Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Song by PHASES, "I'm in Love with My Life" (Album Out This Summer)


PHASES (Photo via Warner Bros. Records)
I love me a good dance tune. This one by L.A. band PHASES (formerly JJAMZ) fell into my inbox today when I spotted the name of Phantom Planet singer Alex Greenwald -- another fave band of mine like Doves of the last post, also cited as a band I'd love to be able to resurrect in the post "My Picks For Older Bands To Round Out the Music Collection (80s, 90s, 2000s) & Bands I Wish Were Still Here From Each Decade."  The band also includes Jason Boesel of Rilo Kiley/Bright Eyes, Michael Runion, and Z Berg of The Like. They describe their sound as a marriage of dance and electronic, creating songs based on some experimental solo recordings by Greenwald in his Laurel Canyon living room using an outdated version of GarageBand.

"We wanted the songs to be fun, danceable, and engaging," says Greenwald. "That's how the tracks started, and then in the studio the things we added had to maintain that level of excitement."

With a full length album due this summer, the group has debuted a video for the catchy single "I'm in Love with My Life."  The video was directed by award-winning film, TV, commercial and music video director Ethan Tobman. I have to agree with his assessment of a first listen...

"When I first heard 'I'm in Love with My Life,'" Tobman said, "it put me in such an unashamedly optimistic mood. I immediately thought of trying to do something in reverse. The idea was that PHASES would be moving forward, nonchalantly, while the world around them inverts complexity in a way that brings us joy."  As any worthy dance tune should -- take a listen on YouTube or here.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Song by Black Rivers "Voyager 1" (Debut Album Out September 2)

Andy (left) and Jez Williams (Photo: Twitter Account)
I was eager to give a listen to Black Rivers, a new band with two thirds of the U.K. band Doves, a fave of mine from the first decade of this century and my pick for a reboot. With frontman Jimi Goodwin busy with a solo project, brothers Andy and Jez Williams started creating music on their own. The result is Black Rivers, with the two sharing vocal duties for an overreaching sound that is wonderfully familiar.

“Some bands are rooted in the reality of the here and now,” says Jez. “I suppose we’ve always been about escapism: searching for something. That’s the link, but I wouldn’t want to think we sound too much like Doves. The exciting thing about Black Rivers is that we had the freedom to go wherever we wanted.”  A self-titled debut will be out in the U.S. this September, but listen to the single "Voyager 1" via the video below or on YouTube. The space adventure concept is written, designed, drawn, animated, edited and directed by Alden Volney -- complementing the musical journey of the song, already a pick for my next playlist.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Song "All Your Love Is Gone" by Boxed In (Debut Album Out)

Boxed In (Photo: Wendy Lynch Redfern)
Another new fave song has caught my ear for the next playlist -- "All Your Love Is Gone" by Boxed In is getting plenty of airplay on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" so I tracked things down to learn more. This electropop tune is crafted by London singer/songwriter and producer Oli Bayton, taking a band moniker from a painting by Francis Bacon, Head VI (showing a bust of a man screaming while trapped within a glass box).  It is from a self-titled debut album that was released last month via Nettwork Productions.

The staccato piano intro reminds me fondly of LCD Soundsystem, as layers of synths and moody vocals appear before a fuzzy yet brazen guitar solo takes over. Check out the video here or over on YouTube and see what you think.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Late Spring 2015 New Music Playlist

It hardly seems right to call this Late Spring 2015 New Music Playlist when here in the Northeast, we're still waking up from the crazy, record-breaking winter. Thankfully there are just piles of new
music to be discovered, from SXSW buzz bands BORNS, COIN and Cheerleader, to prolific artists Sufjan Stevens, Zero 7, My Morning Jacket and The Helio Sequence. Australia represents with plenty of songs from down under: Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Au.Ra and Twerps. Enjoy new tunes by Passion Pit, ON AN ON, Purity Ring and more in this latest listening session. Listen on Spotify, as a YouTube Playlist or use widget on the home page to the right.

1. “Run” – COIN
“Run” is the first single off the self-titled debut album from the Nashville quartet COIN. The song is full of indie pop swagger, with a sing-along intro and smooth vocals that build to a catchy chorus.

2. “Lifted Up (1985)” – Passion Pit
Michael Angelakos has another collection of synth pop anthems for his band’s third album since 2007, Kindred. “Lifted Up” is the lead single all polished indietronica to complement his falsetto delivery.

