Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Fort Lowell Records!!!

A year ago, one of my oldest friends launched a record label, promising to revive vinyl 7 inches and push out music from local Tucson bands.

And with that, Fort Lowell Records was launched.

Now it's a year later, and six releases issued, it's still rolling along. I've had the pleasure to be a critic and to play label music on my podcast. But mostly I've had the pleasure to be a fan. FLR Head Honcho James Tritten has done an amazing job. Here's to many more years brother.

Like those long ass cigarettes from Virginia, you've come a long way baby.

Head over to the site and pick up some tee shirts or better yet, buy a release or two. Music sounds better seven inches at a time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What We're Watching - Wye Oak's Fish

Wye Oak's video for their song Fish (off Civilian) is a just as gorgeous as their lush beautiful music.

With spectacular artwork from fellow Baltimoreans Katherine Fahey and Michael O'Leary, it's silhouetted shadow puppets will stick with you.

f you don't have Civilian you should get it. It's a fantastic album.

Wye Oak - Fish (Official Video) from City Slang on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What We're Listening To - Jamaica's No Problem

Aside from the fact that I really like it, I'm kind of unsure what to make of French pop duo Jamaica and its album No Problems. It's immensely enjoyable, and what could be easily dismissed as a Phoenix ripoff it bucks that notion at each turn. It's more like a dancier, funkier Hall and Oates.

Stick with me here.

Justice's Xavier de Rosnay produced it, so it's got a certain polish to it; every guitar strum, drum pop, and layered effect starts and stops on cue. But listen to tracks like Gentleman or She's Gonna. These are fun filled, 80's adult rock kissed songs, with the strolling guitar and faux r&b singing.

That's not an indictment, cos Jamaica has a definite understanding of what makes you move. Simple chorus and lyrics (possibly the result of French to English singing... see Phoenix) are through and through, repeated for an effect that's more instrumental than conveying a message. Album openers Cross the Fader and I Think I Like U 2 beg to be played in the middle of weekend pool party in July.

The remixes on the deluxe edition are even more delicious, mor spaced and synthed out versions of the original.

It's an album that is ringing the bell to welcome in summer. Mix it in with a few tracks John and Darryl for an even better time.

Buy Jamaica's No Problems at the Amazon mp3 Store

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On The Horizon - The Head and The Heart

Last month when we interviewed Matt Bishop of Hey Marseilles, he put on our radar fellow Seattle band The Head and The Heart. Pushing out their self-titled debut over the weekend on venerable Sub Pop, you're likely to hear a lot about them soon.

And you should. Sweet harmonies and a mild alt-country twang with a heavy dose of folk, The Head and The Heart make music reminiscent a more tender, listenable Ryan Adams (remember that?).

You can pick up two tracks (Down in the Valley and Lost in My Mind) from the band at its website in exchange for your email address. I like both tracks (and the rest of the album is just as good too), perfect Sunday afternoon music to drift off to.

Download The Head and the Heart's Down in the Valley and Lost In My Mind from the band's website

Buy The Head and The Heart's self-titled album from Amazon mp3 Store

Friday, April 15, 2011

What We're Watching - Superchunk's Crossed Wires video

Superchunk always does solid, kinda goofy videos. The clip for the song Crossed Wires (off 2010's EXCELLENT Majesty Shredding) is no exception. Sort of a basic premise of strapping a camera to cat, you see the kitty party with strippers, hang with some bums, and stickup Jon Wurster. Entertaining all the way around. Also a reminder that Majesty Shredding is a good springtime album.

Buy Superchunk's Majesty Shredding from Merge Records

Or from the Amazon mp3 Store

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On The Horizon - City Reign

We received an email in our Shimmy Shake inbox the other day which caught our attention, since it started off with praise for one of our reviews. It was a from City Reign, a band in Manchester. They simply said I might like their music and they didn't want to clog my inbox up with junk, so reply back if I wanted a track.

The tracks they sent back were definitely worth it. Released on their own Car Boot Label, Daybreak is a nice bit of anthemic guitar noise pop (Think a happier sounding Yuck). Lead singer Chris Bull matches bright harmonies against guitarist Michael Grice's fuzz. It's pleasant all the way around.

The Daybreak single (along with an extra live track The Line), will be available 9 May. Though I'm not sure where. Check their blog out for more info.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What We're Listening To - Pains of Being Pure At Heart's Belong

"Be you and the best possible you there is." Probably something you heard your mother, guidance counselor, or some self-esteem guru mutter over and over again. But it's the truth. Growth is good, but why go try and reinvent yourself, mucking up the best possible you there is?

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have taken this bit of wisdom and run with it for their sophomore album Belong, turning in again another marvelous album chock full of jangly guitars, brainy love lyrics, and whispery vocals.

But the guitars have gotten louder, the sound slightly more full. And instead of so much John Hughes nostalgia, the band is looking towards the alt rocky 90s (assisted by Flood and Alan Moulder, who produced The Smashing Pumpkins Simaese Dream, Mellon Collie, NIN's Downward Spiral, and some EPs for My Bloody Valentine). Heart in Your Heartbreak and Belong are the biggest sounding things they've done, and the band is better for it. And tracks like Strange and My Terrible Friend (with that nonstop drumming and synth overload) are just as familiar as anything before. It's shoegazey/dream pop that's on the verge of exploding. And it's delightful.

Listen to your mom. She was right most of the time.

Buy The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's Belong from the Amazon mp3 Store

Buy the CD or LP from Slumberland Records