New Zealand’s the Phoenix Foundation continues on the path of the smart, crisp and shining pop set by their Kiwi forbearers, artists like the Clean and the Chills. The British press has been all over this group with The Times calling them “New Zealand’s finest purveyors of psychedelic pop” and The Guardian tagging their latest record, Buffalo, as “an album that already seems destined to be among the best of 2011”. Sadly they have gone fairly under the radar in the US up to this point, even as Buffalo got a US release back on 14 June. Look for that to finally change with the deluxe edition release of Buffalo here in the States on 18 October. This latest edition will be an iTunes exclusive. The tune we are premiering today, “Bright Grey”, is a bonus track off the new deluxe edition, but it just as easuly sounds like the A-side of a hit single, which shows just how deep this band’s catalogue of tunes is.
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Vermont’s very own it-band Chamberlin released their debut, Bitter Blood, last winter and have now stepped up to offer help with relief for Vermont’s flood victims. Next week the band presents Chamberlin Cabin Covers EP, which directs all proceeds to Vermont’s United Way. The EP features cover versions of tunes from the likes of Cults, Vampire Weekend, Foster the People and mega-star Kanye West. Today, we present the online premiere of that Kanye West cover, “Lost in the World”, and hope that you’ll step up to purchase the EP when it drops on 20 September.
Hurricane Irene was pretty much the worst natural disaster to ever hit Vermont and the people there could use your help. Guitarist Ethan West says, “Growing up in a land locked, mountainous state like Vermont, we never really had to worry about natural disasters, so when Irene hit, no one was prepared for storm and subsequent flooding. Entire farms, roads, bridges and buildings were destroyed all over the state. Our new EP was recorded at our cabin in the heart of the damage—in the town closest to us, entire houses were washed away and they were cut off from the rest of the world for almost a week.”
Check out the new EP next week and catch the band on one of their upcoming tour dates (listed below).
It always seems that just as you’re trying to get in some final seasonal fun during the last weekends of summer, the weather turns in sheer mockery of such a plan. Add in a rare earthquake plus a nasty hurricane here on the East Coast in the same week, and you can’t blame me for wanting to call this playlist “Late Summer 2011”. After all, the official start of autumn isn’t until September 23rd this year. With thoughts of calmer skies and more warm days ahead, I offer another compilation of new music to enjoy. From German electro to laid back bands from the Northwest and some new chill wave, recent releases are featured in a streamlined listening session with notes below.
The team captains may have changed (again) and George Dawes may no longer be giving the scores, but the level of crazy remains the same. Since its first appearance on UK screens in 1993, Shooting Stars has baffled and terrified its many celebrity guests, from an utterly confused Larry Hagman to the remarkably easygoing Curtis Stigers.
Reeves and Mortimer, arguably the most influential double act on the British comedy scene, manage the mayhem in their role as quizmasters. They’re aided and abetted in the current series by legendary curmudgeon Jack Dee and long-suffering Ulrika Jonsson, the only survivor from the original team. Angelos Epithemiou (comedian Dan Skinner) has kept score since Matt Lucas finally left his role as the iconic overgrown baby, George Dawes. Hapless contestants must endure the nonsensical clip round, beckon the Dove From Above and attempt to decipher Reeves’s unintelligible club singer turn.
Each summer, my hometown of Columbus, Ohio holds one of the largest sponsor-free music and arts festivals in the nation: Comfest. One stage that I always try to check out every year is the I Wish You Jazz Stage at the corner of Park street and Goodale Boulevard. Closing out the stage on the night of June 25th was Descendre, a self-described 70’s Film Jazz (???) outfit that has been in existence for only three years. Although they were not my favorite act of the night, they do deserve points for providing more than 42 minutes of free music on their website: “Funky Jam”, “Strangers”, “Suicide Is Painless”, and “Tutu”.