Friday, March 30, 2007

More of Everything

Although I'm always quick to embrace an excellent new single, I'm really a connoisseur of the quintessential quality album at heart. It's no wonder then that I'm a huge Band of Horses fan. Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke were responsible for one of my favourite albums of 2006: Everything All The Time. I loved every single track; 'Funeral' and 'The Great Salt Lake' especially were in heavy rotation throughout the year.
Well, the boys will be back in the studio after completing their current tour and plan to release their sophomore album later this year. Nothing new has made its way onto the Interweb yet, but as tracks become available Bridging the Atlantic will be among the first to let you know. For now, I've managed to scrounge up a few BOH rarities you may not have heard. The live studio cuts of 'Wicked Gil' and 'I Lost My Dingle On The Red Line' are pensive and charming; this version of 'Wicked Gil' drastically differs from the album as it seems about 30% slower and 80% sadder. 'The End's Not Near' is a typical instantly catchy, irresistably relistenable Band of Horses track that feels like it would have fit perfectly in the middle section of Everything All The Time.
I've heard from a variety of sources that Bridwell purposely applied layers of effects to his vocals on EATT as he was not confident in his vocal skills. However, his voice comes through clean on these tracks and he really needn't have worried - it's excellent. I'm very much looking forward to seeing them here in London on May 22nd.

Band of Horses - Funeral (Original Version)
Band of Horses - Wicked Gil (Alternate Version)
Band of Horses - I Lost My Dingle On The Red Line
Band of Horses - The End's Not Near

-Andrew M

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Disco? Disco.

I've always had a soft spot for good disco music. Growing up listening to my parents' ABBA records paved the way for an appreciation of Donna Summer and Kool and the Gang, among others. More recently, groups like Scissor Sisters and the Rapture have incorporated elements of dance music some would regard as good ol' disco, and now Sally Shapiro has attempted to help resurrect the much adored/despised genre back with her 2006 album Disco Romance. Not much is known about Ms. Shapiro (she does few interviews and almost nil publicity) but I managed to discover that she's shy, doesn't play live, and Sally Shapiro isn't her real name. Oh Sally . . .

Sally Shapiro - I'll Be By Your Side
Sally Shapiro - I Know

-Andrew M

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Remix Sunday

Grizzly Bear + Tears For Fears + Clipse + Girl Talk = ? Mashup master Girl Talk actually creates something functional and cohesive by combining these disparate sounds, taking Grizzly Bear’s ‘Knife’ to new territory with vocal cuts from ‘Wamp Wamp’ by Clipse and 80s electro percussion courtesy of Tears For Fears. This one may take a while to grow on you, so don’t be afraid to listen to it more than a few times.

Grizzly Bear – Knife
Grizzly Bear – Knife (Girl Talk Remix)

-Andrew M

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It Felt Like We Were Running All The Time

When Voxtrot frontman Ramesh Srivastava mouths the words "we get bored of weakness all the time" on album opener "Introduction," there is little doubt if he means it. Voxtrot are a good band, soon to be great based on the expected acclaim for their self-titled debut full length. The "Introduction" here is one of steadily building momentum and visions of rock grandeur. They have the chops on their instruments, insight in their lyrics, and an odd Texan charm which carries more eloquence than that of dubya and his breed. There's a certain undefinable quality about well constructed songs in any genre of music, and Voxtrot have found it. The drum beat that begins skipping along turns into a heavy stomp while the lyrics leave little room for self-deprecation: "I wouldn't give one ugly moment, I wrap it up, I keep it in my sock." And when he proudly pronounces that "your sun sets when my sun starts to shine," and the guitars gain the spotlight for the song's booming finish, I wonder if anybody could not enjoy this. That's the feeling obtained from most-to-all of this album, a highly recommended purchase for 2007. If it means anything, this is an album I want to own a copy of come May 22nd.

Voxtrot - Introduction
Voxtrot - Every Day

- Brad

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Raking It In

Like the Strokes? You’ll like the Rakes. It’s that simple. The London band has been getting a fair bit of attention on this side of the pond since their album, Ten New Messages, was released on March 19th. Chock full of danceable, infectious tracks with names like ‘When Tom Cruise Cries’, how could you go wrong?

