Friday, September 30, 2011

I Break Horses

It has only been a little more than a year since I've begun to understand the possibilities and revel in the beauty of shoegaze.  It can really be a mesmerizing genre, and like many styles of music over the course of time, artists make their small modifications to try and keep things fresh, interesting, and relevant.  Many of the founding shoegazers from the early '90s like Pale Saints, Slowdive, and Ride used heavy distortion and fuzzy textures to concoct dazzling sonic tidal waves, and it was incredible.  Now, with musical advancements and the rise of computers, artists have more and more options of playing around with electronics, something I Break Horses has gladly injected into the shoegaze formula with their album Hearts.  Released earlier this year, it covers all the bases for a shoegaze album; a multi-layered and lush blend of atmospheric qualities, and like many of it's kind, the singing withers into the background while powerful walls of sound take the front seat.  Helping carry much of these songs are ethereal synthesizers, giving the entire thing a dreamier vibe in contrast to My Bloody Valentine's grungy disposition.  It's a nice touch, and while it's no Loveless (well let's face it, nothing is), their delicately placed electronic supplements are a solid addition.  Not to mention, I am sucker for female vocals, and in this case Maria Lindén's voice is a fantastic complement to the surrounding melodies.  I've posted a few songs from the album below, so feel free to have a listen.  If you like 'em, you can find out more at their homepage.


Load Your Eyes


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Real Estate

Getting really excited for an album to come out must be one of the greatest feelings.  I love nothing more than hearing a few singles that just get you really amped, when you know deep down you're going to love the whole thing.  Another one of my favorite things in music is to see how sophomoric albums progress from the original success of a debut release.  When October 18th comes, I'll get a shot of both with Real Estate's forthcoming LP Days.  I simply cannot get enough of the guitar work in the two singles so far, "Green Aisles" and "It's Real".  The band seems much more sure of themselves, and more willing to tinker around with new sounds.  While "It's Real" is an uptempo pop jam, the newer "Green Aisles" (released last Friday) takes everything down a notch with pleasing and smooth interlays of guitar.  So far, both tracks have been winners, and I can only imagine what's to come mid-October.  Have a listen to them below, with a free download offered on SoundCloud for "Green Aisles", so be sure to scoop that while you can.

It's Real

Real Estate - Green Aisles by DominoRecordCo

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Peaking Lights

The husband and wife duo of Peaking Lights are from Wisconsin, but their music would suggest something else entirely.  Instead, this year's LP release of 936 is a collection of warm, bass-driven psychedelia...delivering more of a tropical atmosphere than a cold winter in the northern states.  Perhaps this is because they utilize echoic vocals backed by repeating drum loops, something that ultimately ends up sound like dub; a style of reggae that finds its cultural origins in Jamaica. With that said, the overall tone of the album is probably what you'd expect, laid-back with an intention to just chillllll.  With an average song length of 6 minutes, Peaking Lights allows you to get lost in each track, lulling you into a trance.  The layering of synths, bass, and guitar give a dreamy sense of surrealism, everything seems to sound like it's in slow motion.  To see what I mean, I've posted a few songs from 936 below, starting with one of the shorter songs "Key Sparrow".  Hope ya'll dig it!

Key Sparrow

All the Sun That Shines

Tiger Eyes (Laid Back)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


For quite some time now, M83 has been the master of his craft; producing '80s-synth inspired dream pop, which at times can mix in with something out of the early '90s shoegaze movement.  Anthony Gonzalez, who goes by M83, has a knack for attacking your ears with beautiful surges of sound.  I recently listened to his 2003 album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts and I was utterly shocked at how he pulls off so many dense layers of electronics, it's absolutely insaannneeeee, which I mean in the best way possible.  You get so lost in his journey that the entire thing almost becomes one ambient whole. A similar pattern continued with 2008's Saturdays=Youth, only with a greater emphasis on vocals.  His releases are simply massive, and now we must wait until October 18th to have a listen to his 22-song double release.  That doesn't mean we can't get a taste though; he has already dropped "Midnight City", which is doing a good job of holding me over for the real thing.  Although the track was released quite some time ago, what I also wanted to post about was the Alcala remix my friend showed to me other day.  It's a faster, uptempo version of the original, which does a good job of retaining the heart of the song.  Both are fantastic.  Below I have posted the original (in case you haven't heard yet) as well as the remix, so take a look at both, and be sure to snag the free download of the remix from SoundCloud.

