Monday, June 30, 2008

J Roddy Walston and The Business

They're just 4 nice clean-cut boys from Baltimore, who want to rock and roll their way into your hearts. Or to put it another way...

J Roddy Walston and The Business are just good old fashioned, stomp the floor, fist in the air, holler at the sky rock and roll. Imagine the soundtrack for your next 3 day bender, if your drinking buddies were Jerry Lee Lewis, Freddy Mercury, Jack White and Ronnie Van Zandt. Then imagine what Jerry Lee's undershirt would look like on Monday morning: that's the sound of J Roddy in a nutshell.

Already getting lots of love throughout the blogosphere, J Roddy and co. are now preparing to threaten the quiet existence of the masses, opening for the Hold Steady, putting the finishing touches on their latest, Hail Mega Boys (dropping on September 9th), and bringing their rock n' roll circus back to IA country on July 18th at IOTA.

mp3: Used To Did


Quiet Noise

You might be tempted to think twice before standing next to Imaad Wasif, say, in a line for the movies. No, I don't mean because of his Middle Eastern features and the seemingly ubiquitous way we Yanks have been taught to cast wary glances at anyone of a light brown shade. Homeboy just looks kind of weird. His moustache alone probably is enough to scare most kids. Of course, these issues have little bearing on the IA writing staff, other than to provide us with endless hours of amusement in our back-and-forth email chatter.

No, the real question is, can the guy rawk? I'm here to answer with a resounding "yes." Now, I don't mean full-out, balls-to-the-wall rawking here, nor do I mean your standard indie rawking, either. Instead, Wasif appears to have perfected what I'm calling quiet noise rawking. On "Oceanic", he backs his ethereal vocals with a completely fuzzed out guitar, somehow taking seemingly noisy vehicles and packaging them into a calm, controlled ride. Think codeine laced with speed or maybe a panda bear on steroids. Or maybe I should think about working on my metaphors.

Whatever the case, I strongly recommend checking him out when he strolls through our neck of the woods on his upcoming tour to promote his latest, Strange Hexes, with his backing band, Two Part Beast. Just try not to look directly at that 'stashe.

July 12: Baltimore, MD, Talking Head
July 13: Washington, DC, Velvet Lounge
July 16: Philadelphia, PA, Johnny Brenda's

mp3: Oceanic


Vanilla Swingers

UK vocal/instrumental duo, Vanilla Swingers, dropped their self titled, debut album this past May. Right out of the dreamy, light progressive rock sky, it comes at us with a story about two people who run away to London together, then go back in time. Classy and literate, I’d definitely mark them down as a band that’s growing on me. They start off at a crawling pace and by the end of the record, you're ready to start it over again. Get your sleepy rock fix and check out "Goodbye Lennon".

mp3: Goodbye Lennon


The New Seal of Approval

Sam Sparro is pretty much sitting in the catbird seat across the pond these days. He's getting all sorts of love from BBC Radio 1. Chaka Khan has gone so far as to say, "Damn, that white boy can sing." That may or may not equal, "That boy is GOOD!," but obscure Coming to America quotes aside, he's being compared to everyone from Prince to Stevie Wonder, and his debut, Black & Gold, charted in the UK top five. High praise, indeed.

Personally, I'm hearing a lot more Seal than Prince, but I will agree the eponymous track he's dropped is pretty damn catchy. It's more dance floor than funk, but it's bound to get your booty shaking regardless. I'd also argue he uses a bit too many vocal distortion tricks to get Stevie Wonder love, but that doesn't mean he isn't worth checking out. I guess the real question is can the man pull off ruffled shirts and/or dashikis? If he can do that, then we'll talk more.

mp3: Black & Gold


Sunday, June 29, 2008

June Releases

I've been working on the release posts all month, but with the server switch and other things that we had going on, they never saw the light of day. I'm going to correct that, by presenting you an entire month's worth of releases at once. It pretty much goes without saying, that this is going to be the longest post in IA's history. We'll be back with the regularly scheduled weekly posts this week. Enjoy!

