New Noise :: Band of Horses, "Is There a Ghost?"

As good sir Tug and I are people who know people, we were fortunate enough to have heard some of the Band of Horses demos that Ben Bridwell and company did in Columbia a while back. (No, we don't have any MP3s.) Even back then — and again seeing it performed live in Charleston — I remember being monumentally underwhelmed with "Is There a Ghost?" It's not that it's a bad song; on the contrary, it has all the soaring vocals and chiming guitars characteristic of Everything All the Time. But "Is There a Ghost?" is a curious lead track from Cease to Begin. I'll look beyond the annoyingly erroneous tense shift in the chorus — "But when I lived alone / Is there a ghost in my house?" (italics ours) — and focus on the fact that "Is There a Ghost" is just plain boring. Much of the reason I enjoyed Everything All the Time was its impressive use of dynamic tension, something entirely lacking from "Is There a Ghost?" Everything has a lifeless quality, from the uninspired, fourteen-word lyrics to the half-assed guitar solo in the coda. Look, I get it; you guys like Crazy Horse. But at least Neil kept it interesting.

That said, I'd like to say that what I've been privileged to hear from Cease to Begin is much, much awesomer.

[Ed.'s Note: An eagle-eared (???) reader notes: "The tense shift isn't erroneous. 'I could sleep / when I lived alone' --past tense because he was alone but now he's not. Now he's wondering if there is a ghost in his house." I had erroneously heard a "but" in the latter line. That said, I still the song kind of blows.]

Band of Horses — "Is There a Ghost?"

edited at 12:41 p.m. on 09.14.07.

Tube :: Smashing Pumpkins, "That's the Way (My Love Is)"


New(ish) Noise :: Grand Archives

So I can't believe it's taken me this long to post about Grand Archives. I have this problem with getting nervous about writing about music that I love with a sizable piece of my heart. I want to do it some creative justice, but I eventually just have to bite the bullet and sound like the crazed music geek that I am.

Grand Archives is the new band put together by Mat Brooke (formerly of Carissa's Weird and then Band of Horses). While I was sad to hear that Brooke left Band of Horses, the creation of Grand Archives more than makes up for it. Comparisons to BoH are probably going to plague the Brooke's new band, so I'll go ahead and get it out of the way. If Band of Horses is the first few days of summer, then Grand Archives is those magical days when fall turns into winter - when sucking in the crisp air makes a man feel like he can accomplish anything. There's a certain majesty to the music, and when Brooke croons, 'Hey, darlin', don't you look nice?/The dull look in your eyes/Well, you're terrified', in 'Torn Blue Foam Couch,' it's impossible not to feel a knowing shiver in your spine. And then the song just builds and builds, first adding handclaps over the rising piano, then roaring guitar and machine gun drums. It's cinematic in its beauty.

Download this goodness and then head to their MySpace page to hear the other three songs on their amazing self-released EP.

Grand Archives - Torn Blue Foam Couch

Grand Archives on MySpace


Tube :: Walk Hard Trailer

Today I finally get to see what my mind (for a reason I cannot comprehend) predicts will be the most greatest movie of forever. But not only will audiences finally get their fill of McLovin, they will also get the trailer for the upcoming Judd Apatow/Jake Kasdan film Walk Hard. Why is this of interest to a music blog, you ask? Well, the movie is a spoof of music biopics, specifically the Oscar-sweeping Walk The Line and Ray. And really, what better to spoof? I thought Ray was way over the top, and Walk The Line was a little overly sentimental and twisted the truth around quite a bit. Anyhow, the trailer's hilarious, and you don't want to miss your chance to see Paul Rudd as John Lennon and Jack White (!) as Elvis Presley (!!). I have a feeling he might even top Val Kilmer's turn as The King in True Romance.


Get Out! :: 08.16.07

Get Out! is indierocket's! guide to getting down in the Soda City.
Chopper, Thank God, Byron House, Halves and Thirds, Oubilette, So-So Death :: 112 Huger St. :: 7 p.m.

Yes, Chopper features Deerhunter guitarist Collin Mee and ex-Blame Game axeman George Asimakos — not to mention the fact that drummer Lamar George comes from Atlanta heavies Devastator — so the band has indie-blog cred in spades. And yeah, I guess that's cool. But what's cooler is that Chopper fucking slays, spitting out sick-ass, skull-splitting psycho-thrash riffs that rock like an art-damaged Motorhead and roll like claps of thunder. It's pure, heavy, unadulterated rock 'n' roll at its finest. And dig those sick-ass shirts! Local yokels should know Thank God by now, as they're easily the most important punk band to come out of Columbia in a while. For the uninitiated (read: lazy), Thank God is equal parts brains and brawn, churning out crushing quickies that are one part kinetic guitars, one part frenetic drumming, one part brutal speak-shout vocals and all parts pure sonic destruction. Transcontinental duo Byron House brings the noise with spazzy, Sonic Youth-inspired junk rock; Oubilette makes noisy mountains out of feedback-laden molehills; Halves and Thirds and So-So Death also play. Damage: $5.

