Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Avan Lava Mixtape

Avan Lava
Check Yo Ponytail Mixtape

From Laid Back’s “White Horse (premix)”, to Tiger Stripes' “Snake Charmer (Original Mix),” and everything in between, the music never quits or flags.  Its smart beats flow into a seamless whole.  This is a non-stop, 53-minute party, perfect for the dance floor or any time you need energy and fun.  Avan Lava, already hailed as a great band, continues to get even better, and this mixtape proves it.  
Andrea Weiss

Monday, September 23, 2013


Hemiplegia EP

For those who can’t get enough of Tegan and Sara’s current album, here's a band that has songs good enough to be on T&S’s latest, without ever sounding like a clone.  Good pop, light without being lightweight, and singer Nini Fabi doesn’t overdo things vocally.  In short, a great debut, and I look forward to hearing more from this band.  https://www.facebook.com/haertsmusic
Andrea Weiss

Sunday, September 22, 2013

BOJ 3 Stand Alone

Black Orange Juice
3 Started Alone
True Panther

Alternative R&B, that is 70s style singing, Marvin Gaye or Luther Vandeross, with some Nile Rogers style disco thrown in too, all with 21 Century elctronica for the music.  It’s pretty good UK dance music, a bit on the mild side, but nice smooth  dance music overall.  Music to relax to, and for late nights when something mellow fits the mood. 
Andrea Weiss

Disco Remix, BA, T Mix

Baby Alpaca
Sea Of Dreams (Turbotito Remix)
Atlas Chair Records

If you’ve ever wondered what the Smiths would sound like as electronica, Baby Alpaca is the band for you.  Dreamy, Morrissey like lyrics, the music as much the same, and all is perfect music to chill out to. 
Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Riot Grrrl Forever

The Julie Ruin
Run Fast

Grown up punk rock, which is to say adults who have that old punk, and in this case Riot Grrrl fighting spirit. You can dance, you can scream, because the music will never quit. It’s a rush, like a dam breaking. It’s such an up, and when it’s over, you play it again just because you don’t want this music to be over, to never stop.

That Kathleen Hanna could still do this while battling late stage Lyme Disease points to a spirit that encompasses more than rock. It’s a world view, and what a world it is.  Fun, righteously angry without losing their sense of humor, an uproarious celebration of all things feminist, 20 year removed from Riot Grrrl, and with guys thrown in for good measure.  It proves that feminism will never die as long as women, and men, still have things to fight for. Riot Grrrl was one of the best things ever to happen to feminism. It was feminism in a new way. Punk rock of any type, forced hardcore and other types of alternative music to examine its sexism and homophobia, even as there was a lot of resistance in the 90s.  It’s one big reason I stopped reading the rock press, indie and mainstream, in 1990. I couldn’t stand that anymore.  I still can’t, except for Magnet Magazine, The New York Times, and Robert Christgau.

One of the best things to happen this year was finally getting out of the 70s, and into a 90s revival, one that curiously doesn’t include grunge. Riot Grrrl was one of the first to get its due, along with the Breeders, Vercua Salt, That Dog, and Aimee Mann. I’m going to throw in Liz Phair. Are people still that angry about her pop album, ten years down the line? I say this not just because of Exile In Guyville, but because Liz is a sex positive feminist and proud of it.  That it’s women who get their due first as the influential musicians they are, without the “women-in-rock” crap, means that new ground has been broken for women everywhere. Never stop, all of you. And now Hanna is back, and better than ever.  May she live to 100, especially if she’s putting out music as wonderful as this.
Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ETT New Album

Emiliana Torrini
Rough Trade

This is a big improvement over 2008’s Me and Armani, whose sole good moment was the international hit “Jungle Drum,” the only non-precious track on it, and the only track where the oh-so-cutesiness of it was used in a good, and agreeably silly way.  This new album is more serious, and is informed by the birth of Torrini’s son, as well as her return to Iceland, her home country.

Tookah is a word coined by Toorini to describe when you are at your best, filled with love, life, and goodness inside and outside you.  Indeed, the album is an exploration of Tookah, and its importance when you take stock of your life.

