Monday, December 14, 2009

US/THEM group year-end recap -- with media links

It's that time of year again, when everyone's making their lists of which artists have been naughty or nice. Submitted for your consideration, here's a rundown of releases we've handled at US/THEM group this year. It's been an incredible time since our launch in May 2009, and next year is already lining up to be equally impressive.

Below are this year's releases, with media links. Please get in touch if you missed out on any of these.

06/09 - Post Honeymoon - Post Honeymoon

07/21 - RX Bandits - Mandala

08/18 - Cast Spells - Bright Works and Baton

08/25 - Bygones - by-

08/25 - Zechs Marquise - Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare

10/06 - The Happy Hollows - Spells

10/13 - Yoga - Megafauna

11/10 - Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Xenophanes

11/10 - Mr. Gnome - Heave Yer Skeleton

12/01 - Good Old War/Cast Spells - Split EP

Post Honeymoon - Post Honeymoon (Two Thumbs Down)

The newlywed band of vocalist/keyboardist Rachel Shindelman and drummer/bassist/vocalist Nick Kraska had originally played together in popular synth-punk outfits Bang! Bang! (Morphius Records) and New Black (Thick/Southern). Following the demise of their former bands and their ensuing marriage, Nick and Rachel formed Post Honeymoon and began winning over Windy City audiences with their stripped-down and dark, churning rock.

Post Honeymoon "Night Guard" (MP3)

Post Honeymoon "First World Problems" (MP3)

RX Bandits - Mandala (Sargent House)

Southern California's multifaceted prog-psych-rock quartet's latest album is the culmination of a decade-long musical transformation. With this recording, RX Bandits have truly struck the essence of their merging of genres into a complete and masterfully detailed mosaic.

RX Bandits "My Lonesome Only Friend" (MP3) (VIDEO - Live on Fuel TV)

Cast Spells - Bright Works and Baton (Sargent House)

The solo debut EP from Maps & Atlases frontman Dave Davison is a lush and intimate affair that swaps the mathy structures of his other band. This 6-song release showcases much of Davison's talents as a pop songwriter as well as a guitar virtuoso.

Cast Spells Full EP stream

Bygones - by- (Sargent House)

A sinewy, wired mass of riffs and shifting rhythms in a collaboration between drummer Zach Hill (Hella, et al.) and guitarist Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos). The duo fits more riffs and ideas into one song than most bands put on an entire album.

Bygones "Click On That (Smash The Plastic Death) (MP3)

Zechs Marquise - Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare (Rodriguez Lopez Productions)

The Mars Volta sibling band featuring TMV multi-instrumentalist Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez and bassist Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez shares that band's penchant for expansive passages. However, Zechs Marquise takes a hazier, psych-laden approach to its songs, as evident on its 15-track debut album Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare released via Rodriguez Lopez Productions.

Zechs Marquise "Chase Scene" (MP3)

Zechs Marquise "Sirenum Scopuli" (MP3)

The Happy Hollows - Spells (self-released)

Darlings of the L.A. underground, The Happy Hollows are quickly become one of the most celebrated indie rock bands in existence. Their debut album, Spells has already landed on many best of the year lists and the trio's sold out shows prove that this is a major band to watch in 2010. Vocalist/guitarist Sarah Negahdari is wildly charismatic and talented and the rhythm section's agile musicianship continues to put all who encounter the Happy Hollows under their spell.

The Happy Hollows "Faces" (MP3)

The Happy Hollows "High Wire" (MP3)

Yoga - Megafauna (Holy Mountain)

Sweden's mysterious group Yoga has been called a Black Metal version of Throbbing Gristle. The heavy, nightmarish acid-flashback sound of its debut album Megafauna released just in time for Halloween, proving a perfect soundtrack for dark horror. The album was released on the intrepid tastemaker label, Holy Mountain (Wooden Shjips, OM, Six Organs of Admittance).

Yoga "Seventh Mind" (M3U)

Yoga "Encante" (M3U)

Yoga "Fourth Eye" (M3U)

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Xenophanes (Rodriguez Lopez Productions)

Renown guitarist and musical mastermind Omar Rodriguez Lopez makes his debut as lead vocalist on his most melodic and revealing album to date. Xenophanes takes bold steps for the Grammy-winning guitar legend -- and we don't use the word "legend" lightly, Rolling Stone hails him among their "Greatest Guitarists of All Time." The hyper-prolific musician takes many bold steps with this album indicating just how much more greatness is yet to come.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez "Mundo De Ciegos" (MP3) (VIDEO)

Mr. Gnome - Heave Yer Skeleton (El Marko Records)

Cleveland duo holed up at Josh Homme's Pink Duck Studios to record and Butch Vig's Smart Studios to mix their masterpiece sophomore album, Heave Yer Skeleton. The soulful, feminine power of vocalist/guitarist Nicole Barille garners comparisons to both Chan Marshall and Karen O, whereas the dynamic drumming and piano playing of Sam Meister add dashes Death From Above 1979 and Blonde Redhead.

