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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Album Review: Twin Atlantic - Free

The most trying part of a band's life cycle is the jump from EP (or in this case mini-album) to a full blown 11 to 13 song LP. This is when a band shows that they can make a strong, cohesive product or fall down to monotony. Twin Atlantic's debut Vivarium showed the ability to draw in listeners behind catchy riffs and hooks, but follow up Free often feels boring. At times, the band shows the ability to win a listener's full attention, but in the full scheme of things, Free will be soon forgotten.

Album Review: Sleeping at Last - Yearbook - April EP

Most bands just try to put out an album maybe every year (or two, or three...).  Sleeping at Last, on the other hand, is putting out 3 songs every month for 12 months, meaning they will have 3 albums' worth of content by the end of the year.  It takes a special band to attempt such a monstrous undertaking; and so far, the level of consistent quality the band has maintained is a mark of what kind of band Sleeping at Last is. But in the stretch of 36 songs, written and recorded at such a pace, there were always bound to be weak points. April is one of these weaker installments in the project. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Antlers


If you've had the unfortunate chance of living under a large boulder for the past few years like I have, then you missed The Antlers claim to fame in 2009 with their release of Hospice. Bursting out of Frenchkiss Records' door with an album that amassed so much critical acclaim, the Brooklyn trio now has a crowd of fans with high expectations of quality to live up to with the release of their new album, Burst Apart.

Album Review: And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs

Creating a whole new sound in an already expansive genre is difficult. Apparently not for Irish project And So I Watch You From Afar, though. Their take on post-rock and instrumental music is so vastly different from much of anything else out there, and they're coming back for even more with Gangs. After scoring a 6th best album of the year with their self-titled debut from Rock Sound, the project is bringing even more interesting works to the table.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Lulls In Traffic Video

If, like me, you felt like crying when Copeland announced their break up, you were probably happy to hear that Aaron Marsh was joining a new project called The Lulls In Traffic.  You were then probably confused when it became apparent that the project was a hip hop project.  Well, all the questions that presented themselves are cleared away because The Lulls' first song is now available for your enjoyment.  Essentially, it sounds like a Copeland song with the added rapping of Ivan Ives.  The song is quintessential Marsh--ambient, sensitive, maybe even a bit too emotional.  The song falls a bit flat with lack of interest, but it shows promise for the future of this duo.
Watch the video for "The Rope to Pull Yourself Together" here.

Album Review: Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math

The lyrical rudder of Manchester Orchestra's indie-rock ship has always been front-man Andy Hull, but never has it been so apparent in the band's new album Simple Math. Written as a concept album about the bearded leader himself, Simple Math sees the band performing Hull's most intimate lyrical moments he's written yet, while spotlighting the band's largest compositions to date. There simply isn't room for another "I Can Feel Your Pain" or "I Can Feel A Hot One" on Simple Math; it is far too occupied by Manchester Orchestra's ambitious songwriting, for better and worse of the album’s execution.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Clippers

How do you know if you'd be interested in An Evening With The Clippers? Well how does an evening with Alkaline Trio-esque vocals and short and sweet musicianship with two (presumably) sweaty guys from Boston sound? If you've ever swooned to Matt Skiba's voice in Alkaline Trio before, you'll appreciate the combination of The Clippers' vocal drawl over technical guitar work a la Look Mexico. The result is an EP of five songs only lasting a meager seven minutes; it's fast, punchy, and just glossy to retain those Alkaline Trio similarities. If you're itching to sample some work from this Boston duo, you can sample two songs from their debut EP that was released last year, here. If you're interested in something a little more recent, The Clippers have released a split with the band Coping through Topshelf records which can be found, here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jeremy Larson

I'd like to welcome Kate Wieking as a new writer at Muzik Dizcovery. She used to work for the excellent review site The Album Project, and now she will lend her skills here.

There’s a good chance that if you are of the indie/alternative music persuasion you’ve already heard Jeremy Larson.  He may be one of the most accomplished musicians you’ve never heard of.  The self-taught string master has contributed string arrangements to albums by Sleeping At Last, MuteMath, and Eisley and is forming a supergroup with Darren King (MuteMath) and Stacy DuPree King (Eisley).  Most significantly, Larson has 3 albums out as an orchestral-based singer/songwriter and an EP out under his Beach Boys-influenced side project Fort Christmas.  His most recent release, They Reappear, is a cinematic soundtrack of Larson’s signature unaffected vocals, ambitious songwriting, and soaring melodies.  If you’re in the mood for something less high-concept, check out my personal favorite of his discography, Salvation Club, a collection of melancholy piano pieces in the vein of Copeland.  Larson isn’t going anywhere, so the sooner you get on this bandwagon, the better. Check out Salvation Club here.

