Sunday, 30 September 2012

Five Star Songs- Glass Candy- Digital Versicolor

I was perusing Netflix on Friday night looking for a flick to watch when I came across the movie Bronson in the "Just Released" queue. I had heard about this movie before but did not know anything about the character being portrayed in the film. I had only heard that it was directed by Drive's Nicolas Winding Refn and that it starred up and coming British actor Tom Hardy (Bane in The Dark Knight Rises). Of course, based on the director and actor, I decided to stream the movie.

The film was not your average biopic and presented the character of Michael Peterson (Bronson), Britain's most violent criminal, in a kind of black comedy fashion. The movie looks at Michael Peterson's life behind bars and his acts of insubordination that included violent outbursts and taking prison guards hostage. He was released from prison in 1988 where he became a bare knuckle brawler and changed his name to Charlie Bronson, thus the movie title. His freedom only lasted a few months and he remains behind bars to this day. I won't go into too much more detail and highly recommend that you watch the movie.

The movie has a really good soundtrack that includes a lot of classical works mixed with contemporary modern music. The soundtrack includes The Electrician by The Walker Brothers, and Your Silent Face by New Order. There is a really funny scene in the movie where a bunch of drugged-out mental patients are dancing to the The Pet Shop Boys It's a Sin.

The soundtrack also has the song Digital Versicolor by Portland synth pop band Glass Candy. A little bit surprising to hear this song in the movie because the film is a period piece taking place in the seventies and eighties, while the track was released on Glass Candy's B/E/A/T/B/O/X album from 2003. However; the track does have a retro synth pop/italo disco sound and you could easily mistake the song for something released in the eighties. The music video for the song stars Australian actress Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids). Watch the video below and download the song.

Director Refn must be a big fan of electro pop music because he included Glass Candy mastermind Johnny Jewel's other project, Chromatics, in the ultra cool film Drive. That movie also has music from synth pop bands Kavinsky and College featuring Electric Youth.

Buy the soundtrack to Bronson on Amazon.
Download the Glass Candy album B/E/A/T/B/O/X on iTunes.

Friday, 28 September 2012

New Music: Prince Rama- Those Who Live For Love Will Live Forever

Start the weekend out right with a dance party, 80's style.....

Experimental indie rockers Prince Rama will be releasing a concept album, Top 10 Hits of the End of the World, which will feature the band taking the guise of ten different rock groups who died during the apocalypse. The second track from the album has the girls in Prince Rama acting as fake band I.M.M.O.R.T.A.L.L.I.F.E. (an acronym for Inner Messages Morphing Over Resonant Time, Always Loving Infinitely Free and Everlasting) and living out their 80's synth pop fantasies. Listening to the psychedelic tinged pulsating dance track you kind of wish it was 1987 all over again and that you are dancing to DJ Iain at the RPM club in downtown Toronto. Download the song below via Soundcloud.

Top 10 Hits of the End of the World is out November 6th via Paw Tracks.

New Music: Shiny Darkly- Diana

Glad to see that The Raveonettes now have a contemporary band from their home country that make the same reverb friendly Mary Chain-esque post punk and shoegaze music. Introducing Copenhagen trio Shiny Darkly who make great noisy indie rock in the same vein as The Black Angels or The Horrors. Don't let the name of the band fool you. The music and lyrics are more darkly than shiny, as is the song Diana. Listen to the song below via Soundcloud.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

New Music: Cold Cave: A Little Death to Laugh

A little bit of coldwave featuring Aural Report favourite artist Cold Cave on the blog tonight....

Wes Eisold and his sinister dark synth project are back with a new song, A Little Death to Laugh, which has been released as part of a three track 7" single.  Eisold has also put together an eclectic new band  that includes London May of Samhain, Hunter Burgan of AFI, David Scott Stone of LCD Soundsystem, and Cody Votolato of Jaguar Love. They will assist with the recording of Cold Cave's new album which will be released sometime in 2013. This new group will also be accompanying Eishold on his tour with Divine Fits  Listen to the new song below:

A Little Death to Laugh 7" single is available on Cold Cave's website.

New Music: Fossil Collective- On & On

Fossil Collective are a couple of lads from Leeds UK who make great folk infected indie rock. The band just released their single, On and On, for their upcoming new EP of the same name. The harmonious track brings to mind Americana indie group Midlake. Listen to the song and watch the music video featuring woodland animals.

Fossil Collective's debut EP, On and On, will be released in the U.K. on October 22nd via Dirty Hit.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

New Music: Halls- Roses For The Dead

Minimalist London electronic artist Halls recently released a new single, Roses For The Dead, that is definitely not for people who love bright, cheery music. The spacious dark synths and glitchy beats are complimented with Halls' droned gloomy voice who turns it into a song that is hauntingly beautiful.  Great headphone music that is reminiscent of Thom Yorke's The Eraser. Download the song below via Soundcloud.

