Bill’s Indie Basement (2/9): the week in classic indie, college rock, and more
It's another jam-packed week here in the basement. We've got a shit-hot live album from Minneapolis' Uranium Club (on Castle Face!), soundtracky pop from Field Music cohorts SLUG, new music from Brooklyn's Air Waves and Pale Lights, and reissues of Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg's post-Pavement records as Preston School of Industry.
It's been a very fruitful week in general and if you want more Basement approved music there's: the new Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks single; my favorite song on U.S. Girls' new album now has a great, bird-themed video; another new song from last week's Basement residents MIEN; a collaboration between Montreal's No Joy and Sonic Boom; the first single from UK group Goat Girl's debut album; and Lars Finberg's twisted "Ambiverts" gets a video that's just as demented (and made by one of Corporate's creators).
Minneapolis' Uranium Club make hyperactive, angsty guitar music that’s like Devo, XTC, The Fall, The Wipers, The Feelies and My Dad is Dead all jammed up together in a wild multi-car pileup. They're also in possession of a sharp if warped sense of humor that's evident in their dripping-with-sarcasm lyrics and meticulous, awesome record packaging.
Having released two killer EPs and a few singles, the band's next release is a live album that shows their unified-front style extends to the stage (and stage banter).Uranium Club - Live for the Very First Time (in Italy) will be out April 13 via Castle Face and was recorded in Fidenza, Italy of all places. We've got the premiere of "That Clown's Got a Gun" (originally on 2016's All Them Naturals) which opens the live record. It's a real ripper and will likely have you going to the internet to see when they're playing near you -- which they don't appear to be at the moment unless you live in LA (2/24 @ Y Club). Check that out and the tracklist:
Uranium Club - Live at Arci Taun tracklist:
That Clown's Got a Gun
Who Made the Man
Operations Pt. 1&2
SLUG is the musical pseudonym of Ian Black, who hails from the city of Sunderland in the North East of England. He's pals with the Brewis Brothers of Field Music fame (also from Sunderland), and they produced his 2015 debut album, Ripe, and sometimes play in his band. Like Field Music, SLUG's music is quaint but complex, thick with proggy rhythms, harmonies, left-turn tempo changes and a general abundance of ideas. His new album is titled HiggledyPiggledy and will be out April 13 via Memphis Industries.
The first single from the record is "No Heavy Petting," which sounds like it could've been a TV theme song from 1970 -- somewhere between Quincy Jones' Ironside and Lalo Schrifrin's Mission Impossible -- while still being a pop song with vocals. "It was kind of a task i gave myself to try and write a 'sexy song,' to see if i could do it," says Black. "So i did a bit of research by turning on a music channel. I was drunk and I realized, while the synthesised marimba, bleeps and drum machines and images of young men and women grinding all over each other, that i'd probably left it a little too late at the age of 35." It may not be sexy but "No Heavy Petting" is a very groovy song:
Nicole Schneit has been making spare pop as Air Waves for a decade now. Warrior, out April 6 via Western Vinyl, is her third album and breaks away a little from the more straight-up, strummy guitar sound of her terrific first two albums. Drum machines, keyboards, and other instruments all come into play here but she uses them much as she does a guitar -- lightly -- in a style not dissimilar to Magnetic Fields in the 1990s.
Her thoughtful lyrical style hasn't changed, however, as you can hear on the album's first single, "Morro Bay." The song was inspired by a trip to Morro Bay in California and the area's historic mansions which she visited while listening to Paul Simon's Graceland. "I would play on beaches at Coney Island, or the Rockaways, which have beauty in their own right" says Nicole. "but when I see some of the Oceans on the West Coast I'm mesmerized."
Interesting note: the album's cover is based on a photo taken by Nicole's dad, Martin Schneit, 47 years ago at NYC's inaugural Earth Day celebration. "Artist Em Rooney hand-painted Schneit’s original black & white photo, resulting in an image that radiates with Warrior’s indefatigable spirit, strength, and love."
