Wednesday, February 27, 2013

3 Songs: On Repeat (Featuring An Exclusive Preston Lovinggood mp3)


Preston Lovinggood – “Somewhere Along The Way” (Assisted in the studio by Taylor Hollingsworth of Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band, the former Wild Sweet Orange frontman just released his highly-anticipated debut solo album, Sun Songs via Communicating Vessels.  And this infectious track is the perfect introduction to his genre-defiant folk sound, as it opens with chugging acoustic guitar, handclaps and New Wave-inspired synths before ending with an outro of ornate blues with haunting, reverb-rich vocals.)  http://communicatingvessels.net/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Preston-Lovinggood/135937826452726


Psychic Friend – “Once A Servant” (Psychic Friend is the new indie-pop project from Will Schwartz of Imperial Teen and features former Hole drummer Patty Schemel.  Out now on Dangerbird Records, My Rocks Are Dreams is their debut album and features 10 tracks of catchy piano-led 70’s singer-songwriter-esque pop.  Lyrically, it’s a little more personal but without becoming too dark as it still features Wil’s signature wit and bright, catchy melodies.) https://www.facebook.com/psychicfriendmusic      



Babe The Blue Ox – “Dragging The Joneses” (The Brooklyn indie rock vets have returned from a fifteen year hiatus to deliver their new album, Guilty, out now on their Bandcamp page.   The stellar first single features the band’s signature mix of crunchy and dissonant guitars and a rumbling bass line along with a catchy chorus that makes it seem like they were never gone in the first place.) http://babetheblueox.bandcamp.com/   

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Saint Alvia - "Static Psalms"


Saint Alvia, also known as The Saint Alvia Cartel, are a supergroup of sorts made up of former members of some of Canada’s most beloved emo-punk bands like,  Grade, Boys Night Out, Jersey and The Video Dead.  And after a three year wait, the two-time Juno Award nominees’ highly-anticipated third album, Static Psalms was released a few weeks ago on Divergent Recordings. 
“When I Die” opens the album with a bouncy vintage organ riff and a catchy, call and response chorus propelled by Greg Taylor’s distinct wail.  The new single “Define Me” opens with a marching military cadence of “left, right, left, right…” and follows with soaring organ and some blues-inflected guitar licks along with a positive message.  A rumble of droning organ and softly chugged guitars highlight the touching and anthemic ode to Mothers on “Mother’s Day”.  “Whiskey Business” features stabbing keyboards, trombone and a pogoing rhythm along with a raucous, glass-in-the-air sing-along chorus.  The nostalgia-laced “Jonxer” bemoans the lack of honesty and originality in bands and entertainment these days and while making references to Fugazi, they aim to show how music can help shape your identity and give you hope during some of your darkest moments.  Standout track, “The Commute” features a rumbling bass line and an upbeat emo-core sound that is reminiscent of Grade with an impossibly catchy chorus.  A stuttering electronic beat (which was sampled from the Minor Threat song, “In My Eyes”), razor-thin guitar lines and New Wave-influenced synths highlight the super-poppy and danceable “Get Up And Go”.  And the thirteen track album closes with the feel-good vibes of the piano-led “Not Our World” which is a blues and Gospel-soaked rave up.               
With Static Psalms, Saint Alvia has again crafted a punchy and anthemic genre-defiant sound that mixes everything from punk and garage rock to Clash-like reggae and hardcore, all while filtering it through an infectiously catchy pop lens for yet another great album that will have you singing and moving along instantly. 

