Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Have Supped Full On Horrors by Romance Of Young Tigers

Kind of Like: Signal Hill, Earth, Explosions in the Sky
Genres: Post-Rock, Experimental, Ambient
Preview: Bandcamp

Earlier today I was sitting on Tumblr and came across a post about a band called Romance of Young Tigers. After some further investigation, it turns out that they:

1. Hail from Dayton, Ohio,
2. are no longer making music together,
3. and have made a few unjustly underrated albums during their time together.

But don't just take my word for it. Here's a review via Buzzgrinder, another great music blog, from their 2009 release, I Have Supped Full on Horrors (Shakespeare anyone?):

"I was first introduced to Dayton, Ohio post-rockers Romance of Young Tigers a few years ago on a free Silent Ballet compilation. In a large collection of instrumental songs by God knows how many Explosions in the Sky cover bands and college students putzing around in GarageBand, they stood out.

The track I heard was Long Withdrawing Roar, the opening song on their first full-length release, I Have Supped Full on Horrors, which apparently came out sometime last year. I, however, have just gotten my hands on it for the first time. It turns out to be perfect timing: it’s been too long since I’ve heard a new instrumental release worth listening to more than once.

No percussion is found here; this is pure guitar experimentation (with the occasional keyboard for good measure). Nothing should be added or taken away. Every strung-out noise and cloud of static lives up to an overarching sense of significance. So much can be read between these lines, but one might get the feeling that he is perhaps reading into himself instead."

The guys over at Buzzgridner gave that album a score of 9.934. Although it's probably my favorite album of theirs, I could not for the life of me find a link to download it (if anyone else can, please feel free to post it in the comments!). However, the whole album is available on their Bandcamp for you to enjoy. I did find a link to their February 2009 release, Maria, which you can download below, and is also pretty good. Had I known about them at the time, I probably would have asked for this album on vinyl for Christmas. Each copy comes with a hand-screened cover and hand-screened protective sleeve.

Listen Here:

Friday, December 30, 2011

Shoelaces EP by The Submarines

Kind of Like: Stars, Mates of State, The Postal Service (with female vocals)
Genres: Indie Pop, Electronica, Shoegaze

I've had a thing for these two cuties since I heard the song "Xavia" a couple years back. Yeah, they've been in Apple commercials and all that jazz, but you shouldn't hold that against them. They're really good at fusing together male and female harmonies to poppy, feel-good beats, with a bit of folk mixed in there as well. I'll admit it may be a bit girlier than some people may prefer, but hey, girls read this blog too! This EP just came out a month or so ago, and it features brand-new material, as well as a cover of one of their older songs. I would say that "Your Silent Face" is probably my favorite tune, but the others are catchy as well.

Fun fact: I just learned that the female vocalist, Blake Hazard, is the great-granddaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald. So not only do I have a girl crush on her 'cause she's super cute and has a lovely voice, but she's also related to one of my favorite writers. Oh, AND she's created a foundation to help children fighting cancer. Yep, it's pretty safe to say that I love her.

Listen Here:

Soulquarians Vol. 1 by D.J. Enjay

Kind of Like: A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Common
Genres: Neo-soul, Hip-hop

For some reason I didn't discover this musical collective from the late 90's/early 2000's until just recently, which is pretty lame of me, since it inclues some of my favorite neo-soul and hip-hop artists, such as: Questlove, Common, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Q-Tip, and Talib Kweli. They have produced numerous albums either whole or partially over the years.

A guy by the name of D.J. Enjay, who deems himself a "hip-hop specialist", mixing R&B, new soul, funk, and soul music, put together a Podcast of their most memorable hits - a continuos track that's about an hour and a half long. It's a pretty chill collection. I challenge anyone to listen to it and keep from bobbing their head along to the infectious rhythms. If you like this mix, or even if you just feel like finding some more good hip-hop, it's worth checking out his website here. He has featured artists from Detroit, as well as a tribute mix to A Tribe Called Quest.

