Best Singles & Albums, August 2013, Vol. II – Washed Out, Bloc Party, Moondoggies, Don Cavalli, Franz, The Dodos, Ghost Wave
The first volume of the Best Singles & Albums for August, featuring 39 amazing songs, covered July 30th to August 12th, using the closest Tuesday (the day most albums are traditionally released by labels) to August 1st (which was July 30th). In these two volumes, there are so many terrific, ‘keeper’ songs – over 100 in all. It’s the most comprehensive MP3 playlist of the top singles from new albums released in the month of August available anywhere online. Enjoy.
Best Singles & Albums Released August 13th to 19th
– Top Singles from Bloc Party and The Moondoggies Latest Album Releases
– The Genius of Ernest Greene Emerges Again on Washed Out’s Sophomore Album Release
– Overlooked Releases from The Chastity Belt, Dog Party and Jagwar Ma Make IRC’s List
– Auerbach Championed Songwriter Don Cavalli Delivers Another Terrific Album
– Band to Watch Scott & Charlene’s Wedding Drop Ace Album
– Rising Band Flashbulb Fires Release New Single Amid Buzz
– New LP from CREEP Features Guest Vocalists Romy Madley-Croft, Kazu and Andrew Wyatt
– The Outfit Screamin Eagle Team Up with Musician Zeke Johnson on New Release
– DIY Band The Persian Leaps Drop Debut EP, Praise Elephants
– San Francisco Artist Jason Buckingham Drops EP as Strange Culprits
– Top Singles from Paper City, Nytyly, Aaron Gibson Recent Releases
Top Releases from Various Artists, August 20th to August 26th
– Listen to Fresh Single from Ty Segall’s Latest Album
– Top New Releases from Crocodiles, Diarrhea Planet and No Age Top Picks
– Review Excellent Trio of Singles from Kissaway Trail, Typhoon and Ski Lodge’s New LPs
– After Hiatus, Superchunk and Travis’ New LPs Mark Return of Music Champs
– ‘Inbetweener’ Artists Pure Bathing Culture, Still Life Still, Surf City Add to Top Songs of August
– Boston Band to Watch Bent Shapes Drops Debut
– Bands Army Navy, Gross Relations, Earl Sweatshirt, Tim Easton, Golden Suits Drop Fine New Tracks
– Psychedelic Rock from His Electro Blue Voice and Native’s Spooky Sounds Resonate
– Top Singles from Julianna Barwick, Widower and Alexander Von Mehren’s Latest Releases
– DIY Singer/Songwriter Rob Vischer Offers Indie Pop from ‘Music City’
– Sacramento Indie Band to Watch Appalachians Release New Seven-Inch
– Indie Singer/Songwriters Blake Walker and Dan Jacobs Cross the Radar with New EP
Top Releases from Various Artists, August 27th to September 2nd
– Top Releases of the Week from Franz Ferdinand, Capsula, The Dodos and Others
– Singles from New Albums by Joe Black Lewis, King Krule, Ghost Wave and Others
– Nashville Band MODOC Officially Release Album Featuring Popular Single
– San Francisco Artists Gamble Gamble Die and TaughtMe Drop Fantastic New LPs
Top Singles from Bloc Party’s and The Moondoggies’ Latest Album Releases
After you’ve listened to Volume One of the best new August releases, and crave even more great songs that you can stream or download, here’s where you’ll want to come for the rest of August releases. While the week of August 13th to August 19th was relatively thin for new releases, there’s still great music from popular indie artists like Washed Out‘s new Subpop release, Paracosm, followed by Bloc Party‘s latest album, The Nextwave Sessions, featuring the lead single, “Ratchet,” which is one of their best singles in a number of years. The popular Seattle indie band, The Moondoggies, dropped their sophomore album, Adios I’m A Ghost, on August 13th. The top song from the LP so far has been the track, “Red Eye.” The track is flanked by excellent electric guitar work, including a riveting riff throughout, and soulful vocals from Kevin Murphy. However, that can sometimes be balanced out by the fact that the albums have not had time to really seep into the listening public’s playlists the way that albums released earlier in the year naturally are more likely to.
