Let Matthew E. White soulful voice wash over you this evening. This Richmond, Virginia based songwriter and producer has made some serious waves in 2012. In 2011 he created his own label, Spacebomb Records the went on to release his debut album Big Inner to critical acclaim in August of 2012. This album has received high praise from Paste magazine, Consequence of Sound, The Guardian and Uncut magazine. His subtle and calming vocals are combined with orchestral jazzy melodies to create a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. It’s something that sounds pretty fresh and unique, and bounces along with a high dose of groove. Check out these two tracks then run out to find his full length! – K.
About six years ago I walked into a used record store and as I was sifting through the selection I came across the ‘Axis of Evol’ EP from Pink Mountaintops. I don’t know what drew me to this album. Maybe it was the cover art, maybe it was that the name Pink Mountaintops sounded vaguely familiar, but whatever the case I decided to just take a chance on it. This ended up being one of those fantastic musical discoveries that come completely out of the blue. For an entire summer I spun that album until it was scratched to shit and wouldn’t play any longer. Over the next five years the existence of Pink Mountaintops completely faded from my memory. Which is unfortunate, and I must admit happens all to often while dealing with a musical addiction such as the one I am afflicted with. I find myself constantly on the lookout for my next hit, the next infectious hook, the next vocal wonder, the next mind-blowing guitar lick that is out there waiting for me to discover. Inevitably some excellent material gets discarded into the dustbin of my mind.
This week I came across a catchy as hell tune called ‘Can you do that Dance?”. It’s a relatively simple upbeat number that has enough groove to make me wanna actually “get up and do that dance”. When I noticed that this song was by the Pink Mountaintops, all the memories of ‘Axis of Evol’ came flooding back. “How could I have forgotten about this band?” I asked myself. I quickly did a bit of investigating after hearing this track and this Vancouver-based psych/folk band have released two additional album to “Axis of Evol” that I never even knew existed. ‘Can you do that Dance?” is actually from their debut self-titled album from 2004, so these dudes have been pumping out high quality jams for a while now. With this recent re-discovery, I’d say about time I dug a little deeper into the back catalogue of this stellar Canadian band.
Pink Mountaintops is led by Stephen McBean (pictured above), but is actually sort of a super group. They have listed over 30 different individuals as past members of the group from a variety of other notable acts such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Black Angels, Sleepy Sun, Cat Power and Cold War Kids among others. Let these tracks spin and discover some awesome Canadian talent. – K.
from Axis of Evol:
While searching for a photo to post here I typed in “Indian Wars” into Google. The result was pages upon pages of impressive artwork chronicling epic battles throughout North America’s history. Numerous scenes of painted men in full war regalia, fearlessly racing on horseback towards their enemy and towards their ultimate fate……..then I came across five naked dudes sitting in a creek and I knew this must be the band. Clearly Vancouver’s Indian Wars have a cheeky side (pardon the pun).
In any case these guys have been around for a few years and have been shredding up the west coast with their own brand of blues/folk/garage rock. These guys definitely span a few genres, but one thing that is consistent about their music is their infectious energy. Back in November they released their album ‘Songs from the North‘ via bandcamp (for a mere $7.50) and the entire LP is an absolute riot. Every song is a gem and now I’m desperate to catch these guys live. I’m hoping they make it out on the summer festival circuit this summer.
Indian Wars are all about fast paced guitar licks, wild harmonica solos and colourful lyrics like these: “Ya well, baby at the tip of a hat, or a smile from across the room. You won’t think twice about spreading your legs, you just wanna dust your broom.” This is the album for any hootenanny you might be throwing this long weekend! – K.
I have recently discovered a plethora of new music, so rather than spending my time writing, I have been more focused on absorbing as much new material as I can. In any case it’s time to do some sharing.
Twin Peaks are a foursome of shaggy haired 19-year-olds that call Chicago home. These lads formed the band in high school then headed decided to take some time off when they all headed off to college in the fall. They soon realized school wasn’t as cool as it sounded and they all came back together to wrap up recordings for their debut album (‘Sunken’ due out on July 9, 2013).
