passing pavement underfeet

The material that makes up In Tall Buildings’s self-titled album was recorded at home between 2006 and 2008, and it’s not surprising. The songs of Erik Hall’s one-man band have a lo-fi, homey feel, complete with ambient background noise and an airiness in the production.

While a strong album overall, the songs generally get better and better as the album progressives. The somersaulting layers of “Walking Man” kick off In Tall Buildings, followed by the unexpected sound of clarinets on “The Way to a Monster’s Lair”.

The drums on “Twenty One” seem slightly off and almost like accidental background noise, a feature that is either ingeniously interesting or annoying to the point of distraction – it’s hard to decide which.

In Tall Buildings ends strong, beginning with a solid Gillian Welsh cover (“Elvis Presley Blues”), continuing to build with “Alarm Will Sound”, and culminating with the superb “Flemishing”. The restrained majesty of the opening gets the listener excited to dive into the nine-minute track, a bit of a feat for the non-noodling set. Wry lyrics like “bitter and exhausted / I’m a used bag of tea” further endear and help to make “Flemishing” the best offering on the album – an investment well worth the wait.

In Tall Buildings dropped 04.06.10.
Find out more at the In Tall Buildings website.

that’s like me asking you to take out your shoe laces

Neko Case  РPeople Got A Lotta Nerve (weird and lovely illustrations)
James Morrison – Nothing Ever Hurt Like You (pounding soul chorus)
Ezra Furman and the Harpoons – Take Off Your Sunglasses (Dylan-esque retro goodness)
Company of Thieves – Oscar Wilde (more proof of Wes Anderson’s influence)
Bat for Lashes – Daniel (crazy and Radiohead-approved)
Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band – Cheer For Fate (destructive forces)
Shocking Blue – Mighty Joe (they can’t keep a straight face)

and, for the throwback:
Sleater-Kinney – You’re No Rock N Roll Fun (love the overheads)

i’ve been hit, i’ve been hit, i’ve been hit

The High Noon Saloon on Madison, Wisconsin’s near east side fashioned itself into an indie-rock haven on August 6th, 2008. Brighton, MA, Oxford Collapse, and We Are Scientists came together for a show that touched on several facets of the near-all-encompassing genre.

Midwest favorites Brighton, MA opened the night with a mix of material from the upcoming release Amateur Lovers and familiar tunes. The new material is impressive and well-crafted, and despite being a departure from earlier efforts it still maintains the band’s lush sound and sophisticated perspective.

Throwing a change-up, the trio known as Oxford Collapse brought oodles of energy and a punk sensibility to the lineup. The band isn’t polished, but that works in favor of their aesthetic. Oxford Collapse’s raucous and unpredictable nature is a refreshing turn. They come across as distinctly live and not a group of people going through a series of rehearsed movements and interactions.

We Are Scientists topped off the night with wit and charm and curiously catchy hits. Their set was nicely paced and balanced with material from old and new releases, and on the whole the songs were more dynamic live than their recorded counterparts. The most impressive thing about the night, though, was how flat-out fantastic We Are Scientists are live. They’ve honed in on the right mix of melody, spunk, showmanship, and relatability to cross over from merely talented to truly worth seeing.

Click here for photos from the show. Click here to see performances of “It’s A Hit” and “Textbook” from the show (though please note the poor quality doesn’t do the band justice).