Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 1/25/13
Thanks to those of you who tuned in to last night’s broadcast of Left of the Dial. It honestly felt like one of the best shows I’ve had in a long time in terms of playlist quality; maybe this whole ‘losing all the music on my harddrive and rebuilding from scratch’ thing is paying off. Check out the full playlist below and stream the available tracks via Spotify at the embedded link at the bottom. As always, be sure to tune in again next Friday from 6 to 8 PM.
- 1. Hymie’s Basement - “21st Century Pop Song”
- 2. The Dismemberment Plan - “The City”
- 3. Broken Social Scene - “Almost Crimes” (Radio Kills remix)
- 4. Bleeding Rainbow - “Pink Ruff”
- 5. Television - “Venus”
- 6. Hallelujah The Hills - “Get Me In A Room”
- 7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - “So Good At Being In Trouble”
- 8. Sidewalk Dave - “Cayenne”
- 9. Titus Andronicus - “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With The Flood of Detritus”
- 10. Suns - “Be Good Boy”
- 11. Iceage - “Coalition”
- 12. X - “We’re Desperate”
- 13. Pylon - “Crazy”
- 14. Rilo Kiley - “Portions For Foxes”
- 15. Screaming Females - “Poison Arrow”
- 16. Ducktails - “Ivy Covered House”
- 17. Marti Jones - “The Element Within Her” (Elvis Costello cover)
- 18. My Bloody Valentine - “When You Sleep”
- 19. Purity Ring - “Grandloves”
- 20. Eskmo - “We Are All Terrestrial”
- 21. Nosaj Thing - “Home”
- 22. Small Black - “Photojournalist”
- 23. Waxahatchee - “Peace and Quiet”
- 24. Wye Oak - “Civilian”
- 25. Comadre - “Hack”
- 26. Black Moth Super Rainbow - “Windshield Smasher”
- 27. The Magnetic Fields - “Strange Powers”
- 28. Grouper - “Living Room”
Stream via Spotify:
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 8/31/12
Last night’s radio show was my last broadcast of Left of the Dial for the summer. I’ll still be doing my show throughout the school year, but I’m going to miss heading into the studio at 5:30 and coming out two and a half hours later with the sun still out. Here’s the full playlist from last night’s program, which was (unusually? especially?) sad, overall. Scroll down to the embedded link to stream the available songs from this playlist via Spotify.
- 1. Suns - "Repulse"
- 2. Swans - “Lunacy”
- 3. Mount Eerie - “Appetite”
- 4. Joie De Vivre - “I Was Sixteen Ten Years Ago”
- 5. The xx - “VCR”
- 6. Cat Power - “I Don’t Blame You”
- 7. Desaparecidos - “Give Me The Pen” (feat. David Dondero)
- 8. Everyone Everywhere - “Fervor & Indifference in the Bicameral Brain”
- 9. Have A Nice Life - "The Big Gloom"
- 10. The Mountain Goats - “In Memory Of Satan”
- 11. Elliott Smith - “Junk Bond Trader”
- 12. Owen - “Nobody’s Nothing”
- 13. Jens Lekman - “She Just Don’t Want To Be With You Anymore”
- 14. Henry Bemis Is A Superhero - "Kuromori"
- 15. Sean Milo - "The February Heat Wave"
- 16. Swans - “Song For A Warrior” (feat. Karen O)
- 17. Cat Power - "Cherokee"
- 18. Pixies - “Gouge Away” (Requested by bangst)
- 19. The xx - “Reunion”
- 20. Serengeti - “Greyhound”
- 21. WHY? - “Bitter Thoughts”
- 22. The Shins - “September” (Requested by blueshadedays)
- 23. Mount Eerie - “I Walked Home Beholding”
- 24. Bright Eyes - “Drunk Kid Catholic”
- 25. The Human Fly - "Connecticut One"
Stream via Spotify:
REVIEW: Suns - The Engine Room
I did a video review for The Needle Drop today of the new Suns record The Engine Room. This was my first time reviewing an album on camera, but I think I did a pretty alright job for a ‘beginner’. Maybe if I do some more of these, I’ll get myself a green screen for the album art. Watch the video above, and read my written review of this album HERE if you’re interested.
