Monday, April 30, 2012

Watch: Here We Go Magic - "How Do I Know"

Less than  a week ago, I was introduced to Here We Go Magic and the bright infectious pop of "How Do I Know" and now, there's a fancy video. Directed by Sean Pecknold (who directs videos for people besides Fleet Foxes, who knew!), the the video pretty much establishes the central conflict right at the beginning. A man  must choose between his hot wheelchair bound wife or a dancing robot that fills the void his wife can't. This results in the man dragging the sleep mode robot into the desert and activating her as he watches her boogie all day long. When the man gets his fill and busts a couple of his own moves, he takes her back to the dancing robot plant. It's tragic really and if I were in his shoes, I probably would've chosen the rambunctious dance-bot but that's just me.

Watch Here We Go Magic's video for "How Do I Know":

Here We Go Magic's A Different Ship on May 8th.

(via Stereogum)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Daughn Gibson - All Hell (2012)

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The past couple days I've been let down when I come home from work and expect to have missed something monumentally epic - musically speaking. It's possible that I'm just not looking in the right places or maybe music  news has really been that slow lately. And yet tonight I came home to find a stray tweet from ARMS' Todd Goldstein stating he'd be opening up for Daughn Gibson in May. After about a two month live show drought that was news to my ears. But who was Daughn Gibson? I certainly was intrigued but I could tell I wasn't going to dig, there were, to me, more pressing matters to attend to. And then I saw that Jeff of Secret Moutains praised the album today as well. Schedule cleared, Daughn Gibson was my first and only priority.

Daughn Gibson is from Carlisle, Pennsylvania and very well may still reside there. I honestly have no clue. There's not too much I can tell you about Gibson and maybe that's for the best. What I can tell you is that his debut record All Hell is unlike anything I've heard before. You may hear that time and time again when someone's trying to sell you new release after new release of virtual unknowns but believe me when I tell you this: All Hell is new. All Hell is distinct, creative, and original. Beginning with "Bad Guys", it's not hard to see why Gibson has adopted country as his genre labeling of choice, simple bent note guitar riffs and a languorous drawl. The most unexpected thing about Gibson is deepness of his voice which becomes less of shock as you listen on. With "In the Beginning" you start to really get a taste at the turn the record will soon take - it's a lot poppier than the lead track, building on simplistic hymn-friendly piano chords before the entrance of funky beat makes it clear it's not going in that direction.   

Daughn Gibson has the sort of genre-blurring interplay that bands like Megafaun have more or less made a career of. There's a single genre label for the sake of ease but Gibson tests the very limits of it as mean of categorization. All Hell becomes bigger than genre. It's a series of songs with twists and turns you don't see coming even as you become more comfortable with the album. On All Hell, Gibson proves himself not only a skilled multi-instrumentalist (trading off on guitar and piano whenever he sees fit) but as a skilled manipulator - bending boundaries, foundations, and arranging samples in just the right way to keep you on your toes. And regardless of the textural soundscapes, Gibson's voice is clear as a bell, deep and reverberating and ultimately grounding. Even with the multitude of things going on around it, it is always the focus, the one point your ears have no trouble finding.  All Hell is astoundingly different, the result of a clearly  talented man with a host of ideas with enough sense to know how to properly use them. Gibson never overwhelms, instead allowing you to appreciate each moment as much as you like as his croons draw you toward where you need you to go.   

Get a taste of Daughn Gibson's rather eclectic style with some tracks from the album: 

Daughn Gibson's All Hell is out now on White Denim with a limited edition run of vinyl which you can order here. You can stream the album on Spotify

Friday, April 27, 2012

Here We Go Magic - "How Do I Know"/"Make Up Your Mind"

I've heard Brooklyn indie-pop quartet Here We Go Magic's name around for quite awhile but it was a stray tweet from ARMS' Todd Goldstein and a night with nothing to do that got me to finally listen to their music. The result was the fast-paced brand of pop rock I didn't know I was a looking for in the two new singles "How Do I Know" and "Make Up Your Mind" from the quartet's upcoming album A Different Ship.

"How Do I Know" starts simply enough, with undulating waves of sound before Luke Temple enters and ushers in the forward momentum-pushing drums. Layers and layers of instruments billow and sweep in all the while maintaining the songs simplicity.

 i-D Online: How Do I Know, Here We Go Magic by i-D online

"Make Up Your Mind" isn't all sunshine and bright playful instrumental interplay like "How Do I Know", there's a sort of rebellious rock swagger and tension as the track plods along - Temple's "make up your mind" ring out like shouts unpredictably, both soothing and inflaming the track's underlying tension.

