Tag Archive: garage


TsuShiMaMiRe (つしまみれ) – Mamire + “Speedy Wonder” video

mamiremamireSo it took me a while to get on top of this one, but from what I gather, Japanese art punk trio TsuShiMaMiRe released what I take to be a “best of” collection – Mamire – last week (though, given the usual limitations of Google Translate and the fact that my Japanese is limited to a few dozen kanji, I could be wrong about all of this), touching on much of the band’s 15 years together.

Within the one new track included on Mamire – “Speedy Wonder” – verses fall somewhere on the spectrum between late 1960s Midwestern garage and “Fell In Love With A Girl” era White Stripes while the chorus flirts seductively with what can only be described as punk rock monody, all of which is tied together with a whole-tone (nearly palindromic) under-chorus. Put it all together, especially with the video, and the package feels a little like a Coathangers track (who, by the way, will have a new record out next month). (Don’t for one second think I mean to imply anything by that. After all, TsuShiMaMiRe have been wielding these skills for ages. This comparison is intended for educational purposes only.)

Wow, lots of parentheses up there. Anyway, here’s the video. And one last link to the website. Also Facebook.

I like Knickers

I don’t know how often you folks clean out your spam folders. Personally, I try to do it a few times a week. Granted, 85% of the time it’s Central African solicitors and Irish Lottery winnings, but occasionally, something slips through. (I often wonder how many of the indecipherable Korean and Chinese mailings are actually press releases for fantastic new bands I’ll never hear because I made the mistake of not learning every language ever.) But it’s the most recent number to be dug from the depths of discarded pyramid schemes which left me nearly breathless from the potential magnitude of such a near miss.

Knickers (I don’t think I need to explain to you why Gmail filed this where they did), are the latest effort from Simon Love (The Loves). According to one interview, by the time The Loves retired on Valentine’s Day 2011, Simon already had plans for Knickers. Still, as the story goes, Sarah answered an ad Simon had posted on Gumtree.com reading “French Girl Wanted”. A few crude demos later, Knickers were formed. To date, the band have only played a handful of gigs (including one last week with Elefant labelmates The School), but word is spreading fast. On my recent trip through the UK, the chat around the record shop circuit (Rough Trade, Spillers, Monorail, Avalanche, etc.) was about Knickers (the band…I checked). I even met a man here in terminally uncool Columbus, Ohio this week who asked me if I knew anything about them.

The word is out, kids – and so is the record – a four-track EP on Elefant Records, that is. And if you’ve ever loved anything on Elefant, it’s an EP you’re going to need – four pop gems inspired by French yé-yé, ’60s garage, and the Velvet Underground. Lead off track, “My Baby’s Just a Baby” is a catchy ode to melodic dirty garage rock. Between a strong stomping melody and a clever video [below] in which Sarah gives the boy bandmates the RealDoll treatment, the lead single makes a compelling case that Knickers are onto something here. And the follow-up tracks are far from filler.

What follows is a fitting tribute to the golden age of pop. “Are You Ready, Girl?” is a crooning cover of what is essentially a lost Kinks tune (written by Dave Davies for an unreleased solo album) and finds singer Sarah channeling Nina Persson at her swooning best. In fact, the hallmarks of the Cardigans’ frontwoman are also a major part of what makes the current EP such a resounding success. Sarah is obviously a woman who knows her way around a hook. It’s her ease of delivery coupled with Simon’s masterful pairing of fuzzed-out and jangly guitars that drives the charging duet of “A Thousand Ways” (a duet that cleverly mirrors the pairing of clean and dirty guitars). And elsewhere, it is the juxtaposition of purity of tone and melody (and doubling glockenspiel) with those same dirty guitars in “Darling” that makes such an indelible impression on the listener and will leave you singing that final hook for days (unless, of course, you’ve left the EP on repeat, as I have, in which case each memorable hook is supplanted by the next, ad infinitum).

Knickers debut EP, My Baby’s Just A Baby, is available digitally and as a limited seven-inch on red vinyl from Elefant Records.

Check out Knickers on: [Facebook] [Twitter] [Bandcamp] [Tumblr]

Tracklist:

  1. ‘My Baby’s Just a Baby (But I Love Him So)
  2. ‘Are You Ready Girl?’
  3. ‘A Thousand Ways’
  4. ‘Darling’

Indiepop’d dance party

I’m out of town right now on a whirlwind trip to Chicago and don’t really have the time to write a real post. So here are some videos to keep you entertained until I can sit down and write some of those year-end listy things that people like because they’re so easy to argue with.

‘Chicas De Oro’ is a newer one (November) from Guatafán, taken from the eponymous limited edition 7″ (another contribution to Elefant’s fantastic New Adventures In Pop series, which you may remember from last week).

‘Chicas De Oro’ limited 7″ (white vinyl, 500 copies)
Tracklist:
1. Chicas De Oro
2. La Vida Me Sonríe
3. Examen Sopresa
4. Un Día De Verano

I think it’s fair to say that Vidulgi OoyoO are one of my favorite bands in the world right now (top 5, easy). They’re more of a rock band than most of the artists who usually end up in these Indiepop’d posts, but they still land firmly in that dizzying whirl of  shoegaze and dream pop, so they still qualify. According to this Chinese blog (which is quite good and [mostly] in English), they will often play full hour-long sets straight through without a single pause (though I cannot personally attest to this since a scheduling conflict prevented me from seeing them at Canadian Music Week). Until they come back to this continent, though, I guess I will have to remain content to lose myself in their many live performance videos on YouTube. Though, the more I listen, the more I think Vidulgi OoyoO may be enough of a reason for me to justify a trip to Korea.

