Wild Flag

Wild Flag is a super group, consisting of Carrie Brownstein, Rebecca Cole, Mary Timony, and Janet Weiss. The members of Wild Flag have played in notable bands including Sleater-Kinney, The Minders, Quasi, Helium, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and others. Their sound is similar to Sleater-Kinney, this is obviously because of Brownstein’s distinctive voice. “Romance” and “Future Crimes” come from their self-titled debut. They are two of the more upbeat tracks on the album. On “Romance” they don’t pull any punches as the opening keyboard and drum beat lure you into a full on vocal assault by Brownstein. “Future Crimes” is a little more subtle yet the song has the same in your face feel to it. Here’s hoping that Wild Flag is here to stay.

Wild Flag – Romance

Wild Flag – Future Crimes

Eleanor Friedberger

Eleanor Friedberger is better known as half of the band The Fiery Furnaces; if that doesn’t perk your ears up, hopefully listening to the song below will.

I am not one who usually puts a song on repeat and plays it until the MP3 skips. I’m afraid I’ll get “burned out” with the song. With “My Mistakes”, the first track from her debut solo album, Last Summer, I have completely gotten over that fear. I have listened to this track more in the past week than most other releases this year. It really is an amazing song, packed with a fuzzy bass line, driving beat, just enough keyboard and even a sneaky saxaphone at the end. If there wasn’t already a video for this song (below), I can picture Eleanor cruising around on a bicycle of some sort, on some small town main street, waving to all the passersby as she quietly sings this song to herself. At least that’s what I want to do when I listen to this song. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do, it is the song of this summer.

Eleanor Friedberger – My Mistakes from Last Summer (2011)

<object width="400" height="225"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=24124179&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=24124179&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="225"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/24124179">Eleanor Friedberger – My Mistakes</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/mergerecords">Merge Records</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>


Paul Young left a comment on my last 3hive entry — a Julie Doiron re-post — that said, “Yo JC! Paul Young wants to hear about the new Superchunk album.” While I don’t remember Paul speaking of himself in the third person while a student in my class, he is somewhat of a legend in the halls of a certain suburban Detroit public school. And so, it is with much pleasure that I comply with his wishes and dish up a track from what has been maybe the second most important band in my own life. Without Superchunk, I’d be a fraction of the poet I am, and way more boring too. So Paul, I’m glad you’re alive, and thanks for asking. “Misfits & Mistakes,” appropriately titled for both of us, I think, sounds like 1990 all over again, but instead of being the secret bonus track behind “Brand New Love,” it’s new. Leaves in the Gutter, an EP released this month, is the band’s first fresh spin since Paul was in 8th grade. So here you go; let me know what you think, and say hi to Laura for me.

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The Singing Saw

”Saws are tremendous pranksters, and the ruse of causing Human Beings to believe that they are actually playing them is perhaps the most beloved and persistent joke in Saw-kind’s long history.” That’s funny because when I think of saws, I usually think “sharp teeth” and “missing fingers.” Of course, I’ve never been intimately involved with a saw and, though I’ve heard melodies made from them, I believe this is the first time I’ve heard saws sing with no accompaniment. Julian Koster — he of The Music Tapes and Neutral Milk Hotel — coaxes from the saws a sound that is eerily placid. Yes, it’s shrill and not for everyone, but it’s quite lovely if you’re in a right merry frame of mind…and if you’re tired of the same-old holiday songs sung by pompous humans. The bewilderment comes roughly every three minutes or so as you realize, holy crap, you’re listening to an entire album of holiday standards played on a piece of actual hardware. But, as Koster notes, Jesus was a carpenter. Who knows—after a particularly stressful day of sermonizing and house framing, maybe the Son of God sat down with his saw, bow and a goblet of wine and conjured a soothing rendition of “Silent Night” to remind him of that fateful evening away in the manger.

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I’ve already written about how Mac has been my personal shrink. Portastatic’s got a double disc of demos, singles, B-sides and covers — Ryan Adams, Galaxie 500, etc. — coming out in a week. Some Small History: sign me up!

Some Small History [MP3, 6MB, 192kbps]

Original post: 01/17/06
Mac McCaughan — either with Superchunk or solo as Portastatic — pretty much got me through the 1990s, much to the annoyance of my friends and girlfriends. Yes, every song does sound the same, and no, I don’t care. “I Wanna Know Girls” is like unconditional love for me, a song that I’ve been waiting for, maybe without knowing it, for five years or more. ” I wanna know girls but only love one,” “and yeah my love weighs a ton.” (So do I, with the sympathy pounds I’ve added during my wife’s pregnancy, but that’s another story.) It’s nice to see Mac’s songwriting mature from last decade’s boozy lovesickness, and it’s also nice, for me at least, to hear that the songs do still sound the same.

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Conor Oberst

Merge Records has this up-and-comer named Conor Oberst. Have you heard of him? He’s been in all sorts of bands or something. Now he’s releasing a self-titled album, which would make you think that it’s just him and a guitar but really he has this group called the Mystic Valley Band, which is a trip because it’s talking about the valley in Mexico where the album was recorded when you would think, from listening to “Danny Callahan,” that it was recorded in a not-so-mystic valley closer to Oberst’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Much of the album has that same vibe: reflective roadhouse ballads with rousing instrumentation and lush lyricism. This Conor Oberst fella writes some decent songs. He might just have a future. You heard it here first.