Video: Suns - “Machine Stream”
Whatever you do, don’t watch this if you’re happy. It will bring you down in about five seconds. In this achingly gorgeous live clip for the Village Basement Sessions, Suns members Will Rutledge and Peter Katz offer a heartbreaking version of “Machine Stream” from their excellent new record The Engine Room, stripped down to its most affecting and tears-beckoning essence.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 4/13/12
Apologies for not posting this yesterday. I got caught up in writing the review of that excellent new LP from The Act Of Estimating As Worthless and then had to go to band practice. Anyway, I hope those of you who tuned in to my show on Friday (the thirteenth!) had a good time. Here’s the playlist below, along with a link to stream each song.
- 1. The Get Up Kids - “Holiday”
- 2. Elvis Costello - “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”
- 3. Into It. Over It. - “Discretion & Depressing People”
- 4. Beach House - “Myth”
- 5. Destroyer - “Suicide Demo For Kara Walker”
- 6. Grandaddy - “The Go In The Go-For-It”
- 7. fun. - “All Alone”
- 8. Suns - “I Could’ve Made Time”
- 9. Iceage - “White Rune”
- 10. Refused - “The Deadly Rhythm”
- 11. Titus Andronicus - “Upon Viewing Breughel’s “Landscape With The Fall of Icarus”
- 12. The Arrogant Sons Of Bitches - “Disappointment At The Taco Bell”
- 13. Defiance, Ohio - “Oh, Susquehanna!”
- 14. Laura Stevenson and the Cans - “The Healthy One”
- 15. By Surprise - “Realometer”
- 16. Dikembe - “Scottie Spliffen”
- 17. Jimmy Eat World - “A Praise Chorus”
- 18. Pavement - “The Killing Moon” (Echo & The Bunnymen cover)
- 19. Cloud Nothings - “Stay Useless”
- 20. The Act Of Estimating As Worthless - “My Left Thumb”
- 21. Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s - “Skeleton Key”
- 22. Elliott Smith - “Bled White”
- 23. Local Natives - “Who Knows Who Cares”
- 24. First Aid Kit - “Emmylou”
- 25. Bright Eyes - “On My Way To Work”
- 26. Andrew Jackson Jihad - “Love In The Time Of Human Papilloma Virus”
- 27. Low - “Done”
- 28. The Mountain Goats - “The Mess Inside”
I won’t be doing my show next week because I’ll be going to WQAQ’s Festapalooza (with Titus Andronicus, Bomb The Music Industry!, The Front Bottoms and more!). Find more information about that day long Connecticut festival HERE.
Suns - The Engine Room (2012)
In the realm of local music, there are two kinds of bands: those that will always be local bands until they break up or dissolve, and those that will somehow transcend the limitations of the local scene and become something more. The Connecticut punk scene has had its fair share of both, and has produced numerous groups from the latter camp in recent years. Some, like The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, have made the leap through rigorous touring schedules and extensive self-promotion. Others, like Hostage Calm, have done so thanks to a singular, definitive release that established them as a musical force to be reckoned with. With their new LP The Engine Room, the Fairfield County four-piece Suns now have the potential to reach the same level of recognition and influence as those bands and others. They’re in the right place to do so, but does this record properly realize the opportunity that their position has granted them?
To answer such a question, one needs to look at the band’s roots, and examine how they’ve progressed since those formative days. Suns began as a trio in 2008, and released a 3 song demo (fittingly called Three Songs) two years later. Their EP Be Good Boy, released last year, was the first high profile release for the band, and although I criticized it in my original review for bearing too much similarity to the trio’s parent band Midi & The Modern Dance, I recognized their talent and songcrafting ability.
At face value, The Engine Room is not exactly a logical stylistic progression from the EP, but the differences in song structure and aesthetic between this and Be Good Boy are understandable in context. Since the release of the EP, the three Wills (Rutledge, Ponturo, and Indelicato) of Suns have added a new guitarist to their fold, the fleet-fingered math rock wizard Peter Katz, whose former band Fugue crafted a distinctive blend of rhythmically complex instrumental post-rock before disbanding last year. Katz’ influence permeates nearly every musical aspect of The Engine Room, from the jarring, occasionally dissonant bursts of guitar noise on “I Could Have Made Time” to the spindly riffs that underpin tracks like “Happy Sounds” and “Whippoorwill Lane.” More than any other singular instrumental moment, the lightning-fast downstroke’d riff that appears about 30 seconds into the aggressive “Lover, Lover” is a particular highlight. Throughout The Engine Room, Katz’ lead guitar playing and knack for curious rhythms are undoubtedly what set this LP apart from Suns’ earlier, more basic punk rock material.
