Tag Archives: phil spector

Live Photos: Cults at Soda Bar, July 29, 2011

Photos by Chris Maroulakos

Indie-pop darlings Cults played to a sold-out crowd at Soda Bar on Friday. Following the tedious exercise in nepotism that was Guards‘ opening set, Cults were a sight for sore ears.

Madeline Follin’s voice soared with ease over the girl group-inspired instrumentation as she lent her signature wail to songs like “Abducted,” “Rave On,” and the hit “Go Outside.” Guitarist Brian Oblivion and the backing band sprinkled just the right amount of 60s-pop sugar on the songs, and though the specter of Spector loomed large over the proceedings, they tackled the material with enough carefree energy to make it their own.

Cults might not have broken any new ground with their brief set, but when you’ve got songs that catchy, you don’t need to. Check out the photos…

The Pipettes vs. The Pipettes

How many pieces can you replace on something before it loses its essence? Whether it’s EVE rebuilding a damaged WALL-E from scrap, or my own quest to restore my Jeep after some rascally car thieves stripped it for parts, the question persists: just how much addition and subtraction can something withstand before it becomes something else entirely?

That’s a concern that’s plagued The Pipettes in recent years. The UK trio made a big splash in Europe and Asia with 2006’s chart-topping We Are The Pipettes, a delightful collection of catchy, girl group-inspired pop with a winking, post-feminist twist. Thanks to unforgettable singles like “Pull Shapes” and “Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me,” the record established the steely Gwenno, the demure Rosay, and the prickly RiotBecki as worthy carriers of the Phil Spector torch. Continue reading…

Poetic Memory: Jail Weddings (List)

Photo credit: Sarah Morrison Photography

Jail Weddings‘ 2009 EP, Inconvenient Dreams, has spent the last few months in constant rotation at the Owl and Bear offices, waiting defiantly for a new record to oust it from its spot at the top of our playlist. Picking up where Phil Spector and his wall of sound left off, Jail Weddings fuse doo wop, rockabilly, and soul into catchy, theatrical pop. It’s a disarming and seductive combination, which is why their EP has been getting such frequent play.

But now, at long last, an album has toppled Inconvenient Dreams from its throne, and wouldn’t you know — it’s another Jail Weddings record.

Set for release on October 12, Love Is Lawless is the Los Angeles band’s debut full-length, and it contains all the ballroom waltzes and barroom brawls we’ve come to expect. From the sublime “I Thought You Were Someone I Knew” to the cathartic “Somebody Lonely,” Love Is Lawless is not only a passionate tour de force, but a rollicking good time.

Lead singer Gabriel Hart was kind of enough to share his top influences with us (in no particular order). We’ve done a lot of Poetic Memory features here at Owl and Bear, but this has to be one of the most fascinating and revealing ones to date. Check it out, along with the video for “I Thought You Were Someone I Knew,” below. Continue reading…

Ellie Greenwich: 1940-2009 (Video)

Ellie Greenwich

As if living in a world without Ted Kennedy weren’t bad enough, today also saw the passing of Ellie Greenwich. Through her collaborations with Jeff Barry and Phil Spector, Greenwich’s songwriting had a profound influence on American pop music in the 60’s, with masterpieces like “Be My Baby”, “Then He Kissed Me”, “Going to the Chapel”, “Hanky Panky”, and “Leader of the Pack” being just a handful of the songs to her credit.

She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991, and her songs continue to be revered as pop classics. Aspiring songwriters can check out her charmingly antiquated tips for writing a hit song here. Greenwich died earlier today of a heart attack while undergoing treatment for pneumonia at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. She was 68.

In her honor, we’ve got a video (well, actually it’s just audio with a still image) of We Are Scientists performing Greenwich’s greatest song, “Be My Baby”, after the jump, as well as the famous long take from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, set to “Then He Kissed Me”. Continue reading