Top Indie Rock Tracks of 2014 {Part 1}

May 26, 2014 in Acoustic Punk, Classic Rock, Free downloads, Garage Rock, Grunge, independent bands, Indie, Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Punk, Shoegaze, Surf Rock

{PART 2} {PART 3}

King Mountain Petrol – “Thunder Muscle” {Shoegaze}

We fell in love with this track as soon as we heard it (because there would be something seriously wrong with us if the words “big” loud” and “fuzzy” didn’t grab our attention immediately…) If you want to download their debut EP Tusk (which contains the equally epic track “Minerals“) all you have to do is share their Bandcamp page with at least one other person (and give them instructions to do them same) and you will be sent a download.

Redanda – “1/2 £” {Indie Rock}

We couldn’t help but give our best side-eye when we saw the Reverse Tranny Club album title, but luckily Redanda spelled it all out for us: (“Remember, ‘tranny’ can be defined as: 1. a transvestite 2. the transmission in a motor vehicle 3. photographic transparency 4. a transistor radio.”) Thanks, tips! The band is from Hamilton, Ontario and you can buy their new album for as little as $5 here.

 

The Montauk Project – “The Beast” {Grunge/Rock}

In case you haven’t figured it out by the number of peeps sporting tacky dark purple lipstick, the 90s are like, totally “in” now dude; and evidently grunge has made a musical comeback so far in 2014. These New Yorkers are a prime example of that fact as they sound like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Silverchair all mooshed-up together (AKA a 90s nostalgic wonderland). To buy this track for as little as $0.99 via iTunes click here.

Threesome- “Tellurion”  {Surf Rock}

As if the fact that they’re represented by Ding Dong Records isn’t enough, this group sounds strikingly similar to one of our numero uno favourite Vancouver acts Big John Bates; rockabilly style. This song is off a new 22-track surf compilation titled Monsters Of Surf featuring surfy bands from all over North/South America and Europe, and you can buy the release for $10 here.

The Two Koreas – “Poor Man’s Tony Wilson Blues” {Garage Rock/Pop}

Once we got over the PTS of piddling in our panties, we fully embraced The Two Koreas’ brand spankin’ new release LP Winner (but made sure we bought a pack of diapers before doing so). If you like this song you can buy it for as little as $1 or the entire four-track EP for $4 over at their Bandcamp page.

Pleistocene – “The Band” {Pop/Rock}

If you still listen to Shannon and The Clams’ “Rip Van Winkle” on repeat while you’re cleaning, shopping, or crying yourself to sleep because you’ve had to endure another day of Kimye’s nonstop wedding coverage, then this track is for you. Pleistocene is actually a solo project led by Katie Preston along with “a rotating cast of musicians,” and you can buy her new album Ontario Girls for $7 here.

Howlin’ Hoffman – “Turn Around” {Classic Rock}

This track is more classic and timeless than what Bob Dylan has been trying to pull off these past few decades (which isn’t saying a lot I know…) You can buy their three-track, self-titled release as a name-your-price-download over at their Bandcamp page, but make sure you give them some “Like” love while you’re at it too.

Jargon Party – “Lucy Melanie” {Psych Rock/Pop}

If every submission was like this one we’d be running out of tracks to NOT put in our Top Indie Rock Tracks list; (ain’t no party like a Jargon party!!) We’re digging the classical elements in the song, but the tinges of surf are what really won us over. If you dig their vibe you can buy their new album via iTunes for $8.91 (or each individual track for $0.99) here.

Corporate Hearts – “The Best Times In Disguise” {Acoustic Punk/Rock} + Free downloads

Like a page from early Against Me!/Tom Gabel’s notebook, this track is acoustic punk at its finest, and probably one of the best of its kind to ever grace our Inbox these past couple of years. The band is based out of Philadelphia, and you can download a crapton of their tracks/albums for free (or buy them as a name-your-price download) via their Bandcamp page.

