Friday, May 28, 2010

Have I Got NEUS For You

Based in Corsica, France NEUS (New Experimental for Universal Sound) came together soon after Gael Guidicelli came up with the name in 2007.

Around that time Gael went from experimenting with acoustic and electronic music to moving forward with the idea of actually making music that integrated both sounds. He started by heavily producing and recording his own acoustic samples and layering them into a natural style of electronic music that made for interesting listening.

Call it minimal, emotronic, ambient, hard electro or call it whatever you like, NEUS's versatility, accuracy and improvisation is what keeps the music fresh. You can hear this on not only his original works but his remixes as well. Sliced, diced, chopped, but still somehow organic the songs he comes up with almost seem like their breathing (see the remix's timed like a gasp for air). He may not have quite lived up to his recording name, but there can be no doubt that Gael is continuing to experiment and toss ideas around in a never ending quest for that universal sound.

Download: Orchestra of Insomnia
Download: Breakbot - Iron Zombie (NEUS Remix)
(both downloads are via Mediafire)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Walking Sleep

Los Angeles' Walking Sleep unveiled its first full-length album, Measures this week. Recorded at the Ship Studio in Eagle Rock, CA with Aaron Espinoza (Earlimart, Admiral Radley) behind the boards, Measures, features 10 tracks showcasing the scope and breadth of Walking Sleep’s unique sound.

From the fast and tight garage rock of ‘Final Chapter’ to the expansive strings (played by members of The Section Quartet, among others) and Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra vocals of ‘Let It Go On’, the songs offer a variety of textures and hooks while maintaining a strong sense of identity and purpose.

This is a band that uses everything at it's fingertips to come up with some intriguingly dark but good indie pop.Think something approaching an Elephant Six type group mashed together in the back of a van with an orchestra and maybe some Aracde Fire and you kind of have an idea of where Walking Sleep are coming from. Using theremin's, glockenspiels, boy/girl vocals, jangly guitars, jumpy drums Walking Sleep make music for anything but sleep walking.

The band plans to tour in support of the record, after completing an enormously successful month long April residency at Spaceland in Los Angeles.

Download: In A Dream
Download: Final Chapter

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three Left Clubfeet

Melbourne-via-Capetown trio Clubfeet are excited to announce the release of their debut album Gold on Gold with NY dance label Plant Music, set for release on July 27th.

Gold on Gold comes just in time for summer: their songs double as beach party anthems and four-on-the-floor club bangers and may have you believe they were recorded on warm nights on the Cote d'Azur, and then mixed on the last Concorde over the Atlantic. Having drawn comparisons by critics to Hot Chip, Teenagers, and Junior Boys, their whimsical lyrics and tear-jerking melodies offer a different take on the usual tales of lost love, late night parties, and infidelities.

"Teenage Suicide," is a perfect example of this and also shows the band to either love Heather's quite a bit OR love Unrest quite a bit. The song is instantly memorable and will have you wanting to steal things with Winona Ryder or talk like Jack Nicholson w/Christian Slater. Check it out for yourself and then take a lunch time poll.

Download: Teenage Suicide

Put Coltrane In Motion

Coltrane Motion might seem like some John Coltrane revival or tribute, but alas, it is not. Coltrane Motion instead is a duo who specialize in something that sounds like a shoegazing geek lost in the middle of a James Murphy DJ set. It other words it's a wall of sound with repetitive beats.

The band themselves describe what they've done as making a dance record that sounds like what they dance to: girl groups and big beat and fuzzed-out indiepop. They wanted to make a shoegazing laptop record out of drum breaks, drone and broken synthesizers and then call it rock n roll.

They've done a good job at it as these guys create super danceable grooves with a strong sense of melody and more pedal usage than a car. It's fantastic stuff that unites two distinct camps in a way that Curve used to all the time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ratatat Return

Here's a quickie post before lunch...

Ratatat's new album, LP4, their fourth for XL, was conceived following the prolific LP3 recording sessions at Old Soul Studios, in rural upstate New York and much of the album was ultimately was recorded there as well. And while the albums were born in the same studio LP4 is by no means an extension of its predecessor. The band describe it as a 'weirder' listen than LP3, with a much braver approach to the arrangements. Ratatat incorporated even more sounds and instruments into the mix on this album, working for the first time with a full string section, which they recorded at Glassworks Studios in Manhattan.

Since the release of LP3 the band has toured relentlessly playing shows as far away as Vietnam, China and Cambodia, and selling out bigger venues than ever before. Ratatat's US touring ended with two sold out nights at New York's Terminal 5, playing to over 6,000 people.

The period in between albums also saw Ratatat’s sideline in hip-hop production develop from a hobby into mainstream commercial success, with two tracks featured on Kid Cudi's debut album. One of these tracks was the single 'Pursuit of Happiness', which the band performed live on Letterman with Cudi in September of 2009.

Download: Party With Children

Kenseth Thibideau Loves Repitition

Maybe because I'm posting this at an early part of the morning...but Kenseth Thibideau's new single is just about the definition of perfect mellow pop. Gorgeous, minimal, and sounding something like a weird Pale Saint's b-side in love with Mojave 3, the tune is the sound of the sun rising or setting depending on where your at. It hit me right between the ears and I thank it for that. Tune of the day w/o question.

In the past dozen years, Kenseth Thibideau has become a staple of the Southern California independent music scene. He co-founded a pair of highly-acclaimed experimental rock groups (Tarentel and Rumah Sakit) while in San Francisco, then returned to San Diego to find himself suddenly collaborating with many of the city's most respected and acclaimed musicians. He soon became a touring member of Pinback and Three Mile Pilot, and formed Sleeping People, the frenetic instrumental group that also featured a pre-Dirty Projectors Amber Coffmann - all while continuing his semi-solo Howard Hello project with Marty Anderson (Okay, Dilute).

Repetition is Thibideau's first true solo album, having written, performed, recorded and produced every note. Inspired by an increasing obsession with the Can/Cluster/Harmonia/Tangerine Dream world of classic krautrock and European prog, Repetition fittingly centers around a series of circular melodies anchored by repetitive grooves and colored by swirling keyboards and understated vocals. It's a surprisingly diverse formula that proves extremely successful.

Of the dozen or more projects that Thibideau has played a part in over the years, Repetition may be the most subtly rewarding. It's unusually understated for an album that adequately displays the many strengths of one of the west coast's most genuinely talented musicians, and thus makes each listen more revelatory than the last. Repetition comes out July 20th.

Download: Black Hole

Friday, May 21, 2010

Watch Out The Streets On Fire

Referring to themselves as more of a collective than a band, The Streets On Fire members bring a unique set of experiences and influences. Says lead singer Chadwick, “We like to pull from infinite sources, from CB radios, to the way girls danced in the 80s, to the way people walked in the 70s.” Humor, diverse roots and the quest for a good time define the group. “We all like to dance” says Chadwick.

On July 20th, The Streets on Fire present their first full-length album, This is Fancy. Recorded over the course of four days with the help of friends at Woohoo Studios, the band kept a foot in the past using analog recording gear and tracking to a 1” 8-track MCI tape machine. Mixed by Alex Gross at Chicago’s famed Studio 11 and with the mastering touch of Shellac’s Bob Weston, the result is a decadently tattered, high-energy sound with a retro-aesthetic appeal.

Post punk with a bit of rock and roll thrown in, the take the past and strangle it, wring it, and rob it of everything it's worth and then chuck it aside. They then take all that mash it together with a bit of Gang of Four and come up with something that's theirs. Angular, raw, and speedy, these guys hurry their way through songs as if someone was out to get them. This is Fancy sounds like its going to be a paranoid delight...until that record escapes enjoy the single below...

sparkydog and Friends

Sparkydog and Friends, a Florida based band created by a quintet of talented multi-instrumentalists that have gone from indie rockers to wonky poppers. For their latest record, People of the World effort this vivacious group, led by two principle songwriters teamed up with legendary UK producer Mick Glossop (Frank Zappa, Van Morrison, PiL) to bring their glowing, futuristic pop music to full-fledged realization on their latest EP.

Formed amidst a swirl of experimental acoustics and pawnshop guitars inside a fourtrack-ed garage, the members of Sparkydog embraced their music journey early on. After a functioning live format was ranked, the band started gigging and soon found themselves exchanging emails with producer Glossop and thinking of the future, which can be heard here, on the group's latest EP.

Sounding like a cross between being half asleep and floating in space, Sparkydog most definitely bring to mind wonky dream pop. While it all sounds as if it's going to collapse into a million pieces, the band hold it together and come up with something that's remarkably catchy, slightly psychedelic, and really quite adorable.

Download: Radiowaves

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shadow Shadow Shade

Originally formed as an art project amongst friends and originally known as The Afternoons, Shadow Shadow Shade steadily grew into the seven-piece behemoth that it is today. Synthesizing anthemic rock ‘n roll with the drama of a Wagnerian opera, scruffy Americana, and hints of psychedelia, the group was able to distill its large palette of influences into a truly unique and highly magnetic concoction.

In other words they somehow manage to cram the entire history of Elephant Six into their songs and come up with something that's sweeping, orchestral, huge, and really quite good. I guess that's to be expected with more members in the group than the Fall has had in the last twenty years. They manage to do it all and you can hear that on, "Is This Tempest in the Shape of a Bell." When you look up the word big pop song or chamber pop in the dictionary these guys would seem to fit in as the picture on the page.

Amazingly, these guys have yet to finish their debut album. But promise to do so soon...either before of after their tour which starts later this week and treks up and down the West Coast.

Download: Is This Tempest in the Shape of a Bell

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Proper Villains Under The Big Top

Over a year in the making, Proper Villains have finally released their latest EP! Big Top is about as big as you can go, complete with swervey bass, air horns galore, ghetto claps and even some of that most coveted of rave resources – the piano breakdown! Yes, this is perfect for the festival season and if this don't get those filthy ravers going, then nothing will.

The title track, “Big Top”, is a rolling bass-house masterpiece with massive undulating bass under horn stabs and wait -is that Ozzy? This is truly a tune for the big top and with more sounds and samples than a sequencer the song is absolutely mad....oh's wicked and wobbly. All it really needs is a lion roar for that true circus feel.

Nice stuff indeed.

Download: Big Top

Let's Play Keepaway

Many people aspire to make music. Some people aspire to make art. A few people aspire to change lives. Three people aspire to literally tear a hole in the fabric of your life and soul those three individuals are known as Keepaway.

The latest in a never ending line of New Yorkers, Keepaway, take all the other New York bands and sounds chuck them out the window and head somewhere to the northwest where bands like Modest Mouse once ruled the world.

Sounding as rough, jagged, and odd as the might Modest Mouse, Keepaway create their songs with a shambolic, barely hanging together approach. In fact, their new EP Baby Style sounds as though it might just rip itself apart at any moment. It's half assed brilliance that really shouldn't sound as good as it does, but somehow it does. As if that's not confusing enough the band describe Baby Style for when you want to feel young, but you got to stay old.

Download: Yellow Wings

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Faded Paper Figures Come Alive

In their much-anticipated second album, New Medium, Faded Paper Figures return with a richer, fuller sound, even as they maintain all of Dynamo's indie-tronica charm. Fans of the band will be happy to hear all of the familiar blips, harmonies, and intellectual pop-references, but with even more life and energy this time around. Striking melodies, lyrical images, and classic pop forms--New Medium's lush electronica feels both intimately familiar and astonishingly new.

"Invent It All Again," is an absolutely adorable tune. It's the kind of tune that will make some weep, some jump around with...err glee, and pretty much stick around every one's head for ages. With lots of wobbles, squelchy bits, and melodies that are sweet enough to draw ants this is kind of what I Am The World Trade Center would be like today if they continued on or what Figurine could have been before the Postal Service came along. "Invent," is sumptuous, crush worthy indie pop that's perfect for doing the indie shuffle to, holding hands, or making out. The sound track for summer just popped up on your Ipod...enjoy it.

Never A Lull

With the release of Ice Cream Bones, an EP, in May of 2009, A Lull was a band that was confident, but was somewhat still searching for its sound. After countless more hours in practice spaces, basements and bedrooms, A Lull kept at it, and after over seventy-five songs and partial song ideas, something began to take shape. In May, A Lull released Weapons For War/Spread It All Around, a vinyl and digital single from its upcoming full-length record, Confetti.

Using a mixture of conventional and non-traditional recording techniques, A Lull employs anything and everything available to create beats, melodies, textures and layers of sound. The music is experimental in the ways that it takes form, but is accessible and captivating.

Sounding like forty trains stuck in at the French chunnel junction complete with horns blazing, "Weapons For War," is an intriguing percussive tune that sounds like a cross country train journey set to an off kilter beat. This is ingenious post-everything stuff that will have you buying a ticket to ride the rails in an instant. This is the soundtrack to your next journey by train and it's brilliant.

A Lull plans to release Confetti later in 2010 and the band will continue to tour, with local dates throughout the summer and national dates scheduled in August.

Download: Weapons For War

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ten Tracks You Need #66

Well lookie here...we're on time! Yes it's true, this is actually the third Ten Tracks You Need post this week. about keeping busy. Anyway, we're sort of organized for now and we've been keeping the email monsters at bay so with that kind of efficiency you can expect things to stay this way.

I know there has been loads of footie as of late, but has anyone realized yet, that the 2010 World Cup is less than a month away? Time flies when you're not on the pitch but the time for the mayhem and chaos of the Cup is about to get under way.

It will be interesting to watch, especially here in the States as once again the Americans are ranked in the top 15. Will they actually play or be stunned into submission by how the English, Europeans, and if they're lucky the South Americans play football? My guess is they'll lose to England make it out of the group with them and then promptly be eliminated in the second round. As for England...hopes are even higher and please dear god at least make it into the semis.'s been 44 years since you've made it through to the end.

As for who will win it...I would love England to win it all...but there's this little team from down south called Brazil. And well you know, they're Brazil. They're one of the few teams you can just say that and everyone agrees. and knows what your talking about.

Who are you hoping makes it through? Who do you think will win it all? Post it below...and if you're lucky, I'll send you some free stuff including random CD's, stickers, badges, etc.

Ten Tracks You Need
1) Toro Y Moi - Blessa website

2) Gobble Gobble - Seizure to the Metronome website

3) Casio Kids - Finn Bikkjen website

4) Club 8 - Western Hospitality website

6) The Mary Onettes - The Night Before The Funeral website

7) Mad Planet - Love Addicts website

8) Damien Jurado - Cloudy Shoes website

9) Boy 8 Bit - Wolfen (Loose Cannons Howl at the Moon Mix) website

10) Wolf Parade - Call It A Ritual website

Bonus Zips
Elite Force - May 2010 DJ Mix

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - Om Nashi Me (Tim Anderson Remix)

RCRD LBL (opens in seperate window)
Arthur Baker - AB/HURTS - Onederful (Planet Rocka Dub)

Sleigh Bells - Tell Em

Boys Noize - Transmission (Tiga Remix)

The Dead Weather - Die By The Drop

SMD - Aspic Live

The City and the Horses

Tremendous Fucking

Mary Onettes


Kidd Russell

La Strada

SoundCloud Mixes/Tracks
Echo VacioEcho Vacio Lot49 Guest Mix May 2010byLOT49

Dylan Rhymes and Meat KatieDylan Rhymes & Meat Katie feat. Iconical "Only You" Pt.1byLOT49

Your Body Is A Machine Your Body Is A Machine by partisanpr

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cowboys and Indians and Bears

Cowboy Indian Bear started off like most bands; in search of a name.

When members CJ Calhoun, Beau Bruns and Marty Hillard came together they couldn't decide on a band name so they traded a buddy a six pack of beer for the one they settled on. For the Lawrence, Kansas-based trio, the name was essential. With featherweight melodies, ghost-like echoes and whirring rhythms they create an ethereal celebration that is tempered with a tinge of classic rock/pop. Reflective of the free association ethos of the music, Cowboy Indian Bear stands as the perfect name for its sprawling, ambitious sound.

The trio began working on material in April 2008. Building from demos that CJ and Beau compiled on the side of their previous project, the group quickly found themselves moving in a unique direction. With each member drawing from a variety of influences the resulting sound is, at once, a singular statement with timeless appeal. In February 2009 they released a self-titled, three-song EP to critical acclaim and a strong grassroots response from all over the Midwest.

After signing to Kansas City label The Record Machine in early 2010, the band released a 7-inch split with It's True!, a quintet from Omaha, NE. After two years in the making the release of their full-length debut album Each Other All The Time, Cowboy Indian Bear is confident that a six pack was a small price to pay.

Download: Mathematicians / Colour
Download: Saline

Friday, May 14, 2010

Loads of Sub Pop!

Sometimes friends wind up in places that you would have never guessed. Well that's what happened to a friend of mine who now works for a rather famous indie label up in Seattle that has some affiliation with that band that sung something about Teen Spirit. Since she started there, she's been informing me of all these band that have recently put out records on Sub Pop or are planning to put something out over the next month and it's been overwhelming in the best possible way.

To say they aren't busy at SP HQ would be a HUGE understatement. It seems as though between March and July they've released a new album a day. It's a redonkulous release schedule and what's terrifying about it all is that everyone of those releases is pretty much essential.

So what I figured I'd do here is just share a ton of Sub Pop tunes with you...some new some really new and some not even new they're so new.


Download: Blitzen Trapper - Heaven and Earth
Blitzen Trapper's Destroyer of the Void is out on June 8th.

Download: Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba - Muscow
Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba's I Speak Fula is out now.

Download: Wolf Parade - Ghost Pressure
Wolf Parade's Expo 86 is out on June 29th

Download: Album Leaf - Falling From The Sun
Album Leaf's A Chorus of Storytellers is out now.

Download: Coco Rosie - Lemonade
Coco Rosie's Grey Oceans is out now.

Download: Obits - Two Headed Coin
Obits' I Blame You is out now.

Download: Tiny Vipers - Dreamer
Tiny Vipers' Life On Earth is out now.

Download: Vetiver - More Of This (Neighbours Remix)
Vetiver's Tight Knit is out now.

You can find out about all these releases on the Sub Pop website and even by them there.

Neverever Remember Classic British POP!

Jihae and Wallace Meek are a couple with a keen ear for POP who've travelled the world together in search of the perfect tune. Having met in Glasgow while Ms. Meek was the singer for pop phenoms The Royal We and Mr. Meek helmed the excellent Bricolage, they eventually relocated to LA to soak in the sunny vibes and pop history. Surrounded by stacks of dusty 45s, crack musicians and dinette counters lined with hopefuls and has-beens, they set about on the next stage in their musical journey. Neverever is their new band, a tough group with a flair for echoey three minute symphonies, marrying classic pop melodies with punk-informed crunch and glam-infused 70s stomp.

Angelic Swells is the their debut album, and it's a remarkable effort that takes in 50s rock 'n roll, 60s girl-group sounds, the 70s glam heyday of Slade and Suzi Quatro and 80s power-pop on its way to creating a bang-up-to-date idea of what pop should sound like in 2010. It's a timeless sound: fuzzy riffs, pounding rhythms and tales of teenage love and lust. In other words - classic POP. From the epic, widescreen opener of "Here Is Always Somewhere Else" to the breathless tale of adolescent sexual awkwardness that is "Coconut Shampoo" to the slow-dance swoon of "16th Wonder," every tune could be a lost hit echoing from a crackly AM radio. Not that there's anything lo-fi happening here; the band worked hard with Jeff Ehrenberg at famed LA studio Infrasonic (No Age, Beck, Peter Case) to give Angelic Swells that warm, technicolor sound that marks so many great records.

Neverever know their pop history, but they also know how to write great songs and Angelic Swells provides ample evidence of that. It is a an ambitious, iconoclastic record packed with rambunctious riffs, rumbling drums, ear-nagging melodies and, most of all, timeless tunes.

Download: Young and Dumb

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Join The Kids At The Bar

Everybody hates Kids at the Bar...I mean come on, they're just an annoyance...they hog the space, they don't spend money, and they just kind of stand around. Then there are these Kids at the Bar. These kids are hyper, jumpy, and simply unable to sit still.

Cranking out tunes faster than Toyota can issue recalls, Kids at the Bar have release about 35 singles in the last year including their latest, Your Body On Me. Taking something that sounds like a commercial indie vocal (think Owl City or something like that), a basketful of beats, and an insatiable desire to level a dance floor and there you have Kids creating on heck of a single. It's a master stroke of simplicity that's been remixed by a whole host of folks including Dirty Disco Youth, Trash Yourself, Jesse Jamz, Crystal Vision and Beatpunks.

The result of all of this is a single that's drenched is sweat, pieced together with chopped up beats and vocals, slathered in dirty and broken synths and glued together with a chorus that's as deadly as Ebola. Excellent stuff then.

Download: Kids At The Bar - Your Body On Me (Dirty Disco Youth Remix)
Download: Kids At The Bar - Your Body On Me (Trash Yourself Remix)
Download: Kids At The Bar - Your Body On Me (Jesse Jamz Remix)
Download: Kids At The Bar - Your Body On Me (Crystal Vision Remix)
Download: Kids At The Bar - Your Body On Me (Beatpunks Remix)

Seinking Ships Relive The Past

From the POP! Stereo History of POP! comes today's lesson starring Eric Matthews and Miki Berenyi...

Eric Matthews...He was once of the legendary Cardinal - the groundbreaking orchestral pop act that paved the way for everyone from The Polyphonic Spree to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Eric was also signed to Sub Pop and released the classic 'Fanfare' single (and an LP that MOJO cited as 'one of the 67 Lost albums You Must Own').

He decided to make an album with Ohio native Christopher Seink under the guise of Seinking Ships, that would be mainly instrumentals inspired by 80's soundtrack music. But somewhere during the recording of said instrumental album they decided some vocals would be great and the name Miki Berenyi comes up. Now note that Miki had pretty much dropped out of the music business after Lush.

Amazingly Eric found a way to get in touch, and sent her music. Even more amazingly Miki decided to become involved, and laid vocals on a few tracks for the album - a release that is entitled Museum Quality Capture.

Now with everything complete and Miki in tow, the record is set for release and shall be unleashed upon an unsuspecting public who may or may not remember any of this band's history.

Download: One Day Forever
Download: You Didn't Love Me (ft. Miki Berenyi)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fall Into This Tender Trap

Taken from their forthcoming long player Dansette Dansette, "Girls With Guns" shows off the newly propulsive, harmony-heavy edge that Tender Trap have acquired with the addition of Elizabeth Morris of Allo Darlin' (fuzzy guitar) and Katrina Dixon (stand-up drums). The new line-up appears to have rejuvenated Amelia's songwriting: gone is the more contemplative pop classicism of recent years to be replaced by a riot grrrl-esque tale of sisterhood and revenge that wouldn't be out of place among the punkest moments of her previous outfits. While guitars and drums rush by in a blur, Amelia and her new girl crew swear a cold-hearted vengeance on the unreliable and untrustworthy menfolk of the town.

In contrast with earlier Tender Trap, which had a more electronic bent, the new revitalized 'Trap has stronger links to the pop lineage of its founding members; Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey were in influential indie pop originals and John Peel favorites Talulah Gosh and Heavenly, who released records on such labels as Sarah Records, K and Stephen Pastel's 53rd and 3rd. Revered by today's revitalized indie pop scene, their records are floor-fillers at indie dance clubs and their influence can be heard in bands such as Los Campesinos! (who namecheck Amelia in their song "International Tweexcore Underground") and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart among countless others.

Whatever Tender Trap chooses to sound like, it doesn't matter because as long as Amelia is still making music life is good. "Girls With Guns," is a spiky blast of indie pop that at times sounds a bit punky, a bit rockabilly(??) and at times like vintage Talulah Gosh. In other words, it's awesome hooky, melodic stuff that had me breaking out all my old Heavenly records.'s nice to have you back.

Download: Girls With Guns

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thieves Like Us

Thieves Like Us are named after a New Order song and are two Swedes and one American living in Berlin, Paris, and Milan. They are one of the only multi-nationals that won't exploit you. Mexicans love them. The French love them. Americans love them. The Japanese love them. Neither Andy Grier (vocals, guitar), Björn Berglund (synth), nor Pontus Berghe (percussion) live in their home countries, and none of them probably ever will again.

Thieves Like Us continue their style of sentimental electronic music with their second long player, Again and Again. Recorded in early 2009 in a basement in Paris, the songs here reflect the mood of the band, and focus particularly on failed relationships, alcoholism, and the yearning for that perfect imaginary soul mate.

While the faster songs like "Shyness," "One Night With You" and "The Walk" are clearly aimed at the French dance floors, there are plenty of downtempo songs here too. "Never Known Love" and "So Clear" fit somewhere in the spectrum of Slowdive or The Cocteau Twins. After following the band through the highs of their nighttime adventures, the album closes with the very intimate ballad "Forget Me Not" and we are left realizing what goes up, must come down.

Download: Forget Me Not

Robots In The USA

Robot USA is the musical alter-ego of Jeffrey Konrad. Konrad released his album Loose Canyons in 2008 to much critical acclaim. Since that time period, Konrad has been working on a follow-up to that album. However, Robot USA is not that follow-up.

Instead, Robot USA is a playful diversion that Konrad has embarked on to explore new musical directions and exorcise funk demons. Unlike the vocal-heavy songs of Konrad, the Robot USA material is predominately instrumental, with a strong emphasis on vintage analog synthesizers and old school drum machines. However, defining Robot USA as merely a side-project for Konrad would be a mistake, as this album stands on it's own.

Let the machines take over....

Download: Ill Style
Download: Captain Bomb

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Behold The Lazer Crystal

Lazer Crystal is a musical node comprised of three humans and various mechanisms. They are from the city of Chicago, Illinois and have thus far released two limited selections on the collectors imprint HBSP-2X. The first Hot Pink BMX single was printed in an edition of 300 copies and spray painted by hand, some with custom textile covers. The following EP1 release was even more unique. Lazer Crystal asked several artists to contribute artwork for another 300 copy limited release. The results were that approximately 50 people contributed designs and every single record ended up with a unique jacket. These were displayed "gallery style" for a special release on Record Store Day.

The members of Lazer Crystal are Nicholas Read (electronics & vocals), Josh Johannpeter (percussion), & Mikale De Graff (vocals & electronics). MCMLXXX is their first full-length and is released by the mighty Thrill Jockey.

Download: Bad Indian
Download: Hot Pink BMX
Download: Love Rhombus

Annuals Hit The Road

In support of their new release, Sweet Sister, Annuals are hitting the road tonight with The Most Serene Republic and What Laura Says for the first leg of their summer tour (dates below).

In 2006, the six members of Raleigh, NC group Annuals earned critical adoration with their debut album, Be He Me. Their expansive, energetic sound and tight pop sensibilities captured the hearts and ears of listeners and critics alike, propelling them toward the next step in their career: their first major-label release, Such Fun, on Canvasback Records in 2008. At an age where many are just starting their careers, Annuals, armed with a reputation for solid songwriting and several years of experience, now goes back to the formula and sound that first cemented their acclaim. The Sweet Sister EP marks band leader Adam Baker's return to the producer role, Annuals' return to a more tight-knit DIY collective, and a pure distillation of their trademark quirky pop experimentalism.

Those dates...
Wed May 5th @ Crofoot Ballroom Pontiac, MI
Thu May 6th @ Grog Shop Cleveland Heights, OH
Fri May 7th @ Empty Bottle Chicago, IL
Sat May 8th @ 400 Bar Minneapolis, MN
Tue May 11th @ Crocodile Seattle, WA
Wed May 12 @ Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR
Fri May 14th @ Bottom of The Hill San Francisco, CA
Sat May 15th @ Spaceland Los Angeles, CA
Sun May 16th @ The Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ
Wed May 19th @ Emo’s Alternative Lounge Austin, TX
Thu May 20th @ Mango’s Café Houston, TX
Fri May 21st @ Hailey’s Denton, TX
Sun May 23rd @ Old Rock House St. Louis, MO
Sun May 23rd @ Old Rock House St. Louis, MO
Tue June 15th @ Dc9 Washington, DC
Wed June 16th @ North Star Bar Philadelphia, PA
Thu June 17th @ Great Scott Allston, MA
Fri June 18th @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn, NY
Sat June 19th @ Maxwell's Hoboken, NJ
Sun June 20th @ Mercury Lounge New York, NY

Download: Loxtep

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Swedish Band Alert: The Amplifetes

The band, The Amplifetes, think of themselves as a dream team collaboration of their influences - listing 60s Psychedelia, The Electric Light Orchestra, The Ramones, Elvis Costello, David Bowie and Chicago Trax Records house music releases.

The highly crazy, nonsensical but addictive sound that results when you combine all those influences into songs can be heard in The Amplifetes debut single It's My Life. The single, a spitting image of urban life and a happy three-part marriage between garage pop, electro and punk has already made a few waves. It was featured recently in a promo campaign for Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli, starring Milla Jovovich (Zombies, short skirts, 6" heels, Bentleys...just another day at the office), creating quite a stir over europe.

While Europe was going under a financial wave of destruction and Milla was toting her uber-pricey Mastercard, the framework for the production of The Amplifetes debut album was being put together. Dictated by geography and time, the band members never actually met until the album was being mixed. With members in different cities, and writing and recording taking place over the Internet, it made for some interesting times. As bizarre as a situation as this might sound, the parameters created a very special atmosphere for the creative process, or as The Amplifetes singer Peter described it, "a feeling of weightlessness, like being trapped inside a bubble of soft stone."

Eventually, escaping the bubble, The Amplifetes managed to get everything and have recently released their debut album. It might have taken a T1 line and a lot of faceless communication, but they managed to get it done and judging by the single and the tracks below, they may be on to something...

Download: It's My Life
Download: Whizz Kid
Download: Whizz Kid (Blende Remix)
Download: Whizz Kid (Big Beat Remix)
Watch: That Commercial....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This Ape Machine RAWKS.

Ape Machine releases their debut album, This House Has Been Condemned, on May 4, 2010. Self-released through their own Ape Machine Music, this 5 piece from Portland, OR blends equal parts rock n’ roll, blues, stoner rock and psychedelia.

The name Ape Machine, which is a nod to the days of reel-to-reel recording, captures the heady mix of animal aggression and technical precision in the music. Featuring ex-members of Slow Dance recording artist Evening Episode, Grey Day Record’s Minmae, plus MCA’s Fenix TX, the band's mission is to combine intense melody, cutting riffs and blistering live improvisation. Where many bands rely on meticulously rehearsed, just-like-the-record-parts, Ape Machine provides a live experience that is as unique as each evening it shares with an audience. Molten countenance, decibel therapy!

