Thursday, September 13, 2012

Captain Murphy - "The Killing Joke"

Captain Murphy could be the rapping alter-ego of Flying Lotus, Tyler, The Creator, or Slick Rick for all we know. It doesn't seem to matter much though, as every track he's dropped has been an instant sensation. Early tracks like "Mighty Morphin Foreskin" and "The Ritual" showed off some great rapping technique and an ear for production ("The Ritual" smartly utilizes the beat for the underrated Jay Electronica track "Dear Moleskine.") The TNGHT-sampling "Shake Weight" showed some trap leanings. On "The Killing Joke," Murphy shows his versatility once again. The beat, supposedly a Flying Lotus contribution, lurches along with some horror movie samples and a creepy female vocal hook. It's a great addition to the Captain Murphy myth and whenever his first full release is out, it will be sure to make waves across the hip-hop world. Listen to the track at Gorilla vs. Bear.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dads - American Radass (this is important)

If anything, New Jersey's Dads seem to believe that the music they record is vital to someone's well being. Their latest release is also their debut full-length, American Radass (this is important). It's not too far removed from the raw emotion of twinkly emo giants like Snowing or the nostalgia and heartache behind classic groups like American Football. At the same time, Dads have managed to make an album that doesn't collapse under the weight of its own influences. American Radass is bound to be a landmark in the history of emo music simply because of what its very title seems to imply. The music here is simple, concise, and extremely important to someone, somewhere. Listen to and buy the thing at the group's Bandcamp and be sure to be on the lookout for tour dates from these guys very soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Purity Ring - "Fineshrine"

Purity Ring is a two-piece hailing from Canada, and they have turned about as many heads as an artist without a single full-length album out can turn. Last year they released breakout singles "Ungirthed" and "Belispeak." They earned themselves a fair share of fans early and garnered favorable comparisons to fellow electronic vocal acts like The Knife and anyone else influenced by moody hip-hop sounds, particularly fellow Canadian Grimes. These comparisons aren't too far off, but Purity Ring's blend of driving percussion, electro, and female vocal melodies call to mind an alternate reality Sleigh Bells that set up synths before they ever picked up guitars.  The band is currently gearing up to release it's first LP, titled Shrines. For the most part, the months leading up to it's drop have been a huge tease. The tease continues with the third single to come from the disc (following "Obedear" and the aforementioned "Ungirthed") titled "Fineshrine." This one may be one of the more hip-hop sounding tunes released by the band to date. It sounds like someone got a hold of a long lost Clams Casino instrumental and laid down vocals on it. It's remarkable and may be the best song released by the group to date. Listen to it at Pitchfork.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Moons - Bloody Mouth

Moons is the creative outlet of a Patrick Canaday, a 22 year old Atlanta native whose first single signals a pretty unique grasp of nighttime pop music. Bloody Mouth is the project's first official release, a 7" single that touches on Canaday's strengths pretty quickly. The title track is a rather spacey piece of music with a lot of instrumental sounds that immediately reveal why Canaday would want to go by "Moons." Even more intriguing is the single's b-side, titled "Waves at Night." It features some great robot/female astronaut harmonizing, and some truly stellar production. It's not as alien and cold as that would imply, however. Even the altered vocals have a distinctly human quality. No Recordings is selling the single on vinyl for a paltry sum, and there's even a great mood video out to go along with the title track. You can watch that here and keep this guy in your thoughts so you don't miss out on his future endeavors.

