Count me in as one of those that has embraced this arrival of this band. Bully is a group of out of Nashville and they have a polished, yet traditional garage rock sound to them. This is my favorite song by them, due to the insightful and meaningful lyrics and Alicia Bognanno’s captivating vocals. Her voice is what gives this group their signature sound. The guitars featured are spectacular as well, especially during the chorus.
2. A$AP w/Clams Casino-Wassup
Clams Casino puts down some classic, ambient beats to the vocals of A$AP. It all makes for a down-tempo loungey sounding track. It sounds like a more bare version of Lil’ Wayne’s Lollipop.
3. Jamie xx-Hold Tight
An exhilarating track by this mutli-talented member of the xx. A song that will largely go unnoticed even by those that are familiar with Jamie xx; this and fast-paced song gets better and more invigorating as it progresses. It combines elements of aggressive synths, layered percussion/bass beats, and well-placed subtle backing lyrics that are spoken and not sung. Strap yourselves in for the 4-minute, fucking great thrillride
1. Mr Little Jeans-Good Mistake
This is a band I almost never hear on the radio. I don’t know why; they have quite a few great songs (including this Arcade Fire cover here). Gotta love the instrumentals in this one. As always, great vocals by Monica Birkenes. These two things combine together create a relaxing and cool vibe. It’s the kind of sound that few other groups can replicate.
2. San Fermin-Bar
Very simple name; yet an interestingly complex, magnificent song. This band is not your typical alternative group. They more utilize horn instruments, piano, and it sounds like there’s some violin thrown in there as well. The lyrics and vocal manner in which they’re sung are beyond amazing. It appears to be a tune with a very deep meaning. Don’t let the pic below fool you (that’s a mean lookin’ bastard of a bull BTW), this is a very pleasant and meaningful track
3. Aphex Twin-Minipops 67
It’s EXTREMELY difficult to top the beats provided by the enigmatic artist Aphex Twin. He’s foreign, it’s been 10 years since his last album…and he comes roaring back with this insanely catchy and hip track. Be ready to be hit with a full range of instrumentals that are blended together perfectly. Not necessarily a song you would dance or chill out to, it resides somewhere in between those two genres. That said, it’s completely fucking awesome and I’m thinking you’ll dig it after the first listen.
I could not tell you what the acronym that this group goes by stands for. I could tell you little else about them other than they have a fresh new track called “Bobby” that is very easy on the ears. As long as you don’t mind a heavy dosage of electronics and a semi-sing talking method of vocal delivery, I’m sure you’ll find this song very catchy. Going off of the lyrics, it appears the singer is going through a break-up…a regrettable predicament indeed but a classic idea to build a song around. The final lyrics reveal her final disposition, put out there simply as “basically, I’m over it”. Basically, I think this song is fantabulous
In the absence of an actual photo, I would like to think this is what my viewers envision me as in person
2. Sisyphus-Rhythm of Devotion
As I’ve described on this blog before, a great rap song has a lot going for it besides just the laying down of some sick rhymes. Mainly, a quality offering of instrumentals will accentuate the track and make it a more complete work of music. “Rhythm of Devotion” does just that. It’s a great mix of hard hitting beats/rapping and some chill instrumentals/electronic effects. The song gets noticeably more down-tempo @ 2:00 where the softer instruments take the front stage accompanied by some more relaxed, traditional vocals. I’m excited to see what else this hip new group, Sisyphus, comes out with. They’re a group to keep you’re eye on for sure.
3. The Used-Cry
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard a song I liked by this group. While I respect what they’re all about and how successful they’ve been, I typically couldn’t get into most of their work. I don’t mind screaming in music but it seems like these guys relied on it a ton in some of their earlier work. Not the case here; it’s a very straight forward piece of work that focuses on their instrumental and vocal strengths. One plus from their earlier works, however, is that they have one of my favorite lyrics in any song ever “you bleed just like you puke while running the mile”. That is grotesque, I realize, but it does hold some truth in that having to run the mile for PE class was a little too much for some to handle back in the day (mainly the dudes who chose smoking in their van over regular physical activity). I’m hoping you’ll enjoy this new single by the The Used
1. The Horrors-So Now You Know
A modern day Smiths sounding track, “So know you know” has a rather genial intro and creates an almost ethereal sound-scape during the chorus. I had never heard of this group before listing to this song. They’re based out of the UK and have already come out with a few albums since they formed back in 2005. This is off of their latest one Luminous, and it came out on May 4th.
