Friday, April 30, 2010

Indoor sun with Delorean and Yours Truly Presents: Delorean "Grow" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Wild Nothing - Chinatown video

Wild Nothing - Chinatown from Jack Tatum on Vimeo.

Korallreven - The Truest Faith

I think Korallreven are making a hobby out of releasing songs that belong on 'best singles of summer' lists. Last Year they brought us the great 'Loved-Up', and this summer we get 'The Truest Faith'. And who is releasing the Truest Faith 7" you ask? Well, Acéphale of course. I've mentioned them enough lately, so just to be clear: they are one of the most consistently great labels going. So consistent in fact, that if it's on Acéphale I'd almost be willing to hit purchase without having heard the music. The name pop ups all over the place, but hit up the Acéphale website and explore-- It's a must. But back to 'The Truest Faith'; sunny, uplifting, a hint of sadness ( just a hint), one of the best song you'll probably hear this summer. Yep, uh-huh. And check out that cover.

Buy the 7" via Acéphale here.

Korallreven - The Truest Faith

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How We Listen To Music

I’ve recently had this conversation with a few good (and music loving) friends of mine, but I thought it worthy to post this to see what others think. What we (mainly me, and I was slightly ranting) were talking about was how we listen to music. When I say ‘how’ we listen to music, I mean in terms of how attentive we are when we actually listen to music, and, more specifically, how format informs our attentiveness. Formats have changed over the decades, and rather quickly so in the last thirty years. A person can have lived through the rise of the cassette, the CD, and then the mp3, and still only be in their early thirties. That’s quick succession in the grand scheme of things. But out of all this comes the question: how does format inform how well we listen to music? Does format imply something about our attentiveness to the music we are actually hearing? I think it does, and I think it’s something we take for granted. I also think that it can be a dangerous thing.

A few of my friends and I have recently bought record players, which we had never really owned in our adult lives up until now. As I started picking up vinyl, particularly 7”s, it got me on this question of how we engage music. One of my favourite bands of all time is The Smiths. For those unfamiliar with the Smiths and the Smiths/Morrissey die-hard-fan culture, vinyl is a very big deal to Smiths fans, and it always has been. So as I started buying vinyl I couldn’t help but think of collecting all those Smiths singles I love. They still have some of the best cover art ever, so not only do they sound pretty, but they look pretty too. Then I started to think about something else: what it would have been like to buy those 7”s (or 45s as they used to be called) during the time period they were actually just being released. Imagine picking up “Hand In glove” in 1983 when you’d just heard about this brand new band called The Smiths that were going to do huge things for music in the impending 80s. But, Smiths aside, I want you to picture life in 1983; this is a time when the most common way to listen to music was on vinyl. So, here’s you in 1983, you go out and buy your new 7”, you head home, and get ready to put that new single on for the first time. You put it on your record player, drop the needle, and you get three minutes of listening pleasure. That’s it. Three minutes. Now that Side A is done, it’s time to flip the record, at which point you will get as your reward… another three whole minutes of listening pleasure. Now, if you think about it, if you know the record is going to end in only three minutes, you probably won’t wander around your house doing other things; you will stay put and listen to that record because you know you only have three minutes before you have to flip the record. Almost out of necessity, you had to sit and listen to that single. The format demanded it.

Most of us don’t have record players anymore. Most of us don’t have tape players. Some of us don’t even have CD players anymore (and if you do, when was the last time you used it? And I’m not talking about in your car). But every day we wake up and go to our computers to a little thing called itunes. At the very bottom of the screen it gives you a little piece of information that reads like this: “you have 14.4 days of music”. Days. We measure our music in days now. Now cut back to 1983, you in front of your record player with that 3 minutes of music versus your 14.4 days of music now. It’s a different time, a different format, but how does it affect how we listen to music?

