Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Called a “Band To Watch” by Stereogum, Minus Story offshoot Hospital Ships set to release debut Oh, Ramona this fall on Graveface Records

Jordan Geiger comes packing a sturdy CV - singing and songwriting in Minus Story, playing trumpet and keyboard for Shearwater - and the Hospital Ships material shows it.” – Stereogum (LINK)

“Think Flaming Lips, heavy moog bass, fuzzed vocals and lo-fi psychedelics” – Indie Music Filter

Jordan Geiger, songwriter of Minus Story, trumpet player for Shearwater, guitarist for The Appleseed Cast, and resident of Lawrence, Kansas, brings you his bedroom-pop solo album, Oh, Ramona.

Influenced by the sounds of The Flaming Lips song title from which the name Hospital Ships is drawn, Geiger’s debut exudes a seasoning of classic influences including John Lennon, The Zombies, and ELO to produce a bedroom pop symphony.

Exploring relationships both failed and ongoing with friends, lovers, and pets, Geiger delicately teases the listener with his boyish tenor of a voice. In the background, muted horns swell, pianos twinkle, and percussion marches in step.

Mixed mostly by John Congleton (Explosions In The Sky, Modest Mouse, The Mountain Goats, The Polyphonic Spree), Oh, Ramona is the culmination of over two and half years of writing and recording. Highlights include the upbeat opener “Bitter Radio Single,” (MP3) the symphonic majesty of “I Want It To Get Out,” the tender “Girls,” and the truly pet sounds-influenced title track.

This record comes packaged in an 18pt chipboard gatefold sleeve and is lovingly hand assembled by Graveface Records.

Oh, Ramona Tracklisting:
Release Date: October 21st, 2008

01. Bitter Radio Single (MP3)
02. Baby For J.
03. I Do Not Understand
04. The Shots I Drank
05. Sink Your Teeth Into Me
06. I Want It To Get Out
07. Girls
08. Mockingbird
09. Oh, No
10. Oh, Ramona
11. Tired of Growing Old
12. More Than You Know
13. Your Heart
14. Yellow Rubber Nails

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

“If love had a sound, this would be it.” – Willamette Week on Super XX Man.Scott Garred’s latest issued by Tender Loving Empire label in October

After 13 years writing, recording, and producing, Scott Garred aka Super XX Man, has cultivated a mildly edgy modern rock sound in the new release Volume XII: There’ll Be Diamonds. Previous releases have garnered acclaim from the likes of Bob Boilen, host of All Songs Considered (“If we’re going to choose ten songs every week, let it be Super XX Man”) and Amy McCullough, music editor of Willamette Week (“If love had a sound, this would be it”).

Although there’s plenty of the familiar Super XX Man-style of music on his latest album, what will no doubt surprise many long time fans are the moody, foreboding tracks that lie at the heart of the album. Songs like “Medication” (MP3), “Little Leaf” and “Crazy People” help to comprise, as Garred says, “my most sonically ambitious album to date.”

Songs are marked by washes of feedback, dark atmospherics and pointillist lyrics that chronicle the lives of the people Garred works with at the Oregon State Hospital, the oldest psychiatric institution in his home state.

It’s a pronounced shift in focus for Garred who has used the other volumes in his ever-growing discography to sing about friends and family, love and loss. Garred is as much a storyteller on this album as he is an empathizer reiterating how people cope with life at the State Hospital. On Volume XII, Garred sings about a woman who plays guitar until her fingers bleed, a man so lonely he only wants to go to parties and meet girls, and the ‘guilty except for insanity’ person strolling down a corridor wearing his new state-issued sweats. The album’s closer, “Cautious Like A Panther,” has this same person strutting his stuff down any trendy thoroughfare in Portland.

Scott Garred started off his career as Super XX Man (pronounced “super double ex man”) in the mid-’90s while still a member of the Austin, TX indie pop trio Silver Scooter, putting out a pair of self-released cassettes. Garred has since relocated to Portland, OR, continuing a steady stream of releases that have moved from home recorded four-track material to full fledged studio productions. Along the way, he has also turned Super XX Man into a bona fide band, that these days features his wife Michelle Garred on accordion, singer Ali Wesley, Kelly Dachtler and Josh Woods (who trade off guitar and bass duties) and drummer Bob Ham. The band will be on tour this Fall in support of the new album.

