Posts tagged ‘Lo-Fi’

Album Review: Somewhere Else by Indians

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Indians was created by Copenhagen’s Søren Løkke Juul with a desire to create new challenges for himself.  After forming, the band quickly signed with famed label, 4D, and released its debut album, Somewhere Else, which still sounds like a solo affair for Juul.  Somewhere Else is a deliberate, tranquil record, with Juul’s falsettos filling the corners of every song and his keyboard doing the rest of the work.  Guitars play a subtle role throughout the album and at most times, the percussions feel nonexistent.  But this minimalist approach has a purpose, resulting in a hazy synth album with hints of folk and scattered bursts of pop energy that play out like moments of discovery amidst Juul’s expansive exploration of his new creation.

Best Tracks:

“Somewhere Else”

“Lips, Lips, Lips”

When & Where:

Somewhere Else is perfect for that stage between awake and asleep, where you don’t know what the hell is going on, your body feels like it weighs a thousand pounds, and everything is moving in slow motion.  Just agree with me so I don’t feel weird.  Thanks

Check Indians out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Somewhere Else here

Fall Under Slow Magic’s Spell

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It’s hard to tell whether Slow Magic is dream pop,  chillwave, or some marriage of the two.  Either way, Triangle, the 2012 debut instrumental album by Slow Magic, lives up to both labels, matching trancelike beats with gleaming synths to create relaxing, transcendental music.  While I would love to tell you more, the individual behind the music is a mystery.  According to Slow Magic, “The main reason for hiding my identity is to make music the main focus of the project. I think it is important that people notice the music first instead of a face or a location.”  Maybe he has a point, because when I listen to Triangle, all I can think about is where the music is taking me, instead of who is taking me there.

Best Tracks:

Toddler Tiger

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Feel Flows

When & Where:

When you need something more therapeutic (and a hell of a lot cheaper) than seeing a shrink.

Check him out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Triangle here

Summer Days by The Reflections

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My timing may be off (or maybe I’m just being mean) by bringing you “Summer Days” by The Reflections in the dead of winter, but it is quite possible that what we need most right now is a reminder that this brutal cold only lasts so long.  The Reflections are pretty new to the indie scene but have quickly grasped the concept that even breezy, ethereal pop tracks need a depth and complexity in both lyrics and production to survive beyond flavor-of-the-month status.  They seem to have done just that with “Summer Days,” the first single off their soon to be released debut album, Limerence.  “Summer Days” is a track that at first listen embodies the lazier, euphoric summer moments but if you dig deeper, you find that Darian Zahedi contradicts the melody, singing about the isolation that results when something sweep you away and inevitably come to an end.  Enjoy.

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Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Download Summer Days for free here

Singular Focus – Dreams by Taken By Trees

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A recent trip to Hawaii served as the inspiration for Other Worlds, the new album by Victoria Bergsman a.k.a Taken by Trees.  The influence of the tropical, calming excursion is no more evident than on Dreams, the standout track from the October 2nd release.  The guitars, clacking percussions, and Bergsman’s soothing tone seem to echo into oblivion.  So lay down or hide under your desk with a pillow, because this song is about as chill as it gets.  Enjoy.

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Check out Taken by Trees here

Or on Facebook

Buy Dreams here

Child Actor Deserves the Spotlight

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It doesn’t take long to get pulled into the allure of the synthesized R&B produced by Connecticut’s Max Heath and Boston’s Sedgie Ogilvy, the parents of indie pop group, Child Actor.  The warmth in the delicate sultry tones of rhythm and blues melts over the cold textures of the electronics, making Child Actor‘s music remarkably intimate and tangible.  Child Actor recently released their debut album, Victory, but it’s their first EP, Partner, released in February of this year, that will get you hooked on the chimerical duo.

Best Tracks:

They Don’t Know

Want it All

When & Where:

So smooth and soulful, play Partner when you want to rub butterscotch all over your booooody.

Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Scoop Partner and their equally amazing second EP, Window, here (for a donation)

Blast off with Astronauts, Etc.

There is something about music that makes the world around you slowly crumble like avalanches of snow.  Supermelodic Pulp, the debut EP from Astronauts, Etc., the solo project of Berkeley, California’s Anthony Ferraro, is an expansive synth EP capable of consuming a stadium while maintaining the calm, delicate textures of dream pop.  Ferraro relies heavily on echoes and sweeping electronics to create an atmospheric sound as vast and dark as outer space but as intimate and safe as the world from under the covers of your bed.

Best Tracks:

Mystery Colors

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You Can Yell

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When & Where:

Remember the scene in Superman 2 when Zod’s female minion tosses an astronaut into the depths of space?  I bet he wishes he was listening to Supermelodic Pulp as he calmly drifted into some giant, fiery meteor rocketing through space.