“Ratchet” – Bloc Party from The Nextwave Sessions on Frenchkiss
“Red Eye” – The Moondoggies from Adios I’m a Ghost on Hardly Art
The Genius of Ernest Greene Emerges Again on Washed Out’s Sophomore Album Release
The sophomore album from the talented, popular musician Ernest Greene‘s indie project, Washed Out, was one of the most anticipated releases of the summer, and it did not disappoint. Since the release of the debut album, Within and Without, in 2011, that made Washed Out an international indie recording star, Greene has been touring endlessly around the globe. In between tours, Greene found time to write and record the material that makes up Paracosm, his sophomore release. We think it’s good that he took his time, even though there was tremendous pressure on Greene to put out a follow-up album sooner because of the huge success of his debut. Often, when an artist that comes out of nowhere has a big and unexpected success with a debut album, the pressure – from the label and some fans – to turn out a new follow-up album or EP within six months to a year, is tremendous, and intense. Plus, the expectation of course is that it should be even better than the debut that also has to be as good or better than the debut, is intense.
But many times, as history has shown us, when artists and their labels rush a sophomore album out, the results are not so good. Greene, apparently, wasn’t willing to rush his follow-up album because of pressure, and that is respectful to his fans, who naturally have high expectations and we would guess would rather wait a little longer for a great album than to get a mediocre album quickly. Thankfully, Greene took his time with writing and recording Paracosm, which is a remarkable, at times stunningly genius, collection of new songs from Washed Out. Greene performed some of his new songs live during his terrific performance a couple of weeks ago at Monterey‘s debut First City Festival.
“Don’t Give Up” – Washed Out from Paracosm on Sub Pop
Aside from those big releases, it was a rather thin week for new albums from established and better known artists. As far as new releases from the next strata of artists we call the ‘inbetweeners’ – those that are not necessarily well known, but also not obscure and are signed to a label – there were a number of worthy releases dropped by Dog Party and Don Cavalli, and Jagwar Ma and Twin Steps, among others. And lastly, but not least, further down the page, make sure to check out the carefully selected fresh releases from DIY, under-the-radar and unsigned bands, many of who are exclusively featured on IRC.
Overlooked Releases from The Chastity Belt, Dog Party and Jagwar Ma
The band The Chastity Belt dropped their new album, No Regrets, fronted by the single, “Black Sail,” on August 13th. Punk pop blazes from the band Dog Party‘s short (44 seconds!) new anthemic single, “How Are You Doing,” from the album, Lost Control. If you like girl punk, you’ll want to get that album.
Next up is the thrilling single, “Man I Need,” from Australian duo Jagwar Ma‘s debut album, Howlin. The band grinds out a modern take on the Manchester dance-rock sound that bands like The Stone Roses and Inspiral Carpets made popular in the late 80’s and early 90’s (before it was replaced by the Brit pop craze headed by Oasis and Blur). There’s also a clear influence of Jane’s Addiction throughout Howlin’. The Jagwar Ma music video is also worth checking out.
“Black Sail” – Chastity Belt from No Regerts on Help Yourself Records – attach
“How Are You Doing” – Dog Party from Lost Control on Asian Man Records
“Man I Need” – Jagwar Ma from Howlin on Mom + Pop
Auerbach Championed Songwriter Don Cavalli Delivers Another Winner
Let’s switch things up and get down and boogie 70’s-style with the funky blues rock and soul grooves of French artist Don Cavalli on the title track of his sophomore album, Temperamental. Cavalli’s profile was significantly raised when Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys referenced Cavalli’s 2008 psychedelic blues debut, Cryland, as an inspiration. A pat on the back from a Grammy-winning rocker must be such a huge confidence booster, but it also places an extra burden of expectation from new fans (especially the most committed hard-core Black Keys’ fans who surely sought out Cavalli’s music) on the artist. Ahh, the ying and yang of life. Following “Temperamental,” things shift into a higher gear on the playlist with the inclusion of the gritty tune, “The Corner Man,” a lo-fi, riff-heavy R&B meets garage punk rock track from Boston‘s own Barrence Whitfield and The Savages. Wrapping up this section, or more accurately perhaps, selection, of August’s third week of top singles from new releases by fairly well-known indie artists and bands, is the lo-fi, live single, “Son of Sam,” from the indie rock band Twin Steps. The song is off of the band’s new seven-inch, Plague Songs, available via 1-2-3-4 Go Records!
“Temperamental” – Don Cavalli from Temperamental on Everloving Records
“The Corner Man” – Barrence Whitfield and the Savages from Dig Thy Savage Soul on Bloodshot Records
“Son of Sam” – Twin Steps from Plague Songs 7″ on 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
Band to Watch Scott & Charlene’s Wedding Drop Ace Album
If you’re not familiar with the band Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, here’s a good chance to get to know the duo, and why they are a rising band in the indie ‘musicverse.”
