Wednesday, March 07, 2007

DIBIDIM "Riders"
CHRIS & COSEY "Take Five"

I got completely floored today. I mean blindsided. So I did what any good blogger did and rushed to get this posted. Like within 15 minutes of hearing the band for the first time. Gosh, I hope it holds up well next week. You haven't heard of them before. They aren't playing SXSW. The only thing I know about them is that they are from the UK and the record is fairly new.

I came across Dibidim on MySpace. Yes, fucking MySpace. They have only like a thousand hits and a few friends so I guess they ain't no Arcade Fire. Where did they come from? Tell me! I listened to about 20 seconds of "I Woke Up" and I got distracted by the phone or something. But something in that 20 seconds made me go over and click it again and I got through another minute before becoming distracted again. Once I finally got to the end of the song, I was certain I'd heard this before. But I hadn't and I needed more. I searched the blogs for a freebie mp3.... nada. It's kinda got that Thompson Twins "If You Were Here" vibe to it, but only 700% cooler. They could be Air in 1983, those soothing synthesizers, filling in each black hole between hooks. Oh, and then... it hit me....

It sounds a little like Chris & Cosey, refugees from the legendary Throbbing Gristle. Well, that makes sense, Dibidim could easily slide in there on the early Mute Records' roster. "October Love Song" was a total sellout, like Ministry's With Sympathy, but I love every oscillating second of it. I know it's March, but hopefully both of these songs will come as a complete discovery for you. I need to go find the rest of this Dibidim record now and hope that's it's every bit as Juno 106'd out as I want it to be.

Monday, March 05, 2007

SILVER LAKES "The Great Pretenders"
FIONN REGAN "The End Of History"

Continuing with our "bands who are appearing at SXSW" theme, Little Elpees today presents you with two distinctively different artists who at least share one thing in common: gorgeous gorgeous melodies.

Silver Lakes are from Atlanta and is the creative offering of Steven Satterfield, one time singer for Too Pure band, Seely. I've been listening to the Great Pretenders for the entire year of '06 and now into '07 and would desperately release it on my own label, if I only still had one. As it goes, he's self-released it (it's available on CD Baby), and the whole thing is a partly cloudy floating post-shoegaze lullaby. It's not all mellow, but even the upbeat rockers seem to have been softened with not Ambien, but maybe a pillow fight. It's highly recommended.

Silver Lakes plays the Paste magazine party on March 17 at The Belmont in Austin, TX as NOT part of SXSW. Really? Did SXSW not get them a real show? Wow.

I've posted Fionn Regan's brilliant video for "Be Good Or Be Gone", but here's two brilliant songs from his brilliant LP, The End Of History. Fionn is Irish, brilliant! The one thing to note about Fionn is his brilliant guitar playing, the guy isn't just a folk singer, he's a guitar hero. Brilliant! You will see me getting my Guinness on with Fionn at either Stubb's (Mar 15) or Buffalo Billiards (Mar 17) at SXSW. Fionn also returns to Brooklyn on March 19 at Union Hall with Hayes Peebles.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A very rare late night post from the Little Elpees, but it's a world premiere. Maybe not, I'm sure some eager blogger has beat me to the punch. I'll have more to say later about Chapel Hill's Rosebuds, but let me plainly state this: I absolutely love to see an indiepop type grow up into a big ole dance party monster of a band. By late spring, people will be uttering the word "rosebuds" in conversations at dinner parties, work, play, kickball practice.... the world will know. There's nothing overly complicated or mathematical about Rosebuds. They are equal parts Blondie and !!! (that chk-chk-chk for you newbies). It's laid back, it's a rave up, it's southern, it's Manchester. Hey you, new wave. Try it.

The Rosebuds release "Night Of The Furies" on Merge Records in April. Spring for an extra copy for a friend who needs a little pick me up circa 1991. Spring is sneaking into your bones! Darling Buds or Rosebuds? Hmmmm....

The Rosebuds play at SXSW at Antone's on the Merge Records' night, March 14 at 11:00pm. Bring your dancing shoes or dancing horses.

Friday, March 02, 2007

HOODOO GURUS "Stoneage Romeos"
HOODOO GURUS "Mars Needs Guitars"

Is anyone still debating what is "alternative" music or not?
It's a pretty banal conversation to have, but one thing I've noticed is, the word "indie" has taken the place of "alternative". As long as you slap "indie" on there, you're different. Pretty soon, real unknown underground stuff will be called "Corprock", short for corporate rock, because, of course, corporate will have its meaning twisted as well. Dude, we're so corprock!

