New Music Tuesday 10.30.12

Due to Hurricane Sandy, I’m not able to check out this weeks New Music. Here is what I was looking forward to though:

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For more in depth looks check out tinksaysboo. I hope all affected by the storm are safe and dry! See you next week!

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New Music Tuesday 10.23.12

"III" by Shiny Toy Guns
“III” by Shiny Toy Guns

Shiny Toy Guns are back with III, a collection of strong songs that showcase their brand of electro-Pop with an alt-punk edge. The band embraces a softer sound on this record, due in part to the return of former Co-Lead Vocalist Carah Faye Charnow. Her alluring alto seems tailor made for a bed of dreamy synths, and is a perfect counterpoint to the slightly gruffer work by Co-Lead Vocalist Gregori Chad Petree. Their duets on tracks like “Waiting Alone” (below) and the lush “Wait For Me” make for my favorite moments on III. This is a record you can relax to, but that doesn’t mean it is without its uptempo moments. “The Sun” is a pulsating rocker that spices up the album’s latter half, and “Speaking Japanese” has a dirty guitar fueled grind to it. III has a much more focused feel than previous Shiny Toy Guns records, but that is not to say that their previous albums are unfocused. The often over used (and dreaded) term “more mature” can certainly apply here, but when writers employ that term they are usually referring to the bands focus. III feels like a complete album, one whose recording process started with a specific direction in mind. Fans have celebrated the bands ability to jump all over the musical map, but with their third record the band has chosen to send a specific tonal message, one that I found most engaging. Grab it for yourself today at Amazon MP3.

PLAY IT WITH: Metric, The Presets, Yeasayer, The Eurythmics

New Music Tuesday 10.16.12

"Pines" by A Fine Frenzy
“Pines” by A Fine Frenzy

Pines is a record that I can get behind. The latest record by A Fine Frenzy not only tells a story, but celebrates it. The album contains 13 tracks that aren’t afraid to paint a picture as well as entertain. This is definitely a headphone record. Whispered vocals, subtle arrangements, and delicate ambiance combine to make Pines an extremely theatrical aural experience. The story of the album is about a tree that has free will bestowed upon it. I know how that may sound to some, but trust me, its not as ‘precious’ as you may think. Much of the album features quiet, light acoustic instrumentation that sets up perfect contrast heavier moments. Dynamic production is the highlight of this album, and though I have placed a track from the record below (‘Avalanches’) I’m not going to recommend any other. You should take the time with this record as a whole. Let it win you over. And when it does, be sure to check out the interactive eStorybook that was created in order to help tell the album’s story. It is available in the iTunes store, and there is a link to it at A Fine Frenzy’s website. Put the record on, relax, and enjoy the experience of falling in love with truly fantastic art.

PLAYLIST COMPANIONS: Andrew Bird, Lisa Hannigan, Florence + The Machine, storytelling in general.

"Former Lives" by Ben Gibbard
“Former Lives” by Ben Gibbard

Ben Gibbard makes his solo debut with Former Lives, a collection of tunes written over an eight year span. If you’re a fan of any of Gibbard’s other projects (Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, All-Time Quarterback!) you will be very pleased with this record. Gibbard has a gift for crafting warm melodies that seem familiar to the listener. Not because he is ripping anyone off, but because his delivery is so inviting that the tunes feel like they have always been a part of you. ‘Bigger Than Love’ is a duet with Aimee Mann that marches along a driving tempo and bright melody. ‘Teardrop Windows’ (below) is a nostalgic ode to a bygone era. Its clean riffs and melodic structure brings to mind mid sixties pop, and you can almost hear Roy Orbison singing along. Former Lives proves that Gibbard is not afraid to experiment, featuring an a cappella tune (‘Shepherd’s Bush Lullaby’), as well as a mariachi influenced track (‘Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke)’). The reverb soaked vocals and production on ‘Duncan, Where Have You Gone?’ make the track sound like a long lost John Lennon tune. Former Lives is a delightful selection of tunes by one of this generations top songwriters, and is very worth your time. This week only, you can get the album for just $5 over at Amazon MP3.

PLAYLIST COMPANIONS: Elliot Smiith, John Lennon, Two Door Cinema Club

"Vital" by Anberlin
“Vital” by Anberlin

Within ten seconds of Vital, fans of Anberlin should have a big smile on their face. By the final punch of the aptly named lead off track ‘Self-Starter’, your neck should be sore from aggressive head nods. Anberlin has always been best when they explore the passionate side of aggression, the light within the darkness, and that is exactly what Vital is all about. The blistering guitar solo in ‘Little Tyrants’ screams along the track’s fist pumping backdrop, punctuating what was an already triumphant track. First single ‘Someone Anyone’ (below) is a great snapshot of what the rest of the album has to offer, crushing guitars, energetic rhythms, and some of Stephen Christian’s best vocal work to date. The layered ‘Type Three’ is one of the albums strongest tracks, a gentler number with tinges of acoustic guitar and piano that will help you get lost in the melody. ‘Orpheum’ is another highlight, an exciting mix of big synths and powerful riffs. Vital is an extremely strong record, one that demands your attention.

