Friday, March 30, 2012

Horse Feathers - "Where I'll Be"

No joke - I was about halfway through Portland folk quartet Horse Feathers' first track off their upcoming album when I preordered it. Because Horse Feathers are one of those rare and true bands consistently serving up grade A level folk pop. There's three album full of nothing but the stuff and it's looking like their fourth addition Cynic's New Year will only add to their reign as one of the most endearingly great folk bands around today. Justin Ringle has a strange knack for writing tunes that take on a sort of seasonal significance and from the two tracks we've heard so far - "Fit As the Country" and brand new track "Where I'll Be", Ringle's picking up right where Thistled Spring left off - kind of floweringly spring-like with the subtle hint of sweltering summer heat. Considering I was completely won over by "Fit As the Country", anything the quartet offer up after is just gravy.

Listen to Horse Feathers' "Where I'll Be":

Horse Feathers' Cynic's New Year is out April 17th on Kill Rock Stars.

(via Music Savage)

The Dandy Warhols - "Sad Vacation"

It doesn't matter that I went through a pretty heavy Dandy Warhols phase in college, if you were to call me out on it I would totally cave and admit that my favorite song by them is also the theme song to Veronica Mars that most people probably know them by - "We Used To Be Friends". I'm not ashamed of it, it's a pretty good song. And yet after all but forgetting about them entirely (but remembering them mostly through Courtney Taylor-Taylor appearing on Anya Marina's Spirit School EP and Archie Powell & The Exports' energetic pop rock ) when it was announce they'd be releasing a new album I got ridiculous solid and not only because I dropped a Dandy Warhols reference the day before the announcement. 

Their ninth and latest studio album, This Machine, is due out in little less than a month and if the track "Sad Vacation" is anything to go off it might very well be packed from start ("Sad Vacation" is the opening track) to finish with jams upon jams. Welcome back Dandy Warhols, we missed you.

The Dandy Warhols' This Machine is out April 24th on The End Records. 

(via Stereogum)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Walkmen to release new album

Before seeing them open up for Fleet Foxes last autumn at the Williamsburg Waterfront (which really was more like co-headlining, let's be serious) I had almost forgotten completely about The Walkmen. Thankfully I was reminded of them and have essentially been waiting for an album announcement ever since. Well that day's arrived. The Walkmen are releasing their seventh studio album in June. Their new album titled Heaven will be released June 5th and if the two minute teaser and news that Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold is featured on one of the songs it might be a bit of a departure from the buzzy rock sound the NY quintet is known for. I have no problem with this and am now entering anticipation mode til the first single.

Watch The Walkmen's teaser for Heaven:

(via Under the Radar)

Watch: Regina Spektor - "All The Rowboats"

Almost a month ago to the day, Regina Spektor emerged seemingly out of nowhere (but most likely her NYC apartment where's she's composing music) to drop the first single off her upcoming album What We Saw From the Cheap Seats. If the bombastic, percussive single wasn't enough she's also followed up with a spanking new video for it today.

The video opens up with Spektor lying tied up in a boat seemingly dead before cutting to her standing on a dock. Her hair blown by the wind as she stares intently at the camera singing the words as nifty effects creates waves underneath her and the song grows in intensity - it's not long before the video becomes all action. Regina takes a plunge off the dock and there's cuts to her struggling in a net and running away from confining designs as they press ever closer and her lyrics about trapped works of art are delivered more and more powerfully. The video which I thought as first was just a random assortment of images and themes suddenly takes on coherent form - as it becomes more and more obvious Regina Spektor herself is in danger of becoming a commodified masterpiece she's singing about (at least in the context of this video) - I wouldn't be surprised if you suddenly let out a epiphanic "OH!" like I did. The rest of the video makes sense out of all the previous images before capping it off with a bit of an unexpected twist which I won't ruin for you.

Watch the video for Regina Spektor's "All the Rowboats":

Regina Spektor's What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is out May 29th.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bowerbirds - The Clearing (2012)

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For years I’ve heard the phrase “patience is a virtue” bandied around when waiting seemed to be borderline painful and no reward was in sight but in no case has my patience been as greatly reward than the Bowerbirds return with The Clearing. Since seeing them road-test a couple new songs about two years ago it’s certainly seemed like a rather long wait.

Anyone who’s heard Bowerbirds before is certainly familiar with their distinctive brand of nature-laden imagery and pristine, rambling pastoral sketches. But what sets The Clearing apart from its predecessors and makes it Bowerbirds’ best outing to date is perhaps its lack of immediacy. Bowerbirds have never been the type to play fast-and-loose with their big ideas before but The Clearing, utterly stacked with them, is the kind of album where more is revealed listen after listen – an album full of life-affirming awe-inspiring rumination.

From lead track “Tuck the Darkness In” to closer “Now We Hurry On”, the album is peppered with all sort of poetic lyricism, metaphor, arresting musical moments, and just about anything else you could possibly want in an album. There are numerous callbacks to the duo’s hard-work building a cabin in the wilderness not just in “In the Yard” where Beth Tacular takes lead vocals for the first time and details the building of their dream home but little words and phrases thrown here and there in virtually every song on the album. There’s also an “Olive Hearts”-esque fictitious narrative of murder and intrigue in the form of “Walk the Furrows”.  And what really drives the duo’s beautiful lyricism home are the breathtaking musical moments – like a stream of heart-warming scalar “ah”-’s in “Walk the Furrows”.

What sets The Clearing apart from the Bowerbirds other albums is also in its embrace of the primitive – the onslaught of percussion on “Stitch the Hem” and “Hush”, the atypical rhythms, and “Hush” itself which functions as a sort of battle-call that wouldn’t be out of place in a tUnE-yArDs track.  Which though Beth’s strongest vocal outing is still soft enough to be right at home in Bowerbirds less-grating style.  Tracks like “Brave World” and “Now We Hurry On” feel like you’re gazing into the gaping maw of the Universe with their otherworldly composition and ethereal moments of awe-inducing wonder. Unsurprisingly these songs pack the most existential punch – coalescing in “Now We Hurry On”-‘s numerous enlightened moments: “We thought we’d have forever and now we hurry on” and ultimate resounding “Take your time with it, all of it, all of it”.

On The Clearing, Bowerbirds offer an album as textured and varied as the very world their pastoral hymns draw upon, assembling an all-star team of friends and collaborators to help realize not only their best work to date but no doubt an absolute knock out of an album in general.  Grounded by the duo’s declarations of love to each other and the land we’re all apart of; with skyward-reaching vocals and purpose, The Clearing is an album of stunning beauty sure to resonate with each and every one of its listeners from intro to outro.

Get a taste of the album with album opener/first single "Tuck the Darkness In":

You can listen to the whole album on Spotify. If you like it, buy it. Seriously. Best decision you'll have made ever. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Youth - June EP (2012)

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One of my favorite up-and-comers, Youth, is back. Earlier this year the Portland-based quartet made good on their promise of an EP and the results are exactly as good as you might think. Coming off the double A-side they released last year, June continues in their summery jams in the best way. The group has refined their playing and added a bunch of new tricks to their arsenal like the elevated vocals duties of Maggie Morris on "September" and "Into the Bay".

Lead track "Beach Haven" plays very much like a summer anthem or beginning of the season soundtrack track, filled with a surfery vibe and loads of jangly instrumental breaks and harmonized shout vocals and Elec Morin's laidback drawl.

Several of the tracks that have been floating around the internet make their way onto June. Like "9/11" which now goes by "September" and "The Earthquake" from their Live in Santa Barbara lo-fi recording. June is an assortment of rock jams that are as fun as they are enjoyable - they're serious in the cases of tracks like "September" and  "Into the Bay" but all still crackle with a joyful energy of a band that really enjoys what they're doing.

You can hear some of June on Youth's Bandcamp.

Lower Dens - "Propagation"

We've already had a taste of what to expect on the new album from Baltimore's Lower Dens in the form of "Brains". It was and upbeat jam that was unlike anything you might've heard on Twin-Hand Movement and that was refreshing and exciting and giddy-inducingly wonderful. And now with their new track "Propagation", Lower Dens show us that Nootropics might very well be most well-rounded record to date (they only had one other one, the aforementioned Twin-Hand Movement, but the point still stands). While the new track would no doubt follows in the feel and tempo of many of the tracks of their debut, it manages to be quite a bit above it. I'm reminded almost insantly of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and not in a bad way. It's drudge-y, spacious, and clean using its expansive sprawl effectively - one of things that's so cool about it is you can actually hear Jana Hunter's voice echo back at her. "Propagation" would actually make for some killer end-credits music.

Hear the slow-burning "Propagation" here:

Pop Etc. - "Hungry Like The Wolf"/"Calling Your Bluff"

For some reason that will never be quite clear to me, I've never posted about The Morning Benders. Ever. Aside from "Excuses", played during late nights in, I had little experience with the indie pop trio until a random conversation with The Head and the Heart's Josiah Johnson after a free acoustic live set The Head and the Heart did back in the fall. I was telling him how I had an epiphanic moment hearing their songs all stripped down and cited Sondre Lerche's Heartbeat Radio as another example, he offered up his own: The Morning Benders' cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams". Which started a month-long obsession with The Morning Benders. And still I said nothing about them. Until now. Thanks to Jorge at Listen Before You Buy.

The Morning Benders are no longer The Morning Benders. Due to the trio being very considerate of international misunderstandings and the like, they've changed their name to something much less possibly offensive ("Bender" is a derogatory term for homosexuals over in Europe) to Pop Etc. To ring in the new name change, the trio have offered a free mixtape, that's pretty tops. It's very much pop if that's your thing and if it's not, listen to it anyway as it's very good.

Two of my favorite songs on the mixtape happen to be "Hungry Like The Wolf" (which is not a Duran Duran cover - yeah, I was surprised too) and "Calling Your Bluff" which might arguably be best songs to come off of the mixtape. The mixtape relies a lot on pop conventions including a permanent sore-spot for me in its use of autotune but it's all forgivable considering frontman Chris Chu has already proven himself a more than adequate singer. "Hungry Like The Wolf" with it's breakneck pace is an example of what good we can expect out of Pop Etc if they stay this overtly poppy. Meanwhile "Calling Your Bluff" will remind fans of the band they've come to love. It's slower and sweeter and built on a pretty great beat (and keeps the autotune to an absolute minimum).

Hear my two favorite tracks from the mixtape right here:

And if you like this, make sure to check out the full mixtape here.

(via Listen Before You Buy)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pitstop: Black Girls

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I've heard so many opening band horror stories that every time I go to a concert now, I feel exceptionally lucky to see a good opener (I've never seen a bad opener to this day but the seed has been planted). During their current US tour, Seattle's The Head and the Heart brought alongside fellow Seattle-dwellers Drew Grow & The Pastors' Wives and the much appreciated and spectacularly brilliant Black Girls from Richmond, Virginia.

Black Girls are actually friends with THATH's drummer Tyler Williams and that's how they got the gig. Nothing wrong with that as it turns out to be pretty fortuitous match made in tour heaven. Beginning as an kind of experimental duo between guitarist/vocalist Drew and drummer Stephen before expanding into a full-fledged rock band. Black Girls actually released their debut album Hell Dragon just before they embarked on tour. Black Girls are what more opening bands should be: energetic, focused, and fun. Their tunes find a pretty perfect balance between rabble-rousing Southern rock fusion of Blues, Jazz, and Soul in decidedly impressive parts as well as some elements of balls to the wall psychedelic pop with sultry, simmering rock licks. The result is an album and live show that's the very definition of fun. Head-bobbers, knee-slappers, foot-stompers, the whole nine yards - you'll find this and more in Black Girls. Yet despite their party-rock edge, their songs display an appropriate amount of talent from each of the band's five members. A truly great band that's effortlessly charismatic and abundantly talented, a surefire favorite bound to instantaneously win you over.  

You can hear Hell Dragon on Spotify  and Bandcamp where you can also hear their collection of demos when Black Girls was a duo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Watch: Heart-Sick Groans - "If The Canary Stops Singing"

Quickly following up on the release of their latest single "If The Canary Stops Singing", Swedish indie-pop trio Heart-Sick Groans are offering up a brand new video in the similar animated vein of videos past. However unlike the others in which they enlisted the help of friends and outside talent, this video was created by the group's very own Henric Wallmark.

When I saw several stills from the video on the trio's Facebook page, I thought I more or less knew what the video was going to be about - the song is based on an old tale about love and danger in a Swedish mine. Well Henric Wallmark has certainly proved  me wrong: the video's plot isn't at all what I expected (in a good way). Though the video begins with a miner pining after his far away love, the action quickly moves outside of the mines as he and his canary attempt to find her and she makes her way home to him. I won't ruin the ending because it's a very good twist but it's pretty inspired. Another lovely video from the Swedish trio that can't seem to do wrong!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP (2012)

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On it's release date two days ago, Daniel Rossen (best known for his work among the ranks of Grizzly Bear and half of the duo Department of Eagles) did a short set and interview for WNYC's Soundcheck. One of the things he talked about among the sea of news about other people's projects was that he wrote the songs of his brand new Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP as a practice to get back into writing music after Grizzly Bear took a break and he wasn't so sure he wanted to keep creating music. He wasn't even intending to put out the songs. Anyone who has heard the Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP in full should be full with as much righteous indignation (with an acceptable amount of confusion) as I was when I heard that.

On Rossen's new EP, you have 5 songs that are more breathtakingly beautiful, more striking, more instantly transportive than a lot of the music that's being put out today and they almost didn't come out. It's utterly baffling.  And yet, the urge to explore and experiment was responsible for Department of Eagles catalog  so you have to wonder if Rossen's self-doubt and underselling is really his key strength. Silent Hour/Golden Mile is a collection of unfathomably well-constructed tunes that manage to balance Rossen's love of experimentation with flow - each track seems utterly perfect where it is. Songs like "Silent Song"  and "Golden Mile" crackle with intensity while "Up On High" and "Saint Nothing" drift along more languidly but no less effectively.

Silent Hour/Golden Mile is an absolutely stunning record full of layers and layers on rich melodies and Rossen's doleful yet heart-warming tenor. A collection of songs brimming with an intense musicality and emotion. Each and every element of it's composition work together to create an unmistakably gratifying group of songs. Silent Hour/Golden Mile is a record just waiting to be your new favorite purely because it's too good to be anything else.

You can listen to the album on Spotify, stream it on its Bleep product page, and well as order it - it's worth it.

In case you need more convincing, check out "Saint Nothing" from the EP:

Lands & Peoples - Pop Guilt (2012)

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For me, Baltimore's Lands & Peoples are pretty much synonymous with great live band - my introduction to them came in the form of their Big Ugly Yellow Couch session at last year's SXSW and the bulk of their output (at least in the currently incarnation of a duo) has been predominantly live recordings. The first time I saw them was at last year's CMJ at Bigger Brush Media's Spike Hill showcase and all I could do was marvel at the intricacies of their set. The two alternate between instruments and loops seamlessly while harmonizing without missing a beat. As impressive as it was, when news of their upcoming debut album broke I was interested how the group's sound would translate to an actual studio recording.

