Iceage :: Coalition
Audio: Coalition (MP3, 3.01mb) Download Now
Album: You're Nothing
Denmark's Iceage are three teenagers who play a furiously dark blend of hardcore-ish punk. They throw a tiny bit of no-wave action into the mix too.
The band's razor sharp, reverb-heavy songs are short (many are right around the two-minute mark) and fast, and feature lots of squealing guitar rhythms that go all unglued and stuff. It's pretty sweet.
But what makes these guys really worth seeing is that they also have a strong affinity for melody. I love when bands can totally let it rip but not forget about the melody.
Iceage's sound owes a few nods to those late '70s punk-ish bands that always remembered the melody. You know the bands. But also think Bad Brains. Think the Damned. Think a bit of the Wire. Fine, you can think about Joy Division too if you want to.
Iceage should tour with Liars. That would be a dope show. Anyway, look out for these young guns... because they're gunning for YOU.
Night Moves :: Headlights
Audio: Headlights (MP3, 5.94mb) Download Now
By: Night Moves
Tags: night moves
Minneapolis' Night Moves is a new band of four guys in their early twenties who play old rock. What's old rock mean? I don't know. But I think it means Night Moves (and the logic... it goes 'round and round). This is kind of a blues-y and psych-y soul-pop situation that sounds like what someone totally chill in 1973 would've pulled back the tab of a beer can to. (That's what they still had in 1973. Tabs. The standard pop top can we know and love today, while technically invented in 1963, didn't become ubiquitous until much later. Probably after 1973. I don't really know.)
Night Moves rocks a sound that a big part of the LA music scene is totally obsessed with these days. You know - that blues-y rock thing? That's poppy? And kinda maybe even dare to say a little funky? With a little psych-y thing too? Yeah. You know. Not that Night Moves are from Los Angeles. They're from Minneapolis. But the Los Angeles Lakers used to be the Minneapolis Lakers. So... there you go. My point exactly (and the logic... it goes 'round and round.)
If you need some band comparisons thrown out at you to make sense of it all in this chaotic world - think of Night Moves as maybe Band of Horses meets Mood Rings meets Bob Seger ("Night Moves") meets a much better comparison than Band of Horses because what year is this, 2005? I thought this was 1973!
One more thing. Night Moves just got signed to Domino. You know what that means? It means for these young guys alllll the pieces are about to fall into place - one right after another - and it'll be so cool as the pieces fall - in perfect sync - sometimes even making turns and loops and zig-zag stuff - because dominos rule (....at least it wasn't a pizza joke, yo).
Let's end this with a Night Moves jam. What do YOU hear when you play it? Whatever you hear is cool too. It's all chill.
Sinkane :: Jeeper Creeper
Audio: Jeeper Creeper (MP3, 6.14mb) Download Now
Brooklyn's Ahmed Gallab is Sinkane. You may know him for his multi-instrumental work in Yeasayer or Of Montreal or Caribou or a bunch of other good bands (he's a talented, in-demand dude).
Or, by this point, you may just know him as Sinkane. Because Sinkane has been making super solid jazzy-psych-pop for a wonderful while now.
This guy's music goes all over the map - that's one of the reasons I like him. But if I HAD to say (I don't have to say, really... but I'm going to say anyway), I'd say that Sinkane's songs are groovy, tripped-out electro-ish jams that will set you adrift on memory bliss. That's what I'd say.
I'd also say you should get into this. Get born into this. Feel this. Feel the pulsing, relaxing heat of these meditative meanderings in CosmicLand - a most magical place where the blue grass is cashmere, giant lollipops replace the trees, the clouds forever look like the hand of the gods, and the national anthem is John Coltrane's "Ascension" album. In other words, this is super chill music, guys. Super. Chill.
Pink Mountaintops :: While We Were Dreaming
Audio: While We Were Dreaming (MP3, 5.39mb) Download Now
By: Pink Mountaintops
Tags: pink mountaintops
Vancouver's Pink Mountaintops like to keep their identities under a veil of mystery. But we're here to rip down the iron curtain; Pink Mountaintops are essentially Black Mountain. Ok, it's Stephen McBean who sings in Black Mountain. Basically if you like Black Mountain, you'll like Pink Mountaintops, mostly because the two bands sound virtually the same.
You still get the disturbing psych Pink Floyd goodness that Black Mountain has, but with more songs about s-e-x. Not a bad trade off! Their debut album, Axis of Evol, was recorded by McBean in only three weeks, but he did have help from his friends. Yep, you guessed it, the other dudes in Black Mountain. So how are Pink Mountaintops any different? I have absolutely no idea.
