Thursday, April 23, 2009

mini-reviews: under the radar and under-appreciated

Too much music, too few hours of the day, too many unread messages in the inbox. Dang, you Would-Be Hipster readers and press agents are a prolific bunch!

Mini-review theme: under the radar and under-appreciated. But let me tell you kid (pulls cigar from her teeth), don't worry kid, you'll be big one day, you'll be a star!

hot star maps by pam shaffer

Pam Shaffer, a sexy librarian with an enviable shoe collection, crafts sultry but sweet piano ballads. They're sweet, and it might take several listens before you realize that her wry Joanna Newsom-style honey-voiced persona is slyly pilfering from the Amanda Palmer playbook. Hollywood, in all its empty glitz, big promises, and yes, star maps, should be so sweet.

mp3: "Hot Star Maps" by Pam Shaffer

woah billy! by lucky soul

Somewhere in London, blood of Dusty Springfield and the Ronettes running through their veins, Lucky Soul are prepping their second album. "Whoa Billy!", the first demo-single to emerge from the yet-unnamed sophomore release, shows that retro girl-group melodies, handclaps, and non-ironic tunes about love never go out fashion. Never. They do however leave you craving a malt and a spin around the floor at the sockhop. Cool, daddy-o.

mp3: "Whoa Billy!" by Lucky Soul

in steps by letting up despite great faults

No matter how many candle-lit vigils we hold ( many I hold), Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello aren't going to make another album. (If they do, I owe you a Coke.) Then again, do we really want the electro-indie-pop Chinese Democracy? I mean, look what happened with, well...Chinese Democracy. Thankfully, we have Letting Up Despite Great Faults to fill that Postal Service-shaped hole in our hearts. As with previous release Movement, "In Steps," the first demo off the upcoming album, contains a charming, bittersweet quality. The production is sparse, wonderfully slick, and more complete sounding than the term "demo" implies. In short: proof positive that good things are on the way for electro-indie-pop fans everywhere.

mp3: "In Steps (demo)" by Letting Up Despite Great Faults
mp3: "I Hear You Drowning but I'm Tied" by Letting Up Despite Great Faults (from Movement)

bat in the blowhole by the jellyfish bandits

I'm kind of love with the Jellyfish Bandits, easily one of the most ridiculously named bands I've come across in awhile. The music is just as lighthearted as their name. The Pacific Northwest two-piece toy with the sound of Matt & Kim and Half-handed Cloud, while embodying the spirit of a stripped-down Architecture in Helsinki. Of course, the thing they're really out to toy with is your heart, as a protagonist who hopes if he dies he'll become a ghost and watch the woman he loves though her window but ...hope you don't think that's creepy, it's just that you complete me. Creepy, maybe a little. But cute. Would you expect any less from a band out to steal sealife and your heart?

mp3: "Ghostical Love" by The Jellyfish Bandits


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