Des Moines band, Holy White Hounds are just about as Midwestern grit as you can get. I have a feeling they fit in seamlessly at dive bars and their music can be heard blasting from secondhand cars driving down long stretches of highway.Read More
Vibrant is a fitting description for Canadian singer/songwriter, Joanie Wolkoff and her musical creations. She's studied in Paris, modeled in Tokyo and tattooed pigs in rural China. After a traumatic event overseas, she decided to take a chance on Brooklyn and form electro-pop group Her Habits.
Their debut EP, released January 26, Northerner is self-aware pop music. It takes electronic risks while maintaining a reflective beauty. It's also accompanied with an illustrated manual created by Wolkoff depicting habits of women. She collected stories of feminine habits like, "She assembles weird costumes at night."Read More
Chicago jangle, math rock band, Spooky Action Space Captain have been on my radar for some time. Their sensationally catchy "Not My House" has had me screaming at my windshield since it's January 2014 release. So I have to admit my mention of the band is severely delayed.
They are lyrical and melody craftsmen, fitting honest and simplistic lines with inventive but easily listenable guitar pieces. Their song "Go To Bed, Crumpleton" off a four-way split between Pride And Ego Down, SRVVLST and Tir Ashleen on Tightwolf Records is no exception. Groggy vocals grow into flourishing guitar lines. Then spinning drums transition into thoughtful screams.
It's complexity shrouded in an air of lackadaisical excitement. And get excited for more, below is a teaser to their upcoming song:
The self-titled EP from UK/Denmark based group, Pretty Sad drips in dreamy shoegaze and heavy reverb forming a perfectly pastel and moody pool of feelings.
It starts underwater in "Wish You Knew." Distant echoes of guitars parallel pining lyrics, "I wish you knew how I feel for you." They flirt between twee pop and heavy lo-fi, leaving a pleasant haze. "Never Falling" declares to never love again. The sentiment lingers within off kilter polyrhythms and distant guitar sighs. But "Swim" offers a hopeful conclusion to Pretty Sad's, pretty sad but ultimately optimistic debut. Looking forward to a 2015 full-length album.
New York's Miracle Sweepstakes tumble gracefully through grabbing melodies and carefree guitars in their song "Private Disguise." A shimmering chorus trips effortlessly over piano aftertastes. It then slows to a dissonant and loose bounce. The singer's voice fluidly springs up and down, mimicking the bobbing guitars.
Miracle Sweepstakes combine just enough pop with grounded and experimental prog rock. It's a flexible song technically and emotionally, so feel free to listen on any occasion.
Mix together the drugged-out dance of Cherub, the melodic synths of Justice and the sky-high, silky voice of Baths and you'll end up with the indie-pop stew of VERSKOTZI.
A musical project of Joey Verskotzi (lead singer, songwriter and producer), Verskotzi is from a small town in Southern Minnesota. New Ulm, for any of you familiar with the area...and they’re releasing new EP Waving out December 18.
Waving takes place in a forever-twilight kind of landscape. Constantly traveling on buses en route to parties with a plethora of drugs or the morning after drive, coming down from a rough trip. VERSKOTZIi’s latest work glimmers with the intensity of a thousand disco balls, and it’s irrefutably catchy.
Strong, pulsating synths in “Sleepless One” pulls you into an explosive club chorus. The lyrics jump from blatant to descriptive, “I’m feeling too unstable, to stay away from the drugs on the table” is followed with “My mind, a brush, just leaving it’s paint strokes.” It’s not something you’d sit and analyze, but it’s a helluva dance track.
“Mayday” doesn’t have the same catchy hook and chorus, the song instead builds on itself. You're not sure where it's taking you but before you know it, funky guitar and synth-sax carry you through the song.
Waving marries intricate synth details with daring disco melodies. It bursts into a dance able solar-flare -- if you’re into that kind of thing.
the video for “Sleepless One” includes a bunch of motorcycle cowboys singing indie-pop. And Joey makes a cameo at 3:42.
'Sitting Bitch With Bailey' is a podcast about capturing a moment of transportation with musicians. In short...I sit in between musicians in a car and go somewhere. Episode One features Brooklyn rock and roll band, The Jeanies.
Honest rock and roll has a tendency to get lost in genre-bending garage rock that's saturating the present Brooklyn scene right now. That is until The Jeanies came out of their lamp, which was probably filled strictly with Dwight Twilley, Phil Seymour and Buddy Holly records. The Brooklyn four piece consists of Joey Farber, guitar and lead vox; John Principio, bass and vox; Dylan Handelman, drums and Jon Mann, guitar and vox. They're self-titled debut album produced on analog cassette equipment releases December 19 via King Pizza Records.
30 years of influences ranging from doo-wop, boogie and R&B create their music’s shimmering jangle that has the power of '80s Brill Building pop. The Jeanies’ sound shines light on dark corners of DIY basement shows everywhere in Brooklyn.
The album The Jeanies plays like a love story. It's full of love songs about girls with names like Judy, met while dancing or on the train, who were always thought to be 'the one,' but quickly fall out of love. Catchy songs like "I Think You're The Wrong One" will never leave your head. Vocals from Joey Farber sound like a step back in time throwing old-school sheen on fuzzed out guitar.
The most arresting moment in the album comes during "I'll Warm You." It's a lovely, lilting song that suspends a raw moment of infatuation. Sweet melodies keep the album moving within a dreamy, fantasy landscape in a sort of purgatorial time-line – not quite now, not quite then.
The analog cassette recording creates a sound that's deep and rich, yet tantalizingly out of reach. The Jeanies' debut album curates the best moments from their favorite bands into their own interpretations with tender songwriting, genius countermelodies and just enough vintage flair.
Catch the new album live at their record release show Dec 19 with Games, BIG HUGE and the Mad Doctors at Don Pedro.
Listen to the full album below:
- Seen Her Dance
- I Think You're The Wrong One
- It's For You
- The Girl's Gonna Go
- I'll Warm You
- Believe Me Jenny
- Her Flesh
- That's The One
- The Kids Are No Good
- Gotta Get Back To Judy
French band, Mozermilk, sent me their CD in the mail a few weeks ago. They call themselves experimental, post-rock. It came with a hand drawn sticker depicting a young woman with her throat slit. Of course I immediately slapped it on my water bottle unafraid of judgement. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the group from their newest album, Earthly Ecstasy. I had listened to a few of their songs before but delving into a full length in the experimental genre seemed like a daunting task.
After a few listens, I started to break down Mozermilk's sound. I could hear a little bit of Television Personalities, The Cure, Joy Division and...is that old school hip-hop? It's an eclectic mix for a post-rock band, and it works really well. Earthly Ecstasy challenges the listener, but it's equally as rewarding as it is ethereal. I couldn't listen to it just once. I had to keep pulling it a part. Deciphering the lyrics, identifying the minuscule sounds –– it was an exercise.
Beyond minimalist post-rock, a delicate and lyrical speaking voice give the songs meat. She asks questions, the kind that make you wonder them along with her. Like in "The Happy Prince" she asks, "Is the meaning of life meant to be found in love?" The sparse guitar answers with a methodical response, but not an answer. That's what I like about this music, it's more about the journey of the listening experience than creating a catchy song.
Sometimes experimental, intellectual music can be too heady. Yet Mozermilk stay grounded through their collection of odd sounds and heavy guitar riffs. It's not for everyone, but it's worth a serious try. Once you get over preconceived notions of spoken word, beat knick music, it can be educational. And it's only about half an hour.
The lyrics are more like personal narratives, a frozen moment in time or a stream of consciousness. A theme of confusion and uncertainty drift through the album, and the instruments portray that feeling. The guitar parallels the questions in a solid acceptance of unknowing. The beat portrays confusion. Earthly Ecstasy is a deep understanding of not understanding. Mozermilk try to communicate their little slice of life to see if anyone else feels the same way.
In "Bubbling Water' you can picture the place. It's a cold day on a bridge somewhere in France. It's sunset –– you just woke up and you're recalling the decisions you made last night, week, year. But the sun gives you a little bit of warmth and the flowing of the water gives you a sense of pride and contentment. That might be nothing what Mozermilk is trying to communicate, but being able to incite visuals like that is a feat in itself.
The album transitions from calm, almost spiritual melodies into club, ecstasy beats. Then it sits somewhere in between. It could play at an underground nightclub or out of earbuds walking down the street. Versatility is something Mozermilk has. It's not particularly accessible but I don't think that's the goal.
It's one long meditation in the thoughts of the musicians. It's not just about the lyricist, it's about the precise moment the song embodies. It's about describing and pulling people into a meditation of that moment–with a little flavor of old school hip-hop.
Listen to six tracks from their album:
Trip-rock monoliths Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks, Tobacco and Atlas Sound played a visceral and heady show at the NYC Downtown Fest at Webster Hall Saturday night. The line-up also included Vacationer, Computer Magic and MAS YSA.
The crowd ranged from all shades of hip. Yet there was a surprising lack of attendance for the brilliant side-projects from Deerhunter, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Animal Collective.
Tobacco's hard hitting beats, entrancing melodies and fascinating visuals fueled a powerful and atmospheric set. Bizarre clips ranged from b-movie alien pornography, men making-out in slow motion and someone aggressively eating a burrito. The musicians were modestly and mysterious dressed in black hoodies almost fully pulled over their faces.
Tobacco played favorites from all of their albums like "Heavy Makeup" from Manic Meat to "Father Sister Bezerker" off their latest, Ultima II Massage. When the set ended, the drummer and DJ immediately took down their small banner and table without a word. A lack of engagement from musicians at live shows can come off as dismissive and boring but the level of engagement Tobacco's music inherently created balanced in the performance.
If Tobacco's set was like alien fellatio, Atlas Sound - side project from Deerhunter's, Bradford Cox's set was like getting digested by an extraterrestrial. Cox casually began by saying, "This is going to be a kind of greatest hits night, cheers. You're all going to hate me by the end of the night." The introduction song, "Sheila" covered the audience in an airy and intricate wave. An electronic setup instead of the AS guitar and drums – it fit seamlessly into the line up and had intently emotional moments, but some were lost in a blanket of synth.
Avey Tare's Slasher Flick's took the stage last with a solid and danceable performance. Creature horror movies were projected onto white frames that enshrouded the stage. The band played through their first album Enter the Slasher House getting an energetic response from the crowd. Avery Tare drove a perfect combination of hazy, synth-drowned moving melodies.
So I don't always listen to hip-hop. But when I do, I like to listen to good hip-hop. I've been getting some really great recommendations lately so I thought I would share them.
Don Perrion - Lost In Chicago (feat Yung Duda G)
Don Perrion is an independent artist from Chicago, which is pretty obvious by the track title. But what's not obvious about Perrion's music is the storytelling in his lyrics. "Lost In Chicago" comments on violence on the streets of his hometown, and it's delivered passionately and silky-smooth with the voice of Yung Duda G. Produced by Billionaire Boyscout (Frank Ocean's "Her"), the track has an air of skillful, grounded production.
Kendrick Lamar - i
The first track off of his sophomore album, "i" is perfectly funky, easy and cool. This is something that could be playing in some kid's earphones walking down the street or an uptown cocktail party. Kendrick Lamar's voice slays me every time.
Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment - Wonderful Everday: Arthur
90's kids rejoice, cry, hug – Chance The Rapper has covered the theme song to your favorite animated show about an aardvark, Arthur. He's created a whole new level of this song. The theme used to be about getting excited for school but Chance makes it about being seriously ecstatic about loving life. It's a topic that needs to be rejoiced more in hip-hop music, hell, in music in general).
