Thursday, April 28, 2011

Strange Talk

The latest band that gets the hot Neon Gold label treatment is Australia’s , who will be releasing their EP on May 2nd. This EP marks Neon Gold’s 1st ever vinyl & CD release (to this point there have only been vinyl Neon Gold releases). The last few months have seen flex their musical muscle as a live act, honing their show opening for the likes of The Rapture, Neon Indian & Marina and The Diamonds.

pair considerable musical talents from disparate backgrounds

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Classixx + YACHT

Since they released “Into the Valley”, Classixx have been busy shooting the video, kicked off a US tour & their friends YACHT remixed the single.

“Into The Valley (YACHT Remix)”

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Thieves Like Us

I’m a big fan & totally missed this remix album they released back in November…how embarrassing. Again & Again Remixed features remixes by Nite Jewel, Minitel Rose, Sundance, Kamp! & Cécile to name a few.

“Forget Me Not (Sundance remix)”

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Miracle Fortress

Montreal producer (aka Graham Van Pelt) has announced a N. American tour with Junior Boys in support of his anticipated sophomore album, Was I The Wave? out May 17th on Secret City Records (Diamond Rings, Plants & Animals). These shows follow his Canadian tour with Shad in May, & will include stops in Toronto, New York, Nashville & Chicago. Confirmed venues & dates after the break.

Acting as composer, arranger, producer, & engineer, Van Pelt here shows more of an electronic side than on his 2007 Polaris Prize-nominated debut Five Roses, which was a fan & industry favorite, gaining critical acclaim from several tastemakers. Was I The Wave? expresses themes of alienation, anonymity, & the desire for intimacy, with the 1st side keeping a deliberately crowded atmosphere, & the 2nd side more open & personal. In support of his upcoming release, has released a Pantha du Prince remix of first single “Raw Spectacle” as a free download.

“Raw Spectacle (Pantha du Prince remix)”

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Explosions In the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

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Four years ago, Explosions in the Sky ended their last album with a short (for them) song called "So Long, Lonesome". It was pretty and melancholy, not so unlike a lot of their other music, really, but as its title suggests, it had the feel of a goodbye. It seemed so final. But no, the Austin quartet is not done. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care finds the band returning with a renewed focus on its most basic sound: multiple guitars with drums and a bit of bass. The piano that helped lend "So Long, Lonesome" its sense of cold finality is gone, and the band sounds confident getting back to the setup on which they built their reputation.

The band famously doesn't consider itself post-rock, but if we're being honest, today they may be the last true exponent of turn-of-the-century post-rock-- unlike Mogwai, they never wandered away from drifting instrumentals constructed around loud-soft dynamics and the contrast between soft guitar tones and pounding drums. Most of their other contemporaries from the period are gone or found dub or electronics or something else. But Explosions in the Sky are sticking to their guns-- Take Care is less ragged than Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, but it's otherwise a very similar album.

So whether or not you dive into Take Care will largely depend on your appetite for loud/soft instrumental post-rock. If your appetite for it is boundless, you will be very pleased by this album, and probably also its elaborate artwork, which can be folded several ways to make the interior or exterior of a building. At its best, Take Care is ruled by drummer Chris Hrasky. The guitars tend to hang on particular figures or throw up an e-bowed haze, and Hrasky is the one who can cut through that. On "Trembling Hands" his drum kit is the lead instrument as he unleashes Keith Moon-worthy torrents of snare, tom, and cymbal, throwing himself at the guitars as though they were a wall to break through.

One could argue that the music here is predictable and even a bit old-hat. We've lived with this sound for well over a decade now, and we have classics to compare it to, including Explosions in the Sky's own work. And that argument holds some water. But the simple fact is that Explosions in the Sky are very good at this particular thing, and it seems as though no matter how many crescendos and diminuendos they play, there remains a certain amount of cathartic power to their music. The emotion in it is ambiguous, and you can read whatever you want into it-- the soundtrack to your rainy day might be the soundtrack to someone else's overwhelming joy, and that too is important to its appeal.

— Joe Tangari, April 25, 2011


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

mp3: maria minerva x keep shelly in athens

Transparent is set to release a new Keep Shelly in Athens digital EP, featuring remixes of the duo’s latest sold-out 7″ single by the likes of Blood Diamonds and D. Paris, plus this Maria Minerva rework, in which she distantly warbles some old Spice Girls jam karaoke-style over a woozy, warped version of KSiA’s “Song to Cheer You Up.” Head over to Transparent to download the whole EP, including the original versions. Holler:

Keep Shelly In Athens :: Song To Cheer You Up (Maria Minerva Holler Remix)

Keep Shelly in Athens :: Song to Cheer You Up

Tags: keep shelly in athens, maria minerva, mp3, remixposted by: Chris

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Losing my patience

The Shit Robot Show made its way to the US this March for a handful of special shows ending in NYC opening for, & performing with, LCD Soundsystem. Doing justice to the LCD legacy the Village Voice reported back from Terminal 5 that Shit Robot’s

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Fixers + Memory Tapes

“Crystals” is the lead track from Fixers’ 1st real body of work following debut single on Young & Lost. It’s being released on May 9th along with 4 other tracks on an EP titled Here Comes 2001, So Lets All Head For The Sun.

The bands debut headline tour commences in Manchester on May 1st. Confirmed dates & venues after the break.

“Crystals (Memory Tapes remix)”

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Neon Indian – “Heart: Attack”

Here’s our first glimpse at Neon Indian’s forthcoming LP, in the form of this short video shot in Helsinki — where Alan Palomo recorded most of the album — by Austin filmmaker Sean Lopez. Featuring an excerpt from “Heart: Attack,” the first of a “three-part instrumental movement” that appears on the new record:

Neon Indian’s new full-length is due sometime in the Fall of 2011. The band also has a number of shows planned in the coming months; check those dates after the jump…

05-14 Dallas, TX – HomeGrown Music and Arts Festival
05-16 Pittsburgh, PA

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Just want to thank all my followers!!!

Do whatever you want all the time

Baltimore foursome Ponytail have released a new video for “Honey Touches,” off their 3rd full-length, , out this week on We Are Free. The video – directed by Bill Benz & Mike Giambra, also known as MENZ – chronicles “man’s everlasting battle with fruit and the pursuit of making the ultimate smoothie.” Click here to watch.


“Easy Peasy”

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So glad I don’t need to wait until the 25th to blast this song all day long. Son Of Kick is giving away his ‘rekix dub’ version of “Playing the Villain”. I still can’t wait for the release though!

Son Of Kick has also announced a couple of gigs in the UK & Europe, if he’s going to be in your town or anywhere nearby, DO NOT MISS IT! Click here to check out the flyer.

Don’t forget to watch the video!

“Playing The Villian (Son Of Kick Rekix Dub)”

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Starfucker - Reptilians

The Feelies: Here Before Jamie Woon: Mirrorwriting Atmosphere: The Family Sign Starfucker: Reptilians Wiz Khalifa: Rolling Papers Crystal Stilts: In Love With Oblivion Bob Dylan: In Concert: Brandeis University 1963 The Flaming Lips / Neon Indian: The Flaming Lips With Neon Indian Ponytail: Do Whatever You Want All the Time The Low Anthem: Smart Flesh The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: Belong Snoop Dogg: Doggumentary Burial: Street Halo The Weeknd: House of Balloons Foo Fighters: Wasting Light Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What Meat Puppets: Lollipop Sonny and the Sunsets: Hit After Hit Jamaica: No Problem Jamie Woon: Mirrorwriting Crystal Stilts: In Love With Oblivion Hauschka: Salon des Amateurs Jeremy Jay: Dream Diary Rhys Chatham: Outdoor Spell Bill Callahan: Apocalypse Atmosphere: The Family Sign Ponytail: Do Whatever You Want All the Time The Low Anthem: Smart Flesh Starfucker: Reptilians TV on the Radio: Nine Types of Light Low: C'mon Bob Dylan: In Concert: Brandeis University 1963 The Feelies: Here Before Quintron: Sucre du Sauvage
Recently Friday,
April 15 Thursday,
April 14 Wednesday,
April 13 Tuesday,
April 12 Monday,
April 11 Friday,
April 8 Album Reviews Foo Fighters: Wasting Light Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What Meat Puppets: Lollipop Sonny and the Sunsets: Hit After Hit Jamaica: No Problem The Playlist Lil Silva: "On Your Own"

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Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

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Dave Grohl didn't make it easy for himself. Not long after Nirvana dissolved in April 1994, following Kurt Cobain's suicide, Grohl was offered the opportunity to back Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. For him, a Petty fan, that was a dream job. Though he would drum with them during a "Saturday Night Live" performance later that year, Grohl ultimately declined, to start over from scratch and do what he's still doing today: front a band.

