Thursday, September 29, 2011

REVIEW// Stray Kites: Mieux

     I was sent this a few days ago, but illness and a birthday (a truly terrible combination) have prevented frequent posts! Stray Kites are a little Virginian folkpop duo consisting of Junior Roseboro and Max Detrich, and their latest sophomore album, 'Mieux', is available in a name-your-price fashion over on the Bandcamp here. In researching the group, I noticed a subtle difference between this and their first album 'One Day, Earth Time'. Something about 'Mieux' feels a little more mature. The tone is a shade darker, but the self-recorded charm shines more brightly because of it. If the duo's previous effort was just to have fun, 'Mieux' is the day after. They've composed themselves so much more here. The music is more refined, the songs stand proud with added integrity, and the whole thing has risen high above the level set by their debut. I was told Stray Kites sounded a little like Neutral Milk Hotel, and I couldn't agree more. The lyricism is just so fantastic. Every word oozes a folkpop honesty that you believe completely. They're delivered with an unmistakable quirkiness that comforts and uplifts and I love it. You have been chosen to stare deep into these men's hearts and experience all the strife, worry and joy, and you know what? From start to finish, an individuality lines the lyricism and the instrumentation backs it perfectly. It's an absolute masterpiece. Humble, musical, genius.
     'Aside/Ideal Death' opens the lp with a furiously upbeat backing track supporting the despondent lyrical theme that floats about these ten tracks. 'Misanthrope' follows, carried along by a clap beat and energetic guitars. Every number here is lush with instrumental vibrance. Trumpets, guitars, vibraphone and shakers all make an appearance, layered between the singing and building to create something that, while minimalistic on the surface, becomes beautifully complex the harder you listen. Rain sets the scene on 'The Ghoster', a cooling breather from the warm vibes inside. A foot-tapping melody on 'All is Well' backs some pretty spectacular singing and smile-inducing 'ha ha ha's. 'Mirror Talk' is most definitely my favourite track here though, I must admit. "Now you're the devil, on a funeral bed, but there’s no point in crying, because we know you aren’t dead" goes one of the lines, sang with a tired acceptance and musing a relationship gone wrong. There are subtle moments of overwhelming passion as the vocals can't contain themselves anymore, before a loud climax finishes the number. The talking at the end of the next song, 'Id', is thought-provoking and beaming with youthful insight. 'Talking Plaster Walls pt. 3' takes a break from the relative intensity of the rest of the album, and 'Dust To Dust To Dust To Dust' immediately gets your pulse racing again, surround sound proving its worth as the music surrounds you on all sides. And then, finally, the title track starts. After all the emotion and power and softness, 'Mieux' marks the beginning of the end.
     As the closing build and ultimate, euphoric zenith settle for the last time, we're treated to the band laughing and congratulating themselves on what has become something so, so wonderful. Roseboro and Detrich are strong friends, and they're managed to turn that trust into a fantastically relatable record. Their bond ties these ten songs together with more than just theme and tone. They believe in what they write, and as such we too come to believe. All the things that make music great make themselves known. Honesty? Check. Originality? Check. Passion? Check. Stream 'Mirror Talk' below and head over to the link above to grab the splendour. Like I mentioned before, 'Mieux' is an absolute masterpiece!

Friday, September 23, 2011

NEWS// The Great Red Shark (Feat Sam Sally & Gradient Fields): As Soon As It Hits MP3

I posted a track earlier this month, which was recorded by Homeward, entitled 'Crocodile Water'. Recently, I was dropped this over on the SoundCloud, from the same producer, albeit under the pseudonym The Great Red Shark. He has collaborated with Sam Sally for vocals and Gradient Fields for the instrumentation, both of whom I have promised myself to explore further. For now though, I'm happy to just sit back and explore 'As Soon As It Hits'. Samples detail the chilled-out synths, and a steady beat inhabits them. The singing is muffled, as though caught accidentally through the sonic foliage. Lush vibes lap at the sandy shore, and the promise of new discoveries tempt the explorer with their mysterious air. Stream the adventure above, and hear more from The Great Red Shark over here!

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Catchup

'Duchess of Sinew' begins. An ominous organ groans, and then builds. It leads, entices, coaxes you towards a space-rock climax. Female vocals ache with the pain of the universe, and the great understanding paired with it suddenly dawns. A drama is amplified by the vast, never-ending nature of deep space. The space. A space that grows a conscious as it floats around in the nothingness. A space that listens and silently cries as each of its children die a glorious death. Epic doesn't do this justice. It's just... magnificent. I'm not surprised at all to say that Rebecca Peake has done it once again, but that's not the end! I've been a bit busy this week. I've missed another two tracks, so here they are:

This is one of the creepiest vocal tracks I think I've ever heard. From the possessed wailing, which are unnerving enough, a strange voice emerges. It crackles with a subtle old-time fuzz, relaying the lyricism in a manner most psychotic. This woman is sitting in the corner of her room. Outside is dusted in snow, and as the lamps flicker into life, everything is silent. In the room however, she's tortured by the laments of people past. They aren't upset, but more, annoyed at their dismissal. The woman rocks back and forth. A sly smile finds itself amongst the wrinkles of her weary face and slowly, she begins to sing. At only two minutes long, the amount of story and feeling Peake can put into it is quite incredible.

