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Monday, December 31, 2012

Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 10 Videos of 2012

Videos continue to be an important medium for bands to get their music out to the public. The creative output that videos generate gives us some great visuals to go with the wonderful emerging music. Here are the Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 10 Videos of 2012, as determined by your pageviews.

#10: Blonds - Kite

#9: The Rest - Always On My Mind

#8: Christine Leakey - Shine My Tarnished Sheen

#7: Noir Coeur - Avalanche

#6: Papier Tigre - Afternoons

#5: Jeremy Panda - Business of Forgetting

#4: We Only Said - Get Out Freakie

#3: Arrange - Two Garden Children

#2: Plankton Waves - Cloud Caravan

#1: Travel Check - Go Back Home

Friday, December 28, 2012

Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 20 Artists of 2012: #10 - #1

Today we have the Top 10 artists on our countdown of the Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 20 Artists of 2012. There was much great emerging music this year. The artists in this Top 20 represent those that have had the greatest number of page views on the blog this year. Yesterday we featured #20 - #11 and so today here are the Top 10 Artists for 2012 on Floorshime Zipper Boots.

#10: Betrayal At Bespin

#9: Lake Radio

#8: Evenings

#7: Cassie

#6: Young Jesus

#5: Love & Radiation

#4: The Swerve

#3: Mrs. Magician

#2: Foxygen

#1: The KVB

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Floorshime Zipper Boots Top 20 Artists of 2012: #20 - #11

Today we start our countdown of Floorshime Zipper Boots' Top 20 Artists of 2012. There was much great emerging music this year. The artists in our Top 20 represent those that have had the greatest number of page views on the blog this year. Today we will feature #20 through #11. Tomorrow we will show you the Top 10.

#20: Dog Bless You

#19: Teen Suicide

#18: Walk:

#17: The Uglies

#16: Pile

#15: Blue Sky Black Death

#14: Keepers

#13: Mirrors

#12: White Lung

#11: Ritualz

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sun Glitters: It's Snowing and the Girls are Singing

It's snowing and the girls are singing cover art
It's Snowing and the Girls are Singing is the new album from FZB favorite and dreampop artist/producer extraordinaire Sun Glitters, aka Victor Ferreira. This is a collaboration album featuring vocals from noted artists such as Steffaloo, CoMa and Anna​-​Maria Marjamäki. The eleven tracks are deep visions into Sun Glitters' signature sound of atmospheric, lush synthpop with glitchy overtones. One of the most consistent artists around, Sun Glitters continues to deliver excellent music with each new release. Stream and download It's Snowing and the Girls are Singing  for free at the link below.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Triptides: Sun Pavilion

Sun Pavilion cover art
Indiana psych rockers and FZB favorites Triptides have released their latest album, Sun Pavilion. The twelve tracks are a jangly drive down a surf drenched beach. Triptides brand of garage rock makes you yearn for the halcyon days of summer and babes by the pool. This is the third record by Triptides we've featured on FZB and the band continues to impress, showing growth as songwriters, while staying true to their signature sound. Stream Sun Pavilion at the link below.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hazy Mountains: Breeze

Breeze cover art
Breeze is the debut full length album from German dreampop artist Hazy Mountains, aka Julian Prott. On the eleven  tracks, soaring synth pads melt into glitchy samples, while ambient sonic touches shimmer all around. With some stunning melodies and guitar parts, Prott constructs a shoegazey blanket to curl up with by the fire all winter long. Stream and buy Breeze at the link below.

Motel Beds: 2 New Videos

Last month we reviewed the fine new album Dumb Gold, from FZB favorites Motel Beds. Here are two new videos for the tracks Runnin' for Nothin' and Dream of Sleep from that album.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twin Guns: Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams (2012) cover art
Sweet Dreams is the new album from Brooklyn garage duo Twin Guns, aka Andrea Sicco and 'Jungle' Jim Chandler. The eleven tracks have a hard edged dark aesthetic, with a distinct 60's surf vibe. Fresh and imaginative, Twin Guns take a page from the Velvets with a lo-fi "factory" live feel to the record. This rock duo is original and inventive, not just another Black Keys clone. Catch the wave, stream and buy Sweet Dreams at the link below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Goodman: What We Want

