October 11, 2010
HEART IS HARD TO FIND, JIMMY EAT WORLD (Invented)
Arizona pop punk band Jimmy Eat World has been churning out solid pop nuggets since they released “Bleed American” in 2001, an album that generated “The Middle”, a Billboard #1 single that most everybody knows and loves. While they haven’t had a chart-murdering number like their 2001 success, the steady flow of beautifully recorded pop rock that comes from songwriter and front man Jim Adkins is enjoyable to say the least. Their new single “Heart is Hard to Find” shows the band channeling Smashing Pumpkins-esque melodrama including a massive string section and some rousing acoustic guitar.
PIGEONS, THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS (The Hundred in the Hands)
Numerous blogs cite the name of this synth/dream-pop as the phrase the Lakota Nation gave to an 1866 massacre in Wyoming where Crazy Horse killed 100 white soldiers. Personally, I can’t hear the Native American influence in the music, but the backstory sounds pretty darn cool when you tell it to friends. Brooklyn based two-piece band The Hundred in the Hands produces this post-rock influenced dance jam infected with a wicked funky bass line and spacey synth pads galore.
DAYDREAMING, DARK DARK DARK, Wild Go
A borderline spooky piano riff opens up the jazzy ballad “Daydreaming”, a new tune by Minneapolis group Dark Dark Dark .This newest single creates an interesting soundscape, adding together a huge sounding piano with banjo, accordion, a brushed drum kit, and a sizeable helping of droning feedback. Lead singer Nona Marie sports her beautifully rich voice which could be compared to the likes of Cat Power. She sings about relaxing in nature, relaxation, and unwinding. “Oh land I can see for miles/With only the wind whispering/…Oh if you knew what it meant to me”.
JUST A GROWIN’, YOUNG MAN (Boy)
Light guitar plucks combined with island drums and relaxing punctuation via bass guitar begin “Just a Growin’”, a new track by Colin Caulfield, aka Young Man, off of the “Boy” release. A psych-pop act lauded by indie-god Bradford Cox of Deerhunter, Young Man’s first release is prodigious. The song starts sparse enough but quickly builds to a psychedelic journey aided by shimmering guitars that fade in and out, creating and releasing a sonic tension. Near the end, vocal harmonies build and layer over a steady bumping bass while double-time drums bring the tune to a calming close.
THE DEVIL IN STITCHES, BAD RELIGION (The Dissent of Man)
“The Devil in Stitches” is the new single by California punk outfit Bad Religion. Coming off their 15th album and 30th year as a band, the group shows little sonic similarity to their work as a melodic hardcore band in the 80’s. Although they’re no longer playing two minute punk anthems, they’ve grown up as musicians, mixed in pop rock influences, and showed progress. Although the harmonies may seem overdone and painful and they occasionally throw in a goofy pick-slide like a hair metal band, the classic song structure of pop punk shines through and paints a truly agreeable listen.
October 04, 2010
CHEM TRAILS, NO AGE (Everything in Between)
The closing track from No Age’s new release “Everything in Between” is a change in sound for the California noise-punks. In Chem Trails, the vocals are noticeably more in-key than previous releases, the energetic drums that seemed to increase tempo at the peaks of the songs have leveled out, and the blistering distorted guitars have been tamed. The song serves as the positive ending for the two-piece’s record with a short guitar solo, firecrackers sparkling in the background, and the line “I don’t want to be anything like you,” a carefree ending to an intense album.
YOU WON’T LET ME DOWN AGAIN, ISOBEL CAMPBELL AND MARK LANEGAN (Hawk)
Since his days with Queens of the Stone Age, Mark Lanegan’s gravely, cigarette-laden voice has always hinted at a rough, dry landscape. On Queens of the Stone Age’s releases, he sang songs like “The Hanging Tree”, evoking death and the desert. Now coupled with Belle and Sebastian member Isobel Campbell, the two have released their third album together entitled “Hawk”. On “You Won’t Leave Me Again” Isobel whispers, sighs, and harmonizes, while Lanegan tells of his hardships, his travels from the ocean to the desert, and harshly commands that “you won’t let me down again.”