At the time, that decision was probably daunting. Grohl had already spent some time in a Seattle studio recording a humble demo tape that would become Foo Fighters' debut, one for whose release rights major labels were already grappling. But the sizable shadow cast by Cobain and the weight of his legacy and death was immense. This week, coupled with Wasting Light, their seventh full-length, Foo Fighters have been screening their new, somewhat revisionist, sometimes 3-D retrospective documentary, Back and Forth. There's some great footage early on during what was Grohl's very first tour (opening for Mike Watt) with his brand new band. There, despite having never heard any of the yet-to-be-released Foo Fighters songs, young Nirvana fans were showing up early and in numbers. "Marigold!" they'd scream out between songs, in hopes of hearing the one Grohl-penned Nirvana tune there was. He never played it.

The idea of Grohl opening for anyone now seems just as ridiculous as him having to field requests for anything but one of the two dozen modern rock hits he's released since. But in Wasting Light, Grohl is attempting to come full circle. The plan was to go back to basics, in a few ways: 1) record the album to tape in Grohl's San Fernando Valley garage, 2) hire famed Nevermind producer Butch Vig to man the boards, 3) bring former Germs, Nirvana, and Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear back into the mix, 4) have founding Nirvana member and bassist Krist Novoselic down from Seattle to guest on some of the recordings. As Grohl says during Back and Forth, before recording began in earnest, "I love that we're going to make an album at home. It's going to sound like it was recorded in a house. I know it will."

It doesn't. In fact, said garage was built with the arena in mind, and as a result Wasting Light sounds just as mammoth and capable of knocking out teeth as anything Foo Fighters have recorded since the late 90s. That's more a product of force than hooks. As evidenced by the opening roar of "Bridge Burning" and "Rope" or metallic uppercuts of "White Limo", the new, three-guitar attack in place provides a wallop that wasn't there before. Vig is renowned for sugaring up recordings, but here, the aim seems solely about knocking down walls. Front to back, Wasting Light meets that cause with lean, workmanlike aplomb. Grohl's screams haven't registered this dangerously, gleefully shredded in years-- if he was hoping to exorcise some demons, it sounds as though he made that happen.

But Foo Fighters' long-standing foundation has been built on fist-pumpers. While Wasting Light features a host of worthy set-openers, few prove to be as sticky or memorable as any number of their previous singles. There just isn't a melody or hook to really amplify. Those songs here that hold tightly to Grohl's long perfected, quiet-LOUD formula and crescendos-- see: alt-rock lullabies "Arlandria" and "These Days", or the pop-punk door-to-ass closer "Walk"-- come closest to matching the energy of his best work. In theory, as a form of therapy, it still works. Former Hüsker Dü frontman and fellow 80s punker Bob Mould guests semi-audibly on the Zeppelin-like crunch of "Dear Rosemary" and then of course, there's Novoselic's turn on "I Should Have Known", where the latter's bass sounds as round and bowling ball-heavy as it did on Nirvana's "Sliver".

There's a scene not long into Back and Forth, when Grohl remembers, "People really resented me for starting this band, for making music they thought 'sounded just like Nirvana.' What? You mean loud rock guitars? Melodies? Cymbals crashing? Big-ass drums? Well, that's what I do." It's true. He always did. It's just that, this time out, it's his melodies that are missed most.

— David Bevan, April 15, 2011


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

mp3: Purity Ring – “Lofticries”

Here’s the latest from our dudes at Transparent: the b-side from Purity Ring’s beautiful/brilliant debut 7″ single, Ungirthed. Download the oddly moving “meditative future-ballad” “Lofticries” below, and if you missed the equally great a-side in our January mix, grab that one too:

Purity Ring :: Lofticries
Purity Ring :: Ungirthed

Purity Ring’s Ungirthed 7″ is out next week. More info

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jess Mills

There’s a fair chance you’re already familiar with the sublime voice of N. London girl . Refresher: her vocals graced the recent Radio 1 A listed, top 40 single “Fighting Fire” by Breakage.

