18 Dec
2009

Filed under: , , ,


Motion City SoundtrackWith Motion City Soundtrack's new album, 'My Dinosaur Life,' coming in just a few weeks, frontman Justin Pierre has already picked his favorite track from the album: 'Her Words Destroyed My Planet.'

"It reminds me of something that might've come out in the early '90s. I like how sludgy it is, like the bastard son of a pop song," Pierre tells Spinner. "I feel this particular number is just an updated version of what we do: We make fun of ourselves while vomiting our insides out onto the shoes of anyone who will listen."

12 Nov
2009

Filed under: , , ,


Jason BoeselA couple years ago, when Jason Boesel was in Mexico recording tracks with Conor Oberst for what would become the album 'Conor Oberst,' he wore a necklace that bore a hand-shaped pendant. "I started calling it the 'Hand of God' and assigning it magical powers in my mind" Boesel tells Spinner. "I would get nervous if I couldn't find it, [that] sort of thing."

Back then, Boesel was in his familiar role of drummer, banging out rhythms for Oberst (both in Bright Eyes and the Mystic Valley Band), Rilo Kiley, the Elected and others. But, encouraged by Oberst and friends, Boesel began to write his own songs on guitar, including one called 'Hand of God,' which he penned during a trip to Asheville, N.C. earlier this year. "It's about a false sense of protection," he says. "Blaming outside forces, or other things, or situations one gets into."

11 Nov
2009

Filed under: , , ,


Jerry GarciaAlthough rock audiences are familiar with the Grateful Dead's 'Friend of the Devil,' guitarist/singer Jerry Garcia often explored different sides of the song in his various solo projects.

This version, taken from the new archival release 'Let it Rock: Jerry Garcia Band 1975,' is an unusually jazzy interpretation featuring keyboard embellishments from Nicky Hopkins, who was only a member of the Jerry Garcia Band during their inaugural tour. This initial incarnation is certainly lesser-known and lesser-heard -- even amongst obsessive collectors -- thus making this release a true treat for Deadheads.

11 Nov
2009

Filed under: , , ,


Eels Mark Oliver EverettWe get a lot of writing contributions from artists here at Spinner, but few are as unique as the ones from Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, from Eels. After sharing 10 facts about his beard with us, the always-interesting artist sent over this blurb -- written in the third person, no less -- to preview his new song, 'Little Bird.' Check it out below.

After a four-year wait for the Eels' 'Hombre Lobo' album, the band returns with another new record just months later. The first taste from the new Eels album, 'Little Bird,' finds Eels leader Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, recording himself playing all the instruments in his Los Angeles basement studio.

23 Sep
2009

Filed under: , , ,


When they're not broken or too busy keeping the beat, our hearts have been known to sing us songs. Meaghan Smith has decided to return the compliment. "'Heartbroken' was inspired by the impossible heart that beats in my own chest," she tells Spinner. "After years of being romantically duped by the one thing that is supposed to be keeping me alive, I figured it was about time I write the darn thing its own song."

At the same time, and to her credit, Smith didn't want 'Heartbroken' to live up to any preconceived notions you might have of a song about a heart, written and sung by an acoustic singer-songwriter from Canada. If her cover of the Pixies' 'Here Comes Your Man' -- as featured in the film '500 Days of Summer' -- didn't prove it, Smith isn't exactly a traditionalist when it comes to folk music. In fact, her forthcoming album, 'The Cricket's Orchestra' (due Oct. 6) features Mellotron as well as a horn section. Oh, and Kid Koala plays turntables on a track alongside a string quartet.

22 Sep
2009

Filed under: , ,


To be perfectly blunt, the sound on 'The Sound' by Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is nothing less than the sound of fear, not to mention loathing. Aided and abetted by hipster royalty -- including Grizzly Bear's Chris Bear and TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone -- Robinson recorded an entire album's worth of autobiographical songs about the summer of 2007, the aptly-titled 'Summer of Fear.'

