Portland OR quartet, Lithics, bring the heat and melt faces on their new album Mating Surfaces. Their razor-sharp, tinnitus-causing, post-punk hooks you right at the needle drop of opening track “Excuse Generator” (below) and doesn’t let go for 29 minutes, leaving you exhausted – yet begging for more.
Mating Surfaces is out now via Kill Rock Stars. Enjoy.
It was a colder-than-normal Sunday when the new Horse Feathers CD went into the car stereo. We had the boy and his cousin with us and were searching for the perfect pumpkin patch to take their photo â€” yâ€™know, to get that genuine â€œweâ€™re a happy familyâ€ feel. The patch we found turned out to be muddy and, as a result, a messy wonderland for the boys. The music was a wonderland for us grown-ups: soft vocals with shades of Iron & Wine and St. Vincent, acoustic rhythm and sweet stringed melodies. It even got the little turds in the back seat to pause for a second of reflection before going back to demanding cookies and juice.
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The artistic interpretation of a wiring diagram of the band’s setup found on their website sure tells a lot about Shy Child. It lists “Lead Synth 1”. And “Lead Synth 2”. And “Lead Synth 3.” No “Non-Lead Synth” shown. No “Just Plain Ol’ Synth” either. The three lead synths, undoubtably fighting for that “Lead Lead Synth” position, give a glimpse into the electronic frenzy that is Shy Child. Their story: the band was a side project that somehow found legs, made an album on the cheap, played SXSW, and got picked up by a bigwig producer, in this case Paul Epworth of Bloc Party and The Rapture, resulting in their new album Noise Won’t Stop.
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I imagine everybody else has already heard these new tracks from Thao (formerly known as Thao Nguyen and also seemingly masquerading as Thao with the Get Down Stay Down). If not, then you should know they absolutely and completely rock (in a folk-pop way). Pulled off of We Brave Bee Stings and All, her Kill Rock Stars label debut, Thao brings in the kitchen sink and everything else to slap together a huge party in these two teeny-tiny songs. From the HGTV-inspired lyrics of “Bag of Hammers” — “Shake the frame of this house / Distress the wood, make it shout” — to the lost love of “Beat” and its accompanying brass (is that a tuba?), Thao doesn’t let you down. (Sadly, though, I think the links on her old 3hive page do.)
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You know, Mary Timony. Helium. Mary is still going strong, still telling us about the world, still giving us little glimpes into her soul, into her life, combining her raw talent these days with the experience that comes from years of making the music that she makes. The Mary Timony Band says it all. She is the band.
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I don’t believe we’ve ever tested our readers odd meter. Meaning, how odd do you like your music? What’s your oddness threshold? To some listeners, Deerhoof will sound like Top 40 fodder. Others may find it a bit quirky for their tastes. Deerhoof will make a great gauge. So here’s the test: the following MP3s are listed in order of their palatability. Most palatable, in my opinion, first. Start with “Milk Man” and work your way down, then share with us how far you got in the comments. If all the songs are too odd for your taste, leave a zero; if you get all the way through the songs and are dying to hear more, leave a seven, then get shopping. This much I can tell you, “Milk Man” is gonna make your day. It’s what you’d hear in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame if it were curated by Willy Wonka.
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NPR a few months back had a big piece on Mr. Moog, you know, the electronics wizard who a million bands owe a great deal of thanks to for his wonderous synthesizers, keyboards, and other musical instruments, if we can call them instruments. Turns out it’s pronounced Moog as in “toad”, not as in “moo.” Numbers, the band, are also indebted to Mr. Moog. This San Fran outfit churns out catchy tunes driven by pulsating keyboards, with a quirkiness that can be better understood by imagining Kraftwerk coming of age in the City by the Bay, where a bit of eccentricity is required by city ordinance.
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Fool that I am, I spent 11 years of schooling and two years of on-location training to become more or less fluent in French…only to fall in love and want to spend the rest of forever with a woman who thinks “French sounds stupid.” Of course, this only fuels my desire to play musique en français around the house. Even better if it’s catchy enough to get The Mrs. dancing in spite of herself. So, the giddy, candy-like pop of Berlin’s Stereo Total — featuring the coquette-ish vocals of Françoise Cactus — provides the ultimate weapon in our little civil war. (Cactus also sings in English and German, and sometimes about serious topics, just not when my wife’s around.) The band’s website features a ton of rarities with downloadable art so you can make your very own CD and join the good fight.
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We all go through phases. Some are developmental, like my two year old’s tantrum/fit last night upon leaving the Taco Bell play-place. Some are musical, like me listening to almost nothing but The High Water Marks and 30 Amp Fuse the past two weeks. So to break me out of my phase, here’s The Gossip, a trio of ladies who relocated from Searcy, Arkansas, to Olympia, Washington, who I think are no more. If PJ Harvey fronted the Blues Explosion, the Gossip would still do gospel-shaking, blues-tinged rock ‘n’ roll better…Addendum: Thanks to a 3hive reader, it’s been confirmed that The Gossip have played a show as recently as a few months ago, so hopefully they’re still around.
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Sometimes you just gotta rock. What is it they say… you can take the glam rock out of the garage, but you can’t take the garage out of the glam rock?
Continue reading “The Makers”