Category Archives: Discoveries

Discoveries: The Horrors (UK)

TheHorrorsLuminousOn May 6, (May 5 in the UK), The Horrors, a British band with three pretty good studio albums out since 2007 (Strange House – 2007, Primary Colours – 2009, Skying – 2011), will release their 4th one, Luminous. With the single “So Now You Know” out in advance of the new album, I have to say that I expect Luminous to be quite the ride.

The Horrors originated in Britain in 2005, with a strong love and influence toward ’80s music. If you think Depeche Mode, Jesus And Mary Chain, and Psychedelic Furs, then you’re on your way to think what The Horrors might be like. The new song (viewed below) is a great tune that is not only transporting to another time, but is a realization of a great band to explore and enjoy.

Once you hear “So Now You Know”, you’ll likely not only be pre-ordering Luminous, you may also be thinking about picking up the previous three!

Luminous with its ten new tracks, will be issued on standard single CD, the usual MP3 DD, and a vinyl LP release.

Please, let me know what you think of The Horrors, even if you find them uninteresting (the horror!!).

Black Lips to Release New Album, Underneath The Rainbow

Black Lips Underneath The RainbowIf you had a thing for late ’70s post-punk efforts that yielded bands like Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers, and a few other promising “punkish” bands with a love for the early era of Rock and Roll, then you just might develop a thing for the Black Lips band.  Their approach to Rock and Roll is of a basic style, nodding to the great architects of our garage sound.  even better, Black Lips have a distinct reminiscent style that will be familiar to every Johnny Thunders fan.

Black Lips have been around for a while, so they’re no strangers to our beloved Rock and Roll.  started in 1999 from departures from The Reruns (Ben Eberbaugh), and Renegades (Cole Alexander, Jared Swilley) , and the addition of drummer, Joe Bradley. Ben Eberbaugh is no longer with the band having died in a car accident, but is replaced by Ian Saint Pé.  In 2003, Bomp! Records released their debut album, Black Lips!.

Black Lips! is an irreverent album with daring songs within.  But that doesn’t make it unlistenable, nor an album not to be tolerated.  In essence, the core of Rock and Roll is found within the songs.  They followed it up with the excellent and stylish We Did Not Know The Forest Spirits Made The Flowers Grow from 2004.  The songs on that album tease a psychedelic interior with a hard-candied punk shell.


Over the years, the band signed with Vice Records (where they remain to this day), releasing three albums (Good Bad Not Evil – 2007, 200 Million Thousand – 2009, Arabia Mountain – 2011).  In between their Bomp! and Vice signings, they released a lone record on In The Red Records, the excellent Let It Bloom album from 2005.  Every album from Black Lips demand to be heard.  Every album work styles into a hard garage soup of songs that please.

On March 18, Vice Records will release the band’s latest work, Underneath The Rainbow in CD, DD, and LP forms.  I highly recommend that you give them a listen, especially if you loved the post punk era from the late ’70s.  Black Lips will please you if you do.

Black Lips

Discoveries: First Aid Kit – Sweden

With Folk music being the go-to style this year it doesn’t surprise me to see more bands and duos trying to make it work.  Some add a little twist to the formula to make it stand out but often, things like that kind of fall short.  This year, we enjoyed – immensely, I might add – the sister team of Lily & Madeleine.  And I wasn’t alone as man of you enjoyed the music found on the girls’ two album releases.  There were others such as The Smoke Fairies from the UK.


Recently, I came across another sister duo involved in the folk genre with a country twist, however slight, named First Aid Kit.  The sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg, are from Enskede, Sweden, a town near Stockholm.  They are 17, and 20, respectively but seem to have a firm, firm grasp on the music they create.  The most amazing thing about them is their uncanny ability to sound like the introspective girl-fronted bands from the ’60s.  At times, you’ll even swear you’re listening to Skeeter Davis, maybe with a mix of Delores O’Riordan (The Cranberries).  Their harmonies are hauntingly beautiful.  But at other times, you know you’re listening to new talent.

Yes, there are some similarities to Lily & Madeleine but that’s really an unavoidable thing as the two duos share the same kind of style.  Besides, these girls were first having released their first  (and massive with 8 songs) EP (Drunken Trees) of music back in 2008.  Since, they have released two full-length albums, The Big Black And The  Blue (2010), and The Lion’s Roar, released in January of 2012. Both albums have scored well with critics, and consistently go home with a growing fan-base.

