Thursday, December 23, 2010

Deck The Halls...

As the holiday season looms closer and we wind down the blog for the rest of the year, what a better way to celebrate than with a festive post of Christmas music.

We've compiled a pretty hefty list of Christmas music for you to download, burn, and crank up around the fireplace (or a shut down airport if you're really unlucky) while you celebrate the season.

This is our next to last post of 2010, with our Top 25 post coming next week. We here at The POP! Stereo want to say thanks to everyone who reads, downloads, shares, and sends us stuff on a day to day basis. Really, without you guys there's not much of a blog.

That being said, have a great Christmas and we'll catch you on the flip with the Top 25 albums of the year.


A POP! Stereo Christmas....

The Hush Now: On Holiday

The Puppini Sisters: Last Christmas

Sleepy Rebels: California Christmas

Bananas Symphony: Holidaze

Kermit Ruffins: A Saints Christmas

Banjo or Freakout: Frosty The Snowman

Catwalk: Christmas Don't Be Late

Tape Deck Mountain: Blue Christmas

Whole albums of Christmas tunes...

Sam Billen/Josh Atkinson: A Word of Encouragement

I'll Be Hometapes For Christmas (via Bandcamp)

And of course this...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Silver Swans Lake

You can tell it's near Christmas as the music industry slowly but surely grinds to a halt. I mean I guess they do deserve a vacation and lord knows I do. Anyway, if you're wondering where the heck we've been the last week, quite frankly there just hasn't been anything in our in box worth posting about. Then the Silver Swans came along...

Silver Swans take their name from the group of super-villains in the Wonder Woman comic book series. The evil Swans have the ability to create a powerful "swan song" of sound waves using their voices that is capable of devouring a small area of land with its destructive force. By creating a low-level humming, the Silver Swan can also form a protective shield around herself to deflect bullets and other projectiles. The musical counterpart Silver Swans, however, are far from the evil and destruction of their namesake. The electro dream-pop project captures the haunting dramatics, pure beauty of life and dreams to build a dynamic, exultant sound all of their own.

They formed from the collaboration of DJ producer Jon Waters and songwriter Ann Yu. Both artists also have prolific backgrounds. But with all of their experience the duo decided to take a different route when it comes to creating music together. Silver Swans puts a special meaning to the idea of bedroom recordings. All tracks were recorded in late night sessions hidden under covers, in their bathrooms, and right before bed. The songs you hear are a reflection of the dreams they’ve uncovered and hope to discover.

Download: Holidays
Download: Secrets
Download: Secrets(Letting Up Despite Great Faults Remix)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Arveene and MiSK

Straight from the cities of Dublin and London are two young producers/DJs who over the past two years have taken the underground by storm: Arveene & MiSK.

Since the release of their massive "Hell's Bells," the duo has been on a music production mission. Their second release, which dropped on highly respected Aussie dance label Bang Gang, was the beautifully twisted piece of electro "Eavesdropper."

Since then, Arveene & MiSK, in between live performances, have been living in the studio working on their debut album.

The first offering is their new single "Love & Lust," featuring the vocals of Steo Gunn, dropping on NY-based Plant Music. Sliced, diced, and housed up, the tune is massive. Throw in some electro/funk flourishes and you have a song that will rip your feet clean off of your legs. If the album is half as good as this single...we'll be super happy.

Download: Love and Lust (Tag Team Terror Remix)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Porcelain Raft Sets Adrift

Some labels get it, some don't. One of the labels that clearly gets it is Acephale Records. Why? Well, I'll let them explain...

"Instead of doing the normal thing where we get a bunch of people to do remixes and then sell it as a package on iTunes or wherever, we decided to take inspiration from the end of the year and give the whole (Porcelain Raft) thing away. We're celebrating the emergence of Porcelain Raft on his debut 7", sweet sadness/sad sweetness, the promise of travel, long cold walks, the thrill of novelty, but most of all the potential of a new year. Let's go 2K!!."

And the remixes deliver...and if that's not enough there's a video to boot. There's a whole multi-media experience here at your fingertips. Rather than me rambling on about it...hop to it. Downtempo/synth pop craziness has never sounded quite like this...

Download: Tip Of Your Tongue (Keep Shelly in Athens Remix)
Download: Tip Of Your Tongue (Blood Diamonds Remix)
Download: Gone Blind (Nowa Huta Remix)
Download: Porcelain Raft - Tip Of Your Tongue (Blackbird Blackbird Remix)

Porcelain Raft - Tip Of Your Tongue from ACEPHALE on Vimeo.

Piece De La Resistance

La Resistance is the brainchild of Greg Summerlin, who after releasing several solo albums on Superphonic Records formed the new Birmingham, Alabama band with three friends that have played with him over the past several years. The band’s debut album, Philosophy, recalls various musical influences from the last three decades. Greg is joined by Wil Drake on drums (formerly of Moses Mayfield – Columbia Records), Jake Blount on bass and Erin Tumlin on keys and vocals. Greg’s previous three albums received much critical approval and had songs that appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including network placements on ABC and NBC.

As Greg began writing songs for Philosophy, he felt his new musical vision should be a band project and enrolled his friends to help him take the album in this direction. Some of new songs have been described as being “indie gothic pop” due to the grandiosity of the arrangements and to the synths and drum loops taking center stage in many of the tunes. The ten new songs by La Resistance represent some of Greg’s most creative and innovative work to date, which can be explained somewhat by the fact that Greg himself produced this record and had creative control over all aspects of recording and production.

