July 24, 2009

CD's Received Today

Here's what we got in the office today:

Cage- Depart from Me…
Brandon Swift- Self-titled
Breakestra- Dusk ‘Til Dawn
28 Degrees Taurus- Post Midnight Thrills EP
Vivian Girls- Everything Goes Wrong

Fauna Valetta, Branden Daniel & Everybody Gets Laid, The Old Stoic, Mode | Kimo’s | San Francisco, CA | July 19, 2009

It’s a quarter to nine. And it’s empty. The second-story hideaway perched atop Kimo’s street-corner bar glows an ominous red – the walls, the lights, the Stella Artois sign above the stairwell entrance threatening the microbrews that dare enter. Red fits: for out-of-town bands, lifeless dives on a Sunday night already look a lot like Hell. The bloodshot hue isn’t helping, nor are the empty seats. A doornail thinks this place is dead. Jacko thinks this place is dead.

So chalk it up to the cosmic connection between the-brothers-'n'-sisters-bohemia, one that rings out with all the selective stealth of a dog whistle (when some scraggly, axe-wielding guy with long hair plugs in, somehow, the spirit children know). Or maybe it’s just the hippie body clock in action. Whatever. Point is, Long Beach four-piece Mode took stage to an actual audience – a living, breathing audience. It’s a quarter past nine. We have people. And they are getting rocked to the funked-up sounds of Carlos Santana’s electric guitar shooting off clear-the-decks solos while the rest of these players groove away, attempting to recreate the theme to Shaft. Damn right.

One of those “Mode is like the musical bastard child of…” lines probably belongs here, but this would entail references to Jimmy Page and George Clinton. Nobody needs that visual. Let’s fast forward, shall we? The Old Stoic mines much of the same gone-by, ‘60s-‘70s material, except replaces the funk elements with a throbbing soul-blues core – the theatrical, bombastic kind; more Janis than John Mayall or James Marshall. Throwback performers all the way, the L.A. quartet played the kind of inhibition-be-damned rawk!! music that goes over with the emo kids about as well as baggy jeans or NASCAR. Still, Alice Reid’s throaty pipes belting anti-cat calls over the heavily wah-wahed wankery of Stone Gossard (pre-Pearl Jam) lookalike Jet Black converted even the skinny-jeaned present. The seven plus minutes of the anything-goes behemoth “Dragon” allotted ample time for a who’s who and what’s what rundown of all things West Coast, from the jammy Summer-of-Love verses, to the churning Heart-ish riffs, right down to the charged histrionics in the coda – Reid’s contortionist exhibition doubled as an in-song power yoga exposé. Again people, this is California.

Which means you can’t have a gig without a little psychedelia. First encounters with Oakland’s Fauna Valetta evoke a knee-jerk reaction that is the same for all: “Holy shit, The Small Faces are back together?” The second, stronger reaction deals with the authenticity of the retro recreation. Impossibly modish to the point that you wonder if the drummer is the Pinball Wizard himself, the garage-meets-acid outfit exploded into towering drone jams the heights of which could only be matched by their own stiletto heels. Cosmic hypnotica glued together by thudding, pick-free bass lines and diffuse twin guitars, “Sleep By The Ocean” locked into an Eastern-tinged trance before ditching the stoner vibe for full-throttle fade out. It’s almost too bad this band doesn’t have a crazed tyrant for a frontman – Fauna Valetta could easily match the acclaim of Bay Area brethren the Brian Jonestown Massacre with a little more inter-group tension and the occasional on-stage fistfight. Alas.

Speaking of total unruliness, it took Branden Daniel just one song to piss off the lucky few listeners who stayed between acts to watch his set. “Um, it sounds great, but if you just turn it down a little bit…” suggested a rather ballsy woman, well dressed but allergic to distortion. After a sniping back and forth, Mr. Daniel concluded, “This song’s just for you – it’s self-deprecating bullshit. It’s called ‘I’m a Joke,’” and then thrust into some thrilling hard blooze junk lifted from an unearthed Jon Spencer session. Swaggering guitar 'n' drums stampedes, the electric hoedowns off his new EP drove out the noise protesters, bringing this once-again-unfilled bar full circle, and prompting the same guttural response from the remainder: that odd sort who needs to hear loud rock 'n' roll at 12:30 on a Sunday night. Dude, there’s like six people here. Turn it up.

-Words and video by Robbie Hilson

The Harm | The Guitar Merchant | July 17, 2009

Six songs into The Harm’s set, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Scott Goldbaum announces that the band will take audience requests for the remainder of their 10-song performance. When two audience members (including yours truly) fervently suggest a recently neglected tune, “Madman,” lead guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Matt Tuggle protests with a half-worried grin, “I don’t know it!” As the band launches into an unsurprisingly flawless execution, bassist Nick Chamian, drummer Mike Musselman and Tuggle silently congratulate each other with small signs of rejoicing, a strangely upbeat backdrop to Goldbaum’s impassioned lyrics about unrequited romantic insanity.

But for all the incongruity, this pure joy in music (and in its perfection) is what defines The Harm – their music and their concert. When the band debates which audience request to take, Goldbaum jokes warmly, “Welcome to our rehearsal, guys, thanks for paying to see us.” Goldbaum is, in part, alluding to the fact that The Harm haven’t practiced for about a week, but the few rough edges that infrequently surface (a missed cue here, an early entry there) simply add flavor, gusto and sincerity to a performance which effortlessly glides from foot-stomping rockers to breathtaking ballads and back again.

“Interpreting Us,” for example, opens up into an idyllically peaceful bridge, complete with Chamian’s delicately flawless falsetto crooning, only to fall into a coda of furious drums and a pounding beat which would put many ostensibly “harder” bands to shame. When Goldbaum’s guitar malfunctions after the song, Chamian and Musselman fill the space instantly by becoming Flea and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers with an impromptu funk jam, a jam that’s so tight one of the audience members shouts, “What’s the name of that song?!” And when the technical malfunctions are resolved, The Harm seamlessly switch gears out of funk and into “Lonely,” a gorgeous slow ballad which features the ever-impressive Tuggle on guitar, keyboard, tambourine and xylophone. Almost as a flipside to the earlier moment of triumph during “Madman,” Tuggle smiles innocently over the melancholy melody of “Lonely,” with tambourine in hand.

Always eager to please their fans, The Harm close their set with three more requests: “Crosby Doesn’t Stills,” “Lenses” and “Sunlight Fuel,” all of which underscore each member’s immense talent – Goldbaum and Tuggle harmonize perfectly in “Crosby”; Goldbaum steps out for an a capella interlude and, later, a skillful guitar solo in “Lenses”; Musselman drops adrenaline-pumping bombshells from his drum set at the perfectly frenzied moments in “Sunlight Fuel”; and Chamian boldly but tastefully peppers all three tunes with bass chords and virtuoso playing.

Across all the styles they cover and the moods they span, The Harm stand for one thing tonight: joy in music, all music. And their satisfied audience was happy to indulge in the same.
-Words and photo by Dean Schaffer


The Fresh & Onlys | El Rio | San Francisco, CA | July 11, 2009

The Fresh & Onlys took another step Saturday night in designating themselves garage rock’s version of the little black dress – simple, yet highly refined; appropriate in any locale; perfect for any occasion. Quickly, off the top of my head, a list of the places in which a song like “Peacock and Wing” could theoretically cause a head-bobbing-induced riot would include, say: a stuffy country club, a barn, a steel mill, a DMV, a laundromat, the dank back room of San Francisco’s El Rio bar…

It goes without saying, then, that even a vocal mix from hell couldn’t stifle the palpable cool crammed in every nook and cranny of this band’s music and appearance. A typical exchange between frontman Tim Cohen and the soundboard dude went something as follows:
Cohen: “Can I get more vocals?”
Soundboard Dude: “[blank stare]”
Cohen: “Ok, the lyrics aren’t that good anyway.”
And with that kind of Jay-Z-ish brush off, the band got down to the dealings of glorious racket. Screw the vox.

“Invisible Forces” was all about groove anyway – Shayde Sartin’s spy caper bass line, Wymond Miles’ spooked riffing, Kyle Gibson’s guys-who-play-fills-are-compensating-for-something drumming. The whole thing plays like a kitschy '60s surf tune come back to life as some never-writ Dracula theme – as played by The Kinks. That’s a jumble; the band’s sound isn’t. Both lean and raw, The Fresh & Onlys sing about what they know – the invisible force on Saturday night proved the quintet’s innate ability to convert this particular breed of lifeless back-alley pads into an elegant den of rock 'n' roll. For his part, Miles, clean cut as always, sported a dapper thrown-back mop cut and Fender Jazzmaster that together shrugged a “yeah, I have my own band, too. What of it?” And if the ‘50s pseudo-greaser look wasn’t a tip off to been-here-done-that, his offhand guitar exploits certainly were. No lie, I saw him break for tea during the solo in “Endless Love.”

