[LP] FUTURE ISLANDS have grooves much bigger than a VIREO’S EYE

a loose, and hazy time, when you were not my clementine and i was not your diamond’s eye

♫ Future Islands – Vireo’s Eye

Future Islands are a band I had stumbled across years ago with their fantastically frenetic “Old Friend” (below) but I never got around to digging deeper until Todd from Sensual Harassment recommended them and I got on the ball. Their 2010 album In Evening Air is my forst full-length exposure to them and it’s a strangely great pice of work. Future Islands’ sound is hard to describe as they work with oddly repetitive grooves the slowly transform into full-on locomotives of pulsing energy. “Vireo’s Eye” is my favorite jam off the album and follows this pattern as it layers twitchy guitars over an elastic bass-line and then brings in that dancey synth. But what really sets Future Islands apart is the vocals. J. Gerrit Welmers’ voice is an otherworldly low-register bellow that stamps all their jams with an urgency and emotion that weaves perfectly with the band’s energy. “Long Flight” and the In Evening Air’s title track are other highlights, fitting perfectly into the albums aura of tense melancholy. It’s an interesting evolution from the upbeat suger-rush “Old Friend” but one that works quite well.

♫ Future Islands – Old Friend / Wave Like Home, 2008

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[LP] HURTS mix BLOOD and TEARS & come up with GOLD

cause I could never be your lover i found another girl to mess me around

♫ Hurts – Blood, Tears & Gold

UK kings of stark melodrama, Hurts, initially underwhelmed me with their first 2 singles, “Wonderful Life” and “Better Than Love” so I didn’t exactly rush to grab their debut LP Happiness when it dropped in September. However, seeing that they were coming to Warsaw next year I got curious real quick and have since been quite surprised at how much I am enjoying this album. Sure it’s impeccably polished and dripping with a pre-meditated aesthetic but the tunes work for me and when you think of Hurts’ whole shtick as more performance art than hipster-cred project then it all works even more. It would be stupid to detract from Lady Gaga for being overly theatrical, no? Anyway, I don’t buy into the Hurts-bashing, especially so when I’ve got jams like “Blood, Tears, & Gold” stuck in my head all day. It’s hard to get more full of glimmering sorrow, yearning and drama than this. But wait! There’s “Stay” (below) the track that would be wearing it’s heart on it’s sleeve except that it’s already ripped it’s shirt off in a teary eyed and bended-knee confession of love! If listening to this track doesn’t make you a tad bit wistful for a love gone by then your heart is about as hard as Hurt’s overly-gelled hair. Tough times. Anyway, if you are at all on the fence about Hurts than I suggest you gingerly hop off and mope your way to Happiness, if at least for it’s serious solo singing in the mirror and/or break-up mixtape potential Read more

[LP] BRANDON FLOWERS’ new album isn’t ONLY for THE YOUNG die-hard fans

tonight, baby, you can start again, laughing in the open air, have yourself another dream

♫ Brandon Flowers – Only The Young

So Brandon Flowers’ solo album came out 2 months ago already but I guess I didn’t really rush to listen to it. Disappointing first single “Crossfire” combined with scathing reviews, left me wary of the whole endeavor. Then one day I caught the video for “Only The Young” (below) and had to stop for a moment. First to take in the hyper-dramatic beauty of the clip and second to wonder if I wasn’t somehow missing out on Flamingo. When I finally sat down to soak in the album, “Only The Young” song struck me again. Without any visuals to distract from the experience I was left alone with the music. That soft drum beat, Flower’s yearning voice, and those delicate electronic bleeps that make the song so magical. Now I can’t stop listening to this jam. While I was lamenting those 2 months without this tender nugget in my life I rode through the rest of the album. To my pleasant surprise I enjoyed it. It’s certainly not a Killers album (any of them) but it’s got Flowers’ melodrama, earnest vocals and tight production which make for a bit of aural sunshine on these chilly days. “Crossfire” is still a big dud but “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts” and “Was It Something I Said?” both kick up the energy for some dancing-in-the-mirror fun. Other tracks range from good to inoffensive. I know a lot of people expect more from Flowers, and fair enough, but in this case lowered expectations provided me with a fun new album and a fantastic new close-my-eyes-and-float-away song.