Foxygen :: Make It Known
Audio: Make It Known (MP3, 13.85mb) Download Now
"The old again becomes the new" (me).... "and the seasons, they go 'round and 'round" (Joni Mitchell).... "I said, well Daddy don't you know that things go in cycles" (Q-Tip). (I give myself third place). Foxygen is the new Los Angeles duo of early twenty-somethings, Sam France and Jonathan Rado. These two dudes are tapping into a different time than 2012.
Together as Foxygen, they play '60s "inspired" (to put it mildly) pop that's swirly and hazy and drugy. It captures that musical era right when rock and psych and hippy and pop all sort of merged to become something great. You know what I mean? No? Well, listen to the song below and you'll get the references to our musical past right away. Because the sound Foxygen is rocking is instantly recognizable - even to those who weren't alive when this sound first came 'round - which is most of us (hell, France and Rado's parents probably weren't around).
Foxygen have been compared to legendary "never die" artists like The Rolling Stones and The Kinks and David Bowie (please note: all of these comparisons were made by their label, Jagjaguwar). So if you want, put a flower in your hair - gather a bunch of merry pranksters - do whatever it is you pranksters do - and then give Foxygen a whirl. Because..... "It's The Circle of Life. And it moves us all. Through despair and hope. Through faith and love. Till we find our place. On the path unwinding. In the Circle. The Circle of Life." (Mine was better than that one, at least.)
Sir Stephen :: Milk 'N Honey
Audio: Milk 'N Honey (MP3, 9.40mb) Download Now
By: Sir Stephen
Tags: sir stephen
New Orleans' Sir Stephen plays house music made by machines. Well, I guess it's house music. I don't really know. Anything with thumps and beats and grooves just sounds like dance music to me. So can we just call this dance music? We sure can. Because THIS IS MY MUSIC BLOB.
If you're at a club and a Sir Stephen song comes on - it won't be the song that makes you decide to go out for that smoke break (don't smoke, kids). Nope. A Sir Stephen song is when you dig down deep, find your second wind, and get back out there on that there dance (house?) floor.
Sir Stephen just released his debut full-length album on the mighty fine dance (house?) label, 100% Silk - home to ITAL + Fort Romeau + Mi Ami and more good bands with the seriously good jams. Just thought you should know that.
Anyway, I'd like to thank you for spending this time with me. Now please just go listen to that Sir Stephen song below. You'll get it. And then, by all means, go see him play it live and watch him start a Dance (House) Dance (House) Revoution! Because that's what this blob is all about, after all (seeing stuff live - not revolutions - though those can be good too - as long as it's the oppressed overthrowing the oppressor).
Leonard Friend :: Everything For The Sake Of Everything
Audio: Everything For The Sake Of Everything (MP3, 4.36mb) Download Now
By: Leonard Friend
Tags: leonard friend
You know one of those bands that you're just sure is going to "make it" (whatever that means, but if we're honest with each other we both know what that means) and then don't? For me, The XYZ Affair was one of those bands. I always thought they wrote power-pop hooks that were as catchy as any Rivers Cuomo ever did (am I tossing around hyperbole there? perhaps.... perhaps not.... ). But for whatever reason, that band didn't find a sustainable audience.
Luckily though, frontman Alex Feder is still making music (and I'm not even talking about his gig as a touring musician for a massive world famous pop star either - look it up). Feder's newest project is Leonard Friend. Feder is Friend. Friend is Feder.
Using the same amazing tenor you came to love when he was in The XYZ Affair (oh wait, you didn't love them - see my point above - but it's never too late to go back and check them out, guys! it'll be, like, how Van Gogh was never appreciated in his lifetime- am I tossing hyperbole? perhaps.... perhaps not.... ), Leonard Friend is seductive synth-pop. It's polished and poppy and good for naked necking or whatever it is the kids do these days (we hear "sexting" is a new popular activity involving technology).
Perhaps a Chad Valley or a Twin Shadow could be apt comparisons to Leonard Friend. Or, you know, Michael Jackson. It's definitely not power-pop like XYZ though. Just in case you were expecting that. But you weren't expecting that BECAUSE YOU NEVER GAVE THAT BAND ITS DUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But I digress. Consider getting into Leonard Friend if you like sexy electro jams like I like sexy electro jams. And then consider seeing Leonard Friend play these jams live. That will give you the opportunity to apologize to Feder in person for neglecting his previous band, The XYZ AFFAIR. Shame. Shame. Shame. (It's ok. It happens.)
Big Ups :: Shut Your Mouth
Audio: Shut Your Mouth (MP3, 4.86mb) Download Now
Tags: big ups
Big Ups reminds me that ohhhhh, yeah - bands can be fun! I totally almost forgot that. You know, with all the seriousness going on in music these days (because if you're serious - mostly boring people will seriously take your mostly boring band very seriously).
NYC's Big Ups are a completely fun and instantly likeable band (except for the people that don't instantly like them - but this isn't for those H8TRS - go listen to a tortured troubadour and remain wary and weary) that plays high energy ramshackle punk rock that you'll want to get messy and sweaty to.
As I blast Big Ups fine three song 7" from my computerss speakers (oh don't you worry about me and my sound system - I've got a good subwoofer), I can almost hear the smiles of these four dudes over the riffs and between the shouts. They're having a good time, I just know it. And if they're not - they certainly fake it well.
Big Ups is a band you should go out and see when you feel like mixing it up - in a pleasant way. Don't hurt anyone out there, guys. Be cool. Be nice. Be fun. Long. Live. Punk. Rock.
Stepdad :: Must Land Running
Audio: Must Land Running (MP3, 4.80mb) Download Now
Stepdad is a grandiose synth band from Grand Rapids (via Chicago - huh - don't see that move every day) that makes oddball-8-bit-nerdo-party-pop. If any nerds were offended by my use of nerdo, I sincerely apologize and wish to buy you a mint vintage figurine of your choice at a later date.
While still slightly under the radar (though we're still not sure who's shooting this famous "radar," anyway) Stepdad's super accessible songs are definitely going to find a larger and dedicated audience. Those who get it are going to GET it.
Think of Stepdad as rocking something that could be compared to video game heroes Anamanaguchi meets upcoming Madison Square Garden headliners Passion Pit (sheeeet, I saw them at Pianos!). Hmm. Am I comparing Stepdad to Passion Pit because Stepdad's debut full-length is being produced by Chris Zane who did Double P's album (and Holy Ghost....and Les Savy Fav...and The Walkmen...and a bunch of other really good bands)? You'll never know, guys. You'll never know.
Oh yeah. Stepdad recently played with Rich Aucoin. That's a pretty perfect pairing (check Rich out - he's sorta under that guy/girl's famous radar too).
In closing, nerdos - when you find what you want on eBay let me know - it has to be under $2.75 though.
Parquet Courts :: Borrowed Time
Audio: Borrowed Time (MP3, 6.06mb) Download Now
By: Parquet Courts
Tags: parquet courts
NYC's Parquet Courts is a good (relatively) new band fronted by Andrew Savage (who also does Fergus & Geronimo - a very nice band in their own rate). His brother Max and a couple of other dudes are in this band too. Isn't this fascinating musical information so far? Maybe I should tell you what their favorite colors and spirit animals are, as well? Or, I can just tell you what they sound like. Yeah. I can do that now.
Parquet Courts are a jingle jangle guitar bands that make you want to bounce up and down. Not jump. Just bounce. Because that's what happens when you listen to lo-fi punk ditties like this. You bounce along... pleasantly. So if you listen to Parquet Courts long enough - I guess you'll develop some really nice calf muscles. And calf muscles are the new biceps, don't you know.
But back on track - think if Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth was playing surf-rock in NYC in 1977. That's what Parquet Courts sound like. You can listen to some of their jams below. Actually, you probably already are.
So two questions: 1.) Parquet Courts are good, right? And 2.) How did I do with that whole Steve Shelley surf-rock NYC 1977 thing? I kind of nailed it, right? Right? Hello? Guys? Hello?
Opossom :: Blue Meanies
Audio: Blue Meanies (MP3, 3.05mb) Download Now
Groovy, baby. New Zealand's Opossum is the brainchild* (*that's a stupid, overused word in band write-ups that involve one primary songwriter - I'm sorry to have succumed to it) of Kody Nielson - live, he has a crew of two others. Did you know Nielson's brother Ruben is in that other fine band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra? Now you do.
Opossum plays pretty damn delightful '60s inspired sunshine-y psych-pop that comes at you shaded in a bit of optimistic haze. And Opossum often has some good dance beats over these retro vibes of goodness too.
So this isn't the kind of psych that makes you want to sit in your shoebox of an apartment in the dark and watch your smoke slowly curl towards the paint-flaked ceiling. Hell, no. Opossum makes me want to put on those polyester pants and that floral patterned shirt I bought at the thrift store but never had the courage to wear, and go out and twist to this with a relaxed crowd of others under a swirling psychedelic light show. And our dancing won't stop until we all fall in love with each other. Now wouldn't you want to listen to a band that makes you want to do all that?
