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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Outdoor Velour: Don't Panic EP

Don't Panic Cover Art

Don't Panic is the latest EP by Bloomington, IN duo Outdoor Velour, otherwise known as Cara Kinnally and Greg Simpson. The six tracks have a retro feel and abundant hooks. Trace influences can be found of many similar setups from Matt and Kim to the Vaselines. The tracks move effortlessly from light jangly pop, to fuzzy lo-fi, to a heavier post-punk feel. Get to know Outdoor Velour. Stream and download Don't Panic at the link below.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Prevrat: Manic Diversions

Manic Diversions Cover Art

Besides writing this blog, I also operate an indie record label, Russian Winter Records, and am part of a couple of music projects. My band, Prevrat, released our latest album, Manic Diversions, yesterday. You can stream and download it at the link below. To download for free, just click buy and enter 0. Please check out the album and hit the "Like" icon for us.

Zorch: Cosmic Gloss/E.M.F.

Cosmic Gloss/E.M.F. Cover Art

The Cosmic Gloss/E.M.F. single from Austin's Zorth is their first new music in two years. The two tracks were worth the wait. Todd Rundgren era vocal layers are teamed with cutting edge techno to create a funky electonic party with just a tease of the psychedlic. Both tracks are spacey overtures to the high art of electronic music. Noisy, ambient, driving and melodic, these two tracks cover all the moods. Hopefully it won't again be two years before we have more music from Zorch. Stream and deownload Cosmic Gloss/E.M.F. at the link below.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Knesset: Coming of Age

Coming of Age Cover Art

Coming of Age is the debut album from Phoenix quartet Knesset. With this debut the band does just that, comes of age. The 10 tracks feature rich shoegaze layers, abundent pop hooks, hints of lo-fi and some heavy post punk guitars. This album has it all and is a powerful and vibrant debut from a band that will surely deliver more in the future. Can't wait. Stream and downlaod Coming of Age at the link below.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Okinawa Lifestyle: Underwater

Underwater Cover Art

Underwater is the second EP from Tbilisi, Georgia duo Okinawa Lifestyle. David Datunashvili and Gigi Jikia make electronic music that is moody, expressive and engaging. Minimalist beats, ambient overtones and chillwave freshness all meld together in seven tracks that transport the listener away from the here and now. Lush textures and atmospheric synths abound on the EP, with vocals occupying a back space where the add yet another layer to the ambient melange. This is electronic music at its best. Stream and download Underwater at the link below.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cassie: Something You Always Wanted To Hear

Something You Always Wanted To Hear Cover Art

Something You Always Wanted To Hear is the aptly titled debut EP from Finnish quintet Cassie. Simply stated, the EP is definately something you want to hear. The three expertly crafted tracks showcase diverse influences ranging from Evanescence to Robyn. This EP is a must have, shoegaze virtuoso offering, led by the beautiful vocals of Sofia Thuren. It doesn't stop there though. Cassie's debut is great music, great performances and a great band. Much, much more is needed from Cassie. Stream and download Something You Always Wanted To Hear at the link below.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Teens: Teens

TEENS Cover Art

Last October, I was lucky enough to attend the Scion Garage Fest in Lawrence, KS and experience eight hours of pure garage band heaven. Appearing were bands such as the Cloud Nothings, Hunx and his Punx, Times New Viking, Tyvek, Thee Oh Sees and many more. One band that was missing and should have been there was Teens. Their self-titled debut album is a garage band masterpiece of hard-edged driving music, out back vocals and energy, energy, energy. It just doesn't get any better than this. It's only a matter of time before Teens reach the mass audience they deserve. Stream and download Teens at the link below.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Elevator Fight: Post Empire

Post Empire Cover Art

Elevator Fight is a Philadelpia quartet making lo-fi music the way it should be made, with strong songs, melodic instrumentation and great vocals. They have posted 5 advance tracks to Bandcamp for their debut album, which is being released later this year. The vocals of Zoe Kravitz deserve special mention. They are pouty, emotional and all together wonderful. Also standing out is the hard edged guitar of Dominic Angelella, which provides great music to frame the songs and Kravitz’ vocals. Also rock solid and driving are the drums of Joe Baldacci and the bass of  Khari Mateen. Taken together, what you have is one great band that is showcased perfectly on Post Empire. This is a band to be reckoned with. Stream their tracks at the link below.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

mindthings: Consequences of Unseen Effects

Consequences of Unseen Effects Cover Art

Consequences of Unseen Effects is latest single from Bordeaux, France artist mindthings, aka Clement Peres. The two tracks and a remix take one on a journey through shimmering landscapes, dreamy vocals and minimalist electronics. With these tracks the artist once again draws the listener into his vision of a world populated by chilled out synths with just a hint of a lo-fi esthetic. The included remix is a nice variation of the title track from a more House perspective. mindthings delivers dreampop that lightens the soul and elevates the head. Stream and download Consequences of Unseen Effects at the link below.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Waines: STO

