Monday, October 31, 2011

Twin Sister

One of the main things that has captivated me about Twin Sister is Andrea Estella's voice.  Whether it's intertwined in lo-fi harmony with    "Nectarine" or presented in a purer form like "Lady Daydream", she finds a way to mesmerize me. In Heaven, released on September 27th of this year, highlights her vocals beautifully.  While the band's first EPs show her off in a slower, dreamier format, the new album includes more electronic elements, helping display her range.  The record itself also shows a slight change in direction, achieving a more '80s tone.  It uses these elements to create a more laid-back, lounge feel instead of having a high-energy synth atmosphere.  The production on In Heaven is also key; it sounds very clean and crisp, making the whole arrangement sound smooth and glassed over.  Take a listen to "Daniel" and "Stop" from the record below.  Hope ya dig it!



Friday, October 28, 2011

Dillon Francis

It's the Friday before Halloween weekend, so naturally the nation's youth are drinking heavily and making terrible decisions around basically every university the country offers.  I don't want to cut into party time, so I'll keep it short.  Since it is such a big weekend, I figured I'd drop some high energy techno on ya'll: the new single "I.D.G.A.F.O.S." by Dillon Francis.  I thought it'd be appropriate given the meaning of the acronym; I Don't Give A F*ck Or Sh*t, the current mindset of many a college student.  It's a pretty whacky song, one that took a little for me to grow into, but it's danceable and has a few nutty dubstep drops...eventually I gave in.  Check it out on SoundCloud below.  Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone, see you next week!

Dillon Francis - I.D.G.A.F.O.S. by DILLONFRANCIS

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mazzy Star

It's been 15 years since alt-rockers Mazzy Star have released an album, and 18 years since the surprise single "Fade Into You" made a splash on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  With the song's success, the band was able to land a platinum ranking for So Tonight That I Might See, probably the strongest album in their arsenal to date. After a few mini-tours and a performance for Bert Jansch's birthday in the 2000s, Mazzy Star is finally back in the studio making an album.  Their new one is due out in the early half of 2012.  As a huge fan of early '90s alternative rock, this is exciting news. Whether or not it will live up to their earlier releases is yet to be figured out, but they've already given us a taste with the singles "Lay Myself Down" and "Common Burn". Both are slow, dreamy, country-tinged tracks...supported of course with lead-singer Hope Sandoval's ethereal vocals.  Hopefully there's more with these came from!  Take a listen to "Lay Myself Down" below to see what you think.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Jungle Giants

"Mr. Polite", The Jungle Giants' debut single, is further evidence of the great music coming out of Australia.  The jangley guitar rhythms, mixed with some elements of Vampire Weekend afrobeat, are a great introduction into the musical world for a band fresh out of high school.  It's an addicting little pop ditty, one that catches your ears and pulls you in to listen closely.  "Mr. Polite" is nothing new, experimental, or unheard; but it's the song that turns your head and makes you say, "I like this, who sings it?  Have I heard this before?"  It's fun and cheerful, making it difficult not to grow an adoration for it.  The band is also known for a great stage presence, so while they embark on a tour of the eastern Australian coast I'm sure they'll garner more and more acclaim.  Check out the single "Mr. Polite" below, where you can also download it for free from their Bandcamp.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wowser Bowser

Wowser Bowser is doing the best they can to come out with a bang, dropping an energetic near 6-minute dance single to promote their upcoming debut release with Adair Park Records.  The trio consisting of George Pettis, Jake Thomson, and Joe Crabb are a young group of indie rockers taking us on a journey through the scope of an electropop lens with "Water Story", the first track on their future album.  Bowser demonstrate a promising skill on the song; the ability to change tempo and manipulate textures multiple times within one cohesive structure. The result is a crazy good build to the song's climax, which can only be fully appreciated when listening to the whole thing from start to finish.  It's a great first impression for a band readying their debut.  I've posted "Water Story" below, and if you like what you see head over to their Bandcamp to grab it for free (along with the accompanying "October").  Thank you to Wowser Bowser for sending over the track!

