Friday, June 29, 2007

Beachwood Sparks


Here it is, the end of the week and we finally made it to what it's all about, Beachwood Sparks. Myself and Matt chose some choice jams for you to enjoy, either for a new listener or someone who was sick of seeing A) nothing or B) "By Your Side" on the mp3 blogs. Enjoy!

MP3: Beachwood Sparks - Canyon Ride
MP3: Beachwood Sparks - The Hustler

What really did it for me with the band was their strong melodies and harmonies. Their songs are just perfect bits of pop and hooks that it was impossible for me not to get addicted. I couldn't choose one song, so I chose one from each of the full lengths. The high points of both songs are the chorus', infectious and addicting and full of passion and adventure. It makes sense, I swear it!

MP3: Beachwood Sparks - You Take the Gold

Beachwood Sparks may just be the finest band of the decade. I know every time I listen to them I think just that. They did what they did so well, and "You Take The Gold" is an up tempo country number that rolls along with the ease of condensation down that glass of iced tea you're drinking on your porch right now. And seeing as how it's about the inadequacies of modern life and how the natural world should be appreciated more; and that's the sweetener.


So there you have it. What a fun week it has been and I hope we can pull together something like this soon in the future. Thanks for checking it out! For all your Beachwood Sparks needs, feel free to order some cds and vinyl from the folks at Sub Pop and to get super detailed check out the Calming Seas. They've got it all.

As a bonus, here is a video of the band playing one of my picks, "Canyon Ride", in a backyard in Los Angeles. Damn!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mystic Chords of Memory

MP3: Mystic Chords of Memory - Golden Dome


The sticker to the Mystic Chords of Memory's self titled lp states "the voice of the Beachwood Sparks". While everyone in that band chimed in, you will definitely hear that familiar voice of Chris Gunst when putting on their lp. The band, named after a Lincoln quote on Mount Rushmore, offers a sparse look at a talented songwriter. Their last effort, working with the DJ Nobody, added many layers and Gunst has appeared on the last 2 Dntel records. He seems to be trying many things but I do hope that if there is another MCOM lp, it will return to the roots of the first album, a near perfect effort from a near perfect songwriter.

{buy mystic chords of memory records from insound}

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


MP3: Frausdots - Broken Arrows
MP3: Frausdots - Soft Light


The coolest thing about Frausdots was that bassist Brent Rademaker proved that he could be a frontman. Frausdots stray the most from post-BWS in my opinion (very dark in contrast to the Sparks), but keep the same ear for melody and catchy hooks that drew us into their songwriting.

The gems are many on their debut lp "Couture, Couture, Couture", standout tracks include opener "Dead Wrong" and "The Man Who Dreaded Sundown", but the 6 minute 23 second "Broken Arrows" is the perfect example on how great this band is. Rademaker of course is a highlight, but the vocals of co-dot Michelle Loiselle really bring it on home. Her contributions sprinkled over the songs combine to make a completely cohesive lp that stands on it's own, apart from the "ashes" of a band that never ended, and was dear to many. I do love All Night Radio, but I must take Matt's statement from yesterday's post and apply it here: "I consider this record to be one of the best Sub Pop releases ever."

I think another fine showcase of the interplay between Rademaker and Loiselle is "Soft Lights", with that perfect chorus and lyrics that stick in your mind. You'll be singing "I don't want to live forever baby" to yourself and your friends for weeks on end. Maybe that's just me, but the point is it's fucking catchy.

Other than an ep and some 7 inches, the band's output has been sparse (a running theme with all of these projects), but there is always word that Frausdots will create again soon. I know I am anxiously awaiting whatever they deliver.

{buy frausdots releases from insound}

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All Night Radio

MP3: All Night Radio - Fall Down 7


NOTE: Today's contribution to Beachwood Sparks week comes from Matt Giordano, who knows his Sparks. He once saw Farmer Dave on a subway, but said nothing because he wasn't sure if it was him or not. It was. Fuck yeah.

Choices can be tough. This one, for example was one of those. Although All Night Radio only released one full-length and a single, it's just one of those albums that's flat-out great. I consider this record to be one of the best Sub Pop releases ever, which is no surprise as it was the brainchild of two Beachwood Sparks' members. It must be fulfilling to some extent to know
one can just constantly be a part of genius.

