Monday, January 31, 2011
Granted this isn't the Americana-inspired Bright Eyes many of you have come to know and love. There is a fair share of acid-drenched, cosmic babbling--some via spoken word intro/outros from a mystic shaman--but in the end, it is Conor Oberst, so there is also plenty of quality ("Shell Games", "A Machine Spiritual", "Ladder Song".) Definitely a grower, but one that will be worth your while.
The People's Key officially drops Feb. 15th.
Stream: Bright Eyes - The People's Key
MySpace: Bright Eyes
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Fuck sleeping on it, I didn't even know this record existed. Now it's just about the only thing I've listen to this entire week. Tokyo Police Club is a Canadian indie quartert that churn out consistently solid pop tunes that are as jubilant and snotty as they are contemplative and intricate. I'd give a nod to "Favourite Food", "Favourite Color" and "Wait Up (Boots of Danger)" as my favorites, but honestly, ever cut on this is excellent.
So in conclusion, my apologies Tokyo Police Club. I don't know what I did without you.
Dowload: Tokyo Police Club -"Favourite Food"
MySpace: Tokyo Police Club
Saturday, January 29, 2011
The thumping second single off Wiz's Rolling Papers is all about rolling up. Nope, not joints, nor E, but in your ride. Suprising? Yes. Chorus is pretty cheesy too. Seems like a misfire, though the beat from Stargate--dudes who handled "Black and Yellow"--is on point.
Download: Wiz Khalifa - "Roll Up"
MySpace: Wiz Khalifa
Stunning video. Especially with Lykke Li stalking some weathered wanderer like a cuter version of Death in The Seventh Seal. I'd gladly run barefoot across the tundra if I got that kinda love afterwards.
Wounded Rhymes drops Mar. 1. Me rikey.
MySpace: Lykke Li
Aside from doubling as a promo for Nuvo (spin the bottle, seriously?), Tony Starks always does it right. I can't get enough of the Intruders sample in the beat either.
Each and everyone one you should hop on Apollo Kids and see why Ghost earned that golden throne he's sitting on.
MySpace: Ghostface Killah
Who says you can't mix metal, folk, blues, and jazz together? Tidal Arms are doing it and it sounds epic. Made up of guitarist and lead vocalist Tom Tierney (ex-Warship), bassist Patrick Southern (ex-Kiss Kiss) and drummer Francis Mark (ex-From Autumn to Ashes) these dudes lay down a thundering mix of jams that are as brooding as they are brash.
They'll open for Glassjaw--if you couldn't already see the connection from the visuals--on a full US tour and will release their debut LP, The Sun Exploding, on Feb. 13.
MySpace: Tidal Arms
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Explosions in the Sky ball/rock out in a teaser for their new album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, due out April 26th. Color me excited.
1. Last Known Surroundings
2. Human Qualities
3. Trembling Hands
4. Be Comfortable, Creature
5. Postcard from 1952
6. Let Me Back In
MySpace: Explosions in the Sky
First single off Travis Barkers upcoming record. If this lineup is not enough to convince you to give a listen, I don't know what will.
Give The Drummer Some drops Mar. 15.
Download: Travis Barker - "Can A Drummer Get Some?" (feat. Swizz Beatz, The Game, Lil Wayne, & Rick Ross)
MySpace: Travis Barker
Conor and Co. drop off another electronic-tinged gem, this time centering the thesis on Halie Selassie, the Messiah of the Rastafari movement. Be forewarned: there are no Bob Marley or ganja references.
The People's Key is out Feb. 15.
MySpace: Bright Eyes
Monday, January 24, 2011
Bruno Mars lends his smooth-as-hell vocals to Katy Perry's smash summer anthem giving it a surprisingly delicate feel. Can't always get down with with the guy, but god damn, can he sing. Got a lot of respect for his talents.
Download: Bruno Mars - "California Gurls" (Katy Perry cover)
MySpace: Bruno Mars
Common took a break from all his strange movie roles to get back to his bread-and-butter: writing thought-provoking, soul-tinged hip-hop songs. This new one--a piano-led slow jam titled "Believe"--is Common at his best.
His next LP, tenatively-titled The Dreamer, The Believer, is set to drop in Winter 2011.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Wayne and Jay Sean team up to provide a hoppin' sequel to their "Down" collaboration. Pretty standard ish to get filed under that "guilty pleasure" category. Oh, oh, oh...
Download: Jay Sean - "Hit the Lights" (feat. Lil' Wayne)
MySpace: Jay Sean
Friday, January 21, 2011
Raphael Saadiq uses a bluesy instrumental backing reminiscent of The Black Keys "Too Afraid to Love You" as a platform for a second helping of his soulful goodness of Stone Rollin'. That's two thus far, Shooter.
Download: Raphael Saadiq - "Good Man"
MySpace: Raphael Saadiq
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Manchester Orchestra is getting into the habit of trotting out acoustic version of new songs at recent tour stops. Here he busts out a fresh jam entitled "Apprehension" on another one of those occasions. It's of the slow-burning variety and Mr. Hull sounds as earnest and pleading as ever. For all you out of the loop, that is a good thing.
Their new jaunt will tenatively drop in April...but if you aren't that patient, go buy a ticket to their live show. I need to get on that.
MySpace: Manchester Orchestra
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The always eye-opening Nas shares his musical and personal background through the lens of the tapedeck. It's amazing to look at where we are with technology now and try and imagine having to do all that just to get a song you think is hot. I'm not knocking all the positives that have come with the advances--most notably the added exposure to a wide-range of music--but goddamn there was a deep and profound love for the medium back then that is so glaringly absent nowadays.
That's REAL talk.
Watch: Nas - TDK Life on Record
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Let me put it this way: Beth Cosentino ranks way higher on my cuteness scale than icanhazcheezburger. And, not to complain, but is it just me or are her dresses getting shorter and shorter each day?
Crazy For You has been in heavy rotation and it isn't even summer yet. Uh oh.
MySpace: Best Coast
Wiz teams up with old friend and up-and-coming beatmaker Johnny Juliano for a new cut that may or may not be coming off his much anticipated debut with Atlantic Records. Judging by how quickly it's getting taken down, I'd say so. Either way, Juliano supplies some sprinkling keys for Wiz to lay down one of his signature cartoonish hooks
I can definitely see this one blowin' up. Just saaaayin'.
MySpace: Wiz Khalifa
Monday, January 17, 2011
Grizzly over at weworemasks tends to say things best. This is another one of those (not so) rare occassions:
"As long as the freestyles are good, i can listen to this beat for hours. young chris steps out of the shadows and drops a pretty nice verse over the bink instrumental from MBDTF."
Download: Young Chris - "Devil in a Black Dress"
MySpace: Young Chris
Wavves drop off a b-side from their Japanese-release of King of the Beach that might officially see the light of day in the good ole' U.S. of A. sometime soon via a 7". Man, I never though a song that starts out "Well I'm so lonely/I could die/put the fingernails in my eyes" could sound so raucously bright.
Download: Wavves - "Mutant"
Friday, January 14, 2011
This is straight ridiculous. Doomtree came out full-force at their Madison, WI stop of their Wings & Teeth tour, dropping a charged version of "Purexed" before coming back out for Mike Mictlan's "Prizefighter" and P.O.S.' "Low Light Low Life". I've attended one of their live shows before and I can personally attest that they are indeed this crazy. If you've slept on Doomtree: watch this, get what they're about, and hop on board.
A lot of people overlooked this video, me included, so now that it is up for the MTV's Freshman list it's time to give it due props. Slick visuals, solid concept, and I was a kinda let down by Devil Made a New Friend, but this is definitely a gem of a song.
MySpace: Jarrod Gorbel
Pretty sure this is the first non-snippet off Movies on Demand 2 (right?) and it's a banger. Cons kills the verses and Lee Bannon delivers a hammer of a beat...CONS SMASH.
Download: Consequence - "Tell Your Boss to Holla at Me"
Glassjaw faked us all out with their Our Color Green EP, which turned out just to be a collection of unreleased songs that got a studio once-over. But now they'll be handing a free EP on their upcoming tour called Coloring Book with actually new, new songs. "Gold" is the first taste off it and packs the delicious punch of both the atmospheric and punishing sounds the Strong Island quartet has come to be known for. Wait until you hear Daryl Palumbo repeat "How long? I've been willing" with his sky-high wail and you know the Jaw is officially back.
Download: Glassjaw - "Gold"
I have a lot of favorite things about Nathan Williams and Bethany Consentino, but one that comes to the fore-front is how they pervade even the most chilly, blustery weather with their summer gleam. They two lovebirds have teamed up for a new split appropriately titled Summer Is Forever that features a new song from each group. "When You Wake Up" is complemented by breezy "ooohs" and "ahhhs" from the lady, while her dude provides a brief, rolling ditty with an psychedelic swirl in "Stained Glass".
Buy: Best Coast/Wavves - Summer is Forever EP
MySpace: Best Coast / Wavves
Thursday, January 13, 2011
10. Envy on the Coast - Lowcountry
It took me until the end of November (four months after their breakup) to actually fully listen to this record all the way through and it ended up cracking my Top 10 for the year. Enough said. If you've ever heard Envy on the Coast described as a mix between Incubus and Glassjaw, this is a perfect example of that sound.
MP3: "Southern Comfort"
9. Beach House - Teen Dream
This dream-pop band out of Baltimore (Ball-e-more) crafty lucid gems that float with such spine-tingling weightlessness that you'll have to pinch yourself just to snap back into reality. Victoria LeGrand's full, smokey croons simmer underneath the shimmering instrumentation that's recalls flowers blooming and Nordic lake water rippling in slow-motion.
8. Cee Lo Green - The Ladykiller
Cee Lo Green mashed together classic soul, cinematic 007 cheesiness, and his own oddball style to make one of the most fun and vibrant records of the year. "Fuck You" is hands down the best song of 2010 ("I Want You" is a close-second) and this dude has every reason to represent for all the pink suit-wearing gospel folk out there.
MP3: "Fuck You"
7. The Roots - How I Got Over
The Legendary Roots Crew scaled back the darkness and amped up the jazz for How I Got Over, resulting in a collection of songs that's worth a listen both for it's superior musicianship and ever-concious lyrics. ?uestlove is still the best band leader around, Black Thought can still spit ferocious bars, and their excellent guest spots (Blu, Jim James, and Joanna Newsome) never fail to disappoint.
MP3: "The Day" (feat. Blu, Phonte, Patty Crash)
6. King of Leons - Come Around Sundown
Yeah, yeah the cries of "sellouts" got exponentially louder after the release of their follow-up to 2008's breakout Only By The Night. If you put your PBR down and stop brain-storming eccentric ways to shape your facial hair, and really listen...you might find the KOL are working their way towards the becoming the U2 of the Deep South. Varying from huge arena rockers ("The End") to a doo-wop ode to Mary Jane ("Mary") to a true jam-band singalong ("Back Down South"), the Followill's further confirm they deserve their regal namesake.
MP3: "Back Down South"
5. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
It would be hard to make a record that's a better front-to-back play than 59' Sound. Too bad that's exactly what the Gaslight Anthem did with their second LP. Packing in more crunchy punk riffs, Boss-esque howls, and lyrics about getting out of this town, Brian Fallon and co. give our younger generation a reason to associate the Garden State with something other than fist-pumping and "smushing".
MP3: "The Diamond Church Street Choir"
4. The Black Keys - Brothers
It's hard to find artists than can salvage more purity from grit that the Black Keys. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney up the fuzz and thump in their garage-blues, but emerge with songs that are so sparklingly tender ("Everlasting Light", "Never Give You Up") that you'll need to dim the lights to set the mood. If blues is your go-to following heartbreak, don't fear. Lead singles "Next Girl" and "Tighten Up" pack enough venom to sting any sinister temptress.
