Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chasing The Siren's Best Albums of 2009 (#25-11)

Seriously now people, are we really approaching the close of 2009? Where has this year gone? One thing is sure, 2009 has been a phenomenal year for indie music. From the rise of the chillwave genre (Washed Out, Neon Indian) in the summer to the return of surf rock (Real Estate, The Drums), we will not soon forget this year. Let's move on to my list of the best albums of 2009.

To say the indie scene has changed this year would be a drastic understatement. In 2008, it was all about the mix of indie folk (Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper) and various other spatterings of genres (The Hold Steady, Bon Iver, TVOTR). For me personally, I have dipped deeper into the vast blogiverse and come away with more obscure bands taking on genres both brand new (Chillwave) and re-popularized (lo-fi surf rock). If you have been reading my blog, you will have noticed this shift. All in all, and in my opinion, the indie world circa 2009 was epic and as always, vastly under-appreciated. So here is my top 25 (songs for your listening pleasure included):

25. The Dutchess & The Duke /// Sunset/Sunrise


Funny that I mention a shift away from indie folk and my first album listed is indie folk. Oh well, too bad. These two (Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison) make great 60's style pysch, folk, pop with great melodies
on their second lp. Worth a listen or ten.

mp3: The Dutchess & The Duke - Let It Die

24. David Bazan /// Curse Your Branches

This former frontman and songwriter for Pedro The Lion had a crisis of faith and wrote an album about it. Some really honest lyrics here regarding his beliefs. Oh yeah, the songs are catchy too. I enjoyed his openness and hope he continues on his search. We all have doubts and David is not afraid to express them.

mp3: David Bazan - Hard To Be

23. LAKE /// Let's Build A Roof

A late-in-the-year discovery for this band which released their second album in October. Another great Portland band who generate laid-back lo-fi grooves, and are somewhat reminiscent of Baltimore band Beach House. These songs will sink their teeth into you with repeated listens.

mp3: LAKE - Madagascar

22. Why? /// Eskimo Snow

Lead singer Yoni Wolf shifts the focus of this album more towards indie rock and away from the indie rap. Why?'s last album received much critical acclaim. However, this album was largely ignored. Not sure why. Maybe his stream of consciousness lyrics are wearing thin. I enjoy this band, especially when I am looking for something outside the typical.

mp3: Why? - This Blackest Purse

21. Woods /// Songs of Shame

One of my first favorite albums of 2009. An excellent campfire folk, lo-fi band who created a slightly less experimental and a bit more accessible 3rd record with Songs of Shame. Look for even greater stuff from this band in the future.

mp3: Woods - Rain On

20. Neon Indian /// Psychic Chasms

The first of the Chillwave bands to crack my list. As with the others, Neon Indian construct nostalgia-inducing, 80's-sounding, electronic ear candy. Expect emerging artists as this fast-rising, unique and brand new genre continues to gain momentum.

mp3: Neon Indian - 6699 (I don't know if you know)

19. A.A. Bondy /// When The Devil's Loose

This singer-songwriter and former frontman for grunge band Verbena, delivers another solid album with this his second LP. Reminds a lot of early (and much better) Ryan Adams. The songs certainly are growers as repeated listens reveal more and more.

mp3: A.A. Bondy - A Slow Parade

18. The Mantles /// The Mantles

Here is one of my more obscure finds (via the always excellent Gorilla vs Bear blog). Just love the distorted lo-fi guitar sounds on this album. The Mantles' garage band sound is in your face from beginning to end. Highly recommend checking it out. Look forward to more recognition of these guys in years to come in the scene.

mp3: The Mantles - Don't Lie

17. Jj /// Jj n° 2

I find it very difficult to classify the sound of this new Swedish Artist. Often, unclassifiable means originality, and that is always a good thing. All I can say is listen to this artist on a nice set of cans and you will be transported to a different place. Almost like an indie version of Enya. Here is the first cut from their debut album.

mp3: Jj - Things Will Never Be The Same

16. Kurt Vile /// Childish Prodigy

After signing with Matador Records, Kurt Vile provides another superb album. The pure quality of all of Kurt's lo-fi music is amazing. Taking him for granted, this album probably deserves to be higher on my list. As is the case with most on this list, vastly under-appreciated. Did I mention yet that he is an absolute wizard on the guitar? Kurt actually released another album this year too, God Is Saying This To You?, on his former label, Mexican Summer.

mp3: Kurt Vile - Blackberry Song

15. Atlas Sound /// Logos

What more can be said about Bradford Cox? Not only has this guy put out some outstanding albums with Deerhunter, but the same can be said for his side project Atlas Sound. This their second LP, is a bit more straightforward.With that being said, this album is a definite listen-repeat-listen as more and more details make themselves evident by doing such. What's more? Logos features arguably the best song of 2009, "Walkabout", which features Noah Lennox (Panda Bear/Animal Collective). Search my blog for "Walkabout". In the meantime, here is another great song from the album.

mp3: Atlas Sound - Criminals

14. Mountain Man /// Mountain Man (ep)

This Vermont group, comprised of three women, really came out of nowhere this year.  Singing in harmony, sometimes with little or no instrumentation, the sounds emitted are nothing short of beautiful and mesmerizing. Simply amazing to me is the fact that these three just started singing together in early 2009. Look for a full length album in 2010. I anxiously await more from Mountain Man.

mp3: Mountain Man - Animal Tracks

13. Port O'Brien /// Threadbare

Going back to the indie folk thing, here is some great campfire music. Van Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin, both of California, met and formed this folk music group. Van's father is actually a commercial fisherman on Kodiak Island in Alaska. Van spends about 3 1/2 months each year working on one of his dad's ships looking for Salmon. Port O'Briens' second LP, Threadbare, is a fantastic journey of acoustic majesty. The combination of Van and Cambria's voice is something that truly separates this folk band from the others. Here is one of the best songs from Threadbare and easily one of my favorite songs of 2009.

mp3: Port O'Brien - Oslo Campfire

12. Phoenix /// Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

This French band continues to churn out phenomenal record after phenomenal record. Their music is so good that I almost take it for granted. With their 4th album, Phoenix once again spin sweet hooks combined with precise production. In an equal world, Phoenix would be much more popular (Coldplay-ish). Even though they will get a lot of 'album of the year' votes for 2009, I am happy that they still remain somewhat under the radar. Get this album if you don't have it already!

mp3: Phoenix - Lisztomania

11. Bibio /// Ambivalence Avenue

 You most likely will not find Bibio on too many year end lists. But for me, Ambivalence Avenue, really stands out as one of the most original albums of 2009. As mentioned in previous posts, Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson) creates almost a hybrid genre of folk and electronic music. Combining field recordings and found sounds with electronic instruments and sounds, the ride is a thrill from start to finish. I realize that when you make music that is far off the beaten path, even a little recognition is appreciated.

mp3: Bibio - Jealous of Roses

Thanks for checking out my blog this year and be sure to check back next week for my top 10 albums of 2009!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Surfer Blood - "Swim (To Reach The End)

Continuing with my recent surf theme, the name of this band should strike a chord with my brother Chip. During his last PA rotation in San Diego, Chip's was enjoying a nice break on the left coast. However, after a fall, his surfboard decided it was quitting time and came out of nowhere to split open his head. Needless to say with head wounds, there was much blood.

The band, Surfer Blood, is actually from the right coast, West Palm Beach, Florida. Their first proper album, Astro Coast, is due out on January 19th. They take that 80's sound, which is still gaining momentum amongst indie band these days, and drench it with a fair amount of reverb. This cut is instantly gratifying and I anticipate hearing more from Surfer Blood.

Artist: Surfer Blood
Label: Kanine Records
Style: Surf Rock
Fact: "None of us surf"

Song: Swim(To Reach The End)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ola Podrida - "The Closest We Will Ever Be"

Been slacking again lately my people...my sorryness (like my new word?) to you. In an effort to bring you more posts and hence, more great music, I am going to trim down my posts a bit. Will post the music and let it speak for itself for the most part.

With that being said, here is a song by lo-fi songwriter, Ola Podrida. The more I listen to him, the more I want to hear. His second LP, Belly of the Lion, came out on November 10th.

Artist: Ola Podrida
Label: Western Vinyl
Style:  Lo-Fi Songwriter
Fact:   Real Name is David Wingo and he is actually a film composer.

Song:  The Closest We Will Ever Be

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Drums - "Let's Go Surfing"

Mentioned this highly addictive song by The Drums to my brother last night. Since he and my other brother were just catching waves in sunny San Diego, thought it was a perfect time to post it. Oh yeah, did I mention I am jealous that they were surfing without me! At any rate, this song has been catching a good amount of buzz on the blogs. I guess I will add to it.

The Drums are actually from the right coast (brooklyn, NY) and have an excellent EP out titled "Summertime!". Not sure I like saying this but this song, the chorus in particular, reminds me a bit of early Weezer. I think a swell is coming this weekend....Let's Go Surfing!

The Drums - Let's Go Surfing

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Video: Real Estate - "Basement" (Live @ CMJ)

First let me apologize for the lack of any posts in the last few weeks. Lots going on right now, both good and bad. With that being said, let's get back to the music!

Those of you that know me, also know that I have been hyping New Jersey band Real Estate quite a bit. Real Estate create a laid back lo-fi surf sound that really grabs and holds. Their debut album is out on November 17th and is one of my most highly anticipated releases for this year. I have heard a bunch of their songs and have yet to run into one I didn't like. Along with about 1200 other bands, Real Estate were recently in New York for the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival. Here is an excellent video of one of their performances. Before you watch this, realize that this video was created by Ray Concepcion, who has a unique approach. Quite enjoyable I must say. Oh yeah, gotta love the PBR towards the beginning in the background.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner: Real Estate [Part 3 of 14] from Ray ConcepcioƱ on Vimeo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Local Natives - "Wide Eyes"

The more I hear from California band, Local Natives, the more impressed I am. As you know, I recently touted them and their excellent song "Sun Hands". Their unique brand of indie folk is quite infectious. Here track number one, "Wide Eyes", from their upcoming album Gorilla Manor. Check out the percussion on this song, too cool. Cannot wait to hear the rest of the album which hits on 11/2. Keep a close eye on these guys!

Local Natives - Wide Eyes

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - "The Sound"

If you want a guy to root for, why not Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson. This New York (by way of Portland and Eugene, Oregon) singer-songwriter tried his hand at several bands that ultimately failed and with only addiction left at his side, wound up homeless on Coney Island. But for this talented artist, thankfully the story doesn't end there. In 2006, with the help of close friends from bands TV On The Radio and Grizzly Bear, Miles began recording his self-titled debut in his apartment. The album was released to very strong reviews in 2008.

Here is a fitting description of his first album from Last.fm:

The album begins with the demented campfire sing-a-long, “Buriedfed” - a dirge disguised as a rave-up it sets the pace for an album filled with unrepentant confessions and takes the listener through a sardonic narrative, detailing loss, excess, and blurred memories.

Here in the present, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is set to release his follow-up album, Summer of Fear, on Oct. 20th. Amazingly, he is already hinting that he will begin recording album number three very soon.

Here are two songs to check out: "The Sound" from upcoming album Summer of Fear and "Woodfriend" from his self-titled release.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - The Sound

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Woodfriend

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kurt Vile - "Blackberry Song"

If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I really like Philly native Kurt Vile and his brand of lo-fi goodness. His newest album "Childish Prodigy", and first with Matador Records, will be out in one week. To get you ready for what should be one of the best records of 2009, here is another cut from that album.

Kurt Vile - Blackberry Song

Even better, you can stream "Childish Prodigy" in its entirety HERE.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Washed Out - "Feel It All Around"

At this point, chill-wave band Washed Out has been blogged more times than Barry has been asked about health care. Nonetheless, I will add my post to the mix. Washed Out is actually the recording moniker for Georgia native Ernest Greene, another bedroom composer. Listening to Washed Out literally makes you feel like you are right in the middle of the 80's. Their song "Feel It All Around" conjured up feelings of being about 11 years old, sitting on the enclosed front porch watching "Miami Vice" on my parent's enormous console TV. It must be those drums and synthesizers. Regardless of the feelings, it is one of the best songs of 2009.

