Thursday, November 29, 2012

Autre Ne Veut - Counting

Autre Ne Veut is Arthur Ashin, a solo act from Brooklyn.  I've seen his music classified as avant-pop on numerous occasions, but I'm not sure if that really describes his sound appropriately.  The only problem is, I can't seem to think of a single word that sums up his sound as a whole.  It definitely possesses some pop qualities, but the R&B infused vocals in his newest single mixes things up a bit.  When compared to Autre Ne Veut's Body EP, "Counting" sounds much more structured and overall, easily accessible. It's kind of like Active Child's distant cousin, who happens to be best friends with How To Dress Well.

Autre Ne Veut's sophomore album, Anxiety, is scheduled for release on February 12, via Software.  To download "Counting", along with a remix featuring Mykki Blanco, look over here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

CSS - I've Seen You Drunk Gurl

CSS (also know as Cansei de Ser Sexy) are currently working on their fourth album with musician/producer Dave Sitek.  As a little tease of what's to come, the band posted a new track last week.  "I've Seen You Drunk Gurl" will be released as a limited 12" on Federal Prism.  There are no official release dates for the single as of yet, but hopefully the wait won't be too long.

The song itself is a strange departure from their usual sound.  It's lacking in punky guitars and instead features a Beastie Boys inspired beat.  I've heard quite a few negative reactions towards the single, but I actually think it's pretty great.  "I've Seen You Drunk Gurl" still has the CSS attitude that the band is known for.  Check it out...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mika - The Origin Of Love

Three years ago, Mika released his sophomore album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much.  Looking back on the recording process, Mika has stated that it wasn't a pleasant experience.  He expressed that the general mood was less than desirable, mainly due to being overly encompassed by the music.  This time around, Mika ran in the opposite direction.  He surrounded himself with like-minded people; musicians, collaborators, a support team.  The result is almost a rediscovery of character, an image reassessment.  I don't want to say it's a return to some former glory, because the downfall of Mika never happened.  The Origin Of Love is, however, an album of significance.

The title track is placed at the front of the album, immediately setting the record's theme.  The majority of this album is still dripping with that signature "Mika" sound.  He hasn't necessarily stepped away from what kickstarted his career in the first place.  It's just that, for the most part, this album is the introduction to a changed and more mature Mika.  Both Life In Cartoon Motion and The Boy Who Knew Too Much featured incredibly mature tracks, but from the artwork to the musical decisions, The Origin Of Love is a step forward into a new chapter of Mika's sound.

As one could guess, love is the common factor between these songs.  Falling in love, falling out of love, relationships in general, it reaches almost every inch of the topic.  I'm reminded of Patrick Wolf's Lupercalia record.  Prior to its release, Patrick had written both childish love songs and significantly darker material as well, but he hadn't created an album so focused and determined on the topic of love.  When he finally did release Lupercalia, it was brilliant.  Mika is in a somewhat similar boat and The Origin Of Love contains some of his greatest accomplishments yet.

"Lola" is a prime example of simple yet effective pop.  It showcases Mika's falsetto in a way that's drastically different from past songs such as "Lollipop".  It's one of the less electronic tracks on the album, constructed of organic sounds.  Some of the songs that are more dance oriented succeed just as well.  "Emily", the English version of "Elle me dit", is fantastic and so is the lead promotional track "Make You Happy".

While The Origin Of Love is consistent in idea, it's across the map in genre. Overall, I would call it pop, but pop is probably the broadest label one could give music.  The chorus of "Step With Me" calls back to the stylings of 90's and early '00's UK radio hits.  The piano intro to "Underwater" sounds strikingly similar to "Set Fire To The Rain" by Adele, but manages to shed that thought by the time it's over.  "Popular Song" and "Celebrate" might've already been hit singles if they had been released by a big brand name.  "Love You When I'm Drunk" is really the only song that ventures too close towards the border of awkwardness, and that's due to the relentless repetition of the title line.

Mika's first two albums had a distinct kitschy touch to them.  I feel like he became pegged into that box by audiences based on the success of his singles.  I shouldn't discredit those albums  They deserve great praise, but The Origin Of Love sounds like the growth of an artist.  Mika hasn't recreated "Grace Kelly" or played towards a familiar formula.  You can be a serious musician and still play with outrageous dance music, you just need to be sincere about it.  Don't stop halfway through the door, jump all the way in.

The Origin Of Love is available now as a standard fourteen track album and a two disc deluxe edition with nine extra songs.  The second disc contains acoustic arrangements, remixes, and two non-album tracks; the original French version of "Elle me dit" and "Ta Dah".  If you wish to purchase the standard album, go here.  To get the double album, head this way.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kate Nash - Fri-end?

Kate Nash's new music video is the perfect Halloween surprise.  "Fri-end?" is Kate's first release since teasing her new musical direction with "Under-Estimate The Girl" back in June.  She tweeted the vampire themed video earlier today and paired it with a free download of the song.  The track will be included on her upcoming and still untitled EP.

