Archive | September, 2014

This Autumn: One Winter

30 Sep

The seasons are a-changin’. Where you are, you may notice that the heat is subsiding for chillier breezes, and the trees are glowing red and orange as they shed their greenery. Fall will fade into a grey bleak winter, but eventually renews itself in spring. The cycle of the seasons must be beautiful, though I can’t say I’ve ever experienced any of it. After all, I have only lived in parts of south Florida and LA throughout my life. But one day I hope to see snow. One winter. And I’ll be listening to Seán McKenna purr in my ear all the while.

One Winter is a warm story about a colder time in life. Though the subject of the lyrics is not always pleasant, the chords have an upward progression, getting brighter and happier as the songs moves. Take “Katrina.” The chorus morosely echoes, the layers in his voice mirrored by depth of the lyrics themselves. But the bitterness of life should not keep you down. Seán still strives to trust and love, even in the worst of circumstances, when he doesn’t “have a fucking clue,” as in the track “Miles and Miles.” One Winter is a cold night, brightened by a warm embrace.

But wait, there’s more! One Winter is contrasted with One Summer, backed by the full band of Lay Low Moon. It has all the elements of the acoustic collection of One Winter, but I feel that the other instruments almost crowd out the emotional yearning in McKenna’s voice. Both are lovely, but I prefer the lonely and intimate feel of One Winter. Maybe I enjoy it because I don’t have any winter memories of my own. Enjoy it for your own reasons, just be sure to give it a listen.

One Summer and One Winter are available now. Be sure to check out Seán McKenna’s reconstruction of Lay Low Moon tracks in Sorry We’re Closed. And be on the lookout for some new material sometime next year. For any more information on Seán or Lay Low Moon, check out his website.

Saturdays in a Saturdaze, with Starcadian

28 Sep

I don’t listen to much Asian music. K-pop, baby metal, Bollywood filmi, I just could never get into it- it’s too risky without consequence. Some music was too sweet for my taste, others too bizarre, still others too arrhythmic. But video game music, which is typically an export of Japan, seems to be taking a leap into the mainstream, at least the mainstream of what is indie. The sleek electric guitars meet the howl of a keyboard, and put a proper melody over it- you’ve got yourself a digestible, indie electro track with a lot of pizzazz.

Saturdaze by Starcadian (stylized ST∆RC∆DI∆N) is very similar to this Japanese space rock, though that still wouldn’t quite do it justice. In fact, this EP and the one prior to it, Sunset Blood, are really two soundtracks to a TV series and sci-fi movie, respectively. The show and film are reportedly forthcoming, though both may end up taking the form of fun, almost campy music videos.

The theme of Starcadian’s work is the entire decade of the ’80s. The instrumentation is specifically intended to sound nearly thirty years old, but in an enduring way. The music videos capture the essence of the ’80s, with the fuzzy film reel and the obsession with space. This project also feels very similar to Daft Punk’s film, Interstellar 5555, matched up with their 2001 album, Discovery. I don’t think Starcadian will go that far with the visual aspect, but it would be very entertaining if he does. Though the music is somewhat similar to Daft Punk, I would say the first album that came to mind when I heard Saturdaze was Kavinsky’s debut, OutRun. It is loud and dramatic, and I don’t think anyone would complain if Starcadian got a song placement in a Ryan Gosling film. We all could use a little more Gosling in our lives.

Be on the lookout for the video for “Dance or Die,” coming soon. Saturdaze is out now. For more information, visit Starcadian’s website.

P.S. If you look closely, Starcadian’s mouth in the “Chinatown” clip looks like a certain pouting bastard. Is that you, Jon Snow? You and Hodor must hang out a bunch.

Sink down into Low Roar’s latest album, 0

24 Sep

I have never wondered what it would be like to be hypnotized. Honestly, to me, hypnosis seems fictional, (and also terrifying, mostly because of that scene from Office Space), but I know that some people swear by it. I do, however, think that it is possible to find yourself in a trance or trance-like state. Music is the only thing that I can think that would trigger this, and the best music for it usually being lo-fi, minimalistic melodies. Low Roar delivers this and more in their latest gripping album, 0.

I have never felt so subconsciously tied to an album. The first time I heard it, I had no idea how to classify it. 0 is extremely compelling with purposeful construction, and is simultaneously methodical and harmonious. The first track, “Breathe In,” is a slow ascension, with lead singer Ryan Karazija cooing in your ear. There are tracks that are intimately dark, such as “Anything You Need,” which has such a deep bass line and a sick-sounding keyboard- and by sick, I mean needs-new-batteries sick. Together the bass and keyboard are haunting, which is how I could emotionally liken most of the rest of the album. My favorite track is “Easy Way Out,” for its chilling guitar screeches. At one point, within the guitar’s echoes, I heard a mosquito buzzing in my ear. It was surreal. Nearly every song fades in or fades out, which is a brilliant yet sensible move; it allows each track to sit with you for at least a few moments before beginning the next. Those are the moments when you are allowed to actively realize how talented this Reykjavik-based quartet is.

I have a lot of respect for Low Roar for choosing the right name. They were very self-aware about their sound, and didn’t choose a name solely on aesthetic. Bands that I think that are guilty of choosing the wrong names:  Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells, POP ETC. They should all be, respectively: Vampire Weekend on the Cape, Slay Belles, The Morning Benders. We could probably all come up with fake indie band names for hours, I think there are even generators for that sort of thing. But Low Roar was honest. Their music reflects it.

0 is out now. Find more information about Low Roar on their website.

Magical Mystery of the Day: Idea for a Film

21 Sep

Have you ever wondered what a Jónsi-fronted Radiohead would sound like? Well Idea for a Film, the newest band on the scene, proves that it is very similar to a Thom Yorke-fronted Radiohead, as it turns out, but there is a subtlety to it that makes it very compelling. Listen to the track, “Can’t Sit Still,” below.

Idea for a Film is really just that- an idea. This is their only track and there is so little information on the group that I am not entirely convinced this is a real band. But I am looking forward to whatever may lie ahead, real or fiction.

Keep checking back with their website for more information.

8 Simple Steps to Listening to More Dan Croll Today!

18 Sep

Tired of mainstream pop? Not really feeling your latest album? Not looking for any of those short-term cures for aggravating familiarity? (I’m looking at you, Disclosure; I can’t hear a bar of “Latch” without getting it stuck in my head.) Well, boy have I got the thing for you! Follow these eight simple steps to listen to more Dan Croll, one of the most interesting pop musicians on the scene today. Continue reading

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