Band Name: Innaway
Album Name: S/t
Best Element: Mysterious and haunting sound
Genre: Anti-pop indie-rock
Label Name: Some Records (www.some.com)
Band E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Innaway plays this type of indie music that is the musical equivalent to abstract modern art. It’s vague and anti-pop in the vein of Radiohead circa OK Computer. However, there also seems to be an element of blues within the sound that makes this band distinctly American. But the blues element only goes as far as adding texture to the sound. The lead singer’s voice comes into the mix as a ghastly element that weaves its way through and between the angular bass lines and effects laden guitar lines. Furthermore, Innaway employs trip-hop elements into the sound not far removed from such 90’s trip-hop acts as Portishead or Tricky.
The most interesting part of the Innaway package is the album artwork which is a bunch of pictures of eyes that look as though they have been cut out of a magazine and then pasted on the canvas diagonally. The inside art is abstract art with elements of dos computer 8 bit imaging. In the end, Innaway’s music is mysterious and haunting like the cover art. This band has an obvious concept of modern expression that is popular in certain circles of hipdom but is so esoteric that it is possible that this music is not so much meant to be enjoyed as it is meant to be absorbed.
Band Name: Various
Album Name: Kanine Records – The Underdog
Best Element: Good showcase of the strong talent.
Label Name: Kanine Records
Band E-mail: email@example.com
A good compliation CD gives a listener a preview of the artists on a record label. A great compilation CD makes the listener want to buy music from the bands showcased on the compilation. Kanine Records compilation, The Underdog, does both. The best way to examine the music showcased on this compilation is to break it down band-by-band:
Mommy and Daddy: highly upbeat, electronica/industrial music which makes you want to dance around your living room rockstar style. If their two songs, “Franconia Road” and “Confection” are any indication of how good Mommy and Daddy are, I would definitely want to hear more from them.
Oxford Collapse: musically, very talented. The vocals are a little bit strange, but not necessarily in a bad way. It kind of reminds me of yodeling at times. Their style of music reminds me of Dismemberment Plan. The second track “Melting the Ice Queen” is much better than the first track, “The Boys Go Home.” Oxford Collapse is good, but I’m not sure I would necessarily run right out to hear more.
Mixel Pixel- This is another electronic band – not in the techno way, just a lot of distorted, odd noises throughout. There was only one track by this band on the compilation, and it was good, but seemed to drag on a bit. Not that the song was long, it just didn’t feel like it was going anywhere. Another good band, but not sure if I would run right out to try to hear more.
Grizzly Bear- This band makes me think of The Shins – but a lot more slow and without any catchy hooks or sing-a-long quality. There was only one song, and it was really slow, with purposely distorted vocals, and nothing ever happened in the song. It dragged on and on. I didn’t like this track at all.
Four Volts- This band also had only one track on the CD, but it was really entertaining. It was rather Weezer-esque, upbeat, poppy and very energetic. I definitely enjoyed it and would love to hear more by them.
Rockethouse- It’s hard to describe Rockethouse. They’re kind of like a less industrial Nine Inch Nails without Trent Reznor. Their song is not bad – in fact, it’s quite good, but it’s also not spectacular. If it were on the radio, I wouldn’t change the dial, but I also wouldn’t be anxiously awaiting the next single.
The Izzys- Their song is very cute- very backwoods country sing-a-long style. It almost seems like a novelty song. I’d be curious to hear more just to see if this is what their style really is, or if this was just a catchy experiment or novelty.
The Flesh- Their style makes me think Dropkick Murphys meets Depeche Mode. It’s a cool combination, but this song is repetitive in and of itself. I didn’t really like this one so much, but I would still like to hear more to see if their other tracks are catchier because they definitely have potential.
It is also worthy to mention that the production quality of these songs was incredible. Everything was so crystal clear. That speaks volumes for Kanine Records in and of itself.
Band Name: Latterman
Album Name: No Matter Where We Go…!
Best Element: Charging Punk that should revitalize punks.
Genre: Punk Rock
Label Name: Deep Elm Records (www.deepelm.com)
Band E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I know the guys in Latterman. Not well, but I know them. They played a show where I go to school and stayed in my dorm room. They were mostly under the weather during that gloomy weekend and the bass player/lead singer Matt Camino had a horrible sore throat. However, they played their hearts out and Matt sang with all the passion he could muster, hoping that would be enough to overcome his sickness. For a good twenty minutes, it did. Despite what the band had been handed, they still pulled through. That story pretty much sums up the new Latterman record. No Matter Where We Go…! is a powerful and direct statement of friendship, perseverance, and hope that has been needed in the punk scene for quite some time. Everyone say hello to your new favorite band. Their name is Latterman.
