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.


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Woods – Bend Beyond [Review]

Sometime in June, before summer had sunk its teeth in, Woods announced their new album, Bend Beyond. Much excitement instantly circulated the alternative-folk scene; their track record has been consistently strong. Sun and Shade which was released last year was a personal favorite, and reassured the fans they were still on the right track.

Firstly, let me begin by saying Bend Beyond will not let you down. It’s a highly enjoyable, and extremely well executed album which demonstrates a maturity in both the songwriting and the production – which fits perfectly. The lo-fi indie-folk band from Brooklyn have a distinct sound, predominantly down to Jeremy Earl’s vocals, which this time round acquire a clarity like never before. It’s this factor for me that makes Bend Beyond different. Not only can you appreciate the layers of instruments that create their psychedelic sound, but the vocals are refined to the point where you can listen and enjoy the lyrics on a level which you couldn’t do before.

The first track, Bend Beyond sends you back to the woods, with their familiar riffs and guitar solos. It’s the longest track on the album, and paces itself nicely. It sets the tone that Woods is a band, not just Jeremy Earl. The second track, Cali in a Cup was in fact an early release, and has a nostalgic Super 8 music video to accompany it. This song is a prime example of the high quality production value they’ve got going.

One of my all time favorite songs by Woods was the final track on their last album, Say Goodbye. The gently strummed, stripped down style is apparent in a couple of tracks in Bend Beyond, most notably in It Ain’t Easy. It’s a moment of calm that engages you with the simpler harmonies and lyrics that Woods are so good at writing. It’s as essential as the much expected instrumental jams which remind you these guys are having fun making this music.

My top picks from the album would be, Back to the Stone and Is it Honest?, both encompass all that there is to love about Woods. The album is released as of today, and is available on iTunes.

Tracklist below.

  1. Bend Beyond
  2. Cali in a Cup
  3. Is it Honest?
  4. It Ain’t Easy
  5. Cascade
  6. Back to the Stone
  7. Find Them Empty
  8. Wind Was the Wine
  9. Lily
  10. Size Meets the Sound
  11. Impossible Sky
  12. Something Surreal

Here is Cali in a Cup and a few others to get you back in the zone.



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.

 

Arrange – New Memory [Listen]

The end of summer melancholy has started to descend upon my music library, and my current favourite is called Arrange. His slow synthy beats overlayed with shoegazy vocals summons a sound that’s best enjoyed loud and alone.

New Memory is Malcom Lacey’s latest album, after a handful of releases in the past two years. His songwriting carries an ongoing theme of loss and heartache which stem from an unfortunate abusive childhood. Despite this, the album consist of wonderful moments of uplifting instrumentals that keep your head turned in a positive direction . The ambient hum that compliments his tracks throughout will no doubt hinder understanding the spoken words during the first listen, but this results in you wanting to hit repeat and take it in again.

His music resembles artists such as Perfume Genius and Youth Lagoon, with electronic harmonies that echo the work of composers like Eluvium. The album is an enjoyable melancholic experience, but as Paul Lester from the Guardian puts it; “Not for the faint-hearted, but perfect for the heartbroken”.

Here’s the track Caves from New Memory which was released this year in July.

Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams [News & Listen]

“No time to rest. I’m gonna find me a life, baby, way out west”

After the success of his previous two EP’s, Ben Schneider a.k.a Lord Huron is now set to release his first album. Since the announcement of Lonesome Dreams (2012), a handfull of videos, images and songs and have been released on his website, giving us a glimpse of what is to come.

His previous EP’s have all been complimented with distinct and tasteful artwork, and this seems evident in his new release too. Currently on his website are grainy teaser videos of deserts and dense forests accompanied by excerpts of music from the album. There’s no doubt Lord Huron has adopted a Western theme, with grubby cowboys in bandanas and Mexicans tied up with knives to their throats. Red Dead inspired perhaps?

What’s most exciting is the full track he’s released called Time To Run, which is also free to download. Lord Huron has a knack for creating atmospheric, well paced songs that keep your finger hovering over the repeat button, and this track does exactly that. Lonesome Dreams is set to be released on October 9th but until then here’s Time To Run, and also one of his hit tracks from his previous EPs Mighty called, The Stranger.



Kishi Bashi – 151a [Listen]

“Grand and transcendent… the layers of beautiful sound, homage to Japanese culture, and use of violin make 151a a dreamy, pocket-sized symphony, perfect for anyone needing a lift.”
BUST

This artist has jumped to the top of my ‘most played’ this summer. Kishi Bashi, aka K Ishibashi is a solo artist who has toured with the likes of Of Montreal, and is also a founder of the NY indie rock band, Jupiter One. Now going solo, K Ishibashi has produced something fresh, new and wonderfully weird. From listening to the first intro track on his debt album, 151a, you wouldn’t expect what would follow.


It’s electronic, folky, classical – a tornado of musical goodness that’s entertaining from the beginning to end. Drawing from his classical routes as a violinist, K Ishibashi conjures a melody of genres, which I can only compare to an artist such as Animal Collective. He mixes up English and Japanese in his lyrics, which add to the sometimes manic feel to the songs. The transition from each track to the next leaves you wanting more of his feel-good musical world he creates.


The birth of this album was conceived through a Kickstarter campaign – a site where entrepreneurs, filmmakers, musicians etc pitch their project and rely on the support of the public to donate money to fund it. Ishibashi’s target was $12,000, and within three weeks he raised $20,000, an impressive achievement, and one that paid off. Since the album’s release in April, Ishibashi has been impressing critics and the public with his live loop-based performances.

“The way I create my loops, I just kind of — they’re not exact. So a lot of it has to do with a feeling and it might be faster, I also like changing things up, so I’ll change things and kind of make it different, and I also like the audience to have a different experience.”
KISHI BASHI – RIVERFRONT TIMES

The album is diverse and unexpected. It paints a picture of both joy and melancholy, and it leaves you feeling great. Ishibashi is currently on tour around the US, and is yet to pencil in anything for Europe. You can get your hands on his album here.

The Lumineers [Listen & Watch]

This band has done a good job of being heard in the States, and they’re about to bring their stomping feet and country strings to Europe. I discovered them from a cool blog called instagigs – worth checking out.

Lumineers released their self titled debut album in April this year, and managed to squeeze into the top 10 of the Alternative Chart position. They even recently played on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno .

“The Lumineers walk that line with an unerring gift for timeless melodies and soul-stirring lyrics” 

A few tracks on the album stick out for me. I really appreciate short, well strung songs, and Flowers in Your Hair and Ho Hey are both under 3mins, and are probably the two most catchy tunes. The band are known for wearing their hearts on their sleeve; the general themes are of broken relationships and unfair love – but somehow you still feel good when listening

One song from the album that stands alone for me is Flapper Girl, this is the kind of song that would be on the B-Side of an EP. It’s subtle melody with relaxed vocals breathes a warm breeze into the album as it nears towards the end.

The band are currently on tour, and are set to play in the Uk on the 17th of September at the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen. Click here to treat yourself to their album – it’s a good investment for when the sun is shining and you’re swinging in your hammock.

Check out their newly released music video for Ho Hey. Simple idea executed very nicely:

Ride – Going Blank Again (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) [Reissue]

Of all the bands that came out of the Thames Valley shoegaze scene in the early 90s, I hold Ride the dearest. As well as owning the gargantuan amount of effects pedals and an intimate knowledge of My Bloody Valentine records that the scene required; they could also write tunes with memorable sonic hooks. Continue reading

Daughn Gibson [Listen]

Think Nicolas Jaar meets John Maus. From Pennsylvania comes Daughn Gibson, originally a member of stoner-metal trio Pearls and Brass, Gibson’s new blend of music is a mix of folk and dub-step. He’s got a way of combining dirty rhythms and heavy beats with harmonic vocals. It’s like Perfume Genius with muscle.

To quote Pitchfork, “His thick baritone breezes confidently over the songs, lassoing hook after hook, redeeming his burnt-out characters through song”

This track, In The Beginning is one of my favorites from his debut album All Hell (2012), and is a good starter track to get you into the rest of his stuff. He’s currently touring in the US, let’s hope he takes a trip to London soon.

Sounds of the Summer Olympics [Listen & Watch]

While here in Britain we cannot guarantee the summer weather, we can count on some high calibre musical acts to craft the sound of the London games.

First up we have the official song of the games courtesy of Muse. Survival channels all the pomp and ceremony of Muse at their most Queen-like into five minutes of all the over-the-top rock anthem you could wish for. It’s oh so slightly overblown, but so are the games themselves. The track builds and soars in all the appropriate places, to quote Matt Bellamy “it expresses a sense of conviction and determination to win.”

It will be broadcast when the athletes enter the stadium and in the period before medal ceremonies. The track is also set to appear on the group’s next album The 2nd Law, which will be released in September.

A nice promo with archive footage from previous games has been released, can viewed below:

Next we have The Chemical Brothers, I’ve always associated the duo with tearing around tracks at high speed – ever since repeatedly listening to the track Loops of Fury whilst playing Wipeout 2097 on my Playstation in the 90s. So, it seems apt that they’ve been tasked with creating the official Theme For Velodrome. The track takes its cue from Tour de France by Kraftwerk, but builds upon the sound with some heavier beats and some robotic voices. As with the Kraftwerk track the repetitive nature of the songs electronica fits nicely with the pace and movement of the sport. I can already see it sitting well on round-up highlight clips of the cycling.

Unfortunately, it would seem even penning an official tune for the games won’t get you any tickets for the event – “We did ask but no one’s come through yet. At the moment neither of us has any …” revealed Ed Simmons.

Listen to a radio rip from  Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show here:

Other official Olympics songs include: Good Morning to the Night by Elton John vs Pnau, and Good Life by Delphic.

As for the television coverage, the BBC are running their own idents for the broadcasting of the games and have approached the band Elbow to write the theme. This makes perfect sense as their track One Day Like This has pretty much been featured on every sporting broadcast by every broadcaster since its release in 2008. Elbow have composed a six-minute track called First Steps, with a choir taking on the vocals.

The track is suitably epic and has a main melodic theme that can be pumped up for the victorious moments and toned down for the quieter more contemplative losing reactions.

A rather nice ident has been created by RKCR/Y&R and it can be seen below, along with a clip of the Elbow track:

Muse band website

The Chemical Brothers website

Elbow band website

BBC 2012 website