Download a free four-song EP with highlights from the album on Noisetrade here: http://www.noisetrade.com/stalvia/static-psalms-ep

Friday, February 22, 2013

Free Friday: Eric & Magill - "Two Travelers" EP


Songwriters Ryan Weber and Eric Osterman, who have played in Midwest indie greats, Camden, Decibully and The Promise Ring are folk-pop duo Eric & Magill.  They released their debut EP All Those I Know in 2010 and are planning to release their debut full-length Night Singers in May.  In anticipation, they have released a new EP titled, Two Travelers as a free download on their Bandcamp page this week.
The duo, with help from their amazing musician friends in the Delgados, Snailhouse and Faunts, blend together organic folk-leaning instrumentation with glimmering synths and electronic beats to create some glorious and psychedelic electro-pop soundscapes that are easy to get lost in. 
“Tangled Up In Nets” opens the 6-track EP with an easy going shuffling beat and harmonica swells along with flickering banjo figures and close-knit male/female vocal harmonies with assistance from guest Heidi Spencer of Heidi Spencer And The Rare Birds.  Standout track, “I Feel Your Pain” is the most stripped down song, with rafters-reaching reverb-rich vocal melodies and wispy lab steel.  The stuttering beat-driven “Carried Away” features tumbling drum fills and lush layers of spacey synths for another standout moment.   
With their two excellent EPs, Eric & Magill have set the bar high for their upcoming debut album, Night Singers.  Stay tuned!
        
Download the Two Travelers EP here:




For more info: http://ericandmagill.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/Eric.n.Magill

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

3 Songs: On Repeat


bentcousin – “I Think I Like Your Girlfriend More Than You” (bentcousin are London-based twin siblings Amelia and Pat Innit who released Everybody’s Got One, their debut EP this week via Team Love Records.  Their playful and witty lyrics and charmingly understated homespun folk pop has been compared to everyone from the Moldy Peaches to The Smiths but the duo has created a sound all their own on their promising debut.)  www.bentcousin.com   


Iceage – “Coalition” (The Copenhagen classic punk revivalists return with their sophomore-slump busting Matador Records debut album, You’re Nothing.  Gritty shoegaze atmospherics and touches of hardcore and post-punk rhythms add to the aggressive aural assault with traces of melody, making this back alley punk at its finest!)  http://www.matadorrecords.com/iceage/   


Sanders Bohlke – “Ghost Boy” (Seven years after his debut album, the Birmingham-based singer-songwriter released his new album, Ghost Boy, this week on Communicating Vessels.  Bohlke’s soulful voice, infectious handclaps and lush layers of synths bolster the super-catchy piano-led first taste from the excellent Jeffrey Cain (Remy Zero) produced album that proves well worth the wait.) http://sandersbohlke.com/    

Friday, February 15, 2013

Free Friday: Team Spirit - "Love Is For Suckers" EP


Brooklyn garage-pop band Team Spirit is the new project from Ayad Al Adhamy formerly of Passion Pit, whose self-titled debut EP is due out on Vice Records in April.  In anticipation of their debut and in celebration of Valentine’s Day, they have released an EP of love-themed cover songs titled, Love Is For Suckers, as a free download via Vice.    
The band puts their own drunken, gritty guitar-led power-pop take on the 60’s pop and rock-and-roll classics: “Walk Like A Man” by The Four Seasons, “Good Lovin” by The Rascals, “Stay” by The Temptations and “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers.  And they also punk up the schmaltzy Meatloaf ballad, “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” for good measure.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

3 Songs: On Repeat


The Shilohs – “The Place Where Nobody Knows I Go” (The Vancouver-based band recently released So Wild, their debut album via Light Organ Records.  They combine jangly, Byrds-like guitars and sun-streaked 60’s pop with infectiously catchy melodies and hints of power-pop and folk for a sound that has one foot in the past and one in the future for a very promising debut.) https://www.facebook.com/TheShilohs


Umberto - “Night Fantasy” (The dark experimental electronica project of Kansas City’s Matt Hill offers up some taut dance floor workouts that are laced with some tense 80’s horror movie inspired synths and eerie sci-fi vibes  on his fourth full-length, Confrontations, out now on Not Not Fun Records. ) http://www.facebook.com/pages/UMBERTO/371724973289


Soft Swells  - “Summer” (Last October, the Los Angeles based indie-rock band Soft Swells, led by Tim Williams, released this sun-soaked and nostalgia-laced new song after releasing their excellent self-titled debut album last February.   And its upbeat, head-bobbing rhythm, waves of vintage organ, softly chugged guitars and sweet melodies, makes it the perfect way to break this cold Winter’s spell.)   http://modernoutsider.com/SoftSwells.aspx  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Little Ones - "The Dawn Sang Along"