The record starts off with sounds that would be coming out of a show right before a band plays. The guitars are beginning to mesh together and people a talking in the ambiance. There is an electricity in the air that is going through all the bodies of the souls in the confined space. Then, as the sound reaches its zenith, all noises cuts out to reveal a lone guitar chord being strummed at mid tempo. It has a triumphant ring that sets the mood for the rest of the album. Drums come in, shouted vocals tear through like vigilantes of hope in a dense amalgam of punk rock removed far enough from Hot Water Music to be different yet familiar. The whole record is like this. And yes, it builds upon itself like a story, so there is no use skipping tracks. But if it is urgent, then the best suggestion would be “Fear and Loathing on Long Island”. It stands as the catalysis of the record, bringing together sing-alongs reminiscent of the Bouncing Souls and lyrics of self motivation and realization.
This is one of the year’s best records and a one that should propel them into the same territory that Against Me was in about three years ago. Latterman, like Against Me, has the ability to make people believe in the power of music and to believe that one person can make a difference.
Band Name: TJ McCloud
Album Name: Kind of Life
Best Element: Amazing voice.
Label Name: n/a
Band E-mail: email@example.com
New projects that occur after a successful band has broken up usually have everything to do with the last sound or nothing to do with it. In addition to that, new projects either completely forsake that they were in a previous band, barely mention it, or embrace the fact with open arms. If a new project doesn’t want you to know they were in a previous band, I usually won’t bring it up in a review.
TJ McCloud was one of the songwriters for the extremely popular Midwestern folk/pop group Stephen Speaks. He and Rockwell Ryan Ripperger were the heads behind the project, and when the band broke up unexpectedly, nobody knew what to expect out of either man.
TJ McCloud’s most recent album Kind of Life is the sort of album that will thrill fans of Stephen Speaks, but leave everyone else let down and a little bit annoyed. McCloud knows this- he even reworks one of Stephen Speaks’ most popular tunes in “Out of My League.” Therefore, I make no apologies for mentioning Stephen Speaks because he makes no bones about mentioning it either.
The sound of this album falls squarely in the genre of upbeat pop/folk- in fact, it’s what Caedmon’s Call would sound like if they didn’t have any of their signature downer tracks. That’s precisely what Kind of Life misses- heavier, deeper tracks. Every song on the album feels like an anthem, whether it’s an anthemic love song, an anthemic “I miss you” song, or an anthemic worship song. While that’s what we had come to expect from Stephen Speaks, it’s not as effective in McCloud’s solo work because the production is so amazingly clean. In Stephen Speaks’ sound, there was some grit around the edges- there was some genuine tension created. On Kind of Life, everything after “Out of My League” starts to blend together into one song, because nothing was left to fend for itself- everything has been seamlessly orchestrated to the point of taking the life out of some of the songs.
This is not to say that the album is bad. McCloud has a gifted voice- the type of voice that makes other artists jealous. It’s tender, and it emotes extremely well- none of this whiny emo voice crap. His voice is amazing. If you’re a fan of vocals alone, or of love songs, then this album is right up your alley. He’s got that covered.
The bottom line is that if you like this album, you’ll love it, and if you don’t like this album, you’ll hate it. If you liked Stephen Speaks or like Caedmon’s Call, you’ll love it. I’m disappointed that there isn’t more stylistic difference from Stephen Speaks, but that’s life. Once McCloud’s songwriting progresses a little more and he drops some of the hyper-produced sheen, he will have a great thing on his hands. I’d love to hear some of these tracks on a solo guitar with no extra touches….I think that would do a lot of good for some of these tracks.
Jealousy, Old Italian Men, and Blaxploitation Films
Morricone Youth Interview
We so love finding new things. This one’s almost over-ripe, it’s so fresh. Morricone Youth is a NYC-based band that cut its teeth on soundtracks (you know, the background music in films that not enough people pay attention to) before setting out to write some soundtrack-esque indie rock songs of their own on Silenzio Violento. Translating their soundtrack experience into other songs wasn’t hard at all, as the brilliance of the album shows. Read a review of Silenzio Violento here.
