Easy Love is the solo project of Justine Brown, who is also half of the indie-pop duo Summer Twins – the band she shares with her sister Chelsea.
Justine wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, and recorded most of the songs in her bedroom. The results are an intimate, 9 songs of pop rock gold. For a taste, check out the shimmery, jangle-pop goodness of standout track “I Want You To Know”, which is below for your listening/downloading pleasure.
Easy Love is available now on cassette from Burger Records / Lolipop Records, and digitally on Bandcamp as well.
Easy Love – I Want You To Know from Easy Love (2017)
It all started with hearing Thundercat’s ‘Friend Zone’ for the first time. I immediately started thinking about what other songs would go with it in a mix – and it grew from there – 25 tracks of toe tapping groove. Thanks for inspiring this mix, Thundercat!
1. Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground (London, 1974)
2. Thundercat – Friend Zone
3. Al Green – Because
4. Natural Child – Benny’s Here
5. Once And Future Band – Rolando
6. BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah – Ray Gun (feat. DOOM)
7. Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings – Tell Me
8. Carla Thomas – Let Me Be Good To You
9. Lazy Salon – Sea Isle Ice
10. RUMTUM – Lost Ark
11. Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
12. Lazy Knuckles – Polygot
13. Gonjasufi – Ancestors
14. Adrian Younge – La Ballade
15. Blood Orange – Best To You
16. Bad Juju – Up In The Lab
17. Flying Lotus – Zodiac Shit
18. The Meters – You’ve Got To Change (You Got To Reform)
19. Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Chicken Pox
20. The Mar-Keys – Last Night
21. The Courtneys – Mars Attacks (Bobby Draino Remix)
22. Moderat – Reminder
23. Lasso – FkdLtd
24. Madvillain – Heat Niner
25. Dibia$e – Just The Way
Those of you who’ve been with us from the beginning know of our deep love for Jens Lekman. I was infatuated with his “Black Cab” single for most of 2004 (my post has since disappeared but the song kicked off this vintage podcast). Then Lisa broke down everything that’s right about Jens with his 2007 album, Night Falls Over Kortedala. Now it’s 2017, Jens is 36 years old, and he’s in many ways the same Jens – an open book of a songwriter who can take you deep into his heartache without trafficking in self-indulgence. What’s changed is his production repertoire. Once relying on minimal accompaniment to seal the intimate feel of his songs, his latest, Life Will See You Now, moves his heartbreak and introspection to the dancefloor in a way that’s both absurd and earnest at once.
The opening track, “Know Your Mission”, recounts his encounter with a Mormon missionary in 1997. It starts with spare piano and Jens’ familiar sing-speaking, then breaks into a ridiculous party beat only to return to form by the end. “How We Met, the Long Version” brings Jens’ habit of hyperbole to a Soul Train-worthy crescendo. He tells a condensed history of the earth that culminates in a fateful kiss in the backyard. Why the sudden passion for calypso, samba, and disco? I’m not sure, but I’m going to chalk it up to maturity. Jens has become more comfortable stepping outside of himself with his lyrics. And he’s willing to let his hair down (so to speak) to remind us his songs are, after all, just words set to music.
[We have Life Will See You Now on limited edition orange vinyl – in the 3hive Co-op Shop, while supplies last.]
Molly Burch’s debut LP, Please Be Mine, is an early favorite of mine for album of the year. It’s 10 tracks of reverb-soaked, country-psych twang, along with Burch’s strong, smoky vocals, sets the bar high for the rest of 2017’s releases.
Please Be Mine is available now via Captured Tracks. Please give album standouts “Downhearted” and “Try” a spin (below). You will be glad that you did. Enjoy.
[We have Please Be Mine on vinyl – in the 3hive Co-op Shop, while supplies last.]
Molly Burch FB
Lazy Salon (the solo project of Twin Atlas member Sean Byrne) is a post I’ve been meaning to get on 3hive since 2015 when his EP, LZY_SLN-003, arrived in my inbox. His clever usage of organic and electronic beats and instrumentation really hit the spot for me. As inbox’s go (at least for me) Sean’s email was lost, or buried in the shuffle and LZY_SLN-003 never made it onto the site.
Today I right the ship, as Sean is about to release his debut LP (as Lazy Salon) Invisible Like Peace. Like his 3 EP’s before, Byrne is still creating his musical landscapes with live and electronic instruments. Invisible Like Peace is rich in texture and melody as can be heard on album track, “Ong’s Hat” below.
I highly recommend giving Lazy Salon’s stuff a spin and picking up Invisible Like Peace from Byrne’s Bandcamp page as soon as it releases – Friday, March 10.
Lazy Salon – Ong’s Hat from Invisible Like Peace (2017)
Lazy Salon – Nesco Gloss from LZY_SLN-003 (2015)
Modesto’s finest are back! I don’t know what it says about me or, more to the point, the times we are living in but I’ve been waiting for this album like my sanity depended on it. And now I know why…
As Last Place opens, you hear Jason Lytle warming up the beloved analog Grandaddy machine – analog hum, sample burps and all – and then things kick into the single “Way We Won’t”. Everything sounds so perfect and familiar that I almost can’t remember when they hung it up (okay, it’s been 10 year and 10 months, but whatever).
For as Grandaddy as they sound, this album clearly belongs in the present day. Lytle’s nasal falsetto, scuzzy guitar, and soaring vintage synths – layered with slacker harmonies and carefully included “mistakes” – remind me of everything I love about these guys. But I don’t feel nostalgic because there’s nothing less relevant about Lytle’s love/hate relationship with the connected age, suburban bubbles, worldly vices – and the distance they place between humans and themselves/nature.
