UPCOMING ALBUM RELEASES: MARCH 2010

March 2:
Rogue Wave: Permalight
The Whigs: In the Dark
March 9:
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat The Devil’s Tattoo
Frightened Rabbit: The Winter of Mixed Drinks
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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: The Brutalist Bricks
March 16:
White Stripes: Under Great White Norhtern Lights (Live)
Goldfrapp: Head First
Love Is All: Two Thousand and Ten Injuries

HOT CHIP: ONE LIFE STAND

Review coming soon…

FLASHBACK: WILD IN THE STREETS


I came across this video yesterday for an old school Garland Jeffrey’s song set to some awesome vintage footage of New York circa 1973.  The single, “Wild in the Streets” was featured on Ghost Writer, written and released in 1973, and recorded by Jeffrey’s with Dr. John and his band. Nice video treatment and maybe one of the best Rolling Stones songs, not done by the Stones.

DAS RACIST: RAINBOW IN THE DARK

Discosalt Video of the Week 1/18/10: Official Music Video for “Rainbow in the Dark” by unsigned bro-fi rap group Das Racist Directed by Jordan Fish.

Das Racist – Rainbow in the Dark [OFFICIAL VIDEO] from Jordan Fish on Vimeo.

SPOON: TRANSFERENCE

Transference, Spoons latest record, stays the course with Austin’s 15 year pop veteran’s. Pushing 40, and now on their 7th album, this might be their rawest most stripped down album to date. Once around, this sounds a lot different to me than their last EP and “Nobody Gets Me But You” stands out, but stop by later this month for a full album review.  In the mean time, Transference is available to stream  in its entirety for the week on NPR Music’s Exclusive First Listen series, so check it out HERE and let us know what you think.

THE DIOGENES CLUB: 979

We get a lot of music suggestions from indie labels, artists, PR Firms…even grandmothers. Todays submission comes from a Brighton Band called The Diogenes Club.  A pretty laid back melodic pop duo with an 80’s synth sound that reminds me of early Phoenix.  Their new EP 979, is a spacey 3 song album that will be available February 22, 2010 but you can stream it for free HERE

You can also check out the video for “Tie Ourselves Around” below

THOM YORKE: THE ERASER (XXXCHANGE REMIX)

Posted in Downloads, MUSIC

Brooklyn based DJ XXXChange recently re-mixed the title track off Thom Yorke’s Eraser EP. You can stream the free track below but we should warn you, it will be stuck in your head all day.

PASSION PIT: LIVE AT TERMINAL 5

On Friday Night, The Joy Formidable, Passion Pit and the Rural Alberta Advatage came to New York’s Terminal 5 and Discosalt friend Backseatsandbar was there to fill you in on what you missed.  The show was the first of several for each of the bands, with Passion Pit playing three consecutive sold out shows at Terminal 5. Selling out three nights at one of the larger capacity venues, it’s only a matter of time before Passion Pit is playing the stadiums of New York. Similarly, The Joy Formidable started their first of four shows in New York, performing again with Passion Pit the following night and headlining Union Hall tonight and Pianos tomorrow. The Rural Alberta Advantage performed their next two shows with an early and late set at Mercury Lounge.

The night started with The Joy Formidable, who got started a little earlier than was announced. Positioned by the stage by 8:45 they were already more than three songs in, meaning that I unfortunately missed their opening track, The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade. You might remember that track from when I listed it as among the Greatest opening tracks of all time. I have been shocked by the fact that the Joy Formidable have stayed off the radar of the blogs for so long as they’ve got everything the kids want…incredible songs, danceworthy synth beats and a cute lead singer. It seems many of those in attendance were shocked as well, with their heads and feet unable to stop moving and later I noticed, buying their debut album, “A Balloon Called Moaning”. I knew the band was Welsh and I knew their music, but little else. As it turns out, tonight’s show was first show of 2010, their first show in New York, and what’s more, their first US appearance. It’s rare for an opening band to really move a crowd, but the response from those in attendance couldn’t be denied…2010 is going to be a big year for Joy Formidable. Check out a great interview our friends over at We Listen For You did with lead vocalist, Ritzy Bryan.

Up next was the Rural Alberta Advantage. While a strong set, their sound didn’t seem to mesh with the Passion Pit sound as well and as a result the energetic environment created by the Joy Formidable seemed to descend into a lot of chatter by the time Passion Pit took the stage. Nevertheless, it has given me reason to pause and take another look at RAA.

Then Passion Pit took the stage. Having met all of these guys through a mutual friend when I saw them back in June, their rockstar status is particularly interesting. During that show, they sat with us in the bar drinking until only a few minutes before they went on, expressing their own awe of their successes. Nevertheless, on that evening they took to the stage and destroyed the crowd. Yet by comparison, Friday night’s show was of a band of true rockstars. Michael delegated more of the keys to his bandmates and maintained the presence of a truly great frontman, dominating the stage in a way that I’ve seen very few performers (Trent Reznor maybe?) handle as well. With LED screens lighting the performance from behind, a sea of bodies crashing into one another in front and the energy of the band on stage, it was an ultimate sensory overload which peaked for the first time with Little Secrets when the crowd went from dancing to thrashing and again with Sleepyhead where they slayed the crowd for the final time that night. The greatest surprise of the night though was their cover of the Cranberries’ “Dreams” which worked perfectly with the Passion Pit sound (Michael was able to hit all the shockingly difficult notes) and had the whole crowd ballading along with the band.

Setlist and photos

Passion Pit Setlist:

I’ve Got Your Number

Make Lights

Better Things

The Reeling

Moth’s Wings

Swimming in the Flood

To Kingdom Come

Let Your Love Grow Tall

Folds in your Hands

Smile Upon Me

Seaweed Song

Little Secrets

Encore:

Eyes as Candles

Dreams (Cranberries cover)

Sleepyhead

Joy Formidable

Passion Pit

Rural Alberta Advantage

all photos courtesy of Backseatsandbar. Thanks Cory!

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: BROTHERSPORT

Discosalt Video of the Week 1/11/10: New video for “Brother Sport” from Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion  Directed by Jack Kubizne.