Opossum will do good things for your spirit - if you let them. So check out their full-length album "Electric Hawaii" we've got for you below these bold words and let the grooving come into your groovy soul, baby.
Doldrums :: She Is The Wave
Audio: She Is The Wave (MP3, 3.56mb) Download Now
Whew! Here's a whirlwind of a band for you. Toronto's Doldrums is the pulsing, rhythmic, and sonically scattered electronic pop project of Airick Woodhead. Live, he's got a full band to help him realize this playful homemade mayhem (and that band includes his brother, Daniel - who has his own good band, Moon King).
These tripped out jams (powered by pumped up keyboards + hyperactive drum machine beats + all sorts of advanced technological hijinx I won't pretend to understand) is like if Animal Collective and Grimes had a rambunctious baby band that was always acting up and messing with the settings on their machines and things. Or something like that anyway.
Woodhead's voice reaches over these fragmented bizarro sounds to reign these songs into something resembling accessibility. However, it's not like you're really going to be able to sing Doldrums in the shower or anything. But that's not why you're going to be into this band. You're going to be into them for the thumps and jumps and dizzying spectacle these guys throw out at you.
I just saw them send surges through the charged-up crowd at CMJ 2012. Sometimes flipped out electro that goes all over the place like this can be tiresome to watch live. But not Doldrums. The audience was left a little dazed, but certainly not confused. It was pretty clear Doldrums' thing falls fully on the great (not the grate) side of the eclectic electronic music spectrum.
Allah Las :: Tell Me What's On Your Mind
Audio: Tell Me What's On Your Mind (MP3, 4.96mb) Download Now
By: Allah Las
Tags: allah las
LA's Allah Las play '60s inspired pop that's equal parts surf + the American band's response to the British Band Invasion + garage + sunny psyche. These easy jams are breezy and chill and have some good guitar jingle-jangle that makes everything seem nice and right and fine (not sure why I just turned into Hemingway there - sorry).
This band of Amoeba Records workers (that's where they met - awwww) makes me want to have a twisting party in the sand with a young Annette Funicello in her teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini before heading out to the waves and riding whatever happens to come my way. These are completely likable songs. For sure.
But there's nothing really all that new going on here with the Allah Las. Everything I hear is old. You'll hear that, too. So if new is what you want, better look elsewhere. But I think I'll stick around. I'm into the carefree idealistic notions of these four seaside beatniks who think they can bring back the same sound of 50 years ago and present it to new eyes and ears in a fresh way. They just might do it.
And besides, I've been a little tired of my old Nuggets box set anyway. So sure, I’'l roll along with the Allah Las. Out with the old and in with the old, that's what I always say.
Mood Rings :: Promise Me Eternity
Audio: Promise Me Eternity (MP3, 4.12mb) Download Now
By: Mood Rings
Tags: mood rings
Mood Rings are a lo-fi-dream-pop-psych-shoegaze band (sorry for all the hyphens, but it had to be done) that play warm and swirly jams. These jams will most likely make you feel less stressed out. Their easy-going haze and chilled-out ways will convince you that everything will be OK and if things won't be OK then oh well, because there is nothing you can do about it anyway. Might as well get wasted and listen to some good jams, right?
These songs often like to take their time to get to where they're going. But in this case, going slow is exactly what you want. Because it's not about the destination with Mood Rings - it's about the journey, man.
One thought: these guys should really tour with another one of my recent favs, Whirr, because that would be a perfect 1-2 line-up punch (just throwing that out there).
Mood Rings are prepping their debut full-length and though I haven't heard it, I fully expect it to rule. Call me an optimist. Because the future will work out. And if it doesn't. Oh well. Whattya gonna do?
Mac DeMarco :: Baby's Wearing Blue Jeans
Audio: Baby's Wearing Blue Jeans (MP3, 3.67mb) Download Now
By: Mac DeMarco
Label: Captured Tracks Website
Tags: mac demarco
Canada's own Mac DeMarco is a 21-year-old lo-fi country-surf troubadour (that's right - and I'm sticking to it) whose breezy, baritone heavy jams would fit right in with your Urge Overkill collection. What? What do you mean you don't have an Urge Overkill collection?! No, the "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack doesn't count!
DeMarco's hazy songs are for drifting - whether that be on dirt roads or lazy waves. Hell, DeMarco doesn't care where you drift - he's just a cool cucumber debonair dude relaxing in his Levi's, after all. Mac DeMarco just signed to Captured Tracks - and you know what that means? Instant fame and fortune throughout the world forever! But seriously, that's a good label and a great fit for this guy.
