Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Is the End

Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Writers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jason Stone
Stars: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Emma Watson, Rihanna

This Is the End takes place in a slightly-altered version of the world that we currently live in. James Franco, played by himself, is hosting an epic party with some of the hottest young celebrities (i.e. Rihanna, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Channing Tatum) in attendance. During the festivities, the party-goers notice a disturbance outside and venture to see what's going on. As you could guess, it's the end of the world and a massive hole opens in Franco's yard, swallowing most of the guests. The people left are those you see in the poster. They must cope with a lack of resources, a thieving Emma Watson, a horny demon and, most of all, each other. While, on the surface, it seems kind of corny, it's actually a very well-done film and one that I greatly enjoyed (despite James Franco's presence).

Mini soundtrack:

Pulp - "Disco 2000"
Cults - "Go Outside"
of Montreal - "Spiteful Intervention"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Leverage Models - "Sweep" (featuring Sharon van Etten)

Sharon van Etten has become known as a solo artist (and damned good one, too), but has recently started lending her voice to other musicians' work. In the video for the Leverage Models song "Sweep," on which she is featured, we follow two mysterious men with a briefcase as they travel around town. At the choruses SVE shows up looking gorgeous in a summery pink dress.

Leverage Models released their self-titled debut album in October of last year. Sharon van Etten will be releasing her fourth album, Are We There? in May of this year!

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Music Tuesday - 02/11/2014

New Full-Length Releases

Doug Keith - Pony

Doug Keith has been a member of Sharon van Etten's touring and recording band since at least 2011. I got to see him in action backing her up when I saw her in Columbus. Keith has also had an active solo career, though he hasn't received the same level of attention as van Etten. Hopefully, his latest album will see him getting some more attention for his own work!

Listen: "Pure Gold in the 70s"
Listen: "You Can't Stand to Be Alone"

Fanfarlo - Let's Go Extinct

Fanfarlo has been one of my favorites since 2009 and the release of their debut, Reservoir. At the beginning, their sound reminded me of Neutral Milk Hotel, but they progressed beyond that with 2012's Rooms Filled with Light, taking on a more post-punk/alternative sound. With the latest, they change it up even more, bringing some dream pop into their sonic mix. We'll see if they can maintain being one of my favorites with this one!

Watch: "Landlocked"
Listen: "Let's Go Extinct"

HANDS - The Soul Is Quick

HANDS is the side project of Axel Willner of The Field, another band that I've only recently become familiar with. The Field's music has been characterized by its busy-ness and a "lack of space." Here, he attempts to step away from that, but still maintains some of the darkness that he is known for.

Listen: "Beelitz-Heilstätten pt6"
Listen: "Beelitz-Heilstätten pt7"

Other New Releases

Band of Horses - Acoustic at the Ryman

Band of Horses played at the iconic Ryman Auditorium two nights last April. They played a set of 13 bare bones songs from all of their albums. The recording of those shows is seeing a release, leading into another show at the Ryman for the band.

Listen: "Detlef Schrempf"
Listen: "Neighbor"

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - PRODUCE Mixtape

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. may make pop-tinged indie music, but that doesn't stop them from releasing a mixtape in a similar vein to what we often see from hip hop artists! The release sees them working with some interesting artists like Asher Roth and includes a Randy Newman cover. The mixtape is available as a free download from!

Listen: "Curtain Call" (featuring Asher Roth)
Listen: "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today"

Endless Love Soundtrack

Endless Love is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. The reviews of the film aren't good and I'm not very likely to see it, but it does have some great songs on the soundtrack!

Listen: Tegan & Sara - "Don't Find Another Love"
Listen: The Tallest Man on Earth - "Leading Me Now"

Girls, Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do

"All Adventurous Women Do..." is the title of the third episode of HBO's Girls. I haven't yet started watching the show (it is on my list), but, like the first soundtrack, it's attracting some great artists to record original music!

Watch: Lily Allen - "L8 CMMR"
Listen: Jenny Lewis - "Completely Not Me"

The LEGO Movie Soundtrack

The second soundtrack released this week to feature a new song from Tegan & Sara, but also another movie I'm not very likely to see. The majority of the soundtrack is comprised of the film's score by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo.