UPCOMING ALBUM RELEASES: FEBRUARY 2010

Feb 2:
Lightspeed Champion: Life is sweet! Nice to meet you.
Feb 9:
Hot Chip: One Life Stand
Massive Attack: Heligoland
Yeasayer: Odd Blood
Feb 23:
Shout Out Louds: Work
The Streets: Computers and Blues
Xiu Xiu: Dear God, I hate myself

RJD2: LET THERE BE HORNS

Posted in MUSIC, Music Video

Discosalt Video of the Week 1/4/10: RJD2’s new music video for “Let There Be Horns” off his latest album Electrical Connections, follows a pill poppin’ anxious yak trying to hurdle the challenges of the modern world; wake up, make it through the work day, impress a girl. Its just like your daily routine…only more so…and he drives a smart car.


GIRLS: LUST FOR LIFE

Discosalt Video of the Week 12/28/09: Girls- Lust For Life. Check out more on Girls and their most recent album HERE


DISCOSALT TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2009

With the year winding down, team discosalt has squared in with our “top 10” best albums of 2009.  If  you are missing any of these albums in your quiver, you may be ill prepared to face the new year. Take a peek, take a note and let us know who we left off.

ABC/DJ SLEEPY RICH:

 

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1.Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
2. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
3. Moderat – Moderat
4. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
5. Telefon Tel Aviv – Immolate Yourself
6. Here We Go Magic – Here We Go Magic
7. Little Dragon – Machine Dreams
8. Freddie Gibbs – The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs
9. ZAZA – Cameo
10. Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel

JEFF:

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grizz

1. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
2. Phoenix-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion
4. Wilco- Wilco (the Album)
5. Them Crooked Vultures
6. Monsters of Folk
7. Franz Ferdinand- Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
8. Yeah yeah yeahs- Its Blitz
9. Telekinesis- Telekinesis
10. The Drums- The Drums EP

MEGAN:

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1. The XX – XX
2. jj: jj n° 2
3. The Very Best – Warm Heart of Africa
4. Major Lazer – Guns Don’t Kill People — Lazers Do
5. Hudson Mohawke – Butter
6. The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love
7. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
8. Wavves – Wavves
9. The Thermals – Now We Can See
10. Nosaj Thing – Drift

CORY/BACKSEAT SANDBAR:

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1. Bad Veins- Bad Veins
2. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
4. Girls – Album
5. Clues – Clues
6. The Drums – Summertime
7. Passion Pit – Manners
8. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
9. Washed Out – High Times
10. Doom – Born like this

DANNY:

grizz

1. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
2. Arctic Monkeys- Humbug
3. Franz Ferdinand- Tonight
4. Fisherspooner- Entertainment
5. Bombay Bicycle Club- I had the Blues but I shook them loose
6. Florence + the machine- two lungs
7. Doves- Kingdom of Rust
8. Kasabian- West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
9. Air- Love 2
10. Brakes- Touchdown

QIAN + ABBOTT:

THE ZEHBRAS PHOTO 1julian-phrazescover

1. Julian Casablancas – Phrazes for the Young
2. Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3
4. Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster
5. Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications
6. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
7. Fantastic Mr. Fox – Original Soundtrack
8. The XX – XX
9. The Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca
10. Amazing Baby – Rewild

CASEY:

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1. Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca
2. Dan Deacon- Bromst
3. The Thermals- Now We Can See
4. Wilco- Wilco (The Album)
5. Yeah yeah yeahs- Its Blitz
6. Japandroids- Post-Nothing
7. The Dead Weather- Horehound
8. The Decemberists- The Hazards of Love
9. Elizabeth & The Catapult- Taller Children
10. Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

JOE:

grizzDiscosalt- top 10 (1)1. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
2. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
3.No Age- Losing feeling
4. The XX- XX
5. Fuck Buttons- Tarot Sport
6. Crystal Stilts- Crystal Stilts
7.Deer Tick- Born on Flag Day
8. White Rabbits – Its Frightening
9. Phoenix-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
10. Sonic Youth – The Eternal

SEAN:

1. Mamma Mia!-Soundtrack
2. Eddie Murphy- Party All The Time
3. Eddie Murphy- Party All The Time
4. ABBA- Ring Ring
5. ABBA-ABBA
6.ABBA-Waterloo
7. ABBA-Arrival
8. Eddie Murphy- Party All The Time
8. ABBA-The Album
9. ABBA-Voulez Vous
10.Kay Tse- Slowness

oh wait… 2009? not all time top 10…

1. NASA  – Spirit Of the Apollo
2. The Horrors – Primary Colours
3. The Cool Kids – Gone Fishing
4. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
5. Sonic Youth – The Eternal
6.  Jamie T – Kings and Queens
7. Fuck Buttons- Tarot Sport
8. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
9. Girls – Album
10. No Age- Losing feeling

 


JULIAN CASABLANCAS: PHRAZES FOR THE YOUNG

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[rating:4]