OK, in the 80s, I ingested anything that anyone deemed "alternative". If WHTG or WPRB played it, I bought it. Looking back, I can see how certain things were not destined to be "alternative", they just were. Screaming Blue Messiahs? Oh yuck. Enough old man ramblings (I haven't had any coffee yet), let us get to the good NEW music, shall we?

The Hazey Janes are from Scotland. They are young and cute. Their record "Hotel Radio" is a little schizophrenic, bobbing and weaving from Teenage Fanclub to Flying Burrito Brothers to The Primitives. Overall, it's very charming. My guess is they slapped on some early singles at the end of this and that's what gives it that wanderlust. No surprise, my favorites are tracks 9 & 10, here for you to enjoy.

The Hazey Janes play Union Hall in Brooklyn on March 9 and at SXSW at Maggie Mae's rooftop at 11:00pm on March 17.

Getting back to "alternative", I loved the Hoodoo Gurus. Still do really. I'm floored that they are playing at SXSW. I saw them on the Blow Your Cool tour with Redd Kross opening and the Bangles came out and sung "Good Times" with them. These Australians are not alternative, they have a twang and a rock that anyone could easily dig. The Hazey Janes are similar except they don't seem to be dirty hippies.

Bust out your sandalwood, the Hoodoo Gurus play the Blender Bar/Ritz at SXSW on March 16 at 11:40pm. Below you will find my absolute two favorite Gurus tracks. There's a cute video for "My Girl" on YouTube, too.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

THE BEES "Octopus"
OTIS REDDING "The Soul Album"

I hate that I'm only posting once a week now. I'm also hating that this post is like 3 months overdue. I'm supposed to share with you and I've been lame. Wait, bloggers are supposed to talk in the third person, right? Little Elpees is very very ashamed of themselves. Bad Little Elpees! K, now, get ready to be blown away.

According to my nifty iTunes program, I added the Bees forthcoming "Octopus" album on December 31. As of January 1, it's the best record of the year. Forget what I said about Dean & Britta (though that's a close running second). As of this post, it's still not out. Another thing I hate is being lost in advance music to the point where you can't answer a question like, "when is the release date?". I don't know. Soon. The Bees are good, real good. We knew they had good taste when they covered Os Mutantes, but Octopus is their first offering I feel has the "glue". The glue is what makes an album, an album.

The Bees got soul. Yes, they rip off quite a bunch of their influences, but they convince me, as they should you. I'm not comparing them to Otis Redding, I'm just saying. Hopefully they are playing at SXSW. I'm going, are you going? What are you seeing? Should I dedicate Little Elpees to SXSW until the day I leave? Does anyone read this except Liz and Bethann? Scratch my back, people.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

THE SEA AND CAKE "Everybody"

Whoa. The Sea And Cake have made a classic rock album. Parts yacht rock, parts dueling guitars, parts bouncy 60s pop, Everybody is certainly for everybody. I'm smitten after two listens. What grabs you is the actual sound of this record, a little different from their previous offerings. My favorite song so far is "Middlenight", almost like a slowed down "Too Young" (see Phoenix). In fact, there's quite a few Steely Dan-isms in there which shouldn't surprise fans of TS&C, but what should....the verse chorus verses.... it's a complete pop record. Run, don't crawl, to your local record store on May 8 and buy a copy for a friend or someone who needs a shot of sunny spring melodies.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

THE RESEARCH "Breaking Up"
MOI CAPRICE "The Art Of Kissing Properly"

I'm about to say something really deep. Not, really. Every song ever is about love. There you go. Seriously. So, this is the day that we are told we are supposed to be in love or show our significant other how much we love them. Thankfully, mine let me off the hook this year because she wants to go to a party instead. Good, because I'm burnt out and have a problem with people telling me to do things, even Cupid
. Can't every day be Valentine's Day? Oh, sigh.

Have I posted about the Research? I didn't bother to check if I have, but even if I have, please please please seek out "Breaking Up". This amazing trio do amazing things with a Yamaha Portasound that's been duct taped together, a bass guitar, drums, and cocky, but vulnerable ba-bas. "I love you, but I'm scared I'll fuck it up" has to be the best lyric of last year. The whole record is dynamic and very special. Send this song to your special Valentine.

Going the other way are Denmark's Moi Caprice who are set to play their first US shows soon. An unreal thing about Scandavians, they can SING. All of them. Name a band from Denmark, Sweden, or Norway, and you can bet, even if you don't dig their music, they can sing like no one's business. Maybe they were weaned on ABBA or at least a-ha. Moi's "I Hate The Place But I Go There To See You" comes from "The Art Of Kissing Properly" and is a little more sentimental and less cheeky than the Research.

