In advance of their new album, Valhalla Dancehall—out January 11 on Rough Trade—British Sea Power will release a new single, “Living Is So Easy”, available exclusively through iTunes November 30. The single is (according to the group) their “most electronic song to date… a mixture of Serge Gainsbourg and Ralf and Florian era Kraftwerk with a sprinking of Stock, Aitken, and Waterman”. Find out for yourself through the free stream below.
In some ways, Nellie McKay is the quintessential New Yorker. She has the insouciance of the sophisticate and the naïveté of the innocent all wrapped up in an exuberant package. One can easily imagine her as the model of that lady standing in the harbor beckoning the huddled masses to greener pastures. Judy Holiday would have played McKay in the movies, if McKay would have been born 50 years ago.
Therefore McKay’s appearance on WNYC’s Greene Space radio program on a Tuesday afternoon to an appreciative crowd of mostly metropolitan denizens made the audience feel like they were right at home. She even brought her mother along. McKay sang three songs from her most recent release, Home Sweet Mobile Home, with a three piece band and accompanied herself on both ukulele and piano. She explained the reason behind the title of her album to the radio emcee, who said as a New Yorker, he was mostly unfamiliar with trailer living. (The Mobile of the title refers to Mobile, Alabama as well as a transportable abode.) McKay charmed the radio audience with her combination of wit and straight talk, in true Gotham wiseacre style that bespoke an authentic personality whose art comes directly from her heart and mind. Luckily, the show was recorded.
An opportunity to watch/listen live to this band proves these wiz kids are for real.
Avi Buffalo is a young buzz band making waves from Long Beach, California, which has caught the attention of many: I wrote about them earlier for this blog here. They played to critical acclaim at SXSW, opened for Modest Mouse this summer and are now heading out on their own headline tour across North America. They visited the studios of KCRW on September 21st, clearly thrilled to be among the bands performing for live there as they quickly admitted to listening and watching to many of the sessions themselves. They started with a laid back version their hit, “What’s It in For?” This was the fist song I heard from the group when it was back in heavy rotation on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” early this year. Things ended in a soft funky jam, which flowed right into the next song with a seasoned approach of a band clearly aware of its abilities.
The interview brought out some of the teenage awkwardness under the spotlight, as they explained the band sometimes has to escorted into a club just to play because they’re underaged. Avi has been playing guitar for seven years and was apparently doodling with his instrument the whole time. He’s the one who writes the music and lyrics before the band jams to “hash things out”. During the session, played by three out of four members of the band, the lyrics stand out a bit more than the layered recordings on their self-titled album, which was certainly nice to experience. They also ran out of time during the live broadcast for my favorite song, “Remember Last Time”, but it’s here in its entirety for eternity.
The Smashing Pumpkins have released “Spangled”, the second song from the band’s forthcoming EP Teargarden By Kaleidyscope Volume 2: The Solstice Bare . “Spangled” is a brief but rather endearing love song, and more particularly, it underscores singer Billy Corgan’s impressive vocal ingenuity. His softer side is definitely on display here. For a chance to win a Fender guitar signed by Corgan, donate to Sweet Relief, an organization that helps musicians that have serious conditions.
After a recent diversion with the Piratas de Sudamerica EPEl Guincho prepares to follow up his debut Alegranza with Pop Negro, releasing on September 14th but available now as a live stream.
El Guincho’s first album Alegranza identified him as one to watch, marrying upbeat indie pop music, in the vein of Animal Collective or Air France, with a whole world of influences including tropicália, afro beat and salsa. He continued that rich vein of form with the recent Piratas de Sudamerica EP, in which he covered some of his favourite latin classics in an indie style that he hoped would get more people interested in these artists that he grew up listening to.
Pop Negro will attempt to continue the great publicity he received for his first album. It was deemed “Best New Music” by Pitchfork upon release, obviously quite a high accolade for an artists released on the small Young Turks label, and especially for an artists singing in Spanish. Thankfully you can get an idea of what the album will sound like before buying due to this live stream, provided by Remezcla Musica.