Posts by Ann

Local Natives – Hummingbird

Powder in your hair/Staples in your jeans/Fireworks at the water/You were holding a styro-foam cup held between your teeth/Telling me how you’re going to outlive your body

I keep coming to this conclusion that the Local Natives are able to create a completely distinct and unique musical atmosphere. It’s a ridiculously vague statement to make, so I’ll explain. Hummingbird, like Gorilla Manor, has an incredible depth of sound; it creates its own echo. When you read a great book, it’s the same effect, a three-dimensionality that instantly manifests itself with each sentence, or each verse, or each chorus. There are crescendos of emotion that you can track across multiple tracks on the album, and there are repeating elements that rattle your bones. It seems like you could actually dive into the song, if you got the chance. It’s that kind of literal physical depth transposed into a piece of music that comprises the atmosphere of this album. It fills all your senses; it’s music that has a taste and a smell and a feel. The lyrics are stand-alone poetry (especially in “Heavy Feet,” as Lydia linked to on this fabulous post), not mere crippled words hanging onto the powerful expanse of the music, and the fusion between the two moving elements makes both even stronger.

I know I’m talking in really sweeping sentences here, but that’s just how this album makes me feel. All gooey and poetic, or whatever. But seriously, this album is a MUST-listen. I tried to find a good video to show you guys, and I found the one below. As a wise YouTube user points out, this is the instrumental on “Colombia.”

Best tracks: Colombia, Heavy Feet, Three Months


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MS MR – Fantasy

MS MR dropped the first single, “Fantasy,” off their debut album, which is slated to come out May 14. This track really solidifies their sexy, dangerous sound, especially following their last EP, but the driving beat underneath this track gives it a sort of Florence and the Machine feel, especially with the echoing background vocals. I have a feeling their debut album’s gonna be disgustingly good…how bout you guys?

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Hey Champ – Cliché

Electro-dance group Hey Champ released their latest single, “Cliché,” with all the bounce and groove of their usual material. Save this for the weekend; it’s got a perfect build-up to the downright joyous chorus. Free download below, and hopefully this means more new tracks to come!

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Dream Logic – One More Blitz

This post is for your New Years celebration. Sick beats, remixes, originals, mashups: find them all with Dream Logic. I’m calling the resemblance right now–an American Madeon, anyone? He recently posted a sweet remix of Passion Pit’s “Carried Away,” but my favorite track of his is below. Tell me if this mashup of Digitalism and Daft Punk doesn’t make you want to just cry from dancing too damn hard. The “Russian Attractions” remix is awesome as well.

GET LIVE. (This is me dancing to this mashup right now.)

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Wild Swim – Echo

So sometimes I’m just really late on things. And I’m okay with that.

“Echo,” one of the debut singles from Oxford band Wild Swim that came out a few months ago, has got me hooked, and let’s just say I’ve had a bunch of fun on their Soundcloud. They have a really awesome fusion of lo-fi electronic and indie rock, and “New Dawn” and “Bright Eyes” are also sweet tracks with angsty, ambient instrumentals. Check ’em out on this lazy holiday weekend.

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El Perro Del Mar – Pale Fire

Two days after Thanksgiving, you may or may not still be in a food coma. If you are (or are just looking for some new tunes), I’d highly suggest the chill vibes of El Perro Del Mar, the musical alter ego of Swede Sarah Assbring. El Perro’s fifth album, Pale Fire, dropped about two weeks ago.

Pale Fire has the slightly melancholy taste of Beach House, with the funkiness of Body Language or Washed Out, and the moody vocals of Little Dragon. When done badly, the whole ethereal, echoing sound can actually feel heavy and sluggish. But El Perro Del Mar achieves the perfect balance of musical ingredients, making the album simultaneously relaxing and engaging. I promise this will be a good way to finish off your Slapsgiving weekend.

Best tracks: “Hold off the Dawn,” “Love in Vain,” “I Was a Boy”

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Social Studies – Developer

Social Studies makes a seriously strong showing with their second album, Developer, set to drop November 13th. The atmosphere of Developer is dark in a seductive way, with musical elements of alt-J and Beach House (especially on “Sans”). Lead singer Natalia Rogovin’s low, slightly jazzy range is raw, haunting, and downright impressive, the timbre of her voice blending perfectly with the band’s instruments. Best tracks include “Think of the Sea,” which is quietly epic with beautiful echoes, and “Away for the Weekend,” with gritty percussion and rhythmic angst.