There new lead single, “Wild Heart,” from the August 13th album release, Any Port In A Storm, is evidence of why the duo’s atmospheric post-punk rock sound, that is obviously influenced by Sonic Youth and Velvet Underground, is causing a buzz with some alternative rock lovers. The second single, “Lesbian Wife,” shifts in tempo and sound density and features Scott’s half spoken/half sung vocals. There is not an artist we have heard in a long time that sounds so much like Lou Reed.
“Wild Heart” – Scott & Charlene’s Wedding from Any Port In A Storm on Fire Records
Top DIY Releases Week of August 13th From Flashbulb Fires, CREEP, Sreamin’ Eagle and Others
Now for our favorite part of the weekly releases – select new singles and albums from DIY, under-the-radar and ready-to-break-out indie artists and bands, many of which have not, until now, received any significant exposure in the indie blogosphere. This turns out to be another great playlist of “rarely heard” singles released during the third week of August.
As regular readers and listeners see, there are dozens and dozens of talented artists and bands featured each month on IRC that don’t get covered elsewhere. Again and again, we are amazed by the wealth of remarkable musical talent across America, and around the world, that too often goes unnoticed and otherwise gets lost in the noise of the global mainstream music monster machine. The monster machine pumps hundreds of millions of dollars a year into worldwide production, advertising, marketing, promotion, social media, cable and on and on.
The top DIY release of the week includes artists that are well-known in the indie rock world.
Rising Band Flashbulb Fires Release New Single
From Denver, the indie “haze-pop” band Flashbulb Fires, has been making waves in the world of indie rock since the release of their widely acclaimed debut album, Glory, in 2009. In the ensuing years, the band toured extensively, played official showcases at SXSW and CMJ. Last year, the band released their sophomore album, Gasconader, which was also widely praised. On a roll, the band released a new single, “Unseen Things” on August 13th that we think many of you will enjoy , especially for fans of the band. No word yet on when their next album will be released, but it is in the works according to band member Michael James.
“Unseen Things” – Flashbulb Fires from single – Aug. 13th
CREEP’s New LP Features Guest Vocalists Romy Madley-Croft, Kazu and Andrew Wyatt
The DIY release, Echoes, from the band, CREEP, dropped on August 13th, includes 10 tracks, each with a guest vocalist, including artists like Romy Madley-Croft (The xx) on the track, “Days,” and Planningtorock on “Introduction,” as well as contributions from Sia, Tricky, Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow), Kazu (Blonde Redhead), and Holly Miranda. The Brooklyn duo that obviously has some great connections, is headed by Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard, both DJs and producers. Even though Echoes was just released, there are already numerous mixes of tracks from Echoes floating around. For example, the song, “Days,” (view the official video below) has been mixed by Deadboy, Soul Clap, Azari, and Super8 (listen below).
“Days” (featuring Romy Madley Croft) – CREEP from Echoes
“Days” (CREEP) – Super8 Remix
Screamin Eagle Team Up with Musician Zeke Johnson
While he’s not going to be the next Bon Iver or Tallest Man on the Earth, Memphis musician Winston Legtheigh, who fronts Screamin Eagle, is nonetheless one of the most talented DIY musicians we’ve heard in August thanks the album, Old & Young and the standout track “Good As Dead,” teaming up with musician Zeke Johnson. You’ve probably already spotted a dreary theme, but his music is very much alive and well.
“Good as Dead” – Screamin Eagle from Old & Young – Aug. 13th
San Francisco Artist Jason Buckingham Drops EP as Strange Culprits
San Francisco one-man band Jason Buckingham, who records under the moniker Strange Culprits, released his debut EP, Five Fingers, on August 13th. Strange Culprits’ lead single, “Concrete in the Rain,” is a gloomy, gritty song with distant-sounding guitar licks, a looped bass, singular drum beat, piano riffs and kind of scary vocals. Buckingham said of his new project: “Strange Culprits aims to flip the bird at musical genres, choosing instead to operate by the simple credo that a good song is a good song, whether it was inspired by Motown, Woodie Guthrie, or Cheap Trick.”
“Concrete in the Rain” – Strange Culprits from Five Fingers
The Persian Leaps Drop Debut EP, Praise Elephants
From St. Paul, Minnesota, the pop rock band The Persian Leaps knock out incredibly catchy hooks, bright melodies and sing-a-long choruses on their new single, “Silent Treatment,” from the band’s debut EP, Praise Elephants. The young quartet, formed in 2012, create “driving, chimey music” influenced by bands like House of Love, My Bloody Valentine, Guided by Voices, and Teenage Fanclub. Those bands have informed The Persian Leaps’ “short, catchy songs coated with divine guitar noise and vocal harmonies.” Their new EP was dropped on August 15th.
