Despite being a full blown self proclaimed Wilco apologist, arguably their most popular tune “Jesus, Etc.” has started to wear on me over the years. I’ve carried this to the point of being openly excited about the tune’s omission from a recent Wilco show I attended, and actually removing it from my iPod (Purists can relax, I still have the vinyl).
That said, It’s more the arrangement then the tune itself that has worn on me, and thus hearing another take on the tune is quite the breath of fresh air. The purveyor of the aforementioned new arrangement is Bill Fay – under appreciated 70s rocker and the latest of Jeff Tweedy’s collaborators. Fay breaks a 40 year radio silence and turns in a stark and downright moving take on Jesus etc in the player below. After the break you will find a really good new tune from Faye featuring Jeff Tweedy himself on vocals after the break.
When I first heard that “the dude from Spoon has a new band with a guy from Wolf Parade”, I was stoked beyond belief. Members from two of the great indie-rock bands in recent history joining forces to create a whole new, dare I say, “group of superiority” known as Divine Fits. The lineup includes Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner, Britt Daniel from Spoon and New Bomb Turks’ Sam Brown. So it’s not a surprise this album is pretty much everything you could wish for if you are a fan of Spoon and/or Boeckner’s Wolf Parade songs. Some of you might be familiar with Boeckner’s other project, Handsome Furs, an indie/electronic duo consisting of he and his wife, Alexei Perry, but the majority of my experience with the Canadian rocker lies amongst the three striking albums from Wolf Parade. There is certainly an electronic influence here but the digital effects aren’t forced and there is plenty of guitar to go around. The synths have a voice all their own and truly serve as a complement to the contagious head-nodding beats.
Album opener “My Love Is Real” perfectly encapsulates Dan Boeckner’s singing style and earnest mood while the spooky Halloween-esque piano riff sets the pace for a song that is both slow-building and intense. “Flaggin A Ride” sounds exactly like Spoon but I must admit I love it as much as any of the other Spoon-ful clap-happy classics. “For Your Heart” and “Shivers” are two superb songs that best illustrate the Divine Fits’ hybrid style as they blend addictive beats with well-placed driving guitar. With Boeckner singing on “Heart” and Daniels on “Shivers”, each tune showcases the respective singers giving it their all with passionate vocals and straining fervor. I’ll be honest, once or twice I lost track of who was actually singing. There is no Spencer Krug (former Wolf Parade co-frontman) of course and while I do miss his maniacal energy and song-writing, Britt Daniel fills that role with a frenzy and vigor all his own. Divine Fits is certainly in a happier place than Wolf Parade was and the songs are slightly more rockin’ than Spoon’s tick-tock approach. At 42 minutes long, this album is a very enjoyable and a perfectly paced listen. A Thing called Divine Fits emerges from the gate as one of my favorites so far this year. And the sound called Divine Fits is a welcome contribution to rock n roll from two of the best players in the game.
A Thing Called Divine Fits is streaming at NRP in its entirety up to its August 28th release date.
In addition to being a lucky number for some and a very good Brad Pitt movie the number seven also makes for a good MOR New Tunes Spotify Playlist. The latest version features 15 new songs that have been bumping through our stereos for the last few weeks and days. Hope on board, there are plenty of good tunes for the taking.
The latest version of the not-so-critically-acclaimed MOR New Tunes series features new music from the likes of Beach House, Cory Branan, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Sun Kil Moon, The Walkmen, Matt Pryor, Brandi Carlile, Japandroids, Langhorne Slim, Metric, The Tallest Man on Earth, Fiona Apple, Gaslight Anthem, and Shovels and Rope. We’re really happy with this edition, and hope you all enjoy.
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As the longtime frontman of the Alabama by way of Athens rock outfit Drive By Truckers, the name Patterson Hood generally conjures imagery of cranked up Gibson SG’s and whiskey soaked rock shows but the truth of the matter is there is a lot more to the man than that. While his day job for the last 15 years (damn, has it really been fifteen years) has been leading one of America’s hardest working rock groups on what could best be described as a brutal tour schedule, Patterson has regularly released solo albums showcasing his softer side.
