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Arrange – Alumni (w/ Ricky Eat Acid)

March 10, 2014

Arrange, along with Ricky Eat Acid, are two artists I have just picked up on since the start of the new year. They have both put out new albums within the last couple months, both of which I’ve been enjoying quite thoroughly. Arrange’s might be a bit more accessible to the casual listener, but both can be characterized by featuring a sort of ambient minimalism to them. But after hearing a track as amazing as “Alumni”, it’s obvious these two are at their absolute best when collaborating together.

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Now I’ll preface by saying you’ve got to be patient with this track. It wasn’t until the second and third time around that I was able to fully acknowledge this song’s greatness. But as you’ll see it’s just one of those tracks that when it clicks, it really clicks, sticking with you long after the fact. I’m definitely grateful to have come across these two exceptional emerging talents, and I’m going to remain hopeful that there will be more collabos between Arrange and Ricky Eat Acid in the coming future.

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Posse – 2U

March 7, 2014

I’ll be the first to admit I was guilty of judging Posse before even listening to their new album. For some reason I first associated their album cover with bands that make lo-fi grunge rock that doesn’t often appeal to my tastes. I have no idea where that association comes from, and trust me I’m working on breaking it, but I am grateful I managed to look past it in the case of their wonderful new record Soft Opening. “2U” won me over from the start with such an incredible opening guitar melody. I don’t know what it is about that guitar, but those notes strike a serious emotional chord with me. And if the feelings weren’t fully heightened before then, the epic closing segment seals off the track perfectly. So if you can appreciate guitar-based dream pop with some serious substance, then be sure to look to Seattle, WA’s Posse for one hell of a record.

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Work Drugs – Zeros and Ones

March 6, 2014

Since the release of their debut LP Summer Blood, to say Work Drugs have been busy would be an understatement. They are one of the few (if only) bands I can recall that are capable of putting out so many quality albums within such a short period of time. Since 2011 they’ve put out a whopping 6 LPs, with their most recent record Insurgents released earlier this week. If you work your way up from the beginning of their catalog until now, you’ll notice a subtle shift towards more of an electronic realm of pop music. That’s a dangerous move for some bands, but Work Drugs seem to pull it off rather seamlessly. I’m fortunate enough to be seeing them in a month, and I have to imagine tracks like “Zeros and Ones” are going to sound pretty epic on the big stage. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we hear more new Work Drugs’ tunes before the year’s end, but their-already deep and expansive catalog is more than enough to tie me over until then.

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Death Vessel – Island Vapors

March 5, 2014

When I first heard Death Vessel, I figured I was listening to another exceptional up and coming Icelandic neo-folk act. I assumed this because the track I had heard, “Ilsa Drown”, features none other than Icelandic hometown hero Jónsi (also the Sigur Rós frontman). However it turns out Death Vessel, aka Joel Thibodeau, is actually from not-too-far-away Providence, Rhode Island. But hanging on the Icelandic note, his sound tends to remind me of a cross between Sigur Ros, Sin Fang, and Germany’s The Notwist. “Island Vapors” has been the epitome of what you call an acquired taste for me. The first time I heard it I wrote it off as a solid track, but nothing especially special. And then inexplicably I began to play it over and over again — until it emerged as one of my favorites on the year so far. The new album Island Intervals is complex collection of songs varying between the folk and rock genres, with this one featuring a nice blend of both elements. The next step on my agenda is to check for an upcoming tour schedule. Because if the tracks translate live as well as I think they might, Death Vessel is bound to put on one hell of a show.

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Trust – Joyland

March 4, 2014

I like to categorize Trust alongside other witch-house acts like Holy Other, Salem, and Crystal Castles. It’s a genre that’s still yet to be fully explored, but with an album as wonderful as Trust’s new Joyland we are bound to hear more about it in the coming months. It actually was Sirius XMU that originally introduced me to this Toronto-based goth-pop producer. And while I might have moved on to different realms of music discovery in recent years, I’m grateful to them for helping to get my foot in the door of the indie music scene. I will say that Trust’s new record isn’t for everyone, but if you can appreciate dark, intimate synth pop melodies with a slight throwback to the darkwave genre, then you’re bound to love “Joyland“ along with the rest of the LP.