It shows as well...or at least it does on the single, "Understanding." Sounding like something out of the hazy days of early 90's British pop, the song is straight out of the baggy / shoegazing pages of NME. Sounding something like the Dylans meets Edipussy, the band mix psychedelics with grooves and achieve pop bliss. If the album is half as good as this single, we're all in for a treat come February when Philosophy is released.

Download: Understanding

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Babies Raise A Ruckus

The Babies' songs are roughed up jewels that come from the same cloth as Hazelwood/Sinatra, VU/Nico, Pisces/Linda Bruner & other dream marriages. The band will tour the West Coast again in January, where theyʼre temporarily relocating for the winter to write their second record, before going to Europe in the spring of 2011.

They're a bit lo-fi, a bit shambolic, and they look like hell, but darn do they sound good. The Babies don't spend a lot of time crying (or burping) but they do spend a lot of time playing some mighty good lo-fi indie pop that seems like it was recorded in a bedroom on a minutes notice.

Download: Run Me Over

J Mascis Preps Solo Album

It’s all but inconceivable that J Mascis requires an introduction. In the quarter-century since he founded Dinosaur (Jr.), Mascis has created some of the era’s signature songs, albums and styles. As a skier, golfer, songwriter, skateboarder, record producer, and musician, J has few peers. The laconically-based roar of his guitar, drums and vocals have driven a long string of bands–Deep Wound, Dinosaur Jr., Gobblehoof, Velvet Monkeys, the Fog, Witch, Sweet Apple–and he has guested on innumerable sessions. But Several Shades of Why is J’s first solo studio record, and it is an album of incredible beauty, performed with a delicacy not always associated with his work.

Every track, every note even, bears that distinct Mascis watermark, both in the shape of the tunes and the glorious rasp of the vocals. Ten brilliant tunes that quietly grow and expand until they fill your brain with the purest pleasure. It's due out March 15th and until them, this single literally is not enough.

Download: Not Enough

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Peo De Pitte Returns...

After the lauded success of his much sought-after remixes (Sidney Samson's Riverside and Telepopmusik's Beathe); Peo De Pitte has picked up and resprayed arguably the biggest hit of the year.... Congorock's inimitable Babylon!

The original, for whom has missed it, is off A-Trak's Fools Gold label!

Twisting and re-imagining the beats into something new that explodes out of the box into a dance floor consuming beast that will devour you. Chopped, filtered, and bangin' from the get's a nice rework.

Download: Congorock - Babylon (Peo de Pitte featuring Chronz RD Remix)

Beni Why You Do This?

Trying to wrap your mind around Beni is like trying to get a grip on a ghost. He's an energy flash, a light that never burns out, a juvenile joker and an ageless oracle. He's a man that has lived a thousand lives, a connoisseur and a curator, an aesthete and the ultimate modern artist.

A lifetime of inspiration and two and a half years in the making, Beni's forthcoming debut album was written and recorded in various studios and bedrooms in Sydney, New York, LA, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and Barcelona; at various airports and hotels along the way; on countless flights; on trains between Hiroshima, Osaka and Kyoto, and in a rickety-ass farmhouse in the French countryside.

The result is Beni's singular vision of dance music filtered through life and love, and a soundtrack to a journey with no end in sight. It's an attempt to capture the atmosphere of house music's infancy in Chicago and New York. Marshall Jefferson, Larry Levan, Francois K, Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles: for Beni, this is where it all began.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the first single from the album, It's A Bubble, backed with a slew of white-hot remixes and released early 2011. In the meantime enjoy his most recent mixtape...

Download: December Stadium Mix

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fol Chen Keep Busy

2010 has been a busy year for Fol Chen with the release of their second full length Part II: The New December, a pair of remix EP's and tours with Liars, !!! and The Apples In Stereo, but they've got a few more surprises in store before the year is over. The band recently took a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia when they were invited by CEC Artslink for a special performance. The day after the show the band held a workshop where they invited local musicians to help them create samples, loops and sounds for a song that they'll release next summer.

The band also lent a hand to KRCW DJ Eric Lawrence in remixing David Bowie's classic "Golden Years" as a part of KCRW's celebration of the release of Bowie's remastered Station to Station. You can check out the remix right here. Additionally, Part II single "In Ruins" was recently featured in a decidedly NSFW scene between Mary Louise Parker and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack from Saved by the Bell) in an episode of Weeds.

And now the band have recently collaborated with director/animator Nancy Jean Tucker to create a video for Part II standout "C/U" and had the track remixed by the UK producer Star Slinger.

Oh and they're hitting up a few places in January on tour...
01/14 - Chicago, IL - Schubas $
01/15 - Rock Island, IL - Daytrotter
01/17 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Entry !
01/19 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge !
01/21 - Salt Lake City, Utah - Kilby Court !
01/22 - Boise, ID - Neurolux !
01/24 - Vancouver, BC - Media Club !
01/25 - Seattle, WA - Vera Project !
01/26 - Portland, OR - Holoscene !
01/28 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern !
01/29 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo !

! = w/ Friends & Darwin Deez
$ = w/ Twin Shadow, Apache Beat & BRAHMS
* = w/ Exrays, Bret Hamler and the Rodeo & Maus Haus

Download: C/U (Star Slinger Remix)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Douze Where's My House?

Douze is Arnault Douze Esteve, a young 23-year-old Frenchman.

Although he lives in Chantilly, it is Paris that has both inspired and gave birth to his artistic persona.

