Monday, July 30, 2012

Circa Survive - "Sharp Practice"

Circa Survive debuted "Sharp Practice" last month via an acoustic performance at a Philly radio station, but now Rolling Stone has the goods on the considerably heavier studio version. It's a history lesson for all new Circa fans, blending Blue Sky Noise's crisp production with Juturna's in-your-face aggression, and culminates in one of the catchiest choruses the band has ever penned.

Here is Anthony Green's take on the track: "It was one of the first songs we wrote for the record that was upbeat and more rocking. I remember sending it out to the rest of the band after putting the vocals on it and being so stoked on their responses. When we were recording it in the studio all the screams and shouts got added and it made the whole song so much more powerful. It's up there as one of my favorite Circa songs."

Violent Waves will get a self-release on Aug. 28th and, between this and "Suitcase", it's got a lot of promise already.

Hear: Circa Survive - "Sharp Practice"

Video: John Mayer - "Queen of California"

John Mayer goes the route of an extended one-cut video for the lead single off Born and Raised, a choice that mirrors his lovable smugness so well. At least, nowadays he's learning to poke more fun at himself (the outro of the video is fine proof.) Watch it below.

Animal Collective - "Today's International"

Animal Collective guitarist Josh "Deakin" Dibb promised the Baltimore psychedelic crew would be "taking a left turn at weird town" with their forthcoming LP Centipede Hz. The record's first single "Today's International", which Panda Bear dropped (along with two unreleased jams of his own) Saturday night on Animal Collective Radio, gives credence to that. Gone are the breezy melodies of Merriweather Post Pavilion, replaced by racing synths, tumbling African drumming, and Avey Tare's newfound jittery yelp. Hear it below.

To recap: Centipede HZ, slated for a Sept. 4th release, will undoubtedly be loud, weird, and still damn good.

Video: Arctic Monkeys - "Come Together" (Beatles Cover) (Live at the 2012 Summer Olympics)

Unlike my fellow white people, I could give less fucks about the Summer Olympics. Still, I feel obligated to give it some press and Britain's own Arctic Monkeys at least gave me a good reason. Hidden amidst the big budget nonsense of the opening ceremonies, a snarling Alex Turner led the Monkey's through a faithful cover of The Beatles' unity anthem "Come Together", accompanied by cyclists in glow-in-the-dark dove wings. Fast forward to the 2:50 mark to hear the song or watch the whole thing to also catch their performance of their 2005 breakthrough hit "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor."

Panda Bear - "Soft Serve Rip Curl"/ "Principe Real"

Panda Bear spun a DJ set on Animal Collective's online radio broadcast and mixed in a few of his own unreleased jams. "Soft Serve Rip Curl" is a short, theatrically stomping number that's as psychedelic as it's name teases, while "Principe Real" is more traditional house fare. At least, as traditional as Panda Bear gets. Stream both below.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Video: The Gaslight Anthem - "45" (Live on Fallon)

The Gaslight Anthem took a break from watching their stellar new LP Handwritten tear up iTunes, which made it up to #1 on the Rock charts, to perform "45" for the eager crowd at Fallon. Not their sharpest showing--the delay pedal fucked with the timing and Brian Fallon definitely sounds like his voice needs a day off--but there is a unwavering punk atmosphere about the sloppiness. Check it out below. Be sure to buy Handwritten, album of the year so far in my book, now, if possible.

J. Cole - "The Cure"

The ever-present J. Cole has been uncharacteristically quiet the past few months. Thankfully, we can attribute the absence to a handful of new songs. "The Cure", the first of the batch, sees Jermaine flowing effortlessly over the instrumental from the Kanye-Jay-Z-Beyonce collab "Lift Off" from Watch The Throne. It's classic Cole, with lines like "fuck your Twitter, bitches follow me in real life" that only he and Nas have the braggadocio and fire to sell. Hopefully more tracks (or mixtape plz?) are on the way, but in the meanwhile, stream/download the song below.

Minus the Bear - "Steel and Blood"

Minus the Bear unleashed a second taste of Infinity Overhead in the form of "Steel and Blood". Where "Lonely Gun" shined with it's guitar heroics, this chunky jam rolls forward courtesy a hearty bass line and a thick synth line. It's about as heavy as Minus the Bear can get, which isn't much, but it's another solid cut. Stream it below, courtesy their Soundcloud page, and look for Infinity Overhead on Aug. 28th.

Hear: Minus the Bear - "Steel and Blood"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blu & Exile - "A Man"

It's no secret Blu is at his best with Exile behind the boards and "A Man" is no exception. Coming off their Maybe One Day EP, which dropped yesterday, the song finds Jon Barnes waxing philosophical on the nature of religion like he did so masterfully on Below the Heavens over similarly nostalgically soulful organ spits. If only we could songs like this consistently from the dude, he could easily be the best out. Buy Maybe One Day EP here and grab a mp3 of "A Man" below.

