Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fourth of July - "Before Our Hearts Explode!"

Fourth of July is set to release Before Our Hearts Explode!, their long-awaited sophomore album and follow up to their excellent debut, “On The Plains” today on Range life Records. The Lawrence, KS band are truly a band of brothers, with two sets, including Brendan Hangauer (vocals, guitars)and brothers Patrick (bass) and Kelly (keys, trumpet, vocals), along with Brian (drums, vocals) and Brendan Costello (guitar). And Adrianne Verhoeven, formerly of The Anniversary again lends her vocals to four of the tracks and Katlyn Conroy guests on two as well. Brendan’s easily relatable lyrics bite with the pains of relationships, the distances between and the little details of heartbreak with a conversational “everyman” quality similar to Tim Kasher from Cursive.

“Friend of a Friend”, opens the album swirling with rumors of infidelities set to a cathartic soundtrack of trumpet, organ, and jangly guitar. “Bad Dreams (Are Only Dreams)” features a vocal trade-off with Katlyn with a clever twist of tempo for each vocalist on the standout track. “Providence” compares love lost to a murder with a trumpet melody as catchy as the melody it supports. The self-deprecating but earnest “I Don’t Want To Lose You” repeats the refrain “I don’t want to bore you at all” in the background with rootsy corn-fed instrumentation, including a twangy guitar solo. The up-tempo “Self-Sabotage” features a shuffling beat, a catchy keyboard melody and laid-back brotherly “la, la, la” harmonies for a barroom sing-along. The next track, “Song For Meghan” slows it back down with 50’s style doo-wop guitars and excellent harmonies from Adrienne in a song about long-distance relationships. “Tanlines” confronts a cheater with helplessness, a whistle solo and a rafters-reaching refrain for another standout moment. Owing as much to Bob Dylan and The Band as the Silver Jews, “L Train” is a great example of how the band’s ornate arrangements mirror Brendan’s observational lyrics. “Crying Shame” is amplified with unhinged guitars and vocals grounded by vocals by Katlyn and album closer, “Come Home” ends the album on an emotional note; tugging and pleading with a dissonant guitar solo that matches the strains of a relationship in its fleeting moments.

Continuing the lyrical and musical theme set forth on their debut, Before Our Hearts Explode! is another great set of stories you can sign along to and does not disappoint.

Download "L Train" here: http://c0000841.cdn1.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/L_Train.mp3

For more info click here: http://www.rangeliferecords.com/ and www.myspace.com/fourthofjuly3000

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Friday: Hangover, Ohio - "Common Measure"

Hangover, Ohio is a long-distance project by lo-fi popsters Kris N. and Nick Satinover. Nick, who used to record under the moniker Circle Circle Dot Dot in Dayton and collaborated with Kris on his first solo album, was attending art school in Chicago and recorded the music in his basement then sent the tapes to Kris to write and record vocals for the songs. The 11-song collaboration resulted in the album Common Measure and has been released as a free download from Poptek Records.

The album opens with “Committee” featuring swaying melodies and layers of winding guitars along with Kris’ breathy vocals. With fractured guitar lines and a glowing ambience “Thanksgiving” is catchy in a sneaky way. The emotive sliding guitar notes on the jangly “The Heater’s Last Soliloquy” mirror the heartbreak in the lyrics on the standout track. The brooding, bending guitars of “Good Grief” and the rhythm-driven instrumental “Winter Work 3” along with much of the album pays homage to early Modest Mouse. “Sung Fer Guitar” features the cleanest vocal production, providing the catchiest moment on the album. The back porch blues of “Winter Work 2” is rambunctious with more talkative slide guitar. Another standout is the album closer “Wind Blows Cold Over Bottle Warm” with its shifting tempo changes and swirling layers of vocals.

Common Measure shows that Nick’s bending and emotive guitar work pairs well with Kris’ trademark lo-key but catchy lo-fi melodies for a great debut.