Ever just needed something quiet? Well, have a look through Rebecca Peake's stuff and you're sure to find one. Here, I'll save you the trouble, with 'Still My Heart'. Something about this number oozes an old church feel, with its harmonised vocals and the epic, echoing reverb layered over them. It's not the longest thing ever, but like I've said before, what Peake does so well is work with what little time she has, and create something endearing and more often than not, beautiful. Stream all three songs above, and visit Rebecca over here. Oh, and every track is available over there to download for free!

NEWS// Shaky Snakes: Glowing EP

I was sent this EP a couple of days ago, but it's my birthday and I've been busy relaxing! Thankfully, Shaky Snakes and their latest EP 'Glowing' helped my do just that. These five songs swim through warm dreamy waters, the horizon blurred as you look into the haze that is the setting sun. The vocals are submerged most of the time, weightless under the reverb and surrealistic nature of it all, and a steady beat swells and carries your mind somewhere else. 'Ozone Exciter' opens 'Glowing', its throbbing synths coaxing forth ethereal singing. As the track progresses, we're treated to a joyous adventure into the realm of dance sensibility, a style that shows up throughout the other three numbers. You can stream 'Ozone Exciter' above, which leads into 'Everything is Totally Fine', and then 'Hold onto Yr Rock n Roll'. The latter has some sweet lyricism that I adore, but a standout for me is definitely the next track, 'Orange Crush Blues'. Its awesome sample manages, through the lush, soothing tone, to just amaze. The more rock-infused quality of the finishing number, 'Seventeen', mixed with the outstanding melody and electronic quirks, is an apt ending to a stunning little EP. Available in a pay-what-you-want fashion over on the Bandcamp, I eagerly suggest a download, or at least a listen! That's what I'm doin'!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Frightmare / Excessive Skin MP3

Synthpop has never been so dark as it is in Rebecca Peake's new number, 'Frightmare', as the title might suggest. Haunting vocals flit over a marsh of throbbing beats and creepy synths. A subtle build leads into a nightmarish chase, but however fast you run, nothing gets any further away. A fluctuating radio signal is scrambled half way through, confirming your complete loneliness. The vocals are layered on even subtler than before, and somehow, the sound is turned around into one of realisation and repentance, creating this vast spectrum of sound that I've come to love from Miss Peake. Keep up the great work!

Noise-pop isn't my favourite genre of all time, but when people do it well, I can't help but want to hear more. Another track from this wonderful woman does just that. Reverb and beeps and crackles detail the steady, unwavering beat.  After a while these simply amazing affected vocals come in. They've lost all hope, and are relaying their message with the very last of their breath. The noise and loudness and aggression of the backing track contrasts ever so well with the vocals on 'Excessive Skin'. A male voice does comes in, but I think I prefer those of the women. All I can say is that I'm looking forward to more!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

NEWS// Florence and the Machine: Shake It Out MP3

You've all heard of Florence and the Machine, and 'Shake It Out' is just another stunning number from the band. From a throbbing, subtly building start, Florence explodes with a drum beat and that tone of hers that sounds fantastic. "Tonight I'm going to bury that horse in the ground" goes one line that I'm particularly fond of, before the harmonised chorus demands a dance. One thing the group do so, so well, is that sonic build. They layer sound upon sound so effortlessly that when the climax comes round, you're blown away. Her songs are larger than life, but retain an honesty that clicks. Stream it up above!

NEWS// Sumuo: Playground Heroes MP3

I've posted one of Sumuo's tracks before, so turning my ears to a new song was bound to be a pleasure. I wasn't disappointed. The chilled Frenchman has maintained those waves of glittering synths that are quick becoming his signature sound. Said synths lull and lap at sonic beaches, and a quiet, minimal flair floats across the blazing orange sky. As day turns to night, the mysteries of the universe emerge. Like a child looking up into the stars, something about Sumuo's recordings dare to dream. Science and fact is grounded by the human ignorance of what could be, and 'Playground Heroes' yearns to soar. Wonderful.

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Skies Change I Remain MP3

If you just sit back and think, 'not another one of these Rebecca Peake tracks', I urge you to have a listen to every one, because you will be rewarded. Peake manages to record one a day, and while that may infer a lack of quality, I assure you the opposite is true. This latest treat to drop from the bliss of her SoundCloud, 'Skies Change I Remain', is an ethereal masterpiece, climaxing in a rock apocalypse that  tears her world apart. The earth rips itself in two while people sing, and there is something spine-chilling and emotional and beautiful about the acceptance of their fate. This is truly, truly outstanding.

