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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sounds of Summer: Part 2

Did you  like Sounds of Summer: Part 1?  Did you read that post and think to yourself, I want more.  I WANT MORE!  Well wait no longer.  Here is the second part of my summer sounds series where I will recommend more great bands/musicians for your ear.

Luke Rathborne:

Another contact through social media.  I had no idea what to expect and was gladly surprised.  His stuff is kind of 90's with a modern indie kick.  Fast paced/modern folk that is reminiscent of Matt Pond PA, Local Natives, Bedouin Soundclash or Caesars.  I like his sound.  What I like more is that there's an actual band rather than just a dude with a guitar.  The 'dude n' guitar' act is so overdone.  Luke Rathborne is from Maine originally but now lives in good ole' NYC.   He moved to New York when he was only 18.  He recorded his first album, After Dark, when he was only 17.  He got noticed by Joey Levine, a songwriter and musician who wrote the 60's classic 'YummyYummy Yummy'.  Levine produced many of Luke Rathborne's songs and then brought attention to The Stroke's manager, Ryan Gentles.  Back in 2007, he was named 'Discovery Artist' of the year in Interview Magazine.  He was also a featured artist on BBC 6, for a music show, as a discovery by DJ and host, Lauren Laverne.  He has opened for The Strokes at the South by Southwest music festival, in 2011.  He also toured with the band, Noah and the Whale, as their opening act. 

2011 became a prolific year, as Luke Rathborne was signed to an indpendent LA label, 'Dilettante' and also the Australian label,Speak and Spell Record.  In the same year, Rathborne released a double EP, Dog Years/I Can Be One E.P.  The song 'True Believer' is what gained Rathborne notoriety and got him noticed by Lauren Laverne on her BBC 6 show.  He went on a seven night tour in London, playing a different venue each night.  His stellarly positive reception in the UK shows what a talent he truly is.  We all know that the Brits have much better taste in music than the Yanks!  It's bloody right!  What's really impressive is that Rathborne's first album, After Dark, was engineered and produced by himself, without any help.  He actually had to sneak into a local college radio station (in Brunswick, Maine) at night and pretend to be a radio DJ.  He made the record without being busted.  Mad respect for this dude!  He has true dedication and grit, real chutzpah!  The record was done on Rathborne's own label,Coonbone Record and got noticed in NYC.

Rathborne has been compared to Elliot Smith and Bob Dylan (before he got bad).  I personally think he's much more talented and versatile. I agree to the extent that he transforms the whole rebel, loaner, rogue singer-songwriter into something new.  He adds synth and a multitude of different instruments.  He is a hurricane force that is sure to catch on like wildfire soon enough.  His album Soft, is due to come out September 2nd.  Reserve your copy now!!  I'd be shocked if they don't sell like hotcakes!

                                          Video for 'Last Forgiven'- Luke Rathborne

'Peco's Bill' by Luke Rathborne

'Tomorrow' by Luke Rathborne
Junior Boys:
This duet was formed by Jeremy Greenspan and Johnny Dark in Hamilton, Ontario (that's in Canada, eh) back in 1999.   A demo was made but nothing substantive happened until  Johnny Dark left to pursue other things.  In 2002, KIN Records heard their demo and asked for more.  Jeremy Greenspan then teamed up with Matt Didemus, his engineer.  In 2003, they came out with a four track EP called 'Birthday/Last Exit'.  One of the tracks on the EP was mixed by Fennesz, an Austrian guitarist and electronics artist.  The next Junior Boys' EP, High Come Down, came out in 2004.  One of the tracks on this EP was mixed by a Canadian musician called Manitoba (Daniel Victor Snaith), now known by the stage name of Caribou.  The first full album, Last Exit, was recorded in late 2003, and came out in 2004 with KIN Records.  'Birthday' was the most popular track on this album and prompted them to tour with Caribou.  The second album, So This is Goodbye came out in 2006 with the label, Domino Records.  Their third album, Begone Dull Care, was released in 2009.  After this album, they were able to go on tour in Australia.  The next album, It's All True came out in 2011.

The first track I heard from these guys was 'Dull to Pause', off of Begone Dull Care.  It has a nice electronic, pop sound.  Junior Boys stand out from other indie/electronic acts.  Though they are similar to acts like Among Savages or The Antlers.  The vocals are scratchy and soft.  The instrumentals remind me of a video game or a pinball machine.  The visuals of their videos are strange and colorful.  Junior Boys is wonderful and unique.  I'd love to see them live, as I'm sure they put on a killer show.  What I also notice is that fans have made their own videos which shows that their music inspires creativity and originality.  I definitely recommend downloading their stuff for your summer road trip or BBQ.  It will blow the hats off of everyone in the immediate listening vicinity. 
'Dull to Pause' (unoffical video) by Junior Boys

'Bits and Pieces' by Junior Boys

'Parallel Lines' (unofficial video)

'Banana Ripple' by Junior Boys

George Ellias:
Another friend I found through social media.  I promised I'd do a write-up, but only because he's the real deal.  Talented and with a groovy sixties' sound!  George Ellias is another singer/songwriter who is from LA.  He left high school in 2004 and hit the open road in pursuit of music.  He spent time living and performing in places like Berkeley, San Francisco, and cities around the bay area.   He moved to New Orleans in 2006 and came into contact with many street musicians who influenced his style of music. While traveling, Ellias was able to meet many music legends like Ramblin' Jack Elliot,  Arlo Guthrie, T-Model Ford to name a few.  PS: I also met Arlo.  He's a cool dude!