Download Common Measure here: http://poptek.com/Hangover,%20Ohio/Common%20Measure.zip

For more info click here: http://www.poptek.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hangover-Ohio/110425928979396

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Pop Ups - "Outside Voices"

“Kindie rock” or Indie Rock for kids is a quickly growing scene that applies sophisticated songwriting and an indie rock aesthetic to kid’s music for a less annoying alternative to Barney, Disney and Kidz Bop. Brooklyn’s The Pop Ups are the kindie project of Jason Rabinowitz of indie-pop band the Bloodsugars with Jacob Stein. Their vivid 10-song debut Outside Voices was self-released earlier this year and covers many musical genres including reggae, R&B, and everything in between with lyrical subjects both humorous and educational, all while refraining from the pastiche usually attributed to kid’s music.

“Outside Voices”, the title track opens the album with soaring Arcade Fire-like guitars and a loud/quiet dynamic for a great live sing along. “Subway Train” is a super-catchy electro-pop song with fun animal noises that both you and your children will be imitating. Standout track “Balloon” is a faithful reggae romp with breezy horns and lyrics about the loss of a balloon. “Apes In Capes” is a clever song about each person drawing a shape to form an ape set to a 80’s soft rock soundtrack. Another standout is “F & G” with it’s minimalist pop and lyrics touting all of the great things in life that start with the letters F and G. The bouncing disco beat of “Big Wheel” is nostalgic musically and lyrically, taking me back to the days we used to race our big wheels down the road until we wore holes into the plastic tires. “I’m Tired” is gentle, dreamy and hypnotic with excellent folky vocal harmonies. The funky “Pasta” invokes James Brown strutting around Olive Garden complete with horns singing about all the different kinds of pasta. And actually at the end of July, the band played a set of shows in L.A. with puppets for “PASTA! A Pop Ups Puppet Musical” and they plan on touring with their unique concert experience throughout the coming year. The album closes with guest vocals from scene vets Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer on “Up And Down” and the fun, swinging “Airband” which is made to get the kids in the audience moving.

If you have children, Outside Voices is definitely recommended but even if you don’t have kids, it is still a captivating and fun listen for anyone. Jason’s perfect pop-sense translates well from his everyday band the Bloodsugars to the Pop Ups.

Download Outside Voices here: http://thepopups.bandcamp.com/

For more info click here: http://www.thepopups.com/ and http://www.bloodsugars.com/

Stream Outside Voices here:

<a href="http://thepopups.bandcamp.com/album/outside-voices">Outside Inside by The Pop Ups</a>

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. The Torches - "Mr. Vampire" (New project from Stephen J. Perron Guidry of The Cassettes creates swampy blues rock with vocals like a crazed carnival barker that would make the perfect soundtrack to the TV show Swamp People.) http://www.thetorches.net/

Download: http://lujorecords.com/media/01%20Mr.%20Vampire.mp3

2. Yair Yona - "Brave Walls" (Tel Aviv based guitarist Yair Yona combines folk and post-rock ideals with otherworldly complexity to his Fahey-like acoustic soundscapes on debut album Remember, released in 2009 with Anova Music and now reissued by Strange Attractors Audio House‘s Resurrection Series.) http://www.rememberthealbum.com/

3. Unicycle Loves You - "Mirror, Mirror" (The title track from the trio's second album is psychedelic with subtle dissonance and a slick pop sense that will make you come back again and again.) http://unicyclelovesyou.com/

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Land of Talk - "Cloak and Cipher"

Land of Talk, led by songwriter/vocalist Elizabeth Powell, is set to release their sophomore album, Cloak and Cipher, today on Saddle Creek Records. After touring with fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene as the opening band, Elizabeth also joined the band on stage each night and it seems like their big, anthemic sound has influenced the new record. Cloak and Cipher is more electric and eclectic with complex arrangements and huge choruses and features guest spots from members of Arcade Fire and Stars as well as production from Jace Lasek of Besnard Lakes.

