Grand Archives

February 24, 2008

Leaving behind the emerging success of Band of Horses and their excellent, Everything All the Time, may not have seemed like a great career move for guitarist Mat Brooke. It’s also hard to believe that Brooke wasn’t kicking himself when the Horses’ follow up, Cease to Begin, was released last year to a fair amount of critical praise.

But things are looking well on their way to being more than okay, now that Brooke’s newest band, Grand Archives’ new self-titled record is out on Sub Pop. (Mat Brooke was also in the band, Carissa’s Weird.)

At the outset of the record on “Torn Blue Foam Couch,” the Grand Archives start to invoke the sweet powers of Iron and Wine, but with enough reverb in place to evoke both Band of Horses and the bottom of a well. As the drum kicks in, the Archives soar out from those sad dark places and launch into some uplifting pop music; harmonies, whistles, rainbows, French horns, dancing ponies and all.

Listen: “Torn Blue Foam Couch” from their self-titled debut album available on Sub Pop Records.
Also listen: Band of Horses, “No One’s Gonna Love You,” from Cease to Begin.

Man Man

February 6, 2008

Philadelphia’s extraordinary Man Man bring the big-top carnivalesque sideshow back to town, with deference to (now label-mate) Tom Waits as ringleader in tow. The quintet’s last outing from 2006, Six Demon Bag, was a bizarro funhouse ride of a record. The first track to emerge from their new album, Rabbit Habits, places the Man Man back on that dizzying ride, showcasing their talents like the theme of some eerie cryptkeeper automaton saloon at psycho-Disneyland.

Listen: “Top Drawer” from the forthcoming Rabbit Habits, available on Anti Records 4/8/08. Also, “Van Helsing Boombox” from Six Demon Bag, available on Ace Fu Records.

An old exclusive interview from Pitchfork Media.

Man Man plays the Bowery Ballroom 4/10/08.

George Pringle

February 4, 2008

Wit, beauty, a killer accent, a man’s name and an iBook G4 named Truman: five things George Pringle has going for her, not necessarily in that order. (Yes, her name is cool: it fits like a button-down oxford, slightly over-sized on some actor’s model girlfriend. You know the one…)

The young spoken-word lo-fi techno songstress has been getting a bit of international recognition, a difficult feat for one from the world of an accidental genre (“diseuse”) that requires the use of a dictionary. Spoken-word monologues aren’t exactly fodder for top 40 pop hooks or even indie breakout hits, but Pringle wields her stream-of-consciousness compositions with a disarming charm. She samples a typewriter and a paroxysm of coughing, references Street Fighter II, and posts demo promo polaroids of herself on her blog. She’s a dream come true.

It’s Pringle’s homemade electrobeats, however, that sets her songs apart from the average ho-hum of bedroom demos. “I’m Very Scared Buster, Yes At Last,” is a prime example: drum + bass + piano + typewriter + coughing, add some catchy background singing and a nice little chorus, and there you have it. In truth, Pringle could say just about anything over the track and it would be a winner. The fact that she’s an Oxford educated literatus is just gravy, isn’t it?

George Pringle – “Carte Postale”

Listen: “Carte Postale,” and other are available here from RCRD LBL.