The Drums – “Me and the Moon”

330px-The-Drums-album-artworkYes, I know this song came out ages ago, but considering The Drums are releasing their third, new full length album Encyclopedia later this year, it still seems appropriate to talk about them. I first heard The Drums back when I was in high school, and I thought that their sound was unlike anything I had ever heard. Their music has this distinct, antique feeling that sounds as if it was recorded in a old, hollow, enclosed space and therefore has this nostalgic, yet dark and sullen undertone throughout. However, there is an overall feeling of optimism which makes The Drums the ultimate summer jam (maybe it’s the slight Beach Boys-with-an-edge vibe or their warm, sunny song titles and dispositions), and makes me think that their sounds would be perfect for old movies or novels. “Me and the Moon” from their debut album was their first single, and it honestly encapsulates their unique personalities and showcases some really catchy lyrics. Portamento was their second album after the departure of two of their band members, which left them as a duo. It really changed up the sound and brought in that dark, gloomy vibe I mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, they are still amazing, and I honestly can’t wait to hear their next album when it comes out. “Me and the Moon” is from The Drums’ self titled debut album, which was released in 2010. Keep an eye out for a “Band Appreciation Friday” on these guys in the future (perhaps closer to their album release or afterwards) because I have so much more to say about them.

 

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Body Parts – “Desperation”

FireDream_Cover_webBody Parts is an indie pop duo from San Jose, California. Ryder Bach and Alina Cutrono combine forces to create music in which the genre is open for interpretation. Some believe it is worthy of becoming popular dance music, while others find that it’s quirk and personality make it nothing short of a stroke of experimental genius. This is what the band members wanted, and their variations in sound throughout their debut album keep everything fresh and modern. For example, their track “Desperation” houses some stunning synth beats and vocals, which then increase in both tempo and overall feeling. It has a sense of power as well as a sense of vulnerability, almost like a shout for help or confirmation. It’s bright and energetic, however, which gives it an edge. “Desperation” is from Body Part’s debut album Fire Dream, which was released last year.

 

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Tom Misch – “The Journey”

artworks-000076279361-7xu51i-t200x200As the summer slowly comes to a close, I always find that the mood changes suddenly. Everything is a little more sensitive and emotional, from how the weather changes to that horrible, inescapable feeling of your responsibilities creeping up on you – and you start to think a little deeper. The music I listen to changes a little as well, which is what brings me to this song. Tom Misch’s song “The Journey” is the epitome of the concept of relaxation. It elaborates on the feelings of being happy and carefree, but still pushes you to think about what exactly it is you’re hearing and take it to the next level. These mellow sounds that nineteen year old Misch produces are incredibly impressive considering that everything is done solo. He provides all the instrumentals, including the violin, and mixes them in a way that’s beautiful, as heard in “The Journey.” Needless to say, it’s inspiring, and the use of ambient, colorful sounds really embodies the feelings of summer. “The Journey” is from Tom Misch’s EP, which was released this year.

 

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Band Appreciation Friday – Disclosure

Cause I won’t let this take control

Ever since Disclosure released their debut album Settle in 2013, the electronic genre has taken a huge step forward and gotten out of the massive hole that had been there for quite some time. The so-called dance music that people had been listening to in years past slowly became more and more “mainstream” (for lack of a better word), and suddenly, Disclosure was like the desperate breath of fresh air that everyone was craving. There are a medley of different sub-genres involved in this brilliant album along with multiple guest collaborators, something that would be impossible to take seriously in a debut album produced by brothers who are barely adults, and yet somehow, they managed to pull it off in such an amazing way.

homepage_large.e117b531Guy and Howard Lawrence of English band Disclosure are wunderkinds, a word that I use very rarely (in fact, I have only used it once to describe James Blake), but is incredibly appropriate here. What they have been able to do in the past few short years has been nothing short of remarkable, and have been slowly building up their abilities mysteriously and skillfully. They were known for their exceptional remixes, and soon were producing their very own sounds. When they got a hold of various guest collaborators, everything started to change and suddenly, Disclosure was starting to become more and more well known. Of course, their powerful single “Latch” with the now-superstar vocalist Sam Smith quickly rose to the top of the charts, giving Sam Smith the well-deserved spotlight as well as themselves. Settle is definitely inclusive, filled with varying sounds and influences, making each track seem to take on different personas and lets each song stand on it’s own. “White Noise” with Aluna Francis of the electro-pop band AlunaGeorge marks the 1/4 way point of the album with an added sense of innocence and brightness, and is a good example of the way Disclosure seems to hit all the marks with their instrumentals when it comes to emotion and feeling. Edward Macfarlane from Friendly Fires also collaborates with the brotherly duo with the incredibly addicting song “Defeated No More,” which shows off his sensual vocal ability and makes the song seductive and energetic all at once. It’s almost as if Disclosure knew this, and that they were almost catering to the fans of the colorful indie pop band and captured Macfarlane’s electricity and dynamic sense of quirk. Of course, Disclosure also showcases the magnificent voices of the women in indie music, and from Sasha Keable’s “Voices” to Jessie Ware’s performance in “Confess To Me”, it’s clear that Disclosure wishes to stomp out the idea that men dominate the often times impenetrable arena of electronic/dubstep music, and level out the playing field. There’s also the song “You & Me” with Eliza Doolittle, which was recently brilliantly remixed by none other than one of the other up and coming electronic artists Flume, who also joins the club of incredibly young musicians (seriously, what is going on? The amount of talent in the newer generations really make me excited for the future of music and seriously inspired). The closer is none other than “Help Me Lose My Mind,” which includes London Grammar’s Hannah Reid and her outstandingly gorgeous and passionate vocals as the main focal point. It’s so beautiful and includes some of the most skillful instrumentals I’ve heard in a electronic song in quite some time. It swells and expands in the most perfect places and implements focused drumming and sampled beats to make it such an excellent closer. Overall, Settle proved that Disclosure is quite the contender in the world of music, and it’s obvious that they definitely deserve all the praise they have received and that we’re going to be hearing so much more from them in the near future.

 

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Cloud Boat – “Portraits Of Eyes”

51CUA9OQBML._SL500_AA280_About a few months ago, indie dream/alternative band Cloud Boat released their single “Carmine,” a dark, yet somehow bitterly romantic song with evocative instrumentals beautifully sung by Tom Clarke. The sound produced by this soft electronic duo is emotional and solemn a good majority of the time, with the vocals being deep, personal, and thoughtful. The ambiance that they bring to their songs has a sort of echoed tone to it, making each track seem as if it was being played in an empty chamber where noise can bounce off the walls and gain momentum. The overall feeling and sound of their song “Portraits Of Eyes” reminds me a little of Depeche Mode, one of my absolute favorite bands, mostly because of the passionate way Tom Clarke sings and exposes his true emotions almost just like Dave Gahan. The beats and drums provided by Sam Ricketts make the song darker and almost buzz and hum with radiance, but not in an overbearing sort of way. Instead, Cloud Boat envelops you with sound slowly and mysteriously, making the process all that much more fulfilling. “Portraits Of Eyes” is from Cloud Boat’s debut album Model Of You, which was released this month.

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Colony House – “Silhouettes”

10336652_315527678604263_5600164149515753710_nSometimes everyone needs a little pick me up, especially on a hot, miserable summer day. Colony House, a three-piece band from Tennessee, are exactly that. Their debut single is upbeat, bright, and sunny, with simple, catchy lyrics and instrumentation that screams summer and friendship. Brothers Caleb and Will Chapman along with third member Scott Mills work together to come across as a single unit, and they pull it off incredibly well considering they’ve all been great friends and playing music since high school. There are little bits of indie folk as well as beach pop in their single “Silhouettes”, and overall there’s a feeling of being carefree and amazingly happy, which encapsulates the feelings that summer brings. “Silhouettes” is from Colony House’s debut album When I was Younger, which was released yesterday.

 

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Alvvays – “Party Police”

alvvaysI’ve been intrigued by Alvvays for quite some time now. I kept seeing their debut album artwork on every music blog and site I visited, and it peaked my interest. I finally gave them a listen and I was pleasantly surprised about what I heard. The Canadian five-piece’s music sounds like a blast from the past – or almost like a happy marriage of sixties/seventies sounds with the post-punk genius of the eighties. Lead singer Molly Rankin has a voice that’s perfect for capturing this sort of ancient feeling – it’s bright yet restrained, happy yet dark, confident yet yearning – and it makes listening to Alvvays such a nostalgic experience. In their song “Party Police,” a song that I feel is one of the best off of their new album, is filled with skill and ability, both in lyrics as well as instrumentation. The guitar melody that is peppered throughout is reminiscent of simpler times, and it sounds gorgeous along with Rankin’s piercing voice telling you all about a romantic partner she wishes would just stay. I can tell right away that I will slowly get addicted to each and every song on this album, and I’m so excited to fully analyze their sound more as I discover it. “Party Police” is from Alvvays’ self titled debut album, which was released just a few days ago.

 

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Band Appreciation Friday – Tycho

Tycho would probably have to be the most perfect example of the new sort of band that has opened my eyes (and my ears), to the vast, expansive world of purely instrumental music. Tycho goes hand in hand with the likes of Bibio, Mount Kimbie, and Public Service Broadcasting, all of whom have inspired me to listen to more music without the use of traditional lyrics. I’ve found over the years that there’s something soothing and wonderful about a melody without a distinct narrative, and it’s a concept I knew I would have to be older to even appreciate. Tycho, also known as Scott Hansen, creates stunning soundscapes that compel you to actively use your mind and supply your own meaning to what you’re hearing, whether that is something simple and casual or something even deeper.

homepage_large.5d4d2528Scott Hansen formed Tycho as a side project to his work as a graphic designer (under the name ISO50). Knowing that, the music he makes as Tycho makes a little more sense, seeing as though they sound like a design project that’s come to life. His work (both his designs and his music) is crisp, colorful, and complex, but at the same time supplies gentle tranquility. It is the epitome of ambient music, and that’s exactly what he did with his first album Past is Prologue (2006), as well as his second and third albums. Since there are no lyrics and his music is forced to be propelled by beats, samples, and synth powered sounds, it can be quite hard to describe his individual songs except for noting it’s various colors and textures. In his second album Dive, all of the sounds that were heard in his debut album seemed to evolve and get more and more mature and luxurious, along with the emergence of new techniques and styles. “A Walk” starts out with a flicker and glimmer of tones and builds slowly with gentle beats, while “Hours” takes a more bluesy, rambling approach with a more 60’s and 70’s vibe. “Daydream,” “Dive,” and “Coastal Brake” seem to all flow together, and is almost like the trifecta to the album itself. “Daydream” supplies the fantasy and whimsy with glittering sounds and a fast paced percussion track, “Dive” is sophisticated and a little mysterious, and “Coastal Break” is warm, inviting, and seems to envelop you with a feeling of familiarity and affection. “Epigram” and “Elegy” join forces and wrap up the album with a more minimal (as far as Tycho goes with minimal) approach.

homepage_large.5a4ec3f9Awake would probably have to be my favorite Tycho album simply because of the obvious evolution into more mature sounds and a newer, profound sense of intelligence. More techniques are used in newer, better, more efficient ways and as a result the music is more complex, cerebral, and overall incredibly gorgeous. Awake was the first album Tycho recorded as a three-piece band, which makes sense considering all the little bits and pieces of instrumentation  you hear sprinkled throughout and placed underneath and between the main melody. The title track “Awake” solidifies that observation with a techno style of instrumentals, along with a simple sample that makes me think of old school video games. It’s nostalgic and beautiful all at once. “Montana” is joyous and light, which is a contrast to the darker, edgier song “Dye,” which includes the melancholic strums of a lone guitar thrown into the mix. Things pick up again with my favorites, “Apogee” and “Spectre,” which both sound loose, ambient, and exhilarating, while “Plains” finishes the album with a soft, introspective overtone that leaves things on a soothing note. The great thing about Awake is that it doesn’t overwhelm you with track after track of complex instrumentals and keeps things short and sweet.

While purely instrumental music is relaxing, the lack of lyrics and a narrative seem to take it’s toll on a listener and often times leave things dry and stale after a few plays. However, Tycho along with other experimental instrumental artists know how to tweak their sounds to keep things interesting and leave you inspired each and every time.

 

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Fractures – “Twisted”

Fractures_EP-coverFractures is the recording name of artist Mark Zito. His music explores a lot of different genres but ultimately produces this incredibly expansive sound that’s deep, dark, and emotional. He plays around with various beats, samples, and melodies to create a unique listening experience that builds and increases in feeling as it plays on. In his single “Twisted,” less really is more. The instrumentals are simple and lovely, making his soft, vulnerable voice the star. The lyrics yearn and sound desperate for a change, and you can’t help but relate and feel empathy at the same time. “Twisted” is from Fractures’ self-titled debut EP, which was released this month.

 

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The Slow Revolt – “Never Get Close”

TSRmarch2014_300x300The Slow Revolt is a two-piece electronic group from London. The attraction to purely electronic music powered by dynamic beats and soft synth is definitely real, and the genre gets more and more expansive every day. In this track titled “Never Get Close,” all the elements of classic electronic music are present, with the vocals emotional and passionate just like it should be. It sounds like a mixture of SOHN with bits and pieces of the stylings of How To Dress Well, which is just as good as you think it is. There is little talk about an EP or album yet, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be. “Never Get Close” is the newest single from The Slow Revolt.

 

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