Friday, June 29, 2012

Download: Skaters - Schemers EP

After feeling the onset of cabin fever one rainy night in early June, I decided to catch a show at the Middle East. One of Boston's finest up-and-coming bands, CreaturoS, were the headliners and I had been meaning to see them for awhile. I'm still saving every penny to pay the $1,000 they are asking for in order to own their 13 minute long track on bandcamp. I unfortunately missed the other two bands that played that night, but I was very happy to have caught Skaters. The group does not focus on punk as their name would indicate, but rather a catchy brand of garage pop. Schemers EP, available as a free download via their website, has made it's way into my regular rotation as of late. The opening track is a straightforward bit of crunchy rock that certainly wouldn't sound out of place on the radio. The tropical rhythm of "Fear of the Knife" and the tasteful horns on "Good Weird Woman" add wonderful flavor to their style and remind me of the liberties taken by The Clash. The killer hook to closer "Done for Good" makes it my favorite of the bunch. The jangly guitars and irresistible groove will surely bring about many comparisons to The Strokes, whom they had opened for in the past. Also, their music videos, which can be viewed below, are some of the crazier to hit the internet this year.

Stream/Download: Habitat - Habitat

The night of May 30th, there were too many great shows in Boston to choose just one. After watching Speedy Ortiz mesmerize the crowd at O'Brien's Pub for their release show, I decided to make my way to a basement show where Fat History Month were playing. When I arrived, I was greeted by the upbeat experimental pop from New Orleans' Habitat. I was instantly captivated by the band, which is a three piece ensemble comprised of Jack Donovan (guitar/vocals), Andrew Landry (guitar), and Evan Cvitanovic (drums). The crowd was already dancing away to the jazzy, intricate rock spewing from their amps. The two guitarists created a flurry of sixteenth notes playfully bouncing off one another. The calculated aspect of their music reminded me of early Maps & Atlases or UK math rock darlings Foals with a punk edge. Habitat's debut EP is available for free at their bandcamp and it is one of the year's more addicting releases. After the instrumental "Miracle of Deafness", "Broke My Home" demonstrates their unique and catchy style with guitars and cymbals crashing together beautifully. The anthemic closer "All Along We Used to Know" is one of my favorites of the year. The song starts with a guitar line that rings gently until the band switches gears and kicks into a galloping rhythm with plenty of fretboard aerobatics. Here's to hoping we get more of this in the future!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stream/Download: Sand Reckoner - Sand Reckoner

Originally hailing from Bucks County, PA, but currently residing in Boston, Sand Reckoner prove to be a melting pot of rock ‘n’ roll history on their full-length debut. Their smoky riffs and groovy rhythms bring about easy comparisons to The Black Angels, especially on “The Morning Star” with the howling, reverb-drenched wah in it's final moments. What sets Sand Reckoner apart from the aforementioned band is their willingness to diversify their songwriting. There is a heavy folk element that is evident from “Shooting Bullets” and also takes center stage in “The Darkest Dye”. However, they don’t stop at simply integrating folk into their musical concoction. There are elements of psychedelic, blues, surf, and arena rock to be found scattered throughout.

Stream/Download: CHURCHES - C H U R C H E S

The Bay Area's CHURCHES have just released their debut EP for free on bandcamp and it is really hard to take it off repeat. The 90’s rock revivalists provide six tracks that play out like a tribute to the best of the grunge era. It's impossible not to hear Nirvana in the guitar-driven tracks like "Feel Alright". Singer Caleb Nichols, former bassist of Port O'Brien, has a great sense of melody and seems to be expelling some residual teenage angst that was still lingering around a la The Smashing Pumpkins. Drummer Pat Spurgeon does an excellent job of creating thumping rhythms that push the weight of these anthemic tracks right to your cerebral cortex. You may know Spurgeon as the drummer for the indie pop band Rogue Wave. He was also the subject of the film D Tour, which dealt with his struggles with kidney failure just as Rogue Wave started to take off. He shines bright on "Katie", a track that shows how well the trio - rounded by bassist Dominic East - meld together humming guitars and crashing rhythms. It also presents the most lyrically intriguing ideas with lines like "God is just a drink with which you wet your whistle / Jesus was a thief; he stole your poison apple". "Save Me" steps out of the grunge shadow with a catchy dream-pop melody and shows they aren't a one trick pony. Much credit is due to current WATERS and former Port O’Brien frontman Van Pierszalowskione, who did an excellent job of drawing out the best aspects of this band.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Track Lineage: "Let Me Roll It"

Track Lineage is a new segment I am introducing that examines the history of a song as well as its descendants. I am kicking it off with one of my favorite post-Beatles McCartney songs. Paul McCartney turned 70 this past Monday and with that came many musicians covering his songs in celebration. One of the choice tracks was the classic "Let Me Roll It" released February 15, 1974 on Apple Records. The song first appeared as the last track on side one of the Paul McCartney & Wings album Band on the Run. It was also featured as the b-side to the single for "Jet". It is often seen as a pastiche of John Lennon's style during that period and certainly features some of Lennon's signature marks. You can hear the influence in the dirty guitar tones and the tape echo vocals that seem to be derived straight from "Cold Turkey"; although this notion was shot down by McCartney himself. The song was inspired by a line in "I'd Have You Anytime", the opening track on the 1970 album All Things Must Pass by George Harrison. Perhaps unwittingly but more likely in response to the song's sound, Lennon's 1974 track "Beef Jerky" from Walls and Bridges featured an almost identical but extended riff. "Let Me Roll It" has become a live staple in McCartney's arsenal and there is some great footage of him performing the song in the fall of 2005 from The Space Within US DVD which can be seen here.