Watch: Tegan & Sara - "Everything Is Awesome!!!" (featuring The Lonely Island)
Listen: Mark Mothersbaugh - "Escape"

The Moon Song EP

Now for a movie that I do actually plan to see! Her is Spike Jonze's latest film and it includes an excellent song , "The Moon Song," penned by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O. The mini soundtrack includes several versions of the track, including the movie version sung by the film's stars.

Listen: Karen O & Ezra Koenig- "The Moon Song" (Studio Version)
Listen: Scarlett Johansson & Joaquin Phoenix - "The Moon Song" (Film Version)

The National - "I Need My Girl"/"Learning"

The National's latest single from last year's excellent Trouble Will Find Me comes backed by a cover of a Perfume Genius song. While Matt Berninger's voice is much deeper than Mike Hadreas', he's able to bring the same sadness to it and it's an excellent addition to the band's repertoire.

Watch: "I Need My Girl"
Listen: "Learning"

Sweet Valley - "So Serene"

Sweet Valley, the side project of Wavves' Nathan Williams, put out a number of sound experiment albums (all free) throughout 2012 and 2013. The latest is perhaps the most experimental and just consists of one 20+ minute track.

Listen: "So Serene"

Tarka and Friends: Life

Tarka Cordell was an influential British musician who took his own life in 2008. During his time here, he became good friends with a number of other musicians, who are now coming together to record some of his music in tribute.

Listen: Lily Allen & Louis Eliot - "Shelter You"
Listen: Imani Coppola - "13 Perfect Days"

Thurston Moore - "Detonation"/"Germs Burn"

Thurston Moore has kept himself busy since the dissolution of his primary band The Sonic Youth a couple of years ago. He released a record as Chelsea Light Moving last year and is gearing up for a solo release early this summer!

Listen: "Detonation"
Listen: "Germs Burn"

Vampire Academy: Music from the Motion Picture this is another movie that I have no real plans to see, but has some amazing songs on its soundtrack. And yes, it was the Chvrches cover of the classic Bauhaus song that caught my ear on this one!

Listen: Au Revoir Simone - "Crazy"
Listen: Chvrches - "Bela Lugosi's Dead"

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Music Tuesday - February 04, 2014

New Full-Length Albums

Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow

Bombay Bicycle Club has been a prolific and fairly diverse band. They've released four albums in the past five years, each with a different sound. They've explored folk rock, indie and acoustic. For they're latest release, they are injecting some electronic into their sound.

Watch: "Luna"
Watch: "It's Alright Now"

Broken Bells - After the Disco

When James Mercer released his first album, Broken Bells, as Broken Bells (with producer Danger Mouse), it came at a time when it seemed like he was stepping away from his main band, The Shins. Then, The Shins released an amazing album, Port of Morrow, in 2012, which made me think that, perhaps, Broken Bells would be done. He's going to keep up both bands, though, giving us twice the pleasure!

Watch: "Holding on for Life"
Watch: "Leave It Alone"

Marissa Nadler - July

Nadler has established herself as one of the greatest young singer-songwriters of the past few years. She's become known for her haunting voice and storytelling lyrics (and amazing, choreography-driven videos). Her latest album sees her continuing in her amazing-ness and is one of my early favorites!

Watch: "Dead City Emily"
Watch: "Was It a Dream"

Maxïmo Park - Too Much Information

While Maxïmo Park rode in on the British indie rock boom of the early-to-mid-2000s, they've never considered themselves the "cool" band. In discussing the title of this latest release with NME, Paul Smith said that the band's music was emotional and that they tended to share "Too Much Information."

Watch: "Leave This Island"
Watch: "Brain Cells"

Nicole Atkins - Slow Phaser

I learned something interesting in a recent NPR interview with Nicole Atkins. She was considered to have a "small" voice as a child, not good for singing. Compared to the deep, rich vocals she presents now, she's made some considerable strides in her singing. This is her third album and she just seems to get better with each release.

Listen: "Cool People"
Listen: "Girl You Look Amazing"

Snowbird - Moon

Snowbird is the project of the Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde and singer Stephanie Dosen. The project may not be much of a departure for Raymonde, he has stated that the band's sound is very similar to the Cocteau Twins, which should be good news for fans still upset at the band's demise almost 20 years ago. The debut album comes with a second disc consisting of a remix of each track.

Watch: "All Wishes Are Ghosts"
Listen: "Porcelain"

Solander - Monochromatic Memories

I started listening to this little Swedish band about three years ago, even posted about them on this blog! Three years and three albums later, I'm starting to see even more written about them on many of the music sites that I read daily, which is always exciting! The band is developing some outside of the fairly straightforward folk that I first heard and making some great music!

Watch: "The Woods Are Gone"
Listen: "All Opportunities"

Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts: Red Classroom

Xiu Xiu have become the go-to purveyors of weird sounds in modern indie rock. This may be their weirdest record yet, if you don't count their album of Nina Simone covers released late last year. The title of the record comes from a late-70s Japanese erotic film and features similar themes in the music. By the way, the second video below is very, VERY, not safe for work.

Watch: "Stupid in the Dark"
Watch: "Black Dick"

Other New Releases

Sweetheart 2014

Starbucks released this compilation just in time for Valentine's Day. The album features covers of classic love songs from a variety of modern musicians; including, Phosphorescent, Sharon Jones and Vampire Weekend.

Listen: Vampire Weekend - "Time to Say Goodbye (Con te Partirò)"
Listen: Fiona Apple - "I'm in the Middle of a Riddle"

This Is the Town: A Tribute to Nilsson, Volume 1

Harry Nilsson was an influential pop and rock musician who achieved the bulk of his success in the late 1960s and 1970s. This is the first volume in a new tribute series to the musician, which features tracks from Langhorne Slim, Jenny O and Annie Nilsson (one of his daughters).

Listen: Langhorne Slim - "Early in the Morning"
Listen: Jenny O - "1941"

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jim James - "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)"

The video for Jim James' "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)" follows a man with a television head as he travels around town and interacts with a variety of people. His television shows something different for each person that he interacts with.

James released his latest album, Regions of Light and Sound of God in February of last year.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The World's End

Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Stars: Simon Pegg (Gary King),
Nick Frost (Andy Knightley),
Martin Freeman (Oliver Chamberlain),
Paddy Considine (Steven Prince)

The World's End is the last film of Wright's and Pegg's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy; preceded by Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. In the film, Gary King (Pegg) is an overgrown party boy who longs to complete a bar tour in his home town known as the "Golden Mile." He convinces his three straight-laced childhood friends to join in, though each is reluctant to participate. Shortly into their journey, the group discovers something strange about the townspeople, they've all been turned into robots. The night becomes a struggle to survive, with Gary still trying to drink a pint at every pub on the tour.

Mini soundtrack:

Pulp - "Do You Remember the First Time?"
Teenage Fanclub - "What You Do to Me"
The Doors - "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)"

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Music Tuesday - 01/28/2014

New Full-Length Releases

The Autumn Defense - Fifth

The Autumn Defense is the side project of Wilco's John Stirratt and Pat Sansone. They formed in 1999 and this is the fifth album from the duo. The group was initially formed to provide a 1960s pop sound, but has since broadened in their sound and become a unique group in their own right.

Listen: "None of This Will Matter"
Listen: "August Song"

Dum Dum Girls - Too True

For their third album, the Dum Dum Girls are pulling away slightly from the bedroom-pop sound that they became known for (and that I fell in love with them for). The progression is a fairly natural one and the music is still great. There's still a certain seductiveness to their music that keeps it intimate even as they expand their sound.

Watch: "Lost Boys and Girls Club"
Listen: "Rimbaud Eyes"

Hospitality - Trouble

Hospitality released in incredible self-titled debut in 2012, which I discovered for myself early last year. They got a lot of positive press for that release, but I don't think they'll suffer a sophomore slump. Early listens to this album prove that it's a great one as well!

Listen: "I Miss Your Bones"
Listen: "Rockets and Jets"

Other New Releases

Morrissey - "Satellite of Love"/"You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side"

Morrissey has become somewhat known for his cover of Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love," which garnered even more attention following Reed's death last year. The cover is now getting its own release as a single, backed by "You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side."

Listen: "Satellite of Love"
Listen: "You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side"

The Presets - "Goodbye Future"

The Presets released their latest album, Pacifica, in September of 2012. To follow up, they announced that they would be releasing a series of singles throughout 2014. The first track is here and proves that we may have some great stuff to look forward to!

Listen: "Goodbye Future"

Simian Mobile Disco - "Snake Bile Wine"

It's been a little while since Simian Mobile Disco released their last album, Unpatterns, in 2012. They've released a number of singles recently, though, that seem to be, at least in name, related to their 2010 Delicacies compilation. "Snake Bile Wine" is the latest delicacy that's lent its name to one of their tracks.

Watch: "Snake Bile Wine"
Listen: "Balut"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Atoms for Peace - "Before Your Very Eyes"

Thom Yorke's side band, Atoms for Peace, released a sonically stunning debut album, Amok, last year. For the latest single from the album, they also released a visually stunning, computer-animated video.

Amok was released on February 26 of last year and was one of my favorite albums for the year?

The Way Way Back

Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Writers: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Stars: Liam James (Duncan),
Steve Carrell (Trent),
Toni Collette (Pam),
Maya Rudolph (Caitlin)

In The Way Way Back, Duncan is an awkward teenager forced to spend the summer with his mother (Collette) and her boyfriend (Carrell), who he really isn't too fond of. He tries to isolate himself from the couple as much as possible and hides away at a local waterpark. While there, he befriends the park's manager, Owen (Sam Rockwell) and begins to take on odd jobs around the park. With the help of Owen and other park employees, he becomes more comfortable in his skin, more assertive and more confident. His new-found confidence helps him to get the attention of the cute girl next door and to finally stand up to his mother's boyfriend.

Mini soundtrack:

INXS - "New Sensation"
1973 - "September"
Trampled By Turtles - "Alone"

Monday, February 3, 2014

New Music Tuesday - January 21, 2014

New Full-Length Releases

Damien Jurado - Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

Ever since I heard Jurado open for Sharon van Etten in a late-2012 Cincinnati concert, I have been interested in his sound. The man is a bit of an indie/folk chameleon. Some of his work is quiet and introspective, some other is more raucous. This latest release leans more on the quiet side, which he seems to have preferred of late.

Listen: "Metallic Cloud"
Listen: "Silver Joy"

Marram - Sun Choir

Marram is a collective of artists and musicians out of Edinburgh, Scotland. This release features the voices of kids from the Light of Love Children’s Home. Also featured are other great musicians like Jarvis Cocker and Owen Pallett. Proceeds from the album will benefit the Children's Home.

Watch: "With Us Instead"
Listen: "Falling from the Sun"

Warpaint - Warpaint

Warpaint started getting some attention around the time of the release of debut album, The Fool, in 2010. They faded from view for a couple of years, but started gearing up last year, first with a tour (including a stop at MidPoint Music Festival) and then a few singles. Expectations have been high for their follow-up album, but these are some ladies who can live up to it!

Listen: "Love Is to Die"
Listen: "Biggy"

Other New Releases


BOATS is a companion to the album from Marram above. It's a compilation featuring a number of different artists, but all using the vocals from the Children's Home as samples in the songs. Featured here are Son Lux, Taken By Trees, Bear in Heaven and many others.

Listen: YACHT - "Icarus Complex"
Listen: Rustie - "BOATSSS"

Joe Goddard - Taking Over Remixes

Joe Goddard, known for his work with The 2 Bears and Hot Chip, released his latest solo work in the summer of last year. Now, it's getting the remix treatment. This remix release features reworkings of a couple of the tracks from the Taking Over EP, as well as remixes by other producers.

Listen: "Step Together" (Alternate Mix)
Listen: "She Burns" (Leo Invisible Remix)

Moderat - "Last Time"

Moderat released a great, but under-appreciated album, II, in June of last year. The album had a lot of good tracks, including "Last Time," which is now getting released as a stand-alone single.

Watch: "Last Time"
Listen: "Last Time" (Jon Hopkins Remix)

Prurient - Washed Against the Rocks 7"

Washed Against the Rocks is the latest in a long string of releases from this prolific artist. The 7" is being released in a limited quantity of 500 pressings.

Listen: "Doors Closed in Secrecy"

Sampha - Sundanza

Sampha has become a fairly prominent musician, often a featured artist for others, but has scant solo recordings to his name. He's significantly increased the number with this latest release, which includes recordings from throughout his career so far.

Listen: "Kij"
Listen: "Curves"

The Soft Moon - "Feel"/"Hunger"

I started listening to The Soft Moon last year after the band released their sophomore album, Zeros. There was something interesting about their dark/post-punk sound. They are following that album up with a pair of new songs, equally enthralling!

Watch: "Feel"
Watch: "Hunger"