Halls will release his new album, Ark on October 15th via No Pain in Pop.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

New Music: Peace- Tattoo

Wow this is epic post punk.....

Peace and their awesome post punk track, Your Hand in Mind, were featured on The Aural Report last month . Unfortunately there is another indie band called Peace out of the U.K. trying to make a name for itself right now. I am thinking that if both bands become popular one of them might have to change their name.

The Vancouver version of the band Peace have just released a track that not only will distinguish themselves from their British namesakes but just might launch them into a different league within the Canadian indie scene. Tattoo is a seven minute gothic post punk epic, with vocals that eerily remind you of Peter Murphy, and a sound that slowly builds into a explosion of evil guitars and drums that will send shivers down your spine. Download the song below via Soundcloud.

Peace will release their new album, The World is Too Much With Us, on October 16th via Suicide Squeeze Records.

New Music: Guards- Silver Lining

The Follin clan is one talented bunch of artists.  Not only is Guards founder Richie Follin the stepson of Paul Kostabi, formerly of Youth Gone Mad and White Zombie, he is also the brother of Cults lead singer Madeline Follin.  The former Willowz member is back with his indie rock project Guards and a new single titled Silver Lining.

The track is the first single off their debut album, In Guards We Trust, which will be released February 5th via Black Bell. The track is a sunny, energetic slice of indie pop which would be perfect to listen to while trying to warm up on a cool autumn morning. Listen to the song below via Soundcloud.

Monday, 24 September 2012

New Music: Coves- No Ladder (Toy Remix) + Cast A Shadow

New British duo Coves have only been around for a year and they have already garnered some serious attention from BBC tastemakers Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens, Don Letts and Lauren Laverne. The pair have also been handpicked to support Echo & the Bunnymen on their upcoming tour.

Coves released a brilliant EP last May titled Cast A Shadow. Their sound has a definite 60's influence and can be best described as indie rock that is awash with psychedelic swirls.  One of the tracks on the EP, No Ladder, has been re-mixed by another one of Britain's best up and coming bands, Toy, who we featured on the blog last month. 

Download the re-mix for No Ladder below and watch the music video for the title track of the EP.

The EP for Cast A Shadow is available to stream on Soundcloud. You can also purchase the EP from iTunes.

The re-mix of No Ladder will be released on October 8th via Cross Key Records.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

New Music: Bat For Lashes- All Your Gold

How much do we love Bat for Lashes here at the Aural Report. So much, that if Natasha Khan released a song a day we would post them all.  Natasha has been pretty busy lately and has just come out with another track, All Your Gold, from her highly anticipated upcoming album The Haunted Man.  The song is more poppier than the two previous releases, Laura and Marilyn,  and as Stereogum pointed out it sounds similar to Gotye...sigh. Listen to the song below.

The Haunted Man is out on October 23rd via Capitol or October 15th via Parlophone/EMI depending on which side of the pond you live on.

Five Star Songs: Deacon Blue- Real Gone Kid

I have re-named my Favourite Songs posts to Five Star Songs. Just sounds better...

I have been ill all weekend and I don't feel like writing much today. Just leave you with the perfect song for a cool Sunday afternoon. Real Gone Kid was a single released in 1988 by Scottish indie pop band Deacon Blue. The song was written about Lone Justice singer Maria McKee. Listen below and don't let the 80's kitsch of the video turn you off.

Buy the 7' on vinyl from Amazon.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

New Music: Cold Showers: Violent Cries

Cold Showers are about to release their debut album, Love and Regret, and to entice you to buy the record they have released another single. Aural Report already featured the debut single, BC, in August and now the un-California like band have a new track called Violent Cries. The post-punk sound evokes dreary Manchester instead of bright Los Angeles where the group is from. Download the single below via Soundcloud.

Cold Showers release Love and Regret on October 9th via Dais Records.

Cold Showers are currently on tour  in North America with The Soft Moon and will be playing The Drake in Toronto tonight. Check your local listings for a gig near you.

New Music: Feeding People- Island Universe + Music Video

This song is super sweet!! Apparently the young kids from Orange County that make up the band Feeding People are former evangelicals. Now they pray to the gods of psych rock and they have just released a really good sugary pop single called Island Universe. The track is sung by cute nineteen year old lead singer Jessie Jones and is actually a step back from their usual sound of psychedelic rock riffs.

Scenes for the music video for the single were shot at Ray Bradbury's house and at The Salton Sea. Watch and listen below.

Feeding People have just released a 7" for the single via Innovative Leisure, a five track EP which you can buy on iTunes, and they are preparing to release their sophomore album in 2013.

Friday, 21 September 2012

DIIV & Wild Nothing- Live at The Great Hall

When I first heard the song Doused by DIIV, the first thing I thought of was is that it sounded similar to Wild Nothing. It is both fitting that DIIV signed to the same label as Wild Nothing, Captured Tracks, and that the two bands decided to tour together. That tour brought the two groups to The Great Hall in Toronto last Tuesday night.

