tUnE-YarDs - w h o k i l l

[LP] tUnE-YarDs – W H O K I L L (w/ “Gangsta”)

bang-bang, oi, never move to my hood, cause danger is crawlin’ out the wood

♫ tUnE-YarDs – Gangsta

  • Who: Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner, “plus other rad musicians that join us at times”
  • What:  like Danny DanceJens Lindahl
  • Where: Oakland, CA + Facebook / Amazon
  • When:  2nd LP, W H O K I L L, came out last April.
  • Why: Because if you wrote them off after hearing tracks from much-less catchy debut Bird-Brains then you need to reconsider. After reading so much praise for W H O K I L L on so many best-of lists I finally investigated. “Gangsta” immediately grabbed my ear and slapped it around like a drugged rodent. “WTF is happening here and where do I get more?” said both me and the rodent. The answer is that tUnE-YarDs is happening and “Gangsta” is a perfect introduction. From the bang-on-pots rhythm to the echo effects to the crazy vocals, music doesn’t get much more epic and creative at the same time.
  • Spastic teenager capitalization aside, these are the songs of a band finding their footing and stating a case for their music. Sing-song hooks, herky-jerky beats, lyrics about all kinds of stuff, and a general sense that there is nothing else quite like this going on pervade W H O K I L L. Oh, plus horns. Great horns.
  • The whole LP runs strong and solid but “Bizness” is the other single and standout. Other songs range from stomping to tender but Garbus holds them all together with an Read more
Joe Goddard - Gabriel

[EP] Joe Goddard – “Gabriel” (feat. Valentina)

the sum of all the parts that you have taken are a fraction of the parts that make me whole

Joe Goddard’s Gabriel EP is only three tracks but when you are dealing with one of the Hot Chip frontmen that’s all that’s needed to lay down some serious song. The guy’s last solo album, Harvest Festival, meandered a bit and didn’t really sink in but this leaner and meaner release is all bite. The title track (above) packs serious punch, weaving Valentina’s epic vocals over an unstoppable beat that steamrolls through my speakers. “All I Know” takes nearly 10 minutes to run it’s course but with Goddard doing his signature love-song crooning over minimalist production that slowly evolves to be maximally transfixing, it is really OK. Meditative, even. “Jump” lives up to it’s name and gets a bit bonkers but at that point I’m so blissed out I don’t even care. Then the dub mix of “Gabriel” is just a victory lap for the short loop of great sounds.

Artist Links: Amazon

Penguin Prison

[LP] Penguin Prison – PENGUIN PRISON (w/ every Penguin Prison track TBE has ever posted)

i got a car that i call jenny, i take her out when there’s too much noise in my head

♫ Penguin Prison – A Funny Thing [from 2009]

♫ Penguin Prison – The Worse It Gets [from 2010]

The October 18th release of Penguin Prison’s self-titled debut is interesting for a couple reasons. The first thing is that I didn’t know it came out until 6 weeks late. And I think the second thing is directly tied to the 1st. Penguin Prison has been around so long that it seems hard to believe that his album hasn’t been out for years! TBE has been posting singles from the album since 2009 (above) and that doesn’t even include “Something I’m Not” and “Fair Warning” which also came out as singles before the album came out. Add on the heavily remixed “Multimillionaire” and new single “Don’t Fuck With My Money” and Read more

Yalls

[LP] Yalls – YALLS (w/ “Please”)

oh no, i can’t think

♫ Yalls – Please

Not enough people are talking about Yalls and since the year is closing out it’s time to get one last endorsement in the ring for this Berkley beat-fruit tree. “Germs” is one of the years top tracks and the rest of Dan Casey’s name-your-price debut LP is more of the same weirdo magic. Although the phrase “more of the same” can’t really be applied here as Yalls’ music is pretty outside the box. Altered Zones called Yalls “zonked-ou beat-folk” and I think thats the best we are ging to get. So the next time you need an 18 part soundtrack for a coyote-drawn carriage ride through murmuring space-scapes turn to Yalls. And keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle.

