Tag Archive: the best new indie rock

  1. Turntable Kitchen’s Top LPs of 2012

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    I think one of the best parts about compiling my year end list is forcing myself to take the time to look back upon the year in music. Around this time each year, I sit down in front of my record player and pull LPs from my collection to play them one by one. In some cases this means re-listening to records that I haven’t played in months. For example, I’d loved Cloud Nothing’s Attack on Memory, THEESatisfaction’s Awe Naturale, and Shigeto’s Lineage early in the year, but over the course of the year I’d let them slip from my mind. But when I let them needle drop on those albums I was instantly reminded of why I’d loved them so much.

    It’s also fun to contemplate the different threads that run through the world of music in any given year – even when it isn’t clear quite where they all lead. For example, when I look at a list of the best music of 2012 (my own list or any other), I can’t help wonder if the world of music is slowly splintering into hundreds of disparate genres or actually converging into a more amorphous genre-defying state.

    For example, following up on a strong year in 2011, r&b continues to push into new territory and faces a continued critical and popular resurgence. Some of this is a result of revitalization caused by blending traditional r&b with contemporary aesthetics: Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE & Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream being my two favorite examples of this trend. But r&b continued to get “weird” too leading to some really fantastic experiments – THEESatisfaction’s Awe Naturale being a prime example.

    Electronic minimalism continues to embrace lush, sonic texturalism in new and interesting ways, resulting in some of the most forward-facing music you’ll hear this year. Indeed, this could be said of a pretty diverse range of releases including Purity Ring’s Shrines, Flying Lotus’ Until The Quiet Comes, The xx’s Coexist, Jessie Ware’s Devotion, Shigeto’s Lineage, and Zammuto’s self-titled debut. Yet, despite a few superficial similarities, for the most part there is more separating the sound of these artists than unifying them.

    Meanwhile, the umbrella term “indie rock” continues to embrace an increasingly unwieldy array of artists. For every talented artist that decided to ditch basic pop song structures in favor of lush, grandiose songwriting (including my top two LPs this year – Grizzly Bear’s Shields and Beach House’s Bloom), there were others that intentionally decided to keep it simple, fast, and loose including folks like Cloud Nothings, Ty Segall, Japandroids, Father John Misty, and The Fresh & Onlys. Similarly, while some artists favored slick, dance-music inspired production (think Tanlines’ Mixed Emotions & Matthew Dear’s Beams), other artists (including Exray’s and Seamonster) succeeded, in some part, because they embraced a more loosely-woven, DIY production to create a cozy warmth and whimsical air.

    But what I find most fascinating is the way that many artists are increasingly demonstrating their appreciation for music outside of the confines of their own genres. Whether it’s Frank Ocean crooning Radiohead tunes at live gigs or Flying Lotus deciding that 2012 was the year to directly engage with the world of hip hop, it increasingly feels as if this creative cross-pollination has simultaneously created a more diverse – but nonetheless unified – musical landscape. However you look at it, the result is that 2012 proved to be another fruitful year for people who love new music.

    Finally, I’ll add a few notes about the methodology of my list. First, only LPs were considered. As a result, I didn’t include any EPs despite the fact that some of my favorite music of the year was released on that format (including essential collections by Pure Bathing Culture, Evy Jane, Dum Dum Girls, NO, AlunaGeorge, Rhye, Turtle Giant, Teen Mom, Joey Bada$$, Hands, Oscar Key Sung, Ender Belongs To Me, and The Bones of J.R. Jones). I’ve always differentiated between the two, and in my mind it keeps things a little easier. Further, the numbering is intentional but I’ll confess that this year the numbers feel a little looser than usual. For example, I don’t think there was a clear “No. 1 album of the year.” I could easily swap any of the top three into first place and feel pretty good about my list. Not only that, because of the breadth and diversity of good music this year, I feel like just about any of the albums on my list deserved to be in the top ten. And on a different day and in a different mindset, any of the albums I listed out for “Honorable Mention” could have found a spot on this list. What can I say? There was just a LOT of great music this year.

