Music Monday 9.27.10 Secret Mountains

When listening to Secret Mountains I often have to ask myself “Is this my favorite band”? The question itself is more indicative of how good they are then any answer could be. However, the answer could easily be “yes.” I’ve watched this group grow from one lonely guy, to a 2 piece, to a three piece, and so and so forth. They are certainly in their strongest stride to date working with a 6 piece line-up for a over a year now. One of the most interesting and charming bands to see live, now working with 2 of the best EPs from a band of their stature I can think of. Their newest, Rejoice, caught my ear this week, and it demanded multiple listens back to back to back to back. Despite how good their first EP, Kaddish, is, this yet again ups the game. Joe Michelini of River City Extension just recently said this band was “effortlessly cool.” I can’t think of a better way to describe them. Beautiful music from beautiful people, and aside from The Wire, the best thing Baltimore has to offer.

This is a band who you would literally be a fool to not check out. Live or recordings, there is so much being offered and all you have to do is rejoice, and take it in.

Music Monday 4.5.10



This week, I was ALL about Joanna Newsom. I was listening to her new triple LP Have One On Me and I was loving it. I’ve always liked Joanna Newsom, but she was never someone I would often listen to. However, this new release just made me crazy for her. It’s like two hours long, and there are some moments on there that are just too fine for words. Good Intentions Paving Company is the ultimate groove. For anyone remotely interested in Joanna Newsom, Have One On Me is a must!

Real Estate is still doing so much right by me. I just love these guys. I am seriously trying to see them in Philly in the next few weeks, so if you’re interested in going, let me know, we can make a night of it.

Billy O’Brien asked me to make a poster for Cymbals Eat Guitars for an upcoming show they are playing in Asbury. I knew them by name, but hadn’t listened, so I wanted to familiarize myself with them before I started designing anything. And hollllllllyyyyyy cowwwww. These guys are so good! They are a new favorite already. For fans of Dinosaur Jr and Pavement, or more contemporary counterparts, Surfer Blood, check these guys out if you haven’t already. I’m seriously digging these guys and I need to find a way to make it to their Asbury show and maybe get my poster signed or something!

Ry Cooder came as a recognition from Kirby’s dad. And boy am I glad I found out about him. It’s just so good. He’s an Americana king. If you’re into any of the old folk guys, don’t pass him up. I got Into The Purple Valley on vinyl, and that’s just a sweet listen.

I had some Neil Young time this week. Everyone knows and loves Neil, so I won’t go into too much depth. But I think we can all agree that there’s some days where nothing else makes sense.

Givers are one of my favorite bands out there right now. I can’t wait to see these guys and girl live again. Also apparently some kid my sister goes to school with used to be in this band. I definitely need to explore that avenue a bit more, because you know, obsession.

Fang Island. I don’t really know about this band. I was hoping for a bit more than what I got I guess. First listen was pretty impressive, but as I listened again it just got a little corny to me. Seems like they are trying to fit a certain feel or something. Apparently these guys were also in the band Daughters, which kind of lends to my point that they are just trying to morph themselves into something a bit more relevant, but like there predecessor, this won’t have much lasting power either.

Graham Nash. I was having such a Graham Nash day last Thursday. I’m a fan of any respective letter making up CSNY, and N seems to never let me down.

Last.fm friends dude.

Music Monday 3.22.10


I was riding the chillwave wave so hard this week. Washed Out quickly became a new favorite, especially after hearing his new Life Of Leisure EP. For fans of Toro Y Moi, this guy is the next step up. He seems to be kind of leading the pack in this group of artists, and I am going to be following.


Nite Jewel is to me, the female counterpart of Washed Out. She’s really floaty and I hit this one heavy early last week, pumping her jams all day at work. She’s another player in the chillwave game, and if you have any interest in that, she’s worth checking out.

King Tuff was strong again this week. Sun Medallion is king.

I finally got a taste of Cotton Jones, and I was really feeling it. You can still hear traces back to Page France, but this seems to be a bit more evolved and solid. Blood Red Sentimental Blues is a standout track, though I think I’m a bit bias because I love the Secret Mountains version so much.

Surfer Blood is an absolute favorite of the past few months. I really need to catch these guys soon. Give these guys a few listens, the more you listen to it, the more you can’t help but love it.

Telefon Tel Aviv is another great electronic band, who I was hesitant to get into because I had heard a song I didn’t like a while back, but Mike passed me Immolate Yourself and I was happily getting work done to that for many hours.

Paul McCartney made his way back into my daily listening after months of being absent. I was more or less obsessed two summers ago and played almost everything of his to death. However, I can always revisit RAM, which this time led me into Venus And Mars which I think could be his second best.

And because any band with “surf” in their name seems to be grabbing my attention lately, I rounded this week out with Surf City who have a cool little EP out, and a really cool sound. They’re playing in Philly soon, and I think I may try to catch them.