Washed Out - "Feel It All Around"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chase This Track: Real Estate - "Beach Comber"

Today is my wonderful wife's birthday (happy bday sweetie!), so I guess it is appropriate that this post is about the band Real Estate since she works in that field. Real Estate is not easy and my wife is amazing in the way she balances a tough job with the boundless duties of a mom. Besides all that, she is an incredible wife. Alright, if my sappiness hasn't already 'chased' you away, we'll move back into the music.

As for this Real Estate, they create music that comes across as effortless and unforced. Real Estate is another perfecter of the fuzzy lo-fi folk (been an unbelievable year for this style) that is taking up more and more real estate space on my Ipod. Real Estate is signed to the excellent Woodist label (Ganglians, Woods) and this immensely talented act releases their debut LP on Nov. 17. Their song "Beach Comber" is outstanding and aptly whets the appetite for the full-length album. Here's hoping my wife enjoys the song too!

Real Estate - Beach Comber

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Video: Banjo or Freakout - "I Feel Like Going Home"

Banjo or Freakout is a one-man bedroom band from London that has just recently caught my attention. Banjo or Freakout (aka Alessio) create amazing psychedelic lo-fi music that simultaneously gives you a sense of unease and calm.

He just released the video for his Yo La Tengo cover of "I Feel Like Going Home." Here it is:

Also, check out his song "Upside Down":

Banjo or Freakout - Upside Down

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chase This Track: Local Natives - "Sun Hands"

Silverlake, California's Local Natives are a band I recommend you keep a close eye on in the coming months. I recently heard their song, "Sun Hands", and was instantly enamored. They have this tight 3-piece harmony (read: Fleet Floxes) thing going on. Apparently Local Natives have already completed the recording of their debut album. Yet to this point, the album is unnamed and they remain unsigned. With songs like "Sun Hands", I would expect some smart indie label to snatch Local Natives up very soon.

Local Natives - Sun Hands

Monday, September 21, 2009

Welcome To: Chasing The Sirens

Welcome All My Fellow Indie Music Lovers!!!

As you should have now noticed, I have recently changed the name of this blog to Chasing The Sirens. In an effort to relieve any confusion, I wanted to let you know why I have changed the name of this blog and the inspiration behind 'Chasing The Sirens'.

As early as I can remember, one of my favorite sounds was that of the siren. It sparked in me a want to know what the sirens were for and find the action. I have very distinct memories as a boy of hearing sirens in the distance grow in intensity, multiply, and move ever closer. Ask my mom about this and she will tell you the same stories....as she was just like me! With my Radio Shack plug-in scanner by my side, I would listen intently for all the details of this emergency call.

But it did not stop there. In my mind, the logical next step was to find the action or more accurately find the fire. Many times my mom and dad and I (and my brothers) would jump in the car and chase the sirens. I remember driving all over our surrounding neighborhoods doing just this. One expression often heard in these moments was "I think I smell smoke!" Although many times we came up empty in our search, I have vivid recollections of chasing the sirens and finding fires. On one particular New Year's Eve, our neighbor's house caught on fire when a log rolled off their basement fireplace. Not even the shin-high snow nor the sub-zero temperatures could keep us from chasing across the big field that separated the houses. We would not be denied all the particulars of this unexpected incident.

So now, as a 30-something adult, I still love 'chasing the sirens'. In many ways, my love for music (specifically indie music) leads to similar encounters. A great song is heard and immediately the chase is on to know more about the song, the band, the style, etc. I don't stop until I 'Find the Fire'. I want and need to know all the particulars of great music that is so unknown to the majority of people.

So there it is...Chasing The Sirens.

My hope is that after visiting my blog you will be onto your own 'chase' after hearing some really great and under-appreciated music.

