Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Eleanor Friedberger - "My Own World"

Eleanor Friedberger's latest video, for the track "My Own World," follows a young woman with friendship issues and a less-than-supportive therapist. Note: the video's main protagonist is not Friedberger; the singer plays her crappy friend!

Friedberger's sophomore solo album, Personal Record, was released in June of last year.

Monday, May 26, 2014

New Music Tuesday - May 13, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Amen Dunes - Love

Amen Dunes is the stage name of musician Damon McMahon and the third studio album from the project. For his latest release, he is working with members of Iceage, Godspeed You! Black Emperor!, and Colin Stetson.

Watch: "Lilac in Hand"
Listen: "Green Eyes"

The Black Keys - Turn Blue

With each progressive release The Black Keys, who started out with a blues-heavy garage rock sound, have gained greater popularity and moved further away from the style that they became known for. The band re-teamed with Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) for this latest album. It's their fourth collaboration with the producer, which takes them in a more psychedelic direction.

Watch: "Fever"
Listen: "Turn Blue"

Blondie - Ghosts of Download

Blondie has been together for forty years and has released ten albums in that time. Their previous, Panic of Girls, was a return after an eight-year hiatus. They continue to work with artists for whom their own work has influenced over the years. This time around, it's Systema Solar and Beth Ditto.

Watch: "I Want to Drag You Around"
Listen: "A Rose By Any Name"

Chromeo - White Women

Chromeo is an electronic pop band who have become known for performing on a pair of keyboards with white women's legs as the bases. Perhaps it's appropriate, then, that they named their fourth and latest album White Women. The duo first came onto my radar with the release of a few tracks from this album, featuring other artists that I've come to love, Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend.

Watch: "Jealous (I Ain't With It)"
Watch: "Come Alive"

Hiss Tracts - Shortwave Nights

Hiss Tracks is a project of Kevin Doria (known for work as Total Life and Growing) and David Bryant (who works with Godspeed You! Black Emperor!). The project is devoted to created intricate "soundscapes;" the band duo even describe themselves as "sound sculptors." Shortwave Nights is the debut album from the pair.

Listen: "...shortwave nights"
Listen: "for the transient projectionist"

Killer Be Killed - Killer Be Kileld

Killer Be Killed is another side project made up of members from other prominent bands, in this case, it is members of Mastodon and The Mars Volta. The group formed in 2011 and this is their debut album, described as politically-charged merging of all of the members' individual styles.

Listen: "I.E.D."

Kishi Bashi - Lighght

Kishi Bashi is the stage name of Kaoru Ishibashi created by combining his first initial and last name. He first came to prominence with his debut album 151a and the track "Bright Whites," which was featured in a Microsoft commercial. He uses his considerable skills as a violinist to create classical-tinged pop music.

Watch: "Philosophize in It! Chemicalize with It!"
Watch: "The Ballad of Mr. Steak"

La Sera - Hour of the Dawn

La Sera, real name Katy Goodman, is a former member of Vivian Girls, who called it quits earlier this year. She's well-established as a solo artist, though. This is her third studio album as La Sera, though she's also worked with Matthew Mondanile (of Real Estate) in his Ducktails project. Her sound doesn't tend to veer far from the indie/noise pop of her former band, but on her latest release, she promises something more punk, invoking Black Flag in describing her goal for the record.

Listen: "Losing to the Dark"
Listen: "Hour of the Dawn"

Michael Jackson - XSCAPE

Michael Jackson has been dead for five years now and we are getting the second (of probably countless more to come) posthumous release of his work. The release collects and completes songs initially recorded from 1983 to 1999. Additional artists have been brought in to help complete vocals, including Justin Timberlake on "Love Never Felt So Good."

Watch: "Love Never Felt So Good" (with Justin Timberlake)
Listen: "Blue Gangsta"

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Days of Abandon

Days of Abandon is the third studio album from this New York shoegazing band, produced by Andy Savours. The album was completed in London and features album artwork by Korean artist Lee Jin Ju.

Watch: "Until the Sun Explodes"
Watch: "Simple and Sure"

Swans - To Be Kind

Swans was founded in 1982 and were active until 1997. After a 13 year hiatus, they returned with 2010's My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky., which was followed in 2013 with The Seer. With both albums, they were quickly back on the indie radar. Their latest is an epic two-hour double album.

Listen: "A Little God in My Hands"
Listen: "Oxygen"

Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso

Sometimes, it's the most unlikely of pairing that create the most interesting collaborations. Sylvan Esso is made up of Amelia Randall Meath of folk band Mountain Man and producer Nicholas Sanborn. The pair first came to prominence with a re-recorded version of Mountain Man's "Play It Right," and are now putting out their first record together.

