Category Archives: Alternative

RA RA RIOT – THE ORCHARD (Indie/Rock – US)

Ra Ra Riot

Two years after their critically acclaimed debut album, The Rhum Limb, Ra Ra Riot released its follow up, The Orchard, on August 23. This young indie rock band, which was formed in Syracuse (New York) in 2006, was part of the buzz that through other New York-based such as Vampire Weekend in the spotlight. However, unlike Vampire Weekend, Ra Ra Riot’s move from the underground music scene to a major label’s roster was not as swift, partly due to the death of their drummer John Pike in June 2007. This tragic incident led the band to delay the release of their debut, which finally hit the stores in 2008.

Gabriel Duquette, the drummer that stepped in after John Pike’s untimely death, is now full-time with the band. Other members are Wes Miles (vocals, keys), Milo Bonacci (guitar), Matthieu Santos (bass), Alexandra Lawn (cello, vocals, keys) and Rebecca Zeller (violin).

Ra Ra Riot - A Manner To Act (RAC Remix)     

Ra Ra Riot - Can You Tell (The Kids Are Radioactive Remix)     

Ra Ra Riot’s sophomore album, The Orchard, was released last month to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Their sound has gotten more mature and the band seems to have developed a sensitivity that is all too rare in most indie rock bands. The arrangements are rich and sophisticated, giving the songs plenty of room to explore the melancholy that is present through the entire record, but without sinking into gloom.

If you like the remixes above, get another great RAC Remix of Ra Ra Riot’s single “Boy” over at RCRD LBL. For more info and tour dates, you can check out the band’s page on MySpace. To buy the album, go to Ra

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saturday nite with… THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP

The Phenomenal Handclap Band is a tight-knit aggregation of musicians and artists from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. At the center of it there are two talented musicians: Daniel Collás and Sean Marquand, who, after years of searching and contemplation, through live performance and the manipulation of recorded music, have finally succeeded in realising their singular musical vision. They have gathered around them talented musicians such as Patrick Wood, Nicholas Movshon, Luke O’Malley, Laura Marin, Quinn Luke, and Joan Tick, enhanced by the remarkable talents of Aurelio Valle, Carol C, Jaleel Bunton, Bart Davenport, Jon Spencer, and Lady Tigra, among carefully chosen others.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band - Tears     

Together they have crafted a sound that is equal parts anthemic, dancefloor-oriented and orchestral, borrowing elements from progressive rock, disco, electro, and psychedelia.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band started when Collás and Marquand, two New York underground club DJs, became restless with the concept of playing other people’s music. Both had also been involved in the thriving nightlife scene and had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of esoteric music ranging from Brazilian soul to vintage psych-rock. As a band The Phenomenal Handclap have put together a stunning debut album which is the harmonious culmination of their diverse musical backgrounds.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band - Baby (Clock Opera Remix)     
[more on Clock Opera HERE]

The Phenomenla Handclap Band - 15 To 20 (David E Sugar Replay Remix)     

For more info, check out the band’s page on MySpace. You can buy their debut album on The

TUNE YARDS @ PANTIERO FESTIVAL

tUnE-yArDs is the moniker of American multi-instrumentalist Merrill Garbus. Her first full length as tUnE-yArDs, Bird Brains, was released in August 2009 on British independent record label 4AD. Before working solo, she was part of the band a Sister Suvi.

