Thursday, September 27, 2012

Watch: Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams Trailer #8 featuring "In the Wind"

As the release of Lord Huron's debut full length Lonesome Dreams looms ever closer (we're around the two week mark now), it's fitting that Lord Huron have ponied up another album trailer for the work. Their latest is the eighth in their set of trailers featuring snippets of tracks from the other and unlike the past two trailers, it's a song we haven't been introduced to before at all.

"In the Wind" is very similar in sound to "Ends of the Earth" or even "Brother (Last Ride)" with elements of "The Stranger" thrown in for good measure (although this is based solely a minute teaser so the whole thing could be quite different). The trailer, while still capturing the old-time Western feel of where Lonesome Dreams is supposed to take place, trades in the washed out technicolor for classic black and white. It's a simple enough scene: Ben Schneider aka Huron sitting in front of a roaring fire - guitar in hand, it's the sudden cut to end credits that's cause for alarm. Even though there's two songs we've yet to preview, trailer eight might very well be the last in the series of trailers. Which is both exciting and not so much but with two weeks to go until the release of Lonesome Dreams, I'm sure we'll all manage.

Here's hoping for more methodical and well-thought out works detailing the adventures Huron and his gang.

Lord Huron's debut full length Lonesome Dreams is out October 9th on I AM Sound.

Young Man - Vol. 1 (2012)

"Do you like Young Man?"

It was a simple enough question and one I could easily answer. Who was Young Man? I hadn't ever heard of it before. But I'm not the type to let a random unsolicited band suggestion go by unchecked and so I settled down for the night, found a stream of Young Man's recent album Vol. 1 and let the good times roll. What I heard simply defied expectation. Young Man's Vol. 1, the brainchild of Colin Caulfield, is a multi-layered, many-textured pop juggernaut.

Vol. 1 with its asymmetrical track lengths and short musical interludes ("Wasted", "Wandering") is very much an album's album. "Thoughts" covers an impressive expanse of engaging musical moments in its rather short 6 minute life - starting from its non-traditional drums that flower into minute instrumental flourishes that frame Caulfield's subtly revealed narrative. It's a track where each moment seems necessary; even Caulfield's repeated "I've been thinking" which builds to an effective climax. And this artful handling of the build-up seems to be Young Man's secret weapon - employed on the longer tracks ("Fate", "21" "Direction") to not only justify each hard-won moment but draw you across the finish line blissfully unaware of the length of the journey. Which Young Man do beguilingly well; distracting you with enough interesting details and intricate pathfinding that you're left slightly bewildered when Vol. 1 finally draws to its end.  

Vol. 1 surges with bright, jubilant moments and aptly displayed talent from Caulfield and company. Young Man demonstrates a mastery and creative use of pop akin to Yellow Ostrich or Youth Lagoon, creating not only an engrossing set of songs but a memorable and overall pleasant listening experience as a whole. While Caulfield's English lit background is sure to draw an interesting amount of attention, the real feat  is Young Man's knack for capturing moments and feelings more than any poignant lyricism from its frontman (which doesn't really jump out at you and is probably all the more better for it).

Vol. 1 is the kind of album that is sure to stay with you: little melodic moments hummed to yourself long after you're done when you're not actually able to put the record on itself. And that's perhaps its greatest strength; it's marvelous memorable and full of simplistic but beautiful melodies that gently envelop you even as every other element of the track whip frenetically around you. Among its many lush layers and impressive production, Young Man's stellar songcraft wins out and rightfully so. A splendidly delightful batch of gems that are sure to make you salivate and pine for more. Here's hoping a Vol. 2 is already on its way.

 Young Man - Do by orchardmktg

 Young Man - Fate by Frenchkiss

 Directions by xLucidity

You can stream Young Man's sophomore effort Vol. 1 on Spotify now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Watch: Hundred Waters - "Hydrodictyon"

It's certainly been a dynamite year for Gainesville quintet Hundred Waters - after bursting onto the scene earlier this year and releasing their debut self-titled full length, they've been on the road with all sorts of fancy and amazing people from Skrillex and Tonkimonsta to Levek and most recently Julia Holter. In fact, just yesterday the quintet had their debut re-released on Skrillex's label OWSLA (which released the Thistle EP earlier this year as well). But that's not all, turns out they've been working on some new tunes and our first taste of that is "Hydrodictyon" which accompanied by a home video type footage of the band on tour. There's footage of the band at play as well as their acoustic set they did for Portals earlier this year, all accompanied by the beautiful textural masterpiece that is "Hydrodictyon". Hundred Waters continue to be the soundtrack of my dreams and it's no different with the blissful, enchanting strains of Nicole Miglis' wispy vocals.

