ANDREW BIRD, Tin Foiled (From Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of…, 2014)
I was never a huge Andrew Bird fan. I always found his music to be comfortable and accessible but at the end of the day - kind of boring. Today I heard a track from his just-released album and all of a sudden it sparked something in me. I like its urgency coupled with its paired-down composition—what can I say, it got me hooked. I listened over and again. Now, to the rest of the album!
Tour etc. info here.
SYLVAN ESSO, Coffee (from Sylvan Esso, 2014)
So to say that life has been stressful in the past month would be a gross understatement. But like with most things, I found help in music with the beautiful debut album from the duo Sylvan Esso (who share a member with the eccentric Mountain Man!), and especially this track, Coffee. It calms me, it makes me smile and most importantly - it’s gorgeous. If you’re going through a high-anxiety period, I can’t recommend this album enough…Enjoy!
Tour info here.
KISHI BASHI, Carry on Phenomenon (from Lighght, 2014)
If you don’t have Spotify, listen to this song here!
I love love pop music when it comes in the form of Kishi Bashi! K Ishibashi is back this month with his second solo album and it has some great moments on it. I think, so far, this song is the most addictive of the lot, but I need to explore the album further to find the one with the most emotional surge (my preferred tracks, generally speaking…).
He’ll be touring the U.S. until late June and then Europe in the fall in support of this new album. Check it here!
DAMON ALBARN, Heavy Seas of Love (with Brian Eno. From Everyday Robots, 2014)
Damon Albarn tends to be quite intense as front man for the Gorillaz (and Blur). But as a solo artist, he seems to cut loose and mellow out. In this single from his first solo album, Everyday Robots, he offers up a catchy song that he collaborated on with Brian Eno. It ain’t deep, but it’s pretty!
Official video (and recording) available here.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Broken Bones and Pocket Change (from Half the City, 2014)
This soulful song is brought to you by a group of seven nerdy white lads hailing from Birmingham, Alabama. The lead singer, Paul Janeway, lends his incredible lung capacity to producing a set of powerful (and sometimes cheesy) songs that evoke traditional southern church singing in their intensity and soulfulness.
The band’s first album came out this past winter and they’ll be hopping around the European festival circuit this summer. Catch up with them here.
KINS, Absblurd (from Kins, 2013)
I first heard of the band Kins where I usually hear of the awesomest of bands - KEXP. This time it was through an in-studio performance they were giving, which is really worth a listen. I followed up with a quick listen of their debut album and located my favorite track, Absblurd, where the instrumental bits of bass, drums and guitar swirled around me until I was definitely, without a shadow of a doubt - hooked. I have to say, the band itself sums up its sound really well with this one-liner on their website saying they “specialise in the sound of doubt, detachment and muted aggression.” Pretty spot-on from what I’ve heard.
Looks like I just missed their U.S. tour with yesterday’s featured artist, Courtney Barnett—what an amazing show that would have been! But you peeps out in Europe still have a chance to catch them. Click over here to find the details. Love!
COURTNEY BARNETT, Avant Gardener (from The Double Ep: A Sea of Split Peas, 2014)
Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett penned this catchy single, Avant Gardener, that really shouldn’t be all that catchy - it doesn’t have a ton of structure (chorus/verse etc.) and instead comes off as a ramble about a gal tending to her garden during a heat wave. But yet it is addictive, and I’ve been humming it for days. So enjoy and you’re welcome.
And hey, looky here - she’ll be touring Europe and the U.S. from now until the end of the summer.
THUMPERS, Sound of Screams (from Galore, 2014)
London-based band THUMPERS is exactly the kind of bombastic, energizing and textured sound that I require on this Monday, in the midst of a winter that refuses to end. Childhood friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. joined forces in 2011 and finally signed with Subpop to releasedtheir debut Galore (officially) in early 2014. This probably isn’t going to sound like an earth-shattering revelation to you, but it’ll rock your day. And for that, I find it worthy!
More info here.
BE FOREST, Captured Heart (from Earthbeat, 2014)
This Italian band returns this year with a new album made up of a beautiful collection of ethereal-sounding songs. They are sparse yet filled with emotion, almost cinematic. Captured Heart is one of the catchier tunes, but there is also the stunning Totem - a two-minute track with no vocals, just gorgeous layers of guitar and percussion wrapped up in the band’s signature a gauzy haze.
Check them out here.
HOSPITALITY, I Miss Your Bones (from Trouble, 2014)
The sophomore album from Brooklyn indie rock trio Hospitality carries an intensity that I enjoy. In I Miss Your Bones Amber Papini’s vocals forge ahead with determination over the strong and jagged sounds of drums and bass. Given the subject of the song, this forcefulness gives me the sense that I should steer clear from this chick…But the album sounds amazing.
Happy frigid Monday!
More about their current tour here.
ASAF AVIDAN, Different Pulses (from Different Pulses, 2013)
I’m late to this party, and I feel ashamed! I should know about Asaf Avidan for many reasons, but better late than never. Yes, I said HIM. This is a skinny white dude. His voice is like that of a rusty angel and he is the Israeli male version of Nina Simone. Doesn’t make sense? That’s OK. Just listen, you’ll get it.
The whole album is this kind of beauty, therefore I highly recommend you shell out a few bucks for it. He’s currently touring the U.S., then over to Europe before he heads back to Israel. Share this widely and make him even more well-known so that he’ll come back for a more comprehensive tour!
More info here.
NOAH GUNDERSEN, Poor Man’s Son (from Ledges, 2014)
I’ll be the first to admit that some of the songs I post are pretty random and obscure to most readers. Case in point - Noah Gundersen. How many of you have heard of this talented singer/songwriter? It’s likely that very few. Washington native Gundersen partners with his equally-talented sister and brother on his first full length album, Ledges, that was just released a couple of weeks ago. The Gundersen tribe was raised in a very religious household, a fact that is apparent in their beautifully soulful songs, and especially in the gospel-esque Poor Man’s Son. Noah has stated that he no longer subscribes to a religious lifestyle, but the spirituality definitely seems to linger on in his music—to our advantage.
Now back to how I post lesser-known artists. Lots of people ask me how I find out about all these great musicians, and I say with confidence that it is 90% owning to the amazingness of a Seattle radio station (that I stream in NY) called KEXP. The station is having its pledge drive now, so not only do I recommend you tune in to their broadcasts but I would also like to ask you to become a fellow member. Not only will you be supporting commercial-free radio but you will become a part of an awesome community. Stream and support here.
And for more about Noah Gundersen, click here.
Watch them perform this live in studio here.
TEMPLES, Sun Structures (from Sun Structures, 2014)
GOOD AFTERNOON! Are you awake yet? No? Then press PLAY on this post. That will do the trick. English darlings Temples will explode in your ears with the title track from their new album, Sun Structures, that is filled with their psych rock craziness (loved by English rock “royalty” Oasis…).
Hopefully that’s enough for you to listen up!
Find out more hereeeeeee.
BECK, Blue Moon (From Morning Phase, out on February 25, 2014)
Beck has made us wait long enough for a new album (the last one was in 2008, time indeed flies!), and it finally will drop next week. Blue Moon is the first tasting we get of Morning Phase, and it seems Beck has finally created that sequel to his incredible Sea Change. The track is textured with orchestral layers that soar, while his grounded vocals land us back on our two feet. Really looking forward to hearing what else this album has in store, since Sea Change is still in the top ten albums of my life (to date)…
THE NATIONAL, Heavenfaced (from Trouble Will Find Me, 2013)
The National’s formula of rock songs starting out quietly and building up to an emotional firestorm is, well, a formula. But a very successful and mostly enticing one at that. I’ll admit it took me quite some time to even listen to their 2013 album Trouble Will Find Me, as I was growing a bit tired of the repeat sound. But then I started hearing some of the songs on the radio and they broke me down. There’s something just very delicate about the National’s version of rock—that’s a bit of a contradiction, and that’s why I like it. So listen up to Heavenfaced, my favorite of the moment.
They’re touring all spring and summer 2014. Check it here.
Oh yeah, and Happy Valentine’s Day! Or, whatever :)