Archive for the ‘Indie’ Category

Boats


[The] Caseworker – Boats

In the past I have mentioned on shotwithsound that I still get excited that people send me their band’s music to check out and share with people if I like it, and said that this is often quite difficult to do given the nature of the blog. That said, sometimes the planets align and a great song pops in to my inbox with a photo that seems made for it landing at the top of my memory card at the same time.

So it was with [The] Caseworker’s Boats (makes a mental note to copy the band’s name so I can just paste the fussy spelling!). The band makes crisp indie music that reminds me a bit of early REM, but at times they sound a little more jangly and cutie than that too.

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Glasvegas – Be My Baby

Glasvegas – Be My Baby

After posting about Wavves on Sunday, I listened again to their album King of the Beach, and then yesterday morning, on the way to work, listened to Best Coast’s Crazy For You, coming to the conclusion that both owed a debt not only to late-sixties surf rock, early-seventies soul and late-eighties scuzz rock but also to a group of pasty-faced, leather-jacketed social-worker lauding Glasweigans… Yes that’s right, the appropriately named Glasvegas.
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Wavves – Idiot

So as to prove my intentions are sound in redefining the way shotwithsound works, going, as I explained here, from being a blog that fits music with my photography, as it was for a year, to being a blog about music, with some of my photos, the day after making the promise I’ll post more often, and hopefully more interestingly this way, here’s a post about my favourite new album. Posts used to be weekly here…
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Sunrise


Yeasayer – Sunrise

This post was promised a few weeks ago on the back of a trip to the coast and a four am start for a sunrise photo trip… The first results of that trip and a track from Fleet Foxes can be found here, but I took enough photos that I’m pleased with that morning, that I wanted two bites of the cherry, as it were.
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July, July

The Decemberists – July, July!

The Decemberists seem an odd band to celebrate the start of July with a post about(although I suppose given we’re now six months through the year, we’re closer to next December than last today!), but then they’ve never seemed to be solely a ‘winter band’, name notwithstanding. As a digression, for me ‘winter bands’ are those who are either to be solely listened to during the colder months, or at elates those who sound better then, and vice versa for ‘summer bands’. Some examples of the type would include Joy Division, Bon Iver and Plastikman for the winter, and Sublime, the Beach Boys and the Kinks for summer.
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Disappear Here

Bloc Party – Song For Clay (Disappear Here)

Part of my ongoing drive to avoid the pressures that come with relevance means that I very rarely post about new music on the day that it is released… That and a sense that in most cases it’s a bit unfair to make something brand new readily available for free.

For this post though, I’m changing the rules slightly – it’s about an album that is out today, but doesn’t feature music from it. You see, today marks the release of The Boxer, first solo album from Bloc Party main man Kele Okereke, and given my strangely never posted upon love of his band, it seemed reasonable to bend my rules to post about it.

Judging from the lead single Tenderoni, it seems (having only bought it on a lunch time trip to Fopp, I’m yet to listen to it) that The Boxer will continue the development marked by each of Bloc Party’s three studio albums – pushing towards a more dance-edged, electro feel. In a way that’s a shame, because the initial indie kids who like keyboards and drum machines niche they carved has now been filled with a series of derivative acts ploughing similar fields and a new direction would have been nice, but when you have your niche and your still better than your imitators, why move too far I guess.

The track above is the opener from Bloc Party’s sophomore album, A Weekend In The City, and draws heavily on Bret Easton Ellis’s Eighties debut novel Less Than Zero for it’s lyrical themes – even utilising a version of its opening line “People are afraid to merge on the freeways in Los Angeles” in the chorus – hence the photo above!

With Clay being the novel’s protagonist, and Disappear Here featuring on billboards across LA in the book, the influence is apparent, although I’ve never noticed the band explain it in an interview. If anyone knows why they chose that particular treatise on Eighties alienation for the song, I’d love to know.

