Friday, December 30, 2011

MP3// NITE FIELDS: Come Down

Australia's own NITE FIELDS dropped 'Come Down' yesterday, and with 'Happy New Year' emblazoned upon the cover art, you cannot help but look forward to those twelve, exciting months ahead of us. As a music blogger, 'Come Down' marks the start of another exciting year, and one I'm more than eager to get stuck into! Speaking of 'Come Down' however, I have to admit I love it. The muffled vocals are deep and booming. They throb and thunder over powerful, no-nonsense guitars and an attenuated melancholy easily unnoticed. The start is blown in by the winds of discontent, uneasy and tense and swamped by the lament of many a ghost. You cannot make out individual words, but when a song can get across an emotion without clarity, that is when it words best. Bass notes are utilised exceptionally well here, pulsating below a film of weary attitude. It's more than great, so stream it above!

MP3// Cheerleader: New Daze

'New Daze' is one half of Cheerleader's debut split release, the second being 'Dreamer'. A lo-fi electro-pop duo composed of Donovan Rex and Max Friday, Cheerleader emailed me a few days ago with a link to their Bandcamp page. I'll admit I shoved it to the metaphorical corner of my inbox upon first finding it lying amongst the multitude of musical suggestions and recommendations sent over. I'll also admit that that Eatliz review took a lot out of me, so a stretch of covering some cheerful, summery pop seemed like just the thing I needed. Thus, Cheerleader sprung from the shadows and showed me what I was missing! Four or so minutes of the blissful and relaxed negligence of reality, 'New Daze' isn't revolutionary, but these guys know what they're doing. Electronic notes rustle and crackle under the sun and it's bright, glaring magnificence. As it fades out we're left with nostalgic guitar and an incredible set of whistful vocal harmonies. The drum beat is carefully delicate, carrying the music through corridors of lyrical sentimentality, yearning and longing for that sole cosmic truth we seem to be always searching for. A suitable fade leads into 'Dreamer'. Something about the track seems to prolong its existance, despite being twenty seconds shorter than 'New Daze'! The melody is catchy and the singing surreal. The reverb and instrumentation makes the words often ambiguous, but from this mixture of sound and texture and vocals, you can pluck out emotions and feelings so wondrously easy to relate to! Both tracks are free to download, so stream 'New Daze' up above and check out that and 'Dreamer' here!

REVIEW// Eatliz: Teasing Nature

     Eatliz is an Israeli art rock sextet, experimental and alternative and somewhat sensational! However, when I put the words 'art' and 'rock' together, people tend to conjure up the image of 'glam rock', David Bowie style! They hear mention of 'art' and see platform boots and glitter, theatrical and overdone and fairly flamboyant. I prefer 'avante-garde' instead. Think of Radiohead and 'Kid A'; The Beatles and Sgt Peppers. A fair proportion of people don't associate these musical triumphs with art rock, yet they're considered pioneers of the genre! Eatliz formed back in 2001 and have since released three albums, 'Teasing Nature' being their latest and greatest to date. Within these twelve tracks and forty-five fantastic minutes the magnificent amalgamation of power and passion and individuality synonymous with art rock strides into the lime-light and thrives there. It's not an arrogance, but rather a certain pre-possessed entitlement to the throne of performing. These five guys and leading lady were made to make music like this, and I for one am prepared to bow before their majesty! Every number here manages to exist as a unique construction and yet co-exist as a single glorious entity. Apparently Eatliz's live performances are nothing short of a 'visual treat'. A listen through 'Teasing Nature' and I'm forced to agree. With sounds like these, the group can do no wrong on stage. A captivating and wholly mesmerising experience, this record has over the past few days never left my side. It's an album of acclaim, focused and genre blending in its obvious, unparalleled determination to be great! My adulation is abundant!
     'Your House' opens 'Teasing Nature' on an intriguingly ominous, tension-fuelled note. A set of spacey drums and tinkling sonic raindrops patter upon the evening road, the vocals alien in their pitch and subtle reverberation. At 1:20 all the instruments accumulate into an incredible chorus of shorts, the guitar riffs heavy and the pounding drums awe-inspiring. A particularly stunning note at 2:57 is amplified by the softness of its predecessors. It's sang with such beauty and strength you simply cannot hate it. The male and female harmonies in 'Zoo' are apt in their primal and unrelenting supremacy. The quiet delicacy of "bite your head off" made me smile, a technique used throughout the track. Soft moments broken by interludes of fierce, semi-aggressive vibe. 'Berlin's playful guitar reveals an instrumental ability far beyond that of many modern rockers. It has some nice computerised vocals and a layering that builds and builds into this noisy, furious climax. Followed by 'OK', a number full of fleeting echoes and metal-esque backing vocals and riffs, I'm continually amazed at the diversity that Eatliz manage to pull off! 'Falling Up', with all of its abrasive guitar and velvety singing is equally stunning and before you know it 'Got It' has arrived. These three minutes are possibly the calmest on the album, and mark its midpoint with their piano-led melodies and alluring vocal phrases! I'm probably writing too much, but the album's great!
     'Lose This Child' is track number seven, Lee Triffon's crystalline singing soaring above the harmonies and trumpet solos and providing the most accessible song on the record. A couple of breaks are fuelled by nostalgic reminiscence as the jazz-inspired vibe lights up a rainy midweek afternoon. The sound of speeding cars is muffled and the few crowds have departed. A singularity comes to light. A purpose. A peace. Disturbed by 'Nine', an upbeat three and a half minutes brimming with confident guitar lines that weave throughout these thought-provoking lyrical passages. 'Voice Over' didn't do much for me other than expand on what we've already heard. The album wouldn't have suffered without it, but the human warmth that radiates from the ending leads nicely into 'Goldie'. Enchanting vocalese from Lee seem to beguile the male singer like a siren of old. The mans repeated lines are sang with a wonderful fascination. 'Tears' and 'Mystical Lady' close 'Teasing Nature'. The title of which is taken from the former track, a number of structured chorus and calm serenity. A beautiful, chaotic conclusion contrasts this, while 'Mystical Lady' ends the album with that perfect balance of eccentricity and accessibility, outstanding production complimenting the outstanding keyboard driven instrumentals. Eatliz and 'Teasing Nature' are simply a must!
      Both 'Zoo' and 'Berlin' can be downloaded from free from this sextet's Bandcamp page but in all seriousness the full twelve tracks are worth every penny of your money! Stream the opening track 'Your House' below and then check out 'Teasing Nature' right over here! Head over to Eatliz's website to stream some live videos if you like what you heard - Eatliz!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

