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Super Magic Hats – Pepper

April 1, 2014

Massive album release weeks like this often tend to leave me a bit overwhelmed. Part of me wants to take the “kid in a candy store” approach and get a taste of everything at once, but the key is all about pacing yourself. Some of the more exciting releases this week come from the likes of Mac Demarco, S. Carey, Caught A Ghost, and Timber Timbre, but as has become a bit of a theme in 2014, it’s often the lesser known acts that have been coming through with the most impressive stuff. Acts like Melbourne producer Rob Masterson, aka Super Magic Hats, with his brand new More Than Words EP definitely had me doing a double-take with songs as gorgeous as this cover of Butthole Surfers’ “Pepper”. It’s got an eerily reminiscent feel to The Chemical Brothers’ “Where Do I Begin”, but as the melody expands and evolves Masterson’s unique vision for this rendition becomes quite clear. So as you make your way through the big new releases of this week, be sure not to neglect some of those other artists like Super Magic Hats that are in the waiting to break out.

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Until The Ribbon Breaks – A Taste of Silver

March 31, 2014

I couldn’t have been more let down with The Black Keys newest single “Fever” that premiered last week. I’m all for bands evolving their sound, but at some point you’ve got to stick with what works, and it seems pretty obvious that this former blues-rock duo have bought into the commercialist ideals surrounding mainstream pop music nowadays. But that’s enough press for a band that’s currently in my dog house. Here to restore my faith that the blues genre is alive and well is UK-based producer Until The Ribbon Breaks. This guy’s new EP has been on repeat here at LF studios all week – and for good reason. What I had once thought of as a talented up and coming RnB act has demonstrated his extreme versatility on this killer new record. His rugged, electro-blues sound in tracks like “A Taste of Silver” is as refreshing as any song I’ve heard all year. But what’s most impressive about the man behind UTRB, Pete Lawrie Winfield, is how he can so seamlessly transition from his last EP of such deep, intimate RnB jams to what we’re hearing today. This guy is truly a superstar in the making, it’s just a matter of people catching on to his sound before things really take off for Until The Ribbon Breaks.

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Akkilles – Pale

March 27, 2014

Akkilles “Pale” is one of those tracks that can have a strong impact on you if you’re willing to let it. But the typical casual listen isn’t going to cut it for this one. I presume the folks that this track hits the hardest are the ones that allow themselves a certain degree of vulnerability when they listen. This brand of self-described “downer pop” seems like a relatively fresh take on a combination of a bunch of different genres. Sometimes I hear lo-fi folk elements from acts like Wickerbird, and other times there’s traces of groups like The Radio Dept. who can pull off some deeply intimate tunes when they want to. But whatever “Pale” tends to remind you of, there’s a glaring sense of originality to Akkilles, aka David Bennett’s work. We’re excited to hear more upcoming tunes from Akkilles as more folks continue to discover his entrancingly gorgeous sound.

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Neighbors – Wild Enough

March 26, 2014

Neighbors went somewhat under the radar with 2012’s debut LP Good Luck, Kid. It’s a solid album that’s worth checking out, but they left us with the feeling that this band hadn’t yet reached its full potential. On their sophomore followup record Failure, though, it looks like Neighbors are really starting to hit their stride. With an assortment of great tracks like “Wild Enough”, it’s fair to assume they’ll be getting plenty of attention in the coming weeks as people continue to catch on to their enchanting sound.

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Mr. Little Jeans – Mercy

March 25, 2014

Mr. Little Jeans came on to the music scene with a bang in 2011. If you listened to Sirius XMU radio back then, you might recall hearing her cover of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” being played pretty much every other track. And while it’s a great cover, this ultimately resulted in the ever-so-common track overkill that XMU is notorious for. Still, I made a specific mental note to keep an eye out for London-based singer/songwriter Monica Birkenes. And while it took quite some time, her debut Pocketknife LP is finally out today. It’s a pretty wonderful collection of electro pop tunes with perhaps none more beautiful and entrancing than “Mercy”. It’s got an almost shoegazey feel to it as Birkenes masterfully blends elements of pop, rock, electro into an ethereal whole. While she’s already past the point of emerging, this fantastic new album establishes Mr. Little Jeans as one of the premier synth pop acts of 2014.

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Dustin Tebbutt – Bones

March 24, 2014

I assume at this point Dustin Tebbutt is all too well-aware of the comparisons being made between him and Bon Iver. While his songs maintain a fresh sense of originality, it’s Tebbutt’s killer falsetto paired with lovely, acoustic guitar-driven ballads like “Bones” that are more than enough to draw in the Justin Vernon crowd. It was obvious he was on to something special with his debut Breach EP premiering last year, but as we’re quickly seeing Tebbutt is proving he’s not in this thing for some temporary acclaim. And on that note lets hope this great new single is an indication that a much anticipated debut LP is on the way sometime this year.

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Rain Dog – Regolith

March 21, 2014

Rain Dog’s debut LP Two Worlds is just the kind of abstract electronic I’ve been in need of lately. It’s not abstract in the sense that it’s hard to listen to, but rather it’s the refreshing sense of originality applied to each one of his tracks that really stands out. If I was pressed to list an artist as a comparison, I’d go with someone along the lines of a Sun Glitters type of act, but this kind of unique effort is enough for Two Worlds to stand on its own right. Substantially beautiful songs like “Regolith” show off Rain Dog’s knack at creating intricate, sample-heavy jams to swirling, ambient soundscapes. I’m just on the surface of fully understanding and appreciating this record, but I’ve heard more than enough to conclude that Rain Dog has quite the promising career ahead of him.

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All We Are – Feel Safe

March 19, 2014

All We Are is a Liverpool based indie-pop outfit that seems just about ready to make their way into the mainstream spotlight. They caught fans’ attention with their debut single “Utmost Good” almost a year ago, but that was the extent of their catalog up until now. It’s good to leave your fans hanging to a degree, but with a gap that long between tracks you’d better make sure the next single is one hell of a jam — and that’s exactly how their new track “Feel Safe” turned out. The slick guitar melody and retro synths in this one make for quite the awesome chilled-out funk tune. This one should keep me busy for a bit, but I’m guessing we won’t have to wait as long as last time to hear more great tunes from newcomers All We Are.

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Benbrick – Forever Holding On

March 18, 2014

Benbrick’s “Forever Holding On” is another great addition to the electro soul/RnB genre that’s taken hold in the UK/US in recent years. Some might say it began with the likes of James Blake, but others will argue it’s genre that’s been around since the Boyz II Men era. Either way, Benbrick is following up recent successful acts like Shy Girls, Autre Ne Veut, and JMSN with an intimate new single of his own. It features a lovely piano melody, some nice orchestral soundscapes, and quite the soothing vocals from Benbrick himself, aka Paul Carter. After already establishing himself as a credible producer, it’s looking like the time is now for this intriguing new talent to establish his own brand in the music scene.

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Your Friend – Jekyll/Hyde

March 14, 2014

Been very much enjoying this chill indie-folk tune from Kansas-based singer/songwriter Your Friend. Your Friend is the moniker for newly emerging artist Taryn Blake Miller who has put out her debut Jekyll/Hyde EP a few weeks ago. With some nice production help by Hosptial Ships’ own Jordan Geiger, the strong critical acclaim for this solid debut effort comes as no surprise. And it’s good to know she’s getting the recognition she deserves as she’s recently signed to one of our favorite labels Domino Records. She also just so happens to be performing today at the SXSW Festival so if you’re anywhere near Austin be sure to check it out.

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