Friday, August 31, 2012

Watch: Milagres - "Glowing Mouth"

Over the past year, Brooklyn quintet Milagres have embarked on a pretty intense relationship with the UK. Spending ample time there playing shows and the like and a couple of days the band will release their third single over there - the self-titled track off their sophomore record Glowing Mouth.

It's cause for celebration for most and those of  us stateside get a tastes of the spoils through Milagres brand new video for "Glowing Mouth" and let me just tell you: it's oh so worth it.

Dear Milagres, I don't really care that you've played a minimal amount of shows in your home base or for your NYC adjacent fans. Just as long as you keep making music videos this fun, this awesome, this blatantly but not over the top filled with hilarity, your gallivanting on foreign soil will be forgiven.

The music video for "Glowing Mouth" is just that, a music video. It features solely the band playing in a dark room. But there's a twist. It's all set in the 80's. Yesssss. There's even a random video hootchie to whom the band play/sing to in it. It's pretty much perfect. Milagres, don't ever chance.

Watch Milagres video for "Glowing Mouth":

(via This Is Fake DIY)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Watch: Villagers - "The Waves"

Irish band Villagers are back from a relatively long radio silence while they worked on new stuff with a brand new single. The first new music from the band since the release of Becoming A Jackal is kind of everything the album wasn't. Folky and built around Conor O'Brien's poetic songcraft, "The Waves" is more or less the antithesis of the folky sound I associated with Villagers. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. "The Waves" is a sort of synthy semi beat-driven track that still manages to serves as the appropriate vehicle for O'Brien's lyricism.

Even among its poppy dressings, "The Waves" still shambles around with the sparse, haunting effect Villagers are most known for. It's definitely a new direction for the band but the keystone of the band's effectivenes is still present and that's good enough for me. The jury's still out on if I'd like an full album of the stuff but "The Waves" certainly makes a strong case for it.

Check out Villagers' colorful video for "The Waves" here:

The official single release for "The Waves" happens on October 22nd but you can, if you're so inclined, purchase the digital single on iTunes right now here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Watch: Sean Rowe - "Downwind"

Today marks the official release day of singer/songwriter Sean Rowe's latest album The Salesman and the Shark and he's ringing in the occasion with a music video for one of the album's lighter tracks "Downwind". I say lighter because even though the song itself is about escaping from jail and living off the fat of the land, it's still got a pep-in-your-step jaunty melody and guitar rock jangle.

The accompanying video is part home video featuring scenes of Rowe and friends at play part lose interpretation of the song as there's scenes of Rowe outdoors brooding and police cars and such. The video is interesting in that it seems to hint at a upcoming drama that never comes. Even as the song gains intensity and the images grow more fast-paced and disjointed, there video kind of ends on a sort of ellipses. Of completely unrealized dramatic payoff. Instead you're left with lingering scenes of fun, and black and white memories of Rowe shredding on guitar, and passing trains, and somehow that's all okay.

Watch Sean Rowe's video for "Downwind":

(via Spinner)

Anna Calvi - "The Wall" (The Invisible Cover)

Coming up off the release of 2011's self-titled debut, Anna Calvi has certainly been taking her time with a follow up - riding a wave of singles and intimate international shows and conquering the latest festival circuit. And yet somehow, in times like these, she manages to slip out an incredible cover that makes her radio silence almost worth it.

While her singles normally come paired with a single from the album, Anna Calvi's latest cover, of The Invisible's "The Wall", is released all by itself and follows suit with her dark, sultry style that was the very backbone of Anna Calvi. And yet unlike the multitude of tracks on her debut, her cover relies far more heavily on her vocals than her impressive guitar chops. Stripped down and sparse, Calvi is at her most engaging, intoxicating peak.

Friday, August 24, 2012

All Around Sound-Off No. 2: Lands & Peoples


A little more than a year ago, I stumbled upon Baltimore experimental pop rockers Lands & Peoples in a fit of ARMS-lust. Scouring Youtube for as many live videos I could find to tide me over until the release of their much anticipated sophomore record Summer Skills, I was intrigued by a Big Ugly Yellow Couch Session live from SXSW featuring an interestingly named band performing a cappella with a set of ginormous windchimes.

As I resolved to write about them, I ran into a snag: Their FB page had little to no information for the feature I intended to write about them. From a simple getting to know you email, an unexpected friendship between the band and I formed as I conspired all ways and forms to actually see them live (and most times failing), it wasn't until last year's CMJ when I finally succeeded in my goal and actual meet the band properly and the rest is somewhat history.

The road towards the interview between Lands & Peoples and I was an adventurous one as the out of town band and I, unfamiliar with Brooklyn in any helpful regard, set out to meet each other in a more or less noteworthy location but turned out to be Bushwick's small Maria Hernandez park not on any map of note as Caleb Moore directed me to them via brief telephone conversations and purely informative texts messages. The rather intrepid and ridiculous nature of our meeting set the tone for our chat as we found ourselves distracted by all number of things from a squirrel with a watermelon, a dog with a very large branch, and random passerbys trying to bum cigarettes, it gave a look into the fun-loving guys who form the intricate well-run machine of Lands & Peoples.

