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 (Connecticutter), 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.
TUESDAY: The Antlers - Undersea
WEDNESDAY: Astra - The Black Chord
THURSDAY: Mouse On The Keys - Machinic Phylum
FRIDAY: Family Of The Year - Loma Vista
SATURDAY: Film Ghost - Subterraneans
SUNDAY: Carrousel - 27 Rue de Mi'Chelle
THROWBACK: Red House Painters - Songs For A Blue Guitar
Shawn Lee is a multi-instrumentalist from Kansas who has been active since 1993. He has always had a strong, experimental edge which bled through his electronics. Synthesizers In Space is Lee's newest full length, solo record and it shows a musician with plenty of different influences musically. Right off the bat with this album, you're going to hear Lee experiment with some downtempo structures, some dub step ideas, and even some jazzy soul renditions that remind me of something a 1970's cop show might use for a theme song. The influences are all over the place which really keeps this album interesting from track to track. My favorite track has to be the Beastie Boys sounding "Head Up". That track has to be inspired by the rap trio's early days especially with that unforgettable bass line. The complex song structures on this record are extremely captivating but by the end of this album, they start to become tiresome and less enthused. Whereas the first half of this album was really able to stay fun and interesting, the second half suffers from repetition and over produced themes. I like it best when Lee's music sounds like it was created in a garage rather than a state of the art sound studio and this album is split down the middle with both of these structures. Synthesizers In Space is a very well done electronic record but at the same time, it seems to show a veteran musician who seems bored in the game.
- Anti Inc.
- July 24, 2012
The Antlers are a different band then the one who released Hospice in 2009. On that record, the band were making slowcore music that crossed the borderline of depression while on their newer records, their style has shifted to a more ambient inspired atmosphere. Burst Apart was their latest LP released in 2011. The dynamic of that record focused on those ambient song structures and really mellow ideas put forth by songwriter and singer Peter Silberman. I actually liked that record more so then the melodramatic Hospice and this progression towards a more atmospheric sound is something I am excited about for The Antlers. Undersea continues the themes of atmospheric mood music and the band has once again implemented conceptual themes into their songwriting. The subtle, ambient sonic textures on this EP are very much a continuation of what existed on Burst Apart and the band shows an obvious longing to continue movie in this musical direction which is a very gorgeous style of ambient, slowcore music. "Endless Ladder" is an 8 minute epic track that really brings out these styles to perfection. The Antlers continue to prove that they are a significant indie band and as they continue to grow, this EP is surely something to check out and hold on to.
The Black Chord
- Rise Above Records
- April 16, 2012
Progressive rock music is a genre that really took off in the 1970's as bands like Pink Floyd and King Crimson really opened up the floodgates for generations within the genre. In modern music, we have seen plenty of bands reinvent the sound that is established with the tag and it has worked brilliantly. Electronics have played an integral part of this new coming of prog-rock music but some band have decided to stay true to the classic element of what makes prog-rock such a nostalgic style of music. Astra is an example of one of those bands. Hailing from San Diego, Astra has now released two full length records, both of which sound like they were ripped straight from an early 1970's progressive rock compilation. They combine elements of classic progressive guitar rock and subtle metal components into their music and the final product is some of the most nostalgic music I have heard as of late. The Black Chord is the band's newest album and it picks up right where their debut record, The Weirding, left off. Guitar plays the most significant role here with plenty of long, drawn out solos and clean, focused guitar chords that really sound quite nice. Adding combinations of keyboards, drums, and some basic bass lines really recreates this 70's style sound. The idea of recreating a style of music from the 70's is just a bit non creative to me. There's a reason why this genre has faded away and evolved so much and for a band to revisit those styles to make something new just seems in fact, non progressive. Astra is a very talented group musically but they are just stuck in a generation that has since become old and overdone.
Mouse On The Keys
- Machupicchu Industrias
- July 18, 2012
Mouse On The Keys is a trio that formed in Tokyo, Japan in 2006. The band was put together when Nine Days Wonder split up. What's really interesting about Mouse On The Keys, is that the band is made up of two piano players and a sole drummer. There are no guitars or bass guitars in this band yet somehow the music ends up sounding big and wide open. The trip combines elements of jazz music with elements of math rock and this jazz fusion is one of the more unique styles of music I have heard all year. the instrumental sound is very dynamic and extremely complex and you can tell that these three musicians are incredibly talented especially drummer Akira Kawasaki who really is the driving force of the rock sound here. Machinic Phylum is the band's newest material and although it is only a three song, 12 minute EP, the sounds are quite amazing which makes for a very distinct record. This album is my first insight into the band and although I am quite intrigued with their sound, I tend to really long for more than just a three song hit. Musically, this album really does rock hard but the jazz influence is really where the album takes off. The pianos sound like cuts from a jazz nightclub while the beating drums sound like they were taken from a noise rock record with oddball time signatures. Regardless of how short this album ends up being, it is still a very distinct listen and something that I honestly have never truly heard before, I just wish their was more material to indulge into.