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American Music Club

In 2001, while I was living in Mark Eitzel’s hometown of San Francisco, I saw him play at the Great American Music Hall as part of the annual Noise Pop Festival. Eitzel is notoriously passionate about his music and stories abound about his being brought to tears by the memory of the songs he sings while he’s playing them. On this night, however, the spirit was more a mix of frustration and contrition. He was trying out new material and just couldn’t seem to hit the right notes. Plus, he’d been preceded to the stage by Bright Eyes and he seemed self-conscious and intimidated by Connor Oberst’s raw yet nearly flawless performance. Eitzel is a consummate musician, and on that night it seemed apparent that the old adage applied and he just didn’t want to have to follow Oberst’s act. Which was too bad, because many times I’ve seen Eitzel, both solo and with American Music Club, play warm, intimate sets that command your attention like the glow of a single candle in darkness. Likewise, the songs that American Music Club have made since reforming almost four years ago after a decade-long break are certainly older, wiser and more refined. But they’re hardly workmanlike — Eitzel and crew are much less concerned about what we all think, and we think it’s all the better as a result.

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Oakley Hall

Zingerman’s is an Ann Arbor original, a foodie university of its own providing in-depth instruction on eating well and fully savoring the experience. Last week, on their Eat American road tour, my friends Cheech and Lisette toured the ZingEmpire (I tagged along too), and found both incredible hostpitality and the kind of quality food products that their trip is all about finding and highlighting and protecting. As we were working our way through some of chef Alex Young’s transcendental BBQ at Zingerman’s Roadhouse restaurant, I was thinking that 3hive should have been providing the soundtrack to our dining experience. We tend to be pretty committed to things that are obscure and high quality — most importantly, things that we like — a philosophy that pairs well with Zingerman’s approach to food.
With this in mind, here’s Oakley Hall, offering straight-up boy-girl Americana folk rock from Brooklyn. Listening through the tracks below will gove you a good sense of the band’s various sounds. “No Dreams,” off the forthcoming album I’ll Follow You, rocks out in a way that seems from a totally different world than the restrained sounds of “Living in Sin in the USA.” This diversity shows of instrumentation, vocal style (and vocalist), tempo, volume, and just about every musical aspect you can think of gives a welcome sense of freshness to Oakley Hall. Too bad the closest they’re coming to Detroit is Chicago.

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Shout Out Louds

It’s no surprise that Swedish bands hold a special place in our collective hearts here. So, like many of you who email us saying “I can’t believe you haven’t posted band xyz,” I can’t believe we haven’t posted the Shout Out Louds. Well, that’s not exactly true; we’re used to being late on the typical blogosphere darlings. It appears that the Shout Out Louds didn’t survive the Capitol/Virgin merger as Merge Records released this new EP and the new album in September. All the better since the new label facilitated pairings with The Essex Green, among others (The Russian Futurists and Kleerup provide dancefloor versions), for collaborations and remixes.

OK, so I tried really hard not to mention The Cure here, but that’s just impossible. “Tonight I Have to Leave It” owes several riffs and melodies to a twenty-two year old Cure song “In Between Days.” Moreover, vocalist Adam Olenius nails Smith’s stuttering affectation with military precision. Regardless, the song is plenty strong enough to stand on its own. But I also suspect that in the future it will stand as the epitome of the overwhelming tendency by this decade’s indie-bands to plunder and steal from Robert Smith. Not that there’s anything wrong with it…

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The Clientele

Tim O. and I went to see Ted Leo/Pharmacists last night, which was loud enough to blow out the new amp Ted bought earlier in the day, and so as ear therapy on the way home we listened to God Save The Clientele, due out next Tuesday. It’s so awesomely mellow, psychedelic and spacy that I’ve been using it at home in a similar manner, like when my 4-year old daughter repeatedly “sings” a joked-up version of the alphabet (X, T, G, R, B, V, J, J, J, etc.) at the top of her lungs. While the single “Bookshop Casanova” is fine, I’d drop a dollar on the whispers of “The Queen of Seville” or the Lawrence Welk-inspired “From Brighton Beach to Santa Monica” for a better feel for the new album, or for straightforward, drug-free headache relief.

Bookshop Casanova [MP3, 5.2MB, 192kbps]

Original post: 11/17/05
Hey, Clay! What’s up? Hey, how come you never posted The Clientele? This band seems right up your alley — hazy, dreamy British guitar pop about London and all that. I mean, just look at this song title: “St. Paul’s Beneath a Sinking Sky.” Isn’t that your thing? I guess if you didn’t post because The Clientele have only one free & legal MP3 available, and that song clocks in at less than two minutes long, well, that’s understandable. But they do have a new album out, and that’s as good a reason as any to post ’em. BTW, if you happen to be in Detroit this Sunday, let’s take Sam out for his birthday and catch The Clientele at the Magic Stick. Pas/Cal, a band you posted way back when, is opening. Greetings to the whole family! Love, Joe

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