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: Vessels- Helioscope (2011)

16 03 2011

This is what Indie Rock Should sound like. Challenging and exciting, visceral and emotive, Vessels release Helioscope– An Album of Angular, progressive, but ultimately Beautiful Post-Rock. Consisting of Mostly Instrumentals that manage to walk a fine like between Thunderous and Dreamy, leaving you rattled by the rush by the end. They might be shy, but When Vessels do decide to step in front of a mic, they bring  vocal hooks that can stand with some of the best Indie Rock Songs around. Check out the gorgeous but haunting Meatman, Piano Tuner, Prostitute (sounds to me like a Tool song title, heh.) or the Warming maelstrom of All our Ends. look for this album out if you love Progressive Indie Rock or if you find Post-Rock to be the slightest bit Boring or repetitive. If this album doesn’t change your mind, I’m not sure anything will.

92%- Armordillo

Recur– Off  Vessels New album, Helioscope

Fresh Fish: Ringo Deathstarr- Imagine Hearts

11 03 2011

Goofy named (but Awesome) Ringo Deathstarr revive some shoegaze greatness on the opening track from their debut LP, Colour strip. Now, the entire album doesn’t sound entirely like this, a lot of these songs have a distinct garage sounding Noise Pop sound, but Imagine Hearts sounds like a long-lost My Bloody Valentine Single. Warped and disorienting, gorgeous but ugly, sounding like the listener is going through a washing machine. A track you gotta check out if you’re a fan of massive waves of guitar chaos.


The Squeezebox: Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo (2011)

10 02 2011

Serving as a break from his day job, Super Furry Animals Singer/Guitarist Gruff Rhys Offers up another eclectic batch of Pop sounds- where each track has a unique sonic template and feel. His past work with SFA and his solo outings have always had an unorthodox and kaleidoscopic  approach to pop songwriting and instrumentation, creating a space that only they can call their own.

All the familiar elements of his past work are here but this time it feels like Mr. Rhys just raided a music store or garage sale to bring in even more new sounds.From the Sampledelic Opener Shark Ridden Waters, the Audio Soda-Pop of Honey All Over, or the duet of missed opportunity in Space Dust #2, this album is all over the map. Using Warmly buzzing Keyboards, mariachi horns, saxophone, stand up bass, grand piano, strings,etc.- you see where I’m going with this,  there’s a lot of different sounds on Hotel Shampoo, but the added instruments are tastefully done with restraint, and it never seems forced. On some of these tracks though, Gruff Rhys scales back the instruments to play slower, piano-driven tunes accented by gorgeous strings. It Really showcases how great his voice can sound when he’s serious. Pick this one up if you’re a fan of Super Furry Animals (One of my Top 10 favorite bands of all time) or just need some well crafted, 21st century Brit-Pop.

-84% Armordillo


The SqueezeBox: Radio Dept- Passive Aggressive Singles 2002-2010

9 02 2011

So, What Started this Foray into Indie Rock you ask? (OK, probably not, but bear with me for a moment)Pixies like a lot of people? Built to spill? Dinosaur Jr.? Pavement? Guess again – The Swedish Based Radio Dept. As basically the first cool Band I ever got into during high school, I feel a sentimental attachment to Radio Dept.- A seemingly Random Introduction to the music, but it broke me out of my Angst-ridden Nirvana phase and into their style of Synth-y Dream Pop . With Awesome lo-fi instrumentation, breathy vocals, and melancholy subject matter, it was Perfect soundtrack for the Arrested Development of my youth. When I Decided to download their debut album Lesser Matters on an off-chance,They Showed me a way and inspired yours truly to keep digging and pursuing music that’s maybe a little under the radar or lesser known, If it weren’t for Radio Dept, I might not be here today writing this sentence. It’s Clear these guys mean a lot more to me more than the average band.

Now, Nearly Ten Years after their formation and just releasing what might be their best album in Clinging to a scheme, They Come out with a 2-disc Compilation celebrating their work over 21st century. Now these “best-of” releases usually fall into the pitfalls of either A) picking their most well-known songs and glossing over the hidden gems  or B) Choosing too many obscure B-sides throw-aways that only the most die-hard of fans would enjoy. Usually just a way for some quick cash or to fill their record company’s quota, This Singles Comp actually walks a fine line between the two gloriously.

The Truth about Passive Aggressive and The Radio Dept. is that their Singles-Only tracks and/or B-sides actually often equal their Album output and Sometimes; even Eclipses it. Now that the group is more popular than ever, they have some Clout and deserve a career spanning Set to branch out into new fan bases. It’s a great way to hear some of your favorite songs along with some fresh material that might have been Doomed to obscurity. Whether you’re a New Fan looking for a place to start or a Familiar Listener craving new Dream Pop Perfection, look no further.

-90% Armordillo

radio-dept set on Soundcloud

The Squeezebox: Cut Copy – Zonoscope (2011)

7 02 2011

It’s been two years since In Ghost Colours, a collision of Insanely Catchy Melodies and Daft Punk Booty- Blastin’ Techno. Shacking up in Their Native Melbourne with a newly rented Warehouse/ Studio/ Factory/Flat thing to record their latest installment Zonoscope– a Self-Produced album billed as more experimental and ambitious than their previous work.

The Band seems to have traded in some of their samplers and drums machines to start writing songs with a more traditional Approach (Drums/Bass/Guitar and synthesiser). This leads the album to more of a flowing, hypnotic, and ultimately more layered sound. A psychedelic disco party that rewards repeated listening. It’s Summer in Australia and this album serves as a Perfect Soundtrack to warm weather and drinking on the porch. Cut Copy‘s Bouncy brand of House-Thump will be missed, but Musicians have to press on and evolve their sound, I get that, and the results rarely end up as great as Zonoscope.   83% -Armordillo

Cut Copy’s MySpace

Fresh Fish: Inspired Flight – Chemicals (featuring Scarab) (2010)

25 01 2011

An evolving slice of electronica and dream pop, a six and a half minute song that feels like three – filled with soothing loops, echo-y, Cure Guitar and other analog goodness.  Featuring Living Legends MC Scarab – who drops conceptual rhymes in a reflective but compelling delivery about Pills, Substances, and the effects on the human mind.  However, this song isn’t the Drug Fueled Anthem I make it out to be.  By the time the duet with lead singer Gabe Lehner (also known as Chavez) appears, It turns into a comforting lullaby, sounding both loving and melancholy at the same time. Perfect to listen to wrapped in a comforter with your love/ significant other.  For those of you wanting Postal Service style marriage of Pop and Electronics without the preciousness/nausea and a broader vision for their sound – we may have found your band.


Inspired Flight’s Myspace

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