A music blog, established 2010. My name is Chris Cappello and I'm a Yale student from New Haven, Connecticut.

"Heavy Breath"
Monday, January 9, 2012

Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 1/6/12

I just realized that in the midst of all the horrible things that happened this weekend, I forgot to post the playlist from my radio show on Friday. I’m sorry about that. Thank you to everyone who tuned in. Prepare for this show to get a lot sadder to listen to in the coming weeks. 

Anyway, here’s the playlist with an attached link to stream to each song.

Monday, December 19, 2011

15 Great Connecticut Albums From 2011

I know I promised to do a top ten list of my favorite Connecticut albums from this year back when I made my original list schedule, but it was too hard to narrow the list down to just 10. I simply heard too many good albums from my home state this year to pick so few as my favorites. I also found it too difficult to order them properly, so I just put them in alphabetical order. So, with that having been said, here is the next installment in my list series: 15 great Connecticut albums from 2011! Bandcamp links to stream each album are available when applicable.

1. boy crush - hauntr

Indie Pop, Psychedelic Pop

 The High Pop singer’s debut album from his solo project boy crush demonstrates an impressive level of maturity that I never expected. Hauntr is a brief but memorable collection of fragile, lo-fi pop songs about ghosts. Apparently it was recorded in a haunted house, which you may or may not believe after hearing it.

2. Bust It! - Hell Is Other People

Hardcore Punk

Seeing Bust It! live at The Mannor last month made me feel like it was 1983 and I was in Washington, D.C. Their EP Hell Is Other People, released back in March, isn’t entirely derivative of 80’s hardcore punk, but it does have that same level of raw aggression and recklessness. It’s also a lot of fun too, as evidenced by the dynamic opener “Intro/Empty Drawer,” which somehow fits three or four distinct movements into three minutes.

3. Co-Pilots - All My Friends Are Crutches, Because God Knows My Legs Are Broken

Indie Rock, Emo

You could look at Co-Pilots' All My Friends Are Crutches EP in two ways. In one sense, it’s an album that has perhaps the most potential of any new band in the Fairfield county scene to lead to something truly great, with its inspired lyricism, very lengthy, epic tracks that never get boring, and song structures derived from post-rock. On the other hand, it’s probably the most crushingly frustrating record I’ve heard in a long time, as much of the album’s potential is stymied by its demo-quality production. Thankfully, the band has announced that they will be putting out a new EP this winter. Stay tuned for more information on that! 

4. Fugue - YEARS

Post-Rock, Math Rock

In a year full of crushing breakups, Fugue's disbandment was one of the saddest, especially for people in the Connecticut/Massachusetts scene. On their final EP YEARS, the band had just started to truly live up to their potential as a sweeping, dynamic, instrumental post-rock band. YEARS' math rock inflections and subtle electronic influences set it apart from the pack of local post-rock groups, leaving listeners with a great last release to remember Fugue by. 

5. Giles Corey - Giles Corey

Slowcore, Shoegaze, Ambient Folk

Seeing this record here is probably no surprise to anyone who read my Top 50 Albums of 2011 list, on which Giles Corey claimed the top spot. I’ve said a lot about this already, so I’ll keep it brief here. It’s interesting that despite consistently producing great music, Dan Barrett’s Enemies List Home Recordings doesn’t really feel like a part of the local scene at all. The New England identity of Giles Corey goes much deeper — Back to the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, from which Barrett’s solo project takes its name. Listening to these creepy, hollow sounding ghost folk songs in that context gives them even greater emotional power. 

Purchase the album HERE.

6. The Guru - Native Sun

Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Psychedelic Pop

No other record defined my Connecticut summer this year more than The Guru's debut LP Native Sun, a joyful, resonant, and deceptively funky indie pop gem about youth. I caught tons of Guru shows over the summer, which were consistently packed, and witnessed these songs being brought to life, but when the summer turned to fall and the kids went their separate ways (Two went off to college together), I still had Native Sun blasting through my speakers to remind me of those summer nights.

7. Heavy Breath - Ugly Americans

Sludge Metal, Post-Hardcore

A lot of great punk came out of Connecticut this year, but nothing was as heavy or as badass as this. Heavy Breath's Ugly Americans EP is a brutal indictment of American politics, culture, and society, conveyed through scorching bass and guitar grooves and delivered by chord-shredding vocals. If you’re pissed off at America, or if you just want to feel pissed off, Ugly Americans is for you.

8. Jerkagram  - We’ve Only Come To Leave

Math Rock, Post-Rock

Jerkagram is a pair of cerebral Connecticut musicians who, despite being well versed in art rock and angular math rock, really enjoy simply jamming together. Their debut record We’ve Only Come To Leave finds those two musical worlds colliding, with a stirring, semi-improvised mix of mathy guitar bursts and impressive percussive fills. Despite opening for artists like Kayo Dot and Marnie Stern, this album went under the radar, which is unfortunate. You should all check it out if this sounds like your thing.