Super XX Man has been through many changes since the beginning but none as dramatic and exciting as what can be heard on Volume XII: There’ll Be Diamonds. It is a difference that both long-time fans and new listeners will surely welcome with open arms, sharing a long embrace with Garred’s musical vision.

Super XX Man Discography
Volume I CASS (Self-Released, 1995)
Volume II CASS (Self-Released, 1996)
Volume III 7-inch EP (Peek-A-Boo Records, 1997)
Volume I & II CD (Self-Released, 1999)
Volume IV CD (Peek-A-Boo Records, 2000)
Home CD (Post Parlo, 2000)
Volume V CD (Post Parlo, 2001)
Volume VI: Collecting Rocks CD (Lelp Recordings, 2003)
Volume VII: My Usual Way CD (Lelp Recordings, 2004)
Volume IX CD EP (Self-Released, 2005)
Volume VIII: It’s a Super XX Man Pizza CD (Self-Released, 2005)
Volume X CD (Hush Records, 2006)
Volume XI: A Better Place CD (Hush Records, 2006)
Volume XII: There’ll Be Diamonds CD (Tender Loving Empire, 2006)

Volume XII: There’ll Be Diamonds Tracklisting:
Release Date: October 21st, 2008

01. Medication (MP3)
02. Psychotic Break
03. Crazy People
04. You Say
05. There’ll be Diamonds
06. Big Balloon
07. House/Home
08. Little Leaf
09. What Lies Beneath
10. 5A Problem
11. It’s Now
12. Downtown Chapel
13. Cautious Like a Panther

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Monday, July 28, 2008

The Octopus Project prepares to launch West Coast tour kicking off at Lollapalooza, video for “Truck” racks up nearly 400,000 YouTube plays

“From gentle vibes and heavenly Theremin choirs to jaunty basslines and electro-static glitch-grooves to a wailing din of dying guitars and break-neck percussion, Hello, Avalanche is indeed a welcome disaster, an enchanting sonic cataclysm.” – Rolling Stone

“The lovely Theremin lead... suggests that technology just might save us after all.” – Pitchfork

“The result is a combination of electronic and analog acoustic elements that, on paper, should go together as well as a Daft Punk/Godspeed You! Black Emperor cocktail. Sequenced beats stutter alongside pounding drums.” – Magnet

“...surprisingly irresistible.” – Nylon

The seemingly never ending tour in support of the 2007 release of Austin-based The Octopus Project’s third album Hello, Avalanche is about to kick into gear again. Starting this coming weekend with an appearance at Lollapalooza in Chicago, the band will embark on a month-long west coast tour before returning home for a date at the Austin City Limits festival. See below for complete dates.

Being named one of David Fricke’s picks in Rolling Stone, gracing the covers of others such as Resonance along with the band’s hit tune “Music Is Happiness” appearing over the climactic plot wrap-up scene in the Sony Pictures blackjack flick 21, it’s no wonder that The Octopus Project has amassed a loyal following of devoted fans. and YouTube both recently featured the band’s video for the Hello, Avalanche track “Truck” which has now amassed close to 400,000 YouTube plays (LINK). The group’s loyal fans have responded with nearly a dozen fan-created videos that have begun to populate the site. See some favorites via the links below:

The Octopus Project Fan Videos:
“I Saw The Bright Shinies” (LINK)
“Moon Boil” (LINK)
“Queen” (LINK)
“Malaria Codes” (LINK)
“Wet Gold” (LINK)
“Truck” (LINK)
“Helium Tea (with Black Moth Super Rainbow) (LINK)
“Copying Soup Onto Sexy Birdy” (with Black Moth Super Rainbow) (LINK)
“Black Blizzard Red Umbrella” (LINK)

More official videos for tracks from Hello, Avalanche are set to premiere during the band’s upcoming tour including one for fan favorite “An Evening with Rthrtha.” The music video will be the second collaboration between Brooklyn artist Phillip Niemeyer (Double Triple) and San Francisco-based media artist Ryan Junell following their hand-animated stop-motion video for Spoon’s “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb” (LINK).

