Robyn Hitchcock – The Man Upstairs

robyn hitchcock the man upstairs lp yep roc records 2014

It’s December 1996 at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ. I’m interviewing ROBYN HITCHCOCK pre-show and we’re talking about the afterlife, endorphins, Captain Beefheart and the 1960’s. From the first song on his 1981 debut solo album, The Man Who Invented Himself, to his new 2014 record, The Man Upstairs; concerns about that Man in addition to time, sex, food, death and insects have been some of the psychedelic troubadour’s primary lyrical concerns. Continue reading “Robyn Hitchcock – The Man Upstairs”

Polly Pockets – Weird Floor Head Face

POLLY POCKETS uses her drum machine, an acoustic guitar, and just the right amount of weirdness to create quite peculiar, airy and delicate songs. She’s got plenty of free downloads on her Bandcamp page, and this is her latest batch to date. Continue reading “Polly Pockets – Weird Floor Head Face”

Cult of Youth – Cult of Youth

CULT OF YOUTH hail from Brooklyn. Their brand new LP just dropped from Sacred Bones on Feb. 22nd, jam-packed with triumphant and anthemic country neo-folk with a driving punk attitude that doesn’t really sound like anything else that’s been in our ears lately. Continue reading “Cult of Youth – Cult of Youth”

Velvet Davenport – Lemon Drop Square Box Cassette

Velvet Davenport is the moniker of the one-man band led by Parker Sprout, who hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has other people fill in certain positions when it comes to recording, but it’s still all about Sprout. I am to understand this cassette came out sometime during 2009, and since then Velvet Davenport has gone on to release some other material. There’s a 7″ single from the awesome Shdwply Records called “Get Out”, and then there’s a full-length CD called “Happy Ending” that was also put out by Shdwply, which I’m having difficulty finding any solid information on.

This cassette tape doesn’t last very long (it’s pretty short – only about 13 minutes), but it’s packed with these trippy, hazy, sun-shining jams that bring to mind the likes of Syd Barrett and his solo efforts, or even his early work from Pink Floyd. There’s a song called “Lemon” on the cassette, and it’s a gorgeous mix of heavenly guitars and shimmering sound effects, and Sprout howls over the mix in a somewhat monotone fashion – probably the most defining moment when it comes to comparing to Barrett. But whether you think that or not, these sunny songs are bound to put a smile on your face. Listen to the tracks below, and then check out the other tracks they have for you up on Myspace.

Lemon –

Drop –

My Rating: 7/10
Genre/ Tags: Psychedelic, Acoustic, Pop
Lemon Drop Square Box: Tracklist:
1.) One
2.) Lemon
3.) Drop
4.) Two
5.) Square
6.) Box

Velvet Davenport on Myspace
BUY the “LDSB” Cassette directly from Moon Glyph
BUY other VD releases from Shdwply Records

Kurt Vile – Square Shells EP

Hey! So I’ve had this one sitting around for a few days, and I just kind of forgot to listen to it. For whatever reason I remembered I had it just yesterday and decided to give it a spin for the first time. Not too long ago the good people over at Matador Records were nice enough to set the brand new EP free and give everybody a chance to download it “for the next 24 hours, or so.” Sadly, it’s way past that “24 hours or so” limit, but I’m going to share a few of the brand new, hazy Kurt Vile tunes with you here today, so you shouldn’t get too upset. If you’ve been looking to buy the EP, you can head on over to their store and buy it at this very moment! And I know this comes up here a lot on the blog, and it even says it on the Matador page, but these 7 new tracks are perfect summery jams and they came out just in time for summer.

Opening track “Ocean City” starts off with just Kurt and his lovely sounding acoustic guitar, as he sings about not being too sure about a new “best friend”, suggesting that “If it stinks it makes you think, maybe baby, I love you more.” The song continues on while Vile strums away on his guitar, and during the final minute some shape-shifting sound effects come into play, and then the songs fades out. Next up is the track that had been floating around on the web before the EP came out, and it’s called “Invisibility: Nonexistent”. It’s a psyched-out 7 minute jam as Kurt plays his trusty acoustic guitar over top of some grimy sound effects. You can easily get lost in a long, drawn out song such as this one, and at some point you may ask yourself when it’s going to end, but the song fades out and next comes “Losing Momentum”.