IC: How did Morricone Youth form, and how did you choose to play
Devon: The band was originally formed in 1999 by two soundtrack collectors, me (the guitarist) and Robert Conroy (the original vocalist) who was replaced by Dreiky Caprice in 2003. The two were into soundtrack music but were coming from very different angles which led to a more diverse repertoire and appreciation for the music. I was more into the instrumental stuff derived from old spy soundtracks, German sci-fi, chase themes, blaxploitations, spaghetti westerns, etc., while Robert as a vocalist was a lot more focused on vocal-based soundtracks. The two of us were turning each other on to different recordings and, as a result, turning the other band members on to these recordings. In a way the band was formed to sort of accomplish three somewhat related goals. First, to perform live some of these great rare, lost recordings from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that we loved. Second, to apply what we were learning from these past composers to enable us to score in a live setting (in a somewhat improvised way) projected silent films and shorts in front of an audience. Third, to further apply what we had learned to actually compose for films. Obviously, we have accomplished the first goal and have experimented with projections. This album seems to be the bridge to reach this third goal of scoring for film.
IC: It doesn’t sound like it would be easy to get that many talented musicians together in one place all wanting to play soundtracks.
Devon: Fortunately the band is comprised of people with short attention spans who come from very diverse backgrounds. As a result they want to play all types of music which is of what soundtrack music is comprised — rock, pop, soul, funk, jazz, lounge music, classical, even punk.
IC: How do you guys decide what soundtracks to cover?
Devon: Every member has suggested soundtracks that we have ultimately learned and performed; however, I often am the person who is turning the others on to my favorite latest discovery and the others decide whether or not they are do-able or if they even like them. I come up with some ridiculous ideas sometimes that don’t always work or, if I forces them through for some reason, have surprising results.
IC: Which soundtrack do think sounds best when you guys play it?
Devon: It just depends. We probably all have our own individual favorites. I love Sicilian Clan, the Silencers and a lot of the Lalo Schifrin stuff such as Enter the Dragon and Magnum Force.
Greg: Sicilian Clan, Space Patrol.
John: After we toiled through “Escape from the Planet of the Apes” consistently for what seemed like months, I remember it sounding amazing. However, it was such a difficult song that if we let up for even a week it would fall apart. Thus, it’s not part of our repertoire any longer… I hope to bring it back one day. So, that not counting, I would have to say Lalo Schifrin’s “Theme from ‘Medical Center'” (from the 1969 television series) is one that I think we do well.
David: Our version of CAN’s “Tango Whiskeyman” was one of my favorites. We haven’t attempted it with Dreiky yet…maybe we should? I’ve also thought the band sounded best playing our Ennio covers – in particular “Fistful of Dollars” and “Ecstasy of Gold.”
IC: Aren’t there some legal issues with playing these songs?
Devon: It is no different than the issues faced by any other cover band. A small and fair royalty that is set by statute would need to be paid to the composers if we were to release CDs of the covers. CD pressing plants require proof that these fees have been paid up front.
IC: How has the fan response to you guys been?
Devon: The response has been great considering that it is such a niche thing and it is always changing. Because the music is so diverse and everyone loves films, it appeals to fans of a lot of different types of music. Film students seem to love it too for obvious reasons. Many people have approached us after old shows being blown away when learning that they were all film covers.
IC: What prompted you to start writing your own songs?
David: Jealousy actually. It sucked when fans would rave about our compositions and then seem let down when we broke the news that they were in fact written by old Italian men.
Devon: It was a matter of the band moving from more of a side project type thing and to wanting to do more with it as more and more opportunities came about. We were also approached by an engineer and producer who had access to Electric Ladyland Studios at night and weekends (not Martin Bisi) and were interested in recording some songs. In light of the opportunity, it felt natural to do our songs since we had already recorded in home studios a large number of our covers. This really got the ball rolling on the originals.
IC: How did you make the decision to have vocals on the album when you hadn’t had vocals in the soundtracks- or did you have vocals in the soundtracks?
Devon: The covers we did were always 1/3 of strictly instrumental songs,
1/3 vocal numbers (“Goldinger”, “Faster Pussycat Kill Kill”) and 1/3 that are more likely categorized as instrumentals but included vocalese (whistling, oohs, ahhs, background type vocals and effects). The new album of originals is more or less set up this same way.
IC: What’s the most difficult thing about making the jump from playing somebody else’s music to playing your own? What’s the most rewarding thing?
