FREELANCE WHALES are a GENERATOR that outputs jams. Jams stacked to the ^ 2ND FLOOR.

freelancewhalesdon’t fix my smile, life is long enough

♫ Frelance Whales – Generator ^ 2nd Floor

I struggle with finding music to accompany my mellower times. Whitest Boy Alive is one of my top artists on Last.fm, not because they are one of my all-time favorites, but as a band with 2 solid chill-out albums, they are my frequent go-to for those moods. Freelance Whales ave just stepped into the ring with their debut, Weathervanes, and it sounds like the perfect soundtrack for fall. “Generator ^ 2nd Floor” is one of the bouncier tracks on their debut (so it’s not a surprise it would appeal the most to me) but it’s also the best track about accepting death since Jack Peñate’s “Let’s All Die.” Their softer fare is equally appealing and the whole album is like ice cream melting on hot pie: sweet and satisfying, with just a bit of a sugar high. Where does this magical music come from? Freelance Whales hail from Brooklyn, where they are known to play in subway stations and use instruments like the harmonium, banjo, glockenspiel, and waterphone. With tools like that it’s no surprise that they channel a bit of Sufjan Stevens, especially on the breathily-sung “Broken Horse.”

♫ Freelance Whales – Broken Horse

I recommend Sufjan get’s his next state-themed album rolling ASAP because Freelance Whales have already took his place this fall. Or not, Suffy. Stay lazy with your years-old King Of Indie crown. It’s time for a regime change anyway. If you like what you hear then buy Weathervanes at eMusic or iTunes. Seriously. Oh, and check out the fantastic live perfomance of “Generator ^ 2nd Floor.” Singing about death at midnight in the abandoned farm was never so fun and cuddly.

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The Very Best bring us Yalira from The Warm Heart Of Africa

tvbwhoa

well we all need someone to tell us when to go

♫ The Very Best – Warm Heart Of Africa (Ft. Ezra Koenig)

Since The Very Best have been well blogged about (including their mention here at TBE) I’ll skip the back story and get into the music. The first public taste of their upcoming album, it’s title track “The Warm Heart Of Africa,” has been out and about for a while now but I never fell in love with it so it ever ended up on TBE. Then leaked the other much hyped tracks, “Julia” and “Rain Dance ft. MIA.” Much like anything with MIA I felt they were over-hyped and passed on sharing them. Finally I have got a track off the album I can get behind! The Very Best recently released the “Warm Heart Of Africa” single and included the B-side “Yalira” (and Warm Heart Of Africa album opener) as a free download. I can’t think of a more perfect album opener. The thing is perfectly crafted to get me excited about the album I am about to hear! Hairs raise on my neck and a smile is still on my face every time I hear it. And to be honest, “The Warm Heart Of Africa” has grown on me. I am just not so sure Ezra is much of an expert on the subject. Anyway, if is your first time hearing the amazing Esau Mwamwaya sing then you are in for a treat. The guy sings in a variety of African dialects (a product of having a civil servant father) and kills it with each one, even though you have no idea what he is singing about. I wont say much about the whole album here, it’s still a few weeks away from dropping in September, but I do hope this gets you hyped for it. It’s pretty, prettttty, prettttttty great.

The Very Best – Yalira

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Dinosaur Pile Up warn of an impending Cat Attack. With balls.

Dino PileUp

i try my best to bust a kick but hurt my back

♫ Dinosaur Pile-Up – Cat Attack

Dinosaur Pile-Up sound like the 90s. Or at least they sound like my 90s. Listening to these guys makes me feel like I’m sitting in my old bedroom doing math homework as crunchy guitar sounds escape from my old-school radio. The guitars shred. The drums pound. The vocals are rough and urgent. It’s music you want to see live so you can jump up and down and rub your sweat on your neighbor. Their new EP is out now and I am feeling these jams. “Summer Hit Single” in particular is another epic standout. The Most Powerful EP In The Universe is quite a claim for an EP title but I like the balls. Rock music has been missing balls lately and it’s good to see them. Good to hear them, too. Balls suit rock. My world is right.

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Generationals’ debut ‘Con Law’ is a Wildlife infused Sculpture of a perfect album

generationals_cover

know that your old friends overestimate your demise

♫ Generationals – Wildlife Sculpture

Oh boy! Finally! Generationals debut album Con Law (which I wrote about back in April) is out and those of you who streamed it back then know it is fantastic. Don’t let the terrible album art fool you, Con Law is a varied and addictive album that wont be leaving my regular rotation anytime soon. The 10 tracks span all different styles and no two songs sound the same. “Wildlife Sculpture” sounds like a whole different band than on previously featured “Angry Charlie,” but they share a common thread of solid craftsmanship, perfect energy, and great hooks. “Wildlife Scultupre” was my first favorite track off the album so I am hoping it will hook you too. Over at their MySpace you can stream 5 others including first single “When They Fight They Fight” and a few others. How they pick a single out of such a solid and filler-less album is beyond me. Do yourself a favor and pick up Con Law. It is definitely on my short list for top albums of the year and more people need to recognize.