    Let me know what you think.

    List Plus MP3s

    1) Beach House – Bloom :: Beach House – Lazuli

    2) Grizzly Bear – Shields :: Grizzly Bear – gun-shy

    3) Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE :: Frank Ocean – Pyramids

    4) Purity Ring – Shrines :: Purity Ring – Ungirthed

    5) Peaking Lights – Lucifer :: Peaking Lights – Beautiful Son

    6) Mac DeMarco – Mac Demarco 2 :: Mac DeMarco – My Kind Of Woman

    7) Cat Power – Sun :: Cat Power – Ruin

    8) Fiona Apple – Idler Wheel :: Fiona Apple – Every Single Night

    9) Wild Nothings – Nocturne :: Wild Nothing – Paradise

    10) Ty Segall – Twins :: Ty Segall – Thank God For The Sinners

    11) Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory :: Cloud Nothings – Stay Useless

    12) Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes :: Flying Lotus – Getting There

    13) THEESatisfaction – Awe Naturale :: THEESatisfaction – QueenS

    14) Matthew Dear – Beams :: Matthew Dear – Headcage

    15) Tame Impala – Lonerism :: Tame Impala – Apocalypse Dreams

    16) Japandroids – Celebration Rock :: Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built

    17) Father John Misty – Fear Fun :: Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

    18) The xx – Coexist :: The xx – Chained

    19) The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance :: The Fresh & Onlys – Presence of Mind

    20) Jessie Ware – Devotion :: Jessie Ware – Devotion

    21) Shigeto – Lineage :: Shigeto – Huron River Drive

    22) Tanlines – Mixed Emotions :: Tanlines – All of Me

    23) Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits :: Divine Fits – Would That Not Be Nice

    24) Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream :: Miguel – Use Me

    25) Exray’s – Trust A Robot :: Exray’s – Ancient Thing

    26) Flume – Flume :: Flume – Star Eyes

    27) Seamonster – Baldessari :: Seamonster – Vincent’s Chair

    28) ∆ – An Awesome Wave :: alt-j – Breezeblocks

    29) Captain Murphy – Duality :: Captain Murphy – Mighty Morphin Foreskin

    30) Zammuto – Zammuto :: Zammuto – The Shape of Things To Come

    Special Mention (in no particular order): Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City, Frankie Rose – Interstellar, Lemonade – Diver, Grimes – Visions, David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant, Menomena – Moms, BRAINSTORM – Heat Waves, Deerhoof – Breakup Songs, Conveyor – Conveyor, The Walkmen – Heaven, Window Twin – Wish, Motel Beds – Dumb Gold, Saint Maybe – Things As They Are, A.C. Newman – Shut Down The Streets, Memory Tapes – Stella, Geographer – Myth, Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

  2. Turntable Kitchen’s Top 7″ Vinyl Singles of 2012

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    As an avid fan of music, I love putting together my “best of” lists at year end. As an avid record collector, I especially love compiling by 7″ vinyl singles list. This year was an especially fun list to compile because there were so many good singles released. As usual, this list is not ranked. In my opinion, with collectible 7″ singles there are too many factors to weigh, such as whether the single is limited edition, the number pressed, the profile of the artist, the collectible value of the single, and more. Like last year, I limited the list to one single per artist. In other words, if an artist released two singles in the year, I selected only my favorite of the singles by that artist.

    And, yes, I included our Pairings Box singles on the list. Despite the obvious bias, it only makes sense that I would include them. After all, each of the singles were created after I reached out to the featured artist because I loved their music. These artists released some of my favorite music this year – that’s why we featured them. Not only that, each of our singles are limited edition, each is hand numbered, and each is on colored vinyl. Those are all the right buttons for me. In other words, I think we’re releasing some of the best singles out there. So, yeah, they are here because they deserve to be on this list.

