Wednesday, September 30, 2009


No Go Know - Time Has Nothing to Do With It

Posted by Alan on 5:50 PM
Labels: indie rock, progressive rock, space rock

Great news, intrawebs! By some bizarre stroke of luck, or perhaps simple pity by the kind folks over at XO Publicty, we are now on their press release list! This means we get to sample albums by some amazing bands who you may be hearing for the first time! For a full list of their clients, head here.

To the matter at hand, then. No Go Know, a Portland, Oregon based rock trio consisting of Scott Taylor (lead guitar, vocals), Mark Mcintire (bass guitar, back up vocals), and Sam Smith (drums), have put out their third full length release, Time Has Nothing to Do With It. One of XO's bands, I was a little skeptical when I got the email, as I was told to "think Built to Spill, Fugazi, Pink Floyd"; that's quite a lot to live up to.

Tall order aside, I really got into Time Has Nothing to Do With It. It's a loooooong record; two discs, each with 9 tracks, totaling just under 90 minutes of playtime. While there is still a lot I don't know about No Go Know and this record, the 5 or so times I have listened to it straight through in the past two and a half days is testament to its ability to keep a listener entertained.

With only three musicians, No Go Know is able to create a complex and unique sound that's as versatile as it is enjoyable. There is something for everyone on the album. Similar to the weather in New England, wait five minutes and it will change. Borderline pop-track "Thicket of Thieves" leads straight into a guitar driven rock song, "Love is War". Just three songs later, "Our Bodies Will Float" gives listeners a melodic ballad, sung sincerely and wonderfully by Taylor.

This album really is an adventure, and while the constant sonic shifting may have some would be listeners off balance, anyone who enjoys a good jam should pick up this album. I think it's a testament to the skill of all three musicians that 90 minutes of music is collected and released like this, and nearly all of it is the quality you'd expect out of a big name band like Built to Spill. Of course, like every album, it's got it's weak points, but they don't detract so much from the overall of the album enough to tarnish it's enjoyability. Yea, I think that's a perfect word for this album; enjoyability.

With that in mind, and seeing as how XO Publicity has been cool enough to let us provide a single for you all (We can't give away any of their clients for free, as that would CERTAINLY be bad for business! Sorry, mates.), you'll get a "purchase" link straight from No Go Know's record label, The Union Records. The free single is on the page I will link you to, as well.

For scoring purposes, I give Time Has Nothing to Do With It by No Go Know a solid...

8.5 (Purchase Time Has Nothing to Do With It, along with all of No Go Know's other work-- hard copy or electronic download-- here)

And, before, I lied. The single can be found HERE, assuming they don't change their front page before you click this link.


No Go Know is not a local band. They’re based out of Portland, Oregon. Nonetheless, I enjoyed their set. Their sound, to go classic rock for a second, seemed somewhat similar to The Doors in some aspects. Led Zeppelin in other aspects.

Aside from solid guitar work, the reason I used classic rock as an example is because No Go Know had a tendency to just jam out. Jam sessions seem to have become something of a rarity with modern rock. Am I saying that jamming no longer exists? No, it’s just harder to find. Some of No Go Know’s song’s lasted between 7-10 minutes. Where most of that was non-lyrical jamming. Pretty solid jamming at that. Not overdone hard rock guitaring/drumming but actually scripted out music. Very well done.

Giant Squid review on MAXIMUM METAL


Giant Squid
The Ichthyologist

Company: Indy
Release: 2009
Rating: 3
Reviewer: Etiam

For now, Giant Squid have some maturing left to do

Until quite recently, Giant Squid was a group up for grabs, having split from The End Records after re-recording their debut in 2006. On that album, 'Metridium Fields', the band showed technical promise and visionary ambition that appealed to many members of the alternative American metal scene. But in the next couple years, the band's output was limited to a single small-release vinyl split with Grayceon, and the band's relationship with The End petered out.

Much to their credit, Giant Squid refused to sink and set about recording and releasing their sophomore effort independently. Demonstrating the same irrepressible vision that distinguished their debut, Giant Squid constructed a grand new concept album called 'The Ichthyologist', based on a graphic novel by the band's helmsman, Aaron Gregory. Regardless of the album's actual quality, 'The Ichthyologist' should be heralded for as a great DIY success: from its distinctive art and packaging to the production (Matt Bayles, who's worked with groups from Botch to Pearl Jam), guest appearances, and media- and tour-based promotion, Giant Squid have done just about everything right. Wisely, Canadian-based Translation Loss snatched up the band this Summer and already has a re-release (and partial re-mix) of the album in the works.

Of course, promotional chops has little bearing on a band's music itself, which (thankfully) is still the ultimate test of underground metal in America. The band cleared this hurdle with ease, however, and have many critics squarely under their thumbs. Indeed, after the largely ecstatic praise 'The Ichthyologist' received from diverse quarters, this second effort had as high a bar to clear as any self-released LP in the scene's recent memory. Such terms as 'haunting', 'inspiring', 'sublime', and others have been used to express the experience of 'The Ichthyologist', and from the first listen it is obvious that each superlative has its place. Bolstered by contributions from a quintet of diversely gifted women and the occasional trumpet flourish or fanfare, 'The Ichthyologist' explores the gamut of human emotion from explosive ecstasy and teeth-grinding agony to numbing apathy. Actually, it is generally when the metal is most distant, or at least reigned in to more patient progressions--'Dead Man Slough', 'Sutterville', 'Sevengill'--that we hear the band's most memorable and affecting themes. (That said, the non-metal cuts 'Mormon Island' and 'Emerald Bay' drag rather heavily.) The lyrics, while at times frustrating in their obtuseness, are nonetheless compelling for their romantic fantasy and fresh use of archetypal themes.

However, on a purely musical level, 'The Ichthyologist' just doesn't seem to equal to its aura. Through those first couple spins, though a few tracks stood out--the dainty 'Dead Man Slough' in particular--the other shoe never dropped, so to speak. Though conceptually enthralling and musically involved, this album simply felt short on actual, honest-to-goodness songwriting. There is undoubtedly much to be said for innovative song structures and unconventional part-writing, both of which this record boasts in droves, but Giant Squid can be so resistant to tradition that they left both the audience and musical convention behind. At the same time, no part of 'The Ichthyologist' is so drastically atonal or experimental as to attract hardcore avant-garde, noise, or experimental fans who don't care much for hummable themes. The result is limbo: quirky enough to merit some 'experimental' tags, but not enough to make memorable melodies or good riffing obsolete. It is here that Giant Squid can fall stagnant.

The band has touted its ability to meld the angular and heavy with the delicate and beautiful, and on some occasions this is indisputably so, particularly in their sequential voicing of augmented second melodies (the "Middle Eastern" sound). A little too often, however, Giant Squid are not so much heavy as they are simply abrasive. Especially to blame is Gregory's grating singing voice, which recalls the nasally warble of System of a Down's Serj Tankian. Much more compelling are the Neurosis-like, gravely murmurs, lilting female soprano, and Gregory's more muted singing (almost like Squirrel Nut Zippers) that, unsurprisingly, are featured during the standout 'Dead Man Slough' or in the quaintly swung groove of 'Sutterville'. The trouble is that it's difficult for any of these specific timbres to express Giant Squid's musical diversity, which leaves Gregory's full singing voice as the album's primary narrator.