In closing, if you like Mac DeMarco's jams, you should seriously get into Urge Overkill. It's not too late. It's ok to go backwards every now and then with your musical interests, guys. Because taking one step back often leads to several steps forward. You heard that here FIRST, friends. Now play this song below and we'll leave you to your drifting in peace. Finally, right?
Icky Blossoms :: Perfect Vision
Audio: Perfect Vision (MP3, 14.94mb) Download Now
By: Icky Blossoms
Tags: icky blossoms
Imagine the music in your head if you were relaxing on a haunted hammock. That's right, a haunted hammock. You imagining? Good. Now play that Icky Blossoms track below. Am I right or am I right? Icky Blossoms sound like that.
Icky Blossoms are a new electronic band from Omaha and before you ask, yes they are on Saddle Creek. The trio, made up of guitarist/vocalist Derek Pressnall + vocalist Sarah Bohling + guitarist Nik Fackler, play dark and richly textured (whatever that means, Rockness) synth/guitar pop that easily swirls around and stuff under a heavy layer of noir. It's haunting. But it's chill too. You know? Yeah. You know.
My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons need to end in 2012, but I'm not going to be the one to end it. So if you like MBV or JAMC, you should give these guys a "spin" (that's an insider DJ term... you see, kids, before these cassette tapes you all go crazy for there were these circle things called..... yeah, ending that now).
Oh yeah, Icky Blossoms full-length debut was produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. I just thought you should know.
Unstoppable Death Machines :: Once In A Lifetime
Audio: Once In A Lifetime (MP3, 2.10mb) Download Now
By: Unstoppable Death Machines
Tags: unstoppable death machines
These two are indeed unstoppable. This explosive DIY punk duo is comprised of Queens-born Brooklyn-now brothers, Michael and Billy Tucci. Comparisons to Lightning Bolt immediately come to mind - raw, aggressive, destructive and entirely fun.
The brothers are dueling singers (using homemade microphones literally attached to their faces - now that's one punk pacifier) whose screams, guttural guitar riffs, and those great goddamn drums are projected right towards your head from a towering wall of speakers.
The Tucci boys have one foot in the art world as well. They play a lot of gallery spaces and recently collaborated on a well-received interactive installation in Brooklyn (aliens and robots and overall sensory overload were involved).
Yes. This is intense. But Unstoppable Death Machines aren't out to hurt anybody (or kill anyone, for that matter). It seems to me these two just want everyone to let go. I'm always down for letting go. And if that means permanent hearing damage as the result? Well, there are always pluses and minus, guys. Pluses. And. Minuses. Unstoppable Death Machines are a good band.
Chelsea Light Moving :: Frank O'Hara Hit
Audio: Frank O'Hara Hit (MP3, 6.92mb) Download Now
By: Chelsea Light Moving
Tags: chelsea light moving
These three men and one lady do something that I believe is called "rocking out." Think retro noodling post-rock meets straight punk meets some distorted sludge meets some pretty guitar melodies. Yes, that's a lot of thinking. But that's what I think when I hear Chelsea Light Moving. So in other words, maybe old Rodan/June of 44 meets Big Black meets this band nobody has ever heard of called Sonic Youth.
Chelsea Light Moving is a new band led by this up-and-coming kid, Thurston Moore. Odds are he won't see a long career in music because they're coming in at a million to one. But maybe with just the right amount of tenacity, talent and luck this 54-year-old kid will stay in the picture.
This band hasn't released much except for a few free streaming songs. Matador will change that soon. But for now, you can start by listening to "Frank O'Hara Hit" below. Then you should go read some Frank O'Hara poems. He was the man.
Final thought about Chelsea Light Moving: I once saw Thurston Moore in the basement of a Duane Reade.... so I'm not sweating it either. #ialsosavedlatin
Moon King :: Only Child
Audio: Only Child (MP3, 6.52mb) Download Now
By: Moon King
Tags: moon king
Toronto's Moon King are a noisy indie-dream-garage-experimental-punk duo (got all that? cool.) led by drummer/vocalist Dan Woodhead (who's recently played with his brother’s band Doldrums as well as the mighty Grimes) and guitarist/vocalist Maddy Wilde.
Woodhead, who was in this band Spiral Beach who I don't know but the cool kids in Toronto sure seem to, has also said that Moon King's going for an "electronic folk" feel. Not really what I'm hearing, but if the man says it then I'm sure electronic folk is in there, too.
Basically to me, this sounds like a fun '80s pop party that's been punked up and blasted out by the happier cousin of My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields or something. Or, maybe Matt & Kim meets The Thermals meets Rich Aucoin. Pick whichever you want of those two descriptions and run with it. I won't mind.