When I first heard that DIIV and Wild Nothing were playing The Great Hall I had reservations about the sound quality of the show. The last time I was at this venue was in 2010 for Women and Best Coast and the vacuous theatre swallowed up the sound and left it a big echoey mess. Luckily, there were no such sound issues on this night.

First, I need to talk about how fantastic opening band Yacht Club were. Fucked Up member Ben Cook's new side project is pure 80's inspired dance greatness. Cook even acted the part, looking his preppy best, wearing a white polo shirt, rolled up skinny blue jeans and loafers with no socks. The highlight of their set was the cheesy good synth pop single Flash which was featured on this blog earlier this week.

Next up, DIIV took the stage and looked a lot more coherent and clean than the last time I saw them in June. That night lead singer Zachary Cole Smith had disheveled hair, was sporting sweats and looked like he just got out of bed. He probably had a reason to be unkempt because I believe he played with Beach Fossils in New York the day before and rushed up to Toronto for his own gig.

DIIV dived (excuse the pun) right into things with the instrumental track Druun. Their were a few technical problems to start the song but the issues were quickly rectified. The set was similar to the set they played last June at Lee's Palace. The band ripped through most of the songs off of their debut album, Oshin, and also included a cover a Nirvana's Geist B-side classic Bambi Slaughter. The band ended with their must well known song, Doused, which featured a duelling guitar battle between Smith and his childhood buddy, guitarist Andrew Bailey.

Wild Nothing and DIIV might have similar jangle guitar sounds but there are a lot of differences between the two bands. Jack Tatum is a very quiet guy and it sort of comes across in his music. The band started out with the Gemini songs Confirmation and Chinatown which are classic dream pop masterpieces. I have to admit I love Gemini more than Wild Nothing's recently released LP Nocturne which features a lot more synth pop.

The band then preceded to play an hour long set with most of the tracks from the album Nocturne, including the single Paradise, and a few a Golden Haze & Gemini classics. I saw the band play last year and was more enthralled with their performance than on this night. At last year's performance I got lost in Wild Nothing's dream pop shimmering guitar haze while this year I just didn't feel the vibe. That doesn't mean the band weren't good, just a lot different. The crowd didn't help much as there were more than the usual amount of yappers and drunken dancers who always try to ruin everyone else's experience.

New Music: IO Echo- Carnation & Ministry of Love

More good shoegaze music incoming from the Left Coast. IO Echo are being described as a new goth sounding shoegaze duo that hail from Los Angeles California. Maybe it's me but I don't here the goth sound and I don't get where that comparison is coming from. It could be the pair's visual style as they seem to like to dress in black. (See picture above)

The pair have given us two new tracks to check out and they are both pretty good. The first track, Carnation, enlists the help of Johnny Reid of the Drums, and sounds a lot like The Big Pink in the era when Akiko was drumming for the band. (The Big Pink really need her back behind the drums!!!). The second track, Ministry of Love, is a soaring pop song featuring the beautiful vocals of lead singer Ioanna Gika. Download the former track and listen to the latter track below courtesy of Soundcloud.

IO Echo will be releasing their self titled debut EP on October 16th via IAMSOUND.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

New Music: Icky Blossoms- Cycle + Music Video

Omaha electro pop group Icky Blossoms have just released a new music video for their new single Cycle. Do not get distracted by the video and it's scenes of 70's porn orgies.  It's easy to be caught up in the visuals of writhing bodies and cute retro hairstyles, but the song is really good. Watch the NSFW video below and remember to listen to the song!!!!..because, I repeat, it is good.

Icky Blossom's self titled album is out now via Saddle Creek.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

New Music: Tamaryn- Heavenly Bodies + Music Video

Shoegazing duo Tamaryn have released a new song which is almost dream pop perfection. The Aural Report already featured the sultry single, I'm Gone, back in July and now Tamaryn have followed that up with the beautiful aching new track Heavenly Bodies.

Listen to the new track and watch the music video which features Tamaryn in a rain soaked kaleidoscope of colours which contrasts perfectly to Rex John Shelverton's shimmering guitars.

Tamaryn release their new album , Tender New Signs, on October 16th via Mexican Summer.

Tamaryn have recently announced a North American tour and will hit The Garrison in Toronto on November 3rd. Check your local listings for a gig near you.

New Music: Post War Years- The Bell

Beautiful, bigger than life, new music from U.K indie pop band Post War Years. The new single, The Bell, was produced by James Rutledge who is known for his work with MGMT and Grizzly Bear among others. Rutledges' influence shows with big pop hooks, shimmering synths and there is even a hint of Depeche Mode in the song. Listen below via Soundcloud.

Post War Years will be releasing a new EP, The Bell, on October 29th via Chess Club Records.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

New Music: Yacht Club- Flash

And now for something completely different-at least for Ben Cook-a member of hardcore outfit Fucked Up. Every hardcore punk rocker should have a synth pop side project....right? Ben Cook has done just that with his new project Yacht Club. Most new wave and synth band artists in the 80's were former punk rockers, so it is not too far fetched. It would have been weirder if Fucked Up screamer, Damian "Pink Eyes" Abraham, had come out with a new wave band.

Yacht Club have released a retro music video to compliment their Human League like sound. Watch and listen to the new single, Flash, below via Vimeo.

The song is part of a four song mixtape, Nonnavera, that was released on the band's Bandcamp site. Download here.

Yacht Club are opening for DIIV and Wild Nothing tonight at The Great Hall in Toronto.

YACHT CLUB "FLASH" from Maximum Exposure on Vimeo.

Monday, 17 September 2012

New Music: Taken by Trees- Large

Victoria Bergsman and her alter ego, Taken by Trees, is living "large" on her forthcoming new album Other Worlds. Okay, not really living large but the second single to be released from the album is named Large and it is a big, beautiful, tropicalia inspired, slice of pop music. Listen to the song below via Soundcloud.

Taken by Trees new album, Other Worlds, will be released October 2nd via Secretly Canadian.

New Music: Twerps- Work it Out

When I think of Australian music, I usually think of either hard rock, psych rock or dance music. The Melbourne indie pop band Twerps are trying to put an end to that stereotype with the release of their new 7" single, Work it Out, which is pure indie pop goodness. The sound of Twerps could easily be mistaken for any number of bands from their cousins in New Zealand like The Clean or Cut Off Your Hands. Take a listen to song below along with the equally good jangly B side, He's in Stock.

The single will be released digitally tomorrow via Underwater Peoples and Chapter Music and on vinyl September 23rd.

The Twerps will be touring North America this fall and will at The Silver Dollar in Toronto on October 22nd. Check your local listings for a show near you.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Favourite Songs: U2- The Unforgettable Fire

It is really easy to bash U2 these days, with subpar records and lead singer Bono trying to save the world,  it is easy to forget they were one of the greatest bands in the world at one time. A lot of modern day artists owe a debt of gratitude to U2. Without them, there would probably be no Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene and countless other bands.

My favourite record by U2 is The Unforgettable Fire. This was the first time that Brian Eno and his young understudy Daniel Lanois worked with the band and Eno's influence is all over the record. On the previous three albums that U2 released Steve Lillywhite had styled their music toward anthemic post punk with echo laden guitar and big drums. U2 couldn't do this sound forever and they needed to make a change, so they brought in Eno to make a more artistic sounding album. The transitional album got mixed reviews but those who love it, really love it. It is reported that Miles Davis asked that the album be played while he was on his death bed.

The title track, The Unforgettable Fire, was the fourth track and the second single off the album. The inspiration for the song was an art exhibit by survivors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The dark mysterious dream-like song is textured with soundscapes, ambient guitar, and a fade out featuring eerie violin strings. Watch a live version of the below via YouTube

The Unforgettable Fire was re-issued as a box set in 2009 and is available on Amazon or check your local record store.

New Music: Cymbals Eat Guitars- Hawk Highway

New York indie rock act Cymbals Eat Guitars have followed up last year's excellent LP, Lenses Alien, with a new single titled Hawk Highway. Not sure what Hawk Highway means- when I googled it the only thing that came up was Highway Hawk which are motorcycle accessories. Download the blissful, metaphorically enriched track below thanks to the guys at The Line of Best Fit.

Cymbals Eat Guitars have not indicated they are releasing a new album, so this is probably just a one off song to remind us that the band are still in existence.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

New Music: Vinyl Williams- Harmonious Change

Vinyl Williams, aka Lionel Williams, is a L.A. based psych pop prophet who makes tripped out layers mixed with interweaving melodies that will have you reaching for the stars after one listen. Williams is offering up a free download of the track Harmonious Change which will be included as a bonus track on the CD version of his album Lemniscate. The album will be re-released on November 13th on Williams' own label Salonislam. In honour of his first name I recommend you buy the vinyl record.

Listen to the track below or head over to Soundcloud to grab the free download.

Friday, 14 September 2012

New Music: A Place to Bury Strangers- Leaving Tomorrow + Music Video

To say that A Place to Bury Strangers are New York City's loudest band is putting it mildly. I have seen the band play live four times, and from experience I can say that their aural assault that features shoegaze, post punk, industrial, goth and noise rock, will leave you without hearing for days on end.

APTBS have just released a new video for Leaving Tomorrow which is the latest screeching single from their recent record Worship. Supposedly this video is based on mysterious author Momo Fujiwara's short story Katsu Gee (I googled this and I can't find it). Watch as front man Oliver Ackerman is pursued by an evil wizard played by the band's drummer Robi Gonzales. Ackerman is captured, tied up, has (fake low budget) acid poured on his face and attacks the Saviour of Mankind (band bassist Dion Lunadon)- all filmed in glorious iPhone 8mm. See the fun video below via YouTube and turn up the volume.

