Lorde – The Love Club EP review

Sixteen year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter has been making waves since the release of her first EP titled The Love Club. Her single “Royals” has been picked up by US independent and college radio stations and is gaining traction. Her voice sounds mature despite her young age and is cleverly recorded with complex, minimalist, yet forward-thinking beats. Lorde, born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, was actually signed to Universal at age 13 after an A&R scout saw video of her performing at a school talent show. Years later, she unveiled her talents to the world. Since blowing up the charts in New Zealand, Lorde released The Love Club EP in the US this June and saw it sell 85,000 copies in it’s first week.

Her songs are poppy and vocally driven, with innovative beats to rival the best in hip-hop. “Bravado” opens the collection with a sort of personal admission that she knew she was destined to be here someday. Our heroine sings: “I was raised up to be admired, to be known.” Layered vocals preclude the entrance of a dynamic beat. Lorde, who writes her own songs, sounds confident in her delivery. The nuances in the production make for a well-rounded and exciting listen.

“Royals” is far and away her strongest song on the EP. Witty lyrics describe an opposition to the materialistic boasting that is often found in pop-culture and popular music. She bounces through the pre-chorus, singing: “Everybody’s like: ‘Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on a time piece, jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash,’ we don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair… we’ll never be royals….” This type of perspective is perfect for a generation more in tune to the issues of the world. The generation who is growing up with iphones giving them a world of information at their finger-tips… subsequently creating a generation too knowledgable to be caught up in meaningless materialism, especially in the midsts of today’s world economy. The layered chorus almost literally soars, bringing the listener to new heights of appreciation. “Royals” is infectious and content driven; it is no surprise this song is such a hit.

More impressive production is displayed on “Million Dollar Bills” and “The Love Club” which feature beats created out of Lorde’s own vocal samples. This innovation gives Lorde a unique sound. “Million Dollar Bills” has the energy of a club song mixed with the lo-fi keys one might find in a Foster the People tune. These tow songs sound more typical for a high school artist: cheeky and energetic. The closing track, “Biting Down,” has more of an experimental, “out-there” vibe, with Lorde unexplainably repeating “it feels better biting down” over a pulsing beat. 

Lorde has released a few singles since the release of this EP, namely “Tennis Court” and “Swinging Party.” She has plans to release her first full length album in September 2013, which will be titled Pure Heroine. With The Love Club EP, Lorde has successfully provided a teaser to build hype for a huge response on her first full length album. Stay tuned.

Violent Soho Premiere ‘Dope Calypso’ video

Violent Soho Premiere ‘Dope Calypso’ Video On Clash || ‘Hungry Ghost’ LP Out September 6th On I Oh You

‘Dope Calypso’ is the opening track from ‘Hungry Ghost’. The video is directed by Timothy O’Keefe and follows the band around their hometown of Mansfield, Queensland.

The Buddhist concept of the ‘hungry ghost’ neatly sums up the urgency, the want, the search of Violent Soho’s music. Amid the riffs, hooks and wail of front man Luke Boerdam is a stark examination of the way we view the world, and the way consumer culture feeds relentlessly on itself and its urges. A fitting theory for an unapologetic, no-bullshit post-grunge cacophony, as laid bare on the Brisbane, Australia four-piece’s second album, “Hungry Ghost”.

Following 2010’s accomplished self-titled album (released on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label) which delivered riffage-heavy highlights such as ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ and ‘Muscle Junkie’, the band found themselves at an impasse. The band, which have toured the US with Dinosaur Jr, Alice In Chains, Built To Spill and The Bronx, found themselves treading water creatively after years of touring.

But what it took to snap Luke and his bandmates — James Tidswell (guitar/vocals), Luke Henery (bass) and Michael Richards (drums) — out of the funk was a realization that all of their touring and experiences had given them a new perspective on music; hard work and that new thematic inspiration would lead to its own reward. “It was a process of figuring out what we did like,” Luke explains, “rather than concentrating on what we used to do. We’ve changed and grown as people, so the music we were writing needed to reflect that. Whatever excited us, those are the songs that we went with.”

