Saturday, February 27, 2010

Los Campesinos Interview & Live Perfromance
Recorded earlier this month for Virgin's Red Room Sessions. This stripped down version of The Sea Is A Good Place To Think About The Future is too good not to share. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Last Place You'll Look
On March 9th We Were Promised Jetpacks will release The Last Place You'll Look (EP) via Fat Cat. If you were lucky enough to catch the band at The Middle East a little over a week ago you may have stumbled onto this EP at the bands merch table, as they are selling a limited edition version on their current US tour.

The Last Place You'll Look consists of 3 new tracks and 2 alternate recordings of songs that appeared on the bands debut, These Four Walls.

The Last Place You Look tracklist:
01 A Far Cry
02 Short Bursts (alternative version)
03 The Walls Are Wearing Thin
04 With the Benefit of Hindsight
05 This is My House, This is My Home” (alternative version)

A Far Cry is the EP's lead track, it starts off with a nice melody and some subdued vocals courtesy of Adam Thompson before his band mates build it up and bring it to it's knees and to a climatic and cathartic end.

[MP3/Stream] We Were Promised Jetpacks - A Far Cry

Buy it at the Fat Cat Store

Friday, February 19, 2010

Broken Social Scene Unveil New Album! [MP3]

On May 4th Broken Social Scene will release Forgiveness Rock Record on Arts & Crafts. The long awaited follow up to their 2005 self-titled release was recorded in Chicago at Soma Studios by the band and John McEntire, with additional recordings tracked at The Schvitz Studio in Toronto. Broken Social Scene was stripped down to six members for the recording of Forgiveness Rock Record and features contributions from some of the usual suspects, Feist, Amy Milan, Jason Collett, Metric, as well as notable new newcomers such as Spiral Stairs(Pavement) and Doug McCombs (Tortoise).

The band has offered up the album track World Sick for free download, all it will cost you is your e-mail address. A sprawling and epic track that finds Broken Social Scene at the peak of there many powers.

Broken Social Scene Dates (No Boston show, yet)
03-14 Elkton, FL - Harvest of Hope
03-18 Austin, TX - Stubb's BBQ
03-19 Austin, TX - The Parish
05-01 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
05-03 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
05-07 New York, NY - Webster Hall
05-13 London, England - Brixton Academy
05-14 Minehead, England - All Tomorrow's Parties
05-17 London, England - Heaven
05-18 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Melkweg
05-19 Cologne, Germany - Burgerhaus Stollwerck
05-21 Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
05-23 Linz, Austria - LinzFest
05-24 Berlin, Germany - Kesselhaus
05-27 Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Festival
05-29 George, WA - Sasquatch
06-19 Toronto, Ontario - Toronto Island

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Lost Art of The 7"

Today we focus on a few vinyl only releases coming our way over the next several weeks. All of these releases come via(limited edition) 7" single. So dust off the old wheels of steel and set your turntables for 45 RPM.

Birmingham England's Calories have teemed up with London's William for a 4 song split single. Calories are easily the most addictive band I've heard in some time and the two songs they contribute to this single further prove that point. Much like their debut Adventuring, these tracks are over far too quickly, good thing Mortal Boys and Drink The Potion stand up to repeated listening. The Calories/William split single was released in the UK earlier this week and is available for ordering now.

Order the Calories/William Split 7" via Tough Love Records

[MP3/Stream] Calories- Mortal Boys

On March 1st Cymbals Eat Guitars will release a re-recorded version of Wind Phoenix, originally released on the bands debut Why There Are Mountains. This alone would not be all that exciting, if not for the excellent b-side. A cover of Elliott Smith's The Ballad of Big Nothing. The songs stays pretty true to the original albeit for some added instrumentation, but CEW manage to put their own unique stamp on it. The Wind Phoenix 7" single will be released by the London based Memphis Industries

Order the Wind Phoenix 7"

[MP3/Stream] Cymbals Eat Guitars - The Ballad of Big Nothing

As part of their just announced 5 part 7" single series, Japandroids are set release the 1st installment on April 2nd with Art Czars. Each single will feature an unreleased track from the Post-Nothing sessions and be accompanied by a cover. The B-side to the 1st single is a cover of Big Black's Racer X. Art Czars is pressed on clear vinyl and is limited to 2000 copies and comes with a download code. Japandroids 7" single series will be releases throughout 2010.