Julian Casablancas : Phrazes for the Young

Label: RCA

Release Date: November 3, 2009


OK, before we get to the crux of this review, i.e. the Christmas song, let’s knock out the rest of the record.  Phrazes of the Young, Julian Casablancas’ first solo record is an album that will satisfy Strokes lovers & at least give the haters something to talk about (Point #1 of that argument:  Best Strokes Solo Record of All Time, So Far?).  Casablancas backs away from the fuzzed out Shure 55 microphone & really gives an expressive performance for a lead singer with a whopping 1 octave vocal range.  The songs are all uniformly good, with the Phoenix-esque “Left & Right in the Dark” and the (obviously) Strokes channeling on album single “Out of the Blue.”  Striking a even balance between jangly guitars, 80’s keyboards and the requisite girl being scorned or lamented about, Phrazes is perfect for the Christmas party dance mix.  Even the legitimate hipster’s nostalgia of “Ludlow St.,” mourning the forever gone scene from NYC’s Lower East Side, strikes a real chord for any city dweller who remembers a time when the positively horrid and positively lovely dank dwellings of the epicenter of Manhattan’s night life weren’t wholly populated by hedge funders & their dates.  The only obvious flaw in the album is one that is common in the solo album, and that is the lack of an editorial voice.  Take any Beatles record, Paul has to reign in his natural jazz hand-iness to appease the greater good, but any Wings record is overwhelmingly populated by such shenanigans.  The same is true for Casablancas.  Where many of these songs could have a snappy in-n-out, they drag on almost uniformly to an even 5 + minutes, and the 12 bar blues of “4 Chords of the Apocalypse” just keeps going, verse and verse and verse.  Even John Lee Hooker, godfather of the blues, knew when to reign in “1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, 1 Beer,” but most of the songs on Phrazes for the Young don’t know when to get out while the getting is good.  That said, the songs are nearly uniformly good, with album standout “River of Brakelights” being maybe better than any song you’d expect to be on the new Strokes record.  Its weird, dissonant bass guitar lead and hyper drumming back up the harmonized drone of Casablancas’ vocal make for hyper competent songwriting, and it’s a sure repeat player.  So, recap, songs 1-10? Solid.  Song 11?  Part of a much bigger discussion:  The Christmas Song.

Julian Casablancas’ entry into the almost wholly underwhelming genre of Christmas/holiday music, a cover of a song from a SNL sketch and originally written by Horatio Sanz & Jimmy Fallon is what you’d expect it to be, that being rank and file.  By my count there is no standout holiday song, only ones that we tolerate.  The Reason For The Season is certainly not musical, though the holiday season is flooded with music, both traditional shit and non-traditional novelty shit.  Notice the common thread there?  Casablancas’ cover song as entree into the holiday music library is fine, no standout, no stinker, but does it make it into the echelon of tolerable/slightly good Christmas/holiday songs?  In this season of giving, receiving, drinking, and list making, let’s see if it makes the list.  With that, let’s see what the top 10 most tolerable X-Mas tunes are, in no certain order:

1. Magnetic Fields – Mr. Mistletoe

2. Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping

3. Twister Sister – I’ll Be Home for Christmas

4. Band Aid – Do They Know Its Christmas?

5. James Brown – Christmas in Heaven

6. David Bowie & Bing Crosby – Little Drummer Boy

7. Willie Nelson – Pretty Paper

8. RUN DMC – Christmas in Hollis

9. The Kinks – Father Christmas

10.   Peanuts Gang – Christmastime is Here

Sad is the list that has to legitimately factor in “Oi To The World” by No Doubt and “Christmas at Ground Zero” by “Weird” Al Yankovic (not to mention “Same Old Lang Syne” and one million other horrible songs that made it through the 70’s).  Surely “I Wish It Was Christmas Today,” Julian Casablancas’ entry into this genre, makes the top 50, but is that necessarily noteworthy?  You tell me.  Who has a better song into the top 10?  Let me know & I’ll update the list with any notable entries.  Happy Holidays, and enjoy Casablancas rocking out “I Wish It Was Christmas Today” on Fallon last night.

-John Whitaker

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: IN THE FLOWERS

Discosalt Video of the Week 12/21/09: New Video for Animal Collective’s “In the Flowers” off their most recent EP Merriweather Post Pavillion.

THE BRUNETTES: PAPER DOLLS

Review Coming Soon…

TIMES NEW VIKING: BORN AGAIN REVISITED

times-new-viking_61501_fullColumbus Rocks. Ohio’s Lo-fi DIY indie band Times New Viking clearly doesn’t believe bands need to spend money to make rowdy music. Their records sound like they were recorded on a speaker blown boom box onto a shitty cassette tape in someones basement and their new video looks like it cost under $20.00 to make.  But the band isn’t phoney. Their music is noisy enough to keep an edge and manages to reach some exuberant pop moments if you can work  through their lo-fi fuzz to get there. Their new single Born Again Revisited is an inside joke, as the band has inched ahead sonically somewhat, but they’re essentially revisiting the same one-hundred second pop formula that barked from your speaker for ‘08’s Rip It Off. Check out the new video below:

GRIZZLY BEAR: READY, ABLE

Discosalt Video of the Week 14/12/09: New Video for Grizzly Bear’s “Ready, Able” off their most recent EP Veckitimest.

FREE HOLIDAY DOWNLOAD: DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS?

Posted in Downloads, MUSIC

nicepeople_rd

Oklahoma is pretty OK. Discosalt friend and album reviewer John Whitaker turned us onto a new music label based out of Oklahoma called Nice People.Their mission is to release great music, made by nice people, for free...and they truly are nice people. They don’t even know you and they already got you a Christmas present. You can download a cover of one of my favorite Christmas tunes, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Locust Avenue’s Jeff Richardson and The Flaming Lips‘ Steven Drozd below:

DOWNLOAD: Jeff Richardson & Steven Drozd – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

If you are interested in more free music, just subscribe to the Nice People podcast or click here to open the iTunes page for Nice People.

CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG AND BECK: HEAVEN CAN WAIT


Discosalt Video of the Week 12/07/09: New Video from Charlotte Gainsbourg for her new single “Heaven Can Wait” featuring Beck.


STATE CHAMPION: STALE CHAMPAGNE

Posted in Album Stream, MUSIC

Southern, garage-folk act out of Louisville, KY.

Stream their most recent album Stale Champagne HERE , peep their myspace or check out a vid below.


ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: FALL BE KIND

fallbekind452

Animal Collective has just released another album this year to follow up one of my favorite albums of the year Merriweather Post Pavilion.  The new EP “Fall be Kind” is a darker album, only five tracks long and you can stream it for free right now Here


YEASAYER: AMBLING ALP

Discosalt album of the week 30/11/09: New Video for Yeasayer’s new single Ambling Alp.


