Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beach House - 'Lover of Mine'

On Beach House's Sub Pop release, 'Lover of Mine' spawns psychedelic calm.  The official video, on the other hand, tends to be a little more chaotic.

Watch the video for 'Lover of Mine' below:

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Holy Ghost! - 'Wait and See'

With the punctuation of Depeche Mode, and the cheekiness of Pet Shop Boys, Holy Ghost! delivers an eightiestastic dance jam with its single, 'Wait and See.'

Stream 'Wait and See' below.  It is oh so good.

 Holy Ghost! - Wait and See .mp3

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Purity Ring - 'Lofticries'

Purity Ring. It's a fantastic name for a group oozing with moody sensuality.

The song "Lofticries" is the b-side to Purity Ring's recent 7" single, "Ungirthed", and is arguably an even better track.

An atmospheric haze of electronic blips and fuzz ebb and sway against Megan James' pristine vocal aesthetics, melting into a deeply erotic, yet wistful, down tempo groove.

Stream "Lofticries" below:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Antlers - 'Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out'

In 2009,
The Antlers released the highly-acclaimed and harrowing concept album, Hospice - told from the perspectives of a dying cancer patient and the nurse who falls in love with her - decidedly not lighthearted fare.

On the group's new effort,
Burst Apart, the subject matter doesn't appear to be getting much easier to swallow. Song titles such as, "Putting the Dog to Sleep" and "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out" should give you some idea of what you're in for, lyrically.

Hearing "Every Night..." recently, I quickly latched on to the song's melodic and rhythmic dynamics. The vocals maintain the gentle sway and falsetto warble of earlier works, while the instrumentation builds into an understated jam, ala
Andrew Bird's "Imitosis".

Stream the Antlers' "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out" below:

Burst Apart will be available May 10th, via the Antlers'
official website.

Also, you can click back to read Steve's post about the band's 2009 song, "Kettering".

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wye Oak - 'Civilian'

Against the backdrop of her rootsy guitar, Jenn Wasner, along with her partner-in-crime, Andy Stack, sustains a steady, soothing ode with 'Civilian.'  Well-developed throughout its entire duration, 'Civilian' assimilates its listener with spurring rhythms and a vaporous structure.

Stream 'Civilian' by way of the video player below:

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Favorite Strokes Tunes: 'First Impressions of Earth'

After Room on Fire was released, fans had to wait another three years before The Strokes released fresh material.  Unfortunately, First Impressions of Earth ended up being the band's weakest album.

Amidst rumors the band hated each other, First Impressions appeared to be the group's lazy attempt at phoning in one last album before finally calling it quits.  Of course, the band remained together, and First Impressions turned out to just be a cruddy album with not much of a rhyme or reason behind its horribleness.

While First Impressions, as a whole, lacked inspiration, the album did feature three high quality tracks.  Sure, the rest of the record may be garbage, but at least the opening three songs of the album are golden.  

Here they are:

1.  You Only Live Once

It seems every band has that one terrible album that just so happens to spawn one of the best tunes of the band's entire career.  "You Only Live Once" is just that song.  Lyrically, it's brilliant.  Melodically, it may be the most solidly fantastic track of the band's repertoire.  But then again, I suppose I'm biased.  "You Only Live Once" is, hands down, my favorite track by the band.  

2.  Juicebox

By this time, the garage rock beast The Strokes had reawakened several years earlier had gone on to prompt bands like The Killers and The Bravery to use synth and bass to recreate the sounds of the eighties.  With a synthetic tinge, The Strokes created one of their most polished singles yet.  Despite its commercial appeal, "Juicebox" remained a healthy marriage of studio comfort with the rough and tumble the band was originally celebrated for.  Overall, this is a solid track.


3.  Heart in a Cage

This song barely makes my list because at times the band seems to be merely going through the motions--especially on the vocals.  But just when you want to give up, the guitar arppeggios make up for Julian's lackluster singing and impressively pull this song up by its bootstraps into impressive dimensions.

Stay tuned for the final installment of my favorite Strokes tunes within the next few days.  To read the previous installments from the beginning, click here.  

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Panda Bear - 'Last Night at the Jetty'

Next week, Animal Collective's Noah Lennox is set to drop his latest under the Panda Bear franchise.  The new release is entitled Tomboy.

Like much of Animal Collective's / Panda Bear's past works, 'Last Night at the Jetty' features a seductive climb that evolves into a profound chorus, beginning at about the 1:50 mark.  This track has a tendency to send chills down your spine because of how damned good it is.

Stream 'Last Night at the Jetty' below:

 Panda Bear - Last Night At The Jetty .mp3

Friday, April 08, 2011

My Favorite Strokes Tunes: 'Room On Fire'

Two years after The Strokes jarred the rock world with its impressive Is This It, the band followed up with Room on Fire.  Although this offering was slicker than it's preceding disc, Room on Fire nevertheless surfaced as a captivating anthology of greasy, vibrant rock.  While some fans were turned off by the high fidelity recordings contained on this sophomore album, Room on Fire remains one of my favorite albums of the aughts.  To be sure, I own a copy of this record on vinyl.  (Need I say more?)

Consistent with my last posting, this is my second installment of my favorite songs by The Strokes.  Here are the Room on Fire tunes I am especially partial to:

1.  "Whatever Happened?"

This opening track is uninspiring at first, but once the multiple bridges reveal themselves, you fetch your first taste of a delicious, well-crafted record.  The vocals plead.  The collective guitars venture into remote areas of sonic territory.  The drumming establishes rhythmic signature.   On the whole, it's a galvanizing start to a solid album


2.  "Reptilia"

"Please don't slow me down if I'm going tooooooo faasssssssttttt!"  Telling words from a band that had been catapulted to Messiah status by the rock press two years earlier.  On this second album, The Strokes had moved way beyond the low-fi structure of Is This It, but some fans hadn't yet caught up.  This lyric was a friendly admonishment.

