We finally received an answer to Jet’s (RIP) (my personal favorite moment in their illustrious history) 2003 single “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” The smart answer is in the form of this understated single from similarly named, drastically dissimilar musically: Wet’s “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl.” Playing with silence, gentle synths and astounding vocals in a way that James Blake’s eponymous debut album was praised for, Wet’s EP is one of my favorites to be released recently.
The cover of Wet’s EP is a deformed rock in the shape of a face in its hands, a shiny, unfeeling sculpture. The symbolism for Wet is the way these songs feel formed in-time, as lead singer Kelly Zutrau weaves a story throughout, much like a sculptor slowly feels out an unmolded piece of clay into a less unmolded piece of clay. Wet’s EP was released on October 15, and can be streamed (and bought) on their Bandcamp page.
A spiraling downwards. It’s something we have all, at some point, felt. That moment you know you have made a huge mistake, or (you self-assuringly tell yourself) someone else has at your expense. Felt the stomach implode and the brain go numb, but we have never really heard it the way BANKS guides us through that moment. Hushed enough, but brimming with enough teeth-gritted confidence we hear BANKS defiant stance through filtered vocals. BANKS pitch on “This Is What It Feels Like” shakes like one teetering on the edge of bursting with anger and sadness. Synths swarm around her escalating the tension as BANKS ushers in the chorus. The magnitude of these swelling emotions accurately depicted in BANKS new video, seen below, as a lonely BANKS revels in the storm ravaging outside.
A Two Door Cinema Club track produced by all-star electronic artist Madeon? Obviously this is going to be a winning combination. Their new single is titled “Changing of the Seasons,” and the Irish trio recently released the official music video in preparation for an EP of the same name scheduled to release on September 30th. (more…)
I saw RAC for the first in concert before I even knew that the acronym stood for Remix Artist Collective, and I have to say they blew my mind. I liked every song they remixed better than the original and RAC stayed on repeat in my room for weeks after. From Lana Del Ray to Chromeo, RAC could do no wrong when it came to remixing. So when I learned that lead producer André Allen Anjos was set to release a completely original EP titled Don’t Talk To, I was giddy with excitement. While the EP is scheduled to release October 1st, RAC recently released the first single “Let Go,” featuring vocals from both Kele Okereke (remember Bloc Party?) and rising elctro-pop star MNDR. So how is this first taste of RAC’s debut venture into producing something that is entirely his own? (more…)
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…)
The Naked And Famoushas a lot to live up to with their new album In Rolling Waves, set to release on September 17th. They are one of those pop bands that released their debut album and immediately filled U.S. radio stations, commercials, and TV shows until everyone and their grandmother had, at the very least, heard their hit single. Their lead single off of their first album Passive Me, Aggressive You wastitled “Young Blood”, and damn was it catchy.But if you delved past the radio-prepared pop-synths and generic production you could find some more punky guitar riffs and darker tones. Despite this, I expected that The Naked And Famous would quickly become stale and overplayed, destined to a short stint of radio station brilliance before everyone got sick and tired of hearing their music. Yet somehow they never overstayed their welcome. So when I listened to the first single off their new album and felt the familiar twinge of the colorful synth-filled hook injecting happiness into my mind, I didn’t object. (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…)
Listening to Gold Lake’s single “We Already Exist,” it noticeably comes without much of the grainy lo-fi sound that accompanies many a band’s very first output. “We Already Exist” completely bypasses a band’s awkward, still-finding-their-way-and-working-out-the-kinks phase and immediately enters a song that would perfectly soundtrack one of those gorgeous city time lapses (particularly a Seattle one). If you’ve ever seen one of these, you know its a huge compliment; the song feels expansive and beautiful in this same way. And there’s good reason for this, as Gold Lake’s story is enviable enough to leave me a little mad wondering if my invite to Spain got lost in the mail. Gold Lake was initially formed by duo Carlos del Amo and Lua Rios, who met abroad in Europe and were successful musicians under the moniker We are Balboa in Spain (the trio was completed by drummer Dave Burnett once the band rooted in Brooklyn). And, oh, yeah, Carlos just happens to have opened up a club in Madrid so that they would always have a place to celebrate. So, we have: meet cool European, check; form successful band together, check; and open up hip Spanish club, check. The product is Gold Lake, who have already worked with producer Phil Ek (The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty) on their anticipated LP Years, expected out this year.
As you would expect after all their worldly experience, Gold Lake’s single is a polished piece of shimmering pop music. A futuristic take on Fleet Foxes’ first album, featuring similar sparse and tangible guitar strums, and gorgeous layered background vocals. For a band trying to replicate their Spanish successes, their first step has them taking them lead. I only hope that I get invited to Carlos’ cool Brooklyn club when he decides to repeat that success.