I know it sucks to say, but the summer is winding down. The kids have all gone back to school, the skies have started to clutter with more and more clouds, and every day starts to steadily decline in temperature. Gone are the months and months of hyped up, party centric, incredibly sunny tunes and albums that are perfect for the summer months, and arrived are the days of deeper, darker, more introspective and down-trodden works that you can enjoy all Fall. So, with that in mind, I present to you four albums you should be more than stoked on coming out this September.
As soon as you see the cover art for this album, you’re going to instantly love it. Yes, the man that brought you some of the sickest guitar licks in Modern Blues (“Bright Lights” and “When My Train Pulls In” are some of my all time favorites) brings you a new album which is bound to stretch into some new spaces while keeping us fed with those instantly singable Gary Clark Jr. licks. Go check out his singles from the album “Grinder” and “The Healing” and make sure you pre order the full album to get instant access when the 11th comes around.
Well kids, in classic Jack White fashion, I may not be able to give you a link to this Hard Rockin’, Fuck-the-Man band’s newest single entitled “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)” but I can definitely recommend this album based on it’s first 27 seconds. You already know you’ll get insanely fuzzed out guitars, harsh vocals, and a ton of great musicianship, so just order that shit already. This’ll be a great album to blast when the party gets bored of the same old hip-hop beats they’ve been hearing all summer.
Ok you electro-pop hipsters, get ready for the sophomore album you’ve been waiting for. Bringing in more of those super sweet melodies, those hugely Pop-y choruses, ultra-processed synths, and some of the best of what the indie electro-pop scene has to offer, this release is bound to be the more down tempo party jams that’ll be perfect for when the party is finally forced indoors from the cold. Go check out “Never Ending Circles” and “Leave a Trace” to hold yourself over until this new material gets released on the 25th.
There has been so much good Hip Hop that has dropped this past album season that it may be hard to bring yourself to turn off Dre’s Compton, or Donny Trumpet and The Social Experiments’ Surf, but trust me, you really need to. Go check out Mac’s first single off the album “100 Grandkids” for just a sample of what is going to go down in history as one of the best Hip Hop albums from one of the best years EVER in the genre. The sun may be out still but this song gets you wishing for those overcast, laid back, chill days that we all love.
BONUS!!!!! Here’s for all of you who made it to the end of this list: Honorable Mentions!
Mick Jenkins Wave[s] – Not ready to get out of The Waters yet? Well be thankful that this genius rapper is dropping a new LP for all of us to ride to. Go check out the full stream courtesy of NPR. (I dont care if this is in August, the world needs to know)
David Gilmour Rattle That Lock – Just go check out the amazing groove and guitar licks on the single/title track and you’ll be so pumped for bumping this in your car that you’ll be going through all of your old Pink Floyd until the 18th.
City and Colour If I Should Go Before You – Ok so I know this one is in October, but close enough right? Get ready for all of those perfect Dallas Green vocals and all the fingerpicking, ‘verbed out guitar parts you could ever want.
Lastly, for a list of all the great stuff that’ll be dropping soon go check out this comprehensive list on Metacritic.
Thanks for reading, keep on listening,
Let me paint a picture for you: It’s an overcast day in the desert. The dark grey clouds hold in all the heat put off from the underlying city, keeping the temperature at a perfect 87 degrees. The drinks all have beads of condensation slowly making their way down your glass, mirroring the slow, lethargic movements of the cars passing by, the people walking on the streets. Inside, the room is dark, the glow from the stage is all that illuminates the audience and the seats they’re bound to be rising from. A simplistic drum set centers the stage, flanked by two pianos, a stacked bass amp, and a sweet silver-faced navy blue Fender Blues Deluxe (which I’m totally jealous of by the way). As the performers take the stage you’re greeted by a groovy yet simplistic cross-stick drumbeat that sets all of the audiences’ bodies in motion. You can feel your shoulders start to sway when the electric piano drops in, giving you a taste of that old Rhodes tone while being just a bit more bright and airy, creating a perfect platform for the touch of overdrive that presents itself when the pianist really leans into the keys. Your core starts to take motion as the bass, this wonderfully full, thick and room-filling sound start to jump in. Lastly, as if laying ever so lightly on top of all this beautiful rhythm section goodness, Ashley, wielding her lightly driven hollow body guitar, takes the microphone to bring you some of the most soulful, sultry, and heart-wrenching vocals you may ever hear. This is the stage that Hello, Dollface commands and wow, do they command it well.
