Monthly Archives: June 2010

FEB005: “Almost Verbose” by Brilliant at Breakfast

Brilliant at Breakfast formed out of a series of curious coincidences. The band aims to take bedroom musicianship further with cheap instruments, cookies and coffee, and riddles with no answers.

The band is influenced by Sarah Records bands, Amelia Fletcher, Scottish and Swedish pop bands, as well as the writings of Lewis Carroll, e.e.cummings and Lemony Snicket. The result is perky, childish, whimsical songs with themes ranging from comic book superheroes and Greek mythology, to the more mundane things of everyday life (end-of-vacation blues, intoxicating drinks, sugary drinks and unrequited crushes).

They are currently based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, missing the equator by just about a few hundred kilometers — not that it matters.

RIYL: Annemarie, Tender Trap, Heavenly, Talulah Gosh, The Pastels, Acid House Kings

February 4, 2009: Review of “Strawberry V” single on Skatterbrain:

I don’t quite remember how it was that I happened upon Brilliant at Breakfast’s quaint little MySpace page, but my breakfast this morning (no kidding!) was all the much better for it! … While browsing through their comments, I noticed that they seem to be pals with Annemarie, which makes perfect sense given two points: they’re both from Indonesia, they both play pop songs with equal doses of sunshine and whimsy. It’s not too early to start thinking about Spring, and this song is the perfect way to get yourself in the mood!

EDIT: June 23, 2010: Almost Verbose posted on area 51 del corazon blog.

EDIT: June 24, 2010: Almost Verbose on Happy Pocket blog.

EDIT: June 25, 2010: Almost Verbose mentioned on Beerandbands:

February records (yep them again!) can’t seem to stop putting out stuff of quality at the moment. This time it’s a duo of free downloads for you to wrap your ears round. One is by Brilliant at Breakfast, an E.P entitled Almost Verbose who make absolutely lovely stuff that you owe it to yourself to listen to …

EDIT: June 26, 2010: Almost Verbose reviewed on Eardrums:

I’m completely in love with their latest release, from the Indonesian band Brilliant At Breakfast. I’ve been aware of this band for some time, and have been waiting for a release from them. “Almost Verbose” is the title of the ep, and it includes four very good, sweet and melodic indiepop-songs. Brilliant At Breakfast sound brilliant also at lunch and dinner-time.

EDIT: July 1, 2010: Almost Verbose reviewed on Side Ponytail:

“Splashdown,” the first song on Brilliant at Breakfast’s new EP, Almost Verbose, starts out with the white noise of seagulls and waves crashing, and segues seamlessly into a sad and sincere personal narrative accentuated by keyboards, egg shakers, and great vocals that remind me of rocket or chiritori. Brilliant at Breakfast have a soft, sincere sound that reminds me of something you might come across through Shelflife Records, like The Shermans, Moving Pictures, or Language of Flowers. For all the sweetness of Brilliant at Breakfast’s sound, some of their lyrics tend toward the darker side, exploring heartbreak, disappointment, confusion about one’s place in life — it’s a delicate balance to maintain between their music and lyrics, but they do a lovely job.

EDIT: July 3, 2010: Almost Verbose included on Burning World’s Pod Fodder.

EDIT: July 7, 2010: Almost Verbose reviewed on A Layer Of Chips:

Their myspace page features three precious little songs designed to put a freshly washed duvet over your worries and whisk you off to somewhere a little less stressful. Brilliant at Breakfast remind me a less peppy A Smile and a Ribbon, or, at times the late Harvest Ministers.

EDIT: July 9, 2010: Almost Verbose reviewed on The Streetlamp Doesn’t Cast Her Shadow Anymore:

The Almost Verbose EP by Brilliant at Breakfast is a fantastic slice of breezy, twee-pop from Indonesia. … the EP has been a particular favourite of both mine and Ray’s this week. I’m not sure why there are so many great twee-pop bands from this part of the world at the moment.

EDIT: Aug. 4, 2010: Almost Verbose reviewed on Russell’s Reviews:

Next up is the Almost Verbose EP (February Records) by Brilliant At Breakfast. Splashdown is lounge music with gorgeous coquettish female vocals, an even more sensual Sarah Cracknell if you will. Beautiful stuff indeed. Strawberry V is an infectiously catchy breezy bit of summer pop like The Lucksmiths used to make. Nobody Ever Died Of A Broken Heart is some delightful whimsy with a scary pay off, while If Monday’d Never Come is brisk twee pop, like the Concretes gone fey.

EDIT: Aug. 25, 2010: Brilliant at Breakfast on indie-mp3 blog:

You can download two slices of luscious Indonesian indie-pop from Brilliant At Breakfast … It’s the follow up to their free EP which was released on February Records earlier this year. One for fans of all things Sarah Records.

