Friday, July 29, 2016

New Song by Classixx, "In These Fine Times" Featuring De Lux (New Album Out)

Michael David & Tyler Blake of Classixx (Photo from Facebook)

The summer song trail continues with this irresistible new track by L.A. duo Classixx, off the production and DJ team's new sophomore album Faraway Reach (via Innovative Leisure). The childhood friends Michael David and Tyler Blake took the moniker to honor their love of classic compilations of different music, and the latest collection dips into various genres with ease. The band recently stopped by KCRW for a live session, listen in the archives with "In These Fine Times" second on the set list.

From the intriguing synths introducing a breezy beat, the tune boasts a vocal assist by Sean Guerin of fellow L.A. band De Lux that was behind my favorite song last summer, "Oh Man the Future" (picked for my Summer 2015 New Music Playlist and cited as a Top 20 Songs of 2015 plus the album Generation was one of my Top Ten Releases of 2015).  "In These Fine Times" is already cued up in my next playlist, but don't wait to check out the song in the video here and let the seasonal vibes take the lead!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Song by Allah-Las, "Could Be You" (New Album Due September 9 & NYC Tour Date August 21)

Allah-Lahs (Photo credit: Laura Lynn Petrick)
Here's another song for your summer – L.A. band the Allah-Lahs released a new song "Could Be You" this week, soaked in sunny vibes, garage rock casualness and a classic surf music guitar solo.  This serves as a teaser for the group's third album, Calico Review, due September 9 via Mexican Summer. It was recorded in L.A.'s historic Valentine Recording Studio (which was stood empty since 1979) with new instrumentation by adding viola, harpsichord, mellotron and theremin.

The Allah-Las include Pedrum Siadatian (vocals/lead guitar), Miles Michaud (vocals/rhythm guitar), Matthew Correia (vocals/drum) and Spencer Dunham (vocals/bass).  Correia, Dunham and Siadatian met while working at the cavernous famed Amoeba Music store and formed the band in 2008. “We were all music fans before we were musicians,” says Correia. “We’ve spent a lot of time listening to music, and understanding what works for us and what doesn’t.” The band came across my radar with KCRW's airplay of the lush and laid-back instrumental "Ferus Gallery" from the last album (2014's Worship the Sun), which I picked for my Winter 2015 New Music Playlist as well as the year end's Top 20 Songs of 2015. Give a listen to "Could Be You" with the video below. You can find the band in NYC at the Full Moon Festival on August 21.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

New Song by Ages & Ages, "They Want More" (New Album Due August 19)

Ages & Ages (Photo by Alicia J. Rose)
Portland's folk rock band Ages & Ages got everyone singing with the standout track "Do the Right Thing" off its sophomore album, 2014's Divisionary. (The uplifting tune still circles occasionally in my head, ever since it was picked for my Spring 2014 New Music Playlist.)

The band is back with a new album coming August 19 called Something to Ruin via Partisan Records. A single, "They Want More," contains the same simplicity of songwriting that cuts straight through the clutter of the current music scene. Its theme of anti-materialism also provides an antidote against American commercialism, after a trip to Central America brought a fresh focus. Check out the video as directed by Alicia J. Rose and look for the album next month.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer 2016 New Music Playlist

The season is in full swing with the Fourth of July behind us so here’s a playlist of new tunes to add to your summer soundtrack. There’s another single from Beck teasing his next album and others from Glass Animals, Blind Pilot and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.  A debut by onDeadWaves is perfectly chill while indie rockers Parquet Courts, Deerhoof and Wolf Parade return to kick things up a gear. Then things mellow out with ambient tracks by Gold Panda, Hammock, CFCF.  Listen on Spotify or as a YouTube Playlist (without Deerhoof or the new Kinobe remix however).

1. “Life Itself” – Glass Animals
English indie rock band Glass Animals is ready to release a sophomore album, How to Be a Human, with this rhythmic single “Life Itself” leading the way. Singer Dave Bayley grew up in Texas with dreams of becoming a doctor, but that fell by the wayside after forming this unique quartet in 2012.

2. “Moods” – Sonny & The Sunsets
San Francisco’s Sonny & The Sunsets brings a quirky Californian vibe to “Moods.”  Led by Sonny Smith, this kooky tune is found on his eleventh album, Moods Baby Moods.

3. “Umpqua Rushing” – Blind Pilot
Indie folk band Blind Pilot is a six-piece based in Portland that will soon drop its third album since 2005, And Then Like Lions.  The single “Umpqua Rushing” confidently ushers in the new collection with the soulful singing of Israel Nebeker.

4. “Community of Hope” – PJ Harvey
English writer, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist PJ Harvey has released her ninth studio album since 1992, The Hope Six Demolition Project. “Community of Hope,” originally one of her poems, is a rallying cry condemning urban development in D.C.

5. “First World Problem” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Portland’s psych rock band Unknown Mortal Orchestra was formed by New Zealander Ruban Nielson in 2010.  This stand-alone single, “First World Problem,” brings another irresistible and funky ode to modern love. (See last year’s “I Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” picked for my Summer 2015 New Music Playlist!)

6. “Plastic Thrills” – Deerhoof
San Francisco based experimental rock band Deerhoof has released its 13th studio album since 2009, The Magic. The quartet’s dense textures are anchored by the wavering vocals of Satomi Matsuzaki.