Last summer I was talking to my neighbour’s eighteen year old nephew about the subject of music. During the course of the conversation I asked him what bands he liked. He said Dillinger Escape Plan. I thought; cool, I like Dillinger Escape Plan. And then he continued, “I don’t know the names of the bands really, I just like songs”. At which point I politely nodded, utterly baffled by his response. If our conversation continued, I don’t recall a word of it. I thought about it after and could not wrap my head around that answer, what did he mean; “I just like songs”? And it was in response to the question; ‘what BANDS do you like?’ It seemed completely illogical as an answer. I could not get this bizarre answer out of my head for days. A few weeks later we were talking and his absurd answer was still pressing in my mind. I had to ask, so, I try the question again. Same response; “I just like songs”. This time I asked him to explain what he meant by that, he said; “well, I go on my computer, I find a song I like, and then I download it”. That’s when it got me thinking about this whole format issue in the music industry and how it has affected the way we listen to music. Downloading has become a big deal in terms of ethics and legality, but what about that fundamental question of how different formats affect the way we actually LISTEN to music? Upon reflection his answer is the most clear-headed insight into how we listen to music that I have come across in recent years. And I think his response is a genuine reflection of the way format informs our attentiveness to music. And for those who disagree, I predict that in the next ten years as things like blogs drive the (particularly independent) music industry, his point is bang on.

Formats inform the way we listen to music in ways that we simply take for granted. That may sound obvious, but have you ever really thought about it? I remember the transition between tapes and Compact Discs clearly. It happened in my teens. I even remember how it affected me. Take an album like Failure’s excellent “Magnified”. I remember falling in love with it and talking to my friends and we would have conversations like; “I really love ‘Undone’”, “I really love ‘Small Crimes’”. But that was 1995. By 1999 the conversations went more like this; “I really love Track 2”, “I really love ‘Track 26’. As we shifted from cassette tapes to CDs we suddenly seemed to forget songs had titles, and everything seemed to become ‘track this’, ‘track that’. I clearly remember recognizing this distinction as that shift was occurring. I was one of the last holdouts when it came to cassettes: I bought the Verve’s “Urban Hymns” on cassette…. in 1998. It was located in the cassette section of the music store. Yes, by the late 90s cassettes now had their own ‘section’ of the store. When I asked for the tape the clerk told me “ We don’t really carry tapes anymore. There’s a small bin in the back corner though”. Within a year I only bought CDs. And I (as guilty as anyone else) was blissfully unaware of song titles from that day forth.

In light of this recent encounter with my neighbour’s nephew and the “ I only listen to songs” response I thought back on that transition between Cassettes and CDs. What did CDs give us that tapes didn’t? The music quality wasn’t any better really. In fact, many argue it was worse. What CDs did inarguably give us was easier usability. There was less physical interaction required with the physical item to hear a longer duration of music. More specifically: no flipping required. Each new format to take over seems to have one goal: less physical interaction with a) the object playing the music, and b) the device used to play the music. With that 7” you can only hear 10 minutes of music before having to flip the record on the record player. With a cassette tape you only have 30 minutes each side before you had to flip it over in the tape deck. Sure that’s the same as a 12”, but a cassette’s smaller and more portable. With a CD you had 72 (then 80 minutes), but best of all: hands free. And now, well we have days and days of music on our computers and you never have to flip anything. The music and the operating device have become completely merged.

But back to my original question: how does that affect the way we listen to music? My answer is that we don’t listen to music anymore. Not really. We live in the playlist era. There was a vinyl era, a cassette era, a CD era, and now we have the playlist era. Really, how many CDs or cassettes did you have that you were not even aware you owned? Now think of your itunes; scroll through, how many songs do you have on there that you totally forgot you even had? Or have never even listened to yet? The concern is; are we listening, actually listening, to music anymore? With a playlist you can hit play and hear potentially days of music, with a 7” you get maybe a good ten minutes of music before you have to flip the record. There’s no point in walking away when you know you have to flip the record in a few minutes. Chances are you would sit and listen to the song, thus your focus was on the music. A playlist is meant to play while you do other things. Do we risk music becoming an afterthought? Playlists seem almost designed to be ignored.

