Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mitch Marcus Quintet: Countdown 2 Meltdown (PFR)

Mitch Marcus Quintet: Countdown 2 Meltdown (PFR) - Bay area saxophonist Mitch Marcus and his Quintet features a melodic, two-sax front line and dexterous guitarist Mike Abraham in traversing the progressive jazz idiom. Regardless the mode, the steady rhythms always keep things cooking. The arrangements reference Kelzmer and even Link Wray throughout the smoldering set. Recommended. Play 1 2 3 6 7 8

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mission Of Burma concert

WDCE Presents Mission of Burma:

WDCE is proud to be bringing seminal Boston post-punk ensemble Mission of Burma to the University of Richmond campus on Friday, February 19, 2010.  The concert will be at the Pier, located within Tyler Haynes Commons (the building spanning Westhampton Lake). 

"Mission of Burma are playing as well as ever on The Sound the Speed the Light; Peter Prescott's drumming manages to be both inventive and relentless, giving the music a solid root even as he pushes the songs forward, while Clint Conley's bass is a perfect foil, both agile and commanding, and Roger Miller's guitar stubbornly and joyously defies any and all clich├ęs pertaining to lead guitar in rock & roll." - Mark Deming, All Music Guide

The event will be FREE for University of Richmond students and just $15 in advance for the general public.  Advance tickets will be available at Plan 9 Music in Carytown beginning January 25, 2010. 

Kristoffer Ragnstam: Wrong Size of the Room (Bluhammock)

Kristoffer Ragnstam: Wrong Size of the Room (Bluhammock) - The sophomore LP from Swedish singer-songwriter Kristoffer Ragnstam packs quite a punch. While lyrical tales of tortured characters struggle to cope, exceptionally seductive pop entwines the unsuspecting listener. Fuzzy guitars, effervescent rhythms, layered voices and restrained keys have a familiar yet refreshing sound. A recommended shot of quality indie pop.

Caesars: Strawberry Weed (Astralwerks)

Caesars: Strawberry Weed (Astralwerks) - It seems Swedish garage rockers Caesars have been smoking some Strawberry Weed. Their 6th LP takes the sweet and smooth psych pop of the 60s and combines it with modern indie rock sensibilities. Distorted vocals glide atop crisp bass, synth organ, playful percussion and varied guitar styles. Playful fun awaits. Recommended.

Civet: Hell Hath No Fury (Hellcat)

Civet: Hell Hath No Fury (Hellcat) - Hell Hath No Fury is the Hellcat debut from all-woman quartet Civet. Hailing from Long Beach, California, these gals combine confidence and dirty-sexy appeal with roots informed punk and hardcore. Propulsive rhythms, overdriven guitar, screamed vocals and chant-along choruses give you what you ask for. Good.

The Moondoggies: Don't Be A Stranger (Hardly Art)

The Moondoggies: Don't Be A Stranger (Hardly Art) - The debut LP from Seattle quartet The Moondoggies certainly is no stranger to the Californian Laurel Canyon sound of the early 70s. Rhodes organs, whiskey soaked guitar twang, mid tempo jammy rhythms, reedy lead vocals and well executed three and four part harmonies provide the ingredients for their hazy, countrified rock. It’s a rollicking soundtrack for late summer with a few stops at the revival tent. Good.

Laura Marling: Alas I Cannot Swim (Astralwerks)

Laura Marling: Alas I Cannot Swim (Astralwerks) – British coffeehouse folk artist 18 year old singer/songwriter Laura Marling has an alluringly husky voice and expressive phrasing style. She considers her primary influence to be Bonnie "Prince" Billy. With the aid of producer Charlie Fink (Noah And The Whale), the music ranges from sparse statements of her graceful acoustic guitar and subtle background textures to tasteful swells of full ensemble, horns, and strings. Overall, it’s an enjoyable folk-tinged AAA pop record that reveals its beauty on repeated listens. Recommended.

sBACH: sBACH (Suicide Squeeze)

sBACH: sBACH (Suicide Squeeze) - sBACH is Spencer Seim (Hella, The Advantage). As one might expect, this solo project combines the heavy spazz-math of Hella and with the 8 bit Nintendo arcade meltdown of The Advantage. Truthfully some concepts remain underdeveloped or fatedly flawed, however above the ashes rise some engaging, electrified flames of aural overload to keep the game-over sequence at bay. Crazy stuff. Recommended

31Knots: Worried Well (Polyvinyl)

31Knots: Worried Well (Polyvinyl) - Portland trio 31Knots reconcile the theatric and jagged / math sides of their sound for an unpredictable journey well worth taking. Human theatrics of handclaps and stomping occasionally accentuate the impassioned vocals which thread the sonic tapestry of sharp guitar riffs, sparing bass, piano lines, synthed organ pulses and insistent percussion Recommended.

Ra Ra Riot: The Rhumn Line (Barsuk)

Ra Ra Riot: The Rhumb Line (Barsuk) - Shortly after releasing their inaugural EP, Ra Ra Riot’s drummer drowned in the ocean after a Massachusetts show. This incident weighs heavily on their LP debut. While there’s lots of death and water imagery throughout, there is also a triumphant, life-affirming, moving on resolve in the music. The Rhumb Line is catchy indie pop with rich cello and violin backing. Recommended.

The Walkmen: You and Me (Gigantic)

The Walkmen: You and Me (Gigantic) - The 5th LP album by NYC ensemble The Walkmen is arguably their best. From their maturing perspective, they look at a city dweller’s lost love and life; and see something in themselves. You and Me echoes of relationships: people, places, perspective. The robust arrangements are very Walkmen, whereby only a close listen reveals the complex layers lurking within the murky low-end. Highly Recommended.

Grand Pianoramix: The Biggest Piano in Town (Obliqsound)

Grand Pianoramix: The Biggest Piano in Town (Obliqsound) – Swiss keyboardist Leo Tardin masterminded Grand Pianoramax as a live keyboards/drums duo to be augmented by occasional freestyle spoken word improv/rap vocal guests. Teamed with NYC drummer Deantoni Parks (The Mars Volta, Meshell Ndegeocello), and vocalists Mike Ladd, Invincible, French rapper Spleen & poet Celena Glenn, plus Marko Djordjevic; they take unspent fuel from 1970s Herbie Hancock and blast off into a new orbit of jazzed-up future funk. Radio: Check the 2 stripped alternates and 5 sonically tailored remixes of “The Hook”. Highly Recommended.

Don Caballero: Punkgasm (Relapse)

Don Caballero: Punkgasm (Relapse) – Pittsburgh based math rock trio Don Caballero are now led by the last remaining original member, drum virtuoso Damon Che. The cover art indicates new life has led to brighter skies. Truth is, few bands closely associated with a particular sound or movement are able to blaze into new territory with much success. Unfortunately, this too is the case with Don Cab’s 6th LP, Punkgasm. In their case, learning to speak isn’t a good thing, and neither is mimicry. Though scattered, a few inspired sparks remain. Decent.

Pop Levi: Never Never Love (Counter Records)

Pop Levi: Never Never Love (Counter Records) - British glam-pop artist Pop Levi likes to keep you confused. Though the focus in on glossy vocals and synthesizer / beat box based instrumentation, the curve-balls of folky acoustic guitar strums and organic rhythmic loops keep things from melting down. Fire on your feet, indeed. Recommended.

Alias: Resurgam (Anticon)

Alias: Resurgam (Anticon) - After an extended stay on Oakland CA, Alias’ journey has led him back home to Maine. Resurgam is a Latin word meaning "I shall rise again", and he does so with this graceful instrumental LP (his first since 2003). The intricacies of his cut-n-paste beatscapes command focused headphone listening. An engaging set of twilight, melancholy left-field hip-hop that’s full of atmospheric touches. Highly Recommended.

