Wednesday, May 11, 2011

BRRR "Tone Poems" cd-r (self released/2004)

Tone Poems is the second release from Brrr, and it most likely my favorite release from them, though the reality is that I love every single song that this band wrote and recorded. It is a release that have played with a great deal of regularity since it came into my possession several years ago. Thank you Herbie for not only writing great music but also for sending it my way! I definitely recall listening to Tone Poems intensely for a period of time when I first got it. It was the perfect soundtrack on a lonely morning in a cold office wanting to just sleep or stare out the window or whatever. The six songs on Tone Poems found themselves on constant repeat as the elicited a calm in my being that I have seldom been able to cull from any other music before. It was a feeling a liked.

For those of you who missed my previous posting about Brrr's first cd-r Summer Songs (Part One) and are unfamiliar with Brrr they were a indie pop project masterminded by Herbie Schellenberger of Brown Recluse and Pet Milk fame. The music was somber and subtle but most certainly pop, but pop that tugged at your heart as opposed to tapping your toes. So if you like stuff like Jens Lekman (whom they cover on this release), Thanksgiving, Mt Eerie, etc than you may want to check this out. Tone Poems is a collection of six beautiful yet fragile bordering on ambient (as mood not sound) crooners. The instrumentation is varied but the key is that everything is subtle. In fact very few records I have listened to over the years has been to capture subtly as well as Brrr does on Tone Poems. I feel joy when I hear these songs but at times particularly with "Remember Me" and "The Waves" I am nearly brought to tears. But good tears as in that perhaps I'd put these songs on when I'd be down and just the mood and melodies bring a calmness to me that I am able to see the beauty in all that is around me a little more clearly. I know it may sound corny but it is totally true. Funny thing about "The Waves" is that I originally preferred the original recording (which I wish I had a mp3 of) but I grew so accustomed to this version that I can't imagine the song any other way at this point. Anyhow, enough jibber jabber just download Tone Poems as I am 100% positive you will love it as much as I do.

Brrr Tone Poems track listing

1. 21 December
2. The Waves
3. Something About Birds
4. If  You Were the Topic on Jeopardy
5. Remember Me
6. Crickets, Just Visiting

Download Here

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

La Mi Vida Violenta "We Are Ghosts" cd (22 Over 7/ 2004) + bonus tracks

Up until a few minutes ago I was not aware that this awesome band released anything other than the cd which I am uploading you for now. So in addition to sharing their two song ep We Are Ghosts I shall also add two songs I found courtesy of the band's old website. La Mi Vida Violenta were a band from Massachusetts that became aware of when my band Yes Sensei and our comrades Empty Silos Echo War made a stop at the wonderful Pirate's Cove in Allentown, PA and happened to play a show with them. La Mi Vida Violenta were a great, fun and sonically diverse band that played grooving post punk  that can best be described as a cross between A Certain Ratio, The Pop Group, !!!, and Boces era Mercury Rev. There is also a clear influence of free jazz, fusion era Miles Davis, soul and early hip hop as well various Latin music. Honestly, this is a band I wish I would've known more of and seen again. And know confirming how little the band's output was I can also certainly wish that they there more releases. In addition to this cd We Are Ghosts they released a split ep with the band Sentai, and La Mi Vida Violenta contributed five tracks-one of which I have added here as a bonus. I also wish there was more to say in this post. Regardless, just download this as it is excellent.

La Mi Vida Violenta We Are Ghosts track listing:
1. Down Tiger
2. Mash Note

Bonus tracks:
1. Blanks
2. Oh Asbestos

Download Here

Friday, April 29, 2011

Halftime Parade "Minor Freaks and Other Side Show Attractions" cd (Death is a Dance Move/2006) + "Next of Kin"

Do you like indie rock? If so then don't waste a minute more reading this post just download Halftime Parade's Minor Freaks and Other Side Show Attractions and you will hear a absolutely fantastic indie rock album. Based out of Exeter, United Kingdom Halftime Parade play super catchy indie rock/pop that is a cross between  bands like Urusei Yatsura, Pavement, Superchunk and The Wedding Present. The first time I heard the song "Hate" with it's super infectious sing along choruses I was absolutely hooked and found myself hitting repeat quite a few times. The album is a cornucopia of sounds shifting from buzzing guitar indie rock to slow to mid pace crooners. Even some acoustic guitars are thrown into the mix.

