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Track of the Day

A brand new National song has found it’s way onto the internet, with a particularly special premise for the seasoned slow-burning indie rockers; “Think You Can Wait” is the first song the band has written specifically for a film. Win Win is  Tom McCarthy’s latest feature following 2003’s The Station Agent and 2008’s The Visitor (excellent films, I might add), as well as writing credits for Pixar’s Up, and it’s been getting a great reception on the festival circuit, including the currently underway SXSW. Starring Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey Tambor, amongst others, the film follows Mike Flaherty (Giamatti), an attorney, high school wrestling coach, and all-around sad sack, who uncovers a wrestling prodigy, only for the boy’s mother to turn up, from rehab and without a penny, and threaten to dismantle everything.

“Think You Can Wait”, which plays through the credits, is a moving, pensive song that seems to float along as gracefully as we’ve come to expect of the band, on the back of Berninger’s rich baritone and typically understated instrumentation and string arrangements. It’s a song that tucks in nicely between “Lemonworld” and “Runaway”, off their hugely-acclaimed 2010 release High Violet, though as a whole burns more in tune with the mood of 2007’s Boxer. “I’m out of my mind / think you can wait?”, Berninger wonders broodingly in the enigmatic lyrical style that, over the course of five LP’s, has carved itself into its own comfortable, idiomatic niche and as he wallows, “I’m trying / but…

At no more than a year older than me, it’s remarkable just how much Sandman Viper Command sound like seasoned vets. Of course they are: they released their first album a few years ago, not long after hitting their 20s, and they’ve spent the last few years touring relentlessly. Now, the Burlington boys with the ridiculous name are finally back with some new music. As good as their first album Everybody See This was, and it was pretty good, “Rough Love” might be better. The first single off their upcoming 7″ of the same name, the track shows the progression of a band that took a step back from school to live, breathe and study music. The Beatles influence is obvious, but it’s the song’s second half that catches my fancy, going from bouncy, riff’d out jaunt to an amplifier exploding blast of Iommi-fied groove.

Listen to it, won’t you?

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There’s a hell of a lot going on in “Don’t Stop”, the latest teaser off The Dodos’ forthcoming No Color. It’s instilled with the groups typical energy, tightly wound around masterful finger-plucking and pitter-patter percussion, and I’d dare say it might just be one of their best songs to date. There’s still no sign of Neko Case’s reported contributions to their 4th LP but it’s safe to say my interest in the rest of No Color has hit a fever pitch.

The Dodos – Dont Stop by Ragged Words

Dan Mangan’s Nice, Nice, Very Nice was shortlisted for last year’s Polaris Prize. Unfortunately, it didn’t win, Karkwa (who?) did with Les Chemins de Verre, beating out Mangan and other big names like Broken Social Scene, Caribou, Shad, Tegan and Sara and the Sadies.

So basically the Polaris Prize is kind of a crock, but if you’re from Canada you probably knew that already. But if you’re from Canada and don’t know Dan Mangan, well, you’re kind of a crock, too.

Maybe Nice, Nice, Very Nice isn’t the best album on last year’s short-list, but fuck if it isn’t close to it. “Robots Need Love Too,” the album’s second single, is a lot of fun, but as fun as “Robots” is, it’s nothing compared to the album’s third single.

“Sold” is everything that makes Dan Mangan stand out in an increasingly oversaturated market of quirky folk pop—namely, it’s really good. The track adds a bit of Barenaked Ladies into one of Mangan’s twangiest songs, and it’s all nicely carried by his somehow gruff-yet-boyish vocals.

And the video’s kind of cool, too. So watch it—and listen to the song—here. Pretty please?



It all started as a joke; a suggestion on Twitter that people should go out and send “Pow”, arguably grime’s premier posse cut (and certainly its most famous), to the top of the Christmas charts in the UK. Lethal Bizzle – the man who enjoyed top billing on the original track – couldn’t have predicted the reaction to his comment, but at least he was smart enough to harness its power and set about recording an updated version straight away.

Problem is, he rushed it.

