New Music : Chicago’s The Dogs

January 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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Some of my favorite music of the past couple years has dropped rather non-descriptly into my inbox with a simple note along the lines of “Hi, My name is (insert band member name here) my band (band name here) just finished recording our new album and thought you might like to check it out.”  My number one record of this past year, Mono In VCF arrived this way, as did last year’s number one pick, The Swimmers. Bands that aren’t afraid to let their music speak for itself, believe in what they are doing, and hope you may too. Back around Christmas time I received a similar note from Peter Walters of Chicago’s The Dogs pointing me in the direction of their debut album which they are giving away free. It’s been in the heavy rotation ever since, an addicting stripped down folk gem, chock full of acoustic guitars and simple percussion, that’s more about capturing emotion than studio perfection. While their sound has drawn comparisons to artists like Neil Young and Fleet Foxes, they never sound derivative or like they’re jumping someone else’s train. The band is composed of three core members Peter Walters on guitar and vocals, James Krivchenia on guitar and percussion and Matt Bachmann on bass, but augments it’s sound live and on record with additional musicians and instruments like banjo and female backing vocals.  From a record with no real low points here’s a couple of my personal highlights.

The Dogs – Useless Me
The Dogs – Headed For The Mountains

You can download the whole album for free at


Artist To Watch : Swift Technique

December 26, 2008 by · 1 Comment
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Funk and soul music is not something you can throw together off the cuff, it has to have a groove, a feel that makes it more than just the music itself. James Brown, Otis Redding, George Clinton & P-Funk, Prince, etc. all channel that power into their music. To categorize Phildelphia’s Swift Technique as just another band playing a blend of funk, soul and hip hop sells what they’re doing far too short. They know how to channel that groove, with some of the best musicianship I’ve seen in recent memory and a stage show overflowing with unbridled energy. The times I saw Swift Technique were easily two of the best shows I saw all this past year.

They have quite a few shows coming up including their Boston debut tomorrow night. I highly recommend you get out and see them if you can. Go, they’ll make you a believer too.

Swift Technique :
Sean McCann – Vocals, Lyricist, Rhymes
Jake Leschinsky – Bass
Andy Bree – Guitars
Rich Agren – Drums
Alex Roysdon – Alto Sax
Greg Rosen – Trumpet
Matt Fischer – Trombone

Swift Technique – Swift Technique
Swift Technique – Lifted

Saturday December 27th
Swift Technique
All Asia Club
334 Mass Ave.
Cambridge, MA

More Upcoming Shows
Jan 2 2009 10:00P The Bitter End New York, New York
Jan 10 2009 7:00P Lansing School Ithaca, New York
Jan 14 2009 10:00P University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jan 23 2009 10:00P Maxi’s (Temple University) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Feb 10 2009 8:00P The North Star Bar Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Feb 13 2009 10:00P Uncle Mike’s New York, New York
Feb 18 2009 9:00P Bootlegger’s Woodlyn, Pennsylvania


Artist Of The Day : Mono In VCF

June 10, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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Wow. When was the last time you dropped on an album for the first time and it instantly transported you to another place ? Tacoma, Washington’s Mono In VCF have created a majestic masterpiece for their debut album which does just that. With a name cobbled together from Phil Spector‘s Wall Of Sound(Mono) and Moog Synthesizer tones(VCF), their music has been described as “Drifting in space between psychedelic Beatles and Massive Attack”*. Cinematic in scope, with lush orchestration and the smooth, soaring vocals of Kim Miller, it sounds fearlessly futuristic and reminiscient of the great film soundtrack music of the sixties all at once. But don’t just take my word for it, pop on a pair of headphones, turn it up and let one of the year’s best records take you on a trip and make you a believer.

Mono In VCF is out June 17th in the US and available digitally on iTunes now. The album was produced by Martin Feveyear and also includes a special guest appearance by Terry Jacks.

Mono In VCF – Escape City Scrapers
Mono IN VCF – Death Of A Spark

Buy Mono In VCF on iTunes

Mono In VCF:
Jason Falk- drums
Hunter Lea,guitar – synths & organ,vocals
Jordan Luckman – bass
Kim Miller- vocals
+Live members:
Scott Clarke – drums,percussion,Moog
Martin Feveyear- Fender Rhodes,Moog
George Reid-Harmon -guitars

Upcoming Shows
June 18 LOS ANGELES Live in-studio on Indie 103
June 18 LOS ANGELES Spaceland
June 21 SEATTLE Neumo’s
August 31 SEATTLE Bumbershoot Festival 2008


*Tom Scanlon, The Seattle Times

Artist Of The Day : Alan Wilkis

April 10, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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Ever wonder what it would sound like if you could take all your favorite bits of songs from the past 30 years or so and roll them all into one, some smooth 70’s soul mixed with some 80’s new wave ? , some crunching classic rock guitar with a techno beat ? Remember when music didn’t always sound so fleeting and temporary and tapped into that place that made you love music in the first place ? When radio still mattered ? When a stack of vinyl 45’s could kick a party into high gear ? Brooklyn’s Alan Wilkis has obviously wondered about all of these things and more, and better still, he takes it one step further by immortalizing his vision to share with all of you on his excellent new self produced album, Babies Dream Big.

