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out this week, 9/13 & 9/20: the drums...wild flag...girls...neon indian...jens lekman...veronica falls...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 13, 2011 01:01pm | Post a Comment
Hello! Welcome back to my new release blog. I am so sorry that I have been neglecting you. It has been a busy two months of new releases! Maybe you didn't notice...but it is already October. Not sure how that happened. It is already October 13th actually! This is absolutely one of my favorite months. I wish it was October every month!  Although I was not exactly enjoying the warm weather yesterday. Although we did not really have a crazy hot Summer this year in Los Angeles. So I can't blame Summer for trying to squeeze a couple of more days into October. But October is most certainly here and November is quickly approaching. All of the music labels are rushing to get their best new albums out to you before the end of the year. And all the movie studios will soon be rushing to get their best movies out before the end of the year! So lets go back in time and catch up a bit on what has come out the last couple of weeks. Then we can actually move onto October! First up is the week of 9/13 and 9/20...

I fell in love with The Drums when they put out their Summertime EP last year. How could I not love this band. It was the perfect pop record. Brilliantly pop friendly songs heavily influenced by The Smiths and Joy Division. But adding more modern sounds and synths. I fell in love. They also released their debut self titled full length album last year. Which was also fantastic. And now they have unleashed their second album called Portamento. You can never capture that excitement of a first record. But I am still loving this new album. The songs are catchier than anything and they just make me happy. A nice way to end my summer for sure. If you have still not joined the cult of The Drums. You should start with their first album The Drums or the Summertime EP. You will not be disappointed.

Check out the video for "How It Ended" by The Drums from the new album Portamento...




Neon Indian have also just released their second album. The new album is called Era Extrana. They put out their debut album Psychic Chasms in 2009. That album was also reissued in 2010. This new album is simply a super fun album. The songs are catchy and electronic and will keep you coming back for more. I compare them to bands like Human League and Pet Shop Boys. Maybe a more dreamy and ethereal version of those bands. Somewhere in between Cocteau Twins and Spandau Ballet.  Everyone will obviously not like this band. Some people will think the songs are ridiculous and not real music. Some people might make fun of you for listening to this band. But that only makes me like them more. These songs would not be out of place on the soundtrack to Drive. But I will get to that later. Era Extrana is exactly the kind of album that I want it to be. Nothing more and nothing less. Neon Indian has created the perfect second album.

Check out this video for "Polish Girl" by Neon Indian from the new album Era Extrana. This is of course not the actual video but a clip from the amazing movie Breakin'. I highly suggest that you pick up a copy of this new album by Neon Indian and that you also watch the movie Breakin'. It is just as amazing as you remember it to be....



There are many more albums that came out on 9/13 and 9/20. A fantastic new little EP from Jens Lekman. Everyone's favorite Swedish genius songwriter is back! An Argument With Myself is exactly what you would expect from Jens Lekman. He is witty and funny and ridiculous but super talented and brilliant. I just can't get enough of Jens Lekman. And I can't wait for his next full length album! We also get new albums from St. Vincent, Ladytron, Toro Y Moi, Shimmering Stars, Tori Amos, Wooden Shjips, Patton Oswalt, Nurses, Wild Flag, & Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Something for everyone. Almost too many albums for me to keep up with. I still have not given my final verdict to the debut album from Wild Flag. I love Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss from Sleater-Kinney and I love Mary Timony from Helium. So it is great to see these amazing ladies back in action. But I really am just waiting for the next season of Portlandia and hoping that Wild Flag makes a guest appearance at an instore at the women's book store. This debut album is fun and playful and I think they sound great on it. If nothing else, this new album has made me go back and listen to my old Sleater-Kinney and Helium records. It has made me remember why I fell in love with them in the first place!

It really is the year of the second album. Girls have also just released their second album. The new album by Girls is really really good. It took me a couple months to actually get into them after the first album came out. I actually saw them live and didn't know what to think of them. But the Broken Dreams Club EP from last year pushed me over for sure. I was then a fan of Girls without a doubt. This new album Father Son Holy Ghost is worth your time and money. I know there are a ton of albums this last couple of months. But this is one that you should not miss! This band is straight out of the 90's. They are sort of a mix of Sunny Day Real Estate and The Posies and the more lighter side of the grunge sound of the 90s mixed with a more British Primal Scream shoegaze 90s sort of sound. Imagine the Beach Boys if they had discovered Shoegaze or Dreampop.

Check out the video for "Honey Bunny" by Girls from the new album Father Son Holy Ghost...



One of my other recent favorites is Veronica Falls. Their debut album has just been released by Slumberland. They are a band made for people like me who still wish every band sounded like either Twee or Shoegaze or something in between. This album is still blowing me away every time that I listen to it. And I have listened to it many many times. I still get sad when I think about the fact that we will probably never get another album by the band Lush. But Veronica Falls sound very close to what I would have loved for Lush to turn into. They are a little less shoegaze and a little more Twee than Lush. But just as amazing and brilliant. You really should be loving the band as much as I do. I almost can't believe how great they are. This album is magical. It really is. I will be listening to it over and over again for many months to come.

Check out the video for "Bad Feeling" by Veronica Falls from their debut album....



also out 9/13...






American Goldwing
by Blitzen Trapper











Dreams Come True
by CANT











Portamento
by The Drums











Father Son Holy Ghost
by Girls











Credo
by The Human League











Junk Of The Heart
by The Kooks











Gravity the Seducer
by Ladytron











Years
by Memoryhouse











Earth Division
by Mogwai











Era Extrana
by Neon Indian











Green Naugahyde
by Primus











Violent Hearts
by Shimmering Stars











Paradise
by Slow Club











Strange Mercy
by St. Vincent











Freaking Out
by Toro Y Moi











Wild Flag
by Wild Flag











West
by Wooden Shjips






also out 9/20...






Night of Hunters
by Tori Amos











Hysterical
by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah











In Animal Tonque
by Evangelista











HitRECord
by Joseph Gordon-Levitt











Argument With Myself
by Jens Lekman











Megafaun
by Megafaun











Dracula
by Nurses











Finest Hour
by Patton Oswalt











Veronica Falls
by Veronica Falls











Red
by Weekend




Album Picks: Veronica Falls, Björk, Zola Jesus

Posted by Billy Gil, October 12, 2011 12:29pm | Post a Comment
Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
 
While listening to Irish Grimestep or whatever genre happens to be unfathomably cool at the moment is great and all, sometimes you need meat and potatoes. In my case, that would be C86, shoegaze, college rock and that sort of thing, and Slumberland Records keeps serving up bands like sloppy joes that fulfill this particular hunger. Their latest band is Veronica Falls, which, despite their late-‘90s CW Network show sounding name, are actually a great garage pop band in the vein of Slumberland alumn Crystal Stilts, Girls Names and Black Tambourine. “Right Side of My Brain’s” bouncy pop gets C86 so right that it could have been on the original tape that spawned that genre. “The Fountain” is delectable guitar goth pop that displays one of the band’s best and at first easily overlooked tricks — pristine harmonies. “Beachy Head” injects a welcome bit of surf-rock meanness to an otherwise well-mannered album. It’s pretty much candy all over.
 
Björk – Biophilia
 
With all the hubbub surrounding Björk’s latest album (corresponding iPad apps to songs, a street date delay and rejiggering of sound), it may be easy to dismiss the album beneath it all. That would be a shame, because Biophilia is as brilliant as anything in Björk’s catalog, but that brilliance is quieter and takes repeated listens to understand compared with some of her previous efforts. Whereas she tried to recreate the violently happy turns of Debut and Post in 2007’s Volta, here she’s back to forging new sonic territory, using newly invented instruments (such as the gameleste, which combines Indonesian gamelan instruments with the key-based celeste instrument) and employing iPad-made music and programmed beats. Of course, none of that matters if it doesn’t end up sounding great, and you probably don’t need to know any of that to enjoy the songs on Biophilia, but it helps to understand the otherworldly nature of a song like “Crystalline,” which relies on the strange gameleste to build atmosphere before breaking into a hyper-intense hardcore breakbeat section. That that song and “Cosmogony,” a musical cousin to Björk classics like “Isobel” and “Bachelorette” that builds beautifully before disintegrating into a sea of descending vocals, are the most accessible songs tells you more. At its core, Biophilia is a wildly strange, even disturbing album, from the dissonant and gibberish-laden “Dark Matter” to the blood-curdling electronic sounds and ghostly vocals of “Hollow.” Then there’s “Mutual Core,” in which Björk tosses her fans a bone (although one on which the meat is tough and sinewy) with more typically “Björk” musical movements and more overtly clubby beats. But there’s something new to uncover with each listen, despite a somewhat hollow-sounding veneer, such as unusual time signatures, haunting lyrics and hidden, loping melodies. Biophilia really sounds nothing like anything else Björk has done, or anything anyone else has done, for that matter, and will probably upset some fans and detractors alike. For its gutsiness alone, it’s great; and for its more inspired moments, it’s something no music fan should miss hearing.
 
