There’s no denying MGMT’s blatant connection to the jam scene. But did you know that co-founding member Andrew VanWyngarden played in a highscool jamband of his own? While attending White Station High School in Memphis, TN VanWyngarden joined up with Hank Sullivant (of the acclaimed indie band The Whigs as well as a touring guitarist for MGMT and later Kuroma) who was attending Memphis University School at the time. The two formed Accidental Mersh, a funk-inspired jamband that recalls many of the jam scene’s most prominent acts. As VanWyngarden told Relix magazine in the June 2010 cover story:
“My sister got me into Phish and that is pretty much all I listened to to from the time I was 12 through high school.”
In its brief period of existence,—around 2000-2001—Accidental Mersh quickly grew into a popular local act on the Memphis scene releasing two albums during that time. Below you’ll find streams for two of the songs off the band’s debut album Mirror Israeli, along with a link to download the full album. This is a terrific sounding, 2000-era jamband record with killer guitar parts and infectious horn lines. I think many of you will enjoy it.
Listen as “Trailmixx” moves through several measures of Phish-inspired jamming into an unmistakable nod to the Biscuits circa ’99. Also notice the similarity of Sullivant’s solo to the one from “DWD.”
I put together a little Saturday afternoon playlist today. And while listening, I was digging it so much I thought I should share it with the rest of you. With a few nods to the rapture mixed in, I think you’ll find this a nice way to pass this Spring day. Have a great one!
(Photo via Oh Kee Pah Blog)
Intro (Ace of Cups – Music)
1. Bishop Manning & The Manning Family – I Wanna Thank You Jesus
2. Moby Grape – Omaha
3. Jerry Lee Lewis – You Can Have Her (With Eric Clapton & James Burton)
4. Phosphorescent – Heaven, Sittin’ Down
5. Country Joe & The Fish – Flying High
6. Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind
7. The Jerry Garcia Band – The Harder They Come
8.Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever
9. Dino Valenti – Let’s Get Together
10. Fairport Convention – Matty Groves
11. Bert Jansch, Devandra Banhart & Beth Orton – Katie Cruel
12. Voice of the Seven Thunders – Dry Leaves
13. Mountain Man – White Heron
14. The War on Drugs – Arms Like Boulders
Another one of our favorite Brooklyn bands (by way of Burlington)—Rubblebucket—have released a new video for “Silly Fathers” off their upcoming album Omega La La. It captures the band’s “march from the city into never never land,” and was shot on Super 8 film through the streets and bridges of Brooklyn. Guitarist Ian Hershey’s punchy funk riffs paired with the afro-beat style horn lines make this an easy candidate for ‘song of the summer.’ The album will see its official release on June 21, but you can download it right now for free by heading to the band’s website. You can watch the new video and download the mp3 for “Silly Fathers” below.
In other Rubblebucket news, the band also kicked off its tour last night in Colorado and will be traveling all through the country this summer. See the full list of tour dates below and check them out live!
A few months back, my good pal Mike Newman from Beyond Beyond is Beyond hipped me on to this great band called The Paperhead. Upon first hearing it, you’ll likely think its some lost treasure from the 60′s psychedelic-era. But, in fact, it was recorded by a group of 18 year olds from Nashville in the summer of 2010. Below, you can stream or download “Back to those Days” off the band’s self-titled release on Trouble in Mind records. The song is but a mere glimpse of these promising young musicians, but it will give you an idea of their sound. If you dig the droning garage-y, psych-rock sound then you’ll likely enjoy this. You can check out my full review of the LP in the June issue ofRelix Magazine.
Earlier today, the folks at Pitchfork shared a new song off of Woods’ upcoming LP Sun & Shade. The highly anticipated new album from the Brooklyn psych rockers comes out June 14 on their very own Woodsist label. You can stream “Out of the Eye” over at Pfork, and also check out another song off the LP below. If “Out of the Eye” doesn’t remind you of Neu’s “Hallogallo,” then I don’t know what will.
In this week’s edition of The Listening Station, we head back to Brooklyn to check out another superbly talented up and coming band. Chances are, you probably haven’t heard the name Minerva Lions. Well, that is about to change. Having been recently written up in Paste, L Magazine and the LA Examiner, it seems the band is poised to take the next step. And with Wilco’s Michael Jorgensen remixing one of their songs, along with psych-darling Nicole Atkins championing them as her “favorite band right now,” it’s only a matter of time.
Minverva Lions (Photo by Nathan West)
Formed in the summer of 2010, Minerva Lions is filled out by Jared Samuel (keys, acoustic guitar, lead vocals), Grey McMurray (electric guitar, backing vocals), Joseph McCaffrey (bass, backing vocals) and Tim Kuhl (drums). Jared also moonlights in another DGB favorite, Superhuman Happiness, as well as playing with Nicole Atkins’ band and others.
Minerva’s sound is difficult to label—and its been called every name under the moon already—but melodious psych-folk of the third kind would do it justice in my mind. In short, it’s tough music to label because, like the best bands, they don’t sound like anyone else. They sound like Minerva Lions. As Mr. Samuel told me recently:
“Our band is named after a letterman jacket. Our EP is titled for an approximate English translation of an Italian description of a beautiful tango dancer/fine-art model. If none of that makes any sense to people it’s okay; we’d like to think that the music will.”
Since its inception, the band has been making waves on the Brooklyn music scene. The quartet are set to release their debut EP, Great Strides, Priestess & Queen, on June 21 with Dubshot Records and will also perform a recorded in office performance at Relix Magazine. Stream or download the psych-rock gem “Megrims” below, along with the group’s original take on Talk, Talk’s “Ascension Day.”
By now, you’ve probably heard of the New Jersey born indie-psych band Real Estate—whether it be through the various videos and statements I’ve posted supporting them, the Pithfork-sized buzz that follows them around or the house music leaving Phish’s performance at DCU Center on November 27, 2010 (listen to “Suburban Dogs” here). But, it’s less likely that you’ve delved some of their side-projects. So allow me to introduce to you, Alex Bleeker and The Freaks.
(Photo by Francis Chung)
Alex Bleeker plays bass in Real Estate, but in his side project Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, he is the principal songwriter and rhythm guitarist. The band features a rotating cast of supporting musicians that often includes members of Real Estate, or other closely-related groups. Departing from the indie-psych sound in his primary outfit, Bleeker takes the Freaks into fuzzed out Crazyhorse-ish, Grateful Dead-esque terriroty. As he told me in a recent interview for Jambands.com:
“I think I’m the member of Real Estate that has the biggest jam background. So probably my side project, just by nature of the fact that I’m the lead songwriter, is going to be the most jammy, in a way…I’ve said in multiple other interviews that some of the first psychedelic and most experimental music I’ve ever heard were spacey jams at live Phish shows that taught me to open my ears and be patient and listen to music like that.”
Stream the opening track on The Freaks’ album “Summer” > “Epilogue” (yes, he records studio segues) along with Bleeker’s homage to the Dead, “Dead On,” below. Also, check out a live video of the Freaks performing the above mentioned segue at a show in their home state of New Jersey.
Yellowbirds, a DGB favorite, recently stopped by 5th Street Studios in Austin, TX for a video session. In this clip you’ll find guitarists Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman performing the opening track off the Yellowbirds recent album, The Color. The duo takes on “Rest of My Life” with Cohen sporting a new custom-looking guitar and Kaufman on a flamenco style acoustic. Yellowbirds will make their next appearance at the NYC Freaks’ Rocks Off Boatcruise on May 15; May 27 at The Loft in BK; and June 9 at Cameo Gallery (w/ Sean Bones). Thanks to DGB reader Matthew H. for tipping us off to this great vid.
This week’s edition of Ambient Alarm Clock focuses on what some might call jazz. The line between jam music and jazz is a line that has little meaning. Improvisation is improvisation. That is why Jerry Garcia played Miles Davis’ music, and Miles Davis played Cindy Lauper’s music.
Miles Davis, Malibu, CA 1989 (Morrison Hotel Gallery)
The selection begins with the same song Count Basie would begin his sets back in the 50s, “April in Paris.” This song features one of the best endings in music, or rather, three of the best endings in music. Next, we move to “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” sung by Billie Holiday. Her backup band at the time was the Benny Goodman group and on this recording you will hear Benny deliver one of his hottest solos. Then, on “Listen to the People,” we have the late Don Pullen playing another best-ever solo on piano.
In 1998, Marc Johnson—a very highly regarded bassist—released an album called The Sound of Summer Running with Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny on guitar. The album’s title track was the first time the pair had recorded together, and features the two of them playing in harmony. We then move to Miles’ cover of Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time.”
John Coltrane may have been the greatest musician of the 20th century. And, surprisingly for a jazz saxophonist, he actually made the charts with his jammed out version of “My Favorite Things”— one of the greatest musical recordings of all time.
Recently, I had the great pleasure of seeing Jim Hall at the Iridium in NYC. The legendary guitarist—still performing in his 80s—is known for his uncanny use of theory in crafting complex, yet wonderfully melodic solos. One of his best is on the classical Spanish number “Concierto de Aranjuez”. While Miles’ version is great, this one edges slightly ahead.
You may recognize the name Bill Bruford as the drummer who has played in Yes, King Crimson and even a short stint with Genesis. But outside of those projects, Bruford is actually a jazz drummer. Several years back, I made a trip across the pond and caught him playing with Earthworks at Ronnie Scott’s in London. That performance had a massive effect on me, and he has remained my favorite drummer till this day. The selection on today’s playlist is from the band’s 1987 self titled debut, with a drum line very similar to the one he played on King Crimson’s “Discipline.”
Next, Gary Burton and Stephane Grapelli playing the classic Django theme—”Daphne.” This version, from the late 60’s has Django’s long time partner, violinist Stephane Grapelli teamed up with Pat Metheny’s mentor, Gary Burton. And finally, Eric Dolphy’s take on the essential jazz standard “On Green Dolphin Street.”
Today’s playlist was curated by my father who is responsible for all of my musical knowledge. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
1. Count Basie – April in Paris
2. Billie Holiday – What a Little Moonlight Can Do
3. Don Pullen – Listen to the People
4. Marc Johnson – Summer Running
5. Jim Hall – Concierto de Aranjuez
6. Miles Davis – Time After Time
7. John Coltrane – My Favorite Things
8. Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – My Heart Declares a Holiday
9. Gary Burton & Stephane Grapelli – Daphne
10. Eric Dolphy – On Green Dolphin Street