Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Music Tuesday - July 30, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

AlunaGeorge - Body Music

2013 may prove to be the year of the hyped-up British artists. Next up to live up to their hype, duo AlunaGeorge. The two got together when producer George Reid mixed a track from Aluna Francis' prior band My Toys Like Me. The rest is, as they say, is history. Since they hooked up in 2009, they have released a series of singles and one EP. This, however, is their first full-length together!

Listen/Watch: "You Know You Like It"

Other New Releases

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Little Moments EP

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's latest output was actually released as a Bandcamp download late last week. It features four new songs from the band, who released their latest full-length, Hysterical, in 2011. If you're willing to wait, you can also order the EP on vinyl (you'll get it in October).

Listen: "Little Moments"

Hot Chip - Dark and Stormy

Hot Chip released their latest album, In Our Heads, in June of last year. Members of the band have kept busy since, with 2 Bears, About Group and Alexis Taylor's solo EP. The group has rejoined to release a 12" featuring some new songs and mixes (this one, of course).

Listen: "Dark and Stormy"

Sampha - Dual EP

Sampha has been a "featuring" staple over the past few years on many other artists' works. He's been used heavily in SBTRKT's work, including the tracks "Hold On" and "Never Never." This is his first foray into solo work. We've gotten to see how he features into others' works, and it will be great to see what he does on his own.

Listen: "Without"

Monday, July 29, 2013

Disclosure - "F for You"

The performance music video (whether or not it's a real performance) isn't always the most interesting format. Disclosure manages to make something better out of it, though, employing light, shadow and their signature face outline. And aren't they a couple of cuties!

Disclosure released their incredible debut album, Settle, last month.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 07/23/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Didn't these guys, like, just release an album? Oh yeah, they did! 2012's Here. Well, they're back with another round of light-hearted folk/rock/psychedelic (whatever you want to call it) music. I got to see these guys at Bonnaroo this year and it was probably the most feel-good set I've ever seen. Much of their music has an uplifting message or tone. To accompany that, they invited audience members on stage to tell their stories of friendship, love and family.

Listen/Watch: "Better Days"

Weekend - Jinx

There are a lot of bands with "weekend" in their name. This one actually shares a name with a Canadian band AND a Welsh band, as well as singer Abel Tesfaye (who spells it without that pesky third 'e'). Each of them is different though; this Weekend is a shoegaze outfit with a low-key, guitar-driven sound. I first noticed them three years ago with the release of their debut, Sports. It was a great album, but they're even better here!

Listen: "Mirror"

Other New Releases

Divine Fits - "Ain't That the Way"/"Chained to Love"

I am so happy that this "supergroup" is still going strong. Dan Boeckner and Britt Daniel combined is easily the holiest of music combinations out there. To follow up last year's amazing debut, A Thing Called Divine Fits, is a double-A side (not sure how that's possible) single. Neither of these tracks appear on the album. A digital copy of this was released about a month ago, but this week sees the physical release.

Listen/Watch: "Chained to Love"

Johnny Marr - "New Town Velocity"/"The It-Switch"

Johnny Marr released his very first solo record in February of this year. It was the culmination of nearly 30 years of work with some iconic bands, including The Cribs, Modest Mouse and The Smiths. Unfortunately, I don't know that the caliber of his past work transferred to his solo work. This is the second single from that album, and includes a non-album b-side, "The It-Switch."

Listen/Watch: "New Town Velocity"

The Mountain Goats - All Hail West Texas Remastered

All Hail West Texas was originally released by The Mountain Goats in 2002. It was a concept album centered around West Texas (makes sense). The album didn't originally receive an LP version, so this re-release satisfies that itch for many fans. Additionally, it includes seven additional tracks and an essay written by frontman John Darnielle.

Listen: "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton"

The Smashing Pumpkins - The Aeroplane Flies High Reissue

The Smashing Pumpkins have been on a reissue binge lately, a number of their albums have been re-released in the past couple of years. Apparently, this isn't just limited to studio releases. The Aeroplane Flies High was a 1996 box set containing their first five albums and a number of accompanying materials. I guess they felt the need to put it back out, although some of the albums included have gotten their own reissues recently.

Listen/Watch: "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Trance is a psychological thriller focused on Simon (James McAvoy), an art auctioneer who gets caught up in an art heist. This is a movie in which nothing is as it appears to be. At first, Simon seems to be just a victim in the heist, but it soon becomes apparent that he was working with the thieves to steal the painting. He gets knocked out in the course of events and forgets where he hid the painting. In order to regain his memory and appease the thieves (one of whom, Franck, is played by Vincent Cassel), he goes to a hypnotist, Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson). Elizabeth's role in Simon's life and the art heist also soon become complicated.

This was a total mind-f*** of a movie (in a good way). Danny Boyle, the director, did an excellent job of playing with the viewer's expectations. McAvoy was great as Simon, he was able to balance out his good-boy image with some serious grit. Vincent Cassel is always gritty, and always awesome; he was sexy and terrifying as Franck. The movie is great if you want some sex and action, but still need to see a movie with a storyline!

Mini soundtrack:

Moby - "The Day"
Emeli Sandé & Rick Smith - "Here It Comes"
UNKLE - "Hold My Hand"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Music Tuesday - July 16, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

Chris Schlarb - Psychic Temple II

Chris Schlarb is an artist and composer signed to Asthmatic Kitty. I hadn't actually heard his name until an early single for the album came out, which featured fellow AK-signee Sufjan Stevens (one of my all-time faves). I liked the single well enough, so I've decided to check out the album, as well. Maybe this will prompt me into checking out more of the Asthmatic Kitty artists!

Listen: "'Til I Die"

David Lynch - The Big Dream

Lynch is a legend in film, he directed Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. He has many other creative endeavors, though, including painting, design and, of course, music. At 67, this is just his second solo album (the first was 2011's Crazy Clown Time), though he's done collaborative work for much longer. He's gotten some pretty awesome guest vocalists on his albums. His first featured a song with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O. This one has a bonus track with Lykke Li (below)!

Listen/Watch: "I'm Waiting Here"

Mayer Hawthorne - Where Does This Door Go

Hmmm, is it just me or does it seem like a variety of styles of soul music have become incredibly popular in the past couple of years? As popular as the experimental sounds of Solange and Janelle Monae have become, artists looking to a past era have, as well. Mayer is the second kind, he has a bit of a throwback sound. This is his second album, but I've waffled a bit on checking him out. However, I am listening to the album right now and it is definitely a good one!

Listen/Watch: "Her Favorite Song"

Other New Releases

Autre Ne Veut - "On and On"

First, Cartoon Network's Adult Swim started moving away from animated programs. Now, they're starting to move away from the television medium. The network began releasing singles from a variety of bands and musicians recently. At first, many were with hip hop and garage bands, but they've become broader since. Autre Ne Veut, an R&B artist, is the latest offering from the network.

Listen: "On and On"

The Joy Formidable - Silent Treatment EP

The Joy Formidable released their second album, Wolf's Law, earlier this year, "Silent Treatment" is one of the songs on that record. Of course, a new album never means that's all the new music that a band has. This EP features an all new song from the band, "All This Promise," as well as a remix of the title track and a live version of another Wolf's Law cut, "Tendons."

Listen/Watch: "Silent Treatment"

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Postal Service - "A Tattered Line of String"

I'm sure this man thought it was going to be just a routine day at the laundromat. Little did he know that his little world was about to go topsy-turvy...yet the damn washing machine won't start!

The Postal Service re-issued their only record, Give Up, in April of this year.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 07/09/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Hebronix - Unreal

I was heartbroken to hear that Daniel Blumberg quit as the lead singer of Yuck. The band had been one of the better to come out of the 90s-style indie rock revival a couple of years ago. My fears were salved, somewhat, upon discovering that both sides would be continuing on. The band would continue under the same name and Daniel under the name of Hebronix. The project takes a slightly different direction than that of his former band, but it's still apparent that this is a Blumberg project.

Listen: "Unreal"

Jay-Z - Magna Carta Holy Grail

Jay-Z took a very different approach to the release of this album. Samsung purchased one million copies of the record at $5 a pop and released it for free to subscribers. It was a boon to Jay-Z, he had a platinum record before it was even out. It didn't work as well for Samsung, though. The app crashed and there were numerous privacy concerns. It's a fairly new approach, so Samsung will live and learn. Although, it is disconcerting to think of the corporate influence involved.

Listen: "Holy Grail" (featuring Justin Timberlake)

Robert Pollard - Honey Locust Honky Tonk

Holy crap, this dude is prolific! He is the lead singer of Guided By Voices, who released three albums last year and already have an album and EP out this year. As a solo artist, he's put out two albums every year since 2006. I guess that he has a lot to say (or nothing else to do).

Listen: "Airs"

Sweet Valley - SV

Nathan Williams, of Wavves, started this side project with his brother Kynan last year. They released three albums for free that year, but this is their first release this year. They released the albums in a fairly short time frame last year, so expect more from them soon!

Listen: "Kingdom of Heaven"

Other New Releases

Beck - "I Won't Be Long"

Beck will be releasing a new acoustic album later this year (the exact date hasn't yet been announced). In the meantime, he is releasing a series of singles that are definitely not acoustic, so I'm guessing these won't be on the album. This is the second this year, following "Defriended."

Listen: "I Won't Be Long"

Moderat - "Bad Kingdom"

Moderat (the combination of Modeselektor and Apparat) are releasing an album later this year, creatively title Moderat II. "Bad Kingdom" is the first single released from that album. I haven't been very familiar with either artists' work, or their work together. But, if this is the sound they have, I'm pretty psyched for the album!

Listen/Watch: "Bad Kingdom"

Regina Spektor - "You've Got Time"

It's only been a little over a year since Regina released her most recent album, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats. This single does not come from that album however. I'm not sure if this heralds a new album later this year, but I like this sound from her, it's a bit like early Yeah Yeah Yeahs!

Listen: "You've Got Time"

Thriftstore Masterpiece: Trouble Is a Lonesome Town

Thriftstore Masterpiece is a music project dedicated to honoring lesser-known records from the past. This edition is dedicated to Lee Hazlewood's 1963 debut album, Trouble is a Lonesome Town. The album features covers from Black Francis (of the Pixies), Art Brut and Isaac Brock (of Modest Mouse), among others.

Listen: Isaac Brock - "Railroad"

Woods - "Be All Be Easy"/"God's Children"

The latest single from Woods features a re-recorded version of a song from their second most recent album, Sun and Shade. The B-side of the single features a cover of a song by The Kinks.

Listen: "Be All Be Easy"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

R.I.P., Deke Richards

Earlier this year, on March 24, songwriter Deke Richards passed away at 68 years old.


Deke was a songwriter for Motown who helped pen many Jackson 5 hits, such as "ABC," "Sugar Daddy" and "I Want You Back" as a member of The Corporation. After The Corporation disbanded, he continued writing songs from Diana Ross. He passed away from esophageal cancer in March.

Goodbye, Deke!

Listen: The Jackson 5 - "I Want You Back"

Thursday, July 4, 2013

New Music Tuesday - 07/02/2013

New Full-Length Releases

Editors - The Weight of Your Love

In the influx of new young British artists making their mark this year, it's easy to forget about some of the more established artists from across the pond. Editors were a part of the British indie rock invasion of the early 2000s. While many of those acts have since disbanded or experienced marked changes in sound, Editors are still going strong and still a rock band. This is the fourth album from them.

