Monthly Archives: April 2010

Do yourself a favor and download the new Astronautalis mixtape. Ok?

DOWNLOAD NOW

It’s no secret that we love us some Astronautalis. We wear it on our sleeve. Now he’s gone ahead and crafted himself a free mixtape (with help from DJ Fishr Pryce) that anyone and their pop can download, only providing us with more ammo to help spread the gospel.

The album is available as “pay what you want”, but we suggest you “pay what you have” to help support Andy in his efforts to eat well/survive on his upcoming tour with Tegan & Sara in Australia this May. Pomegranate was one of the finest albums to come out in 2008 and this is a strong return to the hip-hop roots that drove Astronautalis to become the artist that we hear today.

Read the introduction, download the mixtape and become a new fan here.

Field Mouse – You Are Here [Review]

Sometimes a voice makes a record.

You Are Here, the debut album from (south) Brooklyn-based Field Mouse, is just that sort of record. A lush blend of shoegaze and 90s indie rock, You Are Here is steeped in hazy harmonies, delayed guitars, and emotive strings. But the crowning achievement of the record is the voice of Rachel Browne, whose soft, pristine vocals provide a consistently impressive narration through a stylistically diverse set of songs.

“Good at Me” opens the record, and features tight drumming and memorable (read: this will get stuck in your head) guitar riffs that recall mid-era Built to Spill. Tracks like “Anomie” and “Touché” show off the band’s shoegaze acumen, and include a few of my favorite moments on the album. And on “Tracing the Map,” the band picks up the pace with a cross-country adventure, where “time taps out slowly” as the song rockets forward.

<a href="http://fieldmouse.bandcamp.com/track/good-at-me">Good at Me by Field Mouse</a>

Of all the songs on You Are Here, two stand out in particular. “Dirt vs. Grass” is a perfect summertime song. A simple, swinging jam including infectious handclaps and harmonies, the track is a welcome return to the best of carefree, 90s radio. The other highlight of the record is found in “End to End,” a heart-slaying, broken-down lullaby. The Disarm-esque chorus and the syncopated vocal line get me every time, and it has quickly become my favorite song on the record.

While the album is a fantastic listen, it is not without imperfections. Tracks, including the opener, could have been better served with a warmer bass, which is at times a bit too treble-y. “Tracing the Map” lacks a heavy guitar to match the locomotive drums and strong vocal delivery. And while the production is generally immaculate, sometimes I found myself longing for a more organic tone, without the effected guitars and vocals that make up a large part of the record.

However, these minor deviations do little to take away from the album’s overall strength. You Are Here is an excellent debut and a welcome addition to this summer’s soundtrack. Now let’s go outside.

Jaakko & Jay Live In Helsinki

“Folk punk” is what they describe themselves as. I describe it as “holy shit, that’s awesome”. Either way, Jaakko & Jay put on a high-energy performance at every show that is hard to forget. As we high anticipate their return to the US, we will watch the above video over and over, remembering the 3 shows we caught while they were here on tour.

Pick up their new album War Is Noise and stay tuned for US dates!

Thick Shakes

Milk. Ice cream. In a cup.

A shake isn’t something you need to think a lot about to consume, and neither is Boston “lo-fi fuzz/punk” band Thick Shakes.

Those are the most loving of scare quotes and backhanded compliments, don’t worry. Punk! It doesn’t really mean anything anymore, does it? This will only add to the confusion, because Thick Shakes is all early-’60s nostalgia. Except, louder? They release stuff on cassette, I guess because they want an excuse not to sell anything. But cassettes are a ’70s thing. My brain hurts.

Some people, who are probably fun people when they aren’t writing music reviews, think this sounds like “a washing machine inside a washing machine.” I don’t really have an opinion on that either way; I just thought you might enjoy that image.

See? We at Air & Sea Battle are all about FUN. Which this band, unequivocally, is.

Stream their album here, right now.

Or! You could catch them live at Arlene’s Grocery in NY on Thursday. Or other places too, if they exist.

That’s three options. Probably more options than there are ice cream flavors in the UK. Sorry, people in the UK. That was a low blow.

The Governors – Got Better Plans EP [Review]

In the style of a well-practiced, drunkenly-belted tune by the crew of an 18th century frigate, The Governors “Got Better Plans” EP survives in a genre littered with failure.

Each song in the 5-track short program is catchy, carries the unmistakable tinge of sincerity and is ably performed. But the opening track “Check Thyself Before You Wreck Thyself” best represents their vision: Well thought-out campfire songs with a keen eye for old world aesthetics melded into spontaneous outbursts of modern rock magic.

Still, the production of the vocals is a frequent annoyance. After all, I have never seen a concert in a small cavern – so if that’s what The Governors are going for, it’s too distracting. And if it’s not what they’re going for, their work is too good for that sort of simply mistake in a sound booth.

But you’re more likely to remember some mesmerizing guitar and harmonica work. The Governors aren’t afraid of silence, and they know how to walk the thin line between monotony and progression, offering plenty of inspiration to learn these songs and belt them out in one of the many skeezy establishments we all adore.

The Got Better Plans EP is not quite ready for air, but worth it for any dedicated music fan who wants to help The Governors build a aircraft. If they were more confident that their voices could carry themselves, this EP might be a classic, but it’s certainly worth a listen, if only to keep track of their progress. I know we will.

The Governors Got Better Plans EP by The Governors

p.s.
The Governors reunion show is on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at Spike Hill, 184 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.

In Town Now: Lil Daggers

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All the way from the town that Dan Marino built (he did that, right?), Miami’s Lil Daggers are in Brooklyn over the next few days on some pretty stellar lineups. The track above, “King Korpse”, is off of what seems to be an upcoming 7-inch from Livid Records. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of hard info on these guys besides that they are from Florida and put on a good show. And what else do you really need? It’s lo-fi garage with an organ! An organ!

Personally, I’ve had the new Harlem record in heavy rotation and Lil Daggers is fitting in nicely to keep me from running that album into the ground. So if you too are riding the lo-fi garage wave as of late, or you’re just looking to check out some great bands (locals Shark?, The Sundelles, and of course Wild Yaks come highly recommended from me), then check out the tour dates below. I’m going to try to convince my girlfriend’s entire birthday party to walk down to Don Pedro’s on Saturday because that looks like a show I should not miss.

April 9th @ Don Pedros- Lil Daggers, Medication, White Mystery, Girls at Dawn

April 10th @ Don Pedros- Brown Ghost, Naked Beach, Lil Daggers, Estrogen Highs, Wild Yaks

April 11th @ Glasslands- Dream Diary, The Sundelles, Lil Daggers, Shark?