Bad Veins

03/02/2010

Many of the things in the music business these days are likely bands’ endeavours to achieve an instant crowd-pleaser with an album to follow – if they’re lucky, they’ll even have their album described as a “masterpiece” by the biggest music bloggers out there.

This is not one of those bands.

Bad Veins, an emerging American duo, have worked in the entire release of their self-titled album for very long to craft it perfectly – in fact, they’ve been in the indie-pop scene since 2006 and have only set out their disc recently. They were an incredible recommendation by Steph Lund, a friend from Et Musique Pour Tous (that I’ve already talked about) and forthebeat. She’s working with them and I couldn’t help but check it out – and am so glad I did. It’s not only the density of each of their songs that impresses me: they’re also all so different from each other, in some ways. When one reminds me of a less-rough version of a She Wants Revenge song, another resembles slightly-perceptible Arcade Fire. “Gold and Warm” ‘s powerful and catchy sound could not differ more from “Go Home”, a smooth-sailing, downbeat indie heaven with gorgeously edited vocals that, at some times, even remind me of a soothing Julian Casablancas (and whose beginning, for the matter, is personally quite the “Tainted Love”). The latter is actually one of my favourites, with an almost graceful backing of piano helping add to the depth of the whole song.

I’ve also put my hands on a Daytrotter Session version of “Found”, whose lyrics are impeccably compelling and irresistible to sing along to. Piano also plays a big role on this one, which is a huge advantage to its tear-jerking, buttered-up 5-minute beauty. It’s quite different from the album version of the song in terms of beat – the recorded one oozes an orchestral yet simplistic quality.

Their self-titled album in its entirety makes me wish I lived in the US right now – they’re going to tour with We Were Promised Jetpacks from February 11th to February 21st. For those interested, the schedule’s as follows:

2.11 – The Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
2.12 – First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia, PA
2.13 – Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
2.14 – The Middle East – Cambridge, MA
2.15 – The Knitting Factory – Brooklyn NY
2.17 – Casbah @ The Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC
2.18 – The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
2.19 – The End – Nashville, TN
2.20 – Maxine’s Pub – Hot Springs, AR
2.21 – Hailey’s – Denton, TX

I’m hopeful that they’ll be one of the next big things in the indie scenario, so do check them out. Definitely drop by their website and myspace, and get your hands on that album as soon as possible. Meanwhile, here’s a some gems to soak your headphones in:

(mp3) Found – Bad Veins

(mp3) Found (Daytrotter Session)- Bad Veins

(mp3) Go Home – Bad Veins

(mp3) The Ending – Bad Veins

(mp3) The Lie – Bad Veins

Mumford & Sons

02/02/2010

I’ve been completely off the radar for the last few weeks and now it’s been crazy with school and the overload of work that comes along with it, but I still feel a little empty if I don’t touch this blog for so long. I have literally zero time to post anything, but I guess that’s how much I’ve been liking this band – enough to talk about it in this homework whirlwind!

Now, I have to admit I haven’t listened to more than three songs by them off their album Sigh No More; it’s just one of those bands that you fall in love with so thoroughly and quickly that you can’t pick up your iPod without prioritizing them, and that’s pretty much an amazing sign. They’re a folk-y rock London-based foursome with irresistible lyrics and impeccably fingered banjos; my favourite by them, Winter Winds, is a nearly four-minute delight of sheer optimism and happiness at its purest state. It also seems like a gem right off a Beirut album, which is – personally – a huge plus. It’s not their only good song (far from it), but I’m being driven by a unique  adoration towards it.

After a brief 12-minute indulgence in probably their top three songs, including Little Lion Man and White Blank Page, it’s so evident how powerful Marcus Mumford’s vocals are, seducing you into the beautifully-crafted orchestra and dragging you out with an ending just as grandiose.

(mp3) Winter Winds – Mumford & Sons

jj n° 3!

17/01/2010

According to Pitchfork and Sincerely Yours, jj are letting slip two new songs off their future album, jj n° 3, and I don’t think I could be more excited about it. There’s a reason why Pitchfork loved jj so much last year (“they manage to be pretty, touching, funny, and motivating, in different ways, in all the right places“)… There’s nothing about their strangely familiar-sounding yet smooth-sailing rhythm, their sampling of the hip-hop culture, and their gently electronic melody (and, of course, Elin Kastlande’s honey-sweet, saccharine vocals) that’s not to love.

If jj n° 2 wasn’t good enough for you last year, here’s “Let Go” and bonus track “My Way”.

Personally, “Let Go” is the sort of song that calms you down a few notches with its entirely pleasing melodic composition. It’s like it’s stirring with a peculiarly self-collected passion yet definitely soothing sound, smoothed out on all edges and designed to make you feel amazingly better about whatever’s stressing you. It’s like a shoulder massage, I swear.

