5 Acts: August 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Charade

Stockholm, Sweden
The Charade is well-crafted indie pop. This music is gentle yet bouncy at the same time and will appeal to anyone who loves other Swedes like Club 8 or Moonbabies. A Real Life Drama is the trio’s second album and it’s available from Skipping Stones Records. Wow! I can’t stop listening to these guys. Don’t miss out on this gem!

The Isles

New York City, NY
I wonder if Andrew Geller of The Isles ever gets tired of hearing how much he sounds like Morrissey. I doubt it. It’s impossible to listen to Perfumed Lands and not hear the uncanny resemblance to The Smiths. I’d say that’s quite the compliment though. This is the first full-length for these New Yorkers and it's available from the UK label Melodic Records.


London, UK
This band is full of spunk and snazz. You’ll love their debut record, Kerfuffle, if you enjoy music like Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Ladyfuzz is tearing up the scene around Europe right now but no word on whether or not they’re going to make it to the U.S. any time soon. Check out the band’s MySpace page to see the video for “Oh Marie.” It’s… interesting.

Goddamn Electric Bill

San Diego, CA
Goddamn Electric Bill is the solo work of Jason Torbert, who seamlessly fuses post-rock music with ambient electronica. His new album, Swallowed By The Machines, is as delightful as new releases from similar artists like Ratatat or The Junior Boys. He even has free mp3s on his website, including his own version of the Twin Peaks theme.


Brooklyn, NY
Yet again +/- has completely satisfied me with their forthcoming release. Let’s Build A Fire marks the third full-length for the trio, and it will be out October 24 on Absolutely Kosher. The line-up includes James Baluyut and Patrick Ramos, both formerly of Versus, and Patrick Ramos on drums. I’ll be seeing them at Black Cat on October 28 with Palomar and The Wrens. Wahoo!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Over The Atlantic

New Zealand
Over The Atlantic is the work of Nik Brinkman and Bevan Smith. After two and a half years of recording and re-recording we receive the gift that is Junica. It’s a delicious little pop record that is structured perfectly in every way. First getting a release in their homeland from Involve Records, Junica will now be available here in the States through Carpark Records on September 19.


Portland, OR
Antlerand is a trio from Portland who has recently announced that they are heading toward a more dancey sound. Sounds great! I just hope they keep playing those bells! They plan to start recording the new album by the end of the year. Their 2005 release is available now through Sound Family. One of the band members, Zach Okun, is also in The Kingdom, who will be touring with Viva Voce and Silversun Pickups. Keep your eyes open for them as well!

Young Love

New York City, NY
Dan Keyes is Young Love. He creates seriously danceable synth rock that can easily bring the hipsters and clubsters together. The full-length from Young Love has gotten pushed back until January, but you can purchase a cd with three tracks directly from his MySpace page. Also, he’s playing a few dates around the U.S right now. Check to see if your city’s on the list! Sadly, mine isn’t.

My darling YOU!

Klas Hermansson and Christoffer Johansson make up the duo My darling YOU!. This is just more great Swedish music that I can’t get enough of. It seems like they enjoy putting out the 7” vinyl and CDEP type stuff, but hopefully we’ll get a long-player from the guys someday. They really know how to name songs too... “This Weather Pisses Me Off” and “I Can’t Stand Your Teardrops” are two of my faves.

The Curtains

Crockett, CA
The Curtains is one of the latest bands to be added to the Asthmatic Kitty family. Lead guitarist and vocalist Chris Cohen was formerly a member of Deerhoof but left that band earlier this year to concentrate solely on The Curtains. The band is touring right now and playing stuff from the new album. My good friend just saw them at Warehouse Nextdoor and says they totally kicked ass. Calamity will be released October 24.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Grates

Brisbane, Australia
The Grates seems to be quite the lively bunch, and we’re very lucky to have them playing a few U.S. dates the beginning of September. Gravity Won’t Get You High just came out today and I can’t recommend it enough. This stuff is for anyone who enjoys cutesy twee pop played by adorable Australians. Also, check out the video for "19-20-20."

Panda & Angel

Seattle, WA
Panda & Angel is yet another band that I only have an EP for and I can’t wait until they put out more. This Seattle group has signed to Jade Tree and their tour begins in just a few days. I’ll be waiting more than two months for the live show when they’re at The Talking Head Club on November 7 with Say Hi To Your Mom.


Umbrellas was formed in 2005 by Scott Windsor, lead man for The Lyndsay Diaries. Illuminaire is the band’s second album on The Militia Group label and it’s full of moody pop songs. The band is starting up a little tour the end of September, and I recommend checking them out if you like bands like Death Cab For Cutie.