STO Cover Art

STO is the sophomore album from the Italian trio Waines. The album, which was recorded in Sicily, mixed in New York City and mastered in California, is a tour de force of industrial tinged garage rock. The heavy, driving tracks are familiar sounding, but have there own unique feel. This album can be described very simply... great rock and roll. Thoroughly modern, but with influences ranging from Led Zepplin to Jay Reatard. This is a band that we will hopefully see touring the states soon. Great musicianship, great songs and great rock abound on STO. Stream and download Waines STO at the link below.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bad Lamps: Soultronic EP

Soultronic EP Cover Art

Soultronic is the debut EP from L.A. duo Bad Lamps. The four tracks feature abundant hooks, both lyrical and instrumental, minimalist beats and synths, and poppy guitar parts. Danceable and fun, the tracks are also expertly crafted pop songs. Finding a unique niche in electro-pop is not easy, but Bad Lamps have a distinct unique sound. While inlfuences are there of course, such as LCD Soundsystem, Bad Lamps' music is original and not overtly derivative. The Soultronics EP signals worthy successors to the void left by LCD's departure. This is a great debut and I can't wait to hear what comes next. Stream and download the Soultronics EP at the link below.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Race of Robots: Race of Robots

Race of Robots Cover Art

Race of Robots is the self-titled debut album from the Washington D.C. trio of Zach Holmes, Coby Nida and Thomas Oliver. The ten tracks are built on minimalist beats, Hall and Oates vocal styling and a penchant for chillwave chic. Smooth indie textures are teamed with hooky guitars for a sound that is familiar to any aficionado of the music of Washed Out, Puro Instinct, Panda Bear or Neon Indian. The main difference with Race of Robots is a reliance on guitar layers, rather than building up the songs as sample heavy retreads. The unmistakable R&B feel and psychedelic leanings blend to make music that is interesting and enjoyable. Stream and download Race of Robots at the link below.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Force Publique: Force Publique


Force Publique is the self-titled debut from Denver duo Cassie McNeil and James Wayne. The nine tracks reveal a dark eletro-pop that is propelled by minimalist synthesizer, noise beats and the compelling vocals of McNeil. This is music that swirls around your senses and immerses you in the band's dark vision. The album is haunting and beautiful, with a lo-fi undertow and subtle complexity instrumentally. Records like this are the future for post-punk. Stream and download Force Publique for free at the link below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oh NO It's POK: Visitors NOT Visitors

Visitors NOT Visitors Cover Art

Short, fast, hard, electro music with shades of Devo, Funkadelic, David Bowie and about everything else you can think of thrown in, is what Oh NO It's POK is all about. Their debut full length, Visitors NOT Visitors, delivers a frenetic ensemble of synths, riotous guitar, noise and funk that promises to impress. The catchy songs are so fun to listen to, they overshadow the very high level of musicianship on the record. Track after track comes at you at full speed. Though heavily electronic, the punk influence is unmistakable. This is serious music that doesn't take itself too seriously.  Stream and donwload Visitors NOT Visitors at the link below.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Yellow Dogs: In The Kennel EP

In The Kennel EP Cover Art

Post-punk as a genre has a wide range of variability in the sound of bands ascribing themselves to this label. When I think of post-punk in a fundemental sort of way, what is envisioned is a sound that has its roots in punk, but transcends the limitations of the medium and musicianship associated with punk. That is an apt description of The Yellow Dogs. The Brooklyn quartet's debut In The Kennel EP has an authentic sound, with all of the best influences of punk and indie. There is a subtle edgyness along with melodic tendencies. The band is from Brooklyn, but yet there is an air of the UK in the vocals and arrangements. Repeated listenings to the four tracks keep bringing me back to the comment of authentic. The Yellow Dogs sound as if they should have been contemporaries with the Gang of Four and other founders of the genre. The In The Kennel EP deserves a lot of attention. This is a debut effort which signals a band that will have much to say. Stream and download The Yellow Dogs at the link below.

Footnote: When I wrote this review, I was not aware that the band was originally from Tehran, Iran. It is amazing that such strong music has found its way out of such an oppressive place. These guys deserve huge kudos and much success.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Faults: Quarter/Lucy Single

Quarter/Lucy Single Cover Art

Duos abound in today's indie music scene. Some, like Sleigh Bells, Cults and my own band Prevrat, use the studio and Ableton live to move past the limits of only 2 people to fill the music with all the complexity wanted. Others though, who have the stones for such exploits, lay themselves bare to revel in the limitations imposed by two people playing and recording in essentially a live format. The Faults, from Sydney, Australia, is such a band. Guitar, drums and vocals laid bare to the essentials, is the very essence of garage rock in the 21st Century. While comparisons to the Black Keys and White Stripes is inevitable, this misses the point. There could not help but be comparisons given the limitations of the medium. However, with the Quarter/Lucy single, The Faults show us a band unafraid to deliver everything that garage rock should be in a format where there is no hiding under overdubs. Quarter/Lucy is a great debut effort from a band that deserves attention and earns the right to be received without comparisons. Stream and download The Faults single at the link below.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pek Pek: You/Too Heavy

