Friday, April 29, 2011
Oakland based duo James & Evander is back with another blissed out EP.
Constellating is well in line with the band’s previous releases as it is still heavily rooted in exploratory space travel deep in the future.
“Constellating,” the EP’s title track, ebbs and flows nicely beginning with a sparse beat and detached vocals before slowly morphing into a driving perky beat that eventually breaks down and starts the cycle over again.
As for “Slap Bracelets,” if the title doesn’t take you back to the late 80’s then the beat will.
I must say though, “Really Real” might just be the EP’s standout as it underscores why they hail from “smoakland” and refer to their music as “weed wave.”
Stream Constellating below and head over to bandcamp to download your copy.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Brooklyn based Quiet Lights just released “Simple Mechanics,” the first cut off their forthcoming debut EP Big Fear.
Their latest track is dreamier than ever with Yseult Tyler’s soft voice hitting your ears like a gentle breeze on a serene summer evening. But I’m quickly beginning to learn that Quiet Lights isn’t all that quiet as the track slowly builds into a squirming wall of distorted guitars and synths.
Even with the chaos, Tyler continues to sing cooly. Like the eye of a storm, her gorgeous hushed voice imbues everything with a peaceful calm despite the bedlam whirling around her.
Stream “Simple Mechanics” below or head over to bandcamp to download a free copy.
Big Fear is out on June 28th on Old Flame Records, so keep an eye out.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Voxhaul Broadcast has been one of my absolute favorite bands for some time now, so it's no surprise that I ended up gushing about their latest album Timing Is Everything in my most recent review for Donnybrook.
A few quick takes on the album taken from the review:
"Rather than deliver what you expect, each song surprises you as the band has chosen to actively explore a variety of sounds and influences ranging from the whimsical and catchy indie anthems of “Leaving on the 5th” and “Blackout,” the indie summer party anthem “Cheetah,” and the psychedelic meandering guitar melodies of “Loose Change.”Head over to Donnybrook to read the rest.
However, the foundation of their sound is without a doubt hard-driving, guitar-dominated soulful blues, which is on full display on “Junkyard Dog” and “Steal The Diamonds,” perhaps one of the best songs on an album filled with noteworthy tracks.
The slow, libidinous funk of “Steal the Diamonds” is a unique standout that will have you nodding your head savagely to the beat. In a bit of a departure from their usual sound, Voxhaul Broadcast opts to blend the raw sexual energy of Prince at his best with rugged rock and roll. David Dennis coos hypnotically in a falsetto while a flurry of guitar lines sear your brain like a laser. Timing Is Everything is pure, unfettered blues rock steeped in dirty sensual soul."
Listen to the cherub sweet 60’s pop throwback “Abducted” by the Cults, but watch out because it will seriously destroy your repeat button.
Taken from their forthcoming album which is scheduled to be released in May.
Abducted by cultscultscults
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
What a flashback! I haven’t heard this song in ages.
Kane opts to stray a bit from the original by slowing the tempo down a bit and adding some dark atmospherics, but overall I’d say it’s pretty true to the original.
On a side note, I’m quite excited about the upcoming release of Kane’s solo album Colour Of The Trap, which will be out on May 9th.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t post a link to the original Edwyn Collins version.
Monday, April 25, 2011
The Morning Benders are back with a new song inspired by the amazing Woody Allen movie Annie Hall.
Aptly titled “Oh Annie,” The Morning Benders capture the longing, the heartbreak, and that unmistakable magical spark that New York added to Woody Allen and Diane Keaton’s movie romance.
The melodic piano lines create a fitting nostalgic bitter-sweet mood as lead singer Chris Chu pines away for Allen's lost love, singing “Annie/oh annie, how can you go? I taught you everything you know, you know?” The track would have fit perfectly on the soundtrack for the movie.
In announcing the release of the track, lead singer Chris Chu wrote on Twitter, “My only regret with 'Big Echo' is that this song wasn't on it. I wrote it after watching Annie Hall for the 100th time.”
Listen to this gorgeous B-Side below.
Oh Annie by The Morning Benders
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Spend a few moments today listening to the gorgeous Parenthetical Girlsrelease “The Pornographer.”
Dark and moody, this song is truly a standout with its shadowy atmospherics and twinges of 80’s synth pop. In particular, the driving guitar melody gives it a certain je ne sais quoi that really puts it over the top.
“The Pornographer” is taken from the latest installment of their fourth album, which has actually been released as 5 separate EPs that are individually numbered (500 only) in the lead vocalist Zac Pennington’s blood… yea I really wasn’t joking when I said it was dark and moody.
The video below features the androgynous Zac Pennington in a risque situation which accentuates the erotic nature of the song. While the video’s title says NSFW, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's inappropriate, but rather that it would certainly be awkward to have it on your screen if your boss walked by, so I leave it to you.
Check out "The Pornographer" and be sure to grab Privlege, pt. III Mend & Make Do which is out on Slender Means Society now.
Parenthetical Girls: The Pornographer (NSFW) from Parenthetical Girls on Vimeo.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Over the weekend, Sports released their debut self-titled LP on Crash Symbols
Featuring a few previously released singles and mostly new material, this 8 track album is packed full of some serious goodies.
Since I first heard the band last year, Sports has definitely been hard at work refining their sound and honing their unique style.
On their initial release, the Seattle trio takes you on a wild psychedelic ride with their blissed out melodies and smooth beats. The album is filled with haunting electropop, longing introspective lyrics, mournful vocals, and a whole lot of 80s inspired synths.
Particular standouts include “<3?,” “To Catch A Thief,” and “Runaway.”
Stream the album below, or head over to their bandcamp to download your very own copy.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Lo-Fi 60’s inspired indie pop seems to be the trend for the summer once more, which means you need to listen to Unouomedude (pronounced You-know-you-owe-me-dude).
His first single “Frequency” could be the first summer jam of the year.
Seriously, I get visions of people cruising to the beach with the top down and their hair flying everywhere when I hear this song.
The Jacksonville’s native has been releasing tracks steadily on soundcloud for some time now, but “Frequency” is his first official release which just dropped today on Old Flame.
Check out the rest of his tracks here and listen to the blissed out summer groove of “Frequency” below.
Keep an eye out for him because the summer hasn’t even officially started yet.
Frequency by unouomedude
Monday, April 18, 2011
Check out the lead single “The Basket” from Guillemots’ latest album Walk the River, which is out today.
Freaky, fun, and oh so fantastic, these British rockers are prodigious in their output. Considering they are a four-piece it’s amazing to listen to their incredibly textured sound which seems like it’s generated by a small armada -- a bit like a British version of Freelance Whales if they had listened to a lot of New Order.
Aural acrobatics aside, check out their latest single which spins wildly out of control getting increasingly more energetic with each measure. After hearing lead singer Fyfe Dangerfield (best name ever!) talk about the song a bit, it makes total sense.
"I think in some way it's about a mania within, caused by something external, and the conflict over whether to embrace this thing or just ignore it and crawl away into familiar comforts,” Dangerfield says.
Enjoy the crazy video and be sure to grab their new album.
And just for good measure, here’s a quick journey back to 2005 with “Trains to Brazil” off their first album.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Think the pure giddiness of Wham’s “Wake Me Up” meets the upbeat, happy go lucky sound of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and you can start to understand why they have had a monopoly over my playlists of late.
Listen to “You Say It Too” and check out the video for “Ten-Twenty-Ten” below, which is guaranteed to make your day, I promise.
Head over to their website, where “Ten-Twenty-Ten” and “Greenleaf” have been made available for free download. The two tracks are taken from their LP Actor-Caster, which was released on March 29th on Park the Van Records.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Check out the new music video for Dizzy Davis's single “Home,” which also happens to be the directorial debut of my buddy Brett Blake.
The video for “Home” is every bit as bright, enthusiastic, and eclectic as the band itself, which sounds like the lovechild of Santogold and MGMT that was conceived at an MIA concert.
Based on that description, I suppose it’s no surprise then that “Home” is filled with a clusterfuck of synths, drum machines, half rapped and half sung lyrics, and an absurdly catchy hook.
The video begins with a surreal and minimalist glimpse into the mind’s eye, echoing the sparse drum machine and zinging guitar lines. As the song begins to simulatneously build and mellow out, the video plunges into a phantasmagoric swirl of colors, locations, and objects including plantain headphones and a necklace made of Elmo heads.
In particular, the final shot is epic with its flurry of confetti, abandoned train cars, and the setting sun. I won't say anymore for fear of ruining it.
Watch the video below as well as the rest of Mr. Blake's clips here.
As for Dizzy Davis, their other work is more than worth your time, especially the video for “Nam Doc Mai” which includes a matching watermelon jock strap and helmet set -- the perfect accessory for the summer.
"Home" by Dizzy Davis from Brett Blake on Vimeo.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Take a look at Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin’s most recent show PEOPLE IN TROUBLE LAUGHING PUSHED TO THE GROUND.
It features stark black and white images that contain wisps of thoughts. Like spastic ejaculations of incomplete sentences, these photos leave you yearning for what is hovering just beyond the frame.
Taken from the massive Belfast Exposed archive that dates back to 1983 and features nearly half a million images that document the city’s tumultuous and often violent past. The duo digs through past photos and erases moments, obscures a face, or changes the context to create a ghostly series that goes beyond the violence to create something wholly unique.
Images of an arm, now a man running, then children playing sports, cut to a crowd, a hand, and now a close up of a field. The photos fly at you like a Burroughs mash up when he is in the midst of an acid-fueled hallucinogenic reverie.
In short they’ve turned a largely straightforward documentation of history into a truly unique series that mixes melancholy, joy, and grief in a powerful milieu.
Be sure to head over to Paradise Row to see the full collection.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Last Saturday, Lucinda Black Bear returned home to Brooklyn for a special show before they headed off on the European leg of their tour.
Less folksy and morose than the last time I heard them live, their sound has become more raw and now seems to be fueled by a dark southern gothic twang that I had not noticed before. Perhaps it was the venue – the dimly lit musky basement of Union Hall with its ancient decor – but Lucinda Black Bear’s sound had achieved a new resonance that pierced one’s soul.
Their set began with a misleadingly quiet opening that suddenly exploded with a psychedelic flurry of distortion. Just as suddenly as the crescendo had come, it was replaced with a quiet haunting melody.
This closely orchestrated ebb and flow in energy, sound, and style repeated itself throughout their set to highlight the emotional depth of the lyrics. Like a mournful specter seeking a new companion, lead singer Christian Gibbs would coo fatal lyrics like “take my poison/ here I am” and “all she wanted to be was strangled by starlight.”
To borrow my friend’s apt description, Gibbs sounded like a cross between Willie Nelson and a ghost from the Civil War. This ghostly ambiance was created in large part by the melancholy violin and cello of Gillian Rivers and Chad Hammer respectively.
It was both more haunting and frightful with its Southern Gothic vibe, while also more energetic than ever before, at times resembling a western prairie band at a mid-nineteenth century revival replete with the same twang and folksiness.
Overall a fantastic show that revealed a new aspect of their sound that I had not previously picked up on.
Listen to “Knives” below, but most importantly check out “Medicine Bag,” which is from a few years ago, but captures the energy of the 4/9 show nicely.
Lucinda Black Bear: Knives by Gracie Management
Friday, April 8, 2011
To be perfectly honest, I’m not really big on children. Actually, they kind of terrify me. I never really know how to act around them and their logic baffles me, which makes Kotori Kawashima’s photos all the more amazing.
Her work was able to melt the icy layers of my frigid heart, and that is truly impressive (usually only cats and potatoes have that effect on me). The photos she has taken of her daughter, Mirai-Chan, are mind bogglingly adorable.
Her work is stunning in its ability to capture the deep emotional bond between mother and daughter. Kawashima documents candid moments where simple human relationships are on display. It is these moments when photography is at its best, when the frame appears as if it were a direct translation of the photographer’s memory and the viewers can palpably experience the emotions from that moment.
It also doesn’t hurt that her daughter is possibly the cutest little girl in the history of the world.
Have a look at a few of my favorites below and check out her site for more photos.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I couldn’t resist posting this Stars Blagotheque Take Away Show after seeing that it took place at Specs, one of my favorite bars in my ol’ stomping grounds of San Francisco.
Stars plays a nice little acoustic version of “Your Ex-Lover is Dead” and “Haunted.” Intimate and melancholy, this mini concert lacks the joyful exuberance of some of Blagotheque’s other shows.
I suppose it largely has to do with the fact that unlike their other shows they are not walking or travelling and instead in the back of a quiet bar. It also appears to be a weeknight where the patrons are silently nursing a beer and heavily involved in private conversations, rather than reveling in the performance.
Regardless, this Take Away Show is still worth watching.
On a side note this makes me absurdly nostalgic for the bay. Sigh.
Stars from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.
A Take Away Show
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I was feeling a bit nostalgic and figured what better way to follow up a post about The Sartorialist than with with the dapper gents of The Rakes.
I'm still bummed that they broke up, anyhoo here are a few of my favorites from this absurdly English rock band.
The Rakes - 1989
The Rakes – The World Was a Mess But His Hair Was Perfect
The Rakes – Strasbourg
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
My review of the Quiet Lights No More Canyons 7" is up on Donnybrook.
This is definitely one of my favorite new bands to emerge, so be sure to read the review and check out their 7". You can watch the video to the B-side "Break Trouble Wait Below."