As for the music video, you can see her recent Buffy twitter talk shining through.  There's a bit of a monster mash thrown in there as well.  Check it out...

Head on over to Kate's website for a free download of "Fri-end?"

Friday, October 26, 2012

M83 - Steve McQueen

M83's "Steve McQueen" was one of the many explosions on last year's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.  The entire album is stunning, but there's something extra special about this song.  A few months ago, M83 held a video submission contest to find the official music video for the single.  The grand prize also included a load of money (£3,000), just in case having your video chosen wasn't enough validation.

The winning video, directed by Balthazar Auxietre and Sylvain Derosne, features stop motion animation and a boy in a yellow suit.  He's wearing a bow tie, too.  It's all very M83-ish for not being the creation of Anthony Gonzalez or anyone else within the band.  Check out the video below and see what this bow tie boy is all about.

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is out now on Mute.  You can purchase a copy of the album, here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Imogen Heap - You Know Where To Find Me

Imogen Heap has unveiled "You Know Where To Find Me", the next step in her always growing Heapsong adventure.  This song serves as another milestone in a series of various projects that will form her upcoming album, presumably titled Heapsongs.  She started this Heapsong journey last year and you can learn more about it here.

The new track was previewed for the first time during Imogen's stay at A Room For London earlier this year.  The song is now finally complete with a music video and everything.  The video features Imogen playing a spectrum of pianos located across Edinburgh.  For more information on the pianos used during the creation of the video, including some insight directly from the artist, check out this map.

I may be a bit biased due to my general tendency to love everything she releases, but "You Know Where To Find Me" is one of my favorite pieces to come out of the Heapsong project so far.  The song showcases both the piano side and the electronic production side of Imogen's music.  You can download the track in a variety of formats here and watch the video below.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

October 6 marked the date of Virgin Mobile's fourth annual FreeFest. Located in Columbia, Maryland, the free festival covers forty acres of land surrounding the Merriweather Post Pavilion venue grounds.  Scattered across three stages, over twenty acts performed from noon to nearly midnight.  I had two main objectives upon entering the festival, attend the Santigold set and, most importantly, see M83.  I'll have you know that I saw both sets and so much more.

My day started off with Volta Bureau.  The DC based group was the first to play the Dance Forest stage and started their set at noon.  They played an hour set and garnered quite the crowd.  There may not have been an insane pack of raving madmen like many of the later Dance Forest sets attracted, but the attendees were equally as enthusiastic about the music.  Plus, what better way to start the festival than with some dancing?

After Volta Bureau, I stuck around for Penguin Prison.  I had the opportunity to see Chris Glover's musical project earlier this year when they opened for Neon Trees at the 9:30 Club.  His FreeFest set was just as fun and the audience was noticeably more familiar with the music.  RAC collaboration "Hollywood" and "Don't Fuck With My Money" were crowd favorites.  The setlist was switched around a little differently this time and he included his cover of Lana Del Rey's "Blue Jeans".  I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to see Penguin Prison once again.

Penguin Prison ended at 2:00 and I took advantage of this moment to check out some festival food, which was consumed while simultaneously observing a short bit of Portugal. The Man's set at the West Stage.  I can't say much about the band, for I only heard a few songs from the stage's field.  This pattern continued, as I stuck around for about three or so songs from The Dismemberment Plan, Nervo, and then Ben Folds Five.  Ben Folds Five sounded great with some standout piano action.  Nervo's crowd almost swallowed me alive, so I watched from a distance to avoid missing other sets.  The Dismemberment Plan interestingly had a crowd of almost solely men from an older demographic when compared to the festival's general consensus.

By 4:30, I was at the West Stage waiting for Santigold's set to start.  She gets the award for most elaborate stage antics, and I'm not talking about lights or pyrotechnics.  Backed by a pair of matching dancers, Santigold pumped out a high energy set that included some serious dance breaks and costume changes. During "Creator", the front row of the crowd was invited up to the stage to start a dance party/riot.  The setlist was an even blend of songs from both of her records, with singles mixed throughout.  She even performed her Major Lazer collaboration, "Hold The Line".  I loved every moment of it.

In the gap between Santigold and M83, I watched Alabama Shakes from the Pavilion lawn and caught the front end of ZZ Top.  Alabama Shakes completely surprised me, in a good way that is.  I had heard their record before, but the studio recordings don't do the band justice.  The album isn't bad, it's just overshadowed in comparison to the show.  To fully experience Alabama Shakes at their finest, go see them live.

M83's set started at 7:50 and I had to leave ZZ Top's show to make it over to the West Stage in time.  M83 was absolutely spectacular.  The group blasted through their set, flipping back and forth between stretched out electronic selections and the big singles.  You can imagine the reaction towards "Midnight City".  The saxophone solo is really that much more epic in person.  "Intro" will forever be M83's opening song for live shows.  They also put on a massive light display, which gave the entire stage an extraterrestrial feeling.  I only wish they could've played for a bit more, as they were only on stage for a one hour time slot.  If you're aware of M83's catalog, then you know that they could've easily played a considerably longer set.  Either way, it was stunning.