 Here We Go Magic - "Make Up Your Mind" by Secretly Canadian

You can download both these new tracks from Here We Go Magic's upcoming album A Different Ship (out May 8th) by liking Secretly Canadian on Facebook here. You can also preorder the album here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ETHEL - Heavy (2012)

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You’re eyes are not deceiving you – NYC based string quartet /band ETHEL have indeed released a new album. Heavy, their first major release since 2006’s Light (apart from a couple composer-centric albums), is a tribute to New York City and also the last album to feature recently departed member Mary Rowell.

ETHEL bridges the gap between releases with Don Byron’s “Four Thoughts on Marvin Gaye” (of which #3 was on Light). Inspired less by the actual music of Marvin Gaye and more on the man’s tumultuous life, ETHEL lead right out of the gate with a fearless white knuckled tutti before embarking on a stunning display of techniques – harmonics, glissandos, col legno, if you can name it, it most likely makes an appearance of #1 if not one of the subsequent movements. And yet what’s truly impressive is while having this multitude of what could easily turn into blatant displays of instrumental prowess – ETHEL keep it about the music. And though inspired by Marvin Gaye, it’s hard not to see how Byron’s work fits into ETHEL homage to the city – soulful, endlessly busy but not oppressively so – any movement could be the soundtrack to the city at night (with #3 emphasizing the hint of danger that lurks around ).

Julia Wolfe’s “Early That Summer” is a mammoth of a piece that can best be described as series of stacked moments continuously attempting to up the ante. There’s no rest, no break, instead it’s eleven straight minutes of nail-biting end-of-your-seat pyrotechnics. Each moment from its’ gun-shot like intro goes bigger than you thought possible with nary a thought given to the threat of everything toppling over.  When the piece comes to a stop with a series of thick, clustered chords, you can hardly believe it.

Raz Menisai’s “La Citadelle” is fair and above the most groove-centric piece on the album, taking the place of Light’s “Chai” building upon a series of earth-trembling deep ostinatos as the piece plods on minimalistically altering its grooves with a Middle Eastern air. There’s slides and glissandos reminiscent of sirens that manage to ground the fantastical sounding piece into a sort of briefly accepted reality before launching once again on its rhythmic melismatic voyage of grooves.

ETHEL’s decision to close out the album with frequent collaborator Marcelo Zarvos’ “Rounds” gives the album a feeling of splendid closure – the piece is vibrantly melodic with skyward reaching moments. Heavy’s theme of busy-ness returns here but without any of the pseudo-claustrophobic feel, instead offering an added dynamic to Zarvos’ colorful sprawl.  If Byron’s “Four Thoughts on Marvin Gaye” portrayed a city at night, Zarvos’ “Rounds” provides its parallel as a work of boundless freedom with smile-inducing brightness; a work of endearing calm despite its variety of rapidly moving parts.  

Heavy is an album that certainly lives up to its name. Full of intense moments of clamor and balls-to-the-wall frenetic energy, ETHEL also balances it with bold musical statements, truly unexpected twists and turns, and a pristine clarity in ideas. Each piece manages to establish itself not only as an album highlight but as a distinctive part of ETHEL musical tapestry – their homage takes many forms, mostly in an almost breakneck bustle with a moment of relief offered almost exclusively in the form of short interlude-esque “Wed” by David Lang. But at no point is the pacing overwhelming highlighting one of most notable aspects of the city the foursome so clearly love: its relentless hustle. Heavy is an album that achieves absolute balance with just enough going on to keep you on your toes while simultaneously keeping your total and undivided attention.  Proving that with ETHEL, the wait is almost definitely worth it. 

You can listen to Heavy on Spotify or stream it on their website here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Watch: AU - "OJ"

Holy unexpected visual treat, Batman! If you were think of a song worthy of the video treatment from Portland duo AU's recent release Both Lights what song would you pick? "Epic"? "Get Alive"? "Solid Gold"? Well, none of those were the choice of frequent collaborator Takafumi Tsuhiya. He's taken his colorful visual style and paired it up with "OJ" the dance-y less-extreme track of Both Lights. And not a bad choice considering the album is virtually stacked with great songs equally all deserving of a video.