Catching on to the ever growing Octopus Project phenomena is UK-based label Too Pure (Stereolab, Electrelane, Seefeel, Scout Niblett). The label recently released an Octopus Project 7-inch as part of the label’s new “Singles Club” featuring two new songs “Wet Gold” and “Moon Boil,” recorded by the band and mastered at Abbey Road in London. The band describes the A-side as “a lovely jaunt through an arpeggiated land of goodness,” and the B-side as “the most ‘total rock’ song we’ve ever done.” 500 copies were released via subscription to the “Too Pure Singles Club.” Non-subscribers, fret not. The songs will soon be available for download on iTunes.

With ragged, furious distorted guitars at one end of the spectrum and the pure, luminescent tones of the Theremin at the other, the members of The Octopus Project mine a staggering variety of sounds in between (via strings, synthesizers, drums, glockenspiel, trombones, etc.), filling their songs with brilliant contrasting colors and cascading waves of sonic bliss. Although Josh Lambert, Yvonne Lambert, Ryan Figg and Toto Miranda each have their instrumental specialties, they spread ideas out on as many instruments as possible, each writing for and performing on any sound-maker they can find.

Recent press for The Octopus Project includes coverage in: Black Book, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Brooklyn Vegan, Chicago Sun Times, CMJ, Down Beat, Entertainment Weekly, Flagpole, Flavorpill, Fuel TV, Harp, Magnet, Mass Appeal, Modern Drummer, Music for Robots, New York Magazine, New York Times, Nylon, The Onion, Pitchfork, Pollstar, ReadyMade, Resonance, Rolling Stone, Skyscraper, Soundcheck, Spin, Stereogum, The Stranger, Under The Radar, URB, Venus, Village Voice, Wired, XLR8R and many more.

Hello, Avalanche Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: October 16th, 2007

01. Snow Tip Cap Mountain
02. Truck (MP3)
03. Bees Bein’ Strugglin’ (MP3)
04. An Evening With Rthrtha (MP3)
05. Black Blizzard/Red Umbrella
06. Upmann
07. Mmaj
08. I Saw The Bright Shinies (MP3)
09. Ghost Moves
10. Vanishing Lessons
11. Exploding Snowhorse
12. Loud Murmuring
13. Queen

The Octopus Project Live:
* w/ Diagonals
08/02 Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s
08/03 Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/04 Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
08/05 Norman, OK @ Opolis
08/06 Lubbock, TX @ Tequila Station
08/11 Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room*
08/12 Tucson, AZ @ Congress Theater*
08/13 San Diego, CA @ The Cashbash*
08/14 Los Angeles, CA @ Knitting Factory*
08/15 Visalia, CA @ Cellar Door*
08/16 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill*
08/18 Portland, OR @ Satyricon*
08/19 Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge*
08/20 Vancouver, BC @ Richard’s
08/22 Edmonton, AL @ Velvet Lounge
08/23 Calgary, AL @ Hi Fi
08/25 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
08/26 Denver, CO @ Hi Dive
08/28 Dallas, TX @ Lola’s*
08/29 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live*
09/28 Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tracy Shedd to release hot new disc Cigarettes & Smoke Machines via Teenbeat Records this fall

“It’s never too late to fight for what you want” -- Tracy Shedd.

Tracy Shedd’s helpful reminder on the opening track “Never Too Late” from Cigarettes & Smoke Machines, her latest album of smart, pointed pop is a direct and economic assertion backed by sharp musicianship and just the right amount of reverb. Cigarettes & Smoke Machines is Shedd’s most accomplished record in a career that has now spanned four full-lengths.

Raised in a music-friendly home -- growing up with piano lessons and a public address system in the living room to practice Patsy Cline on -- Shedd found punk rock as a teen and morphed into a singer-songwriter wrestling with a love of distortion. Also a fan of artists that drape their vocals in various shrouds (My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, The Jesus & Mary Chain), Shedd decided that she never really wanted her vocals up front, an edict that permeated her previous recordings. Now, with Cigarettes & Smoke Machines, Shedd lets go and we benefit from vocal performances that establish the arresting emotional core of her latest record.

