Tag Archive: music downloads

  1. Musical Pairings: Monster Rally & RUMTUM – Coasting EP

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    Ohio-born producers Monster Rally and RUMTUM are both relatively new transplants to the West Coast (specifically to Los Angeles and Seattle). If you’ve never relocated to a new city across the country before, I can tell you that it’s a pretty intense experience in many ways. After all, you are probably leaving many friends and family behind. You’re no longer able to visit your favorites places or stop by a beloved cafe for a cup of coffee. Still, although it can be occasionally lonely, it’s also exhilarating and exciting. There is the excitement of exploring and learning your way around a new city. There are also the engaging new people you meet. Everywhere you go there is someone to meet and new things to do.

    Coasting, which is the duo’s second collaborative release, is inspired by their recent moves. In light of that, it’s probably unsurprising that it evokes some serious wanderlust. Blending hip hop and funk into genres as far flung as Caribbean calypso, Middle Eastern dance, Peruvian cumbia, and Southern soul, Coasting evokes an atmosphere of exploration, curiosity, and wonderment. Without a doubt, you’ll find some real magic here.

    For example, opening track “Sunbay Hotel” features a sunny, skittering melody that morphs into an enigmatic, watery groove to accompany the tune’s deep, shuffling rhythm. The duo prop up the track’s beach resort-friendly calypso foundation with slowly stuttering hip hop beats and flowing samples. It’ll transport you if you let it. Similarly, the EP’s title track sports a similarly steady, persistent groove built from woody percussion and flute looped samples. Indeed, it exudes the enigmatic atmosphere of a well-caffeinated late night cruise down a neon-lit and unfamiliar highway.

    Meanwhile, “Veil” is a gorgeous tune flush with swirling, tinny Middle Eastern finger-cymbals balanced against a rubbery, shadowy rhythm. It feels both foreign and familiar at the same time. The locomotive “Island Heat” similarly calls to mind the wonderful world of travel with its organic percussion and shimmering mysticism. “Chicks” may be the EP’s strongest track melding sharp psychedelic Chicha guitar samples with a bouncing, uptempo rhythm. Finally, the album closes out with “Walter’s Jam” which is a ghostly, iridescent tune with a sparkling ambiance. It may be relatively short, but Coasting is inspired.

    Our recent recipe is a similarly lush and eclectic blend: Decadent Custard Orange-Vanilla Brioche French Toast. Yup, if it almost sounds like too much, trust me, it definitely skirts the line without going over it (so long as you don’t overdo it on your portions). It’s custardy, sweet, citrusy, and buttery. It’s almost like having dessert for breakfast. These funk-filled, beat-steady tunes are the perfect decadent soundtrack to accompany this menu.

    Monster Rally & RUMTUM – Chicks

    The vinyl record was released by Gold Robot Records, hut it’s sold out already. Still, you can snag the download from Bandcamp. Then head to the Kitchen to ogle some pics of that Decadent Custard Orange-Vanilla Brioche French Toast.

     

  2. TK015: Seamonster – Neighbors 7″

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    The music of Virginia Beach’s Seamonster (a.k.a. Adrian Todd Webb) has long been a favorite in our home. Although it’d be a mistake to over-generalize his style, I think it is fair to say that, by and large, Webb is known for recording tunes that are crisp, thoughtful, and exude a tender warmth. It’s also true that he generally favors a DIY-styled sonic palette that collects sounds from a combination of traditional and non-traditional sources from which he creates his folksy, often quirky, key-board anchored tunes. His Two Birds EP was one of my favorites released in 2010 and his new Baldessari LP is similarly excellent and engaging. As you can imagine, we were honored when he and his label (our good friends at Gold Robot Records) suggested we partner for this release through the Pairings Box.

    Although not precisely “new,” both of the tracks featured here are exclusive to this release and have never been previously released in any form. The a-side “Crystal Tear” is based upon a novel by Alfred Jarry and features instrumentation recorded from 2010 paired with newly recorded vocals. It builds upon a gently swaying, clean melody that is pillowed with a mesh of shimmering tones, taut acoustic guitar, and a slow, steady rhythm. The result is a soundscape that is hazy and pleasantly dream-like.