3. “The Sunshine of Your Youth” – Cheerleader
Cheerleader is a five piece from Philly that uses lyrics to delve beneath the optimistically named songs and moniker. This is the title track to its debut album, with a power pop wall of sound that complements the low-fi vocals.

4. “10,000 Emerald Pools” – BØRNS
Singer/songwriter Garrett Borns has glam-rock looks ready made for the move from his Michigan hometown to L.A. to front a band.  The quintet just released a debut EP, Candy, full of electro rock influences and solid pop hooks.

5. “Stoic Resemblance” – The Helio Sequence
The Helio Sequence is an alt rock duo from Beaverton, Oregon formed in 1999 by Brandon Summers (vocals, guitars) and Benjamin Weikel (drums, keyboards). “Stoic Resemblance” is the lead-off track from the self-titled sixth album, with a fuzzy psychedelic laid-back vibe over a kicky beat.

6. “To Die in L.A.” – Lower Dens
Baltimore indie rock band Lower Dens has just released its third album since 2010, produced by lead singer Jana Hunter and Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Beach House and TV on the Radio).  “To Die in L.A.” is the first single from the album, showcasing the quartet’s taut musical structure around Hunter’s evocative voice.

7. “Big Decisions” – My Morning Jacket
“Big Decisions” is a soaring anthem from the upcoming seventh release from My Morning Jacket, the rock band from Louisville, Kentucky formed in 1998 by singer/songwriter and guitarist Jim James. The quintet recently created enough songs to fill two future releases; the first (due in May) is titled The Waterfall.

8. “Let It Happen” – Tame Impala
This eight-minute single by Australian band Tame Impala features the indulgences of mastermind Kevin Parker, all psych rock and hip indie cool as the musical thread drops out and builds back up. “Let It Happen” was released as a free download and may also appear on an upcoming third album, Currents.

9. “Pedestrian at Best” – Courtney Barnett
Australian Courtney Barnett has just released her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, after garnering attention with a few EPs. “Pedestrian at Best” is the single from the record, featuring her stream of consciousness style of deadpan delivery over the band, a bare bones quartet. 

10. “All This Wandering Around” – Ivan & Alyosha
Ivan & Alyosha (known as I & A) is a five-piece folk pop band from Seattle, formed in 2007 by Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary. “All This Wandering Around” is a wildly infectious song off the sophomore album, It’s All Just Pretend.

11. “Sparks” – The Dø
French/Finnish indie pop band The Dø was founded in Paris in 2005 by Olivia Merilahti (singer and musician) and Dan Levy (multi-instrumentalist).  “Sparks” a pop-laden tune getting plenty of airplay in the U.S. is on its third album, Shake Shook Shaken.

12. “Push Pull” – Purity Ring
Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring is back with its sophomore album, Another Eternity, embracing a dream pop credo since 2010. “Push Pull” highlights the sweet singing of Megan James amid the swaying synths curated by Corin Roddick.

13. “Rock & Roll Is Cold” – Matthew E. White
Mathew E. White is a songwriter, producer/arranger and founder of Spacebomb Records based in Richmond, Virginia. This song is off his second solo album, Fresh Blood, featuring White’s wry singing and low-key guitar work.

14. “Morning” – Au.Ra
Sydney’s new duo Au.Ra (Tim Jenkins and Tom Crandle) composes hazy soundscapes from improvised jams, as witnessed in “Morning” from the debut album, Jane’s Lament.

15. “I Don’t Mind” – Twerps
Twerps is a psych-pop quartet from Melbourne formed in 2008.  This easy-going tune, “I Don’t Mind,” hails from the group’s second album, Range Anxiety.

16. “Should Have Known Better” – Sufjan Stevens
Brooklyn-based musician Sufjan Stevens returns to his indie folk roots for Carrie & Lowell, his seventh studio album. “Should Have Known Better” is a plaintive exploration into past memories with a sparse arrangement highlighting Stevens’ wistful tenor.

17. “Last Light” (featuring José González) – Zero 7
British producers Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker formed the duo Zero 7 in 1997. They enlist the moody vocals of Swedish singer José González for “Last Light,” a melancholy song off the latest release, EP 3.

