The Fashion Slaves’ Beautiful Styrofoam World

Taking a page from Devo and a chapter from Alice In Wonderland, Berkeley’s Fashion Slaves let the styrofoam cat out of the styrofoam bag with their first mp3 release. It’s short and sweet and crispy and fun I can’t get that riff outta my styrofoam head. NY art rock, gone hella east bay. I love it.

The Fashion Slaves
Click to play, or right click “save as” to download:
The Fashion Slaves – “Styrofoam” (mp3)
(Fun Fun Fun Recordings)

Marshmallow Ghosts Ride “The Hearse Song”

What if we are among the last generations of standard issue humans on earth? What if what follows is a spectrum of robots, androids, genetically and technologically modified humans and weaponized polar bears? If so, this music will fit right it. Marshmallow Ghosts, my dear ladies and gents, regale us with “The Hearse Song.” Equal parts bleak and blissful. Goth meets Residents.

The Marshmallow Ghosts
“The Hearse Song” (download mp3)
from “The Marshmallow Ghosts”
“The Hearse Song” (play)
(Graveface Records)
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All I Want’s My Baby, A Bottle, and The Real Nasty

“She was bad, I was good,” explains Ryan Lucas, singer songwriter with the Real Nasty. The Real Nasty is real nasty. Their songs are about the finer things in life: Drinking, doing drugs, having sex, having sex while doing drugs and drinking – and the like. Far from lurid or obscene, they make it all sound very wholesome. And their guitars sound soo good.

The Real Nasty
“Baby and a Bottle” (download mp3)
from “Dirty Dollars”
“Baby And A Bottle” (play)
(Ninth Street Opus)
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Fol Chen, “The Believers”

San Francisco’s Fol Chen is going to be famous, well, around The Bay Area or in Japan at least. Look for these guys playing the Treasure Island Music fest’ soon. “The Believers” is off their first album, Part I: John Shade, You’re Fortune’s Made. It’s refreshing to hear indie music that turns its back on mediocre song writing.

The Believers (play/download mp3)

Heavenly Beat? Yes. Most Heavenly.

Thank goodness for the heavenly whimsical bliss-pop of Heavenly Beat, for without it, my coffee wouldn’t be as tasty right now. The cat sniffing the morning breeze wouldn’t be quite as cute, and my neighbors’ kids playing in the next yard wouldn’t have quite the same idyllic cinematic glimmer just now. I am indebted to Heavenly Beat, because this music makes me feel good. What better review can I offer?

Heavenly Beat
“Suday” (download mp3)
from “Suday”
“Suday” (play)
(Captured Tracks)
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TW Walsh Makes It Rhyme

Trippeh. With a vibe echoing John Lennon’s solo records, some clever turns of phrase and a right steady beat, this is high-brow fab. I like the eerie vibrato on the organ – it’s pitched halfway into the next county, and there’s a wild effect on the lead guitar as well. Excellent track from Boston’s TW Walsh.

TW Walsh
“Make It Rhyme” (download mp3)
from “Songs of Pain and Leisure”
“Make It Rhyme” (play)
(Graveface Records)
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Fighting Kites Pay Musical Tribute To “Wojtek the Bear”

Bears are good. Indie rock bands and song titles with “bear” in them are extra good. Songs about a Syrian brown bear cub found in Iran and adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps are extra super good. And that’s what we have here, by the Fighting Kites. Proggy fab instrumental weirdness, with guitars reminiscent of Tom Verlaine and Robert Fripp. Snuggly, but dangerous.

Fighting Kites
“Wojtek the Bear” (download mp3)
from “Split EP”
“Wojtek The Bear” (play)
(Audio Antihero)
More Please!

Madly Loving Katharine Whalen & Her Fascinators

I’m fascinated. Best known for her founding role with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Katharine Whalen has an entrancing vocal talent and a knack for instantly memorable lyrics. I love “Madly Love.” I’m smitten. The musical arrangement is spectacular, and it frames the vocal so perfectly it could only have been pulled off by veteran players. Here is proof, again, of why I do this blog. This is a GR8 single.

Katharine Whalen & Fascinators
“Madly Love” (download mp3)
from “Madly Love”
“Madly Love” (play)
(Five Head Entertainment)
More!!!

Photon Dynamo and the Shiny Pieces Find Themselves “Curiously in the Middle”

Everything about this band bleeds hipster. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Look, a lot of this anti-“hipster” rantin’ and fussin’ translates into this: people are annoyed by people having more fun than them. Perhaps that’s contrary to a lot of current rantin’ and fussin’, but I like foolz with crazy hair, silly vintage ironic T-shirts and neato bands that do weird fun romantic sh!t like this. I’m a fan. Maybe I’m a hipster? This is Indie Rock with a capital I and E. And they look really cool.

Photon Dynamo and the Shiny Pieces
“Curiously in the Middle” (download mp3)
from “At the Fort Brooklyn, 2011”
“Curiously In The Middle” (play)
(Skips Records)
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Big Troubles’s Pleasant “Misery”

If you could bottle the feeling of a cloudy overcast day, cough syrup and a crush, it would sound like this. Romantic Comedy is a perfectly named album from Big Troubles. They’re all emo fuzzy pretty and the singer sounds like Billy Corgan might, if he weren’t so.. Billy Corgan. This song is about having fun, and it’s called “Misery.”

Big Troubles
“Misery” (download mp3)
from “Romantic Comedy”
“Misery” (play)
(Slumberland Records)
More On This Album