I would first like to send my condolences over to all the families who were unfortunately effected by this week's terrible east coast storm. Being from Connecticut myself, I know how odd it is to see massive flooding in areas that have never experienced something so violent before. To all of my readers who might have been affected by this, I am extremely sorry and I wish you the best. If anyone can contribute to helping out those who are far less fortunate, we here at EARMILK would truly appreciate it and I know that all who lost loved ones and homes in the storm are too. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts here at EARMILK.com.
True fans of music spend countless hours searching for that next great song, album or artist, whether it be online or in a local record shop. The beautiful thing about music in today’s age is that technology has created an infinite supply of great music that is available to us at the click of a mouse. How perfect is that? We can discover a brand new artist on the opposite side of the globe in seconds without a radio or a music television channel. It only makes sense that a website so dedicated to this gorgeous universe of music would want to celebrate the greatness and share it with anyone who is looking.
My name is Eric and I am your host of Straight from the Teet, where I will delve into 7 new albums per week as well as 1 randomly chosen throwback record and let you know which tracks I loved from the albums I listened to. I hope that my exploration through this never-ending sea of music will help satisfy that hunger for the brand new tracks you have been seeking.
MONDAY: Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos
TUESDAY: Emeralds – Just To Feel Anything
WEDNESDAY: Southern Shores – New World
THURSDAY: California Wives – Art History
FRIDAY: Ponderosa – Pool Party
SATURDAY: The Gathering – Disclosure
- Reprise Records
- October 12, 2012
Donald Fagen, in case some of you don't know, is a co-founder of one of the greatest bands to come out of the 1970s, Steely Dan. As a jazz enthusiast, Fagen had always put much of his old time jazz influences into Steely Dan's catalogue as a major attribute of the band's overall sound. In the end, this is what really set Steely Dan apart from the rest, becoming one of the most intricate and interesting rock bands around during their time together. Fagen and Becker still record together to this day, but Steely Dan has been in hiding since about 2004. Fagen, though, has graced us with his solo work since then, and it is a return to the sound that inspired him to become a musician in the first place. Sunken Condos is his newest album and fourth overall since 1981. Although this album shows some strong similarities to later Steely Dan tracks,Sunken Condos has such a strong, singular presence of Fagen that it really becomes a totally different monster entirely. The album is a fancy combination of jazz themes with lots of pop-oriented structures, and while Fagen might sound like his age is getting to him, his musical skills continue to show themselves off. This album is a very strong solo effort by an incredible music presence and one that most modern music fans should get to know as he has been a huge inspiration for bands around the world.
Just To Feel Anything
- Editions Mego
- November 5, 2012
Over the last five years, Emeralds have become a household name in the world of experimental, ambient music. After releasing Does It Look Like I'm Here? in 2010, they had finally put together an album that put them over the hump so to speak. Members Mark McGuire, John Elliott, and Steve Hauschildt have all remained very experimental musicians and ended up enhancing these abilities on their own solo albums since 2010. On those records, each member drew from their own influences and were able to make something more basic than Emeralds-style music, yet filled with interesting concepts. After listening to their solo works, most fans were very intrigued to see what kinds of new ideas the band would have for a follow-up record to their standout 2010 release. Just To Feel Anything is the newest record by the trio and the title seems awkwardly perfect for what the music represents. It's almost as if the band put music together for the sake of putting music together. For Emeralds to go from being so exploratory in a sense of what their overall sound was to making music like this is just so preliminary that it's hard for me to even comprehend. This album is filled with some really smooth guitar pieces and some rather bland organs that do far less then what Emeralds is known for. Listening to this album was almost like hearing demo music from GarageBand. Hopefully the band will discover some new and more interesting ideas for the future but this album was a pretty massive let down for me.
- October 2, 2012
Southern Shores is a relatively new duo from Nova Scotia. New World is only the second release from the band, an EP that uses balearic beat as a guiding star. This EP is filled with very groovy, fun tracks that are all dance-worthy and inspirational. The bright instrumentals take me to an island town in the middle of the summer with my sunglasses on and a frozen drink in my hand. I love when music has this ability and Southern Shores seem to really grasp onto this idea. Although they are from up north, their music says otherwise as this album is mostly in the reign of world music beats that are all beach driven. The beats on this album are fairly well-thought-out and you can tell that the duo is really at peace making this music, almost without a care in the world, which is how it should be listened to as well. Albums like these normally lose their substance after a while and although I enjoy this album on first and maybe even a second listen, it starts to lose its spark the more you listen to it. I don't think this is a failure on the band's end, it's just my unfortunate feelings towards electronic music in the realm of balearic beat. For me, the same, stingy beats repeated over and over for 20+ minutes just doesn't captivate me as a band like Animal Collective does with estranged beats and rhythms that span a 40-minute total. Although this record is fun and enjoyable, I don't consider it anything that is terribly significant for the year 2012.