Slow Machete - Evening Dusk Choir

Slow Machete is the name bestowed upon an ambient musical project chiefly organized by Washington DC musician and humanitarian Joe Schafer. Evening Dusk Choir is the first release under this name, and it consists of field recordings from Schafer's trips to Haiti as part of post-2010 earthquake recovery efforts there. There are also several Haitian musicians featured in various capacities. World music with this sort of premise would usually sound awkwardly insincere and hamfisted, but the music doesn't beat the listener over the head with exotic sounds or ethnic traditions. The music seems more concerned with common creative threads that connect all of mankind rather than tangible differences. Many comparisons have been made to the music of Sigur Rós, and rightfully so. However, this music has a stranger beauty to it, and isn't easily described. You can watch the video for album standout "Fallen Mangoes" here and download the whole thing for free at the project's Bandcamp.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oneohtrix Point Never - "I Only Have Eyes for You"

Oneohtrix Point Never has plenty of competition in terms of covering this 1934 classic, due to Doug Aitken's excellent Song 1 installation in Washington D.C. The likes of No Age, Beck, James Murphy, and more took this one on for the soundtrack to the installation. Geologist (of Animal Collective) and blog favorite Nicolas Jaar showed off their versions live at the installation as well. For what it's worth, OPN seemed to have dissected every inch of the song and put it back together in a way more beautiful than any other version we've heard so far. You can hear the song at Soundcloud and watch the installation with a ton of live performances at Pitchfork.

Fergus & Geronimo - "The Strange One Speaketh / Roman Tick"

This is a weird and fun one from the duo who have brought you similarly odd but awesome music for a while now. They are a Texas band whose music tends to fall somewhere between garage pop and psychedelic punk. If that doesn't interest you, the band's personality might. From lyrics to great songwriting quirks, Fergus & Geronimo has already managed to make an interesting and rewarding first album with last year's Unlearn. FWTSOA is their second full length in as many years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. This track starts with an odd dating profile narration and ends in a Black Lips inspired shouted chorus. Hear the new song at Soundcloud.

Lace Curtains - "High Fantasy"

Austin based garage bank Harlem put out an overlooked but superbly written album called Hippies back in 2010. Since then, it seems like most people, including myself, have forgotten how great their work has been to this point. Michael Coomer, who splits frontman duties within the band, has a new project entitled Lace Curtains with a release on the horizon. The first taste of this release is "High Fantasy," a driving and youthful piece that sounds a lot like Harlem and a little bit like indie darling Girls. Hear the song at Gorilla vs. Bear and listen to Harlem if you're late to that party.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Horseback - Half Blood

Horseback is a nice change of pace in the world of metal, especially in the increasingly controversial world of modern black metal. More words have been written about the stupid things people say than the more interesting music to come out of the scene, which is pretty sad. Horseback doesn't aim to be controversial, but its unique blend of black metal and Americana influences is definitely head-turning. This album, Horseback's third, sounds like some unholy mix of Earth's Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method, o'death's excellent 2011 release Outside, and Wolves in the Throne Room.  It's really country music in it's purest form, more concerned with the darkest corners of the wild west than beer and romance. You can hear and download the whole thing at the group's Bandcamp.

Animal Collective - Honeycomb / Gotham

Contrary to popular belief, Animal Collective has not been in hiding since the release of their most popular release yet in 2009's Merriweather Post Pavilion. There's been the incredible and underrated Fall Be Kind EP, their cassette collaboration with Keep, and the weird visual freakout ODDSAC, with some other odds and ends occupying the three (!) years since Merriweather was released. On top of all of that, their live shows have contained new material for years. Still, it feels like an event every time Animal Collective puts anything onto tape. "Honeycomb" and "Gotham" comprise a new 7 inch coming out in June on Domino Records, and it's as weird and awesome as you expect. Listen for yourself at AnCo's official website.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Siamese Twins - In a Box/Stutter

I've talked about Siamese Twins once before, covering their excellent cassette demo from last year, and word on the street is that they have a new inch on the way, titled In a Box/Stutter. As you should know, the band is trio based in and around Massachusetts, and they make cool and dreamy post-punk not unlike some of the most revered material by The Cure. If you haven't yet, download their demo, it's a great snapshot of their influences and styles. You can hear their other stuff, including Side A of this over at their website. If you like what you hear, consider getting the whole thing when it comes out in a month or so via Labor of Love Records.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kishi Bashi - 151a

