Dirty Impound Questionnaire

The Features

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The Features

The Features

The fourth album from Tennessee’s The Features culminates their evolution into a 21st century answer to The Cars – vibrantly modern rock with old school hooks and a prickly, incisive emotional atmosphere, i.e. just the score for moving in stereo with your best friend’s girlfriend. While predecessors Wilderness (2011) and Some Kind of Salvation (2006) are growers that benefit from time and multiple spins, but The Features (released May 14 on Serpents and Snakes) makes the kind of leap INXS took between The Swing and Listen Like Thieves, where all the tumblers fall into alignment and something powerful, an energy that can’t be manufactured, reaches out from within the music – the sound of a band finding their core identity and sharing it with the world.

The whole album crackles with nervous energy, lead singer-guitarist Matt Pelham using a measured tone that explodes into flamethrower intensity at all the right moments. Song after song sticks, music that makes one want to hotwire a Tesla and tool around visiting old flames and broken friendships as the streetlamps shimmer off the silver hood and the night air grows cool and pleasant. Each constituent part – Pelham’s barbed lyrics, spiky guitar and heavy petting voice, the bubbling, analog friendly keys of Mark Bond, the Chic-esque bass slink of Roger Dabbs, and the secret weapon, pay-no-attention-to-me compact grace of drummer Rollum Haas – blend so well, each distinct and complimentary at the same time. One is reminded of the electrifying early work of Roxy Music and 10cc at times – art rock that actually rocks – and that ain’t nothing but positive. As a mission statement, which eponymous albums tend to be, The Features serves notice that one of the strongest bands of the 2000s is firing on all cylinders and has places to go.

We shot DI’s signature questionnaire to the band and here’s what the drummer had to say.

read on for greater decibels

Mix Tape

Brought To You By The Letter…F

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The Impound has been organizing its music archives, and we hit upon the idea of sharing tunes we dig in an alphabetical way. So, for the next few months we’ll be working our way from A-Z with a choice baker’s dozen or so installment each week that includes bands/artists from a single letter.

Our “F” assortment includes DI staples Dan Fogelberg, Fleetwood Mac and Fairport Convention alongside some artists that deserve bigger audiences and critical recognition (The Features, Johnny Flynn and Liam Finn) as well as a monster track from one of our fave-o-rite cult U.K. acts (“Good News Bad News”) named Family. If just one listener decides to explore the Family catalog because of this mix we feel we’re doing God’s work here at the Impound (and you might well start with the killer 2 CD compilation In Their Own Time if you feel so inclined). Now, we’ll shut the “F” up and get rolling…

Listen to this mix HERE. Track listing below.

You can listen to 8tracks mixes on your iPhone (pick up the app here) and Android (pick up the app here).

Uh, we were going to show you a nice picture of Furry Friends with a Fabulous Letter “F” but the Sesame Street gang is still pissed about Romney saying he’s pulling their funding. Looks like it’s gonna be a street fight with the GOP!

track listing

The Free Bird Project

Vanaprasta

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These nice young men are Vanaprasta. They are one of the most future-forward new bands we’ve encountered in a good while, a sound redolent of Radiohead, The Church and other tasty precedents. This Los Angeles-based bunch made the Impound’s Top 11 Debut Albums of 2011, and y’all really should check out Healthy Geometry when you can. San Francisco readers have a chance to check them out live tonight, February 9th, at Cafe Du Nord, where they’ll open for The Features, also a really good band worthy of yo’ ears. A new live clip from Vanaprasta below gives a small sense of their charms, though they generally crackle with an electricity that’s most 21st century. Thanks to the band for lending a “hand” to DI’s middle finger cavalcade.

Vanaprasta

“Color of Sin” by Vanaprasta from Look Sessions on Vimeo.

Are you interested in giving Dirty Impound the finger? Are you in a band? Well, we wanna see whatcha you got, cowboys (and cowgirls)! Send us your birdie pics and we’ll add them to our archive and make sure folks know you cared enough to raise a middle finger for rock! Send pictures to freebird@dirtyimpound.com

Mix Tape

Snack Time I

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Once upon a time, there was a DJ on KALX in Berkeley who carved out time on his public radio shows for a segment called Snack Time, where listeners were encouraged to grab an edible treat and enjoy it whilst a different vision for pop music than the standard commercial one wafted from the speakers. While Snappy The Alligator – Your Radio Pal – no longer surfs the airwaves, Dirty Impound is picking up the torch with a new monthly mix tape filled with finger-snappers the gutless cusses on commercial radio wouldn’t touch but should. Grab yourself something yummy and get ready to wiggle and hum along.

If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.

track listing

Mix Tape

Poundings XXX (Pt. 1)

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T.S. Eliot theorized that each new poem shifted all the other poems that had come before, ever so slightly but a ripple felt. Poets need not be aware of one another’s work for this ripple to roll through, it’s something sensed in the subconscious but nigh impossible to force into words. Rock ‘n’ roll is much the same. To take up instruments and put one’s stamp on rock is to become part of something larger. Yes, only a handful will be household names, icons recognized and widely celebrated. Many efforts will clog the dollar bins at record stores or linger in garages, dust gathering reflections of a dream attempted. Still, it’s commendable that so many try, and I think it’s because even after 60-odd years, rock continues to surprise and delight us. It continues to embolden, enlighten and entertain, not yet fully predictable despite the many ruts some insist on keeping it in. In 2011, it’s not clear where rock will turn. What alleyways will it take us down this year? What new vistas will it reveal? No one knows for sure, and that great unknowing is part of what fires up Dirty Impound.

We offer up this mega-sized 30th installment of our signature mix in honor of Eliot’s notion, the famous and the unknown mingling bumptiously in rock’s great, ever-flowing stream. Listen, let this one take you on a little trip, and please keep coming back to share rock’s grand adventure with us every week. We’d miss you if you didn’t.

Part Two will be published tomorrow.

If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.

track listing