“Silent Treatment” – The Persian Leaps from Praise Elephants
Top Singles from Paper City, Nytyly, Aaron Gibson Recent Releases
Also listen to new music from bands like Hunting Beach, California’s 60’s surf pop band Paper City who’ve opened for artists like The Blank Tapes, Jessica Dobson (of the Shins), The Secret 6 (of The Killingtons), Chase Frank, and Alyssandra Nighswonger. Their debut album, Summer of Love, was released on August 15th. Next, “Harmony Day,” is a strange mix of electronic rock and psychedelic pop from the Brooklyn band nytyly. Aaron Gibson is an accomplished singer/songwriter and musician from Oregon who has toured in China and around the states. The song, “Waiting,” is from Gibson’s new album, Loose Ends.
“Love and Fashion” – Paper City from Paper City
“Harmony Day” – nytyly from Brooklyn Broadcast – Aug. 16th
“Waiting” – Aaron Gibson from Loose Ends
Top Singles and Albums from Week Four, August 20th to August 26th
As if making up for previous weeks in which there were a thin number of new releases, the week of August 20th sprung a whole bunch of much anticipated, and warmly welcomed, new albums, from artists like Ty Segall, Crocodiles, Travis, Porcelain Raft, No Age, Kissaway Trail , and others.
Anytime Ty Segall has a new release, it’s like a holiday in the cafe. The northern California based, southern California-raised, musician is not only a composer, singer, songwriter, mulit-instrumentalist, producer and serial collaborator , he is also a prolific, original and versatile artist. Sleeper has apparently disappointed some Segall fans, but those who really appreciate his talents, will find the new album not to be a sleeper, but a grower. The more we listen to it, the more and more we discover all over again, again in a slightly different way than before, the sheer brilliance of his artistry and the necessity to proclaim that Segall is one of the most important indie artists of the past decade.
“Sleeper” – Ty Segall from Sleeper on Drag City
Top New Releases from Crocodiles, Diarrhea Planet and No Age Top Picks
We love the Crocodiles scuffed up, gritty persona and their reverb-heavy lo-fi rock, like the raunchy new single, “Cockroach,” from their new album, Crimes of Passion, demonstrates. Our next pick among the more popular and well-known bands with new albums released on August 20th is I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams by the Nashville band Diarrhea Planet (among our top picks for worst band name ever) and the new single, “Separations,” that we’ve listened to half a dozen times just in the first few days after we first heard it, and the album itself is also turning out to be a ‘repeater’ – one that you can’t help but to play again and again. Despite the terrible band name, which also has an element of ‘fuck you’ to the music industry and the brand makers, Diarrhea Planet are yet another indie band from Nashville – a non-country music trend that has been picking up steam in a city which has had its identity tied to country music for nearly a century. Nowadays in Nashville, country isn’t the only game in town.
No Age‘s new track, “No Impression,” is a strange lo-fi gumbo of post-punk and no wave blending deep base thumps, psychedelic rock style guitar, untuned violin strands, fuzzy synths, and lots of effects including reverb and fade. KEXP said the band’s fifth album, An Object, is “a dramatic change of pace that finds them exploring the sounds of stern post-punk, atmospheric shoegaze and amelodic No Wave with a mostly bleak blend of angular guitar lines, noisy ambient textures, taut rhythms and monotone vocals.” The terrific single, “An Impression,” gives a wonderful and correct impression of the rest of the songs on An Object. An excellent way to close out this block of singles is appropriately concluded with the single, “The Way Out,” the terrifically hazy pop glaze from Porcelain Raft’s new album, Permanent Signal.
“Cockroach” – Crocodiles from Crimes of Passion on Frenchkiss Records
“Separations” – Diarrhea Planet from I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams on Infinity Cat
“An Impression” – No Age from An Object on Sub Pop
“The Way Out” – Porcelain Raft from Permanent Signal on Secretly Canadian
An Excellent Trio of Singles from Kissaway Trail, Typhoon and Ski Lodge’s New LPs
Probably our favorite Danish indie rock band, Kissaway Trail, came roaring back on August 20th with the release of a new album of wonderfully guitar-driven, hooklicious, rhythmic indie rock on the song “The Springsteen Implosion,” followed by the latest single from the new album by the band Typhoon, and the new-to-us band Ski Lodge, a post-punk band from New York that crafts dark, dreamy and atmospheric elements into the songs on their debut, Big Heart.