Robinson wrote this particular song, 'The Sound,' on Bear's Wurlitzer during one of the nights he crashed on Bear's couch that summer. "It was meant to be listened to in a well air-conditioned car," Robinson tells Spinner. "It is mostly about missed opportunities, lowered expectations and the discomfort caused by both dreams and nostalgia in a constantly changing world."

15 Sep
2009

Filed under: , ,


The story behind the Mother Hips' new single, 'White Falcon Fuzz,' forms some kind of lesson about the creative process. It's also an anecdote about the future rewards you may reap when you don't get the guitar of your childhood dreams.

"We were a little more than halfway done with the new record and we needed a couple more songs," frontman Tim Bluhm tells Spinner. "The label was kind of sweating us for a couple more." So Bluhm mined his journal for potential candidates and stumbled upon some jotted-down lyrics that vaguely referenced the Gretsch 'White Falcon' guitar. As a teenager, he saw a picture of it in the gatefold to Neil Young's 'After the Gold Rush' and longed to have one of his own.

14 Sep
2009

Filed under: , , ,


True to the band's name, the story behind the new Cinematics album is dramatic enough to make for good cinema. The band hunkered down in an empty army barrack in Glasgow where they isolated themselves from the outside world, except for day-old newspapers which would bring them tales of deceit, destruction and disaster. According to their version of it, they ordered lots of Chinese food, went on shoplifting missions to the supermarket, binged on absinthe and wrote and recorded much of what would become 'Love and Terror' on a vintage analog eight-track. That is, until police kicked them out.

Cut scene: outside the home of the band's rhythm section (bassist Adam Goemans and drummer Ross Bonney). Despite much infighting, the band is still together. The album is completed. Lights go down. Loud sounds. Smoke. Fire. The apartment has been fire-bombed in some kind of crackpot scheme by the first-floor bar to cash in on an insurance scam. Bonney emerges from the flames with the rescued masters for the album. The drummer saves the day.

11 Sep
2009

Filed under: , , ,


Perhaps the mainstream breakthroughs of artists like Drake and Anjulie will finally lay waste to the myth that the Canadian music scene doesn't have its own take on the urban sound. Those looking for new names in hip-hop should perk up their ears in the direction of rising Toronto rapper/producer Miles Jones, who offers up a mix of R&B, electro, reggae and pop influences on his polished sophomore album, 'Runaway Jones'.

It's unsurprising that the young emcee brings a wide scope of sounds to his music, as he comes from a long line of music enthusiasts. His father, 'Deadly' Hedley Jones, was a pioneering radio and club DJ in Toronto and his grandfather was a Jamaican jazz and ska musician who helped found legendary reggae recording studio Studio One.

Jones has been busy making a distinct name for himself, recording his first album in 2006 as a thesis project for his studies at McMaster University and drawing on his burgeoning skills as a songwriter and producer when he was invited to participate in a Canadian Idol songwriter's conference.

08 Sep
2009

Filed under: , ,


When Cotton Jones decided to write and record material for a new EP, they wanted concentration and dedication. So they uprooted themselves from their comfort zone in Maryland and landed in intentionally strange and unusual territory up in Michigan. The idea was to isolate themselves so they could wrestle an EP (and, in the bigger picture, a CD) out of their muse. It didn't work. The EP, now finished and entitled 'Rio Ranger,' was largely recorded after their short time in Michigan came to a close. But at least they were able to get a song out of it - "Where You Stop for a Minute."

Looking back on the experience, singer Michael Nau says that the cramped house they rented had an inch of frost on its windows and the constant snowfall contributed to his sense of desolation. "I began having panic attacks," he tells Spinner. "I boxed up all of our belongings, and nailed blankets over each of the windows. I didn't want anyone to see in -- not even the sun. We stayed there, sitting cross-legged in the middle of the living room, only leaving for food."

Listen to 'Where You Stop for a Minute'