Patrolling The Heights

Patrolling The Heights

Marvins Revolt bears uncanny resemblance to Winnipeg’s kings of sloppy punk-influenced pop – The Paperbacks.   I can’t stop thinking that Doug McLean would really love this album.  But what attracted me to this band is the not-as-contrasting-as-one-might-think references of early REM and Manic Street Preachers before Richey Edwards’ unfortunate disappearance.  Earthy melodies and jangling guitars, presented with honesty and exuberance.  Yelping vocals set against strong guitar melodies and playful rhythms.

There is an infectious and unabated obsession with life that reminds me of the Rheostatics .  Like all these far-flung and unlikely reference points, Marvins Revolt places strong value on personal politics – the experiences of individuals in a world that doesn’t quite meet their standards or expectations.  This album is intensely political, but never preachy – instead choosing to personalize the effects of the global economy and nationalism.

“Make no mistake, because we won’t accept it.”

“We woke up with eyes shut.”

“Nothing we can say sets the whole world free.”

“Take a wild guess what went wrong here.”

Marvins Revolt is a Danish band, relatively unheard here in Canada.  I stumbled onto them through the Play/Rec label while following Greg MacPherson’s trail.  Patrolling The Heights is their third album.  Only question: who was Marvin, and what did he revolt against?

(ps: The louder you turn it up, the better it gets.)

(pps: To the Danes reading this blog and concerned about whats going on at the Copenhagen Climate Conference.  I apologize for our Prime Minister.  He’s a total bummer.)

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Dan Mangan - Nice, Nice, Very Nice

Dan Mangan - Nice, Nice, Very Nice

Dan Mangan is nice.  And you know what they say about nice guys.  But if Verge has anything to say about it, Dan will be a household name very soon.

His new album Nice, Nice, Very Nice has been a slow burner.  At first his plaintive and very literal lyrics put me off, Dan’s delivery straight as an arrow.  But I’m getting used to it and getting into it.  I’ve come to appreciate the unflinching honesty and self-histories.  The directness.  I think we need more honesty in music right now.

There’s no pretense or bullshit.  Just a man, writing songs about the world he experiences.  This has been done a thousand times before, but these songs hold up, and the production holds up, and everything feels like a sign of good things to come.  I’m on my 4th time through the album, and find that I smile more and more with each listen.

The pulse of Road Regrets serves as a great invocation.  Robots lets down, but is quickly made up for with The Indie Queens Are Waiting – a duet with Veda Hille.  Veda’s bird-like voice contrasts Dan’s rustic intimacy perfectly.  Sold picks up where Road Regrets left off, frantic hand claps and all.  Fair Verona and Et Les Mots Croises highlight the middle of this album, with their effectual and ever-personal passages.  Set The Sails aches with the high hopes and sordid failures of Vancouver, personified and reflective.

Nice, Nice, Very Nice harkens back to the idealistic days of mid 90’s Canadian folk.   And it announces the arrival of a talented new troubadour onto our national scene.

Savath & Savalas - La Llama

Savath & Savalas - La Llama

Classic breathy Spanish melodies set against glitches and keyboard bleeps, argeggiators, and found sounds. Also dubbed Catalin acid-folk. Seems appropriate. For the uninitiated, its like crossing the Gilberto family (Astrud, Bebel, et al) with DNTEL.

La Llama is the most complex Savath & Savalas album yet. As the previous, they are inspired by the psychedelic music scene that flourished in Recife, Brazil during the 1970’s. This album lacks the organic immediacy of Apropa’t (one of my favorite albums ever), but provides a deeper headphone listen. And it more elaborately deconstucts its folk inspirations, devolving into noise and broken melody courtesy of producer/guiding light Guillermo Scott Herren (aka Prefuse 73).

On this fourth Savath album, Prefuse 73 is re-joined by singer Eva Puyuelo Muns – the voice of Apropa’t. Rounding out the lineup is multi-instrumentalist Roberto Carlos Lange, replacing Chicago indie luminary John McEntire.  Artwork by the great Jeff Jank, Stones Throw Records’ longstanding design wiz.

OFH

OFH

Oldfolks Home is releasing a new single every week in December.  And they’re free!  Crazy.  Download ’em from Myspace or Facebook.

Christmas sucks.  Except for this.

Go get ’em.