The most important thing you should probably know is that Moon King is meant for happy times. They're the kind of punk that's made by people having fun up there on that stage. But you know about those drummer/singer + guitarist/singer duos... those duos are always pretty jovial.
Moon King's debut album is being released on One Big Silence, the record label run by Fucked Up's Mike Haliechuk. Into it.
Cold Showers :: BC
Audio: BC (MP3, 8.68mb) Download Now
By: Cold Showers
Tags: cold showers
Los Angeles band Cold Showers rock a very nice mix of post-punk darkness and jangly guitar brightness. There's a little of that goth-pop minimal thing going on here (which is often exactly the thing that you want, mind you) but there's also plenty of pretty melodies (aided by the mostly optimistic sounding guitars) to keep the darkness at bay and from fully clouding the contours of your soul.
Singer Jonathan Weinberg has a nice haunting baritone that somehow sounds both relaxed and ominous, too. He's also the drummer in La Sera (Katy Goodman's band). The more you know, guys!
Cold Showers could appeal to lots of different music listeners. Put them somewhere on the "sounds like" spectrum with more recent bands like Cult of Youth and Iceage and Holograms and Wymond Miles.
And one can't forget Joy Division. No matter how hard you may try to avoid Joy Division in the band profile of a sad/happy post-punk band, you can't help it. There's nothing you can do because the ghost of Ian Curtis FINDS YOU. Spooky.
Anyway, you should go grab Cold Shower's recent 7" from Mexican Summer. And, of course, go see them play. You'll be inspired and deflated. No. Let's call that Deflated Inspiration. Yeah. That's it.
Sweet Valley :: Suzuka 9 Hours
Audio: Suzuka 9 Hours (MP3, 7.46mb) Download Now
By: Sweet Valley
Tags: sweet valley
Sweet Valley is the new do-it-from-home project of Nathan and Joel Williams. You know Nathan. Perhaps not personally. But he's Wavves and he's famous ("Mr. Wavves, sorry for interrupting your dinner, Mr. Wavves. But I just wanted to say that I love your work, Mr. Wavves.").
And at this point, any side-project Nathan Williams is doing doesn't really need promo help from most the world wide music blobs on "The Net." You're going to check it out, regardless.
But I'm writing this thing on Sweet Valley for one reason only and that reason is to tell you this - Sweet Valley's got the sweet beats. And I just thought you should know. The exceptional label Fool's Gold already knows about Sweet Valley's sweet beats (and the crazy samples that fly around on the hip-hop sunshine-pop tip... but again, we're here to talk about the sweet beats) because they're releasing Sweet Valley's debut EP something proper. It ain't just getting thrown up on the Soundcloud, baby! (I bet Bo knows about Sweet Valley's sweet beats. Bo definitely knows.)
So now because of this little band profile you know about Sweet Valley's sweet beats, too. But of course, you were gonna know about it sooner or later, anyway. I mean, it's the dude from Wavves and his brother.
TEEN :: Electric
Audio: Electric (MP3, 10.19mb) Download Now
Brooklyn's TEEN is a quartet of ladies led by Teeny Lieberson (formerly of Here We Go Magic) and features her two sisters (Katherine and Lizzie) and Jane Herships (who also makes music under the Spider moniker). The pop they make tends to bend to the psych end of things in that hazy, swirly way. But unlike lots of that hazy, swirly psych which sounds like music made by the depressed for the depressed, TEEN's psych often swirls a little to the bright. Basically that means TEEN won't be bringing you down anytime soon. I'm all for that.
TEEN are just getting revved up and they’re out and about playing shows. So you should go see them. I mean, they’re not just doing it for themselves up there, ya know? TEEN don't have a full-length album out yet, but they have released a few songs (and a really cool video) on the interwebs which you can check out.
They're all solid but I prefer the song "Electric." Because I'm 85% sure Teeny Lieberson is calling out my name throughout that jam (it's either "Patrick" or "hat trick"). I've got to wait until they get big enough to get added to those spammy lyrics searching sites before I know 100%. And boy, let me tell you.... that's going to be one long wait. TEEN are a good band. Did I mention that?
Murals :: Eyes of Love
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Murals are a new band from Louisville that has a super smooth sunshine pop sound that's incredibly easy on the ears. But it's not sunshine pop in that super bright way (like Foster the Pumped Up People or whoever). It's sunshine pop in that super.... chill way. Yeah. I just said chill in 2012. But that's what this is. What do you want me to do? (Their debut EP is called "On a Passing Cloud," guys.)