2. A. G. Cook-
I’m very confident you will either like or completely hate this song. It could probably the theme song for Sonic the Hedgehog given its pace and sporadic nature. Through the craziness (and a few listens), I found a song that has a ton of effects that are put together with excellent execution. You’ll start to notice how well they blend together after the 2nd listen or so. The last minute of the song is my favorite part and is like a reward for sticking it out for having to deal with the really high-pitched vocals throughout most of the song.
3. Prodigy-Firestarter (Death Grips Remix)
“Firestarter” will always be one of Prodigy’s most well known songs. It’s fast and vicious. It ended up being one of my least favorite tracks off their memorable 90’s record “Fat of the Land”. It’s hard to pinpoint what it is that I don’t like about that song but I know I’m not big on a song that doesn’t seem to have a redeeming part of it (usually in the chorus) that counteracts all the disturbing and negative sounding vibes that “firestarter” has.
This version by Death Grips is not that much different from the original but it seems to have a more laid-back and less chaotic feel to it; which I appreciate. It’s slightly ironic as Death Grips is no slouch when it comes to producing some abrasive tunes. This would not fit that description, however. The synths are very fluid throughout this version. See what you think.
Barry: Holy shit. What the fuck is that?
Dick: It’s the new Belle and Sebastian…
Rob: It’s a record we’ve been listening to and enjoying, Barry.
Barry: Well, that’s unfortunate, because it sucks ass.
1. Shlohmo and Jeremih-No More
Shlohmo is an artist I heard of through his original take on Haerts’ hit single “Wings“. True to his name, he slows it down big time and gives it a face-lift. For this track, he teams up with Jeremih, stage name of Jeremih Felton. Jeremih is the brother of Jason Derulo and is the artist behind that song…(sigh) “birthday sex” that you’ve probably heard before. This one loses a little steam toward the ending but the first two minutes features some of the best electronic, club-thumping beats you’ll find in today’s scene.
2. Saint Pepsi-Bieber
A fresh new take on the Biebs. As you would probably guess, not a fan of Justin’s…although I do typically associate with/look up to those who run from the cops in sports cars, resist arrest, and then smile in their mug shot afterward.
Oh Biebs…don’t you remember that song by the Bobby Fuller Four “I fought the law”…well, I guess that song was from 1966
Anyway, enjoy the way Saint Pepsi mixes in the Biebs’s vocals with his trademark synths.
3. LXURY-Never Love
Repetitive but effective. Gotta love all the instrumentals going on…I wouldn’t have thought they’d mix well with this 80’s new wave sounding vocalist but it’s executed very nicely.
1. Beverly-Honey Do
This is a new band headlined by the fabled Frankie Rose. She was a former member of Dum Dum Girls and has released a fair share of solo works. For Beverly, she teamed up with Drew Citron. To my knowledge, “Honey Do” is the only track they have released to the general pubic. After one listen, I’m already wanting more. The guitar gets you into it right off the bat. While it features solid guitar playing, it’s the vocals of these two that stand out to me. They are harmonic and smoky during the verses, they switch to apathetic during the chorus. It’s seems like it would be an odd transition but they pull it off perfectly. It could probably be the theme song for April Ludgate from “Parks and Recreation”
2. FKA Twigs-Papi Pacify
Not gonna beat around the bush. Some bands creep me out. This would be one of them. However, they make a killer R & B track. Those who are looking for a a dark, yet intriguing number; look no further than “Papi Pacify”. It’s starts out slow and rather ho-hum with simple lyrics. I think the point of the beginning is to lull you into being bored until a dramatic shift in musical direction (@1:50). The strength of the song is the transitions. The synth lines lay down a thick, rap-like beat. Give this one at least a couple of listens before you form your opinion on it.
