Morningbell, Mittens, Tigsfrom the "I really love this band and I have them on a mix CD I'll be posting eventually and I didn't want to post them twice but, you know what, I really love this band" department:
Morningbell -- Me Bastard 2003
Morningbell is a band from Gainesville FL who introduce themselves in their second release as "a rock band that wants you to be a happy person" and follow the introduction with the request "Please be nice to people today." I can dig it.
A musical genetic analysis of their work shows White Album Beatles crossed with the Flaming Lips, dipped in Amnesiac-era Radiohead and dusted with Pet Sounds: somewhat moody work that tends to float downstream skystruck, running slowly ashore, pushing off again gently, drifting, sounding odd and effortlessly beautiful. The harmonies, the melodies, the instrumentation, the arrangements: all top-notch.
And this song: melodic passive-aggressiveness. "I will be there if you call me / I will be there if you call," with "call me, bastard" as a lovely singalong. Bonus points for bass solo spotlight, guitar freakout, and Wyld Stallyns ending.
I think Morningbell and Bishop Allen are vying for the title "Best Unsigned Pop/Rock Band in the States."
[Morningbell's Myspace page, with some other great tracks]
[Morningbell's website with some songs which are, well, mostly live and not nearly as good]
from the "Here's something neat in my inbox" department:
Tigs -- Don't Tell Me
Alicia "Tigs" Huertas plays punk tinged with country and touches of Siouxsie and Television.
From the press release:
Part Spanish and born into a bohemian musician family Tigs grew up in the sleepy Gloucestershire town of Woodchester. She started writing her songs as an 18 year old college drop out bumming around Bristol on the dole. A family friend put her in touch with French producer Dimitri Tikovoi (Placebo, Ravonettes) and together they started recording her dark, brooding songs.
Going to New York in 2004, Tigs blagged her way into an aftershow party and met Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner. Within weeks, they were recording together in former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha's Stratosphere Sound Studios in New York.
What the press release fails to mention is that Nick Zinner's guitar can scorch your eyebrows and that Huertas can sing with hurricane force, blowing out your windows and crashing a tree on your house.
I can't decide if that guitar solo is brilliantly jarring or just jarring, but it's definitely strongly felt, to the point, and in service of the song. And the song is much too busy kicking ass to stop and smell the roses. So maybe brilliant?
It seems Tigs doesn't yet have a website. [Tigs' myspace site]
Mittens -- Big Decisions
Mittens are a Boston trio priding themselves on "melodic, enduring, concise" music. They cite Squeeze and Violent Femmes as influence, sensibly enough. This is a pastoral song: an oak tree, a breeze, warm sun, lying on a spot of short grass with fields on all sides. There's an understated serenity to the song, the lyrics about living in the moment.
[Mittens' official site, with three more downloads]
[Mittens' Myspace account]
from the "palm/forehead" department:
•Red Ruin did a noteworthy post on international hip-hop some time back that I've kept forgetting to post about. Apparently there's another in the works.
•Birdy Nam Nam plays some neat turntablism, but either myspace is choking yet again or Birdy Nam Nam doesn't allow downloads. Their official site has a Flash-only interface, some videos, and also no mp3s. Ah well.
•Here's MORESUKINE, the weblog of a German comic artist living in Tokyo, accepting assignments and drawing them for his comic strips. Nice work he has up. I especially like the roller coaster assignment.
From the "you might not care" department:
I got a volunteer job recently with a boss who makes William Faulkner look concise. It's making me rethink my approach to writing--luckily, purposeful self-reflection is usually not a bad thing.
I know it sounds cheesy, but finding blogs like this makes what we do entirely worthwhile.
I see you've toured a bit; how did those shows go?
Tampa is always fun and tally seems to be every other time.
Our last Orlando show was great, surprisingly.
It's a long uphill battle to play out of town and catch on, but we gots time.
New album material is in the works!!