ELEVENTH DREAM DAY – NEW MOODIO RELEASE [NEWS]

Eleventh Dream Day is an American alt-rock band which made its reputation in the late 80s/early 90s, parlaying its hybrid of psychedelia-folk-rock n’ roll into a heady brew that got both critics and fans of the period excited.

On May 14th, Comedy Minus One will release New Moodio, a parallel world version of the band’s 1991 LP “El Moodio”. A bit of background from the Riot Media press release –

The material that appears on “New Moodio” was recorded on their own dime, with the intent to find a new label to put it out. Recorded at Idful Studios in Chicago with Brad Wood at the dials (Liz Phair recorded “Exile In Guyville” with Wood there just months later), these songs were being shopped around when Danny Goldberg – who now was running Atlantic – came to Chicago and made his pitch to the group over lunch. The band was impressed by what he had to say, and made the inference that if he went to this effort to get the band back, he and the label must really care. He urged Eleventh Dream Day to start over with a new producer, and the band spent the better part of 1992 working on what would become “El Moodio,” their third and final major label record.

The vinyl pressing is limited to 500 copies, and each includes a digital download containing three additional songs. New Moodio will also be available on all digital download platforms. Check out the previously unreleased “Thinking Out Loud” below.

 

INSTANT SPECIES – THIS ROME… [REVIEW]

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Nothing quite compares to a British pop band trading in the fine legacy of Britpop and being able to make the connections between The Kinks and Blur and beyond. Instant Species has been around since 1997 and according to its official site, “we’ve made music we love, played gigs to entertain people and released records with an enormous sense of pride. It’s more than a hobby but it’s far from a career and it’s always fun. We don’t have a “plan” or “bid to be” anything other than 4 blokes playing some music we hope is half decent.”

More than “half-decent” I’d say — This Rome… is the quartet’s new album (#8) and it is chock full of catchy tunes, spiky rhythms and an edgy pop smart attitude. It’s clear from songs like the languid “Rise of the Idiot”, the bouncy “Simple Repetition”, the chirpy title track and the garage-y “I Need A Little Help” that the band writes and records the kind of music it loves without any thought about trends. Essential for fans of classic British pop music.

 

THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT – LITMUS [REVIEW]

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Six years in the making, the sophomore effort of The Great Spy Experiment arrives with the band a completely different entity to what it was when I first met Saiful, Fandy, Song, Khai and Mag in the rehearsals for Singapore Day in 2007. Interim period has seen marriages, children and daily challenges with the ubiquitous work-life balance. Factor in the creative musical need of recording artists and things no doubt become complicated.

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TIGER RIOT

TIGER RIOT Look Up! (Brookvale)

Look Up! is the soon-to-be-released debut album from Tiger Riot, a five-piece band from Long Island. Look Up! is an album verging on pop-punk (All Time Low, The White Tie Affair) rather than one planted firmly within the alternative/indie rock genre.

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TELEKINESIS

TELEKINESIS 12 Desperate Straight Lines (Merge)

Michael Benjamin Lerner returns with his sophomore effort, with more of the same well-crafted modern alt-pop-rock. Also returning is producer Chris Walla (out of Death Cab for Cutie). Lerner basically carries on from where he left on his enjoyable eponymous debut. Eschewing any particular style or approach, Lerner chooses to envelop his melodic, vibrant songs in different arrangements that cover the several eras of alt-rock.

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DIRTY BEACHES

DIRTY BEACHES Badlands (Zoo Music)

What a stage name this is. Dirty Beaches is Alex Zhang Hungtai, born in Taiwan and raised in Toronto, Honolulu, Montreal and Vancouver. His music style mingles minimalism with noise rock, popularly fitting into today’s indie/alternative scene, yet his voice cracks like a lost soul in this modern age of digitalism. On various occasions he lets out his indie Elvis persona and groove, as on Horses and Sweet 17, but the real gems come in subsequent tracks: he channels his best in A Hundred Highways, grooving like an established rock and roll legend; sounds like a timeless romantic on True Blue and a faithful believer on Lord Knows Best. That much said, all for a relative newcomer.

Catch Dirty Beaches live between January and March 2011 as he tours together with Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls.

Myspace

[CJ]

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ALEX LEVINE

Originally published at ReviewYou.com

ALEX LEVINE Falling Back Again (Self-released)

The cover of Alex Levine’s new album will remind Jayhawks fans of the seminal alt-country outfit’s third album – Hollywood Town Hall. Granted, Levine is posing in front of a church building rather than a town hall but the structures are uncannily similar. Not only that but the music on Falling Back Again will cement that particular comparison and reference point firmly in the minds of all right-thinking alt-rock enthusiasts. Basically, the continued alchemical quality of combining country and rock music. Simply put, Levine’s Falling Back Again is one of the more impressive alt-rock albums released in 2010.

