[LP] Rubik – SOLAR (w/ “World Around You”)

my wild-eyed wonder, daughter of the sun, tie your hand to mine, and we will, we will jump

♫ Rubik – World Around You

Finland’s Rubik have done some slow sneaking on my ears. RAC gave them their first in with his naturally stellar remix of “Wasteland” before 7 months later their own track “Laws of Gravity” established them as a force of their own. But still, don’t ask my why, I wasn’t expecting such a solid album. Hearing Solar for the first time caught me off guard. I guess I thought they would be a throw away indie-jam-one-hit-of-the-month kinda thing but Solaris textured, delicate, rocking, and interesting, all while staying true to their own Rubik sound. “Laws of Gravity” distracts you from it’s clever emotional build with it’s instant catchiness and big drums. “World Around You” is a toy train on steroids ans it’s careens it’s day-glo body around beautifully sloping railways on a summer afternoon. “Storm In a Glass of Water” and “Solar Death March (In Octaves)” showcase their knack for making beautiful music even when stripped down to it’s barest bones. And all that is less than half the album. The latter third of Solar gets a bit more melancholy and tender but it’s still good stuff. You will just want to come down off your mid-album “Laws of Gravity” sugar high.

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[LP] Arpline – TRAVEL BOOK (w/ “Fold Up Like A Piece Of Paper” & “Amplify”)

it gets on top of you

♫ Arpline – Fold Up Like A Piece Of Paper

Brooklyn’s Arpline is one of those bands that I heard about when some friends of mine directed the video for “Fold Up” a couple years back. However, in my infinite wisdom I didn’t get into the song back then. Fast forward to their debut album and I am feeling the whole thing, “Fold Up” included. The whole thing bristles with palpable energy and the propulsive guitars and drums are perfect driving summer music.

♫ Arpline – Amplify

Their LP Travel Book is out now and available for pay-what-you-want at Bandcamp. Wildly generous pricing aside, the whole album is solid indie rock, churning and dynamic as it builds guitar on drums. “Amplify” is a great example of Arpline’s ability to reign in the speed of “Fold Up” to create a bit of slow burn goodness. The rest of Travel Book is definitely recommended but don’t take my word, stream the whole thing below (“Make it Rain” & “Rope” are other favorites) and then download the whole bad boy once you realize it’s all gold.

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[EP] Mammal Club – THE AU EP (w/ “Otter” & “Hang”)

well i don’t think we’re ever gonna know

♫ Mammal Club – Otter

Keep your eye on Mammal Club. Seriously. If these guys aren’t huge by new years then there is no justice in the world. I wish I could say they were my find but it was Brighton’s The Recommender that tipped me off to these guys from Newcastle who are currently reigning over my iTunes with an iron fist of an EP. “Otter” kicks off the 4 tracks and stops me in my tracks every time I hear it. It’s that perfect blend of off kilter rhythms and soaring hooks that create such fantastic tension.The whole song oscillates between pressure and release. It’s almost like sex I guess. Perhaps that’s why I like it. Anyway, The Au EP continues with the galloping “Out Of The Playground” before leading into the second show-stopper, “Hang.” It’s all right angles and explosive timing but somehow ends up sliding between the ears and nestling right in. Brilliant. Ok, stop listening to me blather on and support these guys and the Au EP with a stream and a purchase after the jump.

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[EP] Y Luv – HOW CHILL CAN YOU LET GO (w/ “All Night”)

oh it feels like you, oh i wait for you

♫ Y Luv – All Night

Just press play on this one. It’s one of those jams that will get a lot of mileage with me because while it is super funky and offbeat it still has that kind of universal appeal that means it can work on a mixtape for my aunt. It’s epic and intimate and dance-y and rock-y and hot damn I cant stop jamming it. The fresh-on-the-scene Y Luv have misleadingly titled EP called How Chill Can You Let Go which along with the album art makes me think chillwave, which these jams are anything but. This is rock-wave, or stadium-wave, or wave-wave or something. “Never Touch The Ground,” for example, is cat-nip for the fist-pumpin while singing at the sky dude inside me. Oh yeah, and the EP is free. Stream/download it after the jump.

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[EP] JHAMEEL wants you to SHUT UP and LOVE these jams like ME. Don’t make him say it TWICE.

cause i’m about to make you beg for more than just love

♫ Jhameel – Shut Up

How is THIS for a surprise treat!? Dropped right in my inbox last week was this 5 track EP from Jhameel with the straightforward and accurate title of Dance. All 5 jams are solid gold, making this a perfect jumping off point for those of you who haven’t yet heeded my pro-Jhameel message. He has kicked his energy up like 8 notches and it’s refreshing to hear the guy changing things up. Get on this business. “Shut Up” is a perfect example as it lays down the “Funkytown” disco groove and then slaps on some surprisingly heavy vocals. This is a big sound.