NEWS// Peachcake: This Wasn't Our Plan EP

Smile-inducing deliciousness here from Peachcake, an American trio who record some pretty great, care-free electro-pop. Their latest effort 'This Wasn't Our Plan' is a five-track EP available to download for free from the Bandcamp. Alternatively, you can grab it over on iTunes here. Either way, have a listen, 'cos it's definitely worth one. The opener, 'You Matter' can be streamed above, and does its job well enough. There wasn't that level of experimentation that I enjoyed from the rest of the album, and it was a little predictable, but the second track, 'Speaking of Handouts, I Got You Something', pulled my attention back. Its summery beat and fantastic vocals are heightened by the lovely little melody, and the silly yelp thrown in made my day! A strong finish leads into my favourite number, and also the longest. 'Who are These People And Why Does This Music Suck?' has a brilliant melody, genius half-sung, half-spoke vocals and an ambition to be admired. By the end of the EP my mood was suitably lifted, and I thank Peachcake for just having fun! Bravo!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

NEWS// Elliot: Thundering Plants (Fancy Mike Remix) MP3

Elliot's original track wasn't bad. It had a nice, subdued melody, hidden under a layer of stuttering beats, before that boring fade-out lead into the next number. What 'Fancy' Mike Kleine has managed to do in working with Elliot, is amplifiy that melody, which was so swamped out before. He has lifted in onto the shoulders of dreamy synths and let it look out from up high. From this vantage point, the sun beats down and all the previous noise is lost to the wind. There is a sense of polish and refinement here that I don't think Elliot quite managed to grasp. While his was textured to the max, Mike's is toned down, and for all my sins, I think I like it all the more for that. As for the fade-out? Gone, and in it's place a closure worthy of the track. Stream it above and hear more from Fancy Mike over here.

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Pennsylvania MP3

A ballad here from Rebecca Peake, under the name, 'Pennsylvania'. From the soft vocals than shiver with underlying worry, gritty, harsh guitars erupt, contrasting amazingly well. Harmonised singing then comes in over the dirt and the noise, creating something all too beautiful. What Peake has done is record a track that explores two different sounds, but more importantly, makes that division melt away. This is an example of the true exploration of sound, and I admire Rebecca Peake all the more for it. Stream 'Pennsylvania' above.

Friday, September 16, 2011

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Silence MP3

What is silence? Is it the absence of sound, or the essence of it? Is silence nothing, or is it just too vast to comprehend? To the quiet we reveal everything. Our darkest fears and most wondrous dreams form in its grasp. Our bodies are born in a shell, protected by silence, and in the end, it takes us back into its arms. This silence is within you all the time. Some call it subconsciousness, others the soul. Silence is universal, yet stays forever close by. For one who listens to music, silence must be the greatest sound. Music will be lost with time, yet silence is timeless. An eternal refuge from which the universe was born, and with which it will die. Unending and undeniable, silence is the voice of the world.

VIDEO// Avey Tare: Oliver Twist

What does weird, weird and more weird make for? Something totally mind-bending. This video for Avey Tare's 'Oliver Twist', taken from last year's album, is such a creation. The nightmarish animation, paired with the beat and affected vocals, is alluring in its execution, and gripping in its strange, alien air. From sampled voices to noises, this track stands, dripping wet and caked in a texture so, so easy to fall into. Have a gander above, I insist!

NEWS// Bone QuidaIda: Quixote MP3

Some three-day old sugary synth-pop here from a San Diego chap by the name of Dustin Illingworth, which is worth a listen. It's worth putting headphones on if you plan on doing so though, 'cos there's some pretty nice surround sound going on. The melody reminds me of another song and I can't quite put my finger on it, but heck, does it matter? The vocals are balanced perfectly between being distinct and retaining that honest vibe that I love. The ending's a bit abrupt, but the impressive lyricism manages to pull out another listen. All in all, 'Quixote' isn't the most serious thing in the world, but I adore it for just that!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

NEWS// Dance Movie: Ladycops EP

This is a lovely EP from American quartet Dance Movie, the first track of which, 'Benson', can be streamed above. This, along with another three songs, can be downloaded free of charge over on the Bandcamp here. Said track 'Benson' is wonderfully chilled out, with a particular highlight being the fantastic melody and slowed down interlude in the second half. 'Rush' is a quieter, more reflective number: "bloodstained hands are reaching out / but emptied of their wanting", before the epic, six minute ballad that is 'Linden'. A Katie Melua influence tints the edges of the final two minutes in 'Rizzoli', the vocals of which sound just beautiful. This is a real gem if you've never heard it. From a fast, energetic start, 'Ladycops' slows down into something so, so magnificent, so stream and download!

NEWS// Camryn Prince: Casimir Pulaski Day (Sufjan Stevens Cover) MP3

Found this over on Youtube, after noticing that one of my favourite art bloggers, Camryn Prince, also sang, if only for a hobby. I was immediately inspired to post a particularly brilliant cover of 'Casimir Pulaski Day' by Sufjan Stevens. In owning more or less everything by him (I'm a huge fan), I was a little nervous to hear someone else and their version of it, but luckily Camryn does the track proud. Her confidently delicate tone suits the lyricism perfectly, and even when home-recorded, that beautifully feminine quality is undeniably amazing. Turn your volume up and stream the song above, while I await more!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NEWS// 4bidden: ▲bove / Medusa MP3s

Spacey little number and a creepy one here from 4bidden. I've actually posted another of his tracks, 'I Have A Dream', which I loved, so I was happy to hear something new from him! '▲bove' is full of tinkling synths and an other-worldly beat to match. The little vocals that have been put in are warped. Indistinguishable. Alien. Mysterious eyes stare at you from huge clouds that hang in the air, glittering with a substance only found in the imagination. 'Medusa', while similar, groans and buzzes, sonic glitches dripping from cold black walls. Like the former track, there is a mystery here, but one you hesitate to explore.

