Song of the Day: Gold-Bears – Record Store

Record Store by Gold Bear

These guys sound like an updated and better version of the stuff I grew up listening to.

Record store

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Album Reviews (Quick Hitters): Cass McCombs, Sonny and the Sunsets, Tune-Yards, Jonny, Airlines, Beach Fossils, Jamaica

Here come some rapid-fire opinions from a not entirely reputable source.

VISIONS by Airlines

This is a really pleasant surprise of a release. It’s a quick 4 song electronic ep, that’s shockingly diverse in sound. The lead single “Burial Grounds” is a sprawling, tropically retro sounding track that would easily have been the best song on the last ‘Cut Copy’ album IMO. While “Colors” is a spastic and funky ‘Yeasayeresque’ trip to the land of semi-psychedelia. A lot of electronic groups have songs that feel like they are 1 or 2 minutes too long. But not these guys. This one holds your interest from start to finish.

Get and listen to the EP here!

VISIONS: 4  out of 5

Wit’s End by Cass McCombs

McComb’s 09 release ‘Catacombs’ was a stunning multi-dimensional folk album that balanced big emotions with playful lyricism.  Unfortunately, I never really got into his latest work ‘Wit’s End’. While, “The Lonely Doll” is a painfully pretty metaphor of a song. The rest of the album simply seems to maintain this drawn out overly delicate,  ‘music box’ type feel throughout. Leaving in it’s wake a very sleepy amateur music listener.

Wit’s End: 2 out of 5
Hit after Hit by Sonny and the Sunsets

Outside of Calvin Johnson, I’m not sure anyone has as keen a knack for creating massive quantities of jangly, innocent and at times goofy rock songs as Sonny Smith. The major difference being that Sonny’s songs  are probably a bit more ‘California’ and care free. ‘Hit After Hit’ is an aptly named album that keeps the 2 minute long, retro garage-pop gems coming one after the other. Major summer album alert y’all.

Listen to Teenage Thugs

Hit After Hit: 4.5 out of 5.

No Problem by Jamaica

This album strikes me as some sort of middle ground between ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Free Energy’.  Only not as precisely played / unique as the former and not as energetic / sincere as the latter. It’s a straightforward effort that tries to hit you with as many ‘hooky’ power pop jams as possible. The problem lies in the fact that only 1, maybe 2 of these tracks are memorable.

Jericho MP3 (one of the memorable tracks)

No Problem: 2 out of 5

W h o k i l l  by Tune-Yards

To say “W h o k i l l” is out there, is a major understatement. I imagine this is what it would be like to do ecstasy and speed at the same time. At times it’s off the wall fun. At other times it’s schizophrenic. In general though,  the hyper dance party portions outweigh the borderline creepy portions. There is a lot going on here but when it all comes together on tracks like “Gangsta” the end result is something along the lines of a ‘freak-folk’/free form jazz version of Vampire Weekend that is surprisingly kickin’.

Gangsta MP3

W h o k i l l: 3.5 out of 5

What a Pleasure by Beach Fossils

Beach Fossils always kind of feel like the nostalgic suburban summers of one’s adolescence. On “What a Pleasure” the band basically continues with the same dreamy shoegaze style they created on their debut. The sound of the two releases is shockingly similar, with the only major difference being that now the lead vocals seem a little less hazy and more seperated from the rest of the track. The relaxing and immaculately played guitars are still the undeniable star of the Ep however. As much as I kind of want to dismiss this as ‘nothing new’ for the Brooklyn based outfit, I can’t help but find myself continually drawn in to the hypnotic ‘summer vacation’ that Dustin Payseur develops.

Face It Mp3

What a Pleasure: 4 out of 5

Jonny by Jonny

Jonny is a collaborition between Euros Childs and Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake. Most of the album tries to focus on a toned down version of the psychedelic pop that ‘Woods’ has revitalized. Most of the time though it hovers around a substandard immitation of that. Or worse, a really wimpy version of ‘The Kills’. I think Jonny is actually at it’s best  on tracks like “Circling The Sun” when the project harvess the same brand of charming pop that Teenage Fanclub made a living off of.

