The big names are doing big things these days.The Fresh & Onlys have signed to Mexican Summer with news of a spring 2012 album, Neon Indian is giving out t-shirts, Era Extraña LPs with upgraded 2012 ticket purchases, GZA just dropped some knowledge at a Harvard lecture along with an inspiration fueled visit at MIT, The Afghan Wigs are reforming and playing ATP gigs in NJ and the UK, Air is paying homage to classic Le Voyage Dans La Lune like the 'Pumpkins before them, and Frankie Rose's second LP Interstellar comes out February 21 on Slumberland. Meanwhile Skrillex bro is soaking up the controversial BBC Sound of 2012 list ire-but we are happy to see shout-outs to A$AP, Azealia and Mr. Ocean anyway. The list goes on, but let us return the focus to the other artists that made our week listenable in no particular order.
Will Carter dropped the extra-chilled “Bad Guy Anyway” on Dracula Horse with in-house production by Walsh, a.k.a. Brandon Biondo of COOLRUNNINGS. Being that little is known about Mr. Carter, “Bad Guy” serves as the perfect introductory track where he asserts,”No I'm not invincible but my talents are limitless, I do as I envision it because all battles I'm finishing” with a suave chorus where he sings “people going to hate anyway,” but there is little room here for hate or bad guy accusations on a track that Biondo himself is calling “crazy good.” Dracula Horse has had a stellar year of great productions, leaving us only thirsty for more from Will Carter, Biondo and the gang.
Oakland crew League510 gave us the sitcom centered hit, “Remotely in Love.” The over the top, autoned lover's rock croons with a sea of series refrences like “Family Matters,” “Happy Days,” “Married with Children” even hitting the remote forward to “Cold Case,” “Family Guy,” “Will & Grace,” amongst others. League510's upcoming album LoveMeSoSlowlyTenderKnockingCupcakingMusic drops on Valentine's Day 2012.
London's Pandr Eyez released one of hotest videos this week with “Shinin,” the second single off their Eyes on You EP on Cascine. Watch Ferren throw around casino cards and dice while Tom just chills to the super smooth beat. This could very well be the sound and steez of 2012 now.
We heard Nite Jewel's release of “One Second of Love” from the forthcoming album of the same name with big fanfare this week. Since the release of Ramona Gonzalez's 2008 release of Good Evening she has worked her way out of the lo-fidelity ghettos of anachronistic vagaries and into an '80s workout chic that is thankfully not from the Alison Goldfrapp schoolmarm aerobics variety. Nite Jewel's much anticpated One Second of Love comes out March 6 on Secret Canadian.
Providence Rhode Island's own self-proclaimed 'Ocean State Great' K.i.T delivered a great key tone jammer, “Boys & Girls” this week. K.i.T explains it like this: “When you break down the world on a human level all you really have is boys and girls, its nature; I just happen to be in that stage in life where we recklessly live by that code, as though each of us individually are the world. It's a spiteful chant of sorts.” Jackston Stell keeps the keyboards and drum boxes oscilating like the sound of late night college radio station hip-hop being played out of car-door speakers after 2am.
Sad Baby Wolf is the new outfit to come from former Shins members Marty Crandall, Neal Langford with a noise that eclipses even their 'big indie league' early stuff. The single “8th Level” and accompanying track “Survival Guide” are some blissful indicators for what their debut LP might bring sometime in early spring 2012.
Front figures of Chicago's Juke scene BBU comprised of emcees Epic, Illekt and Jasson dropped the energetic “Jumpers.” I spent the latter part of this week running around my apartment nodding to the lyrics of, “Get gone if you ain't up with what we on, another planet, you just in other zone, 'cause we here for a minute and then we gone.” BBU's mixtape bell hooks will drop sometime this February. Stay tuned.
The buzz boards are lighting up with the latest from School of Seven Bells with their hot track “The Night.” This will impress that friend who always pontificates about the hey-day of 4AD while constantly complaining that the ol' 'indies' ain't-what-they-used-to-be. Their album Ghostory comes out next year, February 18 on Vagrant Records.
Black Sheep's Dres and A Tribe Called Quest's Jarobi have collaborated to make EVITAN. With their name spelling native in reverse, the duo have plans to drop a yet to be titled album as of this press date but we are told to expect something by early 2012. Check out their first single “P.T.I. (Occupy Wall Street)” with some footage of Dres and Jarobi battling it out as fellow 99 percenters.
Gold is all the rage these days. Bands name themselves after the stuff, Republicans claim it is the last standard of 'Merican currency and Portland, Oregon's AU named their latest single “Solid Gold.” Making the jump to Hometapes woldwide and Leaf in Europe; Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka have crafted their multi instrumental talents into an anthemic and joyous 5 part song suite disguised as a single. We are told the B side is Wyland's reworking of”Solid Gold” into something even more breathtaking. AU's 7″ is limited to only 500 copies on transparent yellow-orange vinyl is available now. Watch this space for further news about their upcoming spring LP release.
Lianne La Havas is currently on tour with Bon Iver and was kind enough to think of us by sharing a live LA performance of “Don't Wake Me Up.” This sounds like what I imagine angels dream of before they awakening to another celestial day in the paradise comfort of clouds.
With a 2012 spring tour planned supporting M83, Swedish neo-gazers I Break Horses have also released a video for their song “Wired.” If the title track video for “Hearts” set the soft focus on the Swedish countryside; “Wired” presents some extreme close ups of exotic, urban life in motion set in what we believe is Stockholm. Listen for the ending when the track sounds like it is physically beginning to bend like a 45 disc left on the seat of a tram that got warped from the rays of the midnight sun.
Also if should you be in some dance re-mixes of the indie variety, listen to the Star Slinger Load Your 808 Remix of I.B. Horses' “Load Your Eyes.” Once you find yourself lost in Maria Lindén's phaser treated vocals that trail into the void of infinity you will be happy you did.
SL Jones gave us “Actin' Bad” with production by Blitz this week as he gets ready to drop his mixtape Flight Risk December 14. Despite any legal mess, Jones is stepping up his game to reassure fans that he is still on the scene and riding clean.
Dear Lions make some of the poppiest tunes around for a band that played their first show this year at SXSW. Beyond their overstated power-pop virtues (which there are many) they showcase themselves as the sound that the Beta Band might make if they were reincarnated as a current NYC group. Further evidence can be heard on the guitar-based-rock glimmer that is “Out of Body,” the opener on their recently released Lying to My Lies.
Young Magic are all about making stuff Melt, as in the above art for the album of the same name. If the peacock acid burn cover don't tip you off, wait until you take in the visions of cloud, over-exposed sun bathed beach shots, and lysergic color swirls for “Sparkly.”
For the audio stream of “Sparkly” alone, listen here.
Last Thanksgiving weekend you will remember us talking about Fol Chen and their involvement with this strange tetrafol audio toy. A brief informative video demonstrates the triangular device's multi-faceted manipulation of the playback of the sound/sample in motion. View further, my friends:
Listen here to Fol Chen's “Back in Kent,” a track that stands on its squeals of backward guitar noises, well placed bass notes and perfect electric drums; all begging to be chopped and screwed physically with the motion of the tetrafol.
Georgia Ann Muldrow wowed us a few months back with her recent album Owed to Mama Rickie and dropped the video for the powerful “More & More.” A conscious song of positive empowerment that reaffirms the strength of family bonds, pride and the richness of heritage. It goes without saying that our love grows more and more for Ms. Muldrow talent daily.
Watch Yoni Wolf of WHY? go from business to business to hype his East Coast tour in a humorous, unique and at times downright sentimental, with special awards going out for self-promotional creativity.
And as we get closer to that magical time of year, how about some Dead Gaze to serenade your season with their minimalist, bell chime laden rendering of “Silver Bells” to make the season even brighter.