You know how it is, last.fm.

#musicmonday 3.15.10



I was kicking back to The Kinks this week. In particular Muswell Hillbillies, which I feel it’s a very under-appreciated album. I went through some of the other classics like Arthur and Lola versus Powerman, which are both just so so good.

King Tuff became a new obsession this week after finally downloading the album. I had first heard them in Ian’s car back in the summer, and thought they were a band from a time long ago. They are a great blend of old and new, where even though they sound like they could be straight out of 1969, they also sound like something completely new and fresh. I would absolutely love to see these guys live. Jeff said he’s looking for a tour with The Strange Boys, and I would have to say, I’m looking for the same.

I was waiting and waiting to hear the new Jónsi album, and this week, I finally got the chance. While the album is no doubt awesome, it’s still a little closer to Sigur Rós then I imagined it would be. I never understand why artists who make a solo album, wind up making an album that sounds like their band. I mean, that being the case, is not a bad thing in this situation, and I recommend listening to this…now.

The Morning Bends have a new album called Big Echo and it’s awesome. I was anticipating this album for a bit now, and I’m very pleased with it. Certainly their best to date. The lead-off track Excuses is a song too good for it’s own good. This band is pretty young, and I’m interested to see where they’ll go.

Megafaun had a Daytrotter session come out this past week, and that put me into a whirlwind of beards, harmonies, and awesomeness. In an effort to make your week easier, I’m all but begging you to go download it now.

The Nerves are a band that James suggested I listen to, they only ever recorded one 4 song EP, which is all songs just under or just over 2 minutes, which added up to me breezing through it multiple times. If your trying to hear a song Hanging On The Telephone is so good.

I heard about Suckers in an interview I read with Local Natives, and they were a band that one of them was listening to. So, I figured I’d check them out. They also only have a 4 song EP at the moment, but I am seriously digging it, and can’t wait for a full length. Their song Easy Chairs is easily the one, so get busy and check that out.

I heard about The Bitters because they were featured on Gorilla Vs Bear as something that the staff was listening to, so I figured I’d give it a try. Unfortunately I more or less hated it. It is too noisy, too sloppy, and too blehhhh. There’s not much redeeming this group….even their album cover for East General is just gross. I didn’t care for it, but who knows, you might.

Add me on last.fm!

#musicmonday 3.8.10



The Avett Brothers have finally made a significant dent in my music listening again. It has been a while, but it finally felt right again, and I went through most of their albums and I was loving it. I guess however, the most significant part of this (at least for me) is that they have surpassed The Beatles as my number one listened to artist of all time, one last.fm. I’m sure the two will teeter back and forth for a while, but The Avetts are on top! I think you all know I love this band, and they are probably my favorite of all time, so this one is a strong recommend.

Next is Sigur Rós. They probably aren’t new to any of you, but I just got so excited thinking about Jónsi’s new album, that I needed to listen to this to wet my whistle for when that comes out. I mean, just watch this.

Gorillaz new album Plastic Beach is certainly the source of these plays…and in fact any plays regarding Gorillaz. I never really listened to them aside from anything that was on TV or the radio, and I was interested enough to give this a shot. To be honest, I really didn’t mind it, and some stuff was particularly good. I have to say, I enjoy the songs that aren’t featuring anyone better than the ones that are, but there are some stand out parts, Mos Def’s songs for sure, that I’d say make this album at least worth a few listens. Also, the more chances I gave it the more I got into it.

Local Natives are still dominating me. Such a good band, and I’m so pissed they canceled their show at Kung Fu Necktie. My wait to see them live continues…

Fool’s Gold I stumbled onto by using the last.fm radio player, and I was glad to see the thing actually played me something I’d never heard, and liked. These guys are in the style of an afro-beat band similar to something like Rubblebucket, but with a zest…the zest being the singing is done in Hebrew. It makes me want to put on my Jim Duncan jersey and daaaaaaance. To start, check out this video.

River City Extension. Obviously.

Nurses is another band that came onto the last.fm radio and I remembered I had seen a video of them playing a song I really liked. So I got a hold of the album, and I still really really love the song I had originally heard, which is called Technicolor, but I don’t really like much else of the album. There’s one or two other decent songs, but the rest is just really not that good. However, I will say that Technicolor is worth your ears.

And finally, Discovery. I had heard a Ra Ra Riot song that I knew I knew, but didn’t know where from. Well, it turns out that it was Discovery who was doing more a less a cover of on their LP. That makes sense since Discovery is one part Ra Ra Riot, and one part Vampire Weekend, two bands I don’t really care for that somehow equals one band I’m moderately interested in.

So that’s how this week panned out, as always, check me out and last.fm.

