After an overwhelmingly successful trip to SXSW and Ultra Music Festival this month, Icona Pop are making their way to New York City this week to perform live on NBC’s The Today Show with Kathy-Lee and Hoda, the morning of Friday, March 29th.
In other news, the Swedish duo continue to climb the U.S charts with their hit single “I Love It” (featuring Charli XCX), the song has climbed into the Billboard’s Hot 100’s Top 40, soaring from 54 to the Top 20 in its seventh week directly following their highly recommended and critically appraised appearances down at SXSW in Austin, TX this year. Since touring North America with Passion Pit and Matt & Kim this spring, alongside having their current single appear in the successful HBO series ‘GIRLS’, ‘I Love It’ has managed to climb to #6 in the iTunes Chart, went from 37 to 17 on the Hot Digital Songs, and lifting from 65 to 62 on Hot 100 Airplay (18 million audience impressions) and is still climbing strong in the Streaming Songs Chart with 934,000 streams so far. And lastly, hot off the heels of their appearance on last night’s Dancing with the Stars, Icona Pop landed #1 on the iTunes Dance Chart.
Be sure to set your DVR’s this Friday, March 29th and catch the girls live from the Rockefeller Plaza on NBC’s The Today Show, and stay tuned for more exciting news soon to be announced!
Finally, it’s that time again. Time for big angry clouds and frozen days to subside. Time for a new awakening. As we come closer and closer to summertime with every breath, it would behoove you to consider this wonderful little ditty entitled Golden Grrrls pieced together from scratch by no other than–you guessed it– Golden Grrrls. This trifecta from Glasgow have a truly impressive lo-fi sound, providing every bit of musicality to entertain without a big production budget. Righteous.
Sifting through new music can be daunting. With so much out there these days it helps to have a distilled explanation of sound and texture. In the simplest of terms, Golden Grrrls has an overall indie feel and sound. It is happy, upbeat, and not too experimental. What strikes the listener most, however, is the album’s versatility and structure. Although the threesome employ the use of standard instruments (bass, guitar, drums, vocals, etc.), the way they put instrumentation together undoubtedly sets them apart from other acts. Of the many unique qualities of Golden Grrrls, what stood out immediately were the vocals. Often, the three members will each sing on one track and each have their own flair and style. It makes for an awesome conversation-like structure and gives the song a certain complexity which is easy to fall in love with. To exemplify what I mean, take a listen to track three, “Paul Simon.” Interwoven vocal sections create a unique jam experience. It is this song which stands out in terms of fidelity as well. The fuzziness of the tracks make the recording sound shaken together in all the best ways. For another solid track to get a taste of Golden Grrrls, turn to track seven “Time Goes Slow.” It absolutely manifests those happy-go-lucky feelings brought on by sunshine and an open car window. It is best served with a pair of sunglasses.
The self-titled debut LP from Golden Grrrls is without a doubt a perfect introduction for spring. The jumpy melodies and droning rhythms fade into the blue sky above and demand the enjoyment of each arriving second. Take it for a spin.
Take one part exhale, one part Brooklyn, and a couple of indie guitar licks and you’ll create something that sounds like the Ex-Cops and their debut album “True Hallucinations” (Other Music Recording Co.). The 5 piece band was formed by singers Brian Harding and Amalie Bruun in 2011 and other than a self-recorded EP, “True Hallucinations” is the publics first chance to hear them digitally. At just over 30 minutes long, the album is short and sweet, or I should say, short and somewhat sleepy but that is generally the case with the genre of dream-pop and shouldn’t be seen as a negative (unless your driving home after a long day and your car suddenly goes careening over a bridge because you dozed off).
The album kicks off with a little bit of ominous noise from the intro track S&HSXX which, like the title, sounds like something you might hear while entering the depth of a Brooklyn S&M dungeon. However this quickly fades by the second track and things become a little more upbeat. Most of the album follows a pretty basic recipe of wispy vocals and droning electric guitars separated by moments of either upbeat rock or pop before returning to their sleep state. The albums first single, released almost a full year ago, “You Are a Lion, I Am a Lamb” stands out as being a little more complex and well rounded than the rest of the album. It makes you wonder if the Ex-Cops could have taken a little more time to flush out the other tracks on the album. Track 6, “Spring Break (Birthday Song)” is a surprising addition and sounds like something you might find in the tape deck of an old surfers VW bus on a rainy day. There are definitely parts of the album that come close to something brilliant, but for the most part a lot of the tracks fall flat. The band is currently on tour throughout the U.S. and you can find more info on dates, locations and tickets through their website http://excopsband.com.
The term “indie music” gets thrown around a lot, often not in reference to actual independent music, and often by people who don’t actually listen to the music they’re attempting to classify. Alterna-pop three piece Guards, with their psychedelic-influenced stadium rock, would be a prime example – sounding a little like MGMT and a lot like frontman Richie James Follin’s older sister’s band Cults, Guards are on track to be the next radio-friendly “indie” band.
On the surface, In Guards We Trust, the band’s first full-length release, seems to have it all – head-bobbing, toe-tapping songs with epic-y climaxes into massive choruses. The problem, though, is that under the bright, sunny songs and layers of whiney highs and simple instrumentation, In Guards We Trust has about as much depth and substance as a cardboard cutout, a simple two-dimensional representation of a real thing.
The album starts with ‘Nightmare,’ the lyrics completely overwhelmed by reverb. Though the following tracks lighten up a bit, by ‘Ready To Go’ there’s an obvious pattern showing and by ‘Silver Lining’ there’s a distinct feeling of having already heard the song, even on first listen.
It’s hard to identify what’s filler on the album, as all the tracks blend together, creating waves of mediocrity – an opening hook, some washed out verses, the crest of the chorus, and back to step one. Nothing really changes from one track to the next; nothing is notably faster or slower, quieter or louder, and nothing is particularly aggressive or emotional at all.
There are a few moments where Guards almost had something – ‘I Know It’s You’ starts out promising, though it falls in line with the rest shortly after. ‘Your Man’ opens with a notably chunky guitar, but quickly gets swept up in layers of effects. In Guards We Trust ends on somewhat of a low note, with ‘1&1’ getting repetitive long before the track’s end, dragging out an unremarkable album much further than necessary.
It’s not that Guards is a bad band, or that In Guards We Trust is a bad album. It’s fun, for the most part, and fairly catchy, even if nothing in particular stands out. But it’s the not standing out that is the problem: for better or for worse, In Guards We Trust is doomed to fall to the wayside without making much of an impression.
The Chronicles of Marnia Out NOW on Kill Rock Stars
See Marnie Stern on Tour
“Super-quick guitar finger work, with all the finesse of heavy metal without the comical bombast. Stern’s shimmery voice tops it all off, occupying the exact stylistic midpoint between Yoko Ono and Belinda Carlisle. ” – New York Magazine
“…like Eddie Van Halen, she’s an adept fingertapper, creating blindingly fast riffs that float like bubbles, even as they speed along at Malmsteenian notes-per-second.” – NPR
“…one of the most innovative guitarists in indie rock…” – Pitchfork
Hot on the heels of the release of Marnie Stern’s latest record, The Chronicles of Marnia, comes the fantastic video for “Immortals.”
“Immortals” is a portrait of the duality of Marnie Stern; illustrating both her life as a homebody in her Upper East Side apartment as well as her rich inner fantasy world.
The director, Allie Avital Tsypin and Stern wanted to create a humorous and theatrical mythology around the ideal of being a “rock star” set against the reality of an independent musician.
The video grew out of a conversation between the two at Stern’s apartment when Stern expressed fears, anxieties, and also the thrills of her career as a musician.
“I was really moved by her honesty, openness and self-deprecating wit. It felt imperative to present Marnie as a human being, and shooting in her home helped,” says Tsypin.
Marnie Stern’s apartment was redecorated for the video to match the cover of her first record (featuring a painting by Marnie’s good friend Bella Foster)…pink walls and a ceiling covered in stars.
Watch Marnie Stern’s Amazing Video for “Immortals” HERE
THE 2013 PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL LINEUP:
WIRE, YO LA TENGO, M.I.A., LOW, SOLANGE, LIL B, SAVAGES, TORO Y MOI, PHOSPHORESCENT, METZ, AUTRE NE VEUT, MIKAL CRONIN, PARQUET COURTS, MERCHANDISE, WOODS, JULIA HOLTER, GLASS CANDY, ANDY STOTT, PISSED JEANS, FRANKIE ROSE, RYAN HEMSWORTH, WAXAHATCHEE, BLOOD ORANGE, DAUGHN GIBSON, EVIAN CHRIST, KEN MODE, WHITE LUNG and DJ RASHAD
JOINING HEADLINERS R. KELLY, BJÖRK, and BELLE & SEBASTIAN
and PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED ACTS: JOANNA NEWSOM, THE BREEDERS play Last Splash, SWANS, RUSTIE, EL-P, CHAIRLIFT, KILLER MIKE, TNGHT, SKY FERREIRA, …AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD, MAC DEMARCO, FOXYGEN, ANGEL OLSEN, TRASH TALK, and TREE
JULY 19-21 AT CHICAGO’S UNION PARK
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Year after year, the Pitchfork Music Festival presents new, cutting edge artists and this year continues that tradition. The 2013 Pitchfork Music Festival, happening Friday, July 19-Sunday, July 21 at Chicago’s Union Park, rounds out its lineup with an extremely diverse group of emerging artists and established legends. Added to Friday’s lineup are Wire, Mikal Cronin, Woods, Pissed Jeans, Daughn Gibson, and Frankie Rose. Saturday sees more performances by Andy Stott, Solange, Merchandise, Ryan Hemsworth, Metz, Low, Savages, Parquet Courts, Julia Holter, Ken Mode, and White Lung. And Sunday now includes Glass Candy, M.I.A., Evian Christ, Yo La Tengo, Autre Ne Veut, Waxahatchee, Blood Orange, and DJ Rashad. It’s the summer’s most adventurous festival.
Three-day passes are currently on sale for $120 and single day tickets are available for $50 each. Three-day passes always sell out very quickly. As previously mentioned, for the full price three-day pass, the festival is offering a special layaway program that allows fans to purchase the pass in three installments.
THE 2013 PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL LINEUP:
Belle & Sebastian
The Breeders play Last Splash
…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
Yo La Tengo
Toro Y Moi
Autre Ne Veut
In its eighth year, the independently run, three-day event continues to be one of the most inviting, reasonably priced, and exciting weekends of music around, offering a carefully curated lineup reflecting the best of what is happening in music.
In addition to its musical offerings, the Pitchfork Music Festival also features a wide array of other activities. The fest not only supports local businesses with its 50 individual vendors and specialty fairs, but also promotes the Chicago arts community as a whole to 50,000 attendees of all ages from all over the world.
Pitchfork is the essential guide to independent music and beyond. With more than four million unique readers and 40 million page views per month, the site has earned an extremely loyal following and a reputation as being one of the world’s most trusted music publications.
Wax Idols’ new album ‘Discipline & Desire’ can be streamed in its entirety at Pitchfork Advance. The album is out today, and can be purchased on iTunes or on CD/LP over at Insound.
The band will celebrate the album’s release with shows this weekend in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and will embark on a full US tour in April. Full tour dates below.
About Discipline & Desire:
It seems odd that the four-piece Wax Idols reside in Oakland, California. Especially considering the fact that the band’s sophomore LP Discipline & Desire, out March 26th on Slumberland Records, embodies a dark, full, twisted sound: something that feels more appropriate to the foggy, damp British climate than that of sunny California. But that’s Wax Idols — zigging where other might zag, and always going their own way.
Compared to Wax Idols’ debut LP No Future (a raw, hook-heavy punk effort written and recorded primarily by Fortune in 2010/2011 and released on Chicago’s Hozac Records), Discipline & Desire is more a group effort as the band — Jen Mundy (rhythm guitar/vocals), Amy Rosenoff (bass) and Keven Tecon (drums) — contributed to the recording and writing process. Fortune dedicated herself to this record for over a year and the band were right there with her, playing with pattern, melody and stretching themselves beyond the comfort of unassuming hooks and into a darker, new wave territory. Discipline & Desire was produced and engineered by Monte Vallier (of Half Church and Swell) and co-produced by Fortune. Mark Burgess (of the British outfit The Chameleons) worked alongside Wax Idols & Vallier as an extra pair of ears and even played bass on the album closer “Stay In.” Together they’ve crafted an album that’s sleek and focused without being slick, and dark and intense without being at all humorless.
Discipline & Desire builds on Fortune’s debut full length effort in almost every way, rounding out as a far more complete record. The melodies are stronger, the vocals echoed and haunting, and the playing is at an unflagging level of intensity. First single “Sound of a Void” is a storming, full-throated late night anthem, while “Dethrone” and “When It Happens” shimmer and throb, perfect examples of Wax Idols’ unique take on pop. Slower numbers like “Scent Of Love” and “Elegua” mesmerize and entrance, and the feedback-laced “AD RE:IAN” is nothing short of a masterpiece, punctuated by bursts of special guest Kristin Dylan Edrich’s noise viola. Album closer “Stay In” wraps the up the album perfectly — a mid-tempo melodic gem with a killer bassline and an uncanny balance of melody and atmosphere.
This is an inventive, brilliant record which solidifies the fact that Fortune is one of the best songwriters hiding in the shadows of the other California, where the sun doesn’t always shine. But, judging by this fantastic album, she and her Wax Idols won’t be hiding for long.
03/30 San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar Music Hall (Record Release Show) #@ 03/31 Los Angeles, CA – The Echo (Record Release Show / Part Time Punks) # 04/20 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle ! 04/21 Detroit, MI – PJ’s Lager House* 04/22 Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups* 04/24 St. Louis, MO – The Heavy Anchor* 04/25 Nashville, TN – The Stone Fox * 04/26 Atlanta, GA – The Earl* 04/27 Durham, NC – The Pinhook* 04/30 Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery* 05/04 Brooklyn, NY – Shea Stadium*
# = w/ The Mallard @ = w/ Chasms ! = w/ Radar Eyes *= w/ TV Ghost
Today, Wavves is proud to release their new album, Afraid Of Heights, via Mom + Pop/Warner Bros. To celebrate the band is performing on Late Show With David Letterman tomorrow night and they are releasing a new music video for “Afraid Of Heights” today. The video was directed by BLACK // DOCTOR (Chris Black and MISTERDOCTOR), the same duo that directed “Sail To The Sun” and “Demon To Lean On”. Wavves is currently touring North America in support of their album along with FIDLAR and Cheatahs, so please scroll down to view all of the dates.
Straight from the dungeons of L.A., Wavves are releasing Afraid Of Heights, their fourth album and first on the Mom + Pop and Warner Bros. labels. Now a duo consisting of guitarist Nathan Williams and bassist Stephen Pope, they sound bigger, brasher, and shockingly more professional than ever on Afraid Of Heights which positions the band to take their rightful place amongst the pop-punk gods. You know the story by now. Bored dude in his parents’ tool shed-turned-room with no insulation and a record stuck to a hole in the wall to keep the mice out turns on a four-track recorder, fucks around and ends up with two of the oddest, noisiest, and downright catchiest albums in recent memory.
Those two records (the eponymous Wavves the eponyymous Wavvves) were winningly, messily chaotic-grand on a small scale, but not necessarily world-beaters. Which is why when Williams, then solo, linked up with erstwhile Jay Reatard sidemen Stephen Pope (bass) and Billy Hayes (drums) and busted the door down with the stunner that was King Of The Beach, a pop-punk blackout for the DeLonge and Deleuze crowd. After the smoke of King Of The Beach had cleared, Williams and Pope released the Life Sux EP, a testament to the crushing powers of rock n’ roll and also ennui.
The product of more than a year of writing and recording, Afraid Of Heights expands the Wavves sound while remaining true to the band’s original vision – it was created with absolutely no label involvement, a specter that nearly derailed King Of The Beach. Working with producer John Hill (known for his work with M.I.A. and Santigold, as well as with hip-hop acts such as Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan), the band found a willing party in creating what they felt was the truest expression of what they wanted. As for the Afraid Of Heights sessions themselves, Williams paid for them out-of-pocket, explaining his reasoning with, “In doing so, I had no one to answer to. We recorded the songs how and when we wanted without anybody interfering, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
Lyrically, Williams took the focus less off of his own melancholy and out into the world, with songs that dealt with crooked preachers (“Sail To The Sun”), relationships (“Dog”) and killing cops (“Cop”). Even when he reaches outside his own damaged psyche, Williams is still making Wavves songs, saying, “The general theme of the record is depression and anxiety, being death-obsessed and paranoid of impending doom. I feel like the narration is almost schizophrenic if you listen front to back; every word is important, even the constant contradictions and lack of self-worth. That’s all a part of this record-questioning everything not because I’m curious, but because I’m paranoid.” That paranoia manifests itself on many of the album’s best tracks, such as the spacey drones and bummazoid vibes of the Weezer-referencing, getting-drunk-because-you-can’t-bring-yourself-to-care-vibey “Afraid Of Heights,” or the string-aided “I Can’t Dream,” which rounds the record out with the optimistic, “I can finally sleep,” before subverting itself with, “But I can’t dream.” With their biggest and boldest-sounding record yet, Wavves might have finally come into their own, a fully-realized punk rock force in both sound and vision.
I am tentatively exploring an alien planet, having left my spaceship parked somewhere in a desolate clearing and ventured into the misty jungles that surround it. There is a delicate hint of a footpath ahead, trodden by some ancient intergalactic people, and I follow it deeper into the swirling forested landscape. Ahead, a wall of vines prevents me from seeing any further and I slowly push them aside to reveal the sights that lay beyond.
A scenario like this would ideally be sound tracked by Oak Island, the second album by Nightlands. Comprised of a single member, the music contained within the record is created by Dave Hartley, bass player for Philadelphia-based psychedelic rockers The War on Drugs. In keeping with the far-out leanings of his previous musical project, Oak Island is an interstellar journey of layered vocals, phased guitar, and hook-laden bass thump.
The tone of the record is signaled immediately by the first track, “Time and Place.” In the song Hartley sings, “I’d like to / invite you / for just a little while / to a place I used to go / when I was only seventeen.” The song serves as introduction to the content that is to follow, and also demonstrates the vocal effect that is used throughout the album. Nightlands aesthetic is one of organic machinery. Hartley’s voice is so thoroughly manipulated and layered that the listener is oftentimes unable to pick out the lyrics, or sometimes even discern if the noises being heard are human made. It becomes an interesting pastime to attempt to penetrate the airy and cascading noise, and discover the songs that lay beneath. Hartley would like appreciators of his art to accompany him on a journey, and “Time and Place” is merely the gated entrance to the splendor ahead.
Once the introductions have been made, Oak Island wastes little time in continuing to present the listener with new and varied sonic landscapes. This is an record definitely meant to be listened to while driving alone in your car on a wintry country road, or while watching the colors unfold on the back of your eyelids, tucked safely in bed. It demands attention, especially at its middle section. Coming back to back “So it Goes” and “Born to Love” are the centerpiece tracks on the album, and are most definitely its best. With a sampled glitchy vocal, and subterranean bass line, “So it Goes” is immediate and compelling. Similarly, “Born to Love” showcases Hartley’s bass chops, utilizing a slow jam beat and hooky chorus to state the thesis of the record. If one only listened to two songs from this album, this pairing would not be a bad choice.
Oak Island is a singular work. It is not meant to be enjoyed one track at a time, but as a cohesive whole. Though the influence of The War on Drugs is apparent, Dave Hartley has crafted a statement that is unique and wholly his own. If you have the time I highly suggest putting on a pair of your best headphones, and allowing yourself to become entranced by this alien entity.
Earlier this year, Trent Reznor announced that he had plans to take the Nine Inch Nails on the road in 2014. For those who can’t wait that long, fans of Reznor’s work will be pleased with the first full-length album Welcome Oblivion from his pet project How to Destroy Angels which will surely hold them over in the meantime.
This album is undeniably similar to the Nine Inch Nails and seems to be reflective of his work scoring the soundtrack for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But How To Destroy Angels has a welcome twist: ethereal vocals and piercing electronics from Reznor’s wife (and former West Indian Girl singer) Mariqueen Maandig and producer Atticus Ross.
Welcome Oblivion is chock full of heavy and emotional yet ambient beats and leaves you wondering what Reznor & company have up their sleeve. Once you can get past the striking and sometimes shocking high pitched electronics it’s a stellar creation that almost could come out of a futuristic video game that’s epic from start to finish.
The song “Too Late, All Gone” is edgy with it’s catchy call & answer rhythm and a chorus hook “the more we change, everything stays the same” is a conundrum that fits perfectly with the album’s tone. “Ice Age” is a folky and minimalistic track which showcases Maandig’s vocal talent and has a refreshingly light feel. The bold chorus on “How Long” may lend itself to be the most addicting part of the album.
Reznor’s signature style of gritty, hypnotizing, and mind-bending rock comes out in full force on “The Loop Closes” which is by far the best song on the album. The layered vocal crescendo towards the song’s end is the perfect nod to the Nine Inch Nails sound of the past, and it gives the album closure yet leaves us wanting more.