    I’m not providing a review of each of the singles. Frankly, that would take forever. However, I will say that what is exciting about many of these singles is that many of them represent the debut release by a very promising up-and-coming artist including those by: Algiers, Amateur Best, Cheerleader, Conveyor, DIIV, Field Mouse, Francisco The Man, Ghost Loft, James & Evander, Mind Enterprises, Moons, Oscar Key Sung, The Record Company, Save The Clocktower, Thousand, TRAILS AND WAYS, Turtle Giant, White Arrows, and Yalls. Most of the rest simply represent great one off releases by already established artists including Andrew Collberg, Beach House, Cat Power, Deerhoof, Iggy Pop, Iron & Wine, Japandroids, Mikal Cronin, Seamonster, St. Vincent, Toro y Moi, Typhoon, and Wild Nothing. That single by The White Stripes? It’s a recording of the first ever The White Stripes set which was performed at an open mic night. It was sent to members of Third Man Record subscription service.

    How many of these did you pick up this year? Lay a number on me in the comments. And, of course, I probably missed a number of great singles (I can only include what I heard). Let me know what’s missing in the comments as well.

    Turntable Kitchen’s Essential 7″ Singles of 2012

    stream the tracks below

    1) Algiers – Blood / Back Eunuch (sold out)
    2) Amateur Best – Be Happy / The Wave (buy from Double Denim)
    3) Andrew Collberg – Dirty Wind (buy from Fort Lowell Records)
    4) Beach House – Lazuli / Equal Mind (sold out Record Store Day exclusive)
    5) Cat Power – Back In The Days (For Christopher Wallace) / Fire 7″ (sold out LP pre-order bonus)
    6) Cheerleader – New Daze / Do What You Want (sold out)
    7) Conveyor – Mane 7″ (buy from Gold Robot Records)
    8) DIIV – Geist (buy from Insound)
    9) Empress Of – Champagne (buy from No Recordings)
    10) Exray’s – Ancient Thing / Something Else (buy from Howell’s Transmitter)
    11) Field Mouse – Happy / You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom (buy from Small Plates Records)
    12) Francisco The Man – Tiger / Broken Arrows 7″ (buy from Small Plates Records)
    13) Ghost Loft – Seconds / Morning (sold out)
    14) Half Waif / Deerhoof – Famous Class Records / LAMC 7″ (buy from Famous Class Records)
    15) Iggy Pop & Zig Zags – If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up (buy from Insound)
    16) Iron & Wine – One More Try 7″ (buy from Insound)
    17) James & Evander – Let’s Go 7″ (buy from Gold Robot Records)
    18) Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built / Jack The Ripper (sold out)
    19) King Tuff – Wild Desire 7″ (buy from Insound)
    20) Leisure – Follow Me / Follow Me (Keep Shelly in Athens) 7″ (sold out)
    21) Mikal Cronin – Violitionist Acoustic Sessions 7″ (sold out)
    22) Mind Enterprises – Summer War (buy it from Double Denim)
    23) Moons – Bloody Mouth (buy from No Recordings)
    24) NO – Stay With Me 7″ (sold out)
    25) Only You – White Iris 7″ (buy from Insound)
    26) Oscar Key Sung – All I Think About / Higher 5th Bounce (sold out)
    27) The Paperhead – Pictures of Her Demise (buy from Trouble In Mind Records)
    28) The Record Company – This Crooked City / Tallahassee Lassie (sold out)
    29) Save The Clocktower – Like That / Drip (sold out)
    30) Seamonster – Neighbors 7″ (sold out)
    31) St. Vincent – GROT / KROKODIL (sold out Record Store Day exclusive)
    32) Thousand – The Fall / Your Wild Heart (sold out)
    33) TRAILS AND WAYS – Nunca / Sure Thing (Miguel Cover) (sold out)
    34) Trouble In Mind – Mikal Cronin / Apache Dropout / The Paperhead / The Liminanas (sold out RSD)
    35) Turtle Giant – Gold Tooth (Killer) / All Light (Live Session) (sold out)
    36) Typhoon – Common Sentiments / Green (buy from Insound)
    37) White Arrows – Get Gone (buy from Insound)
    38) The White Stripes – Live on Bastille Day 7″ (sold out Third Man Records Vault Member Exclusive)
    39) Wild Nothing – Nowhere 7″ (buy from Insound)
    40) Yalls – Fantasy 7″ (buy from Gold Robot Records)