What emerged on “Hungry Ghost” was a character study of the personalities and ideas of consumer society that inform their hometown of Brisbane suburb Mansfield, examining “the concept of the outsider, people who are a little bizarre and how they view the world”. And from the opening bars of ‘Dope Calypso’, chock full of fuzzy, tumbling riffs through to the subtle, almost delicate psychedelic swirl of ‘Okay Cathedral’, “Hungry Ghost” is Violent Soho growing up. “It’s stuff like status anxiety,” explains Luke, “and worrying about living up to other people’s standards, and in the process become so distracted, sitting on the couch watching other people live their lives. That mentality is behind it”.

There are, of course, still the ‘holy shit’ musical moments. The throat-tearing “yeahyeahyeahyeah” of ‘Covered In Chrome’, the grungy rock’n’roll power of ‘Gold Coast’ and ‘Lowbrow’s spitting anger. But the tempered slow burn of the album’s title-track demonstrates the maturation of the band’s melodic nous, continuing the work of the last record’s ‘Outsider’ and ‘Paper Planes‘. Adding to that are the shades of full throttle attack and pensive rumination on ‘Eightfold’ and ‘Saramona Said‘.

The band’s ability to relay a compelling character study and their broadened musical palette quickly dispel any notion of Violent Soho being some sort of slacker stoner band only interested in weed and skateboarding. “Hungry Ghost” is the album Violent Soho needed to make. Intelligent, melodic, and dripping with attitude, it’s also a record you need to hear.

‘Hungry Ghost’ Track Listing:

1. Dope Calypso
2. Lowbrow
3. Covered in Chrome
4. Saramona Said
5. In The Aisle
6. Okay Cathedral
7. Fur eyes
8. Gold Coast
9. Liars
10. Eightfold
11. Hungry Ghost

Press Quotes:
“‘In The Aisle’ takes all the best chromosomes from the Smashing Pumpkins’ talented DNA. That means densely layered guitar spazzes and melodic punk drawling but there’s also enough scuzz on show to resemble five days without showering” — Noisey [UK]

“Violent Soho have always been on the cusp of greatness, and if “In The Aisle” is anything to go by, they might finally be reaching their full potential” — Indie Shuffle

“‘Generation’ is an irresistible blast of buzz-pop, while ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ and ‘Muscle Junkie’ suggest the fury and sensual languor of the Pixies.”– The Guardian [UK]

“Scales the energetic highs that made Mudhoney and Nirvana so exhilarating” — BBC6

Wildcat! Wildcat! in new documentary with Passion Pit + tour with MS MR

WILDCAT! WILDCAT!’S DEBUT EP SET FOR SEPTEMBER 10 RELEASE VIA DOWNTOWN RECORDS

BAND FEATURED IN NEW SAM JONES DIRECTED FEED THE BEAT DOCUMENTARY, “HELLO EVERYWHERE” WITH PASSION PIT

TOUR CONFIRMED PLUS MSMR DATES

“MR. QUICHE” PREMIERES AT NYLON

“MGMT-esque spacey psych pop, and ethereal vocal pitter-patter with ease.”—Pitchfork

“A group on the up-and-up that may end up in your iTunes regular rotation before you know it.”—Huffington Post

The self-titled debut EP from acclaimed LA-based band Wildcat! Wildcat! is set for September 10 release on Downtown Records. The band garnered critical praise for their previously released sold-out limited addition 7” on the taste-making label Neon Gold Records, including early support from BBC Radio 1 in the U.K. TIME raves, “I love the staccato electronic rock, I love the frantic opening measures, I love the fleeting falsetto in the background,” while Metro furthers they’re “the best overall new band.” To celebrate the release, the band will embark on a nationwide tour starting in September including select dates with MSMR. See reverse for details.

On August 25, Taco Bell’s Feed the Beat music program will release a new documentary titled “Hello Everywhere.” Directed by Sam Jones, the film follows Wildcat! Wildcat! and Passion Pit throughout SXSW 2013, documenting their experiences at the festival—one as an emerging, developing band and the other as a more established band. See the film’s trailer at FeedTheBeat.com and a teaser clip here http://bit.ly/13ZBpOV.