Happy be in love day. Hope it works out for you. You can always go outside and make snow angels today.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

ACE "Five-A-Side"
AL STEWART "Time Passages"

Doing a lot with very little. That's the theme of today's Little Elpees post. Also, it reveals what many people know about me. I am a complete pussy. Today I present to you, two very ace songs
. Get ready to board the yacht, I have some Harvey's Bristol Cream waiting.

OK, grab your bass guitar. You don't have one? OK, grab a rubberband. Now, pluck it like this: "bum....bum bum, bum....bum bum". Do that over and over and sing as many pretty melodies as you can over it. Seriously. You don't need a piano or guitar or skin flute to write this song, just do it. How do you think Ace came up with their 1975 super soft rock megahit (#3 on Billboard)? Same way, baby. After his stint in Ace, Paul Carrack ended up in Squeeze just in time to sing "Tempted". Dumb luck.

The 1978 version of "How Long" comes courtesy of Al Stewart, best known for inventing the "Year Of The Cat" (the Chinese calendar had it as Year of the Pussy but changed it on Al's urging). His "How Long" is called "Song On The Radio" and it's nearly identical down to the bum-bumbum bass and the soft as cotton Rhodes piano, except for some saucy saxophone (way overdoes it, but who cares, you have to fill 6 minutes up somehow) and some wanky guitar fills.

Enjoy the silky smooth and I'll see you tomorrow with something more 2007 and rock for the weekend.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

FIELD MUSIC "Tones Of Town"
YES "Time And A Word"

My pal Liz is going to have a fit over today's post, but she totally saw it coming
. Hit her Headphones On blog after you read this, she's got some lovely songs to warm you up during this arctic bullshit.

So quickly, as I'm hungry for lunch.... Field Music are a super trio from Sunderland, UK who maintain that they love Squeeze. I think they are prog-rock, Liz disagrees. Not sure how the Brewis brothers feel about that one. They are underrated and are poised to release a fancy new album called "Tones Of Town" soon. If you like your pop with some long division, this one's for you. It's for me too.

Yes are a band that my father got me into by placing a ginormous set of headphones on my head at age 4 and making me listen to Long Distance Runaround until I fell asleep. It never worked. You can make fun of me for having sentimental issues with Yes, but you do have to admit, they stole one of the best band names of all time (please leave your vote for best band name of all time in the comments section, all rights reserved, ahem).

Seperated at birth? You decide. Make up your mind, make up your mind.


Friday, February 02, 2007

THE SECRET STARS "The Secret Stars"

I may have gone a little too far today. But I don't mind at all
. Since I'm back on board with my iTunes library and sexy Seagate 300GB hard drive, I've been creating all sorts of playlists. For example, one's called Crazy Covers, and holy shit, it's crazy! But I wanted to make an 80s one, because I was kind of out to prove a point: that not all pop hits of the 80s sucked. I'm more of a hits of the 70s kinda guy anyway as I fell hook, line, and stinker for stuff like Gilbert O'Sullivan, Sweet, anything K-Tel. Once I got My Aim Is True on vinyl though, I pretty much ignored the schlocky awfulness of stuff like DeBarge and Miami Sound Machine.

So, back to finding a needle in a haystack. For every Naked Eyes song, I had to endure a Survivor one. I was finding most of the hits I could tolerate were of the new wave era. Until I re-discovered a lost classic from 1987 from Bourgeois Tagg. Remember, this was the "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" era. Pebbles and Cutting Crew ruled the school. So, it's shocking to hear the humble simplicity, the soaring strings, the Todd Rundgren production, the overall prettiness of something like "I Don't Mind At All". I don't remember being too in love with it since it was an MTV hit and I was probably at City Gardens moshing at a Ramones show. Time heals the wounds. Or am I crazy?

Upon listening this morning to the plaintive crooning of Bourgeois or Tagg or who knows, I was reminded of another similiar croon. The one of Geoff Farina of Karate/Secret Stars. I'm convinced he would've been the singer in Steely Dan had he been born 20 years earlier. Or am I crazy? It's also an exercise in why something is a hit or why it isn't. I mean, the Secret Stars are even unknown in indie circles, let alone close to scraping the bottom of any kind of chart. But it IS curious to see how close things can be and couldn't be farther apart.