REVIEW// The Black Keys: El Camino

     I've always been a fan of The Black Keys, whatever people say. They fronted my headlong charge into the realm of bluesy garage rock a few years back when an absolute triumph of an album, 'Rubber Factory' landed in my ears. As this American rock duo threw out more and more records however, I came to realise that they never really change anything up. Sure, Danger Mouse collaborated with Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney in the production of 2010's 'Brothers', but even he didn't manage to wet my taste-buds in anticipation for it. For me, I'm afraid that while consistency might be a good thing, and The Black Keys churn out relatively good songs, their lacking ability to progress makes them a little, well, boring. Yes the band have changed. Before the duo were introduced to Danger Mouse on 'Attack and Release', there was more energy to their sound. There was a raw complexity behind those two guys, behind the mechanisms of the music, and I loved that. Now though, things have become, if anything, simpler than before. More straightforward and predictable the slower the river of ideas flowed. With 'El Camino', my concentration lapsed, and it wasn't because I was tired. You get the feeling The Black Keys are yawning instead, and that puts you off!
     In general, most of the songs on here are tiring. With both feet firmly well planted in the silty bed of pop sensibility, catchy and hook-fuelled, something's been lost. Do not get me wrong, the tracks aren't ear-offending, but they are not the attention-grabbing numbers of times past. The first single, 'Lonely Boy' is a nostalgic listen but that's exactly why I am not a huge fan of it. I don't want a modern take on what The Black Keys used to play. Instead, I'm pleading for something new. All that energy that captivated me from their earlier efforts but just a new idea. A new concept. A new theme. On 'El Camino' The Black Keys haven't thrown anything new into the mixture. They're feeding us the same old formula, and I'm for one not prepared to swallow. 'Little Black Sumbarine' reveals a White Stripes influence in an acoustic ballad form, and 'Sister' has an awesome groove. Other than that however, all the other songs are bland, predictable and just not original enough for me to enjoy them. We're seven albums in so The Black Stripes need to start serving their non-hardcore fans something fresh. These eleven tracks aren't worth your time unless you are just that. The epitome of a hardcore fan. For most of us, the album will sound okay. Far from bad, but a fair few miles from being glorious or outstanding or magnificent. I was underwhelmed, and that was without great anticipation or high expectation. Hear 'The Lonely Boy' down below.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MP3// Woman E: Desire

This whole post is a pretty strange occurrence for me. The latest track from Woman E, a duo based down in London, 'Desire' initially encapsulated everything I don't like about the quality of modern mainstream pop. A basic dance beat is there, unimaginative, danceable and swamped in cold technicality, computerised and produced to the max. However, when we get to the melody and vocals, something grabbed my attention. The sincerity and pain of heartbreak threaten to tug at your own heartstrings, passionate and angry and ever so sad. They pulsate beneath that icy rhythm with a melancholic warmth, and I was, despite a multitude of qualms, impressed. I was determined to find a video. To put lips to the sound they made led me to the live version you can stream above. I openly prefer this version to the other and not just because of Ria Berlin's mesmerising vocal techniques. The trumpet from OoverMatic adds a whole new layer to the music and I love it. Sure the video and the sound are improvised, but the low comforting throb of the trumpet and the more prominent piano melodies are just fantastic. Whatever your musical preferences, go and stream both versions of 'Desire' above and if possible, comment with your favourite! If Woman E tickle your fancy, you can discover more at their fantastically designed website, right over here!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I covered DUDES a while back, so returning to the San Diego outfit and their stunning EP 'NARCISSISTS ANONYMOUS' was absolutely fantastic! The group are set to drop another EP in the future, but whether or not 'C.O.S.M.I.C.' will appear on it has yet to be decided. I personally wouldn't mind, because it's a brilliant track! Three and a half minutes of sample infused hip hop, laced with surreal synths, funky chillwave soundscapes and a smattering of beautiful space-age instability. A glorious chaos, offset by interludes of the most serene sensibility. The samples at the start open 'C.O.S.M.I.C.' wondrously, before a passionately angry voice demands a rewind! It is a deliberately humorous introduction, and one that is perfect at doing so. In laying down this less than serious ethos, the whole track retains a similar tone, relaxed and calm and strangely soothing. It's nothing short of outstanding, so stream it above and download it for free via the widget, or by way of their Bandcamp here!

Monday, December 26, 2011

REVIEW// Water Babys: Water Babys

I have made a promise to myself- to polish off quite an enormous list of music before the new year. A number of albums and EPs that I've found but have never got around to sharing are crying out for attention! First on tonights agenda is Water Babys and their eponymous debut record. Thirteen tracks of classically downtempo electronica await you if you decide to take the jump in this albums general direction. Some songs are worth it and others just don't warrant such a risk. But that's the way life goes, and at the end of the day you get a neat little colouring book if you walk Indiana Jones style into the abyss, with a bit of faith and an open ear. After the rather quaint opener 'Guitar Interlude No. 2', which sounds just as you would expect we're dealt 'F**k Hugh, Grant'. The relaxed amalgamation of electronic beats and guitar is unfortunately offset by the computerised high pitch vocals that accompany it! 'There's a Griffin at the Door' follows with Harry Potter-esque magic and mystery, another beat, this time absent over-produced singing, holding the three minutes together. A great nostalgic and jazz-infused vibe takes hold during the second half, met with a lovely sample and a brilliant lead into 'The Hippo On Campus', a more traditional, but no less electronic track. The much welcomed break that is 'Guitar Interlude No.1' succeeds this and makes a quite beautiful path into the final half of the album. A reoccurring theme among the rabble of effects and techniques, some used well and others not, is that of jazz. The nostalgia. A certain relaxing, soothing ability on the music's behalf to make the hours fly by. Sure, that annoyance from Water Babys to infuse hip hop with everything might distract and detract at times, but when the duo get it right, on songs like 'Radio' and 'Binary Birds', something oh so wonderful occurs. Ignore the misplaced influence from four other artists on 'Denver Sky Light'. Block out the glare of drones from 'Waterbourne'. Water Babys are attempting too many things at too many points in this debut. You might disagree, but stream the truly amazing 'Guitar Interlude No 1', then check out the other numbers at the Bandcamp here!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

