[LP] ANR should STAY on all KIDS ipods if they want BIG jams and are having a PROBLEM finding them

we’ve got the brains but not the bodies to live so fast

♫ ANR – Stay Kids

You may remember Miami’s ANR from when they went by Awesome New Republic and helped us ring in TBE’s 2 month anniversary almost 2 years ago. Since then they dropped a few more EPs and an underwhelming LP before diving under the radar for a bit. Cut to 2011 and they have emerged leaner and meaner than every before. They’ve not only streamlined their name, but tightened their sound and honed in on the hooks and heart. It’s not

“Stay Kids” is the title track of their forthcoming LP and starts the disc off right, easing us into the new sounds of ANR. It’s a little more delicate, a little more precious, a little more rocking, and suddenly, it’s a lot more appealing. It’s an ironic title because you can almost hear the duo coming growing up.

ANR – Big Problem

Stay Kids continues with “Big Problem,” a speaker blasting reminder that these guys mean business. Crunching guitars and fingersnaps hold on as tight as they can to that freight train beat that careens around the dance floor at top speeds. This one is for rolling down windows and blowing out stock speakers.

The rest of the album’s 10 tracks balance the soft and soulful with the catchy and polished in a way that sets ANR apart in this years crop of buzz bands. They’ve dug deeper and it shows. No two songs sound remotely the same yet all of them are clearly branched of the same quickly maturing indie rock tree. Songs like “Holes” and “A Year Of Solitude Pays Off” show a band comfortable with baring some soul through sparse arrangements. Others like “It’s Around You,” and “This Is The Timing” are instantly catchy and memorable but in quite different ways. Cheers to ANR for kicking of 2011 with such a solid bang! Stay Kids is out digitally on March 15h. You know what to do.

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[LP] WILDLIFE STAND apart IN THE world of indie bands full of WATER. They are full of MATCHES.

i can be a good friend and i can be a good lover but i can’t do both of them

♫ Wildlife – Stand in the Water

It happens every year. Just as you are wrapping up your Best Albums list you stumble on that album that flew under your radar and is suddenly now blanket bombing your ears with explosive jams that you can’t stop listening to. This year’s assault comes courtesy of Wildlife and their debut LP Strike Hard, Young Diamond. Well, assault isn’t really the right word. More like an enthusiastic invitation to join them on a day trip to the beach of huge hooks, bask under the glowing sun of good vibes and occasionally jump into the ocean of catchy sing-alongs. Damn, that’s kind of a confusing analogy. Good thing they put a helpful visual on their album art. Although all the people dancing and moshing to the band must be just out of frame.

“Stand in the Water” kicks off Strike Hard and I can’t remember the last time I heard such a perfect opening track. It starts off innocent enough, just a light acoustic guitar strumming away, and then things start to build. More guitar. The urgent vocals. The huge drums. The right on “oooohhh”s. Before you know it the whole thing has comes in like the tide and you are singing along so hard that you don’t even notice that your pants are soaked in sea water and the sand crabs are rocking out too.

♫ Wildlife – Matches

Everything continues on point through the rest of the album as Wildlife tackle floor stompers (“When I Get Home”), tender soul baring (“Drunken Heart,” “American Eyes,” “Killing For Fun”),  and rousing anthems (“Sea Dreamer,” “Move To The City”) with equal panache. But it’s “Matches” that somehow edges slightly above the rest for me (not an easy feat. Tough playing field!). There is something so classic in it’s execution but paired with Wildlife’s unique vocal delivery and on-point grooves it takes things to a great new level. Something familiar and fresh all in one. I guess that’s what Wildlife are all about, really. I dig it.

Grab Strike Hard, Young Diamond at their Bandcamp for only 9 Canadian dollars! In American dollars that’s only like… well… the same really. Either way, it’s damn worth it. Well done, ya hosers.

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[EP] POMPEYA have an UNTITLED jam that has so much POWER it goes to II

come on closer child and i’ll give you the key

♫ Pompeya – Untitled

Not 10 seconds into “Untitled” and your eyebrows shoot skyward. “WHO is this?” Well, that’s a damn good question, and one I’ll answer, but first play a quick game with me. Guess where music like this might come from? That limbo-low bass? That street-swagger bounce? That jittery synth line? Those hazed-out vocals? Just guess. Ummm… nope. Wrong. And I know you’re wrong because I know you didn’t guess Russia. It would be impossible to guess Russia. Cheers to Pompeya for fucking with everything I thought I knew about music coming out of the former Easter Bloc. Cheers to Pompeya for spinning the most perfectly delicate spaced-out bedroom funk-pop I’ve heard in ages. Cheers to Pompeya. Seriously, come to Warsaw and the first round is on me!

♫ Pompeya – Power II

These guys from Moscow aren’t messing around. The seriously good tunes continue through the rest of their Read more

[EP] FOSTER THE PEOPLE have a song for HELENA with a great BEAT

sometimes life it takes you by the hand, puts you down before you know it and you’re dead again

♫ Foster The People – Helena Beat

City of Angels in the houuuusssee! What! What! What? Wait, what? Oh yeah, Foster The People! These LA groove-smiths nibbled on the TBE fishing line back in June with their harmonizing sidewalk swaggering shoe jam “Pumped Up Kicks.” (Video not embedding. Thanks YouTube!) However, the real bait biter is their new track, “Helena Beat,” dropped last week in promotion of their recently released self-titled EP. 30 seconds in and I’m sold on this industrial pop grinder. Then the vocals kick in and it’s all I can do to decipher gender identities between various sweet dance moves. Guy? Girl? Definitely guy! But wait… of fuck it. Look at me spin 360 and not fall over! So basically I have way more fun stuff to do (dancing) than write about this EP (sorry).

p.s. The 3rd EP track “Houdini” is as solid as my hardwood floors. And that’s hard. I just checked with my ass.

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