Listen Here:

Poppelganger's Best Of 2011

I selected 20 releases for my "best of" list. Not all of them were featured on SIGD but the ones that are, I posted a link.

20.) Stay Kids by ANR

Genres: Indie, Pop, Electronica

19.) Oh Land by Oh Land

Genres: Pop, Elecronica

18.) Shorts EP by Man Your Horse
SIGD Feature

Genres: Math Rock, Indie

17.) Tentale by Monogrenade
SIGD Feature
Genres: Pop, Experimental, Indie

16.) Dead Roots Stirring by Elder
Genres: Stoner Rock, Blues Rock

15.) Halloween Vacation Party Pack EP by Slowriter
SIGD Feature
Genres: Chillwave, Electronica, Pop, Indie

14.) Bury Your Roots by Kamchatka
Genres: Stoner rock, Blues Rock

13.) 12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis
SIGD Feature
Genres: Indie, Pop

12.) In The Mountain In The Cloud by Portugal. The Man
Genres: Indie, Rock, Pop

11.) The Color Spectrum by The Dear Hunter
SIGD Feature
Genres: Indie, Progressive, Alternative, Pop, Rock, Blues

10.) The Journey Is Over Now by Comity
SIGD Feature
Genres: Hardcore, Sludge, Mathcore

This band and the label, Throat Ruiner Records, appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Comity pumps out an amazing and brutal 50+ minute epic split into 4 parts. The Journey Is Over Now combines the intensity of Converge with the atmosphere of KEN Mode, and to top it off, a thick layer of sludge. Comity began in 1996 and has evolved over the years to a coherent and influential source. Like a beacon of light amidst a sea of shit, this album slays. I think 2012 is going to be a huge year for Throat Ruiner.

9.) Heavy Eyes by The Heavy Eyes
SIGD Feature
Genres: Stoner Rock, Southern Rock, Psychedelic Rock

This quote from sums this album up perfectly:
"The Heavy Eyes is psychedelic bluesy rock from the delta that sounds similar to a skeleton driving a speed boat on a flaming Mississippi River headed back to 1969."

8.) Aesthethica by Liturgy
SIGD Feature
Genres: Post-, Atmospheric, Transcendental Black Metal

This is one of the most unique releases of the year. Liturgy makes beautiful and discordant music that is awash in atmosphere and pummeling noise. This band takes the cake also for the best and most interesting live show I have been to all year. Hater's gonna hate, but this group is doing something original and doing it well.

7.) Thank You, Happy Birthday by Cage The Elephant
Genres: Indie, Rock, Alternative

For their sophomore release, Cage The Elephant hash out 12 tracks of amazing indie rock that pays homage to the early '90s alternative rock scene in the vein of The Pixies and Hüsker Dü. They manage to make this record sound both nostalgic and fresh at the same time. Extremely solid progression as a band.

6.) Naps by Kidcrash
SIGD Feature
Genres: Screamo, Post-Hardcore

Poo did a great review of this album, and I am sure most of you know who this band is and what they are about. I got to see these guys in a smelly hot basement in NE Portland a few months back and their performance floored everyone in the room. But in an amazing way, not like when someone ripped a fart during the opening set. Seriously, think next time you eat turkey chile and stand in a packed basement with no ventilation drinking your Busch lite. just squeeze it man. hold that shit in for all of our sake.

5.) Reptilian by Starfucker
SIGD Feature
Genres: Indie, Electronica, Pop

Raptilian has been on fairly regular rotation through the bulk of the year for me. This album has a very solid and comfortable pace complete with short interludes that work perfectly in adding to the atmosphere and flow of the album as a whole. Every time I listen to this I catch myself saying "Oh ya, this track! Man, I love this album."

