On the Download

Jul 9, 2008 at 12:00 am

Prussia is a quartet of dudes with a penchant for both sweetly disarming and just as sweetly unnerving indie jams. Their take is an anachronistic one that backbends toward '60s pop while still sounding very modern, calmly composed ... and nervous. Fans of Saturday Looks Good to Me should eat this up. "Supreme Being" is antic and hook-laden, sugared-up and cough syrupy in equal measure. "Won't Misbehave" gives a disturbing, falsetto- and fuzz-drenched stomp take on what it might sound like if late-period Beatles got smashed together with mid-period Radiohead (or call it shoegaze music performed in a basement by someone whose buzz is quickly wearing thin). These jams are off the group's upcoming full-length, Dear Emily, Best Wishes, Molly, now scheduled for an Aug. 12 release date. I think it's fucking rad; others might disagree.

See myspace.com/prussiamusic


If there's a more prolific and energized troupe of musicians operating in this town than the dudes 'n' lady who comprise Pas/Cal, well, it'd have to be the Suburban Sprawl kids. But still, the pas/cal-ites are a fertile gang. Besides the mothership dropping its first (finally!) full-length this week, there's sounds coming from such offshoot bands as Computer Perfection, Zoos of Berlin and, now, Hidden Ghost Balloon Ship. Featuring Pas/Cal drummer "Little" Tommy Daniel and guitarist Trevor Naud, HGBS sketches out a glammed-up take on little funky jams with a big, echo-y sound. Kinda what you'd expect from a Bowie devotee and a dynamic space-rock drummer.

See tinyurl.com/5cmba6

(BTW, Naud's Zoos of Berlin is included on the recently released David Bowie tribute record, Life Beyond Mars. Actually, it's the Zoos as "Presented by Carl Craig." Rad! Who doesn't love cross-pollination? BTWx2, Ann Arbor's Matthew Dear is also in on the tribute action. You can check out his spectrally-faithful take on Bowie's "Sound & Vision" at lifebeyondmars.com)


What would summer be without some tunes from Beety Marie Barnes and Fred Thomas — the duo that gave voice to a modern summer classic in Saturday Looks Good to Me's "Every Night"? Yes, I love rhetorical questions too. These former bandmates are offering up jams on their respective MySpace pages — some old, some new. For her part, Barnes has three minimalistic jams that highlight her peerless Midwestern enunciation, matched by her complete lack of regard for the constraints of vocal gravity (i.e. she can take off without a moment's notice and land back on earth in another half moment just as easily). And she does all this while delivering her lines in an affectless vocal that no network news coach could coax from a coaster.

See myspace.com/bettymariesongs

SLGTM mainman Fred Thomas, meanwhile, is cataloging his jams on a blog called City Center (live from Brooklyn? Portland? Who can keep track?). He's cataloging demos of SLGTM and his punkier trio Lovesick, as well as unleashing new jams like "Win u fuk things up w your baby" that made me type the following the other night: "Thomas' finally gone dino jr. Sigh. The fanboy in me is ecstatic. And I don't even know how old this jam is! Fuggit. It's in the ipod already on repeat. Also, re: 'Ocean Of' and while we were stolen': Nicely goodly." I don't know what that means, but there's a new bookmark on my machine that reads:

See citycenternyc.blogspot.com