The Downtown Fiction/He Is We Show Review

From the moment that crowds started arriving at the venue, the April 23rd stop of the Let's Be Animals tour was sure to be something special. As both a homecoming for The Downtown Fiction as well as their CD release show, friends, family, as well as fans alike all came to probably the band's largest headlining show to date. Bringing along friends He Is We, Cady Groves, and Amely, The Downtown Fiction also brought along hoards of teenage girls, as they dominated the venue. However, powerful vocals, fuck yous, and fun dominated the night.

Interview With He Is We

He Is We is Rachel Taylor and Trevor Kelly, a singer/songwriter duet that has surged in popularity over the past year, now playing main support to The Downtown Fiction on their latest tour. At the April 23rd date of the tour, Rachel and Trevor took time out of their day to answer a few questions regarding Purevolume, choosing a label, Aaron Gillespie, movie soundtracks, and their upcoming headlining tour, as well as more, all of which you can read below.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Orphan, the Poet

The Orphan, the Poet's sound doesn't stand so well on its' own. It can easily be mistaken for other bands in their genre. Fans of Saosin's musicianship and Ben Jorgensen's (Armor For Sleep) vocals will have no problem appreciating TOTP. Despite their unoriginal sound, their lyrics make up for it. They are creatively complied into honest, emotional songs and seem to have surface meanings but come off so much more emotional once they are sang out loud by vocalist, David Eselgroth. With all that being said I highly recommend these guys because like I've said multiple times before, fans usually lean towards what they're familiar with. TOTP are following up their debut EP, In Brevity, with Translating, which is due to be released May 31st. The band will be releasing a new song this Tuesday on their Facebook.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Swellers Announce New Album

Fueled By Ramen used to be a pop-punk (or bands associated with the genre) paradise, but lately the label has suffered. The Cab lost the members that gave them their special edge, Forgive Durden decided to go to Broadway, and A Rocket To The Moon, The Academy Is, and VersaEmerge each had a massive disappointment with their last album. While we're waiting for new Paramore, fun., and This Providence albums, The Swellers will be the next Fueled By Ramen band to release an excellent album. Their debut for Fueled By Ramen, Ups and Downsizing, was a superb pop-punk release, leaning more towards the punk side with a melodic edge. "The Best I Ever Had" has all the aspects of a hit single, while still sticking to the band's punk roots. Good For Me will be released June 14th, and "The Best I Never Had" can be streamed here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beau Navire

Beau Navire are a screamo band from the Bay Area in California. After releasing some demos, they recently put out a split with Adobe Homes and a seven-song release, Life Moves. Known for their discordant style and frantically shrieked vocals, Beau Navire are not really a part of "The Wave" bands like Pianos Become the Teeth and La Dispute associate themselves with. Rather, they stick truer to the traditional screamo sound, one often portrayed as dirty and gross. But uncleanliness sometimes accompanies a warped sense of beauty and this is certainly true in Beau Navire's case. I strongly recommend checking this band out. Stream Life Moves here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cattle Drums Release The Boy Kisser Sessions + 3 For Free!

Hopefully, some of you read my Cattle Drums' article. However, if you didn't check out their particular brand of post-hardcore, make sure to head over to Bandcamp, where Cattle Drums has just released their debut EP, The Boy Kisser Sessions, in addition to three more recent songs, all available for free.

R.I.P. You, Me, And Everyone We Know

I am sad to say that You, Me, and Everyone We Know has just announced an indefinite hiatus. Five of the six members of the band (all but Ben) announced that they were leaving the band, due to some undisclosed decisions that Ben had made. Ben's response said that he was working on staying sober, an issue may easily have been the breaking point of the band. I am absolutely heartbroken, as Some Things Don't Wash Out was easily one of the best records I heard last year. Also, not even two months ago I was sitting in Ben's van, giving one of my favorite interviews that I have done thus far. I wish Ben luck in his recovery, and the every one of the band members luck for whatever their future may be. You can read the announcement here. The band's last release will be Things Are Really Weird Right Now, first announced on this very site, out soon.

The Ghost Of Otis

The Ghost of Otis has done something that very few bands have made me done before; actually read the lyrics and allow them to provoke my own opinions about the topic at hand. Religion ("I agree with the words of Jesus but not with the Christians, and I agree with the ways of Siddhartha but not with the Buddhists.", politics ("Passing ideas from one leader to the next, they say it creates structure, but who the fuck wants structure? We create it with our taxes. We paid the bill, but we're still in debt, and without a way out. So how do they fix it? Create more taxes, and raise the ones they already had."), and social issues ("Your car eats more gas than you can afford, and those cigarettes you smoke, they run eight bucks a pack. That's another hour's work for you; light another one boy, here's to your health. Another car crash on your way into work, five seconds late and your boss gives you crap. Eight more hours 'til your freedom is won, but by then you're so tired, you just want to crash.") are all common topics throughout the record. These deeper topics are mostly spoken rather than sung by gruff speaker Jason McCray, while siblings Krista and Matthew D'Amico add sweeter vocals at other times. Krista also contributes massively with her deep, vibrant baritone saxophone, which works pleasantly together with Matthew's heavy guitar riffs. Though some of the lyrics may not fit your views entirely, it is best to listen to Hopes and Denials with an open mind, as the thoughts reflected in the lyrics are at the very least worth understanding.  The music itself is beautiful, but the societal views make this record special. You can stream the entire album on the band's Deep Elm page here.