After nearly five years, Los Angeles-based indie-poppers The Little Ones are finally set to release their highly-anticipated sophomore album, The Dawn Sang Along, via their own Branches Recording Collective today.  Co-produced by the band and by David Newton of The Mighty Lemondrops, the new album shows the band branching out a bit; adding some 80’s-flavored synths to their already super-infectious, danceable, tropical-laced and 60’s-pop indebted sound.  The band, led by brothers Ed and Brian Reyes along with Ian Moreno and Lee LaDouceur, have been joined by Kevin Lenhart and Ryan Wilson from the electro-rock band Division Day.    
The album opens with the upbeat first single, “Argonauts” and its mix of organic and electronic beats and island rhythms with swirling synths that begins right where their excellent 2008 debut, Morning Tide left off.  “Boy On Wheels” follows with a deliriously fun sing-along chorus of “la, la, la’s” on the standout track.  “Little Souls” features a thick, 80’s-loving synth bass line and a stuttering beat along with some swaying vocal melodies for another standout moment.  Future single,”Forro” is set to a bouncy beat and twinkling keys and flickering guitar figures.  A shuffling beat and catchy chorus highlight the aptly-titled standout track, “Catch The Movement” and its afro-pop inspired poly-rhythms and background vocals.  “Shake Your Sign” features an echo-enhanced dub-reggae rhythm and a soaring vocal melody on the chorus.  The percussion-heavy and reverb-rich “AWOL” sounds like beach music from the future.  The mellow psychedelic vibe and Bossa Nova rhythm of “Art In The Streets” is bolstered by some shimmering, jangly guitars and kaleidoscopic keyboards for a nice change of pace.  The title of the next song, “Super Bros.” probably isn’t but should be a knowing nod to the brothers Reyes in the band, who have effortlessly developed the sun-soaked emo-punk of their original band, Sunday’s Best into the infectious trop-pop of The Little Ones.  “Body” is built on a hip-shaking disco-leaning dance groove and is sure to be a live favorite with its instantly memorable melodies.  The propulsive, quasi-motorik rhythm that opens the album closer, “Ain’t It Like You & Me” is surrounded by layers of vintage organs swells and leaves you wanting more.        
Well, the wait was certainly worth it for The Dawn Sang Along but I just hope that we do not have to wait nearly as long for more new pop-perfect music from The Little Ones!   


Friday, February 08, 2013

Free Friday: Graham Wright - "Apple Breath" EP


Over the past six years or so, folk-pop singer-songwriter Graham Wright of Tokyo Police Club has been carving out a pretty solid solo career, with the 2011 release of Shirts vs. Skins, his debut solo album, being the highlight.  Last fall, he released a new 5-song EP titled, Apple Breath, as a free download on his Bandcamp page.  The Lakes Of Alberta, his excellent debut EP from 2008 was a stripped-down, intimate and folksy affair and Apple Breath follows in the same path with more subtle yet sticky melodies and crafty arrangements.   
The EP opens with the title track, “Apple Breath” and its swelling organs and multi-tracked vocals that lends to an ethereal atmosphere.  Graham’s understated baritone vocals, twinkling keyboards and a lightly chugging acoustic guitar pattern highlight the next track, “Bored Of Judas”.  Standout track, “Randy Quaid” features a fun middle section where various instruments: a vintage organ, a slightly distorted guitar, a skronky sax, a vocal choir and a piano each individually take a very short solo.  The heart-aching “Vacation Song” follows with a swaying melody and a hypnotic cyclical acoustic guitar figure.  And a reprise of sorts, “Apple Breath Again”, closes out the EP on a bed of shimmering and soaring synths. 