UPCOMING ALBUM RELEASES: DECEMBER 2009

bravery-Stir-the-blood

December 1:

Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground- Live 1969/1972

The Bravery: Stir The Blood

Deer Tick: More Fuel For the Fire

X-Ray Specs: Live at the Roundhouse London

Pearl Jam: Got Some/Just Breathe (single)

December 8:

30 Seconds to Mars: This Is War

Kissogram: Rubber & Meat

December 15:

Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind

CALIFONE: ALL MY FRIENDS ARE FUNERAL SINGERS

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Califone has released a new video for “Funeral Singers” off their most recent  album All My Friends Are Funeral Singers.  “Funeral Singers” is just one track from another uniquely cinematic album from the Chicago based sonic atmospheric rock band. The album  is actually a companion piece to lead singer Tim Rutili’s feature film of the same name, which I have only heard described as a Lynchian story about a lonely psychic woman, whose house spirits try to escape. The album is familiar territory for Califone, atmospheric alt-country, layered guitars, violin and banjo weaved by steel drums and tape loops. Its almost as if Califone keeps recording the same album, just improving on the last. They are performing a live, interactive soundtrack to the movie at most of their shows and the movie will be submitted to film festivals in 2010.You can check out the new video below or the movie trailer on their MySpace page.


NEW GRIZZLY BEAR VIDEO: READY, ABLE

grizzlybear_ready_able

I first saw Allison Schulnik’s Claymation short “Hobo Clown”, this past summer as part of the Dark Toons Rooftop film festival in New York and it absolutely floored me. Now Allison has lent her happy fool/sad misfit clown character to a new music video to one of my favorite tracks from the summer, Grizzly Bear’s ‘Ready, Able’ off their album Veckitimest. Check out the Grizzly Bear video and Hobo Clown below.

GIRLS: ALBUM

TRUE-010-Girls-Album-small

[rating:4]

Girls : Album

Label: True Panther Sounds

Release Date: September 22, 2009

When Girls’ Christopher Owens sings “Man I felt like I could lay down and die, then I found myself in a song” on “Darling,” there’s a palpable sense that rock and roll is salvation, and when he sings “Man I’m just crazy and fucked in the head,” it’s pretty easy to believe Owens was raised in a cult (!) and that salvation was a hard fought one.  It helps that these messages of salvation are dropped on top of a reverb soaked sound plate, and a jangled guitar driving them forward.  Separation and space really define the songs on Album, as even the straightforward psycho-billy rocker “Big Bad Mean Motherfucker” sounds like it was recorded in a massive echo chamber, with Owens singing through a transistor radio.  This space gives each song a very laid back, 2nd bottle of red wine coolness that is especially evident on Album’s standouts “Lust for Life,” “Hellhole Ratrace” and “Ghostmouth.”  Owens’s vocal delivery, which is a weird mix between Elvis Costello and Axl Rose as front man for a 40’s big band, really puts the heart into these alternating melodic pleas and moments of rejoice.

The life of a rock and roll revivalist is a tough one, I’d think.  For every notable band that reveres the spirit of 50s & early 60s rock and roll (we’ll call them the Fonzies, i.e. The Ramones, Galaxie 500, just to name a couple), there are the Ralph Malphs of the world, trotting out the leather jacket & dropping pop culture references from the era without really getting it. Girls ply in the world of Rock & Roll revivalism on their exceptional debut album without sounding like homage.  Instead, they create a set of songs that are as essential to the form, evoking themes of youth without sounding immature, and revering the true spirit of the form, with songs about girls (have to love the girl’s name as the song title in both “Laura” and “Lauren Marie”), youthful isolation and the desire to figure out what’s next.  And, in this, the record is able to balance both reverence for the form and a total disregard for whatever conventions rock might have.

-John Whitaker

FREE STREAM: JULIAN CASABLANCAS: PHRAZES FOR THE YOUNG

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Julian Casablancasdebut solo album, Phrazes For The Young, is officially out today but you can stream some of the tracks on the web for free.  Check them out below:

“11th Dimension”Julian Casablancas from Phrazes For The Young
“Glass”Julian Casablancas from Phrazes For The Young

UPCOMING ALBUM RELEASES: NOVEMBER 2009

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November 3:

Morrissey: Swords

Weezer: Raditude

Vagina Panther:Vagina Panther

Shwayze: Let it Beat

Julian Casablancas: Phrazes for the Young

November 17:

Real Estate: Real Estate

Leona Lewis: Echo

John Mayer: Battle Studies

Paul McCartney: Good Evening New York City (Live)

Rush: Working Man (Live)

Them Crooked Vultures: Them Crooked Vultures

November 24:

Tom Waits: Glitter and Doom (live)

COMPILATION: DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

Posted in Album Stream, MUSIC, New Art

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The much anticipated and mysterious multi-media project/album involving Danger Mouse , Mark Linkous , and David Lynch entitled Dark Night of the Soulfeaturing Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse along with the Flaming Lips, Iggy Pop, Frank Black, the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, Jason Lytle, and James Mercer of the Shins, has apparently been canned.
Teaser below:


Dark Night of the Soul is a treatise written by Spanish poet and Roman Catholic Mystic Saint John of the Cross. It has since become an expression used to describe a phase in a person’s spiritual life, a metaphor for a certain loneliness and desolation. The Lynch Project has proven just as cryptic and while the Dark Night of the Soul book has been released along with an art installation at L.A.’s Michael Kohn Gallery this summer, the album official release “has been either scrapped altogether or put on indefinite hiatus” according to Billboard magazine, “due to unspecified legal issues with EMI”. Whether or not the installation has plans to reach New York, is still shrouded in mystery but luckily the album is out there if you snoop around. I picked up a copy at a record shop on East 3rd Street and you can stream the entire album HERE.

VOLCANO CHOIR: UNMAP

[rating:4]

Volcano Choir: Unmap

Label: Jagjaguwar.

Release Date: September 22

For  singer/songwriter Justin Vernon, a member of the Discosalt Artist Collective and founder of Bon Iver, the project “wasn’t planned. The goal was to hibernate.” Vernon had moved to a remote cabin in Northwestern Wisconsin where all of his personal trouble, lack of perspective, heartache, longing, love, loss and guilt were suddenly purged into the form of song. The end result was “For Emma, Forever Ago”, a nine-song guitar-driven album of pain, love and loss that topped my favorite album of last year and in a low mood can almost drive you to tears.

