Artist: Benjamin Francis Leftwich Album: A Million Miles Out (EP) Homeland: UK (York & London) Track: “Rebellion (Arcade Fire Cover)”
“Come on hide your lovers underneath the covers…” Just loved this stripped down cover of Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion” from UK singer/songwriter Benjamin Leftwich. It gives new perspective and appreciation to Win Butler’s lyrics and almost seems more fitting, given the context, in this tempo. Well done, Benjamin. His debut EP “A Million Miles Out” out now that is simply lovely. And the fact that we use the same typefonts for our logos is even all the more compelling. Check out the video for one of the tracks on the EP, “Atlas Hands”.
Hey, do you like Arcade Fire? Then you’ll definitely like the debut album from Fanfarlocalled “Reservoir“. They think so too and they want you to hear it. So until July 4th, the band is offering the entire album, plus bonus tracks, for just $1! Download it now.
But don’t let the cheap price fool you. The album is excellent. And I applaud their viral marketing efforts. I love to see new bands think outside of the box to get the word out and use innovative technologies such as TopSpin to enable those ideas. Bravo!
Another UK band making lots of noise at SXSW this year was Pete and The Pirates. They sound kind of like a stripped down, raw version of Arcade Fire. Their first full length album, Little Death, was released last year followed up by the release of a couple of new tracks in January of this year. And if you ask my opinion, I think you’ll be seeing a lot more of this band.
Artist:A.C. Newman Album: Get Guilty File Under: Baroque Pop Recommended if You Like: The New Pornographers, Elliott Smith, The Shins, Arcade Fire Featured Track: Submarines of Stockholm
The New Pornographers melody maker, A.C. (Carl) Newman has released his second solo album, Get Guilty, on Matador Records and it’s one of the many great albums released in the past few weeks that has consistently bubbled to the top of my playlist day after day. The songs are beautifully produced, orchestral and lush without being overdone. And his powerful pop lyrics are so catchy and charming you could almost liken him a modern day Elton John. This is the kind of stuff that will get stuck in your head all day long.
But don’t let the ‘pop’ reference mislead you here, there is no shortage of craft and genius on this album. Just as with The New Pornographers, the parts of this production are as impressive as the sum. With the aid of drummers Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Mountain Goats) and Charles Burst along with Nicole Atkins and Mates of State’s Kori Gardner lending some vocals, songs like “There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve” and “The Heartbreak Rides” are transformed into pure magic.
I love AmieStreet. It’s become one of my new favorite music sites and latest obsessions. They have great music and a very cool, community-driven concept that makes it really cheap to get music. But you have to be on top of your music game. It works like this:
All songs on Amie Street are priced from free to 98 cents. Instead of the arbitrary $0.99 per song, on Amie Street the community determines the price of music. Every song starts free, or very cheap, and increases in price, up to 98 cents, as more and more people purchase it.
This variable pricing system ensures that you get music at a fair, community-driven price point, and makes it easy for you to find the type of music you want. Then you’re encouraged to talk about the music you like by putting money in your account for more downloads when you recommend songs that continue to rise in price. All the music is DRM-free! Go get an account if you don’t have one already.
And make sure you take advantage of these great album deals…
Taking their name from a minor Shakespearean tragedy, this New Jersey punk rock band is making waves and getting compared to the likes of The Kinks, The Pogues, Bruce Springsteen, and even Arcade Fire. They’ve built a reputation for their rowdy live performances. If you’re in San Francisco, you can see them tonight at The Rickshaw Stop opening for No Age.
This San Francisco-based trio has already built a following around town with their energetic live performances of avant-electronic music that fuses psych heavy synths and spacey delays. They’ve toured and opened for the likes of Black Moth Super Rainbow, Modeselektor and Crystal Castles. Their self-titled debut is out now and you can get it at Amie Street right now for $1.32. Drink it up!
San Francisco-based Geographer have that lush baroque pop sound that draws lots of comparisons to Andrew Bird and Arcade Fire. Their new album Innocent Ghosts released this summer and is getting good attention. Listen to Can’t You Wait:
This is my favorite San Francisco indie rock band at the moment. Their debut album, Lust for Life, is one of the contenders for the 2008 SF Weekly Music Awards. We’ll find out later this week if they take the prize. I’m so intrigued by lead singer, Christopher Owens, in both his personal style and vocals. He’s got all the qualities of an eccentric rock star and sounds like Elvis Costello to boot. Featured is the track Hellhole Ratrace.
Oakland-based The Heavenly States is also a contender in the 2008 SF Weekly Music Awards in the Indie Rock category. Their vibe is wholly different with a pure, straight up rock sound reminiscent to The Hold Steady. Take a listen to ‘Lost in the Light‘ from their self-produced album Delayer.
Artist: Ra Ra Riot Album: The Rhumb Line File Under: Indie Pop Recommended if You Like: Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend Featured Track: Under Ghost Rocks
The best way I can describe Syracuse-based Ra Ra Riot is Arcade Fire meets Vampire Weekend – upbeat rhythms layered over rich orchestral-based melodies. And their live shows, with their huge ensemble cast, are raucous and infectious – just like Arcade Fire. If you like either of those bands, it would be worth your while to give Ra Ra Riot a listen. They were the darlings of SXSW this year and are fast becoming a critics choice for 2008 as well.
‘The Rhumb Line’ is the band’s first LP and a tribute to the recent drowning of band member, drummer John Pike, who co-wrote most of the lyrics for their debut album. The title of the album, ‘The Rhumb Line’, is fitting in both its nautical theme and meaning – a term for the constant course a vessel takes in a give direction. Which is what the remaining band members have had to do.
See them live tomorrow, September 24, at The Rickshaw Stop or watch the video for, ‘Ghost Under Rocks’:
I fell in love with Ra Ra Riot at SXSW this year. They are infectious live performers in a very Arcade Fire, Baroque Pop (eww, I can’t believe I just used that term) sort of way. Their debut album, The Rhumb Line, just released last week. I just downloaded it today. If their album is as good as their live performance, I’m sure they will be on my Album of the Week list shortly. Until then, enjoy a taste of their sound with their new video, Ghost Under Rocks.
Oh, and make sure to catch them live at The Rickshaw Stop September 24. It’s on my calendar.
Artist: Handsome Furs Album: Plague Park File Under: Indie Rock Recommended if You Like: Beck, Wolf Parade Featured Track: Sing! Captain
The influence and reach of Montreal-based Wolf Parade and its members is quite astonishing.I’ve always been intrigued by Spencer Krug and his impressive list of side projects.(Sunset Rubdown was one of my favorites last year.)Now Wolf Parade guitarist and vocalist Dan Boeckner has his own, Handsome Furs.
Formed as a concept project with his drum-machine playing wife, Alexei Perry, in 2006, the duo booked a tour before even they’d even written a song. The two holed up in an apartment belonging to members of the Arcade Fire and wrote their debut album, Plague Park.
Featuring a drum machine, guitar and Beck-like vocals, their sound is dark, bare and stirring.I love it.