Download the Apple Breath EP here: 


For more info: http://www.facebook.com/grahamwrighteous

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

3 Songs: On Repeat


Elephant Stone – “Heavy Moon” (After touring and recording with The Black Angels and Brian Jonestown Massacre, sitarist/bassist Rishi Dhir is now putting his own “hindi-rock” spin on the psych-rock genre with thick droning vintage organ, swirling sitars and some hypnotic melodies on his band’s self-titled sophomore album, out this week on Hidden Pony Records.) http://www.elephantstonemusic.com/


When Nalda Became Punk – “When It’ll Come” (Peppy and danceable surf-punk rhythms, jangly yet distorted guitars and singer Elena Sestelo’s sweet and sticky melodies highlight, A Farewell To Youth, the Ian Catt (Saint Etienne, Dylan Mondegreen)-produced debut album from Spain’s latest and greatest musical export.  Out now on Shelflife Records.) http://www.whennaldabecamepunk.com/  


Gliss – “Hunting” (The LA-based trio recently released their highly-anticipated new album, Langsom Dans, on Modern Outsider Records.  Victoria Cecilia takes over with her sweet yet airy lead vocals on most of the tracks that effortlessly blend together layers of atmospheric and ethereal synths and beats with shoegaze-y guitars for a standout release that sounds like Depeche Mode vacationing at Beach House in the winter.)  http://officialgliss.wordpress.com/  

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Jim James - "Regions Of Light And Sound Of God"


My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James issues his first proper solo album, Regions Of Light And Sound Of God, today on ATO Records.  As MMJ has gotten stranger (in a good way) and has further veered off from their Southern Rock path, Jim James has set his sights on an even more intimate and experimental “futuristic-soul” sound on the album that he wrote, produced and played all himself at his home in Louisville. 
The nine-track album opens with the piano-led “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.)” and its funk-rock rhythm and a syncopated vocal cadence on the chorus.  Excellent first single, “Know Til Now” follows with a stuttering hip-hop inspired beat and a trippy atmosphere along with Jim’s rafters-reaching falsetto.  Standout track “Dear One” features a playful keyboard melody as a hazy wall of sound and a fuzzed-out guitar compete for space.  The new single, “A New Life” is a sentimental and soulful ballad with a swinging, doo-wop bent.  The instrumental, “Exploding” is not as combustible as its title suggests but blooms into a short, introspective mid-album moment.  “Of The Mother Again” opens with some chiming, Chinese sounding keyboards until a slinky guitar figure and a strutting rhythm collide.  Another standout, “Actress” features a soaring vocal melodies and a string section that glides over and above the contrasting bursts of distorted guitars.  “All Is Forgiven” is uplifting and soul-searching and is host to Jim’s best and most dynamic vocal performance on the album.  The album closes with the Martin Luther King, Jr. referencing and Marvin Gaye-inspired “God’s Love To Deliver” and its hypnotic melodies. 
A lot of times solo albums tend to be a little too experimental and all over the place, but the debut solo album from Jim James does not disappoint and is a cohesively strong album with one foot in the future and one in the past.

Stream “Know Til Now” here:  http://soundcloud.com/jim_james/know-til-now/s-49BqD     
 For more info: http://jimjames.com/            

Friday, February 01, 2013

Free Friday: Bad Bad Hats - "It Hurts" EP


The St. Paul, Minnesota-based folk-pop duo, consisting of Kerry Alexander and Chris Hoge just released their second EP, It Hurts as a free download on their Bandcamp page via Afternoon Records. 
The 5-song EP opens with the instantly memorable melody of the upbeat title track, “It Hurts”, with its fun kazoo solo and ear-worming background vocals.  If this infectiously catchy song doesn't explode or isn’t in a commercial in the next week, someone needs to be fired!  Another standout track, “Super America” follows with some of the sweetest melodies and some cute (but not cutesy) nostalgia-laced lyrics that name check Icees and Pepsi and evoke wasted summer days.  And the closing track, “A Bout” adds some emotional weight to complement the brighter moments on this stellar EP. 

Stream and download the It Hurts EP here:



You can also download their excellent debut EP, Grow Up here: http://badbadhats.bandcamp.com/album/grow-up-ep


For more info: http://badbadhats.com/ and http://news.afternoonrecords.com/