The new EP was written and produced by the band in their home studios over the course of the last year and a half. The first single “Mr. Quiche” can be streamed/shared at http://bit.ly/14HOhVr. Of the songs Jesse Carmichael (vocals, drums) notes, “Some came quicker than others but all of them provided us the time to try out different processes of collaboration and understand how and why we make the kind of music that we make together.” See below for full track listing.

Wildcat! Wildcat! is Jesse Taylor (vocals, bass), Michael Wilson (vocals, keys) and Carmichael. The trio played together in various incarnations before officially forming Wildcat! Wildcat! in 2012. The band has toured extensively including SXSW, a sold out west coast headlining run and major U.S. support slots with Alt-J and Portugal. The Man.

WILDCAT! WILDCAT! TRACK LISTING
1. The Chief
2. Garden Grays
3. Mr. Quiche
4. Please & Thank You

Wildcat! Wildcat! Tour Dates

September 18 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock
September 19 Chicago, IL Schuba’s
September 20 Detroit, MI Magic Stick Lounge
September 21 Toronto, ON Wrong Bar
September 22 Rochester, NY Bug Jar
September 24 Washington, DC DC9
September 25 Philadelphia, PA Boot & Saddle
September 26 Brooklyn, NY Glasslands Gallery
September 28 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
September 29 Boston, MA Great Scott
October 3 Nashville, TN High Watt
October 4 Murfreesboro, TN Earmilk Festival
October 15 San Francisco, CA The Independent*
October 17-18 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour*
October 19 San Diego, CA Soda Bar*
October 23 Vancouver, BC Venue Nightclub*
October 24 Seattle, WA The Crocodile*

*with MSMR

Charli XCX’s US headline dates moved to Oct/Nov– to join UK arena tour w/ Paramore

21-year-old Charlotte Aitchison aka Charli XCX reveals she will join Paramore on their upcoming UK arena headline tour in September—which unfortunately means the scheduled North American fall headline tour will be postponed until the end of October/November, 2013.

“I’m very happy to have been asked to support Paramore on their UK tour. I’ve never really done shows in the UK outside of London before so it’s going to be something different and kind of scary for me. Of course I am really, truly so so sorry to everyone who got tickets to my US shows, as now I will have to reschedule those dates and I hate the fact that I will have let lots of people down. It’s weird, I always feel strangely at home when I play shows in America and the fans I have out there are literally the best, most killer fans in the world. I’m upset that you guys are going to be disappointed and annoyed at me, as I really did have big things planned for this tour, so it’s very sad. I’m working really hard to reschedule the dates right now and all I can promise you is that the shows will be even bigger and better than anything I’ve ever done before” –Charli XCX

Following what’s been an incredible year, having released her breakthrough debut album “TRUE ROMANCE” (via IAMSOUND) to rave reviews, including a ‘Best New Music’ mark from Pitchfork; having written her first #1 single ‘I Love It’ for Swedish duo Icona Pop, which has gone on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide; and moreover, Charli is currently writing in the studio with some of the biggest names in pop. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for a revised US routing! Replay the single, “You (Ha Ha Ha)” here:

CHARLI XCX on TOUR
*9/20-9/28 supporting Paramore except
8/23 – Leeds, UK @ Leeds Festival
8/25 – Reading, UK @ Reading Festival
9/20 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester MEN Arena
9/21 – Cardiff, UK @ Cardiff Arena
9/23 – Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham LG Arena
9/24 – Nottingham, UK @ Nottingham Capital FM Arena
9/27 – London, UK @ TBC
9/28 – London, UK @ TBC
10/5 – Vienna, Austria @ Waves Vienna Festival*
10/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vegas Festival
TBD – US HEADLINE DATES TO BE RELEASED SOON*
11/30 – London, UK @ London Islington Academy

The Memories – Love is the Law album review

The Memories are a sun-soaked, dreamy power pop band based out of Portland, Oregon, sharing members with the punk outfit White Fang. Their most recent release (on Burger Records, a label with an impressive repertoire, to say the least) Love is the Law features seventeen songs to the tune of short and sweet. Simplicity, then, is the key stylistic element. The bare-bones guitar riffs supplement lyrics that stick to talking about girls and weed. Sound easy to get into? Transparent, almost? That’s absolutely right.

