Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Zak Recommends 'Caribou' & Indie Artists of the Day 'Nostalghia'

Caribou - Swim
Please buy your music. Piracy sucks the life out of it.

Merge Records

Caribou aka Dan Snaith returns to where he started the journey, Electronica, on this latest effort. What an effort it is. Sonic art. Glorious sound buffet. Dance beats beautifully brought together and bursting into a warm glow of bucolic brilliance. Snaith has a Phd in mathematics but matters related to the other hemisphere, namely creativity, is in the same abundance as the genius required for mathematics. The discipline of his science bears through in his music with an incredible attention to detail and slavish devotion to perfecting the idea of each 'song'. Although there are some hard edges, in general the music moves with a liquidity and ebb & flow that is hypnotic and transcendent.

Snaith is from Ontario, Canada. Snaith plays with a band when performing live. The current band comprises Ryan Smith, Brad Weber, and John Schmersa.

1. Odessa
2. Sun
3. Kaili
4. Found Out
5. Bowls
6. Leave House
7. Hannibal
8. Lalibela
9. Jamelia

Upcoming Shows:
25 Apr 2010 20:00 Palace St. Gallen, St-Gall
26 Apr 2010 20:00 Magnolia Milano
27 Apr 2010 20:00 Feierwerk Muchen
28 Apr 2010 20:00 Berghain Berlin, Berlin
29 Apr 2010 20:00 Prinzenbar Hamburg
30 Apr 2010 20:00 Pop Revo Festival Ã…rhus

Official Website:

Nostalghia - Indie Artists of the Day

Nostalghia are from Los Angeles. They are self described Experimental/Electroacoustic. They have a grand orchestral sound that has a post modern/science fiction bend. Nostalghia is Ciscandra Nostalghia & Roy Gnan. Ciscandra's vocals are delicate and enchanting. She is reminiscent of Kate Bush. The orchestral sound is provided by cello, violin, acoustic bass and piano. The sound is unique, the writing original. The live band are Chris Loken - Violin, Kaitlin Wolfberg - Violin, Claire Courchene - Cello, Blake Estrada - Acoustic Bass, Dylan Durboraw - Acoustic Bass, Anita Gnan - Piano, Dave Foy - Percussion & Ethan Carlson - Live Sound. They are playing The Hotel Cafe in L.A. on May 30th. There are plans to release an album this August.

Official Website:

Zak's Tidbits for April 21st/2010:

Crystal Castles - Has bumped up the release of their new album. Because it has leaked (Jesus this happens way to fn often), it is available digitally this Friday, April 23rd and physicaly in stores May 25th.

Voxtrot - Are calling it quits. there will be a brief farewell tour in May and then they will go their separate ways.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Zak Recommends 'Cancer Bats' & Indie Artists of the Day 'Miclordz & Sauce Funky'

Cancer Bats - Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones

Please buy your music. Piracy sucks the life out of it.

Distort Records

Third release is a charm. Charm is a word you may not read in many of the reviews of Cancer Bats newest release. You will read adjectives such as 'intense', 'jarring' 'aggressive' & 'rage'. And these all apply. With screaming vocals, short to the point solos and rough hewn riffs, the Bats get it done fast and hard and in your face. Their music is urgent and visceral. These guys fuckin rock. The Beastie Boys 'Sabotage' cover is raucous and fun. My fave tracks are 'Trust No One', 'Make Amends' & the Beastie's cover 'Sabotage', which closes the album.

The Cancer Bats are from Toronto, Ontario. They were formed in 04' by singer Liam Cormier & guitarist Scott Middleton. Andrew McCracken joined on bass & Joel Bath on Drums. Mike Peters replaced Bath. McCracken left and was replaced briefly by Jason Bailey and then current bassist Jaye R. Schwarzer.