FirstAidKitTheBigBlackAndTheBlue   Basic CMYK   FirstAidKitEP

The first album is a rich experience, with their harmonies having been worked upon, and their song-craft evident.  But maturity and time under their belts delivered a stronger set that starts with the infectious title track, a pre-release single issue, and moves into another one of the album’s singles, the sweet sounding “Emmylou” (see video below).  The album provided four singles (“The Lion’s Roar”, “Emmylou”, “Blue”, “Wolf”). The last song on The Lion’s Roar is “King Of the World”.  It has guest vocals and sound completely like an offering from ’60s radio!

Last year, when The Lion’s Roar was released, I was made aware of the album.  I should have paid better attention.

I’ve included links to their official website, and to their Facebook page.

Discoveries: The Paper Kites – Australia

If you appreciated the folk-rock of the early ’70s (like America), then I have a band that you might find well to your liking.

The Paper Kites are a five-member folk-rock band from Australia with two EPs, and a full-length album to their credits (EPs: Woodland (2011), Young North (2012); CD: Stateside (2013)). Like some before them, they achieved their building acclaim via videos on YouTube, and the viral word of mouth that can sometimes power some to widespread notice.


The five members are Sam Bentley, and Christina Lacey, both high school pals who began writing songs together.  Shortly afterwards, they were officially joined by David Powys, Josh Bentley, and Sam Rasmussen to complete the circle.


The band has been busy with music, and touring.  They have begun to build a strong fan-base that will kave them known across the globe (for whatever that means these days), in a short period.  As gifted as the band is, I can only hope that they can manage to stay together for the next decade so that we can watch how such a band as this evolves.

I have to say that I’m completely mesmerized by their songs including the incredibly haunting, “Young”, which has a stunning video to accompany it (watch below).  After watching “Young”, I recommend “Bloom” (found in their official YouTube page.  You can also explore more at their website link.  If you peruse Facebook most, then here is the FB link.  I hope that I have pointed you toward a band you will like.

“Young” – YouTube link

What do you think?

Discoveries: Culture Factory Reissues Of Classic Titles

CultureFactoryUSAThe reissue market has been strong for some time.  What separates some of them is the ability to create collectible packaging, and further, to remaster the album to become the best sounding of them all.   I’ve seen plenty of them.  Some just reissue albums to provide availability, no fancy frills.  Others create nice, collectible packaging with updated remastering.  And some, like Culture Factory take it a step further.

Culture Factory USA has created an ongoing series of remasters (in 96kHz/24-bit) called The Legends Of Rock.  While CDs are 16-bit standard, the sound is supposed to retain the quality of the high resolution remaster.  You can read about the process here.  In addition, Culture Factory USA has employed the use of the mini-LP CD once championed by the Japanese marketplace.

DavidJohansenI recently acquired several copies of album remasters that include two absolute favorites of mine, the self-titled David Johansen Blue Sky debut, and his excellent follow-up, In Style (I LOVE “Big City”).  Needless to say, I enjoyed the whole experience.  The music was clean, giving me audio pleasure listening to something that I like quite well.  I also picked up the second album from New York Dolls, Too Much Too Soon.

I’m also a John Cale fan.  The label has several classic Cale releases available (Helen Of Troy, Fear, and Slow Dazzle.  And since I’m a big Hot Tuna fan, it is notable to me that the label has remastered and reissued all of the Hot Tuna catalog.  Guess who has to get those?!


All of the CDs have a painted top that is designed to look like vinyl with the nice bonus of replicating the original label.  The CD is then placed in a glossy paper sleeve replicating the original sleeve, and then housed in a durable cardboard jacket.

Culture Factory has a nice selection of available reissue CDs.  There’s James Taylor, Kim Wilde, Moon Martin, Paul Collins’ Beat, Murray Head, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Robert Palmer, The Motels, The Romantics, Mink DeVille, Flamin’ Groovies, and a few others.  There are also a batch of soundtracks as well.  But even more exciting are the upcoming reissues expected.  Live Dates from Wishbone Ash in a double CD (double LP) format with a gatefold is one that I’m very anxious for.  This could lead to the remastered catalog of Wishbone Ash, something I ALWAYS look for.  Live Dates II is also scheduled

Wishbone Ash Live Dates         4.1.1         0000520484_LMLR_780017C_FP.qxd

Culture Factory also have the entire catalog from Blue Oyster Cult coming shortly along with titles from The Supremes, Kim Carnes, Diana Ross, Wang Chung,  and .38 Special.

All titles are Limited Editions, with already a few titles in danger of disappearing.  The Legends Of Rock series remastered reissues are nice affordable updates to favored albums.

Check them out at their website!

