Archive for Secret Colours

Tulip Frenzy 2013 Top Ten List ™ Shortlist Announced

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2013 by johnbuckley100

So we promised Magic Trick that we would wait for River Of Souls, out Tuesday, before locking the ballot box on the Tulip Frenzy 2013 Top Ten List ™.  We  will save them a spot on the shortlist, okay?  Below, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER are the bands in consideration.

At Tulip Frenzy World HQ, the horse trading, lobbying, and outright bribery are in full force.  We’ve cast a sideways glance at our competitors, and let us just say that this was one of the rare years in which we did not automatically scoff at the Uncut Top 50 list, and they did settle one thing for us:  yes, the Parquet Courts album is to be considered this year, even though it actually was released last November.  But no one listened to it until January 1, when we were all suddenly forced to grapple with a) 2013, and b) the Parquet Courts’ greatness.  But mbv as the Album of The Year?  Please, nice to have Kevin Shields back but it’s not really that good.  Still, could have been worse.

We should note that we are NOT considering the Bob Dylan 1969 Isle of Wight release, even though it finally came out this year, and even though it is simply amazing.  Why is it ruled out by the judges? Because we don’t think that’s right to knock a band in their prime out of consideration just because another incredible album fought its way out of the Dylan archives.  But here’s a pretty great set of bands/artists who will be considered:

Houndstooth

David Bowie

Kurt Vile

Phosphorescent

Crocodiles

Robyn Hitchcock

Parquet Courts

Thee Oh Sees

Kelley Stoltz

Magic Trick

Neko Case

Capsula

Deathfix

Secret Colours

Kevin Morby

Wire

First Communion Afterparty

Mikal Cronin

In consideration: 18 artists.  It’s going to be a long few days of wrangling in these here parts. Stay tuned.

 

A Modest Rethinking About Secret Colours, “Peach”, and Psychedelica

Posted in Music with tags , , on July 1, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Yesterday, we raved about Secret Colours, and we have no intention to walk back any of our praise.  Far from it.  They’re a pretty amazing new band, Peach is a superb album, and if you track talented bands playing real rock’n’roll, you gotta keep your eye on them.

But yesterday, we wrote that they were mislabeled as a psychedelic band, based on the evidence available from repeated listenings to Peach.  Today, we spent more time listening to their debut, Secret Colours.  Based on the first record, it’s clear how natural it is, actually, that they’re appearing with bands like Dean and Britta and First Communion Afterparty at this Friday’s Bathysphere psychfest in Minneapolis.  It’s not quite like they’re a different band on each album, but it is very clear how much Brian Deck shaped the sound on the new album.  From a record label’s perspective, from the perspective of a programmer from Clear Channel or Sirius XM, no doubt for the better.  But we do wonder what happened to that earlier version of the band that meanders a bit more, that plays Farfisa and tries on garage-rock poses, that yeah, sounds like a psychedelic band.

And then we stumbled upon a really well done and revealing interview in Illinois Entertainer in which the band says this:

“I think Peach signifies a transformation. The first one we tried real hard, from the way we dressed to the way we played our instruments. We tried really hard to be somebody else. I was like, ‘I have the same pedals as Pete Holmstrom from Dandy Warhols.’ I feel like Peach is the beginning of us putting our personal touch on . . . it’s far more personal,” Stach explains over his second pint of Oberon ale.

“We want to be ourselves now. I think we’re trying to get over identity – find ourselves musically and in real life,” Evans adds.
Frederick continues the train of thought: “I think we’re far enough in the process, like with Peach, that was such a shock, and it’s a rewarding process. It taught us a craft that we had never done before . . . but there was still something I truly feel about Peach that was not fully ourselves.”

So, some advice to the band.  Enjoy what you’ve accomplished with Peach, and the deserved success it brings you.  Secret Colours has talent in buckets. But for the next album?  If the label allows it, either produce it yourselves, or figure out who you really are before you let a producer sculpt you into shapes you may not naturally fit into, shapes that, an album or two hence, you may not be comfortable with.  Be yourselves.  We’re convinced, based on both albums plus the EP that came in between, that real Secret Colours is even better than whatever a producer can manufacture.

Secret Colours’ “Peach” Drips With Hooks and Talent

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Chicago’s Secret Colours have just released their second album, Peachand it is everything that name implies — sweet, tasty, and a satisfying summer treat.  Their first album, Secret Colours, had sufficient reverb to qualify them to play at next week’s Bathysphere: A Psychonautical Voyage, wherein they’re paired with “new gaze” and neo-psychedelic bands like First Communion Afterparty. But if we are to rave about Peach — and get ready, cuz we’re about to — let’s first clarify what kind of band Secret Colours really are, and what they aren’t.

Based on Peach alone, they’re not a psychedelic band.  They are, at their roots, a riff-resplendent blues band with a gloss of pop chops that bear a stronger resemblance to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Blur than to any of the bands they’ll play with in Minneapolis on Friday night.  But that’s good company to be in, and on Peach, there are no fewer than 10 songs you could easily hope would make it onto radio playlists from the ’60s – the Aughts.  Tommy Evans doesn’t have a distinctive voice, he just has a voice you could listen to for hours.  Similarly, guitarist Brian Stach cannot play a single note you don’t want to listen to.  Producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse) has managed to harness good songwriting, great guitar playing, and charismatic singing to create a sound that, measure for measure, is always surprising.  “Wow,” you say, “I did not see that (riff/solo/shift) coming.”  Did we mention they are really young, and this is but their second album?

Since we’ve been playing the album, uh, nonstop for days, we do wonder whether they’ve simply got us under their spell, a band like, say, the Vines or maybe Jet, that, because they know how to pull together hooks and riffs and a purring voice into sonic candy, they lead you to gorge on empty calories, and you hate yourself in the morning.  Pretty sure that’s not the case here, as long as you accept them for what they are.

Bottom line: Secret Colours is a band like the Plimsouls that beguile you on the basis, essentially, of strong songwriting, singing, and guitar playing, and that’s enough.  Yes, some of the underlying song structure can, for a moment, make them sound like a generic ’90s rock band. They maybe could have pared the album by three songs.  But cast those doubts aside.  This is a band that is as confident, though nowhere near as obnoxious, as Oasis was two albums in.  Peach is an album you can play over and over again and still want to hear more.  They are much more commercial than a true alternative band.  But that’s just fine.  It’s a good thing when an excellent band becomes huge, as we — and they — have every reason to believe they’ll be.

First Communion Afterparty Reunite For Next Week’s Bathysphere Psychefest

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2013 by johnbuckley100

First Communion Afterparty were (are?) the best band to emerge from the squall of the past decade’s neo-psychedelica, and their break-up, two years ago — before releasing Earth Heat Sound, their follow up to their brilliant debut, Sorry For All The Mondays and to Those Who Can’t Sing — was a bummer of the first rank.  But now comes an Owsley-pure jolt of good news: not only are FCAP going to be appearing at next Friday’s Bathysphere: A Psychonautical Voyage, but in the weeks ahead, they are going to perform again, when they release, posthumously if in the flesh, Earth Heat Sound.

The Bathysphere psychefest at First Avenue in Minneapolis, promises to be the best spot on the globe you could be on July 5th, with Dean and Britta headlining, but also our faves Magic Castles, Flavor Crystals, and even Sonic Boom of Spaceman 3 appearing.  Secret Colours, a young Chicago band whose astonishing album Peach has just been released, are a fitting addition to a lineup that also includes stalwarts The Volta Sound.  If you are anywhere between Pittsburg and Sioux Falls on the 4th, get in your rainbow-colored VW bus and head to Minneapolis.

We know about next week’s Bathysphere, and the glorious news about First Communion Afterparty, due to the tip provided by  the very helpful Twin City denizen Ben Schultz, who not only gave us this info, but also steered us toward Is/Is, one of the FCAP offshoot bands.  Additionally, Ben turned us on to Mojo Pin-Up, a presumably deceased combo including Liam Watkins of FCAP with members of the Magic Castles, whose tailings, deposited across the web, are tantalizing.

The other FCAP offshoot to keep your eye on is Driftwood Pyre, whose early demos capture the same magic as First Communion Afterparty — that same melding of Jefferson Airplane and the Brian Jonestown Massacre that gets our heart fluttering faster their our cranial synapses.

So, lots to chew on.  And here are your instructions: First Communion Afterparty return to play next weekend, and will finally release the album we’ve waited for since 2008; set a reminder to buy Earth Heat Sound, and if you haven’t already listened to Sorry For All The Mondays, aw, man, what are you waiting for?  Set your GPS on next Friday’s Bathysphere psychefest in Minneapolis.  Immediately go buy Secret Colours’ amazing new album Peach. Track down Mojo Pin-Up.  Wait for new happenings from Is/Is, and get excited, now, for Driftwood Pyre.

Thing are looking bright, no?

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