Thursday, August 8, 2013

ATTENTION:

I have moved my activity to the noticeably spiffier icanliftacarblog.com
Please continue to peruse these old posts, if you wish. I won't be deleting them, but they have been imported over to the new site.
New site. New goals. New tunes.
Let's keep moving.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

tongue full of acid, a lung full of nicotine

Here's what you need to know:
  •  Cass Lowe has written and produced for artists like Toddla T, Chance The Rapper, Say Lou Lou, Diana Vickers, Madeon(!!), and, wait for it, the Backstreet Boys. 
  •   So one could say that he's gifted at crafting huge...Larger Than Life pop anthems that will move you emotionally. 
  •  Cass Lowe has a new single called "Birthmark".



    "Birthmark" is a massive, dark, soaring pop song and Lowe's voice leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. If all of his solo stuff sounds like this, I would be a very happy camper. Also, the music video is a gorgeous and fittingly dark piece of art. Here's hoping Cass Lowe produces a full album of amazing.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

do just what you want with me i'll be what you want me to be

So...Eli "Paperboy" Reed has been making music for almost a decade now, but it wasn't until the lyric video for his new single, "WooHoo", surfaced on The Burning Ear that I found out about his soulful awesomeness.



"WooHoo" dances dangerously along the line that divides funk and pop, resulting in a jam that sounds like the lovechild of Bruno Mars and James Brown. This thing will have you movin' and shakin' and shuckin' and jivin' your way through the day. If the infectious beat isn't enough, the pure saccharine energy of Reed's vocal performance will surely win you over.



If you want more from Reed, he's released three (THREE?!) albums that your ears should take in. Also, here's his doo-wop style cover of Beyonce's "Love On Top" that THE QUEEN herself has signed off on.

Monday, August 5, 2013

High voltage when we kiss.

I feel like I'm late to the Bad Suns party. Their debut single (and only official song to date) came out in February. So it's just been floating around the net, getting blog attention from a few of my favorites, The Burning Ear and Neon Gold, before finding its way to me. And being from LA, these dudes got tons of well-deserved love from KROQ whenever their single drop.



This song is absolutely perfect for anyone that digs Imagine Dragons, X Ambassadors, or Ghost Beach. It fits right in to that neat little niche that alternative radio stations love and that I completely adore. With its slow-burning start and catchy-as-all-hell chorus, "Cardiac Arrest" is a listening staple for me at the moment.



The song is available for purchase on their bandcamp. But, of course, you can always stream from their soundcloud and like them on Facebook.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Christopher The Conquered & H.D. Harmsen @ Bullhorn Creative

The NoLi Friday Concert series continues tonight at Bullhorn Creative tonight at 5PM. Come out and enjoy some BBQ from J. Renders. Some beer courtesy of the peeps at Bullhorn. And some tunes from Christopher The Conquered and H.D. Harmsen. The show is completely and entirely free.

If you'll remember, I've written about Christopher The Conquered and his album, The Fate Of A Good Man, before. As a reminder, here's his tune "Life Is Not Always Easy." Tonight, he'll be playing solo.



Opening for Christopher The Conquered, we have his buddy H.D. Harmsen. A fellow popsmith from Iowa, he and H.D. have been traveling and playing together for a while. Here's the titular tune off his new album Papoose.



The show starts around 5PM in the Bullhorn backlot, which is located at 804 N. Limestone (corner of Loudon and N. Limestone). See you there.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Introducing: Eddie Gomez

Eddie Gomez may be on to something. The Oregonian-raised, LA-based singer/songwriter has taken an older style and dressed it up for today. With a soulful stomp and a catchy chorus, his tune "Someday" has burned itself into my brain. Produced by the currently ON FIRE Captain Cuts crew (the Smallpools EP and several killer remixes), this tune is going places.



It's already been featured by Pigeons & Planes and Perez Hilton. I wouldn't be surprised to here it climb up some adult contemporary charts. Lovers of Amos Lee and Lenny Kravitz, look into this dude.

Eddie Gomez on
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
SOUNDCLOUD

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

All I wanna do is live in ecstasy.

When John Gourley, the man behind indie-rock powerhouse Portugal. The Man, was asked how he wanted his next album to feel, he said:

"We just wanted to make something that was The Beatles meets Wu-Tang." (Pigeons & Planes)

Well, they accomplished something close to their goal with Evil Friends, a wholly amazing album. Their most pop-centric album to date, Evil Friends was the product of the band working with producer extraordinaire Brian Burton AKA Danger Mouse. This is important because Danger Mouse has done amazing work on albums for Gnarls Barkley (which he was half of, by the way), The Black Keys, Gorillaz, and Beck. With his feet firmly planted in both the indie rock and hip-hop worlds, Danger Mouse was the perfect man to lead PTM down this road. The most potent pop concoction they created in the lab was their "let's get famous so we don't have to work" anthem, "Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue."



Considering Portugal. The Man's hip-hop sensibilities, producer/mash-up artist Terry Urban decided to bridge the gap with a mash-up album called Portugal. The Man & Friends combining PTM and some of his favorite rappers (Jay-Z, Kanye, Biggie, and J. Cole). The entire five-track album is up for free download on his soundcloud.


