Posted tagged ‘Department of Eagles’

End of 2009: Young Talents

21 December 2009

So, after a lot of procrastination and seeing a LOT of other lists, I finally took up the courage to start sharing my list with you guys. It’s always a lot of work, but in the end very fulfilling.

First start with my young talents list. Last year, I predicted a bright future for Mumford and Sons, and I turned out to be a visionary man (The year before Bon Iver was my number 1). I must admit that I’m not that sure about this year’s artists or this year’s number one. there aren’t any artists that will go into indie mainstream, which doesn’t mean that they aren’t as great. In my entire list (including my top 50), there is one artist who I think will be spoken of a lot next year. I will tell you if we get to the artist.

But enough blah blah. my top 10 promising artists!

10. The Awful Truth – Object Permanence (The Orchid Collective)

What? Twenties anxiety in songs

Most artists start making music in their teen years, when they are full of teenage angst, screaming to become an adult cause their growing brains are killin’ them. As soon as they’re 18, they realize how stupid their grieving was, and they will put aside their instrument to chase a life full of disappointment. But what do you do with the cynicism or regrets when you’re in your twenties? I guess you would make albums like The Awful truth. It sounds like songs from a grown-up, but not yet adult enough to believe that this is well-thought of. It seems to deal with growing pains, but not in the “fuck man, i wanna kill myself” kind of way. The voice sounds a bit like Destroyer, Thanksgiving and Adam Lipman. And maybe a little bit of Love Letter Band. This could end up to be a great promsie, but ‘Object Permanence’ is already charming enough to deserve your attention.

The Awful Truth – Growin’ Old

9. The Daredevil Christopher Wright – In Deference To A Broken Back (Amble Down Records)

What? Stretch those vocal chords and join the circus

Daredevil Christopher wright is not an androgynous man singing about his days at the circus, although you could think that after a first listen. After closer inspection it turns out to be a trio, with vocal cords being stretched like it’s a carnival act. Especially when he’s doing the falsetto thing, you could – this is gonna be a very bad joke and i’m apologizing already – think someone is juggling his balls. (told you it was bad). The music is kind of like a circus too, cause it bounces around like elephants on little tiny bikes that are bouncing around in big circus tents. If I wouldn’t be feeling the urge of talking about circuses, I’d call the music on ‘In Deference to A Broken Back’ theatre. Well-orchestrated stuff, if you know what i mean. There are quite some references to christian things, and having seen the documentary on Danielson just this weekend, i’m kind of eager to use that band as a reference, although it’s not that extreme.

The Daredevil Christopher Wright – The East Coast

8. The Love Language – The Love Language (Bladen Country Records)

What? Cucumber bubblegum chewed by Lo-fi afficionados

I can imagine you reading the description, and really wondering how cucumber bubblegum tastes. I think it’s kind of edgy. And bubblegum is catchy. This means that The Love Language is catchy edgy music, and with a lo-fi feel. Woohoo, it matches my definition of great music. This debut album gives me the happy wave your hands in the meadows on a hot summer day- feel. It’s hard to come up with comparisons, but some of the songs remind me of what Swedish pop people like Jens Lekman & Suburban Kids with Biblical Names would make if they had to live in a basement. I also saw Wavves & No Age pop up as reference, but this is not even close to their kind of lo-fi noisyness. No, this just has a smile your head off while being shot at on a carnival ride-feel. Boat, they’ve got a bit of Boat. And some band I can’t come up with right now.

The Love Language – Sparxxx

7. DM Stith – Heavy Ghost (Asthmatic Kitty)

What? Cabaret is this year’s trend

We’re four bands far in my year list, and I’m already starting to repeat myself. But well, DM Stith is kind of theater as well. He is the arty farty street performer, who can bring ghouls back to life. How that musically can be defined? Well, you all like Grizzly Bear don’t you? It’s like them, but then more  Department of eagles. It makes you dance in a weird standing still kind of way, falling in between the layers of the songs, and then finding out that your name doesn’t have to be Alice to get in Wonderland. You don’t need drugs to see big toads talking to you. A bit of DM Stith will do the trick.

