[The Past Presents] The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (1976)

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The Past Presents is typically where I take a fresh look at an older album, either because it’s regarded as a classic album and I’d like to see if it still holds up, or because it’s an album I feel is special and it never really got the love it deserves. For me, this column was always about looking at the records that many people feel are essential to every record collection. Moving forward, The Past Presents will still bring you these looks back at some great older records, but in and around those reviews, I’ll be writing about my own experiences with some records that are widely loved but I’ve just never had the time to hear. Oftentimes I’ll read about albums that have been on best-of lists for decades or my friends will tell me how great their favorite records are. Some of these I just have not had the time to hear beyond what a friend has played for me or what’s been curated by commercial radio. Sometimes I want to know if a Steely Dan album is really as bad as the singles I’ve heard. To make an effort to fill in some of these gaps for myself, I’ll be hitting record stores looking for albums I’ve heard about but have never listened to, then writing about my impressions. I’ve made a few rules for myself: I have to listen to the album start to finish three times before I write anything, I cannot research the album or the band in any way prior to listening, I can’t read re-issue liner notes, etc. This has to try and replicate a clean, unbiased first listen as much as possible.

To begin this new experiment I’ve chosen The Modern Lovers self-titled debut.

Continue reading [The Past Presents] The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (1976)

New Frightened Rabbit side project: Owl John

This came out of nowhere. Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison teamed up with fellow FR bandmate Andy Monaghan and friend Simon Liddell to create Owl John. Our first listen comes in the form of a song called “Hate Music” which is a darkly marching intense and brooding tune. Frightened Rabbit has had this kind of passion before, but the music has not been so startlingly deliberate.

Buffalo Sunn

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Six piece Dublin band Buffalo Sunn (formerly Sweet Jane) hit my hears hard today. I would have posted something sooner but Soundcloud was having issues. I’m not a happy person when Soundcloud acts up. Just like a misbehaving child, it disappoints us all. But they’ve rebounded and I’m back grooving to Buffalo Sunn. The music is nothing earth-shattering, but that’s kind of why I like it, especially nowadays. They do simple catchy pop rock, and they do it well. Keep an eye out for their new album By The Ocean, By The Sea, due out later this year via Reekus Records. Hear their new single, “By Your Side,” on YouTube.

[MP3] Imperial Mammoth: “Little Earthquakes”

I gotta admit something. I couldn’t post anything the last few days not because I was busy, but because I could not find a single new artist or piece of music I wanted to post about. So thank god Imperial Mammoth came my way with some new songs off their upcoming album Gold Confetti. This LA duo is sure to take the indie scene by storm with their melodic pop anthems. Sugary vocals and lush buildups give Imperial Mammoth the new feel-good hit of the Summer with “Little Earthquakes.” Sit back, relax, and enjoy your group rides with the top down and the windows open.

Eliza Shaddad: “Waters”

Eliza Shaddad, the Sudanese/Scottish songstress, is set to release her debut EP, Waters, June 16 via Beatnik Creative. She is well known to some as a member of EDM chamber group Clean Bandit, but her solo work on Waters is a significant departure and showcases Shaddad’s impressive versatility. “Waters” is slow-building, dark and tribal. Shaddad’s alto captivates as she raises her voice throughout to complement the song’s final emotional bursts. Bonus track below.

Mannequins on 7th Street

Mannequins on 7th Street, based in London but originally from Belgium, makes perfect rainy day music. Looking for the next Zero 7, but in male form? Well, the Mannequins duo is delivering similar blissed out electronic music and you’d be remiss not to keep track of their promising future.

Mount Sharp

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Mount Sharp, comprised of some of the coolest dudes I know, including one of my What Blog?! partners, Bryan Bruchman, have announced that their first physical release, WEIRD FEARS EP, will be available this summer via yk records. If first single “Crazy Eyes” is indicative of what’s to come, we’re in for a real treat. Killer guitar lines and raw but accessible female vocals take their place on the engaging jam. It’s the kind of summer music I need.

[MP3] The Lake District: “Framed”

When we talk about music, we oftentimes come up with banal platitudes to describe what the heck something sounds like in a way we think we’ve never described something in the past. It all comes out to synonymous adjectives and sometimes induces WTF faces. The Lake District aka Trevor Ransom, from Seattle, got creative in sending his music. Let’s go with his words.

Framed is best listened to as you think about the last scene in Casablanca.

Though Frank dons a calm face, there is no doubt of the underlying emotion behind his appearance. Framed is about his thoughts as he watches his love walk off into the gray, to get on an airplane and never come back again. It’s about the sweet, now ash tasting memories of times they shared before innocent love was torn apart by the war. It’s about the enveloping emotions of heartache, and hopelessness that threaten to crumple him. And… at the end of it all, it’s about waking up the next day and facing the world, drained of color, but with a belief that one day the color will return.

The Lake District – “Framed” [MP3]

I’ve been listening to a lot of scores lately of films I’ve never even watched, so this was a pleasant surprise. That may make me lame, but I’m okay with it.

Doe Paoro’s ‘Ink on the Walls’ EP

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My good friend Doe Paoro returned with a new EP, Ink on the Walls, this week, marking a vast departure in production from her previous works. She collaborated with S. Carey of Bon Iver fame, and he added necessary tightness to her raw sound. Justin Vernon – surprise! – is featured as well. The soul is still very much there, and Doe’s vocals, as usual, propel the tunes forward, but she needed this to gain ground on the upper echelon of indie artists, and that she has done. Watch her just-released video for “Walking Backwards,” the strongest track on the EP and give the full thing a listen below.

[MP3] Animal Years: “Got Nowhere To Go”

This week’s vote for most-likely-to-end-up-on-a-tv-show is Animal Years’ new single “Got Nowhere To Go”! Brimming with energy and radiating pop sunshine, it’s oh so easy to picture a character running through the streets to his loved one’s destination at the end of the episode. BUT DO THEY KISS?! I would assume so, if you listen to the whole song. The backing harmonies make “Got Nowhere To Go” soar.

Sun Will Rise (The Deluxe Edition) will be released by The Orchard on May 6.