Posts tagged ‘alternative rock’

EP Review: Kodaline

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Who knew that a bunch of guys in their early twenties could harbor such heavy emotion…and actually be able to express it so well?  Dublin’s Kodaline aren’t making music to fill the nights at the pub with your buddies, but to fill the nights when you are in need of commiseration.   Kodaline’s songs are like a volcano, each slowly bubbling up with soft vocals and acoustic guitars that build to an eruption of drums and chants when the pain is just too much to bare. With their self-titled debut EP, Kodaline have chosen to go the literal route and not mince words.  The first song off their EP, “All I Want,” is indicative of Kodaline’s method: being lyrically about as subtle as a sledgehammer (“If you love me, then why’d you leave me?”).  But the bluntness of their message is countered by the infusion of contemporary rock merged with the ballads indicative of their Irish roots.  Heartbreak never sounded so good.

Best Tracks:

All I Want

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Pray

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When & Where:

If your friend is going through a hard breakup, give them Kodaline’s EP…and hide any sharp objects.

Check the out here

Or on Facebook

Buy the EP here

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Fields by Junip

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It took five years for Sweden’s Junip to release their sophomore album, Fields, and another three for me to post about it.  But the appeal of the trio’s folk album and its ability to meld perfectly with the current state of folk music is a testament to the complexity and layers embedded in the album.  Fields sounds incredibly simple at first listen, but there is a greater sophistication at work. Frontman, Jose Gonzalez, calmly delves into all emotional terrain, and at times, reflects some of the vocal tones of Jim James.  Even at their most subdued, the guitars maintain a quiet strength and the synths are dealt with a gentle hand, never sharp or aggressive.  Junip is expected to release its new album on April 22, 2013, and Fields should acquaint you to this impressive Nordic outfit and make you eager for what is to come.

Best Tracks:

Always

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Without You

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Sweet and Bitter

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When & Where:

This is fire crackling, alone on a cold mountain in a log cabin kind of album.  Just ignore the fact that most horror movies usually begin with that kind of setting.

Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Fields here

Almanac by Widowspeak

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Widowspeak returns with their sophomore effort, Almanac, and the band has lost none of the magic that made self-titled debut one of the most impressive albums of 2010.  Widowspeak encapsulate that 70s era Americana, a wistful nostalgia that is practically nonexistent in the current musical landscape. Almanac showcases Widowspeak‘s hazy sweetness, which gives each song a smoky, vaporous structure, like a dream with no discernible beginnings, ends or boundaries.  Expanding on the sound they created with their debut, Widowspeak injects more visceral guitar solos into Almanac (“The Dark Age” and “Ballad of the Golden Hour”), reflecting a broadening of influences and ability to extract attributes from folk, psychedelia and hard rock.

Best Tracks:

The Dark Age

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Ballad of the Golden Hour

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Sore Eyes (incredible studio session)

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When & Where:

Maybe it’s the earthy album cover, but seriously, imagine being deep in the woods, with giant trees staggered around you, sunlight breaking through the branches and leaves, and Almanac quietly playing in the background.  Yeah, sounds a little hippy dippy, but you know I’m right.

Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Almanac here

Colored Emotions by Night Moves

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Night Moves ain’t your dad’s rock band…but they could be.  As is indicative of the music of the 70s, Minneapolis’ Night Moves melds country, folk and blues into flashback inducing rock tracks.  Their October 2012 debut album,  Colored Emotions, is the rock equivalent of an outer space saga with an epic, infinite scope and a sense of intimacy that makes you feel as though you can reach out and capture each song in your hands.  There’s a layered grandeur and a gritty, down home feel to Colored Emotions that encaspulates the maturity of a band whose members are only in their mid-twenties.  Night Moves is clearly on to something since they have been steadily gaining popularity, even getting props from the most random of sources like Teen Vogue (I got this information from the band’s website, I swear!!!).  All this proves that Night Moves have rediscovered a sound that people never stopped pining for.  Give Colored Emotions a listen and you’ll find an album  you didn’t even realize you were waiting for.

Best Tracks:

Headlights

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Colored Emotions

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Country Queen

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When & Where:

Laying on the hood of your Pontiac Firebird in a jean jacket watching the stars and talking about how the 8-track is the height of music technology.

Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Colored Emotions here

Singular Focus – Super Skeleton by Cuckoo Chaos

Super Skeleton, by San Diego’s Cuckoo Chaos, is undoubtedly one of my favorite songs of 2012.  Not many bands can integrate so many genres as seamlessly as Cuckoo Chaos.  Released on September 18, 2012, Super Skeleton is Chaos’ first track since their debut seven track EP, and sports a psychedelic, reggae-infused intro, a gritty, garage rock guitar solo, smooth, and 50s era West Coast harmonies into a multidimensional track that will have you completely entranced and utterly confused.  Super Skeleton requires a minimum of about 50 listens in order to absorb each delicate nuance woven into the track.  Enjoy.

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Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Super Skeleton here

Dark Eyes by Half Moon Run

Oh Canada.  Thank you for Half Moon Run and their debut album, Dark Eyes.  Hailing from Montreal, this young, dynamic trio is typically described as the child of any combination of great bands over the past several years…and that description is warranted.  But don’t expect Dark Eyes to be a retread of what you’ve heard in the past.  Dark Eyes satisfies every musical palate, exploring indie, pop, rock, folk and even a bit of classical music while never feeling disjointed or as if the band is trying too hard to give each song its own identity.  Give Dark Eyes a taste and you’ll hear fragile yet unyielding guitars, rounded percussions that hug each song, and harmonies so rich they should pay taxes.

Best Tracks:

Full Circle

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Judgement

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Call Me in the Afternoon

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When & Where:

Dark Eyes makes me want to fashion a pipe out of a block of wood, sit on my porch in a rocking chair, and complain about kids and all their damned texting.

Check them out on Facebook

Buy Dark Eyes here

Plenty of room at Saint Motel

It’s time to celebrate.  Celebrate what?  Who cares.  Find something fast because Saint Motel is ready to party.  Voyeur, the first album from the L.A. foursome showcases Brit style indie pop infused with Spanish and jazz horns, sharp piainos, brash guitars and enough electricity to light up a city block.  Voyeur is like an overinflated balloon on the verge of exploding as each song is brimming with the sincere, dynamic voice of lead singer, A/J Jackson and the garage rock grit of Aaron Sharp (lead guitar), Dak (bass), and Greg Erwin (drums).  Forget Prozac because Saint Motel is guaranteed to lift your spirits with this  boisterous debut.

Best Tracks:

Feed Me Now

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Benny Goodman

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Puzzle Pieces

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When & Where:

Go to an amusement park and blast Voyeur as you run around like a child, rocket up and down on roller coasters and sway back and forth on those tacky, giant pirate ships.

Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Voyeur here