What We Want cover art
What We Want is the debut full length from NYC indie rocker Goodman, aka Michael Goodman. After releasing a promising EP earlier in the year, What We Want is the realization of Goodman's full potential. The album glistens with eleven tracks of hooky, catchy and highly radio ready pop songs. Rather than employing heavy reverb, lo-fi production, glitchy synths or other trendy production gimmicks, Goodman uses a tried and true technique, writing damn good songs, to deliver a debut full length that is a must have. Stream and buy What We Want at the link below.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Washing Machines: Demo'z

demo'z cover art
Washing Machines is a new LA based garage band. They have just released a debut EP of three demo tracks entitled, appropriately enough, Demo'z. The tracks are true to the garage genre, but with a bit more pop sensibility. Lo-fi and drenched in reverb as one might expect, the tracks show much promise for the trio to grow into a band worthy to carry the mantle of Ty Segall or Jay Reatard. Get in on the ground floor with Washing Machines. Stream and download Demo'z at the link below.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gpsymth: Ripostes

Ripostes cover art
Ripostes is the debut album on Stars and Letters Records from Gpsymth (pronounced Gypsy Moth), aka Peter Quinn. The album features nine tracks of lush synthpop. Reverb drenched, with haunting vocals, Gpsymth makes a beautiful sonic debut. There is an ambient airyness to the tracks, which evoke pastoral visions and lead the senses through misty musical vibes. Gpsymth again shows that, in the right hands, the chillwave genre continues to have substantial pleasure to deliver. Stream and download Ripostes (for free till the end of the year) at the link below.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Op/Ed Series: The State of Indie in 2013

Welcome to the first of a series of guest Op/Ed pieces on the state of indie in 2013. The state of indie as it affects emerging artists and small/DIY labels is a subject that we all should care deeply about. The struggle of indie artists with the realities of earning a living, while at the same time trying to make innovative music, is an issue of paramount importance. Artists face the devaluation of their intellectual property. They face a new breed of "major" labels, masquerading under the banner of indie, but for all intent and purpose, operating as majors and growing to dominate indie radio, publications and concerts.

A prominent indie radio channel uses a tag line which states "independent, unsigned and under the radar." Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality the tag should be "major indie label dependent, major management firm represented and major PR firm affiliated." The idea that the 10 largest indie labels are really "indie" is not credible. What has been spawned is a dominance of large labels that, unlike the traditional majors, pay paltry or no advances, pay paltry or no tour support and love the 360 deal, which gives them a cut of everything the artist makes.

This is a subject that needs to be discussed. Emerging and independent artists deserve to have the fruits of their labors carry value. They should not be expected to tour 365 days a year to eak out a meager living, while giving their music away for free. Small indie/DIY labels should be able to have a business model that actually sustains them as businesses. They should not be reduced to money losing labors of love.
This blog is committed to being a vehicle for this dialog and has invited knowledgeable contributors to write Op/Ed pieces voicing their views on the subject. Below is the first of these, written by the highly experienced artist/producer Mikael Johnston, the driving force behind FZB Top 20 band The Swerve and the Billboard Top 10 charting Dresden & Johnston. Mikael started his career as the co-producer and songwriter for the Warner Bros. act Mephisto Odyssey. Following his tenure at Warner Bros., he’s continued his diverse journey as an artist, engineer, mixer, remixer and producer working with such artists as; I am The World Trade Center, The Sounds, Smash Mouth, Goapele,  Lily Allen, Nadia Ali, Some Ember, Blondie, Oh No & Chris Keys, among others.
Coming will be articles by Mark Roberts, Founder of Stars and Letters, a small NYC indie record label and other stakeholders in the arena we all call indie. Let us know what you think. Email us at russianwinterrecords (at) gmail (dot) com.

Mikael Johnston: The State of an Indie Artist in 2013:
This article is based on research for a guest lecture I gave at Chabot College in their music business class. I'll break it down into 3 parts. Why digital content delivery killed record sales, the misinformation that the Internet has leveled the playing field in regards to artist exposure, and why major labels sold out their artists to Spotify.

