Thursday, March 31, 2011

AA Loves: Anni Rossi

Whimsical Indie pop puts a smile on my face like no other, which is why I’m having a bit of a love affair with Anni Rossi.

This Minnesota native is a classically trained violaist and uses that talent to great effect seamlessly blending pop, electronic beats, and even a touch of experimental rock. Of particular note is her interesting use of the viola as she fingerpick guitar-like melodies.

To borrow some words, “Her newest album, Heavy Meadow, sounds a little bit like you're scanning through the radio, although it's slightly warped and playfully dark, much like those early karaoke tapes of her singing over the top of the pops countdown.”

Her second album is out on 3 Syllable Records now, so be sure to check it out.

Listen to a few favorites below.

Be sure to check out “Hatchet,” which playfully experiments with different time signatures.

ANNI ROSSI - Land Majestic by 3 Syllables Records

ANNI ROSSI - Hatchet by 3 Syllables Records

ANNI ROSSI - Crushing Limbs by 3 Syllables Records

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Uhh…holy crap!

It’s been a while since my heart has raced and my knuckles turned white as I gripped the sides of my chair while watching a video, so I more than welcomed this absurdly intense video of a camera strapped to the helmet of a mountain bike racer tearing down the streets of Chile.

Watch as the biker dives out of the way of stray dogs, avoids rubble, flies 15 feet in the air, and clears staircase after staircase in an all-out race through Chile’s windy streets.

Of course like a true bad ass, the biker is impeccably clad in a full suit.

This was even more exhilarating than watching Claude Lelouch’s 1976 short which features a Ferrari tearing through the crowded streets of Paris at 140 MPH without closing the streets or letting anyone know.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alex Turner – Piledriver Waltz

I just got my hands on Alex Turner’s Submarine EP, which features songs he composed for the movie Submarine.

It sounds a lot like his acoustic work on “Cornerstone”, so it’s really not a radical departure from his work with Arctic Monkeys. But regardless it’s still worth a listen.

Check out “Piledriver Waltz,” which features grainy footage of the young couple from the movie.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A few photos for your day

Nothing much to say today, other than a few particularly arresting photos that I came across.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Morning Benders Japan Echo EP --> DONATE NOW

In light of the tragic events in Japan, The Morning Benders have just released a special EP of unreleased songs in support of Red Cross relief efforts.

The EP is available for free after donating and the band promises that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake Relief fund, and besides why would we have any reason to distrust such a genuine band like the Morning Benders.

In a heartfelt note, on the band’s website Chris Chu writes that they were originally scheduled to play their first show in Tokyo last week. But owing to what happened their Japanese tour was cancelled. It also turns out that Chris was originally born in Japan and spent his early years there.

What a win-win situation. Donate to the Red Cross and get a free Morning Benders EP. The only unfortunate thing is that it took a massive earthquake and tsunami to get this.

Head over to the band’s website now and donate.

To be perfectly honest, I already donated to Japan, did it again just to get a free Morning Benders EP. Damn those crafty kids.

Japan Echo EP (日本・エコー) Tracklisting:

1. Cold War (Star Slinger Remix)
2. Better In Blue
3. Hand Me Downs (Wild Nothing Remix)
4. Excuses (RAC Remix)
5. Mason Jar (Twin Sister Remix)
6. Wet Cement (Aislyn Remix)
7. Little Riot
8. Promises (Star Slinger Remix)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Videos of Everynone

If you haven’t seen the work of Everynone yet, then be sure to hop over to their site to check out their amazing video productions.

In all their videos, they masterfully dissect common phenomenon like sitting on a porch, the concept of a moment, or listening to your heartbeat. Similar to The Practice of Everyday Life, their videos delve deeper into seemingly mundane things to reveal the underlying excitement, joy, and opportunities that these relatively common moments actually have.

In particular check out their video “words.” It’s incredibly playful in that they explore the various definitions of words through a series of short video clips. The transitions are really quite clever and it’s a fun little exploration of the interactions between language, the vernacular, and the phenomenon that surround us in our everyday lives. It’s impressive in that it’s so well organized that you can literally read the progression of the words and meanings without that word actually being uttered.

Run by Will Hoffman, Daniel Mercadante, and Julius Metoyer III they are based in New York and LA.


WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo.

Stoop Sitting

Everyone Forever Now - "Stoop Sitting" from Everynone on Vimeo.

Shooting a Gun

Everyone Forever Now - "Shooting a Gun" from Everynone on Vimeo.


Moments from Everynone on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

AA Loves: Fenech Soler

I’ve been digging through the archives over at fuckingdance, my favorite blog until it went dark, and just came across Fenech Soler and boy am I pissed that I didn’t hear about these guys sooner.