My personal favorite is "Purple Night," which mashes up "Purple, Yellow, Red, and Blue" with Jay-Z's "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)" off his Dynasty: Roc La Familia album. It manages to keep the essence of the PTM track while adding the swagger of a younger pre-Bey Hova.

Monday, July 29, 2013

There's no sun today, but, hey, I'm out to play.

It's been a long and fruitful few weeks out in LA. I don't have a lot to tell about GRAMMY Camp or the days thereafter. I'm just looking forward to getting back in the swing of things here on the blog.

New music has been flying in. I'm working on a review for Bad News Bears, a possible collaboration with All Things Go, continuing the concert series, doing an interview or two, and, of course, my scavenging never stopped.

A quick sample, here: Sombear's debut album dropped last Tuesday and it's everything I wanted. That's right. Brad Hale, the drummer for the Now, Now is back with a full album of electropop and chillwave goodness. If you need to be reminded what Sombear sounds like, try to imagine if CHVRCHES were led by a guy...or just check out my first post on them. The songs range from ethereal, skying pop to laid-back chillwave. It's a great summer album and there's a free stream of the entire album over at Consequences Of Sound that I highly recommend.

Bonus! He'll be playing the following tour dates with Dessa from Doomtree:

9/14 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
9/15 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
9/17 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ World CafĂ© Live
9/21 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
9/22 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
9/23 – Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
9/26 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar <------- I'll be there (probably)
9/27 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement


Recommended Tracks: "Incredibly Still", "LA" (post title lyrics), "Love You In The Dark", "The Good"

Thursday, July 18, 2013

You wait for the sun to make the sky.

St. Lucia, the nom-de-tune of electropop artist Jean-Philip Grobler, is known throughout the blogosphere for his sunshine-laced synths and breeze-laden bass lines. Born and bred in South Africa, Grobler grew up singing in a traveling choir and spending his free time singing along to MJ.

The self-titled debut EP made waves with the single "All Eyes On You," which became nationally known by being featured in campaigns for both Victoria's Secret and Taco Bell.



With his first full length record, When The Night, on its way in October from Neon Gold Records, St. Lucia is poised to make a splash on the big stage with the release of his first single "Elevate". The song absolutely oozes summer and should take its rightful place on your seasonal playlist.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Your thoughts surrounding me

Honestly, I don't know how Dan Croll hasn't taken over the world. The Liverpudlian has charm out the wazoo, he's good looking, and he had the skills to be a professional rugby player until an injury forced his early retirement. On top of all that, he writes, plays, and sings music that toes the line between electropop and folk.

He first surfaced in September of last year with his single "From Nowhere", which leans more to the pop side of things, and then putting out the "From Nowhere" - EP.



Since then he's come storming back with the single and video for the much more folky "Compliment Your Soul". The video features him and his band jamming out in a museum while the horns and happiness kick in around them.



Just this week he dropped another tune, "In/Out", which hits much more on the electropop side of things. It's more than worth a listen. Get your ears on this before everybody catches on.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cocaine 80's

Cocaine 80's, a hip-hop collective, was started by No I.D. and regularly features the awesomeness of Common, James Fauntleroy, Rob Kinelski, Kevin Randolph, Steve Wyreman, and Makeba. It's understandable that this isn't a super recognizable list of names, but you really should familiarize yourself with this group because of the following reasons:

1. All of their EP's (there's four) are available as free downloads. That particular link has all of the downloads bundled.

 2. They make feel-good chilled out alt-R&B when led by James Fauntleroy. Check out "Unchain Me/Love 3x".



3. Do I have to say that everything they've ever released is free again?

Friday, July 12, 2013

While there was still sense in my mind.

Smallpools has finally released a second song. And it's doozy. It's called "Mason Jar" and it completely recaptures the original magic of "Dreaming".



These LA dudes conjure up comparisons to the likes of Passion Pit and Two Door Cinema Club, with vocals that sound a little like fun. These guys have nigh on infinite pop potential and their upcoming debut EP release (JULY 16TH!!!) is marked on my calendar in red.

Also, I'll be seeing them on their first ever live tour which happens to actually stop within reasonable driving distance of me. So...you could say I'm a little psyched.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Introducing: How Sad

The name How Sad doesn't really fit a band that's just so damn happy sounding. These Montreal peoples got together in early 2012, made a name for themselves in Canada, then set about touring with awesome peeps like Darwin Deez (OMG LOVE) and Purity Ring (SWOON). Their shrink-wrapped synth pop is summer-ready, or at least the one song they've released to the interwebs is. That song is called "Indian Summer" and it does not disappoint. It's sunny as all get out, so you should probably put on AT LEAST some SPF 30 to avoid a burn.



"Indian Summer" is the first single and title track off their upcoming debut EP which will be coming out in August. These guys will be popping up on your radar soon enough, why not get a head start?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

California Feeling

Tomorrow, I'm going to California to work for the GRAMMY Foundation as a counselor at their GRAMMY Camp for two weeks. It's going to be a crazy experience for sure. I have no clue what my downtime will be like, or if there will be much of it at all. So this could very well be my last post for two weeks. I decided to be cheesy.

