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The Morning Benders tour with Broken Bells and The Black Keys

The Morning Benders are following up their recent US tour with more touring. Since the release of their sophomore album Big Echo in early March, they have been on the road non-stop headlining in several US cities. Beginning May 18th, they can be playing to sold out audiences in the US and Canada with Broken Bells and in July and August with The Black Keys. Additionally, Rough Trade Records will be introducing Big Echo in late June to audiences in the UK, Europe and Australia just in time to help promote, you guessed it, a European tour in the fall. Pack light fellas.

-Nicole Leigh

   

Album Review - Man/Miracle: The Shape of Things

Man/Miracle’s debut album The Shape of Things sold out of its first pressing rather quickly when it was originally self-released by the band towards the end of 2009. Now The Shape of Things has received a proper release thanks to the Bay Area label, Third Culture Records.

The Shape of Things has an admirable diversity, the 10 songs vary enough to all sound unique without sounding like 10 different bands. The four members that make up Oakland’s Man/Miracle are somehow able to shift the energy and intensity of their songs effortlessly, drawing you in for the quiet moments only to explode into an engrossing rhythm moments later. Songs like “Above the Salon” and “Pushing and Shoving” lean on the dancier side of indie rock, while songs like “Up” and “Back of the Card” mix afro pop and Talking Heads into some weird and catchy fun. Not to make The Shape of Things sound too light, there are definitely times when this record gets intense, aggressive, and even dark.

Lead singer, Dylan Travis, heads the diverse musical landscape with a strong and intriguing voice. His vocals can be rather easy going in the more straightforward moments of the record, but once the music intensifies his voice surges with energy, adding a haunting and enthralling narrative to the songs.

There is definitely a substantial afro and David Byrne style pop influence to this record, something that has become popular recently in the indie rock world (i.e. Vampire Weekend). However, Man/Miracle definitely makes it their own, bringing a healthy amount of dirt, grit, and raw energy to the mix. A talented group of musicians and an impressive debut album!

The Shape of Things is out now on Third Culture Records. Man/Miracle just finished up a tour with Rogue Wave and play Milk Bar on May 20th.

-Glenn Jackson

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Live Review: Spiro Agnew, Sirly, The Stormtroopers @ Kimo's 4/28

There was a three-band show last Wednesday at Kimos, though the word didn't get out very well -- they played to an audience of about ten, and I'm including the mascaraed door guy.

An evening of two-piece bands, the first was synth-and-guitar duo Spiro Agnew, my favorite act of the evening (and the band that brought at least eight of the ten folks in attendance). Layered on top of an upbeat drum machine (running off a lap-top) were vocals that ranged from despondent to angsty, accompanied by distorted, droning guitar and synthetic tones and chimes throughout. Lyrically, Spiro Agnew eschews a distaste for modern culture and sympathy for the helpless individual trapped within.

Take their song "Desert of the Real," named after the most famous line in Simulacra and Simulation, a philosophical treatise by Jean Baudrillard. In a nutshell, Baudrillard claims that human society is a simulation of reality, not reality itself. That's the kind of angst that drips from Spiro Agnew, a beat you can dance to but lyrics that make you feel lonely (e.g. "there's something dead inside me, but I know it's alright") and dissonant chords and keys that make you feel lost. I can really get behind pretentious music like that, and so I had a blast. You should check them out for yourself on June 16th, again at Kimos.

Sirly took the stage next; one musician handled the vocals and guitar, and the other had the drums. There were huge differences in the styles of the two band members - the drummer was laying down incredible and complex jazz beats while the guitarist/vocalist was mired in a simpler indie-rock jam vibe. When those two styles came together it worked out really well, but they didn't come together in every song. Occasionally the singing and guitar became a distraction from the consistently amazing drumming, but all-in-all Sirly was a compelling fusion of styles that you don't hear together all that often, offering a sound that has a lot of potential for further development.

The Stormtroopers came last in the line-up, and they were hands-down the hardest to take seriously. The bassist and singer had on white long-johns, and both he and his drummer sported cardboard masks painted to look like certain culturally relevant bleached imperial foot soldiers - a subtle choice. I can't imagine how long it took them to come up with a name.

Indistinguishable yelping vocals, competent drumming, the occasional interesting bass line, and a whole lot of energy was what The Stormtroopers had to offer. Their music was loud and rough and seemed at odds with their I'm-trying-really-hard-to-look-silly vibe. if the crowd was much, much bigger I might have been able to get around their costumes and jump around with some smelly head-bangers, but as it was I just giggled at them for a few songs, finished my beer, and jumped on the 49 to head home.

 

-Words Kyle Wheat

Photos Desiree Mervau

   

The Deli SF's Weekend Highlights For 5/7-5/8

With another relatively sparse weekend ahead, looks as though we're settling nicely into the city's summer musical slow down. Irregardless there are still a few shows worth checking out on the horizon.

This Friday the 7th, head to the Hemlock for the oddly compelling indie rock sounds of Control-R who will be sharing the stage with Victory and Associates and Here Come the Saviours, 9pm.

If you're out in the East Bay on Saturday head over to Berkeley to catch Stomacher playing at Blakes on Telegraph, 8pm.

Of course, if Berkeley is too far for you (or too full of hippies as it is for me) then you could always head over to Thee Parkside on Saturday for the most adorable band in all the land (... of indie pop) The Ian Fayes. They'll be playing with Ash Reiter and The Dead Westerns, 9pm.

 

-Ada Lann

   

Remixes: railcars "Castles" and More

Checking in with with the current activities of the railcars, it would seem Aria has been something of a busy little bee. While working on his cover of the Kate Bush album Hounds of Love he has also been getting a little remix-happy, having recently yet another to follow the one we reported on not to long ago. This particular one is a remix of Seamonster's track "Oh Appalachia."

In addition to this remix by railcars, more remixes of the railcars' song "Castles" have been surfacing. Both are from the free remix album we posted about recently that will be featuring Xiu Xiu, White Rainbow, Truman Peyote, and others. The first is done by No Age and the second by Jeans Wilder, who evidently has a split release with Best Coast (who played this years Noise Pop) that is apparently rumored to be aces. Check out all three tracks bellow.

 

-Ada Lann

 

 railcars remix of "Oh Appalachia"

 

No Age remix of "Castles"

 

Jeans Wilder's remix of "Castles"