Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: The Burning Hotels "Novel"

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Review: The Burning Hotels "Novel"
DC Larson

It's not even necessary to enjoy all 11 tracks here to understand that the Burning Hotels' great accomplishment -- indeed, the quality that most persuasively touts them -- is the creation of consistently engaging pop melodizing that grabs up listeners and throttles them into bliss: jangling guitars, harmonies that endear, infectious constructions, and indefatigably shiny movement. Blindingly vivid, giddily animated. One appreciates participating.

(PS. Thanks to Kaytea xo for the tip!)


Prize Country

(Portland, Oregon, USA)

...With Love (9-song album)


(9 out of 10)

...With Love feels like one minute before and one minute after the beginning of a Black Flag show, and, of course, the thrilling downbeat itself. Shaken, adrenalized, a freeing sensation, when you close your eyes, of levitating.

Like Hermosa Beach's finest, Prize Country stretches the actual music beyond norms (as opposed to bands that stretch only shock value in fashion, hair, videos, etc.). Instead of repeating an accent three times, they repeat it five. Instead of common time, four beats per measure, they give you seven, or nine (odd numbers for odd people). On "Cement", singer Aaron Blanchard's repeated plea, "Patch me up!", swings on a rhythmic pendulum supported by the other musicians pounding away assymetrically on yowling guitar, thunderous bass, and precise, heavy drums. Lyrics center on the theme of life's failed attempts, from getting your friend into bed ("It Was A Night Just LikeTonight") to playing the ponies ("Gamble"). Upgrade your speakers, or better yet, headphones, and take a ride on this one.

-- A.S.


The Unit Breed - Always Distance the Lonely (self)
If you Google me, I think it's pretty easy to tell what kind of music I write about. Even the image results indicate I'm an Americana/folk/roots gal (the Google search I just performed showed me talking to someone at the EMP conference, a photo I took of Langhorne Slim, one of Jeff Tweedy, a cover of a Son Volt album, and a beatup pickup truck). None of this indicates I have any knowledge or appreciation of "psychadelic prog-rock." I don't even know what that phrase means. Here I am typing this paragraph, and I have no idea how many songs have gone by because this is the scariest, weirdest, trippiest shit I have ever heard in my life. I have never taken LSD, but would guess this is the kind of record that you don't want to put on when you're on an acid trip. I don't know what the hell is happening here sonically, nor do I have any idea how to explain it. I can't even figure out if I would love it or hate it, if this were the kind of music I was into. Next.

A Cry Out for Prize Country

A Cry Out for Prize Country

Just over three-and-a-half years ago in our wonderfully eclectic city of music, a band was birthed with just a little more to offer than empathetic words or methodical beats. Rising “post-core” group Prize Country has been throwing out more than simple head-banging distortion and fist-pumping vocals, to much more than just their West Coast or even East Coast brethren. At the start of this month, Prize County’s new album …With Love has gained not only the gaze of the local eye, but also widespread overseas attention, including two front-page magazine covers. “With Love is 30+ minutes of surging, beautifully rhythmic music, lead by tantalizing dual guitars, a sharp-toothed bass drum pedal, and the soft-spoken, but pointed vocals of Aaron Blanchard,” states Jordan of

Being unfamiliar with Prize County’s previous recordings, I am surprised to say that …With Love is actually a big step in what seems to be the right direction. “The album definitely picks up right where they left off on Lottery of Recognition, with maybe even more of an emphasis on their Bay Area post-hardcore influences of old this time around” (Built on a Weak Spot). Although a lot of albums like to cover the obvious aspects of love and loss and blah blah blah, Prize Country seems to have taken a different route, focusing on love with an “eh, who gives a shit?” attitude. “‘Lyrically, it’s supposed to be kinda sexy, dirty and nasty,’ explains vocalist/guitarist Aaron Blanchard. ‘Originally, the [album] title was From the Gutter With Love, and it was this dirty, sexy thing all about drinking, partying and having a good time. It just seemed right’ (Decibel Magazine).