I realize now than when my neighbour’s nephew said he liked “songs” the reason I couldn’t wrap my head around it was because somewhere deep in the back of my mind was a voice saying, “ You don’t know the names of the bands you like?! All you have to do is check the label on the side of the cassette!” No more. So each new format has made life easier on us as consumers who have so little time, but maybe it’s also demanded less of us as listeners. Have you ever listened to ‘Hand In Glove’? The guitar is great, the vocals are great, the rhythm section is great, and it has wonderful lyrics too. It sounds great on a playlist… so long as you treat that playlist with the attention that you would a 7”.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Postcards + Silly Kissers

Postcards are a great band from Montreal who are playing in Ottawa on May 1 at the Saw Gallery. Ottawa peeps this is your heads up, because they are part of a great lineup involving Silly Kissers who we will get to later in the post. Now, personally I could kind of take or leave the whole lo-fi thing for the most part. With a lot of artists I can never quite figure out why they've chosen to go lo-fi, I don't know what they think it's doing for them aesthetically as far as aesthetics. Pragmatically though I get why artists go lo-fi. The thing is Postcards wear it very well. What these guys have going for them is an incredible sense of melody. When I talk about the lo-fi working for them, listen to the song "Krayons"; up front is this gorgeous guitar part moving the thing along, but behind it are all these others layered melodies. That's how lo-fi works for Postcards; it almost makes those individual parts in the background of the song indiscernible, but as a result all the parts are working together to create the whole. If I had to give a reference point for 'Krayons", I'd say picture Mazzy Star meets Magnetic Fields. Bottom line: great band from Montreal making shimmering pop. I've given you a double shot here, and "Enemy" is another melodic gem that should be in your head all day. Enjoy.

Playing with Postcards are another great up and coming band from Montreal. Silly Kissers are a band who make swoon worthy electro pop. It's all very loose and synthy, but still packs that emotional one-two punch. They just released a 10" via Arbutus Records and it really is a little treasure. 'Ghost in Your Heart' has a great vocal hook and (quelle surprise) some lovely synths. If you tell me you can get the chorus to this one out of your head, I might call you a liar. This is a song for people who are too embarrassed to dance to dance to. So, go ahead, no one's looking. And sing that chorus hook too.

Get the 10" directly from Arbutus here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sail A Whale

Well this is an exciting post. Not because these guys have new material (soon though), but because they are responsible for some of the best music I've heard over the last year and a half. And I've been listening to their songs on repeat for the past few weeks mercilessly. I can't really describe Sail A Whale's music that well. It's ethereal, it's dramatic, it's gorgeously textured, it's electronic, it's too limiting to call it electronic, it's Jesus and Mary Chain with the emotion level ramped up to twelve. And with each adjective I somehow get further from capturing the magic of their music. Each adjective just begs for more description. Words just get in the way with these guys. Maybe that's why their music features vocals, but the words are indiscernible. And the total count on songs they've released to date: three. And one of those is a remix. And are three songs really worth the hype? That's a question that rarely warrants a genuine 'yes!', but in this case...

Okay, on to the songs. You can get their debut two songs for absolute gratis right here. There's something both sunny and ominous about these songs. That sounds like a contradiction, but again, maybe words just fail where the music speaks. These songs just don't go away. They are that good. Here's a video for "Find Me A Boy".

And here is their stellar remix for Memory Cassette's "Surfin":

The whole MemCass remix EP is available for free right here. Every song on it is tight, so I can't full on claim that Sail A Whale steal the show (Friend is just too damn good), but I would probably give them the even split. And for all the remix naysayers; listen to how they've made this song their own. It sounds like a Sail A Whale song, but remains totally true to the original. Three songs that's all we have from these guys, but they do have a 7" or 12" coming out fairly soon via Acephale and Sincerely Yours. So, soon we'll have two more songs to get lost in and ponder.