The title track “Cloak and Cipher” opens the album with well placed piano chords, shuffling drums, and a woozy chorus that sets the tone for the album. “Goal Time Exposure” is a song of two parts, the first with icy guitars and layers of melancholic vocals and the second, a lush burst of strings and sunny vocals on the chorus. Standout track “Quarry Hymns” chugs along softly with drums from Jeremy Gara of Arcade Fire and Elizabeth’s coy vocals. The fiery first single, “Swift Coin” features wild guitars that capture the band’s raucous onstage energy. “Color Me Badd” is not a smooth R&B jam but rather an atmospheric anthem with horns played by Evan and Chris from Stars that propel the song. “The Hate I Won’t Commit” explodes with noisy, angular guitars streaked with sweet, emotive vocals and a distorted piano solo from Patrick Watson, as a perfect example of the bands’ sense of risk and complexity. Elsewhere “Blangee Blee” is buoyant and driving with power-pop riffs galore and “Playita” channels Tom Petty with jangly guitars, a laid back vibe and sun drenched harmonies. “Better and Closer” closes out the album with a glassy lullaby of longing.

Critics swooned for their debut, Some are Lakes but with the excellent Cloak and Cipher, Elizabeth and her band have set their own standard even higher.

For more info click here: http://www.landoftalk.com/ and http://www.saddlecreekrecords.com/

Download "Quarry Hymns" here:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lissie - "Catching A Tiger"

On the heels of her acclaimed EP, Lissie returns today with the release of her debut full-length album on Fat Possum Records. The excellent Why You Runnin’ EP was raw and organic and introduced us to Lissie’s haunting and beautiful voice. Catching A Tiger on the other hand, is a more polished and pop-leaning affair, that still satisfies yet with mixed results. Her outstanding voice remains the alluring factor and was the spotlight on the EP, but now has been hidden a bit by the arrangements. The newfound pop is fun yet void of the dusky atmosphere of the EP, which makes holdovers such as the single, “Little Lovin”, “Everywhere I Go”, and the hymn-like balladry of “Oh, Mississippi” stand out. Of the new songs, “Bully” and “Record Collector” remain true with the same lyrical imagery, layers of vocal melodies, and bluesy-folk. Of the pop-leaning songs, “When I’m Alone” features intermittent electronics, and sparkling electric guitars, but Lissie holds her own with the soaring vocals and “Cuckoo” is a strange dichotomy, sounding like mid-90’s Lilith Fair-faire, but just try not to sing along. And that pretty much sums up the album. At first listen, the poppier songs seem odd but the breezy melodies and Lissie’s voice sink in and you are left with a satisfying album. Besides, isn’t your record collection just as eclectic?

For more info click here: www.myspace.com/lissiemusic and http://www.fatpossum.com/

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat (Remix Edition)

1. Here We Go Magic - "Terminally Chill" (Luke Temple and his band of art-rockers put a Kraut-rock twist on the Neon Indian track.) www.myspace.com/herewegomagic

Download: http://www.tellallyourfriendspr.com/singles/HereWeGoMagic-TerminallyChill.zip

2. Apache Beat - "Another Day" (Blood Diamonds Remix) (A Jungle rhythm with steel drums provides the meat of the Blood Diamonds remix of Apache Beat's first single from their anticipated debut album.) http://www.myspace.com/apachebeat

Download: http://www.girlieaction.com/music/apache_beat/downloads/Another_Day_Blood_Diamonds_Remix.mp3

3. BRAHMS - "Another Time" (Laurel Halo Remix) (The new project from Cale Parks of Aloha, who have been remixing others latley, get the remix treatment from Laurel Halo with spacey synths and a clicking beat.) www.brahmsband.com/

Download: http://www.tellallyourfriendspr.com/singles/BRAHMS_Another_Time_Laurel_Halo_mix.mp3.zip

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Friday: Fol Chen - "The Holograms" Remix EP

Fol Chen, the ever elusive L.A.-based electro-pop group just released their excellent sophomore album Part II: The New December in June on Asthmatic Kitty Records as well as a remix EP of their single, "In Ruins" for free download on their website. They are now offering up a second free remix EP, this time for the glitchy single, "The Holograms". The Holograms Remix EP is available at their Bandcamp site and features the album version and remixes of the song by Teen Daze, Primary 1, FUR and Hard Mix.

Teen Daze gives the song a glowing hypnotic sheen and Bristish producer Primary 1 cuts the beat in half with a submerged vocal and synths, both damaged and shimmering. FUR provides a trippy mix with synths that sound like he used an old Casio keyboard on the "Human Voice" setting. Finally, to close out the EP, Hard Mix delivers a dreamy, Moby-like reinterpretation.

Download The Holograms Remix EP here: http://folchen.bandcamp.com/

Watch the Keith Musil directed video for "The Holograms" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHN6whPTf9Q

For more info click here: http://www.folchen.com/ and www.myspace.com/folchen and http://www.asthmatickitty.com/

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Young Man - "Five" (After catching fire from his Youtube videos of captivating cover songs, Colin Caufield is set to release his debut EP, Boy on Frenchkiss in October. Beautiful and haunting melodies set to cyclical acoustic guitars.) www.myspace.com/colincaulfield

2. Frankie Rose and the Outs - "Little Brown Haired Girls" (New project from Frankie, a former member of Vivian Girls, features a Phil Spector-like wall of sound blended with a lush 4AD Records sound. Debut out 9/21 on Slumberland.) http://www.myspace.com/saintoftherose

3. The Drums - "Down By The Water" (I am "down by the water" right now on the Amazon river in Brazil and The Drums are on tour in the US with Surfer Blood.) www.myspace.com/thedrumsforever

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ORBS - "Asleep Next To Science"

Most of the time, so-called super-groups are either hit or miss. Well, ORBS which contains Adam (vocals, guitar) and Clayton (drums) from Fear Before; Dan (guitar) from Between The Buried And Me; Chuck (bass) of Torch Runner and Ashley from Cradle of Filth on keyboards, definitely hits the bulls-eye. Their stunning debut album, Asleep Next To Science will be released next week on Equal Vision Records.

Abstract and experimental, the collaboration was three years in the making after Dan and his technical guitar abilities and Ashley and her classical training met and started writing but it wasn’t until they recruited Adam, Clayton and Chuck and were in the studio for the first time that everything clicked and ORBS became a reality and not just a secret side-project. Free of the restraints and expectations of their acclaimed main bands, ORBS is the sum of all of the parts together but unlike any thing you would expect from any of the artists involved. Wide screen complex compositions filled with beautiful piano, obtuse keyboard sounds, spacey prog-rock, heavy moments and strange interludes make up this set of unique songs.

Each song has its share of interesting and captivating moments but some standout tracks include the opener, “Sayer of the Law” which begins with chugging guitars and rumbling drums before a textural and ethereal piano-led interlude cuts in and transforms into a prog-y jam with Adam’s weird but catchy lyrics and vocals, ending with another pretty moment. And that moment bleeds into the next track, “A Man of Science” with warped synths, a jazzy bass line, an anthem of a chorus and enough twists and turns you may need to break out your GPS. The 10-minute opus “People Will Read Again” begins with dreamy, cascading keyboards then locks into a hypnotic groove before switching between cinematic movements with Gothic overtones and heavier parts with crazed vocals for another standout moment on an album filled with them.

With all of the talent represented on Asleep Next To Science, ORBS has created an album different enough to amuse their muse yet still satisfying to their core fans and new fans alike.

