Archive for July, 2009

Afternoon Naps – Parade

I was originally attracted to Athens, GA record label Happy Happy Birthday to Me by the connection it maintained with bands hailing from the Elephant Six Collective, a label and music collective that yielded bands like Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, and the Apples in Stereo. I was quickly interested by what is, beyond what had been obvious to me initially, a comparatively eclectic and consistently impressive catalog of other bands. Among their more recent announced releases, I’m particularly excited by the sophomore LP from Afternoon Naps, Parade. The band, hailing from Cleveland, OH, plays solid indie-pop with a gratifyingly variable sound, defying the staleness that a skillful treatment risks.

Afternoon Naps

Afternoon Naps – Mitten


Above is the cover of their upcoming LP with their song “Mitten Fingers,” via the Happy Happy Birthday to Me website. The band also did a single with Cloudberry Records. The single is, sadly, out-of-print, but the Cloudberry website kindly offers this mp3:

Afternoon Naps – A Clean




July 31, 2009 at 4:01 am

Hemstad CD on Catbird Records

In a recent mailing from Catbird Records it was announced that somehow (with no elaboration on particulars) copies of Hemstad’s s/t album are once more available. The album, the third album in Catbird’s now far larger catalog, has long been “out of print” and its first release in 2007 (or thereabouts) sold out rather quickly as I recall. Hemstad’s is a Swedish instrumental pop band, reminiscent in many ways of Robert Schneider’s side project Marbles (also a very salutary band), with some lovely drone, a better use of horns then I’m used to, and a healthy electronic component to their composition. Great stuff. Here’s an mp3 from the album’s page on Catbird:

Hemstad – Fyllekärring

This is a popular album that a slew of people regret missing out on when copies were available, so I recommend getting one as quickly as you can – what’s more, they’re only $6. Here’s that link again.



July 20, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Zola Jesus & Earthmen and Strangers

Today I thought I’d toss up a post about a couple of new albums that have had me really excited recently.

Zola Jesus & Earthmen and Strangers

The above are the covers of new albums from Zola Jesus (the recording moniker of Nika Roza Danilova) and Earthmen and Strangers, the former of Madison, WI, and the latter of Tempe, AZ. Zola Jesus came to my attention thanks to Yeti Seven and “Clay Bodies” – a stand-out track from the Yeti comp that now graces The Spoils, her new LP on Sacred Bones Records. Earthmen and Strangers are a newer interest that came about thanks to a recent post on The Catbirdseat and this accompanying track from their new self-titled LP on FDH Records:

Earthmen and Strangers – Bartender

Although the two bands have only tenuous stylistic connections outside of their being lo-fi, they both represent different strains of where my tastes have been lingering recently. Zola Jesus is noisy, droning, sometimes whimsical, but surprisingly singable and catchy – extended listening gives a strong impression of the depth of Danilova’s ability. Earthmen and Strangers will probably seem far more penetrable at first glance, but their post-punk psychedelia leaves a similar impression. Suffice to say I’ll be looking forward to these albums and so should you.



July 18, 2009 at 3:09 am

Fox Hands

I’ll begin this post with an extract from an article by Sarah Gooding posted on New Zealand’s Einstein Music Journal:

“He names his project after the combination of a prevalent animal and the tactile instruments with which humans experience a sense of touch. Fox Hands is a timid, noisy, jittery kaleidoscope of colourful sounds escaping from a man named Adrian Todd Webb who lives in Virginia, US. His music can perhaps be likened to other topically lo-fi natured artists who instill an old-time simplicity beset with a futuristic technological fascination, resulting in an otherwordly sound.”

This is a better introduction to Todd Webb’s Fox Hands than I can easily conceive. I find Gooding’s choice of words very appropriate – “timid” and “jittery” in particular – accurately articulating a very distinctive characteristic of Fox Hands: Todd’s music is not obnoxious, but retains a high energy. Timidity does not imply a lack of strength and jitterory does not imply a lack of focus. The music is at once tribal, primitive, and beat-driven, but with the pronounced sound of high-technology.

Fox Hands‘ first album was Royal Rhino’s most recent release, accompanying Todd on tour and for the first handful of shows performed under the moniker. Hopefully I’ll have a few copies available on the site soon, but in the meantime, here’s the album cover and the link to the Fox Hands myspace again.

Fox Hands Cover

Au revoir,


July 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm

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