Artist Spotlight: Daybreaker


Daybreaker's new EP, The Northbound Trains, has been getting mixed reactions. A bunch of people are saying that it's just a re-hashed carbon copy of the gaslight anthem. I hold opinions quite contrary to this, as this EP absolutely rules. It's probably one of the best EP's I've heard in recent memory, and contains one of the most fantastic opening tracks I've heard in a long time. Take a listen at their bandcamp here, and see for yourself just how much this release destroys most other releases that came out this month.

Album Review: Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

The first full-length release we've seen from the Texas-based project since All Of The Sudden I Miss Everyone back in 2007, Explosions In The Sky takes a step into the new decade by releasing Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, which mixes much of the more familiar sounds in the discography with the newer, more experimental tastes.

The first track off the record, "Last Known Surroundings", starts with an ethereal and mysterious void, slowly shaping until a guitar hit brings the song forward motion with a drum beat that The Arcade Fire could say sounds familiar (No Cars Go, anyone?). After riffing with a sweetly tuned, high-octave guitar, the tune dies down into the bridge, a soft push that leads to a stronger buildup, gaining more and more strength and soul with a faster drum beat, until the cathartic release with a distorted guitar occurs, and the song fades back down to the void.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Young Brother

While Bandcamp is easily the best source for selling your music, there is one major flaw to it. It is just very difficult to find new bands that you didn't know about in the first place. Luckily, one of the newer features makes up for that. When downloading The Pattern Traced's new EP (feature up soon!), it showed recommendations from the band. One of them was Young Brother, claimed to be "the best unsigned indie rock band he's heard." Though that's a rather hyperbolic statement, there is some truth to that. Reminiscent of Local Natives due to the layered, dreamy guitar patterns and tribal drum rhythms, the band gushes talent and creates songs mostly made by experienced and established groups. The songs may run together a bit, but the pure creative ability displayed by the band is undeniable. The statement will not be true for much longer, as Young Brother shows all the necessary skills to be signed to a label. But unless people download the EP and share the music, this will not happen, so feel free to download the album (at a price of your choice) on the band's Bandcamp page here.

The Pattern Traced- I'm Calm, The Storm Is Coming

Jon Callender definitely topped his last album with his latest EP, I'm Calm, The Storm is Coming. Everything about this album is cleaner; the vocals are crisp, the synth beats are sharper and the lyrics are more mature. This EP is a lot more personal and Callender tones down the wit we experienced on his last release, Lessons in Leaving. Callender throws around the topic of death on two tracks. "Need Help" covers wanting to fight for your life even when it's close to end. "Die Alone" explores the topic of the political world and Callender sings "I rather die alone, than be living a lie." He makes it very clear he'd rather die a painful death than to ever be like someone in politics. The EP is brought to an end with "What Keeps You Awake". The vocals are the best I've ever heard them and it shows a softer and more serious side of Callender. This track makes me wish the entire EP was arranged this way. I'm Calm, The Storm is Coming makes the wait for his next release seem even farther away. We can only hope Callender delivers with The Artful Abortions Of Sound. You can download this EP here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Highlight Of Coachella (YouTube Stream) - Death From Above 1979

Thanks to YouTube's streaming of many highlight Coachella performances, my weekend was devoured by this festival. And out of all the performances I was able to watch, Death From Above 1979's was the easily one of the most enjoyable (along with Jack's Mannequin and Jimmy Eat World). What makes the performance even better was that it wasn't created by bias, as I barely knew the band before the performance. At the announcement of their return back in February, I downloaded You're a Woman, I'm A Machine, but I barely gave it much listen. After this performance, I expect to stick the album into rotation on my iPod. Lead singer/drummer Sebastien Grainger's raspy voice echoed throughout the enormous crowd, while Jesse Keeler's bass was loud, distorted, and explosive. The band played 10 out of the 11 songs off You're A Woman, I'm A Machine, and every single moment of the performance was spectacular. If there's an album in the works, it will instantly become one of my most anticipated, as my feelings towards the band are now the same as how their music is. Exciting. You can watch the entire performance here.

