In the second stanza of CARE’s first official single “Untitled (a pop song)" vocals resonate, "I want to be someone else// most of the time // I want to disappoint my parents // and make ‘em proud." No other set of lyrics can capture just how every destitute youth feels. The verse is timeless and correctly amplifies feelings both you and I have had at different points in our lives. The lyrics, sung wholeheartedly, strike a chord with the listener just as much as the remainder of the song does. By no means is this sad music, but the lyrics do swim in a state of contrition that compliments the almost jovial instrumentals well. But if there’s one thing that the Cleveland based quartet has proven to us it’s that they know how to express proper song craftsmanship. The type of musicianship displayed in "Untitled (a pop song)" is seasoned to say the least. The fascinating thing here is that CARE has only been around for a couple years (Based off of their prior release as face paint). Taking that into consideration, it’s hard to understand how these four are able to create a song as remorseful and gorgeous as “Untitled (a pop song)” is. The future is a fickle establishment, but if CARE continues to carry themselves as “Untitled (a pop song)” has demonstrated, they should be just fine.
There’s a fine line between real good and real bad Synthpop. You have people who are in it to mess around then you have people who are in it to make a difference in the scene. Alan Price (aka: AL GORE RHYTHM) falls into the later. Precision: that’s the word that comes to mind when mentioning AL GORE RHYTHM. Precise drops, methodical musicianship, and elegant hooks. All attributes that Price utilizes throughout his somber fuzzy masterpiece “Melt.” I could explain to you “Melt’s” woeful gracefulness and Price’s meticulous attention to detail but I think it’s better if you listened for yourself. I’ll shut up now and we can all just roll to this one.
Drift to AL GORE RHYTHM’s Soundcloudto stream some more incredible Synth oriented Pop.
Today was a good day. Went to Uni; Uni was easy; got some dinner; dinner was tasty; hoped on le Soundcloud; le Soundcloud had a new Estrangers track on it. Now there may be some of you out there who are asking (probably not asking), “Brian, who are the Estrangers?” Well here’s your chance to get to know them. Winston-Salem North Carolina residents Estrangers are a five piece Garage-Pop outfit that cranks out some of the catchiest high energy tunes East of the Mississippi. If you still have your doubts, feel free to turn up, “L’Awentura.” The production on “L’Awentura” is just Lo-Fi enough to appease the nerds while staying accessible enough for a more haole based audience. Jubilant guitar hooks and energetic bass rhythms lay on the charm, hard. All while a well put together percussion piece wraps the gem in the parchment it deserves. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more from Estrangers in the near future but for now, let’s just get lost in this.
Here’s the first of many(!) monthly mixtapes. It’s comprised of some songs I’ve posted that month and also some tunes I’ve just been groovin’ to lately. Hope you guys enjoy! Download it here: September Mix.
Los Angeles based D.A.R.E is Synthpop outfit that brings the 80’s vibes back full tilt. The combination of haze drenched lyrics and colorful synthesizer compositions create a tropical 80’s atmosphere that would make any Kraftwerk aficionado squeal. For further proof, see “Matapica.” The steamy jive bounces back and fourth between syncopated rhythms that get the listener on the metaphorical day-glow dance floor. Though D.A.R.E. seems to relish in nostalgia, their sound remains applicable to the here and now, without becoming too caught up in neon culture, while retaining the era’s catchy song structure. With further releases like “Matapica,” D.A.R.E. is on the fast-track to becoming legends in their own time.
Groove on over to D.A.R.E.’s bandcamp to pick up a copy of “Matapica" for yourself. Little is known about the LA based act but I’ll make sure to keep you up to date on any further information.
Washington State’s very own resident Chillwave wunderkind and Wild Waves enthusiast VEKTROID has just announced his next release ‘NEO CALI.’ And judging by the couple of preview tracks, this is going to be a big one!
Stream a couple more samples from ‘NEO CALI,’ via b-camp. ‘NEO CALI’ drops October 7th.
San Diego’s Devin McGuire (aka: DAYFADE) has been around for a little while but the recognition in response to his beat making is frankly unacceptable. The melodies this guy composes are unbelievable. There is something to be said for how McGuire uses his samples. They set DAYFADE apart from the rest. It’s a certain smoothness here, a slight pitch there, and a faint pluck of a guitar in other places. It’s hard to put a finger on it but whatever it is, it’s working. Just listen to “Mopeds and Gelato.” The guitar sample is so tight and the sporadic unorthodox half beats are so surprising; “Mopeds and Gelato” is almost hypnotic in formula. It could be the timing or even the layering? Who knows. My only hope is that McGuire never looses whatever “it” is.
Swim to DAYFADE’s bandcamp to snag some of his earlier work and follow him on Soundcloud to catch up on his latest jamz.
