January 2005 Archives

Tara Jane O'Neil - You Sound, Reflect (Quarterstick) [mp3]

Listening to Tara Jane O'Neil often makes me feel as though I'm underwater. There's a wavy quality to her voice and her guitar playing which arrives at your ears long after it seems like it should have. This indirect approach hasn't always been her trademark, but it's served her well on each of her two previous albums and once more on You Sound, Reflect. There's a rareness to her handiwork which is often imitated, but has yet to be duplicated.

TTC - Batards Sensibles

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TTC - Bâtards Sensibles (Big Dada) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The French excel in a number of areas, especially flaky pastries. But I'll bet you didn't think hip-hop would be one the others, did you? TTC, a Parisian crew of six, push the boundaries of grime and crunk by rhyming atop pre-futuristic, almost Kraftwerkian synth loops and beats. The vocal delivery is both smooth and expressive, but simultaneously cold and robotic (and almost 97% in their native tongue). The fact that I can't understand what they're saying may even add to their appeal. Unquestionably cool and bizarre.
A. Graham and the Moment Band - This Tyrant is Free (Sonic Unyon Records) [mp3]

What's so catchy about "Glorious", the opening song on This Tyrant is Free? It could be the chorus that's sung by a choir or that the song has a great hook. Whatever it is, catchy is one word I would use. If it's not the many hooks within the album, maybe it's the Pavement-esque vibe that hangs in the air throughout the record or the smooth pedal steel that pops up on a couple of songs. Maybe it's just Graham's wise-ass lyrics. Whatever it is, I hope I hear more real soon.

Cass McCombs - PREfection

Cass McCombs - PREfection (Monitor) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

You might think this is a little crazy, but I hear the ghost of John Lennon's early solo work flying around the room at times while PREfection is playing. The pleasant, understated pop of A has been transformed into the rich, articulate work of a veteran in little more than two years. McCombs, who recently relocated to London, has become so very "British." The album's best track, "Sacred Heart," brings to mind the defining works of one of England's other most literate bands, Pulp. How surprising.

Controller, Controller - History

Controller, Controller - History (Paper Bag) [upcoming shows]

Post rock never sounded so good through a female voice as it does with Controller Controller. The Toronto-based band takes on the style and sound that brings to mind the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but with an uncontained edge. Adding thier own guitar infused signature throughout. Signed to Paperbag records in 2003, the same label responsible for the launch of Broken Social Scene and Stars, a movin' on up seems to be in the cards, look out kids, the hype machine may jump on this band soon enough.
Viva Voce - The Heat Can Melt Your Brain (Minty Fresh) [mp3/video] [upcoming shows]

If actual heat stroke sounded this good, I would move to the desert post-haste. Husband & wife team Kevin and Anita Robinson mix and match grimy lo-fi textures, sunshine-y harmonies, '70s disco-funk moments, indie-folk strums, cryptic lyrics and monumental song structures through a shoegaze film to amazing effect. If this were the least bit self-conscious, it would be horrible, but somehow everything here feels organic and genuine.
Okkervil River - Sleep and Wake-up Songs (Jagjaguwar) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

There's got to be a name for this. It's not country, not folk, not college rock; I don't know what it is. But there's a growing number of bands who must have formed the moment they heard Pavement's "Father to a Sister of Thought" and have stretched the concept over consecutive recordings. That said, this ep is a wonderful offering to fans who can't wait for the band's next long player. The opening track, "A Favor," is even among their top work thus far.


IUNO - Everything Nothing (Get It Here) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

IUNO is a trip-hop duo with a collective of artists for their live shows. Members Stella has a sexy sultry diva voice and Steven has an ear for a wide ranged textured electronica that resonates wonderfully with Stella's lyrics, which are influenced greatly by fear. Other musicians appearing with them are part of the 'Iuno Laboratory,' which features cello and violin musicians and someone who provides seizure inducing visuals behind the band while performing live. If Iuno were a legal drug, I would take it.

The Fiery Furnaces - EP

The Fiery Furnaces - EP (Rough Trade) [audio]

I imagine I'm hardly alone when I say I get lost trying to navigate the expansive terrain of the Fiery Furnaces' full-length albums. They just seem needlessly confusing. That's why I'm so happy EP gathers up the shorter, more concise recordings the band had originally released as singles and b-sides. Though the title is a misrepresentation of the truth (total running time is 41 minutes over the course of 10 songs), EP is the most satisfactorily solid album we've gotten out of them yet.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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