Artist links: Facebook / Bandcamp / Amazon

Caught A Ghost CAG Mixtape

[EP] Caught A Ghost – CAG Mixtape (w/ “Time Go”)

i gotta say its good to be home, sometimes i miss you when i’m out there alone

♫ Caught A Ghost – Time Go

Caught A Ghost caught me a few weeks back when their live show shook me from the distractions of tricked out Hyundai’s and free drinks, instantly pricking an ear and sparking a flurry of “Who is this playing?” sputtered to various standers-by. With their name noted in my iPhone I instantly looked them up the next day and was pleased to find that their recording are just as polished and fantastic as their stage show. Rock with soul. And horns. They cut the mustard in the slow lane as the gorgeous “Time Go” (above) shows so well. For those who like a little dub in their piano-and-horns-rock will also appreciate their fater higher paced jam  “Sleeping At Night.” The CAG Mixtape is out now with one more great tracks rounding out the trifecta but with this kind of taste just makes me hungry for more. Hmm, look at this stash I just found at their management’s Soundcloud.

Artist links: Facebook / Amazon / iTunes

Heffay At Night

[EP] Heffay – AT NIGHT (w/ “Flight of the Bears” & “Rockin With Me”)

and when they bang this in the club you got to get up

♫ Heffay – Flight of the Bears

Last we heard from Heffay we was holding down my Summer Mega-Mix with his feel good sunshine jam “Just You And Me.” Well, the guy is back and bringing a new palette of sounds to the table. Heffay trades a day at the beach for a night on the dance-floor with the appropriately titled At Night EP. The title track dips its feet in dubstep in a way that I can even get down with but the highlight for me is “Flight Of The Bears” (above) which builds and surges with synthy beats before breaking out into a clean dance number for sounds-tracking hooligan activity.

♫ Heffay – Rockin With Me

Closing out the brisk 3-track EP is Heffay’s fantastic “Rockin With Me” and its deft sampling of a classic Snoop Dogg jam. Just listen and enjoy. And party.

Artist links: Facebook / Soundcloud / Amazon

Are We At The Movies?

[LP] The Lisps – ARE WE AT THE MOVIES? (w/ “Try”)

go to mexico, make a rabbit out of wood

♫ The Lisps – Try

The Lisps spin delicate boy/girl indie folk that makes for perfect holiday listening with the family. The Lisps also wrote an elaborate musical called FUTURITY “about a Civil War soldier who, along with the meta-physician Ada Lovelace, invents a steam-powered artificial intelligence that he hopes will end war.” So basically The Lisps are the bee knees. What is even cooler is that they funded the creation of both the Futurity musical and the album on Kickstarter. There are still 2 more days left on the album’s campaign so head over there and get some premium goodies for funding the project! Then book tickets to the Futurity musical premiere at The American Repertory Theater in Boston from March 16th to April 15th, 2012. Or just head here and grab a few more tracks from the band’s solid 2010 album Are We At The Movies? (or just stream it below) “Pepper Spray” is particularly brilliant, “Try” makes me laugh, and songs like “Singularity” click and slide underneath the vocals deulings of Cesar Alvarez and Sammy Tunis, building to a swirl of bounce and twang. Read more

drake-take-care

[QUICKIE] Drake – TAKE CARE

OK Drake has grown on me. Im a fan. Take Care is not album of the year but it IS a great testamant to the man’s talents. Ill keep listening.

[Quickies are mini-reviews that can fit into a 140 character tweet. They are of albums that people already know of but perhaps are curious about our take on it. What did you think of the disc?]

Artist links: FacebookAmazon

Holy Ghost!

[QUICKIE] Holy Ghost! – HOLY GHOST!

The LP as whole initially left me “meh” but I’ve really been getting into it’s throwback grooves lately. Don’t ignore this LP. Fun for all!

[Quickies are mini-reviews that can fit into a 140 character tweet. They are of albums that people already know of but perhaps are curious about our take on it. What did you think of the disc?]

Artist links: Facebook / Amazon

M83 Hurry Up

[LP] M83 – HURRY UP WE’RE DREAMING (w/ “OK Pal”)

what do you think i feel when i, when i’m kissing you?

♫ M83 – OK Pal

This should probably just be a Quickie but how could I honestly fit a double-album review into 140 characters!?

