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.