A protégé of Kris Menace, the pair teamed up in 2009 when Douze co-wrote several key tracks on Kris’ acclaimed “Idiosyncrasies” album including the techno anthem "Scaler", the sultry "Challenger" and the more downtempo "Sensuality".

In 2010 Douze once again joined forces with Kris to write and produce the track "Lockhead", which was picked up and re-edited by Steve Angello for his own Size imprint.

Following this Douze collaborated with another titan of the French house music scene, Alan Braxe, the results of which are still under lock and key in Braxe’s own production vault.

Stepping out on his own Douze released his debut solo EP, Les Paradis Artificiels, on Discotexas earlier this year and now rounds off 2010 with a new EP, Doxology, on Work It Baby that shows off yet more aspects of this young Frenchman's talent, from the yearning synths of "We Got The Love" through to the club anthem "Doxology".

Until someone breaks into Braxe's production vault and unleashes that unreleased work, pick up the two EP's, and just enjoy the sultry laid back funk of Douze's, "We Got The Love." It's like a blast out of the 80's that's to covered in pastels to ignore.

Download: We Got The Love

Little Comets Light It Up

Little Comets won't actually be releasing their new single, Joanna, for a month and a half, but through the miracle of modern technology. You can see the video now and even download an alternate version of the single.

The tune is a moody kind of Futureheads-ish (listen to the chorus) kind of heart breaker that's more syrupy sweet than actual syrup. It's a great tune that hints at just how good Little Comets debut album is going to be.

Joanna is released on January 17th followed a fortnight later by the release of their enigmatically titled debut album In Search Of Elusive Little Comets.

Until then enjoy the vid and minimalistic Joannacapella.

Download: Joannacapella

Regurgitator Throws Up A New Tune

Australian rascal art rockers, Regurgitator, are in no way new to the music industry. In fact they are veterans of the Aussie scene spawning cult classics like 'Polyester Girl', 'I like your new stuff better than your old stuff' and 'Blubber Boy' since their inception as a band in 1994.

So to have these guys back is like a gift before Christmas. Their new single, "Making No Sense," pretty much picks up right where they left off a bunch of years ago. Hitting your straight across the mouth from deep in left field, Regurgitator find grooves in all the weirdest places. It works for them and it makes, "Making No Sense," very addictive in a post-alt-rock kind of way.

"Making No Sense," is part of an ongoing plan to regularly release new material rather than focus on just doing an album. Of course Regurgitator's tongue is still firmly in the cheek and this track will no doubt go down as another classic.

Nice to have you guys back.

Download: Making No Sense

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lost On The Dead Western Plains

Dead Western Plains is a collective of young artists hailing from Tucson, AZ. They piece together copious influences to create a widely colorful and rich sound; using rhythms that often favor reverie while adding emotive melodies and maverick lyrics that leave behind a sense of wonder and charm.

"Alta" b/w "Gift Horse in the Mouth", recorded for Fort Lowell Records , is Dead Western Plains ' expressionistic debut. The group handcrafted 10+ minutes that lead the audience over hill and dale through winding musical tales of pivotal loss, Armageddon, brotherly love, haunted houses, and passionate crimes. The well-garnered compositions have a kaleidoscope of influences spanning postmodern and romantic composition, pop, hip hop, and electronic artists. "Alta" swells from beginning to end telling the story of a lonely Jesus, a botched attempt at camaraderie, and the epiphanies that come with failure. "Gift Horse in the Mouth", which summons a darker timbre from the quintet, entangles raucous guitars and ominous organs which provide the soundscape for a dire realization; everything comes to an inevitable end and the horrors that arise when one takes this certainty into their own hands.

"Alta" and "Gift Horse in the Mouth" corroborate how Dead Western Plains renders their individual experiences into an imaginative and novel sound. These two tracks, being released as Fort Lowell Records fourth installment (FLR004), shed merely a speck of light on what Dead Western Plains will offer in the future.

Download: Alta

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Wind Up Birds Get Wound Up

This time next week (on December the 6th) Sturdy Records is putting out Courage Now, For Tomorrow Will Be Worse, the new EP from Leeds’ almost embarrassingly brilliant post-punk literary genii The Wind-Up Birds.

They are larger than the average bird, have a grey, dour plumage and an unusually intense, piercing stare. They generally travel in a group of four males. The Wind-Up Birds are mainly recognised for their song. Once heard, no one can forget their awkward, screeching, unsettling call.

Sounding something like The Fall if they sobered up and beat up Art Brut, The Wind Up Birds are spiky, slightly out of sync, and properly angular in all the best way. This is the kind of band that bashes you on the side of the head with an Oxford Press Guide to Paleontology and then reads to you from it.

The Wind Up Birds are a fascinating lot and so is their new single.

Download: This Boat Is Going Nowhere Tonight, Son

Sleeping In The Aviary

I was going to do a post on Sleeping in the Aviary regardless of what they sounded like because the picture that came with their songs just happened to feature a pack of demented looking Mr. Beans ready to commit some serious crimes. The picture is just scary and hilarious at the same time.

Thankfully, along with this rather creepy photograph came a couple of good songs that happen to be rather well played indie pop with just the right dose of brashness and inability thrown in for good measure.

Think a little drunk Elephant Six collective and you might be on the right track.

The lineup of Kozel, Phil Mahlstadt (bass), and Michael Sienkowski (drums) churned out their debut album, Oh, This Old Thing? in 2007. The disc's intense bursts of lo-fi pop-punk drew comparisons to The Thermals, Buzzcocks, Violent Femmes and Nirvana. Then another side of the band’s musical personality was captured on SITA’s sophomore album from 2008. Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel (wow!!) was a move towards indie-folk heralded by the addition of fourth member, Celeste Heule, on accordion and musical saw. Kozel switched from electric to acoustic guitar for many of the songs, and also found himself screaming just a little less, exposing more of a tender side. This album cued comparisons to artists such as Neutral Milk Hotel, Bright Eyes, Baptist Generals and even Bob Dylan. For 2010, Great Vacation once again finds the band in fresh musical territory, and also with a newly-added fifth member; Kyle Sobczak on guitar.

Download: You Don't Have To Drive
Download: YMCA (No, Not That One)

Freedom Or Death

Freedom or Death is not a Tea Party mantra, but rather a band from Toronto, Canada who escaped from the music industry in the hopes of having complete control over their own destiny. Having spent a decade in the industry, they parted ways with it and took matters into their own hands.

They've done a pretty good job of it as well. Sounding something like a bit more informed Chris Martin if he were a bit more depressed, Freedom or Death sound like the Coldplay you've always wanted them to sound like; touched by Primal Scream and on heavy sedatives.

Their self-titled EP was released over the summer and the Wall Street Journal (!?), called them one of the twelve must see acts at CMJ this past fall.

Check out their cover of Nas', "Rule The World," and watch their video as well for a taste of how good Freedom is.

Download: Rule The World

Monday, November 29, 2010

School of Seven Bells Touring This Winter...

School of Seven Bells, whose album Disconnect From Desire is one of our Top 25 albums of 2010, are about to head out on the road. But before they do, they figured they'd release a new video AND a new track.

So while you're waiting for them to come to your town, you can watch/listen to "I L U," on repeat.

School of Seven Bells Tour Dates...
Dec 02 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5 supporting The Walkmen
Jan 27 – Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theatre
Jan 28 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox SoDo
Jan 29 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Jan 31 – San Francisco, CA @ Warfield Theatre
Feb 02 – La Jolla, CA @ RIMAC Arena
Feb 04 – Santa Barbara, CA @ UCSB Events Center
Feb 05 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
Feb 07 – Salt Lake City, AZ @ In The Venue
Feb 08 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theatre
Feb 11 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
Feb 12 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Feb 15 – Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
Feb 16 – Montreal, QU @ Metropolis
Feb 19 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues Boston

Download: I L U

Thursday, November 25, 2010

La Femme Tunerita

What happens if you show a bunch of French 20 somethings Peter Griffin's "Bird is the Word" episode of Family Guy? Well they form a band of course and call themselves La Femme.

Mixing chanson with surf guitars and seducing everyone in their path, La Femme are clearly destine for huge things. As La Femme prepares to for their first U.S. gigs, the band remains an enigma. Hailing from Paris, the group walks the line between erotic avant-pop and lo-fi surf rock. Their music can be flippantly light-hearted or aggressively dark depending on their mood and that's why we love these guys...and so does Peter Griffin apparently.

La Femme’s upcoming four-track EP — set for release on December 13th on 3rd Side Records. In the meantime catch a wave and check out their single, "Sur La Planche."

Download: Sur La Planche
Watch Peter Griffin:

We Were The States

We Were The States had nearly completed the recording of its new album Rasa when the Nashville floods came. With two feet of water in the basement of Coat of Arms studio, the band went from euphoric to discouraged, thinking the record they had worked on for two years would be indefinitely derailed.

Regrouping at Nashville’s Club Roar studio, the Murfreesboro-based five-piece quickly prepped for very long hours on a very limited budget, but ultimately persevered. The resulting album captures all of the energy and precise abandon of the band’s much-loved live show while also reflecting the realistic frustrations of their situation. It’s a tense record, but still a joy to listen to.

Judging by single, "Gold," the band are reaching for the stratosphere and might just make it. Take a bit of the Stereophonics and Americanize it and you have a good idea where We Were The States are coming from. Soaring, far reaching, and catchy as hell, "Gold," is a terrace anthem waiting to happen. Floods be damned, this is a band that's headed for the stars.

Download: Gold

Rock It Science Labs Strikes Gold's been a dreadful week. The number of mediocre tracks coming across the POP! Stereo headquarters has been stifling. Here it is Thursday and this is the first thing that seems worthy of our time. That being said, lets hop to it shall we?

The latest drop on the hot new label Rock It Science Laboratories, created and run by Eric Sharp and DJ Fame, is a masterpiece from S.I.M.O. & Native Intelligence complete with genre-busting remixes including veteran of the UK tech scene Evil Eddie Richards,Dubnoir’s Chris James, NYC’s Bit Crushers and Dubstep phenoms The Flying Skulls.

With this the label's fourth EP, the figured they'd just hand out a bazillion tracks and let you sort out which ones are your faves. They're all over the place and you might just end up getting dizzy by the time you finish listening to them all.

Download: Wiggle Room (Santiago & Bushido Remix)
Download: Wiggle Room (Till Bass Remix)
Download: Wiggle Room (Andrew Phelan Synth Mix)
Download: Wiggle Room (Andrew Phelan Strip Mix)
Download: Peak Time

Friday, November 19, 2010

Treefight For Sunlight

Due for release in February next year, Treefight For Sunlight’s self-titled debut album bottles their epic sunshine pop into ten mini-symphonies and shows Bella Union are embracing the new year with the same eclectic enthusiasm as ever…

The band, who have known each other since childhood, hail from Denmark; clearly a breeding ground for mavericks judging by the likes of Mew, The Raveonettes, Oh No Ono and Treefight’s fellow Bella Union voyagers The Kissaway Trail. Bands that unstitch rock/pop’s rich tapestry and weave in their own unique and challenging DNA. In Treefight For Sunlight’s case, it’s the legacy of California’s west coast pop art, from its origins in the epic harmonies of The Association and The Turtles, which had a knock-on effect in the 70s with Sparks and the 80s with LA’s Paisley Underground scene. Fans of the Flaming Lips, MGMT and Panda Bear will surely also appreciate Treefight For Sunlight’s layered, twisting, caramelised energy and absorbing imagery.

Treefight For Sunlight is released 14th February on Bella Union, preceded by the singles “What Became Of You And I” and “Facing The Sun”.

Download: What Became Of You & I

Love Those California Wives

Formed in 2009, California Wives, aka Jayson Kramer (vocals, keys, guitar), Dan Zima (vocals, bass, guitar), Joe O'Connor (drums) and Hans Michel (guitar, keys), have spent the past year working on their 5-song EP Affair. Since then, the Wives have kept busy - they just wrapped a Daytrotter session last week, and are preparing for their upcoming Winter tour.

With a rather simple approach and a sound that sort of taps into that Drums kind of post-80's British pop tradition with out being British or being from the 80's, California Wives make some darn fine indie pop. If they should actually record an album w/in the next two years they could be on to something here. Lets hope that happens.

Download: Purple

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Glass Vaults Make New Space

New Zealand duo Glass Vaults are Richard Larsen and Rowan Pierce. The duo grew up in the rural town of Manawatu, New Zealand and both enrolled at the University in Wellington to study music.

Glass Vaults may have only been around a short time but they've pretty much defined what it is to make glacial pop. Their super cool and frigid tune "New Space," is a minimal, sort of ambient sound scape that breaks into a beat driven break down that has avalanche written all over it. It's good stuff that's perfect for the falling temperatures.

The band have recently released their 12" Glass EP on colored vinyl via new Florida label JUKBOXR.

Download: New Space

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ladycop Catch A Wave

Formed in New York City in early 2006 as a recording project, Ladycop is the brainchild of singer-bassist Cliff Rawson, (formerly of Boston cult faves Araby), and drummer-composer Kolby Wade. The duo quickly gained attention with a surprising 3-song demo that sounded more than home-made, and immediately set about searching for musicians to complete the live band. After several incarnations, the group now includes two more permanent members, Anne Carlisle and Derek Kretzer. Ladycop's debut self-release EP was greeted with enthusiasm from fans and critics.

After a wildly successful first tour of Europe in the spring of '08, Ladycop put the finishing touches on their second home-made EP, We're Not the Man, and headed back to Europe for a follow up DIY road-show. This excursion netted the band three outstanding live reviews, including one from the prestigious ZXZW festival in Tillburg, Holland, as well as attention from a number of European record labels. In addition, the group was thrilled to play a week-long string of engagements with the much-loved London five-piece Cats and Cats and Cats to enthusiastic audiences across England.

Ladycop is currently touring Europe in support of their debut full-length record Waves, and will embark on a North American tour in January.

Dinosaur Bones Claim Their Birthright

The Toronto-based indie pop quintet, Dinosaur Bones, has amassed an impressive amount of accolades to date, no doubt adding weight to their shoulders, but it certainly isn't enough to keep them from forging forward. With their sound originally hatched in the college dorm room of guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Ben Fox, Dinosaur Bones (comprised of Fox, bassist Branko Scekic, keyboardist Dave Wickland, drummer Lucas Fredette, and guitarist Josh Byrne) have wasted little time of their relatively young career pushing forward, turning plenty of heads along the way.

Hazy,downtrodden, and a bit sleepy, Dinosaur Bones create tunes that are like waking up from a dream; they're sort of there but sort of not and are they're all distorted like your vision. When you finally comprehend them you realize they're pretty, rich, and very good.

Dinosaur Bones' latest EP Birthright was recorded and mixed by Jon Drew (Fucked Up, Tokyo Police Club, Arkells). Thankfully, fans will not have to wait too long to get more of the band's brand of haunting, indie-pop. My Divider, their debut LP (also recorded and mixed by Jon Drew) drops in early 2011.

Download: Birthright

No Talk More Beats

Talk is Daniel Lewis. No, not Daniel Day Lewis. This Daniel's music is an intoxicating mixture of the mystical and guttural elements of strange late night lifestyles. Talk's music is surprisingly cinematic yet, at heart, everything he produces is dark club music. With an ear toward beats that seem to be on the verge of going thirty directions at once, Talk seems to have attention defecit disorder. When you take this sort of scatter shot approach and mix it with a sound pallet that seems to have come from deep with in the abyss you have something that's not sunshiny and happy. Dark, scary, and minimal, Talk cast a brutal found sound spell that's destined to break something.

The Holy Mountain EP is Talk's debut release and it's pretty challenging. The title track is an epic bass music anthem and an ode to the 1973 psychedelic film by Alejandro Jodorowsky of the same name. "Finland" finds haunting choirs melding together over a percussive backbone, while "Burning Alive" is a dark, artful tech house wasteland of delayed voices and synths. "Walking Disease" finds Talk at work with lazer sitars, cinematic strings and haunting synth stabs; it's a dark journey through dark places.

The EP is available now...broken guitar strings, pads and all at the usual outlets.

Download: Holy Mountain

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Alan Wilkis Heads To Film School

Lots of stuff going on today so I'll make this quick...

Brooklyn-based musician, multi-instrumentalist and producer Alan Wilkis has taken on Film School and remixed it in his own special way.

He makes the track noisy, distorted, but none the less lovely. It's a bit glitchy but it shows a completely different side of Film School and that's probably why I like it.

Download: Heart Full of Pentagons (Alan Wilkis Remix)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Modern Skirts Skirt Convention

Born of four hopeful rednecks and numerous misconceptions, Athens, GA's Modern Skirts crept onto the scene in 2005 with a piano-laden debut, Catalogue of Generous Men. The record was well received, landing at #11 on Paste Magazines' 50 Best Albums of 2005 and praised by Pop Matters for its “impeccably structured, gorgeous pop.” After successful tours around the South and sold out shows at Athens’ legendary 40 Watt Club, Modern Skirts took to the road nationally for almost two years. They quickly gained a small but passionate following, while losing massive amounts of steam and developing a creeping ambivalence towards their initial musical output.

Fearful of being pigeonholed as a piano-pop band, Modern Skirts began writing a follow-up to Catalogue of Generous Men. Darker and more electronic than its predecessor Gramahawk will definitely keep the pigeonholes away. That is, unless Ben Folds starts doing heavy doses of acid and begins listening to Larry Heard.

Download: Bumper Cars

Kill Frenzy Is Stuck In 2019

Kill Frenzy has released a new mix and to say it's epic would be an understatement. You see, 2019 is over two hours long. That's ALOT of music but I'll let him explain exactly why he made it as long as he did...

"I decided it was time for another extensive mix from me. Basically, I thought one hour was too short for what I really wanted to do. I wanted to make something that really builds up from the beginning to the end and has alot of different feels and moods trough the entire mix. Something you can kick back to and just listen to in these rainy winter days. From chill out in the beginning to more uptempo at the end. I felt if I did it in any shorter time you wouldn't have the same effect so i made it 2 hours and 17 minutes long."

As for the title? "Throughout the set i sampled parts from the movie Blade Runner which, is why I called it 2019 because the story takes place in November 2019. I hope you enjoy. "

Download: 2019

Don't Step On The Glass

The Glass are Dominique Keegan and Glen 'DJ Wool' Brady. Dom runs the Plant Music label in NYC with partner Adrian "Stretch Armstrong" Bartos, and Glen lives in Berlin, where he runs the label We Collect Enemies and releases music under his DJ Wool moniker. Both originally from Dublin, the duo started collaborating in 2004. Their first two singles "Won't Bother Me" and "Hear The Music" were released on Four Music out of Germany and showcased on The Sound of Young New York compilations (which Dom compiled & the duo mixed). They subsequently released the seven-track EP Couples Therapy in 2007 and have been remixed by Mylo, 20/20 Soundsytem, Nadastrom, In Flagranti, Luke Solomon and more recently Black Van and Ian Pooley.

Their debut album At Swim Two Birds is released next week in the Americas with Europe having to wait until 2011. A nod to Dominique's and Glen's interest, the album title comes from a love of the sea from Glen (he was a water polo champ) and Dominique's budding ornithological career! Birds, water, and beats...what more could you want out of a record? Yeah, you got me...I have no idea.

Until the record comes out next week enjoy the single, "Four Four Letter."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Summer Camp Isn't Over

British duo Summer Camp's acclaimed EP Young is in stores this week in North America via Moshi Moshi records. It's pretty much an essential release since it's all you can get at the moment and will have you dreaming of warmer days and large open fields.

Everybody in the world already loves them and so should you, so download the songs below, but the EP and rejoice.

Following a highly successful tour of the UK and Europe this fall, Summer Camp is set to begin work on recording their full-length album. In anticipation of its planned release in spring/summer 2011, they will make their first visit to North America to play select dates, including an appearance at SXSW.

Download: Round To The Moon
Download: Ghost Train

Acid House Kings Return

Look I'm not even going to lie...I'm going to go listen to this song ALOT right now. So enjoy the press release below, download the song, and join me. The Kings have returned and this is a very, very good thing.

Almost six years since the release of the highly acclaimed "Sing Along with Acid House Kings" album, Sweden's pop perfectionists no. 1 are ready to release new material.

The first single "Are We Lovers or Are We Friends?" is a drive in the Swedish countryside with nothing planned and a feeling anything can happen. The radio is playing lush and heavily orchestrated 70's soul with huge arrangements and a distinct sentimentality. It's a blistering pop explosion inspired by the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest, Tommy Körberg and flamenco percussionists with a chorus that will stay with you.

Stemming from huge elitist's pop record collections and a slightly embarrassed admiration of ABBA, Stock Aitken Waterman and Swedish "dansband", Acid House Kings have continued their slow, but steady fine-tuning towards perfect pop music. And half a decade of song writing means the fans are in for something extraordinarily fabulous. - We've allowed ourselves to be extremely self-critical. Songs good enough for any of our other albums have been singled out repeatedly, says Niklas Angergård.

Acid House Kings are brothers Johan and Niklas Angergård and Niklas' sister-in-law Julia Lannerheim. "Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends?" is taken from forthcoming fifth album Music Sounds Better with You, out on Johan's birthday, March 22th, 2011. An album that during a short period was tentatively and logically named "A family affair". According to the band the new album is "sharper, catchier and livelier", a "goodbye to genre obligations" and "it's got castanets on every single song".

