Ozere Free The Quartet With Finding Anyplace
Thu, 08 Oct 2015 01:58:00 +0000
Emerging from the strict confines of the string quartet, Ozere has striven to expand beyond them and take the possibility of a quartet to the next level. Mixing classical influences with world music and folk elements Ozere seems to be well underway to pushing the boundaries of what a modern string quartet can be and do. Their album Finding Anyplaceis a tranquil and refreshing exploration of how mixing elements of different genres can work in harmony.
Finding Anyplace takes classical string focused structure and tampers with it's dynamics. And while the strings for the most part stay the center and launching point of the band, they share the spotlight with the vocals of Emily Rockards and Jessica Deutsch. Lending a tender folk sound to the album Rockards and Deutsch give the rigid structure of the quartet a gentle nudge into more song based arrangements. Those moments are nice and intimate but Ozere really does their best work as a modern string quartet. Finding Anyplace has a loosely Celtic/Gypsy feel to it and the string arrangements are beautifully delicate, worldly, and atmospheric. The guitar work, violins, bass, and cello arrangements are simply stunning and will give you goosebumps. The instrumental pieces have this old world feel to them that feels simple yet texturally complicated; it's a bit of time travel stuffed into a five minute song.
Finding Anyplace is a fantastic effort and Ozere have done an amazing job at finding their niche and crafting an album that transports you away from the confines of your modern life. They have successfully taken the string quartet and given it a modern slant by mixing traditional old world sounds and folk music into a stirring mix. If ever there was a “classical crossover,” sort of album Finding Anyplace would have to be it. Finding Anyplace is well worth finding anyplace you can find it!
Bosley Wants To Know Are We In Love?
Thu, 08 Oct 2015 00:58:00 +0000
Bosley is a Baltimore based singer songwriter who firmly understands that sometimes the old ways are the best ways. While he self describes his single, Are We In Love? as Outcast meets the Beach Boys, it is in reality a sexy groove laden jam that firmly embraces late sixties early seventies soul. The song lays down a fat drum beat that takes the song to heaven and back. It's a funky, horn led R&B groove that fits perfectly around Bosely's smokey laced voice. Throw in just enough trippy easy listening and cheesy 70's sound effects and you have something that's just about perfect.
The single is super tight and it's a melodious treat that's kept authentic with enough 70's production and sounds to make you reach for bell bottoms and join the Soul Train line. Are We In Love? is a sensual romp through the past that's the perfect introduction to Bosley. He knocks it out of the ballpark here and while the single is just two different versions of the same song, if it's any slight indication of what an entire album from him will sound like we are in for something special. Visit bosleymusic.net for the download!
Chico Trujillo's Reina De Todas Las Fiestas
Wed, 07 Oct 2015 01:36:00 +0000
Chilean group Chico Trujillo have been around for roughly fifteen years and in the span of that time have grown to become leaders of Cumbia scene. What's interesting about Chico Trujillo is rather than doing this in Chile, they cut their teeth in Berlin. Yes, Berlin! Bringing the caliente to Germany Chico Trujillo took the party to Europe and since then have been just about everywhere else. Now with a global reach and full grasp of Chilean as well as South & Central American musical references these guys are rapidly becoming global legends!
Basically a party band with more energy than the Argentinian oil supply, Chico Trujillo load their album Reina De Todas Las Fiestaswith enough horns, Latin percussion and shuffly danceable rhythms to make the dead dance. This record brings the tropical heat of Carnival and with the help of 30 piece brass band Banda Wiracocha there's no way this album couldn't be raucous. The rhythms, the movement and the energy of Reina De Todas Las Fiestaswill make you feel as though you are in the middle of a massive street celebration. It's a stunning album of kinetic vivacity that never eases up or backs down. Chico Trujillo is on a mission to make sure you enjoy yourself while listening to Reina De Todas Las Fiestas and they succeed. This record will literally have you dancing in the streets.
Party music from South America that's in touch with the global pulse of musical culture is what Reina De Todas Las Fiestasis all about and throw in a never ending Cumbia beat and you have perfection. This is a fantastic effort that truly sees Chico Trujillo reaching the pinnacle of their career and they've done so with a fiesta in their heart.
Knowlton Bourne Sings Songs From Motel 43
Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:02:00 +0000
Mississippi born and bread Knowlton Bourne isn't your typical singer songwriter. Sure the guy sounds a bit country but he's definitely not as buried in the roots of the Deep South as being from Mississippi would seem to indicate. Oh no, Knowlton sounds more like his long lost brother is Richard Ashcroft and he's spent his whole life in Wigan as opposed to the US. His album Songs from Motel 43 is a soaring psychedelic trip through the cosmos in the back of a F-150.
