This week’s edition of Five For Your Friday features tracks from Sarah Jaffe, Fang Island, Menomena, All Wrong and The Plans Change and The Fresh & Onlys. Enjoy!
Coming out of Denton, Texas Sarah Jaffe self-released her first EP back in 2007. Touring with the likes of Lou Barlow, Midlake and Old 97’s in 2010 Jaffe released her debut album, Suburban Nature, followed shortly after by two more albums in 2011 and 2012. “Clementine” is off her 2010 album.
Formed in Providence, Rhode Island and later relocating to Brooklyn, New York Fang Island is made up of Jason Bartell, Chris Georges, Michael Jacober, Nicholas Andrew Sadler and Marc St. Sauveur. Coming together back in 2005 as an art project between Philip Curcuru, Pete Watts and Georges while the three were enrolled at Rhode Island School of Design, the group gained and lost members before settling down into the current five-member design. Describing their music as “everyone high-fiving everyone”, “Life Coach” is from their 2010 self-titled release.
Based out of Portland, Oregon, Menomena formed back in 2000 between Brent Knopf, Justin Harris and Danny Seim. The group eventually gained member Joe Haege and lost Knopf in 2011 when he decided to focus more on his other musical pursuits, specifically Ramona Falls. Since their formation the group has released three EPs and four LPs. “Wet and Rusting” is off their 2006 EP of the same title.
“Wet and Rusting”
Consisting of best friends Kassia Conway and Amy Wood, All Wrong and the Plans Change is based in Los Angeles, California. Daughter of a music engineer and producer, Wood grew up around music and began playing in clubs at the young age of 14. “I Get Down” is a track from the duo’s debut homemade album I’m Like Whatever
“I Get Down”
Forming back in 2008 in San Francisco, California, The Fresh & Onlys were originally comprised of Tim Cohen and Shayde Sartin. Later down the road the duo gained additional members including Kyle Gibson, Heidi Alexander and Wymond Miles. Classified frequently as ‘garage pop’, the group has released three albums and two EPs. “Waterfall” is off their 2010 release Play It Strange
This week’s Five for Your Friday features songs with an underlying theme… let’s see if you can guess (really, it should be obvious). Featuring tracks from Robert Guion Lowery, These United States, tUnE-YaRdS, Blizten Trapper and Bear Hands. Enjoy!
Robert Guion Lowery is a local musician in Louisville, KY. Formerly a guitarist and bassist for the group Zgowonto Lizards, Lowery is now the vocalist of Demise of the King in addition to being the guitarist for Rusty Old Crows. Surprisingly recorded entirely on an iPhone, his cover of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” off his upcoming release …is a Real Girl.
Made up of Jesse Elliott, Justin Craig, Aaron Latos, Anna Morsett and J. Tom Hnatow, These United States released their first album back in 2008. Recording in various locations (Elgin, IL, Iowa City, IA, Lexington, KY, just to name a few) the group has released 4 albums and is set to put out their fifth in June of this year. “Honor Amongst Thieves” is off their 2008 release Crimes.
“Honor Amongst Theives”
Merrill Garbus is the mastermind behind Lo-Fi/experimental group tUnE-YaRdS. Originiating in Conneticut, Garbus composes music through the use of layering and an assist from bassist Nate Brenner. Started back in ’06, tUnE-YaRdS has released two albums and three EPs. “Gangsta” is off the 2011 release w h o k I l l.
Starting back in 2000, Blitzen Trapper is a seasoned experimental folk group from Porland, Oregon. Made up of Eric Earley, Erik Menteer, Brian Adrian Koch, Marty Manquis and Michael VanPelt, the quintet has released six studio albums and two EPs. “Black River Killer” is off their 2008 album Furr.
“Black River Killer”
Having opened for the likes of MGMT, Les Savy Fav and Vampire Weekend Bear Hands is an experimental/indie rock outfit out of Brooklyn New York. Forming back in ’06, the group is made up of Dylan Rau, TJ Orscher, Ted Feldman and Val Loper. The quartet has released two EPs and one studio album, “Crime Pays” is off their 2010 release Burning Bush Supper Club
An eclectic mix this time around, featuring tracks from Capital Cities, Retribution Gospel Choir, Trombone Shorty, White Lies and Movits! Enjoy!
