Monday, April 4, 2011

New Music Monday - A Port in the Storm

It's funny how a little warm weather throws us into a whirlwind fever for more activity. There's something about Spring that somehow just injects a little more energy into us. I'm not above the feeling either. The weather warms up a little and all I want to do is sit outside in the sun, music blaring and a beer in my hand.

I don't know about you, but warm weather also has a certain celebratory soundtrack. The default cold weather tunes take an immediate back seat to more upbeat, festive songs that automatically fit my energetic mood. The sounds of cool weather seem to become temporarily less appealing, taking a back seat to different sounds. For example, I'm a big fan of Easy Star All Stars during the summer because they just seem to fit the weather.

If you're not familiar with this band, go check them out. They do an absolutely brilliant cover of “Karma Police.”

This week, I've got a bit of up tempo stuff from a band that is not, in any way, new to music. Their seventh studio album, yes SEVENTH, is due out June 11th on the Champagne, IL based label, Polyvinyl (who also provides homes for some great artists like Deerhoof and Owen) and 31 Knots is a perfect band with which you can usher in the warming temperatures you feel outside.

Formed in Chicago in 1997, the three piece, Joe Haege (guitar, vocals), Joe Pellicci (drums) and Jay Winebrenner (bass) relocated to Portland, OR and the rest is history.

I sat listening for awhile, just drawn into the playful nature of the songs. The rhythms are complex and Haege has a scattered, frantic style of guitar that reminds me very much of a band that they've played with before (and one of my favorites), Modest Mouse. But that's not the only comparison I would make.

If Modest Mouse got really drunk and grew hipster mustaches and somehow had a baby with some trendy girl called Vampire Weekend, THAT is what 31 Knots would really sound like. Songs like “Candles on Open Water” (below) and “A Lot Can Tell” really take hold on the Afro inspired beats that make Vampire Weekend seem like Paul Simon's wannabe little brother. 31 Knots, on the other hand, make the sound all their own, casting aside any trend riddled sounds for the fuller, more aggressive Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures) inspired heavy drinking guitars and rolling drums in the schizophrenic, “Love in the Mean of Heat.”

If this sounds remotely appealing, head on over to Polyvinyl and check them out. You can stream lots of stuff and even pre-order the upcoming album, or just buy previous releases, both of which I strongly encourage.  They've been a breath of fresh air for me over the last few days.


One more thing this week. I heard this band (who I later found out was just one guy) on some random website. I really don't know much about him and have yet to hear back from any of my inquiries, but I thought I'd share. Flashing Red Lights has a dreamy, atmospheric sound that just seems to float around you as you listen. Go get these two songs. They're free.  I'll keep my fingers crossed that I find out more info.  I really want to hear more of this guy's stuff.