Friday, November 18, 2011
I've been meaning to write about Widowspeak for a while now. On Wednesday, I was overly excited when their song "Harsh Realm" was played during the new episode of American Horror Story. It is one among a sea of standouts from their 2011 self-titled debut. The Brooklyn trio crafts a sound that is certainly indebted to Mazzy Star yet maintains its own unique intricacies. On songs like "Gun Shy", guitarist Robert Thomas generates some spellbinding leads that slowly creep up on you and take a spot in the back of your mind. The whole album is engulfed in a thick atmospheric haze that leaves the feeling that you are gently drifting out to sea. "Limbs" could easily serve as the soundtrack to smoke billowing out of a slow burning cigarette as you stare into the void. Vocalist Molly Hamilton has a seductive voice that moves between a whisper and an arresting croon. The melancholy air the group creates together is seasoned with the delicate percussion of Michael Stasiak. Rich arrangements and some hypnotic feedback keep things interesting the entire length of the album. There is nothing too fancy and there are no bad tracks; it's just a straightforward transmission of their stunning sound. The only negative I could find is that it is over too soon. You can listen to the whole thing after the jump …and then immediately listen to it again because it’s that good.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
On their bandcamp, Hallelujah the Hills have a quote from Havelock Ellis stating "The world's greatest thinkers have often been amateurs; for high thinking is the outcome of fine and independent living, and for that a professional chair offers no special opportunities.” It’s a lot to take in and sets up the mindset of the group for their recent “Amateurs” single. It is no surprise that Hallelujah the Hills respect the potential of the common man given their support of Occupy Boston. The anthemic ode to the plight of amateurs features lush instrumentation, sing-along vocals, and thoughtful lyrics. Listen to it alongside the equally impressive B-side “The Girls Are Here”. These tracks are exclusive and will not be featured on their upcoming third album. The band will be performing at the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain tomorrow (Friday, November 18) with Hilly Eye and Big Digits. Don’t pass up the opportunity to see such a great line-up; I know that I won’t be missing it.
Michael Kiwanuka is making a name for himself as one of the more promising new soul artists. One listen to “Home Again” and names like Bill Withers and Otis Redding are bound to arise in your mind. It is the ideal song to listen to on a chilly autumn night where you are spending time inside your head contemplating the future. The wistful new track comes from an upcoming new EP of the same name to be released January 1st on Polydor Records. It is the precursor to an album coming in March 2012.
Quilty have made available a three track EP titled Strange Matter for free download at their bandcamp. It perfectly showcases their ability to juxtapose sweet melodies with crunchy distortion on songs like “Cult of Ego”. The highlight is the title track which finds frontwoman Sarah Dupuis gently picking notes on her guitar before it deconstructs into grungy chaos. The final track, “Carnivale,” is a dark, brooding waltz that leaves the listener in a hazy dream. Hear all three tracks after the jump and don’t forget to grab it at their bandcamp.
Sub Pop has released a stream of the soothing, moody new song “I’ve Been Thinking” from Dinosaur Jr. mastermind J Mascis. It is the B-side from the “Circle” 7” which will be issued on November 22. The A-side is an Edie Brickell & New Bohemians cover that has been a staple of Mascis’ live shows. It was also a Japanese bonus track on J's solo full-length, Several Shades of Why, one of the year’s best records. After the jump, you can stream the song and watch a performance of “Circle” courtesy of Pitchfork. I have also included the 1988 music video for the original song.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The wonderful Parts & Labor are no longer with us but they left behind the fantastic swan song “No Nostalgia.” It showcases the creatively rich mixture of lo-fi electronics and rock that they have become known for over the past decade. It is also a perfect lead into this week’s new track rundown. If you enjoy the song, I would also urge you to pick up their excellent 2011 album, Constant Future. Following “No Nostalgia” is Craig Wedren’s “I Know” from Wand, which is only his second solo album behind 2005’s Lapland and his first album since Shudder to Think reunited. It’s all over the place in the most glorious way and features his signature vocal acrobatics. “Come to Me” is not necessarily a new track; it comes from We Were Exploding Anyway by 65daysofstatic and features The Cure frontman Robert Smith. The album was released last year in the UK to stellar reviews and has finally received a US release this week which is why it is featured here. All this and more can be heard after the jump.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sometimes being a blogger pays dividends. I received an email a couple of weeks ago saying that I could cover The Smashing Pumpkins show with Light FM at The Orpheum Theatre on October 21. I was stoked as The Smashing Pumpkins were playing material from Gish and Siamese Dream [two of my favorite albums ever] in celebration of their upcoming reissues and Light FM is a fine up-and-coming band. At the time, I was arranging plans to catch some of the free shows at CMJ that weekend but I decided to cancel those plans and stay in town. As often is the case, there was a miscommunication within the PR company and my ticket was not waiting for me at the venue. With nothing to do that night, I called some Boston venues looking for something else to see. I was pleasantly surprised that North Mississippi Allstars were playing with one of my absolute favorite emerging talents, Alabama Shakes at Paradise Rock Club.
Monday, November 7, 2011
In my opinion, a bill is always best when it includes a diverse array of bands that play a wide range of styles. I was treated to quite an eclectic lineup when I caught Born Gold, Pepper Rabbit, and Braids at Great Scott on October 20th. All three bands have enjoyed steadily rising buzz throughout the year. This made the show a must-see for anyone looking to catch a performance from the best of new and emerging artists.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
In addition to their recent signing with Exploding in Sound Records, Pile have announced a string of east coast dates. If you have the chance to see this band live, do not miss it as they are one of the best live forces currently tearing through the country. The band also have a new single called "Pigeon Song" that is available on a compilation from fellow Boston bloggers, Boston Hassle. You can purchase the compilation on a wearable button here. That's right, it's on a friggin' button! The compilation features other Stereo Typing favorites from the Boston area like Doomstar!, Fat History Month, Big Digits, Skimask, and Kal Marks. But really, the whole thing is great so give it a spin below.