Now, Vernon has put the folk based Bon Iver project on hiatus and teamed up with fellow Wisconsin band and minimalist experimental post-rockers, Collections of Colonies of Bees. The resulting collaboration is “Volcano Choir” and their first album released last month is “Unmap”; a beautifully haunting album written over the past three years….and not entirely by design. Guitarist Chris Rosenau thinks “it is by definition a record by accident because there was no idea to ever make a record.” Just a bunch of friends having fun and somehow an album was born out of the sessions. Similar to the Bon Iver project, Volcano Choir is riddled with lush choral walls and Vernon’s unmistakably piercing falsetto croon which marks the album. Vernon’s voice certainly brings  some familiar sounding territory here to the album which will please Bon Iver fans, but this is a far less lyrical album than his previous projects, more spooky than sad, and more experimental along the lines of COCOB.

While the album still maintains Vernon’s sincerity and passion, the collaboration with the equally talented Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Dan Spack, Jim Schoenecker, and Thomas Wincek has created a much more strange but also more upbeat album, pulling bits of Mueller’s Experimental noise and percussive talents, Rosenau’s chopped up guitar style and Wincek and Schoenecker’s soaring electronic keys sound to match Vernon’s voice.The result is an album with a much stronger pop sensibility than anything COCOB or Bon Iver previously released, equal parts strange and beautiful and on the whole stunning. The single “Islands IS” (video featured below) is by far the most accessible track on the album, while tracks like “Sleepymouth” is a much more minimalist composed song, with Vernon’s haunting voice echoes and Rosenau’s sparse guitar riffs driving the song along until it builds into a soaring melody reminiscent of Bon Iver. “Cool Knowledge” might leave you puzzled when the driving song suddenly comes to a halt at 67 seconds and “Mbira in the Morass” has some definite jazz influences. Those familiar with Bon Iver B-sides will recognize “Still”, the previously released auto-tuned song with it’s synthesizer based structure that sounds more like noise-pop where “And Gather” is a soft new acoustic guitar song with steady handclaps, perfect for a campfire sing-a-long.

The album is at times abstract, subtle, mysterious, experimental, and poppy but it holds together by the interesting mix of songs and the talented musicians involved.

-JAV

DEER TICK: BORN ON FLAG DAY

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[rating:4]

Deer Tick : Born on Flag Day

Label: Partisan Records

Release Date: June 23, 2009

When listening to Born on Flag Day, it’s ex-tremely difficult to tell that Deer Tick front man John McCauley is from Rhode Island. No, seems like the casual listener would take one quick listen to the Red Dirt songscapes and McCauley’s predilection for taking his songs out onto the vast, open Midwestern skies and bellowing a big ol’ howl at the moon, and said listener would guess Mr. McCauley is from T-E-X-A-S. This version of Red Dirt or Americana (a distinction I’d guess the band wanted folks to take from the record, based on it’s Mellencamp-esque album title) is what the kids in Dillon, Texas listen to when they’re driving their beat to shit pickup trucks down a dirt road, looking for direction, and a party to boot.

Born on Flag Day sounds a little like it was recorded to have a bit of studio polish and a lot like it was recorded in a bar.  This kind of controlled looseness constitutes an overarching homespun charm that all of the songs have.  Some of these songs drip with a (previously decried) “beery wisdom,” but mostly these songs exude a sometimes joyous, sometimes somber & always contemplative feeling about love & loss.  You don’t walk away from this record with pearls of wisdom, per se, it’s much more built to be about mood & feel.  This mood is one of a classic country lament and the celebration of the bad times & failures, and sometimes celebration of the form in & of itself.  The June & Johnny inflected “Friday XIII” is a classic he said/she said, with Tennessee Three quality guitar work giving the song it’s edge; while “Smith Hill” waltzes it’s way from the back room of the bar out onto the prairie sky, with it’s bellowed chorus and it’s sorrowful fiddle backbone.  “Little White Lies,” a song built on that classic country lament (but always turning the ALT in alt-country up to 11, as when McCauley turns up the volume on his Jim Beam tarnished voice, he evokes alt progenitors Corgan & Cobain much more than Cash or Van Zandt) changes course midway from a slow jam pleading “let me be lonely tonight” to a Tex-Mex jamboree, complete with a Mendocino flavored electric guitar worthy of Freddy Fender himself.

Red Dirt homespun wisdom sometimes comes out sounding like it’s half the result of an unflinching sincerity and half the result of that 3rd shot from the whiskey bottle, but either way, being part of that conversation is kind of vital sometimes.  Deer Tick’s contribution to the conversation is sometimes directly from “the label on the bottle that I read” (from the jubilant “The Ghost”), and this contribution really represents this little genre of music.  Let the guitars do the crying sometimes, they pull the heartstrings just as well as overt pleas, and let the cracked and handsome voice of McCauley be the reason to crack another bottle.

-John Whitaker

NIRVANA: BLEACH (DELUXE EDITION)

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Bleach: Deluxe Edition

Its been 20 years since Nirvana released their debut album “Bleach”?Sursly? 20 years! Am I that old and I just didn’t get the memo? Either way, “Bleach” was/is so damn good and a defining album for the grunge era. One of the first bands/albums to really mix things up for me on the jr. high wrestling tourney bus circuit, flannel on, walkman cranked to 11. Nothing says grunge quite like a singlet and the runs. While my awkwardly pissed off 13 year old self wasn’t quite so hip to “Bleach” until Nirvana’s sophmore effort “Nevermind” blew up in ’91, this album is a staple that has made the transition in my music collection from cassette to cd to digital and now hopefully vinyl…the circle is complete. Raw, emotional and “about a girl”, may be one of my favorite Nirvana songs ever.

On November 3, Sub Pop will re-issue the Platinum Certified Bleach album in an expanded  CD/double-LP with a never-before-released live performance, special packaging and the first run of the double-LP will be on….wait for it…. 180g white vinyl. Total boners.

