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Friday, Feb 3, 2012

Back in 2004, the Washington, DC-based indie band Cartel generated a lot of buzz with the moody, Echo & the Bunnymen-esque “Fleets”. Then, they discovered a rock band from Georgia had dibs on the Cartel name. So, Cartel became the Cedars. They released an excellent EP, Another Season, in 2007. Rightly figuring that if such a strong, Coldplay-if-Coldplay-was-three-times-better effort wouldn’t get them a proper record deal, nothing would, they split.


Now, they are back, under the name Ms. Director, with a seven-track EP, Santo Domingo. The overall sound hasn’t changed much, and that’s a good thing. The guitars and keyboards are a bit more hazy, but the muscular rhythm section and Brian Leatherman’s beguiling voice hold it all down. Let’s hope the third name is the charm. Have a listen to Santo Domingo via Bandcamp, and download it there or from iTunes.


 


Tagged as: ms. director
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Thursday, Feb 2, 2012
Al Doyle (of Hot Chip and formerly LCD Soundsystem) and Felix Martin (Hot Chip) joins forces with studio producer Tom Hopkins.

New Build was created as a “drop-in centre for friends” as the London-based group told Mixmag last fall. Al Doyle (of Hot Chip and formerly LCD Soundsystem) and Felix Martin (Hot Chip) joined forces with studio producer Tom Hopkins, along with Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem occasionally joining in. The band has released four songs from the upcoming album, Yesterday Was Lived and Lost (due 5 March), on soundcloud.com for consumption. The tracks are filled with the buoyant dance music expected from these solid synthpop/indietronica types. Before kicking into movement-oriented grooves, the session begins with the ethereal intro of “Do You Not Feel Loved?” Multi-layered world music rhythms of “Mercy” features synth solos in between melodic verses. “Finding Reasons” brings in the steel drum of many Hot Chip songs, capping off a slower tune of vocal harmonies and fuzzy guitar. “Misery Loves Company” presents a confident stride and crooning similar to Bryan Ferry’s Roxy Music, calling us all to ruin.


Steady as I start to loose control
It’s not good for the body, but it’s good for the soul



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Friday, Jan 27, 2012
Listen and read about the songs with details from the songwriter

SPIN Magazine‘s “First Listen” program is featuring the upcoming release from Of Montreal, Paralytic Stalks, due out February 7th. This is Kevin Barnes’ eleventh collection of musical visions since 1997 and he is still clearly at full command of his band. SPIN provides notes from the frontman for each song, making it not only a welcome listening session but a complete artistic immersion with this intimate, behind the scenes read as well.


The album kicks off with the percussive blast of “Gelid Ascent” that is both alarming and intriguing, much like Barnes himself. It opens up to a classic rock feel with echoing vocals saying, “Speak to me”. Music at once experimental and catchy for the next tune,“Spiteful Intervention”, is classic Of Montreal. The soulful singing and funky beat of “Dour Percentage” and “We Will Commit Wolf Murder” expands to the sound explored in more recent albums. A softer approach is found in “Malefic Dowery”, a “troubled love song” explains Barnes. Buzzy blips and electronic dance grooves return for “Ye, Renew the Plaintiff”, with experimental forays to keep the eight minute song interesting. (Indeed, this is one of Barnes’ favorite on the entire record). The next track, “Wintered Debts” begins with an acoustic guitar yet quickly expands into “a country shuffle”, according to Barnes. The experimental focus returns through the final song, “Authentic Pyrrhic Remission”, 13 minutes of euphoric psych pop with Barnes singing, “I love how we’re learning from each other.”


Listen and read about Paralytic Stalks here.


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Monday, Jan 16, 2012
Here’s to the New Year and the new music to be investigated as always. Many of the picks for this playlist were found by investigating annual lists of top songs from 2011, revisiting bands if needed.

Here’s to the New Year and the new music to be investigated as always. Many of the picks for this playlist were found by investigating annual lists of top songs from 2011, revisiting bands if needed. The end of the year brought new releases from the Black Keys and Florence + the Machine to explore along with many other diverse groups on the scene.


1. “Don’t Move”—Phantogram
2. “16 Years” – Phantogram

Phantogram hail from upstate New York, a band consisting of two friends since middle school in Saratoga Springs. Keyboardist Sarah Barthel’s vocals flow over electronic beats and guitar parts by Josh Carter. The band name, referring to psychedelic optical illusions, could also allude to the rich, multi-layered sound by this indie pop duo. These songs are off their EP, Nightlife.


Winter 2012 Playlist by JaneJS on Grooveshark

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Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012
Fair due – "Tattoo" ain’t no instant classic. It is, however, Diamond Dave, Eddie Van Halen; loud, gonzo – and about bloody time.

Heads up! Time to cup a lug around the long-awaited first hear—and single release—from the re-Roth’ed Van Halen: “Tattoo”. Up on the net today, this tease-of-a-track accompanies the obligatory news of a major tour of the United States. And while it would be easy to assume that any new material from a rock band now the best part of two-point-five decades past their prime time would be nothing more than cover for a hit & run soak up of serious dollars along the revival road…


Fair due – Tattoo is no “Jump”, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” or “Jamie’s Cryin’”. Neither is it “Yankee Rose”, “Crazy From the Heat” or “Just Like Paradise”. It is, however, Diamond Dave, Eddie Van Halen; loud, gonzo – and about bloody time. They’re in one place—and despite not being straight up instant classic VH—neither is “Tattoo” some disgrace.


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