Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lace Curtains
A Signed Piece Of Paper
Female Fantasy Records

Lace Curtains is the band of ex-Harlem member Michael Coomer. Whereas Harlem was modern garage rock, Lace’s album is much more pop, almost lounge-like, and absolutely made for late nights.  Lyrics, nice and terse, are about relationships, romantic and otherwise. The title comes from an old warning to girls being scouted at talent shows by Hollywood types who would encourage them to come to Hollywood to be a star. At the time, actors were contract players for studios. If the girls weren’t signed by a studio, they had very few options.

This easy listening pop is a good debut.  It goes down nice and easy, and is always sincere, never ironic. Let’s hope there is more to come from Coomer. 
Andrea Weiss

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Swearing At Motorists
While Laughing The Joker Tells The Truth
A Recordings

This is the first album since 2006’s Last Night Becomes This Morning, and the first for Anton Newcombe’s A Recordings.  Like that album and the ones before it, the Dayton, Ohio duo produced another good one, with the same minimalist instrumentation and droll lyrics about life and love.  Frontman Dave Doughman sounds as good as ever, his deep voice adding emphasis to the lyrics.

SAM have elements in them of other Dayton bands like The Breeders and Guided By Voices, but they always occupy their own space.  And what a space it is. This band is a lot of fun to listen to, especially on “I Likes Your Style,” the album’s best track.  Perfect for late night, early mornings, and quiet times at any time of the day.

Andrea Weiss

Monday, November 3, 2014


Every Man and Woman Is A Star
Rough Trade

Lovely, beautiful, relaxing, calming and smooth sailing. These are some of the words that come to mind while listening to this album.  Made in the early 90s, before electronica was a genre, this reissue pointed toward fusion jazz and progressive rock and used both for its own sound. 

The original album came out in 1991 on Brainiak Records and then in expanded form in 1992 on Rough Trade.  This reissue adds four tracks that originally were a 1992 Peel Session, where the energy of the band shines through, and caps a fine debut.  This is a must hear for electronica fans and for those who want good music to chill to or to think. 

And for a a very good short film using thew band's music, it's here:

Andrea Weiss

Friday, October 17, 2014

Game Theroy

Game Theory
Blaze of Glory
Omnivore Recordings

They were young, punky, and had it even then. That is, flashes of brilliance even on their first full-length album. But in 1982, who knew how great Scott Miller really was? His confidence here shows you that he knew.

Blaze of Glory was the first album from Game Theory, and it is back in print after being out of it since the early 1980s.  The album includes many bonus tracks, outtakes, live cuts, and a few from Scott’s first band ALRN, all of which are every bit as good as Scott was later with GT.

From ALRN’s “Beach State Rocking,” to “Bad Year At UCLA,” from GT, there is a lot here to savor.  And there isn’t a bad track in the bunch, which is amazing for a debut. If you’re a Scott Miller fan, or are curious about what GT sounded like and, like me, can’t wait for the rest of the GT catalog to be reissued by Omnivore, then this is a natural, and a good starting point.
Andrea Weiss

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The New Pornographers
Brill Bruisers

The Pornographers at their most pop, with a hint of electronica for a modern touch, an ELO feel, with some of Sigue Sigue Sputnik ‘s Love Missile F11, and the Xanadu soundtrack for sweetness.

Pop in TNP’s case means their second album Electric Version, my favorite TNP album. Pop as opposed to the rock of Twin Cinema or Mass Romantic.  There are too many synths for that, and not as heavy as the latter two albums.

But BB isn’t lightweight by any means. Carl Newman has said in interviews that he was at a happy, contented place in his life, and he wanted BB to reflect that. And that is evident here, no matter who’s singing, or Dan’s Bejar quirkiness.  Neko Case and Kathryn Calder take star turns, especially Neko on Champions of Red Wine and Kathryn on Dancehall Domine, both very upbeat tracks.

At the end things turn poigant. You Tell Me Where is a tribute to Scott Miller, who was a big influence on Newman. I’ve thought for a long time that if anyone could take up where Scott left off, it would be Newman, and here he proves it. This track is very Scott-like, as we Miller fans would say, with Neko and Kathryn channeling Donnette Thayer, and Alison Levy, from Game Theory and the Loud Family respectively, while still sounding like themselves. The music is a combination of both GT and LF, making for a very heartfelt tribute.

Is this the album of the year?  With so many others in contention, like St Vincent and Spoon, time will tell, but my money’s on TNP.

Andrea Weiss

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Young
Chrome Cactus
Matador Records

This is a different sound than 2012’s Dub Egg.  It’s harder, darker, and wilder, musically and lyrically, but just as good. The sound on here, crunching, clanging, dirty guitars, with the singer sounding peeved about one thing or another, make for a trippy good time, as the band has not lost their psychedelic edge. If you loved Dub Egg as much as I did, give this album a chance, and it will grow on you. It did with me, and now I love this album.
Andrea Weiss
After The End
4AD Records

At first glance, the apparent influences, the Smiths and U2 might make you shake your head:  how can they put those together.  But they can, and to me, you can add in some late period Roxy Music and the Psych Furs’ Talk, Talk, Talk.  What you have is a terrific debut, one that is very 80s, but also very modern, without being postmodern.

Their lyrics are much darker than Bono ever wrote, but not as dark as Morrisey.  They’re less jaded than what Richard Butler wrote, but still withering in their assessments of people and situations.  They’re a little decadent in the Roxy style, but not so much that they don’t care.  Their music helps itself equally to all of these bands, but in a very smart way. Too much slicing and dicing to call themselves clones of anything. 

This is why I like them so much.  They don’t pin themselves down in a time where it’s increasingly hard to sound like yourself against all that has gone before. But they are very much themselves, and that’s more than good enough for me.
Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Five Songs, two with clips attached.

Enemy video

While there are dark images of people being tortured and other horrific images, the video in the main, shot in black and white, is terrific.  The band performs the song in a theater, while everything else is happening all around them. The music is the best of early Roxy Music, or maybe the Psych Furs of Talk, Talk, Talk. Either way, it’s more than worth checking out.

Fences Arrows, Featuring Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Official lyric video

Arrows is a great pop band, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are the best rappers out there. The clip is fun to watch, with images of the lyrics as arty as possible. It’s another one to check out, especially if you’re a fan like I am.

Lace Curtains
Wilshire and Fairfax

This song from Michael "Coomers" Coomer , is quite different than what he did with Austin, TX band Harlem. Harlem was garage rock; this is straightforward pop. It’s very good, dreamy music, perfect for winding down from a late night.

Dreaming single

This is straightforward, very bouncy synth pop.  If you like Passion Pit, you’ll like this song even more.  No angst, just pop you can dance to.

Sophie and the Bom Boms
Prey single

This would sound good on the dance floor, but it’s also good for just plain listening.  The best pop is more than just dance music.  You enjoy listening to it.  It’s bouncy mainstream pop, better than most of this type, and while it’s rare that I connect with this type of music, when I do, it’s a thrill.  You’ll thrill, too, if you check this out.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, July 20, 2014

CO in Philly

Camera Obscura
World Café Live 7-19-14

Laura Cantrell, who I recall seeing at a folk song society in Hightstown, NJ called Outta Sights and Sounds, was the opening act. Her blend of Americana, folk, and indie folk was pitch perfect.  With a friend for extra musical punch, their guitars, acoustic, and, on few numbers, lap steel, produced for a sound that was punchier and purer than indie folk and the neo folk of Mumford, his Sons, and extended family. And the Kitty Wells songs were just the right touch of old-time country. 


Camera Obscura plays very quiet, nuanced, finely detailed indie rock, with flashes of the Brill Building for spice.  I love them dearly, but had never seen them live, and wondered how their sound would translate to the stage. I wondered no more after the first song.  By beefing up their hushed sound with an extra guitarist, percussion, and a keyboard player, their masterpieces, old and new, came across with the same tension and grit, that they use so well on disk. Tracyanne Campbell’s barbed lyrics came across clearly, and she never had to raise her voice to quiet the crowd, which like all club crowds, likes to chatter.  Campbell came across as friendly and sweet, much the way I’d imagined from Camera’s albums.


The band is on a tour of the Eastern US.  Their current album came out last year.  Tracyanne and another member, Gavin Dunbar, each took time for maternity and paternity leave, and now they’re back at work.  I strongly recommend catching them if you can.  They are a treat to see, hear, and thrill to.  

Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Incan Abraham

Incan Abraham
World Café Live
Philadelphia 6-17-14

WC Live, almost too clean and comfortable for a rock supper club, is an extension of WXPN, Philly’s non-com AAA radio station.

Incan Abraham, an indie rock band from L.A., played at the upstairs bar of WC Live. IA didn’t disappoint.  Their sound is reminiscent of the Shins, and while the audience was small, they played as though the place was sold out.  Their blend of indie and so/cal rock was perfect for a late spring evening.

Afterward, I talked a bit with the band members.  These nice guys put on a show that was the highlight of the week for me.

Andrea Weiss


Rollercoaster single

This band has a hint of 80s retro in.  I could see this song being a big hit on MTV.  I’m glad there are more guitars than synths here.  This is pretty good pop/rock and I'd like to hear more.   It's just right for summertime music.

Andrea Weiss


Sunrise single

This is eletronica/techno with a hint of disco, which makes it extra danceable and extra fun to hear. It reminds me of Daft Punk’s get Lucky, and moves as well as that song did.  So get moving to it!

Andrea Weiss


From Clay to Figures
Crammed Disks

Here's a new band from Belgium with dreamy electronica, and good, thoughtful lyrics that are also just as dreamy as the music.  This is my favorite type of ambient electronica, especially because they use pianos and acoustic guitars on some of the tracks.  So if you’re a fan of this sort of music, try this band.  You’ll be rewarded with a great debut.

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fucked Up
Glass Boys

With Chemistry of Common Life, hardcore as progressive rock. With David Comes To Life, hardcore on a grand, rock opera scale. And now, with Glass Boys, this is hardcore as adult rock at its best.  With content galore, this is one of the best and smartest hardcore bands around.

The theme here is to look at life as an adult, and how your perspective changes as you get older. It’s a theme that hasn’t really been sung about before, as rock is still of the “hope I die before I get old,” stance.  But Fucked Up always has to do things their way, with wonderful results. I love this album for its wisdom, its maturity, and for how easy it is to transform a youthful style, into something adult, and still rock as hard as you can.

The guitars slash and burn.  Damian Abraham sings like he’s figured things out, even though he knows he hasn’t.  The four drum kits beef up the beat.  If you order the vinyl version of the album, you get a download of an alternate version with one drum kit played at half speed.  It’s very interesting to hear the drums played like this, although I have to say I prefer the four-to-one drum kit.  Sandy Miranda’s bass playing is excellent.

If hardcore isn’t your style, think again. This is head and shoulders above most in that genre. If you feel too old for it, think again. I’m 51, and felt extra youthful as I listened. You’re never too young to hear this album because someday you’ll need the wisdom and fire of this band.  And if you just want some good punk rock, look no further than Glass Boys. And check out the video about the mtivations behind the album. 
Andrea Weiss

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I am a liberal, but I don’t usually put my politics front and center in a tiny blog such as this.  I am speaking out now because I feel very strongly about this. I am an Occupy Wall Street supporter from afar, and stand with them on their main message, as well as this one.

Cecily McMillian, an OWS activist, has been in jail for striking a police officer at an OWS protest. On Monday she’ll be sentenced.  Pussy Riot, and others like Spike Jonez and Kim Gordon, have written letters to the judge asking for mercy, as I am doing here.  I read about the trial in the NY Times, and felt Cecily was getting a raw deal, as she might be sentenced to seven years in prison.

You can view the letters here and stand with the writers, as am I, asking the judge for mercy. I feel, like them, that time served and a conviction on her record, is enough.  Sending someone up the river for seven years is way too long a punishment for someone 25 years old. 
Andrea Weiss

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Trophy Scars
Holy Vacants
Monotreme Records

Morristown, NJ's Trophy Scars returns with an album that began as a 35-page treatment for a screenplay.  A treatment can be a one-page synopsis or a much longer combination of an outline and synopsis.  Here, the music and lyrics are as cinematic as a movie.

It is also a pop take and, toward the end, a more metal take on the progressive metal band Mars Volta.  I like this album as far as it goes, but this band needs to develop more of their own sound with a little less of Mars Volta.  Nevertheless, it's a good album -- interesting, thoughtful music and lyrics, and, if you like Mars Volta, you’ll probably like this album, too.
Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tune Yards

Tune Yards

Merrill Garbus’s best yet, and hardest hitting album.  Birdbrain, her debut, showcased some wonderful home recordings.  On WhoKill, Garbus got comfortable in a full-fledged recording studio, and on Nikki-Nack she moved on from found sounds to synths and more percussion.  Now, her sound has also become heavy and complex, and is some of the best danceable rock I’ve heard in a long time.

Always feminist, even when, on “Water Fountain” and “Left Behind," she’s calling out women.  She's always political, even writing about peace and love in a hippie kind of way.  Even her put downs are full of common sense and respect.  These songs have more content than most in this genre. 

