Friday, 17 June 2011


Poor old question mark. With bands such as Therapy? and Why? achieving prominence in the 90's, it was loving life. Having a ball. But since the turn of the century, its grave nemesis, exclamation mark, has been hogging the limelight. Panic! At The Disco, The Go! Team, Holy Ghost!, hell even '!!!' (pronounced chk-chk-chk....of course). But question mark can hold its head high with its recent representation, Brooklyn's Shark?.

So with the name waffle out of the way, what do these chaps sound like? Well, they are very much a mix of Garage Rock and Post-Punk in equal measure. Two unusal genres to splice, but I think thats why it's such an effective sound. The influences are clear to hear - Sonic Youth, Joy Division, The Pixies, and a healthy dose of Interpol's Paul Banks in front man [insert name here]'s vocals, yet nothing sounds contrived.

Get your ears around a couple of their track below, and if what you hear pleases you head on over to their Bandcamp page where you can pick up debut album True Waste.   

Shark? - Down Low
Shark? - Shark?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Bon Iver - 'Calgary' // vid and Thunderlust remix

Having already waxed nuff lyricals about Bon Iver's upcoming, self-titled, sophomore full-length, I'm just going to let the music do the talking. Below is the new video for Calgary, as well as a handy remix from seemingly little-known Northampton, MA producer Thuderlust, which brings a lil retro Electro, cosmic sum'n to the track.

Bon Iver - Calgary (Thunderlust Remix)

The Weeknd - new track 'The Birds (Part 1)'

Hot off the press....a new 'un from Toronto Future Rn'B musician Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd. First mixtape House Of Balloons, released earlier this year, was a stellar effort and if The Birds (Part 1) is anything to go by then I'm sure upcoming second effort Thursday won't be too shabby either. I've heard murmurings of both major label and MAJOR collaboration interest, so no doubt Abel will be an interesting guy to keep your eye on in coming months.

The Weeknd - The Birds (Part 1)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Gardens & Villa

Secretly Canadian is rapidly becoming one of my favorite labels. Not only are they home to the likes of Yeasayer, Here We Go Magic, JJ, and The War On Drugs but, not content to rest on their laurels, this year alone they've also gone and signed Painted Palms and, more recently, Santa Barbara's Gardens & Villa

The latter are a five-piece formed back in 2008, and their laid-back brand of Electronically-tinged, Funk-influenced Indie very much reflects the chill vibe of the coastal city in which they live. Black Hills and Orange Blossom, below, are tracks written around driving grooves and memorable chorsues, and I can't wait to hear more once their debut self-titled album drops on July 5th.

Gardens & Villa - Black Hills
Gardens & Villa - Orange Blossom

They've also got a brilliantly bizarre video for Black Hills:

The Rapture - 'How Deep Is Your Love'

The Rapture are back with a banger! While we have to wait until September to hear The New York Disco-Punks' new album In The Grace Of Your Love, new track How Deep Is Your Love presents us with an exciting preview into what we can expect from their 4th full-length, released through the ever-awesome DFA i.e. who just lost LCD Soundsystem - "meh, we'll just go and sign The Rapture, no biggie".

Download the track for free below, and also check out what I think is a pretty rad idea for a low-budget-at-best promo vid for the track.

The Rapture - How Deep Is Your Love

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sleeper Agent

While there may not be a sure fire formula on how to go about writing a contagious hook, it's much easier to tell upon listening to a band whether they've got the gift or not. Considering that my first experience of Kentucky's Sleeper Agent was about half an hour ago - in which time I've smashed out a few emails and walked down the road and back to get a sandwich, yet have barely been able to process a thought due to the constant repition of Get It Daddy in my skull - I'd say that's a resounding pass.

While I agree with comparisons to an early Jack White, the sextet also remind me a little of The Vaccines - if they were good, and from the Deep South that is - while there's also an element of Givers in there, quite possibly due to the unashamedly feel-good nature of the tracks. This is heavily melodic, Southern-fried Garage-Pop of the highest order.    

The above-mentioned Get It Daddy is the track that seems to have done the web rounds so far, while Proper Taste is a newer, and possibly even more exciting, number. An upcoming support tour with Cage The Elephant, record deal with Mom+Pop, and debut album Celabrasion coming out on August 16th suggests hugely exciting times ahead for this lot.     

