New songs to listen to this weekend

photo by leslie simon

photo by leslie simon

I’ve been in the processing of moving and had over 800 viruses cleaned off my computer (thanks, Spotify), so haven’t had a chance to listen to any new music in a few weeks. Things are now settled and I spent all morning dancing around to bouncy sunny off kilter beats, and here are ten of my favorite new songs to listen to this weekend:

French Style Furs “Solitary Life”- Cold War Kids side project with lead singer Nathan Willett singing poems written by 20th century monk Thomas Merton. Using found materials and putting them to a Latin groove, “Solitary Life” takes elements from David Byrne’s playbook as Willett’s distinct vocals sound more pleading than ever courtesy of Merton’s philosophical thoughts.
https://soundcloud.com/frenchstylefurs/solitary-life

Old Smokey “All the Way Slow”- Composed of veterans from the Athens, GA scene, Old Smokey make catchy songs with a perplexing AM sound that has elements of Bollywood and spaghetti western throughout the onslaught of beautiful strings. “All the Way Slow” has a great psychedelic extended bridge with a fitting public access looking video.

La Femme “Welcome America”- French electro-surf powerhouse brings the frenetic energy with uptempo synthesized clapping and a ridiculously bouncy bass line.

Sylvan Esso “Hey Mami”- Overlapping the crystal clear vocals of Mountain Man’s Amelia Meath, producer Nick Sanborn creates a perfect sweet pop song that gets harder and more complex with every measure.

Tyson Meade “Nihilists Need Love Too”- legendary 90’s alt-rock former Chainsaw Kittens member loved by the Flaming Lips shows that weird never dies in his new single.

BOSSK “Albatross”- This Fleetwood Mac cover maintains the beautiful dreamy mood of the original and is best heard over and over.

Yonatan Gat “Escorpiao”- mesmerizing guitarist from Tel Aviv now residing in NY spends time in Portugal and tweaks his fuzzy psychedelic unhinged sound.
http://yonatangat.bandcamp.com/album/iberian-passage-2

Teleman “23 Floors Up”- incredible songwriting and melody from a UK group who sound like they listen to a lot of Bowie.

Cretin Stompers “Eye of the Storm”- super fuzzy light as a beignet deliciousness. So fuzzy I thought a speaker had blown out. Yum.

Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea “Problem”- I’m sure Ariana Grande is a nice girl, but I go straight to Iggy’s part in this song. Reminding me of Lady Gaga’s “Teeth”, saxophone and marching drums never sounded so good with Iggy as the perfect Drum Major.

New songs to listen to this week

Blitzen Trapper- photo by Leslie Simon

Blitzen Trapper- photo by Leslie Simon

New music to listen to this week- the sun is shining, spring has arrived, and I’m really feeling sunny, dreamy songs with the occasional dance beat to get down to. Here are some of my favorite songs that have been released recently that you should check out:

King of Prussia “Your Work is Magic”- uptempo indie tambourine pop out of Athens, Georgia with unexpected and fantastic horns that remind me of a less political King Khan. Available for stream or download here at Stereogum:
http://www.stereogum.com/1673969/king-of-prussia-your-work-is-magic-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/

Yann Tiersen “A Midsummer Evening”- Toy instruments mix with acoustic to create a warped, gorgeous song complete with angelic backing vocals. Psychedelic church.

Medeski, Martin and Wood + Nels Cline “Bonjour Bese”- mixing wild spacey reverb noise with the heavy hitting sounds of MMW is a dream come true. If you don’t like dissonant noise fast forward three minutes (but really you should embrace the noise, it’s beautiful). Exclusively at Esquire here:
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/mmw_nels_cline

Alpha Consumer “Ms Positron”- taking cues from 80’s art rock and adding mega fuzzy guitar riffs and catchy hooks, this Minneapolis group has collaborated with everyone from Andrew Bird to Brother Ali and are releasing their new album April 15th.

Thee Oh Sees “The Lens”- yet another awesome track from the upcoming release. Monty Python-esque psychedelic videos that are done well are always a treat.

