by Bill Pearis
Sky Larkin @ Pianos during CMJ (more by Bryan Bruchman)
It's not the most action-packed of weekends in TWII land. Stars is sold out, as is Kings of Convenience and Delorean, no twee indiepop from Denmark, or San Francisco garage rockers. So I'm gonna start with mentioning that terrific Leeds, UK trio Sky Larkin (who played one of our CMJ day parties last year) have finished their second album, Kaleide, and it'll be out in August. Like their first album, Kaleide was recorded in Seattle with John Goodmason. But the results this time seem a little more muscular and confident.
Hear for yourself: the band are offering up a free, downloadable EP featuring the album's swell title track (pronounced "collide"). You do have to give up your email address to get it but they're nice folks and I'm sure they won't do anything nefarious with it. Either visit their website or use the download widget at the bottom of this post. Hopefully we'll get the band over here again soon.
OK, so what's going on this weekend? Athens, GA's multitudinous Nana Grizol are in town tonight (6/4), playing Silent Barn on their way back from the Primavera Sound festival and we should be glad to have them. Their wide-eyed folk pop reminds me just a little of much-missed '90s band Small Factory, There's a similar approach to the songwriting, even if the arrangements add about 15 more people (depending on the night) to the mix. You can download two tracks from their latest album, Ruth, at the top of this post. They are super-charming live.
Adding to the fun (and sheer number of musicians onstage at any one time) at Silent Barn are Providence, RI's What Cheer? Brigade which is a 19 piece brass ensemble whose sound is "an aggressive mix of Bollywood, The Balkans, New Orleans, Samba and Hip-Hop, played with the intensity of metal." There's also locals The Eskalators, and Boston singer/songwriter Greg Mullen. Sounds like a pretty fun, probably sweaty, night.
The Futureheads @ Pianos in 2008 (more by Jason Bergman)
The Futureheads play Maxwell's tomorrow (6/5) and Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday (6/8). Like a lot of people, I was a huge fan of their first album, and felt the two following albums were a little too straightforward (and overproduced) for a band who got popular on quirky charm. Some of that off-kilter-ness is back on the band's new album, The Chaos, which I think is easily their best since that first one. They've kind of become a modern, Northern England version of The Knack. Which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Check out "Struck Dumb" at the top of this post.
The band played Music Hall of Williamsburg earlier this week, it was probably the eight or ninth time I've seen them live, and I have to say even when I'm not crazy about whatever record they're touring at the time, they are always worth seeing live. Singer/guitarist Barry Hyde is as manic as ever, guitarist/vocalist Ross Millard provides the punchlines, and the band are tight as hell, and nail those four-part harmonies. And "Decent Days and Nights" and their amazing cover of "Hounds of Love" still sound brilliant.
While we're reminiscing about 2004... Athlete play the Bell House tomorrow (6/5). They are not remotely cool anymore, but I have great affection for their debut album, Vehicles & Animals, an exceedingly pleasant bunch of mid-tempo, head-bobbing Brit indie tunes, all of which seemed to have been based on Pavement's "Carrot Rope." It's still a good album to clean the house to.
I saw them at a half-full Mercury Lounge back in March 2004 (they played with, um, Razorlight if memory serves) and remember them being charmingly nerdy. I'm still a bit baffled how/why a year later they turned into Snow Patrol. They're pretty huge in the UK but America has never caught on, but I'm sure that the Bell House will be full of ex-pats and Anglophiles. I'm half tempted to go, if for nothing else than to hear "El Salvador" or "You Got the Style."
After Brooklyn they continue on a month-long North American tour in support of their new album Black Swan, which isn't half bad. All tour dates are at the bottom of this post.
And one last show of interest. Tonight (6/4) at Glasslands is a pretty good bill, headlined by low-fi Philly duo PO PO. Also playing: Light Asylum who I've written about a bit before and you may have seen open for LCD Soundsystem last month at Music Hall of Williamsburg; enigmatic local band Translations whose songs on MySpace sound pretty good; and underheard Brooklynites (and Soft Pack cohorts) The Sundelles.
And one last little note of shameless plugging. If you're looking for something new to listen to, over on Sound Bites I post a weekly downloadable Summer Fridays mix during the warm months. This is the third year I've done it and this week's has new tunes from Foals, Beach Fossils, Django Django, Young Friends, Radio Dept, plus some oldies (B-52's, Lulu, Air Miami + more) as well.
That's it for this week. Flyers, videos, that Sky Larkin download widget, and tour dates are below.
Sky Larkin - Kaleide EP
The Futureheads - Heartbeat Song
Athlete - El Salvador
Athlete - 2010 Tour Dates
5 Jun 2010 20:00 The Bell House Brooklyn, NY
6 Jun 2010 20:00 Jammin Java Vienna, VA
7 Jun 2010 20:00 Lee's Palace Toronto
9 Jun 2010 20:00 Double Door Chicago, IL
10 Jun 2010 19:00 The Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, MN
12 Jun 2010 19:00 Bluebird Theatre Denver, CO
14 Jun 2010 19:00 The Crocodile Seattle
15 Jun 2010 19:00 The Venue Vancouver, BC
16 Jun 2010 20:00 Mississippi Studios Portland, OR
17 Jun 2010 20:00 The Independent San Francisco
19 Jun 2010 20:30 The Casbah San Diego
20 Jun 2010 20:00 Detroit Bar Costa Mesa, CA
21 Jun 2010 20:00 The Troubadour Los Angeles
22 Jun 2010 20:00 The Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ
24 Jun 2010 20:00 Cambridge Room @ House of Blues Dallas
25 Jun 2010 20:00 Stubbs BBQ Austin, TX
26 Jun 2010 20:00 Walters On Washington Houston, TX
28 Jun 2010 20:00 WorkPlay Theatre Birmingham, AL
29 Jun 2010 20:00 Vinyl Atlanta, GA
30 Jun 2010 20:00 Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC
1 Jul 2010 20:00 Club Cafe Pittsburgh, PA
24 Jul 2010 19:00 Splendour Festival @ Wollaton Park Nottingham
25 Jul 2010 14:00 Old Royal Naval College Greenwich
31 Jul 2010 18:00 BridgeBash Festival Stanford Bridge, Worcestershire
29 Aug 2010 19:00 Faenol Festival 2010 N. Wales
10 Sep 2010 19:00 Ivylive Festival Filham Park, Ivybridge, Devon