The album comes at just the right time, too. Now that declarative female songwriters like Liz Phair and unheralded classics such as Bettie Serveert’s Palomine are finally being celebrated, Cigarettes & Smoke Machines appears just when its audience is ready to identify with it. “What ever it takes, don’t let them break you down,” Shedd sings on “Whatever It Takes” (MP3). What’s the hardest part of goodbye? Shedd makes you wait for the answer on that track. When we find out that it’s “why,” we nod our heads. “Remember The Time We Set The Highway On Fire” takes the record in a different direction where the guitars take over and Shedd’s connection to The Cure’s nine-minute moments are more evident. Shedd’s co-existing vulnerability and strength make for convincing, winning and relatable songs that you’ll need to hear again and again.

It’s been a long road to this level of compositional confidence for Shedd. Letting go of a lifetime of music theory made it easy to write a batch of songs within weeks of first picking up the guitar and Shedd’s first album Blue was quickly produced in her then-home of Boston. Counting the infamous DC band Unrest as an influence (the Sarah Records oeuvre and The Softies come to mind as well), Shedd had aspirations to be signed to Unrest leader Mark Robinson’s label Teenbeat Records though she knew that he only signed DC-based groups. She decided to give it a shot anyway.

Robinson was convinced and Shedd was signed to Teenbeat which released her debut in 2002. In 2003, Robinson went on to produce Shedd’s second album, Red and a third LP, Louder Than You Can Hear appeared on the Devil In The Woods label the next year. Shedd then “got domesticated,” and moved to Tucson where the heat “slowed her down” and provided the time needed to craft her most inspired album.

Cigarettes & Smoke Machines brings Shedd back home and is now her third album for Teenbeat. Shedd’s place on the Teenbeat roster has obviously grown stronger throughout the years and it’s an immense pleasure to see that at a time when the record industry is in a state of “huh?” a record as worthwhile as Cigarettes & Smoke Machines can appear on a label as true to itself as Teenbeat.

Teenbeat’s beautifully packaged releases are often as of note as the musician’s work that they house and Cigarettes & Smoke Machines’ jacket is yet another in the long line of meticulously crafted Teenbeat sleeves. The photo of a blindfolded girl in profile that graces the cover is that of one of Shedd’s best friends during her upbringing in Jacksonville. Shedd has had the photo since 1996 and held on to it thinking she would one day use it in relation to her music. It spoke to her twelve years later and is now the stark and stunning image that represents her latest and greatest.

This time around, it’s not about being the next best thing to Shedd. Cigarettes & Smoke Machines is her most definitive and easy to climb into statement to date. It truly isn’t too late to fight for what you want and this time Shedd really got it.

Cigarettes & Smoke Machines featuring guest appearances by John Girgus, Brian Espinosa, Richard Dudley, James Tritten, Craig Schumacher and Joey Burns and produced by Craig Schumacher will be released by Teenbeat Records on September, 23rd, 2008. Shedd is also available to chat about her involvement in organizing the Pot Luck Conference (, a yearly gathering of engineers, producers and musicians passionate about signals, sounds, music, and recordings.

Cigarettes & Smoke Machines Tracklisting:
Release Date: Sept. 23rd, 2008

01. Never Too Late
02. Whatever It Takes (MP3)
03. Hardest Part of Good-Bye
04. Won Past Ten
05. Plastic World
06. Not Giving Up
07. Remember the Time We Set the Highway On Fire
08. Go On
09. Paris
10. Valentine
11. So Sick
12. Home

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Brown Sound Clothing, Eenie Meenie and From Bubblegum To Sky join for release of A Soft Kill. Album becomes one of best reviewed records of the year.

“ indie-pop masterwork...” – SPIN

“...echoes in your head as well as out of your speakers.” – Giant Robot

“...Hernandez’s best album.” – All Music Guide

“...a pop masterpiece...” – Reel Around The Fountain

From Bubblegum To Sky is Mario Hernandez, and he’s back with his third album, A Soft Kill, out now on Eenie Meenie Records. As expected, the album is becoming one of the best reviewed records of 2008 on the back of its rifftastic, crunchy pop sounds and unforgettable hooks and melodies. Stream the album in its entirety HERE. It’s the rare record that gets more satisfying upon each listen. And what’s more, you can wear it, too!