  3. Musical Pairings: Turtle Giant – All Hidden Places EP

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    Macau, China is known for many things: it’s a gambling mecca, it’s the most densely populated region in the world, it’s population enjoys the 2nd highest life expectancy in the world, and it boasts a truly unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultures. Notable indie rock, however, has never been one of their major (or even minor) exports. Brazilian-based trio Turtle Giant, who moved to Macau from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is aiming to change that.

    The Brazilian trio recorded their recent All Hidden Places EP in Macau at the historic D. Pedro V Theatre. The beautiful, aged venue provided a plush and spacious soundscape for the band, affording the trio plenty of opportunities to sprawl out and experiment with their melodies and rhythms. Indeed, each of the EP’s five tracks is built upon intricately constructed grooves that evolve through thoughtful variations and alterations of their original tunes.

    Album opener, “Germany I & II” is a prime example. Clocking in at just over seven and a half minutes the trio slowly build upon a choppy, side-winding groove buttressed by a rhythm that alternates between humbly spare and crashing-through-the-walls bombastic. At times it sounds as if the band is forcibly pulling threads from Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights, but at other times they sound far more like they’ve yanked a fistful of sounds out of Wolf Parade’s Apologies To The Queen Mary, often with bits and pieces of Arcade Fire’s Funeral woven in for good measure. Nonetheless, they are never satisfied to simply borrow from any of their influences though, instead tailoring the pieces together for their own purposes.

    The band’s energetic first single (and official first release) is the gritty and explosive “We Were Kids.” It begins with locomotive percussion and chiming rhythm guitar before vocalist António Conceição enters the room and intones with a steadily rising cadence: “Oh, we were kids and torn to bits between the good things that we missed all our lives.” A wet, reverb-soaked guitar riff rips in a torrent across the chorus alongside Ritchie’s vocals and “oh, OHHH, oh, OHHH” chants. It’s both addictive and captivating.

    Meanwhile, “Gold Tooth (Killer)” is a brooding, lurking jam dressed in all black and anchored by a dark, slinking rhythm and menacing, pulse-like percussion. Standing well-lit amidst the shadows, Conceição sings incredulously: “Creeping my heart, you call me ‘killer’? Vulture our homes, and call me killer?” Stabs of guitar gleam bright and knife-like through the dark melody. It’s a mesmerizing noir-pop jam.

    It pairs well with Kasey’s Blueberry Buckle. It’s a delicious recipe and sure to be a people pleaser. Similarly, All Hidden Places is certainly one of the best EPs I’ve heard all year and probably one of the best releases I’ve heard this year of any length. This one is highly recommended.

    Turtle Giant – We Were Kids

    Read the recipe for Kasey’s Blueberry Buckle today in the Kitchen. The EP is released on September 18. Watch the band’s Bandcamp page.

  4. Turntable Kitchen :: The August 2012 Mix

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    Something tells me you might be sniffing around here for some new music. If my hunch is correct, then you’re in luck my friend. Our August 2012 Mix is splitting at the seams with all of the best new jams I could wrangle together. First, there are new tracks by folks you’ll probably recognize like Cat Power, The Sea and Cake, The Record Company, Com Truise, Thee Oh Sees, Moon Duo, Jhameel, Lightouts, and Dum Dum Girls. But there are also tunes by some amazingly hot up-and-coming new artists like Turtle Giant (I’m freaking out a little over how freaking awesome their EP is), Mind Enterprises (I already preordered their debut single and you should too), To Kill a King (I promise you’re gonna feel this one), Highasakite (mmm, yeah. mmm, yeah), Night Panther (ready for some funky grooves? of course you are!), Young Hunting (smooth, smooth jams), Mac DeMarco (uh, huh), Alexis Davis (slick hip hop to get your jam on), Born With Stripes (some clean, fun pop), and Barbarian (some melodic, fun rock). With this mix, the world is yours.