Watch the video after the jump Read more

[LP] MARK RONSON & THE BUSINESS INTL have managed to RECORD a damn superb COLLECTION of jams here!

don’t you wanna take a joyride on my tandem? humming on a huffy, don’t i look so handsome?

♫ Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – The Bike Song (ft. Kyle Falconer and Spank Rock)

I never got into Mark Ronson’s last guest-filled album, Version, so I really wasn’t expecting much from this effort (especially after Dave Sitek’s mostly disappointing Maximum Balloon project). The fact is, this is hands down one of the year’s best albums, front-to-back. Ronson blends all kinds of eclectic production with a string of amazing vocalists that all bring their A-game. It’s really not even worth getting into the details of this magic, you just have to dive in! Each song is catchy, danceable, fun, and special in it’s own way. Even the instrumental “filler” track “Circuit Breaker” is so damn solid that I would be writing about it on it’s own. Instead it’s surrounded by such standout indie anthems as “The Bike Song” (above) and “Introducing The Business” or stormy hip shakers like “Somebody To Love Me” (below) or “Glass Mountain Trust (featuring D’Angelo).” It’s pretty damn great to hear my main man Wyatt (from Miike Snow) on a few tracks here. He kills it, as usual.

♫ Mark Ronson & The Business Intl – Somebody To Love Me (ft. Boy George and Andrew Wyatt)

As if orchestrating such a fantastic record wasn’t enough, Ronson has dropped 3 standout videos to go along with them. Start with album opener “Bang Bang’s” retro/future lazer-filled talk show performance and then follow that “story” into “The Bike Song”‘s endlessly sexy romp on wheels. And then there is the “found-footage” compiled clip for Boy George’s “Somebody To Love.” Wow. Well done, Ronson. Well done.

Hit those videos after the jump! Read more

[LP] LA VIDA BOHEME rock socks whether they are singing BUEN SALVAJE or EL SENTIMENTO HA MUERTO

hey! hey!

♫ La Vida Boheme – Buen Salvaje

I have the luxury of having some of the best readers on the interwebs and it’s recommendations like this that confirms that 10 fold. A few weeks ago Veronica from Venezuela (!) tipped me off to a local indie band that is coming up on the scene over there and after falling in love with the blood quickening “Buen Salvaje” I demanded access to the full album. Language barrier be damned, this was some hot stuff! Luckily, their debut LP Nuestra, does not disappoint. My new favorite Venezuelans run the gamut from party starting jams like “Buen Salvaje” (above) and “Danz!” (epic video below) to more tender fare like “Flamingo.” They even nail ther electro side on the gritty ass-motivator “El Sentimento Ha Muerto.”

♫ La Vida Boheme – El Sentimiento Ha Muerto

Are you feeling that cowbell? I fuckin’ am! THE perfect (non-remix) way to get pumped for a Friday night! That great “Danz!” video make more sense when you take into account what Veronica told me:

Oh, btw VERY important fact about them: They throw PAINT at the crowd before every show!! Right before they start they have this ‘Ritual’ where they throw paint on themselves and the crowd. According to them it represents the blood of their instruments, that they ‘kill’ while they play. Its sounds kinda creepy but its actually very fun =) If you check out the video [“Danz!”, below] I put under you’ll see a little bit of the paint throwing im talking about.