 It's A B & The Sea with "California Feeling". The lyrics are awesome. The sound is summer.  Their debut album, Constant Vacation, that came out last year is incredibly awesome and highly recommended. It's beach pop for indie ears.

We're all dying young and dreaming. 
Give 'em a name that they'll remember. 
That California feeling that we could live forever. 
This California feeling: running from the sunrise. 
I'm here with you believing that each kiss could be the last kiss of our lives. 
 


If I don't get to post over the next two weeks, expect a slew of new stuff when I get back. I have some great ideas for new features and stuff. Just no time to implement them right now. Catch you later, sports fans.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Everything I do I do in slow motion.


PHOX is a seven-piece folk-pop group coming out of Madison, WI. Powered by the stellar vocals of Monica Martin, PHOX has found a way to somehow mix the magic of the cup scene from Pitch Perfect with all of your favorite indie pop in their song "Slow Motion." It's catchy, mysterious, quirky, and curiously inviting.



That song, "Slow Motion," is off their Confetti - EP, which is available as a free download on their bandcamp (HERE). They also released the EP as a full 30-minute video (HERE).

The rest of their EP flutters in between smoky and soulful numbers like "Barside" and adorable piano-fueled pop ("Noble Heart"). No matter what your taste, you should definitely download this EP. It's amazing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Introducing: Fire in the Hamptons


Fire in the Hamptons reminds me of another band a whole lot. That band is Neon Trees. Like Neon Trees, F.I.T.H. manages to rock while also being dance floor friendly. These LA boys have got it figured out and have apparently been flying under the radar for almost three years.
Their song "I Met A Girl" undoubtedly rocks. It sounds like a stray Black Keys song that somebody added synthesizers to.



Fire in the Hamptons has released a self-titled album, that I will totally be getting my ears on soon, and a few music videos. My favorite of which is "Stargazer". It's spacey electrorock at its finest.



Of course, don't forget to check out "Humanimal", which has been featured by KCRW, one of the tastemaking radio stations in LA.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Guns hidden under our petticoats.


Okay, so I found out about The 1975 back in October when they released the video for "Sex". I was enraptured by them. I listened to both of their EP's nonstop for weeks. Then came their "Music For Cars" - EP and that was the end of the story. They had solidified themselves as one of my favorite bands. Their uniquely British brand of indie pop wavers between airy, ethereal, spacey tunes and the occasional ridiculously perfectly crafted pop song.



The "Sex" - EP is practically flawless. While "Sex" is what caught my initial attention, the slow jam "You" is definitely my favorite track.



The 1975 have since released another EP (IV) in anticipation of a full album, likely made up of tracks from each of the EP's they've released, in September. The point of this post is to promote the song "Chocolate", whose lyrics grace the title of this post. It's the iTunes FREE single of the week, and you should totally download it.



CLICK HERE for the iTunes single link.

Monday, July 1, 2013

there's my head, this town, and arms.




Jeremy Quentin's delicate finger-picking folk music calls up thoughts of rolling hills and empty homes. Echoing the tones of The Tallest Man On Earth and some light shades of Bob Dylan, Quentin's songs are sparse and warm, like a patchy blanket that you've had for years. His lyrics are outstanding, the title of this post coming from "Oh, Hiding Out," the album opener of his latest album. Quentin composes under the name Small Houses.

His most recent album Exactly Where You Wanted To Be is all kinds of awesome. My favorite tune off of which is "The Last Day of Summer". That album really is pretty much perfect and it's available HERE


His album North is what initially drew me in. Particularly his song, "In The Lawn". It feels so much like a Tallest Man On Earth and I love it.



The best part of today's post though is that Small Houses is playing a free show TONIGHT in Lexington at Griffin's Modern Motel. It's Bring Your Own Refreshments and all donations go to the bands playing. It's hosted by the guys who run Shaker Steps in all their infinite glory. HERE'S THE FACEBOOK EVENT.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Old World Heritage @ Bullhorn Creative

Today's the first show of the series I'm programming right here in Lexington. Right now it's called the Casual Friday Concert series, but it will become NoLi Friday immediately after this first one.

The first featured band of the series is Old World Heritage. Originally from Louisville, Josh Tatum and Alex Schaper have only recently given their project a name, although they've been making music together for quite some time. A simple two-piece with a subtle flavor. They craft a delicate kind of folk music, with quirky ideas and soft instrumentation.


They've got an EP and a live album up on their bandcamp, both of which are excellent AND free. The live album was recorded downtown at Natasha's and contains probably my favorite song by the two of them: "Coyotes Singing Opera".


Anyways, you should come check the guys out this afternoon at Bullhorn Creative (804 N. Limestone). It's free. It's BYOB. And Athenian Grill will be on hand whipping up some grub. FACEBOOK EVENT ---> HERE

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm thinking like an extra color or two

Conveyor comes romping out of Brooklyn with a utopian blend of psych folk and electronica. Their music is a swirling mix of harmonies, synths, guitars, and acid. It's perfect summer tuneage. Like a folky Yeasayer.