Pop Guilt captures the very essence of the Lands & Peoples I have come to know. Though the songs are mostly brand new (their single "In Living Color" makes an appearance, as well as live staple "Ghosts"), there's the same familiar energy and the seamlessness of their live show is translated into an album of remarkable cohesion. There's no odd starts and stops - everything blends together, ebbs and flows from track to track until you're left with the fading strains of "Lullabye" and none-too-surprising urge to play the album through once again. Pop Guilt's effectiveness is greatly the result of Lands & Peoples tireless precision and wealth of musical ideas - able to suddenly switch thing up for the better mid-track ("Don't", "Restless Legs" "Stiff and Crooked"), the album is also one you can easily see them creating right in front of your eyes. It flows and while you may not be able to see each musical cog put into place, Lands & Peoples offer a sort of fearless transparency (the result of their many instrumental breaks).

Pop Guilt differs from a lot of album's coming out this year in that it's doesn't seem like it's just a collection of potential singles. Rather each track relies on the next and it's context. While I will admit that I found myself quite fond of "I Tried" and "Ghosts", they're far from the only highlights. Tropical pop jam "Sexting" and clarinet-laden ballad "Ukulele" spring instantly to mind but really I challenge you to find a single song you don't enjoy. With Pop Guilt, Beau and Caleb prove themselves a musical force to be reckoned with - able to distill their complex live format into an absolutely delightful album that avoids smoke and mirrors. On Pop Guilt, you really get to see the duo come into their own in their current incarnation and reap the benefits of their talented musical partnership. A veritable Win-Win.

Lands & Peoples' debut Pop Guilt is out March 27th but you can currently stream the album on Hype Machine. Also the album is available on limited edition vinyl on Analog Edition which comes with an instant download of the album upon pre-order. So make sure you pick it up and support a truly great band.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Matty Fasano - "Christopher"

Considering how much I talk about ARMS, you're probably more than familiar with Matty Fasano. If not, let me quickly bring you up to speed: Matty Fasano is ARMS' bassist, occasional synth player, and is responsible for all those creamy dreamy harmonies you hear on Summer Skills and the EP released way back in 2010. Matty Fasano is also a member of Illuminator (where he also holds down the harmonies) and last year he released the "Unkind"/"Unusual" single. This year, Fasano is releasing an EP by the name of Living in Armchairs and though I haven't heard it yet, it's definitely a must own for me. Why? Well, based on the strength of Fasano's debut single last year and new track "Christopher", it's pretty hard not to get excited about the EP.

"Christopher" builds on top of the piano-centric ballads of "Unkind" and stormy "Unusual" to create a proper evolution of the two. Fasano continues to shy away from the pop conventions that he inexplicably might fall in, in favor of songwriting that relies far more on being emotionally evocative than being catchy or memorable (which fortunately, it is) and plays to Fasano's obvious strengths - the track filled to the brim with lovely, lovely harmonies.

 Christopher by Matty Fasano

(via Rawkblog)

Matty Fasano's Living In Armchairs is out April 3rd. Matty Fasano is also playing a release show with Friend Roulette, you can buy tickets here.

S. Carey - "Two Angles"

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Most people know Sean Carey from his work alongside Justin Vernon in Bon Iver, as the group's resident drummer but the man is also a talented solo artist in his own right. Releasing his debut album All We Grow in 2010, S. Carey is now set to release a brand new set of tunes in the form of his Hoyas EP.

The new tune "Two Angles" is a bit of a departure from All We Grow which features rushes of emotion and artistic moment-capturing. Instead we get a much more experimental. The layering of S. Carey's debut is still there however instead of clarinets, piano, and drums, Carey goes a bit more digital. It's a new direction but one that is no less entrancing - one that makes you anticipate the EP's release.

S. Carey's Hoyas EP is out May 8th on Jagjaguwar.

Watch: Maps & Atlases ft. Good Old War - "Israeli Caves" live

Maps & Atlases' music is so technical, so precise, so delightfully engineered to make you love it that it's hard to imagine how they could possibly improve upon any of their tunes. Turns out, at least in this case, the answer is harmonies. In an acoustic session for Terror Eyes TV, Dave Davison enlists the aid of former label mates and friends Good Old War to put a new spin on "Israeli Caves" from Maps & Atlases 2010 debut Perch Patchwork. The result - pure and utterly gorgeousness. The boys of Good Old War are essentially made out of harmonies so hearing that along with Davison's folksy refrains is utter perfection. Maps & Atlases have a knack for picking cool and interesting people to cover their songs with them and this time is no different. Check out Dave Davison and Good Old War tackle "Israeli Caves":

Dave Davison FT. Good Old War "Israeli Caves" from TERROREYES.TV on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

s/s/s - "Beyond a Doubt"

Every time I post hip-hop on my blog, I usually go on a rant about how I don't normally post that on here - I'll spare you that this time. When I originally heard about s/s/s (the Sufjan Stevens, Serengeti, Son Lux collaboration), I had mixed feelings. The only major draw for me was Son Lux's participation due to his work as a ballet composer and his masterful album We Are Rising. Sufjan Stevens has more or less lost his way and as hip hop is not my normal forte, I wasn't particular familiar with Serengeti besides hearing his name thrown around.

When I heard the first cut from the Beak & Claw EP, "Museum Day", I wanted to despise the project. Sufjan Stevens using autotune is one of the most unnecessary things considering he's a pretty spectacular singer and Son Lux's participation was reduced to behind the scenes stuff (he cut and stitched together the track) and backing vocals but there was some potential in "Museum Day" which is what made me return to Beak & Claw when the stream went up today.

"Beyond a Doubt" is by far the absolute strongest track on Beak & Claw, it's essentially what makes the whole project worth it. There's two composers/arrangers at play here which helps make an absolutely hooking intro so that when Serengeti enters with his more-or-less rapid-fire lyrics, you actually want to catch every word he's spitting out. You're not waiting for the next thing to happen, you're hanging on his every word to see where he goes with it. And then Stevens and Son Lux enter for the chorus quietly harmonizing alongside a melodic synth. The track pretty much stays consistently the same from there but wow. It's as catchy as it needs to be, as long as it can be without seemingly overly repetitive, and features each members respective talents pretty well. Son Lux is more or less a background player once again but considering the outcome, you don't mind it that much. It's an absolutely dynamite track.

Watch: The Head and the Heart - "Down in the Valley"

So I had the pleasure of seeing The Head and the Heart at  a sold out Terminal 5 show this past Sunday and in addition to being pretty up there on my list of awesome concerts, the concert also reminded me that I had yet to put this up - their latest video for "Down in the Valley".

The video is your pretty standard tour video fare, splicing together scenes of the band at home getting ready for tour and packing up their van, sleeping on the road, and setting up their equipment pre-show but it's also does a bit more than that. Through watching the video, you get a feel for the band's infectious live energy and the downright fun that they have performing music and just being together. It's the kind of video that instantly transports you back to their smile-inducingly great shows in crowded venues or makes you aspire to go one of their shows if you've never been - and that's pretty rare with tour videos. Enjoy The Head and the Heart's video for "Down in the Valley":

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tall Tall Trees - Moment (2012)

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My discovery of Tall Tall Trees has everything to do with being in the right place at the right time. When I saw Kishi Bashi's Spike Hill show last month there was always a bit of a line to talk to him and while waiting, one of K's constant companions struck up a conversation with me - assuming I actually knew the man. I didn't but that made him no less genial. That man was Mike Sevino - Tall Tall Trees' frontman (which he only revealed when pressed). I couldn't make their record release show but I made a mental note to check them out.