In between buoyant psych nuggets and Love-y guitar spasms, Cohen crooned ballads about girls, happiness, kindness and (lest it all be puppy dogs and teddy bears) hookers via a serrated baritone that, because of the screwed monitor, leaned heavily on Heidi Alexander’s syrupy cocktail harmonies for affection and support. “Peacock and Wing,” however, fell on no such crutch. A buoyant “rave-up” in the wild-eyed, pounding-heart sense of the term, the exuberant tour-de-melody repeatedly called to mind one of the band’s self-deprecating slogans – failure of all pop, failure of all pop, failure of all pop – and then proceeded to wipe this phrase away with climactic “ey-ohhhh” shoutalongs and a logical follow-up: who’s to say success is a good thing?
-Words and photo by Robbie Hilson

July 23, 2009

CD's Received Today

Here's what we got in the office today:

Session Americana- Diving for Gold
Judgement Day- Out of the Abyss: Live on Tape
Gregg Rolie Band- Rain Dance Live
Circle of Fate- Back to Life
Eric Woolfson- The Alan Parsons That Never Was
Company Car-The English Eye EP
Fighting the Unicorn- Ego
The Oranges Band- Are Invisible
Lake- Let’s Build A Roof
The Frontier Needs Heroes- Self-titled
Trevor Hall-Self-titled
The Fear and Trembling-Octopus
Auditory Implant- This Time
Lowell Thompson & Crown Pilot-Self-titled
Paul Phillips- Every Time I Leave
Passafire- Everyone on Everynight
Wibby White- The Remix Project
Shawn Kellerman- Blues Without A Home
Lil’ Atlanta- It’z Me
Capone- Revenge is a Promise
Russian Circles- Genevea
Michael Tinholme- The House of Jazz
The Max Klau Band- Wisdom
Susan Cattaneo
Brave and Wild

Medford, MA
Recorded by Chris Rival at Middleville Studio in North Reading, MA, Lorne Entress at Busterland
in Glastonbury, CT, Andy Pinkham at Mortal Music in Charlestown, MA, Tom Eaton at Thomas
Eaton Recording, Newburyport, MA and Matt Jugenheimer at Zippah Recording in Brighton,
MA | Mixed by Huck Bennert in Portland, ME | Mastered by Mark Donahue at Soundmirror in Boston, MA

For all the songs by female vocalists about scorned women (or those just blatantly pissed off, deserved or otherwise) few ever stick like those bittersweet or earnestly tenderhearted. Perhaps it’s that anger subsides over time, leaving heartache that never truly heals. As subject matter for songs, it remains universal. Depending on the artist, it becomes timeless, yet writing and performing said material is the real trick.

Susan Cattaneo does well with it on Brave and Wild, a collection of love songs, serenades and a few rockers (“Wrecking Ball” and “Can’t Chase a Train”) that may be beneath her talents, but sure to please the radio crowd. Cattaneo, a teacher at the Berklee College of Music, shines best when tackling material with earthier, textured delivery. She broaches modern country on “Love Takes What it Takes” and “Red Light Kiss” – a saccharine-injected, perfect pop song that recalls C’mon, C’mon by Sheryl Crow.

The album’s standout track, and most emotionally jarring, is “Took Away My Sky” in which Cattaneo sings, “You gave me wings to fly/Then took away my sky.” It’s the overly sentimental stuff that gets gutted on American Idol, but in the right hands cuts deep. Here, Cattaneo hits a home run. If she doesn’t find grand success with it, some pop star will. There’s a near-whispered vocal on the graceful “Whiskey Into Tears,” and on “Wild Irish Moon” she sounds most at home, finding a stride and melody that lingers, especially with the line, “And I won’t cry/We had our time to shine.”

Cattaneo digs deep into the recesses of soul and spirit here, making note of the wreckage we serve each other and the bandages we apply. It’s thick with familiar tales and earned philosophy. The caveat to Cattaneo’s album is that it sounds real, not a mere interpretation.
-Brian Tucker


Juxtaposing the Sacred and the Psychedelic: Sleepy Sun

Words by Ryan Faughnder; Photo by Kristie Shanley

Sleepy Sun – who relocated from Santa Cruz to San Francisco after they realized they had outgrown their hometown’s mellow scene – are, in many ways, ahead of their own game. Neither sleepy nor particularly sunny, this band of overachievers writes and records music faster than they can release it, unlike the multitude of groups that take years between albums. Their debut, Embrace, an eight-song tempest of a record, came out on June 16, and they have already recorded the follow-up. All the more impressive, the sessions took place in the middle of a massive tour of Europe, which included spots on the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in England and the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona. Not bad for a group whose music reeks of green fields and cannabis.

Embrace constantly beguiles the listener. A song that begins with a vintage metal riff could become an acoustic dance at any moment, and even that could spiral into a psychedelic freak out. For example, “White Dove,” a nine-minute epic filled with cryptic social commentary, attempts to take the listener on some kind of spiritual voyage out of chaos and into peaceful existence. But unlike a lyric-driven song, the instrumentation alone conveys the narrative.

“It’s definitely harder for me to write music to words,” says singer, songwriter and harmonica player Bret Constantino. “I’m almost always inspired by melody first, and then write the words to the melody. I’m really just inspired by what the music makes me think of, or what I envision. Lyrically, ‘White Dove’ is just as much of a whirlwind as it is instrumentally. I’m not a fan of straightforward words. I make it a point not to write love songs, because it’s too easy for me. I try to challenge myself every day with what I’m writing.”

From listening to a track such as “White Dove,” it’s evident that each of Sleepy Sun’s members contributes heavily to the songwriting and recording process. A song will typically originate as a Led Zeppelin-like guitar riff, melodic hook or bass pattern that emerges out of a jam session, and the band will develop the idea and make a full track of it. “I think the reason for the eccentric sound and the diverse arrangements that we have is because we write songs together, and each individual has their own special influences, aside from our common ones,” Constantino explains. “And then also, structurally the songs are constructed by all of us, so then, how they transcend from, like, a Black Sabbath riff, say, to a folk jam – I think that happens really naturally, because we’re all sort of appreciators of one another’s inspiration.”

Disparate elements crash together on Embrace. “Lord,” with its jaggedly-timed gospel piano and wah pedal-laced guitar solo, juxtaposes the sacred and the psychedelic in such a way that questions why church goers and hippies don’t sit together at Sunday brunch more often.

Another remarkable aspect of the music is the interplay between guitarists Matt Holliman and Evan Reiss. The jam format of Sleepy Sun’s arrangements allows the two to flex their chops without distracting from the songs’ overall ideas. This is why the group could fit in at Bonnaroo just as easily as it does at ATP. “By working in a group, we encourage each other to grow in each of our crafts, and naturally, since our music is written together and pretty organically, it allows for them to play a little bit more improvisational guitar licks,” Constantino says.

As many listeners have found when experimenting with jam bands, soloing can quickly grow monotonous, which is why Sleepy Sun’s guitarists constantly switch up their sounds. Listen to the difference between the crackling bite of the first lead on “New Age” as opposed to the rounded tone of Holliman’s descending lines on “Sleepy Son.” “We didn’t use the same guitar/mic combination for any one or two songs, you know,” Constantino claims. “I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s so dynamic is that we’re constantly switching up and finding a different tone. That’s where we get a lot of the Sabbath, Zeppelin and Floyd kind of critique, is that we use a lot of those types of tones.”

Constantino shares the vocals with Rachel Williams, the last member to join the band. Their harmonies on “New Age” – a song they apparently whittled down from 15 minutes of material – sound as if they’re calling from either 30 years in the past or 30 years in the future, an effect generated by old studio tricks that sound remarkably unconventional today, as Constantino explains. “There’s a lot of, like, plate reverb. Up at The Hive where we recorded, they have this real plate reverb, you know, from the seventies. And we used a lot of tape delay, a lot of analog delay. A lot of post-effects. We used a lot of, like, vintage tape effects to get that grainy sound – you know, running vocals through guitar amps – that kind of thing.”