Family Of The Year
- July 10, 2012
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler once described Family Of The Year as being The Mama's & The Papa's on acid. Now, I'm not sure that I would go as far as saying Family Of The Year sound like they are actually on acid but they do carry a California, sunshine pop sound that is comparable to some of those 60's pop acts from the west coast. Family Of The Year is comprised of Vanessa Jeanne Long on vocals, Joe Beaulieu Keefe on vocals and guitar, Sebastian Keefe on drums and guitar, James Buckey as guitarist, Christina Schroeter as the keyboardist, and Brent Freaney as the bassist. The band formed in 2009 in Los Angeles and have been making bubble gum pop songs with the beach ridden coast of California as a main inspiration. Loma Vista is the band's third full length record and is composed primarily of the same type of material as their other records. The songs are built around pop guitar chords and melodic piano rhythms with some pretty vocal harmonies and subtle drum patterns. The record is all-in-all a decent pop record actually as we get a sense of a certain type of nostalgia with the 60's-esque sound especially on tracks like "Hero" and "Hey Ma". Other tracks are more reminiscent of 80's pop such as "St. Croix" which shares a melody with a track that escapes my mind. I really like some of the ideas put in place on this album but at other times the record runs dry of any really interesting moments. This is a decent sunshine pop album but that's really all it is.
- January 19, 2012
There isn't much known about Film Ghost as even his identity is kind of a secret at this point. What I do know is that Subterraneans is his debut record. The album was released in January, probably making this review a bit late, but it must be discussed. This album is an ambient pop record that also plays around with some chillwave styled vocals and some post-rock elements. It is a fully electronic style record as it sounds like it may have been recorded in a bedroom on a rainy night in the dead of winter. Musically, this album was actually quite satisfying as I was reminded at times of early Kyte material for its use of electronic pop rhythms mixed with some atmospheric post-rock music. The beats here are very subtle and play with some lonely nuances that seem to be a bit heartbreaking while also kind of motivating. As a vocalist though, Film Ghost isn't traditional in the least sense. His lyrics are all pretty overshadowed by the instrumentals and he even shifts a lot of reverb effects to drown himself out when singing which I found a bit odd. This is a style that has become popular amongst many chillwave acts but the difference is you can still understand Washed Out when he is singing his heart out. On this album though, the lyrics seem insignificant and terribly unfocused. I really enjoy some of the chilled out electronic pop songs especially "Last Night I Saw Myself Sleeping" which uses a really pretty synthesizer rhythm with what sounds like a subtle xylophone. This album really lacks much of a personality though and in the end, it's not very distinguishable among the rest of the electronic crowd.
27 Rue De Mi'Chelle
- May 15, 2012
Carrousel is a folk rock band from Tallahassee, Florida that focuses their songs on a very surreal, romantic landscape. 27 Rue De Mi'Chelle is the band's debut record which was recorded at their home studio over the course of a year. On it, we are really able to identify with their songwriting which consists of these poppy, romantic themes. Overall, it's all a bit cut and dry as the music surrounding these melancholic lyrics is a bit plain and effortless. At times, the acoustic style reminds me of a more boring Oasis while at other times they sound like a less enthused Melanoid. While I am able to connect with lots of the lyrics on here, I'm left feeling more oblivious to it then anything. Pop music is a genre that I think needs a significant push from the artist in order to gain any type of interesting leverage over the rest and on this record, Carrousel just basically puts together a very generic, flat set of songs. What I do enjoy about this record is the vocal harmonies and also the blending of some non traditional instrumentation such as some subtle saxophones and trumpets but all in all, this was sort of a forgettable listen. Some of these tracks just seem better suited as something you might find in a 90's romantic comedy film. Only problem with that is, it's 2012. As a final thought, I'm really anxious to know why they decided to use a French title.
Red House Painters
Songs For A Blue Guitar
- The Island Def Jam Music Group
- July 23, 1996
For this week's throwback album, I decided to go back to the 1990's, a time period which I personally think is one of the worst of all time as it was plagued by terrible alternative rock bands and sloppy grunge music that came and went quicker than lightning. That's not to say that some of the greater albums ever recorded were a part of this era (OK Computer, F#A#∞) but as a whole, the 90's were very frail musically. One of the bands that has always stood out to me though throughout that time period is Red House Painters, a folk group from San Francisco that formed behind arguably one of the greatest songwriters of the decade, Mark Kozelek. Kozelek, who is not the front man for Sun Kil Moon, was in his prime during his long stint with Red House Painters. Throughout their career, the band would put out only 6 albums but all of which have continued to remain some of the best folk albums of a generation. In my opinion, none of them are as good as Songs For A Blue Guitar, a record that plays like a breakup album in the midst of one of the most depressing times you could imagine for a subject. If you've never heard the album, you've surely heard some of their tracks in a number of different films released since 2000 especially the track "Song For A Blue Guitar". Where this album really finds its strengths are in the acoustic guitar melodies and lyrics. The album is a deeply sad listen but the subject matter is incredibly relatable for any listener and we're able to truly share Kozelek's pain and heartache as he yearns for a romantic partner and to independently happy as well. As far as songwriting goes, this album remains one of my all time favorites and as simple as some of the song structures are, it still upholds this extremely emotional concept that is heart pounding. Songs For A Blue Guitar will continue to remain one of my favorite albums from the decade.
Albums To Look For Next Week:
- Wild Nothing - Nocturne
- Six Organs Of Admittance - Ascent
- Dorsh - Neopolitan
- Athletics - Who You Are Is Not Enough
- Patrick Watson - Adventures In Your Own Backyard
- Olympic Swimmers - No Flags Will Fly
- Hundred Waters - Hundred Waters
After another interesting 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!