WSBUOnly our station's best offerings.
What: WSBU Movie Night
Where: Murphy Aud
When: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 @ 7:00 p.m.
See you there!
WE DIG THESE NEW ALBUMS
AND WE THINK YOU WILL TOO
- POSTAL SERVICE- "GIVE UP: 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION"
- CAVEMAN- "CAVEMAN"
- SON VOLT- "HONKY TONK"
- MERCHANDISE- "TOTALE NITE"
- BETHESDA- "THE REUNION"
WSBU will be hosting its first movie screening of 2013!
What: Across the Universe
When: Tomorrow (Wednesday March 20) @ 7 p.m.
Where: Murphy Auditorium
Can't wait to see you there!
Hey guys! It's that time of year again.
Head over to Murphy Auditorium on
Thursday, January 24@ 7:30 p.m.
and sign up for our marvelous departments, apply for a radio show and more!
Check out our event page on facebook here:
See you there!
Rock Band, a popular video game that hit consumer circuits in 2007, has led to the rediscovery of a wide range of bands. From the multitude of bands that range from 1970s rock groups to current artists, the 1980s hair band Ratt succeeds in making the game’s playlist. In honor of Aids Awareness week, we remember Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby and his contribution to the music industry through the years.
Robbinson Lantz Crosby was born on August 4, 1959 in La Jolla, California. In 1982, he joined the rock group Ratt as a co-lead guitarist. Earning the nickname “King” because of his choice of guitar while in the band, Crosby not only performed with the group but also showcased his talents in songwriting. He successfully contributed to Ratt’s hit songs, including “Round and Round” and “Lay it Down”. Robbin’s talents as both a songwriter and guitarist enabled Ratt to find success in the mid-1980s. The band released four consecutive platinum albums over the years.
Crosby’s musical talents were overshadowed by his excessive drug use while in the band. His addiction to heroin eventually led to his contraction HIV and AIDS. After leaving Ratt in 1991, Crosby learned of his disease in 1994. However, he chose to remain quiet until 2001, when he released a public statement about his condition.
On June 6, 2002, Robbin Crosby passed away at the age of 42 in Los Angeles, California. Autopsy reports revealed that his cause of death was due to both complications with AIDS and a heroin overdose. His memorial service was held in his hometown of La Jolla, California, where his ashes were spread at sea. Even though he spent almost a decade battling AIDS, Robbin experienced tremendous success with Ratt, and we still continue to appreciate the band’s music today.
Nadja Benaissa, born April 26, 1982, found fame as a member of No Angels, the German version of The Spice Girls. The band formed in 2001, producing popular hits like “Daylight In Your Eyes” and “Still In Love With You.”
After No Angels broke up in 2003, Benaissa began her solo career, focusing on songs with German lyrics instead of English. She released her debut, Schritt für Schritt, in 2006. In her album, Benaissa ventured away from the Pop genre, delving into R&B and Soul instead.
No Angels picked up again in 2008. The next couple of years changed Benaissa’s life and her reputation.
After years of drug abuse and alcoholism, doctors diagnosed Benaissa with HIV in 1999 during a pregnancy test. She gave birth to her HIV-free daughter, Leila.
In August of 2010, Benaissa sat in a courtroom, facing charges for failure to disclose her HIV status to several sexual partners before intercourse. She transmitted the virus to one of her partners after they had unprotected sex.
German law states one who fails to disclose he/she has HIV to a partner before sex can serve six months to 10 years in prison. If the victim dies during imprisonment, the sentence can extend from 10 years to life in prison.
Judges found Benaissa guilty of grievous bodily harm and attempted bodily harm. She received a suspended sentence.
Benaissa left No Angels for good after the trial and released a biography, Alles wird gut, written by Tinka Dippel.
Jermaine Stewart was an R&B singer and dancer throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. He performed on the iconic show, "Soul Train," during his teen years before going on to be a back-up singer for stars like The Temptations and Boy George. He went on to sign a solo deal in the mid ‘80s. During this time period, he had three top five R&B hits.
Ironically, his most popular song didn’t top the R&B charts. “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” rose as high as number five on the pop charts, but was not well received by the R&B community. Gym Class Heroes of course sampled the song later in their chart topper, “Clothes Off.” The song featured Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump singing the infamous refrain.
Sadly, Stewart fell prey to the AIDS virus. He passed away in 1997, losing a fight with Liver Cancer related to his AIDS condition. He was only 37 at the time.
As the lead singer and lyricist of one the most influential pop bands of all-time, Queen, Freddie Mercury was radiant in pop music’s spotlight. However, Mercury tragically died of bronchial pneumonia, a result of contraction of the AIDS virus in 1987.
One of the greatest entertainers in rock history, Mercury managed to separate his personal and professional life, so much so, that he died one day (11/24/91) after first publically admitting to having the HIV-AIDS virus. Mercury is responsible for some of the most widely known hits in music history, such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Bicycle Race,” “Killer Queen” and “We Are The Champions.” His magnetizing aura affected the music scene greatly; his utilization of harmonies and vocal cadences influenced many bands performing today.
Due to how highly regarded Mercury was, his death from the AIDS virus raised awareness infinitely, similar to how Magic Johnson’s contraction of the virus raised awareness in the sports world. His stage presence was only eclipsed by his societal presence; Mercury’s word was scripture for music enthusiasts, to this very day. T
he Mercury Phoenix Trust, to aid research of the disease, was set up in remembrance of Mercury, and has raised millions of pounds towards research. Freddie Mercury was a shining example of charisma and pride, his impact on music and culture will never cease.
Eazy- E, who was better known as, the god-father of “gangster rap,” was born on September 7 1963. He was a solo rapper, and was a part of the famous rap group, NWA. He grew up in Compton, California and began rapping in his parent’s garage in the 80’s. Eazy-E's debut album, Eazy-Duz-It, was released on September 16, 1988, and featured twelve tracks. It has sold over 2.5 million copies in the United States and reached #41 on the Billboard 200. After NWA broke up in 1991, Eazy- E began feuding with Dr. Dre, who was a fellow member of the NWA group, and lasted for a few years with each side creating tracks aimed at the other.
On February 24, 1995, Easy- E was diagnosed with AIDS, and he announced his illness in a public statement on March 16. When Eazy- E was diagnosed with AIDS, many magazines covered the story and released information on the topic. Since he was well-liked and respected by both fans and the music industry, his revelation about his diagnosis with AIDS came as a shock to everyone. He died due to "complications from AIDS" one month after his diagnosis, on March 26, 1995. However, before his death, he made amends with Dr. Dre.
Since Eazy-E’s death, many books and video biographies have been produced about the rapper. A new documentary created by Sergio Hernandez, entitled, Ruthless Memories, is about the rapper’s life, and will contain exclusive interviews from people who knew the rapper best. The documentary will be released on December 21, and according to Electronic Urban Report, those who pre-order their copy before December 7 will see their names appear in the film’s ending credits.
Check out: "Sad Dream" from her new Ghost EP
What I’ve found in my past times listening to Frightened Rabbit is nothing less than an emotion-filled jumble of clever lyricism and catchy riffs. State Hospital proves to be everything you’re used to as a seasoned fan while still finding something beautiful in every word professed.
Check out: "State Hospital" from their new album State Hospital
Birds of Chicago, according to their website, isn’t just a band – it’s a collective. Its main players may be JT Nero and Allison Russell, but they have a twelve-piece band standing behind them as well, bulking up their vocals and acoustic guitars with pianos, accordions, percussion, trumpets, and saxophones. Nero and Russell have been accused of being “the most compelling new voices to the American roots movement”, and after a few minutes of listening to their new, self-titled album, it’s not hard to see why..
“Birds of Chicago” is 53 minutes of classic American roots sound; gentle vocals glide effortlesslyoverinstrumentals that are sometimes upbeat and funky and sometimes more subdued, each complimenting the mood of the story being told and never taking away or overpowering Nero or Russell. In “Trampoline”, the two main members of Birds of Chicago work together to drive the song, sometimes taking the lead and often supporting the other with harmonizing vocals. Later in the album Russell slows it down for “Before She Goes”, quiet enough to fall asleep to and yet powerful enough to keep you up at night. The change in pace and mood in the album is incredibly balanced, at times feeling light-hearted enough to dance to and others making you slow down to think; it’s an album that reminds you how powerful artists in the American roots genre can be, and how brilliantly music can sound when talented people are behind it.
CHECK OUT "Trampoline" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcPkUjoL-wE
Hailing from Third-Man Records, Jack White’s record label, it’s hard not to expect something interesting an original. Willy Moon (William Sinclair), bursts onto the scene swaddled in a dapper collaboration of sharp suits, retro blues, train tracks and some superb whistling.
CHECK OUT "Railroad Track" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF479nQ-s8E
Concerts for the week of Sept. 24 - Sept. 30
Waterstreet Music Hall, Rochester, NY
Sept. 26 - The Antlers @ 8 p.m.
Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY
Sept. 25 - Thee Oh Sees & Ty Segall @ 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 - Das Racist w. Le1f, Safe @ 7 p.m.
The Grog Shop , Cleveland, OH
Sept. 25 – Melvins Lite & Tweak Birds
Sept. 26 - The Henry Clay People / Tracy Morgan Freeman / Wooly Bullies
Sept. 27 - The Antlers / Port St Willow
Sept. 28 - Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s / Lost Jon & the Ghosts / Lowly, The Tree Ghost / Extra Medium Pony
Sept. 30 - Langhorne Slim & The Law / River City Extension / Hive Robbers
The House of Blues, Cleveland, OH
Sept. 26 – Santigold w/ The Teen – The Stage Room – 8:30pm
Sept. 27 – Big K. R. I. T. – The Scene Stage at House of Blues– 8:30pm
Sept. 30 – Firepower Tour Feat: Datsik, Delta Heavy, Bare Noize & AFK – The Scene Stage at House of Blues– 9:00pm
Check Out "Smile Smile" Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IpIBhEMCys
Even after 30 years, PSB managed to make some of their best songs in their new album, Elysium. “Leaving” is a smooth, catchy song about the scars of past relationships. However, after that the album turns bitter and corny, going in a direction that might not be favorable to fans of PSB or other synth-pop listeners. “Winner” and “Hold on” are a failed attempt at inspirational anthems and their pop-culture satires like “Ego-music” and “Your early stuff” are unmemorable. However, “A face like that” and the closing song, “A requiem in denim and leopardskin” somewhat rescue the album. The good in this album is very reminiscent of their 90's masterpiece, Behavior, but the bad in this album make it a good idea to avoid the whole package.
Dig good beats? Synths and other electronics perfectly crafted for dancing? That’s pretty much Nerd Revolt’s self-released, self-titled, debut album. Two classically trained musicians, taking on the pseudonyms iLL F.O. and m.0., front the band. They archive their saga at www.dejaded.com.
The Great Impression certainly leaves an impression as Sparkadia’s newest LP release. This Australian act makes its biggest statement with the song “Mary,” which they released as a single this past Valentine’s Day.
Echoing Queen, Florence and the Machine and inserting their own unique choral flavor, Sparkadia doesn’t just get their foot in the door, nope, they shoved in Jolie’s whole right leg.
The album immediately picks up after that, following “Mary” with“Shoot Straight,” a chunky rock song with a haunting verse, reminding the listener that “the heart is the softest place, so shoot straight.”
The Great Impression is certainly an appropriate title for this album as it rocks the standards of indie-alternative. Sparkadia is definitely worth a listen, because when they get it—they really get it.
Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csvAk2BfEXk
This short, self-titled EP packs a powerful punch as Rockets really showcase the best of indie-pop music.
“Toad,” being the first song on the album, grabs you right away, settling you into a comfort zone of easy folky sounds, complete with vocals by the gruff male lead.
“San Francisco,” has a bit of Vampire Weekend-esque underlay, instrumentally speaking, but the deeper vocals play off the sopranic sounds well.
“Madeline,” and “With Thanks” round off the album well, keeping the folky, pop theme consistent but giving each song their own flavor.
Overall, Rockets does very well, keeping everything focused and concise but allowing for the fun of making music to bleed through where it truly matters. The only bad thing about this EP? I really wish it could have been longer.
Check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEZ00yEPpWg
A sophomore album, the most crucial installment for a rising band to truly establish a known sound, has been released by the up and coming duo, Tennis. The pair is lead by the vocals of Alaina Moore and overlaps the melodies that husband and band mate, Patrick Riley, creates.
Check Out: "Origins"
Joe Goddard isn't new to the dance, house and electronic scene. Goddard, of the band Hot Chip, alongside Raf Rundell form The 2 Bears.
Check Out: "Ghosts and Zombies"
Lyrically, vocally and musically, Busby Marou is an extremely strong singer-songwriter duo from Australia. Their self-titled debut album dropped recently and was well received in their home country and it is starting to make waves here in the states as well.
The duo of Tom Busby and Jason Marou create an indie-esque rock sound with lots of layers and big warm sounds coming from a multitude instruments. The tracks truly do vary as some of them are a simple electronic and acoustic guitar duet with very mellow harmonies, where other tracks incorporate an old American west sound with harmonicas and banjos in some tracks.
The album as a whole is striking. It toes the line of many different genres, but never fully identifies into just one. They use elements of country; combine them with strands of basic indie acoustic, Busby Marou is a fantastic display of musicality and melodious amicable. acoustic and tie it all together with wonderfully compelling lyrics.
Check out: "Binding My Time"
Opening with a choral number, droning peacefully to an orchestral background and continuing quietly into the second track “The Animal of Choice,” The Daredevil Christopher Wright creates an incredibly peaceful atmosphere in the newest album The Longsuffering Song.
This indie-rock group from Amery, Wisconsin shows that great things really do come in small packages with their newest EP.
Though there are only five tracks, the album itself could truly be something great if it were extended into a full LP. It has a focused sound which drives the listener to want more of the soothing harmonious vocals and ethereal background.
The Longsuffering Song should be a misnomer, as the entirety of each song is quite the opposite of suffering. Instead, The Daredevil Christopher Wright does very well, indeed.
Check Out: "Love with all your Heart"
Christy Hunt’s uncanny resemblance to Joan Jett may have been what initially drew me into Pink Mink. Pink Mink is post Runaways Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The Twin City quartet that is Pink Mink may have all the elements of the Blackhearts, but with an even more powerful bassist— Jacques Wait, who controls the tempo of every song, and makes the bass the most prominent instrument.
Nearly every song is n your face and full of charismatic energy. “Earthquake On The Loose,” the second track on the album whines to the listener with the reverb kicked up, and the bass line thump-thumping through you. A glam-punk aspect kicks the song off with a catchy yet uncontrollable hook.
Check out: "Earthquake on the Loose"
Hailing from Copenhagen, this is Teitur’s second release Let the Dog Drive Home .
With an interesting sound to match its name, Teitur counts their band amongst the acoustic, alternative folk-rockers of the indie scene, but in all honesty, their sound comes across a lot softer.
With easy orchestral bass and soothing strings in songs like “Very Careless People,” and a poppy combination of piano and woodwind in “All I Remember from Last Night Is You,” they certainly set the stage for easy listening.
In addition to a well-rounded sound, Teitur shows off great lyrical talent, expressing their ideas in such a way that any listener can relate. Their words flow beautifully with the music, painting a scene for each track—something very difficult to achieve.
Let the Dog Drive Home is a great album full of wonderfully interwoven instrumentals and a brilliantly fun story-line to match. Well done, guys.
Check Out: "Very Careless People"
Pennsylvania born Evan Voytas has his own individual take on music. Mostly inspired by the music of the 60’s and 70’s, he took on many instruments and followed the rythmns of some of his favorite bands and singers. He pursued his dream of becoming a musician by traveling trying to find himself and finding inspiration in living in solitude for a while, where he ultimately found inspiration to write and record his EP.
The flow on this album is fantastic. The songs twist in and out of each other beautifully, and almost unnoticeably and his soft and high voice mesh together well with the beats in the background. There is no competition on this album when it comes to sound, because everything balances out perfectly. This album would make perfect background music for a very chill environment, like a bar/lounge area or a coffee shop.
Check Out: "Feel Me"
Not native to any sound demographic in the US, of Montreal is back for a third time in two years with Paralytic Stalks.
The first track, “Gelid Ascent,” has an uncanny resemblance to Bright Eye’s “Approximate Sunlight.” The vocals are nearly hidden under the gargling synths, but you are just able to make out the put down after put down from moaning lead singer, David Barnes. The echoing tracks eerie force draws you into a deeper, more confrontational, side of life.
These Sydney natives hit the indie scene hard with their newest release Prisoner. With fleshed out hi-fi and female vocals to rival Zola Jesus, The Jezebels know what they’re doing and aren’t afraid to show it.
Experimental infusions of spacey electronica, piano, strings and then the traditional guitar gives Prisoner a wide variety of flavors that juxtaposes nicely with the occasional folk overlays.
“Rosebud,” sounds like the score for Dirty Dancing or any other 80’s movie, while “Long Highway,” and “Endless Summer,” fall heavily on the folk side.
Hayley Mary’s vocals play savior to the track’s diversity, matching all genres effortlessly as she moans and hums her harmonics through each style. “Nobody Nowhere,” is the darkest track on the album, making a definite statement as Mary’s ghostly soprano hums high above the distorted wails that play as the background to a dramatic classical score.
Check out "Nobody Nowhere":
With a name like Biscuit Kings, an album called “Hambones & Trombones” and a song called “Hot Barbecue,” one might expect some tasty blues jams. The Kings deliver precisely that.
Singer Johnny Pierre kicks your teeth on nearly every song with a bourbon-drenched growl of a voice reminiscent of Tom Waits or Howlin’ Wolf. With an array of instruments from the electric guitar to keyboards to trombones, hey’d be right at home in any down and dirty bar, especially the Hickey Tavern.
“Hot Barbecue” is a simple upbeat song detailing the events of a Saturday afternoon: food, ice-cold beer and even some bathtub gin. These must be fun guys, right? Not every song is a blues party as Pierre settles into a series of ballads, like “Angel On My Shoulder” and “Close To The Sun.”
They’re at worst a fun, uneven novelty, but at times a refreshingly simple throwback to the roots of rock and roll.
Listen to "Hot BBQ" -
The title of De Staats brand new album says it all. Incorporating electronic mechanical-style rhythms, aesthetic classic hard rock guitars, and funky vocals, it’s a revolutionary sound to say the least. Released on March 7, 2011, Machinery became an instant rock sensation across Europe. It strays considerably from what most would call “conventional” music, which is the genius behind De Saats success
“Psycho Disco,” track 8 on the album, shows the revolutionary feel of this music well. With a rebellious hard rock kick like Queens of the Stone Age, funky Clutch-style vocals, dark chorus sounding backup vocals, and crazy electric guitar resembling the Mars Volta, De Staat creates a radical atmosphere with their music.
There is no doubt that De Staat is a talented group. Originally started as a solo project, Torre Florim (vocalist and guitarist) created De Staats first album, Wait for Evolution. Joined by Vedran Mirceitic (guitarist), Jop van Summeren (bassist, vocalist), Rocco Bell (percussionist, keyboardist, vocalist), and Tim van Delft (drummer) in 2009, the band in full became a continent wide sensation. With their release of Machinery on March 7 2011, their ratings shot through the roof.
Listen to "Psycho Disco" -
Singer-songwriter Will Oldham, recording under the stage name Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, adds to his catalog of understated alternative folk with his Wolfroy Goes to Town, 11th release since adopting the moniker in 1999.
Despite the incredible rate of recording, Oldham – who has recorded under the name “Palace” – stays fresh with some of his spookiest stuff to date.
Depending on your mindset going into the album, Wolfroy could either lull you to sleep or haunt your dreams, perhaps both. Oldham delivers on storytelling on Black Captain, a seven-minute ode you’d expect to hear from songwriting legends like Townes Van Zandt or Bob Dylan. From start to finish, Oldham pounds you with hauntingly soft vocals and sparse arrangements, making for a personal sound, yet still accessable to the attentive listener.
Listen to "Black Captain" -
Two worlds collide, as Dirty Projectors and Bjork come together to create a single album.
Back in 2009 th e two were asked to play a benefit concert at a bookstore in New York. The two hit it off, and agreed they wanted to collaborate together. While in San Francisco at Mount Wittenberg, Amber, from the Dirty Projectors, saw a family of whales swimming in the ocean together.
Amber wrote some songs on the experience and asked Bjork to sing the part as the mother whale, while Amber and Angel sing the role of the children whales. The two acts agreed to that the proceeds from the album would go to the Nation Geographic Society to help protect the oceans, which currently only 1% is protected.
Listen to "On and Ever Onward" -
If you’re looking for an international band with great sound and wonderful lyrics, then The Jefferson is the band for you. Based in Sydney, Australia, this band packs a punch when it comes to entertainment and putting an album together. “Days are Falling” is the new addition to their musical collection, with songs that have appeared in big name shows like “Degrassi” and “The Real World.”
The smooth voice of lead singer Geoff Rana sets the tone for the rest of the song. One great example would be on the song “Tell Me Your Name,” which is the turning point for the album’s tone, where Rana starts off with an upbeat start along with the guitar and drums following him short after. The rest of the album is mellow and relaxed, with some faster qualities to them, but not often.
I recommend this band to anyone looking for something fresh to kick back and relax to.
Listen to "Tell Me Your Name" -
Raleigh Moncrief has hung around some important indie acts in his time. He co-produced and engineered Dirty Projector’s excellent 2009 Bitte Orca and he’s produced for Youth Lagoon and Ganglians, too. So, the dude knows how to organize sounds into intricate layered compositions.
Watered Lawn, his first release as a songwriter and solo artist, features all the careful ornamentation of James Blake and the carefully placed background twists and shakes of Animal Collective to string together evocative electronic sonatas.
Listeners beware; you gotta have some patience to get through some of these frustratingly inconstant tracks. This isn’t standard verse-chorus-verse stuff. In fact, it’s not even slow-build electronica, either. Moncrief is a mischievous bastard, changing tempos and rhythms two or three times per track, like on the frisky “A Day to Die.” The swirling “Lament for Morning” sounds like an assault of Andrew Bird and ‘80s arcade games, but it all fits together nicely like a pixilated jigsaw puzzle. Album closer “Waiting for My Brothers Here” features the sprightly acoustic plucks of Dirty Projectors’ more playful stuff on top of a bouncing backbeat, equaling quite the groove.
Moncrief’s got it going on, though it might take a few cups of coffee for him to reach out and finally grab hold.
Listen to "Lament for Morning" -
Rapsody, the North Carolina-bred female emcee off of producer 9th Wonder's Jamla Records, is a gem amidst the rubble of the hip hop genre. Coming off of her highly successful Thank H.E.R. Now mixtape (Featuring talent such as Big K.R.I.T. and Mac Miller) she has recently released her much anticipated follow-up, For Everything.
The album shows a maturing stage for the young artist, With a variety of tracks touching on quite a few areas of discussion. Relationships, the struggles of being a young artist, and the always-present desire of becoming the greatest.
From the start of the first track "Pace Myself", Rapsody proves her cold flow and lyrical supremacy to be something worthy of your ears attention. lines such as "I want respect, checks, and brillo. a clean pad out somewhere in South Euro, know it's closer than it seems, side mirro'" display her ability to bend words into her own flow, and allow them to take new shape under her needs.
Another track to absolutely be on the look out for would be the thirteenth of the album, "Rock The Bells" featuring the dominant presence of Kendrick Lamar, the up and coming powerhouse rapper from the west coast. Together they attack an instrumental strung together by a heavy bass and what sounds like a succession of chimes. Kendrick takes the final verse, not stopping for breath as he seemingly rhymes every other word in the process of proving why these young artists are very real and very, very talented.
With other notable features from Freeway and fellow 9th Wonder artist GQ, the emcee out of Oakland, CA, this album is sure to be one worthy of multiple spins on whatever method of music playing you prefer.
Check out Rapsody - Imagination.
While not a full-length release on its own, Friends’ EP designed for college radio stations shows immense promise for these Bushwick, Brooklyn natives.
Filled with infectious grooves, fresh melodies and percussion that recalls girl groups of the ‘60s, Friends creates a sound with these four songs that sticks out in the best way imaginable.
“I’m His Girl” starts off the EP with an irresistible bass line and a groove that will summon you to surrender to dance. “Friend Crush” is another catchy, dance-y number that has an undeniable emotion lying beneath its polished surface.
Friends is surely a band to keep an eye on. The band’s full-length album may be one of next year’s most anticipated.
If you've never heard the name Stalley before this post, I'm not surprised. The most recent addition to Maybach Music Group's laid back demeanor is one easily overlooked in comparison to the flash of his fellow emcees. However you would be greatly missing out on one of the most slept on talents in hip hop today if you did not pay close attention to the Ohio-bred rappers debut album, Lincoln Way Nights.
Over a variety of impressively produced instrumentals, the young artist displays a sense of maturity both in flow and content, rare to see in todays current rap scene. Touching on his roots coming out of the Midwest, Stalley speaks about his reality- the importance of cars, his history with women, and the ever-present wariness towards those around him.
The fourth track on the album, "330" is an excellent representation of Stalley's skillful form of lyricism, as he wraps the anthem for his home town around a heavily-bass influenced instrumental. He does not attempt to attack the track, rather, allows his flow and the beat to seemingly fuse, creating incredible harmony and displaying a sense of obvious care towards the music.
"She Hates the Bass", a dreamy track on which Stalley talks about the sound system within his car, and the disgust his girl has for it makes the ninth of the album. The vibe that he is sharing an important part of himself is evident, verbally placing a heavily detailed description of his ride, and the abuse its speakers shed on the world.
Stalley is a talent to watch in the year 2012. After joining the powerhouse which is MMG, there is no doubt he will be gaining recognition fast within the hip hop world. One can only hope his later projects live up to Lincoln Way Nights.
Listen to "330" from Stalley -
Said The Whale has a distinct jangle-poppy and indie pop sound which was shown off in an concise and fun manner in the New Brighton EP. The Vancouver-based band does this through 4 quick songs with a profoundly upbeat and twangy guitar sound. These guitars are accompanied with an entrancing and swooning chorus to be found on each track.
The title track opens the album and it’s a high energy poppy track that has a very sing-along chorus that is accompanied by a heavy drum and delicate piano playing over the chorus. The album’s lyrical content is very good in the way it relates the pressures of loving of your hometown, but also wanting expand beyond it via individualism.
The 2nd track, “Sandy Bay Fishing Song”, is very reminiscent of a Decemberists song. It has a nautical theme and is filled with harmonies that have a soulful and whining sound, all accompanied by a spastic and ringing guitar sound. It changes tempo a lot and is exciting throughout. Definitely the standout track from the small collection.
“Lines” is a decent and basic indie-pop song, it’s a very good bridge from the up-tempo pace set in the first 2 songs to the folky and slow song that closes out the EP.
“Little Bird” is a beautiful folk song that tells the story of a newfound love. It starts off on acoustic guitar and slowly leads to a xylophone playing in the chorus.
It’s a fantastic close to a well put together EP. It’s definitely a symbol of things to come for the band and will definitely build a great deal of excitement towards their future projects.
The young and hard rocking two man band, Death Letters, released their newest album, Post-Historic, and deserve two thumbs up for their performance and diversity of melodies.
Singer/guitarist Duende Ariza Lora, and drummer Victor Brandt really pulled it together to create something different for themselves, and their audience.