Moment, the follow up to 2009's self-titled debut, trades in the fun, playful folk starting right out the gate with the poppy "Highwire" which metamorphoses into a veritable rock anthem during the break down. In fact, it's not until  the album's fourth track "Men and Mountains" that Mike Savino's banjo makes it's entrance. The sprawling 7 minute track best encompasses what Tall Tall Trees attempt to do on Moment, stacking up an updated more accessible rock sound and much more serious song composition with hints of the more folk-driven sound of their debut. The result is an enjoyable genre-straddling collection of fantastic musical moments.

Moment is essentially a rock album with folk ornaments that proves that Tall Tall Trees can write some pretty amazing serious music if they're so inclined. An album where the individual parts are a bit greater than the whole,  Moment might not be the strongest album you hear but delivers tenfold in downright enjoyment. The second half of the album more than makes up for a bit of a slow-start with bluesy "The Elk" and "Waiting on the Day" and rambling album closer "Nothingless". It's these genre-shifting musical moments that transform Moment into an album worthy of more than a casual once over.

Listen to Tall Tall Trees' Moment right here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Watch: Fanfarlo - "Everything Turns"

British indie-pop quintet Fanfarlo continue their collaboration with director Alex Southam, this time in the video for instrumental track "Everything Turns".

A series of seemingly random images, the video for "Everything Turns" is actually the second out of the three films filmed with Alex Southam (with "Replicate" being No. 1 and "De.con.struc.tion" being No. 3) and kind of bridges the gap between them. "Replicate" with it's jumble of images and "De.con.struc.tion" with it's far more coherent sequence, "Everything Turns" is filmed in the same black and white style and when not featuring the flashes of random images, sees the band members setting up the space in what's to be the setting for the next video.

Though there's no realm sense of coherency besides that, Southam still stitches together a visual spectacle worth viewing - there's all sorts of stimulating effects to accompany the rather sparse instrumental track. Watch the kinda eerie video for "Everything Turns":

Watch: Dry the River - "New Ceremony"

What's this? "New Ceremony", the song that made me fall in love with London folk rock quintet Dry the River, is on their upcoming album. Not only that it's to be their next single and what does that mean? A music video. It kind of goes without saying but in addition to their single, Dry the River's music videos have been knocking it out of the park and that's no less true with the video for "New Ceremony".

The video, shot in Los Angeles, takes place in a kind of Night at the Museum museum with each of the exhibits very much alive - especially the one containing the band. With a twist, the audience are very much aware that the exhibits are alive and are watching the stories inside them play out. There's a American Civil War exhibit, a Wild West exhibit, and the aforementioned Dry the River exhibit in addition to several others. All the exhibits become more animated and wage battle against each other before lights-out quickly approaches and the exhibits, taking the mood shift cue from the band, go back to their proper places. It's a pretty magical video for a band that seems to serve up hit after hit. Enjoy the video for "New Ceremony":

Dry the River's debut album Shallow Bed is out April 17th. They're also about to embark on a US tour with Bowerbirds so make sure to catch them while they're here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wild Ones - "It's Real"

Remember Wild Ones? Sure you do. The spunky Portland indie-pop quintet just finished a west coast tour with Surfer Blood and have toured with hometown buddies Youth and Typhoon as part of their appropriately named BFF tour. Well the fivesome are prepping their full length debut and if new track "It's Real" is anything to go off of, it's going to an assortment of summery jams - my favorite kind.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Watch: The Elwins & Luke Lalonde - "Countdown" (Beyonce cover) live

I might have a new obsession: Indie-rock Beyonce covers. As if Beyonce's "Countdown" wasn't good enough, a bunch of enterprising bands and artists have decided to try their hand at the warm fuzzy-inducing pop song. First there was Sondre Lerche as a Christmas gift and now Canadian indie pop quarter The Elwins tackle the song with the help of Luke Lalonde from Born Ruffians. The result: Pure unfiltered awesome. They, like Lerche, change a bit of the words because they're men and want gender-specific correctness but the whole thing is playful indie rock romp that fun and kind of impressive.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

All Around Sound is Turning Two! - Day 6, Pt. 2: All Around Sound is Two!

After a week-long celebration featuring mixes from Middle Class White Noise, Listen Before You Buy, Eardrums Music, ARMS, and We Listen For You, the actual day of celebration has come. Today, All Around Sound turns two year old. A pretty monumental achievement in my honest opinion. From it's start in 2010 (at the insistence of my good friend/mentor Ryan), All Around Sound has gone through many (subtle) changes though has managed to stay true to its mission statement. All Around Sound is all about the promotion of good music - not necessarily the search for the next big thing but more of a means to educate, share, and enjoy some of the astounding things I come in contact with.

Everything I've blogged about has been for the sake of spreading awareness and sharing my love for the bands and artists I've discovered as I've more or less discovered them and in these crazy two years, I've managed to cover quite a bit. Not bad considering All Around Sound is just me. I've also made some pretty stellar relationships with bands/bloggers/music-lovers of all kinds over the past two years (as can be evidenced by the little playlist tribute they helped me put together). While their playlists have been varied in theme and artists, my own goal for my playlist was simply to recap all the good things I've had the joy of featuring here because, quite frankly, they all still deserve the attention. It's a little retrospective playlist with a focus on some of favorite things to share and hopefully that you'll enjoy.

Thanks to everyone who helped out with this birthday celebration, with providing material for this blog to run, for picking up an instrument, and even for just giving a damn about music. Thank you to people who stumbled upon this site looking for free music who were probably pretty sore when they didn't find it. Thanks to my friends who put up with me chattering about how much work I have to do for the blog and making the occasional effort to read it despite it all being "weird hipster folk shit". And last but not least, thanks to everyone who's even read this thing, I may not know who you are but I appreciate that you come here and hope you continue to do so for as long as this here blog exists. If you haven't done so, feel free to comment or message me about anything you like (or don't like) as I love a good music conversation.

- Dante

All Around Sound's Birthday Retrospective Mix by AllAroundSoundBlog on Grooveshark

P.S. If you've stuck around for this whole week, THANK YOU! I owe you a high-five either digitally or in person.

All Around Sound is Turning Two! - Day 6 Pt. 1: We Listen For You

Today, March 10th, All Around Sound turns two years old. To celebrate the milestone, I decided to have a week-long birthday extravaganza and asked several blogs/friends/music loves to contribute a little something special in the form of some fantastic playlists.

Ah, We Listen For You. Zach (one half of Team WLFY) has singlehandedly proven that Louisville is a veritable hotbed of musical talent that I for some reason ignored. Acts like The Deloreans, Nerves Junior, and The Pass (which tragically I haven't mentioned nearly enough)  all have his seal of approval. Man's got extensive knowledge of the classics and wields them well. His fiery passion and relentless zeal have pushed me to check out music I might not have otherwise discovered like Best of 2011 album Marissa Nadler or Lambchop's Mr. M. Zach's also one of the only bloggers I have an in-real-life tangible relationship with: putting on one hell of a CMJ showcase and gearing up to put on what's sure to be another great showcase at SXSW. Essentially, the man's got golden ears and shows it by presenting music in a way that makes you stop everything you're doing to give it a listen.