Eenie Meenie and Hernandez are long time fans and friends of the Brown Sound Clothing Company, a fashion label which aspires to design clothing that “suits the days of war, nights of love lifestyle.” Brown Sound is a collaboration with musicians, situationists, artists and moped gangs working to make the label a force in culture. Artists that have proudly worn the Brown Sound brand include Beck, My Morning Jacket, Spoon, Death Cab For Cutie, She & Him, Matt & Kim, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Tokyo Police Club, Conor Oberst, Peter Bjorn & John and many more.

Eenie Meenie opted for a more creative option in the release strategy for From Bubblegum To Sky’s A Soft Kill and in collaboration with Brown Sound has marketed the album as a limited edition box set containing a high-quality vinyl LP of A Soft Kill, a drop card by which to download the record, a From Bubblegum To Sky badge and a limited edition silky-soft From Bubblegum To Sky t-shirt with images derived from the Brown Sound-designed album art. The boxes are true collector’s pieces -- hand numbered and only available at select lifestyle stores throughout the nation. Taking the limited nature of the project a step further, early orders also received a blank CD-R adorned with a one-of-a-kind hand drawn design on each by Hernandez. The album is also available as a digital download-only from the usual online retailers.

See below for more info about From Bubblegum To Sky and if you’d like to keep up with Mario Hernandez on a daily basis, visit his blog HERE where, among other things, you’ll find out that his favorite song is “Public Image” by Public Image Limited (VIEW). Stay tuned for more praise for A Soft Kill, the “Even The Sunbeams” video and by popular demand: west coast tour dates! For those of you who can’t wait, check out From Bubblegum To Sky performing “The Flash” live during the NYC Popfest HERE. Interestingly, Hernandez performed the next night’s show on the drums (‘cause he’s a genius.)

A Soft Kill Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: 06.03.08

01. The King Of Failed
02. The Flash
03. I Always Fall Apart (MP3)
04. Guest Relations (MP3)
05. Say Goodbye
06. My Je M’apelle
07. A Soft Kill
08. Even The Sunbeams (MP3)
09. Flies On A Jet Plane
10. Captain Tennille
11. Downtown Or Up?

In The Press:
From Bubblegum To Sky sound as if they’ve enlisted My Bloody Valentine, the London Philharmonic, The Beach Boys, and Ride to help make massively brilliant jangly noisy pop.” – First Coast News

“…what pop sounds like in my little fantasy world.” – There Stands The Glass

“…short, charming, 60’s–licked, “Beatles–esque” seducer, wispy and jangling.” – A Limerick Ox

“...A Soft Kill is chock full of the ABC’s of ice cream indie...” – Advance Copy

More about From Bubblegum To Sky:
PiL, meds, disco, half Mexican, half Japanese, The SOS Band, monster guitar riffs, drinking, more drinking, The dB’s, divorce, death, arrests, cannibalism, no compromises, The Bee Gees, shimmering melodies and stalking. From Bubblegum To Sky ain’t no sunny pop affair – it just sounds like it.

By winter, A Soft Kill, the third full-length album by From Bubblegum To Sky is certain to be considered one of the greatest one-man albums of the year. Only the maturity that comes with brushing against and immersing oneself in the influences mentioned above could bring out an album that is at once ultimately catchy, realistically morose, and expertly played. In a word: fucking relatable.

The one man is Mario Hernandez and he’s been wrestling with a few demons. Hernandez’s previous records Me and Amy and the Two French Boys (Eenie Meenie, 2000) and Nothing Sadder Than Lonely Queen (Eenie Meenie, 2004) certainly hinted at genius – what with the confessional lyrics sung in a helium tinged voice that lights the drapes on fire meeting the hook laden crunch fest that cools ‘em down. With A Soft Kill, Hernandez has crafted a masterpiece. He demurs, stating, “This record is much more inspired – less obvious indie pop, more organic and drunk. It’s an outlet and easily my favorite record.” Ours, too.

A Soft Kill brings to mind the concept of the vices people use to kill themselves slowly. Not a murder, but a soft kill. Feelings we’ve all felt are wrapped in pristine pop melodies, sandpaper-y guitars and a vocal style dictated by the radio programs of second generation pop songs and high voiced singers that Hernandez listened to before departing Japan for America at the age of 12.