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Idiot Street MP3

Here's another one from Rebecca Peake, a woman I admire greatly. 'Idiot Street' is more minimalistic in its production than some of her other tracks, but no less beautiful. A nice little piano-backed ballad takes up half the track before the drums come in and the universe of sound expands. The vocals are yearning, half ethereal, half grounded to reality. From a slow start, this number builds and builds into something bursting at the seams with passion and a synth-rock sensibility that clicks immediately. It's a masterpiece!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NEWS// Lana Del Ray Extravaganza!

New track here from the fabulous Lana Del Ray, a woman I think I may have fallen for both in terms of beauty and in loving her music. To express said love, here's a special post with the new 'Blue Jeans', 'Video Games', 'Kinda Outta Luck' and a couple of fantastic remixes. 'Blue Jeans' then, is just a gorgeous little thing. Lana's voice, with all its little quirks and unmistakable tone, works perfectly with the melancholic air hanging over the track. "Blue jeans, white shirt / walked into the room, you know you made my eyes burn" goes one undeniably powerful line. 2:20 marks the start of a thrilling beat, layered with Lana's passionate, stabbing vocals. They calm into an ending wrought with thought-provoking images, an apt finish to the collage-esque video. But wait! This isn't the end of the post!

I actually missed this for quite a while before I decided to explore Lana's Youtube page over here. This, considering both 'Video Games' and 'Blue Jeans', is a much more fun number. Clips of Lana grinning and laughing and acting a little unhinged make for a very smile-inducing song, especially when the actions make for such irony when matched with the murderous lyricism. A dark start sounds immediately slower than the other tracks, but then an old-fashioned men's club beat comes in, and I can't help but love it. 2:05 is pretty adorable, with the little high note at the end, but really, this whole thing made my day when I heard it. Now, below you can watch 'Video Games' if you haven't already, and listen to a couple of remixes! JIMM's in particular has some nice additions to the original track.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

REVIEW// Panther and the Zoo: More Fun

     Just want to start by saying that I love the art that Panther and the Zoo sticks on their albums, no more so than on 'More Fun'. I was first exposed to Panther and the Zoo way back in 2009 when they dropped their first EP, 'Think About it Not Exploding'. It was a nice little tease from the Auckland outfit that was pleasing, but at the same time hinting at something much bigger. November 2010 went ahead and threw out a single from a 'forthcoming album', and finally, nine months later, we're handed 'More Fun'. A nine track collection, we're given a larger chunk from the Panther and the Zoo cake, but cleverly, not quite enough to satisfy our hunger for more. Graham Panther, the lead singer, songwriter and chap who shares his name with the band, writes some truly brilliant stuff. His vocals are quietly confident, oozing a comforting, mellow tone and matching the simple percussion and humble guitars perfectly. There is nothing too fancy or overdone here. The group knew what they were capable of, worked on that and the end product has come out sounding undeniably effortless. There isn't much complication to the record, but the band seem to have done this on purpose rather than due to a lack of talent. It is very easy to listen to 'More Fun' without giving it all your attention, which is really my only complaint. Give it one hundred percent though, and you'll be rewarded with something all the more well-crafted and emotional. This is quiet music for the thoughtful, and I love it.
     'Wake Up' sets the tone for the rest of the album, with classic Kiwi guitars and Panther's gentle vocals lulling you into a sense of unadulterated calm. 'Do Whatever' is faster, but no less soft. "I'm working hard to be an optimist" goes one of the lines, but things don't sound miserable or depressing. Panther seems to be reflecting on the past in order to move into the future, and "it's working better" than he thought. "I just don't think I'm in a place for this kind of thing / surely you have other mistakes you could be making" marks the start of my favourite track on the album, 'Don't Think'. The sounds here are just so wonderful and thoughtful, musing on life in a manner very inspiring. Wry lyricism is another element to Panther's writing that strikes a chord. "To be honest I'm hung up on my ex and I'm afraid what we might do next I might not be at my best" goes 'Maybe You Get What You Want' before the slow builds and harmonised backing of 'I Really Want to Do This'. The penultimate number is the longest, and as such the Canadian outfit feel a little lost within the extended instrumentals, but this fall-back is soon caught up again by the title track, which closes the album. Graham offers some of his most smile-inducing lines in these three minutes, with the most memorable: "lately I've been thinking too much / it's not necessarily you, but it's definitely not me" another personal favourite of mine.
     All in all, 'More Fun' is great for sitting back after a relationship has gone down the pan, or simply for a bit of down time. Nine tracks isn't enough to quench the desire for more of Panther and the Zoo, but in anticipation for their next release, I'm going to listen the notes off of this record! Stream 'Don't Think' below, and buy the album over here.