These guys are young but they can certainly shred. ‘Stand in the Sand’ was the very first track of theirs that entered my ears and I was instantly hooked but the crashing symbols, hard charging guitars and total summertime feel. A perfect tune for flying down the highway with the windows down and the sun on your face. Youthful exuberance and carefree attitude is what their music is all about. They want nothing more than to hang in their parents basement, smoke some quality weed and make some noise. When that noise sounds this damn catchy, I say keep it coming. – K.
I don’t know how Sweden does it, but this country seems to be a factory for infectious indie-pop. There seems to be an endless pile of bands that are spitting out insanely catchy electro-centric pop. My latest discovery from this Scandinavian music factory is No No No.
I first heard their tune ‘Pumping Blood’ yesterday and it’s the kind of tune that hits like a brick wall upon first listen. No lingering or letting this one sink it, it’s in your face and it’s party time! So you better get your feet a movin’. Seeing as it’s a Friday night, this banger is just about perfect for starting off the weekend right. Head to soundcloud to complete your party playlist. – K.
This brand new California band is serving up some joyful indie pop soaked in digitalism. Modern Ritual is Dean Surdis and Emily Ellis, and they’ve just released their very first EP entitled ‘Perception is in the Echo’. It’s a mixed bag of tunes from a band exploring and searching for their sound. The clear standout for me is ‘Matches and Gasoline’. Its an upbeat danceable track just in time for some summer playlists. Head over to bandcamp to pick up their EP for the free! -K.
I’ve come to know Dirty Beaches (Alex Zhang Hungtai) for creating some of the grungiest and dirtiest rock and roll around. He’s got a very unique minimalist style that is rooted very much in 50′s and 60′s rock. His music is out there for sure. It takes some getting used to and it clearly won’t be to everyone’s liking, but he’s not making music for the mainstream. He’s just having some good old fun with his guitar and microphone and exploring his own creativity.
Coming from a film making background I am continually intrigued by how well his minimalist style translate so well to film. With his continual experimentation and musical wanderings he is able to add some serious mood to moving pictures (think Tarantino). It comes as no surprise that he has created original soundtracks for a number of excellent short films. He has also dabbled in film himself by stitching together various super 8 tour moments together into short films. Once I began begin looking more into the work of Dirty Beaches it becomes apparent that this music man is constantly on the road. He’s toured extensively throughout Asia, Europe and North America and recorded releases in Montreal, Norway, Italy and Germany. As he travels he collaborates with whoever he can meet up with. His latest release was recorded live to tape in Beijing with a band by the name of The Offsets: Spectacles. Just 3 guitars, bass, tambourine and a whole lot of distant hooting and hollering. It’s 6 minutes of raucous guitar play. – K.
Time and time again we’ve fallen for the angelic vocals of Elena Tonra. Her captivating voice matched with often dark and mysterious melodies from her partner Igor Haefeli make up everything that is wonderful about UK’s Daughter. Well the pair has done it again with a fantastic cover of Daft Punks much loved recent hit “Get Lucky”. While the original track is a bouncy upbeat party track that is bound to be pounded into our collective ears for years to come, Daughter’s version is another beast altogether. Instead it is dark and brooding with a emotional atmosphere. Tonra’s vocals seem to give the lyrics a whole new meaning. This cover couldn’t be further from the original but I’m loving every bit of it. -K.
Brooklyn’s psychedelic sister group (well three of the four are sisters) TEEN are ramping up to release a new EP, so they’ve been getting everyone excited by dropping a few mind-bending tracks. I’m fairly new to their music, but I’m loving all the swirling psych-grooves that these lovely ladies are capable of producing. The guitars interplay with one another creating a deeply layered soundscape that takes you on a trip. On their latest track “Prisoners” TEEN joins forces with Ben Greenberg to cover this irresistible psych-folk track from LA band Rain Parade. TEEN’s EP ‘Carolina’ is due out May 28th via Carpark Records so we’ll stay tuned. -K.
