Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writer - "Family Dinner"

The loudest duo in rock are back. No, I'm not talking about Sleigh Bells. San Fransisco transplants Writer are releasing a brand new 7" next month for sonic rabble-rouser "Family Dinner". Since seeing the duo open up for ARMS and Wintersleep last month, I've been looking forward to new music from them and the new track certainly doesn't disappoint - brimming with the same hyperactive energy and deluge of sound that made them instant favorites when I saw them live. Check out the new track here and if you like it, make sure to preorder the 7" while supplies last.

Lands & Peoples - "Ghosts"

Baltimore duo Lands & Peoples have finally come out of their album recording hibernation, not only with exciting news but with a brand new track.

Lands & Peoples are releasing an album. Not only that, the upcoming album Pop Guilt (out March 27th) will be released on limited edition vinyl by Analog Edition. And to top it all off have a record release show next week (March 9th) at Soft House so if you're in the Baltimore area or in possession of a car and/or lots of money, make sure you make it out there for what's sure to be a night of epic proportions.

In addition to all this wonderful news, Lands & Peoples also dropped new track "Ghosts" off the upcoming album over at Impose Magazine. The new track is silky smooth with velvety vocals from Caleb and Beau but with occasional unexpected barbs of sound. It's a track that's equal parts haunting beauty and unpredictable thrill ride.

Check out Lands & Peoples' "Ghosts":
 Lands & Peoples - "Ghosts" by All Around Sound Blog

You can preorder Pop Guilt here, it comes with an instant download of the album.

(via Impose Magazine)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Watch: Plants and Animals - "Lightshow"

No one track has ever made me want to purchase an album as badly as Plants and Animals' "Lightshow". Even when the less impressive "Song For Love" came out, my love for "Lightshow" was unwavering. I did briefly wonder if The End of All That would be as great an album as I expected but pressing play on "Lightshow" immediately silenced all doubt. So while the album comes out today and I haven't listened to it yet, Plants and Animals have also dropped the video for "Lightshow" which I am far more excited for (the power of the amazing first single).

The video is pretty simple - The Canadian trio rock out and a team of scientists observe and make notes and because Plants and Animals rock so hard, they end up overloading all the scientists fancy equipment. There's also some cool graphics that register the bands level of rock that do some fun stuff when the band really gets into it. Overall a pretty decent video for a track I'm totally nuts about. Watch the video for Plants and Animals' "Lightshow":

(via Paste)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Will Stratton - "You Divers"/"When You Let Your Hair Down to Your Shoulder"

I'm not exactly sure what originally made Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Will Stratton follow me on Twitter but I'm certainly glad he did. Though it lasted but briefly, it brought him to my attention. Next month sees the release of his fourth full-length album Post-Empire, and if the first two songs streaming on his Bandcamp are any indication, it's bound to be a good one.

Will Stratton's melodies and instrumentals are considerably impressive - taking the best parts of folk bands like Horse Feathers and Bowerbirds (and their pastoral reveries), frankenstein-ing them together, and adding his own light touch of finger-picking and quiet, arresting tenor. Stratton somehow makes his 7 minute opening track, "You Divers" seem like mere seconds.and worthy of instantaneous repeat. Only to be followed by bustling "When You Let Your Hair Down to Your Shoulder" which finds the perfect balance between the soulful arrangement and Stratton's narrative.

Hear the two masterfully written tracks here:

Will Stratton's Post-Empire is out March 20th.

Regina Spektor - "All the Rowboats"

New York chanteuse Regina Spektor has an album coming out this year and it might be the most excited for an album I've been. The follow up to 2009's Far, Regina Spektor hasn't been that forthcoming with info on new album What We Saw From the Cheap Seats especially considering that it's supposedly coming out in about two months. Yet all of that changed today with the premiere of brand new single "All the Rowboats". It's a song she's performed live a couple times but the new version features slicker production and fills out all the sounds Spektor has claimed were going on in her head and unlike Far's "Folding Chair", actually benefits from the added production.  It is May yet?

Listen to Regina Spektor's new single "All the Rowboats" which if official out tomorrow.

(via Stereogum)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pitstop: Hundred Waters

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My discovery of Gainesville quintet Hundred Waters is due in part to a stray tweet from I Guess I'm Floating proclaiming how amazing they are as well as their slot on a bill next month featuring two of my favorite bands: Conveyor and Illuminator. When a band tells you to be excited about something, you damn well better be. And that's how I approached Hundred Waters, with expectations of greatness but little else.

There's not much I can tell you about Hundred Waters. Unlike the multitude of bands seeking exposure, the quintet carry around them an air of mystery and lack the heavily-detailed artist bio. What I can tell you is that Hundred Waters is the combination of bands from the Gainesville area into one that is unquestionably amazing. Hundred Waters are one of those rare bands that are my favorite to talk about: those with no discernible genre labeling. Instead to accurately understand what you get when you listen to them, you have to actually listen to them. Their music is a heady rush of textural soundscapes that's hypnotically intoxicating. Nicole Miglis' delicate siren vocals function as the main grasping point - as sparse instrumentation gives way to layer and layer of sonic world building. 

