Friday, May 30

The Rationales: The Going and The Gone

The Rationales are an Americana powerpop group from Boston, and they have just released their debut EP The Going and The Gone. Available now from iTunes and, The Going and The Gone is a six-track collection of melodic, poppy, rootsy jangle rock that gets right to the point. According to easily fooled:

"The Going and the Gone kicks off with a confident, luxurious mesh of guitars on "Guardrail," followed by the boisterous bounce of "No Guarantees," [and] sustains this wave of raucous, infectious energy throughout--which might be why the closing track "Ruby Colored Halo" comes as such a surprise and delight. Featuring lovely touches of slide guitar, this sweet, folksy number not only offers another view of the Rationales, supplementing their power pop chops with poetry as well."

To get a taste of what The Rationales have to offer, listen to and download "No Guarantees" here. These guys are off to a great start, so look for more from them in the near future. Head over to their MySpace for more music and Northeastern tour info.

Show Alert: Ratatat @ The Echoplex - 7/12/08

Instrumental electro-guitar duo Ratatat are hitting the road for a short tour this summer. They will be appearing at The Echoplex on July 12, in support of LP3, out July 8 on Beggars Group USA. If their opening performance for Bjork's Nokia Theater concert was any indication, this will be a fantastic gig. Tickets are on sale now for $20.

Wednesday, May 28


If you're reading this, you really should stop and get your ass to The El Rey RIGHT NOW as ELVIS COSTELLO is playing a free show. Starts at 10pm. That's all I know, but what else is there to discuss? GO!!!

Sunday, May 25

Recommended Track: "Good Lies"

It's old news by now that The Notwist are about to release their first LP in over six years. Due June 17 on Domino Records, The Devil, You + Me leads with "Good Lies", a driving, resolutely anthemic track. Although no longer available as mp3 on The Notwist's Domino Records subsite, "Good Lies" is available here. Right-click, save as, and give it a shot!

Tuesday, May 20

Jimi Hendrix's Effects Pedals

On a recent trip to Seattle, I was able to snap a picture of one of Jimi Hendrix's guitar effects pedal arrays, on display at the Experience Music Project. From left to right are:

1. Shin-ei Uni-Vibe effects unit, circa 1968
2. Octavio, effects pedal prototype, circa 1967
3. King Vox-Wah, effects pedal, circa 1968

The EMP also had a "mixing interactive" that showed Hendrix as "an innovator and forefather of modern recording technology." I played around with "Crosstown Traffic" for awhile (which -- unbeknownst to me -- features Traffic's Dave Mason on the high part of the lyrics), and it was fantastic to see the underlying analog techné that defines the record production and aesthetic of Hendrix's generation.

The rest of the EMP is worth seeing, too.

Monday, May 19

Show Alert: Make Music Pasadena

Ok, mark your calendars for what is sure to be an excellent upcoming summer music event in Los Angeles. Make Music Pasadena -- a FĂȘte de la Musique event -- brings together professional and amateur musicians in a day of music in Old Town Pasadena. At the top of the lineup are: The Raveonettes, Kinky, Dengue Fever, The Little Ones, Nortec Collective, Jesca Hoop, Division Day, and Everest. In addition to these acts, "sidewalks, parks, courtyards, alleys, building lobbies and other unconventional performance spaces will become spontaneous musical stages and social gathering places" where amateur musicians will perform. Not only is this event completely free, the Make Music grounds are accessible via the extremely convenient MTA Gold Line. A free event with good bands in the glorious So Cal summer that doesn't involve driving, traffic or parking? Hells yeah. It all goes down June 21.

Monday, May 5

This Week's Recommended Music: The Republic Tigers, No Age

If you've ever read SSM before, you'd know that The Republic Tigers are held in high regard around these parts. After months of continuous coverage, SSM is proud to announce that the band's full-length finally drops today! Keep Color is out on Chop Shop Records and is available from iTunes, Amazon, and local retailers. The band have a ton going on now, including an appearance on KCRW's Morning Become Electic on May 12, a show at Spaceland on May 13, David Letterman on May 22, plus an extensive tour. So, pick up their album, catch them live, and be a part of the buzz surrounding this truly exciting new group. Here are the boys at the Tribeca Film Festival:

SSM's other recommended selection for this week comes from L.A.'s own No Age. The duo's singles compilation Weirdo Rippers has received extensive critical acclaim and provided listeners with a preview of the band's unique combination of beautiful distortion, twisted samples, and experimental punk aesthetic. Now, on Nouns, No Age pack in more of the same, but also expand on their formula with more and more layers of feedback, fuzz, and fun. As stated by drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt: “Bands should be fun and exciting and they should push all the buttons at the same time. They should make you feel like you are going to explode and make you utterly confused and inspired at the same time.” Nouns is a sonic encapsulation of exactly that.