Rex Manning Day’s Top 10 Albums of 2013

January 17, 2014 in Album reviews, Alt-Country, Alternative, Americana, Classic Rock, Electronic, Electropop, Funk, Jazz, Psychedelic Rock, Rock, Top 2013

10. Cage The Elephant – Melophobia


Alright I’m not going to lie: There are only two songs I listened the hell out of on this album, and by “listened the hell out of” I mean played that shit on repeat; all day, erryday. I feel bad ignoring the rest of the songs on the album. Honestly, I do. But when I’m staring down at my iPod and “Halo” and “Take It Or Leave It” are sitting there and screaming “LISTEN TO MEEEEEE!!” I have a weak moment and disregard the rest of the album. But I can’t deny the fact that I’ve been listening to these songs probably hundreds of times each since I first discovered this album a couple of months back, and that deserves some proper recognition. (Not to mention that I expected the band to burn out in a fiery, one-hit-wonder haze after “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.”) If it wasn’t for the band’s nasty habit of constructing a limp-dick chorus this album might have been higher up on the list, but either way this release proves that Cage The Elephant aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

9. Elvis Costello and The Roots – Wise Up Ghost


I know, I’m just as shocked as you that this album made our list. Yes, The Roots are great, but I’ve been grimacing at Costello’s tunes since oh, I dunno…1995, but after listening to this album I can honestly say for sure: Costello and his Roots have officially raised the bar for future collaborative albums. Although there are a few skip-worthy tracks like the title track “Wise Up Ghost” and “Tripwire” and the tail-end tracks off the album, “Viceroy’s Row,” “Wake Me Up” and “Walk Us Uptown” make up for it. Anyways, we’ve already ranted and raved about how much we loved this album here and here, so instead of boring you to death with our Costello/Roots collaboration obsession I’ll just say this: If The Roots can act as a musical prozac for someone as old as Costello well then…hey ?uestlove, call me!

8. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin

Thee Oh Sees Floating Coffni

Oh, Thee Oh Sees: Continuing to put out great release after great release, year after year. I know it’s not fair that the band has been getting quadruple the amount of coverage than any other band covered here at RMD, but I just can’t help it! The Kurt Cobain-like squeal on “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster,” the Pixies-meets-Joy Division vibe on “No Spell” and the hyperactive guitar section that mirrors some vintage Ramones on “Tunnel Time”…there are so many memorable tracks on this album that I never got sick of, which seems like a true rarity these days. But before you give this album a listen I must warn you: It may bring out the hidden ADHD in you and make you want to strip off all your clothes, run out into the street and mosh pit with random people while old people stare at you with a disapproving look and scoff in your direction. Not that it happened to me or anything…

7. of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar


I’ve been a huge fan of of Montreal (heh) for quite some time now thanks to the epicness that is “Wraith Pinned To The Mist” and “I Was Never Young,” but I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been shying away from the band’s releases as of late because everything I’ve heard from them has just been way, way too out there for me (and that’s saying a lot considering I praise the holy Boognish). So in a classic case of “woooahhh where did that come from?” I was nearly blown off my seat the first time I listened to this album. It’s so…normal! I still can’t believe this is the same Kevin Barnes, who chose a more personal and vulnerable approach to the album, and the end result was nothing short of amazeballs. Not to mention that tracks like “Colossus,” “Belle Glade Missionaries” and “Hegira Émigré” were some of the best alt-country songs I heard all year. I shit you not.

6. The Black Angels – Indigo Meadow

Black Angels Indigo Meadow

There’s so many things I like about this album I don’t even know where to start. From The Doors nostalgia to the continued tribalness…and most importantly, the fact that the group has our numero uno favourite female drummer and is led by a bearded hippie who I may or may not have been crushing on for the past five years because he looks like Jesus (you know how us Catholic girls can be…) But anyways…I’m begging you don’t let The Black Angels fall under the radar with the rest of the Blackie rock bands like The Black Keys or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, because this group has so much more to offer. Sure their psychedelic vibe hasn’t won over all the critics out there, but from all of us here at RMD: Flower Power on, dudes.

5. The Knife – Shaking The Habitual

The Knife Shaking The Habitual

There are so many tiny little details hidden in this album, I could listen to it hundreds of thousands of times and still discover something new after each listen. From the grunting alien heard on “Full Of Fire,” the addictive riff on “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” to the palette of different drum beats and instruments on “A Tooth For An Eye,” listening to this album is more like travelling across the globe and experiencing all these new and different cultures, ideas, sounds, smells and tastes. But what I loved most about the album was its lyrics and the duo’s passion for using their music as a tool to help bring awareness to political issues that they deem important.

4. Jagwar Ma – Howlin’

Jagwar Ma

I was already listening to “Come Save Me” on repeat for a few months before I immersed myself in Howlin’, but the first time I heard/watched “The Throw” music video something just clicked. Maybe it was the slow motion sexiness, or the vocal range that is so out of this world it’s hard to believe that it comes from a human, but suddenly we “got” Jagwar Ma. It’s weird because if you were to listen to any of these songs individually you wouldn’t even think they were by the same band. The album covers every musical corner and quirk that I love (from tribal and experimental to electronic and poppy rock), and just listening to “What Love” changed the way I listened to how a song can be created just because there are so many different elements, layers and designs going on that you will never get bored listening to it.

3. Austra – Olympia


Olympia is a release that marks a considerable change in the band’s musical style, with Austra switching from dark, gloomy witch house to danceable, electropop tunes (but still with the trademark Stelmanis edge, because of course). Even Austra’s primary songwriter Katie Stelmanis (AKA Mozart-in-Bloom) claims she wrote the album differently than she wrote Austra’s past albums by focusing more on the structure of the song instead of its “vibe.” There are still some typical Austra and experimental operatic-like tunes like “What We Done?” and “I Don’t Care (I’m A Man)” although the true gems are found in tracks like “Forgive Me” and “Painful Like.” But what I liked best about this album is that it proves that Austra is constantly evolving and changing, so instead of becoming stale fans are forced to grow along with them.

