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New Track from Gold Bears

First, I’d like to take a minute to thank my fictitious friend Toby over at Finest Kiss for alerting me to this band.  Gold Bears are a group from Atlanta, and they seem perfect to fit right into the stable of Slumberland Records, who will be releasing a full-length from the group later on this year.  But, what you need to know is that this track is on a recent 7″ (on Cloudberry) and it sounds just like Cloud Nothings, minus the lo-fi tag, and with a more adult lyrical approach.  Don’t get be wrong, both options are great, but I definitely am enjoying the more developed vocal approach apparent on this track.  Give this a spin, and get ready for big things from this group.

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Download: Gold Bears – Something To Think About [MP3]

The Strokes – Angles

Rating: ★★½ · ·

You might remember the Strokes as the saviors of rock n’ roll who quietly disappeared into the night, only to form several side-projects, hinting that they might never return.  Well, they’ve returned now, and while there are definitely bright spots, Angles isn’t the album of triumphant return that we all pined for during their absence.

“Machu Picchu” is a reserved album opener, with half-hearted guitar lines opening up the entire affair.  Julian Casablancas’ voice still sounds familiar, enough to give the song some credence, although the continuing trickling guitar work just holds the song back.  But, “Under the Darkness,” the second track, is that gem of a Strokes song that we’ve been missing for quite some time.  It’s filled with those sharp guitar cuts and fantastic bass work, just a bit more polished than earlier works off Is This It.  Julian has a great performance here, getting gruff and angry during the chorus.  In fact, this might go up the charts as one of the better tunes they’ve recorded, in one man’s opinion. Then, they recover back into mediocrity.

“Two Kinds of Happiness” is a cheesy little number, reminiscent of a band trying to break into the MTV culture of the 80s; it’s lacking creativity and sharpness, with Casablancas coming off as disinterested, more so than his usual stance. “You’re So Right” doesn’t do too much to change that, although the middling section is a lot more endearing than that buzzsaw guitar churn that serves as the backbone of the track.

Still, this album goes back and forth between being catchy and boring, which makes it a hard record to really get your head around. “Taken For a Fool” features Julian providing some charming vocals, and that bass line is something that they’ve always done well, so it’s no surprise it sounds so good here.  And the chorus of this track is probably one of the brightest moments present in all of Angles.  “Call Me Back” reminds me of the tracks off First Impressions of Earth that seemed more like a place for Julian to prove doubters wrong in regards to his voice, as it’s nothing more than an exercise for him, with the rest of the band just sort of standing in the background while he takes the lead.

Then comes a track like “Gratisfaction,” which definitely has a bit of swagger to it, something we all appreciated about the band, though it has a more modern pop twist. It will make you yearn for similar tracks, the kind that could have easily saved Angles, making it more than a sub-par effort. Toss that in with Angles’ closer, “Life is Simple in the Moonlight,” and you wonder if the band does indeed have more to offer us, as these are some of the better tracks on the collection.  The last track, especially, sounds like the band’s natural progression, something we might have been able to foresee after all this time.

You see, the problem with The Strokes is that a lot of us probably feel like have a lot invested in the band; we might even believe that it helped bring us back to rock n’ roll back in the early 2000s.  All of this makes it harder to digest Angles, as clearly there are some solid tracks, but overall, it just doesn’t live up to our expectations of what the band should sound like in our minds.  With that, many listeners will find themselves disenchanted, losing faith in the band that helped us believe all over again.

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New Song from The Elected

It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard anything from anyone aside from Jenny Lewis in the Rilo Kiley camp, but it seems that the once retired Blake Sennett has put down some tracks of his own. He’ll be releasing his newest record under his The Elected moniker for Vagrant Records on May 17th titled Bury Me in My Rings.  Listening to this song reminds me of the early work of RK, when used solid harmonies to provide a bit of summery pop to listeners.  I’ve always liked Blake’s voice, ever since his early days on Boy Meets World, so I’m happy to hear him back doing what he does best.  Lets hear it for Joey the Rat.

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Download: The Elected – Babyface [MP3]

New Music from Title Tracks

If you haven’t been introduced to John Davis before, you must’ve been hiding behind a rock of some sort. He was in Q and Not U, one of the phenomenal Dischord bands and he fronted Georgie James for a bit.  Both bands earned a respectable following, but now John’s working on his new group, Title Tracks, who are about to release their second album, In Blank, on April 19th via Ernest Jenning Records. These tunes are full of a steadier, less angular guitar groove, allowing Davis more room to develop his vocals, not to mention his overall craftsmanship.  If the rest of the record sounds anything like this, we’re destined for another brilliant work by one of the most under-appreciated songwriters around.  You can also check out another track from the upcoming record on his SITE.

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Download: Title Tracks – All Tricks [MP3]

SXSW Photos – Brian Gray Pt.3

What’s that you say?  How can this be?  We have even MORE photos from our new photographer Brian Gray from SXSW week?  Thats right kids, this guy took a ton of photos all week long and we wanted to share with you just a few more before calling it good.  I mean we really couldn’t resist at least sharing a few photos of Murray Lightburn going crazy on the unknowing crowd in front of him.  Here’s to a job well done Mr. Gray.  Hope you guys have enjoyed his work as much as I have.  Follow the jump for the last bit of SXSW photos.

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New Track from Blue Skies for Black Hearts

Portland seems to be known for the down-trodden style of tunes coming out, or something folky, right?  Well, I’m excited to bring you a bit something different from the band Blue Skies for Black Hearts, who have a new album called Embracing the Modern Age coming out on April 19th.  Listening to the new single “Majoring in the Arts” reminds me a lot of classic power-pop, except this time it’s the decaf version, which is really what grabbed me.  Sometimes you like to sit back, take the groove in, and just tap your feet a little bit, which is exactly the case with this track.  You get the feeling the whole record’s going to be nothing but gems. Try this one out.

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Download: Blue Skies for Black Hearts – Majoring in the Arts [MP3]

Show Preview: Destroyer @ The Mohawk (3/25)

DateFriday, March 25th
LocationMohawk
Doors800p
Tickets$12 from Transmission

What? You didn’t get enough good music from SXSW?  Good, because we’ve got one great bill laying in wait for you over at Mohawk this Friday.  First, you’ll get the quirky pop wonderment of Destroyer, or Dan Bejar if you like.  For his voice alone you should attend this show, nevermind the amazing song arrangements he’s managed to put together over the years.  Also, you’ll get one of our new favorites, War on Drugs, who craft really quiet, atmospheric numbers seemingly filled with secret messages.  This show could be out of this world, and we hope that you’ll head out to the Mohawk to meet up with us.  Both bands are guaranteed to be worth your time.

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Download: Destroyer – Chinatown [MP3]

The Dodos – No Color

Rating: ★★★½ ·

The Dodos are a long way from where they were musically in 2008. What started as a duo of percussive madness faded to a more reigned in, and slightly boring effort, on Time to Die. With such a distinct and limited amount of sound producible with only a few members in a band, it seems like the only direction that The Dodos could go with No Color is backwards.

This revert to their old style of barely controlled chaos starts from the beginning with “Black Night,” but it isn’t exactly as rough as songs like “Fools.” Logan Kroeber starts things off with his furious drumming as always, and you can feel that this sound will build up to something great when Meric Long steps in with his strong, yet tinted with a tiny shred of whine, vocals. This song starts the album out right; a step back from too much production, but not a setback in the quality of the song. They continue this walk down percussive and rhythmic lane for the first three songs, which takes up a large chunk of this simple nine-track album, which is definitely something that I wanted to see.

On “Sleep,” the presence of Neko Case is especially apparent; her simple role in background vocals alters the very nature of the song. She takes what would have been just an ordinary song from this group and adds the icing on the cake, if you will, making something already desirable and good into something grand. While I wouldn’t think that I would enjoy the song with a lot of instruments from this group, it works surprisingly well. Normally what seems most effective for The Dodos is simplicity, but on this pretty little number the layers of instruments, a bit more depth to the vocals with the addition of Neko, and the overall contrast in complexity makes this a sure standout track.

A little later comes “When Will You Go,” which feels more like a pop tune than that of their traditional tunes at first—the drums feel far away, while the guitar is precise and tight. There isn’t the general feeling of about to spin out of control, or that climactic ferocity, but it’s an interesting spin for the group. Yes, the drums and guitars kick up toward the end, but it’s still a good knock at a solid poppier sounding tune, if that’s where they were trying to go.

After “Don’t Stop,” rounds out No Color with some intricate drums and then a final resounding beat, you feel pretty satisfied. There are certainly some weak places here and there, but for the most part, The Dodos have managed to entertain once again with their zestful rambunctiousness.

New Music from Bill Callahan

Long have I followed the career of Smog, or Bill Callahan, as we know him now, so when he became one of the many musicians to move to Austin, I was hopping with joy, hoping we’d get to see more of him around town.  We have been so lucky, as he popped up on numerous occasions, not to mention random talks, such as his upcoming appearance at Book People on April 10th.  But, more important is his music, and P4k premiered a new song yesterday from the gent in preparation for his new record, Apocalypse, which comes out April 19th on Drag City.  If we’re going off this track, it’s going to be your usual fair, with trickling guitar work and Bill’s soft and smoky voice.  Yeah, that’s right, it’s going to be goo.

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Download: Bill Callahan – Baby’s Breath [MP3]

New Music From Colourmusic

Our amigos in Colourmusic were kind enough to give us a sneak peak of their new album a couple months ago and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the chance to share some of that new music with you.  Well now we’ve been given the go ahead and today we’re bringing you this new jam called “Tog”.  This new single is set to appear on the group’s upcoming album My _____ is Pink due out May 10th on Memphis Industries.  On first listen, I’m sure many of you will take note of the new direction from the band and may or may not be into it.  We are most definitely behind this new rock in your face sound.  Also having heard most of the new album, we’re certain many of you will want to pick it up.

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Download: Colourmusic – Tog [MP3]

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