Songs from Motel 43 is a fantastically airy record that lets Knowlton's vocal stylings sweep over the record like a great Condor coasting on a breeze. The record is vast and expansive and leaves his countrified influences in the dust for a more spacey intergalactic feel. The songs have their ups and downs and a few dirt road twists and turns but at times the whole thing seems rather heavenly and angelic. I'm not sure how Knowlton stumbled onto all this deep in the heart of Mississippi but it's pretty amazing that he did. Songs from Motel 43is fragile, beautiful, and so much more than the sum of it's parts.
Bourne has taken heartbreak and isolation and painted a splendid picture of it that's as stark and intriguing as the album cover that graces Songs from Motel 43. I really didn't think I would like this record but it has totally won me over through it's Verve-ish vibes, sweeping songs, and sense of starkness. This is quite possibly the best record to come out of Mississippi in the last 20 years and as such should be in your collection.
Savannah Stopover Is One Festival Worth Staying Over For
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 23:18:00 +0000
The Savannah Stopover Festival
is an annual event in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in America. Amongst the Spanish moss, ghost tours, stately homes and Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil is the heartbeat of southern indie rock. The annual festival brings to this sleepy Southern city a bit of hipster swagger or should I say more hipster swagger as SCAD's populace is already there and the hipster quotient is already high. Anyway, like many of the smaller festivals that pop up this time of the year many of the bands are on the bleeding edge of cool and quite developed the level of hype many of their peers have.
That's what makes Stopover
so fun. The idea here is to find bands that you've never heard of and be blown away by them. My goal was/is to try to find at least one band that achieved that. I This year I found not just one but four bands that blew me away in the one day I was actually able to get to the Stopover
So here folks are four bands that you need to find and follow like a cult.
First up were Parlour Tricks
. Now it's one thing to see a band in a grotty club but to see them in a church is a whole different matter. It approaches Hail Mary territory when said church is in the deep south and said band oozes sexuality. Anyway, I digress. Parlour Tricks
are a fantastic band that embraces the multi-part harmonies of 60's girl groups and modern day R&B rhythms and runs them both through an effects pedal of indie rock. The results are something that comes off like a re-interpretation of The Pipettes from an American standpoint. They're sensual and synched and their stage presence is simply amazing as the three front-women harmonize the heck out of every song they have. It's gorgeous lush stuff would have caused a priest to call the police had one been there. They quite simply blew the doors off the place during their unfortunately short set. The worst part of it all was that Parlour Tricks
had absolutely NO music for sale!!! This was painful as they had the crowd eating out the palms of their hand and could have sold a gazliion dollars worth of records. I'm not too religious but experiencing Parlour Tricks was as close to a religious experience as I'll probably ever get. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/PARLOURTRICKSMUSIC
Post Parlour Tricks the POP! Stereo team headed over to catch Sales
. Having worked in a sales department how could I not go see a band named after what I used to do? Ok, that's a horrible segue but bear with me because Sales
were anything but horrible. Sales
were full of surprises as they were from Orlando of all places! Who knew!? This dynamic duo sounded something like Stina Nordenstam trapped in a basement with only a four track recorder to occupy her time. With sweet melodies and simple hooks they mesmerized us with adorableness and spring-like lo-fi indie. The Hang Fire was a great venue to see them at simply because it held like 100 people and they connected with the audience almost immediately. They're an intimate band and their fragility wouldn't have worked say...in a church. Anyway, Sales
are the kind of band you want to give a hug to and thank them for existing. The fact that they've been doing this sort of thing down in Orlando just blows me away. Why have they never visited Jacksonville? You can pick up their EP here: http://wearenotsales.com/
Perhaps the greatest discovery of the Stopover
was synthpop boffin Terror Pigeon
. With a name like Terror Pigeon
I was totally expecting some sort of spazz core noise band that was more like An Albatross than what they actually turned out to be. Terror Pigeon
can best be summed up by saying they (actually he...its a one man operation) are fueled by ADHD and at least five to six cases of Five Hour Energy. The guy is a fury of uncontrolled chaos that comes complete with slide shows, synthtastic beats, audience participation, and songs that have so much energy that they could barely be contained within the multi-story Club One. Terror Pigeon
were mind blowing. How he kept his energy up the entire set is a miracle of modern chemistry but he did and everyone in the audience was roped in to participate. You weren't going to escape this guy. There was yelling, there were parachutes, there were dance parties spinning off of the dance party. It was something to behold. This was the most fun I've had at a show in a very, very long time. As I told everyone I knew, buy everything you can possibly find from Terror Pigeon