REVIEW// The Fantasies: The Fantasies

     With album art like this I can't believe I have not got around to reviewing these guys sooner! Eponymous in nature, this nine track record from this Massachusetts- born duo is actually their debut, but what a debut it is! Sent over via an incredibly mysterious and intriguingly sparse email, something about this two-piece and their playful ambiguity played on my conscience for a while. With spare time to take a listen, I've already expressed my unbridled apology for not doing so sooner! Simply put, its stunning. Twenty minutes of psychedelic space rock riding atop a surf-pop wave makes for a wonderful listen, and I loved every second of it! As a fantastically care-free and somewhat nostalgic experience, The Fantasies seem to me to be the perfect remedy to any winter blues that may be causing your nose to glow! A record of passion, intensity and individuality, the nine numbers retain a style all their own, supported by the brilliant use of samples, beats and vocals. Accumulating them all into an out-of-this-world recipe, the mixture often bubbles over the rim to glorious, smile-inducing cheers! An apt name for something so beautifully alien and yet so beautiful in its mortality, The Fantasies have created an escape from what is all too often a scarred, barren reality.
     The relatively short album opens with 'Gimme Bubblegum', a track that fulfills the oath of dream-pop sensibilities conjured up by such an eponym. The repetition of 'm's and 'b's is a means to soften the hard edges carved out by jangly guitars and the naturalistic drum beat. Decidedly cheerful and all the better for it, the sample at the start of 'Tick Tock' goes some way in offsetting such emotional buoyancy. An older gentleman's quivering lips and down-trodden aspirations welcome vocals more enthusiastic than before! A definite Black Lips influence shows it face, hiding amongst the melodies and excited, frenzied singing. A pretty noteworthy guitar solo concludes the song and introduces 'So Dumb'. Cleaner and less reverberated, it's a croon-worthy, swoon-worthy number, and I admit I did both! These three minutes however are immediately overshadowed by 'Midnight Boogie', which is quite possibly my favourite number on 'The Fantasies'. Permanently out of breath and broken by interludes of screaming teenage fans, it is a beautifully constructed track. Magnificent!
     After the melancholic vibe radiating around 'Earth Life', a song about the transcendent nature of the person you love, we're given 'Tammy The Tease'. Backed throughout by this deep and unique groan of sorts, that same cluttered ethos bathing 'Midnight Boogie' goes and makes its triumphant return! 'Turn Me On' follows with great spoken word sections but then 'How The Fantasies Stole Christmas' arrives, wrapped and tied and labelled to you! I almost fell into its mesmerising hum and crackle and beat, collective harmonies calling me with a tribal, ritualistic mentality. In the end though you realise the whole thing is beautifully upbeat and retrospective and considering the date, just perfect. 'Stuck In My World' is the rebellious teen of this album, striking out and swearing and obviously a little bit immature! 'The Fantasies' thus concludes, and I cannot deny that is has brightened up my day! An almighty success, stream 'Midnight Boogie' and then grab all nine tracks at The Fantasies Bandcamp page for absolutely no price at all. For such a non-existent price tag its a must!

Friday, December 23, 2011

VIDEO// ALPINE: Hands (Balcony TV Session)

Fantastic session with Balcony TV from the brilliant Alpine, whose name I still can't decide how to type. Capitals or lowercase? Either way the live version of their single 'Hands' is an absolute stunner. The wonderful Cassie holds a mini-interview with the two leading ladies, which is very interesting, but if music is your focus then the rendition of their latest number will be more than enough. The introduction loses some power when relayed live, but when they're singing something clicks. The instrumentation from the other four band-members is spot-on, and the vocals are equally, if not more ethereal than when I heard them absent face. It's a great video, so stream above and check out the guys at Balcony TV over here!

EP// I.M.M.T: Childhood

As you've probably noticed Christmas day is literally just around the corner. Why then you may be asking, have I shared this with you? Tagged with the word 'depression' over at the Bandcamp, fearing the spirit of Christmas over here to be dead might not actually be that crude or brash an assumption. However, there is something hauntingly beautiful about the two tracks on 'Childhood'. The essence of Christmas past floats between its sonic sheets, taking the hand of the Scrooge in all of us. An innocence prevails, marred by the present failure of man to retain such bewilderment. Labels akin to 'depression' blind our vision and the cruel hand of the modern thirst for knowledge starves us of wonder and mystery. The baby of the twenty-first century is born with open eyes, leaving less to be discovered upon the rupture of those delicate lids. I.M.M.T wishes to reveal this flaw, and I think he does so. 'Somewhere', with children muttering and murmuring is quietly disturbing. It embodies that surreal conscience, lending it an intellectual greatness stolen by the forced learning of an unimaginative reality. 'Childhood' follows as a lighter number. The voices we heard before are becoming lost. They're fading into the busyness of life, and that's a thought-provoking concept. Christmas is often a time to muse, and these two tracks provide the means to do so. Stream 'Somewhere' above and download both songs for free at I.M.M.T's Bandcamp!

MP3// Ghost Beach: Crazy Heart

Not entirely a Christmas number now. Well not really a Christmas number at all! The latest track from New York's Ghost Beach is 'Crazy Heart', three minutes of electro-rock that fell ten days ago upon their SoundCloud, much to my delight. Hard riffs open the song before the slower, more deliberate beat kicks in. Vocals compliment this aesthetic. Depressed in verse, the singer has mulled over his words for a while. Euphoric choruses contradict this, proclaiming with tangible passion the faults of his "crazy heart". A phrase wrought with the emotions of our protagonist and detailed with his yearning, the words take a new form as the ending draws near. At 2:37 stark computerisation takes shape, void of human voice. A dark and unforgiving abyss, our singer moves away from the edge in a fit of disconcerting fervor. As the final few seconds loom however, a terrfying realisation washes over you. He intends to jump and with final whispered breaths the song ends. Their Soundcloud's here!

MP3// Chalk and Numbers: Happiness This Time of Year

Chalk and Numbers seem to be in the mood for Christmas! An early present in the form of 'Happiness This Time of Year' dropped into my inbox from the Brooklyn duo so determined to spread the festive cheer. A welcome edition to the blog and these snow-dusted pages, I found it all rather delightful. 60s inspired pop absent warm bass, these three minutes find dancing outside a pleasant alternative to fireside cosiness, and with so persuasive a song as this I'm forced to agree. You can almost taste the crisp air as sleigh bells tinkle, and as the ethereal vocals relay suitably merry lyricism the snow underfoot crunches beautifully. I am incredibly pleased I listened to 'Happiness This Time of Year', and my cheeks are rosy for doing so! Preparing the way for Chalk and Numbers sophomore album, which is all set to drop in February, 'Happiness This Time of Year' has made me just so. Jubilant, joyous and downright jovial. I was almost ready to stop believing in Santa, but not any more! Get this festive song for absolutely nothing at all over at Chalk and Numbers' Bandcamp here!

MP3// Peachcake: What Happens When Santas Sleigh Gets Lost?

Peachcake have been dissected over here before when I covered their five-track EP back in September! Three months later and here we are with, if you haven't guessed already, a Christmas inspired number from the Arizonian electro-rock quartet! Based around deaths, which isn't as bad as it sounds, 'What Happens When Santa's Sleigh Gets Lost?' is a four minute masterpiece. Written with the hilariously pretentious belief that they could record a Christmas song to surpass all Christmas songs, I choked back the laughter when I arrived at the conclusion that they might have managed to do so! A jangly beat sparks a little foot tapping from the off. Met by the suitably whimsical and wistful vocals, the singer relays line after line of winter joy. "Feigning our best, most vacant smile / But then we really think" is a favourite of mine, but every word here is sang with a contented conviction. Stream above and grab it for free from Peachcake's Christmas grotto. Or their SoundCloud over here! ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MP3// Bollywood: Antoiança

Bollywood. The word conjures up images of bright colour and upbeat, danceable music. A five minute track, the first few seconds of 'Antoiança' dispel such positive assumptions of it's persona. Dark and throbbing and furrowed eyebrows abound, it's a number of gloom. I look out into the murky street and find melodies flitting like shadows. They stare and moan and find any excuse not to smile. Fog hangs heavy as reverberated post-punk vocals cry, lamenting some unknown loss. The word 'love' stands out amongst an ominous drone, the fluctuating guitar strings echoing across wet, grime-fuelled cobblestones. The click of your shoes is almost audible as the song progresses, your ears often exposed to hopeless and horrific screams, surreal in your distance from them. It is great, so stream it up above! Via.

