Friday Finds – June 21, 2013 – The John Steel Singers, “Rainbow Kraut”

It has been a long time since I’ve done one of these, but I found this song in the SXSW 2012 Showcasing Artists collection and I CAN’T STOP LISTENING TO IT. The bass line is simple (which means I can figure out how to play it)¬†but compelling, and the beat is infectious. The lead vocalist sounds uncannily like Robyn Hitchcock, and combined with the spacy/trippy lyrics (“I was living the life of a wrecking ball, swinging dangerously low at everything in sight”), it makes me think this is what The Soft Boys would have sounded like with a horn section.

The John Steel Singers is (are?) from Australia. Wikipedia calls them a “6-piece band,” but it looks like there are only five of them. Whatever. They’ve been around since the late 2000’s, with a couple of EP’s and LP’s. This track is off their 2010 album Tangalooma, their first issued on the Dew Process label (home of Dropkick Murphys and Mumford & Sons, among others). From their Facebook page, it appears they’re on the verge of releasing another album pretty soon.

(Side note: I’m listening through¬†Tangalooma right now, and so far, none of the other tracks sounds anything like Robyn Hitchcock. Slightly disappointed about that, but I’m enjoying the album anyway.)

Friday Find – Good Shoes

It’s been a while since I posted, for a variety of reasons, and I thought new musics would be a good way to get back to it. I discovered Good Shoes in a drunkard’s-walk exploration of eMusic, and fell immediately in love. They’re right in my British indie post-punk wheelhouse. 

I suck at band comparisons, but their musical sound is right in the zone occupied by their better-known compatriots Arctic Monkeys, Maximo Park, Franz Ferdinand, and Kaiser Chiefs, featuring jangly, fuzzy guitars and bright, upbeat rhythms. Rhys Jones’s vocals call to mind the croony warbling of The Rakes’ Alan Donohoe and the ranty half-speaking style of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith (combined with the earnest intensity of Pete Shelley). 

This song is high on the list of my current favorites – I can listen to it over and over:

That looks uncomfortable.

Rhys Jones’s vocals call to mind the croony warbling of The Rakes’ Alan Donohoe and the ranty half-speaking style of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith (combined with the earnest intensity of Pete Shelley). Times Change showcases the vocal similarities that make me love this band so much:

Their songs tend to revolve around matters of the heart, by turns plaintive or nostalgic (City By The Sea‘s “All I want’s a little more time to feel your heartbeat next to mine”) with an occasional foray into social/political critique (“How can you be so certain what you believe is the truth and what I believe in is not right?” from I Know). There’s nothing particularly mind-blowing or deep about them, but they aren’t especially vapid or naive either.

This is one of those very rare occasions when I discover a band I like a lot that is still active (unlike, say, The Rakes, who announced they were breaking up in late 2009, about three months before I found out about them). Good Shoes is (are?) currently touring in the UK; if they ever get to Chicago, I will be the first in line to buy tickets.

Friday Finds – Israeli Invasion!

Time once again for Friday Finds. This time, three bands I hadn’t heard of until very recently (and of course, one of them has already gone the way of the dodo – it is my lot in life to learn about bands I like soon after they disintegrate). These three are linked not only by being new discoveries for me, but by their country of origin. I wouldn’t normally think of Israel as a springboard for cool music, but I am apparently a provincial boor. I suppose it’s not really surprising – Israel is a modern, sophisticated country; why wouldn’t the music scene reflect that? Anyway, after the jump, three Israeli artists of whom I have recently developed an appreciation.

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