Bandcamp Find of the Week – Santah

Having just released their new album, Santah have a knack for producing music you want to listen to. Feel-good harmonic progressions accompanied by charming vocals produce a somewhat nostalgic classic rock sound, similar to that of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Since the success of their first album, White Noise Bed (2011), they’ve just released a new album titled, You’re Still A Lover. The 5 track album is a melody of dreamy love songs each with their own heart. The band are from Chicago and have so far only been touring in the states, but I’ve got a good feeling they’ll be making their way over the pond next year.

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Tom’s mixtape: Volume 2 [Listen]

Midnight SunIsaac Delusion

“Isaac Delusion is about two multidisciplinary artists continually exploring new musical landscapes”. This is where techno and folk meet and produce super cool riffs complimented by smooth non obtrusive vocals. It’s going to take a while before I get bored of this track. Their EP Midnight Sun was released this year, and will be closely followed by their second, Early Morning which is soon to be released.


Alone Trampled By Turtles

Trampled By Turtles are set to release their 6th album in November called Stars and Satellites. With their highly successful track record in the Bluegrass scene there’s no doubt it’ll be a hit. Following the formulas of traditional folk and fiddle songs, and using a wide range of instruments their sound is timeless and full of soul.


TomorrowFuture Islands

This artist has quickly become one of my favorites; I could imagine them being a product of David Lynch. I like to think Sam Herring’s voice is a mixture of Tom Waits and Cat Stevens. The band have very recently released a 7″ single, after their successful album, On The Water (2012). The deep repetitive beats and synthy swirls – not to mention Sam’s scream-like roar half way through makes this song as wonderfully weird as the rest of their stuff.


Old FriendSea Wolf

Alex Church has been recording under the name Sea Wolf since 2003, and has been successfully pioneering the solo project since. He has a new album that’s yet to be released called Old World Romance and is currently on tour in the states. This track, Our Friend, is a sneak peak of what’s to come from the new album – and it’s very exciting.


Black & White MountainsSnowblink

Daniela Gesundheit AKA Snowblink has an extremely listenable voice. It’s the simplicity of this track that had me hooked. Delicate layers of beats and synths overlaid with vocals which sound a bit like Amiee Mann make it so enjoyable.


Can’t Get Enough The Sweet Serenades

I love the voice at the beginning of this song, it sounds like a burp. A band that’s descibed as, “Hip swaying, knee twisting, & finger snapping goodness”, this is a good wake up and walk to work track. The Swedish band’s manifesto of creating ‘unpretentious pop songs that make you feel cool’, doesn’t let you down here.


These Days (Jackson Browne)Pandit

Pop tunes infused with ambient and experimental texture, Pandit is the work of Lance Smith. I haven’t heard a bad song from this guy, and considering These Days is one of my favorite songs, Pandit’s cover is spot on. He has a new EP coming out at the end of the month, so keep an eye out for that.


Hang on to Me (Daytrotter) The Wooden Sky

I’m a huge fan of the Daytrotter Sessions, they often bring out better, more heartfelt sounding recordings than the originals. This is definitely the case with this Wooden Sky track. Taken from their latest album, Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun (2012), Hang on to Me is just one of the many great tracks from the album.


JitterDakotafish

Their synth-pop beats have a similar sound to Pheonix. This track is taken from the 2011 album, Many Moons. It’s a good track to stick on as a party winds down and the sun rises.


Miracle (Ghost Beach Cover) – TRAILS AND WAYS

Here’s something different; Brazilian shoegaze. I actually prefer this version of the track to the original Ghost Beach track. Covers can often come off as sounding like the original with less instruments and slightly awkward vocals, but when a band gets it right – it can transform a song into their own which is exactly what they’ve done.


New TheoryWashed Out

Since 2009, Ernest Greene’s project has received a constant stream of positive reviews. This track, New Theory comes from his first EP, Life of Leisure which launched him. 2011 saw the release of Within and Without, his first full length album which received startling reviews all round. 


Utah All Human

This is a random Bandcamp find, with similar vibes to Imaginary Johnny, this is an easy song to get into. He’s currently touring the states with his new album, Catholic Guilt or the Queerest of Thoughts.


Wally Wilder Delicate Steve

Steve Marion has flooded blogs recently with Positive Force. His music sounds as though he wrote lyrics and then decided the guitar should sing them. It’s cocktail of Ratatat and Animal Collective.



Golden PalmsHORSES / Bronson

Short and sweet, this track encompasses all that’s great about low-fi songwriting. Although it seems Patrick Ebermann’s project HORSES has evaporated. Now appearing under the name Bronson, the album Paper Tusk was released in 2011 and Golden Palms on this is different to the original – a bit overworked in my opinion. Here’s the original.


Little Dreamer (Future Islands Cover) – Doe Paoro

This one’s a grower, resist yourself from skipping it before the first minute. The sparse piano and seldom drums slowly intwine themselves into a beautiful melody which Doe Paoro sings through. The original song naturally has unusual vocals from Sam Herring, and so this Kate Bush sounding twist fits perfectly.


Says ElliottSibylle Baier

Sibylle Baier is a German folk singer, she sounds like a sad Nico – and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I love this song, its intimate sound makes you hang on every word. She’s quite a mysterious person, the homepage of her website reads:

I (her son Robby) set this site up for my mother…Sibylle will most likely never see this site. She is really quite perplexed by all the attention that her album “Colour Green” has gotten. My father keeps telling her about all the pages and articles that are out there, but she, though smitten, prefers to hear about her accolades through the eyes and ears of her family. The web makes her dizzy, I think.


Yuno [News/Listen]

A new artist named Yuno is making his first record and is in need of some help. He’s recording it all in his bedroom, and although he’s reached his $2000 goal, every other dime goes into new equipment and ultimately supporting his career as an artist.

Click here to go to his Kickstarter page where you can donate however much you wish, and in return have some goodies sent your way. Why donate? I admit, I don’t often support these projects, however I heard Yuno’s track Sunlight randomly on a blog and was instantly drawn to his sound. Formally known as, Unouomedude, Yuno’s dream pop song Sunlight will surely have you tapping your foot and singing along….and hopefully handing over your card details. Best of luck to him.

 

TiredEyes – Constellations [Review]

I Used To Be, Chris Stolz’s second album under the TiredEyes monicker, was one of my favourite and most played records of last year. Its jazzy beats and laid back feel made for fantastic summer listening with some infectious melodies that really stuck. Dusty analogue vibes, warm production and an unhurried pace set a bar that any musician would be hardpressed to top. And so, just over one year on, Constellations arrives in time for the last month or two of warm weather (here in the UK anyway).

Where I Used To Be arrived with a shot of energy on title track I Used To Be, Constellations takes a subtler route and opts to build slowly with the smokey Cosmic Echoes. It’s lazy, considered, and thoroughly cinematic. And this is what sets Constellations apart from debut There in the Shade and last years I Used To Be. It’s that experience from three albums under one project. A confidence and swagger that can only become apparent after the foundations have been laid and then tested.

Tracks build, vocal samples tease, beats reverberate; crackles, hissing and pops layer onto a wide selection of instruments. It’s a pleasure to listen to and if stuck with, will reveal a surprising level of detail that a quick listen might mask. The latter half of the album really shines with tracks like Nylon Trees and Stay Inside being stunning examples of what Stolz can do, the latter containing a great sample from Peggy Lees Johnny Guitar. It’s moody, sweeping and cinematic.

So how does Constellations stack up to I Used To Be? It effectively continues right where its predecessor left off, in fact it wouldn’t sound out of place if it were a side two – just a slower and more confident side two. That’s not to it’s detriment though, Constellations is still a superb record through and through and familiarity is as much as a good thing as a bad thing. Change for changes sake is not always a good thing and this is a perfect example when you’ve hit a great formula not to mess with it too much. As above, what is there however is a far more polished experience; further refined, cinematic and confident. Stolz’s beats sound just as organic, his sampling tighter and the details finer. This is what makes TiredEyes stand out from a large number of the other beatmakers at the moment, fine detailing. It’s exciting to put a pair of headphones and come out so rewarded and Constellations does not disappoint.

Constellations is available for download from TiredEyes bandcamp page for $10 (USD)

Tracklisting is as follows,

  1. Blast Off   (00:51)
  2. Cosmic Echoes   (03:26)
  3. Orbital   (03:10)
  4. Golden   (02:09)
  5. Pain   (03:01)
  6. Imagery   (01:48)
  7. Maydrum   (01:53)
  8. Move Like This   (02:41)
  9. Run Free   (02:32)
  10. Such A Sky   (01:36)
  11. Lean Back   (02:27)
  12. Sit By The Door   (02:56)
  13. Empty Chamber   (01:15)
  14. We’re Not Home   (01:49)
  15. Mellow Breeze   (02:08)
  16. Space Bass   (03:53)
  17. Nylon Trees   (02:51)
  18. Stay Inside   (03:31)
  19. Obedient Workers   (01:54)

Trevor Menear – Some Kind of Sunshine [Review]

My latest bandcamp find (damn I love that site) is Chicago based Trevor Menear whose blues filled slices of soul have relentlessly been rocking my soundsystem all evening.

Some Kind of Sunshine was self-released back in 2010 via bandcamp and follows his 2008 debut Introducing Trevor Menear (Shangri-La Music). Infectiously catchy melodies playfully rub shoulders with raw blues guitar and soul filled vocals to a modern rock backdrop. I’d really like to refrain from comparing Menear to other artists but it’s fairly easy to think the raw blues of The Black Keys circa 2008 meets the soul of Ray LaMontagne with a whole lot more variation and ideas thrown in the mix. It’s surprisingly well produced as well, not to discredit Trevor Menear, however it cleverly blends that fuzzy, rough blues tone that bands such a Radio Moscow and Dan Auerbach chase so intently, with quiet acoustics and superb percussion; never sounding over produced and retaining a very organic sound. Album opener River Blues opens perfectly with style and some flowing licks, it’s exciting stuff and builds into a burning guitar solo that sounds thoroughly effortless.

After reading comparisons with Hendrix, and Duane Allman, Menears skills behind a guitar may have a lot to live up to but what really impresses is his restraint on this album. Solos never outstay their welcome, they are written to enhance the song and not purely to show off, something that can and should be greatly admired in songwriters who know their way around their instrument. It’s intelligent writing and only enforces the surprise that this young, talented musician who is not only a brilliant guitarist but proves he’s also an excellent song writer has not been snapped up by a major label already, especially after the recent explosion of The Black Keys into the mainstream of popular music.

Whatever way you look at Some Kind of Sunshine, it is undeniable that it’s a brilliant pop record as well as a superb indie blues record and as a free download (yes it’s free, although we encourage everyone to name a price if they like it and support these artists) it not only deserves to be given a chance but has the potential to spend a long time in my playlist.

Some Kind of Sunshine can be obtained from bandcamp as a name your price download.

trevormenear.com
Trevor on Facebook

Tom’s ‘recently found & loved’ playlist

I started compiling this playlist for a friend, but then realized I hadn’t posted for some time and so I thought I’d share it here too. What I’ve got here, (besides a couple of tracks) is a mix of new music I’ve found while sifting through blogs and music sites.

TV Girl:

A band from LA, they’re slowly on the rise, give them a year and they’ll touring the states, and hopefully Europe. It’s feel good electronic, indie shoe-gaze goodness. I’ve been enjoying pretty much all their releases.

Tyler Lyle:

This is my favourite track from his album, it’s got a good pace that seems to get more enjoyable as the song progresses. The other songs on his album are worth checking out too.

J:

I dug and found gold with this guy, he’s from Czech Republic even though he sounds very American. I love this track, it’s part of a series from his EP that all seem to be about childhood. His album is free, and it’s very good.

surely i come quickly:

I don’t even know how I found this guy, but his music is really enjoyable. It comes from an album called, you never wanted me. I believe the artist is from Saskatoon, Ca. The low-fi recordings really do add to the atmosphere of his music.

Soko:

This girl is pretty well-known around the blogs, and I believe made an appearance in the charts. She’s got some nice music vids, one directed by Spike Jonze. I love her voice, and even though this is a pretty sad song, It takes you on an ‘enjoyable’ journey I think.

Birds of America:

An American artist from Oakland, described as Dub/Folk. This track is super chilled and builds nicely, it sounds like it was recorded in a barn after a good party. It’s been on repeat for a while on my iPod.

Tom Eddy:

A folk band from Seattle. This track comes from their album called, The Bread Maker’s Blues. I think it’s the plucking and soft vocals that makes this track fun to listen to. Reminds me a bit of Herman Dune’s stuff.

Cass McCombs:

This is a pretty well-known artist in folk scene. He’s from Baltimore and has toured with a bunch of folky/rock artists. This track comes from his 2009 album, Catacombs.

Cotton Jones:

I love duets, XX are a good example, and these guys execute this song so nicely. This is an alternate version of their song, Gone The Bells, which they released on Soundcloud, I actually prefer it to the original. The dreamy guitar and bells sound beaut.

The Oh Hello’s:

These guys have an EP on Bandcamp which you can ‘name your price for’. They’re working on a full length album which looks promising as this song demonstrates a lot of talent. They say they’ve taken a lot inspiration from Mumford and Sons, personally i think they sound better.

Grand Salvo:

He’s known as ‘Australia’s Iron & Wine’, Grand Salvo has a knack of writing original songs about everyday observations. This is a song that triumphs on its simplicity. You might find you won’t take in the lyrics until the 3rd or 4th time since the acoustic instruments glide through your ears so gracefully.

Of Monsters And Men:

Time to pick up the tempo, this is another boy/girl duet. For me this is Edward Sharpe and XX mixed together. Of Monsters and Men is a 6 piece band from Iceland. This track is from their EP that was released in 2011, they’re currently working on bringing out a full album. They’re one to keep an eye on I feel.

Angus Stone:

I first heard of this artist back in 2007 when he released a single called Mango Tree with his half-sister, Julia. Definitely check out the song if you don’t know it. This track comes from his new album, Broken Brights, I hadn’t really been following his solo venture, so this album came to be a nice surprise.

Helios:

One of my all time favourite instrumental/ambient artists. He’s usually playing in my car during long drives through the countryside. literally love everything he produces, and somehow i missed this track from his last album, which resulted in a nice surprise.

Tallest Man on Earth:

Tallest Man on Earth hit the ground running with his 2008 debut album Shallow Grave and has been impressing fans and critiques since. This track comes from his newest album There’s no Leaving Now. It’s my favourite on the album – and no, he’s not putting on a Bob Dylan voice….

To Just Grow Away by Tallest Man on Earth

Alt-j:

I’ve started to spot adverts around London for Alt-J’s debut album An Awesome Wave. They’re a British band and have been gathering a lot of hype with their indie/electronic sound. I’m not gonna say I heard them before they got big because I don’t think I did. They’re playing at End of Road Festival this year which should be a treat.

Blackbird Blackbird:

Another of my favourite artists. I got to see Blackbird Blackbird play this year in the UK which was amazing. This guy constantly puts out great sounding music. This is one of his newest tracks, and it sounds like he’s far from losing his touch – nice one Mikey.

Fortune Howl:

I found this on some blog, it’s a remix of one of the songs from Wes Anderson’s new film Moonrise Kingdom. It’s a really enjoyable track to listen through.

The Revival Hour – Hold Back [Listen]

Fresh back from a week spent exploring the rainy Cornish coast and I already have a pile of releases mounting on the side of my desk. Before beginning the trawl through the precarious mountain beside me and whilst doing my usual weekly round of bandcamp, I stumbled upon The Revival Hour and their outstanding debut single Hold Back / Run Away.

Hold Back is big in every sense of the word, opening line “I am the lonliest climber of them all” sets a brooding tone which continues through; combined with gospel backing, rising choruses, swelling strings, deep brass, staccato piano, D.M. Stith’s brilliant falsetto voice and finally complimented with some seriously smooth production and this track just begs to be played loud. It’s powerful stuff, full of soul and incredibly intense. Lyrics question and demand, “Am I right to hold back?”, as the song rises and builds into something really quite wonderful. It’s dark, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s also crackling with suppressed energy. Bold stuf indeed.

The Revival Hour’s other half is completed by John Mark Lapham (The Earlies, The Late Cord) and with contributions from members of The Earlies, My Brightest Diamond and Shearwater, they are looking like they could become something really quite special. The single was released on 24th October of last year and after digging on facebook it appears the duo are working on release number two, a full length and a forthcoming tour. It couldn’t come soon enough as I can see myself exhausting this song pretty quickly if tonights play count is anything to go by!

Hold Back / Run Away is available to download for $2 (USD) from The Revival Hour’s bandcamp page.

Bandcamp Find of the Week – Pickwick

So I suppose my Bandcamp Find of the Week series should technically be renamed Bandcamp Find of the Season. We’ll gloss over the lack of follow ups since that January article, here’s the latest one. I present to you Pickwick.

There’s scant information across the internet on these guys so this is what I do know; there’s six of them, they’re from Seattle, they have a penchant for vintage gear and they love vinyl (men after my own heart there). But what I can tell you from listening to their debut record Myths, interestingly split into three EP’s and released over a period of months, is that they are a great blend of Soul, R&B and Indie rock with shades of blues and the songwriting skills to boot. It’s raw stuff, don’t expect lavish production here. That’s not to say it’s badly produced however, far from it, there’s perfect clarity and it does nothing but accentuate the bands sound, giving each member’s instrument room to breathe and stand out – there are some infectiously catchy melodies here. Most importantly however, it sounds like the band are having fun and this bleeds into their sound freely at all opportunities. Across the record (or three EP’s depending on how you buy it) Pickwick display great skill in creating meaningful songs full of soul. It’s also worth mentioning the interesting presentation and method of releasing three EPs as a full length. The band clearly have a vision and it’s great to see them experimenting with the way they release their music. Each EP comes with it’s own artwork, all stylistically created to compliment each other, it’s a nice idea well executed.

Have a listen over on the Pickwick bandcamp. Note if you want to grab Myths as a complete piece rather than the three EPs via bandcamp, you can purchase it digitally for $8 (USD) or physically for $10 (USD) on their kungfustore here. Highlights include the superb Hacienda Motel (live version below, well worth the watch!) and The Round.

Tracklisting as follows:

Volume 1
1) Hacienda Motel
2) When Rosa Speaks

Volume 2
1) The Round
2) Staged Names

Volume 3
1) Limelight
2) Blackout

Tashaki Miyaki [Listen+Watch]

It’s not often I fall head over heals for an artist, but listening to Tashaki Miyaki’s cover of one of my favourite Dylan songs put them at the top of my playlist for the week.

I blame the summery vibes ringing in the London air at the moment that’s fuelling my current shoegaze phase. Tashaki Miyaki have a chilled out dreamy sound blended with well paced vocals which compliment each track perfectly – and I really mean that. The band are often compared to Best Coast, who I always ‘sort of liked’, but Tashaki Miyaki have that special thing which make them in my humble opinion far more enjoyable. I hope they come play in the UK soon.

The two girls behind the name, Lucy and Rocky are both from California. Their latest EP,  is released by UK based label The Sounds Of Sweet Nothing – the same people that released the new Halls EP. I have to say those people know how to find quality music.

What squeezes the icing on the cake for me is Tashaki Miyaki have quality music videos too. As a filmmaker myself, I see the importance in having good, tasteful visuals to this genre of music. So often with bands you see the cliché kaleidoscope of images badly processed through After Effects, (even on a zero budget, there’s no need for that). However their frequent director, Juan Iglesias has done a stellar job in producing very fitting videos for them, I salut you sir.

Check out their latest cover of Bob Dylan’s song, If Not For You:

This is a video for their track Best Friend, I also recommend checking out their video for Somethin’ Is Better Than Nothin’:

Young Fathers – Tape One [Listen]

2012 is set to be a busy year for the Edinburgh based rap/hip-hoppers ‘Young Fathers’. Two years since releasing their debut single ‘Straight Back On’, the group have enjoyed a steady rise in popularity; given a boost when they were featured by the BBC as part of the ‘Introducing…’ series.

After spending the summer playing the various ‘Introducing…’ stages on the festival circuit and collaborating with ‘Simian Mobile Disco’, the group have offered up the mini album ‘Tape One’ for free on their Bandcamp page.

The sound on this mini album blends a dense mix of electro-inflected hip-hop and rap with African music influences and great fuzzy lo-fi production. MCs Ally Massaquoi, Kayus Bankol and Graham Hastings – otherwise known as ‘G’ all bring a distinctive voice and clever lyrics to each track. The interplay between the tracks is reminiscent of early ‘De La Soul’ and the whole thing has a great energy to it. The album seamlessly moves between hook-laden heavy hip-hop to subtler moments with melodic/pop tendencies. It’s these elements that could see the ‘Young Fathers’ propelled towards mainstream awareness very soon.

Watch the video to ‘Rumbling’ here.

Young Fathers’ debut album The Guide is out on 29 January.

Band Website