I crushed hard on the Evy Janedebut EP back when I first heard it early this year. And after having lived with it for the better part of the year now, it’s safe to say that it may be my favorite new music discovery this year. So, as you can imagine, I was really excited to see what Evy Jane would recommend when I asked them to share one of their favorite new music discoveries. And Wow. I’m thinking I need to start asking musicians to contribute their favorite new tracks more often. I was impressed by the songwriting and vocals on these tracks. You will be too. ~Matthew
I really love my friend Zoey.
She is my kinda girl: hyper-intelligent, funny, weird, and of a kind & feral heart. She can do several magic tricks (They’re not tricks!! It’s real!!) that I’ve never known anyone else in the world to do. REAL witch. Not just another Tumblr witch!
Beyond this, she writes acoustic pop anthems like it’s no big deal. They’re all such well-written songs. She just gets it. You can hear some of them here: http://soundcloud.com/zoey-ockenden
She and I are just finishing editing a music video for a song we made together. It was my first time producing in Ableton, and both of our first times making a video. IT WAS SO FUN. I will post it on my twitter (@heavyevelyn) in a few days!
Right now I’m listening to John Talabot, Hijos Del Sol (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiWuTYaPtdI), Death Grips, DJ Physical Therapy, Miguel, and, as always, Leonard Cohen. I’m fond of this new band, Savages, as well. Oh, and I’ll probably get into the new Fiona Apple, too. I luv her. Jeremiah seems to be liking Actress.
Today’s guest post was kindly contributed by our friend Nathan Broaddus (a.k.a. Evenings). We selected Evenings for one of our very first Pairings Boxes simply because he is one of the best manipulators of sonic textures and rhythms in the game today. His jams are so velvety and lush and you can’t help but sink into them like a full body down pillow. As you can imagine, the man knows a thing or two about good music. ~Matthew
As of Late I have sort of been stalking a lesser known producer who goes by “Skywave“. Apparently hailing from Edinburgh, UK, & despite have a somewhat generic sounding alias, I really dig his stuff. It’s rather minimal (which I like) & it has remnants of BOC along side modern “post dubstep” production values (if that’s not too pretentious to say). It’s really quite impressive & often very smooth–never seeming to overstep any boundary that I’m uncomfortable with. I’m attracted to the simplicity here, & surprised that no one has exploited him before. I’d say if you were into BOC, Tycho, early James Blake (Cmyk), Bonobo, etc.. you’d enjoy this very much. I’m sure he could use the boost… Very talented in my opinion & quietly carving out a unique niche within the electronic community. Get to know Skywave:
Today’s guest post was contributed by my good-friend Robert Khoury, founder of the SF music site See The Leaves and co-founder of the tremendous City Limits Records. Not only was I frequently inspired by Robert’s posts and new music discoveries as a fellow blogger, but Robert is just an amazing person who I’m happy to now call a friend. There aren’t many other people whose taste in music I respect as much as his. ~Matthew
New year, new label, new Sonny and the Sunsets. I See The Void will be from the upcoming (June 26th to be exact) record from the San Francisco band titled Longtime Companion. This record has much more of a intimate feel to it; where Sonnyʼs lyrics are his way of coping with some of the struggles with the separation from his wife (hence the title and Sonnyʼs blue image on the album cover). While this record may deviate a bit from what the band have released these last few years, it is Sonny Smith at his most personal and sparkling best.
I prepared this month’s mix with the specific goal of providing myself with a little traveling music for our vacation. In other words, these tracks are the ones I’ve been meaning to spend a little more time with. And after all, there are a lot of great tracks here worth spending some time with. POP-ETC’s new album represents both a change in name and a change in style for the band formerly known as The Morning Benders, but it doesn’t reflect a change in the quality we’ve come expect from the boys. Cat Power’s “Ruin” is arguably one of the top tracks she’s released to date (not “the best” mind you, but I’d rank it high on the list). Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids” is irresistibly sexy and smooth. Exray’s debut record still has my attention. And what I’ve heard from the Ty Segall Band had left me electrified. Meanwhile we’ve got a collection of straight jams from relative new comers including Joey Bada$$, Tiger Waves, Moons, Manor, Kitty Pryde, Electric Guest, Brothers Hand Mirror (the lead vocalist on the track might sound familiar to Pairings Box subscribers), The Coasts, Alper Atrek, and more. Enjoy!
This may, or may not, seem obvious, but dinner doesn’t have to be demure and restrained. In fact, some of the best meals are lively, boisterous experiences with friends and family all talking, clinking glasses, and maybe having one too many beers or glasses of wine. And, of course, a lively meal needs a lively soundtrack. If that’s the vibe you’re going for you’d do well to rock the new Japandroids’ album Celebration Rock with some friends over a hot plate of slow cooked food.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Vancouver, British Columbia duo, I’ll supply a brief bio. Guitarist & vocalist Brian King met drummer & vocalist David Prowse in 2000 while attending the University of Victoria. They discovered a shared affinity for the raw music and the DIY aesthetic of bands like The Sonics and Fugazi. Initially intending to take on a third member as a lead vocalist, they ultimately decided to instead share vocal duties and proceed as a duo. Similarly, King and Prowse took their name from a sort of compromise between their separate preferred band names (Prowse wanted Japanese Scream and King wanted Pleasure Droids). True to their roots, they played together for years proudly hoisting the DIY flag, scrapping together their own shows, passing out flyers, and asking friends to volunteer to make the gigs work. For nearly all of that time they were barely staying afloat as a band. In fact, after releasing their debut album, Post-Nothing, they’ve said that they were nearly ready to call it quits. Indeed, the album had the energy and thrill of a band fighting for it’s very life. Thankfully, Post-Nothing was a success and the duo was given a new leash on life.
If Post-Nothing was the band fighting with their backs to the wall for their very existence, Celebration Rock is the fist-pumping explosion of their raw emotion after winning that fight despite the odds. So if you thought they’d lose the fire in the time between albums, you were wrong. There are huge hooks, growling guitars, exuberant melodies, and huge steady rhythms that propel each track head first into the next one. On the LP’s opening track “The Nights of Wine and Roses” they sing: “We all want to know what nobody knows / What the nights of wine and roses hold / For the wine and roses of our souls / So we down our drinks to the final friends / And we burn our plans right down to the end / We don’t cry for those nights to arrive / We yell like hell to the heavens.”
They maintain that passion throughout the course of the album too. The duo set afire a cover of The Gun Club’s “For The Love of Ivy” for a blistering, floor-board rattling jolt of grumbling garage rock. “The House That Heaven Built” is the album’s most triumphant moment with with springing ratatat percussion and an insistent, fire-breathing guitar riff that builds out an anthemic melody made to light up entire stadiums one night at a time.
If you want a amazing recipe that’s simple to prepare and sure to impress, try Kasey’s recipe for Baked Mussels with Cilantro Butter. The hardest part is cleaning the mussels (pure manual labor with no skill or thought required) but from there it’s incredibly straightforward. And it tastes GOOD. The food itself will get the party started, but pairing it with Celebration Rock is sure to encourage a lively dinner. Just slowly turn the volume louder and louder as the night goes on. It’s possible that the only way to make this album any better than it is the sound of glasses clinking and friends debating life while you jam it.
Chicago’s Save The Clocktower have been on my radar ever since I first took a listen to their debut album last year. That album, Carousel, showed an exceptionally promising young band with a knack for crafting catchy and dreamy electro pop grooves. It was a very good album. Their follow up, Through The Glass, is an altogether fantastic album. Everything they did well on their debut, they do even better on Through The Glass. The hooks are catchier. The jams are more upbeat. And when they get dreamy, it’s more vivid than anything they’d done before. The album won’t be out for approximately a month, but in the meantime you can enjoy the album’s smooth and ebullient first single “Like That.” And believe it or not, this cool vibe has solid competition for being the album’s most upbeat and catchy jam. You’re going to like this one a lot.
Wow. Prepare to swoon when you hear Altanta-based Patrick Canaday’s debut single “Moons.” I did. The track has a dim, neon-tinted swing that’s roughed at the edges, flickering quietly with a subtle intensity. It’s sure to call to mind a few superlatives. It’s the first single released by No Recordings and it is limited to a mere 250 copies. Get it now or regret it later.
You can also watch the beautiful and hypnotic video for the track here.
“Intriguing” is a great word to describe not just the tingling, polyrhythmic sounds of Brooklyn-by-way-of-Gainesville four-piece Conveyor, but the band itself. The band formed not long ago after each of the members independently transferred from their collective hometown in Gainesville, Florida to Brooklyn, New York. And since that time they’ve used a combination of hardwork and smarts to stay on the independent music world’s collective radar. Indeed, having released a debut EP in early 2011 alongside a series of scattered digital singles, these gentlemen have aroused the interest of more than a few of my colleagues. Indeed, it’s been hard not to catch that excitement based on the electronic-infused, organically-founded grooves and mathematically-centered rhythms the band has been serving up. That excitement is sure to spread further upon the highly-anticipated, up-coming release of their self-titled debut by Paper Garden Records.