Nikki-Nack is probably her breakthrough album, even more than WhoKill which just started the process.   I loved WhoKill, but Nikki-Nack will appeal to a wider range of people, especially if, as I hope, some of these songs get remixed.  If you’re a fan like me, you will thrill to this album. If you’re a newcomer, get out on the floor, dance up a storm, and think while you’re doing it.
Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Patterns EP
Monday Records

This EP, featuring contributions from Lianne La Havas and Will Heard, has a very good sense of melody. This is more than just pounding beats.  These rhythms skip along very nicely, since whenever there is a good melody, or melodies, everything -- rhythms, lyrics -- falls into line, at least for me.  So, if you want to dance to something very melodic, and fun to listen to, this EP is for you.
Andrea Weiss

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Incan Abraham
White Iris Records

This is very pleasant, dreamy synth pop, musically and lyrically, but I must respectfully disagree with those who liken this band to Beach House and Grizzly Bear. What I hear is a debut album with a sound all its own that may use the Bear and the Beach sparingly as starting points but that doesn't prevent the band from trying new things on it’s own.  Its sound is sturdy and the framework is strong, allowing it to roam free.  The lyrics reflect the music.  Try it.  I think you'll like it.
Andrea Weiss

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Future Islands

The best way to think about this album is that it’s thoughtful, musically and lyrically.  The cerebral quality of the music, which is quiet with something of a dance beat to it, is very appealing.  Rarely does music so perfectly complement almost every mood. 

The vocalist for this Baltimore trio has an equally appealing rasp to his voice, even a growl at times, and it lends the lyrics and music an even more thoughtful quality.  In short, a good album that's more than worthwhile for dancing and listening.
Andrea Weiss

Monday, March 24, 2014

World of Joy

World Of Joy
Rough Trade

The band backs up the promise of their lead single, “Don’t Wanna,” with an album that is heavier, darker, funnier, more mature, and rocking than their debut America Give Up. In short, a great album about places, states of mind and people in their hometown of Minneapolis, with a pop/rock/punk crunch that is very appealing and a lot of fun to listen to.

A couple of the songs are about their guitarist Ian.  The poor man gets sick all the time, but he's a swell guy and a great guitar player.  Jordan Gatesmith’s deep voice provides more balance than on the debut and he's even better here.  The rhythm section is cool, laying down a driving beat that is also very catchy.  “Don’t Wanna,” deserves a retraction from me.  It’s not about a woman.  It’s about Goldsmith, his friends who cling to local rock mythology, and "a culture that might be more damning than freeing," to quote a bit from his liner notes I received with this review copy.  He might even be saying that if you Wanna, then Don’t Wanna, it’s okay.

We’re only three months into the year, and already there are some great albums for “best of the year” consideration, World of Joy being one of them. If you want to hear some joyful, mordantly humored, wonderful, and truly modern rock, this album is for you.
Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Till Tomorrow Video

This is easy listening synth pop, with a good message: get out of your head. You don’t need it and it’s time to move on. The clip, consisting of moving line drawings, is good, simple animation, and lends the song even more emotion than it already has. There’s a sweetness to it that makes the lyrics even sadder.  It’s a good pick-me-up, and a gently fun clip to view more than once, just to see the animation.

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Escape From Chicago 2
Loose Squares

This is a comp of post-footwork artists outside of Chicago, including Slick Shoota, Sinistarr,  Calculonm, and Leatherface.  I like this comp because it’s very meditative, good for thinking while walking around or just relaxing.  No matter the tempo, these tracks are all good.   You can also use them for working out and, of course, on the dance floor.  So if you want to check out some great music, and what is the best techno outside of Chicago, this comp is for you.
Andrea Weiss

Monday, February 24, 2014

Elternal Lips

Eternal Lips
New Mirage Records

Nice, dreamy pop.  This project from Brooklyn musician Grey Gersten, was conceived as an imaginary band.  It really does sound like a band, especially the lovely songs “Mercy” featuring Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, and “Dream Hesitate,” featuring Sharon Van Etten.

However, I have two criticisms of this project.  First, on the spoken word track, it does not serve anyone’s purpose to make sick jokes about Charles Manson and cutting your fingers.  I was not amused.  Second, please drop the outsider tag.  That label has always been applied to disabled artists who have been shut out of the system for ablest reasons. Even though Gersten may not have meant this, it still annoys me because I have a learning disability and I want that tag eliminated.

I liked this EP a lot; this is dream pop at its best, very imaginative, and very well done. I would like to hear more, and I hope there is an album in the works.  This type of music really sticks in your mind, and makes for a wonderful, and memorable listening experience.  
Andrea Weiss


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