Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mother Vulpine

Mother Vulpine

Last year when I mentioned the incredible Leeds music scene to Tom Vek, he thought I was crazy. Leeds? Music scene? Now a year later, the success of bands like iForward, Russia!, The Sunshine Underground, The Kaiser Chiefs, Duels, O Fracas, Sky Larkin, Wintermute, and scores more serves as undeniable proof that this area in Northern England is a breeding ground for some of the best new bands in all of the UK, if not the world.

Recently, I came across yet another Leeds band that totally blew me out of the water--Mother Vulpine. Immediately after hearing the thunderous opening chords of "We'll Be Detectives," I knew I'd be a fan. The heady vocals and softer, almost ghost-like back-up vocal counterpoint really drive the song forward though the jumpy guitar licks and energetic drumming certainly help. They remind me of early Muse (before they turned into sci-fi nerds obsessed with the apocalypse) or Editors (if Kele Okereke from Bloc Party was singing), which really are clearly compliments of the highest order.

The real question I want to pose to readers is who is Mother Vulpine? Do they have a record out (or plans for one)? Are they really siblings? What are their thoughts on global warming? I scoured the internet trying to find out more about this incredibly powerful young group, but frankly I couldn't find much of anything. The band doesn't have an official website and only provides scant information on their Myspace. I know that their songs have been listened to 46 times by Last.Fm users and that their drummer has a personal blogspot where he discusses his artwork, but that's about it. I'd love to find out more, so leave your show reviews and booze fueled sex antecdotes in the comments.

Myspace: Mother Vulpine
Audio: "We'll Be Detectives"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Show Preview: Robbers On High Street @ Middle East Up [Wed. Nov. 29th]

Brooklyn-based Robbers On High Street just got all futuristic on us and dropped digital-only EP The Fatalist And Friends EP earlier this month, and it's a collection of songs that surprised a lot of people. ROHS, a group that always drew on the best parts of Spoon and The Strokes, were starting to expand in new and exciting directions, at times even sounding like Man Man. While it's not what one may expect from them, it's most definitely a glove that fits. The band plays the Middle East Up tonight with openers The Televangelist And The Architect, one of the more exciting local bands to surface this year. Doors open at 8:30 pm.

MySpace: Robbers On High Street
Audio: "The Fatalist"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Josef K

Domino Records continues to clean out the vaults of Scottish post punk, this time with Entomology, a collection from Josef K. Despite the group's brief lifespan, their legend has grown mightily over the years. The collection's liner notes were written by Paul Morley, and here's an excerpt:

There needed to be a gloomy remotely intimate glam pop group named after a character created by Franz Kafka who detuned their pained, pining guitars like the Velvet Underground, who screwed up dance beats with as much nimble knowingness and/or amateurish exuberance as Devo, who faced up to long lasting reality with as much sad, mad grace as Magazine, who got stuck into logic as defiantly as Pere Ubu, who had spent a lot of time watching Television and listening to the first six or seven songs written by Buzzcocks.

They took themselves very seriously whilst circling the idea that fun was a very peculiar notion.

They were The Sound of Young Scotland, together with Orange Juice, whose guitars were also radiant and brittle, whose rhythms were also scrubbed and blunt, whose vocals were also proud and serious, but who sounded like another group completely.

A touch more rational. A little less glaring. A splinter less uptight. Lacking, perhaps, the art for art’s sake element that some of us swooned over, and which we see explicitly echoed in they way, say, the popular Franz Ferdinand express themselves.

Their own men.

In their own special time.

Who would know when it was time to quit.

While I never liked them as much as the Edwyn Collins-fronted Orange Juice, Josef K were good enough to play in the same league as them, and two decades on their songs still sound great.

MySpace: Josef K

Audio: "Sorry For Laughing"
Audio: "It's Kinda Funny"

Bloc Party: New Song

Lots of great stuff is already slated to come out early next year, including the sophomore disc from Bloc Party. The album drops on February 6th through Vice.

More music later today...

