MP3 At 3PM: Tidelands

Tidelands, Gabriel Leis and Mie Araki, again teamed up with the Magik*Magik Orchestra, currently on tour supporting Death Cab For Cutie, to record its sophomore album,We’ve Got A Map (out August 7 via Redgummy). The first single, “The New Black,” is a Moog-infused pop/rock song that proclaims, “The new black is denial.”  Download the song below.

“The New Black” (download):

Ryan Monroe: Feeling Swell

Band Of Horses’ Ryan Monroe digs that (partly) sunny SoCal vibe.

“The Darkness Will Be Gone” (download):

Ryan Monroe hadn’t considered himself a control freak by nature. Then he found himself at Redstar Recording in Silver Lake, Calif., with its myriad instruments scattered around, just begging to be fiddled with. For a guy who can play just about anything, it was impossible to resist.

“The second floor is nothing but a bunch of vibraphones and crazy pianos and organs,” says Monroe. “And the bottom floor is a studio with a bunch of the coolest shit you could ever imagine.”

Monroe was taking a breather from his continuing role as the 34-year-old bastion of versatility in Band Of Horses to record A Painting Of A Painting On Fire (RCM). Once he saw the mother lode at Redstar, he had just one request for producer Chris Testa, a multiple Grammy winner for his work on the Dixie Chicks’ Taking The Long Way. “I explained to him that I wanted to play everything on the record,” he says.

Monroe got his wish—and then some: Some of the tunes originally had more than 120 different tracks. “It turned into subtraction more than addition; Chris has a super grasp on arrangements and stuff,” says Monroe, who worked with Testa to purge and consolidate upward of 100 demos. “He really sat down and gave the songs a good haircut.”

Not that a rash notion or two doesn’t occasionally surface on the album’s 11 tunes, accounting for titles like “Doritoys” and “Any Way, Shape Or Deformity.”

“All lot of these songs I wrote in a pretty crazy state of mind,” Monroe admits. “I’d drink, drink, drink, wake up, then press play and go, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’”

In its finished form, A Painting is a thoughtful, impressively executed, alternately goofy and sinister song cycle. Any of its more excessive tendencies are largely tempered by a toasty, soulful Southern California glow. At times, it’s uncanny how much Monroe sounds like Joe Walsh—pickled disposition and all—in his ’70s-era prime. And Monroe couldn’t be happier with such comparisons.

“Driving into the studio every day, the local radio station was always playing Bob Seger,” says Monroe, a South Carolina native who now lives with his girlfriend in Boston. “But Joe Walsh—man, bring it on. I also love all that Laurel Canyon stuff.”

Monroe hopes to tour this summer behind A Painting before things get too busy with Band Of Horses, which is finishing its fourth album with producer Glyn Johns and eyeing a September release. “I’m trying to put together some shows,” he says. “Otherwise, like my dad says, I’ll be sitting around eating Cheetos wondering why my underwear is orange.”

Beyond that, he’s predicting a speedy turnaround for A Painting’s follow-up. “I’m kind of playing catch-up right now,” he says. “The next two or three or four records will come out pretty quick.”

—Hobart Rowland

MP3 At 3PM: Bailterspace

Return to form? Maybe. It’s more like just a return to music for indie veterans and MAGNET faves Bailterspace. Strobosphere (Fire) is the band’s first album in 13 years. “No Sense,” its first single, definitely seems like Bailterspace song, but with a diverse-sounding band like this one, anything with deadpanning and distortion could sound like it. Download “No Sense” below.

“No Sense” (download):