Jess’s relationship with Breakage was cemented on Leftfield’s recent comeback tour, where Jess was providing the vocals for the seminal dance act, & Breakage was the support. Bonding over a shared love of Radiohead, 90s drum’n’bass & Depeche Mode they decided to bunker down in James’ South London studio. There’s where Jess wrote & laid down the vocals for the club smash “Fighting Fire”. A track that left confused message board chatter over whether it was dubstep, trance or pop music, but that clearly united people on the dance-floor.

Like Geoff Barrow’s first meeting with Beth Gibbons, there was magic in the air

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Panda Bear - Tomboy

Amazon MP3 & CD Tweet MP3: Panda Bear: "Last Night at the Jetty"

Noah Lennox's Panda Bear project has always been about making "difficult" music scan as almost radio-friendly, to translate experimental moves to a broad audience with little interest in such things. It's a strategy he learned, at least in part, from sonic forebears like Arthur Russell and Brian Wilson, along with the avant-techno types he reveres. Like those disparate influences, Lennox has used potentially off-putting compositional and textural ideas to craft some of the most inviting music of his era. In turn, he's inspired more of his own followers in the last four years than anyone might have guessed. Lennox has found himself the unwitting king of the chillwave nation, hero to a whole generation of underground kids drawn to his mix of heavy reverb, sun-woozy synths, droning kraut-surf-ambient-pop songs, high childlike voice, and psychedelic-cum-nostalgic sleeve art.

Tomboy, Lennox's fourth solo album as Panda Bear, was mixed with Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember of Spectrum/Spacemen 3. And again, in a way there's little here that's any further out-there than the blissful psychedelia and dream-pop Spacemen 3 and their peers were playing in the late 1980s, a lineage that stretches right back to stuff we now consider classic rock. With its angelic choirboy harmonies over an unchanging synth buzz, even "Drone", the album's roughest song, is a dead-ringer for the way Spacemen 3 songs like "Ecstasy Symphony" merged the pop high of Beach Boys with the woozy downer feel of the Velvet Underground.

But despite Tomboy's shorter songs and more conventional structures-- especially compared to the loose percussive jams of Lennox's 2007 solo breakthrough Person Pitch-- he's still committed to pushing his music to strange places. And few of his chilled-to-the-point-of-entropy acolytes can match Lennox for warped hooks. Forget comparing his gorgeous voice to their mumbling. Unlike many chillwave and dream-pop artists (and Spacemen 3), Lennox is blessed with the ability to actually sing, and he knows enough about crafting harmonies to do more than vaguely nod in the direction of 60s pop. So Tomboy is a pretty singular mix of the eerie and the inviting.

Despite the murk and terror and noise of Animal Collective's earliest music, there's never been anything particularly ugly about Lennox's mature solo work, starting with 2004's Young Prayer. But even then, he wasn't comfortable playing the laid-back hippie stereotype that's been laid on A.C. by detractors in recent years. Young Prayer might still be the most emotionally wrenching album in the Collective's catalog, an album written by a young man wrestling with some heavy shit. Lennox's father was dying of brain cancer while Young Prayer was being written. "

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mp3: new Animal Collective (live)

Animal Collective debuted some new material at Petaluma, CA’s Phoenix Theatre last night, and as usual, Collected Animals delivers a decent sounding bootleg in record time. A little murky, but the recording gives us our first glimpse at where they’re headed on the new record. Here are the two as-yet-untitled new Panda Bear jams from the set:

Animal Collective :: untitled – live in Petaluma, CA
Animal Collective :: untitled (encore) – live in Petaluma, CA

Tags: animal collective, live, mp3posted by: Chris

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Memory Tapes

Player Piano, the 2nd album from , will be released on July 4th on Something In Construction Records in Europe & Carpark in the US. It was, like its predecessor, recorded at Dayve Hawk’s home studio in rural New Jersey, where he juggles looking after his young daughter & being a musician.

’ debut, Seek Magic, was released properly in March 2010 & has since sold over 30,000 copies worldwide. It received almost exclusively excellent reviews. debuted his live show in January 2010 in Manchester, England & has since criss-crossed N. America & played shows all across Europe & as far away as Australia. His remixes of the likes of Crystal Castles, Gucci Mane and Yeasayer have had consistent acclaim.

The template/motif for Player Piano was that it would be

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Brickwork Lizards Live

Sometimes, the story of a good band can be told through the variety and blend of their influences. Put a new spin on something old, or make fire from a pile of old sawdust. Creating something original is often described as the holy grail for aspiring new bands, and this mantra is most certainly the inscription on the Brickwork Lizards‘ declaration.