Download: Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends

Shugo Tokumarua Sees US Arrival

Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Shugo Tokumarua is a gifted songwriter and multi-instrumentalist responsible for producing every sound heard on his records. With his latest album, Port Entropy, Tokumaru takes the magic of his previous full-length, Exit, and expands on it. Throughout Port Entropy his arrangements soar to new heights -- most prominently in the coda of standout track "Lahaha." Conversely, the twinkling piano lullaby "Linne" showcases a quieter, more introspective side of Tokumaru's songwriting.

Introspective or jolly, Tokumaru is a twee pop genius without actually realizing he's twee or probably pop. There's a sense of innocence and joy in his songs and that's what makes them so darn good. "Lahaha," is a fantastic whimsical example of this and provides a glimps into the world he's created with Port Entropy.

Port Entropy was released in Japan on P-Vine in April of 2010 and Berlin-based label Soulterrain Transmissions in October 2010. February 15th, 2011 marks the first time the album will see a North American release through Polyvinyl. Throughout 2011, Tokumarua plans to tour extensively in support of Port Entropy, with stops planned in Europe, at SXSW, and a tour of the US from coast to coast.

Download: Lahaha

Telekinesis Avoid A Car Crash

On February 15, Merge Records will release 12 Desperate Straight Lines, the sophomore album from Telekinesis on CD, LP and digital download.

When Telekinesis mastermind Michael Benjamin Lerner set out in July to record songs for the follow-up to his debut album Telekinesis!, he found himself with no band, a case of vertigo, and a wrecked van. The long-distance relationship that inspired his debut album’s songs of wanderlust had ended, and he had just returned from a much-needed escape to Berlin where he banished himself to a room in the warehouse district to write songs from 9 to 5 each day.

With the original recording date scrapped, Michael was inspired (by the heavy, fuzzy bass in Flin Flon’s A-OK) to buy a bass guitar and, in a sudden burst of inspiration, wrote four more songs for the album. His second attempt at recording led him to Portland and Jackpot! Studios. Michael and Chris Walla continued their partnership from Telekinesis! and again recorded to tape. They tossed out all the rules—as they are wont to do when they get together—and, as Michael says, “went a little crazy,” with impromptu dance parties and recording drum parts backwards.

The result of all of this is 12 Desperate Straight Lines, twelve new songs of heartache, anger, and even a little hopefulness. Telekinesis has re-emerged with a new band featuring Jason Narducy (Robert Pollard band, Verbow) on bass and Cody Votolato (Jaguar Love, The Blood Brothers) on guitar. The van is fixed, the dizziness is gone, and Michael Benjamin Lerner has returned.

Judging by "Car Crash," the album is going to be a doozy and it seems like all the crap that Michael had gone through only made the songs on 12 Desperate Straight Lines even better. I mean, while it's hard to judge an album by a single's a pretty good bet the whole thing is going to be at least half as good as this tune. Fun stuff and quite honestly, it seems as though all this trauma prior to recording was worth it in the end!

Download: Car Crash

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Good Natured Are So Good!

The Good Natured's new single Be My Animal was released this past week.

This is the band's second official single after the release of Your Body is a Machine which has already acquired huge popularity on YouTube and plenty of public attention.

The Good Natured have also been receiving great radio and TV support for Be My Animal, including being play listed on NME TV and daytime Radio 1 airplay from Fearne Cotton.

As for the single itself, it's like a slice of Bjorkian weirdness mixed with a bit of La Roux, Florence, Little Boots, and Harriet from The Sundays. It's fantastic stuff that's literate, glossy, and as scary as it is tense. It's the sort of single that's going to make The Good Natured a name everyone will remember (just try and forget the chorus...I dare you).

Download: Prisoner
Download: Be My Animal (Zebra & Snake remix)
Download: Be My Animal (Portmanteau Remix)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Future Islands Hit The Deep South

Future Islands are on tour for much of November across the Deep South. While they're getting their tour can download a couple of tracks and pretend you're riding in their dirty cramped van!

Future Islands tour dates...
Nov 5 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506 *
Nov 6 Greenville, NC Live Nightclub *
Nov 7 Columbia, SC New Brookland Tavern *
Nov 8 Savannah, GA The Wormhole *
Nov 9 Tallahasse, FL Farside *
Nov 10 New Orleans, LA The Saint *
Nov 11 Houston, TX Fitzgerald's *
Nov 12 Austin, TX Mohawk *
Nov 13 Norman, OK Opolis *
Nov 14 Hot Springs, AR The Exchange *
Nov 15 Oxford, MS Red Star Bar *
Nov 16 Knoxville, TN The Pilot Light *
Nov 17 Atlanta, GA Eyedrum *
Nov 18 Charlotte, NC The Milestone *
Nov 19 Raleigh, NC Kings *
Nov 20 Baltimore, MD Ottobar *
* w/Lonnie Walker

Download: In Evening Air (Jason Urick remix)
Download: Tin Man (Jason Urick remix)

More Fukkk Offf...

Bastian 'Fukkk Offf' Heerhorst has been renowned for some time in his hometown of Hamburg for storming live sets in the clubs scattered around the city’s red light district. "Die sündige Meile" or "the sinful mile" as it is known, has seen its walls shaken and thighs quaked by the throbbing depths of Bastian's big room Fukkk Offf sound.