Pre-order Art Czars via Polyvinyl

[MP3/Stream] Japandroids - Art Czars

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Hush Now for Free (Again)

Boston's The Hush Now have released there second album Constellations and once again they're offering it to you absolutely free, via the bands web site. Since hearing the bands self-titled debut, I've been seriously hooked on The Hush Now and their sophomore album couldn't have come at a better time. Noel Kelly propels the band forward with another batch of his radio ready anthems and classic pop hooks. What are you waiting for ? Go get the first must hear record of 2010. Did I mention that it's free?

After you've downloaded the album be sure to check out fellow Boston blogger Jay from Clicky Clicky's review here.

The Hush Now will play Great Scott on Saturday March 6th with Dear Leader and Arletta.
Buy tickets here

Download the album

The Hush Now - Hoping And Waiting

The Hush Now(official)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kollaps Tradixionales

Today marks the release of Canadian post-rockers Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra's Kollaps Tradixionales via Constellation . After shedding three members,added a new drummer David Payant and officially left the Tra-La- La Band name behind, TMZ have returned with what might just be their strongest offering. Led by guitarist/vocalist Efrin Menuck (formally of Godspeed You! Black Emperor) TMZ demonstrates it may have lost a few members but it's lost none of its raw fuzzed out power and successfully marry punk,folk, rock, psych,and blues. It's still very new to me, so I'll try to temper my excitement for it. Headphones on, volume up, jaw on the floor.

TMZ have issued an exclusive film over at Stereogum of the band performing I Built My Self A Metal Bird. The film was shot by Seth W. Owen in Montreal. Check out the album track Bury 3 Dynamos embed below by permission of TMZ.

Buy the album at the Constellation Shoppe
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra Band Official

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Thermals Update

Kill Rock Stars recently released details around the next album from The Thermals. The bands fifth album was recorded by Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) at his home studio in Portland, OR, Hall of Justice. The new album is titled Peronal Life and is scheduled to be released on September 7th via KRS.

This news comes with seven months to wait for the next Thermals record. Luckily they have music coming to us a bit sooner than that. The Thermals have released Canada via itunes, a track that may or may not appear on their forthcoming album due to the fact that the band has yet to reveal the albums track listing. Canada was written on a recent tour stop in Buffalo as they were preparing to travel to Toronto for a sold out show at The Horseshoe Tavern. At first listen it feels like a bit of a throwaway, the type of song Hutch Harris could write in five minutes, but over repeated listens it reveals it self to be an infectious pop gem. The Thermals will deliver another new track On April 17th ,otherwise known as Record Store Day in the form of a split 7" with their former tour mates, The Cribs. The Thermals contribute Separate, while The Cribs offer up So Hot Now.

In the meantime the band are scheduled to play shows in Australia and China before returning to the Boston area on April 18th for a show at The Middle East.

The Thermals Dates
March 2010 AUSTRALIA
07 -- Brisbane @ Lost Weekend Festival
09 -- Sydney @ Oxford Art Factory
10 -- Armidale @ University of New England
11 -- Wollongong @ Wollongong University
12 -- Newcastle @ Newcastle University

March 2010 CHINA
17 -- Beijing: Mao Live
18 -- Shanghai: YYT Live
19 -- Chengdu: 7-Live
20 -- TBA

April 2010 EAST COAST US
07 -- Orlando, FL @ Social #
08 -- Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder #
09 -- Gainesville, FL @ University of Florida - Rion Ballroom #
10 -- St Augustine, FL @ Cafe Eleven #
12 -- Wilmington, NC @ The Soapbox Laundrolounge #
13 -- Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle #
14 -- Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern #
15 -- Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church #
16 -- Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar #
17 -- Hamden, CT @ The Space #
18 -- Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East #
20 -- Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl #

*Thao With The Get Down Stay Down
# Past Lives

[MP3/Stream] The Thermals - Canada

Buy the song at itunes

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Soft Pack - C'mon [Video]

Every so often an album comes along and steals your undivided attention. You wake in the morning and you need to hear it, you eat your lunch in your car just so you can hear it again during the work day, and then you play it again on the ride home. The Soft Pack's self titled debut just released on Kemado Records is one of those records. It reels you in on first listen and tightens it's grip on you over repeated listens. Originally called The Muslims now The Soft Pack have filled their name changed debut with irresistible garage punk/pop, surf guitars, and big hooks. C'mon is the terrific first single and video from the album.

