Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Fly By Wire

Band: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Album: Fly By Wire
Label: Polyvinyl
From: Springfield, Missouri
Release: 9/10/13

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY) return with their fifth album since 2005 and first since 2011’s Tape Club, with the new release Fly By Wire. It’s an album that in many aspects was probably unexpected however as the band traveled back from Russia in 2012, the band stated that they wanted to as Phil Dickey stated, “I wanted to make a record before that feeling went away.” That feeling Dickey had was that his experience in Russia he explained, “renewed my belief that songs and words have power.” It’s something  that is apparent on the album in comparison to the bands previous efforts, along with the bands ‘triumphant’ return to band member Will Knauer’s  parents house where they recorded their debut album Broom.

Broom when it was released was at once hailed and critiqued because of its lo-fi sound, some of which returns on Fly By Wire but in a more controlled and mixed fashion then the first release of their debut. What the album lacks in that strictly lo-fi feel it gains in the addition of what can best be described as the things they’ve learned since those first attic recording sessions.

The album opens with the song, Harrison Ford with it’ piano intro that delves into a drum-machine beat that compliments the bass, piano, and guitar lines throughout the rest of the song. Young Presidents, the albums second song feels more like their more recent work but the melody and beat in the song gets me going. The first song that delves back into the Broom era feel is the albums third track. Cover All Sides, which. Songs, Lucky Young, Ms. Dot, and Loretta continue to give listeners a sneak peak back into the attic of old without really do much. Ms. Dot is probably the one the delves closest to that old lo-fi sound while Lucky Young and Loretta both hold more to the cleaner and brighter sounds favored in albums Pershing and Let It Sway. They all hold their own and but the middle of the album leaves a bit more to be desired then the first few songs and the back end of the album. Unearth begins the climb back out of the middle, with a clean and jangling song that while not being extraordinary holds the listener in a bit more. The highlight of the album for me is the next song, Bright Leaves where I feel Phil Dickey comments about words having power rings more true. It’s a relatively simplistic and mellow song that also probably does the best at stretching the gap between the bands beginning and its current sound. The lyrics say it all though:

“I’ll find a verse that will reverse all the times I let you down,
of course it’s worse for you than it ever was for me.
There’s probably a proverb or a parable that’s parallel to you and me.”

 Nightwater Girlfriend the albums ninth song is possibly one of the bands best pop and punk sounding songs that they’ve ever written. It’s driving melody is not to be overshadowed by its outro which brings in a nice break and semi-introduction for the albums last song. The album’s title track, Fly By Wire, probably is the best representation of the album and what the band was trying to do as an ode to the past but with an eye to the future. It’s as Dickey put it after joking about how they used to say they would break out if Boris Yeltsin or some connection found out about them like the Boris Yeltsin Foundation did while they were in Russia. “[So] I figured this was either the death or rebirth of the band.”

 

That’s something to think about while listening to the album and as a fan of the majority of their previous work I think this was a good attempt at compromise. However, it lacked in some parts, of which was mainly the middle of the album. I think are what brings the album down for me but I’m also open to keep on listening to it. I might not have given those songs the attention they deserve but that’s while I’ll end it on this note, that there were songs towards the middle of each of their albums that I had a hard time getting into at first. Will this album be similar in that respect? I don’t know but what I do know if you are a fan of their previous efforts you should find at least something that will perk your ear in this one.

Harrison Ford: 8.5/10
Young Presidents: 9/10
Cover All Sides: 7.5/10
Lucky Young: 6.5/10
Ms. Dot: 6.5/10
Loretta: 6.5/10
Unearth: 7.5/10
Bright Leaves: 9.5/10
Nightwater Girlfriend: 9/10
Fly By Wire: 8/10

Album: 8/10

The Dodos – Carrier

Artist: The Dodos
Album: Carrier
Label: Polyvinyl
Release Date: 8/27/13

“What is a song, what is love” is subtle entry into the new Dodos while having a familiar twang in sections that should allow any previous fan to quietly gain admiration for the new work. The new album, Carrier is at once both an attempt at a new direction as also a way to pay respect to an old friend and their previous work. When one opens the packaging, the two pictures you see in the center gatefold are of two people sitting at a mixing board with a cat sitting on the one’s shoulder, while the other is the picture of a young man with outstretched arms with the words “For Reimer” written in the albums font next to him. If this fellow doesn’t seem familiar to you, it’s because unless you saw the Dodos play live during 2011 and figured out his influence on No Color there would be no reason to. However, Christopher Reimer who passed away in 2012, and was also the guitarist for the band Women probably has even more influence post-humously on this new record then he did on the previous album. That’s why this album may in a way be a transition for The Dodos.