You/Too Heavy Cover Art

You/Too Heavy is the sphomore EP from LA quartet Pek Pek. There is a lot to like about this band. They are decidely heavy, have cool lo-fi production amd use the mandolin as a straight up rock instrument, rather than as some pseudo-roots hipness. The tracks feature an overall heavy ambient feel. It's just going on in there, with pushed back vocals and guitar riffs that take the listener deep into the music. The influences to be heard are many, from the old, such as Gang of Four and New Order, to the new, such as Times New Viking and Cloud Nothings. Yet while similarities are there, Pek Pek does not sound like these bands. They are a unique voice of their own. The more I listen to this EP the more I love it.  Stream and download You/Too Heavy at the link below.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Earth Is A Man: The Earth Is A Man

The Earth is a Man Cover Art

The Earth Is A Man is the self-titled debut album from the Chicago based instrumental quartet. While billed as a post-rock or math-rock band, these genres ultimately prove too limiting. There are elements here of jazz-rock fusion, classical forms and more straight forward indie licks. At times one could even envision listening to Yes, without Jon Anderson. One might expect a progressive instrumental band's music to be somewhat indulgent. This is, however, not the case with The Earth Is A Man. The songs are not drawn out, but rather have lengths fitting the music and accepting of a listeners' need for a finite structure. While sufficiently complex to showcase the band's musicianship, the songs are also melodic and well formed.  Stream and download The Earth Is A Man at the link below.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We Are Trees: Girlfriend

Girlfriend Cover Art

Girlfriend is the second EP by Virginia Beach duo We Are Trees. The tracks are silky and melodic, with a slight lo-fi vibe. The music is acoustic guitar dominated but has wonderful electric guitar hooks coming in and out to complement the understated vocals. The tracks will sound familiar to anyone into indie music, but have superlative originality. Girlfriend is an eminently listenable record and seems to be fresh every time I hear it. No one thing stands out, but rather this is a balanced record that works on all the levels, vocally and instrumentally. Stream We Are Trees' Girlfriend and their first release, Boyfriend, at the link below.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Connection: Stop Talking EP


Stop Talking is the debut EP from Portsmouth, NH quartet The Connection. The music is true 60's retro, think Dave Clarke 5, The Standells and The Searchers. The Connection would have been right at home on Shindig. No cutesy indie here, just straight ahead traditional 60's song forms and music. This is 60's music done the way the originators envisioned: hooky, commercial and fun. Take a trip back to the days when Rickenbacker guitars and Vox amps ruled. Stream and download Stop Talking at the link below.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mrs. Magician: The Spells 7"

THE SPELLS 7" Cover Art

It is no surprise to readers of this blog that I love garage bands in all of their varieties. Today we have another gem, Mrs. Magician. The Spells 7" is the second release from the San Diego band and the two tracks have all the good qualities of surfy, 60's retro rock. The Spells is an upbeat track with hook laden guitars and vocals. The sound is very familiar and immediatly just nice to listen to. Angel Baby is a slow ballad that would be at home in the soundtrack of a 60's teen heartache movie. If you love gaarge music like I do, then Mrs. Magician is for you. Stream and download The Spells 7" (and also their first release the There Is No God 7") at the link below.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tread Water: North Atlantic Drift

North Atlantic Drift Cover Art

North Atlantic Drift is the debut EP from Cambridge, UK quartet Tread Water. Right off, there is an obvious similarity to Interpol. This is mainly fueled by Harry Ixer's vocals, but is present musically as well. That might seem reason enough to dismiss Tread Water, but this would be a big mistake. Tread Water is their own band and are much truer to a post-punk and garage ethos than any easily made comparison. The 5 tracks on North Atlantic Drift stand on their own with meaningful Dylanesque lyrics, compelling music and well crafted production. I personally love the guitar playing on every track and Ixer's voice seems to find a place inside me to take up residence. The tracks just sound better every time I listen to them. Bottom line on Tread Water is that any comparisons are unfair. This is a complex band with deep sensibilities for the post-punk art form. Stream and download North Atlantic Drift at the link below.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bloody Knives: Disappear

disappear Cover Art

Submitted for your approval, a dark night of erie stillness in Autin, Tx. The air hangs heavy untill, in a flash of light, there materializes the band King Crimson. Shocked, you are drawn closer to discover that this is no  rehash of a bygonne sound, but rather the new musings of Bloody Knives. Disappear is the latest EP from the trio and it is full of noise induced industrial punk with the most wonderful heavy electronics. Bloddy Knives are unique in this era. Their approach is at once fresh, yet familiar. The tracks are dark and haunting, with superlative musicianship. Have listened to Disappear a dozen times now and each listen brings new textures to my ears. Bloody Knives is a standout even in a musically rich place like Austin. Stream and download Disappear for free at the link below or be doomed to a place where sight, sound and mind are lost.