Saturday, December 24, 2011

Best Music Videos of 2011

Alas, it's that time for best of lists.  On this delightful Christmas Eve I bring you an early present.  11 Best Music Videos of 2011!  Here's a sample of what's to come:

This was quite a difficult list to narrow down as there were SO many amazing videos.  Let me know your thoughts by visiting the full blog post at The Next Family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Aural Fixation: Holiday Edition

Oh goody.  It's that time of year again, and we have a delicious holiday edition of Aural Fixation.  This time we've brought you Super Simple and Easily Adaptable Hot Chocolate along with an equally delectable playlist of holiday tunes.  Here's a sample.

Head over to Tadpole Audio to see what else is on the menu.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Dø Duo

The Dø duo are back with their third official release, Both Ways Jaw Open.  The album is a mixed bag of indie pop.  It's hard to say what my favorite track is, but the video for "Slippery Slope" helped to sway me in its favor.

Maybe it's because it reminds me of one of my favorite videos of 2011 ("Iron" by Woodkid), or possibly it's that hint of M.I.A. meets art couture meets Rainbow Arabia tribalism.

Dan Levy and Olivia Merilahti make up The Dø, aptly named for the Do in Do Re Mi, or at least that's what I've gathered.  The pair began writing together for a French film Empire of the Wolves, and have continued since, scoring a huge hit with "On My Shoulders."

They huddled back in Southern France and spent a year writing, arranging, recording, mixing and producing their latest release, completely by themselves I should add.

The result is a mixed bag of sweet and edgy pop that is just to my liking.  Check out "Gonna Be Sick!" for a much needed dose of xylophone and then head over to iTunes to listen to the rest of the album.

"Gonna Be Sick" - The Dø

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blondie - No Not That One...

Blondie is the subject of infatuation in the lovely Edda Magnason's latest video.  Just try not to watch the whole thing...

The Swedish/Icelandic beauty somehow manages to be classic, jazzy, international, badass, and laidback all in one song.  This girl is definitely someone to look out for.

Edda Magnason's latest album Goods (released earlier this year on Adrian Recordings) is difficult to classify.  It ranges from Broadway-esque, to indie pop, to straight avante-garde.  Each track held together by that stunning jazz-infused voice reminiscent of a less-squeaky Asteroids Galaxy Tour.  She experiments with a slew of live instruments, much like the equally intriguing My Brightest Diamond, and has the unapologetically progressive sound of fellow Icelander, Bjork.

Here's another quirky track called "Handsome."

Enjoy my friends and happiest of Thanksgivings to you.

P.S. - Did you notice my website is getting fancier?  I feel like a real adult blogger now...

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, just want to say thanks to Noel Bass who designed my website logo above. And yes, he's available for hire.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Young Dreams Aren't All Butterflies & Rainbows...

Apparently these youngsters have slightly darker interests.

Norwegian Indiegazers Young Dreams present their debut self-titled video.

The video speaks to their sound - whimsical and complex with a touch of good ole Scandinavian gloom.

The outfit consists of 12, yes 12 talented musicians wielding a variety of instruments - synths, glocks, music boxes, wood blocks, strings, guitar, and a handful of DIY percussion among them.  It's an unexpected surprise when such a deluge of sounds come together to make a classy and subtle blend.  

Pair this unconventional instrumentation with "dreamy" Beach Boys meets Animal Collective vocal layers mixed in to perfection and you get one exciting new band.  

"Dream Alone, Wake Together" is another enchanted little tune:

Young Dreams will be releasing their debut full length early next year on Modular. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Next Sounds: Mayer Hawthorne

Had to tell my Next Family peeps about Mr. Mayer Hawthorne.

Did you know this silky smooth crooner for the modern age is not only a rapper named Haircut, but also has his very own bobble head?

The more you know kids...

Check out the amazing video for "A Long Time" and then head over to The Next Family blog for more.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Aural Fixation: Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Back with the Fall edition of Aural Fixation.  This time the amazing chef-extraordinaire Catherine McNulty puts her own Autumn-inspired spin on Monkey Bread, adding, you guessed it, pumpkin. Not kidding, this is the best thing I have ever eaten.  Ever...

And of course, along with the recipe, I have prepared a delectable playlist of Fall inspired tunes.  Here's a taste:

With the change in season comes shorter days.  Woodkid knows the consequences when dark begins to overtake the light...

Get the rest of your Aural Fix at fantastablog Tadpole Audio.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There's something about Teenage Girls...

Or so say grunge rockers The Bleeding Knees Club...

The Australian garage duo, comprised of Alex Wall (drums and vocals) and Jordan Malane (guitar), are full of bumps, bruises, guts, and indeed bleeding knees aplenty.

With all of the retro lofi punkers, (Wavves, No Age, and Ty Segall to name a few), it's sometimes hard to distinguish between them.  So what sets The Bleeding Knees Club apart?  Undeniable spunk for one thing.  They are young and filled with energy, hormones and angst.  

Deceivingly simple chords and song structure provide the backing for sophisticated and often complex poetry.  For example, take these lyrics to their song "Bad Guys":

They smoke at night
They make us cry
They get so high
They are bad guys

Check out their newly released Virginity EP on the always engaging IAMSOUND label, and be sure to warmup your neck and arm muscles for thorough head thrashing and air drumming.  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Manic with Azari & III

There is nothing I don't like about this.

Azari & III (pronounced Azari & Third) are the highly buzzed about Toronto based electro duo, who have recently joined forces with vocalists Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full.  This past month they released their debut self-titled full length via Loose Lips Records and the buzz has just grown louder.

"Manic" finds them channeling a darker side of Prince.  Those hypnotic vocal loops put you in a chic-nu-house trance.  It's the perfect dance track for your upcoming Halloween soiree.  That spooky quality is no accident.  Not long ago Alphonse Alixander Lanza III (aka III) was scoring horror films like Time Bomb and Dead Mary

These two have really come out with their own style.  Really, how many men can rock a sequin top?  That self-assuredness has allowed them to fully realize their unique musical vision as two of the baddest electro punks north of the border.  When asked about the influence of the Toronto music scene, Alixander replies "We met in the scene, fuck we were the scene!" 

Check out another single off the debut "Reckless With Your Love," a clever nod to the 90s dance scene.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dillon Francis Meets CSS

Happy Friday folks!

Going to make this simple and straight to the point.  Dillon Francis is my new hero. His CSS remix is one of the best re-imaginings I've heard in a long time.  Of course, it certainly helps when you start off with a killer song.

"Hits Me Like A Rock" - CSS

Dillon Francis, L.A.'s own latest and greatest breakout dj/producer, makes this hipster pop gem sparkle.  Sleak, classy, and literally begging you to shake that thang - I really can't get enough of this.  But seriously, I might have a problem...

Just wait until it really opens up at about 1:25.  Oh damn.  Perfection.

Ting Tings wish they could be this bad.  Do yourself a favor, throw on your shades and make this the weekend jam.  Download here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aeroplane Has Faith

Buzz for his latest album, We Can't Fly, came and went as fast as an Aeroplane flying overhead.

But I have faith this album will bubble up again, and clearly, so does Aeroplane.

"Faith (Aeroplane Remix)" - George Michael

Get more tunes and check out the flashy video on my blog for The Next Family.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Aural Fixation: Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Here's an appetizer before you digest the latest and tastiest Aural Fixation blog.

More delectables at Tadpole Audio.  Yum...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Inland Sounds Summer Playlist

Hey there chickadees and chickadoos.  Summer is here, and it will be gone before you know it.

I've got a sunny playlist for you of some great new summer releases and some classic oldschool summer jams (with a twist, of course).

Here's a taste of what's in store...

Check out the rest of the playlist on my blog for the always amazing The Next Family.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Icona Pop - Swedish Ting Tings

I realize I've been on an unintentional world music tour for the last few blogs, so I think I'll continue with a stop in Stockholm where my new favorite Swedish electro duo first met.

Icona Pop have been making waves with their debut single "Manners."  These ladies deliver sassy pop with a young indie edge a la Ting Tings.

This song is so hooky.  Rugged synths and quirky cowbell give it a fresh perspective.  I can imagine at some point it might get annoying, but for now it's my jam.  As long as they can keep up that delicate balance between indie and pop, I foresee great things in their future.

It was musical love at first sight for these two.  After meeting "one neon lit night" Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt hunkered down, barely sleeping for weeks in a creative flurry. Icona Pop was born out of their love for electronic music, dancing and that indiepop edge that the Swedes do so well.

The single has spawned quite a few remixes.  Captain Cuts is my favorite.

Signed to Mercury Records, this pair is in good company with crossover artists such as Ida Maria, Duffy, Noah and the Whale, and the legendary Portishead.

Looking forward to hearing more from these ladies when they release their full length debut

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Breakbot - Jamiroquai meets Prince meets Art School Confidential

Oh Ed Banger, you never let me down (case in point - Sebastian).  Check out Breakbot's latest jam, "Fantasy," and read more about the long-haired debonaire Frenchman on my blog for The Next Family.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Merci SebastiAn

SebastiAn's latest full length, Total (Ed Banger Records), is undeniable.  That thick, brash, in-your-face garage electro house is unexpected, but very welcome.  A full 23 tracks to get your groove on.  And there's something for everyone.  From the lighter nu-disco Breakbot-esque funk songs like "Arabest," to the heavier wtf-just-happened-and-where-are-my-pants tracks like "C.T.F.O" aka Chill The Fuck Out featuring the one and only M.I.A.

The album's first single, "Embody," falls in the middle ground, leaning a bit toward the lighter side.  Can't get enough of this video.  I dare you to tell me you don't want to dance and/or play a mean game of Sudoku.

What I really love about Total is that cohesive quality.  This album has a clear voice and it's saying "fuck yeah, I'm here to stay bitches."  It's a genuine French creation - industrial, edgy house with a tongue-in-cheek sensibility.  Pushing the boundaries of electronic music, SebastiAn is only going up from here.

My absolute favorite on the album has to be the collaboration with Mayer Hawthorne called "Love In Motion."  Helloooo Prince...

Simply amazing.  The more I listen to this album, the more I hear.  

Merci SebastiAn.  I forgive you for that punctuAtion. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SBTRKT - It's A Crime...

That this anonymous London based producer has released such a stellar self-titled debut (courtesy of tastemakers, Young Turks).  This is easily on my top 10 list for 2011.  Check out the first highly addictive single, "Wildfire," featuring the unbelievably talented Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon (that's not her in the video though...that girl is a hot mess, emphasis on hot).

Fresh production combines with a classy and clean delivery.  Syncopated beats keep your foot tapping and give breath to the piece.  And I can't say enough about the vocals.  Yukimi is in full command, every nuance of her melody perfectly illuminated in the mix.

Literally, every track on this album is a winner.  For instance, "Pharaohs."

When that beat kicks in, it's all over for me.  Once again the mix is absolute perfection.  I'm a sucker for round bass and an emphasis on rhythm.  Perfectly tasteful synths and a playful use of the equalizer reminds us that SBTRKT is definitely a DJ, first and foremost.

He's currently on tour. Crossing my finger's he makes his way over to the west coast.  I want that mask...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vandaveer Digs Down Deep

This is a video from Vandaveer's previous album Divide And Conquer.

As great as Divide And Conquer was, his latest album, Dig Down Deep, is his best yet.  Read more on my blog for the spectacular modern family website, The Next Family.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Boom Clap Boom Clap Boom...

Copenhangen's Boom Clap Bachelors have a new EP, Mellem Dine Læber.  The BCB are a collection of producers, DJs and live artists, often including the remarkable Coco (of Quadron), and my newest love, Liv Lykke (not to be confused with Lykke Li).  This is an old clip featuring both of these ladies in a scaled down acoustic performance.

Unitards aside, this is a brilliant performance.  It is rare to see artists with such depth and evocative control over their vocals.  I only wish I knew what they were singing about...

This latest EP (courtesy of Plug Research) gives us more chilled out future electro poetry.  Liv Lykke's piece "Andres Hænder" is especially lovely.

My favorite part about this group is that quirkiness.  I mean...unitards people.  The video for Coco's classy addition to the latest EP, "Løb Stop Stå" satisfies my craving for weird (though "Falder ind og falder ud" is incredibly strange, as well).  Enjoy.

Happiest of Tuesdays to you.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Aural Fixation - Summer Bites & Bytes

Time for the latest Aural Fix.  This time, my roommate tackles Summer Berry Sour Cream Pancakes (o.m.gastrointestines), while I tackled the summer jams...

Now that you're amped up, check out the rest of the musical cuisine courtesy of Tadpole Audio.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Eddie Vedder & His Ukulele

So beautiful...

Hear more on my blog for The Next Family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kreayshawn - Love It or Hate It?

I just can't decide...

I love me some showty rappers.  Missy Elliot and Nikki Minaj have a special place in my heart.  But Kreayshawn (if that's even your real name)?  I just don't know if I can make room for you.

The good news is I finally know what it would look like if Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga had a love child.

She's like a female Childish Gambino meets Das Racist meets The Lonely Island, only I can't decide whether or not she's joking.  But I am really digging those hints of 90s West Coast Gangster Rap.

In conclusion, I've decided I like this chick, but I'm a little scared to see what comes next.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mr. Little Jeans Meets Arcade Fire

Norwegian dream pop artist Mr. Little Jeans recently released this stunning cover of Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs."

You can download the track for free HERE.

Mr. Little Jeans, aka Monica Birkenes, stands just over 5 feet, but packs one powerful punch.  Influenced by fierce women like PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, Bjork, Santigold and Feist, she infuses her music with an edgy femininity.  Her icey sweet vocals and ear for catchy melodies could easily lend themselves to top 40 pop, but her playful arrangements lean just far enough to straddle that line between commercial and indie.  This is a successful recipe reminiscent of artists like Oh Land and Little Boots.

The beauty has recently turned a lot of heads, garnering a record deal from Sony and recognition from fellow artists.  Both The Naked and Famous and Pacific have put their own spins on Mr. Little Jeans' "Rescue Song," but my favorite rework has to be from RAC.

"Rescue Song (RAC Remix)" - Mr. Little Jeans

You can look forward to her full length debut this year with production by John Hill (Santigold, M.I.A).  Definitely one to keep your eye on.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Villagers Meet Charlotte Gainsbourg

Oh happiest of Fridays.  This long weekend couldn't come soon enough.

Let's leave the week with some beautiful singer-songwriter tunes.  Mercury Prize nominee Conor O'Brien (of Villagers) kindly wrote this lovely piece for the one and only Charlotte Gainsbourg.

It's called "Memoir."

Aah, perfection.  This little gem was released last month on Record Store Day (April 16th).  It will appear on her much anticipated upcoming LP to be released in the Fall.

It's recently been rumored that Conor will record this piece himself for his own upcoming album.  In case you don't know Villagers, take a minute to raise your hand, open your palm, reach out wide, and swing it swiftly into your cheek.  Then listen to this amazing piece from their debut full-length, Becoming A Jackal (Domino Records).

"Pieces" - Villagers

Yeah, he howls.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

RAC Take On The Indie Greats

Remix Artist Collective, aka RAC have been reworking our favorites for the last three years. They're known to stray from the typical club remixes to re-imagine choice selections in a novel way.

Take their interpretation of "Houdini" by trending indie pop rockers Foster The People:

(On a complete side note, if you love "Houdini" you need to check out DJ Valida's remix, which you can stream and download HERE)

The international group of DJs and producers know that the most important element in creating a remix is to start with a great template.  Tackling artists as diverse as Radiohead, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Massive Attack, John Legend and Lenka, they put their own spin on songs they love, and offer it up to the public for FREE.  Yes, for free on their website.

Listen to their take on Phantogram's "When I'm Small."

Here's a list of my favorites, all downloadable:
"When I'm Small (RAC Mix)" - Phantogram
"Repetition Kills You (RAC Mix)" - The Black Ghosts
"Rescue Song (RAC Mix)" - Little Boots
"Walking On A Dream (RAC Mix)" - Empire of the Sun
"Heavy Cross (RAC Mix)" - The Gossip
"Super Mario Brothers (RAC Mix)" - yes that's exactly what you think it is, but better.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Julianna Barwick ~ The One-Woman Choir

Turn off the ADD for four minutes, and get sucked into the choral layers of "Prizewinning."

Known as the one-woman choir, Brooklyn native Julianna Barwick has been experimenting with sound ever since she discovered the loop pedal.  Her third album The Magic Place (released February 22nd on Asthmatic Kitty) is her most sophisticated work yet.  Rather than her usual homemade recordings, she was able to secure a space with instruments at hand, including a baby grand which comes up quite a bit on the full length.  The Magic Place is a lush and stunning ambient journey, perfect to play as your falling asleep if you're into weird dreams.

Barwick's love affair with reverb, layers, effects pedals and wordless vocalizations yields stunning results not unlike that of Asthmatic Kitty founder, Sufjan Stevens.  She reaches back to her church-singing roots and allows for a free-form experiment in sound to take place.  There is a sort of faith that happens when she begins her improvised harmonies as she never knows where they will go, and this spiritual, almost haunting presence lingers long after each song is complete. 

Alias Pail brings us a percussion heavy, loop happy remix of "Prizewinning," a feat I wasn't sure could be done tastefully.  This is one worthy of the turntables.

"Prizewinning (Alias Pail Remix)" - Julianna Barwick

In her own words, Julianna aims to create "that kind of decaying sound that rings in the architecture."  I must say, mission accomplished.

Monday, May 16, 2011

k.d. lang Confesses

She's guilty of a fantastic new video and full length - k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang - Sing It Loud.

For a woman who supposedly suffers from writers block, this album is a testament to her innate talents.  Read more on my blog for The Next Family.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Telepopmusik - Mad Fresh. Just Gets Fresher

I only just discovered the likes of French trio Telepopmusik, but I've been jamming to "Da Hoola" nonstop for the past week.  This song makes me want to rock a gold tooth and a cardigan.  Check it out peeps.

"Da Hoola" - Telepopmusik

"Mad fresh, just gets fresher." Truer words have never been spoken.  This little gem came out in 2002, and has only ripened with time.  That rap is killer.  To be honest, I still can't make sense of the lyrics, so I'll just chalk them up to free-form poetry.  And that groovy instrumental is just begging to be sampled. 

Telepopmusik's album Genetic World was released nine years ago on Capitol.  It made a splash for a hot minute with a major synch on a Mitsubishi commercial, but soon faded off of our radar.  While "Da Hoola" is an anomaly on the LP, the rest of the songs are definitely worth a listen.  They have more of an acid house/trip hop liquid lounge feel.

If you have a taste for Air and Portishead, you'll enjoy their video for "Love Can Damage Your Health."

I did notice some activity on their myspace page, so I'm keeping my hopes up that we'll be hearing more from them soon...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rainbow Arabia - Local Goods

Echo Park is home to hipsters, eccentrics, and artsy coffee shops aplenty. It's also home to indie prog pop duo Rainbow Arabia.

Pull up your ripped skinny jeans and take a listen at my KCRW blog.

Disclaimer - If the joker from Batman scares you look away children. Look away...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Paul Simon - Channeling Harry Nilsson, and God

That's right folks.  His latest album might be his best.  Check out some tracks via my blog for The Next Family.

Happy Monday.  It's friggin HOT.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

tUnE-yArDs - Pretty Sure Merrill Garbus Is Crazy...

In the best way.

Hands down my favorite album so far in 2011.  Hear the goodness on KCRW's blog, here.

Aural Fixation - Cinco de Mayo Edition

Cinco de Mayo inspired treats for the ears and tummy courtesy of kick ass blog, Tadpole Audio.

Get your Aural Fix HERE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Feminists, Put Your Earmuffs On

Everyone else, enjoy Rafael Casal's "B*tch."

In case you were wondering, that delicious sample is courtesy of "Get Out My Life, Woman" by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Rafael Casal has impeccable delivery.  His rhythms flow effortlessly along with that cheeky inflection.  Combine this with saucy lyrics and compelling samples (<--click that for a good time) and you find an intuitive nod to old school hip hop. 

I spent way too much time creating this clean, DJ-friendly version of "B*tch," so thought I'd share: "B*tch" - Rafael Casel (Sierra's Clean Version)

Hailing from the Bay Area, Casal, aka Mr. Getback is a writer, first and foremost.  He began as a spoken word artist, ditching high school to teach his craft to other teens.  By 16, he was touring, performing and teaching spoken world nationwide, donating his time to the Youth Speaks project, all while simultaneously getting his own high school degree.  He explains, "I had a unique interest in language, and felt that it was the best tool/weapon for anyone looking to better themselves and their environment.”

Let me just be lame for a second and quote Wikipedia: Rafael Casal is a "2-time (Inter)National BNV Poetry Slam Finalist Champion, a 3-Time cast member of Russell Simmons' Def Poetry, and has shared the stage with the likes of Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, KRS-ONE, Kanye West, Alanis Morisette, De La Soul, George Clinton, Carole King."  And he's only 26.  Dayum.

Enjoy the funked out "Foxy Girls (Candy Store)" while you download both The Monster LP & The Bay Boy Mixtape for free courtesy of Rafael's bandcamp

"Foxy Girls (Candy Store)" - Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs

Monday, April 18, 2011

Agesandages Is Not A Cult

Or so it says on their label's website. 

Hear more from this Portland septet on my blog for The Next Family.

Happy Monday folks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Brian Lopez - Or As I Like To Call Him B-Lo

Brian Lopez is a man after my own heart.  Somewhere during the last few years I completely fell for Latin culture.  The food, the art, the language, and of course the music.

Here's a sneak peak at Brian's new solo project.  Mind you, this is a LIVE recording...

"El Pajaro Y El Ciervo" - Brian Lopez

So jealous of people who can whistle.

Spanish, English and even a little French combine in a pseudo chamber-folk setting on the upcoming album Ultra, courtesy of Funzalo Records.  Brian's sublime vocals are perfectly fitted for the warmth and drama of this solo effort.

His Devotchka-esque sound evolved naturally.  There was no master plan.   Perhaps it was his trip to Barcelona that influenced the multi-cultural sound.  Or it could be his more recent run with Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta, the indie mambo collective (definitely worth checking out, if only for the fact that they describe themselves as "indie mambo").  Maybe it was simply divine fate, a romantic thought fitting for such an album.

You might recognize that impressive voice from Lopez' other project, Mostly Bears.   A completely different sound - edgy psychedelic indie rock.  While most of their songs fit into that category, there was one, namely "Leda Atomica," that always stuck out to me.  Brian's voice, so haunting and nostalgic, really drew me in and elevated that band to a new level.  He kindly reworks this song into an epic 7 minute ballad on his solo LP, infusing it with strings and, my absolute favorite, Spanish spoken word.  I have no idea what he's saying.  He could be talking about nachos and I would gladly melt like cheese. 

But, friends, you'll have to wait to hear the goodness as there isn't a set release date for the full length. In the meantime, you can purchase some of the tunes on his El Blanco - EP.

Going to leave you with another gem to set your Friday off on the right foot, "Vagabundo."  Do yourself a favor and grab the full song here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Can't You Want Me Like The Other Boys Do?

Flight Facilities' "Crave You" is one of the sexiest songs I've heard in a long time.  Try to keep your clothes on people...

This track has been around for a little while now, but only recently found it's way into my DJ sets.  It's always the song that brings people up to my turntables begging, "Please, I need to know who this is!"

Let's just start with the lyrics.  Giselle Rosselli's seductively casual vocals deliver a candid "I want you" longing that can heat up any room, making this the perfect addition to your make-out playlist.  And oh, when that beat kicks in... Every time I listen to this song my heart jumps in anticipation of that warm sultry pulse, an aphrodisiac of a rhythm.  Consider this the chilled-out flirty update to Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me." 

It's definitely worth your while to dig into the countless remixes as well.  The C90s' driving rework is a favorite.

The anonymous DJ duo known as Flight Facilities are rumored to hail from Sydney, Australia, though their music possesses a definitive Euro-vibe in my opinion.  While "Crave" is their first original piece, it is their remix ability that first turned heads.  They've reworked tunes from Bag Raiders, The C90s, Lowbrows, Toecutter, and more. 

Love the subtle disco vibe they put on Cut Copy:

"Take Me Over (Flight Facilities Remix)" - Cut Copy

You can find more goods from Flight Facilities as well as other freebies on their label's website Bang Gang 12 Inches.  I could comment on the name of that label, but I'm going to let it slide because they have such a wicked roster.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dubstep 101

In case you've been hiding in a cave for the last few years and need to get your dubstep edumecation on, here's a little tutorial I came across.

But seriously...

Dubstep was once a counter-movement in music, but what you may not realize is how widespread its influence has become.  From Radiohead's subtle interpretation on King of Limbs to Britney Spears' candy-coated adoption on Femme Fatale, that characteristic abstract bass has wobbled on over to the mainstream.

With artists like James Blake pushing the boundaries of this relatively new genre, infusing it with warmth and soul, it's clear that dubstep has yet to peak.  Whether you like the style or not, it's opening the door for more challenging music to infiltrate the pop scene, and that can only yield great things.

I'll leave you with a piece from Sir Dubstep himself, Bassnectar.  Strap on your unnecessary glasses and get your grime on peeps.

"The 808 Track" - Bassnectar Featuring Mighty High Coup

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Belle Brigade have a secret...

They are awesome.  Secret's out.

Listen to my favorites from their debut and watch a bathtub acoustic session at The Next Family.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Royksopp Show Review - March 29th at The Wiltern

Royksopp graced the stage at The Wiltern last night.  Great venue, funky crowd, and one stellar set.  Check out my review on the KCRW blog.

Bites and Bytes at Tadpole Audio

My gifted chef-roommate Catherine "Nom-Nom" McNulty and I teamed up to bring scrumptious delicacies for your ears and belly courtesy of faboosh Music Blog Tadpole Audio.  Check out the first installment of Aural Fixation, and bring a napkin.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daydreaming in the Dark Dark Dark

Do yourself a favor. Take 5 minutes and abide by the title of Dark Dark Dark's single "Daydreaming" as you watch their video.

Oh, how to describe. Is beautiful too banal a word?  Breathtaking. Humble. Honest. At times, haunting.  The warmth of those keys and Nona Invie's stunning voice lulls us into a hypnotic triplet sway.  Brushes on snare swing gently, topped with strings, banjo, and yes, accordion.  This piece begs us to slow down, admire the beauty in the world, and daydream.

Dark Dark Dark began as a means of making gas money on a road trip to New Orleans, but Invie and fellow founder Marshall LaCount quickly found traction with their music.  Supply & Demand were lucky enough to sign the group, releasing their first official full length in 2008.  More recently, their 2010 sophomore release Wild Go found critical acclaim for songs such as "In Your Dreams."  Listen below.

"In Your Dreams" - Dark Dark Dark

The quintet float effortlessly across genres, citing such varied influences as classical, jazz, world and top 40 pop. This eclectic chamber-style folk collective bring an honesty to their music that surpasses any need for classification.  The music speaks for itself, utilizing Nona's dazzling vocals as a medium to convey lyrical treasures that are often lost in the hussle of modern living.

They will be gracing the Satellite in Los Angeles on April 28th.  Take a look at some of their amazing live performances on youtube (like this rendition of "Wild Goose Chase") and you'll know why it's worth your while to buy a ticket.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crystal Fighters - The Spanish Naked & Famous?

This song reminds me of "Young Blood" by Naked & Famous.

It's an uber catchy track, and there's nothing wrong with that.  But when Crystal Fighters decided to make a remix ep, the song veered away from pop for a new level of distinctive sophistication.  I fell for the Berou & Canblaster Remix.  Listen below.

"At Home (Berou & Canblaster Remix)" - Crystal Fighters

While the original song is playful in its use of percussion, Berou & Canblaster accentuate these neo-tribal leanings with all sorts of unexpected bangs, whistles, hisses and droplets as the backbone behind those balmy reverb/delay heavy vocals.  The tune finds a new industrial spirituality in the B&C remix, which for me, exceeds the original by challenging the ear.

It's certainly worth checking out the rest of Crystal Fighters debut album Star of Love, which was released last October on the bands own label, Zirkulo.  The Spanish five-some began to take off when Laure (vocals) found a manuscript filled with her late grandfather's prophetic musings, written during his final months of insanity.  Enraptured with his writing, they decided to base their album on these spiritual themes, such as the power of the sun and finding peace in the journey toward death.  In fact, their name, Crystal Fighters, is drawn from her grandfather's unfinished opera.

With such a unique creative force to guide them, this intriguing album begs a second look.  "At Home" is one of the poppier tunes.  I recommend checking out "I Love London" and "Follow" to get a glimpse into their variety of style and edginess.  They also have quite the collection of quirky videos that my eyes have been glued to all week. Do yourself a favor and head over to their myspace to watch.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Michel Gondry directs The Living Sisters

I'm excited to say that I've just begun contributing music articles to a fantastic organization, The Next Family.  It is the prime resource for "alternative" families, and really anyone who has kids.

Check out the Michel Gondry directed video for The Living Sisters' "How Are You Doing," and dig into the rest of my post about the lovely threesome here.  While you're at it, take a minute to explore the site for parenting tips, travel ideas, health information, gossip, and much more...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kurt Russell is a man of many talents...

Here's a tasty little treat for this sunny Friday afternoon.

Girl, if you were in this park with me we would have a romantic picnic.  I'd shower you with Charles Shaw and mini-quiches.  We could play frisbee barefoot and feed the ducks.  I love ducks.  I'd let you push me on the tire swing while we watch the sunset.  Then we'd head back to my place to re-enact scenes from Overboard.

But first, I need to remove my satin blouse. I'm starting to chafe in this heat.


"Dizzy" - Kurt Russell

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daedelus + Inara George = Magic

Thanks to Dan Wilcox, I discovered this little gem over the weekend. Can't stop listening...

"Penny Loafers" - Daedelus featuring Inara George

Daedelus' experimental sounds always feel intelligent and classy.  But with Inara George on board, this tune jumps to a whole new level of elegance.  Those operatic trills alone give me goosebumps.  Add to that her honey-sweet vocals modulating a most sharp and tactful verbal smack-down.  Always the master of layering, Daedelus sprinkles in effected 50s jingle-style harmonies as that rich synth foundation rocks us steadily on a wave of new-school luxury.

Alfred Darlington, aka Daedelus, pioneered the live use of monome (as pictured above), bringing the electronic experience to a whole new level.  This Santa Monica native has been "rocking my dime" (in the best way) for about 10 years now on a multitude of different labels.  You may also recognize him as a founding DJ of Dublab, the Los Angeles based internet radio station and canvas for a collection of progressive audio and visual arts.

His latest album, Bespoke, will be released April 11th on Ninja Tune.  He's described the album title as "a term employed to mean an item custom-made to measure."  Ever the perfectionist, Bespoke is a paragon of his meticulous style of production.  I already pre-ordered my vinyl, but it can't get here fast enough.  Here's another taste:

"One and Lonely" - Daedelus featuring Young Dad

If you are heading out to Austin this week be sure to catch him at SXSW to see his mastery of the monome first-hand. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trust - for fans of The XX and Fever Ray

How is it they make this relatively uneventful roadtrip look so badass?

Damn, I want a gummy worm...

Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski were looking for an outlet during the cold Canadian winter of 2009, so they decided to form a band.   Freezing temperatures and gloomy forecasts inspired their chilly and, dare I say, penetrating sound.

Trust brings us a fresh take on emotronica.  Their songs are filled with dark synths, coldwave techno beats, and Alfons' deliciously spacey baritone.  They immerse blatantly erotic tunes like "Candy Walls" and "Gloryhole" in a new wave mystique that yields a pseudo hipster gothtronic desire.  I can only imagine they wear their sunglasses at night.

Candy Walls will be released March 29th as a 7".  Mixed by Mikey Apples of Crystal Castles, the B-side is another stunner entitled "Trinity."  Listen below.

This Canadian duo are already creating a lot of buzz in Toronto, opening for Hercules and Love Affair, Zola Jesus, and more.  You can catch them next week at SXSW.  Let's hope they make their way down to L.A. soon...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tristen - Beauty With A Bite

She's one pretty voice with one seriously dark sense of humor.  Check out the video for "Matchstick Murder" and you'll get the idea:

Tristen's album Charlatans at the Gate was released a little over a month ago courtesy of American Myth Recordings.  Having written and produced the album almost entirely by herself, she clearly has a strong point of view.  Her style is refreshingly unique.  Pop melodies infused with a pseudo-southern rockabilly sound.  Her use of harmonies and background vocals adds a sort of apron-doo wop feel that makes light of the surprisingly dark topics she tackles on this 11 song debut: liars, drug addiction, breakups. Standard singer-songwriter topics I suppose, but she delivers lyrics that surprise at every turn with double entendres and witty metaphors.

"Baby Drugs" is another stand-out track.  Take a listen.

"Baby Drugs" - Tristen

The entire album is filled with gems like the above.  Make sure you stop by her website, here, for a free 4 song download.

Tristen is currently on tour, hitting up SXSW next week.  And if you aren't one of the lucky few (and by few I mean 13,000, give or take), you can catch her at The Satellite, May 6th.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baths, Braids & A Mini Euro-Rave at the Troubadour

I had the pleasure of attending the Baths/Braids/Gobble Gobble show at the Troubadour this past weekend. Who is Gobble Gobble you ask? See my review on the KCRW blog for deets.

Baths/Braids Show Review

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why Don't More Bands Use Autoharp?

Yellowbirds is the new project from Apollo Sunshine's Sam Cohen.  Indie folk rock goodness with a tinge of 70s psychedelia.

Here's my favorite track off the brand new debut album, The Color (Royal Potato Family Records).

"In Our World" - Yellowbirds

Suntanned dreamy rock that bears a nostalgia for decades past.  The album feels a lot like the artwork (above), a retrospective collage which was also handmade by Cohen.  With layers of autoharp, organ, fuzz guitar, and delicious  harmonies on top of solid classic rock drums and timeless lyrics, this album nods to bands like Big Star and The Velvet Underground.

Take a listen to their single, The Honest Ocean, and be transported to your own private Woodstock.  Love that organ... 

While Apollo Sunshine's albums were more musically surprising from track to track, The Color moves pretty seamlessly, making it an easy choice for your next breezy road trip. 

Speaking of which, if you're headed to SXSW this year be sure to catch them live.

Fun Fact: Sam Cohen performed as a session musician on Shakira's "She Wolf." Owoooooooo!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Timber Timbre - If Frankenstein Could Sing...

He would probably sound like this.

Those estranged vocals.  That playful use of horns.  The unapologetic bass.  A twinkling from a surely cobweb-filled upright.  And all of these elements mixed to perfection in such a deceptively simple arrangement.  Did you feel those 6 minutes go by, or were you busy daydreaming of overgrown cabins hidden away amid some dank and haunted marshland?

"Black Water" is a beautifully crafted piece that lives in a world of it's own, along with the rest of Timber Timbre's musical offerings.   Their goosebump inducing sound engulfs the listener in a most beautifully dramatic and eerie swamp blues.  Like Tom Waits or Patrick Watson, their music is darkly cinematic, conceptual, and yet unassumingly palpable.  It's no wonder Taylor Kirk, (singer and multi-instrumentalist for the band) sites Bernard Herrmann as one of his key influences.  Timber Timbre could easily be the soundtrack for some twisted high society zombie gathering.
These Canadians first came into the spotlight in 2009 with a self-titled album that garnered critical attention, and frankly turned a lot of heads.  Personally, I fell for them the minute I heard "Lay Down In The Tall Grass."  Listen below.

Creep On Creepin' On is their fourth studio album, to be released April 5th on Arts & Crafts.  Fittingly, they will be playing alongside Patrick Watson late March.  May be time for a road trip to Canada...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bitch, I Feel Good - Birthday Blog

On this relatively gloomy February 25th, as I find myself growing yet another year older (and wiser), I'd like to share my feelings with you via Gold Panda's remix of Chip Tha Ripper.

Normally I'd dissect this song and remark on those fantastically effected steel drums, Chip's perfectly saucy lyrics and delivery, Gold Panda's surprising yet fruitful remix selection, and the fact that when I listen to this song and close my eyes, the rain falling down on the roof actually feels like it's coming from a tropical rain forest where I am sitting wrapped in palm leaves eating a banana with a gold tooth and a gangsta lean.

But today, I'm feeling lazy.  It's my birthday and I'm going to Umami Burger.

Bitch, I Feel Good.

As a birthday gift to you all, please download for yourself, put on some shades, grab your nether regions, and rock out.

"Feelgood (Hancock Mix)" - Chip Tha Ripper (Gold Panda Remix)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dirty Projectors Meets Animal Collective = Braids

Lush.  Dreamy.  Evocative.  Check out "Lemonade" by Braids.

Hailing from Montreal, Canada, home to buzz artists like Arcade Fire, Chromeo, and Patrick Watson, these art rockers are taking note from their predecessors by creating music that is both intelligent and accessible.  While their sound isn't necessarily cutting edge, they certainly execute it with impeccable sophistication.  Anchoring lush spacey layers with concrete vocal melodies to create serene and breathtaking arrangements.

Loops, delays and reverb give way to this wonderland of sound.  While you're busy being absorbed into the folds, you might also notice the lyrics are actually quite provocative:

Now what do you say to a man who's got no taste,
who's really got no potential
except to procreate so inessential.

If you're out in Lost Angeles you may want to hit up their show, March 5th at the Troubadour with equally amazing electrophiles Baths and Star Slinger.  I've heard their live show has brought people to tears.  I'll be there with a box of tissues.  Feel free to say hello.

Listen for yourself to the apparent culprit of the waterworks, title song "Native Speaker."

If you can't make the show, I suggest you get yourself a copy of their debut full length Native Speaker (out now on Kanine Records), hop in your car, roll down the windows, and drive off into the sunset with no particular destination.