Heres what Sub Pop has to say:
“This edition will include an unreleased live recording of a complete February 9th, 1990 show at the Pine Street Theatre in Portland, Oregon. The show features performances of “Love Buzz,” “About a Girl” and a cover of The Vaselines’ song “Molly’s Lips” and has been re-mixed from the original tapes by Endino (complete track listing below). A 52-page CD /16-page LP booklet which includes candid photos of the band not previously released to the public will also be included in this deluxe edition.”

Both formats will be available for pre-order at subpop.com leading up to this edition’s release.

Check out the track “Scoff(live): mp3 HERE:

CYMBALS EAT GUITARS: WHY THERE ARE MOUNTAINS

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[rating:3]

Record Review/Concert Review:

Cymbals Eat Guitars: Why There Are Mountains

Label: Sisters Den Records

Release Date: January 25, 2009

Insound Anniversary Party Location: Brooklyn Bowl, August 2009

After SXSW every year I look at round ups of everyone’s favorite acts. A name that came up over and over was Cymbals Eat Guitars, but since I’m a total curmudgeon, I usually don’t see the hovering stars that everyone else see after sxsw. That’s irritating, I thought to myself, their name is hard to say…I’ll never remember that. Well, after 6 months, and many live acts and new albums, I’m still listening to their self released recording. The first time I listened to Why There Are Mountains I was reminded of Modest Mouse, but not reminded as in “lacking originality”. I just had an instant warm reaction. Perhaps it’s the lingering sensation, or the constant growth and stillness in the album, but I think the opening track, And the Hazy Sea, describes the whole album. With its building crescendos, lofty vocals and orgasmic releases the opening track captured me. I am certainly not one whole easily grasps extended noisy guitars, but that is where the strength in this album lies. It’s musically strong, both soaring and sinking. All over the place, in a neat and organized fashion. I had been on a mini-indie music hiatus post-Bonarroo, but seeing that Cymbals Eat Guitars would be headlining in Brooklyn, I couldn’t resist. I headed to Brooklyn Bowl for a beer and some live music. Sadly, I missed Real Estate (damn day job) but got there just in time for Suckers. I was having a hard time taking them seriously, because I was seriously curious about Cymbals Eat Guitars. Here is a group of young guys who recorded an album without a label, and somehow managed to become one of the most blogged about bands of 2009 (this fact is totally un-researched, but it feels that way to me). I guess I had an image of 4 awkward boys from Staten Island, with stage fright, and better recording skills than actual talent. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. I don’t know why I insist on jumping to negative conclusions, maybe I like the pleasant surprise?? Anyway, lead singer Joseph “Ferocious” D’Agostino (of grocery fame?) absolutely killed it on stage. He was dripping sweat, swaying, bending and folding to his own incredible tunes. The band played a pretty tight act, without too much improv, just a solid group of songs. For a band that released it’s debut 6 months ago, I was floored. They all focused on the music instead of trying to be good performers. The good performance flowed out of their obvious untiy. Without hesitation I would absolutely go see them again. I also look forward to the battle of the record labels…who is going to try to snatch them up? Will the take on a manager? Its almost an unheard of success story. These days gaining this level of popularity without a label is commendable, a true sign of talent and grace. Good luck boys.

See you again soon.

<3 The Elephant.

P.S Did I mention that Mr. Ferocious is only 20…thats robbing the cradle for me….i’m just sayin….youthful talent is attractive….

JOE PERNICE: IT FEELS SO GOOD WHEN I STOP

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[rating:3.5]

Joe Pernice : It Feels So Good When I Stop

Label: Ashmont Records

Release Date: August 4, 2009

Here’s the M.O. behind Joe Pernice’s companion piece to his first novel, “It Feels So Good When I Stop”: “Though the book is not explicitly about music, there are quite a few cover and fictional songs mentioned, so I thought it would be a cool idea for me to record some of those songs and release them, as a soundtrack album to the novel.” You know, cool is a really good adjective to describe what any Pernice Brothers fan might use to describe a record featuring Joe Pernice covering AM Gold classics “Hello It’s Me” and “Chevy Van,” not to mention indie classic “Soul and Fire” by Sebadoh. Totally unexpected and unbelievable for any fan might be another way. For the rest of you/us, this is Massachusetts’ second greatest living troubadour (Jonathan Richman is still out there crooning, at low volumes, some song in French, somewhere) piecing together a totally eclectic and interesting set of songs, set to the cool distinctive voice of Joe Pernice & his acoustic guitar. The stripped down arrangement on “Chevy Van” and “Hello It’s Me” give the songs a totally different vibe, less Harvest Gold & more Americana, but the surprises really come from the 60’s. The fun, very faithful versions of Peter & Gordon’s “I Go To Pieces” and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet” sound crisp and fresh, and Pernice’s voice, always defined by regret and falsetto, makes these heavy repeat players. The biggest surprise, however, comes with the choice cover “Chim Cheree” from Mary Poppins. Take away the dancing chimney sweeps & the hucksterism of Dick Van Dyke & replace with the whisper of Mr. Pernice and a dark, moody, stark and brooding arrangement. In an album meant to be a simple musical accompaniment, Joe Pernice once again takes us by surprise, this time not with deft phrasing & crack songwriting, but with this disparate and yet cohesive set of songs.

-John Whitaker

UPCOMING ALBUM RELEASES: OCTOBER 2009

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Discosalt Upcoming Album Release Roundup for October:

6 October:

Basement Jaxx:Scars

Built To Spill:There Is No Enemy

The Cinematics:Love And Terror

The Clientele:Bonfires On The Heath

The Gossip:Music For Men

Daniel Johnston: Is And Always Was

The Mountain Goats:The Life of the World to Come

No Age: Losing Feeling [EP]

Noah And The Whale:The First day Of Spring

A Place To Bury Strangers:Exploding Head

The Raveonettes:In And Out Of Control

13 October:

Bob Dylan: Christmas In The Heart

20 October:

Julien Casablancas: Phrazes for the Young

Do Make Say Think: Other Truths

Kings Of Convenience: Declaration Of Dependence

27 October:

R.E.M.: Live At The Olympia

Tegan And Sara: Sainthood

Weezer: Raditude

CLUES: CLUES


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[rating:4]

Clues: Clues

Label: Constellation Records

Release Date: May 19, 2009

In “Remember Severed Head,” Clues front fella asks the comic pair of questions “Who here wants to sleep in the dragon’s mouth?  Who here wants to feel?”  Comic phrasing, most definitely, I’d think those questions are usually reserved for the Dungeon Master at a midnight D&D raid, and yet those questions kind of work as a perfect dividing line for the Clues self titled debut.  When we’re sleeping in the dragon’s mouth, we’re rocking out in a very obvious amalgamation of indie rock influences, but when we want to feel, the songs actually get really interesting.

