LA’s shoegazer-classic rock hybrid, Darker My Love, recently released their new album, 2, which I reviewed for LA Weekly. It might sound apologetic, but as I say in my review, this is a band I want to like, but can’t. Like Silversun Pickups, they just lean a little bit too much towards cheesy ’90s alt-rock conventions. Read my review, watch this video, and see what you think.
When I first heard the song “All Parts of Me” off of Love as Laughter’s new album, I didn’t know quite what to think. However, after spending some time with Holy, out on Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace imprint, I began to appreciate it more. Gone are is gritty rock of Destination 2000, but Sam Jayne still knows how to write a damn good classic rock-referencing song. Read my article for SF Weekly on the new album and Mr. Modest Mouse’s input here.
Celtic Thunder destroys my brain and makes my sphincter hurt… yet, somehow, I just can’t look away when they pop up at 5PM on PBS.
Canadian singer/songwriter Jim Guthrie and ex-Unicorns/current Islands bandleader, Nick Thorburn, have teamed up as Human Highway to release Moody Motorcycle, apparently named after an obscure Neil Young-directed film, for Suicide Squeeze. It’s a good album, and you can read my review here.
Julian Koster’s Music Tapes (part of the Elephant 6 collective) has a new album out on Merge, Music Tapes For Clouds and Tornadoes. A single listen will clue you in to his past work with Neutral Milk Hotel, but even with all his attention to antiquated recording techniques and bizarre instrumentation (singing saws, seven-foot metronomes), it’s not as good as you want it to be. Decide for yourself, and read my review for Blurt here.
My second batch of pickles is a jar of bread and butter chips. For these, I sliced up pickling cucumbers and onions and used a warm cider vinegar solution with pickling salt, turmeric, sugar, mustard seed, and celery seed. They turned out to be quite good, although they are more sour than sweet. You have to eat them and not think of them as typical bread and butters, since they really don’t have the sugar content of store-bought b’n’b’s.
Apse is a band whose members are based in Cape Cod and the Outer Islands, of all places, but listening to their expansive, epic new record, out now on ATP Recordings, it kind of makes sense. Guitars sweep like ocean squalls over pounding bass and drums, while Robert Toher’s unique vocals surface over instrumental passages, separating Apse from like-minded bands like Mogwai. Read my review for Blurt Magazine here.
I reviewed the Pete Seeger documentary, The Power of Song – now out on DVD – for Lost at Sea. This is an interesting doc, detailing the life and times of one of folk music’s most iconic figures. I think it could have taken more chances than it does, by including things like Seeger’s reaction to Dylan going electric at the Newport Folk Festival. Read the review, see the movie, and judge for yourself.
A few weeks ago, we were introduced to Jaguar Love, a new band featuring ex-members of Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves. This week, let’s all give a big welcome to Past Lives. Ex-BBs Jordan Blilie, Morgan Henderson and Mark Gajadhar have joined up with Devin Welch, who formerly played guitar for Shoplifting, with great results. I would say this is definitely the better of the two post-Blood Brothers projects. The band utilizes a tinny, semi-metallic production sound and dissonant post-punk construction that reminds me an awful lot of the late, great VSS, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Check out songs on their MySpace page and buy their album here (its proper release is November 4th through Suicide Squeeze).
Living Legends member and LA underground stalwart, MURS, is returning with a new album, MURS for President, due out September 30 on Warner Bros. – his major label debut. Jacking the sample from Juelz Santana’s “Did You Miss Me,” which appeared on Green Lantern’s Alive on Arrival mixtape in 2006, this track sounds nicer than almost anything off his Def Jux album, The End of the Beginning. He takes a little potshot at Nas – “I could have done the Nas and screamed ‘Hip-hop is dead'” – but it’s more about his faith in hip-hop than a personal attack. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing the full album.