Archive for June 2010
There is something incredibly humble about Julian Lynch whether it’s in person (possibly one of the nicest and down to earth musicians I’ve ever met) or in his music. There’s a line between tenderness and spirituality in his songs that are so carefully crafted you don’t know where the boundaries are. Touching on psychedelia, world music, and indie lo-fi, Lynch is successfully using his knowledge from his ethnomusicology studies in Wisconsin on his latest album, Mare. The album drops on June 28 and I simply cannot wait for it to be available for everyone. It’s more than safe to say that this is one of the most gorgeous albums I’ve heard all year. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up in my top 20 albums for 2010 either.
Using a variety of layers that bring you into a hazy yet comfortable cloud of melodies and textures, Mare is exquisite from beginning to end. Just take a listen to the track, “Stomper,” below and get blissfully lost.
It’s a bit hard to believe Jamie Lidell used to be an artist who made such hard-hitting experimental music that was so out there he basically wore black garbage bag-like outfits on stage to accompany his avant-garde sound. However, we also knew that he liked to incorporate vocal percussion (that’s beat boxing for all you folks who didn’t know there was an actual term for that) so it wasn’t much of a surprise when his sound dramatically shifted more toward the soul elements.
It’s always kind of sad when an artist’s older material is forgotten but, personally, I didn’t really get into Lidell until he released Multiply which spawned groovy tunes such as “When I Come Back Around” and “What’s the Use?” Then Jim gave me one of my favorite jams, “Little Bit of Feel Good.” He’s since then returned with Compass, which unfortunately slightly let me down (I’m hoping it grows on me though.) However, “I Wanna Be Your Telephone” is one of the hot tracks so I’m glad he made a video for it.
The basic components for this clip only include a red curtain, a gal scantily dressed up in a 50s pin-up two-piece and a telephone, but knowing Lidell for things such as his dancing make it an interesting watch. Check the video out and grab an older track, “Figured Me Out” below!
There is no escaping the magic of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. They’re a massive band and I’m not just talking about their size in regards to how many band members they cram on stage. Despite numerous people up there, Edward Sharpe and his gang are not Canadians. They’re based right out of Los Angeles, but they’ve been everywhere. They’ve been on tour all over the States and Europe, have been scheduled to play at every summer festival and are also in every other TV show or commercial.
Sharpe (aka Alex Ebert) who is also a part of the band Ima Robot, has this contagious spirituality that turns all his listeners into very happy hippies. (Grumpy hippies do exist. They’re the ones who complain.) Perhaps it’s the fact that he slightly resembles Jesus, but songs such as “Home” get people moving like they’re dancing at the original Woodstock.
I’m assuming everyone has heard the song, ‘Home” by now so I’m offering a pretty rad remix of the track by RAC (Remix Artist Collective). This collective has done remixes of songs from everyone such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tokyo Police Club, Hockey and more. What I like best about them is that their remixes add on elements instead of completely swallowing the original sound; they actually make the songs lighter instead of heavier or darker.
Check their remix out below. It’s been around for a while but I’m not one to be concerned about racking up the hits on this little ol’ blog of mine with songs the second they come out. If I like something, I’ll share it with you when I feel you need to hear it and now is the time you need to hear this track. Enjoy!
There are so many odd business partners these days. I never thought Mountain Dew would be responsible for putting music out by Neon Indian or Chromeo but then Green Label Sound exists. There’s also the time I went to see Crystal Castles (also with Neon Indian) in Hollywood for free with complimentary food and drinks because it was sponsored by KIA. Now, KIA’s at it again but they’ve teamed up with Adult Swim Team this time. Anyone else find this extremely odd?
However, I can’t really say anything bad about partnerships like this when they bring great new music. As part of KIA’s team-up with Adult Swim Team, who have been providing a new track each week (and will continue to until they release the eighth single), Washed Out released his collaboration with Caroline Polacheck (of Chairlift) as the fifth single. In “You and I,” Washed Out continues to experiment with his chillwave sound but it sounds a lot fuller and more thought out than his hazy (but great) previous EP. Also, I’m just a big fan of Polacheck’s vocals.
Check “You and I” out below!
If there’s one band that comes in at a close second after Pavement for my favorite 90s band, it’s Superchunk. I think indie rock and I think Superchunk. Not only was their music great but Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan are the DIY masterminds who took music business into their own hands and voila! We have one of the best record labels in the indie scene yet. Of course, I’m talking about Merge Records. What’s not to love about this label as their roster has only grown with some impressive artists such as Arcade Fire, Camera Obscura, Dinosaur Jr., The Love Language, The Magnetic Fields and more.