The Rakes – We Danced Together
The Rakes – Suspicious Eyes

-Andrew M

Monday, March 19, 2007

Wake Up Call

I caught Arcade Fire last Wednesday at Brixton Academy and they were - you guessed it - amazing. The venue was buzzing with feverish energy for the band's first performance of a four-night stint here in London and a strong performance by opener Patrick Wolf only left the crowd pining for what everyone had shown up for: the most heavily touted indie band in the world. How things have changed since I first saw Win & Co in Montreal two years ago when touring in support of their debut album. That night they opened a mind-blowing show with my then-favourite song, 'Wake Up'. This time it was the closing song to one of the best shows I've seen since my arrival in London. How appropriate.

Arcade Fire - Wake Up (live)

-Andrew M

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Remix Sunday

Welcome to the first installment of Remix Sundays. Each and every week Bridging the Atlantic will bring you a high-calibre remix, along with the equally high-calibre original version. We'll strive to present remixes that elude most listeners and are a marked departure from the inspiring track. For the first ever Remix Sunday, I present a bold reworking of Tegan & Sara's 'Walking With a Ghost' by Miami Horror. Miami Horror is the project of Melbourne resident Ben Plant and his debut album Bravado is due to be released shortly; he describes the upcoming album as "the epic, missionary 80's disco soundtrack of summer." Bring it on.

Tegan & Sara - Walking With a Ghost
Tegan & Sara - Walking With a Ghost (Miami Horror Remix)

-Andrew M

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ankle Injuries

Maybe the reason why the new album is entitled Transparent Things is because after one listen, I immediately discerned that Fujiya & Miyagi listened to quite a bit of Hot Chip, Junior Boys, and other popular-of-late chilled contemporaries while jamming out ideas for this newest full-length. If they didn't, well, it sounds great anyhow.

Most songs on this understated release carry subdued and often whispered vocals, which, aligned with funky, rhythmic bass lines, have led me to make the above comparisons. This being said, the majority of the album's tracks are minimal compared to the amount of layers and instruments incorporated by their peers, a trait best exemplified on leading track "Ankle Injuries" and "Conductor 71." On the other hand, the aforementioned funk does eventually surface in the second half, most easily identified on "In One Ear & Out The Other." Hopefully the irony is purposeful as the groove tends to stick in your head. There is a similarly clear intent in all of the album's instrumentation and knob-twiddling, leaving listeners with a carefully constructed effort that should be considered among the best of its kind thus far in '07.

Fujiya & Miyagi - Ankle Injuries
Fujiya & Miyagi - Conductor 71

Speaking of Hot Chip:
Amy Winehouse - Rehab (Hot Chip Remix)

- Brad

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hot Pepper

Yet another group hailing from the dynamic Montreal scene (although originally from Guelph, Ontario), The Dymaxions' debut album How The Sick May Help Themselves clocks in at just under 23 minutes. But don't let the short track lengths deter you - each of the 10 tracks is a sweet and succinct little gem. 'Hard Rock In Shallow Waters' is insanely catchy and the massive guitar hook that closes out 'Birdwatching (I Was A Teenage Zombie)' will leave you yearning for more. Alas, the group called it quits in late 2006. However, the album can still be purchased directly from their website or through CD BABY. Better news yet, former Dymaxions bandmaster Gregory Pepper has just released a new album titled Gregory Pepper & His Problems. Word on the street is that this album is just as engaging as any of the output from Pepper's Dymaxions days, and I'll try and post a few tracks ASAP. For now, try these:

Dymaxions - Birdwatching (I Was A Teenage Zombie)
Dymaxions - Hard Rock In Shallow Waters

Gregory Pepper - Baron Blood (sorry for the .wma format, I'm living in the past minus itunes - Brad)

- Andrew M

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fine Beats

The creative forces behind Bridging the Atlantic are big fans of electro/guitar duo Ratatat. That being said, it should come as no surprise that we’re all waiting with bated breath for Remixes Vol. II. For those unfamiliar with Ratatat’s Remixes mixtape project, our boys take classic and contemporary rap tracks, strip away everything musical to render them a cappella, and add their own brand of beats and riffs. The results are glorious. Volume I included reworks of tracks by Method Man, Kanye West, G-Unit and Missy Elliott, among others.

When a mysterious collection of 9 Beats attributed to Ratatat surfaced in October of last year, we couldn’t help but think that these tantalising samples were destined for remix greatness. Now, as completed compositions from Volume II begin to hit the streets, it would appear that we were right.

'Track Six' from the 9 Beats leak backs '3 Kings' to great effect:
Ratatat – Track Six
Slim Thug, Bun B. & T. I. – 3 Kings (Ratatat Remix)

Remixes Vol. I was self-released by the band and sold at live shows; expect the same protocol for Vol. II. If that alone isn’t reason enough to catch Ratatat in concert, rest assured that they put on an absolutely killer show. They rocked the house at Madame Jojo’s here in London last month, and I’ll be catching them again with CSS on April 23rd. Once is never enough.

Notorious B.I.G. - Party and Bullshit (Ratatat Remix)

- Andrew M

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

North American Scum

LCD Soundsystem, for those unfamiliar, are North American scum. But man, can they get the kids dancing. DFA Records co-founder James Murphy fronts the group which seamlessly blends dance-punk with elements of electronic and disco. Murphy and company create something that owes a lot to its influences while managing to bring something that is fresh and not too derivative.

Sound of Silver, the group's sophomore album, is set for release March 20 with a worldwide tour currently underway in Europe. The album leaked in December, but it's going to be in high rotation for a while - mind you, I'm a huge fan of pretty much anything that has the Murphy/DFA tag attached. LCD Soundsystem will make us North American scum shake our hips after a pair of NYC shows and a Coachella appearance at the end of April. I'm going to become a disco infiltrator at their Toronto show May 8.

For your listening pleasure:

LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends

From LCD Soundsystem (2005):
LCD Soundsystem - On Repeat

UPDATE: As of yesterday, Sound of Silver can be streamed in its entirety on LCD Soundsystem's MySpace page. One of my favourite tracks thus far is the uncharacteristically down-tempo ballad 'New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down' that sounds like a lost track from the Magnetic Fields album 69 Love Songs. - Andrew M.

LCD Soundsystem - New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

Buy music from LCD Soundsystem and others found on bridgingtheatlantic at Insound or your cool, local store.

- Keep it real. Andrew W.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Daylight Storms

In my sloppiest criminal efforts to download the new Air album, I found myself with a copy of Air Formation's Daylight Storms. Whether it be My Bloody Valentine, Ride, The Jesus and Mary Chain, or more recently, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, shoegazer-type rock bands have always appealed to the daydreaming depths of my mind. Listening to Sussex's Air Formation temporarily transforms life into a Sofia Coppola movie, as time tends to slow down with songs this drenched in reverb and atmosphere. Maybe it's because it reached a cool -25 today with the wind chill or perhaps it's because I'm feeling particularly contemplative, but either way this brand of slow-building guitar rock is suiting me well at the moment.

By the way, Air's new release Pocket Symphony looks promising but I've yet to hear it. Perhaps the next post?

Air Formation - Tidal
Air Formation - Daylight Storms

- Brad

Monday, March 05, 2007

Learning to Love Country?

Well not exactly. I've always held strong opposition to country music if it didn't come in the form of Johnny Cash. Besides the man in black, I've always detested country music's often depressing/over-emotional lyrics combined with the twang that accompanies it. Sure, I'm generalizing but I'm allowed to not like things for poor reasons - who's to stop me?

Just as electronic music has stolen my heart over the past years, I see my defences weakening to the 'alternative country' of Wilco. I've heard of the rock act from Chicago for several years, but the mere fact that they were labelled as an 'alt-country' act completely turned me off. Friends of mine who are more alligned with the guitar-side of music have urged me to check them out, but it wasn't until Wilco dropped a few new tracks that I took notice. Sure, I'd heard that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was a great album but I'll admit that I'd never listened to it until last week. By the way, what a good cd. It's not my usual colour of music, but I enjoyed it none the less.

