Monday, July 30, 2012
I was a bit apprehensive to embracing the new Mountain Goats song the first time I heard it. "Cry for Judas" off their upcoming new album Transcendental Youth is almost shocking the first time you hear it. It has the band's best production to date, blaring horns, and most striking, a what appears to be happy feel to the whole song. However, cut a little deeper and you begin to realize all of that is just a cover for the darkness lurking underneath. It's a song about the mistakes one makes, and the way they can misrepresent you and engulf your life. The refrain is "I am still here/But all is lost" for crying out loud. So the horn riffs and springy bass lines aren't there to make the song joyful, but to keep the song afloat from collapsing into its own despair. And it works so well. It's a defeatist anthem, but an anthem none the less, and one that will be be shouted at John Darnielle to play for years to come.
The Mountain Goats' Website
Pre-order Transcendental Youth here, from Merge Records
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Stay Calm have to be one of my favorite bands right now. I understand how much of a hyperbole that statement sounds like considering Stay Calm only have three songs (and one cover) to their name, but everything they have produced is so damn creative and catchy that I'm sticking with that statement. They've managed to get everything in order so that their music isn't so difficult to find and have released their first digital single into the world. You have already been exposed to the glorious tribal,art, post-punk dance freak out that was "Let Me Clear My Throat", but "I Couldn't Sleep" is a stunner in its own right.
The band completely shifts their sound, not to an unrecognizable degree, but to a "how are they making this as well" way. "I Couldn't Sleep" is a slow burner, with the band's synth work, here much more gooey and warm, very much being the vocal the focal of the song rather than the drums. Claudia Meza coos the vocals rather than applying her usual velocity to them. In some alternative universe, this song might have been written by Lower Dens, if they had become more influenced by dreamy synth bands rather than Kraftwerk. Instead it is another gem in Stay Calm's small catalogue, their most restrained but beautiful one to date.
Stay Calm's Website
Thursday, July 19, 2012
A shift from a small indie label to one of the "major" indie labels usually also signifies a shift for the artist as well. I don't think it's pressure from the label per se, but jumping to the big leagues usually manages to bring out new dimensions to the artist, a desire to strive to new heights. That's what's running through my brain while listening to Dan Deacon's "True Thrush". Not that I am at all dismissing Deacon's previous work in anyway. But the way Deacon has gone from sprawl to focus with his songs is just magnificent. I thought "Lots" was the pinnacle of this, a hyper compression of Deacon's music, but "True Thrush" just blows every expectation through the roof. It's not as explosive as some his other songs, but that's because "True Thrush" is operating on a level completely different from those other songs. It melds all of these electronic manipulations and effects with soaring choir samples and Deacon's most directly catchy music to date. It's the lyrics through which, despite never having been at the forefront of Deacon's music, are now the greatest aspect of the song. The pairing of lyrics like "Feast on my brain/every body's the same" to the music just rises it beyond belief. It's like an electronic, apocalyptic, but joyous hymn, one that will ring out through the ages. Listen and start chanting along.
Dan Deacon´s Website
Pre-order America here, from Domino Records
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
I've never been big on summer nostalgia. Maybe it's because I don't like the season (heat drives me insane), but all the sentiment and love behind summer has always rubbed me the wrong way. Still, even with this disposition, those emotions started bubbling inside when I saw Marshall Trotter's video for "(I Need To Be With) Someone Like You". I think it's juxtaposition that works so well. "(I Need To Be With) Someone Like You" is a beautifully melancholy song, a simple two minutes of longing for some one not unlike how No Demons Here used to, with just a distorted guitar and a simple beat to propel it. So to hear that placed side by side old, vintage movie clips showcasing the joy of summer, the song and video hit hard. In equal measures it manages to not only show the wonder of summer, but the sadness it can bring as well.
Marshall Trotter´s Facebook
Buy the Small Trobles cassette here, from Mirror Universe Tapes
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
I have waited too long for this news. Boomgates, the best Australia supergroup of many, will be releasing their debut album Double Natural just in time for the tail end of August. After two completely perfect seven inches of brash, entierly their own indie pop, an album's worth of the stuff might just come together to make the album of the summer. "Whispering and Singing", the first single off the album sure as hell supports this thesis anyway. Over bright, speedy, Real Estate-esque guitar riffs the band creates a bittersweet tale of a crush leaving town and wishing for death before that happens. The interplay between Brendan Huntly and Steph Hughes' vocals is just stupendous. I know a balance between the two's singing has always been a present element with the band, but here said element is just perfected, especially the blink and you'll miss it harmony between them within the chorus. This is what a garage band would sound like if they tried to be Comet Gain and they succeded. The rays of summer are shinning brightly in Australia, even if it is winter there.
Pre-order Double Natural here, from Bedroom Suck Records