Sunday, July 1, 2012



This band's powerful stage presence and dazzling light show had me expecting something a little less interesting in the act of popping on their latest album while sitting quietly at my desk. On the overall intensity factor, yes, my lowered expectations were met as there was not the sonic wallop of the live show. But, as is often the case, I found this band can write far better songs than I ever had imagined after seeing their live set. "Mind Control" almost sounds like a hit single. Not really, but it does have a killer hook with instruments and voices layering over under sideways down, but forever flowing with Krautrock energy. The vocal work does need a touch more variety for all but the most ardent shoegaze fans, but does have a certain Ian McCullough or Reid Brothers effectiveness. It is great to hear that the band has the desire and talent to blow minds during their live show, while crafting interesting songs with a variety of paces and volumes on this record. So, with A Place to Bury Strangers, it is best to check out every live set you can and spend some time with this album as well. I've been through it twice and it will be played many more times.

And be sure to join me at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel on Thursday, July 26th for this incredible live experience.

Songs to try first...

You are the One - This moodier cut has a nice combination of Wire tossed into the shoegaze style. Nice throbbing sonics.

Mind Control - I love the talking vocal in front with the more distant harmony vocal coming from the clouds. I will risk overplaying this number.

Slide - Bringing it down a notch and adding Morricone 'Dollars Trilogy' guitars. I have heard this before, but did not expect it here, working so very well.


Live, I mentioned that this Brooklyn band reminded me of Toyah Wilcox fronting Public Image Ltd. Their new record ends up being a much dreamier version of that concept. The PiL edge is sometimes there in intense vocals and bursts of strong sonic combinations. Yet, there is a flowing cosmic pop element that is the successful element that pulls this album together. Although I felt the live set pushed things a bit higher on the intensity scale which is generally to my liking, this album effectively establishes a moody electronic pop sound that is quite lovely. This is not quite ready to push Siouxsie and the Banshees out of my conscious, but a few more listens and I may have to establish some cranial turf for Hundred in the Hands.

Songs to try first...

Come with Me - Nice guitar crunch offsets smooth melody of vocal line and perky rhythm section. If dance music was always this good.

Keep it Low - This is how goth, industrial, and pop should merge together.

Stay the Night - Sumptuous production on vocals give way to a thick bass throbbing and high end jabs.

Lead in the Light - Quiet contemplative close-out that sends you home in a good mood not unlike the Joy Formidable on the softer side of their sound.

Electronica... my way. Basically that means this local performer does not skimp on guitars and has decent vocals with creative musical shifts more the formula than simple pounding pulsating sounds. Although there are some songs that tend toward the experimental side of sound, there are a lot of interesting sonic reference points and a nice flow for the most part. If you go way way back like I do and enjoyed the sounds of Suicide, the Flying Lizards, the Residents, and Chrome, then you should really give this a listen. But if you are like the vast majority of music fans that understand modern electronica far better than I, you should also really give this a listen. The key to it all is that there is plenty of variety among the 15 songs for anyone to find some favorites and to keep digging into this all the way through to the final notes.

The album release show is at Sova, on Sunday, July 8th

Songs to try first...

Ricochet - A good reminder that several early punk bands chose the electronica route for their assertive lyrics and three chord songs.

Keith's Drum Machine - Takes me back to the days of Chrome, except the vocals are cleaner.

Feed the Good Wolf - Reminds me of Kraftwerk's "The Model" cone by Current 93. Actually it is much more fun than that.

Four quick blasts of power pop punk with a gritty barroom feel are served up here by this DC area band. The guitar sound has a great sound and they remind me a bit of La Peste there with the same sort of catchy songs and snarling guitar. They pull it back and focus on the rhythms as well, such as the quick and mobil "Bagel Girl". This recording is pretty much a starting point for them, but they have hit the ground running. They sound like a fun live show which I will be checking out and reporting back on soon enough.

Check them out live at the Velvet Lounge TODAY, Sunday, July 1st. Come early, they are the first of four bands for $8!


Grain Thief is a solo project of local guitarist/vocalist Patrick Mulroy. I first saw Patrick dueling with guitarist John Russell in a fascinating progressive band, Little Bigheart and the Wilderbeats. John is tearing it up with Mercies at present and Patrick took some time off before coming back with this 'double ep' of new songs. I was quite surprised and happy that his change to a more acoustic folk approach works so well. I knew he was a fine electric guitarist, but his acoustic work is nimble and interesting. There is a nice variety of instrumental and vocal tunes on the first ep with both US and UK style songs present. He shows some mature songwriting skills as both the guitars and his voice move around a bit more than the average folksinger. There are some effective vocal arrangements and this is a promising debut. He is touring hard, so give him a look when he comes your way.

Songs to try first...

Lazarus - This has a distant finger style pattern that creates an ethereal bed of melody for the vocals to deliver a very heartfelt song.

Stable Ground - One minute of spiritual folk is a good thing.

Would Not Say I am Stoned - More Americana than British, but in a more classic singer songwriter style than that of most indie alt-country, folk-rock, nu-Americana bands.


"The world don't remember Henry Clay, so here is what I have to say" is the lyric that turned my head in this local band's appropriately titled song, "Henry Clay". Thankfully, the cleverness of this band is not restricted to finding odd lyrical subject matter, but spreads out deep and far into their music. They mix up heavy sounds with atmospheric rock landscapes while keeping pop hooks at the fore. They remind me of one of my favorite west coast bands, Lovelikefire, although they are not quite as dynamic. But this young outfit is getting there as they show some ability here to craft intricate vocal harmonies while they keep things rocking. Their live shows have been interesting, but this recording shows a bit more depth than I expected out of them. They have made a fun and engaging album here and I look forward to their next live outing. 

And why not head to the album release party at the DC9 on Saturday, July 14th.

Songs to try first...

Breathe You - Very catchy opening cut that immediately pulled me into their sound.

For Me to Reach out to You - This lower key song with good male and female vocals and stinging acoustic guitar strikes perfectly hits the psyche folk portion of my brain.

Iowa - But after a psyche folk song, it's a welcome contrast to hear a scorching rocker with punk attitude and pop hooks.

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