- Vagrant Records
- September 4, 2012
California Wives is an indie band that formed in Chicago in 2009. The band is made up of vocalist/guitarist Jayson Kramer, bassist Dan Zima, drummer Joe O'Connor, and guitarist/keyboardist Hans Michel. Although the band has released a few EPs and singles since their creation, Art History is their debut full length record, released through Vagrant Records. As a full set of songs, it's very apparent that California Wives is a rookie band that has plenty of ideas, but not yet the ability to pull them off. I think where this record really stands out is in the guitar sections and although it's nothing innovating, it carries a really nice sound that establishes a true identity for the band. You can tell right off the bat that the guitar is the leading cast mate within the group, driving the rest of the instrumentals here. Where the music falls off for me is in the production. The rest of the band, from keyboards to drums, just doesn't quite live up to the lead guitars. The drums sound stale and amateur while the keyboards add little depth to the already overly simplistic style of sound. Vocally, Jayson Kramer doesn't have a very good voice nor does his songwriting really connect with me at all. Many of the lyrics sound more like a teenage drama then a mature record with layers of interesting points of view. In a way, I feel like I am listening to a Snow Patrol album with far worse production and overall, the music just doesn't do it for me, even as an indie fan.
- New West Records
- July 31, 2012
Upon listening to Ponderosa's sophomore LP a third time, I have to say this album is surprisingly refreshing. Ponderosa is a southern rock band from Atlanta whose influences, oddly enough, include The Beatles and The Flaming Lips. I'd be lying if I said Pool Party had much in common with any material released by The Flaming Lips, but somehow, their inspiration from The Beatles is present here. The record is obviously southern-styled, with lots of guitar driven rock songs, but the harmonious vocals are spectacular. Although it doesn't exactly sound like George Harrison, John Lennon, or Paul McCartney, the self-harmonized lyrics delivered by frontman Kalen Nash are wondrous. Ponderosa reminds me of a less focused Fleet Foxes. They aren't making folk gems here, but the tracks ring out beautifully as much more then just another southern rock band. I think The Flaming Lips influence is present on some tracks as the band make some very melodic rhythms for Nash to sing over, and although Ponderosa isn't going to be compared to either band, I can definitely see how the influences translated into the final product here. This was a majorly surprising record this week and very much an album I would recommend to any indie fan.
- Psychonaut Records
- September 12, 2012
I'm no expert on The Gathering, but I have heard their most significant material released over the course of their 20-year career as a band. Much has changed stylistically for the group, as members have been swapped and influences have evolved and devolved since 1992, but the band has remained a very significant piece of the alternative rock culture in modern music. In 2009, however, the band released The West Pole, an album that prompted many fans and critics to feel insecure about the band's future. On that record, the music lacked the subtle-yet-expansive ideas that made this band what it was, and they seemed to entirely lose control of their musical identity. The lack of cohesion was shared between a tremendous gap in influences between each member and some boring production by the band's own guitarist, Rene Rutten. The record wasn't a total failure, it just didn't revolve around the ethereal qualities that made this band such a success in years prior. Disclosure is the band's follow-up three years later and things seem to have gotten a bit more cohesive as far as ideas are concerned. What I still find odd here though is the fact that the band has almost totally abandoned their gothic, ethereal qualities to settle for a more pop-oriented sound. This album contains plenty of melodic grooves that are slow in nature and the electronics add very little to an already dry piece of music. Silje Wergeland continues to sing beautifully in the absence of Anneke van Giersbergen, who left the band in 2007 to pursue other things. Wergeland, though, isn't used as the primary focus vocally, and I think by taking her off the mic, it really puts a damper on what could have been. The Gathering just don't seem to have much creativity any longer as they age, but I haven't totally lost hope just yet.
- June 18, 2012
It's very odd to listen to a record that identifies itself with Pokemon. I guess at first this was a major turn off for me but in a way, it did take me back to my childhood when I unfortunately and embarrassingly collected cards. Having a hologram Charizard was a big deal back then, and for instrumental hip-hop artist Good Shephard, I guess it still is. According to Shep Bryan, the man behind the project, the album's title drew its name because of its rarity and how unfairly good it is. A decently cocky statement for such an unknown artist, but you have to respect his confidence. The record is actually full of some decent instrumental beats that show off Bryan's independent abilities as a producer. While some songs contain some very dynamic pieces that have layer after layer of interesting qualities, others are far more simplistic and overdone. When you listen to a good trip hop record, you get caught up in the ethereal sounds and chilled out production. It all just kind of melts into you, flowing through you naturally. On this album though, I find myself a bit forced to make it through its entirety. Shep Bryan is only an amateur musician who is still exceptionally young. I think that he does have some upside as a beat maker and although this album isn't unfairly good like he said it is, there are some pretty intelligent tracks here.
Albums To Look Forward To Next Week:
- Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin – Instrumental Tourist
- A.C. Newman – Shut Down The Streets
- She Makes War – Little Battles
- Short Hair Ideals – Immersion
- Conduits – Conduits
- A Silent Film – Sand And Snow
- The Oh Hello's – Through The Deep, Dark Valley
After another good week of album listens, I am more than ready to start another. If anyone is interested in purchasing or simply hearing any of these albums online, I have linked them for you at the top of this page to make it simple. I hope you have enjoyed reading this weeks edition of Straight From The Teet and I look forward to bringing you a new group of records next week. Please leave comments here at the bottom and let me know what you liked or didn't like from this week's lineup. Have a great week and please support these terrific bands!