PLAYLIST COMPANIONS: Foo Fighters, Sevendust, Boys Night Out, Linkin Park

New Music Tuesday 9.11.12

“Theatre Is Evil” by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Palmeris a true artist in the…

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New Music Tuesday 9.11.12

"Theatre Is Evil" by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
“Theatre Is Evil” by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Palmer is a true artist in the digital age, and with the release of her new album Theatre Is Evil she makes that point even truer. The album was crowd funded through Kickstarter, a fantastic way for fans to support the artist they love, and Palmer’s fans certainly got what they paid for. As a whole, the record is fantastic. Palmer is famous for her brand of cabaret inspired art punk-rock, and while that theme is certainly explored on the record, there are a lot of other influences at play. Synths and effect soaked vocals begin the album on “Smile (Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen)”, and that kind of shoegaze meets electro pop shimmer reappears on other album highlights like the fantastic single “Want It Back” (Censored video below with a link to the NSFW version). “Do It With A Rockstar” pulsates with a punk rock fury that will supercharge your day. Strings blaze through the stunning ‘Trout Heart Replica’, a tender, emotional piano ballad. By the time “Olly Olly Oxen Free” crashes to its thundering close, you will have fallen in love with this beautiful record. I really cannot say enough about this album. If you are the least bit artistically inclined, Amanda Palmer is the kind of artist that will make you want to create. Head over to her website to grab a physical (CD or vinyl!) or digital copy of Theatre Is Evil, rock out, and enjoy.


‘Want It Back (Uncensored NSFW)’

"Love This Giant" by David Byrne and St. Vincent
“Love This Giant” by David Byrne and St. Vincent

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from this collaboration between David Byrne and St. Vincent, but Love This Giant managed to take me by complete surprise. I mean that in the best way possible about this amazing album. Both of these artists styles are evident on the record, yet they created a sound wholly unique and exciting. Big rhythms and catchy melodies are augmented by beautifully arranged horns that give a feeling of Big Band style records, but don’t get me wrong. While that element is certainly at play here, Love This Giant is definitely not a Big Band album. The way they manage to undercut each arrangement with either an acoustic guitar bed or quick electric riffs is what gives the record its ‘hard to classify’ nature. Lead single “Who” (Below) is a great introduction. If you enjoy that track (and how can you not?), this is a record for you. Equal parts dangerous and safe, you really need to hear Love This Giant. I loved this record, and I know you will too.

Pacifica by The Presets
Pacifica by The Presets

Pacifica is a perfect example of what makes an electronic album great. Terrific songwriting, bouncy beats, bold sounds, and the will to experiment make the latest album by The Presets one not to miss. Hyperactive power pop, disco/funk, and soul all find a home on the disc, sometimes in the same tune. “Youth In Trouble” (Below) gets things off to a toe-tapping start, with the kind of ‘in your face’ vocals fans have come to expect. That mood will shift quickly come the much discussed “Ghosts”, a delicately layered, dreamy, synthpop gem that tells the story of a young soldier injured in war. “Promises” is another album highlight, a bright ode that should make its way on to many playlists as summer winds down. Album closer “Fall Epic” is a magnificent send off to the record, a bare yet powerful ballad that is a showcase for Julian Hamilton‘s intense vocals. The album’s end is moving, and will leave you wanting more. Pacifica is a wonderful record, and a must own.

New Music Tuesday 6.26.12

This is a great week for major label and indie releases! Here are my picks:

Oshin by DIIV
Oshin by DIIV

Sunny guitars, playful rhythms, and dreamy pop make up this joy of an album. The nostalgic clean riffs echo a simpler time, when music could simply be enjoyed for what it is without all the over-analyzing and deconstruction of today’s jaded listener/reviewer. Oshin glides along each of its thirteen tracks at a relatively even pace, picking up steam as it goes.  The album is a highlight as a whole, but the album’s closing third contains the stand out tracks “Oshin (Subsume)” and “Doused”, a one-two punch that breaks the mood a little and helps bring the record home. DIIV have crafted a fine debut record, and it can be purchased here.

 

The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends by The Flaming Lips

What is there left to say about The Flaming Lips? Titans of psychedelic laced folk influenced genre bending rock, they never seem to disappoint when it comes to a new set, and The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends is no exception. The big story for this former Record Store Day exclusive is its list of likely and somewhat unlikely collaborators. Names like Bon Iver, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Nick Cave, Jim James (My Morning Jacket) will get fans excited, and rightfully so. Those tracks are fantastic, but for the fans who revel in the Lips’ ability to mix things up and make the abnormal seem normal, check out “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” which features Erykah Badu, and the kickstarting beat thumping opening track “2012 (You Must Be Upgraded)” which boasts spirited performances by Biz Markie and Ke$ha. All in all, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends is a fantastic sonic journey that will take you all over the map. Check it out here.

Wild Peace by Echo Lake
Wild Peace by Echo Lake

I happened upon this record when looking into today’s new releases, and I’m definitely happy I stumbled upon it. Echo Lake’s brand of breathy, ethereal shoegaze makes for a delightful record. The band combines the usual genre trappings with the reverbed 60’s throwback vocals akin to artists like Best Coast. Wild Peace is an apt title, as most of its tracks have a bright, relaxing tone. Every now and then the vibe is shaken up, as on the brash-in-a-good-way “Young Silence”. If you plan to chill out and tan on the beach or your friend’s backyard this summer, Wild Peace would be a great record to augment that mellow experience. Pick it up from Amazon and check out their other releases on bandcamp.

Living Things by Linkin Park
Living Things by Linkin Park

I have a lot of respect for Linkin Park. Despite constant pigeonholing by reviewers and fans alike, the band continues to push boundaries and reinvent themselves with each new record. Living Things finds the band channeling every influence they’ve picked up along the way and focusing them into one 37 minute powerhouse. Tracks like “Vitctimized” and “Burn It Down” may tread familiar territory, but thanks to the electric co-production of Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin, they never feel forced or stale. People often mistake maturation in songwriting for ‘playing it safe”, and Living Things is anything but a safe record. See for yourself by checking it out on Amazon MP3.