Another The End-related group straddling the line between deliberately zany and musically captivating is Canada's Unexpect. Though Unexpect pursues a different literal path--frenetic tech-metal with occasional jazz flourishes--both groups utilize some of the same techniques: male/female vocal dynamic, unconventionally harsh (i.e. not growled, but still hardly tuneful) vocals, some aggressive metal distortion countered with atypical instrumentation, and so on. Where the two groups differ, aside from the obvious, is how Unexpect's catalogue makes a conscious effort to temper their madness with compelling melodies that rouse and soothe the listener at deft turns. Giant Squid, conversely, are given to oceanic swells of emotion that peak irregularly, drop precipitously, and taper off dramatically in a forgettable second half. This kind of ride is simply too jarring, too scattered, to be truly 'sublime', and reveals the band's relative inexperience. (To be fair, just about anyone would be inexperienced in this territory.)

Perhaps in 50 years, when musical boldness on par with Giant Squid's is de facto, this review will seem outmoded and close-minded; the annals of music history are littered with naysayers brought low, ranging from Beethoven to the Beatles. But for now, Giant Squid have some maturing left to do, as they are still quite a young group. Unexpect's 'Utopia' was similarly inconsistent, and it was nearly 10 years into their existence before they delivered a fully developed and satisfying LP. At Giant Squid's rapid pace, it seems unlikely that we have much longer to wait; their next album is primed to be a true success, top to bottom.

Track x Track on Caravan of Thieves

Track x Track: Caravan of Thieves - Bouquet
For this edition of Track By Track, Caravan of Thieves guitarist Fuzz shares a quick factoid about each track on his band’s debut album, Bouquet. Fuzz is probably best known to our audience as the Deep Banana Blackout guitarist, but his latest project shows a completely different side of his musicality.

Bouquet features gypsy-flavored songs with gorgeous harmonies that swing. The disc is currently available through CD Baby and iTunes. Caravan of Thieves have spent plenty of time on the road lately and you can catch them this weekend at the Porcupine Mountains and TC Microbrew festivals in Michigan. Take it away, Fuzz…

1. Ghostwriter - We open the record with this one since it sets the tone and tells the story of where we get all our song ideas… from a highly imaginative ghost who frequents our home.

2. Rattlesnake - Sat with the letter ‘S’ and started swingin’ so steadily, the snake inside us sang the rest of the song out.

3. The Butcher’s Wife - Its somewhat autobiographical… our spirit writer friend explains how he wound up a spirit - by flirting with the alluring wife of a butcher. READ ON for more from Fuzz on the songs of Bouquet…

4. Freaks - the ice breaker in both the show and on the record since we let everyone know it’s ok to be different, express themselves and that we are ‘freaks’ too. In addition, during this song we ask the audience to do a complicated clap along.

5. Bar Isole - This song is significant since it is the first song that was delivered to Carrie and I (Fuzz) which eventually led to us creating the Caravan of Thieves.

6. Billy - As far as we are told, Billy got careless hiding his other identity as a bug and wound up getting captured. It’s sad, really…

7. Bouquet - Have you ever had a lot on your mind but you just can’t seem to put it into words? This is a ballade of two soul mates who have that problem. And we named the album ‘Bouquet’ because we wanted to put a creepy little boy on the cover holding flowers. We took that photo with a 150 year old tin type camera.

8. Zu Zu’s Petals - the Ouija board conked out on us that day but the music felt good so we kept going. Made for a great instrumental intermission piece on the album.

9. Burial at Sea - We dove deep into the art of Pirate lingo and became possessed and obsessed so we spoke only ‘pirate’ to each other for days. The lyrics came easy from there.

10. Box of Charms - a bottle of Absinthe was polished off during the recording of this track.

11. Angels in Cages - Life is a circus… and the clowns are in charge! …and the angels are in cages.

12. Dr Flynn - Judging by the lyrics and vocal take, Brian is single and drinks Absinthe quite often.

Giant Squid Catch Their Whale

Giant Squid Catch Their Whale
August 27th, 2009 by Adam

I've been listening to Giant Squid's new album since February, really trying to wrap my head around it. One or two of my cohorts felt the album drug, and didn't live up to their maniacally brilliant debut, Metridium Field. A few other fellow writers, including myself, initially opined that it was quite fantastic, and a bit of a grower. However, with an album so complex, intricate, and turbulent, time is often needed to decipher how you will feel about it over time. I'm glad I allowed it to fester, or in this case flourish.

Giant Squid's sophomore LP, The Ichthyologist, is based on a graphic novel by the same name written by Giant Squid founding member, Aaron Gregory. The album was produced by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, ISIS, Pearl Jam, Botch) so rest assured it sounds phenomenal. Personally, I think the album's sound picks up where Field left off, but the concept has gotten much grander in scale and the sound, much more dense. San Francisco seems to ooze weirdos, so the move has clearly rubbed off on the band, in a most acceptable way.

If forced to categorize the band, I would call it some form of circus-post-doom, with no one portion out weighing the other. At times, the sound is akin to ISIS, and the next minute System of a Down, or more specifically Serj Tankian, and other times comparable to Mr. Bungle, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, or Dog Fashion Disco. Regardless of who you think they compare to, the album is an absolute eye-opener, and should be on the radar of anybody who's taste goes beyond the ordinary.

The album is currently available on Translation Loss Records, one of my very favorite labels, so please support these fantastic artists.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Elin Palmer review on WILDY'S WORLD

Thursday, September 17, 2009
Review: Elin Palmer – Postcard

Elin Palmer – Postcard
2009, Elin Palmer

Denver singer/songwriter Elin Palmer has been around the block of the music business a time or two. The Värmland, Sweden native has played in session or in the road with or in support numerous artists over the years, working with acts such as 16 Horsepower, M. Ward, The Fray, Munly And The Lee Lewis Harlots, Devotchka and Eric Bachman (Archers Of Loaf) among others. Palmer is a multi-instrumentalist with a heavenly voice and mischievous glint in her eye, all of which manage to come across on her solo debut album, Postcard. With an expected release date of October 23, 2009, there’s a lot of hipster buzz about Postcard. Let's check it out.

Palmer is noted as a “longtime hipster crush”. Not ever having been much of a hipster, I can’t tell you what that’s all about. What I can tell you is that as an instrumentalist, Palmer is extremely talented. As a vocalist, she has a quality that is just short of mesmerizing, depending on where in her range she is singing. The title track, Postcard, sounds like Tori Amos, Milla Jovovich and Kate Bush all got together and somehow combined their voices into one superwoman vocalist. The song isn’t bad either; it’s a busy- yet-powerful and emotional song with an old-world Europe feel. Paint didn’t grab me quite so strongly; it’s dark and a bit repetitive and fell a little flat. Stora Stoular captures some of that near-mesmerizing quality that Palmer possesses. The song is sung in Swedish, so I can’t even begin to tell you what it’s about, but the melody is gorgeous and there’s a cabaret feel to it that simply works. Balloons is a song about emotional connections (or the lack thereof). An average to above-average song is made better here by some lovely vocal harmonies. Duvardar is the best composition on the disc, hands down. The song borders on being too busy, but is carried by its sense of vibrant life and positive energy; not to mention a melody you can hang your hat on. Palmer closes out Postcard with Whaleboat, a sea chanty that seems to draw a bit from the Celtic tradition, although this one is dark and a bit listless. It’s actually an intriguing listen, but not my favorite song on the disc by any means.

