Pop Addict: Hospitality’s Hospitality

Every other Thursday, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.

Hospitality: HospitalityHospitality: Hospitality (Merge, 1/31/12)

Hospitality: “Friends of Friends”

[audio:|titles=Hospitality: “Friends Of Friends”]

When Brooklyn’s Hospitality surfaced in 2008 with a six-song EP produced by Karl Blau, there was, naturally, immediate blogosphere buzz surrounding the band. Its poppy, minimalist sensibility catered to the indie-pop avenues it was exploring. The songs were spirited, displaying immense capability and promise. With that potential and talent came a signing to Merge Records and the band’s proper debut LP (produced by Shane Stoneback), which revives several songs from the EP while adding a few more, just for good measure.

From the moment that the album starts, there is something very warm and welcoming about the arrangement and composition. Album opener “Eighth Avenue” starts with acoustic strumming and persistent, steady drumming, immediately calling to mind early Belle and Sebastian work. The song builds gradually, integrating keyboards, harmonies, feedback, and percussive ornamentation, but it never strays far from its sunny-day feel. It is a laid-back indie-pop treasure that is sure to give first-time listeners a reason to give the rest of the album a chance. And once that happens, you’re roped in for the duration of the record.

The Dears

Pop Addict: The Dears’ Degeneration Street

Every Thursday, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.

The Dears: Degeneration StreetThe Dears: Degeneration Street (Dangerbird, 2/15/11)

The Dears: “Blood”

[audio:|titles=The Dears: “Blood”]

Following its 2006 tour in support of Gang of Losers, the existence of Montreal indie-rock band The Dears was questionable at best.  A relentless touring and recording schedule fueled tensions within the band, and, despite its success in Canada and abroad, it fractured.

However, lead vocalist and songwriter Murray Lightburn and keyboardist Natalia Yanchak pushed forward, recording the stripped-down Missiles in 2008.  Now it looks to stabilize a relatively rocky period in its 15-year history with its new album, Degeneration Street.

The Dears’ fifth album, Degeneration Street is a reunion of sorts. Guitarists Patrick Krief and Robert Benvie, who departed following the Gang of Losers tour, have returned, as has early-era bassist, Roberto Arquilla. With newcomer Jeff Luciani on drums, this is arguably its most stable lineup in years.

Kingbee Records

Behind the Counter: Kingbee Records (Manchester, UK)

Kingbee Records in Manchester, England has been around since 1987 and is now one of the last remaining independent record shops in northwest England.

The shop attracts a diverse clientele, and its ability to draw business from collectors and dealers around the world has fueled its success. Though its strengths are numerous, Kingbee is unparalleled in its selection of Northern soul vinyl. We spoke with Les Hare, Kingbee’s owner, and got the lowdown on this music mecca.

Mike holds Kid Canaveral's Shouting At Wildlife
Mike holds Kid Canaveral's Shouting At Wildlife

What was your motivation for starting a music store? / What is your background in music?

Always was a big record collector, then [I] started doing record fairs with my spares, and it kinda carried on from there. I have also deejayed off and on since 1971.

How has Kingbee survived the digital boom?

By having a loyal customer base both locally and across the country. We also get record dealers from Japan regularly visiting to replenish their shop stock. Sales from our website help, but mostly it’s the large amount of stock that we turn over in the shop.