K Ishibashi, who records as Kishi Bashi, is a founder of Jupiter One, a touring violinist with St. Vincent, Sondre Lerche, and Deerhoof, as well as a new member of Of Montreal. Most importantly though, he is an excellent and original multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with a new album out. 151a is a worldly chamber pop type of album, with a lot of crazy instrumentation and hand-clap percussion to back up it's homemade aesthetic. The hums, whistles, harmonies, and layered vocals call to mind songwriters like Owen Pallett if he lived in the crazy Japanese wonderland of Katamari Damacy. If that sounds at all interesting to you, stream and buy his album at his Bandcamp.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ty Segall and White Fence - Hair

In case you don't already know, Ty Segall and White Fence are two great and active psychedelic leaning garage rock acts with some great releases between the both of them. Their collaborative album, Hair was released just days ago on Drag City and it's probably the best thing ever recorded by either project. It leans a little on the strange and drugged-out side compared to past material, and it works extremely well. There are even some great guitar solos on it, which isn't often seen in the world of indie music. Get to know the project by watching Ty Segall and White Fence perform an incredible extended version of album cut "I Am Not A Game" at Room 205 on Youtube and buy the album through their excellent label if you like it.

My Bloody Valentine - "Good For You"

My Bloody Valentine somehow got away with dropping a slew of great material in the late 80s and early 90s, the most notable release being 1991's Loveless, which just so happens to be one of my favorite albums of all time. Tons of label issues, poor financial choices, and a Kevin Shields breakdown ensured that MBV wouldn't make new music for two decades, but they seem to have seriously returned to the recording studio for the first time in a long time. While everyone waits for the long-teased third album by the band, Sony is dropping remastered versions of their back catalog on CD on May 7th. Included in this release is a compilation of the band's early material titled EP's 1988-1991. It compiles most of the non-album tracks ever released by the band, as well as three previously unreleased songs. The first one of these three songs to surface is "Good For You," and it's a great pop tune with all the hallmarks of My Bloody Valentine's awesome early material. Hear the song while reading a pretty great Kevin Shields interview over at Pitchfork.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Avalanches - Sleepy Bedtime Mix for Young Ones

After 12 years of waiting, The Avalanches have finally released new music for it's increasingly frustrated fans. Maybe. Sleepy Bedtime Mix for Young Ones is a mixtape posted under the name "Henry Chinaski" on mixtape sharing site Pinchy & Friends. Rumors abound that this is likely a sneak peek of what new material from The Avalanches will sound like. The mix covers on a lot of dreamy 60s pop and features enough harmonies to make anyone fall into a deep slumber. Whether it is in fact a release by The Avalanches or not, it's an awesome mix that deserves a listen or eight. And hopefully, it does mean that the finally awaited follow-up to Since I Left You is finally on the horizon. Hear it at Pinchy & Friends.

Monday, April 23, 2012

R. Kelly - "Share My Love"

R. Kelly's 2010 album Love Letter had some bad breaks. It came out in December, (a death knell for anything trying to get on a year-end list or two) it was a little all over the place with its homages and instrumental throwbacks, and it wasn't exactly what most R. Kelly fans wanted to hear. However, it was full of a ton of quality music and is definitely underrated in retrospect. Since that album, he's had throat surgery, a lauded comeback string of performances, announced an autobiography, and finally confirmed that new episodes of Trapped in the Closet were in the works. Besides all of that, he has two albums planned for release on the horizon. Black Panties is supposed to be more standard affair, with Kelly saying that it was very similar to his solo debut 12 Play. Write Me Back is the other release, another LP of callbacks to soul, disco, and other urban genres of old. "Share My Love" is the first single to drop from that album, and it's basically a classic-sounding disco song with a few of Kells' lyrical and vocal quirks thrown in. His voice even adopts some 70's sounding tones, and it's awesome. Watch the video at Youtube and try not to burst into tears of joy when Kelly says "Now that we're in this room, let's do what we were born to do / POPULATE, let's get together, POPULATE, make the world better."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Peaking Lights - "Lo Hi"