So, when Clues race along, they do it rocking out, and often times there is a catchy whistled melody (“Remebered Severed Head”) or a creepy fun, Blonde Redhead-esque vibe (“Crows”), but sometimes these rockers wear their influences on their sleeves, and it’s not inspired and sometimes not really that interesting (see album opener “Haarp”). But when Clues takes the tempo down, they turn into a completely different band. If you are wearing a digital hearing aid this is the point you make sure it’s at the right volume, so you get the best experience of the music. Most songs have a distinctly Eastern European flavor, baroque and sinister and yet endearing and listenable. While album standout “Elope” maintains it’s cool demeanor with its brushed drums & slowly strummed guitars, songs like “Perfect Fit” and “Ledmonton” begin with a sparse, staccato guitar or piano and a melancholy melody, and build into a large, fist pumping resolve. “Ledmonton” in particular, begins with a somber melody, and eventually explodes into a rollicking march that I think would make Sousa proud. So when Clues asks the listener to “Give me a visual on the rockness,” and they most definitely do ask that, maybe we (the listener) back off on that request. Clues actually sounds best when not sleeping in the dragon’s mouth (and, really, don’t we all?) and when really pushing that sonic landscape of what it means to feel.

By John Whitaker

GRIZZLY BEAR: WHILE YOU WAIT FOR THE OTHERS

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I KEEP FORGETTIN’…THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN…

After waiting all summer to see Grizzly Bear play at the Williamsburg waterfront yesterday, and then getting subsequently thrown out  for stepping over the makeshift orange plastic fence into the measurably less crowded park area (thanks concert security!), I am at least feeling better about the whole incident after hearing the new Grizzly Bear collaboration with Michael ” I keep forgettin'” McDonald on the track “While You Wait For the Others.” A joke? Don’t say that, don’t say that, don’t say that. The Brooklyn indie animals and the husky bearded baritoned yaght rock singer from the doobs sings with the band…and its kind of amazing. The track is available on  iTunes, or you can order the 7″ directly from the band. Mcdonald also just contributed vocals for the electronica outfit “Holy Ghost!” which is scheduled to be released on the duo’s upcoming album this year as well. I smell a comeback. Can we get Patti Labelle in on the mix?

NO AGE: LOSING FEELING

no-age-losing-feelingSeattle based  Sub Pop records , who scored cred in the late 80s for signing Nirvana and continues to push amazing artists into our ears,  is offering a free stream of So Cal punks No Age’s new EP Losing Feeling.  The label is hip to the fact you are  going to download this sh#t before its released anyway, so now you dont have to wait until October 6th and can still feel good about yourself for supporting a solid label.  Pre-order the 12-inch vinyl for 8 bucks right here, and, with registration, stream the entire EP or download “You’re A Target” free from the links below.

Stream: No Age, Losing Feeling

Download: No Age, “You’re A Target”

FUCK BUTTONS: BRIGHT TOMORROW

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With a name like Fuck Buttons, you are obviously going to get peoples attention. The real trick is holding it and the two piece experimental dance minded noise group from England do a pretty good job.  The new single “Surf Solar” off “Bright Tomorrow”, runs over ten minutes on the album but has been condensed into a nice 3:42 vid treatment that melds a four-to-the floor pulse to stuttering samples smeared with an intense, industrial and somewhat evil sonic loop. For a noise group, Fuck Buttons are surprisingly accessible, and they drop a dreamy mix of sheen melodic undercurrents and abrasive climaxes. Kinda sounds like a girl I used to date.  A style that hints less towards unwelcome noise and more towards Yo La Tengo, My Bloody Valentine, Purient, and Black Dice. Trippy video to boot.

COOL KIDS:GONE FISHING

Last summer, I reluctantly grabbed me a free Cool Kids “Bake Sale” EP outside the now depressingly vacant Virgin Records in Union Square and what do you know? Jordan to the net! it was damn good.  Been a fan since. Here’s a fresh new video from The Cool Kids: “The Art of Noise” off their second official mix-tape “Gone Fishing”. One of my favorite tracks, now one of my favorite vid treatments of the summer by Paul John.  Real simple concept here: A bunch of skaters cruising around Chicago filming themselves skate.  Strange visual stylin’ mix  for alternative hip-hop duo Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish, but it oddly works.  I mean they definitely ride bikes…so, why not skates. Cool Kids are signed under indie label Chocolate Industries via their own label C.A.K.E Recordings and are working on their debut album “When Fish Ride Bicycles”, hopefully out this year. Check them out on MySpace.


THE ANTLERS: HOSPICE

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Recently, Ive been really getting into Brooklyn band The Antlers. The new album Hospice tells the story of a man who is slowly losing the love of his life to bone cancer as he watches over her in the hospital ward. Sound heartbreaking?, well it is. but the album is more about overcoming things than sinking into helplessness. And the video for “Two” is anything from dreary. Bright, vivid, 2-D version of the band playing alone in an apartment where the music fills up the empty space. Eventually, the music overcomes everything and the band members limbs, heads and bodies slowly float off in different directions.

