A “match made in heaven” is not just a silly cliché exclusively for fairytales, as Timothy Heller and Jared Ryan Maldonado prove. Joining together in 2012 to form the band Dresses, this duo from Portland, Oregon has the sweetest pair of vocals around. Both artists have very light and calming voices, never missing a high note making them an absolute joy. Dresses’ latest EP Sun Shy dropped July 23rd, just in time to take the edge off those back to school blues and remind us how beautiful the end of summer can be.
After I got over how freakin’ clever the title “Sun Shy” is, I took a listen to the track of the same name. I was not really sure what to expect but less than 2 seconds into the song, Maldonado enters with some pretty smooth vocals. The amazing thing is, because of their minimal instrumentation, his voice shines through clearly. Next came Heller’s part, light and carefree, hitting the high notes easily and unrestrained, drawing comparisons to Ellie Goulding. The transition between each member’s vocals is so flawless in every song, making it a soft and gentle listening experience.
Including “Sun Shy,” there are 9 tracks on this lovely EP that range from quick and poppy to leisurely and calming, each of which will bring a smile to your face. These songs are a perfect addition to anyone’s music library so go find your favorite Dresses song.
Start with listening to the track “Sun Shy” here:
And then head over to iTunes to check of the rest. Happy listening.
Okay, let’s talk about Lorde and the EP she released to the US back in March of this year. How did it take me this long to find out about her? Maybe it’s because she’s from New Zealand, or maybe I don’t listen to enough pop music, but I feel like she came out of nowhere with The Love Club. Either way, this girl has an astonishing voice and more raw potential than I think I’ve ever heard from a young artist like herself. While Ella Yelich-O’Connor, also known as Lorde, is living many 16-year-old girls’ dreams, her EP release The Love Club suggests a sense of maturity that belies her age. Aptly titled Bravado, the first song of her EP is a testament to her confidence, something she is going to need a great deal of with the amount of hype she has been receiving recently. When I first listened to her hit single “Royals” I wasn’t expecting anything special, but I immediately loved it. After listening to the EP on repeat for a week I have yet to get sick of “Royals,” and it’s not even the best track on here. Her lyrics are intelligent and offer critiques of popular culture, and what makes it even better is she writes them herself. She’s certainly not the first child pop star to make the world stare with awe and envy, but just thinking about the sheer amount of musical ideas she has incorporated into The Love Club EP is enough to make my head spin. (more…)
You know, I like Paper Lions. I like their new album, My Friends. I like that sometimes lead singer John MacPhee sounds like Brian Wilson and I like it less when he sounds like a version of Brian Wilson that just inhaled helium. I like that Paper Lions sing about their friends, about going on road trips and vacations to Philadelphia. Paper Lions sing songs stuffed-filled with nostalgia and wishful childhood ideals like a piñata ripe to be busted open and feasted on, and I like that, too. These songs would fit perfectly on the soundtrack to Garden State, which is a movie I like. But you know what else? I don’t love Paper Lions. (more…)
Susanne Sundfør’s voice is hauntingly beautiful, lilting and quavering so that it often seems on the verge of cracking. Yet you’d be a fool to think it will ever break. The single “White Foxes” off her new album The Silicone Veil quickly reached the No. 1 spot on the charts in her home country of Norway, and it’s easy to see why. Her voice is as cold and distant as the landscape she describes, a clear icy sound that pierces your ears and leaves them aching for more. While this might seem hard to improve on, Susanne Sundfør is no stranger to remixing, and along with several others, she has put together a remix EP of “White Foxes”. Featured remix artists include Big Black Delta, Kleerup and Enochson, Maps, and Sundfør herself. So, how do they compare to the original? (more…)
Every summer there are albums released that are self-classified as the “perfect summer playlist,” full of fast-tempo rage songs. Why does everyone think that’s what summer music is all about? Sometimes we just want to lounge by pool instead of partying by it. For those sunny but calm afternoons, Matt Corby’s EP Resolution should be set on repeat. This three-song EP is unusual because each song has a different sound, but each is all connected by the same angelic voice.