However, I digress. Back in April 2009, they released new material for the first time in seven years in form of the EP, “Leaves in the Gutter.” Although it was just a lot of unreleased material (which still made it new material) it was great for us Superchunk fans. Now, I’m incredibly anxious as I wait for the release of a new full-length titled Majesty Shredding which will be released on September 14, 2010. Who’s getting excited with me? I know tons of you are and if you aren’t, you should be!
To get you ready, take a listen to an acoustic take on their song, “Kicked In.” Ah… alternative DIY 90s…
It’s funny how I just posted about The Vaselines hating the 80s because now I have an 80s cover song for you! Florence + The Machine, led by the incredibly lovely and talented Florence Welch, has been a favorite of mine since I first heard the song, “Dog Days Are Over.” The song was the opening track on Lungs which was an album that definitely made my list of my top spins for 2009.
Flo is known for her gorgeous red hair but more well-known for her voice that can basically carry any song no matter how horrible the lyrics are (something that never happens in any of her own songs). So I love it even when she does a cover of the 80s song, “Addicted To Love” by Robert Palmer. Yes, it’s the song where the accompanying video had identically dressed women dressed in black, pale makeup and red lipstick. (You may also remember Robert Palmer for the song, “Simply Irresistible.”)
Palmer’s original version has a lot of heavy key chords and a very big 80s sound overall. Flo takes the song and slows it down a bit featuring more of the harp which she uses so much in her arrangements. It has a very sensual vibe to it, but that’s typical for Flo.
Take a listen to her cover of “Addicted To Love” below!
I’m a huge indie pop fan so when I heard that The Vaselines are releasing a new album after a two-decade hiatus, I was nothing less than stoked. They may have gotten popular in the US because of a big fan named Kurt Cobain but Eugene Kelly and Francis McKee were the ones who paved the way for the indie pop bands of today such as Belle & Sebastian (who will also be going on tour this fall). I still love Belle & Sebastian even if their sound has veered a bit too much toward the twee side but The Vaselines are a nice listen when you want to get back to the basics of indie pop and rock.
Their new album, Sex With An X, will be released on September 14 this year via Sub Pop Records and they’ll also be going on tour in support of the new material. For now the tour dates are only in Europe, but I’m hoping they’ll come across to the States as well.
Check out one of their new songs, “I Hate The 80′s” below! I’ve also included one of my old favorites, “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” (which was later changed to “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam” for obvious reasons.)
Tonight is an exciting night. Besides the fact that it’s Friday, I get to see Delphic at The Echo which is a huge treat for me in so many ways. This story starts with me choosing not to go to Coachella this year because I was trying out new music festivals such as SXSW and Sasquatch instead (including Outside Lands and Lollapalooza coming up this summer). At first I was sad that I was going to miss out on Delphic in Indio but then the Icelandic volcano stopped them from coming overseas, and I was sad for those at Coachella. We had no idea when they were going to come over to the States next.
Well, we got lucky because they’re here now but they had less than a handful of shows scheduled in the US with Los Angeles being one of them. They’ll only be the opening act tonight but the headliner is Pantha Du Prince which is a bonus!
A lot of Delphic songs are perfect for the summer season which is just around the corner. I highly recommend getting their album, Acolyte, once it drops on June 29 and jamming to it. It’ll make for good memories and the associations that go along with them in the future. For now, check out this acoustic version of their well-known song, “Doubt” below!
People really liked Phoenix‘s latest album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but soon after they blew up in the media, all the hipsters started to fall off the wagon as they usually do. I am not one of the people who fell off. Everyone was spinning that album in the summer of 2009 and they were doing it for a legitimate reason.
The album had more than a handful of hits and even though “radio-friendly” often comes with a negative connotation, Phoenix is one band that plays both cards well in regards to a broader mainstream audience as well as an indie niche. Not only did I love their remix album which featured remixes from Passion Pit, Chairlift, Animal Collective, Devendra Banhart and more but songs like “Lisztomania” and “1901″ will always make me a little happier when I hear them.
A cover they did on KEXP along with some other great acoustic performances surfaced via We All Want Someone, and I agree with him. Great covers like this should always be shared. Phoenix’s take on Air‘s “Playground Love,” a song off of the The Virgin Suicides soundtrack I had come to love over the last decade, sounded oddly familiar to me even though it’s not the original. It’s probably because the vocals on Air’s “Playground Love” are credited to a Gordon Track who actually turns out to be Phoenix’s Thomas Mars.
Take a listen to Phoenix’s take on it below!
If there’s one cell in your body that enjoys Local Natives, then I guarantee you will like San Juan Capistrano-based band, The Union Line. They may have been the best kept secret in California until they recently announced that they will be going on tour with Local Natives in North America this Fall.
Although their live sets are percussion-heavy much like Local Natives’, their sound is harder to pin down as songs also touch on Americana elements and even have a slight tropical touch. It’s always a bonus when a band can have some tropical elements that don’t overshadow the rock foundation.
Take a listen to Goldmine below!