Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Watch: Young Dreams - "First Days of Something"

For their second team up with director Kristoffer Borgli Norwegian orchestral pop rockers Young Dreams provide less of a music video and more of a short film. The video for "First Days of Something" begins very much like the one for "Fog of War" with the protagonist narrating a crucial point of drama through which the rest of the videos plot tries to extrapolate upon. In this instance, the narrator has just broken up with his girlfriend and debates moving away to go back to Australia with his family.

After settling on his major life decision, there rest of the scenes are a hodge-podge of listlessness; of scenes almost aimlessly without direction, seemingly random with nothing of real import happening in them. He visits his hangouts but has no real fun at them, parties with friends but doesn't appear to really enjoy being there. One of the main and most relatable instances is where he narrates how he wants to listen to one song as much as he can so that he can connect that song with how he is feeling at that very instant. It's why he plugs his iPhone into the turntable at a party, why he listens to it on his snowy rambles, or why it's on pretty much every single one of his electronic devices. It's responsible for one of the the few times we see him smile.

Borgli's piece is interesting in that Young Dreams' "First Days of Something" never plays all the way through. Various parts of it are played at different points and repeated almost ad naseaum before something happens to make the songs start again. Eventually the whole thing is heard but in bits and pieces, never occurring in a single continuous line. It's an interest concept for a music video - to have the song featured but not exactly highlighted. It becomes much more about the story than it is the music accompanying it. Seemingly content with his newfound singledom, the events soon spiral into a series of anger-soaked idylls as it's revealed he's much unhappier than he appears, his only solace "First Days of Something" which he repeats incessantly.

Young Dreams - First Days of Something from Kristoffer Borgli on Vimeo.

Young Dreams' debut full length Between Places is out March 5th in the US on Modular Records.

Watch: Little Tybee - "Boxcar Fair"

Georgia folk collective Little Tybee continue their recent onslaught of simple, one-shot videos from For Distant Viewing by revisiting "Boxcar Fair". For those unaware, around the release of Humorous to Bees, the band also raised money via Kickstarter to put on a puppet show by the name of Boxcar Fair, the work of Little Tybee frontman Brock Scott and artist Tom Hanley and though an official video was released for the "Boxcar Fair" single, Little Tybee felt it only apt to  give the single another look see.

Some elements from the original video remain in the new venture - namely the puppets built for the show. They sit front and center in this new video, slowly moving while the TV visualizer that'll tie all these videos together thrums along to the track. There's also a  cameo from Tom Hanley, way in the back hard at work who only looks up at the end when all the puppets have stopped moving. It's very Toy Story-esque and a reminder of just how awesome the single was the first time around for those that forgot or for the uninitiated.

Cast your peepers on the new video for Little Tybee's "Boxcar Fair":

Little Tybee's upcoming full length For Distant Viewing is out April 9th on Paper Garden Records. You can pre-order it here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Watch: Brazos - "How the Ranks Was Won"

Since my discovery of Brazos last year at a My Heart Is A Spade sponsored show featuring them, ARMS, and Port St. Willow I've logged a pretty decent amount of alone time with the 2009 debut Phosphorescent Blues. Enough to be completely thrilled with the prospect of new music but not enough to be in any particular rush for it. And it's a good thing too because after Martin Crane and crew wrapped up production in October, everything's been pretty mum about the album's release date. Until now. In addition to premiering the new single via a self-directed, self-filmed video, Brazos also released some album details. The sophomore record Saltwater will be out on May 28th on Dead Oceans.

While that seems like ages upon ages away, the single "How the Ranks Was Won" certainly makes the wait at least a little more bearable. It's slinkier and looser than any of the Phosphorescent Blues cuts without seeing too out of left field. The track is laid back, the band relaxed, the video quirky and fun. The concept a modern retelling of the subject of Crane's song: A tale of an old ship discovered by one of the descendants of its inaugural passengers.

You can read more about Crane's concept here.