However, it's Wilco's new songs that got me into that 'classic' album. They have reminded me why I used to love guitar rock. 'You Are My Face' begins with a gentle guitar and vocal harmony that really gets going at about the 1:30 mark when the band kicks in with a little guitar solo. My stance on guitar solos since my departure from the realm of classic rock listening has shifted to see them, essentially, as musical bullshit. This song has helped me enjoy a good guitar solo because not only is it not an excuse for wankery but it fuels the song. Maybe this is one of those personal experiences people have with music, but it's forced me to recommend this track to everyone. I haven't heard all of Sky Blue Sky, but I'm sure it'll make some noise when it comes out May 15. I'll be too busy seeing Arcade Fire in Toronto.

Wilco - You Are My Face
Wilco - Walken

On an unrelated sidenote, I love this track:

Enjoy yourself. Hype Machine these bands for more music.
-Andrew W.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Gonna Work It Out

Okey dokey. Neon Bible, Arcade Fire’s new album, is to be officially released tomorrow. If you don’t know who Arcade Fire is, or why every indie kid and music aficionado in general is going gaga over the Montreal collective’s latest offering, I guess you’ve been living under a rock for some time now. So get out from under your rock, find a record store, and buy Neon Bible tomorrow. You won’t be disappointed, promise. BBC Radio 1 will not stop raving about the quality of the album, the Observer has accorded Neon Bible a perfect 5-star review, and Pitchfork has blessed it with a solid 8.4 rating.
And just when did the band go from being called “The Arcade Fire” to simply “Arcade Fire”? Perhaps it’s all a clever ruse to garner A-list status in record shop alphabetical filing systems. Hmmmm . . .

Arcade Fire – Ocean of Noise
Arcade Fire – Keep the Car Running

-Andrew M

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I've always enjoyed Kings of Leon and their southern rock. Understanding that it's a bit of a music writer's convention to say so and so band sounds like they're from another generation, it's still quite true with the band from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. The drawl/guitar is as good on new album Because of the Times as it has been on the two previous albums. "True Love Way" is the standout for me, but lead single "On Call" and misspelled, pasta-ready "Ragoo" is also jiving with something upstairs. I just wanted to somehow incorporate the word jiving, sorry.

Kings of Leon - On Call
Kings of Leon - True Love Way
Kings of Leon - Ragoo

Maximo Park want two dots on top of the lonely lower case I in their name. I say tough shit, you have to earn it. That being said, they are well on their way to that dot duplicate. Though they, like Kings of Leon seem to have been frozen from 25 or so years ago. Here's a new one with a chorus on par with anything they've done before:

Maximo Park - Our Velocity
(courtesy of: Can you see the sunset from the southside?)

- Brad

Friday, March 02, 2007

Les Ed Bangers

Ed Banger Records is home to some of Bridging the Atlantic's favourite artists at the moment. The French label is run by Busy P, Daft Punk's manager, and hosts a stable of talented electro acts including Justice, SebastiAn, DJ Mehdi, Mr Flash, Zongamin and Uffie. The entire crew will soon be on the move; the Ed Banger North American Tour takes place March 23rd to 31st and includes stops in Toronto and Montreal.

Justice - Phantom
Justice vs Simian - We Are Your Friends
SebastiAn - Ross Ross Ross
DJ Mehdi - I Am Somebody (ft. Chromeo)
Mr Flash - Disco Dynamite
Zongamin - Bongo Song
Uffie - Pop the Glock

UPDATE!!! If there is one song you NEED to get your hands on, it is this hot new number from Justice, D.A.N.C.E. from their forthcoming disc. This track has been floating around the blog galaxy (blogosphere, anyone?) for a couple weeks now but it was just a shitty BBC Rip. Who can deny the combo of grimy disco and a British children's choir? Well here it is, one of 2007's first great party tracks (that wasn't leaked last fall). -Andrew W.

Justice - D.A.N.C.E.

- the Andrews

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Fire It Up

It’s hard to believe these guys have been around for over 10 years. We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, Modest Mouse’s fifth album, will be released March 20th. However, thanks to the magic of the Internet many fans have got a few listens in already. Although there has been much talk about how different this album is from its predecessors, it still sounds like the Mouse I know and love. A nautical theme runs through the album, as does Isaac Brock’s usual blend of despair and sarcasm. The video for first single 'Dashboard' is swell:

As I’m sure everyone has already heard ‘Dashboard’, here are two other tracks from We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank:

Modest Mouse – People As Places As People
Modest Mouse – Fire It Up

- Andrew (the one in London)