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Via Tania

Moon Sweet Moon

Via Tania is the project of Australian born singer and instrumentalist Tania Bowers. At a young age, she played in  a vowel-free, noise pop outfit with her sister called SPDFGH, and opened for bands like The Breeders and Bikini Kill. She eventually worked on a solo effort and self-released an EP under the moniker Sunday.

Fast forward a few years to Chicago, Illinois where she began to piece together songs for her debut as Via Tania. The first album, Under A Different Sky, was released in 2004. Bowers’ sophomore release, Moon Sweet Moon, began to take shape in Australia. While still in Australia, Tania randomly met Craig Ross, a music producer from Texas. Ross  had worked with artists such as Emmylou Harris and Daniel Johnston. The two hit it off and began to work with each other. She traveled between the United States, Europe and Australia to complete the album.

The eleven song set starts out with “The Beginning,” a song that focuses on Bowers’ vocals. Her voice is light and airy, and it has a very enchanting feel. The second song “Wonder Stranger” opens up with bells and light percussion. It sounds like the intro to a horror film. You can picture a baby carriage rocking in a dark bedroom while a cold wind blows the curtains about the window. Continuing on through the album, “How Come” is another track that stands out. With its minimal guitar parts, it is Via Tania’s own ballad track. She sings a love song, “How come you love me like you are holding on to something, to someone?”

The album may be a bit hard to swallow at first; the songs don’t flow like typical pop songs. They aren’t easy for the listener to ingest right away. In other words, none of the tunes will leave you humming the melody after one listen. The tracks have many subtleties, and that is the true beauty of Moon Sweet Moon. Bowers’ voice is the most dynamic part of many of the songs. The minimal instrumental parts are light to the ear. The arrangements are brilliantly proportioned throughout the album. As with any good record, I always wonder what the artist can do live. So, if you can, check out Via Tania! I’m sure these recordings will make for a beautiful show.

Live:

Nov 10 2009 at Bordello Bar in Los Angeles, CA
Nov 11 2009 at Bootleg in Los Angeles, CA


Headlights

Remixes

Sometimes a remix (or a remix album) can be more fun than the actual songs/album itself. At other times, remixes can ruin the beauty of the original song. Headlights latest album, Remixes, defies both of these stereotypes. I actually think of it as a bonus disc! The tracks are from three of their albums; Kill Them With Kindness, Some Racing Some Stopping and their latest effort, Wildlife.

Headlights hail from Champaign, Illinois and formed in 2004. The group consists of Erin Fein, Seth Fein, Brett Sanderson and Tristan Wraight. The Fein’s and Sanderson had been playing music together since 1996, in bands such as Absinthe Blind and Orphans.

The album boasts remixes from The Album Leaf, Cale Parks and Son Lux, to name a few. After giving the album a few listens, I immediately fell in love with the Casiotone For The Painfully Alone’s remix of “So Much For The Afternoon.” Uzi & Ari remix “Towers,” which recalls sounds of “The Postal Service.” Jason Caddell of The Disemberment Plan fame produced “On April 2.” I wasn’t sure what to expect from this song, but it pleases with its abundance of electro-pop goodness. Headlights’ own Brett Sanderson remixes “Tokyo,” giving the tune a more mystical/spiritual feel.

Although it would be a dream to see Remixes performed live, I don’t think that will be happening any time soon. Still, their original songs make for a great show as well, so go see them!

Live:

Oct 28 2009 at Will’s Pub in Orlando, FL
Oct 29 2009 at Bottletree in Birmingham, AL
Oct 30 2009 at Hi Tone in Memphis, TN
Oct 31 2009 at The Iron Post in Urbana, IL



Grooms

Rejoicer

We here at BTR have been fans of “Grooms” since they were known as the Muggabears. Personally, I never thought Muggabears was a bad band name. It always reminded me of gummy bears, which is is odd, but definitely an enjoyable treat, much like the group itself. My favorite Muggabears tune was “Dead Kid Kicks.” I could hum that in my head for days.

But on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 the band issued a statement via their Myspace blog:

Hello Everybody,

We were Muggabears, now we’re Grooms. Is it a verb? Is it a noun? Not telling.

We’ve also put up a new song off our new album. The album is called Rejoicer. And the song is called Dreamsucker. We hope you like it.

If you don’t know about Grooms, they are a Brooklyn trio that have been around for about five years now. They just released their latest album, Rejoicer, on Death By Audio Records. Rejoicer is filled with lots of reverb. Lots and lots of reverb… In between all of the fuzzy goodness, I couldn’t help but recall the influence of Dinosaur Jr. It’s almost as if the DJ boys had some hipster kids and they made this new album. The first three track are the real standouts for me, but with each listen, the tunes grow on you. I am very fond of singer Travis Johnson’s voice. It has a slight uneasiness to me that is very attractive. He sounds as if he is experiencing both pain and pleasure when he sings, something that is quite difficult to pull off. Rejoicer boasts ten moody tracks that will be a surefire hit with all their Brooklyn peers.

Live:

Nov 5 2009 at Larry’s in Danbury, CT
Nov 8 2009 at AS 220 in Providence, RI
Nov 15 2009 at Contemporary Space 13 in Cincinnati, OH
Nov 16 2009 at Bishop Bar in Bloomington, OH

Link to this article:
http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1189

– Lottie Leymarie

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