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.
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.
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…
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.
The Black Crowes: Before the Frost…
The Black Crowes: …Until the Freeze
Vivian Girls: Everything Goes Wrong
Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs
Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson: Break Up
Muse: The Resistance
Pearl Jam: Backspacer
The Pains of being Pure at Heart: Higher Than the Stars
Why?: Eskimo Snow
la Roux: La Roux
The Melvins: Chicken Switch
The Swell Season: Strict Joy
Japandroids: Post Nothing
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.
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.
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!
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.
New music video from Holiday Shores, for “Phones Don’t Feud”. Holiday Shores are a lo-fi Floridian band named after an area on the Florida Panhandle where summer exists year-round. The bands trippy reverb drenched sound is full of ambient textures and will make you feel like putting on some suncreen and making your own corona commercial. Their debut LP “Columbus’d The Whim” will be released on August 4th on Brooklyn’s twosyllable records and is sure to be a great end of summer album… that you can play year-round. Cheap vacation deal from Discosalt.
The Dodos new album “Time To Die” will not be officially physically released until September 15th and not digitally until July 28th…but in the meantime, you can stream the full album HERE. Enjoy.
You can also catch the Dodos with Ruby Suns on Tour this year:
The Dodos & Ruby Suns – 2009 Tour Dates
08/8 Los Angeles, CA – The Getty Museum *
08/14 Seattle, WA – KEXP Mural Amphitheater Summer Series *
08/28 San Francisco, CA – Outside Lands Music Festival
09/26 Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Library
09/27 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
09/28 San Diego, CA – Casbah
09/29 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
09/30 Phoenix, AZ – Modified
10/2 Dallas, TX – House of Blues-Pontiac Garage
10/3 Houston, TX – The Orange Show
10/4 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival
10/6 Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder
10/7 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
10/8 Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle
10/9 Washington DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
10/10 Baltimore, MD – Talking Head
10/12 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church
10/13 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/14 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
10/15 Cambridge, MA – Middle East Downstairs
10/16 Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa
10/17 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
10/19 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
10/20 St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
10/22 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
10/24 Boise, ID – Neurolux
10/25 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theatre
10/26 Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret
* No Ruby Suns
Peter Bjorn & John released their brand new EP yesterday… and you can check it out HERE. The EP features the single “It Don’t Move Me” from 2009’s Living Thing EP with remixes by Mike Snow, Weird Tapes and Teddybears’ Jacko.
Check out the original video for “It Don’t Move Me” HERE.
and the “Weird Tapes” Remix HERE
This video for “I Will Come Back” From Holy Ghost! just keeps getting better for me. The retro downtown disco vibe montage was filmed in New York now, but it feels like New York back in the 80’s. Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem and The Juan MacLean play the main leads in the video and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus provided the ooohs on the track who are making a name for themselves in their own rite lately. ” I will Come Back” manages to capture the summer going out feel in New York perfectly in 4:20 minutes and feels oddly familiar. In fact, the video and song is a total homage to New Order. From the “Bizarre Love Triange-esc” drum fill to the obvious rip-off of New Order’s 1983 video for “Confusion”, its clear that the band wants you to make the comparisons. Maybe even the name is a play on the idea of music being recycled. I guess you cant go wrong with the pizza + dancing combo. Its like the perfect storm. Timeless. Check out New Orders video for “Confusion” below.
Here is the new video for “No Hope Kids” from Wavves off the EP Wavvves. If you have’nt been up on the hype, Wavves is a one-man noise-pop project of 22-year-old San Diegan Nathan Williams that borrows some tricks from Sonic Youth but puts his own Southern California surf/rock vibe on it. Vintage skate footage, fast vocal hooks, 60’s girl group drumbeats and no -fi punk pop distortion that creates insular, unsettling music of a stoner loner singing the blues in his bedroom. Lines like “no car, no friends, no family, no friends, no girl” are instantly nostalgic and unforgettable but more surprisingly upbeat. Wavves’ has a lot of tricks but maybe his best is turning boredom, hopelessness, and angst into a form of revelry. A trick most good artists accomplish.
