Ten-Twenty-Ten Greenleaf The Generationals have been on my radar since I first heard ‘When they Fight, They Fight,’ and to say I was excited to hear their Trust EP, and now their LP Actor-Caster would be an understatement. That being said… today marks the release date of ‘Actor-Caster,’ and to me this is their finest work to date. The first track on the album ‘Ten-Twenty-Ten,’ sets a wonderful tone for this album. It’s a bright & sunny jam with a driving rhythm that will have you bobbing your head and reaching for the repeat button. ‘I promise’ is a jangly…
San Francisco rock outfit the Dodos are preparing recently released their album, No Color, on March 15th via Frenchkiss. They say Neko Case is singing on half the LP, but honestly I haven’t noticed her at all. What I do notice is this is one of the most drum focused albums I’ve heard in a long time. The percussion is big, forefront, and totally flipping awesome.
Album opener, and first single, ‘Black Night,’ begins with this the marching cadence and this album immediately takes off, its powerful, grabbing, spirited, and actually quite aggressive. Aggressive is putting it light especially for a folk band, but the Dodos pull it off here, and actually do it quite beautifully.
After a lackluster 2009 effort, Time to Die, which I think most would say they were shooting for too much, the band went back to a simple duo, and totally stripped down No Color to is base, frenetic guitar and pounding drums and simple vocals (with back ups done by Neko Case.) Its an invigorating sound, and I can only imagine how huge this could sound live. The highlight on the album is Sleep, a boy-girl (duet?) with Neko Case that’s seriously infectious and will have you tapping your toes really quickly.
The Seedy Seeds are a Cincinnati indie trio that elegantly combine pop, electronica and bluegrass. They have a similar sound to that of the Freelance Whales. The mixture of these elements create a synthesis of these drastically different styles that is sensibly poppy, catchy and quite nice.
They’ve recently released their album, Verb Noun on Bandcamp (available for $9) and it quickly became a favorite of mine. In a word, this album is just warm. Its melodies are warm & the vocals are comfortable it is just a very listenable album. The sounds become even more lush with the use the banjo and synth vibes and complete something that is very special.
The title track is certainly a highlight, but there are some really good songs here. Highlights for me have been the ambling ‘Coyote Song,’ the synth driven ‘Hey Exponent,’ and the title track ‘Verb Noun.’
This album is well worth multiple listens, a joy to have listened to and I’ll be enjoying it for a while longer.
Buy Verb Noun
Yer Spring Bandages By now, you should have heard of Canadian orchestral indie rock band Hey Rosetta. Their stock-in-trade are huge compositions featuring numerous instruments, big vocal harmonies, string orchestral sounds energetic bombastic music that is a joy to listen to. Hey Rosetta has a knack for writing and performing songs that have a certain arc to them. Their structures tend to be a mild and mello beginning verses building with intensity and ultimately bigger chorus’ leading to epically proportioned bridge. This simple arc creates a fun tension, and an excitement that really doesn’t get old; and a lot of…
Truth A Million Years You may know him as Edward Sharpe, but the frontman of the Magnetic Zeros released a solo project under his given name, Alexander Ebert. The album entitled Alexander, was written and recorded during time off from the MZ’s. Alexander Ebert would work in his bedroom with bare minimum recording gear, a guitar and some thrift store instruments during this time off, and Alexander is what has come of it. I’m told, and it’s fantastic, every note on the album, every random instrument, every little sound was played by Ebert and Ebert alone. Ebert seems to be…
If you haven’t heard of them, Middle Brother, you probably aren’t reading this website. To catch you up to speed, Middle Bro is made of Deer Tick’s John McCauley, Dawes frontman, Taylor Goldsmith, and Delta Spirit frontman, Matt Vasquez. Together they form a young supergroup that I couldn’t be more excited to hear them play together.
Now on to the most important part. Does it live up to the formula… does the sum equal the parts? Is it just a few Delta Spirit songs a few Dawes songs and a few Deer Tick songs?
Resoundingly, yes, the sum equals the parts. The creative forces put together equal the sum if not exceed the sum. This album is really really really good. Did I say really? These guys sound like they’ve been playing together for years, the album is wide varying between contemplative folk songs (Daydreaming, Thanks for Nothing) wild rock romps (Middle Brother, Me Me Me) and even a retro 60’s pop styled track (Someday). Sure some songs sound all more Dawes, all more Delta Spirit or all more Deer Tick but the album still flows quite well, with each frontman taking center stage equally. It doesn’t detract, or feel like 3 separate EP’s it feels whole, singular and totally awesome.
There was a boatload of hype going into this album, and admittedly I had maybe too lofty of expectations for the album. But without hyperbole, this album is fantastic. Its damn well written, wonderfully catchy, and totally represents the best supergroup out there these days. They do what some supergroups fail to do, they show off the talents of each member of the group without making it feel “Ok it’s my turn…” the album on a whole feels like pure congruence of the 3 headed creative monster they are. The music they put together is pure fun and just great to listen.
Buy buy buy! Middle Brother
Car Crash Seattle power pop outfit Telekinesis released a second album, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, February 15 via Merge. After listening to the album a dozen or so times, one can realize that Michael Benjamin Lerner (the architect of the entire Telekinesis world) has about 500 ways to write breakup, heartbreak, & lovelorn songs. What Lerner does so well, is he takes this similarity in theme and puts them into relatively fun, poppy, hooky songs that are a complete façade for these more unpleasant themes. It’s that façade, and Lerner’s whispy, crooning yet poppy voice that make these songs so…
Seattle folk trio, The Cave Singers, released a new album entitled No Witch. Excitedly I’ve got my first taste of the album back in December, after ‘Welcome Joy’ I was a big fan of the music these guys were making. When I put it in, it started as a continuation of Welcome Joy but noticed something different the further into the album. This is literally the Cave Singers’ rock album. In previous efforts they are likened to the soft gray foggy days of Seattle, and now they have seemed to come under the full moon of the night transformed into a ferocious beast (see black leaf) that bites.
Normally speaking we are all hesitant to accept such changes, especially when they have done something you love. The further you listen to it, you realize this new ‘edge’ fits the band really well. They’ve added another dimension to their sound without completely abandoning what they did in prior efforts. This album adds a bit of swagger to their normally relaxed folk affairs. Songs like ‘Black Leaf,’ ‘Faze Wave’ & ‘No Prosecution If We Bail’ all show off this newfound swagger and attitude, and lush sounds like ‘Swim Club’ and ‘Distant Sures’ keep the band grounded in what has gotten them to this point. What keeps this release grounded is how well the album is crafted, it sounds beautiful, the songs are intriguingly written, and give off an off an almost transcendental, feel to it. Altogether, its a reaching, branching out album that doesn’t feel like The Cave Singers have tried something they can’t do.
No Witch feels like an album where a band is stretching its space and carving out their very own niche. It could easily be confused as a slumped album, where the band didn’t know which direction they wanted to go. I don’t see it this way with No Witch. I see expansion that puts this album in the hands of more than just the folk-lovers in us. Its an album that successfully bridges multiple tones. Give this one a few tries, I’m quite certain it will grow on you.
Buy No Witch
Chuchumbe Born With A Broken Heart Last week the Mexo-American folk band David Wax Museum released it’s album ‘Everything is Saved,’ here in Boston. I missed the party, but I certainly was not going to miss getting to hear their album. They had already released 2 tracks from the upcoming album, and to put it lightly I was extremely excited about both tracks. I first saw DWM last summer when they got together at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge with Ben Kweller. Honestly, Kweller was the draw for me, but once I heard David Wax, and Sue Slezak play I…