Dante (All Around Sound): I’m here with Lands & Peoples so tell me, who are you? When’d you form, how’d you form? All of that good stuff.
Caleb: I’m Caleb.
Beau: I’m Beau.
Charlie: I’m Charlie.
Caleb: So the question was how did we form – like all the way back?
That’d be nice.
Caleb: It was originally…I put up two or three…two songs on MySpace as Lands & Peoples and one of them was like really ambient and I was just getting into doing production stuff. I got compliments from my friends so I figured I should keep doing it. Then Amanda started playing with me for a brief spell – Actually it was like 6 months. It was just me and her as a two-piece and then Beau was living in New York when that was happening and ended up moving down to join the band basically. I don’t know if we were like – well actually it was like “You’re coming to play music, you’re going to be in the band.”
Beau: Remember when we had that show at home in Oxford over Christmas –
Caleb: It was like a little house show in an apartment.
Beau: Yeah and pretty much after that I decided to move down. I was unhappy in New York and wasn’t doing what I wanted to do and wasn’t happy in general. Had a sort of crappy living situation and was making a lot of music too which was a completely different thing from what we’re doing – what Caleb was doing. I just moved to Baltimore on a whim basically.
Caleb: And Beau – we had a history playing music because we lived together in college. He was one of the first people I played music with so it just kind of made sense.  We’re best friends. So then it was the three of us. We did that tour as a three piece – our first tour ever. And then, I don’t know, I guess some people said that we could use bass and I probably got really offended when they said that but then it made a lot of sense actually. So we found Brian and he was really nice – he was really into the music, pretty eager, and came up with some awesome shit. So then for a while there were four of us. That was probably the longest incarnation so far. We did another tour with that and recorded that whole album Pop Guilt with the four of us. And after the last tour we did with them which was to South By, right?
Beau: Yeah. That one was to Austin.
Caleb: It was our second time going down to South By and we got back and I think things weren’t really gelling that well with Amanda creatively. Like we’d kind of always been on different planes a little bit.  We ended up talking to her and kind of deciding that we should go our separate ways and Brian actually ended up leaving the bands with her sort of because he didn’t feel like it’d be the same vibe. That was his main reason.  So then for a while it was the two of us…I don’t know if you wanted all this history.

It’s all good.
Caleb: Well, that was really fun.
That was right about the time I discovered you guys.
Caleb: Yeah! Yeah, it was cool ‘cause we were just like “Fuck it! We don’t have to worry about ‘Oh I don’t know if Amanda would be into this’”. Like none of that. All that went away. And then we just got really weird and tried a bunch of new ideas and it was pretty fruitful in little time. We probably wrote like – this was like over a year ago but we probably wrote half the songs that’ll probably end up being on the next record. Like in that time. Maybe a third of them or a fourth.
Beau: Yeah. A lot of the time having more people in a band allows you to do more things but for us for whatever reason feeling like we needed to make everybody happy or making sure that everyone was into it. It just put restraints on I think Caleb and I mentally. Most of it in our own heads.
Caleb: Yeah. They were great.    
Beau: Yeah, they were totally great but like, you know –
Caleb: Me and him, I think we had developed a lot but we had never like us two really got together and puked out a bunch of crazy ideas. It was a pretty thrilling time for us.  As far as our creative process and writing goes.
Beau: Yeah and we did that for about 8 months and then we decided that…
Caleb (jokingly): All the fire just dissipated!
Beau: Well, you know, the same thing with having multiple people allows you to do different and more things is totally true because when you have two people and each person is in charge of their own instrument and singing you only have a limited number of limbs. You can only use a loop pedal so much.
Caleb: Yeah, we really didn’t want to be like an all the time looping or like every song is a loop song. We’re trying to figure out how to do that tastefully. It’s been done really horribly. It’s been done really amazing too. I think we’re just trying to figure how to do that subtly.

Beau: We were kind of playing with a few people. We tried to get a buddy of ours, Micky, to come in and play. We got this guy Mike from Sri Aurobindo, which is another Baltimore band
Caleb: Like psychedelic rock.
Beau: Yeah. He played bass with us one time and I had been playing in another band with Charlie in Charlie’s main project Raindeer. Just kind of was a guitar player for a little while and we asked to come in and play with us and we totally mixed really well and it was awesome. And that’s how Charlie came into the fold.
Caleb: How long has he been with us now?
Beau: Since this winter. It’s been like 7 months, I think.
Caleb: That’s crazy.
Beau: I mean, we’re in the 8th month of 2012…
Caleb: It’s been really gradual. ‘Cause he has been…well at first I think you were focused more on doing Raindeer shows and stuff. I feel like just now he’s starting to sink into the fold a little bit better. It’s becoming more…good. For all of us. More satisfying. And that’s where we are.
Beau: That’s where we stand.

So you all have side projects and other bands – is it difficult to juggle them? Are there ever Lands & Peoples songs that started out as songs for Dead Drums or Zu Shapes or vice versa or do you have a very distinctive idea of what is what?
Caleb: When I make music I try – like at home when I’m messing around with the computer or whatever or at the space, I’m try to at least not think about that at all and just somehow get something good. And then we bring it to the table. There haven’t actually been any songs that have ended up sticking… I’ve tried that with a couple songs that were sort of just mine or felt like Dead Drums. Probably you saw one of the sets where we played a couple that were like ukulele based and more fluttery, maybe had some more ambience to it. But it didn’t quite sink in. I don’t know, I think it didn’t. It felt weird; didn’t feel as collaborative as it should’ve been. Even though Beau has been really open to trying ideas out. We got them pretty far along and it sounded cool but it just felt a lot better when we were writing songs completely together and like doing it that way. Also, Dead Drums is so much about sound design and the feel of the recording that it’s – Like, I’m much happier writing songs and songwriting, that’s what I get out of this.
 Beau: And I think that like the sound designing aspect and the feel of the recording is what all of us – all three of us in our own separate ways are really into. It’s true. I guess it’s true that Dead Drums is kind of… (to Caleb) I mean would you say that  Dead Drums is a recording project more than a performance project?

Caleb: Yeah. I mean right now all I do is improvise some synth stuff and it’s like really awkward and I’m just like thumbing through presets. It’s fun. When you do it every now and then it’s like exhilarating.
Beau: It’s not awkward at all. It’s very great. It’s really good! Don’t down-talk yourself.

Caleb: It’s weird. I don’t know…

Beau: I mean we’ve had this conversation recently because when I do Zu Shapes stuff, which hasn’t been all that much. I haven’t really been focusing on it a lot but I am working on it –
Caleb: We both kind of decided to make this our thing at least for a while. Until we need to get a break.
Beau: I have really crazy hours for work like Caleb has a regular job, you know? The hours in my job I could be there anywhere from 8 in the morning til midnight. Just my hours are really crazy so I end up having these weird, free spans of time where I just go and sit and be in our practice space and start recording stuff on the loop pedal and transferring it to a computer and messing around with it. I am currently trying to work on some Zu Shapes stuff. But everything I try to share with Caleb. We had this conversation recently about how anything that we make let’s at least share with the other person. So that if the other person’s into it – and not to call you out on record here Caleb but Caleb’s opinions, his tastes, tend to be a lot more hit or miss; it’s like “I don’t like that at all” or “I really do like that”.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s pretty true.
Beau: Whereas I –
Caleb: Beau’s just like much more open to trying anything.
Beau: I think that it may be coming from a theater background and having to exist in an art form with other people like there’s no choice you have to be with other people and no one likes just somebody standing up there doing monologues, you know? Although it can be great, it can be compelling and emotional. But at the end of the day when you’re in a theatrical group you’re a group of people so you learn to collaborate and commiserate and to compromise. That’s 3 C’s. Off the top of my head.
I think that’s just something that I out of habit do, just like “Ok, how can we make this work so that we’re both satisfied?”

