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We set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.


It’s finally happening to me
The thing I just had to believe
It will be seven years in June
I knew my time was coming soon

Throughout the glimmering, seductive self-titled debut (released May 24) from Seattle’s Motopony, the sense of the possible looms, hope and promise perhaps fleeting but manifest despite all the water under the bridge and detritus collected on our banks. It’s also a freakin’ catchy rock joint, full of icy charm, slinky riffs and one of the most intoxicating new vocalists to hit in a spell. Diversity is the rule, but each shape-shifting segment is infused with sincerity, cleverness and a lean musical sensibility that’s rich but never bloated. This is a band carving out their own sound, even as they faintly echo some choice antecedents like Aztec Camera (“King of Diamonds”), early Brian Eno (“Seer”) and Dr. Dog (“I Am My Body”). Motopony is on the way to something and their searching is absorbing and passionate enough to make one want to grab their satchel and join them on the road to…wherever.

We caught up with lead singer-songwriter Daniel Blue to dig into the band’s zeitgeist (and y’all can catch the band on a pile of newly announced dates in September and October).

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The New Up

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We set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.

The New Up by Dave Vann

San Francisco’s The New Up infuse the term “modern rock” with visceral presence, moving it many yards away from just another corporate record label sub-division header and pointing it arrow straight towards the horizon.

The hustle & bustle of contemporary life jostles inside their music. One feels the rush of things, the creeping cynicism of the now struggling with hard-won faith in things larger and more truth-packed than what we see with today’s eyes. There’s more than a little of the zeitgeist tapping character one encounters in Radiohead and Muse to The New Up, though this S.F. quintet oozes more raw sensuality than either of these forebears, merging classic rock’s wide-legged strut to contemporary sharpness.

While still primarily known out west, the band has toured nationally several times, building a budding DIY network around the U.S. with likeminded young bands, exhibiting an active engagement with all aspects of what it takes to get a new group in front of fresh ears. With The New Up there’s always multiple hands reaching out, seeking connections, even as they keenly pinpoint all the fractures out there.

In terms of pure musicianship and forthright charm, it’s hard to beat ES Pitcher (vocals, guitar), Noah Reid (guitar, vocals), Hawk West (flute and automation), Dain Dizazzo (bass) and Drew Bertrand (drums), who collectively ooze cool whilst attacking their songs with a pleasant possession, their craft a cause they pursue with knowing grins and irrepressible energy.

While last year’s Gold album showed the band moving into ever-more mature territory, the feeling with this bunch is there’s still way, way more to come. It’s for this reason and many others that Dirty Impound asked The New Up to play at our one-year anniversary party at the Boom Boom Room this Saturday, June 4th. We snagged lead singer ES Pitcher for a brief chat before the show.

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U.S. Royalty

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We set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.

U.S. Royalty

U.S. Royalty are a very likeable band, but their near-instantaneous charm can’t be easily traced to obvious ancestors. Instead, one picks up on a primal rock rightness and sincere affection for pop moves that strikes to rock’s fundamental appeal.

Their debut, Mirrors (self-released on January 25) is youthful and exuberant, artfully cynical and nakedly hopeful. The quartet – Luke Adams (drums), Jacob Michael (bass), John Thornley (vocals, keys) and Paul Thornley (guitar) – scrape off the barnacles and clichés to reveal the kind of rock one can pat their foot on ecclesiastically. The mood shifts frequently, but always with purpose, moving headlong, eyes locked on the horizon ahead. Mirrors is pleasurable whirlwind that will get you singing along before you’ve even figured out what the songs are about. Once it has settled in, it’s even better. Working with engineer Gus Oberg (The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr., Bloc Party) and Justin Long, Mirrors hums along like a good movie whose twists and ultimate conclusion can’t be guessed until they arrive, and then it all makes perfect sense.

Formed in Washington, D.C. in 2008, U.S. Royalty is on a swift creative rise that recalls the superlative inducing early salvos of My Morning Jacket and Dr. Dog, each band’s that stubbornly carved out their own territory while simultaneously extending a welcoming hand to anyone willing to come along with them.

We got on the horn with John Thornley – a breakout singer with a strong, flexible, crush-ready voice – to discuss their debut and the ideas behind these new Royalty.

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Mark Rozzo

Bambi Kino

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We set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.

Bambi Kino by Andrew Bicknell

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles live residency in Hamburg, Germany. This is where they put their stamp on the music that inspired them to take up arms for rock’s cause, and it propelled them to their first phase of success as original artists shortly afterwards. They played Chuck Berry, Johnny Kidd, Lieber-Stoller and other root sources for modern music for four hours a night at the Indra Musikclub, resting briefly after dawn at a hotel called Bambi Kino.

Last year, a brave, pleasantly foolhardy group of contemporary rockers adopted the name Bambi Kino to play the same tunes that fired up The Beatles in the same venue in Hamburg. Comprised of Nada Surf’s Ira Elliot (drums, vocals), Cat Power’s Erik Paparazzi (bass, vocals), Maplewood’s Mark Rozzo (guitar, vocals) and Guided By Voices’ Doug Gillard (guitar, vocals), Bambi Kino is no Fabs tribute band. Instead, the quartet puts their shoulders into chestnuts like “Besame Mucho,” “A Shot of Rhythm ‘n’ Blue” and “Crying Waiting Hoping” and unearths the bright, intoxicating zest of these vintage numbers, doing pretty much what The Beatles themselves did – spelunking rock’s early heritage to make something immediate and worth rolling around in.

