Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Starflyer 59 - My Island

Mic The Mic mp3

How many albums can sf59 put out? How many more times can sf59 refresh their sound and stay relevant and interesting? There's no end in site for frontman Jason Martin. After more than 20 releases, Sf59 has retained a loyal following because of the band's uncanny ability maintain a fresh sound while vowing to never put out the same record twice.

Of the previous sf59 releases, "Old" is the most similar in pace to this new record My Island. This album was hyped as the most upbeat sf59 record to date, with more BPMs (beats per minute) than any other sf59 record. It's true - the pace of My Island is like greased lightning and is not hindered by a slow jam. That's right - no slow jams on this island.

The bass lines are more noticeable than on any other sf59 release. This is the first time I've noticed the bass player's contribution on a sf59 record. You'll notice it particularly on "Pearl of Great Price".

The percussion attacks are ferociously kicking and smacking with authority like never before, as evidenced during the intro of the title track "My Island".
Jason's vocals are noticeably gothic-sounding, taking you back to Joy Division, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Echo & the Bunnymen. The vocals are heavy and dark, with the same breathy delivery that we've come to love from Martin. Track 7 "Division" is easily the darkest example of this.

The stand-out tracks on this record are "Lifeguard", "Pearl of Great Price", "Mic The Mic", and the closer "Ideas For The Talented" . The album opens with "The Frontman" which is a pretty good tune, but not one of sf59's best album openers. I can say with certainty that "Ideas" is one of my favorite sf59 closers.

Though not their best effort, this is the only sf59 record that doesn't have a "dud". Every song is strong. Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice (2005) is still my favorite sf59 record.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Goat Explosion - Come On Make Me Feel mp3

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They started off as Goat Explosion. For a couple weeks they called themselves Commoner, then changed their name to Elkland and signed a deal with major record label Columbia. After just one release on Sony, Elkland is dead and they are Goat Explosion again.

It's not only the name that has changed in the last several years, but also the sound. The band released a 5 song CDR called Night Cranes as Goat Explosion. That recording was beautifully experimental, much like Radiohead's Kid A, while successive releases took on a 1980s synth-pop sound reminiscent of New order and Depeche Mode.

The return of Goat Explosion is marked by the new ep Hope Is Alive, and this mp3 is evidence that the band is back and ready learn from their mistakes which made the last Elkland album Golden such a disappointment. Yes, I was disappointed. There were some good songs on Golden, but all 12 tracks started to song the same after repeated listens.

"Come On make Make Feel" demonstrates the bands' ability to write a great pop song. It comes fully loaded with a singable chorus and danceable beats. When you hear the other new songs, you'll notice right away that this band is BACK and better than ever. Unlike Golden, each song offers something different and unique than the others. Listen to some other songs by Goat Explosion at www.myspace.com/goatexplosion.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Husband and Wife - Battle Cab Dramatica mp3

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You may have missed one of indie music's best kept secrets - until now, ofcourse. This is the first single off of their second full-length called Operation:Surgery . This impressive record was self-recorded entirely in the band's home studio and the artwork was created by the band as well. If the self-sufficiency of Husband and Wife is not enough to garner your praise, then the music will indeed.

All 12 songs are delicate and fragile, and like breaking glass will surely grab your attention. The overall mood of this album reminds me a lot of It's Hard To Find A Friend era Pedro the Lion while the vocals are dripping with passion similar in style to Summer Darling. These bands are good company for Husband and Wife who sound like they are on to something really special. I can definitely recommend this record for fans of Death Cab For Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, Pedro The Lion, and Summer Darling. You can hear some more songs at their myspace page.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Starflyer 59 - Mic The Mic mp3

My Island

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The new sf59 album My Island hits the streets one week from today (9-12-06) and probably the only people who know it are the indie rocksters in the band's small but ferociously loyal fanbase.

"Mic The Mic" is a hot new track from what could be another great record from this prolific band. The truth is, no matter how good the record is it will not likely win over any new fans. Tooth and Nail records does an absolutely awful job of promoting sf59. Instead, T&N seems like it would rather promote "the next big thing" resulting in a label full of mediocre bands that all sound the same. Conversely, no matter how lousy the record is, sf59 will likely sell the same amount of units as normal because every one of these loyal fans would probably still buy it.

I am not one of the privileged few who get an advance copy of My Island, so I cannot say whether the record is good, bad, or just ugly. I can tell you that the 2 tracks I have heard are fabulous - and noticeably more upbeat than most sf59 albums. Jason Martin always talks about how the Brit-pop bands of the 1980s have influenced his songwriting, but I think "Mic The Mic" is the most 1980s-sounding song sf59 has created.