936 by dub-pop couple Peaking Lights was one of last year's true gems. Its psychedelic waves were some of the best chillout grooves to come out in the past few years. This year, Peaking Lights is taking square aim at their old album with Lucifer. This LP promises to be bigger and badder, in the best way possible. "Lo Hi" isn't too much of a departure, as all the established tropes of the band are there. A few interesting instrumentation choices (choice woodwinds especially) and a unique guest (the duo's young son makes a vocal contribution) give this one a ton of life, even out of the Lucifer's context. Stream it at the band's Soundcloud for your first taste of the new album. If you still want more, you can check out two mixes the band has put together of new material and influences for Lucifer here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shlohmo - "Rained the Whole Time" (Nicolas Jaar Remix)

Some of the best electronic work to come out recently has been from the type of producers that like to color outside of the lines. Two of these producers happen to be Shlohmo, the glitchy hip-hop wunderkid, and Nicolas Jaar, minimal techno mastermind behind last year's excellent Space Is Only Noise. They seem like a pretty good match on paper, and the execution is even better. This remix is sprawling, deep, and pretty entrancing. Perfect listen right before the sun goes down. Watch the newly released video for it at Vimeo and make sure to check out the release that this remix is included on, Shlohmo's Vacation EP.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Actress - "Marble Plexus"

Darren Cunningham, who tends to record under the name Actress, already has a solid self-titled debut and 2010's insanely good Splazsh under his belt. Splazsh was a... well, splash of Detroit 2-step and techno that changed up so much from track to track that no one could describe it using less than three vague genres. It was, in many ways, the under-appreciated younger brother of Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma. Actress found his stride, and it lied in a haze of fuzzy beats, primitive computer sounds, and vast shifts from song to song. R.I.P. will likely continue down that unpredictable path, as Actress looks to further the mission of London dance music innovators. Hear new song "Marble Plexus"  at Soundcloud.

Electric Wizard - Legalise Drugs & Murder

Electric Wizard is often cited as one of the greatest stoner/doom metal bands of all time, and rightfully so. Come My Fanatics was a landmark in doom metal lore, setting a new standard for just how heavy and album can be. 2000's Dopethrone took that formula a step further, and is one of the greatest metal albums of all time, so everything Electric Wizard has released after that has been scrutinized a little too much for not being groundbreaking. Witchcult Today and Black Masses, released in 2007 and 2010, respectively, stand as truly excellent stoner metal releases, and their upcoming eighth album is poised to expand the group's persona even more with a new lineup and tour also in place for 2012. This 7 inch single is the first preview of this new lineup, as well as the new material set to come out of the project. Listen to the title track here and listen to Dopethrone if you're that behind on one of the best metal bands of all time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

jj - "Beautiful Life"

Swedish duo jj have always managed to seem like the coolest kids in music no matter what they sound like. They've managed to cover songs like The Game's "My Life" and Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" without resorting to cheese and irony to make them listenable. They titled songs things like "my life, my swag" back in 2009 on their first single. We haven't heard from them since 2010, a year in which they released their solid album jj n° 3 as well as the incredible and overlooked Kills mixtape. This year, they plan to drop the next release in their awkwardly named series, a single titled jj n° 3 that features this sunny and joyful acid trip called "Beautiful Life." Hear the track at Pitchfork and remember to keep tabs on the coolest uncool band in music.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


