Friday, April 29, 2011

Ursula 1000 Goes Mondo Beyondo

Ok...I'm a bit biased on this one.  I know Ursula 1000.  Back in the 90's his band, 23, was one of the only bands in Miami that channelled Ride and wanted to be popstars.  We were part of the scene that had no name...and had no fans.  There were like ten of us who liked Britpop, indie pop and the like and we all kind of hung together.  So much so that after I left Y&T Records, Alex (Ursula 1000) and I used to go over faxes every week from Go Ahead London and order the weeks coolest records from his secret lair at BAM! Comics.  Eventually, I left Miami and well Alex adopted his secret identity and sort of became world famous.  And so did his former band mates who wound up forming The Postmarks.  And well it has a scene with a ton of fans; but sixteen years ago there were like 10 of us.

Sentimentality aside, Ursula 1000 has a new record coming out on August 19th.  From retro tinged spy themes, disco, electro, go-go pop ... he never stops evolving.  Drenched in snarling fuzz, heavy-hitting drums and his signature ominous organ stylings, this new collection of tracks sees Gimeno getting back in touch with his roots but channeling it through a new set of kaleidoscopic eyes.

As per usual, Alex takes 60's Swinging London, runs it by Peter Sellers, puts it on a plane, sends it around the world, electrifies it and then lends his own sense of humor to it all.  The results are quirky electronic dance pop that's just plain fun!

Download: Répétez Le Repetoire (feat. Isabelle Antena)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FM Belfast Don't Want to Sleep

Icelandic electro-pop group FM Belfast has announced the US release of their sophomore album, Don't Want To Sleep on Morr Music. Out on June 21, the album follows their breakout debut, How To Make Friends, and is a perfect follow up to two years of making friends, taking in experiences, sounds, and adventure

Don't Want To Sleep was written and recorded by FM Belfast (guests include Retro Stefson's Unnsteinn Manúel, Borko's Borko and mighty trumpeter Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson). It retains the bouncy and joyful spirit of How To Make Friends, yet veers off into territories that the band have hitherto left unexplored. There are slow songs and introspective ones; calm, drifting meditations mixed with calls to arms and potential dancefloor workouts. And lots of fun, of course.

Download: New Year

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ira Atari Shifts Gears

Ira Atari was not named after the famous video game manufacturer, although judging by her music one has to wonder whether or not it was an influence.

Creating electro as if it were second nature, she, along with Frittenbude’s mastermind Ja!kob know how to balance pop with underground dance with mathematical precision.  Balancing pop with dance music, Ira Atari's debut album Shift is a fantastic record that has its eyes on massive hooks and dark recessed corners of the dance floor.  Ira seduces you with her voices and then has her way with you thanks to beats.  It's expertly engineered to wear you out.

Put it this way...With new Divas like Robyn leading the way it’s time for Ira Atari to take the world over one console at a time.

Download: Don't Wanna Miss You (ULTRNX - Remix)
Download: Back To Zero (Fuzz Galaxy Buzz - Remix)

I'm In A New Mood

The seeds of New Moods sprouted a couple years ago in small house on the outskirts of Bushwick. After hours of overhearing his housemate artist/vocalist Billy Jones (Other Passengers) feverishly writing and recording rough demos for a solo project, producer/engineer Sean Maffucci (Icewater Scandal) was quickly inspired to get involved.  The rest as they say is history.

While not denying any genre as an influence, New York City Post-World dance rock band New Moods is constantly looking forward through hazy borders of objectivity. While never forgetting the 80's New Wave movie soundtracks they heard growing up, the music is consistently focused on new directions in sound.

What's that all mean?  Well it means they sound a bit like a confused manic depressive mixed with commerical trance, electro, and the Top 40.  Throw it all  that together and come up with something that sounds like newer Mount Sims lost in dry ice.  It's synth pop to rave to while talking to your shrink and really, who doesn't want something like that?

Download: Playtime

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ewww...It's Gross Relations

Gross Relations is a Brooklyn-based foursome who play lo-fi pop songs that are highly catchy and short on saccharine. With plenty of fuzz and lackadaisically-delivered lyrics reeled in by insistent, irresistible riffs, GR have a certain swagger that’s earning them frequent gigs and adulation.

Loud, fuzzy, scattered, and ridiculously catchy, Gross Relations have mastered the art of making lo-fi indie pop absolutely massive.  The single, "Blame The Records," is an anthem that's impossible to resist and ready to break.  Organs, huge guitars, smashed and bashed's all here and it rocks.

Think Beat Happening meets Brooklyn meets T-Shirt Time. Look out for more Relations buzz—it’s infectious.