Think of Murals as somewhere in the middle of the easy breezy spectrum between Ariel Pink and Real Estate. But there's definitely a retro acid mushroom flower power thing at play here too. If these guys could get a hold of a time machine I could see them shooting the bird or kicking the can (this is the late '60s remember... that's how people talked) with the Mamas and the Papas or even Crosby, Stills and Nash (not sure about Young though, you know?).
Now here's something else I wanted to throw out there - Wes Anderson should really consider including a Murals song (oh sorry, the internet tells me we’re calling songs "cuts" now) in his next film. The trio would fit in perfectly with Anderson's ornately pleasant world. (So Wes, if you're interested I'll gladly have my assistant schedule some time for a call with you next month after my schedule "breathes" a bit better.) Anyway, good band. Peace. Love. Murals. Chill.
Gothic Tropic :: Flesh Dance
Audio: Flesh Dance (MP3, 6.65mb) Download Now
By: Gothic Tropic
Tags: gothic tropic
Gothic Tropic is an L.A. trio featuring vocalist/guitarist Cecilia Della Peruti, Daniel Denton on bass and Liv Marsico on drums. They kind of do a psych-pop-funk-noise thing. Wait. Stick around.
Gothic Tropic are better than that description made them sound because that description is just throwing random genres separated by dashes at you and hoping one of 'em will stick. But to be fair, this band really DOES mix up the styles and sounds and genres a whole damn lot - and all often in one song. So it's not really my fault.
The first Gothic Tropic song I heard was "Awesome Problems." And twenty seconds in I immediately thought, "Ok, this band is going to sound like The Rapture" (it's 95% the same bass riff as The Rapture's "Out of the Races And Into The Tracks" - try listening to both at home and you'll see... you'll see). But it was pretty apparent a few seconds later when they start this noisy psych-jam-out adventure that this band does not sound like The Rapture. At all.
Oh hey, remember Blood on the Wall? Gothic Tropic kind of reminds me of them... but like more bluesy... and eccentro-poppy.... maybe. See. I'm doing it again. Just seeing what sticks.
No. Forget that. I'm not taking the blame for my difficulty defining this. Just listen to Gothic Tropic yourself and you'll see what I mean. I will then be absolved of all responsibility for the band profile content herein.
Cult Of Youth :: New West
Audio: New West (MP3, 5.26mb) Download Now
By: Cult Of Youth
Tags: cult of youth
I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not a professional music listener of either post-industrial music or neo-folk. I don't know why. I must have been sick that day in class. That being said, Cult of Youth are a good band whose music I like a lot... even if I don't fully understand the buried Throbbing Gristle comparisons. Oh well. It happens.
But I did have a love affair with the Pogues at one point in my life, so perhaps those fond feelings are creeping back when I listen to this band. They sort of sound like the Pogues... but not. You know? Yeah. You know.
Since 2007 Sean Ragon (he was in Love as Laughter at one point) has quietly released a 7" and a full-length. And he did all the instrumentation for his "band" himself. That changed just recently. Ragon now has help. Shedding the quotation marks, Cult of Youth are now simply a full-fledged band.
Cult of Youth's first full-length as a band (see? no quotes. you see?) is excellent and it's out now on Sacred Bones (The Men, Crystal Stilts, Wymond Miles, etc.) and may propel them to new territories of popularity.
I won't begin to describe Sean Ragon's message behind this album and his work, because he's extremely articulate about it himself. Look him up and read some interviews. But I do know Ragon says Cult of Youth is about empowerment and freedom. And those are two things that, professional post-industrial or neo-folk listener or not, I'm into completely. How about you?
Metz :: Negative Space
Audio: Negative Space (MP3, 4.68mb) Download Now
BAM! BAM! BAM! And then it's over. That's essentially the experience you'll have listening to this band. You'll get beat up and then you'll be sad your pummeling didn't last longer.
Metz is a LOUD post-punk (whatever that means anymore) trio from Toronto that fire off the short ferocious riffs that just got their noisy ass selves signed to Sub Pop. That's what happens when you make dangerous music that RULEZ (my 11-year-old cousin told me to Caps Lock that word and end it with a 'Z' when I REALLY mean it).
If you feel like going to a show that will make you feel like you want to explode all over the venue's walls due to sheer bombastic pleasure, I suggest hooking up with Metz.
If you don't want a show that will make you want to explode all over the venue's walls, I can't say I blame you. It's a messy experience. But I also can't say you won't be missing out. If I'm going to splatter to pieces, at least it was a GUITAR and a BASS and DRUMS and DISTORTION that destroyed me. BAM! BAM! BAM! (And now it's over.)
