[24 February 2014]
The ground hog seems to have definitely gotten things right—winter continues with a vengeance for those who are accustomed to such weather or not (looking at you Southeast!) Why not use the time indoors to check out new bands like Temples, Big Data and Jamestown Revival, along with new releases from Fanfarlo, Cut Copy, Gardens & Villa, Bombay Bicycle Club and more. As always, the playlist ends in a chill out mode thanks to tracks from Caspian and Hammock.
1. “Free Your Mind” – Cut Copy
Australian synth pop quartet Cut Copy has released its fourth album since 2001, with songs promoting the concept of individual freedom. “Free Your Mind” is the title track and single for the collection, using swirling layers to connect the power of positivity embedded in this dance tune.
2. “Colony Glen” – Gardens and Villa
Santa Barbara indie rock quintet Gardens and Villa is back with a sophomore album, Dunes. Working with DFA producer, Tim Goldsworthy, the song “Colony Glen” relies on a solid synth backbone for a more extroverted sound.
3. “Shelter Song” – Temples
English pysch rock band Temples was formed in 2012 by singer-guitarist James Edward Bagshaw and bassist Thomas Edison Warmsley. The “Shelter Song” shows this new group’s taste for heavy reverb with a tuneful take on songwriting.
4. “Dangerous” – Big Data
Big Data is an electronic pop duo (Daniel Armbruster and Alan Wilkis) that uses music as a message to rail against user privacy and other perils of the internet age. “Dangerous” is a solid pop single from the debut EP, I.O. – EP.
5. “Landlocked” – Fanfarlo
London based indie pop quintet Fanfarlo released its third album since 2006, Let’s Go Extinct. With influences of folk, indie rock and post-punk, the song “Landlocked” highlights Swedish musician Simon Balthazar’s warm baritone over a busy mix of electronic and acoustic instruments.
6. “Tourniquet” – Jeremy Messersmith
Messersmith is a prolific singer/songwriter based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With an unusual analogy for a love song, “Tourniquet” is a quirky but catchy tune off Murmurs, his fifth album since 2006.
7. “Shake” – The Head and the Heart
Seattle indie folk rock band the Head and the Heart recently released its second album, Let’s Be Still. The single “Shake” is emblematic of the group’s aesthetic of sunny male/female harmonies over acoustic guitars.
8. “Red Eyes” – The War on Drugs
“Red Eyes” is the single off the third album since 2005, Lost in the Dream, by Philly indie rock quintet the War on Drugs. The band’s signature wall of sound via guitars brings an epic jam, for almost five minutes of group swagger.
9. “Forever” – Painted Palms
San Francisco based cousins Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme recently released their debut full album as Painted Palms. “Forever” is the title track, a multi-sectioned paean to ‘60s psych pop utilizing the tools of modern electronic production.
10. “Giants” – Bear Hands
This Brooklyn indie electro quartet released “Giants” as a stand alone single. With the wavering synths, melodic guitar lines and punchy vocal delivery, the song is instantly memorable yet ready for many a replay.
11. “The Letterbomb” – Milagres
Brooklyn’s indie rock band Milagres relies on the sweeping, artistic vision of singer and songwriter Kyle Wilson. “The Letterbomb” combines explosive percussion and Wilson’s storytelling vocals as a teaser single for the upcoming sophomore album, Violent Light.
12. “Step Out” – José González
José González of the Swedish band Junip contributed three songs to the soundtrack of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. For “Step Out” he embraces a cinematic approach to his indie folk songwriting, expanding the music palette with orchestral instrumentation and multi-generational vocals.
13. “Luna” – Bombay Bicycle Club
“Luna” is the single from So Long, See You Tomorrow, the fourth album by England’s indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club since 2005. The song features singer Rae Morris as a female counterpoint to Jack Steadman’s vocals, amid a swirling soundscape over tabla and mallets in a worldview of percussion.
14. “California (Cast Iron Soul)” – Jamestown Revival
New band Jamestown Revival joins childhood friends Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance flaunting their Texan roots in this song about moving to L.A. Their harmonies and acoustic instruments blend in an easy jam, clearly demonstrating that all ties to home remain intact.
15. “Pulaski at Night” – Andrew Bird
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird recently released a seven song EP, I Want To See, based on this wistful tune referencing his home base of Chicago. His distinctive, laid back vocals float easily over the eclectic musical arrangement.
16. “Hymn for the Greatest Generation” – Caspian
Caspian, an instrumental post-rock band since 2004 from Beverly, Massachusetts, had to regroup after the sudden, unexpected death of bass player Chris Friedrich last summer. The group went on with the tour in supporting a new EP, Hymn for the Greatest Generation. This title track opens the collection that now has even more depths of emotion.
17. “Then the Quiet Explosion” – Hammock
Hammock is an ambient post-rock band from Nashville, formed by two guitarists in 2005, Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson. They craft larger-than-life songs with live instruments, electronic beats and haunting electric guitar lines, such in “Then the Quiet Explosion” from a sixth album, Oblivion Hymns.