Friday, August 30, 2013

Jam of the Day: Wolf Alice - "She"

Just when you think this band can be pegged, they throw in lots of curve balls. Track "She" sounds like something straight from the Hole/Breeders/Belly mold, all snarl and swirling grunge guitars, until the mid-section when the band suddenly does a 180 and channels in some xx. Mystifying and mesmerizing.

Videos of the Week

Here are the videos that made my week:

Showing that the band is not all dour, sour-pusses, The National show off their humorous side in this clip.

Breezy single from Barcelona dance act Delorean gets an interesting half performance/half complicated relationship storyline.

Dreamy, 80s-esque clip from Still Corners.

Colorful live performance footage is mixed with black and white footage of London street scenes and passersby in this clip for Gold Panda.

Surreal video for TV On The Radio.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New: MØ ft. Diplo - "XXX 88"

Danish singer MØ previews a track she made with producer du jour Diplo, which finds him more in line with his work for Usher than his work as Major Lazer.

Jam of the Day: Some Minor Noise - "Aeroplanes"

Taking cues from Crystal Castles' brand of electro-pop, but trading antagonism for more jaded climes, Some Minor Noise put together a very infectious blend of wonky synths, dark bass, muted beats, and monotone vocals. The lyrics throughout their work is frequently dark but with a slight dark humor. I love the chorus of this slick track, "Who needs wings when you've got aeroplanes?/Who needs love when you are never to blame?"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Criminally Overlooked: Tove Lo - "Habits"

Ok people, here is a new segment I am introducing called Criminally Overlooked. This is for songs that I have been touting that no one (at least in the US) is paying much mind to, and they should be. I blogged about the Icona Pop track "I Love It" over a year ago before anyone here paid attention to it. So here is another song that should be HUGE, and hopefully will be. Swedish singer Tove Lo is like a classier Ke$ha (no offense to her, that is). Please love this song as much as I do. You will not be disappointed.

Jam of the Day: BASECAMP - "Smoke Filled Lungs"

Nashville trio BASECAMP release their self-titled debut EP, which can be downloaded for free here. "Smoke Filled Lungs" is a gorgeous track on the record that blurs the lines between future R&B, pop, and bass music. The narrator sings of a relationship failing, knowing how to fix it, but watching as his lover refuses to do anything about it. His haunted voice at the chorus sings, "It's just a cold visage and the hasty tongues/The hostile breath from the smoke filled lungs/That's why I don't like it here." You feel all the pain and futility seep from his body as the ghostly synths rise and take over his voice. The break at the 3:10 mark is mesmerizing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Jam of the Day: Flaamingos - "She's Never Satisfied"

Ok, Flaamingos are not the most original of bands that is for sure, borrowing liberally from The Cure, New Order, Joy Division, and Echo and the Bunnymen, but hey, when you make songs this hook-filled, who cares. This is complete and total ear candy.

New: TV On The Radio - "Million Miles"

Listen to this new track from TV On The Radio on NPR's website here. It's a different sound for the band, think Prince fronting The National; very soulful yet organic.

Video: Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams - "Lose Yourself To Dance"

Here's the sparkly new video from Daft Punk.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Jam of the Day: Nine Inch Nails - "Satellite"

There is an underlying funkiness that permeates a lot of the new Nine Inch Nails record. Standout track "Satellite" practically feeds off it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Jam of the Day: Jon Hopkins ft. Purity Ring - "Breathe This Air"

This gorgeous track off his record Immunity gets redone with the vocals of Purity Ring's Megan James; to say that the song becomes even more sublime is an understatement.

Videos of the Week

Another weekend is looming ahead, and these are the videos that twerked their way into my heart:

Gorgeously lonely track from Mount Kimbie gets an intimate video treatment.

Trippy video from Soft Lenses.

Night on the town video clip from Pity Sex.

Intense clip from metal band Pelican.

Surreal party clip from tragically named band Diarrhea Planet.

Fun, 80s inspired clip from former Sugababes Mutya Keisha Siobhan.

