Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Check out the stylish grooves of “Don’t Make A Fool Out of Me,” from Kitty, Daisy, & Lewis.
With plenty of super cool mod references, the track is packed full of sexy 60s spy vibes but the “boom boom bap” throwback hip hop beat really pushes it over the top.
Watch the video below and be sure to check out the rest of their album Smoking in Heaven as well.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
#5 New Division - Nocturnal
New Wave meets shiny disco bangers, what’s not to love?
#4 My Tiger My Timing – Endless Summer
Armed with this jam, it will feel like summer never actually left.
#3 Justice – Civilization
It takes a little while, but when the track hits its stride, damn do those two Frenchmen know how to light a room on fire.
#2 Toro Y Moi – Still Sound
When that silky smooth 70s funk hits your ear, your feet will know what to do.
#1 Black Light Dinner Party – Gold Chain
Big beats, sparkly synths, and Ron Jeremy – what else do you need for a party?
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Yup, it’s that time of the year again, so without further ado, here are my top ten albums of the year.
#10 Dirty Beaches – Bad Lands
If Wong Kar Wai had a band, it would sound a lot like Dirty Beaches. Filled with 1950s cool, lovesick yearning, and all the raw emotions and frenetic longing of a Wong Kar Wai classic mixed with the dark malice of David Lynch, Alex Zhang Hungtai successfully creates a unique sound and aesthetic unlike anything I’ve seen or heard in a long time.
#9 Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps – Little Wind
With a voice every bit as adorable as their name, Caroline Smiths and the Goodnight Sleeps have more than enough folksy charm to spread around. Like Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down, these indie-folk rockers know how to transform quiet songs into foot stomping danceable goodness.
#8 Abbe May – Design Desire
The third album from this hard rocking Aussie lass is somethin’ mighty fierce. Abbe May’s monstrous rock riffs will swallow you alive, but underneath that tough veneer lies an unspeakable tension. There is so much energy and emotion coiled tightly below the surface that each track fills you with anxiety as you wait in wide-eyed fear for it to explode like a jack in the box. If that doesn’t do it for you, her powerful voice will. Unlike Allison Mosshart, Janis Joplin, and other rock goddesses, Abbe May’s voice is soft, pure, and angelic. Her hushed whispers prove to be an unsettling juxtaposition to her vicious guitar playing.
#7 Big Deal – Lights Out
Consisting of a guy, a girl, and two guitars – one electric and acoustic – you couldn’t get more basic than Big Deal. Their minimalist sound immediately earned them comparisons to The XX, and deservedly so. In candid lovelorn songs, these two lay their hearts bare without sounding heartsy or sappy – in fact they even manage to come off a bit like badasses, like it’s cool to talk about your emotions.
#6 Army Girls EP
#6 Army Girls – Close To The Bone
I know I’m cheating here because it’s not a full-length album, but I just love Army Girls so much that I couldn’t resist. Compared to other guitar and drum duos, Army Girls has a surprisingly lush sound. In particular Carmen Elle draws you in with her powerfully captivating voice that shifts with uncanny ease between soothing coos and raw spitfire. Their EP is filled with some of the catchiest and most melodic songs I’ve heard in quite some time, and it is certainly a good indicator that an amazing album will soon follow.
ARMY GIRLS - THE POWER from untold city on Vimeo.
#5 Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See
Abandoning the dreary English weather for the sun-soaked beaches of California for their latest album, the Artic Monkeys have opted for a more mellow doo-wop 50’s vibe more fitting of their new climate. Their sound is as sharp as ever with cheeky songs like “Love is like a Laserquest” and lyrics like “thundersuckle fuzz cannon.” Since their initial album, the band has become increasingly precise and tightly orchestrated to the point that each song has become pure genius compacted into four minutes.
#4 Chapel Club – Palace
Take a trip back to 1980s Manchester with Chapel Club. With heavy doses of The Smiths and Joy Division, these Brits pay homage to the best of 80’s New Wave by replicating it perfectly while adding a touch of modern sensibility. So hurry up and throw on a chunky sweater and a pair of acid-washed jeans and jump into the Morrissey time portal.
#3 The Kills – Blood Pressures
If you haven’t heard this album yet, it’s time to get baptized in hellfire, cheap whiskey, and cigarette smoke. The Kills are without a doubt one of the most badass rock duos out there and Jaime Hince proves once again that he’s one of the meanest guitar-slingers in the West. One listen to the “Gimme Shelter”-esque riff on “Baby Says” and you’ll be knocked down faster than a rickety fence in a hurricane. While not as melodic as “Midnight Boom” and not as in your face fuck off intense as “Keep On Your Mean Side,” their latest album sits in between finding a nice balance of simmering blues and explosive rock.
#2 Voxhaul Broadcast – Timing Is Everything
For thirteen glorious tracks, Voxhaul Broadcast will punish your speakers with bleedingly good indie rock. Throw in a pinch of southern blues rock, a dash of soul, a smidge of falsetto, and some garage rock to boot and you get one helluva party.