Zach's Contribution:

 I had been a friend with Dante over twitter for months before actually meeting him in person.  Twitter is a weird place where people can change their personalities and edit down their thoughts unlike in real life where you can edit moment to moment.  I met Dante at my showcase at CMJ 2011 on rainy day.  What you should know about throwing a show is that the person hosting, much like a party, can rarely have fun as they are wrapped up in millions of questions and surrounded by worries.  One of my concerns was the turnout for the first band as it was early and the weather was keeping people in bed, nursing their hangovers from the night before.  Dante, a true music fan, showed up before the show started, right at doors open, with a smile on his face.  He engaged with each band and never once went to his phone to check Twitter or take annoying photos every five seconds like a lot of concertgoers.  We had a blast and I knew from that point that Dante was a true music fan with a sense of adventure for musical exploration that I deem necessary for a person to be a great music blogger.  Since then I’ve been an avid reader of All Around Sound and cherish my friendship with Dante, built on common taste in sounds, but solidified by a mutual respect, appreciation, and excitement for music.

For this mix, I decided to mix the cheesy with the emotional.  The cheesy comes in the form of presentation, as I made an acronym out of ALL AROUND SOUND.  The actual tracks come from my take on birthdays.  I see them as days of reflection and introspection.  These fourteen tracks always keep me in a thoughtful trance and if you’re looking for some songs to take you to the center of your brain space, hopefully these will take you there.  Happy Blog Birthday Dante!    

Listen to Zach's mix on Spotify here. Here's the text version:
1) Elliott Smith - "Alameda"
2) Nico - "Little Sister"
3) Marissa Nadler - "Leather Made Shoes"
4) The Magnetic Fields - "Asleep and Dreaming"
5) Sufjan Stevens - "Romulus"
6) Tom Waits - "Ol' 55"
7) Beach House - "Used to Be"
8) Cat Power - "Names"
9) Nick Drake - "Day Is Done"
10) Vashti Bynyan - "Same But Different"
11) Andrew Bird - "Opposite Day"
12) Beirut - "Un Dernier Verre (Pour La Route)"
13) Bert Jansch - "Nottamun Town"
14) Sparklehorse - "Devil's New"

Enjoy! And stay tuned for Pt. 2 later today.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friend Roulette to release 10" picture disc

Next month New York's chamber-pop outfit to the end all chamber-pop outfits, Friend Roulette, is playing a release show with Matty Fasano. Matty Fasano's got an EP he's pushing and it turns out the delightful collective have their own release to be proud about - a 10" picture disc featuring some spiffy new tracks not available on that great EP they put out last year. One you might have heard here recently through an acoustic video ("Hi, Hello"), the other is live-song staple "On Her Own Tonight".  That's some thrilling news if you, like me, are eagerly awaiting that full length album the group have been hard at work on. There's no word on that yet but this picture disc new helps ease the wait a bit.

 Friend Roulette - On Her Own Tonight by All Around Sound Blog

Watch them play new track "Warm" at their Last FM Presents show:

You can hear more from the recent live show they played for Last.FM Presents here. Make sure you pick up tickets for the release show.

Watch: Father John Misty - "Nancy From Now On" [NSFW]

Seems turnabout is indeed fair play. After manhandling Aubrey Plaza into submission in the video for "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings", J. Tillman's getting a taste of his own medicine in the brand new track/video "Nancy From Now On" as Tillman gets dominated by a leather-clad lady friend. If there was anything to be learned from Father John Misty's first single - it's that you need to pay attention to the lyrics or you might just miss the song's whole meaning. And it's kind of hard, since Father John Misty's songs are full of distractors  - in this case lush arrangements and a pervasive melancholy. But luckily the video sort of helps providing a visual to go along with lines like "Pour me another drink and punch me in the face".

(via Filter)

Father John Misty's Fear Fun is out May 1st on Sub Pop Records

All Around Sound in Turning Two - Day 5: ARMS

This week, on Saturday, All Around Sound reaches it's 2nd year of life. To help celebrate the milestone, I got in touch with some of my favorite blogs/music-lover/music people and asked them to contribute something special to commemorate the auspicious occasion - a festive playlist to ring in All Around Sound's birthday.

If you’ve been around this blog for any amount of time since 2011 or god forbid follow me on any social media, you’ve most likely heard of my love for Brooklyn quartet ARMS. It’s rare that a new band can so rapidly consume my thoughts and actions but not every band puts out an album the caliber of Summer Skills. In addition to putting out one of my favorite albums, ARMS is also responsible for a lot of the music I stumbled upon last year- BELL, North Highlands, Friend Roulette, Illuminator, Conveyor, the list is almost endless and all butterfly effects from my, let’s face it, obsessive love of the foursome. When I came up with the idea to ask my main influencers to help celebrate my blog’s big day, it only seemed right to ask ARMS mastermind Todd Goldstein for his input.

Todd's Contribution:
0:00 - Moondog, "All Is Loneliness"
Moondog is my second favorite hobo-genius of all time. The song title is so true.
1:11 - Burial, "Shell of Light"
This is some extremely romantic musical pudding. I would rub it all over my face and torso if I could -- I imagine it has excellent exfoliating and moisturizing properties.
4:30 - Wye Oak, "Dogs' Eyes"
I'm sure I wrote this band off initially for some incredibly stupid, superficial reason, but now I take it all back, whatever vague, trumped-up/made-up charge I had against them. This song is squirrelly and sludgy and sad in all the right ways. Good for Wye Oak.
7:49 - Chris Whitley, "Perfect Day"
I recently rediscovered the late Chris Whitley, who I was way into in high school. (Did I "outgrow" this guy or something? Not sure, adolescent TG was prone to picking up and abandoning music on a proverbial dime.) But this is an uncannily beautiful reading of my favorite Lou Reed song. Affecting, still.
11:12 - Joni Mitchell, "Coyote"
Finally got around to listening to Joni Mitchell's Jaco Pastorius-assisted Hejira album 10,000 times and absorbing its every brilliant detail, like I'd always meant to. Worth it.
15:51 - Colin Stetson, "The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man"
This guy played a few shows with Harlem Shakes back in the day, and we were all taken with his dashing good looks and hulking bass saxophone. Turns out he's pretty brilliant -- Colin's music falls somewhere between Steve Reich and the sped-up sound of mating elephants.

18:10 - Benoit & Sergio, "Walk & Talk"
Great dance track, excellent groove, timeless melody. Dave Harrington DJs this song pretty often, and whenever he does I give him a high-five.
22:15 - Alan Parsons Project, "Eye in the Sky"
Why did no one tell me that Alan Parsons Project is beautifully produced pop music with a sense of pomp and humor that you don't often see these days? I thought they were something else. This is a spectacularly well-written slice of '70s pop. Doesn't get much better, as far as I'm concerned.
26:31 - Cocteau Twins, "Carolyn's Fingers"
Dunno, just love Cocteau Twins. I put them on every mix I make, just about.
29:31 - Matthew Dear, "Pom Pom"
When will Matthew Dear get his due? I mean *really* get his due? I mean like, get elected President of America get his due? Funkiest shit imaginable.
32:08 - Chubby Checker, "Goodbye Victoria"
My brother played me this song, and I was immediately hooked. This Chubby Checker record was produced by a guy who used to work with Hendrix, and you can really tell -- the force of this guy's voice, I tell ya... Sounds like he could blow a house down. Also, the lustily-sung chorus non-sequitur "everybody' the MOON!" makes me pee my pants every time I hear it.
37:52 - David Thomas Broughton, "Ambiguity"
David Thomas Broughton's ultra-spare masterpiece "The Complete Guide to Insufficiency" is one of my favorite albums of all time. He's a very disturbed guy, clearly, but his sense of beauty and keenly observed lyrical understatement gives me shivers. A mix bookended with hobos! We did it! Happy birthday to my favorite blog!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Parlovr - "Holding On To Something"

Yesterday, Montreal trio Parlovr announced the release of their brand new upcoming album Kook Soul and premiered the first single over at Noisey. While looking for some sort of way to host the premiered track here, I stumbled upon this other song also on the upcoming album. "Holding On To Something"  follows in the footsteps of first album single "You Only Want It When You're Lonely" in that alternates unpredictably from section to section - one featuring a repetitive scalar climb, the other ramshackle rock shout vocals. Together they create an insanely catchy tune that I'm not sure I'll ever stop listening to. If I do, it'll only be to listen to that other new Parlovr song.