Allah-Las “Had It All”- california psych pop with a delicate touch and throwback as hell

Chain and the Gang “Devitalize”- some of my favorite garage rock that doesn’t take itself so seriously. Plus, I’m a sucker for really bratty vocals.

Horse Thief “Little Dust”- psych tinged roots rock from Oklahoma City with theatrical fascinating Cameron Neal’s quirky pretty vocals taking the lead.

Driving Mrs. Satan “Hells Bells”- when I got an email about this band and saw “acoustic heavy metal” I put it on thinking I would get a laugh. Instead, I found they have beautiful arrangements, gorgeous vocals, and I like it better than the original.

Woods continues to deliver with “Moving to the Left”

Woods

Woods continues to put out perfect songs, this time letting the musical saw and almost theatrical enunciation take the lead. Just a whole bunch of prettiness down to the “ooh ooh ooh’s”. The song has a swagger befitting a walk down a coastal boardwalk wearing nothing but a bathing suit, confidence and a smile. The musical saw wavers in and out like a polite alien abduction of a falsetto hero:

Black Joe Lewis – “Electric Slave” Review

blackjoelewis

Where do I begin with this band. I first saw them in 2009 thinking I was going to see some smooth blues guitarist, and instead I saw a cuter, hipper, younger James Brown with a fuzz pedal and a white tank top (who can play some smooth blues for sure, though). First things first, Black Joe Lewis no longer has and the Honeybears in their name. Don’t worry, the Honeybears are still there, and I asked the very talented former Honeybear and baritone sax player Joseph Woullard today about the name edit, and he spoke about how the cohesive sound they had didn’t really require a modifier, stating “We knew what we were getting into, and welcome the discussion. Objectively speaking, the majority of people don’t even know who we are anyway, so we might as well be who we want to be”. I’d say that’s all the discussion needed, and apparently what they want to be is the dirtiest, funkiest garage rock band I’ve ever heard a saxophone even step near. The album kicks off with that wonderful electric guitar sound signifying someone is plugged in, and then “Skulldiggin'” kicks off with a thick fuzz midtempo beat, giving a taste that this album is going to be a little harder and more raw.

The next song “Young Girls” instantly reminded me of “Boogie”, one of my favorite tracks from their album Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is. It’s a fast paced boogie woogie with taunting vocals and lyrics of lust, classic BJL. “Guilty” is a great tune that really lets the horn section shine with great bursts of melody turning into a ominous, growing buildup of sound in the latter portion of the song. These guys can get such raw, pure sounds out of their instruments, they make it sound like brass and distortion were invented to be together. New party anthem “Come To My Party” is also a standout, it’s got a great confident swagger and is full of Black Joe Lewis saying improvised things that don’t always make total sense, but he sounds really cool saying them (one of his strongest talents, in my opinion). “Vampire” takes it down a notch with some dirty, slow southern blues, the horns giving you the feeling of walking late at night in the French Quarter without a friend alive. Wait- I just described a vampire’s night, the song works! I can’t wait to hear “The Hipster” live, it’s one of those fast paced dance numbers that end up turning into mosh pits at the shows sometimes. This album has made me so homesick that I have tabs open with flights to Austin, the album releases tomorrow, check it out if you are a fan of the blues, garage rock, guitar, fuzz, Austin, good times or good showmanship. Black Joe Lewis rules.

Crocodiles – “Crimes of Passion” – ALBUM REVIEW

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Crocodiles are great at mixing the beauty of simple pop melodies with the chaos of distortion and fuzz without the music even missing a beat, and their latest release “Crimes of Passion” is even more than I hoped for. “I Like it in the Dark” immediately makes the album takeoff, a funky piano line dropping down into the verse while a tambourine frantically keeps the beat until a ripping guitar solo takes over. Everything is well thought out here and flows perfectly, the whole album is a perfect package. Crocodiles are a well edited garage band, all fat is trimmed and they can really just fall right into a chaotic freakout and pull it right back into the melody like it’s nothing.

