[EP] AWOLNATION may BURN your ears if IT is cranked the opposite of DOWN

if you’re feeling like i feel throw your fists through the ceiling, some people call it crazy i call it healing

♫ AWOLNATION – Burn It Down

WOOOO! Talk about a cheek blasting roller coaster! Awolnation absolutely blast this one out of the gate and barely take a breath! Grinding guitars, machine-gun percussion, and pumped up vocals make for the kind of sonic insanity that gets my blood pumping. As if I already wasn’t hooked on these guys after one listen to “Burn It Down” the story just gets better. First of all, the rest of the Back From Earth EP is solid stuff. The 4 tracks showcase a surprisingly impressive mix of vibes and talent that show that this Los Angeles based crew/dude is definitely cooking with gas. “Burn It Down” does just that. “Guilty Filthy Soul” puts some blues and funk through an electro-soul treatment and then dusts heavily with hand claps. “Sail” is the lighter-in-the-air slow-burner that grinds and “ooohs” to great effect. “MF” closes it all with a bit of late 90s rap-rock that should offend the ears bit somehow totally fits in context. So there is the great EP but that isn’t all from Awolnation! These guys are going all in and getting into some crazy video stuff as well. Their website features all kinds of fun stuff like a shower-sung rendition of “Sail” and a fresh Cee-Lo referencing “MF” mini-video. But what really sets these guys apart are the not-one-but-two retro styled 3D movies that they have made faux documentaries and trailers for. Yeah, I know, read that sentence again, It’s a lot to take in (or just go actually take it in). I’m not really sure what it thing has to do with the music or the Awolnation’s master plan but I am stoked that they are super into the whole thing. Certainly gets me pumped. Time to play “Burn It Down” again! OH, and I almost forgot, they have an iPhone app too! Download it free here and I think you can listen to the whole EP and watch videos, etc. Crazy times.

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WAVVES emerges as KING OF rocking jams i want to crank at THE BEACH

won’t you hold my hand, in my time of need, won’t you understand

♫ Wavves – King of the Beach

After being thoroughly confused as to how anyone could enjoy last year’s breakout Wavves hit “So Bored,” I am left pleasantly surprised to be really digging his new album. For the recently released King Of The Beach, Wavves’ Nathan Williams took on 2 more members and connected with a new producer who pushed the band into cleaner production waters. The result is a collection of 12 raw and rowdy rock jams that are as catchy as they are fresh. Williams’ vocals are finally audible and his voice ‘aint half bad, especially when he’s wailing over the guitar shredding, finger snapppin, head banging goodness of “King Of The Beach.” It’s the perfect soundtrack for kicking sand into nerds’ faces! (Not actually recommended.) This jam definitely belongs on TBE’s Summer In Hi-Fi mix so add it on or just replace your least favorite track! Just get it cranked!

♫ Wavves – Post Acid

Listening to the rest of the album for the 6th time I am still impressed with how much I am enjoying these tightly wound garage rock surf jams. The dude really stepped up his game! “Post Acid” and it’s super bouncy rhythm is another gem from the album that is instantly sing-along-able. Other favorites are “Take On The World” and “Green Eyes” but I generally have been listening to the whole thing straight through. With most of the the tracks clocking in under 3 minutes, King Of The Beach a brisk affair that leaves me wanting to spin it again right away. If you can find any joy in these jams then I highly recommend it! (This interview with Williams is worth a read for some of the man behind the music.) I am definitely glad that I didn’t write Wavves off and let all the good reviews talk me into giving him a second chance.

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BIG BOI is packing heaters much deeper than SHUTTERBUGG

lucious leftfoot’s got his best foot forward darling lord have mercy how them flows stay so cold

♫ Big Boi – Shutterbugg (Ft. Cutty)

Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty has been years in the making, and highly anticipated for even longer. It’s finally out and there is not much to say here. This is it. This is how hip-hop is done. If you have ever enjoyed a jam by either half of Outkast, solo or together, then this is your album. Big Boi is dripping with flow as he tears through verse after of verse of solid lyrics, wrapping them in the funkiest, freshest beats you’ve heard all year. Guest stars abound, funny rhymes at every turn, the sketches are short and weet, and it’s danceability is unquestionable. I’ve already posted twice on tracks from this album so this will serve as a brief confirmation of what we all knew would happen. Big Boi may have taken his sweet ass time (label problems didn’t help) but the final product more than justifies every second of waiting.

♫ Big Boi – Shine Blockas [ft. Gucci Mane] (previously posted)

We already know how much I love “Shine Blockas,” and now “Daddy Fat Sax” and “Turns Me On” are climbing the ranks as album highlights. Damn, now that I have typed that it doesn’t feel right. The album is playing in the background and as one tracks flows to the next I am having a hard time pinpointing any low points in the mix. Even slow jam “Hustle Blood” featuring easy-target Jamie Foxx is smooth as fuck and heats up the room at least 3 degrees. Anyway, quit reading this baloney and get this album. Highly recommended for fans of music, hip-hop or not. (And don’t forget to grab this non-album gem featuring Andree 3000. Hells yeah.)