NEWS// Lower Spectrum: Lower Spectrum EP

Every two days I sit down and listen through the ton of music submissions you guys have sent into the blog. While it rarely becomes a chore, when you've sat though half an hour of pretty average stuff, you're extremely grateful for something as truly brilliant as this. The Australian Ned Beckley and Patrick Dunn record under the pseudonym Lower Spectrum, and dropped this eponymous EP earlier this year. Available for free over in the Bandcamp, trust me when I say that this is a deal worth grabbing. Cinematic, epic and instrumental are the labels 'Lower Spectrum' has been tagged with. As you listen, it's an understatement to say that the music has delivered on such a confident appraisal. The thundering scope of 'Introduction' (which you can stream below) builds and builds, stark oriental chimes detailing the low, throbbing hum. The sound grows into something huge, flickering and grinding. Electronic glitches and whirring cogs contrast with the sudden sonic drop. Your stomach lurches as the wind blows through the microphone. The vast machine has gone, and 'Closed' comes to take its place. A softer number, the melody floats through lush synths and a steady, unfaltering beat. The quiet, humble ending still has that overwhelming beauty, and that same expanse of sonic passion that takes you someplace else. The title track has some simply astounding mountain tones. A lone synth rolls over hills and through towering trees. There is a level of polish to this and all four tracks that I love. Every second feels like the duo's heart and soul has gone into making 'Lower Spectrum' sound perfect, and that pays off. I'll let you discover the last few minutes for yourselves in the final, spine-tingling 'In/Out', while I download myself a copy of the EP!


This seventeen minute long mixtape from the wonderful Noah Wall is something amazing. Like the title suggests, the theme is murder mystery, and this sense of everything not quite being what it seems is a prevelant element to the music. After organs and tinkling and ballroom music, we're treated to an uneasy drum beat. Through the fuzz, are they screams or whistles? An unnervingly pleasant piano melody comes into play as the song progresses. It is impossible to describe this mixtape in full detail, so stream it above and take yourself back to a time of thrilling intrigue. Then head over to Noah Wall's site here!

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: The Magewind MP3

Rebecca Peake's track for today is simple, epic rock. Gritty electric guitars, humming bass and ferocious drums all lend themselves to 'The Magewind'. The whole thing gains a sense of scope and adventurous scale half way through, looking out across vast plains and mighty oceans. Peake knows how to control what she does to a single note, and that precision makes everything sound finished, even when she's pumping them out every day. No vocals on this one, but the music speaks for itself. With something this fantastic, the singing has been stunned into silence, and I adore it. Stream 'The Magewind' above.

Weekly Classics: The Who: Love, Reign O'er Me MP3

This is a fantastic classic this week, from The Who, a band everybody should recognise and be familiar with. One of my favourite numbers from these classic rock legends is from their sixth record, 'Quadrophenia'. ' Love, Reign O'er Me' actually finishes the album, but I just love it. The passion and feeling and instrumentation is perfect. Not really good or outstanding. Perfect. So bump your volume up, sit back and rock along. If you haven't got a Who record either, I urge you to have a listen to at least one out of their eleven albums!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NEWS// Albatross: Murder MP3

'Murder' is the only track to Albatross' name, over on the SoundCloud at least. With the amount of followers coming in at one hundred and sixteen, I decided to have a listen to find out what could have drawn such numbers. Luckily, and perhaps unavoidably, 'Murder' is a pretty nice little song, pulsating with subtle undertones and perfect vocal sampling. It crackles with city dust, billowing and growing with the wind into something more alive than not. Tinted red by the evening sun, slowly dying upon the horizon, a blue light emerges with the night. The spectrum of sound here is astounding, throbbing with the surrealism of it all. Stream 'Murder' above, while I follow Albatross! That's plus one more for them!

NEWS// Runamucker: Respirator (Tongue Tied) MP3

I am always fascinated by the genre labels on the SoundCloud. The one that this song has landed with is 'future garage', something I'd vaguely heard. After sparking investigation, I discovered that this was simply an alternative name for UK garage, which I am familiar with. Rather than mistaking it for garage rock, which many people do, garage is a form of dance music. 'Respirator' does have a dance beat, but there is a lot of fantastic ambiance thrown in the mix too. The sampled vocals weave in and out of the deep bass, twisting back and forth, intertwining and inter-playing brilliantly. Stream above.

NEWS// rbe: Say Yes MP3

Quick one and a half minutes worth of track here, but I'm going to talk about them anyway. Something about the steady, throbbing beat and low, alien melody works amazingly well. The snare detailing adds a level of intrigue to the shifting other-world landscape, carving into the earth and creating something all the more mysterious. The end fade-out doesn't really satisfy my desire for more of the same, but on the other hand finishes 'Say Yes' with an apt cliff-hanger that doesn't anwer any of my questions. Very much an open-ended song, rbe has recorded something very interesting. I enjoyed it a lot, so listen up above.

NEWS// Homeward: Crocodile Water MP3

By now, you should probably have learnt that I'm a big fan of ambient music. Of epic soundscapes rolling over sonic hills. Tracks that craft a land that you can fall into and escape the stress of everyday. Homeward has just dropped another of these wondrous numbers in the form of 'Crocodile Water'. An eight minute masterpiece, birds chirp, water drips and leaves rustle as you push them aside. A tentative melody creeps forward into the unknown, shadows flitting under golden torchlight. A warm glow highlights the early morning dew as you stumble into a clearing. High up above, hidden by clouds, you seem to hear voices. Beautiful voices. Drawing you closer, higher, further. You can hear the gravel crunch under foot, and as you look out from your mountaintop haven, you blink. The vast expanse of cloud forms its own mountain range. The mountains of the gods, revealed by angels. Suddenly, things start to crumble away. You realise that the ethereal voices have led you over the edge. The wind through your hair. The air under your feet. A simple human before, a change occurs. For a little while at least, this mere mortal is flying.