(via Spin)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Watch: Tall Tall Trees - BreakThruRadio LiveSession

Sometime after meeting him at a Kishi Bashi concert last year, I stumbled upon the amazing music of Mike Savino better known as Tall Tall Trees. Last year he and band released the excellent follow up album moment and for some reason or another I never made it out to a show. Since our meeting and his record release show (which I missed because I am a bad, bad fan), Savino's been on the road with some rather impressive friends: most notably the dynamic powerhouses of Lucius and loop pedal maestro Kishi Bashi on his most latest headlining tour, lending a hand as a member of K.'s band.

That's sort of what's so wildly exciting about Savino's BreakThruRadio session. Getting to see several of the techniques he used to create a more lush and boisterous live sound with Kishi Bashi employed on his lonesome. On "Nothingless", Savino creates a beat by hitting the body of his banjo and looping it before accompanying himself by not by strumming his trusty banjo but by bowing it. It's the sort of endearingly simple but genius innovation that made me a fan of Tall Tall Trees in the first place. It's also the reason I'm kicking myself for not seeing the man either solo or with a band since my initial discovery. To think I've been missing out on awesome of this magnitude is more than a little depressing. In the session there's also little excerpts of two newer songs "How Did It Get Dark So Fast?" and "The Seagull and the Eagle" that sound absolutely incredible.

Don't be like me. If you have the opportunity to see Tall Tall Trees live, do it. I'm looking at you West Coast. As Savino has a couple dates over there opening for Kishi Bashi. Don't sleep on this. Do it, do it, do it!

And if you haven't, check out Tall Tall Trees' Bandcamp which features two excellent and remarkably different albums for your perusal.

Listen: The Cave Singers - "It's a Crime"

Yesterday when I wrote about the Cave Singers' new track "Easy Way", I hinted that there was certainly more than that track to be on the lookout for. It seems the Seattle folk rockers are getting a little antsy as they wait not only for their new album to street in about a week's time but also for their supporting tour to begin and are pretty much just throwing track after track into the void that is the fathomless trenches of the internet.

"It's a Crime" marks a noticeable change of pace in the direction of Naomi we've been subjected to. While "Have to Pretend" and "Easy Way" are light, jovial idylls, "It's a Crime" sees the mood darkening a bit, calling back to No Witch's occasional outlaw rock feel. It's rougher, tougher, and most assuredly more badass than the Naomi tracks we've heard thus far which adds a whole new dimension to what sounded like it was going to be a more light-hearted endeavor. An exciting development that continues to build on album release anticipation while also giving fairly no idea what to expect in terms of the overall mood and feel of the album.

If you don't feel like waiting for the official release date of the Cave Singers' fourth full length record on March 5th, you get an instantaneously download with any pre-order.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Listen: The Cave Singers - "Easy Way"

If you haven't been paying close attention to the Cave Singers since the initial album announcement chances are you've missed a couple things. One of the more important things being the Seattle folk rockers dropping tracks left and right (this is but a slight exaggeration). One of the tracks they sent out into the ether was "Easy Way".

"Easy Way", follows in the ramshackle, rambling ways of many of the Cave Singers other songs and even pairs pretty well with the first single from their upcoming fourth album Naomi "Have to Pretend". It's bright and somewhat summer-invoking without surrendering completely to beach pop tendencies. Unlike "Have to Pretend" which changes gears several times through, "Easy Way" is a straight shot of Cave Singers' brand of hang-out rock.

The Cave Singers' upcoming record Naomi is out March 5th on Jagjaguwar. If you pre-order it, you can download it instantaneously so do that.

Watch: Little Tybee - "The Boldest Lines"

And suddenly the flood gates are open. After the release of what might very well be the most perfect tour video for "For Distant Viewing", Atlanta chamber folk outfit Little Tybee are keeping the momentum going with another video for new track "The Boldest Lines".

