Clara Clara's PR guy sent me a few songs from their recently released album, Comfortable Problems, and I’ve gotta say I was instantly impressed. The fact that they actually have a PR guy shows how seriously they’re taking this, and the quality of the music removes all doubt of the fact.
It’s straight up indie rock, which is great because there’s really quite a drought in solid acts in this field of late. Big sounds, catchy hooks, crashing percussion; Clara Clara feel like a band you can believe in.
And here’s another band that sounds like they’re going places; TV Girl. They fluctuate between a few different zones in terms of genre. But I can’t help but be reminded of Coolrunnings when I listen to them, especially on I Don’t Care. Whereas If You Want It reminds me of 60’s Beach Boys-esque pop in the best way. Both have such a different sound, so if you’re not a fan of one, check out the other. Although you really should fall in love with both.
The self-titled EP is available for free download on their Bandcamp, and considering the recent Pitchfork plug, and the recently implemented free download limit Bandcamp have imposed on bands, you better go there right now to download it, before you miss your chance.
Brothertiger released this new single, Wind At My Back, way back in June, but I only just found out. It sounds very much like a natural progression from his Vision Tunnels EP, and while not as instantly gratifying as, say, Lovers, it’s still a very polished track. He’s going for a very Washed Out vibe on this one.
Secret Knives just released their debut album, Affection, which you can download for free from their Bandcamp. It’s pretty varied and versatile overall actually. Here’s a couple of examples of this quality, Future Wave, which has a very introspective Dreamwave feel, and Good Fortune, which is a more upbeat poppy number.
I recently posted a video of Memoryhouse performing a new song, called Pale Blue on NEO//NOIR. This is their cover of My Bloody Valentine's When You Sleep from the same performance. I love the original but this one gives it a completely different vibe and personally, I think it’s even better than the first.
Ensoniq Funk is another Chillwave jam from Chad Valley. This guy has had a surge in public awareness thanks to the plug from Foals' Yannis Phillippakis and the publicity from Pitchfork. If you liked the previous Chad Valley work posted here, you'll love this. This guy knows what he's doing.
Vondelpark is a mysterious UK artist (with zero online presence) who dabbles in Lo-Fi/Chillwave/Indie with that inescapable British twist that every artist who hails from there invariably has. He reminds me a bit of a twenty-ten bedroom demo era Tom Vek actually.
Dream Boat's album just dropped, and if you're way into the Witch House sound, you'll love it. Personal highlights for me include the haunting opener Berlin and the epic shifting anchor, You Left. Make sure you pick this up from AMDISCS.
Sideways Smile by Keepaway reminds me of Strawberry Jam-era Animal Collective. It’s got eclectic vocals layered over each other, abstract song structure and an air of pretentious indie bullshit that you can’t help but respect. It’s really interesting actually, and as weird as it gets, just when you’re about to experience some serious cognitive dissonance, it reels you back in with a catchy vocal hook. Definitely worth hearing
And now for the token Electro track of the week, Love Fighter by StardonE. It’s spacey electro that has tinges of the Valerie Collective's work, as well as some French Touch moments as well. Pretty interesting song, but he'll need to mix it up on future releases to keep the fire alive post 2008.
(NEO//NOIR has changed the file storage location from Mediafire to Box.net. This allows you stream the tracks before you download them. If you’re having trouble finding the download button, try harder; you’re Generation Y for fuck’s sake.)
Wintercoats craft heartfelt orchestral pop that makes you feel like you’re on your way towards something magical. Whether you’re walking down the street, driving down the freeway at midnight, or even lying on your bed with the headphones in. The mode of transportation may vary but the destination is always the same.
Pound Your Town To Hell by Cloudy Busey will definitely continue the vibe Wintercoats left you with. It’s the side project of Bob from the Japanese band Ice Cream Shout. Although it sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard from a Japanese band before.
Last time I wrote about Jay Curry on here was for the Elite Gymnastics remix of their own song, Real Love, which, as you better well know, was amazing. Here’s some more of his work, two songs that couldn’t be more different and work well in showcasing his versatility. The latter, JustAbout, heavily features samples from Toro y Moi's You Hid.
I’m putting this track up really hoping you all already have it. Because if you don’t you shouldn’t be using the internet because you’re clearly only wasting it looking up stupid shit. Lupe Fiasco steals the show. He’s certainly miles ahead of Kanye West, but he’ll never get the credit he deserves. Whatever your opinion is though, you can’t deny that this supergroup trio is fucking solid.
Stephen Farris has a more abstract sound than the previously mentioned A Gap Between, with some seriously good vocal splicing going on in Alphabet Soup, but they can definitely be said to be similar. I found this guy through Com Truise's blog. Catchy shit.
Games remixed CFCF's It Was Never Meant To Be This Way. It’s awesome. There’s a really strong Valerie Collective vibe in the instrumentation on this track, but the vocal work sounds decidedly Chillwave.
One In A Googolplex may leave you doubtful of his quality based on name alone, but don’t make the mistake of not listening to these songs. His album, The Dropout Cats, is an eclectic mix of sounds that at times sound like Muscles, at others like Gorillaz and more often than not, something really unique and interesting that’s entirely his own.
