420 Love Songs (Second 40)

For the second 40 songs in Sam Ray and friends’ 420 Love Songs project, it seems like they’ve picked up the pace a little bit, releasing the second installment less than a month after the first.  It also seems like a lot more people are wanting to be a part of it considering the increased variety in artists.  These second 40 songs share the same mood and aesthetic with the last 40 with a bunch of new artists who I have never heard of and know nothing about.  If you are looking for a lot of new, unknown, and really talented artists, this compilation is for you.  And remember to keep checking the 420 Love Songs tumblr.  Stream two of my favorite songs below, by Elvis Depressedly and Alex G respectively, and the whole thing after the jump

-TC

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mp3: Sunless ’97 – Aurora I

From the rising popularity of house to hipsters really just liking to dance again, the influence of club music is becoming larger in the blogosphere.  Fittingly, electro-pop groups recently have been making a much appreciated move from chillwave and Postal Service inspired electronics to dancier, clubbier electronic influences.  Sunless ’97 bring those two worlds together expertly with their new track “Aurora I”.  While Sunless ’97 have always been more danceable than your average post-Passion Pit electro-pop group, “Aurora I” is easily their must club and house influenced track.  The sparse yet perfectly delivered vocals leave plenty of room for the groove to be the center of attention on this track.  Above all else, the defining feature of this track is how natural and effortless is seems for Sunless ’97.  Instead of coming off as a track trying to gain attention after the success of artists like AlunaGeorge, “Aurora I” comes across as a genuine growth from the group.

-PK

mp3: ;) WINK ;) – STRUT 89

So, it appears that Deep House is on the rise within the indie community, which kind of makes perfect sense, because it is mostly based around taking the most over-produced and over-emphasized elements that can make other types of house kind of hard to get into out.  There are a lot of artists doing this in an awesome way lately, and although Disclosure has kind of taken a less-than-honorable turn as of late, it looks like the genre might maintain its integrity yet.  One person doing Deep House right is mysterious producer  WINK.  ”STRUT 89″ has all of the hypnotic repetitiveness of other types of house with gorgeously produced synths.  On Soundcloud “STRUT 89″ is tagged as “SPACEHOUSE” which although I’ve never heard of it, should definitely be a genre.  Its rare that a producer suddenly pops up on Soundcloud with an already extremely polished sound like this, so WINK is definitely worth keeping up with in the future.

-TC

Enjoy it While it’s Fresh: High Pop

Recently, Spencer Fox (the dude behind Slates and a contributor to our website) sent over a lot of music from SUNY bands he thought we should check out.  Although we’re still getting around to listening to all the great music (there’s a lot of good stuff), High Pop stuck out to me as an instant standout.  Hailing from our great and surprisingly filled with more great music than we ever though home state of Connecticut, High Pop are a group of friends making indie rock that is bursting with creativity and influences.  Last summer, the group put out the fantastic Hip Hip Hooray LP which strikes at the same nostalgically grungy and emotive sound that has been coming from a lot of great bands lately.  Tracks like “‘loner” mix sweet vocal harmonies with heavily distorted guitars like You’re Living All Over Me-era Dinosaur Jr. while tracks like “i wanna run with you” and “oh no” are perfectly out of tune skate punk rockers that references more recent acts like Wavves.  By the end of the LP, High Pop sound less like a band trying to create music in the shadow of established indie rockers and more like kids with a lot of ideas and enough talent to make those ideas into amazing music.

-PK

Video: Impolite Society – The World

The hip-hop video norms these days usually doesn’t deviate too far from the rappers involved in the song walking around their city, looking swaggy and doing fun/hoodrat/typical stuff.  Impolite Society are some swaggy dudes, but, as we’ve learned from blog favorite Sidewalk Kal, they also aren’t just another hip-hop crew rapping about how swaggy they are.  In the video for their awesome single “The World”, Impolite Society don’t break away from the norm (let’s be honest these dudes are swaggin), however, they still deliver the same “different” personality that makes them one of the freshest crews in hip-hop right now.  In the video, the members of Impolite Society come across as normal if not still-cooler-than-you dudes.  As a result, the guys deliver their thought provoking and socially conscious lines with a fittingly effortless vibe.

-PK

Video: LVL UP – Nightshade

LVL UP is a Purchase, NY-based band, including two members of Spook Houses.  When I wrote about Spook Houses’ Trying LP I wrote that one of the reasons I liked it so much was because of how much it reminded me of early 90′s indie such as Built To Spill.  LVL UP’s music, however, (especially “Nightshade”) channels the grunge vibes on the 90′s even more.  The song “Nightshade”‘s catchy chord progressions and shamelessly bold vocals hit me right in the same spot that songs I grew up listening to my older brother play like “Lithium” did and the amazing video emulates the ominously swallowing feeling of the song perfectly.  LVL UP’s extra worlds 7″ will be out on awesome young record label DOUBLE WHAMMY WHAMMY on April 6th.

-TC

EP: Julia Brown – to be close to you

I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is probably the project I was most highly anticipating in 2013.  I hopped on the Teen Suicide bandwagon kind of late, so after they broke up I kind of just looked forward to this album by listening to their old music for a month straight. Julia Brown and Teen Suicide show some clear similarities, but also a lot of differences.  With the distortion toned back a huge amount from most Teen Suicide projects, the extreme lo-fi-ness of the project becomes more evident, but Julia Brown use it to their advantage, almost using the fuzz as an instrument at some points by manipulating it with filters.  Most of the similarities are shown in Sam Ray’s songwriting.  With the poppier aesthetic of Julia Brown, it seems like Ray is now focusing more on creating catchy vocal melodies which he has gotten extremely talented at.  Overall, to be close to you met and exceeded my expectations and solidified my opinion that Sam Ray is probably the name to look out for in the indie world in 2013.  Stream one of my favorite tracks from the album below and listen to the whole thing after the jump.

-TC

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