Substantively, "Reptilia" contains a terrific blend of diverse layers.  There's frolicking guitar on one level.  There's focused, intense vocals on another.


3.  "12:51"

With the exception of 'Last Nite,' this is perhaps one of The Strokes' most iconic recordings.  At the time of its initial release, the song contained cliches of indie rock yet to come:  Hand claps.  Tilting synth.  Guileless vocals.

To me, "12:51" is indelibly associated with my undergraduate experience.  When the song wasn't already playing on the radio, I'd solicit it myself by way of my MP3 player as background study music or as a tune to contemplate my newly founded adulthood to.  Some deep stuff.


4.  "Under Control"

Strangely endearing, "Under Control" was the closest thing to a ballad The Strokes had to this point ever produced.  You can detect hints of Smokey Robinson all throughout.  And the band maintains a narrower latitude than some of their other freewheeling tracks.  This is another one of my favorite offerings from the band.


Stay tuned for the remaining two installments of this series on The Strokes.  If you would like to read the previous installment, click here.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Dirty Beaches - 'Sweet 17'

Post-Rockabilly at it's best.  This is 'Sweet 17' by Dirty Beaches.

Stream below:

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

My Favorite Strokes Tunes: 'Is This It'

In the year 2001, an unknown band called The Strokes suddenly materialized and dropped a catchy, danceable single called 'Last Nite.'  The lead singer was dreamy, and the guitarist descended from a prominent seventies songwriting legend (See Albert Hammond).

In a time well before the first snarky post was ever published on a music blog, 'Last Nite,' and its corresponding album, Is This It, gained massive traction.  The music video for the record played non-stop on MTV.  Rock stations spun it incessantly.  And music fans were excited, with some proclaiming this new band from the Big Apple as the next Nirvana.

For better or for worse, The Strokes provided the soundtrack for my ensuing undergraduate years.  Moreover, the band's special brand of stripped down, lackadaisical garage punk emerged as a ubiquitous force that influenced countless indie bands and gave new hope to jaded music journalists and bloggers everywhere.  Indeed, you would never have heard about The Black Keys, Jet, Arctic MonkeysThe White Stripes, or The Hives without The Strokes.  Likewise, the music blogs that fawn over these class of  bands would not exist either.

In honor of the band's latest release and the legacy it has forged during the last decade, I present to you my all-time favorite Strokes tunes, broken down by album.  While this list is by no means all-inclusive, it serves as a survey of my impressionable Strokes experiences:

1.  "Last Nite"

Hear that?  Hear that buzz and hum?  That's the sound of simplicity.  That's the sound of passion.

As soon as Julian Casablancas launches into his lyrical tyrade, wailing "Laaaaaasssst Niiiiitttttteeee," you know something big is about to happen.  And it did.  "Last Nite" reintroduced the heart and soul of rock and roll to a generation that had previously been inundated with the meandering screaming of Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, and Slipknot.  For those of us yearning for a less angry side of rock, "Last Nite" was our answer.


2.  "Take It or Leave It"

Also from the band's debut release, "Take It or Leave It" was one of The Strokes' most intense, most raw, most organic compositions.  The band gels as one cohesive, well-oiled, take no prisoners, rockin' machine in this single.  The band's performance of this song on David Letterman still resonates with fans and music critics today--much due to a balls-to-the-wall guitar solo by Albert Hammond, Jr. and a microphone slam by Julian Casablancas.  If you haven't seen it before, you owe it to yourself to watch the Letterman performance of "Take It or Leave It."

[Video (Letterman Performance)]

3. "Soma"

Julian Casablancas' trademark vocal style is to speak into the microphone as closely...as...possible.  This technique often provides the proper dosage of artist-to-listener intimacy many music connoisseurs crave.  "Soma" is no exception, and it was one of the band's first radio singles that displayed this VOX quality.


4.  "Someday"

Just dudes being dudes.  That's what the music video for "Someday" depicts.  Each band member in this song has a chance to show off.  The drums are prominent.  There's a bass solo in the middle.  Slash makes a cameo at the pinball machine.  And the overall theme of this tune is jovial.

This is what The Strokes are all about.


Stay tuned for the next installment of my favorite Strokes tunes in the forthcoming days.

Okkervil River - 'Wake and Be Fine'

Okkervil River delivers a poppy, folksy, quirky package of a song with 'Wake and Be Fine.'  Perhaps it is the symphonic elements toward the end that sweeten the pot on this one.

Stream 'Wake and Be Fine' below:

Monday, April 04, 2011

Friendly Fires - 'Live Those Days Tonight'

Friendly Fires is set to release its newest album this coming May.  In the meantime, feast on the band's newest single, 'Live Those Days Tonight' by way of the video player below.  It's quite tasty.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Cults - 'You Know What I Mean'

'You Know What I Mean' is a focused ballad that hones the feel good nature of Motown without compromising its stripped down quality.  This is a great example of the great things a simple pop song can accomplish.

Stream 'You Know What I mean' by Cults below:

Saturday, April 02, 2011

tUnE-yArDs - 'Bizness'

'Bizness' is equal parts quirky, parts electronic, parts ethnic, and parts unidentifiable.  That's all that can be said.

Stream 'Bizness' via the video player below, and let us know what you think:

Friday, April 01, 2011

Mogwai - 'San Pedro'

Again, Mogwai is another one of those under-the-radar bands that have been cranking out massive tunes since the last decade of the last century.

'San Pedro' is an instrumental guitar trip that is featured on the band's latest.  It's quite rockin'.

Stream 'San Pedro' below:

 Mogwai - San Pedro .mp3