To some, Christmas is more than sugarplum fairies, lights, eggnog and white-skinned Santas. The Nash created an original Christmas song for those who like to stab their ex-boyfriend in the face with a candy cane. "I Hate You This Christmas" is part of her five song holiday EP, Have Faith With Kate Nash This Christmas. You also get covers of Silent Night and Auld Lang Syne for those who crave a little tradition. If you search the internets, you can also find her cover of one of the finest Christmas pop songs of all time, "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses.
Take a listen to "I Hate You This Christmas"
Finally, some decent new Christmas music for that office party that you are forced to attend. Dr. Dog made four Xmas into a beautiful EP download that's for a good cause.
Scott writes about Oh My Christmas Tree: “Last year, in 2012, I wrote these songs and recorded them in two different kitchens over the course of the two weeks leading up to Christmas. I made them with the intent to mail them to some of my friends and family as a Christmas present. It wound up being a great gift to myself! The experience definitely showed me once again that stopping to pay closer attention to what things mean, even seemingly familiar things, always brings an added depth and beauty to life. And always in a surprising way. Christmas music can be so playful and fantastical but it can also be very melancholy and foreboding. To me that's the best. The spirit can guide you to balance and the spirit can be found anywhere you choose to look. In the cartoons and in the cold blood. In the wild imagination and in the strictest tradition. These four songs will ultimately live as that reminder for me and hopefully they serve you in some way too. You, the child of wonder. You, of age and grace. Peace be with ye.”
Download that bad boy on iTunes and all proceeds go towards Feeding America, the nationwide network of food banks that feeds more than 37 million people, including nearly 14 million children, and leads the nation in the fight against hunger.
Take a listen to Christmas Party:
January is officially on with the release of Dum Dum Girls third full-length album, Too True. January 27 will be the release date of the new material, produced again by Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner and Richard Gottehrer, the co-founder of The Orchard, producer for The Go-Go's and Blondie and songwriter of "My Boyfriend's Back" and "I Want Candy". Yeah, what have you done with your life?
The album recorded in New York and Los Angeles. On the Sub Pop website, lead singer Dee Dee goes in-depth about her feeling about the new album. It's long, but she points out some of inspiration:
A month later I ran away to Hollywood, and again locked myself up, and two more songs were born from drunken loneliness in room at the Chateau Marmont — points if you can discern which ones.
Here's a look via H&M clothing company at the song, Lost Boys & Girls Club:
Joining the Girls on their North American tour for 2014 is Portland, OR three piece and Captured Tracks artists, Blouse. Check out their lovesick track "A Feeling Like This"
Here are the tour dates, I'm eyeing that Johnny Brenda's date, again:
March 7 - San Diego - Casbah
March 8 - Las Vegas - Backstage Bar
March 9 - Phoenix - Crescent Ballroom
March 10 - Albuquerque, NM -Sister
March 16 - Dallas - Spillover Festival
March 18 - Nashville - Exit/In
March 19 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
March 20 - Atlanta - The Earl
March 21 - Raleigh, NC - Kings
March 22 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
March 23 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
March 25 - New York - Bowery Ballroom
March 26 - Brooklyn - Music Hall of Williamsburg
March 27 - Boston - Brighton Music Hall
March 28 - Montreal - Il Motore
March 29 - Toronto - Lee's Place
March 30 - Ferndale, MI - Loving Touch
March 31 - Chicago - Empty bottle
April 1 - Minneapolis - Triple Rock
April 4 - Vancouver - Biltmore
April 5 - Seattle - Neumos
April 6 - Portland - Doug Fir
April 8 - San Fransisco - Independent
It took a few years for the rest of the world to get into the groove with Phantogram. Back in 2010, they were playing Maxwell's off their debut album, Eyelid Movies. They moved up to headlining the big venues, playing the big festivals and getting their songs played every 10 seconds during NFL games with the placement in a razor ad.
For 2014, they moved up to a major label (Republic) for the second album, Voices. The album was recorded in Los Angeles with producer John Hill (MIA) and will be out Feb. 18. This is the tracklisting:
Nothing But Trouble
Black Out Days
Fall In Love
Never Going Home
The Day You Died
Howling At the Moon
I Don't Blame You
My Only Friend
Take a listen to a track from tha lbum, just not the Bill Murray song. This is Fall In Love:
While Doves are on an extended hiatus, lead singer Jimi Goodwin is forging forward with his debut solo effort. Odludek (which is Polish for "recluse") will be released by Heavenly Recording on March 24rd. This is his first new material since Doves' extra tracks for their greatest hits album in 2010. He'll be road testing these songs when he opens up for Elbow on their Spring 2014 area tour.
Jimi says of the album:
“I wanted to make this mad mixtape… the kind you’d pass back and forth with your mates; eclectic as fuck. That’s the way we’ve all discovered music over the years isn’t it? We join our own dots to make it all make sense. As I got into making the record, it felt like I was proving something to myself, making a point that I could do all this on my own. You know — I can play bass, I can play guitar, I can orchestrate. As the methods changed, the original concept stayed intact. It’s me, powering through ideas, kapow kapow, no pause for breath. It’s not trying to be wilfully eclectic; it’s just a reflection of how I schizophrenically devour music.”
This is the tracklisting and album art:
Take a listening to a track from the album, this is Oh! Whiskey:
The record store that has recently set up shop in Williamsburg (motto: pretentiousness is our No. 1 export) has come to place the underdog in the top spot, such was the case in 2011 with Josh T. Pearson. The Michigan native has traded in his neo-folk roots for a more electric sound inspired by his time in Berlin and Iceland.
Rounding out the Top 10 included familiar names like Savages, Thee Oh Sees and Parquet Courts.
2. Savages, Silence Yourself
3. Matthew E. White, Big Inner
4. Daniel Avery, Drone Logic
5. Thee Oh Sees, Floating Coffin
6. Jon Hopkins, Immunity
7. Valerie June, Pushin' Against the Stone
8. Moderat, 2
9. Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold
10. Jessica Pratt, Jessica Pratt
Plenty of other glorious picks fills in the rest of the 100 -- your Daft Punk, National, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys. My No. 1 is on that list, but I'll let you guess. One notable omission from that list -- CHVRCHES!
One of the finest under-the-radar U.K. bands have put their finishing touches on their sophomore album. TOY's self-titled album from last year is a must-listen album of fuzzed-out and buzzy psych rock hooks and grooves with a heavy dose of 90s shoegaze and goth. It's better than the the shit you are listening to now.
Their follow-up comes on the heels of that self-titled debut. With mega-popular Dan Carey producing (Bat for Lashes, Django Django, Franz Ferdinand), Join the Dots is masterful collection hard hitting British rock. It's much-different from their debut, but it fist-clinchingly dynamic and empowering.
2. You Won't Be The Same
3. As We Turn
4. Join The Dots
5. To A Death Unknown
7. It's Been So Long
8. Left To Wander
9. Too Far Gone To Know
10. Frozen Atmosphere
11. Fall Out Of Love
All the goodness comes out Dec. 10
Check out the title tracks, it's got balls:
After two cancelled NYC dates, the TOY boys and girl are hoping third time is a charm. They have two NYC gigs and Philly on their radar.
January 9: Brooklyn @ Glasslands Gallery
January 10: New York @ Mercury Lounge
January 11: Philadelphia @ Kung Fu Necktie
January 13: Montreal @ Divan Orange
January 14: Toronto @ Horseshoe Tavern
January 15: Detroit @ Lager House
January 16: Chicago @ Beat Kitchen
January 18: San Francisco @ The Chapel
January 19: Los Angeles @ The Echo - Part Time Punks
Making their NYC debut are U.K. buzz band of the moment Temples. Their debut album won't be out until next year, and they have of a handful of songs for our enjoyment, but they bypassed the small Manhattan venues and went right to Bowery. It reminded me when Vaccines did the same when they first came into town. It's probably the anticipation of them being the next big thing. Well, the place was half-full, which was like their setlist -- eight songs total.
They do have the makings of a new big thing. In their quiver are some solid 60s mod-psych British rock with some groovy baselines, trippy vocals and extended jams. Since they are relatively young band, so their new tracks they trotted out didn't click for me. A song called "Mesmerized" didn't catch on as the song that was 6+ minutes that took on a life of its own.
Since they are a throwback 60s bands, they had varying degrees of hair style. When they walked on stage, I said to myself, "It's Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Stockdale and Faris Badwan". This being their NYC debut, the lads were thankful to have made the high-profile stage of Bowery (tonight, they play Union Pool).
In any event, I thought the trio of songs that have released as singles this year were cracking with good vibes. Shelter Song, Prisms and Colours to Life are instant classics worthy of Best New Music of 2013. Their debut album, Sun Structures, is slated for February 2014. I'm hoping it goes deep into the 60s psych rock groove.
Gotta give some props to local duo Ex-Cops, with their stripped down dream-pop and harmony. Pour guy Brian Harding was mugged and injured, so had to sit down the whole show.
In one of those weird anomalies that I hope was not by design, the weekend at Union Transfer was a trilogy of 90s nostalgia. Sunday was Chris Cornell. Saturday was the return of Luscious Jackson to the live stage which I unfortunately could not make. Thus, Friday night I sprung for Mazzy Star's return to touring about almost two decades. It was a good weekend to recapture your lost, forgotten youth at the Philly venue.
I never saw Mazzy Star, but did see Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions and was prepared for either a) a cerebral, atmospheric gig or b) an aggravating experience where Hope walks off the stage because some dip shit took a picture. It was uneventful from a drama stand-point -- no walking off of stage or Sandoval snapping at the crowd. So it was a moody, trance-like concert with the band taping into that middle-of-the-road, dream pop that is often imitated since they were founded in the early 90s.
With the recent passing of Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground sound was in my mind when watching Mazzy Star. That slight drugged out haze permeates through both bands. I've gravitated more towards Mazzy Star because it's more familiar to me and identify with the imagery that the music conjures up -- the desserts plains, open road, gravel, concrete, tumbleweeds, abandoned shacks and sunsets.
Seasons of Your Day is the latest album, and you would have never have known they were gone for 17 years or so. You can place any song onany previous effort and not known it was a new song. Consistency might be the key to their success, but with their age comes wisdom in their lyrics. You go have to give credit for David Roback who creates the backbone for Sandoval's voice. When I was listening to it, I was debating with myself on if her voice sounds like it did back in their glory years or has gained more depth. I go back on forth it.
The show on Friday was what I expected -- dim lighting with the back projection provided the lone illumination. I was standing on the left side, and never got a good look at Sandoval because her iPad was blocking her face. Not that it matters, she prefers mystery over exposure. Maybe next time, she should just hide behind a screen.
Since most of the ground were 40something hipster parents who would usually be spending their Friday nights at Whole Foods and looking for kale recipes on the internet, for them it was revisiting of that sound. If I saw Massy Star back in the day, I probably would have felt more strong about the gig. Since bands like Beach House, Howling Belles and Tashaki Miyaki are doing the same thing, there's a breathe of familiarity to that Mazzy Star vibe. It's not so much a rock concert, but more like a meditation for an hour and some change.