1. Record Sales
Record sales are approximately 1/3 of a band's main source of income. The three main sources of income are record sales, publishing and touring/merchandise sales. People intrinsically don't put a value on intellectual property (i.e music, books, software etc) delivered on non-physical media. This is why we've all been pirating software since the dawn of the PC in the late 70s. Once the digital age hit and people could digitize music and trade it on the internet it was all over for record sales. Record sales have dropped to approximately 40% (for both physical and digital sales combined) of where they were in 2000. The good news is that iTunes sales are slightly up this year from what I've read, which could be a good indicator that the newer generation coming up who where raised on iTunes have accepted this as the way society consumes music. Although, I admit that could be my own wishful thinking. The bad news is that people don't buy albums anymore, they buy songs. So when a band put out an album pre 2000 people generally bought the entire record at about $15.99, which if the band was signed to a label (like I was back then) the artist would have grossed about $1.50 per sale. Some may argue that  iTunes pays roughly 70% of $9.99 (just under 7 bucks) and that artists have it better now. Again the problem is that fans now only buy one or maybe two songs on an album, which only makes the band about $.55 after iTunes and the digital distributors take their cut. If the band is signed to a label, the label still takes between 50-90% of that $.55. So even if a band sells a million downloads of a hit song they're making pennies, as opposed to selling a million albums in the pre 2000 world in which the bands gross profit would have been about 1 to 1.5 million dollars. Labels and iTunes know this is a problem for bands but they don't seem to care, Labels are trying to make up the difference by singing artists to 360 deals and Apple has never denied that iTunes has always been more of a means to sell iPods than making money from actual music sales. I could go on but I think you get the idea...

2. The internet has leveled the playing field for indie artists
This is perhaps the biggest piece of misinformation that is currently accepted by many indie artists and bands. Many of the high traffic music sites (sites that can get a band real exposure) are either owned by major labels and their subsidiaries or the sites, if operating independently, either work on a pay for play system through the sale of adverts, or they are biased towards select labels and artists whom are being represented by specific PR agencies. In other words it's absolutely no different than it was when bands were trying to promote via print media prior to about 2004. In other words the forum may have changed from print to digital but the methodology is still the same.

3. Labels have sold artists out to Spotify
When I was researching this article I found out that it takes something like 4 million plays on Spotify for an artist to generate $1100. I've heard other numbers since my initial investigation that were slightly better, but still ridiculous. It's impossible for artists, or labels for that matter, to make any real money streaming music on Spotify. So why did all the major labels who are supposed to be savvy corporations put their catalogs on Spotify knowing this? Simple, Spotify cut a back room deal with the majors to give them stock in Spotify for the rights to stream their catalogs. So the labels sold out their artists for ownership in Spotify. It's outrageous and perhaps the least publicized and biggest "Fuck You" the labels could have ever done to their artists. And for those who have been convinced that Spotify helps by giving bands free exposure, that's more myth than truth, but that's another story for another day...

In conclusion, my opinion is that artists where far better off prior to about 2002 when major labels and terrestrial radio were still king and music was primarily consumed on small plastic discs. I know we were all screaming back then about how labels were screwing artists but we had it so much better back then in comparison to now. It was actually possible in those days for a good indie band to make a living through the combined revenue of record sales, touring and publishing. Now that record sales have been gutted and are unlikely to recover there doesn't seem to be much hope for the old model. Today you have even more bands than ever, all fighting over a much smaller pie with no feasible solutions, just a bunch of greedy bottom feeders trying to suck the last bit of marrow from the industry's bones. With that said, it's not that I'm all that nostalgic for the past. The past wasn't all roses. Labels were greedy and screwed artists, but there was a lot more to go around so it wasn't so painful. I'm all for change, technology and embracing the future of this digital age. The problem really has to do with the old system refusing to adapt to a new world. It comes down to evolution, and those that don't evolve die. We are all witnessing the slow and painful death of what was once the music industry.

Labels prior to 2004 used to sign bands for ownership of their copyrights while giving reasonable advances, video and tour support. Even a developing act prior to 2002 would often get an advance of $100,000 or more (my band did in 1998). Subsequently, almost all labels now pay very small or no advance money, rarely give video or tour support, yet expect bands to sign 360 deals, which in a nutshell means that the label gets a cut of every possible revenue source a band might have. This is not labels evolving to a new world, it's just greed combined with lack of vision.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Synthetic Epiphany: Equalize

Equalize EP cover art
Equalize is the new album from electronic musician/producer Synthetic Epiphany, aka Marcus Levy-Chance. The nine tracks are breathtaking examples of atmospheric, liquid dubstep. With beats that rivet ones attention to the music, which is rich in wonderous melodies, Equalize is a stirring listening experience. This is easily one of the best instrumental works released this year. Stream and buy Equalize at the link below.