BADBADNOTGOOD has slowly but surely clawed their way into the hearts of hip-hop and jazz fans everywhere with their unique covers, energetic live shows, and awesomely chill and original music. Today, they've released BBNG2, the heavily anticipated sequel to last year's jaw-dropping BBNG. That album has more than a few surprises, especially the sprawling medley of music from The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. BBNG2 is similarly surprising, particularly in the closing track, a frantic cover of My Bloody Valentine's "You Made Me Realise." The other covers touch on staples that fans of BADBADNOTGOOD should be familiar with like OFWGKTA, James Blake, and Kanye West. Those are awesome, but the original music shines here more than ever before. "Vices" and "Rotten Decay" are particularly great and seem fitting alongside the crowd-pleasing covers of popular material. Download BBNG2 for free at their website and be on the lookout for these guys if they ever tour within a couple hundred miles of you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chromatics - Kill for Love

Chromatics, one of the first bands covered on He Said Head South have just released their new album, Kill For Love. It's over an hour and a half great synthpop, and every song sounds like it could be the theme song to an awesomely cheesy 80's cop show. It's up for streaming at Soundcloud, so you should really listen to it now if you liked previous Johnny Jewel efforts (like every song you liked from the movie Drive.)

Death Grips - "The Fever (Aye Aye)"

I tried to resist talking about Death Grips until The Money Store comes out, but every single new song from that album seems to top the last. As exciting as Exmilitary was, this project seems primed to top it and then some with their new material. "The Fever (Aye Aye)" is pretty close to "Get Got" another gem that will be included on the forthcoming album, as both feature some woozy synths and really powerful percussion. As always, the song is accompanied by an awesomely weird video that you can watch at Youtube. If you haven't, check out other videos from The Money Store like "Get Got."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sigur Ros - "Ekki múkk"

Sigur Ros always has a knack for visually representing their music perfectly. Whether it's the fun old people of "Hoppipolla" or the way their movie Hemia used "Untitled #3" as the film came to close, Sigur Ros is the perfect band for music videos. Specifically, music videos capable of bringing tears to the eyes of grown men. Now, the band has finally blessed us with a new song and promises of a new album. "Ekki múkk" has a super minimalist video, but the fantastic new song compliments it rather well. Watch it at Vimeo and try to keep your emotions in check.

Japandroids - "The House That Heaven Built"

Post-Nothing was a terrific full-length debut from Japandroids, but it had one fatal flaw. It was short enough to make fans salivate for a new album immediately, and that album that will finally drop just in time for summer. "The House That Heaven Built" is the first song to come out from Celebration Rock, and it makes a lot of promises about the band Japandroids is evolving into. The fuzzy guitars and driving drums are still here, and the dueling vocals make a welcome reappearance. Still, this song does seem to mark the beginning of the new era for the duo. "The House That Heaven Built" is bigger and louder than anything the band has ever released, it's really the sound of a band about to burst at the seams with emotion. In a good way. Hear it at Soundcloud.

Mount Eerie - "House Shape"

Phil Elverum doesn't have much else to prove. The Glow Pt. 2, and Mount Eerie by The Microphones, as well as Wind's Poem by Mount Eerie were some of the most imaginative and exhilarating releases of the last decade. In particular, The Glow Pt. 2 is among my all-time favorites. With his Mount Eerie project, Elverum has been toying with a lot of black metal inspired sounds while retaining his uniquely awesome production and heartfelt lyricism. "House Shape" is the first song to drop from Clear Moon, one of two impending Mount Eerie albums to be released in 2012. It's beautiful in the simple way that classics like I Felt My Size were, and makes the wait for Clear Moon's release bearable. Hear it at Soundcloud and remember to check out Clear Moon in May.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A$AP Rocky x OG Ron C - Live Love Purple

Was last years awesome LiveLoveA$AP mixtape not slow, trill, or conductive to your purple drank consumption for your tastes? Well, worry no more. OG Ron C has released his chopped and screwed version, with a ton of extras to get your download. There are a load of unreleased freestyles, including most of the A$AP Mob, Paul Wall, and Bun B. It's 23 tracks long, so it should be the perfect length for your high. Sober or faded, be sure to check out standouts like "Palace" and "Base" from the original album and the Purple Swag "H-Town Allstars Remix" with the aforementioned Bun B and Paul Wall as well as Killa Kyleon. Listen and download at DatPiff before your night kicks off.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Florence + The Machine - "Never Let Me Go" (Clams Casino Remix)

