I loved the first Autolux album. I thought at the time that this was a future of music I could get on board with. I wondered why more bands didn’t sound like these guys. Many in press, such as pitchfork, gave them favorable reviews too. It all just seemed so right. Then, they disappeared only to follow up with their second album that really didn’t live up to my expectation. To me there were quite a few fairly un-memorable songs on it – at least when weighted against their debut. What I like about Autolux is that their sound wasn’t totally derivative yet it was firmly rooted in the shoegaze,madchester and american 90’s indie scene. They managed to combine elements from all those sounds while sounding completely original. Add in a well accomplished and technically great drummer with slick backing vocals and you’ve got me totally sold. It was like I was watching the Stone Roses all over again. The first album is called Future Perfect.
Voyager One – Wires
Sure they’re a little Vervey, mixed with a bit of Chapterhouse, and totally sound like early 2000’s shoegaze, but here’s the thing – I really like early 2000’s shoegaze. And these guys for me define that time period. The slightly bouncy beat, rad sounding e-bowd guitars (or at least a wicked sustain) and airy vocals are all major selling points. Sure, the vocals might be that american faking a british accent thing, but it’s not weird and stupid like how Brian Jonestown Massacre does, or even Madonna. Had this been released in 1991 the british music press would have fallen over themselves to speak to these guys, but such is life and it didn’t happen. Instead they’ll be just a band that made some great songs. Also check out “gun”
Broken Social Scene – cause = time
Slight editors note in that I actually appeared on stage with the Broken Social Scene for a show, so there’s some bias happening here. When they first broke with “you forgot in people” I saw them at this tiny venue in Philadelphia called The Kyhber. The Kyhber was, at the time, this totally dank and downtrodden venue that fit maybe 100 people like sardines which reeked of 30 years of chain smokers and an awful sound system to boot. They somehow managed to squeeze their gigantic band in for this rock n’ roll performance that left you deaf the day after. It was glorious. Cause = Time is another song like the next band below that has a driving beat mixed with choppy and jangly guitar parts mixed with the subtle maneuvers of tempo that really make this song. The roll on drums before the chorus, the riding of the crash with a backbeat, a hammer on then sliding down on guitar, and the MBV esque downstrokes past the 12th fret during the break in the verse are all little pieces constructed by BSS to craft a solid song.
Sea And cake – Four Corners
The smiths if they were happy. This band really does what I call “noodling”. If you managed to see them live you’d kind of get why. They’re just really good at playing their instruments. The thing about Sea and Cake is they can pull of some really well constructed and original pop sounding songs such as Four Corners while at other times sounding like a 14 legged machine stumbling through thick forrest. It’s somewhat hit or miss to say the least (at least for me). With it’s driving beat, ebow guitar pared with some of the best choppy jangle guitar outside of early Stone Roses. All paced by a bass guitar that expertly keeps time while living in that mythical area called “the pocket” – I absolutely adore this track. It’s almost 3 minutes before the vocals kick in too! Standard pop music this band is not.
True Widow A.K.A
If there’s one thing you’ll understand about me is that I have an un-natural love of “Texas”. It’s not that stupid view where they’re all a bunch of redneck, regressive, gun types – generalizing an area can be problematic so lets try to stay away from that nonsense here. The reality is that there are people even in that “sea of red” still doing some amazing stuff despite the odds. Out of pain and misery often comes our greatest efforts I say. So with that I present True Widow. I love the dark and brooding riff that is recorded so damn well it hurts. It’s one thing I think many britpop bands lack in that they record things too damn clean – apart from The La’s (and Cast by proxy). I’m a fan of John Leckie, but the dude is crisp and with that sometimes you sap the life out of a song. With these guys all the dirt and grime such as white noise is there. I mean all the subtle parts of cranking the reverb up that high which causes those noises when you move your hand, or let a chord ring out, are there in their rawness. And it all just fits. There’s so little going on to be honest, but it all fills the space so well. I challenge any band to pull of such a simple setup of one guitar, bass, and drums with nary an overdub to sound this full.