3.Vampire Weekend-Step (Remix featuring Danny Brown, Heems, and Despot)
It’s not really possible to generate more buzz than Vampire Weekend’s latest album Modern Vampires of the City did. It’s funny with Danny Brown taking a romantic sounding song and inserts some not so lovey-dovey lyrics. It works, though. The songs moves along well and they do make sure to include some of the original vocals in at the end. I dislike it when a remix is made that doesn’t pay homage to the original song.
Step Remix-Vampire Weekend
1. Tennis-Mean Streets
No, the sport of tennis is not releasing indie tracks in an effort to boost ratings. That’s the name of a duo out of Colorado who have a sound that takes you back. But they’re also capable of putting a modern spin on their songs as well. Patrick Riley’s intricate guitar playing combined with Alaina Moore’s soothing vocals make for an entertaining listening experience. The song really gets good once Alaina voices the lyrics “Born and raised in these mean streets,That’s where she learned how to keep the beat, Some say that girl’s got something, I heard her name half a million times…” Trust me
Autre Ne Veut-Counting
I’d never heard of this artist until the prolific indie blog Gorilla Vs Bear introduced me to it. They really talked it up quite a bit, the album Anxiety is their #1 album of the year and two of the tracks from this album are in the website’s top three out of the top 100 songs of 2013. Be sure to check out both lists.
Back to Autre Ne Veut; you have to be at least semi-open to R & B. I used to be pretty against this genre but my tastes have evolved. It’ll take at least one listen and Arthur Ashin’s vocals were definitely unappealing at first but the instrumentals and beat of this song are what makes it a top pick of 2013. His voice grows on you quickly and when it all comes together, this song is something special.
3. Boards of Canada-Reach for the Dead
I don’t think it’s realistically possible to create a more relaxing few minutes than Boards of Canada manages to do. This song is maybe their best example yet. It’s off of their latest work Tomorrow’s Harvest. While this type of music probably wouldn’t be considered trance, it sure seems like that’s what it could likely put a person under because it’s just sooo chill. No more words need to spoken, listen and enjoy!
1. I Break Horses-This Swedish duo is becoming one of my favorite groups very quickly. They are able to produce some of the best beats and rhythms I’ve ever heard. They’re truly a unique group and the following song shows exactly why. It’s called “Faith” and carries a positive message while still containing some chilling lyrics. My favorite of those lyrics “Faith, the only thing you cling on to”. While the lyrics are good, the instrumentals combined with the vocals are nothing short of mesmerizing. It features a layered, pulsating beat at the beginning and continues throughout. The keyboard playing and synths provide for an exceptional listening experience. THEN you throw in Maria Lindén’s vocals and you have something beyond description, at least by me anyway. This group is going to be big…
2. Death Grips-Whatever I want (Fuck who’s watching)
I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, but their latest release, Government Plates, has received a lot of buzz for the enigmatic group Death Grips. You can listen to it in its entirety here. This track grabbed my attention the most. While many other tracks on this album appear to be all over the place, this one seems to do that while maintaining some semblance of structure. MC Ride’s vicious vocals are the typical in-your-face variety that he’s known for but the rest of the song is quite inviting. The highlight of this song is the dramatic transition from poppy rap song to a chill, trance-like excursion that hits at 1:25. It goes back and forth two times and it makes for a worthwhile listening experience. Check it out for yourself
3. Jagwar Ma-Come and Save Me
This is a fun and exciting new group. They are another group in the class of bands that are able to have a vintage indie sound while using technology to their advantage by mixing in some electronic effects. This song is one of their more old school offerings with the way the delivery of vocals enter to a 60’s band drum beat. The backing vocals are also a strength of this track, I feel. The “Ah’s” during the verses are harmonic and pulled off well. The female who chimes in during the chorus complements that line perfectly. All of their work on their latest album, Howlin, is worth giving a listen. But for now, feel free to get lost in the delightfully campy dreamscape that “Come and Save Me” creates.
This edition will feature some punk, or lo-fi acts which we can all agree are still a welcome presence on the indie scene. There’s one well esatblished group along with a couple that are all fairly new, up and coming artists. If you’ve had some angst as of recent that you’re looking to unleash, this is a good medium in which to do it through. Although you may be be inclined to think the opposite, I find this music to be of a calming nature. It serves as a way to vent the day-to-day stresses we all presumably face.
No Age-C’mon Stimmung
One of the rather unusual song titles I’ve come across in my lifetime. The song delivers quite nicely. I love punk songs that start off with a false intro and then start going at the drop of a hat. This pulls it off nicely and features some fuzzy guitars and a obscure effect (@1:11 guitar, keyboard?) that really drives the song.
Wavves-Sail to the Sun
A band that I still curse myself for not seeing live when I had the chance, Wavves, is the next artist I’d like to showcase. They’re from California and they’re a top group in Indie. Now with their feet effectively wet upon the release of a few albums, these artists seem poised to watch their careers really take off; and their last album, Afraid of Heights, is proof of that. The song I’ve posted is off that album. Few lyrics, and they appear to be about partnership in drug use and/or living a highly impulsive lifestyle. The vocals and beginning bass-line are the best parts of the song, I believe. Nathan Williams delivers some of the best vocals punk has to offer; very clear and loud while not coming across as screamo.
Punk Rock Selfie…well, it’s still Punk!
Bad Religion-Them and Us
Definitely an oldie but for sure one of the bands that helped define genre. The guitar melodies throughout are what propel this song as I’ve never been too high on Greg Graffin’s vocals. They use their vocal harmony that they’re known for and put it into this song quite well. This is a classic and one I hope you’ll enjoy. If you do, be sure to check out some of their other tracks from that album, The Grey Race.
Chillwave is a term coined by the great Carles of Hipster Runoff. If you’re not familiar with that individual, please visit his blog here (WARNING: this site should not be navigated from your workplace). I find his blog posts to be full of humor and insight you cannot get anywhere else. As defined on his site, “Chillwave” is a sub-genre of indie rock where synthesizers/electronic effects are used predominantly over guitars. There’s almost always mellow vocals and it usually features ambience. It has quickly become one of my favorite styles. It doesn’t take somebody with a degree in rocket appliances to figure out that this is great music to unwind to. My introduction to it was through a Clams Casino mix-tape track that featured Imogen Heap (I did a post on them awhile back that can be viewed here). It really takes you to another place, it does.
I was totally into this chillwave music but it was so deep, I ended up in this ocean and then I was just like…woah
1. Washed Out-All I know
Washed Out has truly become the face of chillwave. I cannot think of a band that more epitomizes the genre than this project led by Ernest Greene. I first heard of them on Portlandia as their track “Feel it All Around” is played during the title credits. “All i Know” is a newer track off their latest album Paracosm. It features a long, flowing intro that assures you will be listening to something pleasant. After that, Greene’s vocals kick in and the ride begins. Green’s vocals are good at times, and definitely sub-par for others (I think the vocals are the weak point of “Feel it All Around”), but they are stellar during this track. It is my estimation that you will further look into this group after enjoying this moderately-paced, quaint gem of a song.
2. I Break Horses-Denial
In case you have fallen out of the loop on the Swedish indie scene, I’m happy to introduce you to I Break Horses, a wondrous electro group that has produced a variety of tunes I’ve come to like in the recent weeks. They are composed of Maria Linden and Fredrik Balck. These two know how to incorporate electric themes and influences about as well as any more well-known electronic artists such as Daft Punk or Chemical Brothers. What I like about this music is the lack of uptempo beats that techno music features. This isn’t music you can dance to but I think that was far from the intention when it was written. There are plenty of catchy effects both instrumentally and vocally (@ 1:58). I’m going to shut-up now so you can get to listening to this remarkable track. Be sure to check out their work if you liked this one, you can play it right off their website of which the link is provided above.
3. Neon Indian-Sleep Paralysist (Com Truise “Eyelid” Remix)
This last song is a Com Truise remake of a popular Neon Indian track called “Sleep Paralysist”. While I think the original is a good song itself, this remix is an improved effort. The haunting intro is the highlight of the song for me. The bass-sounding synths are also heavily available throughout the song. The chorus is underwhelming and the vocals are just a notch above serviceable. Nevertheless, I generally like Alan Palomo’s vocals, they complement this type of music very well. This is the darker side of chillwave and has a little bit more going on than most tracks of this genre but this does not equate to a less enjoyable listening experience whatsoever.