If you've seen the video for "Ida Walked Away" you might have some idea of what to expect for the "OJ" video by Takafumi and yet, it's still quite the visual spectacle. Capitalizing on it's dance-y nature, the video features a dance in a sea of potential epileptic seizure inducing colors ranging on full on explosive bursts to subtler changes and brief respites being offered during the track's percussive breaks. It's a video you're sure not to forget as it's scorches it way into your very retinas.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Johnny Flynn - "Flowers in My Garden"

Why does it seem like it's been so long since we've heard from British folky Johnny Flynn? Perhaps because since the release of his sophomore effort Been Listening back in 2010, the man's been insanely busy - acting in pretty successful plays (of which Richard Bean's dramedy 'The Heretic" I can personally vouch for) and about to start a run of Shakespeare classics 'Richard III' and 'Twelfth Night' this summer/fall at the Globe Theatre. And yet, somehow in between all of this the man found time to compose a film score. "A Bag Of Hammers"  is an upcoming indie comedy which features a pretty impressive batch of actors: Jason Ritter, Jake Sandvig (most notable for Easy A), Amanda Seyfriend, and tons more - the brief flashes of Johnny Flynn's compositions are enough to make me want to see much less it actually looking to be pretty great in a feel good movie of the year kind of way.

Yesterday, Johnny Flynn made one of the album's tracks "Flowers in My Garden" available for download - it's a sort of old timey British traditionals that could very well have been sung by Feste in 'Twelfth Night' which Flynn updates by throwing in a some more modern instruments like the banjo and violin. The track is kind of what you might expect from Flynn but much appreciated and very very good featuring some pretty out of this world arrangements. It's new while still sounding very much like the Johnny Flynn you have come to know.

Give "Flowers in My Garden" a listen:
 Johnny Flynn - Flowers In My Garden by All Around Sound Blog

Take a gander at the trailer for "A Bag of Hammers":

There's a limited edition run of the "A Bag of Hammers" soundtrack on vinyl that many a luck Brit will be able to pick up on Record Store Day.

Feist - "Black Tongue" (Mastodon Cover)

This year there's been a bunch of let's say questionable collaborations happening that seemed to occur without rhyme or reason. They've all been more or less hit or miss (mostly miss) but one of the most unexpected ones to roll out between Canadian indie songstress Feist and Atlanta, Georgia metalheads Mastodon is actually excellent. I can't say surprisingly because Feist has a way of imbuing everything she touches with a kind of special awesomeness but there seemed to be so much that could've gone wrong with this and yet, it's utterly perfect.

For their split 7" to be released on Record Store Day (that's this Saturday!), the two decided to take a crack at each other's songs. Mastodon took "A Commotion" from Feist's latest release Metals which makes sense as it's kind of the noisiest, most angry track in Feist's repetoire and Feist took on "Black Tongue", the opening track from Mastodon's most recent release The Hunter. The results are pretty spectacular - namely Feist's portion. Turns out Feist utterly thrives in darker, heavier settings. She doesn't go full metal opting instead for some sort of middle ground that plays to her punky roots while also emphasizing exactly what you love about her: She's ridiculous adaptable - settling for sultry instead of ethereal with her higher notes having just the right amount of wail. It's a surprising enough turn that it makes me hope she lounges around in darker sounds a little longer. Here's to hoping.

Get a taste of Feist's contribution to the 'Feistodon' split 7" - out in just two days!

(via Listen Before You Buy)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Watch: Horse Feathers - "Where I'll Be"

Just two days ago, Portland's Horse Feathers released the fourth album Cynic's New Year and decided to ring in the occasion with the release of a video for "Where I'll Be", a track they released little more than two weeks ago. For the video they enlisted Brian Danielson, who in turn responded to the muted colors of the album's cover as well as the paper dolls version of band it features.

The result is just the video, Justin Ringle's emotive plainsy vocals call for. Watch the video for "Where I'll Be":

Horse Feathers' Cynic's New Year is out now on Kill Rock Stars. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Watch: Guards - "Feels Like That"

Earlier today retro rock band Guards did an appearance on Virgin Mobile Live and in addition to spinning some of their tunes, they also shared all kinds of super informative information about their doings. One of which was the release of the video for "Feels Like That", the b-side to their "Do It Again" 7" on White Iris, which they released about a month or so. I completely missed out on that, apparently. The video, directed by Andrew Simkiss, features a homeless man dancing a la Gene Kelly with a slew of hobo back up dancers that may or may not be a figment of the man's imagination. Shot all in one take with some videography by Guards' own Kaylie Church. It's also another tribute to vintage dance that's kind of becoming the band's awesome new thing (see the video for "Do It Again") which is all kinds of neat.

Watch the video for Guards "Feels Like That":

Guards are also playing a show at Mercury Lounge so make sure to come out if you like what you hear. Tickets available here.

