MS MR, Hurricane (from Secondhand Rapture, 2013)

The meteoric rise of NY-based duo Ms Mr is pretty impressive, especially considering they are part of the chillwave genre, which doesn’t normally get signed to the likes of Columbia Records. Their beginnings were much less conventional, having released a tumblr-hosted EP that created much blog-hype (I seemed to have missed it at the time…). Hurricane is probably their most well-known track that has also been remixed by a-many current musicians. I enjoy Lizzy Plapinger’s (Ms) hearty vocals cutting through some electronic beats—it really reminds me of one of my faves, Zola Jesus. Hope you enjoy this too!

More on them here.

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ARTHUR BEATRICE, Grand Union (from Working Out, out February 3, 2014)

British indie rock quartet Arthur Beatrice is about to release their debut album next week and from the sounds of this single and the previous one, Midland (listen here) it will be comprised of emotional but controlled songs led by the deep vocals of Orlando Leopard and singer Ella Girardot. It feels like getting back to basics with less fanfare and musical acrobatics (though those can be fun!) and more focus on songwriting and paired down composition. Listen up, listen in.

More info here.

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NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL, The King of Carrot Flowers Part 2 & 3 (from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, 1998)

For purely selfish reasons, I am posting this legendary track, because tonight I will finally fulfill a long-standing wish to see Neutral Milk Hotel live!

It’s a masterpiece, and if you don’t know why you should head here and buy this.

(Source: Spotify)

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WARPAINT, Biggy (from Warpaint, 2014)

It’s been a long four years since we last heard LA-band Warpaint’s ethereal music, but they’re back with a new album that certainly sounds like it was worth the wait. Biggy is the second single off the record - a meditative and quiet explosion that surrounds and infiltrates your every nerve. The band is currently touring in support of the new record, so check out their website to see when they’ll be rolling into a town near you.

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BILLIE JOE + NORAH, Roving Gambler (from Foreverly, 2013)

I am mostly impatient when it comes to country music, though given a certain mood and environment - I can tolerate it. This statement is to set the stage to explaining why I’m offering this song on the blog today - I just really get a kick out of hearing Billie Joe Armstrong (of Green Day fame. Yes, yes indeed) channel his inner country star in this collaboration with Norah Jones. And they recorded a whole album like this! Foreverly is a a cover album of songs by The Everly Brothers and from a first cursory listen - it doesn’t come across as incredibly groundbreaking past the novelty of this collaboration. But I can see how these songs can be a soothing accompaniment, so I’m going to give it a try!

Here is the original version of this song by The Everly Brothers.

(Source: Spotify)

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REAL ESTATE, Talking Backwards (from Atlas, out on March 4, 2014)

Talking Backwards is the new track off Real Estate’s forthcoming album Atlas, and it displays the band’s timeless sound in all its glory. If I were to describe this song in one word, “Effortless” would come to mind. Its characteristic sunny melody is structured by the band’s usual intricate guitar and bass maneuvering, resulting in a very comforting and addictive tune.

Real Estate is a consistent band that has shown us solid and interesting albums since they came on the scene in 2009, so I’m looking forward to hearing what Atlas holds.

They’re on tour for the foreseeable future. Check it here.

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WASHED OUT, It All Feels Right (from Paracosm, 2013)

On day one of Polar Vortex part deux, I decided to dig into Washed Out's sophomore album that came out over the summer (2013). Washed Out is the stage name of Ernest Greene of Georgia. This album introduces a host of new songs with Greene's signature medley of electronic beats and airy vocals that make you feel like you're floating in a sea of warmth. So pile on your winter gear and press play on this one as you head out the door today!

Follow Washed Out here.

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THE NOTWIST, Close to the Glass (from Close to the Glass, out on February 25, 2014)

The Notwist is arguably one of the most diverse indie bands active today. The band hails from Germany, has been around since the late 80s, and has touched upon a real broad spectrum of genres from heavy metal to indie rock and electronica. This diverse sound makes every album they release quite exciting, since you don’t really know what to expect. So that opportunity has come around again, with a new album (their ninth!) slated to drop in late February (2014).

