We love the brotherly trio Pontiak and their individualistic take on pulverising psych-rock that rears its head once again with the magnificent, no-holds-barred assault of Lions Of Least. It comes from their forthcoming new album Echo Ono, which is out on the 21st February via Thrill Jockey.
Secret Colours were one of our favourite discoveries of last year. The Chicago quintet channels the finest of the greats of late ’60s psychedelia, ’90s newgaze reverence, and a touch of driving, bucolic, no frills RnR straight from the greasiest of garages.
The band released their eponymous debut in the summer of 2010 with high praise from countless blogs (including this one) and alternative newsweeklies with acute tastes. They kept the momentum going with a series of digital singles, including a faithful yet distinct cover of The Beatles’Tomorrow Never Knows and the brilliant Follow The Drone, one of our favourite tracks of the year. After pummeling various audiences with their wall of sound at South By Southwest, they hit the studio to produce their new recorded statement to the world, EP3 – a five-song collection that showcases Secret Colours’ maturity and ability to hone in their craft.
Lead song Faust is as lush and dynamic as anything they’ve ever done. These guys are the real deal – you need this track.
For fans of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Roky, and Spiritualized, EP3 will be released on January 1st 2012.
We’ve posted a couple of times this year about the country-ish, brother and sister duo The Breedings and this is their latest offering Everything You Wanted, which is available for a while, completely free. It is another cut from their very fine and sneakily beguiling album Laughing At Luck.
Punk-blues-rock trashman James Leg of The Black Diamond Heavies will be closing out 2011 with a series of live dates – to mark the tour he has made another track from his excellent solo album Solitary Pleasure available for free download.
The highly contagious and infectious Little Comets have unveiled His Thunder, a brand new track from their forthcoming Worry EP, out December 12th on Dirty Hit. Think art-rock meets folk in a battle for world domination…
The two tracks on Pennsylvanian acoustic orchestra i am Love’s forthcoming Truest 7 inch represent both the personal and the global sides of revolution. The beautifully paced ebb and flow of the rich, thoughtful title track, written by band leader Joshua Christopher after a near-fatal car accident, celebrates a return to life after tragedy.
The B-side, Trumpets and Cliffs is more anthemic, a clarion call to action that could make it the theme song of the current Occupy Movement. The two songs together show the spectrum of what the self-described folkster band can do with the wide array of instruments including trumpets and flugelhorn at their disposal.
Yesterday American quartet Filligar released The Nerve, their eighth album (despite none of the band being over the age of 24), and their first studio album to get a UK release.
It is a rock-solid (no pun intended) collection of classic tunes, from the urgent, anthemic Health with its nod to the halcyon days of the 60s and 70s to the piano led sing-a-long of Guilty Good Intentions and the classic revivalist stomper Resurrection Song.
Grab yourself the upbeat organ fuelled, soul-tinged rock of Not Gonna Settle and pick up the album from all good digital retailers.
Weald is the first LP by Rob St. John, released last week on gatefold 12” vinyl by Song, by Toad Records – we’ve posted about him before and it is great to see he has now got a full length album out.
Even better that he should have delivered a record of such outstanding quality that puts many of the so called bigger names in the alt-folk and singer songwriter arenas to shame. From the catchy, but fragile opener ThePhantom Limb to the raw textures of The Acid Test and the spine tingling despair of Vanishing Points there isn’t a wasted note or moment on the whole record, and listening to it is a powerful and mesmerising experience.
And then there is the taster track Sargasso Sea – a simply stunning excursion into a shifting, twilight world that slowly builds on the back of a sparse, plucked guitar and almost spoken vocals into a swirling, epic peak of rhythmic guitars and cracked vocal harmonies – superb.
Apparently, The Sargasso Sea is a still, eerie region of the Western Atlantic Ocean, a dead eddy held by curling oceanic currents. If so, it now has the perfect soundtrack.
Buy the vinyl from Song By Toad here, or download via Amazon here.
At the end of the year in 2007, Okkervil River released Golden Opportunities Mixtape, a free EP intended as a gift to fans. This year, the band continues that tradition in the sequel release Golden Opportunities 2, which both hearkens back to the original release and varies the formula.
Like its predecessor, Golden Opportunities 2 is a series of conceptually-related covers, this time by lesser-known musicians’ musicians such as Motown session player Ted Lucas, the 1980’s Australian band the Triffids, and the mysterious L.A. singer-songwriter Jim Sullivan, who vanished in the New Mexico desert in 1975. In contrast to the intricate arrangements and detailed production of this year’s excellent full-length Okkervil release I Am Very Far, the new EP was recorded entirely live to two-track tape in one day at the Austin studio Premium Recording. The resulting EP showcases a band with a loose-limbed casualness after a year spent on the road. A hazy mystery hangs over these songs, which are evocative on their own but, when collected together, add up to something greater and stranger than the sum of their parts.
As with the first Golden Opportunities, this new release is available compeltely for free on the Okkervil River website – just click here. It can be downloaded in both MP3 and lossless formats.
Need convincing, try a track below:
Download Okkervil River – Plan D mp3 (from Golden Opportunities 2 EP)
We’ve been meaning to post this for a while, Jamie N Commons is a singer-songwriter from Bristol who released his EP TheBaron last month.
Contrary to what you might expect a singer-songwriter from Bristol to deliver, lead single The Preacher is an authentic hellfire and damnation slab of dusty, desolate blues that calls to mind Johnny Cash jamming with Nick Cave. Make no mistake this is music swamped in the dark, gothic traditions of the deep south, made to be hollered out in backwoods and on back porches. One to keep any eye out for!