Electro Pop/Rock Dance duo Capital Cities, is made up of Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian. The two connected via craigslist in 2008 when Merchant was searching for a collaborator and found Simonian. In 2011 they released their debut EP and their hit single “Safe and Sound” landed a #2 spot on Hype Machine. With an infectious beat and horn fanfare, its difficult not to dance to this track.
“Safe And Sound”
Indie rock group Retribution Gospel Choir is a trio out of Duluth, Minnesota. Comprised of Alan Sparhawk, Steven Garrington and Eric Pollard, both Sparhawk and Garrington are members of the band Low. Having released two studio albums Retribution Gospel Choir is known for being loud and energetic and their track “Hide It Away” is just that.
“Hide It Away”
Troy Andrews aka Trombone Shorty has been playing the trombone since 6 years old. Having attended the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Andrews has quite the impressive resume: featured member of Lenny Kravitz’s horn section, played alongside U2 and Green Day, held the #1 spot on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart for 9 weeks and much more. Andrews has released 8 studio albums and 4 live albums. Mixing an incredible horn section with distorted guitar and constant bass line,”Hurricane Season” is off his 2010 album Backatown.
Forming in 2007, White Lies is an indie rock outfit from Ealing, London. With the line up including Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown, the group has been playing together since their early teen years under the name Fear of Flying, however in 2007, the trio decided that they needed a new name to fit their new sound, and thus White Lies came to be. With an irresistible foot tapping beat, synthesizer, and subtly echoed vocals “Death” is full of life (ha ha, but really).
Playing a unique combination of swing, jazz and hip-hop, Movits! is a Swedish group that formed in 2007. Based in Luleå. Sweden, the group consists of Johan Rensfeldt, Anders Rensfeldt and Joakim Nilsson. Gaining popularity in the US in 2009 after being featured on The Colbert Report, the trio has released two album. “Äppelknyckarjazz ” (literally translated as apple swiper jazz or scrumping jazz) is off their 2008 album of the same name.
Delta Spirit by Delta Spirit
Starting back in 2005, Delta Spirit is an indie rock group out of San Diego. Made up of Jon Jameson, Kelly Winrich, Will McLaren, Matthew Vasquez and Brandon Young, the group is known for their mixture of rock and soul as well as their use of unconventional instruments like trashcan lids. Delta Spirit has released 2 EPs and 3 LPs, their latest was released last weeks and earned the #1 spot on Heatseeker Albums list.
Much of the critiques regarding Delta Spirit’s third album revolves around the notion that the group hasn’t been innovative or taken risks with their latest release, and while this may be true, that doesn’t really effect the fact that the album as a whole is pretty decent. From the energetic driving rock songs like “Idaho” to the slower, more sentimental tunes like “Home”, the album is nice listen. 7.5/10
What the Critics say:
“Delta Spirit delivers a handful of superb cuts that have the band taking a modest step forward. Still, Vasquez’s raspy, scathing voice and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winrich’s nuanced, dense lyricism offer the promise of a greater leap to come.” – Henry Hauser of Beats Per Minute (70%)
“Their third, self-titled, full-length finds the band unable to rise out of their own formulas.” – Jim Scott of Under The Radar (5/10)
“There are some great songs to be found on the record, even for a stubborn folk-rock enthusiast. “Idaho” is a high-energy rocker that will surely become a staple of the band’s live set, and “Time Bomb” is a beautiful number about the infinite possibilities of the impending future.” – Wyndham Wyeth of Paste Magazine (7/10)
It’s that time again… This week’s Five For Your Friday features tracks from A.A. Bondy, Cloud Cult, The Coral, Sea Wolf and Fanfarlo. Enjoy!
Formerly of grunge group, Verbena, Scott Bondy is now the front man and sole member of A.A. Bondy. Short for August Arthur Bondy, A.A. Bondy came into existence in 2003 after Verbena disbanded and Bondy took refuge in upstate New York and recorded “stripped-down indie folk”. Mixing and recording his debut album in a barn, Bondy has released three albums. “I Can See the Pines” , full of acoustic guitar and subtle harmonies, is from his 2009 album, When The Devil’s Loose.
“I Can See the Pines”
Minneapolis, Minnesota experimental indie group Cloud Cult began in 1995 as the solo project of Craig Minowa. Producing fantastic music and protecting the environment while doing so, Cloud Cult release their albums via a self-created non-profit record label that utilizes the most environmentally friendly means available. With strings, moving acoustic phrases and raw vocals, “Journey of the Featherless” is from the album Feel Good Ghosts.
