Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Live Review: Tom Brosseau

Entering the lavish surroundings of the Bush Hall auditorium, with its glistening chandeliers and circular tables protected by rouge tablecloths, BTA feels more like we've stumbled into an awards ceremony than a gig. Taking our seats, we settle down for an evening of high culture. Proceedings kick off with the charming Gaelic folk of Alasdair Roberts and the neo-classical Essie Jain, leaving us struggling to recall the last time we were in a room containing both a grand piano and a cello.

The main attraction for tonight though is to hear Tom Brosseau showcase tracks from his soon to be released LP, Posthumous Success. Our relationship with this bewitching blues-folk album has unfolded over time ranging from initial indifference to absolute submission by tonight. In person the impact is more immediate, where his uniqueness and eccentricity comes to the fore. Looking terrified on stage, dressed head to toe in blue denim, he appropriately plays "Favourite Colour Blue" early on in the set. Two versions of the song bookend the latest album, although sadly he chooses not to divulge the explanation behind this tonight. The song's most memorable for the subject matter, focusing around a dream involving a certain ex-Nirvana drummer being trapped in chains and forced to drum for Hole. The set is peppered with similarly entertaining lyrics, such as on the biting yet uplifting "Axe and Stomp":

See that one over there thinks he rules the roost / Little devil's got the nerve to call himself bruised / And I'm running around in circles like the world's biggest chump / Oh just wait till I get you between the axe and the stomp

This combination of poignant lyrics with delicate guitar arrangements and Tom's fragile croon lie at the heart of his appeal. As a finale he ventures among us, standing on chair to sing a captivating acoustic Tom Waits cover. With the talent on show tonight, the lyrics to his latest single deserve to be prophetic:

Winds of fortune / Are present every step I climb / I'm ready for the big time

Posthumous Success is released 11th May on FatCat Records

Tom Brosseau - Favourite Colour Blue

Inbox Wednesday: Army Navy

Introducing Army Navy and their track "My Thin Sides" that caught my attention upon first listen.  Toe-tapping, hip-shifting pop music, it's infectious grooves are sure to tickle any ear.
Los Angeles' Army Navy play pleasing 60's-inspired music, simplistic and sincere.  Band leader Justin Kennedy's CV boasts a side project with Ben Gibbard; in today's indie-cred war, that's pretty solid.
Admittedly behind the times on this one, there's no shame in discovering good music.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Let's Pretend It's Friday Five!

With tracks this great all wrapped up in one simple download, hopefully you'll forgive our tardiness...

Download Here

Golden Silvers - True Romance
These guys have been an ever-presence inside the London hype machine for well over a year, and I finally understand why. This is as close to 80s throwback indie dance perfection as you can get.

Local Natives - World News
This band keep reappearing on the write-ups of those lucky enough to attend this year's SXSW and for once the buzz sounds justified. They've got the harmonies of Fleet Foxes, with the accessibility of Vampire Weekend or Born Ruffians. Oh and they've associated themselves with Simon & Garfunkel which is an instant ticket to success at the moment.

Screaming Lights - GMN
Even though excessive consumption will no doubt rot my teeth, I'm completely hooked on this. When it first caught my ear I was convinced it was the new Pendulum release which probably tells you all you need to know.

Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard - Broken Broken Broken Heart
"Em Are I"hosts by far the most musically palatable creations so far from the New York anti-folker. This is my favourite track due to it's touching emotional insecurity compared with the optimistic soundtrack, epitomised by the handclaps and immediate chorus.

Bill Callahan - My Friend
Bill's latest LP"Sometimes I Wish I Was An Eagle" was my first introduction to the former "Smog" artist. I'm a sucker for gravelly Jonny Cash esque vocals like these and Bill's have a unique quality of making life play in slow motion as I listen transfixed. A remarkable feat.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Five

2009 is shaping up to be a banner year musically. Some selections from noteworthy recent releases:

Fever Ray - Seven
Sure, Sweden's The Knife may currently be "on hiatus", but for me Karin Dreijer Andersson's debut solo album as Fever Ray is The Knife's new album.

Metric - Waves

Although I really enjoyed Emily Haines' 2006 solo effort Knives Don't Have Your Back I've had high hopes for a new Metric LP for almost 4 years now. Released this Tuesday, Fantasies was worth the wait. 'Waves' is not actually on the album itself but was made available as a bonus when ordering from

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Cold Spring

Yet another NYC indie rock band, Cymbals Eat Guitars released their debut album Why There Are Mountains independently in January and have since received praise from just about every indie music media outlet and countless comparisons to Modest Mouse and Pavement. They deserve the praise (if not the comparisons) - the album is fantastic.

Junior Boys - Work
Album number three from Hamilton-based electro duo Junior Boys was released on March 24th and after a few cursory listens is standing up pretty well in comparison to 2006's excellent (and Polaris Prize nominated) So This Is Goodbye. 'Work' is easily my favourite track.

Camera Obscura - Honey in the Sun
My Maudlin Career, the fourth album from Glasgow's Camera Obscura, will officially be available on April 20th but unsurprising leaked a few weeks ago. The single (and first track) 'French Navy' has already been getting decent exposure here in the UK and is set for release on Monday. It's stellar, but then the album is filled with highlights including the title track, 'You Told A Lie', and closer 'Honey in the Sun'.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Inbox Wednesday: HotKid

We receive several submissions for Inbox Wednesday everyday and sometimes it's tough to sift through them all.  After listening to a few it's interesting to see what pops out. 
HotKid is one of those groups that stuck out.  Maybe it's the lack of synths, beats, or anything electronic; could it be that we've forgotten what rock sounds like...I think not.  
It seems that it's less common to come across bands this raw.  HotKid is a two-piece; guitar and drums is all they need to make an impact.  After listening to the few tracks forwarded to BTA, I can't wait for the chance to see this group live.
Check out a couple tracks here and their new video shot by Matt Finlin of Finkle Films.