I finished the night by moving back to the Pavilion for Jack White's set. Unfortunately, I only managed to see him from the lawn seating, as you can see in the picture above.  And while I thought he was outstanding, there will be a full separate post featuring Jack's show from the perspective of someone who witnessed everything from the pit, so keep an eye out for that.

At the end of the day, FreeFest was a major success.  I managed to see so many great acts.  Virgin Mobile will have video of the sets available for streaming sometime soon, just in case you want to see what you missed, or relive a moment. I highly suggest you try your best to grab some tickets when FreeFest comes back around next year.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lana Del Rey - Ride

I'm not sure how Lana manages to create one amazing video after another, but her latest feat is a short film called "Ride".  The song is from the second coming of her debut album, Born To Die, deemed The Paradise Edition. Clocking in at ten minutes and nine seconds, "Ride" is a visual treat.  With an extended spoken intro and accompanying outro, the video takes this single to a completely new level.  Lana narrates her journey of freedom as she rides through life with a group of bikers.  How much of the story is made up and how much is real life Lana?  I'm not sure.  Directed by Anthony Mandler and written by Lana, watch "Ride" below.

Born To Die: The Paradise Edition, along with a stand alone Paradise record, will be available on November 13, via Interscope.  To pre-order the new tracks, go here.  To pre-order the double album, go this way.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sky Ferreira - Everything Is Embarrassing

Sky Ferreira is a name that I had always seen bouncing around music blogs, but I just never paid much attention to it. The articles would sternly state that she was the next big thing in one way or another.  It wasn't until recently that I took notice of her music.  When Sky released "Everything Is Embarrassing", I fell in love with the track.  The single sounds like 80's pop music, but has a tragically minimalistic approach.  I'm completely addicted to it in every possible way.

The song's music video came out today and it's a fairly simple black and white clip.  Sky strikes a pose in various settings while giving off some sultry glares.  If she somehow decides that music isn't her thing, then modeling may be her calling.

Sky Ferreira's upcoming Ghost EP, featuring "Everything Is Embarrassing", will be available on October 16, via Capitol Records.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ke$ha - Die Young

I reviewed Cannibal, Ke$ha's second album, back when it first came out.  At the time, I gave the record an incredibly brutal rating.  It's probably one of the very few posts for The Soundtrack Of My Life where, after reading it back now, I wish I could just redo it completely.  But hey, opinions change and that's exactly what happened.  Just don't go looking for that review.

In the near two years that have passed since the album's release, my thoughts about Ke$ha have drastically reformed.  I actually think her music is great, if you're looking for for some top notch party tracks.  I stopped caring about the fact that her songwriting can be mindless, because there have indeed been moments when all I want to hear is mindless music.  Ke$ha's other projects outside of the pop world are fascinating.  Just listen to her cover of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".  It's fantastic. She may not be the savior of music, but she's definitely one of the most interesting mainstream pop stars of today.

Today, Ke$ha released the lead single to her upcoming third album, Warrior.  "Die Young" is her highly anticipated return to the scene after being out of the spotlight for quite a while.  I actually heard the song a last night when it leaked, before being pulled off of Soundcloud and various other sites. However, due to my refusal to promote leaks, this post is going up today.

"Die Young" is very Ke$ha.  It's not exactly the rock song that she teased, literally or in attitude, but it's a definite contender for radio play.  I somewhat wish "Die Young" had a little more of what I criticized Ke$ha for in the previously mentioned Cannibal review, more attitude, whether it be hilariously ridiculous or not.  I admit, after all of this Iggy Pop talk and hanging out with The Flaming Lips, I expected something a little different. Maybe she's saving the heavy hitters for later, we'll just have to wait and see.  In the meantime, we have a massive dance-pop track, which isn't bad, just safe.  What gets in the way is the fact that she's capable of so much more.

Watch the official lyric video for "Die Young".

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tegan And Sara - Closer

Tegan and Sara have debuted the lead single from their upcoming seventh studio album.  While further details about this untitled record are still behind closed doors, the single may be an unusual sign of what's to come.  "Closer" takes Tegan and Sara further into the realm of dance pop music.  After collaborations with Morgan PageTiësto, and David Guetta, this shouldn't come as a complete surprise.  But still, I wonder if the entire record will take on this sound or if "Closer" is simply the odd track from a set of less electronic songs.  Either way, I'm always eager to hear new material from Tegan and Sara and "Closer" doesn't disappoint.

"Closer" will be available to download on September 25th and their new album is scheduled for early 2013.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kimbra - Come Into My Head

Okay, this is getting out of control now.  Seriously, 2012 is the year of amazing music videos.  It was crazy enough when David Byrne and St. Vincent were dancing down a black and white street or when Grimes was traveling around in her gang of sword wielding friends, but then out of nowhere, along comes Kimbra.  Actually, it wasn't out of nowhere, as she's been pumping up this release on her twitter for a little while.  Plus, Kimbra isn't exactly a beginner when it comes to videos.  She already has quite a few under her belt and they're often full of quirky and bright imagery.