“The Springsteen Implosion” – Kissaway Trail from Breach on Yep Roc
“Dreams of Cannibalism” – Typhoon from White Lighter on Roll Call Records
“Boy” – Ski Lodge from Big Heart on Dovecote Records
After Hiatus, Superchunk and Travis Mark Return With Excellent New LPs
We call artists and bands that have been releasing noteworthy music for more than 20 years, ‘The Vets’ and we all love them from REM to Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins to The Strokes and Built to Spill and Modest Mouse, U2 to Dinosaur Jr. (among many, many others). These are the folks that have had a huge impact on many of the indie and alternative rock artists and bands we cover all of the time. So, it was a delight to finally see Superchunk release a new album that includes the excellent single, “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” sounds like it could have been a Big Star hit single circa 1974 with it’s three power pop chords and glam rock-style riffs and chorues. Another veteran band of the music scene, Scottish post-Britpop, pro-alternative rock band Travis return with their first album, Where You Stand, in five years. While Fran Healy‘s vocals are not as robust as they were a decade ago, but he still carries a tune remarkably well, and the band sounds as tight and perfected as ever as the lead single, “Moving,” so aptly demonstrates.
“Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” – Superchunk from I Hate Music on Merge Records
“Moving” – Travis from Where You Stand on Red Telephone Box Records
Energized after a few chaotic years of a whirlwind success, singer/songwriter and musician Laura Veirs, did not slow down, writing and recording an album’s worth of songs for her sophomore album, Warp and Weft. The toe-tapping feature track, “Sun Song,” truly shines and flourishes in a swirl of violins, piano, drums, guitars and more, but is only made whole with Veirs’ magnificent vocal work. Following Veirs is “Getting Even,” the latest single from White Lies’ new album, dropped Aug. 20th, Big TV.
“Sun Song” – Laura Veirs from Warp and Weft on Raven Marching Band Records
“Getting Even” – White Lies from Big TV on Harvest Records
‘Inbetweener’ Artists Pure Bathing Culture, Still Life Still, Surf City Add to Top Songs of August
This next section is what we like to call the “inbetweeners,” meaning they are artists and bands who are not widely known and popular but are also not obscure, DIY or under the radar. Most ‘inbetweeners’ have hundreds or thousands of hardcore fans locally or spread about the country, and in some rare cases, around the world. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard a US-based ‘inbetweener’ band that had few fans in the U.S. but were wildly popular in the indie and alt rock scenes in places like Tokyo, Lima, Madrid or Sao Paulo. It’s amazing how things work out that way.
If you love diversity and pleasant surprises in your musical journey and discovery, and you have broad tastes, and keep an open mind to possibly digging something that at first you might not think is your cup of tea, our band profiles, new releases round-ups, playlists and other posts are for you.
Talented inbetweeners with releases from the week of August 20th include Pure Bathing Culture, Bent Shapes, Native, His Electro Blue Voice, Earl Sweatshirt, Tim Easton, and Golden Suits.
“Pendulum” – Pure Bathing Culture from Moon Tides on Partisan Records
“In Enemies” (Teen Daze Remix) – Still Life Still from Mourning Trance on Arts & Crafts
“It’s a Common Life” – Surf City from We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This on Fire Records
Boston DIY Band to Watch Bent Shapes Drops Debut
Bent Shapes is a new-to-us band that stood out for their nerdy pop rock with some reggae guitar playing (think Vampire Weekend), forceful yet raspy vocals and a hook-friendly rhythm and beat that is hard to turn away from. The Boston trio is composed of members Andy Sadoway, Ben Potrykus, and Supriya Gunda. Since forming under their previous name Girlfriends in 2009, Bent Shapes has released a string of DIY cassettes and 7”s full of fuzzy garage, frantic jangle pop, and scrappy post-punk. The band’s myriad of influences include Josef K, The Feelies, Jonathan Richman, Billy Childish, and The Fall.
“Behead Yrself, Pt. 2” – Bent Shapes from Feels Weird on Father/Daughter Records
Bands Army Navy, Gross Relations, Earl Sweatshirt, Tim Easton, Golden Suits Drop Fine New Tracks
One of our favorite RE-discoveries for the fourth week of August (Aug 20-26) was the band Army Navy, who we initially were turned on to last year, but honestly, in the flood of new songs, albums and bands since then, we unintentionally forgot about Army Navy and how much we liked them until hearing their latest offering. Next, Brooklyn lo-fi surf rockers Gross Relations spazz out on the uptempo, riff rolling single, “Cut The Final Scene,” from the band’s self-title debut album, dropped on August 20th, followed by hip-hop rapper Earl Sweatshirt and the 50’s style rockabilly of Tim Easton – a stark transition from one musical form to another and about as unlikely a pairing as Big Bird and Mickey Mouse. This next single, “Swimming in ’99,” by Golden Suits seemed like a good fit – because of its similar tempo – to follow Easton’s “Troubled Times,” but also different enough to be amongst the great diversity of sounds and styles in this block of singles from August album releases.
