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Artist of the Month
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May 2015
Pop and Obachan
"Dream Soup
"
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Dreaming has always been a prerogative of the young. But seeing the raising wave of dreamy NYC based bands, we start to wonder if dreaming becomes a necessity for those who choose to settle in that post-industrial wasteland that is "non affluent Brooklyn." Or maybe it's the other way around: would anobody who doesn't have a dream to nurture settle in a place like Bushwick? Whichever the answer, that gray urban ugliness is producing many colorful psychedelic flowers. One of them is Pop and Obachan, a duo that, in just over a year of existence, released two EPs that show a radical metamorphoses - one that veers towards dreaminess. Their debut EP 'Unfurl' was a modest, sparse and sleepy alt folk record featuring just voice, ukelele and acoustic guitar. Its melodies and chord progressions owe a lot to the roots of American music. But this year's 'Dream Soup' sees the band entirely transformed - and for the better. An enriched instrumentation - now featuring also drum machine, keyboards and electric guitar - supports, through inventive arrangements, some truly imaginative and personal dream-pop songwriting. The highlights are opener 'Holly' and 'Dry Land,' with their impressionistic sound, beautifully whimsical melodies, and perfectly balanced production. If this is what "non affluent Brooklyn" can do to a band in one year, there's definitely nothing wrong with it, no matter how expensive the rent is.

 
The 60's

Band of Gypsys

Bob Dylan

Bruce Haack

The Fugs

The Godz

Holy Modal Rounders

Velvet Underground
The 70's
Television
Patti Smith
The New York Dolls

The Ramones

The Talking Heads
Richard Hell
The Dead Boys
Blondie
Suicide
Lydia Lunch
DNA  
Mars
The Contortions  
The 80's
Afrika Bambaataa
Arto Lindsay
Bad Brains
Beastie Boys
Bruce Springsteen
The Feelies
The Fleshtones
Grandmaster Melle Mel
John Zorn
Laurie Anderson
Public Enemy
Run D.M.C.
Sonic Youth
Swans
They Might Be Giants
The 90's
A Tribe Called Quest
Cat Power

Jeff Buckley

The Magnetic Fields
Nas
The Notorious B.I.G.
Soul Coughing
Yo La Tengo
The 00's
The Strokes
Interpol
TV on The Radio
Fiery Furnaces
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Bravery
Animal Collective
Bright Eyes
Devendra Banhart
Moldy Peaches
Le Tigre
Liars
Blonde Redhead
Grizzly Bear
 

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Swear and Shake release "Maple and Ridge" album on 07.06 at Mercury

Swear and Shake release "Maple and Ridge" album on 07.06 at Mercury

New York indie folk quartet Swear and Shake played the Hillstock fest last week, and will cement their status with a CD release party at Mercury Lounge on Friday July 6 with These Animals and Tall Tall Trees.

The moniker itself captures a certain quality to the group’s vibe, evoking the rhythmic and fitful, but most distinctly their togetherness - as if these four, somewhere on a playground long ago, entered into a pact of musical dimensions. Undoubtedly there is a spirit of play to the music, resulting in songs that toss between childlike vulnerability and wonder, and resounding harmonies that beautifully elevate the stuff of good old indie-folk - The vocals alone, shared between Kari Spieler and Adam McHeffey, are fodder for obsession.

Yet don’t be fooled. If we are to start on the playground, “Maple Ridge” maps the art of growing up. That is, despite its homespun feel, the album achieves definite sophistication. From the first track, the delightfully singsong “Marbles” (streaming below), the band looks to the future with all the tenderness of youthful promise: “I swear I’ll clean up good/I bought us a piano so our kids would grow up smart”. “White Walls”, on the other hand, displays an early world-weariness- an acknowledgment that relationships seem to impact our personal growth more than we’d like. Still, the wistful “Wrecking Ball” addresses our craving for such (literal) impact. The group freely admits another reality of adulthood: that sometimes, though we’ve sworn a person off, we ultimately can’t shake them. - Kristina Tortoriello

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