MP3: "Next Girl"
3. Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
Truly an album for any season, the multi-talented dudes from L.A.-based Local Natives dish out Beach Boy-esque harmonies, thundering percussion, and just about everything else that makes you want to dance and sing-a-long.
MP3: "Wide Eyes"
2. Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise
If you've read this blog before, you should be well-versed in the nature of my man crush on Anthony Green. This is being their first major label effort, it is much more streamlined and much less "out there" than their past works. However, no substance is lost, as they use brute force ("Get Out"), experimental composition ("Fever Dreams") pop sensabilities ("Imaginary Enemy", "I Felt Free") and, as always, Green's tantalizing vocal abilities to drop another stunner.
MP3: "Spirit of the Stairwell"
1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kanye West dominated 2010, so it's only fitting he also drops by far the best record of the year. Epic and ambitious across the board (9 of the 14 songs exceed five minutes), Yeezy gives every other artist in the game a serious lesson in sampling (King Crimson???), wordplay ("Too many Urkels on your team/that's why your Winslow"), and guest selection (Elton John, Jay-Z, two members of Wu-Tang, and Bon Iver).
As Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield put perfectly: "There’s a famous story about Queen making "Bohemian Rhapsody": Whenever the band thought the song was finished, Freddie Mercury would say, "I’ve added a few more ‘Galileos’ here, dear." But nobody can out-Galileo Kanye."
MP3: "All Of The Lights (feat. Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Fergie, The-Dream, Ryan Leslie, Elton John, Charlie Wilson, Kid Cudi, John Legend, Tony Williams & Elly Jackson)"
Second song from Dan Nigro's Blocks project. It's got a much more of an 80s synth-pop sound to it...something way more bubbly than you'd have ever heard from As Tall As Lions. That being said, I'm just stoked that we get to hear more of his top-notch pipes.
Download: Blocks - "Hourglass"
Haven't really heard for Murs since Murs for President dropped in 2008, but this time he resurrects his Varsity Blues series with a little help behind the boards from Aesop Rock. This is of the heavier variety, but as he says himself, "they say I'm only good when the session is depressing/so I crucify myself so that you can learn a lesson/they say I'm at my best when I'm the most stressed out/it's like I only see success when I'm wrestling with doubt."
Download: Murs - "Varsity Blues 2" (prod. Aesop Rock)
Beach Fossils celebrated making into Stereogum's Top 50 Most Overlooked LPs of 2010 by dropping a new sun-drenched cut. Comes off their upcoming What A Pleasure EP that is dropping on Feb. 22.
Download: Beach Fossils - "Calyer"
MySpace: Beach Fossils
CoCo brought Steel Train by his studio for a stomping-rendition of the lead track of their self-titled record. It seems like these guys get more and more charged up with every performance. Definitely not a bad thing.
MySpace: Steel Train
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
A clean-shaven Dan Auerbach unleashes all the blues fury of the Gary Glitter-inspired "Howlin' For You" on the Letterman faithful. This might be my least favorite cut on Brothers, but that's like picking out the ugliest Victoria Secret angel.
MySpace: The Black Keys
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
If you look up "guilty pleasure" in the dictionary, a picture of The Starting Line can't be far from the entry. They write catchy, substantive, and all-around awesome pop songs a.k.a. this new one they performed at their recent holiday show. Does this mean a new album/tour/etc...? Who knows, so be easy and get nostalgic.
MySpace: The Starting Line
It's been too long since we've heard the soulful styling of Raphael Saadiq. Now he's back with another Sam Cooke-style classic that will have all the kids twisting the night away at their next sock hop.
Stone Rollin' is due out in Spring 2011
Download: Raphael Saadiq - "Radio"
MySpace: Raphael Saadiq