These Seeds: Ghosts Video

Here's a video for a new track from FZB favorites These Seeds. The track Ghosts will appear on their new album coming in January.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Similarobjects: Synchronicity is the Norm

synchronicity is the norm cover art
Synchronicity is the Norm is the latest album from Philippines electronic artist/producer Similarobjects, aka Jorge Juan B. Wieneke V. This is Similarobjects' fourth appearance on FZB and his music continues to enthrall us. Synchronicity is the Norm meanders through thirteen tracks of glitchy, hipnotic electronica. Melding ambient elements with hip hop beats, samples and imaginative synths, Similarobjects constructs music that is compelling and original. Stream and buy Synchronicity is the Norm (for only $5) at the link below.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Aural Method: When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody

When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody cover art
When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody is the debut album from Houston post-rock artist Aural Method, aka Matt Kidd. The fourteen tracks represent an amazing body of work for a debut, where beauty is foremost and sonic pleasure reigns above all. Melodic and orchestral, Aural Method weaves ambient textures with  the intrumental leads to make music so fine it simply must be heard, as it is beyond mere words for description. Stream and buy When I Drifted I Heard A Faint Melody  at the link below.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Urbantramper: Stephen Dedalus Is My Homeboy Video

Here's a new video from New Zealand band Urbantramper for the track Stephen Dedalus Is My Homeboy from the 2012 FZB reviewed album Internet Freedom Is Love.

Deadbeat Synesthete: Singularity

Singularity cover art
Singularity is the latest EP from New Jersey electronic artist Deadbeat Synesthete. The five tracks are dominated by an 80's retro synth vibe. The EP wanders through melodic synth lines, glitchy embellishments and darkish inspired vocals. Minimal drum machine beats, move things along a chillwave continuum with new wave overtones. Stream and download Singularity at the link below.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Emke: Breakaway

Breakaway EP cover art
Breakaway is the debut EP from London based electronic artist/producer Emke. The four tracks are an imaginative mix of torch song style, dense synth pads and dark haunting melodies. Inhabiting the space between darkwave and synthpop, Emke weaves a hypnotic sonic vision of compelling vocal dominance. This is a debut that shows an artist confident in her ability and at home with challenging the convention of synthpop as ordinary.  Emke should be discovered by everyone. Stream and the Breakaway EP at the link below.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

FZB Top 20 of 2012: Coming Dec. 27th & 28th


Our year end Top 20 of 2012 list is coming, with #20-#11 on December 27th and #10-#1 on December 28th. Be sure to click on your favorite band's review, as it is our readers page views that determine the Top 20.

Princesse: A Six-Song EP

A Six-Song Ep cover art
French pop duo Princesse have just released their latest, A Six-Song EP. This DIY project builds on their previously released demos and a split 7" to showcase the musical growth the duo have experienced. The six tracks are polished pop songs, where every part is essential and nothing is wasted. Minimal beats, melodic lines and silky vocals set just the right mood. Princesse make dreampop that is engaging and warming. Stream and download A Six-Song EP for free at the link below.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jeremy Messersmith: Paper Moon

Paper Moon cover art
Paper Moon is the latest album from Minneapolis singer/somgwriter Jeremy Messersmith. What Messersmith creates with his music is a mood where beauty is transcendent. The six tracks on Paper Moon weave subtle melodies together to deliver pop songs that are gateways to inner peace. Blending influences from ambient electronic music and folk, with a touch of retro styling, Messersmith crafts music that transports the listener into the soul of the music. Stream and buy Paper Moon at the link below.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Work Drugs: Delta

Delta cover art
Today marks the release of Delta, the new album by FZB favorites Work Drugs, aka Thomas Crystal and Benjamin Louisiana . The duo make smooth, danceable dream pop that revels in catchy melodies and hooks. Work Drugs have risen to a fairly high degree of mass appeal (for an indie artist) with their expertly crafted releases and abundant touring. Delta is poised to take the band even higher with its finely polished sound. Stream and buy Delta at the link below.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lebanon Hangover: Why Not Just Be Solo