COLD LOVE, TIM KASHER (The Game of Monogamy)
Omaha, NE singer-songwriter Tim Kasher has fronted two bands in the past ten years at the same time, Cursive and The Good Life. His new solo album, “The Game of Monogamy” is about settling down in suburbia, plain and simple. From the album title and the green Monopoly house on the cover to the first single, Cold Love. Kasher’s signature voice is polished with shiny indie-pop production; a spiky guitar hook, string and horn sections, female harmonies, and the relaxed melotron sound bring the song together in a perfect indie rock package. Put simply enough, the lyrics read “We swore we'd never cave/to these suburban doldrums”, a simple profession of the fear of settling.
ALL YR SONGS, DIAMOND RINGS (Diamond Rings / PS I Love You 7")
All Yr Songs, the new tune from Diamond Rings (Toronto's John O'Regan), is awesome. It’s like pop music concentrate! Every sound seems engineered to be an earworm who strives to bob your head. The lo-fi drum machine, with its use of the clicky, famous TR-808 clave sound, is enough to put a smile on one’s face by itself. Add in the lone, ever-so-slightly distorted power chords, a powerful, resolving bass line to bring it together and an “oh oh oh oh oh”-type chorus and this song is complete.
CORONADO, DEERHUNTER (Halcyon Digest)
Opening with an uncharacteristically delicate piano and guitar duet, Deerhunter’s Coronado, a track from their new release Halcyon Digest, is the product of years of sonic growth. The second-to-last song on Deerhunter’s fourth studio album is a layered, dreamy exercise in new influences. Deerhunter began as a band that featured lively guitar duets and tripped-out vocals drenched in reverse reverb. Now, at the end of their newest release, they incorporate soulful saxophone, bright piano, and a shorter song structure while keeping their familiar pop sensibilities, vocal hooks, and loud guitars intact.
September 21, 2010
Check out some of the newest tracks here on the Station for Innovation!
The Vaselines “Sex With An X” – Sex With An X
Kurt Cobain’s fav band is back, (it only took 20 years,) with their second ever album. You can’t say they’re not persistent. “Sex With An X” is a devil-may-care indie ditty with easy guitar, simple vocals and what the hell, let’s do it lyrics. It’s
the kind of comeback song that begs, Why the 20-year break? Guess having sex with an ex really can inspire.
Azure Ray "Don't Leave My Mind" - Drawing Down the Moon
The first single from dream pop girl group Azure Ray's newest album, Drawing Down the Moon, is a meditation on a breakup framed in a bright, chilly, minimalist landscape. Whispered lyrics bounce and weave with the intricate guitar work that frames the perfectly catchy chorus making listening a truly relaxing experience.
May 24, 2010
Broken Social Scene “Forced to Love” - Forgiveness Rock Record
Forgiveness Rock Record is Broken Social Scene’s 5th full length album, and its obvious that they’re a different breed than the flash-in-the-pan buzz bands. Forced to Love is a pretty straight up rocker, but it’s the catchy chorus and driving drums make it super rad.
Skybox - "Morning After Cuts" – Morning After Cuts
Skybox originally formed in Tempe, Arizona, but the band found their sunny stilted pop sound after moving to Chicago and fleshing out the band with a couple more members. Morning After Cuts, the title track of their second studio album, is the perfect summer pop song to play when you’re driving a little too fast on an empty road in the afternoon but you don’t really care.
Wintersleep - "Black Camera" – New Inheritors
I got to see these guys opening for Wolf Parade after the release of their 2007 album Welcome To The Night Sky, and I’m thrilled that their studio work is just as amazing and driving as was their live show. Black Camera, off of their 4th album adds a little bit of 80s allternative in the vein of The Tragically Hip or Midnight Oil to their simple-yet awesome rock sound.
