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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Video: Yeasayer - Longevity

I recently dropped a Prevaluation of Yeasayer's excellent new album Fragrant World, and today they provide us with a video for the 2nd song off of the album, "Longevity." The video is about as trippy as we have come to expect from these guys but this time the trippiness comes from the rapid aging of singer Chris Keating. It's a little creepy, especially why eating lunch, which I recently discovered the hard way. Nonetheless, a great tune and a solid video by Yeasayer.

I found it a bit ironic how the band wastes away within about 3.5 minutes considering LMFAO was featured in the advertisement that preceded the video. Does anyone expect them to last much longer than that? Ok ok...that's cold but they have "one-hit wonder (album I suppose)" stamped all over them....says this guy.

Check the video out below.

New Song: Benjamin Gibbard - Teardrop Windows

So Benjamin Gibbard, aka Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie but going by Benjamin, has a solo album coming out October 16th. He recently dropped the first single "Teardrop Windows" to give us a taste of what to expect. Based solely on this tune, me thinks this solo album will keep closer to his Death Cab roots than veer itself towards a long-desired Postal Service follow up.

From the title, you might expect something closer to the pre-Zooey-Ben...I almost giddily did. While the lyrics seemingly want to go there, musically it leans a little closer to the recent Death Cab release, Codes and Keys with poppier overtones.

Still, most Death Cab and Gibbard fans will likely enjoy this tune as it's not a far cry from what they have come to love. Check the song out below and see for yourself

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Video: Band of Horses - Knock Knock

"Knock Knock," the first single off Band of Horses upcoming Mirage Rock (out 9/18) just got a new video. These guys love not taking their videos too seriously (see 2010's "Dilly") and continue with this take on the old nature shows. Just like National Geographic and similar programs back in the day, as well as the movie Strange Wilderness, the video features a group of "experts" following the band around in their....natural habitat, I suppose. Well whatever, it's entertaining and a good tune.

I do love me some Band of Horses and am looking forward to this album. I just saw them live a few days ago and this song fits right in to their other tunes. Always a good showing by those chaps

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Album Review (and band you need to know): Fierce Creatures - Catacomb Party

After 3 years, the Fresno, CA septet of a band that calls themselves Fierce Creatures just released their debut LP this week. And to be's kinda fantastic and it's called Catacomb Party. The band previously dropped their self-produced/released debut EP called I Mostri Feroci back in 2010, which you can also check out and purchase (I already have) HERE. I went back to check out Feroci after listening to CP a few times and it definitely laid down the foundation for the band's current interestingly unique sound.

Now the hard part....defining said "sound." Every time I listen to CP, I pick up a different nuance that reminds me of the elemental uniqueness of other bands I love. Allow me to explain with a few examples....

The album gets things started with the beautifully hazy shoegazetasticness "Ask for Lightning." If you have been following me long you probably know my go to in the shoegaze indie world would be my local favorite, black books. There are some similarities in the hazy garage-fuzzedness but also a bit of Real Estate in there as well, especially in the vocals/harmonies.

Next up we have the percussion/rhythm-heavy and poppy-yet-kinda-dark tune that is best described by it's name, "Babbity Abbot." Now I have no clue what that means but it feels right. When I listen to it, I definitely wanna babbity some abbots! Seriously though, this song is the 1st time I start to catch auditory glimpses in the percussion that brings to mind Local Natives and White Rabbits a bit. What I'm saying is it's a pretty killer song.

Then we follow with "Lover's Vice," which right off the bat brings the shoegaze back to the forefront until the vocals kick in. Here is where I instantly thought of Grizzly Bear and most definitely their songs where Daniel Rossen is featured. The vocal sound and style is pretty close, which is awesome cause I do love me some Grizzly Bear. Then, the harmonies kick in and play off each other as I would expect in a GB tune. Oh and if you're wondering, that Local Natives/White Rabbits beat is still there too.

This Grizzly Bearedness stays prevalent on the succeeding track, "Body for the Grave." There isn't a lot going on lyrical-wise with a lot of repetitiveness but it's a freaking catchy tune. It has a pretty wicked bass line and the chorus chanting "we need a body for the grave" might as well have translated into "we need a place to stick this dude's eardrums cause they are about to explode from awesomeness!"

"For the World is Hollow" is the first time we get to experience the hauntingly beautiful voice of Amanda Valdez at the vocal forefront. Let me tell you she crushes it over some interesting bloops, bleeps, and all sorts of distorted fuzziness that only C3PO and "his" vast knowledge of languages could translate.

The following comparison may sound a little strange but it was literally the progression of thoughts when I first heard "Magical Disappearing Acts." Honestly have felt the same way every time I've heard it since. So right off the bat between the instrumental style and Valdez's dreamy voice it brought to mind the band Father John Misty. Her inflections are almost spot on even more so as the song builds. The thing that's most interesting is that Father John Misty sounds way different live than when just listening to the album. As "Acts" progresses it quickly gears much closer to the live Father John Misty. If you've ever seen them live you'll probably know what I'm talking about.

On album closer "We Know It Knows," The Shins instantly come to mind and then you realize the vocals throughout have sneakily had a very James Mercerish feel to them. At this point I was confused as to who I thought they really reminded me of and wanted to listen again right away. I felt the exact same way with every song, in each coming across like the initial revelation prior to hearing the rest of the album. I feel like that sentence may not make sense....just read it a couple times cause I don't know how else to put'll get it.

To Fierce Creatures debut LP Catacomb Party I thought of black books, Real Estate, Grizzly Bear, Local Natives, White Rabbits, The Shins, Father John Misty, and Star Wars. The collection of different unique sounds throughout CP as well as the larger band element also brought to mind Arcade Fire. Knowing this, I started to pick out other similarities between the bands respective sound.

If you haven't noticed yet, it's a pretty awesome album and not only for a debut. I haven't wanted to listen to anything else for the past few days.

Check out the video for the stellar title track (I didn't even mention this one!) below....

New Track: Hooray for Earth - Never

We haven't heard much from Hooray for Earth since their very solid 2011 LP True Loves which cracked the top 30 of my Top 50 Albums of 2011. That is until today, where we get "Never" off of an upcoming single being released later this month off Dovecote Records.

Big fan of Hooray for Earth and this song continues the love but brings it a little stronger than previous tunes. Mixed in with this bulldog vibe is the ever-present synth-pop-on-crack we've come to enjoy from these Brooklyn-helmed underrateds.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Prevaluation: Yeasayer Fragrant World

The upcoming 3rd studio album by Yeasayer, titled Fragrant World, has been one of my most anticipated of the year. This was kicked into an even higher gear upon the band releasing a couple tracks from World over the last few weeks. Once I heard "Henrietta" for the 1st time I was enamored and borderline ecstatic. Then came "Longevity," which is another very solid and catchy tune and it seemed like August 21st was going to take forever to get here.

We are now in an age of constant internet leaks of anticipated albums and this includes Yeasayer's Fragrant World. Apparently, the band caught wind of this impending leak and decided to preempt it with a pre-release of their album for the fans through an internet scavenger hunt announced on Wednesday, August 1st. They scattered links to each of the album's songs, with the accustomed visually stunning videos for each, across the interweb for fans to find. Many of the music blogs compiled these songs in one handy location so we could preview the album in its entirety. I give many thanks to Stereogum for providing me with the auditory bliss that has ensued to start the month of August. The only 8pm tonight (Friday, August 3rd), the songs will all be taken down and we'll have to wait until the 21st again....or the aforementioned leak.

Fragrant World is the follow up to the band's 2010 sophomore "breakout" album Odd Blood. The Brooklyn-based band has come a long way since their debut 2007 release All Hour Cymbals while still maintaining pieces of that "worldly music" vibe they started with. Since, there has been a progression more to the electronic/synthy styles. Combining these elements with the initial self-described "Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel" style, Yeasayer has found themselves a very unique sound in a world where a lot of bands are sounding like retreads.

Opening track "Fingers Never Bleed" kicks the album off with a clap/snap beat that gets you moving and excited for what is yet to come. It slowly builds into a catchy tune with an addictive chorus that will haunt you throughout the album. For me, this was only slowed down because tracks 2 and 4, the previously mentioned "Longevitiy" and "Henrietta," respectively. Most of this has to do with having heard them many times and each having their own variation of getting-stuck-in-my-brain-edness. Nonetheless, "...Bleed" is hands down a standout opening track and will surely be quite stellar live.

There is still something special about "Henrietta" as it has been a borderline obsession for me since I first heard it. It starts off with an up-tempo pounding flow and then it goes into a cocoon for a bit before emerging in this beautiful mellow form with the longing, and an almost sadness, in the repetition of "Oh Henrietta, we can make love forever."

"Reagan's Skeleton" and "Demon Road" are a couple of other wicked tracks at first listen. The former, builds on a synthy-electroness before an almost rap-like flow kicks in and the music expands into a trance-like state of awesomeness. The chorus is very much in tune with an evil twin of the 80's and 90's pop music scene. The latter, blatantly shows off what reports had told us before that the band was going to inflict some R&B influences into this album. There is a legit futuristic R&B vibe going here and with slightly more of an emphasis on the R, as opposed to the B. Not sure what Marvin Gaye would say though....

Overall, I am that much more ethused for this album and especially being able to listen to it at my leisure without the prospectus of a looming deadline where the songs will be taken away. Yeasayer has once again done a fantastic job in putting something together that can live up to, and potentially succeed, the hype behind an impending album. In my anticipatory state, I know I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on Fragrant World once I knew it was in the works and I have not been disappointed after my few listens through. There is a darker vibe with some of the tunes, that is for sure. This brings me back some to the 2nd half of Cymbals.

Now, I am looking forward to September 6th when I get to see them play for the 3rd time!

As the band closed their statement regarding the scavenger hunt....."Please remember, it's fun to share, but more important to support." So when contemplating whether to pirate this album or buy know what to do.

**UPDATE: You can now stream the album in full on NPR

Check out the 2 songs that will still be available after 8pm on August 3rd below.

"Longevity" (with lyrics)