Hundred Waters' music is a breath of fresh air for the more than casual music listener - A great example of what happens to the sum when all of it's individual parts are just plain fantastic. Hundred Waters draws you in rather effortless and lets you coast on wave after undulating wave of dreamy landscapes that just happen to be anything but. If it's so easy to lose yourself in just the three tunes they have available, I can only imagine the damage their full length will do when it comes out in April. It's definitely a must-listen. 

Hear Hundred Waters distinctive genre-defying tunes:

Jonquil - Point of Go (2012)

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When British indie-pop foursome Jonquil released their first single "It's My Part" earlier this year, it hinted at a more mainstream sound that was somewhat at odds with the overall aesthetic of their previous works. It lifted layers of dreamy haze and replaced them with catchy pop hooks. Point of Go, for me, took on a more metaphorical significance. Could Jonquil become more accessible without losing any of their creativeness (a la Maps & Atlases) or would that accessibility create a sort of staleness?

One of the first things I noticed on Point of Go is the drums. Particularly they follow a similar pattern in the majority of the album's upbeat romps - tap, tap, tap. It's all a bit repetitive. Sure they slip in trumpets ("Real Cold") and other such ornaments but really, what's the good of dressing up something nicely if the interior is in disrepair? It's hard to argue if more inventive percussion would have led to a more well-rounded album, but a case could certainly be made for it. Besides the pretty predictable drums patterns, Jonquil mainlines its sound into something still worthy of listening. There's definite standouts sure - "Getaway" and "It's My Part" are leaps and bounds better than the rest of the album's other tracks - but the other tracks still contain some interesting parts.

Point of Go plays very much like a vacation album with it's sumptuous tropical beats, summery vibes, and brightness in sound; it could very well soundtrack an excursion. And while pretty enjoyable, after listening to One Hundred Suns, you can't help feeling like Jonquil's next outing should have been a bit...better.  One Hundred Suns moved as a cohesive whole with each track building moment after intriguing moment, Point of Go however is a series of crests and troughs - what works really works and what doesn't is glaring obvious. That said, Jonquil still manages to deliver an album better than your average garden variety indie-pop; it's just not necessarily their personal best.

Hear for yourself: Jonquil's Point of Go is on Spotify.
Get a little taste of what to expect, with arguably the album's best track "It's My Part":

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stout Cortez - "Berliner"

My discovery of New Haven laptop pop maestro Justin Hunter Scott (better know as his stage name Stout Cortez) was the result of pseudo-obsessively watching Illuminator, to see when they'd put out more stuff. One day they announced that Illuminator's mastermind Bryn Bellomy had produced a track for Stout Cortez and without really thinking about it, I was on it. Normally I'm not much of a fan of electronic crafted indie pop jams and yet, my liking Stout Cortez's "Berliner" is a testament to the man's craftsmanship. Grounding ever-present boom-crashes and dizzy synthy sweeps, it's equal parts dreamy space pop and dancey floorfiller that's downright infectious. I dare you to only listen once. It's all sorts of impossible.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brooklyn Rider - Seven Steps (2012)

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It's rare that I feature classical music here but I will always make an exception for genre-straddling string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Brooklyn Rider is as comfortable playing your standard string quartet fare as they are some of the more out there stuff - like an album with Iranian composer and kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor. Considering Brooklyn Rider's innovative approach to the string quartet, it only made sense that for their latest album Seven Steps, they would tackle one of classical music's foremost innovators - Ludwig van Beethoven.

Though Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14 is the crux of the album, it's far from its only highlight. Title track "Seven Steps", composed collaboratively between the foursome using sketches and improvisation, was inspired by Brooklyn Rider's experience writing a piece with a band 2 Foot Yard for University at North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Consisting of seven parts, "Seven Steps" exists as a sort of modern mirroring of Beethoven's fourtheenth, partially recalling the sound and feel of Colin Jacobsen composed piece "Brooklesca" off 2008's Passport. Separating the two distinctive pieces is Christopher Tignor's "Together Into This Unknowable Night", a piece full of a solemnity and that minimalistically explodes into a beautiful multi-layered roar of tiered pizzicati and flowing melodic lines.

Even if classical music isn't your normal cup of tea, Brooklyn Rider provide you with ample to choose from in fast-paced thrill ride "Seven Steps", rich moving "Together Into This Unknowable Night", or the stunning masterpiece that is Beethoven's Op. 131 (that actually injects some much-appreciated joviality into the album in the form of the fifth movement's Scherzo) that something's bound to resonate with you. Seven Steps is an intensely pleasing affair that's sure to be enjoyed by all regardless of where your tastes normally lie. Brooklyn Rider has succeeded once again in creating an accessible gem that displays not only their talent but brilliantly highlights the talents of others.