Watch: Hundred Waters - "Boreal"/"Caverns" live

Even after the release of their debut self-titled album, Gainesville, Florida quintet Hundred Waters is continuing to do some pretty great things. If you weren't able to catch them on their previous pre-SXSW tour, you may be in luck: the quintet is more or less doing a victory lap. But if you're anything like me and simply can't wait until the start of touring next month, you're also in luck as Hundred Waters recently recorded a set of live videos for Consequence of Sound's new series Off the Avenue. If you've never experienced the pure splendor that is a Hundred Waters live show, you might want to brace yourself as you take a seat. In fact even if you have, that advice probably applies to you as well. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Watch Hundred Waters play "Boreal" and "Caverns" for Off the Avenue:

Here's some of the fortunate cities about to receive some Hundred Waters shows
5/1 The Atlantic w/ Maximino & Ghost Fields- Gainesville, Florida
5/7 DC9 w/ Races - Washington, D.C.
5/8 Glasslands Gallery w/ North Highlands & Vensaire - Brooklyn, New York
5/9 Mercury Lounge w/ Races - Manhattan, New York
5/11 Schubas Tavern w/ Plants & Animals - Chicago. Illinois
5/14 Larimer Lounge w/ Young Pharaohs - Denver, Colorado
5/17 Bootler Theater - Los Angeles, California

And Hundred Waters is playing Hopscotch Music Festival in North Carolina in September. Awesome.

Don't forget you can stream Hundred Waters album here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Walkmen - "Heaven"

Late last month, Brooklyn rock quartet The Walkmen unveiled the details for their latest full length record Heaven as well as a teaser trailer. Well last night, the quartet dropped the first single of the album, the title track. Though carefully constructed to the contrary, "Heaven" sounds like The Walkmen are playing right in front of you. No excess, sparse but not bare; just the right amount of everything. A pretty great lead single from  a band that doesn't need one to sell records. It  makes the wait until June 5th that much harder.

Listen to The Walkmen's "Heaven":

(via Listen Before You Buy)

The Walkmen's Heaven is out June 5th on Fat Possum Records.

Jessie Baylin - Little Spark (2012)

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My introduction to Nashville-based songstress Jessie Baylin happened oddly enough from her brother John - who I was in a workshop with. He offhandedly mentioned he was going to see her perform at Pianos in NYC and while I couldn't go to the concert, I made a mental note to check her out. Flash forward almost a year and a half later and random bout of memory caused me to check her out again where I learned Baylin had put out her third record Little Spark earlier this year.

From the mere strum of the dreamy harp intro of "Hurry Hurry", you're instantaneous drawn backwards in time to the Brill Building pop stylings of which Jessie Baylin in undoubtedly familiar - all before the first entrance of her pillowy vocals cushioned exquisitely by minimalistic string flourishes. And yet behind the veneer of Little Spark's retro pop vibes, Baylin's lyricism is a step above their naive, cutesy 60's girl group fare - crooning lines like "I'm sippin' on your hidden stash of whiskey, a little drunker than you know I should be" ("Hurry Hurry") as she waits for her lover to return home, or pretty much any verse on "Love is Wasted on Lovers". And yet, Little Spark isn't just Baylin capturing the best of a bygone era and distilling it, there's some modernity like "The Greatest Thing That Never Happened" which is a slice of Sara Bareilles-esque piano pop. There's wind-swept "Yuma", and "Star Cannon" which recalls Sylvie Lewis' own folksy retro pop style (coincidentally also a collaborator of Richard Swift).

For as much credit as Jessie Baylin deserves for her nostalgia-laden reveries, she's also enlisted a stellar group of contributors in the form of string arranger Jimmie Haskell (who's worked for Elvis Presley and Simon Garfunkel), multi-instrumentalist Richard Swift (who's worked for artists Damien Jurado, Laetita Saedler, & The Shins), as well as The Watson Twins on backing vocals whom have all had an important hand in the shaping of the album (Swift was the album's chief arranger).

With Little Spark, Jessie Baylin offers up a mighty decent collection of tracks - actually, it's a bit more than that. Baylin balances heartfelt vulnerability ("The Winds", "Joy Is Suspicious"), with far less visceral, enjoyable tracks and offers an album that far better than your standard pop release - an album with depth that doesn't take itself entirely too seriously.

Get a taste of Jessie Baylin's Little Spark with the video for "Hurry Hurry" directed by Scarlett Johansson:

Little Spark is out now on Baylin's own Blonde Rat Records. You can stream it on Spotify.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Watch: Bowerbirds - Live at the LightboxDC

One of the first things the Bowerbirds did when they embarked upon their current tour in support of their latest record The Clearing was hit up an art installation by artist Monica Canilao. If the name isn't familiar to you, take a look at the gorgeous album art for The Clearing - Front, back, inside, outside, inserts - she did all of that. Canilao invited the Bowerbirds up to her installation to perform a couple songs and even built them a little stage in the form of a hut.