New: Nine Inch Nails: "Find My Way"

Another track from the upcoming NIN record Hesitation Marks. This track has been previewed during his recent festival circuit. It is a slow-burner.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jam of the Day: Roosevelt - "Elliot"

From his upcoming EP Elliot, here is the title track, a blissed out synth pop, guitar number that is the perfect end of the summer jam.

New: Zero 7 - "On My Own"

Trading chillout for house, duo Zero 7 release their first new music in over 4 years.

New: Death Grips - "Birds"

Creepy new track from Death Grips.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New: London Grammar - "Interlude"

Another preview track off this trio's upcoming debut album If You Wait. More gorgeousness. This is an album I am eagerly anticipating.

Jam of the Day: Ciara - "Body Party (Jacques Green Remix)"

This standout ballad from Ciara's latest record gets an interesting remix from Jacques Green that instead of chopping up her vocals, leaves it pretty much intact, upping the vibe with synth stabs and buzzes.

Video: Diarrhea Planet - "Separations"

A nice 90s alt-rock video vibe flows through this clip from Nashville scuzz-punks Diarrhea Planet. Btw, worst band name ever.

New: M.I.A. - "UNBREAK MY Mixtape"

New track from M.I.A. that samples both Blur's "Tender" and Karen Dalton's "I Love You More Than Words Can Say." Her latest record Matangi is out in November.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jam of the Day: Franz Ferdinand - "Evil Eye"

Slinky, slippery, quirky track from FF's upcoming album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.

New: Young Galaxy - "Crying My Heart Out"

From the deluxe version of their latest record Ultramarine, Young Galaxy release this Moroder-esque disco track.

Album Review: Porcelain Raft - Permanent Signal

Porcelain Raft
Permanent Signal
Rating: Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It

New York via Rome, Italy producer Mauro Remiddi, who records and performs under the name Porcelain Raft, draws from a variety of influences including dream pop, shoegaze, new wave, chillwave, darkwave, and synth pop to craft his own unique sound that quickly came to fruition with his debut record Strange Weekend. While I took a liking to that record, the everything but the kitchen sink style of genre hopping got a little wearying over the course of a full album, and it made me wish Remiddi would stick to his strong suits, as on the whirlygig psychedelia of "Unless You Speak From The Heart" or the shoegaze dreampop of "Drifting In And Out." But I saw what Remiddi was trying to accomplish his first go around, and chalked it up to him wanting to acknowledge every type of music that spoke to his heart. After a strange, but eerily beautiful EP of ambient synth instrumentals Silent Speech, Remiddi is back with his second proper full length Permanent Signal. There is not much of change from the first record this go around. Remiddi still has an amazing attention to detail, and Permanent Signal is nothing if not impeccably produced, however, ultimately it suffers from lack of direction and vision, the constant stylistic jumps tending to alienate rather than wrap one up in its lush, warm cocoon.

Which is disappointing considering the opening two tracks on Permanent Signal are so brilliantly conceived and executed that for a short moment I was expecting this record to be a masterpiece. "Think of the Ocean" is a gorgeous, slow-building opener that draws from its insistent analog synth drones, strings, and lonely piano, cresting into a wash of synths and Remiddi's aching croon. The song appears to be about identity and the struggle we go through in life with how we present ourselves to others, the lyrics stating "See all the places that felt like home, rise above now/It's an illusion, is it all in my brain?/Am I going insane?"

Leading into the brilliant track "Cluster," drawing from the Cure's bag of tricks with descending chords and lush synth strings.

Unfortunately, Remiddi has nowhere to go but down from here. Not that Permanent Signal is an embarrassment or anything, it is still a perfectly decent pop record, it is just that the promise of these two opening tracks is not met. The only other tracks that comes even close are first single "The Way Out" which is an amazing drone/dream pop song with soaring guitars, pounding beats, and an assortment of odd samples (including what sounds like manipulating horse whinnying),

and the languid, guitar interplay on "Night Birds."

There are a couple of other interesting side-experiments, like the Spiritualized-esque number "Minor Pleasure"

and the synthpop track "It Ain't Over."

But the rest of the album fails to make much of an impression as Remiddi focuses less on melody and more towards atmosphere (which might be a holdover from his EP Silent Speech), with the back stretch of the record mired in mindless piano noodling ("Warehouse"), pure ambient synth washes ("Five Minutes From Now"), and almost too delicate ballads ("Echo").