MP3// Lana Del Ray: Off To The Races

Just found this latest track from Lana Del Ray and I must admit, I'm finding it quite riveting! It's not a video, but I couldn't find a copy of the track that wasn't. Taken from her LP 'Born to Die', which drops early next year, 'Off To The Races' is a considerably dark number and thus in my opinion one of her best. The speed is there and haunting vocals are brilliant in their abundance. Something about the singing, backed by a low, throbbing beat and some hellish backing samples is simply delicious. Split personalities harmonise in parts, split by high, child-like notes that shiver down your spine. Lyrically it's magnificent too, lush and in many ways an example of Lana at her best writing-wise. Monotonous notes pop in and out with epic, soaring synths feeding this girls money-crazed lifestyle. At 2:50 one stark violin enters the beautifully orchestrated chaos. A softer ending compared to the beginning, the verses make my ears swoon. Prolonged notes and a classical, fairytale finish make 'Off to the Races' more of a story than a song. Five minutes of progressive emotion, its stunning!

VIDEO// Strangers: This Year

Strangers, you might remember threw an EP our way at the start of November, and I recall it being rather brilliant. As it's four days until Christmas, it's probably about time to bring in some festive tunes. The London trio dropped 'This Year' just over a week ago. Four great minutes of sincere pop that ooze a certain retrospective musing, it's a tale of loss. Hopeful determination to step into the new year with a new lease of life seeps from within the lush melodies and pitch perfect vocals. 'This Year' is a fantastically inspirational number, and is marking the way for what's sure to be a wonderful 2012 for Strangers! Hear it above, and watch the somewhat mesmerising video accompaniment that goes along with it. Excellent!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

VIDEO// Arcade Fire: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

An interesting interactive flip to traditional music videos is the latest experiment from those baroque pop Canadians Arcade Fire. Taken from their multi-instrumental, genre-blending LP 'Suburbs' 'Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)' has finally been given long awaited visual attention and the result is magnificent. Regine Chassegne steps into the spotlight in the conventional version of the video, which you can stream above. Her brilliant theatrical tendencies come out in her quirky dancing, upbeat, joyous and completely unstoppable! I found my foot tapping along as she breaks monotonous custom, and I grinned as the face less dancers in the film did the same. From 1:30 to 1:45 my eyes were transfixed. It's just an outstanding set of clips so watch them via Youtube up above. The interactive version is similar, but those with a webcam can experience something amazing. Take part over here!

REVIEW// Yellow Ostrich: The Morgan Freeman EP

     This is hardly a review. More the sharing of an EP. I happened upon this little six track gem only yesterday, however it dropped way back in April last year. Morgan Freeman is a true inspiration for many, so it was only a matter of time until he was sang about! A single line at the bottom of the EPs Bandcamp page reads "Inspired by Morgan Freeman's Wikipedia page". Its a wonderful idea and makes for some fantastically humourous and intutitve music. Some people write lyrics around music. Yellow Ostrich's Alex Schaaf records music about pre- selected words on 'The Morgan Freeman EP' and it's great! Opening with the aptly named 'Morgan Freeman's Early Life', sunbeams shine from the vocals, backed by a startling set of lo-fi percussion. Cutting out two thirds in, we're dealt in its place an acoustic, piano lead harmony, soothing and subtle and undeniably brilliant. 'Morgan Freeman's Debut Roles' is the following number, conforming to the Wikipedia article almost exactly! A smile now firmly planted upon your face, 'Morgan Freeman's Automobile Accident' tries its hardest to make it droop. A sad, slow and restrospective three minutes, a sincere keyboard melody holds a certain fragility and mortality and leads into the next song excellently. An experimental and upbeat twang tinges 'Morgan Freeman's Selected Filmography', before the ultimate, really quite scary ending to 'What Is Morgan Doing Now?' finishes the EP. Available for whatever price you want to pay, stream 'Morgan Freeman's Early Life' down below then go and grab the full EP at Yellow Ostrichs Bandcamp! Also, Wikipedia if you need it is here! Download!

Monday, December 19, 2011

REVIEW// Dck Vnngt: Mrdr Dth Kll EP

     The Portland, Oregon duo Dck Vnngt (pronounced Dick Vonnegut), consists of Yunsloth and Bloodmoney, two producers who dropped their EP 'Mrdr Dth Kll' just over a week ago. Their debut effort under the abstract moniker Dck Vnngt is a collection of eight tracks. They conclude with a remix by Nasa, a song featuring Adam Warlock! I've covered both artists here before, so their collaboration stoked the fire of my interest accordingly. But we're here for Dck Vnngt, and the music behind so wonderful and ambigous a cover. A seemingly mutated and disturbed version of the Rorschach test, it's easy to identity the doomed accumulation of numerous rockets and missiles and bombs, their sights set on targets beyond our view. Yunsloth and Bloodmoney have fuelled the sound behind such apocalyptic imagery with a sensibility akin to that of cataclysmic fallout. Old-age samples detail a furious land, angrily looting and stealing anything they can. Rationality has turned to insanity for comfort, lying with the devil and hearing his content breathing reverberate against a conscious decision to flee from humanity. White teeth coloured red, sharpened to points as unlabelled meat is torn to shreds. Eyes accustomed to the dark flit back and forth, lips upturned in constant snarls. It's a powerful image, and Dck Vnngt might have just recorded the soundtrack to it!
      The EP's name is also a point of interest. 'Mrdr Dth Kll' should be easily transcribed, a title with the very darkest connotations. These unsightly thoughts weigh down heavy upon your mind as the opening track 'The World Is An Animal' rears its ominous head. Off-kilter drums are beaten with furious energy, smothered by a low, tribal throb that could summon demons from the bowels of hell itself. Hints of a melody crawl between verses, a flucuating growl pulsating during its three minute lifespan. "The world is an animal that eats it young" goes one line, the words spat with a hatred of modern animosity. "Razors under tongues" concludes the track with a punch to the gut, highlighting the sly, back-stabbing horrors of materialistic nations. It's a thought-provoking notion and one put across fantastically! The second number here, 'Audio Opiates' is simply stunning. As the name suggests, narcotic vocals back the main lyricism. They lament an unknown death, dripping in reverb. Echoes dance amongst shadows, creating a certain beautiful surrealism. A spoken word interlude talks of churches and Sundays, haunting the vocalists nightmares, riddling them with guilt.
     An eerie melody crackling with age runs through '10 Steps'. A great sample and some equally nice references to David Blaine and doctors and suffering make this track one of the best lyrically, and leads into 'Weekend at Gadaffi's'. Truly terrifying, almost possessed samples are met with busy and confused production and a subtle, alien tone. The ending makes this song for me though. Everything fades out and words are spoken but you don't know what they say. Sounds echo through some sonic space before the conclusion finally arrives. All these techniques accumulate to form 'Weekend at Gadaffi's' and I just love it!
     'Bombs Not Rations', apart from a few references to Blacks Ops and Middle Earth and Meccano didn't actually impress me as much as some tracks on 'Mrdr Dth Kll' so I'm rather surprised that was the one chosen for a remix. The ambient backed sample of 'Lost In A Time Warp' and the noise filled, careless nature of murder expressed on 'War Daughters' both surpass 'Bombs Not Rations' in my opinion, but there you go. The psychological and dictatorial trauma displayed by the end of 'War Daughters' closes this EP on an incredible note. The presence and substance behind what is in the end only their debut is a simply astounding feat from Yunsloth and Bloodmoney as Dck Vnngt! 'Weekend at Gadaffi's' can be heard below, then grab all fourteen tracks for free from Uncommon Records over here!