Get a taste of Brooklyn Rider with opening/title track "Seven Steps" and if you like what you hear, you can check out the album on Spotify.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Watch: Anna Calvi - "Naughty Girl" (Beyonce cover) live

Releasing her debut album little more than a year ago, British singer/songwriter/guitarist Anna Calvi seems to be taking her sweet time delivering a follow up. Instead she's packaged up single after single from the self-titled debut with some rather tasty goodies. Before the album, Calvi was most known for her take on "Jezebel" made famous by Edith Piaf, well it turns out the girl is just crazy good at covers. Whether it's Elvis Presley's "Surrender" or Leonard Cohen's "Joan of Arc", Anna Calvi's pretty much rocked them all. Well, in a recent live session for BBC Radio 1, Anna Calvi offered up one more doozy of a cover - Beyonce's "Naughty Girl". She imbues Beyonce's sass and sensuality with some rather dark textures and power - Calvi's version seems more of a sultry game of cat and mouse than Beyonce's come-hither sweet nothings whispered promise.

Watch Anna Calvi's take on Beyonce's "Naughty Girl" here:

Watch: Friend Roulette - "Hi, Hello" live

Brooklyn sextet Friend Roulette are currently working on their debut album so news has been pretty slow. A show here or there, in the studio, repeat. But today they posted this video of new (to me, anyway) song "Hi, Hello" they shot for Aputumpu. It's all acoustic and features each member being awesome at their chosen instrument. It also manages to slip in those dark, haunting textures with surprising ease. It only makes the wait for the album that much harder. Friend Roulette, please finish your album soon. I need it in my ears.

Watch Friend Roulette's acoustic set for Aputumpu here:

Robin Pecknold - "Olivia, In A Separate Bed"

There are some definitely pros and cons to Twitter: namely when Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold makes music, he likes to share it. The con is less directed at Twitter and more at any time of non-personal relationship. "Olivia, In A Separate Bed" is a break up song, plain and simple and details a great deal of Pecknold's shortcomings - namely a need for validation from fans/musicians/whoever. Not Olivia, apparently. Confession: There are two songs that have cause me to have a true outwardly emotional reaction (i.e. like crying...) and this is one of them. "Olivia, In A Separate Bed" with it's rawness will shake you to your very core. If it doesn't, you're not human and/or don't have a functioning heart. Simple as that.

Hear the devastatingly beautiful track here:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Watch: Laura Gibson - "La Grande"

To say I've become obsessed with Laura Gibson's La Grande might be a little bit of an understatement. I can't seem to find anything wrong with it (not that there needs to be) and so I just keep hitting play. It's soundtracked long nights made even longer by the reluctance to go to sleep until I've listened to the album a certain amount of times.

Well right before I discovered the album, Gibson dropped this spooky video to go right along with the kind of otherworldly title track of her awesome album. It features ghosts and nifty period dress and you know, the song itself. Watch the video for "La Grande":

Pitstop: The Acorn

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The discovery of Ottawa's The Acorn is completely due to the new Listen With feature on Facebook and Spotify. I was listening with my friend Corey to a playlist I had made when suddenly he switched tracks and The Acorn's "Crooked Legs" came on with it's bustling percussion and delicate finger-picking that sounded not unlike Lord Huron is they leaned more into their folk influence. My introduction came with a warning however: Corey mentioned that no other song quite stacked up to "Crooked Legs". And it's not hard to see why: "Crooked Legs" pairs up ukulele and marimba along with the much more accessible guitar-bass-drum set up to create a blend of modern and indigenous folk music. In fact that same blend carries on throughout all of 2008's Glory Hope Mountain, an exploration of songwriter's Rolf Klausener's Central American roots.

Even in their debut The Pink Ghosts and latest album No Ghost, The Acorn seem to be all about perfecting the balance between old and new - modern and traditional. Slipping acoustic guitars alongside jangly and fluttering electric, punctuating heartfelt ideas and musical phrases with affirming blips, bleeps, buzzes, and a wide array of computer-generated sounds. And so while "Crooked Legs" might very well be their best song, and Glory Hope Mountain their best album to date, there's something to be respected  about The Acorn's experimentation and interesting spin on the electronic folk genre and I for one couldn't me more excited about hearing more.

Get a taste of The Acorn with this video for the aforementioned best track "Crooked Legs":

If you like what you hear, you can check out The Acorn's music on Spotify.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lost in the Trees - "Golden Eyelids"

I can't shake the feeling that North Carolina folkcestra Lost in the Trees' A Church That Fits Our Needs is going to reduce each and everyone of its listeners to blubbering piles of raw emotion. Why? Well everything they do seems to be imbued with a downright unfair amount of deeply affecting emotion. What's more, it's all earnest - the album's a tribute to Ari Picker's late mother and each track is filled to the absolutely brim with love and dressed up in layers of care and understanding. At least from what I've heard so far of it.

Today we get another preview of the album with "Golden Eyelids" and while it's not as strangely catchy as "Red", it's no less soul-stirring. If the tenderly crafted orchestration wasn't enough to send you on an emotional bender, each time Picker opens his mouth he cuts straight to the heart in a way that should be downright illegal. Listen to beautiful new track "Golden Eyelids":
Lost In The Trees - Golden Eyelids by antirecords

(via KCRW Blog)

Lost in the Trees' A Church That Fits Our Needs is out March 20th on Anti-

Monday, February 20, 2012

Watch: Lower Dens - "Brains"

Well this is sort of embarrassing. Before Lower Dens dropped this latest video for new single "Brains", I had kind of forgotten Jana Hunter. Not forgotten about her. Just forgot she did stuff in this song. You see, the vocals are very much not her. Or at least don't sound like her which I guess you can say is kind of impressive. It was only as she stared at me in the videos opening that I thought: "Holy crap. What does Jana Hunter do in this song?" besides probably rock out on guitar. I still don't really know but I have a strong feeling she's actually singing.

Lower Dens' brand new video for "Brains" kind of goes the Paranormal Activity route. Jana Hunter stares at the camera, adjusts her hair, and then things get weird. The screen flickers like an old tv and there's that odd discoloring when a tv got stuck between channels and there's some sort of sinister feeling and encroaching darkness surrounding everything in the video. All the wide, "Brains" chugs along with its summer jangle and Jana sings along. Considering I thought they would go with a much more obvious zombie concept, you can color me surprised and impressed.

Watch Lower Dens' video for "Brains":

Lower Dens sophomore record Nootropics is out May 1st.

The Elwins - And I Thank You (2012)

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There's always a little bit of disappointment that happens when you hear a band's best track before anything else. My discovery of Canadian indie pop quartet The Elwins saw me introduced to "Stuck in the Middle" which is without a doubt the strongest track in their rather short discography (and upcoming debut album and a short EP released some years ago). Listening to their latest single and going backwards however assured me that the foursome had some properly utilized potential that might very well be fully released on their debut.

"Stuck in the Middle" is definitely the most disproportionately strong track on the album, the rest of the album is rather good itself. While not quite as overtly catchy or in your face, "Forgetful Assistance", "I Miss You and I", and "Sitting Pretty" are a noteworthy highlight.

The Elwins' debut album is a reminder that every outing can't or won't be absolutely breathtakingly stellar and somehow that's okay. There's enough of the flavorful jazzy colorings that drew me The Elwins along with a much more mainlined pop sound that ultimately ensures that you'll still enjoy yourself. And that's where And I Thank You is truly successful - packed with bright upbeat jams that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a noticeable pep in your step. The other tracks might not be able to hold a candle to "Stuck in the Middle" but they at least come close several times and any band that can write such a fun romp most likely has one or two more in them. So until those get realized, And I Thank You is a more than adequate place holder for a band that's only scratching the surface of their true talent. Here's hoping their next record is a step in the right direction.

You can stream The Elwins' And I Thank You over at Exclaim! here.

Watch: The Elwins - "Stuck in the Middle"

Tomorrow sees the release of Canadian indie pop quartet The Elwins' debut album And I Thank You and to ring in the release, the band recently put out this video for, probably the catchiest song on the album, "Stuck in the Middle". It's jampacked with ill-fitting space helmets, lasers, and robot overlords. Also dogs. So if anyone of those is your thing, you're in for a real treat and if not? It's still a fun music video that strangely fits the upbeat jam.

Watch the video for The Elwins' "Stuck in the Middle":

Friday, February 17, 2012

Watch: Little Tybee - "Hearing Blue" live

You might remember me mentioning that a live video from Little Tybee sent me on the search that led me to new track "Mind Grenade", well the video in question happens to for "Hearing Blue". I have no idea why it wasn't obvious to me then but all of a sudden I had a epiphany: "Hearing Blue" is an old track from Little Tybee's debut album Building A Bomb (that I have surprisingly not sat down with). The new-ish video only heightens the anticipation of the new album For Distant Viewing so until it's March release, you can feed your fix with this live video for "Hearing Blue".

Laura Gibson - La Grande (2012)

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I discovered singer/songwriter Laura Gibson in the same burst of all-consuming curiosity borne from Sharon Van Etten's i-D session for "Leonard". Turns out Heather Woods Broderick (who provides those sweet, sweet vocal harmonies) was also a member of Laura Gibson's backing band. A couple spins of Beasts of Seasons later and Gibson's La Grande was majorly on my to-do list.

 La Grande begins with a rush of percussion much like Feist's Metals but that's where the comparison ends. "La Grande" sets up the right amount of tension and drama as Gibson weaves her delicate narratives, adding in vocalizations and different voice effects to heighten the dramatic plodding bass lines and heavy boom-clang percussion. When "Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed" begins, you're almost sure you're listening to a completely different album, the complete opposite of the rather noisy attention-grabbing opener, the track draws you in close with it's sudden quiet and plays not unlike a lovingly caressing lullaby.

La Grande is an absolute gem of an album: each track seems to draw from entirely different influences and source materials (like the sultry bossa nova-esque "Lion/Lamb") yet fit together with a stunning amount of cohesion that's evident both track by track and in the track's individual construction. Gibson creates a realm where each songs feeds equally off her intricate, breathtaking arrangements and her rather simple but no doubt earnest songwriting. The albums benefits mostly from Gibson's risktaking - Gibson's vocals are heartfelt and beautiful but she's not above applying the unpretty (like the aforementioned vocals effects in "La Grande"). La Grande is the perfect example of an album that's not emotionally claustrophobic but still manages to be endlessly sincere. Gibson isn't wearing her heart on her sleeve but her every word, verse, and quaver resonates with heart. The twinkling piano and craning flutes are just extra - properly utilized ornaments that dress the album's intimacy in a fancier packaging without distracting from it.

