As scruffed electro-pop inspired by comedowns, Songs about Dancing and Drugs simulates that dark Sunday morning tug-of-war between jaded paranoia and the twitching physical urge to keep dancing. This is the third album from Jeremy Shaw, a Canadian living in Berlin, and an outside contender for underground release of the year.
Archive for the ‘Song of the Day’ Category
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Cold Spring
Why There Are Mountains, the self-released debut from this Staten Island quartet, is an album where every track is a field trip: full of carefully crafted songs that take their time to streamline a post-rock dynamic into something accessible, soothing and gratifying. A pleasant surprise with plenty to absorb.
John Fairhurst – Obnox Stomp (Remix)
Updating the sound of John Fahey for the 21st century and bringing it to a new audience, Wigan’s John Fairhurst learned to play guitar from an unnamed Indian master, honing his skills in south east Asia for a number of years before bringing his blend of raga and blues back to the UK folk scene. The video for this song (posted below) is well worth checking, if not just for the surrealnes of an ‘I Am Kloot’ poster hanging in the background.
Starfucker – Iaadeedaa
Fun-fuelled dance-pop from Portland’s Badman label: so catchy it had IBM writing a cheque out for use of “Holly” from their self-titled debut album and so energetic that the group impressed all at SXSW last week. Next month the band will release Jupiter, an EP highlighting their ’80s-inspired live shows, which will contain a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (below).
Memory Cassette – Asleep at a Party
Anonymous figure/collective from New Jersey, possibly Philadelphia – all we know is that the listless space pop of Memory Cassette is well worth a place on your playlist, right alongside Ariel Pink, M83 and Ulrich Schnauss. You can download a handful of his/her/their excellent EPs for free here along with a fantastic mixtape of personal favourites.
Emperor X – A Violent Translation of the Concordia Headscarp
Free music! Racing pop songs sprung from the prolific creativity of a science teacher and reigned in by the touch of some experimental digitisation. This is Chad Matheny, whose collected works (including Blythe Archives Vol II, from which the above track is taken) can be downloaded at his official site.
Virgin Passages – Distance
Shifting from melancholic dissonance to a dreamy, wordless chorus, this six-piece from Staffordshire are as capable of creating short and sweet burst of pop brilliance as they are drifting into unrestrained psyche sequences. Currently touring America, they have a new tour EP, The Is Not The End Of The World Again, which includes a cover of The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
The Phenomenal Handclap Band – Testimony
NewYork’s The Phenomenal Handclap Band (principally Daniel Collás and Sean Marquand) freewheel through half a dozen genres and style on each track while still managing a sultry funk. For their self-titled debut, released in June through Friendly Fire recordings, they’ve drafted in members from bands as diverse as TV on the Radio, The Dap Kings, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Honeycut, making this an act to keep an eye on. HT to The OMCD, who caught their act at SXSW last week.
Yppah – Gumball Machine Weekend
Yppah (‘happy’ backwards) is Joe Corrales Jr, a rock musician turned ambient artist who combines elements of shoegaze, psyche and breakbeats into hypnotic scores that have earned him a spot on the Ninja Tune roster. The above track is from his second album, They Know What Ghost Know, which will be released on 11 May.
Local Natives – World News
These guys feel like an exciting find – and I fully expect them to catch plenty of attention during their eight shows this week at SXSW. All the right ingredients are there: soaring singalongs, thumping drums and simply great tunes. If their recent Daytrotter session wasn’t enough evidence that they’ve got a great live presence, check out their take on Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia in the video below.
Years – Kids Toy Love Affair
This is the opening track from the first solo record by Ohad Benchetrit, Do Say Make Think’s multi-instrumenalist, who will be releasing Years on 5 May through Arts and Crafts. The Major Lift, another song that can be streamed on his MySpace, is well worth a listen but I settled on this one for its grandiosity – particularly those foreboding horns at the end that remind me of Zappa’s Peaches En Regalia. You can see why he hopes it will allow others to “make a connection and use this music to soundtrack the changing seasons to her/his own Years.” (more…)
Attack in Black – Leaving Your Death in a Flowerbed
I can’t tell if I’m drawn to this song because it reminds me of an Olivia Tremor Control track or whether this four-piece from Welland, Ontario have cracked a similar understated genius with their fourth album, Years (by One Thousand Fingertips), which came out this week on Dine Alone Records. I think it’s safe to say the band have been a little overlooked until now but maybe their stint at SXSW next week will provide up their profile somewhat.
Obits – Pine On
When A bootleg of Obits’ first live show made its way on to the Internet, Sub Pop were so impressed on first listen that they pursued the band for a record deal. You can still hear a couple of those recordings on MySpace – which sound utterly indebted to The Stooges – but the studio material sounds sharper, distinctive and yet still retains that hammering ferocity. The band hits SXSW next week, just days before their debut I Blame You is released. In the meantime, this mp3 can be downloaded for free here.
