(our 200th post!) Bird Call’s Covers EP Other Creatures

4 08 2011

I’ve been sitting on Bird Call‘s Covers EP, Other Creatures for a month or so now trying to figure out what I think of it. Quirky female vocalists can go both ways with me: LOVE: Kate Bush, Bjork, or Missing Persons; NOT FOND OF: Macy Gray, The Knife or JoAnna Newsom (devil’s spawn).

If you start off with Chiara Angelicola’s (Bird Calls main woman) Doo Right you may get turned off by her vocal aerobatics which lean toward Nina Hagen and Newsome territory distracting you from the music. But if you start off with any other track like her Nick Cave cover Into My Arms or the heartbreaking single Beck’s Lost Cause, you hear past the trickery into genuine emotion. She really makes you forget their covers with her original voice and take on these tracks.

With all her unique qualities, there are surprisingly straightforward moments as well. Her covers of Fleetwood Mac’s cheesytastic later hit Little Lies gleams as bright as the original, and her take on Kate Bush’s The Man With The Child In His Eyes is a loving tribute to a woman she’s obviously listened to a time or two. She uses some of Kate’s same inflections, minus some of the vulnerabilty but much more emotion than Tina Arena’s white bread version from a few years back.  She also keeps Kate’s Piano arrangement while adding the best part, a lovely hammer dulcimer accompaniment which adds a bit more warmth than Kate’s.

Take a listen and let us know who what you think and what original female voices drive you crazy or take you to heaven.

Free download link to this track included: 

Shiny Toy Guns Over the Sophomore Slump

25 07 2011

I was already giddy when I heard Shiny Toy Guns, one of my favorite current bands, was coming to our Northalsted Market Days, but really over the moon when I heard Carah, the original girl half of the vocals was back in the band after their toxic Season of Poison album in 2008 with a new lead singer. Seasons was a dismal and unispired sequel to their debut album, We Are Pilots (featuring the hit Le Disko) and sent many of their fans away wondering what happened to the exuberant young band with so much promise, already crumbling and turning out a shadow of their last album.

Well, they’re back in case you were wondering and from the sound of their first single, they haven’t missed a beat! Carah rightfully starts off the track, with co-vocalist Chad Petree following, as it should be. The track goes right back to their original dance rock sound, this time a bit more dance/electronic but still with the powerful punch that makes them beloved.

Wait, it gets better, you can get their new single AND a hot Human League reminiscent remix here and here. Their new album III hits stores this fall. STG hits Chicago Saturday, August 13th at 8:30pm.


Bonus treat, in 2009, Redmonkey and I did our top 10 remixes of all time. STG was my #2 with the unreleased (but get it here) Justin Skiles mix of You Are The One. Here you go. You’re welcome.



Preview The Sun

Clara May’s Rare Live Show @ Schuba’s

15 07 2011

Tom and Nicole

Big shout out to Fanatic Promotions fantastic new act Clara May as they’ve announced a show at Schuba’s with John Common on 8.8.11. If you’re not familiar with Clara May they’re not a person (think Pink Floyd, Hootie) but the core duo of Tom Silva and Nicole Sotelo. Tom and Nicoles music has a contrast I love, a bright acoustic based pop with almost a nineties college rock edge but their lyric explore dark territories such as genocide, colonialism and cultural identity.  Think American Music Club as done by Low covering Billy Bragg.

Clara May and their label have happily offered up a couple mp3’s to wet your whistle. Enjoy, and see you at Schuba’s on the 8th!


Hush (current single)

NOW Coldplay’s new track sounds interesting!

11 07 2011

Oy, who's up for a dance?

After uberstar Beyonce phoned it it with the embarrassing “4” and Gaga and Britney did straightforward club albums with no depth, I was not happy to hear the bland new Coldplay single, fearing even the always reliable Brits had taken a figurative creative Summer off as well. While the single, Every Waterfall Is a Teardrop, was bland as dry toast, the Swedish House Mafia remix is turning me OUT! Can’t wait till the full version leaks is available to buy legally. I’m all over it.

What are the chances Chris Martin and the boys will put out a full dance album?

Desperately Seeking Something New?

5 07 2011

Laverne and Shirley, the great sages of the 20th Century, once challenged “Give us any chance, We’ll take it. Give us any rule we’ll break it.” If you’re challenging me, ala DiFazio, give me any tune, I’ll find it, in about a minute. Times where when you wanted a song, you had to go from record store to record store and maybe even special order an album taking upwards of 2 weeks, months if overseas. Now with one click in iTunes most US distributed tracks can be yours in seconds. But what if you want something more hard-to-find? Remixes, out-of-print, imports? Ask me. I’ve gotten it down to a science.

Let me share some of my tricks, but only about half. A girl’s got to keep some secrets.

Want to get a lead on your hipster pals who always know the coolest bands? Blogs are the best way as record labels feed blogs key tracks to give out for free, about half are really amazing remixes too. The best ones out there are rcrdlbl.com and indie standard pitchfork.com. Both have the most recent, legal and cutting edge tracks out there.

Remixes are tough on iTunes let alone at a brick and mortar store, so you have to get underground there. Legally, your go-to should be Beatport 95% of the time. The mp3 quality is the best around and the artists get a good cut. If that’s going nowhere, start with Googling it. You’ll find tons of legal and slightly less legal ways to get the newest tracks from places like dirrtyremixes and In Da Prophi’s House who trump everyone when you’re looking for the newest and hottest for your dancefloor needs.

As for Out-of-Print or unreleased cuts, Google once again, but try the little known blogsearch.google.com to weed out news stories and such and get right to the people. Writers like me love to upload and show off our snobby rarities for you to enjoy. Soundcloud also is a treasure trove of unreleased tracks as well as bootleg remixes. You can find my postings there under Moosebox. Some real gems…

…or do what all my friends do, and hit me up on my wall. Works (for them) every time.


-from my biweekly column in Nightspots Magazine

Going Global: Three choice cuts

14 06 2011

Passport? Who needs one when you can take a vacay via a few choice listens and downloads!

I bring you tasty cuts from around the globe that you can add to your visited destinations, feel a bit more cultured, in-the-know and jammin’-on-the-one.


The first comes from Iceland and a blast from the past: GusGus. Remember them? 90s heyday of triphop and good grooves that you could ‘believe’ in? Well, the group’s female vocalist HAFDIS HULD is still holding her own with backing tracks with TRICKY on his recent KNOWLE WEST BOY and this amazing little ditty below called ‘ACTION MAN’ from her recent solo release:

If that wasn’t enough, grab a track FREE from this adorable chanteuse of the great white North HERE.

Look for great things to come from this voice in the months ahead and check out more from her WONDERFUL WORLD here.


Now, off to Denmark and the spank-tastic electro duo of MASON.

We told you about their stellar release THEY ARE AMONG US with a special interview we did with the Dutch boys a few weeks back and wouldn’t you know it, they keep on delivering with a HAWT remix of their track featuring Matt Hales – also known as Aqualung – remixed by none other than REX THE DOG.

If that wasn’t enough Pete Tong tipped it as a stand-out track and the single (out July 18) will have additional Dave Seaman, Steve Aoki, Zombie Disco Squad and The Magician (LOVE!)

The DJ team have been working with a load of folk via their label Animal Language and you can nab the remix for LITTLE ANGEL HERE.


Finally, off to France for a track that I melted into courtesy of the folks behind Dailybeatz.com and a single that came out earlier this year from KEREN ANN.

The song was great enough on its own – MY NAME IS TROUBLE – but the tweaked out remix from the genius Walter Sobcek took it to another plane of consciousness. Sobcek has done some stellar remixes of PHOENIX and NIGHTWAVES but this one tears out her desperation and longing and makes it something other-worldy.

Check out that feature (written by yours truly) HERE, grab the remix, down it with some choice barbits and enjoy.

NOW, consider yourself a cross-continent globe-trotter!

— written by d_wall, a lover not a fighter for the world of music

Unexpected Bow From Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy

2 06 2011

Last I heard Peter Murphy, former leader of the legendary Bauhaus, was working on a follow up to 1984’s Dali’s Car collaboration with Japan bassist Mick Karn.  Sadly in January of this year, our beloved Mick passed away from cancer. So I fully expected some tracks or a full length Dali’s Car release when I heard Peter Murphy had something new in the can. To my surprise, Peter Murphy’s new CD, Ninth showed up in the mail today, with zero Dali’s Car action, but lots of action nonetheless.

Murphy’s solo release in seven years, took just a week to record and the urgency shows. Gone are his complex, slow ruminating moods tinged with well thought out electronic flourishes we loved from his nineties output (All Night Long, Cuts You Up) and instead we get a very free and oft times rocking old gent/vampire. Not that we’ve got a full on pop rock album here (though about half of this sounds like a good Ric Ocasek solo album) — on tracks like the very Bush-like Uneven & Brittle and Secret Silk Society he gets back to his Bauhaus dark core, and even tosses in a ballad at the end. But the biggest highlight is the Bauhaus referencing I Spit Roses, written after a long day in the studio recording their final album. On Spit, Murphy finally gives us a worth follow-up to his early solo heyday with layered vocals, anger and passion proving this old goth is still at the peak of his game.

(Dali’s Car’s final EP will be out later in 2011)

Download the new single here for free for a limited time!


Some classics for your reference and pleasure