What happens when Cassie Ramone (The Vivian Girls) and Kevin Morby (Woods) take a break from their acclaimed projects? They make Babies – and it’s a beautiful rosy cheeked love child of sound. Just after Valentines Day The Babies released their self titled full length on Shrimper, and since then it has been a favorite rotating on my turn table. The record flows from hit to hit with lo-fi catchy gems perfect for the coming summer. If you like garagey boy/girl vocals it will be hard to ween you off The Babies. It’s no surprise that opening track “Run Me Over” has been deemed an unofficial single of the album. The track starts slowly with a surfy guitar before breaking into a propelling garage rock jam, setting you up for a collection of nicely crafted pop tunes. Over all, The Babies sound is easy to digest and isn’t to be taken too serious. After all, the band was formed to be a fun side project and the songs have a timeless quality. “Breakin’ The Law” will make you flash back to the moments when you met your first partner in crime. Mid album Babies go on to channel the Velvet Underground in campfire sing-a-long “Voice Like Thunder” while “Meet Me In The City” showcases Morby’s raw vocal quality that is similar to a young (un-jaded) Frank Black. The tail end of the album is more artistic and jam oriented with tracks “Wild I” and “Wild 2” where Ramone and Morby each tell their own perspective of the demise of romance. “Caroline” serves as the perfect closer to the album, beginning with a drawn out instrumental where the guitar carries the melody until the buildup is too much to bear and the band explodes into one last hurrah of up tempo hollers and shouts. While the Babies was formed to be a fun side project for Ramone/Morby to return to simpler times and smaller audiences, this record is too hot to keep them cooped up for long.

SXSW 2011 Photo Recap

Phew! Finally life has gotten back to normal after my SXSW trip. here are some live photos I took of Agent Ribbons Dirty Beaches, The Dodos, and Social Studies.

RIP Kurt Cobain

wow, 17 years now
at least the memories are still burning…

One Nation Under Wild Flag

The heads of critics and fans alike imploded when it was announced that Wild Flag was being waved into existence. Everyone loves a super group; especially one full of some of the most talented women in indie rock history: Carrie Browstein (Sleater Kinney/Excuse 17), Mary Timony (Helium), Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney/Quasi), Rebecca Cole (The Minders).

Before the band had even played their first show, the hype was building over the Internet. Not even a demo had been leaked pointing to their musical direction, and the band had even laughed off the buildup stating that unbeknownst to their die hard fans they could be a polka band! Instead of giving into the pressure by throwing a lo-fi demo on the Internet, the ladies of Wild Flag decided to keep their audience in suspense as they crafted their sonic identity. Finally, the mystery was unveiled to the public when they set out on their first tour during the fall of 2010. Sold out shows to curious fans was the result. Still no recordings were available (except for online-aired bootleg video taken by fans at shows).

Flash forward to 2011: Merge Records releases Wild Flag’s debut 7” – available in advance on the band’s tour to SXSW, and to officially release to select record stores on Record Store Day. The record opens with “Glass Tambourine”, fronted by the charming Mary Timony, the former front woman of seminal shoegazey prog rock outfit, Helium. Years later, her low alto croon is mesmerizing as her sonic army supports her in a style reminiscent of the epic tunes she composed during Helium’s heyday. Each band member is allowed to shine in “Glass Tambourine” as it twists and turns through a proggy song structure. Janet’s calm backing vocals are matched with the fury of Carrie’s guitar solos layered underneath a space storm of otherworldly effects. “Future Crimes” boasts Carrie Brownstein’s spitfire vocal presence while showcasing her signature guitar talent. Rebecca Cole also hones down her skills on the keys with an extremely catchy arpeggio while Janet Weiss keeps the beat steady and sweet with complementary backing vocals. It is a pop song that is easy to follow, yet channels the live energy the four women have possessed like magic.

Since their first shows in the Northwest, Wild Flag has polished out their sound and have proven their ability to be more than just a short lived – yet rad – side project. Their live shows are growing in numbers and musical intensity, sure to win over veteran fans and newbies alike. More importantly, they continue the legacies they have earned as individuals in the past with a fresh new sound that is bound to start a revolution for generations of young lady rockers united under Wild Flag.

MUSIC VIDEO MONDAY: Sinead O’Connor covers Nirvana

Sinead O’Connor’s haunting cover of Nirvana’s classic, “All Apologies”

The Dodos just broke out their 4th album, No Colors a couple weeks ago and are taking the show to the road! This is one of my fav tracks so far from the album.