NEWS// Hwood: Breathe MP3

Some chilled out sub bass dubstep is sometimes all one needs, and Hwood's new track 'Breathe' certainly delivers on that request. A slow and thoughtful beginning leads into a more than perfect middle, full of tinkling synths, a piano melody and a steady, comforting beat. The ending slows things back down again, and while the track doesn't revolutionise sound, it really is a fantastic display of the genre. The minimalistic ambiance highlights an almost nostalgic memory, blurred by the summer sun and wavering under the heat. Stream 'Breathe' above and hear more from Hwood over on the Cloud of Sound here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

NEWS// The Dirty Lungs: Don't Fucking Remind Me MP3

1960s garage rock is the way to go for Alabama quartet The Dirty Lungs. 'Don't Fucking Remind Me' is their latest two-track single, the second song of which I've covered below. I was actually sent this last night, and unsurprisingly, it was a very pleasant few minutes. The vocals on both numbers have this awesome sense of space about them. What I like the call location vocals, you can visually see them playing because the sound bounces of the walls of the studio or whatnot. I always enjoy that, so it wasn't the greatest of surprises that I like the songs. This track is lathered in psychedelia, which glimmers under a thin, fluctuating layer of reverb. The structure and lyrics aren't the best, but I don't reckon The Dirty Lungs are bothered. They just want to record some memorable rock tunes for the wild-at-heart, and I think they've succeeded. If you want a good time, come right aboard!

'Serial Suicide' is the B side to this single, if we're taking 'Don't Fucking Remind Me' as A. It's immediately louder after a subtle bone-rattling at the very start. Close to two minutes, the track seems over a little quick, but the really nice layered build half way through makes up for it, as well as the playful scream we're treated to. I think I like ' Don't Fucking Remind Me' a little more, but 'Serial Suicide' is a more that worthy companion. Stream both numbers above, then visit The Dirty Lungs over at the Bandcamp to hear lots more.

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Stawberries & Cream MP3

Some synthpop here from the ever-talented Rebecca Peake. Without saying too much, this is another wonderful tune, filled with catchy verses, fantastic synths and just that right balance between being too sugary and not sweet enough. Something about it sounds almost spacey, be it grounded by a throbbing layer of hidden disquiet. Stream it up above.

VIDEO// Princess Chelsea: The Cigarette Duet

There is something undeniably creepy, but at the same time super-quirky about Princess Chelsea and their video for 'The Cigarette Duet'. An argument has arisen because of a cigarrete, and the gentleman's belief that it is bad for you. The woman, with her strange and unmistakable accent sounds pretty old-fashionned in a manner, and that is certainly reflected in the tinkling surreal backing track. After a little research into some of the rest of Princess Chelsea's back catalogue, I found that this creepy tone is signature, but I love it. There are more recent videos over on Youtube, but heck, I think I liked this one the most.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NEWS// Kathleen Edwards: Wapusk (Feat. Bon Iver) MP3

Bon Iver has put out two collaborations so far, including this one, and I've loved both. I read somewhere that Bon Iver has done his house in Wisconsin up as a new studio, so perhaps that's why we've been treated so generously? Anyhow, while we wait for Polaris Prize nominee Kathleen Edwards and her new album, I can settle for this. Slow moving and teary-eyed, Edwards oozes folk honesty, with 'Wapusk' brimming with mellow guitars and lyrics to match. The track builds and speeds up too. From a nervous walk to a stumbling jog to a fully-fledged and spine-tinkling sprint. Like a child waiting for her father to come home, there is something within the folds of this song that grabs at your heartstrings. Stream it above and hear more from the lovely Kathleen Edwards over here!

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Breakfast / Skyline Replacements MP3s

You guys know the drill. Rebecca Peake is a musical genius, or at least very, very close. I believe this is the fifth track of hers that I've posted on the blog, but who can blame me? 'Breakfast' is astounding. Even when I'm expecting the best, somehow Peake throws something in that catches me off guards. The ethereal element here takes you someplace else. A stark melody is detailed by gusts of spirits, snatched by the wind, and the almost silent noises of things far in the distance. It seems to me like a journey. From the world of the living, through the dark lament of passing, and then the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Fruit blossoms out of cold ground, and the sun hits you in the chest as you take a sharp breath. Beauty epitomised. Stream the goodness above. Not maybe. Just listen.

It seems I missed this one from yesterday too, though how exactly I don't know. A man is sitting, looking out of his window, hoping. Yearning to see things no one else has see, and longing for the rain of a distant planet to soak the barren wasteland in which he sits. A tiny Muse influence seems to tint the spectrum of sound this track encapsulates. The lyrics hint at an almost paranormal happening, and the spacey, alien glow that grasps 'Skyline Replacements' certainly emulates that. I think I've fallen in love with Rebecca once again.

NEWS// Estress: Reds (BNRY Remix) MP3

BNRY actually shared this track with me on the SoundCloud, so I gave it a listen. Lo and behold, I discovered something extremely tight in production, bolstered by an unwavering beat and surreal, dreamy vocals. Windy synths create this grand soundscape that stretches for a good distance ahead. Mechanical whirrs penetrate the unmarked land as time and technology advances. I have to admit that I hadn't heard of the original track 'Reds', but after a little investigation I think I like BNRY's version more! Stream it up above.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NEWS// Sekuoia: Nothing MP3

Another chilled out track here, but this time from a Denmark outfit called Sekuoia. 'Nothing' is full to the brim with abstract vocals, dreamy melodies and a tinkling, delicate beat. That being said, a layer of minimalistic charm and space influences the soothing dreamy style the song's got going for it. It's a lush jungle and yet an empty, shifting desert. It is a mass of sound yet spread across the vast soundscapes of your imagination. If you haven't decided to already, I urge you to listen through 'Nothing', 'cos it's notably great!