Well the CD is out, the reviews are in, and now the group is on the move. Just finishing up 2009 with a lineup of over 30 stops spread across the U.S., 2010 holds expectations the band is sure to uphold. But for now, it’s time for Portland’s three-and-a-half-year-old kindred to play for their family. Come the 6th of February, when Prize Country will be crying out to the masses at Portland’s Ash Street Saloon. Show starts at 9:30 pm with three opening acts including Portland's Microtia, Monterey, CA's thrashers Razorhoof, and Willamette Valley-reps Norska. The $5 cover hardly seems like a charge. If you’re at all curious about what these guys will be offering up, I highly suggest making this your late-night Saturday rendezvous.

“We play music because we have to. It’s inside of us. We make music we want, and its pretty awesome” (Prize Country, 2009).

- Michael Miller

Published on January 30, 2010 -
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The Best You’ve Never Heard…Yet MUSIC FOR ANIMALS

The Best You’ve Never Heard…Yet
January 23, 2010 by J.T. Ryder
Filed under Featured, Music Reviews, Reviews

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Music For Animals

Things were set adrift in 2004 when singer Jayson Martinovich and bassist Eli Meyskens split from their band, One of Many. As they searched for other members that would complete their vision of a new sound, guitarist Nick Bray was added to the fray, having made an impression on Jayson and Eli years earlier. In a Craigslist twist, the final member, Ryan Malley, who had recently moved to California from Pittsburgh, became a member of the band after posting an ad online looking for a band to join.

The sound that Jayson and Eli had envisioned, emboldened with the inclusion of Ryan and melding with Nick’s grinding rhythms, Music For Animals coalesced quickly, creating a unique melange that somehow embraces a uniquely fresh approach to music while incongruously harkening back to an eighties throwback sound.

They quickly made a name for themselves on San Francisco’s music scene, winning the Battle of the Bands contest there and have since toured in an ever widening circuit, taking in the West Coast and some points East. In 2009, Music For Animals took the stage at Live 105’s BFD music festival in San Francisco, sharing the stage with thirty-six other bands, such as The Offspring, Cage The Elephant and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.

In 2006, they released there first EP titled, Transmission, which was quickly followed up with a full length album in early 2007. There next album, a self titled effort, gained a lot of airplay on the college circuits, gaining them a wide fan base. With a collection of catchy, riff and rhythm laden tracks gaining speed, such as the retro-eighties house track, Worry, and other songs like Bi Or Curious, Justine and Love Love Love, Music For Animals has proven itself to be a tightly knit act with more to offer than just an anomalous hit or two. One of their songs that has garnered a lot of attention, titled Nervous In New York, has received a welcomed remix treatment from the Bay Area R&B funk duo known as Wallpaper. The remix insistently wraps the hook over and over, bringing Jayson’s vocals forward with utter clarity, creating a rabidly danceable mix to the fore. Their latest release, If Looks Could Kill, encapsulates the essence of unclouded songwriting, bringing a cleanly brash sound and yearningly strident vocals reminiscent of Naked Eyes song Promises, Promises.

You can experience for yourself the sound of Music For Animals on their website or their MySpace page, as well as check out their videos, their newscasts and find out about their latest tour schedule.

Prize Country with love....................................

Prize Country

With Love

Hex Records 2009

Oregon's rocking post-hardcore outfit slam into your flesh and your heart like a clenched fist, bloodied with anger and regret. Immediate comparisons to a rockier version of Quicksand can be made and I even hear some references to Seaweed in their sound. But that would sell these firebreathing rockers a little short as they have a seedier side to their style than either of those bands. Case in point is Regular Nights, with its fiery vocals and Fugazi echoes within its surreal riffs that jump back and forth between meaty and dream-like melodicism. A thick, shuffling bass guitar sets the stage for the angered strains of It Was A Night Just Like Tonight. A huge main riff bashes like a sledgehammer and things get rowdy on Gamble. The Seaweed accents reveal themselves periodically (I Could be A Knife), but the more you listen to the near melodies with a punk edge on songs such as What We're Made Of you can see these tracks softening up a little and then drifting on to albums like Four from those Tacoma veterans. Bigger Picture takes the DC elements of Fugazi's explorative songwriting and then smashes them up against the angst of Seaweed and builds and angrier, yet somehow contemplative monster. The albums ends on a saddened note with the title track. Sort of a longing look over the shoulder, regret seeps out of the riffs as well as the vocals. Prize Country delve deep into DC post hardcore foundations, rough them up and rock them out to form their own raucous yet subtly emotional style which punches first and keeps the regretful fists coming. With Love is a deeply exciting and turbulent listen.

Caravan of Thieves will perform in the following cities:

Imagine Django Reinhardt & Tom Waits thumbing a ride with a carnival barker & other misfit circus acts to deliver a traveling revue of retro-cool mayhem and pyrotechnic wizardry – abundantly talented and refreshingly entertaining. There, in a nutshell, you have Caravan of Thieves.

The quartet led by husband and wife duo Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni (vocals and acoustic guitars) have carved a niche with their unique blend of gypsy folk/rock and captivating live performances which have made them a staple in clubs throughout the Northeast.
Fresh off the Jam Cruise, the Thieves continue their tour into 2010 supporting the debut Bouquet.

Caravan of Thieves will perform in the following cities:

March 27 PAWLING, NY Towne Crier Café
April 8 ARLINGTON, VA Iota Club & Café
April 9 ASHLAND, VA Ashland Coffee and Tea
April 10 CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA The Southern Café and Music Hall
April 11 ROANOKE, VA Kirk Avenue Music Hall
April 14 MARIETTA, GA Wild Wing Café
April 16 TAMPA, FL Skipper’s Smokehouse
April 18 ORLANDO, FL Plaza Theater
April 21 CHARLOTTE, NC Double Door Inn
April 22 RALEIGH, NC Lincoln Theater
April 23 ASHEVILLE, NC The Grey Eagle

The Unit Breed – Always Distance the Lonely

The Unit Breed – Always Distance the Lonely

I get it, I get it. God, Unit Breed, stop going on at me, you’re preaching to the converted. I like Sonic Youth, honest. Yes, and Mercury Rev. Well... before the shrill fellow took vocal responsibility. And yes (YES, jesus), I like Yo La Tengo and the Flaming Lips. Can I go now? No? You want me to listen to the rest of your album? Well, how many tracks is it?
TEN? Oh, do I ‘ave to?
All right, go on then.

Yep, Operator and Machine, sounds like Yo La Tengo covering Talking Heads (no, but really, is this off More Songs about Buildings and Food, because, if it’s not, someone better get ready for a cast iron court case). Right, next. Believe, wasn’t this once called Rhinoceros and appeared on the Smashing Pumpkins debut? Are you sure? Okay, okay, just asking, jeez. No, you’re right, coz’ that song was a bit catchy and built up to a crescendo, didn’t it. Silly me.

God, this is boring. Is it nearly finished, only if I stare at my navel any longer I may wear away my epidermis leading to a chunk of larger intestine to splay out on to the floor. This is only track five? Fine, if you want me, I’ll be attempting to self-suffocate.

Hold on... Hang on... and wait on. What’s this Unit Breed? This is SUPERB. It sounds like a cover of... oh, it is a cover of Lee Hazelwood’s Sand. That’s quite ironic, isn’t it. Because, like, the rest of your, snort, album sounds like covers, guffaw, yet it’s only when doing a, giggle, cover that you sound any good, titter-titter.

And while I’m being very clever and pity and ironic, how about this one... Sand? Bland, more like.

Sean Gregson

Caravan of Thieves - 'Bouquet'

Caravan of Thieves - 'Bouquet'
One of the joys of the post-holiday dearth of new music is rediscovering recordings that largely went unnoticed. One such musical joy is “Bouquet” by the Bridgeport, Conn.-based string quartet Caravan of Thieves.

Led by guitarists/vocalists/songwriters/spouses Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, the ensemble’s rounded out by violinist Ben Dean, double-bassist Brian Anderson and, occasionally, guest accordionist Bruce Martin. These acoustic warriors present a delightful, humorous and toe-tapping brand of swinging Gypsy jazz informed by bluegrass wizardry.