“Crushed Like The Car” – Army Navy from The Crushed EP on The Fever Zone
“Behead Yrself, Pt. 2” – Bent Shapes from Feels Weird on Father/Daughter Records
Psychedelic Rock from His Electro Blue Voice and Native’s Spooky Sounds
If you’re a Velvet Underground/Lou Reed kind of a person, chances are you’ll dig the loose composition, psychedelic meandering of instruments and long, disorganized, yet strangely appealing, jams of the band His Electro Blue Voice on the Subpop release, Ruthless Sperm, particularly on the single included below, “Born Tired.” The menacing and dark instrumentation and vocals on Native‘s “Coin Toss” fits appropriately placed right after His Electro Blue Voice – afterall, they got the whole eerily psychedelic rock vibe going with “Born Tired.”
“Born Tired” – His Electro Blue Voice from Ruthless Sperm on Sub Pop
“Coin Toss” – Native from Orthodox on Sargent House
“Whoa” (feat. Tyler, The Creator) – Earl Sweatshirt from Doris on Tan Cressida/Columbia
“Troubled Times” – Tim Easton from Not Cool on Campfire Propaganda/Thirty Tigers
“Swimming In ’99” – Golden Suits from Golden Suits on Yep Roc
Top Singles from Julianna Barwick, Widower and Alexander Von Mehren’s Latest Releases
This section of the new releases covers artists and bands that are not from the strata of popular and well-known indie musicians, like Superchunk, Crocodiles or No Age, but at the same time are not DIY, under the radar or obscure like many of the DIY exclusive musicians we feature are – this section is for the artists and bands that fall in between noteriety and obscurity.
Kicking off is the wonderful musician Julianna Barwick and her beautiful single, “One Half,” from the album Nepenthe. Another mellow song from a new release dropped on August 20th is the single, “Oh Catherine, My Catherine,” by the band Widower – what a gorgeous acoustic love song. Alexander Von Mehren turns out another praise-worthy album Natural Selections, including the title track, among others.
“One Half” – Julianna Barwick from Nepenthe on Dead Oceans
“Oh Catherine, My Catherine” – Widower from Fool Moon on Mama Bird Recording Co.’
“Natural Selection” – Alexander Von Mehren from Natural Selection on The Control Group
DIY Nashville Singer/Songwriter Rob Vischer Delivers Indie Pop from ‘Music City’
There were some terrific releases in the fourth week of August from DIY bands and artists that few people know about like Nashville singer/songwriter Rob Vischer. When people think of Nashville they think of country music. But in recent years, there are other musical styles emerging from the city that made Elvis famous (or vice versa?), including some terrific indie music from a growing number of musicians. Singer/songwriter and musician Rob Vischer is one of them.
On his new single, “Love For A Lifetime,” Vischer, and his band, touch on many ‘indie’ elements, such as a cheerful beat, handclaps, grandiose, soaring choruses, bright piano, keys and guitar playing. We’re surprised we’ve never heard of him before considering how excellent his songs are. You’ll have “Love For A Lifetime” playing in your head for days; it’s an irresistibly feel-good song with an incredibly positive and hopeful sentiment. Love is a common theme on Vischer’s new album, Meant to Love. The song, “Airwaves & Envelopes” is another love song, this time about long distance love set to flourishing guitars, big drum rolls and very tight production. It’s not a stretch to compare his music to bands like Fun, Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World and Green Day, to varying degrees; Vischer’s sound falls somewhere in the middle of DIY indie and polished radio rock. Therefore, it’s no surprise that his biggest musical influences include Death Cab for Cutie, Fun, Bruno Mars, Civil Wars, Snow Patrol, and Muse.
Vischer started writing songs when he was 16. Four years ago, he travelled across the U.S. on bicycle, working odd jobs, performing and selling his CD of demos door-to-door along the way. With additional money he earned in the ensuing three years following his cross-country journey, Vischer had enough money saved to pay for the studio time, mixing and mastering to produce a proper CD release.
“Love for a Lifetime” – Rob Vischer from Meant to Love
“Airwaves & Envelopes” – Rob Vischer from Meant to Love
Sacramento Indie Band to Watch Appalachians Release New Seven-Inch
Our top pick for the best DIY release of the fourth week of August 2013 is the new 7″ two-song release from Sacramento band, Appalachians, a terrific and promising band we featured not long ago after coming across their music in our submission box. We think they’re one of the best new DIY bands we’ve heard in 2013 and ask ourselves: “why don’t more people know about this band?”