"Woolgatherer" was my first contact and I was hooked. I actually pre-ordered the album from them. Jammed all last summer. One of my favorites on the album is probably "Anne". The harmonies dissolve into a mist of horns and synths as the chorus comes back in -- "All I want is all I want is all I want is all I want is..."


Their debut album is available for purchase on their bandcamp HERE so check that shiz out.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bring me one good love.

Mike Clark is a sensation. He's a living, breathing, blue-eyed, soulful sensation. The first time I encountered the music of Mr. Clark, it was through the amazingness that is Heather Browne's Fuel/Friends blog, in the form of a gorgeous Chapel Session. You see, Mike Clark is 34 years old and he works as a land surveyor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is not a professional, but he is a natural. He didn't start playing tunes until he was 27. A late bloomer, he's now played in several bands in his local scene on his way to perfecting his solo sound with his current project: Mike Clark & The Sugar Sounds.



He has a voice for the blues and a flair for soul. He finds his home in the neighborhood near Otis Redding and Ray LaMontagne, and he fits right in. The first time I heard him, I knew I had to have his album: Round & Round. It's pretty much perfect. You can purchase that HERE. You can listen to and download his entire Fuel/Friends Chapel Session, right HERE, and find the rest of his stuff via his website HERE. But, before you go, remember to try and check out his Daytrotter session that just came out today. It's what spurred on this post and it is entirely worth your time.

DAYTROTTER. GO NOW!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Introducing: BODYWORK

BODYWORK is kind of mysterious. There's not a lot of information out there. All I know is that they're from England, they have a free album up for download on their website, and they sound kind of like Yeasayer. I found out about them through I Guess I'm Floating, who posted about them this last week.

I recommend checking out their music video for "The Grind," the title track to their recently released free album. It sounds like classic Yeasayer, the voice, the synths, everything, and I'm certainly not complaining.



Their album is up for download RIGHT HERE and you can check out their website HERE. Also, here's their sadly underappreciated FACEBOOK PAGE. You can also follow them on Twitter HERE.

Check these dudes out. You can't turn down free music, can you? Is that a thing you do? THIS IS A GIFT.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Let me float away.

The creative core of the band is provided by the brothers Lawhon out of Santa Ana, California. They formed a band called KO KO in 2012 that eventually evolved into Pacific Air with the release of their Long Live KOKO - EP that year. The entire EP went on to be parts of their debut album, Stop Talking, which they released last week.

Pacific Air's debut album, Stop Talking, dropped this week and they lived up to their name. This record is a flawless collection of aqua-tinged poolside pop. After picking it up, I listened to it once while driving around the Kentucky country side and it was great, but it didn't really come to life until I listened to it by the pool.

"Move", for me, is the stand-out track on the album. It's easily one of the quicker songs on the album. It's catchy. And it keeps their summer aesthetic.

 

The new songs are all great, too. "Suits," "Play Nice," and "Duet In B Minor" all satisfy that itch you're trying to scratch with this band. It's perfect sugary summery tuneage for your relaxed consumption. "Sunshine" is probably my favorite of the newer stuff though.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Introducing: Alice & The Glass Lake

Strikingly beautiful, the music of Alice & The Glass Lake is keenly cinematic. I can feel the wind coming in from far off lands, blowing my hair back as I set off on an adventure that will change my life forever. If the light of the full moon made a sound, it would sound like Alice & The Glass Lake. Her brand of pop music is effortlessly brilliant.



Hailing from Wisconsin, Alice associates the Glass Lake with escaping: "It's the lens through which I live my dreams. It's an escapist place of possibility and heartbreak. And it's a sonic space to become lost and find truth." Her music is just that: audio-escapism.

Check out her music video for "Higher," where she conjures shapes out of the air and pulls you into her world and introduces you to her brand of dream pop.



She recently released a stream of her debut EP, The Evolution, which can be streamed HERE. It's awesome to the max and you shouldn't deny your ears the pleasure of listening to it. You can purchase the EP on iTunes and bandcamp (it's also available on Spotify).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Introducing: Karl X Johan


 Karl X Johan makes a curious kind of music. It clearly falls somewhere in the genre of electropop, but has elements of R&B as well. The most telling comparison I can give them is Hurry Up, We're Dreaming M83. Their most recent release is "Never Leave Me", an impressive pop tune that reminds me of M83's "Reunion".



The music video for their song "Flames" actually won a Swedish Grammy. It's symphonic electropop at its finest. The video itself is full of gorgeous hi-def close-ups.

 

These dudes might not make it in America anytime soon, but hopefully they'll drop an album that gets the kind of study-time attention that Hurry Up, We're Dreaming did a year ago.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Introducing: To Kill A King



I've actually known about To Kill A King for a few months now. I first found them when I stumbled onto this blog called Music vs. Misery ran by Megan Forsyth. She posted this awesome video of To Kill A King and a bunch of their friends (including Bastille, who I love unabashedly) performing a rendition of their song "Choices". This blew me out of the water.



