A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Lee Knowles, The Incredible Magpie Band

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. The Incredible Magpie Band (Lee Knowles (vox/guitar), Lou Taylor (bass/vox), Ben Hardcastle (lead guitar/vox), Matty Davey (guitar), Ewok Layton (drums/percussion), of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England, recently released their debut single This Chose Me as well as b-side Money, and they are both a rollicking good time: And now I turn the floor over to frontman … Continue reading

Mumblr, Full of Snakes

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Mumblr, of Philadelphia, have recently released their first full-length effort. It is called Full of Snakes. The accuracy of that title will depend entirely on your personal feelings about snakes. (I have a certain wary appreciation, providing no venemous fangs are in evidence.) I have a good deal warmer feelings about the record; it’s brash and messy and weird and contains a love letter to Philadelphia which gets stuck in my head every time I listen to it: But there are also tunes like Sober, which is distorted, fuzzy, primal shriek of anxiety: And Greyhound Station which seething, roaring meditation on the strange combination of sweaty exhaustion, low-level terror, and rage that eventually settles on anyone required to spend any time in the titular location: It can be a challenging listen, at times, but it is absolutely worth it. In conclusion: here is the video for I Think About You All The Time – also their first video ever – which contains a dude in green paint for no apparent reason and some nudity towards the end. Adjust your viewing plans accordingly. You can listen to the rest of the record here on Soundcloud, at least for now. Alternatively you … Continue reading

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: AF the Naysayer

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. AF the Naysayer (Amahl Abdul-Khaliq), founder of Dolo Jazz Suite, and co-founder of Self-Educated Vinyl, makes some groovy beats, and this is his debut music video: He’s currently out on tour with Prism House and Slomile Swift, and they are working their way around the country. New York, your show is on Sept. 11 at … Continue reading

Video: frnkiero and the cellabrations, Weighted

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Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) has started (yet another!) band, which he is calling frnkiero and the cellabrations. Their first record, Stomachaches, just emerged Monday; this is the video for Weighted, the first single, which emerged somewhat earlier but has taken me a while to absorb. The parallels to certain pieces of My Chem iconography are inescapable; it’s impossible to watch the first minute and not think of the video for Helena, from Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. And as Helena was a farewell, so, in a way, is this; it’s also a hello, and a warning: don’t try to raise the dead, lest you bring on a zombie apocalypse and the lead singer of your favorite band decides to eat your heart and play jump rope with your intestines. For all that it is gross, and disturbing, and I didn’t even make it through twice – I had to hide the tab and listen to him sing – I have to agree with the sentiment. I miss My Chemical Romance; I like Conventional Weapons and feel vaguely bad about it because they don’t; I’m sad I’ll never hear a pit howl along to Boy Division; but the band is … Continue reading

Blackwater Jukebox, Blackwater Jukebox

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Dearest readers, Blackwater Jukebox (Geordie McElroy and a legion of talented friends) has put out a new, self-titled record, and it is packed full of foot stomping, hip-shaking, grab-your-partner-and-swing-em-around tunes. Some are remixed versions of material from Sleaze of the Reaper and Banjos and Breakbeats; others are new. But they are all great, and worth your time. To whet your appetite, here is Cleo May, a new tune which I like a lot: Blackwater Jukebox by Blackwater Jukebox And also the video for Eastside Girl, featuring Sadie D’Marquez and, you guys, I love it so much I wish I could teleport myself inside it, so I could dance along with the crowd.

Favorite Waitress, The Felice Brothers

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If Celebration, Florida (2011) was The Felice Brothers taking a hard left out of Americana into a dark, strange corner of indie rock, Favorite Waitress is them – to mix a metaphor somewhat – doubling down on that murky weirdness and swinging for the fences. It begins with Bird on a Broken Wing, which I had to listen to a couple of times before I really started to like it. In many ways it extends a thread back to River Jordan, the last song on Celebration, Florida, and, as it happens, one of my favorite Felice Brothers songs. River Jordan is a slow burning geyser of hurt and rage; the last time I saw them perform it live was a transcendent experience, but also made me almost certain they were about ready to call it quits on being a band. They didn’t, though, and Bird on a Broken Wing is the resolution, and, perhaps, ending, of that pain. The narrator has had a moment to breathe and reflect (and heal?) and also, perhaps, find some peace. Continuing through the tracklist, some of the songs have country roots: Katie Cruel is a slow-burn country-blues stomper; Cherry Licorice contains echoes of a … Continue reading

The Sharrows, Days of Yore

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The Sharrows are: Matt Smith (guitar), Phil Sharrow (lead vocals, bass), Joe Hermanson (keyboards), Sylvia Janicki (cello) and Jacob Bicknase (drums). They are from Madison, Wisconsin. Days of Yore, their second release, was recorded at Zebra Ranch, the North Mississippi Allstars’ home studio. It’s got a little bit of fuzz and a little bit of shimmy-shake; mostly it’s good company on a slow summer afternoon. The first song, Yours and Mine, is a slice of solid country blues: Days of Yore by The Sharrows But my favorite is Echo, because it has a little more rock and roll in it, and also because I love the idea of heart echoes calling to one another: Days of Yore by The Sharrows And as an additional enticement, here they are with Sometimes, from their first record, Starting at the End: For more, check out their bandcamp page!