REVIEW// Coldplay: Mylo Xyloto

   I realise that as an independent music blog Coldplay probably aren't a band you'd expect to find covered in its pages, however a number of people have asked of my opinion regarding the London quartet's new album 'Mylo Xyloto', so I thought I'd adhere to their wishes! A fourteen track effort, this record is first and foremost a concept album, detailing the lives of Mylo, and you got it, Xyloto. In terms of the title I've got nothing against it. Some folk label it too hard to pronounce, or find some strange Balinese translation. Take it for what it is guys: the names of the two protagonists. The album art has also been picked out by some. Pink and purple are too pop-orientated for Coldplay's fan base? The truth is that's exactly what 'Mylo Xyloto' is. Pop-orientated. Chris Martin and Co. have stripped back their sound and thrown in some elements that might put a frown on the faces of long-time fans. I don't like the album for this reason. Not the cover. Not the name. It's the shift in sound that does not click with me. It feels over-produced even despite the infamous Brian Eno working with the band. It lacks originality and that deep emotional connection albums like 'Parachutes' had!
     Opening with a forty-two second introduction, the title track glitters and hums with the inclusion of synths, a sensibility rarely heard in past efforts. Its been there, most notably in 'X &Y', but never as domineering or obvious as here. 'Hurts Like Heaven' follows with nice oriental flavours dusting the track. At this point I am ready to accept and enjoy a different sound, and it does turn out to be one of the nicer numbers on the album. Rock roots and dance-pop vines intertwine to form a steady, pleasantly upbeat tune. I've settled into their new groove with an instilled sense of confidence and anticipation, but then Coldplay hit us with 'Paradise'. Not quite an abomination, but it comes close. The chorus is catchy, but it's a pop trick of sorts, sang with unoriginal, yawn-inducing repetition. The arrangement is an outstanding example of Coldplay pop done well, sure, but the lyricism is absolutely dire. A shocking opening line goes "When she was just a girl / she expected the world / but it flew away from her reach / so she ran away in her sleep". Another particularly bad section is a truly abstracted: "Life goes on, it gets so heavy/ The wheel breaks the butterfly". Lacking conviction and never really explained, 'Paradise' grates on my nerves. Lead single? Bah.
     The out-loud comical belly laugh induced by Martin's chipmunk expression at the start of 'Charlie Brown' made my heart sink despite it's humourous execution. 'Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall' attached another weight to it within thinking twice. It lacks the hook required to salvage itself from Johnny Buckland’s pitiful attempt at a danceable guitar riff. 'U.F.O's a pretty nice song at the start. Stripped back and delicate at heart it reminisces past tracks, perhaps most obviously 'X & Y's 'Til Kingdom Come'. A vulnerability seeps through, and I enjoyed it. Coldplay were way too eager however to patch up the leak with unappreciated and unnecessary production. Rihanna's contribution to 'Princess of China' worked well. If you can look past the highly unimaginative rhymes: "Once upon a time we burned bright / Now all we ever seem to do is fight", then you might be able to appreciate it for what it is. A catchy song elevated because of Rihanna's experience in the genre, or because Coldplay tried to conform to her style? Perhaps. 'Up In Flames' acoustic simplicity is fantastic, as is 'Don't Let it Break Your Heart's throbbing conclusion. The ultimate song on 'Mylo Xyloto' is okay. The story of Mylo fleeing the city to avoid a run in with a gang, Coldplay seem to be running out of ideas. Rhyming 'pain' with 'rain' made me cringe more than a little though in truth the calm swelling of the drums leads the album to a pleasingly graceful, fragile finish!
     All things considered this isn't an ear-offending effort, but for three years in the making I was disappointed with what they unveiled. Heavily produced with brilliant lyrics thin on the ground, underwhelmed is an apt summary regarding Coldplay's fifth studio record. It is an adventurous album, evolving in style along a route the band hadn't explored. Conceptual in execution, these fourteen tracks relay a tale of two lovers In this respect 'Mylo Xyloto' is perhaps the most 'together' album Coldplay have recorded! However for me, I'm afraid an incredibly positive review was never on the cards. If I were you I would stick with 'A Rush of Blood to the Head'. Unlike this it doesn't cause a headache doing so. Congratulations are extended to Coldplay for trying something new, but an uncertainly and lack in confidence while recording 'Mylo Xyloto' hinder its potential. I'd stream 'Paradise' below, but I would be surprised if you haven't heard it already. The album is readily available from music stores.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

MP3// Sleigh Bells: Born to Lose

My review of this duo's album 'Treats' was particularly damming, but I stand by what I said. "Musical bombardment" summed up my opinion quite nicely, and I still think that this simply relentless ethos Sleigh Bells radiate doesn't work on prolonged saunter into their dystopia of a world. As such, please excuse my lack in eagerness to hear 'Born to Lose', the title of which hardly emulates a change in pace. In my ongoing quest for good music however, I'm pleasantly surprised to say that this Brooklyn two-piece might have delivered on this sonic crusade of mine! The four minute number opens with those same drum-machine phrases that have become a key characteristic of the band, but rock-orientated power guitars give a certain pounding, throbbing rhythm to the song, which I love. The semi-ethereal vocals are supported by furious harmonies, an appealing contrast emerging between the two. At 1.40 both a shift in volume and tone makes for a very interesting listen. Guitar lines lick at the subtleties brought out by the backing track, and as the end draws to a close, you can appreciate the slow, foreboding alien throb presiding over it. Stream 'Born to Lose' above!

VIDEO// Marina and the Diamonds: Part 3: The Archetypes

The third part to Marina and the Diamond's project 'Electra Heart' dropped recently, and a certain look of pleasant surprise erupted upon my face. I'll admit I'd never sat myself down and listened through the previous parts to this series of tracks, but after 'The Archetypes', I simply had to. For me part two (Radioactive) doesn't click like part three. A platform for a thought-provoking statement, this one minute raises more questions than the other songs combined. For those who don't know Electra Heart, she's a character who "epitomises and embodies the lies, illusions and death of American ideologies involved in the corruption of self." Marina stands against a crackling white backdrop as an electronic voice relays some truly engaging and muse worthy lyricism: "A study in identity & illusion / An Ode to Cindy". I am extremely impressed by 'The Archetypes'. Short enough to be an interlude of sorts, an illusive cosmic truth hides within the lines. "Through others, we become ourselves”. True?

