Tag Archives: New Music

Listen Up! New Music 3/3…

A couple new albums and a new discovery…

The Whitest Boy Alive – Rules

the_whitest_boy_alive-rules_album_coverAfter much success with his hometown band Kings of Convenience, Erlend Oye broke away from the simplistic pop for the more dance oriented The Whitest Boy Alive (on the short list for greatest band names of the decade). Flat out, this is fun indie dance hall music. The track “1517” starts out with a familiar keyboard/bass line, one that could be tracked to Daft Punk’s “Better Faster Stronger”. If Daft Punk traded in their turn tables and vocal effects for instruments and a softer melodic tone, you have The Whitest Boy Alive. Every track has a similar tone: an almost jazzy quick note guitar riff matched with a funky disco bass-line; it’s undeniably catchy and fun. They aren’t breaking any new ground, but if this doesn’t get your feet moving and smiling, you need to check your circuitry. The album releases 3/31.

Heartless Bastards – The Mountain

heartless-bastards-the-mountain-cd-cover-album-artSounding like a dirty indie country version of Cat Power with a healthy¬† mix of Jenny Lewis and Jeff Buckley (yea, whoa), Heartless Bastards‘ 3rd album has been viewed as somewhat of a departure. The band started as a 3 piece, and has added a memeber for the album, but the only remaining original member is Erika Wennerstrom. She knows how to belt it out with the best of them, showing little restraint on the album opener and title track “The Mountain“. Although, one of the best songs on the album comes when they slow it down and add some banjo and violin, “Had To Go”.¬† They have a real hodge-podge of influences, which is what makes them so interesting and exciting to listen to.

Empire of the Sun – Walking On A Dream

songoftheday-walking_on_a_dream_coverThe two Aussie ‘gents that formed Empire of the Sun have made a bigger splash with their new “side project” than either of their individual efforts (The Sleepy Jackson & Pnau, never heard of them? Yeeea, don’t feel bad). Often noted as being a bit pretentious (just look at that album cover, eek!), you can’t deny their ability to craft an uber catchy pop song. The obvious comparison to MGMT is apparent while hearing the first couple bars of the title song “Walking On A Dream“. The album as a whole is not built as strong as that single, it becomes convoluted with a few throw-aways, of which the album could have done without. The keepers would have probably made a solid EP, but it still remains a good debut.

– Ant


Listen Up! New Music…

Finally. I know you have been waiting: My first installment of new music recommendations for 2009. In short, it’s been a pretty good start.

Cotton Jones – Paranoid Cocoon

cjAfter some success with former band Page France, Michael Nau decided to go solo to slow things down a bit. His offerings with Cotton Jones have a simple, folky psychedelia that seems to be so palatable these days. I was trying to describe this band to one of my friends, and the first thing that came to mind was, think: Devendra Banhart without all the quirky vocal meanderings. Essientally, Devendra Banhart lite. But then enter Whitney McGraw, the perfect sweet voice to counter Nau’s low and breathy croon. Think 60-70’s pop here; complete with melodic “whoa’s” and “oh’s”, some funky or acoustic guitar, shaking bells, and whistling. This album was a great out-of-no-where surprise for me. Check out the track “Gotta Cheer Up“, recently getting the single treatment on NPR and college radio.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – S/T

the-pains-of-being-pure-at-heartI will be frank. You have heard this before. In the 60’s & 70’s with The Velvet Underground, and again, probably more so, in the 80’s with My Bloody Valentine. There have been so many bands that TRIED to recreate the magic of these influential bands, but ultimately fail and fade into obscurity. We have heard these sounds and chord progressions before, but damned if they aren’t done perfectly, and properly pay homage as well as adding their own personality. With drenched guitars, driving percussion, and understated vocals,¬† you will feel like you’re wearing your members only jacket while driving your Nissan Bluebird to jazzercize. Listen to their catchy tune “Young Adult Friction” here.

Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP

bon_iver-blood_bank_bFour new songs from some outtakes of his album For Emma, Forever Ago, the new EP covers mostly the same ground, but adding some electric guitar and vocoder to the mix. A lot of people loath the latter, but it actually works on the EP closer “Woods”, a haunting song about seclusion and needing a break from it all. The most important and impressive track is “Blood Bank“, a musically simple song that focuses on the melody and the message (sound familiar?). When “Beach Baby” comes in with the traditional Hawaiian steel guitar solo, you can’t help but squeeze out a wry smirk. Vernon took some chances with these songs, but they pay off, and that’s what keeps me anticipating a new LP.

More to come when I get another couple minutes!

– Ant