18. “Drifting” – ON AN ON
Midwestern indie rock trio ON AN ON returns with a second album, And the Wave Has Two Sides. The heartfelt single “Drifting” tackles relationship woes with a restraint that becomes unraveled in song.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New Song "Drifting" by ON AN ON (Album Due This Summer)

ON AN ON (Photo: Cameron Wittig)
The hushed sound of "Drifting" recently caught my ear, with a simple intro of acoustic guitar presenting the singer as story teller, while another sonic underpinning of foreboding builds to an emotional pitch. It's a new tune from Minneapolis indie rock trio ON AN ON (Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci and Ryne Estwing) from an upcoming second album due this summer via Roll Call Records, And The Wave Has Two Sides.  This new collection is produced by Joe Chiccarelli, who has worked with the likes of Spoon, The Shins and My Morning Jacket.

The band is just wrapping up a tour with Big Data and Chappo, with the last date in Iowa this weekend. They describe the song as being "inspired by falling asleep behind the wheel and trying to forget unforgettable things."  This dreamlike state is depicted eerily in the black and white video for "Drifting," directed by Kyle Gibby and Rick Rush. Check out the song here or on Soundcloud and for more info head over to itsonanon.com.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Song "Top of the World" by Legs (Album Out Today & NYC Tour Dates April 7 & 12)

Another band of brothers plus one - Legs
Brooklyn band Legs has a self-released album out today, Altitud, with a single that recently caught my ear serving as the lead off track, "Top of the World." It has a solid groove and smooth vocals to warrant repeat listens and get body parts going, always considered a plus in my music collection.

The band was formed in 2013 by Seattle-based Tito Ramsey with his brother Jack and childhood friend Charles Larson along with Ecuadorian brothers Juan Miguel and Herman Marin. Their Soundcloud page describes the music as a delectable mix of synth pop, post disco and indie dance. In the video for "Top of the World" Legs put its name to work as the song creates some serious musical magic. There's just something wonderful about seeing guys willingly let loose on a dance floor, even if its just toe tapping at times.

Altitud can be purchased as a digital download here and catch Legs in NYC at Mercury Lounge on April 7 or the Ace Hotel on April 12. As the band suggests, wear your dancing shoes!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Song by Dan Deacon "When I Was Done Dying" (Free Track Download & NYC Tour Date May 22)


Baltimore's prolific electronic musician and conjuror of instant dance parties Dan Deacon has released a music video for "When I Was Done Dying," a new song off his latest album, Glass Riffer via Domino Records (along with "Feel the Lightning" which I picked for my Spring 2015 New Music Playlist).  It was directed by Adult Swim's Off the Air, utilizing an equisite corpse style of collaborative animation, with nine animators taking over for thirty second segments before handing off the creative baton. The visuals match the psychedelia of the music, churning with energy for each artist's vision.

I was introduced to this creative mind via LynchLand, a podcast by his friend and frequent collaborator Liam Lynch. He vocalized many characters, most memorably the lizard that is immortalized in the popular video from 2003, "Drinking from Cups." (Most assume it's a recording of a guy high on something fierce, but it is actually Deacon's ramblings while watching TV and supposedly neither Lynch or Deacon do drugs.)

The first time I saw Dan Deacon on stage at Moogfest 2010, where he asked a large arena crowd to blow a kiss to Bob Moog in heaven and then create a countdown to the next song, going nuts along with his fans when the music started blasting. (Witness this wonderful concert moment in the video at the end of the post around the 4:06 mark!) He also opened for Arcade Fire when we saw the last tour stop in Montreal, admitting to the Canadian crowd how the U.S. government thinks our country is too stupid to be able to handle two languages like they do. Deacon split the thousands in attendance into two groups for a Simon Says dance off, something he repeated recently at NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert, where he even got the hipster worker drones of public radio moving. During an interview at a live session for KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" (listen or watch here), Deacon describes his gear set up and why he took to vocal manipulation as a way to bring a performance element to electronic music. Using his voice as an oscillator plus group participation prompts certainly adds to the experience -- his live shows are famous for the sweaty fun involved. 

"When I Was Done Dying" starts off in typical Dan Deacon fashion, with a busy structure that just gets busier as he adds in those vocals and multiple layers of synths. This craziness all seems to make sense in this universe, as it carries along any willing listener. Check out the video here or on YouTube, and the song is available as a free track download on iTunes US here. And after sold out shows in L.A. and NYC back in February, Deacon is heading out again on a headlining tour with a date at Brooklyn's Warsaw on May 22. It's sure to be one fine dance party!