Formed in Winnipeg as a between-sets jam session, indie-rock group Imaginary Cities is releasing its second album, Fall of Romance, May 28 on Votiv. The group, which includes Rusty Matyas (The Waking Eyes, The Weakerthans), has a laid-back, cinematic feel that suits singer Marti Sarbit, who sounds comfortable whether performing balladry or a cabaret-style lament.
Every Thursday, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.
Secret Cities: “Love Crime”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/WV87.LUV_.CR1ME.mp3|titles=Secret Cities: “Love Crime”]
The economic landscape is a desolate, lonely terrain these days. Throughout the country, there have been bailouts, bankruptcies, bank failures, and business closings. There is, however, always a bright side to things. Thanks (oddly enough) to the down economy, Fargo, North Dakota-based trio Secret Cities was able to craft a gem of a record with this year’s Strange Hearts.
With a seemingly firm resolution to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, the band occupied the basement of a recently abandoned bank in Kansas City, Missouri, to record its follow-up record. Serving as the band’s makeshift studio, the deserted space (equipped with bulletproof glass and a gigantic vacant vault) helped the members — Charlie Gokey, Marie Parker, and Alex Abnos — to hone in on their creativity, focus their efforts, and play to their many musical strengths.
Tapes ‘n Tapes: “Freak Out”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Tapes-n-Tapes-Freak-Out.mp3|titles=Tapes ‘n Tapes: “Freak Out”]
It wasn’t too long ago when Tapes ‘n Tapes was indie rock’s next big thing. And there certainly was reason for the hype. The Minneapolis-based quartet’s 2006 effort, The Loon, is chock-full of raw pop hooks and a DIY sensibility that has often propelled forward the best that the genre has to offer.
And back in 2006, Tapes ‘n Tapes certainly seemed destined to become one of the elite. When the everyday no-namers decided to self-release a bad-ass concoction of Pixies-style rock songs that were just as upbeat and catchy as they were introspective and self-exploratory, something new and refreshing was at hand. The band came out of nowhere, really, garnering a buzz that thrust it onto a major label, and it was crowned as indie’s great new hope.
Then, like many heavily hyped bands, Tapes ‘n Tapes fell victim to the dreaded sophomore slump. Its first effort on a major label, Walk It Off, in 2008, fell short of reviving the youth and vivacity that dripped from every track on The Loon. Gone were the rough edges and hook-laden pop songs; instead, the album featured a collection of songs that seemed intent on missing the mark. Aside from the album’s standout track “Hang ’Em All,” Walk It Off seemed unable to capture what The Loon did.
It lacked that same freshness, that same energy that the band was somehow able to bottle on its first album. The band no longer offered its sparse yet frenzied melodies that helped each song gleam. Each song purged on gluttonous arrangements and instruments, an indulgent examination of what the band should have done with a major-label budget. And so Tapes ‘n Tapes became another victim of hype — so much promise, but so much pressure. And it fell to the wayside, for better or worse.
Running from August 7-9 in Chicago’s Grant Park, one of the world’s biggest summer festivals is back, including headlining performances by Tool, Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, Jane’s Addiction, The Killers, and Kings of Leon. Check out the rest of the massive lineup below.
Announcements are made for new albums from Irepress, Karl Sanders, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Staff Benda Bilili — a group of paraplegic Congolese street musicians.
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey releases its new studio album for free; Secret Chiefs 3 announces a concert DVD; Les Claypool announces an outstanding mini festival that will be in a town near you. This and more after the jump.
Drone, Drugs, and Harmony, the self-released debut by Kanas City, Missouri’s I Love You is unlikely to inspire the (unwarranted) hand-wringing, post-colonial guilt in which critics indulged over Vampire Weekend this last year, but both groups are equally indebted to past masters of African pop.