Parlovr's upcoming album Kook Soul is out May 15th on Dine Alone Records.

All Around Sound in Turning Two! - Day 4: Eardrums Music

At the end of this week, All Around Sound turns two year old! To best help ring in this monumental achievement, I enlisted the aid of some of my favorite blogs/music-loving people to help celebrate the occasion with a festive playlist.

Today's contribution is a real treat. It almost goes without saying that Norwegian based Eardrums Music hold a very special place in my heart.  Spurned on by my newfound of Sondre Lerche and subsequent eccentric commitment to Scandinavian music the summer preceding my first year of college, I stumbled upon Eardrums Music and returned pretty much daily to see what tasty indie-pop they’d be offering up that day. Eardrums Music is the first music blog I ever read before I ever entertained the idea of blogging myself and before I even knew music blogs were an actual thing and has no doubt had a heavy-hand in the formation of my music tastes, laying down a lot of the foundation for the things I’m into now (especially via their brilliant seasonal compilation albums released through their netlabel Eardrums Pop).  During my first year, my blog often served as a reblog of several of the bands Eardrums was championing – and while I’ve been able to step away and find my own bands to love and support, Eardrums remains a consistent benchmark in new music discovery. While Middle Class White Noise's extensive playlists might've inspired this playlist week - some credit is also due to Knut and his Loved Songs Spotify playlists which I totally "borrowed" the name for for my Best of 2011 track playlist.

Knut's Contribution:
Congratulations! Two years is a long time for a music blog,  and lots of good blogs seem to end their time long before they've had their second birthday. I guess it's the ones who really care who stay active for years. My blog has been on and off for almost 6 years, and I just made my 1000th post. I never thought I would be doing this for so long! Will Eardrums Music be around next year? I really don't know. I hope your blog will be here for many, many years.
My gift to you is a playlist with songs that represent the 2 years you have been active. It's called "One, Two..." and includes songs that contains the word one and two. I must also say that I had a hard time choosing songs, because my first mix included 50 songs. So, these are my absolute favourite ONE-TWO-songs, I guess ;-).
I hope you will have a brilliant birthday!

You can also check out Knut's playlist here. Here's the text version:

1. Rory McVicar - The Only ONE
2. Ice Choir - TWO Rings
3. Ally Kerr - Be the ONE
4. Pastels/Tenniscoats - TWO Sunsets
5. The Sundays - You're not the only ONE I know
6. Azure Blue - TWO hearts
7. The Smiths - I want the ONE I can't have
8. Baffin Island - You make TWO weeks TWO days
9. Milky Wimpshake - ONE good use for my heart
10. Adorable - Cut #2
11. Gigi - ONE woman show
12. Northern Portrait - I give you TWO seconds to entertain me
13. The Magnetic Fields - You're the only ONE
14. Guther - TWO minds inbetween
15. The Jesus and Mary chain - Deep ONE perfect morning
16. Gregory and the hawk - TWO faced twin
17. Nicely Dressed - If I could be the ONE
18. The Caretaker race - TWO minutes by train
19. Ultra Vivid Scene - Special ONE
20. Darren Hayman & the secondary modern - TWO tree island
21. Palpitation - ONE step behind
22. Page France - We remain as TWO
23. Acid House Kings - ONE TWO three four
24. Jenn Grant - (I've got) the TWO of you
25. Suede - My insatiable ONE


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Secret Mountains - Winter Sessions (2012)

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Earlier this year, Baltimore psych-rock sextet Secret Mountains had the distinguished honor of being invited to spend a weekend in Converse's Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn. Which is great news for any Secret Mountains fan as we now get to hear the results. They have their debut full length coming out sometime this year but these masterful live session tracks will certainly do for now.

"Weepy Little Fingers" was released as a single last year, but new tracks "Make Love Stay" and "Golden Blue" are also bundled in and they're fantastic. Featuring the subtle build into brilliant controlled shoegaze-y chaos and  gigantic rock moments that Secret Mountains seem to own so effortless. Also, Kelly Laughlin remains a total dynamo, helming the storming sounds with her own bold, brassy vocals that are simply intoxicating.

The three song Winter Sessions will be available tomorrow via Friends Records as well as in person on they're upcoming tour to SXSW and beyond.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Watch: Olivia Quillio ft. Meagan Duffy - "New Home" live

I have a lot of loves. I talk about them pretty constantly (*cough* ARMS *cough*) but perhaps one of the most appropriate amounts of love I have is reserved for Olivia Quillio. I stumbled upon her more or less randomly when she played with John Craigie lat year and from the second she opened her mouth - I had fallen head over heels.

Olivia Quillio just can't seem to post as much new music as my love demands of her and yet, today I'm satiated - a little bit. She posted up this brand new video for a new track entitled "New Home" and it's a thing of beauty. I have both her demo and a record she recorded last year and this song by itself just blows them both out of the water. Girl has got some pipes on her and she's not afraid to use them. But it's not about being showy with her, no, when Olivia sings it's a rush of emotion that grips you tight and threatens never to let go. And for some reason or another you're completely okay with that.

So until she can supply all of the music my heart demands, this'll do. And it's a mighty fine placeholder.

Watch: The Dø - 'Gonna Be Sick!"

Turns out today I'm shining an inadvertent spotlight on Listen Before You Buy. Not only are they where I found out this video happened but Frank turned me onto The Dø and last year's remarkable Both Ways Open Jaws. In retrospect it probably should've been on my Best Of list. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

There's not really a whole lot I can say about The Dø's spectacular new video that won't sound like gushing. Everything about it is incredible - from the pacing, the plot, the direction, the nifty way they use sheets as water, to the very idea of putting Olivia Merilahti on a fake boat and having her besieged by peril after peril for no reason (let's be serious, who would ever let that beautiful woman go out to sea in a rowboat all  alone? Not me.). See? Gushing. Check out  The Dø's video for "Gonna Be Sick!":

(via Listen Before You Buy)

Watch: Rhye - "Open" [NSFW]

There are benefits to staying up til 4-5 in the morning, one of them is that Listen Before You Buy is usually already starting the day posting perfection before most of us are even entering REM sleep. One late night/early morning, Frank of LBYB posted a random video and basically called it the most gorgeous thing ever. That's a tall claim but turns out he was right. The video was a live living room version of Rhye's "Open".

There's not a whole lot of I can tell you about Rhye. And everything I can more or less comes directly from LBYB. Rhye either is or is fronted by Mike Milosh who happens to be from Toronto. They recently just released a 3 song 12" through Innovative Leisure. Oh, here's something I can tell you - the track is downright sexy. Also, gorgeous. The falsetto is so good, I thought it was a girl at first. The group also just released a brand new video for "Open" that takes its sexiness to the next level.

The concept behind the video is fantastic. Essentially men and women sexing each other up with a notable twist - every so often someone changes. Not in a slow metamorphosing kind of way but like boom - new person having sex. It sounds a bit racy (and let's face it, it is) but it's also pretty remarkably well done. One of those audio-visual combinations that you can't imagine existing any other way.

Watch Rhye's gorgeous video for the equally gorgeous track "Open":

Rhye - Open from Rhye on Vimeo.

You can listen to Rhye's debut 12" on Spotify.

