SKATERS – “Symptomatic”

Article-1096751-photocreditshanemccauleyextralarge_1384974091027

I’ve spent the past few days mainly listening to SKATERS’ debut album Manhattan, which was released just a few months ago. The post-punk revival vibe is really attractive to me at the moment (I find myself listening to more of it, especially with the release of Parquet Courts’ new album and everything), and I believe that SKATERS have done a nice job to contribute. In their track “Symptomatic,” everything from the well-timed heavy instrumentals to the scalding vocals and lyrics just works so flawlessly together. It sounds like a well-oiled machine, which can be rather odd for a genre so tempted by chaos, but here, that chaos is lighter, more refined, which makes it all that more relatable.

P

Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Warning”

cymbalseatguitars-798762e480209768ed734a409550d739b2bd765b-s4-c85

The guitar introduction to “Warning” by New York indie punk band Cymbals Eat Guitars is so wonderfully enticing. There’s a sense of mystery and wonder embedded in those meticulous, yet eerie notes, and it leads up to a drum-infested euphoria that penetrates throughout the whole song. I’m trying to get more into the punk sound, considering I’ve put it aside for a while, and the whole rebellious feeling that it brings is well worth the plunge back in. Cymbals Eat Guitars will definitely be on that list, along with this excellent track. “Warning” is from Cymbals Eat Guitars’ third album LOSE, which was released this year.

P

Band Appreciation Friday – Rhye

Why can’t you stay?

rhye1danmonick-copy

Back in 2012, unknown band Rhye released a few, beautifully produced videos with sensual sounds, gorgeous imagery, and the voice of a singer that sounded wonderfully delicate. Soon, they were beginning to peak interest, with comparisons being made to Sade and other sensual, female artists. People were surprised when they found out the lead singer was actually Mike Milosh, a man. The band then released their debut album Woman in 2013, but still, they were considered a mystery – the very epitome of anonymity. However, the more people listened, the less that mattered, and soon, Rhye was starting to become one of the years best artists.

Personally, I don’t really think Milosh sounds all that feminine, but I can see why others do. I just believe that his voice is just a softer falsetto and an overall different sensation that others are used to, which might be attributed to be described as more feminine. In “Open,” a song dedicated to his wife, this effect is easily heard. Minimal, yet atmospheric beats along with delicate guitar surrounds his voice and highlights it to be incredibly intimate and sensual. The lyrics are deeply personal and poetic, and it immediately gained attention. As a matter of fact, simple, unfettered beats and tones seem to run rampant in this album, which adds to it’s overall sensuality. “One Of Those Summer Days” and “Verse” are prime examples, and it also shows Rhye’s infatuation with basic R&B beats and a love of synth-pop. The inclusion of beautiful orchestral interludes that show up every so often work to soften the edge that appears with the changing metallic beats, and that dual effect works in their favor. There are also times where the tempo seems to quicken and hasten, as seen in their other single (and my personal favorite) “The Fall.” That gorgeous repeated piano introduction grabs my heart every single time, and it only gets better from there. It’s incredibly difficult to capture attention with a song that uses such repeated, unchanging beats, but it works simply because of a wonderfully unique voice. I only say this because – and let’s be honest here – the main attraction with Rhye is Mike Milosh’s exquisite voice, and it’s what makes the band that much more amazing. In “The Fall,” that magic quality of his is amplified, and the swelling of his voice with the soft drumming is other-worldly and incredibly hypnotizing. “3 Days” and “Last Dance,” the other more upbeat tracks, play more with instrumentals and electronic effects, but the vocals and main bassline are still the main contenders. And finally, “Woman,” the title track, effortlessly closes the album with a feeling of inspiration and a sort of silken tenacity that consists of mostly sweltering and radiating vocal breaths that shake and waver in the most gorgeous ways. It wraps up the album abruptly, but does so gracefully and wonderfully.

The two members of Rhye refuse to show their faces, at least, for the moment, because they believe that the music is really the only thing that matters. It’s inspiring, depressing, and lovely all at once, with the desirable effect of putting listeners in a trance, and I have a small feeling that they won’t remain anonymous for very long because of it. Ultimately, They want people to form their own opinions of their music and sculpt their own interpretations without being distracted by the images that surround it, and that delicately placed veil allows you to better understand their main focus – love and lack thereof.

Deptford Goth – “Feel Real”

DeptfordGoth3

Deptford Goth is the electronic project of Daniel Woodhouse. His synthesized lullaby-like hymns are heavily textured and processed, but incredibly soothing and calming at the same time. In “Feel Real,” layers upon layers of smooth beats, delicate chimes, and calm vocals are placed over each other until ultimately a sense of euphoria is reached. Crashing percussion adds a level of complexity and unpredictability, and the rise, swell, and falling of beats is what makes the track so amazing. “Feel Real” is from Deptford Goth’s album Life After Defo, which was released last year. Make sure to hear the E.M.M.A remix as well.

P

SBTRKT – “NEW DORP. NEW YORK” (ft. Ezra Koenig)

SBTRKT

“NEW DORP. NEW YORK” is this bizarre tribute to New York by SBTRKT (aka Aaron Jerome) which features notorious NY lover Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend. The beats are addictive, exotic, and classic, and the lyrics are strange and wonderful. It’s the good kind of bizarre, and the more I listen to it, the more I fall in love with it. Ezra Koenig is the perfect person to collaborate this song with, and his distinctive voice sounds absolutely amazing mixed with these intense, tribal inspired beats that SBTRKT is known for. “NEW DORP. NEW YORK” is from SBTRKT’s new album Wonder Where We Land (out September 29), which also includes collaborations with Denai Moore and Warpaint, along with many others. It’s definitely an album to keep under your radar, because I think it’s going to be fantastic.

P

 

Monday Mixtape – Autumn Equinox

Today (September 22) is the Autumn equinox! Where I am, the weather is finally starting to cool down and allowing me to drink coffee and wear long sleeve shirts without making me suffer from heat exhaustion. This calls for a playlist! This week’s playlist includes the likes of Cloud Castle Lake (who I’m absolutely obsessed with at the moment), Foals, Fleet Foxes, and a little blast from the past with Simon & Garfunkel.

PLAYLIST 3

P

 

Band Appreciation Friday – Daughter

We are the wild youth

20130425-daugh345ter-x600-1366907979

I first heard about indie folk band Daughter when their single “Landfill” was released about two years ago on their debut EP, and right when I heard it I knew I had found something beautiful. Lead singer Elena Tonra provides shaky, weary, yet gorgeous vocals that perfectly convey the depressing, somber feelings that each song brings, and seems to flush out every dark emotion and demon that seems to envelop her mind. They released their debut album If You Leave last year, and it can only be described as a deeply personal and extremely evocative album. “Winter” starts off the album on an obviously solemn note, but there’s a staggering beauty that remains constant and bleeds out throughout the whole album. In “Smother,” Tonra basically puts her soul out for everyone to see, even sweetly singing “I’m sorry if I smothered you, sometimes I sometimes wish I had stayed inside my mother, never to come out.” It’s  incredibly regretful and depressing, but it’s the genuineness of her voice and the sincerity of the instrumentals that makes it more beautifully melancholic than blatantly dark. “Youth” is the stunning single from If You Leave, and it’s the impressive guitar riffs and well-written lyrics that makes it so meaningful. After all, if there’s anything that Daughter does well, it’s definitely finding meaning in such simple (and not so simple) things. Compared to their other songs, “Youth” is the most upbeat, despite it’s humorless demeanor, and it’s the masked reality that makes the song worth listening to. “Still” and “Lifeforms” explore more of an atmospheric sound as it plays around with deep, ethereal beats and pulsating guitar. “Human” highlights Tonra’s voice and the amazing instrumentals that other band members Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella provide her with. It’s true that often times her voice seems measly and hushed, but in reality the music expands it considerably. “Shallows” ends the album with a delicate, yet eerie sounding ballad that includes the album’s title in it’s lyrics, and overall it gives the album a feeling of sincerity along with sort of a cliffhanger for the next one. Yes, Daughter is a band that relies on the feelings of sadness and hopeless desperation for just about all of their songs, and often times these feelings can create a sort of lull that bores people after a while. However, Daughter manages to convey these feelings with a thick layer of authenticity that keeps these emotions fresh and fantastically enticing.

P

 

Flight Facilities – “With You”

Flight_Facilities

Australian electronic duo Flight Facilities are finally set to release a debut album, after perfecting their singles over the past few years. There’s a finesse to the way they produce and perfect their tracks, and there seems to be an intense back story to each and every single one.  In celebration of their new album, here’s my personal favorite Flight Facilities song “With You,” which was released back in 2012. I love the passionate vocals and the retro inspired beats that envelop it, and the fact that there’s a deep, sentimental story behind the lyrics. I also adore the music video (it reminds me a lot of Daft Punk’s video for “One More Time”) and I feel that it captures the essence of the song perfectly. Flight Facilities new album Down To Earth is set for release next month, so make sure to check it out!

P

Sylvan Esso – “Coffee”

sylvan-essohighres

When I heard about Sylvan Esso and their single “Coffee” for the first time a couple of months ago, I didn’t really know what to make of it, so I refrained from writing a review. However, sometimes it takes a few months to come around to things, and after listening to it again more recently I can now better understand the mass appeal and popularity it has gotten, even more now since their amazing self-titled debut album was released earlier this year. “Coffee” merges together electronic beats and soft, ethereal voices (provided by duo Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn), but does so in a fresh, new way that’s also quite tantalizing. Delicate chimes surround the darker, more atmospheric beats, almost mixing together the contrasting feelings of innocence and impurity, and together it sounds incredibly dreamy and absolutely magnificent.

P