Quite different from their albums of the last decade, which were fairly melodic, the title track of Close to the Glass indicates that this new album is heavy on electronica with tense and often jarring notes. Yet the soft vocals of lead singer Markus Acher are still consistently quiet and soothing. This combination makes me (predictably) curious to hear more of it!

Touring Europe through late spring. Info here.

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YOUNG FATHERS, Get Up (from Dead, out of February 4, 2014)

Young Fathers combines pop and hip hop so well. I am pretty sure these guys are going to become famous when their album Dead is released on February 4…Their music is fun, cheerful and makes you want to dance - what else do you need?

Young Fathers is made up of three guys - Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole and  ‘G’ Hastings - hailing from Edinburgh. They released two EPs to date (Tape One and Tape Two), with the February release being their first LP. I, for one, will be most excited to hear the whole album.

They will be touring Europe this winter. Find tour information and some more songs off of their upcoming album here.

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BENJAMIN VERDOES, Unknown Fears (from The Evil Eye, 2014)

Singer/songwriter Benjamin Verdoes pens raw and vulnerable songs with an inescapable straightforwardness. Unknown Fears is relatable and catchy - pretty much all I need to get hooked after one or two listens.

Today (1/14/14) marks the release date for his new solo album. There are some utterly beautiful tracks on this album, like So Bari - a stripped down, acoustic love song - I highly recommend delving deeper, if you’re into the Pac-NW singer/songwriter sound!

Purchase the album from Benjamin and get updates on his tour over here.

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TACOCAT, Bridge to Hawaii (from NVM, out February 25, 2014)

Happy Monday! Push aside those blues with some power pop from the sunny and energizing band Tacocat. They’ll be releasing their second album, NVM, in a month. Bridge to Hawaii is a perfect title for this song, and an apt description of exactly what all of us east-coasters wished we were traveling on. Enjoy this Tacocat tasting and check them out live when they begin their tour in support of the new album!

Find more info here.

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FAMY, A Ho A Hand (album forthcoming in 2014)

Remember when the Lumineers’ Hey Ho came onto the scene? Incessant playing, feel-good listening and quick success ensued. Well I’m no expert, but I think the same may happen to FAMY and their song A Ho A Hand. Granted, the lyrics sometimes read like ‘If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’ (just with H-words) but It’s still pretty darn catchy. 

For those who dig Frightened Rabbit and the short-lived band Wu Lyf, you will likely enjoy FAMY. Their debut album is out on Transgressive Records later this year. 

For updates, visit their label page.

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TENNIS, Mean Streets (from Small Sound EP, 2013)

Pop outfit Tennis debuted with a cheerful, light sound and I liked it - for a little while…Then I needed to listen to it only when I was in an energetic mood, and finally I just couldn’t find the right mindset to play it. Then came their recent EP, Small Sound, and I noticed they infused their sound with more of the 70s chill - more soulful, less uppity. I like where they’re going with this. See what you think!

Catch up with the band here.

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MUTUAL BENEFIT, Golden Wake (from Love’s Crushing Diamond, 2013)

Mutual Benefit is the brainchild of Boston musician Jordan Lee, who released his debut LP in Fall 2013 on bandcamp to much acclaim of the established music blogosphere (he has since been signed to Other Music’s label). If I were forced to choose a favorite genre - the kind that always excites me and gets me overcome with emotion - I would have to go with the one that feels like members of a symphony ran away to make beautiful music with a talented singer-songwriter. I’m thinking Sufjan Stevens, Horse Feathers, Radiohead (sometimes), and the likes.  Mutual Benefit falls in this category and for all these reasons I like it - it’s restrained and emotional, textured and sharp. I’m glad I discovered him and I can’t wait to delve further into this album.

He’s heading out on tour this month (January 2014). I, for one, will be lining up. If you’re interested too, find those dates here.

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HAMMOCK, Then the Quiet Explosion (from Oblivion Hymns, 2013)

Many of us are getting back in gear post-holiday vacation, post-snowstorm vacation, post-weekend. I thought this gorgeous understated song will be a good accompaniment to assist us in this always-harsh transition - slowly, quietly, calmly, and drowning in beauty. On their recent album (out November 2013), the band left behind its rock and pop influences and turned to ambient—filling our soundscapes with shimmering guitars and ethereal vocals.

Follow them here.

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