There’s something infinitely different in the way this band crafts their sound. It may be in the way that Easton (Dr. Stuard if you want to be formal) has a perfect sense of touch on his keys, always playing with just the right amount of force to make the overdrive circuit of his keyboard sing with soul. It may be in the way that Jesse always brings in an intriguing bass line, constantly driving towards the next chorus. Or it may just be in the way they all fill the room so well, giving the perfect platform for the vocals and solos to stand upon. Whatever it may be, and it is probably different for everyone who has the pleasure to experience this amazing bands sound, the vibe is always there. As they like to say “It’s in the blood, in the heat, in the light, in the beat”.
In my opinion, this band really shines when they take the stage. My recommendation would be to go check out their release Live EP to get yourself a wonderful picture of what this band is all about. There’s something unimaginably gravitational to Ashley’s vocals on songs like “Intuition” that ingrain themselves in your mind. The full EP is top-notch work and is truly a treat for any listener. If you’d like to get more into studio-produced work then go check out 2012’s Virtue for even thicker, filled to the brim with groove jams that’ll find a permanent spot in your everyday music playlist. This band truly finds a perfect fit in their Indie Soul stylings with something for any true music fan.
Thanks for reading, keep on listening,
P.S. Thank you guys so much for sharing the stage with me. This will definitely go down in my memories as one of the most fun shows I’ve had the pleasure to play.
Let’s just be honest, there is A LOT of new and intriguing indie pop out there. It seems that just about every week there is some new, cool dudes playing some killer electronic pop that’ll just blow your mind. Guys like X Ambassadors, CRUISR, and Atlas Genius have all definitely made a mark on the scene, but for some of my favorite music in the genre look you absolutely have to look at Hunter Hunted.
If you’re looking for all kinds of upbeat, up-tempo, seriously pop-y tunes, with all of the massive bass drum parts, thunderous snare parts, and a bunch of sweet vocal harmonies, then Hunter Hunted is definitely for you. Fortunately for all of you, this sweet LA based duo, the combination of Dan Chand and Michael Garner, just released their full length LP on RCA/Free Solo. This awesome debut, entitled Ready For You, really highlights the many different strong points of this band. Killer songwriting, super fun and uplifting style, and really cool synth sounds are just some of the strongest points this cool band touts. Go check out my favorite song “Ghost” for a great mix of all three, touting huge choruses that’ll fill you car to the top with sound, and verses that show off some killer piano riffs from Michael, you won’t be able to kick that songs awesome hook out of your head. If I were you, I’d also check out the tunes “Blindside” and “Operating” for even more of their awesome sound. To be honest, though, I’d say that you could drop yourself into any part of Ready For You and you’d find yourself a new favorite tune.
Thanks for reading and keep on listening,
P.S. Sorry for the three week hiatus, but now its back to showing you some awesome music!
Seeing as it’s the middle of summer and most people are drowning themselves in a sea of bright, happy, and vibey Pop, Hip Hop and Soul tunes, I decided that I wanted to remind us all that there are some really great Rock bands out there that we can’t forget about. So for all of you that are experiencing some terrible weather (like the super annoying thunderstorms here in Reno) here’s two amazing bands that I think you’ll love: Alberta Cross and The Kicks.
We’ll start off with Alberta Cross. This Brooklyn-based band brings in some incredible writing to the old Alternative Rock genre. Bringing in all the necessities like ‘verbed out guitar riffs, huge cymbal crashes, and solid bass lines, Alberta Cross are a perfect way to spend the more inclement days. Songs like my personal favorite “Lay Down” feature some seriously killer guitar works, not overbearing, but just perfect enough to keep you jamming out to their always infectious drum patterns. This, coupled with the completely infectious vocal parts, brings their sound into that perfectly raw, yet incredibly catchy territory. Go check out the lightly fuzzed out bass and guitar riffs on “Money For The Weekend (Pocket Full of Shame)” and you’ll know exactly what I’m getting at.
Now, The Kicks take it in a bit different direction. Having more of a 60’s/Roots rock vibe, The Kicks bring in some super swinging rhythms, most likely influenced by their home base, Nashville. Relying less on the reverb and a bit more on the incredible vocal talents of frontman Jordan Phillips, this band is definitely in the arena with some of the great Rock Roots musicians. GO check out my favorite tunes “Hawk Eyes” and “1984” for all of the killer riffage, screaming tenor vox, and some pretty cool grooves that’ll remind you of how much you love good ol’ Rock N’ Roll. The worst part about them, however, is that none of us newfound fans will get to see them live. The band split up this January, and with the breakup wrecked any dreams I had of doing those super vibey harmonies on “Hawk Eyes” (probably a good thing for anyone else who would’ve been in the audience with me).