    Meanwhile, the b-side, “I Thought I Saw You In My Peripheral Vision,” is built from music Webb originally recorded in 2005 with an old Yamaha keyboard. It’s now partnered alongside newly recorded vocals and a few “iPad calculator flourishes.” It’s quietly buoyant and charmingly playful with its laid-back, head-bobbingly upbeat tune and swirling keys. Together, the pair of tunes are an irresistibly fun set that compliment one another beautifully.

    You can grab a copy of this limited edition vinyl single (400 copies on blue vinyl, 60 copies on gold vinyl) only by subscribing to the Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box. It’s available digitally on iTunes via Gold Robot Records.

  3. Musical Pairings: Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker

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    I’m not going to beat around the bush: Ryan Adam’s Heartbreaker is one of my favorite albums of all time. In fact, I’d even go as far as to argue that it’s one of the best albums released since 2000. Prior to the release of Heartbreaker, Adams had already established his credentials as a top-notch songwriter during his time fronting the much-hyped and critically well-regarded band Whiskeytown. Unfortunately, the band’s lineup was constantly in flux, eventually leading Adams to call it quits for the band. In the wake of Whiskeytown’s demise, Adams traveled to Nashville to record his solo debut. And, as if to prove he deserved all of the hype he garnered with Whiskeytown, he gathered a roster of well-respected musicians to support him including, amongst others, David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, and Emmylou Harris.

    Considering the lineup (not to mention Adams’ own background), it’s unsurprising that Heartbreaker is a lush blend of jazzy bluegrass, gritty country, and loose rock n’ roll. It bursts open with the rousingly boisterous rocker “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High).” The jam just spills along like marbles bouncing across a dusty, hardwood floor as Adams croons in a throaty, twangy howl: “Oh one day when you’re looking back / You were young, and man you were sad / When you’re young, you get sad / When your young, you get sad… then you get high.”

    When Adams rocks out on Heartbreaker, his touch points are classics like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and The Band. Nonetheless, more often than not, Adams’ keeps the mood more mellow and folksy. Indeed, the only other true rocker here is “Shakedown on 9th Street.” Instead, Adams remains more pensive and atmospheric on the balance of the LP. For example, “Oh My Sweet Carolina” is a flowing country-groove featuring harmonies by Emmy Lou Harris. “Bartering Lines” is a rootsy ballad with twanging banjo and a slowly simmering melody. Similarly, the track “Damn, Sam (I Love A Woman That Rains)” is a touch of Elton John re-imagined as a country-rock legend.

    And while I love a gritty rock song as much as anyone, like all good country music, there is a strong argument for the theory that Adams is at his best when he slows things down. In fact, “Come Pick Me Up” easily gets my vote as the best track Adams has ever penned. It is a slow-grooving ballad laced with heavy hits of beautifully melodramatic country music twang: “Come pick me up / Take me out / Fuck me up / Steal my records / Screw all my friends / They’re all full of shit / With a smile on your face / And then do it again / I wish you would.”

    In the world of food, I hold dungeness crab in as high regard as I do Heartbreaker in the world of music. It’s an incredibly delicious meal that’s a little messy, a little fussy, but always deeply rewarding and filling. And it’s a fun meal to prepare too. Go get yourself a couple of crabs, crack a beer, throw on an apron, drop the needle on Heartbreaker, and get to work!

    Ryan Adams – Come Pick Me Up

    Buy Heartbreaker on vinyl from Insound (you need this one in your collection). Read Kasey’s post about our recent dungeness crab cooking experience.

  4. Single Serving: Magic Wands – Aloha Moon

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    I’ve been really feeling this tune from Nashville boy-girl duo Magic Wands for the past couple of days. It’s a sexy, floor-stomping anthem built upon gritty, neon-bright synths, a grooving guitar riff, and an irresistible handclap-laced rhythm. The track appears on their debut album, Aloha Moon, which contains a number of equally catchy tunes.

    Thanks to our friend Matt Dillon for the recommendation. You can go buy this on vinyl it arrives with a bonus limited edition picture disc of their EP.

  5. Musical Pairings: Otis Redding – The Best of Otis Redding

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    I’ve been accused of being a “music snob” on more than one occasion. But while I’ll agree that I am very particular about my own taste in music, I’m not exceptionally judgmental with regard to other people‘s taste in music. I know what I like, but I also won’t judge you for what you like. But with that said, I strongly believe that there are a few artists you should be able to find in any good collection. I don’t care how much you love indie/grindcore/EDM/dubstep/chillwave/surf/cumbia/etc., if you haven’t spent some time really listening to the classics then it’s my belief that you’re appreciation in music is severely stunted. Although my list of essential artists is short, Otis Redding easily makes that list. After all, there is almost never a bad time to listen to Otis Redding.