At the moment, Ellias lives in LA and just finished getting a degree in English at California State University.  His EP, titled 'EP', was recently released and his album is also now available.  He loves literature, art, and poetry; he also draws (much of his art is inspired by books he reads).  I feel a kindred connection with Ellias.  He is the true traveling troubadour.  He leads the life that I would have wanted had I lived in the mid to late sixties.  Ellias is the love child of Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie.  He is living the life of 'Alice's Restaurant' in 2013!  He travels around getting inspiration for his music from everywhere.  He has stylings of folk, country, blues, and rock.  Not a Dylan copy!  A folk original in his own right!   His full length album is due to come out in the fall.  You can download some of his tunes on Spotify.  Give him a listen.  If you like the stylings of Nick Drake, Simon and Garfunkel, and Donovan, that 60's folk vibe with an undercurrent of psychedelic sounds akin to underground UK bands, then you'll love George Ellias.  Subsribe to his YouTube channel and you'll get enough music to satisfy your craving until the next album (and yes there will be many more I'm sure!) 

                                                  'On the Plains'- Experimental Guitar sounds

'You Should Have Said'

 'Little Sadie Spaceland California' (live)

 'Midnight Special' cover
I LOVE this song!  And George Ellias does it justice.  He adds some twang and makes it into a fresh take on an old classic!

Apples in Stereo:

This band started, believe it or not, in 1992.  They are a psychedelic and indie rock based off of many underground bands from the late 60's and early 70's.  Their sound is not for everyone.  But I like a lot of bands like this.  I found them while on a hunt at Newbury Comics (based in Boston) in Amherst.  I used to discover bands there all the time while browsing their endless selection of music.  The bargain bin is an especially great place to find good stuff.  PS: George Ellias, you would dig this band! 

Apples in Stereo is currently made up of Robert Schneider (lead singer, lyricist, guitar) , John Hill (rhythm guitar), Eric Allen (bass), John Dufhilo (drums),  John Ferguson (keyboards), and Ben Phelan (keyboards/guitar).   The band is part of the Elephant Six Collective, which is a group of bands such as Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control.  The band's sound has been compared to music of the 60's and 70's, with bands like ELO, Pavement, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys.  There music has been heard on shows like 'The Powerpuff Girl's and 'Yo, Gabba Gabba'.  Their music has been featured on the talk shows of Conan O'Brien, Carson Daly, and Stephen Colbert.  Why not Jimmy Fallon?  They definitely need to get booked on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  And I better be in the band bench if it happens!  Their last two albums were released with the label, 'Simian Records', started by actor Elijah Wood (hence why he directs and stars in some of their videos).  I always had a feeling that me and Elijah Wood would be friends, and the fact that Apples in Stereo is his band, prooves it.   Apples in Stereo's latest album is described as having the sound of 70's R&B if it were being played by aliens and broadcasted by a spaceship.  Again, they aren't for everyone!  They are weird and wonderful, similar to the theatricality of acts like Of Montreal and MGMT!  Definitely my kind of band! 

The band has seven albums: Fun Trick Noisemaker (1995), Tone Soul Evolution (1997), Her Wallpaper Reverie (1999), The Discovery of a World, Inside the Moone (2000), Velocity of Sound (2002), New Magnetic Wonder (2007), and Travellers in Space and Time (2010). 

Video for 'Told you Once'- Apples in Stereo

'Dance Floor' (with actor Elijah Wood)

 'Energy' (directed by Elijah Wood)

Fun Trick Noisemaker (entire album)

Young Man:
Another singer/songwriter who goes by Colin Caulfield (any relation to Salinger's Holden?)  Caulfield is from Chicago.  Aside from Caulfield, the band is made up of Emmett Conway, Joe Bailey, Jeff Graupner, and Darien Williams.  Caulfield seems to be one of those musicians who started out as a one man act but then merged into a multi-member band.   They have gained notoriety thanks to social media.  In the digital age, platforms like YouTube has helped propel Young Man's fame, as it has for others.  Though I'm sure they will turn out to be nothing like Justin Bieber. 

 The frontman for Deerhunter, Brandford Cox, first noticed Caulfield's cover of the Deerhunter song 'Rainwater Cassette Exchange' and felt it was even better than the original.  To have the lead singer of the band you're covering say that is a major feat, not something to take lightly.  Young Man's sound has been compared to bands like Animal Collective and Ariel Pink.  What's to be said about Young Man is that their music tells a story.  Caulfield has explained that though his music is definitely auto-biographical, that he wants it to also be universal.  He also wants his music to be the kind where people stop, listen and go 'what was that?'  Young Man currently has four albums: Boy (2010), Ideas of Distance (2011), Vol 1 (2012), and Beyond Was All Around Me (2013).   Their latest album was just released and is now available.

The first song I heard by them, 'Nothing' is trippy and dreamy in its vocals and instrumentals.  You feel like you're floating.  A similar feeling is evoked with bands like Spiritualized, The National, Dana Buoy, and Diego Garcia.  The vocals of Young Man's songs, at times, actually remind me of Jake Shears (from Scissor Sisters), Patrick Zimmer (of Finn.) or Brian Molko (of Placebo).  They would be a great opening band for The Flaming Lips or Arcade Fire.  You should check them out because like my other recommendations, Young Man brings something new to the world of indie rock. 


video for 'Up So Fast'

 video for 'In a Sense'
video for 'Enough'

So now that you've read parts one and two, you can download to your heart's content.  Go to Itunes, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, what have you.  Check out my recs and let me know what you think.  I promise you will not be disappointed with my picks.  Have a great summer!  And remember to listen responsibly, folks!

keep on rocking in the free world,


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