Happily swinging its way through original theatrical tunes, the group sounds as if the Arcade Fire or Decembrists decided to frame their music in the “le jazz hot” of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Unique story-songs are delivered with a sense of humor and stop-on-a-dime, air-tight musical execution.

These Thieves will easily steal your musical heart while helping sway away the January doldrums.

– Eric Feber, The Pilot

Tracks to download “Ghostwriter,” “The Butcher's Wife”

Buy "Bouquet" (Links go to

Elin Palmer - Postcard

Elin Palmer - Postcard

Reviewed by: acemvivere (01/13/10)
Elin Palmer - Postcard
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: August 23, 2009

Violin, vocals, nyckelharpa, accordion, guitar, cello, keyboard, and bass; seven instruments, possibly eight if the human voice constitutes one as well, are an impressive repertoire. In this case, the extensive resume belongs to Elin Palmer, a seasoned musician who is best known for her skill with the violin and the nyckelharpa, which is an ancient instrument of Swedish origins. Taking a step further from her usual role as a multi-instrumentalist her own voice has been thrown into the palette to record her first album, Postcard.

Palmer's musical roots stem back to the folk music of her home country, Sweden, and it's evident from her vocals, which prominently feature a slight Scandinavian accent. Putting aside whether it's intentional or not, it certainly manages to present a pleasant sound, lending a slightly lilting tone to her English lyrics. Delicate but not fragile, Palmer's voice is capable of dancing across a wide spectrum, lingering moodily in a lower scale in the darker "Whaleboat" before leisurely reverting back to a higher range in the care-free "No Use". In tracks such as "Stora Stoular" and "Du Var Där" the Swedish verses sound natural, rather than forced and imitated. Considering she's spent most of her career with a focus on instruments, rather than singing, it's somewhat impressive that her first debut manages to place the strongest traits of her voice in the spotlight: her airy style of singing that emphasizes an ethereal, gentle sound is able to skate across the surface of each song.

The tracks are all supplemented by a wide array of instruments, most of which, such as the violin, cello, accordion, and nyckelharpa, would seem more at home with the Swedish folk tradition rather than with modern music. Despite the prevalence of the violin as her instrument of choice (both in the album and as her personal specialty), Palmer does break out the familiar guitar a few times in the album, namely on the cheerful, upbeat "Balloons". However, her instrumental expertise is at its best when sweeping orchestral arrangements fill up the melody and harmony; grand, but not pompous or ostentatious. In doing so they provide a förtjusande (Swedish for "charming", I think) contrast to both her softer voice and subsequently her lyrics, accentuating the former and drawing out the latter.

Speaking of which, they're (as in the lyrics) fairly catchy, and while it's possible to criticize her regarding repetition, it's a bit of an unfair statement when one considers that her whispering voice is able to capitalize on those sections by casting a soothing, but mesmerizing spell. It's one of those occasions where it's not so much boredom that settles in, but tranquility. It helps that the verses themselves are more or less poetic in nature, and in this department much credit is due because they keep that artistic edge without having to resort to being ridiculously verbose. Palmer's lyrics are simple, but somewhat profound as well; not because they're deeply philsophical, but because they talk about things that are easy to relate to with surprising insight. Love is a common theme artists will sing about, but it seems rare lately that there's much, if any, honesty behind lyrics regarding that topic; it's a bit refreshing to hear that happen here.

The artwork of the album depicts Palmer offering a slight smile through the window of a car, and while seemingly irrelevant to postcards (I think it would make a decent one, actually), it sums up my impressions of the album well. Whether it's while driving on a long stretch of highway through sunny fields of wheat (something likely not seen very often in Sweden, since only a meager 2% of the GDP and employment are accounted for in agriculture), or sailing across the Atlantic on an old viking ship, Postcard is a great album to take along for the trip.

Recommended If You LikeFolk, Indie Rock; Beirut; Devotchka; Joanna Newsome; Wovenhand

Pictures of Then – And the Wicked Sea

Pictures of Then – And the Wicked Sea
So, Rage Against the Machine are Christmas number one? Well, good for us. Now we can all go back to sleep for another year. Hey, who knows, next year we could get Cradle of Filth to the Christmas top spot. You know, for a laugh and that.

Not good enough, I’m afraid. Here’s an alternative. For every shite album and single released, we buy another copy of Killing in the Name (stick with me here). Take Pictures of Then, for instance. Are they as bad as that X-factor boy? No. Is that relevant? No. The point is they’re no good. They’re bland, inoffensive, and will never change anyone’s life. So buy a copy of Killing in the Name. In fact, if we can find another thirty-nine versions of the tune, we could have a top forty consisting entirely of ‘fuck you I won’t do what you tell me’. And, if we buy the albums these covers appear on, the top forty albums will be a mix of salsa-tinged and ska-infused fuck you I won’t do what you tell mes.

And why, you ask? Well, if we keep buying the same song in protest over the bland drivel the labels sign up and knock out (not just X-factor, but Coldplay, Keane, and all those insufferable clowns), then surely, the labels will have to change their tact and offer up some passion and inspiration. Imagine it, like the parting of the red sea as Monster Island’s debut album dances up the charts – the lone long player without the aforementioned Killing in the Name in the entire list. Not just Monster Island. Not just albums either. Picture it (Not you, Pictures of Then): in at ten, it’s Biffy Clyro with Killing in the Name, and nine it’s FM Belfast with Killing in the Name, at eight it’s The Middle East with Blood, and at seven it’s The Apples with Killing in the Name. Genius, I’m sure you’ll agree. (And, yes, these are real covers. Research = done.)

So, Pictures of Then, you’ll have noticed, don’t get much of a look in on their own review. My work here is done.

Sean Gregson

Transient Songs video!

Monday, March 15, 2010

[TICKET GIVEAWAY] Android Hero / Prize Country (PDX) / Great Falls @ Rendezvous (3/19/10)

Monday, March 15, 2010
[TICKET GIVEAWAY] Android Hero / Prize Country (PDX) / Great Falls @ Rendezvous (3/19/10)

SRG is proud and certifiably stoked to present our very first ticket give away starting NOW! This Friday March 19th, a killer bill featuring two of our favorite local bands and a PDX powerhouse will bash it out at Rendezvous, and you have (2) chances to check it out for free (must be at least 21 to enter)!

Seattle’s Android Hero and Portland’s Prize Country both boast a rhythm heavy attack, and both ring loud and clear mid-90’s noisy post-punk. Android Hero, is a must see local act that has been repeatedly championed on SRG. They released an excellent record in 2009 entitled “Broken Hearted Love Songs for Sensitive Tough Guys”, and have since been tearing it up on the local circuit quite frequently. Portland’s Prize Country has made the trip to Seattle each of the past few years courtesy of one of Seattle’s finest booking agents. Adam Bass or “Superfan” as he is commonly known, straight up knows his shit, and his Ladies Choice Presents shows always feature some of the most obscure, interesting, and just plain heavy bands the NW and beyond have to offer. Prize Country have just released a blistering new record entitled “…With Love”, and are primed and ready for a larger audience. Also on the bill is Great Falls, the brand new project from Demian Johnston and Shane Mehling. Both gentlemen have stayed busy over the years by ravaging the hearing of local masochists, but Great Falls may stand as their finest accomplishment to date. Great Falls debuted on January the 9th, have only played a handful of shows, and so now would be a better time than any to wallow in their dense dark sounds.

We have (2) pairs of tickets to give away, which means you have 2 chances to win (but can win only once of course). Each winner will have their name added to the guest list with a +1, so you can bring a friend.

To enter the drawing all you have to do is send an email to with “Android Country Falls” in the subject, and your full name in the body.

Last chance to enter is Thursday at 5pm and the drawing will take place on Thursday between 5:30-6pm.

The lucky winners will be notified via email. Good Luck!!

Even if you do not win, please consider checking out this show anyways. The show is a modest $7, and you will NOT be disappointed. Plus, you can kick it and have a beer with the SRG crew.