In the year since releasing their debut EP, the band’s grown more adventurous in their song-writing and compositions. Indeed, the album opens with the crisp, jangly “Woolgatherer” a tune which blends clipped, weird harmonies into crisp rhythms and meandering melodies. After slowly trembling into a screeching, humming close the track crumbles into the rough-edged, piano-lined melody of “Two Davids.” The following track “Mane” was one of the album’s early singles (having an initial release on a limited-edition single via Gold Robot Records) and could be thought of as a clacking, thoughtful mix of Animal Collective-esque arrangements and Simon & Garfunkel-styled folk grooves. They manage to cover a satisfying amount of sonic territory in those first three tunes alone. Wonderfully, they don’t let up after that. “Short Hair” is founded on deconstructed, humming harmonies, steady percussion and woven-together acoustic guitars. It’s catchy, upbeat and enigmatic before even dipping into it’s long, wandering bridge.
The album pairs well with Kasey’s recipe for Spiced Cucumbers and Coconut Milk. The recipe, like the album, is both bright and upbeat, while simultaneously unconventional and engaging. Kasey blends spicy peppers with clean and crisp cucumbers and sweet coconut milk. Like the album, it’s a unique recipe that will make a great impression. This is one you don’t want to miss.
For a relatively new artist without a debut record to his name, Frank Ocean certainly has managed to attract a lot of attention. Unfortunately, it’s not all been good. For example, he’s already been threatened with a lawsuit by The Eagles’ Don Henley if he so much as performs the track “American Wedding” live because it samples “Hotel California.” Despite that, he’s been universally well received by pretty much everyone else in the industry. As he should be. After all, his debut mixtape nostalgia,ULTRA. sounds incredibly fully formed for an initial (and free) offering. It could be a reflection of the fact that he isn’t entirely new to the industry. Indeed, Ocean has been ghostwriting tunes for artists such as John Legend and Justin Bieber for years. Whatever the reasons, his 2011 debut mixtape is fantastic, fresh and clean. In fact, it’s so good it quickly drew admiration from Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nas, and Beyonce: each of whom already sought out the young songwriter.
It’s easy to see why so many songwriters would want to collaborate with Ocean. Indeed, it’s safe to say that in the burgeoning new indie R&B scene, Ocean represents one of the genre’s most promising talents alongside artists like The Weeknd. Yet on nostalgia, ULTRA. Ocean demonstrates himself to be the flipside of the new genre when compared to Toronto’s dirty R&B maestro. While both artists write sexy, often lyrically NSFW indie R&B grooves with a healthy dose of low-end bump; Ocean proves to be the more spiritual, thoughtful songwriter. For example, in the very first verse of “We All Try” Ocean croons about his belief in heaven, God, a women’s right to choose, and gay marriage: “I believe there’s heaven, I believe in war / I believe a woman’s temple / Gives her the right to choose but baby don’t abort / I believe that marriage isn’t / Between a man and woman but between love and love.” The ease in which Ocean fits all of those themes immediately calls to mind 70’s R&B heavyweight Marvin Gaye. Similarly, when The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye sings about sex, it sounds dirty. When Ocean sings about sex, it sounds full of love.
In the short span of the album, Ocean covers a wide variety of issues (and genre influences). Indeed, he demonstrates an uncanny ability to write conscientious, yet sexy, love songs such as the Coldplay-sampling track “Strawberry Swing,” the desperate and drug-induced long song “Novacane,” and the lascivious MGMT-sampling jam “Electric Feel.” In other words, Ocean demonstrates that he is the real deal.
Complex, romantic, and sexy the album pairs beautifully with Kasey’s Chocolate Cakes with Rosewater Frosting recipe. After all, chocolate is sexy. Rosewater frosting is romantic and sexy. And tracks like “Lovecrimes” and “Electric Feel” are similarly smooth and enticing. Combining the two will create a truly decadent dessert experience.
Buy nostalgia, LITE. on vinyl… er, that is if it ever gets released. Which is probably won’t (per Mr. Ocean). Instead download it here for free. Then head to the Kitchen to read Kasey’s recipe for Chocolate Cakes with Rosewater Frosting.
Grand Resort is the project of Dominican Republic-born multi-instrumentalist Andrés Pichardo. Pichardo initially made his way to the States to study at a school in Massachusetts where he recorded the material for his debut album in his bedroom. Subsequently, Pichardo relocated to Brooklyn where he had the tracks mastered by Josh Bonati (The Men, Widowspeak, Zola Jesus). The gauzy, atmospheric and upbeat “Night Is Dark” is the first single from his debut. The tune opens cautiously with ambiant synths and chirping tropical sounding birds before bouncing to life with a shimmering guitar melody and a tight, ebullient rhythm. This is feel good, shoegaze-inspired rock that’ll make you want to get up and on your feet. Give it a listen.
Philadelphia-based Night Panther are serious about bringing the sexy back to upbeat indie pop. Or at least it would seem that way based on their debut single. Without a doubt, “Snudge” is an intoxicating blend of brilliantly-lit synths, rubbery rhythms, and velvety melodies. The duo, Farzad Houshiarnejad and Mike Cammarata, would seem to have some hot lightning on their hands. I can’t wait to hear more.