Album Review: Circadian Eyes - Who We Were

With "Who We Were", New York-based Circadian Eyes goes for a very feel-good record. Bryan Collins infuses many different elements of music, from many different genres, spanning classical strings to post-rock, with rock and ambiance thrown into the mix. The result is an album that screams hope with every change of tone, and every chord is orchestrated to follow the preceding with a purpose, to create a blend of songs that I found hypnotically beautiful.

American Dream Records Offer Ace Enders Contest

The drive to make change with an industry you've grown tired of is a completely useless motivator if you don't have the intentions of following through, and American Dream Records are a perfect example of changing musical industry cynicism into one's own goal: a record label that functions for those who actually love music. At least, that's American Dream Records' intended function, and with a tagline as strong and pragmatic as "By the people. For the people." one would hope they have every intention of following through. Focusing on vinyl releases, American Dream Records have already seen the release of The Graduate's Only Every Time and currently has plans to release The Lakes' The Agreement. More interesting, is the contest currently being held for the label's release of the  I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business album, Gold Rush. American Dream Records are offering any listener the chance to design new artwork and win a copy of the LP, as well as a guest list pass to a show. As someone who is an absolute sucker for artists getting intimately involved with listeners in ways such as this, it's safe to say that American Dream Records' patriotic approach to the music industry has caught my attention. As far as the contest goes, you can find the more technical details here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cattle Drums

Cattle Drums are a post-hardcore band from Oneonta, New York. Reminiscent of Bear vs. Shark and At the Drive-In, The Boy Kisser Sessions, their debut EP, is a breath of fresh air in the currently stale post-hardcore scene. Cattle Drums aren't some crude imitator of their idols though; they incorporate a variety of influences into their sound, notably punk, emo, and blues. "Two Pigeons", "Borvg the Nag", and "New Furniture and Wigs" display each of these, respectively. Because of this culmination of genres, Cattle Drums' sound is wholly their own, devastatingly unique, especially now with both At the Drive-In and Bear vs. Shark defunct. Yet Cattle Drums aren't solely musically inventive, lyrically and vocally they are quite creative as well. Vocalist Sam Judd doesn't rely on typical screamo or emo vocals commonly strewn throughout the post-hardcore genre. Instead he yelps, talks, barks, and sing-speaks his way through the EP. This combination of vocal styles helps to best convey Cattle Drums' intricate, sometimes nonsensical, bordering on brilliant lyrics.

Meadower

Meadower is a Detroit-based post-punk trio who recently released their first EP, 1994, an astoundingly mature first effort. Experimental song structures and excellent musicianship are prevalent throughout each of the six songs. "Jealous and Weaving", for example, contains verses written in a repeated pattern of three bars of 3/8 followed by a bar of 5/8. Unique time signatures like the aforementioned lend an unpredictable quality to the music which keeps the listener focused and entertained. Yet technicality doesn't come at the cost of catchiness in Meadower's case, as each track has, at least to some degree, a pop mentality. Because of this, fans of many different styles of music can appreciate Meadower's works. Another strength of the EP is its intelligent lyrics. Album opener "Family Tree" showcases this with the line "Trim the leaves off the family tree/Before we go". It's a sentiment left open to interpretation but the way the clever wordplay and flow of the line deem it one of the standout lyrics of the EP. Be on the lookout for a brand new 7" from Meadower and Cartographer in the near future. It should be great.

Bandcamp with 1994 available for purchase for $5

The Groundbreaking Ceremony

Let me clear things up. "What The Hell Is A Jiggawatt" isn't a Four Year Strong ripoff. The song was recorded before the song title was announced. Anyways, don't expect anything groundbreaking from The Groundbreaking Ceremony. But you know you will get some fun, upbeat, and intense pop-punk music. The vocals may not be sweet at sugar, but they are definitely smooth as butter, while the drumming is vicious and definitely a highlight of the musicality of the band. "What The Hell Is A Jiggawatt" was a perfect choice to give away as a free download, with the catchiest chorus on the album, as well as showing that they can move away from simple song structure by adding some tempo changes and some more sophisticated riffs. The song can be downloaded here, and the EP can be purchased on Amazon here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Polaris At Noon - En Pointe

Don't like the black and white album art of Polaris At Noon's En Pointe fool you. The band is anything but dull. Formulated entirely by Jason Suwito,  the combination of synth and electronic loops is perfect for any sort of upbeat activity. From working out to dancing at a club, Polaris At Noon is perfect music for staying on your feet. "Red" layers grimy club beats with smooth keys, juxtaposing the two techniques to create a feverish and exciting mood. "On" contains hand claps and drum machine beats keeping rhythm, while Suwito guides the song with his confident, mainstream accessible vocals. Sadly, he unnecessarily drenches those vocals with effects in the verses of  "Far Away", though the irresistible chorus turns those emotionless verses into a distant memory. "Rain" is probably the most "club friendly" of the songs, as Suwito uses elements of dubstep and house in order to launch a club environment to the next level of electric. En Pointe can appeal to pretty much any fan of electro-pop, from the dub freaks, to the young female fans of mainstream pop, to even the hipster fans of Passion Pit or Starfucker. Polaris At Noon simply brings excitement and energy, any moment of any day. You can stream two tracks as well as find out other information about Polaris at Noon on his website here.

