Niilo Smeds is yet another treasure I’ve been gifted during my friendship with The Mallard and her motley crew. Niilo Smeds is warm breath of fresh air in these times, oh these beautiful times, of fuzzed out garage and wonky electronica. Smeds vocals are clear and crisp and endowed with the sort of innate warmth you find in the vocal reaches of Bill Callahan and his ilk. A simple guitar plucks away behind him and I imagine an empty room and a single chair and a late bit of afternoon sunlight cutting through the dust motes. It’s a song to close your eyes to and be nostalgic for no particular memory, just a feeling or the outline of a moment.
You can pick up the whole Niilo Smeds album Helicopter Circles for free at his Bandcamp page.
I’ve heard rumors of a trip north with a show in Seattle with another Daily Choice favorite Koko and The Sweetmeats. Keep an eye out.
The Quiet Americans (recommended by The Daily Choice’s forever friend The Mallard) might be mistaken for the sort of swaggering, tilted-hat countrified rock ‘n’ roll this website, and this column in particular has been known to heap praise on in the past. Let us not stop the praise train for The Quiet Americans there though, for this is countrified rock ‘n’ roll strained through the fluctuating syne waves of the space-time continuum. The heel-clicking cowboys The Quiet Americans feign to be remains in the center, but the twangy guitar and tales of lost nights and dangerous futures are stretched and warped until the cowboy is no longer a corporeal being, but a spiritual concept drifting above the windy climes of some desert locale.
The Quiet Americans’ debut cassette Medicine is out on Coattrack Records now. You can also pick it up at their Bandcamp page.
I’ve always thought that the original version of “Money (That’s What I Want)” was lacking in something. It’s a song almost entirely about being a greedy prick. Take any prior version – the Barrett Strong original, The Beatles catchy hit, etc. – and what you have is songs about capitalist fantasy without the grit-filled smile of those who are really having them. ”Money” is a song about being poor and getting rich, and until I heard Philadelphia’s Lantern push this song through the grit-grinder I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a proper version of it. But Lantern gets it right forcing the song in to a tight box of proto-punk and distorted blues riffs until you can feel it hustling it’s way down the street, shoes broken, elbows torn, a half-smoked butt clenched beneath its teeth.
Lantern will be playing The Knockout next Monday the 17th with two of the best bands playing in San Francisco right now, The Mallard (now a three-piece) and Burnt Ones. Do not miss.
Pick up the new Summer EP 2011 at Lantern’s Bandcamp page.
Burnt Ones are very quickly becoming my favorite new band in San Francisco. Know this now: they sound like T-Rex – big, ballsy, beautiful T-Rex but injected with a penchant for even harder rocking and noisier layers. Know that and then forget it. Just dive in and let the throbbing guitars and intertwining melodies wash over you and pull the corners of your mouth up in to a big, fat, shit-eating grin. I lost control of the volume knob at my family-oriented coffee shop early last week and for a brief, moment “Bury Me In Smoke” pounded over the nervy line of people, and I stared out wide eyed in shock waiting for someone to start complaining. It never happened. This is music to be played loudly for a crowd of people trying to wake up or get primed for a night of drinking and fucking and doing illegal drugs in bathroom stalls. This is rock ‘n’ roll people. Now get to listening.
Burnt Ones album Black Teeth & Golden Tongues can be purchased here.
Burnt Ones will be melting faces with the new three-piece version of The Mallard at The Knockout October 17th.
This Friday we’re celebrating five years of loving local music out loud the only way we know how, with a kick ass concert.
We really do want to celebrate, so we booked a bill to dance and sing along to: we’re bringing Pickwick out of the basement and American Girls, a ragtag group of local all-stars doing Tom Petty better than Tom Petty does to the party. And seeing that both bands are selling out Seattle stages, we figured we’d ask someone we think deserves to play in front of a couple hundred people, but isn’t yet, Daily Choice regular, The Mallard. Greer’s making the drive all the way from San Francisco to celebrate with us, so we hope you get there early enough to meet her.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a party and we wouldn’t be celebrating five years without you guys, so we’d like you to join us. And since we’d like to do this even better for you all for the next five years …
Leave a comment using your real name and email address letting us know what you want to see more of in the next five years on Sound on the Sound and you’ll be entered to win a pair of tickets to the party. We’ll pick a winner on Thursday morning.
And we won’t be the only ones celebrating. Pickwick will also be releasing a new 45, a split with pals Concours d’Elegance, where they cover each other’s tunes. The limited release will be available for sale the first time at the show. Speaking of for sale, that beautiful poster for the show will be screen-printed in all its nine-color glory and also be available for purchase Friday night only.
Last and certainly not least, a word of warning, tickets are selling quick and with it being pay day today, we wouldn’t be surprised if the show was sold out by the time we notify our lucky winner. If you don’t want to leave your attendance up to chance, you can purchase your tickets now. Here’s the fine print for Friday’s show:
Someone Else Talking finds us harassing a musician long enough that they cough up the fascinating gems that are their current inspirations. Be it music or food or film or folly, we want to know what’s getting these people up in the morning. And because we want to know, you get to read about it.
Dylan Tidyman-Jones is many things. The drummer for the one time one-woman show The Mallard (and a performing guest at our 5th Anniversary Spectacular), a sensational guitarist and musician in his own right (check out the amazing Up On The Good Floor for proof of that), and, to our great delight, a veritable fountain of musical knowledge. Fresh from a trip in to the spiritual and natural world we pinned down the lithe Tidyman-Jones and dragged a few musical bits from him.
