Obits are a 4-piece rock band from Brooklyn, NY who released their debut full-length album earlier this year. It’s called I Blame You and if it doesn’t wind up on your personal list of this year’s best albums, well, your list could use some fixin’. Scott Gursky is the band’s drummer and he’s also an amazing visual artist. He’s the one responsible for this and also this. Mr. Gursky is herewith also our second guest editor for an installment of our increasingly less unknown feature: “For the Record”! “For the Record,” of course, is our semi-regular web feature wherein we (or people who we convince to do so) rhapsodize on something from the (let’s be honest) checkered Sub Pop catalog and then, in a not even thinly veiled attempt to persuade you to take a chance and purchase the thing in question, deeply discount that album for a brief period of time.
And with that, we proudly present, Obits’ Scott Gursky on Pond…
When we told you the first time: February 1st, 1993
I first heard Pond around 1993 on MTV’s 120 minutes, a show I regularly relied on as a teenager to pick up hints of any “cool music” that would otherwise never find its way to my suburb. The video was for the song “Agatha”, and although the video wasn’t particularly interesting, the song definitely scared me. Guitarist Charlie Cambell drones on and on with one eerie chord, everything sparse and stripped down, with mantra-like vocal harmonies. To this day, I don’t have any idea what they are singing about, but I like to imagine this song is about a haunted house.
I bought their album Pond on cassette and wore it thin. I came to really appreciate (and even tried to emulate) Dave Triebwasser’s strong and steady drumming, and I was fascinated by bassist Chris Brady ‘s pop sensibilities butting up against the darker moods that Cambell and his guitar seemed to contribute. When at their best, during songs like “Gone” and “Spots”, they came across really murky and drone-y, a bit unhinged and heavy, but never without a strong hook to keep the foot tapping. It was distorted, heavy pop-rock music, lots of bands were doing it. But this trio had a certain way mixing the minor key with just enough melody and energy to keep it fun, and this separated them from the pack. When I was lucky enough to catch them live in Philadelphia, they had small amps, and Dave pounded a frankenstein of old drum kit orphans, very cool. There was something scrappy about this band, something that told you they didn’t have lots of money, they practiced in a damp basement, that they made weird, spooky power-pop because they really loved doing it and that was enough. The cynics will say Pond never made exceptional music, left no superstar legacy and that this record is (mostly) forgotten on the shelf, just another product of its time. Yet for me this time is a nostalgic one, one of cassettes and self-discovery, when against the odds you found special records, and special records found you.
You get Pond’s S/T release at our FTR sale price of $6 CD/$4 Mp3 here for the next 48 hours!
There is no denying true love. Especially bi-coastal love between us and the Baltimore City based Beach House. The super talented duo, Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand, first fused their respective musical creativity in 2005, releasing their self-titled debut in February of 2006 and the second, Devotion, in August of 2007.
In July the band took a break from touring to head to upstate New York to record with Chris Coady at Dreamland Studios in Woodstock. They spent a solid month in solitude writing and recording in the church-converted-to-studio compound. What they emerged with is their greatest work to date! Beach House’s third album will be released on Sup Pop (and Bella Union overseas) in early 2010…WE CAN’T WAIT. Based on some of the reactions to previous works that are noted below, we think some other people might be pretty excited about it too.
Beach House never rests and soon will be on tour with Grizzly Bear this fall all over the USA (dates listed below). The band will be unveiling new tracks from their upcoming album at these shows, so please come visit.