MP3// Memoryhouse: The Kids Were Wrong

Memoryhouse have been likened to Beach House. It's a fairly honest comparison to make, as both sounds are built upon chilled out, dreampop foundations. Memoryhouse is also a duo, a characteristic not unbeknown to fans of the Baltimore outfit mentioned before. This latest track, the first from Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion's debut album, an effort set to drop at the end of February, is entitled 'The Kids Were Wrong'. Despite all of its rebellious connotations the music behind this name is as soothing as ever. An upbeat number, these fantastic vocals emerge from the sun laden beat. A reverberating melody lifts the content, sigh-soaked lyricism up into clouds that feel heavy with memory and the strain not to rain. Futile grasps at a summer long gone makes Memoryhouse and a debut album seem very exciting! Stream 'The Kids Were Wrong' above and relinquish your email for a download!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

MP3// Autoheart: Control

Danton Supple should be a familiar name for any Coldplay fan. The producer of 'X & Y', a classic album for many, Supple's talent looks set to place Autoheart's debut on a pedestal of similar acclaim! 'Control' is the lead single from this forthcoming record and at a current download price of absolutely nothing, it's well worth checking out. A quintet formed in East London Autoheart record a rather brilliant form of indie pop, laden with keyboard melodies and lead singer Jody's melancholy vocals. Previously known as The Gadsdens, the group has fortunately traded that in for a name much easier to pronounce. Fear not however, for a shift in style just doesn't seem to be on the cards for Autoheat and it's just as well! Their previous single 'The Sailor Song' was met with widespread praise, and after listening to it I too wanted to hear more of that same lush, beautiful sound. 'Control' didn't disappoint. An incredible number backed by great bass and subtly danceable drums, these four minutes moot a relationship predestined to flounder. It's a relatively common lyrical theme but then Autoheart manage to lend it a whole new lease of life, and I adore them for doing so. The melody for the chorus is a bit on the unimaginative side from 0.55 to 1.05, but the quibble is hardly worth mentioning when you consider the rest of the song. It's magnificent, quietly sad and everything in between. Extremely strong and yet ever so delicate, 'Control' dries heart-broken tears with its promise of hope. Stream above and await the album next year! Download it at Autohearts SoundCloud page or alternatively get a copy via the Facebook!

MP3// Sad Souls: Meandering

Sad souls meandering. It's an incredibly evocative image painted by an incredible number. Recorded in the early hours of the morning, that eerily beautiful sense of quiet, emptiness and the dawn of a new day is somehow empowering. I could listen to that first quarter for a very long time, and while the surreal vocals work well, I'm split between distraction and the busy nature of their implementation, reverb fuelled and bubbling just under the surface. A fantastic track with or without them, these three minutes bear witness to the awakening of the world, and I love it. Concluding with ethereal harmonies and deep breaths of this crisp, unpolluted air, 'Meandering' is a song to get lost within. Truly brilliant, stream it up above!

Friday, December 16, 2011

MP3// John K. Samson: When I Write My Master's Thesis

John K. Samson is the rock alternative to Sufjan Stevens. There is all that intelligence and elegance, and even some vocal similarities, all backed by jangly guitars and uplifting drum phrases. He's a truly talented wordsmith, pulling lines of beautiful lyricism from nowhere, a skill I've always revered. Supported by powerful and inspirational rock sensibilities he gets his thoughts across ever so well. A smattering of nostalgia dusts these three minutes, and subtle reverberations detail the swathes of sonic sunlight beaming from your speakers. An incredibly cold winter day it may be, but John K. Samson is determined to remind you all of summer, weeks laid out in front; the world at your feet! Taken from his forthcoming record 'Provincial' which drops on January 24th, stream 'When I Write My Master's Thesis' above.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

VIDEO// Lana Del Ray: Born to Die

Finally the official video to replace that semi-naked placeholder has arrived! The visual to Lana Del Ray's recently released title track 'Born to Die', taken from a forthcoming record out in January, the film contains within it some pretty stunning moments. One, there are a couple of live tigers mulling over their need to guard Lana's fancy throne. Secondly, there is revealed really quite a vulnerable side to the American pop princess. From the start she seems confident, straight-backed and austere in her retrospection. At 1.17, shifting eyes and an uncomfortable fidgeting make you want to walk in and soften her obvious sadness. By the end however, you realise her split or argument or uncontrollable love for this tattoo laden man has made her stronger. Delicate throat-slitting gestures and the final shocking moments validate my love for both Lana Del Ray's music and her acting. Ever so often the line between the two becomes blurred, her passion and sincerity really shining through. A simply wonderful concept just magnificently executed. Stream and hear 'Born to Die below.

UPDATE// Mutineers

When a band I love email over with news of their success it more often than not makes my day! I reviewed Mutineers album 'Friends, Lovers, Rivals' quite a while back, praising what is a magnificent collection of tracks. To discover this Mancunian outfit have recently had a spate of sales running into the thousands, well I haven't stopped grinning! Also, guess the group currently trending on Twitter in Manchester. That's right: #mutineers. I'm truly in awe of this quartet. They thoroughly deserve the success they receive, and I urge your good selves to seek them out as well. I assure you the fuss is well-founded! Read my review of their debut album then go ahead and follow these rebellious Mutineers via Twitter. Review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

MP3// Mux Mool: Raw Gore + BONUS

'Raw Gore' is the latest three-minute electronic wonder from Brookyln producer Mux Mool! Built upon a once comfortable existence, the beams of reality begin to creak. Under these aggressive, unrelenting synths the seams holding your life together start to tear apart. But by the two minute mark something within your futile, desperate mind clicks. A tonal change and newly discovered melody embraces the chaos taking place around it. Wood splits and roof tiles smash upon the uprooted floor. For those final sixty seconds the furious screams of people fleeing this apocalyptic scene become strangely, terrifyingly glorious. Something about 'Raw Gore' exposes you to situations beyond reality, and I love that! Stream above!

Just as a little bonus here's Mux Mool's remix to a song you've more than likely heard. For me, a remix is a song that should turn one sound into something completely different, and thats exactly what Mool has done with Snap's 'Rhythm is a Dancer'. Theres just a fantastic old-time crackle behind an almost alien, War of the Worlds esque melody. It's a subtle and attenuated number, and even the vocals have been re-worked. After hearing 'Raw Gore', I would just turn off for a few minutes and fall into this awe-inspiring, head-bobbing groove!