While performing in Hamburg, Bambi Kino laid down a studio memento of their rowdy residency at the Indra, which arrives March 29th on Tapete Records. Like the early tambourine and wooooh period Beatles, there’s a giddy, devil may care quality to Bambi Kino’s self-titled debut, an infectious whoop that helps one fall for rock all over again. The simplicity and basic quality of these songs sparks great performances from all four guys, and the results make one hope they’ll play a few U.S. cities before they bring this project to a close.

We snagged Mark Rozzo to discuss the band, their concept and what it was like kickin’ it Beatles style in Germany.

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Brandon Young

Delta Spirit

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We set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.

Delta Spirit by Matthew Wignall

Delta Spirit by Matthew Wignall

Chris Robinson once sang, “Some like their water shallow/ I like mine deep, so very deep/ Tied to the bottom with a noose ’round my feet.” This lyric sometimes pops into my head while listening to Delta Spirit, who are an intense bit of deep water who actively tussle with death, God, creation, capital “L” love and other large concepts. There aren’t a lot of chirpy boy-girl ditties in this San Diego band’s oeuvre, but there are tales of Russian revenge, St. Francis and bleeding bells. When they do delve into romance it has a loft and beauty that touches on the best parts of what two people can do for one another, or alternately, what intense wrong humans are capable of. Broadly, there’s not a lot that strikes one as casual about Delta Spirit, yet their music is infused with the joy Noah must have felt when that dove returned to the ark with a twig in his beak – a small, green sign that the flooding days are over and dry land and sunshine are near.

Matthew Vasquez (vocals/guitar), Jon Jameson (bass), Brandon Young (percussion), and Kelly Winrich (multi-instrumentalist) create a sound that’s intense and alluring, often riding the current of Vasquez’s gorgeously cracked voice, slipping past our defenses and tenderizing us from within. Where their instantly striking debut Ode To Sunshine (2008) overflowed with energy and stomping intent, this year’s follow-up History From Below (released June 8) is a subtler, sturdier affair. Helmed by the band with longtime collaborator Elijah Thomson (Everest) and My Morning Jacket keyboardist Bo Koster, History wanders in lush psychological fields, often taking a gentle hand to heavy things and coaxing surprising revelations loose. Everywhere the band shows signs of growth, and that impression continues on the fab new Waits Room EP (released November 16), which features a couple new numbers, including a searing, raunchy version of “John Henry,” and splendid acoustic versions of History’s “Bushwick Blues” and “Devil Knows You’re Dead.” Taken together with Delta Spirit’s positively apostolic live presence, this band is simply one of the best things going today.

Read on to see what Brandon had to say in his chat with the Impound.
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Django Haskins

The Old Ceremony

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7 Minutes In Heaven: The Old CeremonyWe set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.

The Old Ceremony is a rock ‘n’ roll band you should know, and well. Over the past six years this Durham/Chapel Hill, NC group has gone from strength to strength, steadily putting out records with a craftsmanship and aural precociousness that’s impressive in this fast food age. Listen a short while to this band and you won’t doubt they’ll be around for a long, long time. While comparisons to the likes of Joe Henry, Tim Bluhm, The National and Elvis Costello hold some water, The Old Ceremony carve out their own niche, a place of toe-tapping contemplation and clear-eyed storytelling that doesn’t pussyfoot around the warts and scars that dot most real world tales. In their hands, travails seem to dance or at the very least shuffle towards a weary smile.

Their recently released fourth long-player Tender Age is a bittersweet corker packed with songs about the risings and fallings of love and the days spent in between the bright spots. Perversely, tracks with titles like “Ruined My Plans” and “Gun To My Head” are the cheery ones, but that’s part of singer-songwriter Django Haskins’ gift, a sleight of hand with perspective that pours sunshine out of rocky places and finds shadows along a summer seashore. Without hyperbole, Haskins is one of the best young songsmiths going. His work, especially as aided by his fully engaged, empathetic bandmates, is the sort one returns to again and again because it keeps offering up rewards in its tuneful companionship and honest observations. The truth is always refreshing, especially when delivered in such a well composed and executed package like The Old Ceremony.

Read on to see what Django had to say in the Impound’s signature interview segment.
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Jason Gallagher

Leroy Justice

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7 Minutes In Heaven: Leroy JusticeWe set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.

NYC’s Leroy Justice reaffirms one’s faith in rock ‘n’ roll. They aren’t out trying to reinvent anything, but instead choose to refine and rework rock’s best traits, and it’s impossible to miss their enjoyment at sculpting songs and then bashing them around in front of friends & strangers.

The group’s 2009 sophomore slab The Loho Sessions — produced by John Siket, who’s manned consoles for Phish, Sonic Youth, moe. and more – is an end-to-end winner that feels like a friend as you let their truth seeking, goddamn real tunes past your personal armor. Put ’em on a stage and they exude the same kind of roughshod authenticity, musicians whose fruits are born from active engagement with life, unhindered in the long run by all the bad breaks, skinny wallets and untrustworthy confidants. On some level, Leroy Justice’s music is about how one smiles in the face of it all and how we might leave behind all the garbage we drag around in our heads and hearts.

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Drew Goddard


Comments Off on 7 Minutes In Heaven: Karnivool

7 Minutes In Heaven: KarnivoolWe set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.

There’s an ascent and breadth to Perth’s Karnivool that makes rock feel substantive and significant, yet roughed up enough to avoid being pompous. These Australians are just the sort of heavy hitters that fans of Opeth, Dream Theater and other smart, melodic metal should dig, though given a youthful, cocky edge, embodied by their nerd chic lead singer Ian Kenny, who has the fire blast pipes of Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson or Marillion’s Steve Hogarth with some emo spice. The whole thing spins and maneuvers on thick rhythms and spiky, mercurial guitars, bubbling over with volcanic life and beckoning one to surf the hissing flow.

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