Roosevelt – “Night Moves”

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Marius Lauber of Roosevelt crafts hypnotic, borderline psychedelic indie pop songs that seem to float and dance on their own accord. His electronic dance beats are enticing and almost supersonic, and his brand new song “Night Moves” seem to follow this aesthetic – it’s meant for those who feel things a little deeper and on a more personal level, making it fall under the category of dance music for those who don’t like dancing. “Night Moves” starts out slow and delicate, then gradually blossoms into a tantalizing euphoric masterpiece, with a vocal track so wonderfully simple that it begs for another listen.

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photo courtesy of the artist

Future Islands – “The Chase”

Synthpop band Future Islands has a new song out today titled “The Chase.” The song was an exclusive for Record Store Day and an exclusive exclusive one at that, meaning that only one copy of the vinyl was available for purchase in one record store in the UK. Unfortunately, fans of the band missed out and were afraid that the song would never be released again. However, last night, Future Islands (along with frontman Samuel T. Herring’s dance moves) returned to the David Letterman Show to perform “The Chase.” It has a lot of the same techniques as the songs on their 2014 album Singles – emotion, classic instrumentals, and amazing, soulful vocals – so it was an immediate winner.

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photo by Rebecca Smeyne for SPIN

Empress Of – “Water Water”

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Lorely Rodriguez, also known as Empress Of, has released a new single from her upcoming debut LP titled “Water Water.” The song has heavy electronic beats and an atmospheric feel with the intense use of synth, along with the feeling of being submerged in sound. Rodriguez’s breathy vocals and the lyrics relate well to her relationship with water, and it’s clear that it seems to be the essence of her inspiration for the track as well as an overall influence. The best part of the song is around the two minute mark where everything seems to break down and the vocals become enraptured in emotion and passion, which brings it to a whole other level.

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photo by Zhenya Posternak

Album Review: Passion Pit – Kindred

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Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit has always followed a certain method in writing his songs – underneath the upbeat, euphoric noise lies a crippling depression brought about by tumultuous relationships, substance abuse, and even mental illness. The sounds in Manners and Gossamer were a genius contradiction of emotions, and it was easy not to notice the constant sadness that ran rampant through the haze of joyous sound, and Angelakos was brilliant in hiding them. However, in Passion Pit’s third album Kindred, the music and the lyrics join forces to create a more optimistic feeling, and leaves the album sounding calm and homogeneous as a result of a newfound happiness.

On first listen, Kindred sounds a little too happy, but as you listen to the rest of the album, it’s apparent that perhaps this was the intent. It’s clear that Angelakos has succeeded some in dealing with the stresses and the diagnosis of bipolar disorder that he communicated throughout the years, and it’s definitely shown in this album. Although it’s not as colorful and vivacious as it’s companions, Kindred still explores a new sort of feeling – one that sounds like a spiritual awakening, or even the notion that Angelakos is trying to be happier. His wife is still one of his main inspirations, and that healthy relationship he has in his life has definitely added to his desire for happiness. “Lifted Up (1985)” (about his wife) and “Whole Life Story” are the “Take a Walk” and the “Carried Away” tracks of this album, considering that they’re the ones that sounds most like Angelakos’s signature saccharine sound. “Where the Sky Hangs” almost sounds like a Toro y Moi release from it’s addictive funk beat and the wavering vocals, and moves relatively well into “All I Want,” a quirky, inventive ballad. “Looks Like Rain” is slow and mature, which seems to be the overarching tone to the rest of the album. Throughout the album, it’s apparent that Angelakos’s love of the eighties aesthetic is still a very real thing, but instead of focusing on the past, it looks towards the future in an overtly positive way that never backs down. That may be the only grievance with Kindred, as picky as that sounds. With so much positivity, there’s nothing to balance it out, and the album lacks a look into the other side. It weighs down the listener in some places, and can be overwhelming. However, there’s still the effect of nostalgia, as heard in the stunning track “My Brother Taught Me How To Swim.” That effect is always a good thing to have in any album, regardless of genre, because it gives that sense of dimension. In fact, I felt as if the album should have ended there. But then, the heavily synthesized track “Ten Feet Tall (II)” follows, which does seem a bit unnecessary, considering that it alters the tone evoked before.

Kindred, overall, does sounds nice and focused. Its clear in both the instrumentals and the vocals that Angelakos was in a better place when recording, and he’s even mentioned that in interviews. However, the intense, overwhelming feelings of joy get redundant at times. If Manners was the naive, tortured debut and Gossamer was the beautiful magnum opus, Kindred is the matured, calmer attempt at contentment, even though it may be greatly stressed. But in the end, can we really fault anyone for trying to be happy?

7.0/10

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photo by Jason Nocito

Blur – “My Terracotta Heart”

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Blur fans rejoiced when news of the band’s first album in twelve years was announced about a month ago, and the release of the album is now slowly drawing near. Founding member Damon Albarn has made himself productive during the lengthy hiatus, releasing albums from his side project Gorillaz with Jamie Hewlett along with his solo album Everyday Robots, which was released last year. He will join Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rountree once again with the new album, which can be anticipated to be composed of dynamic, stylistic tracks that show off the band’s maturity and various change over the years. The Magic Whip will be released on April 23rd, and since the news, they have released a number of singles, including the soft, tender track “My Terracotta Heart.” It definitely has a more modern feeling to it, and it sounds wise, meaning that it’s modest and careful with the use of instrumentals. Albarn’s voice swells and sways with gorgeous ease, but also shows a raw, weary, unadulterated tone to it that emerged in his solo work. Fans can expect a slight aesthetic change in The Magic Whip considering the band’s history in musical experimentation, but it has potential to be the start of something fresh without the thought of sacrificing the past.

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 photo courtesy of popmatters

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra have announced that they will release their third studio album Multi-Love on May 26th. The members of the band have mentioned that they want this album to channel the spirit of the psychedelic genre while also taking the last couple of decades into account. While their last album II focused on the pain of loneliness, Multi-Love will focus on relationships and the complexity of their nature. “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” has a delightful funk beat that effortlessly turns into a disco groove as it plays on. The smooth vocals intertwine with the instrumentals, creating this synthetic, yet warm feeling that begs to be played on repeat. The band has also released the title track “Multi-Love,” which has a more romantic feeling, so make sure to check that out as well.

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photo courtesy of the line of best fit

Foreign/National – “Always Blue”

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Melbourne band Foreign/National describe their sound as “dark tropicalia,” and boy, they couldn’t have picked a better grouping of words. Their recent track “Always Blue” rushes through plenty of eerie, tantalizing, and wonderfully lush sounds, giving off the impression of psychadelic rock. However, it also also maintains a sense of pop, and their creepy surf-rock instrumentals remind me so much of fellow indie band Menace Beach. The vocals are delicately distorted, which blends incredibly well with the little instrumental details that glimmer throughout the track, making it a total winner.

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photo courtesy of mess and noise

Monday Mixtape – Late Night

Hey everyone! I’m so sorry I haven’t been posting playlists recently. I’ve been busier than usual with school and I haven’t really had the precious time to compile these playlists as in depth as before. I love doing them just as much as my regular posts, but I just figured I’d focus on quality rather than quantity. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy this new mix! It has some songs I’ve really been enjoying at the moment, including tracks by Ought, Title Fight, and Portico.

ALKSJDFA;SDJKPAS

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Album Review: Lord Huron – Strange Trails

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When I first heard of folk band Lord Huron, I was browsing the aisles of a record store aimlessly until I came across the captivating landscape that covered their debut album Lonesome Dreams. Despite the age-old saying “don’t judge a book (or in this case, an album) by it’s cover,” I liked the image so much that I bought it on a whim, without even listening to the songs. I took it home and spent time with it, and came to realize how honest and beautiful their songs were, and how they all seemed to suspend in a world ruled by the western land, the sea, and everything quaint and meaningful in between. In their sophomore album Strange Trails, Lord Huron exits that blissful, simple world and instead takes time to invent a brand new one, filled with colorful energy and newer techniques.

Strange Trails journeys through this fresh world and explores a more uplifting, tenacious narrative still obsessed with ancient sounding western themes, despite the fact that the album maintains the themes of heartache. The album has a hiccup at the beginning where it feels repetitive, and it doesn’t even truly begin for me until the track “La Belle Fleur Sauvage,” where I can hear their old sound but with a sense of something new and cultivated. In Lonesome Dreams, the instrumentals consisted mostly of acoustic, wistful arrangements, but in Strange Trails, there’s a broader use of instruments, with a layer of reverb to bring it all together. There’s also a more extensive use of experimental styles, like the almost psychedelic, eerie sounding track “The World Ender.” It has a noir feeling that’s absolutely stunning, and the vocals are not at all what you’d expect from a folk band, not that it’s a bad thing. “Meet Me in the Woods” has that quintessential feeling that I got from Lonesome Dreams, and because it’s almost like a blast from the past, it cleanses the palate and brings back that dreamy aesthetic they perfected in the last album. “Fool For Love” also captures the same feeling as Lonesome Dreams single “Time To Run,” while also bringing in some newer techniques to the table. “Way Out There” is declarative and passionate, and shows off both uplifting vocals that mention the title of the album and utilizes delicate, western sounding instrumentals like mandolins and violins, which seem to sum up Strange Trails‘ overall aesthetic.

As I listened to album, I came to notice that the new world that these songs amass is a bigger one for sure, and it takes a few times to truly understand this narrative in full detail. It can be an exhausting listen for new fans who are not familiar with the band’s ambition and passion, but for the many that are familiar for Lord Huron’s love of story-telling and characterization, this album is a wonderfully gorgeous effort.

7.0/10

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photo by Josh Sanseri

Wild Beasts – “Woebegone Wanderers II”

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Wild Beasts unveiled a brand new track during Jon Hopkins’ BBC Radio 1 Residency, where frontman Hayden Thorpe also co-hosted. It was mentioned that the track was recorded the same time as their 2014 album Present Tense, but have not released until now. “Woebegone Wanderers II,” the continuation to Limbo, Panto‘s “Woebegone Wanderers,” swells and expands in the introduction, then merges gracefully into Thorpe’s gorgeous vocals. The lyrics are wonderfully poetic, and the instrumentals guide it into a place of simplicity and beauty all at once.

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photo by Klaus Thymann