Landlady

landlady upright behavior

I guess I’m kind of behind the curve on this one, as Pitchfork just reviewed their album (with a dandy score in the sevens!), but Brooklyn’s Landlady deserves even more love. With free-flowing energy that has been severely lacking in so much of everything these days and a somehow tender abrasiveness, Landlady packs a much-needed punch. The orchestral arrangements typically culminate in full crescendos toward the second half of songs, which always leaves me wanting more.

Purchase Upright Behavior on Bandcamp

Leanids

Leanids A Wildly

Raw folk and earnest vocals describe Leanids well. The Swedish outfit builds intensity on one track and slows things back down on the next (or several tempos in one!). There’s a sense of sincerity on their new record, A Wildly, which few bands are able to convey. Leanids are making music they want to make, and I can tell – I can’t stress enough how far that goes in the listening experience.

A Wildly is mighty fine BBQ and tiki torch music. In fact, I think I’ll do it all this weekend.

A Wildly is available for “name your price” at Bandcamp.

New Letting Up Despite Great Faults: “Wrapped”

Letting Up Neon

It’s taken me way too long to post the new Letting Up Despite Great Faults material, and for that I apologize. This crew has been one of my favorites over my blogging (and pre-blogging) years, in both personality and musicianship. I adore everything they put it out. Frankly, it’s hard not to. Not liking Letting Up Despite Great Faults is like saying you hate puppies! I DON’T GET YOU. Plus, they always have the best album covers, so there’s that.

Neon comes out August 12.

[The Past Presents] Joe Jackson – Body and Soul (1984)

Joe_Jackson_-_Body_And_Soul

In a lot of ways, the 1980s were a strange decade. Speaking specifically to the musical output there was a lot to like, but it was dominated by fads and failed experiments. As someone who had limited access to music other than what my parents played or what popular radio had to offer, the 80s were a kind of dark period for me until much later in life. But during those dark times some names were always part of the conversation, even if they just skirted around the fringe. One of those names was Joe Jackson.

I feel like I’ve always known Jackson’s name. I knew that he had some radio hits but I absolutely could not name one of them. I knew he had a few hit records, one was Look Sharp, the other had a white and blue cover, maybe with a drawing of a piano or something on it. This is about as much as I knew about Joe Jackson. In my pursuit to fill in some holes in my fabric of music information I decided it was time to see what Joe Jackson was all about.

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[MP3] Fitness Club Fiasco: “Hades”

Fitness Club Fiasco

Fitness Club Fiasco, of Toronto, is back with new single “Hades,” which was actually inspired by the band’s experience watching loved ones battle cancer. The emotional highs and lows are on full display in this dynamic track. Driven by electro beats and lulling harmonies, “Hades” is a sufficiently lush tune.

Duplekita

Duplekita

Duplekita, the new project of Faunts co-founder Tim Batke out of Edmonton, makes some of my favorite kind of music. Expansive, electronic pop with sweet, hushed vocals and a building, layered melody. It’s a sound that can be listened to on repeat without a care in the world. I’ll put on my headphones, close my eyes in the summer breeze, and know that everything will be okay.

Duplekita’s debut album, The Sound Of My Name, is out July 29th via Kinsella Recordings.

[MP3] Eliza Shaddad: “Hideaway” (Kiesza cover)

Check out Eliza Shaddad’s take on Kiesza’s “Hideaway” with production by Turtle. In case you forgot, I featured the Sudanese/Scottish singer a little over a month ago. She’s dynamite, and so is this cover. Shaddad recently released her debut EP, Waters, via Beatnik Creative.

Andrew Rinehart: “Doin’ What We Have To Do (feat. Cheyenne Mize)”

For some strange reason, this new song from Andrew Rinehart (aka Andrew Sellers) was sent to my spam folder. I couldn’t think of a less-deserving track for that to happen to. Laden with heavy strings and Rinehart’s mellow, poignant vocals, “Doin’ What We Have To Do” should be a massively licensed single for film and/or television in the most delicate moments; perhaps soundtracking a deep country expanse (Liza Richardson and Friday Night Lights would have been all over this). It doesn’t hurt that the honeyed and sentimental timbre of Cheyenne Mize makes an impactful appearance.

Don’t sleep on Rinehart. His debut EP, Everything (Part I), drops digitally on Tuesday, June 17th.

Phox: “1936″

I heard a song from Phox way back when, and then for some terrible reason I forgot about them. Probably reasons that befall all music bloggers. There are just too many bands to remember. Luckily, their label – Partisan Records – got in touch with a new song of theirs, “1936,” and it’s simply delightful. Mellow falsetto vocals, relaxing harmonies, and an enjoyable, buoyant melody carry the tune. Check out this beautiful La Blogotheque video of Phox performing “1936″ and “Calico Man.” Their debut record comes out June 24.

Bonus:

[The Past Presents] Catherine Wheel – Adam and Eve (1997)

Catherine Wheel

At this point in history I think it would be difficult to find many people who would exclude Radiohead’s OK Computer from a list of the best albums of 1997. I’d also wager that more than 70 percent of those lists would have OK Computer in the number 1 position. Few will argue that OK Computer is an album that will be listened to for decades to come. By 2000, Radiohead was basking in the glow of their fantastic follow-up album, Kid A, and were pretty well set up as one of the biggest bands in the world.

At the same time, another UK band, Catherine Wheel, was calling it quits. In 1997, Catherine Wheel also released an album, Adam and Eve. Like OK Computer, Adam and Eve was lauded by long-time fans and critics as the band’s masterpiece. Prior to this release, Catherine Wheel was known for their guitar-heavy shoegaze albums, particularly from their debut, Ferment, and its heavier follow-up, Chrome. Adam and Eve, the band’s fourth album, signaled a bold, exciting shift in the band’s sound, much like Radiohead’s leap from The Bends to OK Computer.

Catherine Wheel and Radiohead’s music followed similar trajectories in the 1990s. Both bands had highly successful debut records with big singles; Radiohead had “Creep” and Catherine Wheel had “Black Metallic.” Those debuts were followed by sophomore albums, The Bends and Chrome, respectively, which saw both bands brushing off a bit of the fuzz from their sound and pumping up the guitars. Catherine Wheel open Chrome with the thunderous “Kill Rhythm,” probably the closest shoegaze ever came to arena rock. Radiohead’s most popular track from The Bends was “Fake Plastic Trees,” which was one of the mellower tracks on the album. While The Bends was a great album it was clear that Radiohead needed a new direction or they would surely fade out.

Continue reading [The Past Presents] Catherine Wheel – Adam and Eve (1997)