NEWS// Braids: Peach Wedding MP3

Lovely new surreal thing number from Braids. The start is a little unnerving in its muffled emptiness, but soon that space is filled with some fantastic vocals layered above a jagged electric guitar. Echoes here and there form a physical space around you. Warm oranges make the dew-covered moss flicker and twist in the light. The whole thing is just a chilled out track that aims to relax, while still retaining that focus and passionate drive. Something about it works, and while it mightn't strike as immediately awe-inspiring, give it your full attention and you'll be rewarded! Stream 'Peach Wedding' up above and hear more here.

NEWS// Thrupence: Stop Using Logic MP3

Sometimes a warm fuzzy bed after a day out in the snow is exactly what's needed, and Thrupence are eager to deliver on that comfort. Crackling bass is soon met with a beat that contrasts in its texture with the smooth throbbing of the synths. Almost oriental melodies float around this surreal utopia, and at times you can snatch dream-like words from the heavy air. This is most certainly, like the comments state, a beautiful number. Its thought-provoking scope is fueled by atmospheric brilliance, and I love it! Stream above.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NEWS// Teams: Mile High MP3

This funky little thing from Teams dropped a couple of days ago over on the Cloud of Sound, and while it isn't the greatest ever, there are a few bits that are worth a listen. One such point of note is the humble fade-in at the very start. While other parts of the track fade-out in a similar manner, I think the re-entry on those are a little rough. Even so, there are some subtle hand claps that detail the lush vibe 'Mile High's got going for it. A care-free groove carries the beat through thick and thin, reverb and sparkling clarity, and by the end you do have a strange affinity towards its undeniable charm! Stream it above.

NEWS// Papercutz: Disintergration (The Cure cover) MP3

This could possibly be one of my favourite Cure covers, from the incredible Papercutz. Put your volume up, let the bass throb and have a listen above. From about halfway, the unmistakable vocals gain a nostalgic and somewhat epic reverberation, after a more than fantastic beginning. The start opens with a haunting synth that descends into a nostalgic muffled drum beat. The singing takes on this enormous strength and power while managing to maintain a delicate facade. Every second of these four minutes rocks, to put it simply. The scope and depth here is huge, and matched with vocals like this, it's most definitely worth a listen. Stream the whole thing above and then visit Papercutz over here.

NEWS// Placeholder: Under MP3

A strange voice narrates both the start and end of 'Under', a surreal track highlighting a future plunged into darkness. The world's energy has been sucked dry, forcing the people to live without warm water, communication or the preservation of food. After a while, the humans have come to adapt. Salt to keep things fresh, fire for warmth and candles for communication. The race doesn't enjoy life like this though. They, in their mindless hunger, ate away at the world and her resources. They dug their own graves and have been forced to lie in them. The sun no longer fills people with joy. Instead, they fear the struggle ahead, wishing they had not been so frivolous in their greed. Animals know this, yet listen. They have been content with the minimum for eras and have thus survived. The human race however, laments. Everything was supposed to be better, right? Well, it isn't.

NEWS// (Dose): The Young & The Restless MP3

This latest track from (Dose) has some really incredible vocal mixing. Bearing in mine that the name of the song is 'The Young & The Restless', the effects on the vocals make them sound just that. There is a very nice twang to the words that just seems so playful, and yet lyrically, very rebellious. The sampled noise at the start and toned down repeat of it near the end ties the track together more than well, the beat and backing vocals very relaxed in their delivery. The whole thing just acts as an uplifting few minutes, and some that I'm very happy to have heard! Stream it above and then head over to (Dose)'s SoundCloud here.

NEWS// Lustworks: MMRS MP3

Lustworks dropped this little number over onto the SoundCloud last week, and trust me, this is some gorgeous experimental electronica. It's actually a remix of 'Memories' by David Guetta and Kid Cudi, but rather than being a dance club track, this Canadian outfit has transformed the original into some seriously surreal music. The deep vocals wade through the thick bass as whistles and noises detail the steady beat. Don't just take my word for it though! Stream 'MMRS' above and visit Lustworks over on the Cloud of, in this case, fantastically good sound. Another good'un is 'FNCS' if you get the change to hear it.

NEWS// Andrew Jackson Jihad: Hate, Rain on Me MP3

For those who don't know, Andrew Jackson Jihad is actually a folk punk duo from Arizona, which has been recording this pretty interesting combination for six years now, with two full-lengths under their belt. 'Knife Man' is their third, and drops September 20th is you haven't pre-ordered it. 'Hate, Rain on Me' is the first track to drop from it, and I have to say, I'm enjoying it. The same lyrical bluntness ("I wish I had a bullet big enough to fucking kill the sun / I’m sick of songs about the summer, and I hate everyone") is present here as it was on 'Candy Cigarettes & Cap-Guns', even if the band have moved away from the folk instrumentation and more into the realm of electric guitar. I don't think the progression and growth will effect the quality of the music though. Everything that was there at the beginning is still present, just seen from a different musical angle. Stream the song above.

