High time for another band roundup. We have the latest project from Morgan Kibbyh of M83, White Sea, whom I heard were fantastic at (the club formerly known as) Spaceland in Los Angeles Saturday night. Hope they come to Boston soon. There’s an amazing guitarist/singer-songwriter by the name of Christopher Paul Stelling, some dreamy New Zealand soundscapes from Glass Vaults, and prepared piano à la John Cage from Düsseldorf-based Hauschka. Prog rock and psychedelia from Louisville’s Wax Fang, the quirky pop of the oddly-named Mutual Benefit, and bizarre (but rather sweet) showman Darwin Deez. And oh yes, while we’re on the subject of strange band names, Boston’s own WhiteShoeBrownShoe.
Christopher Paul Stelling
A singer-songwriter, guitarist and storyteller with a gorgeous finger-picking style, in the Southern Gothic and folk vein. Poetic lyrics, impassioned vocals, incredibly soulful. His debut album is coming out in Winter 2011.
Dec. 20 – Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2, NYC, NY
Darwin Deez is an interesting guy, offering up goofy, lighthearted pop whimsy with clever and quirky wordplay (“little yellow fish are happy, it’s not so tough/ would everything you wish you had be good enough?” – Deep Sea Divers). Surprisingly addictive. He was raised in South Carolina by Meher Baba disciples, which actually explains quite a bit (his parents were most supportive of his musical yearnings, giving him his first guitar for his 11th birthday, and he’s been in bands since the age of 12). His debut album is due out Feb. 22, 2011 on Lucky Number Music.
12/04 – Worcester, MA – The Grind (Clark University)
1/13 – Allston, MA – Great Scott
Wellington, New Zealand
Here’s some very nice ambient, atmospheric soundscapes and dreamlike, drifting vocals courtesy of Kiwis Richard Larson and Rowan Pierce. Recorded on a New Zealand farm, their music evokes the exotic, rugged beauty of that country’s natural wonders. Musically lush with some tribal influence in vocals and percussion… incredibly pretty.
Hauschka is Düsseldorf-based pianist/composer Volker Bertelmann. An experimental composer, Bertelmann modifies his piano with a wide assortment of objects (gaffer tape, kitchen foil, felt wedges, bottle tops, ping pong balls, guitar strings) for many unique sounds and textures. Sophisticated and very interesting, highly listenable music. His new album is Foreign Landscapes (130701/FatCat Records). He’s performing all over Europe through the end of the year (and into next). No word yet on any U.S. dates.
This video is part of “The Making Of Foreign Landscapes” documentary from FatCat Records, pieces of which are being posted on their site.
Ohio by way of Austin, TX
Mutual Benefit a.k.a. Jordan Lee, combines “homemade electronics, banjo, expired bacon bits percussion and overambitious harmonies” to create some delightfully strange psychedelic pop music. His latest album, Spider Heaven, was released on his own Kassette Klub DIY tape label with handmade one-of-a-kind sleeves made from old childrens’ books and vintage National Geographic magazines. It’s also available digitally on bandcamp, which includes the Drifting EP.[audio:http://www.bostonsurvivalguide.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/MutualBenefit-DesertIslandFeeling.mp3|titles=Mutual Benefit: “Desert Island Feeling”]
Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky and citing such influences as Brian Eno and Franz Kafka; King Crimson, Vladimir Nabakov and The Stooges… how can you not like these guys? Inspired by 70s prog rock and psychedelia, Wax Fang‘s first song is an epic 14-minute outer space art-rock journey [listen below]. This track is half of an upcoming EP to be released on My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames’ label, Removador Recordings & Solutions.
Los Angeles, CA
White Sea is the new project of M83‘s Morgan Kibby, whose soaring vocals add dramatic flair to dreamy and grandly sweeping synth-pop that occasionally has an ambient-orchestral vibe; at other times, it’s sensuous and dancey. She’s also a writer, producer, remixer, composer, and classically-trained pianist. After singing and touring with M83, she learned to produce and engineer her own music, the result of which is their five-song debut EP This Frontier, released in early October.
Founded by Patrik Gochez (guitar, vocals) and Alex Britten (guitars, vocals) in 2006, Boston-based WhiteShoeBrownShoe is probably the most straightahead indie rock in this batch of bands – and that’s not a bad thing at all! REVOLT Media said of “Off To The Races” “The song calls to mind Pavement at their most upbeat, and The Velvet Underground at their least pretentious…” See what you think. “Take A Drop” (which can be heard on their MySpace and official site) has a very different vibe, kind of a lowdown swamp-rock party. Their debut album, Action!, is available on iTunes.
Off To The Races