Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines is a story told in three parts. The first focuses on Luke (Ryan Gosling), a stunt rider who returns to a former stomping ground to discover he has fathered a child with Romina (Eva Mendes). He turns to crime in order to prove his worth to her and provide for his young child. These actions bring him into contact with Avery (Bradley Cooper), a young police officer. This leads us to the second act, which focuses on Avery, who is a rookie cop also with a young child and a wife worried for his safety. The third act jumps forward about 15 years and focuses on the sons of the two men as they meet and interact in school, unaware of the connection that their fathers had.

This was an excellent movie and even more proof of Cooper's worth as an actor (Silver Linings was the first), and I always love me some Gosling. The first two acts were very strong and would have made for a perfect movie by themselves. The third was weaker, though I am becoming a fan of Dane DeHaan, who played Luke's teenage son. Overall, it was a very interesting and intriguing way to tell a story.

Mini soundtrack:

The Cryin' Shames - "Please Stay"
Hall & Oates - "Maneater"
Bon Iver - "The Wolves (Acts I and II)"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vampire Weekend - "Diane Young"

The boys of Vampire Weekend host a very strange party in their video for the Modern Vampires of the City standout "Diane Young." Invited are Sky Ferreira, David Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors) and Santigold, among a host of other weird party guests.

Modern Vampires of the City was released in May of this year.

New Music Tuesday - 06/18/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Beady Eye - BE

After the disbandment of Oasis in 2009, both Gallagher brothers have been busy with their solo careers. Noel started his High Flying Birds, which released their first album in 2011. Liam has been occupied with Beady Eye and this will be the band's second album. Interactions, or the lack thereof, between the brothers pretty much confirm that Oasis is done for good. At least this way, we get twice the material (theoretically, at least).

Listen/Watch: "Second Bite of the Apple"

Kanye West - Yeezus

Well, it seems that this man has finally reached the height (so far) of his own egotism. While the title of his latest album will put off a lot of people, Kanye West has established himself as a great in the hip hop world. He's taking a different turn on this one, and tapping into some major EDM trends, by rapping over an electronic base. Regardless of how you feel about him, we should give him props for not doing the same thing with each release.

Listen: "Black Skinhead"

Sigur Rós - Kveikur

It feels like just yesterday that Sigur Rós put out Valtari (which, I guess, was just in May of last year). The constant stream of art videos that came out in support of that album makes it seems even more recent. This one sees the band going in yet another direction. It's promised to be more aggressive than their previous work with post-rock and metal tinges. It will be interesting to see the response to this record compared to their last one. I'm guessing we're not going to be getting all those videos for this one, though.

Listen/Watch: "Kveikur"

Zomby - With Love

This is the British electronic musician's fourth full-length album, he has also released a large number of shorter EPs. In contrast to much of the electronic music that has been released of late, Zomby's music is more thoughtful, it's not made to dance to in the club. It's a great show of how diverse the world of electronic music really is.

Listen/Watch: W I T H L O V E

Other New Releases

Public Image Ltd. - First Issue US Release

Public Image Ltd.'s first album was first released way back in 1978. However, it never got an official US release. Well, more then 35 years later, here it is! You're welcome, fans. PiL released their latest album, This Is PiL, just last year. Having the first record reissue and the latest record so close together offers a unique opportunity to see how the band has grown in their years together.

Listen/Watch: "Public Image"

Röyksopp - Late Night Tales

Röyksopp curates the 32nd compilation for the Late Night Tales series. The albums feature songs that the curating artist loves or has been influenced by; and often a new recording in the mix as well. This release also features the second part of the "Flat of Angles" story, which is read by Benedict Cumberbatch. So... squeeeeee!!!

Listen: "Daddy's Groove"

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 06/11/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Andrew Stockdale - Keep Moving

I guess 2013 is the year for Andrew Stockdale to move himself away from the Wolfmother name and establish his own; he released an EP of the same name  earlier this year. Performing as himself seems to have revitalized his sound, it's good that he lost the guise of still being Wolfmother.

Listen/Watch: "Long Way to Go"

CSS - Planta

For a band that first captured my attention with a song featured in an Apple commercial ("Music Is My  Hot, Hot Sex"), they've done a great job of keeping me interested. On their fourth album, you can tell that the band is still having a lot of fun making music. That translates into music that's also fun to listen to, and that is no different here!

Listen/Watch: "Hangover"

Disclosure - Settle

Right now, it seems like the best electronic music of this year is coming out of Great Britain. This brother duo has been garnering a lot of attention in the past few months and were already considered to be greats before a debut album was even released! Well, that album has been dropped and the proof is finally here (and it is good). The album features a number of other great British musicians like Jamie Woon, AlunaGeorge and Jessie Ware.