Mr. Gnome "Slow Side" (MP3)

Mr. Gnome "Spain" (VIDEO)

Mr. Gnome "Vampires" (MP3)

Good Old War/Cast Spells - Split EP (Sargent House)

The soaring harmonies of Good Old War won over countless fans following the trio's Sargent House debut album, Only Way to Be Alone in 2008. While touring nearly constantly in 2009, Good Old War managed to record two new tracks for this EP released in support of the band's tour with Cast Spells. Dave Davison's solo endeavor Cast Spells also contributes 2 new songs for this brilliantly paired release.

Good Old War "Texas Blues" (MP3)

Cast Spells "All Brass" (MP3)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pitchfork premieres Fang Island video for "Daisy"

December 8th, 2009

Pitchfork premieres Fang Island video by upstart director Carlos Charlie Perez

"If this is the arena rock of the future, send me an invite, okay?" -- Pitchfork

"A triumphant, heavily riffed, primarily instrumental epic, whiplashing through six minutes of smiling prog jams, and as many tempos as passages, before settling into one last minute of uplifting chants." -- Stereogum

"Life-affirming prog guitar anthems." – Seattle Stranger

Pitchfork premieres the new Fang Island video today, directed by Carlos Charlie Perez (Li'l Wayne, Vampire Weekend.) The clip for the song "Daisy" is culled from the band's forthcoming Sargent House album and is a single-take shoot featuring fake presidents and gym geeks in what might best be called surrealist choreography. Watch it HERE.

Fang Island describes its sound as "everyone high-fiving everyone." And, the Brooklyn quintet's anthemic and soaring songs make it quite possibly one of few bands befitting such description. Check out MP3s for two new tracks, "Daisy" (MP3 HERE) and "Life Coach" (MP3 HERE).

Its finger-tapping guitar lines, chanted vocals, triumphant harmonies and overall perky songs hearken to the sort of "Total Music" of the Fucking Champs, Jay Reatard, Ponytail, Kraftwerk, Marnie Stern, Thin Lizzy, et al. But, perhaps more so, its songs are like the music in your head at that moment when everything feels just right: that first kiss, that high score on the video game, buying your first small nation in cash... you know, good stuff.

Nothing embodies the band's sense of optimism and enthusiasm better than this clip of Fang Island performing live for a classroom of kindergartners. Watch HERE.

Fang Island began, oddly enough, as an art school project while the band members were attending the prodigious Rhode Island School of Design (also the foundation for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Les Savy Fav, Lightning Bolt, Six Finger Satellite and some band called the Talking Heads.) According to guitarist Jason Bartell, the goal was to "make music for people who like music." That is, music without irony that harnesses its uplifting qualities. Just like a classic rock song or classical symphony can stir us emotionally, Fang Island exists to unlock that spirit.

Fang Island is guitarist Jason Bartell, bassist Philip Curcuru, guitarist Chris Georges, guitarist Nicholas Andrew Sadler, and drummer Marc St. Sauveur. They all share collective group vocal harmonies and the occasional hand claps. While Sadler is also known for his role in the debauched rock band Daughters, it is only his fretboard skill that translates between the two groups.

Fang Island begins appropriately with the sound of erupting fireworks on "Dreams of Dreams" leading into a cascading chorus of ringing guitar notes before the group vocal harmonies chime in with the mantra, "they all are within my reach, they are free." The second song, "Careful Crossers" launches in beneath the vocals with a chorus of gleaming guitar harmonies smeared over the marching, syncopated rhythm section. Elsewhere, tracks like "Sideswiper" hearken to the metal-laced positivity of Andrew WK. "Daisy" sounds like a unique collaboration between the Fucking Champs and Jay Reatard. Throughout the album, it's like listening to the cool version of classic rock -- the type of anthemic pop without the cheesiness -- that you wished Journey and Boston could've made.

Fang Island's debut album, Fang Island will be released February 23rd, 2010 via Sargent House.

