For a show whose key components included a smoke machine and a guy singing soprano, there was nothing cheesy about The Besnard Lakes‘ May 12 performance at the Casbah. Over the course of three albums, the Montreal four-piece has made its name playing loud, epic art-rock with a sugary Beach Boys center. Their cinematic compositions could have sounded sloppy or unruly in a live setting, but the band proved that they needn’t rely on recording studio trickery. Continue reading…
Dr. Dog sound like The Beatles. Or wait, no, they sound more like The Beach Boys. No, no, they sound exactly like The Band. That’s it, they sound like The Band. Wait no, that’s not it, now I’m hearing Gram Parsons. Now Pink Floyd? PINK FLOYD? You guys sound like Pink Floyd right now! What the hell?! Goddammit Dr. Dog, who do you sound like? I know it’s someone. You guys sound exactly like somebody, and someday I will figure it out.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of what you guys do because, when it comes down to it, it’s not who you sound like but what you sound like, and what you guys sound like is pure, feel-good, warm and fuzzy 60s rock.
Dr. Dog make the type of music that is so damn groovy you start to involuntarily squint your eyes, smile, and bob your head, wishing that somehow you could feel like this more often, but all the while grateful to have felt like this at all. Basically, Dr. Dog’s music makes you look and feel like that rare type of pothead who actually knows how to enjoy being stoned. Continue reading…
New Jersey has produced some terrific music in years past. I mean, come on: Frank Sinatra, George Clinton, The Boss, Yo La Tengo, Bon Jovi… Alright, maybe not the Bon Jovi part, though I do freely admit to feeling the urge to sing along whenever “It’s My Life” comes across the airwaves. Don’t judge. But out of all those bands, Yo La Tengo is probably the most similar to Real Estate, and even that comparison is a stretch.
“Beach Comber”, the opening track on Real Estate’s self-titled debut, serves as a perfect introduction to the band’s surprising restraint and easy-go-lucky rhythm. Their music uses a feeling of youthful carelessness not just as a sonic template, but as a common theme that runs throughout the album. Front man Martin Courtney exhibits a thoughtful, sincere singing style, his voice humbly meshing with the hushed, playful tones. Continue reading
In the 1960s the average band enjoyed fame for a couple of months, if that, before people’s attention shifted to the next rising (and soon to be falling) stars. Being a one-hit wonder wasn’t a failure, it was the norm, and accomplishments by bands like The Beatles and The Kinks were rendered all the more impressive by the fact that any kind of longevity was exceptional, and enjoyed by only a small percentage of groups.
Not much has changed since then: nowadays most bands—particularly in the realm of indie rock—still amount to little more than passing fads, soaking up their proverbial fifteen minutes before succumbing to irrelevance. But one thing that has been accelerated by the internet is that entire genres seem to rise and fall in the space of a few months, leaving up-and-coming groups scrambling to tap into the next sound du jour and ride the
Wavves waves of recognition before they fizzle out.
Then there are bands who are content to just create great music. Unfazed by meaningless trends, they place emphasis on great songwriting, captivating melodies, and a distinctive but inviting sound. They may not get drooled over by Pitchfork (and if they do, it’s only so long until P4K’s drool runs dry and the inevitable backlash begins), but they do create a body of work that speaks for itself, and will outlast the one-MP3 wonders that permeate the blogosphere. San Diego’s The Moviegoers are one of those bands, and though they may not auto-tune their vocals or mangle their guitars with lo-fi crunch, they do create moving, memorable songs accented by rich harmonies and understated confidence. And that never goes out of style. Continue reading
The last time Ontario, Canada’s The Rest played at the Casbah, we missed it. But we won’t make that mistake again. After all, according to their MySpace page, The Rest like all the things that we like: doing push-ups, shooting each other with water guns, howling at the moon, and delicious Thai food. (More details below.) We have other reasons, too. For one, their new album, Everything All At Once, is amazing. For another, they graciously agreed to write the latest installment of Poetic Memory. Also, they use the word “rascal” in their lyrics.
We’ve featured The Rest on our podcast a few times, but in case you missed it, here are a couple of MP3s. The wondrously haunting “Drinking Again” is definitely one of our favorite songs of 2009. Also, be sure to check out “Everything All At Once“, the epic titular track from their new album.
Poetic Memory is a regular Owl and Bear feature in which musicians disclose their influences—whether it’s albums, songs, artists, or something random. If you’re interested in being featured here, send us an email. Continue reading