Pre-order New La Sera Album, Stream New Track

Vivian Girls bassist Katy Goodman is getting ready to release her second album with La Sera, Sees the Light. La Sera’s self-titled LP was a slow grower for me, but the more I listened to it, the more I liked it & if their latest track “Please Be My Third Eye” is a hint at what Sees the Light is going to sound like, then I’m totally on board. The track is a departure from the dreamy slow songs that peppered La Sera’s debut LP — I’m a fan of this slighty more direct, aggressive sound and am really looking forward to hearing the full album when it’s released this March.

If you like what you hear, you can pre-order Sees the Light from Hardly Art on either CD or LP. Pre-ordered LPs will be pressed on opaque yellow vinyl and will be shipped with a download code.

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New Allo Darlin Single, US Tour Dates

So, since starting this blog back in 2009, Allo Darlin has been a constant favorite of mine — they had one of my favorite songs in 2009 with “Henry Rollins Don’t Dance,” one of my favorite albums in 2010 with their self-titled debut, and one of my favorite singles in 2011 with their Darren picture disc. They’re gearing up to release a new album this spring (distributed by Slumberland Records in the US and Fortuna Pop in the UK) and the album’s first single,“Capricornia” has just been made available for streaming!

You can stream the song above, but if you click through to the Soundcloud page you can read some beautiful thoughts from Elizabeth Morris regarding the inspiration for the song and the sound she wanted to capture on Europe (the forthcoming sophomore album from Allo Darlin.) Elizabeth mentions Kirsty MacColl’s cover of “A New England” as one of the sounds she wanted to capture on this album and you can definitely hear echoes of Kirsty — sweet, yet wise & perhaps a little too knowing for her own good/happiness — in this. I can’t wait for the full length & am beyond excited for Allo Darlin’s US tour, which will finally bring them to Cleveland. You can catch them at the Beachland Tavern on Wednesday, May 15th. You can get tickets directly from the Beachland (online or in person) or from Music Saves. A full list of tour dates is below, all dates are with Wave Pictures.

If you’re behind the game on Allo Darlin, check out their website & their bandcamp page, where you can stream all of their releases.

Tour Dates

04/24 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
04/25 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
04/26 Washington, DC – Black Cat Backstage
04/27 Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
04/28 Atlanta, GA – 529
04/30 Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
05/01 Austin, TX – Mohawk
05/03 Santa Fe, NM – VFW
05/04 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
05/05 Los Angeles, CA – Echo
05/06 San Diego, CA – Casbah
05/08 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
05/10 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
05/11 Seattle, WA – Vera Project
05/14 Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry
05/15 Chicago, IL – Schubas
05/16 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern
05/18 New Haven, CT – Cafe Nine

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Best of 2011

I know, I know. I just (well, just a couple of months ago…) wrote that lengthy post about getting “caught up” (during which I didn’t even actually get caught up & anyway I’ve since let a ton of other e-mails and press releases stack up in my inbox, but whatever right? It’s not like this is my job. In fact, my job is actually why I don’t blog as much. But I’m still here, just a lot less frequently than I once was.)

Anyway, I can’t believe it’s already December. It’s amazing to me that another year has come and gone so quickly and since we’re closing in on the end of the calendar year, I figured that it would be appropriate for me to post about all the things I’ve been listening to (and not blogging about!) this year.

As usual, my list is un-ranked and presented in alphabetical order. YouTube clips and information on where to buy are included with each album.

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Getting Caught Up

Augh, two months without an update? What has even been going on? Well, work is mostly what’s been going on. It’s funny, even when you have a job that you (more or less) enjoy, it sure does manage to sap you of enthusiasm for things like blogging and, of course, things have been piling up in my inbox and the more e-mails I get about things I might want to write about, the less motivated I am to actually write and then there are even more e-mails and even less motivation and, well, you get the idea. So, in an attempt to clear the air, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of my inbox and things I’ve wanted to write about (but haven’t) and hopefully by the time I get to the end of this post, I’ll be back on level ground & ready to get down to blogging business.

01. Couple Skate Records (oh my god, perfect label name alert!) is gearing up to release an album from Seattle band M. Women. Faithful will be out on October 15th and features a sound reminiscent of Evol-era Sonic Youth and The Wipers. While listening to the tracks that Couple Skate was kind enough to send my way, I also noticed a heavy dose of darker Beat Happening (think Black Candy.) If any of that sounds appealing, head over to the Couple Skate site & check out the videos for “Faithful” and “Bedrest.”