Unlike the others we’ve heard so far, this one is a bit more on the soundscape side of things, as it kind of forces you to paint a picture in your head to go along with the music, similar to the track “The Finder” found later on the EP. Following up would be the track “I Wanted Everything”. This is a perfect example of a breezy summer jam if there ever was one from this EP. Kurt continues to “strum away” for us on the EP as he says in the track “I Know I Got Religion”, and it all comes to a close on the lazy sounding final track “Hey, Now I’m Moving”. Kurt whips out the harmonica at the end of this one, and it works great for the song. A fantastic way to bring the EP to an end. Check out the songs below to hear for yourself! Thanks for coming by, and LET’S GO FLYERS. We’re just two wins away from becoming NHL Champions. Too much excitement!

Invisibility: Nonexistent –

I Wanted Everything –

I Know I Got Religion –

My Rating: 7/10
Genre/ Tags: Acoustic, Psychedelic, Lo-Fi
Square Shells EP: Tracklist:
1.) Ocean City
2.) Invisibility: Nonexistent
3.) Losing Momentum (for Jim Jarmusch)
4.) I Wanted Everything
5.) I Know I Got Religion
6.) The Finder
7.) Hey, Now I’m Moving

Kurt Vile on Myspace
Kurt Vile – Official Website (Coming soon)
BUY the EP directly from Matador Records

Spider Bags – A Celebration of Hunger

My Rating: 9/10
Genre/ Tags: Acoustic, Country, Rock

Well hello! I sort of missed a few days this week and didn’t post anything. You could blame that on the new Spring Semester that started this past Tuesday. So I apologize for that, and to make up for it, I brought with me today quite a special album. It’s called “A Celebration of Hunger” and it’s by the Spider Bags. This album came out back in May 2007 on Birdman Records, and it contains 14 fantastic tracks. This was the Spider Bags debut release, and since then, they have put out another full length titled “Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World”, and a 7″ single called “Hey Delinquents” on Daggerman Records. “A Celebration of Hunger” is one of those albums that I can turn on and not interfere with for the entire duration, because each track is just as good as the next. The opener “Bad Complexion” with it’s twangy guitars slowly builds up to a welcoming break down that certainly leaves you thinking that this album has a whole lot more in store for you. I could probably go on about every track from this album, but I just wouldn’t have the time. While I did say all the tracks are exceptional, some still stand out above the rest. These would be “Waking Up Drunk” which you’ll find is a great track to chant along with. Others include “Blood for You”, “It’s You”, “Alphabet City Blues”, “So Long a Rope”, “The Bottle”, “Bleed for You”, and “I am Sorry I”. Seriously, they’re all good though. If you don’t have the time for the whole album, at least listen to “Bad Complexion”, “Waking Up Drunk”, and “The Bottle”. You’ll get the idea with those three tracks. Enjoy.

A Celebration of Hunger: Tracklist
1.) Bad Complexion
2.) Waking Up Drunk
3.) Blood for You
4.) It’s You
5.) Alphabet City Blues
6.) So Long a Rope
7.) Summer’s Waltz
8.) The Bottle
9.) Bleed for You
10.) I am Sorry I
11.) Wide Open
12.) Darkness in my Heart
13.) Devil When I Go
14.) My Oh My

Spider Bags Official Myspace
A Celebration of Hunger: BUY

John K. Samson – Live at CBC Studios

My Rating: 9/10
Genre/ Tags: Acoustic, Live, Singer-Songwriter

Hello! How are we all today? Hopefully better than ever. Today I have something that I hope everyone will enjoy. It’s a live session featuring John K. Samson, the lead singer and guitarist from The Weakerthans, and also a former member of the band Propagandhi. He was an active member in Propagandhi from 1991 to 1997, and shortly thereafter, he went on to form The Weakerthans. The Weakerthans then formed in 1997, and have been continuing to rock since, releasing their most recent album entitled “Reunion Tour” in 2007.