Florence + The Machine's 2011 album Ceremonials  received a ton of criticism that didn't totally hit the mark. Yes, it was more than a bit overproduced and ran way too long, but some of the songs on it were pop masterpieces. One of those songs was "Never Let Me Go," a Florence ballad that features one of the most powerful melodies of her career. Clams Casino, odds on favorite to be the best producer of all-time considering his career trajectory, has put his spin on it. The result is an early candidate for my favorite song of the year. Listen to the original if you haven't heard it and hear the remix at Gorilla vs. Bear.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coo Woo - Love Exposure

Coo Woo is a band from Wisconsin that have released one of the most fun musical experiences so far this year. They describe themselves as "punk" but their music intersects with a few different genres. I'm inclined to label them as indie pop with a lot of new wave elements, but with tunes this blissful, you don't really need a genre attachment. The instrumentation is bright and paced really well, something that opening track "Amanda Knox" shows off quite a bit. The vocals are a real star as well, with lots of harmonizing and awesome lyrics. Though this thing came out in February, it has summer written all over it. Considering the weather lately, I'd say it's perfect to download right now. Hear the whole thing and download it for free at Coo Woo's Bandcamp.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spiritualized - "Hey Jane"

"Hey Jane" may be the best track Jason Pierce has released in his post-Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space phase. It's a nine-minute opus that isn't too far off something like "Cop Shoot Cop." Hopefully, it's a sign of other great things included on Spiritualized's next LP,  Sweet Heart Sweet Light, due to be released in April. This video is pretty insane, and is definitely a must-watch, even if you've heard "Hey Jane" a million times already, like I have. See it at Youtube.

Titus Andronicus - LLC Mixtape Vol. 1

The most beloved punk band of the past couple years just blessed us with a wealth of material from all over their career. Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles posted this mixtape recently, and it's a must-have for fans of the band. There are some outtakes and demos from 2010's landmark The Monitor, as well as a ton of unreleased covers and earlier stuff. The covers are great and diverse, with Weezer, Spider Bags, The Velvet Underground, and even the Hot Pockets theme song being touched upon. The highlight is easily the band's new song, "Upon Viewing Oregon's Landscape With the Flood of Detritus." It's awesome and should be on an upcoming split 7' between Titus Andronicus and recent tourmates (and awfully named) Diarrhea Planet. Listen to the tape at Tumblr.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Death Grips - The Money Store

One of 2011's most polarizing (but ultimately, most rewarding) breakout artists is back for more this year. Death Grips, if you don't know, is an abrasive hip-hop project of the often lovable Zach Hill of Hella. They've made a name for themselves with Exmilitary and some of the great videos to come out of that album, especially "Guillotine." Thankfully, they are slated to release two full-lengths in 2012, starting with The Money Store on April 24. They already have three songs from that album out, and they are all worthy additions to their growing discography. Hear "Lost Boys" and "Blackjack" if you're already a fan, and watch the video for the wonderful "Get Got" even if you hate them.

Danny Brown - "Radio Song"

Danny Brown released  the impressive XXX last year and The Hybrid the year before that. With that kind of work ethic, he deserves a break. Brown doesn't seem to agree though, as the deluxe edition of XXX with three new tracks releases today, right in the midst of his huge US tour with Childish Gambino. To commemorate its release, Danny Brown has dropped the video for one of the tamer songs from the album, "Radio Song." Watch the video here and check out 2011's XXX if you haven't already.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Usher - "Climax" (Prod. by Diplo)

