Tycho – Division [Listen]

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I love those mornings when you wake up, hazily grab your phone (usually to silence the incessant drone of the alarm), catch up on your RSS/Facebook/Twitter etc and are greeted by a brand new track by one of your favourite artists. A nice morale boost to the day.

So this morning I did just that and by the time I’d grabbed my keys and was on my way out the door I’d already listened to Tycho’s new track five or six times and was feeling all the more chipper as a result.

I love where Scott is taking Tycho; as familiar as ever but brighter, bolder and with increasing confidence. It feels more organic, more expansive and crackles with energy. Maybe that’s to be expected with his move away from solo artist, embracing the band and touring Awake extensively for two years. I’m excited.

Check it out.

The new as yet untitled album is due out on Ghostly International in 2016.

If you’re in the US you can catch Tycho at one of the remaining 2016 shows.

TYCHO 2016 TOUR DATES

JUL 02 – Chicago, IL – Mamby on the Beach
SEP 17 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre (w/ Lotus, El Ten Eleven)
SEP 22-24 – Thornville, OH – Resonance Music & Arts Festival
SEP 24-25 – St. Louis, MO – Murmuration Festival
OCT 15-16 – San Francisco, CA – Treasure Island Music Festival

Drenge – Face Like a Skull [Listen]

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It’s not often that a music recommendation comes to me by way of the MP for West Bromwich East, in fact, it has never happened before.

In his resignation letter, written to the party leader Ed Miliband, Labour MP Tom Watson stated:

“John Humphrys asked me why you were not at Glastonbury this weekend. I said Labour leaders can’t be seen standing in muddy fields listening to bands. And then I thought how terribly sad that this is true. So: be that great Labour leader that you can be, but try to have a real life too. And if you want to see an awesome band, I recommend Drenge.”

I couldn’t resist investigating this recommendation further and was pleased to discover that Drenge are in fact a rather good band, producing an excellent strain of garage rock straight out of Sheffield in the UK. Consisting of brothers Eoin Loveless and Rory Loveless, Drenge have a brilliantly chaotic but highly melodic sound that is utterly infectious.

The group’s latest, riotous single Face Like a Skull pulls in it’s influences from a wide range of sources; from the sounds of groups like The Vines, The Black Keys and Nirvana to the lyrical style of fellow Sheffield band Arctic Monkeys. A barrage of riffs and youthful exuberance flow throughout the track and the production is pitched perfectly to capture the gritty basement-like sound of the group.

Listen to Face Like a Skull below:

The acerbic nature of the sound runs through all the output of the band so far. Eoin’s baritone vocals perfectly complement his snarling guitar and Rory’s powerhouse drumming. The previous single Backwaters is a perfect example of this — introducing a blues rock sound to the mix.

Listen to Backwaters below:

Drenge release their self titled debut album on 19th August; it will be interesting to see if the parliamentary endorsement ends up being good for the band, or whether it becomes a bit of a curse for them. As a music lover, I don’t care — I’ll take my recommendations from anywhere that I can get them.

For more information see the groups facebook page.

AOU – Demo EP [Listen & Free Download]

Pages from AOU-EP

I usually have the music that is submitted to us playing in the background while I work, and once in a while I stop, turn it up and go, ‘wait who is this?‘. I’ve just finished listening to AOU’s new demo EP and didn’t want to waste a minute in sharing it with you.

AOU, are a new musical collective based between London and Paris. Their style is described as indie/electro/tropical and they’re influenced by groups ranging from Kraftwerk and Joy Division to Metronomy and Air. Personally I feel they have a similar sound to Lower Dens with their progressive rocky beats and melodic vocals.

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AOU are William Moreau, Guy Stevenson, Quentin Sarda and Mattis Moviken. The group came together in 2012, each member hail from different musical backgrounds which contribute to their unique sound. Their EP is currently available to stream and free to download for a limited period from thier website, get it while it’s hot: www.aouband.co.uk

Way Yes – Tog Pebbles [Listen]

Suddenly I have a new favourite band. I love playful music; anything that sounds like fun to make, which is why artists like Animal Collective and Kishi Bashi were instant hits for me. Way Yes are a 5 piece band from Columbus, Ohio, and boy do they know how to produce great sounding music. The first song I heard from them was called Cinnamon, I instantly sent it to my friend and was like, ‘Oh my god it’s Kermit the Frog singing’. The song couldn’t help stretch a smile across my face, but at the same time I was thinking, ‘this sounds bloody good’.


I proceeded to checking out all their other releases. Cinnamon came from their first EP Herringbone, they released a full length album in 2012 called Walkability, and now they have just released their latest album, Tog Pebbles. Like good cheese; their sound has matured from Herringbone (2010), to what is now a cool combo of upbeat and chilled tracks that employ a mix of jungly beats and synthy-pop sounds.


The vocals have taken a step back in the mix too, adding greater importance to the instrumental parts in the songs. Two tracks from Tog Pebbles really stick out for me, Holy Drop and Colerainbecause besides the feel-good crescendos, the lyrics carry an unexpected, meaningful weight . They also have the best album art designed by John Malta. We don’t rate music on Universal Wax, so i’m just going to give this artist my most prestigious seal of approval. Now go check them out!

Typhoon – White Lighter [News + Listen]

Typhoon, the 11 piece band known for creating a big sound while maintaining an intimate level of storytelling have just announced their new album, White Lighter set to be released August 20th. Their previous album Hunger and Thirst released last year stirred a lot of excitement, in particular their track CPR / Claws Pt. 2 was greatly commended, and is a personal favorite. They have pre-released a track from the new album called Young Fathers which is very enjoyable and hints that the new album is going to be a goodie.


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Idiot Wind [Listen]

Some incredible folk artists have been emerging from Sweden during the last few years. Idiot Wind is the pseudonym of singer-songwriter Amanda Bergman. She’s married to Kristian Matsson aka Tallest Man On Earth, and without drawing too many comparisons to their styles; they most definitely share a skill in writing original songs that engage with the listener on an personal level and pack a powerful emotional punch. Continue reading

The Universal Wax Top 12 of ’12 – Part Three

So here we are with the final four albums of our twelve that make up the Universal Wax top 12 of ’12.  This time it’s Toms selection which is as broad as ever and features some really fantastic records. I couldn’t agree more with the inclusion of the Journey OST which has been one of the most beautiful scores I’ve heard for a long time and as any long time readers may recall we’re already big Andrew Bird fans here at Universal Wax. This will be our final post of 2012, however we’ll be following this one up in the new year with our notable mentions (those that didn’t quite make our top twelve) and some upcoming artists to look out for in 2013. In the meantime, from all at Universal Wax, we hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and are about to have a fantastic New Year, enjoy our now complete Universal Wax Top 12 of ’12 and let us know what you think in the comments below!  – Sam

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Darkstar – Timeaway [Listen]

Darkstar the northern english electronic music trio return with their new track Timeaway from the forthcoming album News From Nowhere. The group rose to prominence with the 2009 track Aidy’s Girl Is a Computer which was featured on the influential Hyperdub Records compilation 5: Five Years of Hyperdub. The group’s unique sound blended the style of the emerging dubstep movement with an uplifting melodic synth pop edge. Continue reading

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.

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.