Get a taste of Laura Gibson with tracks "La Grande" and "Lion/Lamb" and/or the album streaming on Spotify.
 Laura Gibson - La Grande by cityslang

 Laura Gibson - Lion/Lamb by cityslang

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Watch: Kishi Bashi - "Manchester" live

There are tons of reasons to go to see a band live. You might like them and want to support them, get a chance to meet them, just want to bask in their general awesomeness but violinist/loop pedal maestro Kishi Bashi is one of those rare artists you absolutely have to see every time he's in town. One of the greatest things about Ishibashi's live shows is that you never really know what to expect: in fact just recently he stopped toting around him drumpad and guitar and added beatboxing to his already eclectic sound. And that's what's so exciting about his live videos - each one is drastically different from the other and worthwhile to watch. After teasing with bits of it in his Kickstarter video and promising it'd go up soon at live shows, today is the day the man finally delivers.

Watch Kishi Bashi play "Manchester" live:

And if you like what you see/hear, make sure to grab Kishi Bashi's upcoming debut album 151a on April 10th on Joyful Noise.

Watch: Sondre Lerche - "When the River"

Seems like there's no stopping Norwegian singer/songwriter extraordinaire Sondre Lerche. He's continuing a constant stream of videos that are beginning to rival that of Beyonce. His fourth and latest (fifth if you count both versions of  "Domino") has him teaming up with his video directing wife Mona yet again. While "Go Right Ahead" featured scenes of adolescent angst and feeling out of place, "When the River" cranks the nostalgia dial to overdrive featuring super 8 footage of drummer Dave Heilman's childhood and overlaying them on Sondre Lerche and his band's performance to maximize the song's ability to effectively play your heartstrings. The band even delivers the track's anthemic shout vocals choir style. It's a great video for one my favorite tracks from the album.

Watch Sondre Lerche's video for "When the River":

Sondre Lerche - "When The River" from stereogum on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Horse Feathers - "Fit Against The Country"

Back when the Bowerbirds first started unveiling their new tracks, I joking mentioned that if Horse Feathers released a new album this would be the best year for folk music ever. Turns out, Horse Feathers are about to prove me right. Their new album titled Cynic's New Year, the follow up to 2010's Thistled Spring, is slated for April 17th released. That's only 2 months away and one month after Bowerbirds' new album. It's gonna be a great year.

Listen to Horse Feathers' brand spanking new track "Fit Against The Country":

(via Stereogum)

Watch: Dry the River - "The Chambers & The Valves"

In the video for their latest single "The Chambers & The Valves", British quintet Dry the River have a regular monster mash that like reverse Halloween. Each member is going about their day, dressed as skeletons, ghouls, devils, goblins, mummies, and a teen wolf when it's time to get ready for a birthday party. They put on their fanciest duds, human face masks and hit the town. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the song in question but it doesn't really need to. The video is an entertainingly fun way to accompany the upbeat pop number.

Watch Dry the River's video for "The Chambers & The Valves":

Dry the River's debut album Shallow Bed is out April 17th in the US. 

Watch: Feist - "The Bad in Each Other"

Despite the fact that me and Leslie Feist are currently one-sided fighting about her ticket prices and how expensive they are, girl makes a good video. Considering the cinematic scope of some of the tracks on Metals (namely "Undiscovered First" and "A Commotion") the direction of her latest video for "The Bad in Each Other" isn't all that surprising. The video unfolds like a much better version of ensemble movies like Valentine's Day or New Year's Ever, with a series of vignettes based in Mexico. There's no real explanation or resolution and yet, Feist and director Martin De Thurah manage to tapdance all over your heartstrings. When the first scene is of a man burying his dead dog, you don't really stand a chance.

Watch Feist's video for "The Bad in Each Other":

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Watch: Little Tybee - "Mind Grenade" live

My discovery of River Whyless, Little Tybee's future touring mates, essentially sent me on a search for more Little Tybee stuffs. One thing I discovered is that Little Tybee have some of the best live videos I have ever laid my eyes and ears on. I also might be a little in love with bandleader Brock Scott's very distinct voice.

After discovering a live video of "Hearing Blue" posted by My Folking Heart, I also discovered this video for a new song (at least to me) called "Mind Grenade" by poking around Paper Garden Records' twitter, it's not on Humorous to Bees and doesn't appear to be on Little Tybee's album before that so my greatest hope is that it's a new track off their upcoming For Distant Viewing. Here's hoping I'm right because the track is just brilliant and I need to hear more of it.

Watch Little Tybee's video for "Mind Grenade" for Laundro Matinee:

Little Tybee - Mind Grenade from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.

Fanfarlo - "Vostok, I Know You Are Waiting"

In about two weeks time, British chamber pop quintet Fanfarlo will be dropping their much anticipated sophomore album Rooms Filled with Light. Earlier this week, the band previewed one of the tracks only available on the special edition version of the album.

Much like "Harold T. Wilkins (Or How to Wait For A Very Long Time)", "Vostok, I Know You Are Waiting" is inspired by real noteworthy events - namely the discovery of Lake Vostok, a freshwater lake lying four kilometers beneath the surface of Anaractica. You can read more about Lake Vostok here.