Umm….. HELL YEAH! Put these guys at the top of my live show wish list! Did I mention that they are offering the WHOLE album for free!? What!? Yeah, that’s what I said! Their website is the home of the band as well as their own independent label All Of The Above and I am told you can downoad the album there. My sad lack of Spanish skills prevented me from figuring that one out so this link saved the day. Get on this, people. HIGHLY recommended! Read more

[LP] THE THERMALS are a band I DON’T BELIEVE YOU should NEVER LISTEN TO. You feel ME?

follow my call, follow my voice, fall in the sea, fall in the noise

♫ The Thermals – I Don’t Believe You

The Thermals are back with their 5th LP and if you have never heard of them then this is prime time to start rocking! Long time fans may not feel the same, as the band have gotten more polished and are wielding bigger hooks on Personal Life. This is definitely my favorite batch of Thermals so far! Like a god rock band should, The Thermals work with the classic guitar, bass, and drums set-up, only on tracks like “I Don’t Believe You” they serve up some hearty “OOH OOh oohh!”s and a rhythm that you can’t help but shimmy to. And then there is “Never Listen To Me.”

♫ The Thermals – Never Listen To Me

Holy crap. Are you hearing that guitar work? It’s the best set of sounds I have heard coming from a guitar all year! Not many rock songs could stand alone as an instrumental but this one tells a tale, lyrics or not.  The fact that the vocals are so perfectly fitted to the slow burning groove are a pure bonus! “Your Love Is So Strong” is another album highlight but that’s not saying much since every track brings something great to the table making Personal Life one of this years most pleasant surprises.

BONUS: ♫ The Hood Internet – I Don’t Break You Down (Juicy J vs The Thermals) / The Hood Internet further prove how solid this music is. Get down.

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[LP] TWIN SHADOW grew on me SLOW but now has me grooving fast

i don’t wanna, believe, be but, in love, i don’t wanna, be, believe, in love

♫ Twin Shadow – Slow

I think I heard and promptly ignored this song twice before catching the video below and quickly realizing the error of my ways. Now I just can’t get enough of that awesome bass line, fluttering guitar magic, and propulsive percussion! It’s a total sing-along dance-moves-in-the-mirror kind of throwback jam that gets better with each listen. Twin Shadow, aka Geroge Lewis Jr., has been getting all kinds of love lately, being heralded by Hipster Runoff as possibly the only “harvestable buzzband” of 2010 and even getting a best new music review on Pitchfork today. Hoping for more fuzzed out dance perfection like this I grabbed his debut Forget last week and have been chewing on it quite a bit. About half is in the spaced out dance party vein of “Slow” while the other half is more, well… just spaced out. Still funky, but more mellow. “Shooting Holes” and “At My Heels” are my other album favorites at the moment and no surprise that they fall into the dancey half. So does “Castles In The Snow,” another great track that is like a midnight drive home from a Halloween dance party. So if you like what you have heard from Twin SHadow so far then Forget won’t disappoint. It wont be making my best of the year list, but it will definitely provide some fun listens in the right mood and I’ll be returning to “Slow” on the regular. Watch the great CK referencing video after the jump Read more

[LP] J. RODDY WALSTON & THE BUSINESS are USED TO rocking like they DID in the old days

watch your tongue, it’s on my tongue, it tastes good, but it tastes so young

♫ J Roddy Walston & The Business – Used To Did

Ok, time to be honest with me, you guys totally slept on J Roddy’s epic “Brave Man’s Death” that I posted back in June and that needs to be remedied pronto. The man and The Business recently released their debut self titled LP and if guitar music has ever rocked you so hard you woke up like that they guy on the cover then this is for you. The guitars wail, the vocals growl, and the piano adds the perfect crisp spice to this rock and roll stew. “Brave Man’s Death” is present as the album’s simmering centerpiece but it’s flanked by fantastic tracks on both sides. Don’t Break The Needle EP‘s “Don’t Get Old” gets reworked to rollicking guitar shredding results and that EP’s title track stays on as the searing album opener. “Full Growing Man” is another sing along highlight. The jam that gets me most pumped at the moment is “Used To Did” whose piano prowess deftly propels the whole shebang into full on go-crazy-at-the-concert level. This whole disc is full on, people. Get it. Crank it. And sweat it the fuck out.

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