As many places in North America flood after the spring thaw, I’m welcoming the musical flood that comes with a fast internet connection after a month-long drought. I’ve thrown together a mix of songs – some old, most new, all good – that I’m spinning on this hot and humid pre-monsoon Indian day. My days left here can be counted on one hand, which means I’ll soon be home and able to post regularly. For approximately three days, until I dive into the B.C. wilderness for two months. Anyways, enjoy these tracks and check out the links for more details on the artists.
GodWolf – Alone // GodWolf are an Australian dance duo that are new to my radar. This is their newest track and I’m loving its bipolar personality, swinging seamlessly from soft chill pop to electronic dance and back. They’ve been getting some press over at Triple J’s Unearthed and have a few singles on their soundcloud page.
Gabrielle Aplin – Home (umami & Alle Farben Edit) // Gabrielle Aplin is barely out of her teens and she’s a big deal in the European pop scene, apparently. I’ve been living in a musical black hole for a while so forgive me if I should know more about her than I do. Regardless, this track takes her subtle English voice and adds the kind of spacey chill beat that I love (and have come to expect from German maestro Alle Farben). If you dig the voice, check out more of Gabrielle here.
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Vanderway Edit) // While the internet has shit a collective brick over the newest Daft Punk single, I can’t/haven’t tried to get into much DP except for the occasional decent track that diffuses its way into my life. But I recently discovered this edit, and in a month of listening to it every day, many times per day, it hasn’t gotten old. It’s just so damn happy, and perfect for dancing on a granite floor with wool socks. Vanderway is French and part of the remix collective, ‘L’ordre collectif’. Check them out here.
Carrousel – Darling, You’re So Mean to Me // Fans of those 60s psychadelic throwback tracks that K occasionally posts will be fans of this gritty quickie. This band hails from Tallahasee, FL and you can grab their EP for free (no email required!) on their bandcamp page.
The Procussions – On A Mountain (feat. Logan) // The Procussions are from Colorado Springs and have been around since 1998. That’s a lot of experience. They sound as fresh as ever on this track, a catchy new rap single available for free download on their bandcamp page. Head over to soundcloud for a few other new tracks, including one (also free download!) featuring the Canadian hip hop ambassador, Shad.
And now, a bonus track from the depths of soundcloud:
My love for German beatster Peer Kusiv has already been established. This track is about as close to perfect as it gets for me.
Little Daylight made a riotous debut with their rowdy pop track, Overdose, released only a couple of months ago. Name in Lights is their second single, and they took the low road for this one, slowing it down and chilling out a bit. The result is one of my favourite new tracks.
That’s all for now! Over and out. -M
Coming from the mean streets of Detroit, Jamaican Queens have been churning out some incredible self-proclaimed “trap pop” music this year. I have been into every deliciously weird single they’ve released so I had high hopes for their debut album ‘Wormfood‘ and it doesn’t disappoint. The album if nothing else is a very creative albeit oddball piece of work, but by now I’m sure you know my attraction to the weird side of indie. It’s clear from ‘Wormfood’ that this new band isn’t falling into any formulas instead letting their creativity show in all aspects of the album. The lyrics are deeply personal and play around with feelings of relationship successes and failures. These reflective words are combined with melodies that are all over the map, complete with an assortment of drum machine syncopated rhythms, synths, guitars and sampled vocal loops. For me this is one of those rare albums that can be played front to end and every song shines with it’s own unique creativity. Definitely going to pumping this one throughout the summer months. Have a listen and pick up the album at bandcamp. -K.
On a quiet spring weeknight the soothing sounds of Gambles are filling the room and putting my mind at ease. Gambles began in August of 2012 as the creative outlet Matthew Siskin. He began the project quite spontaneously with no end goal in mind, just to say some things that he felt needed saying. It a way it’s been a therapeutic exercise. Gambles first recording ‘Trust‘, came together out of the blue on night while hanging with his friend Nicolas Vernhes. As the night progressed they moved downstairs to Vernhes’ home recording studio. Together they recorded ‘Trust’ in a single take with no lyrics ever written down. This night really got the ball rolling for Matthew as he continued to write and record in very much the same manner as his very first song. He now has a few tracks up on soundcloud and one thing is clear, Matthew has a certain knack for songwriting. All of his melodies are quite simple, but all the emphasis is carried by the emotional introspective lyrics. His slightly raspy voice adds character like that of a weary traveler. Check out soundcloud to find out who is Gambles. -K.