For their performance, the Bowerbirds experimented with their sound in markedly different way. Known for their mostly acoustic set up, this time around they've swapped in some synthesizers and drum pads and had some fun messing around with their arrangements. The result is still as beautiful as their dynamic live show (which if you haven't seen them live is absolutely incredible) and virtually flawless new record. Check out the band's performances of "Overcome with Light", "Walk the Furrows", "Death Wish", "In the Yard", and "Brave World" in this two part video set of the Bowerbirds in Canilao's installation.

Bowerbirds x Monica Canilao at the Lightbox Pt. 1 from All Our Noise on Vimeo.

Bowerbirds Live at The Lightbox / Pt. 2 from All Our Noise on Vimeo.

You can read more about Monica Canilao's installation as well as view some pictures here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

AU - Both Lights (2012)

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Portland multi-instrumentalist duo AU is one of  those bands whose name I saw floating around here and there (among other bloggers mostly) before I decided to give them a shot. I even saw a concert poster for a Brooklyn show they were doing earlier this year and yet with all that, it still took the intense enthusiasm of Sam at Middle Class White Noise for me to put them at the very top of my listening list.

AU is one of those bands who music you don't realize you were looking for until you find it. It hits all the right spots and leaves you totally satiated but ever eager for more. AU's Both Lights at moments is so startlingly familiar and reminiscent of other bands you may have heard that it's hard to explain just why you like it. I mean, how do you possibly sell an album to other people that seems a sort of musical Frankenstein of favorite bands of yours? Why would you recommend a band that recalls other bands rather than the recalled bands themselves? Well, AU's appeal is perhaps in this deep sense of familiarity and how they invoke these various favorite musical moments without sounding like a blatant rip off of them. In doing so, it becomes quite clear that these moments are purely coincidental (Luke Wyland really can't be held accountable for his vocal similarity to Milagres' Kyle Wilson) .  

Opening track "Epic" plays not unlike a Collection of Colonies track - with it's rock instrumentals that just build on top of each other until the climatic release. "Solid Gold" with it's sweltering burst of sunny tropical pop is a blend of the careful composition of Lord Huron that barrels headlong into the African-invoking style of Beep's "Mbira" with brass really helping to drive the whole thing home.

AU belongs to a group that's among my favorite to discuss - the type of band where explaining their sound calls for pause and reflection. You can't just slap a genre labeling on them and be done with it. As easy as it may be to pick out the various musical callbacks, there's that kind of "it is but it isn't" aspect to each and all of them. And when you really listen to the album, it becomes apparently that the vast majority of their tracks exist outside of these comparisons - You also can't refer to them as a hodge-podge of all your favorite bands of the moment because tracks like "Crazy Idol", "OJ", and "The Veil" are noticeably distinctive enough for you not  to try and place where you heard them before. In fact, outside of "Epic", "Solid Golid", and faint hints of "Get Alive", you can't really finger point exact musical moments. You can argue Dirty Projetor-esque harmonies throughout Both Lights (though really, "Solid Gold" is the most glaring example) but really the Dirty Projectors don't have a monopoly on female harmonies.

Both Lights is an album that's like swimming in a sea of sound - a veritable sunburst of bright, sunny tracks that fully engulf you in it's avalanche of texture. Surprisingly all around appropriate radio-length, each track on Both Lights seems far longer than it's timestamp would have you believe - going into a myriad of unexpected directions that belie their shortness. While still indicative of what you might be able to call AU's characteristic sound, Both Lights is the duo (turned trio with the addition of Holland Andrews) most ambitious record. They manage to strong-arm a bunch of very eclectic musical ideas into a single coherent arch and fill it with layers and layers of rich instrumentation and enjoyable musical moments.  On Both Lights, you want for absolutely nothing: Anything you want is offered up in some way or another there's even things you didn't know you wanted but appreciate when they are given (like the absolute deluge of noise on "Why I Must"). A unexpectedly great release that's no doubt gonna be hard to put down.

Get a taste of AU with this live video of "Solid Gold" as well as two tracks from Both Lights:

Feels Like Home Ep 44 - AU "Solid Gold" from Into The Woods on Vimeo.

