Passionate About Passion Pit

Passion Pit is an infectious new band from Boston with a sweet little back-story. Frontman/mastermind/good boyfriend(?) Michael Angelakos originally wrote and recorded four of the six songs on Passion Pit’s upcoming Chunk Of Change EP as a belated Valentine’s Day present for his girlfriend. All together now: “aww!”

But seriously folks, this is no gimmick. Just some damn good songwriting, and one of the most exciting artists signed to Frenchkiss Records since, well, The Dodos. Their songs are spirited, energetic and catchy, proving to be the kinds of earworms that you actually want to hear running through your head when you wake up in the morning (sorry, Leona Lewis, I’m kicking you out of my head). Any given day at Rind HQ you can hear Passion Pit coming out of someone’s speakers, and we are some discriminating listeners! If you don’t want to take our word for it, just ask anyone who saw the band open for Girl Talk, Death Cab For Cutie, or any of the other notable artists they’ve warmed the stage for (and by warming, we mean burning up). They’ve also received quite a bit of love in the online world of late, surely with more to come.

Passion Pit is already one week into a residency at New York’s Pianos, so that means you New Yorkers can still catch them on 8-20 or 8-27! They’re also playing a couple of shows in their hometown of Boston, along with festivals Monolith and Pop Montreal.

Chunk of Change hits all digital retail stores on September 16th, but until then you can check out the band’s Myspace and download one of the tracks that Angelakos didn’t write for his girlfriend right here:

MP3: Passion Pit – Sleepyhead

The Daily Rind Podcast: Week of August 12th

Some ‘Rind readers may be familiar with our weekly podcast – a selection of 5 tracks we’re digging with some cool bump music and a little narration for good measure. As a humble blog, we rarely call attention to it. But as with all tides, this one’s turning. From here on out, we’ll be proudly pointing it out with each new episode. Grab the latest Daily Rind podcast here, subscribe to it on iTunes here, or catch up on past episodes here.

The Daily Rind Podcast: Week of August 11th

Track 1: Dirty Digital “Sodapopinski” from Sodapopinski [Bandit Productions]
Track 2: Vordul Mega “Megagraphitti” from Megagraphitti [Backwoodz Studioz]
Track 3: Invizzibl Men “Jimmy Swagger” from The Unveiling [Backwoodz Studioz]
Track 4: Passion Pit “Sleepyhead” from Chunk Of Change [Frenchkiss]
Track 5: The Vandals “Change The World With My Hockey Stick” from BBC Sessions & Other Polished Turds [Kung Fu]
Bump music: RJD2 “Mooore” from Magnificent City Instrumentals [Decon]

Como One, Como All

Mark your calendars and shine your dancing shoes for Tuesday, August 19th. Daptone Records, home of home of soul sensations Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Staten Island funky instrumentalists Budos Band will be celebrating the release of Como Now: The Voices of Panola County, MS, with a free party at Brooklyn bar Savalas. The album collects traditional and contemporary gospel music as sung by the residents of small town Como, Mississippi on July 22nd, 2006 at Mt. Mariah Church.  And while it’s unlikely that any of these amazing singers will make the trek to Brooklyn to mark the album’s release, you should. With the Daptone DJs on deck, things are guaranteed to get funky.


The first time I heard The Homosexuals‘ song “Astral Glamour,” I knew I had found a great thing. Buzzcocks plus XTC plus Wire. An obscure nervy late ’70s / early ’80s UK “missing link” between punk,  power-pop, and glam. Wow!
In 2004, I bought a 3CD set of their entire recorded output from 1978-84, lovingly compiled by the crate-diggers at Hyped2Death. In all, eighty-one expertly disjointed song snippets. Some brilliant pop, some weird and experimental, kinda like The Faust Tapes. I thought that was the last I’d hear from The Homosexuals.

Fast-forward to Spring 2008: The Homosexuals are booked to play a free daytime WFMU-hosted set at SXSW. WHAT!?

HOLEE CHRIST they were good. Original UK frontman, young US backing band. The UK singer (crusty yet fit) oozed punk-hippie charisma and combined the best bits of David Bowie, Robyn Hitchcock, and Jello Biafra. He wore a crazy jumpsuit, quickly shed to reveal an even crazier T-shirt. The band nailed his alien pop perfectly. The Homosexuals were the biggest surprise triumph of the week, hands-down.

HERE’S THE BEST PART: They’re playing Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn next Friday night, Aug 22. Buy me a lemon ice at Uncle Louie G‘s and meet me in the front row.

Amy Ray’s Got To Be

Amy Ray will not be put in a box, thank you very much. You’ll be clear on this full sentiment–both her transcendence of labels, and the grateful makeup of her downhome outlook–when you listen to Didn’t It Feel Kinder, her newest solo album from Daemon Records, the label she’s run since the success of the Indigo Girls made her and Emily Saliers national icons.

Spanning styles and vocal approaches, the songs on Kinder grapple with the contradictions encountered when getting to know ourselves and our society at large. Barrelling through the rocker “Blame Is A Killer,” Ray, whose rich voice has always overflown with a combination of anger and tenderness, asks, “Did they steal love away from me or did they give me humanity?” eventually declaring, “Yeah, you gotta roll brand new.” On the coolly asseverative “She’s Got To Be,” Ray breaks herself down into the different identities she’s been forced to confront, singing in a halting falsetto, “it’s hard to love this woman in me… I will protect this love, and its anarchy.”

Kinder is the first album on which Ray has utilized an outside producer, Greg Griffith (The Butchies, Le Tigre), and it shows clearly: while all tracks come from the same perspective, each has its own sonic mask, or identity. The more you hear the different sides of Amy Ray, the easier they are to love.

MP3: Amy Ray – Birds of a Feather
MP3: Amy Ray – Blame is a Killer