Friday, January 20, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

Foxygen – “Follow The Leader” (The retro-minded duo of Sam France and Jonathan Rado return with their new album, Hang, out today via Jagjaguwar.  The grandiose new album is their first recorded in a proper studio and features a cinematic 40-piece orchestra – conducted and arranged by Spacebomb’s Trey Pollard and Matthew E. White - and trades in glammy theatrics that recalls 70’s hit-men Billy Joel and Elton John for their most concise and complete album yet.)       

High Up – “You Can’t Give Up On Me” (Led by the powerful, soul-soaked and stirring vocals of Christine Fink and the songwriting of her sister Orenda Fink of Azure Ray, High Up is set to release their self-titled 4-song debut EP today via Team Love Records.  The release could not be timelier, as their empowering politically-charged themes and punk-fuelled take on classic blues and soul music is just the salve to soothe during these uncertain times.)       

Soul Scratch – “It’s Not Over” (Speaking of soul, the L.A. based Soul Scratch recently released their stunning sophomore album, Pushing Fire, on Cincinnati’s Colemine Records.  The 6-piece band creates classic yet fresh brand of funk-driven soul music with energetic danceable rhythms and blasts of brass and wailing organ that were recorded to sound raw, dirty and alive to match the intensity of frontman Dale Spolletti’s scorching, blue-eyed belting.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat

JOESPH – “Glowing Flower (Excerpt)” (After releasing his impressive debut album last year, Joey Cook - formerly of Cincy psych-pop band Pomegranates – recently released a new EP, titled Glowing Flower, with his solo project JOESPH.  The 5-song digital EP was released in anticipation of his upcoming sophomore album, Temples, due later this year.  Alongside drummer Devyn Glista and fellow ex-Pom Pierce Geary, the trio creates a swirling, headphones-worthy head trip of quirky pop and psychedelic folk that recalls both The Beatles and Pink Floyd at their most experimental.)  

Bonzo Madrid – “All You Got” (Bonzo Madrid is the new solo project of CJ Calhoun, formerly of Kansas-based indie rock band Cowboy Indian Bear.  His debut album, Worry was released late last year as a joint release with High dive Records and Whatever Forever Tapes on which the B-side contains a bonus EP.  Moving in new directions, Calhoun blends lush layers of pillowy synths and subdued electronics that ebb and flow around his soulful and emotive vocals for a very promising debut.)   

 The xx – “Say Something Loving” (The London synth-pop trio are set to release their highly-anticipated third album, I See You, today via Young Turks.  The new album was recorded all over the world – NY, TX, Iceland and London - and in turn, it is their most expansive and collaborative album yet and also their most accessible, as can be heard in the warm sentiment and stair-stepping synths of the standout single here.)      

Friday, January 06, 2017

3 Songs: On Repeat – Extended Solid State Records Edition

Before looking ahead to the great releases to come from 2017, I want to take a look back at 4 of the best releases of 2016 from one of my favorite labels, Solid State Records.

Wolves At The Gate – “Asleep” (The Ohio post-hardcore standouts recently released their third album, Types & Shadows and it finds the band diving deeper past the genre’s limits with a sharp, Thrice-like sense of melody, personal yet highly relatable lyrics and a hard-hitting heaviness for their best album yet.)  

Silent Planet – “Panic Room” (The experimental L.A. based Christian band’s stunning sophomore album, Everything Was Sound was released last summer and it blends together the quirky, art-core tendencies of mewithoutYou with complex metalcore along with intelligent, thought-provoking and empowering lyrics.)

Norma Jean – “Forever Hurtling Towards Andromeda” (After almost twenty years, the veteran metalcore band continues to create chaos with their seventh album, Polar Similar, released last fall.  Alongside vocalist Cory Brandan’s most honest and personal lyrics to date, the band matches the intensity with Deftones-esque melodies and an abrasive heaviness created by their low-slung, Southern metal-inspired riffs and rhythms that have always set them apart.)  

Fit For A King – “Dead Memory ft. Jake Luhrs)” (The Texas Christian metalcore band recently released their fourth full-length, Deathgrip.  Lyrically, the album deals with death and all of its painful and ugly emotions with a sense of grace and hope that is inspiring; set to their beautiful yet brutal technical musicality and anthemic Texas-sized hooks.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top 10 Albums of 2016

As we all know, 2016 was a crap year all around except for the music, there was a lot of great music.  Here are my top 10 albums of 2016 in alphabetical order.

BerwangerExorcism Rock (Doghouse Records)

Fullbloods Mild West (High Dive Records)

Hamilton Leithauser + RostamI Had A Dream That You Were Mine (Glassnote Records)

Heron Oblivion Heron Oblivion (Sub Pop)

Niki And The DoveEverybody's Heart Is Broken Now (TEN Music Group)

Conor OberstRuminations (Nonesuch Records)

Okkervil RiverAway (ATO Records)

Angel OlsenMy Woman (Jagjaguwar)

RadioheadA Moon Shaped Pool (XL Recordings)

WhitneyLight Upon The Lake (Secretly Canadian)

Monday, December 19, 2016

3 Songs: On Repeat – Extended Christmas Songs Edition

(photo credit: Art Jipson)

Jaymay – “Up On The Housetop” (Indie-pop singer-songwriter Jaymay just released Fallin’ Like Snow, her debut Christmas album.  The album - a blend of newly penned originals and merry takes on many of the beloved classic Christmas songs of the past such as “Silent Night”, a jaunty take on “Winter Wonderland” and a piano-led gender-flipping take on “The Little Drummer Boy” called, “Little Drummer Girl” – is set to become a new modern classic.  The ambitious project also includes appearances by vocal groups as well as cinematic orchestral arrangements performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.)  

Low – “Some Hearts (At Christmas Time)” (Mimi, Alan and Steve offer up a solemn yet hopeful holiday sentiment on their newest Christmas-themed song out now via Sub Pop.) 

The Crookes – “You Bring The Snow” (After releasing their fourth full-length album, Lucky Ones on Modern Outsider records earlier this year, the Sheffield, England based indie rock quartet have debuted their new holiday song that was inspired by Low’s 1999 sentimental classic, “Just Like Christmas”.)

She & Him – “Christmas Memories” (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward recently released their second Christmas album, Christmas Party, via Columbia Records.  The album is fun and diverse, as they share their distinctly original interpretations of Mariah Carey’s modern classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, The Chipmunk’s “Christmas Don’t Be Late”, “Must Be Santa” and Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph”, among others.  Also invited to the party are Jenny Lewis, The Chapin Sisters and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley, who make guest appearances.)
Stream their take on Sinatra’s “Christmas Memories” here: