The Update

Wow, I’m actually posting something? What is going on? Well, I’m posting to tell you that I’m a new man, and one of my new policies is to update this thing at least every monday with a review or some news or what I’ve been listening to or a picture of a dinosaur. I like dinosaurs.

Anyway, I’ve missed a lot in the last two months, so this post is going to fill you, o’valued reader, in on what Josh has been listening to for the last two months he was farting around.

JANUARY

The Joy Formidable- Wolf’s Law

The first song I heard from these guys was “Whirring” off their first major release, The Big Roar. What impressed me was not the technical playing or performance, but just the very idea that this huge shoegaze/loud alternative sound was coming from three people. This ‘roaring’ rock sound continues through in Wolf’s Law and is complimented by a perfect mixture of swelling, powerful guitars and incorporations of light ambient synths that blend excellently with an otherwise Rock and Roll sound. Ritzy Bryan has proved herself to be an excellent presence when surrounded by these bombastic soundscapes, and whether her voice is distorted or clean, it always cuts through and dominates the track. If you liked The Big Roar, or just need something with pure rock sensibilities and a kick-ass female lead singer, Wolf’s Law takes the cake so far this year. Here’s “This Ladder is Ours”, the first track on this exceptional album.

Foxygen- We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

Okay, let’s get one thing straight. I don’t like the Rolling Stones. Not that I have any sort of problem with them; they just don’t really do much for me. I can’t deny the allure and majesty of songs like “Gimme’ Shelter”, but other than that I’ve never found a motivation to fanboy over Mick or Keith or any of the others. When listening to this record, however, I hear an uncanny resemblance to the stones sound and for some reason I am not deterred; I am attracted to it. It may be that Foxygens’ sound also has sprinkles of The Velvet Underground, psychedelic era Beatles and Bob Dylan (all of which I enjoy), but it’s the Stones attitude that made this record stand out like it does. Maybe this is the breaking point. Maybe this is when I start to understand why Paint It Black is a good song. Anyway, Foxygen’s psychedelic and interestingly named debut has a welcome place in my library, and it may have just opened doors in my own musical intelligence I didn’t know existed. Check out “No Destruction” below.

FEBRUARY

Coheed & Cambria- The Afterman: Descension

Coheed moves triumphantly forward with their new Afterman project while still incorporating the melodic and lyrical aspects that made me fall in love with them in the first place. If someone told me this record had a song with horns in it, I would have assumed the worst, but the track in question was refreshing while still maintaining the sound I can’t get enough of. If you like Coheed, especially the stuff before No World for Tomorrow, give this a listen.

Foals – Holy Fire

Foals is an interesting band. A blend of dance indie acts like Friendly Fires and Two Door Cinema Club, more traditional alternative acts like Interpol, and a bit of electronic introspection the likes of Caribou and even recent Radiohead releases, Foals brings something new to the table. Most tracks in their first release Total Life Forever almost adopted a post-rocky building structure, and this release uses the same idea more effectively; the pieces of the build are more interesting, and they move faster towards a grand climax. Also similar to their first release, many of the tracks are danceable and catchy, and lead singer Yannis Philippakis brings a bluesy grooving feel to match the tribal drums and syncopated guitars. Check out  their single “Inhaler” below.

Jim James- Regions of Light and Sound of God

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James sure knows how to groove. His crooning voice reminds me eerily of Dirty Projectors lead singer David Longstreth at some points, and his moving piano lines and bouncing drum beats keep you paying attention. I unfortunately don’t have much of a background with MMJ, but this introspective and bright endeavor has just motivated me to do my homework and see what I’ve been missing. Here’s “Know Til Now”, my favorite off the record.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Push the Sky Away

Nick Cave has been around for a while. His group The Bad Seeds have been around since ’83. I have not explored his music before, but like the Jim James album mentioned above, this release has motivated me to see what I’ve been missing. Drifting between an Avante-Garde spoken word sound and orchestral alternative rock, Nick Cave seems to produce haunting melodies and chilling spoken poetry with the same ease as a more tradition rhythm and melody. His music, much like predecessor Tom Waits, tells a story, and although the instrumentals are excellent, it’s the lyrics that really makes Cave superior to some of the other similar acts that have formed after him. Here’s a good sample of his sound (for this album at least), “Wide Lovely Eyes”. The video also does an excellent job of highlighting Cave’s lyrical complexities.

