All posts tagged Avi Buffalo

Indie Dispatches: James Murphy Stands Down, Goth is Back?, The Feelies, WILD FLAG & More…

WILD FLAG

Yes , it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke – Indie Dispatches has returned and is back in a regular fashion. And as predicted we did indeed forget a few of the notable items so far in 2011…

* The indie rock power couple in WAVVES and Best Coast went out on tour together (and were seen at the Satellite recently in L.A. checking out their buddies in DOM). Interestingly enough, Bethany‘s Best Coast sales have far outstripped those of Nathan’s WAVVES… wonder if this is ever a source of tension.
* The New Goth Movement? It’s official… Zola Jesus led the charge, and now Esben & the Witch are close behind. With more to come!
* LCD Soundsystem operated under the classic mantra “live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse” with a week of life-affirming shows in NYC culminating in a 3 hour party Saturday night as the band’s last appearance on stage. From starting as the sound guy for Sub Pop‘s Six Finger Satellite to bowing out with headlining show at Madison Square Garden… James Murphy, we salute you!
* Tennis released an album with arguably the worst looking sleeve you’ll see this year.
* Did The White Sea remix Britney?
* My Morning Jacket lined up a new album, Circuital, hitting stores May 31st.
* Did TV On the Radio leave the indie world behind, parting from 4AD internationally?
* The dulcet tones of Mike Berenyi from Lush were heard by millions as Seinking Ships had a pretty striking sync use on ABC‘s hit show Private Practice.
* Avi Buffalo recorded a new 45 that is coming out shortly – great news!! Alas once again it looks to be enclosed in less than stellar jacket art.
* Underground super-group Middle Brother (with members of Dawes, Delta Spirit & Deer Tick) released an excellent album on Partisan, sounding as close to Crosby, Stills & Nash as you’ll hear this year (well, maybe until the new Fleet Foxes album)
* After almost 20 years, NJ’s favorite post-Velvet Underground popsters, The Feelies, recorded a new album Here Before that hits stores April 12 on Bar/None Records.
* Still wonder why we feel that there are too many bands and too many records? Just check out this list of forthcoming releases on Pitchfork
* Adele put a further stamp on the recent intrusion of the independent label into major label’s chart domination (at least in the UK) as her second album 21, released on XL Recordings, raced to over 1.8 million sales in old blighty. That’s over 6 times platinum pop kids!!!!
* The latest installment of Record Store Day - scheduled for April 16 – announced their list of releases, including a bunch of stupidly limited items that you’ll undoubtedly see popping up on Ebay April 17.
* Former Super Furry Animals singer Gruff Rhys has a new album, Hotel Shampoo, due on Wichita Recordings next month. This teaser video is plain awesome.
* Another one destined for the top 10 records of 2011 lists come December? The long awaited follow up to Bon Iver‘s debut For Emma, Forever Ago.
* The 2 most exciting words of the first part of the year though? WILD. FLAG. Watch out, this one is going to be rad…

- Cool Hand Luke

Indie Dispatches: Ten Most Enjoyed Albums of 2010 (And Then Some)…

Sharon Van Etten, Epic, indeed

The torrent of those year-end lists is still coming thick and fast from all corners of the media, with some of the latest being Amazon‘s best of, Rhapsody‘s picks, Drowned In Sound and Stereogum‘s top 50. Scanning through many of the lists, the big question doesn’t seem to be, “How many places will pick Kanye West as album of the year?” but more likely “How many places won’t?” Well, I can tell you, as much as Indie Dispatches appreciates the record, and definitely got our money’s worth buying the digital album for 99 cents on Amazon.com, it’s (not so) sad to say the opus didnt make our short list. Instead here are ten picks we enjoyed an awful lot during 2010 – some you may have listened to and others you may well have not…

Sharon Van EttenEpic (Ba Da Bing) – One of those ‘word-of-mouth’ records that has benefitted from the new frontier of the internet and the marvels of social media. Friends espousing their love of this Brooklyn artist on Facebook, an album purchase, and instant love. Further posting on Facebook about the glorious nature of this album – its engaging songwriting and classic feel – and the word spreads. Pure magic.

Gold PandaLucky Shiner (Ghostly International) – Ah, the joys of laptop electronica. This record seemingly came out of nowhere and set itself apart from its contemporaries (such as Four Tet, Baths, etc) with its progressive sounds, catchy melodies and infectious beats.

Avi BuffaloAvi Buffalo (Sub Pop) – A bunch of teenagers from LBC form a band, make a record, sign to one of the coolest labels around and capture the attention of music fans across the world, all led by a diminutive (and naive) guitar meastro after whom the combo is named. The lyrics express (at times in a raw fashion) the angst of being a teen, but the songs are for the ages.

Sally SeltmannHeart That’s Pounding (Arts & Crafts) – I recently rediscovered this album, marvelling at its brilliance all over again, and ended up listening to it 10 times in a row. As great as some of the much praised artists in this ‘girl singer over electro beats’ genre (read Annie, Saint Etienne), I have a feeling the sales were terrible (probably the ‘best, worst selling record of 2010′), which is criminal, despite Seltmann being the spouse of a member of Avalanches and the writer of Feist‘s monster hit.