The album Worship is available now via Dead Oceans.

New Music: Tesla Boy- Fantasy + Music Video

Tesla Boy are a Russian synth pop band that are heavily indebted to the eighties.  The name of their band comes from a song they wrote about a boy who could conduct electricity and zap people when anyone got too close to him. I've got a feel they may have been influence by the OMD song Tesla Girls as well.

The band released their latest single, Fantasy, back in May and now they have put out a new video that features model Dasha Malygina. The NSFW music video compliments the theme of the song which according to keyboardist Anton Sevidov is about people's hidden desires and indecent fantasies. Watch below as "Tesla Boy" gets interrupted from his Atari video game by a beautiful girl who dances, strips and probably does some other nasty things in front of a webcam. Use your imagination.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

New Music: Bat for Lashes- Marilyn

Of all of the records coming out this autumn, the Bat For Lashes album The Haunted Man is the one I am most looking forward to. After releasing the debut single, Laurain August, Natasha Khan has come back with a synth pop second single titled Marilyn. Miss Khan loves to name her songs after people's first names and Marilyn is the latest track in a group that includes Prescilla, Sarah, Daniel, and Laura. I hope these people are not all of her friends or they might be demanding royalties. (Although, Marilyn is supposedly written about deceased movie starlet Marilyn Monroe.)

Listen to the track below via YouTube

The Haunted Man is out on October 23rd via Capitol or October 15th via Parlophone/EMI depending on which side of the pond you live on.

New Music: Wild Cub- Drive

Wild Cub are a dream pop band from Nashville Tennesse who recently released their debut album  Youth. The group have also just released a video for their single Drive. The beautiful romanticism of the song more than compliments the black & white music video that features a couple enjoying each others company as they watch fireworks and spend a day at the beach. Watch below.

Wild Cub's debut album, Youth, is available now and you can pick it up on the duo's Bandcamp page.

Wild Cub "Drive" (Official Video) from Wild Cub on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Bloc Party: Live at The Danforth Music Hall

Kele likes us...he really likes us. That was the impression that Bloc Party lead singer Kele Okereke made during the band's performance in Toronto on Monday. The fans of Bloc Party in Toronto love him back judging by the enthusiastic crowd that jammed the Danforth Music Hall.

Hey... and The Danforth Music Hall looks absolutely superb. Nice to see it back in business again. The last time I was there was for a surprise show by the Arcade Fire in 2010- just before they released The Suburbs. At that time the venue was still a community theatre that featured musicals and kiddie shows. A few weeks after the Arcade Fire show the theatre went into receivership and closed down for over a year. Glad to see somebody bought it, removed all of the seats (with the exception of the balcony) and turned into a proper concert venue.

It has been a long road back for Bloc Party. After rumours that the band were going to break up in 2009 and Okerke released a solo album, Bloc Party have come back strong with the release of their brilliant new album Four.

The concert started with the band bashing out the first single off of Four, Octopus, followed by Trojan Horse off of the record Intimacy. The audience seemed enthusiastic but that was not good enough for Okerke. After the second song he yelled out  "C'mon you fuckers" before the band launched into a feral rendition of Hunting for Witches. That seemed to do the trick as the crowd worked itself into a frenzy. By the time the band played Positive Tension there were crowd surfers and a mosh pit which lasted until the end of the concert..

The coolest point of the night was when the band played their new track Song for Clay (Disappear Here) and their biggest hit Banquet, back to back, without a break between songs. The mash up showed the diversity of the band between their grungy new sound and their original high energy dance punk.

Throughout the night Okerke (The sexiest man in indie rock) had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. At one point in the encore someone from the crowd jumped on stage and ran over to the mic and said something inaudible to Okerke as he was singing. Okerke didn't lose a beat and just ignored him.

Near the end of the first set Okerke stated "and now for something completely different" at which point the band played their awesome synth pop song One More Chance. The song title is ironic as this was the last single released before their rumoured breakup in 2009 and on Monday night it seemed Toronto was willing to give Bloc Party one more chance.

The rumours of Bloc Party's demise have been highly exaggerated.

Set List for the show:
Trojan Horse
Hunting for Witches
Positive Tension 
Real Talk
Song for Clay (Disappear Here)
Day Four
One More Chance
This Modern Love
The Prayer

1st Encore

2nd Encore

New Music: Madrid- Till Things Fall Apart

Madrid is a new collaboration between Brazilian's Adriano Cintro of Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) and Bonde de Role's Marina Vello. Till Things Fall Apart is a duet that features soft piano and yearning lyrics and is a complete departure from the hyper kinetic music of the couple's previous bands.  Listen to the track below via Soundcloud.