Hearing this version inspired me to check out their then-fresh debut album Cannibals With Cutlery, which I soon found out was pretty much the bee's knees. It's full of fantastically arranged folk tunes with pop sensibilities. Sounds like Typhoon and The National rolled into one. Besides "Choices", you should definitely listen to "Fictional State" with it's huge slightly out of place but massively uplifting crescendo.

 

Also, take the time to check out their cover of Lana Del Rey's "Video Games". I like it more than the original, but that may just be me.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Being good isn't always easy

Since I posted about Roo & The Howl a little over a month ago, she's been quite busy. First, she announced she'd be doing a Daytrotter session (which I'm already hype for). Then, she changed up her website and announced some tour dates. And, just last week, she put up a video of her performing the Dusty Springfield classic "Son Of A Preacher Man."



Like I said last time, this girl is going places. She took a brassy over-the-top number like "Son Of A Preacher Man" and turned it into the soft, reminiscent tune it always should have been. Just for a quick review, here's how you can find all of Roo's stuff:

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
WEBSITE

Friday, June 7, 2013

We must believe in magic.

Lately I've been getting into all sorts of trippy stuff. Learning about the nature of things. How to change the world around you and how to live your life. Reading about love, religion,and magic. It's actually quite serendipitous that I've happened onto Crystal Gale's "We Must Believe In Magic". At it's heart, the song is about learning to accept that not everyone knows where they're going, but, if you believe in magic, in destiny, in God (if you like), in some sort of guiding force in this universe (or multiverse, if you like), you can control your own destiny.

 

We must be out of our minds. 
Still, we are shipmates bound for tomorrow and everyone here's flying blind. 
Oh, we must believe in magic. 
We must believe in the guiding hand. 
If you believe in magic, you'll have the universe at your command.

Gale performed the song on The Muppet Show in 1977. The Muppets were always spouting off little nuggets about love and life and whatnot. And that's because Jim Henson really believed in the power of magic and laughter. If you remember, in the original Muppet Movie, the finale song is all about reaching your aspirations and really believing in yourself:

Life's like a movie, write your own ending.
Keep believing, keep pretending.

To finish this little thing, everyone should listen to Johnny Cash's cover of "We Must Believe In Magic", from his Adventure of Johnny Cash album. It adds depth and poignancy to the already great song.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Introducing: Jackson Breit

I went through a phase with post-R&B where I would scour websites looking for stuff that sounded like smoke, sex, and horns. Too bad I never found Jackson Breit during that phase. I did find him last week though, after seeing a post about him on The Burning Ear. The post was about his new song "It's On Tonight", which wouldn't really be out of place on JT's 20/20 Experience or any Robin Thicke album.



All of Breit's stuff is available for F-R-E-E on his Soundcloud. Some of his tunes lean even more towards alt-R&B, with remixed versions of other artists going underneath his voice, and others still have a more classic soul feel. Him being from New Orleans puts him in an outstanding creative community and allows for him to draw influence from his life for songs like "Sunny Days & Hurricanes". My personal favorite original is "Pistol Girl."



Look into Jackson Breit. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Introducing: Houndmouth


Houndmouth has roots in Kentucky and Indiana and, man, do they show. They've managed to perfect a kind of recession rock that's reminiscent of Alabama Shakes, but isn't as bluesy. You'll easily fall in love with these guys if you're a fan of bands like Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, or The Head And The Heart.
Their debut LP "From The Hills Below The City" just dropped yesterday and I picked it up from my local music shop for a test drive around Lexington. It was amazing. An album chock-full of harmony, guitar licks, and americana.
The opening track (and first single released from the album) "On The Road" is easily one of the catchiest tunes on the album and serves well as an introduction for a band that's quickly headed in the right direction.



My favorite song on the album, though, was "Ludlow".



Hop on the Houndmouth train before it's too late. These peeps will be playing a ton of festivals this summer, including Kentucky's own Forecastle Festival. I personally plan to see them play the Belle Of Louisville late night show.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

If You're Looking Back, You'll Never Move Your Feet

I've been a fan of Hey Marseilles since their first album To Travels & Trunks dropped in 2009. Ever since then, I've wanted to see them perform their string-powered folk/pop live...and I would have had that opportunity in Cincinnati on June 25th. Except that that's the same day as Fall Out Boy's St. Louis show. And there's no way I'm missing the comeback tour. Anyways, for the newcomer to Hey Marseilles, you should listen to "Rio". The stand-out track off their first full-length.



And also be sure to check out their second album, Lines We Trace, to see how much they've matured. My personal favorite track is "Looking Back", whose lyrics are featured in the post title.

 

That particular version of "Looking Back" was recorded at Fuel/Friends Chapel Session in Denver, Colorado. Fuel/Friends is run by the great Heather Browne, who is awesome enough to curate these sessions and then put them up for a free download, the link to which I've provided below. To Download Hey Marseilles' Fuel/Friends Chapel Session, click HERE!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Introducing: X Ambassadors

Sometimes they remind me of Imagine Dragons (who they're currently on tour opening for), sometimes they remind me of Matchbox Twenty, and, whenever Sam Harris hits his falsetto, they remind me of City And Colour. X Ambassadors crafts emotionally complex alt-rock and they make it well.