And finally, 1987 by Star Slinger, from the Breaking EP that Seeing Suge (A collaboration between Blackbird Blackbird, Emay and Star Slinger) just released. The EP has one track featuring all three under the moniker Seeing Suge, and one extra from each artist respectively. You can download it for free from their bandcamp.
Dream Shake is a Lo-Fi instrumental track by Cool World. If you’re not a fan of instrumentals normally give this a whirl anyway, because it’s got so much character that vocals would likely ruin it. It’s the soundtrack to a drunken afternoon in the sun with your closest friends.
I’m Gonna Try by Shimmering Stars is clearly channeling 60’s pop in a big way. Riddled with backing harmonies and simple yet effective songwriting, it barely clocks in at two minutes long, and just as you’re getting into the swing of it; it’s gone. The mark of a good song is one that leaves you before you’re ready to let it go.
Now, here’s a tricky one. Easy by Fiveng is also obviously inspired by the 60’s, but with a Dream Poppy, Chillwave based reinterpretation. However, I take issue with the last minute of the song. Which, whether they are trying to get away with it or not, is a clear copy of the end of Hello Goodbye by The Beatles. And even assuming it is a clearly broadcasted reference, it bugs the hell out of me. Almost to the point where I can’t listen to the song. Decide for yourselves.
Teen Daze recently remixed the fuck out of Beach City / Carol I Know by Dream Cop. It becomes a synth and drum machine driven creation, with the vocals fading into the overall soundscape of the track. They are still there, but they strain to break through the other elements of the song, in the best way possible. It’s like catching a glimpse of something through the trees on a drive down a winding forest road.
Selebrities are a New-Wave revival band with really effective female vocal work. Their new EP, Ladies Man Effect, is mad solid overall, with no filler tracks at all. The guitar work reminds me of a fusion between The Cure and New Order, who are two of my favourite bands.
The good thing about Selebrities is that they seem to know all too well the calamity that usually befalls most modern New-Wave bands, and that being that all their songs tend to sound exactly the same. So as a result they’ve actively attempted something new with every track on the EP and succeeded for the most part at keeping the whole thing fresh. Yeah, only good things to say about this basically.
Two Bicycles is the solo project of one of the dudes from the previously mentioned Teen Daze. It’s basically acoustic folk in line with Bon Iver and it’s cool to see a completely different sound from him considering how artificial Teen Daze’s instrumentation is. He’s got a few EPs out under this name, but this feels like the culmination of what he’s really trying to express with this project. His bandcamp also has a rather touching summary of the influences that sculpted the sound of The Holy Forest EP.
Mount McKinley create incredibly solid Lo-Fi Rock that really stands out against the hordes of other Lo-Fi acts around at the moment. Rainsand starts low, and then gradually adds more and more until it’s a crashing wall of sound that envelopes you. Whereas Celebrator just gets right into it and takes you on a memory trip of teenage mistakes and washed out photographs. Yeah expect big things from these guys, they tell me an album is coming very soon so brace yourselves.
Stay Cool Forever are a really odd band. Their music has this whimsical quality that leads you to unexpected places and often ends in a completely different zone from where it started. They love to utilise layered, chant-like vocals and instrumental shifts that feel like you’re going on some sort of psychedelic space trip to unknown lands of hypercolour and reality paradoxes.
I posted up a video of this live performance of Wild Nothing's title track from his debut album, Gemini, a week or so ago. But I wasn’t content to stream it over and over just to get my fix, so I managed to get hold of it in MP3 format. I really do believe that this is actually at least twice as good as the original.
Hard Mix is on a roll. Had is a new song of his from a mixtape he recently posted on his tumblr and it continues this high watermark he’s already established for himself. I love the use of samples on this one, and that insistent, melancholic instrumental work really feels like the manifestation of regret and introspection. It’s a fleeting feeling though, and once again, it’s one of those things where you wish you had more, but at the same time, you can’t help but feel that the length is perfect as is. It feels more like a snapshot as it is, a glimpse into somebody else’s mind for two minutes, never to be seen in the same way again.
Cosmonaut Grechko is going to be huge, that’s a fact. He’s basically got a flawless remix history in his short time on the scene, a slew of compelling original tracks and he’s already making waves with the current tastemakers of electronic music.
I’m lucky (and mad skilled) enough to be in charge of Grechko’s visual identity at the moment though, so maybe I’m a tad biased. But however you slice it, he’s great at what he does and these two Metric remixes ought to prove that once and for all.
Guerre dabbles in Lo-Fi R&B in a similar way to How To Dress Well, except you can actually work out what he’s singing most of the time, which is a plus. You Were With Me sounds like the sort of song that should be on every great movie soundtrack but never will be because the suits are rubbish at finding obscure music. Haunting.
Finally, he’s a really good remix of NazcarNation's Beeswax by StewRat. While I’m not so much a fan of either of these artist’s names, I definitely am a fan of the music. In my opinion, StewRat’s reinterpretation of Beeswax, which transforms it into a Dreamwavey epic, is better than the original track. That said, the original is pretty damn good to begin with. Check it out.