AU's Both Lights is available on Spotify as well as all the standard outlets for purchasing truly sweet music.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hundred Waters - Hundred Waters (2012)

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Since my discovery of the Gainesville, Florida quintet Hundred Waters through I Guess I'm Floating and Conveyor, their album has skyrocketed to one of the most anticipated ones of the year for me and upon hearing it lived up to all of my expectations and more. Hundred Waters remain one of those bands who's sound is an absolute conundrum to explain. What most people go to is dream-pop purely by process of elimination and  because it's not too far of a stretch. And so while still none too close to defining their sound, one thing is clear: In three short songs Hundred Waters managed to eclipse virtually every other band as my favorite new discovery of the year. 

Hundred Waters' debut follows in the footsteps of so many of my favorite albums - an actual body of work that's not just a mash-up of musical ideas. Hundred Waters is the musical equivalent of an aurora borealis - a kaleidoscope of bright sounds and textures with an absolutely cosmic resonance. The album commences with "Sonnet" highlighting Nicole Miglis' absolutely awe-inspiring wisp along a sprawling sparse soundscape that bursts to life right before you. And while tracks like "Visitor", "Me and Anodyne" "Caverns" are utterly sidereal in sound, Hundred Waters do more than just craft celestial dreamscapes - tracks like "· · · — — — · · ·", "Wonderboom" and "Theia" have slightly more conventional leanings, crackling with intense energy and boasting unexpectedly impressive funkiness. By the time "Gather" ebbs out, you're left feeling a little disoriented but wholly complete.   

Hundred Waters is an absolute masterpiece - stitched together with careful details from an almost staggering amount of musical ideas. An album so full of lush instrumentation and a distinctive textural palette, it's incredibly easy to get lost in. Aided more so by the subtle way tracks seems to slope into and feed off one another. Hundred Waters is a journey into the hearts and minds of five exceptionally talented young musicians with artistic sensibilities.  Hundred Waters is a breathtaking venture showing the very best of the many hands involved in making it. It effortless balances devastating, intoxicating beauty with subdued catchiness. A stunning treasure and must listen, Hundred Waters is sure to be your new favorite album. One that you can't and won't want to turn off. 

Listen to their album in full at their website here.

Get a taste of Hundred Waters with one of my favorite tracks "Visitor":

Emby Alexander - "Drag the Long Way Home"

My discovery of Arizona's Emby Alexander is due, quite surprisingly, to Tumblr. For those that don't know, I have a Tumblr that I often forget to update and which pretty much features the videos and tracks that I post on here without all the writing I'm apt to do. Well today after posting video for the new Marissa Nadler and Kishi Bashi videos I got followed by Emby Alexander. Intrigued, I checked them out. Not bad. The group (which may or may not be a sextet) only has one track out right now but what a track that is. Featuring that sort of balmy tropical pop style that's made me love bands like Jonquil and Lord Huron, "Drag the Long Way Home" is a much-appreciated taste of summer that slowly builds atop a chorus of cheers, adding bit by interesting bit to create an infectious summer party jam that's also not too far from the realm of serious music. A new unexpected favorite.

Check out Emby Alexander's "Drag the Long Way Home":

Watch: Marissa Nadler - "The Wrecking Ball Company"

Boston folk songstress Marissa Nadler has always had a certain affinity for crafting tunes of breathtaking beauty steeped in melancholy and on "Wrecking Ball Company", the first single from Nadler's upcoming companion record The Sister, she's certainly hits her stride. Featuring a sort of bluesy funereal dirge, Nadler laments the distant that can sometimes appear between two people who are otherwise close. The stark video details this relationship perfectly. Featuring a couple that seem to mutually coexisting rather than sharing any kind of loving relationship - it's cold (both visually and emotionally) as Nadler pulls away from the gentleman's advances and attempts at reconnecting all the while Nadler isn't complete unresponsive attempting repair in her own roundabout way by just sticking around and allowing the gentleman to follow her. For all of their unsuccessful attempts at connecting, the last shot is one of home as they stand as the front door holding a matchbox advertising The Wrecking Ball Company. It's beautifully shot and follows in Nadler's tradition of pure emotional evocation with just the right balance of cohesive narrative.

Watch Marissa Nadler's gorgeous "The Wrecking Ball Company":

Marissa Nadler's The Sister is due out May 29th on her own Box of Cedar Records.

(via IFC)

Parlovr - "You Only Want It 'Cause You're Lonely"/"Bad Faith"

My introduction to Montreal-based trio Parlovr happened as all great discoveries are bound to happen - through CMJ. In particular at We Listen For You's exceptional day party. They were among the multitude of bands there I went in knowing absolutely nothing about and being pleasantly surprised to find absolutely rocked. Right before heading off to SXSW, the trio announced the release of their upcoming sophomore record Kook Soul in May, and premiered a brand new single "You Only Want It 'Cause You're Lonely" over at Noisey which you can listen to here. Unlike their first single "Holding On To Something", "You Only Want It 'Cause You're Lonely" is composed in parts - slipping between slow building soft-rock narratives and full on psychedelic jam with snap, claps, and swooping falsetto.