MP3// Alto Jeffro: Stay At Home

When I'm sent something like this I usually pass on posting it, sending a polite email in the place of dissection results. For Alto Jeffro however, the moniker for Jeffery Gallagher, I felt the need to give him a chance. I won't lie, most of the tracks brimming over the edge of his SoundCloud don't work. The quality of the recordings or more the lack of such control and sonic restriction limit the music. 'Stay At Home' is one of the few numbers in which the truly brilliant experimentation is not mauled by fluctuating, irritating reverb and spikes of deadly high pitch. The gritty guitar phrases are muffled at the start but a drum beat and a bubbly, surreal melody soon take over. They settle into a certain groove, the vocals less important than you might initially think. There is something very chilled about them, care-free, with a blissfully ignorant ethos diffusing through the air. At five minutes long you have all the time in the world to fall into step with this refreshing aesthetic, and I am digging it. An electronic voice represents Jeffery's lover, her monotonous tone really quite thoughtfully executed. A few harmonies here and there and a relatively catchy chorus give 'Stay At Home' potential and an awful lot of it! Any producers out there? Get this guy in a studio! Stream up above.

MP3// Terracotta Blue: Healer

America's Terracotta Blue hails from Takoma Park in Maryland, but it doesn't matter where he's from. Where his music takes you is what's important! When he dropped this track into my inbox the other day I'll admit the over saturated, posterised art put me off. But, sticking to my belief that covers shouldn't influence the decision to listen, I dived into the two-track effort with hopes and expectations. I wasn't disappointed. 'Healer' is actually the b-side to this release, with 'Arcade' being the first, but I found it equally if not more impressive. Four and a half minutes long, chillwave vibes race across a melancholy soundscape. Electronic glitches and subtleties detail your surreal surroundings, repeated phrases unifying all too well the abstract refraction seen through this alien lens. Pipes are blown with a delicacy matched by the melodic synths, and everything stays rather at the back of the music. The beat is our protagonist, leading the way with all the beautiful, illusive components simply in toe. But you know what, I like it. It's almost dream-like, bubbling under the surface of your mind. Wandering this stress-free land meander animals of rarity. That great lament barely audible at 3:00 is the cry of an unimaginably huge creature. A cry of happiness, it mourns the last of its days upon this euphoric utopia. Get 'Healer' and 'Arcade' over on Terracotta Blues Bandcamp for free but stream the former up above before you do. Bandcamp here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

VIDEO// Little Racer: Little Racer

I'm digging this new Little Racer video, taken from the split single that I covered last month entitled 'Split for the Coast'. Directed by one Cate Schappert, whose work I've promised to explore further, these four minutes are truly smile-inducing. Shot at night, you can almost feel the heat of the street-lamps as they stare out into the gloom. This repeated pattern of flashes becomes hypnotic as dawn grows closer. Stars pop in and out of existence as our protagonists cycle, playing on swings and dancing about. The street is empty. A sense of freedom takes hold, rebellion against the day and the troubles of work and money and the restraints of everyday man. You simply need company to enjoy life to the fullest it can be! Stream this romantic, charming video above and read my review of the single if you like it!

REVIEW// Hoodlums: Dark Horses

     I'd like to start by saying the artwork for this single is incredible, both art and size wise! I grabbed the high res version for all you lovers of high definition quality as well (I'm always thinking of you guys!) so go ahead. Relish in its eye-watering sharpness! However, album covers are only ever a facade, hiding the music behind often pretty pictures. I can appreciate record sleeves, but they must never influence a conscious decision not to listen. The famous piece of advice 'never judge a book by its cover' comes to mind, but fortunately Hoodlums came out from behind their curtain of expectation with the intention of fulfilling such a request. Based in a certain British capital Hoodlums dropped this split single, 'Dark Horses' a few months ago, yet they've already received attention from both Q Magazine and BBC6. Not streaming an' ignoring such respected musical critics was impossible and I'm so wonderfully glad I didn't!
     Opening with the title track, a surprising piano melody begins to weave in and out of an unwavering electronic phrase that stays throughout these four minutes. The vocals aren't the most impressive nor the most unique you'll have ever heard, but this ordinary, human quality to them ensures a strong bond between singer and audience can be tied. There is a fantastic set of drums taking a hold on this track too. They pound and race and pant like the horses sang about. As the piano grows and the vocals reach an epic climactic apex, a wind blows through your hair. Hooves thunder and the salty spit of a raging ocean catches your cheek. Faster choruses. Abundant high notes. Inspirational lyricism and the euphoric theatricality we all long to experience make 'Dark Horses' the powerful, beautiful thing it is!
     The b-side to the single is 'Ends of the Earth', and it's clear it's a b-side for a reason. A slower, more predictable number, something about the vocals reminds me of Ed Sheeran, especially in those first few lines. It's far from a bad thing but rather an observation seeing as no such influence reared its head during the first track. It builds and swells in the same way, but these four minutes lack that hit. That intensity and quietly terrified grip upon your heartstrings that Dark Horses managed to pull off. It's not a bad track, just suitably inferior to the opener. All in all though, it balances a clearly aspirational single. Hoodlums want to go all the way, and have the passion and ability to do so. Stream the title track below and ready yourselves for the single to drop on the final day of January! I certainly will be! Site.

Monday, December 12, 2011

MP3// Steve Moore: Enhanced Humanoid

A new split from Steve Moore and Majure, the two men who make up prog rock duo Zombi, was announced a couple of weeks ago. Now, a duo working on a split record? Sure, it just means they'll be working individually rather than in each others company. The first track to drop from it is 'Enhanced Humanoid', a four and a half minute synth-fest that pulsates and writhes under ominous progressions. Electronic instrumentals blow plague-like winds over dunes of shifting, mesmerising gold, howling and moaning and summoning darkness to an unstoppable epitaph of hopeless futility. I've always been a massive fan of Zombi's sound, and this stunning number has stirred my mighty grindstone of anticipation for this release!

MP3// Shearwater: Breaking the Yearlings

Please bear with me while I figure out how to embed these funny little email download box things into a post! There you go. Shearwater are an American rock outfit from Texas, and have been around since the late nineties. Recently signed to Sub Pop records, 'Breaking the Yearlings' is the first single off of their forthcoming 2012 album 'Animal Joy'. After their last three efforts, frontman Jonathan Meiburg, previously of Okkervil River, has expressed a desire to explore the band's 'rock' side a little more and this track certainly validates my anticipation for such a journey. Full of throbbing bass and bone rattling percussion the trio has most definitely moved away from their slower, more progressive sound to chuck in the pot some rock-orientated sensibilities. Most of these vocals and instrumentals are epic in their aesthetic, filling a sonic space with a pounding heartbeat and beast-like pant. Its truly fantastic, so stream below. Like what you hear? Type in your email, then grab a download!