The opening track Burnin’ starts with a plinky casio type keyboad part, then joined by a nice fat rhythm guitar all laced up nicely by some smooth and soulful falsetto vocals and by then you’re hooked. It continues on through eleven more tracks all forged from a soulful, catchy, and addictive collage of sounds of many eras. It’s been on heavy rotation in my player the past few weeks, and in a perfect world should be one of the hot party records of the year.

MP3: Alan Wilkis – Burnin’
MP3: Alan Wilkis – I Wanna Know

Buy Babies Dream Big


Artist Of The Day : Birds.Fled.From.Me

January 9, 2008 by · 3 Comments
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Birds.Fled.From.Me is just one of the many projects the amazingly talented Rachel Williams is involved in. Hailing from Santa Cruz, CA she is a musician extraordinaire and has an astounding voice most closely reminiscent of Fiona Apple or Bjork. Her upcoming full length album, Deeper Lurking, is a work sure to earn it’s place amongst 2008’s best. Twelve songs filled with lyrics that capture the raw emotional intensity of the relationships that affect all our lives. Captivating vocals wind their way through stark piano lines and other ambient sounds to paint an amazing portrait of a soul laid bare.

Mesmerizing from beginning to end, this album has the potential to catapult her from relative obscurity to next big thing overnight.

MP3: Birds.Fled.From.Me – Resisted (demo version)
MP3: Birds.Fled.From.Me – Staring At The Sea

Watch for the album coming soon on Loves In Heat Records
Contact Rachel via Birds.Fled.From.Me’s myspace where you can hear a few more songs and may still be able get a handmade, hand selected demo of songs prior to the release of the album.


Artist of The Day : The Shots

December 2, 2007 by · 1 Comment
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So a couple weeks ago on a Tuesday night, The Shots were second on a four band bill, a spot usually reserved for bands playing their first show at a club, essentially an audition on what is generally an off night club wise. What I witnessed was a tighter than tight three piece band churning out an amazing set of rock and roll that reminded of the energy of Live At Leeds era The Who mixed with a bit of Oasis and Led Zeppelin thrown in for good measure. Not only did they blow my mind, but they blew the two bands that followed them off the stage by such a wide margin it was ridiculous. Trust me, they’re going to be a band to watch out for in 2008 and are just one more reason why the Philadelphia music scene is hotter now than it’s been in years. Check out the couple songs below and head to their myspace for a couple more. They’ll be back at The Khyber in early January, I’ll definitely be there and so should you.

The Shots :
Colt – bass and vocals
Alex – guitar
Marcos – drums

MP3: The Shots – Stand Up For YOur Lovin’
MP3: The Shots – The Worth

Upcoming Shows:
The Shots w/King Of Siam, Rio Vouga and Action Set
Friday January 4th at The Khyber Philadelphia PA


Artist Of The Day : Public Record

October 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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There’s a reason Rolling Stone magazine picked Philadelphia as it’s Hot City recently. The city’s music scene has more amazing quality bands playing around town on a regular basis than it has in at least 20 years. I mentioned The Swimmers earlier this week, they’re playing a cd release party at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Grammar Debate and The Creeping Weeds are just a couple doors down at The M Room. Philadelphia’s Fishtown section is going to have the roof blown off all around. Beretta 76 are taking their blistering rock show on the road to Trenton NJ and are playing the 449 Room tonight, and today’s featured band Public Record brings it to The Khyber in Old City along with Brown Recluse Sings. That’s just four of the many choices for tonight. All of them well worth seeing on any night.

Public Record lists their influences on their myspace page as Bohannon, Orange Juice, Al Green, Studio One, Caetano Veloso, Motown, Joe Gibbs, Stax, Josef K, Broadcast, Ethiopiques, Channel One, James Brown, Jackie Mitoo, Talking Heads, The Contortions, Jorge Ben, Sound Dimension, Big Flame, King Tubby, David Axlerod, Hard Bop, Impressions, Fela Kuti, Sonic Youth, Stereolab, Carlton & the Shoes. Now I’m sure as you read that list you’re probably saying to yourself how can they possibly roll all that into one sound. As I sit here listening to a couple mixes of tracks from their upcoming release I’m trying to put into words for you how it all really does make sense. An all instrumental septet, they bake jazz,funk,indie rock,afro beat and more into one heavily danceble, highly textured rhythmic cake, all iced with Hilary Baker’s slinky saxophone lines. Their new record on Philadelphia’s own High Two label comes out early next year and it’s one you don’t want to miss. Many thanks to Gareth for sharing an early taste you can all hear below.

Public Record :
Hilary Baker – saxophone
Brent Bohan – bass
Gareth Duffield – guitar, keyboards, melodica
Charles Duquesne – percussion, drums
Ted Johnson – drums, percussion
Matt Lyons – drums, percussion
Greg Pavlovcak – guitar

MP3: Public Record – Comfortability
MP3: Public Record – French Suburb

Upcoming Shows:
10/27/2007 08:00 PM – The Khyber 56 S. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA
Public Record w/ The Lodger, Small Sins, & Brown Recluse Sings.