Sleepy Sun begins a two-month U.S. tour in September, after several CD-release shows in California. The tour should be quite a draw, because the band approaches live performances as energetically as it approaches recording. The challenge, Constantino says, is translating the energy of the album to the stage, which is a feat that they cannot accomplish solely with musicianship. They have been know to make a spectacle of their concerts, sometimes even applying face paint, a choice that reflects the tribal rhythms of drummer Brian Tice and bassist Jack Allen in many of their songs.

“The visual aspect to our band is huge, yeah,” Constantino says. “I guess sometimes it helps to be a little bit more dramatic. You know, we can all appreciate, like, David Bowie and people who used to make more of a drama out of it.

“You can tell immediately if a band believes in what they’re playing or not – or if they get a rise out of what they’re doing – if they’re inspired to do something other than just stand there, I guess. I’m not talking down on people, though. I mean, to cite an amazing band like The Jesus and Mary Chain, they used to stand with their backs facing the crowd, and that was their shtick, which was completely respectable. But yeah, I think in this day and age, there’s not enough of that. I mean, there’s a handful of bands, but those are the ones you remember, at least.”


Low Victor Echo: When it Finaly All Comes Together

Words and photo by Brian Tucker

At the end of a tour driving back to Wilmington, N.C., last summer Stephen Sellers felt overwhelmed with the question of why he was returning at all. He had no reason to stick around – no job, no girlfriend and no band to speak of.

“I’m like, what is bringing me back to North Carolina? I decided when I came back I’d hang for a little bit and split. I had been coming over to hang out at Michael Swart’s for a year. I told him I didn’t have a band and he said let’s play some.”

Low Victor Echo has seen several incarnations over the years as a band outside Sellers’ solo work. It’s been through membership changes and sound morphing, sometimes including slide guitar or a cello and existing as both a three piece and five piece. But currently it’s firing on all cylinders, turning into the band Sellers always envisioned. They are currently working on their new album, Touching Down, and the songs they’re recording are complex, thick, oversized and utterly dynamic. The music bears shades equal to a massive crayon box of colors, reaching far into some of the ideas Syd Barrett played with.

“Everybody in the room has played in bands,” Sellers says. “Nobody has to get over this learning curve. It’s really coming together in a way that’s shocking to me.”

Each in the group has their own experience: Jeremy Matthews on bass (Pacer, The Jackson Hives), Jeff Sanchez on drums (a DJ for a Mexican station), Lincoln Morris on guitar (Lamont Skylark) and Michael Swart on guitar (Jackson Hives, owner of Swart Amplifiers).

Sellers says that “Touching Down,” the longest and most involved song of the album, is the gem on the CD. “The way it’s progressing now, it may be the finest piece of music I’ve ever written and had people record,” Sellers says. “I’m listening to it out in the sticks. There are moments when I’m listening ... it just sounds killer. I think some of that has to do with Michael’s style, Michael’s amps.”

Sellers moved to Wilmington in 2005. He began writing and recording music in an old house downtown, which served as both a catharsis and a means to start a new life. He churned out several albums, playing most of the instruments, writing most of the lyrics and inviting guest singers. “I was cranking out a full length CD every six months,” he says. “That stopped when we put this together. I still continued to write. Once this group seemed to be gelling I told everybody we’re gonna record,” Sellers says. “I had about 20 songs that hadn’t been released and didn’t want to wait. I thought it would be a good way to keep everybody motivated.”

Last fall the band played at a W.E. Fest Fridays show, debuting the band after only two rehearsals, sounding like a fiery mind-meld of Jane’s Addiction and Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen touring spectacle sans back-up singers. The band has changed slightly since, with Michael switching from bass to guitar and Matthews coming in on bass.

Guitarist Lincoln Morris brings a surprising ambience to the group’s charged and guttural sound, unearthing something within himself when he plays, feeling out riffs versus merely unleashing them. The band’s sound is akin to a southern Jane’s Addiction, blending altcountry and thunderous rock ‘n’ roll.

Sellers’ voice is sharp and rusty. It can turn on a dime, moving from graceful melodies to a roar as if driving out a private fire. He plays amplified acoustic guitar, an aged and battered instrument tucked securely under his arm. Sellers is at home onstage, playing as if he were telling stories to strangers in his living room. This air of comfort gives a sense of truth and love behind the beauty and ferociousness of tracks like “I Hear You Now,” “Butterflies” and “The Beat of the Drum.”