9. M.T. Bearington - Love Buttons

Indie Rock, Indie Pop

The New Haven band M.T. Bearington have been working up to this release for quite a while, getting sponsored by the likes of Mates Of State and releasing a number of records since getting started around 2006. Love Buttons represents the apex of their vision: A smart, undeniably catchy indie pop record with just enough weirdness to stand out. I first saw the band live opening for Man Man back in October, and although I didn’t particularly understand the pairing at the time, it makes a lot of sense now.

10. Ovlov - What’s So Great About The City?

Indie Rock, Noise Rock, Shoegaze

Connecticut’s best 90’s indie rock revivalists put out an unmissable EP this year, entitled What’s So Great About The City? The album placed on my top 50 list, so I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say it’s an extremely catchy and memorable indie rock record with heavy shoegaze guitars. With just four tracks, you can sit through the record in just over 10 minutes, or replay this over and over again if you want.

11. Sinforiano Diaz - The Moosup Sessions

Indie Folk

Although Thomas Diaz, best known as the singer from The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, has been recording as Sinforiano Diaz for years, this is the first piece of recorded material from his solo project that I’ve been able to dig up. Although the four songs on The Moosup Sessions were not recorded this year, the album itself was made publicly available early in 2011. These songs — Fragile, delicate folk gems — give listeners a tremendous insight into the mind of one of the more enigmatic frontmen in the Connecticut scene right now.

Read more about Sinforiano Diaz / Download The Moosup Sessions HERE.

12. Suns - Be Good Boy

Indie Rock, Emo

Fairfield County trio Suns raised their stature earlier this year with their EP Be Good Boy, a record that brought an aggressive rawness to their indie rock product. The album’s not as consistent as I would have liked it to be, but it’s got a great sound and some singularly great songs. Fans of anthemic, angst-ridden indie rock bands like Titus Andronicus will definitely want to check this out.

13. Wess Meets West - Chevaliers

Post-Rock

This is another one that placed high on my year end albums list. Wess Meets West's Chevaliers was one of the biggest and heaviest albums I heard all year, especially of the post-rock variety. With Fugue having disbanded, this decidedly smaller group now stands head and shoulders over their peers in the local post-rock scene, and this incredibly ambitious record solidifies their place.  

14. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Are Here To Help You (split w/ Deer Leap)

Emo, Indie Rock, Post-Rock

Based on the amount of coverage that I gave it ever since its release, it should be pretty clear that The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die's split with Deer Leap is one of my favorite records of the year. TWIABP’s side is the highlight, boasting four fantastic atmospheric emo songs that are easily my favorites from the band. Topshelf Records recently released the split as a 12”, and my copy came in the other day on white vinyl. It sounds fantastic, and I’m really glad I ordered it. 

15. Year In Review - I’m Sorry Mario, But Our Princess Is In Another Castle

Pop-Punk, Indie Rock

The Fairfield County scene really cleaned up this year, as it turns out, with a number of great new bands sprouting up and releasing solid material. Year In Review is a pop-punk band from the area with indie rock credibility and none of the annoying cliches generally associated with that style of music. Their record I’m Sorry Mario, But Our Princess Is In Another Castle is an EP comprising five songs about growing older, approaching adulthood, and losing the innocence of youth. It’s pertinent, catchy, and interesting, and definitely worth a few listens.

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Check back here tomorrow for the final installment in my list series, my 10 favorite shows of 2011. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photos: Hostage Calm with The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, Heavy Breath, and Suns live at The Space. 9.24.11

Connecticut power punk heroes Hostage Calm celebrated the first anniversary of the release of their anthemic self-titled sophomore LP last night at Hamden’s The Space, and brought along some of the best bands in the Connecticut underground scene for support. With four diverse bands drawing fans from all parts of the scene, It was the kind of show that makes me proud to be from this state. 

Check out some more photos that I took last night of all four bands over at the Lewis and his Blog facebook page HERE!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 9/23/11

Last night’s Left of the Dial radio show on WNHU was tons of fun. I kicked things off with a couple tracks from my recent Fall 2010 Nostalgia Mix, which can be streamed in full HERE, and tacked on the new single from Diarrhea Planet's forthcoming debut LP Loose Jewels for good measure. I also played music from three of the bands that are playing at Hostage Calm's LP anniversary show at The Space tonight, including tracks from the new Suns EP Be Good Boy and the new The World Is… split 12” Are Here To Help You.

Afterwards, I played some of my favorite Andrew Jackson Jihad songs and then aired my interview with the band, which I recorded on Tuesday at the Heirloom Arts Theater in Danbury. That interview can be read/streamed in full HERE for those of you who didn’t get to tune in last night.

The rest of the night’s set included new stuff from Girls and The Rapture, as well as a cut from the new Into It. Over It. LP Proper, which I reviewed HERE. Finally, I closed the show with two tracks from the recently disbanded R.E.M., including one cut from their latest album Collapse Into Now. It was a busy week, and last night was a busy show. Here’s the playlist below, with links to stream each song, when available.

Anyway, I’m off to see that Hostage Calm show with The World Is…, Suns, and Heavy Breath. Tune in to WNHU next Friday at 6 PM to listen to another live broadcast of Left of the Dial!

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