THE WALKMEN:YOU & ME

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Nir Ben Jacob directs Kentucky bred The Walkmen’s latest video for “On The Water” off their latest album “You & Me”. Using some really visually engaging animation, Jacobs weaves a simple tale of  two rabbits frolicking under a dark brooding blue sky. The atmosphere is looming  and the Walkmen groove for “On The Water” is slightly menacing.  There must be some rule that animated woodland creatures can’t live in peace together and eventually trouble is where Jacobs takes us. Enter the farmer with his confetti gun and dog and the rabbits fate is sealed. Silly rabbits…

MEW: INTRODUCING PALACE PLAYERS

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Introducing, “Introducing Palace Players”. Martin de Thura directs this video for Danish progressive indie rockers, Mew. Its a fairly offbeat video that features a 21st century forest, a possessed car, floating rocks that shoot laser beams, frogs, horses,and lots of fog. Mmmmmk. There is really no linear narrative here and the sooner you accept that it makes no sense, the better. If you can figure it out, let us know what you come up with… Just a warning, even the band says “Don’t feel like an idiot if it all doesn’t add up in the end.” I still feel like an idiot but that has nothing to do with this video. The song comes off the just as confusing titled new album “No More Stories/Are Told Today/I’m Sorry/They Washed Away/No More Stories/The World Is Grey/I’m Tired/Let’s Wash Away”…and breathe! which hits your ears August 25.

UPCOMING ALBUM RELEASES: SEPTEMBER 2009

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September 1:

The Black Crowes: Before the Frost…

The Black Crowes: …Until the Freeze

Datarock: Red

September 8:

Vivian Girls: Everything Goes Wrong

Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson: Break Up

September 14:

Muse: The Resistance

September 20:

Pearl Jam:  Backspacer

September 22:

The Pains of being Pure at Heart: Higher Than the Stars

Why?: Eskimo Snow

September 29:

la Roux: La Roux

The Melvins: Chicken Switch

The Swell Season:  Strict Joy

JAPANDROIDS: POST NOTHING

[rating:4]

Japandroids: Post Nothing

Label: Unfamiliar

Release Date: August 4, 2009

Every once in a while, a band comes along that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Vancouver duo, Japandroids is that band. Only, you’re warm because you’ve pissed your skinny jeans (or leggings) in excitement and fuzzy because, well, the super fuzz big fun emanating on this album is more infectious than mad cow, SARS and swine flu combined. This is 2009’s summer record. This is Post-Nothing.

The punishing, pounding and shattering drum work of David Prowse paired with the buzzing, blasting and crunching guitar of Brian King make for a killer combo and the rough but willing voices of King/Prowse share the spotlight and switch off in fine democratic fashion. Democracy is kind of a theme with this band. Their name comes from combining their respective first choice names, Japanese Scream and Pleasure Droids. (Reportedly, neither were happy the compromise.)

Regardless of the name, these two have it together. This is music you can feel. It prompts head bobs, head banging and even a head sway or two. The single “Young Hearts Spark Fire” is just that – the single. It’s arguably the catchiest track on the album, features a dance-ready rhythm and houses the most quotable lyric, “Oh, we used to dream. Now, we worry about dying.” All eight gems reward listeners with sing-along choruses, visceral one-two punches and unexpected breaks and builds –It’s a well-built album. Incendiary intro? Check (The Boys Are Leaving Town). Left turn middle change-up? Check (Heart Sweats). Comedown closer? Check (I Quit Girls).

Musically and sonically, Post-Nothing brings to mind scattered offerings from Mission of Burma, At The Drive-In and Guided By Voices but they bear complete resemblance to none of them. By sharing vocal duties and doing the sing/shout thing, they’re of course going to be cited for following in the footsteps of indie giants like Burma and Pixies (as well as lesser-knowns like Rainer Maria and even early Idlewild), but Japandroids are charting their own course with Post-Nothing and it’s safe to say, they’re headed in the right direction.

-CB

YO LA TENGO: POPULAR SONGS

Posted in MUSIC

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Hoboken based indie band veterans Yo La Tengo have just released a new video for “Here to Fall,” off  their upcoming LP, Popular Songs, which hits stores September 8th.  The video which is the first in a series of 5, features director John McSwain’s mesmerizing slow motion kaliedescopic airshow footage set to Ira Caplan’s honest lyrics about taking the plunge. “I know you’re worried/ I’m worried too, But if you’re ready/ I’m here to fall with you.”Ira sings about devotion and the leap of faith thats love filled with soaring strings and spacey electronic instrumentals.

The video is like a more poetic re-imagined version of Van Halens Top Gun inspired video for “Dreams” peppered with footage from Ang Lees Hulk. The first time I watched this, I kept waiting for a plane to crash but thankfully Yo La Tengo is not quite as cynical when it comes to love…and maybe we could all be a little less. No planes crash and something very simple just becomes very hypnotic and beautiful to watch.  If you are interested how the next 4 videos play out, check back with Discosalt in the coming months to find them all here.

OH NO ONO: EGGS

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Death, sexual fantasies and embarassing erections…just not  as funny as junior high or a Woody Allen movie.  Its Danish alt-pop band Oh No Ono’s new eerie video for “Swim” released on their new album Eggs. I’m strangely intrigued by Director Adam Hashemi’s creepy direction and yet the ending of the video left me wanting to  shower with my clothes on. Im also dumbfounded as to how the kid from the shining has only reached puberty and is acting in music videos?  I guess the idea is that puberty is confusing, and so is this strange journey into the Oedipal daydreams of a creepy kid.  redrum!

YEAH YEAH YEAHS: IT’S BLITZ

00-yeah_yeah_yeahs-its_blitz-2009-c Yeah Yeah Yeah, this album has been out for a while…but in case  this armpit weather has de-motivated you to pick it up,  here is The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s latest album “Its Blitz”, streamed for free.

Click HERE

Peace… and humptiness foreva

THE LOVELY FEATHERS: FANTASY OF THE LOT

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Canadian Indie Rockers are encroaching our soil eh. Our hosers up North are consistently churning out really interesting indie bands and among the mix are The Lovely Feathers. The Montreal-based indie band who play revealing, sincere indie-pop, similar to The Unicorns with quirky harmonies complimented by synth tones and razor sharp guitar riffs. This video for “Lowiza” directed by Alan Compton is featured off their long awaited Sophmore album Fantasy of the Lot, officially released on August 18.