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FROM THE VAULT: Nanci Griffith – Lone Star State Of Mind

Nanci Griffith Lone Star State of Mind

Digging around in WOBC’s vault of folk vinyl for my country show last summer, I came across a compilation called Country and Eastern. I didn’t think I would like it because the part of country that is western and not eastern is what usually appeals to me. But on that record is a track by Nanci Griffith (“I Wish It Would Rain”) that got me thinking beyond the parameters of raspy old man country music.

It turns out that we’ve got a whole lot of Nanci Griffith in the vault here, including her 1986 album Lone Star State of Mind. The record does well what country music does best: songs about really sad things that don’t make you sad, and songs about getting out of town. My favorite is “Ford Econoline,” because I love songs about ladies pursuing happiness by taking to the open road, and “Cold Hearts/Closed Minds” is a really sweet contribution to the I’m-gonna-leave-you-in-the-morning classification of sad songs. -Stella

— Side One —
Lone Star State Of Mind
Cold Hearts / Closed Minds
From A Distance
Beacon Street
Nickel Dreams
Sing One For Sister

— Side Two —
Ford Econoline
Trouble In The Fields
Love In A Memory
Let It Shine On Me
There’s A Light Beyond These Woods (Mary Margaret)

Band on the Rise: Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings - Didn't You

On paper, pop music is in a kind of dismal state. It’s tough to find true innovators, and imitators are a dime a dozen. I don’t see it as a problem, though; instead, it presents a challenge. In order to make their marks, bands and artists need to find innovative ways of mimicry. Pop music has a lexicon, one out of which people can define their own voices.  A lot of current bands start off by showing you that they’ve done their listening homework, then showing you they can run with the lessons they learned from their favorite records. Best-case scenario, it’s a lot of fun to see where they land.

Cleveland’s own Cloud Nothings is one of those fun bands. In the last year or so, they’ve put out a slew of records that are as catchy as they are difficult to pin down. At the station, we’ve gotten the Didn’t You 7,” and the full-lengths Turning On and Cloud Nothings. Didn’t You consists solely of a pair of songs: the title track, and “Even if it Worked Out” on the flip side. The most striking thing here-–and on the albums as well-–is CN mastermind Dylan Baldi’s serious songwriting chops. These two songs are dripping with the same kind of effortless cool and combination of earnestness and devil-may-care panache that made both The Strokes and The Cars household names. Oh, and they’re catchy. Really, really catchy.

Didn’t You sets a high bar for the Cloud Nothings, and its one that Turning On matches. In particular, songs like “Another Man,” “Morgan,” and the title track have the shambolic, analog charm that’s quickly becoming a staple of the Cloud Nothings’ sound. It’s a consistently strong album, and that’s what’s so impressive for such a young band (sorry guys, it was going to come up sooner or later). There are songs that you’ll like better than others, but none of the songs could be taken as filler. Turning On shows Baldi’s range in a way that Didn’t You simply can’t (by virtue of its brevity). Both songs on the 7” come and go pretty quick (and merit repeating), but songs like “Hey Cool Kid” go by slowly enough to sink in.

The band’s most recent full-length — self-titled —  picks up right where Turning On left off. I’m hesitant to hurl an epithet like “mature” at this record, but for lack of anything better it’ll have to do. Powerpop gems like “Nothing’s Wrong” and “All The Time” have the same breathless urgency that made the 7″ and Turning On so charming, but songs like “Forget You All the Time” have a kind of elegiac, shimmering quality that offsets Baldi’s snottier moments. Sometimes Baldi pits these two styles against each other: “Understand it All,” would be another furious  romp  if it weren’t for Baldi’s nod to the Beach Boys’ textbook heartbreaker “You Still Believe in Me” seconds in. That Baldi uses the sour-to-sweet trick sparingly reveals a kind of poise rarely found in this line of work.

Whether or not Baldi’s breaking new ground is irrelevant. I could name-drop bands that sound like the Cloud Nothings for a while, and some of you could go on even longer, but it’s a pointless exercise. This early on in his career, Baldi seems primed to vault to the front of the powerpop pack on the strength of his innate knack for hooks, and his grasp of this sound. What’s scary is that he’s just getting started. (Matt Orenstein)

For more music, check out their Myspace

RIYL, briefly: The Cars, The Strokes, Dillinger Four, The Cranberries, and The Mice (Cloud Nothings of yesteryear)