VillagersBecoming a Jackal (Domino) – See SVE… but from Dublin, Ireland. People who ‘got’ this record fell in love and were enthralled by its majesty. Some of the best lyrics around, and coming from a country that is known for its A-grade balladeers. And whether it was just leader Conor O’Brien on stage solo, or with his band, the live shows were jaw dropping.

Dylan LeBlancPauper’s Field (Rough Trade) –  Alas, I think this release was lost amongst the blogger frenzy for label mates Warpaint and Morning Benders, which was a crying shame. LeBlanc is steeped in the whole country-soul canon with personal ties to the Muscle Shoals/Fame recordings family of musicians, which set him apart on this album from the rest of his singer-songwriter contemporaries.

SuperchunkMajesty Shredding (Merge) – A bunch of old(er) folk make their first album in nine years, and at the same time, show all the youthful pretenders half their age how it is done. Great energy, super songs and reminding the world why Superchunk was one of the best bands in the 90′s (and still are). Come back of the year and a record that more than holds its own with anything in 2010.

Best CoastCrazy Like You (Mexican Summer) – 2010 was a bleak year to be an American, with high unemployment, economic troubles, housing traumas, political turmoil… what better time would there be to throw all the cares away with an album of summery beach pop. Pure escapism, and quintessentially Californian.

PhantogramEyelid Movies (Barsuk) – An album that might have been more at home on Warp or Modular, rather than the house that Death Cab for Cutie built, but it’s 2010, so who’s discriminating. See Gold Panda… with vocals.

Holly MirandaThe Magician’s Private Library (XL) –  Who knew that the mantle of Jeff Buckley would be taken up by the former singer of a relatively average NY indie rock band, with help from a member of TVOTR? The album got made and sat in limbo for an age, before XL Recordings stepped in (thank goodness)… Anchored by Miranda’s entrancing vocals, seemingly swooping down from heaven.

And worthy of notable mention for providing great listening pleasure at various times during 2010, in no particular order… Fences Fences , Fitz & The Tantrums Picking Up the Pieces, Glasser Ring, The Head and the Heart The Head and the Heart, Surf City Kudos, Owen Pallett Heartland, Magic Kids Memphis , Local Natives Gorilla Manor, Surfer Blood Astro Coast.

- Cool Hand Luke

Indie Dispatches: Top 10 Releases of the Half-Year

Top Ten of '10 So Far

In a flash half of the year has flown by and thoughts are turning to BBQ’s, the beach and the ubiquitous ‘best of the year so far’ lists… In a busy six months there have been standouts, some obvious, some maybe not so…

- – -

Avi Buffalo Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop) – What were you doing when you were 17 years of age? Chances are you were still fretting over skin problems, obsessing about cheerleaders, and trying to cadge school assignments off fellow classmates. I can guarantee what you were not doing, was writing and recording one of the most accomplished indie releases of this year (or any other actually), as young Avi has done.  ”What’s In It For” is the proverbial ‘feel good hit of summer’ and it just goes on from there.

Villagers Becoming a Jackal (Domino) – The folk clubs of the world are littered with the bones of average singer songwriters, so it is a reason to rejoice when one emerges from the pack with special talents. And the fresh-faced Conor J. O’Brien’s cupboard is overflowing in that department, as evidenced by his debut solo album. Another youngster showing that the future is very, very bright.

Sally Seltmann Heart That’s Pounding (Arts & Crafts) – “Sally who?” you say? An Australia formerly disguised behind her New Buffalo moniker, the (almost anonymous) writer of Feist’s hit “1-2-3-4″ released an album that is front-to-back choc-full of infectious sing-along pop tunes. The release may have been low key, but the talents within are far from it. Oh, and Sally is married to Darren Seltmann, head honcho of The Avalanches, and It doesnt get much cooler than that.

Hey Marseilles To Travels and Trunks (Onto) – this is cheating as the album had been self-released in ’08, but a spruced up repackage and ‘proper’ release justifies its inclusion here. Including a lot of the great elements of fellow-Northwesterers The Decemberists, but without the tendency for their rather tiresome sea shanty-isms. Some strings, some horns and some handclaps, makes this a thoroughly enjoyable multi-layered album.

Holly Miranda The Magician’s Private Library (XL) – Anyone who saw the young Jeff Buckley play his legendary shows at Sin-E in NYC in the 90′s will wax lyrically about his presence and the sheer majesty of his voice – a captivating spell that enveloped the listener. Miranda, formerly of New Yorkers Jealous Girlfriends, with help from TVOTR’s Dave Sitek, surprised everyone by duplicating that magic on her debut solo album – a record that, considering its beauty, lay around for way too long searching for a home, before XL thankfully picked it up for release.

Surfer Blood Astrocoast (Kanine) – Warranting inclusion, if only for the track “Swim”. They may be, at heart, the new Weezer, but these Florida kids have more than one sing-along indie hit on their debut release. Joining Best Coast, WAVVES and their brethren in the ‘new beach scene’ of 2010.