“Journey of the Featherless”
Forming more than a decade ago in 1996, The Coral are an indie group from Holylake, England. Mixing psychedelic, indie rock, old school country and folk rock, The Coral create an interesting and unique sound. Simple acoustic strums and synthesizer come together and make you want to move in “In the Morning”.
“In The Morning”
Led by Alex Brown Church, Sea Wolf began back in 2003. Sea Wolf came to be when Church wrote songs that didn’t fit the genre of his other band Irving, so he start performing them as Sea Wolf accompanied by various backing musicians. Sea Wolf has released an EP and two LPs, “Dew In The Grass” is off the 2009 album White Water, White Bloom.
“Dew In The Grass”
Indie-folk group Fanfarlo was formed back in 2006 by Simon Balthazar and Giles Davis, however, Davis left the group before they released any music. Currently based in London, Fanfarlo takes it’s name from a Charles Baudelaire novel and is comprised of Amos Memon, Cathy Lucas, Simon Balthazar, Leon Beckenham and Justin Finch. Featuring crescendos ending in cymbal rolls, faint synthesizer and tempo changes, “Luna” is bound to get stuck in your head.
The past week was host to a number of album releases, here’s a recap of a few, including albums from Andrew Bird, Bowerbirds, Good Old War, Miniature Tigers, Mona, Now, Now, and Yellow Ostrich as well as an EP from MMOTHS.
Break It Yourself by Andrew Bird
Born and raised Chicagoan, Andrew Bird, is singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began learning the violin when he was four. Releasing his début album, Music of Hair, the same year that he graduated from Northwestern University, Bird has released seven solo albums. Bird’s solo career was the result of a his band’s, Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, inability to open at venue in Chicago. With his band mates unable to perform, Bird took the stage on his own; his success prompted him to pursue a solo career.
Chalk full of string plucking, polyrhythms and Bird’s signature whistling, Break It Yourself is what we’ve come to expect from Bird. Ending with what sounds like controlled wind chimes and crickets, the album fades off and leaves you with a satisfactory conclusion: 7.75/10
What the Critics Say: Metacritic gave Break It Yourself a score of 79 indicating generally favorable reviews.
“The end result then, is the sound of Bird settling down, becoming comfortable with his music and letting it come off as natural, without losing the sense of enjoyment and the hypnotic dynamism of his core elements” – Ray Finlayson of Beats Per Minute (79%)
“Stepping back from the throes of this umbilical soul-searching, Break It Yourself is Bird’s most consistent work to date. By playing it straight and singing it even straighter, he’s created an intensely listenable and emotional album that’s impossible not to relate to” – Billy Hamilton of Drowned in Sound
“The emotional urgency energizes his fluid multi-instrumental elocution and learned metaphors; sometimes it sounds like he’s burning an effigy of his ex in the quad at iTunes U” – Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone (3.5/5)
The lastest edition of Five for Your Friday with tracks from Yosemite, Jay Jay Pistolet, You Won’t, Absofacto and Family of the Year. Enjoy!
Out of Northern-Wisconsin comes Yosemite, a trio producing Frisbee folk jams for your listening pleasure. Made up of Kevin Gonring, Matt Schmitz, and Greg Umhoefer, the three draw their influences from Lord of the Rings and girls, Complete with amazing full harmonies and twangy guitar, “Tall Trees” is off their debut EP, YosemitEP, released in September 2011.
From New Forest, Hampshire comes singer/songwriter Justin James Hayward-Young, aka Jay Jay Pistolet. Currently a member of the Vaccines (a British indie-rock group), Jay Jay Pistolet has supported acts like Noah and the Whale and Snow Club. While performing he plays solo or calls upon the aid of his backing band which features singer of Mumford and Sons, Marcus Mumford. Simple guitar and unaltered vocals add something special to this aching break-up song.
“Hooked Up On Us”
Coming together back in 1999 while involved in a high school play, Massachusetts natives Raky Sastri and Josh Arnoudse make up the indie-folk group You Won’t. Through the duo has known each other for quite some time, it wasn’t until 2008, while living in New York City, that they first began making music and performing shows together under the name Nohow On. In 2010 the pair secluded themselves in the woods in Littleton, MA, recorded an album and adopted the name You Won’t. While “Three Car Garage” starts off with a slightly bizarre intro, give the track a chance, you might fall in love with the energetic acoustic guitar and drum stick hits present throughout the track.