Listen/Watch: "A Ton of Love"

Other New Releases

The Kills - Live at Third Man Records

Jack White's Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee has become hugely influential in the past few years. Though few prominent artists are signed directly to the label, a huge number of great artists have performed there and released live albums of those performances. The Kills' invitation to Third Man makes good sense; Alison Mosshart has worked with Jack White as a part of The Dead Weather.

Buy it here!

Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left Box Set

Nick Drake lived a short life, but released three albums that would become very influential in the decades following his death. Two of those albums have been re-released as box sets recently. The third set in the series is for his debut album.

Listen: "River Man"

The Shins - Live at Third Man Records

I'm less sure of the connection that Jack White has with The Shins than that he has with The Kills. I guess one could argue that both he and James Mercer have worked with producer Danger Mouse, but that may be tenuous at best. Perhaps it's just that White loves getting other great artists to come to his studio and perform. And there is nothing wrong with that!

Buy it here!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chvrches - "Gun"

One of the hottest new acts out of the UK (Scotland, to be specific) has released a new video to go with the first single from their upcoming debut album. It's like a concert in kaleidoscope form!

Chvrches will release their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, in September.

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Music Tuesday - June 25, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

Alela Diane - About Farewell

I've struggled a bit to get on board with Alela Diane. I wanted to really like her because of her work with Blitzen Trapper (I hold a special place in my heart for collaborators of my favorite artists). However, I could never completely get into her previous solo album, To Be Still. Well, it's been more than three years now and my tastes have grown and diversified, so she's getting another chance. I'm pretty excited with what I hear so far, I could come to love her as much as I do her collaborators!

Listen: "About Farewell"

Smith Westerns - Soft Will

Starting to get into bands whose members were younger than me was a strange transition in my life. Musicians always seemed to be older figures and the greats were always dead (well, still are). However, when you find a young band with great influences who actually knows how to use them, you don't pass them by. Smith Westerns were influenced by David Bowie and T. Rex, but have managed to take that sound and make it completely modern, and listenable, of course!

Listen/Watch: "Varsity"

The Best Albums of 2013 (So Far)

2013 has been a great year for music so far. Though I think I've said that every year, it seems that the music landscape continues to become more creative and varied. As such, it also becomes harder and harder to pick favorites, and harder to listen to everything that I want to. I haven't had to chance to listen to everything that's come out this year, or to listen to some things enough to have a strong opinion. However, among the albums that I have had a chance to really listen to, quite a few favorites have emerged. Presented, in no particular order, are my favorites so far.
  • Junip - Junip
  • Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
  • Rhye - Woman
  • Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse
  • Jamie Lidell - Jamie Lidell
  • Phosphorescent - Muchacho
  • Deerhunter - Monomania
  • The National - Trouble Will Find Me
  • Adam Green & Binki Shapiro - Adam Green & Binki Shapiro
  • Laura Marling - Once I Was an Eagle
  • Quadron - Avalanche
  • Iron & Wine - Ghost on Ghost
  • James Blake - Overgrown
  • Devendra Banhart - Mala
  • Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
  • Local Natives - Hummingbird
  • Atoms for Peace - Amok
  • Foals - Holy Fire
  • Suuns - Images du Futur
  • Disclosure - Settle
  • Everything Everything - Arc
  • Wavves - Afraid of Heights
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
  • Jim James - Regions of Light and Sound of God
  • Phoenix - Bankrupt!
  • Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze
  • Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse
  • Yo La Tengo - Fade
I realize that it's already a lot and there's even more releases to come this year that are sure to be awesome. I'm looking forward to new albums from Earl Sweatshirt, The Dodos, Neko Case, MGMT, Arctic Monkeys, The Dismemberment Plan, Delorean and so much more! Somehow, at the end of this year, I'll have to whittle all of that down to ten favorites...wish me luck!