Midnight City

 M83 - Midnight City (Alcala Remix) by Alcala

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mozart Parties

With the recent announcement of a 7" vinyl release for their single "Black Cloud" and a shout-out from NME Magazine as one of the 50 best new bands of 2011, Britain's Mozart Parties has attracted a good deal of buzz lately.  Although they only have two songs on hand, the growing popularity of "Black Cloud" is enough to spike curiosity and have people wonder where they'll go from here.  The song is delicately crafted in a Grizzly Bear-ish form of art pop, carefully constructed and sophisticated without becoming overwhelming.  The track also has a great build, being driven by a single guitar lick to start and culminating a heavier distorted chord pattern.  I've posted the song for your viewing below via SoundCloud, you can also check out their MySpace and Facebook.  Checckkkkk it.

 Black Cloud by Mozart Parties

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dirty Gold

The first track, "North", off of Dirty Gold's 2011 EP Roar starts you off with a simple steel-drum and kick combination, bringing to mind an afro-Caribbean style.  Simple, exotic, fun.  This is much of the same formula that Vampire Weekend used when they were first becoming known, and it's the first thought that comes to mind when starting Roar.  Yet as the EP continues, we start to see the two bands differ.  Whereas both still utilize an atypical, foreign style, Dirty Gold is more subdued, instead becoming a breathe-easy alternative to Vampire's high tempo.  "California Sunrise" hones in this tone with a lazy guitar riff and hypnotic congo beat, slowly pulling the audience deeper into the EP.  It's a great reminder that you don't necessarily need a massive wall of sound to create something good, rather it's Roar's simplistic approach that draws you in.  It's a great debut release, and I'm excited to see what they do on future LPs.  I've posted two songs below, "California Sunrise" and "Overboard", so I hope you guys dig 'em.  And if you do, make sure to show them love over on their MySpace or Facebook.

California Sunrise


Have a great weekend everyone, see you all again on Monday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Summer Camp

Pretty much everything the boy and girl duo Summer Camp does tries to instill some kind of nostalgia.  All you need to do is look at their marketing photos, which have a washed out Polaroid look, or the album cover of their 2010 EP Young, which displays something like a late-1970s prom scene. This sets up their music pretty ideally, which is definitely influenced from a few decades back.  Much of the music they make contains a bass-heavy 80s touch, tinged with new wave dream elements.  Some of the stuff they make can even be referred to as chillwave (such as last year's Round the Moon).  Yet with the release of "Better Off Without You", a single from their upcoming album Welcome to Condale, it looks like they're going after the former.  Instead of a hazier dream pop, the song is carried with a driving bass-line touched off with edgier and more piercing synths.  This is also true for "Probably Right", which was released alongside "Better Off Without You" (but doesn't show up on the Condale tracklist).  Another thing I like from both songs are the gorgeous female vocals from Elizabeth Sankey, who really has seemed to grow into a fantastic singer; the dynamic formed between her soft voice and the bumping bass sounds quite fantastic.  Check out both songs below, and watch out for Welcome to Condale on November 8th.

