RubbleBucket – Omega Lala

27 04 2011

In spite of the lack of income for artists, everyone loves free music. For budding stars eager to increase their listenership, releasing music for free download is an excellent way to get their sound out there, but when artists drop an entire album, us poor fans nearly weep with joy. Finally, a chance to get something legally without paying!

Unfortunately, all too often musicians release music for free because, well, the music itself is nothing more than mediocre. So when Brooklyn-based Rubblebucket released their sophomore album Omega La La in just such a fashion a few weeks ago, I was understandably apprehensive at first.

To my great surprise, however, from the very first track, Rubblebucket’s clever rhythms, simple yet catchy hooks, beautifully layered vocals and instrumental harmonics hit my ears causing bubbly audial excitement deep within my inner ear.

An epic, 10 person motley crew headed up by the vocal/saxophonic musings of Kalmia Traver and excited trumpeteer Alex Toth, Rubblebucket brings jiggly, giddy boppiness with every track on this album, whose physical release date is slated for June 7th, yet they still avoid the common pitfall in this genre of sounding just “too cute.”

Omega La La plays like a soundtrack to a warm Spring day in Prospect Park. Listening to “Came Out of a Lady” I can just envision Traver and Toth leading their rag tag marching band through the park, with streamer-girls and tambourine-accompanists following in their wake, lightening the moods of all those Park Slope moms and their unruly kids on a breezy Sunday afternoon.

But then there are the slower songs of the album, however few they are, which come out hit or miss. “Raining” tells a pensive story of distant attraction and curiosity over some very clever instrumentation, complete with arpeggios and melodic breaks. Similarly, “Breatherz (Young as Clouds)” soars through the sonic sky like a digilectric albatross, even despite the nearly nonsensical lyrics.

But then we come to the lengthy “Lifted/Weak Arms,” and Rubblebucket’s heretofore hiptastic groove bottoms out into a cacaphonic disarray of strange, sleepy monotony and uncomfortable dissonance. I’m really not too sure what the purpose of this song is, even the masterful production from Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem, !!!, Holy Ghost) can’t seem to save this track from the pit of failed experimentation. It just doesn’t fit right with the theme of the album. Thankfully, it only takes up six minutes of the listening experience, so it could be worse.

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed by this little “pre-“release.  It is fresh, creative, uplifting and just plain fun to listen to.  Great work, Rubblebucket, I hope this album gets you paper, even though you’re giving it away for free. 92%, A-

Download Rubblebucket – Omega La La Here


The Squeezebox: The Pains of being Pure at heart- Belong (2011)

29 03 2011

I admit, I went into listening Belong a little hesitant. It’s not that I didn’t like their 2009 Self titled debut. there were some great  songs on there, but tPoBPaT (what a crappy Acronym to type) was made a little uneven for me by a bit too much sugary preciousness that ran rampant throughout the album: Pretty but a little fluffy, with little strength behind it to cement in my mind or punch that particular chorus home. On their sophomore release Belong, They fix all the complaints I had with their sound and more.

Still mining Nostalgic Indie Pop Nuggets of Yester-Year, This album adds some new-found muscle to their Songs. The guitars are Heavier and more aggressive, the songs structures more creative and accomplished, and the production is boosted to a little higher fidelity  so the album feels less like a wispy 80s demo tape. It sounds like a big shift to avoid the second album curse, but they come out on the other side sounding like an  engaging and confident group. At its heart, it’s still a pop album; no amount of crunchy of guitars can take that away; gorgeous Pop songs about young love and looking back on your high school days. Packed with Melodies so addictive and catchy, you’ll swear you knew the words all along -like a lost song trapped in your memory. This new Punch to their sound has made me really reconsider Pains… They seem to be growing up a bit despite their nostalgic outlook:  from a wide-eyed group of lo-fi revivalists to a great Indie Rock Band that write undeniable pop songs.


Belong is now streaming for free on the band’s website. Neat-o

Fresh Fish: TV on the Radio – Will do (2011)

23 02 2011

New TV on the Radio Song from their upcoming album Nine Types of Light due out April 12th. Yay! Also, A Tour!

TV on the Radio 2011 Tour Dates:
04/08 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
04/09 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theatre
04/10 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
04/13 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall
04/16 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
04/17 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
04/18 – Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
04/20 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew Hall
04/23 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
04/24 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
04/26 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
05/02 – San Diego, CA @ 4th and B

The Squeezebox: Mux Mool – Drum EP 2

24 01 2011

So you like electronic music.  Video game bleeps, boom-claps and synths.  You enjoy dancing like a fool in your room to music that could evacuate a dancefloor with its weirdness.  You spend your days holed away playing with pirated copies of Fruity Loops, Cakewalk and Ableton Live.  You’re a beat junkie, and you love it.  Fear not, young pilgrim, for the Balafonic Crew is right by your side, freaking with the best of ’em.

So what’s bumping on the speakers this morning?  Why, if it isn’t Brooklyn-based Big Beat Electro-Hip Hop-Nerd Mux Mool, with his Drum EP 2, released last Friday and available online by donation only.  I love concept albums for their overarching themes.  So many albums out there today are just collections of songs that a band made, but with concept albums there is a larger narrative, a flow between tracks and throughout the album that gets me giddy, even if some of the individual tracks aren’t that hot.

And so it is with Drum EP 2, in which Mux Mool presents us with six songs he produced entirely while riding on airplanes.  As to be expected with an airplane album, Drum EP 2 is appropriately dreamy and introspection-inducing.  I can feel the stale air, the loud whirs and hums of the air conditioner, the sterile attendants and crying babies.  Please keep your tray tables in their upright and locked positions.

But Mux himself says it best when describing why he made this EP on Soundcloud:  “traveling in general can be rather soul sucking if you don’t properly prepare yourself. So this is an exercise in trying to remain inspired and present at a time when there is only frustration and anxiety and crying babies and snoring people and bad smells and stale air and delays and loneliness all around you.”

We can see then, that out of the most uninspiring, oppressive and ugly situations it is possible to still find inspiration, to create beauty and to appreciate soul.  Thanks for this little diddy, Mux, can’t wait for more.


Pick up your copy of Drum EP 2 over at Moodgadget

Fresh Fish: Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers – Teenage and Torture

24 01 2011

Hello world!  Let me introduce you to the sultry, the rockin’, the messy, the soulful….
Let’s hear a round of applause for Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers!

Knitting Factory Records presents her second album, Teenage and Torture, on a tarnished silver platter complete with empty Wild Turkey shot glasses, hole-y stockings, and maybe an angsty tear or two.  God, how I instantly loved Miss Shilpa Ray. Makes me want to dress-up. Where are my fishnets?

This album is complete with the hurried and raw energy of her first release, Fish Hooks and an Open Eye (2008) but hmmm let’s see… aged to near perfection.  I’m really not a girl-band girl.  Yes, yes…I did go through a Hole phase, but that was more for the humor and spectacle that was Courtney Love.  But let’s be honest, who can identify with Courtney Love?

I relate to Shilpa Ray. I was captivated by her honesty after reading a brief Myspace bio where she admitted that the Happy Hookers project was the first thing she’d ever finished in her life and how good she felt about getting herself out there. I feel like she and I could swap stories over late-night Miller High Lifes or something.  These Happy Hookers are not only the band down the street here in Brooklyn, but they tear it up too.


Pick up Teenage and Torture over at Knitting Factory Records
Or check our Shilpa Ray’s MySpace for more.

The Squeezebox: ELIKA – Snuggle Bunnies

20 01 2011

For most musicians, the creative process of making music starts with an emotion, an intangible feeling that they can convey only through sound.  I’ve often wondered if there is any correlation between emotional trends in music and broader world events and cultural trends, but that is a discussion for another day.  Suffice to say, the more emotion an artist conveys in their songs, the more accessible it becomes to emotional people.

It goes without saying that Elika, a two-piece, Brooklyn-based DIY electronic-pop band, has mastered this art of conveying emotion.  Though the prevalent feeling of their new album Snuggle Bunnies is a mixture of angst, pain, and frustration, there is a certain prevailing sense of hope and potential permeating the entire album, lending an unexpected brightness to an album primarily about breakups and heartache.

Let me be straight: you can call Elika indie shoegaze/dream-pop, but to accurately define their music would require much more space than we have here.  Snuggle Bunnies is a multi-genre album in the truest sense, ranging from danceable, bubbly, multi-layered electro to dreamy ambience and synth psychedelia.  Evangelia Maravelias has a beautiful voice, and her harmonizations throughout the album are absolutely wonderful.  All the elements combine to form a very compelling and diverse selection.

The only concern I have with this album is in its flow.  Why put the single, “Summer,” an upbeat, angsty hipster-anthem at the front of the disc?  “Stand Still,” track two on Snuggle Bunnies, sounds like the Intro of a great album.  Putting “Summer” before it feels odd and threatens to derail the flow of the whole album right from the get-go.

Elika has the vision, the talent and the relevance to make it as a fantastic chart-topper.   Their DIY production style is very encouraging to other budding hipsters/artists, and if it weren’t for the tracklist and the relatively low level of thematic diversity in the lyrical content, this album could have been a late addition to my top albums of 2010.  As it is, I am very much looking forward to hearing more from this duo.  87/100 B+


ELIKA website

The Squeezebox: Soundpool- Mirrors in your Eyes (2010)

13 01 2011

Brooklynite 5 piece band go from flirting with a concept to embracing it wholeheartedly and delivering a unique blend of sounds on their latest: Mirrors in your Eyes. Shoe-gaze/reverbed guitars/keyboards and ethereal, far off vocals married to a deep dance groove. while sounding strange on paper, this synthesis is Swirling and Intoxicating; breathing new life into a genre of Indie Rock thought to be decades dead. Soundpool creates a feeling that instead of looking at your feet sheepishly, you are more inclined to  stare at a disco ball, rock your glow sticks, and strut your stuff. crafting its own little world to wash over you. Brilliant album for fans of Deloreon and School of Seven Bells and other indie influenced electronic acts. Check out their new video below and you’ll definitely see what I mean –Armordillo

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