Her most recent video is for "Come Into My Head", from her debut album Vows.  This one is literally insane. There's a twisted mental hospital setting and spastic dancing.  Check it out...

Kimbra's stellar debut album, Vows, is available now.  You can purchase a copy here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lana Del Rey - Blue Velvet

Lana Del Rey has a lot on her plate.  Not only has she become the face of H&M and gained a partnership with Jaguar, but she also plans to re-release Born To Die as a Paradise Edition of the record.  However, Lana recently spoke to Vogue Australia stating that she would prefer to work in the film industry, partially due to her crippling stage fright.  She told the magazine, "Hopefully I will branch into film work and stay there. That will be my happy place. I'd like to stay in one place for a long time... I love to take care of the songs – that's my natural place – then, when I get on stage that's not my element-".  No confirmation on whether she's simply referring to composing or intends to try acting as well.

A clip of H&M's Autumn ad campaign, which you can watch in what looks like a choppy television rip above, features Lana modeling their merchandise while singing Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet".  The song, which may be included on the Born To Die re-release, will be available as a promo single on September 20th.  To hear the full cover, head this way.  The full length H&M ad will be out tomorrow and Born To Die: Paradise Edition is scheduled for November.


Here's the full commercial, which features more of the song.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I wrote about VISITOR back in July, when they released a massive tune called "RNB".  That track is part of their new EP, COMING HOME / / RNB, which came out this week.  The album features the two title songs and four remixes.  The remixing is done by names such as Lifelike, FM Attack, Viceroy, and Bestrack.  Don't tell the others, but the Lifelike remix is my favorite.  The duo have labeled this EP under the genre title of "Pure Sex", so if you want to know what that sounds like then I suggest you give it a listen.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bat For Lashes - Marilyn

You know it'll be a good day when Bat For Lashes releases a new track from her upcoming album.  "Marilyn" is the eighth song on Natasha Khan's third record, The Haunted Man.  While the lead single, "Laura", was a stripped down piano ballad, "Marilyn" is more similar to what you heard on Two Suns.  Think strong beats, bigger instrumental arrangements, and electronic elements.

The Haunted Man will be available October 15 on Parlophone/Capitol.  To pre-order the record, you can visit Bat For Lashes' website.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra - The Killing Type

Just in case you've been living under a rock without internet access since May, I'll give you a quick recap.  To keep it short and to the point, Amanda Palmer has become the Queen Of Kickstarter.  On April 30 she created a Kickstarter project with a goal to fund the development of her next album. When the thirty day funding period ended, AFP had accumulated a total of $1,192,793.  That sets a Kickstarter record and just barely exceeds her original goal of $100,000.  Skip forward to now.  Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra are finally releasing Theatre Is Evil, a community driven art project and a serious AOTY contestant.  The fan participation is so deep that Amanda changed the spelling of "Theater" to "Theatre", upon audience request.

Prior to the album's September 11 release date (you may already have the album if you're a Kickstarter backer) several singles were released.  Promo material, one might say.  One of them is "The Killing Type", which recently received the music video treatment.  Directed by Tim Pope, the video features lots and lots of blood.  But it's so incredible.  Seriously, watch the video and then continue reading.

I told you it was incredible.

If you missed the opportunity to fund the band's Kickstarter, fear not!  You can still acquire the album.  Theatre Is Evil will be available everywhere tomorrow.  You can order a variety of formats directly from Amanda's website or you can get it from Amazon, because everyone loves Amazon.  If you want a copy signed by Amanda herself, then go here.  You can still buy music in retail stores, too.  Get it at a discount with this coupon!

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra are also touring across the globe.  If you'd like to experience what will surely be a night to remember, then go buy a ticket.

It's pretty amazing what the internet can do, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

David Byrne & St. Vincent - Who

Best music video of the year?  Possibly.  David Byrne and St. Vincent's black and white clip for "Who" is one of the most brilliant videos I've seen in a long time.  Remember Thom Yorke dancing in Radiohead's "Lotus Flower" video from last year?  Everyone wanted to dance like that.  Sorry, Thom. David and Annie have upped the standard for alternative musicians and their dance stylings.  They managed all of that without the meme factor.

Watch "Who", directed by Martin de Thurah.

David Byrne and St. Vincent's collaborative album, Love This Giant, is out on September 11, via 4AD.  The full record is available for streaming over at NPR right now.  You can pre-order Love This Giant on David and St. Vincent's website, or Amazon if you prefer.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Baio - The Silent / New You

Chris Baio isn't just Vampire Weekend's bassist, he's also a DJ.  Baio released his debut solo EP, Sunburn, earlier this year.  The set of tropical-tinted dub tracks confirmed that he has more on his mind than Vampire Weekend.  Yesterday, Baio released two new songs as a short follow-up to the Sunburn EP.  Whether you call it a single or an EP, "The Silent / New You" picks up right where Sunburn left off.

