Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Back in 2008, I felt like the only person in the world who thought that Microcastle/Weird Era Cont. by Deerhunter was vastly overrated.  Everyone liked it; my friends, blogs, and music review sites.  Everyone, it seemed, except me.  I felt like an outcast, meandering through a chasm of consternation and reclusiveness,  awash in embarrassment.  What was wrong with me?  This is something I should be liking, isn't it?  Needless to say, when a release date of September 28th (yesterday) was announced for their new album Halcyon Digest, I was worried I'd follow in a similar pattern.  Yet, I knew I'd have to give it a shot.  Deerhunter has become one of the most recognizable and acclaimed names in indie music, and regardless of whether I liked it or not, the fact of the matter is that it would be a significant release.

For me, Halcyon Digest is a fantastic example of why everything should be approached with an open mind.  There will be no disagreement coming from me this time, I love it.  What I find interesting, though, is that Halcyon Digest still sounds distinctly Deerhunterish.  So therefore, how is it possible that a similar sound of something that I don't like could transcend itself into a new album that I find very enjoyable?  It's happened before, too.  Earlier this year, I almost passed up on listening to the new Beach House album Teen Dream because of my dislike of their previous album Devotion, only to have Teen Dream become of my favorite albums I've ever listened to.  This happened despite the fact that Teen Dream kept an incisive Beach House tone.

That's one of the things that intrigues me about music.  Sometimes I find that the smallest things can make the largest difference.  So while Halcyon Digest still sounds like a Deerhunter album, Bradford Cox and company toned down the garage-rock aspect of songs like "Nothing Ever Happened" and went for the dreamier rifts.  I find that this new album sounds much more like Cox's solo project Atlas Sound, which I liked much better than Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.  After a few listens to Halcyon Digest, the song that really stood out to me was "Desire Lines".  It's a very spacey song with some brilliantly layered guitar rhythms and a 3-minute rock out towards the end.  I also loved the song "Coronado", which has a great piano and horn section.  It sounds so loose and so energetic, using that underlying psychedelic saxophone in a way that The Doors used it in "Touch Me".  Below I've posted those two songs, "Desire Lines" and "Coronado", with more songs here for download.  The album is still fresh, only one day old!  Hope you guys like it.

 Desire Lines


Monday, September 27, 2010

Mid-State Orange

Much like Air France, Mid-State Orange is a complete mystery to me.  In 2006, they released their first and only album entitled Odds, and since then have done absolutely nothing.  What's strange is that their MySpace shows activity with their last login about a week ago, so someone is doing something.  But their MySpace says absolutely nothing about any future endeavors, and they've had the same songs posted for what seems like forreevvverrrr.  Also, they label their genre as "thrash/latin", which couldn't be further from the truth.  Then with self-descriptions stating that they believe in "democracy in principle and indulgence in practice; witchdoctors in hard times and feather boas in good", I can't help but mate?  Truth is, I don't know.

It's unfortunate, cause I would've been very interested in seeing what they released in the future (who knows, maybe they will release something).  It seems to me that they're talented enough, their lead singer Louis Richter was a member of The Lucksmiths, a relatively small band with a good sized cult following.  What I like is that Odds has a good amount of variety in it, which can speak to their range.  While overall they have a feel-good indie pop ambiance, songs like "Introduction to City Lights" carry a bass driven post-rock atmosphere like The Mercury Program.  They also experiment with a lot of different instruments, trying out violins and using synths in a variety of ways.  Perhaps, just like their MySpace, they're just having fun doing their own thing.  But like I said, I really have no clue.  It's a mystery.  You can check out "Introduction to City Lights" and "Rivers" below, with further downloads here.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Air France

Air France is probably the second biggest tease in music, second only to Dr. Dre's new album (which will probably come out when I'm 30 and don't give a shit anymore).  Air France have only released two EPs in their musical career thus far, resulting in a grand total 10 songs between the two.  In 2006, they came out with On Trade Winds, while in 2008 they came out with No Way Down.  This means that for the past year and a half or so, I've been listening to about 40 minutes of the same stuff.  40 minutes of music between two releases to sum up a career.  Why would they dangle such incredible music in front of me, only to not give more?  Torturous!

The problem is that I can't even complain, cause the stuff they put out is really, really, really good.  In terms of indie electronic bands, I put them up there with the Cut Copys and Passion Pits of the musical soundscape. So when I first heard that they may be releasing a new album this year, I was absolutely ecstatic.  Finally!!  A new album from Air France!!  Since that fateful day, I haven't been able to find that webpage again.  It's almost like it disappeared from the face of the earth.  I've frantically tried searching for any new information I could find on them, but it has all turned up empty.  No information on anything new, no information on any future endeavors.  Truth is, they're a complete mystery to me.