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Du's Cut of the Day - Sunnybrook - "Waving Hands"

Continuing with music that kindles nostalgia and longing, here is a track from Denton, Texas artist Sunnybrook. Listen to the song and tell me if it doesn't quickly hook you with its acoustic guitar picking, layered harmonies, and those handclaps. Sunnybrook's debut album on Lefse Records will be out in the Spring of 2010. Sunnybrook's sound has been compared to...Any guesses???

Sunnybrook - Waving Hands

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Du's Cut of the Day : Revolvers - "Apocalypse Surfin'

Going to post one newly discovered song everyday. These will be cuts that are at the top of my rotation. I won't say much on these songs but will hope to hear your opinions, good or bad.

Unsigned Toronto band, Revolvers, craft a lo-fi Beach Boys sound on this song, "Apocalypse Surfin'. As another summer winds down, savor the warm (or maybe really hot) days with this gem.

Revolvers - Apocalypse Surfin'

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weinland - "Sunken Eyes"

When your lead singer has a voice that gets comparisons to Neil Young and a band chemistry that is undeniable, chances are you will get some recognition. Such is the case for Portland, Oregon indie outfit Weinland. Led by John Adam Weinland Shearer, Weinland chart their course through the americana, folk, and alt-country musical landscapes. If you can imagine Neil Young doing his best Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) imitation, you are closely approaching the sound of Weinland. La Lementor was Weinland's first LP and was released in early 2008 to outstanding reviews. Their second album, Breaks In The Sun, is out now and is also very highly recommended.

Ironically, my brother Chip and his wife Audrey just had the opportunity to catch Weinland live in downtown Portland at the Muddy Boot Organic Festival. Sounds like fun and something my wife would have really enjoyed too (keyword: organic)! Maybe Chip and/or Audrey will let us know more about Weinland's show at the festival.

Here is the exceptional first track from Breaks In The Sun:

Weinland - Sunken Eyes

Finally, here is a video of them playing "God Here I Come" live from their album La Lamentor. I chose this video because it displays both the band chemistry and the humorous side of lead singer Adam Shearer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Atlas Sound - "Walkabout (w/ Noah Lennox)"

One of my favorite summer anthems is easily Atlas Sound's song "Walkabout" off the upcoming (Oct. 20) album, Logos. Atlas Sound is the solo project of Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox. His first album under the Atlas Sound moniker, Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, got excellent reviews. The sound can best be described as very distinct songs with hazy atmospherics. However, the new song "Walkabout", which happens to feature Panda Bear's Noah Lennox, has a poppier feel to it. The song has a definitive Panda Bear sound to it with the Beach Boys like harmonies. Further, the high-pitched organ loop adds much to the song and has a way of bringing you back for more and more. We will soon find out if the rest of Logos will be of a similar sound....I certainly hope so!

In the meantime, take a listen to "Walkabout":

Atlas Sound - Walkabout (w/ Noah Lennox)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A.A. Bondy - "I Can See The Pines Are Dancing"

Continuing in the singer-songwriter vain, another artist that is frequenting my speakers of late is A.A. Bondy. On his second album, When The Devil's Loose (released on 9/1), A.A. Bondy continues the rootsy/alt country style of his first album, American Hearts. Although Bondy, in my opinion, is reminiscent of an early Ryan Adams, his songs tend to be slow, or more accurately, unhurried and deliberate. This is not a negative as the words and emotions in each song are fleshed out and clearly evident. I'm fairly certain if you give a listen, you won't be disappointed.

Here is one of the faster songs from When The Devil's Loose:

A.A. Bondy - I Can See The Pines Are Dancing

Also, an excellent cut from his first album, American Hearts:

A.A. Bondy - There's A Reason

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Langhorne Slim

Do you all know Langhorne Slim? I am wondering how I could just now be discovering this guy. Just heard his new song (from his upcoming and newest album), "I Love You, But Goodbye". This folk singer was born as Sean Scolnick and is originally from Langhorne, Pennsylvania (near Trenton, NJ). Pretty sweet name and one that sticks. It reminds me of another guy they called 'Slim' who I got to see play with Portland's Pagan Jug Band. Anyway, Langhorne's songs sunk their teeth into me from the beginning. He reminds me of a mix of Josh Ritter and a little-know artist from Montana named Aaron Parrett. Great songwriting with a nice blend of sounds and instruments.

