Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/30: In Grenada

Artist: In Grenada
Latest Release: Break
Genre: Pop/Rock/Indie

Their latest press release states In Grenada was "born from the ashes of Philadelphia's premier ukulele indie-rock band, Movable Type." I'm assuming here that most everyone who reads this doesn't follow the ukulele rock band scene all that closely, so In Grenada's debut album will likely be your introduction to the songwriting of multi-instrumentalist Jesse Leyh, who makes a great impression with his new band on their first effort, Break. The record channels the tightly wound energy of Arcade Fire and then filters it through warm pop melodies, nimble guitar lines and buoyant synth riffs that combine for an irresistible summer vibe. Intelligently composed and enormously catchy, Break is pop-rock music at its best and will hopefully put In Grenada firmly on the map.

Key Tracks: "Distance and Temptation," "It Doesn't Matter," "Beating Heart"

Download: Distance and Temptation (MP3)
[Right click to download]


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/29/10: The Migrant

Artist: The Migrant
Latest Release:
Travels in Lowland
Genre: Indie/Folk/Pop

It's rare for me to stumble upon Danish artists in my constant search for great indie music, but it seems every time I do it's a fantastic experience. The latest Denmark native to catch my ear is singer/songwriter Bjarke Bendtsen, recording and performing as The Migrant, which is a somehow fitting moniker for the eclectic mix of styles and influences he incorporates into his unique folk sound. Favoring an acoustic guitar but throwing in everything from accordion to flute to violin, Bendtsen subtly shifts between genres--psychedelia and retro pop, to name a couple--while maintaining his signature aesthetic. He's created a truly absorbing record with his debut, Travels in Lowland, and you can hear/download a couple of the best tunes right here!

Key Tracks: "The Organ Grinder," "Nothing But Clues," "Lullabye (Play It On the Radio)"

Download: The Organ Grinder (MP3) In the Sun (MP3)
[Right click to save]


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/28/10: Jump Back Jake

Artist: Jump Back Jake
Latest Release:
Call Me Your Man EP
Genre: Rock/Blues

Jump Back Jake was introduced to me as the side project of Jake Rabinbach, lead guitarist for Francis and the Lights, a group which may be familiar to you but didn't ring a bell with me (I've since given them a listen, however). Fortunately, Jump Back Jake's classic-style rock 'n' roll should get by just fine on its own merits as their debut EP, Call Me Your Man, certainly proves. In 13 minutes the group covers a fair amount of territory, from groovy pop to fiery southern rock, with impressively catchy melodies and a retro vibe that's hard to resist. Hopefully there will be more to come from these guys as this side project has plenty of potential. Take a listen below!

Download: Call Me Your Man (MP3)


Monday, September 27, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/27/10: Young Man

Artist: Young Man
Recent Release:
Genre: Singer-songwriter/Indie

Last year, Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox posted a song on his blog, a cover of Deerhunter's own "Rainwater Cassette Exchange" which Cox called "fantastically superior to the original." The YouTube poster behind the cover is Colin Caulfield, now recording as Young Man, and once you take a listen to his beautifully haunted music you'll understand why there's been so much buzz surrounding him this year. His debut EP, Boy, was released about a month ago, and I've had it in steady rotation ever since. His enticing harmonies and hypnotic soundscapes (created with guitar, organ and assorted digital loops and such) are reminiscent of several indie mainstays (most notably, perhaps, Animal Collective), but Caulfield is carving out a niche all his own, and you won't want to pass up the chance to discover it.