Sleepy Sun – New Age
The staple adjectives applied to bands like Comets on Fire (thunderous, swirling, etc.) will be mindlessly trotted out when Sleepy Sun’s debut album comes out in May, but though there are plenty ‘raw, high-energy jams’ (cringe), Sleepy Sun are also refreshingly diverse – as a quick listen to their MySpace will reveal. Embrace will be released in May in a limited run of 1,000 coloured 10″ vinyl, shortly before they play ATP as part of the Fan’s Strike Back line-up. They’ll also be squeezing in five dates at SXSW next week… (more…)
The Soundscapes – We’re All Made of Star Stuff
These two brothers sound convincingly bigger than any other guitar-drums duo I think of, but what makes them stand out if their melding together of canonical US and British indie influences from the late ’80s and early ’90s. Normally it’s either one or the other when it comes to indie emulation, so perhaps their upbringing in Brazil is responsible… Their debut album Freestyle Family is out now. (more…)
Beirut vs Ghostface Killah – Save Me Concubine
An inspired pairing: one of the Wu-Tang’s finest lyricists worked into my favourite track from the recent Beirut/Real People double EP. It’s one of the latest in a long line of mash-ups from prolific mixers The Hood Internet, though this may be their best one yet. I think the true measure of success for a mash-up is making it so good that the hip-hop artist in question is forced to check out the back catalogue of his counterpart – and in this case I very much like the idea of Ghostface kicking back to Beirut. (more…)
The Soundcarriers – Falling for You
Just in case the song below wasn’t enough soothing psychedelia for one day, this track provides the perfect way to bring the day to a close, a blissful goodnight from Nottingham, of all places. Their album Harmonium will be released on 25 May through Melodic.
Speck Mountain – I Feel Eternal
Marie-Claire Balabanian and Karl Briedrick met by chance in Norway, hitting it off and relocating back to the US to form an “ambient soul” band that blends the hypnotic psychedelia of Spacemen 3 and the crystal clear vocals of Mazzy Star. I dare say it works. Their second album, Some Sweet Relief, will be released later this year through Carrot Top records. (more…)
Cass McCombs – Twins
This is a very John Lennon-esque tune about gut-wrenching deception and the recriminations that fly when two people realise they really shouldn’t be together (“You lied to me and I to you, I guess we deserve each other, though I’m damned if we do”). Poignant, soulful and gently despairing…all for a b-side track recorded in London!
Bruce Peninsula – Shutters
Whether you’re feeling sorrowful or perfectly refreshed, this is ideal Sunday listening. A huge-sounding ensemble of singers, yellers, whisperers, whiners, garglers, gentles and goons from Canada deliver a burst of modern day gospel. A Mountain Is A Mouth is out now on Bruce Trail. (more…)
Phoenix – 1901
To glance down the Last.fm entry for this song is too see a stream of users posting the samw two words over and over: “perfect pop”. It’s a synth-buzzing electro number that online tastemakers are guaranteeing to be a hit for this band from Versailles, whose fourth album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is out on 25 May, shortly followed up by an appearance at London’s KOKO. In the meantime, you can download the track for free from their official site.
Foreign Born – Vacationing People
The lack of financial backing, mismanagement, no PR, bad timing…sometimes I wonder what keeps a great band from breaking through. French Kicks and Jonquil are good examples (both favourites of mine), as is Foreign Born’s 2007 album On the Wing Now, which appeared on myseriously few radars. But the good news is they have another one on the way, entitled Person to Person (out on 23 June through Secretly Canadian), of which this track provides the first listen. (more…)
Girls – Lust for Life
An undeniably catchy song about being fucked in the head, perfect for a Friday afternoon when the week has taken its toll and relief is just around the corner. Since last posting about Girls, the Californian duo seem to have become the toast of every indie act asked about their favourite new band…and they haven’t even released their debut yet! But in the meantime, you can download the two tracks featured on this site from here and catch the video for Morning Light below.
Posted in Song of the Day, tagged Andy Cabic and, beach house, Can't Go Back, Cass McCombs, devendra banhart, Future Primitive, gnomosong, Papercuts, Vetiver, You Can Have What You Want on March 6, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Papercuts – Future Primitive
It’s been two years since we heard from Papercuts’ Jason Robert Quever, when Can’t Go Back emerged from under the wings of Andy Cabic and Devendra Banhart’s label Gnomosong. Since then, Quever has working with Beach House, Cass McCombs and Vetiver. But this track, from the forthcoming You Can Have What You Want, sounds like a refreshing step forward for Papercuts, the r’n'b bass line and mumbled melody suggesting that something from his time with the aforementioned bands has rubbed off.
Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Doubt Hope
I’m quite blown away by these guys, a singer and drummer from Sweden, and wish I’d known more about them just a week ago -just so I could have seen this live! Maybe there’s something about their name that doesn’t sound all that appealing, but once you listen to them it seems perfectly apt. I’ve nabbed what are apparently two of the last tickets for their show in The Luminaire in April and I’m now after their most recent album, Heartcore. Below you can watch them perform Doubt Hope live – incredible.
Bear Hands – What a Drag
Giddy pop-rock in a similar vein to Born Ruffians and Young Coyotes; this Brooklyn quartet (why is every second band from Brooklyn these days?) have been touring the UK with Passion Pit to promote their Golden EP. Already the toast of mainstream music mags, could well feature in adverts for Orange Mobile or Halifax by the year’s out (just kidding).
Beach House – Play the Game (Queen cover)
When filtered through Beach House’s characteristic aesthetic, this song sounds like it was written for them. According to GvsB, it was left off the recent Dark Was the Knight compilation, which surprises me. Not just because it’s a quality trac, but because my main quibble with the release was that it seemed like they didn’t leave off anything. For the time being, you can download this as a bonus track on iTunes and watch the video for the original below.
David Porteous – Electric Feel (MGMT)
Another unusual cover: here, Canadian songwriter David Porteous makesthe MGMT hit into something slow and serious, using just a grungey blues guitar sound a la The Black Keys. Although the lyrics don’t really stand up without MGMT’s falsetto, this works surprisingly well.
Posted in Song of the Day, tagged Chris Thile, covers, Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, The White Stripes, white stripes cover versions on February 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Chris Thile – Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes)
Chris Thile (formerly of Nickel Creek) gives this White Stripes classic the bluegrass treatment, rendering it almost uncrecognisable by replacing guitar and drums with mandolin and violin, racing away with hootenanny-like excess. Check out Thile’s current project, Punch Brothers, at MySpace.
The Morning Benders – I Wanna Be Like You
It’s about time someone tried this: a thumping, modern remake of the Jungle Book classic (original video below), the song so good you should be singing it on the way to work every day. The Morning Benders are a young quartet from San Francisco who have recorded an iTunes live session, two Daytrotter sessions, an EP and an album, talking through tin cans, out now on +1 Records. (more…)
The Hidden Cameras – Learning the Lie
Wake up, press play and start your day on the right note – hyperactivity quickly giving way to yelp-worthy jubilation. An old favourite from a mix I put together two years ago called A Cleansing Presence…A Shining Path, but originally found on an album of “gay church folk music” entitled Awoo, by Canadian pop outfit the Hidden Cameras. One of the most irresistably feel-good songs I’ve ever heard.
Bosque Brown – On and Off (Part 3)
Bosque Brown’s new album, Baby, is full of moments like this: short, gospel-like vignettes so light they seem a cappella. Off the top of my head, I can think of three of her contemporaries that have a similar sound – and I doubt whether any of them could, or would even try, to carry a song like this. Perfect for the weary of heart at the end of a long day…
Chairlift – Evident Utensil (MGMT Remix)
Originally formed to make live music for haunted houses”, this Colorado trio moved to Brooklyn within six months, where they toured with Yeasayer and MGMT before having the faux-‘80s sounds of their debut Does You Inspire You singled-out as the best album of last year by M83.
They’re also playing a free in-store appearance at Pure Groove Records in London on Wednesday!
The Second Hand Marching Band – We Walk In the Room
‘Do you feel out of touch? Do you feel down on your luck? Do you feel loved?’ Beirut-like ensemble of 22+ from Glasgow intent on exploring the avenues of the “untraditional” by blending together guitars, ukeleles, mandolins, triangles, accordians, trumpets, tenor horns, saxophones, trombones, glockenspiel, castanets, marching drums, melodicas, woodblocks, tamborines, bells, violins, flutes and clarinets. Their debut EP A Dance To Half Death is out now on a limited pressing, so make sure to get a copy.
El Perro Del Mar – Change of Heart
As melancholic as it may have been, Sarah Assbring won a lot of hearts with El Perro Del Mar. Now testifying to the remedial powers of love and music, the Swede seems to have picked herself up considerably for its sequel, From the Valley to the Stars. But despite fuller arrangements, the album felt more like a collection of ditties than songs, the lyrics rarely extending beyond the refrain of the title and the overall tone too consistent for its own good.
Change of Heart is to be the first single from Assbring’s forthcoming mini-album Love Is Not Pop. This time, the talk of change seems to have materialised: this one has a slinky beat and an ’80s-tastic guitar/bass pairing. Perfect for a night time scene, post-lovers’ tiff in the John Hughes movie that never was.
Cotton Jones – Gotta Cheer Up
Stand out track from Cotton Jones’ second full length and first for Suicide Squeeze records, driven by former Page France duo Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw. Paranoid Cocoon may be a collection of “quiet, wooden psychedelia”, but this one is infectious enough to melt away all the usual genre-restricting adjectives.