Thanks for reading, keep on listening,
Now, I should definitely preface this whole segment with this statement: I have never been the biggest Punk or Alternative fan. Being more into tunes with some swing, or more laid-back genres, I’ve really had a challenge getting into the driving, right-on-top-of-or-just-in-front-of-the-beat Punk genre. This has always been something that I’ve tried to fix, but it’s a sickness I’ve really never been able to kick. Hours of painstakingly checking out Deja Entendu or Blink-182 have really dug me into my dislike for the genre, that is until I found The Hotelier.
For those of you who are big into the anti-pop scene, where angst and pain, anger and discomfort reign, then boy, have I a treat for you today. The Hotelier blend a great atmosphere of outside-the-norm Alternative and Punk antics with some really incredible musicianship. If you’re into any bands like Brand New, Circa Survive, or even Blink-182 you’ll instantly find something to love with The Hotelier.
I found this awesome Worcester band while looking through this cool little site called SoundSupply.com (can’t seem to connect to the site at this time ): )which gives out cool little pre-packaged mixes of a bunch of indie or lesser known music. Associated with a larger, full-label bundle, I was drawn to the band because of the cool album cover on Home, Like Noplace Is There. I clicked on the second track “The Scope of All This Rebuilding” and instantly fell in love with how well the singing and guitar work meshed together. Shakey screams, not as intense as most Metal vocals, placed just above a slightly-distorted guitar work really surround you in a moody and angst-ridden atmosphere. I instantly had to listen to the full album. As if flashing back to my more rebellious days, I turned the lights out in my room, closed the shutters just a bit, put on my trusty pair of headphones, and just let myself zone out to the whole album. Some of the greatest jams I heard like “Among the Wildflowers” and “Your Deep Rest” really do a great job of jumping back and forth between soft, sullen moments, and loud, full choruses that get your blood pumping and your Fuck-The-Man vibes flowing.
My recommendation: Go buy all of Home, Like Noplace Is There and go get your rebel on. You’ll fall in love with “Your Deep Rest” and will be instantly entwined with this band. They’ll make you want to cry, fight, and scream your frustrations out all in one album. After you’re done with that you can go check their older album It Never Goes Out for even more The Hotelier with more of a punk vibe.
Thanks for reading, keep on listening,
P.S. This one goes out to Ryan. Never been able to talk about Blink with you man, but when it comes to music there’s no one I’d rather play with.
As I was looking through The New Junto last night there was one terrible, terrible thing that I noticed: I haven’t highlighted any of the amazing female artists that I’ve been so fortunate to find. Well, today that changes. I would love to be the first to introduce you to these two 60’s-inspired, gritty, glamourous, and-oh-so-good goddesses of Pop, Funk and Soul: ZZ Ward and Kendra Morris.
I was fortunate to find these ladies, dead center in the heat of a massive excursion into the good ol’ Funk and Soul genres and, I’ll be honest, they’ve been solid fixtures in my day-to-day listening playlists ever since. It’s hard to pick one to start with, but since I’ve actually had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Ward live, I figure I should start with her. This absolute goddess is a thing of amazement for me: incredible power behind those soulful vocals, great rhythm section parts (consisting of everything from synths to horn sections), and a great 60’s-brought-modern vibe. Go drop yourself anywhere in her first release Till the Casket Drops and you’ll find yourself jamming out to a thick bottom end (drums and bass, fellas), sweet, seldom-heard guitar riffs, and great piano riffs that hold down the whole song. I’d definitely recommend checking this first LP out as soon as possible, she has a new LP This Means War coming out soon! For my favorites, go check out the title track and “Criminal (feat. Freddie Gibbs)” for some of the best written pieces on the album, bringing in just the perfect touch of Amy Winehouse styled grit while maintaining ZZ’s more innocent vibe. Now that you’ve gotten a taste for ZZ Ward’s sound, it’s time to get just a bit more experimental.
When I first put on the amazing Mrs. Kendra Morris I was fortunate enough to drop into my favorite of all of her work “Concrete Waves”. With a giant piano/bass part that’ll have your sub singing like Morris herself, this song really gives you a great idea of what you’ll get out of her first album Banshee. Kendra Morris does a great job of having a certain happy feeling (maybe just in the more major parts of her songs) juxtaposed against a deep, dark and gritty vibe. The switching between these parts really make the album a joy to listen to, always giving you something new and intriguing to listen to. All of these parts, however, would be for not if it wasn’t for Kendra’s vocals, that have a great way of going from light and airy to deep and soulful, and making little chord changes pop with her outside-the-box choice of melody lines. For all of you ladies who want to be singers, I recommend going and singing along with Kendra. She shows off a great range and great, meticulous control over tone and timbre. I’d go check her out ASAP as well, you never know when she could announce her next album.