Why Not Just Be Solo cover art
UK post-punk duo Lebanon Hangover, aka Larissa Iceglass  and William Maybelline, have released their new album, Why Not Just Be Solo. The eleven tracks are a dark journey into some of the best post-punk anthems we've heard in quite a while. Haunting and minimal, the tracks stay with you like a shadow from the hazy street lights. With abundant 80's influences and a channel to the Velvets, Lebanon Hangover craft an album of sublime angsty goodness. Stream and buy Why Not Just Be Solo at the link below.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fiat: Returns Bundle

Returns Bundle cover art
Ever so rarely, there comes around a goup of artists who's unique vision breaks with all previous bounds. Such is the Kansas City based band Fiat. Blending jazz, classical, electronic and rock, Fiat challenge the listener with truly original music. Their originality also extends to their concept of releasing their music, where they call their releases bundles, rather than albums. Returns is their debut bundle and is a raw, improvisational journey through experimental music that everyone should embark on. Stream and download returns at the link below.

City and The Sea: Strange Feeling Video

Two years after their last release, Ontario rockers City and The Sea will be releasing their next EP titled Action Figures "soon." We have a video for the first single Strange Feeling. Check it out below.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Low Man: Low Man EP

Low Man [EP] cover art
Pittsburgh based garage band Low Man have released a new sel-f'titled EP. The six tracks blend influences from classic rock and blues with a post-punk aesthetic to create an EP of raw rock n roll. Sparsly recorded, with a slight lo-fi production quality, Low Man deliver an authentic rock EP harkening back to the days of live recording and rock with one shake your head.  Stream and buy Low Man at the link below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lowercase Noises: Passage

Passage cover art
FZB favorite Lowercase Noises releases a new EP today titled Passage. Lowercase Noises is the moniker of Albuquerque artist Andrew Othling. Once again, Othling has crafted a stunning musical journey out of his unique vision, that blends instruments such as banjo and harmonium into a modern post-rock record. On Passage, Lowercase Noises builds lush ambient layers to cradle melodic phrases, forming a truly beautiful musical experience. Othling is one of the most creative and visionary artists making indie music right now and should be included in everone's collection. Stream and buy Passage at the link below.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tjaere+Fjer: II

II cover art
II is the new EP from Berlin based artist/producer Tjaere+Fjer, aka Jens Christian Madsen. The six tracks are dense, heavy synthpop that bring a serious musicality to a genre that has been dominated by lighter, trivial music in recent years. II has a sonic darkness that is compelling, like a tense novel. Melodically complex tracks are paired with virtuostic performances to deliver an EP that demonstrates the power to be found in electropop music. Stream and buy II at the link below.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tours: Okay EP

Okay - EP cover art
Okay is the new EP from FZB favorite Tours, aka electronic artist/producer Dylan Sieh. The four tracks continue Sieh's penchant for chillwave leaning electronica. Tours' music is melodic and ethereal, with sonic layers that range from atmospheric synth pads to 8-bit influenced lines. Tours is an artist that consistently delivers on the promise of innovative music. Stream and download Okay at the link below.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Faults: Patients EP

Patients EP cover art
After over a year, FZB favorite Australian garage duo, The Faults are back with a new EP, Patients. The wait was well worth it. The five tracks are a tight blend of blues influences and post-punk aesthetics. In a format dominated by the Black Keys and Japandroids, The Faults manage to carve out a powerful unique sound, with a lo-fi edge. The Faults serve up a dazzling EP that needs to be part of everyone's collection. Stream and buy Patients at the link below.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Prevrat: For You Video (NSFW)

Besides the FZB blog, we also have a record label, Russina Winter Records. Here's a video (NSFW) for the track For You by our artist Prevrat. Adapted fromn the experimental film Palindrome ++. Produced and Directed by Jorge Castro, aka Fisternni. For You will appear on the Symbols album, scheduled for release in March 2013.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pile: Dripping

dripping cover art
Dripping is the new album from Boston indie rockers Pile. Blending aspects of post-hardcore and grunge, with just a dash of pop styling, the ten tracks drive forward with an intensity that brings to mind a band like The Used. With vocals that instantly go from melodic crooning to in your face screaming and packed with fine guitar work, Pile have crafted a real winner. This album is classic in the sense that it is timeless, representing excellent rock and roll and not a period or genre specifically. Stream and buy Dripping at the link below.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jacob Faurholt: Geek Love is the Best Love