Android Hero / Prize Country (PDX) / Great Falls
Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater
March 19th, 2010
$7 - 21+ - 10pm


Review by Greg Prato

Circa the early 21st century, many an alt-rock group seemed to be comprised of seemingly hopeless romantics, wearing their hearts on their sleeves (and looking like a bunch of "boys next door"). And certainly, the Burning Hotels fit this description — to a T — as evidenced by their 2010 full-length debut, Novels. Like quite a few rock bands of yore, on their debut disc the Burning Hotels lean a tad too heavily on the sounds of other renowned bands — and in the process, they create tunes that sound akin to the same-sounding mainstream alt-rock you'd hear blaring when shopping at Urban Outfitters. On such tunes as the album-opening "Austin's Birthday," similarities to the Killers (especially singer Chance Morgan, who often bears a resemblance to the vocalisms of lead Killer Brandon Flowers) are noticeable. However, it quickly becomes clear that the Strokes are the Burning Hotels' main influence. And it's this influence that is prevalent throughout the disc, especially on such standouts as "Boy or a Girl," "Time," and "First Love" — all of which contain some very Strokesy vocals and guitar work, as well as the Strokes' trademark "subway-racing tempo" (à la "Reptilia," "Juicebox," etc.). Add it all up, and you're left with an important question — does this group of Texans bring anything new to the table? At this stage of the game, the answer is no, due to the aforementioned "too close for comfort" similarities to other bands. Time will tell if the Burning Hotels shed their influences and find their own voice on subsequent albums. And if they do, Novels could be looked back upon as an important building block.

read here

Monday, March 8, 2010


Coming through loud and clear with a pleasing sonic package of bright, peppy
vocals, dynamic arrangements, clean, tight, and tuneful arrangements, and
smart and thoughtful songwriting, this album hits the spot in a nicely
spirited and straightforward manner. The snappy tempos and constant beats
keep the music flowing along at a properly steady clip. Moreover, the
ringing guitars, chugging basslines, and sturdy drums blend together to
create a smooth arresting, and often excitingly kickin' sound. It's this
latter welcome and engaging element of youthful get up and go vitality which
in turn makes this baby such an enjoyable listen. A fun album.



Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Darkness with Transient Songs

03/03/2010 In Darkness with Transient Songs
Seattle’s Transient Songs are giving away their first single “In this Darkness Light Seeps Through” from upcoming release ‘Cave Syndrome’ which will be released in May.

Their sound is a mix of atmospheric rock chimes and careless, heartache psychedelia with pop assessments from the 60’s.

Get it!

More music and info on their site.

Tags: alternative, cave syndrome, transient songs

Transient Songs

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This full-length debut effort by a Seattle-based ensemble built around Haltom City expat and former Hasslehorse member John Frum marks a significant step forward from 2008's Plantation To Your Youth EP. In some ways, Cave Syndrome is the culmination of a musical journey that began with Hasslehorse's 1996 CD The Chicken Factory. Cave Syndrome (Indian Casino Records)
A couple of Cave Syndrome's songs are older. "Greenwood Backyards" is a retooled version of a Plantation track, while "A Burrow Patch" dates back to the Pine Barrons, an earlier incarnation of sorts of HC's The Me-Thinks. The majority of songs here, however, were written around the time Frum was recovering from a painful bone break in early 2009. That experience, the gloomy Pacific Northwest winter, and some other personal dramas inform Cave Syndrome's bleak mood.
Sonically, the disc is a textural feast. On several of the tracks, Frum's hallucinatory dream-pop is adorned with strings (violin and cello) that give the sound the same richness that distinguished Bob Mould's similarly themed Workbook. As always, Frum layers on the crystalline acoustic, distorted electric, and slithering slide guitars. He also adds some novel touches, like the piano intro to "Greenwood Backyards" or the fuzz bass on "Sin Through the Summer." More to the point, he's become more adept at writing for his vocal range; the sense of strain that was evident in some of his earlier recordings is wholly absent here. This new assurance and the overall unity of sound and theme make Cave Syndrome a particularly striking achievement. Cop via

Transient Songs: Cave Syndrome

Music: Transient Songs: Cave Syndrome
Our Take
Early last year I was exposed to Transient Songs, a solo project started by singer/songwriter John Frum that offered a mix of psychedelic rock, shoegaze and retro rock and featured introspective lyrics and an overall spacey atmosphere. While the group’s debut EP Plantation to Your Youth wasn’t exactly the best genre release of 2008 it did have plenty of memorable moments and was more than enough to make quite a few people curious and anxious for more. And Frum has not kept them waiting too long, as Transient Song’s debut full length Cave Syndrome improves on every element showcased on the EP. It’s still a little too short, but this release is stunning and a real step forward for Frum’s musical career.