As satisfying as those tracks are, Grandaddy’s most beautiful moments have always been the love songs. My favorite line from “This Is the Part” – “where there was love, now there’s some other stuff” – rings so true it makes me want to cry. Lytle is an everyman poet whose slacker persona (dude was wearing a beard and trucker hat before most scenesters were even born) belies his earnest and complex songwriting. Don’t be fooled – Grandaddy are a national treasure.
It’s been reported that Danger Mouse coaxed the band out of retirement by both producing and releasing Last Place on his 30th Century Records imprint. While that’s been in the back of my head as I listen, I can’t make out his fingerprints. DM’s a Grandaddy fanboy, so perhaps he took a step back and cheered them on as the band picked up from their highest pre-hiatus point. Or maybe the collaboration was so seamless that it sounds too natural to notice. To be honest – I just care that this record exists.
[We have some Grandaddy vinyl – including Last Place on brown vinyl – in the 3hive Co-op Shop, while supplies last.]
French psych-poppers, Marie Mathématique, come to you courtesy of Six Tonnes De Chair’s Instagram feed. When I saw their album cover (above) on said feed, I knew it was something I needed to get my hands on – and I am so glad that I did.
Their latest album, Tous vos lendemains dès aujourd’hui (Google translated – “All Your Tomorrows Today”), came out last September via 2000 Records. It’s 33 minutes of swirling guitars, fuzzy synths and a massive, pounding, rhythm section is psychedelic gold. Give “Sous mon second soleil” (below) a spin, it’s a solid example of Marie Mathématique’s goodness.
Tous vos lendemains dès aujourd’hui is available on vinyl and digitally through 2000 Records. Enjoy!
Marie Mathématique – Sous mon second soleil from Tous vos lendemains dès aujourd’hui (2016)
When I saw Todd’s 2014 post about The Courtneys’ “Mars Attacks” single was trending I realized people are probably looking for our take on their sophomore album II, which dropped a couple weeks ago. So here it is: sun-drenched power pop from Vancouver, BC, that doesn’t let up on the pop culture references, hooks, and fuzzed-out guitars from beginning to end. Also worth noting: singer Jen Twynn Payne is the drummer, too! – a sorta Grant Hart meets Karen Carpenter. Spin the Courtneys and make summer happen early this year.
Stephen Bruner a/k/a Thundercat is a musical omnivore. In interviews he’ll cite Manhattan Transfer, Mahavishnu Orchestra, John Coltrane, and video game music as influences – all in the same sentence. He’s played with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Suicidal Tendencies. And he’s already appeared on as many albums as he years old (33!). Such a broad palette can be a blessing or a curse. Fortunately, Thundercat has managed to channel his wandering mind and expansive talent into another uniquely cohesive – and funky – package with his latest, Drunk.
Whether the topic matter is mortality, race relations, or how freakin’ cool Tokyo or his pet cat is, Thundercat brings a levity and sincerity to the party that would be hard for most people to balance. If I told you he accomplishes this with a 6-string bass and entrancing falsetto as his primary weapons, it’d be even harder to believe.
Drunk is tight, so tight, almost efficient: 22 joints and not one clocks over 4 minutes long. In contrast to Thundercat’s live shows, where songs gets blown out into transcendent (sometimes frenetic) jam sessions, each studio track packs a concentrated punch. “Bus in the Streets” argues for unplugging from technology over a snappy Steely Dan-esque synth line. “Walk on By” is a yearning R&B burner with Kendrick Lamar guesting with a potent dose of street poetry. “Them Changes” – a bringback from his 2015 EP – showcases the funkiest bassline this side of Larry Graham. Then there’s the two Big Singles: “Show You the Way” featuring Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, with no irony whatsoever, and “Friend Zone” which lit the place up when I saw Thundercat perform it a couple weeks back and has already reserved a spot on most Best of 2017 lists.
Speaking of his live show, it was a melting pot of jazzbos, hip-hop heads, skaters, Pitchfork disciples, and drum circle types – a testament to Thundercat’s broad appeal. You can love him for his virtuosity, his groove, his unabashed nerdiness… or maybe you’ll find some other reason. I’ll leave that to you and Thundercat.
I spend the first part of every year going through my routine of researching music from the previous year that I’d somehow been sleeping on. 2017’s biggest wake-up so far has been Nothing Gives by London’s Slowcoaches. This blistering debut – which in my defense was released in early December – has all the right triggers if you’re nostalgic for ’90s bands like Babes in Toyland or L7: chunky hooks, start-stomp tempos, that indifferent sneer…
However, I haven’t been pining for that sound at all. So why was I so drawn in by “We’re So Heavy” when it showed up in the pole position on my Discover Weekly playlist? One superficial explanation could be the Anglophile appeal. Elastica plagiarized Wire almost note-for-note but somehow got a hall pass from me while I remember wandering off to find a snack during Babes in Toyland’s Lollapalooza set back in ’93.
The real answer – for me, at least – lies in the cloaked intimacy of singer/bassist Heather Perkins’ lyrics, which she slyly tucks between punches of fuzzed-out guitar and angsty anthemic choruses. There, Perkins cops to her anxieties, and their consequences, with a realness that is both exhilarating and heartbreaking. On “Raw Dealings” she sings, “I’ve been struggling with distance every time/You’re all out of time, you’re all out of time”. She’s indicting herself and setting herself free in the same breath. The album is full of these subtle moments that make their fierce outer trappings even more meaningful. Don’t sleep, even for a minute, on this lot.