Phil Sutton was once a member of cult UK indie band Comet Gain, but these days fronts his own outfit, Pale Lights, from his adopted home of Brooklyn. They just released their second album, The Stars Seemed Brighter, via German label Kleine Underground Schallplatten and it's a real treat for fans of shimmering indiepop like Felt, The Go-Betweens and Lloyd Cole. Guitars jangle without a hint of distortion with the occasional twangy lead. Washes of organ keep everything warm. Phil's got the kind of resonant voice that really sells his literate (he's a librarian in real life) swoony style. You can stream the whole record right here:
Pale Lights will celebrate their new album with a show on February 24 at Wonders of Nature, the new Williamsburg venue booked by Andy of Cake Shop. My Teenage Stride are on the bill as are related band The Jeanines. That show is $10 at the door.
While Stephen Malkmus gets the lion's share of the credit for Pavement -- you may have heard his new song -- Scott Kannberg (aka Spiral Stairs) was probably the band's biggest booster (well him and Bob Nastanovich), keeping the band fun while coming into his own as a songwriter. After Pavement split, Kannberg formed Preston School of Industry who continued to fly the '90s indie rock flag into the next decade.
Preston School of Industry picked up where "Date w/ IKEA," his Petty-esque song on Pavement's Brighten the Corners, left off, twangy and ragged and charming. Their two albums -- 2001's All This Sounds Gas (on Matador) and 2003's Monsoon (on Domino) -- are not masterpieces but they've held up pretty well over the last decade and a half. The records -- along with Kanneberg's 2009 Spiral Stairs solo debut -- are being reissued on February 16 via Nine Mile Records (who released last year's Doris & the Daggers,) each one with a ton of bonus material (b-sides, Peel Sessions, live recordings and more). You can stream "Dreams They Guide Us" -- one of The Real Feel's bonus cuts -- along with videos from the two Preston School albums, and the reissues' tracklists below.
Preston School of Industry - All This Sounds Gas
1. Whale Bones
2. Falling Away
4. Encyclopedic Knowledge Of
5. History of the River
6. Doping for Gold
8. Blu Son
9. Monkey Heart and the Horses Leg
10. The Idea of Fires
11. Take a Stand
12. To Squash it for Good (Whale Bones CD)
13. Imperial (Whale Bones CD)
14. Most Common Method (Whale Bones 7")
15. I've Done Nothing Wrong (Falling Away CD)
16. Toff (Falling Away CD)
17. Anything Can Happen (Falling Away CD/7")
18. Walls of Grain (Extra track on ATSG vinyl version/ The Idea of Fires CD)
19. Suddenly Stable (Extra track on ATSG vinyl version/ The Idea of Fires CD)
20. Save Our Happiness (The Idea of Fires CD)
21. Whale Bones (BBC live track promo cd)
22. Falling Away (BBC live track promo cd)
23. Mussle Rock (BBC live track promo cd)
24. 10 Grains (BBC live track promo cd)
25. Take A Stand (BBC live track promo cd)
Preston School Of Industry - Monsoon
1. The Furnace Son
2. Walk of a Gurl
3. Caught in the Rain
4. Line It Up
5. So Many Ways
6. If the Straits of Magellan Should Ever Run Dry
7. Her Estuary Twang
8. Escalation Breeds Escalation
9. Get Your Crayons Out
10 Tone It Down
11. Fresh Fudge (Caught in the Rain CD/ The Furnace Son CD)
12. At Kose (Caught in the Rain CD/ The Furnace Son CD)
13. Mere Psued Mag Ed (Caught in the Rain CD/ The Furnace Son CD)
14. Walk of a Gurl (demo) (Caught in the Rain CD/ The Furnace Son CD)
15. Tone it Down (Pablo Wong Remix) (The Furnace Son CD)
16. Caught in the Rain (Demo) Split 7 Inch with Gersey
Spiral Stairs - The Real Feel
1. True Love
2. Call the Ceasefire
3. Cold Change
4. Subiaco Shuffle
5. Wharf-Hand Blues
6. Maltese T
7. A Mighty Mighty Fall
8. Stolen Pills
9. The Real Feel
10. Blood Money
11. Ladies and Gentlemen
12. Hey Folk Singa (7" included with vinyl version)
13. The Moodist (7" included with vinyl version)
14. Dreams they Guide Us (Split 7" Mt. Fuji Records)
15. Did Anyone Ever Tell You You Are A 10,000 Maniacs Song