EDIT: Aug. 30, 2010: Almost Verbose reviewed on 0001763 blog:

this ep is fantastic. sweet, soft and catchy indonesian bedroom pop. a must see.

FEB007: “Complications” by Secret Charisma

Brad San Martin has secret charisma. He is Secret Charisma, a one-man home-recording project composed of off-kilter pop songs, audio experiments, conceptual quandaries and frozen moments.

Best known as a member of One Happy Island, the internationally-known micro-orchestral Boston pop collective, San Martin has also been known to contribute onstage instrumental support to bands such as Let’s Whisper, the Marshmallow Kisses, Boy Genius and King Wilkie.

In 2009, WeePOP! Records released his self-titled debut EP — actually a 14-minute headphone opera about coming home — which featured a cast of indiepop luminaries, including Kristin Andreassen, Nichole Ferree, Desmond Reed and Mark Robinson.

His new single, “Complications,” is drawn from the upcoming 22-track anthology Satellites: Home Recordings & Demos, 2004-2009 (Casa Nueva Industries, CN-1010). “Complications” features two b-sides unavailable elsewhere: “Angel, Please,” a propulsive lo-fi pop song, and “Lord Thomas,” a disarming, unsettling version of an ancient murder ballad.

RIYL: One Happy Island, Colin Clary, Desmond Reed, Monster Bobby, Andrew Bird, The Lucksmiths

EDIT: June 24, 2010: “Complications” on Happy Pocket blog.

EDIT: June 25, 2010: “Complications” mentioned on Beerandbands:

February records (yep them again!) can’t seem to stop putting out stuff of quality at the moment. This time it’s a duo of free downloads for you to wrap your ears round. … the other is Secret Charisma which is the side project of Brad from One Happy Island who, by the way, are wonderful.

EDIT: June 26, 2010: “Complications” reviewed on Eardrums:

Another goodie from the same label is the new ep from Secret Charisma, a solo-project from One Happy Island‘s Brad San Martin. The three songs on this ep are folky, lo-fi pop-songs with the same fun and interesting twists and turns we know from his main band. The three songs are quite different from each other, from the indiepop title track “Complications”, via the very lo-fi ukulele song “Angel, please” to a perfect ending with the classic folk-ballad “Lord Thomas”. The ep is freely available from this address, – also highly recommended.

EDIT: June 26, 2010: “Complications” on area 51 del corazon blog.

EDIT: July 1, 2010: “Complications” reviewed on Side Ponytail:

Instrumentally, these songs are pure pop with sweet ukulele strumming and soft, melodic keyboards … . “Angel, Please” a simple, strummy ukulele song is my favorite of the three and it’s sandwiched neatly between the keyboard-poppy title track and “Lord Thomas,” an understated traditional-sounding ballad that closes out the single. There’s a lot of variety in these three songs, which makes me curious about what other genres might be explored on the forthcoming Satellites.

EDIT: July 15, 2010: “Complications” reviewed on Burning World’s Pod Fodder:

This is a track from another one of those free singles made available by the very nice people at February Records. According to the catalogue number it’s the seventh release on the label and as far as I’m concerned they’ve yet to miss the target. This one is by a band called Secret Charisma who according to the press release is the one man home recording project of Brad San Martin who might be better known for being in One Happy Island, a track from whom was featured in last weeks Fodder. The single is a taster for the forthcoming album “Satellites, Home Recordings & Demos 2004-2009” which will be released by Casa Nueva Industries at some point in the not too distant future.

EDIT: Aug. 4, 2010: “Complications” reviewed on Russell’s Reviews:

… “Lord Thomas” however is fantastic, some kind of ghostly folk song. It’s something that’s been plucked from the realms of folklore and resurrected through a haze of wistfulness.

Feb.Recs showcase at Ideat Village Festival

February Records has been asked to host a showcase at this year’s Ideat Village festival in New Haven.

Now in its ninth year, Ideat Village began as a response — and something of a challenge — to New Haven’s massively-funded International Festival of Arts and Ideas. From the Ideat Village Facebook page: “Ideat Village organically sprouted as a direct response to the vanishing opportunities for local artists to participate in New Haven’s multi-million dollar International Festival of Arts and Ideas — to the rave reviews of local artists and musicians, and to the consternation of the recognized ‘Art Establishment’. Ideat Village is produced each year entirely on small independent donations and community goodwill; the festival is run by artists, for artists and the community.”

We’ll be presenting three bands that will all have releases on February Records in the coming months:

The Tyler Trudeau Attempt will be releasing a 7″ single in preparation for their upcoming full-length album. TTTA play catchy powerpop and is a staple on New Haven stages.

Ghost of Chance will be releasing their debut full-length through Feb.Recs. The band boasts Jayson Munro, previously of The Striders; George Moore; David Corsak; and Mark Niciu, of The Wee Bees and previously of The Inclined Plane. Ghost of Chance will be making their live debut at Ideat Village.