 Wowser Bowser - Water Story by Adair Park Recordings

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

King Krule

Earlier this month, King Krule (who used to go by the name of Zoo Kid) released a single from his upcoming EP, King Krule.  The song, which is going to be the closing track, is called "The Noose of Jah City", and it sounds surprisingly mature for Krule's age.  Archy Marshal, his real name, is only 17 years old.  I was surprised to hear this, not only because he sounds much older, but because his lyrics carry a deeper insight than I would expect from someone so young.  The song isn't a downer though, instead just reflective.  The slow backing drums and dreamy guitar echoes give a sense of mystery, and the song is simple enough to give Marshal's pensive vocals the spotlight.  Check out the SoundCloud below, and watch out for the EP coming your way November 8th.

King Krule- The Noose of Jah City

Monday, October 17, 2011

Guided By Voices

When I first developed interest in starting a blog, my initial intention was to occasionally include posts from older bands or albums as well.  This hasn't really happened; but my obsession with Guided By Voices has warranted a second attempt at this goal.  I also figured it was appropriate since I had just finished listening to 1992's Propeller, which is their earliest release I've listened of theirs thus far. This LP is pretty important for them; not only was it their breakthrough album, but it was a fantastic set up for Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, two of the most crucial albums in the history of 90s indie rock.  And it's true, Guided By Voices (lead singer Robert Pollard in particular) really are musical geniuses, gathering inspiration from a multitude of sources: rock, punk, name it, they can be loud and obnoxious or soft and relaxing.  Ultimately, they became pioneers in lo-fi, a style of music characterized by distortion alongside background noise most similar to a "tape hiss"; in other words, GBV sound like they could've been recorded in someone's garage.  That's part of their appeal though, their musical is incredibly pure, raw, and genuine.  It's classic style rock at its best, just a bunch of dudes jamming to the tunes that they love, and you can tell they're having fun doing it.  Another quality that makes GBV unique are the way they set up their recordings; most songs don't even clip the two-minute mark, and so you have albums that are jam-packed with ideas. Alien Lanes contains 28 songs, Under the Bushes Under the Stars has 24, and Mag Earwhig! has 21.  The variety of music that can be covered in 28 songs if astonishing, and GBV are the masters of that craft. Today, they still play live shows together, and while they may be older than 50, they still party like rock stars.  Pollard is notorious for drinking straight from the bottle during their concerts:

GBV are another example of a band more widely recognized as time goes on, it wasn't until 2001 that they even charted on the Billboard #168.  Yet, as long as they get the recognition they deserve at some point, I suppose it'll suffice.  Nowadays, some of the original limited edition vinyls of Propeller are sold for thousands of dollars. That's definitely giving them some props.  I've posted some songs below to show what they're all about.  Take a gander at a few of them, it won't take long...they're only two minutes each.

I Am A Scientist (from Bee Thousand)

My Valuable Hunting Knife (from Alien Lanes)

Quality of Armor (from Propeller)

Rhine Jive Click (from Under the Bushes Under the Stars)

As We Go Up, We Go Down (from Alien Lanes)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

John Maus

I feel like what a lot of John Maus does flies under the radar.  Earlier this year I was heavily into his 2007 LP Love Is Real when, without any notice, I read on Drowned In Sound that he had released a new album.  I attribute this to two possible factors; either I just blatantly missed any press about the album, or his fan-base is limited to a very concise population.  Maus is kind of a cult figure, occupying a distinct following with his off-kilter tendencies (he may be the only artist I've heard of that is happy to see record stores disappearing).  Maus is also the creator of some very interesting music.  He's short spoken, rarely using lyrics and instead letting his insanely bass-heavy '80s synth melodies take over.  When he does sing, most of the time it's either drowned out in distortion or his deep, peculiar voice makes an important statement...a lot of the time in the most cryptic ways.  It's not radio friendly in the least, and would immediately turn off a large percentage of listeners.  Most people expect simple, identifiable, and upbeat rhythms - that's why those songs are on the radio, it's easy to pick up.  Maus, though, is a perfect example of how warranting an artist multiple listens is so crucial, because that's when you really start to see his magnificent musicianship.  This can really be seen this year's We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, where he really demonstrates his range.  At first listen, it may seem like Maus overdosed on cheap synth tricks, while in truth he touches upon a large spectrum of moods and melodies.  "Cop Killer" is dark and foreboding whereas "Matter Of Fact" is surprisingly blunt and playful.  Maus's brilliance really gets to show through on "Hey Moon" though, arguably the highlight of the album.  Driven by piano instead of bass, we also get great insight into his lyrical ability.  One of the most talkative songs I've heard from him, "Hey Moon" establishes a definitive atmosphere alongside creative symbolism.  Take a listen to it below, and to give you an idea about his '80s style, I have also posted "Head For the Country"...both from We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves.