Listen to Fanfarlo's lovely bonus track "Vostok, I Know You Are Waiting":
 Vostok, I Know You Are Waiting by Fanfarlo

Fanfarlo's Rooms Filled with Light is out February 28th.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Watch: Jonquil - "It's My Part"

On the exact same day I got into British indie pop foursome Jonquil, they dropped the video for brand new single "It's My Part" and while I was rapidly falling in love with their infectiously catchy tunes coated in a hazy layer of fuzz, they were debuting a more accessible sound that strips that very layer away.

But while they might be pulling back a bit of dreamy fog, the intricate musicianship and ear-catching jangle remain. And the question of how accessible they're trying to be arises when you watch the video. What commercial pop band features their name spelled out in pizza, a pentagram, creepy animal head masks, and a girl who looks like a combination of a Cristina Ricci and Mena Suvari riding a mechanical bull? Not many I know.

Watch Jonquil's "It's My Part" video and be the judge.

Jonquil - It's My Part from Franklyn Banks on Vimeo.

Their latest record Point of Go is out March 6th in the UK with no word yet on a North American release.

Archie Powell & The Exports - "Metronome"

Following up with my current trend of covering bands from last year's CMJ months after, Chicago rockers Archie Powell & The Exports were one of the first bands I saw on my first day at the festival at the small show at Spike Hill thrown by Bigger Brush Media. As I watched them one thing kept popping up in my head: "This is like watching The Dandy Warhols!" Mind you, I've never actually seen The Dandy Warhols live but I would imagine Archie Powell & The Export's energetic live show would be something similar. A vibe I couldn't shake the whole time I was watching them.

Turns out Archie Powell & The Exports have a new album on the way. Great Ideas In Action, the follow up to 2010's Skip Work, is out May 1st.

You can preview it with new single "Metronome" right now:

Maps & Atlases - "Winter"

You'd think a song called "Winter" would be a little less warm but when you reconcile that with the outrageously toasty winter we've had so far (at least here on the east coast) it's hardly surprising that the new track is so bright and sunny. Technical-pop rock quartet Maps & Atlases are gearing up to release their brand new album Beware and Be Grateful and if "Winter" is anything to go off of, it's gonna be a poppy romp.

You can watch the album trailer here:

(via Rolling Stone)

Maps & Atlases Beware and Be Grateful is out April 17th on Barsuk Records

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Watch: St. Vincent - "Cheerleader"

I have no idea who comes of up with all the concepts behind all of St. Vincent's video but they deserve all the money they are probably getting paid. The latest cut from St. Vincent's Strange Mercy, "Cheerleader" places Clark's bare bones ballad in an appropriate venue - an art gallery. Annie Clark is one of the installations, put on display for people to watch and marvel until she decides she's had enough of that and attempts to leave when chaos ensues. It's also a play on her rather diminutive stature as she gets to be literally larger than life. Beautifully shot and wonderfully executed, "Cheerleader" just makes me all the more excited to see what St. Vincent's planning next.

Watch the video for "Cheerleader":

Watch: Lost in the Trees - "Red"

If there's anything I've learned in the year since North Carolina folk orchestra Lost in the Trees first entered my life, it's that they don't do anything half-way. Not only do their songs contain bare, honest lyrics that should make songwriter Ari Picker feel emotionally claustrophobic, but they also offer up bewilderingly impressive music videos as well as their new video for "Red" will prove. A visual marvel, there's numerous things going on in each and every shot (like the spinning dancer in a photo hanging on a wall and a growing houseplant) with each minimalistic touch combined together to create an utterly beautiful display that's gorgeous and a bit unsettling not unlike the track itself.

Watch Lost in the Trees video for "Red":

(via NPR)

Lost in the Trees' A Church That Fits Our Needs is out March 20th

River Whyless - A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door (2012)

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I stumbled upon North Carolina folk quartet River Whyless while tending to my love of Little Tybee. In about a month, the foursome will be packing their bags and joining Little Tybee for an extensive US tour. If what I've heard so far is any indication, their concerts are bound to be one of best folk concerts you might see this year. 

River Whyless take your standard folk rock formula (guitar, bass, drums, add violin for coloring) and breathe new life into it. Their pastoral ramblings are littered with beatific harmonies and soulful deep-cutting lyricism. Similar to The Head and the Heart, River Whyless' violinist Halli Anderson is the group's wildcard - busting out her soul-stirring alto at the most sincerely affecting moments. Yet, River Whyless aren't in much need of a wildcard, they're a cast of intensely talented musicians with a knack for stellar arrangements that aim right for the heart (prominently displayed in 8 minutes album closer "YU").  

A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door is a remarkably strong debut - filled with scores of powerful, engaging works that you'll have a hard time putting down. Like some of the best albums, the whole album works cohesively - building on themes of love, loss, and helplessness. At it's best moments, A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door plays like an sprawling epic with each song contributing greatly to it's humble yet grandiose spectrum without losing accessibility. River Whyless prove themselves highly capable of crafting an album and a great one at that. A surefire favorite and serious contender for album of the year.