Zola Jesus – Conatus
 
For those who were expecting Zola Jesus aka Nika Roza Danilova turn around from last year’s winning Stridulum II with an album of glossy pop, think again. Sure, Conatus is her most accessible statement yet, but the album is still teaming with the experimental electronic music and ethereal vocals on which she built her name, only with slightly more of an emphasis on the electro balladry she exhibited so well on Stridulum’s “Night” and “Lightstick.” “Hikikomori” begins with throbbing synths and Danilovato’s yearning vocals intoning “blisters on my hands,” underpinned by subtle strings. On this track and several others on Conatus, you can hear the effort Danilova has put into carefully considering the album’s every movement, building songs gradually and deliberately, pulling at the heartstrings but always from afar, sometimes coming through clearly, sometimes unintelligible in a vocal styling reminiscent of Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. Her best songs manage to do it all at once, such as in the soaring “Seekir,” in which she aims for the gut (“Is there nothing left of the mess we made?” she asks in a moment that clears the sonic din to cut through) as well as the dance floor, although the result, with intertwining, ghostly backup vocals, is too complex to simply label a dance song. You sometimes long for more moments like that on Conatus (the epic choral build of “Lick The Palm Of The Burning Handshake” being another), but its balancing act of restraint and putting it all out there makes for intriguing listening that will keep fans happy and pull in plenty of new ones.
 

Shoegazers Sleeping Bags Release Debut Album, Play Bootleg Tonight

Posted by Billy Gil, September 15, 2011 12:15pm | Post a Comment
As a diehard shoegaze fan, my ears tend to perk up any time I hear the following things: echo, reverb, tremolo, washed out vocals, densely layered guitars. So witnessing the birth of a true LA shoegaze band in the form of Sleeping Bags has been a pleasure.

The band consists of brothers and Princeton members Matt and Jesse Kivel (the latter also of Kisses), on guitar/vocals and drums/vocals, respectively, plus Abe Burns on guitar, David Lewis on bass and Mark Nieto on synths and other noise. Their self-titled debut, out now on Easter Everywhere, calls to mind swirling shoegaze maestros like Ride, Chapterhouse and Swervedriver, but with more of a willingness to explore synth-laden textural landscapes, akin to modern shoegazers like Airiel, Film School and The War on Drugs. Songly like “March of Gold” create inviting aural fields of sound with lovelorn melodies before igniting them with guitar fireworks.

Burns says the band formed when he and Matt Kivel worked at Daily Variety. (Hey, I worked there too! Ages ago though.) Burns says they practiced once before their first show, writing all of his parts during that first practice. Later, they added members, fleshed out the songs with more sonic texture, with Lewis of Gentle Hands coming on board last to add low-end sound.

Its great dream-pop aesthetic aside, the band also bonded over krautrock bands like Can, Neu!, Faust and Cluster, which can be seen in Jesse Kivel’s insistent beats in songs like “Park” or the more ambient, Eno-esque “Marine.”

“When we recorded, it was really LOUD,” Burns says. “I’ve never had to wear earplugs under my headphones. We cranked everything. I had my guitar going through my amp and a PA, you could 'feel' the sound moving around the room.”

The album, recorded in two days at KXLU, can be purchased at http://www.eastereverywhere.com and http://sleepingbags.bandcamp.com.  And if you can’t make it to the Bootleg tonight, chances are they’ll be playing Pehrspace again soon, where they’ve taken to playing every couple of months.

Show tonight:
Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90057
$8
Sleeping Bags are on at 9 p.m., followed by Baron Von Luxxury, Robatanists and Spirit Animals

Forget Chillwave; Wild Nothing's 'Gemini' is Heartfelt Dream Pop

Posted by Aaron Detroit, June 3, 2010 02:00pm | Post a Comment
Wild Nothing Gemini
Chillwave” in 2010 is as embarassing a genre tag as “Shoegaze” or “Grunge” was in 1991. It sounds more like a vile blue-colored slushy drink from a convenience store than a musical genre. I feel bad for the contemporary Dream Pop bands that have to endure being cast as such. Chillwave is the new Nu-Rave, i.e., nothing more than loosely similar bands being forced into corners by lazy bedroom bloggers. While many young bands, as of late, have been heavily borrowing sonic textures, recording aesthetics, and ideas from those bleary bands of the late ‘80’s and early 90’s, Virginia’s one-man band of Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, has succeeded in making a record that pings the right amount of lilting and forlorn nostalgia via its familiar Dream Pop haze yet is complex enough not to fatigue attentive ears. Gemini, released this week, has all the shimmer of early Cocteau Twins, the bounce of mid-era Cure, and the rough charm of a C86-era mixtape. This is the sort of record I wish Beach House would make.

Gemini’s success as a great Dream Pop album is also highlighted by what it is lacking. Tatum avoids the cloying cutsey tweeness of last year’s retro-darlings The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and instead delivers a breezy melancholy. Sincerity is a breath of fresh air here as well -- while essentially postmodern because of its pastiche, Gemini obviously springs from Tatum’s heart, carefully avoiding the irony so many young bands rely on and hide behind. On the slow-crawl of “Pessimist,” Tatum wears it on his sleeve with the line “Boys Don’t Cry/They Just Die” without a hint of a grin. However, the album is never oppressive or dreary, even when Tatum is bummed out; it truly is a great feat to make a record that plays perfectly on a summer drive to the beach or home alone on a rainy day.


Wild Nothing’s Gemini is available from Amoeba Music Hollywood now on CD, with hopefully some LPs forthcoming. Make sure to pick up Wild Nothing’s 7” single Cloudbusting as well for Tatum’s heartfelt lo-fi rendering of the Kate Bush classic.

out today 4/20 and 4/27...radio dept...trans am...hole...avi buffalo...ceremony...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 13, 2010 12:00pm | Post a Comment
I love Avi Buffalo! I love when a new band seems to come out of nowhere! They just suddenly jump into my life, changing it forever. I do tend to be a bit dramatic with my love of certain bands, but I do really love this band. I can't imagine my year without this album. I felt like I was destined to fall in love with this band months before I even heard the album. They are from Long Beach, California and on Sub Pop Records. What more did I need to know?! I grew up in the fantastic little big town of Long Beach and I have been patiently waiting for a really good band to make me proud. I got super sick of everyone talking about Sublime. I will
always love Warren G and Snoop Dogg, but I needed more. Melissa Etheridge lived in Long Beach for a while. We have our share of actors coming from Long Beach, too. The great Brice Beckham from Mr. Belvedere, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen from Saved By the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210, Sally Kellerman and Cameron Diaz. But I needed a Shins or Band of Horses type band to come from Long Beach. Everybody wants at least one great indie band to come from their hometown.Avi Buffalo might just be that band.
avi buffalo sub pop

This album has really blown me away. So great! Really beautiful and fun! Avi met the rest of his band at Millikan High School in Long Beach. These guys are barely out of high school but sound like they have been playing together for 10 years. The record seriously sounds so much better than I could have ever expected. I give some credit to its producer, but at its heart are Avi and his bandmates. He has got one of those weird little voices that you wouldn't really expect to come out of him just by looking at him, sort of like Silversun Pickups. The album really is a big record full of awesome little songs. It is actually pretty short, but I mean big in the way it feels. I was out of town and missed their most recent show but I will be seeing them the next time I get a chance, I hope. My favorite songs are "What's In It For" and "Jessica." They do sort of remind me of MGMT a bit, maybe without the nostalgia retro feeling of that first album. Sub Pop is for sure the perfect home for these guys. The songs all sort of have a melancholy feel to them. I would have believed the band members were all approaching their mid 30's, but once I found out they were so young I tried to figure out if I could even notice it in the album. The lyrics might be a bit younger than I first noticed them to be...but it doesn't really matter. Like the XX, the music is mature way beyond their years. It makes me hopeful for the future of music. Not everything is going to sound like Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana, thank god! Get some Avi Buffalo in your life. You will not regret it.

Buy the new album Avi Buffalo by Avi Buffalo


Another band that sort of came out of nowhere is Ceremony. But I guess not really...before there was A Place To Bury Strangers there was Skywave, and Skywave sort of turned into A Place To Bury Strangers and Ceremony. I love those APTBS albums more than anything, so you can imagine, I was very excited to hear this album by Ceremony! It is brought to us by the great label Killer Pimp that put out the first APTBS album. Killer Pimp has also just released the amazing album from Soundpool. Soundpool is like the female cousin of Ceremony; it hasceremony rocket fire female vocals and is a bit more ethereal but still is in the shoegaze genre. This new album by Ceremony is called Rocket Fire. If you were a bit scared by APTBS then this might be the album for you -- not that it isn't just as good, it is just a bit more accessible and easy to digest. This is not the Chaz Bono band with the same name. There actually seem to be about 4 other bands named Ceremony...not exactly sure how that happened. You'd think somebody would have noticed before now! But this is for sure my favorite incarnation. Rocket Fire is everything I love in an album -- it's loud shoegaze, it's dark and brooding, it sounds British even though it's not, it sounds like it was made in 1991 but it's not, and it has been one of my favorites of this month. I will probably wear it out soon, so I am trying not to listen to it every day, but it is that good!

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