Last week, I saw members of the Elephant 6 collective play a show at Lincoln Hall in Chicago as part of their Surprise Holiday tour. For those who aren’t familiar with Elephant 6, it’s basically a collective/label that formed in the 90s that includes bands such as The Apple in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and… too many to list here.
I’m a big fan of most of the bands who are part of E6, so seeing some of them live was kind of a dream come true. The Surprise Holiday tour basically consists of a lot of members from different E6 bands getting on stage together and playing each others songs.
This feature is about one of the founding bands of E6, in particular: The Olivia Tremor Control. Before seeing them at the show it had been years since I had properly listened to their music. After the show, I immediately went back home and put on their 27 track album released in 1999, called Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One. It’s weird and pretty awesome.
If you’re a fan of experimental/psychedelic, indie rock, kinda like the bands I listed above, definitely check out the album. If you took Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and upped the experimental level by about 160%, you would have something close to the lines of The Olivia Tremor Control. I’m glad I took the time to re-visit this album.
Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One (1999):
The Olivia Tremor Control – Hideaway (mp3)
The Olivia Tremor Control – I Have Been Floated (mp3)
Amazon | iTunes | Elephant 6
Photo credit: John Kendelhardt (not from the show I went to… Jeff Magnum unfortunately wasn’t there)
The Portland band Derby just released a new EP yesterday, called Madeline. I’ve been a fan of the band’s indie pop for years, and am enjoying these new tracks. On this EP the band is experimenting with a new sound that is slightly more raw than their past albums (which are summed up perfectly by Northwest Music Blog, as an “infectious, melodic bundle of sugary pop goodness”). The new sound actually brings to mind the Raconteurs quite a bit, especial on “Madeline” and “Creeping Climbing.” The EP is available for digital download and as a limited edition 7″ vinyl, which you can grab here.
Derby is Nat Johnson (lead vocals, guitar, bass), Dave Gulick (vocals, rhodes, organ, guitar), Isaac Frost (drum/percussions), and Wayne Miller (bass). Nat and Dave started playing together as dorm mates at University of Oregon. Isaac joined the band after graduating from Oregon State University, and soon after that, Wayne joined.
Fun facts about Derby:
Gulick came up with the name Derby, while watching an English Premier Soccer game between Manchester United and Manchester City. The announcer called the game a derby (cross town rivalry).
The band has a tour van named “The Green Submarine.” In Johnson’s words “It’s green, it’s huge, it smells like wet dog, and we love it. It could use some gold dubs, but we’ll deal as long as we can still get the ipods to work through the tape deck.”
Madeline EP (2011):
Derby – Don’t Believe in You (mp3)
Derby – Madeline (mp3)
Posters Fade (2008):
Derby – If Ever There’s A Reason (mp3)
I never properly introduced Colin Coulfield, who goes by the moniker Young Man, on IndieMuse. Given I put his EP, Boy, on my Top 10 albums list last year, this seems like as good a time as any to feature him on the site. I highly recommend his music, especially if you are a fan of Iron and Wine, Avi Buffalo, or Animal Collective.
Colin does an amazing job mixing together folk, lo-fi, and indie pop to make Boy one gem of an EP. I get completely absorbed by the memorizing melodies and Colin’s incredibly chill, layered vocals. A few of my favorite tracks on Boy are “Five,” “Home Alome,”"Playtime,” and “Up So Fast.” I enjoy this album so much though that I can’t help but listen to it from start to finish.
Colin is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota and currently goes to school in Chicago (believe it or not, he’s only 21 years old). He now plays with a full band and is in the process of recording his first full-length LP. While we wait for that to release, it’s worth keeping up with his Facebook page where he sometimes releases covers and “idea” tracks.
Young Man – Home Alone (mp3)
Young Man – Five (mp3)
Young Man – Strangers (mp3)
Site | iTunes| Youtube | Daytrotter
If you’ve been following IndieMuse for any period of time you’ll probably know that I am a big fan of John Vanderslice. With the release of his new album today, White Wilderness, it seems like a good time for another feature.
If you’re not familiar with any of John Vanderslice’s music, I recommend checking out some of his older albums first, such as Pixel Revolt or Cellar Door. What makes this current release interesting is that it’s completely experimental for Vanderslice. He partnered up with the Magik*Magik Orchestra to make the album, which gives White Wilderness a much different vibe than his previous seven releases.
Vanderslice runs a popular, artist friendly recording studio out of San Francisco, called Tiny Telophone, and first got connected with Magik*Magik after their manager contacted him about being a “house band” for the studio. Before he knew it, they decided to make an album together. In a recent interview with Spinner, Vanderslice went into some details about what that was experience was like.