Buy Supermelodic Pulp here

Bilinda Butchers cuts to the core

It’s been a year since indie pop duo, Bilinda Butchers, released their debut EP, Regret, Love, Guilt, Dreams and now the group finally returns with their follow-up EP, Goodbyes.  Released on August 28, 2012, Goodbyes continues the trend of amorous, sugary lyrics, cascading synths, and hazy melodies that consume its surroundings like a heavy mist.  If there is any difference with their newest EP, it’s the greater emphasis on guitars driving the melodies, giving Goodbyes a sharper edge while maintaining the romance and intimacy that is becoming the Bilinda Butchers trademark.

Best Tracks:

Teen Dream

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Crystal Tears

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When & Where:

Goodbyes makes me want to roll around in a field of daffodils.  Yeah, I said it!  Daffodils.

Check them out on Facebook

Download Goodbyes for free (or for a donation) here

Wye you can’t resist Wye Oak

The other day I was professing to several friends the crush I’ve had on Wye Oak since their 2009 sophomore album, The Knot.  Their response, “Who?” scared me (I scare easily).  I concluded that most people knew of the dreamy, atmospheric duo and apparently I was mistaken.  For shame!  Well, for the sake of those who don’t know Wye Oak, please pay attention.  The indie rock twosome, Jenn Wasner (vocals, guitars) and Andy Stack (drums, keyboards) is somewhat of a musical hybrid, incorporating elements of indie and garage rock, folk, and dream pop.  Their most recent album, 2011’s Civilian, is not a drastic departure from their prior ventures but is a more focused, stirring exercise in emotional desolation balanced between quiet, melancholy whispers and scratching guitar-laden outbursts.  With Civilian, Wye Oak is at its best when Stack’s consistent methodical drums keep the tracks steady and mesmeric while Wasner cantillates earnest, brooding confessions.

Best Tracks:

The Alter creeps in with spooky harmonies while Stack thumps a hypnotic, bass-heavy beat.  The uniquity of The Alter is the swirling, 70s rock-inspired guitar solo that perfectly severs the two halves of the song.

Hot as Day is Wagner at her most fervent, with an energy that shatters through the despondent lyrics.  The guitars are shakier and more vivid while Stark matches the tone with an aggressive percussion.

When & Where:

I always find that I crave Wye Oak when I’m moving and thinking in slow motion or for the times when I don’t care about anything or maybe care too much.

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The Alter

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Hot as Day

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Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Civilian here

Singular Focus – Hooligans by Neighbors

You don’t need to be so rough around the edges anymore.  That’s some good advice from the NY indie synth outfit, Neighbors, on the title track off of their second EP, Hooligans.  Formed in 2009, the Brooklyn quintet craft smooth and tender melodies driven by a combination of guitars and luxurious electronics.  Hooligans has a carnivalistic intro but then gets smothered with heavy synthesizers and the ghostly lyrical and vocal tones of lead singer, Noah Stitelman.   If there was ever a song that made you want to relax and let go, Hooligans might be it.  Enjoy.

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Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Hooligans here

Nothing innocent about Purity Ring

There are very few albums that you come across which leave you speechless.  Shrines by Purity Ring is officially among them.  Released on July 20, 2012 by the Edmonton, Alberta duo of Corin Roddick and Megan James, Shrines is a meticulously and masterfully orchestrated synth pop album that layers deep and sparking electronic sounds and melodies while borrowing southern hip-hop beats to give the album a slow burn.  In 2011, Purity Ring released the single, “Ungirthed,” which brought the indie world’s attention to a mysterious band with a smoldering stop-and-go melodic delivery and infectious, crystal vocals by then unknown songstress, James. Shrines has solved all mysteries and ushers in a complex pop band that has created one of the best albums of the year with eleven seductive, provocative songs that could never adorn the jewerly for which the band was named after.  The symbol of chastity is shattered as the first line of the album first track, “Crawlersout,” sets a tone which dives into sexuality and the human body in raw and honest form (Sea water’s flowing from the middle of my thighs).

Best Tracks:

Crawlersout has a winding synth melody and the sexuality of the lyrics sets the perfect tone for the album.

The deep, stuttering beat for Fineshrine seems like it was jacked from a Rick Ross album. James delivers lines like My little lips around you with an innocent, gentle, heavenly tone.

Ungirthed is enchanting with incredible vocal hooks, the stuttering beat and warped synths pulsating in the background.

Belispeak is a menacing track, with a darker melody coupled with James’ terrifying lyrical protestations.

Lofticries starts with a electronic southern drawl and leads to buzzing synths underlying pixied vocals.

When & Where:

For those cryptic nights where anything is possible and the shroud of night intimidates but intoxicates you.

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Crawlersout

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Fineshrine

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Ungirthed

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Belispeak

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Lofticries

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Check them out here

Or on Facebook

Buy Shrines here