Samantha Promisloff

  • The Glamour of Rufus Wainwright

    "There's nothing like a little glamour, right?" NYC troubadour Rufus Wainwright asked a comfortably packed audience in Atlanta last night (Aug. 13) before taking the stage at the Tabernacle.

  • 'Falling' Back in Love with Ben Kweller

    The air was thick, and patrons were drenched in perspiration, but Ben Kweller barely broke a sweat as he barreled straight through his debut album, Sha Sha, on the first night of a three-night stand at Southpaw that will see the mop-topped songwriter perform each of his three albums in their entirety. Following a raucous and riotously funny opening performance from rapper-cum-country crooner Tim Fite, audience members were provided with commemorative Sha Sha lyric songbooks upon their entry to the overheated bar.

  • Earlimart's Growing Grandeur

    Following the release of 2004's Trembling and Trembling, indie pop mainstays Earlimart is thriving on taking matters into their own hands. Having shed the strong-arm of an outside label or producer, their aptly titled effort Mentor Tormentor is a testament to the Los Angeles-based outfit's graceful growth at the microphone and behind the boards. Available via their own Majordomo imprint Aug. 21, singer/songwriter Aaron Espinoza chiefs production while keyboardist Ariana Murray lends a hand on songwriting duties. On "700>100," Earlimart offers carefully layered acoustic guitars riffing pleasantly with surefire electric licks. The soft-spoken Espinoza emulates Elliott Smith's breathy echoes, and Murray's piano prowess softly but strictly guide his vocals in each chorus.

  • Blinded by "Mystery Lights"

    Having named themselves after PJ Harvey's 2004 album Uh Huh Her, Los Angeles' Uh Huh Her channels just as much vulnerable desire as the revered English songstress. The dreamy electro-pop duo, made up of ex-Mellowdrone bassist/keyboardist Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey, one-half of the '90s alt-rock outfit the Murmurs, and an acclaimed actress on Showtime's The L Word, create a lush soundscape of lilting piano arrangements, percolating electronic threads, and sparkling vocals a la Metric and the now-defunct Organ. On "Mystery Lights," a bonus track featured on the band's iTunes-only I See Red EP, Uh Huh Her showcase a clean-cut delivery of Brian Eno-esque sonic swirls, complete with a haunting two-part harmony. Seasoned musicians in their own right, Grey and Hailey emulate a plugged-in version of Tegan and Sara, but also charge forward with innovative, atmospheric production.

  • Cary Brothers Questions 'Who You Are'

    It's hard to believe that sultry singer/songwriter Cary Brothers is just now releasing his full-length debut years after pining for "Blue Eyes" via Zach Braff's 2004 award-winning Garden State soundtrack. In the video for the album's title track "Who You Are," Brothers literally comes out swinging in an ornate narrative familiar to many of us: the high school prom. Directed by the legendary Phil Harder (Foo Fighters, Incubus, Barenaked Ladies), "Who You Are" depicts your typical silver screen formal finale -- the date dilemma, the outcast rising like a phoenix, demanding his due, and the "special" bowl of punch arranged by bullying tricksters. It's a certified celebration as the video features Brothers' fervent MySpace fans as extras, while Brothers' girlfriend, actress Sarah Jones, who plays Brynn on HBO's Big Love, also makes a cameo.

  • A New Club 'Standard'

    Already a favorite in the Spanish press, the success of Spain's We Are Standard has become the stuff of miracles and mentors. The daring dance-rock quintet, who has also performed alongside the Cure, Dinosaur Jr., and LCD Soundsystem, joined native Spanish producer Carlos Hernandez to perfect the dynamic rock beats of 3000v-40000w, the dance-tastic outfit's forthcoming debut LP, out Aug. 7th via Minty Fresh. On "On the Floor," We Are Standard goes for level 2.0 of disco decadence thanks to a remix from Mimoloco and Dr. J. The track surpasses the level of their lavish Latin counterparts such as CSS as it preserves much of the original instrumentation provided solely by We Are Standard's musical masterminds.

  • The XYZ Affair

    Who? Born out of a high school garage and an ages-old American history lesson, lead singer/guitarist Alex Feder began operating under The XYZ Affair moniker as a multi-talented musician in the early 2000s. It wasn't until he met equally skilled bandmates Russ Maschmeyer (keys/guitar/vocals), Sam Rockwell (drums) and Chris 'Bones' Bonner (bass/vocals) at NYU years later that the band began to cause a stir. They currently call Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood home. What's the Deal? After a string of EP recordings, The XYZ Affair independently unleashed their full-length debut A Few More Published Studies earlier this summer. It's the disjointed decadence of Modest Mouse and a sound that soars like the Killers, supplemented by a Decemberists-like literacy (see the Great Gatsby reference in "Little Fool").

  • Colin Meloy Lends His Mind to Comedy Central

    Colin Meloy: creative mastermind behind the Decemberists, Stephen Colbert's former nemesis, choice comedian? Indeed. The intelli-pop ingénue continues to make his mark on the Comedy Central network thanks to an upcoming vocal cameo on the animated series Lil' Bush. The irreverent new show has been boasting belly laughs all summer long, making the trials and tribulations of the President just a little loveable as he's depicted as no more than a two-dimensional Weeble. Previous episodes have featured the likes of punk rock diplomat Iggy Pop as "Lil' Rummy" and his holiness Jeff Tweedy as none other than God, or affectionately known as "Goddy" to the miniature Commander-in-Chief.

  • Robbers on High Street's 'Fatal' Fantasy

    Building on the dynamic multi-instrumentalism of their 2005 debut, Tree City, Robbers on High Street deliver their delightfully ambitious follow up, Grand Animals. The NYC craftsmen are in full form, expanding on their textured and lively melodies that manage to excel epic proportions while reaching for the heartstrings, too. The new LP features excellent experimentation care of howling horns and symphonic strings arranged by Daniele Luppi, former collaborator to the likes of Gnarls Barkley and John Legend. On "The Fatalist," the trio's enjoyable repertoire weaves effortlessly, colored with foxtrot foot taps and prominent bass plucks. The sound recalls the organic sunny day '60s pop of Voxtrot with song-written scenes that could have come from Sufjan Stevens.

  • The GO is Sweet on 'Caroline'

    It's an age-old pop culture plot: the bully with a hidden heart of gold. Everyone knows even the boldest bad boys can get the blues -- and on The GO's fourth LP Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride, the brash quartet's signature raucous energy takes a backseat to lo-fi, off-kilter harmonies riding shotgun. "Caroline" is a song exemplifying the most endearing and elementary of pop classics as if the Zombies and the Kinks made up with Dr. Dog following a schoolyard fist fight. With sweeping riffage, dissonant piano plunks, and hidden saxophone bits, The GO gets a little soft rock. But frontman Bobby Harlow, the menacing Detroit rocker who brought us the sneering garage rock staple "Whatcha Doin'" in 1999, appears pretty comfortable with that.

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