That's a bunch of free music today people, download away. Take a walk outside, bring your ipod, and get lost in Sail A Whale. It's a mysterious and beautiful adventure.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hello Joe, what do you know?

Fantasy Bags is another of Friend's tricks. He releases a handful of great songs last summer and has remained quiet ever since. But I've lamented that loss on this space, so enough for now. What's amazing is how Fantasy Bags turns this into a song that is very much their own. It is the most Friend sounding of the three Fantasy Bags songs available in that it uses all sorts of world influences to construct a unique and somehow predominantly tropical sound. There's an incredible use of space on this song too; all the tropicalia is allowed to breathe here. This is such a unique take on Timberlake, it's almost hard to call it a cover. If it were a movie we'd call it a re-imagining, so let's call it that: a re-imagining of 'My Love'. By Fantasy Bags. Featuring Friend. Okay, one last plea: Friend come back.

Fantasy Bags - My Love

Memory Tapes 'Bicycle' and 'Bicycle' remix

About the original: Bicycle was the best song I heard last year. Unequivocally, Undoubtedly, Indubitably. I guess the big hook of the song is the coda at the end, which a lot of people compare to The Cure or New Order. It's an accurate comparison, but the song is a hit from note one. A lot of people associate Memory Tapes with the whole chillwave scene. I have no idea why. I think it's fair categorization, but it doesn't fully grasp how forward thinking this guy is. The other thing you hear mentioned a lot with Memory tapes is the idea of nostalgia. Again, that's fair but doesn't give you the whole picture. "Bicycle" is like a musical odyssey in five minutes. It starts out with some lovely almost dreamy, but slightly unsettling synths. Dayve Hawk's haunted vocals permeate the whole song. When it first morphs, it turns into some almost post-ravey techno jam. It's the most Weird Tapes-ish moment in the whole jam. You can see Hawk's hybrid identities (Memory Cassette+Weird Tapes) beginning to merge. But still Hawk uses his vocals to give the song a measure of unease. As the song winds down again it becomes an almost old school, smooth funk little break. And then comes that magical coda that everyone can't help but draw attention too. Yes, it is killer, but the magic of it is that the song builds to it. And what about that almost choir like vocal line in the background? And that great piano rhythm that almost sounds like a John Legend-via-old school motown wind up? Pretty guitars, yes, but listen closely. Most artists never write a song this good in their whole careers; Memory Tapes made this his debut single. Still in Awe of this one.

I was just thinking last week about how Acephale and Sincerely Yours released this great free remix package last year as a companion piece to the great Memory Cassette EP Call and Response. Then yesterday they announce they will be slowly releasing remixes off Memory Tapes debut LP Seek Magic over the coming months in honour of the re-press they've done up for the album. The first remix is of 'Bicycle' and it's done by Little Loud. I know nothing about Little Loud. But this remix is simply lovely and stays true to the level of quality of the remixes Acephale have put their stamp of approval on in the past. Little Loud make the song slightly more upbeat, dreamy, but energetic as well. It's another summer soother as my friend Shawn would say. Enough talk. Listen.

Memory Tapes - Bicycle (Little Loud Remix)

Buy the Memory Tapes re-press via Acephale here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A fun game with Perfume Genius


Step 1: Listen to the song.

Step 2: Now hit play on multiple windows at the same time. Try and make the vocals go off beat. No matter when you hit play they always seem to just layer one another. You can get it to go off beat, but it's tricky. Yes, the handclaps can get wonky, but the vocals tend to stay pretty much smooth. Also, it sounds really great when you play multiple versions at once because the synths and the vocals sound BIG!

