Sweetest Day didn’t go well for me. On one hand, I woke up entirely hung over from Friday’s Dr. Dog show at Beachland. We had a little Citizen Dick reunion of sorts, with Rob, Brian, and Justin all converging at my place after the amazing set the medicinally astute canine put on for us. Plenty of brews were enjoyed, and after a slew of heated musical and professional debates, I went to bed knowing the morning wouldn’t be too sweet. This was correct because my liver was smoking a cigarette next to me when I rolled out of bed. Lesson one, I suppose, is don’t expect to be too romantic and effective after a night like that. Lesson two is obvious. Go see Dr. Dog whenever you get the chance. They may just be the best live act in the straight up indie rock genre. I’m sure Brian will expound upon this in the show review headed your way tomorrow.
Sweetest Day is a bullshit holiday and most people already know this. I decided to go the cheap route and didn’t spend a dime on anything remotely associated with the relationship industry. Instead, I bought two pumpkins, a pumpkin carving kit, a bottle of rum, and some apple cider. This could have been brilliant! Instead, my salty ass attitude pretty much ruined the evening and everything fell apart. In my effort to avert the Sweetest Day nonsense, I actually fell knee deep into it. I didn’t economically help the Hallmark industry, but I got my foot stuck in the trap. Never again, folks. Never again.
Onto the musical portion of today’s Radio Dick. I’ll steer directly into discussion of today’s tracks. You may notice a different tilt if you’ve been reading our site for awhile. Tracks won’t be listed at the end of the post, but instead underneath each description. You’re all intelligent chaps. I think you’ll figure it out.
1. Old Canes – Little Bird Courage – We’ve been meaning to write about Feral Harmonic for quite some time, and hope to have a a more long-form review of it up later this week. This particular track is killer, however, and we’re putting our stamp of approval on the entire album proper. Chris Crisci from The Appleseed Cast, has an excellent album here, tuning in full and sonorous stringed arrangements. This is their second full length and it drops on October 20th on Saddle Creek. In “Little Bird Courage,” the intensely driven percussion and acoustic strum is paired with far-away vocals. Subtle xylophones, a full blown horn section and dulcimers all swirl and blast the senses. This song chases you from beginning to close.
2. That Ghost – The Red Bow – This is a gritty song, and my lip curls and fist clenches each time I spin it. Ryan Schmale, a DIY Californian, is releasing Get It and Get Out, a formerly tour-only EP, on November 17th. The 19 year old is obviously working pop undertones into well-controlled fuzz here. It’s garage rock with a sullen hint of sadness. The lyrical nature of the track is pretty killer, as well. Stereogum pasted Schmale already as a Wavves and Black Lips lovechild, and while this is probably apt, I’ll let the chap do his own thing without shitty comparisons. This track rules.
3. Cant – Ghosts – We get a nice Halloween present here in this spookily entrancing track from Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. While I love Department of Eagles, there’s something awesome about Taylor’s side project, as well. It’s relatively haunting in scope and structure, and there’s an overall loose structure to the arrangement as a whole. Off kilter percussion and big booming vocals are both lulling and jarring at the same time. This is the first track released by Taylor as Cant, and the 7 inch is available on Terrible Records. Well worth it, especially if you’re a Grizzly Bear fan.
4. Trophy Boyfriend – Black Ship – I believe these guys are Irish, and even though I’m not a huge pop fan, when a band says “All we can talk about are fist fights and black ships,” I’m interested immediately. There’s a big growling synthesizer behind this whole song, and while wispy pop nods are explored, I can dig the darkness here. The song dives about midway through into some creepy ahhs, and then slams back into the central hook. This song isn’t going to win a grammy for best new experimental band, but there is a catchiness here that’s impossible to ignore. Ballsy lyrics make this sucker move.
5. Doveman – Angel’s Share – If you’re inclined to sit back with a glass of merlot and watch the world go by this Sunday, put in this gorgeous track from Doveman (aka Thomas Bartlett). The full album, The Conformist gets its proper release on Tuesday, and this track makes this Radio Dick post take a left turn into the slow and gorgeous. A beautiful piano arpeggio begins the song and by the track’s close, you’re either singing along with Bartlett’s breathy delivery, or have dropped your wine-glass in complete relaxation. Full strings and melodies blossom with popping detail and aural color. You’ve heard the song before, folks, but it’s damn good every time. For the sensitive lads and lasses reading today’s post, pick this record up on Tuesday.
6. LCD Soundsystem – Bye Bye Bayou – I post this track for a couple of reasons. First, I’d probably not be doing my job as a blogger if I didn’t. Secondly, it’s addictive as hell. As I mentioned above, I’m not a huge pop fan, and realistically, I’ve never been a gigantic LCD Soundsystem supporter. I can recognize electronic phat beats (that’s what the kids call it, right?) when I hear them, however. The funky rhythms and helicopter slicing sounds are fabulous and the 7 minute track moves into a lot of different territory in a short amount of time. It’s a dance number. I’m not a dancer, but I think I get it. Enjoy the track.