You can stream and download "The Silent / New You" for free, via Soundcloud.  Just don't go in expecting to hear anything remotely similar to Vampire Weekend.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Muse - Madness

When Muse claimed that Skrillex inspired the sound of their upcoming album, The 2nd Law, I became slightly worried.  I like my Muse without dubstep, thank you.  However, it appears that Muse have decided to contain the record's Skrillex influence within the final two songs of the album, for the most part.  Their new track "Madness" is far from a Skrillex shout out.  It's actually pretty subtle for your average Muse song.  The closest they've come to this sound before was with their 2009 single "Undisclosed Desires".  It's dominantly electronic, but they've saved room for a short guitar solo.

I'm still a bit on the edge about what to expect from The 2nd Law.  It definitely doesn't look like it'll be another Absolution.  Oh, how I wish they would create another album that equals the power of Absolution.  With that said, my curiosity is racing for what Muse will deliver.

The 2nd Law will be out in the UK on October 1 and one day later for the US. You can pre-order an overwhelming variety of album packages here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grimes - Genesis

Who would've ever guessed the insanity that Grimes had in store for us with the music video for "Genesis"?  The one minute trailer for Grimes' track, off of this year's Visions record, showed Claire Boucher striking a pose in front of a parked car.  The full video, clocking in at five and a half minutes, is so much more.  I don't even know how to describe it.  Directed by Boucher herself, flaming swords, metallic body armor, and a huge snake are all included.  I love it.  Watch Grimes and her troupe do their thing in "Genesis".

Grimes' latest album, Visions, is out now on 4AD.  You can buy a copy here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Let's face it, this song is pretty much guaranteed to hit number one.  Lyrically, Taylor Swift's new single is everything you would expect from a Swift song, but this time the music is a little less country and a lot more pop.  Produced by Max Martin and Shellback, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" is the first track off of her upcoming album, Red.  The single is a radio-ready anthem that momentarily sets aside some of the more mature elements that her last album had.  The verses and bridge are more talking than singing, while the chorus is massive.  Listen at your own risk, as it may be stuck in your head for much longer than expected.  I know from experience.

Taylor's fourth album, Red, is out on October 22.  You can download "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Antony And The Johnsons - Cut The World

Antony And The Johnsons' new live album, Cut The World, came out today.  The record features a selection of songs from each of Antony's past releases and a speech titled "Future Feminism".  The recording is from Antony's stay at Copenhagen's DK Concert Hall in September of 2011 and he's backed by The Danish National Chamber Orchestra.

"Cut The World" is the album's opening track.  Previously unreleased, the song comes from Marina Abramović's stage show, The Life And Death Of Marina Abramović.  A chilling video for the song, starring Carice Van Houten, William Dafoe, and Abramović herself accompanies the album's release.  There are endless possible interpretations to what the video demonstrates. Is it the result of one being under another's command for too long?  Is it a feminist film or simply anti-male?  Viewer discretion is advised due to violence.

Cut The World is out now on Secretly Canadian.  You can buy a copy for yourself here.  For more information on Antony And The Johnsons, head over to their website.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Unicorn Kid - Need U

There's something about Unicorn Kid's recent videos that I just love.  The video for his previous track, "Pure Space", featured a group of teens to twenty-somethings as they spent a night roaming through the city.  The ensemble cast channeled something along the lines of The Breakfast Club. When combined with the song, the video gave off a complete feeling of freedom, a real "living in the moment" vibe.

For the Scottish musician's follow-up, he combined Japanese culture, video games, and a Loleatta Holloway sample.  "Need U" chases Unicorn Kid around some more city streets, as you're bombarded with flashing imagery that'll take you back to those arcade cabinets you once worshipped.

"Need U" is out October 1 on 3 Beat.  You can check out the video for "Pure Space" here and download the track here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Willy Moon - Railroad Track

Earlier this week, Third Man Records announced that Willy Moon would be releasing his next single on the Nashville label.  Yes, Willy Moon is working with Jack White.  The new song is "Railroad Track" and it will be backed by a cover of "Bang Bang", made famous by Nancy Sinatra and Cher.  But wait, there's more!  "Railroad Track" already has a music video. Unfortunately, you won't see many of his dance moves in this one.  Directed by Michael Carter and filmed in Nashville, it's a bit of a new direction for Willy Moon when compared to his previous visual work.

Hopefully, this partnership with Third Man will develop into a full LP.  How soon can we expect to see the limited edition silver record laced with traces of real soil from the moon?

"Railroad Track" will be available as a 7" single on August 20, exclusively through Third Man Records.  You can pre-order a copy here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Conveyor: Interview & Ticket Giveaway

Brooklyn-based band Conveyor have a new album and they're coming to DC!  Their self-titled debut came out last month and it's quite the record indeed.  For the full album review, head this way, but today we have other exciting news to talk about.  Not only do you have the chance to see them live, but I recently had the pleasure to interview Conveyor and here's what they had to say.

