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j+j+j on Giant System TV

There is nothing like a fur suit on a Monday morning. J+J+J is the latest addition to the Giant System TV catalog of live recordings.

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The Tony Castles announce debut EP + tour with Tom Tom Club

(The) Tony Castles play a kind of psych pop that defies many of the genre's usual traits. The droney, guitar-drenched atmospheres are replaced with sparse, staccato keyboard lines, and the mellow, dreamy vocals with melodies which at times are more reminiscent of Motown rather than Mazzy Star or Spacemen 3. Can we still call it Psych Pop, then? Yes we can, although the dream here is more akin to that random association of thoughts we sometimes experience while sleeping, rather than - say - a coherent, climax inducing sexy dream. And that should be taken as a compliment to the band's originality (although admittedly it might not sound like one). The Tony Castles will release their debut CD on September 17 at Union Pool, recommended show.

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Blonde Redhead announce new release for September + fall tour

After three years without official releases, NY based Italo-Japanese trio Blonde Redhead announced that a new full length CD (entitled "Penny Sparkle") will be out in September. From a first listen, the new songs sounds more produced and electronic than the band's previous material - not surprisingly, considering that it was forged with the help of Stockholm based production duo Van Rivers and the Subliminal Kid, the Swedish artists/remixers/producers who have worked with Massive Attack and Bat For Lashes among others. The band is scheduled to tour Europe and the US in the fall, with a November date in NYC. "Here Sometimes", the opening track of the new album, can be downloaded by singing up for the band's website, or streamed on their myspace page.

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Artist(s) Who Deserve Your Friendship: Gypsy Death and You

Gypsy Death and You is a duo consisting of Drexel students Emily Cahill and Alex Wilson, who met in a History of Music Industry class their freshman year. Named after a line from The Velvet Underground’s “Run Run Run”, they claim to record “their own brand of dreamy-yet-edgy indie rock”. They do, and I’m lovin’ it! Gypsy Death and You are working on their debut EP, and the initial tracks are very promising revealing a songwriting team with maturity and vision beyond their years. The shoegazey dream-pop of “Time Absolute” with its minimalist drums and textured soundscapes lull you into their hazy world of noise frequencies. While “Crocus” bounces with the spirit of the catchiest of 90’s indie rock with Cahill taking vocal lead demonstrating the potential to someday share the stage with the likes of her buzzy Cali contemporaries Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls. But they are young so give them time to grow. However, keep your eye/ear on them. I will. (Photo by Corinne Ryan) - Q.D. Tran
 

 

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Album Review - Jascha Vs. Jascha: Songs of Dreams for a Wakeful Mind

Folk-pop, down-tempo philosophical musing, romantic longing and infectious harmonies all find their place on A Cure for Sleep, by San Francisco musician Jascha Vs. Jascha. Lead singer-songwriter Jascha Hoffman has a sweet voice that he uses to pronounce each syllable with great accuracy, and this debut album will satisfy listeners with its impressive variety of styles. His music brings to mind that of little-known Saddle Creek Records band Son, Ambulance His tender voice and story-telling sensibility, with its sad slant but still driving music, is similar to that of the Nebraska band.

With topics like the greed of God in “Some Hungry Guy”, one’s shifting idea of family as one grows up in “Too Young”, and the attachment one keeps to past lovers on “Phonograph” and “Curse”, Hoffman certainly has a lot on his wakeful mind. Hoffman's focus on vocals puts an interesting twist on Delta blues legend Robert Johnson's originally guitar-heavy song "Phonograph"--the slower pace and subdued music allows one to better appreciate the lyrics. The song features a fascinating operatic interlude, an experimental moment which highlights Hoffman’s laudable ability to merge genres. “Mirror” features a catchy chorus that is easy to sing along with, and a sweeping orchestral bridge.

The standout track is “Corydon”, for the song’s emotional poignancy. On it, Hoffman sings “Oh you who are young, consider the snow drifts. White as God’s own ribs”. Although this imparting of wisdom is a somewhat unexpected metaphor, Hoffman always makes his strange statements completely believable, if still dreamlike. The song is based on a poem by D.A. Powell, about the homosexual shepherd Corydon made famous by Virgil. Although this source of inspiration may seem obscure, it makes more sense considering that Hoffman is a Harvard grad and literature enthusiast. The album is enhanced by beautiful string arrangements, and backing vocals, drums, bass, guitars and percussion by Bay Area artist Jesse Olsen. He is another young artist to watch out for musically, as he founded Deconstruct My House, an organization that showcases "experimental, politically engaged music-centered creative work".

A Cure for Sleep came about as a result of Hoffman blogging about his nightmare—already Hoffman is taking an experimental approach to his next effort. He is encouraging feedback of early versions of his songs on his website and Facebook, so that his songs are partially formed by music listeners themselves.

-Shauna C. Keddy

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