Thursday, January 21, 2016

Winter 2016 New Music Playlist

With the East Coast bracing for a major snowstorm, it’s handy to have my next playlist ready for consumption. New releases by Cage the Elephant, GIVERS, and The Decemberists are ready to heat things up while a stand-alone single by The Dandy Warhols, “You Are Killing Me,” fits the mood as things grind to a halt. There are also teaser songs from albums dropping soon: Chairlift, School of Seven Bells, Ra Ra Riot, Animal Collective, Pete Yorn and more. Plus check out new bands Knox Hamilton and Sheer along with a pick off the official debut from Car Seat Headrest. Listen via Spotify at this link or as a YouTube playlist


1. “Badvertise” – Dr. Dog
Philly area band Dr. Dog recently collaborated with Pig Iron Theatre for a performance, Swamp Is On, which included this energetic frenzy of a song. The band is also revisiting songs from their debut back in 2001, a cassette release known as Psychedelic Swamp transformed into an official studio album.

2. “Heart Is Full” – Miike Snow
Swedish/American indie synthpop band Miike Snow dropped this single from an upcoming third album, III. The group was formed in 2009 by producing team Bloodshy & Avant with singer Andrew Wyatt, carving out pop hooks and expertly crafted tunes.

3. “Bent (Roi’s Song)” – DIIV
Zachary Cole Smith’s band is ready with a sophomore album, Is the Is Are, since 2012’s debut, Oshlin. The Brooklyn shoegazers released the single “Bent (Roi’s Song)” in a hazy dreamscape that is their signature sound.

4. “Water” – Ra Ra Riot & Rostam
Ra Ra Riot is an indie rock band formed in 2006 at Syracuse University, now based in Brooklyn. The group collaborated with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij for the songwriting and production of this single from the upcoming fourth album, Need Your Light.

5. “Romeo” – Chairlift
Synthpop duo Chairlift is releasing a third album since 2005, entitled Moth. With a pulsing beat, “Romeo” is off to the races with layers of Caroline Polachek’s enchanting vocals.

6. “Hightimes” – The Big Pink
The Big Pink is an electronic rock band from London, a quartet of multi-instrumentalists that has been creating music since 2009. “Hightimes” is the anthemic opening track from the upcoming EP Empire Underground.

7. “You Are Killing Me” – The Dandy Warhols
Portland rockers The Dandy Warhols released this single featuring the band’s signature chug of electric guitar.  With singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s deadpan delivery, irony ensues once again.

8. “Record High, Record Low” – GIVERS
Tiffany Lamson’s golden vocals return for this swinging tune off GIVERS’ sophomore album, New Kingdom. The band was formed in Lafayette, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina displaced Lamson and guitarist Taylor Guarisco from their apartment in New Orleans; they continue their musical path together.

9. “Why Would I Now?” – The Decemberists
This fall The Decemberists released an EP Florasongs, after seven albums since 2000. The earnest vocal stylings of Colin Meloy convey the obvious retorts in answer to the question, “Why Would I Now?”

10. “Summer Was a Day” – Pete Yorn
Singer-songwriter, guitarist and drummer Pete Yorn will release his seventh studio album since 2000 in March, entitled Arranging Time. He is returning to solo work after performing as The Olms with J.D. King, and this single finds his artistic introspection intact as the poetic visions pour forth.

11. “Confusion” – School of Seven Bells
NYC’s synthpop band School of Seven Bells was creating music during a dark time—founding member Benjamin Curtis was being treating for lymphoma; he died in 2013 despite a positive prognosis. The resulting material is part of a fourth and final album, SVIIB (as the name of the band is often abbreviated). The heartbreakingly sweet single “Confusion” is a tribute to the strength of all involved.

12. “Work It Out” – Knox Hamilton
Knox Hamilton is a quintet from Little Rock, Arkansas, influenced by 70s rock as evident in the debut EP How’s Your Mind. The melodic vocals carry the listener along for a fun ride throughout this optimistic tune of reconciliation.

13. “Trouble” – Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant recently relocated from Kentucky to Nashville where its fourth album, Tell Me I’m Pretty, was produced by Dan Auerbach (Black Keys, The Arcs). Matt Schultz’s gritty vocals provide the perfect conduit for their blend of pop and punk rock.

14. “FloriDada” – Animal Collective
Animal Collective is an experimental pop quartet originally formed in Baltimore in 1999. This wacky opening track for its tenth album, Painting With, is actually inspired by the detractors of state of Florida, which the band says gives the area a certain charm.

15. “Something Soon” – Car Seat Headrest
Car Seat Headrest is an indie rock quartet based in Seattle, an outgrowth of Will Toledo’s musical project in his native state of Virginia. He has produced fourteen albums since 2010, but debut album Teens of Style contains older songs like “Something Soon” reworked by a full band as well as new material.

16. “Girl from Conejo Valley” – M. Ward
Portland’s singer-songwriter and guitarist M. Ward is also a member of She & Him plus Monsters of Folk. His ninth solo album since 1999, More Rain, finds tuneful ballads such as the single “Girl from Conejo Valley.”