As a self-contained pop machine (occasionally joined by bassist Frank Jordan and keyboardist Bill Evans) Hernandez does the control freak edict of Billy Corgan and Dave Grohl proud on A Soft Kill. No one should be playing drums on a From Bubblegum To Sky record but Hernandez -- this kind of urgency demands the percussive touch of the author, after all! And is he ever keeping time – 11 songs, 30 minutes. It doesn’t get any better.

“I feel like it’s a band, even though it’s just me,” he says. “The things that people are doing to me, or I’m doing to them, or whatever experiences I’m having -- that’s the band. I couldn’t write without those experiences and in a way that’s what a band member does.”

These are the words of the ONE man becoming THE man. When Mario Hernandez is letting it all hang out, you wanna hang out, too. A Soft Kill was recorded at CBS Studios in Oakland, CA on a Tascam one-inch reel-to-reel.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

This Is Ivy League takes you to summer school with its new album. Get educated by the duo compared to Simon & Garfunkel and Belle & Sebastian

“…the soundtrack to your summer.” – L Magazine

“...retro tinges of Simon & Garfunkel neatly laid between symphonic harmonies and melded with pop flair.” – Filter

“The Brooklyn-based duo fit neatly between recent cozy-pop faves The Whitest Boy Alive and Peter, Bjorn & John, working the same seam of homely beauty and prematurely autumnal sentimentality.” – Pitchfork

If you haven’t started your summer fixating on a new vice, it’s about time. This summer’s guilty pleasure? The infectiously good indie pop twosome known as This Is Ivy League.

If you haven’t heard of the band, you might recognize the duo behind it – Alex Suarez and Ryland Blackinton, of Cobra Starship fame. When they’re not busy touring the world and gracing the cover of Alternative Press with their side-project, they’re creating, well, really good music. So don’t be fooled by their super emo alter ego. Their blend of folky 60’s pop rock is a huge departure from the Snakes On A Plane” tunes.

This Is Ivy League’s catchy riffs have been gaining a lot of attention from various sites around the interweb including love from dot coms such as Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Paste, Filter, CMJ, The Deli, Idolator, New York Noise, and USA Today. The duo was also recently featured as one of L Magazine’s “Eight Bands You Need to Hear”.

The uninitiated can now revel in the perfect-pop that is This Is Ivy League’s first long player (STREAM) which features the mega smash hit song “London Bridges” (MP3). The accompanying video (LINK) for the tune has already been singled out by Pitchfork which said,”...the clip creates and sustains a soft-focus weirdness, borrowing all the elements you’d expect from a postmillennial Chad & Jeremy -- blazers, bicycles, merry-go-rounds, a park in autumn-- while adding a few new flourishes-- women in animal costumes, gently evocative use of color and pattern. Alex Suarez and Ryan Blackinton croon their crisp harmonies, finishing each other’s sentences and riffs, nearly symmetrical as they perform atop their pedestals for the animal woman.”

Obscure Sound hits the nail on the head in it’s review of This Is Ivy League:

“The album lives up to the potential of the excellent single (‘London Bridges’) (MP3) in several ways, the most prevalent being the engaging form of songwriting that the duo is able to craft using their pop-oriented mindset. The album’s tremendous opener, ‘The Richest Kids’ (MP3), was initially my favorite song on the album. It features a simplistically addicting melody that is complemented by the duo’s outstanding duet form, with flurries of guitars being a constant reminder of their shared musicianship. In fact, if ‘The Richest Kids’ does not become a radio favorite on several prominent indie radio stations by summer, I would be absolutely shocked. It just has that sort of radio-friendly appeal that coincides well with summery indie-pop, mainly attributed to the group’s stellar melodic comprehension.

As for my current favorite track, ‘Visions of Tokyo’ is an excellent throwback song that beckons ’60s pop. The comparisons to The Beach Boys are imminent and it adds a lot to the enjoyment factor, with the vocal comparison to Brian Wilson being very tantalizing. Both ‘The Richest Kids’ and ‘Visions of Tokyo’ are certainly a few of the most enjoyable tracks I have heard so far this year. And for those who prefer individuality to accessible hooks, there are certainly clear signs of innovation too; the spacey guitar riff at the end of ‘London Bridges’ and the impressive acoustical fingerpicking displayed on ‘Til the Day’ are just a few examples of how it would be ignorant to group This Is Ivy League with other conventional indie-pop bands. The latter sounds eerily similar to Simon & Garfunkel’s early work, and I mean that as an utmost complement. Be sure to take note that This Is Ivy League’s fantastic self-titled debut was released on Tuesday, as I recommend it wholeheartedly as one of the best debuts of the year so far.”

More Press For This Is Ivy League:

This Is Ivy League offers crisp, pervasively hooky indie rock with a folky sense of melancholy. Dreamy is a word used too often to describe all kinds of music, but This Is Ivy League actually does whisk you instantly to a place of post-adolescent romantic longing.” – Time Out New York

“In a gritty borough known for it’s ‘artsy’ rock and ‘experimental’ music these two just take it back to where it all began, simplified pop music with infectious harmonies that echo in your head.” – URB

“Covert crew members on the Cobra Starship go undercover as twee-hugging indiepoppers.” – Rolling Stone

“This band is like the badass guy in high school that gets away with misbehaving all the time because he’s like totally hot.” – Vice Magazine

This Is Ivy League sounds as though Belle and Sebastian had American accents, listened to a lot of Matinee Records, and figured that every song must be happy… if it were 1974 they would be giving the Carpenters a run for their money.” – First Coast News

“Beautiful, head-bopping, airy pop songs with gorgeous harmonies that echo Simon & Garfunkel and The Beach Boys.” – Tiny Mix Tapes

“…perhaps one day, we will be using Suarez and Blackinton as a benchmark for comparison, putting them in the same class as those aforementioned famous pop duos.” – Consequence of Sound

“Cherry songs pour from the guitars of this dapper duo, who wind harmonies around surf guitars for a light, pop-tacular springtime debut…” – CMJ

“It’s among our favorites this year…a perfect aural cocktail for summer” – Very Short List

“This will most likely be the sound of the summer in the upcoming months…” – Make Out Club

“Their voices are hushed and sweet, twining around each other in blissful harmony. The guitars are mainly acoustic and gentle, the drums and keys tasteful and carefully arranged.” – All Music Guide

This Is Ivy League Track Listing:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: April 1st, 2008

01. The Richest Kids (MP3) (LIVE)
02. Love Is Impossible
03. London Bridges (MP3) (VIDEO)
04. Viola
05. Celebration
06. An Introduction
07. A Summer Chill
08. Modern World
09. Til The Day
10. Visions of Tokyo
11. Don’t Waste Your Love On Me
12. Bonus MP3 – Crown of Love (Arcade Fire Cover) (MP3)

More about This Is Ivy League:
In 1997, Ryland Blackinton moved from Wilmington, Massachusetts to Boca Raton, Florida with his parents and two brothers. An avid guitar player and trumpet player in his school band, Blackinton immediately found an acquaintance in Connecticut native, Alex Suarez. Suarez played in a local pop-punk band. Blackinton came to watch them play at an abandoned house where many of their high school’s bands would practice and perform. Suarez was a year older than Blackinton, which in those days seemed to be a big deal. Neither of them was particularly good at sports or academics but each was passionate about the guitar. Around this time Suarez got Blackinton a job at the local Jewish delicatessen. The two became close friends while discovering the joys of Jewish cuisine. Not cut out for the restaurant industry, Blackinton soon left the deli citing culinary differences and became involved in the theatre. Suarez continued to the culinary academy.

For seven years Suarez and Blackinton lost touch. Suarez had been playing guitar with the Florida-based Kite Flying Society while starting a series of short-lived private catering companies. Blackinton was finishing his BFA in Acting and playing guitar sporadically with Parliament/Funkadelic keyboard players Jerome Rodgers and Danny Bedrosian. Seeking success in their respective fields, they both moved north to New York City. Blackinton acted in a handful of classical plays at the Pearl Theatre Company and Suarez was working as a grocery delivery boy in Chelsea. Both struggled with low wages and creative stagnation. One day, the two were reunited on a certain unnamed internet networking service. Coincidentally, they lived just twelve blocks away from one another. After catching up for a few hours they traded music and agreed that they should form a band.