Lately I have been completely absorbed by Kurt Vile’s new album ‘Wakin on a Pretty Daze‘. It’s full of Vile’s signature lackadaisical lyrics and extensive guitar ramblings. So just a few days ago I discovered the band called Free Time, who are channeling some serious Vile and I love it. Free Love is the story telling of Melbourne native Dion Nania. In 2011 Nania moved to New York and supported a few friends in their respective bands, then in the summer of 2012 he branched off on his own to record an album of his own thoughts and melodies. Most of his material was recorded in one day just before flying home to Australia to mix the album. Now the album is set to go, with a release date of May 28. ‘Nothing But Nice’ is the only preview available of whats to be expected, but if the rest of the album is anything like this lost and wandering track then we’re in for a real treat. -K.
I’ve been really into Wise Blood every since I stumbled upon his quietly released EP ‘+’ back in 2010. It’s pretty easy to get into what this guy is up to because if there’s one thing he stands for it’s originality. He has become a master of sampling all sorts of obscure music and vocals and throwing them together in messy sort of collage. He adds a solid drum track then white-boy raps/talks over it all. Yep it sounds weird I know, but that’s why I love it and it’s catchy as hell. In addition to his delightful first EP, Wise Blood released another in 2011 entitled ‘These Wings’ which was further proof that this guy was going places and his bold creativity was leading him there. Then he sorta disappeared. I kept checking all the usual spots to find any word of new music and found nothing. Well I was pleasantly surprised today to find a new Wise Blood tune in support of his debut LP coming out in June on Dovecote Records. He’s back, and he’s got all the obscure beats he’s known for. I’m hitting play. -K.
Here’s a dandy off his first EP, ‘+’:
Toronto’s Hooded Fang are synonymous for carefully polished indie-pop tunes. I’ve had a listen to their two previous albums, and yes they are catchy and well produced, but they never really got me too excited. One listen through was enough then I was onto something else. It’s been a year now since Hooded Fang released their album ‘Tosta Mista’ and apparently their sound has undergone a drastic make-over since then. Just days ago they released a new track ‘Gravez’; a raucous and grungy garage-rock anthem to be included on their upcoming LP of the same name. The vocals are fuzzed, the guitars are dirty and the tempo is fast….they don’t even sound like the same band anymore but I’m fully in favour of this change. Let’s hope the rest of this album is filled with this excited, spontaneous rock and roll. We’ll find out May 28th when the album is released on Daps Records. – K.
Who doesn’t like surprises. Last night my friend asked if I wanted to head down to the Townehouse to catch a few bands that were playing. Being a Monday and just getting home from work my initial reaction was to take a pass, but after doing a little research and finding some high-grade bandcamp gold I knew I didn’t want to miss this show.
The first act that captivated my attention was a relatively new local band that goes by the name of Marie-Claire et les Hula-Hoops. To my knowledge this was their very first show at the Townehouse and they absolutely killed it. Their music is impossible to pinpoint into any one particular genre but they blend some of my favourites like surf rock, psychedelic and yé-yé. I’ve had a soft spot for yé-yé music after discovering it through French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) cinema from the 60′s. So it’s really cool to hear 60′s styled music that feels like it belongs on the sunny beaches of the French Riviera being made in Sudbury. Definitely a new sound that I hope to hear more of in the future. Keep up the fantastic work! My only request for Marie-Claire would be to cover Jacqueline Taieb’s ’7 heure du Matin’ (one of my all-time favourites). Head over to bandcamp to check out their awesome EP.