They say they're on a quest to find their own space-time continuum and with these two songs as cranked up and ramshackled as they are, they might just very cause a rip in it.

You can pick up their 7" here.  And of course you can download tracks down below. 

Download: Blame The Records
Download: Don't Beat On Me

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chucha Santamaria Y Usted!

Originally hailing from Puerto Rico and New York respectively, Chucha Santamaria Y Usted is a duo based in Oakland, CA consisting of Sofía Córdova and Matthew Kirkland. After a mutual discovery/re-appreciation of Italo disco, Latin freestyle, and a myriad other pop dance sub-genres Matt and Sofia created a band in an effort not only to have fun but a device in which they could revisit the history of dance music.

Sounding like the perfect replacement for Bonde Do Role, this dynamic duo creates sexy Latin tinged electro floor burners that either melt your face off or seduce you into bed.  It's hot sexy stuff that's almost like aural pornography that comes at you from about 80 different genres at once.  Brilliantly catchy and blindingly good,   Chucha Santamaria Y Usted are all about leaving monolinguals confused but sweaty.

Their debut release is the Chucha Santamaria Y Usted mini LP, and will be out on June 28th through Austin based record label Young Cubs.

Download: Fiebre Tropical

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Ladybug Transistor Prep Album and Tour

The Ladybug Transistor will release their new album Clutching Stems on June 7 and will hit the road beginning June 29 in New Haven, CT to bring you the new songs live! More tour dates will be added soon.

Clutching Stems is a lush collection of potent refrains and brought-to-one’s-knees ballads. Set to an invigorated soundtrack of wave-pop arrangements, the songs detail stories of humbling heartbreak, profound longing, undoing distress, nagging regret, and coming-of-age awakenings. Olson’s lyrics express an overarching search to find one’s voice in the face of moments that knock the wind and words right out of a person.

The Ladybug Transistor on tour:
June 29 New Haven, CT BAR (FREE SHOW!)
June 30 Cambridge, MA TT the Bear's
July 6 Brooklyn, NY Knitting Factory
July 7 Pittsburgh, PA Carnegie Museum of Art Sculpture Court
July 8 Kalamazoo, MI The Strutt
July 9 Madison, WI U W Madison Union Terrace
July 10 Chicago, IL Schuba's
July 11 North Manchester, IN The Firehouse (FREE SHOW!)
July 12 Cincinnati, OH Mayday (FREE SHOW!)
July 15 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
July 16 Raleigh, NC King's Barcade

Download: Clutching Stems

Kathryn Calder Takes To The Road

Kathryn Calder is clearly one of the most adorable artists in North America. Who wouldn't want to give her a giant hug...even if she still had that frying pan?

Kathryn Calder will be embarking on her FIRST ever tour of the United States and Canada in support of her critically acclaimed debut album Are You My Mother?

Kathryn and her band full of a virtual who's who of the Canadian music scene will not only be playing songs from AYMM? but also throwing in some NEW material from an upcoming album that she is in the midst of finishing. Music fans were first introduced to Kathryn through her now defunct band, Immaculate Machine and then everyone became interested once she joined the New Pornographers.

She's twee but with a sense of drama about here and her songs are sweeping affairs that have a sweetness about them that will mess with your heart. Just listen to'll just about bring you to tears if you're not careful. And while you're going through boxes of tissues, you can check out the tour dates below.

The Tour thus far...
May 06th @ Mt. Baker Theater, Bellingham, WA *
May 07th @ Boon's Treasury, Salem, OR #
May 10th @ Moe's Alley, Santa Cruz, CA #
May 12th @ Hotel Café, Los Angeles, CA # (Early Show - 8pm)
May 13th @ Tin Can Alehouse, San Diego, CA #
May 16th @ New Parish,Oakland, CA #
May 18th @ Mission Theatre, Portland, OR #
May 19th @ Rendezvous, Seattle, WA #%
May 20th @ Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC #

* = w/ New Pornographers, Thao & Mirah
# = w/ Himalayan Bear
% = w/ Karl Blau

Download: If You Only Knew
Download: Arrow

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pink Frost Thaws Out

Pink Frost came together through a shared affinity for reverb, air guitar, and disgust. After several suicide attempts and realizing that the Chicago shoegaze scene completely sucked… they immediately began work on what would become their E.P. Self-titled and self released the three tracks create music for inclement weather, infinite sadness.

Cheery bunch then.  While they didn't really reinvent the shoegazing wheel...rather they added some northwest flavor too it and came up with something that's kind of like a gauzy hazy Shins meets Modest Mouse. It's good stuff that kind of shuffles along and works it's way into your skull without having to try very hard. 

The Frost has recently retired into the earth to begin work on their debut full length, which will come out later this year.

Until then join them under a rock and download The Sun...

Download: The Sun

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cassettes Still Won't Listen

Cassettes Won't Listen is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jason Drake. A partner and previous director of marketing for famed indie hip-hop record label, Definitive Jux, Jason relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 2009 to record his latest solo record, KEVINSPACEY. A follow up to his 2008 release, Small-Time Machine, CWL's newest project is a synth/sample-driven record showcasing Jason's contemplative and melodic vocals while experimenting with dark and otherworldly themes of travel, distance and despondency. Three years in the making, the title is a nod to his newly adopted hometown, his fascination with exploration, observations of broken hope within the city, and of course, those who sit on top.

As per usual, the songs are ace.  The guy just can't write a bad tune.  Ever since stumbling upon CWL back in 2007, I've been hooked on the sense of drama and the crafty beats Jason Drake has come up with.  If, "The Echoes," is any indication, KEVINSPACEY is going to be amazing.  Until then, let this single echo in your head....

Download: The Echoes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Serena Andrews Resistance

Serena Andrews just released Do Not Resist – a concept album done as a part of The Wire Magazine’s RPM Challenge to create a full album in under 28 days during the month of February. Starting late, Andrews completed the 10-song requirement between Feb 9th and 28th, just making the deadline.

This is a fun record that seems like it was made over the course of months, not days.  The songs are rich, catchy as the flu, and sound like a million bucks.  It's great stuff. 

Aurally, the record is kind of all over the place while sitting on top of a glitch-base.  It' bleeps and bloops and then works it's way between your ears with ease.  It's energetic stuff that rides high on Serena's rather adorable voice while covering cover everything from existence itself to love and missed phone calls.

Serena will spend the next month working on a music video for one of the tracks, and is slated to tour this Spring and Summer as a duo with producer Brian Wenner (Shapeless Shadow).

Download: Bird On A Wire
Download: Life Support

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Downer Party Are On The Up

Picture a dark, dusty Oakland basement piled high with equipment and half broken instruments. Four obsessed musicians blasted on caffeine, writing and recording hook after hook amidst a sea of Tecate cans and earthquake kits.

At first listen you'd never know that "Cities", the new EP from SF band The Downer Party, was written, recorded, and produced by the band - it's filled with rich, textured sounds and toe-tapping jams. But once you've had the chance to explore the EP's mood and tonality, it's easy to imagine a setting of four engrossed band mates locked in a moldy room, reveling in their experiences, and loving every moment of it.

Comprised of members of several notable Bay Area bands (French Miami, Elephone, Two Seconds), The Downer Party set about creating Cities; an album that's as much a chronicle of growing up in the Bay Area as it is a revelry in the peculiarities of young love in an urban environment. As singer Sierra Frost puts it “Cities is about being disconnected from the people you care about and the attempts we all make to cope with that weirdness. It’s about home and removedness... you know?”

Taking influence from northwest rock of the late 80's and early 90's, Cities is both earnest and energetic. It's well lit with catchy hooks, grimy guitars, and irresistible "fun songs about crappy situations". It reminds us what life was like at 20 when the world just begins to awkwardly make sense - when one can either inflict self isolation or go out and get laid.

Download: Country Kids
Download: Chicago

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Ravishers Are Ravishing.

Portland, Oregon indie-pop outfit Ravishers are unleashing on the world their eponymous, full-length debut. It's the follow up to the Singles for Singles EP that hit in 2010. But Ravishers didn't happen overnight. "This took way too long," comments frontman and songwriter Dominic Castillo. "This is a baby I've been carrying around for three years. The labour pains were severe."

Castillo, who has a degree in Classics and is a Berklee trained jazz guitarist, has a strange pedigree for a rock frontman. Listening to Ravishers, this is obviously a good thing.

With a skip in their step and a pop sensibility that allows them to create hooks as will, Ravishers will win you over pretty quickly.  One listen to, "Keep You Around," and you'll realize that the song is a self-fulfilling prophecy as the chorus will never leave your brain. 

This is just how things are with this band, they reel you in and then they never let you go.  But with songs, and an album as good as this, who would want to be let go?  Please Ravishers, keep us around!

Download: Keep You Around
Download: Nobody Falls In Love Anymore

The Aikiu's Kiss of Death

Delivering deep velvet 80s dance floor beats, The Aikiu, sound like a combination of Depeche Mode, Erasure and every ones favorite Rick Astley.  Dripping with dark tainted anxiety while still having a ridiculous pop sensibility about them, The Aikiu are at home smoking cloves as much as they are on a flashy dance floor. 

Judging by the single, The Aikiu, dark heart and cool demeanor has lead to write some damn fine songs.  The Aikiu expresses both his dreams and nightmares through pure electronic pop genius, making him one of the most promising artists around. This "Red Kiss," is one peck on the cheek you don’t want to waste.

Download: The Red Kiss (The Magician Precious 80's Pop Remix)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Love Those Tea Cozies

The Tea Cozies are a fantastic little pop group who I'm assuming like tea quite a bit and like proper indie pop even more.

Taking a bit c86, a bit garage rock, and maybe even a bit of riot grrl the Tea Cozies wind up with spiky indie pop songs that are delightfully lo-fi and ridiculously infectious. With about a zillion riffs in their single, "Dead Man's Sister," the song makes more left turns than a NASCAR driver but still manages to hold your attention.

As for what they've been up to lately, the band been busy working on their sophomore album, prepping to be on MTV, and releasing this single on Saturday!

Download: Dead Man's Sister

Monday, April 11, 2011

HeavyFeet Know All I Want

All I Want is the latest track from HeavyFeet's 12x12 project and sees them returning to their renown club sound, which will be their focal point for 2011 from here on in...

All I Want fuses HeavyFeet's love for Chicago house music, jumpy beats and skippy synth stabs, with their trademark big bass and melodies, topping it off with a looped up classic dance vocal you'll know only too well.

“We’ll be blogging about the process we went through to create the '12x12' project, month by month, over
at, as we want other artists to engage with creative collaboration, as it's such a great  way to push yourself musically/in the studio.”

While you're doing that you can check out All I Want below.

Download: All I Want

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kick The Canblaster

Canblaster, aka Cédric Steffens, he’s from Northern France and he’s part of the Club Cheval crew that’s currently taking over France. He’s only 22 but his unique ability to combine genres and sounds belie wisdom beyond his years. Master Of Complication is his first for Nightshifters and, to be honest, it’s so full of new noises we’re not really sure how to describe it.

Master Of Complication the new Ep by Canblaster, is a concept record about time, speed and, well, the complexity of watches. Of course there are many things about the music of Canblaster that is not what you expect. First of all, his music is ultra-melodic with an almost Zen like use of melodies that lifts you right off the ground. Then there’s the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink beats filled with details that always seem to point outward to an even larger world.

Download: Clockworks

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beast Make Bomb's And Goes Boom

Hailing from all over the country, BEAST MAKE BOMB calls NYC its home, playing local Brooklyn hot-spots and historic Manhattan rock/punk venues.

Their new EP, Sourpus, follows up their critically acclaimed freshman effort, Skinny Legs. BEAST MAKE BOMB describes themselves as “a marriage between punk attitude and pop sensibility”. Their live shows convey these thoughts exactly. They play tightly knit songs with the perfect amount of spikiness, messy rock exploration, catchy guitar riffs, and melodic female vocals.

I'm not sure about the punk rock stuff, but I am sure that they are a good band with great songs.  Catchy and destined to inspire some sort of pogoing upon listening, BEAST MAKE BOMB's EP is what good powerful pop music is all about...young, addictive, angsty and sloppy.

Download: Coney Island 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Twiggy Frostbite Thaw Out

Twiggy Frostbite, with members from The Deer Tracks, are finally back with a brand new track, "Written Within". The track is the first step into a new era for Twiggy Frostbite where they leave all traditional formats behind.

They simply put are one of the most beautiful bands on the planet.  And whether it's frigid sparse pop or something even weirder, TF are amazing at constructing songs that will haunt your soul.

While this new single might not be quite as sparse as some of their previous work, they still create this strange dreamworld that someone from a land of ice and snow could only think of.  They have vivid imaginations as they constantly create some of the most texturally rich music you'll hear.

Download: Written Within 

Seapony Swim Out To Twee

The music of Seapony is refreshing in its simplicity. Most songs on Go With Me use no more than three chords, with an average running time around two-and-a-half minutes. In lieu of a human drummer, the Seattle trio entrusts time-keeping to a vintage gizmo the size of a desktop calculator.

Seapony are awesome at what they do.  This band channels the Sarah Records ethic so well that you'd swear you were listening to a single from 1993.  If "Dreaming," is any indication of what the future holds, I suspect we'll all be wearing anoraks real soon. 

