Evil is Always One Step Behind

"Evil is Always One Step Behind" // by Pale Seas // Places to Haunt (Out 8.11.14 via Native Pop)

The first single from the forthcoming Pale Seas EP, Places to Haunt, was released recently, but you can now stream the entire collection via Soundcloud. Even better news is that one of the best songs of the past several months can be found on that EP, in the form of the haunting, mesmerizing 7 minute stunner, “Evil is Always One Step Behind”. Pale Seas have been on my radar for a while now, and I’ve loved everything that they’ve released (including earlier versions of this song) but with this track, they step into a whole new light. No longer a young band with some great songs, this is a great band with an extremely bright future ahead of them. I can’t wait to hear what happens next, but in the meantime, i’m content to spend several months randomly listening to “Evil is Always One Step Behind” on repeat. 

*Check out the video for “Evil is Always One Step Behind”

Let U Know

"Let U Know" by How to Dress Well // What Is This Heart (Bonus Cut) (Available Now via Domino/Weird World)

It’s been a little over a month since the release of the third album by How to Dress Well. In that time, the album saw the release of several versions of the format release, one of which was the expanded triple pack LP, which featured two bonus cuts that didn’t make the final cut of the album. “Let U Know” is one of those songs, and it’s now streaming from the artist’s Soundcloud page with a little information on the track’s origins:

“In singing ‘Let U Know,’ I discovered the title of my album and a lot of its meaning—I needed this song to be heard by people, even though I couldn’t find a place for it on the album proper. When I made this song, singing over a song originally by one of my best friends, a lot of what I’d developed on “WITH?” just came clear to me—these questions, these relationships with the past and the future, all this love…”

Go ahead and stream the aching, minimalist beauty now. It may not have made the final cut of the album, but that doesn’t mean the quality is suffering in the least. Highest recommendation. 

Astronauts, etc.: Fuss

"Fuss" by Astronauts, etc. // Sadie EP (Out 9.6.14 via Hit City U.S.A.)

And here a friend and I were just talking about how we were wondering when Bay area producer, Anthony Ferraro (Astronauts, etc.) was going to drop some new sounds. As luck would have it, damn near immediately. Ferraro has recently with a new label (Hit City U.S.A.) and has a new EP on the way this September. Up first though, is the new single, “Fuss” which finds the artist in excellent form. The new track continues Ferraro’s genre mashup experimentations - bringing his grasp on sexy R&B sounds and integrating psych pop and dream pop sounds to create a gorgeous and smooth sound that can provide as much excitement for a night out on town beneath city lights as it would a quiet night with a special someone, or hell - just about wherever you want to hear something great. Keep an eye peeled on Astronauts, etc. because Ferraro feels primed for a breakout. 

Beneath The Air

"Beneath The Air" by Absolutely Free // Absolutely Free (Out 10.14.14 via Lefse Records)

It’s pretty great when you hear something that just sounds like a discovery. Not necessarily that it’s the first time that you’ve even heard a particular band or artist, but that time when you were forced to take notice. Hearing the first official single from Absolutely Free's forthcoming self-titled debut has that feeling. It's a song permeating warm energy that feels like it is positively free from gravity. From the gently propulsive drum loop to the twinkling synths to the hypnotic underlying percussion and onto the gorgeous light as air vocals, there is not a misplaced note to be heard. If I wasn't giving Absolutely Free my full attention before, “Beneath the Air” locked it down for the foreseeable future. 

Iroquois

"Iroquois" by Cemeteries // Track & Field Summer Compilation Vol. 1 (Out 7.29.14 via Track and Field Records)

It’s been a pretty great summer (so far) for random one off singles and pre-release promos. The result usually finds me adding another name to my list of anticipated releases. When it comes to Cemeteries, it’s a name that stays on top of the list. Kyle J. Reigle’s haunting dream pop project is currently do for a new full length sometime in the next few months (release date TBD). In the meantime, Reigle’s contribution to the forthcoming Summer compilation from Track & Field records is here to satiate that hunger/anticipation. “Iroquois” finds the artist expanding and exploring new areas of his sound. There’s an ominous urgency here that calls to mind the earlier post-punk days of The Cure, but at the same time “Iroquois” feels one hundred percent like Cemeteries - which is always a good thing. In a very short amount of time, Reigle’s work has developed into a signature that feels wholly his own. When I look around at other bands exploring dream pop and shoegaze sounds, no one is doing it like Cemeteries. There’s an eerily beautiful atmosphere hovering over these tracks, that feels cinematic and alive in a way that very few artists are capturing these days, and it’s just one more reason to be excited for whatever is coming down the line from Cemeteries. 