Blouse Makes Great ’80s-Styled Music

BlouseAfter their rave SXSW show back in 2012, the buzz began to build for the Portland, Oregon dream-pop band simply named Blouse. Headed by Charlie Hilton, who is a modern day Nico look-alike with a distinctively dreamy voice to match her sexy looks, this three-piece band has all the classic sounds of synth-oriented ‘80s pop down to a structured science. And with enviable results too.

To call Blouse a retro band with all the right stuff is to ignore the art of taking popular music and infusing it with new things to make it stand out further, make it pop off the record and into your consciousness where it’s supposed to stay (if it has done its job).

With a full-length, self-titled album already in circulation since late 2011, Blouse has set the stage for a good future. The album is loaded. Ten songs in a span of about a half hour brings back a magic of the past that relied on awesome content, not so much the cram of many half-assed tracks that seem to permeate so many albums these days. Quality is the reason we fall in love with music, not quantity.

BlouseBandIf you like any of the synth-pop from the ‘80s, then you’ll be immediately intrigued by this fresh band that takes a familiar sound and reshapes it into a twangy, ethereal gorgeousness.

The eponymous debut from Blouse contains contagious gems like “Into Black” (check out their stunning video for the song at the end of this piece), “Videotapes,” the perfection of “White,” and the quirky “Time Travel” with the interesting lyrics. You can stream the entire album below, thanks to the band and SoundCloud.

If ‘80s-styled pop — a little on the dark side — sounds like something you might be interested in, I highly encourage you to investigate Blouse. The name might be a generic oddity, but their music is memorable, deserving of a place in your playlist, or your library, or whatever it is that you use to listen to your music these days.

Discoveries: Smoke Fairies Deliver Perfection With Blood Speaks

SmokeFairiesBloodSpeaksI listen to a lot of music.  And there’s not too much out there these days (in the way of new music) that catches my attention and causes me to spend some quality time with the entire album even going backwards to catch up on previous releases.  However, I was sent a PR notice concerning a UK Folk duo, Smoke Fairies (odd name, that) and, for the life of me, the music just caught and enticed me to go the whole route.  And I did.

There is an awful lot that can be said about this band.  Their music speaks of folk days gone by, reminiscent of many classic artists of the past.  However, their presentation is as modern as it gets.  Incorporating their own unique style, Smoke Fairies are the creators of something special that should have your complete attention.

Jessica Davies, and Katherine Blamire, High School pals from their Sussex days, make of the heated core that is Smoke Fairies.  With a dip into psychedelia, and a New Orleans’ swamp style from their years in the storied city, all bound together by the heart of the loved folk style, this band has plenty of folk magic to give you.

Smoke Fairies pc Malchick VoshartPhoto by Machick Volshart

Their latest album, Blood Speaks (currently out in the UK, soon to be released in the US), is a stunning blend of ten extraordinary tracks.  Songs like “Daylight”, “Blood Speaks”, and the rocker, “The Three Of Us”, help make Blood Speaks a musical experience that you may not have enjoyed fully in quite some time.

But Blood Speaks isn’t the only thing from the band to excite your musical nerves.  There is still their debut release, Through Low Light and Trees, to feats on.

Smoke Fairies are a truly excellent band that are definitely worth your attention.  If I were you, I’d check them out.  A visit to their website will net you a free MP3.  Helluva deal if you ask me.

Search For Lasting Music

Often, we find our thoughts directed towards music of our past. Nothing wrong with that! But times have changed so dramatically. There’s no longer decent Top40 radios, the singles market is excruciatingly crowded, and there is no longevity for bands anymore. The discovery-directed FM stations of our past are no longer the norm. Play lists on most classic stations will destroy your sanity after you have heard a song – any song- three or more times in an eight-hour period, then AGAIN the very next day.

There is no band who has half a hope of being discovered among the three thousand new releases just pushed into the queue at (dare I say it?) iTunes. Record stores have been destroyed by the uncaring strengths of big box stores (Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, etc) only to find their own decimation.

The Big 4 labels are soon to become the Big 3. Independent labels are only able to attract a small group of adherents.

Worse, most new musicians have grown up on a steady diet of 10 guitar chords, basic pounding on the drums, and little else but a rudimentary grasp of rock and roll from the last 20 years. That means little cross- genre influence has crept into new Rock and Roll with little skill sets to innovate and create healthy hybrids of awesomeness.

Now that I’ve depressed the hell out of you, it does serve well to note that there are great bands out there regardless of their being very difficult to locate. So let’s take the weekend to help each other out and zero in on those bands that each of us have discovered but the rest of us may not have.