Video: Best Coast - "Storms" (Fleetwood Mac Cover) (Live on Fallon)

Earlier this week, I heaped praise on Washed Out's cover of "Straight Back" that will be featured on the indie Fleetwood Mac tribute compilation Just Tell Me That You Want Me. Best Coast will contribute a cover of the band's classic "Rhiannon" to the same disc, but have been pedaling around a more impressive cover of the slow-burning "Storms" off late. They did just that when they stopped by Jimmy Fallon's stage last night, with Bethany Cosentino displaying some impressively classical chops and the band sounding as tight as ever. Truly beautiful--the brattiness and beaches sound pretty far away right now. Hit the link below to catch the performance.

Watch: Best Coast - "Storms" (Fleetwood Mac Cover) (Live on Fallon)

Video: Passion Pit - "I'll Be Alright"

Passion Pit's selected their new video for the spazzy "I'll Be Alright" from a handful of submissions to a competition. The winner follows a security guard in a minimalist art museum who decides to pop a couple pills to quell his boredom. Things get weird, as expected in most things that have to do with Passion Pit. Watch the video below and don't forget to stream Gossamer, in stores now, if you haven't yet.

Video: The-Dream - "Dope Bitch" (feat. Pusha T)

The video for the Terius Nash and Pusha T collab "Dope Bitch" takes the song title very literally, pulling together everything you'd expect to see when these two get up together: bright lights, cocaine, and bad bs. The Love, IV: Diary of a Mad Man is out Aug. 14th.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stream: The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

The Gaslight Anthem's fourth studio LP Handwritten has to be one of the most anticipated album's of 2012. From the hard-charging first single "45" to the countless quotes from Brian Fallon about how American Slang was forced and this "perfect" record freed him from a crippling bout of writers block,  there is a lot to get excited about. The wait is now over, as NPR were nice enough to post a full album stream for those of us who can't wait until the July 24th release date. There is too much substance here to process in the mere few listens I've given it, but I can promise that it will no disappoint. This summer has been a damn good one for music, Handwritten is just another piece of evidence in that statement's favor.

Stream: The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

Video: Nas - "Daughters" (Live on Letterman)

Nas' most recent instant classic Life is Good is finally out and the Queens MC celebrated by performing arguably the record's strongest track on Letterman's stage. He brought along a full band to flesh out the song--my personal favorite is the random white dude handling keyboard/horn duties. The simple fact that Nas can bring so much fire to a song about the challenges of raising a daughter that it sounds like the rawest street anthem is just another in the long list of reasons why he is, in my opinion, the greatest of all time. Watch the clip below and be sure to pick up Life is Good first chance you get.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stream: Passion Pit - Gossamer

NPR got the goods on a full album stream of Gossamer, Passion Pit's much anticipated follow-up to the 2009 breakthrough Manners. It's clear the band is straying away from the subterranean slow-builders that populated part of their major label debut, opting more in favor of songs propelled by bubbly, high-energy synths and peppy vocal samples. It's a shame Michael Angelakos' recent mental health struggles have forced the band to cancel tour dates at such a crucial time, but wish him and the band well below by giving the album a listen below. Gossamer drops July 24th.

Stream: Passion Pit - Gossamer

The xx - "Angels"

Anticipation has for The xx's second studio LP Coexist since video of the band performing "Friction" hit the web in early June. Thanks to this trippy YouTube video, we now have a formal introduction to the album via it's opening track "Angels". Delicate and sweet, the song flows far more in the vein of Beach House than the band's typical calypso-dance club feel. Needless to say, it bodes very well for the rest of the record. Hit it here for tracklisting and tour info, head below to hear the song.

Video: The Shins - "It's Only Life"

Everyone should be using whatever process The Shins go through to execute their music videos. The second clip off Port of Morrow, directed by Hiro Murai, comes off as a wonderful riff on Where The Wild Things Are, as our young protagonist and his dog revel in the child-like wonders of their imagination while creepy, antlered monsters drag the entire town, as well as James Mercer, away into the wilderness. This is one of those videos I'd love to see somehow adapted into a movie/short film. Check it out below.

Washed Out - "Straight Back" (Fleetwood Mac Cover)

The indie rock scene will pay their respects to Fleetwood Mac, who just announced they will reunite next year, via a tribute album Just Tell Me You Want Me on Aug. 14th. MGMT, Lykke Li, The New Pornographers, and Best Coast are among the featured artist, but Ernest Greene seemed to be the artist who best found that happy medium between the original and their own sound. Most aptly described on Stereogum as "if Mac took a trip to Ibiza," you can hear Washed Out's shimmering take on the slow rock jam off 1982's Mirage below.

