Archive for September 2010
The new album from Land of Talk is a very courageous effort on Elizabeth Powell’s part. After suffering from a polyp on her vocal chord right around the time she finished touring with Broken Social Scene, her most important instrument wasn’t available for use. She had to wait quite a long time until she could record again but it sounds like the waiting allowed her creative juices to flow in a slightly new way. Since the vocals weren’t there for her to hear in an organic matter, the melodies in her head had to stay there just a tad longer until she could strum them on the guitar or plunk them on the piano.
The album, Cloak and Cipher, continues the signature sound of Land of Talk but there are a few elements in there that get a special treatment this time around. When I say special treatment, I’m talking about elements that were always there on the past records but elements that were also not in the spotlight. On this release, there is a strong, obvious pop rock foundation and this pairing becomes an incredible force. “The Hate I Won’t Commit” is a head-banger and tracks such as “Blangee Blee” stretch her songwriting arches a little more.
Back in July, Powell and her band debuted a new song when they were featured in La Blogotheque’s Take Away Show. “Quarry Hymns” pointed everyone in the right direction to serve as a preview of the album’s sound and there is now an official video for the track. You can check it out below and also grab my favorite song off of Cloak and Cipher, “Blangee Blee.”
Mikey Sanders aka Blackbird Blackbird (and formerly Bye Bye Blackbird) is constantly churning out new songs for us nerdy bloggers to obsess over. A few weeks back I had selected Sanders for a feature in the BeatCrave Fav series because I knew his sound was unusually slick. Yet, even after that, I was able to dive into new material – almost on a daily basis for a while.
If you go over to Blackbird Blackbird’s bandcamp site, you’ll find a wealth of tunes fresh from this music making machine’s mind. Forget about skimming through because once you arrive at the site, there’s just so much to dig into. Lately, the psychedelic/pop/chillwave artist has just been sharing new tunes via his Twitter. As a follower, I can’t help but wonder when the boy sleeps.
If you want a little taste, I’ve already got a ton of Blackbird Blackbird jams for you after the jump. His track, “Modern Disbelief,” a heavy wave of shimmering electronica, will help you jump in. His remixes for tracks from Local Natives and Twin Sister along with his cover of a Modest Mouse song aren’t bad either. Grab your goodies below!
A couple of nights ago The Tallest Man On Earth aka Kristian Matsson played Los Angeles’ Henry Fonda Music Box and it was a sold out show. That wasn’t a surprise to me. The first time I ever heard The Wild Hunt, I could feel his stories on the guitar deep within my bones. There was no doubt that Matsson was one of the best storytellers I had come across in a very, very long time.
I didn’t attend the show this past week but even as much as I would have liked to, I already knew that he would have charmed everyone with both his Swedish speaking voice and his soulful and tender singing. I already knew that he would have used the space on stage in the most thoughtful way as he walked around with just himself and his guitar. I already knew that he would have made everyone forget he was just one man on stage.
He recently released a new EP titled Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird to follow up the phenomenal LP, The Wild Hunt. He also offered “Like The Wheel” as a free download and if you haven’t listened to it yet, grab it below. It will move your soul.
I’ve always been a big fan of Cee-Lo Green but I am getting ridiculously excited for the release of his upcoming album, Ladykiller. Green is an artist who knows how to combine pop, R&B and hip hop so well, it’s simply mind-boggling to think about his consistent success.
We’ve already heard gems from the album such as “Georgia” and “Fuck You” (which is hilariously changed to “Forget You” for radio edit) and, now, another song has already surfaced! “I Want You” is a bit groovier than the previously mentioned two tracks; it has a definite retro sound to it. I also must admit that I really enjoy Green singing the things guys should be saying to their ladies more often. The lyrics are simple but the backup vocals are a smooth, comforting blanket of juxtaposition underneath Green’s distinct bright vocals.
Props to We All Want Someone To Shout For on finding this fabulous track. Check it out below!
I try to avoid talking about the looks of band members but sometimes it’s just so annoying how musicians (especially male musicians) can be so good looking. It’s such a distraction when I’m trying to solely focus on the music! In this case, I just can’t refrain from gushing about how adorable the band members of The Morning Benders are. I honestly want to pinch all of their cheeks like the aunt who sends every kid running away.
Now that I got that shameless confession over with, I also want to point out that I’m still loving their latest album, Big Echo. I find it funny to hear that some think that this sophomore effort slumps because it does nothing but put a spotlight on their strengths when I am listening to it. This, folks, is one of the may ways indie pop rock is supposed to sound: Smart, charming and beyond enjoyable.
They’ve just released a video for their single, “All Day All Light,” and it suits the song pretty well: Hand claps in all the right places, close ups on their adorable little faces (okay, now I’m really done), and some seasonal changes on set. You can check it out below.
However, before you check the video out, make sure you take a listen to their cover of Paul McCartney’s “Ram On.” Covering a Macca song is always a scary thing if you can’t do it right but, The Morning Benders nail it on their rendition. You can find it on Chris Chu’s Echomix2. It’s also a gorgeous listen and something you can’t afford to miss out on.
There are only a few artists who are new but doing garage-rock right these days and Ty Segall is one of them. He first ripped into the scene back in 2008 when he released his debut album on Castle Face Records (the label run by Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer). Then only a month later, he released his sophomore effort, Lemons, in 2009. Since that seemed like such a fast turn around, I’m not surprised that he’s already released a third studio album in 2010 titled Melted (via Goner) – and what an appropriately titled album it is!