Last night in Cannes, Merrill walked on stage bare foot and ready to give it all! First there was this amazing voice, enhanced by African-influenced drums, bass and ukulele. Then there was Merrill’s natural ease on stage, her instant bond with the audience and her warmth. Song after song the atmosphere got more intimate and we got acquainted with an artist whose positive attitude is incredibly contagious.

tUnE-yArDs - Fiya     

tUnE-yArDs’ do-it-yourself approach to music, which was the motto of the self-recorded and self-produced debut Bird-Brains, works like a charm on stage. It seems like the songs on the album find their true meaning during this performance, as if their existence on a physical record was too limiting for them and they needed to be played out in the open to really shine. It may be due to Merrill’s experience of living in different places (Kenya and Quebec) or maybe just her personality, but all through the performance there is a clear impulse to share and open up, to communicate and create a real dialogue with the audience. As a matter of fact, the singer repeatedly addressed the audience in French

tUnE-yArDs - Synonynonym     

tUnE-yArDs’ debut album Bird-Brains is availabe worldwide since November on 4AD and you can buy it on Tune-Yards. It was first released as a limited edition vinyl and cassette in June 2009 via the Portland-based imprint Marriage Records. It was then remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Christian Wright and the new version includes two bonus tracks: “Want Me To” and “Real Live Flesh.”

Show tUnE-yArDs some love on MySpace.

LOCAL NATIVES @ PANTIERO FESTIVAL

For the opening night of the Pantiero Music Festival, headliners Local Natives were scheduled to perform at 9PM and well before the concert tension was already building amongst the crowd,  waiting in anticipation to see the five Californian wunderkinds perform their magic on stage…

The band fulfilled all of their fans’ wildest expectations!  Performing under a hazy blue light, the no-front-man band proved how well they work together, always balancing stage presence and creating a perfect alchemy that transpired into their music and subtle vocal harmonies…

Local Natives - Sun Hands (RussianAdults Remix)     

– So there’s no leader?

It’s very democratic… Some tensions sometimes but it’s good… Obviously we share similar tastes.

You used to live in a house together?

We did. We all moved out of the house cause we move around so much, it doesn’t even make sense to have a house really.. We’re just never home. We’re homeless in a way… We’ve been on tour for a year, with little breaks every few months.

– And during your breaks do you write new songs?

The breaks aren’t long enough, they’re just maybe a few days off to hang out with our girlfriends or family, catch our breath…

– You still find time to write during the tour? Or will take a break after the tour to make new music?

When we write, we write very collaboratively and collectively and so we’ve had some time to write in an individual sense but we won’t really get to dive in the songs until we’re done touring. And we’ll probably tour till the end of this year and so after that we’ll take a big break so we can spend a lot of time to write.

– Are you tired of touring?

No!! Everything has been kind of a new experience for us and it’s been exciting to play for different audiences. We just played in Japan for the first time and it was just insane, it was really cool. I think it’s still exciting for us.

Continue reading LOCAL NATIVES @ PANTIERO FESTIVAL

MARTINA TOPLEY BIRD – SOME PLACE SIMPLE (Alternative/Indie/Pop – UK)

British vocalist Martina Topley Bird, best for her work with trip-hop legend Tricky, recently released her third solo effort, Some Place Simple, on Damian Alban’s label Honest Jon.

On this album, the artist actually revisits songs from her previous two albums, Quixotic and The Blue God (which was produced by Danger Mouse). The idea to record new versions of some of her songs actually came about after Damon Albarn  (Gorillaz frontman) encouraged her to strip the songs naked and get back to the simplicity of vocal melody and drums.

Martina Topley Bird - Poison     

“Poison” is a good example of this less-is-more approach: Topley Bird’s gospel-inspired vocals, African drums and tambourine, full stop. The result is a song that is simple and straightforward  but also warm and disarmingly honest. As with many other tracks on the album, the subtle arrangements and soulful vocals work like a charm, turning this album into the artist’s most distinctive and imaginative record so far. Not content with this wholly stunning reinvention of her previous tracks, Martina Topley Bird also recorded four new songs for the album: “Orchids”, “All Day”, “Kiss kiss kiss” and “Harpsichord Kiss”.

As a bonus, here’s a disco-friendly remix of “Poison”. Produced by Australian hip electro outfit Van She, it’s synth-laden, heavy bass ode to the dancefloor…

Martina Topley Bird - Poison (Van She Tech Remix)     

Drop by Martina Topley Bird’s MySpace for more info and music. Buy the new album on Some

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