Daniel Euphrat is the mastermind behind the eclectic Timmy Sells His Soul outfit. Each song is so uniquely distinct and different from the last it’s like listening to a more pop version of Mr. Bungle though without the busy backdrop. Dripping wet with indie-pop incredibleness, “Name and Form” jumps from genre to genre but always boasting a terrific array of textures. His off-key vocals range from somewhat spoken yet muffled to melodic crooning. A huge array of electro influences are smashed up behind his voice. “Seeds” finds Rachel Springer Dunbar lending vocals amid a chaotic stew of IDM and melodic indie pop harmonies. “Knife and Bowl” evoke a kind of melancholy – something this album doesn’t seem to lack in – but with an industrial-pop edge ever so slightly creeping upwards. I couldn’t begin to tell you who he may be influenced by because so many things happen throughout the listen which is a good thing; I highly doubt it’s easy to pigeonhole someone like Timmy Sells His Soul. “Vicious” sounds like something you’d hear off of Metropolis Records while “We are Surplus” could be easily heard at your local coffeehouse with its low-key indie-pop flavors. Rangy and yet authoritative in what he’s trying to deliver and accomplish, “Name and Form (Black)” is a dark beauty but one that demands your utmost attention. Highly recommended.
Posts in category indie
Bob has been writing and performing under the moniker Bob Villain for some time now; and while I have yet to see him play live from what I’ve been told it’s truly a sight to be seen as he apparently shredded it up nicely at the Velvet Lounge in DC some time ago. This release was put out on the Seven1878 Imprint label based in Strasburg, VA. His singer/songwriter style evokes visions of one of his main influences in Evan Dando (Lemonheads) but on “Dark Side of the Room” he reaches out for a more experimental and abstract path. Often his lyrics evoke a range of emotions but always convey a certain raw quality which so many of the slickly produced pop sensation crap lacks in earnest. The recording quality is definitely above the standard bearers one expects from the apartment / basement scenes which is a great change of pace. His voice traverses from an edgy howl to a gruff melodic style throughout the album. He adds elements of harmonica to his rhythm guitar. What’s perhaps most compelling is that unlike so many singer/songwriters who pepper their album with a handful of punts, all of the songs on this quick listen are tight, well-written, and seem rather like a natural fit for his style – nothing’s forced at all. The honest approach is evident throughout and the album also features a collaboration with labelmate Christopher Feltner. Well done and I’m looking forward to a live show and a follow-up. Hit him up on his facebook and peep his bandcamp now.
Toronto-born Scott Lanaway decided to take everything he loved about music, melt it down, and create his own silver bullet. “Mergers & Acquisitions” is the fruit of this labor. Granted this is sophomore release, it still feels like a birth. The songs and sounds contained are so well thought-out, planned, and composed that it feels like it was the work of a debut simply because the majority of songwriter’s best songs are created as their first body of work rather than their second or later efforts. “Oprah, God Wants You to Have a Private Jet” shows Lanaway doesn’t need to be cornered amid the subject matter of his songs that are often mind-wandering noodles and thoughts of love, death, time, the mind, and everything in between. His textures are sprinkled with electronica and acoustic vibes that are just unbelievable and uninhibited. He bares his soul, unafraid to let anyone in to peer in curiosity at what this creature is thinking and doing. Beautiful, please pick it up and tell him I sent you.
Pop-punk rockers The Early Strike armed with their female and male vocal assault are here with a catchy new album called “Ten Outta Ten”. While only their sophomore release, it’s surprisingly well-written and entertaining. “Ten Outta Ten” brings back lots of memories of past pop-punk bands from the turn of the century – gosh that makes it sound old even though we’re talking ten or so years huh? Sugary sweet melodies and entertaining lyrics, producer David J. Holman (Bush, No Doubt) was able to help The Early Strike have flecks of New Found Glory, The Ataris, Saves the Day, and Something Corporate.
Charlottesville, Virginia natives Moonshine Hooligans write fun mixtures of mountain folk, indie pop, and psychedelic rock. “Subterranean Secrets” started as a writing session inspired by a test batch of moonshine whiskey. Amazing they were able to write quite sobering music using such varied instruments as a Moog synthesizer, Mellotron, Hammond organ, fiddle, cello, banjo, mandolin, celeste, harmonium, piano, drums, bass, and guitar. The songwriting is filled to the brim with fascinating tales you could hear whispered and gossiped at the local feed store. Fans of alt-country should most definitely own this album.
They have songs that hit. They have songs that miss. But when they hit, they’re homeruns. Solar Temple Suicides crush a space rock journey unlike no other on “How the Sphere, Having in Vain Tried Words, Resorted to Deeds”; its melancholic guitar lick reminds me of something that The Cure wrote one sad rainy day only to have Explosions in the Sky jiggle the handle a bit and I could listen to it all day (they make it easy given that it’s over 8 minutes in length). You can hear influences from groups as diverse as My Bloody Valentine, the two aforementioned bands, and Spacemen 3. “Quite Like Sin” is another great guitar-driven tune that journeys between the druggy haze of acid rock and shoegaze.
“Noisemaker” opens the album as a promising alternative rock up-tempo jive. Two Hours Traffic however is an Americana/folk-rock band so be sure not to be misled by their occasional power-pop jams. But that’s not a derogatory statement as they actually write catchy songs in both veins. Their power-pop rock songs are uptempo knee stompers with fun-filled catchiness and high amounts of energy. “Territory” has plenty of the music you’ve come to expect from the Canadian quartet too. Songs like “Jezebel”, “Sing a Little Hymn”, and “Lost Boys” are more on the roots rock and Americana tip. What is steady throughout is an uncanny ability to write driving and catchy tunes wrapped in a blanket of warm vocal harmonies.
Having been around since their debut 7” was released in ’03, Eux Autres have been crafting pretty singer/songwriter indie pop for some time now. And they keep getting better and better at it. Their “Cold City” was released on one of my personal favorite indie labels, Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records based out of Athens, Georgia. Now part of Bons Mot Records out of San Francisco, California the group has created definition of their sound by stripping down the instrumentation to the barest of essentials and letting the melodies and singing be front and foremost. Tantalizing vocals that whisper of soft harmonies don’t prepare for you the rather daunting lyrics that belie the sound with wit and the occasional malaise.
Giant Sand’s career has spanned 25 years and “Blurry Blue Mountain” is proof positive that Arizona-based musician Howe Gelb, the mastermind behind Giant Sand, hasn’t lost a step. This album follows on the footsteps of their 2008 critically acclaimed “ProVisions”. Another jaunt through the roots of alt-country, lo-fi, jazz, punk, and roots rock finds Giant Sand delivering another awe-inspiring entry into a dizzying talented resume. Leaning on an improvisational take at songwriting, “Blurry Blue Mountain” is a sleepy and lazy adventure with memorable desert tales from one of alt-country’s most inspirational figures.
Ethereal shoegazing rock who reminds one of a mixture of 10,000 Maniacs and Lush, The High Violets arrange textured guitars and pop chords on “Cinema” with lots and lots of complicated layers. Having been through the rigor morale of constant lineup changes early in their career, they spotted Kaitlyn ni Donovan whose sparkling crystal voice adds the lush atmosphere that was missing previously. The result is magical in every sense, opening the senses up to every note amid a wall of sound that cocoons the body and mind. “Cinema” is a special album amid so many shoegazer efforts that fall flat.