I heard a song from Phox way back when, and then for some terrible reason I forgot about them. Probably reasons that befall all music bloggers. There are just too many bands to remember. Luckily, their label – Partisan Records – got in touch with a new song of theirs, “1936,” and it’s simply delightful. Mellow falsetto vocals, relaxing harmonies, and an enjoyable, buoyant melody carry the tune. Check out this beautiful La Blogotheque video of Phox performing “1936” and “Calico Man.” Their debut record comes out June 24.
At this point in history I think it would be difficult to find many people who would exclude Radiohead’s OK Computer from a list of the best albums of 1997. I’d also wager that more than 70 percent of those lists would have OK Computer in the number 1 position. Few will argue that OK Computer is an album that will be listened to for decades to come. By 2000, Radiohead was basking in the glow of their fantastic follow-up album, Kid A, and were pretty well set up as one of the biggest bands in the world.
At the same time, another UK band, Catherine Wheel, was calling it quits. In 1997, Catherine Wheel also released an album, Adam and Eve. Like OK Computer, Adam and Eve was lauded by long-time fans and critics as the band’s masterpiece. Prior to this release, Catherine Wheel was known for their guitar-heavy shoegaze albums, particularly from their debut, Ferment, and its heavier follow-up, Chrome. Adam and Eve, the band’s fourth album, signaled a bold, exciting shift in the band’s sound, much like Radiohead’s leap from The Bends to OK Computer.
Catherine Wheel and Radiohead’s music followed similar trajectories in the 1990s. Both bands had highly successful debut records with big singles; Radiohead had “Creep” and Catherine Wheel had “Black Metallic.” Those debuts were followed by sophomore albums, The Bends and Chrome, respectively, which saw both bands brushing off a bit of the fuzz from their sound and pumping up the guitars. Catherine Wheel open Chrome with the thunderous “Kill Rhythm,” probably the closest shoegaze ever came to arena rock. Radiohead’s most popular track from The Bends was “Fake Plastic Trees,” which was one of the mellower tracks on the album. While The Bends was a great album it was clear that Radiohead needed a new direction or they would surely fade out.
Continue reading [The Past Presents] Catherine Wheel – Adam and Eve (1997) →
LA trio Kan Wakan released their debut LP, Moving On, this week. Hearkening back to the days of genuinely melodic indie music, with full orchestral backings amidst simple keystrokes, Moving On should quickly propel Kan Wakan into territory that suits radio and blog fans alike. The songs below are sure to lift your spirits with their rich and sensuous landascapes.
One of the best parts of blogging again is getting reacquainted with bands I wrongly left off my radar when I was on hiatus. Miracle Fortress hasn’t really been a part of my life for a while, but with their new single “Here’s To Feeling Good All The Time,” I’m feeling some major regret. It delivers a peppy beat and fun-loving attitude for the similarly feel-good music. Miracle Fortress with a Summer winner (and more singles are on the way!).
Pretties for You (oh hey, Alice Cooper) did well in choosing their band name. Their music is exactly what I’d expect, which isn’t a bad thing. Female vocals, abundant energy, in-your-face rock. Intense passion oozes from Martina Forsgren’s voice and the unrefined sounds follow. Another thing going for Pretties for You is that they’re from Sweden. Check plus! The band recently released their debut album We Have Our Reasons via Luxury, and you can find two track below. One a middle-of-the album anthem and the other the final piano-pop ballad.
Ivory Hours is led by brother-sister duo, Luke and Annie Roes. The Roes siblings devastatingly lost their brother a short time ago and decided to take their music together to new heights with a full four-piece band. The sweetness in these songs is underlined by a tinge of sadness, and expectedly so. The sound is delicate and the emotions crackle through the tender voices of the siblings. As Luke says, “Songs can’t change difficult circumstances, but I hope they can help people navigate them.”
This is a band to root for, so you’ll be finding me keeping track of their work. Have a listen to two songs off their upcoming pop-filled EP, Mary.
The Past Presents is typically where I take a fresh look at an older album, either because it’s regarded as a classic album and I’d like to see if it still holds up, or because it’s an album I feel is special and it never really got the love it deserves. For me, this column was always about looking at the records that many people feel are essential to every record collection. Moving forward, The Past Presents will still bring you these looks back at some great older records, but in and around those reviews, I’ll be writing about my own experiences with some records that are widely loved but I’ve just never had the time to hear. Oftentimes I’ll read about albums that have been on best-of lists for decades or my friends will tell me how great their favorite records are. Some of these I just have not had the time to hear beyond what a friend has played for me or what’s been curated by commercial radio. Sometimes I want to know if a Steely Dan album is really as bad as the singles I’ve heard. To make an effort to fill in some of these gaps for myself, I’ll be hitting record stores looking for albums I’ve heard about but have never listened to, then writing about my impressions. I’ve made a few rules for myself: I have to listen to the album start to finish three times before I write anything, I cannot research the album or the band in any way prior to listening, I can’t read re-issue liner notes, etc. This has to try and replicate a clean, unbiased first listen as much as possible.
To begin this new experiment I’ve chosen The Modern Lovers self-titled debut.
Continue reading [The Past Presents] The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (1976) →
This came out of nowhere. Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison teamed up with fellow FR bandmate Andy Monaghan and friend Simon Liddell to create Owl John. Our first listen comes in the form of a song called “Hate Music” which is a darkly marching intense and brooding tune. Frightened Rabbit has had this kind of passion before, but the music has not been so startlingly deliberate.
Six piece Dublin band Buffalo Sunn (formerly Sweet Jane) hit my hears hard today. I would have posted something sooner but Soundcloud was having issues. I’m not a happy person when Soundcloud acts up. Just like a misbehaving child, it disappoints us all. But they’ve rebounded and I’m back grooving to Buffalo Sunn. The music is nothing earth-shattering, but that’s kind of why I like it, especially nowadays. They do simple catchy pop rock, and they do it well. Keep an eye out for their new album By The Ocean, By The Sea, due out later this year via Reekus Records. Hear their new single, “By Your Side,” on YouTube.
I gotta admit something. I couldn’t post anything the last few days not because I was busy, but because I could not find a single new artist or piece of music I wanted to post about. So thank god Imperial Mammoth came my way with some new songs off their upcoming album Gold Confetti. This LA duo is sure to take the indie scene by storm with their melodic pop anthems. Sugary vocals and lush buildups give Imperial Mammoth the new feel-good hit of the Summer with “Little Earthquakes.” Sit back, relax, and enjoy your group rides with the top down and the windows open.