Check out “Terracur” and “Away for the Weekend” on their Bandcamp while you’re waiting for Tuesday’s official release, or stream the album now on my new favorite music-related website (besides Sunset, of course), Rdio.

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Local Natives – Breakers

Local Natives released the first single from their upcoming second album Hummingbird; “Breakers” is a perfect representation of what this L.A. band’s all about–ethereal harmonies and echoes, clapping percussion, and beachy vibes. This track is pretty reminiscent of their beyond-brilliant debut album Gorilla Manor, which if you haven’t heard, you should probably put everything else in your life on hold to listen to, like, right now.

Hummingbird, slated to come out at the end of January, will have a lot to live up to, no doubt. But if anyone’s up for the challenge, it’s the Local Natives.

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Screaming Maldini – Summer Somewhere

So summer’s long gone…if you hadn’t noticed. I literally cannot believe it’s already November. Just can’t.

But Screaming Maldini tells us that it’s always “Summer Somewhere.” And now I’m going to apologize for that awful wordplay. Sorry. This track’s really nice, though, starting off with a sweet piano riff and catapulting into a booming chorus on the coattails of group harmonies and sliding beats. The band’s self-titled debut is scheduled to come out in February 2013. Check out “The Extraordinary” if you dug this single!

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Oddisee – Rock Creek Park

If you’re in search of some mellow instrumental hip-hop, I gotchu covered. I’m now a huge Oddisee fan, so I was super excited to see that the prolific rapper/producer came out with a new album, Rock Creek Park, a few weeks ago.

This album is perfect fall music, and perfect for letting your mind wander after inundating your brain with all sorts of information (a.k.a. schoolwork). Like Oddisee’s explanation at the bottom of the Bandcamp page suggests, all the tracks evoke a sort of nostalgia, even if the place you think of while you listen to it isn’t the place he’s thinking of. I’ve never been to Rock Creek Park in D.C., but after listening to this album, I want to go to there. (And while we’re on that note, happy season premiere of 30 Rock!)

Best tracks: “Uptown Cabaret,” “Skipping Rocks,” “The Carter Barron”

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MS MR – Candy Bar Creep Show

The blogosophere’s already a-buzz about indie-pop group MS MR‘s latest EP Candy Bar Creep Show, so I’ll offer this without too much explanation.

MS MR is an apt amalgamation of the some of the best indie-pop artists out there right now: a dash of Flo and the Machine, a sprinkle of Lana Del Rey, and maybe a little Alt-J to taste. The multi-part vocal arrangements and sweeping string parts on all four tracks are hauntingly beautiful, and the whole EP just, like, echoes. The group is on tour this fall with GroupLove, though many tickets are sold out.

Check out the provocative music video for “Dark Doo Wop” below. It’s a real piece of art in my opinion.

Dark Doo Wop from MS MR on Vimeo.

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Levek – Look A Little Closer

Indie folk band Levek is channeling its inner Simon and Garfunkel with its newest album, Look A Little Closer, which technically comes out on the 25th but is currently debuting on Hype Machine.

I don’t make that Simon and Garfunkel reference lightly, as they’re one of my favorite duos in basically all of pop culture. Levek deserves the comparison because of their lilting harmonies, quiet echoes, and cascading acoustic melodies. Give just one listen to “Canterbury Bell,” and you’ll catch my drift.

Although the S&G influences are pretty evident, Levek also mixes in some funkier sounds on tracks like “Muscat Mingle” and “Can’t Buy This Love,” which are perfect chill songs to counter the introspective mood of the rest of the album. On “Solemn Feeling Forever Healing,” Levek introduces some cool vibe riffs that remind me a bit of Air. “French Lessons” rounds off the eclectic mix with instrumental experimentation that is simply pleasing to the ear.

Best track is most definitely “Girl in the Fog,” which is full-fledged S&G with a little twinge of Fleet Foxes, making for an eerie but wonderful mix of old and new. It has a mysterious tranquility that gives it the quality of a song off of a 1970s movie soundtrack.

Watch out for Levek; they’ve got big things ahead.

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