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>Up and Coming Bands Vol. 1

>So lately I’ve been in the mood for discovering new bands. I’ve purchased mainly albums that came out between last year and the early part of this year. It ranges from psychedelia to pop. I’ve also become more and more interested in a local band that started out as a band I knew only because they were a friend’s friends.

Tame Impala

Tame Impala is a psychedelic blues band that goes from intense to super “dooooode” chill mood in the span of one song. The vocals by lead singer, guitarist, and mastermind Kevin Parker are ethereal and John Lennon-like, which I can dig. Combine that with guitar lines that resemble Cream’s heyday and you’ve got The Beatles and Black Sabbath in one band.

What I admire the most from this band is how they manage to be stuck in the 60’s while still retaining something modern and fresh about them. Fans of Jimi Hendrix will for sure like this band. I

DOM 
DOM is a fresh new band with extreme pop sensibilities and a knack for big choruses and a good combination of guitar and keyboards. They go from the typical “I-want-to-go-out-and-party” type of music, to honest and emotional songs, and even songs about the singers cat, Bochicha. I know that when you first hear them, you’ll think “Wait a minute. Those are all guys in the picture, yet the singer sounds like a girl. Well, Dom (the singer is also named Dom) has a very unique voice. I really don’t care though, because the music sounds great regardless of the genral.

Pilots in Orbit
 

PiO is a band from Union, NJ and they describe themselves as an experimental/indie band. I met them through a friend that knows the entire band when one day she decided to invite me to one of their shows in NYC. The band is consisted of Sal (Guitar/ Lead Vocals), Adrian (Guitar/Back-up Vocals/ Random Drum at Shows), Andy (Bass), and Nikko (Drums). I hand’t heard their music at all before so I was curious to see what the local scene had to offer and I was blown away. Their performance was intense, loud, and very charismatic. Nikko bangs away the drums with his eyes closed (literally), while the shy-seeming Sal gets moments of intense energy every so often. Andy dances away while he slaps his bass and hops around, owning his side of the stage while Adrian, who plucks his guitar with his signature “Adrian Sound” while getting intense energy just like Sal.

Check them out on Facebook.

For their music, go to their Myspace page.

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>Modern Rivals EP Review

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Up until a few hours ago, I believed that the big Indie sound that bands like Arcade Fire and Ra Ra Riot have could only be produced from those bands. Obviously, they get the right tools (i.e. fancy instruments, money) from the big labels that they are signed on. Modern Rivals have proven me very, very wrong. Whether it’s the the layered guitars, power-pop sensibilities, or poppy keys, this band is pure ear candy.

My first impression was a puzzling and refreshing one. When I heard their sound, I thought, “this is Ra Ra Riot, Passion Pit, and the old higher tempo Tokyo Police Club rolled up together”. I have to say though, that this wasn’t a rip-off of any of the aforementioned bands; they’re unique as can be.

I realized where the pop truly lies in this band though, and it’s in their music. Alex Schiff’s keys become embedded into your mind. In the opening song “The Accidental”, the Atari like key hook catches you during the choruses, while all attention is focused into the alt-strumming guitars. The second song though, “Bloody Trick” is the song where the band throws everything at you, with another catchy key melody and loud guitars with some fine disco drum beats (although it become a little over used, making the EP blend if played in the background). It all explodes in the chorus and it’s very, very satisfying.

The vocals are something I pay attention to on the second listen though, and upon this listen, I realized how dark singer Erick Lee can be. His boyish voice and (sometimes) cheerful and (other times) danceable music can be a little deceiving behind the dark lyrics.

I must close this review with one suggestion though. Listen to the music, and listen to it carefully. Whether it’s Erick Lee’s and Mickey Novak’s guitars, or Alice Wang’s violin, the music is deeply constructed and meant to satisfy the close listeners. It’s this that makes music fans happy.

Download the EP at http://www.modernrivals.bandcamp.com

Posted in Brooklyn Music Scene, Indie, Modern Rivals, Modern Rivals EP, Ra Ra Riot, Tokyo Police Club | Leave a comment

>Sourpuss-Beast Make Bomb Review

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Beast Make Bomb was one of the local NYC bands that had really impressed me, and now they are just teasing me with another EP. I want an album now!!! Sourpuss is the punk bands second EP, and even though it’s two songs less than their first EP “Skinny Legs”, I absolutely dig it even more.

The band kicks off the album with a fast paced almost Superchunk-like song called “1,2,3,4” clocking in at a little past two minutes. The song is quick and catchy and surprises you with how much more fast paced it is.

Right after that, you get the much more chill “Coney Island”, which in true BMB style, picks up at the end and climaxes into “You’re gonna break my heart”. The guitar playing has become more creative and you can tell if you listen close. Upon first listen, it can sound deceptively simple though.

Right after that, the song “Rough It Out” picks things back up in tempo with some of Ceci Gomez’s best vocals in a song. The girl’s got skill and it’s also a shame how some people don’t apreciate how hard it is to sing and play guitar. I’m sure seeing them live would help.

Download the whole EP here. I paid for the album to support, but you don’t have to pay anything if you don’t want.

Posted in Beast Make Bomb, Brooklyn Music Scene, Indie Music, Modern Rivals EP, Sourpuss, Sourpuss EP | Leave a comment

>Discoveries Vol. 3

>It’s been EXACTLY one month since I’ve done a post. I lack a computer at home with internet connection, but now that I have an iPad, it’s no problem! Yes, I’ve ordered and purchased a lot of CD’s over the last month and I’m going to be discussing the top three of my recent purchases.

Congratulations by MGMT

So I really got into MGMT when I heard and read so much about how amazing they are. I must say though, that they are good…but they aren’t THE greatest band currently like everyone’s saying. I’ve got to say though, that “Congratulations” is one REALLY good album. While it lacks the indie-pop hits that their first album “Oracular Spectacular” has, it’s a much better album overall. Gone are those electro-dance beats (only present in one song “Someone’s Missing”, for the last 30 seconds), since now the band has a permanent drummer that gives them a more organic feel.

Brian Eno

The songs are really trippy with a baroque and almost punk feel. The songs are fast and witty, with the Andrew VanWyngarden offering some of his best psychedelic inspired vocals. That’s another stand-out for the album. The psychedelia was pushed MUCH further. The second out of nine songs is very 60’s Batman theme song-ish. On that note, yes the album is only nine songs long, but the songs rarely go under the four minute mark, and my one of my favorite songs, Simon and Garfunkel-like “Siberian Breaks”, clocks in at twelve whopping minutes. This is such a trippy album, but I like it. Just check out their performance above.

Plastic Beach by Gorillaz

Yes, I’m a bit late, but this is for the people who are later than I am. This is one REALLY good hip hop/electro/pop album. Ex-Blur frontman Damon Albarn is a musical genius that crafted one of the most diverse and exciting albums of 2010. Whether you’re nodding your head to “Rhinestone Eyes” or feeling melancholy to the beautiful “Empire Ants”, this album has you covered. Not only that but it feels epic. It begins with an orchestral intro named…”Orchestral Intro”, and then heads into a jam featuring Snoop Dogg. After that, you get “White Flag”, which begins with an intro from a Middle-Eastern orchestra. It’s until the fourth track that you finally hear Albarns familiar voice.

Rhinestone Eyes

The album contains 16 of the most jam-worthy, beautiful, head rocking songs that you’ll hear ever. The combination of Bobby Wommack, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, and countless other artists brings the album the diversity it needs resulting in a triumph for Albarn.

Lungs by Florence + The Machine
 

Florence + The Machine is a band led by British songstress Florence Welch, in which The Machine provides her with backing music for her voice. Welch is one REALLY good and diverse singer with tons of potential. The music can be best described as a combination of rock, soul, folk, and possibly a few other genre’s. One thing is for sure though, Florence Welch has one amazing voice. Just listen clearly on the 38 second mark on the video.

Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Her voice is just way too much. I couldn’t believe this came out in 2009 and it hadn’t caught my attention before. But at least that means Welch and Co. have had time to record more music.

Posted in Brian Eno, Congratulations, Florence and the Machine, Gorillaz, Lungs, MGMT, Rabbit Heart, Rhinestone Eyes | Leave a comment

>Happy Holidays!!!

>Here’s a song for the the holidays that I enjoy a lot. It’s an 80’s throwback from one of the cheesiest sounding pop stars of the 80’s. In an era of cheesiness, that’s a miraculous accomplishment right there. This song has been covered by everyone, from Taylor Swift to Jimmy Eat World and even Arctic Monkeys covered it at their live shows (with drummer Matt Helders sounding shockingly good). But I hope everyone has a good holiday and enjoys the rest of this year. It’s been great for my self and I’m thankful for the hundreds that have read or even looked at this blog. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. (Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. But the very next day, you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special) =)

Last Christmas by Wham!

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>Discoveries Vol. 2

>So I completely over-loaded on new music since the last time I put up a post and especially since the last time I did my first “Discoveries” post. I’ve became interested in a few genre’s and I must say, whoa, there are A LOT of creative artists out there, from Electronic, to Glam, to New Wave.

Old World Underground, Where Are You Now by Metric


Metric is becoming one of my new favorite female-led band because of their diversity from album to album. “Old World Underground…” is the official debut from New Wave band Metric (because their actual debut was never released until years later). The band is mainly composed of Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw. They have a bassist and a drummer, but most of the time they’re there just to record some pieces and give the band live stage presence.

Metric’s “Fantasies” was the last album they released in back in 2009, while Old World was released all the way back in 2003. Both albums retain a New Wave, Post Punk sound, but the production on Fantasies is immensely bigger. The songs on this album don’t have multiple guitar tracks along with a synth solo here and there accompanying Shaw’s guitar cowboy or spy melodies. The drums are usually programmed from a drum machine, giving the band an almost “small” sound, a far cry from Fantasies’ loud and layered tracks.

Haines lyrics are also very different. While in Fantasies, love was a big subject, this album has songs about child soldiers and girls falling in love with creepers.

Combat Baby

One of my favorite songs in this album is “Combat Baby”, which is above. The album has an almost Indie-Pop catchiness to it. The one thing I must say though, is that by the end of the album, Haines voice can sound a bit monotone. I like her voice, but I don’t hear as much diversity in it as there was in Fantasies, but then again this was six years before.

In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy

Cut Copy is an Australian Electronic band that has dazzled me with their varied mix of 808’s beats with traditional instruments. They manage to retain a 80% electronic sound with 15% rock and 5% dance.

Feel the Love

“Feel the Love” is probably my favorite song and it’s the very first song on the album. It starts off with an organic sound comprised of acoustic instruments. But later in the song, it just turns into one big dance track when all the electronics come in, all retaining the bands signature pop lyrics and singing. When the auto-tune and dance beat hit, it feels as if it just goes explodes into electronic goodness.

The rest of the album retains that same kind of mix of dance and organic music that is shown pretty clearly on the cover of the album. I love this album front-to-back in all honesty. It’s been a pretty long time since an album from the late 2000’s has done that for me. Electronic music has never been my preferred genre and I’ve barely given it a chance, but this time, I’m so glad I did. This album is from 2008 and they’ll be releasing another one early next year.

Smith Westerns by Smith Westerns

Smith Westerns are a Garage Lo-Fi Glam band that has obvious inspirations from bands like T-Rex and Nuggets. The band is a very tough listen when you first play one of their tracks because of the graininess and 60’s era sound. The album was recorded entirely in one of the musicians basements on a small tiny recorder, and it sounds like it. But underneath all the dirt lies a collection of Glam-Pop songs with huge chorus that sound like sappy little teenage love songs, but guess what? The members of this band were all between the ages of 17-19 when they recorded, but despite their age, these kids have an old soul. It sounds like Marc Bolan from T-Rex has reincarnated in them.

Girl In Love

As you can hear, it’s grainy and sometimes you can barely listen to the words except for the obvious “Girl/In/Love” chanted during the chorus. Pretty much all of the band carry singing duties which provides them that unique vocal delivery which sounds high pitched, but not so high pitched at the same time. I love it all but I wish some of the songs weren’t so Lo-Fi, because I feel like they might sound so much better. Luckily, January 18, 2011 marks the date they’ll be releasing their sophomore album “Dye It Blonde”, where they promised to clean it up.

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Posted in Cut Copy, Dye It Blonde, Electronic, Glam, In Ghost Colours, Marc Bolan, Metric, New Wave, Old World Underground, Smith Westerns, T-Rex | Leave a comment