Trendspotting: Indie Bands Making Short Films

It seems The Dead Weather has launched a trend with the premiere of their ‘short film’ by Jonathon Glazer for “Treat Me Like Your Mother” on Showtime last week.

Then I found this crazy short film for The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Snakesweat”. Glamorous and weird only in the way Karen O can pull off. Who’s next? I’ll be watching to find out.

Twitter Concerts – SF Band Logs 3000 Downloads Using Twitter

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Moonalice.  Heard of them?  Yeah, you and no one else outside of Silicon Valley either. Luckily lead guitarist Roger McNamee knows a thing or two about technology, being one of the Valley’s most well-known venture capitalists. TechCrunch reported that the band staged it’s first Twitter-integrated concert at a venue in San Francisco recently and logged 3000 downloads of their music using the platform.  Pretty impressive for a band no one’s ever heard of and an eye opening tactic for bands to successfully leverage Twitter as a viral marketing tool.

These so-called Twitter Concerts work something like this: immediately following each live song performed, it’s digitized, uploaded then tweeted about it’s availability with a TinyURL where users can listen and download the song.  It’s like a virtual live concert feed. And if a small local band can see that much success, imagine the impact if well known artists jump on the Twitter Concert bandwagon. By golly, I think we’ve just spotted a trend in the making – Twitter Concerts!  

According to The Underwire, hip hop artist K’naan is leveraging the Twitter platform in equally innovative ways to promote his music as well. Here’s to Web 2.0!

Trendspotting: Girl Drummers – Eagle and Talon

I love the drums and have become obsessed with girl drummers.  Not so long ago they were all but a rarity, or just a novelty act associated with an all girl band.  It seemed that being a drummer was strictly part of the macho boys club. While female singers and guitarists have earned respect, female drummers still struggle to be taken seriously (think Meg White).  And if they do get credit, it’s in that ‘not bad for a girl’ kind of way.

But more and more I see girl drummers turning up in new, up and coming indie bands. They’re not just a novelty act anymore.  And I love it!  So much so that I’ve been compiling a list of these hot young ladies to be featured in this trendspotting series:  Girl Drummers.

Note: my intent with this series is to uncover the new, fresh talent.  Not to shortchange the pantheon of fabulous and established female drummers out there –  like Sheila E., Samantha Maloney (Hole), Cindy Blackman (drummer for Lenny Kravitz), Tobi Vail (Bikini Kill) or even Karen Carpenter (yes, she was a drummer!) – but I’m going to stay away from the history lesson and fast forward to now.

EAGLE AND TALON

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Meet Alice Talon (on the left) of LA-based Eagle and Talon, a post-punk girl band whose stripped-down minimalist rock “makes you wonder whether you’re being pet by a kitten or mauled by a lynx.” They’re primarily a guitar and drums-based affair and from some of the video footage I’ve seen, this girl can play drums.  Alice is a classically trained pianist who started drumming when she went to Taiwan to discover her roots and subsequently spent many an afternoon drumming in the basements of Taipei.

The duo has toured with Sia and shared stages with the likes of The Airborne Toxic Event and Bodies of Water.  They are currently on tour supporting their debut LP, Tracian.  You can catch them live in San Francisco tonight at The Hemlock.

Listen to ‘Hot Caught‘:

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Introducing MBV – The First Blog Conglomerate?

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No friends, this is not a My Bloody Valentine blog, though that was where my mind first went as well.  This appears to be perhaps the first indie music blog conglomerate, so to speak.  MBV is a new website bringing together five great indie music blogs:  Said the Gramophone, Fluxblog, Large Hearted Boy, Catbirdseat and Chromewaves.  All of their sites will be syndicated here and will include additional content as well.

An interesting concept and possibly an emerging trend?  Let’s watch and see.

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What the F**K?!

Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be an unusual number of up and coming indie bands of late with the word f**k in their name. There’s Fuck, Fuck Buttons, Holy Fuck, Starfuckers, Fuck the Writer, Fucked Up. And those are just the bands.  I’m not evening delving into recent album titles using said profanity.  I guess we’re just one pissed off generation.  We are amidst tumultuous times, but instead of adopting the peace, love and rock-n-roll attitude of the 70s, I guess we’re just going for piss and vinegar.  

I personally would like to see a little more Hope, Faith and Sunshines in our world, but I tend to be a bit of a Pollyanna like that.  That being said, I do like the sounds these f**ckers are putting out.  Aside from Fucked Up, these bands don’t really sound at all what you would expect them to.  Take a listen.

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Fuck

Oakland, CA based Fuck’s pop melodies are consistently at odds with their vulgar moniker.  I like their sense of humor in their naming convention, however.   

Listen to ‘Motherfuckeroos’:

 

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Fuck Buttons

I like the experimental sounds of Bristol, England-based duo Fuck Buttons. They just released their first album, Street Horrrsing, this year.  

Listen to Colours Move (Mogwai Remix)’:

 

 

 

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Holy Fuck

“Holy Fuck, these guys rock!” That’s probably how the Toronto-based lo-fi electronic group got it’s name. Their music is created entirely with old analog musical and non-musical instruments — including a 35mm film synchronizer.

Listen to ‘Balloons (Foals Cover):

 

 

 

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Starfucker

I like the mellow pop grooves and overall cheekiness of this Portland-based group.  I imagine these three guys sitting around the kitchen table giggling as they brainstormed their band name and song tracks like ‘German Love’ (I’m gonna give it to you).  Their self-titled debut, released earlier this year, is quirky and easy on the ears.

Listen to ‘Florida‘:

 

 

 

 

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Fuck the Writer

Fuck the Writer is Emil van Steenwijk from the Netherlands.  Amsterdam-based indie folk.  Go figure.  He’s had a couple of solo albums so far: ‘Maar Ik Dans Niet’ and ‘Keeping The Aspidistra Flying’.  Don’t ask me what any of that means or how to pronounce it.  I just know it sounds good.

Listen to Inside Out’: 

 

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Tobacco, Fucked Up Friends

Tobacco is the new endeavor of Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Tom Fec.  While you can definitely hear the BMSR influence, Fucked Up Friends is much more tweaked-out and…fucked up!

Listen toHairy Candy’:

 

 

 

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San Francisco Bands You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of – Part 7 and Last

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The Botticellis

These guys have a great 60s surfer, AM radio sound.  Soaked in reverb and sunny California pop harmonies, their debut album Old Home Movies sounds (and looks) like a classic from the past.

Listen to ‘Home Movies’:

 

The Dodos

The Dodos

Okay, you’ve probably heard of this band.  Their debut album, Visiter, was a darling of many a music critic.  And for good reason; it’s exceptional.  To see them perform live is spellbinding. They are one of those artists whose energy and passion translates better in a live forum. Their world tour is already underway, so all of you international readers have no excuse!

Listen to ‘Fools‘:

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The Morning Benders

Another Bay Area indie pop group on the verge, their new album, Talking Through Tin Cans, was my go to album of the summer.  Fresh and irresistible. That and my little boy loved it.  He’s got a good ear, that kid.  It was his first concert too.  If you’re local, be sure to catch their last show of the year, December 5 at The Rickshaw Stop with The Muslims and Miniature Tigers.

Listen to ‘Boarded Doors’:

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Ty Segall

I caught this guy opening for another local favorite, Girls, recently and was smitten.  Admittedly, when I first saw this virtual one man band take the stage with his jerry-rigged drum kit and guitar, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Oh Christ.’ Which was quickly followed by ‘holy shit!’  He’s touched with that way back sound I love so much. Just take a listen and you’ll see what I mean.

Listen to ‘The Drag’:

Listen to ‘So Alone’:

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San Francisco Bands You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of – Part 6

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Raised by Robots

San Francisco/Oakland-based Raised by Robots pays homage to a multitude of musical influences - among them early 90s indie, soul, post punk, country, and hip hop.  Sort of a multiple personality disorder perhaps, but I really like this track.

Listen to ‘I Love U/U Love Me 2′

 

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Scrabbel

Bay Area indie pop rockers, Scrabbel, are highly influenced by all things ’65-’75 and you can hear it in their music. Sunny, sweet songs that have a bit of that Belle and Sebastian feel.  On the dark side, they also do a nice cover of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Sometimes‘.

Listen to Emily and I:

 

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The Blacks

Described as ‘the love child of Karen O and Jesus and Mary Chain,’ The Blacks flat out rock. I completely fell in love with them this year at SXSW.  It was tambourine player JDK Blacker that did it for me.  He plays the tambourine like he’s exorcizing demons. It’s spellbinding.  The SF/NY based trio are known for their short, blistering stage shows and laser-beam intensity. Their debut full-length “Nom de Guerre” was released in 2007 on Tricycle Records. “Tiger Songs” is their latest EP.

Listen to ‘Raincoat:

Listen to ‘Ammunition‘:  

 

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