Monday, September 12, 2011

TV Girl

Last year, way back when, I wrote up a post on the Californian natives TV Girl and my excitement for a forthcoming EP.  Finally, that forthcoming EP is real, and it's called Benny and the Jetts.  It's a quick 4-song, 10 minute long compilation through sunshine indie pop, a niche that TV Girl have seemed to carve out well for themselves. During the end of the summer, I found myself cruising to the new EP constantly, and now with school starting it's done a good job having me hold on to the few precious warm days we have left.  The fast paced jangle ditties just may be the remedy for the onslaught of fall and winter. TV Girl also excels in another aspect, which is putting a happy spin on troubled relationships.  "She'll love you for an instant, but how quickly she forgets" is sung in "Benny and the Jetts", "we'll meet from time to time, but we'll soon find we have nothing to say" in "Your Own Religion", and even last year's "If You Want It (You've Got It)" tells the story of a hopeless romantic involved with a girl who takes advantage of him.  You would only find this heavy emotion lyrically, as their tone is instead bubbly and joyful, in a way telling their audience to fuck it and not worry, life goes on so enjoy it.  "We'll just 'hey, I don't like it', but I guess things happen that way" is sung in "Your Own Religion" to close out the EP, which just may be their way of bringing that comfort. It's that kind of positive energy that I have grown fond of in their music.  I've posted "Benny and the Jetts" and "Lizzy Come Back to Life" from this year's EP below.  If you like what you see, you can download the whole thing over on their Facebook fo' free.

Benny and the Jetts

Lizzy Come Back to Life

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile is a musician that everyone loves, but just may not know it yet.  The unfortunate fact is that if you go around asking people if they've heard of him, they'd probably say no (sucks for them). Yet I can also say that I have never shown Vile to someone and have them say they don't like it.  I mean it, not a single person.  This shouldn't be surprising though, as this year's Smoke Ring For My Halo is an astonishingly brilliant record, one of my favorites in a long time.  I can just see myself digging into my crate of vinyl 20 years down the road and throwing on Smoke Ring to everyone's pleasure; it's timeless and universal, playing like 1960s acoustic singer/songwriters yet attracting a present day indie following.  The music isn't too intense or dark, but it's not boring and slow either, but somehow he manages to compile dense layers of beautiful guitar picking and standout drumming alongside personal, identifiable lyrics.  So why shouldn't someone like it a decade or two from now?  The same applies to Vile's new single "The Creature", which will appear on his upcoming EP So Outta Reach, due out November 8th of this year.  The track is mellow and relaxed, playing more like a "Runner Ups" instead of the raw "Puppet To the Man" or upbeat "Jesus Fever".  If the EP is anything like Some Ring For My Halo or Square Shells before that, it should be an absolute winner.  So take a listen to "The Creature" below, and also take notice of the awesome album cover.

The Creature

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dumbo Gets Mad

Since the release of Elephants At the Door earlier this year, I've been quite surprised about how little buzz Dumbo Gets Mad has received.  After first hearing about them when I was abroad, I haven't seen anything about them since.  As the band's debut LP, I was very impressed to see the band take such daring steps in their music, and I thought more people would've noticed. Elephants is a very psychedelic and experimental voyage, taking direct influence from the trip-enhancing music of the '60s and applying modern twists.  It's extremely creative and fresh, which I also figured would help the release garner more attention.  Moreover, they're able to touch on a wide variety of tones, from the sun-soaked summer anthems of "Plumy Tale" and "Electric Prawn" to the drum-driven chill track "Marmelade Kids", as well as a mix of both in "You Make You Feel", which features a fantastic horn section that seemingly jumps out of nowhere.  I've posted a few songs below for you to check out, so if you like 'em be sure to hit them up on MySpace.  You can also Like them on Facebook.

Plumy Tale

Marmelade Kids

Friday, September 2, 2011

Jens Lekman

Well hello there webscape!  It's been quite a while since my last post, but with summer winding down and study abroad long gone, it's time to get back into the routine of posting.

Earlier this summer, I finally listened to the 2007 Night Falls Over Kortedala by Jens Lekman, an album I've been wanting to listen to for months. And for the last quarter of the summer, Kortedala grew on me quickly and soon found itself on repeat.  My timing couldn't have been much better, because shortly after my listening party it was announced that Lekman would be coming out with an EP called An Argument With Myself this year after being silent for about 4 years.  The accompanying self-titled single, "An Argument With Myself", was released with the news.  The song didn't disappoint at all, sticking to a lot of the same elements that Lekman has used prior.  His wordplay is creative and fun; and like usual he tells some kind of off beat story (A Postcard To Nina for example) backed with grandiose and catchy chamber pop.  You can check it out below, and keep an eye out for the EP comin' to the United States on September 20th.

An Argument With Myself