Moving In Stereo...
By: Darren Paltrowitz
The month and a half since the last Moving In Stereo brought the Superbowl, Grammys, Oscars, and Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony into our lives. While apologies are extended for that absence, this edition aims to bring more "new" to the table. Or, at the very least, more quality.
--From The Island
An off-shoot of Knock Knock Records, Insubordination Records already has a lot in store for 2005. After recent high-grade discs from Even In Blackouts, The Travoltas, and Dirt Bike Annie -- beyond just-released discs from The Copyrights and Big In Japan -- the Patchogue-based label will be putting out Oh Me Of Little Faith, the long-awaited sophomore effort from the Bay Area's The Plus Ones--Several months following its acclaimed Transistor compilation, which showcased some fine regional rock acts, Huntington's American Laundromat Records has some indie icons lined up for High School Reunion. In addition to the liner notes by Chris Gore from Ultimate Film Fanatic on IFC, The Bennies and Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses (now in 50 Foot Wave) will be amongst those covering soundtrack classics from The Pixies, The Replacements, Tom Petty, and Iggy Pop.
--From The Stereo
Despite the fact they've often hit the U.K.'s Top 40 charts since the mid-1990's, Ash still has yet to reach the masses in the States. If music does all the talking, however, this may very well change with Meltdown, the quartet's fifth full-length. Featuring ultra-poppy -- yet borderline-metallic -- tracks like "Clones," "Detonator," and first single "Orpheus," the American version of Meltdown features bonus tracks and a DVD with four music videos and behind-the-scenes footage of Tim Wheeler and crew-- Survivor of a major label deal as a teenager, Michal Towber has a jazz and soul-tinged album in store for those seeking a follow-up to Coma. Desireless is not likely the upbeat album that fans of Sky With Stars were expecting, but the rich vocals, sincere lyrics and inventive piano accompaniment of the Daytime Emmy-nominee cannot disappoint a true musician's ear. "Solution" and the title track might make great starting points for a new listener--The latest from The A-Sides is a prime example of a studio masterpiece done on a shoestring budget. As the credits of Hello Hello note that "Headphones are suggested," those that dare to follow this recommendation will be met with a multi-dimensional sound that's full of keyboards, percussion, and layered vocals. Those who prefer regular speakers, however, should still enjoy the sometimes-psychedelic power-pop of a group that would sound at home on the Garden State soundtrack. Fans of The Shins should consider this Prison Jazz title a wise investment.
--From The Stage
Recently making its live debut in style at Manhattan's Sin-E, Explorer is comprised of members of Arbor Day and Random Computer on rotated instrumental duties. While a previous Moving In Stereo pointed out the influence of Phil Spector within the overall Arbor Day sound, Explorer's sound carries a shoegazer vibe in the tradition of Ride. Favoring guitar feedback and extended jams to verse/chorus-oriented singles, this collective would not be out of place on a billing with The Soft Explosions. Extra kudos go to the group for being able to pull off a captivating set even after falling victim to equipment theft earlier in the day--Whenever The Figgs play a show in downstate New York -- which tends to be two or three times per calendar year -- it's guaranteed to be checked out by a near-capacity crowd. There was no exception at Southpaw on this Saturday night as the power-trio mixed in "Mold," a rarely-played song, alongside live staples like "Blame It All Senseless" and "Simon Simone."The Heartless Bastards opened up the evening with a set full of songs from the Fat Possum-released Stairs & Elevators -- as showcasing the intense and intimidating vocals of frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom -- and the "Raspberries-meets-Ramones" jangle-pop of True Love. Folks that like guitar-driven three-piece acts really hit the jackpot with this billing in Brooklyn.
--From The Screen
Lee & Margaret Pine Chabowski have hit on something pleasantly nostalgic with The What Goes On! Show. A 43-minute DVD that describes itself as being "like a mix tape from your best friend,"What Goes On is an Ed Sullivan Show-esque variety program spotlighting 10 New York musical acts performing in a gimmick-free setting. As there are few effects or tricks for the artists to hide behind, the Chabowskis aim (and successfully achieve) for the angle of "what you see is what you get" and still manage to make it entertaining. You can find out about future "episodes" at www.whatgoeson.tv--The Cardigans were only three studio albums into their existence when Live In London was filmed in 1996, but most of the group's staples and fan favorites were in the repertoire nine years ago. Opening and closing with Black Sabbath covers, the Swedish quintet exudes liveliness on this 18-song concert release. The extras may be limited to one music video ("Been It") and one "short film" on First Band On The Moon, but is there really more needed to enhance an already-great home video when Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound is an option? If you have news to report for the next edition of Moving In Stereo, press releases and all other correspondence for Darren should be sent to [email protected].