So there you go, two of the most soulful, sultry, sinfully divine female singers of this decade and the perfect re-intro into the world of Pop, Soul and Funk. Go get yourself some Macy Gray and some Joss Stone and you’ll have a pretty strong lineup for this genre.
Thanks for reading, keep on listening,
P.S. This one goes out to Kirsten (aka KNebulaa), I love where you’re going girl, keep it up. Just one question though: You’re still in my band???? Hmmmm…
I’ll just keep it real with this one: go buy everything that CRUISR has ever released. Enough said.
Ok Ok Ok, I know that’s a pretty minuscule blog post, but, in all honesty, it’s the truth. This seriously summery 4-piece from the wonderful town of Philly (really?) are the perfect people to bump to on your next trip to the beach. Incredible energy, phenomenal vocals (the hooks, oh the hooks), and some of the coolest sounding instrumentation are what you can expect out of CRUISR, who bring summertime vibes to everything they write. From guitar driven tunes like “Don’t Go Alone” that’ll have you bobbing your head incessantly, to more synth-flavored pieces like “Go For It”, which’ll have you jamming out to some of the coolest parts and leads you’ll hear this summer, CRUISR never loses that danceable, stay-up-all-night-partying vibe. Pop in either one of their EP’s All Over or Go For It and you’ll instantly be on your way to sunny, warm, euphoria. My personal favorite “Kidnap Me” makes an appearance on All Over and is a perfect, easily jammed track that is perfect for a nice, easy drive with the significant other all the way to the beach. If you’re a fan of any good partying music, then I guarantee that you’ll enjoy CRUISR’s sound.
Since you already know my recommendation (go buy the whole discography), I think I’ll eat up the rest of this post by telling you about some of the cool things the band is doing this for the rest of this amazing summer of 2015. For you lucky bastards on the East Coast (or the Midwest) you’ll be privileged with the ability to go check out this stellar band with equally killer Young Rising Sons, and one of my favorite bands Hunter Hunted (recommendation/review of their new album coming soon). These three Indie Rock/Pop/Electronic powerhouses are going to be tearing up some really cool venues over there in the Atlantic time zones. For y’all in the KC you can check ‘em out at The Riot Room, those of you who call Denver home can go check ‘em out at the Bluebird Theater (which I’ve heard great things about), and those of you in NYC can check them out over the Highline Ballroom. CRUISR is definitely hitting the scene hard this summer with some of the coolest bands and sweetest venues.
Thanks for reading, keep on listening,
For those of you who love this really interesting, innovative and intellectually-stimulating trend of modernized Electronic Pop, man have I got a great surprise for you today. For those of you whose favorite song on Gossamer is “Constant Conversations” (in the running for one of my favorites all time) rather than “Take a Walk”, you’ll be more than satisfied by the chill, intimate stylings of Handsome Ghost! Labeled on their Facebook as an Indie Prom act, Handsome Ghost really brings a great backbeat driven sound to their music, with ambient synths galore, and some great effects added to their incredible vocal parts. Fronted by singer Tim Noyes, the now full-band project realizes a place of calm and collection while always giving the listener something to look forward to.
Handsome Ghost, for me, has already replaced the typical Bon Iver or Classical genre playlists that I used to write to. With easy-hitting, driving backbeats and bass lines, the sound really makes me feel productive and calm. This feeling, however, changes instantly as you throw them on anywhere else. Play it on the ride home from work on an overcast day and you’ve got yourself the perfect ambient and moody sound to even you out amongst all of the other commuters. Play them during the pre-pregame to that evening’s party and you’ve got yourself the perfect intro into all of the heavy bass parts that you’ll (hopefully) be enjoying that evening. There really isn’t a bad time to play Handsome Ghost.
For my recommendation I’m going to send you back to the group’s first EP Blood Stutter EP. As Tim’s full-on jump to this type of music (previously in a Folk band, sick right!?), the album comes across as being very polished and, in a way, meticulously crafted towards perfection. The noticeable use of hard-tuning on the vocals may come across as a bit of a cop-out at first, but once you really immerse yourself into the sound, you’ll find that the legato and sweeping nature of the vocals really makes tunes stand out from all other Indie Pop/Electronic artists. Go check out my personal favorite “Low East” and you’ll understand perfectly. Once you’ve fallen in love with all of Blood Stutter EP, especially the incredible cover of Iron & Wine’s “The Trapeze Swinger”, then you can make your way into their newest release Steps. With more of an upbeat vibe, and a stray from the hard-tuned vocals of the first release, Steps gives us Handsome Ghost fans a great way to watch the band grow into a fully realized act rather than playing on a concept. No matter where you drop yourself in on the Handsome Ghost timeline you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
So go check em out: Spotify, Facebook, Youtube. And you can go see them this summer on tour with some great acts like The Mowgli’s (WHY CANT THIS BE ON THE WEST COAST??? AHHHHH!), X Ambassadors, and Misterwives.