Postcard is tough to call. There are some great moments here and some so-so ones. On the whole I think it’s a win for Elin Palmer and her fans. I don’t think there are really any bad songs here, but it doesn’t necessarily sound like she was planning to write an album; more likely just a collection of songs she’s written over time and likes for various reasons. There isn’t a good flow to the album. Nonetheless the songwriting is generally strong, and he voice is as intriguing as most anyone in popular music. Make sure you check out Postcard, and maybe send one to a friend.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Elin Palmer at or Postcard will be released on CD on October 23, 2009. If you can’t wait that long and don’t mind renting your music, you can pick up the downloads at
Posted by Wildy at 5:32 AM
Labels: 16 Horsepower, Archers Of Loaf, Devotchka, Eric Bachman, Kate Bush, M. Ward, Milla Jovovich, Munly And The Lee Lewis Harlots, The Fray, Tori Amos

CITIZEN DICK: Invasion of the Swedish Chanteuses – Taken By Trees, Anna Ternheim, and Elin Palmer

Invasion of the Swedish Chanteuses – Taken By Trees, Anna Ternheim, and Elin Palmer – Album Reviews
September 3rd, 2009 by justin | Print
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Every January, the sitting American president comes before the American people and their duly elected legislative representatives and gives a report about the State of the Union. A combination of constitutional requirement, national tradition, and political posturing, these moments also provide us with a reliable annual marker for how things are going. Say what you will about the institution itself or the various men who have held it, but the regular meeting of the chief executive with the mass public’s representatives (and, through technology, indirectly with the people themselves) closes the democratic loop in an important and laudable way.

Unfortunately, we as indie rock writers are not so deliberate in the reports we make to you, our public, at least not when it comes to surveying the state of the union of Swedish pop. And this indictment is especially damning when we consider our failure to examine the progress being made in that most delightful of all sub-genres: the Swedish pop chanteuse.

So, as a way to make amends on behalf of all music writers everywhere AND take advantage of the fact that three particularly great albums have release dates this summer/fall within a short time of one another, I present to you the Citizen Dick First Annual (and likely Only Annual) State of Swedish Female Solo Pop report.

(Note: For those political science nerds out there, yes I am aware that new incumbent presidents actual make their speech in February, that it is in such a situation not a State of the Union but something different, and that the current traditions as we know them have only persisted since the early years of FDR’s presidency – but working all that into my intro, beyond just in this parenthetical aside, would’ve totally killed my hook.)

Thus, today you will be treated to a trio of micro-treatises on three excellent new albums out by Taken by Trees, Anna Ternheim, and Elin Palmer. All three lovely ladies are Swedish and all do the singer-songwriter thing, but listening to them one after another you get a great idea of the nuance (hopefully Michael Steele is reading this post) that differentiates each.

Of the three subjects of this post, readers will almost certainly be most familiar with Taken By Trees, the nom de plume (or whatever nom you’d have as a musician) for Victoria Bergsman. Most of you likely first learned of Bergsman when she performed the duet on “Young Folks” on the Peter, Bjorn, and John Writer’s Block album in 2007 (though I believe the single was released in 2006). I know that’s where I first became utterly taken with her gentle, sorrowful yet enticing vocals. It turns out I’d had an album or two by The Concretes already in my possession (including 2006’s wonderful In Colour), but it wasn’t until googling her name after being so taken with her performance on Writer’s Block that I made the connection between the two. About the time I was beginning my reintroduction to her oeuvre, Bergsman made the decision to move forward to a new phase, leaving The Concretes and going solo.

After spending much of her early post-Concretes time being touted in Europe and North America, during which she released her first solo album, Bergsman made a surprising and either courageous or silly decision to go to Pakistan, soak up the social and artistic vibes, and record her second album.

East of Eden wastes no time showing this South Asian influence, with opening track “To Lose Someone” beginning with instrumentals that would not be out of place as the soundtrack to the opening credits of some post-9/11 Homeland Security procedural program. Eventually, Bergsman soothing vocals come in, singing a song that lyrically and, at least with respect to her contribution to the song, would not have been out of place on her more mainstream Swedish pop debut album, 2007’s Open Field.

Throughout the rest of the album, some songs have more Pakistani influence than others. For example, “Anna” is a mostly straight-forward track, while the album’s lead single, “Watch the Waves,” brings in a moderate local influence on the rhythm. Indeed, other than in patches, the album never seems to provide a true synthesis between Scandinavian pop and South Asian folk music, but rather seems to be a stripped-down version of the former with some over and under-dubs of the latter. Still, the sound works and, artistically speaking, marks a lot riskier production decision by Bergsman and her team than the obvious choice – another Bjorn Yttling-produced album of confection and semi-twee gloss.

Don’t get me wrong – when it comes to that style, few folks in the world rival Yttling’s chops in the studio and few voices work with the genre as well as Bergsman’s does. But she has the rest of her career to produce those albums and the fact that she chose to make this more ambitious project says a lot about her goals and instincts. I think we’ll be seeing a lot from Bergsman over the years to come and all of it will be interesting, even when she returns to the simple pop formula that helped to make her name and get our attention in the first place.

East of Eden will be released by Rough Trade Records on September 7th.

Of the three albums under review here, Anna Ternheim’s Leaving on a Mayday is the most straightforward and traditional, perhaps because unlike Bergsman, Ternheim did make the studio call to Bjorn Yttling. There are also some significant 90s chick adult-alternative cues, with Ternheim sounding reminiscent of Dido on several tracks (”What Have I Done,” “Let It Rain,” and “Terrified”) and Jewel on at least one other (”Damaged Ones”).

Like those previous generation references, Ternheim’s efforts are vocals-centric, and while each track has the requisite drum machine and strings work, both are consistently muted, with her voice always prized above the minimalistic accompaniment. Such an approach is not completely unusual with female singer-songwriters, but one really starts to recognize Ternheim’s confidence and swagger when you consider who it is playing along on these tracks that are being muted: occasional drummers like Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and renowned Swedish jazz drummer Fredrik Rundqvist, legendary session axe man Matt Sweeney, and others.

Much of Leaving On A Monday sounds like it all belongs on the same record, but on some particularly special tracks there are developments that take things to a unique level. The best example of this is “Summer Rain,” which at times reminds me (just a little bit) of Jimmy Buffett and a lot of Brent Knopf of Menomena’s new solo project under the name Ramona Falls. Considering Ramona Falls album, Intuit, is the yet unchallenged leader in my own personal race for Best Album of 2009, you won’t be surprised when I saw I wish I heard more tracks like “Summer Rain,” and less that remind me of post-break up mix tapes my college freshman year girlfriend would make me in 1996-1997. However, it must be noted, those tracks were on those tapes for a reason, which is why Anna Ternheim’s new album strikes me as a very good one indeed.

Anna Ternheim’s Leaving On A Mayday was released by Verve Forecast on August 11th. If you want to sample the goods before committing to a purchase, a few of the album’s tracks are streaming on Ternheim’s myspace page, which you can access here.