Madrid released their self titled album on September 16th via Popular.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

New Music: Teen Daze- New Life

Vancouver producer Teen Daze is one busy guy. After releasing the album All of Us, Together in May, the chillwave star is back with a new single called New Life. The sleepy single is perfect for lazing around trying to catch the last few rays of sunshine before the chilliness of Autumn sets in. Listen below via Soundcloud.

Teen Daze will release his second album this year, The Inner Mansions, on November 6th via Lefse Records.

New Music: Vex Ruffin-Take It

Vex Ruffin and his new single Take It are getting some hype after the song was featured on the HBO TV show Girls (The same show that former Girls frontman Christopher Owens got all bent out of shape over). Take It is an odd mix of hip hop beats and King Khan inspired psychedelic garage. Listen below:

Vex Ruffin will release his debut album some time next year via Stones Throw Records.

Monday, 10 September 2012

New Music: English Words- People I Love + Music Video

English Words are a new band out of Prince Edward Island that make joyous DIY indie pop. The band will self-release their debut album, Red Potion, on September 18th which was produced by Holy Fuck bassist Matt McQuaid.

English Words have also made a new music video for their single People I Love. The video compliments English Word's feel good sound and features the band getting together with their friends. They go to a house party where they precede to drink a ton of beer and set off some fireworks. Watch and listen below via YouTube.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Favourite Songs: Slowdive- When the Sun Hits

Slowdive are a band that have been off my radar for a long time and I didn't think I would ever really here about this group again.  Band leader Neal Halstead and Rachel Goswell seemed content on touring with Mojave 3 and who knows where some of the other members of the band ended up. That's why it was surprising to hear Halstead state in a recent interview with MTV Hive that he was open to a Slowdive reunion. He went on to say that he is still on good terms with the other band members and keeps in regular contact with them. The interviewer asked Neal what it would take to get Slowdive back together and his response was "shitloads of money, you know." I hope he was joking.

I am of the opinion that if a band has a reunion they should record new material and not just tour to cash a big pay cheque. So may bands have gotten back together lately including The Stone Roses, Pulp, Peter Hook & The Light (Joy Division), and The Pixies and they have not given us any new songs. The only exception is Blur.

Anyways, while reading the interview it reminded me how great of a shoegaze band Slowdive were and it prompted me to re-visit the band's best album Slouvaki. Slowdive formed in 1989 and they rode on the coattails of other great shoegaze bands like The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. After the release of their first album, Just for a Day, the band were critically maligned because there seemed to be a backlash against shoegaze at the time with the rise of Britpop in England.

In 1992, Slowdive started to record their new album Souvlaki with the help of Brian Eno. Eno was brought in after the original batch of 40 or so songs that were written were scrapped and the band had to start all over again. Creation Records head Alan McGee wanted the group to make a pop record and Halstead agreed. Eno was brought in-not to produce-but to collaborate, but only ended up playing on two songs-Sing and Here She Comes. The album was a critical and commercial failure and in America the record label SBK abandoned the band by pulling all of their funding halfway through their U.S. tour.

Most of the tracks on Slouvaki seemed to be written as love songs and the lyrics showed a growing maturation in the songwriting of Halstead. Nowhere is this more clear than on the single When the Sun Hits. The lyrics aside, the swooping guitars really make the song into a shoegaze masterpiece. I think the single is one of the best Dreampop songs ever written. Listen to the song below.

I think most people today agree that critics who got swept up in the Britpop movement in the early 90's were a little too harsh on Slowdive. Today they are a respected band and have influenced countless of modern day groups including M83, The Pains of Being Pure at Heat and Asobi Seksu. If they get back together and they play Toronto I will be there in a heartbeat. Lets hope they also record some songs.

Souvlaki was re-issued on vinyl in 2011 which you can buy at Amazon or check your local record store. Also, you can buy the album on iTunes.

Slowdive- When The Sun Hits

New Music: Frightened Rabbit- Boxing Night

There is only two weeks left in summer, and as Frightened Rabbit has reminded us with the release of their latest single Boxing Night, we are quickly heading toward the Christmas season. For those who do not know what Boxing Day is (Americans), it is a holiday that falls the day after Christmas and is observed in England, Canada, Australia and most other Commonwealth countries. The holiday originated as a day for superiors to give presents to their servants, but nowadays is just a day to rest from Christmas hangovers or take advantage of after Christmas shopping sales.

We've already heard the morose title track from Frightened Rabbit's forthcoming EP State Hospital and now the band have released a more quirky but poignant tune called Boxing Night. One thing Frightened Rabbit are really good at is writing dark lyrics. At first listen, the song seems kind of funny with lyrics about a man sitting around in his underwear drinking himself to death but than you realize the song is probably about a very lonely and depressed person.

Frightened Rabbit are currently touring the U.K and Europe. They will head to North America in early October and play a show at The Mod Club in Toronto on October 10th (SOLD OUT). Check the rest of the tour dates here.