Strangely, as if timed, Bret Easton Ellis has written a sequel to Less Than Zero called Imperial Bedrooms that is due for release on July 2nd… Hopefully with band or alone, Kele will write a sequal to Song For Clay too!

You can buy The Boxer from Amazon here or download it from iTunes here:Kele

Kele also has a very good blog in the style of Kanye West here.

Mr E’s Beautiful Blues


Eels – Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues (Live at the Town Hall)

Given I actively set a policy on the side bar of this blog to not be topical, it’s kinda against my own rules to be writing this post on this basis of the weather, but so what, it looks like summer has finally come to London, even if it only lasted four days.

Serendipitously, for those of you enjoying the lush string filled beauty of Mr E’s blues playing from the link above right now, summer brought out the barbeques and beachwear the same weekend I read the incredible autobiography of Eels main man Mark Oliver Everett, or Mr E as he’s known to friends. Entitled Things To Tell The Grandchildren (there’s an Eels song of the same name on the double album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations), my excellent boss Joffy23 bought me it last week. I know right, what sort of dope boss buys brilliant books about indie heroes for the people who work for him?

Anyway, he did, and the combination of reading Everett’s tragic, redemptive, uplifting and inspiring life story and the mid to late twenties mini heat wave made me think that goddam right it was a beautiful day on Saturday.

The version of Mr E’s Beautiful Blues linked above is from the Eels With Strings live album recorded at Town Hall in New York that Eels released in 2006. As you might notice, it differs somewhat from the version we all know and love, in that you have to provide the vocals yourself. The track originally featured on the excellent Daisies Of The Galaxy album in 2000, and very nearly went top ten in the UK charts (according to the book it flopped in States cos radio stations will allow you to sing God and Damn, but not goddamn as one word).

The photo above was taken in the sun on Saturday: usually I’d try my best to avoid things like having a massively blown out white sky clipping the highlights and having me reflected in my ‘model’ (read wife!)’s sunglasses, but to be honest, I like this photo a lot as it completely captures the sunny day state of mind of just chilling and enjoying life. And the same sunny positivity resonates throughout the song.

Eels have so many great collections and albums, as well as different versions of Beautiful Blues, out that if I listed them all you’d be here all day, but a couple of the Amazon links below give you my personal highlights, and the iTunes button at the bottom links to the entire discography – if you’ve only heard the big singles, please check these out, there’s some amazing songs on there:

Daisies of the Galaxy

Meet The Eels – good collection of the Eels’ best bits, the big hits and the underground sleepers.

With Strings: Live At Town Hall

Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

Eels

Holiday


Vampire Weekend – Holiday

It’s that most unheard of of things – shotwithsound posts on consecutive days… why I hear you cry, what have we done to deserve this particularly delightful bounty of music and photography?

Ok, so that’s probably just the central heating pipes creaking not cries of rapture and wonderment, but I’ll explain for their benefit. This will be the last shotwithsound post for the next three or four weeks as I am off on holiday to Vietnam and Hong Kong, so will have better things to do than blog, incredible though it seems.

The choice of songs called Holiday (or Vacation for that matter) was pretty vast, but as Contra only came out a month or two ago, I alighted on that over Madonna, the Get Up Kids, Green Day, Weezer or Dizzee Rascal.

I won’t say too much about the song or the band as despite Hype Machine telling us Pheonix were the most blogged about band last year, I swear I never browse a music blog without reading about Vampire Weekend‘s upturned collars and afro-beat influences…

Hope you can live without the blog for a while, but if you can’t, you can always explore the archives (2010, 2009).

Contra is available from Amazon here and can be downloaded from Vampire Weekend - Contra (Bonus Track Version)

Rollerskating

Bright Eyes – Rollerskating

Anyone reading the About page on here will realise that the aim of this isn’t to be relevant, hell, anyone reading shotwithsound will probably know that, so it’s no surprise that in eight months of running, I’ve never featured a song the day it was released on here.

Usually, I don’t have the time, or the clarity and speed of thought, still less creativity, to produce an accompanying image for a new track to try and beat the big popular indie blog boys to the latest from Pheonix, Yeasayer and Beach House, but today, I’m making an exception.