Key Tracks: "Home Alone," "Just a Growin'"

Download: Up So Fast (via Stereogum)


Friday, September 24, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/24: Elsinore

Artist: Elsinore
Latest Release:
Yes Yes Yes
Genre: Pop/Rock/Indie

There's something about the title Yes Yes Yes that carries an almost overeager urgency to it, but that's not really what you get from indie pop artists Elsinore on their excellent third album. Certainly the record has plenty of energetic, even anthematic moments, yet it also bears the mark of a band that is willing to be patient in order to get the most out of their songs. Granted, the explosive hooks and sing-a-long choruses are what might draw you in initially - and for good reason, they're undeniably great. What you'll stay for however, is the consistent evidence of mature, intelligent songwriting that makes this such a beguiling pop-rock album. Yes Yes Yes has too many twists and turns to count, slowing down and speeding up often enough to keep you on your toes, waiting for the next big chorus or guitar riff but loving the gorgeously melodic ballads and unusual instrumental breaks in the meantime. Fortunately, you won't have to exercise much patience to enjoy such a fun record.

Key Tracks: "Lines," "Chemicals," "Yes Yes Yes"

Download: Lines (MP3) Yes Yes Yes (MP3)


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/23: Lost in the Trees

Funny thing, it turns out the 23rd is today, not yesterday. Now that the dates are squared away, let's get to the music.

Artist: Lost in the Trees
Latest Release:
All Alone in an Empty House
Genre: Indie/Orchestral/Folk

The Genre tags you see above - I should admit - were written out of pure laziness on my part, as Chapel Hill band Lost in the Trees already refer to themselves as a "folk orchestra" anyway. But that's pretty much the best term you could think to use to describe the group after seeing them labeled as such. Their sweepingly cinematic full-length debut album veers between film score-esque instrumentals, epic indie rockers and quiet folk ballads, each an absorbing piece featuring a full string selection, horns, accordion, guitars and more. That frontman Ari Picker has a classical music background should come as no surprise as you listen to the beautifully complex arrangements, and fans of literary folksters like The Decemberists will enjoy the depth of the lyrical narratives that make All Alone in an Empty House such a notable record. There's nothing quite like this one, so listen up.

Key Tracks: "All Alone in an Empty House," "Walk Around the Lake," "Love On My Side"

Download: All Alone in an Empty House (MP3)


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/22: Stornoway

Artist: Stornoway
Latest Release: Beachcomber's Windowsill
Genre: Pop/Folk/Indie

Stornoway's debut album, Beachcomber's Windowsill, is the perfect combination of intelligent pop and emotional folk, and has served as something of a soundtrack to ease my transition from summer to fall this year. It's no wonder the English quartet (at times a sextet) found themselves a home on 4AD as they fit in quite comfortably with indie heavyweights Bon Iver, Camera Obscura and Department of Eagles. That's high but certainly appropriate praise which you're likely to understand if you give their fantastic first effort a listen. The richly detailed instrumentation, arresting vocal harmonies and singer Brian Briggs' soaring melodies are about impossible to resist. Required listening for 2010, trust me.

Key Tracks: "Zorbing," "I Saw You Blink," "Watching Birds"


This four-song set from the 4AD Sessions is worth watching in its entirety, but here's one tune:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Daily dose - 9/17: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Artist: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Latest Release:
Horse Power EP
Genre: Electronica/Indie

Indie electronica duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. have made a great first impression on me with their debut EP, Horse Power, which combines bits of many popular indie genres to create something that feels both appropriately trendy and refreshingly unique. It's not difficult to hear contemporaries like Local Natives and past influences like the Beach Boys (they DO cover one of their songs, so that's easy) in the band's sound, but Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott are more than just imitators. Using an unusual smorgasbord of sounds that ranges from jazzy electric guitars to shimmering synths to subtle percussion, all under a blanket of lovely vocal harmonies, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. prove themselves to be a versatile and genuinely interesting band to watch.

Key Tracks: "Vocal Chords," "Simple Girl"

Download: Vocal Chords (via Stereogum)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/16: Clubfeet

Artist: Clubfeet
Latest Release: Gold on Gold
Genre: Electronica/Dance/Indie

Having drawn comparisons to Hot Chip and Junior Boys, it's not difficult to understand why Melbourne-via-Capetown trio Clubfeet are making some serious waves this year. Darkly funky grooves, layered vocals, and soft washes of synth characterize the band's debut, which generally prefers smoldering, low-key dance-rock to explosive, club-ready anthems. Even those less inclined to dig into the indie electronica scene will likely find much to love about the band's appealing mix of alternative dance hooks and smooth pop sensibility. They certainly prove worthy of the aforementioned comparisons, but Club Feet also build a head-turning style all their own on this stellar first effort

Key Tracks: "Edge of Extremes," "Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It)," "D.I.E. Yuppie Scum"

Download: Edge of Extremes - Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It)


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/15: Frontier Ruckus

Artist: Frontier Ruckus
Latest Release:
Deadmalls & Nightfalls
Genre: Folk/Americana/Indie

I've been loving Deadmalls & Nightfalls, the latest album from indie folksters Frontier Ruckus, for a few months now, so I think it's high time I spread the word. The band's intense and intelligent take on folk music is unlike anything else I've heard, an entrancing recipe of lush instrumentation (acoustic guitars, accordions, horns, drums, banjos, etc.) and singer Matthew Milia's delightfully strange and detailed narratives. Packing verses thick with vivid imagery and clever phrasing, the group's songs often take a few spins to comprehend, but exploring the frenzied highs and brooding lows of the record is an enlightening experience. A must-hear for 2010.

Key Tracks: "Nerves of the Nightmind," "Pontiac, the Nightbrink," "I Do Need Saving"

Download: Nerves of the Nightmind (via Radio Free Chicago)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/14: Kim Taylor

Artist: Kim Taylor
Latest Release: Little Miracle
Genre: Folk/Singer-songwriter/Americana

This has been a great year for singer-songwriters, especially those of the more traditional folk/Americana variety, and though you may not have heard Kim Taylor's name mentioned in that sort of discussion yet, you should expect to soon. Her new album, Little Miracle, drops next week, and it's a stunner. Taylor's blend of folk, blues, and pop is both emotionally gripping and sonically gorgeous, with world-weary tales delivered in captivating melodies by her rich, smokey voice. The record draws you in from the start and demands your attention right through the very last chord, a rare thing indeed.

Key Tracks: "Lost and Found," "American Child," "Fruits of my Labor"

Download: Lost and Found


Monday, September 13, 2010

Daily Dose - 9/13: Dax Riggs

I've decided to try something different for my blog posts. Hopefully this will results in me being more consistent. Less words, more music, sound good?

Artist: Dax Riggs
Latest Release: Say Goodnight to the World
Genre: Rock/Blues/Psychedelia

Dax Riggs may be familiar to those who followed his underground rock and metal projects (Acid Bath being perhaps the most famous) but most of us I imagine haven't been introduced. If that's the case, take the time to check out his latest offering, Say Goodnight to the World, a dark pop-rock record that includes blues, metal, and psychedelic influences combined in a surprisingly catchy and accessible whole. It's an enjoyably sinister and consistently fun ride proves Riggs is quite capable of handling a diverse set of tracks ranging from blazing rockers to eerie ballads.

Key Tracks: "Say Goodnight to the World," "You Were Born to Be My Gallows," "No One Will Be a Stranger"

Download: No One Will Be a Stranger


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review: Mountain Man - Made the Harbor (* * * 1/2)

After a few years filled with the emergence of high-profile indie bands like Girls and Women, both of which are comprised entirely of males, perhaps we shouldn’t be at all surprised to find that a band named Mountain Man is not, in fact, a man, but three women. And really that’s a welcome surprise in this case, as such a seemingly straightforward moniker conjures thoughts of yet another sup-par songwriter attempting to follow the success of breakout acts Fleet Foxes, Tallest Man On Earth, and the like. These girls will still appropriately be lumped in with their fellow folk revivalists due to their earthy, sparse sound and nature-themed lyrics, but Vermont’s Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath have created something uniquely lovely on their debut full-length, Made the Harbor. (Continue @ In Review Online)