Saturday, December 29, 2012

Local Artist Spotlight: Trouble Lights

Rural Iowa might not be the first place you'd expect to find intelligent, electronic-based dance music.  

Then again, it probably isn't the first place you'd expect to find unique ethnic cuisine, sustainable living and a school for transcendental meditation.

But there it is: Fairfield - nestled in the cornfields of southern Iowa.  It's a small town of less than 10,000 with a diverse and rich arts and cultural scene and home to the Maharishi University of Management (a school started by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the famed guru of The Beatles). 

Director David Lynch has held annual "Weekends for World Peace and Meditation" at the campus since 2005, featuring world-renowned musicians and speakers.  

Last spring, Lynch's foundation website heralded a new music video from a Fairfield duo called Trouble Lights, and since then, the band has burst onto the local music scene. 

The video, for the song "Safe With Me" (directed by Geoff Boothby), was heads above other videos I'd seen for local artists.  In fact, the professionalism and appeal of the song and video had me do a double take as to why I'd never heard of this group before.

Trouble Lights is the project of vocalist Adrien Daller and musician Philip Rabalais.  It's highly-charged electronic pop music with powerhouse diva vocal melodies from Daller, who studied musical theatre in the UK before returning home. The resulting sound falls somewhere between the classic pop of The Eurythmics and the dark theatricality of Lady Gaga.

The group recently released their debut album, The Endless Prom, on Maximum Ames Records (home to Leslie Hall, The Poison Control Center, Christopher the Conquered and more)

Below is the music video for Trouble Lights' latest single, "Ready".  It's a steam-powered, head-on-collision of dance grooves.  Once the chorus hits with the "Whoa-oh-oh"s, the party is full speed ahead. 

Watch it here:

For more on Trouble Lights, visit their official website.

And be sure to check out these other Fairfield, IA artists:  Greg Brown, Jefferson County Green Band, Surgery, Utopia Park and Little Ruckus.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - 'Swim & Sleep (Like a Shark)'

'Swim & Sleep' by Unknown Mortal Orchestra weaves an unforgettable guitar hook throughout its entire production, and the effect really sells the song.

Chill out and stream 'Swim & Sleep' in the SoundCloud player below:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Foxygen - 'Shuggie'

'Shuggie' by Foxygen reminds me of some of the quirky--yet brilliant--singles that gained radio traction in the mid-1990s. Songs like 'Girl Like You' by Edwyn Collins, and even 'Whoever You Are' by Geggy Tah spring to mind. Perhaps it's because 'Shuggie' borrows heavily from the prevailing musical themes of the sixties while managing to shapeshift halfway throughout the tune?

In any event, watch the video the intriguing 'Shuggie' below:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bear in Heaven - 'Sinful Nature'

'Sinful Nature' is some fine chilled-out synth rock.  The seductive introduction pulls one in, while the subsequent chords and verses hypnotize its listener.

You can stream 'Sinful Nature' by Bear in Heaven in the SoundCloud player below:

Ty Segall - 'Thank God for Sinners'

Taking a page from the Elephant 6 recording collective, Ty Segall revives lo-fi garage rock in his recent single, 'Thank God for Sinners.'  It's half slow burner; half fuzzed out space jam.  The guitar work inspires, and the melody is tasty.

Stream 'Thank God for Sinners' in the SoundCloud player below: