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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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The Go Find – The Lobby

February 21, 2014

The Go Find are a Belgian indie electro-pop seven-piece coming off the release of their fourth LP titled Brand New Love. What originally started out as an electronic side project for Dieter Sermeus quickly morphed into his main focus as he gradually incorporated a few other like-minded artists into

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his band. They’ve come a long way since then after putting out what I consider to be their best album yet. “The Lobby” is one of many fresh and original tracks you’ll find on the LP. It’s got a slight funk edge to it while maintaining a strong degree of sincerity as well. And along with Cymbals’ The Age of Fracture, this is one of the more complete albums I’ve heard early on this year. Be sure to give it a full listen along with the array of other albums (some solid, some not) released this week.

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Bernhoft – Come Around

February 20, 2014

This track is almost too catchy for its own good. I also can’t shake how much it reminds me of 90’s funk master Jamiroquai. It looks like Bernhoft is already quite the well-known musician, but I am just now learning of his greatness with the release of this awesome new single “Come Around”. Bernhoft, aka Jarle Bernhoft, is a Norweigan singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist originally from Norway but currently residing in NYC. While he’s already pretty huge back home, it looks like his sound is still just catching on to folks like me in the states. But a track as outrageously soulful and funky as this doesn’t stay unrecognized for long. Hopefully Bernhoft will be getting more press for his obvious talents in the coming weeks, and you won’t have to wait much longer for his new Islander LP out April 28th.

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Black Atlass – Burning Man (feat. XXX)

February 19, 2014

I’m not sure I’d go as far as calling Ontario, Canada’s Black Atlass a phenom, but at 19 years old Alex Fleming (aka Black Atlass) has already achieved more fame than some artists do their whole careers. Now when you’re as skilled as he his, both vocally and as a producer, it’s really only a matter of time before the masses catch on to what you’ve got to offer. He took the indie electronic scene by storm last year with the release of his single “Paris”, but with his new Young Bloods EP he proves he’s not complacent with the mere one-hit-wonder treatment. While it tends to fluctuate between electro pop to RnB to rap, the EP still manages to maintain a theme of consistency as each track transitions seamlessly from the last. And while a good rap track is generally a tough sell for me, Black Atlass’ “Burning Man” definitely helps to rejuvenate my faith in a genre that I’ve found to be lacking in recent years. It opens as a dreamy, sampled over electro melody, but it really picks up when rapper XXX comes in to drop a powerful verse on the intricacies of life. So if you can appreciate the melodious

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goodness going on in this track then be sure to delve into the rest of the EP for a few more equally awesome jams.

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Oscar & The Wolf – Princes

February 18, 2014

Oscar & The Wolf’s “Princes” is the type of track that elevates bands to that next level of stardom – a level that some artists struggle to reach their entire careers. For this Belgian four piece, it took just a couple of years of hovering under the radar to fully establish their name in the electro/RnB scene. The first track, “Princes”, off their upcoming debut LP is most definitely an RnB track at heart, but that doesn’t mean they’re attempting to conform to any particular sound or genre. I’m curious to see if the rest of the LP goes along with the kind of sounds featured here, but those questions will have to wait as they’re currently still in the process of recording via their facebook page. Fortunately a track this solid will keep me busy until they’re good and ready for some more fresh tunes.

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Love Echo – Hope

February 17, 2014

I can’t believe it’s already been this long, but approximately one year ago we posted Love Echo’s extraordinary attempt at covering The Cure’s “Lovecats”. They’ve proven to be quite good at reinventing other artist’s tracks as they’ve been getting a ton of acclaim for their more recent cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist”. That cover is featured on their brand new Next To The Night EP plus three other exceptionally chill jams. The opening track “Hope” is the absolute epitome of a song fitted for the chillwave genre. It’s soothing vibes are complimented by the lovely and delicate vocals from master beatmaker Vic Miranda’s counterpart, Vicki Glass. Together these two have got something quite special going with their Love Echo project and I absolutely can’t wait to see how they continue to expand and evolve in the coming future.

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Lily & The Parlour Tricks – Requiem

February 14, 2014

Lily and the Parlour Tricks’ new track “Requiem” offers a tasteful combination of soul, pop, and rock that ultimately comes together to create quite the nice tune. What stands out more than anything, though, is the powerful voice of who I presume to be the name behind the group, Lily Claire. This talented band especially won me over after reading in their bio that Lily’s songwriting influences include none other than Nine Inch Nails. I can’t seem to find too much info on this group as of yet, but it’s pretty obvious that this great new track is going to get them the recognition they deserve plus some. Keep an eye out for an upcoming album from

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this NYC six-piece.

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Sun Kil Moon – Carissa

February 13, 2014

Lyrics have never been a crucial factor in determining a good track for me. But every once in a while a song comes around that forces you to pay attention to what’s being said. Sun Kil Moon’s “Carissa” is one of these unique type of tracks where the lyrics are just as crucial as the accompanying instruments. Throughout the course of this absolutely heartbreaking track, Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek tells the grim story behind the untimely death of his second cousin, Carissa. The entire Benji LP is a fascinating collection of tales from Kozelek’s life, but it’s not so much the content as the way he chooses to tell his story that so deeply affects his listeners. If you’re like me then by the end of “Carissa” you might be feeling a bit existential, if not a bit somber as well. These are feelings that only a select group of songs can bring out. And while it might take its emotional toll, this is a song I will be coming back to often in the months and years ahead.

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Yumi Zouma – The Brae

February 12, 2014

Yumi Zouma is a hazy indie pop three piece originally from New Zealand and currently collaborating between NYC/Paris. By the retro-lensed, self-portrait album cover you might think their debut EP was a collection of cheesy 80’s love songs mistakenly labeled as a 2014 release. But once you dive into the record you realize rather quickly that this is quite the special compilation of tracks. I’ve noticed on multiple blogs their sound referred to as “disco dream pop” and while there’s definitely something old school about their tracks, I don’t know if “disco” pop is the most fitting of descriptions. If I had to pick an artist to compare their sound I’d go with the likes of Ariel Pink or perhaps an act like Twin Sister, but it might be more fitting to let Yumi Zouma stand on their own in this discussion. My favorite track off the EP might be the dreamy and elegant “The Brae”, but honestly they are all pretty damn good and worth checking out. Here’s to a big year for Yumi Zouma and (hopefully) a few more new tracks along the way.

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