Allow me to introduce you to the surf inspired sounds of LA’s CORNERS. While some bands may find the production values of being a Garage Rock act troublesome, CORNERS seems to embrace their sound. They write around it; constructing songs that cater to the rough recording style. For proof, get you’re ears around “Sometimes.” The rugged Jangle-Pop carol wraps itself around your ears and doesn’t let go. From the guitar heavy breakdown to the sobering lyrics, CORNERS has proven that they’re comfortable producing music roughly and for us, that’s a good thing.
I’m a sucker for Lo-Fi harmonizing. There’s nothing that represents the sun better than some good old fashioned “OOOOOO’s.” And there’s no doubt that DREGS supplies plenty of them. Sure, there are some regular sets of lyrics in DREGS’s “OOooOOoo" but they(?) keep the balmy sun tanned harmonizing at the forefront of the track. Emphasizing them with a slow albeit strong guitar build and sludged-out percussion arrangement. Although it may seem odd listening to this while it’s cold, I’d argue that there’s no better reason not to. Think sun and get warm bros.
As of roughly an hour ago, our main blog bro’s over at Vancouver’s Hearing Gold released what seems to be one of the best compilations I’ve heard all year. The 80’s neo-noir vibes expressed throughout ‘Midnight Cassette’ are massive. So funky, so fresh, so good. Well, I’ll shut up now and let you all just sway to this.
Beat making is hard. Believe me, I’ve tried (and failed) a couple times*. It’s not an easy task. Finding the right samples and throwing in the perfect amount of percussion to fit the wave-form adequately is ‘ugh’ inducing. Luckily though, there are artists like SCRT SNDS who are able to do it methodically; and as a result, the product sounds immaculate. “n i t e a i r,” the ‘VIDEO LIMITS' EP standout, burns slow, but allows the listener time to breath within it's dragged progression. SCRT SNDS knows that this beat is heavy, so they keep it slow to let us trace the in's and out's of it's jagged curvature. That is, until the very end. Put simply, SCRT SNDS has talent and they know it but their expressionism is never conceited or bombastic; it's simply magnificent.
Okay, so it’s cold now. Like, snuggie cold you guys. But when it comes to music, I’ve always been one to prolong the inevitable. Taking that into account, let me introduce you to my good friends tall grass. An engrossing psychedelic duo who keep the beach in mind when composing their solar flared coastal jamz. I’ve blogged about Alex MacNeil (aka: Zebra Safari) in the past and as a matter of fact he has a hand in this project as well. Both he and his good friend Jonathan (creator of the recently founded Reserved Tapes) compromise the surf aligned project. “black point,” the ‘some songs' EP standout, consists of warm Summer melodies that tend to haunt the listener while he or she walks atop orange and red maple leaves. Sure, I could talk about the incredible layered guitar work present in this song but it's better if you just listen and vibe to it yourself. The songs may not warm the physical body but tall grass certainly posses the ability to warm the hearts of their listeners and for that, I am grateful.
LOAFERS are a down home bedroom rock quartet hailing for Waco, Texas. Their sound can be described as follows. Jangle-Fuzz-Shimmy-And-Shake-Core. Yes, I am attaching that genre tag to them. Because honestly, that’s the only label that can do the four justice. Though production values are low, musicianship is high. Snappy guitar hooks and tight percussion are plentiful in their two step jam “You Know I Do (Demo).” Massive jolly vibes are emanated from and throughout the carol, courtesy of some sharp but never shrill vocal work. Lyrics, although barely understandable with the first listen, grow on you and if one were to delve deeper, there is without a doubt, some great song craftsmanship to be explored here. Even though their title may suggest the style of their musicianship, LOAFERS are far from lazy and I hope for our sake the never become so.
Good Beach-Pop knows no seasons. Although Summer is at an end, one thing is for sure, surf oriented Bedroom Pop will always have a warm place in our hearts and somber ice filled heads. Keeping that in mind, California resident Skylar Leaf (aka: Young Mountians) cranks out some incredible hymns. While the comparisons to other bands maybe rampant, I feel that Leaf deserves far more credit than a mere,”if you like that, you’ll like this” summary. The guys musicianship is brilliant. Take for instance “(Do You) Really Want To?" This is now ordinary pop gem; this is a balmy summer cruise in song form. The warm guitar hooks and rough percussion that make up the rose tinted carol line up perfectly with Leaf’s melancholy albeit unabashedly charming vocals. With two releases down (Be My Girl // All Mine), my only hope is that Leaf continues to grace our ears with impressive Beach Pop.
Sail to Young Mountians b-camp to download both of his releases.
