Gardens & Villa – Music For Dogs

sc320Rating: ★★★☆☆

When Gardens & Villa’s Music For Dogs initial sounds flood through your speakers, immediately you get the impression of an electronic system booting up; “Intro” is almost a minute of futuristic synthetic sounds waving through your speakers. The level of anticipation swells with the beginnings of the huge sounds, all of which point to what’s to come next. Now, this is not the kind of entrance that the band really needs to make—Music For Dogs marks their third full-length record, following last year’s Dunes. And yet, the band amps you up for this collection of songs all the same, properly ensuring you’ve transitioned into the right frame of mind before you begin the album.

And when you do enter the first real track, “Maximize Results,” the band hits you hard with their synth pop: pulsating synths create a constant harried motion to the song, all while the vocal performance doubles up on this mood. Underlying this borderline paranoid feeling there’s a groove to the song in the distorted guitar riffs and the handclap beat. This then transitions quite abruptly into the light and airy “Fixations,” which strikes quite a bright note after the heavy opening number. Here, the synths are still buzzy and drone-like, but not as oppressive and dark as the first number. The piano also helps to brighten up the song, with its bouncy notes joining the mix with flair. It’s a catchy contrast to its predecessor before the band jumps back into the overall darkness that seems to coat most of the record.

While the album starts out quite strong with these two solid tracks, it seems as though the energy is a little difficult for Gardens & Villa to maintain through the duration of Music For Dogs. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some great and memorable tracks on the record, as there are numbers like “Alone In The City” and “I Already Do” that tack onto the aforementioned tracks as standouts. Oddly enough, where this synth pop group seems to shine the brightest on this record is not when they’re grooving hardest, but when the songs push into a tender emotional level. “Alone In The City” is a bit of a tender ballad type track that puts the vocal performance of Chris Lynch at very focal point. His voice is raw as it honestly professes lines like “Stay away from me tonight/I’ve had enough for once and it felt alright” and “This place is a nightmare/if I can’t be right there in your arms.” The sounds are subtle, and the nuance of sound that the band brings is glorious via the soft chimes that softly unfold amidst the gritty guitar and gently floating synth sounds. Same goes for the last song of the album, “I Already Do—” the band strikes this balance of groovy tune with tenderness in the mix of premature nostalgia in both the lyrics and bouncing piano sound.

Music For Dogs hits hard at first listen, but then slowly fades into a different tone, but still shows a band that’s come a far way from their debut album of 2011. The tracks that float to the surface upon further listening are evidence of their growth and movement into a balance of harsh electronic sound with real human emotion.



Another Sweet Jam From Gardens & Villa

gardens_villas_tourA little bit ago Gardens & Villa announced the release of their upcoming record, Music For Dogs, and gave us a new single of their swirling electrified pop music. They’ve returned again with another new track from that record, called “Everybody.” Whereas the last tune they shared pushed into a garage-y soundscape at points, this tune is more straightforward synth pop; its pulsating synths provide a tone of paranoia and anxiety, which is doubled up by the fast paced falsetto vocals. Later on more piano comes quickly as the band spirals carefully out of control in this great synth pop jam. Look out for Music For Dogs, out August 21st on Secretly Canadian.

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What Do You Think Of This New Gardens & Villa Track?

332994_10150324822454759_200890353_oSanta Barbara’s Gardens & Villa are back today with a new album announcement and single titled “Fixations.” It’s got a nice little groove to it, as most Gardens & Villa tracks tend to, but it spans out into a partially buzzy space. Sure, there are the pulsing synths, but the guitar parts are garage-y and the vocals provide a nice touch of lightness to the mix that make for a breezy pop track. I’m enjoying the vibe on this one and will be looking out for more from the band as we get closer to their album release. Music For Dogs is out August 21st on Secretly Canadian.


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More Sweet Jams From Gardens & Villa

Gardens & VillaI’m a bit late on this new number from Gardens & Villa, but this matters not to me as it is just too good to pass up.  Be ready to dance, sing along, and have an all around good time as you jam out to “Colony Glen”.  This song comes after we’ve already shared with you guys the impeccable track “Bullet Train”.

Once again, you can pick up new album Dunes on February 4th via Secretly Canadian.

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ACL 2012: Saturday In Pictures

We battled the elements. We battled our livers. We battled the battles. Really happy I had a legit excuse to not watch the Longhorns. Yech.

Rain was in the forecast. The poncho that had been neatly folded in factory specifications previously dormant in my camera bag for three festivals was going to be called into duty. Two heavy bursts occurred, before and after the Shins. I was able to keep relatively dry as the revelers drank in the rain. People that weren’t there asked me yesterday how muddy I got. Apparently, the news sensationalized the few real mud holes I saw into #Mudpit2012.

Oh yeah, the artists for this installment are Zola Jesus, Gardens & Villa, Oberhofer, Metric, The Shins and Jack White.

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ACL Spotlight: Gardens & Villa

When looking at the ACL lineup, we ATH kids always get really excited about the middle of the day bands.  For starters, those are typically the bands in the prime of their career, coming off a recent well constructed album.  Not to mention that the crowds aren’t quite as big and you’re just getting into that mid-day buzz.  While perusing those afternoon bands this year, I first took notice of upstart Santa Barbara group Gardens & Villa.  Follow the jump for more.

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More New Music From Gardens & Villa

After sharing “Black Hills” over a month ago, here’s another new synth-pop song called “Star Fire Power” from Gardens & Villa.  This new track is pretty similar to the last one we shared, but with a bit more of the 80s vibe going on.  Once again, you can pick up the new self-titled album on July 5th via Secretly Canadian.

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Download: Gardens Villa – Star Fire Power [MP3]

New Music From Gardens & Villa

Heres a new track from Santa Barbara based outfit Gardens & Villa that I’ve been digging for the last few days.  The song has a thumping electro bass beat running the show with some great vocals throughout.  You can hear this track and 9 more new songs from the band on their upcoming debut self-titled LP due out July 5th on Secretly Canadian.


Download: Garden & Villas – Black Hills [MP3]