And similarly to my discovery of "Holding On To Something", I came across "Bad Faith" while looking for ways to host Parlovr's latest single. Turns out Parlovr have been sitting on some of the tracks for Kook Soul for quite some time as the acoustic video for "Bad Faith" was filmed by Southern Souls way back in August (long before they rocked CMJ). Also a gem. And pretty much assures that Kook Soul is going to be a highly enjoyable album. Check it out:

PARLOVR - Bad Faith from Mitch Fillion ( on Vimeo.

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

Watch: Sea of Bees - "Broke"

Considering her last video has Julie Bee in all sorts of wacky face-paint and costumes, the video for "Broke" could come as a breath of fresh air- literally. Unlike "Skinnybone", "Broke" takes place in the wide open spaces. There's no real plot or concept, just Jules rocking out to her track near a lake with some random shots of her doing cool, random stuff like drawing on a glass panel in the middle of a meadow and sending off a message in a bottle. And yet it doesn't really need to - the track which is more or less about catharsis does just that along with the video - as Julie hoops, hollers, screams, shouts, and thrashes about alongside the crests and peaks of the track there's a pretty nice tension and release. Watch Sea of Bees' video for "Broke":

Sea of Bees' Orangefarben is out May 1st.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Watch: Kishi Bashi - "Bright Whites"

It's about time. Violin/loop pedal maestro Kishi Bashi first posted a teaser trailer for "Bright Whites" way back at the beginning of February citing it would be out soon. Now with the release of his excellent debut album 151a out tomorrow, now seems as good as time as ever to release it.

The teaser showed a fancifully dressed man consuming a ticket and now with the video you get to step into the magical, fun world of Kishi Bashi's creation. "Bright Whites" features a bunch of circus folk attempt to pay their way in to see a set of exotic captured birds (one played by Ishibashi himself) with a series of whimsical barters for tickets. The bird simply want to escape and be free while the circus folk and their patrons have other plans - putting them on display and attacking them when they don't perform like they're supposed to. Until the birds plot their escape and with the help of a violin manage to snag the key to their cells.

It's a high-energy action-packed video full of wonder and whimsy. Not at all unexpected for Kishi Bashi (or the fine fellows of Of Montreal who appear in the video). Watch the video for "Bright Whites":

Kishi Bashi's 151a is out April 10th on Joyful Noise Recordings.

(via Spin)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Maps & Atlases - "Fever"

We've already gotten a hint of it on Chicago technical pop foursome Maps & Atlases track "Winter" but their latest track "Fever", pretty much guarantees that the folk-inspired sound with occasional dips into chamber pop will be a thing of the past on their upcoming sophomore album Beware and Be Grateful. Which turns out isn't all that bad.

"Fever" with it's skittering guitar riffs continues Maps & Atlases transformation into a highly accessible rock group almost completely without rival. While no longer relying heavily on complicated rhythms, the technique and precision and just, all around talent that the group mastered in their "math rock" days really shine through here. And yet, it's the best of both worlds - Maps & Atlases keep their distinctive sound (aided no doubt by Dave Davison's ever distinct vocals) while offering something that sounds different from their previous ventures (there's a kind of Phil Collins-esque big beat in Chris Hainey's drumming).  So while the sprawl of Perch Patchwork might be a thing of the past, Maps & Atlases newfound busy-ness might very well be for the better.

Hear Maps & Atlases' "Fever":

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

Matty Fasano - Living In Armchairs EP (2012)

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Late last month, we were treated to a peek of Matty Fasano's solo EP Living in Armchairs with "Christopher" and this week (yesterday to be exactly) saw the release of the full 4 song EP. Not that there was any doubt but the rest of the EP proves that "Christopher" wasn't some amazing fluke.

Beginning with the eponymous "Living in Armchairs",  the EP starts off very much like a warm up exercise with a very simple piano lines and Matty enters with his golden falsetto maintaining the intrigue and the cherry on top is right after a heavenly moment of harmonization, a drum slides in and propels the track into a more conventional direction. The fact that the track waits for 2 minutes before entertain even the slightest notion of poppy game-change is what makes the moment so sweet and fleeting. Almost as quickly as the drums enter, the tracks.