Their San Diego roots are very evident, especially in songs like “Teardrop Guitar”, filled with melodic California sounding jangly guitar riffs and dreamy, layered vocals. “Cockroach” brings even more organ to the front, really giving the song that great swirling sound I love in psych music. This album is short and sweet, when I got to the end I was actually surprised it was already over, and already yearning their next album. This band has been steadily gaining steam over the years with consistently great recordings, and I think this album might just put them over the top. Thank you, Crocodiles!

Listen to “Teardrop Guitar” here: “Teardrop Guitar” soundcloud

Neko Case new release now streaming at NPR

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Neko Case has a gorgeously haunting voice that matches her looks, and her new unreleased album “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight” shows that voice off so well. It’s streaming today over at NPR, prepare yourself for beauty: Neko Case First Listen

Gauntlet Hair “Stills” New Album Review

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Former Denver residents Gauntlet Hair have a new album coming out, and even though they live in Chicago now, people are still crazy about their brand of dark noise pop here. The new album starts with an easily accessible bang with “Human Nature”, a solid dance song with steady industrial beats. The album continues in the same vein with haunting overlapping vocals and discordant tones and notes, giving some songs like “Simple” a great tension and release once you get to the bridge. This album has a heavier influence and sound, at times reminding me of Joy Division and Jesus and Mary Chain, which may be a little off-putting at first to casual listeners of their previous, more pop/dance driven album, but it also sounds more mature and I enjoy seeing growth and progression in a band. Though it is harder to listen too, this often proves more rewarding in the end. With lyrics about falling out of love and the death of emotion towards each other, this music is not meant to be so easy.

Watch the video for “Human Nature”: Gauntlet Hair video

Don’t let the band name deter you, these guys are not 80’s hair metal like I thought the first time I saw their name. They have a big tour schedule, check them out:

07/27/13 Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog
07/28/13 Hamilton, ON – The Casbah Lounge BUY TICKETS
07/30/13 Washington, DC – Black Cat w/ Jackson Scott BUY TICKETS
07/31/13 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s w/ Jackson Scott BUY TICKETS
08/01/13 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge w/ Dinowalrus BUY TICKETS
08/02/13 Brooklyn, NY – Glasslands w/ Jackson Scott & EULA BUY TICKETS
08/03/13 Boston, MA – Church of Boston w/ Jackson Scott BUY TICKETS
08/05/13 Toronto, ON – Drake Hotel BUY TICKETS
08/09/13 Chicago , IL – Empty Bottle BUY TICKETS
09/29/13 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West w/ Surfer Blood BUY TICKETS
09/30/13 Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theater w/ Surfer Blood
10/01/13 Carrboro, NC – Cats Cradle w/ Surfer Blood
10/03/13 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel w/ Surfer Blood
10/04/13 Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts w/ Surfer Blood
10/05/13 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Surfer Blood
10/06/13 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom w/ Surfer Blood
10/07/13 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall w/ Surfer Blood
10/09/13 Toronto, CAN – Lee’s Place w/ Surfer Blood
10/10/13 Columbus, OH – The Basement w/ Surfer Blood
10/11/13 Chicago , IL – Bottom Lounge w/ Surfer Blood
10/12/13 Iowa City, IA – Gabes w/ Surfer Blood
10/13/13 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club w/ Surfer Blood
10/15/13 Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room w/ Surfer Blood
10/16/13 Denver , CO – Larimer Lounge w/ Surfer Blood
10/17/13 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge w/ Surfer Blood
10/18/13 Las Vegas, NV – Beauty Bar w/ Surfer Blood
10/19/13 San Diego, CA – The Irenic w/ Surfer Blood
10/21/13 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre w/ Surfer Blood
10/22/13 San Francisco, CA – The Independent w/ Surfer Blood
10/24/13 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom w/ Surfer Blood
10/26/13 Dallas, TX – Trees w/ Surfer Blood
10/27/13 Austin, TX – Red 7 w/ Surfer Blood
10/28/13 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s w/ Surfer Blood
10/29/13 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks w/ Surfer Blood
10/30/13 Mobile, AL – Alabama Music Box w/ Surfer Blood
10/31/13 Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder w/ Surfer Blood