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Lowell – Palm Trees

March 3, 2014

Spring is just around the corner, but there’s at least a couple more months before I plan to break out all those tropical jams that suit the season so well. Lowell’s “Palm Trees”, as it is sort of implied in the name, is definitely one of those tracks that’s best sounding in the warmer weather climates. However, I’m making an exception in playing this one early because it’s just so damn catchy. 22 year old Toronto-based singer/songwriter Lowell is still relatively new to the industry, but that hasn’t stopped her from making quite the name for herself with the release of her debut EP I Killed Sara V. Her album seamlessly blends between dreampop and rock, a combination that not enough artists tend to venture into. I can’t wait to hear where else she plans to take her sound in what’s turning out to be a huge 2014 for Lowell.

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Wild Beasts – Palace

February 27, 2014

I cannot emphasize enough my love for Wild Beasts. They are the type of band that’s not willing to put out a record that’s anything but top notch. And as if there was any question, that’s exactly how their fourth LP Present Tense turned out. Amongst the big three released this week (Beck, St. Vincent, Wild Beasts), it’s between Beck and Wild Beasts as to which takes the cake. But I’m not here to rank newly released albums. Today my goal is to simply turn your attention to one of the most talented collectives of musicians in the business. And with that I’ll share one of my favorites off the album, “Palace”. If you’re familiar with their previous LP Smother, you’re aware that it ranges from more upbeat, playful tracks like “Reach A Bit Further” to the mellow, but powerful emotional drainers like “Burning”. “Palace” definitely falls in the range of the former, but you’ll notice that even Wild Beasts’ more lighthearted tracks can hit you pretty deep if you’re willing to allow it.

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Evan Ønly – No Matter What

February 26, 2014

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for 80’s synth pop sounds. It’s for this reason and the fact that this is simply a great track that I’ve been so thoroughly enjoying Evan Ønly’s “No Matter What”. It kind of reminds me of a group like Simple Minds, and on that note this song makes me want to spend the weekend watching The Breakfast Club and other timeless John Hughes films. What immediately drew me in to Evan Ønly’s sound was his extremely discernible, deep vocals along with his knack for applying incredibly catchy synth melodies to his tunes. While this throwback genre might

not be for everyone, it’s tracks like “No Matter What” that are good enough satisfy current fans and gain a few converts along the way.

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Beck – Morning

February 25, 2014

Two of my favorite albums ever are The Notwist’s Neon Golden and Beck’s Sea Change. Coincidentally, they have both put out new albums today, both spanning years between their last LP. Now if you haven’t heard one or both of those albums, I really couldn’t emphasize them more. However there’s a fundamental difference that separates these two artists, and that is one of consistency. On the one hand there’s The Notwist who haven’t put out more than one solid record (in my opinion) since Neon Golden. And then of course there’s Beck who has literally never put out an album short of exceptional. Now out of 12 LP’s that might sound a bit outlandish, but he’s one of the few musicians that I hold in such high regard. The same is to be said about his newest album Morning Phase. I like to think of it as Sea Change‘s countrified younger brother, but at the same time it’s an album good enough that it deserves to be judged as its own separate entity. “Morning” is the first true track off the LP, and to say it’s reminiscent of Sea Change‘s opener “The Golden Age” is an understatement (the intros

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are almost identical). So on what I consider to be the biggest album release day of the year, I’m quite relieved to know Beck has once again come through for me with his twelfth great album.

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Years & Years – Real

February 24, 2014

I generally like to get tracks out there that most people have yet to catch on to. But I’ve been so enamored with Years & Years’ “Real” this past week that I feel I’d be doing myself a disservice not to post it. You might have already seen this track promoted once or twice around the blogosphere, and for good reason. It’s a powerful piece of electro

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soul-pop that’s most gripping when the heartfelt chorus rolls around. We knew they were onto something special last year when we posted one of their first singles “You & I”, but that was before they began receiving all this deserving new found attention. And after just signing to the highly regarded Kitsune Label, it seems like the sky is the limit for this UK three piece. “Real” is featured on their new EP along with some solid remixes and another fantastic single “Eyes Shut”.

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