Amoeblog

10 Songs to Download Now: Mikal Cronin, Hanni El Khatib, Cayucas, Classixx, Small Black and More

Posted by Billy Gil, May 14, 2013 12:29pm | Post a Comment

Starting a new feature to highlight some recent tracks available to download on the Amoeba site. Take a listen and if you like them, add them to your Amoeba shopping cart (you won’t be charged until you check out). All downloads are in the $.98 MP3 format; visit the album page to pick up higher-res M4A or WAV files.

 

mikal cronin mciiMikal Cronin – “Weight”

Starting with a stately piano and acoustic jangle, “Weight” opens Mikal Cronin’s excellent MCII on a classy note. Those Rubber Soul-style harmonies and crunching guitars at the chorus don’t hurt, either. This one’s a free download. (From the album MCII)

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ancient animalsAncient Animals – “Teen Wolf”

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Album Picks: Vampire Weekend, Small Black, Eluvium, Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Classixx, Wild Nothing

Posted by Billy Gil, May 14, 2013 10:28am | Post a Comment

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City

vampire weekend modern vampires of the cityCD $12.98

LP $18.98

Limited Edition LP $19.98

Download $9.98

Every time the world turns against Vampire Weekend, they have a way of turning around and shattering expectations. From the get-go, the band was dogged with Strokes comparisons and scoffs of Ivy League grads pilfering African music while singing about rich people. But none of those things could stop people from enjoying their immensely enjoyable first album, their underrated second one and now their third pop opus, Modern Vampires of the City. It’s low-key like Contra, but Modern Vampires’ hooks are silkier and more ingratiating. “Step” waltzes with a gorgeous collegiate melody, featuring some of the finest singing to date by Ezra Koenig, who’s finally mastered that Paul Simon trill. He also extends his voice beyond its comfort zone, taking on Buddy Holly-style hiccupping and extending his range up and down (aided by digital skewing) while the band rocks a solid shuffle on the cleverly titled “Diane Young.” It’s one of their best singles yet. Koenig’s lyrics, too, retain their wittiness and specificity, though they are open enough to make your own implications — “though we live on the U.S. dollar, you and me we got our own sense of time,” he sings memorably in “Hannah Hunt,” which ends with a beautiful, well-earned climax in which Koenig tears his lungs out belting. The band mostly stays supportive, only going full-tilt on a few songs, like the galloping “Worship You,” which allows Koenig to spit verse at lightning speed, or pulling out grand pop moments in “Unbelievers” and the uber-strange “Ya Hey,” which pairs its intricate melodies with hyper-warped vocal tricks. Modern Vampires doesn’t go for obvious, occasionally obscuring itself in too much oddity and not ripping loose often enough. But few bands at this level are still taking these many chances, and pulling it off more often than not. Vampire Weekend’s freewheeling Modern Vampires of the City firmly perches the band back in the top echelon of bands making music today.

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