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SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE

Thirty years ago, the 80s began (we thought we’d got John Lennon back but he was all too quickly taken away from us. Damn). I had just been conscripted and had begun to take pop and rock music appreciation seriously. Through the next ten years, I would discover amazing music and bands which to this day continue to thrill and touch me. During the 80s, I got out of army, did four years at Law School, got my degree, got a job, got married and became a father. Music was the soundtrack to it all. People often ask me about the best music of the 80s, so in the spirit of answering that question, here is part one of my top 25 essential LPs of the 80s (in alphabetical order, not by merit).

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VERSUS

VERSUS On the Ones and Threes (Merge)

Those of you hankering for the good old days of late 80s/early 90s indie-alt-rock will be mighty pleased with this new album (in ten years!) from Versus. Remember when the “indie” rock bands of the day were influenced by legends like the Kinks, ELO and Neil Young rather than other predecessor indie bands?

On the Ones and Threes is an accomplished work by a mature group of writers/musicians. The album never remains static in terms of songwriting, arrangements and musicianship. Tracks like the bright Invisible Hero, the energetic Cicada, the sophisticated Into the Blue and the sweetly droning Pink Valhalla have high melodic quotients, which will appeal to all listeners who like their rock, poppy. Whilst songs like Nu Skin, Erstwhile and the title track are slightly edgier affairs.

Much of the sweet and pleasant moments on On the Ones and Threes rather belie the pervasive cynical themes as lead singer/guitarist Richard Baluyut explains – “Well, I’m just a dark person, and I get more nihilistic the older I get.” Perfectly summed up I suppose on the final track (On the Ones and Threes) – “Yes I am the number thirteen/In elevator society/Why be superstitious/When we’re all just specks of dust/You can’t help it and I can’t stop it.” A brilliant juxtaposition of contradiction between lyrical concepts and melodic themes.

One of the better “indie” rock albums you’ll hear in 2010, I’d wager.

On the Ones and Threes will be released by Merge Records on 3rd August.

Merge page | Myspace | Buy at Amazon

THE ROSES

THE ROSES Traveller (Self-released)

When I received this latest single from The Roses, I honestly did not expect Traveller to sound like it does. Gone is the quirky crunch of Apple of My Eye, to be replaced by an introspective, Joy Division/early Cure-channeling pop-dirge, mixed in with slide guitar to boot, to keep things interesting.

Well, color me impressed again! The vocals are also miles away from the mischievous persona of Apple of My Eye, instead we have this melancholy Ian Curtis wannabe instead. But it works!

Simple but bloody effective. Everything is in their proper place – arrangements, instrumentation and that guitar solo is close to perfection. Sorry if this all sounds hyperbolic but there’s so much promise and potential here (these boys are 16!), it’s scary…

Check out The Roses at http://www.myspace.com/therosesrockwithyou.

You can download Traveller here and let me know what you think…

LISTENING BOOTH: DAVID VANDERVELDE

David Vandervelde is a singer-songwriter that has interested me recently with his intriguing take on country-folk-soul-pop. What Vandervelde does is to filter a 70s classic pop-rock agenda through alt-rock sensibilities. In 2010, Vandervelde (via Secret Canadian) released four digital singles, which will now be collected on 12″ vinyl (cover art above, available on 3 August). My favourite of the lively bunch is Learn How To Hang (Great title! Listen below) which sounds to me like feisty hybrid of REO Speedwagon and Jesus and Mary Chain, if you can imagine that. Vandervelde probably sums it up himself best on the Lindsay Buckingham-channeling Wave Country. Certainly, David Vandervelde is one singer-songwriter to keep a close eye (and ear) on.

[audio:http://www.powerofpop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/learnhowtohang.mp3|titles=David Vandervelde – Learn How To Hang]

Myspace | Secret Canadian

SHELLSHAG

SHELLSHAG Rumors in Disguise (Don Giovanni)

The guy Johnny “Shell” plays guitar (and sings) whilst the gal Jen “Shag” plays drums (and also sings). I know what you’re thinking – White Stripes, right? Well, yes and no.

I mean, sure, that “fact” ties Johnny & Jen to Jack & Meg somewhat but as I’ve often ranted and raved, its all about the songs. What do they say? Let’s put it this way, it’s refreshing to listen to a band that knows its shit y’know. At its most basic, Shellshag songs string together the history of lo-fi melodic fuzzed-up guitar rock drones – The Velvet Underground, the Stooges, T. Rex, the Ramones, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Guided by Voices, Pixies, Nirvana – all feature as choice inspirations for these stripped down paeans to pure rock bliss.

In songs like the groovin’ Resilient Bastard, the relentlessly drivin’ He Said She Said, the slowburning caustic Get Right and the primal Rock and Roll Ruined My Life, Shellshag demonstrate that they possess the right influences and the means to express them creatively to deserve the attention of all discerning rock lovers.

Fifteen tracks of consistently and dynamically intriguing songs with little filler merits a PoP recommendation. Check Shellshag out. NOW.

Free download – Crashing Rockets

Myspace

ADMIRAL RADLEY

Here’s a new band to get really excited about. Admiral Radley consists of members of two great alternative rock bands viz. Jason Lytle & Aaron Burtch (Grandaddy) and Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray (Earlimart) and the band is issuing its debut album on The Ship label come July 13th.

Listen to I Heart California, the title track of the upcoming album, and you will be assured that this new aggregation will certainly do justice to fans of their parent bands. Four plus minutes of Lytle’s quirky vocals, buzzy guitars and sweet keyboards with Lytle waxing lyrical about his home state. Bliss!

Review to come…

Official Site

LAFARO

LAFARO s/t (Smalltown America)

When I got in touch with Belfast indie label Smalltown America regarding And So I Watch You From Afar, the label requested a review on Lafaro. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with what I heard on their Myspace but didn’t let that stop me from asking for a review copy and now I’m certainly glad I did!

Pardon me, if I must declare that this is one of the hardest rockin’ debut LPs I’ve heard in too long a time. I mean, anyone can be heavy for heavy’s sake but to be able to make it exciting and visceral at the same time is a thrilling gift. Basically a perfect meeting of metal and hardcore punk – and I don’t mean metalcore – Lafaro’s face melting RAWK is something to behold.

Imagine if you must, the marriage of Metallica and Fugazi and the kick-ass attitude of Lemmy and you might just about get a glimpse of where Lafaro are coming from. Consisting of Jonny Black (guitar/vocals), Dave Magee (guitar), Herb Magee (bass) and Alan Lynn (drums), the band take no prisoners with pummeling yet catchy material such as the old school riff-tastic Tupenny Nudger, the drivin’ Chopper is a Fuckin’ Tout, the hectoring Not A Song and the Pixies-channeling Great Conversations Remembered: No 36 – Jeff Hinton.

Damn objectivity – I LOVE LAFARO!!!!!

Music Video of Tupenny Nudger below.

Official Site

Myspace

POWER OF DREAMS

POWER OF DREAMS Immigrants, Migrants and Me (100% Music)

Irish band that formed at the end of the 80s, released a couple of albums to acclaim and then disbanded in the mid-90s. By all accounts, rather obscure on the world stage but certainly ripe for re-examination. 1989’s Immigrants, Migrants and Me was the band’s debut LP and this 20th Anniversary edition is the perfect time to discover the joys of the Power of Dreams.

Hard to discount the inspirations of fellow countrymen U2 and the Waterboys on this collection of acoustic guitar-favoured Irish-accented rockers and those are good reference points to take into account when listening to this excellent album. Songs like the breezy The Joke’s On Me, the bouncing Does It Matter, the dreamy Had You Listened and the dynamic Stay, are reasons enough for fans of 90s alt-rock to check this out.

And there’s a 2nd disc of bonus material as well, consisting of demos recording, singles and live tracks to provide a fairly comprehensive picture of Power of Dreams’ music during this period. One definitely for the fans but neophytes should also consider jumping on the bandwagon as well.

Official Site

Myspace

SWEET APPLE

SWEET APPLE Love & Desperation (Tee Pee)

Distilling all that is strange and wonderful about rock music into sublime three chord nuggets that sound fresh yet familiar is the achievement of indie rock uber-group Sweet Apple.

Consisting of Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis (drums, guitars & vocals), Cobra Vedre’s John Petrovic (vocals & guitar) and Tim Parnin (guitars & vocals) and Witch’s Dave Sweetapple (bass & vocals), Sweet Apple cover as wide a range of rock approaches as possible with nods to slacker rock (I’ve Got A Feeling), Southern rock (It’s Over Now), psychedelic blues (Hold Me, I’m Dying), stoner rock (Blindfold), fragile melancholy rock (Dead Moon), blues rock (Crawling Over Bodies) and cock rock (Never Came).

By now, I think you get the picture – Love & Desperation is every true rockers’ wet dream. Let it be yours.