I want to use the term “rip” to describe his signature approach again because Ty Segall shows no mercy on this album nor does he ever do that at his live shows. With a guitar always kissing the ceiling and kids moshing like crazy, Segall’s music is the perfect fuel for all that pent-up energy. It may all be DIY, ultimate lo-fi chaos but there’s a ton of heat packed in his tunes. His shamelessly ferocious vocals just go perfect with the fuzzed out roars on his guitar. What’s not to love about all of this?
If you have yet to experience or at least hear some Ty Segall – I got you. Listen to his two Melted singles below. The latest single, “Girlfriend,” is a fun one but “My Sunshine” is just out of control.
Los Angeles artist, Glasser aka Cameron Mesirow, is fairly new in the scene but her artistic touch is nothing to brush off or bury underneath all the new releases in music right now. It’s especially important since the number of solo female electronic-based artists is growing at an amazingly exponential rate. Glasser is one artist I strongly encourage to keep your ears and eyes open for, because she is so much more than a one-woman loop-based orchestra.
She may know her way around song construction through all the technicalities in the electronic genre, but her vocals are considered to be the most powerful instrument. (At least in my opinion.) Somewhere in between a Joni Michtell and St. Vincent/Annie Clark tone, Glasser’s voice is the sole factor which entices a listener into the waves of soft string plucks, keyboard chimes, toms and claps. For instance, her single, “Home” may start out with shy, sparse rhythms but it goes into beautiful overdrive once she starts singing. Then when the harmonies come in, it’s like a cleansing downpour that makes you want to stay standing in the rain.
Glasser is getting ready to release her album, Ring, on September 28th via True Panther and you can stream the entire album over at Matador Records right now. All nine tracks are legitimately stimulating but her lead single “Home” is what has made me a fan in the first place.
Check it out below!
San Francisco three-piece band, Geographer, has somewhat blown up in the last year. Spin’s endorsement (naming them one of the “Undiscovered Bands You Need To Hear Now”) may have had something to do with it but the truth is that their EP, “Animal Shapes” is beyond brilliant and everyone has finally caught on.
The funny thing about my personal relationship with this band’s music is that I actually met these guys in person but forgot… When I was tour blogging with Vanaprasta on the way to and from SXSW, we had actually run into Geographer at a convenient store. (It always starts with a “Hey, you look like you’re in a band. Are you in a band? I’m in a band, too. Sweet.” kind of meeting.) Both bands bonded over the fact that they were both obsessed with geometry (Vanaprasta’s EP is titled “Forming The Shapes”) and after that we went our separate ways.
Sadly, it wasn’t until I had selected them for a feature in BeatCrave’s Fav series that I had become utterly obsessed with their music. If one were forced to categorize Geographer, they would fall under the Electro-pop umbrella but what they do with the elements in that genre is what makes them stand out among a crowd full of bands like Passion Pit. Fronted by the incredibly talented Michael Deni, Geographer is accessible but it’s the vocals that soar so much higher than you expect them to. It’s the emotive way Nathan Blaz’s bow sways on the cello. It’s the way Brian Ostreicher’s rhythmic patterns serve a rock foundation underneath all of this. Every single note in their music goes further than the average attempt in songwriting – a goal any great musician is able to reach – but Geographer does it all in such an extraordinary way it’s hard to get over the positive shock.
“Animal Shapes” is currently out and it also includes a remix of “Kites” by Limousines in addition to the remix of “Paris” by Wallpaper. However, it’s the original tracks I love the most – especially “Kites” – which you may have heard on August’s mixtape. If you haven’t listened to it yet, it’s after the jump!
As you may already know, I’m a huge fan of New Jersey’s Julian Lynch. If you haven’t listened or purchased his latest album, Mare, I highly recommend doing so right away. At core, Lynch is a pop artist but a fact that must be known is that he’s somewhat the ultimate genius of the underground pop scene right now. There’s not anyone quite like him who is willing to dedicate the time one should be spending on minute details. (He also does all this while he’s earning his PHD in Ethnomusicology.) Just when you’re ready to slap the dream pop label on him, all these foreign elements jump out making each one of his songs a gorgeous collage and a joy to experience.
So, it makes sense that his latest music video matches the same surreal sound. In the clip for “A Day at the Racetrack,” the song is paired up with some brumous and psychedelic footage Ezra Ewen collected and compiled from over 40 years. The clip is collectively shot by Ezra’s father, Ezra’s cousin, and Ezra himself.
Check it out below and grab an mp3 of “Rancher,” one of my favorites off of Lynch’s Orange You Glad album.
This latest video from Antony and The Johnsons has been out a few weeks but I wanted to share it anyway because it’s one of their videos that I actually really enjoy. For the most part, frontman and Antony Hegarty and his band offer haunting and beautiful clips to accompany their singles. It’s always appropriate since much of the band’s music is somber and places them in a general Chamber Pop genre – or what some would even call Dark Cabaret.
Hegarty has a very unique voice that is both delicate and strong. It’s the way this man sings that is most striking. You can see it when he performs and you can hear every breath and passionate second of vibrato in those legato melodies. However, as gorgeous as the music from Antony and The Johnsons is, their albums aren’t really ones to spin during a party.
So when they released the video “Thank You For Your Love,” the first single off of their upcoming fourth studio album, Swanlights, I took a lot of pleasure in both the visuals and the tempo. The song is definitely one of their more upbeat ones and the video is comprised of old black and white footage Antony shot when he first came to New York City as a teenager in the 90s. It’s simple and very endearing. Seeing what musicians were like before they became the artist they are today never seems to get old.
Check it out below. I also included their cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.”