4.) Little Hell by City And Colour

Genres: Indie, Folk, Acoustic

Dallas Green is one of my favorite songwriters of all time. I love everything he does in Alexisonfire and especially City And Colour. For his 3rd album, there is a fair amount of full band arrangements and layers of nuance that were more subtle and muted in previous releases. This album really grew on me and now i can't go more than a couple of days until I feel a growing need to experience this album again. One of my highly anticipated albums of 2011 that did not disappoint at all.

3.) The Big Roar by The Joy Formidable
SIGD Feature
Genres: Indie Rock, Shoegaze, Garage Rock, Alternative

Technically I heard this album at the end of 2010, but it's official release date falls in 2011, and thankfully, here is this gem sitting at number 3. I heard the term shitgaze come up when referring to this band once. Basically it is the combination of shoegaze and garage rock or grunge. Psychedelic Horseshit is a perfect example of the noisy side of the ridiculous sub-genre. That aside, The Joy Formidable hit hard and fast with their album, The Big Roar. From the start of the eerie intro you can tell something pivotal is about to happen. And it does, with passionate fervor. This release sets the bar high for this group. Their chemistry and musicianship shine through every moment and it feels like it is going to be a classic someday. I am very anxious to see where they go from here.

2.) Gangs by And So I Watch You From Afar
SIGD Feature
Genres: Math Rock, Post Rock, Experimental, Post-Hardcore

What a treat. These guys are at the top of their game and manage to put together one of the best and most anthemic releases of the year. Urgent, layered, and powerful, Gangs is an epic of an album. They blend insanely catchy melodies and movements without it ever seeming forced or awkward. It feels like this album was already written, just looking for the right group to throw it all together and make it their own. And boy did they succeed.

1.) Heaven Is Attached By A Slender Thread by The One AM Radio
SIGD Feature
Genres: Indie, Electronica, Pop

It was a toss up between this and Gangs but this took home the cake for one specific reason: this album speaks to me. Everyone who appreciates music knows that feeling. Listening to this always puts a smile on my face. It's perfect for all occasions and such a joy to get immersed in. The imagery in the lyrics fits the music perfectly and the subdued atmosphere throughout allow for great dynamics. To me, this the best release of 2011.

I also compiled a list of my top 10 favorite songs at Documenting The Future. I will be a lot more active here in the coming months and have a list of some great bands to share with you. Thanks for visiting this blog and tell your friends about us. And most importantly, SUPPORT THESE ARTISTS! Go to a show, buy their merchandise and help spread the word. They are working hard for your enjoyment, it's nice to show your appreciation.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Life by Travels (2011)

Kind of Like: Brito, Raein, Touche Amore
Genres: Post-hardcore, Screamo
Preview: Bandcamp

These boys are from Queensland, Australia, and had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Raein, one of the great italian screamo bands that made our best of 2011 list.  Side Australian note: Summer Heights High is coming back to HBO for another season.  Which is the best Australian comedy next to Wilfred.  Give these guys a listen, and maybe they will come out to the states someday.

The password to extract is:

Listen Here:

Seasons by Citycop (2011)

Kind of Like: La Dispute, 1994!, Caravels
Genres: Screamo, Post-hardcore
Preview: Bandcamp

This band probably pulls off the "acoustic screamo" thing as best as you can.  The rendition of Bukowski's "Bluebeard" poem is very La Dispute-esque.  After that, it has some stunning guitar work with hoarse impassionate screams over it.  It is an odd fit for me, but I could see a lot of people digging it immediately, but I think it will take more time for me to really appreciate it.  I think certain heavier parts would be translated better using heavier electric guitar tones.  However, the acoustic guitar works perfectly at times.

On a side note, I passed out a bunch of flyers with promo codes on them for a dollar off any SIGD records orders at the Fireworkds/CSTVT/Tigers Jaw/Captain We're Sinking/Louder than Bombs show.  Still have a little bit of the codes left for use, so if you are still on the fence about the preoders just type in the promo code: FIREWORKS to take get a discount off your order.