Week of June 24

I cannot say enough about the amount of great music out this month and the week of June 24 is no exception. The one album that I am playing over and over is by a new band from the UK, Passenger. Their Night Vision Binoculars EP is a beautifully crafted album. This week also featured a few hip-hop albums from RZA and Seattle favorites, The Saturday Nights. Au and Podington Bear released a couple of cute electronic albums.


Night Vision Binoculars - "Do What You Like"

Other Notable Releases:

Calico Horse

Mirror - "Father Feed Me"

The Saturday Knights

Mingle (Buy) - Full Album Stream & "Part 2"

Sigur Ros

Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust - Full Album Stream

Jon Sonnenberg

Acoustic Selections - "DOA"

Anthem In

Anthem In - "Down"

Podington Bear

The End - "Ebullience"


Verbs - "Are Animals"


Picnic - "Espiral"


Digi Snax - Full Album Stream

G. Love & Special Sauce (Philly)

Superhero Brother - Full Album Stream

The Revisionists

The Revisionists - "Universal"

The Wombats

A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation

Electric President

Sleep Well - "Monsters"

Week of June 17

This week saw the return of local area bands to our release list and it helped prove that the summer is when all the best releases are. There are way too many releases that I enjoy listening to, so I won't be able to pick any to feature.

Wolf Parade

At Mount Zoomer - "Call It A Ritual"


Hymns For A Dark Horse - "In Our Talons"

Computer Vs. Banjo

Computer vs. Banjo - "Give Up On Ghosts"

My Brightest Diamond

A Thousand Shark's Teeth - "Inside a Boy"

The War On Drugs (Philly)

Wagonwheel Blues - "Taking the Farm"

Ponytail (Bmore)

Ice Cream Spiritual! - "Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came From an Angel)"

The Impossible Shapes

The Impossible Shapes - "Hey"


Takes - "Oh My Lover"

Tilly and the Wall

o - "Pot Kettle Black"

Silver Jews

Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea - "Strange Victory, Strange Defeat"

The Low Lows

Shining Violence - "Sparrow"

The Notwist

The Devil, You + Me - "Good Lies"

Stars Like Fleas

The Ken Burns Effect - "I Was Only Dancing"

Oh and Coldplay released an album this week as well. I guess that's important to some people...


Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends

Week of June 10

The only big name that released an album this week, was My Morning Jacket releasing Evil Urges. This week also featured many talented newcomers with some great folk and soft-indie albums for your listening pleasure.

My Morning Jacket

Evil Urges

The Awkward Stage

Slimming Mirrors, Flattering Lights - "Anime Eyes"


March Forth - "Oh No"

Ben Sollee

Learning To Bend - "A Change Is Gonna Come"

The Charlatans

You Cross My Path - "You Cross My Path"

Joan As Police Woman

To Survive - "To Be Loved"

My Education

Bad Vibrations - "Arch"

Rachael Sage

Chandelier - "Vertigo"

Unicycle Loves You

Unicycle Loves You - "Highway Robbery"

Twin Tigers

Curious Faces / Violent Future - "If"

The Swedes

Nothing Says Rich Like Golf Clubs - "Julie Walker"

Week of June 3

The first week of the month's releases really took me by surprise, as the only band I was familiar with was Ladytron. To my complete delight, most of the other albums released this week were just great. My picks for this week include the aforementioned Ladytron album, along with a band I have never heard of. Oppenheimer came out with a quality electronic tinged indie rock album. Some of my other recommended albums are also in the electronic genre, but for those of you that like well written and sung folk songs, we have plenty for you as well.


Take The Whole Midrange And Boost It - "Steven McCauley For President"


Velocifero - "Black Cat"

Other Notable Releases:

The Pinker Tones

Wild Animals

Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"

The Cool Kids

Bake Sale - "Basement Party"

The Ting Tings

We Started Nothing - "Great DJ"

Manu Chao

Politik Kills Remix EP - "Politik Kills w/ LKJ (Dennis Bovell Dub Vocal Remix)"

Aimee Mann

@#%&! Smilers


Twilight - "Caught In A Crosswalk"


Rook - "Rooks"

Centro-matic/South San Gabriel

Dual Hawks - "I, The Kite" & "Trust To Lose"

The M's

Real Close One - "Don't Be Late"


Weezer (Red Album)

The Futureheads

This Is Not The World - "Broke Up The Time"