Tamara Bubble - Just Say No
Alright, I'm not a fan of this music video. At all. But there's something about Tamara Bubble's voice that I can't help but keep replaying this song. It's kind of a mix between Ciara and Patti Austin.
A calm glow hung around Chinatown Thursday night. Walking into Fontana's was no exception. The red backlit bar into the basement could have been an entrance into a punk rock vampire flick. There might not have been any blood-sucking immortals at this concert, but there was a dark thrill about Of Clocks and Cloud's set.
It began with a moody electronic beat that gently escalated into a hard-hitting song. Joe Salgo, vocals and guitar, led the band with just enough guitar to make the sound full but not jarring. A subtle light show illuminated the 20 or 25 guests at the show. Despite two bands before them, the audience was captivated.
Easing the audience into the set, Salgo's soft voice in "Carry" and the controlled rhythms of drummer, Ross Procaccio, complimented each other. There's a hazy affect about Of Clocks and Clouds sound. Each song has a certain sense of fogginess, but the density of the fog fluctuates. In their next song "Psychic Realms" there's a moment of clarity and the fog parts for a moment.
Usually the band only consists of Salgo and Procaccio, but this time around they were joined by bassist, Cav Loria. The presence of the bass grounded the moments of dramatic climax like the guitar solo in "Tripping on the Far Side of the Sun."
OCAC has a precise and clean sound, partially due to the never-flinching drum skills of Procaccio. That clean sound was showcased in a Black Sabbath cover. They're not afraid to show their darker influcences and roots while still having a planned and thoughtful execution.
A new untitled track teased at some innovative melodies and drum patterns. If it's any evidence of what's to come, it's something to look forward to.
Live, the band has a sophisticated energy that you might not be able to tell by their casual appearance of jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. But that un-done look forces the audience to look beyond the flashing lights, the obnoxious dancers and broken beer bottles and just listen.
Decide for yourself at their next gig:
Greenpoint Music Festival / September 20 / 12 pm
For their self-titled E.P. release party, Slow Caves, jammed to their closest friends and newest fans in dingy and dark music venue, Hodi's Half Note, in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was clear they liked what they were doing, and the audience danced right along. They're the next young band to come from Northern Colorado, and their youthful potential is apparent in their Slow Caves E.P.
The E.P. begins with drum beats of an arcade game in "Saturns." It introduces a use of synth melodies and highly reverbed vocals, reminiscent of The Strokes. But unlike The Strokes, the song never hits it's peak. Plenty of opportunities arise for the song to catch momentum, but instead of a hard-hitting drum transition, a low-energy bridge doesn't quite make it into the chorus.
That almost-there feeling continues throughout the E.P.--which really isn't a bad place to be for a first release. The band certainly isn't lacking in talent or ideas; instead they're dealing with a surplus of ideas. Slow Caves try to exist somewhere between electronic, synth-pop, punk and indie-rock. Widely different genres that need focus to master on their own.
They describe themselves as somewhere between a high-speed car chase and vintage skateboards, so it's clear they want that West-Coast, casual feel. But Slow Caves need to decide if it's the beachy, chilled-down cool they want, the callous, apathetic demeanor of a punk-rocker or the suspending ease of synth-pop.
"Dandelion Girl" begins with a high-energy drum line and deep-reaching bass line, then slows down with the introduction of the vocals. It stays in this limbo for much of the song, breaking for a guitar solo that brings the energy up only to brought down again with repeated vocals. A pause in the beat, or a change in key signatures would have brought levity to the song.
"RYGOS (Drive)" has that Julian Casablancas, casual slowness. It starts with momentum and the feeling of driving, but because the drum line never fully develops the song ends with a feeling that it never really began.
The last song on the E.P. "One" introduces a completely different style, almost reminiscent of late 1980's shoegaze except for a background house beat. It's danceable, and when performed live, it's one of their higher-energy songs.
Slow Caves hold a great deal of potential, and with the oldest members of the band barely in their 20's, they have plenty of time to find their groove. Instead of throwing favorite elements into just over 10 minutes of music, Slow Caves need to hone in on simple elements, utilize pauses and minimalism and expand on their micro-melodies.