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DELAYS are no longer going UNSUNG around here!

there’s a hole carved in me you can see straight through, fill it in, fill it in, ‘cos it’s shaped like you

♫ Delays – Unsung

I get a crap-load of emails everyday from people wanting me to listen to this-or-that terrible up and coming band. Luckily, most of them are so poorly constructed that I don’t have to feel bad about ignoring them. But when I get an email from one of TBE’s most loyal readers, jonathan_uk, you know I damn well pay attention! (The dude’s read every single post I’ve written on TBE) Anyway, a while ago he wrote me to recommend his favorite band, Delays. I was only familiar with one of their tracks, the super upbeat “Hooray” which was actually featured on an early TBE mix. I promptly dug into that jam’s album (2008’s Everything’s The Rush) which didn’t grab me at first. However, last month’s Star Tiger Star Ariel soon followed and has been on repeat every since! First single “Unsung” (above) is 4 minutes of swirling high-vocaled, fist pumping, love affirming proof of how big this album is. Delays have a very polished and poppy sound but somehow they make things so grand and epic that it works. I get a real sense of sincerity from lead singer Greg Gilbert. And besides, how can you be hating when this jam is cranked to 11!

♫ Delays – The Lost Estate

“The Lost Estate” layers massive synths over soaring guitars over Gilbert’s angelic vocals over pounding drums until it’s basically become a stadium sized layer cake. Star Tiger Star Ariel being Delays 4th album these guys have the chops to tackle mellower jams with the same talent as their epic stuff. All this means that I can solidly recommend this album to anyone who is remotely feeling these jams. As for some more words on the band from a guy who knows them infinitely beter than me, here is Jonathan’s take:

“From first hearing ‘Long Time Coming’ – a track that was to go on to be my mobile ringtone for many years –  on a late night music radio show back in 2004, I was instantly hooked on majestic Southampton band, Delays. All three previous albums (“Faded Seaside Glamour”, “You See Colours” and “Everything’s The Rush”) are still getting some regular play-time on my commute to work and still sounds as fresh as when I first heard them. It’s difficult to pick stand out tracks due to the high quality of their work but “Nearer Than Heaven”, “Valentine” and “Hey Girl” are sure-fire timeless wonders.

New album, “Star Tiger, Star Ariel” is another immense collection of tracks ranging from the glorious “In Brilliant Sunshine” to the melancholy of “Moment Gone”. It sure deserves to give Delays the mainstream break-through they deserve. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to seeing them live again in October…”

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TOKYO POLICE CLUB don’t WAIT or give UP, their BOOTS are made for rocking jams OF DANGERous proportions

i’m on your side, but only for a while, of course, you never use words you can’t afford

♫ Tokyo Police Club – Breakneck Speed

I don’t even know where to start with this one. One of my favorite bands is releasing a new album after dropping an epic first single? (above) Yeah, expectations were high. After getting the album I didn’t even listen to it right away, had to wait for the perfect moment. Days or even a week later I finally turned it on and listened pensively as the 11 tracks churned through my ears. Well, the verdict is in and this is one of the years best albums, for sure. Yeah, their firecracker energy of their early EPs is gone but in it’s place is a diamond hard band delivering an announcement that they are older, wiser, and can craft the shit out of some spiky indie rock. I should also probably mention that Dave Monks lyrics are awesome as usual and worth paying a bit of extra attention to. Nearly every track has been starred in my iTunes as my album “fave” (most albums get 1, 2 at best). “Favorite Food” warms us up for the album with it’s lyrical balance of youth and maturity and musical balance of slow and fast. “End of A Spark” trots out thumping drums and twangy guitars for a medium paced foot-stomping fest. “Gone” is sharp guitars and breezy oohs for a beach trip. “Big Difference” kicks out out of the gate and doesn’t stop as it hurtles through signature TPC guitars. “Not Sick” is a big burst of a late album anthem that is impossible not to groove to. And then, there is “Wait Up (Boots Of Danger)” which is the latest single as deservedly so. Love those Ooh oohs!

♫ Tokyo Police Club – Wait Up (Boots Of Danger)

The “Wait Up” video is out now, as well as some other goodies like an RAC mix (hells yeah!). So get the album and let’s make it a TPC summer!!

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FOALS have THIS great album out that should be heard from here to the ORIENT

do you know you give me, you give me, this western feeling?

