Friday, December 19, 2014

Lisa/Liza - The First Museum - 2014

Recorded live with Peter McLaughlin, drummer for Portland alt-country sweetheart’s The Milkman’s Union, The First Museum was not made for modern laptop speakers. Fluctuating freely from confessional quaintness to sorrowful nostalgia, her rudimentary guitar playing makes the record that much more dynamic and organic. This is an album that should be enjoyed on a good set of headphones. The PP

Cat Cat - Trees - 2014

Four sparkling guitar pop gems from Melbourne band Cat Cat, recorded in 2012 and now finding a home in the form of a Whalesmouth tape. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Grandaddy & Band of Horses - Hang an Ornament - 2014

Band of Horses are currently working on a new album with producer Jason Lytle of Grandaddy. In the meantime, the collaborators are celebrating the holiday season by releasing a Christmas track from both Band of Horses and Grandaddy. 
The tune is called "Hang an Ornament" and begins as whispered acoustic ballad. It takes a turn for the dramatic after the one-minute mark, as electro-orchestral textures swell up and push the track towards a densely layered, cinematic crescendo that lasts for much of the five-minute-plus track.  Exclaim!

Top 20 Songs of 2014: Sharon Van Etten - Every Time the Sun Comes Up

Pace mine for for you
Hold my horses, patient
Hey man, tricks can't wait to hear my emotions

Every time the sun comes up, I'm in trouble
Every time the sun comes up, I'm in trouble

People say I'm a one-hit wonder
But what happens when I have two?
I washed your dishes, but I shitted in your bathroom

Even when the sun comes up, I'm in trouble
Even when the sun comes up, I'm in trouble

We broke your glasses, but covered our asses
Take time silently, feel real room hi-fi

Every time the sun comes up, I'm in trouble
Every time the sun comes up, I'm in trouble
Yeah, every time the sun comes up, I'm in trouble
Imagine when
Every time the sun comes up, I see double

Live session on NME

On Letterman

Top 20 Songs 2014: Lily and Madeleine - The Wolf is Free

The Wolf is Free is off L&M newest album, entitled Fumes. I really fell in love with this song when they released the music video. The song is so perfectly represented in the images - its' mysterious sounds, its' simple lines, its' angelic harmonies all combine to create a wonderful tune. 
Simply beautiful...

Some crippling dream
I know whose fault it is, I know it isn’t me.
The wolf is free.
I wanna chase him down and drown him in the sea.

The innocent flock like sheep
Their efforts are in vain, the wolf is back again
I hope he comes for me
I’m not out-running him and I’m not gonna scream.

I’m gonna follow him
I know his name,
I know his name.

The wolf is free
His eyes are narrowing, it is a scary thing.
And some fears run deep
There is a change in him, there is a change in me.

I’ll put you to sleep.
My fingers through your hair, into your skin, I’ll be,
Ten fingernails deep,
And I won’t let you go, you will not bury me.

How Scandinavian - Drowning In Myself - Single 2014

Slacker rock all the way... A two song release for all those that miss the days of Pavement, Sonic Youth and so on and so forth...

Pitchfork Top 50 Albums








wonderfuls - Only Shadows Now - 2014

Dark and heavy music carries an almost spoken word like somber voice through this experimental voyage to the depths of tragedy.

Wonderfuls started as post psych ward therapy, 10 years later - two LPs + two EPs, Robert has placed himself in plain sight with cousin Dan McGirr, who together, produce quiet, hard hitting songs about living and struggling in Australia's working/under class, isolated small town communities, wasting away in the suburbs - the need for escapism and the costly price it brings at the end! 

Consequence of Sound Top 50 Albums

Every year has its share of tragedies and darkness, but 2014 has felt particularly tough. On global, national, and community levels, death, devastation, and darkness have plagued the nightly news in a particularly frustrating and seemingly senseless way. Perhaps that feeling is amplified by the omnipresence of technology that has made each and every pain felt by a larger audience and then replayed on an endless loop. It could also be that this has been an especially broken year, a theory supported by the fact that so many of 2014’s best albums are fueled by artists facing harrowing struggles.

45. ALEX G – DSU

Arctic Monkeys AM artwork
Alex Giannascoli, a North Philadelphia native and Temple University student, makes low-key but lovely bedroom pop under a shorter version of his name. Quietly prolific, Giannascoli has seamlessly blended the gentle and the off-kilter through releases like 2012’s TRICK and RULES. Now, with DSU, his first ever mastered full-length (and Orchid Tapes debut), he refines his formula while maintaining his charm. The album’s best songs, like “Boy”, “Sorry”, and “After Ur Gone”, feature a simple combination of muted acoustic guitars, droning but heartfelt vocals, bass, a steady drum pattern, and the occasional piano. Even with his rudimentary pieces, Alex G is a deft songwriter, able to pack tons of sugary hooks, emotional resonance, and smart flourishes into such simple compositions. –Josh Terry


earl doris
Modern Baseball is a rocket back to my high school days of listening to The Get Up Kids and The Promise Ring. At the time, though, I didn’t want people to hear just how sad-sappy-sack the music and lyrics were. Modern Baseball’s You’re Gonna Miss It All is the kind of album I actually wanted at that time. The lyrics tell hilariously awkward tales of dealing with whatever the fuck life in your late teens and early twenties is, and the music takes on the catchiness from those early bands, but without every awkward blemish Photoshopped away. The Philadelphia rockers have the realism and wordplay I wanted, using the words I was too ashamed to write. It’s a damn near perfect combination. –Nick Freed


A mother says the title of Weezer’s ninth album in the first track’s opening moments, comforting her child. If this album were the end of the band’s career, it would indeed be “alright.” But, fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Everything Will Be Alright in the End. The band’s return to form is a reminder that Rivers Cuomo and co. still have much to offer the alternative rock universe, whether it’s fashionable to like them or not. In this light, the new record comes across strangely comforting. Cuomo once said about his band’s classic sophomore record, Pinkerton, “I’m not coloring anything or softening anything. This is who I am and if you don’t like it … well, we should probably part ways, and I’m just gonna tell you the very worst parts of myself.” That Cuomo seems to be back on Everything Will Be Alright in the End, with single “Back to the Shack” stating, “I had to go and make a few mistakes so I could find out who I am/ I’m letting all of these feelings out even if it means I fail.” Those lyrics could easily describe his band’s last five or so albums, and delivering this record, with that apology, puts the entirety of Weezer’s career in a different, much more favorable light. –Philip Cosores


This was an apex year for Owen Pallett. Arcade Fire’s most reliable five-tool collaborator received an Academy Award nomination for the Her soundtrack. He also bared hidden turmoils across In Conflict. The album entertains apathy but still gets excited about venturing into parts unknown. “Song for Five & Six” and “Soldier’s Rock” reinforce the notion that it’s time to pick up the pieces and move on. But move on where? And to what end? Tracks like “The Sky Behind the Flag” also offer up Pallett’s bittersweet composition with a bunting of tones that unfurl into a vast aural tapestry. The music is ripe with all manner of blips, blorps, and impassioned introspection. The latter half of In Conflict then races toward an anxious albeit encouraging end, with high intensity cuts like “The Riverbed” and “Infernal Fantasy” upping both the tempo and the stakes. The biggest highlight is Pallett’s enchanted vocals, which pair incredibly well with his meditations. They’re like a siren song of contrition warning others to avoid the emotional rocks and hazards that scuttled a life once sweet. In 2003, The Postal Service hurried down a similar route with Give Up. Now, in 2014, these poignant barbs arrive with more complexity, like forlorn packages dropped off by a guided quadrocopter. –Dan Pfleegor


“Your tells are so obvious,” shouts Laura Jane Grace in what’s maybe the most triumphant opener of the year. “Shoulders too broad for a girl.” It’s the first time she’s kicked off an album since she took her own name, her real name, since she told it to the rest of the world. “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”, from the album of the same name, might boast the most devastating first verse of an Against Me! record since Grace sang about her grandparents back in 2002 on “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”. It carries the same weight. Transgender Dysphoria Blues never shies away from that heaviness, but it also never stops feeling like a victory. Grace packs so much fear into these songs: fear of violence, abandonment, disappointment, change, and death. These aren’t rare shadows for people working through a transition, especially for women who were told for years that they were men. Grace stares them down with a fire that lights up hope in its wake.
Strangely enough, the album’s most hopeful song takes place in a pair of caskets. Grace wrote “Two Coffins” for her young daughter as a reminder that even if not all love is unconditional, hers would last through death. Is that morbid? A little — you don’t get too many songs about a beloved child’s “little moon face” that also imagine that face sealed underground. But death sticks around whether we imagine it or not. For Grace, embracing the possibility of the worst is a cornerstone of her courage. The sixth Against Me! album is a landmark for a number of reasons — their first since dropping their major label, their first since Grace’s transition — but it’s also a massive declaration of triumph and, most of all, freedom. We close our own cell doors, or the world closes them for us. From the album’s first words, we know Grace has decided to kick hers down. –Sasha Geffen


Pressure is a cruel mistress. Its impending presence is both the wild animal that chases us when we’re running our fastest and a trigger that, like nothing else, can tempt us to stop moving altogether. Some, like Adam Granduciel, can’t help but see this paradox everywhere, so it makes sense that it’s the figure in the crosshairs of the best album he’ll likely ever make.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top Songs of 2014: Andrew Jackson Jihad - Getting Naked, Playing with Guns

AJJ writes the most outrageous lyrics to, at times very sweet acoustic melodies - in this case this is what got my attention with this track in particular off his latest release, Christmas Island. The common "man" speaks in inferences, as he takes on modern twists happening in the 21st century woe. Fairly linear song that is catapulted to new heights with this playfully depressing look at ourselves and our fall from grace.

Getting naked and playing with guns
there's a gerbil in the microwave, a baseball bat in everyone
sharing kisses and building a bomb
we'll set it off like Microsoft in 94
we'll set it off like Microsoft in 94

McDonald's play place before the xbox
cake frosting sweet talking bedroom wall
covered in knives, touching god, burning shit
we'll make a wish and take a trip to future town like our daddy did
and we'll kill the neighbor kid who only wants to be our friend
his dad is dead enough that his new dad can cure the bends
we'll make a wish and take a trip to future town
feeling weird yet tasting sweet
its a top bottom rock smoking magic mask making it bleed
feeling sweet, getting weird
now I can se the playgorund from the trees
and i can see the playgrond from the trees

and we'll show the neighbor kid what
what our love actually means
he's here from out of town and I heard he's got ADD
we'll climb the tallest branch with a rifle full of dreams
and we'll blow the little dickhead up to smitherines

Getting naked and playing with guns
there's a gerbil in the microwave, a baseball bat in everyone
sharing kisses and building a bomb
we'll set it off like microsoft in 94
we'll set it off like Microsoft in 94 in our backyard