The lyrics to "Dreaming," the track that catapulted them into the spotlight, are just six lines long. Like Young Marble Giants and Beat Happening before them, this young three-piece has generated excitement that belies their music's modest means. And their back story is just as no-nonsense....

Download: Dreaming

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Amor de Dias

Amor de Días - Alasdair MacLean, front man for UK group The Clientele, and Lupe Núñez-Fernández of indie-pop duo Pipas - have announced a North American tour with dream-pop duo Damon & Naomi in support of their debut album Street of the Love of Days.

Touring across the country this spring will be the first tour that the duo perform under the act Amor de Días (Spanish for "Love of Days"), but not the first time the two have shared the same stage. Lupe would often appear onstage at Clientele performances reciting the story book lyrics of the Clientele song "Losing Haringey."

With the help of nearby friend Louis Philippe, Damon & Naomi, Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor), Danny Manners, and Howard Monk (whose played drums on several Clientele songs), Street of the Love of Days took form with intelligent arrangements, vocal harmonies, strings, recorders and bass.

Be sure to catch Amor de Días in a town near you as they share their stories through beautiful chamber-pop and dual Spanish guitars.

Tour Dates...
May 18 Washington, DC Red Palace
May 19 Carrboro, NC ArtsCenter
May 20 Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery
May 21 Philadelphia, PA 1st Unitarian Church Chapel
May 22 Brooklyn, NY Knitting Factory
May 23 Allston, MA Great Scott
May 25 Toronto, ONT Horseshoe
May 26 Pontiac, MI Pike Room at Crofoot
May 27 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
May 28 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock
May 31 Seattle, WA Tractor Tavern
Jun 01 Portland, OR Bunk Bar
Jun 03 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
Jun 04 Los Angeles, CA The Satelite
Jun 05 San Diego, CA Soda Bar

Download: Bunhill Fields

Le Butcherettes Are All About Sin

Le Butcherettes are like the brilliant offspring of surrealist Luis Bunuel and intrepid rock icon PJ Harvey. Led by 21-year-old vocalist/guitarist/pianist Teri Gender Bender (a recent transplant to L.A. from Guadalajara, Mexico) Le Butcherettes bring a brazen intensity and playful, hook-laden simplicity that hacks to pieces all forms of pretension and excess.

Sounding amazingly like Karen O at times and PJ Harvey at others, this brash, rough and tumble group plow through songs as much as they play them.  Just listen to, "New York," and you'll hear what I'm talking about. Plodding riffs pummel everything and leave you wondering what just hit you.  This is great stuff.

Le Butcherettes full length debut, Sin Sin Sin was produced by Omar Rodriguez Lopez, who also plays bass on all of the album's tracks, and will issue the album May 10th, 2011 on Rodriguez Lopez Productions via Sargent House.
Download: New York
Download: Henry Don't Got Love

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

US Royalty Welcomes Us Back

Gooooooood Morning Viet Nam! Or should I say blogosphere. After six weeks of being away, The POP! Stereo has returned to make your life a bit more tolerable. And while that may be, you might be wondering what the hell took you so long. That's a long story that involves, hospitals, doctors, PET scans, CAT Scans, blood work and the like. This all led to me being on Family Medical Leave for almost three months and while I was posting during that time, I new at the drop of a hat I would have to return to care for my family. And I did.

But as time passes, life slowly but surely resumes normality no matter how emotionally altering it may all be. After everything I've been through and will continue to go through, I will say this...spend time with your family, they're important. In fact, they're THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you are part of and never forget that. No matter what the scene is, what's cool, or who talks shit about you, your family will always be there. (even the Jersey Shore cast knows that)

If you're 20 something you probably don't realize that because you just got your freedom from your parents and it feels good...but as you grow older you'll realize that they were/are the single most important influence on you. And when they come calling to ask for help, don't hesitate, just remember all that they've done for you and the advice they gave as you were growing up.

Ok...that's my e-parent pep talk of the day.

Anyway, with that being said, on to the resumption of posts. We kick it off with a band that has a sort of funny name...US Royalty. No, they're not a roving band of Kennedy's and they're not even royalty. They are a bunch of scruffy looking dudes who happen to right some damn fine stuff though. While I'm not generally a fan of the pastoral folk pop thing, this kind of has something more to it that rocks in a rough and shoddy way and almost sounds something like a poor mans Doves or Elbow (UK Royalty, no doubt).

Of course if the pastoral indie rock isn't enough there's always the Flosstradamus remix of their latest single, "Equestrian," which forces the band to get loved up and lost on a dance floor. There are always exceptions to the rule and the sweeping nature of US Royalty's songs grabbed me right between the ears and made me understand. This is good stuff.