“Three Car Garage”
Solo project of songwriter and lead singer of Mason Proper, Absofacto’s sole member is Jonathan Visger. Utilizing electronics like synthesizers and drum machines to achieve his fun band sound, Visger has released three EPs, a LP and a handful of singles. Squeeze box sounds and bright guitar riffs mesh together in “Feathers (Don’t Change On Me)”.
“Feathers (Don’t Change On Me)”
Starting back in 2009, indie group Family of the Year calls Los Angeles, California home. While some members have come and gone, the core members are made up of brothers Joseph and Sebastian Keefe, Christina Schroeter and Jamsey Buckey. Having released three EPS and an LP, the quartet are set to drop a full length album in 2012. Unison guitar and piano phrases, muted trumpet and handclaps are just a few of the highlights in “Chugjug”.
This past week was host to a number of releases. Here’s a recap of a few, featuring Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny,Memoryhouse, Soft Swells, The Wooden Sky and EPs from Moonlight Bride and Tiny Victories
Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose by Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny
Making her first appearance in 2006, Beth Jeans Houghton has been writing music since she was a teenager. Currently residing in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, Houghton released her first EP back in 2008, however her debut album wasn’t released until this week. Often compared to popular artists such as Nico and Laura Marling, Houghton is known for her sweet vocals and folkish sound and has supported a number of musical acts such as Imogen Heap, St. Vincent and Bon Iver.
At first listen of Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose I wasn’t sure how I felt about the album. Echoing vocals, quiet xylophone parts, off beat guitar strums and string bass line; it’s a lot to take in. However after a few listens it becomes evident just how amazing this album is. Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose isn’t your typical regurgitated indie rock album and that’s what makes it so appealing: 8.9/10
What the Critics Say: Metacritic gave Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose a score of 82 indicating universal acclaim.
“With Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, Houghton and her Hooves deliver on all of the buzz she garnered two years ago, picking up right where she left off after a long absence. Houghton did well not to squander all that good will, with the amount of care that went into making this album brimming out from every song.” – Austin Trunick of Consequence of Sound (4/5)
“Houghton surfing the music in a delicious formation of immense overdubbed contralto harmonies. ” – David Sheppard of BBC Music
“Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose is a success, in that it captures what Beth Jeans Houghton has been doing in her live shows for the past couple of years, without diluting or rushing it for the sake of a time-specific tag. ” – Aaron Lavery of Drowned in Sound (8/10)
Some jams for your weekend featuring STRFKR, Telekinesis, Reptar, Spinnerette and Free Energy. Enjoy!
Emering in 2006, Starkfucker (aka STRFKR) arose from Portland, Oregon as the solo project of Josh Hodges. Later joined by Shawn Glassford and Keil Corcoran, the group has released two album, Starfucker and Reptilians, and one EP, Jupiter. Florida features a repeating guitar phrase, soft vocals and spoken snippets.
“Coast of Carolina”
Out of Seattle, Washington comes Telekinesis, the solo project of indie artist Michael Benjamin Lerner, however while touring Lerner is joined by Jason Narducy and Cody Cototato. Lent a hand by Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie, Telekinesis released its debut, self-titled album in April of 2009. Starting with just acoustic and vocals, don’t be too quick to judge this energetic song.
Straight from Athens, Georgia, Reptar, is on a whole different level. Comprised of Graham Patrick Ulicny, William Kennedy, Ryan Engelberger and Andrew McFarland, the group asks its listeners questions like “want to feel that good kind of nasty and evoke the green pastures of some crazy reality?” then invites them to join them on their journey. This heavily electronic track might just be your new weekend anthem.
“Stuck My Id”
Starting in 2007 as semi-solo project of Brody Dalle (singer/guitarist for The Distillers) Spinnerette has a star studded backing group currently comprised of Tony Bevilacqua of the Distillers, Alain Johannes of Queens of the Stone Age and Jack Irons of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam, With powerful female vocals, relentless steady drums and guitar and catchy chorus, “Baptized By Fire” is sure to get stuck in your head.
Formed back in 2007, Free Energy is a Philadelphia, PA indie rock group. Rising from the ashes of previous group Hockey Night, Scott Wells, Evan Wells and Paul Sprangers are joined by Nick Shuminsky to prodice melodic and energetic tunes.