Langhorne Slims newest album, Be Set Free, releases on September 29th.

Here is the video for his newest song, "I Love You, But Goodbye":

Here is one of the excellent songs from his 2008 self-titled album, "Restless":

Langhorne Slim - Restless

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Obscurity Observed: Henry Pedro

Today I am starting a new section called Obscurity Observed. My aim in these posts is to reveal songs/artists long since forgotten, 1000's of miles off the radar, or just entirely under-appreciated. One of my thrills in regards to music, is hearing old and yet timeless stuff that is atypical of your run-of-the-mill classic genres.

With that said, I will break in this section with a song from Henry Pedro. I first heard this song on xm radio and it immediately stood out. After searching and searching, I do not know anything about this guy they call Henry. I do know this...Almost immediately, the song sparks memories of finding some unknown artist's record in my parent's cabinet, dropping it onto that old RCA record player, and hearing the scratches as the needle cuts its way across songs that will forever be etched in my mind.

So here is the song, "Midnight Sun" by Henry Pedro:

Henry Pedro - Midnight Sun

Monday, August 31, 2009

J. Tillman - "Year In The Kingdom"

One of the better singer-songwriters I have discovered in the last year, J. Tillman, also happens to be the drummer for indie favorite, Fleet Foxes. Yet in listening to his solo albums, it becomes quickly evident that songwriter he was first. J. Tillman returns with his fifth album, Year In The Kingdom, due for release in September. In comparing the few new songs I have heard to his last album, Vacilando Territory Blues, the sound has improved and his excellent voice stands out all the more. J. Tillman's music is most appreciated in a quiet setting coming through a nice pair of speakers or headphones. This guy has some talent and will most likely garner some much deserved attention for Year In The Kindgom.

Take a listen to the title track, "Year In The Kingdom":

J. Tillman - Year In The Kingdom

Friday, August 28, 2009

Family Portrait - "Mega Secret"

In an effort to find the more obscure in the indie world, I stumbled across another nice lo-fi group. The band is Family Portrait and I admit I don't know very much about them at this point. After scouring the internet, I know that they hail from our Nation's capital and Ridgewood, New Jersey. The Family Portrait frontman is Evan Brody. They are part of the Underwater Peoples Records label, also out of D.C. On their Myspace page, the band describes their sound as: "an underwater sound vessel of rhythm, blues, and community." That is the extent of what I know about Family Portrait. Don't think they have a proper LP at this point...but will be paying close attention for one in the future.

The song is called "Mega Secrets". You can listen to it here:

Family Portrait - Mega Secrets

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Cave Singers - "At The Cut"

It has been over 5 weeks since my last post so it is high time we get back to some good indie music!


Here is a brand new song from Seattle indie folk band, The Cave Singers. The song is "At The Cut" and is from there newest album, Welcome Joy, which was released on August 18th. Often described as a type of neo-folk, The Cave Singers' songs build upon themselves: simple guitar work and drums combined with unique and often intensifying rhythms make for a very interesting listen. It is certainly a group to check out if you are not familiar. I have my brother to thank for introducing me to The Cave Singers.

So take a listen and enjoy!

The Cave Singer - At The Cut

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kurt Vile - "Overnite Religion"

2009 has been yet another impressive year for the lo-fi indie scene. Artists such as Ganglians, Woods, Bill Callahan, and Wavves (to name a few) have released outstanding records this year. Unfortunately, even within the indie blogging universe, many of these bands remain under-appreciated. Nonetheless, the lo-fi sound has been in constant rotation at Du Indie Music with yet another name now included.

