Twenty fifteen and Crushed Beaks

Aine and Ben's wedding day

Here we are on the fledgling wings of yet another year, thousands of bands vying for our attention in a sea of Soundcloud links, drop dates and nervously planned record release gigs. On days like this I’m glad to be a lowly consumer rather than an actual musician. While it makes me sound lazy (and talentless), I much prefer snuggling on the sofa with a cup of coffee and listening rather than wrangling up band members’ calendars and figuring out who is available on what date at X venue in X city. What a headache. Cast solely as the role of Listener, I have none of the drama I hear and see occurring regularly among some of my musician friends (and strangers alike). I can pick and choose the little nuggets of lovely I listen to rather than say, having to sit through a long­winded Skype yarn from my drummer who has to go to his kid’s 1st grade Noah’s Ark performance instead of playing a gig that’s been planned for ages. Because, you see, Abby’s Imaginary Band is made up of oldsters, like me, with decent taste, day jobs and offspring:

“HE’S THE MALE OSTRICH. I CAN’T MISS IT.”

What a fucking pain. Right. Happy New Year. Moving on.

I must admit that while I scour the internet, shops and magazines for new music, radio has proven itself an integral part in opening my ears to tunes I otherwise would have missed. Take new-­to-­me favorites Crushed Beaks and their airwave­-friendly single ‘Overgrown’.

A few choice senders have been playing the grooves out of it, and for good reason. Hailing from SE London, Crushed Beaks have been tickling ears with several EPs since 2011. 2015, however, will play host to their full-­length debut, Scatter. Armed with a mutual love of horror flicks, Alex Morris, Matthew Poile and newest recruit Scott Bowley present smart, hook-­filled pop with just enough fuzz and grit to tempt the ears of staunch shoegazers and indiepop kids alike (hi).

Continue reading Twenty fifteen and Crushed Beaks

Tor Miller: “Midnight”

It’ll be Friday night soon. What will you be doing at midnight? I hope you the feel the same way as Tor Miller.

(PS: Miller is only 20 years old.)

Bonus:

Preorder the Headlights EP

Vök

VOK

These folks may be popular, but it’s the first I’m hearing of them, and damn am I smitten. Margret Ran Magnusdóttir, an openly gay singer, fronts the Icelandic Vök trio, and I only mention that because she’s made a point of sharing how her story, from an Icelandic perspective, has influenced her music. Regardless of what’s influenced her music, it’s a gorgeous and chilling slice of dream pop with an array of instrumentation, including an unexpected jazz twist.

Vök is set to release an upcoming EP, Tension, so be on the lookout.

[MP3] The Things of Youth: “Eleventeen”

Things_of_Youth

When I first started listening to “indie” music, so to speak, it was the likes of The American Analog Set and Pinback. Laid-back, understated pop with a certain twang that uniquely defined to whom the music belonged. I’ve been missing that lately, but luckily for me The Things of Youth have come along to fill that void and make me nostalgic for the days that used to be.

Have a listen to a couple of bonus tracks on YouTube.

Monophona: “Thumb”

Monophona, you’ve impressed me. “Thumb” sticks out like a sore one in the best way possible – it’s madly unique with acoustic instrumentation, sampled backgrounds, and dark/edgy atmospherics. All in all, it adds up to an odd assortment of beautiful sounds and a track that I’m finding tricky to get out of my head.

Monophona is releasing their second LP, BlackonBlack, at the end of the month.

[MP3] The North Country: “The Cross We Bear”

The North Country

Sometimes it’s hard to know where you want to be. Or who you are. Are you content or are you looking for something more? Can you ever really be content? When do we get to that moment in life where we confidently say “I am fulfilled. This is me.”?  I don’t know the answers. But I’m learning the journey.

There Is Nothing To Fear is due April 20.

Knox Road’s Top Albums of 2014

KR Top Albums 2014 2

As usual, we asked Knox Road writers to provide their Top Albums of 2014. We’re excited to provide you with the results just in time for the new year! We’ve got some great lists and even better blurbs. Have a happy new year.

Continue reading Knox Road’s Top Albums of 2014

[soundscape] and bravely, i.

andreia

[ed. note: refer to the first “and bravely, i.” soundscape for context]

photo: andreia

song: brother courage – “growing old”

“i imagine yes is the only living thing.” — ee cummings

there is one still point in a turning world. one piece of clarity for each moment. one bright star, winking at you, before closing its sleepy eyes and going dark and quiet. the world is big, but our kingdom small.

i think about our moments, strung together like the christmas tree lights of rockefeller center, and i don’t know how to disconnect from them. that now, they are buzzing and humming along inside of my body, threatening to float out of my mouth every time i open it to speak or yawn or smoke a cigarette; like lightening bugs in a glass mason jar. and i feel too full of them, and i feel like there are too many in there to possibly allow for any more new moments to come in. and i know that with each new moment i allow in now, i am threatening to trample the old moments. our moments. i want to preserve them, but i so desperately wish to keep them separate; to keep them neatly, organized by dewey decimal system, so i can take them out gingerly and examine them — one by one — when i want to. not this rushing that i feel now. not this tangle of chords and wires that have no beginning or end.

i want to keep them because they are a part of me now. intrinsically. they oxygenate my bloodstream along with my memories of the duck pond when i was four, and looking up at the moon when i was three, and driving from california to nashville when i was a too-old 18.

and i want to keep them because losing them, somehow, would be more painful than not ever having had them.

they are within, and you are there, and i am here, and sometimes there is too much everywhere.

but yes to the everywhere. yes to the everything. yes to the overwhelming pressure of a new atmosphere.

yes to this new, unexplored world of mine. a world of indian summers and barefoot adventures and too little sleep and too long drives. and yes to new memories joining the old. and yes to the small pulp of my life.

and i know it’s foolish to believe in a world like this; a world outside my small kingdom.

and i know it’s foolish to believe in a world like this; a world all my own.

but yes.

photo by bari sowa more

Hundreds: “Ten Headed Beast”

Hundreds new video for “Ten Headed Beast” is colorful and beautifully imagined, but the main reason why I’m posting it here is because I can’t stop listening to the song itself.

“Ten Headed Beast” is off the album Aftermath.

Joseph

Joseph Native Dreamer Kin

Today in bands that need way more recognition comes Joseph, a sister trio out of the Pacific Northwest (actually, a small town named Joseph in eastern Oregon.) I’d be happy for them coming from such a beautiful place if it meant they’d still tour on this side of the country, but from the looks of it nothing is planned right now. Ever since I caught Lucius opening for Milo Greene a couple years ago I’ve been looking for another band with deeply powerful female harmonies and vocals, and Joseph fits the bill. Their songs are elegant, compelling and potent. I haven’t been able to stop listening since finding them a couple days ago, and I imagine this feeling will last for at least another couple of weeks. Check out three of my favorites off their debut album, Native Dreamer Kin, below, and listen to the full thing on Bandcamp.