Hopefully, this isn’t old news for you, so bear with me if everyone else has been gushing about them for the past year, but my life could always use some insanely catchy electro dance pop, and Fenech Soler certainly provides it in ample droves.

I think fuckingdance summed it most succinctly, saying they sound like“Prince meets Soft Cell.” I would venture to throw in a bit of Daft Punk in that simile as well.

Their debut self-titled LP dropped last September.

Check out “Lies” and “Stop and Stare” below.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

AA Loves: Oh Sunshine

If The Kills were half Japanese and sounded a bit like Reverie Sound Revue at times, you would get Oh Sunshine and that combination is every bit as amazing as it sounds.

Tokyo based Oh Sunshine is comprised of Mikio Hirama and Emily Connor and was formed in 2010. Connor a self-proclaimed anime fanatic moved to Tokyo from New York and had been singingin in c.cedile, before meeting Hirama in 2009 when he was invited to record some guitar work for her previous band.

Blending together their mixed cultural backgrounds, generations (he’s 15 years older), and musical influences, they’ve created some fun bluesy rock that is dangerously catchy.

Check out “I Belong To You” which has some killer slide guitar work by Hirama, while Connor’s voice is sensual as hell.

But to be absolutely floored, check out "I'll Take You Down to the Riverside," which has some of the best janglin steel belly guitar I've heard in a long time.

To see their softer side, check out “Beautiful” which is primarily in Japanese and more than lives up to its title.

Their first EP was released at the end of January and they are fast becoming new indie darlings for the year, so be sure to keep an eye on them.

Oh Sunshine - I'll Take You Down to the Riverside

Oh Sunshine - I'll take you down to the riverside by Aesthetes Anonymous

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wanda Jackson – Hard Headed Woman

Nothing less than utterly amazing from the Queen of Rockabilly herself.

Also be sure to check out her latest release The Party Ain’t Over, which was produced by Jack White. It’s interesting in that it’s a cover album of recent songs. She covers Amy Winehouse’s “I’m No Good” as well as other tracks like “Busted’ and “Rum and Coca-Cola.”

At the tender young age of 73, she’s still got her chops and it’s impressive to hear her on the album, but I’ll withhold judgment on choices of songs and the seeming anachronistic nature of it all.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Steve McQueen Buys Clothes

Check out these snapshots from an unpublished Life Magazine archive that feature photos of Steve McQueen buying clothes in 1963.

Taken by John Dominis, his camera follows McQueen over the span of several days as he buys clothes in preparation for a movie premier. Dominis shot over 40 rolls of film and had to rent a sports car to keep up with the hard charging McQueen as he zipped around LA.

Effortlessly cool and always stylish, McQueen casually picks out a few ties and shirts all while smoking a cigarette.

It’s pretty evident in these photos why they call him the King of Cool.

Head over to A Continuous Lean to see the rest.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

AA Loves: We Are Trees

Not quite folk, not quite rock, check out “Colorado” from Virginia based We Are Trees aka James Nee.

I have to say that I’ve been listening to crap tons of new bands these days, and I’ve been a bit frustrated with the lack of positive aural sensations hitting my eardrums. Fortunately, listening to We Are Trees was like a breath of fresh air that has restored my faith in music once more.

Taken from his upcoming Girlfriend EP, “Colorado” is alarmingly good. His vocals glide gracefully over powerful drums and intricate guitar lines to create a surprisingly emotionally stirring effect.

Without a doubt, We Are Trees is by far my favorite musical discovery of late.

The EP is set to be released shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.

Also don’t forget to listen to his debut EP Boyfriend. Beautiful soundscapes filled with folksy guitar melodies, lush strings, and powerful drum lines wash over beautifully intimate lyrics.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Voxhaul Broadcast – Timing Is Everything

I’m rather excited for today’s post as I finally got a sneak peak at Voxhaul Broadcast’s debut LP Timing Is Everything.

The hype has been well worth it as the album does not disappoint. Filled with raw blues rock and soul drenched in the California sun, Voxhaul Broadcast invades your speakers with some serious talent.

I cannot say enough good things about this band and they’ve been steady mainstays on my playlists ever since I first heard them a year ago.

Listen below or hop over to their bandcamp to stream the album in its entirety before it officially gets released on March 22nd.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vintage Punk Leather Jackets

I just recently came across this collection of vintage punk leather jackets.

While I’ve never been a huge fan of punk aside from a week long stint as a shit-headed 19 year old kid who was actively rebelling against my comfortable financial situation, upward social mobility, and stable home life, the aesthetics of punk rockers have always amazed me.

Before the studs, spikes, and patches had been co-opted by couture designers, these things actually meant something. Part of a rebellious movement with legitimate political and socio-economic foundations, punk and its aesthetics was a vibrant sub-culture with its own unique language, symbols, and mythology.

I suppose no other article of clothing held so much power and communicated as much as the leather jacket in the punk ensemble, and man do they say a lot.

Leather jackets have always been cool, but DIY jackets that have been remade are even cooler.

Check out this collection of these bad boys that exude the DIY rebellion of it all.

On a side note, I recently ran into a friend who had somehow fallen into the New York punk rock scene. Apparently it is alive and thriving, although its adherents are still stuck in 1975 – the Ramones are still kings, the country is recovering from Watergate, and Margaret Thatcher is on the rise in England.

Click here for more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

AA Loves: Mood Rings

I’m currently obsessing over the sun drenched guitars, lo-fi buzz , and washed out vocals of Mood Rings.

They sound a bit like Roy Orbison meets Smith Westerns, and that’s a lot of good stuff in one reference.

“Year of Dreams” and “Yellow Teeth” are the perfect tracks to herald our glorious entrance into the spring.

Stream their four track EP Sweater Weather Forever below or download it for free at their bandcamp.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Kills - Satellite

If you haven’t already heard it yet, check out “Satellite,” the first single from The Kills new album Blood Pressure, which is due out March 28th.

On "Satellite" The Kills stick to what they do best -- raw blues rock. Although this time their sound has expanded to incorporate some interesting theatric grandiosity with a chanting chorus in the background.

Listen below.

The Kills - Satellite by DominoRecordCo

Also, I was recently cruising around the ol Youtubes and came across some pretty spectacular live versions of “Black Balloon” and “Fried My Little Brains” from a nice session they did with KEXP in Seattle.

In particular, the live version of “Black Balloon” sounds quite different from the album version. Allison Mosshart’s voice is much darker and more intimate and sensual than the album version which is unusually bright and crisp compared to her usual menacing vocals. Also, I’m in love with her guitar.

And of course, “Fried My Little Brains” is always a riot to watch them play live.

Finally, if you haven’t heard it yet, I know this came out a while back, but their cover of Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” is kind of sort of completely fucking amazing.

If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been on a bit of a Kills binge lately.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

[Introducing] Empty Pockets

Check out Empty Pockets, or Adam Myatt, one half of Oakland’s James and Evander, who just recently dropped a three song EP for Mapzzz.

The EP is a bit of a departure from his usual sound with James and Evander in that it’s much more mellowed out with sparse instrumentation, minimal melody, and has a great slow introspective sound.

On “Jan. 25th, 1982” you get a bit of the James and Evander sound with the constant presence of the electronic organ and steady keyboard lines, but this time the vocals have a great distant quality to them.

But by far, my personal favorite has got to be “Shipwrecked Shell” which combines the slow introspective feel of “Cant’ Decide” with sweeping organs to great effect. Sparse ghostly vocals are scattered about this soundscape, and although it’s difficult to discern exactly what they’re saying, it feels intimate.

Stream it below and head over to his bandcamp to download the EP for free.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

AA’s Current Playlist

Here’s a playlist of some things that I’ve been listening to compulsively.

Nothing special, just a mix of old favorites and some newer stuff, but mostly everything is mellow and introspective with a subtle underlying optimism.


High Highs – Open Seasons

Warpaint – Undertow

Freelance Whales – Enzymes

Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision

MillionYoung – Calrissian

The Kills – Goodnight Bad Morning

U.S. Royalty – Raincoats (live version)

Arctic Monkey’s – The Afternoon’s Hat

18 - ARCTIC MONKEYS - The Afternoons Hat by Quimera

Childhood – Blue Velvet

Cloud Nothings- Hey Cool Kid

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

James and Evander – Songs We Wish We Wrote You

Oakland based electro “weed wave” duo James and Evander have just released a new remix album featuring

Be sure to check out the mellow remix Nazcar Nation’s “Beeswax,” the space-y float-ey Sea of Cortez “The Shores,” and of course, the remix of the always fabulous Sports track “Mind Has Changed.”

Songs We Wish We Wrote You Vol. 3 is available for free download on bandcamp.

Listen to J&E’s version of Nazcar Nation “Beeswax” below.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pluck Magazine Is Here!!!

Unfurl the banners, order the serfs to pull the chariot, and let the trumpets blare the sound of triumph, for today is a very special announcement.

Today is the official launch of Pluck Magazine.

Yours truly, along with my fabulous friends Rafael Cuevas, Anna Durrett, Matt Hansen, and Nico Lauricallea have been hard at work for the past few months putting this online magazine together and we’re proud to release our first issue today.

Our goal was fairly straight forward, we wanted to create an online magazine about being a twenty something at a time when paths have been less straight-forward, professional opportunities limited, and relationships affected by technology and distance. I am proud to share with you our first "issue," and we hope that you will pass it along to your friends and networks.

