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Monthly Archives: June 2012

There’s a real resurgance of powerful female vocals in pop music going on right now.  Robyn, Florence + the Machine, Charli XCX, Niki & the Dove.  The list goes on and on.

Here’s another one to put on that list: English singer-songwriter Jessie Ware.  Her debut album, Devotions, isn’t due out until August 20th (via PMR Records), but she’s already put out enough excellent tracks to garner her a steady buzz around the right parts of the Internet.

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If there was any music scene I would love to see resurrected, it would be riot grrrl.  There is way too much sexism in the indie scene right now, and not nearly enough women strapping on guitars and screaming into the mic about what it means to be a girl.

The creation of Wild Flag – with members of Sleater-Kinney, Helium, and the Minders – brought a little bit of that scene into this decade, but I need more than one band to fulfill that  musical need.

That’s why I’m totally digging on the new track from Corin Tucker Band.  Corin Tucker has been making badass music for decades, having been in Heavens to Betsy and Sleater-Kinney, among other bands.  Then, in 2010, she struck it out on her own, releasing an album titled 1,000 Years.

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What instrument do you want to hear more of in indie music?

If someone asked me that question, I don’t think my first answer would be violin.  It’s an instrument much more associated with a classical sound – or a country sound if you call it a fiddle.  It’s an instrument that you would expect to feel out of place in indie.

But there are a lot of folks out there rocking the violin – and not just putting it in the background, but bringing it to the forefront.  In particular, Owen Pallett comes to mind. Have you heard his cover of the Stroke’s “Hard to Explain”?  It’s a thing of beauty.

And if you’re feeling that kind of sound, there’s another musician you need to check out:  K. Ishibashi, aka Kishi Bashi.  He’s played violin with a number of indie bands,  most recently with Of Montreal.   But he recently announced he’ll be leaving Of Montreal and this past April, he released his first full-length album, 151a, via Joyful Noise.

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The Antlers is one of those bands that too me far too long to get into.  When their 2009 album Hospice blew up all over the indie scene, it didn’t seem like my thing.  Even seeing them live at SXSW in 2010 didn’t do it – though the fact that it was probably the 20th band I’d seen that day while running on 4 hours sleep probably didn’t help.

But somehow, in the middle of 2011, I heard the driving track “Sylvia” again and was completely hooked.  It’s weird how music will hit you like that sometimes.   The handful of times I had heard the song before hadn’t left much of an impression.   But something about that time I heard Peter Silberman belting the lyrics, “Sylvia, get your head out of the oven / Go back to screaming and cursing,” at that moment in time grabbed me in such a way that made me running to my record store to hear the whole thing again.

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Though it feels like we’ve been waiting forever, Shrines, the debut album from Purity Ring, still won’t be out for another month. In the meantime, though, another track from the band has been released.

Like the other track’s we’ve heard from the Canadian duo, this one’s got synths that will envelop your ears and ethereal vocals that will have you searching for deeper meaning.

Whether for good or for bad, it’ll only make you more desperate to hear the whole album. You can stream the song below, then grab the mp3 courtesy of 4AD:

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Swedish dream-poppers jj are back with a digital ep in celebration of midsummer’s eve, a holiday that takes on more significance in countries that face those long, dark winters.   The 5-song EP, predictably called High Summer, treads on many of the same themes we’ve seen in jj’s music before: drugs, fame, America.

I haven’t quite figured out the economics of releasing as much free music as jj does, but I’m not complaining.  You can download the whole EP below, via Sincerely Yours:

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We were all young once, right? Or we at least thought we were. And even when we sort of knew we weren’t anymore we believed we could be.

Even when we woke up years later and realized with horror that we had wasted the best part of our youth on silly, stupid adult pursuits we could still pretend. And when we pretend we listen to Saves The Day.

Everyone throughout all time has Saves The Day. Even when it is not Saves The Day it is Saves The Day.

Sure maybe it’s dumb and juvenile (though not misanthropic juvenilia) but it still speaks to youth and speaks of youth.

“The world that’s flying by is slick and smooth…”

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In the new video for “Always” , indie pop duo Summer Camp manages to turn what sounds like a straight-forward into something a bit more sinister.  The video, directed by Oliver Evans, features members Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey gleefully executing a kidnap and murder.

A lyric like “We’ll always be together” takes on a different meaning when it’s been sung by two people dragging a dead body across the beach.

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A few weeks ago, you got to hear a taste from London/Brighton-based Fear Of Men, including their newest track “Green Sea.”  Now they’ve released a video for that track, which you can watch below.

It’s got the hazy visuals that you might expect from a dream pop song, but it’s combined with the somewhat jarring clips of an unseen individual systematically smashing a row of vases with a sledgehammer.

One thing I like about this video is that, while you can see members of the band playing throughout the video, it’s shot in such a way that retains a lot of their mystery.  Just when you think you’re going to get a clear view of one of them, the camera zooms in, goes out of focus, or cuts to a different scene.  Definitely leaves you with a “wanting more” feeling

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I really struggle with how much I should share with you about my pop music obsession.  Because on one hand, pop music is fantastic.  It’s like candy – delicious, but not so nutritious. But on the other hand, I worry y’all will judge me and my (unimpeachable) music taste.  Let’s just say its a constant battle I face.

Today, pop music has won the battle over pretenciousness, and that means you get to listen to a fantastic mashup of Carly Rae Jepsen‘s hit “Call Me Maybe” and Annie Lennox’s 1992 classic “Walking on Broken Glass.”  The mashup was done by Rostam (Vampire Weekend, Discovery), saying that “this one is strictly for the lulz.”

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