Listen Here:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of 2011: Indie/Emo/Punk

Alright, finally getting around to this.  First I had this split into Indie and Emo/Punk, but I still found that a ton of the bands could easily fall two or all three categories, so I just combined it to make a monstrosity.  This is gonna take me a little bit, so here goes.  The first 25 aren't gonna have explanations, or else this would take days and I probably wouldn't finish it.  But you can click the pictures to go to where you can read the original posts on them.








Small Brown Bike- "Fell & Found"

This was the first Michigan natives, Small Brown Bike, released since their break up in 2004.  They were also the first band I saw at Fest this year.  They played in the Florida Theater which wasn't very complimentary to many bands, but they got my music juices flowing the music and mayhem that was going to occur that weekend.  Live performance aside, this album impressed me immediately and I still listen to it quite a bit since reviewing it in April.

Mansions- "Dig Up the Dead"

I am having a really hard time putting this in front of Owen's Ghost Town.  They both are fairly similar artists, but I think Owen does exhibit a bit more skills technically and compositionally, but the fact of the matter is, I have listened to this album a lot more than Owen's up until this point, and there are quite a few songs on here that are so catchy and sing-along-able it's really hard to deny it.  I am really looking forward to seeing this band and A Great Big Pile of Leaves in spring next year.  I feel odd not having A Great Big Pile of Leaves on this list, but Boom! did not do it for me like their previous two albums did.  "Drought of Snow" is a great new song, but all the re-done songs weren't close to surpassing the originals for me.  The album seemed kinda unnecessary for me.

Jet Set Sail- "Jet Set Sail"

Ever since Algernon Cadwallader recommended this band to people, I have been listening to it quite a bit.  I have been in the process of discussing putting this out on vinyl with the band because I think these guys have a bright future.  Next month, I am heading out to Philadelphia to catch these guys along with Restorations, Signals Midwest, Everyone Everywhere and Glocca Morra. 

Signals Midwest- "Latitudes and Longitudes"

I wish I could do a release with these guys, but Tiny Engines have already scooped them up.  I am really excited to see them in Philadelphia along with the other bands.  I might even play a trombone part from one of their songs, haha.  I have been e-mailing these guys the past month and not only do we share some ska roots, but they seem like really nice guys as well.

The Middle East- "I Want That You Are Always Happy"

I started listening to this band around the time they released their previous album, Recordings of the Little East.  They had a couple great songs on there but overall it was forgettable.  I love when bands take an album like that and blow it away with their next release.  It was great to see this band mature even more and become a bit more structured and catchy in general.

Glocca Morra- "Ghoul Intentions"

I know I wanted to only focus on albums that were featured on here, but I can't ignore this band.  It was featured on Circling the Drain.  If Songs in the Key of Ayyyyyy was released this year, it would've easily been in the top three albums for this year.  That split with Greek Favourites is still my favourite material by them.  This new EP is a tad grittier, a tad punkier, and is still pretty great, but I haven't fallen for it like I did for songs like "Bedford Avenue" and "New Years Eve".  I couldn't get a chance to see these guys at Fest because the venue filled up before I could get in there, but I am absolutly stoked to see them next month in Philadelphia.

Rubik- "Solar"

I have a feeling that a lot of people really won't dig this Finnish band, but I don't really give a damn.  Like a bunch of the albums that ended up making these lists, I didn't make much of a fuss over them initially, but the more I listen to them the more I like them.  I will listen to one song a bunch for awhile and then I will realize another song on it has some great moments as well.  They are poppy, but it makes them accessible and they still hold the indie aesthetics as well.

