Man, I’m really stuck on the fence with this Ducktails track that just came out. Matt Mondanile has added a posse of contributors for his newest record, The Flower Lane, but I’m not sure I’m sold on their collaborative appeal. This tune has Dan Lopatin who uses some hipster-approved moniker, and while I appreciate the effortless keyboard work behind the song, I just don’t think it’s quite as enticing as the work done on Ducktails III. I don’t mind loops and such, but in his early tape days, Matt was using guitars crafting this dense pop collage–seemingly not the case. I’m not jumping off the fence entirely, but I’m approaching the January 29th release date on Domino with a little trepidation.
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The Love of Days you say? Well, I’ll say that for today, and probably for a few more that follow, this new track from Amor de Dias is absolutely winning my heart. You can give me anything with the voice of Alisdair MacLean, and I’m probably going to fawn over it. My impression is that Alisdair and his collaborator, Lupe, have finally hit their stride. The backing vocals jumping in and out are so affecting that I’d have a difficult time ever dismissing this track. I’m sure the new record, House at Sea, aims to be a remarkable listen, which can be all yours from the good folks over at Merge Records on January 29th.
Download:Amor De Dias – Jean’s Waving [MP3]
It’s been what, a few months since I last raved about Alpaca Sports? Well, the group has a brand new 7″ on one of my favorite little labels, Cloudberry Records. The 7″ has a few tracks we’ve previously covered, but this is by far my favorite the group has put to tape. There’s a slight little orchestral maneuver hiding in the dark here, but it really helps to accentuate the jangling guitars and the warm voice of Andreas Jonsson. Songs like this often seem really simple in the greater context of things, but not too many bands are pulling of the execution as like what you’ll hear below. Enjoy.
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||Wednesday, December 5th
||$18 from Emos
In search for your favorite hyper-literate performer? Well, you can find John Darnielle and his band, The Mountain Goats, at Emos on Wednesday night. John and friends just released Transcendental Youth via his current label, Merge Records. While the band can probably be considered to have sort of a cult following, I personally feel that Darnielle is an underrated lyricist (more to my liking than a certain Mr. Meloy). Accompanying the group as openers will be Matthew E. White, which, according to the stuff I’ve listened to, should be quite an extravagant affair. This is one of those shows that might have fallen off people’s radars, but if you miss out on it, you’re going to have to hear from your friends how incredible the evening was.
Download:The Mountain Goats – Cry for Judas [MP3]
I’ve played this song on repeat at least ten times, and I can’t help but be transported back to my adolescence, fueled by angst and hooks. In two minutes, one of the UKs hottest acts, Bird Skulls, blasts through with distorted guitars at breakneck speed. It’s a bit of grunge, but a bit of punk rock, so in essence, it’s sort of like everything we all loved about the late 80s/early 90s. You can get your hands on their new single cassette from the kind folks over at Art is Hard Records, and they’ll throw in a nice little winter hat to make your life warmer. I’m glad people still make music like this.
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Part of me wishes it would one day get cold in Austin, that way I could really delve into some of the music that seems perfectly fitting for this time of year. On the newest gem from Day Joy, you can really get lost in the layered textures, emotionally pulling you in with touches of string arrangements. Even the echo of pre-recorded sounds is somewhat haunting, yet the effortless harmonies inherent in the song seem like they’d fit right in if one was to be sitting fireside. It’s such a joy to discover bands that really work to hone their craftsmanship. You can find this tune on Go to Sleep, Mess–it comes out on February 12th via Small Plate Records.
Download:Day Joy – Purple [MP3]
You know I love to give appropriate levels of hype to the great Aussie scene (Aussietownhall sound okay to you?), so I’m continuing my adulation with a shout to Gung Ho, one of my favorite up-and-comers from the scene. The band just recently released this incredible new single, and if you’re smart, you’re going to one to keep an eye out on these dudes. I love the bubbling bass line combined with the vocals that seemingly float through your headphones from a distance. Slight hints of sharp angled guitars cut in and out of the track, adding an extra layer to the already existing quality. Give it a go.
Download:Gung-Ho – Strangers [MP3]
The year of 2013 is shaping up to be quite a nice one already, and one of the leaders of the pack is Slumberland Records. Glasgow’s Golden Grrrls get things going on February 26th with the release of their self-titled record, filled with eleven gems that will surely help wake you from your winter slumber. For me, the interplay between male and female vocal parts is reminiscent of the purest time in indie rock, when melody and playfulness went hand in hand. I also think you’ll like the way there’s just a hint of jangling guitars coming from the three piece as the drums bang out a steady groove to keep your toes a’ tappin’.
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||Tuesday, December 4th
||$18 from Mohawk
Whether you choose to be a fan of the constantly evolving band Of Montreal or not probably remains irrelevant at this point in the year. Mohawk is winding down their outdoor show schedule for 2012, and this is pretty much a must attend show. Kevin Barnes and company are always extremely entertaining, and you never know quite what you get when you see the group live. Are there going to be elaborate costumes? Maybe. Will the tunes be enjoyable? Yes! You should just do yourself a favor and show up. French Horn Rebellion will be opening the evening up, making this a great bill. Oh, and Kevin Barnes will be DJing at a very hip after-party over at Red 7 following the show!
Download:Of Montreal – Coquet Coquette [MP3]
After the dance party last Wednesday night, Nathan and I decided to go local and take a stab at the new venue living in Beauty Bar’s space on 7th, Holy Mountain. The bands on the bill were certainly worth two nights in a row of missing a few hours of sleep. Letting Up Despite Great Faults has one of our favorite local records of the year and She Sir played our SxSW showcase a few years back, even lending gear to use for the night, and have recently busted out a few new tracks.
Click through for a few thoughts and some pics…