“The songs that he writes actually have meaning. They’re like beautiful poetry,” Michael explains. “They’re not over complicated, but done in some sort of genius way. They’re very smart, his lyrics are crazy good. On top of that is his phrasing. He’s a natural entertainer. He’s got it.”

LISTEN AT: www.myspace.com/lowvictorecho
Sunset Rubdown

Montreal, QC Recorded by Graeme Gibson at Clava Studio in Chicago | Additional recording by Spencer Krug at Sun Rub Main Headquarters | Mixed by Arlen Thompson and Sunset Rubdown at Breakglass Studio in Montreal | Additional mixing at Mount Zoomer studio by Arlen Thompson | Mastered by Harris Newman at Greymarket Mastering

Spencer Krug & Co. twist their whimsical indie pop-rock sound into exciting new directions on Sunset Rubdown’s third full-length, Dragonslayer, the Montreal quintet’s edgiest, yet most accessible work to date. The album’s eight songs play out like epic rock jams with looser instrumentation, more shredding guitars, brooding basslines and heavier percussion, resulting in a freer sound that is wholly, more badass.

Krug may be better known for lending vocal/ keyboard talents to Wolf Parade, but his Sunset Rubdown project, which also features Jordan Robson-Cramer (drums, guitar, keyboards), Michael Doerksen (guitar, bass), Camilla Wynne Ingre (keyboards, percussion, vocals) and newest addition Marc Nicol (bass, drums, percussion), is proving itself worthy of equal attention.

carries on the fairy-tale feel and off-the-ground melodies of past records, especially on the poignant opener “Silver Moons.” Yet, the best tracks see the band dip into sounds and genres they haven’t much explored. “Black Swan” builds tense percussion and haunted guitar squeals into an explosive rock blowout, while “Nightingale/December Song” marries a furious tribal beat with a longing, lonesome cowboy melody. “Idiot Heart” reveals a frenzied dance floor hit up the band’s sleeve.

Krug’s offbeat voice and lyrics add color to the songs he touches, sometimes offering ambiguous allusions to reality (“My dear/I’d like to fight the good fight for another couple a years/cuz to say the war is over is to say you are a widow/you’re not a widow yet!”); other times, off-kilter children’s rhymes (“There was a rumor of ghosts in the bedroom/hanging in and around the bed/by the time the moon rose/you had taken off your clothes/and had the pillow under your head”).

By the third Dragonslayer listen it became clear that not only is it Sunset Rubdown’s best album so far, but also surely one of the mightiest works of 2009. (Jagjaguwar)

-Julia Cooper


The Rural Alberta Advantage

Toronto, ON
Recorded, mixed and produced in Toronto by
Roger Leavens at BoomBox | Mastered by Fedge

The Rural Alberta Advantage’s debut, Hometown, could be the soundtrack to an anxiety dream. Most of the tracks on the album have the potential to rip into a full sprint, but something is always there to hold them back, to pace wisely without compromising energy. Paul Banwatt’s hyper, front-court drumming counteracts the hazy, barely escaping vocals of Nils Edenholff, making for a viscerally charged record.

The opener, “The Ballad of the RAA,” mixes deep keys with rapid, sparse kicks, frantic hi-hats and tweeful vibes. But “Don’t Haunt this Place” encapsulates the album’s mood with a story of two separating lovers trying not to spoil a good apartment with bad memories.

The tantra explodes partially on “Luciana,” tightens up again on “Frank, AB,” and eases into post-coital mode on “The Air.” On “Four Night Rider,” lovers collude to skip town in a punk paced quickie tracking in at 1:54. “Edmonton” and the album closer “In the Summertime” make significant stylistic use of the “two hearts beating as one” image two times over from the former’s “Sync your hearbeat to mine” to the latter’s “Once in a while/I know our hearts beat out of time.” The “home is where the heart is” theme pervades the album, working well in places, but is somewhat overdone in others.

Comparisons have been drawn to Neutral Milk Hotel, but mainly because of vocalist Nils Edenholff’s nasal croon; the lyrics – more grounded in reality – could not be more dissimilar. The slow melody of “Sleep All Day” could be a drums-heavy Yo La Tengo number, and “Rush Apart” could come right off the Dodos album Visitor. Truth is, these Canadians are molding themselves with a conscious hand, and a propulsive, energetic confidence – and their personality shines through. (Saddle Creek Records)
-Jake Schnaidt