Royal Headache :: Down The Lane
Audio: Down The Lane (MP3, 3.71mb) Download Now
By: Royal Headache
Tags: royal headache
Hot new band alert! Hot new band alert! (Sorry. I just always wanted to start a band profile like that - sometimes dreams really do come true).
Sydney's Royal Headache are a raucous lo-fi jangly band that plays quick, blink-and-you'll-miss-it punk (or maybe yawn-and-you'll-miss-it... because you know how when you yawn you lose your hearing for a second? Yeah, you know) that also comes with a heavy bit of good old-fashioned sweaty soul (singer Evan Minsker channels his inner Tom Jones - that's right, Royal Headache are kind of like Tom Jones fronting a punk band).
These rapid-fire guitar jams are 100% fun. No. Forget that. Royal Headache's songs are 1000% fun. Now I'm not mental mathematician but I do believe that adds up to a whole lot of fun. The exceptional What's Your Rupture (Iceage, Love is All, Fucked Up) is putting out Royal Headache's debut self-titled album. Get it.
But perhaps more importantly, go see these dudes do their thing on stage. They bring the heat. And hey, word on the street is that there may even be some "moshing" (a new dance ritual rising in popularity within certain subsets of Australian society - currently being studied and puzzled over by the world's leading music ethnologists).
St. Lucia :: All Eyes On You
Audio: All Eyes On You (MP3, 7.21mb) Download Now
By: St. Lucia
Tags: st. lucia
This is some darn good '80s inspired synth-pop, I'll tell you that much, bub. St. Lucia is the resplendently blissful pop project of Brooklyn's (via South Africa via England) Jean-Philip Grobler (live, he's got a band - just telling you that to manage expectations here). This is some of the happiest and catchiest electronic jams I've heard since I first fell for Chad Valley's stuff.
Actually, St. Lucia and Chad Valley should tour together. How do we make that joyful partnership happen? I'll help with the "promo," bros.
St. Lucia's 100% accessible music (that only god-forsaken MONSTERS wouldn't like) has also been compared to OMD. And you know who likes OMD? EVERYBODY. And hey, how about I throw out a little Rick Astley shout-out too? I think enough time has passed for me to do that with sincerity, don't you?
So to recap: St. Lucia's pretty much perfect synth-pop is like Chad Valley meets OMD meets Rick Astley.......... meets Fugazi. Hey now. Just kidding on that last one, bub (obviously I meant Pavement).
Sunglassess :: Swim
Audio: Swim (MP3, 16.04mb) Download Now
Remember these two guys? Sunglasses put out that excellent EP for Lefse Records back in 2010. Two very short years later (the sure fly as you get older, don't they? Oh, how they fly...) Savannah's finest are finally coming out with their debut full-length.
The people will certainly be ready because Sunglasses' can make THE JAMS. Now, these jams tend to go all sunny and poppy. That is true. But they pop-out all weird like. Their catchy choruses always seem to be competing with some type of controlled messiness in the background. (Some people just call that controlled messiness "lo-fi" I guess, but I don't care).
Sunglasses's sonically strange soundscapes (that could also be a hit summertime jam, don't forget) can kind of be compared with Animal Collective, perhaps, because who else do you think of when you see the word "soundscapes." But Sunglasses's have better beats than AC. Just saying.
On a closing side note: I saw that Sunglasses claim Harry Nillson as an influence. You should go listen to his album "The Point" again. That's some excellence wrapped up in a whole lot of craziness, right there.
Innergaze :: Shadow Disco
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What do we talk about when we talk about Innergaze? Innergaze is a Brooklyn duo comprised of Aurora Halal and Jason Letkiewicz. They make electronic psych disco jams using machines with lots of knobs and levers and wires and cords. Some of these machines are called "synth machines." These types of machines produce a sound that's similar to two robots in space having a nice, nostalgic conversation about the '80s - maybe over an iced acid (robots drink acid, right?) while waiting for the local laser light show to start.
Innergaze also uses different machines that make rhythmic pounding sounds. These pounding sounds are also known as "big time beats." If you're unfamiliar with big time beats, think of them as sounding like what your heart feels like when you realize that right now is the oldest you have ever been and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.
Innergaze also sometimes uses a machine called a "bass machine" that has "strings." Bass machines are often used to make people think of "sex."
Finally, when Innergaze play live musical performances they have this special machine on stage that projects color motion pictures on a screen. This machine makes people think about "drugs." I wouldn't know about that. But I do know what we talk about when we talk about Innergaze. We talk about a good band.