Artist: Fang Island

Album: Fang Island

Label: Sargent House

Release Date: February 23, 2010

01. Dreams of Dreams

02. Careful Crossers

03. Daisy (MP3) (VIDEO)

04. Life Coach (MP3)

05. Sideswiper

06. The Illinois

07. Treeton

08. Davey Crockett

09. Welcome Wagon

10. Dorian

Hi-Res photos, cover art and bio:

On the Web:

Fang Island is available for interviews. For more information, please contact Dave Clifford at

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mysterious Italian group N.A.M.B. announces US debut of epic concept album praised by NME, European press


December 8th, 2009

Click image to watch video

Mysterious Italian group N.A.M.B. announces US debut of epic concept album praised by NME, European press

"Think Muse are bonkers? Well get your listening gear around NAMB. The quartet's nearest reference point is Nine Inch Nails, relentless beats and demonic riffs forming the backbone of the 18 tracks here. But they're more playful than Reznor and their dabblings make for intriguing listening." -- NME

"BMAN is, as a record, a bit of an onion, sonically speaking; full of layers and textures and shapes and such. Comparable, perhaps, to Flaming Lips but with a Sonic Youth-esque twinge and even moments of Modest Mouse like quirkiness. Ignoring the comparisons and focusing on what really matters – this is a really good, interesting and diverse record. A lot of tiny things remind me of a lot of people, but N.A.M.B have certainly brought the influences and individuality together incredibly cohesively. This is definitely one to remember. 4/5." -- Subba Cultcha

Amid a wealth of praise overseas, the mysterious Italian quartet N.A.M.B. announces the stateside release of its second album, BMAN in February 2010. The album will be issued via UK label Monotreme Records (65Daysofstatic, Thee More Shallows) in a deluxe package with a 96-page full-color booklet illustrating an epic tale of an otherworldly robot and his quest for self-identity. A teaser clip for the first video, "Radiorace", depicting the album's animated protagonist, BMAN can be seen HERE.

N.A.M.B.'s heavy-leaning, electronic psychedelic sound elicits comparisons to the Flaming Lips, Muse, Girls Against Boys, et al. Check out the MP3 for "L.O.N." (HERE). Stream the album HERE.

N.A.M.B. is a band from Turin, Italy. Ask them what the initials stand for, and you will probably get a different answer every time. Visit their MySpace page one day, and you might see the caption “Nascere Artisti Morire Buffoni” (“Born Artists, Die Clowns”), but the following day it could be something entirely different, like “Neuroni Annoiati Masticano Boiate” (“Bothered Neurons Chew Rubbish”)

One thing we do know for certain: their second album, BMAN, is a magnificent sonic adventure, with a psychedelic flair reminiscent of The Flaming Lips, dynamics and industrial elements รก la Nine Inch Nails, massive stadium-friendly tunes and, beating underneath it all, a big heart of soulful pop.

N.A.M.B.’s self-titled debut album Mescal was released in 2005 in Italy. The album was mostly sung in Italian, and won the band a good following in Italy, where they shared stages with international touring bands including Fantomas, Blonde Redhead, Michael Franti, Spoon and Chikinki.

In November 2006, work began on their sophomore album, BMAN -- an ambitious, multi-layered odyssey about a little robot called BMAN. For this album, the lyrics were written mostly in English. The album was produced by N.A.M.B in their own Superbudda studio, and mastered in London, UK by Bunt Stafford Clark (Thom Yorke, Graham Coxon, Elbow, Placebo, Jesus and Mary Chain). Accompanying the CD album is a 96-page booklet of original drawings by Maq4ka, illustrating the story of BMAN, with additional drawings by Gabriele Ottino.

While BMAN is equally enjoyable as an album, the story line is integral to fully appreciating this ambitious concept album. To read the story and lyrics of BMAN visit:

Artist: N.A.M.B.

Album: BMAN

Label: Monotreme Records

Release Date: February 23, 2010

01. T.C.3

02. Radiorace (VIDEO)

03. TV Invasion

04. Musichetta In Pausa Sigaretta

05. Champagne

06. Supernaturaloser (Part 1)

07. Running

08. L.O.N. (MP3)

09. Bye Bye Sides

10. Work It Out

11. Serrato

12. FWR

13. Primula

14. Hate My Telephone

15. Into the Mud

16. Supernaturaloser (Part 2)

17. F.A.R. (Fools Are Right)

18. Blue Sky

On the web:

Members of N.A.M.B. are available for interviews. For more information, please contact Dave Clifford at