After listening to it several times a day for the past couple weeks, I have to mention one of 2012's best songs thus far. Usher has returned with his first great single since 2008's "Love in this Club." Diplo's production suits him well enough that everyone should forget about past transgressions like the abysmal "OMG."  Don't let this one slip under your radar because of the names attached to it, it really is something else. Watch the Sam Pilling-directed video here and watch out for a new Usher LP dropping sometime this year.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thelonious Martin - 10.Minute.Tape

Whether you caught wind of him first when he worked with the likes of Hodgy Beats and Action Bronson or when he released his [Super] album in 2011, you're probably loving this guys talent if you've heard him. Thelonious Martin is a 19 year old beat-maker whose music sounds like a fresh outlook on what Dilla was always trying to accomplish. Above all else, Martin's music is just damn entrancing. His new beat tape is a great night listen and is hopefully foreshadowing some new music coming from this guy later in the year. Check out this guy's music at his Bandcamp, and then show it to all your friends.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beach House - "Myth"

One of my personal favorite groups making music right now is Beach House, who manage to be a little more brilliant with each release. Devotion and Teen Dream really established the Baltimore indie veterans as beacons of hope in the indie pop world that don't have to be weird to be original. Finally, they've released the first single from their upcoming Bloom album, and it's called "Myth." Beach House probably have another great one on their hands, so make sure to listen to it at their website.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It

Put Your Back N 2 It is definitely one the albums in 2012 so far that really took me by surprise. After not following this project for a while, the simple instrumentation and really heartfelt songwriting took me by surprise. In the world of hyper-glossed indie pop, Perfume Genius really stands out as music that means something. The insane video for "Hood" first had me interested, but the album's most somber moments grab me more than anything else. Listen to a personal favorite, "Dark Parts" and try explaining to anyone around you that SOMEONE must be chopping onions in the immediate area.

Chromatics - "Candy"

Chromatics has released a video for the fourth song leaked from their upcoming album Kill for Love. Based on what we've seen so far, it could be one of the more interesting releases of the entire year. Watch the new video for "Candy" and remember to check out their cover of Neil Young's "Into the Black" if you haven't already. It really is something to marvel at.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Studying & Cape Farewell: NoVA Emo Spotlight.

More Virginia music to sink your teeth into. Both of these bands fit into the twinkly emo scene, so think stuff like Snowing and Hightide Hotel. Firstly, Studying is an Annandale band that has a nice group of solid releases to their name. Most notable is their Songs About Leaving Home release that I've been loving lately. Cape Farewell hails from Manassas and just released four new tracks last month titled Now That We've Redrawn Our Maps, The Trees Don't Seem So Close Together. Their music is a little more abrasive than something like Studying, which is really nice to see in the Virginia scene. Check out Studying and Cape Farewell immediately, supporting the local scene and great music alike.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chairlift - Something

I've never been a huge Chairlift fan, but this year's Something was a pretty solid album all around. One of the best songs from that album, "Met Before," just got a really interesting video with a better than it sounds premise. At certain points in the video, you can choose the direction the video goes in, not unlike a classic Choose-Your-Own Adventure book. It's executed really well and all of the different moods the video can take still match up well with the track. Watch the crazy video for "Met Before" multiple times over at the band's website.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Willis Earl Beal - Acousmatic Sorcery

Willis Earl Beal makes incredibly beautiful and simple acoustic music. Most seem to refer to it as a Delta Blues throwback project but it's more than that. He seems like an eccentric, with his super-retro writing style, lo-fi recordings, and flyers that he's left around the city of Chicago. His debut album  will be released on April 3rd on Hot Charity, with a tour following. I'm already looking at ticket prices near me. Listen to Monotony and Evening's Kiss at Youtube and get excited.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Acid Reflex EP

Indie pop prodigies The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are releasing a nice little stopgap to whet appetites for new material after 2011's Belong for this year's Record Store Day. Though the EP doesn't actually contain any new songs, it boasts remixes by the likes of Twin Shadow, Washed Out, and St. Etienne. It's available to stream at Soundcloud and will be available on colored vinyl on April 21 at your favorite local record store.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Funeral Home - Funeral Home EP

