Monday, 28 February 2011

new Foo Fighters


April 12th is shaping up to be some day. Not only is this the release date for much anticipated albums by TV on the Radio and Panda Bear, but it also turns out that Foo Fighters are planning on following suit. Wasting Light will be their first studio album in four years, and the guys have taken a somewhat different approach to recording on this one, going back to basics with Butch Vig and using only analog equipment in Grohl's garage (which to be fair is probably bigger than most of our houses...).

Two new tracks have so far surfaced and, while they're both extremely encouraging, don't really give much of an indication as to what the general feel of the album will be. White Limo is exactly what you'd expect from a song recorded on analog equipment in a garage, and has a real raw feel to it. Rope reverts back to a more traditional Foo Fighters style, with a more polished, massive Rock vibe. Check both below, as well as a great remix of Everlong by Oxford's Alphabet Pony (credit to musigh for this one). 

Rope by Foo Fighters


Foo Fighters - Everlong (Alphabet Pony remix)

Friday, 25 February 2011

Doomtree


Following from my review of Sims' exceptional Bad Time Zoo (below), I've been doing a bit of digging around the background of his label, Doomtree. They're actually more of a collective or family, based in the midwest, and representing some exellent rap talent. Many of their fam seem to belong more to the 'Alternative Hip-Hop' stable, where the word Alternative could easily translate as 'intellegent'. This music is socially conscious, forward-thinking, and should appeal to fans of Indie as much as those of straight up Hip-Hop.

Check out the roster here. Everything I've heard so far is brilliant...I'd especially recommend producer/emcee P.O.S.      

Sims - Bad Time Zoo

Artist: Sims
Album: Bad Time Zoo
Released: February 15th '11
Label: Doomtree Records

From:Minneapolis MN, USA

Members
Andrew Sims

RIYL: The Roots, Astronautalis, P.O.S.





Doomtree member Sims is a frustrated young man. He feels disconnected by technology, angered by greed's negative implications and effects on the environment and mankind, perturbed by those who opt for materialism over anything of genuine substance, and exasperated by armchair activists. Fortunately, he's sufficiently observant, intellegent, socially conscious, and verbally gifted to vent said frustration into 14 cleverly written, cohesively structured tracks that utilise his significant emcee talents to spread the message far and wide, as opposed to purely joining the legions of anonymous rant-bloggers.         

The album is produced entirely by fellow Doomtree member Lazerbeak, and while it's Sims' lyrics that define the record, the unrelenting quality of the beats, samples and instrumentation used take Bad Time Zoo to another level. Elements of genres as diverse as Afropop, Reggae and Swing all rear their heads, giving Sims' sound a Roots-esque quality. The miscellany on show is further exemplified by LMG - an ode, or more a statement, than not every song about a girl has to be emo - "why's every girl song gotta be some big, depressing mess? I'm happy, man". In a genre where many beats are hastily assembled, 3-note samples and lyrical content doesn't progress far past paper and pussy, Sims is an intense breath of fresh air.     

8.5/10

Sims - Future Shock

Thursday, 24 February 2011

TV On The Radio // new track + album announcement


Hell yes! TV On The Radio are back! With a new album Nine Types of Light planned for release on April 12th, the outstanding Brooklyn quintet have shown their hand in the form of Will Do. The track is instantly more accessible than much of their previous material, and I was singing along by the 2nd chorus - strange as melody isn't neccessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think TotR. It's less experimental than the majority of their back catalogue, but still lyrically accomplished and I'm sure will continue to grow and grow with each listen.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Vessels


Yesterday when I briefly mentioned the UK's currently burgeoning Indie scene, another band that certainly deserve a mention are Leeds' Vessels. Its difficult to categorise these guys effectively as each of their tracks sound so completely different, spanning from Minus The Bear-esque Indie Rock to out-and-out ambient electronica. Recur falls in the former category, as the song is powered by a driving beat and technical riff, while front-man Lee Malcolm's vocals, more than a little reminiscent of those of MTB's Jake Snider (certainly a good thing), expertly guides the track. The Trap is a captivating instrumental effort, whereas Heal is ethereal and ominous, with an accompanying video that looks more like it's been made for a 90's science education class...but actually works really quite well with the music. It's amazing to hear such a high level of maturity from such a new band....a real prospect.

Vessels - Recur
Vessels - The Trap

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Collectable Few


Jaunty, upbeat Indie Pop Seems to be one of the predominant flavours of 2011 so far. While post-dubstep is the genre that has ousted itself into the limemight this year through acts such as James Blake and Jamie Woon, there are plenty of great Indie bands bubbling away under the surface, and few more impressive than London's The Collectable Few. The guys released their first single Headstrong through the fantastic Laissez Faire Club in January, and the track provides a great insight into what the guys are all about. They strike a great balance between playful and musically accomplished, with some good technical instrumentation in the verses and a more pumping, anthemic chorus. RAC do what they do best for the remix too...not changing anything too dramatically, but enhacing it's dancefloor worthiness and introducing a few nice riffs and variations here and there.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Kanye West - 'All of the Lights' vid and Pretty Lights remix


Epelectics avert them eyes right now - the video for Kanye's All of the Lights has recently surfaced. This track was one of my favorites from last year, and while I don't feel that this rather disjointed video entirely does it justice, it's worth a watch just to hear the song again if nothing else.

Electronic genius Pretty Lights has also dropped a predictably outstanding remix of the track. He's actually disregarded the beat - probably my favorite element of the track - but fuck it, the remix still rules.   

Kanye West - All Of The Lights (Pretty Lights Remix)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Moths


Camera pans, she drives, he flies, he attemps daring manoevre, she bricks herself, they meet, they smoke, she goes sort of schiz, they get down. While the concept may simple enough, Synesthesiae Films have shot the video to Moths' <3 in a way that makes the whole video really quite captivating, and the backing track aint half bad either.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Heartbreaks & Young The Giant @ Proud Galleries, Feb 9th


Music Week's 'Breakout' is a new monthly series taking place at Proud in Camden, aiming to provide up n' coming talent with a chance to strut their shit in front of fans and industry alike. Last Wednesday's event saw two of the most hyped bands from either side of the Atlantic - Young The Giant from the US, and the UK's The Heartbreaks - form the crux of a fairly stellar bill.

Young The Giant were the first of the two to take the stage to an unsurpirsingly packed out room, and you don't have to be an A&R veteran to why they've been touted as the next big thing. The quality of vocalist Sameer Ghadia was instantly apparent as an acpella harmony with guitarist Eric Cannata ushered in opening song I Got, and acted as sign of things to come, as the set - and Young The Giant's sound in general - is strongly vocal-centric. There were some neat instrumental additons, especially towards the end of their set on St. Walker which nicely utlises some slide guitar and a bubbly bass riff, but really it's Ghadia's vocals which are ever at the forefront of their sound, and is likely to be the feature of the band that differentiates them from the rest of the pack. Final track My Body is the band's best known track to date, and is also the highlight of the set - the band really putting everything into it and showing that they can really bring a Rock edge to their polished Pop sound when they do so.

After a hugely entertaining set from Vintage Trouble, a band I wasn't at all familiar with before the night, Manchester's The Heartbreaks took to stage to a sligtly emptier, but equally enthusiatic room. Whereas YTG have a very modern, glossy pop sound, these chaps keep it more intricate and raw, and do a great job of paying homage to their influences while fashioning a sound which is very much their own. I can almost see their parents' record collections....The Smiths, The Beach Boys, The Cure, Chuck Berry, and The Jam all featuring heavily I'm sure. In a pure live capacity, they show enough swagger to imply confidence in their own ability, while front-man Matt Whitehouse looks and sounds every bit capable of fronting the UK's next big Indie band.

Young The Giant - My Body

The Heartbreaks - I Didn't Think It Would Hurt To Think Of You

Thursday, 10 February 2011

tUnE-yArDs - Bizzness


I can't stop listening to Bizzness by 4AD's tUnE-yArDs. Well, actually I listened to the new Strokes track a bunch of times, but then reverted back to this. In the radio rip below, Zane Lowe says something about it being tricky to categorize which I agree with, but I'm gonna go with Fela Kuti meets Fool's Gold meets....Animal Collective? Fuck it, if in doubt, always go with Animal Collective. Either way, it's immense, and you should probably do yourself a favour and have a listen. AnD gLaD i ReSiStEd, LaSt MiNuTe, ThE uRgE tO tYpE tHe EntIrE fEaTuRe LiKe ThIs.

Second album w h o k i l l will see an April 18th/19th release. s w e e t. 