Kasai All-Stars: In the 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into A Swimming Fish and ate the Head of His Enemy by Magic (Crammed)

Kasai All-Stars: In the 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into A Swimming Fish and ate the Head of His Enemy by Magic (Crammed) – The third installment in Crammed Disc's exceptional Congotronics series features a cast about 25 musicians from five different bands and ethnic groups from the Kasai region of Congo. The stylistic convergence welcomes a broader array of instruments and more complex polyrhythms. The urban setting enables a more precise production, however allows the updated ritual music to maintain its trance inducing qualities. Recommended.

The Stills: Oceans Will Rise (Arts & Crafts)

The Stills: Oceans Will Rise (Arts & Crafts) - Three albums in, the Stills are still searching for that something special. For Oceans Will Rise they take the brooding and atmospheric elements of Interpol and add some modern-rock polish. Lyrically things are darker, dwelling on heartache, regret and panic. Withstanding their Montreal birthplace, it’s a mystery to me why Arts and Crafts would pick them up. Good.

Rafter: Sweaty Magic [ep] (Asthmatic Kitty)

Rafter: Sweaty Magic [ep] (Asthmatic Kitty) - San Diego's Rafter presents his version of a late summer dance party. Fueled on pop radio and passion, Sweaty Magic slices and dices sultry sounds of summer into his own kaleidoscopic electro dance pop. Recommended.

Jennifer O'Connor: Here With Me (Matador)

Jennifer O’Connor: Here With Me (Matador) - Jennifer O’Connor is an honest, literate songwriter that straddling the lines of folk-pop & indie rock. Weather the arrangements are sparse or more robust, her crystalline voice always shines in delivering those emotional blows. As Time Out New York said, "You have to love an artist who reminds you of everyone but defies comparison". Comfort music quiet times and rainy days. Recommended.

Okkervil River: The Stand In (Jagjaguwar)

Okkervil River: The Stand In (Jagjaguwar) - The embroidered cover artwork by leader Will Schaff reveals there was something below the surface of amazing 2007 LP The Stage Names. [Look at both cover, you’ll get it.] In fact, the Austin ensemble had these songs at the time, yet felt they would make a stronger statement as a second offering. Right they were. Musically The Stand In is somewhat more ebullient, while lyrically the seafaring themes and metaphors remain awash in turbulent waters. Highly Recommended.

Fujiya & Miyagi: Lightbulbs (Deaf Dumb + Blind)

Fujiya & Miyagi: Lightbulbs (Deaf Dumb + Blind) - Brighton, England-based electro group Fujiya & Miyagi began as a duo of Steve Lewis (synths, programming) and David Best (guitar, vocals). According to Best, "Miyagi was taken from the film The Karate Kid and Fujiya was the name of a record player". Now with live bass and drums, Lightbulbs transforms the skeletal elements of vintage '70s Krautrock and '90s British electro (like Stereolab and Broadcast ) into their modernistic post-disco where sexual vintage synthesizers and funky live rhythms rule the roost. Recommended.

Sounds Of Animals Fighting - The Ocean and the Sun (Epitaph)

Sound Of Animals Fighting: The Ocean and the Sun (Epitaph) - Just in… the Epitaph crew have experienced the effecters of a mind altering chemical known as LSD in signing Sound Of Animals Fighting. Their third LP (and Epitaph debut) has the shadowed quartet creating a tangled web of experimental stoner metal for those with ADD. The Ocean and The Sea can be calming, chaotic, cataclysmic – as poetic lyrics are mostly delivered in female voice seek buoyancy in the careening sonic waves. Like The Residents, Sound Of Animals Fighting pride themselves on anonymity. Known only by their respective animal names (Nightingale, Walrus, Lynx and Skunk), members of Circa Survive, Saosin and RX Bandits are likely involved.