Monday, November 30, 2015

New Music Friday - October 16, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Alex Bleeker & The Freaks - Country Agenda

This seems to be the year that the members of Real Estate all decided to release solo work. Matt Mondanile has long been working solo as Ducktails, but Martin Courtney and Alex Bleeker have solo projects of their own. Bleeker's side project started in 2009 with Mondanile and Courtney, as well as a few other musicians. This is the third album from the folk-focused band.

Watch: "Sealong Hair"
Watch: "The Rest"

Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars

It seems like just a few months ago that Beach House released their last album...oh wait. Not even two months after releasing an incredible fifth album, Depression Cherry, Beach House are already back with the follow-up. Adamantly not a collection of b-sides or a companion to that last record, the album continues their focus on a simpler sound, but with darker results.

Listen: "Majorette"
Listen: "One Thing"

Deerhunter - Fading Frontier

While there are a lot of artists whose work I love, there are very few both with a substantial body of work and no real missteps. Deerhunter is one of those bands for me. Fading Frontier the seventh album from the band, and they continue their mix of ambient and experimental styles, and their mastery of pop elements. Already, I have been playing this album on repeat.

Watch: "Living My Life"
Watch: "Snakeskin"

Other Full-Length Releases

!!! - As If

Watch: "Freedom at ‘15"
Watch: "Bam City"

Alela Diane & Ryan Francesconi - Cold Moon

Listen: "The Sun Today"
Listen: "No Thought of Leaving"

Børns - Dopamine

Watch: "Electric Love"
Listen: "The Emotion"

Chris Walla - Tape Loops

Listen: "Kanta’s Theme"
Listen: "I Believe in the Night"

Christine and the Queens - Christine and the Queens

Watch: "Paradis Perdus"
Watch: "Jonathan" (featuring Perfume Genius)

Daniel Martin Moore - Golden Age

Listen: "Golden Age"
Listen: "Our Hearts Will Hover"

The Game - The Documentary 2.5

Listen: "El Chapo" (featuring Skrillex)
Listen: "Gang Bang Anyway" (featuring Jay Rock & ScHoolboy Q)

Here We Go Magic - Be Small

Watch: "Falling"
Watch: "Tokyo London U.S. Korea"

Jean-Michel Jarre - Electronic 1: The Time Machine

Watch: "Glory" (featuring M83)
Watch: "If…!" (featuring Little Boots)

Majical Cloudz - Are You Alone?

Watch: "Downtown"
Watch: "Silver Car Crash"

Neon Indian - VEGA INTL. Night School

Watch: "Slumlord"
Listen: "The Glitzy Hive"

Peter Buck - Warzone Earth

Listen: "It Ain’t Killing Me"

Raury - All We Need

Watch: "Friends" (featuring Tom Morello)
Watch: "Devil’s Whisper"

Small Black - Best Blues

Watch: "Boy’s Life"
Watch: "No One Wants It to Happen to You"

Sweet Spirit - Cokomo

Watch: "Baby Doll"
Listen: "Baby When I Close My Eyes"

YACHT - I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler

Watch: "L.A. Plays Itself"
Watch: "I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Annie - Endless Vacation

Listen: "Cara Mia"
Listen: "WorkX2"

Arcade Fire - The Reflektor Tapes

Watch: "Porno"
Listen: "Crucified Again"

Courtney Barnett - "Boxing Day Blues Revisited"

Listen: "Boxing Day Blues (Revisited)"
Listen: "Shivers"

Decorations - Girls EP

Listen: "Girls"

Django Django - "Shake & Tremble"

Watch: "Shake and Tremble"
Listen: "Hold the Line"

Gazing with Tranquility: A Tribute to Donovan

Listen: Hamilton Leithauser - "To Susan on the West Coast Waiting"
Listen: Sharon van Etten - "Teen Angel"

Iron & Wine - Archive Series No. 2 7”

Listen: "Albuquerque"

Jeezy - Politically Correct EP

Watch: "Streetz"
Watch: "Change the World"

John Carpenter - Lost Themes Remixed

Listen: "Purgatory" (Prurient Remix)
Listen: "Night" (Zola Jesus & Dean Hurley Remix)

Kill J - "You’re Good but I’m Better"

Listen: "You’re Good but I’m Better"

M83 - Saturdays=Youth Remixes & B-Sides

Olga Bell - Incitation EP

Watch: "Goalie"
Watch: "Incitation"

Sam Sparro - Quantum Physical, Vol. 2 EP

Listen: "In Your Heaven"
Listen: "On My Mind"

The Twilight Sad - Òran Mór Session

Watch: "It Never Was the Same"
Watch: "Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave"

White Sea - "Never a Woman"

Listen: "Never a Woman"

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Straight Outta Compton

Director: F. Gary Gray
Writers: Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus
Stars: O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), Jason Mitchell (Easy E), Neil Brown Jr. (Yella), Aldis Hodge (MC Ren), Paul Giamatti (Jerry Heller)

Straight Outta Compton follows the members of the L.A. rap group N.W.A., focusing primarily on its three most influential members, Ice Cube, Easy-E, and Dr. Dre, exploring the band members' relationships with each other and with their manager, Jerry Heller. We watch the group form, fight, dissolve, reunite, and we experience the untimely death of Easy-E from AIDS in 1995.

As with any film exploring the lives of real people (documentary or biopic), there is some controversy regarding the representation of some subjects, in this case, manager Jerry Heller. He is certainly presented as callous and greedy. Regardless, it is a spectacular film with surprisingly excellent performances from all of the young actors, especially Jackson playing his own father.

Mini soundtrack:

Easy-E - "Boyz-N-The-Hood"
N.W.A. - "Fuck tha Police"
Tupac - "California Love"

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending November 28)

While you're all working through your food comas and lazing around your parents' house, be sure to spend some of your Internet browsing time over at my Upcoming Releases page!

Surprise albums seem to be, annoyingly, the popular thing to do these days. Ever since Beyoncé and her self-titled 2013 album, everyone is trying to get into the game. However, it's usually less "surprise" and more "I'm releasing an album, but I won't tell you when." Pusha T is one of those artists; he's been promising King Push, his follow-up to My Name Is My Name, since July of 2014, even setting an estimated release timeframe of spring 2015 for its release (that obviously did not happen).

This week's announcement from him was not that, King Push still does not have a release date (though it should be out sometime next year), but Pusha T has another album ready for the world, Darkest Before Dawn. The album will serve as a "prelude" to King Push, which we still don't have a release date for.

In addition to the album, Pusha will release a short film, also titled Darkest Before Dawn. The pair will be released on December 18.

Also announced this week:

The Avett Brothers - Live, Vol. 4 (December 18)
The Coral - Distance Inbetween (March 4)
Jehnny Beth & Julian Casablancas - “Boy/Girl” (December 18)
Underworld - Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future (March 18)
Wild Nothing - Life of Pause (February 19)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Bad Bad Hats & Hippo Campus in Covington

When: November 17, 2015
Where: Madison Live in Covington, KY

I've been excited about the St. Paul-based band Hippo Campus ever since I saw them on the most recent season of A.V. Club's Undercover; they masterfully performed ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down." I checked out their own work and was equally impressed by what they were able to write and arrange for themselves. They're only two EPs into their career, but have already produced some amazing tunes.

They've been touring this year to support the release of both EPs and stopped by the Cincinnati area to play at Madison Live, a new venue established by the owners of Madison Theatre in Covington, KY. It's right next door to the other venue, but serves smaller crowds.

I got a pleasant pseudo-surprise when we got to the venue that night; the opening band was another young group from Minnesota who I had been impressed by lately, Bad Bad Hats (I had forgotten that they were touring together until just then). The band played primarily from their debut album, Psychic Reader, released earlier this year. Their simple, sometimes humorous, indie pop sound was punctuated by a sort of absurd, dry humor from lead singer and guitarist Kerry Alexander.

After a great first set, Hippo Campus came on. Their style was a lot more upbeat (think Vampire Weekend, JR JR, or They Might Be Giants), and their lead singer, Jake Luppen, had a goofier onstage attitude to match. They're an impressive band, especially for a group so young (they graduated high school two years ago). It turned out to be a interesting show to attend; the venue and crowd were fairly small, but the fans were really into the band and some of the girls in the audience were definitely swooning over the boys (though I must admit, Jake was pretty cute).

I'm starting to realize that a lot of the bands that I'm getting into are made up of members much younger than me, which can be a bit strange. But it is exciting to see such an amazing amount of talent coming from those artists, these two bands are just the tip of the iceberg!

Mini setlist:

Bad Bad Hats - "Super America"
Bad Bad Hats - "Things We Never Say"
Hippo Campus - "South"
Hippo Campus - "Violet"

Saturday, November 21, 2015

New Music Friday - October 9, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect

I annoyed my boyfriend a bit last week when Protomartyr's "Why Does It Shake?" got stuck in my head. I was singing the title refrain over and over, and the lyrics confused him a bit. I finally had to play him the original song. The Detroit-based post-punk band has a foreboding sound that recalls the darker elements of the genre. They are part of an excellent revival of the genre that sounds much different from the British revival more than 15 years ago.

Listen: "Why Does It Shake?"
Listen: "Dope Cloud"

Saintseneca - Such Things

Sometimes a free concert is all you need to get into a new band. Northside, Cincinnati hosts a Rock 'n Roll Carnival every year for Independence Day and Columbus, Ohio-based Saintseneca played this year. Although I didn't see them in person, I could hear their music streaming down the street and loved what I heard (I'm also always a sucker for bands from Indiana and Ohio). It wasn't long until they announced this new album, an excellent set of songs that prove they sound just as great recorded.

Watch: "River"
Watch: "Bad Ideas"

The Zombies - Still Got That Hunger

It's amazing how many bands who got started in the 1960s are still going strong. The British band The Zombies became best known for the hits "Time of the Season" and "She's Not There." The group went through several cycles of breakups and reunions before their last reunion in 2004. This is their third album since that reunion, though just their sixth overall.

Listen: "Moving On"
Listen: "I Want You Back Again"

Other Full-Length Releases

Alex G - Beach Music

Watch: "Bug"
Watch: "Kicker"

City & Colour - If I Should Go Before You

Watch: "If I Should Go Before You"
Watch: "Woman"

The Game - The Documentary 2

Watch: "100" (featuring Drake)
Listen: "On Me" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)

Selena Gomez - Revival

Watch: "Good for You" (featuring A$AP Rocky)
Watch: "Same Old Love"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

The Decemberists - Florasongs EP

Watch: "Cavalry Captain"
Listen: "Why Would I Now?"

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Live in No Particular Order: 2009-2014

Listen: "Truth"
Listen: "I Don’t Wanna Pray"

Flying Lotus - You’re Dead! Deluxe

Watch: "Coronas, the Terminator"
Listen: "Protector"

Johnny Marr - Adrenaline Baby

Listen: "Bigmouth Strikes Again"
Listen: "Playland"

Kelela - Hallucinogen EP

Watch: "Rewind"
Listen: "Hallucinogen"

Mastodon - Once More ‘Round the Sun Reissue

Watch: "High Road"
Watch: "The Motherload"

Weyes Blood - Cardamom Times EP

Watch: "In the Beginning"
Listen: "Cardamom"

Zomby - Let’s Jam

Listen: "Acid Surf"
Listen: "Bloom"