“My Way” isn’t exactly the opposite, but by borrowing Lil Wayne‘s entire rapping off Trina‘s “Don’t Trip”, it has a whole different feel to it. It also samples Charles Manson’s creepy-ass speech like jj did in “5 minuter med JJ”… but it’s actually my favourite off the two tracks and it really has to be in the album.

(mp3) Let Go – jj

(mp3) My Way – jj

The tracklisting for jj n° 3:

01 My Life
02 And Now
03 Let Go
04 Into the Light
05 Light
06 Voi Parlate, Io Gioco
07 Golden Virginia
08 You Know
09 I Know *
10 No Escapin’ This

Passion Pit + Skins

16/01/2010

WOW, talk about being disconnected from the music world. Or just the world in general… Fortunately, when you spend so much time tuned out of new things out there, you’ll likely have good news when you come back. In my case, it’s finding out that Passion Pit will be part of the soundtrack of the new season of Skins in the UK.  I mean, Passion Pit + Skins? That’s definitely a win.

It’s not an original song though, but I heard it today and it’s still amazing: it’s the Bubblegum Sci-fi remix of “The Reeling”. Don’t just let it go by as “another Passion Pit cover”, it’s actually pretty amazing. It coats the song with a whole new vibe of electro and a get-your-ass-to-the-dancefloor spin. Watch the Skins video here.

(mp3) The Reeling (Bubblegum Scifi remix) – Passion Pit

Bilal’s cover of “High and Dry”

12/01/2010

With today’s  heap of attempts by bands to cover, remix, and create mashups out of other bands’ singles, there’ll definitely be a lot of junk available out there – you know you have to hold on to a good cover when you find one. I found one of those today, a gem released way back in 2006 by jazz singer Bilal Oliver along with Pete Kuzma: an impeccably jazzy, gorgeously soulful version of Radiohead‘s “High and Dry”, first single of The Bends. Though it maintains a tad of the original’s natural melancholic tone (considering the lyrics, it’s hard not to), it focuses mainly on loosening up the flow and abusing of a beat that really gives the song more life. From the beautifully-crafted saxophone explosions to the back vocals burbling with passion, there’s nothing about this cover that’s not to love.

(mp3) High and Dry – Bilal feat. Pete Kuzma

(mp3) High and Dry – Radiohead

Gazzillion Ear EP: 12-inch

10/01/2010

After releasing Born Like This in March of ’09 and five remixed versions of the former’s first single “Gazzillion Ear” for digital download last month, it seems like DOOM‘s now putting a vinyl of this EP out there. It’ll include twelve tracks, with collaborations such as from Thom Yorke, Jneiro Jarel/Dave Sitek, and Dr. Whodat?. Besides the five previously-released versions of “Gazzillion Ear” that DOOM fans have probably already downloaded, this 12-inch out January 10th (today!) will feature instrumental versions, bonus beats, and an acapella version. Pitchfork didn’t exactly love it, but order it today and listen it out for yourself.

Tracklisting:

01) Gazzillion Ear
02) Gazzillion Ear (Thom Yorke Remix)
03) Gazzillion Ear (Dr Who Dat? Remix)
04) Gazzillion Ear (Jneiro Jarel/SITEK Remix)
05) Gazzillion Ear (Acappella)
06) Gazzillion Ear (Instrumental)
07) Gazzillion Ear (Thom Yorke Remix) (Instrumental)
08) Gazzillion Ear (Dr Who Dat? Remix) (Instrumental)
09) Gazzillion Ear (Jneiro Jarel/SITEK Remix) (Instrumental)
10) Green Whore Net (bonus beat)
11) Feta (scratch samples)
12) Kat Girl (bonus)

(mp3) Gazzillion Ear – MF DOOM

(mp3) Gazzillion Ear (Thom Yorke remix) – MF DOOM

dadahack’s Hellos EP

10/01/2010

In my opinion, there are only certain specific moments that call for the abuse of raw house-and-electronica tunes – not all scenarios fit in with their vibrating, nonstop-pulse sensations. But maybe that’s just me. Whenever these moments come for you, though, here’s something to dive headfirst in:

It may be a new project, with a quirky new name that not many people have yet heard of – however, dadahack is truly anything but unknown. It’s composed of producers James Banbury and Pete Davis, who have previously worked with artists like Bloc Party (Banbury supposedly worked in A Weekend in the City on string arrangements and cello) and Gwen Stefani. I found them over at discodust a couple of days ago and I have to say, they’re great for those moments of desperate electro urge; “Hello Dust”, for example, offers a six-minute hypnosis guided by Hannah Robinson’s soft, constantly repeated vocals (“days turn to dust” is what I make of them), alongside a pulsating, get-on-your-dancing-shoes-you-sexy-little-swine beat that seems to keep going within you till after the song stops. Their EP Hellos is available in their website, as well as a listen of Fuzzy Dunlop,  seemingly future track of their full-release album TAP3.

It also seems they’re preparing more remixes to release in a near future, those of which might include names like Ellie Goulding and Erik Hassle. That’s enough to keep me yearning for more house+disco+electronica  workout goodness.

