Stuck in My Head: Guitaro – “Chateau 100”

Artist: Guitaro
Album: JJ’s Crystal Palace
Homeland: Vancouver, BC
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Featured Track: “Chateau 100”

“Come Get Sums”

Space disco aptly describes the sound of this Vancouver-based trio’s new release, JJ’s Crystal Palace. Headphone candy is more like it. I’ve been walking around in a silent disco for the better part of a month now. The group, who’ve been kicking around for more than decade with numerous EPs to show for it, are back from a six year hiatus with this, their second full length album. What started out as a heavy shoegaze act has evolved into a sound that’s very reminiscent of Air. The shoegaze influence is still there, like a backdrop or base note, but layered with lush boy/girl pop harmonies and trippy synth grooves. I’m digging it.

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

Artist: The Black Ryder
Album: Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride
Homeland: Australia
Genre: Shoegaze
Label: Mexican Summer
Track: “Let it Go”

Australian shoegazers, The Black Ryder, released their debut LP “Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride” on Mexican Summer earlier this year. A great title that conjures up the work and ethos of Hunter S. Thomspon. A good parallel because both are deliciously distorted. The band is scheduled to make their live debut in San Francisco Thursday, December 2 at 330 Ritch as part of Popscene. It’s a free show so get there early!

Album of the Week: Sun Airway

Artist: Sun Airway
Album: Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier
Label: Dead Oceans
RIYL: Here We Go Magic, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective
Featured Tracks: Put the Days Away”

“Oh, Naoko”

The debut album from this Philadelphia-based quintet has been on heavy rotation since seeing them live at the Independent this past Friday in support of Lower Dens and Bear in Heaven. It’s not often that the very first band blows you away, but they did. I was immediately hooked by their atmospheric and hazy sound. It’s the kind ethereal soundscape you want to wrap yourself up and get lost in.  And believe me, I’ve been doing just that. All weekend. However, it wasn’t until I had the fortune of sitting in on a recording session (thanks to @yourstrulysf – you’re awesome!), did my focus move from the macro experience  of the lush soundscape (created by sound sculptor Patrick Marsceill) to the beautiful songwriting and vocals of  Jon Barthmus. Truly incredible. You’ll be hearing more from this band, for sure. Do yourself a favor and add this album to your ‘must haves’ of 2010.

One to Watch: New Mexico – “Have You Met My Friend?”

Artist: New Mexico (formally Apes of Wrath)
Album: Have You Met My Friend?
Genre: Garage Rock
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Label: Unsigned
Track: “Abused and Amused”

There’s nothing about this San Diego-based trio (formally Apes of Wrath) I don’t like. Their music gives me that warm, tingly feeling. The kind of instant love I felt when I first heard White Denim. In fact this track ‘Abused and Amused’ kinda has a little White Denim going on in there, no? Recently nominated ‘Best Local Act’ in their hometown, they are gearing up to release their debut EP under their new moniker on November 16 via iTunes. Hot, hot, hot.

The Power of Ten: 10 Albums for 10/10/10

It’s 10:10 AM on 10/10/10. A perfect 10. These tri-numeral dates come around once a year and this year it falls on the number 10. Is it an auspicious day or a bunch of hullaballoo? There is a certain completeness of order with the number 10. For the Chinese the number is lucky, representing perfection or completion. We’re born with 10 fingers and 10 toes after all. Perfect beauty is measured on its scale. Top 10 lists are ubiquitous. And any respectable album contains at least 10 songs.

If you’re technologically-inclined, today is a “binary” day. The ones-and-zeros representing the binary code or the mathematical language “spoken” by computers to create all things digital. Converting the date 10/10/10 to binary code gives us 101010. And in the binary counting system, that number translates to 42, which means…absolutely nothing.

But hey, it’s a nice theme for a post isn’t it? And everyone loves a top 10 list. So, here’s mine.  The 10 albums I’m obsessed with on this month, this day, this year. The albums I have on heavy rotation right now and keep coming back to again and again. Ten, in a long list, of albums you should most definitely own. Listed in no particular order, they are:

Artist: Royal Baths
Album: Litanies
Track: “Nikki Don’t”

Artist: Deerhunter
Album: Halcyon Digest
Track: “Desire Lines”

Artist: Sea of Bees
Album: Songs for the Raven
Track: “Marmalade

Artist: Sonny & The Sunsets
Album: Tomorrow is Alright
Track: “Lovin’ on an Older Gal”

ArtistLower Dens
AlbumTwin Hand Movement
Track: “A Dog’s Dick”

ArtistTame Impala
Track: “Vital Signs”

Artist: Future Islands
Album: In the Evening Air
Track: “As I Fall”

Artist: Ty Segall
Track: “Cesar

Artist: Tamaryn
AlbumThe Waves
Track: “Mild Confusion”

Album of the Week: Royal Baths – “Litanies”

Royal Baths “Nikki Don’t”

Meet your new favorite San Francisco garage rock band: Royal Baths (formerly known as The Baths but forced to change their name so not to be confused with LA’s Baths). I’ve been silently stalking these guys for about a year. Unable to satisfy my craving for their music because they only released cassette tapes (a most annoying trend, btw), I was oh so thrilled when they signed to the tastemaker Woodsist label. The future looked bright with the promise of a debut LP on a format I could actually consume.  And that day has finally arrived. “Litanies” is out and my need for a whole and complete Royal Baths fix has been satisfied. So satisfied. Lo-fi, dark, brooding goodness is what this is all about. With a heavy dose of eccentricity. Future SF garage rock royalty in the making.

Album of the Week: J. Irvin Dally – “Despistado”

J. Irvin Dally“The Little Ones”

What a lovely EP from LA-based J. Irvin Dally. Like a Bradford Cox protege, he’s got a knack for creating expansive, experimental bedroom folk that will melt your mind. Simply brilliant. His EP, “Despistado”, was re-released this year and he’s on the road for some West Coast dates landing in San Francisco this Saturday, September 18 at Brainwash (yes, you read that right) for a performance. I mean, where else can you hear great music, have dinner AND do your laundry at the same time? A definite ‘must’ for the Type A multi-tasker.

My Favorite Albums of 2010 So Far

Tame ImpalaInnerspeaker
“Vital Signs”

Future IslandsIn The Evening Air
“As I Fall”

The DigElectric Toys
You’re Already Gone

Phantogram – Eyelid Movies
“When I’m Small”

The Joy FormidableA Balloon Called Moaning


Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
“Sun Hands”

Twin Tigers – Gray Waves

Ty Segall – Melted

The National High Violet
“Afraid of Everyone”

Broken BellsBroken Bells
“The High Road”

Album of the Week: The Dig – “Electric Toys”

Artist: The Dig
Album: “Electric Toys”
Release Date: June 8
For Fans Of: The Strokes, The Walkmen
Featured Track: “You’re Already Gone”

This may be the first time you’ve heard of The Dig but it definitely won’t be the last. Mark my words, these guys are going to be huge.  The debut LP from the NY-based quartet is good, really good. The kind of good that makes you scratch your head and say, ‘Really? These guys are unsigned?” Suffice it to say, I really dig The Dig. The similarities to other well-known NY bands like The Strokes and The Walkmen are obvious. They have a straightforward rock and roll sound with a pop sensibility.  And man can these guys play their instruments. Just take a look at the video a recent live session and see for yourself. Reportedly all grads from the Berklee School of Music, they clearly take their craft seriously, as do others. Their debut was produced by Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Antony & the Johnsons, The Ramones, Bishop Allen). Not too shabby for an unsigned band.

The band kicks off their US tour with a CD release party at the Mercury Lounge in NYC on June 5. Sadly they won’t be making it out to San Francisco on this run.

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