17. “Believe Your Mine” – Nada Surf
NYC alt quartet Nada Surf also has a ninth album coming out soon, titled You Know Who You Are.  The warm vocals of Matthew Caws have carried this band along into a blissfully mellow territory since 1992.

18. “Monochrome” – Sheer
Sheer is a L.A. four-piece with a fondness for 90s buzzy production since forming in 2010. “Monochrome” is the opening track for the band’s debut album, Uneasy, and as the first song the band ever wrote together, it immediately finds the sweet spot of collaboration.

2. KNOX HAMILTON – BROTHERS Boots & Cobo Copeland
3. SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS – TWIN SISTERS Alejandra & Claudia Deheza

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie Memoriam & David Bowie Faves Playlist

David Bowie Photo Via (Credit Jimmy King)
I shared my David Bowie Faves Spotify playlist on Friday as a birthday tribute and now post it in memoriam, trying to process the news. He was one of my musical heroes who spoke through directly to me in words and music though the decades. Always a true entertainer, his velvety voice and dance moves on stage communicated a presence larger than life.

I was introduced to the legend when Bowie's "Space Oddity" received constant airplay as an unlikely radio hit in 1970. To my girlhood ears, it was basically a death scene that was sadly tragic and spoke of a longing I could not quite understand. Moving into my teens, he was the one helping me to try and make sense of the world as I wrote out the lyrics and memorized key lines that were woven into conversation. I can still remember the order of every song found on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dorky, and Young Americans. Amid hair bands and hippie throwbacks, Bowie's appeal became my own teenage day dream, the suave British chameleon constantly challenging our perceptions of the artist.

With "Let's Dance," Bowie created the dance party that was the 80s. His "Serious Moonlight" tour in 1983 was easily named in the top of Our His & Hers 25 Top Concert Lists with my husband Paul. (I was in the city but Paul was at Syracuse University so could easily walk into a Ticketron to nab some tickets!) He was our everything really. With his wife Iman at his side, Bowie was everywhere. We continually absorbed all that he put his name to while he dabbled in what interested him personally. We even supported his acting efforts on screen, from the director's cut of The Man Who Fell to Earth to the brutal Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence when he played a Japanese prisoner of World War II.

Now we learn that the latest release, Black Star, is actually a parting gift composed after Bowie was diagnosed with cancer. I listened to the entire album over the weekend, thinking how frail he sounded. On "Dollar Days" he tells us in song, "I'm dying too." If only this was simply not true. Here's some of my vinyl collection pulled out in tribute...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Here's to 2016 -- New Releases & LCD Soundsystem News (Plus LCD Soundsystem Faves Playlist)

The best Christmas present I received this year came in the form of a song, "Christmas Will Break Your Heart," a self-described depressing little ditty from James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem (one of my favorite bands ever). Supposedly he'd been singing it to himself for the past eight years, but it landed this year as I struggled through the holidays without my parents who have left the earth within a year of each other. In the vein of "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" which gave rise to the social media term NYILYBYBMD, Murphy's ballad with its emotional build perfectly captured my mood this season.

So here we are in the new year with announcements that not only is LCD headlining Coachella 2016, but heading out on tour in support of a new album after calling it quits four years ago. I was lucky enough to attend the first night of the final week of shows in March of 2011. Our video of the opening song "Dance Yrself Clean" at Terminal 5 still gives me chills to revisit and witness how quickly things kicked into high gear. (That video remains the most popular upload on the NMMatterscorp channel with over 12,500 views - another interesting video is the Red Bull Academy interview with James Murphy explaining why he was disbanding the group!) I'll also include our video for "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House," the first tune I heard by the band and making me a fan forever -- it certainly did not disappoint, amped up in the lineup with the requisite crowd surfing. I'm thrilled by the prospect of the new album, but I'm not sure I want to mess with the perfection of this concert experience. However others that didn't get to see LCD live will now get the chance, as it seems they have become more widely known by their absence. Or perhaps its the music fans' hearts growing fonder, my love for the band has only grown that's for sure. Head over to Spotify and take a listen to my LCD Soundsystem Faves playlist, and there's also plenty of new music I'm looking forward to in the months ahead. See my list at the end of this post.


January 22 - Chairlift, Moth (Columbia)January 22 - Eleanor Friedberger, New View (Frenchkiss)
February 5 - DIIV, Is the Is Are, (Captured Tracks)
February 12 - School of Seven Bells, SVIIB (Vagrant)
February 12 - James Supercave, Better Strange (Fairfax Recordings)
February 19 - Animal Collective, Painting With (Domino)
February 19 - Ra Ra Riot, Need Your Light (Barsuk) 
February 19 - Choir of Young Believers, Grasque (Ghostly International)
February 19 - Wild Nothing, Life of Pause (Captured Tracks/Bella Union)
March 4 - Nada Surf, You Know Who You Are (Barsuk)
March 4 - Miike Snow, III (Jackalope/Atlantic)
March 4 - M. Ward, More Rain (Merge)
TBA - M83, Gorillaz, Thee Oh Sees & Beck, LCD Soundsystem!!!