Ok, we all love the crap out of “Midnight City” and many of it’s remixes but what about the rest of the double album of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming? Songs like “Wait” and “OK Pal” have floated about the blogosphere a bit but nothing has come even close to following up the lead single (not easy to be fair) so I was unsure what to expect when diving into this two-tiered cake of indulgence. Having never gotten into Saturdays = Youth (snooze…) I was obviously impressed by “Midnight City” and then intrigued by Anthony Gonzalez’s statement of this album being more grand epic. But I obviously couldn’t expect a whole double album of “midnight City” level epic-ness, could I? Obviously not.

But that’s OK. While I will never endorse a double album in this day and age of music overload I have had no problems listening to all 22 songs in a row. Many tracks are loose and unstructured which helps them pass by as perfect background music. A handful of ambient jams punctuated by bigger tracks like “OK Pal” and it’s big cheesy 80s amazingness. I also strongly recommend “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire” as the best featuring vocals from a 4 year old hallucinogenic frog enthusiast girl. Awesome. If I owned Hurry Up, Were Dreaming in a physical form where its two parts were separate physical object I can’t say that I would always take the effort to put disc 2 in as it loses a lot of steam and the only standout is “OK Pal.” However, as the 2LP plays right through in my iTunes, I just carry on with whatever and let the music wash right over me.

Artist links: Facebook / Soundcloud / Amazon

Making Mirrors

[LP] Gotye – MAKING MIRRORS (w/ “In Your Light”)

if only i could always be just as i am right here

♫ Gotye – Eyes Wide Open (previously posted)

Gotye released on of last years Best Songs with the galloping “Eyes Wide Open” (above) and then did it again this year with much calmer (and even more infectious?)  “Somebody That I Used To Know.” With a track record like that leading up to his new album Making Mirrors it’s easy to wonder what else Wally De Backer could possibly have in store. Lucky for us the notoriously eclectic Aussie has a whole bouquet of gems lined up on his 3rd LP. (stream the whole album below)

♫ Gotye – In Your Light

Tracks like new singe “I Feel Better” and new personal favorite “In Your Light” (above) kick up the energy and bring some throwback soul to their tales of ecstatic love. “State Of The Art” raises eyebrows with its robot-styled “ode” to technology. “Smoke and Mirrors” and “Bronte” reel things back and let Gotye’s delicate arrangements compliment his great voice. But really nothing showcases the man’s talent for tender songwriting than “Giving Me A Chance.” An apology in it’s most beautiful form. A appreciative soul knowing the value of his second chance. So many songs beg for forgiveness but none ever give thanks for being given it.

Making Mirrors is certainly not a thrill a minute joyride but De Backer sure knows the value of variety on an album. No songs sound the same and if you aren’t in love with one or two then I guarantee there will be 3 or 4 you do love. Something else you can love is the fact that Gotye has made a handful of different videos for various tracks. Besides the fantastic one we know for “Somebody That I Used To Know,” there are animated clips for “State Of The Art,” “Easy Way Out” and “Bronte” (best!). Making Mirrors has already become the most successful album in Australia this year and it;s no surprise why. Any country should be as proud and supportive of talent like this. Stream the album (and download bonus track “Showdown Below My Sombrero”) below. Read more

Civil-Civic-RULES

[LP] Civil Civic – RULES (w/ “Less Unless” “Run Overdrive” and “Street Trap”)

♫ Civil Civic – Less Unless (previously posted)

♫ Civil Civic – Run Overdrive (previously posted)

♫ Civil Civic – Street Trap (previously posted)

A lot of songs come through the hallowed pages of TBE and many of them leave me wanting to hear more from a band. Many of them are even part of EPs that seem full of promise. But few have ever had as pumped for new material as the internationally Australian duo Civil Civic. Ever since “Less Unless” not so gently removed my eardrums (and most of my clothes) nearly 2 years ago I have been on board. Further releases have left me both less and more impressed (“Run Overdrive” and “Street Trap” respectively). Civil Civic are a lot like your alcoholic dropout brother. You are hard on him because you have high expectations but you know that even if he screws up you will still love him (It helps that Ben writes the sharpest tour blog around). Thank god this brother didn’t screw up. Instead they took their sweet time crafting Rules, one of the best records that unfortunately nobody will be listening to this year. Their brand of instrumental psycho billy electronic thrash folk isn’t exactly radio fodder. Although anyone with half an ear for listening between the lines will understand that something significant is happening with this music.

