Reading over these pages I’ve written about Northern Portrait too many times to count, and as long as music keeps coming my way, I’ll keep that up. I was really excited over the weekend when Matinee Recordings announced they’d be putting together a compilation album of the band’s sold out Eps, singles, and rarities; it’s titled Ta!. A lot of these I wasn’t able to get my hands on, so I’m happy that I’ll have some way to hold onto such great tunes. Fortunately for you, this might be your introduction to the band, which will make you revisit everything the band has accomplished to date.
We’ve long appreciated the work of Adam Granduciel and his project War on Drugs. His last effort, Slave Ambient, came out in 2011, and he’s definitely grown from album to album, so his upcoming release will surely show the next step. When listening to this first single, I can sort of hear bits of Arcade Fire in the way the vocals are recorded, but I definitely appreciate his guitar playing here. Secretly Canadian will be releasing his new effort, Lost in the Dream, on March18th, so be prepared for another solid release from Adam and his band.
One of my favorite bands, Natural Child, is back at it again, with news rolling around today that the band is going to be releasing Dancin with Wolves via Burger Records on February 25th. If you haven’t caught their live show, you’re missing out on something special, but I’ve also been impressed with their recorded material over the last two albums. They combine what you’d expect from Southern influenced rock, but they do it with a tried and true formula cut in the dirtiest clubs across America. Don’t be the last one to get on this train to sweet rock n’ roll.
If you need something down-trodden, yet holding onto a simplistic sense of beauty. You’d probably expect something of the sort considering the works of Ben Chasny and Donovan Quinn prior to their union as New Bums, but I can’t tell you how floored I am by how superb the below track truly is. From the light strumming to the tinkering piano in the faint distance, it all fits into a song that will probably haunt me for some time…such is the power of a great ballad. The two will put out Voices in a Rented Room on February 18th via Drag City.
Earlier this year I praised the work of Cool Ghouls, who released their self-titled album earlier this year, but I’m here to talk about one of the group’s primary songwriters, Pat Thomas. For me, it would do enough that his Coasters Riding in the Air EP was recorded by Sonny Smith, but the single below clearly illustrates that he’s more than just the product of a producer’s magic touch. It’s got this West Coast swagger to it, allowing the breezy quality of that area to sink into this casual number. The only problem is that he’s only got six songs recorded; if they’re this enjoyable that might not be enough. You can grab the release from Empty Cellar Records on December 3rd.
You know those artists that lurk in the shadows, only rearing their head whenever they feel the need? They’re the artists you yearn for, the ones you hope release new music as often as possible. Well, Death Vessel is one of those musicians for me. We haven’t heard from him since 2008, and we raved and lauded his last effort, so my expectations for Island Intervals are quite high at the moment, especially after hearing this first single. You can hear Jonsi of Sigur Ros singing accompaniment, adding a remarkable touch to the song. You can pick up the record on February 25th from Sub Pop.
As we gear up towards the 2014 releases, here comes news of a band that’s slowly making waves here in the States, Desert Noises. The music on their first single from the upcoming album has the band playing a grassroots Americana stomp, similar to what we’ve come to expect from bands like Cave Singers. Of course, there’s lots more slide guitar work and less gruff qualities, but perhaps that is the cup of tea you’ve been waiting to drink. Their upcoming album is titled 27 Ways, and it’ll see a March release courtesy of SQE Music.
I’m not sure what all the monikers in the musical world really mean, aside from things like psych rock, but if I were to label something as “dark wave,” I’d hope that it sounds exactly like this new single from Secret Boyfriend. It’s the one-man project of Ryan Martin, and while the music definitely has this dark electronic touch to it, there’s this really gentle undertone that’s delivered by way of the vocals. It’s not a full on juxtaposed composition, but it illustrates the varied sound you can come to expect when This Is Always Where You’ve Lived comes out on December 9th via Blackest Ever Black.
The California based Gardens & Villa have always had this underlying electronic influence in their music, even though they’re often labeled as a band with folk influences (see flute solo below), and that aspect is pushed even further on the latest single released from the band. There’s a natural groove to the song, fitting perfectly with the high pitch of the vocals on the tune. Their new record is titled Dunes, and it’s going to see a February 4th release from Secretly Canadian. This is like a less-pretentious version of what Arcade Fire seems to be doing…which in the end makes it pretty enjoyable. I’m going to enjoy this jam for the rest of the day.
Without a doubt, the music of Majical Cloudz is something that’s really reinvigorated my faith in music. I’ve caught the duo on several tours through Austin, and was floored by how powerful Impersonator was. Today we bring you the latest tune from the act, which again, really just focuses on this simple layering in the distance, while Devon Welsh’s vocals carefully walk along the soundscape created by his partner. In my mind, there’s never a bad time to post a song by this group, and if you haven’t, you should go visit their recent LP; it’s remarkable.