They strayed from their usual punk-rock influences and seem to have created an entirely new vibe. They incorporate a lot of mellowed out jam sessions throughout the album, and also some heavier alternative rock portions. If you’re looking for one of those albums that flows smoothly from one track to the next, and keeps your mood changing like the Beatles’ Abbey Road, this is it.
Track 8 on their album Post-Historic perfectly displays the diversity that Duende and Victor create in this album. I Wish I Could Steal a Sunset starts off with heavy garage-band like instrumentals and dominating vocals, then transitions to a slow jam session with soft but penetrating lyricism, and finishes off heavier than it began. Some softer piano parts are also incorporated into their music on this album, which adds an entirely new dimension to their overall sound.
Listen to "I Wish I Could Steal a Sunset" -
Fighting off resistance from disapproving listeners alike, Bombay Bicycle Club is back with a third album that seems to have finally captured the bands true essence. That, or they’re great fakers.
“Your Eyes,” is a steady builder that hooks you with a familiar sound. The singer begs and pleads for sanity through the simple request that he bears on the subject, or love interest, to merely humor him. What listeners may not grasp is the obvious Ben Allen production (member of Animal Collective).
The many loops of simple harmonies were overlapped on top of instrumentals late in the track making sure to subtly emphasize the power of the group. Go figure, you can’t escape animal Collective.
The influence doesn’t end there—obviously, it’s only track three— the albums single “Shuffle,” gets a little spacey while remaining with the status-quo for summer jams. The, for lack of a better term, fun, keys flash in and out of your ears during the opening moments of the song.
It progresses into a typical summer tune for a few moments; you know, head bopping, light music that tends to make you feel a little happy inside whether or not the message of the song is just that.
Listen to "Shuffle" here -
Since 2000, there’s hardly been a better bet in alt-country than Ryan Adams. But while this year’s Ashes & Fire marks his 13th album, it also marks his return to recording since the disbanding of his backing band, The Cardinals. And boy, what a return it is, helped by heavy hitter Norah Jones’ piano and backing vocals. Theres even some vocals from his former teen-pop star wife, Mandy Moore.
The opening track, appropriately titled “Dirty Rain” makes it clear this is the Adams we all know, not necessarily the sci-fi metal of Orion, recorded in 2007 and released two year later.
The title track equally shines through, playing an upbeat acoustic tune against Jones’ melodic piano. You see his trademark personal tone on the first single, “Lucky Now,” which features lyrics like “I don’t remember, were we wild and young? All that’s faded in the memory."
It’s nice to have you back, Mr. Adams.
Listen to "Lucky Now" -
There is something about a band, or musical group that
comes out of New Jersey that brings a different spin on
anygenre — it must be the water. Caged Animals didn’t miss
thememo on their first, Eat Their Own.
A whining keyboard and melodious bass intertwine to expose “Teflon Heart,” a song
prevalent with the goofy lyrics that can come out of lead singer, Vincent Cacchione’s mouth. L
yrically, Cacchione could be compared to Of Montreal’s “Our Riotous Defects.” The song is the
epitome of Caged Animals trying to mesh chillwave with electro-pop in a hazy, yet upbeat
“Hazy Girls,” on the other hand, is a whimsical track heavy on a washed-out sound.
The words still portray simplistic ideas and images, but this time, they’re more relatable. Upon
listening, your lids may get heavy on your head in which case I would suggest laying back, and
taking the music in.
Listen to "Teenagers in Heat" -
Following in the footsteps of successful bands out of Long Island's alternative/noise rock scene, like Brand New (which Sainthood Reps guitarist Derrick Sherman is a member of) and The Movielife; Sainthood Reps have managed to make a splash with their debut, Monoculture.
The title track opens the album and it immediately pulls you in with how aggressive it is. The distorted guitars screech throughout the song over a heavy drum part, all while lyrics are being delivered in a protesting manner. “We’ve come a long way/From the bottom up to minimum wage/Another day, another dollar”, sings Francesco Montesanto. It’s a great opener and it immediately grabs you with its sound. The lyrics provide a backdrop as to what’s coming vocally on the album. “Animal Glue”, the 5th track on the album, includes a very Jesse Lacey-type vocal performance, which isn’t a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. The guitars are very noticeably the work of Derrick Sherman, because of its distinguished echoing.
“Hunter” stands out so much because of its sense of anthem-type singing. It’s sung with such passionate desperation. Lyrics like ,“There’s nobody left to fight for our side and?/All my enemies are at my back door?/All my friends are at my back door" makes this such a beautifully written song, and something you find yourself emphasizing with.
This album will take you on an emotional journey. It’s very engaging lyrically, the emotion and content of the lyrics sucks you in and forces you to really listen to the message being poured over the amazing musicianship by the rest of the band. This band sounds mature beyond its years and has set the bar high for future releases.
Listen to "Animal Glue" -
This second Dum Dum Girls album, Only in Dreams, is a homerun. It’s exemplary of the girl rock genre. Lead singer/guitarist Dee Dee Penny created a more mature and authentic record, welcomed with open arms.
Previous Dum Dum Girls albums are more lo-fi with muddy vocals. Only in Dreams is a big step in the right direction. The production is superb. Unlike the past albums, Dee Dee’s vocals are getting the justice they deserve.
“Hold Your Hand” is different than the former three songs, and it’s still amazing. It’s a ballad that could break a heart made of crystal. The song sounds like a prom scene is an 80’s movie.“Wasted Away” is comparable, but stands out. It’s just Dee Dee being very… Dee Dee.
Overall, this album is great. It flows well. It shows a maturity that I Will Be didn’t quite have. It’s definitely worthy of rotation.
Listen to "Bedroom Eyes" -
A year ago, Carrie Brownstein told NPR she’d been playing some new music with some old friends. Twelve months later, Wild Flag dropped its eponymous debut on the world—and what a year it’s been.
Brownstein, former Sleater-Kinney vocalist and current writer-co-star of IFC’s “Portlandia” along with Fred Armisen, sings the songs on Wild Flag with great command. It doesn’t hurt that she’s backed up by former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, Helium guitarist-vocalist Mary Timony and Rebecca Cole, formerly of The Minders.
We all know them; rebellious indie kids with a knack for finding the perfect music to compile on their summer playlist. How aggravated they must have been when the release of Grouplove’s first full-length album occurred in mid-September.
Listen to "Naked Kids" -
With her previous two albums, St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark developed a reputation for being a wispy, mesmerizing chanteuse with an elegant eccentric streak. Not much changes with Strange Mercy but her remarkable continuation of artistic development. From start to finish, Strange Mercy is a triumph of the creative process.
Clark continues along the same vein she struck with 2009’s Actor. Angular guitar plucks and gentle, almost unassuming vocals drift alongside jolting, sometimes bizarre rhythms. Album opener “Chloe in the Afternoon” is a frenetic, haunting juxtaposition of tranquil melody and a staccato drum loop. It starts Strange Mercy off on a hobbling note, and may put some listeners off.
Yet Clark’s greatest strength may be the unconventional beauty she forges from the sum of her music’s parts, something more determined listeners will realize as the album progresses. “Cruel,” a bouncy pseudo-disco track flaunting Clark’s ability to write a catchy hook when she needs to, is just strange enough to beckon you in further.
A sense of emotional immediacy also permeates Strange Mercy that sets it apart from St. Vincent’s previous efforts. The title track is a poignant ballad with a melody that never lets go of your ears, an experience both cathartic and harrowing.
Clark’s guitar work is something to praise as its own entity—she uses the instrument not to ground the music, but to help propel the music to celestial heights. Its crunching, distorted flourishes put the heft of Clark’s emotions under pressure, making each song struggle with anxiety and nearly frantic energy.
“Champagne Dream” is another triumph, showcasing Clark’s lower range in a stark confession of self-doubt and reflection. “Dilettante” and “Hysterical Strength” gallop along on the weight of solid beats and virtuosic instrumentation, recalling Björk at her tamest. Strange Mercy closes on a high note with “Year of the Tiger,” a song that suggests there is sanctity in the strange and abstract.
With all of Strange Mercy’s musical fragmentation, it can be easy to forget its backbone—the songwriting. Clark proves that she’s a force to be reckoned with among the music world’s canon of great songwriters, the Joni Mitchell of our generation. Strange Mercy is an uncompromising beauty that will retain its magic for ages.
Bands are often given several paths to choose over their career. Some reinvent their sound for mainstream success, or even to avoid it. Others continue to perfect the sound they've settled on.
On August 2nd, the 15 year-old band O.A.R. released their seventh studio album, King. King, simply put, is their strongest release yet. The band continues to explore their sound of “island vibe roots rock.” With this in mind, there is a resounding sense of talent and ambition in every track and line. Lyricist and lead singer Marc Roberge has consistently belted out simple and heartfelt lyrical stories on every recorded track.
The new album keeps up this trend and O.A.R.’s fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Songs like “Dangerous Connection” and “Fire” are sure to please old fans as well as appeal to newer ones. “Heaven” is the first look of the attitude and energy the group has to offer. It’s a song reflecting the outlook many current artists have. The band’s message of “I don’t care what you think of me, I’m just going to do what makes me happy” shines through because of the words and tones Roberge outputs.
O.A.R.’s unique sound comes from the melding of melodic guitar work by Richard On and the grooving bass of Benj Gershman. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind combination not available anywhere else. O.A.R. always manages to sound different and irreplaceable, especially to their fans. The two take it to a new level on King and their polyphonic energy only gets better when Jerry Depizzo wails out incredible sounds on the saxophone.
Since forming in high school O.A.R.’s sound has changed and matured, but the group stays true to their music on each new release. Each song on King is bound to please even the least faithful O.A.R. fan. The band’s commitment to making quality music has once again made itself known. The only thing left worth doing is putting your headphones on and surrendering to the King.
Listen to O.A.R.'s latest single "Heaven"-
Their music is sweet, accessible, and, above all else, big. There’s no doom and gloom on Skying, The Horrors’ third full length release. It’s a collection of 10 self-produced tracks as big as the name Skying would suggest.
The gorgeous opener “Changing the Rain” shines through synths and a steady, stuttering beat like a new-aged Stone Roses tune. “You Said” recalls the jagged rumblings of My Bloody Valentine. With its sharp synth chimes and washed guitar, “Still Life” has all the space of an ‘80s pop crier.
However, The Horrors are more than just an amalgamation of past UK noisemakers.
“Endless Blue” begins with gentle cymbal taps and airy arpeggios blending into a slow crescendo before U-turning at the 1:41 mark. The pace quickens as a distorted melody creates a pleasant backdrop for singer Faris Badwan to deliver his lines in disaffected breaths. All of this builds to an explosive chorus where a five-note synth line towers over the band like a foamy wave ready to break.
It’s this kind of perfect control that makes Skying a great listen.
Listen to "Still Life"
WSBU would like to thank everyone involved with the station, not just over the past year but all who ever have been involved. Whether you are/were a staff member, director, DJ, voter or just a casual listener you helped us rise to the top and become the best college radio station in the nation once again! It is your dedication and hard work that makes us what we are.
On behalf of WSBU, thanks again for your work and continue to support us. We want to make sure we stay on top of the charts as long as we can!
It hasn’t been that long since Portugal. The Man released American Ghetto, a release that didn’t showcase much of the bands strengths, but PTM is already back with In the Mountain in the Cloud. It’s the psychedelic adventure that American Ghetto should have been.
“Sleep Forever” displays what Portugal. The Man is all about. It’s a song that feels almost like a tribute to PTM’s influences and you can definitely hear the Beatles touch in this song. There’s a touch of strings, guitar solos, what sounds like a choir, and a shuddering, eerie vocal line. “Sleep Forever” brings together the trippiness of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the reserved haste of “Golden Slumbers,” and the subtle dementia and content of Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage.”
The lucky seventh track, “Everything You See (Kids Count Hallelujahs),” bounces an upbeat brass riff along throughout with soft alt rock taking place in the background. It’s a song that reaches back into Alt. Rock’s past and brings back memories of The Wallflowers and Semisonic. Eventually the influence of Pink Floyd and the Beatles again makes an appearance when the song builds into a noise crescendo and breakdown.
Portugal. The Man is a band that satisfies the musical desires of many different types of rock fans. Alt. rock, psychedelic rock, indie rock, and classic rock fans all have a song that suits them on In the Mountain in the Cloud. In the Mountain in the Cloud should be the comeback album of the year.
Check out the lead single from In the Mountain in the Cloud "Got It All (This Can't Be Living Now)"
In summer of 2009, Title Fight released their debut full length album The Last Thing You Forget. It was a compilation of everything the band recorded since they formed in 2003. The band started out as just three teenagers until 2005 when they brought in another guitarist to round out their sound. Last thing You Forget introduced the band to a wider audience and jumpstarted their journey towards the top of melodic hardcore.
In May of 2011 Shed was released. Shed is the follow up to Last Thing and their first LP made of entirely new material. At just under a half-hour, Shed is driving, droning, descriptive, and emotional. There are songs here that leave your brain working in overdrive while running on autopilot. These thirteen songs are definitive proof that punk music is alive and well.
Title Fight’s lyrics exhibit their influences from emo, pop-punk, hardcore, and melodic hardcore. Guitarist Jamie Rhoden and bassist Ned Russin’s singing often covers the struggles of regret, rejection, depression, internal conflicts, and self-realization and self-change.
Title Fight is the only band in history that can get an audience to tear across a pit with unbridled ferocity one minute, sway like a Culture Club show the next, and mosh again soon after. TF songs are characterized by catchy rhythms, interwoven guitars, courtesy of Rhoden and Shane Moran, and determined bass and drum work from Ned and twin-brother Ben.
“Crescent-Shaped Depression” shows TF at their best. A soft, sultry opening leads into an overwhelmingly drawl blast of noise lasting for two and a half minutes. It snakes its way through your ears, into your brain, and leaves you determined to hit repeat just one more time, every time.
Title Fight showcases their hardcore orientation front and center with the lead track “Coxton Yard.” An addictively aggressive intro sets up a furious pace that’s maintained throughout by Ben’s furious drumming and broken only with occasional half-time breakdowns. Shed’s track order ensures that you won’t hear two similar songs in a row.
Shed will be in music critics’ top lists for 2011. The album leaves a strange sensation because it satisfies a wonderful musical itch, but you’re slightly disquieted because there won’t be any new material for a while. Shed exceeded the anticipation built from the release of The Last Thing You Forgot and will build up anticipation to an even greater level for their next album.
Listen to "Crescent-Shaped Depression" -
Seapony, a three-piece act from Seattle, dropped its 12-track debut album, Go With Me, last month. Be prepared to chill out. Relax. The band’s raw combinations of simple drum patterns and catchy guitar rhythms are made to do just that. Best Coast fans should be impressed.
Not unlike many other bands, Seapony holds strong influence of the light and dreamy 60s pop. Jeni Weidl’s pretty vocals are subtle like a light summer haze. Each song offers fun and infectious melodies with simple, not overbearing, drum rhythms.
Standouts include the leading track which is a cheerfully infectious tune, “Dreaming” (it was also released as a single last year); “I Really Do,” as Weidl’s charming vocals complement the driven drum beats over a strong chorus; and “Blue Star,” which offers the perfect combination of another strong chorus, sing-a-long lyrics and tumbling guitar chords. After that the remaining nine songs seem to follow suit and contain a similar tone of fun catchy beats.
For its debut album, Seapony did well. The album is an easy listen, perfect for more than just a few summer days. And hopefully, with its next album, Seapony finds a way to vary from its blueprint and standout from the crowd.
Listen to "Dreaming":
Touche Amore’s third full length album, Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me, was hyped for months around the Hardcore music scene. The excitement the band generated from their first and second releases left eager fans wanting more from the hard hitting five piece. Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me is a rare case of an album not only living up to lofty expectations, but far exceeding them. 2009’s …To the Beat of a Dead Horse built a strong fanbase for the band, and they’re constant touring tightened up their sound and exposed them to a broader audience. This album is sure to appeal the established audience, as well as enticing new listeners to the sound of Touche Amore.
Parting the Sea… is thirteen songs long, which seems like it may take you a while to get through. You’ll only spend about twenty minutes listening to the album though, but that’s because the album is just below 21 minutes in length. In the time it takes you to roast a pork, or microwave that case of E-Z Mac, you can listen through this album twice. You won’t have a problem listening through it twice though because you’ll want to start it over the moment the last song fades to silence.
Every song on Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me is full of tempered aggression and is a perfect outlet for frustration. “~” and “Wants/Needs” are two of the standout songs on Parting the Sea and they’re designed to melodically soothe your mind while the driving drums and guitar punch you in the stomach. It’s a high-low sonic attack that you’ll crave to go through again and again.
The songs build in intensity and message until “Condolences.” It’s a break from the hardcore genre except for the singer Jeremy Bolm screaming out faded lyrics over powerful piano chords. It’s the most powerful song on the album, but it’s also the slowest and softest, in a good way, musically.
Every other song on the album, however, has Bolm singing over the driving guitar work of Clayton Stevens, and Nick Steinhardt. The guitars in Touche Amore have always combined the essences of leading and complimenting; always doing just enough to help out without overwhelming anyone else. The driving bass of Elliot Babin adds a heavy compliment to the groundwork and keeps the intensity up to ensure some good spin-kicks across the pit. The drum work of Tyler Kirby is tight and intense. His bass drumming is both melodic and rhythmic; a rare combination you don’t find very often.
Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me will be featured on best of lists this year, not only for hardcore fans, but for music fans of all music too. One of the most anticipated releases of the year, Touche Amore has once again delivered an album that gives us so much without giving us enough.
- Anthony Gannon
Listen to "Wants/Needs":
My Morning Jacket epitomizes the idea of musical exploration. Since 1999, they have changed styles and sounds in fear that that they may fall out of grace. Jim James (also known as Yim Yames), the bands front-man, has expressed in past interviews that he does not wish the band to be “creatively static.” From their debut LP The Tennessee Fire through their 2005 hit Z and even their 2008 disappointment Evil Urges has shown much musical growth and a plethora of creative styles.
On May 31, MMJ, as they are commonly referred as, released a long awaited LP entitled Circuital. The 10-track album contains some of their greatest work. The album starts off with “Victory Dance,” a song that can only be described as a mellow fanfare. Choppy lyrics, pumping bass, electric flourishes with a string-emulating ambience in the background define this song as it builds up into a drum-pounding, guitar-cranking climax.
The title track “Circuital” better exemplifies the sound that My Morning Jacket is most notable for. Rocking electric guitars, a walking bass line and the silky smooth voice of James make this folk-rock jam a must listen despite the songs 7:24 runtime. The next notable track, “Wonderful (the Way I Feel)” brings a reverb-heavy acoustic-folk song to the listeners’ ears.The song consists of a bright acoustic guitar and an electrified slide guitar, giving the audience the feel of a classic folk/alt-country song. James’s lyrics and voice remind listeners of simpler times where the most overlooked ideas and actions made people happy, referring to our childhoods.
The most single-worthy track has to be “You Wanna Freak Out.” Recently performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the track consists of smooth lyrics, a dance-style keyboard riff, folk acoustic guitar and a powerful electric bass and electric guitar. This track creatively combines many styles and instruments to make a brilliant anomaly of a song. “You Wanna Freak Out” is one of those tracks that you close your eyes to and just feel the majesty. From the beginning of the track to the end the listener gets sucked in to the power and mystery of the song.
This album fits well together as a whole and definitely belongs atop their discography as one of their best albums. Although it’s not as innovative as Z, Circuital has a variety of high spots and several tracks that can only boost the quality of the band’s legendary live show.
Listen to "You Wanna Freak Out":
Three years after their last album 200 Million Thousand was released comes Atlanta’s Black Lips’ most structured album yet.
Usually structure isn’t their thing. They tend to prefer the punk, rock n’ roll lifestyle where sloppiness and messy hooks were just a definition of a great rocker. But like everything, things change and for the Black Lips it was for the better.
Usually, they write, record and produce their own albums, but they did things a bit differently this time. With the help of Mark Ronson and Lockett Pundt of Deerhunter, they created Arabia Mountain. Overall, it is a more organized sound, but their crazy attitude shines through in every howl, wail and/or riff of a guitar.
A total of 16 songs on the album may seem like a lot, but mostly every track does not last any longer than three minutes. Their self-proclaimed “flower-punk” style is heard in every track. In “Spidey’s Curse,” they allegedly put a microphone into a human skull to create a unique reverb sound. One of their singles, “Go Out and Get It,” contains this retro surf vibe where you can’t help but dance when you hear the catchy hooks of the guitar.
While listening to Arabia Mountain you may feel as though you have been transported to this sunny party feel where everything is carefree, which makes it a perfect summer album. So, go out and have some fun with your friends and while you’re making memories have Black Lips’ Arabia Mountain blasting in the background.
Listen to "Go Out and Get It":
Justin Vernon created Bon Iver’s excellent debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago as a brooding cry of frustration over loss. The simple folk setup of the album allows listeners to apply meaning and fill the space intentionally left by Vernon. Between fragile strums and stacked overdubs of his own voice, For Emma is a hell of a lot more than nine songs cranked out by a bearded guy in a lonely Wisconsin cabin.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver is about expansion, as good sophomore efforts tend to be. Where For Emma’s “re: Stacks” chimed along beautifully with just Vernon’s voice and guitar, the 10 tracks on this latest release rely on dense layers of production, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Gorgeous opener “Perth” is everything one craves in a Bon Iver song: a simple, dazzling guitar part that leads into a chorus of Vernons singing in angelic falsetto, some pounding percussion and delicate horn accompaniment.
“Perth” leads into “Minnesota, WI,” an usually percussive tune that features Vernon singing in a strikingly lower register. After the drums drop out, dueling banjo and guitar picks recall For Emma’s folk, but the song is more a representation of Vernon’s R&B inklings, which he indulged with funky side project Gayngs last year.
Something to note: Bon Iver, Bon Iver is louder, but still as sweet. Acoustic guitar and broken man folk are noticeably absent here, leaving room for Vernon to flesh out the sound. “Towers” is a total country-folk jam, complete with wailing slide twang and fiddle, but the western glaze doesn’t overtake the song. “Hinnom, TX” is a smoky haze of reverb and Vernon’s deep hums. The piano-driven “Wash.” is a cousin of 2009’s Blood Bank EP’s “Babys.”
At all times, Justin Vernon keeps control. Lead single “Calgary” is a synth-driven ballad that features one of the best moments on Bon Iver, Bon Iver. As the bridge begins, caustic electric guitars begin to take hold, and Vernon’s voice becomes less ethereal and more biting. It’s a testament to how much control he truly has.While closer “Beth/Rest” is a cheese-fest of gaudy electric piano, slow-jam drums and Vernon’s auto-tuned soaked voice, it doesn’t even come close to ruining the album. Sure, it’s no “re: Stacks,” but it’s another side of Vernon. And if nothing else, at least proms across the nation now have another slow-dance option.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver is just that—twice the passion, twice the beauty, twice the Vernon.
Listen to "Calgary"
With a name like Benjamin Francis Leftwich, you’d expect an indie-rock cookie cut-out, complete with pretentious “originality,” and a sound “I doubt you’ve heard before,” however, Pictures gives you quite the opposite.
Leftwich’s newest album is nowhere near short on talent, but he takes an alternate avenue, striking simplicity and softness instead of the usual aloof lo-fi. At first, the opening track “Pictures” sounds like any other acoustic riff, docile and wandering with and undertone of sentimentality, but it’s the vocals that truly make the album.
Similar to the unrefined vocals heard from Bon Iver and Silversun Pickups, Leftwhich uses his breathy rasp to compliment the slight twang of acoustics that he so casually pairs with, what seems like, the perfect percussion. “Sophie” is perhaps the most experimental, incorporating a mist of, what seems to be, tribal drums.
Pictures is definitely worth the listen.
Listen to "Pictures":
Crude, raw, politically incorrect, and they just don’t care. Cheeseburger is all of these things and much more. A hard rock band that plays loud sloppy, and refuses to believe that all the fun has disappeared from music. This is a throwback to the hard rock of the 80s that glorified partying and drugs. Cheeseburger’s sophomore full length Another Big Night Down the Drain revels in the highlife of sex, drugs, and rock and roll the way bands haven’t for thirty years.
If you’re looking for techniclly proficient rock then you’re in the wrong place. Cheeseburger plays loose on purpose which only intensifies the party attitude of the music. You’ll hear the guitar or drums go off beat, the singing is crude and hard to understand in parts, and the distortion is so jacked on the lead and rhythm guitars it’s a miracle you can even hear notes being playes, but it’s all worth it because Cheeseburger wrote one hell of a party album.
The leadoff track, “Party Song,” is what explains what this band is all about. Partying hard and living life the way you want to live it without a care in the world for the consequences. The best part about Cheeseburger is their lyrics which border the line between serious opinions and druken ramblings. Often throughout the course of a song you’ll find yourself listening to what’s being sung and you start laughing because of the ridiculousness of it all.
Another Big Night Down the Drain is the best hard-rock album you’ll hear all year. This is the kind of album that people would get sick of if more bands were like this, but Cheeseburger is so good at playing and partying you excuse everything for the fun. Cheeseburger sings that, “They don’t run until the house comes down,” so let Cheeseburger shake the foundations of your brain with Another Big Night Down the Drain.
Listen to "Winner":
If you could write music to be played in your sleep, what would it sound like? Would it relax all of your muscles to a point of bliss, or would it make you curl up tight in a ball while clenching your teeth because the sleep just won’t come. With the release of Cass McComb’s fifth studio album Wit’s End, you can’t help but feel the pull of sleep that the sound draws listeners into.
Cass McCombs pushes the envelope of scoring the perfect dream world. With gentle tabs on the piano through songs like “The Lonely Doll,” to something a little more earthy in “Buried Alive,” there are no real limits that the artist lets get in his way. Whether wide awake, or fighting your eye lids to stay open, you can’t go wrong with the soothing trance that Wit’s End puts you in.
The slight spat of depression that you may slip into shouldn’t deter you from the album. Its natural sound brings a full spectrum of earthy tones into the overall make-up. It seems to be one of the best-composed albums of the year, and should be listened to on repeat if you have the chance.
Listen to "The Lonely Doll":
This self-proclaimed “lo-fi indie rock band” from Columbus, Ohio works to win you over with their quasi-charming off-key vocals and distorted musicality in Dancer Equired.
“It’s A Culture,” the first song on the album, opens with a disjointed harmony and instruments that aren’t totally in sync with each other, and “Ever Falling In Love” follows with a zonked-out jumble of vocals replaying over a singular guitar and percussion riff. These two songs will set the tone for the rest of the album.
Though Times New Viking is more noise-rock than lo-fi, they still manage a somewhat unique sound. Female vocalist, Beth Murphy, alternates between an aloof style of moaning and a grungy, ground up whine. There’s no solid ground with the vocals, no real notes you can pick out, everything just bobs around, hoping to land on something solid.
“F*** Her Tears,” is probably the best song on the album, coordinating all the sound and vocal aspects to create a really put-together number.
Listen to "F*** Her Tears":
From the ghostly and serene opening chords of Glass Prayer, it is clear that Brooklyn’s Religious to Damn plan to stay with the listener long after the album’s last track has ended. With gossamer male-female vocals and lush orchestrations of sound, Religious to Damn makes a lasting impression.
The band’s sound is pure psychedelic indie experimentation that belongs somewhere between a gypsy caravan and a grungy underground club. Yet these unconventional sounds are fused into melodies that wouldn’t be unwelcome in an arena setting, either.
“Drifter,” a driving tune propelled by a relentless drum beat and haunting organ chords, is a highlight. But to choose just one song to encompass the entire record’s lush wonder would be unfair to both the album and those listening to it.
Listen to "Drifter":
As listeners, we are conditioned to believe music has a definite structure: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, and so on. What happens when you as a listener when you are exposed to a different post-rock experience? Explosions In The Sky's sixth studio album is that experience.
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care exemplifies the quartet's strengths with steady beats that interchange between tracks. They have the ability to manipulate mood without the use of lyrical assistance. The songs range from the short three minutes to a daunting 10. Don’t let the length turn you away from listening though, because you will be surprised how quickly the tracks go when you’re relaxing to the sound.
Explosions In The Sky are a post-rock group that should no longer be overlooked. Throw them on for a day at the beach or simply when the sun shines. You will not be disappointed.
Listen to "Trembling Hands":
Three years ago, five beard- and flannel-loving Seattle musicians released two magical pieces of music, the Sun Giant EP and their self-titled debut. They became a sensation, their album peaking at 200,000 copies sold worldwide. Now, they’ve added another member and more talent to their already impressive band.
Helplessness Blues is the expansion we’d all hoped for from Fleet Foxes. They’ve risen from the rustic casket that threatened to confine them.
Fleet Foxes was a gorgeous slice of pastoral folk heaven. Songs about sunrises, mountains and children in their winter gear shined with golden harmonies swiped from Crosby, Stills & Nash and rumbling percussion straight out of Appalachia.
On Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes channel a darker beauty in the vein of Nick Drake, dabbling into lower guitar tunings and atypical time signatures. The slightly Mediterranean “Sim Sala Bim” is half folk tune, half gypsy jam, and it’s a lot more experimental than their self-titled debut had room for. “Bedouin Dress” dances with a frisky fiddle melody that would have felt out of fashion on their last release.
But Fleet Foxes have grown older, as band leader and chief beard Robin Pecknold makes clear on many the album’s dozen songs, especially the title track. “Helplessness Blues” is the grand, vulnerable centerpiece of the album, showcasing the themes of identity anxiety and aging in general. Hell, Pecknold’s very first words on the album are pretty heavy. “So now I am older than my mother and father when they had their daughter. Now what does that say about me?” he utters on quiet opener “Montezuma.”
Pecknold has made the songs more about him, in turn, making them more about us. The eight-plus-minute “The Shrine / An Argument” is more audacious than anything the band’s had the guts to try yet—and it succeeds. Starting slow with descriptions of copper pennies at a shrine, the song blooms into a breakup tale, with Pecknold’s angelic voice enriched by the band’s gorgeous harmonies.
Perhaps the most brightly colored track is the album’s closer, “Grown Ocean,” which was released with a companion video of the band’s extracurricular pursuits while in the studio and on the road. The song is a travelogue for a vivid dream, and Pecknold delivers each image with confidence and awe. “I’ll have so much to tell you about,” he sings about when he wakes from the dream.
His words are an accurate statement of what listeners are likely to say after completing the magnificent Helplessness Blues.
Listen to "Grown Ocean":
On the outside, Bill Callahan looks like a pretty quiet man. He’s the kind of person you would expect to see sitting under a tree, somewhere in the south, playing a guitar wearing a cowboy hat and flannel shirt. With a deep voice and acoustic guitar in hand, everything about this man says, “Stereotypical country music singer.”
Everything that is, except for his music.
On his new album, Apocalypse, Bill Callahan blends classic American folk rock with sounds typically heard in modern indie music. His baritone vocals ride on melodies created by one-part classical guitar, and one-part Wurlitzer electric piano. There are fiddles and flutes paired with electric guitar solos.
Callahan has been in the music industry since 1990 and he knows how to blend genres into one melody by using influences from the aforementioned American folk and indie rock with a little jazz, and some blues. This seemingly bizarre combination works out effortlessly on Apocalypse.
Throughout the songwriting process Bill Callahan proved again that he has an ear for sound and rhythm that helped create an album he can really be proud of.
Listen to "Baby's Breath":
Art rock, soul, electro-funk—such are the many masks worn by TV on the Radio. Formed in Brooklyn in 2001, this colorful crew of musical masterminds has released four critically acclaimed studio albums including their latest, Nine Types of Light.
The band’s premise is simple: soulful vocals and chimes of funky electronica permeate songs driven by nuanced instrumentation. The vocals are delivered by Tunde Adebimpe, the rhythm section is courtesy of Kyp Malone and the programming and special loops are swirled into perfection by Dave Sitek.
Lead single “Will Do” plays out over four minutes with a steady backbeat and rising/falling strings, in addition to rhythmic guitar riffs that don’t overtake the songs but add to their immensity. Opener “Second Song” starts slowly with Adebimpe’s croon and small percussive accompaniment but unfolds into a raucous dancer. Adebimpe jumps into a higher register to deliver the chorus’ powerful punch.
The band owes its current sound to funk forebears Earth, Wind and Fire, ambient master Brian Eno and even Prince’s monumental Purple Rain album. The sum of the parts is great, and TV on the Radio is a full enterprise of euphonious grooves.
Nine Types of Light are indeed found in these 11 songs. Kaleidoscopic light, that is.
Listen to "Second Song":
Imagine taking a drive with friends in the summertime. Windows down, wind-blown hair, sun beating in every window, and a certain carefree spontaneity and happiness envelops you, just like Eliza Doolittle's self-titled debut album.
Parlophone’s Eliza Doolittle has plenty of feel-good tunes, but it's not just your average bubblegum pop. Infused with her sweet-as-sugar voice are raspy kicks of jazz and smooth doses of soul. Whistling, clapping, glockenspiel (similar to a xylophone), kazoo and maracas are just a few of the unique instruments she uses in order to achieve her light-hearted sound. In addition she incorporates retro elements, like the sound of music playing through a phonograph on the song "Go Home.”
Songs like "Nobody," "Moneybox," "Skinny Genes" and "Mr. Medicine" all have similar, bouncy and very catchy choruses. Shifting once more to her deeper, more intimate side comes out through soulful picks like "A Smokey Room" and "So High."
Listen to "Skinny Genes":
Ten years after their debut EP was released, Danish indie rockers Figurines are showing no signs of slowing down with their most recent release. Their eponymous album is full of eccentric, quirky melodies laced with euphoria.
For the most part, Figurines remains upbeat and sublime throughout its 40-minute running time. However, beneath its glossy production and joyous jangle lie subtle undertones of angst and heartfelt earnestness. Vocalist Christian Hjelm’s warbling tenor draws the listener in past the surface of the music, and the use of keyboards, Beatles harmonies and certain chord progressions creates the underlying gloom beneath the glimmer and shine of the songs.
The angst that resides under the surface of Figurines is above all things full of optimism and a yearning for something better. In “Lucky to Love,” probably the song that most evidently reflects this dichotomy, Hjelm repeats the refrain “All I want to do is to wake up and make it / All I want to do is to wake up and break it” — and he makes you believe it when he sings it. “Call Your Name” could almost pass for a Sgt. Pepper’s-era Beatles ballad with its haunting harmonies and gently plucked guitar lines.
The lush and intricate melodic landscape of Figurines makes it a compelling and incredible listen from start to finish. It is the perfect soundtrack for either a laid-back summer drive or a rainy day. If anything, Figurines’ self-titled record proves that the band is at the cusp of breaking onto the radar of unforgettable modern bands in a big way.
Listen to "Lucky to Love":
If you’re the type of person who likes to listen to the same music that doesn’t deviate from the sounds and feelings that you’re familiar with, Gruff Rhys isn’t for you. If you are a little more adventurous, however, and like to throw yourself out there to find something different, then Gruff Rhys has made your job a lot easier on his third solo album, Hotel Shampoo.
No two songs sound similar to each other on Hotel Shampoo, and every song brings in different elements and sounds that the listener could not expect. Songs like “Take a Sentence” showcase a dramatic piano contribution, but on more upbeat songs like “Honey All Over” percussion takes center stage accompanied by melodies produced on an electric keyboard. These are sounds that we hear all the time though.
Rhys makes his biggest impact by bringing in sounds that we recognize but rarely hear on serious albums. “Sensations in the Dark”, a song about discovering new music, has a mariachi-flare to it. The vocals for “Christopher Columbus” dance over sci-fi inspired sound effects. When was the last time you heard Columbus’ oceanic trek sung over sounds that are similar to Star Trek.
Hotel Shampoo isn’t an album for idle listeners. All of the different sounds and styles present make it an album that you’ll want to devote your attention to from start to finish.
Listen to "Sensations in the Dark":
Gorillaz are back and once again on a virtual rampage through our headphones and MP3 players with a new album brought to you via the iPad.
The Fall is the newest album from Gorillaz. It‘s full of electro beats and relaxed vocals. The album, as a whole, meshes well from song to song and keeps the same tone throughout. But The Fall has sudden surprises that will keep you wondering if the rest of the album is going to change the sound or not.
The sound of this virtual band has changed over the course of the decade ever since they were first introduced in 2001. From their debut album Gorillaz to Demon Days, Gorillaz have kept their mysterious fashion in a unique way, almost as if they were adjusting to the current trends of music while keeping their characteristic sound.
This album is definitely worth a listen, their sound changes to suit any music lover‘s taste.
Listen to "Revolving Doors":
Bright arpeggio-blasting guitars, brilliant melodies and powerful chords make the North Carolina trio Hammer No More The Fingers worth the time. Hailing from Durham, these musicians play catchy and edgy songs with crisp, clear melodies, fulfilling harmonies and a beat that really punctuates every musical phrase.
In 2008, Hammer No More The Fingers debuted with a self-titled EP in that landed them on the top 25 bands to watch from both Steam magazine and CMJ. 2009 sparked the bands ever-growing career with the release of their first full length LP, Looking For Bruce. The band started gathering the well-deserved reputation of post-'90s alternative rockers with an expertise in creating fun, happy-go-lucky songs.
Black Shark demonstrates that Hammer No More The Fingers has great depth and don’t just write about the fun times but also the depressing times. Usually, the high movement in the guitar and drum lines makes for a fun listen. Some tracks, for example “The Visitor,” has slowed-down and sad motifs to them, making a much needed change of pace to the album.
If you’re looking for a band to look out for in the future you cannot be let down by Hammer No More The Fingers.
Listen to a live version of "Steam":
Maritime’s fourth full length album starts off strong and forces you to listen to the entire thing before it lets you go. Human Hearts is catchy, riffy indie rock that offers the unique combination of driving beats and relaxed melodies. The singing is dreamy and soothing, but the bass and drums keep you awake like an alarm clock, except Maritime’s instruments aren’t annoying at 10 a.m.
“Annihilation Eyes,” is a departure from the typical sound of the rest of the album. It wouldn’t be totally out of place on a Gin Blossoms album but doesn't stray too far from the members' past bands like the Promise Ring. The song begins on upbeat happy notes and that sound continues through the whole thing while the chorus will win over any skeptical listener. The song flows with peppy and anthem-like repeats of its namesake before the last 40 seconds take you off on a harmonious repeat of the chorus.
Human Hearts is a very strong fourth offering from Maritime and the band has taken no steps back in their ability to play music.
Listen to "Annihilation Eyes":
Noise-pop connoisseurs will fall in love with Crystal Stilts In Love With Oblivion. They show off with fuzzed-out, guitar-led hooks and age-old punk elements.
They pull elements from the '60s that you think are long gone before this point. You think they must have pulled their keyboard work from either The Doors or the Animals. With songs like “Through the Floor,” you can’t help but sway in your seat. The perfectly distorted track helps lead the album in the right direction.
A mere five tracks later, you’re introduced to “Shake the Shackles,” that rocks you out of the pleasant daze you must have drifted into during the first six songs.
You can hear the Brooklyn band's take on the psychedelic garage rock that you grow to think Crystal Stilts must have invented. When you realize that they’re only on their sophomore album, you can’t help but root for these guys for a long-standing career. In Love With Oblivion sets a distinct atmosphere and gives you a body high that starts with your ears and ends with a tingle in your toes.
Hear the warm echoes of "Through the Floor":
The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most important alternative music of the last few decades. Modest Mouse, Death Cab For Cutie and Fleet Foxes have all called the rainy, pine-laden land home, not to mention the entire grunge scene. Anacortes, Washington’s rocky quartet The Lonely Forest returns with their third album, Arrows, a slice of alternative nostalgia.
The album is the first produced by Trans Records, the venture of Death Cab’s Chris Walla. After forming in 2005, the band’s Regicide EP helped them win the Experience Music Project competition the following year. Now, three albums later, Arrows slides them back into kaleidoscopic view.
Slow-burning opener “Be Everything” recalls the articulate vocal delivery of Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard wrapped in an unfolding bouquet of acoustic plucks and violin whines. “Turn Off This Song And Go Outside” is a carpe-diem pop anthem to love and adventure, complete with catchy riffs tap-tapping drums.
Evoking the hum-along pop of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Arrows glides along through 12 tracks, each a piece of alternative pop that’s polished and dripping with alternative standbys—“I Don’t Want To Live Here” sounds like a forgotten Death Cab track from The Photo Album era, complete with a thick keyboard chord breakdown and choppy percussion.
Sure, it’s easy to say The Lonely Forest play it safe. But does that make their music any less enjoyable? The answer is a resounding no. Step into their wooded Washington glen and let their pop sounds keep you company.
Listen to "Turn Off This Song and Go Outside":
Julianna Barwicks's The Magic Place delivers sleek, sultry and siren-like choral melodies over light instrumental tracks. Her vocal tone is highly reminiscent of Enya and Clannad while establishing her own far-out, phased, unintelligible lyrics.
The Magic Place is Barwick's second album release following Sanguine, on the Asthmatic Kitty record label. Hailing from Brooklyn NY, Barwick has self-defined her genre of music as experimental and/or other.
Much remains the same on this album, as funky flowing rhythms lie underneath a well balanced bed of vocal harmonies. The disc doesn't offer much in terms of variety, yet isn't the least bit static. Each track placement has definite purpose in moving the album along thematically. Tracks like "Envelop" and "White Flag" truly embody the care in which Barwick layers her vocal arrangements. Other tracks, like "Flown" and "Prizewinning," use less but more elegant layering design.
Julianna Barwick's The Magic Place is a pleasant surprise and highly enjoyable listen for those looking for beautifully sophisticated vocal harmonies delivered in an transcendent, ambient waveform.
Listen to the ambient "Envelop":
Bibio is Stephen James Wilkinson: one man who performs as Bibio and creates all the sounds heard on Mind Bokeh. This album is hard to describe because it seems to change its own mood from one song to the next. The album itself is very polished. There are times where it appears chaotic, but Bibio always knows where he wants his song to go next and he knows how to get there.
There is a distinct chillness that comes from the sound of Mind Bokeh. Every song has a relaxing quality that shows through. It’s also reassuring that every song appears to be well thought out.
“Light Seep” is one of those songs that stands out against the rest of the album because it sounds completely different from the rest of the stuff Wilkinson recorded. It’s a funk influenced, electronic heavy, guitar driven number that just causes the listener to sit back and feel at peace with their world.
SJW accomplished his musical vision with Mind Bokeh. The beneficiary of Bibio’s vision is our ears. This music is worth keeping on play all day.
Listen to "Light Seep":
Brooklyn’s indie scene has all started to blend together—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lo-fi queens Vivian Girls carry their airy girl-pop with an air of confidence, despite its similarity to the Brooklyn norm.
The comparison to contemporaries Dum Dum Girls is easy but not quite truthful. Vivian Girls bring the vintage surf-pop of simpler times, while Dum Dum Girls pile on the distortion. Vivian Girls champion the beach like Best Coast, but with more guitar melodies.
“I Heard You Say” brings on the harmonies, making the chorus a sweet affair amidst verses of confusion. Opener “The Other Girls” is an epic 8-minute piece with much guitar exercise, but it’s perhaps just a bit too long for its own good.
Vivian Girls might be the overlooked ones in the bunch, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. Singer Cassie Ramone (also of The Babies) brings her best pipes to each tune, yelping out and even sing-telling heartbreak tales in “Take it As it Comes.”
In an age where a tattooed lovelorn chick with a guitar is fashionable, Vivian Girls fit right in, and their charm might not be as striking as others, but it’s still quite enjoyable.
Listen to "I Heard You Say":
Imagine The Rolling Stones and The Ventures combined with over-powered effects. That combination turns out to be Obits. This Brooklyn-based band has been making music since 2006, after singer/guitarist Rich Froberg’s band Hot Snakes broke up. Obits practiced for months but were not ready to play live for quite a while. Finally, Sub Pop Records invited them to join their ranks in 2008. Since then, it has been a perfect match.
Pumping guitars, heavy drum beats and pounding bass lines, combined with Froberg’s vocals make strong notions of eventual stardom. Dark, fuzzy effects with staccato, sometimes even palm muted, guitars create a punk-like atmosphere, reminiscent of the members' post-hardcore past. Some describe the band like a Violent Femmes only with heavy electric guitars and even more exaggerated vocals.
Obits screams pure power. The newest single from their latest album, Moody, Standard and Poor, “You Gotta Lose” epitomizes good hard rock. The dual guitars make profound strides for the band and their talent level.
Head rocking, fist pumping and music loving come from listening to Obits. Give them a try. You will not be let down.
Listen to "You Gotta Lose":
James Hince and Kate Moss are together, great. The Dead Weather is on indefinite hiatus, leaving Allison Mosshart with only one focus, also great. Now that the tabloid view of The Kills is out of the way, we can get to the good stuff. The fourth album by the duo of Hince and Mosshart sets a different tone than the three preceding.
You can say that the three years parting their releases was some sort of time taken t create a new sound, but we should know better. A pre-menstrual moodiness flows through the 11-track album. Needless to say, the slow-burning passive-aggression kicks you down and mentally toys with you.
“Nail In My Coffin,” is a menacing track, where Hince makes it a point to use the guitar to set the definite mood. Not that it is unfamiliar for Hince to manipulate each instrument to make each song powerful, or in this case, mildly painful.
Not to say that The Kills have completely gotten ridden of their once hook-heavy style, but they have surely hid them within stronger aspects. In “DNA,” there is a distinct hook, but you lose it withing the steady clack clacking of the drumsticks. Mosshart seems to shine with her newfound prominence in the songs that are focused on her musical ability.
The Kills effortlessly rocked it again with their new borderline macabre sound.
Listen to "Satellite":
Ten years ago, Parts & Labor were a Brooklyn based bunch of art kids who blended noise with sparse and effective melody.
Today, they’re still a bunch of art kids who have fully found their sound. While they’re certainly not the first to combine sparse electronics, wiry guitars, anthemic choruses and pop hooks into uplifting experimental noise rock, they’re really damn good at it.
Constant Future is Parts & Labor’s fifth full-length effort of noisy, poppy, experimental rock with just a hint of pop-punk influence. Nearly every track on the album is a powerful electronic soundscape, blending buzzing instrumentals with melody, and it works every time.
Listen to "Rest":
Alex Ebert has spent a lot of time alone. After leaving the party lifestyle of Los Angeles, breaking up with his girlfriend, and spending a year living in a small apartment, becoming disconnected from the world and trying to find himself, Alex started the band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Now for the first time Ebert puts the band to side for the moment, releasing his first solo album Alexander.
However, it doesn’t seem like Ebert has really left the band at all. Much of his album sounds very similar to songs released under ESATMZ, the one noticeable difference being the absence of female vocalist Jade Castrinos. Alexander still sounds like a hippy wandering the world looking for his place in life, but maybe that’s because that’s the way of living that he connects with the most. He fills up the album with a mix of upbeat tunes and somber songs. At times you’ll want to dance, other times cry. It seems like Alex has finally found his identity and isn’t straying from it.
Listen to Alexander's first single, "Truth":
“The Big Roar”—has there ever been a more fitting title for a band’s debut album? The Joy Formidable closely mirrors the furious grandiosity of contemporaries Silversun Pickups and the similarities are noticeably striking. But, the big-hearted wall-of-sound that The Joy Formidable churns out with much ease really is a big roar, and one that doesn’t lose its luster on repeat listens.
Every song has single potential, so it’s even harder to choose the few that really stand out. Yawping opener “The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie” is an eight-minute epic that starts off small and only gets louder and bolder, eventually culminating in super-fast drum and guitar pounds that can easily raise the blood pressure.
“A Heavy Abacus” layers the distorted crunch on thick. The loud-quiet-loud dynamic, once a staple of alternative acts, is given a revival by The Joy Formidable on this mighty jam. With echoes of My Bloody Valentine’s misty shoegaze and Smashing Pumpkins’ sour-then-sweet dream pop, the middle of the album is the cream filling in a deliciously heavy Oreo.
The Big Roar is a romantic affair—an intrepid and loud one—but an experience that lives up to its name.
Watch the video for "Austere":
Tropical Punk sounds exactly like their name suggests. They are punk rock musicians that play with a tropical flavor. The effect works out well with Sweetheart, the Ithaca, N.Y. band’s first release.
The music has an obvious island-like feel to it, and the music feels like it’s coming from a hastily constructed bamboo stage at the edge of a surf competition. This isn’t Beach Boys surf rock either; this is edgier and more aggressive.
The band shows off their sound on every song from Sweetheart, but the opener, “To Hearts,” best shows off the unique blend that is Tropical Punk.
It opens sloppy and it’s played hard. The songs all sing of the fun times in summer, and that’s exactly what we need when snow is on the ground.
Tropical Punk has attained at least one fan in me and will win you over too. It’s music worth listening to because you never know where it’ll take you. Like the waves of Waikiki, this album puts you in dangerous territory, but the ride in is so memorable you’ll take the risk every time.
Listen and download their EP here:
Memphis is melodic, vulnerable, and sassy. Memphis is also Torquil Campbell and Chris Dumont who put on quite an act as a dynamic duo. Their bright instrumentals almost shadow the hurt and fear in the lyrics sung by the muse-like Campbell, who also happens to have a role in the Canadian group Stars.
“What Is This Thing Called?” sounds like leftovers from The Smiths’ classic The Queen Is Dead. The song plays out in a dream sequence electronic style. You become a key player in their songs as you drift into oblivion.
Romanticism takes song form in “Apocalypse Pop Song,” where darkness ensues in a natural course. It is perhaps the highest point of the album. It hits you close to the beginning, but the rest of the album follows in a melodramatic spiral.
Memphis performs the norm in a very realistic and soothing way. You can simply listen for leisure, or dig into a more eclectic place. Either way there is something for everyone here.
Listen to "Apocalypse Pop Song":
Seattle-based band The Head and the Heart is just about as new to the music industry as it gets, getting its start just over a year and a half ago at an open mic night at a local bar. Though they haven’t been performing long, they didn’t waste time on the local bar scene for very long; shortly after the release of their debut album in July of 2010, The Head and the Heart found themselves sharing a stage with Vampire Weekend at Seattle’s Paramount Theater.
The Head and the Heart is a band that is easy to fall in love with right from the start, and their new self-titled album is no different. The Head and the Heart is an album that needs to be listened to in its entirety; every song, while good on its own, really belongs together. Blending the easy-going sounds of classic folk-rock and the upbeat melodies of indie-pop, The Head and the Heart bring you back home and make you wonder why you ever left.
Check out the video for "Lost in My Mind":
Anyone can be a singer-songwriter. Take a dime-store guitar, some lyrics scribbled on a bar napkin, an affected whine, and presto!
John Vanderslice is a singer-songwriter, but he’s certainly not that guy. Vanderslice was a founding member of MK Ultra during the mid-90s, and collaborated with The Mountain Goats, as well as releasing his own solo records throughout the last 11 years.
Vanderslice takes the Sufjan Stevens/Neil Young’s Harvest approach to his music: full-bodied folk, backed up by immense instrumentation that gives each tune a unique feel.
For his latest venture, White Wilderness, Vanderslice teamed with Minna Choi and her Magick*Magick Orchestra to get that rich, almost cinematic sound.
Opener “Sea Salt” begins earnestly, with Vanderslice singing, “Sun shines on the Gaza Strip,” over a few strums accompanied by a backbeat and a few piano tickles. After a few minutes, the song shakes off its blandness and jumps into a horn-and-string interlude, like children being let outside for recess. After that, it’s back to the same old mid-tempo mumbles before another beautiful orchestral-crescendo.
“Convict Lake” follows “Sea Salt”; it’s propelled by a frisky horn melody, plenty of cymbal taps, and a powerful strum. Vanderslice sounds more Stevens here than anywhere else, and the resemblance gives the atmosphere a pretty quality.
As the album progresses, Vanderslice shows his greatest skill: attention to detail. Tiny nuances like background howls, or a quick French horn cameo make the songs rich and layered; like a wonderful symphony. Now 43, Vanderslice reached middle age, but his talent and sound don’t reflect that. White Wilderness is tinted by all the right colors—autumn grey, sky blue, forest green and a splash of ruby red.
Listen to "Convict Lake":
Fans of Rival Schools have had to wait 10 years for the official follow-up to their debut album United by Fate. With their new release, Pedals, Rival Schools has ensured that they will bring back all of their old fans, as well as some new ones this time around.
Pedals is a smoother, softer album, driven by crunchy guitars and emotional singing. The creative forces behind Rival Schools is lead-singer/guitarist Walter Schreifels, guitarist Ian Love, bassist Cache Tolman and drummer Sam Siegler.
There are plenty of tunes on Pedals with the band’s characteristic melodic indie-rock sound. The two that best show the band’s work are “Wring it Out” and “Shot After Shot.” “Wring it Out" is a solid lead-off track that gives the listener a taste of all the good things to come throughout the rest of the album without overfeeding them.
“Shot After Shot” can be found midway through the album and is an all-around great track. It stands out against the sound of the songs around it and is a solid, driving, pure rock song full of catchy hooks, and guitar riffs that sound as if they’re singing along with Walter.
Ten years in the making, Pedals is another great addition to the indie rock lexicon.
Listen to "Shot After Shot":
On their sophomore album, Black Joe Lewis takes The Honeybears on a wild ride.
The Texas natives still supply the retro, throwback blues music, but take a different route for the new album. The powerfully prevalent brass and woodwind instruments heard on their debut, Tell Em What Your Name Is!, take on a new role this time around. Showing off their versatile song writing, the band shares the stage by meshing their instruments instead of the stark horns standing out so much.
The band still showcases Lewis’ deep, James Brown-like voice, and funky guitar and bass riffs, but now everything seems to jell better together.
Certainly, Scandalous is nothing but what you could hope for from the gang, a good mix of old with a good mix of new.
Listen to the album's first single, "Booty City":
Hailing from the sunny state of California, The Mountain Goats have been producing indie-folk music for nearly two decades, accumulating a well-deserved and sometimes almost cult-like following. In the beginning The Mountain Goats’ focus was to write and record music almost instantly; if a song wasn’t written and recorded within the span of a few days, it was often set aside and left there for a new idea.
Over the past ten years, The Mountain Goats have been taking the time to produce records with a much more polished sound to them than what they were used to. Their newest album, All Eternals Deck is no exception. Setting witty lyrics to the classic sounds of American roots music, The Mountain Goats continue to put a smile on the faces of their fans. No song on the album stands out as an absolute single; this is an album that is meant to be listened to and shared as a whole, and I’ve yet to meet someone who could stop listening halfway through.
Listen to "Damn These Vampires":
“Vintage” rock ‘n roll is valued highly in today’s music scene. In a realm where electronic beats, computer programming and even auto-tuned vocals are present in music still labeled as “rock,” Dum Dum Girls slide in on a wave of refreshing nostalgia.
He Gets Me High is the third release from this fuzzy quartet after last year’s debut-LP, I Will Be and an earlier EP in 2008. SPIN’s Kenneth Partridge stated that Dum Dum Girls are the answer to the question: “What if the Bangles and the Cure had mated in 1982?” That’s a boiled-down definition, but these sunny rockers also channel The Stones, The Smiths and a lot of peppy ‘50s surf rock into their infectious jams.
The title track is a tight tune in the vein of last year’s single “Bhang Bhang I’m a Burnout.” Crunchy bass leads the song into pounding drums and full-bodied major chords and, of course, leader Dee Dee’s beautiful melodies that jump in the air like long, black hair bobbing down the stairs. If the melodies don’t get you, the simultaneous bright-and-dark musicality will.
Rounding out the 14-minute EP is a roaring cover of The Smiths' “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” that updates and Americanizes the morose and quaint original tune. It’s the same song, only this time it sports black fishnets and bright ruby lipstick. Dee Dee keeps Smiths' singer Morrissey’s cadence catchy and tight, never letting the song become anything but her own.
Dum Dum Girls are vintage indeed—a throwback to a time when music was made with guitars, drums and catchy melodies. The disc itself comes in its own Sub Pop sleeve, like a vinyl album would, that means even the CD casing is vinyl. Dee Dee and the gang keep it real, and keep it real-cool on an EP that shows a bright future for her girls.
Listen to their cover of the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out":
Does It Offend You, Yeah has made their fans wait three years for their follow up album to their last release, You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into. Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You is the follow up to the former release and for fans of the band it’s been worth the wait.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You is full of electronic melody, punk attitude, and driving bass beats with just a touch of indie class.
“Pull Out My Insides” breaks from that normal sound of the album, and the band itself, by toning down the dance aspect. They instead focus more on the vocals of lead singer James Rushent. It still has the prominent bass, but lets you catch your breath after the two electro-heavy songs that lead the album.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You has satisfied the hungers of Does It Offend You, Yeah’s fans. It’s enough to hold them over until their next release, even if it takes some time to get there.
Listen to "Pull Out My Insides":
Listen, coming out of your speakers, it’s poppy, it’s rocky. No it’s both. All from Boat’s fourth studio album Dress Like Your Idols. This thing is full of tongue in cheek lyrics, catchy pop choruses, soft, reverbing guitar, and harmonious singing.
Dress Like Your Idols can be listened to anytime, but no matter when you listen to it you’ll end up in the same mood by the end of the title track. You will be relaxed, and forced to do nothing more, but start the whole thing over from the beginning.
David “D” Crane provides guitar and the storytelling vocals for the band. Jackson Long adds drums behind the kit, as well as producing and mixing for the band. Mark McKenzie takes time off from dancing jigs onstage by playing bass and guitar for the band. John Goodman rounds out the quartet, providing keyboards, guitars, tambourine, cowbell, and everything short of the moon for Boat.
One of the standout tracks is “King Kong.” There’s a sinister keyboard note being held against a nice back and forth guitar sound while Crane sings along to himself. This is just in the first 30 seconds. Once the chorus comes in with its driving guitar, bass, and drums, the singing has built to a crescendo of hooky substance before resolving into an intense minimalist guitar solo. It’s a very well-done track that shows all the strengths of the band perfectly.
Listen to "King Kong":
The Baltimore-based indie rock duo Wye Oak, Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, released their third album last week. The ten-track album, Civilian, was among the most anticipated in 2011 and lived up to those expectations.
Like Beach House (another Baltimore based male-female duo), Wye Oak engages heavily in trance-like effects that sound larger than just the two-person lineup. Wye Oak stands apart, however, with its attention-grabbing volume. So it’s more than appropriate when the leading track, “Two Small Deaths,” opens with ambient chatter that is abruptly cut off by steel guitar and electronic effects.
Wasner’s guitar wailing and range grab attention in other tracks, too. Listen to the elegantly played out chords of “Doubt,” her Sonic Youth-esque snarl in “Holy Holy” and well-played figures in “The Alter” to hear her magnificent power.
Other standouts include the title track, "Hot as Day" and "Dog Eyes."
Wye Oak took a big step forward, created a more complex sound and produced its best album yet. Stick around because the band is only going to continue to grow.
Listen and be captivated from beginning to end.
Listen to the title track, "Civilian":
Revolver gives a sampling of the kind of acoustic folk that earned it a French Grammy nomination with its new EP, Parallel Lives. Despite all three of the band’s members being born in France, Revolver shows clear roots in British and American classic rock-folk groups and clear possession of the English language. One wouldn’t be far off calling them the French Fleet Foxes.
“Losing You” stands out for its fantastic harmonies and storytelling that take you to another place for two minutes and 41 seconds. The EP’s opener and title track trails only “Losing You” in greatness, featuring only vocalist Ambriose Willaume apart from the harmonious refrain to emphasize the song’s great lyrics.
With just four songs, Parallel Lives, leaves the listener longing for more. The short closing track, "Balulalow" (1:16) feels like a tease of something greater about to come from Revolver.
Listen to "Losing You":
“Experimental” is a ten-cent word that lazy journalists toss around in reviews to fill space. It takes a true artist to merit a fine complimentary adjective like that, but PJ Harvey truly warrants it on Let England Shake, her eighth studio album.
Too few albums seem unified through and through, but Harvey really tries to perform the title act through 12 songs, each tackling another component of the motherland’s complex past and modern history. “Let England Shake” begins things in a spooky whirl of musicality, with Harvey singing “England’s dancing days are done” over a subtle collection of percussion, brass and even a xylophone.
The music conforms to standard singer-songwriter fare, but it’s the expansion of what’s already there that makes Harvey an experimentalist.
“The Glorious Land” builds around thick percussion layers that sound like someone shaking a large sack of pennies. A sad trumpet pipes over the rising sound, peppy when it shouldn’t be, like a dog jumping around in the car driving him to be put down. “England” plays like a requiem to the titular nation, with Harvey’s near-yodel filling the empty spaces between acoustic guitar strums.
“Bitter Branches” tells of pointy war, with the title objects being the arms of soldiers spreading into the world. This rich metaphor makes for a gripping two-and-a-half-minute tune that passes quickly like oncoming fire. Album closer “The Colour of the Earth” features PJ and her frequent collaborator Mark Harvey crooning about a fallen friend over chiming U2-like guitars and a thunderous kick drum pounding intermittently, like a soldier’s stomp.
Despite the grim images of twisted trees, war-painted scenes and dark places, Harvey ends the album triumphantly, as if the Union Jack were cinematically waving above. Using autoharp, mellotron, trombone, trumpet, xylophone, saxophone, organ, piano and violin on top of her traditional lineup of drums and guitar, Harvey’s experiment becomes sentiment on an album all her own.
Listen to "The Last Living Rose":
Bardo Pond’s eponymous eighth album is composed of seven acid rock songs that make the listener question if what they’re hearing is real or just an induced haze of noise their brain decided to feedback. Despite only being made up of seven songs the album lasts just over an hour, averaging just less than ten minutes a song.
Midway through the album, the listener is greeted with a 21-minute slow ride in the name of “Undone.” The first half is filled with noises and indiscernible singing courtesy of vocalist Isobel Sollenberger. The second half picks up the pace slightly, but doesn’t elaborate on anything established in the first half. This technique actually works out quite well because throughout the whole jam, there is a constantly, slowly building tension in the music. The twin guitars of the Gibbons brothers, John and Mike, are fuzzed to death and drenched in wah. They add to the tension and are constantly floating in and out of the pyramid of sound that works its way through the album.
Completing the pyramid at the base are the drummer and bassist, Ed Farnsworth and Clint Takeda respectively.
The other songs on the album follow the same formula of slow and driving noise that seems to say something without ever saying anything. There is a way this music is supposed to be performed and Bardo Pond doesn’t deviate from the band’s past work.
Known as the world’s most essential psychedelic rock experience, Bardo Pond have started 2011 with a burnt-out bang. Their fans wouldn’t have it any other way. This album may very well be the bone-chilling experience of the year.
Listen to the epic "Undone":
Chillwave as a genre and an ideal conjures up summertime imagery by its very nature. But something about Toro Y Moi, the project of South Carolina’s Chazwick Bundick, feels otherworldly—transcendent. With Underneath The Pine, his sophomore venture, he doesn’t just send listeners to the beach to watch the tides change; he puts them in a hot air balloon to cross international borders and just admire the landscapes.
The undeniable “Still Sound” combines the jive of funk basslines with elements of disco and the soft call of Bundick’s vocals. “New Beat” gives a kick in the pants instantly and barely relents for the duration. Fittingly, “Got Blinded” works supremely well with eyelids shut, allowing the background echoes to envelop and flock until the melody has to cut through with vigor.
And that’s the very thing about this album: the melody. Alone, the backbeats and harmonies would work well enough, but it’s Bundick’s sense of melody that separates Underneath The Pine—and Toro Y Moi in general—from the rest of chillwave.
Listen to "Still Sound":
Elk’s Justin Stein had an important decision to make while working on Let’s Get Married. He had to choose between replacing his computer and paying rent. Stein moved in with his parents and chose instead to replace his computer. As a result, he presents to music world a distinctive album that touches just about all genres.
By switching gears of a soft medieval, courtly sound to an electronic wave of sound, the first track, “Let’s Get Married,” immediately demonstrates what Elk’s album is all about. Adventurous jumps are synonymous with Let’s Get Married.
An African melody backgrounds “Volleyball.” The initial feel-good beat layers with an almost anxious fuzziness mid-song. A voice enters out of nowhere, speaking unintelligible English. Quickly, the song switches back to harmony African modernized with electronic bops.
The adventurous, short album sends listeners on a journey. The repetitiveness and playfulness of Let’s Get Married is the contradiction of typical music. Rather, it is the collaboration and combination of sounds and efforts. And while it is an acquired taste of sound, there exists a level of appreciation and awe for a musician who rejects the typical and looks for his own sound.
Listen to Elk's music below:
Classically trained in opera music, Alex Winston’s musical diversity is extensive. Winston, a Detroit native, grew up listening to MC5, Iggy Pop and The Stooges and the best in Motown and Americana. She opened for Chuck Berry in St. Louis and has recently worked with The Knocks to produce her debut mini-LP on HeavyRoc Music.
Scheduled to release Feb. 22, Sister Wife has the perfect combination of old and new with Winston’s unique touch to live up to the high expectations of all the “Big in 2011” lists her name appeared.
Standouts include “Choice Notes” with its feel good piano beats and catchy chorus; “Sister Wife” and its lofty but carefully arranged drums and Winston’s distinct vocals; “Sweet James” as it puts a fashionable spin on her Motown and Americana influences; and “Locomotive” with its catchy lyrics and airy melody.
Winston takes her musical whimsy and makes it accessible to just about any listener. She describes it best herself, “It’s feel good music.”
Listen to "Choice Notes":
WSBU ADVANCES TO TOP 10 FINALISTS FOR MTV AWARD
ST. BONAVENTURE, FEBRUARY 16, 2011 – WSBU, St. Bonaventure University’s student-run campus radio station, has been voted into the top 10 finalists for mtvU’s 2011 College Radio Woodie Award.
An email sent by MTV said, “With much research and a tremendous response from your listeners, we’ve narrowed down the top 50 College Radio Stations.” Listeners casted their votes online until February 8, when it was announced that WSBU had made it into the top 25 nominees. On February 15, after more voting, MTV announced that WSBU had made it into the top 10 finalists.
The sixth annual mtvU Woodie Awards will air live on Wednesday, March 16 at 12 a.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU from the Austin Music Hall in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest Musical Festival, according to the MTV email.
Listeners can vote online until March 1 at http://radiowoodie.ratemyprofessors.com/ as many times as they want.
In addition, WSBU has compiled PDF files of its current and older publications and has hosted them on its website at http://wsbufm.net/. These include past issues of The WSBU Beat, The Buzz Beat and The Buzzworthy, all available for download for free. St. Bonaventure alumni are encouraged to email the station at email@example.com with any past publications WSBU may be missing on the website.
They're back. More than three years since the ground-breaking pay-what-you-please release of 2007's In Rainbows, Radiohead unceremoniously announced their eighth studio album, The King of Limbs, less than a week before its downloadable release. CD and LP versions of the album will be available in March, while what the band calls the first "newspaper album," including 600 small pieces of artwork, will ship in May.
As for the music itself, it's pure Radiohead. It's more the spacey, spooky Kid A sound than the tighter rock of Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows, starting with the loopy "Bloom."
The album showcases Phil Selway's drumming as well as any, and the album's second track, "Morning Mr. Magpie" is no exception. Frontman Thom Yorke's voice induces chills as he shrieks "You've got some nerve, coming here."
It may take many more listens to fully evaluate and understand this latest effort, but all early signs look positive to me. Few acts know how to generate excitement over their material like Radiohead.
Listen to the album's first single, "Lotus Flower":
Shoegazey beach pop seems to be the name of the game in indie music these days, and who better to lead it than some crazy cool surfer chicks with dreamy voices?
Is/Is fits right in with contemporaries Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls, with the fuzzy guitar layers and pretty half-whiny vocals, but also recalls the early dream pop of My Bloody
Valentine. Ethereal and cloudy, this trio of garage-beach thumpers transcends the trivial and aims a bit higher than just the lifeguard’s lookout tower.
“So Long” is a swirly dreamer with a steady backbeat, perpetuated by groovy percussion. “Pretty Girl” rolls along with a pounding fuzz-bass riff atop crashing cymbal-snare sex. The punky “Eating Hourglasses” is a beach-punk anthem straight from the garage that will have all the stoned surfers bobbing their heads at the show.
Is/Is is loud, aggressive and a tad angry, but, most importantly, Is/Is is euphonious—the prime example of a beautiful mess of sounds fitting together perfectly.
Listen to the dreamy "So Long":
Shed any musical philosophy you may have had, because Shedding’s Tear In the Sun in an exploratory journey through the cyclical nature of time and space leaving the listener feeling like they’ve transcended to become the Buddha, himself.
One man artist, Connor Bell has been constructing cacophonies of psychedelia from his home in Louisville, Kentucky for over 10 years. His newest, Tear In the Sun, is reminiscent of Hinduism and Buddhism, taking the listener through the karmic wheel with elongated harmonies, and quivering baroque accordions.
The first song on the album, “Disconnect,” causes the listener to do exactly that, as the first minute of the song mirrors the dull continuous beep of a fire alarm. What sounds like bagpipes, accordions, and bass soon follows creating a harmony that will preface the entirety of the album. The addition of scarce lyrics is done in electronic harmony with the musical layers, keeping the voice as part of the rhythm, never breaking the overall atmosphere.
Tear In The Sun is an interesting album that shouldn’t be overlooked because of its avant garde sound. Bell’s interesting approach to the origin of sound and harmony throws something new into the mix, giving the cylindrical swirl of music a new flavor as it engulfs the senses.
Stream the album below:
Folk-rock trio The Caves Singers returns for a third full release, No Witch, following 2007’s Invitation Songs and 2009’s Welcome Joy. After two albums under Matador Records, No Witch marks The Cave Singers’ first release under Jagjaguar. Featuring a shirtless bearded man apparently counting fingers on the caver, No Witch has a distinctive soft and bohemian feel.
The first single and third track on the album, “Black Leaf” instantly jumps out as the most upbeat of No Witch’s first half. The Cave Singers adeptly use a delicate mix of acoustic and electric sounds in an almost Tallest Man on Earth-like manner.
“Haystacks” strikes as a fun, catchy folk jam with a harmonica, acoustic guitars and harmonies that will make you just want to dance. The Cave Singers do a fine job of countering the upbeat folk dance songs with soft melodies, like in “Swim Club,” that accentuate singer Pete Quirk’s gravelly delivery.
Listen to "Swim Club":
Get out your kites, and prepare to start flying, children! The indie-tronic beat and banging tune of Win Win’s 2011, self-titled album takes the psyche on quite the whirlwind adventure.
“Future Again (Oakland)” begs the question, “where are we going?” Synthesized voices swoon “Living a lie, looking for mine, standing in line, wasting my time,” taking dramatic breaks occasionally and disrupting. Listeners do not know what may come next.
Roll around on the floor, select a cuddle buddy and listen in silence to “Release RPM.” Most likely, your mind will drift away to hollow thoughts, but the thizzing feelings of (self?) discovery links themselves to the song. And so the head bobs continue.
Lacking lyrics, keyboard and synthesizers dominate “Distort Reality,” contributing to the mental rollercoaster. Nonetheless, it best exemplifies the rave energy. Crank up the volume and bass, and follow the night’s stars for a drive.
Win Win comprises of an unpredictable mix of synths, keeping it playful and leaving listeners curious enough to want to hear more.
Check out "Release RPM":
Hailing from London, England, Banjo or Freakout shows the softer side of pop with their motley mix of lo-fi electronica and gentle acoustic in their new self-titled album.
The album seeps serenity with haunting, gender-ambiguous vocals and swirling mixtures of muted piano and guitar. “Dear Me” begins with just that, emulating a trip down the rabbit hole and into a land of pop-psychedelia. The listener spins in a twirl of repeated lyrics, riffs and avant-garde intrusions of sound, with hushed hums bringing the song to a close. “Go Ahead” is the most upbeat song on the album, integrating the occasional horn section to play off the casual interludes of acoustic guitar which appear again in “105.”
Overall, the album is a nice way to just escape for a while. The smooth sounds and quiet vocals make Banjo or Freakout the perfect soothing soundtrack for relaxation and meditation.
Listen to "105":
Here’s a confident band—one not afraid to layer abrasive textures, one unashamed of palpable psychedelic-blues-folk references, one having obvious fun.
On Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey, things seem to congeal. There’s a certain flavor that runs its course throughout, although each track stands alone as some sort of anthem to youth and that untouchable, unmatchable, emotion of being carefree.
The imagination here instantly grabs and shakes, unwilling to let go. No more is Akron/Family dependent on soft, acoustic arrangements. The gaps and expanses The Cosmic Birth fills could span canyon-sized holes. The air in the mix leaves room enough to believe.
And yet there’s a simplicity to the creativity—to the madness. The harmonies recall late-night campfires. But there’s romp; there’s fanfare. The album pushes elders aside and calls its friends into the room. Maturity takes a backseat, yet somehow acts as a non-annoying entity; the band’s craft came from some tenure, evidently.
It’s refreshing to hear, feel, and see a band thinking in album terms. The songs reach beyond themselves far enough to hint at their followers, and none seems too intent on calling much attention. “So It Goes” immediately clutches an audience’s throat with heavy hooks and unapologetic symphony. “Silly Bears” uses hard beats and crunch. “Another Sky” employs otherworldly tones and half-moans.
And yet they mesh. Everything interlocks.
The latter half of the band’s name sticks this time around. It’s a give-and-take experience, so join in. Welcome.
Listen to "So It Goes":
The Megaphonic Thrift, out of Bergen, Norway, shows that you can experiment with your sound within what seems like a familiar realm. The whole album seems to be turned up to overdrive with a fair share of distorted riffs and emotion-filled vocals.
“The Undertow,” starts with screams of distortion from the electric guitar, and leads you in with the steady beat of the drum. A gentle whine from lead singer Richard Myklebust eases you into the well constructed confusion.
There is always a particular song, like “Sister Joan,” where no wave bands decide to either turn off the distortion, or go unplugged. “Sister Joan,” flows in and out easily with the rest of the album. It only gives listeners a small break from the chaos, but like the rest of the songs you can allow yourself to get lost, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
The Megaphonic Thrift pinned a certain sound that goes hand in hand with the no wave scene, and it will be exciting to see what they come up with next.
Listen to "The Undertow":
Rachel Goodrich. You’ve heard her whimsy, beautiful creations even if you haven’t heard her name. Her music was in an episode of the television series “Weeds,” or that Crayola commercial for the Glow Dome or maybe it was on MTV’s “My Life As Liz.”
Goodrich has been in the Miami music scene since 2007 and on Feb. 21 she will release her self-titled and second album. Each song on the eleven-track album is lovely with just-right instrumentations that carefully complement her vocals.
Goodrich, who names Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Dr. Seuss as influences, essentially utilizes everything around her (pianos, kazoos, ukuleles and guitars) to masterfully create quirky yet smooth songs that stand apart from each other.
Listen to the album once, you’ll be mesmerized to listen again.
Check out "Light Bulb":
After breaking away from the female punk trio, Vivian Girls, and the short lived All Saints Day, Katy Goodman finally hones in on her own signature style with her new band La Sera. With inspirations coming from '50s and '60s pop hits, her songs contain dreamy vocals, beautiful harmonies, and surf rock guitars and drums. Her style is part warming and pleasant, and part edgy. Her songs are short, sweet and straight to the point, almost teasing the listener and making them beg for more. Regardless, La Sera is a satisfying listen that is very pleasing to the ears.
Listen to "Never Come Around":
With its jaunty ragtime- inspired sass Black Pistol Fire’s self-titled LP is a sure shot to any heart. This powerful duo of Kevin McKeown, on guitar/lead vocals, and Eric Owen, on the drums, has set the bar quite high from their basing in Austin, Texas.
The self-proclaimed best friends put their chemistry to good use with an infectious energy that topples through the tracks, sending the listener gallivanting on a robustly harmonic romp.
However dominated Black Pistol Fire may be by their own raw energy, they are fully capable of slowing it down from the temperamental tempo in “Jackknife Darlin’” to a reminiscence of early southern rock, in songs like “Sort Me Out” and “Black-Eyed Susan.”
According to the band’s Facebook page, “that album was recorded in 2 separate sessions, in an abandoned building in Detroit in about 20 hours.” The “filth from Detroit and the dust of Central Texas can all be heard,” giving good merit to the guttural vocals, and gutsy guitar riffs that ramble throughout the album.
Overall, Black Pistol Fire is quite the firebomb.
Listen to "Jackknife Darlin'":
Athens, GA has produced some of the most talented artists of the past 30 years. R.E.M., Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal all called Athens home and helped to launch their careers. Looking for new and exciting music from the Athens music scene today? Look no further than catchy indie-pop quartet Modern Skirts.
Instantly catchy “Happy 81” builds on aggressive looped drum kick, layering on the melodies like ‘90s Britpop in full force. “Under Bridges and Overpasses” is what Weezer would sound like if they formed 10 years later, with brisk percussion, jagged guitar feedback and vowel-accentuated background melodious vocals.
But this isn’t power-pop we’re talking about; it’s 21st-century electronic in all the right places. Robotic drum machines and growling bass-synth pounds permeate the Talking Heads-esque “Bumper Car.” Modern Skirts are quite modern indeed, even if they hearken back to the mathematically melodic music of the ‘80s.
Listen to "Happy 81":
Gang of Four has released Content, their first studio album since reuniting in 2006. Showing an eclectic blend of punk, funk, and dub, Gang of Four didn’t miss a step in retirement.
A common theme in the lyrics of Content is contradiction. Throughout the album, lead singer Jon King will establish a point and then go against it a line later. Each song presents its own message to the listener. The whole album is full of driving bass, catchy guitar, and singing that becomes part of the music instead of standing out against it. Bassist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham keep the timing tight and allow for the guitar work of Andy Gill to shine through.
The opening song on Content establishes the tone for the rest of the album by opening right away with a bass line that sounds like something off of a California surf-rock album. The guitar and drum come in and compliment the beat in a unique way that becomes common throughout Content.
No band plays their type of music better than Gang of Four. Ever since their start in 1977 they have been originating and evolving with every release. Content is no different and shows the band’s prime is far from over.
Listen to "You'll Never Pay for the Farm":
In 2006, five friends from Bowling Green, Kentucky got together and started to make music under the name Cage the Elephant. It didn’t take long for them to get noticed. Cage the Elephant has gained a huge following in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., captivating audiences with their boundless energy and unique sound.
Two years after the release of their debut, self-titled album, Cage the Elephant is back with Thank You Happy Birthday. The album features twelve tracks filled with energy and emotion. If fans of Cage the Elephant thought that the band couldn’t possibly produce a louder, quirkier album than their first, they’ve just been proven wrong. Whether it’s singer Matthew Shultz lamenting over the unpredictable and cruel nature of life in general in “Always Something,” expressing his optimism in “Shake Me Down,” or yelling at the one person he’s always dreaming about in “Around My Head,” Cage the Elephant has stayed true to their unique personality. They’re still combining hard-hitting, often angry sounds with lyrics that are just funny and sarcastic enough to grab your attention without having you lose focus on what each song is really about.
Check out the album's first single, "Shake Me Down":
Ethereal, angelic vocals flutter around sparse melodies and arrangements. Grown Unknown shows a simplistic musical concept expanded; the songs here show different sides of the same coin—one dug out from beneath snow and ice.
Like her stage name, Lia Ices evokes cold moods. Her sobering tunes sway in and out of consciousness, like a fireside chat in the small morning hours. Fittingly, Justin Vernon guests on “Daphne,” cooing an unmistakable falsetto for no other season. “Grown Unknown” takes a rhythmic jump from the rest of the album, but not one so disparate that it alienates.
Grown Unknown showcases a calm—some sort of unnerving quiet on the eve of a heavy snow. Kids have gone to bed, but adults wait restless for what happens next.
Listen to the title track from Grown Unknown:
OFF! should’ve had a decent fanbase in the punk community. The new supergroup features former Black Flag/Circle Jerks front man Keith Morris, Burning Bridges’ Dimitri Coats, Redd Kross bassist Steve McDonald and Rocket from the Crypt/Hot Snakes drummer Mario Rubalcaba.
The band’s first release, a compilation of four EPs, collects 16 fast, rough punk songs, reminiscent of Black Flag’s 1978 EP, Nervous Breakdown. The longest track on First Four EPs, “Poison City,” runs for just over a minute and a half.
OFF! has received high praise from more than just punk and skate magazines. The Onion’s A.V. Club gave it an A- and the Chicago Tribune awarded it three-and-a-half stars out of four. Even the hipsters at Pitchfork named it “Best New Music” with a score of 8.5 out of 10.
OFF! is an anomaly. Keith Morris is 55, and the rest of the band isn’t far behind. They still play the music of their youth – just as fast and angrily, and they may be even more successful this time around.
Check out a live take of "Darkness":
Bold Victorian piano chords are struck and ring to the rafters. Drums chime in jazz circles and cymbal stops. A frightened woman repeatedly cries, “Oh, the unspeakable things!” No, this isn’t a horror movie; it’s Dark Dark Dark’s brooding tune “Daydreaming.”
That’s right, Dark Dark Dark, a sprawling seven-member chamber-folk group from Minnesota. Led by singer Nona Marie Invie, the band wraps around ghostly vocals with atmosphere that echoes skyward. Wild Go, their sophomore effort, was released in 2010. Some Dark Dark Dark tunes radiate a strange vibe, like you’ve stumbled upon a secret group of escaped circus freaks holding a bizarre ritual. “Celebrate” utilizes an accordion-pumped melody straight from the carnival. The anxious percussion and background howls on “Flood” paint a morosely twisted scene.
Dark Dark Dark is definitely haunting, eerie, otherworldly, etc. But their late-night melancholy is, at the same time, uplifting and beautiful. “Robert” hums like the prettiest Regina Spektor song with its swift ivory strokes. Even the last-one-at-the-bar feel of “Daydreaming” allows room for Dark Dark Dark to breathe a sigh of sweet release, even if it’s between whiskey gulps.
“Oh, if you knew what it meant to me,” laments Invie, but it’s the audience that’s more likely to “Daydream” about this, once they’ve heard Dark Dark Dark.
With the start of the New Year, it is hard to forget the great albums we had on constant repeat from 2010, and you shouldn't. But, while you're still blasting your favorites, watch out for the following albums this year. Let's hope 2011 exceeds our expectations!
British Sea Power-Valhalla Dancehall, 1/11/ 11
Cake-Showroom of Compassion, 1/11/11
Rye Rye-Go! Pop! Bang!, 1/11/11
The Decemberists-The King is Dead, 1/18/11
The Smith Westerns-Dye it Blonde, 1/18/11
Tennis-Cape Dory, 1/18/11
Cloud Nothings-Cloud Nothings, 1/25/11
Iron and Wine-Kiss Each Other Clean, 1/25/11
The Go! Team-Rolling Blackouts, 1/31/11
Hercules and Love Affair-Blue Songs, 1/31/11
Cut Copy-Zonoscope, 2/08/11
Bright Eyes-The People's Key, 2/15/11
Drive-By-Truckers-Go-Go Boots, 2/18/11
The Low Anthem-Smart Flesh, 2/22/11
Toro y Moi-Underneath The Pine, 2/22/11
Lykke Li-Wounded Rhymes, 3/01/11
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart-Belong, March 2011
Lupe Fiasco-Lasers, 3/ 08/11
Paul Simon-So Beautiful or So What, 4/12/11
The Mountain Goats-All Eternal's Deck, 4/29/11
Beastie Boys-Hot Sauce Committee, Spring 2011
The Black Lips, Spring 2011
Cat Power, 2011
Fleet Foxes, 2011
Jay-Z and Kanye West-Watch The Throne, 2011
Panda Bear-Tomboy, 2011
The Strokes, Spring 2011
1. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
3. Beach House - Teen Dream
5. Bruce Springsteen - The Promise
6. The National - High Violet
7. Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
8. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
9. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
11. Free Energy - Stuck on Nothing
13. Ra Ra Riot - The Orchard
14. Sleigh Bells - Treats
15. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
16. Vampire Weekend - Contra
18. Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
19. The Extra Lens - Undercard
Xander Singh’s timid vocals, like almost all the sounds on Pepper Rabbit’s Beauregard, are drowned in reverb. Singh and his collaborator, Luc Laurent, throw just about everything else into the mix. Clarinets, ukuleles, banjos, horns and string sections are among the wide variety of instruments found on the album.
The band’s experimental chamber pop is both orchestral and psychedelic. The opener, “Clarinet Song,” focuses on the lush arrangements. The song peaks when the vocal harmonies are buried beneath horns, woodwinds and marching drums. “None Shall Sleep” swells with emphatic rhythms and lulls with distant horns and ethereal strings. “In the Spirit of Beauregard,” features a heavy psychedelic influence without being drastically different. The clarinet and slow, bouncy piano quickly coalesce into a trippy spiral of sound.
And it actually works. Beauregard makes for an incredible listen. There’s so much going on, but Pepper Rabbit aren’t trying to be Beirut or Arcade Fire. Instead of bold and grandiose, it’s subtle and beautiful. It takes a few listens to hear it all, but that’s one of the most endearing aspects of the album. Pepper Rabbit make you want to discover every nuance within Beauregard.
Check out a live version of "None Shall Sleep," performed on KEXP:
When you have a voice as smooth and calming as Norah Jones’, it’s easy to fit into any song. In Jones’ compilation album …Featuring, released Nov. 2, the Grammy-winning jazz pianist and singer-songwriter slips into rock, R&B and country songs as if she’s been in the genre all along.
“Baby It’s Cold Outside,” one of Jones’ three Grammy-nominated duets with her mentor Willie Nelson, gives a cute, flirty experience to the album (even though Nelson is more than twice her age).
“Take Off Your Cool,” from Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, is a slow jam mixed with acoustic guitar. Although this isn’t Jones’ normal genre, she blends in with Andre 3000’s sensual song. Her work between rap verses with Q-tip and Talib Kweli also shows she can do more than adult contemporary.
“I never really thought I would be singing with rappers,” Jones says on her YouTube channel. “I feel like it’s more of a natural thing than it seems because I know that all these guys love jazz. We share a common love of a certain music that even though we do very different things with it, … in the end it’s always musical and it all works out.”
…Featuring proves that Jones can sing country too. She plays with Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and Dolly Parton. She cowrote “Dear John” with Ryan Adams.
Jones returns to her native genre with songs with Herbie Hancock and Charlie Hunter. The album finishes with “Blue Bayou,” featuring M. Ward.
Partnering with an assorted variety of artists, Norah Jones demonstrates she can work with almost anyone – and sound really really good.
Listen to "Dear John" - Jones' collaboration with Ryan Adams:
Hailing from Nashville, Tenn., The Parting Gifts are bringing late-sixties instrumentals back to the garage-rock scene. On their new album, Strychnine Dandelion, country and folk influences wind their way through tracks sung by gritty voices and underlayed with saloon-style piano.
Several noted blues voices can be found on the album, including Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Patrick Keeler of The Greenhornes and The Raconteurs, Dave Amels, and Jem Cohen and Poni Silver from the Ettes. The variety of gravely voices gives each song an individual flare, spreading the album’s influences to every end of the spectrum.
Overall, the album bears a heavy resemblance to the soundtrack of a spaghetti western. But, if you’re into garage rock-country-folk fusion, then The Parting Gifts are right for you.
Check out "Keep Walkin":
The core of L.A. art/rock duo Eagle and Talon is made up of Kim (on vocals and guitar) and Alice Talon (on drums, casio, and back-up vocals). Since the duo started to write and produce their own music, they have been gaining popularity, becoming famous for always trying to give their listeners something fun to listen to.
In Manila is Eagle and Talon’s second EP, following up their debut full-length, Thracian. For In Manila, Kim and Alice recruited the efforts of Damon Zick (alto sax, bass clarinet), Daphne Chen (viola), Davin Givhan (bass) and Jordan Katz (trumpet/flugal horn). With Alice punching out melodies on her keyboard and Kim’s strong, clear vocals delivering the lyrics, you wouldn’t think they’d need anything more to produce highly enjoyable and upbeat indie music, but the added layers that each of the different instruments bring to the table makes each song that much more unique, helping Eagle and Talon stand out as something that’s a little different and a lot more fun than your average indie band.
Listen to the title track, "In Manila":
Indie music is going to rely heavily on Mikey Jukebox for setting new standards in the future. Jukebox’s self titled debut LP pumps positive energy through every strike of the drums, every stroke of the guitar and every gulp of air that Mikey provides.
The first track “!Hello Dreamer!” infuses a clap track, gentle synths, and flowing instrumental to make one well orchestrated song. Once Mikey’s voice hits a few low notes, you can only think to compare him to David Bowie.
Don’t be shy to hit repeat the next time you hop in your car and blast the new anthem of our generation “Come On Along.” It is another cog in the not-quite-indie glam-rock revival. With this song in mind, Mikey would be best described as vintage in almost every sense of the word. He wears his beats from the '70s with pride as he pumps up a crowd.
Glam rock’s long-extinguished flame has been rekindled in the form of Mikey Jukebox.
Listen to "Come On Along":
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, the alternative synth-pop trio Midnight Juggernauts released their second full-length album The Crystal Axis, bringing a bit of darkness to the world of electronica.
The Crystal Axis begins with the trancelike minute-and-a-half instrumental track “Induco,” which blends seamlessly with “Vital Signs,” a trance track with pop vocals that fades into Bloc Party-esque chants and rhythms before returning to pop. The album continues with a mix of catchy dance tracks and slower electronic pieces. The entire album has dark, almost melancholy music under upbeat pop vocals, creating a middle-ground perfect for a club pulsing with people.
Listen to "Vital Signs":
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is actually two people - Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott. The Motor City band's name might lead you to think they're just a couple of motor heads, but the music of their debut EP, Horse Power, is nothing you'll hear at a NASCAR race.
Epstein and Zott harmonize like a digital reincarnation of the Beach Boys. Their soft-spoken lyrics float over mellow electronics and guitars. Songs like "Vocal Chords" and "Simple Girl" will have you singing, or maybe even whistling, along.
They take the stage tonight in the Rathskeller. The free show starts at 7 p.m.
And don't miss openers Paul's Grandfather - a folk-pop trio from Fredonia, N.Y.
Soft Circle's Shore Obsessed is the third offering of original music from the duo Ben Vida and Hisham Bharoocha. The album is full of catchy bass lines, synth-laden riffs and plenty of reverb-filled vocals.
Songs like "First Time," and "Don't Know" show off the compositional talents of both members and how each is capable of writing extremely catchy tunes. The unusal thing about Shore Obsessed is that each song offers something new and different to the listener. Each time through, the CD yields something you hadn't heard before, and that's where the dynamics of Soft Circle show through. The band offers something that causes you to come back to it. It's just too much fun to let the music go without taking another listen.
Shore Obsessed is a unique presentation of music, it will lead to many new fans of the group if they're willing to give the album a chance.
Listen to "Treading Water":
Bikini has the kind of D.I.Y. feel that’s infiltrated much of the recent indie world. What separates this group is the polish. That slightly rough-around-the-edges charm is missing from Bikini’s RIP JDS.
On first listen, big synths hook you in and stimulate. Textures build, and melodies wave by easily. The majesty of it all can actually overwhelm. But it’s not bad music. With little background knowledge, it’d be easy to peg this EP as a studio baby—a disc painfully made by two perfectionists slaving over one singular chord change or drum machine tone for hours.
Bikini seems like an electronic group with actual chops. That’s tough to come by.
Check out "American Mourning":
Nowhere Near Poughkeepsie is the debut solo album of seasoned Boston musician, Greg Lyon. After spending several years in several different bands, Lyon decided to take what he had learned about the music industry and writing songs and apply it to a solo album that he could have complete and total creative control over. Recording almost everything in his own rehearsal space, Lyon has created an album that is entirely his own style, and it’s an album to be proud of.
Nowhere Near Poughkeepsie is an album of blended musical genres. A hint of old-school ‘60s pop and a dash of folk-rock are added to the general melting pot of indie-rock, creating songs that sound simple on the surface, but are much more complex once you start digging into the album. Greg Lyon’s mission was to create an album that speaks to his own musical tastes and relates to the events of his own life, and in the process he’s created an album that speaks and relates to each and everyone of us as well.
Listen to the title track, "Nowhere Near Poughkeepsie":
Girls has always been a bunch of sappy, lovelorn beach bums. Their 2009 full-length debut, Album, showcased the band’s ability to craft succinct pop jingles, sprawling emotional outbursts and fuzz-dipped goldenrod in the span of 12 songs. A year later, Girls is still doing the same thing—moping around with crisp arpeggios and whisper-chimed vocals.
Singer Christopher Owens’ troubled upbringing in the Children of God cult has become an essential ingredient in the band’s backstory. Owens feels, and feels deeply; he wants to be happy but he knows why he sometimes isn’t. The music builds on Owens’ sentiments, rising behind him with a euphony of slide guitars and tickled ivories.
“I just want to get high, but everyone keeps bringing me down,” he sings on the title track. And that’s how the record goes—ebbs and flows of emotion mingled with sappy love-pop. “Oh So Protective One” chimes like a ‘50s school-dance pop standard, complete with a horn section. “Substance” is a self-explanatory ode to a certain mood-altering chemical agent, washed over by sun-drenched California surf guitar waves.
Important to note is that Girls are about the self. Know yourself—know how you live, know how you love—and know your limits. “You can do anything, yeah, you can rock and roll,” Owens whisper-sings on the penultimate track before adding “…out of control.” If this bunch of mid-tempo sludge-pop is any indication, Girls aren’t exactly trying to rock out. But that’s alright—they know how to be sweet and charming about it.
Listen to "Heartbreaker":
Orange Juice was a Scottish post-punk band. They originally formed in 1976 as Nu-Sonics and later became Orange Juice in 1979. Orange Juice is best known for their hit single “Rip It Up,” which reached #8 in the U.K. singles chart in February 1983. Their musical style was one that combined post-punk guitars with disco and funk rhythms similar to the Clash and Gang of Four. During the bands short-lived career between 1979 and 1984, they released four albums. Their first, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever, began the slippery slope of internal strife within the band that caused the lineup to change extensively and eventually led to the bands demise.
The box set, Coals to New Castle, provides an extensive look at the band's career and is a great introduction for those who are new to the band. "Rip It Up" starts out with disco rhythm synthesizer then moves into its post punk guitar rhythms, followed by a steady free-flowing disco beat. Singer Edwyn Collins’ vocals are a mix between Mick Jones’ of the Clash and Morrissey, while his lyrics are very campy but fit together with the intricate musical style. "Blue Boy" on the other hand is straight post-punk from the band's musical archive.
"Scaremonger" is a powerful post-punk ballad that features disco and funk rhythms. The song tells of a failed marriage and features the repetitive phrase of “It didn't always be that way.” The musical style is similar to the Clash's "Lost in The Supermarket."
For whatever it’s worth, Coals to Newcastle is a very impressive box set that encompasses the band's career by giving long-time listeners new bonus material to complete their Orange Juice library and provides the essentials for new listeners to become acclimated with a band that has been long forgotten. What makes Orange Juice a great band is that these songs still feel as though they are brand new and will continue to remain brand new.
Check out the classic "Rip It Up":
Well-known for their dream-pop sound, The Radio Dept. has been playing and writing music since 1995, despite a rough start and cycling through their fair share of band members. Once the band took off, however, there was no stopping them. Since 2001, The Radio Dept. has been gaining momentum in Sweden’s indie-pop scene and is now signed to Labrador Records.
Combining smooth, almost monotonous vocals with poppy, upbeat background music is what The Radio Dept. does best. Their music begs you to take them and their lyrics seriously, but not too seriously. They might have some powerful meaning to their songs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy listening to them. The Radio Dept. is a well-balanced combination of mellowness and energy, finding the perfect median between songs you’d hear in a dance club and songs you’d find on a before-bed playlist.
Check out "Never Follow Suit":
Deep, throbbing bass beats, a chanting underlay and sporadic screaming open to door industrial alternative in Nitzer Ebb’s new album Industrial Complex. This techno troupe formed in 1982, with most of their early music stemming from experimentation with synthesizers and drum pads.
Industrial Complex sticks to its name, as the CD jumps from the rave craze of “Once You Say” and “Promises” to the more upbeat, pop feel of “On the Road” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” It seems as though the band can’t settle on one definite feel, but the entire album works well as an outreach into the many aspects of industrial techno.
Overall, the album throws a lot at you. Its multi-purpose nature gives it almost universal applicability in terms of soundtrack for social events. Where “I’m Undone” offers doleful sounds for a Saturday night spent alone, “Once You Say” is perfect for a downtown rave under black-lights. Nitzer Ebb doesn’t fall short, but Industrial Complex seems like a stepping stone to a more developed sound.
Listen to "Promises":
“My goal is to sound like I’m from 2050, but still feel really classic, like the music is an old friend,” said new Danish electro-pop sensation Oh Land. Her goal certainly has been met.
Oh Land, formerly a ballet dancer for the Danish Royal Ballet, suffered an injury causing her to retire. Due to this unfortunate event, Oh Land discovered a passion for creating vocal music. This has been an extreme success for her in Denmark. Now she moves to the U.S., hoping for the same success. Her American debut, a self-titled EP, shows great potential to take a pop-loving market by storm.
The EP starts off with catchy, downbeat heavy, “Sun of a Gun.” The song really gets you excited with every heavy electric drum beat and her sultry voice. The song has 2 other remixes on the album one done by Yuksek and another done by Savage Skulls.
The second track, “White Nights” has hit single written all over it. Her feist-esque sound combined with interval jumping synths and extremely catchy lyrics leave you wanting more. The EP continues with tracks “Rainbow” and “Wolf & I.” These tracks round out the EP and clearly define her sound.
Once Oh Land hits the ears of listeners across America, she will be on the fast track to success. This futuristic pop sound could take America by storm.
Listen to "Son of a Gun":
The 22-20s spent the time from their reformation in 2008, after a three-year break up, honing their craft of English rock. Their sophmore release Shake/Shiver/Moan is full of songs reminiscent of the Beatles, Oasis and other great rock acts out of Britain. It is obvious this band draws heavily from their influences when writing music.
The songs on Shake/Shiver/Moan range from psychedelic, to driving rock, to reflective. Songs on the album have a remarkable way of getting stuck into your head, whether you realize it or not. Often times after listening to this music, you find yourself trying to remember where you heard these songs before, only to realize they’re all in your hands.
With a very focused vision, 22-20s knows what they want to play and how to play it, it’s music you’ll wish you had been hearing your whole life.
Check out a live studio version of "Latest Heartbreak":
The White Buffalo commands the full attention of whatever room he’s occupying at that very moment. On stage, the over-six-feet-tall grizzly man grips his guitar with force, belting out his wooded lyrics like the poet laureate of the forest. He spouts folktales of lost love like a frontier gunman on the run from his charred past. But The White Buffalo’s most charming quality is his humanity—each song is a personal reflection, especially the spiteful ode to whiskey on “John Jameson” and the self-explanatory “Love Song #2.”
With his long brown mane, fuzzy beard and shirts that can only have been bought from big-and-tall stores, The White Buffalo is a man’s man: a drinking, fighting, soulful man who ain’t afraid to tell you everything, no matter what you might say about it. “I’m sloshed and seein’ stars,” opens his whiskey croon, but you listen deeper and more personally to hear him finish the story. And that’s the whole heart of The White Buffalo—his stories.
Without ‘em, would this large American bard have been able to put out records and tour relentlessly to support them over the past five years? Nope, didn’t think so. Walt Whitman wrote about a unified America, one that spans oceans and mountains with a strong sense of brotherhood. While The White Buffalo might seem like a cold drunkard who’d rather fight his fellow man than embrace him, his story is all of ours, and it’s all-American.
Listen to "Love Song #2":
After an eight-year hiatus, The Greenhornes, the trio from Cincinnati, Ohio is at it again. ‘****’, their latest album, gets right back into the garage rock the band is known for. On the other hand, this album happens to be pure poetry.
If “Underestimator” doesn’t hook you from the very first guitar strum, the catchy lyrics surely will. Lead singer Craig Fox pleads with his love with a familiar notion, “I’ll spend my day, waiting for you.” You find yourself not only drawn in by the song, but empathizing with the rocker. The band is rounded out by bassist Jack Lawrence (of The Dead Weather) and drummer Patrick Keeler, who both also play with Jack White in the Raconteurs.
All-in-all Greenhornes has matured in the eight years they have taken off. ‘****’ definitely lives up to its name.
Listen to the upbeat "Underestimator":
Jessica Hernandez brings the heat both vocally and instrumentally in her new album, Weird Looking Women in Too Many Clothes. Her unique vocal construction draws the listener in, entertaining them with thoughts of macabre circus sideshows, and Mardi Gras.
The infusions of brass, keyboard and avant-garde percussion give the pieces a jaunty tone, which contrasts highly with the dark nature of the lyrics. Each song shows a different side of Hernandez’s vocal range while continually complementing the spirit of the album as a whole.
Hernandez’s unique gothic-soul vocals create a chilling semblance with their drawn out vibrato and ghostly underlays. Her deep tambour on “Moonstruck” sounds like a dirge, bringing the listener back to the voodoo and black magic of New Orleans.
Overall, the album sets the bar extremely high for this up-and-coming group. The thought and effort put into each aspect is not only apparent, but necessary for the album to provide so much auditory pleasure. From the bubbly melody of “In The City” to the slower, more melancholy mastery of “All So Mute,” Hernandez does not disappoint.
Listen to "In the City":
San Francisco-based band The Fresh & Onlys have been bringing their garage-pop sound to the music scene for three years, making a name for themselves by combining the hard-hitting chug of garage rock with the playful twang of folk rock.
Play It Strange is The Fresh & Onlys third album in as many years, and it showcases a cleaner, more easily accessible sound than we’ve seen so far. Singer Tim Cohen doesn’t provide much color in his flat, baritone vocals, but taking the backseat to the melodies and rhythms from the guitars and drums works in The Fresh & Onlys favor to create heavily instrumental and interesting songs. At times throughout the album, it sounds as though they’ve played around with different musical genres, putting their folk-rock, garage-pop spin on sounds you’d usually attribute to old western movies or songs you’d hear from The Beach Boys. Every song brings something new to the listener, keeping them interested and making us all wonder what they’ll come up with next.
Check out the video for "Waterfall":
Electronic music isn’t all soulless beeps or mindless techno. Gold Panda, aka U.K. producer Derwin Panda, creates music rich with emotion and imagery on his debut album.
Lucky Shiner is a journey. Panda draws on his time studying culture, history and language in Japan to take the listener to the Far East. What’s truly fascinating about the songs, though, is that the nostalgia isn’t lost on the listener. Songs like “Same Dream China” draw on the traveler in all of us to create emotional connections. The stories become personal for each listener. The instrumental nature of his music allows Panda to produce intense images. Visions of a wintery night (“Snow & Taxis”) or the bustle of Mumbai (“India Lately”) instantly flood the listener.
The vivid imagery of Lucky Shiner makes for an incredible listen. Panda’s stories have no words, but the listener knows exactly what he’s saying.
Listen to Gold Panda's "Same Dream China":
The trio Coastwest Unrest formed in 2009 in Las Vegas. In that time they’ve released two albums, their debut effort Songs From the Desert and their sophomore follow-up Old Weird America.
Old Weird America is essential Coastwest Unrest; it is full of instantly catchy folk-rock tunes that utilize all three members of the band, Alex Barnes and brothers Josh and Noah Dickie.
Tracks like “Down in the Mouth” showcase the bands signature sound as acoustic guitars play catchy rhythms, harmonica and drums add to the overall ambience, and the violin played by Barnes always seems to do a lot without ever doing too much.
Old Weird America came about from CU’s travels across the country and their inspirations during specific moments of touring. You can feel the haunting reach of “Weird America” in every song on the album. Old Weird America is the wonderfully elusive second effort that surpasses the original.
Listen to "Down in the Mouth" for a taste of Coastwest Unrest:
The Black and White Years have been around since early 2006, after band members Scott Butler, Landon Thompson, and John Aldridge met at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. They began to play music together on the local scene and recorded their first EP just before adding drummer Billy Plotts into the mix in 2008.
Two years after producing their debut album, the Black and White Years are back with their sophomore album, Patterns. Butler and Thompson are at the forefront of the album, bringing with them not only their relaxed vocals, but also the power-pop background sounds that are present throughout the entire album. If The Black and White Years are one thing from the opening song “Up!” to the closing “Promises”, it’s consistent; each and every song unites the band’s desire to produce songs with complex lyrics with upbeat, electronic background music, encouraging listeners to not only take them seriously as musicians, but to enjoy it as well.
Listen to the opening track, "Up!":
“I don’t know—it’s mellow, kind of late-night music,” replied singer-songwriter Steve Schlitz when asked to describe his music in his own words. And it’s a fair description—there aren’t any loud, bang-it-out, anthemic choruses. No bluesy riffs snaking around a frisky bassline. No goofily misplaced electronics. This is personal, intimate, delicate music—“mellow, kind of late-night music,” indeed.
Schlitz took a break from his New York-based indie group Longwave after a 10-year run to start up a smaller, more personal project called Hurricane Bells. Using only a simple laptop studio in his house, Schlitz expected to make a few songs, sell some music and do a quick tour. Instead, Hurricane Bells blossomed into an expansive endeavor, with a B-side from his initial recordings ended up on the Twlight: New Moon soundtrack. Since then, Hurricane Bells performed at South by Southwest and cranked out a five-song EP entitled Down Comes the Rain.
“Make a Deal With the City” beings boldly with a charming, familiar electric melody laid over standard pop-tune drums. The song, a cover of East River Pipe’s of the same name, is a quaint introduction to this mellow act. Schlitz comes into full view with his cover of Blue October’s thumping “Into the Ocean.” Substituting the overdramatic electronics of the original with simple drum pounds, shakers and an acoustic current, Hurricane Bells offer a new imagining of an incredible song.
Let’s dissect the band’s name: a hurricane is a powerful force, and bells are soft, sweet and charming noises. Yeah, sounds about right for this band.
Listen to Hurricane Bells' latest single off Down Comes the Rain, "The Waiting Song":
With surges in production of both post-psychedelia and minimalism in the indie world, it’s easy to lose some bands in the shuffle. But when one band combines both halves so fluidly and endearingly, it’s hard not to perk up.
The all-female quartet Warpaint released The Fool on October 25, and it has a closeness about it that encourages dark, empty-room listening and strict attention.
The for-your-ears-only vocals feel almost whispered and calm—even exacting. The intricate-but-delicate guitar work adds a warm and rich timbre to an open-air mix, leaving listeners pining for what’s next.
For a debut LP, The Fool extracts many emotions effortlessly: suspense, solitude, excitement, discomfort, and joy.
Listen to "Undertow":
Cloud Nothings is 18 year old Dylan Baldi, who originally started recording music in his basement using a microphone and his computer, creating raw and intense lo-fi music that sends the blood moving through the body.
Turning On compiles what Cloud Nothings has released so far. What stands out are the summer-sounding jangly guitars with their wavy distortions and layered vocals that accompany them. With this distortion, however, it may take a while for it to fully grow on new listeners. But once it does, it is sure to be something that you will embrace and love. The title track “Turning On” has a distinct bass line that stands out from start to finish, while the opening track “Can’t Stay Awake” opens up with a powerpop, Superchunk guitar riff. Most of the tracks on Turning On are about three minutes long. Because the tracks are so short, it makes for a quick, easy listen and may become the next staple for a summer barbecue.
Check out the fuzzed-out "Can't Stay Awake":
Bad Books, the brainchild of singer-songwriter Kevin Devine and Andy Hull, the lead singer of Manchester Orchestra, is the eponymous debut album of the indie rock supergroup. The music of Bad Books is instantly familiar to any MO fan, because Bad Books is essentially Manchester Orchestra with Kevin Devine adding his vocal and compositional talents to the band.
The album is divided into two sides, five songs composed by Devine and five more by Hull. Songs like “Holding down the Laughter” and “You’re a Mirror I Cannot Avoid,” composed by Devine, show off his influences in folk music as well as fellow indie acts like Elliott Smith. The songs written by Hull, however, such as “Please Move” (maybe the breakout track from the album) and “Baby Shoes” reach more towards indie and alternative rock influences. “You Wouldn’t Have to Ask,” another standout track from Devine that’s almost over before it begins shows that he’s not afraid to turn up the distortion and break out power chords while writing.
Bad Books is music recommended to anyone who needs to relax after a stressful day; this music reaches deep inside you and massages your soul. The album flows from song to song and without any background information on Bad Books you would think this band has been together for years. Bad Books is definitely worth a listen to anyone who enjoys any kind of music. The band’s influences come from all types of music, which is what makes them appealing as a group. You won’t regret checking out Bad Books, it’s better than reading.
Check out the Devine-penned track "You Wouldn't Have to Ask":
Sufjan Stevens fans already know that last year Stevens abandoned his project to write an album for each of the 50 states, but he did manage two from the project: Michigan and Illinois. Fans would have also been excited when his label, Asthmatic Kitty, announced news of his full-length album, Age of Adz, just a week after he dropped his All Delighted People EP this August.
The 85-minute Age of Adz (actually pronounced Age of “Odds”) is Stevens’ first proper album since 2005 and it is certain to move the fan or listener be it good or bad. Stevens’ lyrics and demeanor are more straightforward, honest and ambitious than his usual unflustered persona.
Standouts on the 85-minute long album include “Futile Devices,” a guitar melody that’s supported by Stevens’ whispery voice and a casual piano. The title track, “Age of Adz,” has a lot of electronic and like many Sufjan songs, it’s best understood in its musical movements rather than verse-by-verse, and on “Vesuvius,” the lyrics remain soft throughout, but the music builds to help it grow.
Read more about Sufjan Stevens in this week's Buzzworthy, hitting newsstands tomorrow!
Listen to Sufjan Stevens explore new sounds on "Vesuvius":
Elvis Costello returns to his 70’s and 80’s post-punk form with his latest effort, National Ransom. The album, which streamed for free on Stephen Colbert’s website last week, welcomes the listener with familiar themes. Featuring his signature organ riffs and guitar solos, the opening and title track jumps out as classic Costello while clearly referencing current times with the lyric, “Woe betide all this hocus-pocus.
They’re running us ragged at their first attempt, around the time the killing stopped on Wall St.”
Costello gets some help from producer T. Bone Burnett, who produced last year’s Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, and guest performers including Vince Gill, Leon Russell and all members of his last two bands, The Imposters and The Sugarcanes. “My Lovely Jezebel” is very much affected by Burnett’s Nashville Americana sound and features Russell on piano.
Costello’s voice isn’t quite what it once was, but he’s as sharp a songwriter as ever and he does just fine with this year’s album.
Check out the title track, "National Ransom":
More than a couple band bios on Bear Hands have begun by discussing how singer-guitarist-keyboardist Dylan Rau formed the band to “spite a romantic rival.” If this really is a band spawned from angst and fury, it shows. The quartet, originally formed over three years ago, has released two EPs and toured relentlessly to support them (behind such indie heavyweights as Vampire Weekend, MGMT and Passion Pit). Their biblically non-sequitur-titled debut album, Burning Bush Supper Club, was released on November 2.
These guys are tight, alright. Rau favors repeated lyrics and melodies over constant word-vomit and the rhythm section keeps time with an excited fervor, unlike the monotonous drone of some of their contemporaries. A true rock band at heart, Bear Hands isn’t afraid to expand into pounding keyboard rhythms and dance drums on the opening track, “Crime Pays,” while Rau strikes immediately with a melodious falsetto. “Belongings” plays like an anthem to decadent youth with references to spinning 45s and burning bushes (the illegal kind).
Oh yeah, and that whole angry romance thing? Rau bulges veins in his neck when he forcibly informs listeners that he’s “dreaming of your goddamn long nails” on “What a Drag.” But the sweeter side of Bear Hands shines on tracks like “Camel Convention,” when Rau shifts back up a vocal range to yelp out his emotions, and the strangely-named-but-awesomely-executed “Julien Donkey Boy.”
Bear Hands have some surprises up their sleeve. They’ve learned from the best by touring with big-name acts and have picked up the proverbial tricks of the trade. Listen for how the sounds settle on top of each other, never fully blending but never fully disconnecting either. Anyway, enough of the vague music review. Go listen to these guys and enjoy the nuances of a headstrong young band determined to move people (even if it’s only their heads moving to the rhythm).
Listen to "What a Drag":
Zach Hill has added another solid project to his body of musical endeavors. Going solo this time, Zach’s new release Face Tat can be ferocious, soulful, and funky all in the same song. The lyrics are all written by the ex-Hella drummer, but he receives help on guitar from Randy Randall and Nick Reinhart. The album is highly experimental and often psychedelic, and it features an impressive list of contributors.
"The Primitives Talk" is a softer, more melodic introduction to the album, while tracks like “The Sacto Smile” and “House of Hits” bring a heavier and more frantic attack. Zach’s extreme level of skill on the drums is the only thing that remains constant on this album, tying together the keyboard lines, punk riffs, and whimsical vocals.
Listen to the psychedelic masterpiece "The Primitives Talk":
Ben Harper, Dhani Harrison (George’s son) and Akron singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur joined together in February for somewhat of a supergroup called Fistful of Mercy. With the help of drummer Jim Keltner, who has recorded with Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Harrion’s father, among others, As I Call You Down makes a classic rock and folksy-sounding debut.
The three vocalists and guitarists make a smooth, relaxing combination. The upbeat, catchy “Father’s Son” might be the best example of the group’s blending talents, mixing Harper’s soul and blues roots with the kind of harmonies you might hear on an old Traveling Wilburys album. Lyrics like “Please lord now forgive me, even though I don't deserve. I never was too good in life, the devil's all I serve,” sound like they could’ve been written by Robert Johnson or Willie Dixon.
The pace evens out with the reserved instrumental jam “30 Bones,” which features violinist Jessy Green. However it’s mostly the easy mixture of the trio’s voices and acoustic guitars that makes As I Call You Down worth a listen.
Listen to the supergroup's "Father's Son":
Losing yourself is made easy with the latest installment from Small Black. New Chain is an album that's easy on your ears while still bringing a strong presence to the lo-fi chillwave scene.
“Panthers” starts you off with an outer-spacey feel that pulls you through the cosmos. On your ride strange synths mixed with the smooth voice of Josh Kolenik provides the perfect guide. “New Chain” is a more upbeat track that makes you feel like you may be in a dream sequence of a late-'80s movie.
Songs like “Hydra” take you through what feels like a jungle of sound; with every turn there stands a new beat. Small Black is setting new standards for the chillwave movement with New Chain.
Listen to the spacey sounds of the title track, "New Chain":
In her latest EP, Valusia, American singer/songwriter Nika Roza Danilova, aka Zola Jesus, defies the idea of traditional psychadelia. Her riveting, unapologetic vocals explode amidst the vibrant summersaulting of electronica.
Danilova’s originality is unmatched in the world of lo-fi, demonstrating her pure artistic talent as she intertwines piano, brass and strings with her guttural vocals. Though a synthesizer makes a brief appearance, auto-tune is nowhere to be found.
Overall, Valusia is a success, with the only complaint being the lack of songs on the EP. If Danilova can do this well with four songs, I’d like to see what she can do with a full album.
Check out the ethereal "Sea Talk":
Wilco bassist John Stirratt has been thumping for the alt-country megaband since 1994. Pat Sansone joined a decade later after the two had collaborated to form The Autumn Defense, a sweet highway companion to Wilco’s warm majesty.
Album opener “Back of My Mind” could be a Wilco remnant from 2004’s A Ghost is Born, with its chiming piano melody and George Harrison-esque choppy guitar. Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche even appears on the gentle sing-a-long “Tell Me What You Want.” It wouldn’t be a stretch to compare Sansone’s voice to Wilco’s smoky frontman Jeff Tweedy’s, but The Autumn Defense is a band all its own.
While Wilco’s quieter moments tend to favor the dark over the tender, The Autumn Defense are as sweet as their name. Circling their folky arrangements with rising strings and bright triangle clicks, Sansone and Stirratt hearken back to The Beatles in their sweetest moments. The ominous title track “Once Around” envelops with a pulsating drum beat laced under a Zeppelin-esque acoustic breakdown. Rustic strums coupled with limber arpeggios on “The Swallows of London Town” bring to mind the fun of standard country-folk acts.
All these qualities paint a portrait of a band that’s taken the best of what’s around them and tweaked it to their own liking. So, whether The Autumn Defense will leave a lasting imprint on the musical world is irrelevant—just take them at face value and enjoy the warmth of a brilliant pair of multi-instrumentalists.
Check out "Back of My Mind":
Hailing from Manchester, England, Working for a Nuclear Free City is back in the game with their first album since 2007.
Swirling, quasi-folk beats keep the listener’s eardrums dancing as they follow hushed vocals down a trail of contentment and childhood nostalgia. Interludes from almost every instrument thread their way through Jo Jo Burger Tempest, playing a special part in the majority of instrumental tracks on the first disc.
The second disc contains a single, half-hour track of wandering instrumentalism that takes the listener to each part of the musical spectrum.
WFANFC’s flair for psychedelic electronica is heavily apparent in tracks like “Burning Drums” and “Black Rivers."
Jo Jo Burger Tempest is a success for WFANFC, keeping the listener twirling around whatever musical corner they choose to turn next.
Experience Working for a Nuclear Free City's atmospheric finesse on "Black Rivers":
Major Organ and the Adding Machine is a supergroup of indie experi-mentation at its most experimental. Most of its members - who double in bands like Elf Power, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal and Olivia Tremor Control - are only believed to be involved in the project, as none of them have actually confirmed that they’re part of the group. This level of mystery concerning who Major Organ and the Adding Machine makes the listening experience that much more perplexing.
This is an album that requires persistence, if nothing else. “Different” is a major understatement when trying to describe it. It’s easy to be put off by its unconventionality and ugliness, for lack of a better word. However, once your ear becomes accustomed to the dissonance and auditory quirks this album is filled to the brim with, you will see it for what it is: a beautiful, if unconventional, piece of art.
Overall, Major Organ and the Adding Machine is an album that becomes more rewarding with each listen. Where’s the fun in instant gratification anyway?
Check out the bizzare "Madame Truffle":
These days, it seems like an overwhelming number of indie acts gravitate toward the fuzzy warmth of lo-fi production and vocals that rise and dissipate like smoke. When an artist is as proficient at perfecting this sound as Tamaryn, however, it’s something to pay attention to.
Tamaryn is from New Zealand, and if the Lord of the Rings films are any indication of that country’s majestic natural beauty, it’s easy to see why her music is so striking.
Songs like “Mild Confusion” begin with a distant guitar jangle and build up with steady distortions and an unsure drum beat, like the soundtrack to climbing a mountain. Tamaryn’s heavy, breathy voice swoons over cymbal swirls and crumbling-rock guitar riffs as the sound gradually builds upon itself.
Other songs, like the sultry “Love Fade,” swell on a continuous melody of guitars that sound miles away. Tamaryn breathes her words like deep sighs, never hitting an upper register or straining for those high notes. Her collaborator, Rex John Shelverton, paints the spinning sunset portraits behind her with a mist of fuzzy and windy instrumentation.
Sure, the noisy “Sandstone” sounds like it could be the victory song of the Tuskan Raiders on Tatooine until about a minute and a half in. That’s when Tamaryn slides into view with her whispery echoes piled atop the rumbles of a rusty, fuzzy riff. And once she does, you’re not likely to want her to stop.
Listen to "Love Fade":
Winterpills is an indie-folk band from Northampton, Mass. Tuxedo of Ashes, their latest EP, was completely recorded in a bedroom. The band consists of Philip Price, Flora Reed, Dennis Crommett, Dave Hower and Brian Akey, but other friends make guest appearances to add to the unique sound. They describe themselves as sounding like “four weeks of rain, two days of sun, and the voice of someone you thought you had lost forever.”
Winterpills is definitely a must listen. It is calm and relaxing with music catchy enough to keep you listening. But the music doesn’t drown out the lyrics. It is a fairly short CD, so there is plenty of time to listen over and over again. It is a very calming album, and in this day and age where in-your-face music seems to be the norm, Winterpills is quite refreshing.
Listen to the calm indie folk of "Are You Sleeping":
Fake Problems have battled comparisons to fellow Naples, Florida punk rockers Against Me! since the first time lead singer Chris Farren belted out his first gravely, strained chorus. But on the band’s third full length album, titled Real Ghosts Caught On Tape, it’s safe to say Fake Problems kicked those comparisons all the way back to Florida.
Ghosts shows a significant change from 2009’s It’s Great To Be Alive, but it still hits the mark. Farren’s voice is much more controlled, which Fake Problems purists might take issue with. The album’s first single “Soulless” is an upbeat, pop-infused song that sounds more like mid-20th century pop than the folk punk sound the band is known for.
Fake Problems called in Gaslight Anthem’s go-to producer Ted Hutt for Ghosts, and it isn’t hard to hear a little ’59 Sound sprinkled throughout. Ghosts may not be a rowdy folk punk romp, but it is still an extremely fun, ambitious album.
Listen to the upbeat pop number "Soulless":
Robyn is a Swedish pop star who made her debut in 1995 and has been making music ever since. Her first single released in the US in 1997, called "Do You Know (What It Takes)" was hugely popular, as was her debut album. However, her next two albums were never released in the US, but they were huge hits all over Europe.
Body Talk Pt 2 is the second album in a trilogy that Robyn is releasing over the course of 2010. Body Talk is intended as a sort of comeback. It's been about five years since her last album, and Robyn wanted to re-enter the music scene with a bang. With that goal in mind, Body Talk Pt 1 was an amazing pop album, and Pt 2 is a wonderful extension of that. Every song on the album has a stunning backbeat and is lyrically interesting, if not fantastic.
Check out the instant pop classic "Hang With Me":
Isobel Campbell (former cellist and backup singer of Belle & Sebastian) and Mark Lanegan (of Screaming Trees and Queens of The Stone Age) once again reunite for their third studio collaboration, Hawk. The collaboration between Campbell and Lanegan is an interesting one due to the unique balance between Lanegan’s gruff, crooning vocals like Leonard Cohen and Campbell’s docile, smooth-as-butter voice that contrast just like the good and the bad in life.
Hawk differs greatly from the duo’s previous efforts in that it features a distinctive folk/soul sound, combining the styles of early Bob Dylan with the high-octane, energetic soul of the late James Brown. Overall, the album is far more upbeat musically yet features some pretty dark lyrics that go unnoticed due to the powerful energy packed into each song.
The distinct soul sound is featured on the albums single, "Come Undone," which clocks in at just under six minutes and features a musical arrangement similar to James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World.” Campbell and Lanegan’s detailed song writing will draw in the attention of new fans and will satisfy longtime ones as well.
Listen to the sweet sounds of Campbell and Lanegan on "Come Undone":
The Dissent of Man is more than just the 15th full-length album from punk legends Bad Religion—it also marks the band’s 30th anniversary. The band formed in 1980 by a group of high school students ready to tell the world what they thought of it. Vocalist Greg Gaffin’s first words into a microphone were “This isn’t art, this is suicide.” The band has written that attitude into every one of their songs.
The Dissent of Man is just as angry, just as energetic as Bad Religion’s first albums, but it is more refined. The riffs often have a more “classic rock” feel to them, as though the band is embracing and emphasizing their status of long-time rockers. The lyrics, however, are about modern problems, as well as age-old ones. The album features some cutting songs about society ignoring the problems in the world around them. Other tracks deal with religion and relationships, providing every listener with an anthem of their own to blast through their speakers.
They may have been around for longer than most of their listeners have been alive, but Bad Religion’s music isn’t tired. They still know how to put together a spectacular, emotion-packed album.
Check out the blazing punk anthem "Only Rain":
Producer Jeff Tweedy gives new life to legendary soul singer Mavis Staples with You Are Not Alone, recorded at Tweedy’s Wilco Loft in Chicago. Most known for her work with The Staples Singers and an appearance in The Last Waltz, Staples has experienced a bit of a revival in recent years, including a live album in 2008 and 2007’s Ry Cooder-produced We’ll Never Turn Back.
Staples has as strong a voice as ever, displaying dynamic range from the album’s upbeat opener, "Don’t Knock," to Tweedy’s calmly personal title track. The album successfully weaves in gospel standards like “In Christ There Is No East Or West” with secular rock like “Wrote A Song For Everyone,” a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover. One leaves the album in a much more peaceful mood than they entered with a great mix jubilant anthems and private ballads.
Listen to Mavis Staples' Jeff Tweedy-penned title track, "You Are Not Alone":
Maximum Balloon is the solo-project of David Andrew Sitek, best known as the guitarist for TV on the Radio. His self-titled debut album features a different guest on every track, including Tunde Adebimpe, David Byrne and Karen O.
The album keeps the beats steady, simple, and abupt. All the while, synth textures soar over jazz-inspired instrumentals and old soul music samples. These contrasts leave room for the various vocals to narrate the textures. The vocals and the vibes seem to switch between soulful and jazzy, especially on “The Shakedown”, and more alternative-inspired moments. The album keeps a steady-upbeat flow going throughout most of the album, except on "The Lesson"and "Pink Bricks" which have a more somber and subdued tone.
Maximum Balloon gives us an interesting look at the contrast between Sitek’s various influences, especially the contrast between the jazz and alternative influences. However, these very different aspects of the music never sound like they are competing for space within the song, rather they intertwine and play off each other’s differences to make for an altogether trippy experience. Now all it needs is George Clinton.
Check out the elcetro-funk of "Tiger" featuring vocals from Aku:
With senses of discipline, grandeur and a pinch of acid, Deerhunter demonstrates to the masses why they are atop many indie-rock playlists. Since 2001, this quartet has been producing some of the most innovative and smooth sounds to hit the scene.
Their latest album, Halcyon Digest, is no exception to their ever-evolving rhythms and melodies. Bradford Cox lays down smooth and precise riffs from his guitar that match astonishingly well with his smoky yet crisp voice. Making the sound even more incredible is the addition of Julian Casblancas-esque effects over the vocal track. In the background, Moses Archuleta crafts innovative and stylish drum beats as Locker Pundt and Josh Fauver accompany Cox using their respective instruments, guitar, bass, organ and synthesizers.
Deerhunter focuses on the ambience on their fourth album. Singles like "Helicopter" really highlight the overall attitude and sound of the album, making it their best creation to date. If you are looking for something ambient, mysterious and overall a great listen, check out Deerhunter.
Check out the ambient indie rock of "Helicopter":
Mark Ronson is most frequently recognized for his abilities as a DJ and producer. However, when he collaborates with other artists to make music of his own, he creates a unique sound all his own.
Born in London, Ronson came to America for college. He went to New York City clubs in order to showcase his talent and make a name for himself. From there, he quickly gained respect and fame in the underground club scene.
Record Collection, his third studio album, certainly sets itself apart from his earlier work. On his last album, Version, released in 2007, he had a funk and jazz-like feel to the album. In Record Collection, he infuses electro-beats with hip-hop and R&B. His music marries the genres beautifully, making it seem as though they were meant to be together. Songs such as "Lose It" and "Glass Mountain Trust" are prime examples of the synth/R&B hybrid genre.
On the album, Ronson works with artists like Boy George, Ghostface Killah, Andrew Wyatt from Miike Snow, Q-Tip and Spank Rock. Ronson even sings on one of his tracks, something that he's never done before. With so many different collaborations and voices, each song has a different feel to it.
Listen to Mark Ronson marry hip-hop and soul with his upbeat synths in "Bang Bang Bang":
Glasser is a singular voice rising above swarming percussion and syrupy synths. Glasser is luxurious. Glasser is a silky blend of worldly sounds and atmospheres. Glasser is one woman: Cameron Mesirow, who recorded her album, Ring, in studios in Los Angeles and Stockholm. Glasser is a highly intimate sound magnified over grandiose chimes, drums and howls. Glasser is an experience.
If music was visual, Glasser would be like a kaleidoscope. Blending colorful percussive creations of hand drums and slinky cymbals with dreamy vocals yelps, Glasser succeeds where others like Björk have previously—creating moods and textures with simplicity and ease. Between the tremendous dreamy highs and lows of her singing, Glasser fills the space with quick voice snippets (howls, barks and clicks). All of the efforts to make a final beautiful product are successful, and Glasser swells into magnificence.
Immerse yourself in the majestic "Home":
Singer/songwriter Pete Yorn has been playing music since the age of 9, when he taught himself how to play the drums and the guitar. Music has been a part of his life ever since. After playing music throughout high school and at Syracuse University, Yorn moved to the west coast and officially started his career in Los Angeles. The release of his first album, Musicforthemorningafter, helped him to gain international fame.
Nine years later, Pete Yorn is back with his sixth full-length album, an album he wanted to record so badly, he did it despite the fact that he was sick with the flu and his voice wasn’t perfect. You’ll understand why after one good listen. Pete Yorn, his latest album, is his most focused and mature album yet, both lyrically and musically. From recovering from a broken heart on “Precious Stone” to trying to understand that the only person he can change is himself on “Sans Fear”, Pete Yorn embraces hard life lessons and sets them to rock music that can get almost anyone to bop their head despite the melancholy messages.
Listen to "Sans Fear":
While bands that release multiple albums often talk of tightening up as a group, Carnivores have purposely gone in the other direction. They have loosened up their sound so much on If I’m Ancient that they take off in directions never previously imagined.
That’s not to say this album is sloppy. On the contrary, it’s a very developed sound. Carnivores achieve their desired sound: pure acid punk. At times melodic, others times driving with relentless force. If I’m Ancient takes its songs and drives them deep into your head, weaving their way into your thoughts and dreams. They achieve a sonic tone that uses super feedback and reverb drenched vocals.
The middle of the album is where If I’m Ancient’s best material resides. “Planet Dream” and “Parent’s Attic” showcase Carnivores’ ability to tighten up and break down at the same time.
If I’m Ancient is at times surfboard rock, psychedelic punk and garage rock all at the same time. It is a very strong showing and is definitely worth a listen. It’s music that sticks together in your head, even while it’s falling apart in your ears.
Check out the tropical acid punk of "Parent's Attic":
WSBU-FM's license was up for renewal in 2006, but due to a possible mix-up on the part of the F.C.C., notification about the renewal was never received by the station. The station is now off the air while the F.C.C. tries to rectify the situation for us. We have applied for a permit called a Special Temporary Authority permit, which will allow us to resume broadcasting, and we expect to be back on the air within a few days.
The Migrant is the brainchild of Bjarke Bendtsen, a Dane with a flair for psychedelic dream like pop. The album is his first and was recorded with some fellow Danish friends in a cabin on the coast. With the vocal stylings of Fleet Foxes, the laid back feel and silly lyrics of Devendra Banhart and the pleasant plicking of bells that would make Page France proud, The Migrant is catchy and subdued at the same time.
Like any well put together album, the first song, “The Organ Grinder,” catches your attention. It’s a bit slow at first, but by the end of the song the melody moves along nicely. It is this way for a lot of the album – a slow start, but an awesome fully developed ending complete with violin and trumpet galore. Definitely a must listen for anyone whose has the desire to be a gypsy in the Baltic Lands. And who wouldn’t want that!
Check out "The Organ Grinder"
After three long years of settling into their own sound, Klaxons have released their sophomore album, Surfing The Void. You shouldn’t be surprised by the outburst of melodic lyrics and strong vocal harmonies exploding from the first track. Right away, these 2007 Mercury Award winners show their full potential.
“Echoes” is the perfect re-introduction for Klaxons. They prove they’re back from the very first note. It pulls you in from the first verse and attacks you from all angles. Don’t let this lead you to believe that the rest of the album doesn’t match up to this caliber.
If you want to repel your grandparents, throw on “Surfing The Void,” and listen to the thrashing bursts of guitar and drums that line the song. It is the center of the album mistakenly placed as the third track. It grabs and drags you to the deeper meanings of the album.
Klaxons have smashed their debut with Surfing The Void. It is an artistic breakthrough in the world of indie rock and should be in everyone’s library.
Listen to "Echoes":
So, you're buried in leaves as autumn weaves into the air. A child builds another pile and destroys it in a dive. The air is brisk, but your breaths aren't yet visible. Your face flushes with the breeze. It's almost dinnertime, and Mom's baking pumpkin pie for dessert.
Breathe Owl Breathe is the voice of your father calling you in for supper.
Micah Middaugh's voice croons over natural, minimal orchestration. "Own Stunts" peddles mindfully, if slowly, but builds to a picturesque finale. The band's presence and embodiment of that autumnal feeling feels unique, though it's been done before. There's something refreshing about the band's sound; something stands out. Like a slow gulp of hot apple cider, Breathe Owl Breathe satisfies a seasonal craving, though their promise extends past winter.
Dive into "Own Stunts":
Owen Pallett is a multi-instrumentalist, artist and composer known for his flavorful string compositions. Pallett co-wrote the string compositions for the Arcade Fire‘s first two albums and he also worked on some of the string arrangements for the Arcade fire‘s latest album, The Suburbs. Pallett has also written arrangements for Beruit, Fucked Up, the Mountain Goats and Great Lake Swimmers.
With each album or EP, Pallett always seems to outdo the previously release. This can be said with Pallett‘s second release of 2010, A Swedish Love Story, which clocks in at just under 17 minutes. A Swedish Love Story differs from Pallett‘s earlier release this year, Heartland, in that the songs are more cheerful. The mind-bending string arrangements flow exceptionally well especially on the opening track "A Man with No Ankles."
Check out the lush orchestration of "A Man with No Ankles":
Saying that a dude named José González is Swedish seems incorrect, but we‘ll go with it. In keeping with the tradition of fellow Swedes like Björk and The Tallest Man on Earth, José González has been cranking out some very heartfelt and personal music since the early 2000s. With two studio albums and a handful of EPs, González has already proven his worth as a singer-songwriter, so why wouldn‘t he try his hand at making music with a full, cohesive band?
Junip is that band. And Junip sounds a lot like González‘s solo stuff, as it should. But Junip is also about growth. González has grown—he‘s added a drummer and a keyboardist/organist. The sound has grown—it‘s become fuller and more realized. González‘s warm, earnest vocals howl and hum over ringing nylon-stringed guitars, silent cymbals, handclaps and bright keyboard tickles (imagine Phoenix playing Radiohead‘s “I Might Be Wrong”). There‘s something ominously charming about Junip‘s sun-behind-the-clouds sound. Whatever it is, it‘s bound to captivate.
Listen to the warm strums of "Always":
Hailing from Brooklyn, Sisters has been on the music scene since early 2006. Only two people make up the whole band, with Aaron Pfannebecker on the guitar and vocals and Matt Conboy picking up the drums and keyboard, but they make enough sound and have enough energy to not need anyone else.
With their newest album, Ghost Fits, Sisters shows off their signature sounds: distorted guitar solos, catchy keyboard melodies, hard-hitting drums and vocals that never sound the same in two different songs. Sisters has been compared to the likes of Sonic Youth and Pavement, incorporating as many different styles and genres of music into their work as they can while still making it sound good. Everything Sisters play is an explosion of noise and energy, and they weren’t far off when they told listeners on their myspace page that their sound could be compared to that of a firecracker.
Listen to "Wake Me Up," off of Sisters' new album:
Screamed, poetic vocals and sharp instrumental intrusions embody the ideals of Les Savy Fav‘s noise rock. Their cavalier speak-singing matched with a grungy, garage band underscore in songs like "Excess Energies" creates nostalgia for teenage rebellion and authoritarian hatred.
In contrast, "High and Unhinged" shows lead singer Tim Harrington‘s attention to quality as the lyrics take precedence over instrumentals. "Calm Down" creates a middle ground between the two, keeping some of the angst from "Excess Energies" while continuing the emphasis on lyrical quality found in "High and Unhinged."
Though Les Savy Fav may come across as cliché, tormented punk rock, Harrington‘s expressive lyrics keep the listener from hitting the "next" button.
Check out the angst-ridden anthem "Excess Energies":
Under the leadership of percussionist Adam Pierce, Mice Parade (an anagram of Pierce‘s name), has been around for over a decade. With members constantly shifting, Mice Parade currently is Pierce, Doug Scharin (HiM), Dylan Cristy (The Dylan Group), Rob Laasko, Caroline Lufkin, Dan Lippel and Josh McKay (Macha). Hailing from New York, the band is ready to release its eighth (and first since 2007) album on Fat Cat Records, What It Means to be Left- Handed.
Mice Parade sounds like Fridge and Modest Mouse mixed with the electronic experiments of The Dylan Group. They‘re influenced heavily by a post-rock genre, incorporating world beat and some electronica influences, too.
The instrumentation and vocals in the first half What It Means to be Left-Handed are dazzling in a "feel-good" sort of way. Beginning with an almost majestic "Kupanda," co-written by the band and Swahili vocalist Somi, the first half is the album‘s finest. Immediately following "Kupanda" is something more inventive and better "In Between Times." Also noteworthy in the first half is "Do Your Eyes See Sparks."
Although What It Means to be Left-Handed challenges boundaries, it‘s with a grace that will not disappoint.
Check out "In Between Times":
After nearly a year of touring with Cursive, the band’s lead singer Tim Kasher retreated to Whitefish, MT to work on his first solo album--The Game of Monogamy. Mixing classic orchestral instruments like the trumpet, harp, cello and piano with the electric guitar and drum, Kasher’s debut transports the listener to a time where 1950s music meets the brash lyrical honesty of the 2000s.
The Game of Monogamy tells the stories of love, lust and regret over a jazzy, ‘50s pop-influenced music. Kasher isn’t afraid to poke fun at society’s take on these subjects. In the tongue-in-cheek, upbeat, cabaret-style “Bad, Bad Dreams,” Kasher sings about lusting after women and cries out “I need a priest.” Other tracks are more sobering tales of lost, faded love.
The Game of Monogamy is a treat for the ears and soul. Kasher doesn’t hold back, giving an unabashed performance the indie world is more than ready for.
Check out "Cold Love":
With two full-length albums already under their belt, the Megafaun trio took a break from touring to record Heretofore, a six song EP that clocks in at just less than 34 minutes.
The first half of the EP breezes through with strong songs that show off the vocal and orchestral talents of all three band members, Bradley Cook, Phillip Cook and Joseph Westerlund.
The second half has two strong efforts with “Volunteers” and “Bonnie’s Song.”
Overall Heretofore is a strong step forward for the band, and considering it was only an exercise in songwriting and recording, we can expect bigger and better things from Megafaun in the future.
Listen to "Volunteers":
Ray LaMontagne, America's favorite smoky-voiced soul stallion, returned at summer’s end with his latest collection of gospel-folk sweeps. God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise is a flavorful slice of LaMontagne's patented foot-stomp soul, though the album takes a quiet dive after the initial rumbling tracks.
A more low-key album than 2008’s loose Gossip in the Grain, God Willin’ pounds and rolls along with percussive strums and LaMontagne’s signature rusty howl (especially on "Repo Man," the album's lead-off riot track). On the third or fourth song, LaMontagne slows down, making heartfelt observations like the charmingly honest "New York City's Killin' Me."
The bearded LaMontagne teamed up with gritty backers The Pariah Dogs in rural Massachusetts to make the album, a 10-track diary of a bearded guy who calls ‘em like he sees ‘em. Part country-folk, part swinging soul, God Willin’ is all heart.
Check out "New York City's Killin' Me":
Warm surf-guitar tones crash and swell like waves as distant horns echo in the moonlight. “I’m stranded and I’m starry-eyed,” howls lead singer Hamilton Leithauser, narrating “Stranded”.
It’s easy to get lost in The Walkmen’s sixth album, Lisbon. Their unique spin on surf rock evokes vivid imagery both lyrically and musically. The songs transport the listener through vast landscapes of summer beaches and blankets of snow. Songs like “Juveniles” peacefully float, while others like “Angela Surf City” whirr with tempo and distortion.
Lisbon shows muscle, but The Walkmen use infinite control. Even the rawest songs sound effortless. The brilliantly orchestrated ode to the Portuguese city will easily whisk you away.
Check out "Stranded":
Nathan Williams (lead singer, guitar player, and mastermind behind Wavves) has this California punk, no care air about him, but he let’s his guard down for about 40 minutes in his third album King of The Beach.
Last year Wavves was full of dramatic twists and turns from having an onstage meltdown in Spain, to canceling his tour, then his drummer quitting the band. It seemed like Wavves was just one of those groups that got too crazy before they even reached their peak. This time he did things differently. He got the late Jay Reatard’s rhythm section to be a part of his band and actually recorded his songs in a studio for the first time. Dennis Herring (producer for Modest Mouse) produced the album and exposed Williams voice a bit more than usual to hear what is really going on in his brain.
In the album he sings about love, misery, self-loathing, loneliness, being lazy, no one liking him, and smoking; the regular California lifestyle. It’ll be hard for his haters of past albums to feel the same this time around. It's thrashy, beach punk that does not hold back.
Right from the beginning of the album you can hear the Beach Boys influenced fuzzy poppy tracks combined with Nirvana -like grunge punk. All of his songs are full of grit and this pent up anger and energy that just explodes through the speakers. “When Will You Come”, “Baseball Cards”, and “Mickey Mouse” are a bit more different. They're more soothing and make you feel like your in a drug induced coma that gives you a break from the madness.
Songs such as “Take On The World” and “Green Eyes” he completely bashes himself. In “Take On The World” he says how much he hates himself and his writing, but still dreams of one day taking over the world. In “Green Eyes” he completely has no belief in himself saying that “my own friends hate my guts”, but in the end he doesn’t care enough to change anything. The single “Post Acid” he cries for someone to listen to him “Misery, will you comfort me in my time of need would you understand? Understand won’t you understand in my time of need would you understand?” But he later reminds you that he doesn’t want anything serious, he’s just looking to have fun.
This is not a serious album, all Williams is trying to show is that he does not give a damn what others think or say. He just wants to do his thing and rock out. That being said, angst-ridden youth will flock to this album and rejoice at finding an outlet to pour their frustrations into.
Check out "Post Acid":
Check out "Boyfriend":
Check out "Ghost Pressure":
If The Drums possess one impressive trick, it's the ability to craft smooth, unashamed pop music.
The band's back story reads somewhat like a screenplay. In essence: pseudo-electro band gains a little buzz in post-Killers music scene, band signs to major label, band dissolves, time passes, lead singer retreats to Florida and restarts creatively with old friend, forms new project, accumulates blog buzz, moves back to Brooklyn, releases EP, et cetera.
That first band (the 'pseudo-electro' one), Elkland, may not have explored too much unfamiliar sonic territory, but the music was harmless enough: a synth-soaked, beat-heavy trip to the eighties.
Now, take that synth, replace it with sun, reverb, and slight goth undertones.
The Drums plays like a photo album, a montage of sorts. The cliche "blast from the past" fits, albeit with a surprisingly crisp flavor. The typical hand claps work when they shouldn't; the ever-obvious melodies feel strangely well-crafted. The album might just blindside even the most seasoned ear with tones so familiar they're fresh.
Each song's lyrics require no dictionary, no thesaurus, no encyclopedia. The words are plain. Yet somehow their superficial meanings cut deep.
It's that line between cliche and original, simple and complex, relevant and overdone, plain and rich, that The Drums so finely toes.
The band's minor thought process undercuts its decidedly major tonalities; "Best Friend" smilingly chronicles the story of a chum that apparently dropped dead. Lead singer Jonathon Pierce coyly sings about one particular acquaintance's actions of trying to both kill and kiss him on "Skippin' Town."
Discussions amount every year over "best winter albums" and "best late-night albums." The Drums rightly stands firm-footed as 2010's best sunglasses-on-with-the-car-windows-cracked-on-back-roads album.
Check out "Forever and Ever Amen":
Somewhere between the ‘80s jangly pop of John Hughes movie soundtracks and the ‘90s twinkling fuzz of Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream falls Virginia’s Wild Nothing. On record, Wild Nothing is singer/songwriter Jack Tatum alone, but he’s in great company with himself as he performs lead and backing vocals in addition to all guitar, bass and drum parts. The band’s full-length, Gemini, was released on June 3.
“Do you remember the lightning storm?” Tatum asks in “Live in Dreams,” the album’s star-speckled opener. “It was the first time I really felt you.” References to dreams are only appropriate on this album—it captures a certain foggy mood, like a faint haze after an early evening nap. Equal parts multicolored, cloudy sunset and milky meteor shower, Gemini soars above your head, just slightly out of reach.
But don’t be disheartened.
Tatum’s a grounded guy, capturing the simple, observant joys of daily life—fond, fun memories of romance, high hopes and expectations—in his lyrics, littered around like crispy leaves on a front lawn during a cool October night.
Delivered in a distant swirl, Tatum’s words are carried by occasional warm synth bursts and alternately chirping and pounding percussion. The ingredients are all here—sunny riffs, dreamy melodies, layered, humming vocals—to replicate that floating feeling when you first drove your parents’ car alone with the windows down in summer.
Check out "Summer Holiday":
They were originally called In, but when a venue thought their name was a typo, they decided it was time for a change. So this three-piece band from Brooklyn settled on Keepaway, and for listeners, it’s hard to stay away.
Keepaway has been on the scene for a while now, but they are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Their first EP Baby Style has hit the music scene, and since they have gained comparisons to Yeasayer, Animal Collective and Surfer Blood.
Their sound is trancy, loopy, tropical and experimental with howling vocals; it sends you into a tailspin. What makes Keepaway so interesting is that all three members sing all of their songs. Each one is layered with background vocals that compliment one another in harmonies.
The first track (also considered the single), “Yellow Wings," is filled with repetitive billowy charm that comes together in the chorus. The line that is repeated frequently throughout is, “I think I finally know what I want/I wanna be two places at once.” This immediately sticks inside your head, because who can’t relate to a state of constant yearning and indecision in a world that sometimes moves faster than we would like?
In “5 Rings,” the sound is very dreamy with constant “ooo-wee-oos,” which relaxes you into a somber state while keeping your attention throughout.
In their last track, “Evil Lady,” you hear a very surfy vibe that brings the EP to a close beautifully with sun drenched riffs, echoing the sounds of summer.
The only negative thing about Baby Style is that it’s too short! You won't want it to end!
Baby Style is perfect for this season. Listen to it while driving around in the car, at the beach, or anywhere for that matter; just play it loud. Spread the word, because from the sound of it, Keepaway is here to stay!
Check out "5 Rings":
Kate Nash has traded in her closet of vintage dresses for black pants and a leather jacket.
Listening to a few minutes into My Best Friend Is You, the transformation can’t be heard. The songs are girly but tough, keeping fans of 2008’s “Foundations” happy.
But when the fourth track (“I Just Love You More”) rolls around, you can tell that Nash wants to push past the image that earned her fame. She lets her vocals loose by screaming, shouting and moaning the title words over and over. The 22-year-old songwriter leaves the interpretation up to the listener – Is the song angry or passionate?
Nash aims beyond the pissy attitude that brought her debut album Made of Bricks to the top of the charts.
She carries on the women's empowerment ideal, calling out homophobes, attacking sex-driven men, all while keeping her music feminine. The love song, “I Hate Seagulls,” at the end of the album, starts off cynical like other songs but ends sweet and sentimental.
It doesn’t matter if My Best Friend Is You gets the same success her first album did. She’s having fun, and you can tell.
“I took the attitude that no one was ever going to hear (the songs). They could be rubbish, they could be the worst songs in the world,” Nash said in an interview with Idolator.com. “As long as I was being creative and enjoying it and writing things I cared about.”
Check out the video for "Do-Wah-Doo":
Crystal Castles 2010 release, Crystal Castles, builds upon their also self-titled debut in every way possible. The Toronto duo, consisting of Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass, has progressed in the same directions as their contemporaries Deerhunter and Fuck Buttons, but at the same, they have remained true to themselves in the process of crafting a satisfying and well produced followup.
On Crystal Castles' latest release, which spans out to about 53 minutes, you won't hear the archaic 8-bit loops that were present on their debut. Instead there's a more dynamic sound with each song generating a larger pop element which does not hurt in the least.
The dynamic tracks "Celestica", "Suffocation", and "Empathy" mold together the old primitive ways with the more pop/club oriented sound. Tracks like "Baptism" and "Intimate" have the potential to become college radio singles. While the album shows signs of clarity in Alice Glass' vocals the lack of distortion is a bit depressing, but this is Crystal Castles of 2010 not of 2008.
Check out "Celestica":
A guy and his guitar—yeah, it’s been done before, countless times. And done amazingly, too: Dylan, Young, Joe Pug; the list is longer than “Desolation Row.”
What makes a folk artist real is his (or her) dedication to making his sound real. The best folk singer-songwriters craft their songs as living, breathing entities with pulses and emotions of their own. These songs linger on the wind, breezing past your memory days later as beautiful ghosts.
Sweden’s Kristian Matsson (known professionally as The Tallest Man on Earth) scratches his songs into the sky with nothing more than his guitar capoed on the seventh, eighth and ninth frets and his pleasantly abrasive voice. There’s no cliché harmonica here—that would make the songs sound too contrived. Instead, The Tallest Man on Earth (who stands under six feet tall, ironically), carries his human tunes with major-key arpeggios behind swift strums of hopefulness.
On “King of Spain,” Matsson longs to be the titular monarch between travelogue verses and Hemingway-like references to bullfighting, but he does it majestically. “Love is All” grips warmly despite its subject matter of a lost love and lyrics like: “Here come the tears/But like always, I let them go/Just let them go.”
Closer “Kids on the Run” might as well be Springsteen, but Matsson doesn’t try to be. He keeps everything his own as he weeps over a mourning piano melody: “And the cold sky will write us a song/But will we ever confess what we’ve done?/Guess we’re still kids on the run.”
Sure, broad American folk has been done before, and done better. But has it ever been done this well by a Swede? Give The Tallest Man on Earth a chance and he’ll give you a reason to keep listening.
Check out "King of Spain":
We all have a soft spot for pop music, but we don’t need to keep it a secret anymore. Janelle Monae is the real deal – a bona fide pop star with genuine credibility.
She breezes her way through R&B, soul, funk, pop and dance, weaving between sharp horn sections, Hendrix-style guitar solos, dance beats and everything in between.
The ArchAndroid, her debut album, runs through a labyrinth of genres, telling the story of an android in the year 2719.
The futuristic epic also pays homage to the past. On “Tightrope,” Monae delivers lines like, “Whether I’m high or low, I’m gonna tip on the tightrope,” with all the diction of Otis Redding. She also uses semi-improvised, spoken-word segues like “Now put some voodoo on it,” mimicking soul legends.
She also tackles “Ziggy Stardust” psychedelic rock on “Mushrooms & Roses,” which according to the liner notes, was inspired by a stage dive at Bonnaroo and Jack White’s mustache. Monae’s melting pot also includes guests like Saul Williams, Big Boi and Of Montreal, who each brought their unique flavor.
The ArchAndroid fuses all sorts of styles but remains cohesive – like a science fiction Thriller.
Janelle Monae is taking the guilt out of pop music. We should all thank her.
Check out the video for "Tightrope":
Dirty blues – grimy, nasty, gritty blues – that’s what we’ve come to expect from The Black Keys, the Akron duo of guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. After a series of experiments, including an Auerbach solo album and the Blakroc hip-hop collaboration with rappers such as Mos Def, ODB and Ludacris in 2009, The Black Keys returned with an ever-evolving sound. h="346" />
With incredibly catchy Danger Mouse production, “Tighten Up,” indicates a shift to soul elements. Auerbach howls his way through lines like, “Take my badge, but my heart remains loving you, baby child,” and makes you believe it.
They go so far with the soul flavor that they cover “Never Gonna Give You Up” on the penultimate track. No, they didn’t Rickroll us. This is a Jerry Butler-penned track also recorded by Isaac Hayes on the “Black Moses” album. These tracks alone give Brothers a looser sound than their tight blues-rock records, such as 2008’s Attack & Release.
“She’s Long Gone” may as well be Cream-era Clapton, and “Black Mud” could be Creedance Clearwater Revival.
This blend of classic soul and blues makes the 15-track Brothers a bendy hour of fun. From Auerbach’s faded, hauntingly soulful falsettos to the raw blues riffs, Brothers stays interesting throughout.
Check out "Tighten Up":
Fully clad in black leather like a 1970s punk outfit, The Dead Weather scream voodoo zombie blues more than “Anarchy in the U.K.” This quartet, Jack White’s third band, formed in Nashville last year and has already released two albums. Their latest, Sea of Cowards, is a strangely intriguing descent into madness and raw passion.
From the opening snaky-fuzzed riff of “Blue Blood Blues,” The Dead Weather reveal their motive: to assault listeners with an onslaught of psychedelic acid blues and apologize to no one. Splitting vocal duties, White (who mans the drums this time around) and Alison Mosshart (of The Kills) exchange growls and scratchy brays like two lovers amidst a violent, sex-crazed knife fight.
“I’m mad!” Mosshart screams in the track of the same name right before letting out a soft chuckle like a dancing demon. And Mosshart has plenty of noise to back her up: crunchy bass thumps courtesy of The Raconteurs’ Jack Lawrence and muddy, wailing guitar, keyboard and organ blasts from Queens of the Stone Age’s Dean Fertita.
Working in some sort of frenzied harmony, The Dead Weather keep the songs short—the longest clocking in at 3:46—and they never lose steam. There aren’t any “low points” to be found here—only aggressive, pulsating riff-based rock ‘n roll reminiscent of Led Zeppelin at their dirtiest. Sea of Cowards bites like a rattlesnake, but the venom is actually quite pleasing. Give The Dead Weather a try and let their bluesy venom overtake you.
Check out "Die By The Drop":
Formed in 2001, in Victoria, British Columbia, Frog Eyes consists of only two permanent members: singer, songwriter and guitarist Carey Mercer and drummer Melanie Campbell, who is also Mercer’s wife. Previous members include Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade. Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph is Frog Eyes’ 9th album to date.
Check out "Lear in Love" from Paul's Tomb: A Triumph:
Check out "Bright Orange Air":
Check out "Another Year Again":
Cosmogramma could be a synonym for diversity, as this album touches and expands boundaries that seems impossible for one disc to manage. With some instrumental tracks and others with guest vocals from artists like Thom Yorke, the magnitude of this album is blinding, and that's definietly a good thing. Cosmogramma is dynamic, with tracks ranging in pace, feel and genre. Tracks flow seamlessly, making the album feel like a cohesive journey through the cosmos, instead of a stop-start ride into Manhattan.
Those who aren't familiar with his style may struggle through the first track or two. But after getting quickly acquainted, this album makes listening active, instead of passively entertaining.
Check out the song "Pickled!" from Cosmogramma:
If you appreciate raw musical talent, you'll like First Aid Kit. These two Swedish sisters harmonize so well, you'd think they had been making music together their entire life -- they have. With Johanna on keyboards and theremin and younger sister Klara on guitar, the Söderburg sisters give folk a feminine side, singing about the troubles of love and family life. The only problem with The Big Black and the Blue is the lyrics might get too depressing (and it makes me wonder how these girls have already experienced domestic situations). However, the major tonality and bright instrumentation override this downfall and keep the listener intrigued. The production is light and the sounds are familiar. For an easy listen, pop in First Aid Kit's latest.
Check out "Hard Believer":
Didn't get a chance to read a Buzzworthy this semester? Fear not!
Volume 17, Issue 2: Yeasayer
Volume 17, Issue 3: Peter Gabriel
Volume 17, Issue 4: MGMT
Check out "White Night":
Not much else needs to be said. They’re your favorite band’s favorite band.
They’re lo-fi and hi-fi and abstract and catchy and slow and fast, and they’re back after a decade of reissues and deluxe editions with a tour and Quarantine The Past, the most anticipated greatest hits collection the indie world has ever seen.
Their ten-year stint as a band (1989-1999) left them on top of the world, every alternative music journalist’s darling and pet—the band to which every successive band would get compared.
The band’s five studio albums, Slanted And Enchanted (1992), Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994), Wowee Zowee (1995), Brighten The Corners (1997), and Terror Twilight (1999), are all endeared as some of the best of the 1990s, and no critic seems to be backing away from that claim at any point in the near future.
The track order for this compilation is not chronological; it’s not a history of the band. The album is simply a retrospective, an introduction. Some of the songs were singles. Some were deep album cuts. All are remastered and essential.
Basically, no self-proclaimed ‘hipster’ or ‘music snob’ could ever be validated without a comprehensive knowledge of Pavement. Here’s a start.
Check out the band's video for "Stereo" from Brighten The Corners:
Joanna Newsom may be an unfamiliar name to some, but she’s been putting out magnificent albums since 2004. Sure, Drag City might not seem like a huge record label or anything, but Newsom shares space on its roster with names like Bill Callahan, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Silver Jews, and Fred Armisen (yes, that Fred Armisen!).
(Oh, and by the way, she’s dating Andy Samberg.)
If 2004’s The Milk-Eyed Mender felt like the opening of some old book of folklore, complete with calm, cool narration and gentle storytelling, and if 2006’s Ys felt like a huge, orchestral-yet-ambient operatic proclamation, then Have One On Me sits firmly in the context of Newsom’s realm, combining all the elements that have made her successful and expanding upon each one in a new way. And it’s something to behold.
Her infamous harp and light falsetto are instantly inviting, but firmly cautious. Newsom’s take on arrangements and track lengths might be a bit hard to swallow at first, but the beauty displays itself with each successive listen.
“Good Intentions Paving Co.,” the standout track on the three-disc epic, feels like the jazz croon of Billie Holliday over the cinematic orchestration of Owen Pallett. Her self-harmonies and uncompromised boldness shine, not one of the 422 seconds wasted on filler or indulgence. The shifts in tone throughout the track play out like scenes of a Shakespearean comedy (yet with blooming tragic undertones), ultimately fading to a close on a succinct and triumphant note.
Check out "Good Intentions Paving Co.":
In Feb. 2001, Kimya Dawson and Jeffrey Lewis wrote five songs, using only an acoustic guitar and a keyboard, during a visit that Dawson was making in Austin. Less than a year later and across the world in Germany, those five songs became the first songs of The Bundles. Dawson began her solo career touring with The Jeffrey Lewis Band, who expanded the songs off that acoustic guitar and keyboard to include a full band.
The Bundles never took off. Each member of the new band went their separate ways, playing in other bands and working on their solo careers.
Now, after nine years, The Bundles have recorded their first album together. Their self-titled debut features some of those five original songs and others that were created within the few days they were recording. The Bundles have brought their quirky personalities to life in each of the ten songs featured on their debut album, singing about everything from best friends to braces getting locked together. To say the least, anti-folk fans will not be disappointed in the album that has taken The Bundles nearly nine years to record and produce.
Check out The Bundles' song "Pirates Declare War":
Hey there, what did YOU do on Friday night? If you were in the Rathskeller, you probably got a chance to hear the original folk of Zack Domes, the quiet, compelling strum of Theodore Maxwell Robinson Carr and the frantic yet oddly composed musical spillings of Mike “Yes-Yes” Ersing.
Bonaventure senior Zack Domes opened the night with a group of his own folk numbers and a cover of "Billy from the Hills" by Greg Brown. For his first public show ever, Domes did a fantastic job of warming up the audience with his original tunes.
Theodore, or “Ted,” kept things calm with his soulful collection of folk numbers, including the jazzy “Picture of Peace.” Ted grooved about the stage, legs swaying and head churning from behind his Fender dreadnought acoustic. For only his third show, Ted was collected and confident, belting out his tunes with the help of a guitar and, for his last song, an organ.
Taking the tiled staged directly after Ted, Mike “Yes-Yes” Ersing jumped directly into his unique, immensely creative stream-of-consciousness songs with authority. Layering his emotional lyrics over neatly finger-picked acoustic arpeggios, Ersing captivated the ‘Skeller crowd with his mysterious, instantly likable musical charm. After an energetic set of soft songs interspersed with the occasional scream, Ersing graciously thanked the audience and left the stage, leaving the crowd awestruck but smiling.
Overall, it was quite the show. If you feel remorseful for not being there, you should, because it was a blast.
Listening to Carolina Chocolate Drops is like taking a step into a time machine back into late 19th Century America. Featuring such instruments as the 5-string banjo, the 4-string banjo, the jug and various forms of bodily percussion, these three musicians show off their sheer ability in the twelve tracks on Genuine Negro Jig. Most of the tracks feature the quick picking/stomping beats and driving harmonies heard in bluegrass, but several others slow down this pace into soulful renditions of traditional African American music that is highlighted by powerful, female lead vocals. They even manage to slip in a cover of the R&B song “Hit ‘Em Up Style”, adding their own flair of course. Overall, Carolina Chocolate Drops is incredibly enjoyable. The band shows that modern artists are fully capable of embracing older styles of music and creating interesting and pleasing works for today’s listeners.
Check out the video for "Ain't No Grave":
From the Bears of Blue River MySpace: “the bears of blue river are friends with day jobs who began gathering in the evenings to make silly noises in a dilapidated old apartment with wooden floors. soon they found themselves playing folk diddies dressed up with some bop about them. their roots define them as hoosiers but currently they are split between chicago, indianapolis, and muncie."
Not to be confused with the 1984 book by Charles Major of the same name, The Bears Of Blue River will blindside even the most readied listeners with the sheer joy and fervor of The Killer Bee Scare. The EP may only house five songs, but each lends itself to the next, bearing (pun intended) repeated plays over and over again. The charm of “Crayola” recalls Paul Simon’s reassuring voice and the backing vocals of She & Him’s female half, complete with lush-yet-rigid instrumentation reminiscent of Fleet Foxes.
Check out "Crayola" below and don't miss out on the show tonight. It's free!
More than a whimsical performer, the mastermind behind Lightspeed Champion, 23 year old Devonté Hynes, is an accomplished composer. His work includes songs by The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx and Solange Knowls. In 2009, Hynes was asked by the British Film Institute to rearrange and perform the full soundtrack of the cult classic Harold and Maude. As Lightspeed Champion, Devonté Hynes released his first full-length Falling off the Lavender Bridge in 2007. With the help of Mike Mogis, Lightspeed Champion fished the Omaha music scene and recruited a number of Saddle Creek Records fixtures for the unique recording. While Falling off the Lavender Bridge was not lauded as the introverted masterpiece it set out to be, Lightspeed Champion sparked a sincere curiosity among its listeners.
For his February 2010 LP release, Hynes relocated to another settlement not short on musicians, Brooklyn. By calling on producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarles Barkley, and Gringo Starr), Hynes suggested a newer, more exploratory sound for Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You.
The album’s lead single, "Marlene," presents swooping strings and a crunchy dance rhythm, capped off with a brittle guitar solo that sounds like the amorous calling of a Tyrannosaurs Rex.
At just 23 years old, Devonté Hynes has recorded an album that is as intimate as it is spacious and harmonious as it is brazen. From a vocal standpoint, Hynes still comes off as plaintive. That said, his ability to be assertive can be found in the adventurous arrangements that reveal his interestingly diverse background.
While Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You may not be Devonté Hynes’ opus, it does accurately tap exciting points on the timeline of music, leaving the curious listener to excitedly wonder, what will he do next?
Check out the video for "Marlene" by Lightspeed Champion:
The Heligoats is just something that came together one winter between Chris Otepka and the band Ulysses S. Grant from Chicago. These friends got together and recorded an album, Goodness Gracious, before Otepka was to leave Chicago and go west. Maybe the move was an important anticipation for him, whose lyrics reflect a change for the better. The title track, “Goodness Gracious,” expresses his life changing transformation, with the grateful and inspiring lyrics, “I went from having hope so low, to having a surplus/I went from burning my days by, to burning daylight with a purpose.” The whole album seems to express this sentiment. The lyrics are the driving force of this music with fun word play, full of water/ocean life metaphors, references to swimming and living life outside, communing with nature. The lyrics have a good mix of humor and hope with some shadows of darkness which is what he overcomes. The inspirational lyrics are backed by acoustic-driven folk-rock that and can be energetic and upbeat as well as slow and heartfelt.
Goodness Gracious is surprising.The lyrics are fun, inspiring, grateful and gracious and well thought out. It’s nice to hear about changing for the better sometimes. Otepka can finally say “goodnight for real this time.” It'll help you sleep at night knowing he meant it.
Check out "Fish Sticks" from the Heligoats' Daytrotter session:
Dan Black, an English electronica artist, began his career with alternative rock group Servant. When the group broke up in the 2007, he continued his music career, signing with Polydor Records. Black's sound is similar to Delphic, with synth loops and hip-hop beats and his vocal tonality is reminiscent of MGMT.
Check out the video for "Symphonies":
In addition, the nominees also include two WSBU alumni. Nominators have chosen Mike Moretti as a contender for Specialty Promoter of the Year ("A new international man of mystery.") Justin Gressley has been nominated for Best Mentor ("Straight talk, worth listening to.") Both Gressley and Moretti work for AAM.
Check out the title track from The Ruminant Band:
The garage rock revival earlier this decade over-simplified music. The multitude of lackluster carbon copies quickly outnumbered the talented few. Japandroids, citing the Sonics as one of their primary influences, abandoned the traditional approach to the genre in favor of something fuzzier, louder, and more dynamic. Their music is anything but minimalist, despite featuring only guitar and drums. The finished product sounds like a hybrid of the post-hardcore of Braid and the Promise Ring and the fuzz of No Age and Wavves.
If there's one word to sum up Post-Nothing, their debut LP, it's youth. Youth is not synonymous with inexperience, though. Japandroids can hold their own as musicians. The fist-pumping, sing-along choruses are matched with intricate guitar riffs. The feeling it conveys is the only simple thing about their music. The songs on Post-Nothing, featuring lyrics like "You can keep tomorrow/After tonight, we're not gonna need it," express feelings of teenage invincibility. Although they aren't the first, there's still a refreshing ring to it. Critics have already generated new labels, including "post-teenage," to describe their music. Japandroids most likely titled their debut Post-Nothing, because they'd prefer to just call it "garage rock."
Check out "Young Hearts Spark Fire," off of Post-Nothing (high quality is recommended):
Don't forget to download Big Ass Manatee's 1994EVER. It's free! www.bigassmanatee.com. The band will be playing here as part of the Spring Weekend concert on Saturday, May 2!
The Buzz, CAB and SGA are proud to present the Spring Weekend 2009 Concert Line-Up. Look for these bands on the Ritcher Center basketball courts Saturday May 2nd!!!
Big Ass Manatee
**In between all sets...DJ D-Star
Come out and experience the music. Tune into 88.3 The Buzz to listen to Spring Weekend rock until the show!
Kevin, Shannon and Jeff have all arrived safe and sound in Charlotte for the Women’s Basketball A-10’s! The first match up for the Lady Bonnies is against the St. Joe’s Hawks. Tip-off is set for 5:30 PM. We will be broadcasting the game this evening from the Halton Arena. Listen live at wsbufm.net OR even better, listen and WATCH the game live and free of charge. To do this, go to the Atlantic 10’s webpage at http://atlantic10.cstv.com/ then look at the various video links on the right side of the home page. Click to view the St. Bonaventure vs. St. Joe’s game
For more info on our experience in Charlotte visit
See You Court side!
If you read the Buzzworthy you would know that we polled St. Bonaventure Campus what they were listening to. Here are the full results of what SBU is listening to:
U2, Beatles, Tragically Hip, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Four Tops, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Duffy, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, All-American Rejects, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Leona Lewis, Cute is What We Aim For, Valencia, The Format, The Morning Light, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, Pearl Jam, R.E.M, BB King, Bob Dylan, The Killers, Phantom Planet, Spoon, Zox, The Raconteurs, Kings of Leon, Something Corporate, Rogue Wave, Jack Johnson, Mat Kearney, Yellowcard, Say Anything, Hit The Lights, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, City and Colour, Empire of the Sun, Anthem, The Hold Steady, Whiskeytown, The Game, Joe Budden, Ludacris, Incubus, RHCP, OAR, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Puddle of Mudd, Snoop Dogg, Robert Plant, Blues Traveler, Genesis, Jay Z, Eminem, Umphrey’s McGee, The New Deal, DVDA, Kool Keith, Ween, LCD Soundsystem, Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews, Garth Brooks, Poison, Buckcherry, Brooks & Dunn, Band of Horses, Rogue Wave, Brand New, Billy Talent, Sufjan Stevens, Jason Reeves, Matchbox Twenty, Relient K, Jars of Clay, Josh Turner, The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, Carrie Underwood, The Band, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Bravery, Evanescence, Tokyo Hotel, My Chemical Romance, Dierks Bentley, Bon Jovi, Steller Kart, Backstreet Boys, N’sync, 98 Degrees, Atreyu, Slayer, Killswitch Engage, Rascal Flatts, Mozart, Lady Gaga, Radiohead, TV On The Radio, Robert Johnson, Waylon Jennings, Psychedelic Cowboys, John Mellencamp, Keisha Cole, Colbie Calliat, Jason Mraz, Tim McGraw, Coheed & Cambria, Minus the Bear, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Weezer, Third Eye Blind, State Radio, Kate Nash, Ingrid Michaelson, Katy Perry, Ra Ra Riot. . .
Deleted Scenes burst on the scene in 1998. Hailing from Maryland, the band tried to follow the pop/rock way of life. Deleted Scenes have a creative way of creating their brand of music. Although compared to Modest Mouse, Deleted Scenes has more of a mellow sounding style. The band has been described as Peter Gabriel meets Sunny Day Real Estate. This album specifically demonstrates the style especially in the track "Ithaca," which is a song that you will never get sick of listening to. The lyrics are what you expect from a pop band but the instrumentals show the bands talent and creativity. Deleted Scenes shows us all what it is to be a successful working band that sticks to its specialties and sticks to them very well.
AON Sessions: Deleted Scenes, "Ithaca" from All Our Noise on Vimeo.
The St. Bonaventure women's basketball team tied a program record for wins in a season Tuesday night with a 54-48 win over Rhode Island. The Bonnies are now 18-6 on the season and have five games remaining before the conference tournament begins March 6.
ESPN columnist and Bona alum Charlie Creme has the Bonnies on the NCAA tournament watch, under the category "Next Four Out." If SBU can do some damage in the conference tournament, the Bonnies might be dancing in March.
Here's the remaining schedule with a breakdown of each game until the end of the season. (Conference standings can be found at the bottom.)
2/14 @ Fordham
2/18 Duquesne *Listen on wsbufm.net
2/21 @ George Washington
2/25 @ St. Louis
2/28 Charlotte *Listen on wsbufm.net
If the Bonnies win out, they will be 12-2 in the conference and clinch the second seed in the tournament, based on the head-to-head match up with Charlotte.
This schedule, at first glance, seems like it could allow SBU do just that. However, five games are an eternity in college basketball. Here's a breakdown of St. Bonaventure's last five contests.
Fordham didn’t win a game last year. This year they’ve won 8. However, they’ve only won one game in conference, and that was a three-point game at La Salle. Fordham’s ranked 14th in the league in scoring offense (53.5), and SBU’s ranked 2nd in scoring defense (55.9). The Bonnies should handle Fordham no problem, 76-45.
Duquesne in the Reilly Center should be a good game. The Bonnies snuck by the Dukes 61-55 in the Palumbo Center earlier this season. The last three games between the two schools have been decided by 6 points or less. The Bonnies won each of those games. The Dukes currently lead the A-10 in scoring at 69.8 points per game. The Bonnies, on the other hand, are only giving up 55.9. As coach Crowley said after the Rhody game, his players are learning how to lean on defense to win the close games. I think that will happen here. Chalk this one up for the Bonnies, 67-62.
Going to D.C. to tip-off with the Colonials scares me. After what happened in the RC last year, I’m sure the GW players haven’t forgotten. GW is 11-3 at home this season, with the three losses coming to: No. 7 Tennessee; No. 10 Auburn; and Richmond, a team the Bonnies lost to. Former GW coach Joe McKeowan may have left the conference, but he didn’t take his players with him. George Washington takes this one, 57-53.
St. Louis’ Theresa Lisch leads the conference in scoring at 20.4 points per game, but the Billikens still don’t have a record above .500. St. Bonaventure hasn’t lost to a team with a losing record all season. The lowest RPI out of SBU’s six losses is 74 (Oakland). St. Louis’ RPI: 190. Hopefully, the Bonnies won’t have any travel legs on them. They should win this game easily, 75-59.
When the 49ers dig their way into Bob Lanier Court, the Bonnies will be ready. This game could be the difference, depending on what the rest of the conference does, between a 2, 3, 4 or 5 seed for the Brown and White. Charlotte has run the table since losing to Xavier in its first conference game of the year. In those 8 games, the 49ers beat their opponents by an average of 11.75 points per game. In the four road wins, they’ve won by an average of 13.5. All of these numbers are fine and dandy, but the Wolfpack will be out in droves that night to support its team. And we all know how tough it is to play in the RC when it gets loud. I might be off my rocker, but the RC will be a magical place on the last day of February. Bonnies win this game, 64-60, and take at least a 3 seed in the tournament.
The coaching staff and the players have worked hard to put this program in a position to make it to its first post-season birth, whether the NCAAs or the WNIT. The conference tournament is in Charlotte this year, and there’s a huge contingent of Bona Alumni in North Carolina. Maybe some of those proud grads will make their way toward Halton Arena to support the Bonnies.
If you can't make it, listen to the games right here at WSBUFM.NET or over the airwaves on 88.3-FM in the Allegany/Olean area.
Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Standings:
1. Xavier 9-0 (21-4)
2. Charlotte 8-1 (17-6)
3. St. Bonaventure 7-2 (18-6)
4. George Washington 6-3 (14-10)
Temple 6-3 (15-8)
6. Richmond 5-4 (17-7)
7. Dayton 4-5 (15 -10)
Duquesne 4-5 (14-10)
Saint Louis 4-5 (10-14)
10. Massachusetts 3-6 (10 -14)
Saint Joseph's 3-6 (11-13)
12. Rhode Island 2-7 (9-15)
13. Fordham 1-8 (8-16)
La Salle 1-8 (10-14)
Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Bear Hands was born from the same mold as hype-generating bands like MGMT, Chairlift, and Passion Pit. However, Bear Hands has yet to be snatched up into the ever-reaching mainstream. Rest assured, it won't be long though.
Bear Hands self-released EP, Golden, caught the attention of Cale Parks, known for his work in indie band Aloha, as well as his solo work. He even remixed one of their latest songs, "What a Drag." They sound somewhat similar to bands that they have shared the stage with, like Ra Ra Riot and Ambulance Ltd.
The band's brief autobiography states simply: "Bear Hands formed in Aug 2006. They're doing the best they can." That's all we could ever ask for.
Check out the live video for "Vietnam", featured on FearlessMusicTV:
Of Montreal has amassed a large fan base as a result of their acclaimed 2007 record Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?. They shifted from an originally Elephant 6 sound to a more accessible electronica-pop modulation. Although they might have changed their instruments to accommodate Kevin Barnes' vision, the underlying musical ideas still go hand-in-hand with bands like Apples in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Elf Power. Toward the end of his 2007 album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, frontman Kevin Barnes introduced his inner alter-ego named Georgie Fruit. One year later, this alter-ego is completely entrenched in the album Skeletal Lamping, turning it into a conglomeration of experimental R&B, glam rock, and Scissor Sisters-styled sex-funk.
Just as puzzling as his alter-ego, Georgie Fruit, is the album. Skeletal Lamping is elaborate and extravagant. Every song is composed of multiple snippets of musical ideas, sometimes juxtaposing ideas that are completely different in style. Some songs spill into others connecting effortlessly and unrestrained.
So is the album good or bad? Unfortunately it's not that clear-cut. Songs like "Nonpareil Of Favor" illustrate Barnes' attempt to throw every misconstruing idea into a pot, expecting Hissing Fauna. One might enjoy some of the segments, but as a whole it doesn't give you the sugary melodies seen in his previous albums. However, songs like "An Eluardian Instance" shine brightly out of the album as one of his best pieces of musical artwork. By using an array of instruments to convey several musical parts of the abstract, Barnes creates a cheeky pop, self-indulgent masterpiece.
It all comes down to whether or not one is willing to tolerate Barnes' unstrained ambition toward "the beyond." Depending on your musical patience, Skeletal Lamping can be an irresistibly polarizing album or, for you more conservative types, an overly pretentious album reeking of self-accolade.
Check out the band's video for "Id Engager" below!
The 88's name is derived from a number of things involving the number 88. There are 88 keys on a piano and 88 cities in California. They live in one of them. It's Los Angeles, where music is plentiful. The 88 have made a name for themselves with Beatle-like lyrics and a relaxing musical feel. The 88 is prime for success with their songs popping up all over television. They were recently featured on iTunes for their free single of the week promotion. The 88 indepently released their first album, Over and Over. Island Records signed them for Not Only...But Also, and they're bound for big things.
The 88 can be listened to during almost any instance. Their output fits the category of "good music," and that's all a band can ask for.
Check out their video for "Go Go Go" below!
Combining the haunting swell of Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) with the timeless lyrics of Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), frontman Matthew Milia creates images of the backwoods in the minds of the listener. Musically speaking, Frontier Ruckus finds common ground with a wide spectrum of bands including The Music Tapes and fellow Michiganians Anathallo.
The band's debut album, The Orion Songbook, will be released November 6 on Quite Scientific Records.
Check out the homemade video for "Animals Need Animals":
Composed of thirty, yes thirty, band members, I’m From Barcelona is best described as a collective. Although the band’s name isn’t meant literally (they actually hail from Sweden), they burst onto the indie radar in 2006, with their debut album Let Me Introduce My Friends. The band continues in the footsteps of their debut with “Paper Planes”, the first single off of Who Killed Harry Houdini? Sounding like a mixture of a choir and an orchestra, the band has created an eccentric masterpiece.
Anthony Green, no stranger to the stage, has previously played in Saosin, The Sounds of Animals Fighting & Circa Survive (as well as many other bands). His current solo project contains a collection of songs Anthony has written over the past 5 years of his life. Many fans have fallen in love with some of these songs year after year when they surprisingly pop up at impromptu acoustic sets in venue parking lots across the nation after Circa Survive shows. These songs are now finally being recorded and released together for the first time as Avalon.
Avalon has the same feel that any work by Anthony Green does with his signature vocals but with a more pop feel than his previous work. There is not a whole lot of material on the record that begs for widespread commercial success, but the record is still immediately likable and catchy in the simplest of ways. This acoustic/folk album is a great listen to all fans and is something you can relax to.
Check out his video for "Dear Child (I've Been Dying To Reach You)" below!!!
The Spinto Band is an indie rock band out of Delaware. Formed in 1997, Moonwink is their sixth album, and first on Park The Van Records. Moonwink presents fun tracks that are easy to dance to and sing along with, where their previous album, Nice and Nicely Done, exhibited more folk-influenced tracks. The six person band can be compared to Oh No! Oh My!, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, and arguably Vampire Weekend.
Check out their video for "Summer Grof":
With an alt-country vibe paired with the delirious 12-year old boy sounding cry of Whitney, Jaguar Love makes their own sound but stay close to their roots. Re-writing the genre rulebook with tracks sounding like neo-classic rock, pop and techno, they are edgy and perfect.
Kristoffer Rangstam is a Swedish rock musician coming strong with his third album, Wrong Side of the Room. He cannot truthfully be categorized into one particular genre of music, with each song he creates having its own unique sound.
He has been known as the Swedish Beck, but his sound varies so frequently (in only positive ways) that it is hard to fit him into one type of sound. Rangstam can go from a fuzzy electric guitar with hard drums in the background on one track, to acoustics and soft almost spoken vocals on the next.
Check out the video for his new single; "Swing That Tambourine"!
Alongside friends Vampire Weekend, Ra Ra Riot have been one of the most talked about bands in 2008. After releasing a self-titled EP last year, the band was quickly signed to Barsuk Records, the former home of indie giants Death Cab for Cutie and Rilo Kiley, to name a few.
However, the band's future became uncertain after the death of drummer John Ryan Pike. The band decided to continue though, and are stronger because of it. The dark lyrics and swirling strings of their debut album, The Rhumb Line, pay tribute to Pike, an obvious inspiration for all of the band's future endeavors. The result is a beautifully sad, strangely uplifting album that will make any music fan happy.
Check out Ra Ra Riot's video for "Dying Is Fine" off their debut The Rhumb Line:
Generally, when you make a name for yourself in the music scene with a critically-acclaimed, successful band, you don't usually branch out to do your own thing. Of course, there have been a few exceptions to this notion: Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, who took a break to pursue a solo career; Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie, who surprised everyone with the Postal Service; Matt Sharp (formerly) of Weezer, who decided to get his synth on with the Rentals; Jack White of the White Stripes, who went southern with the Raconteurs; and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, who followed in Stefani's footsteps.
Another name can be added to that list: Albert Hammond, Jr.
After getting his start with the Strokes in 1998, Albert Hammond, Jr. took a break in 2006 to release a solo record, Yours To Keep. Following some critical praise, he continued work on his project, ultimately penning enough tracks to release 2008's Como Te Llama?, an album that certainly steps in the right direction after an already great debut.
Check out the video Albert Hammond, Jr.'s "GfC" from his new album, Como Te Llama? below!
Attention new students! Make the daunting task of moving into your new dorm room fun and exciting! Listen to 88.3-FM The Buzz, St. Bonaventure's own student-run radio station, as you're driving into the Olean/Allegany area on Thursday, August 24th.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Buzz will be giving away prizes such as tee shirts, sun glasses and water bottles! Resident Assistants will also be listening to The Buzz in the check-in areas, so you don't miss your chance at winning great prizes. So keep it locked to 88.3 The Buzz and let the best four years of your life begin!
British electro band Does It Offend You, Yeah? have often been compared to frontrunners of the electro genre, like Daft Punk, Digitalism, and Justice. However, unlike those bands, DIOYY? is a full band. The live drums, bass, guitar, and synth creates a heavier sound, which have brought comparisons to bands like Muse and !!!.
DIOYY? became known for producing brilliant remixes of such bands as Bloc Party, Muse, The Raconteurs, and The White Stripes. These remixes helped them make a name for themselves even before releasing their first album. You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into is an energetic album, bound to make even the most introverted person get up and dance. On it, the band fully lives up to the hype surrounding them.
Check out the video for their song "We Are Rockstars":
Sure, their name might be a bit cumbersome, but Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin has a sound that is far from troubling. With silky-smooth vocals and soothing, melodic instrumentation, the Springfield, Missouri quartet formed in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2006 that SSLYBY signed with indie juggernaut Polyvinyl Records.
SSLYBY comes back this time with Pershing, an album sure to keep your feet tapping and head bopping. Singer and lyricist John Robert Cardwell gives you eleven tracks of great indie rock and eleven reasons to simply relax.
Check out SSLYBY’s first single off of Pershing, “Think I Wanna Die,” below!
Sub pop's latest gem, Foals, have released their debut full-length Antidotes.
Their mathy/post punk sound leaves the listener begging for more. Picking up where Q and Not U left off, Foals has a promising future. Not to mention, lead singer Yannis Philippakis was voted 45th most cool in NME's most cool list. Check out the band's single "Cassius."
He may not have the fullest head of hair in the music business, but Nick Cave has a pretty solid resumé. After thirty-five years in the industry, he’s still kickin’ and releasing new music with his band, The Bad Seeds. Their most recent effort, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, is nothing short of a bluesy-pseudo-punk masterpiece.
Cave, not only a successful musician, is also an author, screenwriter, and actor. He has weathered many genre and artistic changes over the past three decades, working with many musicians and even producing some solo work. Fifty years old and Australian, he is unlike anyone around today.
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, the band’s fourteenth studio album in twenty-four years, starts with a track of the same name and moves onward from there, passing through folk-inspired indie rock with attitude and occasional hook-filled, somewhat poppy cuts while still maintaining the feel of a great blues album.
Give a look and listen to “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!,” the album’s first single, below!
New Zealand's The Ruby Suns have been together since 2004. Originally known as Ryan McPhun and the Ruby Suns, the band was quickly signed to Lil' Chief Records in New Zealand. In 2007, they were signed to Sub Pop Records, who released their second full-length, Sea Lion, in January 2008.
The Ruby Suns draw from a wide-range of influences: “Pop music, noise, psychedelia, flamenco, South Pacific, southern Africa, home recording, hiking, travelling, animals, beaches, vegetarian food, especially falafel," many of which can easily be heard in their music. The sounds created on Sea Lion are incredibly unique, drawing comparisons to everything from The Beach Boys and Paul Simon's Graceland to "the orchestral experimentation of The Olivia Tremor Control". Check out the video to "Tane Mahuta":
Headlights craft unbelievable pop songs with a slight breathy ambience. Whether upbeat or mellow, the songs are perfect to listen to any time. Headlights prove to be a wonderful addition to any collection.
Check out their single "Cherry Tulips."
After his 2005 debut album, Sometimes, Dallas Green, the lone member of City And Colour (a band name that comes directly from Green's actual name), had something left to prove. That's not to say Sometimes was a weak album; it just hinted at more than it was. Bring Me Your Love, his newest release pleases listeners as it welcomes them into the depths of his soul.
With a sound somwhat akin to Iron & Wine (not only in band name), City And Colour uses lush acoustic instrumentation and the occasional harmonica to create folky, almost ambient tracks. Green, singer from the screamo band Alexisonfire, surprises with his soothing voice and attention to melody on Bring Me Your Love. Not your stereotypical solo acoustic singer-songwriter, City And Colour has successfully made his mark.
Watch and listen below to "Waiting...," the first single off his new album, Bring Me Your Love!
Los Campesinos! are a seven piece indie pop band hailing from the mean streets of Cardiff, Wales. The band name originates from the Spansh term for farmers. This seven piece is as quirky and spazz as it is beautiful.
These newcomers were formed just over two years ago at their alma matter the Cardiff University. With boy/girl alternating vocals, a full backing band with punky undertones, it is not surprising the band received the uncommon score of an 8.4/10 on Pitchfork Media.
Check out Los Campesinos! single, "Death to Los Campesinos!"
Detroit hip-hop duo, The Cool Kids bring a whole new sound to the current rap scene. Dubbed BMX hip-hop by critics and fans, emcees Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish are rapidly gaining fans as well as youtube plays on their debut music video "Black Mags."
The Cool Kids may look or sound familiar because the band was featured on Rhapsody's commercial with Sara Bareilles. They were later cut and replaced with another Sara Bareilles song.
Currently on tour with M.I.A, these youngsters are the future of the rap game. Check out their single "Black Mags."
Bona Women's Basketball: Why You Should Pay Attention, by Jeff Landers
I understand that unless you live in Tennessee or Connecticut, women’s basketball probably doesn't top your list of favorite sports. But I am going to give you three reasons why you should care about St. Bonaventure’s women’s basketball team.
1. They are winning, and there’s nothing people like more than winners. The 63-60 upset victory over then #14/13 George Washington on February 16 set the program’s single-season record at 17. They’re not done yet, either. The Bonnies have three games left before heading to Philadelphia for the Atlantic-10 Tournament.2. These girls can play. Many people live their lives under the assumption that men’s basketball is just a better game than women’s basketball. While it may be generally true that men are stronger and faster than women, it doesn’t mean the game itself is better. The women’s breed of basketball is, in most cases, a more fundamentally sound game than the men’s game. The Bonnies tend to use more set offenses, setting more screens and distributing the ball with higher frequency. Head coach Jim Crowley likes his team to spread the floor and use as little dribbling as possible.
3. They are true student athletes. No welding scandals can be found here. These Bonnies ranked third on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Team Honor Roll with an overall GPA of 3.594 during the 2006-07 academic year. Not to mention junior guard Katelyn Murray boasts a 4.0 overall average… as a bio major.
If you can’t root for a team that is winning - and doing it the right way - then you probably shouldn’t be a college-basketball fan at all. St. Bonaventure's women's program is on the upswing, and you should be paying attention. The Bonnies’ remaining schedule follows:
2/24 vs. St. Louis (1 p.m. Reilly Center) *
2/27 @ UMass (7 p.m. Mullins Center)
3/1 vs. Xavier (1 p.m. Reilly Center) *
* Listen live on 88.3 The Buzz in Olean/Allegany or log on to wsbufm.net.
Jeff Landers is Station Manager of 88.3 The Buzz and announced play-by-play for the women's basketball team from 2006 to 2008.
Son of acclaimed Crowded House frontman, Neil Finn, Liam Finn is surely making a name for himself. Hailing from New Zealand this 23 year-old singer/songwriter, writes pop songs that are guaranteed to hook listeners. His debut release, I'll Be The Lightning, is the beginning of a promising career as a musician. Don't let his uncanny resemblence to Zach Galifianakis deter you from listening to "Second Chance."
Liam Finn- "Second Chance"
The Buzz will hold its General Interest Meeting for the spring 2008 semester on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. in Murphy A/B.
WSBU-FM wants to welcome all the Bonaventure students back to campus for the spring semester. We hope you had a good holiday break.
The Buzz's programming department will have student shows up and running in just over a week's time. Keep an eye on the look-out for the date and time of the general interest meeting, which we hope to hold early next week.
The Buzz is a perfect resume builder, so we invite you to get involved this semester. From sports to public relations, from marketing to news, the Nation's No. 1 College Radio Station can't survive without support from students like you.
Jeff Landers - Station Manager
The Buzz will continue its coverage of St. Bonaventure women's basketball this winter, bringing you three games from Central New York during the break.
The Bonnies will matchup with the Bearcats of Binghamton University, the Syracuse Orange and the Cornell Big Red.
Sat. Dec. 29 @ Binghamton (Events Center) 2 p.m.
Mon. Dec. 31 @ Syracuse (Carrier Dome) 1 p.m.
Fri. Jan. 4 @ Cornell (Newman Arena) 7 p.m.
All games can be heard live on 88.3 The Buzz or right here on wsbufm.net.
Without a doubt, the best, new up-and-coming band is The Wombats. This Liverpool-based trio have already made a name for themselves in their native UK, and are rapidly gaining fans within the US due to their infectiously catchy songs. The Buzz has already been spinning the single "Moving to New York," off the album The Wombats Proudly Present.. A Guide To Love, Loss, and Desperation. The full album will be released in the US in early 2008. Check out "Kill the Director" below:
Congratulations to the following award winners for the Fall 2007 Semester:
DJ's of the Semester: Eric Smith and Matt Tucci
Staffer of the Semester: Peter Cauvel
Director of the Semester: Luke Smith (Programming)
Department of the Semester: Production (Jeff Landers)
See you in the Spring......
WSBU Music Department’s Top 20 Albums
20. M.I.A – Kala
19. Jose Gonzalez – In Our Nature
18. Mark Ronson – Versions
17. Rilo Kiley – Under the Blacklight
16. Gonzales – Solo Piano
15. Digitalism – Idealism
14. The Berg San Nipple – Along the Quai
13. Pinback – Autumn in the Seraphs
12. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Dandelion Gum
11. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
10. Panda Bear – Person Pitch
9. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
8. Apples in Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder
7. Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City
6. Caribou – Andorra
5. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
4. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
3. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
2. Bright Eyes - Cassadaga
1. Radiohead – In Rainbows
compiled by: Mike Moretti, Mike Ghassibi, Garrett Lyons, Amanda Renko, Bill Boguski, Pete Cauvel, Joe Kepler, Zack Witzel, and Adam Kroeger