Or, The Whale - Light Poles And Pines
I was instantly intrigued by the band Or, The Whale because of my love for Melville's classic Moby Dick or, The Whale. I spent a good deal of time in New Bedford, Ma., the location of the fictitious Spouter Inn and Moby Dick is flat out my favorite book of all time.
The 7-member band Or, The Whale hail from San Francisco and have produced an imminently enjoyable record rooted in Americana. The musicianship, harmonies and melodies will instantly put a glide in your step. The production is clean and simple, and the album's rootsy sound is happy and upbeat. This music will make you want to gather your friends together and hitchhike across America -- If only America was as warm and beautiful as Light Poles And Pines.
Hysterics - Hysterics
Oliver Ignatius is the main songwriter of the Brooklyn band Hysterics. And according to the liner notes Oliver loves Brian Wilson, Richard Manuel and The Beatles. Not bad influences for any songwriter to have, but here on their self-released debut (they were signed to V2 before the label went bust) these influences shine like a beacon of hope in a dreary world. You won't find anything that stretches any boundaries here, but the Elephant-6ish-do-it-yourself sound and focus on the basics make the album an experience for both fans of indie music or classic rock harmonizers like The Band, Beatles and Beach Boys. In other words, both you and your parents will love this record. MP3: "Mostly Untitled"
Ready Fire Aim - This Changes Nothing
This is second Brooklyn band I am featuring today, but Ready Fire Aim is an electronica outfit anchored by singer and poet Sage Rader and DJ/Producer Stakka. This Changes Nothing is not your run of the mill trip-hoppish endevour. Instead the duo mix rock instrumentation and at times sound on par with some of the best Depeche Mode tracks ever recorded. The CD is absolutely danceable and infectious, but it does something only a handful of electronica acts can accomplish -- it also works as a pure pop album. If you're a fan of Depeche Mode or Erasure you must make a point not to miss this release, you'll thank me after you click that big round Play button.
Bridges and Powerlines - Ghost Types
This one is not yet available on Rhapsody or Yahoo Music Unlimited, but it is coming on the band's own label in April. In the meantime you can stream the record here or download the MP3 of "Uncalibrated". Hailing from New York, Bridges and Powerlines debut album titled Ghost Types was produced by Chris Zane (Les Savy Fav, White Rabbits, Asobi Seksu). It's a strong pop record featuring washes of dynamic lift and just enough quirk to keep the art school set pleased. The band is blessed with a top-rate rhythm section, but the loose quality of the vocals, guitar and various embellishments act as the perfect counterbalance. The end result is an album that's incontrovertibly fun to listen to.
Temposhark - The Invisible Line
London-based Rob Diament fronts the four-piece electronic outfit Temposhark. The group's debut album The Invisible Line fades back and forth between interesting and extraordinary. It oozes with scorn and at it's best the anger is physically palpable. But what takes it over the top is how the epic crescendos can whitewash the underlying themes. Where someone like Trent Reznor revels in the pain, Diament wraps it in a combination of sugary orchestration and gay night club anthem -- ala the Pet Shop Boys. Two-time Grammy nominee Imogen Heap appears with guest vocals on "Not That Big", but be sure not to miss "Joy" a dance floor burner. MP3: "Crime"