Dom - Living In America

This song is going to be huge. It may take a few weeks or it may take months, but it's going to happen. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wild Nothing

I've been keeping an eye on Wild Nothing for a while now. He specializes in writing great pop songs that have an almost dreamy quality. His debut album 'Gemini' drops on May 24, and if all we've heard up until now is an indicator, it should be a winner. He's referenced The Smiths in the past, and his music has a similar jangly quality that is associated with their sound. His songs aren't quite lo-fi, but they definitely have this lose quality to them that really only helps create a sense of urgency to the songs. Geez, he even uses the words 'clouds' and 'foggy' in this song. Dreamy indeed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Active Child Proper

I've posted a remix by Active Child before, but never any of his originals. Well, as it turns out the wonderful Merok Records out of the UK are releasing his first EP on May 24th, so what better time to draw attention to Pat Grossi's great work. 'When Your Love is Safe' is one of his better songs (I think), and it's got that operatic voice and those deep synths that have already become the hallmarks of his work. If you like this one make sure to investigate his work further, it's a rewarding endeavor. I mentioned it before, but I'll say it again: one of the musical revelations of this last year.

Pre-Order the Curtis Lane EP from Merok here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Real Estate - Fake Blues

Real Estate were one of my favourite musical discoveries of last year. 'Fake Blues' just sticks in my head, and there's something so painful/honest/funny in the lyrics: "Just last year seems so long/ When I used to live on my own/Now I sell shit on the phone/'Cause I don't want to live at home". It feels like we've all been there at one point or another. And now Real Estate allows us to laugh about it...but it's a mildly painful laugh.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Martin Herterich - Kyrie (for A Pärt)

There's a lot of genre labels associated with this stuff, but I just call it electronic or minimal electronic music. The reason I begin the post by drawing attention to genre here is that I really think this song is so good that it is one that could convert the unconverted. So if you don't like electronic music now, this may change your mind. 'Kyrie' was one of the best songs I heard last year. Martin Herterich released a great little EP on Under The Spire, and it really was one of the best things I heard in '09. If it had any fault, it was that you wished there was more. That being said, as an EP it doesn't cheat you, and getting an EP right is a difficult thing. One of Martin's powers is the raw emotion of his music; he can not only convey emotions but hit you with that same emotional punch that seems to be motivating the song. There are a lot of electronic musicians that have emotional weight to their music, but something about Martin...It's almost like there is emotional precision to his music. For instance, the album's opener is called " Staring Across An Empty Room", a title ripe with an emotional weight to the imagery behind it; but Martin's music is more than up to the task of matching the feeling behind said image. As for "Kyrie.."; how cinematic is this one? Bittersweet, yes; but lovely and haunting as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hip Hop is Still a Real Thing

I was late to the Wu-Tang thing. I don't think I hit it up until 1997. But I remembering hearing that first album and realizing it would be a landmark even as time passed. And it still is. RZA's dirty beats and crackling record samples meets kung fu mystique still hold water today. The GZA really has managed to stay under the radar in a lot of ways, he still holds a ton of respect but he isn't quite Raekwon or Ghostface, he's more just kept at it and been consistent in his own quieter way. But that was his role: the quiet intellectual. But, GZA AND Cadence Weapon; now that's something special. In another world this song would be a monster hit. It's damn catchy and really Cadence and GZA are in fine form spittin' slang over this. Loved this one in '09 and it's still in my head.

Next up here is a double shot of Bullion. I suppose Bullion fits in with the whole Wonky scene. I don't know much about him, but he's incredible at looping samples around beats, and then chopping the beats to accent the samples. Does that makes sense? No. Well, listen to the songs, and you'll hear what I mean. Take his remix of 'Afrika', it almost sounds like that bass keeps slowing down on you. But then as he adds in that organ it almost levels everything out, so the song becomes smoother and you can latch on to that groove. It takes a few listens, but once you hear what he 's doing, you realize this is a guy absolutely in control. One of the strong suits of Bullion is to use minimal combinations of instruments/samples, and build songs around those few components. What's amazing is that his songs still have a sense of movement despite his minimal approach. It's all about creating layers with this guy, and then, chopping up the beats. This is a guy whose music rewards repeated listens, so don't be afraid to hit play on these tracks more than once.
<a href="">Say Goodbye To What by Bullion</a>