The instrumentals on Plantation to Your Youth were interesting, but sometimes it seemed as though they spent a little too much time building up atmosphere than they did creating ideas that really had some substance to them. This has been addressed on Cave Syndrome, as not only are the spacey atmospherics intact but the riffs are much more memorable and listeners are actually going to remember them this time around. In addition to this, John Frum had some additional mixing and mastering help and as a result the arrangements are much more vibrant and seem to be absolutely bursting with energy. There’s a little more emphasis on melodic shoegaze on this effort, but occasionally Transient Songs does head back towards traditional psychedelic rock territory. However, despite the fact that the songwriting is much better than before listeners will still be left wanting more as the entire effort only lasts for 36 minutes. You will want to put this one on again once it has finished, but it does fly by just a little too quickly.

One of the things I noted about Transient Song’s previous material was how John Frum’s vocal arrangements added to the overall atmosphere as he often sounded as though he was off in the background singing underneath of the instrumentals. For Cave Syndrome he has brought his singing into the spotlight, and while it still has the tendency to get lost amongst the melodic instrumental arrangements this sense of directness is appreciated and helps the songs to have an identity of their own. Admittedly the instrumentals are still what listeners will notice the most, so the solos on tracks such as “The Cancer in Our Bloodlines” is appreciated, but I would still like to see what Frum is capable of pulling off when he really pushes his voice.

Transient Songs was a decent act back in 2008, but it was clear that it was a bedroom project that still had some growing to do. With Cave Syndrome, it appears that transformation has begun to happen and as a result the material is much stronger and more memorable than before. It is slightly disappointing that the overall length is just over half an hour, but perhaps this was a deliberate move as it will only leave listeners wanting more and waiting to see just where things go from here.

Chris Dahlberg
February 10, 2010

The band name is Transient Songs

read hereFriday, February 12, 2010

By Danielle Krolewicz

The band name is Transient Songs, the album is Cave Syndrome. Almost seems like it should be the other way around, but it’s not. Transient Songs was formed in Seattle based on a shared interest in ‘70s psychedelic music. John Frum (guitar, vocals) and Jimmy Andrews (bass, multi-instrumental) have taken this interest and made something new out. Slated for release in March 2010, the LP Cave Syndrome is a follow-up to the 2008 EP Plantation for Your Youth, both on Indian Casino Records.

Most closely defined as psychadelia, although not confined to the restraints of definition, Transient Songs has been compared to CSNY, The Byrds, post-sandbox Brian Williams, The Jesus and Mary Chain and others from the era that inspired them. However, emulation isn’t everything. Transient Songs employs elements of the psychedelic genre— dark lyrics, vocals and a wide, eclectic range of musical accompaniment— in a progressive, unique, soothing way.

Frum’s vocals are steadily monotone and emotionless throughout, leaving the words and music to do the job. Largely instrumental, the vocals tend to become a background to the music, including the usual bass and slide parts as well as string work (including cellist Ruth Davidson and violinist Amanda Lempreicht. Cave Syndrome is a definite product of place and genre, but the duo make it their own with the unique song-writing style of Frum and the wide ranging instrumentals of Andrews.

Disorienting, even disturbing at times, the sound of Cave Syndrome grows on you the more you listen to it. This album is best listened to lying on the floor surrounded by candles or incense to get the full effect. Immersion in the music is key; otherwise you’ll be lost along the way.

Band: Transient Songs
Album: Cave Syndrome
Label: Indian Casino Records
Release Date: May 25th, 2010
Key Tracks: 2, 4, 5, & 10
Posted by Danielle at 5:11 PM