I'm rambling and making no sense. But I don't mind at all. Pray for snow this weekend.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

THE AMERICAN BREED "Lonely Side Of The City"

Some oldies but goodies today on Little Elpees and finally a return to my vinyl collection, albeit a little cheating. When I was at the peak of my vinyl buying days, I would go through little phases. One such phase was collecting any record with a cover of "God Only Knows" on it. That's definitely another post or fifty. For awhile though I started to notice artists covering a little song from the mid 60's A&M Records' soft rock era called "To Put Up With You".

"To Put Up With You" was penned by Paul Williams, but like life in the Bacharach/Randy Newman era, it wasn't typically the author who was known for the hit version, rather the song was sold or covered. Not that TPUWU was a hit anyway, at least not a monster. Paul Williams is best known for being the lovable twee character that would show up on the Muppet Show or any other variety show of the late 70s (or his sublime role in Smokey & The Bandit). His "Someday Man" album is a gem, very underrated, and a classic soft rock staple if you are into The Association, The Left Banke, or Sagittarius. He's likely living off the royalties from delivering such classics as "We've Only Just Begun" to the Carpenters or "Evergreen" to Barbra Streisand.

The American Breed were best known for their hippy-dippy "Bend Me, Shape Me" single which hit #5 in 1967. Their version of TPUWU ended up on a later era record called "Lonely Side Of The City". I never knew what to make of the American Breed. They exuded some soul, but some flowery pop, too, definitely a unique combination, though I don't reach for their elpees as much.

I own both of these on vinyl. However, I saw this Paul Williams album for download somewhere and I grabbed it, so you're
very likely getting a decent version of this. TPUWU is a strange song, perhaps not exactly misogynistic, but a sad tale about a vain women and the man who just can't deal, would maybe rather hit the pub. Sigh.


Friday, January 26, 2007

THE ASSOCIATES "The Affectionate Punch"
hollAnd "The Paris Hilton Mujahideen"

I picked both of these songs before I knew what kind of angle I was going to use or what I was going to say at all. Sometimes I have a good idea of why I'm posting music, but also sometimes, like when I DJ or make mixes for people, I have no idea why I'm merging songs/artists/moods, it happens without effort. I don't know if that makes me lucky or dumb or a bit of both. Probably just dumb.

The Associates are an acquired taste. Their dramatic presentation coupled with their sparse arrangements are unique. Yes, they were likely the new wave children circa 1981 who were weaned on a diet of glammy 70s rockers like Bowie and Bolan, and they likely inspired bands like Pulp and The Auteurs, but the Associates don't get enough credit for sticking out like a sore thumb in a crowded new wave scene. I have to admit, I have a hard time listening to complete Associates records, but this newly remastered version of The Affectionate Punch is worth a listen. "Janice" pretty much gets me good.

hollAnd could've existed as part of the early Factory, early Rough Trade scene, too, but as it is, here they are in 2007 with their first new record in 10 years for the 90s and 00s equivalent of the aforementioned labels, Teenbeat. Trevor Kampmann has his hand in a lot of pies, but it's this "rock" return to form that people should be thrilled about. Most of the songs come in at 2 minutes or under, but they are filled with hooks, sparse compressed production, and you don't have time to get sick of them. The sound is very unique, very hollAnd. Yes, sometimes the vocals are hauntingly familiar, very Imperial f.f.r.r. era Unrest. Funny coincidence? You make the call.

So I've said the word "unique" a few times here and that's no backhanded compliment. I've always felt that a band should gain some merit if you can recognize them amongst the sea of contenders. In pop music, it's just too easy to sound like someone else, especially as time goes on. So cheers to the Associates and hollAnd...


Thursday, January 25, 2007

DEAN & BRITTA "Back Numbers"

A big big big shoutout to Data Rescue II (Electric Bugaloo) for managing to save 31,000 songs off my failed to mount LaCie 160GB drive. Thing is, once I erased that drive, it was fine. I was panicky that 4 years of burning my cds and lps (and subsequently getting rid of some (trust me I have too much music)) had amounted to zero. So, don't be surprised if there is a flurry of activity in the coming days. Speaking of, it's snowing in Brooklyn!

OK, back to Little Elpees and the post I wanted to make last week when said hard drive went soft. Luna. Hmmm. You knew about Dean Wareham's appreciation for French pop, his penchant for smart without being alecky melodies, the band's driving, almost jam band like performances, but for me, Luna was up and down when it came to listening to complete records. Don't get me wrong, I adored Luna, but let's just say I understand why artists disband fine groups in their prime. They don't want to repeat themselves. That and they are likely in debt, ahem.

