I saw these folks perform live as an opener to Milo Greene a little while back and I had a blast with not only their cutesy sound but also their aesthetic. The duo of Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe stand facing each other as they perform, essentially mimicking each other’s moves. The entire band (a five-piece) dresses in similar attire and everything is perfectly choreographed. It’s somewhat over the top at the beginning, but it has an endearing way, making the show exciting, unique and wholly enjoyable. None of this would work, of course, without talent. Thankfully, Lucius delivers. Catch a demo version of one of their new songs, “Until We Get There,” below.
Lucius on the web | Facebook
Hype Hype Hooray is a biweekly “critique” of the music scene and the blogosphere that feeds it, told through the lens of Jamie Hale, a journalist who likes music about as much as he likes scotch and a firm leather chair. Please enjoy with a grain of salt.
I drive 68 miles an hour down I-205 outside Portland. It’s 11 p.m. and my mind is racing. Dim orange highway lights creep through a haze of dense fog. Hoards of insanities enter and exit my brain at breakneck pace. They are a mass of random associations, phrases that carry no meaning. Words like “leave it to be.” Leave it to be. Leave it to be. Leave it to be. I utter them on loop, my mind a broken record, skipping on the next crazy thought as I hurdle through the open night.
This moment of mania didn’t rise on its own from my strange subconscious. No. It could never. It had help. It was music that brought it to fruition. Music that buzzes madly from my cheap stereo, fills my car, and rolls through my body.
“How could I feel so-so when I’m feeling like a little honey can roll?” it wails. “Tart but not total and I’m feeling like a little honey can roll?”
I drown in the words. The music fills my lungs. My pupils dilate wildly in the night.
Occasionally I meet people who think very little of music. “I don’t really listen to it” they tell me. “It just doesn’t do it for me.” I accept their views, and I make no effort to change them. But that idea, that music is meaningless, has no purpose in their lives, fills me with great sadness.
Music can be so transformative for me. It’s odd. The right combination of frequencies, when coupled with the perfect rhythms, can swirl and mix with the chemicals in my brain to induce some brilliant shade of human emotion–from the deep blues of depression, through tranquil green serenity, to the the wild manic neons that drive me to insanity.
I look back at the music-less souls, my mind drifting in a sea of melody, theirs sitting idly, comfortably on the shore, and I can’t help but be confounded. Why do these songs, these notes, these sounds, have such profoundly different effects on us? Why does it twist my mind, but not theirs?
Continue reading [Hype Hype Hooray] My Music Makes Me Live →
New Tunng? Yes, please. You know I am affectionate toward the London crew, and their new song, “The Village,” does little to alter that. The song is 4 minutes 33 seconds, and I’ve listened to it 5 times in the last 22 minutes and 45 seconds. Math!
“The Village” is the new single off Tunng’s forthcoming fifth album, Turbines, due June 17 via Full Time Hobby.
I wrote about Fialta, the ‘fun-loving California indie pop group,’ back in May of 2011, and my opinion hasn’t much changed. They’re keeping things light and sugary on their upcoming full-length, and “Photographs,” the first single, is a prime example. Even though they’re in sunny Cal all year round, they know what it’s like for us seasonal people. The album, Summer Winter, set for a July 23 wide release, is perfect summer music. So thank you in advance, Fialta, for making my summer that much better.
Fialta on Facebook | Bandcamp
I’ve been sitting on a new one from Wilsen, which really makes no sense, as I loved their sprawling seven-minute first single, “Anahita.” I suppose I’ve been waiting for the right mood. Better to post this later in the day than earlier (NY time), so here goes. Tamsin Wilson’s voice continues to devastate.
Wilsen on the web | Facebook
Heylady comes to us from Brooklyn, NY, but despite the similarity of their home base to most artists featured here on Knox Road, they’re actually quite different than our usual suspects. Heylady is my friend Josh Green’s soul/funk project, and while I’ve typically shied away from funk bands since, well, middle school, I can’t get enough of this one. Green and co. know what they’re doing, and it’s damn refreshing. Everything is tight and smooth and packed with groove. There are a thousand sounds happening at the same time yet Heylady manages to pull it all together into a crisp result.