Atoms For Peace- Amok

Finally, back to familiar territory. For those of you unaware, Atoms for Peace is a supergroup of sorts formed by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke with his producer and long time friend Nigel Godrich, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame, Drummer Joey Waronker (who works mostly with Beck), and Brazilian percussionist Mauro Rafosco. Put them all together, and you get a delightfully spacey and beat-laced release that incorporates the electronic themes of Radiohead’s last effort on a whole other level. The record is sample heavy and very polyrhythmic, but Thom’s simple and ensnaring vocal melodies keep each track grounded so you know when to bob your head. On previous singles and unreleased tracks, I hadn’t noticed how much Mauro contributes to the sound, but his varied arsenal of percussion brings unexplored timbres and new flavors to an otherwise familiar Thom Yorke (dare I say it) masterpiece. Overall, the record is solid, especially if you enjoy the electronic and ambient textures found on In Rainbows, King of Limbs, and Thom’s solo effort The Eraser. Here’s the excellent video for  “Ingenue”.

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Welp, that’s all I got. I will be updating mondays, so keep coming back to see if I post a dinosaur picture. Seeya then!

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A Brief Post: Delta Spirit

I feel a little late to the party after realizing this album from San Diego-based Delta Spirit came out in March. An animated tribal beat and reverb-soaked guitars are only complimented by an animated tongue roll in this energized track off the bands self-titled. I strongly recommend checking these guys out.

It’s Been A While..

After a busy weekend, I have a lot to share.

First of all, if you enjoy good music, and you live on the East Coast of the USA, you’re probably crying inside over the fact that you weren’t at Coachella. I had to soothe my case of the blues with the full Radiohead set recorded and uploaded to Youtube. Check it out!

On Saturday, I went into New York to see an upcoming act by the name of Mitchell Grey. A four piece including guitarist Joe Diaz (who I know personally), singer Ryan Bandong, bassist Napon Pintong, and drummer Matt Pana the band has been playing together for about 2 years. They had so much energy, this being their first performance since their album dropped last week. Their summery, bright-but-sophisticated sound is a breath of fresh air. You can listen to the whole album below, But I recommend supporting them through Itunes or Amazon. You can get more information from their Facebook page here.

I simply can’t finish this post before mentioning the amazing Tori Kelly, who opened for Mitchell Grey. If the name sounds familiar, she made it past auditions in Season 9 of American Idol, and for good reason; Her voice is breath-taking. I got the chills several times over the course of one song. Check out her single ‘Confetti’ and eagerly await the album release with me.

Sigur Ros Announce Tour Dates

Icelandic Post-Rock group Sigur Rós have announced a North America tour to go along with their new album Valtari, which will be released on May 30th. For those of you who have never experienced Sigur Rós, you are missing out on an amazing group. The lead singer, who goes by the name of Jonsí, has an incredible powerful falsetto, and the instrumentation on many of their tracks is absolutely breathtaking. Their music has been featured on several different commercials, and this one is probably the most recognizable. Do yourself a favor and listen to Takk… all the way through.

For those of you familiar with the band, check out the new single.

Boys & Girls- Alabama Shakes

For those of you that don’t know, Alabama Shakes is a band formed in, you guessed it, Athens, Alabama in 2009. Their throwback sound reminds me of a more modern Motown, and singer Brittany Howard could not fit anymore soul within her exquisite vocal melodies. Whether it be a slow waltz, or a southern rock jam session that strangely works within their instrumentation, Howard’s’ blues wails take center stage.

If you’re looking for energetic, classic southern blues with a rock tinge and a Motown vibe, look no further than Alabama Shakes.
Check out my personal pick, I Found You.