Red Bellows

A spastic set of influences or similar artists is always a big draw in. Red Bellows lists Envy On The Coast, The Mars Volta, and Margot and The Nuclear So & So's as main influences, which instantly caused me to click on their web address. I'm glad I did. Red Bellows combines jazzy and progressive tendencies with smooth indie rock, adding keys and electronics to morph their sound even more. Vocalist Marc Pellegrino's grimy voice works to the band's strength, working well with the psychedelic moments of tracks such as the harmonica supported chorus of opener "L.S. Blues" or the Radiohead-like "Maps". The band is offering the EP Epone for free, and it is a must download. The link to the download is at their Bandcamp page here.

Album Review: This Will Destroy You - Tunnel Blanket

If you have ever cared about any instrumental music ever, you will drop whatever you are or have been doing and pick this album up. A fairly new project from San Marcos, Texas, This Will Destroy You have vehemently rejected the term post-rock. Yet, despite what they're calling their music (and they call it "doomgaze", their interesting combination of doom metal and shoegazer), they've got to be doing something right. The new album, Tunnel Blanket, is a fantastic piece of work that should be a leading, quintessential album of any smart listener's library.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Transit - Promise Nothing 7" (Record Store Day Exclusive)

For vinyl collectors as well as music fans in general, Record Store Day is huge. It's the day where vinyl takes to the front of the music industry, and reignites those stores on their last breath. Transit is releasing a new 7" tomorrow titled Promise Nothing, and the two new tracks are an excellent addition to the Transit discography. "Take What You Can" sounds like it could be right off of Keep This To Yourself, with aggressive vocals and powerful instrumentation backed multiple times by shouts from the rest of the band. "I've Never Told That To Anyone" is extremely long by Transit standards, clocking in at 4:50, a whole minute and thirty seconds longer than any track on Keep This To Yourself. Twinkling guitars guide the slow ballad-like sections of the song, sandwiching a faster bridge. Many record collectors are planning to spend most of their savings on this special day tomorrow. Transit's contribution needs to be near, if not at the top of your purchase list. You can check out which stores are containing Record Store Day exclusives here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sean Renner

Sean Renner is a musician. Honestly, that's the best way to describe him. Playing almost every instrument on the record, Renner brings memories of an early Sufjan Stevens, from Sufjan's customary delivery and vocal style, to the cinematic instrumentation used in the songs. Sekhmet is based off Egyptian folklore, a sophisticated concept at the level of Sufjan's state-based masterpieces. The arrangements in "Messenger" is reminiscent of the journey throughout a boiling desert's sands, while other tracks have a Middle Eastern or African feel to them. Sekhmet is extremely ambitious, especially for an artist that has not established himself. But Sean Renner doesn't care about the popularity. He cares about making the absolute most beautiful music his mind can imagine. With Sekhmet, he accomplishes this. You can stream and purchase the album on Bandcamp here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Constraints - Secret Destroyers

Who?

Constraints are an up-and-coming hardcore band from Ottawa, Ontario. Secret Destroyers is a three song demo, the follow-up to debut EP, Get It or Get Out. Released through indie hardcore label FWYS Records, Secret Destroyers is emotional and melodic, utilizing meaty guitar riffs and snarly screamed vocals.

How is it?

Pretty good. Though only about eight minutes in length, the demo feels like a complete work. The vocals are impressive throughout, alternating between an emotional hardcore style, evident in "Consumed", and a more typical bark, although higher in pitch than usually found in the genre, utilized in "Desperate Times". The musicality and instrumentation is pretty standard for the genre: punky riffs and hard-hitting drums. In this respect, Constraints aren't really a very unique band; they do, however, perform their style of music more than competently and with apparent ease. Yet Constraints has the talent to play more technically and creatively, proven by moments of intricacy on "Drawn Out" and especially on "Consumed", which almost has a screamo feel in places. If Constraints can push the boundaries of hardcore more (a mathier direction would be particularly refreshing), they'd be more than just a good band; they'd be a great one. But in the meantime, listeners have this solid demo to enjoy.

