Thursday, August 29, 2013

YouTube Playlist of Late Summer 2013 New Music Songs

This time around I quickly found all of the songs from my Late Summer 2013 Playlist on YouTube as official videos, whether with a static image or moving visuals.  It attests to the new notion of putting music on YouTube as a promotional tool, no matter if there's fancy filming along with it or not.

I offer it as a companion piece to the Grooveshark audio, and yet another opportunity to explore new music. Link to the NMMatterscorp YouTube page or click the video below.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Late Summer 2013 New Music Playlist

As if on cue, new releases heated up the summer fun with lush soundtracks courtesy of Washed out, Boards of Canada and Jon Hopkins, plus pop gems from Camera Obscura, Maps and Big Deal.  A retro-tinged Har Mar Superstar, dedicated alt-rockers Primal Scream and indietronica from The Octopus Project round out the latest playlist, while new bands Bear Mountain, Jaqwar Ma and Brazos provide a fine update to any music collection.  Advance singles from Beck and Franz Ferdinand also bring an optimistic outlook for the rest of the year, so dig in.  Link to listen here


1. “It All Feels Right” – Washed Out
Georgian chillwave musician Ernest Greene is back with a second full-length album, Paracosm, which incorporates over fifty instruments to move beyond sampling.  This single is the first track Greene worked on for the collection and his favorite as it captures the original vision of “daytime” sounding songs.

2. “Right Action” – Franz Ferdinand
Glasgow-based indie rock quartet Franz Ferdinand returns with its fourth studio album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.  From the opening guitar riff, the tune glides along guided by the sultry vocals of Alex Kapranos.

3. “Diamonds” – The Boxer Rebellion
Tennessee native Nathan Nicholson’s heartfelt vocals are a signature part of this indie rock quartet formed in London back in 2001.  “Diamonds” allows an expansive approach to the guitar-driven compositions on the band’s fourth album, Promises.

4. “It’s Alright, It’s OK” – Primal Scream
Scottish alt rock group Primal Scream has released its tenth album since 1982, More Light. This single sends an undeniable “Rock On” message with a breezy approach in Bobby Gillespie’s vocals, backed up by a group sing along complete with empowering hand claps.

5. “How the Ranks Was Won” – Brazos
Martin Crane relocated from Austin, Texas, to Brooklyn for an indie band mentality in his second album, Saltwater.  This beguiling tune tells the tale of a ghost ship with both a bemused detachment and emphasis on melody.

6. “Sharpteeth” – The Octopus Project
This Austin quartet is adding vocals into its experimental mix of indietronica for a welcome human element that slyly enters above the creative fray.  This is the second single from Fever Forms, the band’s fifth album since 1999.

7. “Two Step” – Bear Mountain
Vancouver-based electro-dance band Bear Mountain manipulates synth loops layered with live drums and chopped vocals. Led by frontman Ian Bevis, this irresistible instrumental is the opening track of the band’s debut album, XO.

8. “Come Save Me” – Jagwar Ma
This catchy tune by Australian duo Gabriel Winterfield and Jono Ma is a highlight of the band’s debut album, Howlin.  The solid band sound rocks along with interweaving synths until a slow fade out leaves the listener wanting more.

9. “Yellow Bird” – Pretty Lights
Colorado-based electronic musician Derek Vincent has released the first album of originally produced compositions, A Color Map of the Sun.  “Yellow  Bird” luxuriates in a simple loop of dreamy beats until a female vocal line drifts in above it all.

10. “In Your Car” – Big Deal
London duo Big Deal features Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe, with songwriting and vocals shared in tandem.  For the sophomore album, June Gloom, they expand to a full band sound with appealing pop grandeur.

11. “A.M.A.” – Maps
U.K. musician James Chapman has released his third album as Maps, Vicissitude. This song is the first in the collection, with a drum track intro leading the way for synthesizers as mixed by Ken Thomas (M83, Sigur Rós).

12. “Do It Again” – Camera Obscura
Scottish Indie pop quintet Camera Obscura recently released its fifth album since forming in 1999, called Desire Lines. This sunny, feel good single explains why the band maintains such longevity.