The final act of the night was Toronto native’s July Talk, led by the boy/girl duo of Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay. As soon as they took to the stage their wild antics began immediately charged up the Monday night crowd. Peter’s gruff and growling vocals (weirdly similar to Tom Waits) couldn’t be further from Leah’s angelic voice, but the juxtaposition is a thing of beauty. Their unique vocals captivate the ears, but the eyes are treated to a wild show of raw emotion from the duo. The audience isn’t quite sure if they are true lovers or just putting on an elaborate act. Throughout the set continual caressing and sexiness is tossed back and forth between the duo creating a level of intensity to their raw brand of rock and roll. It’s almost as if we’re watching musical theater. Whether the suspected relationship between Peter and Leah is a fake or not, these two are amazing performers and are completely in their element under the bright lights. Take a listen to the tunes below and be sure to check out their fantastic self-titled album over at bandcamp. -K.
I can’t find much about these guys other than that they call Philadelphia home, they like to release tapes and they produce some captivating lo-fi shoe gazer jams. These two tracks are their latest and greatest. Both will be included on a new release coming in may from Bathetic Records. – K.
Last summer I had the pleasure of seeing Montreal’s Young Galaxy’s electrifying performance at the River and Sky Music Festival. They took to the stage as the light of days was fading. As they showered the crowd with their hypnotic, ethereal sound, the stars came out on perfect summer night. Their 2011 album ‘Shapeshifting’ has gotten a serious workout on my turntable, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting more material from these guys. Now their next album ‘Ultramarine’ is just on the horizon and Young Galaxy has graced us with a new track from the upcoming album. ‘Pretty Boy’ is classic Young Galaxy with a driving beat, a backdrop of piano, a sprinkling of synths and Catherine McCandless powerful voice dominating the track. One commenter summed it up pretty well stating, “this tune is for chain-listening”. ‘Ultramarine’ will be coming out on April 23, so start saving your nickels. – K.
Now here’s something a little different. Pegasvs are a Barcelona ‘kraut-pop’ duo that create some truly experimental melodies. The duo includes Spanish producer, Sergio Pérez and Argentinean singer Luciana Della Villa. Both have played in a number of bands previously, but after they began playing together they realized they wanted to create something of their own. During a vacation to Asturias, they brought synthesizer’s along and just played together trying to find their sound. ‘La Melodía del Afilador’ was the very first example of what they were trying to achieve. Their goal when creating the band was to add their own style of experimental synthesizer noise to a modern pop structure. The result is a unique form of electro verging on psychedelic sounds. Their debut album came out in early 2012, so it’s taken a bit of time to discover it, but I’m glad I have. It’s always great to hear something new come out of Barcelona’s vibrant music scene. To stream and buy the album head over to bandcamp. – K.
Spring has sprung and it’s time for a new mixtape! Here’s a collection of jams that have been getting a lot of play around here lately. No need to explain…just press play – K.
- The Bees – A Minha Menina
- Jill Read – Maybe
- Widowspeak – Thick as Thieves
- Dead Gaze – I Found the Ending
- Jamaican Queens – Water
- The Everywheres – Someone Disappeared
- Django Django – Firewater
- Bennio Qwerty – Crutch
- The Builders and the Butchers – Find Me In The Air
- Noonie Bao – Heated (Dante Kinnunen remix)
- Misun – Harlot
- Burnt Ones – Meet the Golden One
- Paul Cary – Coyote
- The Bees – Winter Rose (Nicolas Jaar remix)
- Ghost Wave – On a Breeze
- Pure X – Things in My Head
- Elephant – Skycraper
- Foxygen – On Blue Mountain
Stream at 8tracks
Find the zip file here
Hungry for some gritty, new garage rock? Well San Francisco’s Hanni El Khatib has you covered. He is getting ready to release his sophomore album entitled ‘Head in the Dirt’ and has recently dropped these two exciting tracks to get everyone excited. What’s even more exciting is that Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys is on board to produce the new album, so you know its going to be hot! I’ve been obsessed with ‘Family’ in the past few weeks. It’s a song that immediately erupts from the very first drum smash, then burns intensely for two and a half minutes of fervent energetic fun. A great tune to blast on a sunny summer evening drive, when everything is feeling perfect. ‘Penny’ takes a more mellow slant, yet maintains the relentless catchy-ness established in ‘Family’. According to El Khatib, ‘Penny’ came to be from a bass line that was often played during sound checks at his shows. He built on the bass line over time and it became the very first recording on their new album. ‘Head in the Dirt’ is coming at us April 30th, and judging by these two ditties, it’s going to be a hell of a release. Bring on the sounds of summer! – K.