2. Wampire – Curiosity


This album is packed full of so many different vibes (the psychedelic “Magic Lights” or the Americana-ish “The Hearse”) as well as punches (the keyboards on “Snacks” and the sexiness on “Trains”) it’s hard not to be intrigued by it all. (Oh who am I kidding? The powerful, glowing yellow eyes are what really drew me into the album…) But the organ sounds are what truly sold us on the record, and are so vampire-y is the band actually from Transylvania (or Transylwania? Hard to be sure…) The album as a whole is like a rock essay that’s constructed meticulously, with each song flowing into the next and providing a cohesive structure for the listener to get comfortable with. Let’s just hope that the band doesn’t get a case of the sophomore blues, because Curiosity is going to be pretty hard to beat.

1. Arcade Fire – Reflektor


I’ll be the first to admit of the Arcade Fire-overload these past few years, and I was ready to shit all over this album once it was released. But given the fact that LCD Soundsystem has officially risen from the grave through Reflektor, I don’t give a flying fuck what people think of Arcade Fire and this new album; they have officially redeemed themselves in the eyes of RMD. Yes, they’ve received more mainstream attention than Lady Gaga and Nickelback combined (OK that might be a slight overstatement), but there’s no denying that Reflektor is to Arcade Fire like what OK Computer was to Radiohead. Well maybe James Murphy being producer has something to do with it…Oh and one more thing: Don’t judge the album by its singles. The end.

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Top Tracks of 2013 {Part 4}

January 14, 2014 in Alternative, Americana, Country, Dream Pop, Electronic, Electropop, House, New Wave, Pop, Psych Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Rock, Shoegaze, Sunshine Pop, Top 2013, Traditional Country

{PART 1} {PART 2} {PART 3}

Girls Names – “Hypnotic Regression” {New Wave}

This song is so deliciously 80s you can almost picture Emilio Estevez playing with the strings of his hoodie and Ally Sheedy crunching up potato chips in her sandwich…but I digress. Plus the song sounds like The Cure and Joy Division meshed together perfectly; Oh and if Cage The Elephant needs any tips on how to write a chorus properly they should take a note from this track.

Quilt – “Arctic Shark” {Psych Pop}

We were in a rush the first time we discovered this song, and we were so wowed by it that we made a mental note to ourselves to come back to the song and listen to it again, just in case it was all a dream. And after watching this video a second time we can honestly tell you that yes, it was a dream. A wondrous, flowery, colourful dream:

Pearl Jam – “My Father’s Son” {Rock}

Pearl Jam’s new record sucked monkey balls, but it would have sucked major monkey balls if this track wasn’t included on it. It may start off sounding like any other basic Pearl Jam rock song, but the chorus does all these interesting twists and turns via Vedder, which makes it one of the most memorable tracks on the album by far.

Tennis – “Mean Streets” {Sunshine Pop}

Tennis has been on the receiving end of a lot of review hate for their lacklustre live shows, but this song proves that the sunshiny duo are best listened to through headphones and/or speakers. (Well actually, Tennis is really best listened to on a sunny, warm day while you’re chillin’ on the beach sucking back double piña coladas…but anyways). Sounds like recording in pajamas really paid off!!

The Dismemberment Plan – “Invisible” {Alternative Rock}

The first 30 seconds of this track really threw us off guard. Is it rap? Is it classical? Is it Alt-J trying to pull a quick one on us? Not to mention that it has a perfect blend of Frightened Rabbit-like vocals, Stooges-like piano chords, and a Duncan Sheik-like chorus…what’s not to love?

Billie Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones “Long Time Gone” {Traditional Country}

We were already digging Billie Joe Armstrong’s and Norah Jones’ collaborative Everly Brothers cover album before the news broke of Phil Everly’s death, so we’ve been blasting the record ever since we lost one of the world’s best harmonizing geniuses. This is one of our favourite tracks on the album, but if you have some time on your hands check the rest of the album out and you won’t be disappointed.

Whitley – “TV” {Rock/Americana}

Sure the chorus leaves a lot to be desired…but that dark, gloomy American riff tho. Whitley is a one-man-band led by the Australian musician Lawrence Greenwood (although he is often joined onstage by a few other talented peeps for his live shows), and if you like this tune as much as we do you should give him some “Like” love on Facebook here.

Dr. Dog – “The Truth” {Blues/Rock}

It may not be the most memorable song the first time you listen to it, but after a few listens it gets stuck in your head for days, and then weeks (or in our case…months). We’ve already professed our profound Dr. Dog-love here, so instead of boring you to death you should really just press that play button, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Toro Y Moi – “Say That” {Electronic/House}

This South Carolinan cutie pie has been a huge, huge thing in the indie world over the past few years, so naturally a lot of indie kids hopped all over his new album (us included). The song was our favourite off of the album, and is all over the place musically, lying somewhere in between R&B, electronic, trance, old school house, and a bunch of mellow awesomeness.

I Break Horses – “Denial” {Dream Pop}

We’re still riding our dream poppy haze from last year, and while Empress Of kept us going throughout this past spring, it was “Denial” that wet our delicious dream pop appetite throughout the second half of the year. Them Swedes never fail to impress.

Queens of the Stone Age – “If I Had a Tail” {Alternative Rock}

We’re not going to deny that QOTSA’s 2013 album …Like Clockwork was just …meh, and despite our QOTSA tattoo and our heads being so far up Homme-boy’s ass we’re not afraid to say it. But this was hands-down the best (and only?) good track on the album, so we have to give a shout-out when a shout-out is due (especially when Josh Homme’s sexyness is involved…)

The Mary Onettes – “Hit The Waves” {Alternative Pop}

We first checked out the band because we thought their name was “The Mary Omelettes,” but this group proves you don’t need an accidentally hilarious name to get our attention (well….) This here is another tune that defined our 2013 thanks to the mad Cure vibes and 80s nostalgia.

Washed Out – “All I Know” {Dream Pop}

Looking back at 2013 it would be hard to imagine our year without “All I Know” and the close-up of Victor’s blubbering face at the start of this music video. And as much as we loved Washed Out’s latest album, nothing beats this leading single off the record.

Zero 7 – “On My Own” {Electropop}

This song may start off just like any other Cut Copy or !!! song, but Londoners are full of surprises like that…and they certainly know how to craft a great electropop tune. This track is off the duo’s 12″ of the same title, and you can stream a crapton of their songs for free over at their Soundcloud page.