Hello!  Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today.  Let's start this off with an introduction.  Who is Conveyor?

We are!  More specifically, we are T.J. Masters, Michael Pedron, Alan Busch, and Evan Garfield.

Your debut album came out earlier this month, so congratulations on that major achievement!  How does the typical Conveyor writing session unfold?  Is it a group process, or do you guys write separately and then merge the results together?

Our process isn't all that consistent really.  It depends on the song.  In some cases songs came together almost entirely in the studio, while in others, one individual brought a relatively fleshed out idea to the group at which point we would all then collaborate and contribute our own ideas.  We also like to let the songs continue to develop in a live scenario, where they tend to really come into their own.

Which comes first, music or lyrics?

Again, this depends on the song.

As a band, what influences you?

We take a lot of direction from music across history (ranging anywhere from the Four Seasons to Fela Kuti), but our real interests lie in bringing those historical influences into the contemporary dialogue among the music scene in which we operate.

If you had to describe Conveyor in three words to someone who has never heard your music before, what would you say?

Teaming Earth Kaleidoscope.

You're currently in the middle of a summer tour spanning across the US and Canada.  How has the crowd reaction at the live shows been so far?

For the most part, the crowds have been very positive and encouraging.  For that, we are more than grateful.

What should someone expect when going to a Conveyor concert?

Expect your expectations to be wrong.

Do you have a favorite city to play?

Louisville, Kentucky.

Finally, what music are you currently listening to?  Are there any albums that you just can't stop playing?

We are listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young at this very moment. We've really been digging on the Kishi Bashi record as well as Monogold's record, The Softest Glow.  Monogold is from Brooklyn and they are great.

Thanks!  Have a great time on the rest of the tour!

Thank you!

Now it's time for the giveaway!  Conveyor's playing at DC's Black Cat tomorrow night, along with Drop Electric, Southwork, and Presto Bando.  If you'd like to win some tickets, you can enter through the following methods.  Increase your odds by doing all three!

Good luck!  The winner will be contacted on 8/3.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


If you know me, then you know that I adore 80's pop music.  The massive echoing drums that could shatter glass satisfy my every need and I live for a good synthesizer.  So when I first heard this new track by VISITOR, everything was absolute bliss.  "RNB" is off of the London duo's upcoming EP, COMING HOME // RNB.  The album will not only feature this song, but even more new material including a slew of remixes.  The track is a dreamy soundscape that features such a wonderful retro vibe, slightly reminiscent of Goldfrapp's Head First record.  Give it a listen and see for yourself.

COMING HOME // RNB is out September 10 and a full LP is in the making. For more info about the band, you can check out VISITOR's website and follow them on twitter.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Le1f - Wut

New York rapper Le1f has been making waves across the internet with the release of a new video for his latest single, "Wut". The track is from his Dark York mixtape, which came out back in April.  "Wut" features horn loops and a dangerously sinister beat.  It's a bit Diplo, but everything is taken to a new level.  Just listen to the second verse for a prime example.

With this said, it's the video that's the real attraction.  Le1f's wearing short shorts, stretching bubblegum, and channeling Azealia Banks through some killer dance moves.  He's also sitting on the leg of a slick shirtless man that's wearing a Pikachu mask.  Yeah, he's gay.  The topic of his sexuality has been the focal point of many articles about both him and the video, but Le1f lets everyone know what he's all about.

"I am gay, and I’m proud to be called a gay rapper, but it’s not gay rap. That’s not a genre. My goal is always to make songs that a gay dude or a straight dude can listen to and just think, This dude has swag. I get guys the way straight rappers get girls. I’m not preachy. The best thing a song can be called is good."

So in the end, ignore the labels and check out the video for Le1f's "Wut". You can download and stream his mixtape, Dark York, here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Killers - Runaways

I've been obsessed with this song since it came out a few weeks ago.  The Killers have been a favorite of mine dating back to their debut in 2004.  After all of the various stages that the band has gone through, Hot Fuss is still my favorite Killers record.  That's not to say that their other albums are weak, for they're not.  I even enjoy Day & Age, which is much more than some people care to say.  Hey, the feather shoulder pads were genius.

"Runaways" is probably most similar to the band's sound during their Sam's Town era.  It's stadium sized and has that Springsteen feeling.  The music video was just released today and it sets the scene for the album's imagery and overall direction. There's a red and black color scheme and the hint of Las Vegas is still there.  Check out the video and look for The Killers upcoming album, Battle Born, September 18 on Island/Vertigo.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bat For Lashes - Laura

Yes it's true, Bat For Lashes released a new single and video.  It's been over three years since Natasha Khan's last album, Two Suns, but the wait is finally over.  Bat For Lashes' third album, The Haunted Man, is due out on October 15 and the first single is "Laura".  The song is a burning piano ballad that's equally as stunning as some of her previous wonders, such as "Sad Eyes" or "The Big Sleep".  It's led by a somber piano line and Natasha's soaring vocals, "Laura, you're more than a superstar".  Match that with its visual counterpart and you have love at first listen.  Watch "Laura" below.