Simplicity should never be interpreted as a flaw. Some of the most beautiful songs ever written have been created on the foundation of just four chords (and sometimes even less). What The Memories have going on Love is the Law is a prime example of what critics and music dorks alike refer affectionately to as “slacker pop.” Not to be confused with actually lazy songwriting (and make no mistake, the lines can often blur), the songs are crafted in such a way that would inspire visions of the band members sitting together in a cramped apartment or practice space thick with pot smoke, banging out these songs in rapid succession. The lyrical content seems to be hastily concocted, scribbled on crumpled scraps of paper salvaged from old notebooks and the backs of fast food receipts. With this comes a certain charm that many bands try to emulate, but few are successful in.

Standout tracks on the album include “En Espanol,” “You Need a Big Man,” and “Go Down On You.” With the song titles as straightforward as they are, the feeling of the album is easy to pin down. “You Need A Big Man” is entirely absurd, which makes it a great (albeit questionable) addition to the album. The lyrics are lewd, childish, and terribly tongue in cheek, with a hummed vocal part in lieu of a guitar solo. In a strange way, it sort of embodies Love is the Law. It’s respectable pop without taking things too seriously. This is a fun listen above all else, and easy to immerse oneself in. The attention to sound and atmosphere, appearing in short bursts yet leaving an impression on the album as a whole, make the record that much more substantial.

The overall impression to be drawn from Love is the Law is face-value: what you see is what you get. It seems like common sense, or even lackluster to a certain degree. There is no package here, nothing to be sought after or understood. No big picture, no pretense, just a collection of summery, jangling pop songs. And sometimes that’s all you need.

I The Leviathan – Trespassing EP review

According to Hebrew lore as stated in the Tanakh, a Leviathan is a massive sea creature that has dwelled at the depths of the ocean since the beginning of time. In modern Hebrew, the word roughly translates to “whale,” thereby establishing a clear connection to the story of Job. The Leviathan has a rich history in the Abrahamic religions and more contemporary literature (even serving as the namesake for a work by Thomas Hobbes). Mere mention of its name elicits vivid pictures of a timeless, massive entity spanning the collective unconscious of entire cultures from East to West.

A young California band (read: a very, very young California band), have taken this in stride and used it as their namesake. I the Leviathan, as professed by their debut Trespassing EP, produce a brand of post-hardcore music that has been moving up from the underground into the mainstream quite seamlessly by them and their contemporaries. More At the Drive-In than A Day to Remember, the 5-track EP is defined by a caustic, accusatory tone with on-point and well-syncopated instrumentation.

The youth and complete lack of longevity of the band (a photo on their Facebook page pegs them at no older than twenty) indicates that a healthy dose of teenage angst fuels this record, which is good and healthy. The lyrics tend to point one (or several) fingers at nameless oppressive entities and wrongdoers in intimate relationship. Hell hath no fury like a teenager scorned, as the saying goes. The overall feeling of the Trespassing EP is undoubtedly punk in essence, with a metal influence lingering throughout the guitar riffs and leads. While the EP remains slightly unremarkable even after repeated listens (and some air-drumming by one reviewer in particular on a drive to visit friends), I the Leviathan show promise. It is hard to doubt that the debut release will not garner due press, but something about the release seemed so status quo that it seemed hard not to brush it away into the vast abyss that is “the Internet.”

I the Leviathan’s debut Trespassing EP is fun to listen to. The group seems earnest and well-intentioned, but personal preference (and to be frank, a mild case of punk rock elitism) leaves it sounding a touch too bland. If anything, the Trespassing EP should be interpreted as a step in a promising direction: not flawed, but with plenty of room for improvement. For fans of the genre, I the Leviathan would certainly be a band to keep on the radar.