Cloud Nothings – Didn’t You
Cloud Nothings – Even If It Worked Out

FROM THE VAULT: Vanity 6 – Drive Me Wild 12″

Vanity 6
From the Vault is a reoccurring feature where fearless DJs plunge into the depths of the station vaults to bring you the freshest stuff gone stale! In addition to a massive LP collection, we’re also sitting on hundreds of 45s eager to see the light of day. Enjoy!
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This single from 1982 was a minor hit for Vanity 6, a girl group trio formed and produced by Prince under the pseudonym Jamie Starr and the Starr ☆ Company. “Drive Me Wild” and its rockin’ B-side, “Bite The Beat,” appear on Vanity 6’s only full-length album, their self-titled debut release (pictured above). According to unconfirmed sources, Prince had been wanting to mentor a girl singer or group since the late ’70s when he saw the film A Star is Born starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. “Drive Me Wild” is everything you’d expect from a tune ghost-written by Prince, featuring sultry spoken female vocals: you’ll be stepping back and forth in no time at all. -Will Floyd

Vanity 6 – Bite The Beat
Vanity 6 – Drive Me Wild

FROM THE VAULT: The Three O’Clock – Sixteen Tambourines

The Three O'Clock - Sixteen Tambourines

From the Vault is a reoccurring feature where fearless DJs plunge into the depths of the station vaults to bring you the freshest stuff gone stale! In addition to a massive vinyl collection, we’re also sitting on hundreds and hundreds of 45s, lots of which are super rad and super rare. Enjoy!
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Here’s a gem from the WOBC vault. A good friend of mine showed me this record at the end of last year and, sure enough, a copy was buried in the pop vault.

The Three O’Clock were a part of the Paisley Underground scene in L.A. during the early 1980s. Young bassist and frontman, Michael Quercio, coined the term “Paisley Underground” as a joke meant to distinguish bands like Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, and the Bangles (early days) from the hardcore punk scene prevalent at the time.

Sixteen Tambourines was the first full length released by The Three O’Clock under that name. A different lineup led by Michael Querico played earlier under the name The Salvation Army. The band continued to record until the late ’80s releasing their final album in 1988. However, Sixteen Tambourines is by far the most enjoyable of their releases. A great pop album. Michael Querico’s vocal melodies and the occasional horn lines are highlights. -Will Floyd

–Side One–
Jet Fighter
Stupid Einstein
And So We Run
Fall To The Ground
A Day In Erotica

–Side Two–
Tomorrow
In My Own Time
The Three OClock – On My Own
The Three OClock – When Lightning Starts
Seeing Is Believing

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Also, check out this strange roller rink inspired music video for “Her Head’s Revolving,” 
the single off of their 1985 album, Arrive Without Travelling.

Teengirl Fantasy – “Koi Pond” from full-length 7AM

TEENGIRL FANTASY – KOI POND (Ivy Meadows Visual Dub) from Camilla Padgitt-Coles on Vimeo.

Oberlin’s own Teengirl Fantasy–a.k.a. Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi–recently released their debut full-length, 7AM, on True Panther Sounds. Check out this SWEET CUT off that LP, “Koi Pond,” and a visual dub from Camilla Padgitt-Coles.

You can grab 7AM, LP and mp3 from true panther, also iTunes. — will

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

After more than ten years, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti manages to stay relevant despite the current over saturation of the chillwave/chillcore/chillout/dreamwave/dreampop genre. With the release of their latest single, “Round and Round,” from the album, Before Today, the band sprints ahead of the pack.

The song includes elements that can be found on previous Haunted Graffiti albums, such as Ariel’s frequent use of harmony and poppy melodies, and gives them some extra attention in the production studio. The listener is left with a shinier, more polished sound than what can be found on previous albums.

Not only does the song boast better production quality, but it is more accessible than past singles. “Round and Round” is catchy, infused with highly melodic vocals over a steady, bouncy baseline. Although it’s a pop song that can rival any on the airwaves today, Pink’s unique sound is undoubtedly at its core. The song chooses to employ the help of a mid tempo beat that stays constant throughout and works well with the baseline. “Round and Round” is driven by its instrumental elements and Pink, singing more clearly than usual, sews all of the parts of the song together with well-crafted vocal tracks.

Plenty of artists are associated with the baby-making genre that is currently flooding the radio waves and invading dancefloors everywhere. Ariel Pink is not one of them. The music from previous albums, home recordings wrapped in indiscernible lyrics, manipulated vocals and driven by distorted synthesizers and guitars, usually doesn’t come to mind when the candles are low and your special gentleman or lady friend is looking for inspiration. But with the release of “Round and Round,” the band has the potential of earning a place in the hearts of poorly-lit dancefloor patrons everywhere. Whether intentional or not, the song is sexy in its own right and marks a new era for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. — Aba Essel

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Round and Round