13. “Lady, You Shot Me” – Har Mar Superstar
Har Mar Superstar is the stage name of Sean Matthew Tillman, a singer/songwriter from Minnesota.  He has penned tunes for Jennifer Lopez and Kelly Osbourne but shops his own wares in a retro-style for a fifth album, Bye Bye 17.

14. “Nothing’s Changed” – Tricky (featuring Francesca Belmonte)
Tricky (neé Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws) is a U.K. musician as well as an actor. He continues to blends many influences for a tenth studio album, False Idols.

15. “Defriended” – Beck
“Defriended” is a stand alone single announcing Beck’s return to a electronic playground, with the intentions of releasing two albums of new material after 2008’s Modern Guilt.  The tune wavers through a synth-laden landscape with Beck’s familiar plaintive vocals.

16. “Open Eye Signal” – Jon Hopkins
London-based U.K. producer and musician Jon Hopkins has recently released his fourth studio album, Immunity.  This single acts like a tone poem, with a rhythmic pulse that patiently develops throughout this cinematic composition.

17. “Reach for the Dead” – Boards of Canada
Scottish electronica brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin (neé Marcus Eoin Sandison) have created their fourth studio album since 2005, called Tomorrow’s Harvest. Utilizing various vintage instruments and equipment, the duo resumed their investigations into tonality.

1. Franz Ferdinand
2. Primal Scream
3. Camera Obscura
4. Boards of Canada

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Franz Ferdinand New Release "Album Preview" & Live Session @ KCRW

Photo via Domino Records
Oh Franz Ferdinand, how I've missed you! Ever since the 2002 hit "Take Me Out" hit the airwaves, this Scottish indie rock band has ranked high on my list.  Their new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action now streaming in advance of the release date on KCRWmarks a welcome return to those first songs of high energy fun.  Their behind the scenes video, posted here back in June, shows that the group's bond seems as tight as ever.

The band camaraderie was also evident when the group appeared for a live session on "Morning Becomes Eclectic" back on July 30.  They tore through the new songs and revisited "The Dark of the Matinée" from that first self-titled album.  At times the quartet sounded scrappy, but at least it was clear they all have a healthy pulse. Besides, it's easy to forget that these gigs at the Los Angeles radio station are recorded before noon, even as I was thrilled to be able to listen in and watch it all live as it was happening from the East Coast. Links for both opportunities to hear the new Franz Ferdinand songs are listed below.

Listen to the "Album Preview" (before the release date of August 27 via Domino Records) here.

Listen (or even better watch) their session in the KCRW studio here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Octopus Project @ Mercury Lounge August 17

MERCH! Josh Lambert, Toto Miranda, me & camera guy Jake Seymour
I've been smitten with the band called The Octopus Project ever since I heard their song "Truck" years ago.  The tune bursts at the seams with joyous layers of electronic and basic band instrumentation without requiringany sort of vocal anchor, it simply charges through your senses until everything ends somehow after just two minutes.

The intensity of this indietronica requires all four members to fully commit to whatever instrument they happen to be in front of, as they change places often. Then there's lovely Yvonne Lambert's expertise with the Theremin, utilizing a dancer's poise from center stage.  Rounding out the line up is her husband Josh Lambert, Toto Miranda and Ryan Figg. (I was able to interview the quartet from Austin, Texas back at Moogfest 2010 where I talked about all this and more.)

Their latest album, Fever Forms, introduces vocals to expand the sound and hopefully bring more recognition from the music scene.  During the set at Mercury Lounge Saturday night, this new development seemed to throw off the sound guy when they played the two singles, "Whitby" and "Sharpteeth," back to back.  By the second song, the vocals were less buried in the mix although Miranda and Yvonne Lambert still looked tentative about their new role as singers.  The show's lighting was tough for shooting mementos but the place was packed, making for quite a show.  Here's the set list and a video for the first song (and that was just the beginning!)  The tour continues west all the way to California before heading across the pond to the U.K. and Europe. Official PopMatters write up at link here.