MySpace: Bloc Party
Listen to "The Prayer" here [Sorry, no mp3 yet]

Monday, November 27, 2006

Boston: Shows [Week of 11.27.06]

11.27: Forward, Russia!/Snowden @ Great Scott
11.27: Roger O'Donnell/Matters + Dunaway @ T.T. The Bears
11.28: Radio 4/The Bravery @ Avalon
11.29: Dinosaur Jr. @ The Paradise
11.30: Jason Collett @ T.T. The Bears
11.30: Ghostface/Raekwon/Redman/Smif N' Wessun @ Avalon
12.01: The Bon Savants @ Great Scott
12.01: The Goo Goo Dolls/Over It @ The Orpheum
12.02: My Morning Jacket/The Slip @ Avalon
12.02: Kevin Devine/Matt Pond PA/Straylight Run/Street To Nowhere @ Axis
12.02: The Who @ Fleet Center
12.02: The Bon Savants @ Great Scott
12.03: The Life And Times @ T.T. The Bears

I just spent a few days back home in Pennsylvania and while it was fun to see friends and family, I am glad to back to the normalcy of Boston. There's only a few more weeks until the end of year [and my annual two weeks of doing nothing], plus I'll have a little end of the year vacation to LA from Dec. 7th-10th. Besides holiday stuff, things have been pretty quiet -- the Orioles are still making awful moves and work is still busy as hell. As for shows this week, there are a ton of great acts coming through town -- everyone from Ghostface to Radio 4 to The Goo Goo Dolls are playing, and on top of that, locals The Bon Savants are dropping their debut album with two release shows at my favorite local haunt, Great Scott.

11.27: Forward, Russia!/Read Yellow @ Great Scott
These guys have graced this blog before, and this will no doubt be the last time. Their debut Give Me A Wall has quickly become one of my favorite discs this year, but the most enthralling thing about this group is their live show. I caught them once this year, playing an early evening set at SXSW, where they taught the indie kids how to dance, or at least unfold their arms and move around a bit! Since I love these guys so much, I have a pair of tickets to give away -- the show goes down tonight at 9 pm and it is 21+. Not sure what time everyone goes on, but that doesn't matter -- show up early and get a little bit of High Life in your system before the show! First one to e-mail me gets the tickets.
MySpace: iForward, Russia!
Audio: "Sixteen"
Audio: "Eighteen"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pull Tiger Tail

Pull Tiger Tail formed last year when three childhood friends from Stratford-Upon-Avon took a cross country trip across America. Though the guys had played in various bands together with friends from university (some of whom would ultimately form The Klaxons), the trip apparently inspired them to start a trio for the sheer fun of it. Upon returning home, they started writing and now, a year later, they're on tour with The Blood Arm after having released one of the best singles of the year in the UK. That song is "Animator," a blistering ball of energy that falls halfway between The Libertines and prototypical American style indie-rock. It's catchy and totally awesome, I can't wait for their full length to hit the streets.

Myspace: Pull Tiger Tail
Audio: "Animator"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Briganties

Berwick-upon-Tweed outfit The Briganties remember the '90s, and all of the greatest British rock bands that the decade brought -- Oasis, The Verve and The Stone Roses to name a few, but with a hint of post rock. They've begun to turn the heads of the establishment back home, what with a write-up in the NME, as well as airplay on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Newcastle, and believe it or not, they formed just a year ago! The band is constantly gigging and trying out their newly-recorded demos, but they won't be doing a proper UK tour until April.

MySpace: The Briganties
Audio:"Covert Operation"
Audio: "The Girl Heaven Sold"

Monday, November 20, 2006

Boston: Shows [Week of 11.20.06]

11.20: Dead Meadow @ Middle East Up
11.20: Tahiti 80/Brookville @ The Paradise Lounge
11.20: New York Dolls/Supersuckers/The Charms @ Axis
11.21: Small Sins/Little Ones @ Middle East Up
11.22: The Sounds/Shiny Toy Guns @ Axis
11.25: The Glass Set @ Great Scott
11.25: Piebald @ Middle East Down

Time to get psyched for the holiday season! Thursday is Thanksgiving, and this week is basically autopilot to the holiday -- and the few days off will be much appreciated, as work has been pretty much insane this year. I am only going to post a few times this week, including the oft-delayed CMJ wrap-up. I know, it's late, get over it. In a couple of weeks I am going to begin my year end wrap-up and then delve into a preview of next year.

11.21: Small Sins/The Little Ones @ Middle East Up
Yeah cool, we all know that Canada has been shitting out like 10,000 bands every month the past few years, but not all of them are "collectives," psuedo hippies or freak-folk -- some of them are actually interesting and engaging, so leave it up to Astralwerks to discover and cultivate Toronto's Small Sins. Formerly known as The Ladies And Gentlemen, the group is the brainchild of Thomas D'Arcy, and merges the literate lyricism of The Smiths with the electronic trickery of New Order and Devo. Make sure you show up early for the newest members of Astral -- the super sunny and poppy The Little Ones. [18+; $8; 9pm]
MySpace: Small Sins
Audio: "Stay"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Midnight Movies

Seriously, what's the deal with all of the great LA bands this year? I've lost count of all of the great bands that the wrong coast has dropped on me, and while Midnight Movies are not new, this is the year I've finally embraced them. The band just dropped "Patient Eye," a digital-only single that recalls the best moments of My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus & Mary Chain, plus it's backed with a Syd Barrett cover. Look for their sophomore album, Lion The Girl, in March through New Line Records. Could this be the year that LA finallty gets awesome?

11/17 Spaceland - Los Angeles, CA (CD release show)
11/18 Prospector - Long Beach, CA

Buy: "Patient Eye"
MySpace: Midnight Movies
Audio: "Patient Eye"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Strand Arcade

The Strand Arcade

Most people think that The Strand Arcade is a historic shopping arcade built in 1892 in downtown Sydney, Australia. But to those of us in the know, The Strand Arcade is also the name of one of the best unsigned bands in all of the United Kingdom. Hailing from Derby, the quartet rocks out these perfect three minute gems that are chock full of energetic riffs, pounding beats, and that frenzied wailing style of singing that makes girls like me weak in the knees. Stylistically, The Strand Arcade falls at the intersection of indie rock and post-punk though the songs are so poppy that just about anyone will like them.

If you're British, check out their webpage for tour dates (apparently, they're electrifying on stage) and addresses for a free demo. Everyone else, go over to their Myspace for additional downloads and a picture of the band from back when they were mates in grade school.

Myspace: The Strand Arcade
Audio: "Get Knives"
Audio: "Fisticuffs"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The kids [yes, kids] in Bojones must be doing something right. When I was a teenager, I was fooling around in a shitty garage band that couldn't play much else besides Sonic Youth covers, but these Texas boys have already played all over the country. They've wowed audiences at SXSW, CMJ, Austin City Limits and Coachella with their classic rock/psychedelia blend, something that is only hinted at on their demo. Look for big things from them in 2007!

MySpace: Bojones
Audio: "Mana"
Audio: "Harum Scarum"

Monday, November 13, 2006

Boston: Shows [Week of 11.13.06]

11.13: IV Thieves @ T.T. The Bears
11.13: The Strays @ Middle East Up
11.14: The Twilight Singers/Stars of Track And Field @ The Paradise
11.15: Lupe Fiasco @ Middle East Down
11.15: Annuals @ T.T. The Bears
11.15: Make Believe @ Middle East Up
11.15: Amy Millan/Eric Bachmann
@ The Paradise
11.16: The Lot Six/Age Rings/Eyes Like Knives/Mittens @ Middle East Down [This is the Lot Six's last show]
11.16: Helms @ Great Scott
11.16: Jamie Lidell/Kid Koala
@ The Paradise
11.16: Centro-matic/Bobby Bare Jr. @ Middle East Up
11.16: OK Go/The Cinematics @ Avalon
11.17: Rev. Glasseye @ T.T. The Bears
11.17: Robert Pollard/Backyard Tire Fire
@ The Paradise
11.17: Brian Wilson @ The Orpheum
11.18: Aberdeen City/Army Of Me/Faces On Film @ Great Scott
11.18: Sia/Greg Laswell
@ The Paradise
11.19: Beirut/A Hawk And A Hacksaw @ Middle East Down

11.16: OK Go/The Cinematics @ Avalon
This Thursday night, the Boston Phoenix is celebrating their 40th anniversary of being one of the country's landmark alternative weeklies, and while there is plenty of obvious reasons to check out this show -- beer, buddies and those treadmill-rocking dudes OK Go, I urge you to show up early. One of the biggest surprises of this year's CMJ was catching a mid-afternoon set from Glasgow's The Cinematics, a band that draws on the best of the current crop of UK dance punk -- The Rakes, Editors, White Rose Movement, etc. The band's Stateside debut is slated for next year, but make it out early to catch them on this very short tour.
MySpace: The Cinematics
Audio: "Break"