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Top Albums of 2013 {Part 4}

January 7, 2014 in Album reviews, Alternative, Art Rock, Blues, Chamber Pop, Chamber Rock, Electro, Electrofunk, Electrogoth, Electronic, Electronica, Electropop, Experimental, Folk, Funk, Garage Rock, Hip Hop, House, Pop, Psych Folk, Psychedelic Rock, Punk, R&B, Rap, Rock, Soul, Top 2013, Witch House, World Music

{PART 1} {PART 2} {PART 3} {PART 5}

Crystal Stilts – Nature Noir


RIYL: The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, The Jesus and Mary Chain

The Brooklyners have officially wowed us with this third release of theirs, which starts off with the trancey, tribal opener “Spirit In Front Of Me” before it churns through some of the best tracks we’ve heard all year like “Memory Room” and “Sticks And Stones.” If you have some extra time on your hands give this album a listen from start to finish, because hearing is believing.

To read our “Future Folklore” song review click here
To read our “Star Crawl” song review click here

!!! – Thr!!!er


RIYL: Cut Copy, Happy Mondays

Maybe it’s because it’s been a great year for electrofunkers (yes, even Daft Punk), or maybe we were swooned by the sexy-as-hell Rolling Stones-inspired short-shorts…oh who are we kidding? What made us really fall in love with this record was this music video, and this music video alone. And once you hit the “play” button you’ll see what we mean…

To read our “Californiyeah” music video review click here.

Arcade Fire – Reflektor


RIYL: LCD Soundsystem, David Bowie

Just the fact that David Bowie sings on the album’s leading single and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy produced the album speaks volumes for itself. See what happens when eccentric musicians collaborate together? OK James Murphy, I’ll forgive you for disbanding LCD Soundsystem now;  but only because we know where you truly belong is in the co-producer’s chair.

To read our Reflektor album review click here
To read our “Reflektor” music video review click here

Janelle Monáe - The Electric Lady


RIYL: Lauryn Hill, Outkast, Erykah Badu

You can always count on Janelle Monáe to bring the crazy-as-fuck visuals with her music videos, but this year she brought the crazy-as-fuckness to a whole new level. With The Electric Lady dominating the R&B releases of 2013, it’s no wonder why Erykah Badu turned her back on her glittery collaboration with The Flaming Lips to work with Miss Monáe.

To read our “Q.U.E.E.N.” music video review click here

Dr. Dog – B-Room


RIYL: The Band, The Beatles

It was love at first listen as soon as we heard “The Truth”, and although we have a nasty habit of skipping through sappy slow songs, this one helped hook us in within the first 30 seconds of the album…but our listening love didn’t stop there. There’s one great track after another, each with its own unique vibe and hook; not that it’s too much of a surprise though considering Dr. Dog’s massive discography is littered with solid album after solid album.

HAIM – Days Are Gone


RIYL: Feist, Paramore, Fleetwood Mac

We’ve been getting drips and drabs of HAIM since as far back as November of last year, and it seemed like everywhere we turned HAIM’s long luscious hippie locks were waving at us. This record was the perfect buffer for us while we wait for Stealing Sheep’s next record, and like ‘em or  love ‘em Days Are Gone certainly deserves its place on any end-of-year list.

To read our song review of HAIM’s “Edge” click here

David Bowie – The Next Day


RIYL: The Kinks, LCD Soundsystem

If the music of 2013 was a popularity high school contest, David Bowie, James Murphy and Arcade Fire would have been the “cool kids” this year. We may not have been the hugest fans of the album, but The Next Day pushed a wave and ripple effect in the music community, and lived up to Bowie’s knack for tailoring to the weird, eccentric and oddball target audience.

To read our “Love is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich mix by James Murphy) song review click here
To read our”Valentine’s Day” song review click here
To read our The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” music video review click here

Austra – Olympia


RIYL: Grimes, The Knife, Bjork

Set up like a broadway musical and starting with the “what-the-fuck-was-that” opener that immediately draws the listener in, this album is all over the map musically. The listener is taken on an electropop (“Forgive Me” and “Home”) before finishing with the mysterious “I Don’t Care (I’m A Man)” and “Hurt Me Now.”

To read our Olympia album review click here.
To read our “Home” music video review click here.
To read our “Home” song review click here.

Belle and Sebastian – The Third Eye Centre


RIYL: Iron and Wine, of Montreal

Belle and Sebastian have always had a specific kind of sound that isn’t well received by everyone, but with a palette of different instruments scattered all throughout this record, it was hard not to be mesmerized by the rarities release. From psychedelic rock to alternative folk and world music, this album is so musically diverse we don’t even know where to start, but to dumb it down in laymen’s terms The Third Eye Centre is basically a poppier version of Arcade Fire’s Funeral or Neon Bible.

To read our review of the “Your Cover’s Blown” music video click here

Action Bronson – Saab Stories


RIYL: Ghostface Killah, Das Racist

Once we took our feminist hats off and got over the atrocious album cover, we came to appreciate what all the Saab Stories fuss was about, just for shock value’s sake alone (these are Miley times we’re living in, after all). It proves that sometimes EPs can provide just as much punch as a full-length, and it’s easy to see why all my fellow music bloggers were ranting and raving about it.

To read our review of “Morey Boogie Boards” click here

Cut Copy – Free Your Mind

Free Your Mind

RIYL: New Order, Holy Ghost!, Chromatics, Happy Mondays

Out of all the electropop releases of the year, Cut Copy’s Free Your Mind stood out from the rest for us in 2013 (yes, even after seeing !!!’s sexy short-shorts). But this album is filled with so much more than just electropop sounds and proves that Cut Copy are more than just an electropop band; but motivational speakers for electronic-loving hippies (in a nutshell).

To read our Free Your Mind album review click here

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros


RIYL: Buffalo Springfield, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane

All the haters must be smoking crack (or not smoking enough, in the eyes of Toronto mayor Rob Ford that is) because this album is some of the best Americana we’ve heard all year. With a specific, narrow and cohesive focus, yet bordering on everything from classic rock, psychedelic rock and soul, Edward Sharpe and his Magnetic Zeros have brought fresh eyes to an older sound yet again.