TUnE-yArDs – Bizzness

The Strokes // new track 'Under Cover of Darkness'


It's the moment that most Indie fans have been eagerly awaiting for the past five years...yesterday, NYC's finest The Strokes dropped their first track since 2006's First Impressions of Earth. Under Cover of Darkness is the first single off upcoming 4th full-length Angles, to be released March 22nd, and sees the band reverting to the sound that made Is This It? such a seminal noughties album. Everything sounds more developed however....two guitars harmonise where previously one had made do, a jaunty guitar riff accompanies the chords that previously used to drive the verse solo, and everything comes together - including backing vocals which are likely to polarise opinions amongst the Strokes diehard - to create one of the band's most massivest choruses to date. The bridge is the only section that lets the track down slightly, but all in all Under Cover of Darkness is certainly an encouraging sign and suggests that Angles could well be a classic.

Head to the band's website to pick up the song for free.    

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Toro Y Moi // stream 'Underneath The Pine' & New Beat vid


While 2010's Causers of This, Toro Y Moi's debut full length, was without doubt a good album, it lacked somewhat in terms of cohesion and direction. And this is no criticism of Chazwick Bundick (the man behind the project) - debut album's often do, while the artist tries to 'find their sound'. What was extremely evident from the debut, however, was the talent possessed by Bundick, and judging from what I've heard from the soon-to-be-released sophomore album Underneath the Pine, this talent seems to be coming to fruition - Toro Y Moi have found their sound. The basslines are funky as hell, the signature delayed vocals are well layered and harmonised, and the tracks just sound that much more coherent.

Stream the album in full via Urban Outfitters here and check below for the video to New Beat, the second album track to surface on t'internet.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Kids Icarus - Kids Icarus EP

Artist: Kids Icarus
Album: Kids Icarus (EP)
Released: January 9th '11
Label: unsigned

From: Farmington CT, USA

Members
Brian Bellitto
Adam Sahlin
Derek Andersen
Dave Woltmann
Marco Corsino

RIYL: Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, Title Fight 

Pop Punk is a genre that featured heavily in my teen years, but that I often listen to nowadays and feel like I've grown out of. There are all too many bands in the genre who are purely trying to replicate their heroes with no kind of originality, instrumental invention, or lyrical content of note, and the result comes out sounding like some sort of early New Found Glory D-sides - a description which, worringly enough, probably wouldn't bother many of those guilty parties.

However, every now and then I come across a band who re-instills my faith in the genre, and reminds me of what it was that sparked my interest in the first place - and Conneticut's Kids Icarus are one of those groups. They may not be chowing up too much new ground, but they play with plentiful passion and energy, and enough instrumental precision and technicality to hook your attention right from the very start. The Pop Punk/Hardcore/Punk hybrid can sound pretty tragic when not executed properly, but when a band nails it - then that's a different story altogether. This EP isn't just musically accomplished but it's also a lot of fun. Check it out below, and head to their Bandcamp page for a free download of lead track It's On Me.      

LostAlone - Fall On Your Sword video

 

Yes Powerpop chorus! Certainly didn't see that coming, but pretty glad it did. I don't know much about LostAlone, but they're managed by Raw Power and signed to Warner subsid Sire so will inevitably be mahusive. Good to see the genre making a comeback, tho here's to hoping it's just the odd band who catches on as I don't think I could stomach a new Powerpop movement.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Nickstape - January '11

Holy shit a month is a long time. Was James Blake only out last month?! Mental.

Anyway, allow me to introduce my first ever Nickstape. Awful name....hopefully, better music.

Album wise, 2011 hasn't started off with quite the same kind of bang as 2010. There have been some great offerings from the likes of Iron & Wine, Smith Westerns, and When Saints Go Machine, and maybe I just need a bit more time with the efforts of The Decemberists, Cold War Kids, James Blake, White Lies etc. But either way, there have been some rad tracks in rotation around the web, and this bodes very well for the year ahead.

Have a listen to 50 tracks below that've provided the soundtrack to my January, and if there are any you feel I've left out, then let me know. At this stage it's worth pointing out that, although most of the tracks below emerged last month, there are a few such as Calexico's Two Silver Trees which came out a while back but have only just wormed their way into my library recently. So no hatin' alright?