Previously – ♫ Generationals – Angry Charlie

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Hockey frightens me, but maybe I just need to Learn To Lose(en) up

mindchaos

don’t know which came first the promise or it’s reverse

Hockey – Learn to Lose

Hockey the band, dummy! Yeah it’s a weird name for a band but after you listen to their jams you wont mind. I certainly don’t. Heck, for the first time ever I have been able to utter the phrase “I like Hockey.” The rollicking quartet hail from the unlikely city of Portland but fortunately left the Northwestern tradition of gloomy-skied navel-gazing at the door and bring the heat on their debut Mind Chaos. Swinging drum beats, screeching guitars, rock-solid hooks, well placed female back up vocals, and even some horns roll together to create an album that is as diverse as it is rocking. Second single “Learn To Lose” may be my favorite track but it’s a damn tough call. First single “Too Fake” (below) is solid too, but took longer to grow on me. Browsing their MySpace and noting their .co.uk domain address and mostly UK tour dates it seems that these dudes are getting more love across the pond, which is no surprise considering their sound. It almost seems like the US can’t handle upbeat music unless it’s straight vamped up Top 40. How do you explain the lack of stateside love for bands like The Maccabees, Jamie T, and fellow Americans Iglu & Hartly? Your loss America, your loss…

Hockey – Too Fake

Mind Chaos comes out August 24th. Did I mention it’s a killer album? Oh, and stay tuned for a great “Learn To Lose” remix in the next roundup. Hells yeah.

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The Checks can rock my Ballroom anytime, Baby

The Checks

whatchoo want from me baby?

The Checks – Ballroom Baby

After yesterday’s artwork fiasco I felt I had to hit you all with some mind bending awesomeness. Well, here it is, the cover for the new album by New Zealand’s The Checks and how about some mind bendingly awesome music to go along with it? Hmmm? How’s that treat you? The Checks were introduced to me by TBE reader Jared and after finally getting around to tracking down their sophomore album (not easy) I was pretty blown away by Alice By The Moon. This thing is solid rock and roll with just enough swampy dirt to suck you in and just enough hooks to pull you back out again. Crunching guitars and creeping beats that have look to put Alice By The Moon on my year’s best albums list so far.For reals. It was no easy task picking 1 or 2 songs to share here. Jared recommended Alice‘s opening three, “Bagheera,” “You And Me,” and “Crows,” and while they are great it was “Ballroom Baby” sitting at track 4 that really gave me pause. Holy smokes. Then it’s just wham bam through the rest of the 13 tracks. Some more dancey, some more dirty, some sounding like what The Dead Weather should sound like (as opposed to just being bad), and some with epic guitar solos.

The Checks – Isabella

Don’t make me beg, go buy this album. If you have your own music blog and dig this magic then pass on the love. These guys are being screwed by geography but it is really us non-New Zealanders that are the victims. A damn shame. OK, enough from me, I have their debut LP Hunting Whales to track down…

Bury your face in MySpace /// Buy Alice By The Moon from the band

La Roux’s debut is like some combination of ferocious feline and beautiful flower. Like a Tigerliliy, or something.

laroux

in the crush of the dark i’ll be your light in the mist

La Roux – Tigerlily

Things I know about La Roux:

– La Roux is actually two people, not just young singer Elly Jackson. This is misleading because “la roux” means “red one” in French and well, Elly fits that description. Although maybe so does producer Ben Langmaid but nobody has every seen him. Ever.

– They came to my attention with the video for “Quicksand“. Lot’s of beautiful sunsets and crazy hair. Oh, and a good song.

– After “Quicksand” and second single “In For The Kill” got La Roux hyped out the wazoo, we were treated to two more tracks: “I’m Not Your Toy” and “Bulletproof.” The former was my favorite of the 4.

– As we wait for the album, the videos continue. “In For The Kill” features an awesome car and a lot of fruitless suspense. “Bulletproof” is borderline unwatchable as the video has no point and Elly looks terrible (and really British, if you know what I mean).

– Their self titled debut finally comes out. The songs we know hold up in context and there are even more good ones! What!? What is this Tigerlily song? It’s fantastic. Over super funky bleep and bloops Elly sounds feistier than ever and her energy covers the track.

– The only bad part about “Tigerlily” is the Haunted Mansion voice that comes in towards the end. Why? If that’s Ben then no wonder he stays hidden. Weirdo.

– “Bulletproof” is at number 1 on the UK charts and Elly hits the headlines with some racy comments about slutty women and her status as a “boy-looking girl.”

– Silly comments or not, I really like this album and only wish Little Boots had pulled out an equally impressive debut. I was really rooting for her…

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Jack Peñate’s advises Let’s All Die, but read this first

Jack-Penate-Everything-Is-New

out of the womb and into the tomb

Jack Peñate – Let’s All Die

Jack Peñate’s sophomore album dropped recently and although I had heard lead single “Tonight’s Today” (and seen the crazo video) I was not that psyched for it. For me his debut LP Matinee was fun but forgettable. I guess it’s not a big surprise that on an album titled Everything Is New he flipped the script on us. Gone was the perky and snarky ska pop of songs like “Have I Been A Fool?” (below) and in it’s place was a real maturity, both lyrically and musically. Within the context of the album, “Tonight’s Today” suddenly made a lot more sense. Other great tracks like “Pull My Heat Away”, the title track, and second single “Be The One,” combine to form a great album that reveals more and more with each listen. “Let’s All Die” is the 8th of the albums 9 tracks and despite it’s title is possibly the most fun one. Apparently it’s not an actual recommendation but a recollection of a New Orleans funeral Jack saw as a youngster where all the celebration and partying at such an affair made an impact on him. For those of you new to Jacky P. here is the pretty great “Have I Been A Fool?” for proper chronological listening.

Jack Pe̱ate РHave I Been A Fool

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