Wednesday, May 27, 2009

3 Songs: Fem-Folk

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Magic Wands - "Magic, Love & Dreams EP"

Magic Wands are Chris and Dexy Valentine who met on Myspace, got married and now make music. Precious. Their debut EP, “Magic, Love & Dreams” is released today on Bright Antenna Records. The 80’s inspired synth, wall of noise guitars, and electronic beats combined with an infectious pop sensibility makes for a very promising debut.

The first song and single, “Black Magic” is built on a buzzing guitar and spooky background synths with a cool vocal cadence that marches along to the beat. The Magic Wands sound like an intergalactic Depeche Mode with the moody indie-pop on “Starships”. “Teenage Love” is Dexy’s turn on the mic and she channels Deborah Harry on the hip-hop inspired track that includes this funny lyrical trick, “Teenage love has got me stuck. Come over now, so we can fu…get about everything…” The last track on this, too short EP is “Kiss Me Dead” and its noisy guitars and catchy chorus leaves you wanting more.

Hopefully the wait for a proper full-length won't be long. Catch them on tour now with The Kills and The Horrors!

Download "Black Magic" here:

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Passion Pit - "The Reeling (Wallpaper. Remix)"


2. Jeniferever - "Green Meadow Island"


3. Math The Band - "Why Didn't You Get A Haircut?"


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Passion Pit - "Manners"

Today marks the release of Passion Pit’s full-length, Manners. If any band is primed for a sophomore slump, Passion Pit should be with the instant success and acclaim they received from their debut EP Chunk of Change. After touring extensively, singer/songwriter Michael Angelakos and the band have incorporated that live energy into the arrangements to give Manners a more fleshed-out live band sound.

The synth and guitar interplay and post-punk drumbeat mixed with Michael’s flailing falsetto makes album opener, “Make Light” sound more fit for the stage instead of the dance floor. While the next song, “Little Secrets” is a huge, banging club anthem with pounding drums, rumbling bass and a children’s choir (?) on the chorus. In a break from the action, dulcimer loops flutter on top of shimmering synths on the more downtempo and sullen “Moth’s Wings”. Lead single, “The Reeling” and “Eyes As Candles” are dripping in so much 80’s inspired synth that I can actually envision Debbie Gibson in the videos! And that’s just it, Passion Pit provides so much nostalgia with a modern edge, you cannot help but devour every note with a passion. “Folds in Your Hands” shines with sunny synths which builds to the end of the song with a busy climax with a chorus of voices and keyboards sounds. Chunk of Change standout, “Sleepyhead” is repeated here without any noticeable changes. And “Seaweed Song” ends the album on the right note with more yearning, rafter-reaching, vocal melodies all over a choppy beat and chiming keyboards.

While nothing may jump out at first, it is because the high expectations have made you a little hesitant, but it definitely doesn’t take long for these perfect pop songs to bury themselves in your head and have you singing along by the second chorus. Proving that surgically sculpted songwriting and clever production and instrumentation is all you need to make a great and lasting record.

Today only, you can download "Manners" for only $2.99 here:

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band- "Slowly (Oh So Slowly)"

2. Trainwreck Riders - "Chug Along"

3. NOMO - "Invisible Cities"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Alligators - "Piggy & Cups"

Alligators perform perfectly classy indie pop. Their debut album, Piggy & Cups was recorded at Jason McGerr’s (Death Cab For Cutie) studio, Two Sticks Audio. Mixing the tight beautiful vocal melodies of the Beach Boys and interesting arrangements and grandeur of Radiohead, Washington’s Alligators have crafted a record as innovative and creative as it is infectious. Piggy & Cups is out now on Applehouse Records.

Lead-off track and first single, “Where Does It Hide?” starts off summery and sweet before darker, caterwauling vocals and frantic guitars break in and then transitions to end with 80’s synth and a pulsating beat. The walking bass line and shuffling beat lay the perfect foundation for the gorgeous vocal melodies that highlight the slight country twang of “Mama Stop”. Standout track, “Original Fear” has a prog-rock feel in the noodling guitars, soaring falsetto vocals and the complex arrangement, sounding like the Shins covering Rush. “If You Want To” plays out like a charming, throwback ballad with punchy piano and more beautiful vocal melodies and great guitar/keyboard interplay. And “Conqueror” slows the pace and showcases the fact that these guys can flat out sing, sounding like Crosby, Stills & Nash or even their Northwest contemporaries, Fleet Foxes.

Style-wise, Alligators are all over the map but it is done with passion and precision and not pastiche, making for a very engaging listen.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

3 Songs: Covers

Lackthereof - "Fake Empire" (The National)

Mates Of State - "Starman" (David Bowie)

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Faux Hoax - "Your Friends Will Carry You Home" 7"

Faux Hoax (pronounced “folks”) includes Danny from Menomena and Lackthereof, John Askew of Tracker, Dave Allen from Gang of Four and Joe Haege from 31Knots with special guest Adam Gnade (Asthmatic Kitty). You can pre-order and Polyvinyl Records will ship their debut 7” starting on May 8th. It includes the songs “Your Friends Will Carry You Home” and “Hippies Will Rule”. The first pressing is limited to 1000 copies and comes with a download code for those tracks plus 2 additional songs, “Foxworthy” and “Underwood”. A loose collaboration, Faux Hoax plan on writing a full-length with a revolving door of various vocalists and contributors soon, or maybe not. Not a lot is known about the band, this could be their only release and they might not ever tour. So enjoy it while you can!

“Your Friends Will Carry You Home” is a catchy, spoken word piece with vocals and lyrics from Adam Gnade who sounds a bit like Issac Brock of Modest Mouse. Fans of Menomena will recognize Danny’s vocals on “Hippies Will Rule” and “Foxworthy”, the latter song even has a shuffling beat and a multi-part vocal exercise at the end, reminiscent of the parent band. The last song, “Underwood” is an instrumental that replicates the sped up reversing sounds of when you hold down the rewind button while the song is still playing on a tape player. The ultimate in high tech studio gadgetry!

Pre-order the Faux Hoax 7" here:

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