Posts tagged ‘Indie Rock’

Stay Coloured by I Know the Chief

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If you hear a song open up with a tropical guitar riff, odds are the band is from Australia.  I Know the Chief, Melbourne’s newest export, mixes that fun, carefree style with a bit of disco, making their song, “Stay Coloured” more dancehall friendly than you would expect from an indie pop group.  “Stay Coloured” hooks you in from the very beginning with a sound that makes you wish you were in a Caribbean paradise.  With only a few songs to their name, I Know the Chief has built up some high expectations.  As long as their songs contain the energy that bursts through each verse of “Stay Coloured,” I see these guys sticking around a while.  Enjoy.

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Holding on for Life by Broken Bells

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Broken Bells, the indie rock project from Brian Burton a/k/a Danger Mouse and James Mercer, the lead vocalist for The Shins, cut their self-titled debut album in 2010.  The album, a mix of synth pop and indie rock with hints of folk and disco was so well received, the duo was basically ordered by its fans to deliver a second album.  After the Disco, slated for release on January 14, 2014, appears to contain the elements that made their first album successful but veers more towards the 70s era.  The first single off the sophomore effort, “Holding on for Life,” could easily be found on an ABBA greatest hits album.  Mercer’s falsettos and Burton’s beat match perfectly to create a smooth track that’ll make you feel like one of Studio 54’s VIPs.  Enjoy.

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Battle Cry by Double King

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As Double King swing from the the current indie constructs to 50s rock and back again, all you can do is grab onto the pendulum and enjoy the ride.  With a sentimental tone that carries through every track, Double King‘s version of rock music is all kinds of sweet without losing any swagger.  “Battle Cry,” off their recent EP, Premonitions, has an old-fashioned sensibility even when it injects more visceral guitar hooks to sharpen the edges.  Even if they tried not to, Double King can’t help but charm you with every wistful chorus or reminiscent verse they sing.  Homemade apple pie, you’ve met your match.  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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Boardwalks by Little May

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When the weather shifts towards the fall, we look for things that make us feel warm and comfortable.  Little May can help with the transition.  The Sydney-based trio’s debut single, “Boardwalks,” has every ingredient to put us at ease (angelic harmonies, rich acoustic guitars, back porch sing-a-long melody).  The threesome don’t shy away from being a mirror of their influences, from Fleetwood Mac to First Aid Kit to Fleet Foxes.  And when your influences are this good, there’s no way you can be bad.  Their debut EP is due out by the end of this year so until then, cozy up and enjoy.

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Mean Streets by Tennis

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Listening to a new Tennis track is like welcoming back an old friend.  It’s warm, familiar, yet tinged with a slight sense of newness.  “Mean Streets,” off the upcoming EP, Small Sound, has everything we’ve come to expect from husband and wife duo: Alaina Moore’s angelic, adoring vocals, thin, crackling drums, and piano chords stripped of overproduction.  What separates “Mean Streets” from the couple’s earlier releases is a confidence emanating from Moore that we haven’t heard before and an infusion of R&B to give the track a little swagger.  As always, Tennis brings the indie pop goods.  Enjoy.

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Black Out Days by Phantogram

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Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Phantogram returns from two years of hibernation with “Black Out Days,” their first track since the 2011 EP, Night Moves.  “Black Out Days” is the darker side of Phantogram, flexing grinding basslines, stuttering electronics, and Sarah Barthel’s commanding, smoky voice.  The forceful chants and strong thumping percussions make “Black Out Days” Phantogram‘s first official stadium anthem.  With “Black Out Days,” they may be hinting at an aggressive, gritty album, a marked departure from the synth pop duo’s polished first release, the incredible Eyelid Movies.  Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another two years for the next hint.  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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River by The Belle Game

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It seems that the best way to guarantee a quality track is to just put the word “river” in the title.  Some examples you ask?  “I Follow Rivers” by Lykke Li, “Rivers of Babylon” by Brent Dowe, and yes, I will admit it, “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake.  Canada’s The Belle Game keeps the streak flowing with “River,”one of the most impressive tracks so far this year.  “River” is an unearthly dark pop track loaded with enough heartache and soul to level buildings.  Andrea Lo’s stirring, inviting vocals provide the sweltering heat that gives the track its sultry edge and a funk/blues instrumental in the song’s latter half injects a smoky, underground nightclub feel.   This is about as good as pop music gets.  Enjoy.

And an amazing live version:

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My Type by Saint Motel

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Saint Motel has returned and rather than knocking politely, they are kicking the door down.  If their new single, “My Type” is any indication, it doesn’t look like the LA quartet has decided to tone things down since their raucous debut album, Voyeur, released last year.  With horns ready to blow your eardrums and lyrics that bask in the glory of shallowness (You’re just my type/You got a pulse and you are breathing), “My Type” is a really good time…especially for those with a pulse.  Enjoy.

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