PHW - Aug/Sept 2010

MP3 :: Glitter / No Age

MP3 :: Infinity Guitars / Sleigh Bells

MP3 :: When I Come Home / The Drums

MP3 :: Come With Me / ceo

MP3 :: Tightrope / Janelle Monae (ft. Big Boi) – (Hype Machine link)

MP3 :: Fuck You / Cee-Lo Green – (Hype Machine link)

MP3 :: Monster / Kanye West (ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver, & Nicki Minaj)

MP3 :: and to the dust we shall return / Slow Dancing Society

MP3 :: Bred to Bug / Out Like Lambs

MP3 :: Feeling Today / Botany

MP3 :: Comin’ Through / The War On Drugs

MP3 :: Superball / Magic Kids

MP3 :: Quiet Wars / The Capstan Shafts

MP3 :: Up Past the Nursery / Suuns

MP3 :: Like the Wheel / The Tallest Man On Earth

MP3 :: Diamondback / J. Tillman

[mp3] Gang of Four - "Never Pay for the Farm"

Post-punk legends Gang of Four will release Content, their first album of new material in 16 years, on January 25. Grab first single “Never Pay for the Farm” for the price of an email by following the link below.

MP3 :: Never Pay for the Farm

(from Content. Info here)


[mp3] Botany - "Feeling Today"

Botany is the work of Spencer Stephenson from Weatherford, TX. Western Vinyl will release his debut EP, Feeling Today, sometime next month. Take a listen to the dreamy, found-sound ambience of the title track below and stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.

MP3 :: Feeling Today
(from Feeling Today EP. Info here)

[video] Suuns - "Up Past the Nursery"

Suuns- Up Past The Nursery from Suuns on Vimeo.

Suuns’ excellent debut, Zeroes QC, is out 10/12 through Secretly Canadian.

MP3 :: Up Past the Nursery
MP3 :: Arena
(from Zeroes QC. Info here)

No Age - Everything In Between

After two albums of sonically daring fuzz-punk and lo-fi noise experiments, California duo No Age have drastically broadened their sonic approach on their brilliant third album, Everything In Between. No doubt the new songs still assault with a distinct noise/punk sneer, but the band has brightened its corners with more songwriting focus, tighter melodies, and just about the greatest use of noise effects on a rock record that I can think of. The four-song album-opening run alone will leave you breathless – the personal “Life Prowler” kicks things off with heavy drums, abrasive feedback, an electric guitar line that is actually pretty, and blasts of noise that sound like horror-movie screams. With its building instrumental lead-in and near-anthemic vocals, first single “Glitter” comes on like an art/punk “Where the Streets Have No Name”. “Fever Dreaming” and “Depletion” then basically wreck everything in their path – the former perhaps the band’s best most melodic shredder yet and the latter not far behind. A few well-placed instrumentals pepper the rest of the album, which also mixes nervous sonic experiments like “Sorts” with full-steam-ahead rockers like “Shred and Transcend”. But Everything In Between’s most disarming song is saved for last. “Chem Trails” inconceivably sounds like a call-and-response combination of Modern English’s 80’s one-hit-wonder “I Melt With You” and Bowie’s “Heroes” (which along with LCD Soundsystem’s “All I Want” and Arcade Fire’s “Half Light II (No Celebration)” is at least the third great indie-rock song of the year to blatantly nod to this classic). It’s the band’s most pop-oriented song to date and an inspired way to end their finest album. As a whole, Everything In Between maintains the scrappy punk aesthetic of their early work but combines it with a greater emphasis on musicality and song craft. It’s easily one of the year’s very best albums.

MP3 :: Glitter
(from Everything In Between. Buy here)

[mp3] The Drums - "When I Come Home"

After a nervy indie-pop debut and a nighttime exercise video for “Let’s Go Surfing”, The Drums have released a new song for free download for fans. I’m not sure if this is just a one-off or perhaps a demo for a future release, but the bouncy “When I Come Home” has been a live staple for a while and finds the band doing what they do best.

(from The Drums. Buy here)

[video] Sleigh Bells - "Infinity Guitars"

Sleigh Bells "Infinity Guitars" from Phil Pinto on Vimeo.

MP3 :: Infinity Guitars
(from Treats. Buy here)

Introducing: Out Like Lambs

New Jersey’s Out Like Lambs is a band that will no doubt get lumped in with folk/Americana artists over the coming months as their debut LP, Not So Winter Waltz, starts spreading around and gaining attention. That’s fine, I guess, if you’re interested in really limiting what this band seems to be all about. Listening to the 9 songs that comprise the new album I hear almost more of a free jazz influence, as songs don’t seem to have been rehearsed and recorded so much as given an attitude of “Let’s just invite a bunch of friends over and start playing and whatever happens happens. The more the merrier.” Not So Winter Waltz doesn’t belong to one genre because the diversity in these 9 songs transcends genre labels. The basis of these songs is certainly folk music, but rarely, if ever, do the songs follow any sort of familiar structure or logical route from Point A to Point B. Sixteen musicians are credited in the liner notes for having contributed to the recording, and if there’s an instrument that can be plucked, strummed, or blown into it probably makes an appearance. The songs themselves come across more like hymns, with whispers, high harmonies, and communal chants floating around in the mix over the dozens of instruments. Opener “Bred to Bug”, available below as a free download from the band, is a wondrous seven-minute slow jam that evolves without overpowering, its gentle, seemingly improvised beauty more felt than heard. And that’s the power of the rest of the experimental, wide-open songs that make up Out Like Lambs’ striking debut as well. New Jersey just keeps ‘em coming.

MP3 :: Bred To Bug (via Bandcamp)
(from Not So Winter Waltz. Buy here)

[mp3] Deerhunter - "Helicopter" (Star Slinger remix)

“Helicopter” is from Deerhunter’s upcoming Halcyon Digest, due out 9/28 from 4AD. Check out the remix by UK producer Star Slinger below.

MP3 :: Helicopter (Star Slinger remix)

The Walkmen - Lisbon

Contrary to what the internet thinks these days, The Walkmen have always been a “mature” band. They were among the first wave of indie-rock bands to have a song played in a car commercial; they were using toy pianos on their 2002 debut, and New Orleans-styled horn sections by 2006. They released a Harry Nilsson cover album for crying out loud. Needless to say, this was never a band that was ever tied to some punk mindset or limited themselves to one-dimensional fast/loud song structures. If you couldn’t see a record as nuanced, textured, and flat out brilliant as You & Me coming from a hundred miles off than you weren’t paying attention during their formative years. Yeah, their un-fucking believably great “The Rat”, from 2004’s Bows + Arrows, shreds like nobody’s business, but it infamously sports the cathartic declaration, “When I used to go out I’d know everyone I saw, now I go out alone if I go out at all”. Not exactly a party anthem from a NYC guy in his mid twenties.

The brand new Lisbon, their third brilliant album and fifth overall, doesn’t find them growing old gracefully, but rather refining the simple approach they’ve been utilizing for almost a decade – writing great indie-rock songs and playing them in the most effective manner possible. Like its predecessor, Lisbon’s songs may be, on the whole, quieter than those of earlier albums, but they are certainly no less intense. In fact, “Angela Surf City” hits with more brute force than anything they’ve done in years. Unsurprisingly though, that song’s explosive arrangement and soaring chorus only tell one side of this band’s story. “Stranded” sounds like it was cut from the same cloth as You & Me’s centerpiece “Red Moon”, with boozy horns punctuating Hamilton Leithauser’s wounded vocals. The bouncy “Woe Is Me” is far and away the most pop-influenced song the band has yet attempted, and the deceptively intricate “All My Great Designs” unfolds over nearly five minutes of spaced-out, chiming guitars and perfectly smacked drums. And “Juveniles”, with its luminous guitars and stick-in-your-head melody, is their strongest album opener yet, starting Lisbon off with confidence and (shudder to think) positivity.

While many of their early-aughts contemporaries have seen their initial buzz dwindle, The Walkmen have grown as a band from album to album. It’s hard to say that they are getting better, but that’s more of a comment on their consistency than a knock against where they are now. They’ve proved to be one of the best band’s in indie-rock and, once again, have produced an album that expands on what we thought they capable of. That’s not a band that’s “growing old gracefully”. “Growing old gracefully” implies there’s some sort of comfortable predictability. With Lisbon, The Walkmen sound like they're hitting their stride.

MP3 :: Stranded
(from Lisbon. Buy here)

[mp3] Suuns - "Up Past the Nursery"

The first half of Suuns’ impressive forthcoming debut, Zeroes QC, is mostly comprised of instrumentally based post-rock jams, such as the previously posted “Arena”. It’s the record’s back half though where the more accessible songs lie. “Up Past the Nursery” sports a slinky, electro-rock rhythm from the Montreal quartet, as well as lead singer Ben Shemie’s whispered, alien-like vocals. Though their influences are clearly varied over the album’s 10 songs, there are a few moments when Suun’s music reminds me a lot of Clinic’s “Distortions”. This is one of them, as is the gorgeous closer "Organ Blues". Download it below courtesy of Secretly Canadian. Zeroes QC comes out October 12.

MP3 :: Up Past the Nursery
MP3 :: Arena
(from Zeroes QC. Info here)

[mp3] J. Tillman - "Diamondback"

Following a 2009 in which he just flat out raked, J. Tillman is releasing his 7th studio album this week. I’ve only been through it 1 ½ times so far, so it hasn't really sunk in yet, but it’s pretty safe to say at this point that Singing Ax is a particularly bleak set of songs from a songwriter whose past work has rarely been anything but. It was recorded over 3 days last February by Steve Albini in Chicago. For the most part the album is simply Tillman’s sparse acoustic guitar and weary vocals, as on “Diamondback”, the second song to be given away as a free download by Western Vinyl.

MP3 :: Diamondback
MP3 :: Three Sisters
(from Singing Ax. Buy here)

And in related news, today An Aquarium Drunkard shared a full length tribute/cover album Tillman recorded of Neil Young’s classic Tonight’s the Night. Check that out here.

Cotton Jones - Tall Hours in the Glowstream

As the leader of whimsical folk/rock band Page France, Michael Nau crafted songs full of fairy tales and spiritual longings. Just as that band seemed on the verge of bigger things, on the heels of two rich, evocative albums (Hello, Dear Wind & …and the Family Telephone), they disbanded. Nau soon resurfaced with fellow Page France member Whitney McGraw and formed The Cotton Jones Basket Ride, which was thereafter trimmed to just Cotton Jones. Their second album, Tall Hours in the Glowstream, might just be the most perfectly named album I’ve heard all year. Trading in the carnival-like folk of Page France, Glowstream features a melodic, soulful dream-pop/country hybrid that sounds little like Nau’s earlier band. The music is swathed in reverb, nostalgia, and a heavenly organ, giving much of it a vintage feel that wouldn’t sound out of place on some A.M. radio station that mixes oldies with classic country. Each of the 11 tracks is memorable on its own, but the whole record achieves a sonic unity that allows the songs to flow naturally from one to the next. Nau’s nasally vocals have been tempered, here sounding more like a Roy Orbison-like soul crooner, and are complimented by McGraw’s lovely harmonies and occasional leads (as on opener “Sail of the Silver Morning” and the downright glorious first single, “Glorylight and Christie”). It all adds up to a gorgeous, hypnotic listen – one of the better albums I’ve heard over the past few months.

MP3 :: Glorylight & Christie
(from Tall Hours in the Glowstream. Buy here)

[video] Uncle Tupelo - "The Long Cut" (live on Conan O'Brien)

Here’s Uncle Tupelo in February 1994 making their television debut on Conan, soon after the Anodyne release and shortly before their last ever show the following May. According to Greg Kot’s Wilco biography Learning How To Die, the band was asked by their label (and Conan’s people) to perform “The Long Cut”, a Jeff Tweedy song, on T.V. over one of Jay Farrar’s. Needless to say at that point in the band’s tumultuous history, the request didn’t go over well with the soon-to-be Son Volt frontman (he had already announced the dissolution of UT and was only still touring out of loyalty to their manager). Regardless of the circumstances, a long-haired Tweedy sounds completely engaged here. Gaining gain confidence as the song goes, Tweedy rips into his vocals in a way that, now, we haven’t heard from him in years - with the ferocity of an artist who’s got a lot to prove.

[mp3] Japandroids - "Heavenward Grand Prix"

“Heavenward Grand Prix” is the latest in a series of outtakes from Japandroids’ brilliant garage/punk debut, Post Nothing, to be released as a digital/7” single. Not quite the shredder that “Younger Us” was, but we’ll take it. The single will be backed by a cover of PJ Harvey’s “Shame” and is out 11/16 on Polyvinyl. Via Stereogum.

MP3 :: Heavenward Grand Prix
(from Heavenward Grand Prix 7”. Info here)

[mp3] Sufjan Stevens - "Too Much"

I don’t think we’re in Illinois anymore. Terribly sorry for that. “Too Much” is from The Age of Adz, due from Asthmatic Kitty in October. And no, it isn’t a DMB cover.

MP3 :: Too Much
(from The Age of Adz. Pre-order here)

[mp3] The Tallest Man on Earth - "Like the Wheel"

Hot on the heels of last spring’s brilliant The Wild Hunt, Dead Oceans announced today that The Tallest Man on Earth will release an EP of newly written & recorded material. One of the songs on Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird is “Like the Wheel”, which has closed many live sets and become a fan favorite over the past few months. Sometime around the record release I came across a piano/demo version of it online, which is great and maybe something I can share at some point, but here it is as intended – beautifully finger-picked acoustic guitars and Kristian Mattson’s striking voice. I don’t want to say that he just keeps getting better, because that wouldn’t be fair to “Love Is All”, “Burden of Tomorrow”, “Kids on the Run”, et al, but seriously, he’s close. Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird is available exclusively on iTunes until its November 9 release date.

MP3 :: Like the Wheel
(from Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird. Info here)
(from The Wild Hunt. Buy here)

[mp3/video] Tennis - "Bimini Bay" (live/acoustic)

The Wild Honey Pie, in conjunction with I Guess I’m Floating, recently caught up with the much-buzzed Tennis while the band had a couple of free minutes between NYC gigs. Though the boy-girl duo (wait, are they a trio?) specializes in radiant indie-pop, here they are playing a stripped down version of a new song called “Bimini Bay”. Watch the video and download the track here.
MP3 :: Baltimore
MP3 :: Marathon
(from Baltimore 7”. Info here)

[video] Radiohead Live In Praha

“The Bends”

Those Radiohead rascals are always coming up with nifty ways to let you hear their music. Last summer more than 50 Czech Radiohead fans colluded to film the band on their phones during a performance at Prauge's Výstaviště Holešovice Exhibition Hall. The “film” has been edited and mixed by whoever took control of this thing, and audio was graciously provided by the band, I'm presuming, after seeing what a fantastic job they did. So now you can download the video files in a variety of formats right here, or just go on over to Youtube and watch the ones you want to. Here’s one of my older favorites up above, and one of my favorites from In Rainbows below:



[video] Cee Lo Green - "Fuck You"

I'm like 'fuck you' and, uh, 'fuck her too'. One of the year’s runaway best pop songs gets an equally inspired official (yay!) video that you no longer have to “like” on Facebook in order to watch. From Cee Lo’s upcoming album The Lady Killer, which you can pre-order here.

[video] The Acorn - "Restoration"

“Restoration”, the fidgety first single from indie-folk quartet The Acorn, gets an appropriately trippy stop-motion video courtesy of Exploding Motor Car. The song is from the band’s excellent new album, No Ghost, which is already available digitally and comes out in physical formats through Bella Union Records on September 7.

MP3 :: Restoration
MP3 :: Restoration (Four Tet remix) (both via Stereogum)
(from No Ghost. Info here)