They released their new full-length, About Time, today and I’ve been dancing like a fool all morning. Catch the first two songs streaming below and get the album here.
Heylady on the web | Facebook
Sometimes I like to think I’m a thousand miles away, at a cabin on the lake, with my cousins and nieces and nephews. They brim with enthusiasm when the day is hot and they’re playing tag and the sun is shining its driest heat. And at eve it’s cool — not just a breeze, but a real cold, wonderful after an exhausting day — and the elder of us wear our sweats out on the balcony, sipping gin, munching almonds and brie and listening to our kids breathe deep into the night. Sometimes, I feel at peace.
Owls of the Swamp on the web | Facebook | Bandcamp
Marketa Irglova on backing vocals and keys | Photo by Julia Fayngruen
Grip my arms, look me in the eye, hold your pose. Feel my breath, don’t flinch when the heat hits your lips. I want to stand like this until we can’t stand any longer. I want us as one.
Alice Boman on Facebook | Adrian Recordings
Remember way back…back when we were talking about the best of 2012 releases? Hard to believe it was nearly six months ago. At any rate, I rambled on about a few bands back then, one of which happens to be spinning (even more) incessantly on my turntable since I had the pleasure of seeing them live last weekend. It’s a rarity for me to attend a gig in the early months of spring, a time which seems, somehow, year after year, to be reserved for bands playing arenas while the little guys (my guys?) get prepped for the summer festival season. Right. And so it goes.
Never fear! Of course my recent evening was plagued by typical Abby gig annoyances: loud, yappy girls not paying attention and people stumbling over my feet topped by a guy having a stag party who was collecting signatures of women on a jock strap he was wearing over his trousers…you know, the normal. After I graciously denied the drunk soon-to-be-husband my John Hancock on his, well, you know, I befriended a lovely biologist/music aficionado blessed with the gift of height who I could stand alongside as a deflector of toe-steppers (my better half didn’t join me for the gig). Shortly thereafter everything was sexy and right with the world. Enter: Veronica Falls.
While I was sad to have missed their US stint with the support of Golden Grrrls, the opener, Mazes, was a pleasant albeit incongruous start. I cannot stress enough how jubilant the sound of VF makes me feel. Tremble-worthy. I suppose, no…I know, it’s because of their likeness aurally and visually to the Sarah Records/C86 bands that tattooed my teens and early 20s. Though their freshman s/t offering sonically trumps 2013’s Waiting for Something to Happen, both are outstandingly pop-sensible in a pool of otherwise loud and noisy here-and-now counterparts. The same can be said for the sound of Golden Grrrls. Why it has taken so damn long for this brand of boiled-down, jingle jangle pop to rear its beautiful head (again) in the form of a young, new band is beyond me. They are intoxicating, these music makers. Discerning pop without the flash and buzz of blips and bloops. Simplicity.
While touting new records and songs to whoever will listen is glorious, the old standards cannot be beat. Artists like 14 Iced Bears, Heavenly, The Field Mice, The Wolfhounds…what? You don’t know them you say? Learn about them. Listen closely. You could scour YouTube and websites for second rate, low quality recordings for starters. Afterwards, when you are over the goddamned moon, you can get your trigger finger ready and visit Cherry Red Records to pre-order the greatest compilation ever: Scared to Get Happy, a 5-CD boxed set due out this 26 June. Borrowing its title from the Bristol-based fanzine of the late 80s, this compilation is chock-full of the indie guitar pop sounds of the same era I just went on and on about. Roundabout 130 songs for a measly 50 bucks and change. A steal I tell you. Or you can continue listening to Frank Ocean and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Mostly.
[Abby's Road is a Knox Road feature published every other Friday.]
A new song from our Toronto friends, Miss Elizabeth, premiered on MOKB last week, and I’m beginning to think the duo can do no (rhymez, yo!) wrong. Atmospheric harmonies and a sensory experience make ”Ein Weißwein” one to remember.
Miss Elizabeth – “Ein Weißwein” [MP3]
Miss Elizabeth on the web | Facebook | Bandcamp | Knox Road