02. New tracks from artists on Dirtnap Records — okay, I was legit going to ignore this press release just because of that whole aforementioned being overwhelmed by my inbox thing, but the following line totally caught my eye, “Ben Weasel was hyping [Steve Adamyk Band] as his favorite new band….I guess that factoid woulda resinated more had he not made an ass out of himself at the recent Screeching Weasel SXSW performance […]” Which, duh, a great way to get me to listen to something is A) have it be pop punk and B) open the gates for a discussion about sexism in pop punk via Ben Weasel’s constant public dickitude. Anyway, the track in question (“Landslide” by the Steve Adamyk Band) is indeed high-octane pop punk with a tappy guitar intro that reminds me of Marnie Stern’s impeccable cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” The Steve Adamyk’s band second LP will be out in mid-November on Dirtnap. This particular e-mail also included a link to “Can’t Just Be Friends,” a crunchy lo-fi garage number that sounds exactly like something Drew would make me listen to in the car until I bullied him into letting me listen to The Velvet Crush or something. The past couple of years have been very good to garage rock revival, so if that’s your thing, I recommend checking out Bad Sports’ new LP (Kings of the Weekend) out now on Dirtnap.

03. New (well, old now, but whatever!) single from The Bynars — “Every Little Thing You Love” is a slow synthy jam that enumerates the tiny good things that help you remember what makes life worth living. You can download this track (and others) from The Bynars’ Bandcamp, where you can also stream their album. Totally not related to the way The Bynars sound, but I absolutely love the design identity The Bynars have put together for their releases.

04. EardrumsPOP are continuing their free digital EP release series with some new tracks from Laura K. Normally I’m not into ukulele driven pop music, but Laura K has a sweet melodic voice that carries you along and her songs have a sweet sound offset by smart, knowing lyrics. Really, what continues to impress me about EardrumsPOP is the love and care they put into making their digital releases feel like more than just downloads. I know I’ve mentioned this in previous posts about EardrumsPOP, but each EP is accompanied by original artwork featured in a digital booklet (that also includes artist interviews and a few other neat pieces.) Like all EardrumsPOP EP’s, this release includes a cover meant to provide a forum for the featured artist to draw attention to a favorite band of theirs that they wish more people knew about. It’s this kind of collaborative spirit, working to bring together different labels, artists, and illustrators that reminds me of what a vibrant and important role indie labels can play in building a community of artists. You can download the latest EardrumpsPOP EP, featuring songs by Laura K, here.

05. Okay, okay, there are more things in my inbox, but I’m supposed to go see WILD FLAG tonight and there’s just no way I’m going to get through everything right now. (I’m already running late!) But, someday I will! Or, you know, I’ll just skip all of the e-mails I’ve been saving and get to writing about things I’ve actually been thinking about lately (like Lana Del Ray and performativity vs. perceived authenticity in indie music or how much I love the video for Beyonce’s “Countdown” — in other words, truly important things.)

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Pre-Order New DDG Album from Sub Pop

I know, I know, I’ve (again!) been light on updates for the last few weeks. Work and life have been exceptionally busy, but I’m taking a break from my busy administrative lifestyle to mention that Only in Dreams, the sophomore album from Dum Dum Girls, is now available for pre-order from Sub Pop. While supplies last, pre-orders will be shipped out with a white vinyl 7” (Crystal Baby b/w Coming Down) and the first 700 folks to order will receive the “Loser Edition,” pressed on pink vinyl. It’s no surprise that I’m a total sucker for pre-order goodies, so I was obviously stoked to hear about this.

Last year, I felt my enthusiasm for Dum Dum Girls beginning to wane, but their fabulous He Gets Me High EP turned that all around. I’m really excited to hear what Dee Dee & co. do with this album — I don’t know how many of you follow Dee Dee on twitter or occasionally check on the DDG blog, but the favorite songs and videos that Dee Dee shares give you a much greater sense of the range of influences that Dum Dum Girls incorporate into their music. It seems as though a lot of the music journalists who’ve profiled them hear their “blissed out buzz saw” guitars and jump the gun to lump them in with C86 bands, but a quick scroll through their recent blog posts will show influences as diverse as Roxy Music, Big Star, and The Cure.

Are album trailers a new thing? I don’t know, they’re new to me. Anyway, DDG have a minute-long trailer for the album that shows them bumming around LA while getting tattooed.