7.5/10
Bandcamp with Secret Destroyers available for purchase for $5
Download Get It or Get Out for free here

Free Sleeping At Last Album

I don't think it's a stretch to say that if you're reading a music blog, there's a great chance that you love free music. You know what is even better than free music? Free music that isn't just a sampler or EP, but a full length album that will sweep you off your feet. Sleeping At Last is in the midst of completing their current Yearbook EP project, and they are celebrating their monthly releases by offering their last full length, Storyboards, for free through Noisetrade.com for one month. One of my favorite releases from 2009, Storyboards retains the quiet indie "sound" of bands like Lovedrug and Copeland, while keeping the poppy, theatrical instrumentation and Ryan O' Neal's impressive falsettos present and apparent through every song. There's no good reason to avoid heading over to Noisetrade and download Storyboards right now. If that isn't enough to satiate your Sleeping at Last needs, the duo's newest Yearbook release, April, is in online stores now as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NGHBRS - Hellomind EP

Unfortunately, I'm a little late with this one. But better late than never, am I right? NGHBRS (pronounced Neighbors) are filling the void Envy on The Coast left in our lives. Even ex EOTC member Sal Bossio had nothing but nice things to say about these Long Island natives. They start off Hellomind with 'Bodies', a pop rock track with strong vocals from Ian Kenny. The rest of the band lays low for this track but pick up at the chorus. 'American Junk' has a bluesy vibe and Kenny accommodates his voice to fit the tone of the song. Tommy Fleischmann shines on this track and becomes one of the main focal points. Every track on this EP stands on its own and each band member has their moment to break through.

Another Free The Graduate EP

So, here's the second EP that The Graduate has given out for free this year. Very rarely does a signed band that makes excellent music give out this much music. Even more surprising is the fact that The Graduate has had money troubles in the past, yet they still give these b-sides and demos away. While Every Other Time was a collection of b-sides that didn't make the album, Sea Legs is a few instrumentals, demo versions of some of the best Only Every Time tracks, and an alternate version of one of my favorite tracks on the album, "Siren". There's one unheard song, "Sea Legs", which although it is a demo, still shows the atmospheric qualities of the best The Graduate tracks. Obviously at this point there is no doubting The Graduate. Every song they put out will be worth downloading. But if you can, please donate a little money to purchase the EP, which you can stream and download here.

A Troop Of Echoes

I can honestly say I've never heard a band quite like A Troop Of Echoes. Though they may be instrumental, they sound like no other instrumental band out there. A saxophone takes the same role as the vocals would in a traditional rock band, at the lead of the songs. The rhythm section also stands out, as drummer Dan Moriarty and bassist Harrison Hartley keep the songs going strong. A Troop Of Echoes latest album Days In Automation is a perfect crossover record between the rock and jazz crowds, with those jazzy arrangements surrounded by rock instrumentation. And for those who like a bit more experimentation, many of the tracks add some more unusual instrumentation such as vibes, moog, and happy apple. It's not common that I get to write about such a unique band. A Troop Of Echoes brings the creativity and willingness to experiment not found often in bands these days, and deserve much greater popularity than they already have. Please help the band out, by streaming and purchasing their album on their Bandcamp page here. They also expect to have a new EP out in summer.

Fleet Foxes

It became relatively hard to escape the mass of acceptance that Fleet Foxes gained after their eponymous debut in 2008, and I predict a wave of more welcoming arms heading toward the band's way with their sophomore release of Helplessness Blues. Robin Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset's combined vocals perform as a well crafted throwback to 50's diner music and are played wonderfully over "Montezuma," the album's beginning track. For a band that has achieved such critical and commercial success in recent years, it is incredible to hear an extraordinary amount of devotion spent in how absolutely personal the album sounds.

Panda Bear

Oh Noah Lennox, I want to be part of your cool kids. I want to understand all the deep, psychedelic references in your sound, your stylish avant-garde spins on music, and most importantly I want a lifetime internet subscription to Pitchfork. Even if my simple mind is consistently lost in the flashy innovation that Lennox establishes as part of Animal Collective and within his solo project, I can enjoy the deluge of dizzying electronics that aurally wash out of my musical taste buds while I listen to Lennox's latest work, Tomboy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Voyage in Coma

Based in Washington D.C., Voyage in Coma mix elements of punk, post-rock, and screamo in a cohesive fashion. Identifying with "The Wave", the band has recorded two EP's since their formation in 2009: their debut, Cartography, and their upcoming release, You Appear Alongside Me (available for digital download). Despite a lineup change after Cartography, Voyage in Coma don't drastically depart from their original sound on You Appear Alongside Me, but instead naturally progress, incorporating more post-rock elements and less of the punk aspects of the debut.

The Wonder Years Announce New Album/Post New Song

The Upsides ended on many end of year lists, including my own. So there was no doubt that The Wonder Years' follow up to that record would be one of the most hyped records of 2011. Let that hype begin. The band has released all of the information for their new record Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing, including the track listing (13 songs!!) and album artwork (seen to the left). To make things even better, they released the first track "Local Man Ruins Everything" for streaming. The band definitely shows a progression in the track, losing some of the pop-punk traits and adding in some definite influences from 90's emo. Though different from the band's older tracks, it's too soon to make any big judgments on the track. I want to hear the song in the context of the album, and we will see if Surbubia can rival The Upsides. You can stream the track here. The album is out June 14th on Hopeless Records.

Mat Musto

After the sudden end of his former band, Polaroid, Mat Musto went on to make his own music. He puts together the perfect blend of flawless vocals, amazing lyrics and catchy beats. Some of his tracks are synth infused pop songs, while others are broken down with more of an acoustic sound. Musto has released two EP's, Brightness and Contrast and in October he released a 15 song mixtape, Exposure, which he let his fans download for free. But he didn't stop there. He made a video for his next single, 'Douche Bag' (which you can watch here), released another single 'Material Girl' about a month ago and last week released another video for his song 'Learning to Fly'. Mat has also done guest vocals on two Machine Gun Kelly songs. I've watched Mat Musto play in front of a crowd of no more than 10 people just a few years ago. Now, he's on his own tour that even has sold out dates and seems to finally be getting the recognition he deserves. Keep yourself updated with his Facebook page because you never know what he's going to do next. Also, you can download Exposure here.

Interview With Christopher Browder (Mansions)

Christopher Browder is the voice and mind behind Mansions. The band just released their newest album titled Dig Up The Dead on April 5th, and it has gotten plenty of acclaim around these parts. Christopher took some time out of his day to chat with us, as we discussed the progression from New Best Friends to Dig Up The Dead, future plans, the personal feelings behind some of the lyrics, the acoustic version of the record, and many more things that can be seen after the jump.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Interview with Álfheimr

Madison Asche is the driving force behind Álfheimr. Preparing to release a new album, titled Still We Hope, sometime this year, we were approached by Madison and asked to do an interview. Excited to help out, especially with what this album entails, we were eager to jump to it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tancred (Jess Abbott of Now, Now) To Release Album

After meeting the girls (and guy) of Now, Now at the Hellogoodbye tour, I gained plenty of respect for them as human beings. Of course, I already loved their music, but now I have a personal need for Tancred to be successful. Tancred is Jess Abbott's solo project, soon to be releasing Capes on No Sleep Records. Though I might have preferred the band to continue on their first No Sleep full length, Tancred is definitely an intriguing prospect. I hope that Jess uses all of her musical talents to create another excellent product. You can follow Tancred's progress on Facebook here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Fireworks Song Up For Download

Since their debut album, Fireworks has been thought of as one of the leaders of the "new wave" of pop-punk. However, I never felt they brought anything excellent to the table. The first released track off their soon to be released album Gospel, "Summer," is in my opinion the best track they have put out so far. Nasally vocalist David Mackinder definitely shows some improvement, while the chorus is one of the best I've heard this year. The lyrics are stronger than many bands in the pop-punk scene, and the instrumentation has tightened up as well. Gospel is now gaining hype in my eyes, and looks like a potential end of year list candidate. You can download "Summer" for free right here. Gospel is out on May 24th.

Interview With Producer Matt Malpass (Lydia, Decoder, Holiday Parade)

Producer extraordinaire Matt Malpass recently took some time via email to answer a couple questions. Matt Malpass runs the Atlanta based Marigolds and Monsters Productions, and has helped produced excellent records by Lydia, Copeland, Decoder, Rory, and many others. Matt talked about what the real job of a producer is, dramatic incidents in the studio, his upcoming project with Leighton Antelman (ex Lydia), upcoming Cute Is What We Aim For and Cartel releases, and many more things, all of which can be seen after the jump.

Scattered Trees

There are few things in this world that I adore more than pretty, lush indie pop, and I have recently had the pleasure of being completely enamored by a little band by the name of Scattered Trees and their newest release, Sympathy. This simple little group from Chicago has constructed a beautiful flow of infectious moments of pop with their self-serious lyrics while maintaining a whole batch of quiet, emotionally diverse acoustics. If you remember feeling in awe of Lydia's Illuminate, picture this as its less glossy, more earthy cousin. But don't take my word for it, Scattered Trees have offered a free download of "Four Days Straight", easily the catchiest song thanks to the soulful voice of Nate Eiesland nestled between groovy synth work and the perfectly executed guitar licks that have put this song on a personal state of repeat for me. I could spend all day speaking of the similarities between this record and the equally as gorgeous Local Natives, Lydia, and even Barcelona, but those comparisons do no favor to Sympathy's unique balance of catchy material and heart-tugging moments. Sympathy is in a spotlight of its own, and can be purchased here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tonight Alive Posts New Song For Download

Everyone knows that I've been hyping up Tonight Alive for the longest time now. The first song released from the upcoming album proves that the hype was well worth it. "Breaking And Entering" shows a large progression in pretty much every aspect of the band's music, as they definitely seem to be leaving their cookie cutter female-led pop-punk sound. Jenna's vocals are stronger than ever, and every member of the band has improved their instrumentals dramatically. Tonight Alive has definitely shed their "Paramore clone" status, as they show exceptional growth, and are getting closer and closer to breaking out in a huge way. You can stream and download the song for free here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dikembe

Anyone who loves me knows that I'm a huge sports fan. So when I found this band Dikembe, it pleased me to see that the band seemed to be real basketball fans. I mean, with a band named after Dikembe Mutombo (which made it very difficult to find any information about the band) and an EP title named Chicago Bowls (Bulls) and song names "Scottie Spliffen", "Luc Bongley", "Michael Jordank", and "Tony Kukush", it becomes rather obvious. The weed puns intertwined with the basketball references only drew me in even more to hear what this band had in store. And in fact, they're excellent, reminding me of Tigers Jaw, Balance and Composure, or a lighter Title Fight. If you're a fan of anyone of these bands, or are just a sports fanatic like both me and the band, you can stream and download the album for free on the band's Bandcamp page here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

LCD Soundsystem Final Show Recorded

I never got the hype for LCD Soundsystem. I had no idea it was possible for   James Murphy and his backing band to sell out such a large venue. And honestly, I just didn't understand why people liked him such much. After watching the final performance, I finally gave his three albums a shot. Though the vocals definitely aren't my favorite, the electronic arrangements he creates are exceptional. Adding real instrumentation into the mix makes his songs even better, as the glockenspiel in my personal favorite track "Someone Great". I definitely have gained some respect for the band, as I expect all three albums to be consistently in my car playlist. The video of the performance was taken down, but through some searching on the internet, it can be found.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Album Review: Thursday - No Devolución

Can ten years of progress from the release of an album like Full Collapse mean anything but absolute devotion to one's work? If Thursday's career could somehow be condensed into a single idea or concept, the topic of devotion would be fitting. While their commitment to their practice isn't necessarily what is being covered in their new release, No Devolución and its lyrical focus on devotion and its musical tribute to their growth is a perfect fit for the reputation Thursday has built over the years.

New Found Glory Japan Benefit Shirt

A limited edition New Found Glory t-shirt is now available here. It features a pretty awesome design, and all proceeds will be donated to relief efforts for Japan. The band also just started work on their new album, which should be arriving this fall/winter.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Album Review: Hailey, It Happens - Aurora

Hailey, It Happens, comprised of vocalist Chris Cleary and programmer Bobby DiBari, play a brand of electro-pop with an intelligence and sophistication uncommon to the genre. Aurora isn't much of a sonic progression from debut EP Everything For You, but it is still a marked improvement over the latter for several reasons.

Album Review: Mansions - Dig Up The Dead

It's not easy to make an album this dark so beautiful. Christopher Browder, the brainchild of Mansions, must have had quite a difficult life to create such a depressingly personal album. From the hopeless vocals similar to Jesse Lacey, to the lo-fi grungy guitar riffs, to the downtrodden lyrics, Browder creates an album that might not strike a casual listener as something pretty. But if one listens intently, he or she will discover the true depth of Dig Up The Dead.

Album Review: Fireworks - Bonfires EP

The pop-punk genre is one of the most over-saturated crap pools of music, to be honest. Day after day I’m exposed to bands with no passion in their voices. No sincerity in their average guitar riffs. No audible bass playing whatsoever. And yes, how could one forget the overly simplistic drum playing that plagues this genre? I often end up wondering if the drummer is playing with stale Olive Garden breadsticks rather than slim pieces of wood. So, naturally, given my hatred for so many new bands in this genre (although I still like a good deal of them) I get all giddy when a pop-punk album comes out that gives me the impression that the band is, well, actually trying to be a legitimate asset to the music community. My giddiness right now is heavily attributed to not only the fact that it’s finally spring, but the fact that I have plummeted into a deep love affair with the newest Fireworks EP, entitled Bonfires.

New Swellers Song

The Swellers have been on a touring rampage ever since they released 2009's outstanding Ups And Downsizing. They've played to crowds around the world since then, almost nonstop, and now they're readying the release of their new, as-of-yet-untitled album. They played a brand new song off the album, titled "The Best I Ever Had", on their European tour a few nights ago. Watch the performance here.

New Death Cab For Cutie Song

Death Cab For Cutie took off a good amount of time preparing their follow-up to Narrow Stairs, and the new single released today definitely shows how much work they put into it. The song, called "You Are a Tourist", is more reminiscent of their older work. It's recently become one of my favorite Death Cab songs to date, and it looks like the fan response is pretty darn good. The new album, Codes and Keys, is set for a May 31st release date, and is shaping up to be a worthwhile listen. You can take a listen to the new track here.