Elin Palmer’s debut solo effort, Postcard, provides considerably more depth than the previous albums and may well be the best of the lot. An accomplished instrumentalist, Palmer is best known for bringing string and accordion work to other musician’s projects, including 16 Horsepower and M. Ward. On Postcard, Palmer still brings those instruments to the recording studio, but has her first opportunity to cultivate and express her own sound.

That sound is a dark one, what you might expect if Tracyanne Campbell became the live-in lover of David Eugene Edwards – more focus on romance than fire and brimstone, but still a fearfulness and anxiety to the record that the eclectic and old world selection of instruments only reinforces. There is a restrained desperation on this album that – especially on a track like “Paint” – makes me think of Trent Reznor’s unknown gypsy ancestry, while Waves is more reminiscent of Wovenhand-era Edwards.

The distance and dissonance between the singer and the listener only increases on the Swedish tracks (”Stora Stovlar” and “Duvardat”), and the final effect is much like a murky dream sequence where the dreamer is finding his way down cloudy passages, unsure of what is ahead and unable to go back, drawn by an enchanting if harrowing songstress that one hopes is merely sad and not the bearer of some straight Odysseus and the Sirens shit. Besides, if we were to stuff our ears with beeswax like Big O’s men did, we wouldn’t be able to hear this wonderful album.

Elin Palmer’s Postcard will be released on October 9th. In the meantime, check out her myspace page, where several tracks are streaming, here. Also be sure to hit up this fantastic study of her courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Independent (Palmer now makes her home in Denver).

Taken by Trees – Watch the Waves

Anna Ternheim – What Have I Done

Anna Ternheim – What Have I Done (El Perro Del Mar remix)

Elin Palmer – Postcard

Elin Palmer reviewed in METRO SPIRT

Elin Palmer



Elin Palmer
Rlease date: October 9

AUGUSTA, GA - When Elin Palmer cuts in above the strings on the opening title track from “Postcard,” solidly and airily delivering lines like “Your face on a postcard/My hands in my pockets/Our minds thinking the same thoughts,” you could be forgiven for thinking that this is just a for-the-hell-of-it pseudonym for Mirah. And to be fair, you’d be hard-pressed to arrive at any other conclusion following only a cursory listen to the album; Palmer’s vocals are forceful yet confident, her sometimes-Joni Mitchell, sometimes-Seamus Heaney-like lyrics carried and swept along by understatedly orchestral arrangements.

Know however, that digging deep into “Postcard” will begin to unearth all of its veiled idiosyncrasies and subtle pleasures. Phrased another way, you’re not allowed to relegate this album to mere background or ambiance any sooner than a month after acquiring it. I mean sit down, strap on the headphones, and really…LISTEN. Allow yourself to be brought nearly to tears by Palmer’s staggered self-chorus on the title track; ponder the inexplicably fluid dichotomy of ocean-set spaghetti western ballad “Whaleboat;” and slowly come to realize that “Stora Stoular” has lifted you up and set you down at the border of Paris chic and Moscow sketch.

In the end, though, anywhere Palmer takes you is home—hers, yours, and everyone you know. To listen to “Postcard” is to have something akin to an out-of-body experience: your body grounded, your mind unfettered, and your soul finally acting like the unhinged angel its always been.


Elin Palmer - Postcard (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)
The debut solo album from Sweden's Elin Palmer. Some folks may already be familiar with Palmer's playing as she has acted in a supporting role for a variety of well-known underground artists including (but not limited to) Eric Bachman. Postcard is a wonderfully fulfilling album. Palmer's music recalls a variety of artists...most notably Lisa Germano and Rasputina (although only occasionally sounding like either one). She writes wonderfully flowing melodies, has an incredible voice, and threads lots of cool stringed instruments into her compositions. This short album (clocking in at just under 30 minutes) is a rather mindblowing debut. We can't help but think that Elin Palmer will be an underground celebrity over the course of the next few months. Killer heady pop tracks include "Postcard," "Paint," "Balloons," and "Whaleboat." (Rating: 5+)


Elin Palmer – Postcard – Review
Posted by Staff on August 29, 2009 – 2:42 am -

Release Date: October 17th, 2009
Record Label: None
Genre: Folk

The Swedish are always able to surprise me. I mean who starts a band with only a bass player, a drummer, and a keyboard player? Well apparently the ostentatious folk singer/songwriter Elin Palmer and the two friends that make up the band of her name are just that loony (and Swedish). This is the first solo record for Elin Palmer and if her collaborations with bands such as The Fray, The Czars, and Crooked Fingers foreshadow anything, it’s that “Postcard” might just be the popular step away from her Munly and The Lee Lewis Harlots past that Elin needs to become recognized.

I must first comment that Elin Palmer is highly unorthodox. Almost everything, from her use of jittery violin, to her playing of a Nyckelharpa (an ancient Swedish instrument apparently), to her hauntingly memorable voice, is something just a bit off kilter. You will notice from the very start of “Postcard,” that this record is meant to be odd, and it relishes in every moment of confusion it causes. But it’s in that quixotic time frame that you realize how memorizing this record is. With no guitar to hog up listening space, Elin has taken somber bass lines and delicate percussion and mixed it with a gypsy’s closet (violin, accordion, piano) to create a flourishing bit of forest-nymph folk. Of course she takes out her acoustic guitar as well, but leaving the 6 string presence to wood alone, keeps every track that features it, still quaint and personal.

Elin even sings in her native language on a track or three, giving “Postcard“ an even more authentic feel. And even though this album is only 8 tracks long and goes by fairly quickly, there is plenty to be pleased with. It doesn’t feel like traditional folk as most of us know it, and I believe that is what draws me into it. Instead it is a striped-down (no guitars) indie rock with heaps of culture and earthy instruments. All which are motioned by Elin’s talented and beautiful vocals, making the effort even more remarkable.

“Postcard” feels like, what amounts to, a waking dream. It is ethereal and magical, but still modest and genuine. And if you don’t have a problem hearing a repeating accordion, then this record should be a folksy indie surprise that you never saw coming. (We never suspect the Sweeds) ~Staff

Score: 4/5

Track Listing:
1. Postcard
2. Paint
3. Time
4. Stora Stovlar
5. Balloons
6. Duvardar
7. House
8. Whaleboat

Elin Palmer on FEM MUSIC

Postcard by Elin Palmer

If there is ever a reason to not download something, Postcard is it. It is a CD of 8 songs but the magic is hearing them in their pure produced form off speakers. The complete package is alive and original.

Palmer’s name may be familiar. She has played with Devotchka, 16 Horsepower, M. Ward and many others. For this album she has assembled her own band including Tim Husman on drums, Audrey Marold on accordion, Ryan Drickey on cello, and Charles Parker Mertens on upright bass. Palmer demonstrates her multi-instrument proficiency playing Nyckelharpa, violin, guitar, keyboard, cello and more. Did I also mention she sings?

Palmer’s voice is reminiscent of Enya or Kate Bush with a subtler, softer range. Her Swedish accent flavors her English songs with a distinct presence, and makes her traditional Swedish folksongs come very alive. The music can’t be classified. At one point it sounds like a classical string quartet, or straight folk songs. Then you go a chord and it is a hook ridden pop song that begs to be danced to. Palmer’s music is easy accessible to those used to Devotchka, Dresden Dolls. People who love pop will also be drawn into this easily addictive music.