[Editor's Note: Look, kiddos, this is a house show, meaning that it takes place in a place where people, you know, live. indierocket! implores you: Don't do anything you wouldn't do inside your own house. Remember: While this is a rock 'n' roll show, you're still a guest. Behave accordingly.]


Stay In! :: 08.16.07 :: Cory Branan and Lucero's Ben Nichols on Hard-Core Troubadours

The lovely ladies of Search for the Last of the Hard-Core Troubadours were lucky enough to catch Cory Branan and Lucero's Ben Nichols during their small tour together. The girls sat them down and made a podcast with the troubadours in question, and it's good fun. It's an hour long, and while the music sounds really good, the conversations in between are a little echo-y and require some ear straining. But hey, those guys are funny, so check the whole thing out eventually, but if you don't have the time right now, I've taken the liberty of noting when each song actually begins. Everyone knows by now that I'm a big Cory fan, so of course, my favorite moments are his new track 'Amnesia' and his cover of his (and my) favorite Lucero track 'It Gets Worse At Night.' Ben's stuff is good too, but man, I always could tell from his music that is voice was messed up, but listening to him talk, it sounds like he gargles with hot motor oil.

Anyways, head here to download the podcast, and here's the track list:

01:48 - Cory Branan - Meantime Blues
08:30 - Ben Nichols - Into Your Eyes
16:22 - Cory Branan - Beat It (A snippet of the Michael Jackson hit)
17:00 - Ben Nichols - Easy (Cory Branan)
22:40 - Cory Branan - It Gets the Worst at Night (Lucero)
31:45 - Cory Branan - Amnesia
42:18 - Ben Nichols - Across the River
50:00 - Cory Branan - Little Heartbreaker
53:45 - Ben Nichols - When You Decided to Leave

New(ish) Noise :: Mandy Moore Covers "Umbrella"

When Tug and I began this humble blog — and Lord, please bless this cybermess — I doubt either of us had anticipated the possibility — or plausibility, really — of having to blog about Mandy Moore. (Well, aside from the ever-possible "I say, sir, Mandy Moore is certainly an attractive woman" comments. I digress.) But life is a funny thing.

Either way, Moore covered the Rihanna jam — and I do mean jam; have you heard this?! Let me pause to elaborate on this for a moment: Much like "Crazy" was last year, "Umbrella" is this year's unquestioned Jam of the Summer. Jam of the Year, perhaps. — on Yahoo! Music last week, and the fine folks at Kevipod Music have the MP3 available. Being Mandy Moore, it's a totally Triple-A, Top-40-pop take on the song, but damn if it's not awesome when the brushed drums and electric piano come in. I dare say it even indie-rocks a little at the end.

Come to think of it, the end makes me wonder what "Umbrella" would sound like if covered by Aloha. Get to it, Cale Parks!

Mandy Moore — "Umbrella" (via Kevipod Music)


GoGoIndieCritic :: Bishop Allen :: The Broken String

Bishop Allen, indie rock darlings of both bloggers and NPR, followed up their debut pop masterpiece Charm School with an unbelievably ambitious project that saw them independently release an EP every month in 2006, adding up to a total of 58 songs released in a little over a year. Probably the biggest flaw of The Broken String is that ten of the twelve tracks are re-workings of songs from the EP project. However, they are all completely re-recorded, generally with better production value, and generally, sound better. And after such an arduous project, we can hardly blame them for fudging it a bit.

Probably the most disappointing of the re-workings is 'Corazon,' a sweet tune about lead singer Justice Rice finding a used piano on the side of the road and how learning to play it changed his way of writing songs ('So I pulled up the seat/ And I swear, I felt a pulse beneath your keys/ To urge your hammers along, Corazon.') The original recording was driven by the piano, but it becomes something of an afterthought on the new album, only showing up here and there.

Aside from this misstep, the rest of the album finds Bishop Allen doing what they do best - making witty, versatile pop that shifts subtly from whimsical to majestic. For instance, standout track 'Flight 180' starts off quietly droning as Rice sings of the inherent sense of doom and isolation of a plane trip, but then an orchestral build of epic proportions occurs as Rice notices a nervous passenger - 'Now the man in the middle seat/ Recites his times tables audibly/ But I know he means/ "If you feel like dancing/ Dance with me."' It’s moments like this that make the album and remind you just why you like music so damn much.

3.9 out of 5.0

Buy The Broken String here

Bishop Allen's Official Website

Bishop Allen on MySpace