New Tunes from Jeremy Jay

JeremyJay-01-bigI’ve been a fan of Jeremy Jay for a long time, mostly because he dances just like this photo.  As I got ahold of his new 7″ Breaking the Ice, I was pleased to see he had done a sweet little cover of Buddy Holly as the B-Side.  If you dig this song, and vinyl, you can buy the 7″ from K Records.


Download: Jeremy Jay – Words Of Love [MP3]

Sunny Day Real Estate – Diary

sunnyRating: ★★★★½

Long before emo was a curse word that you said to your friends, there were brilliant bands that were making the new genre respectable. Yes, 1994, and the music was absent of the whining and glam make-up.  Only one band really stands out in the early years, or at least has the ability to withstand the years of badmouthing: Sunny Day Real Estate. Diary was their debut, and although they may not have been able to top it, it’s the one album that stands the test of time, forever cementing the band’s legacy.

One of the most outstanding landmarks on this album is the superb drum work of William Goldsmith.  His drums fills are technically tight, and he sounds as if he hits harder than anyone else around. Each time the cymbal crashes, you can’t help but fall in love. Just listen to his work on the album opener, “Seven,” and you will be sold.  If not there, move to the next track, and the next; you will only gain more respect for Goldsmith as an underrated drummer.

One of the unique elements of Diary is the ability for the band to move back and forth between their soft and hard moments.  As the powerful “In Circles” comes to an end, you’re greeted by “Song About an Angel.”  It begins with singer Jeremy Enigk’s melancholy gentleness sort of wooing the listener, but steadily the band builds.  Enigk’s sparkling shriek breaks in, crashing upon your ears just as hard as Goldsmith behind his drum kit.

And herein lies the secret of the band’s success, even back during the early days of emo. Jeremy Enigk was, and remains, one of the most dynamic singers ever to walk the stage.  When he sings on key, you can immediately discern the power of his pipes, but he’s not a one-trick pony.  Let him break through with his recognizable belting, and you’ll see just why he captivated so many people for so long.

For me, looking back on this album, one of the aspects I love the most come in songs like “Rounds” or the aforementioned “Song About an Angel.”  Slowly, the band walks into a song, barely moving you, resting quietly on Enigk’s vocals.  Soon, the pace begins to pick up, bursting forth into an eruptive chorus.  And somehow, they even manage to break the formula near the end of the song, steering clear of the chorus altogether.  It all comes to rest upon Enigk’s voice.

We should be thankful that such an album was made, and even more grateful that Sub Pop opted to re-release the band’s work, with bonus tracks no less.  You can now find yourself vinyl copies of some of the most revered albums of the early 90s.  If you missed getting into Diary back in the day, then now is your chance.  Do it for yourself, and you’ll be happy.  If you happen to own it already, revisit, and you’ll gladly find that the band is more than nostalgia.  Sunny Day Real Estate sounds interesting and unique even today.


Download: Sunny Day Real Estate – 48 [MP3]

New Tunes from Or, the Whale

whaleOr, The Whale are less than two weeks away from releasing their self-titled album, and I’ve been playing it sort of non-stop around my house. While you wait at home for your copy, I’ve got another new tune off the album to share in hopes of encouraging you to dig this little San Fran band.  If you do, the new album hits stores on September 22nd. Here’s “Rusty Gold.”


Download: Or the Whale – Rusty Gold [MP3]

New Tunes from Land of Talk

landoftalkMontreal’s Land of Talk have a new EP headed your way, but it won’t be the easiest thing to find in the world, so you should probably get it from Saddle Creek Records while you can.  The Fun and Laughter EP features four new tracks, and several videos.  We’ve got one of these new songs to offer you today, so enjoy, and don’t forget to get your hands on this while you can.


Download: Land Of Talk – May You Never [MP3]

New Tunes from Built to Spill

Built-to-Spill-leanbackThe band that brought you one of the best albums of the 90s (that being There’s Nothing Wrong with Love), Built to Spill, is up to their old tricks.  They’ve got a new album heading our way on October 6th titled There Is No Enemy, not to mention a show lined up for October 24th.  Here’s the recent track, “Hindsight.”


Download: Built to Spill – Hindsight [MP3]

FTC – The Stone Roses

stonerosesLong before you had the trendy Britpop scene that exploded with the likes of Blur and Oasis (though Pulp was clearly the best!), you had another scene, sort of the Godfather scene to Britpop.  It was Madchester, rooted in the town of Manchester (where the best team in England plays).  The style combined a little bit of house DJ music with straight rock n’ roll.  And head of the movement…The Stone Roses.

Not only did they release one of the most flawless albums of the 1980s with their self titled Stone Roses debut, but they did it whilst creating an entirely new mode of fashion (baggy), which I suppose we can blame for the invention of Jncos.  Hands down, this was the first Britpop group to make it big, but like most bands of that ilk, they quickly faded into obscurity.

We bring you the group this week, as this marks the anniversary of their debut, and as such, that album is getting the Redux treatment; it’s been remastered, and it includes a selection of demos and unreleased songs to boot.  Trust me, this band deserves your love, so go dig in the closet and break out The Stone Roses.


Taken by Trees – East of Eden

eastRating: ★★☆☆☆

Vicotria Bergsman has long been the chanteuse of my dreams.  First, she warmed-me over with her sultry vocals during her tenure in The Concretes, and later, she kept me going with Taken by Trees. Now, she is releasing her second album under the latter, this one titled East of Eden.  Much will be made of her venture East, which like most Europeans gone East, has had a profound influence on her music.

Whilst many will no doubt link the sounds of this album to India, thanks to the unnecessary success of Slumdog Millionaire, Victoria went elsewhere for her muse: Pakistan. “To Lose Someone” is such a song, as it carries the ornate horns of such cultures to accompany Bergsman’s voice.  Even the percussion resembles the spirit of a simpler life. And while the wooden horn/flute/whatever dances in the background, the song closes with syllabic chanting that probably means little for listeners.

One of the best songs on the album, and easily one that you will find the most commercial is titled “My Boys.”  Why does it seems familiar you ask?  Well, it’s a cover of “My Girls” by Animal Collective. The melodies are precisely the same as the original, and in fact, the song completely mimes AC’s version, aside from a few lyric changes, and the obvious use of real instruments.  It’s interesting that this is the most accessible song, as it’s not one Victoria can call her own.

As a concept piece, it’s a great idea,  mixing her powerful vocals with an entirely different arrangement musically, but it has more failures than successes due to this.  “Watch the Waves” is a song that is full of flourishes from the travels to the East, but using non-pop-centric instruments strips Bergsman of her vocal prowess, and renders her somewhat dismissable for the greater part of the song, let alone, the album as a whole.

She goes too far at times, especially including “Wapas Karna” in the project, which is merely a number that is full of chanting, and little else.  If we wanted to listen to world music, there are surely better places to find such tunes (no offense Victoria).  It even seems as if she spent more work on developing a sound that stayed true to its roots, rather than create an album of her own songs, backed by the newer sonic discoveries.

In the end, the highlights of East of Eden are few and far between.  Taken by Trees has perhaps been taken to far East and away from the blissful harmonies that we associate with its lead singer Victoria Bergsman, leaving a concept album with limited range in its wake.


Download: Taken by Treese – Watch the Waves [MP3]

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