But even with those missteps, there is still something overall charming with Permanent Signal that makes you want to like it. Had Remeddi taken the best 5 tracks on here and released them as an EP, we might be looking at one of the best releases of the year, however, as a full length there is far too much filler here that ultimately drags it down. There is a brilliant record waiting to come out from Porcelain Raft, unfortunately, Permanent Signal is merely a view into what might have been.

Rating Scale:

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top releases of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and piques one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not great; could have either been polished, trimmed, or re-thought.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

Monday, August 19, 2013

New: Nine Inch Nails - "Everything"

Another track off the upcoming Hesitation Marks, "Everything" is one of the poppiest things Reznor has ever done.

Jam of the Day: The Belle Game - "River"

Andrea Lo, singer for Vancouver dark-pop act The Belle Game, blows the roof off of this sultry burner.

New: The Weeknd ft. Drake - "Live For"

Sleek duet between The Weeknd and Drake.

Album Review: Braids - Flourish/Perish

Rating: Woof Daddy

Braids' debut album Native Speaker was not one of my favorite records of 2011, I will admit. All the elements were there, but for some reason it never really came together as a whole for me. Mainly, singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston's voice tended to fly off out of control, never bringing me into the music, always holding me back from truly connecting me with their sound. Of course, with second record Flourish/Perish, I was not holding out hope that there would be any specific alteration of their aesthetic for me to change my opinion. Somehow my expectations of the record, low as they were, were completely shocked by such a controlled and skilled almost masterpiece of a record. Raphaelle Standell-Preston, whose voice is actually quite lovely, keeps her voice almost firmly in check this go around, which draws you in instead of smacking you across the face with her vocal flights of fancy. And this record, aside from one track, eschews guitars and focuses exclusively on keyboards and electronics, forging a record that appears to almost be a merger of Radiohead's glitchy masterpiece Kid A and Bjork's quiet electronic hymnal Vespertine.

There is hardly a weak track on this record, with the majority of tracks creating an atmosphere that revels in both dense layers of sounds as well in telling silences. A lonely, haunted air permeates the whole experience as if this music found buried in a locker at the end of the world, the final soundtrack to a life dying out. From the majestic swirls and drones of keyboards and Standell-Preston's multi-tracked voice trying to emerge from the darkness on "Amends;"

the gorgeous vocal turn from Standall-Preston on "Juniper" which floats atop a skittering drum pattern, analog keyboard drones, and what sounds like a Maori tribe sample; to the gentle electronic lullaby of "Ebben," Braids' finds intricate ways to beguile and transfix.

And it is not to say the whole record is gloomy and/or in a hushed tone throughout. There are moments of transcendent joy, as on opener "Victoria" where goofy, Animal Collective-esque keyboards bounce around Standall-Preston's loopy vocals,

a mercurial beat propels the lilting "December,"

or closer "In Kind" which rises from a bed of rising synths and guitar patterns into a vocal tour de force from Standall-Preston, who almost verges on going overboard as on their debut, but somehow is able to reign in her most indulgent tendencies.

Some fans may be turned off by Braids' move to a more electronic sound but, for me, it appears to be a more logical step for them. Standall-Preston's voice seems to work better across all the dense electronics instead of the guitar interplay of the debut record. Flourish/Perish is a step in the right direction for the band, challenging them and their listeners with a different sound; one that I think works perfectly for them.

Rating Scale:

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top releases of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and piques one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not great; could have either been polished, trimmed, or re-thought.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

Video: Lady Gaga - "Applause"

First video from Lady Gaga's upcoming record ARTPOP. Typically odd video for her, but at least she isn't going too off the wall like she normally does.

Video: Mutya Keisha Siobhan - "Flatline"

Reunited Sugababes members reveal this 80s retro video for their new single "Flatline."

Friday, August 16, 2013

New: Ministry - "PermaWar"

Marching onwards with their 13th studio album, pithily titled From Beer To Eternity, Al Jourgensen and Ministry release the first single from the album, called "PermaWar." Nothing really new here from Al, but it at least is somewhat catchy, for a change.