01. Sleep This Away
02. Trust No One
03. Dead Wrong
04. Doomed To Fail
05. Black Metal Bicycle
06. We Are The Undead
07. Scared To Death
08. Darkness
09. Snake Mountain
10. Make Amends
11. Fake Gold
12. Drive This Stake
13. Raised Right
14. Sabotage

Upcoming Shows:
04.24.10 Herford, DE X Visions Event w/ The Ghost of a Thousand
04.25.10 Hamburg, DE Molotow w/ The Ghost of a Thousand
04.26.10 Frankfurt, DE Nachtleben w/ The Ghost of a Thousand
04.27.10 Berlin, DE Magnet Club w/ The Ghost of a Thousand
04.28.10 Graz, AT Music House
04.29.10 Vienna, AT Arena w/ The Ghost of a Thousand

Official Website:

Miclordz & Sauce Funky - Indie Artists of the Day

All Canadian day today. These guys are from Windsor, Ontario. About three hours down the highway from Toronto and across the river from the Motor City. I would describe them as Funky, Rap, Rock. They have a definite Chili Peppers vibe to them. They formed in 06' and have been a favourite opening for some great Hip Hop artists such as KRS-One, K-OS & many others. The first album 'Family Tree' came out that same year. The second album 'Sunset Ammunition' came out in 08'. They spent that summer opening for Finger Eleven, Sloan, Thornley, The Trews, & Ill Scarlett. They continue to tour hard garnering fans and critical acclaim wherever they go. The writing is smart, the beats are cool and the production is slick.

Official website:

Zak's Tidbits for April 20th/2010:

Broken Social Scene - The band are offering a free ten-track EP with the purchase of their new album 'Forgiveness Rock Record'. When you pre-order the CD or vinyl from the Arts & Crafts shop or purchase those formats from either HMV or selected independent record shops you will receive a copy of Lo-Fi For The Dividing Nights.

Phoenix - Is writing the score for Sofia Coppola’s new movie Somewhere. Their lead singer, Thomas Mars is Sofia's partner and they have a child together.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zak Recommends 'The Tallest Man On Earth' & Indie Artists of the Day 'Xbloome'

The Tallest Man On Earth - Wild Hunt
Please buy your music. Piracy sucks the life out of it.

Dead Oceans Records

This is the follow up release to the debut 'Shallow Grave'. This is a better effort as Sweden's Kristian Matsson perfects what he accomplished on the first effort. The comparisons to early Dylan are inevitable as the vocals and roots rock have a similarity. It is only a similarity in vocal sound and that they are both acoustical. Kristian's writing is much more connected to the human emotions. His playing is masterful. There is a nostalgia in his expressive writing. He is a distinctive and gifted songwriter. Key tracks for me are the title track, 'Troubles Will Be Gone' and the closer 'Kids On The Run' on which he plays on piano.

Kristian's first release was a self-titled EP in 07'. 'Shallow Grave', his first full length release came out in 08' and this is his sophomore effort.

1. The Wild Hunt
2. Burden of Tomorrow
3. Troubles Will be Gone
4. You're Going Back
5. The Drying of the Lawns
6. King of Spain
7. Love is All
8. Thousand Ways
9. A Lion's Heart
10. Kids on the Run

Upcoming Shows:
22 Apr 2010 20:00 World Cafe Live w/Nurses - - - *SOLD OUT* Philadelphia, PA
23 Apr 2010 20:00 Black Cat w/Nurses Washington, DC
24 Apr 2010 20:00 Guilford College Greensboro, NC
26 Apr 2010 20:00 Gerrard Hall w/Nurses Chapel Hill, NC
27 Apr 2010 17:00 Forsythia Hall w/Nurses 2nd Show added!! Ashville, NC
27 Apr 2010 20:00 Forsythia Hall w/Nurses - - - *SOLD OUT* Ashville, NC

Official Website:

Xbloome - Indie Artists of the Day

Xbloome is from Wien Wien, Austria. They have a great Trip Hop sound. Belinda F. has a Bjork like feel to her vocals. She also plays Violin. With Bernhard G. on Trumpet and Belinda's violin this adds a great dimension to the electronica beats mashed out by Hannes Z. on Synth, Peter B. on Drums & Bernhard W. on bass. Their beats are complex and original. Bernhard's slapbass lines are awesome. Go to their website and get some free downloads NOW! I am telling you, this is the best electronica I have heard on Myspace in the last couple of months. I can't get enough of 'Lost Song'. Brings me back to my early dj days in the 80's.

