Major Bands, Minor Labels 07.27.11: Singles Wanted
Thanks for checking out Major Bands, Minor Labels, 411mania’s independent music oriented column. Before we get into the column, I want to say that I was saddened by the news of Amy Winehouse’s passing. The news wasn’t really shocking, kind of expected actually; however, I won’t deny that the woman put out one excellent album Back To Black and gave us a pretty good single that is now becoming the butt of many jokes during Winehouse’s death. RIP Amy Winehouse.
This week in the column I’ve got news on Cursive front man Tim Kasher, chillwave master Neon Indian, and an orchestral-minded Loney Dear. I’ll also introduce you to some new acts in my new column section, Artists To Keep Your Eyes On.
Also, I’m highlighting a few indie artists’ invasion of POP culture in Indie Mainstream. I’ve got a new Summer Jam for you as well as a few Recommended Listening picks featuring new singles released during the week. A few of the singles are from bands that I had in my most anticipated for the rest of the year list, so you really should check these out.
Let’s get started…
Tim Kasher Goes from Monogamy to Bigamy
Tim Kasher, the creative force behind Saddle Creek bands Cursive and The Good Life, has announced a follow-up album to The Game of Monogamy, his solo outing from last year. The new release is a seven track EP titled Bigamy: More Songs From The Monogamy Sessions. As if you couldn’t tell, the new tracks were written during the recording of last year’s Monogamy. Below is the track list:
1. No Harmony
2. Opening Night
3. A Bluer Sea
4. Lilybird and the Trust Fund Kid
5. Rabbit, Run
6. The Jessica
7. Trees Keep Growing
“Trees Keep Growing” is the only cover song on the album. The original track was written and performed by Azure Ray. The new EP will be available exclusively online and as a part of Kasher’s new headlining tour moving through the midwest, northeast, and southeast. Check out the tour dates below:
Thu-Aug-18, Chicago, IL, Schubas
Fri-Aug-19, Pontiac, MI, The Croofoot
Sat-Aug-20, Columbus, OH, Double Happiness
Sun-Aug-21, Cleveland, OH, Grog Shop
Mon-Aug-22, Rochester, NY, Bug Jar
Tue-Aug-23, Boston, MA, Great Scott
Wed-Aug-24, New York, NY, Mercury Lounge
Thu-Aug-25, Philadelphia, PA, Johnny Brenda’s
Fri-Aug-26, Washington, DC, Red Palace
Sat-Aug-27, Chapel Hill, NC, Local 506
Sun-Aug-28, Greenville, NC, The Tipsy
Mon-Aug-29, Atlanta, GA, The Earl
Tue-Aug-30, St Augustine, FL, Café Eleven
Wed-Aug-31, Orlando, FL, The Social
Thu-Sep-01, Tallahassee, FL, Club Down Under
Fri-Sep-02, Birmingham, AL, Bottletree
Sat-Sep-03, Memphis, TN, Hi Tone
Sun-Sep-04, Little Rock, AR, Stickyz Rock & Roll Chicken Shack
Tue-Sep-06, Austin, TX, Mohawk
Wed-Sep-07, Dallas, TX, The Loft
Thu-Sep-08, Oklahoma City, OK, The Conservatory
Fri-Sep-09, Lawrence, KS, Jackpot
Sat-Sep-10, Omaha, NE, Waiting Room
8/18-9/10 with Aficionado
I’ve always been a fan of Tim Kasher’s work with Cursive and The Good Life. I thought The Game of Monogamy was one of the best overlooked releases from last year. Some naysayers may try to write off Kasher’s music as covering the same issues of infidelity, divorce, abuse, and religion, but he always seems to put a new spin on it each time, and it packs enough drama and shock value to make you want to hear it again and again. Be sure to check him out on tour and grab the EP while there or online at Saddle Creek’s online store.
Neon Indian Announces New Album
What a year for the chillwave genre. First, Toro Y Moi released his excellent album Underneath The Pine, Panda Bear put out his much anticipated Tomboy, and Washed Out released his excellent debut full length Within And Without. Now Alan Palomo has announced the new album for his project Neon Indian. The new album is titled Era Extraña, and it’s said to be a much darker journey than the bright tunes on Palomo’s debut album Psychic Chasms in 2009.
Palomo wrote and recorded much of the new album last winter in Helsinki, Finland during its short solstice days. It was a process that was very sheltered and confined. Palomo stated the following about his secluded recording process.
It’s the closest you can get to feeling like you’re at the edge of the earth. And there were moments where I lost sight of what I was really there to do.
The new album explores what cyberpunk means in the year 2011 compared to past notions of the 70s and 80s. Instead of the sample-happy stylings that he’s known for, Palomo has incorporated acid-stained commodore 64 jams and bit-pulped guitar sludge ballads on the new album. Palomo had the following to say concerning the mood and direction of the new album.