Hailing from Oxford, the Brickwork Lizards came to London for an intimate and lively show at The Comedy Pub, tucked in between Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus and just up the road from The Comedy Store (confusing? after four beers I certainly thought so). Anyway, intoxicated navigational issues aside, I managed to find the venue successfully, and was excited to see that the band had squeezed an audaciously wide variety of instruments onto a deceptively small stage. It consisted of an electric guitar, an electric cello (I thought they looked stupid too, but trust me it works), a djembe drum, a full drum kit, bass, banjo and – played by frontman Tarik Beshir – an Oud. Now, you may not recognize the name of this Arabic lute-style instrument, but you will definitely recognize its unique and familiar sound, which transports you instantly into the arid desert of the Middle East. When coupled with Beshir’s ethereal, muezzin-style vocals, it gives a taste of something contrary to the standard, acoustic guitar-toting singer/songwriters we have seen a million times before.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011


Check this out! The music site released an incredible mixtape! Truancy Compilation One is a compilation that features 14 tracks from a mixture of both upcoming & established artists based from all corners of the world.

The compilation is absolutely free BUT it’ll be highly appreciated if you could make a small donation. Until May 31st, all proceeds are being forwarded to the Libya & Region Appeal.

Some of the in the comp. are: LOL Boys, TEETH, NGUZUNGUZU, Femme En Fourure, Darling Farah and Glass Actor. For donations & full tracklist go here.

TEETH – “Some”

Tanka – “Short Sighted”

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Dirty Gold’s California Sunrise. The best summer song of 2011? [new mp3]

We first mentioned Dirty Gold back in early February after seeing a video for “California Sunrise.” The band has just released an mp3 for the same song just in time for the summer. If you are a fan of Surfer Blood and The Generationals (my favorite summer album of 2009), go ahead and reserve a spot on your summer party playlist for this one. As we stated before:

This teenage two-piece from San Diego open the song with the sound of seagulls and quickly gives way to an intoxicating mix of surf rock guitar riffs, afrobeat percussion, and vocals that evoke summer…

Dirty Gold is releasing their Roar EP on April 12th via Autumn Tone Records.

Dirty Gold – California Sunrise

Video: Dirty Gold – California Sunrise


TweetTagged as:Autumn Tone Records, Dirty Gold, Generationals, mp3, Surfer Blood

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

video: Tennis – “Take Me Somewhere”

Posted at 6:45PM, Apr 5th

actually the song is quite nice, but the boat theme with this album is boring. Hopefully they’ll write their next album in a hotel room or something. The video is boring too. It’s like watching vacation home videos. But who cares about videos anyway.

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You wanna be high on this

What can I say about The Weeknd that has not already been said? They dropped a free mixtape & changed everyone’s idea of what R&B should be. #undergound House of Balloons created a rumble like rumors did back in high school. You know, like “he/she slept with who???” #hornyteenagers

The whole album bleeds #instantclassic. The somber sounds & deep vocals makes this a staple in the playlist. Download it, don’t ask questions, then roll up to lookout point with your flame & make out

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Architecture in Helsinki - Moment Bends

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It's a problem every precocious, cutesy twee band eventually faces: How do you grow up and put away the proverbial glockenspiel? Belle and Sebastian went 1970s AM gold, Los Campesinos! developed a gothically morbid streak. Throughout Architecture in Helsinki's career, they've tried to grow into an adult voice, with some pubescent cracks and hiccups along the way. Their first two albums had the feel of clever kids run riot in the band room after school, fooling around on French horn and whatever else was around. Their third saw them streamlining things, dropping a couple of members and replacing much of the studiously charted acoustic ruckus with synthetic instrumentation. Moment Bends finds them even further along that path, moving from the gleefully transparent clutter of their early albums to a more highly polished pop sound.

Moment Bends is also oddly indebted to the sonic palette of the lite-FM 80s. Synths are dialed into glassy pads, ersatz pan flutes, and gentle fluttering arpeggios. Several songs feel like echoes of specific new wave/age hits, even, although everything is absorbed thoroughly enough as to not be intentional "spot-the-reference" nods so much as a fully digested overall sound.

Sometimes, it works. "Escapee" is an energetic cut, with swinging synths standing in for ska horns. "Yr Go To" bops along with a supremely catchy, sing-song cadence. "Everything's Blue" begins as a bass-and-drums disco strut with layered vocals (falsetto, female, and bass) and vamping guitar, then flowers into a chorus with twinkling synths and a briefly materializing gospel choir. "Sleeptalkin'" similarly alternates between easy, free-falling guitar strum and glossy chorus.

Other times, it's hard to tell if the band takes it too far. "W.O.W", which here stands not for online orc conquests but for "walking on water," has Sutherland yearning for a metaphysical love to be made corporeal over softly lapping synths that might be a little too close to Enya waters for some fans.

Then there's the story told by frontman Cameron Bird's literal voice, which expanded from whimpering and whispering on the band's first two albums to include a playful, at times libidinous, almost fully grown growl on Places Like This. There's little of that roar on this album, but an even more notable retreat is Bird's increasing reliance on heavily filtered and processed vocal effects.

This is most pronounced on lead single "Contact High". Bird's breathy falsetto verses sound normal enough, but they turn into that odd, otherly voice of the Auto-Tuned on the chorus, singing, "I've got nothing to hide," with what might be the slightest smirk, sometimes tripled by an octave-lowered bass voice, sounding in the main like nothing so much as Owl City. And yet, it's a terrific pop song, and the chorus, for all its strange sheen, is an undeniable pleasure.

It's a shame the rest of Moment Bends isn't consistently so successful. Much of it just sounds listless compared to the excitement of the band's previous albums, and the last third of the album begins to seriously drag. Places Like This proved that Architecture in Helsinki could grow out of their early sound without growing tame, that they could change their voice but keep their charm; Moment Bends too often finds them losing one, the other, or both.

— Eric Grandy, April 4, 2011


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Obscure Sound: Best of March 2011

March was a bit of a tease. Some days in the 70s, others in the 30s… we are clearly at the border of two seasons. As we prepare for the big spring/summer releases, it is no crime to look to the past for instances of greatness. After all, two artists this month – Nicolas Makelberge and The Chairs – do not have any recent releases. Simply, it was just apparent they were under-exposed. Familiar faces like Junior Boys, Elbow, Danielson, and of Montreal released something new and worthwhile or are in the midst of doing so, and these tracks – especially Junior Boys’ “ep” – show that none have lost a step. That leaves Jeff the Brotherhood, The Great Society Mind Destroyers, Colin Stetson, and Bridges as the most notable new-comers this month (though Stetson was already well-known in certain circles). Clearly, this was a month of familiar faces and new ones – both that have released something recently and not so much. I hope you enjoy it. Also, pardon the lack of updating the past week… I was overseas. I’m back now though and looking forward to the upcoming features. Additionally, I have also been helping out with a promising project that should appeal to all readers of this site. Details for that will be coming shortly, within 24 hours most likely. In the meantime, enjoy the comp as usual.

01. Junior Boys – ep (post)
02. Nicolas Makelberge

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Boy Friend – Lovedropper 7″

Sarah Brown — back in January, and now the duo has announced their first physical release in the form of the new Lovedropper 7″ single, out in May on Hell, Yes!, with a full-length on the label to follow. Listen to the dreamy, cavernous b-side (which also appeared on Boy Friend’s mp3-only self-titled debut EP) below, and pre-order the 7″ here, or here if you live in the States. Limited to 1000 copies, with the first 300 coming orange vinyl, so get on it now if you’re into that sort of thing:

Boy Friend :: D’Arrest

Tags: 7", austin, boy friend, hell yes!, mp3, sleep

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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck

Amazon MP3 & CD Tweet It seems a stretch to call John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats an embattled bandleader. After all, from the outside, he's been releasing albums for one of the most respected large independent labels in the world, 4AD, since 2002. The New Yorker has called him one of the greatest living lyricists, and Spin slapped his praises on its cover just last week. He's recently wowed the late-night circuit, sold out three consecutive nights at the Bowery Ballroom, and released his latest album, the masterstroke All Eternals Deck, on Merge Records, the independent label located within walking distance of his North Carolina home that landed a major Grammy last month. That's not bad for a writer who used to howl and strum into the microphone of his Panasonic boombox and opine that a real songwriter wasn't a career-oriented songwriter.But in 2002-- when Darnielle made the leap to 4AD and, more saliently, into a proper studio with an ensemble of backing musicians-- his zealous fans started talking about his music as though it were foreign policy. Some loved the new adventurousness and accessibility, apparent from the great bloom of Mountain Goats fans during the last decade. But there are those who insist that the only real Mountain Goats is the atavistic Mountain Goats, the static-y, crackly, mildly manic stuff that Darnielle made mostly alone for more than a decade. To wit, the Mountain Goats forums, which Darnielle hosts on his own website, are a minefield of hot-blooded criticism about the band's rock music, lobbed not by online trolls but by those who might spend hundreds to track down Darnielle's earliest, most primitive releases. After the band released "Damn These Vampires", the positive jam that opens All Eternals Deck, Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster told me the vile was so rich he simply stopped reading the boards.This matters now because, despite the fan fusillade, Darnielle has pressed on with his rock band, crafting and sharpening his skills and charisma as a frontman. Paradoxically passionate but controlled, uncompromising but instantly likable, All Eternals Deck is a certain career highlight for Darnielle. And, like many of the most memorable Mountain Goats songs, it's also about survival, or battling back from very dark places to "follow the light." Indeed, most every song here holds some key to the future, some talisman meant for perseverance. During "Damn These Vampires" and "Beautiful Gas Mask", it's didactic, warm advice. Occasionally, however, it's a reflection on the past, when some rocky relationship made more sense, when the world seemed framed by more favorable horizons. The poignant "Age of Kings", for instance, reminisces about a wasted love that once suggested a divine blessing. But just as the strings turn anxious, Darnielle remembers the time he might have fixed it all; his regret feels less like self-pity, though, and more like a future lesson.All Eternals Deck is officially the third album for the rock band the Mountain Goats, or the trio of Darnielle, longtime bassist Peter Hughes, and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster. On 2009's The Life of the World to Come, though, Wurster and Hughes felt more like plainspoken accompaniment, simply keeping time and stretching the sound around Darnielle when not sitting out nearly half a dozen tunes. After four years of live practice, they now sound like a properly developed unit that's comfortable with its ideas and approaches. There are no ham-fisted reggae rubs or overreaching rock moments; instead, the band simply plays with nuance and purpose, elaborating the lyrics by first understanding them.Darnielle replaces his rhythm section twice here, and the success of both songs suggests that the evolution of the Mountain Goats doesn't stop with a rock trio. "Outer Scorpion Squadron" should forever quell the gripe that Darnielle can't sing. Above an economical string section, Darnielle speaks of survival with grace and delicacy. The record's one great experiment, mid-album curveball "High Hawk Season", swaps the rhythm section for a harmonizing trio known as the North Mountain Singers. Though Darnielle plays acoustic guitar, they treat the song like an a cappella ensemble would, adding bass and texture against his lead line. A call to power, it's one of Darnielle's pinnacles as both a bandleader and songwriter, and a revelatory break from his past. "Who's going to stand his ground, and who's going to blink?" he sings, as though winking to his detractors.Three songs on All Eternals Deck lift directly from the lives of veteran American actors-- Charles Bronson, Judy Garland, and her daughter, Liza Minnelli. In each instance, we see a star in peril, whether it's Garland during the overdose in London that killed her or tough-guy Bronson trying to hold it together for one more feature. In both cases, Darnielle invokes their birthplace, their cradle of innocence, again using the past as a catalyst for perseverance. On "Sourdoire Valley Song", Darnielle smartly cuts the other way by referencing the Olduvai Gorge, the Tanzanian ravine sometimes referenced as the birthplace of mankind. An old man struggles and dies, and the world turns. Our struggles, the implication goes, are forever and for everyone-- stars, successful songwriters, ancient hominids thought to be extinct. Even if it means you "crawl 'til dawn on hands and knees," though, you keep going if you can. Lucky for us, the rock band the Mountain Goats have done just that. — Grayson Currin, March 28, 2011


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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart landed with a bookish and fuzzy aesthetic, the sound of ace indie pop students mimicking their heroes. Yet the band has been forthcoming in their love of crossover alternative rock, and on their second LP, Belong, Pains link up with Flood and Alan Moulder, the superproducers who manned the boards for a number of 90s titans-- Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, U2, Depeche Mode, and PJ Harvey just to name a few. Coming after a scrappy, low-profile debut, this is the sort of power move that used to have cred-conscious listeners crying "sell-out!" (remember that word?), but fortunately, Belong is a bigger, bolder, and brighter follow-up that adds new dimensions to the Pains' sound while nearly equaling the songwriting of their debut.