Listen to “Circling the Sun”

Jonny: 2.5 out of 5


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Song of the Day: Mount Pleasant – Florida

Florida by Mount Pleasant

Dream-wave, lazy summer-core,  chill-fi, hazelectro = May 2011

Florida MP3

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Song of the Day: NewVillager – Lighthouse

Lighthouse by NewVillager

Lighthouse mp3

A couple years ago this mysterious band dropped two of the funkiest electronic singles I have ever heard (“Genghis On” and “Rich Doors”). I figured they just disappeared into ‘Brooklyn based’ obscurity forever. But I was wrong! Their new single, ‘Lighthouse’ is pretty straight as well, and they apparently have fittingly indeterminate plans for a record to be released ‘soon’.

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Song of the day (night?): FRIENDS – Friend Crush

Friend Crush by FRIENDS

Diggin this sooo hard.

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Album Reviews (Quick Hitters) – Big KRIT, Paul Simon, Those Darlins, Childish Gambino

If ‘The Music Hoarder” was my baby someone surely would have called DCFS by now. It’s never too late to be a good parent, so here are some quick and dirty album reviews.

Return of 4eva by Big K.R.I.T.

KRIT is back with some killer album art and his sophomore release. And once again, it’s really solid. His laid back country ‘cool’ is something that few MC’s can match. True to his Southern form KRIT manages to keep ‘Return of 4eva’ from feeling rushed or overly busy, a remarkable feat for an a highly anticipated rap album. The whole thing has an ease and grace to it that is pretty refreshing during a time when a lot of rappers seem to just be forcing out single after single.

Listen to Sookie Now

Return of 4eva: 4 out of 5

Screws Get Loose by Those Darlins

If you haven’t heard Those Darlins yet, they are kind of like Best Coast if Best Coast was from rural Tennessee instead of Southern California. “Screws Get Loose” is a fun album that combines some of that rowdy and playful nature of garage rock bands like ‘Black Lips’ with a hint  of some of that rowdy and playful nature of  more ‘down home’ bands like ‘Old Crow Medicine Show’. In short, “Screws Get Loose” is a playfully sloppy homogeneous mix of a lot of what the American South has had to offer musically in the last 30 years or so. Line up the shots of Beam now.

Listen to ‘Be Your Bro’ here

Screws Get Loose: 4 out of 5

So Beautiful or So What by Pual Simon

Paul Simon is still making music, and apparently still captivated by a lot of those afro/world pop sounds that he made famous here in the US. Talent-wise, Simon has aged well. His voice is still as clear and soulful as ever and it’s comforting to hear. At times though ‘So Beautiful or So What’ seems a little tacky though. I’m not sure if the ability to write music like he used to is evading him or if it’s just that he’s writing music very much like…well, Paul Simon used to. Maybe this brand of folk can’t help but sound dated and sort of silly at times now when it’s presented to us as ‘new’. That being said he does pretty effectively play around with electronic folk elements in the opener “Getting Ready For Christmas Day”, and in a sense it’s probably better that Paul Simon is just being himself rather than trying to reinvent himself at this point in his career. While there are plenty of moments that just seem unbareably sweet on this one, at the end of the day any fan of Simon should be able to pull away at least a few tracks that put them in a good mood.

Listen to Getting Ready For Christmas Day

So Beautiful or So What: 2.5 out of 5

Freaks and Geeks EP by Childish Gambino

Easily the best release to date by the multi-talented Donald Glover. Never before has the sitcom star sounded this polished as a rapper. The ingenious lyricism and confidence was always there but the finished product always sounded just sort of like a goofy side project. “Freaks and Geeks” however, is  the full fruition of Glover’s skill-set as an MC. The samples now actually work to help embellish the verses, whereas before it often seemed like Gambino had to fight against the song he was using for a beat for control of the listeners ear. Like I said the lyricism hear is still top-notch, there is so much wit crammed into every verse it really keeps your brain on it’s toes while listening to it. Also there is a certain ferocity that Gambino spits with that really seperates himself from the other rappers of the ‘nerd-core’ alt hip-hop genre. Don’t let the voice and indie samples fool you, this shit is hard. If their is one minor complaint I have it’s that the subject matter has been just about the same on every album: ‘I’m multi-talented’, ‘I used to be a nerd’, ‘I bang a lot of hipster chix’ etc. I wouldn’t mind seeing Gambino branch out a bit in this department, but realistically if he keeps busting out quality tracks like the 5 on Freaks and Geeks, then I really can’t complain too much.

Listen to Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks: 4.5 out of 5

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Song of the Day (Good Friday Edition): RL Grime – Which Seat Can I Take?

Which Seat Can I Take by RL Grime (ft. Rebecca Black)

Oh so you’re sick of Rebecca Black and ironic remixes of her song? Me and RL Grime dont give two shits.

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