The Soft Pack will play Great Scott on March 29th.

The Soft Pack
The Soft Pack/Myspace

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Ash Gray Proclamation Presents:
Our 25 Favorite Records of 2009

Just when you thought you were safe from the onslaught of year end lists, here come your friends at The AGP with one more. Like many of you I read a lot of lists each year, so I tried to offer something that hasn't been done and re-done before while paying tribute to 25 of our favorite releases from the year that was 2009. I think we put our own stamp on it, at least that was the intention.

You will find mp3 links and stream embeds from Lala so please click away and check some of the music you might have missed. Each album also has a link to purchase the album, please do so if you like what you hear.

As always thanks for reading and for your continued support of The Ash Gray Proclamation.

and now without further delay....the list.

. Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (Dead Oceans)

This year Tim Rutili proved once again that a new Califone record is an event worth paying attention to. All My friends Our Funeral Singers is the bands finest release since 2001's Roomsound. A companion piece to the Rutili directed film about a fortune teller who lives in house that's occupied by ghosts. An experimental Appalachian blues-folk masterstroke, just another day at the office for Califone.

Buy the album from SC Distribution

24. The XX - XX (Young Turks)

This South London quartet released a game changer of an album. Combining the skeletal guitar riffs of Joy Division with the thoughtful yet powerful music of Young Marble Giants. 11 tracks of perfect minimalist boy/girl conversational pop. XX is an immediately satisfying record that you'll love from first listen, I know I did.

Buy the album at Rough Trade

23. Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer (Jagjaguwar)

In June Spencer Krug released Dragonslayer, his third and most sparkling record with Sunset Rubdown. Released just two months after unveiling the excellent Enemy Mine with his other side project Swan Lake. Dragonslayer is leaner and more accessible record without losing any of the experiments or ambition of the bands previous two releases. On Dragonslayer, Krug and Co. create a labyrinth of engaging multi-part songs while effortlessly hopping genre's from song to song. Even though I've listen to this record endlessly since it's release I still need more, that to me is the sign of a great record. Dragonslayer is that and then some.

Buy the album from SC Distribution

22. The Wooden Birds - Magnolia (Barsuk Records)

The Wooden Birds is the new project from Andrew Kenny formally of The American Analog Set. Magnolia features a strong collection of hushed folk pop that's both intimate and inviting. Kenny hasn't strayed too far away for the sound he made with AMANSET, although The Wooden Birds favor a more stripped down acoustic sound. You might know where you're going with Magnolia, but that doesn't make the trip any less enjoyable. Magnolia is a catchy and satisfying listen from beginning to end.

[MP3/Stream] The Wooden Birds - The Other One
Buy the album at the Barsuk Shop

21. Girls - Album (True Panther Sounds)

It was hard to miss the story of Girls last year.Growing up in a cult must have been a traumatic experience for Christopher Owens, but what about the music? With the release of Album, Girls surpassed all expectations and hype by delivering a stunning and timeless pop record. Lyrically its full of heartbreak but musically it's all sunshine, reminiscent of the early Beach Boys catalog, complete with surf guitars and 60's pop melodies.

Buy the album at Matador

20. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino USA)

Over their nine album career Animal Collective have remained on of the most fascinating bands in music and never has it been so obvious than on Merriwether Post Pavilion. With My Girls, Summertime Clothes, and Brother Sport the album finds Animal Collective a little more listener friendly without losing their sense of adventure. 11 tracks in over 55 minutes for the bands most accomplished and exhilarating record to date.

Buy the album from Domino

19. Caspian - Tertia (The Mylene Sheath)

Beverly's Post-rockers Caspian had my jaw on the floor once again this year when they delivered Tertia. A record that rivals the bands superb debut LP The Four Trees. They've added their touring guitarist Burke Moran to the band and as a result Terita boast an even heavier sound than it's predecessor. Tertia is a crushing and captivating record that requires your attention.