 State Hospital will be released on September 25th in North America via Canvasback.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

New Music: Fidlar- Cheap Beer

Here is a new song to get you ready for Saturday night. The L.A. punk band Fidlar have released an ode to drinking cheap beer called, funny enough, Cheap Beer. The song is very appropriate for a Canadian audience. I swear that Canada has the most brands of cheap beer in the world. There is PBR, Labatt 50, and Molson Stock that the hipsters prefer, Laker, Lakeport, Lucky Lager, Carling, Black Ice and Cool that older people love and finally the old standbys Molson Canadian and Coor's Light.... just to name a few.

As for me, my cheap beer drinking days are behind me. When I was younger and living in a small town my preferred choice of drink was Molson Canadian (Don't laugh!!!). When I moved to Toronto I saw the error of my ways and refined my drinking tastes. Now I don't mind paying extra to buy better tasting beer and stick to mostly premiums, imports and locals beers.

On Wednesday Chaep Beer premiered on Pitchfork.  I listened to the track and thought "this was a fun little song" and then quickly forgot about it. The next day the song blew up all over the internet and Pitchfork had re-posted the single declaring it "Best New Track".

I've played the song a few more times and I believe I have fallen for the track. Who could resist the chorus of "I DRINK CHEAP BEER, SO WHAT, FUCK YOU! It's great to hear some indie acts re-establish the drinking song and take the attention away from bong smoking artists like Wavves and Odd Future.

Listen to the song below, and if you excuse me it is almost time for me to start my weekly Saturday night ritual of imbibing in various forms of ales and lagers.

Fidlar will release their new album sometime in 2013 via Mom + Pop.

Friday, 7 September 2012

New Music: The Joy Formidable- Cholla

The Joy Formidable have been busy lately. Not only did they release the title track to their forthcoming track Wolf's Law last week, they followed that up today with a second track called Cholla. The first single, Wolf's Law, was a much more subtler tune compared to the other songs in the band's discography, whereas Cholla is more akin to the music that was released on The Big Roar.

Take a listen below via Soundcloud.

The Joy Formidable will release their new album Wolf's Law some time in January.

New Music: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart- Jeremy (Magnetic Fields Cover)

Happy FriYay!!!! and now that The Pains of Being Pure At Heart have released a new song, today just got that much better. Pain's Keyboardist Peggy Wang introduced the new single on the band's Tumblr page this morning and wrote a heartfelt love letter to The Magnetic Fields.

Peggy basically stated that The Magnetic Fields were the only band that mattered to her when she was a teenager growing up in the suburbs and how she fell in love with them without ever understanding why. You can read the sweet message here.

Jeremy b/w My Life is Wrong will be released on October 9th via Slumberland and will be featured as the A-side on a new 7" single . Listen below:

  • 956 Plays

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Music Video: DIIV- Doused

Watch as DIIV leader Zachary Cole Smith plays with little army men and then realize that he is late for a gig. The rest of the video features Smith hurriedly running down the street, with guitar in hand, while the rest of the band tear frantically through their song Doused. Smith eventually makes it, but only to play on the last 20 seconds of the song. Lesson learned: Mr. Smith should learn to stick to guitar playing as a hobby.

DIIV's album Oshin is available now through Captured Tracks or buy it on iTunes.

DIIV are about to go on tour with Wild Nothing and will play a date at The Great Hall in Toronto on September 18th. Check your local listings for a gig near you.

DIIV- Doused

Video courtesy of Rolling

New Music: Moonface- I'm Not The Phoenix Yet + Music Video

Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown main man Spencer Krug has just released a new video for his project Moonface. The clip is for the track I'm Not The Phoenix from the album Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery which was released earlier this year.

The video shows some kind of sexual hipster aerobics where a woman is shown in extreme closeups doing exercises and shadow boxing in tight cutoff jeans and bare feet. Probably not the best workout outfit. The video was recorded with a VHS camera and reminds of the days when The 20 Minute Workout and Jane Fonda Workout were all the rage. Watch below via YouTube.

The Moonface album Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery is out now via Jagjaguwar or buy it on iTunes.

New Music: Wu-Block- Union Square

This is pretty cool. Hip Hop groups Wu Tang Clan and D-Block have allied in a collaborative effort called Wu-Block. Various members of each group will collaborate on different songs including the first single Union Square which features Wu Tang's Ghostface Killah and D-Block's Sheek Louch. Listen to the song below via Soundcloud.

The self titled album will be available on October 9th via E1.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

New Music: Sam Flax- Child Of Glass

San Francisco psychedelic chill artist Sam Flax originally released the song Child of Glass on cassette way back in February as part of his debut album Age Waves. Sam has now been signed to Burger Records in the U.S. and The Sound of Sweet Nothing in the U.K. who will give the album a proper release on September 27th.

Listen to the experimental track below via Soundcloud. Love the 80's guitar at the end of the song. So Miami Vice!!