The single, “Dolly” is one of the best of all the lead singles for the week altogether, among new releases by both popular and well-known indie artists and unsigned, obscure bands, such as Applachians. On the second track, “Lo-Hi,” banjos are picking, mandolins are strumming, and a bass is humming, along with the gentle, reassuring vocals that add another appealing quality to an already appealing song. And it’s totally family-friendly too. Along with the songs that we featured the first time we profiled Appalachians, the two songs featured here on a two-song released titled, Bereaved, are by no means wholly representative of this band’s incredible talents, and the enjoyment their music has brought to all of us that have latched on as fans from the get-go. If you want to hear more from Applachians, stream The Rolling C’s, their brilliant July 2012 debut, on Bandcamp at http://appalachians1.bandcamp.com/album/the-rolling-cs
“Dolly” – Appalachians from Bereaved
“Lo-hi” – Appalachians from Bereaved
Indie Singer/Songwriters Blake Walker and Dan Jacobs Cross the Radar with New EP
Blake Walker is an indie pop/rock singer/songwriter in Los Angeles who sent us a couple of impressive songs from his debut EP, My Poor Joy. In 2003, he left Dallas in a car and drove to LA in pursuit of his dreams, a quest millions of young people have ventured on for nearly a century now. That’s what America is all about and you can get a sense of that in Walker’s heartfelt music. He listed his musical influences as Deerhunter, The Walkmen, and Velvet Underground. Walker provided one of the best answers we have heard of to the question asked on the submission form – “what is indie rock.” He replied: “Whether or not Indie refers to truly independent music, or music on a subsidiary label owned by a larger company, the term represents qualities of purity, earnestness, immediacy, exuberance, experimentation and fun. The spirit of good Indie music is always liberated, regardless of how it’s distributed. ”
Another singer/songwriter, Dan Jacobs of Washington, D.C., caught our attention with a couple of tracks that he sent in from his self-released album that he quietly dropped on August 27th. The world didn’t really notice, but we did. Since officially becoming a DIY artist in 2012, this is his first exposure on any blog or other publication. We love that we are often the first music site, or site in general, to exclusively premiere a promising new artist or band that has been overlooked for too long.
Hopefully, enough people will dig the two songs here and want to listen to more and purchase his album, which you can get by searching for his name together with the album name. We like his raspy, almost Dylanesque voice, a reference that is appropriate since he listed in his submission Bob Dylan as his greatest musical influence. If you know someone that is making an indie film that needs a great folk song, it’d be worthwhile to contact Jacobs to see if he’d provide one of his songs for an indie soundtrack.
“The Winter Classic” – Dan Jacobs from Creatures
“You Say” – Blake Walker from My Poor Joy
“My Little Singaporean Princess” – Blake Walker from My Poor Joy
Picture Atlantic is an alternative indie-rock band from San Jose, California with an explosive sound and an openhearted approach to song craft. Since their formation in 2006, the band has released two full-length albums and three EPs. They’ve also become a popular band in the competitive San Francisco Bay Area music scene and have performed at the annual Live 105’s BFD festival and headlined at San Francisco legendary venues like Bottom Of The Hill and Popscene. Their new video single, “Edgewood Road,” shot in a redwood forest, is a pretty good song. Recently, Absolute Punk named them of the Top 100 Best Unsigned Bands. Picture Atlantic’s new YouTube “Edgewood Road”.
Top Singles & Albums of August 27th-Sept. 2nd
The final week of releases for August 2013, compared to the previous week (August 20-26th) was thin. However, within that thin pile of releases from popular and well-known indie artists, were some of the summer’s most highly anticipated albums, including new releases from Franz Ferdinand, Capsula and The Dodos that all have sweet first singles to give you a taste of what the albums offer.
Plus, the last week of August also included other worthwhile releases from artists and bands like the wildly popular Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand, who offer more dance beats and less synths on their fourth album, featuring the single “Right Action,” one of the band’s best singles in years.
With the blood-pumping from Ferdinand’s “Right Action,” it was Argentinian band Capsula‘s new single, “Blind,” that really blew the roof off and blaze through while the song, “Substance,” from The Dodos wrapped up the trio of top singles nicely with it’s uptempo beats. Plus, one of the best singles of August, “Bootlegs,” an infectious, lo-fi garage pop rock track by New Zealand‘s rising indie rockers, Ghost Wave.
“Right Action” – Franz Ferdinand from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action on Domino Recording Co.
