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Jai Paul – Str8 Outta Mumbai

April 16, 2013

Ever since “BTSTU” and “Jasmine” were released, the world has been craving a full length from the incredibly talented producer, Jai Paul. Last Saturday, Paul seemingly released his debut album on his bandcamp page. It consisted of 16 tracks and none of them had names. Unfortunately however, there has been a lot of confusion and controversy over whether or not the album was officially released by Paul. In either case, the tracks were in fact recorded by Paul and they are just as innovative and awesome as anything he has done in the past. Track 2, later recognized as the demo, “Str8 Outta Mumbai” is energetic, funky and features a great sample of an indian styled track. Even though it might have been illegally leaked, tracks like these show that Jai Paul has been working hard. And it if hasn’t paid off for him yet, it sure will soon enough.

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Los Porcos – Do You Wanna Live?

April 11, 2013

Self-proclaimed “Disco House Pigs” Los Porcos arrive with “Do You Wanna Live?” a splashy, infectious, shameless disco stomp in the classic tradition of Franki Valli, Earth Wind & Fire and the Bee Gees. The stylish, falsetto-flaunting singer is like a ghost of discos past, redolent of coke-dusted debauchery but also rollerskates-and-bubblegum innocence. If the charms are familiar, the track benefits from a slightly fuzzy live sound. Unlike more typically overproduced, slick-souled dance music, ticking and clicking with electronic syncopation, this coolly rollicking number is clearly a party song performed in person by some heavenly house band. The groove holds steady even during a prolonged wail of a guitar solo (so absurdly over the top as to recall Eddie Van Halen’s in “Beat I­t”), helping punctuate the impression of garage-funk live jamming. Supremely, awesomely addictive.

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Generationals – Put A Light On

April 3, 2013

Ever since 2009’s Con Law, Generationals have consistently produced

pop hooks with their signature lackadaisical style. They make songs that are reminiscent of the 80’s and are perfect for those bright sunny days. However, with a record label change, Generationals have made a subtle change to their sound by going with a more sonic approach. “Lucky Numbers” was the first glimpse we had at the band’s movement toward synths and away from their usual guitar rifts. But it is really in “Put A Light On” where it all comes together. This track is all about the xylophone-esque instrument that provides the melody throughout the song. It’s a sound that feels completely new and unique. It provides the track with all the force it needs to be the great upbeat pop jam that it is. No, Generationals are not making the most prolific music out there, but this is a band that I could listen to on any day — in any mood. And for that, they have a special place in my heart.

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Vampire Weekend – Step

March 26, 2013

Vampire Weekend is an interesting case. Their debut self-titled album seemed to be unanimously loved. It’s not that it was incredibly profound, or beautiful, but it was simply so fun. Who knows how many students had “A-Punk” playing on their iPod while walking to school on a spring day. Their style was immediately relatable, cheerful, and catchy. Then came Contra, another fantastic extension of what they did with their debut. They played with many more instruments, and was a little more experimental, but the same great style was present. Somehow though, the buzz was lost. The hype seemed to reach an apex and then drop immediately. One could say that Vampire Weekend have something to prove with their third LP. But Vampire Weekend isn’t dumb enough to fall into that trap, after all, they did all go to Ivy League schools (ha). Vampire Weekend is going to do exactly what they should do, keep making the music they know and love. “Step” is reminiscent of “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance” and feels like a great break from some of the higher tempo tracks that will probably be on the album. While many of you may be over Vampire Weekend, I’m more excited than ever.

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Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play

February 28, 2013

If you’ve ever wondered how a grasping, needy, desperate plea for love can sound jubilant and life-affirming, you need to hear “Play By Play”. Taken from Autre Ne Veut’s new record, “Anxiety”, Arthur Ashin’s glittering devotional is awash in love and the fear of being apart. The song seems occasioned by a one-sided phone call—the opening cascade of synths could be New Age-y ringtones—a missed connection that turns into an opportunity for a gorgeous voicemail confession. It’s a moment of disappointment we’ve all felt when our loved one doesn’t pick up, but Ashin expands it, dwelling in the separation as if basking in divine grace. Though the low, booming drums almost break out into a thumping techno anthem, the song hovers in orbit, part hymn, part slow-motion panic attack. The second half of the song soars, with Ashin’s lush falsetto multiplied into a chorus majestically repeating, “I just called you up to give the play by play/Don’t ever leave me alone”. Message received.