DM Stith – Pity Dance

6. Caddywhompus – EP (Self-released)

What? Morning Benders and Animal Collective have a Love Baby

While Indie kids are jerking off on Animal Collective and other too cool for fools-bands, I tend to take the time to go out there in the digital jungle to find what’s gonna be hot next. It’s not always easy, swimming in a pool of endless music sources, and drowning because the music at the bottom of the pool is pulling you down. But once in a while you find these bands that look like bubbles. You can inhale them, so that you can swim on for another 15 seconds before Game Over appears on the Screen. Caddywhompus, that sounds like a rough version of “Band that is gonna be big next year because they signed to a bigger indie label” Morning Benders. We’ll see them in 2 years, next to Jumbling Towers. Thank Aninsideoutsock for the early Adopter-opportunities. You can tell your friend you knew bands before they were cool, and call them a fool! Oh, and this EP is downloadable for free on their website!

Caddywhompus –  Untitled #4708

5. Lee Baggett (or lee Gull?)- Burn’r (RAD Records through Marriage Records)

What? Electric guitar slacking on the front porch

Is it weird to find out that Lee Baggett is part of Little Wings? Not really. He’s got that strange charming monotony that only real music lovers love, cause other people think it’s deadly boring (that’s what some of my friends would say). I think Baggett recorded this album while he sat on the front porch, a long extension chord coming from his amp inside. And while watching the sun setting and the three-legged dog slumping to his drinking bowl filled with multiple layers of dust, he just starts jamming and singin’ with his friend.  And without even knowing it, ends up with extremely catchy songs. (Though next time, keep low on the solo instrumentals).

NOTE: he doesn’t seem to have a MySpace. I guess he was too busy jammin’.

Lee Gull – Clover Hill

4. Au – Versions (EP) (Aagoo Records)

What? Experimental is a dirty word if you don’t wash it.

I’ve kept the experimental segment of my musical journey low this year. That has got to do with most indie music becoming more experimental already, and realizing that it’s stuff i just don’t listen to that often, even though I enjoy it. Question is if Au is really that weird and trippy. It’s a bit more offbeat than Animal Collective or Akron/family, but e.g. ‘Ida Walked Away’ is quite standard. Au only tends to freak out once in a while, but does it in a standardly awesome way. If standardly is not a word, It fits a description of Au perfectly. Akron/Family: watch your steps.

Au – Ida Walked Away

3. A Paper Cup Band – Detroit Vs Farming (Anti-Civ Records)

What? I never heard of a band that calls himself after some weird dead object..It’s like calling yourself Pavement, stupid!

Ok, I guess no one will get the What-description, though it means nothing more than that ‘A Paper Cup Band’ sounds like Pavement. But that’s only in one song. In another they sound like The Donkeys, and in another they sound like Of Montreal, and then they sound like a honky Tonky band. It’s as if they’ve been drinking from a glass of spit from all the indie that’s out there, and then tried to guess whose spit they tasted. Actually that’s a rather good concept for an album. Then again, a title like Detroit Vs Farming puts it very well as well. city versus countryside. Pyjama versus sleeping naked.

A paper cup Band – Drunks And Poets

2. Gregory Pepper & his Problems –  with Trumpets Flaring (Fake Four Inc)

What? Someone’s gotta to be the new Unicorns

You know who I hate? Nick Thornburn. For not fully admitting that he wants to make catchy pop songs and instead comes up with artsy fartsy disastrous albums (and some good side projects, okay okay). But from now on, there is no reason for despair anylonger, cause Gregory Pepper & His Problems are here! He’s Canadian, he looks a bit like Thornburn. We can all turn away from Thornburn now and listen to Pepper’s catchiness. Like Peppermint catchy. It’s not his first album, so I’m not sure whether he sounded like the Unicorns on his first album and this is his debut as Islands, but I hopen ot, cause that would mean that his next album would be awful. Still, Pepper is the way to go for now. Go Pepper go.

Gregory Pepper & His Problems – Drop The Plot

1. Squanto – Go Go Gadget Grass Stains (Self-released)

What ? Bedroom robots singing about their home planet

It’s sad to say, but I’m pretty sure that by the end of next year almost no one will know Squanto. That’s because Squanto is untouchable for most people. The music is a ghost with a shadow that no one can see. You only get a hint of something going on there. Layered music in a lo-fi setting, like Mount Eerie makes 23034 cd’s a year. This is perfect competition for the best Of-compilation of that album. I don’t know what it is that Squanto does with me, but I know it’s something I wanna feel flowing through my veins more in my life. That’s worth a number one spot. The album can be completely streamed at Virb, and downloaded for Free at the Collective, whose catalogue keeps to amaze me!