Devon: It’s a different group dynamic when you make that switch. It goes from learning other’s music and figuring how to adapt and arrange to our specific instrumentation and tastes, to “I have an idea! You do this and you try this.” It is basically the difference of shifting from being arrangers to being composers. We’ve worked with each other in this and other projects for some time now, so the idea of writing originals was not that foreign.
Greg: It’s tough to make the concept clear to listeners without being too derivative or sounding like a tribute band. We want to build from our influences to create something familiar without duplicating someone else’s work or style.
IC: Have you toured some?
Devon: We have occasionally played outside of the NYC area with this band but are currently gearing for some actual touring for this new album this winter and fall. We have some West Coast shows in California and Las Vegas at the end of this month.
IC: Tell us your funniest story about Morricone Youth (tour event, show,
Devon: When we were letting an old drummer go, so to speak, in our old practice room in the east village, two rats in the side storage room started humping each other and making these loud piercing noises like they were monkeys or something. Meanwhile we were trying to maintain our composure during this very serious moment.
David: Post-concert eating binges that begin at Joe’s Pizza (2-3 pies), then proceed directly to the donut pub for coffee and crullers. Jeff, by the way, is the reigning champion.
IC: Okay, so we all have one or two bands that you don’t like to admit that
you listen to. What’s yours?
Devon: Sgt. Pepper’s Sdtk album with Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, BeeGees and
Greg: I get a little excited when the drums kick in halfway through Phil
Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”
John: Morricone Youth.
David: I like Goblin. Enough said.
Dreiky: Steely Dan
IC: What are you listening to now?
Dreiky: Only Scandinavian.
John: The Sad Little Stars, The Evens, Motion Trio, Gorgan Bregovic, Zoot
Sims/Joe Castro – Live at Falcon Lair. I had to get that one in there.
Devon: Soundtrack-wise it is more of the same. I recently got some great
Francis Lai, Serge Gainsbourg and Michel Magne LPs. We are in the process
of learning “The Duel” by Lenny Stack from C.C. and Company, “Experiment in
Terror” by Elmer Bernstein, “We Have All The Time in the World” by John
Barry and sung by Luis Armstrong from Her Majesty’s Secret Service and
“Taking Pelham 1-2-3” by David Shire. Otherwise, I have been heavily into the
Ethiopiques compilations and re-listening to all of my old punk albums and
45’s from the early 80’s along with the last Hold Steady, Pinback, Lycaon
Pictus and Hot Snakes albums.
Greg: The I-Marc 4, anything from the Peter Thomas’ soundtrack for
Raumpatrouille (esp. “Shub-a-dooe”), Aavikko, Sigur Ros’ new one.
David: Sun Ra and the Blues project featuring the sensational guitars of
Dan and Dale recording of the Batman score; Clarence Reid’s Dancin’ With
Nobody But You Babe; Lalo Schifirin’s complete Dirty Harry Soundtrack;
Johnny Griffin’s Introducing Johnny Griffin.
-Interview conducted by Stephen Carradini in the months of November/December.
You can read IndependentClauses’ chart almost weekly at this location.
IndependentClauses’ Top 10 12/28/05
1. Ringer T– Reminiscent of Damien Jurado, this smooth, simple Americana aches beautifully.
2. Broadcast Sea– Fusing dance-rock, post-hardcore, indie-rock, and emo seamlessly, these songs are extremely tightly crafted.
3. This is Rocket Science– Dramatic, complex, thick, emotional, stunning rock music.
4. Ghotti– This all-around rock band succeeds due to their wicked hooks and rock-solid vocals.
5. The Inheritance– Finally, they realize their amazing indie-pop potential. Hallelujah.
6. Devar-Toi– This is emo. Pure and simple.
7. Shots Before Sunset– Lush, flowing, beautiful ambience that fills rooms and minds.
8. Liquid Harvest– “My Mentor” is an amazing song- a true masterpiece. Liquid Harvest is definitely going places.
9. The Mark– One of the most consistent bands on PV, they always turn out solid rock with good melodies.
10. This Side of the Nightmare-Not for the faint of heart, TSOTN does hard music right- brutal precision matched with beautiful aesthetics.
Honorable Mentions: The Morning Benders (Jangly, melodic, fun indie-rock tunes.), Lloyd (Dark, vaguely dancy, rhythmic, atmospheric- a few more songs and this band will be incredibly good), The Love Machine (indie-pop), Remainder3 (Hard Rock), and Curse This Metal Body (Industrial).
