Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Mangan is a gravelly voiced, more upbeat version of Sufjan Stevens.
The official video for “Robots”, from Mangan’s 2009 album Nice, Nice, Very Nice is a delightful take on an old theme, with West Side Story-style gangs taking each other on in a deserted railroad yard. Instead of beating each other up they set up a mini-robot smackdown to decide which group is the most righteous. But do these robots really want to beat each other up? Robots need love, too. They want to be loved by you.
A little Halloween flavor from one of the most entertaining bands around. Hailing from Atlanta, the Howlies mix punkish energy with what seems like encyclopedic knowledge of rock’s most rambunctious moments (‘50s rock and doo wop? Surf music? ‘60s garage band spirit? The Howlies have you covered). “Zombie Girl” is two-and-a-half minutes of brain-spattered, unabashed fun.
The Soft Boys’ classic Underwater Moonlight is getting another reissue treatment on 19 October, this time in original form. Unlike Matador’s reissue to celebrate the band’s reunion in 2001, this reissue will be released as it was originally on Armageddon records: 10 tracks. It will be available on CD and 180 gram vinyl, and the bonus tracks that took up about most of Rykodisc’s and Matador’s reissues will be available as digital downloads upon purchase.
Also being reissued on CD, and for the first time on vinyl, is the Soft Boys’ debut, A Can of Bees, for those interested in the earliest recordings of the band.
The Soft Boys originally formed in 1976 and only lasted a few years. However, their sound, ranging from early punk rock to jangle pop to psychedlia, was highly influential to the Replacements, R.E.M., and the Los Angeles Paisley Underground movement of the early 1980s. Frontman Robyn Hitchcock is now playing with the Venus 3 and their most recent record, Goodnight, Oslo is also available through Yep Roc (a small label whose claim to fame is perpetuating modern releases from classic acts like Nick Lowe, Paul Weller, and Steve Wynn, to name a few).
Well, I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight, all to this creepy video. Alpha Pup was on to something with this one, as the visuals from Tetsuo the Iron Man aptly suit an instrumental off Take’s magnificent sophomore record Only Mountain.
Brooklyn’s Victoire have high musical ambitions, defining themselves as a chamber rock quintet, an obvious nod to the complexity and richness of classical music. They live up to the moniker, merging electro glitch, pop, haunting vocals, and classical violin and clarinet amongst a plethora of instruments into a unified whole. Earlier this week PopMatters’ Maria Scurr said of Victoire’s new release Cathedral City, “[this] is a sturdily crafted work. While it is easy to meet an album full of dense instrumentation with indifference, Cathedral City is just as much an exhilarating excursion as it is a welcome release from the speed of life.”