Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Sun Kil Moon

Artist: Sun Kil Moon

Album: Ghosts of the Great Highway

I learned about it...: From my friend Colleen who sent me the CD

Comments: Some of you may already be familiar with Mark Kozelek's 1990s San Francisco band the Red House Painters, which is said to have influenced numerous later bands, including Minnesota's own Low. Sun Kil Moon is Kozelek's latest project and delivers a melancholy folk-inspired sound with brilliant lyrics. Be sure to check out the band's website at and catch them in person if you happen to be in the UK this summer. There were some US tour dates in the South earlier in April, but no other upcoming US tour dates are posted right now.

Sound clip: Last Tide

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Sadies

Artist: The Sadies

Album: Favourite Colours

I learned about it...: Mojo magazine

Comments: A Toronto band fronted by the Woods brothers. They gained fame as Neko Case's backing band, and have five albums to their name. They've also made various appearances on other artists' work including André Williams. On Favourite Colours Robyn Hitchcock reciprocates the favor, providing vocals on one track. On the surface, you might criticize them as having an unfocused sound, leaping among garage, surf, country, and americana folk. But cut them some slack for just having fun, making a variety of music well. They're not ambitious, but they're deserving of more attention than they've received.

Sound clips:

Monday, April 25, 2005

Random Records: Bongwater

Craig randomly grabs a record from his shelf and shares his deepest thoughts and feelings.

Bongwater: Double Bummer (1988)

Bongwater is the brainchild of Shimmydisc founder and former Shockabilly bassist Kramer (that's Mark Kramer, who came after Wayne and before Kosmo). While living and working in New York, he struck up a friendship with performance artist/actress Ann Magnuson, and with the help of various musician friends over the next 7 years, they recorded a handful of albums. Double Bummer is their second release and a double album. Magnuson's vocals are a mix of oddball stories and quirky alto singing, and this is layered on top of some trippy art rock. The troupe were rooted in the NYC performance art scene, and their albums come across as psychedelic experimentation as much as indie rock.

Highlights of Double Bummer include "Dazed and Chinese" which is a Led Zeppelin cover sung in Mandarin, "Decadent Iranian Country Club", "David Bowie Wants Ideas", and the Shimmydisc single "Jimmy/Lesbians of Russia". The pair of Kramer and Magnuson kept recording with their supprting cast until 1992, when a bitter split led to legal battles and the eventual bankrupcy of Shimmydisc. Magnuson can be found in re-runs of Anything But Love and a handful of movies, while Kramer continues to pay the bills with a small solo and collaborative career.

I first heard this album while browsing the aisles of a Raleigh record store, thanks to some hip employee behind the counter. There was a Shockabilly following in Raleigh, and Shimmydisc bands were often given a listen by the local music crowd. I was only 16 when I bought this, so my interest was far less erudite. I think I was going more for the shock factor. These guys sounded pretty weird to an impressionable 16 year old, and Magnuson's little stories were oh so amusing at the time. But luckily, this record aged with me. In fact, after a long layoff, I rebought their debut release (Breaking No New Ground) when I was 27, years after it got warped by the heat in my back seat.

Where I bought it: The Record Exchange in Raleigh, NC

Have I had second thoughts?: No way. This is a true underground classic - a real fan's find.

Sound Sample: Lesbians of Russia


press release
Artist: Hater

Album: The 2nd

I learned about it...: from the nice guys who run Burn Burn Burn

Comments: i luv hater!
Hater is/was a side project of Ben Shepard and Matt Cameron (of Soundgarden fame). Their first record was released in 93. Most of the stuff on 'The 2nd' was recorded in 1995, but i don't care! The first record is great and i'm really excited to hear this. Plus, Ben is a super nice guy and let me play guitar for a bit on the amp that was used by cobain on bleach (what a sucker for this kind of shit i am.) Hater sounds like what... a folksy Stooges? a heavy Cat Stevens? a groovier Soundgarden? you decide.

sound clips: Between Two Fires & Fever Saint

more info here and mp3s here

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Death From Above 1979

Artist: Death From Above 1979

Album: You're a Woman, I'm a Machine

I learned about it...: Magnet magazine

Comments: They're not really from 1979, but from the here and now. Specifically, they're they're from Toronto and they have one album released in 2004. Knowing that, and after hearing a couple of songs, there must be a Voivod influence, but you'd have to ask them yourselves. They're known for a stunning live show. So if they come to your town, hold on to your socks.

Sound clip: Little Girl