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.

Fockstrot - Not Nebraska EP and The Fondue EP

Texas music abounds. As far as I can tell, Fockstrot is a guy somewhere down in that big state making cool, lo-fi folk stuff. There is a lot of surprisingly sophisticated instrumentation to go along with the cute acoustic numbers. It works, in a way that calls to mind Sufjan Stevens. Granted, Fockstrot is a lot less ambitious. He seems content to make simple songs with simple messages that manage to stay awesome. He has two EPs out, and you can stream and get them both for whatever you want here.

Mystery Skulls - EP

Mystery Skulls make electro you can groove to and hang out somewhere near Dallas. They have an EP at their Bandcamp, where you can stream their music or, if you're feeling kind, buy it for a paltry dollar. It's well worth it if you enjoy dancing or just bobbing your head in front of your laptop in the dark late at night. Considering the lack of great dance tunes released in 2012 thus far, Mystery Skulls are a welcome visitor to the party that is new music.

Drake x The Weeknd - Crew Love (Shlohmo Remix)

LA beat peddler Shlohmo recently took on "Crew Love," the insanely good collaboration between Drake and The Weeknd from last year's Take Care. "Crew Love" managed to play off the strengths of both artists and was easily the second-best song on the entire album. The remix doesn't stray too far from the original, sounding like Sclohmo chopped and screwed it underwater. I mean that in the best way possible. It's truly remarkable, so hear it at Self-Titled.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lil Ugly Mane - Mista Thug Isolation

Lil Ugly Mane is a Richmond rapper with a penchant for fun and quirky production with a dark side, as well as hideous album artwork. Most of his lyrical content concerns bitches, weed, sizzurp, and being generally awesome. Obviously, I love it. You will too, so long as you love hip-hop that can be equally awesome in your car stereo or in your earbuds. Hear standout track "Radiation (Lung Pollution) Ft. Supa Sortahuman" and the rest of the album at his Bandcamp.

Kendrick Lamar x Gunplay - Cartoon & Cereal

Kendrick Lamar's creative trajectory seems to be reaching new heights every single day. Between the unique flow, varied and clever lyrics, and generally awesome production, he's primed to ascend for years and years to come. Lately, he's been busy recording his first official LP and follow-up to last year's incredible Section.80. Until we get our hands on that, check out Kendrick Lamar on an ambitious track featuring Rick Ross associate Gunplay at Complex.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sun Sister - Rich American White Kidz

Sun Sister are a Massachusetts band that sounds pretty happy. I consider that a good thing. They seem to inhabit the same ballpark as dreamy pop superstars like Wavves, Best Coast, and Cults. If you like sun drenched beach music, this will be right up your alley. Make sure to stream standout "Growing ur hair out" and then get their whole EP for free on their Bandcamp.

Chromatics - Kill for Love

Johnny Jewel is the man behind DesireGlass Candy, and that excellent Drive soundtrack that wound up going mostly unused in the film. Most of his tracks sound like the a mixture of modern club slow jams and Miami Vice inspired synth-adoration.  Though 2011 seemed like his year, he's staying strong by releasing a new album via his successful Chromatics project. Listen to the title track of said album and make sure to check out the excellent Neil Young cover as well.

Grimes - Visions

Grimes drops her most impressive LP to date on February 21. It boasts lots of moody electro and soaring vocals. Some of the tracks are insanely catchy, and others are just hypnotizing. It seems like it could wind up being one of my favorites of 2012. Listen to my personal favorite track, Be a Body, or just hear the entire thing over at NPR

If you liked what you heard, be sure to check out sadrap extraordinaire Deniro Farrar hop on a Ryan Hemsworth remix of "Genesis" at Fader.