and embrace the madness. Visit the best website ever: http://terrorpigeon.us/
I wasn't sure if anyone could actually live up to or match the performance that Terror Pigeon gave, but synth pop goddess Computer Magic
came pretty darn close. Straddling the line between proper indie pop, Figurine, and Little Boots, Computer Magic
play sugary sweet synth pop that's like the best candy you've ever eaten. Rich and lush synths washed over us as Danz's (aka Danielle Johnson) voice quietly whispers in your ear...or in the case of this live thingy kind of does it a bit louder. Computer Magic
were arguably the least appreciated but most highly valued band that we witnessed. Playing to a tiny crowd late, Danz still worked her magic and her songs left me warm and fuzzy and closed out Stopover
in the best way possible...with a hook in my head and desire to dance. When you think of Big In Japan...think of Computer Magic
where's she's apparently released more records than The Fall! Find out more here: http://thecomputermagic.com/
In the span of a few short exhaustive hours in what truly was a stopover between cross continental journeys, my hopes of finding one new band to rave about was exceeded three times over. Stopover
is a brilliant festival because of that. It doesn't have huge names but it has bands that should be huge. It's an exceptionally well run festival and it was easy to navigate Savannah and have fun dodging the pre-St. Patty's day revelers at the same time. Stopover
is definitely the sort of festival that's worth coming down or up for because as I said the bands are great, it's in a historically cool city, and the crowds are very manageable. While I was only able to stopover for one day this year, my goal next year is to stay over all three days!
Lust For Youth Go International
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 02:51:00 +0000
Holy cow! I'm not sure what Lust For Youth ingested before the recording of their latest album International but I'm certainly glad they did. Wow, this is such a different record than previous Lust For Youth efforts that I'm half convinced that this isn't them. Frontman Hannes Norrvide's previous efforts were the very definition of cold and dark but International feels damn near energetic.
Apparently listening to a lot of Cure records during the making of International had an irreparable affect on the band and Norrvide is clearly embracing his inner Robert Smith. International feels like a Cure record, it's gauzy and slightly dark but laced with a pop edge to it and you can pull rope, sway, or even dance to the thing. Shock, horror, I know, but it's really quite good. This is easily the best thing Lust For Youth have ever done and it's darkness and torment is so endearing it's hard to stop listening to it. Crossing synth pop with the angularity of post punk and throwing in Norrvide's dark tendencies gives each song this awkward goodness that reverberates and throbs through the dry ice clouds that envelope you as you listen.
International is a wonderfully poppy goth record that sounds more Cure than the Cure does now. Each of the ten songs of this excursion into murkiness is laden with pop hooks, cloudy atmospheres, and a sense of, dare I say it, hope. I love this thing, it's just such a cool record for these guys and I really hope Lust For Youth keep this clove inspired musical trip up. Probably one of my favorite albums of 2014.
Brooklyn Shanti's Bedstuyle Is An Awesome Ride
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 02:46:00 +0000
Sometimes an album just gives you goosebumps. It's the sort of thing that hits just right and makes everything all tingly and emotionally charged. Brooklyn Shanti's new album Bedstuyle is one of those albums. It creates a sense of exhilaration that's somewhere between chill out and heartache and just wraps itself around your heart, soul, and ears and refuses to let go.
Brooklyn Shanti takes us on a journey throughout Bedstulye, from downtempo to reggae to folk and all stops in between; this record has it all. Brooklyn Shanti fears no genre and puts it all into the pot to create the awe inspiring atmosphere that makes up this experience This by all accounts shouldn't work, there's just too much cross pollination, to many genre's bouncing off of each other, but Bedstuyle manages to give you chills as each new song rolls on by no matter the approach. The range of emotions this record plays with is staggering, from homesickness to love and everything else within reach Bedstuyle plays them all as if they were your own and I think that's really why this record is so successful. From fun in the sun to wishing you were back home it's all here and it's done with such feeling and precision that each of the twelve songs are powerful enough in their own right.
From the atmospheric opener, "Midnight In Paris," to the party vibe of, "This Feeling," Bedstuyle is a roller-coaster ride of building emotions and cascading musical influences. There's really nothing bad you can say about this album. Bedstuyle stopped me in my tracks and just blew me away. Chill out/downtempo stuff is so cliche at this point it's painful...but every once and a while something is much greater than the sum of it's parts and Bedstuyle proves that a fearless approach to music combined with an emotional outpouring can make for one heck of an experience. Stop what you're doing and get this, seriously, you won't regret it.