Be sure to check out volume one of the Track & Field Summer Compilation, for this and many other tracks from up and coming artists. Of course, be sure to keep an eye peeled for that sophomore release from Cemeteries later this year. Highest possible recommendation. 

When I Was Dead

"When I Was Dead" by Corduroy Capes // Winter EP (Out Now via Bandcamp)

In trying to play catch up with all of the new music that I should be listening to - I keep getting sucked in by great tunes that end up absorbing hours of my day. One of my recent obsessions is Toronto’s Corduroy Capes (Brian Vendiola) and his new EP, Winter. It’s only three tracks deep, but Vendiola makes excellent use of his time. The centerpiece is “When I Was Dead”, an autumnal bit of dream pop that has post punk blood coursing through it’s veins. It’s a woozy sort of beauty that genuinely feels like a dream. A chilly beat chugs forward through airy atmospherics as glimmering guitars and distant, hazy vocals provide an instantly memorable melody that you want to hear over and over again. It’s a stellar track. One of the best to come down the line in a few months. Keep an eye peeled for Corduroy Capes. This is something really incredible. Highly recommended for fans of Prince Innocence, The Snow, and Minks.

DEAD AND BURIED

"Dead and Buried" by Main Beach // Dead and Buried - Single (Out Now // Free Download via Bandcamp)

You know that feeling that you get when you hear a song and you just know that you’re going to spend a lot of time listening to it on repeat? I had that feeling immediately upon hearing “Dead and Buried” from Sydney’s Main Beach. For four minutes you are transported to that place where nostalgia meets reality - the end of a perfect summer before heading back to school, or that place where that crush you’ve harbored for months transitions to somethign serious and there’s no going back. It’s that sort of youthful nostalgia that permeates throughout every note of “Dead and Buried”. On face value, it could as well just be a laid back summer beach jam, but there’s a faded beauty to it that feels more melancholic than triumphant. It’s a killer track and one that you can grab for free at Bandcamp right now. Highly recommended for fans of Ducktails, Seapony, and Sea Lions.

AniloreGigondas

"Gigondas" by Anilore // Dead Love’s Grave (Out Now via Bandcamp)

Sometimes it’s just hard to hear all of the wonderful things that are waiting for hungry ears. Luckily, i’ve managed to squirrel away a little time catch up as of late, and finding things like the new album from New York shoegazers, Anilore, makes it worth while. “Gigondas” is one of the many highlights to be found on Anilore’s new album, Dead Love’s Grave. It’s the kind of sound that wraps itself around you in an ethereal haze. The kind of song that sounds like it was designed to soundtrack a quiet walk home on a chilly autumn night. There is an otherworldly atmosphere wrapped throughout that calls to mind the strange beauty of past acts like This Mortal Coil while also tapping into the lonely, heartbreaking chamber pop of contemporaries like Gem Club. There’s a lot to love here and a lot in which to lose yourself. You can stream the whole, wonderful album at Bandcamp right now. Highly recommended. 

If Only

"If Only" by White Peaks // Omnipresence (Available Now via Bandcamp)

Randomly stumbling upon a great track is one of my favorite things. You’re not expecting much and then the next thing that you know, you’ve listened to it on repeat for like 30 minutes and you’re texting friends to share the find. “If Only” by White Peaks is just such a song. White Peaks is the work of Brighton based musician, Matt Carington, but don’t expect a small, bedroom pop sound because of the one-man band - “If Only” is a sweetly melancholic ballad that positively soars once the chorus hits. The track has the kind of widescreen, cinematic sound that you would expect it to be scoring the trailer to some heartbreaking film trailer, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens fairly soon. White Peaks is definitely an act to watch. There’s some really wonderful work taking place on Omnipresence. Check it out now over at Bandcamp

Handsome Ghost - The Trapeze Swinger

"The Trapeze Swinger" by Handsome Ghost // Blood Stutter EP (Out Now via Color Study)

There was a period of time when I was a pretty big fan of Iron & Wine's music. Over the years as Sam Beam has explored different sounds, I’ve lost some of that connection that I felt to the music he released pre-2006. That being said, I still enjoy those early records and from a straight lyrical standpoint, one could argue that “The Trapeze Swinger” is right up there with his best. It’s also almost ten minutes long, which is just a couple of the reasons that I was a bit nervous about how a cover by Massachusetts based indie-electro-pop artist, Handsome Ghost, might sound. Turns out, I didn’t need to be nervous at all. Handsome Ghost’s take on “The Trapeze Swinger” tucks and shifts things around in a way that keeps the melancholic beauty of the original, but updates it with an ambient pop delivery that manages to shave three minutes off the run time, but still keep a good bit of the emotional punch. Those who love the original might find the electronics a little jarring, but it all balances out nicely and holds true to the original track’s heart-on-sleeve confessionals. It’s a really nice (and ballsy) take on a damn near classic from the aughts. 