Lo-fi songwriter Kurt Vile-and lead guitarist for indie band The War on Drugs-has moved into the Du Indie Music radar with a new song from his upcoming 3rd album, and first with Matador Records, Childish Prodigy. Vile's first two albums Constant Hitmaker and God Is Saying This To You?, released in March of 2008 and March of 2009 respectively, were well-received by indie critics.

Here is how one blogger describes his music:

Past works have been mostly characterized by psych-pop filtered through hushed bedroom-folk atmospherics, but the man isn’t afraid to occasionally flex his ability to write stone cold anthems.

Yet Kurt Vile's music has remained relatively unknown. With his recent signing to top-notch indie label Matador (The Caves Singers, Pavement, Shearwater), and an expected debut release in the Fall, one would likely think that his music will garner more attention and interest. For the sake of great music, let's hope so!

Here are two Kurt Vile songs. The first track is "Overnite Religion", just released and from his upcoming album Childish Prodigy. The second is from his 2008 album Constant Hitmaker and is titled "Freeway".

Kurt Vile - Overnite Religion

Kurt Vile - Freeway

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ganglians - Monster Head Room

About two weeks ago, I posted about Ganglians and my growing intrigue after hearing one of their songs, "Valiant Brave" from their debut LP, Monster Head Room. I have now had the opportunity to listen to the entire album several times (8 and counting). As you can see on my sidebar "Du's Top 25 of 2009", Ganglians' Monster Head Room has risen to the top. This album is full of some fantastic harmonies and this is the foremost reason for its climb up my list. I am a really big sucker for the Beach Boys-like harmonies that have been popularized by some indie artists (Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Panda Bear, etc.). In fact, for this reason, Panda Bear's 2007 album, Person Pitch, was my number one album of that year. Yet Ganglians' album is in a different vein than these quite popular indie bands. Monster Head Room combines these rich harmonies with a lo-fi pyschedelia approach resulting in a a unique albeit gorgeous album. An album that reveals itself to you with continued listens, Ganglians' Monster Head Room is an album that should not be ignored. I don't see it moving off its perch at #1 on my 2009 list.

Here are two more of my favorite songs from Monster Head Room.

Ganglians - Lost Words

Ganglians - Cryin' Smoke

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Blitzen Trapper Video - "Black River Killer"

Portland band Blitzen Trapper's new video for song "Black River Killer" is an impressive one to say the least. Full of nifty cinematic tricks, the video augments quite well the storytelling nature of this song.

Meanwhile, Blitzen Trapper continue to work on their follow-up to 2008's Furr.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bibio - "Ambivalence Avenue"

When I have the fortune of chancing upon very innovative artists such as Bibio, I am thankful for the indie music blogging world in which we live.

Bibio is the recording moniker for England music producer, Stephen Wilkinson. Bibio's fifth album, Ambivalence Avenue, was released on June 22nd. So very idiosyncratic and diverse, Bibio's sound defies classification. The best way to describe it from what I have heard is a style that slants towards a fusion of electronic and folk music. Although you can find Bibio listed under the genre folktronica in Wikipedia, I'm not a huge fan of classifying, er, pigeon-holing artists. Regardless of what you call it, the music being generated by Bibio is impressive. One of Bibio's central influences is experimental electronica band, Boards of Canada. If you are familiar with Boards of Canada, you will certainly hear similarities in the sounds Bibio incorporates. But further than just this resemblance, Bibio has developed a distinct style by combining field recordings, found sounds, electronically tailored guitar melodies, and monotonous synthesizer sounds. He also does sing and it fits wonderfully with the nature of this album.

Bibio's love for sound and noise led him to the study of Sonic Arts at the University of London and ultimately to an unparalleled way of shaping music. Do not miss Ambivalence Avenue!

The first song on the album is title track, "Ambivalence Avenue". Upon first listen I was immediately engaged, and the momentum carries through the rest of this exceptional album.

Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sufjan Stevens - "Star-Spangled Banner"

Happy 4th of July To All!!!