7. Little Girls – Growing – There are too many “Girl” bands to keep straight, but this fuzzy lo-fi track has been getting plenty of spins over here at Citizen Dick headquarters. You can snag Concepts, the Little Girls debut right now, but the vinyl edition is limited to 300 copies and is available as of October 30th. This will no doubt sell out, so attempt to get it while you can. “Growing” certainly brings in the heavy lo-fi grime and grit but keeps one foot steadily planted in brit-pop nuance. Josh McIntyre, the brains behind the Canadian four-piece is hugely endearing in this song, and it’s well worth the research. They’re playing a couple of CMJ sets next week, including one by our pals over at Pop Tarts Suck Toasted. There’s plenty to dig about this song, and we’re curious where this train rolls on next.
8. Primary 1 – Foaming (Memory Tapes Remix) – I’ve fallen head over heels for everything Memory Tapes has done this year. Memory Tapes snaps a comforting tone to each track they produce, and there’s a smoothness to the finish that’s so refreshing in today’s emphasis on angular and harsh production quality. Maybe I just miss the 1980′s. Whatever the case, the Memory Tapes remix of Primary 1′s “Foaming” is solid, and I stand by it, even with my negative ranting earlier this week about the worth of remixes.
9. Woven Bones – If You’re Gold I’m Gone - Slime. Anger. Nonchalance. Swagger. Bloody Lips. Barfights. These notions are somewhere rooted in my machismo and all come back in leathery flurry when I spin this track, which I sorely omitted from last week’s Radio Dick post. It’s been swirling around the interwebs for a little while now, but who cares? Austin has spurted a few fuzz-heavy bands of note, particularly White Denim and Harlem. Woven Bones doesn’t stylistically resemble either of those bands, but I love the retro influence to some of these gems that fly out of our indie capital. Leave the songbirds for the sentimental. This track is brooding and catchy. It’s filled to the gills with attitude, and it’ll serve a purpose for you this week at some point, for certain. The Minus Touch EP is out and available, but for 500 people. Hopefully it’s still available with the tardiness of this post.
10. Tamaryn – Mild Confusion – This is a huge song, and it continues the 2009 trend of early 90′s angry chick rock. Big synthesizers flourish and emotional neutrality is explored lyrically here. I loved Sian Alice Group’s release earlier this year for the exact same approach Tamaryn takes in her arrangement. It’s fairly straightforward but the controlled ambiance will send you to the repeat button. Blow the dust off of your old “Crow” soundtrack and just kind of sneak this one in there. It’ll be right at home. The split 7″ is available through Matador on December 8th, and it’s paired up with, aptly, Mazzy Star.
11. To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie – The Needle – In what seems to be a running theme in this week’s list, a cerebral haunt-fest awaits listeners when they enter “The Needle” from TKAPB’s Marlone. Sharp and violent outbursts erupt and unsettle listeners throughout the track, and the angular shifts all manage to somehow stick close together behind creepy monk-like vocals. Dissonant piano chords, a wailing violin and spooky cymbal rides all lump this together into a snarling opus filled with desperate tones of isolation. As quickly as the track ushers in a jolt, it silently drifts out with very little explanation or closure. If you’ve not picked up the album, out now on Kranky.
12. Frat Dad – Freak in Nature – New Jersey duo, Frat Dad, have released this track from their 7″ under the same name. The low-fi sound is the pummeling aggressiveness Wavves wishes he could achieve, primarily because these guys have talent. There’s a gentle lull in between each violently shrieked chorus, and despite the fuzzy blitz we’re all too used to in today’s scene, there’s an underbelly of effective guitar soloing that rides behind it all. I’m not kidding here. Sometimes I can get behind what Wavves unleashed on the blogosphere, but he’ll never put it all together because his overall sound lacks real guitar talent. While this is only one track from Frat Dad, there’s definitely controlled axe skill in this eruption of chaos.
13. Electric Wire Hustle – They Don’t Want – This track’s included with full recommendation from our other CD writer, Rob. I’m not a huge fan of the track, but Rob sent this one to me with eagerness to get it up on the site. This kind of nu soul stuff is not my territory at all, but there’s a catchiness to the backdrop for sure. I suppose someone in our readership will enjoy this majorly, so we’re including it. Perhaps Rob will chime in and give some love to the track in the comments section. Word.
14. Surfer Blood – Swim (To Reach the End) – Surfer Blood will release Astro Coast in January of 2010, and tracks are already beginning to surface. The band’s also playing Brooklyn Vegan’s day party at CMJ this week and look primed for plenty of pre-release hype already. There’s an interesting conglomeration of styles working in this latest track. Huge arena rock standards are employed and a unique spin on surf and lo-fi rock is explored. Equally, well-placed guitar swirls and refreshing cool off periods mid-song make it difficult to pin down. My fist is pumping in the air one second and I’m digging to critically evaluate just as quickly. This is meant to be played loud, around plenty of people. Keep your Eddie Money arsenal close by, because this song is begging to be followed up with “Gimme Some Water” immediately. Listen, and you’ll see what I mean.