And just when you think you know what to expect from the rest of the EP, "I Can Change" begins - sounding very much like a spiritual, simplistic and beautiful, swimming in a sea of harmonies, "I Can Change" is perhaps the most unexpected surprise of the whole record. A track bound to completely dominate your every waking moment for the next couple days after listening to it.

On Living In Armchairs, Matty Fasano provides a set of tunes that are noticeably diverse and yet fit wonderously together. Each track feeling like an extension of the one before it. As I mentioned before in my review of "Christopher", Matty Fasano manages to elude any distinctly pop sound resulting in a truly emotional wallop (particularly in the aforementioned "I Can Change" and "Christopher"). Even when the drums enter on "Living in Armchairs", they don't decimate the slow build that came before it, making the moment feel truly earned. In just four short sounds, Fasano shows an astounding amount of versatility and talent. The only negative of the EP is that it's tragically short which is less of an actual flaw and more of compliment. I can only amount of time-consuming aural devastation that would occur if Fasano released a full length and yet, I couldn't want for anything more.

Listen to Matty Fasano's Living In Armchairs EP here. You can also buy the EP on Bandcamp.

If you're in the Manhattan area, make sure to come out to Matty Fasano's double release show with Friend Roulette for a guaranteed good time. Tickets available here.

Pitstop: Spanish Prisoners

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Every once in awhile your urge to see a particular band is so strong that you make a quasi-reckless trek to see them at a show where you have no idea who anyone else is on the program. That's what happened to me Sunday. When I heard Baltimore duo Lands & Peoples would be returning to Brooklyn for a one-off show it was less about who was playing with them and more about guaranteeing that I would be there front-row and center. That's how I was introduced to Brooklyn quartet Spanish Prisoners. I had heard them pretty much in name only from a variety of bloggers from Listen Before You Buy to I Guess I'm Floating so I already knew to expect something worthwhile.

What really won me over more than anything was the group's live energy - Spanish Prisoners are a band that you can tell enjoy themselves when they're performing. Which doesn't necessarily come out in most live bands who get onstage, do their set, and leave. But as I watched keyboardist Amberly Hungerford rock out dancing while she played along, it was pretty clear I would love this band long after the end of their set. The group also has a singing drummer which I am always on board with. And yet while it was their live show that endeared them to me, their music is nothing to balk it. Spanish Prisoners specialize in a sort of fully flushed out sound that a orchestral pop junkie like myself highly appreciates - although instead of a majestic string section or blaring brass, Spanish Prisoners fill their space with plenty of harmonies (four-part sometimes which is mighty impressive) and by giving each member something to do. Their full sound also jams pretty hard with some funky rhythms and such in tracks like "Cadillac From Yesterday" and "Downtown Chicagoland".

Get a taste of Spanish Prisoners with their debut album Gold Fools on Bandcamp and Spotify.

Also, here's my favorite track by them "Know No Violence" which has light touches of Le Loup's Family:


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Watch: OH MY! - "Sunshine In Your Eyes"

You may had never heard of OH MY! before but chances are that's about to change. Today the Swedish indie-pop quintet released the video for "Sunshine In Your Eyes" and it's pretty incredible. Directed by Heart-Sick Groans Henric Wallmark (who is completely responsible for me stumbling upon OH MY!) and Jerker Häggström, the video features two young girls who take over a pizza parlor offering special ingredients that have a pretty nifty effect on the consumer - uncontrollable dance. The girls' hijacked pizza place becomes increasingly popular as they feed patrons more and more of the special pizza and becomes a veritable dance party. Satisfied with the impressive amount of profits they've managed to make off the witless pizza proprietor, the two then slip out undetected to conduct a bit of shady business involving a back alley bicycle seller.

Watch OH MY!'s video for "Sunshine In Your Eyes":

Conveyor - "Mane"

Brooklyn rock quartet Conveyor are rapidly proving themselves as one of my favorite new bands this year - releasing the endlessly delightful "Mukraker" mere months ago and already following it with their brand new single "Mane" today, it's no doubt their eventual debut album is going to be a must listen.

"Mane" is a much-appreciated taste of warmer weather - built upon a balmy beach pop riff which plods on with a sort of easy-breezy casualty that's the very definition of infectious. On "Mane", Conveyor prove that they have an even more impressive set of tunes in them - a revelation that should be shocking considering how great their releases have been so far.

There's no word on the release date on their album yet but if Conveyor keep rolling out tunes like "Mane", I'd be content to wait for as long as they want. Enjoy "Mane":

You can download their brand new single for a pay-what-you-want rate on their Bandcamp as well as pre-order the not free but incredibly worth it 7" which comes with B-side "Maine". It's good stuff. Pre-order is available here.