Expect a new album from Sir Tidyman-Jones in the relatively near future.
I spent most of last week visiting friends in Yosemite. It was the perfect antidote to the last six months (spent in the city with my face pressed into the glow of my laptop). We climbed up and swam in the devil’s bathtub, explored caves, walked through moonlight in the forest, spoke with deer about the navigation of portals, drank beer, and laughed together under an open sky.
There were all these healthy-looking German families everywhere, pointing up at waterfalls and granite peaks. When we crossed paths, they would smile, nod fondly, and admonish their children to clear the way. In gratitude, here are a handful of soothing tracks from 70′s Deutschland. If I’d brought my device with me to the wilderness, these would have been the soundtrack.
Cluster – Es War Einmal from the album Sowiesoso
Can – One More Night from the album Ege Bamyasi
Neu! – ‘Leb’ Wohl’ from the album NEU! 75
Harmonia – Watussi from the album Musik von Harmonia
Popol Vuh from the soundtrack for the film Aquirre the Wrath of God
Someone Else Talking is a new column for Sound on the Sound in which I harass a musician long enough that they cough up the fascinating gems that are their current inspirations. Be it music or food or film or folly, I want to know what’s getting these people up in the morning. And because I want to know, you get to read about it.
The Mallard has been a staple of The Daily Choice for years now, and everything she does is immediately squeezed on to my to-listen-to list. Her music and her set-up have progressed greatly since I first started listening to her, and I’m more than excited that she, with her impressive new cohort Dylan Tidyman-Jones, will be lighting up the stage of a certain special Sound on the Sound 5th Anniversary show with their sludgy take on garage rock in just a few weeks. The Mallard is close friend, and neighbor of mine, so I thought it only appropriate to kick off the inaugural posting of Someone Else Talking” with her fantastic discoveries.
Without further adieu, The Mallard:
I don’t own an I-POD and I walk everywhere in San Francisco, it’s the time I let my legs become metronomes and I walk to the beat of a song, though often they’re riffs or beginnings of melodies that I let churn in my head until I put some lyrics to or rearrange or until they either become an annoyance or a song. This is probably why I don’t have any songs in 3/4 or 7/8.
I also listen to only a few bands at a time. Sometimes too much, Noah can attest: “Jesus Christ on a fucking crutch* Greer, do you only listen to Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall?” I want to figure out their tricks and patterns (because that’s all songs are.) Once you hear them enough times, you can begin to predict the patterns. I can only assume that those bands are also listening to a few other bands too much. Then those patterns are getting stuck in their heads as they walk back from the liquor store. So here are songs that I listen to too much, my roommate are sick of them, I’m not.
*Noah does not have such a dirty mouth, I added the bad words for comic effect.
Semi-streets – Sic Alps
I think the perfect way to walk to this one is on piles and piles of crunchy leaves.
2 Mora Mora Land – Lightning Bolt
This is a great “running away from scary things” kind of song.
An Inquiry Perpetrated – Thee Oh Sees
You should wear your loudest sounding shoes or boots while walking to this one. (I’ve also been listening to Hounds of Foggy Notion a DVD of songs they recorded in fields and by highways in San Francisco).
The Mallard, appearing at Sound on the Sound’s 5th Anniversary Show, is starting a wee little tour up the West Coast with her new drummer Dylan Tidyman-Jones in tow. Few shows, good times, hard rock. During the build-up the talented lass has been dropping a handful of musical suggestions in to my lap (more on that in future posts) and this track from TRMRS caught my attention. It sounds something like The Black Lips before they decided that Mark Ronson was a good idea, i.e. when sanity still had its weak hold on their ass-crazed, pee-drinking minds. ”Hello Self” makes no apologies about its face-slapping noise, no hand claps, no cheery melody, just growling, dirty punk rock turned to 11 and thrown in your face. Sounds like a Tuesday morning wake-up to me.
You can pick up Sea Things, their 2010 album at their Bandcamp page.
Sharon Van Etten “Love More” ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
If my 2010 was a mix tape (or a couple mix tapes as it were), these would be the tracks. These were the songs that were my most frequent and adored companions of 2010. They’re the songs I’ll know the words to for the rest of my life. They’re largely local, though my favorite song of 2010 hands down, no questions asked, comes courtesy of Sharon Van Etten. I’ve listened “Love More” at least a hundred times more than any other track. I still think in just over 5 minutes, Sharon Van Etten manages to accomplish what most artists spend a lifetime trying to attain: perfection.
This list only covers my favorite songs released in 2010, though many of my most cherished discoveries and companions weren’t born of 2010. (A list not specified by date of release would include a lot of Carissa’s Wierd, Baptist Generals and early Damien Jurado.) Speaking of Damien Jurado, he’s noticeably missing from this list, despite releasing one of my favorite records of 2010. Why? Because Saint Bartlett is an album, in full and despite a hundred listens, I couldn’t single out one song as a favorite and saying “all of them” seemed like a cop out. Also, you won’t see “Airplanes” by Local Natives, “What Took So Long” by The Moondoggies or “Vanderlyle Cry Baby” by The National on this list, though they were doubtlessly favorites. That’s because they made my listsfor 2009 … that’s what you get for being ahead of the curve.
p.s. I say “favorite” because I can’t say these are the best songs of 2010, my listening isn’t broad enough to make such a statement, but I hope you find something you love all the same.