Featured Shows of the Week! October 22
JJAMZ. Why do we feel like we already know them? Is it because James is the lead guitarist for the always radio ready Maroon 5? Jason the drummer of indie institutions Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes? Alex the singer/writer/guitarist from Phantom Planet and Mark Ronson’s solo records? Michael a beloved musician/artist/designer? And Z the leader of LA girl gang The Like?
SUN is the new studio album from Cat Power. Six years after her last album of original material, Chan Marshall has moved on from her collaborative forays into Memphis soul and Delta blues. She wrote, played, recorded and produced the entirety of SUN by herself, a statement of complete control that is echoed in the songs’ themes.
Maybe you know her from her hit singles Cameo Lover, Good Intent and Two Way Street, or you’re one of the many voters that helped put all three in the ranks of Triple J’s Hottest 100 – the world’s biggest music poll. Maybe you’re one of the 12,000,000+ total views of her stylish videos on YouTube. Or the fact that she won the ARIA for 2011 Best Female Artist. Perhaps you better recognise her from her duet with Gotyé on the world-conquering Somebody That I Used To Know, a chart-topping hit in 11 countries world-wide, and No. 1 for 8 weeks on the Australian singles chart. The name may ring a bell from any one of her electric live shows, including performances at Splendour In The Grass, Big Day Out, Meredith, Parklife and a sold-out national headline tour, with forthcoming shows including Groovin’ The Moo.
Interested in the full range of human faults, foibles, dysfunction, and self-delusion? You could spend your evening re-reading the DSM-IV Manual. Or you could opt to spend some time with an even more entertaining catalog of idiosyncracies: Charmer, the latest album from Aimee Mann, as fine a chronicler of the human comedy as popular music has produced. Names have been obscured to protect the guilty, but you will almost certainly recognize yourself in these short narratives, along with the fellow travelers who have conned, enabled, victimized, or (yes) charmed you.
t a time when it seemed impossible that indie rock would ever find mainstream acceptance, Ted Leo was forging ahead, laying the foundation for the “emo” and hardcore bands of the future by writing seamless pop and punk songs that pleased both the sugar-craving ear and the intellectual mind. He combined a love for 1960s pop and soul with a flair for 1970s punk rock and his ongoing legacy is one that will continue to be an influence on independent music for years to come.
Scott has prospered in Southern California. While making strides as a solo artist, he also landed gigs as a songwriter for major-label artists and as a keyboardist for touring acts. But a couple years after the move, Dani backed him up on drums for a gig in New York City—and everything just jelled from there. “I was like, ‘That’s it. This is the direction I want to go in. We need to make this a band project.’”
At heart, TeamMate is therapy. “Sometimes, I say stuff in songs that we’d never say in person,” admits Scott. Despite his compositions’ weighty themes, the melodies are surprisingly upbeat, inspired by Dani’s drumming. Tracks like “Landline” pine after the early, mobile phone-less days of their relationship, while others such as “Velcro” explore the duo’s undeniable bond, which they can finally joke about. TeamMate’s unofficial motto: “Breaking up is hard to do.”
“It all happened in an organic way,” Scott marvels. “And we’re so proud of where we are now.”
ime heals all wounds, or so the phrase goes. For the realists, perhaps time only focuses events and allows us to move on after evolving on a personal level. For the dreamers however, time gives them — or maybe demands — the perspective of every angle, every possibility, every opportunity to wring out whatever is born from experience. Simple moments alone can magnify the processing and expressing of these perspectives, culminating in a deeper empathy, and for a select few, a muse for new artistic expression. Such seems the fate of Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls.