It’s not everyday you get a new Bright Eyes track these days (gone are the days of two whole albums on one day), because while Conor Oberst may have the time to stick out three albums in 18 months, he hasn’t put out new material under his Art Garfunkle inspired psuedonym for three years.

So news that a re-issue of 2004′s split EP with Saddle Creek label mates Neva Dinova, One Jug Of Wine, Two Vessels, would feature two new tracks from each band, expanding the EP to an LP as anyone who can count will tell you, was greeted pretty fondly by fans, not least round here.

As I said last time I featured Bright Eyes on here, Conor is nothing if not prodigious, and nothing if not precocious, so the very fact that new material from his main band is a surprise shows his focus has been on other areas. Here’s to hoping that the two new tracks are precursors to a touted final Bright Eyes album.

The photo above was taken with my new 50mm 1.8 prime lens (which you’ll be seeing more of on here), and is a pretty cheap visual link to the song, using @k4tys‘s roller skates for a still life subject…

Usually I make tracks on here available for download, but as this is so new and as there are only three other new songs on the release, it feels like I’d be really ripping off the artists if I did, so this is streaming only for now.

You can buy the now full length One Jug Of Wine, Two Vessels from Amazon here, or if like me you already own six of the ten tracks, you can complete your collection from Bright Eyes & Neva Dinova - One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels

Soul and Fire



Sebadoh – Soul And Fire

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh main man. Lou Barlow, ex Dinosaur Jr bassist. Lou Barlow, indie god. Lou Barlow, one of the best songwriters of the last twenty years, is coming to London next week (In fact a lot of people I want to see are coming to London next week, untimelyly coinciding with me having absolutely no money to go and see them). He is in the middle of a UK and Europe tour – dates can be found here – on the back of last year’s solo album, Goodnight Unknown.

Although I could probably have found a song from that or his other solo album, Emoh, to accompany the tour news, to be honest, Soul and Fire is one of my favourite nineties songs (or maybe I mean one of my favourite nineties US indie songs, which is perhaps to damn it with faint praise), so despite the slightly tangential nature of link, its here – I never said this blog was going to be relevant did I?

I’m sure anyone reading this probably knows who Sebadoh are/were – part of the holy trinity of early nineties US indie bands along with Guided By Voices and Pavement, the three of them all but invented the indie scene as we know it today – at least in the States, where as far as I can tell indie still means independent. Unlike in the UK where it means the fucking Pigeon Detectives and The Wombats. They released a string of incredible albums, broke up, reformed, made up, toured… and started releasing music again a couple of years ago. It wasn’t the same, but it was nearly as good – and that’s saying something.

Soul and Fire was written on the break up of Barlow’s relationship with his girlfriend, and appeared on 1993′s Bubble and Scrape album – one of the band’s most critically acclaimed releases, which was performed live at Koko last year during one of the Sebadoh reunion tour concerts. Famously, the song brought the couple back together when the ex heard it – I wonder if they’re still together? Even Google doesn’t appear able to tell me. In any case, it’s one of the best breakup songs ever… actually that’s a list I should put together!

The image above was taken in Spain recently, with a half second exposure to make the flames appear to flow around the wood, and a blue filter to pull out the white heat of the flame and stop the highlights clipping. The song, clearly, isn’t about fire so much as the heat of romance, and the pain when it melts away, so perhaps I should have used a photo of the ashes after the fire, instead of the blaze of heat at its heart…

Lou’s website is phenomenally cool – and if you don’t know too much about him, I’d urge a visit.  You can buy the reissue of  Bubble and Scrape on Amazon here and download it from Sebadoh - Bubble and Scrape (Bonus Version) – it has a load of bonus tracks including an acoustic version of Soul and Fire.

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shotwithsound

shotwithsound is a blog about the music I love, with occasional forays into my photography, and other things that catch my eye.

You can see more of my photography on my website www.nicstevenson.com.