I’m living in the future again

I am so tired. I was up until 3:30 this morning writing a review and then back up for work at 8:00. And I have to host a dinner party Saturday evening, so you will forgive me if I choose the path of least resistance and discuss a few albums that I am looking forward to, rather than delve into completely uncharted territory. Back in January, Under the Radar Magazine printed a list of about 25 of the most anticipated indie releases of 2009. I was anticipating 4 of them and they have all been unleashed. These four were not mentioned. They are nothing less than subterranean.

Little Birdie Storybook (more of an idea, really) – Little Birdie Storybook is Becca Kreutz who writes some of the most charming and enchanting songs you will ever hear. All that exists at the moment is a handful of demos on her MySpace page, recorded at home in one take on an out-of-tune piano, but she will be heading into the studio to have another go at them. To be honest, I am going to miss those blue notes. You Regina Spektor fans will enjoy this, though Little Birdie Storybook is pretty much impossible to dislike. I think I am looking forward to this one the most. You will be hearing a lot more from me on this topic in the months to come. In the meantime, listen to the demos. You can find the lyrics here.

FunAim & Ignite (23 August) – Fun is the name of the band. The name is nearly as pretentious as that of French rockers Rock and Roll, but it is entirely appropriate. I caught their set in support of Manchester Orchestra, and I can say without reservation that they have earned the name. Stylistically, they fall somewhere between Queen and Mika. The release date for Aim & Ignite was up in the air for a while, but it now stands at 25 August. I know what I’ll be doing that day. For now you can check out their MySpace where you can pick up a free download of “At least I’m not as sad as I used to be” which you can also stream on Facebook (where you can also become a fan of The Indie Handbook). If you want more, catch one of the few remaining dates with Manchester Orchestra.

The School, (title and release date TBA) – This one is still in the works. They went into the studio to begin work a few weeks ago. If you’ve been following us for a while, you already know how much I love this band and for your sake I will tell everyone else to read this. Needless to say, I am pumped. I may have to go to Cardiff to thank them in person. You are all more than welcome to join me.

Venus Hum, (also TBA) – I mentioned this on the Facebook page a couple of days ago. It’s been three years since their last studio album, The Colors In the Wheel, which included one of my favorite songs ever, “Pink Champaign” (I will post the video below). Finally, they are back in the studio. Annette Strean has one of the most striking voices I have ever heard and backed by multi instrumentalists Kip Kubin and Tony Miracle, they have produced enduringly appealing albums in my music library. I’ve been listening to Big Beautiful Sky all week. You can track the progress of the recording and here a few samples (which may or may not end up on the record) at the band’s blog here. (Ok, I am adding a live version of “Yes and No” because the band are actually in it.)

Big things for TIH this week, including #faibw

The last 48 hours have been big for us. There’s the Facebook page. Show us how much you love us and become our fan and tell your friends to do the same (we have a target we are trying to reach, but I am not telling you what it is). There is also a potentially big anouncement (for me, anyway), but I am not telling you about that yet until it’s official, either. And then there’s Follow an Indie Band Wednesday, which I will tell you about, because it’s Wednesday (or at least it was when I started writing this).

Bitter Things – Yes, it’s true, we have told you about Bitter Things before and technically, I am the one who nominated them for #faibw on Twitter today, but this is a day to give them your attention. Why? Because they have posted four new tracks to their MySpace and I love these songs. It’s the same Bitter Things, but with a slightly more garage-y sound and a bluesy guitar quality (some overdrive/compression). And if you pinch your left earlobe and squint, you can hear a bit of the White Stripes, especially on “Run Rabbit Run”, but “The God of Lovers & Drunks” is my favourite. Well done, Bitter Things. Now, when can we expect an LP from you?

Swimming in Speakers – It took me about 30 seconds to get into this, but once I did, I was hooked. At first glance, “In Knowing”, the lead track on the band’s MySpace, sounds like it is going to grow into some straightforward(?) electro-twee, but the entrance of Meadow Eliz’s vocals prove that there is a lot more to this New York quartet. Comparisons to CocoRosie are easily (and accurately) drawn. For those of you who think CocoRosie is too mainstream, you will be glad to know that “In Knowing” bears a strikingly pleasant resemblance to the atmosphere of “Dragonfly” by Universal Hall Pass.

The Foxes – Straight up indie rock, which admittedly, like this band, is not unheard of. But they sound well polished and, yes, I like that too. Allow me to explain myself. Here are some lyrics from “Trauma Town”: “I don’t want to have to explain myself to idiots to flatter their bravado”. How can you not love that? That’s how I felt most of the day Tuesday. They’ve got a new single out called “Bill Hicks”, presumably named for the late comedian. You can stream both tracks, as well as others, on their homepage and Facebook. You can watch the video for “Trauma Town” below.

The Happy Hollows take a cue from Radiohead

First off, thanks to our friends at The Poptimist for the write up this evening. They had some nice things to say about us (as do we about them). Go check out their serious assortment of glorious randomness, perfect for the budding Dadaist in all of us. (Personally, I’ve got my eye on one of those Jenga pistols.)

I listen to a lot of bands with cute girls in them. If I have no other information to go by, these are the bands I will choose. (Don’t judge. That’s my job.) I have been listening to The Happy Hollows today. I stumbled across the band at RCRD LBL earlier this week (yes, I was browsing band photos, if you must know). Imagine my surprise when I found one their EPs, Bunnies and Bombs which got the attention of the L.A. underground scene upon it’s release in 2006, in the clearance bin at a used bookstore this afternoon. They released another EP titled Imaginary about six months ago (if Amazon’s dating is accurate). A few of those tracks can be downloaded for free at the RCRD LBL page, or name your own price at the band’s MySpace.

I hesitate to even describe this music, because I will undoubtedly sell them short. It has a cerebral streak. The song structures are unorthodox and there is plenty of (intentional) dissonance which always makes me happy. There is a touch of garage punk and noise here. Do yourself a favor and at least have a listen. Personally, I’m digging “Tambourine” right now. This is perfect for fans of The Joy Formidable (we will get to them later) and bands with cute girls in them.

Oh, and they’re on Facebook, too.