“Blind” – Capsula from Solar Secrets on Krian Music
“Substance” – The Dodos from Carrier on Polyvinyl Records
“Bootlegs” – Ghost Wave from Ages on Flying Nun Records
“Turn the Radio On” – The Suburbs from Si Sauvage on Twin Tone
Singles from New Albums by Joe Black Lewis, King Krule, Ghost Wave and Others
Fiery funk and gritty soul comprise the latest work of Austin music icon, Black Joe Lewis; genre gumbo, with chunks of hip-hop, spoonfuls of rock and pinches of jazz is one way to describe the new album from British musician Archy Marshall, better known as King Krule; and listen to and download new singles from Disappear, Dent May, The Suburbs, Flaamingos (not a mistype), and Ghost Wave. Let’s keep the beats and electric guitars going with the single, “Turn The Radio On,” from The Suburbs, a terrifically catchy, radio-ready (oddly enough) pop rock song with a great rhythm, and even a horn section. Overall, the band seems to be influenced by artists like The Eels, David Bowie and Nick Cave.
“Come To My Party” – Black Joe Lewis from Electric Slave on Vagrant Records
“Easy Easy” – King Krule from 6 Feet Beneath the Moon on True Panther Sounds
“When You Get To The Bottom” – Robbie Fulks from Gone Away Backward on Bloodshot Records
“Let Them Talk” – Dent May from Warm Blanket on Paw Tracks
“Power” – Disappears from Era on Kranky
“All I Wanna Do Is Live” – Flaamingos from Flaamingos on Felte Sounds
MODOC Officially Release Album Featuring Popular Single
The Nashville alternative rock band MODOC was originally formed back in 2009 by friends from Ball State University in Indiana. After they became a pretty big deal in the local music scene, the band decided to move to Nashville in 2011 to up their game. Not long after, ABC picked up the band’s single, “Devil On My Shoulders” for a promo of the television series 666 Park Avenue. Seemingly little things like that can give a band a nice bump, as it seemed to do for MODOC. They signed to Zavitson Music Group and released their self-titled sophomore album that featured a reworked version of “Devil On My Shoulder” as well as another single, “Runnin’. Last year the band drummed up excitement in ‘Music City’ with the song and video for the track, “Coward.” We are always welcoming of a great new band that knows how to rock and roll and has fun doing it.
“Devil On My Shoulder” – MODOC from Devil On My Shoulder
“Runnin” – MODOC from Devil On My Shoulder
San Francisco Artists Gamble Gamble Die and TaughtMe Drop Fantastic New LPs
The year-old San Francisco post college-rock, post-punk folk rock band Gamble Gamble Die released their debut EP, Badman, on August 30th totally DIY style. The title track is a sunny, but mellow, indie pop song with looping guitar notes, melodic bass and a mid-tempo drum beat with crashing cymbals. The lyric that stood out was “everytime you tell a lie/the baby Jesus cries.” The band goes all out experimental punk and semi-psychedelic on the Yoko Ono-like track, “Chicken.” It’s a rather strange song, and not appealing to many, but in their home base of San Francisco, a song like “Chicken” is not out of place. While cities like New York, Seattle and to some extent Austin and Los Angeles, might be contenders, no other city in the U.S. beats San Francisco when it comes to weird, trippy experimentation in all arts, including music. The city has been the epicenter of underground, experimental and avante garde music movements in the U.S. for five decades now. So Gamble Gamble Die are right where they probably need to be for what they want to do musically.
“Badman” – Gamble Gamble Die from Badman
“Chicken” – Gamble Gamble Die from Badman
Interestingly enough, another unusual, but talented, musical outfit from San Francisco, TaughtMe, also dropped a new album, Am I Old?, on Aug. 31st. Like Gamble Gamble Die, the songs are not the regular fare. Instead, TaughtMe, the musical project of acclaimed songwriter and musician Blake Henderson, crafts theatrical pop compositions that puts Henderson in the category with artists like Bjork, which just happens to be one of his top musical influences – go figure. Am I Old? is Henderson’s fifth release in a decade, and in between writing, recording and mixing, he toured extensively, performing in towns and cities across the United States and Europe. His music has received wide acclaim partly because it touches on guilt and innocence and other themes that are directly or indirectly affected by Henderson’s upbringing as a strict Mormon in Utah. San Francisco is about as far as one can get (less geographically) from Utah in terms of societal norms, culture and population.
Henderson wrote about this latest album: “I accepted that I was composing soliloquies and chose to own the fact rather than temper it. I named the collection Am I Old? and… my rawest album, and my best try so far to get real deep.”
“Into The Thicket” – TaughtMe from Am I Old?
“The Truth (Really?) Every Time” – TaughtMe from Am I Old?
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