Friday, November 10, 2006

The On/Offs

The On/Offs

I'm probably completely off the mark, but The On/Offs remind me of a cross between The Jam, the poppiness of the early Beatles, and surf rock. Taking elements from those three styles and new post-punk sensibilities, the Northampton band creates quirky fun music that's just a little more punchy and driving than anything that came out during the 60s. Don't believe me? "Forget Your Head" is a bouncey track full of three part harmonies, upbeat three chord structure, and a hard downbeat. Though there aren't any obnoxious hand claps, listen for the break at the middle of the song marked by the Bo Diddley beat (a staple of early rock music like "I Want Candy"). Though The On/Offs take a lot of musical conventions from the past, "Forget Your Head" sounds incredibly fresh. I think that this is due to the minimalistic verses, which don't feature any drums but still build and build until the drums kick in again at the start of the chorus. If you like their current touring partner The Zutons, then I think you'll definitely like this band.

Myspace: The On/Offs
Audio: "Forget Your Head"
Audio: "54 Hours"

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Babyshambles are one of the two [and arguably, lesser] bands that formed from The Libertines' ashes. Pete Doherty is a megastar in his homeland, but he is mere tabloid fodder here in the States, which is a shame because The Libs were fucking amazing. I mean seriously, does is get any better than "Time For Heroes"? The reason they worked so well as a band was the fact that Doherty and Carl Barat were able to come together and fuse their songwriting talents, and we knew it was something that wasn't going to last forever.

When Babyshambles released Down In Albion late last year, it was met with a ton of fanfare, but despite a few solid singles, the album fell flat. I don't want to write them off yet -- Doherty is genuine, but troubled talent, and rock music is filled with them. If he can get his shit together, he has the potential to put out more great albums. Their follow-up, The Blinding EP, will be released on December 5th through Capitol Records. It will be interesting to see what Doherty has decided to lay down this time -- let's hope it's better than the album.

Buy: Down In Albion
Audio: "Fuck Forever"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Black Lips

I am sort of obsessed with Atlanta's The Black Lips, and yeah yeah, I know I owe you a CMJ wrap-up post [I've been mad busy at work, I'll get it up later this week], but I just need to talk about how awesome this band is. I saw them wipe Be Your Own Pet off the stage last month and I saw them twice in a span of a several hours Thursday night at CMJ. The band is just that good -- they combine raw, bluesy garage rock with an off-kilter disposition. Look for a new album out on Vice early next year. For now, just enjoy this video.

MySpace: The Black Lips
Audio: "Boomerang"
Audio: "Not A Problem"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I am not sure where they come from, but when they arrived, they hit hard. I drove down to Brooklyn to catch The Kooks a couple of Saturdays ago, and instead of forgoing the opening band for idle chatter or beer on the bleachers at North Six, I decided to check out Illinois. All I knew about the band was that they were from PA, and what I witnessed was intense -- it was a band that took pieces of folk and indie and combined them with an experimenter's mind. It was an "everything goes" approach that was punctuated by their lead singer's "hip hip hooray!" chants. Last week at CMJ, they became the band to watch with everyone and anyone I talked to being excited about them. Sometimes the best bands come out of nowhere, and for now, Illinois is our little secret, but that's not going to last for long.

Audio: "One On One"

Monday, November 06, 2006

Boston: Shows [Week of 11.06.06]

11.06: The Lawrence Arms/American Princes @ Middle East Up
11.07: The Album Leaf/Now It's Overhead @ Middle East Down
11.08: She Wants Revenge/Placebo @ Roxy
11.08: Lucero/Rocky Votolato/William Eliot Whitmore @ Middle East Down
11.09: Lyrics Born/Cut Chemist/Edan @ Middle East Down
11.11: Imogen Heap @ Avalon
11.11: Campaign For Real Time/Ho-Ag @ Great Scott
11.12: Campaign For Real Time @ Great Scott
11.12: Heavens/Darker My Love @ Middle East Up

I am back from a very hectic week in NY for CMJ -- I saw close to 50 bands, and I was surprised that I was able to keep Exitfare going during that time. Thankfully Beth came through as the "Most Valuable Poster" through the last half of last week while I was running from meeting to showcase to interview. Things were definitely crazy for me, but I did see a ton of great bands. There were great sets from some of my old standbys [Silversun Pickups, Birdmonster, Cold War Kids], favorites from this year I saw for the first time [The Gray Kid, La Rocca, Division Day] and new bands that are going to make 2007 rule [The Black Lips, Dappled Cities]. I will have a full recap later this week. As for this week, I am going to take it easy on shows, but there is no way I am missing Placebo on Wednesday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