My first taste of these guys was from this House Of Creatives video they filmed earlier this year.



For some reason, after I saw that video, I forgot to bookmark them or something and they got lost in the shuffle. But, I did like their Facebook page. So when they dropped the "Love Songs Drug Songs" - EP I was all over that thing. It's 6 songs for $4 and, oh my god, is it ever worth it.

While "Litost" was my favorite song the first couple listens, I eventually grew to love "Brother" the most.



These dudes are worth investing in. So buy that EP. And if you're too cheap for that, they're giving away their song "Unconsolable" on their website. Maybe that will convince you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Introducing: Teen Sensations


Talk about old school. The Australians of Teen Sensations are making waves with their retro sounding surf pop.



"Surf And Sway" caught my ear and won't let it go. The same is true of their other song ("Get Fit For Summer"), which I'm currently living out. Both of their songs are available for a free download on their bandcamp. You should show these Brisbane boys some summer love.



Introducing: Night Engine

I've loved Talking Heads for a long time. Their off-key sound, their commitment to dance music as well as rock, and the delightfully strange voice of David Byrne. Well...imagine my joy when I found a new band that basically sounds like an updated version: Night Engine.



"I'll Make It Worth Your While" is reminiscent of Talking Heads classic "Burning Down The House," which, you know, makes it amazing. Their entire repertoire is a jangly, neon-colored new wave dream. After listening to "I'll Make It Worth Your While," take the time to listen to "Give Me A Chance." I think you'll find that these London boys would fit in on any new wave bill.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Love Is Older Than My Soul

 The Lone Bellow, formerly Zach Williams & The Bellows, started as a songwriting project after his wife was partially paralyzed due to a horseback riding accident. The overwhelming uncertainty and tragedy of the accident fueled much of Williams' songwriting for the band's first album, with the themes of hope, despair, doubt, uncertainty, and triumph dominating the album.



The Lone Bellow appeals to fans of The Civil Wars, The Head & The Heart, and The Avett Brothers. They define their sound as "Brooklyn Country Music", which puts them even more in a league with Avett & Co. Filled with harmonies and absolutely gorgeous folk instrumentation, The Lone Bellow's eponymous solo album is well worth your time.


THE LONE BELLOW - "Two Sides of Lonely" [live] from SerialBox Presents on Vimeo.

That video of my personal favorite Lone Bellow song ("Two Sides Of Lonely") was shot LIVE. LIVE, I TELL YOU! Which is, coincidentally, the way I'm going to see them this very day at WFPK's Waterfront Wednesday in Louisville. It's perfectly free and all you have to do is get down there. The Staves go on first around 6PM, then Lone Bellow around 7:30, and Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band around 9:00.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oh, You Civilized Barbarian!


Typhoon is overwhelming in the best possible way. They drench you in their harmonies and drown you their gorgeous instrumentation. This Oregon elevensome makes some of the best folk rock around,appealing to people who like stuff like Bright Eyes, Fleet Foxes, and Frightened Rabbit. Their album Hunger & Thirst is an absolute masterpiece, with stand out songs like the slow-to-start-but-quick-to-grow-on-you "White Liars" and the Fleet Foxes-sounding "Ghost Train".



The reason that I bother to write about Typhoon, when their album came out three years ago, is because
1. I love them.
2. They have a new album set to come out in August.
3. That album will HOPEFULLY have this amazing song on it:



In the end, I'll buy the album. These peeps are truly some of the best around. I kind of also need to see them live, but that's a hard thing to do in Kentucky. Here's hoping they book a show in the area soon. For now, though, I'll just have to live with "Dreams Of Cannibalism," the first single off of White Lighter, their soon-to-be-released album.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Introducing: Sombear


I love a good side project. Sometimes when band members split off and do their own thing they can produce magical goodness, which is exactly what Brad Hale, the drummer for Now, Now, is doing under the guise of Sombear. He made the jump from stripped down post-rock sounding music to electropop reminiscent of Electric Guest and The Postal Service.



His upcoming debut album is being released by Trans- Records, the imprint of Chris Walla AKA The King AKA the drummer for Death Cab For Cutie, and will be out this summer. The album, out 7/23, will be called Love You In The Dark, and the title track (A FREE DOWNLOAD) is absolutely fantastic.



The rest of his Soundcloud is definitely worth checking out for his short electro compositions, like "how my head sounds when you ask me a question". Some of them are free and all of them are worth a listen.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I am something that you'll never comprehend.

CHVRCHES (pronounced Churches) comes out of Glasgow on the other side of the pond, where they've been producing neon-tinged electropop for almost a year now. Their first single "Lies" set the blog world on fire and gave them time to produce their "Recover" - EP.


In addition to their original material, CHVRCHES has also produced some pretty great covers and remixes. My favorite among these is their cover of Prince's "I Would Die For U", which they have stylized as "I Would Die For V". The original is a classic, and one of my favorite Prince tunes. They took Prince's lovelorn ballad and turned it into a declaration of pop.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Introducing: Books of Love

Books of Love is a kinda sorta super group comprised of Vivian Girls' Katy Goodman and The Hush Sound's Greta Morgan. They've teamed up to produce tuneage that sounds gloriously like The Best Coast. Their origin story, as told on their bandcamp, goes as follows:

While hiking past the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, friends Katy Goodman and Greta Morgan were struck with the idea to record a song together: A song about physics and love, science and romance, space and time. Have you ever felt the lovesick pain of falling for someone from a different dimension? We have too.

