Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Record Review: Royal Bangs - Flux Outside

For Stomp and Stammer:

Royal Bangs
Flux Outside


Though perhaps no other moment on the record can equal the frenetic, harried energy of the leadoff track, Flux Outside, the third LP from Knoxville's Royal Bangs, barrels relentlessly straight through to its finish. "Grass Helmet," the aforementioned leadoff, peaks the record early with its stuttering percussion, screeching sound effects and emphatic vocals. It's a slap in the face of all navel-gazing, nonchalant delivery, and it's one the trio performs without faltering. We'll be spent before they are....[Read more]

Monday, June 13, 2011

Record Review: Eksi Ekso - Brown Shark Red Lion

For Flagpole:

Eksi Ekso
Brown Shark Red Lion

The Mylene Sheath

The storm is coming. Boston’s Eksi Ekso tells us so. Via backing brass and all manner of accompanying strings, the keys, guitar, bass and drums of this orchestral pop trio turn their individual songs into lush, suspenseful compositions. This wide scope, both stylistically and instrumentally, only adds to Brown Shark Red Lion’s foreboding. When voices foretell en masse of impending danger, they’ve likely got more credibility than a single harbinger alone...[Read more]

Flagpole Feature: Ocha la Rocha

For Flagpole:

Ocha la Rocha
30-Plus Members and Just as Many TV Spots

It’s a far cry from working and playing at Atlanta’s Star Community Bar to having songs appear on Hollywood television shows like ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money” and MTV’s “The Hills.” Somehow, however, Johnny la Rocha and his band Ocha la Rocha seem to be at home doing both...[Read more]

Record Review: Secret Cities - Strange Hearts

In which I for some reason lead with more talk of chicken fillets. For Creative Loafing Atlanta:

Secret Cities - Strange Hearts

Sometimes a mallet can do more than beat chicken fillets into submission. Occasionally, it's the essential ingredient in an already-virtuosic experimental psych-pop band's rhythmic impact. Fargo, N.D.'s Secret Cities uses mallets to complement the dual lead-vocal duties deftly executed by Charlie Gokey and MJ Parker...[Read more]

As I've previously mentioned, Secret Cities is one of my absolute favorite bands. This sophomore record they put out a couple months ago is one of my favorites of the year, even if it bears some striking differences from the debut. What's more, their live performance when they passed through Atlanta a few months back was spectacular. They're so immensely talented, and also extremely sweet people.

Shorty after I heard the band play live, I was able to conduct an interview and write this feature for Paste, which I just realized I never posted here. This one does them much better justice, too:

Best of What's Next: Secret Cities

North Dakota’s Secret Cities will combat their home’s blustery weather this month with a sophomore record as warm as it is wry. Born of a chance band camp meeting, the two bewitching lead vocalists and drummer have already morphed many times in their young careers.

“We’re a bunch of dorks that found each other in very dorky ways and started making music in very dorky ways,” jokes singer/multi-instrumentalist Charlie Gokey, who started the band with singer/keyboardist Marie Parker when they were just 15. “Now we’re not dorky anymore. We can pretend easier now.”...[Read more]

Happy listening!!