Squanto  – Gumballs, The Fountain Of Truth

Another Bear Band: Himalayan Bear

14 March 2009

himalayanWho? Himalayan Bear

What? Long orchestral songs with a voice like DM Stith or Department of Eagles

Sounds Like? DM Stith, Department of Eagles, Chris Garneau

I adore all the projects of Casey Mercer (Frog Eyes, Blackout Beach), but before you start running away because you can’t stand his dead grandma-voice: this is not a Casey Mercer project! No, it’s a project of  Ryan Beattie who plays the guitar in Frog Eyes and is the lead man in a band called Chet. (Which i don’t know, but will check out in the near future, as in now, while I’m typing this.)

Anyway, Himalayan Bear is sort of this solo project of Ryan Beattie, together with someone from Godspeed!You Black emperor (yes, some guys have just everything). They make really nice, orchestral songs that mostly are longer than 5 minutes . Beattie’s voice reminds me a bit of new hype DM Stith, with this sort of swoon in the timbre (that’s just a hollow phrase of me not knowing how to describe a voice).

So, listen to the songs, then go to Self Righteous Records and buy the album. It’s really late night greatness.

Himalayan Bear – City Wind

Himalayan Bear – Lo, Lonesome Island

P.S Chet sounds pretty good too, maybe a bit dramatic.

2008 Galore! pt. 5: TOP 50 (50-41)

24 November 2008

So, the big moment has arrived. During the next week (or two weeks, depending on the time i have to present yo this list), i’ll tell you what my 50 favourite records were from 2008. I must admit I haven’t listened to every album that got released this year, but maybe i’ll make a few corrections at the end of the year. Maybe not.

Comment as much as you want, cause i really enjoy that. Oh, by the way. You don’t have to read everything. Just check out the mp3-links, look for them on myspace or the illegal circuit.. or Better buy their albums and surprise yourself! (and if you don’t like it, give the record away, to a homeless person or a starving kid in africa)

o1386792

50. Thee Oh Sees – The Master’s Bedroom is Worth (Tomlab)

Sounds like: The garage version of Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra

One of the important questions in life is whether garage music must be made in a garage or not. I’ve been wondering about that for ages. No idea whether Thee oh sees recorded stuff in a garage once ,or just pretended to be in one. It surely rocks and has a lot of energy, and the harmonic singing between the woman and the guy give a sort of Lo-fi White Stripes feel (lo-fi!). May i remind you that the White Stripes-comparison isn’t accurate at all?

Thee Oh Sees – Maria: Stacks

o1499365

49.  31 Knots – Worried Well (Polyvinyl)

Sounds like: Math rock with a rough edge

No, 31 knots, what have you done? Inviting Children’s choirs to sing along? Thou wilt no longer be a appreciated rock band! I’ve read some stupid things about this new album, but for me, it’s just one of the best rock albums this year. I don’t listen to heavy music (well, heavy, let’s not exaggerate here tom) that often, but 31 Knots is enjoyable at most times. It’s math rock (which is a stupid name for difficult dissonant riffs i think).

31 Knots – Certificate

burninghell

48. The Burning Hell – Happy Birthday (Weewerk)

Sounds like: Smog on Ukelele, although you don’t really hear the ukelele

Ok, i must admit: The Burning Hell isn’t as catchy or cool as Bill Callahan, but his voice is as deep, and some of his songs are the same. He is told to be a ukelele virtuoso, but unfortunately the ukelele doesn’t get a central part in his songs. He’s got something of a vaudeville, and he has made one of the best songs of this year (which i will share not now, but later on in the year). But this one is really nice too.

The Burning Hell – Happy Birthday To The End Of The World

depar

47. Department of eagles – In Ear Park (4AD)

Sounds Like: Riding the Sixties indie carroussel

Retro is the theme word of the year. There are really a lot of bands in my list that actually seemed to have born in the wrong day and age. No, no medieval bands though. Department of Eagles is a sideproject from the guys of Grizzly Bear (and i wasn’t that fond of their Yellow House-album), and is a real trip into nostalgia. This music reminds me of carroussels and i have no idea why. it’s like music that you swing around too, with your hands in the air while riding a plastic horse.

Department of Eagles – Teenagers

o1389799

46. Noah & The Whale – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down (Vertig)

Sounds like: Every singalong, whistle, hand-clap record.