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Crystal Castles Doe Deer

Crystal Castles debut album took me by surprise. I'd been following them for a few months prior to the release of the album via a few singles and the thought they were good, but their bag of tricks didn't seem too deep. The album did a great job of expanding on their sound, and smoothing out a few of the edges. Here is the first single from their upcoming album. It sounds like more digital chaos, but there's a deep hook buried in the haze.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gold Panda

Gold Panda has been on my radar for this last year and I have to say he's a complete hitmaker in this kid's eyes. There's a lot of different artists working with crazy edits in their music to create choppy beats and melodies, but Gold Panda really does have a unique voice. There's something about his music that no matter how chopped and screwed it all sounds, he never lets the experimentation of it all destroy what he does best, and that is melody. In fact, if anything, all those crazy glitches seem to enhance the melodies. He's also created some of the best remixes in the past year as well. As a remixer he's very bold, and really approaches every song differently. I think if you created a compilation of his remixes right now you'd find that even his remixes themselves sound like he's writing each and every track into a new genre. His bongo fueled remix of Bloc Party turns the song into something dark yet almost balearic in sound, whereas his take on Little Boots turns that song into dense synth banger. There's not a lot of repetition, but, again, it's his great sense of melody that makes his work his own in the end.

Today I'm featuring 'You', which comes from an upcoming 7" and digital release of the same title. It most closely resembles his earlier track 'Quitters Raga', but there is very clear focus and growth by GP on this track. It's an almost simpler formula, but contains just as much mystery as that earlier song. It's always great to hear artists who or are able to expand their palette at the same time as they seem to be refining their songwriting.
You by Gold Panda

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bathcrones - Vineyard of the Sea

This is an exciting one. I hadn't heard of Bathcrones until two weeks ago, and it's always exciting to come across someone who you think is on the verge of doing big things. I read somewhere this guy's work described as a cross between Korallreven and CFCF, and I actually think that's a really good jumping off point to understanding what Bathcrones has going on. Thing is, if you think about it, Korallreven and CFCF have very little in common in terms of what they are doing; both make electronic music, and are very good at what they do, but that's where the similarity ends. There's a whole spectrum of stuff in between and this guy is exploring it. Bathcrones songs have these incredible layers where it just feels like melody on top of melody, but the whole adds up to so much more than just the sum of the parts. This is lovely and haunting stuff. Again, this is another artist who deserves points for consistency. Head on over to his myspace player and you'll see there is not a miss to be found, it's all hits. He's got an album ready to go, but no label has been anounced yet. In the meantime you can wait impatiently. Thanks to Bathcrones for hooking me up with this mp3.

If you head on over to Beko you can pick up a FREE digital single from Bathcrones. (His is number 27)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Sun Through A Telescope

Full disclosure: The Sun Through A Telescope is music made by a dear friend of mine. That said, as a second piece of disclosure: I consider myself a genre tourist. I've never really latched on to any genre. I go through periods where I investigate a genre and plunder a few artists that reel me in, but for the most part I feel no need to define my musical tastes by having "my genre". And usually when I do investigate a genre, it's some subgenre with a made up title (ie Post punk, Chillwave, Dubstep). Really, the average person doesn't give a damn about all these subgenres, all they really ask themselves when it comes to music is one question: do I sit or do I stand for this one? I won't be featuring a lot of metal on this page because, quite frankly, it's not a genre where I find a lot of artists that blow me away. My taste in heavy music tends to be toward the more peripheral stuff... like 'Green Sleep'.