Official website:

Zak's Tidbits for April 19th/2010:

Muse - More tour dates for the fall announced here:

Erykah Badu - Announces new tour:

May 22: Baltimore, MD (Pier Six Pavilion)
May 23: Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
May 22:Baltimore, MD (Pier Six Pavilion feat. Bilal)
May 23: Boston, MA (Orpheum Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
May 25: New York, NY (Roseland Ballroom feat. ?uestlove)
May 26: Philadelphia, PA (Tower Theater feat. Bilal)
May 28: Washington, D.C. (Constitution Hall feat. N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae)
May 30: Detroit, MI (Chene Park feat. N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae)
June 2: Chicago, IL Chicago (Theater feat. N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae)
June 3: Chicago, IL Chicago (Theater feat. Janelle Monae)
June 5: Memphis, TN (Orpheum Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
June 6: Nashville, TN (Ryman Auditorium feat. Janelle Monae)
June 8: Kansas City, KS (Midland Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
June 9: St. Louis, MO (Fox Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
June 13: Houston, TX (Verizon Wireless Theater feat. Janelle Monae)
June 14: Dallas, TX (Nokia Theatre)
June 16: Denver, CO (The Fillmore Auditorium feat. Janelle Monae)
June 18: Oakland, CA (Paramount Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
June 19: Saratoga, CA (The Mountain Winery)
June 20: Los Angeles, CA (Greek Theater feat. Janelle Monae)
June 22: San Diego, CA (TBA)
June 23: Phoenix, AZ (TBA)
June 24: Las Vegas, NV (The Pearl Concert Theater)

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - First album in eight years scheduled to release June 15th. Summer tour reskedded to coincide.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Zak Recommends 'Bonnie "Prince" Billy & the Cairo Gang' & Indie Artist of the Day 'Franka De Mille'

Bonnie "Prince Billy" & the Cairo Gang - The Wondershow of the World
Support your local independent record store. Record store day is April 17th. Check out

Drag City Records

Emmett Kelly moves into the role of key collaborator with Will Oldham on this album. It works perfectly with Kelly's virtuosic playing wrapping around Oldham's vocals and lyrics beautifully especially on 'Teach Me To Bear You'. Oldham's writing is as we have come to know rustic and poignant. The production has a nice warm lo-fi feel which imbues the intimacy of the music. The songs are tender yet bittersweet and emotionally challenging. Two other key tracks for me are 'Someone Coming Through' & the closer 'Kids'. Shahzad Ismaily who is the other half of the Cairo Gang provides bass and vocals.

Emmett & Shahzad had previously contributed to Will's The Letting Go (2006) & Lie Down in the Light (2008). This is the first time they have shared equal billing.

1. Troublesome Houses
2. Teach Me to Bear You
3. With Cornstalks or Among Them
4. The Sounds Are Always Begging
5. Go Folks, Go
6. That's What Our Love Is
7. Merciless and Great
8. Where Wind Blows
9. Someone Coming Through
10. Kids

Upcoming Shows:
Sat May 08, 2010 Santa Monica, CA McCabe’s Guitar Shop
Sun May 09, 2010 Santa Monica, CA McCabe’s Guitar Shop
Sat Aug 07, 2010 Happy Valley, OR Pickathon
Sun Aug 08, 2010 Happy Valley, OR Pickathon

Official Website:

Franka De Mille - Indie Artist of the Day

Franka is based in London England. Her new album 'Bridge The Roads' will be out soon. Franka lists among her 'Mothers', 'Muses' & 'Influences' a diverse and wide range of artists including Kate Bush, Tom Waits, Johan Sebastian Bach, Joanna Newson and many others. I hear these many influences infused throughout her work. There is also much inspiration pulled from her many philosophical, literary and performing arts influences. The music is a wonderful tapestry of intricate string orchestrations, vocals and piano. It is expansive and inspiring. It moves with the ebb and flows like nature. Oceans, winds moving back and forth sometimes still. Her vocals remind me of early eighties Lene Lovitch but more refined and delicate. The interwoven vocals are mesmerizing.