The Haunted Man will be released October 23 in the US, via Capitol, and October 15 in the UK on Parlophone/EMI.  You can pre-order the record here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

SSION - Feelz Good (4-Evr)

SSION's music videos are always a spectacular sight.  With his over the top glam-pop personality, Cody Critcheloe is something of a modern day Boy George.  His latest video is for "Feelz Good (4-Evr)", my favorite song off of SSION's last album, Bent.  The video features a mass of images that will most likely give you a sensory overload.  It may seem a bit simple when compared to previous videos such as "Earthquake", but it'll take you much longer to discover everything this one has to offer.  Feel free to search each and every frame while I try to find a leather jacket that even comes close to rivaling Cody's.

Check out "Feelz Good (4-Evr)".  Be careful, it may trigger a seizure.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Conveyor - Conveyor

Conveyor is a band that exceeds genres.  The self proclaimed "experimental pop" quartet creates this blend of sounds that makes you reconsider the definition of pop and doubt all that you once knew about folk.  If you're looking for a band that can tackle a killer harmony, then you found your match.  The Brooklyn-based band also just released their self-titled debut album.  Filled with sporadic beats and ambient breakdowns, you get to experience the many aspects of Conveyor all within the stretch of eleven songs.

The record starts off with "Woolgatherer", an ideal first impression.  I feel like it captures everything that Conveyor does best.  The upbeat track stacks howling sirens on top of digital bleeps as a clap-along drum arrangement drives everything along.  Although the entire record has an overall bright and summery felling to it, "Woolgatherer" shines a bit brighter than the rest, not to discredit the remainder of the album.

Conveyor's ability to instantly transition from a stammering beat pattern into a low key chord-centric piece is what makes the album so interesting.  The drawn out periods are beautifully done and really create a dreamy atmosphere.  Both sides of the band mesh together to completely negate any sense of dull repetition.

One track that I keep returning to time after time is "Short Hair".  It's melodically addicting and once again showcases the tight vocal work. Lyrically the song is a brief idea, consisting of a little more than four lines, "You have short hair, but your face is so long".  That doesn't mean it's any less intriguing, for "Short Hair" is quite the opposite.

If you enjoy the sounds of Fleet Foxes, Sufjan StevensGrizzly Bear, or Feist, then Conveyor may very well be your new favorite band.  They take the acoustic elements of a more "indie" crowd and stir in some unconventional choices to shake things up a bit.  The album is a lavish soundscape without sounding too pretentious or precise.

Conveyor's eponymous record is out now on Paper Garden Records.  You can purchase a copy of the album on vinyl, CD, or digitally here.  It's also available on iTunes and Amazon MP3, but who wouldn't want to own a physical copy of that artwork?  If you're interested in seeing the band perform live, then you're in luck!  Conveyor's currently playing shows across the country as part of their summer tour.  You can find a full list of dates and venues here.

Stream Conveyor

Monday, July 16, 2012

No Doubt - Settle Down

It's been eleven years since the release of No Doubt's last album, which is way too long for me.  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of recording time and countless pictures of Gwen in a dark studio, the band just released a new single.  "Settle Down" is the result of a much buzzed about return to music. It's the lead single off of their upcoming album, Push And Shove, which is due September 25.  The song isn't quite a return to the sound of Tragic Kingdom, but it's definitely No Doubt.  Instead of "Excuse Me Mr." or "Just A Girl", think more towards the direction of an updated Rock Steady.  The song both begins and ends with extended instrumentals and the chorus is pretty massive.  I'm officially ready for the full album.

Check out the music video for "Settle Down", which features an odd trucker theme and some classic No Doubt imagery.

The xx - Angels

The xx have unveiled the first single from their upcoming album, Coexist. They've played the song live on multiple occasions, so maybe you've already heard it, but here's the studio version.  "Angels", the record's opening track, is a beautiful look into the band's future.  It's emotionally powerful while still keeping the smooth and subtle sound that The xx are so well known for. Check out "Angels" along with some dreamy imagery below.

The full album is out on September 11 via Young Turks.  You can pre-order a copy of Coexist here.  The xx will also be heading out on a world tour later this year.  For a full list of tour dates, look this way.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Neon Trees, Penguin Prison, & JJAMZ: Live At The 9:30 Club

The moment it was announced that Neon Trees would be headlining a summer tour, I knew it was necessary that I attend this show.  When the band's sophomore album, Picture Show, came out in April, it became a staple in my daily playlist.  The record took everything that their debut had and built upon it, confirming that they are indeed a band to take notice of.