“While we were recording, some were auditioning for the San Francisco Opera. They’re in a different world,” Vanderslice recalls. “I love both worlds equally, but if you don’t really know what a downbeat is, you definitely look a little stupid. There were moments where Minna was like ‘Do you know this part is in 3′ and I’d have to say, ‘Honestly, I don’t.’”
White Wilderness (2011):
John Vanderslice – Convict Lake (mp3)
John Vanderslice – Sea Salt (mp3)
Pixel Revolt (2005)
John Vanderslice – Exodus (mp3)
site | amazon (only $3.99!) | Spinner (stream the full album)
Pete Hobbs, of Boy Least Likely To, has started a great solo project called Diving At Dawn. Departing from the indie pop sound that made Boy Least Likely To the most adored band ever, his new solo project is a chance for him to express a more acoustic, lush side.
The first single from Diving At Dawn is called “A Lot Like Love.” It’s a reflective song that Hobbs produced in the wee hours of the night, and eloquently addresses issues we all can relate to: the constant passion of time and frailty of love. Check it out below.
The single is releasing digitally and on limited edition 7″ vinyl on the band’s own label, Too Young To Die Records this month. The vinyl includes the exclusive track “The Spinney.” I’m definitely excited to see where Hobbs’ takes this side project– I’ll keep you posted!
Diving at Dawn – A Lot Like Love (mp3)
Boy Least Likely To – A Fairytale Ending (mp3)
One of my friends recently introduced me to the Portland band, Congratulations. If you like Boy Least Likely To than you should check them out. They incorporate everything in their music that I dream to incorporate in my imaginary band one day: horns, xylophone, hamornies, hand claps… it doesn’t get much better than that.
Congratulations is made up of members from the former band, Eskimo and Sons. I’m still a little hazy on the details, but it sounds like the band decided to refocus their music and, therefore, changed band names. They were starting to attract a pretty loyal fan base as Eskimo and Sons, so it’s cool that they stayed true to their music and went with their hearts. Congratulations doesn’t have much music to their name yet, but their song “Juice and Syrup” and work in Eskimo and Sons has definitely made me excited for their debut. I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks to Hallie for the rec. You should buy one of her hats on Etsy, they are awesome!
(mp3) Congratulations - Juice and Syrup
(mp3) Eskimo and Sons – The Blizzard
Myspace | Brave Records
All I wanna do is clap/All I wanna do is sing/I don’t wanna sing another song in anger sing Zeus on “Kindergarten”, and I couldn’t be happier about all the musical things they do or don’t wanna do, because Say Us is a seriously good time. It’s got hand claps, group singing, parlour piano, bumbling bass lines and enough ooh’s and ahh’s to fill a swimming pool.
Zeus make no attempts to hide the fact that this Say Us is a pop album through and through. Sure, it has some buzzing, straight-up rock moments (“You Gotta Teller”) and sure it can simmer (“Heavy On Me”), and sure Zeus can do the buzzing, simmering thing well, but it’s when they give in to every pop-loving instinct in their bodies that the album comes so vibrantly alive.
Say Us has a grinning approach to music that just reeks of good times, often bringing a very Kinks-esque silliness to the songs that I completely adore. And I could sit here listening to the album on repeat, pinpointing exact moments where Zeus bring to mind other musicians from yesteryear (because their sound can indeed be described with a lot of sounds-likes), but I’ll leave that to somebody else who’d rather pick apart the origins of Zeus’ hook-laden awesomeness than just enjoy the hook-laden awesomeness for all its awesomity.
And check out the equally a-word video for the album’s first single, “Marching Through Your Head”:
Say Us (2010)
(mp3) Zeus – Fever of the Time
(mp3) Zeus – Kindergarten
MySpace | Website | Buy
If you are a fan of Beulah (like myself), and cry yourself to sleep every night over their break up (like myself), then I highly recommend you check out the song below by the band Bears called “Who Knows.” Pretty much everything about the song brings to mind Beulah, from the instruments, to the catchy vocals… even the lyrics are Beulahesque. It’s really great.
Bears are based out of Cleveland, Ohio and band members include Craig Ramsey and Charlie McArthur (Pat McNulty, Devon Coffee, and Sean Sullivan help out live). These guys have some solid music and I also really appreciate their senses of humor from the little bit I’ve seen roaming their site. You’ll be seeing more Bears on IndieMuse soon, but in the meantime, check out their Myspace.
(mp3) Bears – “Who Knows”
Here’s an acoustic video version of the song they just posted today:
myspace | site | itunes
On an unrelated note: Sorry that we have been on an unannounced hiatus recently. A long story short, IndieMuse was hacked into by a spammer, and it’s been a huge headache to clean up. Between cleaning the site up and other projects keeping us busy (more on this soon), we’ve had a hard time updating IndieMuse. We finally have the site spam free (I think), so we are now back in business. Thanks for all your support!