October 30, 2009

Introducing: Sleigh Bells, Warpaint, Freelance Whales, Joker and MORE

So there has been a lot of exciting new music coming out recently across a huge spectrum of genres. I have been slacking a bit recently and haven't had the chance to bring as much of it to your attention as I would like - SO this is my grand attempt to rectify that. Here are the new bands (and one a little less new band with new stuff, but no less noteworthy).

Sleigh Bells is a duo consisting of beat master and songwriter Derek Miller and his muse Alexis Krauss on vocals. "Crown on the Ground" LINK has been spinning on repeat all week for me. This song is not for weak - it is an all out banger. If Jack White and Timbaland produced a club anthem for M.I.A to sing this would be it. What starts as a somewhat jarring guitar riff, opens up completely with bass pumping well into the red. Krauss sweetens up the song just enough with her M.I.A meets Annie delivery to make the song a perfect party anthem. Love, love this track. And the rest of their output so far is just as strong. "Beach Girls" LINK continues with the M.I.A. lite (but not too lite) vibe and on "Ring Ring" LINK they change it up completely with Krauss singing an awesome new melody over the already fantastic Funkadelic track "Can You Get to That"(listen to the classic original on my LALA playlist in the upper right corner) - she completely makes it her own. These guys are about to blow up.

The only similarity that Warpaint shares with Sleigh Bells is female vocalists. But Warpaint has 3 and their harmonies and haunting, minimalist instrumentation is what draws me in here. On "Billie Holiday" LINK over a simple plucked acoustic guitar, the three beautifully harmonize simply spelling out the title (character's) name over and over - the result is mesmerizing. "Stars" which has an awesomely dark, dreamy and creepy video (below) is similarly using their combined voices to drive haunting melodies. "Elephant" LINK picks up the beat a bit with electric guitar and percussions, but as always the voices are the highlight. If that weren't enough to get you excited, John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed their EP, Exquisite Corpse, out now.

Freelance Whales seems to take inspiration from everywhere - the vocals sound like Ben Gibbard meets Sufjan Stevens, the lyrics definitely influenced by Death Cab as well and some Arcade Fire, the instrumentation all of the above and even some Passion Pit-esque electronics. Their debut album, Weathervanes, feels more of the middle of this decade - more of a heart-on-your-sleeve record with just brilliant, classically influenced musical compositions. These guys have a lot of talent and have put out one hell of a debut. Check out "Generator^First Floor" LINK (their "Rebellion (Lies)") and "Starring" LINK (Passion Pit similarities here) and really the whole album. Great stuff.

Joker is 20 year old dubstep producer out of Bristol, England. I like dubstep, but LOVE it's influence when infused with other genres. Joker takes Simian Mobile Disco track "Cruel Intentions" LINK featuring vocalist Beth Ditto and drops in some awesome breakbeats turning this into a perfect dance floor track. One of my favorite songs of the moment. You can check out his "Rising" profile on P4K HERE for more info on his original stuff which is pretty damn good too.

Finally, check out this new Yeasayer tune, "Ambling Alp", the first single off their second album, Odd Blood, coming out February 19th. You can download it for free on their site HERE. They have such a great sound. Like MGMT but more adventerous - love these guys and loving this tune. Check it out. And if you are unfamiliar with Yeasayer check out "2080" and "Sunrise" in my LALA playlist in the upper right corner.

Lots of new tunes to carry you through the weekend. Hope you enjoy and let me know in the comments what you are digging.


October 27, 2009

THE Supergroup: Them Crooked Vultures

Seems like the Traveling Wilburys may have had a bigger impact on music than I realized. The late 80s first true "supergroup" included four outright legends: Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. Not too bad. Of course the sum definitely didn't add up to the parts though they had a few decent songs. Looks like the "suergroup" can be added to the list of 80s influences on the current music landscape. From Thom Yorke and Flea teaming up, to the Monsters of Folk (Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes and M. Ward of, well, M. Ward) everyone is doing it.

Them Crooked Vultures may take the cake though for the most insanely awesome of all of these pairings. Dave Grohl returns back behind the drums for the first time since Nirvana, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age takes lead guitar and vocals, and JOHN PAUL JONES of LED F'ing ZEPPELIN is on bass. This is a match made in hard alternative rock heaven. There first single, "New Fang" you can listen to below. And unlike the Traveling Wilburys this is no victory lap - these guys are really going for it. Really digging this.

Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and John Paul Jones are coming to Los Angeles to start their tour (of course it's in LA) on November 17th, the same day their self-titled debut album drops. Tickets go onsale THIS Saturday October 31st at 10am on Ticketmaster. Also, should be a pre-sale on Thursday through Live Nation - I will keep you posted. It's not quite a Led Zeppelin reunion tour, but pretty exciting nonetheless. Look for more dates to be added in the near future. http://themcrookedvultures.com/tour/


October 20, 2009

Julian Casablancas announces LA residency

Julian Casablancas has announced his LA tour dates. He will be taking up residency for every Friday in November at the recently renovated Downtown Palace Theatre. Not only is Julian following the now apparent trend (does two count as a trend) of frontmen of great bands debuting their live material in Los Angeles, but he is also doing so in a recently renovated Theatre a few blocks from the "other" recently renovated Orpheum Theatre where Thom played. Even more eerie, the Palace Theatre was actually called the Orpheum Theatre until its name was changed in 1926 when the new Orpheum Theatre opened.

OK enough with the history here are the dates and ticket prices:

November 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th.

Tickets for individual shows range from $35, $40, and $50. Tickets go on sale starting this Friday, October 23rd at 10:00am.

Hope to see you all there!



For the Phoenix obsessed (like myself)

Below is the first (from what I can tell) of a series called Musicvision. It takes an artist and goes through the 20 songs that changed their lives and helped cultivate the band's sound. Phoenix, one of my favorite bands, is featured in the first series. I have watched 10 minutes so far and I am in love. This is PERFECTLY executed. It allows the songs to breathe and really be absorbed by the listener while adding a commentary track, highlighting the song's profound influence on the band. Brilliant concept and really astonishingly well-executed.

Excited to see more of these!


The XX first US performance - "Basic Space"

The XX launched on to the scene earlier this year with one of the most exciting debut album I have heard in years (check out my previous Introducing post HERE). Look for it to be in the top few come my year end lists. Here is the XX performing for the first time in the states with the excellent, "Basic Space". Love how this video is shot. Given the precision of every sparse note in the song, it is an exciting one to follow along and see the music unfold. These guys are only 20 years old and on their first tour so I expect to see their live show improve dramatically as they continue to fine tune their live chops. Very nice start though:

Thanks to Wes for the tip (the hipster Skywalker to my Yoda).



October 13, 2009

Los Angeles: Music Capital of the World?

(Julian in studio with dog? Also, did he make the record using a full-size Guitar Hero guitar?)

First, Thom Yorke graces Los Angeles with the first (and to this point ONLY) live shows of his solo material with his new as-yet-to-be-named band including Flea on bass. Now, word from Julian Casablancas, lead singer of The Strokes, is that he will play a series of shows EVERY FRIDAY in November in Los Angeles to debut his solo material off his new album, Phrazes For The Young, out on November 3rd (OK, technically Julian debuted this material at a show in Tokyo a month or so back, but I am going to ignore that little fact.) So now that the lead singers of two of the most influential bands of our time decide to debut their solo outfits in my fair city, I can only draw one conclusion: Los Angeles is the greatest music city on the planet.

The Julian Casablancas show details have not been revealed yet, but when they are you will be the first to know.
In the meantime, in preparation for the Phrazes For The Young release, check out Julian's first single off the album, "11th Dimension" LINK. This song finds Julian shifting his focus up a generation. While The Strokes' music was dominated by 70s Television-style guitar riffs, this lead single allows 80s synth to take center stage. The guitar riffs are still there, but serve more as accents. This just sounds like Julian having a damn good time and I am really enjoying this one. It shares more with The Strokes' latest release, First Impressions From Earth (which was seriously underrated and overlooked) than their previous efforts. You can stream the single on the Lala Player in the upper right along with some great old Strokes songs, "12:51" and "Electricityscape". Looking forward to hearing the whole album soon - both on my iPod and in Los Angeles in November!


October 12, 2009

Free AND Legal Downloads from Great New Bands

(Free Energy)(The XX)
(The Big Pink)

Thanks to Urban Outfitters (never thought I would start a sentence like that and ACTUALLY mean it) and their LSTN series, we all have access to 25 new songs from up and coming bands absolutely free through iTunes.

Their latest compilation LSTN #7 includes some of my favorite current artists, The XX, The Big Pink, Free Energy, Washed Out and Rain Machine all of whom have been raved about in past posts on DYB. Maybe I should give Urban Outfitters more credit or myself less (I am thinking the latter). Either way I seem to share a similar music sensibility with the mass retailer's taste makers and I am going to have to just accept that (through numerous therapy sessions). I am willing to neglect my pride to introduce more of you to great music - and this compilation does have that in spades. Other interesting artists to check out on here: The Dodos and Girls. Here is the LINK. Just click in the upper right hand side on "Click Here To Download" and it should open up your itunes for the download.

LSTN #6 is also available for download in iTunes. #1-4 are available to download as zip files. #5 has expired but is still available for free streaming.

Let me know what bands you like in the comments and I will write some posts on them!


October 6, 2009

Introducing: Electric Wire Hustle

(The band performing live)

Electric Wire Hustle is a trio hailing from Wellington, New Zealand, but they sound like they are coming straight out of Motown era Detroit. The band's singer is very much indebted to the late great Marvin Gaye, but really what soul singer isn't. The production work combines the soul and hip-hop fusion of J Dilla with the Motown / Wall of Sound leanings of Mark Ronson. High praise from me considering these are two of my favorite producers.

"They Don't Want" is a brilliant display of their talents. This one sounds like a lost Motown track from Marvin era, What's Going On, until the electronic beat comes to the forefront around the 2:50 mark feeling like a J Dilla outro. The song has this incredible tension constantly feeling like it is about to explode, but always seems to pull back and let the vocals command the stage. Loving this track - check it out: LINK

"Perception" appears to be their first single (or at least they have a video for it) and it shows a different side to the group or at least a revised focus. Still soulful with electronic and hip-hop infused beats, this one feels more like a jam session between Jamaraqui and The Roots. Awesome sound and a very cool video.


October 5, 2009

Thom Yorke At The Orpheum Theatre 10-4-2009

The setting was majestic. In the historic and stunningly gorgeous Orpheum Theatre, with celebrities out in droves (Ed Norton, Woody Harrelson, Alicia Silverstone to name a few) it just felt like we were witnessing something truly special. The Orpheum sign outside said it all "??????" as the band's name for tonight - we didn't know what exactly to expect but we sure as hell were excited. From the moment Thom Yorke entered the stage and the crowd erupted to their feet in a standing ovation, you could see he was elated. This was his stage without fellow Radiohead members in tow (though Colin Greenwood was watching from the crowd) and he owned it from the first second. With the confidence of a seasoned band (not one practicing for all of 3 weeks as Yorke later pointed out), Thom Yorke and crew brought The Eraser, Thom Yorke's solo album, to life. The electronic beats and minimalist instrumentation were replaced with two percussionists (using a plethora of unconventional instruments), Flea on bass and Nigel Godrich "on everything else" as Yorke pointed out introducing the band. From the title track through track 4, "Black Swan", the audience stayed seated, glued and seemingly in awe of the spectacle. Before going into "Skip Divided", Yorke told the crowd this was his "dance record" and we should dance along if so inclined. Everyone in the house got up and never looked back. Continuing through each track on The Eraser, Yorke played my personal favorite "Atoms for Peace" with Flea playing the underlying bass harmonics and almost nothing else behind it. Yorke's voice was the showcase and it only became more evident as the night went on. The final song on the album, "Cymbal Rush" was completely reworked in staggering fashion - this was one of the two biggest highlights of the night. On the last Radiohead tour, this was a song Yorke would play often times solo on piano during the encore. In this version, it turns into an all-out rhythmic dance jam - the perfect song to end the set.

Now it was Thom Yorke's turn solo (not like the night wasn't one long victory lap for Yorke the whole time). He started with just him and his electric guitar and his new tune "Lotus Flower". Then Yorke took to the piano, the instrument where he has created so many gorgeous and heartbreaking ballads. First was new song "Open the Floodgates", with minimal chords gently nudging the song along to a chorus of just Yorke's gorgeous vocal riffs. This was just a warm-up for the absolute highlight of the night. Yorke played "Supercollier" a Radiohead tune that was unveiled in some live shows last summer. Over a major chord progression, Yorke showcased the amazing voice he has - no one else can convey the complexity of emotions he can with his voice. With the brilliant acoustics of the Orpheum and the reverent silence of the crowd, I have never heard Yorke's voice sound this otherworldly. The chorus was absolute sonic bliss. (See the video below for both "Open The Floodgates" and "Supercollier") (Download "Supercollier" from a Radiohead live show in Dublin HERE)

The band returned to finish up with four more new songs. "Paper Writer" had one of the best dance beats of the whole night and "Judge, Jury and Executioner" furthered the absolute brilliance of the rhythm section. The band felt like they had been playing together for years. Nigel even got down from his intricate setup in the back left to jam side by side with Flea. The new Thom Yorke singles, B-side "The Hollow Earth" and "Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses" closed out the night perfectly (ok maybe ONE old radiohead gem would have made it absolute perfection). This was an absolutely staggering experience - The Eraser filled with live instrumentation, Yorke front and center without Radiohead and he not only blew us all away but did so enjoying it completely the whole damn time.

Can't wait for Round 2 tonight!!

The whole bootleg of the Echoplex "warm-up show" (essentially the same setlist) is available HERE


October 1, 2009

Animal Collective + Phoenix = Awesomeness

Phoenix is releasing a remix collection of their latest album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (originally titled, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Remix Collection)) on October 13th. Remixes include some of my favorite current artists like Passion Pit and some of my favorite remix specialists Alex Metric and 25 Hours A Day (responsible for my favorite Phoenix remix to date of "Long Distance Call"). The biggest news by far on this album is that Animal Collective is remixing "Love Like A Sunset" combining the talents of two of my all-time favorite bands and the bands responsible (in my opinion) for the two most exciting albums of the year. "Love Like A Sunset" is the perfect choice for Animal Collective adding some of their primitive sounding drums and spaced out electronics to the hypnotic Mars vocal. Loving this.

Check it out here for free download: LINK

This is what Animal Collective had to say about the remix project:

“This spring i was in Panama with Brian.
We were cramped into a van on a bumpy, winding central american road going a little too fast. Feeling a little edgy, I put on my headphones and listened to United and Alphabetical back to back. I watched passing fruit stands, a sweet central american dusk and memories of the massive schools of jelly fish, snapper, and trevally; the few dolphin and even the few bluefin tuna (too few) that brian and i had just had the joy of diving with the blend of all of these things put me at ease.

Phoenix has been a staple for all four of us since Dave and Noah brought home United from the record store they used to work at. One of the records that would get us through some of those long cross country tour drives, we’ve listened to phoenix’s jams many many times. We were all totally psyched to get asked to do this and it was super fun to work on it.

All the best to those dudes”

Also, available for free download is the Friendly Fires' remix of "Fences" which is pretty sweet too. LINK