We appreciate all the support that we have gotten throughout the process, not the least of which has come in the form of incredible articles written by our talented friends, both new and old.

So take a look, read an article or two, and please give us feedback!

In particular, if you’re so inclined to the writings of one Mr. Chow, take a look at my article on my experiences working in the Navajo Nation for the Obama campaign as well as my piece on my favorite albums for 2011.

We are hoping to post new articles and reviews on a weekly basis, so check back for more, and be sure to "like" us on our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter .

If you would like to write for Pluck or know somebody who would, please email us at and we’ll be in touch with you.

In the meantime go forth and get plucked!

Arctic Monkeys – Brick by Brick

In a surprise release, the Arctic Monkeys have just dropped "Brick by Brick," a new track with a video.

Little has been publicly announced about this track, and its still uncertain whether this is going to be on the band’s fourth album.

Recorded in LA, where the Arctic Monkeys are at work on their new album, the song is a bit of a departure from their usual sound. Less British rock sounding and more retro 60’s rock and California sun, “Brick by Brick” sounds like it’s part of the retro craze that’s been sweeping Albion of late (Beady Eye, The Last Shadow Puppets, and Miles Kane).

Watch and listen below.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Lucksmiths Say Goodbye (again)

After The Lucksmiths suddenly announced their break up back in 2009, they went on a short Australia-only farewell tour leaving the rest of the world in a bit of a jam. Fortunately, the recent release of their DVD Unfamiliar Stars last month, will allow you to relive their final show.

Shot at the Corner Hotel in August of 2009, the DVD includes their last show in all of its two and half hour glory. The DVD also has a documentary on the final days of the band and footage from their recording session for their last single Get-to-Bed Birds! which was released in September 2010.

Check out the trailer and stream the single below.

Get-to-Bed Birds by Lost And Lonesome

And for old time’s sake, here’s the live version of my favorite Lucksmiths’ song ever

Thursday, March 3, 2011

AA Loves – Conner Youngblood

I just stumbled across a rather interesting musical find with the talented Conner Youngblood.

The 20 year old Dallas native and Yale undergrad has been turning heads lately with his unique combination of deep electronic dub-step beats and folksy bluegrass banjos. Blending the two sounds seamlessly on “Monsters,” he whispers with a husky, detached, blissed out voice that lures you in to his world.

Needless to say the effect is utterly disarming.

On “Girl Hair,” he parts with the deep bass lines of “Monsters” and opts for a simple banjo and a light vibraphone to accompany his gorgeous vocals in a Bon Iver-esque manner. The blissed out quality of his voice remains, yet somehow he infuses them with powerful emotions that are still somehow detached from this world.

Download and listen to both below, courtesy of Blue Walrus.

Conner Youngblood - Monsters by The Wounded Jukebox

Conner Youngblood - Girl Hair by neumagazine

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

U.S. Royalty – Mirrors Review

My review of U.S. Royalty’s album Mirrors just got published over at DonnyBrook, so hop over here to check it out.

To say the least, the album kicks a lot of ass.

Listen to my favorite track from the new album “Hollywood Hollows” below and head over to Donnybrook to read more.

Keep Shelly in Athens – Hauntin’ Me

It’s been a while since I checked in on the Grecian duo of Keep Shelly in Athens and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have dropped a few new tracks and joined the Transparent lineup.

In a sign that all is right with the universe, it’s good to see that the band is doing well and seeing success as they really are rather talented.

Hauntin’ Me was recently released and is the band’s first physical 7”. Maintaining their mystery, these folks have yet to divulge any more information about themselves other than the fact that the vocals are by Sarah P and the beats are the brainchild of RPR.

Ethereal, exotic, and utterly enchanting, Huantin’ Me literally whispers through your speakers like a ghoulish spirit from the netherworld. Melancholy yet infused with glittery shine, the combination is perfect to mellow out your soul.


Keep Shelly in Athens - Hauntin' Me by TransparentRecs

Also, be sure to check out the video.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hosannas - Walrus

Slow and sensual, Hosannas’ latest track “Walrus,” sounds as if it were the perfect song for a sultry burlesque show in an old Mexican bar in the days of the frontier.

As the track unfolds, you can see almost see that lovely senorita slowly gyrating her hips to the rhythm as rugged cowboys gulp down cheap whiskey in the sweltering desert night. Her olive-skin glistens as the sweat forms beads on her forehead. She works hard to gain the attention of these world-weary men. Most of them ignore her, while a few leer at her lecherously.

Be sure to keep a look out for Hosannas’ upcoming EP Thug-Life Nicole, which is expected to drop in late March.

Stream and download the amazing single below, and be sure to head over to their bandcamp to check out the rest of their stuff.

Hosannas-Walrus by dangervillage