MP3// ALPINE: Hands

Alpine is an Australian six-piece and 'Hands' is their latest number, a track taken from their debut LP all set to drop early next year. It's an instant hit. Three minutes of elusive sound, it's pure pop perfection, layered between hand-claps and ethereal vocals and served with a smattering of nostalgic reminiscence. Something about the high, surreal singing reminds me of my childhood, either that or the subtly sad notes such vocals hit. Supported from an unknown point by brilliant drums and a beat to get lost in, 'Hands' manages to occupy the space between happy and melancholy with orchestrated elegance. It's a song of sections, broken by magnificent breaks and a stunningly shocking introduction. The melody gets a grasp upon your mind, catchy and danceable and yet extremely thoughtful and intelligent. Those vocals however are the reason I keep returning. Just as they die down, fading into the background they strike up yet again, gaining passion and scope and scale with every glorious resurrection. I'm very impressed with what Alpine have created, so stream above!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

VIDEO// Whistling On My Mind

This is a guy named Ralph Giese performing on the Detroit 'Kelly & Company' talk show in the early eighties. The song is 'Georgia on my Mind', which is famous for being the official song of the American state of the same name. Ray Charles recorded a cover, as did Billie Holiday, but Mr. Giese relays it with a particular emotional brunt that yanks furiously upon your heart-strings. As you can probably infer from the post title he whistles the whole song while being backed by a suitably tender instrumental. But when I say whistling this isn't the tuneless pursing of lips you see everyday. This is something all together more. Its brilliant, so stream it up above and prepare to be amazed and inspired and somewhat entranced!

MP3// Sun Sister: Sore Eyes

Hailing from Fitchburg Massachusetts, Sun Sister dropped this little gem of a number onto my lap a couple of days ago. Taken from their EP, 'Rich American White Kidz', which is set to be unleashed on the public upon the dawn of New Year's Day, 'Sore Eyes' simply rocks. When I say rocks, it is more of a slow sway, undulating atop the swell of a dreampop wave, blown by breezy guitars and delicate drumming. The female vocals have been soaked in a vat of reverb, the echoes dripping from every sincere note. They coax forth memories, old and forgotten and barely there, dozing at the back of your mind. "Your hair was black and your eyes were sore" goes one particularly nice line, evoking sighs and contented yawns in equal measure. A flurry of senses come alive. Cold water lapping between your toes. A snow shower descending from the heavens along with crisp morning air. Your breath falls from icy lips in a cloud, billowing and dancing before fading from view. This song will bring different images to mind for everyone, but bring them it will. It is one lovely and chilled out number, quietly happy and yet quietly sad. Yearning. Longing. Remembering. I'm certainly keeping my 'Sore Eyes' on Sun Sister, and I hope you'll do the same! Stream it up above!

MP3// VCMG: Spock

VCMG is very exciting. For the first time in thirty years two members of Depeche Mode are coming together to form a duo of epic anticipation. Vince Clarke and Martin Gore have an almighty set of expectations to fulfill, and are set to drop a debut EP, 'Spock', sometime in the coming months. As far as I can tell the EP is this track and a number of remixes but an incredible six minutes like these hardly need accompaniment! This is techno music at its very best, grinding and throbbing with an industrial, mechanical groan. Repeated phrases declared by gloomy synths and preceded over by alien marching, the tense stares of men hanging heavy in the smoke-filled, morbid air. Looking forward to the EP? Stream above!

MP3// Julia Holter: Marienbad

'Marienbad' is taken from Julia Holter's forthcoming record 'Ekstasis' which is set to drop a few days into March next year. It's one incredible song, running through a number of tonal changes within its five nostalgic minutes, and that's a variation so wonderfully attenuated I grinned from ear to ear when I realised what was happening! From an autumn garden, the leaves flutter as Holter blows a breeze with her classical vibes and simple electronic beat. The sound builds as fairytale melodies hide amongst the eternal afternoon. The voice is a stunning blend of the innocent and the reminiscent, almost trance-like in a heart breaking kind of way. Tension grows however, pulling memories taunt with a more defined, deeper beat. The vocals become noisy and complicated. The dream falls apart, highlighted by the laments of angels and the drums of reality come closer. An almighty hum cuts out, leaving stark clock chimes echoing in the coldest manner imaginable. We return to that paradise though, running through the long grass and paddling in the peacefully still lake. Bird calls harmonise and make for an amazing end to a brilliant song. Stream 'Marienbad' up above.

VIDEO// YACHT: I Walked Alone

YACHT's video for their track 'I Walked Alone' is suitably chaotic and mesmerising and just completely out of this world. These five minutes of pure madness are taken from the duo's fantastic album 'Shangri-La', which dropped last June. It's hard not to watch Jona Bechtolt as he stumbles around a vast plain, his drugged out dance moves strangely captivating in their seemingly improvised insanity. You eyes become transfixed, intrigued by this strange creature singing and moving and playing guitar. Beat-heavy electronic quirks are one of a few characteristics that make YACHT that unique and individual thing it is, and 'I Walked Alone' encapsulates their execution of such sound perfectly. You will not have listened to or seen anything like this, which is reason enough to do so. If you, like me, found all of the sensibilities and singularity here a little overwhelming I suggest watching an interview with YACHT to convince yourself Bechtolt isn't crazy! I do love it though, so stream it up above!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

VIDEO// Twin Sister: Stop ( Session)

This video just speaks for itself. Twin Sister is an American quintet and the offering of pop perfection is much appreciated. From the drums to the high-pitched vocals to the fantastic choruses dripping in chilled out reverb, everything about 'Stop' is simply outstanding. An incredible combination of male and female voices compliment each other perfectly and tell a tale of control, or more, the lack of such. Like driving down a busy street, it's a song that sends you to sleep in the best possible way. Bright lights are dulled and the noise outside become muffled as the hypnotic patter of rain lulls your tired eyes to rest. The throbbing of the engine purrs with content as you lay your head against the window. The coolness of the glass. The blurred, surreal nature of reality beyond it. It's just a wonderful number! Via

REVIEW// Whales In Cubicles: We Never Win

     Whales in Cubicles, apart from having an awesome band name, also record some comfortably magnificent indie-rock tunes. The groups latest split single is made up of 'We Never Win' and the brilliant 'Across America' anthem to freedom. Both tracks take noted inspiration, from bands like Blur to the undeniable songwriting skill of undisputed legends like the Canadian Neil Young. A self-deprecating sadness seeps through their music, a passionate regret blinding their conscience, embodied by determined guitars and unwavering drum phrases. I think both numbers here aim to arouse the desire inside everyone to go out and make the most of the opportunities handed to them. To carve a name for themselves on the memory of the world. To be remembered by the nations for something truly amazing. Not many of us will manage this, but Whales In Cubicles and their yearning ability to dream and work in earnest towards such a goal makes their sound reverberate off walls far from those made of bricks and mortar. The title track opens with a certain delicacy. An instantly noticeable melancholy that turns into an antagonised rage riddled with punk bullets and the debris of a future crushed. The catchy chorus is repeated just enough to get stuck in your head. A build from quiet to loud, from a walk to a sprint, the wind in your hair and the world in front of your thundering feet. Melodic shouts and riffs as heavy and epic and huge as anything you've heard make for a number that is hard to forget. 'Across America' is one five minute monster, but one I'm more than happy to fall into. A similar build to the first track runs with this one. A slower number, the verses remind me of Frightened Rabbit or Bright Eyes, and I love them. A guitar lead interlude stares down an empty road. Your foot presses down on the accelerator. You speed up, and so does your heart beat. It's a climax as good as any, and closes this split single. I for one was in awe. Stream 'We Never Win' below and grab a copy of both songs on vinyl if it tickles your fancy. Head to the Young and Lost Club here!