Geek Love is the Best Love cover art
Berlin based Jacob Faurholt is one of FZB favorite artists in the world. Whether it be his solo singer songwriter stuff, his persona as Crystal Shipsss, or the artists he produces on his Raw Onion Records, Faurholt is a prolific and gifted individual. His latest EP, Geek Love is the Best Love, is another fine example of a talent that cannot be contained. The six tracks showcase Faurholt as a troubador delivering folk influenced songs with classic messages of life. This is another must have for everyone's collection. Stream and download Geek Love is the Best Love for free at the link below.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Sea Life: In Basements

In Basements cover art
In Basements is the debut full length from FZB favorites The Sea Life. Fuzzy and introspective, The Sea Life follow two EP's with 10 tracks of dream pop that isn't afraid to have some edge. With an atmospheric sonic overlay, In Basements sees the band stretching more musically than on their previous EP's. This musical growth manifests itself in an album of superlative style. Stream and download In Basements at the link below.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Prince Moondog: Green Walls

Green Walls cover art

Green Walls b/w Telephone Song is the debut single from Bloomington, IN garage band Prince Moondog. The two tracks are reminiscent of early Ariel Pink, with a more pop driven Jay Reatard thrown in for good measure. Lo-fi and raw, these two pop songs exist in a place more California than Indiana. Prince Moondog has a full on retro vibe and psychedelic aesthetic. This is a solid debut and we look forward to their debut full length expected in early 2013. Stream and download Green Walls b/w Telephone Song at the link below.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Geronimo!: Exanimate

Exanimate cover art
Exanimate is the sophomore full length from Chicago psych rockers Geronimo! The eight tracks are a heady blend of grunge, psychedelic and alt rock influences. What results is an album full of energy and raw exuberance. Exanimate has an appeal that transcends genres with sonic vibes that range from  the Police to Boston to Nirvana. This is not your everyday hard rock, but rather is an indication of how an alt rock band can meld styles to be relevant in today's world of pop, punk and synth dominated indie music. Stream and buy Exanimate at the link below.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lambs Become Lions: Someone Else's Dream Video

Here is the cool new video for the track Someone Else's Dream from Lambs Become Lions latest EP Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose. The EP is reviewed below.

Lambs Become Lions: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose | Stream cover art
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose is the new EP from Canadian indie rock band  Lambs Become Lions. Featuring members from Alexisonfire andf Journey to Aspen, the band delivers six tracks of polished, radio ready indie rock. I've always felt that Canadian bands have a distinct musical identity that differs from bands hailing from other areas. That musical identity is evident on this EP. Diverse influences come together in a unique blend of pop rock that has epic moments. This is a band to watch. Stream Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose at the link below.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

FZB Seeking Contributors

FZB is looking for contributors to help the blog continue to expand. Contributors needed for concert reviews, artist interviews, album reviews and commentary pieces. For consideration contact Ric at russianwinterrecords(at)gmail(dot)com.

Motel Beds: Dumb Gold

Dumb Gold cover art
Today marks the release of Dumb Gold, the new album from FZB favorites Motel Beds. On the ten tracks Motel Beds serve up retro influenced lo-fi that has energy to spare. Their eigth release since 2009 is also Motel Beds best. Solid pop songs, with a decidedly garage feel, that at once grab your attention and don't let go. Stream and download Dumb Gold for free at the link below.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Four Visions: You & Me

You & Me cover art
You & Me is the debut EP from Brooklyn DIY artist/producer Four Visions, aka Daniel Abary. Darkish and atmospheric, the seven tracks occupy a space where happiness and melancholy exist in an uneasy balance. Lo-fi production and heavy reverb enhance the sonic mood, while understated beats establish a chill feel. Stream and download You & Me at the link below.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Branes: Perfection Condition