♫ Jhameel – Love Me Twice

“Love Me Twice” takes a more traditional Jhameel approach to things but with a bit more energy than usual. Fingers are snappin. Toes are tappin. The whole Dance EP is available free and you would be seriously misguided if you didn’t nab it ASAP.

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[LP] PETER BJORN AND JOHN MAY SEEM like a dead band but that’s quite a MACABRE view on a still vibrant crew

we’re pale and cold and dry, they’ve done their best to make us go in style

♫ Peter Bjorn and John – May Seem Macabre

Peter Bjorn and John are an odd band with whom I have an odd relationship. First “Young Folks” took the whole world by whistling storm but who ever really got into the rest of that album? Certainly not me. Then their 2008 instrumental album Seaside Rock flew under everyone’s radar but somehow I got into the standout jam “Kraut Rock” and wondered if these guys were really up to something. 2009’s Living Thing put that notion to rest as I spent much of the summer trying to get stoked on an album that always left me reaching for the skip button. Needless to say I was wary of anything coming from camp PB&J and so only hesitantly covered their latest album’s first leak “Breaker Breaker.” But doing my normal TBE due diligence (and stoked on the stellar RAC remix of  “Second Chance”) I grabbed the whole album and started playing it. As opposed to in 2009, the repeated listens I gave Gimmie Some actually paid back. Each time I finished the album I noticed I had a more positive feeling towards it. And so that is how I have arrived here – over 2 months after the albums release – to tell you that I like this album. I enjoy it thoroughly but the only thing is that I can’t really explain why. No single song grabs me as an instant classic or Best Of 2011 contender but a series of solid jams (like “May Seem Macabre” above or “Second Chance”) build a solid wall of rock with uniformly functional bricks. I have racked up quite a few spins Gimmie Some and can easily see it as a summer mainstay, it’s swinging hooks and bouncy beats keeping me company as I sweat through my new TBE shirt, beverage in hand. If for some reason you still need convincing then see “Dig A Little Deeper,” “Eyes,” “Down like Me” and “I Know You Don’t Love Me” for further arguments.

Peter, Bjorn and John – Second Chance from Peter Bjorn and John on Vimeo.

♫ Peter Bjorn And John – What I Could Do If I Wanted To (“Dig A Little Deeper” B-Side)

Or nab this “Dig A Little Deeper” B-Side that the band is giving away. It;s not nearly as shiny-fun-times as the rest of Gimmie Some, leaning more towards their sharper rock edge. Kinda. Whatever. It’s tense and thick and shreds.

♫ Peter Bjorn and John – School Of Kraut / Seaside Rock, 2008

BONUS: Kettle drum, hand-clapping, and guitar work that will get your blood pumping. One of my favorite instrumental tracks of the last decade comes from PB&J’s under-known 2008 instrumental album Seaside Rock. Not a stellar LP but this track alone makes up for other tracks’ slack.

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[EP] FREEDOM OR DEATH slide INSIDE THIS blog’s speakers, filling and already CROWDED ROOM with beauty

but i don’t want to be told when it’s old and there’s nowhere to go

♫ Freedom or Death – Inside

Because when that summer sun goes down you still need something with some shadows to keep you company until the next dawn. Now I know that sounds like the tagline to a Twilight movie but it’s actually my pitch for Freedom or Death. Bear with me. Or rather, bear with “Inside,” a song that creeps and slinks with pattering percussion and a solid central beat. Throw those smooth vocals on top and you’ve got a bit of throwback synth mixed with that modern indie darkness vibe. Their 2nd EP EGO is full of these smoothly blended sounds that drift and hum their way into your head.

♫ Freedom or Death – This Crowded Room

Following “Inside” on EGO is “This Crowded Room,” a song that takes it’s time to build, slowing blossoming into a beautiful and catchy jam that tastes like a smoothie of Miike Snow, TV on The Radio, and The xx. This obviously firmly plants this Vancouver duo on my radar. EGO is out now. Act accordingly.

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[EP] ART IMPERIAL is MY ep of the summer and it should be CRYSTAL clear why

oh life with you there are no obstacles, just sunny days spent licking popsicles

♫ Art Imperial – My Crystal

Art Imperial is the name of a man understads the pain of a long winter. Living in Toronto he spent the last winter dreaming of sunnier climates and in an attempt to capture some of that sun-kissed glory he crafted the excellent Surf Suburban EP. It’s as if Best Coast and Wavves stopped toking long enough to actually get on a surfboard and then rode that board into the 60s. But instead of a surfboard it was a guitar. Anyway, “My Crystal” gives you a good idea of the fast and loose California vibes that are ripping through Art Imperial’s music, all of it available for a pay-what-you-want deal at his Bandcamp. Considering his mere 295 listens on Last.fm I’m officially endorsing this EP as the sound of summer. This also may be the perfect post to start brainstorming for a TBE Summer mix. I know this jam will be on it. Or maybe “I Feel Dumb.” Or “Bugs Out My Mind.” Damn. I’ll have to think on it.

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