Blackinton had written a few songs which were heavily rooted in bossa nova and folk music. Suarez quickly learned the songs and brought a cohesive poppy edge to them. The culmination of the two styles produced a folky-pop sound that both were pleased with. In late 2006, the band were scouted by Gabe Saporta of Midtown to be in a side-project called Cobra Starship. Saporta wrote the hit song “Snakes On A Plane (Bring It)” for the b-movie wonder Snakes On A Plane. The success of this song lead him to bringing Cobra Starship into realization and asking Suarez and Blackinton to join the band. With a big push from MTV, the band has gone on to headline multiple world tours.

In early 2007, 60’s UK pop group Ivy League contacted Brooklyn’s Ivy League about its reunification. This lead to Ivy League changing its name to This Is Ivy League. Its self-titled debut full-length was released April 1, 2008.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Providence-based electro-pop duo MakeUpBreakUp to release debut EP via California’s S.A.F. Records, home of Die!Die!Die! and Yip-Yip.

More earthquake type rumblings from California’s S.A.F. Records are about to be felt nationwide as the label prepares for the release of the debut EP by MakeUpBreakUp, the Providence, Rhode Island based duo that doesn’t uses spaces in its name. That innocuous bit of trivia not withstanding, the We Prefer Not To... EP is certain to occupy that special place in hearts and minds this summer upon its release August 18, 2008.

“Oh, really?” Well, if you don’t believe, just check out the lead single “Jungle City” (MP3) and peep out a trailer for the EP HERE and some live footage HERE. Want to feel this energy in your personal space? See below for MakeUpBreakUp (feel free to call them MUBU, OK?) live dates.

More about MakeUpBreakUp:

The origin of MakeUpBreakUp can be traced back to the winter of 2006 and illicit phone conversations between Alexander Laorenza and Michael Lamantia, Jr. (aka Mikeylams,) both founding members of post-punk-indie-sex-pots A Trillion Barnacle Lapse. These prophetic diatribes took place during Laorenza’s Los Angeles days, where he made cash writing for a hip hop website and played with a myriad of musicians in desperate need of rehab.

Over on the East Coast, fresh out of Brooklyn’s mean streets and a stint with New York based band Rockethouse (Kanine Records), Mikeylams was back in Providence, writing and recording the tracks that would be the foundation of the eclectic electronic sound of MakeUpBreakUp. Laorenza was set to move back within a few months. The two planned a triumphant return, with a band that would honor their past while at the same time achieving the kind of sound they have always strove for.

Short demos recorded by Mikeylams were sent through the wires across the USA; enthusiasm abounded; band names were strewn about in a ludicrous fashion. By late spring of 2007, Laorenza and his Ford Escort made it back to Rhode Island after braving the buffalo depositories and murky cops in off-road vehicles of the Midwest. He and Mikeylams immediately started collaborating on the tracks, and started playing out live. Providence, Brooklyn, and Boston caught a glimpse of MakeUpBreakUp’s live act in the Summer of 2007.

Holed up in a practice space riddled with potential health hazards, the duo wrote and recorded the songs which have now come to be known as their We Prefer Not To... EP. Prelude to a debut full length, We Prefer Not To..., mastered by Jonathan Wyner (David Bowie, Devo, Nirvana), shares equally with the experimental post punk of A Trillion Barnacle Lapse as it does with the surefire electronic sensibilities of Depeche Mode, She Wants Revenge, New Order and Fischerspooner. With a few labels interested in doing a release, MakeUpBreakUp happily signed to S.A.F. Records in the early winter of 2007 which will be release the EP on August 18, 2008, with multiple tours to follow.

MakeUpBreakUp Live:
07/05 New York, NY @ The Annex
07/06 Philadelphia, PA @ TBD
07/07 Washington, DC @ Velvet Lounge
07/19 Providence, RI @ Indie Arts Fest
07/25 Providence, RI @ AS220

We Prefer Not To… EP Tracklisting:
Release Date: 08.19.08
01. Blame Game
02. Fall Into Her Love Trap
03. Jungle City (MP3)
04. Other Side of The Tracks
05. I Dream I’m Stone
06. She’s Always X-Rated

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