Get a listen to Hundred Waters new track "Hydrodictyon":

(via Stereogum)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Listen: Cymbals Eat Guitars - "Hawk Highway"

Are Brooklyn indie rockers Cymbals Eat Guitars making another record already? If so, certainly no one told me. Last year they released the pretty spectacular Lenses Alien and as if we didn't need about a year or so to process it, Cymbals Eat Guitars are offering up a brand new track by the name of "Hawk Highway".

The new track is certainly one of the most catchy and accessible CEG songs I've heard, recalling "...And the Hazy Sea" sans experimental fuzz or a faster moving "Wavelengths" and yet it doesn't compromise any of the songwriting chops Joseph D'Agostino's displayed thus far or the band's ability to rock. D'Agostino's still spewing out absolute poetry in the form of lyrics but it all fits while the band jams around him and then surges forward. Wordy vocals have a way of getting in the way sometimes but not here, they flow and so there's no eye-raising moments of forced poetics here. Instead there's light head-bobbing maybe foot-taps and perhaps a little bit of air guitar. Don't worry, I won't judge.

Hear the fantastic new single "Hawk Highway" from Cymbals Eat Guitars:

 Cymbals Eat Guitars - Hawk Highway by The Line Of Best Fit

Listen: Guards - "Silver Lining"

Earlier this year, retro-rock troubadours Guards hinted at an upcoming full length debut and while the estimated date of delivery has come and gone (sometime in September was the consensus), the good news is that there's a definite release date now as well as a preview of what we're getting.

"Silver Lining", the lead single off Guards upcoming full length In Guards We Trust is an upbeat, carefree romp in a very similar vein of "Do It Again" and yet not a carbon copy. It's bright, sunny, and just the perfect tune to close out a summer full of beachy jams. Guards don't surrender themselves completely to beach-rock  vibe but it'd be hard to argue that they weren't at all influenced by it. The result is a fast-paced quickstep bustling with energy and fun but underneath it's playful demeanor there's layers of rock being made. Chug-a-long bass riffs, harmonies galore, and upward inflected flourishes on either synth or Kaylie's omnichord. It's a real toe-tapper if there ever was one. Welcome back, Guards. We missed you.

Guards' debut full length In Guards We Trust is out February 5th.

Listen: Hospitality - "Monkey"

When I saw Brooklyn indie-rock trio Hospitality at Brooklyn Bowl a couple weeks ago they premiered a couple new songs and I lamented that they sort of sounded like the songs on their self-titled full-length debut. This wouldn't have been a bad thing per say if the band hadn't more or less been sitting on some of their debut tracks since their 2008 EP.

Seems all my worrying and stressing was for naught as Hospitality's new track "Monkey" is just on the right side of new and different while maintaining their same angular songwriting and jangle. Unlike their debut album or EP however, "Monkey" sees Amber Papini really owning her frontwoman role, coming out swinging and bursting with confidence. Her furtive coos replaced with full-bodied purrs and ample stage presence (guitar solos included). "Monkey" is the most aggressive Hospitality track to date and it seems like a year of touring has really lit a fire in the trio. Here's hoping there's more where this came from.

"Monkey" will be released as a b-side along with lead single "The Drift" on Merge Records out October 30th. You can pre-order the limited edition 7" here.

(via Stereogum)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Watch: Writer - "Hot Days"

When I discovered recent San Francisco to Brooklyn transplants Writer (brothers Andy and James Ralph) at the far beginning of this year, I was eager to get anything resembling new music from them and while they've partially satiated that need with a couple 7" singles released sporadically throughout this year, it seems like next month I'll truly get my wish. You see, Writer are dropping a debut full length. Entitled Brotherface and streeting October 30th, it will no doubt featuring more of the Brothers Ralph's clamorous two-man garage rock and that's something to get excited about. There's no news yet on what we may find on there but it seems like "Hot Days" (from the duo's Barefoot Art 7" they released two years ago) has made the cut.

And they're ringing in the occasion with a brand new video. "Hot Days" takes a bit of a literal approach to its title taking place in the Mojave Desert. The band plays in various parts Joshua Tree National Park along with pretty choice visual effects and the result is pretty damn great. And gets me all riled up and fiending for Writer's debut full length so well played, Writer. Well played, indeed.