Official Site

Myspace

DINOSAUR JR LIVE IN SINGAPORE

Not quite sure why I haven’t been hyping this milestone gig but I guess I’m only human (except that I don’t screw around behind my wife’s back with girls half my age – sorry, couldn’t resist!). But here it is, the band that defined slacker rock and set the stage for Nirvana to breakthrough the mainstream in 1991 is coming to our shores.

The original line up of J Mascis (guitars), Lou Barlow (bass) and Murph (drums) no less, invade Singapore next Tuesday to put the “indie” back into alt-rock. Don’t miss ’em. Check out the video of Start Choppin’ below.

BLACK FRANCIS

BLACK FRANCIS NonStopErotik (Cooking Vinyl)

The nom de plume “Black Francis” made its first appearance as the alter-ego of Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV in 1987 in the Pixies’ official recorded debut – the mini-album, Come On Pilgrim. After the seminal band broke up in 1992, Black Francis morphed into Frank Black and Thompson used this name in 15 albums released over the course of 14 years.

Black Francis “returned” in 2007 with the Bluefinger album and the follow-up LP, NonStopErotik indicates that perhaps Black Francis is back to stay. Musically, NonStopErotik attempts to bridge the gap between the Pixies and Frank Black i.e. edgy guitars mixed with minimal electronic sounds, a process which probably began with the Frank Black Francis album, released in 2004, during the Pixies reunion.

Thus, tracks like Lake of Sin, Six Legged Man, Wild Son and When I Go Down On You (great title, eh?) reveals traces of the irreverent, hard-edged and atonal elements of the Pixies oeuvre. Whilst songs like O My Tidy Sum, Rabbits, Wheels and Corrina come across with the greater pop-rock sensibility that Frank Black represented. The album also includes a version of Wheels, the Flying Burrito Brothers classic.

Overall, NonStopErotik clearly establishes Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV/Black Francis/Frank Black/whatever as a true iconolastic rock singer-songwriter of our times. Good, quirky fun.

Check out Six Legged Man below.

Official Site

Myspace

+65 INDIE UNDERGROUND

+65 Indie Underground, the essential 3-CD retrospective of the S-ROCK scene from 1980s to present day (with greater emphasis on the 90s revival) is now available online at getupmerch.com.

Now, why is this CD set “essential”? Well, whether you’re Singaporean or not, the CD set contains 50 tracks covering a wide range of genres and styles, and I’m certain that there’s something for everyone here.

I have been listening to rock & pop music of every ilk for the past 30 years and a serious music reviewer for the last 20, so I believe that I’m qualified to make the following assertions. The music on +65 Indie Underground is as good as anything that passes for “indie/alt-rock” coming out of the USA, UK or Europe.

Definitely, of our current bands, the likes of A Vacant Affair, Great Spy Experiment, I Am David Sparkle, the Observatory, Lunarin, B-Quartet and Electrico would be able to hold their own. For our classic 90s revival outfits, the music of Force Vomit, Livonia, Plainsunset, Sugarflies, Stoned Revivals, Etc, Concave Scream, Stompin’ Ground, Humpback Oak, the Oddfellows, Padres and Zircon Lounge have stood the test of time. Well, I dare anyone to make a case against these assertions. Go ahead, I’ll be waiting…

But if you’re a S-ROCK musician (singer, songwriter, band member, whatever) then, it would be criminal for you not to possess a copy of +65 Indie Underground. This is not mere hyperbole. I have been speaking to several young musicians and they have absolutely no clue about the aforementioned 90s bands. Which is why this retrospective is so essential not only for those of us who lived through those heady times and are feeling nostaglic for the good ol’ days but music lovers everywhere needs to know (and acknowledge) the power of S-ROCK!

Okay, enough preaching. Go and get hold of +65 Indie Underground NOW!!!

RADAR BROS

RADAR BROS. The Illustrated Garden (Merge)

The Radar Bros. are probably the quintessential 90s alt-rock band. Having released 5 albums (before The Illustrated Garden), they have distilled the Pixies-Flaming Lips-Dream Syndicate vibe perfectly. Y’know, equal parts country-folk and psychedelic rock. Throw in copious amounts of the inspirations of Neil Young and Pink Floyd and voila! The Illustrated Garden!

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the hip and cool factor of the above references is high. And the songs on The Illustrated Garden bear this out as well. There is a weathered feel about the melodies and angular shape to the arrangements which strikes a fine balance between the classic and indie rock genres.

Highlights include the world-weary The Headlights, the obtuse and edgy Rainbow, the whacked out bluesy Quarry, the Syd Barrett-channeling People.

Official site

Myspace