The Wee Bees have plans for an upcoming single and EP. They’ve been playing out a lot — hitting Cafe Nine, Bru Cafe and Two Boots since making their live debut in March at ArtSpace New Haven. The Wee Bees play jazzy, shoegaze-inspired pop with an ’80s and ’90s feel to it.

Catch the February Records showcase Saturday, June 26 from 5-7 p.m. at Pitkin Plaza on Orange St. in New Haven.

FEB003: “New Lives” by The Cavemen Go

The Cavemen Go. Yes, they do. Hailing from New Haven, Conn., Boston, Mass. and Brooklyn, NY, The Cavemen Go have kept going through more than a half decade; through two EPs (2003’s The Cavemen Go and 2005’s Never Part Again) and a full-length; through countless shows at clubs, bars, cafes and festivals. Through it all, they’ve come to be recognized as one of the finest pop bands in the Northeastern United States, consistently solid in songcraft and performance, constantly growing and honing their sound to an ever-sharper point.

From the time The Cavemen Go first emerged as a duo (singer/guitarist Jeremy Sage and drummer Bob Rock) in 2003, the band was markedly distinct from their Connecticut peers. Sage’s songwriting channels the no-frills, hook-heavy sounds of early rock’n’roll without coming off as self-consciously retro. His lyrics and singing convey an unabashedly-hopeful romanticism, but the kind tempered with dry wit and emotional ambiguity. Those creative tendencies have continued.

New Lives, recorded by the members of the band (Jeremy, Bob, keyboardist/singer Emily Hamar-McMinn and former bassist John Varrone) in an empty apartment above a lawyer’s office sees The Cavemen Go further fusing the past and the present. The Brill Building/British Invasion/Motown influences are still there, as are nods to the poppier end of contemporary indie rock. There are even shades of country and folk-rock. Simultaneously modern and classic, nuanced and efficient, New Lives showcases the band’s punchiest, most urgent melodies yet. With the arrival of new bassist/vocalist Brian LaRue, The Cavemen Go are poised for yet another exciting chapter.

RIYL: Elvis Costello, The Kinks, Ben Lee, The Cars, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

July 8, 2009: Review on Metromix Connecticut blog:

For more than half a decade, the Cavemen Go have been churning out some of the finest no-frills pop-rock in the Northeast.

July 10, 2009: Review in New Haven Register:

I’ve received a couple EPs from the band over the years, but “New Lives” is the first LP. And it’s worth the wait. It’s a timeless set of 12 songs that really will turn out to be one of the finest releases of the year, local or national. Sage just has a way with making tunes that are instantly hummable, but also intelligent and surprising. There’s no denying a strong Costello and early Ben Lee connection, but the band also breaks out some Motown and indie influences.

November 8, 2009: Review in New Haven Advocate:

Think about the Kinks and Elvis Costello, and if you smile, you’ll probably be into The Cavemen Go. Following the requisite series of EPs, TCG finally released their debut full-length New Lives earlier this year, solidifying their place as one of the top bands in the state. They’ve got jangly guitars, oohs and ahs, playful melodies, truly thoughtful lyrics and just a touch of punk rock attitude.

January 8, 2010: Included on New Haven Register’s “Best Local Music of ’09” list:

There’s not much that can be said about singer/songwriter Jeremy Sage and the rest of The Cavemen Go that hasn’t already be said. Pitch-perfect pop that combines The Kinks and Elvis Costello? Yep. A modernized ’60s garage rock sound? Absolutely. “The New Lives” a great album? You know it.

EDIT: June 21, 2010: Review on Beerandbands:

New Lives by The Cavemen Go, is the latest release from February Records (formerly Tweefort) so it probably won’t be a suprise to regular readers that although I’m not sure about the bands name, I do know that I like this record quite a lot. I don’t know how February do it, they just seem to have a knack for finding great bands. … I could write reams about this album but the bottom line is this, if you like artists like Elvis Costello (lyrics and music), and The Kinks, 60’s pop, harmonies and modern indie rock, and you’d like all this to also sound like something new, then this is definitely a record that would only enhance your record shelf.

EDIT: July 1, 2010: Review on Side Ponytail:

New Lives is a rock/pop album that reminds of music I grew up listening to: Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Squeeze. Songs like “Forget it Claudia” and “We’re Not That Different” have that vibe especially. The piano in “We’re Not That Different” really reminds me of something you might hear on an Elvis Costello record. … I’ve been listening to songs like “Less Than Zero” by Elvis Costello and “So It Goes” by Nick Lowe on an endless loop lately. New Lives fits neatly into that pattern while offering something new.

EDIT: July 18, 2010: Short review on Beehive Candy:

Reminds us of listening to British sixties offshore radio stations like Radio Caroline (yes of course we were to young – obviously hmmm) and yet it switches to a modern feel so I guess in some ways that makes it kind of timeless, enjoy these people, they are good!