Aside from working with The Weakerthans, John has released some material as a solo artist. His first release came back in 1993 when he was still a member of Propagandhi, and it was a cassette tape featuring 15 songs that was called “Slips and Tangles”. Two years later in 1995, six of those songs from the “Slips and Tangles” release were re-released on a new EP, titled “Little Pictures”. This would be Johns last solo release until recently in October 2009, when he put out his second EP “City Route 85”. According to the info on the Anti- Records page, “Samson’s solo record entitled City Route 85 will be the first in a series of recordings exploring the atmospheric streets and highways surrounding the musician’s home in Winnipeg, Canada.” Interesting! Music that explores the streets and highways of Canada? I am beyond interested. But if this City Route 85 wasn’t good enough for you, you’re in luck, because they plan to release at least three of these new singles. I have yet to hear this new single, but I will, very, very soon. In the meantime, check out this awesome live session from John at CBC Studios, and be sure to check back regularly, because I love John K. Samson and the Weakerthans way too much (just check my charts) to not post anymore of their material. I promise. The man just has such a way with words; it’s amazing. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe this quote from The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, who straight up admitted that John K. Samson “is the lyricist that I can say, without hesitation, is better than I am.” I rest my case. Enjoy your day.

John K. Samson Live @ CBC Studios: Tracklist
1.) Psalm for the Elks Lodge Last Call
2.) One Great City
3.) Reconstruction Site
4.) Utilities

The Weakerthans on Myspace
John K. Samson Live @ CBC Studios: TRY
John K. Samson Stuff: BUY

Sundowner – Four One Five Two

2010! Sundowner is an acoustic project of the singer-songwriter Chris McCaughan, who is from a wide range of bands, one of them being The Lawrence Arms. Chris McCaughan is the lead singer and guitarist for Sundowner, and he is assisted by Jenny Choi on the cello, keyboards, and vocals, and Lawrence Arms bandmate Neil Hennessey who plays acoustic bass. Since the bands beginning back in 2006, they have released just one album up to this point. It was released on March 12th, 2007 on Red Scare Records, and it is titled “Four One Five Two”. Apparently that is the number of Chris McCaughan’s childhood address, which is probably located somewhere in Chicago, but this information has yet to be confirmed.

If you’re already a fan of the Lawrence Arms, then you’ve been missing out if you haven’t heard Sundowner yet. Included on their first album are 12 tracks in total, and 2 of them are remakes of some of the best Lawrence Arms songs, being “My Boatless Booze Cruise” and “One Hundred Resolutions“. Chris has been know to cover other Lawrence Arms songs at live shows, and with a total of five Lawrence Arms albums, there is surely always another song you could request. Also, if you’re lucky, try and find Chris after a show. Chris played an opening set for Chuck Ragan on December 2nd, 2007 in Philadelphia, PA at the First Unitarian Church. After the show we approached him and asked him to come “hang out” outside with us. He happily accepted and chatted with us outside for a few minutes. Some topics that came up were about the differences between Chicago and Philadelphia, touring, and about the dude Chuck Ragan he was opening for. Chris was beyond nice to us, and was extremely grateful for us coming out to see him and even approaching him to talk. Hopefully he comes back again real soon. Thanks for reading, happy new year, and check back tomorrow.

Four One Five Two: Tracklist
1. “Steal Your Words” – 2:16
2. “This War is Noise” – 2:49 – A music video for the song directed by Lawrence Arms bandmate, Brendan Kelly
3. “The Sea of Lights” – 2:37
4. “Traffic Haze” – 2:50
5. “Midsummer Classic” – 3:46
6. “My Boatless Booze Cruise” – 3:10
7. “Your Self Portrait” – 2:07
8. “Jackson Underground” – 3:20
9. “Endless Miles” – 4:21
10. “Cold White North” – 2:35
11. “One Hundred Resolutions” – 4:29
12. “Audio Geography” – 3:11

Sundowner on Myspace
Four One Five Two: BUY