Writer's debut full length Brotherface is out October 30th so mark those calendars. It's going to be a rocking good time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Listen: Secret Mountains - "High Horse"

Thanks to the generous support of fans far and wide through Kickstarter, Baltimore psychedelic rock sextet Secret Mountains will be putting out their debut full length album Rainer this year. And while that's of course cause for celebrate it seems we've got a whole other reason to celebrate. Today the band's Shaking Through session came out and it features a brand new track that you'll only have heard if you were lucky enough catch a live show of there's recently.

The new track "High Horse" is definitely the least upbeat tempo as the band that's most known to me and countless others for their propensity for tight-knit, intricate jams more or less takes a break from that to get a bit of emotional catharsis. The result is a beautiful and touching tribute to a lost loved one that sees the band turning enough of a new leaf to keep things interesting without flipping the script entirely. It's the kind of change that'll no doubt help Rainer to really feel like a full, mature work.

Hear Secret Mountains' "High Horse":

For their session the band had a bunch of really nifty things to say about their recording and even songwriting process which you can watch in this video which is part recording documentary, music video, and interview here:

Watch: Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams Trailer #7 featuring "Ends of the Earth" + "Ends of the Earth" stream

Like them or not (which you totally SHOULD), one thing you can says about Los Angeles based band Lord Huron is that they never do anything halfway. Today the band premiere another trailer for their upcoming full length Lonesome Dreams which brings the count to seven. Seven trailers, seven unique opportunities to hear snippets of upcoming tracks from the debut.

In the case of this trailer though, you may have already heard the song in its entirety as Lord Huron's "Ends of the Earth", the first track on Lonesome Dreams, was recently chosen as KCRW's Track of the Day and given away as free download. So if you were paying attention you got an ear-full of Lord Huron's cinematic Western-invoking folky goodness. If not, never fear. Lonesome Dreams is rapidly on its way and Lord Huron seem determined that you never forget that. The trailer featuring panning view of mountains and plains as if to say "Yep, this is where it's all going down". Sounds uneventful but any opportunity to hear Lord Huron's amazing new tracks is a good one in my book. Enjoy trailer number seven featuring "Ends of the Earth":

Lord Huron's debut full length Lonesome Dreams is out October 9th on IAMSound.

Get a full taste of "Ends of the Earth" here:

Watch: First Aid Kit - "Wolf"

Earlier this year, Swedish sister folk duo First Aid Kit released The Lion's Roar, the follow up to their 2010 debut The Big Black and the Blue and while the album name-checks and musically cites a number of the sisters' influences from 70s folk til now, the duo's best track to date is "Wolf" which didn't make the album. On their full length debut ,with tracks like "Hard Believer", the sisters proved themselves willing and able to tackle big picture topics and on "Wolf", the girls lament the destruction of the Earth in a manner not unlike Bowerbirds' "In Our Talons". It's subtle but that's what makes it most effective.

In the video for the track directed by Johan Söderberg (no relation to the sisters Söderberg surprisingly enough), the sisters take to the forests of their native Sweden for a bout of ritualistic dance to awaken their inner beasts and become a part of nature once more. There's beautiful pseudo-psychedelic light shows and  the whole thing culminates in a fearsome blaze consuming the sisters and their sacred monument. A stellar and equally incredible video.

Watch First Aid Kit's video for non-album track "Wolf":

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Listen: Ullbasunen - "Wet Suit"

From the misty forest of Mid Sweden rolls something new and different. Meet Ullbasunen (translation: Wool Bassoon), a quirky Swedish electronic artist who stitches together synthy soundscapes with tender love and care.

Like the mists of the Nordlands he calls home Ullbasunen's "Wet Suit" rolls in and out with a sense of pervasive mystery and otherworldly eerie that makes the minimalistic plod intriguing. From it's sparse beginnings, Ullbasunen drapes layers of samples, homemade sounds, and the like atop each other to create a calm ocean of sounds that perfectly balances the track's obvious complexity with a sense of ease and simplicity.

 Ullbasunen - "Wet Suit" by All Around Sound Blog

"Wet Suit" is off of Ullbasunen's upcoming Action Force EP on Chipndamned Records out soon.

Listen: Unknown Mortal Orchestra - "Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)"

Last year, Unknown Mortal Orchestra made a real splash with their debut self-titled full length and as they gear up to release their sophomore record (which just went into mastering last week), we're given our first preview with new track "Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)".

With it's pleasant, tuneful soft-rock lilt, it's the sort of track that would've be out of place on a sound of the 70s music compilation mix and yet something about it is still so quintessentially UMO that it makes total sense that it comes from the now Portland based band. It's short, sweet, simple and sample-less and is just right to get you properly keyed up for their sophomore effort which will be out on Jagjaguwar when it's finally complete. Here's hoping that's soon.

Grizzly Bear - Shields (2012)

Truth be told, I’ve never considered myself much of a Grizzly Bear fan. Despite more than a handful of intense listening sessions to their three previous full lengths, I would always find myself more momentarily appeased than I would actually impressed by the Brooklyn quartet. Until now. On their fourth studio album, Shields, the four individuals' noteworthy musicianship finally synced up in all the right ways for me.

On opener “Sleeping Ute”, the epic grandeur that led me to champion the arrangement-heavy works of Daniel Rossen’s solo Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP as well as Department of Eagles’ In Ear Park finally seeps into Grizzly Bear’s music-making in a big way. With its complex prog-rock stylings , “Sleeping Ute”’s  various moving parts are birthed,  interlocked,  deconstructed, and reconfigured right before you as the track crests and troughs alongside Rossen’s meandering vocals.  It’s a mammoth sprawl which leads you to wonder just how an album can continue from it and Grizzly Bear answer with “Speak in Rounds”, simple and percussion-driven before exploding into action. The fast-paced intricacy of “Sleeping Ute” is still at work here albeit on a smaller microcosmic scale as the tune shifts intermittently between sauntering trot and full on blustering gallop.

And in an unexpected but no less enjoyable twist, Grizzly Bear bridge “Speak in Rounds” and “Yet Again” with “Adeima” - a short musical interlude which riffs on the end of “Speak in Rounds” and functions mostly as a means of sonic experimentation and pseudo palate cleanser.  “Yet Again” behaves not unlike a parallel of “Sleeping Ute” sharing its rock foundation but channeling it in a far less showy manner. There’s no guitar pyrotechnics or the seeming one-upmanship of “Sleeping Ute” and yet it’s far from a dumbed down version. “Yet Again” is filled with smaller intricacies like the upward inflected guitar riffs that add some spice to its forward-moving momentous plod. 

“The Hunt”, with its sparse piano accompanied vocals provided by Ed Droste, is the first moment (second if you count “Adeima”) where you get a break from the impressive weight of the group’s musical ideas that pepper and fill the album to its very brim. It plumbs yet unchartered emotional depths (as far as Shields is concerned) and provides an almost jarring change of pace with its sense of delicacy and quiet smack dab in the center of the album. And after such a soft piece of introspection, “A Simple Answer” seems complementary. Nearly double the length of its predecessor, the track marches on upon pulsing piano lines until about halfway through when the ground falls out and Rossen’s even-tempered narrative swoops, cranes, and soars.

“What’s Wrong” stands as one of the album’s foremost examples of Grizzly Bear’s excellent musicianship on display (another perhaps more noteable display being “Half Gate”) not in the sense of their impressive ability to create exceptional moments but in the band’s everything and the kitchen sink approach to the track while also managing to keep it relatively quiet and simple. Evidence of the foursome’s individual musical talents shift in an out of focus (like Chris Taylor’s clarinet) and little enjoyment musical moments that are easy to miss but great if you catch (namely how the melody shifts from part to part starting in the vocals before shifting in the piano line and subsequently handed off to the clarinet) are peppered throughout.  “gun-shy”, with its bright arcs of sound, recalls Yellow House far more than  any other track on Shields but its straightforward nature and lack of intense layering is one of the most notable things that distinguishes it as proper Shields track. It features, quite honestly my favorite vocal performance from Ed Droste in Grizzly Bear’s entire catalog which is saying something. It’s simple but not base and the bent guitar riffs provide an interesting accompaniment
“Half Gate”, another display of Grizzly Bear’s overwhelmingly stellar musicianship, comes after Shields takes a bit of a minor slant and bursts forward with an endearing smile-inducing brightness and a lushness found in the most beguiling of orchestral pop. It surges forth with an intense clamor and ear-catching rise and fall where the bright, hopeful rush takes on a slightly darker tint before exploded triumphant once-again. “Half Gate”, to me represents one of the true strengths of Shields, having Droste and Rossen trade vocal lines at precisely the right time to give it extra punch. Rossen’s emotive swells providing the track with a forward push and deeper well of feeling than Droste’s. But the two work together excellently, handing off vocal duties that both enhance Droste’s narrative and ground Rossen’s plaintive roar.