Depending on sound progression and usage of samples minimalist beat making can be hit or miss. With that being said, I think we’ve found a hit with Fuzz Lightyear. While Lightyears full ‘Fight Learyzz’ EP is an incredibly strong release, “Art Kids Are The Worst" is in league of its own. The chopped and screwed synths in this song are remarkable. By incorporating both digital and seemingly analog elements Lightyear is able to create a minimalist masterpiece. The percussion arrangement’s in the breakdown caused my jaw to drop. Hand claps and what sounds like hard-drive scratches are meshed together to create one hell of a song. Glide with this one.
The amount of fuzzy Dream Pop being exported from Japan these days is pretty awesome. The only problem is, it’s all so incredible and there’s so much of it. It’s getting hectic to cover bros. You guys (Japanese Dream Poppers) should probably just slow down and let the world catch up. Enter Pastel Blue. The four piece Osaka natives have been covered by some foreign blogs here and there but the overall hype over their material is pretty meager. In my opinion these guys should be huge but that’s not how the cyber world works. Sigh*. Anyway, back to the music. “Candyclouds,” a demo that was apparently recorded at “home,” is a balmy stroll of a song; quick in pace but not in impact. A ringing guitar strum starts the brightly lit jam, which paints itself over tight vocals and a stunning bass/percussion composition. If there’s one thing we can take away from Pastel Blue’s “Candyclouds,” it’s that they’re serious about every song they produce, even if they record it in a crash pad. And for our sake, that’s a good thing.
Somehow I overlooked Hut five months ago when they dropped their first official full length and through a quick search on Google it seems like the whole blogosphere decided to follow in my footsteps. I’m not sure how this didn’t show up on my radar until now but I’m glad that it finally made it’s way to my ears. “Droppers,” the album standout, starts as a vibrant Dream Pop jam but quickly turns to a darker more ominous sounding Goth-Pop track by songs end. The shift only happens for a brief second but it’s definitely noticeable and adds a completely different element to the song. Guitars jangle over the opening as the track builds steam. Soon after, surprisingly precise vocals are laid across a heavy bass line that resonates throughout the Garage-Pop gem. My apologies to Hut for not recognizing them from get go; for now I’ll hang my head in shame, while simultaneously banging it.
London’s Alex Morris and Matthew Poile make up the band Crushed Beaks and Crushed Beaks makes Bedroom Pop. Good Bedroom Pop. They’ve recently built up some much deserved hype around the project yet still are able to create songs true to their original sound. The duo compose sunny Lo-Fi Pop carols that have the ability to get you shimmy shakin’. Take “Dream Cake" for example. The hymn breaks down melodically, utilizing both boy’s vocal and instrumental skills. Although the band is only compromised of two people the sound they produce is monumental. A small guitar riff begins the jam, peaking the listeners interest, which then breaks into an eruption of hazy guitar and percussion Dream Pop bliss. Through songs like "Dream Cake," Crushed Beaks have shown that they have the aptitude to arrange well crafted pieces and I for one, hope they keep at it.
Swim to Crushed Beaks Soundcloud to download a couple more demos, then watch for their Close Ups/Sun Dogs 7” coming November 21st.
17 year old Yndi Ferreira (aka: DRE△M KO△L△) of Paris France has shown us that he is very capable of two things. One; he’s able to make stunning music under his alias DRE△M KO△L△ and two; his musicianship rivals the industries most popular acts. Case in point, “If Only.” “If Only” is a seductively slow burner that begins with the low drone of a woozy synth which ushers in painfully slow percussion arrangements. Ferreira’s voice hovers over the track, engulfing it with perfectly harmonized glowing vibes. The general atmosphere of “If Only” is minimal, but that does not denote simplicity. The elegance of “If Only” lies within it’s admirably crafted song progression, it moves and glides without becoming to loose or careless. DRE△M KO△L△ has crafted something special here and with songs like this, it’s tough not to fall for the hazy Glo-Fi frontiersman.
Swim to DRE△M KO△L△’s tumblr to pick up a copy of his You and I Demo and watch for a couple new releases, including an acoustic demo, in the near future.
A few months ago I caught on to BEWILDERBEAST through a couple of friends who were going through a “Glo-Fi” phase. After laughing hysterically at the fact that they whispered “Glo-Fi,” as if it were a sensitive word, I went home, put some headphones on and was immediately smitten. The list of jamz that Gus Beamish-Cook (aka: BEWILDERBEAST) produces are in all cases of the word “Chillwave” but that’s not necessarily a negative stigmata; especially in Beamish-Cooks case. Sure, his compositions are sunny, warm, and rose colored but they feel oh so right. “Get Back 2 The Groove" is a shimmering beach jam that will be sure to melt off any frost that resides on you Autumn filled heart. It’s feel good, it’s funky, and it’s an utter joy to listen to. Enough talk, lets thaw with this.
Ride to BEWILDERBEAST’s bandcamp and Soundcloudpages to download both of his incredible EP’s.
Mastering the art of vocal sampling is no easy task. Hell, making any type of music is hard but extracting vocals from a track is daunting. With that being said, Berlin Germany’s Cory Levinson (aka: Kohwi) has found a way to do so flawlessly. I’m a sucker for pitch shifted vocals (see: Life Crushed) so when this piece arrived via e-mail I freaked my freak. Genre classification for Kohwi would fall somewhere between Experimental Electronic and Mesmerization-Core. Levinson’s rework of the beautiful “Rhythm Hymns,” by Our Brother The Native, I would argue, surpasses the original. While the same sporadic mindset is to applied to both tracks, Kohwi’s structure comes across as fluid, organic, and at times, effortless. The production on the track; flawless and the composition follows the same path. Now that Kohwi has shown us what he is capable of, I await his future releases eagerly. Get lost in this one.
Youthfall has always been an incredible Lo-Fi composer (see: “Guard it like a fortress”). His timely fogged out jangle pop set’s him apart from so many other well meaning but far less structurally significant acts that fall by blog cultures wayside. While this may be a sad truth, Youthfall does not seem to relish in it, he just makes melancholy pop music that’s good. Real good. “Secular Child,” a fuzzy and warm track that begins with a sample from what sounds like an old 70’s movie (maybe?), contains the perfect amount of grain to keep the Lo-Fi nerds happy but is just poppy enough to satisfy a new listeners ear. Youthfall seems to take refuge in this happy medium with almost every song he composes, it may be a conscious decision or it may not but I for one am glad he’s comfortable in doing so.
Swing over to Youthfalls Soundcloud and bandcamp to snag all of his music for the low low price of nothing.
Real Estate never ceases to amaze me. They came from a background in lo-fi fuzz pop and have quickly gathered a strong following in the independent community by producing what I assumed to be summer music. But now the Ridgewood New Jersey three have composed a very warm albeit very Autumn based track. Which by judging by their last hymn “It’s Real,” this next album will be focused in, if not centered around the Fall. While this may come as a surprise to the die hard fans of the NJ three, it isn’t necessarily a negative shift. It’s been fun to see how the boys have cultivated their sound over the past couple of years so, taking a season so perfect as autumn and backing it with woozy guitar pop seems like the logical next step for the former beach gazers. Focusing an album around Autumn instead of Summer is not what you would expect from Real Estate but by no means should it come as a surprise.
Based off of the decreasing number of bedroom pop acts still on the independent music circuit, it has become apparent that the genre is a hard niche to fill. Fortunately, Aichia Japan’s resident shoegazer Josh U (aka: Lilacs) has started producing shinning dream pop gems that prove that the steam drenched style is far from dead. Lilacs assembles infectious haze pop courtesy of nostalgically brilliant guitar hooks and despondent doe-eyed vocals. “A Summers Tale,” opens with a short burst of angelic synth, which quickly turns to a sunny guitar progression that layers itself upon dampened percussion. U’s voice is reserved yet still manages to add a sort of timid somberness to the song, which in effect makes it that much more atmospheric. Although, Lilacs is a fairly new act his sound reiterates the simple fact that Bedroom Pop is here and it’s not going anywhere soon.
Independent Folk has always been a fall back of mine. Life got you down? Listen to Folk. Bored of your normal playlist? Listen to Folk. Chilly outside? Listen to Folk. Folk certainly holds a distinct accessibility to it that other genre’s just can’t live up to. With that being said, Caleb Groh isn’t your average everyday folk artist. No, this guy has some of the most classically distinct vocals I’ve ever heard on a Folk crooner. Consider his cover of “Toyland.” What Groh is able to do with this childhood Christmas carol is astonishing to say the least. I’m not even a Christmas kind of guy and this song had me tearing up. There is something so innocent about the bounce of the string structure and the subtle smoke tinged vocals that Groh blankets over the piece that create something so original yet also inherently nostalgic. Let me reemphasize, this man has got some pipes. “Tegucigalpa,” a brand new track off his upcoming Down, Dakota EP (Oct.), while less holiday, is more of an autumn inspired foot tapper that displays not only Groh’s already established blissful vocals but also his exemplary musicianship. With songs arranged as well as “Toyland” and “Tegucigalpa” I’m excited to see what’s in store next for, as of now, one of my favorite Folk troubadours.
Float over to Caleb’s Soundcloudpage to download “Toyland” and listen to more of his incredible songs. Also check out his side project Happiest Lion on b-camp.
*I would like to apologize for posting a holiday song in September but this song is just too good.