“Stars Still Pretty” is the new single from Aeroplane Pageant off their EP Even the Kids don’t Believe Me. The video, directed by band mate Brian Kelly is an associative-type narrative where pigs, a mailman and some faceless fellini-esc characters gather around a poker table to play cards. The whole video is subtitled with some clever godard mocking existential dialogue and in the end, we are left with a pig asserting “I feel like a pig”. The dreamy indie-pop song showcases some memorable swooning vocals mixed with playful guitar riffs that cascade rather effusively into the choruses but Im not entirely sure the dreamlike visuals of the video enhances or detracts from the actual track. The video, however, on its own is hard to turn off and 2:02 might be worth it alone. “Today i feel like crying”, “What about tomorrow?”
Check out the video for “Heartbreaker” by MSTRKFT (featuring John Legend) off their sophmore EP Fist of God. Directed by Vince Haycock, the video plays out a hipster fantasy: finding love in the dollar store bodega. It’s The Breakfast Club in a downtown LA 89-cent store. Boy falls for checkout girl. Friends dance around with pirate flags and piniatas on head. Boss wakes up from siesta, kills party vibe. Jordan to the net. Barkley with the block.
The Toronto electronic duo made up of Jesse F. Keeler formerly of Death from Above 1979 and Al-P (Alex Puodziukas) formerly of the Mississauga electropop group have recieved mixed reviews for Fist of God. While they reached a way bigger audience making it, they also anticipated a lot of fans would’nt like the record. Ill admit I was skeptical of the John Legend collaboration but the hook is damn catchy. Square in.
Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest
Label: Warp Records
Release Date: May 26, 2009
Veckatimest is a record where bombast and stark instrumentation stand side by side, and yet manage to makes sounds that are at experimental and left of the dial seem perfectly conventional and accessible. Many of the songs combine rhythms and instrumentation that would seem to not fit together, yet when assembled they form a cohesive and often majestic whole. Check “Ready, Able,” for example. Anchored by chugging drums and bass, the slowly strummed harp seems, at first, to be an odd choice. However, this combination of orchestral, choral, and rockin’ seems to be the synthesis that Grizzly Bear has achieved, mostly grandiose, sometimes minimal, but nearly always stunning.
Grandiosity, however, isn’t the entire album. The simple electric piano driven pop of “Two Weeks” is fit for the summer soundtrack of 2009, with its abundance of sing-a-long oohs and ahhs that seem to always be floating about the surface. The accusatory “While You Wait For The Others” drives what is easily the most jubilant and melodic chorus on the record, and on any other record for that matter, with a sensibility that wouldn’t be out of place in the A.C. Newman songbook, minus the cleverness, plus a healthy dose of vitriol & sincerity. Name checking contemporary artists, though, doesn’t seem to be something Grizzly Bear seems too interested in. If anything, the similarities are pretty far off the radar; the vocal swell that precedes album standout “Dory” recalls the soundtrack to Dr. David Bowman maneuvering into the stargate in 2001: A Space Odyssey. So, if you are name checking the “Sounds Like” list at home, cross Hungarian experimental composer György Ligeti off the list.
At the end of “All We Ask,” the band members coo “I can’t get out of what I’m into with you” with each other. While on the surface this statement summarizes a song about a shitty relationship, the sentiment shouldn’t be lost. The harmony is very laid back and very cool, and sounds very much like a bunch of guys singing together because they love to sing together, and the statement really can be seen as an honest reflection of a genuine appreciation for one another. Veckatimest is the first Grizzly Bear record to be a wholly “band” album & not just a front for band leader & founder Edward Droste, and is easily the best Grizzly Bear record to date. This group effort really shines, and while this album is surely not the most accessible record as a whole, it’s easily one of the best in recent memory. Oh, and while Grizzly Bear certainly benefit from the help of the Brooklyn Youth Choir and composer Nico Muhly on the album, they clearly have the chops to pull off whatever they want to do without any help at all.