Unlike "For Distant Viewing" which featuring sprawling fields and gorgeously shot nature footage as well as the band being their charming selves, "The Boldest Lines" is a remarkably different change of pace featuring the wacky dance stylings of a man known only as Cousin Dan. Despite it's rather simplistic one-shot there's actually a lot going on. Well, that's not entirely true. There's two things going on: There's a tv whose visualization is tied directly to the song and then there's so very much going on with Cousin Dan as he rises in his Batcave, disrobes, and suits up in what I can only assume/hope are his trademark digs.

Did I mention the starring track is amazing? I didn't? Well, it is. What seems to be the theme of the For Distant Viewing tracks is Little Tybee taking these expansive musical interludes that are really just highly enjoyable. That's not to say the tangents are more entertaining than the song proper, it's just nice to have this purely musical moments where they could be easily cut out for a more radio-friendly appeal. It's also another opportunity to showcase the amazing musicians Little Tybee have within their ranks. They're astounding together and band together to create this remarkable pop-tastic moments but it's nice that they're given moments to shine without having to worry about distracting from Brock Scott's lyricism.

Oh Little Tybee, I am smitten. Their third album For Distant Viewing is out April 9th on Paper Garden Records.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pitstop: Birthdays

                                                          (photo by Emily Reo)

"The Silent Barn is back!"

It's a exclamation I've heard a lot in a rather short amount of time as the Bushwick space made its triumphant return. Artists like Matty Fasano record albums there, art happens there, shows happen there. And that's more or less how I came to know about Boston's Birthdays. A random trip to the the Silent Barn website to see when a friend's band was playing and Birthdays caught my eyes based almost exclusively on name alone.

Thank heavens for that because the music of Birthdays' mastermind Sam Yager is exactly the breath of fresh air I needed. After feelings like I was pretty much listening to permutations of the same idea being spit out by band after band, Yager's sonic experiments were a pleasing change of pace. Layers of electronic fuzz give way to African-esque beats that eventually stabilize as something more than just mimicry on "Mating Falls". The very first track on his self-titled cassette, it was pretty clear the rest of the cassette would be a treat of interesting paths taken, decisions made, and good times had and Yager certainly doesn't disappoint.

Equal parts intricate layered bedroom experiments with a sunny psychedelic sheen and ear-catching pop moments and a wispy ethereal air ever present in the periphery, Birthdays manages to take a rather wide array of potential genre qualifiers and mixes them all together like a well-blended smoothie - no single influence or deviation making itself known; all sort of balancing upon each other to create this enjoyable, highly energetic, and engaging  label-less mass.

If you would so desire you can purchase the cassette here. For all others (non-tape collectors and what have you), you can buy the digital copy (which I strongly recommend!) on their Bandcamp here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pitstop: Plume Giant

I was so excited to see Kishi Bashi on his first NYC stop of the year that I pretty much forgot to check out his opener. It happens every once in awhile, mostly on purpose, where I'll deny myself any sort of prior listen so I can have my first experience be live. Brooklyn folk pop trio Plume Giant was definitely one of those bands I was glad I didn't check out ahead of time. 

Armed with incredible harmonizing talent and impressive jazzy vocal leanings, the real moment of wonder and awe happened about three or four songs into their set when Eliza Bagg and Oliver Hill whipped out a violin and viola seemingly out of nowhere. In addition to their incredible vocal talents, Plume Giant proved themselves skilled at the rather eclectic blend of instruments they brought: harmonium, keyboard, and guitars; in addition to the aforementioned strings. The trio sit right on the dividing line of folk rock and indie pop, pairing soul-stirring musical moments with explosive ear-catching embellishments and ornamentations. The wide majority of their songs seem like they very well could've gone a completely different direction than they often do and that's the fun. "B-Side Baby" starts off a delightfully understated lyric-led track before rising into a jubilant, raucous, almost asymmetrical rockier moment and finally settling in the middle ground.  

