Thursday, August 30, 2012

Newsflash!: Win Tickets to The Spring Standards @ Red Palace 9/20!

Do you like The Spring Standards? Of COURSE you do! And do you want to win a pair of tickets to see the very same Spring Standards beautifully and tenderly tear the roof off the Red Palace on September 20th? Of COURSE you do! Lucky for you, your ladyfriend here has such a pair to give you!

That's right, my loves, you could be as gleeful as young Charlie (old school or new school) when he unwrapped his Golden Ticket to begin his Wonka-tastic journey. But you won't even have to buy any Wonka bars to have a chance at these tickets, y'all. Just tell me why you are deserving of such a wonderful, joyous prize. That's it! Email me your best prose on the subject no later than noon on 9/19 to be entered. Bonus points, naturally, for creativity.

Here's a little SS goodness to get your creative juices good and flowing.

mp3: Heavy Home (The Spring Standards from Yellow/Gold)

The Untitled Interview #184 - Hopscotch Edition: Starring Jeffrey Silverstein (Secret Mountains)

As y’all know, I had a rather enjoyable time down in Raleigh last year for my first ever Hopscotch, and it was so very good that I just had to go back again this year! The lineup looks frighteningly good, which means that yours truly will be making some seriously difficult decisions about how to spend her time. And of course, I had to get in touch with some folks that I was super excited about getting a chance to see in this installment of the festival. If you’ll be down for Hopscotch this year, make sure you keep these bands on your radar. And now, friends, let's get into it with this year's INTERVIEWSCOTCH!

There's really no better place to start than one of Baltimore's finest, Secret Mountains. The smoky, homespun psychsters are starting to cause a little bit of an attention ruckus, and I must say it's incredibly well-deserved (and about damn time). Mr. Jeffrey Silverstein took some time to answer all those burning festivalian questions, which you can check out below. And if you see him in Raleigh, odds are good he'll be accompanied by chicken on a stick. Stay tuned for more out of me about these folks in the future, too.

Fuzzy Logic: How are you getting to Hopscotch: plane, train, or automobile?
Jeffrey Silverstein: 2004 Toyota Camry.

FL: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
JS: A capo and a toothbrush.

FL: How many shows/parties will you be playing?
JS: 2 (Anyone want us to come play at their house?).

FL: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
JS: Four way tie between Matthew E. White, Mark McGuire, Megafaun and all our Baltimore friends.

FL: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Raleigh?
JS: Try to find the rest of my bandmates.

FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
JS: Probably either Warped Tour or Skate and Surf in Asbury Park, NJ.

FL: Favorite thing about festivals?
JS: Chicken on a stick.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Video Vixens: Young Prisms

We've all seen them, videos that either don't go with the song they're a clip for, or are so bad you can't pay attention to the song in question. Thankfully, this is not the case with the new promo from my beloved San Fran psychgazers Young Prisms.

For new jam "Midnight's When," the band shows off both the song and a video that lets the song do the work while creating an atmosphere that all the while contributes to the overall effect. The simple tricks of slow-motion running through fog and tight shots of the band playing with fog machine in overdrive don't overwhelm the song, itself a lovely, laconic effort full of the masterful nouveau gaze tipsy with psych that we all know and love. Well played indeed.

PS: The band will be spending plenty of time on the road over the next few months, so keep your eyes peeled for dates.

The Good Ship Rediscovery: Louis XIV - The Best Little Secrets Are Kept

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

[Ed. note - this review was never ever published! It's from the archives, way on the heck back there. Minor edits. An oldie but a goodie. Enjoy!] Louis XIV is the musical embodiment of an over-sexed, very naughty Catholic schoolgirl who is forever getting into trouble for her too-short skirt and smoking in the girls' room. But then, one really shouldn't have expected otherwise from a band named after a notoriously horny monarch. And the lust-laden apple hasn't fallen far from the tree.

The cover art of their major label debut, The Best Little Secrets Are Kept, features the rear end of a naked lady leaning against a wall, song titles handwritten on her back. The lustiness carries over into the songs themselves: pure bursts of sex-crazed, danceably trashy glam rock that are so tuneful you almost don't notice when singer-producer-lothario Jason Hill tries to get into your pants. The boys of Louis XIV are irrepressibly sexy and they know it. They've got you right where they want you from the opening strings of "Louis XIV," and by the closing notes of "Ball of Twine" you'll be begging for more.

The album starts off with a bang, with the lyrical boast "I'm a weapon of mass destruction," sung in Hill's patented threateningly seductive style on "Louis XIV." Thankfully, the goods to back up this statement abound. Not only is Hill a weapon of mass destruction, but a weapon of mass seduction as well. The ten tracks are rife with saucy innuendo, from "show me yours babe and I'll show you mine ("Paper Doll")" to "we don't have to go to the pool if you want me to make you wet ("Pledge of Allegiance")." There's a veritable smorgasbord of come-on lines, many occurring in Louis XIV's own homage to "(I Wish They All Could Be) California Girls," "Finding Out True Love Is Blind." There's just no escaping it: Louis XIV want to jump your bones.

Replete with dirty little moans, throaty, come-hither vocals, and raunchy guitars, Louis XIV hearken back to the halcyon days of glam rock's glittery past. They proudly carry the banner for sex, eyeliner, and rock'n'roll. T. Rex and Roxy Music are alive and well on The Best Little Secrets Are Kept. Marc Bolan would probably be quite flattered. It's only a matter of time before teenage girls everywhere are throwing lacy panties onstage - if they aren't already.

Album Review: Eternal Summers - Correct Behavior

One of those oft-repeated, slightly overused societal adages dictates that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the case of those delightful Roanoke-ians Eternal Summers, this is very, very true. And, lest you furrow your brow at that sentiment, a very, very good thing indeed. For even though the band's sound has evolved from that of the scuzzily poppish scamp of an LP Silver, it remains irrepressibly and inescapably awesome.

The cheeky briskness of the debut jangle of Silver has been amped up on Correct Behavior - having ingested a heaping helping of John Hughes-ian bittersweetness, general glacially cool 80s popness, and seriously bitchin' riffage. The first three songs, it must be said, are so very good that it took me quite a good long while to tear myself away to listen to the album in its entirety. But I finally did, and, spoiler alert, sweet friends: Correct Behavior will be on my list of 2012's absolute best.

"Millions" is first, a glossy, almost grown-up jolt of exhilaratingly fresh air, with Nicole's (she who was "born inside a volcano") vocals reaching a lovely state of pitch perfection. "Wonder" probably nabs favorite song dibs amongst a whole record full of favorites, all delirious dizziness and infectiously fuzzy. It's adorably rambunctious, and to me it epitomizes the Eternal Summers sound in a mere two minutes and fifteen seconds. The last of the impeccable first three is the majorly, all-consuming catchiness of "You Kill." Seriously chunky riffs play off the breathiness of Nicole's vocals, and the song builds to a splendidly harried crescendo.

At the risk of ruining the suspense, the rest of the record is actually just as wonderful as the big three. "I Love You" wouldn't sound out of place on Silver, all playful instrumentation and an askew, quick pace. Not to mention the song's highlighting of the Summers' wry sense of humor ("I love you/You do too/You love you"). There's a couple terribly good slowburners on Correct Behavior, "It's Easy" and "Good As You," full of meaningful glances and subtle melodrama. Ethereal closing track "Summerset" falls in line with bands like Beach House, Lower Dens, Blonde Redhead, and Wild Nothing, though of course retains that Eternal Summers vibe.

In short, friends, I cannot encourage you enough to get your hands on this one. It's impossible not to fall in love with it, and to fall head over heels for these three Roanoke'n'Rollers (yeah, I said it).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Newsflash!: A Suns of Guns Hiatus Is Nigh Upon Us!

Those who have been reading my ramblings for a good while are well aware of the fierce, serious love I bear for DC rock'n'roll badasses Suns of Guns. They've been one of my favorite local outfits for years now, but alas and alack, a band hiatus is drawing nigh.

The band will be playing not one but TWO sets at the Black Cat this Thursday. That means two chances for insanely good, insanely loud, insanely insane good time old school rock music that'll light a fire in your belly and make you want to go break things and maybe throw a punch or two. In a good way. The added uncertainty of when the band shall play again will undoubtedly only add to the overall awesome of this event. I'll be at this farewell shindig, and if you've got any sense you will be too. Don't make me tell you twice.

Meet A Sky Jet Black

On paper, and at first blush, there's not a lot not to like about Austin's A Sky Jet Black. The band adheres to that they call "a subtle and sincere philosophy of Romantic Nihilism," cites Berlin-era David Bowie, Phil Spector, and goth as influences, and falls in line sonically with the dark side of the early Factory Records roster and, to a certain extent, could be considered contemporaries of bands like The xx. Oh, and they cover The Stone Roses. All this, of course, merely scratches the surface.

There's a gorgeous, glorious gloom to their songs, a real sense of finality but without any sort of despair. In a strange way, and I'm not quite sure how they managed it, their music comes off as featherlight, even amid waves of synth-heavy noise. Theirs is music that embraces the ghosts of the past and the ghosts endlessly to come. That you can dance to it is just icing on the cake.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Crossing The Pond: Temples

To listen to Temples is to be trapped in time, stuck in space, and in a limbo state betwixt backwards and forwards, then and now, here and there. And friends, I like it.

They call themselves "neo-psych," does this duo. But that's being either exceptionally perfunctory or ridiculously modest. Each song is a journey into the unknown; Tropicalia spiked dandelion wine punch sipped on lushly technicolor strawberry fields with mods and fairies and long hairs and magic dragons shape-shifting and undulating and kaleidoscoping before your eyes under velvet swirls of peacock blue skies and shimmering waves of stars.

And there's a harp.

Yes, really.

Wait no longer, friends. Let Temples take you somewhere special. You'll enjoy every intoxicating moment you spend with them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Good Cover Version: Hopewell Does Brian Eno

Pulp gave the world the song "Bad Cover Version." But seeing as I'm a sonic optimist, I'm of the belief that there's more likely than not more good cover versions floating around than bad ones. Good Cover Version celebrates the good, and leaves all that bad and ugly stuff alone.

Here Come the Warm Jets is probably one of my favorite records. Brian Eno's solo debut was a feast of glorious glam, a cacophony of glittery and twisted wondrousness and space oddities. It feels right to have some of my favorite New York people, Hopewell, and Mark Gardener of Ride covering the most amazing "Needle In the Camel's Eye." The gents stay true to the vision of Eno while putting their delightful stamp on the song, thanks to those soaring vocals of Mr. Jason Russo and the delirious stomp of the Hopewellian sound. I believe this cover to be what sporting types call a winner.

Crossing the Pond: Runny Suns

It should be rather obvious when you listen to them, dearhearts, just why I've decided that I adore Runny Suns. Aside, of course, from residing in Glasgow, this here two-man side project (comprised of two members of Los Tentakills) won me over even before I began to listen to them, what with their tagline of "It's not fucking loud enough" and all. But wait, there's more.

Once I dove in and listened to their Now Is All the Time EP, that's when things really got interesting. The EP kicks off with the gritty, lo-fied to perfection simplicity of "Trace," a right hook of a song full of as much fuzziness, muddy vocals, and cock of the walk attitude as you could possibly want. "Out The Frame" sees that and raises it with hellishly addictive noise and some serious sonic wailing. The EP's title track, "Now Is All the Time," takes a hazy, slightly psych-leaning tilt, and "Leave It Alone" throws down some seriously sassy shimmy. They're a little bit blues, a little bit Nectarine No. 9, a little bit Rolling Stones...and dang it, they're dynamite.

I don't know about y'all, but if this is a side project, I can't wait to dig into their real gig. In the meantime, may I make a suggestion and recommend you go get you some of this Runny Suns business. Now would be about the right time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Good Ship Rediscovery: Crocodiles - Summer of Hate

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

Something about summer pulsates with over-stimulation. Even the fauna takes on a threatening advance as branches become arms and reach out for an embrace. Blood runs hotter, fuses are shorter, and people want to kill, tonight. At least, that's how it goes on the 2009 Crocodiles LP Summer of Hate.

Y'all know how much I adored their 2010 effort Sleep Forever, and I have to admit, there are things about its predecessor that I like even better. There's a delicious abrasiveness to the songs, more than a little confrontational and seeping spite and a touch of malice. The angst is palpable, but so too is the beauty. What the core duo of Crocodiles does, they do very well. All that furious noise, the blistering racket, the drum machine beats of death and the snarling sneer of the vocals, not to mention the hungry wolf wail of the's almost too much at times.

Bonus track "Neon Jesus" is the crowning glory of the record, all scuzzy swagger and deliciously belligerent vocals pair perfectly with the punchy drum beat mechanics. "Flash of Light" emits a slightly laconic bombastic attitude, rolling spikily along with quite a chip on its shoulder. "Sleeping With the Lord" follows right on its heels, a transcendent live wire of a song, lovely in its way, fraught with nervous tics but also in possession of some of the prettiest vocals on the album. The title track is (yet) another high point, full of throwback walls of sound (and tambourine, oh yes) and a sticky drone.

Summer of Hate is hot, sweaty, crackling with unnerving energy. It is the sound of summer confusion, and you need it in your life.

Super Furryism #4

For those that don't know, this blog borrows its' name from the title of the debut long player record by wily Welsh cosmic psych poppers Super Furry Animals. As far as I'm concerned, that's certainly reason enough to start talking about them at random times, and for no real reason other than just because I darned well feel like it.

Sometimes, a gal just needs a groove. Ladies, you know what I'm talkin' about. And the Super Furries are happy to do just that. Today's subject matter, the song "Ice Hockey Hair," features one heck of a kicky little groove. It also, like many SFA songs, has some serious sonic split personalities going on, pinging from the aforementioned groove to scuzzed out fuzzery, to a little bit of doowop. And wouldn't you know it, that's a big part of what makes this song, from the Ice Hockey Hair EP, so darned wonderful. Also adding to the awesomeness? Lyrics like "phone me/page me/fax me til I'm silly." Never fails to make me smile, that one. The rest of the four song EP is pretty great as well, so make sure to add this gem to your collection.

Bands On Film #28: Brian Jonestown Massacre @ 9:30 Club, 8/22/12

[photos copyright Megan Petty]