CMJ 2k6 Preview: The Changes

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I'm running out the door to hit the
Brooklyn Vegan party at Fontana's, but I wanted to do a quick post about one of the bands that will be playing said event. The Changes are a fantastic indie rock band from Chicago that has been garnering rave reviews for their tremendously fun live shows and commanding pop precision. Their music will get you on your feet, but what'll stay with you are the infectious melodies and the lyrics that, like, omg totally mirror your own life. Stand out tracks include the bouncey "When I Wake" and the somber "When I Sleep," both of which are available on their EP and their recently released LP, Today Is Tonight. The Changes are definitely a band that should be on your "must-see" list, luckily you'll have loads of opportunities before the close of CMJ festivities tomorrow.

Nov. 3 Brooklyn Vegan Party @ Fontana's (with iForward, Russia! and Chin Up Chin Up) 1:55pm
Nov. 3 @ Union Hall (with Division Day)
Nov. 4 @ Rebel (with the Mooney Suzuki and Margot and the Nuclear So and So's)

Buy: Today Is Tonight
Myspace: The Changes
Audio: "When I Wake"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

CMJ 2k6 Preview: The Subjects

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I swear, CMJ kills me. Tonight between 11pm-1am, four of my favorite bands are playing almost simultaneous sets in four different venues across the city. I still don’t know if I’ll wind up at Headlights, Silversun Pickups, iForward, Russia!, or The Shins, though I’m starting to think that I’ll wait until the very last minute to decide based on my mood. The one thing I do know is that I’ll be hitting Northsix after dinner to see one of my favorite Brooklyn bands, The Subjects, play a set.

Layering heavy hooks over heavy distortion, The Subjects' music falls somewhere between power pop and garage rock. But with an almost cabaret sounding singer who has a voice that is at times reminiscent of Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, The Subjects are able to delve into different sonic realms with ease. “Hounds Of War” is a bluesy number that is moodily fantastic, though my personal favorite is the explosively catchy “Lonely You.” The Subjects are an incredibly talented young band playing to a hometown crowd, so be advised, this show is not one that you’ll want to miss.

Nov. 2 Northsix 9:45pm

Buy: The Subjects
Myspace: The Subjects
Audio: "Lonely You" (YSI... sorry no right click save as)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

CMJ 2k6 Preview: Illinois

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To be completely honest, I rarely come to shows early enough anymore to see opening bands if I haven't already heard of them. Between my job and necessary activities like eating and sleeping, I barely have enough time to clean my apartment--let alone stand for two hours listening to what often amounts to mediocre filler music. Harsh declaration, I know... but there are only so many hours in the day.

Lucky for me, I got to Northsix way early on Saturday night for the Kooks show allowing me ample time to drink beer and laugh at the dude dressed up as Queen Elizabeth I (impeccably, I might add). More importantly, I got to watch the entire set by one of the opening bands, Illinois--a band that totally blew my mind. And seriously, I'm not just saying that because they cheered "hip hip hooray" between songs.

Illinois takes the sounds of sunny Americana and alt-country and updates them with indie rock sensibilities. Banjo, sticky-sweet harmonies, and raucous foot stomping choruses mix with tin can drumming, synthesizers, and distortion for a sound that is all their own. Stylistically the band falls halfway between Nashville and New York City, which makes total sense as they hail from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

What I find most interesting about the band is their ability to write utterly contradicting music. On its surface, "The Best" is an upbeat saccharine number with lyrics that seem to convey the typical whoop dee doo "you're the best" subject matter. Following an almost-transcendent chorus, the band unexpectedly breaks into a little outro where things get totally messed up. As the music intensifies over swirling distortion, the singer spits out lyrics that are definitely a little bit darker than the typical I love love song.

In contrast, while "Things Are Going To Be Okay" is stylistically a moody synth number, the singer chooses instead to whisper a sadly optimistic refrain.
It is this genre and convention bending that makes lllinois a total standout, though their energetic stage presence definitely doesn't hurt. They could easily be crowned the stand out act of CMJ, so make sure to check them out at the following two shows:

Nov 1 ASCAP Showcase [with Kunek] Sin-e 11:30PM
Nov 4 NY2LON CMJ Party [with Silversun Pickups and Oh No! Oh My!] Northsix 9PM

Myspace: Illinois
Audio: "The Best"