Don’t let the 11-minute Freelance Hellraiser remix of “Hello”, also included in the EP, slip by unnoticed either.

(mp3) Hello Dust – dadahack

(mp3) Hello (Freelance Hellraiser remix) – dadahack

Passion Pit revisited

09/01/2010

It probably won’t come as a surprise that I’m still undergoing an insane Passion Pit craze since Manners came out and solidified my adoration for their unique, happy-go-lucky sound. Driven by the obsession, I started going through some files I downloaded a while ago and had, for some reason, forgotten to add to my iTunes list. I found this cover of Sleepyhead performed by Brighton band The Mummers that came out May of last year and gave it another try. It doesn’t even border the overall magnificence of the original, but I thought it was an interesting way to reinterpret the sound of the song, with the beautiful vocals of Raissa Khan-Panni substituting Angelakos’  falsettos and a more orchestral quality approach. It’s not a new cover, but it’s definitely worth revisiting.

I’m also including The White Pandas mashup of Passion Pit with TI in “What You Know About Little Secrets”, you know, just for the sake of the sound.

(mp3) Sleepyhead – The Mummers vs. Passion Pit

(mp3) What You Know About Little Secrets – The White Pandas

(many) quick updates

09/01/2010
  • Brother Sport’s music video: Trippy from beginning to end, like would be expected from anything Animal Collective touches. Featuring face-painted, dressed-up kids and bright-coloured images of… everything. Check out the video at the end of the post.
  • Hooray for Earth: I discovered them in forthebeat today and listened to one single song off their Momo EP. It was enough for an instant sympathy with this incredibly inviting band, perhaps due to its somewhat soothing vocals and comforting tune. The EP is downloadable in eMusic here, and is due on the 12th – can’t wait to be able to indulge in their other tracks if they’re anything like this one. Download the mp3 at the end of the post.
  • Contra by Vampire Weekend: Amazing. That’s all I can say. Exciting sing-along anthems with a bit of everything: electronic beats, thump-y and remarkable African-style drumming, various rhythms with layering guitars, piano, violins… And, of course, the fantastically feel-good vocals of Ezra Koenig. I don’t think it’s even officially out yet – it’s due on the 11th/12th – but it’s available for hearing in their website. Download the mp3 at the end of the post.
  • Bradford Cox’s blog: Check out his available download featuring Christmas Synths from Atlas Sound. Six minutes of raw downbeat and chilly.
  • Liars’s upcoming Sisterworld‘s Bonus CD: Liars, a three-piece New York-based band, will feature artists like Thom Yorke, Tunde Adebimpe, Blonde Redhead, and Bradford Cox in the bonus CD of their new album, with exclusive remixes of tracks for reinterpretation.

  • Yellow Bird Project: For those of you that are passionate enough for charity, don’t let this project pass by unnoticed. Yellow Bird offers exclusive deals on artist-selected merchandise to benefit uncountable charities out there. It’s a win-win situation.
  • Rebirth by Lil Wayne for February?: Some tracks have already leaked because of a complicated shipping incident by Amazon (what’s new?), but I try to avoid listening to tracks of albums like these before an official release – mostly because it usually breaks down its essence and isn’t fully edited yet. So for those that haven’t yet touched this highly-anticipated record, let’s see if the time has finally come.

(video) Brother Sport – Animal Collective

(mp3) Surrounded By Your Friends – Hooray for Earth

(mp3) California English – Vampire Weekend

Le Miel Du Mois: worthy mixtape.

08/01/2010

I’m not a huge fan of these mixtapes/compilations people put together and post out there in their blogs and websites, with a few exceptions. However, the website Et Musique Pour Tous that I surprisingly only found a couple of days back offers these amazing mixtapes every month. They’re each pretty long, and each month has a different feel to it – it’s amazing how Steph Lund is able to make a refreshing sound in each one by a whole new variation of music. The best thing about the tapes it is that you end up discovering all these new bands that fit perfectly with those you already loved before.

The mixtape made for January of this new year had a bit of a different path from the previous ones (that tend to feature things like NMH, Friendly Fires, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, The xx, La Roux, Gainsbourg, Glasser, etc). It was waaay more upbeat and soaked in glorious electronic tunes (according to Steph, “Long live disco. Long live the dancefloor”) from all these different places, like Danish dance-punk electro WhoMadeWho, Berlin duo Bodi Bill, and Turkish electro dance band Vega.

Worth mentioning is Ladyhawke, a close sound to La Roux, Florence + the Machine (her voice is just something else), shoegaze-y Lookbook (who have numbered opinions in their LastFm page claiming that “cave beats” are the best and basslines/guitars should be singable), and Tory y Moi, chill electronic like Washed Out (<3), Memory Tapes, and Neon Indian.

Check out and download the full mixtape here. Don’t forget to see all of the other editions because they’re all fantastic.