Listen to River Whyless' A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door on Bandcamp where you can name your price and make sure to pick up the physical edition on March 1st. 

Pitstop: Jonquil

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British quartet Jonquil are part of the vast multitude of bands from far and wide that attended New York's CMJ  Festival that I didn't get a chance to see. In fact, I didn't even know they existed but I saw their name on a poster and made a physical and mental note to check out their music. Almost five months later, I'm finally making good.

Jonquil is kind of what happens when you blend together equal parts Lord Huron ("Get Up") and Youth Lagoon ("I Don't Know I Know"). On the One Hundred Suns EP, there's the intricate trop-pop stylings that Lord Huron is known for with those arresting moments that Youth Lagoon has made his forte. But Jonquil are more than just a band that reminds you of other bands you might like (the Whistle Low EP's "Nite Time Story" reminds me greatly of Hot Club de Paris' "Boy Awaits Return of a Runaway Girl" but I digress). Jonquil's balmy tracks are stacked with their own brand of infectious pop with lilting melodies and waves of sound that peak at exactly the right time with trumpet swells and the like. Jonquil's jangly guitars resonate with surprising precision for songs with such a laidback vibe - each member fits together exceptionally and clearly despite the pervasive haze. One Hundreds Suns is a sun-kissed reverie crackling with moments of emotional intensity and soothing them with bits of dance-able pop.

Get a taste of Jonquil with a couple tunes from Whistle Low and One Hundred Suns below:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Peter Broderick - "It Starts Hear"

Portland native turned world explorer Peter Broderick is back with what he calls his second proper vocal album, a follow up to 2008's Home. It goes by the name of

Broderick explains the reasoning behind the album's title as a means to direct listeners and fans to what he considers to be the most integral part of an album - it's art, liner notes and various innards. With most downloadable music you often miss out on some of the packaging artists put a lot of effort into making and Broderick doesn't want you to miss out. So he's created a website that will host all that.

The idea is pretty cool, and as someone deep in the throes of Peter Broderick obsession, it's great to hear that his new album will be coming out so soon. The new album,, will be out February 20th.

You can preview the title track right here:

Peter Broderick - It Starts Hear from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Also if you want to read a little more about Broderick's project, check it out here.

Watch: Of Monster and Men - "Little Talks"

A couple days ago, Iceland's up and coming folk pop sextet Of Monsters and Men released their debut video for "Little Talks". The video follows the band's males on a journey whose purpose isn't ever quite explained. Somewhere along the way they meet up with a superpower goddess like creature (played by the band's sole female - Nanna).\ who escorts them for the rest of the trip, fending off all sorts of terrifyingly gigantic creatures and rescue them from certain danger. The whole thing plays like a video game with a cheat activated and yet it's beautifully enough to forgive that.

Watch the video for Of Monster and Men's "Little Talks":

Of Monsters and Men's My Head is An Animal is out April 3rd.

(via Listen Before You Buy)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Prussia - "Girl Cops"/"Annie"

Detroit, Michigan's quirky chamber pop quintet Prussia are going on an indefinite hiatus to focus on side projects, real life, and the like but before they do, they dropped brand new single "Girl Cops". "Girl Cops" comes with b-side "Annie" and both follow in the hypersexual style of Poor English without the sophisticated arrangements to distract from the subject matter. "Girl Cops" follows a more fragmented, disjointed songwriting style than you'd expect with the same sort of mysterious non-explanation prevalent on Poor English like in "What Am I Gonna Tell Your Mom"?

It's a shame Prussia is going on hiatus because the direction they go on the "Girl Cops" single is one I'd be interested in hearing more of, especially in retro pop number "Annie" which sounds kind of 80s but with splashes of Prussia's more modern leanings. Here's hoping that their hiatus isn't too long.

Watch: Wildlife - "Sea Dreamer"

 After about two months of patience after the initial announcement, Canadian rock quintet Wildlife's video for "Sea Dreamer" (one of my favorite tracks) is out and premiered last week on Much Music. The video is simple enough: the band just trying to have a good time playing street bowling and hanging out when a roving band of well-dressed hipsters comes and interrupt their fun looking for a fight. Ever the gentle Canadians, the boys of Wildlife want no part in it and escape to a late night diner where they're force back into the streets. If that weren't enough the band is back and only after backing Wildlife into a corner do they get what they want. It's a fun video that's soundtracked by one of the best songs Wildlife have written.

Watch the video for "Sea Dreamer":

Friday, February 3, 2012

Watch: Good Old War - "Calling Me Names"

As long as they those beautiful three-part harmonies and Tim Arnold's general badassery, Philadelphia folk pop trio Good Old War could read the phonebook and I'd be a fan. Thankfully on their new record, Come Back As Rain, they do none of that. Owing to the record's inspiration of being on the road and homesickness, the video for their latest single "Calling Me Names", follow the men of Good Old War driving around having a good old time in sepia color. It's a kind of cute video for a kind of cute song and one more chance for you to hear Tim Arnold nail those high harmonies before the record comes out.

Watch Good Old War's video for "Calling Me Names":

Good Old War's Come Back As Rain is out March 6th on Sargent House.