Bastian is back with his latest single called Worldwide and it's a corker. With four smokin’ new tracks this is bound to be the freshest soundtrack to Hamburg’s red light district the Reeperbahn.

"Brain Rock," comes off like a more acidic Chemical Brothers at their 90's best. Fukkk Off pretty much light the fuse to this single and run away as the tune throbs, rocks, and wobbles til it explodes. "Worldwide," on the other hand sees Fukkk Offf teaming up with Hazel for a full on Hip-Hop electro workout. It's a funky tune that funks the hell out as Hazel flows like the Rhine.

Be on the lookout for a full remix package of ‘Worldwide’ in early 2011.

Download: Brain Rock
Download: World Wide

Madison Makes Some Noise

While NYC via Miami's independent pop noise-maker Madison only recently announced the impending release of her debut EP in January of next year, it's no surprise that she's quickly begun to turn some heads.

Madison's signature sound is a postmodern pop pastiche with street-smart style--high fashion for lowbrows, if you will--and a refreshing reminder that great pop music is essential even in today's world of pervasive indie. She lives this ethos everyday. Madison left the world of academia to pursue music, trading a past as a published neuroscience and medical school student for the New York art scene to pursue the science of pop.

The first installment of a 4-part EP series/multi-part pop and art project, The Noise Some People Make will be released on January 11th, 2011 on her very own G Records. Madison is madly pursuing a new perspective to pop music: the setting of trends, the making of tastes, a business model that is perfect for the new music "industry" - playing by one's own rules, which for Madison means having no rules at all; pop made with no boundaries, no labels, no super star producer--and entirely on Madison's own terms.

Download: Hot Hot Love
Download: Number One

Victim of Sensual Harassment

If you've ever experienced one of those nights and dreamt you were being chased through an enchanted black forest by an army of blood-thirsty zombies, Sensual Harassment may have just created the perfect accompanying soundtrack. "Boss", the lead single from their new album Alpha Draconis, is a fist-pumping, rock massacre staged on a hypnotic horror-disco dance floor.

Working closely again with producer Jesse Cannon (Animal Collective, The Cure), the Brooklyn band has crafted a dense and otherworldly blend that melds the precision percussion and screaming TB-303 synth lines of 'Homework' era Daft Punk with the bold and brassy synth jabs of early New Order, all narrated by a claustrophobic vocal so densely packed with reverb and delay that it's panic-inducing in it's own right. In true form, the band avoids convention and ends the journey with unexpected waves of ear-piercing shoegaze guitar noise that despite it's somber overtones, feels like a cathartic escape.

Dramatic, proggy, epic, and sounding as though they've come from another planet, Sensual Harassment have come up with some special blend of rock and dance music that' would make Moroder blush. "Boss," is crazy post-everything that fits somewhere between Blue Oyster Cult, the dance floor and a car chase.

Download: Boss

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Take a Trip to Bell Gardens

Bell Gardens began with just two friends (Kenneth James Gibson and Brian McBride) over many late nights talking and playing for each other the songs that have inspired them over the years. Songs such as the Beach Boy’s, "Cuddle Up," Jack Nitzsche’s, "We Have to Stay," and even a Bobby Vinton song or two, seemed to make sense of their lives at the time. Even when the duo first thought about making music together, Skeeter Davis’s, "End of the World," was unanimously chosen as a piece that the duo would aspire to properly cover.

When Brian traveled to Europe in the Fall of 2007 to tour for Stars of the Lid’s And The Refinement of the Decline, Kenneth had sent him some demos of some tracks he had been working on. While Brian sat in the van awaiting his next performance, he starred out at the European countryside studying the Gibson’s tracks and other songs that he had loved for some time but wanted a better understanding of why. Occasionally before the beginning of a performance, Brian would turn to these recordings. Upon returning from tour, recording for the duo began.

Initial recordings found Kenneth and Brian trying to stay faithful to a time period in which songs had been recorded. Wanting to experiment in what they believed to be a classic type of sound, the two used mainly live instrumentation, thinking about what was available in studios from the 50s to the mid 70s. Pre-set software sounds were rejected for their own recording of pianos, strings and horns. Even the sounds of the strings were often recorded flat in an attempt to preserve both room sounds and the natural sound of the instrument. If you were to ask Kenneth and Brian about the process of recording, they would probably say that the music they’re making in Bell Gardens is more “experimental” for them than their previous work.

A search for Kenneth James Gibson in the database, will turn up eight or more different monikers, from the California dream noise rock project of the middle 90s, The Furry Things to his current techno artisanry as [a]pendics.shuffle. Brian McBride is better known as one half of the nocturnal lullaby giants, Stars of the Lid.

The EP Hangups Need Company by Bell Gardens is loosely based on a sense of “pop” from another time. Although pop is what you could call it, there is still a sense of restraint and unhurried beauty here combined with a sense of heady beds of weirdness. The LA Weekly describes it like this: “It’s gorgeous, rapturous pop balladry with candy-coated Beach Boys falsettos and pre-afro-Phil Spector production. It’s weightless with gravitas. Gibson might be the techno flavor du jour, but this is the stuff that will mark his place. I found him.”

The resulting tunes are haunting ambient works that are layered with all kinds of unique sounds and influences. It's gorgeously quiet stuff that might just scare the bejesus out of you if you're not careful. It's nice to know that in todays crazy world, there are still loads of people that appreciate reflective music...Bell Gardens are one of those bands.

Download: Can We Get (Robert Hampson's La nuit étoilée remix)