Staff Trax: The Philistines Jr., Typhoon, Kylesa, Amy Cook and Fences

Welcome to Staff Trax, the weekly feature here on DC9 where we shed some light on the music we've been enjoying of late, regardless of the touring or album release schedules that tend to bear the focus of most of our coverage. Consider it a chance for you readers to get some more insight into our own personal tastes. Maybe you'll find something you like, ya dig?

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The Philistines Jr. -- "Twenty Miles to NH"


Brothers Peter and Tarquin Katis have been making experimental pop music under The Philistines Jr. moniker since 1990. Hailing from Connecticut, the band has received some critical buzz, but has never broken out of cult status. Such non-success resulted in the Katis brothers putting the band on hold and going on to other projects. Some might recall Peter's name--he has produced efforts by Interpol, The National and Jonsi. And those successful production stints have allowed The Philistines Jr. to come out of hiding and release a brand new effort, the fairly remarkable If a Band Plays in the Woods...? Sounding more confident in the recording studio, the Katis Brothers have created a record that is much more accomplished than anything they've done in the past. Echoes of Yo La Tengo, Sparklehorse and Brian Eno appear in songs like "The Bus Stop Song" and the spooky, Halloween-themed "Twenty Miles to NH". No word on a tour, but if there is one and if it comes close, I will be there. --Darryl Smyers

Typhoon -- Starting Over (Bad Habits)


I was in Portland this past weekend, where I had the pleasure of stumbling across the above band. An 11-piece not altogether unlike Fort Worth's Own Telegraph Canyon, albeit of a more twee nature than Telegraph's sometimes rowdy alt-country leanings (as, I guess, can be expected of each's geographic backgrounds), Typhoon's sound isn't unlike what you'd expect given its name. Using a wide range of instrumentation, the band's baroque folk-rock washes over its listeners at different paces--sometimes softly, and other times, crashing over you in waves. It's a pleasurable combination, for sure, and one that the band employs quite well on its debut, Hunger & Thirst, released earlier this year on upstart indie Portland label Tender Loving Empire. Well worth the listen. --Pete Freedman

Kylesa - "Tired Climb"


Here's a good way to grab my attention: a metal band that doesn't strictly play within metal's boundaries, has two drummers, and is labelmates with the Dillinger Escape Plan. While I've mixed up their name with Kyuss before, I think it's safe to say that after the band's upcoming album, Spiral Shadow, from which the above song is culled, I won't make the same mistake with Kylesa, which plays the Palladium on Saturday night. --Eric Grubbs

Amy Cook -- "Hotel Lights"

 
This is one of the few albums from our mailroom that I've gone back to rather frequently since I first gave it a spin. While it's perhaps too easy of a comparison given their splendidly smoky growls, Cook's work will no doubt appeal to fans of Lucinda Williams. Don't let that dissuade you, though, Lucinda-haters: Cook's voice actually contains a great deal of warmth and displays plenty of timely, delicate flourishes. And her overall body of work waltzes through far more diverse terrain than your average singer-songwriter or alt-country act does. Soul, blues, pop and straight-ahead rock are all here for the soaking in. --Kelly Dearmore

Fences - "Girls With Accents"

 

Chris Mansfield sings "I'm fucking up / I'm fucking up everything" in this new single, albeit a little too somberly, a la Conor Oberst. But, apart from that, he seems to be a largely original product with a broken mold--and one hell of a collection of face tats. (Yikes.) His new CD has wonderful potential to soar on uncensored/satellite/Internet radio--and maybe even on commercial/terrestrial readio if they don't botch the "clean edit" too badly. A special bonus tidbit: Fences' new CD is produced by Sara Quin, of Tegan and Sara fame. --Alan Ayo

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