Toro Y Moi - Still Sound
Christoph Andersson - Capital
Rox - I Don't believe (DON DIABLO REMIX)
Mux Mool - Enceladus
Funeral Party - Giant Song
The Jezabels - Hurt Me
E-Dubble - Grown for a Minute
PNAU - The Truth (Jump Jump Dance Dance Remix)
The Knocks - Dancing With The DJ (96 Bulls Remix)
Wiz Khalifa - G'd Up
Ducktails - Killin The Vibe
Smith Westerns - All Die Young
Kisses - Bermuda
The Mountain Goats - Damn These Vampires.mp3
Big K.R.I.T. - Good Foot
James Vincent McMorrow - This Old Dark Machine
Starfucker - Bury Us Alive
Adrian Lux - Teenage Crime
Breton - RDI
Calexico - Two Silver Trees
Cold War Kids - Mine Is Yours (Passion Pit Remix)
The Death Set - Grinding Halt (The Cure cover)
The Decemberists - This Is Why We Fight
Deep Sea Arcade - Lonely In Your Arms
Foster The People - Helena Beat
GOBBLE GOBBLE - Nikki (I Am Not The-Dream)
Grouplove - Colours
Jonquil - It Never Rains
Kids Icarus - It's On Me
letlive. - Renegade 86`
Oberhofer - Away FRM U
Oh Land - White Nights (Twin Shadow remix)
Ponderosa - Old Gin Road
Pop Winds - Met Some New Colours
Purity Ring - Ungirthed
Roadside Graves - Liv Tyler
Said The Whale - Out on the Shield
Tapes 'n Tapes - Freak Out
Teeth - See Spaces (DREAMTRAK DIAMOND SOUND)
Tripwires - Cinnamon
Chapel Club - Surfacing
Night Surgeon - Color Me Black and White
Cities Aviv - Float On
The Vaccines - We're Happening
Little Comets - Dancing Song
Fly Golden Eagle - Push Pull
Adele - Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx remix) ft. Childish Gambino
Lupe Fiasco - Words I Never Said ft Skylar Grey

Alternatively, download the whole thing here

Lord Huron - The Stranger video


Having picked picked Lord Huron as a band to watch this year, I'd like to slightly adjust my statement to say that they are possibly THE band to watch this year. The video for The Stranger, from last year's Mighty EP, previewed on Pitchfork yesterday, and while it might not be the most riveting music video you'll ever see, the track itself emphasis their credentials as potential major players in the world of Folk/Indie. Scrap that...the world of music in general.    

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Starfucker - Reptilians

Artist: Starfucker
Album: Reptilians
Released: March 6th '11
Label: Polyvinyl Records

From: Portland OR, USA

Members
Joshua Hodges
Ryan Biornstad
Shawn Glassford
Keil Corcoran

RIYL: Passion Pit, MGMT, Hockey, Phoenix

A band with as many name changes as years active, Starfucker finally reverted back to their original moniker having also given PYRAMID, Pyramiddd, and STRFKR a whirl. I'm actually not surprised they tried to change it in the first place, as I find the name a litle misleading. For a name containing the filthiest of F-bombs, you'd expect the music to be a little more dangerous...daring....alternative. Reptilians however, although by no means a bad album, couldn't be described as the most precarious record ever produced.   

Joshua Hodges' falsetto vocals and the group's Electro/Indie leaning make Passion Pit comparisons inevitable right from the get go, while their synth centric nature is reminiscent of Oracular Spectacular era MGMT. Born, the album opener, is by no means one of the standout tracks on the album, but it gives a good insight into what to expect from the guys, before leading into the big one-two of Julius and Bury Us Alive - both of which have been doing the web rounds in the build up to the album, and rightly so. Julius is the anthemic track of the bunch, built around the chrous' synth line - Startfucker's Sleepyhead if you will. Bury Us Alive sees Hodges getting all sultry on us, with another huge chorus that doesn't sound vastly different to what Hockey (what the fuck happened to them?!) may have written a couple of years back. While much of the album is straight up Electro Pop, The White of Noon has a dreamy feel to it with delayed, effected vocals. Many of their synth lines have a fairly retro feel to them, and Millions even gives a doff o' the cap to ever-so-opinion-splitting Chillwave genre.

While the group must be commended for their willingness to explore and experiment within a broad electronic spectrum (the narrative extracts actually work surprisingly well too), there's just not quite enough groundbreaking material on this record to ensure that it makes too much of a long term impact. An enjoyable listen tho, nonetheless.  

7/10

Starfucker - Julius
Starfucker - Bury Us Alive