There are eight songs on the album including two traditional Swedish folk songs: Stora Stővlar and Duvardär. The title track “Postcard” is a highly addictive pop song. It is filled with the Nyckelharpa, a traditional Swedish instrument, and accordion. Another standout song is “Whaleboat” whose crystal clear imagery holds the frost in the air. “House” projects a fear of loneliness and isolation while “Time” feels like the progression of the seasons. Palmer’s lyrics are often repetitive but never seem to grow tiring. Every track is golden and worth more voluminous words than here. They are also worth multiple listens. Production on the album feels top notch for instruments that can be difficult to capture and credit must be given to Bob Ferbrache. Postcard is an ensemble and must be listened as such.

Palmer has played backup too many artists so it is a pleasure to hear her shine by herself. This solo work should mark the beginning of a new name to fill theaters everywhere. For more information visit

elin palmer reviewed on DELUSIONS OF ADEQUACY

Elin Palmer – “Postcard”
September 21, 2009 by Brad Tilbe
Category: Albums (and EPs)

Sweden is best known for spawning Abba. In the underground we know better and can put the Abba reference behind us and note that Jose Gonzalez is a Swede. Ok great, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way here comes Elin Palmer. She’s played with a nice little handful of respected artists such as Devotchka, The Fray, and M. Ward. If Regina Spektor skipped over to Sweden and picked a cello instead of a piano, we would have possibly the same outcome. “Soviet Kitsch” meets Paris, France. Picture a 1920’s grainy black and white film of a smiling couple running through the streets of the city of love, “Postcard” could possibly be the soundtrack. I don’t see, nor do I hear many female cello players besides of course the “Transylvania” trio Rasputina. Based on this fact I find Elin Palmer original. Tracks include but are not limited to the entirely Swedish sung “Du var Dur” and “Stora Stoular”. Among the tracks contained on Postcard I fail to find a hook worth grabbing. Postcard is 8 songs of cello infused with harp, brushes, clicks and boredom. I will give kudos to Elin for choosing the path and coming out with an album of cello based instrumentation. Beyond this, Postcard may be best left in the $1 bin among copies of God Shuffled His Feet by Crash Test Dummies.

File Under: cello, Devotchka, m. ward, Sweden

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jonesin review on WILDYS WORLD

Sunday, August 23, 2009
Review: Jonesin' - Hi, We're Jonesin'!

Jonesin' - Hi, We're Jonesin'!
2009, Telemarketer’s Worst Nightmare

Matt and Jenny Jones are getting married! In September of 2010, the couple will tie the knot officially, although they’ve already wed their musical fortunes to great effect. Mixing a Devo-esque Geek Pop with Japanese Pop (J-Pop) with drum programming, Casio keyboards and perhaps some medicinal assistance, Jonesin’ has crafted a unique sound that will get under your skin. Jonesin' set out to record material under the guidance of The Motels' Matha Davis at her personal studio. The result, their debut album, Hi, We’re Jonesin’! will have you either falling in love with Jonesin’ or taking a machete to your CD/MP3 player. There’s little middle ground.

Hi, We're Jonesin! opens with Rollerskates, an intriguing love song that's part geek, part Pleasantville-weird Utopia and part cheesy 1970's television musical. Highly keyboard driven, the song features both vocalists, with Jenny Jones sounding a bit like a moll from a mob movie and Matt Jones sounding a bit like Gordon Lightfoot. Bummer Summer continues in a similar vein, with the sort of keyboard arrangement you might have heard programmed into a Casio keyboard in the late 1980's. Bummer Summer actually was quite apropos for a year when temperatures in much of the Western Hemisphere never quite got into a summer pattern. Jonesin' gets into an ethereal/psychedelic mindset for Too Stoned To Screw. The song is anathema to the punk classic Too Drunk To F#ck, sticking to a highly mellow vocal line and a Brookstone nature CD keyboard part. For the song Ice Cream I have to present you a mental picture. Imagine if Grease was filmed in a junior high instead of high school with the cast of Revenge Of The Nerds. Ice Cream would be the sort of song that would come out of such a movie. It's a beauty that borrows liberally from Sippin' Cider Through A Straw but is none the worse for wear.

2012 takes off on the most recent popular urban myth that the world will end in 2012. It's a child-like, optimistic take on the survivalist mentality done with a bit of panache and a shift of wit. The song is wonderfully melodic and catchy. Hey, Aliens? is a fanciful attempt at communication with life from outer space, presented with the humor and naiveté of youth, reminiscent of the folks who chose to stand on top of a Los Angeles skyscraper and greet the invaders in Independence Day. What If? asks existential questions about how you might change your life if you had the opportunity, although it goes into those questions with pre-conceptions about aliens and alternate universes that may not be the societal norm. It's a catchy tune that will get stuck in your head. Jonesin' closes out with How Much You Wanna Bet?, an Americana gem about commitment and giving yourself over to a cause (such as marriage). Once again, the naïveté of the two vocalists, or characters, is striking.

The more I listen to Hi, We're Jonesin'! the more I get the impression that it's more like a Rock Musical or concept album than just a collection of songs. The two vocalists have distinct personae that stay solid throughout the album, with relational ideas that show up across songs. The characters here are naive and idealistic and somehow very real. When I first listen to Hi, We're Jonesin'! I didn't like it (which means I didn't get it right away), but this is a brilliant album. The nerdy keyboard arrangements set the tone, with Jenny Jones’ wide-eyed ingénue and Matt Jones’ guileless bravado creating a Utopian setting for either a perfect life or a disaster. Jonesin' does us all a brilliant turn on Hi, We're Jonesin'! I highly recommend you check it out.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Jonesin’ at Hi, We’re Jonesin’ drops on September 8, 2009. Keep checking their MySpace page for availability.
Posted by Wildy at 5:20 AM
Labels: Brookstone, Devo, Gordon Lightfoot, Grease, Independence Day, J-Pop, Martha Davis, Pleasantville, Revenge Of The Nerds, The Dead Kennedys, The Motels

DECIBEL MAGAZINE covers giant squid cd release show

Giant Squid record release show with Grayceon, Rosetta, Cable

Posted August 12 by Jess B.

Staggered Works and dB are geting our taste of post metal Friday night. And so should you. Once again, the team presents a diverse lineup with Giant Squid, Grayceon, Rosetta and Cable at Philly’s Manhattan Room. California’s Giant Squid is celebrating the release of their latest, The Ichthyologist. Rounds abound, this will be a productive party. But then again, there’s only one way to find out…

Decibel magazine

The Voice of Energy interview Pictures of Then

go to the Bob Ham's blog here

Interview: Pictures Of Then
August 20, 2009

And The Wicked Sea, the sophomore release by the Minneapolis band Pictures
of Then goes firmly against the current strain of writing music to be
consumed in small, single-sized chunks. It is a full-portion of glammy ’60s-style
pop with touches of psychedelia and modern bombast, meant to be heard from
beginning to end. Front man Casey Call kindly answered some questions for
The Voice of Energy about the inspirations behind the band’s latest album
and making music in a town that spawned the likes of Prince, Husker Du and
The Hold Steady.

The record has a really cohesive feel – as if it was written as a complete
piece of work instead of in bits and pieces. Did you intend it that way?