Thanks for reading, keep on listening,
Today’s post, as if in homage to my last post 4 Easy, Fun Ways to Find New Music, is my favorite find from Spotify’s #NewMusicTuesday playlist: Glass Animals. This trippy indie alternative band is straight out of the UK and is one of the hottest bands on the touring/festival scene this year. Whether you’re an Alt-J lover, desperate for more of those trippy, lyric-driven melodies, or an R&B fan whose trying to find more of those fat rhythms that get engrained in your soul, you’ll have plenty to love with Glass Animals.
There is really no reason trying to describe Glass Animals’ sound in terms of genre, or trying to compare them to some other band (save for maybe Alt-J, to the extent that neither offer much correlation to other bands or genres), so instead, I’m just going to do my best to give you a glimpse of the picture they paint with their music. First off, picture yourself in a dark, dense, humid, and strangely tinted forest. Animal noises come from everywhere, yet here they seem less threatening, and instead start to sound musical. Chirps start to sound like tiny wood block rhythms, the undulating and sporadic roars start to meld into the ambient backing chords, and then finally a drumbeat seems to explode out of the noise like a beacon, holding the whole song down to earth. Next, strange synths start to crescendo out of the thicket, bringing the whole trippy vibe full circle. Finally, Dave Bailey, the bands singer, comes in.
Although the vocals are used sparingly at first, the singer always has a way of making every line different, catchy and just a little bit outside of what you would think of as conventional or ordinary. All of those subtle little deviations usually lend themselves to be the perfect offset from the band’s enlarged choruses, which usually consist of at least a few harmonizing voices supporting a super catchy, mind-numbingly re-singable melody. Go check out my favorite “Pools”, or their most popular piece “Gooey” for a great example how well the band uses this great contrast between chorus and verse. When it comes to being innovative and outside the box with music, Glass Animals is definitely in a world-class echelon.
Thankfully, the band has quite a bit of material out on the web. You can go check out some of their released material on Spotify, Youtube, or Itunes, or you can go check out some of their cool re-mixes of other people’s material on their Soundcloud! So go ahead and let your mind be taken away to that deep, vibrant, “Gooey”, and trippy jungle where Glass Animals reside. Trust me, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for reading, keep on listening,
P.s. This one goes out to Pat, whose thirst for the new, intriguing, innovative, and excellent is insatiable. Thanks for being the duder who showed me Alt-J.
We all know that finding new music can be one of the most fun, but incredibly daunting experiences. Whether you’re going through all of your favorite artists’ related bands on Spotify, or delving deep into a Pandora playlist, it’s always pretty tough to find good, new artists. There are, however, some easy and kind of fun ways to expand your library and keep up to date with some of the newest things happening in music.
- The first, and best way to keep up with everything happening in the Music industry would be to look through Spotify’s New Music Tuesday playlist. Go in, click on every album cover that looks interesting, go find what bands you know are releasing new material, and just see what’s out there. If you see an album or a band name that you like then just click on it and start sampling whatever is in there. One of my favorite things to do is, when I see an artist I’ve never heard of, I go in and look at all of their most popular songs to get a full idea of what the music is like.
- Another great way to find new music is through music blog sites like Pitchfork, Consequences of Sound, and Tiny Mix Tapes. This is a great way to get an overview of the band, read about their newest material, and get links to their website or Youtube channels.
So you wanna know what all the hipsters are listening to right now? You wanna take that deep plunge into obscurity? Well then the absolute best way would be to check out all of the various upcoming festival lineup posters. Don’t be fooled into looking only at the top row, however. To get a true look of some the hippest bands out there, then you need to start from the bottom and work your way up the page. Anything from cool local bands, to funky niche bands that are starting to make a splash, you can find on these festival lineups.
- The last way to find great music is one that you can take everywhere you go. It’s this sweet little app called Band of The Day. With everything from older classics that’ll get you feeling nostalgic, to new bands from all over the world that are making cool new sounds and expanding genres. Best thing about it: It’s free!
So there ya go! Get out there and go find some new music!
Thanks from reading, keep on listening,