There is a somewhat relative hushed-feeling over the album which as a fan of both the albums Visiter and No Color is a bit of change. It’s also a bit hard to understand given that, Meric Long, reportedly wrote the new album on his electric as opposed to previous efforts which were written first on his acoustic. But do not worry, it was not completely cut out, nor were the sudden outbursts and breakdowns that filled the previously mentioned albums. The other change that may or may not be distinguishable to anyone is the effect on the songs possibly by Long writing all of his lyrics (and even possibly recording them as I don’t know if that was internet hearsay or actual truth) before any music was ever written.

As for the songs, the first song Transformer begins with a short light intro before the drums start-up with a feeling that will give the listener a feel for what to expect on the new album. It ends with more of a feel that start to bring back memories of previous albums. The next two songs, Substance and Confidence continue to act to span the gap between this album and the bands previous ones in my opinion. They both bring more of an energy and spastic-ness that is removed from this album for the most part. I’d also say that these songs are the turning point in the album before Long and Kroeber venture off into their new direction. The song Stranger continues this upbeat feeling but the chorus tends to veer off into a more mellow feel but Kroeber’s drumming keeps the song in a tight rhythm that once the verse comes around again the song picks back up. The next song, Relief has a quiet but nice melody throughout the first two verses with the periodic taps of Kroebers tambourine. It picks up at the beginning of the chorus with the addition of a more upbeat rhythm, percussion, and brass before falling off back to the light melodic vocals and guitar that started off the song. Holidays, the 6th song on the album is short and while they did well in the short-song/interlude on Visiter it didn’t translate as well to me on this one. Starting off the B-side of the album brings more of this new subdued Dodos with the songs Family and The Current. The Current is up there as a favorite of the album for me as the guitar line that cascades through the entire song is a thing of beauty to me and making me wish I would have thought to make a loop of pretty much playing two note chords offset in a way as Long does. The song Destroyer keeps up the pace with a nice drum beat from Kroeber and nice mesh of acoustic and electric guitar from Long. The up beat tempo doesn’t last long as the song Death goes in to somber restrospective tone with some washed out/delayed and almost ghostly sounding guitar that is fitting given the subject matter and title. The finale, The Ocean starts off with a guitar line that is almost begging for something in addition but Long doesn’t oblige until later on as Kroeber picks it up. As the song gathers steam it almost feel like it’s slowly building to something louder but unfortunately for this listener it doesn’t. With outro lyrics of what I believe are “I want to be where I wanted to be,” it’s almost as if Long is telling us this where he wants the band to be and what sound feels the best for the moment. I don’t know if it’s enough to ask, will we ever see the spastic and more upbeat Dodos of some of the previous work? I’d like to think that we will see more of this subdued music but I will never count out a few good outbursts in any future work by these two.

All in all I think it’s a solid effort and I can’t stress enough how I was a little hesitant when I first heard Substance after hearing Confidence. Those two songs have since then become some favorites of the album for me. Now that I’ve been able to listen to the entire album for almost a week there have been other songs have grown on me as well. Is it as good as Visiter or No Color was in my opinion? Maybe not but it’s still a strong album that for its relative mellowness is a slight surprise to me. It’s definitely something to take a look at if you’ve liked their previous albums or are looking for something new. Listed below are my ratings by song as they stand as I finish this review. Definitely subject to change, so enjoy!

Transformer (7.5/10)
Substance (8.5/10)
Confidence (9/10)
Stranger (8/10)
Relief (7/10)
Holidays (5/10)
Family (7/10)
The Current (8.5/10)
Destroyer (8.5/10)
Death (7.5/10)
The Ocean (7.5/10)

We’re (I’m) Back with a new post!

Let me start of this new post with a bit of an apology. I know it’s been a little while (or a long while if you consider any other blog that is talking solely about music) but we’re back or at least I’m back with an update. At least one of the groups/artists that I had mentioned in one of my last posts has now officially dropped their debut album and on top of that there’s new music from other bands that I had mentioned and even more just new stuff popping up from other bands that I have liked. So let’s get to it then.