Perfection Condition cover art
Perfection Condition is the debut full length from Los Angeles electropop duo Branes. The eight tracks channel influences from Human League, to Devo, to Kraftwerk. What emerges is upbeat electronic music with a decidedly retro vibe. Catchy and glitchy, the tracks come at you at breaknet speed, daring one to keep up with them as they meld darkish synth pads and inventive vocals into tracks that resemble short stories more than songs. This is just a cool album through and through. Stream and buy Perfection Condition at the link below.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Bee's Knees: Explode

Explode EP cover art
Explode is the debut EP from Brisbane, Australia garage rockers The Bee's Knees. The five tracks are an interesting mix of influences. Explode is fronted by raw vocals ala John Lydon, with the guitar having an unmistakable Cream influence and the bass right out of Krist Novoselic's play book. Together these influences serve up a compelling, dynamic and tight EP of bluesy rock and roll. Explode is a fine debut effort with a unique feel that is retro yet modern. Stream and buy Explode at the link below.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Love and Radiation: Ganymede

Ganymede (single) cover art
FZB favorites and #5 artists on our mid-year Top 20 of 2012 So Far, Love and Radiation are back with the new track Ganymede. The Chicago synthpop duo of Lakshmi Ramgopal and Adele Nicholas continue their impressive mastery of haunting and beautiful dance pop. Ganymede, an advance track from their coming full length, soars with atmospheric vocals and signature synth pads that sets a high standard for the music. Love and Radiation are one of our favorite artists and our pick for much wider recognition. Stream and download Ganymede for free at the link below.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Drunk Mums: Drunk Mums

Drunk Mums cover art
Drunk Mums is the self-titled debut full length from the Melbourne garage band. With a sound that shows influences from the The Sex Pistols to Ty Segall, Drunk Mums channels a vibe that is both raw and polished through eleven tracks. This is not your usual semi-competent punk band. Drunk Mums bring sterling musicianship, song styling and production to deliver a thorougly authentic punk record. This is a band that has all the earmarks of making a big impact on the genre and is a must have for any music collection. Stream and buy Drunk Mums at the link below.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Concert Review: Lindsey Buckingham Solo

Last night at the Performing Arts Center at Johnson County Community College, I had the privalege to witness An Intimate Evening With Lindsey Buckingham. This was just as the tour title implied, Lindsey Buckingham performing solo in a small thousand seat theater. Of course Buckingham is known for his important contributions as part of Fleetwood Mac. There is another side of him though that is sometimes overlooked, he is probably the greatest finger style guitarist to ever grace pop music. This virtuosity was never showcased better than in seeing him solo, ripping up a myriad of different guitars, creating a huge sound around his powerful vocals. After four decades in pop music, Buckingham has lost none of his prowess. More than that, he has stayed vital as an artist. The concert drew heavily from his most recent solo album, with Buckingham throwing in just enough Fleetwood Mac songs to satify the urge for old favorites. The chance to see this great artist in an intimate setting on this tour should not be missed if he comes to your town.

Gems: Void Moon

Void Moon ☾ cover art
Void Moon is the debut track from Washington D.C. dreampop outfit Gems, aka the duo of Clifford John Usher and Lindsay Pitts. The track is perfectly crafted for indie radio. Dreamy female vocal, melodic guitar lines and flawless production, in a track that hits what has become a dream pop formula sound right on the head. With a single track this good, one really wants tyo hear more and hopefully an album is not far behind. This band could be the next big darlings of the indie blogosphere. Stream and download Void Moon at the link below.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Motel Beds: Dumb Gold Video

FZB favorites Motel Beds have released a video for the track Dumb Gold as an advance look at their forthcoming new album, scheduled for a Nov. 13th release.

The Smoking Trees: Acetates

Acetates cover art
November 27th marks the release date for Acetates, the debut album from L.A. psych-pop duo The Smoking Trees, aka Martin Nunez (Sir Psych) & Al Rivera (LA Al). Acetates is a massive work of 21 tracks and over 70 minutes of music. Encompassing elements from punk to dreampop, the album delivers abundant hooks, loads of reverb and a heavy 60's vibe. A very worthy debut at all levels. Stream and pre-order Acetates at the link below.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Surak: Space Invaders

Space Invaders cover art
Space Invaders is the debut album from Italian artist/producer Surak, aka  Danilo Fittipaldi. The thirteen tracks are a lush blend of orchestral textured electronic music. Fittipaldi channels a broad range of influences, from Brian Eno to Radiohead. What results is a post-rock listening experience where the sound is transcendent and one is transported to the inner space of the mind. Atmospheric, yet with a distinct rock vibe, the album is a stellar work of excellence. Stream and buy Space Invaders at the link below.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vandal?Vandal!: Demos