Weatherbox- "Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar"

I'll admit it, I used to like Say Anything up through ...Is A Real Boy.  Then by the time In Defense of the Genre came out, it was over for me, and I realized I wasn't a big fan of Max Bemis anywas.  Weatherbox, reminds me a bunch like Say Anything for some reason, but in a very good way.  I don't feel like they are a band that I will get over quickly like Say Anything.  They have that catchiness but they also have the intricateness at the same time, it is a lot more complex than Say Anything.  And if you never even liked that band to begin with, forget I mentioned it and just give this EP a good listen and see how you feel about it before you jump to conclusions.

Restorations- "Restorations"

This is also not an album that was featured on here, but I did feature their previous EP that is also good.  This album came out this year though and was also featured on Circling the Drain.  I really want to include this because not only was the album great, but they literally blew me away at Fest.  They closed a show on Sunday, and they put on a performance that was one of my favorites at Fest.


Kite Party- "Baseball Season"

Not a huge fan of baseball, but I became a huge fan of Kite Party after catching their set on accident at Fest.  They were opening up the show for A Great Big Pile of Leaves, and I am so glad we ended up getting their early or else I probably would have never been exposed to this band.  At least it would've taken longer anyways.    Their mixture of folk, punk, and post-rock is actually a lot like Restorations.  Maybe throw in a bit of Prawn in there as well, especially in their live sets.  

Peace be still- "64"

Yeah, yeah, this is the band that got me my label going, but there is a reason for that.  This album kills it.  As a Michigander, I miss Bear vs. Shark, and when I heard this I immediately got reminded of them by the yelling/screaming vocals.  Then throw in the music that has similar guitar work/music to bands like CSTVT, Snowing (RIP) and Algernon, and you end up with an album that impressed me faster than many other albums I reviewed to this year.  Remember if you wanna preorder the physical 12" record you can do so here!

Dikembe- Chicago Bowls

This EP blasted Dikembe on the scene and got Tiny Engines attention along with mine immediately.  Shortly after this was put out for free, Tiny Engines began to get in talks with them for another release.  Sure enough, a few months later they officially signed on board to release their upcoming LP with them.  When I first hit play on their bandcamp for this EP, I immediately recognized the Freaks and Geeks audio clip and right when it ended it burst into something great.  I listened to this over and over again for a few months, especially that first song.  I am hoping that their LP that comes out next year will be nothing short of amazing.  When we saw them at Fest, they put on the best show, it was great.  Look out for them in 2012.


How the hell does a two song 7" make a best of the year list?  Probably because the two songs on this album are their two best songs released to date, in my opinion.  I actually saw these boys last night at a show, and they put on a good show.  They really seem like they are having a great time and they talk a bit to the audience and joke around with each other.  Dikembe's LP and CSTVT's LP are the two albums I am most excited for next year.  This 7" shows some great guitar work, great transitions, and they are drifting from the twinkle daddy thing to less yelling and better singing.  They still have that edginess about them in the vocals at time though.  Here is a SIGD exclusive, a brand new song that should be on their LP next year.  Sounds killer except for the little tuning issue 40 seconds into it.

Prawn- "You Can Just Leave It All"

This album sure got Topshelf Record's attention, and I loved enough to want to follow these guys around for a couple days and see them perform twice and interview them.  It turns out, these guys are really nice and fun to drink and shoot the shit with.  They also put on a great fuckin' show.  The mixture of post-rock with 90's emo is something that is somewhat unique to these guys and I hope the best for them next year.  Hopefully they will be back in Michigan again soon!

Algernon Cadwallader- "Parrot Flies"

This was kind of a no brainer for me, I listen to this album regularly since it came out this summer.  I have talked to people and a lot of thems till feel albums like "Fun" and "Some Kind of Cadwallader" are better.  I may be in the minority, but I think this album is better.  I can see that their previous albums could definitely have a sentimental/nostalgic value to them.  But as far as writing/production go, the material on this album far outdoes anything they have put out in the past.  I saw them one and a half times at Fest, and their shows are something to be reckoned with; they make the bodies fly.

On a side note, at some point yesterday, we hit 100,000 views.  Woo!