Jaakko Eino Kalevi creates what could be called mystery pop. Like a distant Finish cousin to Ariel Pink, Kalevi’s dreamy tunes pulse with gently syncopated grooves, otherworldly synth bursts and a deeply intoning voice that gives his self-titled album a tinge of 4AD-style goth. Though Kalevi clearly has successfully digested albums by This Mortal Coil and Talk Talk, it’s also clear that he’s taken the time to develop his own sound, drawing from his moody ’80s predecessors, lacquering on some fashionably semi-ironic soft-rock sheen and hints of prog-rock and ’80s movie soundtracks, and coming out as a next-generation pop auteur with tunes as exotic as his vowel-friendly name. You might not know quite what Kalevi’s getting at, but his somewhat intangible nature is part of his appeal. The sultry “Say” and aerobic “Night at the Field” stand out from the crowd, but Jaakko Eino Kalevi is an incredibly warm and inviting listen from the top down. Curl up on Kalevi’s luxury sofa and let the magic happen.
Starting next week, we're holding a huge sale on Criterion Collection movies at Amoeba Hollywood—from June 18 through July 4, get 25% off all new Criterion DVDs and Blu-rays. You can read more about that sale here. To kick it off, we gathered our collective heads to pick our favorite Criterion movies on disc. Criteria varies, but generally these discs offer something special beyond the movie itself. Check out our picks below.
Band of Outsiders (1964)
Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave classic gets a pristine high-definition digital transfer on both the DVD and Blu-ray, while excerpts from the documentary La nouvelle vague par elle-mÃªme offer behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Godard. And a short film by the great French New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda featuring much of the Band of Outsiders cast is just icing.
The Battle of Algiers (1966)
Gardens & Villa – “Fixations”
I caught myself Shazaming this one on the way to work. Santa Barabarans-turned-Angelenos Gardens & Villa gets slinkier and psychier on their new track “Fixations,” from their upcoming new album, Music for Dogs, due Aug. 21 on Secretly Canadian. With some help from producer Jacob Portrait (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), the band pushes the Brian Eno influence to the forefront, which nicely weirds up their enjoyable indie-pop sound with some eccentricity.
Nightjacket – “It’s Alright”
Fresh of playing Make Music Pasadena last weekend, L.A. dream-pop group Nightjacket has released a new song called “It’s Alright.” The jangly tune nicely features Holland Belle’s dusky vocals while the band keeps things peppy, reimagining what Slowdive or Mazzy Star might have sounded like if they aimed for the radio and throwing in some Beatlesesque breakdowns for good measure. It’s from the band’s upcoming self-released debut EP, Eternal Phase, which was mixed by Jeff Zeigler (The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile) and mastered by Joe Lambert (Wild Nothing, Deerhunter, Sharon Van Etten) and is due June 23. They’ll be at the Echo June 22 and S.F.’s Hemlock Tavern June 27.
Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, but there are already many albums announced, including a few that are sure to be some of the biggest of the year.
Young soul singer Leon Bridges’s powerful voice and guitar licks have earned him comparisons to Sam Cooke and a viral hit with the sweetly swaying, vintage-R&B-style “Coming Home.” It’s one of those times when it looks like the hype is on point; Coming Home announces the arrival of a huge new talent.
Layers of heavily effected guitar hang loosely as a faded tapestry behind Michael Vidal’s pensive croon on his first release as a solo artist. Formerly the frontman for L.A.’s great tropical-punks-turned-darkwavers Abe Vigoda, Vidal is a modern-day goth romantic with his deep voice and yearning lyrics, the gleaming guitar lines and gently pulsing beat of “Dreams (Come Back to Me)” calling to mind bands like Cocteau Twins and The Durutti Column. “Burn” is the emotional centerpiece, as Vidal’s sensitive lyricism pours over looped arpeggiated guitars on a track that recalls the best of The Cure or Adore-era Smashing Pumpkins. Drizzling instrumental “Mono No Aware” moves into the percolating guitars of “Appraisal,” while “Sky Blue” takes that mechanically layered guitar and gives it a regal flair, evoking its namesake somehow both scientifically and dreamily. The album closes on a wash of guitars so hazily rendered they could to float away. At just seven songs, the album manages to leave its mark, a heavenly set of songs for nostalgic dreamers.