Listen to the full album below:
Read about the top 10 albums of 2013 according to Sound in the Static. Which album gave us just the right amount of impending doom, made us believe in beauty again and who led us down a path of satisfying violence? SnS's Includes Speedy Ortiz, Thee Oh Sees, Andrew Bird and more.
1. Speedy Ortiz / Major Arcana
It seems like Sadie Dupuis is channeling some of the greatest women in punk rock who have since been turned into indie goddesses. I'm talking of course about the great Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk). 'Major Arcana' would have fit nicely next to the great albums of the late 1990's to the early 2000's, but fits just as well as a fresh take on modern lady rock.
Songs like "Tiger Tank" and "Cash Cab" aren't afraid to be a little gritty while "No Below" shows off a pretty and raw mix. In "Gary," Dupuis's honesty comes to life as she reminisces on her experience at a summer camp where she actually formed Speedy Ortiz. She sings, "once you've sat with kids, it's so hard to leave the table before the kids full-grown."
Raw talent, honest melodies and real lyrics are what make Speedy Ortiz a band to watch and my favorite album of the year.
2. Baths / Obsidian
You don't just walk away from this album, you melt through the layers of time, regret and existential questioning that Baths brings to this album. Every song asks the questions you'd never speak aloud. "Where is God when you hate him most, when the mouths in the earth come to bite at my robes?"
'Obsidian' reveals the eternal darkness within every time. Traveling from "Victorian doorways" in "Ironworks" to the ancient and primal beats of "Earth Death," there is no corner where the constant cycle of destruction and death can't touch. "Myself can not get out of being pulled into the earth."
The album ends with "Inter" a lilting, haunting piece. It comes as an acceptance into the continuous cycle of life and a release from the beautiful and inescapable darkness that is 'Obsidian.'
3. Thee Oh Sees / Floating Coffin
There is nothing more badass than heavy guitars, deafening percussion and thoughtful melodies. For anyone who's seen the "Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster" video, Thee Oh Sees enjoy a little bit of casual, merciless violence. 'Floating Coffin' has showcased their love for violent sound and solidified their identity.
There's always a little bit of calloused disgust in their lyrics. In "I Come From the Mountain," it begins as a simple story describing the difference between girls and boys. But leaves you unsettled, "flipping out our insides, what a fright."
Thee Oh Sees have come a very long way––they started in 1997 as Orinoka Crash Suite. 'Floating Coffin' is a confident album that says Thee Oh Sees are just getting started.
4. Jai Paul / Jai Paul
"It's been leaked," a friend of mine said the day Jai Paul's "album" seeped through the cracks of the internet. I had first heard of Jai Paul from a monthly playlist from Birp! quite a while back with his demo of "BTSTU." I had that song on repeat for months, and then I forgot about it and then once I found it again, it was on repeat for another month.
There's a worldly feel about Jai Paul's music, mixing Middle Eastern musicality with a few modern media references, you start to get a feel for what kind of person is behind Jai Paul. I dare you to find the sample of Ron from Harry Potter in "Jewel." Jai Paul's songs have a way of enjoyably getting caught in your head for days, and then you'll stumble upon the source of his samples giving his music an oddly familiar sound. I'm still not sure where "Raw" comes from, let me know if you do.
5. Darkside / Psychic
'Psychic' is a true piece of art. The layering of sounds mimics a textile artist at a loom. The progression of the album imitates a skillfully crafted film. The rhythms slowly build on themselves until a modern cathedral is created.
The fluctuating lengths of each song give the allusion that the album is one continuous song, a feat hardly well done today. Darkside has an intimate dance party vibe. They're the kind of music you'd put on at a small after-after-party or driving through the night aimlessly. "Paper Trails" is arguably the most accessible track, jumping right into the irrefutable beat. But there are plenty of hidden gems strewn throughout the album.