It wasn’t as much of an intention as it was a realization. I wrote most of
the songs around the same time in my life and I think they just naturally
reflect where my thoughts were during that period and also where the band
was at as a whole. After we started making the album we began to realize
that there was a common thread that seemed to flow from song to song. We
didn’t really plan this. We just noticed that it existed so we embraced it.
This was when the whole idea for the album name really started to come into

The only real forethought we had in making the album was that we wanted the
songs to seem believable, not overproduced or contrived but just honest and
real. To do this we recorded all of the songs as live takes with all of us
in the same room, and we were very strict on one thing – if we couldn’t pull
it off live we didn’t record it. As we began to sift through all of the
material that we had to decide what songs would be on the record, I think we
started to become aware of a fiber that existed in some songs but not in
others. It’s really hard to put my finger on what that was exactly, but at
the time it was a very organic thing that came about in the studio, we
simply kept the songs that felt like they belonged and cut the ones that

So many of the songs feel like they are wrapped up in this idea that things
are awful now, but better times are just around the corner – where did this
come from?

I think the tone of this record comes in part from experiencing loss and
disappointment on a personal level and drawing parallels between that and
things going on in the world outside. When you lose someone close to you, or
you try and try to achieve something but it just seems like you never really
get anywhere, (or at least not where you expected), it’s easy to feel
hopeless. I often look at the world around me and remind myself that for all
of the great injustices that happen every day – there is also great beauty
and that life is a gift. Some of the songs on this album are definitely
permutations of the thought that no matter what loss or heartache I may
experience, there is always something to be thankful for if I’m willing to
find it.

Pictures Of Then is from a town that has a very storied musical legacy
(Prince, Husker Du, Soul Asylum, etc.). Do you take a lot of inspiration
from those local groups like that?

I don’t think we draw influence from any specific Minneapolis band, however
we are very aware of Minneapolis’s contribution to rock and roll. I think
the great Minneapolis bands of the past, and present for that matter, have
helped shape one of the most vibrant music scenes in the country. Our band
really feeds off of the energy of the local scene, so we absolutely have to
pay homage to the great bands that have come before us.

With the ease of access to music on the Internet and people’s short
attention spans when it comes to pop culture, does that make your job easier
or harder to make a name for yourself?

Being a somewhat newer band, we can’t speak about the “good ol’ days” of
distribution, so I’m not sure if we can answer whether it makes it harder or
easier to make a name for your band. While the Internet has certainly been
a huge help for us, nothing beats being out on the road and putting on a
good show. I feel like the bands that dwell on music being shared online are
being very shortsighted. The industry is changing, and you have to roll with
the punches. I think the bands that will survive the digital revolution
will be the ones that are flexible, and embrace change. While we’re
utilizing the Internet, we’re also banking on the fact that people will
always want to see a great live show.

What is next for the band–any plans you’d care to divulge?

Heading back out on the road is our top priority right now. This past
summer we stuck closer to home playing festivals like Summerfest in
Milwaukee and Des Moines Art Fest, plus focusing a lot of time and energy on
our home markets (Chicago, Minneapolis, and Des Moines) as we prepared for
the release of the album. With the summer festival schedule coming to a
close, and our album being official release as of August 4th, we are excited
to head back out on the road. Both West and East coast tours are on our
agenda, but first we’ll be hitting up some Midwest markets including
Chicago, Nashville, Austin, Kansas City, tentatively planned for November.

Grayceon show review from SF and CHICAGO

August 18, 2009 | New Music | by Gerry Mak |

I caught Grayceon from San Francisco a week or so ago in Chicago. I hadn’t heard of them before, but they were really fantastic. The trio has roots in metal, but manage to take things in a more melodic, progressive direction without sacrificing heaviness. Their complex arrangements shift between languid, cello-driven segments to riff-heavy parts complete with double bass drums. Cellist Jackie Perez Gratz’ operatic vocal lines in conjunction with guitarist Max Doyle’s monk-like baritone up the chamber-music feel of their sound, but they still hit the right spots to get people headbanging.

Friday, September 11, 2009

BLACK SKIES testimonial about xo publicity

"XO publicity did an amazing job publicizing our tour. Prior to hiring XO, we always had a DIY approach, so we were hesitant about the idea at first. But we had spent so much effort booking the tour that we really wanted to get the word out about our shows this time. Booking our own tour and all the logistics surrounding that meant we really had no time to publicize properly; not to mention we didn't have nearly the amount of contacts as XO. We also never really had much luck getting press with the exception of one or two write-ups here or there during several weeks out on the road. Hiring a publicist to contact the media seemed to legitimize a write-up or interview more so than contacting them directly. Immediately after hiring XO, we noticed results. We were getting calls for interviews, more traffic on our website, Myspace, EPK and ReverbNation profiles and had writers coming out to review our shows. We had at least one write-up/interview, sometimes two or three, for almost every night of our 20 day US tour. They were all very positive and included full-color photos. It was such a relief to know we make a good decision in hiring XO. Carly, our publicist for this tour was so easy to get along with, very professional but also down to earth, enthusiastic about our band and hard working! She and Kaytea were always quick to respond to our texts and messages and kept us up to date with write-ups so we could check the local papers as well as who to put on our guest list for reviews. Since returning from tour, we have recommended XO to several of our close friends' bands. We will definitely hire them again for future tours. XO rocks!"
- Michelle Temple/ Black Skies

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Ryan Adams, I think you married the wrong girl. You knew her as the ace rock star drummer in Unisex Salon, Les Fleurs Tragiques, and Laptop. On her debut solo outing (which translates as burn, burn in French) the hot and fabulous Ms. Torrisi has re-emerged as an alternative country rock goddess! With melodies to die for, and a sultry behind-the beat delivery the works every time, cuts including "Hungry Like Me," "X in Texas" and "Storm Clouds" ache in all the right places. Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynn, and Patti Griffin eat your heart out! Bruler Bruler is certainly among the best debuts of 2009.

--Tom Semioli [August 26, 2009]

Jessie Torrisi review on dryvetyme onlyne

Jessie Torrisi – brûler brûler
Category: Music In My Ears — dryvetyme @ 07:00
Jessi Torrisi
brûler brûler
Self-Released; 2009

Guest Contributor: Jen Broadwell

A debut solo effort entitled brûler brûler has made a frontwoman out of New York native folk singer, Jessie Torrisi. Formerly a rock drummer for multiple New York City bands, Torrisi recently relocated to Austin, TX to go it alone. She has a dazzling alto range and, with the vocals underway in her song “Hungry Like Me,” I was reminded of Cat Power’s “Silver Stallion.” Other songs, such as “Cannonball,” exhibit a sensitivity to jazz, as that is often an orientation for a deep or raspy vocal.

Most of these songs refer, lyrically, to relationships. In “Hungry Like Me,” she seems to be voicing her desire for someone who will match her spontaneous, go-getter approach in search of her passions. “I need somebody who will jump a train/ I don’t need another man who only takes me half way/ I wanna ride into the dawn/ I will go anywhere for what I’m craving.” Furthermore, the phrase “hungry like me” is emphasized through repetition in a short acoustic breakdown, followed by a resumed series of in-unison hand-claps.

The trombone is an integral part of the song “X in teXas.” A slow upright bass pick is also prominent here. This song represents the termination of a relationship where, clearly and cleverly, the “x” refers to ‘ex.” Sit tight and you’ll also catch the gravity of the “low in lowdown” and the “o in over.”

An occasional cello crescendo and two acoustic finger pickers, combined with one high-strung instrument that incorporates a few hammer-ons and another harmony picker all help to tell Torrisi’s story of loss in the song “Breeze in Carolina.” She questions, “How can the breeze in Carolina be sweater than my love?” A similar struggle to retain one’s lover is illustrated in “So Many Miles,” where, after all her invested energy, she explains that she does not want to see everything fall apart. Unlike “Breeze in Carolina” and other slower narratives, such as “Storm Clouds” and “The Brighter Side,” “So Many Miles” is an upbeat track, similar to “Hungry Like Me.”

“The Brighter Side” serves as a beautiful ending to this tuneful account of wavering emotions. The wonderful piano-based ballad is reflective of all she’s experienced, as she informs us that she has come out on the other, brighter, side.

Overall, the plethora of instruments on hand for this record, combined with Torrisi’s captivating vocal finesse and influence from New Orleans jazz and New York City indie rock, have culminated into a fresh and pleasurable presentation. In addition, brûler brûler seems to have made a good first impression in Austin, as she has already found herself at the center of the city’s music scene, performing shows at Momo’s, The Saxon Pub, and La Zona Rosa.

Jen Broadwell is a music blogger from Houston, TX who runs the site Music Artiste. She enjoys attending local show and writing scene reviews and interviews. She also enjoys indie festivals and national indie shows and often posts her thoughts on such events, along with new music videos. Since her hobby doesn’t pay the bills. she works for the University of Houston in Development.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

giant squid in MAKE MAJOR MOVES (philly blog)

Giant Squid + Grayceon
9pm, $8. M Room.
Already commanding the majesty and breadth of an instrumental band, Giant Squid seals the deal by employing guy-girl vocals that toe the line between creepy and romantic. The San Francisco troupe’s sweeping second album, The Ichthyologist, is dense in delivery and prolonged in duration, but with some levity in there as well. Despite the greedy reach its name implies, Giant Squid shares cellist/singer Jackie Perez Gratz with SF trio Grayceon, who are second-billed on this tour. Pitched more to the metal side of gloomy atmospherics, Grayceon also venture into subterranean passages without a voice to guide the way. At other times, vocals emerge like foreboding clouds. Wicked. (Doug Wallen)

Also, the North Star hosts Oklahoma weird-rockers Starlight Mints, along with Wye Oak, JP Inc., and Major Leagues [9pm/$12]; long-running Scottish indie-popsters Trashcan Sinatras come to Tin Angel, along with Brookville [7:30 & 10:30pm/$18]; and legendary hip-hop crew De La Soul celebrates the 20th anniversary of their landmark 3 Feet High and Rising at the Note [8pm/$30-$33].

The Onion preview for Giant Squid

Giant Squid’s Aaron Gregory obviously has a deep fascination with the sea. A professional scuba diver who relocated from Austin to work at San Francisco’s Bay Aquarium, he drowns his emotive metal band in oceanic imagery, from the title of its recent The Ichthyologist to lyrical themes that could double as Melville stories. Like a coral reef, the shadows of Giant Squid's ostensibly doom-metal sound teem with hidden species, from flutters of flute, violin, and banjo to Middle Eastern ragas to the bruised, beautiful interplay between the smoky female backing vocals and Gregory’s own Tom Waits-ish burr. Such complexity is also typical of headliner Baron Grod, whose progressive, Isis-influenced metal has strains of expressive post-rock buried within its corrosive thrash.

Updated 08/14/2009,117067/

The Family Curse covered on INDIEPIT
Deep underground is a new band we’ve been falling for: the Family Curse. Take just about every type of loud music you can think of - noise-rock, industrial, hard electronic, heavy rock - put them in a particle accelerator, and this is what you get:
“Bodies in Rooms”

What’s the opposite of easy listening? Hard listening? Yeah, that’s definitely what this is. The second album by the Seattle band - which features Mark Tweed, a guy who might have a longer résumé than Bob Pollard - White Medicine will be available at pharmacies (or record stores) in October via the waaay indie artist collective Fainting Room. …

CD review in washington post of Caravan of Thieves

CD Review: Caravan of Thieves' 'Bouquet'

Friday, August 14, 2009



Kindred spirits: Fairport Convention, Blackmore's Night

Show: Monday at Iota. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 703-522-8340.

Caravan of Thieves stole my heart.

There's something about the band's witty, spirited gypsy folk-jazz that is so new and yet so familiar all at once.

The band has been together only about a year, and yet its debut album, "Bouquet," belies the members' old souls and musical chops. Violin, upright bass, acoustic guitar and harmonious vocals blend into a sweet, melodic whirl of musical flavors.

Take "Zu Zu's Petals," which combines a wickedly exciting mix of stand-up bass and violin, defying one to listen without at least some foot tapping.

Or consider "Burial at Sea," with its strumming gypsy jazz strings wrapping around witty lyrics including: "It was tricky but we stowed your little buddy all tied up in the galley/Now it's true romance/So, here's a little shanty/Nothing fancy/Sung by Jack and Nancy Ketch/Go fetch your swimming pants/'Cause it's time to dance."

It's easy to see how this signature style can appeal to such a wide swath of fans. The band members obviously are masters of their respective instruments. That allows them to stretch musical boundaries with sounds that could emanate from France or Romania without tipping over the edge into farce.

The lovely melodies and harmonious vocals of Caravan of Thieves make "Bouquet" a sweet indulgence, indeed.

-- Nancy Dunham

read it here

Washington Post live preview of CARAVAN OF THIEVES

Who: Caravan of Thieves When:: 8:30 p.m. Monday Where: Iota Club and Cafe, Arlington

Iota will host alternative Americana/gypsy rock group Caravan of Thieves four times this year, starting Monday. (By Chad Anderson)Thursday, August 13, 2009

A residency -- when a venue commits to an ongoing series of shows by one band -- is a great chance for an audience and a group of musicians to really get to know one another. It's also a clear sign that a venue believes in an act's potential to grow a local fan base. What's needed, then, is the kind of band that has an expansive style that varies in content but not in quality, so that each night is a unique event, bringing people back time after time.

Caravan of Thieves is that kind of band, and Iota has committed four evenings -- Monday, Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16 -- to hosting the Connecticut-based, alternative Americana/gypsy rock group.

The band might be familiar to some in the Washington area, having opened for Dan Hicks at the State Theatre in April. The Hicks/Caravan pairing was a good one in that both acts are hard to pigeonhole, moving among musical styles such as jazz, blues and swing. As Skyscraper magazine put it, the eclectic sound of this Caravan is "a brew of up-tempo, gypsy-styled folk-pop that has a pendulant charm akin to Squirrel Nut Zippers mixing it up with DeVotchKa . . . the result is compelling and colorful."

The band is led by husband-and-wife musicians Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, singers and guitarists who teamed up in 2004, first as an acoustic duo, then in a band called Rolla, which released two records and played hundreds of shows. Early last year, the pair recruited double bassist Brian Anderson, previously of the experimental jazz trio Raisin Hill, and violinist Ben Dean, student of jazz and classical violin and veteran of a number of ensembles, bands and orchestras throughout Connecticut.