#1 US Royalty – Mirrors
Like their name implies, US royalty takes the best of Americana and distills it into a potent bourbon that will have you instantly wobbling. Drawing on Southern blues, raw Detroit rock, and the optimism and vitality of the West, these indie rockers have put out an album that will put some serious iron in your veins. From jangly river basin blues to dreamy folk and even an insanely catchy indie banger to boot, this album covers a lot of ground, but underneath it all lays a strong blues tradition steeped in sorrow, whiskey, and howling guitars. One listen to “The Desert Won’t Save You” and you’ll understand why US Royalty has quickly become one of my favorite bands.
To quote an earlier review of mine, “A powerful lone guitar rolls out a nice delta blues progression while vocalist John Thornley howls mournfully and the drums beat out a rhythm that sound like someone was keeping time using a good ol’ fashioned hollow crate. This nice little interplay slowly builds to a crescendo until Paul Thornley unleashes a savage barrage of Black Keys-esque guitar lines. Then, at a moment's notice, the attack disappears and we’re left with the quiet rumblings of the bass guitar. This build and retreat pattern happens repeatedly, gaining in ferocity each time for nearly seven minutes of gloriousness.”
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
I know it’s only 10:30 and a lot can happen today, but I’m just going to go ahead and declare that I’m totally hash tag winning.
To what do I owe this joyful exuberance? Why, none other than Said The Whale and Noise Coalition. The two wonderful groups of people have teamed up to bring us a live Said The Whale set from the Noise Coalition studios in Costa Mesa, CA.
Featuring a smattering of jams old and new including “Lines,” “Goodnight Moon,” and “Big Sky,MT,” Canadian Indie-folk rockers Said The Whale definitely brought it, and if it was a dance-off somebody would have definitely been served.
Watch the entire live set below, so that you too can also be hash tag winning.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Bleeding Knees Club is the perfect name for a trio of hard-charging rapscallions.
Overloading their songs with plenty of mischievous adolescent punk surf rock a la Smith Westerns these similarly rambunctious skirt-chasing lads from Australia focus on the finer things in life like booze, women, and having fun. In fact on the track “Have Fun,” the chorus is simply “I just wanna have fun."
With pretty much all of their songs clocking in at less than three minutes, each track is a frenetic blur that plays like your wildest summer in high school replete with illegal substances, teenage angst, and sexual frustration.
Check out “Have Fun” and “Teenage Girls” below.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
San Cisco is back with a brand new video for “Awkward,” the lead track from their forthcoming EP of the same name.
Every bit as bright and cheeky as their last EP, but rather than celebrating the joyousness of summer, this time around they opt to tackle the ego-crushing confusion of interactions with the opposite sex. With bright guitars, a breezy melody, and dueling male/female vocals that sound a bit like CSS, San Cisco dissects the morning after an awkward date with a rather persistent male suitor.
Have a look at the video below and keep an eye out for the Awkward EP which is scheduled to drop in February of next year.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
I normally detest children’s photography. I would rather be accountable by punishment of death by torture for having to teach a litter of newly born kittens to wrap Christmas gifts than to ever have to view another Anne Geddes photo of children posed with baskets of adorable kittens perched on dolphins playing with iPads, which is why Claire Wise’s photography is all the more startling.
As a children’s photographer, she manages to escape the trap of saccharine sweetness and still create bright, joyous photos. Rather than photographing children, her images capture childhood – a critical distinction that saves her from falling into the Ann Gedes honey trap of puppies and rainbows. She does not treat her subjects as mere vessels of innocence and cuddly cuteness, instead they are viewed as cognizant human beings and she simply brings out their natural fun-loving side.
Have a look at a few of my favorites below to see what I mean, or head over to her site to view her portfolio.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Konichiwa bitches! It’s time to rock your face off with the mean sounds of Old Wives’ Tale.
Have a listen to “Momma Devil,” a heavily blues inspired track that opens with an emotive Son House-esque a capella fraught with yearning, tension, and want before melting into some good ol’ thrashing rock.
Taken from their second LP Late-Night Paraphernalia, which is available now via bandcamp.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Now that it’s Monday and work has kindly punched us in the face, have a listen to the remix of Brooklyn shoe gazers Quiet Lights’ “No More Canyons,” which will either make you feel fantastic or have you wallowing in introspective self-loathing.
Infusing the lushly textured and colossal guitars of “No More Canyons” with a hypnotic beat, Hsi-Chang Lin of The Brutalist School opts to bring out the haunting loneliness of the original in a stripped down minimalist version.
Cue the “It’s The Muthafuckin Remix” siren and have a listen below. Be sure to also check out the original as well if you haven’t already.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Morning Claws’ latest EP Pet Storms, Ancient Clouds is filled with dreamy Irish New Wave rock that harkens back to a time when The Edge had hair and Bono wasn’t gallivanting around the world spreading Christmas cheer.
With driving beats, shoe-gazey guitars, and dreamy vocals, “Fight For Your Friends” is pretty damn good.
Listen below and download the track for free.
The EP officially drops December 5th, but in the meantime you can stream the album on Bandcamp.