Monica Giraldo Is An Intercontinental Musician
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:52:00 +0000
Singer songwriter Monica Giraldo is an artist with her feet firmly planted on two continents. One foot is deeply rooted in the the North American folk music approach to writing songs. Her other foot is constantly exploring her native land of Columbia and its musical influences and roots. The result of this is Que Venga La Vida which brings a Latin flavor to American folk and American folk to Colombian music.
With a pastoral approach to writing songs sung in Spanish, Giraldo creates this intercontinental soundworld that's both dusty and rustic while being exotic and exciting. This is not your usual folk pop record, it's might sound like it at times, but its not because her depth of field and her exploratory nature allows her songs to breathe and slowly and gently pull at your heart strings. This is an honest and beautiful record that brings something to each of the tables Giraldo sits at. Her guitar playing is gorgeous and rustic, her voice tender and mesmerizing, and her songs are intimate and rooted in tradition.
With Colombian rhythms, gently strummed guitars and a lovely voice Monica Giraldo casts a spell on Que Venga La Vida. From the unusual rhythms of "Asi Lo Canto Yo," and "Deja," to the catchy and majestic "Dulce Boca," Monica Giraldo proves over and over she's a fantastic artist no matter where or how she writes songs. Singer songwriter albums are a dime a dozen these days and it's rare that one stands out as a glaring example of what the genre can be...Que Venga La Vida is one of those examples.
S Makes The Cool Choice
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:46:00 +0000
The oddly named and impossible to search for S is a spin off project from one of the founding members of Carissa's Weird. While some of the other members of this legendary band went off and formed Band of Horses, Jenn Ghetto retreated to her bedroom with a guitar and a four track recorder. While she may not be as successful as Band of Horses, S is pure and simple and interesting. Three albums into her bedsit exile S is emerging from her bedroom once again with Cool Choices and that's a good thing because it's, quite honestly, better than anything Carissa's Weird ever recorded.
Cool Choices is a fascinating record that hovers between folk music, synthpop and mathy indie rock. What makes this record stick is that there are complex rhythms smack dab next to and quiet acoustic moments and they both work together. There's moments of danceability and moments of introspection and fragility and when combined together S creates a whirlwind of hypnotizing songs that are hard to get away from. While the acoustic tenderness is tolerable, I much prefer her synth'd out tunes and she shows a real knack for creating these dark tinged indie dance hits when the synths come out. "Tell Me," for example takes Cat Power's, "Cross Bones Style," and expands it into a dance floor destroyer. There are hits here tucked neatly between moments of sensitivity and they serve as a constant sense of discovery when you uncover them.
Cool Choices is a fantastic third effort and with the help of Death Cab's Chris Walla behind the scenes it's been polished into something almost cheery. It's the little record that can made by someone who's honest and deeply cares about music even if she occasionally gives it up. For those reasons I think that's why I made the Cool Choice and decided I like this record quite a bit.
The Bad Things Are Anything But
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:38:00 +0000
A decade into their career, Seattle's Bad Things are still one of the city's best kept musical secrets. While the word Seattle conjures some obvious musical images, The Bad Things are happily not one of them. This gang of outcasts celebrate their uniqueness and outsider status with a fairly interesting approach to music that has more in common with Beirut than with Nirvana. Their latest album, After The Inferno is a tribute to their standing within the coffee capital's musical community.
Sounding like something from a different century, Bad Things have old world charm by the bucket load. They sound aged, traditional, unusual, and most importantly...cool. There are polka rhythms, accordion songs, horns, chants and a worldly approach to writing a song and not an ounce of flannel in sight. After The Inferno is unusually brilliant because it's pure and honest and different. It's just not modern in a 21st century way and I love how the band have found this neat little niche in which to explore old musical styles that often aren't heard. The Bad Things ability to mix folk, traditional country, Eastern European, Western European, and quirky pop influences into something so mesmerizing makes it almost impossible to turn away from much less dislike.
After The Inferno is the kind of record you'd hear on a steam ship, river boat, or expedition. It's an exploratory and rootsy record that keeps traditional sounds close to it's heart. The Bad Things are honest and awesome musicians and their name is a complete misnomer, because their albums are far from being Bad Things. Seriously awesome old timey music that even your parents and grand parents will like After The Inferno is highly recommended.