And another Vidulgi OoyoO video, because I just can’t get enough.

This week, I was also introduced to the Girls In The Garage compilations. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to start exploring the long lost world of all-girl 60s garage bands, or even to realize that that sort of thing existed back then. But, if you’re like me, you know that it’s nice to be reminded that there are still all these amazing pockets of brilliant music you haven’t even explored yet. And to know that these girls could produce great songs without Phil Spector’s help is just an added bonus. So we’ll wrap things up with a couple of my favorite tracks from Girls In The Garage, vol. 1

The Chymes – ‘He’s Not There Anymore’

The Blue Orchids – ‘Oo Chang-A-Lang’

USA! USA! USA!

Even for a pathological depressive like me, today has been a good day. The United States have crushed Spain in the Confederations Cup (that right there is a week’s worth of good news); I have spent most of the day listening to God Help the Girl, Belle & Sebastian, and Bjork; I found an article on frontal lobe development co-authored by Natalie Portman online; and I read Hamlet during my lunch break. All of these things and more have combined to blot most of the negative aspects of young-adulthood from my cosciousness, even the corrupt and shallow FHM 100 sexiest women list released today, which unfairly favors women with long hair (OK, so maybe I’m still bitter about some things). But I am content enough to at least make an attempt at a #faibw post today.

Alright, let’s see. Here’s a nice one for you. Sun Airway, from Philadelphia. Very chill (an adjective I hate to use, because it is not an adjective) and I like that. All of their music that I have heard today has a distinct air of familiarity and I cannot figure out why. I am pretty sure I’ve never actually heard any of this before. I suppose it sort of reminds me of the Postal Service (Oh, no! Was that a Death Cab reference?), but with better vocals and (upon first listening, I would say) slightly more rhythmical complexity. You should really check this out. Also, you can download their EP, Oh, Naoko here. (Coincidentally, I have a little bit of a crush on Naoko Mori and an even bigger crush on her character from Torchwood.)

I can’t believe we haven’t had a Swiss band on here yet (I don’t think). Well, we do now. According to their MySpace, CHOO CHOO are from Bern. They have an organist in their band and she is a girl. Two points! (A friend of mine who is an organist visited me at work today, another good thing about today.) I love their fusion of 60s rock and contemporary garage, aaaaand they list The Monkees amongst the bands they listen to, and where would we be without Davy Jones and Mike Nesmith’s mother? (For starters, we’d be short two Pirates movies and about a billion gallons of Liquid Paper.) So give them a listen, I am really digging “Safe & Warm” [see video below].

Inlight have the sort of sound that I’m pretty sure can only come from Britain. You know, that pop/rock quality that lands just to the left of epic, but in a good way. There’s a slight thread of Pink Floydiness that runs through these songs, many of which can be downloaded for free under the “audio” tab on their website, and great relentless, non-annoying drumming persists through “Icarus” (one of two tracks making titular allusions to classical mythology, which is awesome). Also, they’ve opened for Alphabeat, and, yes, I love Alphabeat. One thing I don’t like about Inlight: they are now band number 472 on the list of “Bands I Am Not Likely To See Live Any Time Soon Because They Live In Places I Am Too Poor To Visit”. (My BIANLTSLATSBTLIPIATPTV list is getting really long and that is beginning to cloud my positive opinion of today’s events.)

A bonus Dutch Week post

We’ve both been too busy to put together our Dutch Week wrap-up today, so, lucky you, you get one more regular Dutch Week post. This time it’s a two-piece, one of those guitar and drum combos that people like so much.

Looking at Appie Kim, the initial comparisons are obvious: (boy + girl) x (guitar + drums) = White Stripes/Blood Red Shoes. To think of something like an inversion of the White Stripes would begin to move you in the right direction since the bulk of the vocal duties are filled by Natasha van Waardenburg (formerly of De Nieuwe Vrolijkheid). Yes, it is true the track “Yes or No” has traces of “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” scattered throughout, but there is much more to this band than that. Unfortunately, I get the impression that the five lo-fi, apparently live recordings, available for download at www.appiekim.com do not really convey what these two are able to do with such limited instrumentation.

Some of the live recordings, like “Typewriter”, sport all the reverb of the creepiest of 80s recordings, yet still continue to grow on you in the unsettling and disturbing way of classics like the indefatigable “Rock Me Amadeus”. This is Appie Kim at their garagiest and probably where the Kills comparisons come from. But I think it is in the studio recordings, posted on MySpace, that the real character of the band shines through. Granted, there are only two tracks available, but they have a more polished sound (actual production will do that to a recording) that I actually like better. It is something like a weightier, stripped down version of the Cardigans circa Long Gone Before Daylight. Think all the fragility of “Live and Learn” but darker and heavier.

Of course, you really ought to go check this out for yourself. And if you don’t like my review, just go to the website and build your own (no, I’m not kidding).

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