If there’s one thing Cults know how to do, it’s craft an undeniable hit. They create the sort of pop music that cross boundaries of hipsterdom into mass culture. That being said, you listen to the new tune they just dropped, and you’ll be enjoying the synth textures colliding with the vocals of Madeline Follin. I didn’t expect to imagine myself swinging about my classroom, shuffling my feet as I hand out the first day syllabus, but this tune definitely gives me that vibe. Look out for Offering on October 6th via Sinderlyn.
Shock Machine is the title of the solo project from James Righton, who makes flawless pop tracks that go above and beyond the malaise. This song, “Lost In The Mystery,” is surely going to be stuck in your head instantly after you spin it at least a dozen times in quick succession. The track starts subtly: hand claps, a groovy bass line and some subtle, breathy vocals. Then the bounce from the rag-timey joins the mix and you also get (what sounds like) psych guitar riffs that chime in and out as well. The chorus is catchy as all get out, and the whole atmosphere reminds me of a mellower Cults track with vocals a-la The Papercuts. Take a listen and decide for yourself.
When it’s summertime and this hot outside, sometimes I seek refreshing musical escape from the heat, usually in the form of breezy indie pop. Hazel English, who is currently based out of Oakland, has got the perfect antidote to the heat with “It’s Not Real.” The track is light in all the right places. The vocals have a Cults-esque sugar to them, but also soar with a bit more subtlety. The guitar and drums and synth sounds sort of mesh together in the mix for a hazy take on surf and classic indie rock, but then they separate out over varying moments of the song so you can appreciate them all. It’s a great light and airy track, one that will certainly get stuck in your head for the next few days.
Well folks, it’s been a week since the ATH crew embarked upon Zilker Park for a weekend of music and general debauchery. Gates are open for Weekend Two, but here’s a recap of the highlights from last Sunday in case you’re still looking to relive or maybe you want some guidance as to who to see and who to skip for your Sunday scheduling. Catch each ATH member’s personal take on Sunday and see some gorgeous photos from B.Gray after the jump.
Monday night gave you lots of choices as for live music in this city, but it didn’t seem like Emo’s was the popular choice for many, as even with the full venue partitioned in half the crowd wasn’t close to capacity. However this lack of audience wasn’t a problem once the bands for the night took the stage, each offering a different kind of tone and energy.
Read more and see pictures from Brian Gray…
It’s been two years since New York buzz band, Cults, released their self titled debut album, which was catchy as all get out, but proved to be a little juvenile upon repeated listening. Now they’re back with sophomore release, Static, that interestingly features eerily similar album artwork as before. Still depicting a male and female mid jam, but this time in a pixilated form, the artwork, as well as the title, signifies no real departure from their original sound. That being said, Static comes off as a bit of a reexamination of their first record; they revise where they went wrong two years ago to make a record not only with a greater listening longevity, but one that is more enticing in its subtleties.
Though Cults prove this to be true after a bit of a slow start. The first track, “I Know,” is a hazy, ultimately skip-worthy track that may have been better left off the record, though it serves perhaps as a semi-introduction to the groups’ approach to music this go-round. Second up is an enticing number that incorporates the old and new sound. “I Can Hardly Make You Mine,” touts the familiar sugary vocals of Madelin Follin articulating simple lyrics, along with some xylophone-esque tinkering in the background. However, the vocals and tinkling xylophonic sounds are no longer gimmicks of this bands sound, but attributes that add texture to the overall mix. There are more layers and better ones at that, and such attention to detail makes each song seem more thought out and planned.
But the real superstar of this album is single, “High Road,” which is fourth up on the track list. Begging you to put this song on repeat and just drive around, slow and steady urban jungle beats welcome you, and swelling synth sounds make you stick around for the catchy chorus. Follin’s vocals on this number together with the smooth and cool instrumentation remind me of a Frankie Rose tune. After this number the songs seem fairly interesting and good, but this single definitely sticks out as a sure highlight that you will want to revisit over and over again. Honorable mentions for other stand out tracks go to “Were Before” for a groovy bass line and hair raising vocals, as well as “So Far” for its gritty guitar.
At the end of the day, this record may not be what a diehard fan of Cults’ original record really wants; Static is a touch more mature in its sound. However, to me, and perhaps newcomers to Cults, this serves as ultimately a positive change for the group. So if you weren’t a huge fan before, maybe it’s time to give Cults a second chance: they’re still fun and youthful, but Static is a ‘young adult’ record, while Cults was a ‘preteen’ record.
It’s a little late for ACL reviews, but after decompressing from the week I took a moment to write a few of my thoughts. Friday night in Austin during ACL weekend is an interesting one. The energy and presence descended upon Austin by visitors and the music brings a vibe that only SXSW and FFFF can trump. After the first night of the 3-day party at Zilker, a few non-fest goers gathered to catch a glimpse of two of the up and coming acts of this year’s line-up. See more details after the jump. Read more
ACL is more festival than music and I am fine with that. No pit access meant getting to spend more time with friends meandering from stage to stage. I did have my “little” camera with me so I could share some of the random things seen during the three days.
Head on past the break for some images from Friday.
For a band that basically came out of nowhere last year, Cults have gathered quite the following in the past year that they have released music. Be it praise from various musical critics, or just growing popularity of fans, this band had a lot of hype. However, upon listening to this self-titled debut, it is clear that this excitement and attention is well deserved; Cults have crafted a gem of a summer album here.
The band opens with “Abducted,” an explosive and energetic entrance. For about the first thirty seconds, you have the muted and echoed version of Madeline Follin’s angsty vocals, playing the role of heartbroken female. Then things get turned up to full volume for the chorus, and the song takes off, xylophone raging right alongside Follin’s voice whist she screams the pain away. She hands the vocals over to the male perspective of the two-member group, Brian Oblivion, who assumes the position of heartbreaker, giving the song the edgy tradeoff between the two of them. After this song fades away, the single that got everyone talking about this band, “Go Outside” follows and keeps the energetic and sinfully sweet pacing for this band.
A big part of this album is the large youthful presence of several elements of the band. For starters, you have the valley girl esque, high pitched, and extremely female vocals. Accompanying this is a Fisher Price sounding xylophone, which only adds to the childlike feeling of Cults’ sound. It reaches an all time kiddy feeling on the song “Oh My God,” whose chorus sounds akin to a little girl taunting one of her playmates, which is ironic in that lyrics reach farther than that. It’s a cute little number, one that stands out from the others on the latter half of the album.
That being said, the extreme amount of energy that makes it enjoyable is also what makes it sound a bit too juvenile and grating after repeated listening. For this reason, this album becomes one that needs the right mood to be listened to, as opposed to an all day every day kind of release. But when you’re in that youthful and happy go lucky mood, there are a slew of great tracks to dance to and enjoy. As a first release, it’s a decent start for Cults and I look for interesting future albums from this duo.
Am I lacking that much in creativity, that my only scribbles are festival related, or is it just pure timing? I’m going to go with timing. Follow the jump for the top moments experienced by yours truly…not necessarily music related.