Posts tagged ‘Alternative’

Advanced Falconry by Mutual Benefit

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Songs rarely reach such heartwarming, comforting heights as those by folk outfit, Mutual Benefit.  The 7 track debut album, Love’s Crushing Diamond, released on October 25th, is an experiment in capturing a natural, deconstructed approach to each song while still having every component embrace and encircle the other.  The rustic tones and humble choruses generate a familial element, as though you are joining a family as they play songs together after Thanksgiving dinner.  “Advanced Falconry,” the first single off of Love’s Crushing Diamond, is about as good as a love poem can get (And oh the way she moves / always on the run / and to look into her eyes / will make a fool of anyone), and is enhanced by a fragile, patient melody that melts into the background.   Man, I really need a hug right now.  Enjoy.

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To Hell With You by Sleigh Bells

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Few people were as excited as I was for Sleigh Bells’ new album, Bitter Rivals…and while I didn’t find the album to be as consistent as their previous efforts, it’s not without its gems.  As the king and queen of noise pop, Alexis Krauss and Derek Edward Miller – the duo that make up Sleigh Bells – have consistently put out tracks that are defiant and coursing with adrenaline.  However, not all of their best work can serve as the soundtrack to a revolt, as is evidenced by “To Hell With You,” off the newest release.  Using the title as a representation of being defensive to protect yourself, “To Hell With You” is a more personal song with  a defined melody that mercifully puts the brash production which dominates the remainder of the album to the side.  Enjoy.

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That Ain’t Right by Pyyramids

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Since their debut EP materialized in 2011, Pyyramids has taken a more ominous view of indie pop, concentrating on our less complimentary emotions and not trying to wrap them in a pretty, neon bow.  The perfect example of the shadowy music created by the talented duo – Tim Nordwind from rock group, OK Go, and Drea Smith, formerly of He Say/She Say – is “That Ain’t Right,” a track from their debut EP which found it’s way onto their new album, Brightest Darkest Day, released this past April.  Smith’s voice is downright haunting and the pace is so methodically slow, it sends shivers down your spine…which in this case, is a good thing.  Enjoy.

 

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Sons & Daughters by Allman Brown

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Sometimes, it’s just nice to take a break from the synth pop dominated world and remind ourselves that music not born from a computer still exists.  Today, that break comes in the form of “Sons & Daughters” by the London-based artist, Allman Brown.  Brown’s music borders on folk, with rich acoustic tones, somber melodies and personal, honest stories.  “Sons & Daughters” starts like any standard folk song until indie pop artist, Liz Lawrence, joins in, adding an intimate texture that is both warm and exhilarating.  Ok, you can return to your synth pop now.  Enjoy.

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Tightrope by Black Taxi

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Frantic, lightning quick, unpredictable, and with no mercy for pedestrians.  Brooklyn’s Black Taxi is not unlike any other taxi you’ll find in New York City.  The punk/pop/rock quartet has been churning out gritty tracks and working the live circuit to the bone since 2007.  Their new EP, Chiaroscuro, will be released this month.  Chiaroscuro, in the art world, is the use of strong contracts in light and dark.  We can look back to “Tightrope,” a single off the group’s sophomore album, We Don’t Know Any Better, for the perfect example of that contrast.  Mixing dark tones and lyrics with an energetic pop sensibility, “Tightrope” shows that Black Taxi is the kind of group that looks at red lights more as a suggestion to stop rather than an obligation.  Enjoy.

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Foreign Bodies by Radiation City

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Whenever a conversation about the most underrated bands is introduced, I typically go into a tirade about Radiation City, the Portland-based alt rockers who consistently release some of the strangest and addicting music you are likely to hear.  Radiation City seems like the perfect name for a band whose tracks sound like mutated indie rock – ominous harmonies, quirky, throwback melodies, and odd instruments, like the soundtrack for a haunted house in the 60s.  “Foreign Bodies,” off their recent LP, Animals in the Median, shows the band has no intention of normalizing anytime soon.  With heavy reverbed vocals, a fairyland flute opening, and the doo-wop inspired verses, “Foreign Bodies” is catchy, complex, and a perfect addition to Radiation City‘s eclectic, masterful collection.  Enjoy.

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Operate by ASTR

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Who knew that slick, sexy R&B laden synth tracks could result from a yoga class?  When my friends leave yoga class all they want to do is eat granola and talk about how long they have to hold ridiculously named poses like cow face or half lord of the fishes (yes, those are real).  Anyway, Zoe and Adam met during a yoga class and from what their Facebook page says, discovered a mutual love of cinema noire, Miami Vice and urban dreamscapes.  These mutual appreciations resulted in the forming of ASTR, a dark, gritty pop duo with a knack for creating seductive, sweat-inducing tracks.  Their first single, “Operate,” showcases Zoe’s steely vocals and Adam’s sharp, apocalyptic electronics and makes me feel like I’m not old enough to be listening to this kind of music.  Enjoy.

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The Bad Ones by Blonds

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So what if I’m arriving late to the party?  Sure, Blonds released their ominously impressive debut album, The Bad Ones, in August of 2012, and I’m only now talking about it, but who cares?  (Please say you don’t care.)  Since you don’t, let’s proceed.  This talented Florida duo craft 60s inspired melodies tinged with a bit of darkness.  Picture your nostalgia haunted by ghosts and then recorded with a warped Kubrickian vision. Cari Rae, who sings a few octaves lower than your typical songstress, adds a depth to each track and shakes away any semblance of kitschy pop that The Bad Ones could have been victim to.  With many murky layers, it sounds like Blonds don’t always have more fun.

Best Tracks:

“Run”

“Mr. E”

“Time”

When & Where:

For a nice relaxing weekend at the Overlook Hotel.  I highly recommend the garden maze in the back of the hotel.

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Don’t Miss Out on Misun

484152_443036002437765_386428660_nMisun describes their brand of rock/pop as “aquawave,”  which, after listening to their unique style, must mean 60s west coast surfer swing style mixed with elements of funk and soul.  Now that we have a general idea, let’s dive right in.  Misun is a DC-based trio named after its lead singer, Misun Wojcik, whose pipes are fearless and more powerful than a speeding freight train.  Misun‘s sound is incredibly original and easy to become obsessed with.  Even though their songs are fun with strong and catchy hooks, the true appeal to Misun is that we are dealing with a group of seriously talented musicians with incredible range and the ability to weave multiple genres together into cohesive deliciousness.  In July of last year, Misun released their debut EP, The Sea, which, while impressive, doesn’t capture the band’s vibe as well as the random tracks they’ve released over the past year or so. Where The Sea is extremely polished, their scattered singles are grittier and have a lot more attitude.  Either way, these guys deserve your attention.  Enjoy.

Best Tracks:

“Darkroom”

“Battlefields””

“Harlot”

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Scopes by Phoria

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London’s Phoria are not new to the scene.  They released their first EP, Yourself Still, in 2010, have shared a stage with the likes of Little Dragon, and three of the five members started playing together at the age of 6.  You heard right…6.  Over this long period of time, the members of Phoria have become masters of the art of understatement.  On May 2, they released their second EP, Bloodworks, containing five mood-setting tracks that surprisingly conjure up deep emotions while remaining mostly simple in construction and delivery.  “Scopes,” the second track off of the EP, is perhaps the most complex, with breathy falsettos and a dark electronic buzzing blending into the background that is contrasted by bursts of lush synths and guitars.  Enjoy.

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Side note: If you’ve been jonesing for music similar to The Antlers, then you are pretty much obligated to enjoy “Scopes.”