Official website:

Zak's Tidbits for April 15th/2010:

Lenny Kravitz - Pre-sale for his June 1st show in Albuquerque, NM now on

Frightened Rabbit - Just announced to play the 'Splendour In The Grass' festival, Brisbane Australia, Aug. 1st

Cyclamen - British Rock outfit & ne of Zak's fave Indies releasing new EP. Click here to find out more

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Zak Recommends 'Dr. Dog' & Indie Artist of the Day 'Fungusperoxide'

Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame

Support your local independent record store. Record store day is April 17th. Check out

Anti Records

This is the sixth release for Philadelphias Dr. Dog. Fans will not be dissapointed as they do not veer from the established sound. However, what there is here, is more emotional depth and greater maturity. Dr. Dog is a band hitting its stride. They stay fun but add more to their 70's classic rock feel. Still sounding like The Band but much in the vein of contemporaries Spoon, Shins, Destroyer and band pals My Morning Jacket. Dr. Dog is a band on the rise. I expect this will be their most commercially successful release to date. The album keeps the analogue/lo-fi feel but with a higher quality of production thanks to Rob Schnapf.

Dr. Dog's first release was in 2001 and after being invited by My Morning Jacket to support them on tour their star has been on the steady rise. The current lineup is Scott McMicken(Guitar/Vocals), Toby Leaman(Bass/Vocals), Zach Miller(Keyboards), Eric Slick(Guitar) & Frank McElroy(Drums).

1. Stranger (3:43)
2. Shadow People (4:13)
3. Station (3:11)
4. Unbearable Why (3:13)
5. Where'd All the Time Go (3:54)
6. Later (3:09)
7. I Only Wear Blue (3:43)
8. Someday (3:20)
9. Mirror, Mirror (2:50)
10. Jackie Wants a Black Eye (3:04)
11. Shame, Shame (5:16)

Upcoming Shows:
16 Apr 2010 21:00 Metro Chicago, Illinois
17 Apr 2010 21:00 Fine Line Music Cafe Minneapolis, Minnesota
19 Apr 2010 21:00 Belly Up Aspen, Colorado
20 Apr 2010 20:00 Gothic Theatre Denver, Colorado
22 Apr 2010 20:30 Neurolux Boise, Idaho
23 Apr 2010 21:00 Wonder Ballroom Portland, Oregon

Official Website:

Fungusperoxide - Indie Artist of the Day

Fungusperoxide hails from Seattle. Fungusperoxide is the work of Thomas Stafford. He has a great straight ahead punk feel. It is stripped down power chord danceable fun music. He has not offered his music in a downloadable form yet but hopefully we will see something soon. Check it out at his Myspace page.

Official website:

Zak's Tidbits for April 14th/2010:

Green Day - Are on Jimmy Fallon tonight.

Fionn Regan - For my U.K. readers is on Dave Fannings The Eleventh Hour 2nite @ 11:20.

Raconteurs - Saturday, April 17th is Record Store Day! To celebrate the re-release of The Raconteurs debut LP Broken Boy Soldiers, Third Man Records pressed 300 Copper Colored Record Store Day limited edition copies of the LP. Plus, Brendan Benson and Patrick Keeler, along with some friends, will be performing Raconteurs songs at Third Man as The Racontwoers. Third Man Records, 623 7th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203. The Racontwoers perform live in the Third Man venue @ 3 P.M.

The Flaming Lips - Will be on Jimmy Fallon Friday Night. Also their video for Powerless premiers on Pitchfork. Click Here,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Zak Recommends 'Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' & Indie Artist of the Day 'Ekiti Son'

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - I Learned The Hard Way
Support your local independent record store. Record store day is April 17th. Check out

Daptone Records

This is the fourth album for this NYNY funksoul outfit. Zak is giving this one two thumbs up! This album was recorded the old fashioned way. On tape. And I would imagine this was to capture as much 'Real' feel as they possibly could for their warm gushy retro soul. Whether the tape adds to the authenticity or not the album as a whole works. Anyone familiar with their previous work will find more of the same here. Sharon's well honed delivery and range packs the usual punch and her backup band delivers perfectly all the way through. These are Soul veterans who put down a real solid sound that all music fans should stand up and pay attention to.

Sharon started out with the 'Soul Providers' in the mid 90's. After a split between the two founders in 2000 the Dap-Kings were formed. They secured a 2001 summer residency in Spain & recorded an LP titled 'Dap Dippin' with Sharon'. Two other albums followed, 'Naturally' 2005 & '100 Days, 100Nights' 2007.