That's why I'm thrilled about Dean & Britta. He (and she) can now make completely different records, and they are. This is a candidate for album of the year (I know it's only January, but you have to say these things out loud to remember in December). Back Numbers is filled with Gainsbourg-esque shuffles, girl group ebullience, and some very very wonderful songs. Songs, people, songs. Songs are everything. Unless they're not. Oh, and the vibes on this record, the vibes. No, the actual vibraphone. It's really something.

Listen to Britta belt out "You Turned My Head Around" and tell me if your curiosity isn't completely piqued. Thanks also to Mike Fleming for his good advice on the hard drive meltdown. I learned a valuable lesson. There is no amount of money I shouldn't spend to protect my music. It is the most important thing to me. If you are reluctant to spend 150 clams on a backup drive for your iTunes library, learn from me, do it, right now, baby.

Dean & Britta play Union Hall in Brooklyn tonight, January 25.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007


This guy is outta control. I wish I had some coke. Update to my hard drive woes coming soon, but I have two people to thank.... Roger isn't one of them.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

FIONN REGAN "Be Good Or Be Gone"

I lost 31,000 songs when my LaCie 160GB hard drive filled with music failed to mount yesterday. My computer finds the drive in Disk Utility and Disk Warrior, but can't manage to mount the drive. And that, my friends, sucks a big bag of dicks, because I spent the better part of 4 years burning my collection, etc. So I can't share with you right now. Not like I want to. But enjoy this lovely video from Irish lad, Fionn Regan. He's playing tonight at Union Hall in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

LONEY, DEAR "Loney Noir"

I was trying to think of some grand articulate way of stating the following: I hate twee, I love boys who sing like girls. Does that make sense? I love orchestration. I love when you feel someone has put very much of themselves into a piece of music. I think that Swedes and the Japanese can get away with using cliches in music because sometimes they are so damned cute and convincing. But I hate twee.

From the nanosecond I heard the opening notes of "Sinister In A State Of Hope" from Loney, Dear's upcoming "Loney Noir" offering, I was hooked. I knew it was going to be for me, especially if I could overcome the fact that this band was very close to another "Sinister" band the twee crowd seem to have made the new Smiths. I liked that last B&S record though, I really did. They just lost me around the "Seymour Stein" bullshit.

OK, back to the Loneys. I've been playing Loney Noir now for the better part of '06, I'd really been meaning to share it with Little Elpeesers and it's finally seeing a release on the, ahem, emo friendly Sub Pop label. They are also coming stateside for some shows. I suggest you go. That is, if you dig the following samples. I dig and had to dig deep to get their whole catalogue. I prefer Citadel Band to Sologne or The Year Of River Fontana, their previous three albums, but it was fun to discover. Always is.

SATURDAY WAITS (from Loney Noir)

I DO WHAT I CAN (from Citadel Band)

Monday, January 08, 2007


UPDATE: Hey, sorry, tried to post this, hours ago, but for some reason my Fetch wasn't working. Don't be surprised if there's a new post very shortly after this...

I discovered Ash very shortly after their first single or two dropped. A friend from Minneapolis raved about the teenaged Northern Ireland punky trio and I bought in. "Kung Fu" was incredible and I was looking for a way out of a fey pop tent I'd constructed for myself. I needed some rock and Ash was just what the doctor ordered. They had some missteps (2000's Nu-Clear Sounds comes to mind though if I re-immersed myself in it I'd likely come to love it), for the most part though, I followed their career from the early 90's gritty punk darlings to the power pop heroes to.....what? (insert sound of needle scratching off the side of a record here)

Wait, what's this, you're adding a girl to the band? Was this the record company's idea? Are one of you sleeping with her? Yoko? What? Well, I was surprised they'd enlisted Charlotte Heatherley on second guitar and vocals sometime around 1998, but when Free All Angels came out, I was fully comfortable and impressed with the new addition. I remember that summer, that record, was so absolutely perfect, mostly because it felt like such a summer record. "Sometimes" and "Shining Light" killed me dead in my tracks.

Ash released a pretty hardcore heavy metal pop record in 2004 with "Meltdown" and it struggled to find an audience over here. Charlotte surprised me again by jettisoning the band, amicably it should be noted. She promptly released a very solid solo record "Grey Will Fade". "Bastardo" wore on me after a while, but "Kim Wilde", "Summer", and "Paragon" were true examples of jagged little power pop, think if Juliana Hatfield had any confidence and a distortion pedal.

Charlotte's about to launch another album and here's the first single. It's a hip grinder, it didn't hit me the first listen, but now it's hitting me pretty hard. There's nothing out there like it and that's probably the best thing anyone can say about it. It's not going to make you dance, but it revs you up to hear more.... stay tuned.


KIM WILDE (from Grey Will Fade)