Jul 29 2011

Five MP3s You Must Grab 7/29/11

      1. Total Babes - Be So True


      2. The Tallest Man On Earth - Weather of a Killing Kind


      3. Clams Casino - Wizard


      4. Mikal Cronin - Get Along


      5. Elite Gymnastics - So Close to Paradise


Jul 14 2011

Five MP3s You Must Grab 7/14/11

      1. Class Actress - Keep You


      2. Veronica Falls - Come On Over


      3. Big Troubles - Misery


      4. Bingo Players - Cry (Just A Little) (Kids At The Bar Bootleg Remix)


      5. Sea Monsters - These Days


Jul 12 2011

Five Overlooked Albums From the First Half of 2011

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

The Nashville duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White have delivered a stripped-down, beautiful debut LP most critics have ignored, with the exception of the always South-of-center Paste Magazine.

      1. The Civil Wars - I've Got This Friend

Ringo Deathstarr – Colour Trip

The Austin shoegazers have honed in on their songwriting knack to bring a pretty stellar, exciting new take on the Loveless-esque, 80’s craze that’s been all the rage these days, resembling a more lo-fi Pains of Being Pure At Heart.

      2. Ringo Deathstarr - Do It Every Time

Witches – Forever

The Athens group will likely receive a plethora of R.E.M. comparisons, and while the Buck/Mills influence is certainly heard, Witches prefer an even gloomier, simpler approach, and the results, eventually spellbinding, will grow on you.

      3. Witches - Creature of Nature

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

LA-based, ATO-repping Dawes continue their Laurel Canyon rock on this, their second album, a more polished, sonic production with simpler arrangements, focusing on sharp melody and a theme of being restless.

      4. Dawes - How Far We've Come

Not In the Face – Bikini

Emulating the finest traits of guitar/drum duos before them (Black Keys, the White Stripes), Austin’s Not In the Face (coolest band name ever) have concocted a lo-fi bluesy, punky, poppy ear assault.

      5. Not In the Face - Way To Go Baby

Jul 11 2011

Rocking Retro: The Mavericks

Back in the 90’s there were still a few country artists and groups on the radio that were embodying the spirit of the old sound – nowadays they’re nowhere to be found, and when they go that route, they all but disappear from the dial.  Along with Dwight Yoakam and Patty Loveless, Miami-based the Mavericks were probably the most successful in the neotraditional realm of popular country music, winning Grammys and charting numerous times in their successful six-album run.

My dad bought What a Crying Shame and Music For All Occasions on CD when I was nine, and I probably listened to them more than he did – they became regular go-to favorites for me.  Leader Raul Malo has since embarked on a modestly successful solo career, but it is my hope the group will reunite for a summer tour or something akin, preferably touring with the aforementioned Yoakam.  Hey, I can dream….

      1. The Mavericks - Foolish Heart
      2. The Mavericks - Here Comes The Rain
      3. The Mavericks - O What A Thrill
      4. The Mavericks - What A Crying Shame
      5. The Mavericks - All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down (featuring Flaco Jimenez)

Jul 7 2011

Currently Digging: Clams Casino – Rainforest EP

Brooklyn freelance beatmaker Clams Casino has stated he is tired of the rat race of trying to collaborate with MCs to rap on top of his slick, ethereal productions.  He says the beats just lay around for months, waiting for someone to write a rhyme for the finished track.  It’s understandable – rappers have busy schedules, and one could argue these sounds are best heard as instrumentals.

Those in favor of the latter, myself included, have a strong EP as evidence – the newly self-released Rainforest EP.  Taking cues from West Coast hip-hop and sonic dance producers like Burial, Clams Casino unleashes his spaced-out, boogie-worthy, nature-themed creations to the masses as purely instrumental tracks, and the result is quick five ones, with a lot of awesome going on in each.

      1. Clams Casino - Treetop

Jul 1 2011

Quarterly Review – April-June 2011

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

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Jun 27 2011

Five MP3s You Must Grab 6/27/11

      1. Rizzle Kicks - Down With The Trumpets (Star Slinger Remix)


      2. Heems of Das Racist - WOMYN aka HITCH


      3. Drake - Marvin's Room


      4. Total Babes - Like They Always Do


      5. Joker feat. Buggsy - Untitled


Jun 20 2011

Currently Digging: SebastiAn – Total

A longtime well-known name on Ed Banger Records and in the French house circuit, SebastiAn has finally dropped his first proper LP Total after years of touring with big names like Daft Punk, remixing stars like Cut Copy, and releasing some stellar EPs. While we patiently wait for Justice to put out their sophomore effort, perhaps we’ve been anticipating the wrong French dance release over here in the States.

I’ve casually kept up with SebastiAn ever since I saw him open for The Rapture and Daft Punk at Red Rocks back in 2007 – he wowed the crowd with a raucous remix of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name.” While overseas in London, I happened upon this new album playing over the PA at Rough Trade East. The artist is just as banging as ever; the entire album is a party, from the synth-laden interludes to the chopped up noise of “Embody” to the MIA collab “C.T.F.O.”

Surely this will whet the appetite for those of us eager for the clipped beats and club ready mish-mashing French DJs have mastered so well. It’s doubtful Daft Punk give us anything anytime soon, and I don’t see how Justice could top this fun, fun disc. We’ll find out soon enough, but it’s always fun to boogie while you’re playing the waiting game.

      1. SebastiAn - Embody
      2. SebastiAn - Ross Ross Ross
      3. SebastiAn - C.T.F.O. (feat. MIA)

Jun 1 2011

Currently Digging: Middle Brother

Partisan Records has one hell of a supergroup; John McCauley of Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit have formed Middle Brother and released a stellar debut self-titled album (pictured above). The crew is one on the list of bands I wished I had caught at SXSW; hopefully they’ll embark on a tour and stop in the ATX soon-ish. The boys all deliver their unique brands of folk-rock on originals and a pretty sweet Paul Westerberg cover, “Portland.” It all comes together nicely and solidly for one of the chillest and funnest albums of the year.

      1. Middle Brother - Daydreaming
      2. Middle Brother - Portland
      3. Middle Brother - Someday

May 24 2011

Currently Digging: Hooray For Earth – No Love

It’s been taking forever and ever, but True Loves, the debut from Brooklyn psych-dance-pop masters Hooray For Earth, finally drops June 7th.  And the group recently leaked another amazing, catchy, ghetto-blasting banger from the album, the brilliant “No Love.”  Grab it and blare it repeatedly.

      1. Hooray For Earth - No Love

While you’re at it, revisit my 31st favorite song from 2010, the infectious title track.

      2. Hooray For Earth - True Loves

And revisit my 63rd favorite from last year, the band’s collaboration with Twin Shadow.

      3. Hooray For Earth and Twin Shadow - A Place We Like