“Pow 2011″ is still pretty good – P Money, Wiley, and Ghetts absolutely kill their verses – but it’s not hard to listen to it and think about how much better it could have been. Kano completely fluffs his bars (and takes 16 to everybody else’s 8 too), JME’s attempts at singing are just awkward, and Chipmunk brags about having written “Oopsy Daisy” – trust me son, that’s the kind of thing you should be letting people forget. Most worryingly, it just feels like, for the most part, everybody is trying to upstage all the other MCs on the track – Face, especially, taints his own verse by doing this, as do JME, Chipmunk, and Kano, and even Lethal B’s chorus, noticeably more aggressive than the original, just sounds like he’s trying to shout over the crowd. As if that wasn’t disappointing enough, it’s even been revealed that some MCs were denied a spot on the track because they took too…

After three long, agonizing years of stark Robin Pecknold demos and hit-or-miss J. Tillman solo albums, Fleet Foxes as a whole finally return with their announcement of a new album, Helplessness Blues and stream of the album’s title track, which hints at an album that sticks to the sound that brought Fleet Foxes to their indie stardom in the first place.  Part “Ragged Wood” and part “Mykonos”, the song divides evenly into two sections:  a pastoral acoustic section and a more grandiose rock section.  The song’s weakest point is the transition between these two sections because, frankly, there isn’t one.  The acoustic strumming slows a bit, and the second section enters with the bluntness of a sledgehammer.  The mixing between these two sections is pretty awful, so hopefully, Helplessness Blues won’t have these same issues throughout the album, considering the brilliant production that characterized the group’s self-titled debut.

Helplessness Blues is out May 3rd on Sub Pop.

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues by subpop

Eisley’s first album in almost four years is about to be released through Equal Vision Records on March 1st. The album is called The Valley, and this song “Ambulance” is taken from it.

The Valley was recorded at Rosewood Studios in their hometown of Tyler, Texas, with producer/engineers Gary Leach and Austin Deptula (LeAnn Rimes), and mixed by Andy Freeman at Bay Area Tone in San Francisco. The album’s title refers to the emotional turmoil that the DuPree sisters, who front Eisley, experienced as they crafted their third album: Sherri enduring a failed marriage; Chauntelle, a broken engagement; and Stacy, a painful breakup. The only relationship that ended on their terms was the split with Warner Bros. Records, the label that released their first two albums and several EPs. Promising to bring listeners through the band’s darkest and most trying times, “The Valley” reveals their strength, patience and perseverance. On tracks like “Smarter” and “Sad,” there’s a musical aggression and emotional urgency that transports you to the moment they were written, laying bare the open wound of the broken heart. And the chilling album closer, “Ambulance,” is an icy snapshot of the very moment of betrayal and abandonment. Elsewhere, there’s a stately solace in the hopeful “Kind” and whimsical “Mr. Moon,” and buoyant string arrangements decorate opener “The Valley” and “Watch It Die.”

Anybody with an ear for this kind of thing knows the Live Lounge, BBC Radio 1 feature originally presented by Jo Whiley, and now by the lovely Fearne Cotton.

Live Lounge, on which artists are invited to perform an original alongside a cover of their choice, is renowned for its tendency to throw up interesting and unexpected takes on well-known tracks (Arctic Monkeys doing Amy Winehouse’s ‘You Know I’m No Good,’ Robyn taking on Alicia Keys’ ‘Sleeping with a Broken Heart’). Being the BBC, it’s all lovingly archived, bizarrely frequent recurrence of N-Dubz and all.

Hawaiian singer-songwriter Bruno Mars is the latest to grace the BBC studios, and his debut performance is everything a cover version should be: beautifully arranged, personalised and performed in the light-hearted manner in which it was intended. He even throws in a couple of lines from the Beach Boys’ similarly-titled ‘California Girls’ and a clever take on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely?’

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “songs about Satan are great and everything, but I really wish more death metal bands wrote about dinosaurs,” then this track’s for you.

Here’s “Reptilian Age,” the fourth track off Blood Rainbow’s Lethal Message.

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THE BLOOD OF PREHISTORIC ANIMALS WAS FLOWING LIKE WATER
WHEN THE T-REX WAS TEARING THEIR FLESH
SCALED TITANS WERE WANDERING THE BLEAK LAND
THEIR RACE EXTINCT THOUGHT, THEIR GENES ARE WAITING FOR THE COMEBACK

FROM THE DEPTHS OF TIME
GIGANT ANCESTORS

THEY ARE RUSHING TO US THROUGH THE FOG OF AGES
HAVE RECORDED THEIR NAMES AMONG THE IMMORTALS
YOU CAN BE A HERO IN A PAST ERA
COME WITH ME AND WE WILL FLY TO THE REPTILIAN AGE

THE FOAM OF THE ANCIENT OCEAN IS COLOURED RED WITH BLOOD
THE WILD SEA REPTILES ARE BITING EACH OTHER
GIGANT PTERADONONS RULE THE SKY
THEY PROUDLY LOOK DOWN AT THE LAND SEEKING PREY

FROM THE DEPTHS OF TIME
GIGANT ANCESTORS

THEY ARE RUSHING TO US THROUGH THE FOG OF AGES
HAVE RECORDED THEIR NAMES AMONG THE IMMORTALS
YOU CAN BE A HERO IN A PAST ERA
COME WITH ME AND WE WILL FLY TO THE REPTILIAN AGE

REPTILIAN AGE! A PAST ERA
REPTILIAN AGE! FROM THE DAWN OF EARTH
REPTILIAN AGE!
FORGOTTEN WORLDS

I’m not somebody who’s prone to hyperbole, so I’ll say this in my own typically understated manner: this is the best thing ever to happen to me in my life.