I’ll start with one you all have heard me go on and on about, Heartless Bastards, out of Texas. I also have a love for The Black Angels, also from Texas (Austin), and Canada excellent Black Mountain. I have others but the rest of us really want to hear new bands the rest of you are privy to.

Please, hit the comments and bring enlightenment to what has been an otherwise dull Site this past month.

TAPSheet: Release Notes – 07/16/2012 (US Report)

KISS seems to be planning a revitalization of Destroyer (as earlier indicated by Gene Simmons) as a 2CD Deluxe Edition, and an LP pressing.  The set is expected to include outtakes, and B-sides, as well as the complete original platinum selling album.  The new set is being referred to as Destroyer -Resurrected and will street on August 21.  Other KISS news includes the upcoming Monster album, which is being slated for release on October 16.

Verve Records have a Diana Krall album on the calendar for September 25.  The album is called Glad Rag Doll.

Fuel Records will issue a ‘best of’ featuring the music of George “Wild Child” Butler, which is called being called Greatest Hits.

Here we bloody go:  Verve Forecast has set September 25 as the date for “new” Rod Stewart.  The new album is, sadly, Merry Christmas Baby.  I apologize to Faces fans everywhere.

A & M Records plan a nice VA collection called A&M 50: The Anniversary Collection, slated for August 28.

Atlantic Records will release the self-titled album by The Sheepdogs in both CD, and 180g LP (with bonus CD) on September 4.

Warner Bros Records will run a small repress of Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers on 180g 2LP with a planned release date of September 4.

Warner Brothers plan an experimental short run of Control from The Indecent on September 11 with introductory pricing ($6.98).

Interscope Records plan Night Visions from Imagine Dragons on September 4.

Legacy and Epic Records will release a massive 25th Anniversary Edition for Bad by Michael Jackson in a 3CD/1DVD package scheduled for September 18 Box set.

Astralwerks plan to release Elysium from Pet Shop Boys on September 18.

Four by Bloc Party is planned for CD, Deluxe Edition CD, and Limited Edition vinyl LP on August 21.

Warp Records will release Shields by Grizzly Bear on September 18, on CD, and vinyl LP.

Sixpence Records will release new Sixpence None The Richer  with Lost In Transition on August 7.

On August 7, Audio Fidelity will reissue my favorite Ten Years After album, Rock And Roll Music To The World.  I’m in!

[Note]: I know I’ve been a little slack with postings lately, however, with getting the LA house ready for a quick (I hope!) sale, and a planned move back to IL, things have been maniacally hectic ’round here.  Once things settle, I’ll get back to normal.  Keep The Faith!

Discoveries: The Black Angels – Austin

I may have brought The Black Angels up in conversation in the past, but listening to them again just revitalizes all of the cool feelings I get from listening to them all the way through their 2010 release, Phosphene Dream.

Formed way back in 2004, this Austin, Texas band has developed a nice little following.  In naming themselves, this four-member band used Velvet Underground’s tune, “The Black Angel’s Death Song”.  And I have to say that I like it.  Not only does it tie them firmly to the past with its rich history of Psychedelic bands like 13th Floor Elevators, and many others from the 1967-68 period, it sets them apart from a wealth of crazy names currently in use.  The Black Angels is a kind of Rock name you could expect back in the late ’60s as music prepared for entrance into the ’70s.

Psychedelic music, although short-lived, left a great impression on many FM listeners and underground connoisseurs back then.  It provided an audience with identity as opposed to the Top40 (which wasn’t bad) music of the time.  In fact, FM radio streams grew greatly out of such music.

The music is unmistakably built from a template of the past.  You want to call it fresh, but it’s hardly that.  Instead, we come up with something better.  The music style hardly left because we desired a better sound.  Rather, it left because music was too evolutionary too fast.

The Black Angels’ beautiful retro blast of warm and friendly times is the showcase of anything that comes from them.  Wonderfully nostalgic, The Black Angels craft new music that is as resilient and listenable as anything that Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized can come up with.  It can also be said that The Black Angels can run with the best of the originals.

I suggest that you reach into a bit of The Black Angels via methods like streaming services like Spotify, Last FM, SoundCloud, or YouTube to see if this band can do you proud.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  If you do, they have a wealth of availability including vinyl LP, CD, DD, and what is sure to be a rare collectible, a Record Store Day release of “Watch Out Boy” b/w “I’d Rather Be Lonely” on 7″ orange wax (which includes a free download of their cover of “She’s Not There”, originally by the Zombies).

Head off to their site and get introduced to the band by several videos that encompasses quite a bit of the page as you enter.  It’s all cool.