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Youth Lagoon – Mute

February 12, 2013

With “Dropla” and now “Mute,” it is clear that Trevor Powers is trying to create an album distinct from The Year of Hibernation. That album was beautifully mellow and made you want to go out into the world and appreciate every bit of it. However, the first second of “Mute” would not fit anywhere on The Year of Hibernation. It’s more substantial, epic, and chaotic. The melodies are still there and still powerful, but everything else has changed drastically. 2:56 off of “Mute” pretty much sums it all up. There is a certain kind of strength and force present in this track that is unbelievable beautiful and substancial. Powers is making it clear he is not a one trick pony. And with his new LP dropping later in the month, he should have critics praising him

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all over again, but for completely different reasons.

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James Blake – Retrograde

February 8, 2013

What was so exciting about James Blake’s debut self-titled album was the amazing

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voice he kept secret from the world. Blake’s musical career before the LP existed of impressive, well produced, dub beats. Alone, they were exciting and showed promise for the young brit. But when he revealed to the world that he could combine his production skills with an incredibly controlled, unique voice, everything changed. Blake became a superstar. Yesterday, James Blake previewed his sophomore album, Overgrown with the premiere of “Retrograde” on BBC radio. If you still aren’t a believer, let this convert you. James Blake has some of the best pipes around. “Retrograde” shows that Blake can belt just as much as his synths can. I am back on the James Blake train, and I cannot wait for Overgrown to get everyone on board again.

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Cry Guy – SEXCESS

January 30, 2013

There is not much written about Boston’s boy/girl duo, Cry Guy. “SEXCESS” is their second single released and is much less subtle than their first single, “Gumdrop Wishes,” a very minimalistic piece. “SEXCESS” drops a pretty heavy synth beat on you from the very beginning. Echoey female vocals are laid on top of the beat, along with some more flourishing synths. The hook is satisfying from the very beginning and it’s nice to see Cry Guy explore the melody throughout the song’s four minute length. Check out an upcoming LP from these guys later in the spring.

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Local Natives – Three Months

January 29, 2013

Gorilla Manor was about the struggles of a lonely twenty year old. “Is my life about to change?/ Who knows?/ Who cares?Hummingbird on the other hand is about the growth that comes after pain. During the process of making Hummingbird, bassist Andy Hamm parted ways with the band. Three months later, lead vocalist Kelcey Ayer’s mother passed away. In an interview with Pitchfork, Ayer states, “Parting with Andy was really hard for us, and then my mom passed away last summer. In a way, it really helped me to process a lot of things, and there are some songs on the record about that. We’ve just grown so much over the past two years…” “Three Months” is a beautiful, slow ballad that give Ayer all the spotlight. “I am ready, to feel you” belts Ayer. His voice has never been this uninhibited. The emotion is completely let out in ways that we did not see in Gorilla Manor. Local Natives have made a less upbeat album — one that may not be perfect for those sunny summer days — but Hummingbird is absolutely gorgeous and more profound than ever.

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Lazyeyes – Wait

January 4, 2013

Lazyeyes is a shoegaze outfit from Brooklyn who are getting ready to release their debut, self-titled EP, Lazyeyes. Yes, Wu Lyf

broke up, and they are not coming back. But if “Wait” makes any statement, it’s that Wu Lyf were not the only ones who can make this kind of music. As soon as the snares hit in “Wait”, you are immediately reminded of the vast — epic sound of L Y F. Ok, maybe I am drawing out this comparison a little too much, but I am just happy to know that people like Lazyeyes are able to recreate the kind of magic that Wu Lyf created. “Wait” brings back

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those summer memories, invigorates you, and fills you with ambition. It’s a pleasant surprise for the shoegaze, psych-rock community.

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