It’s bands like Land of Pines that remind me not to judge a band by their photo. It’s clear that this Seattle quintet spends little time worrying about their social media presence or band photos and instead just focuses on kicking ass. Which, in my book, is more than acceptable.
Their 2013 EP The Long Defeat harkens not to the increasingly overplayed and over-saturated dream pop of the 50s and 60s, but to the nostalgia of the era that saw indie rock at its peak – the late 90s and early 2000s. Yet, their sound isn’t outdated or a formulaic repeat of some of the greats by which they are influenced–Superchunk, The Anniversary, Manchester Orchestra, and even a little Built to Spill. The propulsive, groovy guitar licks straddle the line between intricate indie rock and pop sensibilities combined with earnest male and female vocals reminiscent of a personal favorite, 1997.
They balance the dark and light, complete with tempo changes, unexpected riffs, and weaving melodies most beautifully in the final track of the EP, “What Dust We Dote On” (streaming below). As KEXP so aptly described, they are “Rilo Kiley with razor blades.”
When paired with someone who can use a camera and someone who has some music business sense, this tiny local Seattle band has the potential to be find its way into the national consciousness.
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.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin, but it’s probably more of a forlorn love now. One forgotten after a two year absence. After some time abroad in Russia creating a documentary about their experience hobnobbing with Russian diplomats (Perks of naming yourself after a Russian president. Also, the exact reason I am naming my new band The Prince Harrys), maybe you and SSLYBY grew apart. But with their latest single “Nightwater Girlfriend,” it’s a love quickly reignited when the music is just as catchy as when they left.
To keep riffing on band-name-related-puns, if “Nightwater Girlfriend” were a romantic comedy, it wouldn’t be the one where, after a long absence the lovers reunite, reconnect and reminisce about all the things they once loved about each other. It’s the kind of movie where the couple finds themselves and just starts making out all messy like they had never been apart. A song that immediately gets you going with hand claps and sophisticated garage rock sensibilities that SSLYBY most likely picked up from their once upon a time tour mates, Tokyo Police Club.
Someone still loves you (again), SSLYBY, because this time you have promised me that there’s more music on the way: Fly By Wire is out on 9/17/13 . Just promise you’ll never leave me again.
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 come to the realization that no matter how hard I try or how diligent I am about keeping up with my inbox, there’s just no way that I can relay all of the amazing tunes that I receive. In an attempt to keep up, I’ll be sharing my “Friday Favs,” a compilation of some of the best things to come my way. Enjoy…
“Luck Now” by Big Scary
I’m going to have to bring you more on this band later, because there is so much love happening here. This Aussie duo just signed to Barsuk and their album Not Art is due out September 17th. Preparing for obsession then. (more…)
Vancouver based indie rock quintet Said The Whale is midway through a summer tour after just releasing the very well received “I love you” EP (Spotify / iTunes only $2.99!). Luckily for us Tyler was able to take some time off from their very busy travel schedule to answer some questions for Addicted2Shows’ staff writer AJ Dent.
AJ: It looks like you guys are down around San Diego today?
Tyler: Yeah, we will be there today. We’re just driving down the I-5 right now.
AJ: Awesome. Well, if we could first talk about the I Love You EP that just came out – very exciting. It sounds like in these tracks there’s some struggle going on for personal growth, and it seems like you frequently reference family dynamics. What was some of the inspiration behind those songs?
Tyler: Probably family is a huge influence on me and on Ben. It’s hard to say why all that stuff sort of came out at once. I really don’t know what it is; there’s never any real rhyme or reason why we write about what we write about. It’s just whatever happens to come out when we sit down with a guitar and a piece of paper.
AJ: It sounds very organic, just naturally coming out. (more…)
After their grooviest output yet, album Holy Fire (released February 11th on Transgressive Records), Foals follows up the extremely unsettling video for “Late Night.” A video with an ending scene that depicts a man hanging himself with another assumedly deathly scenario.
Foals are making a tradition of these NSFW videos. The opening scene of “Bad Habit” finds Foals’ lead singer Yannis Philippakis collapsed in the dessert. Suddenly Yannis is spurred on by the band’s trademark spunky guitar lines as he stumbles after a nude woman, representative of, “A bad habit. one he cannot shake.” One he urges “not to follow.” Heedless to his own advice, Yannis chases this woman further into the dessert. And as the song climaxes in a sparkling, frantic guitar solo, the oasis before Yannis’ eyes collapses, leaving him stranded, struggling in the dessert.
The video serves as the perfect showcase for Foals’ new, funkier sound which may lack in the intense introspective nature of previous releases that sometimes left Foals sounding like rock’s awkward little brother. This, along with songs like “My Number,” are a step towards a dancier, much more fun version of Foals–more akin to the pure pleasure Two Door Cinema Club pumps out. Something appropriate to bump at dancehalls and not just bedrooms with vinyl players.
Nabil, the director of this video, has a knack for these nihilistic visual accompaniments. He’s also worked with the Yeezus-dropping Internet-breaking Kanye West, creating pairings for the solitary sounds of “Welcome to Heartbreak” and “Coldest Winter” from his album 808s & Heartbreaks.
Speaking of Kanye, he (He?) could surely offer the most succinct summary of a man’s quest for the bare lady through the dessert: He thirsty.
Reptar’s new record Body Faucet will be out on May 1st via Vagrant Records, but you can hear the whole thing right here. These guys are a riot live–I saw them a few months ago in Los Angeles. The record is catchy as hell and it wouldn’t surprise me if “Sebastian” turns into the Summer 2012 “Pumped Up Kicks” phenomenon. Listen now while it’s still a voluntary decision and you can say, “I knew them when…”
My feelings on Best Coast are generally mediocre at best, but this song caught me off guard–in an amazing way. This is the title track on their upcoming album The Only Place on Mexican Summer out on May 15th and I’m definitely excited to see where this record takes them. Perhaps a little less noisy, a little more poppy, and perfect for a West Coast summer!