I am a huge fan of the film Session 9. It's a film you have to see once to understand what the hell is going on, and then go back and review to appreciate. ' Green Sleep' is like Session 9; you need to hear it ALL the way through once just to understand the plot. Once that's done, when you go back and listen to it, you realize there is not a wasted note in this one --especially the fuzzy-digital chaos that slowly swells at the song's beginning. Hear that melody creeping in? Ridiculously enough, TSTAT have yet to be signed. If you have a label that releases Metal albums or have a friend that does, and you want to get on their short list for a Christmas card this year, you may want to be the one to bring this band to their attention. I highly suggest you head on over to his myspace page as all the songs featured on the player are really great; this is consistently high quality stuff. That being said, I know you have a question, so I'll answer it: sit for the first half, stand for the second half.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Goddamn it, Friend needs to release some music. I think this guy has no physical releases (yet) to speak of. He did a whole bunch of killer remixes last year, including one for Memory Cassette which was in my top five favourite songs of last year. If you combine his originals with his remixes, I think he still has less than ten songs out there. But I guess when the quality is that high, you have to forgive. So I'm putting up 'Doki' to remind us all that Friend is still out there, and we can only hope there is more killer material to come.

FRIEND - DOKI from FRIEND on Vimeo.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Late of the Pier - Best In The Class

I really like Late of The Pier. They don't seem as big in North America as they ought to be. The UK kids dig 'em hard enough though. This video for "Best In The Class" is one of my favourite music videos of the year so far. It's a simple concept, well executed.

Late Of The Pier - Best In The Class from Phantasy on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Egyptian Hip Hop

Remember when you first heard buzz about Interpol or Bloc Party or Arcade Fire, and you finally heard their music and just said to yourself " Yes!"? That's how I felt when I first heard Egyptian Hip Hop. They are starting to create quite a buzz, and they will be big. Really: expect Interpol/Bloc Party status for these guys over the coming months/years. The vocals on this track remind me of Robert Smith in a way; the singer seems to be straining at times like Robert often does with those high notes. But much like with Smith's vocals, it only adds to the charm and weight of the song. In fact, EHH remind me of the Cure a lot... not in terms of sound, they just have this undercurrent to their music that, while still pop-y, is also dark and unsettling. Wow, I'm looking forward to hearing more from these guys.

Buy their debut 7" from Pure Groove. It's about 5 minutes from becoming a collector's item.

Egyptian Hip Hop - Heavenly by Pure Groove

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jonsi - Go Do (x2)

I didn't really fall in love with Sigur Ros until this past year. It's not that I didn't like them prior to that; they were just one of those bands I hadn't got around to yet. I really like this song by Jonsi, but have yet to pick up the album (which came out yesterday people!). "Go Do" is a great summer-y song that has all the BIG sounds that worked to cement Sigur Ros as an important band over the last decade. I have to say, when I first heard "Go Do" it sounded a bit chaotic to me. It has a lot going on, and at times the instruments and melodies seem to be trampling one another. The good news is that what your left with is a breathtaking track that sort of works in spite of itself because the melodies really are that strong.

I've posted an acoustic version as well just to showcase the great contribution of Nico Muhly, a composer whose work would be of note were he all by himself. Instead, here you get Jonsi AND Nico. The two versions show the development of the song, and work to disentangle a few of the melodies. It's an interesting contrast between the studio and acoustic versions that I think gives us insight as to how these two talented people work together, and feed off one another creatively.

Jónsi - Go Do from Jónsi on Vimeo.

'go do' from Jónsi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shaula - A Butterfly Deposit

Part of the reason for my creating this blog was to draw attention to a lot of the great things happening in electronic music, particularly via labels out of the UK. One such label is Under The Spire who really are on quite a roll of great releases lately. UTS release music in limited editions with handmade and hand-numbered packaging. The debut album by Shaula is limited to 150 copies for the world and it really is a stunner . One of the highlights is "A Butterfly Deposit", which is about as mesmerizing as minimal electronic tracks come. It's amazing to hear guitar used like this to hypnotize and envelope the listener. It's ten minutes, but I do recommend you slip on a pair of headphones and get lost in this one.

purchase via UTS (UK) or Experimedia (US)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Baths - Aminals