Even though the addition of a supremely talented new guitar player is the most immediate difference between The Engine Room and the older material, it’s not the only thing that’s changed. Although it’s fairly safe to say that Katz’ math rock background was the primary influence on The Engine Room's more complicated musical foundations, frontman Will Rutledge has clearly made strides as a songwriter on this record. Instead of relying on literal declarations of self-hate and angrily chastising former girlfriends, Rutledge displays a more refined and eloquent lyrical pen here. He's still bitter as hell and clearly upset about the same things, but it's a lot easier to get through this record without wincing at awkward lyrical jumbles than on the EP. Furthermore, his lack of reliance on cheap, repetitive lyrical crescendos demonstrates a more mature songwriting ability and allows for more interesting songs overall.
The combination of Rutledge’s improved songwriting and the reinforced instrumental backing yields some pretty wonderful results on The Engine Room, particularly in the form of the single “Crocodile” and the closing title track. With its soothing, mulitracked vocals and arpeggiated guitar riffs, “Crocodile” builds up to a warning call chorus that intensifies with each post-verse repetition. By the time the song reaches its final minute, it explodes into a rage-filled surprise of razor-sharp guitars and screamed vocals evoking the early work of Tim Kasher in Cursive. The Cursive influence appears again in the bitter chorus of the title track, and throughout “I Could Have Made Time,” which plays out like a 3 minute version of “Crocodile’s” brief ending. Unfortunately, like much of Cursive’s early material, The Engine Room occasionally suffers from the band getting lost in their blind aggression and forgetting to make distinguishable, memorable songs. Thankfully, they balance that rage with some relatively subdued tracks such as the Pedro The Lion-influenced opener and the lovely acoustic piece “Machine Steam.”
So to finally answer that question that I posed at the beginning of this review, I can only definitively say that this record should give Suns the necessary gravitas to transcend local band status. If The Engine Room itself doesn’t, then I genuinely hope that at some point soon this band manages to do that through some other means. This is a band that deserves to be heard outside of Connecticut and its affiliated scene, and hopefully this record will make that possible.
The Engine Room is available to download for whatever you want to pay on Suns’ bandcamp page. Stream the embedded album in full below.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 4/6/12
Thanks to everybody who tuned in to last night’s live broadcast of Left of the Dial on WNHU. The full playlist is below along with links to stream each of the songs. Tune in next Friday for another broadcast.
- 1. Teenage Fanclub - "The Concept"
- 2. Girls - "Honey Bunny"
- 3. Sebadoh - "Magnet’s Coil"
- 4. Joyce Manor - "Beach Community"
- 5. Japandroids - "The House That Heaven Built"
- 6. The Strokes - "Hard To Explain"
- 7. The Hold Steady - “Party Pit”
- 8. Midi & The Modern Dance - "Everything I Touch (Just Falls Apart)"
- 9. Suns - "Crocodile"
- 10. Martin Luther King - "Boneflower"
- 11. Stay Ahead Of The Weather - "Get Old Or Die Tryin’"
- 12. LVL UP - "ROMAN CANDLE"
- 13. Screaming Females - "Expire"
- 14. Jaill - "Waste A Lot Of Things"
- 15. The Act Of Estimating As Worthless - "The Things We Remember"
- 16. Scott Walker - "Mathilde"
- 17. Jaques Brel - "La Chanson De Jacky"
- 18. Broadcaster - "All Your Friends"
- 19. WHY? - "Good Friday"
- 20. Serengeti - "Long Ears" (feat. Yoni Wolf and Becky Wolf)
- 21. Astronautalis - "Meet Me Here Later"
- 22. The Cure - "Close To Me"
- 23. The Unicorns - "Ghost Mountain"
- 24. Lower Dens - "Brains"
- 25. Beach House - "Myth"
- 26. Dirty Projectors - "Useful Chamber"
- 27. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie - "Death To Everyone"
- 28. Poliça - "Amongster"
- 29. Craig Finn - "Honolulu Blues"
- 30. Red House Painters - "Brown Eyes"
Suns - “Crocodile”
The Connecticut indie rock group Suns is gearing up to release their first ever full length album, entitled The Engine Room, in April 2012. In advance of the record, they’ve shared an album track “Crocodile” on their bandcamp page that can be streamed above.