Carina Round

United Kingdom
Carina Round has been listening to music ever since she received her first turntable at age five. Shortly thereafter she began playing and didn’t stop. Most easily compared to PJ Harvey, Carina plays bluesy-rock that remains passionate without being pretentious. Her third album, Slow Motion Addict, was just released by Interscope and she’s playing a few dates in California throughout September and October.

Professor Murder

New York City, NY
Professor Murder originally started out playing punk music but has recently found a more developed sound. Concentrating heavily on synthy melodies and dancey percussion, this NYC quartet churns out some of the hottest music I’m hearing right now. It’s a pleasant combination of post-punk and dancehall and should appeal to fans of LCD Soundsystem. Professor Murder Rides The Subway is the available now from Kanine Records.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bound Stems

Chicago, IL
Bound Stems has made one of the most impressive records of the year. The music is experimental while maintaining the true sensibility of pop, and the band has the same qualities I love about Broken Social Scene. Flameshovel is releasing Appreciation Night on Septemer 19 and Bound Stems is currently touring in support of the new disc. They’ll be in DC on September 4 at The Red And The Black.

Van She

Sydney, Australia
Listen to Van She and you can’t help but notice how they were obviously influenced by krautrock and other retro synth music. “Kelly” is such a great song, even if it does sound like something you’d hear in a bad 80s film. This band only has an EP out right now and they'll actually be in NYC for the CMJ Music Marathon. I highly recommend Van She if you’re into music like happier New Order.

Heartless Bastards

Cincinnati, OH
Heartless Bastards is bluesy garage rock with female vocals as pleasing as peach pie (cobbler if you prefer the cobbler). Cincinnati is quickly becoming one of my favorite cities, simply because of the rich musical diversity. This band has only been playing together since 2003 but sound like they have a lifetime of rehearsal. All This Time is their second album on Fat Possom and it just came out August 8.


New York City, NY
I saw Rahim play last night for the first time and it was an amazing set. The show at Black Cat was the last date of their tour with Aloha and it was a nice crowd for being a Sunday night. The music of Rahim is most easily categorized as lively post-punk, and the vocals are as smooth as a baby’s bottom. The band is signed to Frenchkiss Records and Ideal Lives is available now.

Final Fantasy

Toronto, ON
Final Fantasy is the solo brainchild of Owen Pallett, who also happens to be part of the Canadian super troop The Arcade Fire. Owen has been praised for his live performances where he plays the violin into a digital sampler and then controls it with foot pedals. I’m getting a chance to see him tonight at The Red And The Black. Also, his new album might win for best title of 2006. He Poos Clouds is out from Tomblab. Awww, pooing clouds…

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Eames Era

Baton Rouge, LA
The Eames Era is an up-tempo pop quintet from Baton Rouge. Their rhythms are lively and, although the lyrics are simple, the songs are never boring. The vocals of lead singer Ashlin Phillips have drawn numerous comparisons to those of Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley. The Eames Era released their debut record, Double Dutch, last year on C Student Records.

French Kicks

Brooklyn, NY
French Kicks is superb blend of garage rock and indie pop. Their latest album is heavily laced with rhythmic guitar and dramatic drum beats and nicely topped off with sublte keyboards. Two Thousand was released in July on Startime International, and the band recently made a video for “So Far We Are.” French Kicks are currently touring with The Little Ones, and I’m checking them out at Black Cat on October 3.

Dr. Octagon

Los Angeles, CA
Keith Thornton is Dr. Octagon and also goes by Kool Keith. He is known for his stream-of-consciousness rapping style and sincere lyrics. The Return Of Dr. Octagon is available now from OCD International. He is currently touring the U.S. and Canada with various supporting acts like Mr. Lif and Spank Rock.

Viva Voce

Portland, OR
Husband/wife team Kevin and Anita Robinson make up the duo Viva Voce. For just two people, this band has a remarkable sound. Their forth-coming album is full of acoustic energy and noisy confidence. Get Yr Blood Sucked Out will be out on September 12 from Barsuk and the couple will start touring with Silversun Pickups the end of September.

Silversun Pickups

Los Angeles, CA
I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but when I listen to Silversun Pickups I’m always reminded of early Smashing Pumpkins. Maybe it’s the distorted guitars and the raspy vocals. Whatever it is, it’s a good thing. This L.A. quartet just released Carnavas on Dangerbird Records last month and made a video for "Well Thought Out Twinkles.” I’m seeing them with Viva Voce at Iota on October 10.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Chalets

Dublin, Ireland
How can you not adore a band whose singers are named Pee Pee and Pony? Come on now, it's irresistible. Obviously, The Chalets have a lot of spunk and charisma. Their sense of style and their gritty music prove it. Their 2005 release, Check In, is an import from Setanta. Hear this one and I'm sure you'll fall in love.