Monday, 13 June 2011

Rockwell Knuckles

Continuing the blog's recent Hip-Hop theme, I present to you St Louis MC Rockwell Knuckles. I liked the guy even before hearing his music, upon discovering he's named his most recent mixtape You're Fucking Out, I'm Fucking In (Eastbound & Down anyone?) The music itself only strengthened my respect for Rocky - Play Catch in particular a monsterous potential hit in the making. The way he switches between singing and rapping is particularly impressive, but really there are a number of exemplary elements in this track - his flow, the lyrical witticisms, the ethereal backing track, as well as some huge melodic hooks thrown in there for good measure. That mixtape title may not be much of a joke after all. 

Rockwell Knuckles - Play Catch

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Big K.R.I.T. - Country Shit (remix) ft. Ludacris & Bun B vid

Although Big K.R.I.T.'s recently released Return Of 4Eva was a bit of a dissappointment after last year's outstanding K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, the mixtape ends with a banger in the form of a remix of Country Shit - in my opinion one of the best Hip-Hop tracks of the past few years. This one features Ludacris and Bud B, tho with the quality of the backing track you could have Rebecca Black spitting over it and it'd still be a jam.

K.R.I.T. premiered the video for this new rework the other day, and is worth a watch if nothing else for the sheer amount of poultry devoured by Luda.

Friday, 10 June 2011

(yet another) Catch-up post

I've been touring with Bravestation for the past few weeks and, while life on the road is hardly condusive to staying on top of the latest offerings of the blog world, the guys had the pleasure of sharing the stage with some great acts, and a couple of mammoth journeys have given me plenty of times to aurally ingest a new album or few. Here's the best of it:

Stage Buddies

Bblood video
While Birmingham's Indie scene is in a healthy state with these chaps and Troumaca leading the way, they've got a real Oxford feel to them as new track BBLOOD especially combines the contagiously tropical riffs of Jonquil with (and I know they're getting a little tired of this comparison) some of the darker, almost Shoegaze-y elements of Foals' Total Life Forever.

Toyger - Letter Bombs
As well as having the Math thang down to a tee, this young Middlesbrough group have a natural knack of writing a catchy hook, and are some of the nicest dudes you could ever hope to meet. Another act for fans of Foals.

Vinyl Jacket
Painting Stations vid
These guys did a great job of warming up Evolution Festivals main stage with their brilliantly wonky Vampire Weekend meets Everything Everything brand of Indie Pop. With previous play on Radio 1, expect this Newcastle act's stock to rise even further in coming months.

The Naturals
While they may not have hung around to watch Bravestation's set (bitter, me?) I'm willing to forgive as their set was so damn impressive. Techincal, powerful, emotive, and also really rather unique.

Deep Sea Arcade
Deep Sea Arcade - Lonely In Your Arms
Their name seems to be popping up all over the place of late, and for good reason. This Aussie quintet possess a heavily 60's influenced sound, combined with classic songwriting and youthful exhuberance. Of all the great acts coming out from down under of late, they're right up there with the best of them.


Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Most definitely up there with the best albums I've heard this year. Almost unrecognisable from the raw, stripped back production on For Emma..., Justin Vernon and co have gone for a huge, full, dare-I-say epic sound on this one, and have only gone and succeeded in producing a modern classic, as powerful as it is delicate.

Foster The People - Torches
While not exactly one for the Indie purists, nobody can deny that buzz band du jour Foster The People have an enviable knack for penning a contagious Pop tune. File this one under guilty pleasures, but make sure to keep a note of exactly where you filed it as I can guarantee you'll be re-visiting it more often than initially planned...

TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
While it often takes me a few listens to get into a TVotR record, this one was even more of a slow burner. I'm glad that I persisted however, as once you get your head around the record it unravels as further evidence that the band are still one of the most intellegent, and important, around today.

Death Cab For Cutie - Codes and Keys
While not in any way a bad record, Death Cab unfortunately join Friendly Fires and Wild Beasts in releasing albums of late that don't quite match what their immense capabilities. That being said, tracks such as You Are a Tourist and Underneath the Sycamore are up with their best, and the album is certainly worthy of a listen.