Caleb:  I think it’s going to be really interesting to see – I want Charlie to eventually if he has a song idea and for whatever reason it doesn’t feel like Raindeer, that’d be fun to do.
Charlie: Right now I’m just kind of feeling out their vibes and trying to get on board.
Beau: And he’s doing a great job.
Caleb: Totally. But I think me and Beau are just in the mindset right now whereas whatever we make if it feels like it would work we’re totally into trying it out as Lands & Peoples. Because that’s really ultimately what we’re going for is Lands & Peoples. The most. The hardest. We’re both going to record some new solo stuff eventually in like a year or two.

This year you released your debut full length which is actually a collection of old songs. I wrote about it twice and kind of never ever addressed the fact that I actually had no idea why you choose to release it now.
Caleb: When should’ve we? That’s my question. We couldn’t really figure out a better option. Well, Jimmy – we were talking to this label and our friend Jimmy was like “You know, maybe you should just wait on it and release some new stuff and then release that as a retrospective like ‘This is what we used to sound like’” and that felt really weird to me. Maybe it would’ve made sense but I don’t know.
Beau: I think that for us it felt like we needed to get it out there, you know? Because it had taken us so long in the first place to get it to a point where we were ready to release it and all four of us were ready for it to happen and ready for it to be out there.
Caleb: We were already sick of the songs. Like we’d been playing them for like a year and a half or a year at least. Not sick of them in a bad way.
Beau: We were just ready for them to be out. Out from our heads and our computers and our own personal computers. We just wanted them to be out and take legs and hopefully walk and have people listen to them and whatever. It just needed to happen.
Caleb: To move on.
Beau: It might not have been the smartest idea in terms of what we’re doing now and if anybody comes and sees the shows and are like “Oh, you guys don’t play anything from the record.” Well, we didn’t. I mean, we’ll play like one song from the record or whatever but I don’t know, it’s going to sound different from the record anyway. The record it’s so much about the space where the notes aren’t falling, the quiet times. So much of the record is about that. It feels about that and it wouldn’t sound the same if we were playing it anyway.
Caleb: I imagine…like the way I see it is if they came to our show and really liked us and then bought the vinyl, I think that’d just be a really nice treat. But also, it’d  be nice to have both.
Beau: Records cost money, man!
Caleb: It’s just as interesting and as good as what we’re doing it’s just a little different and more chill. And I think they like this stuff they’d like that too.
I did. So, when you released Pop Guilt you got the opportunity to kind of revisit all of these old songs, did you have a particular favorite? Did you have any tracks that you wish you could incorporate into your live set?

Caleb: I think we talked about doing “Kalimba” er not “Kalimba” but “Stiff and Crooked” because that one was the most just me and Beau out of the whole record. So it would make sense in our set maybe to try that. We haven’t gotten around to it. We’re just so excited about working on new songs. My answer to the other question is: I like “Don’t” a lot because for me, it felt like the most fully collaborative song. I feel like everyone brought something really nice to the table. I mean “In Living Color” too in the same way but that one was like a hit. And “Don’t” was –
Beau: *laughs* A “hit”.
Caleb: A “hit”. Whatever. People liked it.  And “Don’t” is sort of our little thing. No one’s even written about it or whatever.
Beau: I think in terms of like song layout and the way everything just kind of came together I think “In Living Color” is probably quote unquote the best song on the record. For me, I personally like “Stiff and Crooked” or “Sexting” those are the big ones that appeal to me. If I would’ve bought that record and had I not played the songs, those would be the ones that I like kept to myself. Those are the songs that I take away from the record. You know, you’ll get a record and put songs on a mix cd and someone’ll be like “Who’s this?” and you’ll be like “It’s actually this person. You should go out and get that album”. Those are the songs that I would put on a mixtape.

(To Charlie) Do you have any favorites from the record?
Charlie: I like “Ghosts” a lot.
Caleb (jokingly): He’s never listened to it.
Charlie: I haven’t heard it ever. I’ve been meaning to get around to it…
Caleb: I’ve been meaning to send it to you, send me your mediafire and maybe I’ll get to it.

Charlie: But like “Ghosts”, I like “Ukulele” a lot. I think “Don’t” was another one I brought up that we should play.
Caleb: It’s fun. Beau challenged me a lot of drums on that song which was cool. In a good way.
Beau: Yeah, that’s true. “Don’t” definitely has a lot of connections to kind of some stuff we’re doing now. Mostly in terms of the rhythm ‘cause it has these like “1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3” and we do a lot of that with our songs now. We don’t have like standard “1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4” rhythms. We’ll mix up the rhythms a lot. I never really thought about it that way.
Charlie: I actually always remembered “Ghosts” kind of standing out the most when I used to watch you guys.
Caleb: Yeah?
Charlie: It’s the one I would remember. Like I knew you played that song.
Beau: And that’s a good point because that’s the one that we play now and I think that still –
Caleb: We still get good reactions to that one.
Beau: Yeah, we get good reactions from it and it feels powerful to play because…maybe because it’s just so simple and so straightforward. It’s like two chords the whole song.
Just from my point of view I think it comes from it being an opportunity to really display your vocal chops and that impresses people.
Caleb: Like constant harmony and not trying to belt it out. Yeah, I think you’re right on that. And it’s rocky and has a groove. Pretty easy groove.

You guys have played music for a while together, did you have any bands that you guys got really excited about that made you want to play together?
 Caleb: Good question. (To Beau) Let’s think back to our college when you were showing me music and stuff like that.
Beau: You remember Elbow?
Caleb: I really liked Elbow. We both really liked the first Arcade Fire LP.
Beau: Oh. My. God.
Caleb: Like a lot.  Like as far as emotionally it was powerful music.
Beau: I remember sitting in the Square, ‘cause remember Hot Dog Records was still around? And Becky used to work there and I used to hang out with Becky all the time; Becky was this girl that I had a relationship with and we were really good friends but we broke up but it was a really emotional time for me.  She gave me that record or I bought that record, I can’t remember but I just sat in this place called the Square in Oxford and I listened to that record in a parking space in its entirety sitting in my car just looking at our town square and then started it over like immediately. That record was really big in my eyes.
Caleb: Another person I know that we both really connect with was Andrew Bird. You can hear that sort of on the record, I think, at times. We saw him together. I saw him for the first time, and I think it was your first time too, in Memphis?
Beau: Yeah at the Hi-Tone.
Caleb: And that was cool. It was like one of our earlier hangouts and he was definitely inspirational.
Beau: We took a picture with him!
Caleb: Yes! We have this really nerdy, amazing, painful to look at ‘cause it’s so uncomfortable-
Beau: It’s a really weird picture. I asked him if he’d take a picture with us and he’s like “Yeah, sure”. He’s like really soft-spoken and like frail man even though he’s not. He’s like tall and whatever but…So I was like “Can we take a picture like we just conquered the word and this is the picture that we have to commemorate the fact that we just conquered the entire world”. He was like “Uh…” and I was like “Yeah!” so we’re all doing this, we all have our fists raised to the sky. It’s so funny to go down the faces because it’s like my face which is like super –
Caleb: Into it.
Beau: Yeah!
Caleb: There might be a hint of like “This is a little weird”.
Beau: Caleb’s face is like “Yeah, okay, I’m into this but this is a little strange”, kind of even peeking at Andrew Bird out of the corner of his eye. And Andrew Bird’s just kind of like “What?” It’s just kind of funny. Really good picture though.
Caleb: Yeah Andrew Bird probably more than Arcade Fire. I just know that we both really liked that record. And then we had a bunch of friends that played music in Oxford, in our hometown, and I think at a certain point we were like “We do this all the time why the fuck aren’t we just doing this? We’re not that bad”. Then that’s how we started playing- through friends.
Beau: We just kind of threw together a band. Me and Caleb and our friend Chad and our friend James. I think in like two weeks we wrote six songs and we got really good feedback and we played another show a couple weeks or a month later. I think we played one more where Crystal Fever came and played.
Caleb: Oh, yeah.
Beau: Oh man…but then you know we both moved to different places. He moved to Baltimore and I moved to New York and then that was about the time that Baltimore was blowing up as a music scene and I think that that’s been our inspiration from then until now. Just like having friends in Baltimore who are incredibly amazing musicians. Like Lower Dens, Wye Oak –
Caleb: Wye Oak especially. Like watching them onstage and just like her presence and how super confident they are that was an influence. They’re sort of role models. Lower Dens too, we love them so much.
Beau: I don’t mean for it ever to sound like “Oh, these are my friends” because they’re not my friends like that in any means but I have the opportunity to not only enjoy their music but I get to see them and I get to talk to them about it and they’re the nicest people in the world. That’s been such an inspiration for me as a musician. Having moved from a small town in Mississippi where you know everybody to a bigger city like Baltimore, even though it’s small in terms of big cities –
Caleb: Yeah like Weather Systems by Andrew Bird is like one of the most amazing records ever. So good. If you haven’t heard it, it’s really good.
Beau: I’m sorry were you cutting me off? Was my answer too long?
Charlie: It wasn’t a short answer…
Caleb: Nice and short. 
Beau: Well, that was a good question!

Funny that you mention Lower Dens and Wye Oak because that’s kind of my last question. You guys have had the opportunity to play with some pretty awesome bands and do multiple shows with pretty great bands like Secret Mountains. You guys are like band bffs forever; you’ve played a lot of shows them. But you played shows with Nat Baldwin from the Dirty Projectors and Lower Dens and Wye Oak, was there any particular show that was your favorite to play?
Beau (to Caleb): I know what you’re going to say. If you say this one I just want to remind you of how tense it was at the time.
Caleb: I’m not saying anything yet. Thinking about it. Do you mean like favorite show out of bigger people that we’ve played with or just in general?
Just like favorite show.
Caleb: We played this one, this one at a place called Grandville House on our first tour ever and first stop on the first tour ever and it was like in front of a trailer out in the woods in Pennsylvania and made a pretty decent recording of it and that was back when it was just the three of us. That one’s one of my favorites just because I can listen to it and I feel like I’m there almost. There were cicadas chirping in the background, we were outside.
Beau: I thought you were going to say the blackout show.
Caleb: That’s just the biggest, most intense show we’ve ever played.
Beau: But I was going to remind you of – remember how we had that whole fight while Lower Dens were playing? Not fight but – sometimes when you’re onstage and you say things to try to make the show keep going but they’re completely misinterpreted.
Caleb:…Are you answering the question? Or are you digging up old wounds?
Beau: My favorite show – that’s what I do man, I remind you of where we came from. Can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re from! But, my favorite show would probably be that one we played with Celebration before Charlie came into the band. It just felt –
Caleb: The vibes were perfect.
Charlie (jokingly): And then it went all downhill from there?
Beau: No, no. We’re going to play more amazing shows than we’ve ever played.
Caleb: It was just a really nice crowd in Baltimore and everyone loved Celebration and everyone was amped up and just really receptive.
Beau: The way the show started and ended was like perfect. It started up on this slope and it like, it started with “Based Jam” and came up on this slope and we just like rode it all the way to the end. We played perfectly, it was awesome. Probably my most favorite show ever.

Was there any band that you wanted to play with next?
Caleb: Yeah, a bunch probably. I’m obsessed with John Maus but I don’t know if that’d ever happen. Our music’s different. I’d like to play a show with some of these Baltimore people that we’ve just never –like that we’re kind of friends with. It’d be cool to play a show with Dan Deacon somehow, someway.
Beau:  It’d be cool to play a show with Dope Body.
Caleb: Ed Schrader. I like that guy a lot. I’ve been wanting to play with Twin Sister for a while but I don’t really know how to work that out. I really like them, they’ve influenced me a lot just like production-wise. I think they’re pretty amazing. Elvis Costello…No, now I’m just naming names.
Beau: I think I would like to go on tour with one of our friends again. I really like that. I’d love to go on tour with like Lower Dens or something. That’s more important to me than just playing this awesome show with this awesome band one time. It would be going on tour with a band that we really respect and love and we’re already kind of good friends with. Get to know them even better. 

Much thanks to Lands & Peoples for providing not only an entertaining chat in Maria Hernandez Park but also a pretty exceptional concert later that night at DelinquencyNYC. Make sure you catch them on tour.

If you haven't already, make sure you check out the band's exceptional debut Pop Guilt as well as other recordings on Lands & Peoples' Bandcamp.

Flock of Dimes - "Curtain"

If you're anything like me and have been ravenously fiending for more Flock of Dimes since her Prison Bride 7" debut then you're in luck. Turns out Jenn Wasner waits for no man, in addition to touring extensively with Wye Oak at present, she's releasing a brand spanking new 7" on Merge Records.

"Curtain", with b-side "Apparition" out in a limited edition run on September 25th, trades the break-neck beats of "Prison Bride" for more of the hazy, sense of wonder of "Gauze" as Wasner invokes seemingly boundless rapture with craning melodies and sweetly sung overtures of love. "Curtain" is a track meant to overwhelm and it certain does it's job - continuously rising in feel and intensity until Wasner finally relents allowing the track to fade on it's final downward descent. It's unshakably magnificent and just plain good.  

There's no talk of a full length album at present and maybe that's for the best? Because if Flock of Dimes had a larger collection of tunes, we'd never listen to anything else ever again. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Waterstrider - Wind-Fed Fire EP (2012)


Remember Waterstrider? The Berkeley, California sextet certainly managed to charm me when I was introduced to them last year and it's a shame to admit I almost forgot about them. They've been hard at work recording their debut full length but they popped up out of seemingly nowhere to release a short 3 song EP to prepare everyone for the eventual album release.

If there was ever any doubt in my mind about how I felt about Waterstrider, their Wind-Fed Fire EP certainly erased all of it in a wave of passionate flames of want. "Water & Stone", from which lyrics the EP gets its name, starts right where the Constellation EP left off, with more of Waterstrider's homespun afropop if not being far more blatant about it. There really is no second guessing what you're hearing on Wind-Fed Fire - it's balmy, pep-in-your-step indie-pop with a very very noticeable world influence. Bookended by two world-influenced jams, "Feathertips" is far more subtle built upon a swaggering groove with skipping, frolicsome melodic lines.

The real star of the EP however is the closer: A live version of "Edge of Light". It's a taste for the unlucky souls who don't live in California to enjoy what proves to be an exceptionally energetic live performance. Not only is it an absolutely fun track but its complex interweaving parts are an absolute marvel. Intensely intricate rhythms and riffs that come at you at a pretty daring speed played with total fearlessness and obvious talent. If Waterstrider had just released this track alone, it would've been enough to tide me over til the full length's release but we're lucky enough to get two more stellar tracks.

Waterstrider's Wind-Fed Fire EP is the perfect place-holder for what's sure to be a pretty incredible debut. It proves that the sextet are definitely heading in the right direction, creatively and I can't wait to see where they go next. Until then, I intend to wear out my copy of the EP with total and absolute gusto.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Watch: Cats on Fire - "After the Fact"

Apparently Finnish indie-pop quintet Cats on Fire released an album this year and I missed it. Perhaps I should explain why this is odd - their compilation album Dealing in Antiques is still my go to record. I had been hoping there'd be some sort of release from them soon since I rediscovered them last year and thought I was paying pretty close attention. I was wrong, somehow earlier this year in my excitement about new records from Bowerbirds, Daniel Rossen, Kishi Bashi, and Lands & Peoples, Cats on Fire managed to send their third full length album All Blackshirts to Me out into the world with me being none the wiser.

What better way to fix my total cluelessness about an album than by starting at the beginning. A couple months ago Cats on Fire released a video for "After the Fact", the first single from All Blackshirts to Me and it's simple and maybe that's why I love it so much. Cats on Fire have always reminded me quite a bit of The Smiths and while "After the Fact" doesn't seek out to change that, it's far livelier than a Smiths track was apt to be. It's rather upbeat and sauntering but still invocative of all the reasons I fell in love with Cats on Fire in the first place - winding melodic structures, lyrical cohesiveness, and the oh so perfect way the band fit together like puzzle pieces. It's straightforward pop with just enough of a twist to make it interesting and utterly attention-consuming.  

Daughn Gibson - "Reach Into the Fire"

Well turns out Daughn Gibson is having a pretty spectacular year: releasing his debut full length All Hell on White Denim, a 7" single not too long after, and successful completion of his first ever tour. Things certainly seem to be looking up for Gibson. Yesterday, he was one of the artists announced in the initial official CMJ lineup and turns out, sometime when no one was paying attention, Daughn Gibson got signed to Sub Pop Records. Considering the absolute awesomeness of their roster, it certainly makes sense and Gibson celebrates the occasion with a release of a brand new track "Reach Into the Fire" which samples labelmates Shabazz Palaces and Tiny Vipers.

After releasing the super sexy "Lite My Fire" 7" single and the dark nature of many of All Hell's track, "Reach Into the Fire" is a breath of fresh air in Gibson's catalog. Bright and pseudo-inspirational, "Reach Into the Fire" takes a page out of "In the Beginning"'s book without sounding like an exact replica.  It's enough to single-handedly get you excited about Daughn Gibson's future Sub Pop releases. Here's hoping it's not too long now.

Thanks to Frank from Listen Before You Buy for bringing Gibson's label signing to my attention.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A.C. Newman - "I'm Not Talking"

It's kind of common knowledge that Canada's The New Pornographers are amassed from a series of prominent solo artists and band members from other bands and the like and yet, besides that fact I've never really heard a lot of work from them which when A.C. Newman announced his first single off his third solo album Shut Down the Sheets, I set out to change that.

If you fancy yourself a fan of The New Pornographers there's little links that are sure to delight you - like very Pornographers-esque harmonies (I think Newman might've even had some of them guest on the album).   Other than that the track is just swell, a sort of calm, rambling downbeat pop number that's none too flashy but still manages to get stuck in your ear-pipes.

So while the New Pornographers are on hiatus for the time being, discover some new music from the members. It's a great way to pass the time. Hear A.C. Newman's "I'm Not Talking":

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Alcoholic Faith Mission - "Running With Insanity"

One of the first blogs I ever read, much less with any sort of regularly (read: religiously) was Eardrums - a delightful indiepop blog based out of Norway that tended to focus on music no one much did over here in the states. It was through them that I discovered the Music Alliance Pact a collection of blogs from various countries that would put forward one song a month to represent their country on what turned out to be fantastic eclectic homegrown batches of delectable tunes and through it I found a host of wonderfully blogs to check out (I Guess I'm Floating being one of them, though it took me years to realize this).

When Eardrums dropped out I more or less forgot about the amazing MAP but this week when those awesome fellas at We Listen For You sallied forth to represent the United States, it was once again brought to my attention. While We Listen For You's pick of Houndmouth's "Penitentiary" was an excellent contribution, the track that really knocked me off my feet was Denmark's choice of Alcoholic Faith Mission's "Running With Insanity" from their fourth studio album Ask Me This. 

Dimly aware of Alcoholic Faith Mission's existence from their slot on the Old Flame Records roster it wasn't until the palatable strains of Thorben Seierø Jensen's rousing vocals over an equally earcatching and pleasant accordion in "Running With Insanity" that I was even remotely aware of how special this band is. It was love at first listen. 

And there's certainly plenty to love. Arguably the best track on the new album, "Running With Insanity" has just about anything you could want. A Jackson Pollock of vibrant tonal colors, it shifts gears quickly but always smoothly. A bit of chamber pop goodness one moment, a bristling jam the other, one thing remains constant:  An infectious energy and smile-inducing sense of wonder as the song's textural landscape shifts before you. A highly lovable gem and a perfect display of the awesome making its way out of Scandinavia. A surefire favorite.

(via We Listen For You)


Watch: Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams Trailer #4 featuring "I Will Be Back One Day"

Gather around brothers and sisters, it seems it's that time again. Lord Huron have offered up yet another trailer for their upcoming full length debut Lonesome Dreams. I don't know about you but since learning about the painstaking amount of thought the band have put into the Lonesome Dreams mythos (each song apparently a book in a collection of books known as the aptly named Lonesome Dreams series by fictitious author George Ranger Johnson), it about doubled my anticipation for more of the story to be told.

Sadly that time is not now, not exactly. The latest installment of the Lonesome Dreams trailers features another new song by the name of "I Will Be Back One Day" but is done very much in the style of the other trailers meaning it's mostly song and title credits but there is a tiny bit of something to hold onto here. If you watch closely you see what might be a snippet from the next or an upcoming shot of the video that features a hazy Ben Schneider (or Huron as his character has been dubbed in the series) singing along.

It's enough to drive you absolutely ravenous with anticipation but considering Lord Huron have already given us more than we need to settle us until the album release, we'll just have to wait to see what else they have up their sleeve.

Until then, just remember: Lord Huron's Lonesome Dreams is out October 9th.

Making Marks - "Ticket Machine"

Perhaps you remember My Little Pony? The Norwegian indie-pop quintet was responsible for one of 2011's most catchiest gems "Hard to Be Good" off their criminally panned album Making Marks. Well, they're back having trimmed the fat a little, returning as a four piece going by Making Marks, the name of My Little Pony's last album.

"Ticket Machine" is the first offering under their new moniker and it's got all the sunny, cheery stylings of its predecessors while continuing My Little Pony's brilliant but subdued tendency of referencing other awesome songs and bands. In this case, the chorus lifting the name of The Smiths' "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out".  In fact, "Ticket Machine" shows the band's yet to abandon their breezy, brazenly upbeat indie-pop and that's certainly a relief. Making Marks provide shelter in a dizzying storm of changing trends and emerging sounds by remaining true to themselves and what they like and the results are something everyone is sure to love. I sure do.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Watch: Efterklang - "Hollow Mountain"

After giving us a taste of their upcoming album Piramida with a live video and album trailer, Danish indie rock trio Efterklang are well and truly back and giving us a true glimpse at what we'll be hearing on their new album with a video for album opener and first single "Hollow Mountain".

One of the things the band are most excited about is the field recording they recorded in the arctic ghost town of Spitsbergen and "Hollow Mountain" gives you your first taste of that with the opening crafted from hitting and recording the sound of a oil tank. "Hollow Mountain" also sees the return of frequent Efterklang collaborators Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick providing wurlitzer and strings respectively. Efterklang also goes a bit bigger and more in line with their recent orchestral tour by employing a 60 piece women's choir.

The result is a work of orchestral pop deliciousness - a sauntering arty gem that pairs the mysteriousness of the ghost town which inspired much of the album with Efterklang's pop stylings. There's also a pretty nifty video directed by Oodls that combines the bands photos from Spitsbergen with the album artwork designed by Hvass & Hannibal.

Efterklang's fourth studio album Piramida is out September 25th in the US on 4AD.

 Efterklang - Hollow Mountain by Efterklang

Pitstop: Lemolo

(Photo by Genevieve Pierson)

It's no secret to anyone that some of the best music comes out of the Northwest so when The Head and the Heart sent out a promo tweet earlier this year championing the new release from fellow Seattleites Lemolo, I took immediate notice. And though I was expecting something more in line with The Head and the Heart's chipper, celebratory form of folk pop, the fact that Lemolo were nothing like that didn't detract at all from my enjoyment of the duo's shifting dream-pop reveries.

Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox make music that keeps very much inline with the waters where the two kayaking instructors met: their songs characterized by waves of beguilingly perfect harmonies, rich, flowing textures, and a loose adherence to standard songwriting structure - most of the duo's songs easily surpass the 3 minute mark and are far better for it.

 Lemolo - Whale Song by soundonthesound

What makes Lemolo so special goes a bit beyond the ear-catching nature of tracks like "Move Me" or "Open Air" or the stunning majesty of 7 minute sprawl "We Felt the Fall" or album opener "Knives". On their debut album The Kaleidoscope, Lemolo unleashes a dazzling display of atmospherics - an impressive feat considering the duo don't rely excessively on any effects. Instead, capitalizing on airy vocals that don't at all betray the raw vocal power the two wield effortless.

Lemolo are definitely ones to watch, equally at home in hazier soundscapes or straightforward indie-pop, brimming with an exceptional level of talent that can only refine more and more with time. The Kaleidoscope is no doubt a strong debut that satiates an aural need you didn't know you had while simultaneously making you crave for more. Here's hoping it won't be too long before Lemolo can deliver.

You can stream/buy Lemolo's The Kaleidoscope over at Bandcamp:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pitstop: High Highs


My introduction to High Highs happened almost a year ago as my first taste of Rawkblog's Mercury Music Digital Record Club. Since then the Brooklyn trio by way of Australia have put out their self titled four song EP via Small Plates Records and have been winning the hearts of plenty with their brand of immersive, quiet folk pop.

What sets High Highs apart from the myriad of other folk pop troubadours is perhaps their subtle pairing of acoustic with electronic elements to achieve dreamy soundscapes not unlike dreampop champions Beach House. Each song on the EP is stunningly arresting and artfully engaging to the point of near confusion: when the last song ends it's like being jerked out of a sound sleep of the most pleasant variety.

Despite the trio's pervasive sense of soft, melodic quiet however there is an awe-inspiring lushness. Full and rich, and delicately arranged as to keep it from ever becoming overwhelming. High Highs draw from an impressive sonic palette that manages to engross all the senses and engages more in four songs than some bands manage to do in years of music-making.

And as can be heard in High Highs latest single "Once Around the House", their musical competency is more than just a four song fluke. High Highs are here to stay with their dazzling brand of subtle, captivating folktronic pop and I for one couldn't be more pleased.

You can grab High Highs self-titled EP from Small Plates Records here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Watch: Lord Huron - "Time To Run"

To say that I am excited for Lord Huron's debut full length Lonesome Dreams would be the most epic of understatements. There are no words in the English language for how pumped I am for this thing to roll out. And apparently the band is too as they're doing what seems like everything in their power to give fans something to look forward to on pretty much a weekly basis. Whether that's album trailers featuring new songs or the occasional single, Lord Huron have certainly been good to those patiently waiting for the album's release.

Well today, over at NPR, Lord Huron premiered their music video for first album single "Time to Run". If you follow them on any of their various social networks, you've no doubt seen a picture or two from the video shoot that probably raises eyebrows along with your blood pressure.

The video for "Time to Run" is as intricate as Lord Huron's musicmaking, set as an old-style Western. You're dropped right into the middle of the action as you find Ben Schneider aka Huron running from a group of angry folk. He's knocked out and captured where it's revealed a girl is at the root of all his current problems and right when he's about to be hanged for an undisclosed crime, his pals come to bail him out. Perfect. And the best part of the video is perhaps the "To Be Continued..." hinting at more of the saga that might play out in other videos from Lonesome Dreams.

Watch Lord Huron's epic Western adventures in the video for "Time to Run":

Lord Huron's Lonesome Dreams is out October 9th.

(via NPR)

Abadabad - "All The Bros Say"

While blogs often specialize in cramming as much good music in your face as physical possible, it's not rare that you begin to associate a certain blog with a particular band/artist. Enter Andriana at Gluttony Is The New Black who introduced me to Abadabad earlier this year when she blew through New York earlier this year. No matter how many other downright excellent bands she throws my way none will probably top Abadabad.

That's not her fault. Abadabad are just tops. Mellow lo-fi rockers in a similar manner as Real Estate and there is not a single person alive that doesn't like Real Estate. Today the Massachusetts soft rock quintet dropped "All The Bros Say", the first single from their upcoming The Wild EP.

While this summer has been heavy with absolute ripping rock scorchers, a tune like "All The Bros Say" is a pleasant rarity. One that perfect accompanies one of my favorite summer activities: lounging. Whether that's before or after a refreshing dip in the pool lounging is an big part of summer. Because it can't be beach adventure time everyday. And that's where Abadabad come in. Sountracking your lazy summer days with cool, crisp waves of the most calm rock you're bound to hear.

And if you're in the New York area, make sure you catch Abadabad play at Conveyor's homecoming show at Glasslands Gallery. Tickets available here.

Buke and Gase - "Misshaping Introduction"

Earlier this week, Brooklyn's Buke and Gase surprised everyone with a completely unannounced new track by the name of "Hiccup" and it seems that they're not done just yet. Today, the duo announced the release of their brand new Function Falls EP. The four song EP won't be out until September 11th but for those of you like me aching for new Buke and Gase, you're in luck. In addition to preordering the new EP, you can also stream and download the first track "Misshaping Introduction".

And if the release of a brand new EP wasn't enough to get you excited enough to vomit, Buke and Gase's label Brasslands let slip that the band's follow up sophomore full length will be out early next year. So far the only real reason to be excited for 2013.

So make sure you preorder Buke and Gase's digital only Function Falls EP, it'll be the best decision you'll have made all month.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Levek - "French Lessons"

Where would I be without those lovely folks over at I Guess I'm Floating? Well, probably knowing a whole lot less about awesome new music releases. Just the other day they posted the second new track from Florida musician Levek's upcoming debut full length Look A Little Closer, "French Lessons" (his first was "Black Mold Grow").

"French Lessons" is equal parts whimsical interlude and frolicking groove-centric jam. While Levek's music is certainly no stranger to flights of fancy and almost fantastical sounds, "French Lessons" takes it up a notch. It's music that wouldn't be out of place accompanying a 70s B movie. That kind that you'd totally want to buy the soundtrack for. And maybe that's the appeal? Or at least part of it. Levek's music is a retro in a way that's not as obvious as those bands that set out to imitate bygone times. Retro in a way that's possible only through David Levesque's mastery of a very now assortment of electronics. Whatever the case one thing remains clear: Levek's music is great and the new track "French Lessons" is no exception.

Watch: Friend Roulette - "Just Woke Up" (preview)

Remember Brooklyn sextet Friend Roulette? The chamber pop rockers are currently among my favorite people making music right now so each time they reveal a little bit of enigmatic puzzle that is their incredible tunes and debut full length information I leap a little with joy.

Unbeknownst to pretty much anyone besides the band themselves, Friend Roulette recently went in and recorded some tracks at Converse Rubber Tracks and well, like anything the two individually crank out the results are pretty extraordinary.

In the latest Track of the Week from Converse Rubber Tracks you can hear bits of Friend Roulette's latest single "Just Woke Up" and it's pure amazingness. Taking a similar melodic page from arguable my favorite Friend Roulette song "Sailing Song", it once again pairs quirkiness with the band's intense, awe-inspiringly precise musicianship. In a word: Amazing.

The video features just enough of the brand new single to have you jonesing for more. No news yet when the single proper will go live but I hope it's soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Watch: River Whyless - "Widows Walk" Live at Audiotree

Earlier this year I had the intense pleasure of being introduced to North Carolina folk rock quartet River Whyless through their debut album A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door as well as their opening slot for one of my new favorite bands Little Tybee's tour. I spoke pretty highly of their album - and rightly so as the the album is simply amazing. But if you're anything like me and haven't gotten the chance to see the band live just yet, you're in luck and you get to do the next best thing.

Not too long ago River Whyless recorded a live version of their song "Widows Walk" off A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door for Audiotree Live and it's bewitching. Inspired by their time on Martha's Vineyard in an old cottage isolated from the rest of civilization, overlooking the ocean, and besieged by storms where the foursome went to record their debut album, "Widows Walk" is one of the album's strongest tracks: (a feat considering how strong the debut is all around) a spellbinding tale that displays River Whyless' narrative prowess. But in the live session, you get to display River Whyless' stellar musicianship firsthanded.

Watch River Whyless' live session of "Widows Walk" for Audiotree Live:

Buke & Gase - "Hiccup"

Well it's certain been awhile since we've heard from Brooklyn experimental instrument-makers Buke & Gase. Since the release of 2010's Riposte, the group has undergone a couple changes - most notable the name change from Buke & Gass to Buke & Gase. Not a significant change but that one letter is all you need to properly pronounce their name. While the duo have been touring (playing Crossing Brooklyn Ferry earlier this year), this week we finally get officially released new music from them. In the form of "Hiccup", off a free compilation you can download here.

 Buke & Gase - Hiccup by All Around Sound Blog

Their first release in nearly two years, "Hiccup" both invokes the Buke & Gase you used to love while also hinting at new ideas. I mean just listening to the track there's a more polished sheen you didn't get on their album. Other than that, Buke & Gase still remain innovative purveyors of noisy pop. "Hiccup" is full but not chaotic or cluttered, it's catchy but smartly so. It's great and I certainly hope there's more to come from Buke & Gass otherwise this is just a special kind of torture.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hunting For Teeth - "Ghost"

Buffalo folk pop quintet Hunting For Teeth are mere days away from the start of their first ever tour - a mini tour of upstate New York that'll take them from Buffalo to Rochester, Ithaca, Syracuse, and Albany. Basically all those really nifty New York cities most bands tend to ignore in favor of good old New York City.

To ring in the tour, Hunting For Teeth are offering up their ever record - a short tour EP that they'll be selling and in case you wanted to know what you were signing up for, they've released a single from the EP "Ghosts".

Hunting for Teeth is a rather young band: formed a little less than a year ago with just Shauna Presto and Corey Bzibziak on vocals on guitar and have since expanded into a tight rocking five piece. "Ghosts" is an unexpected treat in every aspect: beginning with a short but sweet flute prelude and tenderly stroked guitar, the track sudden takes on a more biting edge imbued with a punky edge aided by Presto's sultry airs. The track becomes a balancing act, pivoting between gentle, lush instrumentals and brisk start-stop rock at pretty much a moments notice. It's catchy but most importantly: it's good.

While I haven't heard any of the other tracks off their EP just yet, if they're half as good as "Ghosts" we may all be in trouble as we won't want to listen to anything else.


Illuminator - "Tangled With Bear"

When Brooklyn genre-straddling rockers Illuminator gave the first peek of their upcoming sophomore record Soul Sister with "Gulf Hymn", it was clear they were on to something special. A very different special from their fantastic debut record Answer Voice The Child but special nonetheless. Their latest single "Tangled With Bear" extrapolates on this in a way I don't thnk anyone expected.

"Tangled With Bear" unfurls with gentle, bluesy guitar licks before quickly picking up momentum (though making sure you're already on board with its slower, organic start) - snaking around exciting jags and boughs of restrained psychedelia. The emotive power of Bryn Bellomy's vocals all the more sublimating, more effective unhampered by effects. It's a 6.5 minute piece of moving, grooving rock sprawl with just a hint of drama that pushes it towards its eventful conclusion.

On "Tangled With Bear", Illuminator are certainly bringing their A game. Dishing up a soulful rock jam that might very well be one of the best songs the band has released thus far. It's the kind of track that makes the wait for the yet disclosed street date for the upcoming album or even the next single seem like a painful chore.  Until then I'll just keep "Tangle With Bear" on infinite repeat. You might want to do so too.

If you're in the New York area make sure you go to see Illuminator open up for Alt-J at Mercury Lounge (if you can score tickets), it's sure to be a night you won't soon forget. Tickets here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lord Huron releases more album trailers

In case the release of their first album trailer featuring newly unveiled single "Time to Run" wasn't enough to get you properly keyed up for the release of Lord Huron's debut full length album Lonesome Dreams, you're in luck. The band, who spent the better part of the year in more or less absolute cryptic time-bidding silence, have some more trailers for you to see. One of which features live staple "She Lit A Fire" and the other (the one I'm most fawning over) featuring brand spanking never before heard track " The Ghost on the Shore". If Lord Huron keep this relentless onslaught of album previews up, we're all sure to go insane when the album actually streets in October.

Check out the new teasers for Lonesome Dreams:

Lord Huron's Lonesome Dreams is out October 9th.

And in case you missed it, here's the first single "Time to Run":