The Futureheads - "Heartbeat Song" – The Chaos
Arriving on the wave of post-punk revival in the mid 2000s, the Futureheads remind you of all the 1970s punk rock your dad used to play, which you thought was really good, but you wouldn’t admit was really good cause your dad played it. “The Chaos” is a bit darker and more punky than their previous stuff, and Heartbeat Song increases the awesome by sampling Springsteen’s Born To Run. Can you find it?
The National - "Bloodbuzz Ohio" – High Violet
High Violet, The National’s fifth studio album, is amazing in every way. Matt Berninger’s inimitable baritone manages to be calming, wine-soaked, and totally f’ing insane all at the same time. Bloodbuzz Ohio proves that modern songs can still be epic, and don’t have to sacrifice catchiness for sheer pulse and adrenaline.
Woods - "Blood Dries Darker" – At Echo Lake
Another band who sounds totally fresh despite having 5 albums under their collective belts, Woods have been putting out these campfire fuzz-folk tunes from Brooklyn since about 2005. Fans of Blitzen Trapper and those like them will definitely find something to love. You Ain’t No Picasso describes Blood Dries Darker as “What would happen if Pavement grew up in a log cabin.” Lo-fi done so so right.
April 08, 2010
In honor of the Neutral Milk Hotel song by the same name, here's new music for April 8th!
Black Tambourine – “Throw Aggi off the Bridge” – Black Tambourine
Hailing from that weird yet wonderful era of 90s indie pop, this vintage song from now-defunct Black Tambourine sounds as fresh & new as anything you’d care to compare it to. Fans of The Jesus and Mary Chain & other noisy pop will be hopelessly in love with this 20th anniversary re-release.
Jason Collett – “Love is a Dirty Word” – Rat a Tat Tat
This collaboration with Arts N Crafts labelmates Zeus is a ballad with bite. The sparse guitars and drums are sparse and kind of twinkly. It’s a summer song, but not the kind you listen to at BBQ’s… the kind you listen to while jumping on a trampoline and drinking iced tea… or something.
JJ – “You Know” – JJ No. 3
Currently on tour with the xx (clever, right?) jj’s dreamy twee-pop has that rare ability to seem light and druggy at the same time. Though many report that their live shows are semi-disastrous, Elin’s honey-coated voice on this particularly perky song redeems any shortcomings.
Josh Rouse – “I Will Live on an Island” – El Turista
Josh Rouse is what would have happened if Paul Simon had babysat the Broken West when they were small. And that’s awesome. I Will Live On An Island is nicely tropical, & just a seriously fun track. If you care to, there’s a great takeaway show of this song at http://vimeo.com/groups/indie/videos/8522157
Strange Boys – “Friday in Paris” – Be Brave
Tracks with good Hammond Organ parts turn me to jello, and this one is no exception. Hailing from Austin Texas, Be Brave is the band’s debut album, despite the fact that they’ve been around since 2003. Definitely worth the wait. It’s raw and gritty, and sounds like it was made right alongside folks like Roky Erikson or the Byrds.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – “The Mighty Sparrow” – The Brutalist Bricks
Mighty Sparrow starts out with Leo’s signature *yelp! * And doesn’t let up for the entirety of the 165 second track. Brutalist Bricks was influenced by the 80s hardcore scene, and it’s definitely apparent in the spit-fire of rock that is this song.
The Splinters – “Mysterious” –Kick
The essence of devil-may-care DIY, this four piece girl group channels The Breeders and X into a new brand of garage-rock that makes you forget that the “riot grrrrl” thing was anything other than awesome. Also, they have a member whose sole purpose is to play tambourine. Yeee!
Broken Bells – “Vaporize” – s/t
A collaboration between Danger Mouse and The Shins’ James Mercer, this soulful acoustic guitar-driven track sounds exactly like you’d expect a collaboration between The Shins and Danger Mouse to sound… but that’s not a bad thing. Hypnotic and subtle, the song has a horn outro that is all kinds of sweet.