Passing Quickly By Luluc
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:31:00 +0000
The cover of Luluc's album Passer By pretty much sums up to what this record will do to you...lull you to sleep. Passer By is an unexciting, unergetic record that lilts its way gently across 10 songs barely raising its voice and unobtrusively going about its business. The problem with all this of course is that Passer By is incredibly boring...it does nothing. It just exists.
I've said it for years and I'll say it again...I just don't get folk music. Luluc's Passer By doesn't give me or my ears anything to latch onto. Its just a quiet record that serves its purpose as white noise but does nothing more or nothing less. It just sort of sits there and rumbles along. I'm sorry guys...but I really am just a passer by...quickly moving on to the next record and hoping it wakes me up.
Unicycle Loves You Escape The Dead Age
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:27:00 +0000
Unicycle Loves You have trolled through pop music history over the course of three albums in search of inspiration and great songs. Thus far they've covered everything from jangly pop, post-new wave, and garage rock. But as is their MO, they're always on the hunt for something new. On their fourth album, The Dead Age, they've left the garage and have headed toward the sturm and drang of noise pop with reckless abandon.
The Dead Age is a slice out of the Sonic Youth book of how to lose your hearing in twelve easy steps. Sounding like a more melodic and less pretentious take on Daydream Nation, ULY cranks up the amps, processes the heck out of everything and comes up with an album that's melodically brilliant and noisily ear numbing. Sheets of guitar noise reverberate off of each other creating a wall of distortion and chaos that's only held together by the rather distantly recorded melodies of Jim Carroll. This is unrefined, raw, and pure pop music stripped down and laid bare. The Dead Age is the sound of a band purposely dismantling itself and then duct taping it all back together rather shoddily. That might sound like a bad idea, but ULY are a strong enough band to pull it off and make it sound good. The Dead Age is a rather enjoyable romp through a minefield of guitars exploding, wrangling and shredding themselves.
To say ULY have been around the block a few times would be an understatement; four albums and four approaches is pretty impressive. If there's a sound that tickles their fancy, they're all over it and their latest excursion into their never ending search for The Tune is migraine inducing fun. I'm left wondering what's next for these guys? Dubstep? Symphonic arrangements? I have no idea, but I can't wait.
Leticia Rodriguez Garza Remembers Family On New EP
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 04:38:00 +0000
Leticia Rodriguez Garza's latest record is a beautiful little EP by the name of Saguita al Bate. Inspired by family, the record features the songs of her aunt Eva who happened to be one of the first bilingual artists to have mainstream success. In fact, the title track of the record was one of her aunt's greatest hits and Leticia has made it a beautiful tribute to her and her legacy.
Saguita al Bate is a gorgeous and lush record of laid back cumbia/salsa vibes with other Latin flourishes finding there way into the songs throughout. From horns and masterful accordion work to jazzy piano runs and virtuosic guitar playing the record is littered with stunning musicianship and the sultry singing of Leticia layered on top. Saguita al Bate is a tapas sized entry of tunes that's the perfect holdover until Leticia can complete work on her next album due in 2015.
Spoonboy Splits Power Pop In Three
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 04:34:00 +0000
Spoonboy is the alter-identity of musician David Combs and was started as a creative outlet for him when he wasn't working with his normal job The Max Levine Ensemble. A decade into his alter-identity and he's released two solo albums and now a series of split records with Martha, Colour Me Wednesday, and The Goodbye Party all of which are tiny slices of power pop heaven.
Fully embracing the term power pop, Spoonboy play enthusiastic, frenetic pop music with huge riffs and even bigger hooks. The nine songs that make up the three split records are all top notch spiky pop tunes that are energetically played and are catchy as the flu. Massive melodies are in abundance and his ability to turn a phrase into something you can't forget no matter how depressing the content is a true sign of Combs' talent.
He might not be the happiest guy on the planet, but his voice and his songs would seemingly convince you otherwise. Combs is an excellent songwriter and he's able to cram so much within the span of three minutes that it's remarkable. I love the energy of these songs and I love the fact that at times he's rather direct in his approach. I'm not sure which of the nine songs are on which spilt record, so I can't recommend a specific split over the others so I'll just recommend you hunt down all three of them and bask in their frenzied & quirky glory.
Peter Matthew Bauer Is Seeking Liberation
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 04:29:00 +0000
Peter Matthew Bauer, as some of you might know, is a founding member of the legendary Walkmen and for those of you who don't...he is. Well with some time away from the band he decided to forget about his day job and record a solo album. Liberation! is that record and what's cool about it is that it's from Peter Matthew Bauer from the Walkmen, what's bad about it though is that it's from Peter Matthew Bauer of the Walkmen.
Liberation! has it's moments of greatness but it's hard to not want to hear this album sound like a Walkmen record with a personal touch. That's kind of where the problem arises, it's not and it doesn't have that grandeur and that sense of "drama," that the Walkmen always seem to have. Liberation! seems to be a raw, rather underproduced recording that sounds more like Bauer enjoys tinkering with the odd song or two than anything really cohesive. Like I said there are some stellar moments here and he finds a little bit of his pop sensibility, see, "You Are The Chapel, " and "Fortune Tellers," but a vast majority of this record sounds like it was recorded in a garage on a 1/4" boombox tape deck as just something to do. I was really hoping for more and to be blown away, but instead I'm mildly content with the record simply because I know who Bauer is and those aforementioned strokes of pop cool.
Liberation! may be Bauer being free from the chains of band life...but I think I prefer the confinement of the Walkmen. This isn't a bad effort it's just that my bar was raised much higher than this record was able to achieve. If you're a die hard Walkmen fan, you'll love this record and hate me for saying all that stuff, but for the casual listener, there are far better lo-fi indie rock records out there that are far more, um, liberating.
Druthers & Drips Hits Em Where It Hurts
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 04:24:00 +0000
Druthers & Drips latest single is an interesting little electronic battle weapon. If you've ever wondered what hip hop or an amen break would sound like if it got lost in a chill wave Hit Em aims to answer that question. This slow moving, churning, bass intensive single seems to be like something out of a 1980's Miami Basswaves tape. In fact, it's so Miami sounding that you can hear traffic on Brickell Ave.cruising past in your Celica GT if you listen closely.
Featuring loads of 80's-like rap production sounds and techniques, the thing sounds like 2 Live Crew moved on to dance music and left being as nasty as they want to be to Poison Clan. The single is so rooted in hip hop and early drum and bass production that it seemingly includes built in trunk rattle. Things thump, rattle, and roll all the while found samples like samurai clangs, chanting, and vocal snippets whizz by with repeated regularity. While I'm not too sure of the dance floor action this single will inspire, I'm pretty sure that it will blow the doors and 12" woofers off of your 1985 Mustang 5.0 cruising down Ocean Drive on Friday night.
Jan Helsing's Is Nothing But A Good Dream
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 04:18:00 +0000
Okay...Everytime I see the name Jan Helsing, I can't help but think of Van Helsing. It just happens. Anyway, Jan Helsing are not warriors from Underworld but rather an Estonian dream pop band. Their single, Sunnipaev is a cascading wash of jangly guitars, angelic vocals and gorgeous hooks. Depressingly short at only two songs (an instrumental version and the title track), the single just isn't enough to satisfy the hunger Jan Helsing leaves your with (even if you're not undead).
In any case, Sunnipaev is a dream well worth getting lost in. Unfortunately, until their album comes out on Seksound later this summer, Sunnipaev will have to do.
Alvvays On My Mind
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 05:04:00 +0000
I think the bio of Alvvays sums them up best: two women, three men, a crate of C-86 tapes and a love of jingle jangle. That folks is Alvvays(I just say always because that's the optical illusion) in a nutshell and their self-titled album is the best thing to come from the legendary NME c-86 compilation that actually was never part of it. So rooted in that classic era of perfect indie pop, Alvvays feel, sound, and probably look like they stepped out of a NME created wormhole.
Alvvays is a sunshiny, summery slice of pop perfection that has oodles and oodles of jangly guitars, twee girly melodies, and a sense of yearning that's almost overwhelming. Even at it's darkest death centered moments the record still seems brimming with rays of sunshine and hope. These guys are perpetually happy and seemingly positive and nothing manages to get in their way of creating perfect slices of indie pop deliciousness. What more could you ask for in a record?
I must admit as a sucker for anything related to twee, indie or C-86 I fell hard for this record. It's lilting melodies, fizzy guitars, and joyous attitude makes it easy to leave on repeat for days. Alvvays is easily one of the best indie pop records of 2014 even if they can't spell always correctly...like me.
The Decline and Fall of Godflesh
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:59:00 +0000
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve listened to a Godflesh record. I’d hazard a guess it’s been almost 20 years since I broke out Pure and blew out my speakers. I used to love these guys because while they were on Earache records they so weren’t part of the scene that made Earache Records what they were. I mean they were heavy, ridiculously heavy, but they were an industrial band…not death metal or grindcore. And to this day that’s why I’ve always admired them because they were heavy in a totally different way than everyone else. Flash forward twenty years and these guys are still plugging away and doing things different.