On January 27, Ian Maleney’s Quarter Inch Collective will release Quompilation #1, a download/cassette-only compilation of 13 Irish acts covering their favourite songs from 2009 in their own inimitable styles. The compilation features the diverse line-up of Cloud Castle LakeFlokGinolaHipster YouthKid KarateMarket Force,No Monster ClubPatrick KelleherRhino MagicSacred AnimalsSpiesSquareheadand We Are Losers, although the exact tracklist is being kept firmly under wraps.

Luckily, we’ve been supplied with a couple of advanced screenings from the tape, and today saw Dublin scuzz-pop outfit Squarehead premiere their cover of labelmates Adebisi Shank’s ‘(-_-)’  (in single quotes that almost looks like Napster propaganda.) It’s not just a straight cover though: the trio have added a sun-kissed vocal melody so that we can all now sing along to the tune without looking as demented as I usually do.

Squarehead – (-_-) (Adebisi Shank Cover) by Quarter Inch Collective

(Photo by Loreana Rushe, modified by Nialler9)

I haven’t been the nicest to Dallas Green over the years but I’ll be the first to tell you that he does one hell of a job on Canada’s first hip-hop anthem of the new year.

That’s right, I said hip-hop.

Last week Consequence of Sound premiered “Live Forever”, one half of Two Songs, the upcoming charity 12” by Shad and Dallas Green. Shad, for those of you who don’t know, is absolutely fucking awesome. Last year he put out TSOL, his third entry into the imaginary Canadian Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. Like Shad, TSOL is also fucking awesome.

Do you know what else is fucking awesome? “Live Forever”, which you can hear below.

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If you like what you hear and feel like supporting the Skate4Cancer you can pre-order Two Songs at MapleMusic. Act fast, though, because with a limited pressing of just 556 copies I imagine City & Colour fan girls will eat this up faster than any fat joke I can make.

For all the shit Britney gets nowadays, her singles have always been top notch. Even when her vocals were long ago deemed utterly fake and her persona as manufactured as a slice of American cheese, a fan would always have the singles: the sensual “I’m A Slave 4 U,” the clever “If You Seek Amy,” the absolutely perfect “Toxic.” And here is Britney trailblazing pop yet again with a single that blows most of Circus out of the water. Britney does dubstep, something I couldn’t believe until I verified from multiple different streams. Listen to the whole song (it’s really good!), but the bridge around 2:05 almost made me fall off my chair.

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Indie stars The xx seem to be taking it easy these days, but the same can’t be said of their beatsmith extraordinaire, Jamie Smith, who runs around with the under the name of Jamie xx these days. Apart from his prolific remix work, Smith is set to drop I’m New Here on February 22, which features reworkings of some choice cuts from soul master Gil Scott-Heron, dunked in a ripe dose of xx production. Snippets of the upcoming album can be found all across the net, but the latest track to drop now comes with it’s very own pink rectangular block as a visual aide. Slick, just like the song.

Despite the fact that solid information on Wu Lyf is exceedingly scarce, they’re the type of band I feel I know better than half the bands whose middle names and favourite TV shows I could find on their myspace pages in a matter of minutes. For one thing, they’re genuinely different from anything else around right now. They’re a band who seem to willingly defy and avoid any sense of definition; the most unwilling of rock stars. But for a group so determined for mystery and behaviour that seems to only perpetuate their legend, their elusiveness only serves to shoot down the idea that it’s all a gimmick. And if that isn’t enough, the music should speak for itself because what Wu Lyf have is something truly special: tortured, melancholic and absolutely mesmerizing. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

WU LYF-spitting it concrete like the golden sun god from LUCIFER YOUTH FOUNDATION on Vimeo.

To mark the death of Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty, acknowledged here on Tuesday, Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters dug out an old cover of the late great’s biggest hit, ‘Baker Street.’

The Foos’ cover of ‘Baker Street’ originally appeared way back in 1998 as a b-side to their ‘My Hero’ single (this being back in the days when physical singles actually existed, although most were on CD by then, thus rendering the term ‘b-side’ technically obsolete).

Baker Street by Foo Fighters

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