Grizzly Bear’s decision to close out the album with “Sun in Your Eyes” is a feat of exceptional largesse. Once again featuring Rossen on vocals, the track makes abundant use of the man’s vocal strength. “Sun in Your Eyes” can easily be an example of Shields machinations on a smaller scale – as we’re treated to moments of rising intensity before they sudden abate before building back up again. “Sun In Your Eyes” is a work of tension and release, giving up only what is expected before upping the ante time after time shifting between energetic rock jam, and calm, softer moment where the lyrics read much like poetry, “Sun In Your Eyes” is an excellent closer fully capitalizing on its seven minute length and milking it for every second.         

After my initial taste of Shields I was certain of its status as the best Grizzly Bear album in their catalog, an assertion that has only grown stronger and more certain with each subsequent listen. Whereas on previous records I could cherry pick one or two favorite tracks and damn the rest, Shields is both incredibly cohesive as an album as well as in songwriting skill. Each track leans just enough on each other that you feel strange trying to pluck a single track from among them. Even if you can somehow pick out a favorite chances are the many of Shields tracks are not far behind. Shields is the first Grizzly Bear album where I feel compelled to simply hit play and let the magic happen as opposed to skipping throughout. Shields is Grizzly Bear’s most involved album to date and it no doubt benefits from the absolute inclusion of all of its members and their strengths;  a testament to the foursome’s ability to create a rich, engaging journey as well as infectious, memorable tunes to serves as the landmarks. Shields is straightforward and direct while also remaining gainfully elusive and rewardingly labyrinthine; a continuous treat and righteous display of true artistic growth.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Johan Brännström - New Set of Dreams EP (2012)

I may have failed to mention that each member of Swedish indie-pop trio Heart-Sick Groans is a talented musician in their own right. Earlier this year, we were introduced to Henric Wallmark's recent solo project Ghost Lake but Heart-Sick Groans' main vocalist/string player Johan Brännström has been churning out solo tunes for awhile now.

In fact, two days ago Brännström released his short 3 song New Set of Dreams EP which is filled with thoughtful, contemplative folksy songwriting. It's certainly a surprisingly but impressive change of pace from the infectious, sugary chamber pop stylings of the Heart-Sick Groans. And while not as the overtly catchy as his work with the trio, there's an undeniable replay quality to New Set of Dreams. It's stripped down and basic allowing Brännström's simple but poignant lyricism to stand on its own two feet and the result is a pretty fine release that you'll have a hard time putting down. And it'll certainly have me paying more attention to Heart-Sick Groans songs of which Johan Brännström is chief lyricist because underneath their poppy dressings, there must no doubt be something that hints to this level of skillful songwriting.

Enjoy Johan Brännström's New Set of Dreams EP and here's hoping there's more to come.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Watch: Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams Trailer #6 featuring "Brother"

If you were somehow wondering how a week could go by without any new Lord Huron news than you're in luck. Today, they dropped another, in their ongoing series of album trailers for full length debut Lonesome Dreams. This time the sixth which features a song you may have heard before if you've been paying any sort of attention to the band lately. But if you were unfortunate enough to miss that bit of news, you're in luck once again.

Trailer number six features "Brother", a sort of homage to Ben Schneider's world pop-inclusion in Lord Huron's early days and even with a little bit of Eastern influence, the old timey Western sound the band have apparently been going for this album is surprisingly intact. It's a potent blend of east meets west. Yup, all that gathered from a minute long trailer. Or you can listen to the track in full here.

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Watch: Hospitality - "Eighth Avenue"

Earlier this year, Brooklyn indie-pop three-piece Hospitality charmed their way into the hearts and minds of anyone lucky enough to hear their self-titled Merge Records debut. Since then, the band have been riding high on the full length's success spending the better part of the year touring around the whole of the US of A. Having recently returned to their old stomping grounds (and playing an amazing free show at Brooklyn Bowl late last month), it only seems apt that they release a little something something to celebrate the occasion. Enter their brand new video for "Eighth Avenue".

Directed by Gregory Mitnick and Nat Livingston, the video features a racecar driver who discovers the tears of his lady friend give him an added advantage or his competitors and results in him winning. Of course, this spirals horribly out of control and the drive (played by Victor Magro) ends up tormenting his lady (played by Courtney O'Reilly) at almost every opportunity, collecting her tears in a cup. Does this sound terrible? Because it is. But don't worry, karmic retribution gets doled out eventually. I won't spoil the ending but the lady finds out about the driver's trickery and drama and mayhem ensues. Another great and hilarious (but also kind of douche-featuring) video from Hospitality.

Watch Hospitality's video for "Eighth Avenue":
Hospitality - Eighth Avenue from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Listen: Jamaican Queens - "Kids Get Away"

At the far beginning of this year, Detroit art-pop quintet Prussia went on an indefinite hiatus right after releasing their "Girl Cops" single and turns out about half of the band went on to form Jamaican Queens. I wasn't too sure what to expect from the trio, formed from Prussia singer Ryan Spencer and bassist Adam Pressley along with newcomer Ryan Clancy, but after they dropped two new songs today I have slightly more of an idea for better or worse. Their first track called "When You Sleep" is a samples-mashup and is pretty hit or miss unless you're incredibly into that sort of thing while the second track "Kids Get Away" is definitely something to write home about.

Considering that Spencer's quirky vocals formed the backbone of what I'd call Prussia's characteristic sound, it's tough to separate the two. But Jamaican Queens are far more than another outlet for Prussia to get its wonderfully artfully crafted quirky chamber pop rock out into the world. Far from it. On "Kids Get Away", Jamaican Queens do more to distance themselves from Prussia while also distinguish themselves as a band to watch. There's some samples a la "When You Sleep" but it's more managed and paired with crackling synth lines and Spencer's unique vocals. It's synth-pop goodness and I'd certainly pay to see this happen in front of my very eyes and emotionally invest myself in a record of this catchy a magnitude. Here's hoping there's more to come from Jamaican Queens in this vein.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Watch: Buke & Gase - "Misshaping Introduction"

If you're at all familiar with Brooklyn experimental pop duo Buke & Gase than you know this: 1) They have a penchant for frakensteining together all of their gear from pre-existing gear/instruments. 2) Their music often follows suit, stitched together tenderly but with enough of the seams showing to make you wonder how in the world the two created such a beast. Well, Buke & Gase have taken their same concept of music-making into their own video production.

Their latest (and if I'm not mistaken debut) music video for "Misshaping Introduction", the lead track off their digital only Function Falls EP, takes footage of the duo and continuously splices and dices them before jimmying them together proudly. The result is a somewhat twitchy  and almost always out of focus video of the duo in their homes that strangely enough perfectly fits the start-stop machinations of "Misshaping Introduction".

You can now stream Buke & Gase's Function Falls EP over at Wired here.

Buke & Gase's Function Falls EP is out tomorrow September 11th via Brassland/their bandcamp.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Watch: Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams Trailer #5 featuring " The Man Who Lives Forever"

Well clearly Lord Huron are on a roll this week. After releasing "Ends of the Earth" as KCRW Tune of the Day Wednesday and "Brother (Last Ride)" yesterday as Rolling Stone's Daily Download, I half-expected Lord Huron to craw into a hole for close to a month until around the date their upcoming debut full length came out. Not so.

However instead of another spanking new track for our consumption, we're being gifted with another one of their trailers for Lonesome Dreams. This one, the fifth in the series, features track "The Man Who Lives Forever" keeps up the old school film varnish. Unlike the other trailers in the series which looked like they'd be easily be videos detailing the adventures of Huron and his gang, trailer five features some found footage much like the video for "Mighty" although this case instead of animals, it's Hindi dancers.

Way to keep us all guessing Lord Huron. Watch the fifth trailer for Lonesome Dreams:

Watch: Hundred Waters - "Visitor" Live

When you strip away the machines that you'd think give Hundred Waters their signature all-consuming ethereal sound, turns out they still sound very much the same. During their current tour with Julia Holter, the Gainesville Florida quintet had some time to record a an acoustic version of "Visitor" (probably one of my favorite songs from their self-titled album) and the results are pretty much amazing. Clustered vocal harmonies, light touches of fingerstyle guitar, and a subtle jazzy swing, it's certainly a different but no less better rendition of the track.

It's nice to know even when shelving their plethora of gizmos and gadgets that Hundred Waters still have the same ephemeral spark and devastating sense of beauty. A testament to their wide breadth of musical talent, no doubt. 

Watch Hundred Waters play "Visitor":

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Watch: Hundred Waters - "Thistle"

In case you were unaware of Florida musical tapestry-weavers Hundred Waters and their absolutely awe-inspiring debut self-titled album that came out earlier this year, here's a reminder to check out an album utterly stacked to the brim with impressive musical statements and innovative ideas. And it seems Hundred Waters aren't content to sit quietly with that title for their music: no, the quintet also carrying that over into their brand new video for latest single "Thistle".

The video, animated by Martin Allais which begins right at the apparent death of a horse, plays like an intriguing mystery where the viewer is expected to put in ample effort to decode it. After the revival of the aforementioned horse, it travels far and wide attempting to get to a shack of undescribed but no doubt important value. While journeying forth, the horse encounters all sorts of trails and has premonitions of its eventual death and at the the end we're shown visuals of the horse's beleaguered  lungs and heart before everything cuts to black leaving no doubt about the horse's tragic end.

Watch Hundred Waters' spectacular video for "Thistle":

Listen: Lord Huron - "Brother (Last Ride)"

Yesterday, Lord Huron premiered the lead track off their upcoming debut full length Lonesome Dreams and in case that wasn't enough to utterly consume whatever free time you had to listen to it, turns out they're not done monopolizing your time just yet. Today, the band debuted "Brother (Last Ride)" over at Rolling Stone, the 9th track on Lonesome Dreams.

Even though "Brother" is the penultimate track on the record, the mystery behind the ongoing drama of Lonesome Dreams is still preserved. One the latest track, Lord Huron dip a little into the world-inspired sound of the Mighty (and Into the Sun) EP as "Brother" recalls "The Stranger" in its winding, ornamented sprawl. It's not too much of a departure from the kind of Western-invoking folk we've been treated to so far but it's nice to know that all the world influence hasn't been drained out of their music.

Listen to Lord Huron's "Brother (Last Ride)":

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Listen: Lord Huron - "Ends of the Earth"

After the release of their fourth album trailer and the music video for "Time to Run" but a few short weeks ago, Lord Huron continue to spoil us. This time they're offering up the lead track off their upcoming album Lonesome Dreams "Ends of the Earth" which perfectly sets the stage for their cinematic Western.

Recalling wind-swept plains and guitar played on the stoop of a busy saloon under the sweltering desert sun, "Ends of the Earth" begins with a sort of breezy, calm before bursting into vivid lushness that'll pull at your heartstrings. It's just the sort of introduction to Huron and his madcap adventures you need to get on board for Lonesome Dreams and really proves all the anticipation for Lord Huron's debut full length is certainly worth it. October 9th is so far away but Lord Huron continue to ease the wait effectively. Until next time, caballeros. 

You can download the track at KCRW here.

Efterklang - "Apples"

As the release date for Efterklang's upcoming album Piramida looms ever nearer, we're getting more and more tastes of what the end product will be like. We've heard "Ghosts" albeit in the orchestral arrangement of their ongoing Piramida tour, then first single "Hollow Mountain", and if you were paying any attention to the Danish trio yesterday they premiered a brand new track "Dreams Today" (which you might recognize from the Piramida trailer) over on a Dutch radio station which you can listen to here.

But all of these exciting album previews all sort of pale in comparison to newly revealed track "Apples". The new track doesn't have any of the fancy dressings of a women's choir like "Dreams Today" or "Hollow Mountain", instead it's Efterklang at their most simple with a swaggering bass groove and piano-centric counter melodies that meander in and out of focus. And yet while the simplest Efterklang song we've heard so far, it's by no means sparse - featuring brass swells and layers of intoxicating instrumentals surging beneath Casper's pleasant baritone. "Apples" alone is enough to make me want to pre-order the album right away.

Listen and download Efterklang's new song "Apples":
 Efterklang - Apples by Efterklang

Efterklang's fourth full length album Piramida is out September 25th in the States and 24th everywhere else.

Watch: Lucius - "How Loud Your Heart Gets" Live

It's hard to believe it's already been four months since witnessing probably the most rousing and debilitating live sets of 2012. I am of course talking about when I saw Brooklyn indie pop quartet Lucius at Cameo Gallery where they sashayed their ways into my heart with unfathomably tight vocal harmonies and other bewildering displays of vocal prowess while also making my body move with catchy, infectious soul-inspired rock.

And while the ladies and lads of Lucius prep to go on a nationwide tour, news of a sophomore album - their first as a quartet isn't exactly forthcoming. So until that day, little gems like this will be all the more special and necessary to tide fans over: Lucius performing a new track (new in terms of it not being on their four song self-titled EP) "How Loud Your Heart Gets" in Brooklyn at The Castillo Plan by The Wild Honey Pie's Alex Munro.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Watch: David Byrne & St. Vincent - "Who"

With David Byrne and St. Vincent's collaborative album Love This Giant out next week and an album stream already up, it's certainly about time we got a video for the thing. And if case you weren't sure their partnership would churn out something both massively quirky but all together stunning, well clearly you don't know the two of them. Their video for "Who" is no exception.

Beginning with what looks like a car accident, David Byrne encounters Annie Clark lying face up in front of his car. After checking to see if she's alright, he moves her closer to his car while he appears to be pondering what to do. And then things start to spiral a little into absurdity. There's a good old dance party as David Byrne starts dancing and Annie Clark mimics him at a safe space. And then several different versions of the accident in question begin to play out so that you're not too sure what actually happened. It's kind of a trip made all the more wonderful and confoundingly amazing by the brass-laden "Who" soundtracking the whole thing.

Watch David Byrne and St. Vincent's video for "Who" directed by Martin de Thurah:

Two Gallants - The Bloom and the Blight (2012)


My introduction to San Francisco duo Two Gallants is wholly the credit of Jeff from Secret Mountains after he posted a link to the stream of their brand new album The Bloom and the Blight on Rolling Stone for no one in particular about a week ago. Intrigued, I ventured forth and what resulted was pure joy; utter elation. The Bloom and the Blight just  happens to be Two Gallants first record in about five years but as I went into my album listening experience completely without expectation, I found myself listening with a nail-biting sense of harrowing excitement.  

The album begins right out the gate with the steely-eyed roar of "Halcyon Days" and the most unexpected thing is that the album doesn't maintain this level of intensity. Amid the purring guitars of harder, rocking songs like the aforementioned "Halcyon Days", blues-tinged "My Love Won't Wait" and "Ride Away" are softer, tenderer folksy strains of "Broken Eyes" and "Willie". But rather than create a disjointed album, Two Gallants offer up a sort of graceful ebb and flow; bursting vividly with guitar rock pyrotechnics before simmering down into whirling puffs of wispy folk. These tonal shifts aren't just relegated to a track by track basis but take place on a more microcosmic level in tracks like "Song of Songs", "Decay", and "Winter's Youth". And that's what makes the album so exciting to listen to as even after multiple listens, when you begin to anticipate the sudden changes in mood, they remain fresh and new.

The Bloom and the Blight is an album full of unexpected twists and turns steeped in good old fashioned rock 'n roll even when the duo attempt to filter it through a singer/songwriter lens. It's pervasive, insistent, and pushes the whole album forward before it reaches the softer conclusion in "Sunday Souvenirs". A quiet finale that's well earned.

 Two Gallants - My Love Won't Wait by ARTISTA

 Two Gallants - Broken Eyes by Fargo Records

Two Gallants' The Bloom and the Blight is out today on ATO Records.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pitstop: Raindeer


Turns out one of the best methods to discovering great new music is just to pay attention to your favorite bands and artists. That's more or less how I found Raindeer, the brainchild of Charlie Hughes who's currently part of the Lands & Peoples lineup.

Truth be told, when I first put on the the Baltimore band's debut self-titled EP, I was a little taken aback. One of my least favorite things that's becoming more and more popular is the overwhelming use of vocal effects and so on my first listen to "From the Lagoon", I was quite ready to dislike it. What prevailed was the fact that I had met Charlie during my recent sit down with Lands & Peoples so I decided to give his EP a full spin before making any judgments. Certainly glad I did, as that first track turns out to be just a bit of warm up and the vocal effects an integral of the 80s-inspired dance-pop tunes Raindeer create.

Raindeer's debut EP is pretty darn delightful, it's got a sort of space-aged newness while clearly inspired and infused with the spirit decades long past. At times it's downright dreamy but all throughout it's ear-catching with addictive infectiousness. Raindeer are space-pop voyagers balancing swirling synthy goodness with samples, beats, and playful, even-tempered psychedelic vibes.

Raindeer are sure to set your foot a-tapping and your mind-reeling as they shatter all your expectations of what good, enjoyable music is supposed to sound like. They're fun without being a throwaway band and that's rare. Keep up the weirdness, Raindeer; I'll be watching.

You can listen to Raindeer's full 10 song EP as well as buy it for the low, low price of whatever you feel like paying at their Bandcamp.