Corby’s voice can be compared to that of Dallas Green of City and Colour but also to the styles of One Republic. His song “Resolution” begins ghostly and eerie, but then picks up becoming a soulful and empowering piece. One commenter on Soundcloud described this song as “ear sex,” which this song would be if that was a real thing.
His other two songs on this EP, “Evangelist” and “Lay You Down,” are pure masterpieces. “Evangelist” is eight and a half minutes full of his wondrous voice. Even the name of the song suggests that Mr. Corby knows how gospel-pure his vocals are. The last song “Lay You Down” keeps a slow rhythm throughout but doesn’t fail to have those chilling moments that give us musical frisson.
With summer in full swing, now is inevitably the time for a new indie-pop-rock band to release a single that will become the anthem for every sunbaked high school road trip and beach day. Yet while a catchy single can elevate a group to the level of mainstream ubiquity, one song is quickly overplayed, and over the past couple summers I heard the same songs from bands like Walk The Moon and Foster The People so many times that I wanted to rip my hair out any time I turned on the radio. So when I first listened to the new single released by Kid Astray “The Mess” and learned that it was topping charts on stations like Sirius XM’s Alt Nation, I was cautious with my enthusiasm, sensing the dreaded “Pumped Up Kicks” syndrome.
I am happy to announce that you can set those fears aside, because with their debut EP, aptly titled Easily Led Astray (full stream below), Kid Astray has successfully created an album that is not wholly supported by its single. This is an issue many bands encounter when they rapidly gain popularity, and it can ruin an album for me. While tirelessly exuberant guitar riffs lend some substance to songs like “Like You Care” and “Hey Sister”, upbeat keyboard melodies and breezy 80’s synths make sure everything stays playful and danceable. With this EP, Kid Astray has created something that is both unique and comfortingly familiar, and you never get the feeling this young group is unsure of their sound. All of the songs on the album fit well together, and the ambient synth transition from “the Best of Us” to “The Mess” is close to perfection. “All Alone We’ll Be Just Fine” concludes the EP on a mellow note, with the lofty vocals and passionate harmonies. Seeing as the six members of Kid Astray are barely out of high school Easily Led Astray is a very solid first effort, and they will have plenty of time in the future to add polish and refine their sound.
Inspirations may include the four confining walls of your bedroom or something sad that happened to you today, like your girlfriend had to work late or you spilled your artisan coffee just after it had cooled down to drinkable temperature levels. With breakthroughs in technology over the past five years, a laptop became the fastest way to gain notoriety and express oneself. That one time you ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the crusts cut off, now you can totally write a song about its symbolic importance as the end of your childhood.
These bedroom recordings have gained popularity with the rise of artists like Youth Lagoon and Perfume Genius whose 2012 album, Put Your Back N 2 It, a silly name for a depressingly serious album, is completely underrated in my opinion. But none of this is to say that Air Review is as talented or interesting as either of those, but they are certainly not as silly as I was making them out to be. (more…)
If you’re looking for tracks to create a perfect summer playlist, one of these from You Me & Us’ new EP Stay Inside is mandatory (full stream below). The hazy beach-bound indie pop that emanates from this trio may just see as many turns in my stereo this year as Best Coast’s The Only Place did last year. The warm, controlled voice of Carlee Hendrix is more sweet than Bethany Cosentino’s and their fuzzy dream pop would snuggle itself perfectly between Wavves and the Dum Dum Girls. And yet, their youth and songs of first love brings a carefree naiveté that can only make you nostalgic. What better tunes would make a better sonic backdrop for a beach sunset or a lake sunrise? (more…)
I’ve found that in the last year I’ve become more and more drawn to really great electro pop. I’m not talking anything they’re playing on your local top 40 station. I mean, really great, original, unique stylings. That is everything that French electro pop diva Owlle brings to the table. Her icy etherial sound mixed with playful synth tinkering falls somewhere between a brooding Ellie Goulding and a more playful Lykki Li.
She recently released the Ticky Ticky Remix EP with remixes by Team Ghost, Grum, Strip Steve and Moonlight Matters. Of the three “Ticky Ticky” remixes, I prefer the first by Strip Steve with it’s vocal glitches. Then, the EP ends with a remix of “Disorder” which I would argue even outdoes the original.