With a sound that falls somewhere between Shonen Knife, the Shangri-Las, and the Carter Family, Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based country-punk outfit Those Darlins have shared the stage with everyone from the Black Keys and Deer Tick to Jon Spencer and Wanda Jackson. Formed in 2006, the band (taking a cue from the Ramones) features Nikki Darlin, Jessi Darlin, Kelley Darlin, and drummer Linwood Regensburg. In 2009, after honing their distinct sound in the Nashville club scene, they released their eponymous debut, hit the road, and never looked back, selling out some of the biggest cities in the market. They brought their raucous live show to the festival scene as well, hitting up SXSW and Bonnaroo before releasing their sophomore effort, Screws Get Loose, in March 2011.
Dinosaur Jr. have always been a vehicle for J Mascis’ grungy guitar style, ragged vocals, and inward-looking lyrics—a combination that owed as much to Neil Young as to the postpunk fury of such early Eighties alternative pioneers as Hüsker Dü. From early on, rock journalists tagged Mascis — known for his lethargic, reserved demeanor and reclusive lifestyle — as a slacker. But Dinosaur Jr. laid the groundwork for many breakthrough alt-rock acts of the Nineties — from Nirvana on down.
Sharon Van Etten is a singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York. She sings slow, sad, incredibly-frank confessionals about life in a destructive relationship. Her doleful, slurring voice is comparable to Cat Power, and, like Chan Marshall, Van Etten favors double-tracked vocals, rich in harmony.
Like most bands formed by former music journalists, Saint Etienne were a highly conceptual group. The trio’s concept was to fuse the British pop sounds of ’60s London with the club/dance rhythms and productions that defined the post-acid house England of the early ’90s. Led by songwriters Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, and fronted by vocalist Sarah Cracknell, the group managed to carry out their concept, and, in the process, Saint Etienne helped make indie dance a viable genre within the U.K. Throughout the early ’90s, Saint Etienne racked up a string of indie hit singles that were driven by deep club beats — encompassing anything from house and techno to hip-hop and disco — and layered with light melodies, detailed productions, clever lyrics, and Cracknell’s breathy vocals. They revived the sounds of swinging London, as well as the concept of the three-minute pop single being a catchy, ephemeral piece of ear candy, in post-acid house Britain, thereby setting the stage for Brit-pop. Though most Brit-pop bands rejected the dance inclinations of Saint Etienne, they nevertheless adopted the trio’s aesthetic, which celebrated the sound and style of classic ’60s pop.
The Static is a new act signed to Mitch Allan’s (SR-71) Guest House Entertainment. Made up of several members of local pop-rock sensation Hotspur, their new outfit finds them embracing their kinetic energy and arena-rock grandeur head-on. The result? Catchy rock songs that sizzle and soar, laced with heart and perspiration–with a touch of swagger and a good dose of dance-floor thump. Led by charismatic frontman Joe Mach, The Static is ready to bring their glam-powered rock & roll party machine to the masses.
Schaaf started Yellow Ostrich as a 21-year old student, and within a year and a half, he had posted two full-length albums and three EPs online. He refers to these early works as “an embryonic, more raw” phase of the band; nonetheless, he felt compelled to distribute this music online. “So many musicians think that they should only release flawless, perfect music, which is an impulse that can prevent some people from releasing anything,” Schaaf says. “I obviously only release material I think is worthwhile―there’s plenty of stuff I work on that doesn’t make it out into the world―but for me music is about creating something that expresses a particular moment in time. It’s important to me to release it, to acknowledge that moment in my life, but then to move on to the next thing.” This creative restlessness, the need to always explore new musical frontiers, is the constant that has defined Schaaf’s body of work.
Previously known as the Concept Store and the Concept, Stockholm’s Royal Concept features vocalist/guitarist David Larson, guitarist Filip Bekic, bassist Magnus Robert, and drummer Frans Povel. The group debuted in 2010 with the single “Damn!,” which introduced their Phoenix-like mix of sunny pop and electronic elements. The following year, the tracks “D-D-Dance” and “Gimme Twice” earned them more fans. Early in 2012, the band — which settled on the Royal Concept moniker that April — signed to Lava Records, which released the group’s self-titled debut EP that June.