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new sound

San-Fermin

WARNING: Hearing San Fermin‘s music might make you fall in love with the band, but hearing the back story about the music’s creation is likely to make you feel a existential sense of “what am I doing with my life?”

The music was created by composer and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone. He graduated from Yale after studying music, then headed up to Canada to write an album in six weeks.

Six weeks? Yeah.  Think about all that you’ve done since around July 4th, then realize that this dude wrote a whole album in that time.  Now might be a good time to come to terms with the fact that you’ll never finish that novel you’ve been working on.
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postiljonen

You know, I always feel a little bit guilty when I’m jamming to some great new music, but I haven’t gotten the chance to post about it on here.

So, to clear my conscience, I need to be telling you about Stockholm-based Postiljonen.  Based on their location alone, you should be intrigued, because we all know that Sweden has something in the water that creates fantastic pop music.

Postiljonen is fairly new to the game, with the trio having gotten together in 2011 and they’ve been steadily building a name for themselves by releasing music on their Tumblr. Read More

SkiLodge_1(by Luca Venter)_1

I’m never quite sure how to describe a band that sounds like Ski Lodge.  With shades of the Smiths, indie pop seems to be the genre name of choice, but that one never sits quite right with me.

I would make up a genre name for it, but no one wants to be the one to inflict another “chillwave” on the world.

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bells atlas

If you’ve been paying close attention to 70/day/wknd’s recommenders series, you might remember Oakland-based TRAILS AND WAYS recommending a new band from their town, Bells.  The band sounded great, but they only had demos out.

Fast forward four months, and Bells has become Bells Atlas, and they’ve released a new single, “Video Star,” off their debut album due out later this year.   Right now, this is the only taste they’ve let us in on, but if the rest of the album sounds anything like this one, I’m in love. Read More

history of apple pie pink

You guys? I’m excited about this one.

While Dan of Throwback Thursday fame is hanging out in Houston catching Jeff Mangum’s set, my plan was to hang out, paint my nails, and watch some weird movies.  Did an ombre teal thing on the nails and watched “Butter,” a comedy about butter sculpting with Jennifer Garner, Kristen Schaal, and Ty Burrell among many others.  All in all, a banner night.

But then, I remember I had a new band to check out: The History of Apple Pie.  And I’m digging the sound enough that I’m not even mopey about missing the chance to hear “Holland, 1945.”

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IMG_0058A

Not only is our Throwback Thursday friend Dan good for epic posts connecting Modest Mouse with the ecojustice movement, but he’s also a great source of music recommendations.  Today he hipped me to this band, via Afropunk.

New York’s Wishes and Thieves has a dreamy yet epic vibe that feels like it shouldn’t work, but somehow does.  Afropunk says, “This is music for rainy afternoons but also dance parties.”  Again, doesn’t make sense, but tell me they’re wrong after listening to “Forest Fire,” the title track off their 2012 EP:

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“We first self-released Remember When in October. It was big in our high school for two weeks, and then it died out.”

As a music fan that’s long past high school, it’s hard to read a quote like that and not try to reduce the band in question with a series of “Aww!  How cute! They’re the li’l-est punk rockers!”

But when you hear The Orwells, a band comprised of teenagers from the suburbs of Chicago, you realize that these dudes are not playing around.  While you were trying on prom dresses and souping all night, these dudes put together a gritty garage rock sound that got them noticed by Aquarium Drunkard‘s label Autumn Tone.

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One of the tricky things about creating music (and one of the many, many reasons I’m not in a band myself) is the need to differentiate your music from the thousands of other bands out there.   But the need to sound different can easily lead you down the wrong path – where you’re creating something that sounds different, but it doesn’t actually sound good.

It’s a tricky tightrope to walk.  Thankfully for music fans, there’s a lot of bands figuring exactly how to walk it.  One of those bands in Austin duo Deep Time (known, before threat of lawsuit, as Yellow Fever).   They’ve been gathering buzz for the last few years, but with the release of their debut self-titled album this week on Hardly Art, they seem poised to take it to the next level.

To find out why, take a listen to the track “Clouds,” courtesy of Hardly Art.  Fair warning, though: when I first heard this track, I was humming the melody for the next few days.  It definitely gets inside your head.

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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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When people talk about “summer anthems,” they’re usually talking about the type of songs that are going to be played often and loud at summer parties.  Take a look at Stereogum’s yearly picks - LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  But these songs don’t quite say summer to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party jam, and I will still make a fool out of myself dancing to “Last Night” or “Lisztomania” when they come on the stereo.  But a summer jam should have the qualities of summer – laid-back, breezy, blissful.  It’s the song that makes you stop, relax, and enjoy – if only for a few seconds.  Last year, my jam was Dirty Gold‘s “California Sunrise” – a song featured the very first post I wrote for this blog.

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