Kaki King

New York City, NY
Kaki King has quite the uniqie style of playing guitar that combines fingertapping with slap-bass. Much of her latest release, …Until We Felt Red, focuses on instrumental acoustic guitar with singing on only a few of the tracks. She’s now touring the U.S. and Canada to promote her new album and playing with a full backing band for the first time. I'll be seeing her September 10 at The State Theatre.

Cassettes Won't Listen

New York
Cassettes Won’t Listen is the solo work of Jason Drake. He’s been damn busy these past few months whoring himself out to remix new songs for people like Midlake and Brookville and older stuff from bands like Morcheeba and Pavement. I’m still enjoying his EP that was released last October on Dope Lotus and I hope we get some new original material from him soon.

Boy Kill Boy

United Kingdom
Boy Kill Boy is definitely for anyone who likes upbeat danceable rock music like The Rakes or We Are Scientists. Civillian is their debut disc and it’s out right now on Island. Currently the band is relaxing before a fairly extensive tour across Europe in October and November. Make sure to check out “Suzie” – it’s for sure one of my favorite songs this year.

I'm From Barcelona

Jönköping, Sweden
Why not invite twenty-eight of your closest buddies over to make an album? That’s what Emanuel Lundgren of I’m From Barcelona did, and the indie kids are eatin’ it up like cheap birthday cake! Oh it’s true - the harmonies on Let Me Introduce You To My Friends give you quite the sugar rush. The album is full of horns, strings, bells, and even a kazoo. Woo hoo!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ra Ra Riot

Syracuse, NY
Ra Ra Riot is a seven-piece from Syracuse. I only have a demos CD with three tracks on it, and I need more! When you listen to these songs it’s easy to compare the band to The Arcade Fire. Who cares though, right? The Arcade Fire is a good band, and so is this one. I hear Ra Ra Riot puts on a really fun live set. They’ve booked themselves a nice little tour so try to check it out. I’m seeing them September 15 at The Red And The Black.

Lou Rhodes

United Kingdom
Lou Rhodes is the woman behind the distinct vocals of the duo Lamb. Although her solo work is not as tripped out with the drum and bass, I still think that if you are a fan of Lamb, you’ll appreciate Lou’s new disc. She started her own record label at the beginning of this year and released Beloved One in the UK.

Via Audio

Boston, MA
Via Audio is a sweet pop sensation. I first met them a couple years back when they did some touring with my friends in Headlights, and they are full of fun! The band recently recorded their full-length with Jim Eno of Spoon. I’m featuring a demo mp3 that will most likely be on that album. Also, watch the “Developing Active People” karaoke music video.


Stockholm, Sweden
Teddybears formed way back in 1991 and have made five albums over the course of fifteen years. They were originally a metal punk band but shifted their sound toward a more electronic feel for their third album. Soft Machine is the group’s fifth effort and contains the song “Cobrastyle,” which has been used in multiple commercials and a video game. Also, one of their members is part of The Caesars. Jerk it out!

The Scourge Of The Sea

Lexington, KY
The debut record from The Scourge Of The Sea is loaded with dreamy arrangements and catchy hooks. This is acoustic pop at its best. Make Me Armored came out last month on Alias Records and the band is touring like mad right now. I’ll be enjoying their live show at The Red And The Black tomorrow night. Check ‘em out if you fancy music like The Mountain Goats.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Poni Hoax

Paris, France
Good gawwwd! Where have I been for the past two months? I should have listened to the self-titled full-length from Poni Hoax as soon as I got it back in June. Anyway, I can’t recommend this one enough. You’ll be able to find something you enjoy whether you jive to the newer beats like The Knife or The Rapture or if you’re still hung up on timeless bands like Talking Heads. The vocals are unique and the music is on fire! You can (and you should) order the CD directly from Tigersushi.


Seattle, WA
BOAT is amazing. Amazing! Just throw in a damn glockenspiel throughout your album, and you have me hooked! Alright… it takes a little more than that, but I do love the bells. This band is so fun and rhythmic. A lot of their debut disc, Songs That You Might Not Like, reminds me of Spencer Krug bands like Wolf Parade or Sunset Rubdown.

Tiger Lou

Stockholm, Sweden
“Before I fall, I want to taste it all.” I’m not sure what exactly he’s wanting to taste, and I don’t even care. The way Rasmas Kellerman of Tiger Lou sings that line about 2:15 into “Patterns” gives me goosebumps. I love when that happens just from a few notes or one line of a song. There’s nothing else like it. The Loyal is the latest album from Tiger Lou, and you can get it from Parasol.