Within the band mates' brief time together, Caravan of Thieves has managed to move from support act, performing with artists such as Tom Tom Club, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Trout Fishing in America to club headliners known for a high-intensity, interactive stage show that often incorporates multimedia effects. In the past year, the group has also released a debut CD of 12 original tracks, "Bouquet," that has drawn favorable comparisons to Gogol Bordello and the Decemberists. Accordion player Bruce Martin (he's played with Tom Tom Club, as did Fuzz for a time) guested on the CD and pops up with the band onstage when his schedule permits.

The harmonious vocal interplay of the Sangiovannis is set in dramatic and often comical narratives, while the fleet-fingered violin and acoustic guitar lines and thumping upright bass move at a frenetic pace that's hard to resist.

Catch the Caravan of Thieves at this first of four Iota shows, and it might steal three more nights of your autumn calendar.


Iota Club and Cafe is at 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington County. Admission is $12 at the door (tickets are not sold in advance) and limited to those 21 and older with a valid ID. For information, call 703-522-8340 or go to

Send suggestions for Live! to Please write for the mailing address before sending any materials.

Brooklyn Vegan covers Giant Squid & Grayceon

Giant Squid and Grayceon are hitting the eastern shores this August, and have lined up a date at Union Pool on August 12th with the mighty Hull (who recently dropped Sole Lord). Full tour dates are below. Giant Squid's new Matt Bayles (Minus The Bear, Mastodon) produced effort, The Ichthyologist, is out now independently. Pick it up through the band, and download one of those tracks above.

Rising in the Ranks of Indie Rock, “Pictures of Then” partner up with LITHUM

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Rising in the Ranks of Indie Rock, “Pictures of Then” partner up with LITHUM
PRLog (Press Release) – Aug 12, 2009 – Rising in the ranks of successful
Minneapolis based bands; Pictures of Then is on the fast track to the top.
They’ve put the pedal to the metal today by signing a licensing agreement
with LITHUM.

After releasing their first album “Crushed by Lights” in 2007, Pictures of
Then has enjoyed continuous success, securing a firm foundation in the
national music scene; their latest album “and The Wicked Sea” is growing
increasingly popular with every performance. The group has been known to
present a polished and confident stage presence, without ever failing to
impress their ever-growing fan base. LITHUM’s Co-Chairman, Timothy Bjorkman
says “Pictures of Then have already had some extremely successfully
placements and we are ecstatic that they have given us the go-ahead to take
it to the next level. The entire Pictures of Then team has been nothing but
a pleasure to work with thus far and we’re preparing ourselves for a very
successful future together.”

Pictures of Then has enjoyed multiple placements on MTV’s hit reality series’,
The Real World and The Hills, as well as having music featured on various
college and national Radio stations, This 5-piece act is sure to provide a
psychedelic folk experience laced with a touch of punchy British-pop.

Although LITHUM has been known for their highly regarded Urban Music
catalogue, they have recently begun a campaign to extend their influence in
to other genres of popular music. Today’s signing creates a formidable
partnership between two of the fastest growing names in independent music.
# # #

LITHUM is a Music Licensing and Publishing company based in Los Angeles,
California LITHUM's focused outlets for exploitation of its music include
All Media, i.e. Film, Television, Video Games, Advertisement, and Radio.

Fastest Growing Allied Health Careers | Top Colleges Blog
Posted by mu at 4:00 PM

Grayceon live show review on SOUNDPICK


An Underappreciated Musical Genre: String Metal
Friday, July 24, 2009 at 10:19PM

Also following in their mystical footsteps is San Francisco based Grayceon. ( Although their sound is raw it shows great potential for becoming another unstoppable Bay Area force on the underappreciated but extremely brutal musical genre string metal!

Both bands are currently touring. Check their websites for show dates.

Giant Squid live show review in Slug Magazine

Giant Squid @ Burt's Tiki Lounge
by Conor Dow []
Online Exclusive / Posted August 10, 2009 More Exclusives
Giant Squid
Burt’s Tiki Lounge

My Father, who was an accomplished swimmer in college, once told me that he feels more comfortable swimming in water than walking on land. For my 12th birthday he put me in scuba diving school. I vividly remember that my first experience of breathing under water with scuba diving gear resulted in glee and laughter, and since that moment I’ve been infatuated with submerging myself beneath the surface of the water for a breath of compressed air.

Needless to say, in 2005 when a band called Giant Squid inked a deal to release their first album with The End Records, my interest was more than piqued. If you happened to read my review of their second album The Ichthyologist (May 2009), you may have noticed that I was bowled over about how good it was. Music that is heavily riff-based and creates an atmosphere of oceanic depth weaved with elusive, yet interesting lyrics is a genre that is not exactly tapped out. After having the pleasure of seeing Giant squid open up for Agalloch up in Portland, Oregon in 2006, I sure as hell wasn’t going to miss seeing them play their new material here in Salt Lake City.

Unfortunately due to extenuating circumstances, I missed the opening band Grayceon, who I am somewhat new to, but was really looking forward to seeing. Shortly after I arrived, Giant Squid began to play.

The set began with “Panthalassa (Lampetra Tridentata),” and as expected most of the material they played was from their newest album. Something about the dismal atmosphere at Burt’s combined with all of the band’s equipment provided a rather dirty and extra sea-sick feel to their songs. Burt’s had become our vessel and everyone in the audience was clearly into it.

The band has been through quite a lot of lineup changes in the past several years, racking up a large amount of former contributors. To my knowledge, the only two remaining original members are Bryan Beeson on bass guitar, and mastermind Aaron Gregory who performs vocals, lead guitars and is responsible for the concept of their newest album. Tonight it was a five piece with Jackie Perez Gratz, who also performs with Grayceon, on electric cello and backing vocals.

For me, Giant Squid always manages to create a great mood of wonderment and childlike adventuring. I think much of this has to do with the vocals. Aaron’s vocals are often compared to Serj Tankian of System of a Down, however I disagree. A much more accurate comparison would be Roger Waters, and with Jackie’s backing vocals Giant Squid manages to create a dynamic similar to Pink Floyd where one member sings beautifully while the other sings with a voice that relies on unrest and inner turmoil, largely responsible for much of the story telling in each song. I’m convinced that this is no accident, and is extremely integral to the overall journey they wish to take their listeners on.

The band wrapped up with two tracks from their first album, Metridium Fields. Although I love this album, their new material eclipses it in many ways, and this was affirmed to me as they played. The last track performed was a shortened version of the track “Metridium Field,” which is an epic twenty-one minutes on compact disc. It was a very heavy and fitting way to end a fantastic night.

Caravan of Thieves Teaser

Philadelphia Weekly show preview for GIANT SQUID & GRAYCEON

Giant Squid + Grayceon: Already commanding the majesty and breadth of an instrumental band, Giant Squid seals the deal by employing guy-girl vocals that toe the line between creepy and romantic. The San Francisco troupe’s sweeping second album, The Ichthyologist, is dense in delivery and prolonged in duration, but with some levity in there as well. Despite the greedy reach its name implies, Giant Squid shares cellist/singer Jackie Perez Gratz with SF trio Grayceon, who are second-billed on this tour. Pitched more to the metal side of gloomy atmospherics, Grayceon also venture into subterranean passages without a voice to guide the way. At other times, vocals emerge like foreboding clouds. Wicked. Doug Wallen 9pm. $8. With Rosetta + Cable. M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave. 215.739.5577.