But like I said, I can forgive them, cause I truly love the music they put out.  On Trade Winds carries a Caribbean theme about it, with tropical-dance elements that have a very unique sound.  It's very bubbly, summery, and upbeat...immensely catchy.  No Way Down is very similar in terms of its upbeat nature, but ditches the tropical ingredients that made up On Trade Winds, instead it's much more the mainstream dream dance.  That's the best way I can describe No Way Down, a dream.  Once I'm done listening to it, I feel as though I've awoken from a fantastic dream and I'm ready to take on the day.  "Collapsing At Your Doorstep" probably says it best, that it's "Sort of like a dream"..."No, better."

Below I have posted two songs, "No Excuses" from No Way Down and "Karibien" from On Trade Winds.  Since there is not much of it, I've posted both albums here for you to download.  I will be away from a computer this weekend so there probably won't be another post  until next week.  So I hope you enjoy what I leave you with.  Happy weekends everyone!

 No Excuses


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Heartbeat Hotel

I was first introduced to Heartbeat Hotel this summer during late night tree house sessions.  On given weekdays when people went to sleep early for work, those who chose to resist slumber entered the "tree house".  We'd just hang out and enjoy the tranquility that the evening had imparted upon us.  Part of this soothing experience included two important components; a set of portable iPod speakers and of course, an iPod.

On one of these evenings my friend put on the album Fetus Dreams by Heartbeat Hotel, and it fit the mood perfectly.  Not a single person complained as the whole album played through its entirety.  Eventually, Heartbeat Hotel became a pretty common fixture to the late night tree house experience.  Since the summer, its beauty has since been carried beyond that of the 2 AM dominion.  Now, I listen to it all the time.  It's another band that's emerging from what's become a melting pot of musical ingenuity and imagination, Montreal.

My personal favorite is the song "Windowsill 1", which has an incredible build-up of instruments that crescendos with a superb horn section towards the end of the song.  This, mixed in with the warm and affectionate lyrics, gives the song a magnificently intimate atmosphere.  "Windowsill 1", like a majority of their songs, effortlessly blankets you with delicate melodies and soft synth grooves.  Meanwhile, some songs (like "Polar Bears" and "Fins of a Shark") reach out to the shoegaze love I've been digging lately.  As a culmination, it really has a special niche in the music scene, and I wish them the best moving forward.  Below I have posted "The Hello Barrel" and "Windowsill 1" from their 2010 debut album, Fetus Dreams. Best part?  You can download the whole album entirely free on their Bandcamp page, located here if you're interested.

 The Hello Barrel

 Windowsill 1

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Many different forms of hip-hop were becoming exposed nearly two decades ago.  You hear about early east coast hip-hop and you think of A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, or Biggie.  West coast saw 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, and N.W.A., while Outkast, UGK, and Goodie Mob are largely responsible for the southern hip-hop movement.  Yet if you were to approach someone and ask them to name a Canadian hip-hop crew from the early '90s, chances are you'll be received with a blank face.

That's because Canadian hip-hop is relatively new, and it's getting harder and harder to ignore it with the emergence of Drake, K'naan, and Classified.  Another one thrown in there is Shad, who hails from London, Ontario.  Not many people know about Shad, but that's because his songs don't get much radio play.  One reason is because he doesn't brag how many chicks he can get, how many drugs he can put into his body, or how heavy the bling around his neck is.  Instead he sings on politically conscious issues he cares about, kickin' back and relaxing, or women that actually matter to him.  He is able to do all this while exerting a smooth confidence about his talents, which isn't overdone.  Also, his beats aren't epically synthed out with massive bass thumps.  Most of his songs are driven by acoustic guitar loops and a drum set, it nearly sounds like a different genre, perhaps "acoustic-rap"?  This is especially evident in his 2005 album When This Is Over.