Watch: "Play It Right"
Watch: "Coffee"

Thollem + Chase - Dub Narcotic Session

Thollen + Chase is made up of pianist Thollem McDonas and Brian Chase, drummer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The pair first worked together in trio that included James Ilgenfritz. Their first album together was meant to include a guitarist, who fell ill shortly after recording began. They continued on without him, resulting in the Dub Narcotic Session.

Listen: "Dis-Mis-Education"
Listen: "After One"

Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines

Tori Amos has been a long-performing and prolific artist, who has released 14 albums during her 22-year solo career. The latest record follows a period of disaffection with pop and rock music, during which Amos experimented with classical music and musicals. While her work outside of her typical genre has been interesting to experience, her return is most welcome.

Watch: "Trouble's Lament"
Listen: "16 Shades of Blue"

Walter Martin - We're All Young Together

I was sad when one of my favorite bands, The Walkmen, announced an indefinite hiatus earlier this year. I was happier, though, to discover that several of the band members would be releasing their own solo records during the year. The first comes from bassist Walter Martin, who has released a collection of kid-friendly tunes.

Watch: "We Like the Zoo"
Listen: "Sing to Me" (featuring Karon O)

Other New Releases

Blondie - Blondie 4(0)

In addition to the new solo record detailed above, Blondie has put out a greatest hits record to celebrate their 40 years together. Rather than just collecting some of their more popular songs, the band has re-recorded them for this release.

Listen: "Heart of Glass"
Listen: "The Tide Is High"

Cold Cave - Full Cold Moon

It's been a decent while since the release of Cold Cave last studio record Cherish the Light Years. In the three years since that album, though, Wes Eisold has put out a number of singles. This release collects many of those singles and comes before an anticipated 2014 record, Sunflower.

Watch: "A Little Death to Laugh"
Listen: "Oceans with No End"

Django Django - Late Night Tales

Late Night Tales has become a popular way for popular artists to present music that has influenced them in their own careers. The latest (number 35!) is curated by British indie pop outfit Django Django. The album features songs by The Beach Boys, Primal Scream and Harry Nilsson. It also includes a Monkees cover by the band and the final installment of the short story Flat of Angles, read by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Listen: Django Django - "Porpoise Song"
Listen: Harry Nilsson - "Coconut"

The Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music: Daisy Bell

And the award for weirdest release of 2014 goes to Mark Ryden for this compilation. Ryden, who designed the cover art for Tyler, The Creator's Wolf, brings together a plethora of artists to record versions of the 1892 song "Daisy Bell." Contributors include Tyler, The Creator, Katy Perry and Nick Cave.

Watch: Nick Cave - "Daisy Bell"
Watch: Tyler, The Creator - "Daisy Bell"

I Saved Latin! A Tribute to Wes Anderson

I Saved Latin! brings together a number of musicians to cover songs that have been featured on the soundtracks of various Wes Anderson films. This compilation includes contributions from Telekinesis, Juliana Hatfield and Margot & The Nuclear So and So's.

Listen: Tele Novella - "Stephanie Says"
Listen: Generationals - "Making Time"

Mac Miller - Faces Mixtape

Mac Miller is a producer and hip hop artist who came to prominence with the release of last year's Watching Movies with the Sound Off. On his latest mixtape, he is enlisting the help of many other rappers, including SchoolBoy Q and Earl Sweatshirt.

Listen: "New Faces" (featuring Earl Sweatshirt & Da$h)
Listen: "Friends" (featuring SchoolBoy Q)

Morrissey - "World Peace Is None of Your Business"

Morrissey's voice has made the sound of both his solo work and his work with The Smiths unique and distinctive. On his latest record, though (due later this year), he is doing something a little bit different. The record will be mostly spoken word. "World Peace Is None of Your Business" is the first single from that upcoming release.

Listen: "World Peace Is None of Your Business"

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Music Tuesday - 05/06/2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Eno · Hyde - Someday World

Brian Eno has made a name for himself as a producer, artist and solo musician. Over the past few years he's been releasing collaborative albums and EPs with other artists, and not always musical artists. He put out an album and EP in 2011 with poet Rick Holland following a 2010 album recorded with Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins. His latest collaborative project sees him partnering with Underworld frontman Karl Hyde.

Listen: "The Satellites"
Listen: "Daddy's Car"

The Horrors - Luminous

The Horrors have come a long way from their start as a gothic/horror punk band with the 2007 album Strange House. Every album that they release seems to be lighter than the previous; the band has described Luminous, their fourth studio album as being "fun and danceable," which is definitely not something anyone could say for their earlier work. Somehow, though, Faris Badwan's voice is still able to lend a doomy sheen over all of it.