Buy the album at The Mylene Sheath Store

18. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains (Sister's Den)

Originally self released at the beginning of the year and then re-released in September after the band signed to Sister's Den Records, Why There Are Mountains got some well deserved attention in 2009. Cymbals Eat Guitars released a sprawling and explosive album that shines equally during it's quieter moments as it does during it's crashing wall of sound anthems. A smashing debut.

Buy the album at Amazon

17. Circulatory System - Signal Morning (Cloud Recordings)

I love this record. I feel better to have gotten that out of the way. Signal Morning is the welcome return of Elephant 6 Collective and The Olivia Tremor Control founding member Will Cullen Hart. It's been eight years since Hart released Circulatory System's debut, in that time he was diagnosed with MS. So when it was announced that their sophomore album would be released it came as bit of surprise. However the real surprise is how damn good Signal Morning is, it not only picks up where their debut left off, it rivals Hart's best work. Signal Morning is a 4 track psych pop masterwork. Breathtaking, inventive, and well worth the wait.

Buy the album at the Cloud Recordings Store

16. Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years (Rough Trade)

On their ninth release Super Furry Animals prove once again that they're one of the most consistent bands making music today. SFA are incapable of recording a bad album, they just don't have it in them. From the tongue in check opener Crazy Naked Girls to the blissful Cardiff in The Sun, Dark Days /Light Years is yet another inspired and varied album. I would recommend this album to the SFA newcomer as much as I would to the long standing fans.

Buy the album atAmazon

15. David Bazan - Curse Your Branches (Barsuk Records)

An incredibly brave album from the former driving force behind Pedro The Lion. David Bazan put his personal struggles with alcohol and family front and center on Curse Your Branches , for the years most haunting and inspired record.

[MP3/Stream] David Bazan - Bless This Mess

Buy the album from the Barsuk Shop

. Fanfarlo - Reservoir (Canvasback Music)

Fanfarlo have been releasing music together since 2006 but it wasn't until early 2009 that they released their superb debut album Reservoir. Recorded in Connecticut with Peter Katis (The National/Interpol), the album consists of 11 great pop songs that had me reaching for Reservoir over and over.

Buy the album from the Fanfarlo Web Store

13. Mission of Burma - The Sound The Speed The Light (Matador)

Their third release since reforming in 2002 finds Mission of Burma in peak form. With the fierce and rowdy tracks being complimented with some of Burma's most mesmerizing slower ones like Forget Yourself, with it's shimmering guitars and it's pounding wall of drums. The Sound The Speed The Light is another triumph from a band that has only ever delivered uncompromising quality.

Buy the album from the Mission of Burma Store

12. The Antlers - Hospice (French Kiss Records)

On The Antlers 2nd full length Peter Silberman leads his Brooklyn band mates through a conceptual and haunting record about love, death, and cancer. To the bands credit Hospice never comes off as cliche or contrived. Instead what you find when listening to this 10 song suite is a heartbreakingly beautiful record.

Buy the album at the French Kiss Records Boutique

11. The Flaming Lips
- Embryonic (Warner Bros.)

By 2009 I had accepted the fact that The Flaming Lips sonic explorations were a thing of the past in favor of the safer ground they've covered over the past 10 or so years. Embryonic came along and proved in just over 70 minutes that I don't know shit about what the future holds for this band. Embryonic is staggering, menacing, unhinged and ultimately the epic rebirth of The Flaming Lips.

Buy The Album at The Flaming Lips Store

10. Built to Spill - There Is No Enemy (Warner Bros.)

There Is No Enemy finds Doug Martsch and co. reining in some of the stretched out jams found on their last few records in favor of a varied and dynamic batch pop songs. With each listen the album reveals itself a little more, unveiling it's rich instrumentation and tremendous song craft. Easily my favorite Built to Spill record since Keep Like A Secret in 1999 and one of the finest records of the year.

Buy the album at the Built To Spill Shop

9. Hallelujah The Hills - Colonial Drones (Misra Records)

Hallelujah The Hills found a way to follow up their fantastic 2007 debut with an even stronger album. Every once in a while a record comes along that you can't help but to play it over and over, Colonial Drones is that kind of record. With the sure fire Boston rock classic Blank Passports, the country twang of Put The Gurus in Charge, and the blistering Allied Lions, Hallelujah The Hills were responsible for some of the finest moments committed to tape in 2009.

Buy the album from Misra Records

. Japandroids - Post-Nothing (Polyvinyl)

Post-Nothing is the eight song debut album from Brian King and David Prowse collectively known as Japandroids (or JPNDRDS). The album is filled with coming of age angst and fuck-it anthems complete with fuzzed out guitars, crashing drums and more hooks than your old mans tackle box. An exceptional debut and an outright blast.

Buy the album at the
Polyvinyl Store

. We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls (Fat Cat)

These Four Walls, the debut album from Scotland's We Were Promised Jetpacks is a powerhouse of a record, full of immediate and captivating songs from one of the UK' most promising young bands. The songs are raw and straight forward with elements of 90's American indie and the post-punk instrumentation of there fellow country men Mogwai. Sometimes reinventing the wheel isn't all it's cracked up to be. An addictive and rewarding listen from start to finish.

Buy the album at the FatCat Store

6. Boat - Setting The Paces (Magic Marker Records)

Setting The Paces is a superbly crafted rock record that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Once an outlet for David Crane's after work (school teacher) recordings, now Boat exists as proper band and on Setting The Paces they turn in 14 guitar driven pop nuggets. There isn't a skippable track in the bunch. These songs are immediate, catchy, and if you give them the chance they will burrow there way into your brain. Trust me, this is a good thing.

Buy the album from Magic Marker

5. The Mountain Goats - The Life Of The World To Come (4AD)

The Mountain Goats take on some challenging material on The Life of The World To Come, by naming each song after a bible verse. The songs John Darnielle wrote for the record are without a doubt some of his finest. According to Darnielle this is not a Christian record nor is it a record recorded after some sort of spiritual awakening. It is a collection of songs based on 12 lessons that the bible has taught him. Twelve tales of forgiveness and redemption told by one of America's greatest story tellers. Yeah, you need to hear it.

Buy the album from The Mountain Goats Store

4. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - S/T (Slumberland Records)

Weather it was the frigid days of February or the hot nights of July the debut album from New York's The Pains of Being Pure at Heart was never too far out of reach. A throwback of sorts to the music I loved in the 80's and 90's, reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and The Cure. The band specializes in earnest pop songs with creamy hooks and fuzzed out guitars. An impeccable debut.

Buy the album at the Slumberland Shop

3. The Thermals - Now We Can See (Kill Rock Stars)

The Thermals released one of the most enjoyable and satisfying albums of the year. Now We Can See is an anthemic record filled with the bands signature post-pop-punk. Hutch Harris sings of death, disease and being reincarnated as a fish. In a lesser bands hands these themes might end up contrived and trite but with The Thermals its a blast of pop hooks with some the bands most infectious tunes yet.

[MP3/Stream] The Thermals - Now We Can See
Buy the album at the Kill Rock Stars Shop

2. Johnny Foreigner - Grace and The Bigger Picture (Best Before Records)
Album number two from Birmingham, England's Johnny Foreigner picks up where their stunning debut Waited Up Til It Was Light left off. This time around the trio serves up tales of life on the road as a touring band. With 15 tracks in 45 minutes Johnny Foreigner deliver up a perfect dose of snotty punk, boy/girl vocals and noisy pop songs. Grace And The Bigger Picture is a truly great record. So much for the sophomore slump.

Buy the album at the Best Before Records Shop

1. Boston Spaceships - Zero To 99 (Guided By Voices, Inc.)

For casual fans who haven't been keeping up with Robert Pollard's recent solo albums and side projects lately, listen up. Zero to 99, Pollard's third release in just over thirteen months with Boston Spaceships is an accessible and insanely catchy album that you need to hear. I guess what I'm saying is, this is the record you've been waiting for. For the obsessive fans who buy just about everything the man puts out, Zero to 99 proves what you probable already knew and that's that Robert Pollard has plenty left in the tank. With each release the Spaceships seem to sharpen their focus and consistency and on Zero to 99 they deliver an astonishing record of prog, punk, and power pop. As it reads on a t-shirt from the bands one and only tour, Boston Spaceships is Real, indeed.

Buy the album from The Factory of Raw Essentials