for 10 minutes or so and make myself even later. I don’t know what kind of psychological connotations that has. I’m usually inspired by relationships, stories. Tales of woe. Edgar Allen Poe. Bukowski. Heartbroken maidens wrecked on the shores of romance.
Is there anything that the world should expect from ‘Insomnia’?
It’s a funny record, Insomnia. It’s very different to ‘Liar’, in that it’s quite dark with a lot more space than anything that came before it. Obviously it was written in the dark, so it makes sense that it’d be dark, right? Also Cello. The world can expect Cello!
What makes a song timeless in your opinion?
Truth and restraint.
So this video for “O’Dell” is totally challenging our current video of the year! If you love anything about garage we dare you to resist this song. The track comes from Son Cats’ new 7-inch via For Arbors / For Satellites.Son Cats – O’Dell: (Bandcamp)
Leave it to KCRW to present a true line-up of SoCal’s finest for local music lovers. LA’s own Fool’s Gold headlined the bill with a passionate, eclectic set of worldly jams for a grown to capacity crowd at the world famous Troubadour last Thursday night September 29, 2011.
Allah-Las opened the eve with their blend of rock revivalist west coast pop. The Los Angeles based band mixed various percussion and instrumental duties among themselves as they embraced everyones favorite breezy surf sound, but with a proper twang nodding to the likes of early guitar rock and roll icons like the The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and The Kingsmen. The new band smell wasn’t lost as the Allah-Las triumphed mostly as songwriters and visionaries in lieu of flashy technical skills that have both done so many great and disastrous things for Rock and Roll. More great music sure to come from these guys.Allah-Las – Long Journey: (Facebook)
LBC trio Tijuana Panthers are a shimmering example of a band more than capable of a long and healthy career. Their music is fresh, and visible through all their the heavy garagy Long Beach vibes, there’s a chemistry and common vision. This band seems mostly interested in being awesome. And by being awesome we mean Tijuana have a frequency. One that tunes in an audience. Before the band started the crowd wanted more, and when the Panthers stopped mid song for some reason rather unnoticed to vast majority, the band proclaimed they’d finish the song next time and continued on without even missing a beat. That’s Rock and Roll kids, few things can beat uncontrived confidence. The crowd screamed for more, they moshed, they danced, they sang. Tijuana Panthers’ tight set of open and chugging bar chords, slap your face drumming, witty bass lines, and revolving vocal duties helped keep things as interesting as possible to watch. Technically this band this band can play AND tear a roof off which helps make their brand of ‘indie rock’ much more applicable to a majority of audiences which can’t be said for so many of today’s ‘buzz-worthy’ new lo-fi bands. In other, words Tijuana Panthers seem less likely to have that cliche time stamp slapped on to them in the long run. TBD.Tijuana Panthers – Creature: (Facebook)
Fools Gold took the stage to a now packed house. The largest band of the evening filled the stage with all five members both physically and audibly. While Tijuana Panthers played a tight set, it was Fool’s Gold’s musicianship that stole the night. The band’s years and experience stood clear. Fool’s Gold are destined for festival greatness, it was telling as the group jammed through the themes and variations of their eclectic world influenced catalog. Key changes, exploring meters, improvisation, definitely all routine for these cats. Their African rhythms felt more actually rooted in that music, than say the more commercially popular Vampire Weekend, something like the Thrill Jockey released authentic ensemble Extra Golden. Lead singer Luke Top crooned when applicable to the set, his enthusiastic vocals have a pleasant yelping quality to them ala Elvis Costello or Joe Strummer with a subtle James Mercer like pleasantry. In between songs Luke claimed he always dreamed of playing the Troubadour ever since he was a teenager, and there he was, just another night on tour. The collective of pros traded grooves through dueled percussion set ups and complimentary saxophone, bass, synth pads, and impressive electric guitar work courtesy of lead guitarist Lewis Pesacov. With a few gem-like tracks under their belt, “Nadine” “Ha Dvash” “The Dive” … “Street Clothes”, Fool’s Gold are that rare type of band for me who’s musicianship is as interesting as their songs. And when they find their ‘that song’ for the masses, and I believe they will, the amphitheaters won’t be far behind.Fool’s Gold – Street Clothes: (Facebook)
Oh yeah, here comes some more of that smooth shit from b3sci favs When Saints Go Machine. “Yellow” opens with a simple repeated synth figure and opens up into a melody that will have your jaw nothing short of on the floor. Best make sure your floor is clean.
Those goofy Wombats strike again with a new vid for latest single “1996”. The track is “straight Wombats”, its a little bit kooky, a little bit “tongue and cheek”, but it’s also a terrific pop song. Throw on your vans and put your best pogs at stake cause it’s “1996”The Wombats – 1996