Don't let this turn you off from Shad though, he is an immensely creative and talented rapper.  Unfortunately, it's not the type of rap you can throw on at something like a frat party.  Instead, to me it sounds like Ben Harper's acoustic strumming with some rap over it, great for outdoor bummin' and casual lounging.  Shad not only shows creativity through his music, but also his music videos.  On his most recent album TSOL, released May 25th of this year in Canada, Shad draws huge inspiration from the Pharcyde and their music video "Drop" (which is also a kick-ass song) for his video Rose Garden, which is not only a fantastic song, but a pretty sweet music video.  You can see the Pharcyde shout out at the end of the video:

Shad also has some excellent tracks on his 2005 album When This Is Over, on these you can definitely hear the acoustic elements where he seems influenced by 1991's Nice & Smooth.  It's cool to see the creativity within the tracks and the unique nature of his persona.  He's not out to show off or pretend, but instead is down to earth and you get the true feel for who he is as a person, making it easy to relate to him.  In the end, he just seems like the kind of guy you'd wanna chill with.  Below are "I Get Down" and "Rock to It" from When This Is Over.  If you like what you hear, there are some additional downloads available here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blackbird Blackbird

Blackbird Blackbird is another recent addition to the growing chillwave surge that is hitting the indie scene.  Their angle on chillwave differs slightly from the previous post on Ducktails.  While Ducktails obviously has some pretty prominent synth use, a large majority of the songs clearly implement acoustic guitar.  On Blackbird Blackbird's newly released LP, Summer Heart, that sort of instrumentation is pretty much absent.  The album is almost entirely comprised of synth beats; the kind of music my parents would hate, who are used to the traditional way of making music.  It's a new time though, and now all you need is a computer to make a sweet song.

Summer Heart has all the catchy and synthy goodness that you can want, channeling celestial beats that are meant to bring you back to the lazy days of summer.  It's all tied together with ethereal and spacey lyrics that are so completely echoed and reverbed that you can barely hear a word they're saying.  It's pretty sick...if that's what you're in to (I've met some people who can't stand the stuff).  It kind of reminds me of a cool summer night as fall approaches, people adorned in flannel, a nice campfire going, and good company.  Below are the tracks "Hawaii" and "Dreams I Create" from the July release of Summer Heart.  Also, to try something new, I have posted a few more songs from that album on Mediafire.  So if you like what you hear, you can click here to download.  Hope you enjoy!


 Dreams I Create

Sunday, September 19, 2010


On Sundays, I like doing absolutely nothing.  I consider it my ultimate day of rest.  A typical Sunday afternoon involves the usual predicament of wanting to hibernate in my bed while watching football all day, but also wanting to listen to music.  This can be difficult due to my desire to listen to the commentary.  Recently, I have been finding one of my solutions to this dilemma is throwing on the album Bewitched by Luna.

Luna is the reconstructive effort of Dean Wareham, who is the lead singer of the popular late-'80s band Galaxie 500 that disbanded in 1991.  In 1992, Wareham recruited a talented group of musicians (including a drummer formerly of The Feelies, another successful '80s band) and released Lunapark, which sparked the release of a very impressive string of albums.  Bewitched is the 1994 release, which preceded their 1995 release of Penthouse.

Luna never got the mainstream success of a lot of the other early '90s rock bands (like Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins for example), but their albums were still very well received.  Rolling Stone even mentioned Bewitched in their 1995 list of "essential albums".  But as what happens with time, fads fade; and people moved on from the alt-rock era to the more poppy bands of say...Blink-182 and The Backstreet Boys.  Following this switch, Luna was forgotten against the more mainstream bands.

Still, Luna stands as a very legitimate and bona fide band of that early '90s era.  It's very easy to listen to, it has a kind of soft dream-rock sound to them with some great interplay between the dueling rhythm guitars. It's not a harsh sound at all, which is why it's perfect for my football Sundays.  The music almost becomes like an ambient sound, and I tend to get lost in it, which enables me to concentrate dually on the game and the music.  That's why it's great for other things, such as doing homework or driving home late at night, utilizing it's calming nature to allow you to just sit back and relax.

Enough writing, I know the last thing people want to do on Sundays is read.  Below I have posted two tracks from their 1994 album Bewitched, "California (All the Way)" and "This Time Around"....hope you enjoy:

 California (All the Way)

 This Time Around

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Miami Horror

In the summer following my freshman year of college, I was introduced to a (then) relatively small band by the name of Passion Pit.  I had somehow come across the song "Sleepyhead", loved it, and moved on to Chunk of Change.  About a month later, Manners was released and it instantly became a favorite of mine.  It wasn't long after I had fostered my infatuation for Manners that I developed an unhealthy obsession with In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy, literally overplaying the shit out of it (and still loving it).  The discovery of these two bands helped me recognize just how much I enjoyed the modern indie-electronic scene.