“Slide guitars and steel drums seduce the listener into a world of gentle pain, making for a sophomore album that is, like its predecessor, a beautiful collection of songs and images seemingly constructed upon repulsion and ennui.”—Filter
“The melodies and arrangements take center stage, and they’re consistently stunning.”—Magnet
“These are crisper, brighter, bolder songs, retaining Beach House’s sense of elegant decay while sweeping up the debris.”—Pitchfork 8.5 Best New Music
9/6 – Dublin at the Electric Picnic
9/19 – Portland at the Berbati’s Pan-MUSICFEST NW
9/20 – Seattleat Nuemos
9/22 – Anacortes, WA at the Department of Safety
9/23 – Bellingham at The Nightlight
9/24 – Victoria BC at Rifflandia Festival
9/26 – Ann Arbor at Michigan Theatre w/ Grizzly Bear
9/27 – Chicago at the Metro w/ Grizzly Bear
9/28 – Chicago at the Metro w/ Grizzly Bear
9/30 – Minneapolis at First Avenue w/ Grizzly Bear
10/1 – Columbia, Missouri at Blue Note w/ Grizzly Bear
10/2 – Norman at the opolis
10/3 – Austin at EMOS
10/5 – Atlanta at Variety Playhouse w/ Grizzly Bear
10/6 – Norfolk at Norva w/ Grizzly Bear
10/7 – Philadelphia at Electric Factory w/ Grizzly Bear
10/8 – Boston at Orpheum Theatre w/ Grizzly Bear
10/9 – Poughkeepsie at Vassar College
10/19 – San Francisco at Bottom of the Hill
10/20 – LA at Hollywood Palladium w/Grizzly Bear
10/21 – San Diego Belly Up Tavern w/ Grizzly Bear
Please help us in welcoming our friend, Mat Brooke, lead singer from Seattle’s own Grand Archives, who has graciously agreed to guest edit our 7th installment of “For the Record”! “For the Record”, as you may recall, is our semi-regular web feature wherein we (or the kind people who we can convince to do so) reflect on a favorite record from the Sub Pop catalog and in turn we then drastically discount said record for the following 48 hours.
So now that you know how this all works, let’s get into it and see what Mat has to say about Chad VanGaalen’s Infiniheart!
Even though I’ve never lived in Canada, Chad VanGaalen’s Infiniheart has the comfort of home to me. The urgency of the jangly guitar intro in the opening track, “Clinically Dead”, starts the whole album with an immediate hook. From that point on the songs continue to ebb and flow with a perfect cinematic-like cohesion. The tales, narrated in a flawless wavering falsetto, create Infiniheart’s timeless sound. When Sub Pop re-released this album in 2005, the CD stayed in my player on repeat for days. So much, that now when re-visited, it’s almost like catching up on old times. “1000 Pound Eyelids” is the song that really sticks. The lyrics vaguely depict the terror of a car accident, with an innocent, almost calming charm. That is where Chad really prevails. His humble charm, blended with his style of hauntingly honest music. It just sounds like “home”. But don’t take my word for it, what the hell do I know? I’m not a record reviewer. Try buying it.
yours truly -mat
For the next 48 hours, you can get Infiniheart at our FTR sale price of $6 CD/$4 Mp3 here!
Mat’s band, Grand Archives, just released their second record, Keep in Mind Frankenstein this week. We think you should check that record out too. Here, we’ll help you: go HERE for more on Grand Archives.
Did you know that we have a stripped down version of the Sub Pop website for your mobile device? We’ll admit to building it with an eye toward the iPhone, but it should work well with the Google phone and a Blackberry running Opera as well.
Seattle’s Fleet Foxes have been chosen to play the 2009 Bridge School Benefit on Oct 24th and 25th. Each year Neil Young and his wife Pegi organize a stellar show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA with all proceeds going to the Bridge School. This years performers include Monsters of Folk, Chris Martin of Coldplay, No Doubt and Adam Sandler just to name a few. I am holding out hope for an all star rendition of the Hanukkah song. Make it happen Sandler.You can learn more about the show here.
In other Fleet Foxes news the dudes will be honored along with Quincy Jones and KEXP at the 2009 Seattle City of Music Awards at the Showbox on Oct. 14th. This event is open to the public and you can pick up tickets at Easy St, Everyday Music, Silver Platters and Sonic Boom.
WFMU, one of our favorite independent free form online radio stations, is throwing the first (hopefully annual) WFMU Fest at the Music Hall of Williamsburg this weekend (Oct. 1-3)! I haven’t heard of anything as amazing going on in NYC this weekend, so there’s no excuse to miss it! The coolest part of the festival—Pissed Jeans are headlining Friday night!
Check out the other bands playing in the sweet line-up:
Thursday October 1st (Doors 8PM, $20 advance or night of show): Krautrock pioneers Faust, with Cold Cave and Aluk Todolo opening
Friday, October 2nd (Doors 8PM, tickets $12 advance/$15 night of show): a home run punk fest featuring Pissed Jeans, TV Ghost, Vee Dee, and Guinea Worms
Saturday, October 3rd (Doors 8PM, $20 advance or night of show): the return of No Wave legends Teenage Jesus and the Jerks plus a triple attack setup of NYC noisemongers Sightings, Drunkdriver, and Talk Normal
If you aren’t familiar with WFMU, make yourself acquainted with it here.