Austin’s the Strange Boys have a wildly psychedelic sound with guitarist/singer Ryan Sambol’s quivering voice exuding equal amounts Southern twang and bare-boned insecurity. The Strange Boys are relatively obscure but this won’t last for long as the band prepares their debut LP in anticipation for their hometown SXSW festival next month. Check out the jangle and swagger of “Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up” from The Strange Boys… And Girls Club.
The Strange Boys
“Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up” [MP3]
In the past, Eric Elbogen, a.k.a. Say Hi, has proven difficult to take seriously, despite his knack for writing tightly focused indie-pop gems. He traded under the sophomoric name Say Hi to Your Mom—since shortened—a name that evoked the Ashton Kutcher school of frat boy humor more than it did lo-fi character studies. He put out records about vampires and robots and referenced both Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wouldn’t have been surprised in the least if he had embraced his Internet meme-loving audience by releasing a record about ninjas and pirates.
Since moving to Seattle from Brooklyn, however, Elbogen has matured considerably. The Wishes and the Glitch, his fifth self-released album, featured songs like “Northwestern Girls”, a simple yet undeniably catchy love letter to the ladies of the Pacific Northwest. On Oohs & Aahs, Elbogen’s forthcoming album for Barsuk (his first on a label), his songwriting has grown even more confident. His voice has shriveled into a resigned sigh, not unlike that of fellow Seattleite David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones). While he’s got a ways to go as a songwriter before he’ll be penning narratives as rich as Bazan’s, Elbogen seems to have settled into a lyrical persona that suits him well. Unlike Bazan, he’s an unabashed romantic, though a hermetic lifestyle has allowed cynicism to creep into his view of the world outside of his window.
“November Was White, December Was Grey”, perhaps the best track from what is undoubtedly Say Hi’s finest record to date, serves as the perfect example of Elbogen’s newfound maturity. His voice, double-tracked and wrapped in a thick blanket of echo, feels heavy with the weight of his words. “I’ll feel better when the winter’s gone”, he repeatedly moans over a palm-muted major chord melody. It’s the perfect anthem for these last waning days of winter. Just try not to forget that spring is, indeed, just around the corner.
“November Was White, December Was Grey” [MP3]
03-06-09 @ Neumos—Seattle, WA
03-12-09 @ Bottom Of The Hill—San Francisco, CA
03-13-09 @ The Echo—Los Angeles, CA
03-14-09 @ Beauty Bar—Las Vegas, NV
03-15-09 @ Plush—Tucson, AZ
03-17-09 @ The Longhorn Saloon—Ft. Worth, TX
03-18-09 @ SXSW—Austin, TX
03-19-09 @ SXSW—Austin, TX
03-20-09 @ SXSW—Austin, TX
03-21-09 @ Austin Convention Center / SXSW Daystage—Austin, TX
03-21-09 @ The Parish (SXSW | Barsuk/Merge present)—Austin, TX
03-22-09 @ Hi Tone Cafe—Memphis, TN
03-23-09 @ The End—Nashville, TN
03-24-09 @ The Drunken Unicorn—Atlanta, GA
03-25-09 @ Plaza ‘Duckpin’ Bowl—Richmond, VA
03-26-09 @ The Black Cat—Washington, DC
03-27-09 @ Johnny Brenda’s—Philadelphia, PA
03-28-09 @ The Bell House—Brooklyn, NY
03-29-09 @ The Mercury Lounge—New York, NY
03-30-09 @ The Middle East (Upstairs)—Cambridge, MA
03-31-09 @ Garfield Artworks—Pittsburgh, PA
04-02-09 @ Circus—Columbus, OH
04-03-09 @ The Beat Kitchen—Chicago, IL
04-04-09 @ 7th Street Entry—Minneapolis, MN
04-05-09 @ The Slowdown—Omaha, NE
04-06-09 @ Hi-Dive—Denver, CO
04-07-09 @ Kilby Court—Salt Lake City, UT
04-08-09 @ Neurolux—Boise, ID
04-09-09 @ Holocene—Portland, OR
Broken Spindles is the solo side project of Faint guitarist Joel Peterson. In anticipation of his new album, Kiss/Kick, we get a video of the song “Introvert”; and although the song clocks under 2 minutes it shows Peterson’s inclination toward minimal synth-pop. Look out for the Omaha scenester on tour.
Longtime Boston-area power-popper Todd Thibaud is streaming half of his new album, Broken, on his MySpace page. No official release date has been set for the record, but Thibaud will be selling copies at live shows starting next week. The new material is a mix of quiet acoustic numbers and sturdy Americana, with a voice reminiscent of Peter Searcy (of Squirrel Bait) or Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket).
Besides being known for their verbose band name, Dent May and crew will be touring with both A.C. Newman and Animal Collective in 2009. A new addition to the Paw Tracks roster, Dent May is a tad less experimental than his labelmates. But his folk songs use just enough texture to show a depth which is far beyond the twee aesthetic. Here is a track off his their new album The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele recorded in May’s double-wide trailer in Mississippi.
Dent May & his Magnificent Ukulele
“Meet Me in the Garden” [MP3]