While their other bands may reek of cheese and Hot Topic, Ape Machine is serious ass kicking rock and roll. This is the sound of corduroy bell bottoms, chukka boots, and guitars...lots and lots of guitars; all running on Orange amps cranked up to twenty. I'll be the first to admit, I was cynical about how good this band actually could be. Then I heard just how these guys rock and it made me run out and buy a 1973 Camaro, a jean jacket, and a 8 track tape player just so I could play program one (kids, go ask your parents) of This House Has Been Condemned, and taking copious amounts of Robert Plant's Miracle Long Hair and Chest Hair Grow (tm). Fuck yeah!

This is rock and roll and it RAWKS!!

Download: All Times

Aresenal Gets Estupendo (and I forget how to spell)

Launching into summer with the force of the FA Cup are Arsenal, not Arsène Wenger’s troupe of Gunners, but Belgium’s finest purveyors of multicoloured, versatile worldly pop.

With the first of two singles (one titled, one not) , out now, Arsenal is going to be all over the pitch with tunes being fired from all corners. That first single entitled, Estupendo, is a catchy little number with hints of 80s synthpop, including a chorus that’s equally catchy as breezy and a stupendously addictive hook that's been remixed into the twilight zone by a host of artists including Kid Gloves, Compuphonic and Gui Borrato.

It's a single that has Summer Anthem written all over it and Brazilian button pusher Gui Borrato (below) makes this tune a summer night staple a month before the season. Keeping most of the vocals (courtesy of Scott Mason from Chicago indiepopsters Office) intact Gui performs his trademark minimalistic, feverish bleeps for a bouncy yet easygoing makeover. The result is a tune that digs so deep that you can see China on the other side of it. It's a brilliant tune that for some strange reason has me thinking of XPress2.

Download: Estupendo (Gui Borrato Remix)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Getting Spiritual

Portland's Spirituals is set to release their debut record with Waaga June 22nd.

Spirituals is the moniker for the sample-based electronic music endeavor of drummer, producer, and graphic artist Tyler Tadlock. In his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, Tyler began experimenting with samples from local free jazz projects and sounds recorded with his laptop to form rhythm driven compositions. After relocating to Portland, OR, he began work on his first album, drawing on a wealth of samples, meticulously chopped and arranged to form electronic music which pays homage his jazz roots.

Download: Wanderings

Lefse Records Kicks Off Summer...

It might be a few weeks before Summer officially begins, but the folks at Lefse Records have such a prolific release schedule, they've decided to start early. Heck, between now and June they've got four records coming out and that's only a month into summer.

The way we figure it, Lefse might just have as many records out by the start of Fall as the The Fall. It's a crazy schedule and we give them many props for attempting to release so much music.

Here are the first four releases on the Lefse schedule...

The Delta Mirror - Machines That Listen out now digitally, and on vinyl May 4th.

Download: He Was Worse Than the Needle He Gave You

Keepaway - Baby Style EP out May 18th

Download: Yellow Wings

Woodsman - Mystery Tape EP out June 1st

Download: When the Morning Comes

Sunglasses - S/T EP out June 15th

Download: Whiplash

You can find out more information on each of those releases and more at the Lefse Website.

I Can Go For That

You know, the whole Hall and Oates revival really started about four or five years ago when I was DJing. It was weird how all of a sudden all these hipster doofuses had discovered their big brother's 45 collection, found a copy of "Kiss on My List," and dubbed it super cool. The number of requests I got for H&O skyrocketed in the span of a was nuts.

Anyway, five years on from that time, it seems as though the revival hasn't died off and in fact has gained even more steam. In the last six months we've seen the Bird and the Bee release a tribute/covers album and now, Koot Hoomi has done the same.

Entitled, The Darkside of Hall and Oates, Koot's record is far less pop and more like manic depressed. The Darkside of Hall and Oates sounds what would have happened if Hall and Oates were committed to an institution and fed loads and loads of lithium and then forced to make records. This is a dark, brooding, ambient like affair that might just scare the bejesus out of you or make 4ad (or Momus) exceptionally jealous. It's interesting stuff that heads off in the exact opposite of the Bird and The Bee tribute in every sense of the word. Unorthodox and borderline insane, The Darkside of Hall and Oates is fascinating stuff.

Download: Kiss On My List
Download: I Can't Go For That
Download: Maneater