Category Archives: Deserved Recognition

Album Review: Saint Motel – Voyeur

SAINTMOTEL

Saint Motel knows how to not overuse a piano, which these days is truly a gift for any newer indie pop band. I just got around to listening to their excellent debut LP Voyeur, and I have to say it’s one of the most consistent releases I’ve heard in quite some time. The entire album is brimming with life and has enough energy to make even the shyest of dinner-party guests start to move. Either as background music or on a purposed playlist, the songs are extremely listenable and it’s obvious that time and consideration was put into each individual track.

‘Puzzle Pieces’ is based around an exuberant, irresistible piano line that just doesn’t quit, and it’s just about one of the easiest things to get stuck in your head ever. ‘Benny Goodman’ is the other track that really blows out their sound to add fiery horns and a bit of sampling, both done in the best way possible. Honestly, listening to these two tracks will make you quite inclined to investigate the rest of their work, and you’ll find every song is satisfying to equal degrees. Saint Motel is consistent, and are smart to have some very diverse songs packed together on Voyeur.

Comparison-wise, I’d say the group could fall in rank with bands like Cheers Elephant and Izabo (an Israeli indie rock band who are equally  incredible and bolster my hipster cred). What’s cool is that Saint Motel isn’t scared to adopt a bit of a 70s pastiche on some songs, combining their signature sound with the past and making the album have a bit of a classic feel despite being so new. Overall, the band is fun, enjoyable, and in need of more fans like yourself. Enjoy!

Album Review: Boxed Wine – Cheap, Fun EP

Seems I haven’t posted on here for a ‘bit.’ I’ve been a tad busy with the real world, but I figured if I liked something enough, then I should probably write about it.

Boxed Wine just put out their second EP last week, as a preview of an album that should be out in the Spring. They describe themselves as ‘indie party pop,’ and this looks to be just that. In a time when so many bands are afraid of the term ‘pop’ on account of it sounding mainstream, the band bats a blind eye and throws their cards in. The results are exactly what one would expect; catchy, simple songs about having a good time.

The first track is “Bones,” and has a bit of a rockier sound than the other two, and might remind fans of their first EP. Still, it’s sonically bigger than what they’ve done before and is more along the lines of Young the Giant than Two Door Cinema Club.

“Boomerang” is next, and that’s where they find a pop groove that could legitimately get people dancing. If you don’t get the damn title stuck in your head, there may just be something wrong with you, with the band coming off a bit like the child of Hot Hot Heat and MGMT. Weird, I know.

It’s on the last track, “Dayglow,” where they start to really stray from their formula. It’s still poppy, but the dance element sticks through more than anything else. The beat sounds like a Pitbull b-side more than an indie rock band from New Jersey, but somehow Boxed Wine makes it work. This might be where they’re going with their sound, but all three tracks could point to a possible direction change.

Overall, the band gets to the point, and maybe that’s what we really need in 2013?  With the indie scene how it is, it’s kind of refreshing to hear a band honestly describe themselves and not come off as pretentious. Hopefully this EP doesn’t have the best songs from their album, but being how different their songs have been up until now, I don’t even know what to expect. All I know is that it might be cool, and will definitely be fun.

Bear Cavalry – Maple Trail EP

Maple Trails cover art

If you had the Wombats collaborate with Little Comets, you’d get something pretty damn close to Bear Cavalry. The band hails from Gosport on the Southern English coast, and this excellent EP came out this last November. Like everything else in my life, I’m way behind in posting about it, but this will hopefully gives the group a little push well after the fact. Plus, this it the time of year to listen to it anyway…

My favorite track would probably be “Roman Summer,” as it has just the perfect vibe for the middle of a hot summer (unless you count the fact that it makes you want to dance, which could be dangerous in the heat). Also, the use of ska-tinged trumpets and peppy chanting over the other songs really helps the groups stand out from their indie pop contemporaries.

Honestly, the EP gets better and better every time you put it on. After repeated listens, I’m going to go as far to say that Bear Cavalry may well be onto something unique and addictive here. Enjoy!

 

Quickies: Sleeper – “Ice House”

 

Sleeper is the musical project of Paul Olsen, a Laguna Beach native who let’s a slightly darker side of California shine on his six-song debut EP. The song below might be the most accessible track, and it reminds me of Animal Collective meets Shins meets Band of Horses. Did I just drop enough names to make it worth your time? I think so. Enjoy!

The Ten Thousand – Juneteenth

Wait, is this actually genuine rock ‘n’ roll? In 2012? That can’t be right. This is unheard of. I must inform the internet…

The Ten Thousand are from Los Angeles and, based on this one song, I think we may have an unpolished, back-to-basics rock band on our hands. Yes, I know I’m being dramatic, but this song is pretty great and it’s worth repeated listens. It’s the first single from the group, and leads up t their debut EP Nobody Gets Hurt, which I’m sure will be out soon enough. Enjoy!

Juneteenth by The Ten Thousand

 

The Ten Thousand – Juneteenth

Charlie Winston @ Mercury Lounge 5/14/2012

I often forget how much I like the Mercury Lounge. It’s amazingly small and (thankfully) has a separate stage room away from the noisy bar. Best of all is the sound quality, which while being superb to many similar venues, comes across far better than it would appear to.  That’s why it was such a pleasure to see Charlie Winston travel in from Europe in order to perform.  His show was intimate and big at the same time, letting him and his talented bandmates get a chance to prove themselves under perfect conditions. And prove themselves is just what they did.

Charlie Winston, from my understanding, is big in Europe. At least that’s what my Winston-admiring friend says. Of course, fame in Europe means absolutely nothing in the US, and can actually be more of a hindrance than blessing. This is especially true if the NME decides to herald you as the ‘saviour’ of ‘insert genre.’  Luckily, Winston has so far escaped the onslaught of British press, primarily by getting to No. 1 in France instead. This makes a whole lot of sense considering his vibe is pure Parisian troubadour, and don’t think for a second that he doesn’t play it up. From attire to attitude to all but accent, the man comes off French.

The band played through a majority of new album Running Still, but made plenty of time to highlight tracks from Hobo, Winston’s breakthrough disk from 2009. The latter’s semi-title track ‘Like a Hobo’ elicited the biggest crowd response, and that came as no surprise when one looks at all the places that song has ended up.  Being that I don’t know every word to every song, it made it easy to take in the dynamic of the band and see how easily they play off of one another. Winston was, of course, the ringleader when all’s said and done, but he certainly let his band have their moments to shine. They responded by executing everything to just about perfection, and the entire set went off without so much as a dropped beat (at least as far as I could tell).

While I spoke quite briefly with Charlie after, I learned from his bandmate that they flew to New York only to play a showcase for some interested parties. Since all went well, you may be hearing a bit more of Mr. Winston in the near future. One can only hope…

Video: OK – Lego

This song came out last year but, like many other things, I forgot to post about it. So here we are. I hope you like bouncy british guitars and puppets, because I sure do.