Stream/Download: Elegant Animals - Spectrum Nocturnal EP

Elegant Animals are a Philadelphia-based duo consisting of Jules Kazys on vocals and Brandon Shockley on guitar. Together they create groovy R&B with a seductive nighttime vibe. The bluesy intro to their Spectrum Nocturnal EP sets the scene perfectly through its come-hither bass line and flirtatious guitar. The slinky sound leads seamlessly into "Syndicate", which is the obvious single here. The jazzy guitar line and shuffling rhythms pair perfectly to make one's hips sway. However, the real gem is the title track. This slow-burner has a soaring chorus to die for and a captivating guitar solo that gives the emotive track an extra thrust. The production on these jams utilizes warm keyboards and carefully selected samples to establish an enticing atmosphere.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stream/Download: TV Girl - The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle

The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle is a mixtape from the San Diego duo Brad Petering and Trung Ngo, together known as TV Girl. It is the perfect summer soundtrack and screams "Play me on the way to the beach!" It's hot outside and we need carefree music and they provide it in spades. The mixtape draws heavily from doo-wop and the bubblegum rock of the 50's and 60's. Fans of recent revivalists Cults, Richard Swift, and The Stepkids will find plenty to love on this one. After "Keep Me Distracted", which serves more as an intro to the mix, "I Wonder Who She’s Kissing Now" is the perfect reference point for their sound. It's sweet looping strings, subtle horn accompaniment, and trip-hop beat recalls fellow sample-based crooner Jens Lekman.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stream/Download: Two Inch Astronaut - Red Pancake and the Dark Energy

I've sitting on this one for awhile but it's time to introduce you guys to Two Inch Astronaut. The band from Silver Spring, Maryland consists of Sam Rosenberg (guitars, vocals), Daniel Pouridas (bass), and Matt Gatwood (drums, keyboards). Right from the driving opening track, you can tell that these fellas are students of Discord Records and certainly dabbled in Touch and Go. "Tree Ate My House" follows and displays all the strengths of their exploratory songwriting style. It is an exercise in organized chaos with stop and go rhythms, fluttering horns, and winding guitars. "Power Baby" streamlines this approach into something more accessible that you can shout along to line by line. With "Big Suprise (Big Inflatible Guy)", they incorprate a punk rock fury that looks back to Nation of Ulysses for inspiration.

JEFF the Brotherhood - Hypnotic Knights EP

Summer is officially here and we are in the midst of a good old fashioned heatwave here in beantown. With the impending sunny days, you are going to want to grab a six-pack and chill with friends while listening to some upbeat tunes. Do I have a recommended soundtrack for such activities? Of course! The recently released Hypnotic Knights EP by JEFF the Brotherhood is tailor-made for days like these. The opening track is even titled "Sixpack". Frontman Jake Orrall and drummer/brother Jamin present four tracks of the crunchy fist-pumping rock that makes their wild live shows such a treat. Each song packs in plenty of Blue Album-era Weezer-isms with psychedelic leanings to keep things interesting. The duo are playing tomorrow (Thu, June 21) at TT The Bear's with Uncle Bad Touch, CreaturoS, and Skimask. I guarantee with that lineup it's going to be one to remember.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Track Rundown

Those who have been following Stereo Typing may know that I have been without a proper computer for some time. It now appears that my troublesome computer has finally been fixed. Barring another crash - which would be an inconceivable nightmare - regular posting will once again commence. I would like to celebrate with a carefully curated mixtape from the best tracks that had been circulating the internet during my hiatus. My favorite I have heard over the past month comes from prolific psych-rocker Ty Segall. His newly formed Ty Segall Band includes frequent collaborators Mikal Cronin, Charlie Moothart, and Emily Rose Epstein. "Wave Goodbye" packs all the fuzz and buzz you can handle and is a great way to kick off this mix. The image above is the awesome album cover for their debut, Slaughterhouse, which is now available to stream in its entirety at Spin. In a similar but noisier vein is Dope Body's "Weird Mirror". Their new record, Natural History, combines punk aggression and noisy rock 'n' roll in the most compelling ways. King Tuff is the latest project from Kyle Thomas, who had previously won me over with his power pop band Happy Birthday. The self-titled record and Sub Pop debut under the King Tuff moniker mixes glam and garage with influences from 50's, 60's, and 70's pop radio. The biggest surprise I've discovered lately would be from Colin Caulfield who performs under the name Young Man. Vol. 1 is full of introspective indie pop songs with thoughtful arrangements. Most songs deal with the tribulations of being twentysomething from an artist who is twentysomething; You can do the math on why I can relate to the album so much. All this and more after the jump along with Boston tour dates.