Choir of Young Believers – Hollow Talk
The comparisons between the voice of Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold and Danish/Greek/Indonesian Jannis Noya Makrigiannis may prove to the bane of his existance, despite having been around for the same length of time and notching up number ones in Denmark. But before you’re drawn in or put off by the thought of another group armed with hymnal harmonies, check out the video for ActionReaction below – there’s a lot more to Choir of Young Believers than the streams of “plaintive baroque folk-pop” descriptions would suggest.
Akron/Family – Everyone is Guilty
As the sprawling epic that opens the forthcoming Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, Everyone is Guilty provides the first glimpse of Akron/Family as a trio – a big reduction from the 20+ band members typically involved in their live ensemble. But the folk-rock experimentalists sound as big and brash as ever here: a funky guitar riff, signature changes, a sing-along chorus and a soul-inspired horn section are all compunded together suprisingly well… and make perfect sense of the ecclecticism behind Dana Janssen’s mixtape Top 10 Songs To Ride A Bike Thru NYC To as posted earlier today on When You Awake.
Sholi – Sprout and the Bean (Joanna Newsom cover)
San Francisco trio breathe new life into Newsom’s 2004 classic with a brilliant interpretation so loose that it veers wrecklessy from lounge jazz to psych-rock. It’s an approach that probably owes something to singer Payam Bavafa’s stint as an engineer in an experimental neuroscience lab, spending a year and a half processing brain-waves and analyzing data from studies on sleep and memory while coming up ways to apply his findings to songwriting. Sholi’s debut album is out today on Quarterstick/Touch and Go records and they will also be appearing at the upcoming SXSW festival.
Nothing Is For Sure (Demo)
The original demo of this track from GLP’s outstanding 1999 release Ladies Love Oracle, recently unearthed by accident and now offered as a free download – all you have to do is sign up here for what will hopefully be a series of free goodies as treasurable as this one. I think it may even top the album version.
NewVillager – Rich Doors
Just what a Monday needs: Jess Bromley and Ross Simonini’s uplifting electro-pop, ready to follow the recent success of the similarly-styled MGMT and Empire of the Sun. This track is so infectious that it has inspired a long column of flowery praise, so I won’t go down that route, only directing you towards Paypal where you can pick up this as a 7″ (or hit iTunes for the download).
Jeremy Warmsley – If He Breaks Your Heart
An enjoyable antidote to the schmaltzy fare you may be inundated with on the airwaves today. This is a new acoustic version of the track from last year’s How We Became. It’s released online for a free download to promote a music showcase that Warmsley is putting on at The Slaughtered Lamb in Farringdon tomorrow called Heartbreak Ball.
Free download: Jeremy Warmsley – If He Breaks Your Heart (acoustic)
Ruby Weapon – My Girls (Animal Collective)
Yesterday’s discovery definitely has another song of the day in him. A beautiful take on Animal Collective’s My Girls from the newly released Merriweather Post Pavillion as well as an acoustic rendition of the Panda Bear classic Bros(below). Such magic is hard to come by. (more…)
Laura Barrett – The Wood Between Worlds
Classically trained pianist surfs eBay looking for midi controllers, ends up bidding on a kalimba, and a musical career dedicated to “neurotic sci folk” is born. Toronto’s Laura Barrett (also a member of Hidden Cameras) has followed up two EPs of ornate pop with the whimsy of her first full-length album, Victory Garden, released in Canada through Paper Bag records. (more…)
Posted in Song of the Day, Video, tagged animal collective, cover version, download, ed droste, grizzly bear, Leak, listen, panda bear, pre-order, ruby weapon, stream, twitter, two weeks, Veckatimest, youtube on February 12, 2009 | 1 Comment »
Ruby Weapon – Two Weeks (Grizzly Bear cover)
This song may just save your day. It surfaced on the net as the soundtrack to a slideshow of party pictures on YouTube. I extracted the audio and haven’t been able to stop listening to it since – it’s mesmeric. From what I can gather, it’s by a virtual unknown from Australia going by the name of Ruby Weapon, who has uploaded a batch of Animal Collective/Panda bear cover versions, but there’s little else in the way of information. Which is too bad, because I’m absolutely smitten with this. Best thing I’ve heard all week.
A few hours ago we had about 45 minutes to film and edit a little ‘about me’ segment, which was hastily put together…but with this song. I will take it down shortly, out of embarrassment, but for now – rare footage of me:
Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Shampoo
As the follow-up to 2006′s Ash Wednesday, Perkins returns with a more refined sound and benefits from the depth of a tight backing band. This is the sauntering lead-in track to the new album, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, which is out on 10 March through XL. But if you pre-order now, you can listen to the entire record online.