No Age – An Object


RIYL: Joy Division, Eric’s Trip, Black Flag

With the Sub Pop stamp of approval, No Age have torpedoed their way onto the top of the 2013 punk charts with this record, but don’t let the “punk” label fool you. The album features everything from nitty, gritty garage rock to surprisingly melodic and catchy rock, and even a little tribal and electronic action on “An Impression.” Oh and you can stream the album in full for free below. (Thanks, Sub Pop!)

The Weeknd – Kiss Land


RIYL: Michael Jackson, Frank Ocean

His voice and vibe may be drenched in R&B, but it was the electronic backbone of this record that made us fall in love with it. From the electronic/experimental track “Adaptation” to Drake’s cameo on “Live For,” it’s clear why so many peeps consider Kiss Land to be 2013′s response to last year’s channel ORANGE. Plus he’s from Toronto, so we may or may not have some kind of Canadian bias about the album.

To read our review of The Weeknd’s “Live For” music video click here
To read our “Kiss Land” song review click here

Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe


RIYL: Prince, Frank Ocean

Blood Orange’s outstanding new record Cupid Deluxe was perhaps overshadowed by its interesting cover…but Cupid works in mysterious ways like. With its November release the album just barely cut this year’s end-of-year-lists, but there’s no denying Blood Orange’s place in 2013 considering he was busy remixing everyone from Friends to Drake (love that shit).

To read our song review of Blood Orange’s remix of Friends’ “That Way” click here.
To read our song review of Blood Orange’s remix of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” click here

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Top Albums of 2013 {Part 3}

January 6, 2014 in Album reviews, Alternative, Blues, Classic Pop, Classic Rock, Dream Pop, Electrofunk, Electronic, Electropop, Free downloads, Funk, Hip Hop, Industrial, Jazz, Metal, New Wave, Pop, R&B, Rap, Rock, Soul, Top 2013, Tribal, Tribal Pop, Tribal Rock, Trip Hop, Uncategorized

{PART 1} {PART 2} {PART 4} {PART 5}

Cage The Elephant – Melophobia


RIYL: The Stone Roses, Weezer

Melophobia is everything Arctic Monkeys’ AM shoulda-coulda-woulda been if them Monkeys weren’t too busy ripping off the rock gods to notice that they were ripping off the rock gods, but I digress. If you didn’t like Cage The Elephant the first time around you may not get your mind changed just yet; but let’s get real here: “Take It Or Leave It” alone could possibly surpass The Strokes’ “Take It Or Leave It,”  (which is saying a lot coming from us).

Frankie Rose – Herein Wild


RIYL: Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, Joy Division

Frankie is one of those rare artists who never fails to disappointment no matter what album or project she’s working on. Her sound is unique yet reliable and familiar, and technically it’s no different than her 2012 album Interstellar, but anything remotely similar to that kind of awesomeness is bound to be mindblowing.

To read our review of Frankie Rose’s cover of The Damned’s “Street Of Dreams” click here
To read our review of Frankie Rose’s “Sorrow” click here

Beyoncé - Beyoncé


RIYL: Destiny’s Child, Mary J. Blige

It shocked the shade out of us when we found out that Beyoncé released a new visual album with zero promo or teasers beforehand at all, and honestly…it’s pure genius! With all the Artpop/shit/Random Access Memories album promos being shoved down our throats all year, this album is proof that Jay-Z’s wife The Big B. doesn’t even need all that Artpop-like hoopla thankyouverymuch.

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks


RIYL: Prince, Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson

We can all collectively sigh in relief now that Trent Reznor put How To Destroy Angels_ on the backburner to work on some fresh, new NIN. (Okay well maybe his side project wasn’t that bad, but nothing beats new NIN, especially new/good NIN).

To read our Hesitation Marks review click here.
To read our review of “Copy of A” click here

To read our review of the “Come Back Haunted” music video click here

White Denim – Corsicana Lemonade


RIYL: The Black Keys, The Raconteurs, The White Stripes

White Denim sounds so much like the The Raconteurs we can’t help but wonder if Jack White is being all sneaky-sneaky on us (as always) and releasing music under a secretive name (sometimes not always). The album is kind of all over the place – almost jazz-like, but mixing that together with a blues/rock foundation makes the album stand out for the rest of the blues/rock releases of the past year.

To read our review of White Denim’s “Pretty Green” click here.

Camera Obscura – Desire Lines


RIYL: Stars, The xx

Camera Obscura have earned a massive, massive following over the years, (similar to that of their Canadian twinsies Stars), and this album certainly helped catapult their cult-like fame even more. The album is packed full of happy, feel-good-lucky tunes that warmed our cold Canadian hearts, and for that reason alone deserves recognition in itself.

To read our review of “Troublemaker” click here.
To read our review of “Fifth In Line to the Throne” click here.  

Jagwar Ma – Howlin’

Jagwar Ma

RIYL: Kasabian, Django Django, Beta Band

“Come Save Me” was the first track to break our Jagwar Ma cherry, and we became so obsessed with the tune we thought we’d give the rest of the album a listen…and are we ever glad we did. There are a couple of poppish songs similar to the leading track (like “That Loneliness”) but there’s also a few experimental, tribal tracks hidden in the mix as well (e.g. “What Love” and “The Throw”).

Elvis Costello And The Roots – Wise Up Ghost

elviscostellowiseupghost RIYL: The Roots, Van Morrison

Costello has been collaborating with The Roots AKA Jimmy Fallon’s “backing band” for quite some time, but working together for a new Costello record brought the art of genius collaborations to a whole new level. Without The Roots, Wise Up Ghost could have easily been another snore-inducing adult contemporary album we’ve been hearing all too much of from Costello as of late, but throw a little ?uestlove funk into the mix and you’ve got yourself a winner.

To read our Wise Up Ghost review click here.
To read our review of Elvis Costello & The Roots’ song “Walk Us Uptown” click here



RIYL: of Montreal, The Flaming Lips, Empire Of The Sun

We were half expecting MGMT to go down in a fiery, 2004 neon-lit haze, and although a lot of people seem to be on the fence about it we were actually surprised at how much we enjoyed the record. It doesn’t sway too much away from MGMT’s usual electropop formula, but we have to give credit where credit is due: They haven’t lost their neon touch.

To read our review of MGMT’s “Alien Days” click here

Deafheaven – Sunbather

Deafhaven Sunbather

RIYL: Ash Borer, Vaura Metal

Don’t be fooled by its pinkish exterior, because Sunbather was hands-down one of the most badass metal releases of the year, and its tracks have been circulating around the music blogverse ever since it was released back in June. Oh and PS you can download their single “Dream House” for free in the player below.

Paul McCartney – NEW


RIYL: The Wings, The Beatles, Mark Ronson

Sure, Sir Paul may or may not have used five young producers as a crutch for this record (OK, he totally did) but it was a total genius move on his part. Some tracks were a little ho-hum, but other tracks like “On My Way To Work” and “Alligator” prove that Paul has still got what it takes, and will hopefully remind this younger generation who the real genius was behind Sgt. Pepper’s.

To read our album review of NEW click here.
To read our song review of “New” click here

Cults – Static


RIYL: The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Beach House

It seemed like everywhere we turned Cults’ glittery GIF album cover was shimmering back at us, and because we easily get mesmerized by SPARKLES!! we eventually gave into the hoopla and checked this album out. The release is clearly 2013′s answer to Beach House’s Bloom, and although the high-pitched vocals can be hard to stomach, if you can put up with Grimes for three minutes you can put up with anything.

To read our review of Cults’ track “High Road” click here
To read our review of the music video for “High Road” click here

Kanye West – Yeezus


RIYL: Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Timbaland

Profound hatred and annoyances aside, there’s no denying Yeezus‘ place on any end-of-year list. In a typical “FUCK YOU” move on Kanye’s behalf, the album was recorded in Paris and shockingly starts off with some Eurostyle electronic drones; and as much as we like to make fun of the guy for all the vomit that pour out of his mouth, “hurry up with my damn croissants” is the new “It’s Britney, bitch.”

London Grammar – If You Wait


RIYL: Florence and the Machine, The xx

London Grammar is one of those bands that immediately grab your attention as soon as you hear them, and 2013 just wouldn’t have been complete without Hannah Reid’s deep, booming voice groaning in the distance. Just listening to the album will make you feel as if you’re falling down a well of sadness, darkness and depression…so yeah…it’s a great listen!

To read our review on London Grammar’s “Strong” music video click here.

Volcano Choir – Repave


RIYL: Grizzly Bear, Tom Waits

We could care less about the hipster stamp Bon Iver has been getting, because Volcano Choir is no Bon Iver (OK well maybe a little bit thanks to Justin Vernon…but anyways). Repave has helped Volcano Choir become a band that is best listened to by album instead of by individual song, and we have to give credit to an exquisitely-crafted experimental record that made us feel as if we were being transported to another planet.

To read our review of the “Byegone” music video click here

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{PART 1} {PART 2} {PART 4} {PART 5}

Top Indie Americana/Folk Tracks of 2013 {Part 2}

December 12, 2013 in Alt-Folk, Americana, Blues, Country, Experimental, Folk, Gypsy, independent bands, Indie, Psych Folk, Rock, Top 2013, Uncategorized

{PART 1} {PART 3}

Stoll Vaughan – “Troubles” {Americana/Rock}

If you’re a fan of The Boss AKA Bruce Springsteen and mesmerized by his perfect, round tush (who isn’t?) then check this artist out. Vaughn is based out of Los Angeles, and you can stream his new album The Weatherman in full for free over at his Soundcloud page.

Vessel – “White Trash” {Blues/Rock}

Normally good music and white trash don’t go hand-in-hand, but this is one of the rare cases when they actually do. This track is off the New Zealanders’ latest album Friday Drive which was released this past summer, and you can buy it as a name-your-price download over at their Bandcamp page.

Ezra Vine – “Celeste” {Indie Folk}

Here’s yet another New Zealander to pin to our end-of-year lists, and with a deep bass drum, haunting melodies, and a vibe that gives us some early Tapes ‘n Tapes nostalgia, we couldn’t find any reason not to like this track. If you like the song as much as we do you can buy it via iTunes for as little as $1.29 here.

Miwa Gemini – “Goodnight Trail” {Gypsy Folk}

The half European in us can’t help but love a good polka tune, so if you’re a fan of Gogol Bordello and/or accordions then give this track a listen. The group is based out of both Brooklyn/Los Angeles (because they’re gypsies like that), and if you dig this track you can buy it for as little as $1 here.

Velma Grove – “Caroline” {Alt-Folk}

These Melbourne-based folkers sounds strikingly similar to our boy Bobby D (only with layers of trumpets, banjos, and a helluva lot of other awesomeness thrown into the mix). This tune is off their latest album Older which was released in July, and you can buy this track for as little as $1 here.

Mitski – “Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart” {Psych Folk}

Like a nice warm glass of Joni Mitchell, this New York-based artist with jaw-dropping vocals just released her impressive new album Retired From Sad, New Career in Business this past summer. You can buy the album as a name-your-price download over at her Bandcamp page, or purchase this track individually here.

Christopher Cape – “Divorcee” {Folk/Rock}

This Ontarian is more than “just another deadbeat with a guitar,” (as he so claims); he’s also the writer of some of the most powerful and influential folktastic tracks we’ve been sent so far this year. This song is off his latest album The Biggest Lie, and you can purchase this track for as little as $1 here.

Mount Rushmore Safari – “John Wayne” {Country/Rock}

We always knew John Wayne was pretty badass, but this track/video takes his badassery to a whole new level. This video was directed by Mikael Reidar in Cophenhagen, Denmark, and if you dig this song make sure you give the band some “Like” love on Facebook and listen to the rest of their tunes for free here.

Saint Jude – “Laurelie” {Country/Soul}

It’s a well-known fact that Australians are the masters of the electropop genre, but this band/track is proof that Aussies are fully capable of mastering the country and soul music genres as well. This track is off their latest album Saint Jude II which was released in October, and you can buy it for $10 over at their Bandcamp page.

The Dirty Streets – “Stay Thirsty” {Blues/Rock} + Free download

It takes a lot of talent to write a badass blues song, but to sound sexy while doing it takes an extra special amount of talent. This trio is based out of Memphis, Tennessee, and they just released their new album Blades Of Grass via Alive Naturalsound Records a couple of months back. Oh and P.S. you can stream the album in its entirety for free here.

D & M – “Dirty Love” {Alt-Country/Rock}

Influenced by rocking and rolling, driving motorcycles and “picking up babes,” these Philadelphians describe their unique sound as blues-infused alternative pop, and they have been turning a lot of heads since forming back in 2009. You can buy this track for as little as $0.99 via iTunes here, but if you dig their work make sure you give them some “Like” love while you’re at it too.

Blank Realm – “Falling Down The Stairs” {Americana/Experimental Rock} + Free download

The hardcore Tom Petty/Traveling Wilburys fan in us fell in love with this track as soon as we heard it, and was hands-down one of the best Americana tunes we’ve received over the past year. You can download the track for free in the player below, or pre-order their forthcoming album Grassed Inn for $8.99 via iTunes here.

Wooden Saints – “Alpha Bravo Charlie Disco” {Folk/Pop}

Hailing from Amsterdam, this band surprisingly consists of ten different members (so it’s safe to say that their awesomeness is multiplied by tenfold). This track was released as a single in September, and if you can digs it you best be following them on Twitter and give them some “Like” love on Facebook too.

Lizabett Russo – “Tonight” {Folk/Soul}

We already covered this track in one of our many Top Indie Tracks of The Week posts, but seeing that a great tune that combines folk/soul elements is such a rare commodity these days we just had to mention it again. This song is off her three-track The Traveller’s Song EP which you can purchase for £4.50 here.

The Strumbellas – “In This Life” {Folk/Rock}

We’ve been keeping our eyes and ears on this Toronto-based group ever since the release of their Juno-nominated debut album My Father And The Hunter last year, so we were pretty stoked to see that they released some new tuneage in 2013. Their new album (We Still Move On Dance Floors) was released in October, and you can buy it for $8.91 via iTunes here.

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Top Indie Rock Tracks of 2013 {Part 3}

December 9, 2013 in Alternative, Americana, Classic Pop, Classic Rock, Experimental, Free downloads, Garage Rock, independent bands, Indie, Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Punk, Rock, Roots, Surf Rock, Top 2013, Tribal, Tribal Rock

{PART 1} {PART 2} {PART 4}

Dr. DeVito – “Too Ghoul For School” {Alternative/Surf Rock}

After listening to this track we became kinda-sorta obsessed with this group; (and by kinda-sorta we mean Carrie Mathison in Homeland-style obsessed – just because we’re nerds like that) This track is off their latest album Ghoul Days which was released in July, and you can buy the track for as little as $1 here.

Hey Majesty – “Bag Of Doughnuts” {Psych/Tribal Rock} + Free download

Only the Quebecois can master the art of combining Americana, psychedelic/tribal rock and synthesizers, (and even convince us that the only two things better than a big of doughnuts are this song and video…yes they’re THAT good). If you dig this track (as you should) you can download it for free here.

White Summer – “Head In The Sand” {Rock/Blues}

This track is so good it made us want to jump on the next plane to Melbourne and stalk the band until our dying days, but a broke Canadian girl can only dream. Plus the band has a ton of Triple J love, which should tell you right there how good their music is. If you dig their work make sure you give them some “Like” love on Facebook here.

Gran – “Brain Freeze” (NSFW) {Psych/Tribal Rock}

This here is one of the most phallic of all phallic music videos we’ve ever laid our eyes upon and has the capacity to give you a “brain freeze” just watching it; (so yeah, in case you didn’t already get the hint this video is NSFW). The band is based out of Vienna and you can buy the track for as little as €1 via Bandcamp.

The Rebel Light – “Jukebox Dream” {Classic Rock/Pop} + Free download

Given that we’re such huge fans of Shannon and The Clams’ “Rip Van Winkle,” it was love at first listen as soon as we heard this track. Plus the group must be inventors of a time machine because they’ve obviously been transported from the 1960s or some shit. If you like the tune you can download it for free (or buy it as a name-your-price download) here.

Saint Clare – “Goodbye To The Ghost” {Garage Rock/Pop}

It’s a pretty rare occasion when a garage rock band manages to pull off incorporating a saxophone into one of their tunes, so for that reason alone this band deserves as much credit as they can get. If you like the tune as much as we do then you can buy it as a name-your-price download over at their Bandcamp page.

Coastgaard – “Kings” {Indie Rock}

Listening to this song is like drinking a smooth glass of the warm fuzzies (which may or may not have something to do with the the shots of smiling, happy children running alongside a beautiful ocean, but we digress…). This track is off their self-titled album which was released back in April, and you can buy it for $8 here.

Totem Tabou – “Bête Faxée” {Experimental Rock]

Here’s yet another great Quebecois group to pin to our top end-of-year lists! These Montrealers only released their debut album Hublot last month, and they’re already been turning a lot of heads in Quebec’s underground music scene. The album is currently available as a name-your-price download at their Bandcamp page, but you can also buy the track individually here.

Nathan Clarke – “What You Need” {Pop/Rock} + Free downloads

This artist has some mean Smiths/Libertines vibes going on, which isn’t surprising seeing that they’re all from the same island (you know, Great Britain?) This song is off his new album Sentimental Jamboree which was just released a few days ago, and you can download the entire album for free here.


The Bats Pajamas – “You Get By” {Psych Rock} + Free downloads

Toronto’s Bats Pajamas are the bee’s knees, and if you don’t believe us all you have to do is press that play button below (but make sure you prepare yourself for a creepy-as-fuck music video before you do…) This track is off their Just Ripe EP which was released in August, and you can download it for free over at their Bandcamp page.

Foolish Atoms – “Weapons For The Dance” {Alternative Rock}

Foolish Atom’s brand spankin’ new album A Crack In The Glass Eye is packed full of all sorts of musical surprises, so if you like this tune as much as we do then we highly recommend you listen to the rest of their release here. You can also buy the album for £4.99, and give them some “Like” love on Facebook while you’re at it too.

Subtitles – “I’m Gonna Get Spooned By You” {Garage Rock/Punk}

When this band wrote to us they described themselves as a “three-piece garage/punk/demon doo-wop band,” and after listening to their tunes we can see why. This track is off their new album Just A Little Bit Brighter which was released this past September, and you can buy it for as little as £2 over at their Bandcamp page.

Hiroshima Shadows – “Human Animal” {Punk/Rock}

This wicked track starts off all Walkmen-y, and then bolts into some kind of crazy, full-fledged screamy punk tune, so to say that this song is a mindfuck in itself is an understatement. The tune is off their self-titled album which was released this past summer, and you can purchase it as a name-your-price download via Bandcamp here.

The Static Tones – “Firecracker” {Alternative Rock/Blues}

Like a mix between The Black Keys and The Sword, this trio (consisting of Dan Couillard and brothers Joshua and Ian Nelson) are based out of Coeur d’ Alene in Idaho, and they just released their three-track EP DEATH a couple of months back. The EP is currently available as a name-your-price download here, but if you dig their work make sure give them some “Like” love on Facebook too.

Wish List – “I’m In A Quiet Room” {Experimental} + Free download

These Pennsylvanians only just released an EP this past summer, and they’re already started working on a new full-length album which is bound to turn a lot of heads in the indie music world. The EP is titled I Wish My Life Was Based On A True Story (true that), and you can buy it as a name-your-price download over at their Bandcamp page.

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Top new tracks: Chromeo, HAIM, Duck Sauce, High On Fire + James Murphy remixes David Bowie

October 22, 2013 in Electronic, Electropop, Folk, Free downloads, Funk, Indie, Metal, Nu Disco, Rock

Duck Sauce – “Radio Stereo” {Nu Disco}

This band would be ten times cooler if their name was “dick sauce,” but given that we were just starting to think that Nu Disco died in 2012 with Eight Bit Tiger and “Inspector Norse,” we’ll take what I can get at this point. The track is off the band’s upcoming album Quack which is out in 2014.

Roosevelt – “Montreal” {Electronic}

Roosevelt could release a track as bad as Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and we would still love the shit out of it; (OK, well maybe not THAT bad…) This is yet another track off the Berlin-based producer’s new EP Elliot which was released on Greco-Roman.

David Bowie – “Love is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich mix by James Murphy) {Electronic}

We’ve always been convinced that James Murphy was secretly David Bowie recording under the moniker LCD Soundsystem (have you listened to “Get Innocuous“? I rest my case.) And we don’t know who this Steve fellow is, but he is one lucky fellow to be caught in between David Bowie and James Murphy like that.

Kurt Vile – “Feel My Pain” {Folk/Rock}

Mr. Vile’s 2013 Wakin on a Pretty Daze is still turning heads left, right and center, but the Philadelphia rocker went ahead and released yet another EP this year, which is titled it’s a big world out there (and i am scared). This track (which has Cat Power written all over it) is the first single off the new EP (which is out November 19th).

Chromeo – “Sexy Socialite” {Electrofunk}

Not only is this new Chromeo tune special just for the sole fact that it’s a new Chromeo tune, it’s also special because it features the ex-LCD Soundsystem member Pat Mahoney. This track is off the duo’s upcoming album White Women (still no word on a release date as of yet).

High On Fire – “Slave The Hive” {Metal} + Free download

It seemed like it was only last year when these Oakland metalheads released their album De Vermis Mysteriis (oh wait, it was last year…) but the group is back yet again with another album which is bound to wet all your metal-induced appetites. If you dig the track make sure you snag that free download in the player below.

HAIM – “Edge” {Electropop}

We were a little late on jumping on the HAIM train, but as soon as we heard that this new track was co-written with Twin Shadow we knew we had to give it a listen. The song is off HAIM’s critically-acclaimed new album Days Are Gone which was released late last month.

Velma Grove – “Caroline” {Indie Folk}

To say that this Melbourne 8-piece has had a busy last couple of years is an understatement. Not only did they release their critically-acclaimed debut EP Head For Heart in 2012 and headlined numerous shows in and around Melbourne throughout all of last year, they’re now promoting for the release of their debut full-length Older which was released this past summer. If you dig the song you can buy it for as little as $1 AUD over at their Bandcamp page.

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Album review: Elvis Costello and The Roots – Wise Up Ghost {Funk/Jazz}

October 8, 2013 in Album reviews, Funk, Jazz, R&B, Soul

Wise Up Ghost

Wise Up Ghost

REX’S RATING: 9 / 10


“Viceroy’s Row”
“Wake Me Up”
“Refuse To Be Saved”
“Walk Us Uptown”
“She Might Be (A Grenade)”

Over the past few years it seems like collaborative projects have become more of a “look-at-me-I’m-collaborating-with-someone-equally-if-not-more-famous-than-me” rather than a genuine effort to brainstorm new ideas with other artists (I’m looking at you, Yeezus). But as soon as I heard that Elvis Costello would be collaborating with The Roots, I had a sneaking suspicion that Wise Up Ghost would be a collaboration album like none other because, well, Elvis Costello is Elvis Costello, and The Roots are The Roots – duh!

Apparently Costello first started collaborating with The Roots (AKA Jimmy Fallon’s “backing band”) when he appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and the group worked out together so well Costello eventually turned to the magically funky hippity-hoppers to help him work on his new album.

So needless to say I’ve been waiting patiently to get my greedy little ears on this album as soon as I heard about it, and I knew it was going to be good…but not THIS good. The Roots have clearly helped give a little spark to the Costello flame that has been sputtering out these past few years; (oh who am I kidding? By “years” I mean “decades”), and it’s evident that a lot of blood, sweat, tears – and most importantly – soul were put into the album. The Roots’ influence is definitely more prominent throughout most of the record, and it’s these tracks that give the album the extra funk that it needs. Unfortunately it’s the more Costello-y tracks that put a damper on the album, with songs like “Tripwire” and “If I Could Believe” as well as the tail-end of the album putting me into a borderline sleep-state. There were also a few spots here and there where Costello’s vocals were on the weak side (as heard on “Refuse To Be Saved”), but for a dude that looks like your 80-year-old grandfather (OK I lied, he’s actually a 59-year-old grandfather), he still sounds pretty damn good.

But because the album is packed full of all sorts of funky twists and jazzy turns, you can’t help but be perched at the end of your seat as you’re listening to it, wondering what each track will sound like after the next. From the jazzy, Winehouse-y “Viceroy’s Row,” the attention-grabbing single “Walk Us Uptown,” the full-blown orchestra action with violins and horns on “Refuse To Be Saved,” the haunting nitty-gritty “Stick Out Your Tongue,” and even the badass bluesy ditty “Sugar Won’t Work,” no musical stone goes unturned on this record. They even take a note from Costello’s wife (and my fellow Vancouver Islander) Diana Krall’s notebook by including a little “cantando” on “Cinco Minutos Con Vos.”

So overall I would highly recommend this album to any hardcore Costello fan, Roots fan, funk fan…or any person with good taste in good music (AKA 100% of RMD readers). Hey ?uestlove, call me!

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Top 5 indie tracks of the week

August 8, 2013 in Experimental, Free downloads, Hip Hop, independent bands, Indie, Instrumental, Psychedelic Rock, Rap, Surf Pop, Surf Rock, Trip Hop, Uncategorized

Peter Forbes – “Love is All Around” {Pop/Rock}

As soon as we heard this song it immediately reminded us of the Dandy Warhols/Brian Jonestown Massacre…so basically what we’re trying to say is that it’s totally fucking awesome!!! (But what do you expect from an artist who hails from Anne of Green Gables’ island?) The track is off his new five-song EP which you can purchase as a name-your-price download here.

The Blue Rider – “12-6-10″ {Surf Rock}

Watching this video is like the equivalent of downing ten energy drinks and having an epileptic fit while tripping on acid at the same time, but that’s what great surf music is all about! (…right?) The group is based out of Denver and will be putting out a 10″ at the end of this month, but in the mean time you can buy this track for as little as $1 here.

Reef Blower – “Dancing on the Beach” {Surf Pop/Psych Rock} + Free download

With some mean, clean “hippy, dancey, surfy happy” vibes, this track is the first of hopefully many to be released by this Pittsburgh-based band (although no word yet as to whether it will be included on an upcoming release). Oh and PS if you can name the location of the featured image and tweet the correct answer to @reef__blower he will personally send you a cassette with a “heap of new tracks” to your doorstep. Score!

Floco Torres & Infinite Quest – “Suburban” {Rap/Hip Hop} + Free downlaods

This Georgia-based hippity-hop artist is currently prepping for the release of his new album which is out this September, but in the mean time he’s released a new EP titled Celebratory Screams, Childhood Dreams. This track was also produced by Infinite Quest, and if you dig it you can download a crapton of Floco’s other tracks for free over at his Soundcloud account.

The Fucked Up Beat – “Hunting a Schizophrenic Wolf” {Trip Hop/Experimental}

This group is led by Eddie Palmer, who is based out of both New York City and San Diego, and he describes his tuneage as “Experimental Schizo Noir Trip Hop.” (Ed. note: Okay then!) This quality head-boppin’ track is off his new record Hunting a Schizophrenic Wolf which is available for purchase via Daddy Tank Records here.

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Top new tracks: Elvis Costello & The Roots, The Civil Wars + Vampire Weekend covers “Blurred Lines”

July 24, 2013 in Alternative, Electronic, Folk, Free downloads, Funk, Indie, Pop, Post-Punk, Rock, Shoegaze, Synthpop

The Civil Wars – “Dust to Dust” {Folk/Pop}

Well Civil Wars fans, judging by the lyrics of this song it doesn’t look like John Paul White and Joy Williams will be kissing and making up anytime soon, so you best be enjoying their new tunes while they last. This song is off their forthcoming (and probably final) album which is due out August 6th, so make sure you mark those music nerd calendars before you sob into your tissues.

To listen to the tune head on over here.

Vampire Weekend – “Blurred Lines” (Robin Thicke cover) {Pop}

Vampire Weekend surprised everyone by covering Robin Thicke’s catchy summer pop anthem for BBC’s Live Lounge a few days ago. The tune has been one of our guilty mainstream pleasures over the past few weeks, so the fact that our favourite indie champions have covered it makes us feel a teensy weensy bit better about liking it in the first place (don’t judge).

Elvis Costello & The Roots – “Walk Us Uptown” {Rock/Funk}

Up until the release of this song we had no idea that Elvis and Costello and The Roots (you know, the band Questlove drums for) will be releasing a collaborative album on September 17th. The release has been titled Wise Up Ghost, and if the rest of the album sounds anything like this track it’s bound to be pretty damn epic.

Mesita – “Vigilant” {Indie Pop/Electronic} + Free download

Mmmmmesita (AKA James Cooley) has always been all over the place musically, but this track takes it to a whole new level. Given that Cooley just released another single (“Firesign“) a few weeks ago, it doesn’t look the independent artist is going to be slowing down anytime soon. (To check out the music video for the song click here).

Holy Ghost! – “Teenagers in Heat” {Synthpop}

Now that LCD Soundsystem has kicked the can it’s nice to hear some new music with a James Murphy credit pinned to it. The song was co-produced by the LCD Soundsystem mainman and is off the group’s new album Dynamics, which is being released on September 10th through Murphy’s label DFA Records.

Dr. Dog – “The Truth” {Alternative Rock/Soul}

The Philadelphia rockers are back at it again with their eighth (!) studio album B-Room, which is due for release on October 1st. Apparently their new album draws in inspirations from the classic soul and R&B genres, which is a stark contrast to what we’re used to hearing from band (not that we’re complaining or anything).

Summer Camp – “Fresh” {Synthpop}

Besides having one of the best band names ever, with this latest tune the Brit duo have provided us with enough cheesy synth to last a lifetime; (well…until they release their new self-titled album this fall, that is). The release is due out on September 9th and is being released by Moshi Moshi.

Crystal Stilts – “Star Crawl” {Post-Punk}

It’s been two long years since the release of the Brooklyn post-punkers’ almighty EP Radiant Door, so we were pretty stoked when we found out that they will be releasing a new album this September. This is the first single off their new album Nature Noir which is due September 17th on Sacred Bones.

No Age – “An Impression” {Indie Rock}

This Los Angeles-based group won’t be releasing their new album An Object until August 20th (or August 19th in the UK), but we’ve already heard not one, but three new tracks off the new release. If you like the song make sure you give the album’s two previously released tracks a listen here and here.

Yuck – “Rebirth” {Shoegaze/Rock} + Free download

We were pretty bummed when we read that frontman Daniel Blumberg parted ways with the group earlier this year (although he has been making some pretty wicked solo tunes as of late), but the band has since picked up a new vocalist and are currently prepping for the release of their new album. No further details have been released as of yet, but in the mean time you can download this track for free over at their official website.

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