One of my favorite things about Plume Giant's performance was the rather unpredictable paths their songs would take. Rising furthermore when you think they'll come down, hitting notes you didn't expect but make so much sense after the fact. That night Plume Giant captivated and charmed, thrilled and excited. Exactly as a opener should. It's utterly exciting to be able to say a band is far better live than on record and Plume Giant is a perfect example of that. The theatricality of a narrative song like "Old Joe the Crow" perfectly fitting for an audience. 

If you have the chance to see Plume Giant live, I'd strongly recommend it but if you can't, their records are excellent placeholders. You can listen to them/buy them on Bandcamp

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Listen: Young Man - "In A Sense"

The time for Colin Caulfield's final album under the Young Man moniker is almost nigh and while that's most assuredly the biggest bummer, Caulfield intends to go out on a high note. The first single from the upcoming album Beyond Was All Around Me continues with the carefully constructed pop-drenched introspection of Vol. 1. Which is fitting considering each album is a closely related narration of Caulfield journey into adulthood. With it's more rocking pulse, the track establishes itself as separate from any of the Vol. 1 cuts while still recalling the talented arrangements that made that record so undeniably enjoyable. It'll be interesting to see the path Caulfield explores on the final installment of Young Man but if "In A Sense" is any indication, it's sure to be a interesting one.

Young Man's third (and final!) album Beyond Was All Around Me will be out April 9th on Frenchkiss.

(via Stereogum)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Watch: Little Tybee - "For Distant Viewing"

Turns out Atlanta folk pop collective Little Tybee took an extra two years not only to make tweaks to their upcoming third full length album but to film one of the most perfect tour videos I have ever seen. Or that's what I'm assuming because how else do you get what appears to be a year's worth of footage of being om the road through changing seasons and a myriad of locales without putting a little effort in? You don't.

In addition to the aforementioned visual perfection of band members and friends frolicking on beaches and meadows, swimming in waterfalls, and all sorts of awesome events Little Tybee do while hanging out and features a brand new track "For Distant Viewing". Brock Scott's trademark falsetto starts things off where it is otherwise earned and leapt into. It also features instrumentals fair more heavily than I think any Little Tybee song has before consisting mostly of evolving moods and jams with Scott's vocals and the band's accompanying harmonies taking more of a secondary role. There's also a drive-by musical quotation of new track "Mind Grenade". Basically in a rather short amount of time, Little Tybee gets your properly excited for their upcoming album with what functions as pretty fitting album teaser.

Watch Little Tybee's video for title track "For Distant Viewing"

Little Tybee's For Distant Viewing is out April 9th on Paper Garden Records. Mark your calendar and buy buy buy!

Listen: Salt Cathedral - "Take Me To The Sea"

Yesterday I introduced you to Brooklyn-based Colombian band Il Abanico and just a couple hours after the band changed their name to Salt Cathedral. Named after the Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira of core songwriters' Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada's homeland as a (hopefully) far memorable and easier to pronounce alternative, the name change also came with a bit of good news. The newly minted Salt Cathedral dropped their first new podt-name change single and it's glorious.

Establishing a whispy air with Juliana Ronderos mostly unaccompanied vocals before the tropical-inspired beats make themselves known, the track features a rather incredible build up. Each instrument - to the restrained drums, to the skittering progressive rock-recalling guitar riffs, combines together without overwhelming Ronderos' plaintive pleas or dislodging  the rather otherworldly atmosphere she invoked since het initial entrance. It's everything the band's known for (i.e. their incredibly clear melodic lines and balance) and then some. A brilliant debut single from Salt Cathedral.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Watch: Local Natives - "Heavy Feet" (La Blogotheque)

I'm not exactly sure when it happened but somewhere in the dead of night when no one was paying attention, California indie rock outfit Local Natives skyrocketed to indie fame. Enough to sell out three venues on a three day stopover in New York long before their new record even streeted and enough to inspire a special film by beloved music video creators La Blogotheque.