His latest effort, Heat Lightning Rumbles In the Distance is set to be released on September 9th, and features the lead single “Come Back Little Star” which is streaming below. This gorgeous new tune was penned with Kelly Hogan, and serves as a tribute to their late friend and revered Athens musician Vic Chestnutt. The song is great, and serves as a wonderful tribute to Chestnut. Check out the tune in the player below, and get psyched on the new album this fall.
Among the albums I am extremely excited about this fall, Will Johnson’s “Scorpion” is near the top of that list. Johnson, who is known best as the front man of Texas indie rockers Centro-matic and for his work in Monsters of Folk and New Multitudes has released the first single to his upcoming solo album, titled “You Will Be Here, Mine”. Like a lot of his work, the single is quite chill and somewhat pensive but always creates a mood and paints a picture that sticks with you after the three minutes are long gone. Check out the tune below. “Scorpion” will be released September 11th via Undertow Music/Thirty Tigers.
I’ve been hot and cold on the Killers over the years, but I have to say they are on the uptick as far as I am concerned. Their sci-fi concept disc Day and Age was my favorite release to date, and the Brandon Flowers solo album ( that sounded a lot like a Killers album) was not too shabby itself. Break up rumors be damned, the band is back with a new album set for a fall release Battle Born, and today released an as always anthemic lead single “Runaways”. Check it out below!
While Old Crow Medicine Show’s runaway hit “Wagon Wheel” has that once in a blue moon universal appeal, I’ll be the first to admit that the rest of the band’s catalogue might not be for everyone. While fast and furious picking topped of with some good old fashion hootin’ and hollerin’ sounds like a blast to me, apparently it is a bit much for some folk. If you, like me, enjoy a good old-fashioned bluegrass stomp, check out the latest from the Nashville pickers in the new video below, and get ready for the new album, Carry Me Back, due July 17th on ATO Records.
Awwww….dream pop… soooooo….dreamy.
What is “dream pop” you may ask?
• It is a frozen treat made of crystalized clouds?
• A Japanese soft-drink sold in a sparkling iridescent bottle?
• What happens when your boss nudges you to wake up in the middle of a long conference call?
Not quite. According to Beach House’s Wikipedia page* “dream pop” is slow, atmospheric rhythms created through mesmerizing texture and ethereal melody. Full disclosure – this is not my usual repertoire. I typically look for albums a little more…full bodied. Something harder and with a kick. This album was not only a pleasant surprise it was a breath of fresh air in it’s less-is-more approach to pop music. Beach House surprisingly is only two people, French-born Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally. Their fourth album, Bloom, released this past May is an addicting 50 minutes of guitars that sound like harps, beautiful haunting vocals and delicately-crafted works of audio art. The inclusion of layered electronics and what I guess is a drum machine fit well as the percussion should be subtle and secondary to Legrand’s swooning voice.
This album has moments of genius that feel quite cinematic at times. It is not the perfect masterpiece I hoped for, but it does convey mastery. Some of the songs blend together but that’s hardly a knock as this sort of thing is common for albums of the slow-moving and melancholy genre. There aren’t many surprises as many of the dreamy tunes end up right where they began but several tracks stand out in particular. Album opener, “Myth”, is the single floating around the interweb and for good reason. The song is four minutes of feel-good beauty which stirs up similar feelings to the first drink at happy hour, the sun shining on your face or the walk home after that first kiss. It’s simple, pure and manages to create a depth and presence quite uncommon for a band with only two people in it. “The Hours” is hard for me to relate to lyrically as I don’t have a lot of experience with “Frightened Eyes” but I can appreciate the song’s polished and alluring style. “On The Sea” opens with a simple piano melody but it’s simplicity is what makes it work so well. A truly captivating song. Adjectives used to describe classical music are more relevant here but since I’m more comfortable arguing the merits of individual Led Zeppelin albums I will refrain from trying. All I can say is that this song could be a lullaby it’s so absorbing and memorable. All in all, the album is a shiny glimmer of hope in an otherwise gloomy category. Beach House is a welcome vacation from most everything else playing right now and one that will haunt you long after it’s over.
3 years removed from their debut release, the not-so-aptly-named Vancouver duo Japandroids is back with Celebration Rock, a fun,raucous album that plays true to it’s name. The album kicks off with fireworks, and keeps the celebration rollin’ through 8 tracks of good times and rock and roll.