Pale Seas - Wicked Dreams

"Wicked Dreams" by Pale Seas // Places to Haunt (Out 8.11.14 via Native Pop)

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to hear an official release from Pale Seas. Apparently, I was waiting for long enough to let this one slip by me. After 2012’s jaw droppingly good single, “Bodies”, let’s just say that I’d listen to anything that the band released. Luckily, they’re on the verge of dropping they’re debut EP (Places to Haunt) and the official single, “Wicked Dreams” is another slice of dreamy folk pop rich with lovely harmonies and shimmering guitars. It’s a must listen, and highly recommended for fans of Fear of Men, Veronica Falls, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

(Source: yvynyl / Pale Seas)

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Wrapped

"Wrapped" by Letting Up Despite Great Faults // Neon (Out 8.12.14 via Bandcamp)

Austin based dream poppers, Letting Up Despite Great Faults, seem to always be in top form. Each album or EP that drops is as good if not better than the last. It’s that consistency that keeps me coming back, but I have to admit that after hearing their wonderful new album, Neon, that they might be hitting a highwater mark this time out. Look no further than the sparkling first single, “Wrapped”, as evidence of the surge. The lush layering of shimmering synths and effervescent electronics give “Wrapped” a warm and immediate presence - making it hard not to take notice and hold your attention for the duration of the three and a half minutes. Gorgeous vocal harmonies and a surging beat make it hard to forget once that time is up, so returning to the beginning is the best option. It’s the kind of fantastic track that makes you fall in love with the song as much as the youthful memories that it calls to mind - similar to the the way that Stars or Broken Social Scene are able to do at their best. If you like what you hear, swing over to the band’s Bandcamp page and stream the entire new album before it drops on August 12th. Highly recommended. 

Midnight Hours

"Midnight Hours" by Wunder Wunder // Everything Infinite (Out Now via Dovecote Recoards)

One of the very best albums that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing as of late comes from the Los Angeles by way of Melbourne duo, Wunder Wunder. “Midnight Hours” is certainly one of the standouts (in album loaded with them), and so for those unaware of the work of Wunder Wunder, this is a prime place to start. The duo uses their love of 60’s and 70’s psych pop to lay the groundwork, and from there they layer on the magic - airy synths, crisp acoustics, delicate electronic flourishes, and an instantly memorable vocal melody. Imagine a combination of early Toro Y Moi meshed with Ducktails, produced by Washed Out and you’ll be in the ballpark, but it’s best to just listen for yourself because it’s a special treat. 

Sweet Dear

"Sweet Dear" by La Hell Gang // Thru Me Again (Out Now via Mexican Summer)

The Chilean three piece, La Hell Gang, recently dropped their new album, Thru Me Again, on the always reliable, Mexican Summer. The album finds the band venturing into atmospheric psych rock territory all the while, filtering those sounds through other lenses such as shoegaze and drone. “Sweet Dear” is a prime example of the kind of swirling psychedelia in which the band excels - ominous waves of guitar weave through shadowy feedback as the vocals are delivered in a distant narco-haze. It’s the kind of great tune that can make you an instant fan. Highly recommended for fans of Tame Impala, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the Black Angels

Adult Diversion

"Adult Diversion" by Alvvays // Alvvays (Out 7.22.14 via Royal Mountain Records)

I’ve been forgetting to do a proper post regarding the forthcoming self-titled album from the Toronto based 5-piece, Alvvays. I’ll get to that later (as it will almost certainly rest in my favorite albums of the year list), but in the meantime, I thought it’s as good a time as any to promote their fantastic single, “Adult Diversion”. Right away, Alvvays manages to direct your full attention toward them as the track wastes no time launching into a breezy, effortless blast of dreamy beach pop. It’s the kind of song that despite any lyrical focus, feels like it should be the soundtrack to your summer. Highly recommended for fans of Veronica Falls, Beach Fossils, and La Sera.