Sufjan Stevens - Star-Spangled Banner

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ganglians - "Valiant Brave"

In the mood for some lo-fi psychedelia? Ganglians are a new band from Sacramento that are making some waves in the blogging world. After reading their review on Pitchfork and discovering they were on the same label (Woodist) as one of my favorite 2009 bands, Woods, I was very much intrigued. Yet a week went by and I still hadn't heard any songs by Ganglians. So when I discovered that that Gorilla vs. Bear was going to play a Ganglians' song on their weekly blog radio slot on SiriXMU, I made sure to check it out. The song, "Valiant Brave, takes you on an exhilarating and epic ride. The song is filled with some tremendous transitions and is easily one of the best songs I have heard this year. As you probably guessed, I am now very eager to check out the rest of their album, Monster Head Room.

In the meantime, check out the "Valiant Brave" and let me know what you think.

Ganglians - Valiant Brave

Monday, June 29, 2009

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Driving to work this morning, I heard a sweet song on sirixmu by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros called "Janglin". This sparked a memory of a March NPR podcast in which they reviewed the days spent at SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. It was during this podcast that they significantly hyped Edward Sharpe & Magnetic Zeros. So I quickly typed (not while driving) the band's name into The Hype Machine and came across an even better song called "40 Day Dream". To this point, I don't know a lot about them except that they are led by IMA Robot's Alex Ebert. What I do know is that the music is seriously infectious. Reminds me of a mix of Gnarls Barkley and Arcade Fire. Can't stop listening to these songs!

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros have an EP out now entitled Here Comes. Their full length debut, Up From Below, comes out on July 14th.

Here are the two great songs I mentioned above.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - 40 Day Dream

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Janglin

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Horse Feathers - "Working Poor"

Horse Feathers, yet another outstanding band from Portland (go figure!), released their second LP House With No Home late last year. As was the case on their debut album Words Are Dead, Horse Feathers excel at the acoustic folk thing. Essentially a string band in their makeup, they "pluck instead of pick and never fiddle, and percussion is limited to the arrhythmic clatter of pots and pans" as one review so aptly described. I've often found myself wishing they would just let loose with some good old Appalachian bluegrass. Yet this plucking delineates their style and distinguishes their music from other acts. As is the case with most music with staying power, the songs of Horse Feathers are an acquired taste and their songs sink in gradually. Horse Feathers has completely sunk in for me and I find myself continually going back for more.

This video is the live version of "Working Poor" and "Curs In The Weeds" from House With No Home.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Low Anthem - "To Ohio"

On The Low Anthem's third album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, this Providence, Rhode Island outfit cover an impressive gamut in terms of both style and instruments. The music is a broad brush of Americana, with harmonious folk songs reminiscent of Fleet Foxes ('To Ohio', 'Charlie Darwin') and Appalachian style stomp songs you might have heard during the Civil War era ('Home I'll Never Be', 'The Horizon Is A Beltway'). Whether the songs are trickling gently or erupting there is no shortage of instruments employed. From banjo to mandolin, tongue drum to Tibetan singing bowl, every device enriches the listening experience. Despite the diversity of the songs, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin has a beautiful flow that is more fully realized with each repeated listen. On Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, this trio that makes up The Low Anthem continues to lay the groundwork for what I expect will be an exceptional future.

Here is one of the best tracks on the album 'To Ohio':

The Low Anthem - To Ohio

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Gaslight Anthem - 'The '59 Sound'

The Gaslight Anthem is a band that is most certainly on the rise. They hail from New Jersey which also happens to be home to one of rock's greatest icons, Bruce Springsteen. However, it appears that this is more than just a fun fact when the band describes their sound as "Bruce Springsteen singing for a Cure cover band, with a tinge more aggression." As someone who acquired a deep passion for The Boss while growing up, I can certainly hear his influence in the music of The Gaslight Anthem. I also hear a touch of Arcade Fire in their sound. Considering The Gaslight Anthem to be a mix of these distinct but brilliant artists is no knock in my book. I guess the only question that remains is will my 2 year old son find this song as danceable as he did 'House of Mirrors' by Doves.

Their second album, The '59 Sound, released in August of last year.

Here is the video for the title track. The mp3 version of the song is directly below the video.

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound