Thursday, April 8, 2010

April March - Pairs in April (1996)

Certainly not a new album, but something I find seasonally appropriate. April March is a moniker of Elinore Blake, an American singer that holds a candle for French pop songs. It is pretty obvious to see the appeal of this album if you're a fan of Serge Gainsbourg, France Gall, Brigette Bardot and their ilk. The tracks are a combination of covers and originals, with the first track being an English version of a Gainsbourg-written tune the occurs in French in the second half (so if you think you might have heard that shit before you're not just mad/drunk/high). This is fantastic party music as it is amazingly cheerful, interesting, and not overwhelming like many poor hosts all too often blast at gatherings. The whole album flows seamlessly from one song to another providing one of the most pleasant albums I possess.

To be had here:
April March - Pairs in April [160 kbps]

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Meic Stevens

Several months back I discovered the existence of Meic Stevens. The best way I can relate what I think I understand to be his situation is that he is another of those regional stars that never made it big in the wider markets. A Welshman, Meic Stevens, still enjoys some popularity in his homeland but back in 1970 when he made his biggest push to break into the wider British and beyond market with the album Outlander he didn't make it. Personally, I don't feel it is for lack of talent, but it could have been that there were many folk musics popping out of the woodworking everywhere in the world in that post-Dylan fame period. Outlander is sung in English in an attempt to cash in on the board appeal, but once that did happen Stevens retreated to Wales and made his follow-up release, Gwymon. It was done in Welsh and I find it to be astounding. When I was seeking information on Stevens I saw he was an influence for later Welsh bands like the Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, which if you read the blog you know I am a fan of. Coming to Steven's music from a modern mindset is like taking Gruff Rhys and trying to make him play jangly 70s style popular folk and I think that is a wonderful thing. Almost like listen to John Lee Hooker and understanding Rock and Roll more. So do enjoy if this is the sort of thing you're into.

To be had here:

Outlander (1970) @ 192 VBR kbps

Gwymon (1972) @ 256 kbps

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Blind Shake - Carmel (2007)

I haven't posted anything here in a minute, been pretty busy with work, school, and mixing the next batch of recordings my band has been working on. Finally had a free night so I figured I would share another record. The Blind Shake are from Minneapolis, Minnesota, a town which has already had its share of great bands throughout the years and they are keeping that tradition going. Their sound is a nice mix of punk, surf rock, psychedelic/noise, and perhaps some garage. "Blue Step" has a solid Fugazi vibe, especially with the vocals, while "St. Paul Creamery" starts out with a twangy surf guitar riff and is quickly joined by a fuzzed out wah-wah pedal. My favorite track at the moment is "Wexford Scramble" which combines all of the aforementioned styles in just a little over two minutes. This record comes highly recommended, but to truly experience this band is to see them live. They put on an AMAZING and energy filled show. They are also one of the heaviest sounding bands I've ever heard which is funny because they have no bass player. Just drums, guitar, and baritone guitar in place of a bass.

Check it out:
The Blind Shake - Carmel (2007)

Also, check out their Myspace to see when they will be in your town next.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Langley Schools Music Project

I debated putting up a shitty album for April Fool's Day but I couldn't think of one that was sufficiently funny. Moreover, maybe I am fooling myself into thinking I don't know about bad music. However, I do have a crazy strange album that could be considered jokingly or one the creepiest things in the world depending on your attitude. Where I downloaded this particular release I've forgotten but I do know that I had to look into it, and the story is roughly that a guy got access to a British Columbian school where he preceded to make 2-track recordings of children singing popular songs from 60s and 70s. I'm assuming he or another musician are playing the instruments but the singing is done wholly by kids, which is something that is usually really annoying yet here it is awe-inspiring/creepy. The extremely lo-fi nature of the recordings are a saving grace for me, just distorted enough to make it comfortable for me. The songs chosen undoubtedly help too, with several Beach Boys tracks being in the mix, but perhaps the best of all is their version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" that is sung in chorus. Oddly, songs that I usual hate such as "Sweet Caroline" are improved greatly by this treatment. If you want to know more about it there is a wikipedia page that you can begin with, which claims it did make a buzz at one point.

To be had here:
Langley Schools Music Project [128 kbps]