Here's a quick excerpt:
Mesmerizingly beautiful, Quiet Lights’ No More Canyons 7” will haunt your mind long after it has been exorcised from your speakers. Like those lovely but oh so deadly Sirens of Homer’s Odyssey, Quiet Lights will lure you into their world with their ghostly vocals and enchanting soundscapes.To read the rest, head over to Donnybrook
Shoegazey with an underlying malice, “No More Canyons” is full of trouble. It begins innocently enough with a few quiet strums, but the track is quickly swallowed by a monstrous wall of overdriven guitars that nearly engulf the ghostly vocals.
Despite your best attempts, only faint wisps of words, thoughts, and sentiments can be heard over the din. These indiscernible night susurrations build to a howling, miasmic swirl until everything suddenly stops, leaving only a hanging whisper in the air – the ellipsis is almost palpable.
Break Trouble Wait from Quiet Lights on Vimeo.
Check out this amazing video that follows Scott Schuman, the photographer and creative genius behind The Sartorialist, as he prowls the streets of New York in search of fashionable folks going about their everyday life.
One of the first photobloggers to blur the line between fashion and candid street photos, The Sartorialist is largely responsible for the increasing focus on street fashion that has eschewed elite opinions and brought a greater focus on what ordinary people are wearing.
The video is beautifully shot and just watching him at work is truly incredible.
Monday, April 4, 2011
I’ve been so busy these days I didn’t get a chance to post, but I did want to throw up a quick link to the recent Young Galaxy review that I did for Donnybrook.
Here’s a quick take on my thoughts:
Gone is the driving optimism from old classics like “Outside the City,” “Searchlight,” and “The Alchemy Between Us.” It seems their joyous sense of adventure has been lost and in its place a world-weary iciness has crept in, leaving everything empty, cold, and alienated. But as the album progresses, elements of their prior exuberance shine through and you see that rather than cynicism, their optimism has merely been tempered with unsympathetic doses of reality.
Written like a meditation on humanity, the album progresses with Young Galaxy slowly working through mankind’s foibles and weaknesses to eventually find the beauty within our civilization. To accompany this allegory, Young Galaxy has filled Shapeshifting with hollowed out voices, electronic beats, and sparse soundscapes drawing inspiration from the likes of New Order, The Knife, and The Eurythmics. Of note is the inclusion of traces of world music, like the Caribbean-style steel drums on “Cover Your Tracks;” however, at times it falls too deeply on the side of some absorbed new-age mystical oddity.Check it out the rest here and listen to my personal favorite “We Have Everything” below.
Young Galaxy - We Have Everything by Hypetrak
Quick! Dress yourself in all black, throw on some boots, and douse yourself in booze and cigarette smoke because The Kills have just released their fourth album, Blood Pressures, on Domino.
Dark and sensual, the album sounds a bit more like their initial sound rather than 2008’s Midnight Boom, which was a bit on the peppy side.
Although, the flagrant hell-fire and fury from their debut album is missing, they are still every bit as stylish and charismatic. There is no doubt that The Kills are still pure un-adultered rock in its truest sense, but it seems that their sound has grown in different directions.
Check out this excerpt from arecent interview in which they discuss their influences for this album and Allison Mosshart’s experience touring with Dead Weather:
‘Obsessive and claustrophobic?’ repeats Jamie Hince: ‘yes, I like that. After we’d made the record, Alison and I talked about the theme: there’s a lot about gender, about relationships; it’s about sex – so, blood pressures’.Stream the album now or hurry up and pick up your copy.
‘Right now, I would say it's quite a dark record,’ says Alison Mosshart; ‘the lyrics are a little twisted. I think I always say that about every record I do. I think we're just both obsessive people. Obsessive about what we love and maybe even more obsessive about what we hate. I need to perform this record live to see what it really is, and what it's really communicating’.
The music’s changed because Alison was on tour with The Dead Weather for much of last year,’ Jamie continues. ‘It was really freeing to take ideas of hers and to change them musically. “The Last Goodbye” for instance changes from 4/4 to waltz time’.
‘The Dead Weather is a very different kind of band,’ Alison agrees. ‘For one, it's a 4 piece band with a lot going on, and it's pretty spontaneous. I wasn't used to not knowing what was going to happen next on stage, having been so familiar performing with a drum machine. So I think I got better at using my voice as an instrument to make sounds and noise that could compete with guitars and feedback, rather than just delivering lyrics’.
But wait! Before you do that, check out the video to “Satellite” the album’s lead single.
As an added bonus, check out this great fan vid made from footage from the great Kills documentary “I Hate The Way You Love.”