I know very little about Baths. His approach to beats and editing reminds me of a bunch of great wonky artists (Paul White, GSK, and the god father: Dilla). But his approach to melody reminds me of a few great chillwave artists (Friend, Toro Y moi) in terms of the melodic sensibility. In two words: sunny and skewed. I'm digging this.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Memoryhouse multiplied by Millionyoung

Memoryhouse are a band from Toronto who make dreamy pop music. They've been getting a bit of hype lately, and it's nice to see considering they write consistently interesting material. 'To The Lighthouse' showcases the magic and the quirks that make what they do work. It's slightly off kilter and almost drone like in its movement, but the strong melody keeps it all flowing. Denise Nouvion's vocals have an odd delivery that I found took some getting used to, but it actually makes the band stand out and compliments the production in a really nice way.

Now, I'm also posting the remix by MillionYoung, which I have to say I almost like better than the original. MillionYoung makes pretty dreamy music in his own right, but he's much more synth/beat driven than Memoryhouse. Here, he does a really good job of building a rhythm around Nouvion's unique delivery, and it almost makes the whole song feel even more melodic. He really does a great job of highlighting all the things that make the original great and simply brings them to the forefront. Still dreamy, just heavier on the beat.

Heather Woods Broderick - Wounded Bird

Heather Woods Broderick is a phenomenally talented singer/songwriter who lives (sometimes) in Portland. Her brother Peter Broderick is also ridiculously talented, and in this video you get to see them consider this a two-for-one. I predict big things for Heather, and really if you've heard her debut full length on Preservation it's very clear to see why.

I think when it comes to creating an album, one of the hardest things has to be to create a stripped down singer/songwriter acoustic guitar album. It's been done to death and less and less frequently is it done well (why does every show start with a 'warm up' artist doing acoustic covers? And why do these people seem to only ever play one show, never to be seen again?). It's hard to convey how great this album really is with just one song since it's the cumulative effect of a series of really great songs that makes the album something really special. I honestly think this album ranks with Cat Power's - You Are Free in terms of quality. Yep, I said it. I really think it's that good.

There are still limited copies of Heather's album available here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Is It Warm Where You Are?

Delorean are a great band from Spain who make sun soaked gems with a touch of balearic magic. Much like Active Child they are as awesome at the art of the remix as they are at writing originals. These two remixes featured today are two of the absolute best songs I heard in 2009. And considering how warm it is here in O-town it seems more than appropriate to post them today. And if it isn't warm where (or when) you're reading this, Delorean will make you feel like it is.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Active Child remixes Wolf Gang

Active Child has been one of my musical revelations of the last year or so. AC is the work of LA's Patt Grossi. In summary: one dude, did choir duty as a boy, loves deep synths. For everything else you need to know, the man's music can do the talking. I fell in love with his work last summer, and this year he finally got around to putting a few releases out. Aside from writing great originals, he's pretty killer on the remixes too. This remix for Wolf Gang's 'Back to Back' is exactly what you can expect from an AC remix : big, dramatic, 80s tinged, and ethereal. I can already tell this one's going to be on rotation all summer long.

Check it via p4k

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pre long-weekend? Let's get Anthemic!

'nuff said.

Blue Daisy - Strings Detached

When Blue Daisy dropped his Space Ex 10" last year it was greeted by much blog love. Somehow, Strings Detached seems ( maybe only to me) like it slipped under a lot of people's radar. While none of it's tracks are as instantly jaw-dropping as its predecessor, it feels like a fuller listening experience. Daisy was able to spread the love through 4 (count 'em 4) tracks rather than 2, and that means he has to engage the listener a little longer. But that's what makes String Detached such a heavy hitter: it's a longer exploration of a particular sound by an artist with a very particular vision. As such Strings is able to take us a little deeper, and show us more of the textures of Daisy's sound. And make no mistake; this is the sound of an artist with a definitive vision slowly reeling you in to a sound ( and language) that he is slowly revealing the full measure of. In other words: Man's got a plan, but he isn't showing all his cards yet. And that makes each release a revelation. Stuck on repeat with this one.

Strings detached is available digitally here.