    Redding’s career as a frontman was relatively short lived. He got his first break in 1962 when he drove a friend to Stax Studio in Memphis for a recording session. When the session ended early, Redding was offered the chance to record a pair of his own songs. The tracks, which included a-side “These Arms of Mine,” were released later that year as Redding’s first single. It charted the following year and sold 800,000 copies. Redding’s career quickly bloomed. His popularity spread like wildfire with each single and album. Sadly, his career was quickly cut short in December of 1967, only about five years after it had begun, when he was killed in a plane crash while traveling between gigs. Only three days before his death, Redding had recorded “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” which he’d written while staying on a friend’s houseboat in Sausalito. Released posthumously, it was Redding’s only single to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

    The collection I’ve chosen for today’s Musical Pairing captures nearly every facet of Redding as a performer. His rollicking, and frantic take on The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” exemplifies the grittier, livelier side of Redding’s musicianship. The same could be said for his boisterous, grooving take on Sam Cooke’s “Shake” or the brassy, swinging “Respect” (which was later famously covered by Aretha Franklin). Meanwhile, Redding’s smooth, deeply soulful take on Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” demonstrates just how evocative his vocal delivery could be when he laid down a ballad. And, of course, very few songs – by Redding or anyone else – can match the richness and passion he delivers on “Try A Little Tenderness.”

    That rich, soulful voice and lush, comforting arrangements make the music of Otis Redding a perfect Musical Pairing for Kasey’s Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Minted Whipped Cream. A warm cup of this blissful hot chocolate while listening to some deep Southern soul is sure to keep you cozy on any cold Winter night.

    Otis Redding – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

    While I can’t direct you to a link to purchase this best of collection, you wouldn’t go wrong picking up Otis Blue which contains “Respect,” “My Girl,” “Change Is Gonna Come,” and his take on The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” If you want to treat yourself and/or someone special this holiday season, try out Kasey’s recipe for Hazelnut Hot Chocolate with Minted Whipped Cream.

  6. Single Serving: Teen Mom – Mean Tom EP

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    I’ve been obsessed with this debut EP by DC-based trio Teen Mom this week. Whether it’s the warm, sprawling pop on album opener “You and Me” or the skittering, reverb-laden groove on “Say My Name” – I can’t get enough. Indeed, it’s an infectious collection of funny, bright tunes anchored by the irresistibly upbeat and sparkling “I Wanna Go Out.” Give ’em a listen and see for yourself.

    The Mean Tom EP is available for pre-order on limited edition vinyl from our friends at Analog Edition. There are 50 copies on coke-bottle clear and 250 copies on black vinyl.

  7. Single Servings: Dr. DeVito – Sno-Cones EP

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    Let’s address the obvious here. There is a lot going on with this album cover: chihuahuas, jellyfish, crazy neon coloring, etc. Thankfully, though, this Bakerfield, California four-piece doesn’t sound nearly as disjointed as the unrelated elements on the cover might suggest. Taking full advantage of a hazy, lo-fi palette Dr. DeVito spin off a collection of whimsical melodies that gently meander between dreamy psychedelics and warm pop gems. For example, opener “Teradoctals” is a beautiful pop jam viewed in soft-focus. It’s founded upon buoyant guitar riffs, propulsive percussion, a rubbery bassline, and vocalist Jacob Ninomiya’s mostly laid-back vocals. Likewise, the shimmering guitars and winding rhythms on “Yellow Belly” are warmly hypnotic. And, yup, the rest of the EP is equally engaging. Oh, for what it’s worth, I hear Real Estate and Kasey hears Oasis. Big thanks to our friend Jeremy who recommended these guys.

    Dr. DeVito – Teradoctals
    Dr. DeVito – Yellow Belly

    Get the rest of the Sno-Cones EP from Bandcamp.

  8. Musical Pairings: Window Twins – Wish

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    Separately, Tim Cohen and Jon Bernson released two of my favorite albums this year. Cohen as the frontman of The Fresh & Onlys and Bernson as the mastermind behind Exrays. And so it should come as no surprise that I was excited to learn about their most recent collaboration (their second overall) under the name Window Twins. On Wish, Cohen and Bernson blend together live drums, programmed beats, spindly guitar, bright horns, and various layers of electronic sonics set against analog instrumentation to create a dark, texturally-rich, and slow-burning brand of psychedelica.