First and foremost is the release of Jackson Scott’s album Melbourne which to be fair I haven’t really gotten a chance to delve into it completely but I am a bit sad about the fact that the songs that I had heard previously are pretty much the only ones that I truly enjoy right off the bat. I will try to give it another chance to sink in and actually listen to it but my quick review is a pass except for a few songs.

Next up is to bring up some bands that I’ve previously mentioned and to give them a little space and share some new singles from their upcoming albums. First on the docket is Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin with the two new singles (yes, two new ones from the upcoming album). The first of which is Young Presidents and the second of which is titled Harrison Ford. Where their first single Nightwater Girlfriend, seemed a return to their old roots of of anxious indie pop, the new songs stray in new ways from their predecessors. Hopefully you enjoy, and if you want to hear Nightwater Girlfriend there should still be a link up on a previous post.


The next group up that I’ve mentioned before is a band called His Electro Blue Voice who have now officially signed with Sub Pop records and will release their first album outside of Italy by the end of the fall. Their new single is Born Tired which brings a very familiar sound to old Sub Pop fans with a very grungy intro but this relatively brash trio brings it with another solid and some-what-droney rocker.

The last group I’ll mention today is a band that I’ve been able to enjoy seeing live once but I’ve always been blown away with how they have handled the transition of recording as a two piece and managing to play all of it still as a two piece. This heavy post-rock band has veared into a more metal and hardcore sound with this new single or maybe I’ve misplaced what I remember them sounding like from their previous efforts. Either way, this hopefully is a good intro into what their new album via Sargent House Records will be like. If you’re looking for a more post-rock/instrumental feel go for a song from the albums Enter or Station. And here for your pleasure is the first single of the album Memorial which is titled Deficit.

And that’s it for me for this week. Hopefully I’ll be able to give a better update and maybe a full review here in the next week or two. Until then though enjoy, and let me know what you think!

geof

Something New

Two things for today, a new Dodo’s song from the upcoming album was unveiled on Friday which you can find below. Also I’ll see how this works because with the ever changing nonsense that is music law and record rights you never know how long your mixtape or streaming website will be stay available. So part of my initial intrique about starting this blog was to be able to share random playlists for people to listen to stuff in an easier sense other then trying to scour Soundcloud and posting link upon link. Which I know I could probably just use the Soundcloud option to basically make a playlist but I wanted to try something else first. None of the songs on the playlist I’ve provided below is new by any sense of the word but if you haven’t heard or listened to anything on it, hopefully you enjoy it. Let me know if something doesn’t work or it’s more difficult then necessary to try and enjoy the songs and I’ll make sure this experiment is at the very least stopped after this attempt. Thanks and I hope everyone enjoys.

First the new Dodos song, Substance:

And now the playlist:
http://mixtape.me/p/28806

New stuff

So here’s the second part as promised it will be quick as I try just to cover some of the newer stuff I’ve been listening to that I didn’t cover in the previous post or to point out some stuff that I want to listen to and would like some feedback on from anyone out there.

I’ll start off with an artist that is close to home and by that I mean they are from just up the highway  about an hour from here in Carlisle, PA. The artist is Daughn Gibson who’s album Me Moan will be released on Sub Pop. Think of him as a mix between Johnny Cash/Nick Cave/Hank Williams and some weird new indie electronic band. Sub Pop has the entire album streaming on Soundcloud right now, but if you just go to their page the latest song from him is entitled You Don’t Fade so go for that one first.

Next up is a band that hails from the Great White North (i.e. Calgary, Canada). The group Reuben and the Dark was started as a solo project by Reuben Bullock before it has expanded to a full accompaniment. The released an album last year but have just recently signed to the label Arts & Crafts. The group has a mix of Mumford, Fleet Foxes, Bright Eyes with something else that I have yet to figure out from Reuben’s voice. Either way a nice mix indie rock/folk with nice harmonization and instrumentation spread throughout the entire song. Here’s their song Shoulderblade in both video and just audio form.

Finally, I’ve listened to the new Sigur Ros album a handful of times and am almost ready to write up a quick review. However, another band that I’ve come to love namely Portugal. The Man has apparently released a new album recently titled Evil Friends which I’d like to listen to sometime soon. Has anyone that reads this or might see this soon, had the chance to listen to it? Let me know in the comments! I’ll end with some songs from  other artists that I think people should given a listen to. A mix of post-rock, punk, and shoegaze. Enjoy!

All Lights

Words.

Paraguanoise

Smelly Tounges

Upcoming New Releases

So this will be a new post of two for the evening as I kind of want to separate the quantity of new music that is coming out in the near future from just the new music that I found, was turned on to or want to listen to that I’ve heard about. This will be for the upcoming stuff and I’ll write another post here shortly just about the recently released or recently found stuff. I’ll try to keep it in chronological order and some of it may be repeated stuff or old news to some but here it goes.

First on the list is an artist named Jackson Scott who recently signed to Fat Possum Records which are releasing his debut album Melbourne on July 23rd. He is compared to list of previous indie heros particularly a few from the Athens, GA region with his mix of indie psych folk/rock and altered and/or otherwise unique vocals. While there are similar tendencies, it should be noted that he apparently never listened to bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal which are probably the two most notable artists/groups with whom he is said to be akin to. Either way, I think there’s enough new and down right awesome stuff coming out on this record and I’ll post both of his available songs below. Enjoy!

Next up is a band I’ve talked about before, His Electro Blue Voice who’s new album Ruthless Sperm is set to be released on August 20th via Sub Pop. I feel like I’ve already talk about them enough so I’ll just post a song off of the new album below. I’m pretty stoked to see what the rest of this album sounds like. It should be a good one.

A week after the previous album is released, it’s time for the new The Dodos album, Carrier which I’ve also talked about before and unfortunately isn’t much new to talk about since I’ve already post the first single from the album in an earlier post. Here’s a link though for anyone who wants to go listen to it and/or order the new album from the Polyvinyl website. (http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/store/index.php?id=2399)

Finally rounding out the upcoming releases that I’m excited for is the new album from a band whom I’ve loved for a long while now. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is releasing their new album Fly By Wire on September 17th via Polyvinyl Records. From listening to the single we should be in store for another solid album from these gents. The song “Nightwater Girlfriend” is posted below for your enjoyment.

So that’s it for this post and make sure to check out the next post I’ll be putting up here shortly.

- geof

Sub Pop signs two of my favorite new artists

So I guess I should have saw this one coming as I don’t know if there really is a label in the world that will just freely distribute relatively unknown bands music for the sake of sharing. With that it’s not surprising that one of the bands from the Sub Pop 1000 V/A record that was released on Record Store Day is now signed to Sub Pop to release their first full length album. If you remember or care to re-read my write ups for that album, the band, His Electro Blue Voice hailing from Italy was one of my favorites. The other band that just so happened to be on the same side of the album and almost directly after them was a band called Protomartyr whom since then I’ve reviewed their album “No Passion All Technique.”  The second half of this post regards to them as they seem to be getting some love from Sub Pop’s subsidiary label Hardly Art in the form of them being a part of the Sub Pop Anniversary party. So if they get signed to Sub Pop, Hardly Art, or another similar label soon I wouldn’t be surprised. Good things coming up for both bands.

As for now though here is the video released by Sub Pop for the new His Electro Blue Voice album coming out towards the end of August called Ruthless Sperm. Plus on top of the video is the song from them that was featured on the Sub Pop 1000 album. Afterwards I added the info regarding the Sub Pop Anniversary party/weekend stuff in case anyone who might read this is out in Seattle or will be near there when it’s happening. It should be an awesome weekend.

http://youtu.be/zThP76X12Ag

Sub Pop Golden Jubilee Info
http://www.subpop.com/channel/blog/sub_pop_records_presents_silver_jubil_eve_a_25th_anniversary_comedy_thing_for_charity
http://www.subpop.com/channel/blog/sub_pop_silver_jubilee_line_up_and_event_additions

A Monday Briefing of sorts

So first off I hope everyone is having a good Memorial Day or will be having one shortly. This is just a quick update because I wanted to share the following song because of how amped up it has made me from last Thursday when I first listened to it, to just about 10 minutes ago when I listened to it for the third time in a row haha. If you know me, you know I have a fondness for the band called The Dodos as their album Visiter was probably one of my favorite albums from when I first started as Music Directer at WIXQ. While Visiter was golden, I didn’t really like the follow up to that in Time to Die but when I heard their last album, No Color it restored my faith in the band. Recently it was announced that they signed to a new label, Polyvinyl, and would be releasing a new album this summer. The song Confidence is the only song that’s been released so far but it gives me hope for the new album that will be titled Carrier. Give it a listen below and check out the write-up describing the album on the Polyvinyl link below as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/store/index.php?id=2399