They’re new EP, Decline & Fall is a welcome return to form and sees the band maintaining their incredible intensity. The four songs on the record are the sound of a carpet bombing campaign from a fleet of B-52 Stratofortresses; it’s wave after wave of aural destruction laid down on vinyl. With riffs so heavy that Atlas couldn’t carry them on his shoulder and a sound still so punishing it’s the stuff of nightmares, Godflesh prove that they’ve still got it. There just isn’t anything heavier than these guys and Decline & Fall is absolutely hellishly perfect in its brutality.
They might be pensioners at this point and they might be twenty years wiser but the power and severity of Godflesh remains strong. Decline & Fall is anything but…it’s a rise to glory.
The Orwells Destroy Disgraceland
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:29:00 +0000
If George Orwell was more like The Orwells, 1984 wouldn't be something to be terrified about, but something to be embraced and over indulged in. Unlike Big Brother stalking in the background this power pop group from Chicago is overly energetic, raucous, and in your face. This spunk and hyperactivity bleeds through every song of their debut album, Disgraceland.
With a bit of Strokesian cool, Pixies like noise and Parquet Courtsian sloppiness The Orwells crank it up to 11 and kick out the jams. And what jams they are. The kinetic nature of these guys is hard to keep up with and they fire out songs at such a rapid rate that Disgraceland is almost over before it started. Sure they slow it down for a few minutes here and there but even their "ballads," feel like out of breath shots of heartache; I love it. Disgraceland is a fun and uber catchy record whose enthusiasm is infectious and almost overbearing. I really like how the band channels power pop through this lively filter that involves churning out raw riff after riff in a machine gun like spray of notes that hits everything it comes across.
Disgraceland churns and burns and dashes and sprints across songs. It has a classic feel despite being brand new and songs like, "Let It Burn," "Southern Comfort," and "Gotta Get Down," sum up Disgraceland perfectly. Slightly chaotic, always noisy, and filled with great songs Disgraceland is a statement as to the current state of power pop and it's current state is awesome.
Doprah Not Oprah
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:12:00 +0000
Oprah's empire is vast; from television to books to magazines her depth of power is nearly limitless...but music? Oh, wait, this isn't Oprah it's Doprah? Ok, Doprah apparently are a dynamic duo as far away from Oprah's grip as humanly possible; Christchurch, New Zealand. Having released numerous singles in the land of Mordor the band have had number one hits and even opened for Lorde, but have never had anything available Stateside. That's all changed with their five song self-titled EP.
Doprah (not Oprah) is a lush and subdued take on the whole chilled out/chillwave thing mixed with equal parts of Bjorkian quirkiness and Target-like pop hooks. With synthesized atmospheres and washes, ghostlike vocals, and a clever pop sensibility Doprah is quite the mesmerizing little record. Vocalist Indira Force coos her way through each of the songs here and her voice is so hypnotic that your eyes are likely to get all googly as she seduces your ears. Even when the band intentionally uses auto-tune to chop her voice up it still sounds good. Steven Marr, the other half of the duo, wisely produces this ambrosial soundworld by enveloping Force's voice with aural beauty and luxurious textures. The whole thing has a sheen and style to it that's simply riveting and while it might be cliche for something to be chillwave in this day and age, Doprah aren't and they manipulate it with a level of precision that makes it a genre all their own. Doprah might never be as popular as Oprah but they are ridiculously good and worthy of your time even if they don't have their talk show.
Dead Dream Is Quite Alive
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:00:00 +0000
Dead Dream's four song EP is proof that the dream of shoegazing's glory days is far from dead or even drifting away. These guys are so wrapped up in keeping the spirit of 1992 alive you'd swear that they were actually from 1992. Embracing washed out guitars, waves of noise, whispered vocals, and the whole idea that spiritual enlightenment can be achieved through distortion pedals Dead Dream's EP is a ethereal slice of heaven.
Depressingly short at just four songs, the record harks back to better times when the scene that celebrated itself was busy celebrating itself. Dead Dream do a fantastic job of taking past influences and modernizing them for today's hipstertastic ears. The songs here plod along at a slow to moderate pace while whispers and sighs burrow their way through the cascading sheets of guitars. "Sleepwalker," is a brilliant tune that you'd swear was produced by Robin Guthrie while "Fireworks," is an instrumental work out that might just be played by Robin Guthrie. All in all, it's four songs are all endearing and wonderfully angelic. Since the press release I got with this didn't have any information, fans of shoegazing would be advised to email the band at email@example.com to find out how to get this slice of heaven.