♫ Foals – This Orient

Foals last album, Antidotes, was all high paced herking, jerking and spastic beats and it was pretty great. I was naturally a little surprised when I heard first leak “Spanish Sahara” from their follow-up, Total Life Forever. The nearly 7 minute song takes over 4 of them to get anywhere and when it does it’s still a pretty chill affair. I wanted to be impressed… but I wasn’t. Then – per usual these days – I heard the whole album and suddenly “Spanish Sahara” made sense. Suddenly it all made sense. Foals hadn’t just slowed down this one song, they had slowed down their whole sound. Total Life Forever, and it’s perfectly chosen album art, is a shimmering and spacey tapestry of delicate beats and tender vocals that ultimately add up to an album that I like a lot more than Antidotes. The spazz-beat gimmick is gone and in it;s place is a grown up band that is flexing their chops in a much subtler manner. Many jams are still quite danceable (“Miami,” the title track), some take their time to get simmering (“Blue Blood,” After Glow”) and some soothingly simple (“Alabaster,” “Two Trees”). And then there is the straight whipping-wind summer anthem “This Orient,” above. Right off the bat you know big things are going to go down and it doesn’t take long for things to prove you right. It just makes me want to turn it up to 11 and sing along at the top of my lungs! I would totally post more of the great tracks I mentioned but honestly, between these two jams you’ve got a pretty good spectrum of the vibes to expect so just get into it and pick up a copy!

♫ Foals – Spanish Sahara

Super bonus for Uhh Yeah Dude fans: The album’s title track is all about singularity. That shit is happening, yo.

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THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM are a heavyweight BOXER of an AMERICAN band and SLANG is a solid round two

you found the bandages inside the pen and the stitches on the radio

♫ The Gaslight Anthem – Boxer

The Gaslight Anthem’s debut full length was one of those discs that hit me from left field and completely dominated my driving playlist for most of the summer of 2008. The band managed to channel an American legend like Bruce Springsteen without sounding derivative or cheap. The ’59 Sound was a powerful, life affirming, gas pedal pushing, testament that rock music was alive and well. So needless to say, after being somewhat disappointed by their follow-up’s lead single, and titular track, “American Slang,” I was hesitant about this sophomore effort. And at first listen, my fears were confirmed. The album seemed limp and rather same sounding. Here we get to a problem with how I digest albums. When I identify an album’s standout track I can then use it as my anchor with which to return to the album and get pumped about listening to it. I need that one track to suck me in and I can’t find it on American Slang. However, I’m now in the middle of my 7th pass through the album and it’s a completely different beast than when I first heard it. That lack of peaks and valleys has revealed itself to be an exercise in a tight track-list that didn’t let any filler in. Every song is a solid jam that carries it’s fair share of rock n’ roll charm. And that standout track? Well I never found it because instead of 1 there are 5. “American Slang” has grown on me and has been joined by “Stay Lucky,” “The Queen Of Lower Chelsea,” “The Spirit of Jazz” and “The Boxer.” All 5 of these jams fought for their place in this post and “The Boxer” won just because it reminds me the most of those great times two summer ago, driving fast with the windows down and the volume up. Anyway, point of the story is that this album is growing on me every day and I have a feeling we’ll be spending some good times together this summer. I cordially invite you to join us for the ride. And for the love of all that’s holy (i.e. Rock n Roll), get The ’59 Sound if you haven’t yet. Seriously.

♫ The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

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ROBYN and i are DANCING to her sweet new jam that has been ON MY stereo since OWNing it

stilettos and broken bottles, i’m spinning around in circles

♫ Robyn – Dancing On My Own

Robyn has been known to pump up the energy, get people dancing, and even get emotional, but perhaps not until now has she blended them all so elegantly. “Dancing On My Own” is Robyn’s broken-hearted goodbye to an ex-lover who is flaunting his new wares right there on the dancefloor while she looks on through hazy eyes. Shit. We’ve all been there in a way, and now we have an anthem to dance our way through the pain. It doesn’t get much better than this, either musical or cathartically. Robyn’s first collection of new tunes in 5 years is only the first in a planned trilogy for 2010. Body Talk Pt. 1 drops June 14/15 and I can safely tell you that it is fantastic. I got on board Robyn’s 2005 (/2008) acclaimed album later than most but only a few tracks grabbed me. These 8 new tracks, however, are all jams. Even the one in Swedish that sounds like the opening credits to a Scandinavian horror film about possessed children is alright. The amazing thing about Robyn here is her range. “Dancing on My Own” is her completely exposed and vulnerable to the whims of an ex while a song like “Hang With Me” has her imploring someone not to fall madly in love with her because it will end badly (“I know what’s on your mind, there will time for that too” is one of the best cautionary love-song lyrics ever). The fact that she is completely believable and relatable on both tracks is a testament to her lyrics as well as her delivery. Through all these tracks she pulls off swagger and emotion in a way few can. Subtly amazing album opener “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do” (ok, so the amazingness of the song is subtle, not the title) is a perfect example. Seriously people, if you are like me and have always felt Robyn was overly creamed-over then this is your moment to join the party train. I’d post more tracks but it’s such a short album and so solid that I trust you all to go get it based on this track and my urging. Remember, there is no time to sleep because Body Talk Pt. 2 will be out in a matter of months! Watch the great video for “Dancing” below where Robyn dances away her demons.

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