"Hearts" and "The Only Shrine I've Seen" are instant favorites separated by delicate pieces like "Sitra." As their debut album, 'Psychic' is sure to pull Darkside through a long, mature career.
6. Andrew Bird / I Want to See Pulaski at Night
Andrew Bird creates fantastical music that lets the listener travel to worlds they didn't know existed. 'I Want to See Pulaski at Night' borrows from long-dead classical masterminds and regular folk alike. The carefully crafted melodies and use of chords bridge the gap between brilliance and pedestrian. "Ethio Invention No. 1" offers it's service to foreign leaders brainstorming peace actions while "Lit from Underneath" gives solace to lonely Chicago city walkers hoping to escape to the backwoods.
'I Want to See Pulaski at Night' has a perfectly minimalistic attitude. Andrew Bird only uses what is needed and leaves us feeling as if nothing was missed. "Logan's Loop" creates a culture all it's own. An Americana feel paired with Asian string accents creates a sense that this music was here from the beginning. And it's giving us a second chance in "Pulaski at Night."
7. Parquet Courts / Light Up Gold + Tally All The Things That You Broke
Parquet Courts is bringing back the original garage-rock band. They call themselves "Americana punk" but I think that really just means they like to get into, get into it fast and move on. Their songs are at an average of two minutes, but those two minutes are jam packed with energy.
One of their longer songs "The More It Works" could be an anthem for pretty much any product you want to tack the lyrics "the more you use it, the more it works." That can be said about most of the songs by Parquet Courts. You can apply them to most situations, and make it what you want. These songs are good for driving, breaking up with someone, getting to know someone, partying or "Falling On Yr Face."
8. Vampire Weekend / Modern Vampires of the City
There's been a ton of hype around this album this year. And while I don't disagree with them the genius behind this album, I'm not sure it's exceedingly better than Vampire Weekend's earlier albums. What I Love about Vampire Weekend is the intelligence in every single second of their music. All their references even need a dictionary (Spin has an entire Vampire Weekipedia). But what makes 'Modern Vampires of the City' so fantastic is the darker, self-awareness seen in the sometimes morbid lyrics sung by gentle and perfectly crafted vocals.
But regardless of the brilliant Ezra Koenig's Columbia education, hilarious open letters to pop stars and reviews of hip-hop albums, Vampire Weekend is still just good music. One of my favorite songs, "Step" sticks with their Victorian sounding keyboard and gentle vocal coos.
9. Ty Segall / Sleeper
I talked to Ty Segall last year when he was in my town for a small concert, and I was shocked to find out that he was incredibly kind and normal. 'Sleeper' strays a bit away from the face-melting earlier records like 'Goodbye Bread' but replaces that with an organic and real feel.
There's a folk streak that runs through Sleeper, grounding Ty Segall a bit. It's not as angry as 'Slaughterhouse' was but it's just as dark and complex as his harder-core material. Reflection, skill and restraint are shown in this album. "She Don't Care About You" is an exemplary song for these newly instilled values. While this album might make the head-bangers a little disappointed, I really can't wait to see this direction develop for Ty Segall.
10. Chelsea Wolfe / Pain is Beauty
If you haven't heard of Chelsea Wolfe, now is the time. Not only is she stunningly gorgeous but she's incredibly unique. I've never heard anything like her music before. Labeled as 'drone-metal-art-folk,' Chelsea Wolfe is one of a kind. I interviewed her for an article earlier this year over at TYCI and on top of her eloquence, she's strikingly honest. She told me that she ponders death a lot, especially since she hasn't had much experience with it. She's not pretending, and it shows in her music.
"We Hit a Wall" begins with Wolfe's hauntingly powerful voice paired with an inventive and strong bass line. This album features viola player Ezra Buchla, and violin player, Andrea Calderon, first introduced in "House of Metal." The real instruments balance out the use of electronic sounds and create a complete and full sound. 'Pain is Beauty' is rich, deep and different––something that will resonate long after the record has stopped playing.