Fragments Of God – “Starcrossed” {Psych Rock/Shoegaze}

This track is like a swirling storm of impressive guitarwork, but that’s not the only thing going on in this tune. There’s also some deliciously psychedelic and experimental rock in there, not to mention a whole lotta other awesomeness. The group is based out of Nashville (because of course) and you can buy their new album for $5 here.

{PART 2} {PART 3}

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Top new videos: Arcade Fire, The Roots, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah + Paul McCartney dancing with a robot

May 21, 2014 in Alt-Folk, Alternative, Hip Hop, Indie, Pop, Rap, Rock

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “As Always” {Alternative Rock}

Silly Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, how am I supposed to follow any kind of storyline when you’re hiring sexy-as-hell actors in your music videos? All I got was a sexy dude lights a match. Then sexy dude drinks and dances with girls who aren’t me before blowing something up (I think). Yeah I didn’t get it either.

Paul McCartney – “Appreciate” {Pop/Rock}

I feel bad making fun of Sir Paul. I really, really do. But starting off this video with “Presented By Microsoft” is not a way to win this snarky music blogger over, diehard Beatles fan or not. Nevertheless I can still give five stars for the video’s special effects, not to mention that Paul is still a natural performer, as always (especially when he’s singing all lovingly to a robot). Shake them hips, boy!

Old Man Canyon – “Phantoms & Friends” {Alt-Folk}

You know that eerie feeling you get when you’re walking down a street and you don’t see a soul around, and you start asking yourself “Is this like 28 Days Later? Is some crazy, drooling ape going to jump out from the shadows and bite my head off?” (…Or maybe it’s just me?…) Either way this video illustrates that creepy feeling perfectly.

Arcade Fire – “We Exist” {Indie Pop}

Oh Arcade Fire, I was beginning to think you forgot about me. I mean Reflektor did make our numero uno favourite album of 2013, so why the big gap in between videos? Anyways, this video documents the trials and tribulations of a dude (AKA Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s Andrew Garfield) in drag (who, might I add, can walk in a pair of heels better than I’ve ever could), but the true star(s) come out at the 3:54 mark. Wait for it…

The Roots – “Understand” {Rap/Hip Hop}

?uestlove continues to give me a bad case of the swoooooon because this video has all the bells and whistles a picky music blogger could ever ask for. The video was created by Joe Baughman and uses a neat-o stop-motion effect that ties in perfectly with the lyrics. Oh yeah and the track is pretty awesome too. #Winning

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Top new tracks: Courtney Love, Chromeo, Freeman AKA Gene Ween + a Black Key remixes Lana Del Rey

April 24, 2014 in Alternative, Electro, Electropop, Folk, Free downloads, Industrial, Pop, Punk, Rock, Synthpop

Chromeo – “Ezra’s Interlude” ft. Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend {Pop}

Oh Chromeo, I love how you’re trying to swoon me with Ezra’s high-pitched angelic vocals after that mess of a Katy Perry track, and it’s totally working. This is yet another tune off White Women which is being released on May 12th, but because I know Chromeo fans can be impatient like that you can pre-order the release here and get four songs instantly.

Courtney Love – “You Know My Name” {Punk}

This new single from Kurt Cobain’s widow is ironic to say the least considering she doesn’t even know her own name, let alone where her daughter is….but at least she found MH370 - right? This track is off her new double-A-side single “You Know My Name”/”Wedding Day” which was released to help pay for her drugs promote her upcoming UK tour.

Lana Del Rey – “West Coast” (Dan Auerbach mix) {Pop/Rock}

Dan Auerbach is a busy bee nowadays promoting his new album and avoiding Jack White, so I was pretty surprised to see that he found the time to remix one of the most buzzed about tracks in the past month. If you’re not a fan of this version (as you shouldn’t be) you can check out the original here.

Cut Copy – “Like Any Other Day” {Electropop/Industrial}

If you’re a hardcore Cut Copy fan like me and thought to yourself “how the hell did this song slip through my fingers during my first of many Free Your Mind listening experiences?” well you’ll be relieved to know this track isn’t off their mega 2013 album at all but actually released as a B-side for Record Store Day. The A-side of the single (“In These Arms Of Love”) was released a few weeks back, and in case you missed it you can listen to it here.

Freeman - ”(For A While) I Couldn’t Play My Guitar Like A Man” {Folk/Rock}

If you’re familiar with the holy Boognish, then you’re probably well aware that Freeman is the new pseudoname for Gene Ween, and that he’s been releasing some solo tuneage ever since he ditched the Deaner and that nasty little drug habit. It still makes me a sad panda that Ween is no more, but nevertheless I’m still pretty stoked about Gener’s new self-titled album (which is due out July 22nd).

Slow Show – “Nowhere” {Pop}

Here’s yet another wicked Scandinavian pop hit that graced our Inbox this past week, and apparently the group are a bunch of “(sym)pathetic pop perpetrators who are always on the run from the bullshitters” Ummm….SOLD! The band was formed back in 2008 by Truls Arneman and Oliver Johansson, and if you dig their stuff you can give them some “Like” love on Facebook here.

Mathematique – “Summer, But I Don’t Know” {Synthpop}

This talented Montreal artist has also worked with the likes of Jef Barbara and Karneef, but really she had me at “Montreal.” Her new album is due out sometime later this year with Stellar Kinematics, but she will also be touring around Europe this May. For more info on her upcoming shows click here, and to buy her her latest album Feel for as little as €3 click here.

Torres – “New Skin” ft. Sharon Van Etten & The War On Drugs {Alternative Rock}

This track was recorded for Weathervane Music’s web series Shaking Through, and some of the many cool peeps who helped record the tune include none other than Sharon Van Edden as well as Adam Granduciel/Dave Hartley of War On Drugs, and Chris Wilson of Ted Leo/RX. To find out more info on Shaking Through and/or to donate to the non-profit organization click here.

Ever So Android – “Leash” {Electro/Rock} + Free download

With all this Phantogram talk we’ve been sniffing around for another wicked male/female-electro/rock duo, and luckily this Seattle-based group delivered. If you like their work you can download this track for free in the player below, or find out more info on their upcoming tour by clicking here.

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Top new tracks: Bob Mould, The Roots, Little Dragon, How To Dress Well + the oh so Fresh & Onlys

April 10, 2014 in Dance, Electronic, Electropop, Free downloads, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Punk, R&B, Rap, Rock, Synthpop, World Music

The Roots – “When The People Cheer” {Rap/Hip Hop}

All I can say about this new Roots single is it’s about god damn time! The Roots have been standing in Jimmy Fallon’s/Elvis Costello’s wrinkly shadows for far too long. This track is off their highly-anticipated album …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin which is out next month.

Little Dragon – “Paris” {Synthpop/Dance}

You just know the words “Swedish” and “synth” turn our musical boner on, so hearing this new Little Dragon tune was definitely the highlight of our week. This is the first single off the group’s forthcoming album Nabuma Rubberband which is out on May 13th via Loma Vista.

Bob Mould – “Hey Mr. Grey” {Punk/Rock}

It was one thing finding out that the Hüsker Dü-er Bob Mould is still, you know, “around”…but to find out that he’s releasing some new music was pretty shocking in itself. Mould recently announced his brand spankin’ new album titled Beauty & Ruin, and apparently it’s being released on June 3rd via Merge.

How To Dress Well – “Repeat Pleasure” {R&B/Pop}

My spring just wouldn’t feel complete without Tom Krell’s sexy r&b-atic voice oozing out my speakers, so I welcomed this new song of his with open arms. The single is off Krell’s new and highly-anticipated album What Is This Heart? which is due out on June 24th (in the U.S.) and June 23rd (internationally) via Weird World.

Vensaire – “See I’m You” {Indie Rock/World Music}

This song is less of a single and more of a worldy delight with tints of Bombay Bicycle Club mixed in with Horrors-like synths (not to mention a crapton of Asian elements as well). The “Brooklyn anti-band” is currently prepping for the release of their new concept album Perdix which was recorded by the Grammy-winner Scott Colburn (Arcade Fire, Animal Collective).

The Fresh & Onlys – “Animal Of One” {Psych Rock}

It’s been a stale few months not hearing any new tuneage from The Fresh & Onlys, and as always, the San Francisco psych rockers delivered. This is the second single off the group’s forthcoming album House Of Spirits (with the first single being the almighty “Bells Of Paonia“), and the release will be out on June 10th via Mexican Summer.

Doss – “The Way I Feel” {Electropop/Trance} + Free download

It’s not too often that a trancy track like this one starts getting mentioned on every single indie music blog left, right and center, but after checking it out I can see why. This track is off her new self-titled debut EP which is being released on April 29th via Acéphale.

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Top new videos: The War On Drugs, Franz Ferdinand, Dum Dum Girls + Against Me! gets Davos Seaworth-ed

March 18, 2014 in Americana, Classic Rock, Electro, Electropop, Experimental, Pop, Rock

Dum Dum Girls – “Are You Okay” {Pop/Rock}

The latest music video from Dum Dum Girls (which happens to share the same words my friend said to me after he found me passed out on the sofa listening to Too True) is actually an 11-minute short film starring…you guessed it: Dee Dee Dum Dum! Apparently the story was written by Bret Easton Ellis (of American Psycho fame) and also stars Shiloh Fernandez (The EastRed Riding Hood), and Sophia Marzocchi.

Franz Ferdinand – “Fresh Strawberries” {Pop/Rock}

Franz Ferdinand seem to really be pushing the strawberry motif as of late – maybe they’ve been dabbling in the same psychedelics John Lennon took in 1966? But surprisingly enough this new music video of theirs doesn’t have one single strawberry in it! Well there might have been; but I was too distracted watching FF bang-down-flip-it-and-reverse-it to notice.

Against Me! – “Black Me Out” {Rock}

A new Against Me! video is here for my numero uno favourite song off Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which means I finally have some visuals to go along with the song that inspires me to scream “I’M GONNA PISS ON THE WALLS OF YOUR HOUSE” at random points throughout the day/night. Plus the kinda-sorta lyric video also features a few Game of Thrones-like scenarios here and there which make for a grimacing watch.

Van Pi – “Dreamroof” ft. Anna Speller {Experimental/Electropop}

Dutch experimental poppers have decided to bless me with a video that covers all of my personal heaven cliches: Walking on the beach barefoot in the sand, snow glistening like glitter on the ground, balloons floating up into the sky and…hold up, why did a naked person flash across my screen for two seconds??

The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes” {Americana}

In The War On Drug’s latest music video the band acts as judges in a talent show in order to recruit future bandmates, only the contestants aren’t exactly “rock star” material; (AKA old people, desperate hoola hoopers…you name it) IMO Adam Granduciel should have won the competition just for convincing me that he’s really Bruce Springsteen in a brown wig after a ton of cosmetic surgery…but anyways.

The Men – “Pearly Gates” {Classic Rock}

When I first heard this single awhile back I thought to myself that something was missing…and now I know what: A badass music video with a wild police chase, of course! If you didn’t think The Men were badass before, then this music video will certainly change your mind…

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Top new videos: Black Lips, St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Bleeding Rainbow + burgers; delicious, juicy burgers

February 4, 2014 in Alt-Blues, Alt-Country, Alt-Folk, Alternative, Blues, Experimental, Grunge, Indie, Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Rock

Bleeding Rainbow – “So You Know” {Pop/Rock}

Have you ever wished you could turn back time like Cher? Well the guy in this music video did…(kinda). The video starts off with some lonely looking fellow flipping through old photographs of his ex during happier times, but then soon develops into some crazed, photo-manipulation-turned-time-travel storyline. It’s some pretty thought-provoking shit.

Angel Olsen – “Hi-Five” {Alt-Country}

Given that I’ve been listening to this track over and over and over again since we first discovered it a few weeks back, I was pretty stoked to see that Angel Olsen went ahead and released a video for the jaw-dropping tune. But I still have some lingering questions; like “why did she draw on her hand like that?” “Where did those arms come from?” and “Will I get sued for stealing her epic choreography the next time I’m on the dance floor?”

St. Vincent – “Digital Witness” {Experimental}

This is some Benjamin Button shit with St. Vincent and the new Wayne Coyne locks she has going on, but I digress…When we first caught a glimpse of the cover of St. Vincent’s new album and her Flaming Lips hairdo glory, we just knew she would be packing the visual punches for the first music video off the record, and pack the visual punches she certainly did.

Adult Jazz – “Springful” {Indie Rock/Experimental}

Apparently this video was inspired by the novel Siddharthabut I’m starting to wonder if the whole point of this video was to make me seethe with jealousy over the fact that this dude is special enough to be carried around by four cute boys all day like royalty. If only all my retail therapy sessions could be like this…

Sebadoh – “State Of Mine” {Alt-Folk/Rock}

Sebadoh is getting all political and stuff with this new music video and we’re totally L-O-V-I-N-G it!!! The video tackles everything from the economy, sexism, the American Dream, the stresses of jugging parenthood and marriage…Actually now that we think about it we may have read into it a little too much – maybe it’s a story about a depressed businessman who’s obsessed with babies?

Minor Alps – “Waiting For You” {Pop/Rock}

If you’re feeling the Valentine’s Day humbug then you best be preparing yourselves, because this video is all about the lovey-dovey “awwws” and everything that goes along with it. The video stars both members of Minor Alps (Matthew Caws and Juliana Hatfield) with their storyline romantically intertwining as they make their way around the city.

Libel – “Tomorrow’s Children” {Rock}

We love us some animated videos, but damn…this shit went way, way over our heads. The falling stars (or are they snowflakes?) the synchronized swimmers (or are they people with just really bad fashion?) and the person pulling the sun straight out of the sky (or was it just a massive yellow ball?) Yeah we don’t get it either.

Black Lips – “Boys In The Wood” {Psych Rock/Blues}

What’s so scary about sex, drugs and rock and roll? Well you’ll soon find out after watching this horror-movie-of-a-music-video. And of course being the Black Lips that they are there’s a whole lotta NSFW going on here, so if you have delicate eyeballs (and eardrums) then proceed with caution before you hit the play button.

Teen Daad – “Have A Bite” {Rock/Grunge}

They may not be Quebecois, and they may not be buddy-buddy with Jamie Oliver, but what this band has going on in this music video could possibly be as epic as Epic Meal Time. The juicy burgers, the slimy Nutella, the mouth-watering ice cream…There are so many temptations going on in this video it’s hard to keep track of them all. Who knew that Nutella getting trapped in a beard could be so damn sexy?

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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

cagetheelephantmelophobia

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

elviscostellowiseupghost

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

ofmontreallousywithsylvianbriar

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

AustraOlympia

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

wampirecuriosity

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

arcadefirereflektor

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

crystalstilts

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

THR!!!LER

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

arcadefirereflektor

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

janellemonaetheelectriclady

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

drdogbroom

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

haimdaysaregone

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

davidbowiethenextday

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

AustraOlympia

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

belleandsebastienthethirdeyecenter

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

actionbronsonsaabstories

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

edwardsharpeandthemagneticzeros

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

noageanobject

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

theweekndkissland

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

bloodorangecupiddeluxe

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

cagetheelephantmelophobia

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

frankierosehereinwild

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

beyonce

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

ninhesitationmarks

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

whitedenim

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

cameraobscura

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

MGMT – MGMT

MGMTMGMT

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

paulmccartneynew

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

cultsstatic

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

kanyewestyeezus

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

londongrammarifyouwait

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

volcanochoirrepave

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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