Jam of the Day: The Acid - "Fame"

Haunting track from up and coming band The Acid that recalls The xx, James Blake, and even Miike Snow. It's pretty beguiling.

Videos of the Week

I guess this is an EDM updating of the Spice Girls. I hate to say this is damn catchy.

Late night hallucinations punctuate this video from Arctic Monkeys.

Another gorgeously shot video from These New Puritans.

Indie pop heaven from Krill.

Shoegazey/noise pop track gets a surreal video treatment.

Pretty amazing animated clip from Youth Lagoon.

Happy 55th Birthday Madonna

Happy 55th Birthday to the one and only Madonna. Here is my favorite song of hers.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jam of the Day: Braids - "Amends"

Braids' second album Flourish//Perish has an abundance of riches on it, to the point where it is almost impossible for me to say one track is my favorite. Each track on the record works with the others to create a harmonious whole, and my preference for a song can change with the time of day, change of weather, or flicker of mood. "Amends" ultimately, for me, stands out, as it encompasses the feeling I have for the record most succinctly. I liken the record to Bjork (in her Vespertine days) taking the backing tracks from Radiohead's Kid-A and coming up with her own unique masterpiece. This is a quiet, contemplative song that builds over the course of its 6 minutes into a breathtaking glitched out synth masterpiece.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jam of the Day: Fractures - "Twisted"

I discovered this artist through a mixtape on SoundCloud. Fractures is the name of Melbourne, Australia producer Mark Zito, and this song from his self-titled EP is very lovely.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Jam of the Day: Porcelain Raft - "Think Of The Ocean"

Sweeping opener to Pocelain Raft's upcoming record Permanent Signal. It will take your breath away.

New: Lady Gaga - "Applause"

This is the "official" first single from her upcoming album ARTPOP. Like the leaked track "Burqa" this single has a very EDM oriented sound.

New: Nine Inch Nails: "Copy Of A"

Second single from Nine Inch Nails' upcoming record Hesitation Marks.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Jam of the Day: Chela - "Romanticise (Gold Fields Remix)"

Just a bright and beautiful dance track. Feels like a nice summer jam.

New: Frankie Rose - "Sorrow"

First teaser track from Frankie Rose's upcoming album Herein Wild. It brings to mind 80s dream pop from Lush, Cocteau Twins, and Sundays.

Videos of the Week

Summer is fast escaping. Here are the videos that are making me sweat:

Gorgeous dream pop track from Porcelain Raft gets a beautifully filmed one-shot video.

Manic track from Animal Collective gets a suitably weird video.

What seems like a pretty standard video from CHVRCHES has a twist at the end.

Cool video featuring an alien navigating high school. Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard.

Psychedelic track from Medicine gets a psychedelic video.

Sweet indie rock track gets a fun, living in your 20s video.

Lush track from Rhye gets a look into cabaret culture from the 30s-40s.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Jon Hopkins ft. Purity Ring - "Breathe This Air"

Completely gorgeous and beguiling collaboration between producer Jon Hopkins and Purity Ring's Megan James, who adds vocals to this haunting instrumental off Hopkins' brilliant album Immunity.

Jam of the Day: Cass Lowe - "Birthmark"

Haunting, drum-focused track from songwriter/producer Cass Lowe.

Video: Rhye - "3 Days"

The video for Rhye's single "3 Days" takes a look into cabarets of the past.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Jam of the Day: Banks - "Waiting Game"

Dark and haunting new track from up and coming UK singer Banks produced by SOHN.

New: London Grammar - "Feelings"

Taking a more organic approach on this track, London Grammar focus on singer Hannah Reid's powerful voice.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New: Drake - "Hold On, We're Going Home"

Drake drops another teaser that may end up on his upcoming record Nothing Was The Same. I will admit that I prefer Drake when he sings as opposed to his rapping. This is a very smooth jam that, if it is a single, should shoot up every chart it possibly can.

Jam of the Day: Dillon Francis ft. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - "Without You"

Here is this year's EDM breakup anthem, just in time for end of the summer relationship troubles.