Protomartyr – No Passion All Technique

Band: Protomartyr
Album: No Passion All Technique
Label: Urinal Cake Records
From: Detroit, Mi
Release: Original Pressing Nov. 6th, 2012 / Repress March 19th, 2013

This band came out of the blue to me via the Sub Pop 1000 record (thanks again Sub Pop!). This seemingly effortless medley of garage rock and post-punk roars through 13 songs in just under 37 minutes. The album is solid from start to finish, but still with the almost inevitable stand out tracks that just seem to make the other songs seem inconsequential. That is not to say the other songs aren’t good because they still are but the real meat and potatoes of the album are in a select few, at least in my eyes they are anyway.

The yips, yelps, and howels of lead singer Joe Casey provide the counter-balance to the steady and heavily pounding bass and drum that is mixed with a nice dose of rhythmic chord structures as well as some angular melodies from the guitar. At first some folks might hear a psuedo-Nick Cave voice and style but he’s also been compared to the likes of late Black Flag along with other variety of punk and hardcore groups. Songs like In My Sphere, Machinist Man, Jumbo’s, Ypsilanti, How He Lived After He Died, Feral Cats, and Principalities are my personal favorites. There is a nice variety of speed, tempo changes, and song style in those choices and are something that makes this band stand out.

With that said the counter-balance of each of these songs is important and while some may find the lyrics or delivery underwhelming, I think that with more than one listen they’d realize that while Casey’s delivery might seemingly lack some oomph it actually doesn’t and he does change throughout the album and throughout each song. In addition to that, given the stylistic leanings of the band and their music it actually tends to compliment it well. Each song is different and as I’ve mentioned already from my personal perspective some are better than others but each hold their own. So while there are songs that I could pass on while listening, I rarely do. It might be in part due to the fact that the length of time devoted to these other songs and the albums entire length as a whole, or just might be that these songs are still better then a lot of songs out there.

Finally, if any 80’s punk or hardcore get’s you going or even if you just like some solid heavy garage rock or post-punk I think you’ll find something to like on this album.

8.5/10

LtiYL: Nick Cave, Black Flag, 80’s punk/hardcore, heavier garage rock, post-punk

A Place to Bury Strangers – Strange Moon

Image
Band: A Place to Bury Strangers
Album: Strange Moon: Covers of Dead Moon
Date: RSD 2013 April 2013

This album or cover EP or whatever you call it was a surprise to me to be honest. I felt whole heartedly intrigued just because it was A Place to Bury Strangers doing covers from a band that I had never heard of. To point it out though, I still haven’t found someone that I know that actually knows who Dead Moon is or has listened to anything from them, so it’s still a bit of a weird predicament I’m in while I try to learn more about the band that is being covered.

From what I know of the band, Dead Moon is considered a punk band despite my best efforts to dissuade me of that from what I’ve heard. Maybe it’s the Led Zeppelin voice, and not just more straight forward 70s rock sound that makes me wonder how it could be confused. I know that a good handful of songs are a little more punky but still if Zeppelin didn’t incorporate huge solos and were more pop oriented in song writing style this is probably close to what you’d get.

Enough about that though, I still think the album holds its own and A Place to Bury Strangers really does bring up all of these songs in energy and noise to make them personally more enjoyable. As far as the songs go, Don’t Burn the Fires and Dead Moon Night, Graveyard and Don’t Look Back are my favorites. The 99s and 54 40 are good but just didn’t catch my ear as much. As for I’m Wise, I don’t think it’s a bad song but for an EP of cover songs and how much they up the tempo of every other song in comparisons to this makes this a little underwhelming in comparison.

With that said, I still enjoyed the entirety of this EP but when you bring up a hand full of songs and increase the tempo of 9/10ths of them you kind of get a mixed bag feeling. That’s not to say that they aren’t good covers because I enjoy them possibly more so then the originals but the selection could have been rethought after they knew how they were going to record/play some of these songs.

Finally, as far as a shot in the dark this acquisition didn’t disappoint and I’m glad the covers were made and they were actually recorded and distributed in a semi-normal case. So, to finish it off, I really enjoy the album and I think it was well made. It introduced me to some new music while keeping me within a safe zone so-to-speak. If anything this is a testament of the band that the covers are from because even though I thought the covers were better then the original the songs themselves were solid and well thought out.

(9.5/10)