#musicmonday 3.1.10



I got my ears on Frightened Rabbit‘s The Winter Of Mixed Drinks and had a field day with it. I really wound up liking The Midnight Organ Fight and in turn had high hopes for this new record. I read that they were being conscious about clearly making this a studio album, and taking advantage of what that could offer, and I think that shows through. The production on it is great and the songs are just simply good songs. Definitely check this one out.
The Strange Boys also released a new record with Be Brave. They are sloppy, they are raw, and they are fun. His voice is so unique that for me it’s hard not to like, even it’s only because you haven’t heard anything like it.
So glad I’m getting to talk about Secret Mountains. I’ve been chipping away at their awesome EP Kaddish since the summer, and pretty much since then have been looking for more tunes to satisfy my interests. Well, I’ve finally got some more ammo to work with. As they seem to keep on doing, they are cementing themselves as Baltimore’s most promising up and comers. However it won’t be long before they’ve outgrown that title. This past week they recorded a microshow at Mobtown Studios. SO good. I almost have to insist you head over and download the session, FREE. We’re talking about a Smokey Robinson cover of “I Second That Emotion”. Yeah, do yourself a favor this week, and let this be your soundtrack. Jeff is a great friend of mine and I’m so happy for him that this is going in great directions. If you’re in Baltimore at all, be sure to check them out. They’re playing at the Ottobar on the 12th with Hop Along. Decent, Decent.
The Beach Boys. So nice. I really think everyone should listen to The Beach Boys. It’s so much fun, and there’s so much to enjoy. If you don’t know where to start, Endless Summer is a great compilation of their best and brightest. Also, I got Love You on vinyl this week, mainly because I was loving the cover, but it proved to have some nice jams on it as well.
I got to see Algernon Cadwallader this week at a Haiti benefit show they played at Rowan University. Which got me back into their albums a few times through. I know I’ve said this before, but Algernon is doing Kinsella better than the Kinsellas are. It’s pretty impossible to not have a good time while listening to these guys, and even harder while watching them. If you have the chance to see them, just give it a shot, especially if you can catch them in Philly.
Akron/Family is a great band who I haven’t had a chance to talk about since I’ve been doing these things, but I had a few moments this week where they were hitting the spot so well. I was listening to their self titled a bit and really appreciating some of the great moments on there especially the three song span of I’ll Be On The Water into Running, Returning into Afford. That’s like you’re three best batters up with the no outs and the bases loaded. For anyone completely unfamiliar, go ahead and watch any video they’ve got on YouTube, and I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the stuff they’re doing live.
The Consecos is my band, which is a bit embarassing, but hey, I was listening. It’s a two piece band I have with Biff. At this point in my life, I can’t commit to anything more serious than this, but I still love playing live music, and this is feeding that desire because it happens when it can, and there’s absolutely no expectations. Except for crowd surfing. We expect that you do that.
River City Extension. Have I shot this one dead yet? Listen to them! Honestly one of my favorite bands ever. The live show is amazing, the record is amazing, the people in the band are amazing… I can’t stress this enough. You all know I’m a huge advocate for these guys and I hope to bring you all over to their side with me.

You know the drill, let’s get groovy on last.fm, add me and we can monitor each other’s weekly mp3 intake. Sound good?

#musicmonday 2.15.10

Local Natives took over the past few days with force! I checked these guys out after hearing a few more things about them, and they have quickly become one of my new favorites. I haven’t been this into a new band in years. I highly recommend listening to these guys, and I anticipate them gaining a lot of attention in the next while.

I have to say, I sometimes forget about Dr. Dog, but I was just reading about their new album due in April (I think?) and it got me excited, so I went back and listened to Fate, which is such a great record, and then went back and listened to some older stuff which I hadn’t had. They’ve got that unique psych-rock sound without it being annoying or contrived.

I was turned onto the The Morning Benders after watching this video. They’ve got a new LP coming out, so I stocked up on past releases to hold me until them. I’m definitely anticipating what that’s got to offer.

Owen Pallett ditched the Final Fantasy moniker (for legal reasons I assume) and put out his new batch of cuts Heartland. The cover for this album is another great one, and I obviously wouldn’t be talking about it if the music wasn’t just as good. He’s got the violin act down pat.

Toro y Moi is more new music to me. I had heard the name, and finally just checked it out. It’s in the style of bands like Four Tet and Tycho, but I feel like this is just a bit edgier than acts like those. And the guy went to school for design, so you know I’m interested.

Volcano Choir hit the right note with me this week, and I was loving it. Put this on while driving through some snowy scapes, and enjoy the ride.

CAKE is such a bizarre band. I only started listening to them this summer once I knew I was going to be playing with them at Art Scape, and it opened a world of unknown. CAKE garnered some success on a few songs, but they are so much more than what I think the general public recognizes them as. If you don’t already, try to give them a listen, I think you’ll be surprised with the songs you’ve never heard.

And of course I’ve talked about Beach House before, but they caught a few more listens this week because of their new record Teen Dream which I think is their strongest yet.

Get on over to last.fm and check out what I’m listening to at any point, or if you’ve got an account, we can be friends.