10/28/2007 08:00 PM – The Velvet Lounge The Velvet Lounge 915 U Street, Washington, DC
Public Record w/ The Lodger, Lorelei, and Julie Ocean


Artist Of The Day : Operation Bumblebee

September 27, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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A couple weeks back for 5 On A Friday I posted some Arcade Fire covers, one of those was a amazing acapella version of Neon Bible by Operation Bumblebee.
On her blog she also regularly post videos that she has done, some of her singing, some not,all very artistic and captivating in a sort of surreal way. I’ve included one above for another acapella Arcade Fire cover she does, My Body Is Cage. Below are the audio for this and two other acapella songs from her blog. Stop on by there and check out the videos for these and more.

MP3: Operation Bumblebee – My Body Is A Cage [Arcade Fire]
MP3: Operation Bumblebee – The Knife [Grizzly Bear]
MP3: Operation Bumblebee – Mount Wroclai (Idle Days) [Beirut]

Here’s one of her non singing videos I really liked called “fireworks”

[Operation Bumblebee Blog]

Artist Of The Day Redux

June 11, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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For today I’d thought I’d bring you an update on what some of our former Artists Of The Day have been up to. They’re all amazing talents that will be much more famous than just a mention on my blog someday. Remember, so you can proudly say “I knew them way back when…”

First up, Bless 1. One of Chicago’s finest hip hop producer/artists, Bless 1 has teamed up with producers from around the world as Digital Invaders. They’ve put together a very cool all instrumental hip hop disc entitled Invasion. In addition to Bless 1 the also featured are are SUFF DADDY, HAZEEM, LOKID, ELLIPSIS, POWELL, THEWORTHLESSFEW, and AL’KAY FOUNDATION And to make it even better they’re giving it away FREE. Check out these couple tracks then download the whole thing here (as a .RAR file).

MP3: Bless 1 – June (featuring Lokid)
MP3: TWFew – The Writer

Look back at Artist Of The Day : Bless 1

Next up, Chelsea Taube one of the very first Artists Of The Day we featured. Chelsea’s song Desperate Winters is featured on the new Loose Music compilation disc Country Girl :New Sounds Of The Old West Vol.5 alongside other artists such as Devon Sproule, Laura Gibson, Jaimi Shuey, Oh Susanna, Jenny Whiteley, The Watson Twins, Cat Martino, Jenn Grant, Jill Barber, Emily Barker, Nina Violet & The Invisible Orchestra, Salt, Ana Egge, The Mendoza Line, Rachel Ries, Lana Rebel, Redlands Palomino Co. Pick up your copy here. Here are two brand new songs Chelsea recently posted to her myspace page.

MP3: Chelsea Taube – Carolina Moon
MP3: Chelsea Taube – So He Strays

Look back at Artist Of The Week : Chelsea Taube

Last but not least is Desmond Reed. Desmond has his song Who I’d Like To Meet featured on a recent compilation, Baby Boom Records Sampler 002 Desmond’s quirky, catchy, songs instantly embed themselves permanently into your world. Here’s a couple recent new ones from him.

MP3: Desmond Reed – New
Desmond Reed – When I Met Michelle
Look back at Artist Of The Day : Desmond Reed

Artist Of The Day : Elliot Jack

May 16, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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Music To Make You Feel Better is the title of the most recent album from Birmingham, UK’s Elliot Jack. Its seven songs are a warm, ethereal blend of keyboards, guitars, sampled sounds and the occasional vocal. Often hypnotic and always compelling, each song seems to wash over you with its own sense of serene calm. Olympus Mons starts with just a keyboard, eventually adding guitar, drums, and other sounds, building to an intricate climax before slowly fading away just as it started. Kind of like a surprise rain shower on a sunny afternoon that disappears as quickly as it arrives. My personal favorite on the album, My Tongue In Vickie uses voice samples interwoven with softly strummed guitar and keyboard to create an almost Alice In Wonderland type feel as a female voice repeats “you have to catch me” over and over amongst the mix. I can just picture a surreal dreamlike chase scene happening throughout the song. All of the songs conjure up images in your mind, like the soundtrack to a dream you haven’t had yet.

The BBC have also taken to Elliot Jack as well using their music for the TV show Countryfile and a short Film entitled “Over The Edge”

How can you not love a band that lists Dr. Who, Shostakovich, and volcanoes among its influences. Elliot Jack are currently working on a new 10 track album to be released later this year, you can hear some samples of the new songs on the band’s myspace page.

Elliot Jack :
Rob – microkorg, casio PT-30, yamaha MU-15, yamaha VSS-30, zoom sampletrak, hohner melodica
Rich – epiphone rivera, zoom 2020, boss RC-20, digitech jamman, art and lutherie electro acoustic
Simon – G4, takamine EAN10, alesis SR16, vocals
Jon – fender jazz bass, vocals

MP3: Elliot Jack – My Tongue In Vickie
MP3: Elliot Jack – Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

Upcoming Shows
May 25 2007 8:00P Kings Heath Mobile Disco @ Hare & Hounds Birmingham

[Myspace] [Website]

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