    Album opener “Two Left Feet” is perhaps the most straight-forward track on the album. It’s a crisp, grooving folk-jam founded upon a bed of acoustic guitar and warm synths. Cohen and Bernson’s harmonies are almost conversational as they smoothly transition between lead vocal duties. It’s an engaging and appropriately accessible entry into the slyly quirky and darkly-lit soundscape the duo craft throughout Wish.

    Indeed, they are able to effortlessly maintain a delicate balance between soft indie-pop and psychedelic experimentation as the album progresses. By thoughtfully arranging their individual talents with an eye for cohesiveness, Bernson and Cohen’s compositions are regularly surprising and always pleasantly engaging. For example, “Don’t Let Me Down” begins with spare and clattering percussion, a bubbling bassline, and reverb-soaked vocals before cruising into an unexpectedly bright, brassy melody. Meanwhile, “Different Light” (which is another personal favorite) is percussively shuffling and wryly playful. It’s followed by the jazzy and flowing “Wine Into Winter” which opens with a swirling, crashing drum solo before snapping snuggly into a smokey horn-led melody. As a result of the way the duo consistently find new ways to play off of one another’s strengths, Wish is a solid and delightful listen from start to finish.

    Wish pairs well with Kasey’s recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash with Hazelnuts and Balsamic Reduction. The recipe, like the album, features a smooth combination of strong flavors and subtle nuance. Similarly, the recipes two textural elements, squash and hazelnuts, each offer their own unique contribution to this well balanced recipe. It’s a great addition to any meal.

    Window Twins – Two Left Feet

    You can order this one on limited-edition cassette and/or vinyl (I recommend the very reasonably priced bundle) from Bandcamp. Afterwards, head to the Kitchen to read Kasey’s recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash with Hazelnuts and Balsamic Reduction.

  9. Musical Pairings: The xx – Coexist

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    It’d be hard to overstate the impact of The xx’s debut album on the world of indie music. Seemingly overnight xx turned the group into superstars. Indeed, they’ve been sampled by Rihanna and Drake. They’ve been tapped to do remixes for many of the world’s biggest artists including Radiohead, Florence & The Machine, Adele, and Four Tet. And, arguably, they lit the fire that spawned the entire new indie r&b movement. Heck, they soundtracked NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Yet, by nearly all accounts, they are just getting started. After all, xx was only their debut.

    Unsurprisingly, expectations were incredibly high for their sophomore album Coexist. Maybe too high. In fact, I initially felt a little let down after my first listens. I wanted Coexist to inspire the same enthusiasm that I’d felt for xx. It didn’t. At first it sounded listless, a little too downbeat, and maybe a little too minimalist. Indeed, there is nothing as melodically bright as “Basic Space” or as chiming and playful as “VCR” on Coexist. Where xx was full of minimalist but relatively upbeat pop songs, Coexist eschews easy hooks and smooth melodies for subtle, flowing ballads.

    Yet, despite that initial disappointment, I keep finding myself coming back to Coexist. And each time I do I find more to like. Indeed, Coexist’s opening track “Angels” may be their most beautiful ballad to date. It’s instrumentally sparse (like much of the rest of the album) with a gently waving melody to accompany Romy Madley Croft’s whispery, sensual vocals as she sings “And the end is unknown / but I think I’m ready / as long as you’re with me / Being as in love with you as I am.”

    The following track “Chained” features a crisp, electronic rhythm, drawn synths and a rubbery bassline as Romy and co-vocalist Oliver Sim explore the shadowy ruins of a failed relationship in a lovely, introspective duet. It’s also one of the most emotionally powerful tunes the group has ever produced. When Romy croons, one by one, the words “It’s / hard / to / say” so as to slowly draw out each word, its evocative and powerful. Similarly, especially on tracks like “Fiction”, Sim connects more powerfully with the listener than he ever did on their debut. Undeniably, the pair of vocalists have both grown since we last heard them.

    It’s also clear that for their followup The xx chose to further strip their songwriting bare. For instance, no moment on the album is more orchestrated than the tailing half of “Tides.” The track begins with no more than the dual vocals of Sim and Croft before a shuffling rhythm is met by a shining keys, a percolating bassline, and subtle string accents. That’s pretty much it.

    Ultimately, Coexist is an intimate, clean exploration of open spaces and subtle nuances. It’s not nearly as immediate as xx, but it is exquisitely arranged and smartly textured. It’s a thoughtful album that perfectly compliments a chill atmosphere or a thoughtful and laid back vibe. If you wrote it off after a few perfunctory plays, it is definitely worth revisiting with an open mind. I think you’ll be glad you did.

    Without question, Kasey’s Saffron Biscotti are immediately rewarding. In fact, we nearly finished off an entire batch of them while drinking Turkish coffee with her parents. Like the album they are crisp and clean. And if you settle into Coexist with a batch of these biscotti and a cup of coffee, you’re in for a real treat.

    The xx – Chained

    Head to the Kitchen to read Kasey’s recipe for Saffron Biscotti. Then head over to Insound to buy The xx’s Coexist. Also, you’ll recall

  10. Musical Pairings: A.C. Newman – Shut Down The Streets

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    A.C. Newman is undeniably best known for his work with The New Pornographers. Nonetheless, I’ve always counted his solo albums, especially his first, amongst my favorite in his discography. In fact, although I’d be excited for a new The New Pornographers album any day, I’m maybe even more delighted when A.C. Newman (or any of the super group’s other members for that matter) release a solo album.

    On his third solo album, Newman’s songwriting is as crisp and clean as ever. Album opener “I’m Not Talking” is smooth, tight pop music at it’s tidiest. But things have changed for Newman quite a bit since his first solo album. Whereas “Miracle Drug” (the opener on The Slow Wonder) was a bombastic, kinetic power pop rocker, he unfurls Shut Down The Streets with a dusty, wind-swept ballad laced with bright keyboards and strumming acoustic guitar.

    Indeed, it’s indicative of a change of direction and new approach for the songwriter. In a recent interview, Newman told Exclaim: “Initially, I think I really liked the idea of it being like a psychedelic late-’70s [album] . . . I’m very fascinated with a lot of that music, where singer-songwriter music started having synthesizers in them. Stuff like Gerry Rafferty, or you know that song ‘Daylight Katy’ by Gordon Lightfoot? I love the sort of psychedelic wooziness of it.”

    Shut Down The Streets also reflects the songwriter’s most personal lyrics to date. The title was pulled from the track of the same name, which begins with the lyric: “they should have shut down all the streets.” The lyric is about Newman’s mother’s funeral and, according to Newman, the line inspired the entire album. He told Pitchfork: “This record was written during a very heavy time in my life. I was right in that in-between space where I’d just lost somebody that’s amazingly important to me, and I was also anticipating the arrival of somebody incredibly important, too. It made me think a lot about family, life and death, happiness and sadness, and how to reconcile them all.”

    That is not to suggest it’s a heavy album. As always, Newman’s lyrics drip with his humor and sharp wit, especially on the lively and hook-laden cuts “Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns” and “There’s Money In New Wave.” And, Newman’s New Pornographers-partner Neko Case is a regular presence across the entire length of the album freely filling the spaces around Newman’s vocals with her smokey harmonies.

    With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that Shut Down The Streets blends together quite well. After all, it is a smooth mash of Newman’s catchy and clean songwriting with emotionally rich, witty and relatable lyrics set alongside sonics inspired by the warm and bright energy of 70’s singer-songwriter psychedelica. While it’s not Newman’s best album to date, it’s certainly filled with plenty of soothing melodies and energetic hook-filled pop. The worst I can say about the album is that spots of side-b aren’t as memorable as what we’ve come to expect from Newman in the past. “Wasted English” and “The Troubadour” in particular may be some of the least engaging songs I’ve heard from the songwriter.

    Kasey is featuring a homey and comforting recipe for Irish Mash from the What Katie Ate cookbook. It’s a feel good, smooth and warming recipe that pairs wonderfully with Newman’s Shut Down The Streets. Go take a look at this one… you’re going to need to whip up a batch in your kitchen.

    A.C. Newman – I’m Not Talking
    A.C. Newman – Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns

    Take a peak at some awesome pics of that Irish Mash in the Kitchen. Then head to Insound to buy a copy of Shut Down The Streets.