Although I thought that their 2011 EP Be Good Boy was a little too derivative for my tastes, it certainly showed promise, and the band delivered with a series of great live shows that I attended as well. That said, I was still wary about this new Suns record up until I heard “Crocodile,” fearing that the band might expand on the qualities that I liked least about Be Good Boy instead of the ones that I liked best. Although this track doesn’t do away entirely with the middling emotiveness and self-loathing that frustratingly plagued their EP, it conveys those themes in a much more believable and accessible manner.
Over chilling minor-key arpeggios, frontman William Rutledge drops lines that are equally introspective and outwardly threatening, building up to a powerful chorus in which he plainly sings, “”If you prey on me, I will haunt your dreams.” It’s a simple message of caution, but one that hits hard in this musical context. The addition of ex-Fugue member Peter Katz on second guitar probably deserves some credit for this, as well as the band’s general maturation over the past year.
It’s clear from this song that the band has a few surprises up their collective sleeve as well. Just as you’ve settled into “Crocodile’s” moody midtempo groove, the band launches unexpectedly into a Cursive-style breakdown in the final minute. This change of pace adds needed aggression and urgency to the piece, with visceral Tim Kasher-esque screams and bursts of dissonant guitar noise over chugging riffs. I honestly wish that this aggressive section was a little bit longer, but hopefully some of the album’s other tracks will satisfy my urge to ‘punk the fuck out.’
SUNY Purchase is invading Connecticut.
They’re doing a really wimpy job of doing so, considering they’ll be in Danbury which is barely in Connecticut. Then again, SUNY Purchase is barely in New York, so I guess it’s to be expected.
Anyway,lo-fi indie rock band LVL UP (pictured), folk outfit The Act of Estimating as Worthless, punk/indie/Fairfield County kids Suns (members of Midi and the Modern Dance and Fugue), surf-rock group The Hiya Dunes (with members of High Pop and The Guru), and fuzzy lo-fi project Ghost Blood will be gigging in CT on Wednesday, April 4th at the Heirloom Arts Theater. It’s a lineup that should make any indie fan go *_*.
Cover is 5 dollars. Doors are at 7 PM. This is gonna be good.
Another exciting show coming to Connecticut in the next month. I might try to make the trek out to Danbury for this show.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 1/20/12
Here’s the playlist from last night’s broadcast of Left of the Dial on WNHU. I tried to play some positive music to counteract my general unhappiness and I guess it worked, at least for the two hours during the show. Notable songs included Sharon Van Etten's beautiful “Kevin's,” from her new album Tramp, which I reviewed earlier today HERE. I also played a track from the new One Hundred Year Ocean EP Poison Smoak, and the new Bruce Springsteen single. I hope those of you who tuned in enjoyed what I had to play.
- 1. The Hold Steady - "Positive Jam"
- 2. Hallelujah The Hills - “It’s All Been Downhill Since The Talkies Started To Sing”
- 3. The Shins - "Simple Song"
- 4. Free Energy - "I’m Going Down" (Bruce Springsteen cover)
- 5. Girls - "Heartbreaker"
- 6. Chestpiece - "Cassius Clay"
- 7. The Flaming Lips - "Do You Realize??"
- 8. Grandaddy - "Hewlett’s Daughter"
- 9. Sharon Van Etten - "Kevin’s"
- 10. Belle and Sebastian - "Seeing Other People"
- 11. The Microphones - "The Moon"
- 12. Laura Stevenson and the Cans - "Master Of Art"
- 13. Spraynard - "We’re Pretty Nice Guys"
- 14. Suns - "Machine"
- 15. Rivers Cuomo - “There Is No Other One”
- 16. Hour of the Star - "Steeplechase"
- 17. One Hundred Year Ocean - “1576”
- 18. Sinforiano Diaz - “Congregation”
- 19. Bruce Springsteen - "We Take Care Of Our Own"
- 20. Okkervil River - "Black"
- 21. of Montreal - "Dour Percentage"
- 22. Cloud Nothings - "Wasted Days"
- 23. The Music Tapes - "The Minister of Longitude"
- 24. Neutral Milk Hotel - "A Baby For Pree/Glow Into You"
- 25. Neutral Milk Hotel - "Little Birds (studio)"
- 26. Neutral Milk Hotel - "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea"
Tune in next Friday for another broadcast on WNHU.
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!