by Dan Gibson
Ok, it might be a little late to improve your Wednesday with music hand-selected by our music writers, but you're not tied to listening to these songs on Wednesday. Tomorrow should still work.
I seriously love Rubblebucket—- their sound is a weird blend of Afro-Cuban New Wave, they make crazy videos, and write clever & catchy songs to boot. "L'Homme" isn't my favorite song off of their recent album Omega La La, but it's the most recent video and gives you a perfect snippet of what their music sounds like.
My best New Band Discovery this past weekend at Seattle's Bumbershoot festival was Tennis, an adorably poppy band from Denver who have a debut record on Fat Possum. Singer Alaina Moore mixes baby doll vocals with a bit of soul and husband Patrick Riley has a clean, languid guitar style.
Few things are funnier than ugliness masquerading as prettiness. I was turned onto these pointedly offensive and prankish punks by the inimitable Lester Bangs, and I have probably listened to this Sonny & Cher piss-take more than anything else in the past year. It's dumb, loud, and, for a punk song, far too long, but it's also endearing. The amount of cheap beer and colorful pills that inspired this recording session could probably fill a swimming pool, but the result is vulgarity as its most glorious.
Luisa Maita, "Alento"
I'll admit that I didn't know who Luisa Maita was before last week. But while doing research for this week's Soundbites column, I gave her latest album, Lero-Lero, released in July of last year, a listen. And then another listen. And another. I really can't get enough of it. Maita is Brazilian, but rather than crank out standard bossa nova or samba tunes, she updates that sound to include flourishes of electronica, rooting it firmly in the 21st century. Warm and sultry, her music reminds me of what Sade might sound like if she grew up in Brazil. She's playing at Solar Culture Gallery next Thursday, Sept. 15. Go.
If a song makes me want to jump in my car, peel out, hit the highway, and not look back, it's a winner in my book. This road-trip-inducing track will appeal to fans of The Stone Roses, Ride, and Verve. It features a wall of dreamy guitar, a catchy bass line, and it provides the courage to finally make out with your summer crush. (It's still summer, right?)
With his home in El Paso, Tom Russell's a bit out of that Austin-Lubbock axis of Guy Clark, Joe Ely, the whole Townes Van Zant constellation, but they all sing his songs. At the HoCo Festival Sunday night he brought the sky down with "Who's Gonna Build Your Wall." It's one of his unforgettable songs you feel like you know already the first time you hear it. He's coming back to Congress on November 23, and everyone should go to hear the songs from his new record, Mesabi. You can download a track from it at tomrussell.com; it's Bob Dylan's "Hard Rain is Gonna Fall," with Calexico and Lucinda Williams. Also, you might want to YouTube "Gallo del Cielo". I dare you ever to forget it.
Creeper Lagoon, "Wrecking Ball"
When San Francisco indie-rock/emo quartet Creeper Lagoon busted out its Dreamworks debut, Take Back the Universe and Give Me Today, in 2001, the reviews were, well, mostly positive, even if they grumbled about the fact that more than $20 was spent on its production. Today this album is a forgotten power-pop classic, and here's one example why—"Wrecking Ball," with its wrecking ball of a hook, huge guitars, and gritty yet melodic vocals. Why this song and this band weren't huge (like, say, Jimmy Eat World, whose 2001 major-label breakout went platinum that same year thanks to the hit tune "The Middle") I'll never understand. Take back Bleed American and give me Creeper Lagoon's unsung masterpiece.
Count Vertigo, "I'm a Mutant"
From a band that took it's moniker from a DC Comics villain, this is a brash, urgent piece of paranoia post-punk from Portland, Oregon circa 1979. Similar to fellow bands The Screamers and The Units, who either used a minimal amount of guitar or eschewed the instrument all together, opting instead for swirling and stabbing keyboard/organ leads, Count Vertigo is no slouch in the "synth-punk" genre. With this song's piss and vinegar vocals and lyrics that may well have been etched in a school desk with a switchblade, "I'm A Mutant" is a fun nihilist anthem wrapped up in a tinfoil hat.