Only in Dreams is out on Sub Pop on 9/27! Dum Dum Girls will be touring in support of the album with Crocodiles throughout October and November. Dates are here. You can download “Coming Down,” the first track from the new album to be made available, from the album’s pre-order page.

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Brilliant Colors, Again and Again

It’s blistering hot in Cleveland right now — temperatures in the mid-nineties that feel like they exceed 100 degrees when you factor in the heat index. It’s hard to stay cool in weather like this, but I’m doing my best — stockpiling frozen novelties, mystery novels, and pop music.

Again and Again, the new album from Brilliant Colors, is perfect summer music: simple songs that carry you seamlessly from moment to moment. My tastes are, more often than not, easy to predict. I have a well-known soft spot for indie pop that features drums like heartbeats, hooky guitar lines, and simple vocals. I love albums that speak to the experience of people making music they love with people they care about — I know that sounds sentimental, but it’s true — and Again and Again is one of those albums.

I would be disingenuous if I implied that Again and Again breaks new ground — one of the things that draws me into loving this album so quickly and wholly is that it already sounds like it could be one of my favorite records. Listening to Again and Again is like discovering a lost favorite, each song has an undercurrent of familiarity that makes the album easy to love. While some might slight Again and Again for sounding so firmly entrenched in familiar sounds, I think that there’s something to be said for working so effectively and lovingly within indie pop’s sonic conventions.

There are certainly moments where Brilliant Colors are able to push beyond the tried and true sound that runs throughout Again and Again (the song “Back to the Tricks,” with its unexpected burst of riffing comes to mind as one of those moments as does the closing moment of “Hitting Traffic”) — and while Again and Again may not necessarily be breaking new indie pop ground, I think it certainly shows a stylistic progression for Brilliant Colors from 2009s Introducing.

Slumberland Records is offering a limited number of mail order copies on swirly pink and blue vinyl ($11 + shipping.) Each album comes with a digital download code. Again and Again is also available on CD ($9+shipping.) For those of you on Spotify, the album is available for streaming.

You can get more info on Brilliant Colors on their blog. For those of you who like what you hear on Again and Again, you may want to check out Introducing (available via Slumberland Records.) They also have a handful of singles still available on various labels, including a great split with Girls Names (also out on Slumberland.)

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Allo Darlin’, Darren (Pre-Order)

So, as you’ve likely noticed, I’ve been maintaining radio (or internet or whatever) silence for the last few weeks. I know I made mention of the fact that this summer would be light on posting because I’m starting a new job and moving to a new apartment, but it turns out that the posting will be even lighter than I previously anticipated due to the fact that I’ll be embarking on an unscheduled second move. (It is a long story, but we can keep it short by just saying: roaches.) So, it will be about another two weeks before I have regular internet access and am able to hook my stereo up again in order to listen to (and, I guess, review) things. Sorry about that!

In the meantime, please content yourself with the fact that Allo Darlin’ are releasing their first new material since their self-titled album came out last June. Their Darren single features two new songs and will be pressed as a picture disc. The band is currently taking pre-orders via their bandcamp page, where you can stream the single’s a-side. I actually took a break from un-boxing, checking for roaches, and re-boxing all of my personal possessions so that I could order this. I was that excited.

While I don’t have anything else proper or informative to say about this, it can’t hurt to reiterate just how fond I am of Allo Darlin’. The band’s material has a real and solid sense of joy about it, but that joy is often tempered by a careful awareness of the sadness and challenges that people are often confronted by. It’s a difficult balance to portray without coming across as overly trite or sentimental, but Allo Darlin’s execution is beautiful every time. In fact, in the midst of the terrible series of weeks I’ve been having, I had the pleasure to be caught off-guard by hearing their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” on stonecoldbikini (every Saturday on 91.1fm, if you’re outside of their broadcast range you can always stream online at wruw.org) as I was about to pull into the driveway — instead, I drove around the block so that I could hear the entire song and the extra time in the car was more than worth it. Something about the work they produce leaves you with the sense that you are hearing exactly what you need to heard at exactly the moment you were meant to hear it. Divine musical providence.

So, order your single while you can — I’m sure this one will sell like hotcakes — and I’ll be back, hopefully in two weeks, with a fully functioning stereo and a roach-free living space.

P.S. I have one lonely invite for Spotify US, does anyone want it? Shoot me an e-mail at heysideponytail@gmail.com if you do! And just like that, the Spotify invite is spoken for! If I get any more, I’ll post them up as well.

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