The first three tracks on Belong-- the title track, "Heaven's Gonna Happen Now", and "Heart in Your Heartbreak"-- make up the strongest run the Pains have put together. That's in large part because, while they feature the seamless verse-chorus-bridge transitions the debut had in spades, they sound like actual 90s alt-rock radio hits. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart wasn't as lo-fi as it was often made out to be, but it didn't allow for the thrilling deluges of fuzz or the punchy clarity on this opening trio of tracks. Later, Pains nudge themselves slightly out of their comfort zone, replicating the motorbike roar of JAMC on "Girl of 1,000 Dreams" or the bliss of My Bloody Valentine on "Strange".

Even with their shiny makeover, the most noticeable alteration is that Kip Berman is no longer just a lead singer-- he's a frontman as well. While maintaining his soft, lisping lilt, he's now much higher in the mix, giving the singalong hooks of "Heart in Your Heartbreak" and "Too Tough" an underlined emphasis. His lyrics are also more inclusive; he's dropping the puns and arch prose of its predecessor for magnanimous songs about you, we, and us. But this newfound stress on speaking directly to the listener doesn't come without its awkward growth spurts: It's worth questioning whether striving for the perfect chorus at times comes at the cost of fully thought-out verses. The group's momentum also gets occasionally jarred by a stray lyric that can be overreaching or undercooked.

And yet, even the dodgiest lyrics on Belong don't really come off as pandering to me so much as a reminder of the margin for error inherent in a move this brave and necessary. Having dabbled in brighter production and a Saint Etienne remix on their Higher Than the Stars EP, it was evident that the Pains were trying to figure an exit strategy from a narrow, reverent sound they utterly nailed the first time around. And considering the game plans of recent New York bands that faced the same struggle-- either buy time by repeating themselves (like the Strokes or Interpol) or screw the pooch with a charmless, big-budget disaster (like the Strokes or Interpol)-- it's no small achievement that Belong transcends its time-coded sound as expertly as their self-titled did.

— Ian Cohen, April 1, 2011


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Sunday, April 3, 2011

listen: Panda Bear – Tomboy [full album stream]

Panda Bear’s Tomboy finally drops a week from Tuesday on Paw Tracks, and after all of the live bootlegs, 7″ singles, and various non-LP tracks leading up to the album’s release, the whole thing is now streaming over at NPR. Not sure how they were able to stave off a leak for this long, but if you haven’t heard it yet, it was well worth the wait. Listen here.

Panda Bear :: Last Night at the Jetty

Tags: animal collective, mp3, panda bear, paw tracks, tomboyposted by: Chris

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Everything you touch

I first heard of Holy Other with his beautiful remix of “Trails” from Asobi Seksu. Now this spectral producer from Manchester is getting ready to release his debut EP. Following on from releases by Balam Acab, oOoOO and How To Dress Well, Holy Other’s With U EP will be the fourth release on Tri Angle Records, & will see the light on June 6th.


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Friday, April 1, 2011

They say success is the best revenge

I remember when I saw these dudes ‘Odd Future’ on Jimmy Fallon, Tyler, the Creator & Hodgy Beats. #instantfan If you know hip hop then you already know Odd Future & you know exactly what I am talking about. #nojoke Their old school nasty beats & ill rhymes reminds of how hip hop used to be, no money jabber or rollin on my twenty fo’s. #realhiphop

“Yonkers” is the 1st single from the highly anticipated GOBLIN, Tyler’s sophomore effort which is scheduled to be released on May 10th via XL Recordings.

This remix does “Yonkers” justice

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It is not very often you come across an act that is so unique sounding yet, at the same time, instantly recognizable. An act that can traverse genres with such skill & dexterity like they have been doing it for years; fusing the current desire for wild electronic productions & a pop sensibility that everyone enjoys, meet . Out of the ashes of previous projects, Aluna Francis & George Reid met through the Internet just under a year ago, shortly after George remixed “Sweetheart”, a song featuring Aluna’s vocals.

The duo’s double a-side debut single “Analyser/We Are Chosen”, will be released on 05.02. In the meantime, enjoy these free tunes…they remind me quite a bit to Ellie Goulding & Lykke Li.


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