Although winter still has a death grip on us right now, everybody is beginning to dream of long summer of days filled with warmth and sunshine. As the season changes my musical focus always seems to take a shift. For some reason winter seems to be the time for gritty garage rock, then I feel the pull of electronic as the temperature rises and the snow melts away. So here’s a snippit of electro that I’ve been quite taken with lately.
Trust is the musical moniker of Toronto’s Robert Alfons. He spent much of last year touring in support of his debut album ‘TRST‘ but just yesterday he released his second LP via Arts & Crafts entitled ‘Joyland‘. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the entire album yet, but the singles he has offered up in anticipation of the album are some impressive works.
“Are We Arc?” is a haunting slow burner accompanied with Alfons’ distant vocals. The more I listen to it the more I’m drawn in to its magic. “Rescue, Mister” on the other hand is a synth heavy danceable track filled with intricate layers that get the body movin’. If you’re in Toronto this weekend I strongly suggest checking out Trust at Adelaide Hall this Saturday. – K.
To get things rolling again after a brief hiatus Brooklyn’s STRNGRS offer up a straight shot of gritty rock n’ roll. It’s simple and that’s what I love so much about it. Some classic guitar licks and a steady no-nonsense kick drum to keep the momentum charging forward. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Austin for SXSW this year, you might want to check these fellas out.
If you dig this stuff, then show some love to Low Animal. I got the pleasure of seeing them perform again this weekend and every time this 2-piece outfit from Niagra On The Lake just blow me away. Always tons of energy and a wall of noise. – K.
Here’s your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a brand new band that’s going places! This Philadelphia group only has three tracks so far, but their upbeat hazy grooves are hitting all the right spots. I can’t get enough of “Do What You Want”. So here ya go! -K
Damien Jurado has been in the game for a good long while now, but he’s showing no signs of letting up. Instead he just getting better and better. On January 21st he’ll be releasing his 11th studio album titled ‘Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son’ on Secretly Canadian. What’s equally as exciting is that this effort is produced by the talented and eclectic Richard Swift. The first single is an sublime groove that with just a dash of psychedelic flair for good measure. His voice is so perfectly gentle that it begs for a closer listen. Definitely excited to see what else lies on this album.
My love affair with War on Drugs began when I first saw a video for their track ‘Needle In Your Eye‘ on pitchfork.tv. I became absorbed by their raw Dylan-esque folk/rock sound. At the time it sounded unique and completely different than everything else I had been listening to at the time. Since then War on Drugs has been one of my all time favourites. A band you can go back and listen to again and again and their shine never fades. Well as it turns out they’ve got some goods coming in 2014. They will be releasing their third studio album, ‘Lost in the Dream’ and by the sound of their single ‘Red Eyes’ its going to live up to all my expectations. Just listen to this! How can you not fall in love with that steady beat, the feeling of motion and movement, yet the nostalgic feel at the very same time. n the dead of winter this song transports me to a brighter time. This needs to be played while cruising down a desert highway with the windows down and the sun spreading its rays. I can say this album is already a favourite of 2014. Bring it on.
Nick Waterhouse is definitely doing his own thing. Nick came out of the Orange County underground music scene. The very same scene that cultivated the recent talents Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin and The Growlers. But while these bands are more focused on gritty garage rock, Waterhouse is reviving 50′s swing and soul. He recorded his debut single ‘Some Place‘ back in 2010 and he nailed it out of the park. Since then he has built himself a band, released his debut album and toured Europe and North America with the Allah-Las. Now his second album is due March 18th. ‘This Is A Game’, is the first single and it’s a hip-shaking groove straight from a bygone era. Keep an eye on this cat in 2014. Also check out his soundcloud page for some killer 45 mixes.
So 2013 was quite a dandy year for new music. Many of our favourite artists released some stellar material to keep us hooked and there were countless new bands coming out of the woodwork with ear-catching vibrations. Here is a list of 70 tracks that stood out for us in 2013 in no particular order. This list certainly spans a genre or two or ten, but there’s a whole pile of talent here and I hope it inspires you to do a bit of digging and further discovery. Go forth and support these artists! – K.
It’s awesome to come across an old album that feels so right for the present time. A week ago I had never even heard of the now defunct Toronto garage rockers The Deadly Snakes. When I discovered the track ‘Closed Casket’ in a snowboard edit I had to do some digging. I went straight to itunes and bought their 2003 album ‘Ode to Joy’ without hesitation. It’s a gritty and noisey piece of work that makes you wanna party. It’s impossible not to pick up on some Dylan/Stones influence woven throughout their work. Too bad these dudes have split, because their live show would be full-on riot. – K.
I don’t know why I haven’t wrote about these guys yet. Maybe I just wanted to keep their sublime sounds to myself for a while, but they are too fantastic not to share around. Jungle bring the funk, but instead of being in your face with heavy beats they opt for a more silky smooth demeanor. It’s still very much danceable, yet their vibrations are subtle and damn sexy. Each track of their so far limited collection just leave you begging for more groove. These UK gentlemen were a huge standout in 2013 for me and I sincerely hope they’ve got an album in the works for 2014. We’ll see what the new year brings, but for now I’ll just have to sit here with these tracks on repeat letting the funk and soul wash over me. – K.