While I am usually annoyed when previously released songs come back to clutter up an LP (looking at you Theophilus…) there is something comforting in half of this debut consisting of old friends like the ones above, “Lights On A Leash” and “Fuck Youth.” Album opener “Airspray” brings what sounds like the grandest xylophone riffing head to head with shredding guitars and some sort of angelic vocal texture to create what is currently contending for my top CC track ever. “Grey Nurse” goes all surfer spy movie with shark-top chase scenes and luau-lit mud wrestling. If all that sounds a bit to rich for your lazy ass then “Mayfield” drops just the kind of gentle respite one needs after 8 tracks in a row of death defying sonic adventure. Try and keep your lovemaking session into under 5 minutes and 22 seconds and everyone should make it out unscathed because “Slack Year” closes things out with a kind of apocalyptic 80s disco Kumbaya psychedelia that only Civil Civic can cook up.

(review continued after the unofficial video for “Airspray.” Plus stream the whole album!) Read more

The Good Natured - Skeleton

[EP+CONTEST] The Good Natured – SKELETON EP

what, can i do today? see me standing naked, hot for you when i’m taking it all off for you

The Good Natured – Skeleton

I have been waiting for The Good Natured to give me a proper release ever since “Your Body Is A Machine” peaked my interest so long ago. Then “Wolves” got me really stoked and so now that their debut EP Skeleton is being released it is good-tunes-ville around TBE HQ. We already had enough tastes of the EP as song after song leaked out through the blogosphere so it’s really no surprise that the whole release is solid although these days early quality is no guarantee of jack. “Skeleton” is my favorite these days, with it’s fiercely sexual lyrics and highly infectious/danceable rhythm. If I were a girl who was falling in lust for the first time then this would be my anthem for sure. But because I am a guy I just watch the video and daydream…

While it’s nice to hear tracks like “Prisoner” and “The Hourglass” stand up next to their previously known counterparts, there is a reason they close out the EP. The true test of The Good Natured’s staying power will be a proper LP. Hopefully soon and hopefully they wont recycle any of these jams. But in the meantime, WIN Skeleton on vinyl! (or buy it) Read how after the jump.

Read more

Terius Nash - 1977

[QUICKIE] Terius Nash – 1977

♫ Terius Nash – Wedding Crasher

Nothing as gold as “F**k My Brains Out” on The Dream’s real-name free album. It runs long, wanders a bit, but reliable sexy listening. 6/10

♫ Terius Nash – Rolex (ft. Casha)

[Quickies are mini-reviews that can fit into a 140 character tweet. They are of albums that people already know of but perhaps are curious about our take on it. What did you think of the disc?]

Artist links: Download 1977 album / Facebook

Relax

[LP] Das Racist – RELAX (w/ “Girl”)

my fingers crossed, the small of your back, my head in your chest but i’m taller than that

♫ Das Racist – Girl

People have a complicated relationship with hip-hop jokesters Das Racist and I’m no exception. I have always loved them, but not always loved their music. Their first 2 mixtapes have 37 tracks between them and exactly 3 ever got regular play in my iTunes. That’s not the best track record. But somehow previous projects, solo stuff, and a brilliant blog kept my respect meter high for the guys. So needless to say I was a little nervous about diving into their first proper LP, Relax. First single “Michael Jackson” (below) was loud, spastic, and abrasive and I couldn’t wrap my brain around how it fit into the canon of the Das Racist I knew.

However, once I Relaxed (sorry) and listened to the album I was more that happy. Das Racist really pulled their shiz together here, leaving behind the under-produced beats and fleshing out all the jams. Plus we already know the lyrics are always hilarious and on point. Relax packs a lot of treats into one LP, never relying on one tempo or style for too long. “Girl” (above) brings the beat with a big glossy banger style, “Happy Rappy” packs twisted verses over minimal production that adds just enough rhythm, and “Punjabi Song” goes straight Bollywood on our asses. There are plenty other standouts (“Booty In The Air,” old favorite “Rainbow In The Dark,” “even “Michael Jackson” is getting me pumped lately) but the whole album holds its own. Some fans are turned off by the increased production and poppier shift from their mixtapes but for me that’s only a plus. Guys this sharp would be relevant even if their music wasn’t accesible but having it heard by millions is even better.

Read a great Spin cover article here and then track doen the album if you haven’t. Read more