Ever since then, I've been searching...waiting...for a new band or album to come out that could possibly live up to the aforementioned records.  Miami Horror, a newly emerging Australian electropop band, just might be scratching the surface of those expectations.  On August 20th of this year, they released their debut album Illumination.  As an album in its entirety, it's not as good as either Manners or In Ghost Colours, but they certainly show flashes of fantastic music making ability.  They're also slightly different.  Where as In Ghost Colours draws heavy influence from the '80s synth-pop era of music, Illumination goes back a decade or so earlier, infusing huge elements of mid-'70s disco and house.  Still electronic, still dance, but a different feel.  What I've heard is enough to make me excited for their future endeavors, and I'll be sure to keep my eye on them.  Don't take my word for it though, below I have posted what I found to be two of the better songs on the album; "Sometimes" and "Holidays".  Have a listen:



Friday, September 17, 2010

The Radio Dept.

Earlier this year, The Radio Dept. absolutely floored me with the release of their new album Clinging to a Scheme.  My love for the album spurred a desire to explore more within the shoegaze genre, and I can now say that I officially blame The Radio Dept. for my recent addiction to some of the godfathers of shoegaze like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Slowdive.  Even more recently, that early-90s shoegaze listening spree has spilled over into the '90s alt-rock scene where Guided by Voices reigns supreme (their albums have been spinning on my iTunes non-stop).  This is all thanks to The Radio Dept.  Although they don't get the recognition that the aforementioned bands receive, it holds a special spot in my heart nonetheless for the door it opened for me.

And now, continuing on their successful LP earlier this year, The Radio Dept. released yet another single two days ago.  These guys are on a roll...they can't write a bad song!  The song is called "The New Improved Hypocrisy".  It's not completely new, though.  The song has been played at their live shows before and bootleg copies have been released.  As of two days ago though, the song is now recorded, mixed, and released as a legit single.  It sounds fantastic, it's a great continuation of what they tried to do on Clinging to a Scheme and has some obvious political themes.  This isn't new of course.  The Radio Dept. has indulged themselves in controversy before and haven't been shy about expressing themselves; it's only within the first 20 seconds of their hit single Heaven's On Fire that they sample "I think we should destroy the bogus capitalist process that is destroying youth culture".  On top of all this, the single "The New Improved Hypocrisy" was released 4 days before the Swedish elections.  Coincidence?!  Hmmmm....

Therefore, the single seems fitting, and it's pretty damn good to boot.  Below is the track that I've uploaded from Soundcloud.  If you decide you like it, the best part is that you can download it for free here.  Thanks Radio Dept.!

 The New Improved Hypocrisy - The Radio Dept.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Landscapes - Ducktails (2009)
In 2009, Matt Mondanile continued his solo project under the name of Ducktails.  The album released, Landscapes, contributed to the ever-growing genre of chillwave that has began to emerge in the indie scene.  Landscapes is pretty consistent with the genre, using dreamy soundscapes that seem to reflect the innocence of and casual nature of experiencing summer as a teenager.  It's laid back and very easy to listen to - hence the genre "chill"wave.  Needless to say, as someone who still is able to experience summers of freedom, this genre, and album have managed to strike a chord within me.  Below is a great track from that album.
 Landrunner - Ducktails

Interestingly enough, Mondanile's form of chillwave on Ducktails was largely instrumental.  This changed a week or two ago when he released his single "Hamilton Road" from an upcoming EP.  It continues with the relaxed nature he possessed on the last album, this time adding lyrics.  I am very impressed with it, it's catchy but also reminds me to take a breather, sending me vibes from the recent summer.  I haven't been able to obtain an audio file of it yet, but luckily, it is on YouTube.  I have posted the link below.  It's definitely worth a listen.

Hamilton Road by Ducktails

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Started

I am no music expert, I don't claim to be one.  When it comes down to it, I am just a junior in college who has a passion for music exploration.  Like movies, I believe in the true power of music and the hold it has on people.  That is my reasoning for creating a blog; I want to do what I can to spread music to other people.  Even if I end up being followed by two people, it'll be a great place to get thoughts and ideas down and open to the public.  I am not expecting everyone to like what I put down, that would be has too much of an expansive range to fit everyone's niche.

I've noticed that many music blogs focus on new music that is coming out.  With this blog, I am not only going to write about new albums or songs, but hope to expose people to some of the music from the '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s.  That's the greatest part, though.  There is so much music!  The list is never ending!  There are always new discoveries and an almost infinite list of albums and genres to explore.

With that, I hope you enjoy this blog.  I will do my best to keep it entertaining and updated on a semi-regular basis.  If you have any musical suggestions/comments, or critical suggestions/comments, please feel free to contact me.  I'd love to hear what you say!