    Turntable Kitchen :: The July 2012 Mix (.zip file)

    01. Turtle Giant – We Were Kids
    02. The Sea and Cake – Harps
    03. Mind Enterprises – Summer War
    04. Cat Power – Cherokee
    05. The Record Company – On The Move
    06. To Kill A King – Howling
    07. Moon Duo – Sleepwalker
    08. Thee Oh Sees – Flood’s New Light
    09. Highasakite – Indian Summer
    10. Com Truise – Chemical Legs
    11. Germany Germany – Stockholm (feat. Kotomi)
    12. Jhameel – Stayin’ Alive (Bee Gees Cover)
    13. Night Panter – Fever
    14. Young Hunting – Sweet Bird
    15. Mac DeMarco – My Kind Of Woman
    16. Dum Dum Girls – Lord Knows
    17. Alexis Davis – Look
    18. Born With Stripes – Sundream
    19. Lightouts – The Big Picture
    20. Barbarian – Days of Youth

  5. Single Serving: The Babies – Moonlight Mile

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    Brooklyn, New York rockers The Babies are back with a new limited-edition single featuring a-side “Moonlight Mile” and backed with an exclusive b-side. “Moonlight Mile” is a shiny, energetic rocker with a crisp rhythm and hauntingly crisp rhythms. It’s sure to have you excited for their sophomore album coming this Fall on Woodsist.

    You can buy your copy of the 7″ from Woodsist.

  6. Turntable Kitchen :: The July 2012 Mix

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    Some of my mixes come together quickly and some are harder to piece together. For whatever reason, the July 2012 Mix was one of the harder mixes to piece together. Nonetheless, in the end I think it came out quite nicely and I think you’ll agree. We’ve got blazing hot new music from Frank Ocean, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Tame Impala, Sean Blackthorn, Lord Huron, and Flying Lotus (feat. Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler no less). There are also jams by newcomers including Leif, Young Hunting, Seatraffic, Yuna, The People’s Temple (who we were introduced to by our newest contributor Robert), and Arc In The Round (who we were introduced to by our friend Bruce). There are some interesting covers and some engaging remixes. There is indie rock, indie r&b, a little electronica, and some hip hop. Yup, the July 2012 Mix might just have it all. And now you do too.

    Also, you may have noticed that we’ve had a few changes around here recently. For example, you may find the Turntable Kitchen Market of particular interest. At the moment we’re selling a few items including a pair of specially designed TK shirts. We’ve only had a limited number of the shirts made and they are selling pretty quickly. Order before the end of the week and we’ll throw in a few goodies leftover from our previous Pairings Boxes.

    Turntable Kitchen :: The July 2012 Mix (.zip file)

    01. Lord Huron – Time To Run
    02. Young Hunting – Maze
    03. Tame Impala – Apocalypse Dreams
    04. The People’s Temple – Looter’s Game
    05. Wake Up Lucid – Feel It
    06. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Only In My Dreams
    07. Seatraffic – Crimes
    08. Sweet Valley – Total Carnage
    09. Flying Lotus feat. Earl Sweatshirt & Captain Murphy – Between Friends
    10. PICNICTYME – Horizons (feat. A.Dd +)
    11. Frank Ocean – Sweat Life
    12. JMSN – Alone (Kastle Remix)
    13. Yuna – Live Your Life
    14. tUnE-yArDs – Gangsta (Ellie Herring Remix)
    15. Leif – Wut (5kin And Bone5)
    16. Arc In Round – Hallowed
    17. Trails and Ways – Miracle (Ghost Beach Cover)
    18. Taken By Trees – Dreams
    19. Miniature Tigers – I Should Have Known (The Beatles Cover)
    20. How To Dress Well – Ocean Floor For Everything
    21. Sean Blackthorn – [One] Night