We’re now living in the era mysticized by a lot of future-geared 70s and 80s cinema, but it’s definitely not quite how they imagined it.
Era Extraña is slated for a September 13th release on Palomo’s own Static Tongues imprint in conjunction with Mom + Pop Music in North America, Transgressive Records in the United Kingdom and Europe, Pop Frenzy/Inertia in Australia and Big Nothing Records in Japan. You can catch Neon Indian on tour during the following dates.
9/15 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church
9/16 Washington DC – Rock n Roll Hotel
9/17 Carrboro, NC – Moog Festival
9/19 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
9/20 Birmingham, AL – Bottletree *
9/21 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks *
9/22 Houston, TX – Fitzgeralds *
9/23 Austin, TX – The Mohawk
9/24 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
9/26 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
9/27 San Diego, CA – Belly Up Tavern *
9/30 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour *
10/1 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop * ^
10/3 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge *
10/4 Vancouver, BC – Venue *
10/5 Seattle, WA – Crocodile Cafe *
10/7 Boise, ID – Reef * ^
10/8 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge * ^
10/10 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater *
10/12 Kansas City, MO – The Record Bar * ^
10/13 Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry * ^
10/14 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall * ^
10/15 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop * ^
10/16 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick * ^
10/18 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace * ^
10/19 Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa
10/20 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall ^
10/21 New York, NY – Webster Hall ^
* w/ Com Truise
^ w/ Purity Ring
Loney Dear Announces Hall Music
Emil Svanangen, better known as Loney Dear, has completed his follow-up to 2009’s Dear John. The new album is titled Hall Music and is inspired by Svanangen’s love for orchestral music. Before recording Hall Music, he spent time rearranging many of his older songs to present a grander sound. Much of the new arrangements were performed in Svanangen’s home country of Sweden as he toured with many different orchestras.
Hall Music, the sixth Loney Dear album, features instrumentation that is orchestral and synthesized. Coming in just over a half-hour, Hall Music features new songs conceived over the past year and some that have been confined to Svanangen’s mind for awhile. Now the older songs have been fully realized with new arrangements to capture the moods and emotions Svanangen hopes to convey. Of the new album, he says the songs exist in the “perfect position just in between joy and darkness.” Check out the track list below:
02 My heart
03 Loney Blues
04 Calm down
05 Maria, is that you
06 D major
08 Young hearts
10 I dreamed about you
11 What have I become?
Check out the first song off the album, “My Heart”, below:
Golden Glow is the solo project of Manchester singer/songwriter Pierre Hall, former member of the Brit-pop band Lead Balloons. Once Lead Balloons disbanded in 2009, Hall was in a serious automobile accident that left him unable to walk for six months. It was during this time that Hall recorded the material that would make up his new project’s debut album. Hall recorded much of the album using instruments that he quite fully didn’t know how to use. However, the resulting tracks’ rawness added to their overall charm. While home nursing his injuries, Hall also spent numerous hours on the Internet where learned of new bands that he had never heard. It led to him forming a relationship with Jacob Graham of Brooklyn band, The Drums, who asked Golden Glow to open their NME album launch in London.
By late 2010, Pierre Hall had completed the set of songs that were to make up the Golden Glow debut, Tender Is The Night. Mush Records released the new album this past June. Golden Glow’s music is distinctly lo-fi, but most of Hall’s friends agreed that it would not sound better any other way. Featuring eleven tracks, including album opener “Adore Me”, the album captures the energy and appeal of Brit-pop acts like Joy Division and The Libertines. At times the songs are very pop oriented and others are more hazy and distorted. It’s imperfections are what make the performances perfect. Check out the track “Adore Me” below.
This cover art was designed by Okkervil River’s Will Schaff
Providence, RI’s Brown Bird is set to release their latest full-length Salt for Salt on October 18th through Supply & Demand Music. The new album features warm layers of guitar, banjo, violin, double bass, cello, and bass drum performed by the duo of David Lamb and Morgan Eve Swain, pared down from five musicians on Brown Bird’s last album.
The new album was recorded live to tape in Pawtucket, RI and captures the intense energy of the duo’s live show, surging in waves that often swell into high-spirited, foot-stomping madness. Experimental and eerily sparse at times, the new album is well written featuring lyrics that avoid the pitfalls of wishy washy modern folk. The instrumentation of the album is diverse. Swain, a lifelong violinist, spends most of the album on cello and double bass, instruments she picked up in the past two years. Lamb has a kick drum and woodblock/tambourine rigged to a second pedal in front of him, using his whole body and voice to carry the rhythm and melody simultaneously. This new configuration propels each song forward with a blur of hands, feet and voices.
Check out a couple of new tracks from the album performed live at the Midway Cafe below.