So, Summer is over officially. There is snow all over the place, and people crashing their cars into freshly built snowmen. But that doesn’t stop Noah & The Whale from singing about their happiness. Last year, i had a pretty similar album in my list (although this isn’t as catchy as that one): Bishop Allen. Strangely, i wanted to put this band into my talents for the future list of 2007, but eventually didn’t. And at first their album disappointed me, but… you know what. I’ll take the text i wrote from last year’s Bishop Allen album:

” While I was making this list, i wanted this band out. I liked them, but not that much, right? And I listened to the Broken string. And Again. And Again. And everytime i thought: “nooo, this definitely must stay in”… and then after a week i wanted them out again. But it’s impossible. This is catchy. So damn catchy.”

Just replace the Broken string by ‘Peacefully, the world lays me down’.

Because their album is released by a Vertigo, which is part of Universal, and i don’t want to post mp3’s that could piss RIAA-people off, i’ll just add the well-known YouTube-Clip:

wave

45. The Wave Pictures – Instant Coffee, Baby (Moshi Moshi)

Sounds Like: What’s with the accent, dude? British poprock

The most fun about this band? The English Wit, combined with the amazingly thick London Cockney accent (as far as I know, it could be Liverpudlian too..i’m nto British). Their songs are quite catchy too, but in a different way than Noah & The Whale. This is more rock-related, perhaps even close to Britpop (although they remind me of the Clash, but then again, i don’t know that much about the Clash..but there’s a bit of a reggae-mood in here). I do admit that after a whole album, his voice can get a bit tedious, but that doesn’t take away the fact that this is a really feel-good album, and probably a really good live band.

The Wave Pictures – We Come Alive

danku

44. Stanley Brinks – Dank U (B.Y Records)

Sounds like: Bossa Nova Loner

I’m getting Flashbacks. Last year Adrian Orange & her Band made this rather excentric bossa nova album that ended up high in my list, and this year there is another artist that makes a strange album that sounds very south-america. So, you all know Stanley Brinks from his past as André Herman Düne (about which he made the amazing song called Stanley Brinks) , and i seem to miss him in the band Herman Düne. They also make this southern catchy songs, but when they were still ocmplete, their songs sounded less shallow (so sorry guys, you’re not in the list this year). This is a melancholic southern album, with trumpets and all of it. Amazing. Dank u, Stanley Brinks (for the non-dutch speaking community. Dank u is Dutch for Thank You)

Stanley Brinks – New Hampshire

ray

43. Ray Lamontagne – Gossip In The Grain (RCA Records)

Sounds Like: Otis Redding stepping away from the soul, but sometimes returning to it.

There aren’t many people with Ray Lamontagnes goosebump-voice. That being said, this album is actually a bit too clean for my standards. I know, that’s just wanker talk (My collegue and big Lamontagne-fan will probably curse me right now), but i’m really looking forward to hear Ray Lamontagne’s Pink Moon-album. Just him with a guitar, his voice, and okay a bit of the very intense production that is exemplary of his albums. But just not too much. Because of his voice, he’s in the list. Again a major label issue, so no mp3 but a video:

two

42.  The Two Man Gentleman Band – Heavy Petting (Serious Business Records)

Sounds like: Woohoo, get out the Kazoo’s, Bottlenecks, Blow Bottles and Banjo’s, cause we’re having an old time rag folk swing party here

The Two Man Gentleman Band is the most retro band in my list. They sound like two guys having lived on their farm for 80 years. The use of kazoos is just so over the top, but so funny. It’s probably an album that will get boring after a while, but right now, i’m still enjoying every inch of it.

not only a song, but also a video, because it’s so funny

The Two Man Gentleman Band – Playing My Kazoo

300

41. Mr. David Viner – Among The Rumours & The Rye (Loose Music)

Sounds Like: classic singersongwriter-stuff

When making my list, i started with over 200 Bands, and very quickly erased dozens of them. I relistened to stuff and got rid of them. I listened to it again, and they got out of there. And Mr. David Viner remained. I don’t know why. I really don’t. He’s the Strange bug in the dog’s skin, and maybe next year, he’ll be totally out of this list. Everytime i watch over my list (i do that at least ten times a day, to see if there are any last minute changes), I see him standing there and thinking “Mr. David Viner, who the hell is that?” and then i listen to one or two songs, thinking: “well, this is quite good.” It’s nothing special, just songs that sound timeless. (he’s maybe this year’s Kid Harpoon). He used to do shows with The White Stripes, by the way. (but expect something completely different). Funny how I started with White stripes and ended with them!

Mr. David Viner – Do What Thou Wilt

in Dutch, we have an expression, translated it is “The Head is Off”. Which means, we’ve started. Expect more bands in the following days/weeks (depending on the time and the mood i’m in).