Bro. Stephen - Baptist Girls (2012)

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In this age of instant gratification, it's often easy to forgot that a good record takes time to make. No more is this true than in Bro. Stephen's debut album Baptist Girls whom I discovered via We Listen For You. The brainchild of Scott Kirkpatrick, Bro. Stephen's Baptist Girls is a record about 3 years in the making.

Recorded in an old barn on someone's grandfather's farm somewhere in Indiana, the sounds of creaking wood and other space-related sounds give the record an intimacy much like Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. And yet there's much more to Baptist Girls than barn music. Kirkpatrick offers up a devastatingly gorgeous array of harmony rich tunes that's heart-warming in it's intimacy. A charming closeness and sincerity that's often found in a remarkable few. Kirkpatrick proves a talented songwriter, not necessarily for his lyricism (which deserves come credit as well) but in his ability to craft beautiful moments that set your heart aflutter and raise goosebumps. Baptist Girls is an album lovingly stitched together with moving moments and beguiling sentimentality; one of those rare albums where hearing a single track suddenly turns into repeat listens to the album as a whole.

Bro. Stephen's Baptist Girls while a modest debut, certainly gives more established singer-songwriters a run for their money. Baptists Girls is much more than bare, soul-barring, it's an album full of lush harmonies and overwhelming earnesty - a real treat whose sole issue is that it's over much too soon.

Listen to Bro. Stephen's debut on Bandcamp or Spotify and if you like it, make sure to grab it and support good music.

Watch: Guards - "Do It Again"

Well this is embarrassing. Since witnessing their amazingly lively show at We Listen For You's CMJ showcase, I have mentioned New York City retro pop rock foursome Guards absolutely zero times on this blog. No idea why - they're great. Well here's hoping I can make up for it.

Today, Guards dropped the video for their most recent single "Do It Again" on Spin. The video, directed by Kaylie Schiff, is a modern take on Soul Train that takes place in Los Angeles' Echo Club. Instead of the band performing, there's a mariachi band that is somehow playing "Do It Again" while the members of the band and several others dance their way down the line with some of their best moves. It's fun and features one of the most awesome dancers in a Dracula cape, I've ever seen.

Watch the video for "Do It Again":

(via Listen Before You Buy)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Watch: Margot & The Nuclear So and So's - "Prozac Rock"

I first became aware of Margot & The Nuclear So and So's existence through Sam at Middle Class White Noise bragging about the opportunity to interview Richard Edwards as part of a class he was taking. Intrigued, I pretty much powered through the band's whole discography in a night and liked everything I heard. So when I saw the news that Margot & The Nuclear So and So's had a new video for their upcoming album Gut Rot, Domestic come out, I was all aboard.

For the video the band utilized the talents of Dom Bloink, an animator looking to collaborate with the band, to create kind of an odd accompaniment to Edwards' high energy band retrospective "Prozac Rock" (which wouldn't be out of place on 2010's Buzzard).  Watch it below:

Margot-Prozac Rock from Margot Cloud on Vimeo.

(via Paste Magazine)

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's Gut Rot, Domestic comes out March 20th on Edwards' own Mariel Recordings

Listen: Heart-Sick Groans - "If the Canary Stops Singing"

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(Photo by Simon Hellsten)

Considering that they're going on their fourth year of officially putting out music, its a bit surprising more people haven't heard of Swedish indie pop trio Heart-Sick Groans. They were among the first new bands brought to my attention by Eardrums Music when they were featured on the Fall themed compilation album A Good Crop (alongside established acts like Fanfarlo and Sambassadeur) back in 2008 and they've pretty much been hard-working on new material ever since.

Last year, Heart-Sick Groans put out both their third EP Look!!! These Three Painters of Hits Have Done It Again! as well as the first track and subsequent video, "A Bossanova with This Casanova"  from their upcoming six song EP . Unlike their previous releases, rather than put out a batch of sweet tunes for rabid consumption, the threesome have decided to slow down their process and give each track an individual release with about a month between. This upcoming Friday marks the release of their brand new single "If the Canary Stops Singing" but in a gesture of friendship and good graciousness, the three are letting you hear it a day early: here.

Yup, that's right. World premiere of Heart-Sick Groans' latest single "If the Canary Stops Singing" right here at All Around Sound. Enjoy.

And if you like what you hear, you can grab Heart-Sick Groans other tunes on their Bandcamp. And keep up with news of the EP on Facebook or Twitter as well as right here. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Daniel Rossen - "Silent Song"

Considering the 5 song length of Daniel Rossen's solo debut Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP, I figured it would be quite some time before we got another peak at what was on the record. Not so. Following up on last weeks release of "Saint Nothing", Rossen's gone ahead and made new song "Silent Song" available for listening as well.

"Silent Song" is sure to draw some comparisons to Department of Eagles with it's veritable layers of sound, craning melodic lines, and Rossen's quiet vocal assault on your heartstrings. It's the stuff that made the very best Department of Eagles tracks and yet, goes above and beyond what you could expect from the duo. Rossen's voice has matured and his knack for musical world-building has only improved.

(via Stereogum)