The Falls
Pyramid Kosmos
The Adjustor
The Mythical ELC
The Man with the Golden Hand
I Saw the Bright Shinies
Porno Disaster
Tuxedo Hat

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Polyvinyl's 2013 Summer Sampler (FREE Download)

The Polyvinyl Record Co. is gifting twelve tracks in honor of hazy summer days. Their Summer Sampler 2013 starts off with two fave bands, of Montreal's twangy tune "Fugitive Air" and a new percussion-fest from The Dodos called "Confidence." From there I was more than happy to explore bands I don't know so well, such as the punky Their/They're/There and synth heavy psych rock of Pillar Point.  The unabashed pop in "Put a Light On" by Louisiana duo Generationals had me wanting more and I was impressed by the sultry space rock of another duo known as Wampire, from Portland.

STRFKR's song "Atlantis" opens with a smooth instrumental introduction that gives way to a gauzy pop haven. (Check out the band's video full of summer fun below the track list at the bottom of the post).  Ending it all is a somewhat goofy gender call and response in "Green Blood" by Sonny & The Sunsets. Hey why not, the season's not over yet!

Visit the Polyvinyl store at the link here to order up your free copy, along with many other tempting merch items.

Track List:
1.  "Fugitive Air" - of Montreal
2.  "Confidence" - The Dodos

3.  "Nightwater Girlfriend" - Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin 
4.  "Fit Your Life Into a Grid" - Their / They're / There
5.   "Put a Light On" - Generationals
6.   "Atlantis" - STRFKR
7.   "Diamond Mine" - Pillar Point
8.   "Orchards" - Wampire
9.    "Invisible Friend" - Saturday Looks Great To Me
10.  "Katachi" - Shugo Tokumaru
11.  "Bad Blood" - Owen
12.   "green blood" - Sonny & The Sunsets

Friday, August 9, 2013

Yo La Tengo's Musical Equation In Videos For "Ohm" and "Is That Enough" (Upcoming Tour Dates)

Yo La Tengo (Photo by Carlie Armstrong)
Yo La Tengo has released a companion video to the animated wonderland that represented "Ohm," where a cigar smoking baby commandeers a vintage VW bug while a mathematical equation scrolled on a white board uses band names, musicians and lyrics to answer the question "Who is Yo La Tengo?" In the comments section there's a request for these storyboards, and the band has offered up their breezy song "Is That Enough" as background. The videos are directed by Donick Cary with Sugarshack Animation, utilizing an angular edginess that recalls some of my very favorite cartoons such as Clone High and Sheep in the Big City. (Stay tuned for a special cameo at the end!)

Both songs are off Yo La Tengo's latest album, Fade (Matador Records), which is lucky number thirteen for this group that formed in 1984.  Since 1992, the line up has remained the trio of Ira Kaplan, James McNew and Georgie Hubley. I chose the closing track, "Before We Run," for my Early Summer 2013 New Music Playlist. It's a mesmerizing tune sung by Hubley, and along with these two gems, I wouldn't be surprised if this album is on my Top Ten List for 2013.  Below the videos are a few tour dates in the U.S., before the band heads to Europe.

Tour Dates:
8/25 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Festival
9/13 – Ithaca, NY @ The State Theater
9/14 – Hamilton, ON @ Supercrawl Festival
9/15 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
9/17 – Nelsonville, OH @ Stuart’s Opera House
9/20 - Dekalb, IL @ Otto’s
9/21 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
9/22 – Byers, CO @ Riot Fest

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Video for MGMT's "Your Life Is a Lie" (Album Due September 17)

Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser (Photo via Columbia Records)
Ahead of MGMT’s third self-titled album (due September 17 through Columbia Records), the duo that is Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser has released a video for “Your Life Is a Lie.” .” It’s a trippy collage of visuals both mundane (birthday cake, boy choir and band flyer) and bizarre (singing skeletons and an early fax machine) full of colorful characters as directed by Tom Kuntz.  As the words of this solid psych rock song are spelled out on various surfaces, a playful accent beat is illustrated by kicking things, bouncing a playground ball and even eating a banana.

I caught the band during Moogfest 2010 when they were playing challenging compositions from their last album, Congratulations. This song reveals a lighter touch, although an earlier single "Alien Days" (link to listen here on PopMatters) veers towards the overly complicated. The band will play the Virgin Mobile Freefest September 21 in Columbia, Maryland at the Merriweather Post Pavilion before heading over for a fall tour in the U.K. and Europe. This is a free show with donations going towards homeless youth, tickets available August 9 -- more info here.