To check out Hanni El Khatib’s excellent first album, check out itunes.
Here’s a singer/songwriter that’s really got something going on. Nottingham’s Jake Bugg is a mere 19 year old, but his music and lyrics reach far beyond his young years. His debut album was released in the UK back in October and it took no time at all for it to rise to number 1 on the UK charts. He’s just starting to catch some attention on this side of the pond after providing the eager fans with some sensational sets at SXSW this year. While listening to Bugg its easy to pick up on his numerous influences (Donovan, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles), but he’s crafted a beautiful folk-based sound that can confidently be called his own. I need not explain the talent of this young man any further, just press play. Check soundcloud for more music and pick up his album here.
Pretty rad story behind this track. The Black and White Years are a fairly well established indie-pop band that have been getting creative with electronic gadgets since 2006. So far they’ve got two great albums and two EP’s to their name. I would say their music is akin to Hot Chip or possibly Cut Copy; electro-centric jams with bountiful energy and danceability. Things took a big step in a new direction for TBWY in 2011 when singer/songwriter Scott Butler asked his wife, Adrienne to sing a rough demo for their next album. He wasn’t certain whether she would be up for it, or whether she could even sing. She agreed and when the band gathered around to hear the recording, they were entirely floored! The beauty of Adrienne’s voice was crisp, clear and undeniable. The Black and White Years then began to re-work their sound around Adrienne’s vocals. It’s been a significant change, but they are on the cusp of releasing their new album and everyone’s getting pretty damn excited about it. Press play to get wrapped up in the velvety vocals, and for your next dance party visit their bandcamp, seriously…you won’t be dissapointed
A bit of their previous sound…
Just listen to those keys! I’m addicted to them. I love every last thing about this track; from the creepy organ intro to the hazed-out vocals, excited guitar and the ear-catching keys absolutely soaked in 80′s style. ‘The Hearse’ really reminds me of some of Summer Camp‘s material. Both of these bands seem to be able to perfectly pull off the vintage pop music vibe, creating nostalgic tunes that seems like they were written for an 80′s highschool drama. Wampire are another band that is making waves down at SXSW, and after this week I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more from this duo. A debut album is in the works entitled ‘Curiosity’. Wampire enlisted the production skills of Jacob Portrait from Unknown Mortal Orchestra for their album. It sounds like it was a truly collaborative effort from all three and the creation process had them exploring all sorts of musical avenues. Hence the title ‘Curiosity’. After playing ‘The Hearse’ non stop for the last week, I’m thoroughly stoked to hear Wampire’s debut album. Check out more Wampire at soundcloud. – K.
It’s party time right now in Austin, TX as a whole pile of the most exciting new artists and bands converge for SXSW. This monumental festival marks the beginning of festival season and the first glimpse at the artists everyone is dying to see on the upcoming summer shows. This week a number of my favourite blogs have been dropping photos, interviews and sounds from the smokey bars, coffee shops, warehouses and clubs where all of these incredibly intimate performances are happening. I can only sit from afar and absorb everything with a hint of jealousy. Not only is SXSW a glimpse of the bands already known to the world, but also a great place for musical discovery. Like these guys right here….
Aukland’s, Ghost Wave are having a damn good time in America as this photo can attest. Although their name sounds like it was picked from a chill wave band name generator, these guys know how to shred some mean garage rock. Their sounds has been self described as “somewhere between the Flying Nun bands of the 80s, the British explosion of the 1960s and the wayfaring dubs of Lee “Scratch” Perry…”. Clearly they draw on a number of influences to craft their sound, yet bring a little something new to create a unique piece of work. Their self titled debut EP came out last August, and it’s immediately catchy. This trio have all the hooks and riffs to suck you right in. EP available now on itunes.