Hey Moon

Head For the Country

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Inspired and the Sleep

This one comes to you from Max Greenhalgh, who has kindly sent me his single "While We're Young" from his album Teenager, which was released earlier this summer for his "revolving musical project" called Inspired and the Sleep. Greenhalgh draws a lot of inspiration from a recent rise in bliss beat, which has recently been shown appreciation with such releases as w h o k i l l by the's kind of like a crazy mix of freak folk, lo-fi, and maybe even some hip-hop influence.  When I first listened to "While We're Young", the band Rafter also came to mind, another group whose melodies seem so loosely tied that the songs almost sound like improvisation.  Greenhalgh seems to follow suit, allowing his desire to experiment with different sounds and instruments mix with a certain playfulness.  Similar to the bands like tUnE-yArDs and Rafter, "While We're Young" is driven by catchy loops which continue to layer upon themselves.  Take a listen below, where you can also snag it for free!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Skai Nine

Who doesn't love free music?  It's probably one of the greatest gifts there is, and it's always made better when it's actually good (and legal).  Sites like SoundCloud and Bandcamp are just full of it; you can browse for hours just sifting through the plethora of options, occasionally coming up with some great finds.  Skai Nine, an electronica group from Maryland, is one such band that I'm happy to have stumbled upon.  On October 4th, only two days ago, they released a new single which includes "Indigo" and "Pulse", both of which are instrumental bumpers...uptempo and incredibly catchy.  They label themselves as chillwave, and while this is partly true, it must be one of the dancier chillwave songs I've heard in awhile.  They certainly don't hold back from a strong, steady beat.  I've posted "Indigo" from their SoundCloud below, and if you dig it be sure to hit up their Bandcamp to get both songs completely free of charge.  Awesome.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Drew Smith

For some odd reason, the weather at my school decided to take a turn for the worse.  One day I'm running around in my tank top, and the next it's raining with a 20 degree drop in temperature.  It's time like these I resent biking to class, when I'd much rather stay indoors and avoid the cold, windy downpour.  That's where Drew Smith's "Love Teeth" comes into a play, his new single from his upcoming LP The Secret Languages.  It's a wonderful, slow-burning, introspective look into the complexion of relationships and the confusion involved.  "Come back to me to find that words have another way...come back, oh why'd you come back time and time again?" is asked while a wistful arrangement of strings and backing pianos carry Smith's higher-pitched vocals along beautifully.  The track uses those folk undertones much in the same way that Sun Kil Moon does with songs like "Carry Me Ohio", subdued country with a healthy dose of rock elements. Smith's voice is also reminiscent of Sun Kil Moon's lead singer Mark Kozelek, very relaxed and reflective, helping make "Love Teeth" a tranquil rainy-day piece.  For his upcoming album, an old student of his (Smith gave up teaching to pursue his passion for music) Sohee Jeon created a fantastic video to accompany the song, which can be viewed below.  So check out the song and animation, then be sure to head over to his Bandcamp and personal homepage to grab it!  Also, keep an eye out for The Secret Languages over the next few months.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs have proven themselves to be a group of fantastic songwriters.  On this year's Slave Ambient, they do a great job of mixing psychedelia with americana to create something so open and spacious.  Due to this, it feels like the perfect road-tripping music; it's hearty and based in classic roots rock, throw on any track and you're good to cruise.  Part of this is due to how widespread it sounds, each little accent carries it's importance in every sounds as big as the American heartland. All the tiny guitar twangs, harmonicas, and piano chords can be heard distinctly without becoming too loud and overwhelming.  Instead, they hide deeper in the song, becoming the aspects that secretly drive it forward.  The fact that there are so many clear, audible layers without too heavy of a feel allow for such an expanse. For example, the backing piano on "It's Your Destiny" about a minute a half into it is one of the best highlights of the album.  It may seem like a insignificant detail, but without it's addition the song would be way more bland.  This help gives it character, an ability demonstrated by the band throughout.  So for any fans of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, or Wilco (perhaps a combination of all?), this is definitely worth a listen. Below I've posted "Brothers" as well as "It's Your Destiny" for your listening pleasure.


It's Your Destiny