Swimformation: Wading Through The Stuff On My Desk

People send me stuff. Short sound files. YouTube clips. They send ’em all day on Facebook, by email. You probably get ’em too. Some of this shit is good. Some of it is just coming out now, other stuff happened years ago and I just got it now. That’s how fragmentation and oversupply works. It is what it is and we swim in this stuff all day now. Swimformation?

So I make no claims to style making, I’m not a tip sheet, and Pitchfork shouldn’t troubled by what I have to say. But I figure, when I get something that seems, well, “cool” to me, I’ll pay it forward now and then with short mentions here on The Pulmyears Music Blog.

The New Pornographers.

The New Pornographers: their new album, Together, is released May 4th.

I’m a big fan of Carl Newman both as a solo act and with The New Pornographers, so I was happy to hear some new stuff from that band. If you’re on Facebook, join their Fan page (here) and you can gear two new singles from that album, “The Crash Years” and “Your Hands (Together).

The School.

According to their own bio, Welsh pop band The School are comprised of main singer and keyboard player Liz  Hunt, with first name only folks such as Rosie: acoustic guitar and backing vocals, Steph: violin, Josh: drums, Ryan: bass, Ceri: electric guitar and backing vocals and Filmryan: glockenspiel and percussion. There’s not much more information than that.  What we have is a twee-pop chamber ensemble that plays delightfully cute “throwback” pop, not unlike Belle & Sebastian or the band they get most compared to, Camera Obscura. Actually the band admit as much on their Myspace page, adding that they think they also sound like Saturday Looks Good To Me, Lucky Soul, The Beach Boys, Little My, The Beatles and “60’s girl groups.” Tim Sendra at AllMusic Blog says he also hears strains of Talulah Gosh and Dolly Mixture. True enough.

Their album, Loveless Unbeliever (Elefant Records) drops soon, and a couple of my friends linked me to this YouTube leaked video for “Is He Really Coming Home.”

The Casbah Club.

I guess I sorta knew about these guys, a UK band formed in 2005 around  Simon Townshend (Pete’s brother, I bet he hates that, ha ha), Mark Brzezicki (the amazing drummer from Big Country and The Cult) and good old Bruce Foxton (bass player for The Jam, Stiff Little Fingers). I guess I’d heard that Pete had them open for The Who in Europe four years ago, but I guess I was skeptical, the prevailing wisdom was that they were probably crap and just living in the shadow of the lineage an former glory. What a stupid assumption. It took until yesterday for me to finally hear their single “Any Way She Moves,” which is essentially a mash-up of The Jam’s “Start” bass line with drum fills from Big Country. Only it’s not samples. It’s the real guys, with Simon  T on top. And it’s danceable. The net effect reminds me of the time when Mick Jones sampled The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” in Big Audio Dynamite’s “Rush” (which, perhaps ironically, sampled The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly.”)

Joanna Newsom & Fred Armisen.

Finally, Pitchfork reports that Fred Armisen did his hilarious Jens Hannemann “Complicated Drumming Technique” character as an opening act on the Joanna Newsom tour. Apparently, he’s also playing real percussion, later in Newsom’s set, as himself. The guy’s a real drummer so I wouldn’t be surprised, and he’s very indie friendly too, as this video for St.Vincent (link) demonstrates. Here’s Armisen doing “Good Intentions Paving Company” at Jefferson Theater, Charlottesville, VA, on March 24th.

This is also a good time to remind you that you can still stream a live Joanna Newsom show over at NPR.

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