Throughout the course of it’s 35 minute play time, Celebration Rock manages to conjure up a great deal of nostalgia. For a music fan such as myself who got his chops in the turn of the century punk/indie/hardcore/whatever you want to call it scene – this record brings back shades of hole in the wall clubs packed to the seams with sweaty teenagers chanting and fist pumping the night away. Luckily, the Japandroids latest is simply a nod to punk rock past, and not a full blown foray into angst ridden adolescence.
This record seems to possess all of the better qualities of the aforementioned trip down memory lane – leaving the claustrophobia, heat exhaustion and not so pleasant smells behind in favor of a spirited and energetic release. In the midst of the scorching garage rock and punk rock passion is an earnest and genuine rock and roll album worth celebrating.
After a couple of lack luster youtube teasers we finally have a real taste of new music from The Tallest Man on Earth (aka. Kristian Matsson). Matsson’s new song “1904″ will come as no surprise to fans as his signature voice and gentle strumming will make longtime listeners feel right at home and newbies want to hear more. Matsson told Rolling Stone the new album was created at home during a very relaxed 5-month time period where he embraced some new recording technology in order to “build something that didn’t sound like a rock band, but wasn’t super minimalistic.” The new album, There’s No Leaving Now, is due out June 12th and from the sounds of it we are in for a treat. Listen to the new tune below.
Let’s be honest, some playlists are better than others. While we do our best to always choose the best new music around, we don’t always have the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Jack White to choose from. This latest new tunes playlist features the aforementioned Rock Gods and several others who fall firmly into the not-too-shabby category.
Great music all around with some of our favorite songs of the year to date. Choosing tracks from the wonderful Springsteen and Jack White albums was no easy task, but we have had some time to let the dust settle and choose some winners. Rounding out this, our sixth New Tunes Spotify Playlist are Damien Jurado, Michael Kiwanuka, Delta Spirit, Lee Fields, Justin Townes Earle, Zeus, Dr. John, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, M. Ward, Father John Misty, Turnpike Troubadours, and John Fullbright.
Take some time with these jams and let them settle in, there are some good ones for sure!
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For fans of the London-based quintet known as Fanfarlo their new album, Rooms Filled With Light, is both a breath of fresh air and a throwback to 80′s new-wave pop at the same time. You’d think sounding like records that are almost 30 years old would seem stale but the current landscape of indie rock has an immediate opening in all things new-wave. The band’s quirky and arty sound has found themselves in playlists alongside bands such as The Cure and Talking Heads. This album will only reinforce those comparisons.
The album opens with a rather intense string-induced “fright fest” called “Replicate” that’s part-Andrew Bird, part-David Byrne but serves as a bizarre and beautiful opener. Track numero dos, “Deconstruction”, is the album’s first single and is a focused and upbeat tune that raises you up but sort of falls apart with with the creepy piano outro. For my money, the light doesn’t fill the room until almost two minutes into the third track “Lenslife” which takes the orchestral pop back to more familiar territory, a la 2008′s Reservoir. A great tune that certainly flows with glimmering ripples and crashing waves. “Tightrope” is a foot-stomper for the internet age and just like the lyrics – it could all come crashing down at any moment. Pretty heavy stuff but what do you expect from a song that may or may not have a harp in it? Once the album gets going it’s actually quite fun. Fanfarlo succeeds in making themes of science and extinction seem fun and quirky. Swedish frontman Simon Balthazar manages to keep an element of hope and youthful energy in a genre that historically includes frontmen who look like Edward Scissorhands or Max Headroom.
Rooms Filled With Light is a little more “out there” than the band’s debut 2008 record Reservoir but the unconventional spirit combined with an electronic and orchestral “double-threat” create a very atmospheric record that would make even Brian Eno proud. They mix elements of folk, indie rock and post-punk using a variety of instruments including the trumpet, violin, mandolin and glockenspiel. A lot of potential combinations there and most of them come together nicely. It’s not the best album of the year but if you’re partial to bands like Belle & Sebastian or Arcade Fire you will fit right in. There’s a depth to the album that I overlooked the first few times but after a few more whirls (and a new set of headphones) I’ve finally seen the light.
Here are live sessions of two great tracks from Rooms Filled With Light.