Jaill is a lot like other bands; they've slept on your floor, you've made fun of their pillow cases, they're not nearly as good at Excitebike as they said they were and although they all say they're cool with cats, no one's excited about sleeping at the cat house. So it should come as no surprise that, as bands sometimes do, they've made a new record. And that record is Traps, their second for Sub Pop, but first to adopt the bold new marketing strategy of giving away a free pair of Nike cross-trainers to anyone who steals it on the internet. Take that, Radiohead. So, but, what is Traps? And what about it can best fill five paragraphs? Traps is pretty, it's moody, it pops. It has the scrappy, vengeful enthusiasm of a puppy stuck under a blanket. It's an adorably grumpy bear just awoken from his long winter's slumber, with a mangy heart rarely found outside of the stuffed animal bin of a Salvation Army. It's an album that expects to be taken seriously goddammit, even though it just puked on the bar.

Brighton MA

Brighton MA is a five-piece rock band from Chicago. Named for lead singer/songwriter Matt Kerstein's hometown, Brighton MA has existed in various forms since 2006. In the past year, founding members Kerstein, Sam Koentopp, and Jim Tuerk have been joined by Joe Darnaby and Jon Ozaksut to develop their most cohesive sound to date. BMA has built a reputation throughout the Midwest on a series of blistering live performances and a catalog of undeniably tuneful and well-crafted songs, heard on such prime-time television shows such as Gossip Gir, One Tree Hill and Castle. The diversity of songs has led them to share the stage with a number of noteworthy and disparate sounding performers, from Old 97s, Elvis Perkins, and Mason Jennings, to Man Man, The Essex Green, and Appleseed Cast to name a few. With an ever-expanding catalog and a quickly building fanbase, Brighton MA are a band on the rise and poised to break through.

BMA is currently working on their as of yet untitled third LP, a followup to Amateur Lovers [2008] and the self-titled debut EP [2007].

Ranger Ranger

Twin Cities band Ranger Ranger cringes a bit as they call themselves an indie-pop rock band. So be it. To be more specific, the five piece band starts with traditional instrumentation: drums, bass, two guitars and lead vocals. Laced between those are backing vocals (one being female), a variety of keyboard timbres, rhythm percussion, and glock-like bells. The songwriting effectively avoids falling into overly predictable patterns and is laced with nostalgia. A few quotes from Rift's review of their recent release, More Like a Rectangle:

"...album is filled with a dreamy sound interwoven with sweetness and melancholy...“More Like A Rectangle” is a comfortable, pleasant and satisfying experience. You won’t need to convince yourself to stick around and listen."

Review by Christine Mlodzik of Rift Magazine

The Mystery Train

"[The Mystery Train] writes stomping, sing-song punk-rock tunes with the kind of Johnny Cash, train-yard rhythms and army-march, thumping, shout-along sensibilities that feel about as Midwestern as they come."
-Twin Cities' Onion AV Club


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