The Album Leaf

San Diego, CA
The Album Leaf is Jimmy Lavalle. The new album is called Into The Blue Again, and it’s out via Sub Pop on September 12. Just like his three previous releases, it’s full of dreamy electronic soundscapes and very nice to relax with or fall asleep to. I suggest checking this out if you’re into stuff like Tristeza, which happens to be another band Jimmy used to be in.

The Ditty Bops

Los Angeles, CA
Mmm bop, The Ditty Bops. Bicycle riding lesbians. Could it get any better than that, people? I think not. Abby DeWald and Amanda Barrett make up this duo, and together they create beautiful contemporary folk pop music. I’m fortunate enough to be seeing them play tonight at Jammin’ Java. Check out their MySpace page to see if they’re going to be near you!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Elephant Parade

Brooklyn, NY
Just look at that picture. How adorable are they?! Estelle and Ido of Elephant Parde met at an 80s party in New York’s east village. The two instantly bonded over music and started recording last year. They used only PC-chat microphones and freeware audio software to make songs most often described as lo-fi dream pop. The product, Bedroom Recordings, was self-released this past April.


Richmond, VA / Chicago, IL
If you were a serious Denali fan like myself, you probably already know about Ambulette. If you were a fan but aren’t aware, it’s time to get excited! Three of Denali’s final members make up Ambulette. Their debut EP is entitled The Lottery and is named after that fun little short story from Shirley Jackson. The five songs on this disc are loaded with heavy guitar, and the hypnotic vocals from Maura Davis are simply unforgettable. I highly recommend this if you like artists like PJ Harvey.

Ellen Allien

Berlin, Germany
The latest from Ellen Allien is a collaboration with her ex-beau electronic extraordinaire Apparat. Rather than just being all about the techno, Orchestra Of Bubbles is a record with real depth and emotion. Apparat helped out on Allien’s 2003 release Berlinette and it’s great to hear how well the two still work together three years later.

Captain Of Industry

Dayton, OH
Captain Of Industry is a quartet from Dayton, Ohio. By combining a little garage rock with some new-wave and punk, the band is able to create a sound that is all their own. The Great Divide is their second album and is full of melodic danceable rock. It’s available now on Do Tell Records.


Reykjavík, Iceland
Oh Icelandic electronic pop! Eberg is Einar Tonsberg, and his music is wonderfully weird. “Love Your Bum” is track #1 on his latest disc, Voff Voff. Have you heard a better song title today? I think not. If you can come up with something better, please let me know. Sadly, Eberg’s CDs are UK imports only right now. Or you can get it through iTunes if that’s your thing.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Venice Is Sinking

Athens, GA
Do you ever hear a song and you just can’t get enough of it? That’s the way I feel about “Arkansas” by Venice Is Sinking, which undoubtedly reminds me of Low. The powerful vocals of Daniel Lawson lead the track, and they are perfectly echoed by Karolyn Troupe. This dreamy pop sound is representative of Sorry About The Flowers in its entirety. Venice Is Sinking is definitely not one you want to let pass by.

My Brightest Diamond

Brooklyn, NY
Shara Worden is the brilliance behind My Brightest Diamond. She studied opera in college and then learned classical string arrangements from Padma Newsome of Clogs. However, there is more of a rock vibe to most of the songs on Bring Me The Workhouse, out today from Asthmatic Kitty. Coincidentally (but maybe not really such a coincidence), Shara also acts as a member of Sufjan's Illinoisemakers. I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!!!


Washington, DC
As a DC band, Cedars has had some pretty sweet gigs this summer. Just last month they played with Lake Trout and Editors at 9:30 Club. Tonight they’re opening up for Dirty On Purpose at Black Cat. The new self-released EP is called Another Season, and I recommend Cedars if you enjoy bands like Doves. Oh, delicious rock!

Cut Chemist

Los Angeles, CA
Cut Chemist is Lucas MacFadden is a turntable genius. Although he’s well known for being part of Jurassic 5, his solo debut contains a number of impressive tracks that range from samba to surf rock. The most notable is the boss-nova style of "The Garden." The Audience’s Listening is available now from Warner Bros.

The Tyde

Los Angeles, CA
The Tyde has created an album full of infectious indie pop gems. Rough Trade is putting out Three’s Co. one week from today (August 29), and the band has made a fun beach video for the song “Brock Landers.” I’ve chosen to feature a James Figurine remix of one of the album’s best tracks.