?Vandal! Demos cover art
Demos is the debut EP from Missouri post-punk trio Vandal?Vandal! The three tracks are a testament to the enduring nature of garage music. Edgy, in your face and with raw production, Demos shows influences from Jay Reatard to DIIV. Vandal?Vandal! have delivered an EP that is everything one could want from the genre. This is a strong debut and makes one yearn for more. Stream and download Demos at the link below.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Watermark High: In Flux EP

In Flux EP cover art
In Flux is the new EP from FZB favorite The Watermark High, aka South African producer/artist Paul van der Walt. The four tracks feature nice piano lines framed with glitchy synths and ambient textures. The beats favor a more dubstep like vibe and the whole EP is an upbeat enjoyable foray into IDM. The EP shows continued growth by the artist since the Slow Motion Clarity EP reviewed earlier this year. Stream and download In Flux at the link below.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Good Weather For An Airstrike: Lights

Lights cover art
As we hinted at in his EP review a couple weeks ago, today marks the release of Lights, the new album from Good Weather For An Airstrike, aka post-rock artist Tom Honey. The eight tracks flow through an ambient landscape of atmosheric synths and melodic guitars. The lush passages swell and diminish like waves of emotion across the psyche. Orchestral in feel, yet intimate in nature, Lights is a beautiful work that will touch the listener in a personal way. Stream and buy Lights at the link below.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cosmic Birds: Chronicles Of The Windwar

Chronicles of the Windwar cover art
This week marked the release of Chronicles Of The Windwar, the new album from Spanish dreampop band Cosmic Birds. Long a FZB favorite, Cosmic Birds continue to deliver stirring and intimate records. The thirteen tracks have an epic quality to them, while still being very personal in both arrangement and lyrics. Sterling production and flawless performance brings it all together. This is one of our favorite albums of the year. Stream and buy Chronicles Of The Windwar at the link below.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stalagmites: Be An Animal

Be An Animal cover art
After two singles, UK shoegazers Stalagmites have released their debut EP, Be An Animal. Drawing from the rich post-punk influences of bands ranging from Echo and the Bunnymen to Interpol, Stalagmites craft a sound that is both melodic and edgy. The four tracks leap out at you with dynamic arrangments, visceral guitar lines, perfectly placed vocals and engaging lyrics. This is a band that is growing with every release. Stream and download Be An Animal at the link below.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Concert Review: araabMUZIK & Sleigh Bells, The Granada Theater, Lawrence KS

Last night the powerhouse tour featuring araabMUZIK and Sleigh Bells blasted the roof right off of the Granada Theater.  First up was AraabMuzik, aka Abraham Orellana. AraabMUZIK is the premier beat maker in Hip Hop right now and may well be the best ever. Seeing his mastery of the MPC 2500 live is an un paralleled experience.  One is immediately struck by the intence focus he maintains to deliver his performance. So much so, that he relys on a sidekick MC to extol the crowd and provide personal interaction with it. To say he is a man possessed of virtuoso manual dexterity would be a gross understatement. The music arabMUZIK produces through the physical manipulation of the MPC pads is breathtaking. If you ever have a chance to see this artist live take it.
Headlining the show was Sleigh Bells, the duo of Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller. Now expanded to a trio with the addition of a second guitarist for live shows, Sleigh Bells is one of the most original bands ever to grace rock n roll. Defying genres, they mix pop vocals, hardcore guitars and hip hop beats into a compelling lo-fi musical mix. Live, they make the energy of a full on punk concert pale in comparison. Krauss takes complete command of the stage with her physical presence, while bombastic guitars explode all around her. Since first hearing the demo of Ring Ring (what became Rill Rill on their debut Treats) this is a band that I have wanted to see live. They did not disappoint, running through a set that included all of their many now instantly recognizable songs. They took the crowd by the throat and never let go.  The pairing of araabMUZIK and Sleigh Bells together on tour was surprising when first announced, but seeing how well the two acts complimented each other, it is now obvious why this choice was made. This is a tour that is a must see if you get the chance.