7. “If You Should See” – Wye Oak
“If You Should See” is a standout track from Tween, the fifth album since 2006 from Baltimore’s Wye Oak. The duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack create lush arrangements that swirl sonically.

8. “The Pool” – Papertwin
Brooklyn based trio Papertwin’s third studio release Vacation acknowledges a variety of influences, from The Cure to Gillian Welch. “The Pool” is synth heavy but doesn’t dwell in the past.

9. “Past Lives” – Local Natives
In September, L.A. based indie rock band Local Natives will release its third album, Sunlit Youth. The single “Past Lives” is a musical journey all its own, from the opening cry of “Save Me” to the layered sonic romp that follows.

10. “California” ­– onDeadWaves
This new band formed by British singer-songwriter Polly Scattergood and James Chapman of Maps has released a self-titled debut album full of laid-back shoegaze. “California” is an ode to the U.S. West Coast and a perfect summer song.

11. “Dust” – Parquet Courts
NYC rock quartet Parquet Courts concoct more high energy punk tunes in its fifth studio album since 2010, Human Performance. This fun catchy song “Dust” is a witty take on city living.

12. “Floating World” – Wolf Parade
Canadian indie rock band Wolf Parade was formed in Montreal in 2003, yet it’s just back after a five year hiatus – the new self-titled EP (like the three before it) effortlessly brings the original scrappy sound back to life.

13. “Wow” – Beck
West Coast musical wunderkind Beck released a second single, “Wow,” from his forthcoming album due in October that is three years in the making (some songs predate the 2014 Grammy-winning Morning Phase). Cited influences include The Strokes and the Talking Heads, plus a yearning for communal hands-in-the-air concert moments.

14. “Slip Into Something More Comfortable – Psychemagik Late Nite Remix” – Kinobe
English electronic music duo Kinobe have been on the scene since 1998, most recently with remixes of the song “Slip Into Something More Comfortable.” Julius Waters and Dave Pemberton are known to take a ten-piece touring band out of the studio on the road in order to recreate studio compositions.

15. “In My Car”­ – Gold Panda
Gold Panda is a British electronic record producer, performer and composer who has performed since 2009. His recent third album, Good Luck and Do Your Best, is filled with ambient tracks such as the lilting tune “In My Car.”

16. “Reverence” – Hammock
Nashville’s Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson use a combination of live instrumentation and electronic beats for their musical project since 2005, known as Hammock.  Its ninth album Everything and Nothing includes delicate ambient songs such as “Reverence.”

17. “In the Courtyard”  – CFCF
CFCF is the stage name of Canadian electronic musician and vocalist Michael Silver. (Based in Montreal, the name is derived from the city’s television station CFCF-TV.) “In the Courtyard” is a lovely drifting composition from its fifth album since 2009, On Vacation.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Song by Wye Oak, "If You Should See" (New Album Out)

Jenn Wasner & Andy Stack of Wye Oak (Photo via Merge Records)
I suppose I couldn't help but like the band Wye Oak, with a name chosen back in 2006 to honor the Maryland State tree that was felled in a storm a few years earlier. I spent 25 years in that state as my parents made it their home, so this duo from Baltimore had an introduction that only a sense of place could offer. Jenn Wasner (lead vocals, guitar, bass) and Andy Stack (backup vocals, drums, keyboards) also provide some of indie's most original music, with lush arrangements that could fool a listener to thinking there are many more musicians involved.

The duo's latest album, Tween, was actually created utilizing remnants of its past two albums, 2011's Civilian and 2014's Shreik.  (With an expanded sound to include electronics and bass, Shreik landed on my Top Ten Releases of 2014 list and the song "Tower" was selected as for my Spring 2014 New Music Playlist, as well as my Top 20 Songs of 2014.) My favorite track off the new album is "If You Should See," a glorious tune with interlocking, percussive melodies and vocals that soar above it all. Take a listen via the YouTube upload by Merge Records below and be sure to make time for the entire album.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Song by onDeadWaves, "California" (Debut Album Out)

James Chapman & Polly Scattergood of onDeadWaves (Photo credit: Cat Mook)
New band onDeadWaves is the result of combining the talents of British singer-songwriter Polly Scattergood and compatriot musician James Chapman, a.k.a. Maps. Their debut self-titled album is filled with a sun-soaked gauzy indie pop, as revealed on the song "California" with gleaming guitars and hushed vocals.

A new video for the tune is a long-shot of a magical 70s Californian party paradise where people actually swim in pools, as directed by Mexico's Groovy Chaos (who also provided a creative vision for Moby). The track has already been added to my favorite online radio new music sources KEXP and KCRW, and this album seems ready made for summer listening sessions. onDeadWaves is also sharing mixes and other compilations on their SoundCloud page to keep the vibe going.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

In Honor of Father's Day - A Family Songs Playlist

When you realize that your parents REALLY like to sing...
This spring brought a new baby into my tiny family tree as well as another wedding for the next generation - a much happier occasion for us to gather together, rather than the recent memorial services for my father and my mother.  The baby's arrival got me thinking about all the songs that we've enjoyed singing as a family - sing alongs and lullabies that resonated with both parents as well as the kids. There are also ones that arrived on the music scene and were quickly incorporated into our daily life (even with an expletive like in the Gorillaz tune!)

So in honor of the Father's Day weekend, here is my playlist of favorite family songs that were sung in the car and around our house, forever claimed as family memories in musical form.