This video of Local Natives comes from a longer movie Soiree de Poche #32 that has Local Natives playing for a crowd of invited guests in a Parisian flat. There's more to come but it's immediately clear this one is special. Local Natives inspiring more than La Blogotheque's standard takeaway. I'm pretty darn excited to see the rest of this and sincerely hope they played "Breakers".

Local Natives sophomore record Hummingbird is out now on Frenchkiss Records.

Listen: Young Dreams - "First Days of Something"

Since the announcement of Norwegian orchestral pop outfit Young Dreams went live, I've been eagerly awaiting this moment. When we'd get another taste of their delight multi-layered jams and with their brand new single "First Days of Something", Young Dreams certainly don't disappoint. It's bouncy with a bright, sunny guitar licks that make you righteously pumped for warmer days.

With a dancier pulse, "First Days of Something" skirts more on the line of rock than their normal orchestral leanings and that's a-ok. Good to change up the formula every now and again. It also establishes Young Dreams as band full of anthems. Indie-pop's answer to the old school punk band; filled with their fair share of important things to say about youth just dressed up in crisp, clean pop rock suit and tie instead of fiery vitriol, breakneck speeds, and guitar pyrotechnics.

"First Days of Something" definitely accomplishes it's job of making you even more excited for the album than you thought possible. Luckily Young Dreams full length debut Between Places will be out  March 5th on Modular Records. Just 30 days away. Completely doable, right?

Pitstop: Il Abanico

It really says something when an opening band can captivate a whole room and will them into movement. Especially in a cynic city of discontent non-movers like New York City. And yet that's exactly what Brooklyn  by way of Bogota fivesome Il Abanico did at their most recent gig opening for Freelance Whales with Hundred Waters.

In a city where indie rock is the norm and hundreds of bands are pumping out things that sound incredibly similar to music that already exists, a band like Il Abanico is a revelation. Intricate and precise with ever-clear tight-knit grooves; tropical-infused percussion, and a intense sense of musicality that seems to burst out of vocalist Juliana Ronderos, Il Abanico are one of those all too rare bands that absolutely must be experienced live. Their live set leagues ahead of their only record: the Crossing Colors EP. Live, Ronderos takes on the daredevil-esque insistence of Raphaelle Standell-Preston of BRAIDS (particularly in "Plath Heart") or SoftSpot's Sarah Kinlaw. The band flittering away at breakneck speeds while maintaining a pristine clarity. Each member's path brightly illuminated; completely unobscured.

And yet despite the impressiveness of the band's pyrotechnic displays of virtuosity, Ronderos remains the group's emotional core. Providing a focus through the blustering stream of notes and drum hits and adding to the spirited technical maelstrom with a vivacious energy of her own. Here's hoping on their next record, Il Abanico can channel the showmanship and tight-rope-walk risk taking of their live set because anything less than that undersells the absolutely incredible band to those that should be into them. If not, at least we'll have have the live shows.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Watch: Friend Roulette - "On Her Own Tonight"

In a completely fair and just world, this year should be Brooklyn chamber pop sextet Friend Roulette's year. Each release since their debut self-titled EP has expanded on their brilliant pairing of lush, occasional dark-dwelling textures; their excellently plotted knowledgeable take on pop; their beguilingly unique instrumentals.  And as we get more peeks at their sextet's upcoming debut full length, it's clear that Friend Roulette has grown exponentially over a rather short period of time. Which is even more of an achievement for a band that started out so creatively structured.

In their brand new video for "On Her Own Tonight", directors pair Jordan Doig and Stephanie Gould pair the tumultuous track with stunning nature visuals as well as stunning modern dance fragments. As the track swells aggressively, the graceful, languid movements act as a rather appealing juxtaposition. There's occasional instances where the dancers mimic the track's mounting restrained chaos that really makes the pairing function well and not seem like a disjointed combination.

Their upcoming record I'm Sorry You Hit Your Head will be out April on Goodnight Records.

(via Consequence of Sound)