All Around Sound Is Turning Two! - Day 2: Listen Before You Buy

This week, All Around Sound is turning two years old and to help celebrate our auspicious milestone, I ask a bunch of blog friends/people I love to help make the occasion a little more special with some fancy playlist-love.

I'd be lying if I said that the whole idea to have blogs submit playlists to be featured this week wasn't in part some sort of elaborate ruse to get Frank over at Listen Before You Buy to do something for me for a change. I'm not exactly sure how I fell in with Franky and the Listen Before You Buy staff but it was through his blog/twitter that I stumbled into Mumuplayer and befriended everyone who was there (which coincidentally wasn't Frank). Frank runs a tight ship over at Listen Before You Buy featuring a pretty much overwhelming plethora of great and diverse music and for some odd reason allows me to contribute over there when the mood strikes me. When I came up with the idea for guest playlists from blogs that have influenced mine - Frank was my main go to guy. While I don't exactly aspire to have a behemoth of a site and team that he does, just thinking about all the good work his blog is doing inspires me to write more and to write better. So thanks Franky for a blog well run and agreeing to my little request.

Frank writes:
In this current digital climate of music discovery and all-you-can-eat consumption of anything with a soundwave, it's a special thing to stumble across an artist that deserves all the fame and acclaim on the planet, yet is flying just too low below the radar to break out into the mainstream, and so it goes for music blogs too.
Finding a gem of a music blog that's passionate, articulate, intelligent and knowledgeable can be few and far between, but when you do find one you latch onto it and protect it like it's your favourite baby squirrel. Such is the case with Dante's "All Around Sound" which falls into each of the above descriptions (baby squirrel being the most apt). 

Passionate writing is an instant attraction for me to a music blog, and All Around Sound has it in spades. Subscribe, Like, and Follow. You won't regret it.
That's some high praise right there. Even better? Frank's diverse playlist.

You can listen to Frank's Blog Birthday mix on Spotify here. Here's the text version:
1. British Sea Power - "Apologies To Insect Life"
2. Beyonce - "Party ft. Andre 3000"
3. Badly Drawn Boy - "Pissing in the Wind"
4. St. Vincent - "Your Lips Are Red"
5. Bob Dylan - "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream"
6. Camera Obscura - "Other Towns And Cities"
7. T. Rex - "Get It On"
8. The Smiths - "Bigmouth Strikes Again"
9. Massive Attack - "Interia Creeps"
10. Alton Ellis - "Rock Steady"
12. Slow Club - "Hackney Marsh"
13. Yeasayer - "Ambling Amp"
14. Daft Punk - "Da Funk"
15. Sex Pistols - "Anarchy in the UK"
16. Frederic Chopin - Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9 No.2
17. The La's - "There She Goes"
18. Blur - "End Of A Century"

Watch: Bowerbirds - "Tuck the Darkness In"

One of my favorite things about North Carolina folk twosome (recently turned moresome) Bowerbirds is that they display their beliefs proudly - they're nature people. It informs their pastoral lyricism, slips casually into their interviews, their tweets, and their blog rather unapologetically. And it comes out in interesting new way in their latest video for new single "Tuck the Darkness In".

A little boy careless hunting for fish in his mother's work aquarium sees what happens you actual catch it and has an epiphany. That's the general gist of the video. I won't ruin it because for such a simple plot line, the video is artfully dramatic and handled in a way that not as preachy as it sounds. It's more about realizing the consequences of your actions and doing your best to rectify that. And if it happens to feature an adorable little kid dressed up in a fish costume? Well that's just extra.

"Tuck the Darkness In" by Bowerbirds from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

Bowerbirds new album The Clearing is out today on Dead Oceans.

Listen: Ghost Lake - "Late Spring Morning Sunlight"

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Remember the charming Swedish indie pop trio Heart-Sick Groans who's brand new tune "If the Canary Stops Singing" I premiere last month? Of course you do. While they're currently working on the latest EP (and a video for "If the Canary Stops Singing" if Facebook pics are to be believed), one of the lads is stepping out on his own. Henric Wallmark, co-songwriter and producer, is releasing his solo debut as Ghost Lake later this month.

On "Late Spring Morning Sunlight", Ghost Lake trades in the overt catchiness and perfect arrangements of Heart-Sick Groans and offers up something a little more introspective without trading in any of that overabundance of talent. The track is still catchy in the way that's sure to give you a case of earworm, with its craning melodies and plentiful percussion. It's a simple love song that still manages to be heart-warmingly infectious. Check it out.

Ghost Lake's solo debut Late Spring Morning Sunlight EP is out March 15th on THEM Records so look out for it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cheyenne Marie Mize - We Don't Need EP (2012)

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I was trying to remember when I've heard of Louisville songstress Cheyenne Marie Mize when it dawned upon me: the sultry songtress is featured on Ben Sollee's Inclusions. Being associated with Sollee is a bit of a double-edged sword - the man's reputation as a dynamic innovator is approaching the stuff of legend so anyone associated with him might be regarded with the same expectations of inventiveness. Luckily for Mize, she lives up to the expectation.

On We Don't Need, Mize achieves in 6 songs what some artists fail to do in a whole album - create a collection of songs invigoratingly good and boldly unique while also fitting perfectly together. Cheyenne Marie Mize has a remarkable talent for balance - noisy without being deafening, spacious yet in no way lacking. Mize's also got considerable vocal chops - fiery in "Wishing Well" and "Keep It", silky smooth (and still a bit fiery) in "It Lingers", haunting and barely there in "Back Around". We Don't Need distinguishes Mize as a certifiable bad ass and yet not wholly without feeling. The girl rocks and while she doesn't exactly break the mold she sure does rough it up a bit.

Get a taste of Cheyenne Marie Mize with this live video for "Keep It":

All Around Sound Is Turning Two! - Day 1: MiddleClassWhiteNoise

This week (March 10th to be exact), All Around Sound is turning two years old and to celebrate this momentous occasion I thought I'd do something a little special: To help ring in the occasion I asked a couple of blogs/miscellaneous awesome people to contribute a little something to make things a little more festive with some playlists. 

First up we have my good pal Sam at Middle Class White Noise. Sam was essentially one of the first blog friends I ever made, one late night/early morning in the now pretty-much-entirely forgotten Mumuplayer. The original idea for this week was blogs that have influenced my blog and while that might not exactly be the case with Middle Class White Noise, me and Sam have traded band after band, covered the same artists, and the idea to put together a playlist is a not-so-secret homage to his enormous multi-hour playlists. I don't aspire for my blog to be more like his blog per-say but rather value Sam's taste and opinion more than that of the standard blogger. 