On July 11, the band checked into Washington DC's very own 9:30 Club as part of the summer tour sponsored by Nylon and Starbucks, which was evident by the banners draped across the venue's interior.  The tour runs from July 9 to August 22 and reaches a total of 22 dates.  For the first half of the tour, including the sold out DC date, Penguin Prison and JJAMZ will be taking the stage as the opening acts.  All of this makes for one extraordinary night.

There was a unexpected jolt of excitement before the door time of 7:00 even arrived, as all three bands were outside of the venue gathering gear and prepping for the concert.  A long line of anxious fans, including myself, snapped pictures and said a passing hello before heading inside.  Hey, a moment like that can't be missed.

The first opening band was JJAMZ, that's pronounced "Juh-Jamz".  They're something of a supergroup, as each member comes from another act.  The lineup consists of James Valentine of Maroon 5, Jason Boesel of Rilo Kiley, Alex Greenwald of Phantom Planet, solo musician Michael Runion, and Z Berg of The Like.  Arrange the first letters of their names, in that order, and you have JJAMZ.  They play extremely catchy pop music, but it's their stage presence that really adds to the package.  They couldn't look any happier as Z Berg danced around the stage, while the band shot playful gestures towards each other.  You should definitely check out their new album, Suicide Pact, which just came out this week.

After JJAMZ' short set, Penguin Prison approached the stage.  Chris Glover is the man behind the name.  His music is an 80's throwback dance party, and you may have already heard "Don't Fuck With My Money" or one of his many remixes.  It was evident from the start of the set that Penguin Prison was there to make people move.  Immediately, Glover jumped off the stage and went straight for the crowd.  This high energy was a common theme throughout the night.  Penguin Prison played the majority of his debut album along with a few non-album tracks, one of them being his RAC collaboration, "Hollywood".

With two stellar performances by JJAMZ and Penguin Prison already complete, the lights went down for Neon Trees.  The room was completely dark, except for a single microphone stand that gave off a purple glow.  A short instrumental intro, which was reminiscent of something Michael Jackson would do, transitioned into the opening notes of "Moving In The Dark".  With Chris Allen on guitar, Branden Campbell on bass, and Tyler Glenn on vocals and keyboard, the venue exploded.  The band is currently touring with a session drummer due to their regular drummer and backup vocalist, Elaine Bradley, being on a pregnancy leave.  Upon first sight, one might think they were witnessing a classic glam rock concert.  It's as if the band's wardrobe is the result of a neon rave colliding with a punk concert. There were platform shoes, pinstripe leggings, spiked leather jackets, and tri-colored suits.

One thing is certain, Neon Trees give everything they have when they perform.  Tyler Glenn is spinning across the stage one minute and swinging the microphone around his neck the next.  He's also the only person I've ever seen play the keyboard with their face.  To do that every single night takes some dedication, which is exactly what this frontman has.

The band balanced the setlist between both of their albums, switching between crowd favorites such as "1983" and "Lessons In Love (All Day, All Night)".  When the time came for "Mad Love", the only full out duet they've recorded,  the band introduced a pre-chosen fan to sing Elaine's verse.  Halfway through the show, Chris and Branden left the stage as Tyler sang a solo piano version of "Your Surrender".  This was the most intimate moment, as the audience screamed along.  Other highlights included powerhouse performances of "Love And Affection" and "Trust".

The two songs that generated the biggest reaction were none other than "Animal" and "Everybody Talks", the latter of which is currently plastered on the radio.  "Animal" served as a turning point of some kind.  Everything went up yet another notch, from loud to louder.  Yes, towards the end of their set, there was a stage dive and Tyler surfed the screaming crowd.  The evening concluded with a final encore performance of "Everybody Talks".  It was the full package, complete with those signature dance moves from the music video.

If you ever have the opportunity to see Neon Trees live, do it!  The same goes for JJAMZ and Penguin Prison.  It was an incredible night that I won't soon forget.  Neon Trees control the room with a performance that's simply amazing.  They put on a rock-dance hybrid show that will most definitely have everybody talking.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Iggy Pop & Bethany Cosentino - Let's Boot And Rally

In today's bizarre collaboration news, Iggy Pop and Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino have teamed up on a new single for HBO's True Blood.  The unlikely duo apparently came to be through Iggy's interest in the series and Bethany's desire to work with Iggy.  "Let's Boot And Rally" was written by Gary Calamar and James Combs, so neither party came up with the rather simplistic song.  The hook is laughable, "boot and rally boot and rally boot and rally boot and rally", but there's something fun about the song.  I've never seen a single episode of True Blood, if that counts for anything.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Diamond Rings - I'm Just Me

One week after releasing a teaser trailer, Diamond Rings has revealed the music video for his new single, "I'm Just Me".  The song is off of his upcoming and still untitled album, due later this year.  Directed by Jared Raab, the video features John O'Regan, the man behind the name, in a Klaus Nomi-like metallic outfit.  Yes, there are lasers.  There's also a dance troupe that looks like they stopped by after performing at one of Madonna's shows, circa 1990.  Check it out below and look for Diamond Rings' sophomore album later this year on Astralwerks.