And the very next day, Katy and Greta recorded "Space Time."
 

In addition to that song, they made a music video to accompany it:

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Introducing: Boxed Wine


Boxed Wine makes perfectly portable pop music. Great for your jogging playlist and awesome at parties. These Jersey boys sound like a lot of bands that I really like mixed together: Foals, Two Door Cinema Club, Phoenix, Surfer Blood. It's a bit more obscure, but they also kind of sound like local boys The Pass and Wild Party (not so local).


I found these guys last summer when Speakers In Code posted "Feral" as their Jam of the Day and instantly downloaded their eponymous EP. With lyrics about werewolves and silver bullets, this song is a wild trip that reminds me of when I used to read Goosebumps on summer vacation. SO GREAT. ------------------------------------------------------------------------>

Anyways, Boxed Wine just released their debut LP Cheap, Fun on their bandcamp for FREE. It's amazing and summery and fully deserving of your attention. In fact, all of their stuff is free at the moment. You should give a thorough listen to these dudes. They deserve it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mixed Up: Backroads Detour

I made a mix filled with good driving music in the vein of alternative country, folk rock, and progressive bluegrass. It has some Dillon Hodges, some Punch Brothers, and tons of other goodness. Check it out below!

Backroads Detour from doperle on 8tracks Radio.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Introducing: Smallpools


This is unbelievable. I mean, really, unbelievable. I'm completely baffled when bands show up out of the blue and release an absolutely stellar single. Not that I'm surprised they're good, it's just surprising that they're already this good. With that said, let me introduce you to Smallpools and their debut single "Dreaming".



  I was sold immediately. Pretty much from the opening notes. Small Pools sounds like someone took Swiss Lips, Autostrada, The 1975, Fun., Foster The People, and Passion Pit and then put them in a blender set on puree. This will be one of the songs of my summer. I've also neglected to mention, it's a FREE DOWNLOAD RIGHT NOW. Download it now.

This song has huge radio potential. I think you'll be hearing this on the radio soon. Even though I've only heard one song...it's good enough that I would commit to buying an album right now. I need more. I need it now. Thank you, sincerely, Neon Gold, for bringing them to my attention.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I need you to holler.

Some pretty cool music comes out of Louisiana. Of course, you have your dixieland jazz, your blues, your zydeco, and everything else. Well, nowadays, there's some pretty awesome alternative music coming out of the Bayou State. Great bands like Givers, GASHCAT, and Royal Teeth, among several others. But today I'm talking about John Michael Rouchell. John Michael Rouchell crafts a unique blend of soul pop, full of singalong choruses and cool arrangements. He only has two songs up on his soundcloud for streaming, and a recently released five-song EP (The Separation). The lead single and my favorite song from that collection is "Holler".



I sincerely implore you to check out the rest of his EP. It's goddamn fantastic.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Introducing: Fast Screens

Fast Screens manufactures a specific brand of ridiculously summery music that's good all year round. I think it's best described as technicolor electropop. It's easy to see why Neon Gold, one of my personal favorite blogs, is in their corner.


"One Summer" is just one example of how these guys make some of the most driver friendly music around. The track is available on their bandcamp for a free download. I highly recommend downloading it. Their debut EP, however, is what hooked me. Particularly their song "Don't Stop".

That whole EP is well worth the $4 they're asking. It's a go-to jog EP, coming in at just over 15 minutes. These dudes have shared a bill or two with the first group I ever wrote about on here (Junior Prom) and I bet that show was the bomb.com.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In The Southern Soil


Dillon Hodges plays soulful folk music with bluegrass tinges around the edges. He's a master flat-picker, as you can hear in his old-timey tunes. He has a captivating twang to him. This is music you would expect to hear on the soundtrack to FX's Justified.


His style doesn't hold him back though. He's found a way to sound modern in the middle of all that old school awesome. Try out his cover of Gorillaz' "Feel Good, Inc."


His debut album, Rumspringa, is available on iTunes today. Personally, I'm planning on grabbing a copy at his show tonight at Natasha's Bistro in Lexington, KY. It's gonna be an awesome show.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Introducing: Bad Things


It seems odd that I made it through even five posts without naming a band from LA, but, apparently, Bad Things is the first one. These peeps came out of nowhere, like bands tend to do nowadays, with a fully developed single and a cool aesthetic. They sound like Local Natives with an electronic tinge to them. It's electro-powered rock, NOT electronic rock. It's harmonies, drums, and an epic chorus. Now another thing bands tend to do nowadays is release one ridiculously good single and then take the time to develop everything else while people fawn over that one song (e.g. The Neighbourhood). This is exactly what Bad Things is doing with "Caught Inside". I can't blame them. I'll take this one perfect song. I just hope there's more in the pipeline.