Eventually my buddy Thomas joined the band as their drummer and I issued a split 7 inch for them and Marshall Teller (Thomas' other band). As a bonus I have added Halftime Parade's track from that split, "Next of Kin". As fas as I can tell Halftime Parade never officially broke up but from what I can gather are just inactive but still have a new yet to be released album called The World After the Day Ended due out on Russian Folk Stories. I have been listening to rough mixes of that album for the last two years and it is just an incredible collection of songs. When it officially comes out it will certainly be one of the best indie rock records to be released in the last several years. In the meantime check out this debut release from Halftime Parade that I am sharing with you folks today.

Halftime Parade Minor Freaks and Other Side Show Attractions track listing
1. Injuries
2. Random Road
3. Indoor Sunshine (Doors With No Hinges)
4. 36
5. Hot Hands of the Liplessssssssss
6. Hate
7. Never Guessed It Was
8. Tiniest Pieces
9. October Antelope
10. Recovery

split 7 inch w/ Marshall Teller
1. Next of Kin

Download Here

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shock Treatment "...So Many Little Things" cd (Rumble Fish Records/2003)

One of the great benefits from doing the record label all of these years has been through trading records with other labels to distro I have been afforded the great opportunity to hear some truly great music. So not only do I get to distro it, generally speaking if I really like something it finds its way into my personal music collection. And that is exactly what Shock Treatment's ...So Many Little Things represents. Hailing from Italy and released by DIY label Rumble Fish Records in 2003, Shock Treatment play loud, discordant post punk that reminds me a lot of bands like Shellac, Uzeda, Bellini, etc. It has that fingernails on a chalk board Steve Albini-esque guitar sound all over it. ...So Many Little Things is pummeling albeit in a good way. Over the years the band has been very prolific releasing a few albums, eps, 7 inches, and comp appearances but for whatever reason this was the only release I was able to ever get my hands on. This is one of the finest releases that I have ever carried in my distro and I do believe I have a copy or two remaining.

Shock Treatment ...So Many Little Things track listing
1. Once Upon a Time
2. What I Am
3. Box Me In
4. Silvya' Nightmare
5. Missing
6. ...So Many Little Things
7. I Need a Place
8. It's So Fucking Cold
9. Silvya's Dream
10. zzz

Download Here

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Officer May "Helping Others Help Themselves" cd (Random Noise Records/2001)

I mentioned this release previously in my post about The Migration Trap and I am very happy to now share the release with you fine readers of this blog. I first became aware of Officer May in 2003 when Yes Sensei played a show with them at Saints and Sinners for a show my buddy Charlie put on. Previously, he told me how much I'd love the band and while he is a great dude I had heard that sentiment before only to have my expectations crushed. Well not on that night my friend, as Officer May delivered and thensome. They were so loud, so intense and above all very rockin'. My mind was blown and my body was moving to the music. Officer May was a trio and I couldn't get over how loud they were. Right away their bombastic music struck me as a mixture of Shellac, The Jesus Lizard, Drive Like Jehu and Nirvana which is almost without question because guitarist/vocalist Chris Warren bore an absolutely uncanny vocal resemblance to Kurt Cobain. But regardless, Officer May's tunes absolutely stand on their own without being purely resorted to grunge worship. Within seconds of them unplugging their instruments I absolutely needed to own everything this band did. After a night drinking from the wonderful tap selection Saints and Sinners had to offer I was a bit skint so they were kind enough to trade a copy Helping Others Help Themselves for a Yes Sensei cd and then I purchased their then new album Smoking In a Minor on Ace Fu Records which I do believe was the band's only other recorded output. In fact Helping Others Help Themselves features an early version of the song "My Heart the Boomerang". Officer May were supposed to come back to Long Island to play a show at the Long Island Freespace with Yes Sensei and after weeks of hyping everyone in a earshot about them they never showed up. And that was the last any of us ever heard from the band. Regardless, Officer May fucking ruled and their two albums have been in regular rotation over the years. Man, I wish this band was still around to give a swift kick in the ass to lame modern indie rock/post punk. I am telling you within the first minute of "The Cancer" you will be absolutely hooked. Download this and prepare to be floored.

Officer May Helping Others Help Themselves track listing
1. The Cancer
2. A.D.D
3. Song to End All Songs
4. Unsex Complex
5. Fuck My Luck
6. Proud Parents of an Absolute Zero
7. Snake Attack
8. Head Down
9. The Stooge
10. My Heart the Boomerang
11. Misery

Download Here

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Imaginary Baseball League "The Letter EP" cd (Stagnant Industries/2002)

Back in 2002 my band Yes Sensei played in a basement Quogue with Radio Raheem and this awesome indie rock band from Nashville called Imaginary Baseball League. They were the coolest guys and the played really catchy indie rock that had a alt country vibe at times. Their music had an upbeat vibe for the most part but even live I could tell that the vocals and lyrics came from a different place as they were certainly more introspective. Lead singer Aaron Robinson is the driving force behind Imaginary Baseball League with a wonderful melodic voice that you can get lost in as it guides you through the songs. That is not to take away from the musicianship,as The Letter EP is filled with  smart, hooky melodies but never are the performances over bearing. There is a maturity and balance in Imaginary Baseball League's song writing that is seldom witnessed, I for one applaud it.

I picked up copies of this cdep The Letter  for the distro as well as myself and I am excited to share it with everyone today as it is a absolutely solid release. I tried keeping up the band's activities over the years and they continued on for a bit releasing a ep called Cardiact as well as a fantastic full length called Revive. Sadly by 2005 the band had broken up, however before they did the recorded the tunes for what would've been their second full length album. Kindly the band has put these tracks up on their website for free download. Check it out!

Imaginary Baseball League The Letter EP track listing
1. From Arkansas With Love
2. Paternize
3. Heal
4. Plaza of the Cats
5. A Song No One Likes
6. Posing For Stills

Download Here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Brown Recluse Sings "Selected Hymns (of the Evening Tapestry)" cassette (Dead Format/2008)

When I first starting ripping my cassette collection this is the one that I was really psyched to rip regardless of it being a fairly recent release. I searched high and low for a mp3s. Heck, I am friends with one of the dudes in the band and one of the guys that run the label yet for some reasons no matter how many times I asked I couldn't get any mp3s of this awesome collection of songs that I could listen to in the early morning at my old office job or on those rainy days where I just want to stare into nothingness and get lost in a album. Selected Hymns (of the Evening Tapestry) is the perfect album to get lost in as the songs have this lo fi recorded in a dusty old bare room vibe to it, a very raw under produced indie pop album. And when I say under produced I don't mean that in a sloppy, let's make everything sound like shit on purpose way but where every sound is just raw, live production which when acoustic guitars and vocals are the driving element in music is a style that my ears prefer. Following up their wonderful debut cdep Black Sunday, Brown Recluse Sings' Selected Hymns (of the Evening Tapestry) is a wondrous collection of eleven instant indie pop songs to cap of the period of the band where they added "Sings" at the end of their name. Not sure why they dropped it, I rather liked that touch, giving a really traveling folk or gospel kind of vibe.

And as it turns out several of the songs that appear on Selected Hymns (of the Evening Tapestry) have been re-recorded with full arrangements for the new Brown Recluse album, Evening Tapestry on Slumberland Records  which I highly recommend you pick up. It is rather impressive how the secluded serenity of the songs on this cassette were transformed into something even grander. It is nice to see something transform a embryonic state to something fully fleshed out, and especially when the original renditions found on Selected Hymns (of the Evening Tapestry) are so strong. The talent that Brown Recluse's principal songwriter Timothy Meskers has for crafting perfected melodic indie pop tunes and for exhibiting such incredible vocal skills is a real treat to someone who has been surrounded by tone deaf would be vocalists for most of my time involved in independent music.

As much as I enjoy relevant music from my generation and current projects peers are working on I'd seldom tag the phrase timeless to much of if, but the music Brown Recluse creates is absolutely timeless. I have played their music for people who don't even like indie music or travel those circles and those people have responded "who is this? this music is great."- meaning that their music, like all great music transcends any silly genre or tag one subscribes to. Fear not you indie clown doctors afraid that your mom will dig this and eventually find her way to borrowing your Pavement bootlegs and your Sarah Records singles- Brown Recluse is definitely a indie band but a above that a great band.  Bias aside, and this is as a music lover speaking, I would be hard pressed to find another current band making better indie pop than Brown Recluse.

Before you get to the free downloading of Selected Hymns (of the Evening Tapestry) do the smart thing and head on over to Slumberland to pick up the new Brown Recluse album Evening Tapestry as well as their previous 12 inch The Soft Skin, which is easily one of my favorite records in recnt years. For you lazy bastards I'll even provide links.

BUY Brown Recluse "Evening Tapestry"
BUY Brown Recluse "The Soft Skin"

Brown Recluse Sings Selected Hymns (of the Evening Tapestry) track listing
1. Hobble to Your Tomb
2. Foreign Correspondent
3. Impressions of a City Morning
4. Cattail Bouquet
5. Evening Tapestry
6. Monday Moon
7. Ascending the White Mountain
8. Summer
9. Wooden Fingers
10. Rinse Off the Newsprint
11. Alpha 60

Download Here