New Music: Nite Jewel & Julia Holter- What We See + Music Video

Los Angeles electro pop artist Nite Jewel (Ramona Gonzalez) has hooked up with fellow Californian and electronic artist Julia Holter for a new song and music video as part of the compilation album Light From Los Angeles. The compilation is put out by arts collective Dublab and features many LA musicians including Sun Araw and Dntl. The album will be released sometime in October.

The track that Nite Jewel and Julia Holter contributed to the compilation is called What We See. The tune finds the pair singing with heavenly harmonies to a minimalist beat and light piano touches.

The accompanying music video has the couple strolling through the countryside, inspecting various forms of flora and enjoying a nice summer day. Watch below.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

New Music: Departures- Pillars

Departures are a five piece indie rock band from Winnipeg who like to make frenetic post punk grooves. Their first single is called Pillars and it delivers a full throttle jangle and angular guitar jam. Pillars is one of those songs that builds momentum with thumping drums, then reaches the top of a crescendo with an explosion of guitars and singing yelps before tailing off again with quieted guitar. So good. Download the song below via Soundcloud.

Departures are set to release their debut album Still and Moving Lines on October 2nd.

New Music: Woods- Size Meets the Sound

I plead ignorance when it comes to the band Woods. I didn't realize Woods have released five albums since 2007 and are about to release their sixth in a couple of weeks. Busy guys!!! I have six or seven of their songs sitting in my iTunes library, but I have never bought any of their albums and have not been that big of a fan.

That all might change if the first single from their new album is any indication. Size Meets the Sound is probably the best song I have heard from Woods. The production is getting better and the band have expanded their sound with garage psychedelia thrown into their repertoire of indie folk standards. The twangy guitar is a nice added touch and kind of reminds me of The Greenhornes garage sound.

Listen to the song below via Soundcloud

Woods release their new album Bend Beyond on September 18th via their own imprint Woodsist.

Woods are touring North America this fall including a stop at The Garrison in Toronto on October 2nd. Check your local listings for a tour date near you.

Monday, 3 September 2012

New Music: Ice Choir- A Vision of Hell, 1996 + Music Video

Is there any new band out there today that are more 80's than Ice Choir? After listening to their debut album Afar these guys could easily be mistaken for a Scritti Politti tribute band.

My original post about Ice Choir detailed their 80's influences. Now they have just released a new music video for the song A Vision of Hell, 1996 which is also a flashback to the 80's channeling the animation of Dire Straits Money for Nothing. Watch the video for the funky synth loaded track below:

Ice Choir's new album Afar is available now via Underwater Peoples or buy it on iTunes.

Her Vanished Grace- Star Crossed

It's always fun to discover what you think is a great new band but isn't actually new at all. This is the case with Brooklyn dream & power pop band Her Vanished Grace who have been making music for close to twenty years and are just as contemporary now as when they first started.

Married couple Charlie and Nancy Nieland started as a duo in 1987 that played goth and new wave music. Over the years they added new band members to evolve into it's current incarnation which is a mix of alternative rock, dream pop and shoegaze. The band have released twelve albums to date and one of the couple's biggest accomplishments was scoring the Dermot Mulroney/Glen Close movie The Safety of Objects.

Star Crossed is Her Vanished Grace's latest album and features a mix of big hooky pop songs backed by thundering drums and a haze of swirling guitars.

The first single off the album is called Car Crash and reminds one of Brit bands Ride, Lush or even early Blur. The music video for the song has the band playing against a backdrop of psychedelic images which you can watch below.

The second track on the album, Fade Away, is an anthemic duet between Charlie and Nancy that sounds an awful like Joshua Tree era U2, if the Edge used a lot more distorted guitar.

Another favourite track from the album is the song Turn it Over which features Nancy Nieland living out her inner Elizabeth Fraser fantasy. The Cocteau Twins like song is easily the beautifulest of all of the dream pop tracks on the album.

After hearing this album, I am now a big fan of Her Vanished Grace and will be checking out their back catalogue. Not sure why these guys didn't break out like some of their Brooklyn contemporaries but they do deserve a bigger listening audience.

You can stream Star Crossed below via Soundcloud or on Bandcamp which also has the band's back catalogue. You can also buy a physical release of the album over at CD Baby.

New Music: Six Organs of Admittance- One Thousand Birds

Ben Chasny's project Six Organs of Admittance has plugged in the guitar and turned up the amps for his new album Ascent.

Ben has changed directions from his earlier folk leanings and made a more psychedelic record with the help of his old bandmates from Comets on Fire. The result is a more beautiful version of the raucous jam band with Ben Chasny leading the way.

Listen to the band rip through the 6 minute dark psychedelic second single One Thousand Birds.

Six Organs of Admittance new album Ascent is available via Drag City.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Favourite Songs: Modest Mouse- Spitting Venom

Happy Labour Day Weekend!!!

This is my favourite song off the Modest Mouse album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.

Buy it on Amazon or iTunes.


Modest Mouse- Spitting Venom