Watch: "So Now You Know"
Watch: "I See You"

The Icypoles - My World Was Made for You

The Icypoles is made up of, in part, of two former members of Architecture in Helsinki. The band's founder, Isobel Knowles, was inspired by 60s girl pop and there's certainly a bit of that in the band's sound. However, I still hear some elements of that other band in here, especially from their earlier work.

Watch: "Babies"

King Dude - Fear

I wouldn't know the name King Dude if it weren't for his collaborations, Sings Songs Together..., with Chelsea Wolfe. I liked the sound that they were able to create together and decided that I should check out the guy on the other side of the duo. The artist, real name T.J. Cowgill, has released four solo records during his career.

Watch: "Fear Is All You Know"

Lily Allen - Sheezus

Perhaps obviously, the title of Lily Allen's third album was inspired by last year's Yeezus from Kanye West. Allen claims to be a big fan of West, but does still incorporate themes of girl power into her music. The new album is a welcome return from an artist who threatened to quit the music industry following 2009's It's Not Me, It's You.

Watch: "Our Time"
Watch: "Sheezus"

Lykke Li - I Never Learn

When announcing the release of her latest album, Lykke Li explained that it would be final entry in a trilogy that began with her 2008 debut Youth Novels and continued in 2011 with Wounded Rhymes. Each album from her has had a different vibe, Youth Novels was her album of naivete, with vocals sung high-pitched. She was more self-assured and aggressive on the follow-up. On the latest, she seems calmer and more introspective. Despite the changing sounds, though, I've loved everything that she's done.

Watch: "No Rest for the Wicked"
Watch: "I Never Learn"

Ray LaMontagne - Supernova

Ray LaMontagne has developed a signature soulful folk sound over his past four studio albums. For his latest record, he has changed up his style considerably with the help of the record's producer, The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. The sound is more psychedelic and the lyrics less personal. The shift is bound to alienate some of his fans, but may also allow him to add some new ones.

Watch: "Supernova"
Listen: "Airwaves"

Rodrigo Amarante - Cavalo

Brazilian musician Rodrigo Amarante has been a member of some great bands; Los Hermanos, Orquestra Imperial and Little Joy. I still have my fingers crossed for a sophomore album from that last project. But I will gladly accept a solo record from the band's primary singer. And hopefully, it means more of that bossa nova-tinged folk I've loved so much from his other work.

Listen: "Hour Glass"
Listen: "Cavalo"

tUnE-yArDs - Nikki Nack

tUnE-yArDs, aka Merrill Garbus, released an amazing sophomore album, w h o k i l l, in 2011. The album was such an incredible collage of sounds, it was easy to wonder how she would be able to follow it up. She found a way to do it. Her style is still eclectic and kinda crazy, and that's just the way I like her!

Watch: "Water Fountain"
Listen: "Wait for a Minute"

Other New Releases

2 Chainz - Freebase EP

2 Chainz turned himself from just another Atlanta rapper to one of the most popular hip hop artists out today. He's done so while releasing super-catchy songs and saying his name...a lot. For his latest mixtape, though, he employed a grittier sound which shows that he has some serious cred, too.

Watch: "Trap Back"
Listen: "Wuda Cuda Shuda"

Axels & Sockets: The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project

Axels & Sockets is the latest entry in the Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project, to which various artists have contributed covers of Jeffrey Lee Pierce's work. Pierce was the frontman of Gun Club who passed away in 1996. Contributors to this installment include Mark Lanegan, Thurston Moore, Nick Cave and Iggy Pop.

Listen: Iggy Pop & Nick Cave - "Nobody's City"
Listen: Mark Lanegan & Bertrant Cantat - "Desire By Blue River"

Baths - Ocean Death EP

Baths, real name Will Wiesenfeld, is one of the new purveyors of electronic music. I first became familiar with him following the release of his third album, Obsidian, last year. He is following that release up with a new EP.

Listen: "Ocean Death"


Bleep is an online music store, founded by Warp Records, that has now been around for 10 years. To celebrate their decade in business, they compiled a collection of new songs and remixes from a number of current electronic artists.

Listen: Modeselektor - "I'm not into Twerk, I'm into KrafTwerk"
Listen: Lone - "Lizard King"

Dave Harrington - Before This There Was One Heart but a Thousand Thoughts EP

Dave Harrington is one-half of the electronic duo DARKSIDE with Nicolas Jaar. He is stepping away from his partner to release this latest EP.

Listen: Before This There Was One Heart but a Thousand Thoughts

Jamie xx - "Girl"/"Sleep Sound"

Jamie xx made his name as a member of the London indie band The xx. He's also become known as a producer and remix artist. He shows off some of what he can do with a sampler and computer in his latest single.

Watch: "Sleep Sound"
Watch: "Girl"

Savages - "Fuckers"/"Dream Baby Dream"

Savages came out with their debut album, Silence Yourself, last year and quickly established themselves as one of the best new post-punk artists. To coincide with the release of that album, they are releasing a new song backed with a cover of a track by Suicide.

Listen: "Fuckers"

SBTRKT - Transitions I

We haven't gotten a new album from this British electronic artist since his 2011 self-titled debut. This year, we'll be getting about an album's worth of new material from him. He will be putting out three Transitions EPs over the next few months.

Watch: "Kyoto"

Monday, May 12, 2014

New Music Tuesday - April 29, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots

Damon Albarn has been incredible active over his 26-year career. He has fronted two bands, Blur and Gorillaz; worked with other musicians on various collaborative projects, including The Good, The Bad & The Queens; and scored operas. In all this time, though, he hadn't yet released a proper solo album. Everyday Robots perhaps plugs into Damon's most personal side and shows what he can do on his own.

Watch: "Heavy Seas of Love"
Watch: "Everyday Robots"

Fennesz - Bécs

Christian Fennesz is an electronic guitarist from Austria who has been a frequent collaborator with many other artists, such as Jim O'Rourke, Tony Buck and Mark Linkous. He has also been an active solo artist, releasing seven studio albums since 1997. His latest record is being hailed as a return to the sound he developed on his 2001 breakout Endless Summer.

Listen: "Static Kings"
Listen: "Sav"

Nat Baldwin - In the Hollows

Nat Baldwin is the bassist for the experimental indie rock band Dirty Projectors. He is also a solo musician who released his first album, Most Valuable Player in 2008. Last year, he released a collection of demos, Dome Branches, and is following that up with his latest studio record.

Watch: "In the Hollows"

Olga Bell - Krai

Olga Bell is another member of the Dirty Projectors, playing keyboards and providing backing vocals. Born in Moscow, she recorded her sophomore studio album in her mother tongue.

Listen: "Perm Krai"

Pink Mountaintops - Get Back

I never realized that the top of a black mountain would be pink in color! Pink Mountaintops is a side project of Stephen McBean of the Canadian psych-rock band Black Mountains. The band is a bit of a supergroup, also containing members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor!, Cold War Kids and Cat Power's band.

Watch: "Ambulance City"
Watch: "North Hollywood Microwaves"

Pixies - Indie Cindy

The Pixies were one of the definitive alternative rock bands of the late 80s/early 90s, but disbanded in 1993. They reformed in 2004, but it wasn't until last year that they released new music. It started with the single "Bagboy" followed by three EPs released late last year and earlier this year. Their first proper studio album in over 20 years collects all of those tracks together on one collection.

Watch: "Snakes"
Watch: "Greens and Blues"

Ramona Lisa - Arcadia

Carolina Polachek is a member of the band Chairlift, with which she has released two albums, including 2012's incredible Something. Polachek has also been performing secret shows under the name Ramona Lisa since last year. Her debut solo album features love songs told through the lens of nature.

Watch: "Backwards & Upwards"
Watch: "Arcadia"

Rodrigo y Gabriela - 9 Dead Alive

Rodrigo y Gabriela are a pair of former heavy metal guitarists from Mexico. It was in Dublin, Ireland, though, where they developed the complicated, intricate, instrumental, dual-guitar sound for which they have become known. 9 Dead Alive is their fourth studio album and each song is dedicated to an important historical figure who has passed.

Watch: "The Soundmaker"

Wye Oak - Shriek

Baltimore-based band Wye Oak released four albums between 2008 and 2011. In the time since their 2011 release, Civilian, lead singer Jenn Wasner has been busy with side projects, including singles with Flock of Dimes and an eponymous album as Dungeonesse. Her return to her main band also brings with it a change of sound. In their previous albums, Wye Oak's sound has been guitar-driven, but the latest has more of an electronic base. They still sound like Wye Oak, though!

Watch: "The Tower"
Watch: "Glory"

Other New Releases

Disclosure & Friend Within - "The Mechanism"

Disclosure have proven themselves as incredible musicians and have put out a number of awesome collaborative tracks. The latest partners them with UK producer Friend Within.

Listen: "The Mechanism"

Haim - "If I Could Change Your Mind"

Haim rode in on a wave of hype with last year's Days Are Gone. "If I Could Change Your Mind" was one of the stand-outs from that record and is now seeing its release as a single.

Watch: "If I Could Change Your Mind"

Jacques Greene - Phantom Vibrate EP

Jacques Greene is a Canadian producer who has made a name for himself remixing both new and classic tracks. This is his third collection of original material.

Watch: "No Excuse"