Musically, this anagram of folk, pop, and some electronica is very pleasing, soothing, gentle, and somewhat solemn. It is also about being more mature, more grown up, and knowing what your responsibilities are.  This is really my introduction to Torrini.  I haven’t heard all of her work, but judging by her last album, this is her best. It's good music and her most mature effort.  I like it, and am glad of the chance to make her musical acquaintance.  
Andrea Weiss

Monday, September 9, 2013

Body/Head Kim Gordon/Bill Nace

Coming Apart

There is so much propulsive feedback, and so many drones, that you don’t notice the drums, and then you realize they aren’t needed.  This is a tribute to the abilities of 
Kim Gordon and her partner Bill Nace. Their guitar work, especially on the intro to “Can’t Help You,” melodise providing the very loose yet sturdy structure, the feedback, and the drones providing a steady rhythm. That has the effect of being vaguely ominous, but is more often strangely comforting. There is nothing cold about this music. It is warm, enveloping, and perfect to meditate to, especially if you hate or are sick of new age music and want something with some teeth in it.

Kim’s chanting adds to these effects. A word, a phrase, no verse-like lyrics. Just a line or two here and there, in a voice that is cracked and strained. Yet these are some of the finest vocals she’s ever done, and make this a classic, even if you’re not sure how well you understand, or get experimental noise/music.

Kim Gordon deserves her icon status in whatever she does, in whatever medium she chooses to express herself, not just because she broke so much ground, and is one of the few college rockers still making relevant music. She’s set the benchmarks for women making any kind of music,  and is just as much a godmother of rock as Patti Smith.  In Nace, she has found a better and more sympathetic player than even Thurston or Lee, and that’s not a put down of either. It’s just a different type of playing than they did. But I prefer this album to a lot of Sonic Youth’s work, even though I am a fan of that band, and would pull this album out to play before I would pull out, say, Goo, that’s how wonderful this album is.
 Andrea Weiss

Willis Earl Beal

Wills Earl Beal
Nobody Knows
XL Recordings

I’d say forget about Jack White and the Black Keys. Beal writes, sings, and plays the real indie blues.  And now that he has better recording equipment than he did on his first album Acoustic Sorcery, and a band,  the result is an album that improves on his debut tenfold. Beal is someone who plays the blues first and is an indie musician second.
His music rough, soulful, and blue as in sexual in “Too Dry to Cry” but the command Beal has of every part of his music is also a joy to hear.

Tom Waits is still used for effect, but only for effect. I hear more Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Van Hunt, Keb Mo, and even a bit of Al Green.  He’s a 70s throwback, but a great one. It’s been along time since I heard the blues played this well, although my perspective is limited. The blues in general is such a vast type of music that I can’t say I’ve explored every part of it, but enough that I know the blues when I hear it. If you like the blues, you’ll enjoy this album a lot.
Andrea Weiss

London Grammar

London Grammar
If You Wait
Columbia Records

If the Eurythmics had appeared today, they would be London Grammar. Hannah Reid, the trio’s lead singer, recalls Anne Lennox at her best, and a is lot more organic than she is. Dot Major and Dan Rothman, the other two members of the trio, construct a sound not unlike Dave Stewart did for the Eurythmics, and it’s a lot more organic than anything he got up to with Lennox.  Reid also has more to say about love than the Eurythmics ever did, and without the bombast that duo indulged in.

They also remind me of the XX, with a fuller sound, but just as good, and since LG has played with the XX, the two bands compliment each other perfectly.  My only quibble about this album is that as the XX does, there is a male singer to balance things, and I kind of wish Rothman sang, just for that balance. Ried alone sounds a bit one sided.  But that’s just me. This is a really good, romantic, slow dance pop album, and as they already have a major following in Europe, there’s no reason these great pop songs can’t do the same in the US.  This is the thinking person’s dance music. Perfect if you’re lovelorn, or just want a slow, romantic spin on the floor with you partner of choice. https://www.facebook.com/londongrammar 
Andrea Weiss

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Ghost and Goblin

Guitar based electronica duo, as in synths first, guitar for details, colors and shading, make music that’s supposed to be spooky and frightening, but the singer, lyrics, and music are too friendly to be frightening. That isn’t a put down. I like this album very much, even as it’s not dance music. This is perfect for Halloween, or any time you need to set an eerie vibe.  That these guys are trying to be heavy like Soundgarden also works with me, as I really like Soundgarden.  So if you need to be freaked out a bit, knowing that it’s maybe a bad dream, this album is for you. Have a lot of fun being scared. https://www.facebook.com/ghostandgoblin 
Andrea Weiss


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