She & Him Volume 2 (Merge) – Even without Zooey Deschanel’s status as the #1 indie rock heartthrob, this record would still be close to the top as one of the year’s best, and rightfully deserving its smashing opening week chart position. Deschanel brims with 60′s girl group sweetness, and is more effervescent than a vintage soda shop, backed by the solid chops of elder statesman M. Ward. Bonus points for the version of “Gonna Get Along Without You Now”, (which the Lemonheads covered with great results in the 90′s)

Phantogram Eyelid Movies (Barsuk) – Barsuk may not have been the most obvious label to release this slab of throbbing electronica, and Saratoga Springs may not be the most obvious hometown, but that shouldn’t disguise this New York duo’s class. Like early LCD Soundsystem, or acclaimed French group M-83, the album is a hypnotic swirling beat-driven classic, which live they take to another sweaty, grooving level.

Sleigh Bells Treats (Mom & Pop) – Another duo, this time from Brooklyn, who could be the most newsworthy two piece since The White Stripes, or The Kills at least. A chartbusting debut album that could be seen as the dark underbelly to the squishy fuzziness of a band like the Ting Tings. In two year’s time people may not care, but Sleigh Bells have definitely succeeded in capturing the zeitgeist in 2010.

Karen Elson The Ghost Who Walks (XL) – She may be better known as a model, and of course, as Mrs Jack White, but Elson shows on her album that she can make an album combining some classic elements into a cohesive whole – a dose of Tammy Wynette, a splash of Ann Margret, some Nico and a heavy serving of Bobby Gentry.

- Cool Hand Luke

Indie Dispatches: Down the Rabbit Hole; 10 Essential Things To Do This Week

Sleigh Bells Debut LP Out this Week on Mom & Pop; Streaming on NPR

1. Listen to the debut Sleigh Bells LP Treats that is streaming on NPR‘s First Listen

2. Check out the bountiful slate of great shows coming up in LA at the Hollywood Bowl this summer – She and Him with The Swell Season (July 18), Chemical Brothers, Yacht & Chromeo (August 29), Phoenix, Grizzly Bear & Girls (Sept 18), Vampire Weekend & Beach House (Sept 26) and of course Pavement, Sonic Youth & No Age (Sept 30)

3. Be thrilled that the latest albums by the Hold Steady Heaven is Forever (Vagrant Records), The New Pornographers Together (Matador) and Minus the Bear Omni (Dangerbird) all cracked the top 50 this week

4. Wish you were in the UK hanging out in your chalet with your music friends going to the latest ATP festival

5. Watch the debut video for “What’s In It For” by Avi Buffalo

6. Marvel at the fact that 1000 people came out to the recent Broken Social Scene instore at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles and buy a copy of their new album Forgiveness Rock Record on Arts and Crafts

7. Read Mike McGonigal‘s excellent oral history of seminal nineties act Galaxie 500

8. Visit your local vinyl emporium to see if there are any more Record Store Day goodies floating around (you may be pleasantly surprised)

9. Download the new track “Lights” from Interpol and rue the fact that bassist Carlos D has left the band

10. Purchase the much praised new album High Violet from The National

11. Mark down the date for the 2010 Siren Festival in your calendar (July 17!)

-Cool Hand Luke

Indie Dispatches: Omissions, Additions & What’s Moving this Summer

Avi Buffalo's Debut Album Out this Week Ahead of Big Summer Dates

In our 2010 indie chart busting wrap up last week, there was of course a notable omission – the sophomore album by Vampire Weekend that was released in January on XL Recordings. Not only did the New York band crack the top five, they debuted at the #1 spot, which is quite an achievement for any label in the current climate let alone one of the world’s true independents. But XL is on a roll this year. Did you realize the xx album from The xx, on XL (now that’s a tongue twister) in a very stealth fashion has sold over 100,000 copies domestically? Not bad for a release that has barely blipped on the radar of most mainstream media. As with Vampire Weekend, a lot of blog mentions and a hefty dose of love from Pitchfork can go a long way, but such attention is not a guarantee of success. Looking at sales for some of the other blog favorites such as Neon Indian and UK buzzy acts Hot Chip and The Big Pink, they have all ambled along a similar sales plateau recently in spite of a significant blog presence. In all, that makes the sales for The xx even more impressive. The London trio is sure to spread the gospel even wider coming off a much talked-about dusk slot at Coachella and more upcoming US dates, including two sold-out shows in Los Angeles and appearances at the upcoming Sasquatch and Bonnaroo festivals.  Also expect many to come out for support act Phantogram on the West Coast dates, as the highly rated Brooklyn duo are turning heads right now with their album Eyelid Movies on Barsuk Records and current tour with The Antlers.

One band that has a slew of high profile live dates ahead of them is Long Beach teen sensations Avi Buffalo. Coming off a recent runs with both Japandroids and Rogue Wave, the summer will see them sharing the stage with everyone from Modest Mouse and Sub Pop label-mates Blitzen Trapper to My Morning Jacket. Avi Buffalo’s self-titled debut album is out this week and has already garnered a 9/10 rating in Britain’s NME magazine.

- Cool Hand Luke