NEWS// Rebecca Peake: Behold a Juggernaut MP3

By now you should probably know about Rebecca Peake! I've posted her tracks a few times, because they're often phenomenal. 'Behold a Juggernaut' is no different, and rocks along with an angry passion. A busy city street requires careful navigation, and when an almighty frustration suddenly overwhelms you, a fiery fury is sparked. You want to bulldoze cars and vans aside and roar with a possessed petulance. The subdued vocals sound almost as though they've given up hope, yet the furious guitars continue, vexed by anything and everything. Stream 'Behold a Juggernaut' above or listen to more over here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

REVIEW// Hooded Fang: Tosta Mista

      Hooded Fang gained quite a bit of media exposure last year, with both their critically acclaimed debut record, 'Album', and through being the most blogged upcoming band on The Hype Machine. The Canadian group dropped their long awaited second lp, 'Tosta Mista' at the end of July this year, and by golly it's a hit summer album if ever I heard one. Compared with the wryly titled 'Album', 'Tosta Mista' has grown and developed along with its six members. Everything about it has been refined and polished and sharpened while still keeping that nostalgic 50s charm. Light hearted and yet mature, the lyricism is absolutely fantastic. Something about them is thought-provoking, but they are so through their straight-forward bluntness, if you will. Their words are chosen carefully, but are delivered as though plucked from the salty sea breeze. The care-free guitars and sunshine-infused drum work are floating under a film of subtle reverb that refuses to let the summer end. 'Tosta Mista' is lo-fi surf pop stonker of a record, and even at only twenty minutes long, I promise you it happily eats away at your time, in the best possible way. You can buy all of these ten outstanding tracks over on Hooded Fang's Bandcamp page here!
     The album is actually composed of seven songs, broken periodically by an interlude entitled 'Big Blue', which is broken itself into three different parts. This ongoing number is a trance-like instrumental that for the most part, ties the record together from start to finish. Adding a slower element to the fast nature of the album too, the only other possible substitute could be 'Den of Love', with it's seaside crooning and surreal female contribution half way through. The other six tracks don't feel like sitting sit at all though. Like fidgety children, they keep it all contained, before letting their groovy passion blast out your headphones, given half a chance. 'Clap' kicks things off with some eager humming that explodes into a fury of drumming and beautiful lyricism. 'ESP' follows, as one of my favourite songs. The vocals change up throughout, from background sound to leading the track. The dynamics transition more than nicely, from fast to slow to fast to slow again. You can just tell a lot of blood sweat and tears have gone into making 'Tosta Mista', and I think that's all paid off. 'Brahama' is another solid three minutes, filled with effected humming and the playful singing of notes rather than words. The title track just has some unbelievably lines thrown in, from feeling like a 'gyspy gnome' to 'the world is an egg that I've laid', and I love just it. The female vocals add that special softness too, which is nice for the album's sonic contrast. The second half of 'Tosta Mista' isn't as immediately strong as the first, but when intoxicated by the title track and 'ESP', you hardly notice.
     All in all, I think I've ran out of adjectives to describe Hood Fang's latest effort. Take my other words for it though, 'Tosta Mista' is most definitely something to hear. A considerable step away from the 'cute' label 'Album' landed them with, this Canadian sextet has grown and matured and ground away at their style until they got it polished to a level everyone is happy with, no more so than myself. Witty songwriting, instrumentation that surfs on the waves of quirky pop, and a vocalist to match, Hooded Fang have proven themselves a musical gem. They don't take themselves too seriously either, which makes them and their sound so unmistakably endearing. Stream the title track below or buy the record here!

NEWS// Alligator Indian: Glu MP3

I've actually already posted a track from Alligator Indian forthcoming album 'Football', entitled 'Honey Eye Bee Leave Ewe', but here's another. Posted as a premiere by the guys over on Get Off The Coast, 'Glu' feels immediately darker. A male leads with some post-punk vocals and unnerving lyricism. Compared to 'Honey Eye Bee Leave Ewe', this is almost completely different. As such, I'm immensely looking forward to hearing their full-length when it drops, in terms of the variety it looks like they're going to squeeze out of it. For now though, stream 'Glu', right-click download it here or visit Alligator Indian here.

NEWS// Baths: Exit The Mine MP3

This is the essence of ingenuity right here. Everything in this song was recorded with an iPad and an iPod headphone microphone. A minimalistic honesty shines through the simple vocals and humble beat, proving that anyone can produce some truly amazing pieces of music without the need for expensive equipment. A little nostalgic crackle details the piano melody and heartwarming lyrics hit in their mellow delivery with an undeniable passion. Stream 'Exit the Mine' above and follow Baths on his new SoundCloud page!

NEWS// Dakota: Cry Cry Cry MP3

Funky little number here from Dakota, which dropped only seven hours ago! There's some great vibes running down the back of 'Cry Cry Cry', supported by some fantastic bass. It's not the longest track ever, but what Dakota does well, they do excellently. From a gentle start, a subdued dance beat emerges, giving the sound that pulse which really brings it to life. Stream the song up above or visit Dakota over on their SoundCloud page!