I'm sure this single is a sign of great things to come from Bad Things. I can't wait for more.

Friday, May 10, 2013

You're Only Where You Are


Chicken Little describes themselves as "half-pint folk punk". A singer/guitarist and an accordion player (joined by a fiddler at some gigs) are all that compromise this tiny folk powerhouse. They specialize in fantastic lyrics, rousing choruses, and gorgeous harmonies. This post's title comes from the opening track of their first album No One, Never, Nothing.


I got into these guys after I saw them at a folk punk festival in Berea, KY, at the now closed Black Feather Cafe of all places. I went there to see Paul Baribeau and Busman's Holiday, but they went on first and they blew me away. Their pure energy was captivating. I had to buy their album. Their most upbeat tune is the ode to giving in to alcohol "Off The Wagon", the title of which has now been changed to "The Sky Is Not Falling".


"The Devil Spoke Here" ruminates on religious themes and comes away feeling guilty. It's truly fantastic. I'll close the post with some potent lyrics from the tune: "May we always fail with the best of intentions with our hearts always pure and our souls only human."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Introducing: Magic Man

Okay. Stop. Drop everything. Listen. Magic Man is this amazing band from Rhode Island. They are an absolute synth-pop dream boat if ever there was one. They sound like The Killers, but with way more synthesizers. They sound like Passion Pit, but without the crazy high falsetto. Basically, they're bound for greatness. They are, like their chosen descriptor, "triumphant synth rock."



I found out about Magic Man from Neon Gold Beat Company whenever they dropped "Paris" earlier this year. And then they dropped "Texas". And then an absolutely killer remix of Pacific Air. Nothing I've heard from these guys has been less than fantastic.



They dropped another new tune, "Nova Scotia," today and it is equally amazing. Yesterday, my favorite band Walk The Moon announced Magic Man would be accompanying them on part of their fall tour. And today Neon Gold released their free EP with all three of their singles on it. One thing is definite: Magic Man is going places.

Do yourself a favor and download this EP. It's perfect for summer. It's great music. IT'S FREE.


Introducing: Christopher The Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band



Fresh to death progressive soul is pumping from my speakers. That's the sound of Christopher The Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band. Flush with keys and full of horns, this sweet, sweet music comes to us from Des Moines, Iowa, where CTC&HBGBB have been smoothly operating for a few years now. Chris Ford, the band leader, has been making music since 2008 and doing everything from solo piano music to now leading a 9-piece soul pop band.

I stumbled onto the band when I was going through some old Daytrotter sessions, and, man, am I glad that I clicked on them. Bands like this are the reason I pay for the subscription. I quickly downloaded the session and went in search of an album, which I luckily found on his bandcamp. His album, The Fate Of A Good Man, is absolutely fantastic and worth the $7. With tracknames like "Let Us Not Confuse Our Thoughts With Our Beliefs," "The Truth Is On Its Way," and "Life Is Not Always Easy," you can bet that he backs them up with outstanding lyrics. In style, Christopher The Conquered, at times, reminds me of Ben Sollee (particularly on "Let Us Not..").


My personal favorite tune, "Free To Try (But Not Always To Do)," comes with a sweet music video that features Chris Ford dancing, conducting, driving, and jamming with the band. It really is a fantastic video and song, building from somber to celebratory in 6 minutes of awesome.

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Introducing: Fast Years

Fast Years has been on my radar since last summer when they released their outstanding Women - EP. These New Yorkers play grunge rock guitars with poppy-as-hell hooks on top. Their music, for me at least, also has an element of surf in it. It might just be that it sounds like pure summer fun...that could easily be the case. Anyways, their song "Young Heart" is absolutely amazing and it's a FREE download!


If you dig that, you should totally check out their entire EP. It's worth the $3. Hell, it's worth at least $5. Also, linked after the jump is their music video for "Young Heart".

Monday, May 6, 2013

Introducing: Roo & The Howl


Being the voracious blog reader that I am, when Pigeons And Planes does a piece called "12 Female Artists You Should Know" I pay attention. In that little piece, they brought an artist to my attention that goes by the nome-de-tune Roo & The Howl. According to her bio, the word "roo" is derived from an old English word meaning "quiet". So her name actually means "The Quiet And The Howl". That's a kick-ass name. The awesome person behind it is Bekah Wagner out of Colorado Springs, CO.



She's been quietly producing quality Americana/folk music for a little while now. She closed out 2012 with a gaggle of shows that included opening for Seattle folkies Ivan & Aloysha. Her tune "To The River" is pure indie folk bliss and "They Say" is one of the most delicate vocal pieces I've heard in quite some time. If those two songs are any indication, she's going to have a busy 2013 and a bright future (with an album on the docket for early 2014).

Introducing: Junior Prom

NYC's Junior Prom sports one of the coolest names and sounds in current memory. These dudes have an electropop sound perfectly suited for the heat of the summer. Rest assured, this music is RayBan friendly. Their eponymous debut EP is up for free download over at their bandcamp and everyone should take advantage of this fact.


While "International" is definitely my favorite track off the EP, "Sheila Put The Knife Down" is the most captivating and they made a video for it that you can watch after the jump.