The Indie Spotlight’s chart can be read sporadically at this location.
The Indie Spotlight’s:
PUREVOLUME Top 50 Indie Chart
December 15, 2005 edition
theMark has retaken the lead by an overwhelming margin.
“Jekyll Walks” by theMark
Rock / Punk / Experimental band from Boston, MA
Peak: 1 Last Week: 3
“Tired Of Excuses” by Brad and Paul
Screamo / Alternative / Experimental band from Fort Worth, TX
Peak: 2 Last Week: 4
”A Versus” by For The Mathematics
Indie / Alternative / Experimental band from Ottawa, ON
Peak : 3 Last Week: 21
“Sing Myself To Sleep” by Remainder 3
Alternative / Rock / Psychedelic band from Guernsey, United Kingdom
Peak : 1 Last Week: 1
”10 Men Strong” by Post Haste
Indie / Rock / Progressive band from Southport, United Kingdom
Peak : 5 Last Week: 11
here’s the rest of the top 50…
Rank / Artist / Song Title
6 Days Of Contraband- First Blood
7 Empty Signal- Fine Arts Song
8 Ghotti- Control
9 Broken Hero- Papercuts and Bruises
10 After The End- The Smile of the Dead Man
11 Ethic- Purple
12 Reverse Mermaid Plausibility- The Climb
13 Tragic Landscape- We’re Goin Down
14 12storyfall- Communication Fails
15 Liquid Harvest- Release Reality
16 Asthmo- Infinity+
17 Bryan Kitchens- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
18 Gunfight In Athens- Coffee and Cancer
19 Alpha and The Omega- Face Value
20 Ugly Colors- Photographic Memories
21 A Blinding Silence- Miseries and Miracles
22 Lout- You Know
23 theMark- Canto 12
24 MFS- New Plan
25 This Is Rocket Science- Plastic Boats
26 Ghotti- ASBO
27 Silvering- Tragedy
28 Avenue- Swift Speed Of Horses
29 Liquid Harvest- Polyester Tie Dye
30 Wreckless Process- Zero Tolerance
31 Kings Of New England- The Future Minus
32 Awakened- Screwtape
33 Bless The Child- The Hollow
34 Devartoi- Eight Paths
35 Farewell To Arms- Between Me And Modern Medicine
36 The Futurists- Masquerade Pt. 2
37 Bryan Kitchens- Fall Into Pieces
38 Work In Progress- Decompose
39 Fight The Nothing- A New August
40 Corban Eldra- Kansas
41 Great Glass Elevator- Drugstore Cowboy
42 Lazy Fate- Melancholy
43 Royal Addiction- Falling In And Out
44 Rumsfield- Blister
45 Kings Of New England- Woodson Lateral
46 Silvering- Diamonds, Money, And Chocolate
47 For The Mathematics- This Transient
48 Tuscarora- I Don’t Mean This
49 Mikhalt- Rollercoaster
50 NH Project- Into The Next Song (The Fisherman Song)
You can read Styles’ chart weekly at this location.
STYLES’ TOP TEN TRACKS 27/12/05
1. LIQUID HARVEST My Mentor
Stunning! A beautiful song from the heart, a change of pace from LH which shows they have a wide range and are THE band to look out for in 2006!
2. theMARK Compass Point
These guys rock, I don’t think there has been a chart this year without them! They have a new line-up so next year should provide us with more exciting tracks.
3. The Proper Authorities Penalty
Keith Adams is a one man music machine and boy can he sing! TPA release the debut album next year and I can see it doing very well indeed.
4. GHOTTI ASBO
Awesome Britrock! Another band with a great range of musical ability. NOTHING IS BETTER THAN KNIGHTRIDER! lol
5. ETHIC Purple
This track has a great feel and a good mix of influences prog/rock/blues!
6. RINGER T Don’t You Know
Relaxing tunes from MI. Next time I’m over I gotta catch a show!
7. THE MORNING BENDERS Grain Of Salt
Familiar sounding bounding track, almost Beach Boys style, it’s great! Listen and drink!
8. REMAINDER 3 Sing Myself To Sleep
R3 track was an instant fav! Hope we get a follow-up next year!
9. BLESS THE CHILD The Hollow
Metal track that shows this band will grow in 2006.
10. RAGTAGS Wasted On Youth
I don’t know much about this band, but this is a great mellow track. They say the have
about an album’s worth of music, can’t wait to hear it!