Funeral Home are a Richmond band that makes shoegaze the way it was always supposed to be made. Their first EP features a lot of distorted guitars with tons of awesome melodies and vocals. It isn't the most original stuff out there, but its very, very well made. A few tracks, like "A Song You Can Fall Asleep To," are more minimal and clean and call to mind early 90s slowcore like Bedhead. There are a few experiments with fun instrumentation as well, with some electronic elements and interesting percussion making appearances throughout. If that sounds at all intriguing or you just want to support local Virginia music, check out their EP at Bandcamp.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Frankie Rose - Interstellar

Frankie Rose has somehow managed to be a notable member of the great Crystal Stilts, as well as girls of the Vivian and Dum Dum varieties. All of those bands were loaded with jangly guitars and fun pop hooks so Rose's solo work thus far has been a relatively jarring transition. "Interstellar" is her second album, and its spacey dream-pop is some of this year's best thus far. Some of the best moments remind me of a more driving Beach House or a reserved Asobi Seksu. There are lots of bright synths and spacey atmospheres. Check out the title track at Pitchfork and grab the whole album if you liked it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Siamese Twins - Demo

Siamese Twins are one of those bands that should already have a massive cult following and even a big single or two. For now, they have an all girl lineup, they're named after a song by The Cure, and they make incredible gothy post-punk. They take a look of inspiration from their (what I assume) idols, The Cure, as well as bits and pieces from Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and some bright indie pop bands. Their internet presence leaves something to be desired, but this cassette demo is otherworldly. It contains some of the best pop released in 2011 and I've listened to it countless times. Download the whole demo here and be on the lookout for a proper release by this band.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Big K.R.I.T. - 4Eva N A Day

Big K.R.I.T. already has a few releases out that I adore and included on my year-end lists (K.R.I.T. Wuz Here and Return of 4Eva are both awesome) but his new output sets its sights high. Answering all of my fanboy prayers, K.R.I.T. took on the incredible "Lord Knows" beat that Just Blaze gave us via Drake's Take Care. The resulting track, dubbed "King Pt. 2," is equal parts social consciousness and ghetto gospel. It's a callback to some of the best Southern hip-hop released in the last decade. 4Eva N A Day is shaping up to be unlike anything we've heard from him yet. Hear the song at Stereogum and be on the lookout for his mixtape that drops later this year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

Cloud Nothings seems like a project that knows how to mature. I enjoyed their previous efforts, but Attack on Memory just knows how to make melodies that turn out to be inescapable. Very few indie bands still make music that's grandiose and heavy without seeming like they're in it for the irony. Cloud Nothings make songs as catchy as Strokes numbers but without all the apathy and post-Is This It complications. Watch their video for "No Future / No Past" and make sure to give the album a spin if you've been neglecting it thus far.

DOOM x Jneiro Jarel - Key to the Kuffs

Lex Records standout Jneiro Jarel has a collaborative album coming out soon with an old, familiar face. DOOM (formerly MF DOOM) could finally be releasing an album's worth of material, the first time he'd have this much work to put out at once since 2009's Born Like This. As one of the game's most talented artists, every single he drops seems like a major event. Make sure to listen to "Banished," the first cut from the album, to whet your appetite. Also, remember to keep praying for a true Madvillainy sequel. It's never too late.

The Caretaker - Extra Patience (After Sebald)

James Kirby, under guise of his alter-ego The Caretaker, is one of the most entrancing artists in music right now. 2011's An Empty Bliss Beyond This World was one of my favorite albums of the year and last month's Patience (After Sebald) was incredible. Out of the kindness of his heart, Kirby is putting up outtakes from that album for free on his Bandcamp. Make sure to check out the rest of his awesome and pretty varied discography there as well.