Saturday, May 19, 2012

For Serious This Time - When You're In It

Genre: Indie pop
For Fans Of: DivideDivideDivide, Chalk Talk

Where i'm from, the summer creeps in the spring and lingers through the fall. Its sweltering, sometimes unbearable, impossible to get away from, but I love every minute of it. Here are two things that get me through the triple digit days:

1. Summer Jams.

2. The Tiny Toon Adventures straight-to-video feature length film.

For Serious This Time's 2nd release, When You're In It, fits the first thing on my short list of requirements that help me through the heat. I get excited for summer anthems, records that stay constant in your car, windows down singing out your little heart, (y'all know the feeling so I don't have to explain) etc.Typically those are accompanied with a car full of friends, singing along, and someone is always pretending they know all the riffs. Although I have those albums (Braid is the standard in my circle), When You're In It is my personal summer jam. I don't know the reason for this, since every song on this record is so goddamn catchy. Great guitar lines that have a solo esque (gasp!) to them that goes right along the group chants and vocals. The vocals  is nasally and youthful, which brings the charm. Its a really quick listen, I suggest to really anyone who loves a good short and sweet pop album.

I always wanted my first day of summer to be like the opening scene of the Tiny Toon movie. Although I have never gotten anywhere near as close as I wanted these certain records can for a brief moment emulate of what summers you once had, or for a second you can pretend what you always wanted your days in the in the sun to be like, or maybe ones you will have. Alright i'm starting to get esoteric so I should stop. go listen.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tiny Hawks - People Without End

Genre: Hardcore Punk Math
For Fans of : 1994!, Daniel Striped Tiger

Sometimes I cant tell if bands write really short songs cause they are smart and want to get to the point, or they use that excuse to mask their inability to write full songs.

Two piece bands trying to emulate a full sounding group is a challenge (creating a good solid sound with 5 members is tough as well) and Tiny Hawks exceeds at doing so. The drums hit hard and deliberate although it seems he is flailing randomly, the guitarist is twangy yet dissonant and has chord progressions you wouldn't expect from a hardcore punk band. What separates Tiny Hawks from other bands with the two piece formula is the mass amounts of great riffs they have. Riffs that make you listen to the songs over and over again so you can hear that one measure that has the "roll down the windows and fist pump alone" riff.

Sometimes I wonder if I only listen to music for that one riff. Once I find it, I play it to death, then forget about it for a couple years, and realize the riffs are still there, magical just as much as the first time. If you like great noisy instrumentation with shouty incoherent quasi-political vocals, you will love Tiny Hawks!

Drummers that look like Tim Harrington

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Craft Spells "Gallery"- EP

Singer/songwriter Justin Vallesteros and the rest of the talented group that is Craft Spells are so ahead of their time and they're only in their early twenties. Nothing oozes new wave revival like this Captured Tracks band. Caught these guys in Visalia, Ca with Beach Fossils (label brothers) and this year at SXSW 2012. Such incredibly humble guys and their live set sounds just as dreamy. 

Due May 15, you can check out their new EP streaming now on Soundcloud through

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Here We Go Magic- 'A Different Ship'

Alright folks,
The Secretly Canadian band "Here We Go Magic" just released some magic indeed and I want to start this post off by simply saying: ...Holy shit. Nigel Godrich.

Only having released two full length albums prior, this talented quintet based out of Brooklyn have dedicated their sound to rhythmic bells, looping synths, and basically music that is just ridiculously catchy yet incredibly complex once you've taken a step back. It's every band, artist, writers, etc. dream to create something simplistic, yet poignant. Listening to their sound as a whole on A Different Ship can make one realize why you never thought of that note in the first place when creating it or a chorus that was always on the tip of your tongue, but could never fully decipher in the studio.

In 2010, the band was fortunate to grab at least two important individuals attention within a massive and exhausted early morning audience at the Glastonbury Music Festival. (The type of spot that bands dread) Those two wide eyed appreciators just HAPPENED to be Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich. Of course, Thom Yorke doesn't need an explanation but in case those who are not aware of the people who help shape Radioheads music from behind the scenes, one prominent contributor for years has been Godrich himself. A man with an impressive resume: working with musicians such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Pavement, Paul McCartney, Air, Beck, and so on. Although HWGMs music has been quite successful already with their album transitions, this album I feel takes on it's very own harmonious charm with the help of Godrich.

Their single, "How Do I Know", is radio friendly, starting off with a fun guitar hook, yet beginning lyrically with words as fragile as "How do I know if I love you?" This song balances those playful melodies and sentimental verses and delve into vulnerable topics such as loneliness and a search for connection.

Here is their music video, directed by Sean Pecknold:

Or check it out on Vimeo:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Dismemberment Plan - "!"

Genre: DC post punk/indie pop
Sounds Like: So Many Dynamos, Q and Not U
 A small timely rant:

There has been a consistent and exciting wave of indie band revivals that started last year and coming in strong for the rest of 2012. Acts like Braid, At The Drive In, Desaparecidos, Refused and countless others have sprung up on music festivals and select cities across the states. Any reasons for the sudden surge of bands coming back together? Is it due to their audience, who are now a slight older and their influence is being heard (Braid and the Midwest revival few years back) in contemporary bands? Or that they had resonated with so many people back when they were active that its an easy cash grab using nostalgia? You hear many music fans going "I'm going to cry my shit over this" or "I will do anything to see (insert important band of their adolescence). Or they just felt like touring again? I'm not knocking this recent trend whatsoever cause I am an ATDI fanboy as much as the next guy in their mid-twenties and will continue to exclaim that they are one of the most important bands of my generation. But I look at this trend very carefully. Who knows maybe we will get an Ian Williams and Damon Che reunion if the price is right.

The Dismemberment Plan was one of the first on my radar to reunite and tour again which started early last year. Touring United States and Japan and eventually performing on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. Although I didn't discover Dismemberment Until 2004 (one year after they broke up) they have stuck with me for the past 8 years. So when I saw the dates being announced, my nostalgia was being prodded deeply.

Their first album, aptly named "!" was my initial discovery of this band, and like how most young people received new music in the early 00's, it was on a scribbled, discolored CD-R and the last two tracks were ruined due to excessive scratches. At first glance its another mid 90's post punk DC indie band with dissonant guitars and punchy bass with strange melodic vocals (and the first drummer is a monster). Although true, what makes Dismemberment so different is how Smart this band is. Not in the Radiohead way, but more in the Rush sense. (I know I know stay with me here guys) they manage to have clever lyrics and hooks without sacrificing great technical song writing and great catchy riffs. The other key to the smart equation is how they don't take themselves seriously but still sound like every song was carefully crafted to perfection.

This album is in my top ten of all time, and although some people might be completely turned off by the vocals, give all their records a listen. These songs will stick to you. Fun Fact: I have an ex girlfriend who despised this band to the very end, and although that's not important at all, I feel like it should be.