Listen/Watch: "When a Fire Starts to Burn"

Jimmy Eat World - Damage

It seems like Jimmy Eat World has been around forever. They first came into prominence in 2001 with Bleed American, which was one of my favorite records in high school. Sometimes, though, it's easy to forget that they're still around, since they've never quite replicated the success of singles like "The Middle" and "Sweetness." Every few years, they remind us with a another great album!

Listen/Watch: "I Will Steal You Back"

Surfer Blood - Pythons

For some reason, I almost think of Surfer Blood as a more modern Jimmy Eat World. It's not that their music is similar (though there are some related punk undertones), but that the lead singers look somewhat alike. OK... so that might not be most salient of comparisons, but I loved Surfer Blood in college the way I loved Jimmy Eat World just a few years earlier. The wait for this second album seems to have been forever, so I'm pretty excited for this release!

Listen/Watch: "Demon Dance"

Other New Releases

Scott Walker - Scott Walker: The Collection 1967-1970

Scott Walker has become a legend among certain circles. The musician has been around for more than 50 years and has been performing solo since '67. This box set brings together his first five albums. Though he just recently released his 14th solo album, the beginning of his career is perhaps the most impressive.

Listen/Watch: "Jackie"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 06/04/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Camera Obscura - Desire Lines

Camera Obscura are yet another example of the incredible indie pop that comes out of Scotland. For their fifth full-length, they've enlisted such go-to guest vocalists as Neko Case and Jim James. Desire Lines promises to be yet another delivery of incredible pop from this band!

Listen: "Fifth in Line to the Throne"

Eleanor Friedberger - Personal Record

Eleanor Friedberger made a name for herself with her brother Matthew as one-half of The Fiery Furnaces. Although her brother has been an active solo artist for about seven years, Eleanor released her first solo album, Last Summer, in 2011. It's been four years since the last Fiery Furnaces album; I'm not sure if the siblings' respective solo albums signal a break for them.

Listen/Watch: "Stare at the Sun"

Future Bible Heroes - Partygoing

Future Bible Heroes is one of many side projects of The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt. In stark contrast to the baroque pop sound of his main band, this project delivers a more electronic sound. In more than 16 years together, this is only the band's third album. Stephin Merritt is a busy enough man to warrant the gaps in releases, though.

Listen: "Sadder Than the Moon"

Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends

Every time I think of Portugal. The Man the song "So American" gets stuck in my head. The opening track from their last album, In the Mountains in the Clouds, is easily my favorite song from the band. And so, I'm very confused on how I almost missed that they were releasing a new record! Although it was actually announced months ago, I only heard about it last week. Still, I'm pretty excited for some new music from these guys.

Listen/Watch: "Evil Friends"

Quadron - Avalanche

I kind of stumbled upon this Danish group recently, when I listened to the song "Better Off," which featured Kendrick Lamar. The lead singer, Coco O., was also recently featured on The Great Gatsby soundtrack. Their sound reminded me a bit of the indie soul of Jessie Ware. Are these two artists signaling a new trend in music? I certainly hope so!

Listen: "Better Off"

Queens of the Stone Age - Like Clockwork

QOTSA work hard to keep driving, riff-filled hard rock alive, and they may be the best at it of any current bands. For this album, they teamed up with the visual artist Boneface for both the album artwork and a series of five music videos. Thanks to the visuals in those videos, this may be one of the creepiest albums to date. It's hard to listen without thinking of those terrifying characters!

Listen/Watch: "My God Is the Sun"

Other New Releases

Future Bible Heroes - Memories of Love, Eternal Youth and Partygoing

In addition to the new album up above, Future Bible Heroes is also re-releasing their first two albums, Memories of Love and Eternal Youth. So, if you're like me and hadn't taken the chance to check out this side project from Stephin Merritt, this seems the perfect opportunity to do it!

Listen: "Lonely Days"

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Stephen King may be best known for the numerous horror novels he has written, but he recently expanded his repertoire into musicals. Ghost Brothers was written with John Mellencamp. The soundtrack, released last week features tracks from Kris Kristofferson, Neko Case and Elvis Costello

Listen: Elvis Costello - "That's Me"

Hodgy Beats Untitled 2

Hodgy Beats is a member of the hottest hip hop collective of the moment, Odd Future. Naturally, he's been featured on a number of other Odd Future releases, but has also released some in his own name. This is his second "Untitled" EP.

Listen: "Years"

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Disclosure - "When a Fires Starts to Burn"

In the video for Disclosure's latest single, the song's lyrics become the sermon for a pastor as he preaches an ever stranger service to his congregation. How strange? Let's just say it involves bad dancing, fainting and random animals.

Disclosure's debut album, Settle, is set to be released this coming Tuesday!