December Adds: Birds and Batteries, ASPE, and Israel Darling

Israel Darling

Dinosaur Bone and Mechanical Hands

Israel Darling is a Greensboro, North Carolina-based band, the brainchild of a precocious 21-year-old named Jacob Darden. Darden’s band includes Alex Dagenhart, Jeff Bechtel, Mat Masterson and Arlie Huffman. Darden grew up as a Baptist and son of a guitar maker in the small Appalachian town of Drexel, North Carolina. After a life-altering experience and time in the hospital, Darden gave up his religious roots to concentrate on music.

Dinosaur Bones and Mechanical Hands is the self-produced debut from the group. It was picked up and released by NYC’s Engine Room Recordings. The songs on the album are beautiful reflections of a young man’s life and the lessons he has learned from a very young age. Although Darden is only 21, many of the tracks display someone that has had a lot of experiences and self-reflection in a short time. There are many religious touchstones in the music, and although Darden says in interviews he is an atheist, there seems to be a deep spirituality that permeates throughout the tunes.

One will find similarities to Bright Eyes and Langhorne Slim in Israel Darling’s music. The ten song debut boasts many standout tracks, my personal favorites are “Woman, God, and Pity For a Man” and “Samson The Mason.” This young band has nothing to offer but potential, and I am excited to see what else this outfit has to offer.

Dec 5 2009 at Michael’s House – Asheville, NC
Jan 22 2010 at The Green Bean – Greensboro, NC

Birds & Batteries

Up To No Good EP

After two years, Birds & Batteries have released another wonderful masterpiece in the form of a 5 song EP. It’s called Up To No Good and it is fabulous. The San Francisco-based four piece is spearheaded by Mike Sempert and includes Jill Heinke on bass/keys, Christopher Walsh on guitar/pedal steel and Brian Michelson on drums, percussion, sampler and laptop.

The five song EP combines elements of funk, electronic, rock and pop. As a whole, the album can be dark and haunting with psychedelic elements that affect the listener in more ways then one. The heaviest and newest element that Birds and Batteries utilize for this particular work is the electronic landscape present in all of the songs. The EP is very conceptual in the sense that each song seamlessly flows into one another, but the tracks do not blend together. Each tune has its own presence and force.

Imagine being on a dark dance floor, late at night in the 1970’s, in a drug-induced haze. Now imagine a band that is barely visible on stage, but has a large vocal presence that not only acts as an additional instrument, but as a voice that calls to all of its musical followers. The voice will bring you up, then down, then up again, causing you to experience an amazing musical trip. This is definitely my favorite effort by Birds and Batteries (not to say that I don’t love their other work).

If this is the first time you have heard of B&B make sure to check out the two albums in their back catalog, I’ll Never Sleep Again (2007) and Selections from Nature Vs. Nature (2005).

Dec 5 2009 at Bluesix – San Francisco,CA
Jan 8 2010 at The Starry Plough – Berkeley,CA
Jan 23 2010 at Bottom of the Hill w/ Movitz! – San Francisco,CA


The Dark
(album art currently unavailable)

An artist like ASPE is a huge mind fuck for me. We have this extremely talented guy, who goes by the name of Mike, that runs an amazing little indie label, called Arkain Records. He has several other amazing musical projects including Monolith, Swayze, Moto & Mouse, Indian Teeth and Red Canary. The music that is made for all of these projects is phenomenal, yet, this guy, Mike, is barely known in the music world.

I was introduced to the music of Mike Maines over three years ago by fellow friend and BTR DJ, Matt Lehtola. Mike apparently was a local musician in Gainesville that became friends with Matt. Lehtola shared the music with me and I have been loving it ever since. I was super excited to hear that there was going to be a new album and when I did listen, it was amazing. Here is how Mike describes ASPE in comparison to the rest of his projects:

“This is the run-off and original solo project for my concept albums. Anything that doesn’t fit within the confines of the other projects, gets listed as ASPE. Its an acronym for something dumb… everything from electronica, classical, jazz, and the avant garde and can be found herein.”

Check out The Dark. It is freaking amazing. All 14 tracks. Now, the next thing we need is for ASPE to tour.

Link to this article:

– Lottie Leymarie


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