The Felice Brothers Love Their Favorite Waitress
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 15:53:00 +0000
Alt-country is such an abused musical term in this day and age. Think about it, it seems like anyone that's slightly off kilter but has a country edge is immediately labeled alt-country. But then again, the whole genre of country is a total misnomer when you think about it. I mean, is Taylor Swift and Toby Keith real country? Not really. Anyway, one of the more legitimate alt-country artists out there are the Felice Brothers. These guys have been rocking out in a country stylee for as long as I can remember. They're practically legendary and it's all well deserved as they've consistently brought the goods.
Their latest album Favorite Waitress is yet another notch of excellence in their ever expanding catalog. Taking country roots and folk and giving it a strong dose of indie rock the band find a happy medium between traditional and modern influences. The result is a fantastic record that's as rustic as it is rocking. It just feels dusty and homey and even with what sounds like synths washing over it the Felice Brothers are able to convey a feeling of pastoral cool. Be it guitars, piano, or banjo Favorite Waitress lilt's and twangs and uses everything under the sun to create that homespun atmosphere.
Truly an alternative form of country Favorite Waitress takes a different path to un-swept musical trails and likes both types country and western. The Felice Brothers, reassuringly, still have the ability to do this without being cliche and Favorite Waitress is a great listen. From broken ballads to indie rock outs Favorite Waitress has it all with a bit of dust and grit thrown in for good measure.
The Cretin Stompers Are Looking Forward To Being Attacked
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 15:48:00 +0000
Beginning as a long distance collaboration between past members of Barbaras, Magic Kids, Boston Chinks, Alex Gates and Billy Hayes, and the mysterious Big Muff Radio the Cretin Stompers eventually came together in various pieces and parts to make their album Looking Forward To Being Attacked. Apparently, recorded in each members garage and slapped together with masking tape, Looking Forward To Being Attacked is a primitive stomp through pseudo psychedelic garage rock. It's raw, rough, and totally underproduced but that's what makes the Cretin Stompers so stomptastic.
Musically, this band is amazing. Chugging riffs, bashed drums, lo-fi aesthetics and a sense of the impending apocalypse fuel every song. It's speedy, sloppy, and totally rock and roll. If this record was nothing but two minute rock and roll instrumentals it would be a garage rock masterpiece but someone out of the 350 members that apparently make up this band decided that it would be a good idea to include vocals on this record. And while some of the vocals fit the songs, an overwhelming falsetto bleeds itself over the majority of Looking Forward To Being Attacked . It is absolutely annoying to the point of distraction; it's so weird, so high, and so off key that it overpowers every song it appears on making it difficult to tolerate the record as a whole. It truly is unfortunate because when these guys chug away and add vocals that fit the songs the Cretin Stompers are fantastic...but the second you hear that wailing din you want to reach for earplugs.
Looking Forward To Being Attacked has a ton of potential as a simplistic and raw rock and roll record, unfortunately the vocals that overpower some of the songs that appear here squash that potential and make it nearly un-listenable. For those of you with high tolerance levels or are unable hear high pitched noises, in the dog whistle range, you'll find some good songs worthy of listening to. Outside of that, it should be noted that putting what sounds like a four year old singing on top of your songs is probably not a good idea. Just saying.
Wolves At Bay Release Postvention With A Cause
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 15:39:00 +0000
Last updated at: 10/8/2015 12:20:47 PM ET
Connecticut's Wolves At Bay have released their latest EP, Postvention with a good cause in mind. This new record featuring new versions of two old songs and two cover tunes is released as a name your own price, but donations given are being turned over to Prevent Suicide CT. Great tunes for a great cause, if you ask me.
The EP itself is a four song blast of post-hardcore/pseudo-emo stuff with soaring vocal climaxes, guttural growls and chugging riffs; the whole package. From a heaviness standpoint, "Bedside Manner (reprise)," is the heaviest tune here. It's a crunchy short blast of fire that sets the EP off in fine fashion and when it kicks in, it kicks hard. "Know Why," is a brooding alternative to the original that kind of plods along a bit darkly and almost comes off as a sort of acoustic version. The two covers on the record, "Mother Mary," (a Far cover) and "Rudderless," (a Lemonheads cover) are a lot of fun. I like the fact that they're all over the map here and both versions of these songs are fun and fairly well done; I like, "Rudderless,"the best as it's almost a bit true to the original.
With a good cause in mind and good tunes on record Postvention is well worth a donation and getting karma on your side. Head over to the band's site