Jesse Lortz, former singer of Dutchess & The Duke, is moving on from that project with a solo album that features sounds reminiscent to artists like Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt. The new project is called Case Studies. Case Studies debut album The World Is Just A Shape To Fill The Night was recorded by Greg Ashley and with help from friends including Crystal Stilts’ Keegan Cooke on drums and guitar. The new album will be released August 16 on Sacred Bones. Check out the video for “Daggers” below.
For this week’s Recommended Listening, I’m highlighting some of the newest tracks that got dropped on the indie world this past week. Some of these new tracks are from bands that I highlighted in my anticipated albums to come out in the second half of 2011.
St. Vincent – “Surgeon”
Annie Clark, known to most fans as St. Vincent, released the first single from her upcoming album Strange Mercy. Clark released the new track “Surgeon” after fans tweeted #strangemercy on Twitter for many days. Was it worth the wait? I certainly think so. I’m especially enjoying Clark’s David Gilmour-like moment near the end of the song.
Girls – “Vomit”
I dedicated a whole recommended listening section to this band about two weeks ago. Now they have released the first single from their much anticipated second full-length album. Check out the track “Vomit” below, which is actually prettier than the title suggest.
Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down”
I am going to sing praises of Dum Dum Girls until I’m blue in the face. This past week also saw the release of the first single from the upcoming Dum Dum Girls’ album Only In Dreams. What’s interesting about this new track is the length. It’s six plus minutes. I’m wondering if the group is going for a more epic sound on their new album. The song also has a very Mazzy Star (“Fade Into You”) kind of vibe going for it. Needless to say, this track is gorgeous.
Tim Kasher – “The Jessica”
This is the first single from Kasher’s new EP that I previously mentioned above. It was released this past week and stands right up there with the best songs on his solo debut. I especially like the Dylan-esque vocals that Kasher tries out during the song.
Neon Indian – “Heart: Decay”
I don’t know if you could actually consider this a new full song from Neon Indian. “Heart: Decay” is one part of a three piece instrumental that guides the rest of the new album’s songs on Era Extraña . Check it out below to get an idea of the mood on the upcoming album.
Theme Park – “A Mountain We Love” and “Wax”
London rockers Theme Park are pretty new on the scene. Back in May the group uploaded two songs to the Internet and accumulated massive plays from intrigued listeners. The group is currently a quartet featuring twins Miles and Marcus Haughton, Louie Bhose and Oscar Manthorpe. They’ve announced a debut single on a new imprint coming from Transgressive Records called paradYse. It will be a double A-side and will feature “A Mountain We Love” and a new track titled “Wax”.
Gold Leaves – “Cruel/Kind”
Gold Leaves is the project of Seattle-based songwriter Grant Olsen. Olsen previously played as one half of the duo Arthur & Yu. Now Olsen is branching out with his new album The Ornament that explores themes of birth, death, and regeneration. Olsen’s new album was inspired by moments in his personal life that included the births of new family members and the death of a loved one. At first Olsen didn’t know what type of album he was recording – elements of country music and classic R&B swirled through his head. After coming to terms with the album that he wanted to make, Olsen was aided in recording it with Jason Quever of Papercuts who served as co-producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist. “Cruel/Kind” is one of the nine tracks from the upcoming album.
For this week’s Summer Jam, I’ve chosen Panda Bear‘s “Surfer’s Hymn”. This song is from the Animal Collective member’s latest album Tomboy that was released earlier this year. Read my full review of that album here. The song uses surfing as a metaphor to the problems that arise during our daily lives and try to knock us off our feet. In this song, Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox is trying to maintain his balance on his surfboard.
This past week Spin Magazine released a tribute album to Nirvana’s Nevermind in honor of its 20 year anniversary. The tribute is called Newermind and features many current alternative and indie rock bands covering the legendary Nirvana album in its entirety. Check out the track list below and who’s covering which song.
01 Meat Puppets: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
02 Butch Walker & the Black Widows: “In Bloom”
03 Midnight Juggernauts: “Come as You Are”
04 Titus Andronicus: “Breed”
05 The Vaselines: “Lithium”
06 Amanda Palmer: “Polly”
07 Surfer Blood: “Territorial Pissings”
08 Foxy Shazam: “Drain You”
09 Jessica Lea Mayfield: “Lounge Act”
10 Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band: “Stay Away”
11 Telekinesis: “On a Plain”
12 JEFF the Brotherhood: “Something in the Way”
13 EMA: “Endless, Nameless”
Get the free download of Newermind here.
Some notable indie names on the tribute that have appeared in Major Bands, Minor Labels before include EMA and Surfer Blood. Titus Andronicus are another one of my favorite bands and are perfect for covering Nirvana. I was especially excited to see indie rock legends Meat Puppets covering “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which seems appropriate considering that Kurt Cobain covered three of their songs at the Nirvana Unplugged concert. Meat Puppets members Cris and Curt Kirkwood were asked by Cobain to join the group on stage as they performed the covers of their songs. Check out the Meat Puppets covering Nirvana and then Nirvana covering the Meat Puppets.
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