{buy all night radio releases from insound}

Monday, June 25, 2007


MP3: Further - Overrated
MP3: Further - Bazooka

Okay, so by "Sunday", I meant "Monday night". Oh well. Here is the big news:


That's right, all week long we'll be posting about Beachwood Sparks side projects/related bands until Saturday, where myself and some contributors will be posting and writing about our favourite BWS jams. Why? Because it's summer, and they're one of the greatest bands we've ever known. Not good enough? Here's the proof in the Beachwood pudding...

Without Further, there would be no BWS. They held so many qualities of the "slacker" early 90's band, but did it while reminding us why that style was so loved. Catchy music to clever lyrics fueled several (sadly) out of print Further releases. Here are 2 of my favourites from the "Griptape lp", the opener "Overrated" to one of the highlights "Bazooka". Included in this post is the video for said track, which looks to be boring but really isn't. It's fueled by a great music track and fantastic musicians.

Tear apart your used bins at your local indie record store. I found 2 Further discs for 1.99 at my job. Amazing.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Taxi Taxi

MP3: Taxi Taxi - Family Doctor

MP3: Taxi Taxi - X Marks the Spot

Taxi Taxi's debut lp "Maps & Legends" may not be perfect, but it certainly is a fun listen. From the opening cut "Family Doctor", you know you're in for a laid back listen and that is kind of the selling point for me, as it seems so many bands are getting so technical and concise that they're missing out on important factors such as melody and catchy use of their instruments.

This is where Taxi Taxi flourishes. I think this can be credited to Terence Bernado, who is not only a frontman but a producer as well. He clearly has the producers ear which mixes in perfect with being a musician.

"X Marks the Spot" has potential to consume your summer mixes as it has an excellent hook and a bumpy vibe.

{i couldn't find where to buy their cd other than iTunes, so check the band's website and email them}

Friday, June 22, 2007

FUCK YEAH!: Early Man

MP3: Early Man - More to Me Than Meat and Eyes

Sorry for things being so slow, me and some friends are prepping for a big week next week. Posts from Sunday to Saturday, all with one theme. Stay tuned!

But in the meantime, what better time for a FUCK YEAH! post?! This song is more for me but I know there's a couple of people out there who had my problem: I searched high and low for Early Man's contribution to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters soundtrack and came up dry every time. Well the wait is over!

This song is pure Early Man for sure, though instead of lyrics about silver bullets and death, it's about a wad of meat. The music is spot on and makes me more excited for a new effort from the band. Soon I hope?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Tough Alliance

MP3: The Tough Alliance - Neo Violence

NOTE: Today's blog comes from Matt Giordano, who seemed like he may have been kidnapped. He wasn't. Fuck yeah.

It's been taking me a while to figure out what to guest-post with next, and really what to follow Joey's great posts with. So, I've just decided to contribute a song I have been listening to a lot lately, and it's coincidentally from one of the best albums I have heard thus far in the year to date. I really have no idea what the single is from this album, but this track really could be one, if it is not already. After The Tough Alliance had escaped their ambitions last year, they have now returned for a New Chance, and that what this track is from. Enjoy.

{buy the tough alliance releases from parasol}

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Cinematic Orchestra

MP3: The Cinematic Orchestra - Familiar Ground

{Yikes, things got a little behind. Sorry about that. To come: 3 new features, more FUCK YEAH! posts, a show review, an interview and smiles. Fuck yeah!}

I was at work looking through all the new promos and this little guy, titled "Ma Fleur" by a band called the Cinematic Orchestra, caught my eye. Apparently this band has been around for a long while but I am a slacker and knew nothing of them. But the art on the outside and in contained some of the most strikingly beautiful photographs I have seen on a record in a long time. When I put it in, I had my mental fingers crossed that the audible portion would follow suit. Boy, did it ever.

There is so much to love about Ma Fleur. It is vast in it's landscapes, taking you to so many places in it's 49 minute span. There are different folks singing songs, but the one thing everybody has in common is how soft they are. Pianos and strings paint imagery so dazzling you'll want to live in these photos and songs. It's an ideal life, contained in a compact disc (or vinyl). I think the time this lp really got to me was driving home at 2 in the morning. It was an hour drive, pitch black out and my windows were down. I had a good night leading up to this drive and the tone for the way home was set by the Cinematic Orchestra.

Lush, gorgeous and striking, this is my pick of today's releases. Perfect in every way, it's what you hope to find in an album these days.

{buy the cinematic orchestra releases from insound}