Hear: Washed Out - "Straight Back" (Fleetwood Mac Cover)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Video: Florence + The Machines - "Breaking Down"

Florence Welch might have used up all of her over-the-top theaterics in the "Spectrum" video, opting for nostalgic, 50s-era camera footage for her fourth video off Ceremonials. Shot primarily in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New Orleans, the sun-splashed imagery melds really well with the song's playful haziness. Watch it below.

Tigers on Trains - "There Is No Prize"

Tigers on Trains, one of the many folky side projects within The Republic of Wolves (see: American Gospel), will release their second LP Foundry on July 17th. The duo have been posting streams of songs from the record on Simple Stereo's bandcamp, currently filling the spot with the easy-going strum of "There Is No Prize". Follow the link to check it out and keep an eye on it for more tunes in the coming days.

Hear: Tigers on Trains - "There Is No Prize"

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kanye West - "New God Flow" (feat. Pusha T)

After debuting a verse from "New God Flow" during G.O.O.D Music's performance at the BET Awards last night, Kanye West dropped the official track early tonight. Powered by a sublime sample of Melvin Bliss' "Synthetic Substitution", the jam sees both Yeezy and Pusha T go off the chain with spectacularly head-spinning verses chalked full of quotables. Simply put, this is Mr. West at his finest. If you had any reservations about G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Summer compilation, due out August 7th, this is song alone is reason enough to cop it. Stream the track below via In Flex We Trust.

Hear: Kanye West - "New God Flow" (feat. Pusha T)

Nas - "Loco-Motive" (feat. Large Professor)

Nas keeps on giving, dropping his fourth track off Life is Good even thought there are still two more weeks until the LP's official release on July 17th. "Loco-Motive"more than meets the high precedent set by "The Don", "Daughters" and "Accident Murderers", oozing with cement-heavy 90s hip-hop sensibilities that always seem to evolve when Nas hops on a No I.D. beat. Stream the song over on his Soundcloud page and be sure to grab yourself a copy of Life is Good, which is already shaping up to be an instant classic.

Hear: Nas - "Loco-Motive" (feat. Large Professor)

Minus The Bear - "Lonely Gun"

Minus The Bear will make a triumph return with their fifth studio LP Infinity Overhead on August 28th and Rolling Stone got the goods on the first official leak from the album. "Lonely Gun" still delivers on the electronic grooves and accesible pop choruses the guys have become known for, but interweaves  a funky guitar freakout that gives the song it's own acrobatic flair. Here is singer/guitarist Jake Snider ton the idea behind the song: "I was thinking about how lonely an unused gun must be, its purpose unfulfilled, like a loveless relationship. The only way to allow its purpose is to hold it – to use it."

Hear: Minus The Bear - "Lonely Gun"

Video: G.O.O.D. Music - "Mercy"/"Too Cold"/"New God Flow" (Live at BET Awards)

The G.O.O.D. Music crew--specifically Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz--were an obvious highlight of last night's BET Awards. Performing their respective parts of "Mercy", the group whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their massive Lamborghini (mercy) stage prop and laser lights, before introducing Yeezy to slam home "Too Cold" and debut an acapella verse from an upcoming jaunt "New God Flow".

The Dear Hunter - Songs of the Revolution Session

Before the Boston date of his tour with Anthony Green, Casey Crescenzo teamed up with Songs of the Revoultion--a music collective that records live session with up-and-coming Beantown artists--to lay down three songs off The Dear Hunter's massive Color Spectrum project. Hit the link below to watch him perform "Home", "The Inheritance" and "Things That Hide Away" in-studio and grab mp3s of each song as well.

Watch: The Dear Hunter - Songs of the Revolution Session

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Video: The Gaslight Anthem - Live on Letterman

With the days until Handwritten release dwindling, The Gaslight Anthem took to Letterman's stage for a full hour performance. The guys cooly ran through a ton of classics and some new jams as well, bringing their unflappable stage presence and Brian Fallon's scratchy-as-hell vocals along for the ride. It's pretty much a cardinal sin that I haven't seen them live yet, but until I rectify that, this is the next best thing.

Video: El-P - "Works Every Time" (Live on Conan)

El-P rose up from the underground for a rare national television appearance. With a full band and a shrouded Zola Jesus in tow, he threw down a powerful performance of his over-stimulating "Works Every Time" from the critically acclaimed Cancer For Cure. Check the fury below.

Video: fun. - "Some Nights" (Live on Fallon)

fun. finally brought "Some Nights" to a national audience via a palpitating performance on Jimmy Fallon's stage. I understood the pop appeal of "We Are Young"--well, aside from the first verse, not really--but this song is massive in every imaginable way, so I'm glad there throwing their weight behind it. Watch the performance below.