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Lightning Dust

17 Feb

Lightning Dust is the side project of Black Mountains’ Amber Webber and Josh Wells. They released their third LP Fantasy last year with Jagjaguwar.

Their synth-pop sound is quite the departure from the heavier music of Black Mountain. Opening track “Diamond” (below) utilizes a driving beat, heavy-synth bass lines and Webbers’ incredible vocals over the top of super catchy electronic beeps and bops.

Lightning Dust – Diamond from Fantasy (2013)

Lightning Dust

Jagjaguwar

Roman Ruins

8 Jan

I am super late to the Roman Ruins party, and even later sharing the album on 3hive. Better late than never, right?

Roman Ruins is the solo project of Oakland-based Graham Hill. Hill began crafting these songs while on tour with Beach House as their drummer.  His debut LP, Homebuilding, came out in 2012 on Gold Robot Records. On a side note his first 7-inch, Releasing Me/Your House, was Gold Robot’s first ever release.

Check out the fantastic, slow building “Mighty Love” (below). It’s chilled-out, electro-pop goodness has more layers than my mom’s seven layer dip. You will go back for more.

Roman Ruins – Mighty Love from Homebuilding (2012)

Also for your listening pleasure

Gold Robot

Roman Ruins Bandcamp

November Mixtape

18 Nov

Here are 15 tracks that are sure to meet your fancy. Featuring hits from Monster Rally, The Chemical Brothers, Black Lips, The Hold Steady, Pixies, La Luz, Bill Callahan, First Base, The Limiñanas, The Velvet Underground, Epicycle, Troubadour Dali, The Undertones and Elvis Perkins In Dearland. Enjoy.

November ’13 from simco1974 on 8tracks Radio.

TV Girl

18 Jun

I’ve been a huge fan of San Diego’s TV Girl ever since I stumbled upon their self-titled EP on their Bandcamp page back in 2010. Their blend of electo-indie-tropical-surf-lo-fi pop music is very addictive, like eating potato chips, you can’t just listen to one song.

They are realeasing their new EP Lonely Women today. It’s so damn good. It’s been on repeat almost non-stop since they sent it to me. You can sample their coolness below on “She Smokes In Bed”. The driving beat of this song is sure to get your head bobbing up and down. You can buy the new EP digitally or on cassette at their Bandcamp page, I suggest that you do, it may become your favorite release of the summer. Enjoy!

TV Girl – She Smokes In Bed from Lonely Women EP (2013)

Gliss

18 Jan

You won’t find much about Gliss on their site, their label’s or their publicist’s. Their official channels prefer to keep an enigmatic air about the band offering not much more than “Gliss is a Danish/American three-piece.” Notice the distinct lack of a genre, which I don’t fault them or any band for not offering up a genre. It’s not band’s job to pigeonhole themselves. That’s the uninteresting but necessary job of critics, bloggers, and radio programmers to help a lazy public digest music without actually listening to it. Readers of this blog listen to the music first, genres and categories be damned, right? Can I get an amen! Thank you.

I still have to do my job, so here goes. Gliss is, simply put, a pop band. And all I mean by pop in this case is that they keep their vocals up high and clear in the mix. Musically, it’s a different story. If you dig back into their discography you can hear anything from punchy garage tracks, sounding a lot like Japan’s glam rock phase, to Autolux’s laconic, brooding work to The Jesus and Mary Chain’s wall-of-guitars. Judging from these tracks off their forthcoming album Langsom Dans, Gliss seems to have shed the heavier guitar work and replaced it with softer beats and a rich array of electronics and echoing voices. I appreciate bands willing to test new waters, to push themselves and their sounds beyond their origins. It keeps an air of discovery about them for the band itself and for jaded music geeks.

Gliss – Hunting
Gliss – Blur

gliss.tv
modernoutsider.com

Isaac Delusion

9 Jan

Ever so quietly, this Paris trio is beginning to bubble up into the consciousness of American music hounds. But I doubt the noise they’re making will stay quiet long. In a word, Isaac Delusion is delicious. The band conjures a lovely warmth with their gentle rhythms and bright string work. Their synths mimic birdsongs and evoke sunrise on a summer’s day, an image I imagined even before I saw the video which features a bit of playful surfing and young boys breakdancing on the beach. The breathy vocals recall those of Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals and add a certain sultriness to the mix. The EP hits North America around the end of the month via a label yet to be named.

Isaac Delusion – Early Morning [MP3]

Cracki Records

Dinah Thorpe

20 Dec


I’m gonna open up this next review with a simple comparison, a comparison that’s going to date me something fierce, but it’s just so spot on. And I can’t get it out of my head, so here goes: Laurie Anderson meets The Lilac Time. Old and obscure, unfortunately. Like Anderson, Thorpe’s rich, multi-layered vocals playfully haunt your brain as they weave back and forth between your ears (headphones strongly encouraged) and the banjo and tempo remind me of the upbeat moments of Stephen Duffy’s work with The Lilac Time. Of course my 16-year old thinks this track sounds like Mumford & Sons, but he’s never heard Peggy Honeywell. Thorpe is literate, politically astute, and crafts siren songs around her dreams and visions with everything from a synth to a ukulele. The results will brighten your day as does her album’s sparse, bold cover.

Daphni

12 Dec

Daphni is the new project of Caribou’s Dan Snaith. JIALONG (JOW-long), his debut release as Daphni, is out now on Merge Records.

As Daphni, Dan set out to record a more spontaneous album, without the careful attention to detail that goes into a Caribou release. The results are just as Snaith intended, a loose, spontaneous album perfect for the dance floor. Enjoy.

Daphni – Ye Ye from JIALONG (2012)

Daphni – Pairs from JIALONG (2012)

Merge

Wazu

9 Dec

Don’t judge this album from its cover. Wazu’s music is stronger and more confident than their over-wrought Art Deco and ’80s brushstroked cover. And yes, the opening track to Wazu’s debut album plays like a lost recording from the Black Celebration sessions. They owe a lot to a handful of chaps from Basildon, England for the sound and name, but Wazu are no retro-plagiarists. They depend more on guitars and add a distressed sound to the synths. Their back-and-forth boy/girl vocals soften the darker tones and harsher industrial flourishes. Or you could say Wazu fleshes out the sensibilities of the xx, amps up the tempo and fills in the gaps with big, dance-floor beats. The band released their debut full-length Robobo earlier this year on Halloween, but this thing’s got legs to last well into 2013. It’s a great album for any retro-fetishists, or for anyone in the mood for a sultry, dark and smoky, dance album. So let me cut all the reviewer and critic nonsense, crank this album back up and encourage you to do the same. Revised 12/19/12.

Wazu – Symbol System [MP3]

King Loses Crown

4 Dec

Darker than Devo, faster than Depeche Mode, denser than Killing Joke, but sharing the apocalyptic atmosphere of those artists, San Francisco trio King Loses Crown releases their new single today, “My Revenge.” We reviewed an earlier demo version of this song a few years back, but the band has since added a member, beefed up production and further honed their sound. And as luck would have it, their sonic assault met its visual match in visual effects director Jim Mitchell (Harry Potter, Sleepy Hollow, and Jurassic Park III). Mitchell directed the video, also released today, a documentary style, sci-fi look into the future where our technology catches up with us and our darkest impulses.

It’s not everyday that a full-fledged Hollywood filmmaker produces the video for an emerging band, so I checked in with Mitchell to see why he decided to get involved with King Loses Crown. He told me that a friend invited him to see the band at the Elbo Room and he was “blown away by the intensity and energy of their songs.” Mitchell had been developing a robot character and when he heard “My Revenge” he realized the song’s theme was “similar to what [he] was imagining for the world of the character.” He edited a few of his robot animations to the song and “couldn’t believe how it just seemed to naturally sync up like they were meant to be together.” The band agreed. So do I. You probably will too.

My Revenge from You Can’t Escape EP, February 2013