Gauntlet Hair – Stills album review

A global population of around 7 billion people means that the genre Noise Pop must have a healthy number of followers, and it would also seem likely that the Noise Pop duo, Gauntlet Hair, has a number of people who are fans of their music (there may even be one or two people who like their name!, crazy I know). So, what is Noise Pop, who are Gauntlet Hair and why should you listen to their latest release, Stills? Noise Pop is actually an easy genre to describe, its not quite noisy pop, it’s actually more pop with noise: Gauntlet Hair are members Craig Nice and Andy Rauworth who enjoy making pop tracks and mixing noise into them; and finally you should also check out their new album because it not only contains some catchy songs with pop, but they all have interesting noise mixed into them! Listening to Stills is not entirely different than walking by a construction site with one earbud in playing some indie pop, while a black sedan passes by with tinted windows blaring out some heavy bass from a house track. Walk by ten different construction sites with ten different tracks loaded on your i-Cell and wait long enough for ten tricked out cars and you’ve successfully recreated the entire album (huge congrats on that by the way).

With track names such as “Spew”, “Bad Apple” and “Waste Your Art” there’s a definite sense of melancholy to the whole production. However, when you really get into the bare bones of the tracks and begin to hear some of the musicality of the album this woe feels like a fabrication. Gauntlet Hair are not a couple of depressed musicians who moved to Colorado simply because they wanted to recreationally ‘use’, no they are actually quite talented and have yet to figure out how to tame their noise down into something excellent. Their debut album was released in 2011 and had some interesting heavier tracks, Stills tunes thing up and creates a catchier more compelling album. Perhaps 2015 will be their third-times-a-charm album, until then enjoy the noise.

NXNE Day 3: Bear Mountain at Toronto’s Wrongbar

What if I told you that I met Ian Bevis about three years ago at charity fundraiser that he and his friends were hosting as part of a cross-Canada-tandem-bike-adventure that can only really be appreciated once you picture a man of his height on a tandem bike? At the time I wasn’t writing about music, and Bear Mountain had not been fully realized yet. Fast forward to Wrongbar, night three of NXNE and I’m watching him front a band that has literally blown up in the last eight months.

Admittedly, I was in that bar because I was curious about the live performance. Who doesn’t want to see the band whose buzz grew exponentially after playing Sasquatch? I stayed for their set, which didn’t start until 1am, because I wanted to ‘bear’ witness in order fill out the article that I’m writing about them. I expected to feel the swell, feel my chest rise up and my heartbeat quicken. I expected the crowd to know who they were because of their immense internet following, and I expected the industry to be present as they were on a short list of bands to watch on that day’s press release. What I did NOT expect to see was a crowd a thousand people deep jump in unison for forty minutes straight screaming all their lyrics. I did not expect to be able to tell Greg after the set that that was the most energy I had seen drawn out of a crowd all week, especially after seeing Dan Deacon the night before.

Their stage set-up is simple, Ian and Kyle out front; their movements the proverbial butterfly wings that create hurricanes in the audience. Greg tucked away to the side, as easily as you can tuck a seven foot tall man and a drum kit. Finally, Kenji in back mixing the potent beats; creating; projecting; a sorcerer on the computer. Triangles of light and image are propped up behind them like windows into the technicolour dreamscape from which their sound was born.

Bear Mountain is one of those bands that you can close your eyes to and truly feel the waves of sound flow over you; one of those bands you go to see with your friends, and somewhere in the middle of the set you look over and see them and everyone around you jumping in slow motion. The bar blacked out; all you can see is the silhouettes of the boys on stage, green light and blinking triangles; all you can hear is your summer anthems, and all you feel is the dreams you have of chasing live music coming true.
Look out for MVRemix’s upcoming full length article on Bear Mountain.

The Modest Revolution – Enter The Haggis (ETH) album review

“The Modest Revolution” is based on a newspaper. For their eighth studio album, the Canadian folk rock/world fusion band went high concept – they picked a random day in the future and promised to create an album around the contents of that day’s newspaper. Call it an ode to the dying medium of print or a seemingly random choice of a concept album – though the press release explains how Enter The Haggis made the concept album, it never quite gets to why – but you have to admit: Enter The Haggis commits.

The date was March 30, 2012, and the newspaper was The Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper and second-largest daily newspaper, after the Toronto Star. The band preordered 1,500 copies of the issue, so they had to stick with the theme.

