Photo by Laura Musselman taken at Easy Street Records in Seattle, WA 3/17/06
March 17, 2007
Let’s spend it all like sailors, babe, and pretend we just got paid…
The brief history of Philadelphia quintet Dr. Dog has been an extraordinarily lucky one. After their home-recorded 2004 album Toothbrush caught the attention of Jim James, he invited them along on tour with My Morning Jacket. Since then, Dr. Dog has toured with The Strokes, The Raconteurs and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and has garnered mainstream praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, SPIN and The New York Times.
March 7, 2007
A stalwart of Montreal’s rock ferment, Do Make Say Think consistently crafts elegant, meandering rock songs. Stripping song structures down to core elements, DMST take these strands—a guitar melody, the cool blow of a trumpet—and layer them with sounds to create universal, musical moods.
I wouldn’t have predicted Explosions in the Sky to be such a popular band. They appeared on Conan O’Brian on February 20th, and an upcoming show at New York’s 1,500 capacity Webster Hall sold out a solid month in advance. Other successes have been easier to predict—the Smashing Pumpkins-influenced Silversun Pickups, the Led Zeppelin incarnate of Wolfmother—but the method behind Explosions in the Sky’s appeal remains more challenging. With shimmering, orchestral grandeur, their latest LP All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone is a provocative album of moody instrumental soundscapes. If you’re a fan of Sigur Ros or Mogwai, you’ll like Explosions in the Sky’s version as well.
February 28, 2007
Montreal pop quintet Malajube takes risks. Their hugely operatic sophomore album Trompe L’Oeil veers into melodrama with drunken abandonment: like a friend made in a Parisian hostel, they’re loads of fun, mysterious and a little reckless—but in a way that only our less-jaded, foreign counterparts can be, they’re also somehow innocent and refreshingly free of self-consciousness.
Hand-picked by Thurston Moore for his Ecstatic Peace label, Pagoda plays traumatic, sludgy art rock: the musical incarnation of an adolescence spent immersed in the sounds of the nineties. One can see why Moore may have taken a personal liking to Pagoda: as he and Kim Gordon, both children of college professors, formed Sonic Youth as an performance art project of sorts, Pagoda boasts a similar pedigree of intellectual vigor, New York grittiness and multi-disciplinary artistic vision.
Pagoda – Lesson Learned mp3
Kristin Hersh, unapologetic rocker and mother of four, could be a model for female musicians. Hersh—who would probably object to the unavoidable focus on her gender—has been a staple of indie rock for over two decades. With the strong, swelling melodies driving her new solo album Learn To Sing Like A Star, Hersh proves that her toughness hasn’t waned over the years. If anything, Hersh’s music has sharpened along with her icy wit, gaining character as her signature raspy vocals have developed.
Full album stream: Learn to Sing Like a Star
In listening to Yours To Keep, the solo debut of Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr., one can’t escape comparing the album to the Strokes. I’ve always been a fan of Hammond Jr.’s razor-edged guitar playing and the Strokes’ impeccably tight presentation; Hammond is, in his way, a very good guitarist, and it follows that any project he embarks on is worth an honest listen. Yours To Keep is worth more than just one—Hammond has amassed a diverse collection of catchy, clean pop songs marked by maturity and romanticism.
Stream 4 album tracks on MySpace