01. The Game Gets Old
02. I Learned The Hard Way
03. Better Things
04. Give It Back
05. Money
06. The Reason
07. Window Shopping
08. She Ain't A Child No More
09. I'll Still Be True
10. Without A Heart
11. If You Call
12. Mama Don't Like My Man

Upcoming Shows:
Thursday, April 15 Paradiso Amsterdam, Netherlands
Saturday, April 17 Wanee Festival, Live Oak FL
Thursday, April 22 Festival Internationale de Louisiane, Lafayette LA
Friday, April 23 Late Show with David Letterman & The Howling Wolf New Orleans, LA
Saturday, April 24 Double Decker Festival Oxford MS
Monday, April 26 The Colbert Report

Official Website:

Ekiti Son - Indie Artists of the Day

Ekiti Son is from London, England. The album is 'Sacred Science'. I would describe it as Experimental Electronica. Trippy beats, layered synths and ethereal vocals. There is a wide range of styles and influences to be found and it is all pulled together with top notch production. This is among the best Indie Electronica I have heard on Myspace in the past month.

Official website:

Zak's Tidbits for April 13th/2010:

Miranda Lambert - The new video for 'The House That Built Me' is out. Click here

Muse - Has just announced Kasabian & The Editors will be supporting them in Europe in early June.

MGMT - The new album 'Congratulations' is out today.

Ghostface Killah - Wu Massacre custom Nike Blazers By Mike Norris. Check it here

Elvis Costello - A limited edition and individually numbered, 7” E.P. featuring three tracks from the recently released LIVE AT HOLLYWOOD HIGH concert, will be available at select independent record stores on Record Store Day, April 17th. Making their vinyl debut will be Hollywood High versions of “Pump It Up,” “Lip Service” and “Waiting For The End Of The World.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Zak Recommends 'Laura Marling' & Indie Artists of the Day 'The Grown Ups'

Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
Support your local independent record store. Record store day is April 17th. Check out

Astralwerks Records

Still just twenty this is Laura's follow up to the Mercury award nominated debut 'Alas I Cannot Swim'. She has matured since that 2008 release and it shows. This is folk with smarts and guts. It also shows in the sound of her voice. It has obviously matured and the way in which she uses it in a more self assured way. The music itself is timeless and steeped in the folk traditions of Britain. Because of Laura's tender age and the brilliance she has shown in this work, I believe we are still to see the best of what she will produce. This is a remarkably good record.

Laura is from Hampshire, England. She started out with Noah & the Whale and was romantically linked with singer Charlie Fink. She is now with Mumford from Mumford & Sons and gets backing help from them on this new album. I would be re-miss if I did not mention the album was produced by Ethan Johns who is known for his great work with Kings Of Leon.

1. "Devil's Spoke"
2. "Made by Maid"
3. "Rambling Man"
4. "Blackberry Stone"
5. "Alpha Shallows"
6. "Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)"
7. "Hope in the Air"
8. "What He Wrote"
9. "Darkness Descends"
10. "I Speak Because I Can"

Upcoming Shows:
12/04/10 Lowry / Manchester *sold out*
13/04/10 Fruitmarket / Glasgow *sold out*
14/04/10 Queen’s hall / Edinburgh
14/04/10 Queen’s Hall / Edinburgh
16/04/10 Alexandra Theatre / Birmingham *sold out*
17/04/10 Corn Exchange / Cambridge *sold out*
Official Website:

The Grown Ups - Indie Artists of the Day

The Grown Ups are from Oklahoma City. They have a very nice electro/ folk sound with great lyrics. I especially like 'Three Licks' a dreamy tome of romance. 'The War' rails against materialism and states boldly we need more love. Decrying power & greed. The tempo change ups add interest to the pace. The songs are real and genuine, completely lacking in cliche' or unoriginality. You must check out their website. The intro page is cool. The only suggestion I would make is that they let the intro music play longer.

The Grown Ups are Clinton Avery Tharp, Perschbacher, & Derek Harris.

Official website:

Zak's Tidbits for April 8th/2010

Malcolm McLaren - He of 'Sex Pistols' manager fame and a decent string of dance hits in the 80's has passed away from cancer @ age 64.

Green Day - Will be on Jimmy Fallon next Wednesday April 14th.