It’s a dark winter day here and I’m huddled inside my warm apartment waiting for the next blast of winter expected to fall from the skies this evening. As I sit here with an espresso to warm my insides, these two haunting songs by UK’s Matthew and the Atlas feel appropriate for a day such as this. Both tracks are captivating in their mystery. You don’t simply listen to these track and shrug them off, there is something about Matthew Hegarty’s voice and the hypnotic melodies that draw the listener in for a more intimate look. These two songs are a sneak peak of whats to come on Matthew and the Atlas’ upcoming album due out in spring 2014. Good vibrations for 2014. -K.
Temples are a young band from UK that are dishing out a heavy dose of psychedelic vibrations. I just stumbled across them and immediately devoured everything they had to offer at their soundcloud page. Each tune is a carefully layered art piece that soothes the eardrums. Soak it in. – K.
Swedish musician and producer (Young Galaxy, Taken by Trees) and remixer extraordinaire Dan Lissvik has just released a collection of his instrumental tunes from his personal musical ‘archive’. Check em out on soundlcoud. Plenty of talent going on here. Each song is varied from the last, but has enough hooks to suck you right in. I think the only next logical step if for Lissvik is to score a film. Here are a few of my favourites. – K.
Brooklyn’s Widowspeak is having a banger year. In early 2013 they released their much-loved LP ‘Almanac‘, and now they’ve surprised us by dropping another 6 song EP entitled ‘The Swamps‘. The album is a dreamy and dark affair that serves as a bridge between Almanac and their upcoming LP. Vocalist, Molly Hamilton’s is simple perfection. I can’t help but draw similarities between Hamilton and the queen of dreamy vocals, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. Put some headphones on for these ones. – K
It’s awesome to hear some fresh music from Dum Dum Girls. I gave their 2012 EP ‘End of Daze’ a serious workout on the turntable and this new track is no exception. This track is the first single of their upcoming LP ‘Too True’ due to be released January 28. The ‘Lost Boys and Girls Club’ is a slow burner with a heavy bass and plenty of layers adding up to a bigger more cinematic sound. Dee Dee’s haunting voice is a thing of beauty that floats above the dark beat. Already looking forward to dropping this album on the turntable. -K.
OK down to business, Things have been a little hectic around here. My brother has once again moved himself to India and certain things in my life have been consuming most of my free time. So in an attempt to spread more music and make you people happier, I’m going to focus less on the writing and more on just spreading good music around. When I have time to do a little back story on a band or song I definitely will, but you may start seeing less words around here. Really though, it’s all about the music and I want to share more. So with that said onto a recent discovery that’s got me buzzing lately.
I know virtually nothing about Fellini Felin, but have recently come across their Soundcloud page and it’s got some seriously hypnotic electronic jams that feel oh so good. Please do yourself a favour and check them out. Here are two of my favourites.
Looking for a new road trip tune with a bit of grit. The Felice Brothers have you covered with this one. Hailing from the Catskills area of upstate new york these fellas moved to a small apartment in Brooklyn and got their start playing in the depths of New York City’s subway. Over the years they’ve released nine albums and played with the likes of another favourite of mine, Connor Oberst. I’ve only just discovered the Felice Brothers, but this tune has me hooked and ready for some more discovery. – K
“the paramedic thinks I’m clever cause I play guitar, I think shes clever cause she stops people dying”
I’ve been jamming out to Miss Barnett all day long. Some superb music for a lackadaisical kind of day. Being a long time fan of Mr. Airplane Man, (two chicks that can really shred) Courtney Barnett is an obvious attraction. Her music is firmly rooted in blues, rock and roll with a sprinkling of garage. Her story-telling vocals are captivating and offer a breath of fresh air. Her song’s are nearly spoken word, but work so well with the upbeat swirling guitar heavy melodies. ‘Avant Gardening’ colourfully recalls an allergic reaction and a swift trip to the hospital. ‘History Eraser’ is a little harder hitting, more of a party anthem. Both tracks are found on her EP ‘How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose‘ released through Australian independent label Milk Records. If you like what you’re hearing be sure to check out her double EP ‘A Sea of Split Peas’ available here. – K.
Big indie bands aren’t very common. It’s hard to avoid stepping on toes and sounding too loose, but every once in a while, a big band will come along and prove that sometimes, bigger is better. Polyphonic Spree, Broken Social Scene, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes are all notable examples of bands who actually gain something – a bigger sound, or a bigger emotion, or maybe even just a bigger stage presence – from all those members running around on stage.
Typhoon is like that. I can’t speak for their stage presence, but they’re an 11-piece band from Portland and their newest album, White Lighter, is an incredible piece of work. Piano, guitar, horns, flute(?), harmonies, and larger-than-life drum lines underlie most songs. The novelty comes from the band’s breadth rather than its depth. So multi-instrumental, but never all at once. The songs are strangely sporadic but flow seamlessly into crescendoed verses and catchy hooks. Typhoon has been around since 2005 but they’ve recently broken out from their pacific northwest fan base and gained some internet notoriety. Give these guys some help and head over to their site to listen/purchase some more tunes. Till then, check the tracks below. -M.