Sam's Contribution:
I won't lie, the concept for my playlist was borne out of laziness and a bit of an inflated ego. You see, my playlist isn't really about All Around Sound. Well, it is in the sense that it's deliberately music you might not find on All Around Sound and that you might find on MCWN. And even then, it's not entirely accurate since the first four songs are exactly the kind of songs--y'know, folky and poppy--you might find on All Around Sound. So sorry about that. But then, if you are a regular reader on All Around Sound, these might be the perfect songs to get you into the rest of this particular playlist. So, with a little forethought it all sounds pretty deliberate.
The original idea of the playlist, though, was based on a mental division between 'day' music and 'night' music. The former is made of largely upbeat songs that one might listen to in the car on a sunny day. The latter, night songs, which start with Fink's "Ever Since I was a Kid" are more relaxed and electronic tracks, the kind of stuff one would cool down to after a long day. The "night" songs bear the stronger trademark of MCWN while the "day" songs have the most overlap with All Around Sound. I'm not sure how successful the concept was, but I hope you like it.
You can listen to Sam's playlist on Spotify here. Curious what's on it? Here's a text version:
1. Stornoway - "Zorbing"
2. M. Ward - "Chinese Translation"
3. Hey Marseilles - "Rio"
4. Dan Mangan - "Road Regrets"
5. Pomegranates - "Osidius The Emphatic"
6. We Are Augustines - "Book of James"
7. The National - "Bloodbuzz Ohio"
8. Tears For Fears - "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"
9. Ducky - "Killing Time"
10. Fun. - "Some Nights"
11. Fink - "Ever Since I Was A Kid - Pt. 1"
12. Tycho - "Coastal Brake"
13. Shigeto - "Lineage"
14. Amon Tobin - "Easy Muffin"
15. The Cinematic Orchestra - "Channel 1 Suite"
16. The Antlers - "Rolled Together"
17. Gorillaz - "Hong Kong"
18. Blur - "Sweet Song"
19. Broken Social Scene - "Sentimental X's"
20. Art Blakey Quintet - "Once In A While (Live) (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)"
21. Bill Evans, Morgan Zetterlund - "So Long Big Time"


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Elle s'appelle - The Amazing World o' Stuff (2012)

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Nostalgia can be a very dangerous thing. Whether it's keeping you trapped in the "glory days" of something or causes you to careless lash out at something because it challenges the idea that time and idealization have had a hand in making. Since British powerpop trio Elle s'appelle broke up  almost four years ago a not so secret part of me had hoped they would reform or at least put out the album they had been working on before they broke up. As its members went on to form new bands in new places - it seemed unlikely that I would get my wish. And then former bandleader Andy Donovan announced that Elle s'appelle's debut album would be released through his record label Rekordmeister Music this year. Color me intrigued, impressed, and excited.

Yesterday saw the release of Elle s'appelle's The Amazing World o' Stuff which turns out is less of a return to the Elle s'appelle of yesteryear and more of Donovan's own take on the band's sound and songs. He worked for years on creating new songs and updating old ones and enlisting the help of friends before deciding to release the album. Fans of Elle s'appelle might find such a thing a hard pill to swallow and yet, if you can get past the fact that the album isn't the work of Andy, Lucy, and Owen of old, with their unique keyboard, bass, drum fueled hyperactive pop, and just Andy Donovan (and others) you might find something worth listening to.

Even realizing how dangerous nostalgia could be in my enjoyment of the album there was one hurtle I had a tough time crossing. Namely Lucy Blakeley. Who's strong vocals seemed to fit puzzle-piece perfect with Donovan's. The lack of Lucy wasn't the problem however (though it would've been nice to have her) but rather that the female vocalist Donovan found to replace her is rather meek in her delivery. At least when compared to Blakeley. Considering my years and years of obsessive listening to the old demos on Myspace, it's going to take more than a handful listens for me to fully come to terms with Lucy's absence. That little caveat aside, it's rather nice to hear the old songs in a new context or just hear them again at all (since they're no longer available on Myspace). Andy Donovan's new tracks fit alongside the older ones pretty well, portraying the same high energy that made me fall in love with the band when I heard "Reasons Your Reasons Your Reasons Your"  featured on Eardrums Music's Summer-themed compilation. In fact, there's very little slow down in the album - it maintains the pretty much sky-high levels of energy from start to finish (there's a hint of a slowdown in "She Of Little Faith" but blink and you might miss it).

And yet despite the fact that The Amazing World o' Stuff is most likely to more greatly enjoyed by newcomers to Elle s'appelle's music, the album is still quite an enjoyable listen for everyone. Donovan's ability to write similar-sounding tunes is rather impressive and no doubt a testament to his songwriting talents. Nostalgic or not, The Amazing World o' Stuff is a fun album that contains a brand of nonstop powerpop that I wish was more prevalent. It may not be ushering in a newly formed Elle s'appelle into the world but it's a great piece of music to own.

The album is available for streaming and pay-what-you-want download at Rekordmeister's Bandcamp:

Peter Broderick - (2012)

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I’m certainly happy I got into Peter Broderick when I did – if I had gotten into him earlier the wait for his new album would’ve been excruciating, any later and I might’ve missed actually listening to his whole catalog before the new album. His first proper vocal album since 2008’s Home, (yes that’s the name of the album as well as Broderick’s interactive album website) might very well be his most touchingly personal. expands on the various skill developed through Broderick other releases – takes Broderick’s compositional talents and uses them to create some of the most beautiful engaging arrangements, takes Broderick’s experimentation with technology and adds in effects when best employed for maximum effect. His latest album is without a doubt his most personal – featuring a song written by his father, an elegy for a deceased musical hero/mentor, through listening to the album (and also checking out the notes on the website) you learn far more about Broderick than you might in conversation or an interview. In an ironic twist, Broderick’s vocal album begins with about three minutes of instrumentals before he even utters his first word which is subsequently “I Am Piano” – a play on both its common meaning (the instrument which accompanies the song) and its musical definition (soft, subdued). “A Tribute to Our Letter Writing Days” details Broderick’s letter writing escapades with a friend/ex-lover using a repetitive “send a letter” to show the back and forth of their letter writing and featuring Peter’s sister Heather Woods Broderick adding some delicate female vocals that engage in the musical tug-of-war. Broderick then closes out the song from the point of view of the letter which has its own wants.

One of Peter Broderick’s friends Jana commented that his music isn’t edgy enough (which he addresses in the song “Bad Words”) and that might very well be true. Broderick’s music is never harsh or unpleasing, never offensive or grating but in lieu of that, Broderick’s music is always engaging: beautifully presented, artfully composed, and offhandedly revealing. Through Broderick’s music, and  in particular, you really get the sense that you are getting to know someone – a musical conversation where Broderick reveals small tidbits of information about himself in exchange for your careful, unintrusive listening. Broderick might come off as the polite, nonconfrontational sort which might very well be true of the man’s personality but if you take the time to listen, you’re rewarded with eclectic blend of brilliantly crafted music, unexpected tension and release (“Asleep”)  and occasional possibly unintended humor (“Bad Words”, “Asleep”).  Each track consists of something highlight-worthy which is exactly what you need in an album like this – Broderick’s songs are crafted with exceptional love and care that result in some of the loveliest enriching musical experiences.  might very well be Peter Broderick’s best album to date toeing the appropriate line of emotional revealing singer/songwriter lyricism, elegant composition, and music written for music’s sake that manages to create a well-rounded album you’ll have trouble putting down.

You can listen to Peter Broderick's new album on his interactive website, the title automatically links to. Also on Spotify

Friday, March 2, 2012

Elle s'appelle to release debut album

Almost two months ago, I saw seemingly random status update from Liverpool band 28 Costumes announcing that they would be releasing their 2nd album This Band Has Eaten All Our Money via Used Vinyl Club/Rekordmeister Music. Intrigued I went to the page and it announced not only that but a slew of other exciting releases - like the release of Elle s'appelle's debut album The Amazing World 'o Stuff.

Some background: Rekordmeister Music is a label set up in 2008 by now-defunct Elle s'appelle bandleader Andy Donovan, members of the band 28 Costumes, as well as their manager. They've released singles for bands House That Jack Built and Hallo...I love you! as well as the first single from 28 Costumes sophomore album "This Band Has Eaten All Our Money". This year they started The Used Vinyl Club a project featuring monthly limited edition releases and performances at Mello Mello in Liverpool.  

There's actually releases from a whole bunch of Liverpool bands worth checking out like House That Jack Built and Voo. So if you're interested, make sure and check them out here or here.

You can hear two new Elle s'appelle tracks: