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Track of the Day

mmm paranoia flavored tea

Why yes, that is the Talking Heads you’re hearing aped on James Murphy’s “One Touch” off his upcoming juggernaut This Is Happening. Doesn’t really matter though, does it? Murphy’s Byrne-esque monotone and quasi political lyrics (“People who need people to the back of the bus”) slide effortlessly over polyrhythmic percussion and tense competing synths to create a seriously slick tune. Won’t tell you much more than this, but here’s a thought: on an album filled with jams that threaten to rule your summer, this here’s the front-runner.

One Touch is Never Enough

Try as I might, Bruce Springsteen’s music has always been somewhat of an impenetrable wall for me. He should resonate more strongly with me. From his workman-like roots to his 80s shlock, right back to the grizzled folk of Devils & Dust, Springsteen’s career trajectory is right in line with what I’m often drawn to outside of the metal bullshit readers of this site would probably associate with me. Yet throughout my admittedly limited experience with Springsteen, only one of his album’s has really stuck with me (Nebraska), and even then only one song really “hits” me where it “hurts”.

My first intention in writing this blog was to choose Justin Townes Earle’s cover of “Atlantic City” played as part of the A.V. Club’s “Undercover” series, and I’ll still do that below. But “Atlantic City” as I now want you to hear it is a more unique take on the Springsteen classic. For “Undercover”, Earle strums frenetically, replacing the original version’s pain-struck backing howls with a heightened pace and added sense of vulnerability and nervousness. Then, right as I was about to publish this blog, someoneDAVEDESYLVIAtold me the video didn’t work.

In seeking out an alternative video-feed of the A.V. Club rendition, I eventually stumbled upon a live cover from March the 10th of this year. In it, Earle, accompanied by Joe Pug and his usual backing band, says—not long after citing alcohol as an influence for the ensuing performance—that if you don’t like Springsteen then you don’t…

It seems I’m making something of a habit of posting whimsical, folksy music from the north of Ireland.

A couple of weeks back, I blogged ‘You’ve Been Released,’ the new single from London-based Sligo musicians Yngve & the Innocent. This week, I’m focusing on Belfast four-piece John, Shelly and the Creatures – who, by happy coincidence, will support Yngve & Co. at their record launch in Dublin on April 23. Don’t you just love it when a good plan comes together?

Today’s Track of the Day, ‘Long May You Reign,’ was the group’s debut single, and was buoyed by a prominent appearance in the Discover Northern Ireland tourism advertisements across the UK and Ireland these past months. ‘Long May You Reign’ is the driving force behind the band’s one and only album, Dinosaur, which was released back in March of this year, and  is the perfect showcase for the group’s ethereal brand of folk, blues and rock n’ roll. Frontman Walter’s layered, hushed vocals are reminiscent of Elliott Smith, while the song’s earthy acoustic guitar, prickly piano and crazed slide licks recall ’70s singer-songwriters of the Harry Nilsson and Jackson Browne ilk.

John, Shelly and the Creatures – ‘Long May You Reign’

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mmm Darwin…

Alright, so I guess the “rule” for song of the day is that the song has to be upcoming or just released, but shit, have you guys heard “Seeds”? Much hullaballoo was made when “Colouring of Pigeons” dropped in anticipation of The Knife’s Darwinian Electo-opera, Tomorrow, In a Year, but the critical reception to the project has been mixed. You don’t need me to tell you again how I think the naysayers are wrong and that this is one of the most forward thinking releases of our generation, but I do want to call your attention to the best song off the project, “Seeds.”

This hyperelectronic house jam is the most “Knife-ish” thing off Tomorrow, In a Year, but that’s not why it’s the best track. “Seeds” is a slow burning tune that marks the climax of Tomorrow, In a Year: the project. It morphs slowly over time, rocking an 808 beat and yes, opera vocals. Remember that scene in The Fifth Element with the blue chick? This is kind of like that. I’m not gonna give anymore away- you guys should really just get the whole thing and don’t be a pussy about it- but yeah, “Seeds.”

The Knife- Seeds

Mark your calendars guys, May is going to be goddamn awesome. I mean, when four of your most anticipated albums drop in three weeks, how can it not be? The 4th will see Minus the Bear and Broken Social Scene release Omni and Forgiveness Rock Record. On the 11th, The National releases High Violet, while the 18th marks the release of Wintersleep’s fourth studio effort, New Inheritors. And that’s just as far as indie rock is concerned. Nice!!

Of the two songs Wintersleep has released thus far (the other being first single, “Black Camera”), “New Inheritors” more closely follows the sound Wintersleep established on Welcome to the Night Sky, though perhaps a little more on the mellow side. Regardless, it’s a fantastic cut, and if it’s at all representative of the album, we should be in for something special. Tell all your friends.

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We’re all just too geographically, musically, and culturally disparate for it to ever happen, but if Sputnik actually did have an office, The Tallest Man on Earth would be hogging our stereo pretty badly right now. Even as early as April, The Wild Hunt looks like a shoe-in for our year-end top 5, with no less than 10 members of staff already giving at least 4 stars.

The early favourites seem to be “King of Spain” and “Kids on the Run”, but for my money, the album’s highlight is the tortured “You’re Going Back”. Rather than the obvious reference points of Devendra and Dylan, this vaguely unhinged, end-of-tether melody recalls the best of Tusk-era Lindsey Buckingham, in the way it suggests that the writer has an unwavering belief in love even as it tears their mind apart.

Taken from their latest two-track EP, Tastes Like Magic, Three Red Birds showcases mr. Gnome’s most appealing characteritsic; their gorgeous handling of the masculine vs the feminine. While this would make sense, seeing as this is a male/female duo, the actual execution of the theme is impressive. Sludgy, aggressive guitars sparring with the haunting, delicate vocals of Nicole Barille make for an immediately engaging listen that should have you rifling through the rest of their discography. Kinda like a heavy Land of Talk, sans the boring.

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Starkey is a Philadelphia producer who is releasing his second full-length LP, Ear Drums and Black Holes, on April 19 with Planet Mu Records. Starkey’s bouncy, major-key sound is a bit out of place on the usually abstract Planet Mu, but the convoluted details in his production and the active, heavy beats fit in nicely. The two tracks below represent the two distant poles of Starkey’s sound. “OK Luv” is ever-changing and throbbing like any good club banger, whereas “Stars” is introspective and sidereal, which works well with Anneka’s guest vocals. Make sure you also check out the Lala sidebar because I’ve uploaded an alternate version of “OK Luv.”

Starkey – “OK Luv”

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Starkey – “Stars”

Stars (feat. Anneka) by Starkey from Ben Curzon on Vimeo.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t attracted in the least bit to Best Coast because of their music. This isn’t because their music is bad, of course (well, it mostly isn’t) – “The Road”, found on the band’s Something in the Way EP, is one of the best songs of this young year. But what intrigued me was that Bethany Cosentino, the muscle behind the project, was also affiliated with a Cali band called Pocahaunted, which is a totally psychotic psych-folk band that doesn’t sound like it should have any associations with something as phosphorescent as a band like Best Coast. Questions brewed in my mind: why would someone like Cosentino want to take part in a lo-fi, unapologetically trendy project like this? For fleeting recognition from bloggers? (She succeeded in that regard.) Or, perhaps, and this is what I believe to be the case, Cosentino got hung-up in the confines of Pocahaunted, a band so experimental that doing something more traditional would seem like a cop-out. Thus, a new moniker, and a new beginning from those who don’t discover your music through means that involve your former band, was born.

It won’t surprise me, however, if Cosentino totally defies her past allegiances; “The Road” is a step towards doing so. While “Something in the Way” and “Wish He Was You” were sunshiney to the point of being vexatious, “The Road” is immediately a different beast: its opening riff is hard and instant, and propels the rest of the song…

Last month, Pantha Du Prince released “Stick to My Side”, a collaboration with Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) of Animal Collective, as a single. The song comes from his superb February release Black Noise. With the single came five remixes, two of which are posted here. The former is a Four Tet remix, which brings the song closer to a dancefloor jam a la “Love Cry” with enhanced bass and synths. The second takes a completely different spin on the song and makes it more of an Explosions in the Sky cum Toro y Moi affair, emphasizing the hidden guitar riff in the song and altering Panda Bear’s vocals with heavy delay and modulation. Both are excellent interpretations of an already great song.

Stick To My Side (Four Tet Version) by Pantha du Prince

Blame it on my peers (who have been a bit slow to this new genre reveal), but dubstep has been infecting the air lately.  Spreading to this disease is former Seattle-based producer Deceptikon (Zack Wright), whose latest release Mythology of the Metropolis has dropped the womp-womp kick right into his chill electronic work.  The result is nod-worthy tracks like Mythology’s propulsive opener, “Tokyo Burning,” which shows just how far dubstep has come at creating a legitimate and uniform sound, and how artists like Deceptikon are splaying it across their own influences.  “Tokyo Burning” even bangs a bit like old school hip-hop, flopping seamlessly between a woodpecker beat and a two-step jig worthy of the illest Biggie verse never recorded.  Makes one wonder what might happen if Flying Lotus decided dubstep was his thing.

Mythology of the Metropolis was released March 16 on Daly City Records

As if a song from a guy named Gonjasufi could sound like anything else. Today’s song of the day is a hazy, stoner friendly trip hop track off Gonjasufi’s latest release, “A Sufi and a Killer.” The track, “Ancestors,” is one of the tops off the album, a hypnotic, mysteriously ominous prayer catering to Gonjasufi’s weirdly desperate voice. Produced by Flying Lotus, this shit’s pretty fuckin good. Toke UP.

Gonjasufi- “Ancestors”

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In a world where nothing is taken seriously, everything is fair game, multi-media marketing is of paramount importance, and postmodernism runs rife enough to allow us to see intelligence and subtlety in just about anything, the man who samples Lil’ Wayne and slaps it over a Disney sample, forcing ‘Stuntin’ Like My Daddy’ to be a part of one of the most famous father/son stories of all time, making macho thuggery child-friendly, and making nostalgia current, is King.

Face it; DJ Doyou is what 2010 really sounds like.

Broken Social Scene may own the world’s biggest welcome mat (along with revolving door) for their band members, but Broken Social Scene are consistently one of the class acts within the indie rock landscape.  Their way of toying around with ideas as they move through an album, or even a set list, are one of the main attractions to Broken Social Scene’s art-rock style, as they make it work so effortlessly and elegantly.  On May 4th, Broken Social Scene will release their newest album Forgiveness Rock Record, one that surely rival the band’s impressive discography, judging from their single, “World Sick,” provided below.

All in the Golden Afternoon is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Carlos Jackson and Rachel Staggs. Their first release, 2008’s self-titled EP, is an intimate collection of six songs; characterized by dreamy, psychedelic tendencies and vibrant instrumentation, it has since become one of my favourite EPs.

“In the Box” isn’t quite as upbeat as the material from All in the Golden Afternoon, but the reverb soaked piece maintains the breezy atmosphere that the duo does so well. And you gotta love the vocal interplay between Rachel and Carlos. “In the Box” will be featured on All in the Golden Afternoon’s full length album, Magic Lighthouse on the Infinite Sea, due for release some time in 2010. You can hear more at their Myspace page.

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