For more info click here: www.myspace.com/orbsband and http://www.equalvision.com

Friday, August 06, 2010

Free Friday: White Arrows - "White Arrows" EP

L.A.-based White Arrows have taken to their bandcamp page to release the White Arrows EP for free download. It includes their previously released Hearts and Lungs EP plus 2 new remixes by RAC and one by KKS. The band started in 2008 by Mickey Church as more of an electronic solo project but evolved into the full band it is now, so the music is naturally rhythm-driven and is infectiously catchy.

The EP opens with “The Voyeur” with a twitchy post-rock guitar riff, spacey and surf-y synths that propel the song and front-man Mickey’s laid back vocal delivery. “8050 (Too Fast, Too Slow)” features sun-bathed doo-wop melodies and pounding piano. The instantly likable first single, “Coming or Going” is a slice of Strokes-worthy swagger and is reminiscent of Jonathan Fire Eater with the vintage keyboards and hip-swiveling rhythm. “City Boy” stands out with delirious and soulful vocals and strange, otherworldly synths. And the last of the original tracks “Everything Scares Me" is funky and psychedelic with group vocals on the chorus that beg you to sing along.

Closing out the EP is a remix of “Coming or Going” by the super-busy and in demand RAC, who applies a thick haze and a blip-y beat to keep the party going and producer KKS splices up the track “City Boy” into a robotic, club-banger.

Download the EP here: http://whitearrows.bandcamp.com/

Download "Coming or Going" here: http://www.artofbroadcast.com/preview_music.php?file=03+Coming+or+Going.mp3

For more info click here: www.myspace.com/whitearrows

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Secret Cities - "Pink City" (The vivid yet fractured pop on their new album Pink Graffiti would make Brian Wilson blush! The best head-phones album of the year.) http://westernvinyl.com/artists/secretcities.html

2. Archie Powell & The Exports - "Enough About Me" (First single from their debut album out in October, featuring straight up Americana-laced rock-and-roll with instantly catchy power-pop melodies to boot.)

3. Dead Confederate - "Giving It All Away" (First single from their new album Sugar, features the legendary J. Mascis on guitar. Enough said but their grungy roots rock is good enough to stand on its own.) http://www.deadconfederate.com/

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Dax Riggs - "Say Goodnight To The World"

Dax Riggs, formerly of Acid Bath and deadboy & the Elephantmen is set to release his second solo album Say Goodnight To The World today on Fat Possum Records. He mixes his love for the dark side of the blues with haunting soul and punk grit as his impressive voice evokes the hidden beauty in his poetic lyrics.

The title track “Say Goodnight To The World” struts in with heavy blues and a howl for a fitting introduction to the eclectic album. “You Were Born To Be My Gallows” is atmospheric with soaring vocals laced with an ominous tone reminiscent of Glenn Danzig. Contrastingly dark and poppy, “Gravedirt On My Blue Suede Shoes” is set apart with pounding honky-tonk piano and broke-down guitar solos. “Like Moonlight” is brooding and plodding with an ethereal drone and darkly romantic vocals. On “No One Will Be a Stranger”, Riggs breaks out his best Bowie for a glammy rave-up with brighter, chugging guitars. His voice never sounds better than on his visceral death-blues rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”, reaching emotional heights the King never imagined. “Sleeping With The Witch” follows with druggy 60’s psychedelic rock and a delirious refrain. The bouncy pop and scuzzy swagger of “Let Me Be Your Cigarette” is closest to his work under the deadboy moniker. And album closer “See You All In Hell or New Orleans” is a somber candlelit blues-ballad fit for closing time at a smoke-filled back-alley bar.

With Say Goodnight To The World, yet another solid outing for Dax Riggs, he proves his voice and style transcend any name he puts on his music.

Download "No One Will Be A Stranger" here: http://www.fatpossum.com/system/assets/files/55/original/06_No_One_Will_Be_A_Stranger.mp3

For more info click here: www.myspace.com/daxriggs and http://www.fatpossum.com/