“Committing to a specific future day in history as the sole inspiration for an album’s worth of music was an initial source of anxiety – what if nothing interesting happens?’ reads the band’s press release.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened – the focus of the March 30 paper was an analysis of the Canadian federal budget – but they made the best of it.

“You start to see all of the little things that are so inspiring,” vocalist/guitarist/fiddler/songwriter Buchanan said of the writing experience. “Everything from the front page through to the personal stories that fill the obituaries, you realize there are so many stories going on every day. There’s so much more than the talking heads on television or the headlines themselves.”

Despite the Kickstarter backing (they achieved their fundraising goal in less than 12 hours) and the relevance of their topic matter, the band was formed in 1996, and it sounds like it. Think Dave Matthews Band or Crash Test Dummies. And, forgive me, but the Celtic instruments and abrupt changes in tone make me think of nothing more than the ‘90s Irish girl group B*Witched.

The financial news on March 30, 2012 led to surprisingly engaging music. The opening track, “Year of the Rat,” is an earnest anthem-type rock song. “Come all you liars, you saints and lost souls,” Enter the Haggis sing, urging you along.

Some of the songs take their newspaper article subject matter perhaps a little too literally – “Blackout,” for instance, inspired by an article about concussions in hockey that led the Toronto Maple Leafs to a poor record, contains the lyrics, “We follow along, we keep chasing the puck, ever whispering someday, we’ll drink from the cup.” At least they didn’t say “Stanley Cup.”

If nothing else, Enter the Haggis is sincere. Every song sounds like an earnest stadium anthem, and it’s easy to imagine Enter the Haggis opening for a band like U2.

The first single, “Can’t Trust the News,” contains a hopeful chorus that seems shorthand for the album and the band’s outlook, as well as the news story it was based on – a brief on a 65-year-old woman who climbed mountains to find distraction from trauma.

“Trust your eyes / They will follow the light / It’s a new tragic story / Trust your heart / It will swallow the dark / It’s a mecca of heartache and doom / You can’t trust the news,” Enter the Haggis sing.

It’s rousing call for hope amidst the bleakness of modernity and of news cycle – though one imagines Enter the Haggis must have wished they had something more tragic than the demise of the penny (“Copper Leaves”) to write about.

Mother Falcon Releases New Album You Knew Today

“Diverse and inventive, “You Knew” positively spills over with ideas and enthusiasm — the hallmark of a left-field treasure to discover and cherish.” – NPR Music

A truly rare species of bird, Mother Falcon combine orchestral music and indie rock in a way that few have heard before; dynamic and infectious, the band’s debut album You Knew (out today) expertly layers the instrumentation of all eighteen band members on the band’s genre-defying album.

The group – which boasts three cellos, six violins, horns a plenty, several pianos, a bassoon and a glockenspiel – has developed a cult following in their native Austin, receiving as many accolades for their innovative film scoring as for their electric live rock club performances. They were even cited and as one of Bob Boilen’s “15 Essential Moments From SXSW 2013” and Stephen Thompson dubbed the group his “favorite young band of the festival’s opening night.”

Recently signed to Red Ryder Entertainment, the band is excited to share a booking agency with Andrew Bird, The Magnetic Fields, Sharon Van Etten and more as they continue to grow and start taking their live show on the road. Mother Falcon will be embarking upon a New York City residency at Joe’s Pub in June and another in Los Angeles in August, along with a string of regional tour dates in between including World Café Life on June 22nd in Philadelphia.

In just three years together, Mother Falcon has crafted a signature soundscape with their blending of traditional rock elements and whirling horns with strings that dominate and dance behind emotive vocal turns, balancing the distinctive croon of Tamir Kalifa against ethereal harmonies between Nick Gregg and Claire Puckett.

Download “Blue and Gold”

Upcoming Tour Dates
6/02/13 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub
6/04/13 – Brooklyn, NY – Littlefield
6/09/13 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub
6/11/13 – Brooklyn, NY – Littlefield
6/13/13 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse Music Hall
6/18/13 – Brooklyn, NY – Littlefield
6/19/13 – Washington DC – Kennedy Center
6/22/13 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
6/23/13 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub
6/25/13 – Brooklyn, NY – Littlefield
6/30/13 – New York, NY – Joe’s Pub