Rejoice! New How to Dress Well LP Announcement – What is This Heart?

Oh, Tom Krell, you’re HTDW What is this heartsimply the best! How to Dress Well, the moniker for the beloved Chicago-Brooklyn-Berlin based soulful singer-songwriter with twinkling eyes and a magnetic stage presence has announced this morning the arrival of a new LP, What is This Heart? The album is due out June 23rd (UK, Europe)/24th (USA) via Weird World and Domino including a deluxe limited edition LP. On his blog Krell stated, “The deluxe lp is sooooo special and amazing, really excited to share it w uuuuu xoxoxoxox <3.”

Have a listen to two lovely new singles from the highly anticipated album: “Repeat Pleasure,” and “Words I Don’t Remember

What is This Heart? tracklist:
1. 2 Years On (Shame Dream)
2. What You Wanted
3. Face Again
4. See You Fall
5. Repeat Pleasure
6. Words I Don’t Remember
7. Pour Cyril
8. Precious Love
9. Childhood Faith In Love (Everything Must Change, Everything Must Stay The Same)
10. A Power
11. Very Best Friend
12. House Inside (Future Is Older Than The Past)

How to Dress Well – Repeat Pleasure

How to Dress Well – Words I Don’t Remember

 

New LP Release Day! Listen to Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams, Mac DeMarco – Salad Days & Pure X – Angel

Mac DeMarco, Timber Timbre, Pure XI know it’s April fool’s day and all, but I can’t be bothered to actually pull any pranks (I’m terrible at ‘em anyway). I do, however, have some very real and amazing news about what else today represents: Album release day; hooray! Three very different, but talented and beloved bands, Timber Timbre, Mac DeMarco and Pure X have all released brand new LPs, Hot Dreams, Salad Days and Angel, on this fit for tricks day. Whether you’ve already been stumped, deluded and/or duped today, I bring you some refreshing musical truth:

Timber Timbre  - Hot Dreams via Arts & Crafts
Timber Timbre is a dark, beautiful, semi-spooky, and sometimes described as “swampy” Canadian folk project and trio made up of Taylor Kirk, Simon Trottier and Mika Posen. Their moniker refers to a timber-framed cabin set in the wooded outskirts of Bobcaygeon Ontario where they made an early series of recordings. Hot Dreams is their 5th (yes, 5th!) album.

Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams

Timber Timbre – Curtains?!

Mac DeMarco – Salad Days via Captured Tracks
Oh, Mac DeMarc0. He’s everyone’s favorite goofy, guitar slingin’ Canadian crooner (who’s now currently residing in Brooklyn). Since the release of his wacky LP, Rock and Roll Night Club in 2012 (technically his first album), and the blow up of his second album, Mac DeMarco 2, that soon followed after, the 23-year-old seems to be on a never-ending whirlwind tour of mischievousness. Banging out Metallica covers, smoking endless cigarettes, and playing his catchy, crooner crowd pleasers to thousands over and over again, Mac may look tired, but no one is of his music. He’s come a long way since his days of Rock and Roll Night Club. With the release of Salad Days, which touches on more personal and semi-serious tops, like the inability for his long-time girlfriend, “Kiki” to stay legally in the United States in “Let My Baby Stay,” it seems as if Mac’s all grown up… kind of.

Mac DeMarco – Passing Out Pieces

Mac DeMarc0 – Brother

Pure X – Angel via Fat Possum
Pure X is Austin, Texas’s billowy, psychedelic chillwave quartet (formerly known as Pure Ecstasy). Angel is the group’s 3rd album and according to their LP promo material, Angel was written and recorded over just 5 days in a hundred-year-old dance hall situated in a small town in central Texas. Drummer Austin Youngblood described the album as “a record for the ladies, about the ladies.” Now, who can resist?

Pure X – Starlight

Pure X - Heaven

 

Sónar Reykjavík Music Fest Highlights: Berndsen, Trentemøller, Hjaltalín, ELOQ, FM Belfast, Tanya & Marlon

Coco in Iceland

Coco selfie on a glacier

Iceland is full of ridiculously attractive human beings. Seriously, every single one of ‘em is a mega babe. Both men and women are tall, slender, and have beautiful long blonde hair. The Viking-esque guys also have these gorgeous beards and their hair is smoothed back with coconut oil. I couldn’t even make this up if I tried! The people of Iceland are also friendly, open-minded, fairly progressive, laid back and speak impeccable English. It just seems unfair to have an entire island populated with such beautiful people inside and out. And don’t get me started on the majestic geological wonders of the island.

What’s even more jealous invoking, is that the people of Iceland are excellent musicians and put on rockin’ music fests, especially for such a small country. It must be an island that starts with an “I” thing. Similarly to Ireland, the fierce alcohol drenched night-life and cold weather ushers people indoors, resulting in superb musical creations. The only reason being surrounded by tall, beautiful, musically inclined people in Iceland doesn’t bode well, is if you’re a shorty like myself (in comparison, of course) attending a music festival. Other than that, I don’t think anyone could possibly come up with a single complaint regarding the island of fire and ice and its perfect people.

Högni Egilsson of Hjaltalín. Photo credit: Ari Magg

Högni Egilsson of Hjaltalín. Photo credit: Ari Magg

I was in Iceland for almost a week, basking in all its glory, soaking in geothermal pools, hiking on glaciers, gawking at volcanoes and black sandy beaches, and standing in pure amazement at the endless number of massive waterfalls complete with giant rainbows. By night, I attended the Sónar Music Festival in Reykjavík, held in Harpa, the architectural wonder/concert hall by the shore. Sónar was a three-night music fest featuring a plethora of Icelandic and/or Nordic producers, DJs, bands and more. It wasn’t a music festival I’d typically attend, nor music I usually listen to, however, locals were out in full force, and who can deny a sweaty dance party? Yes, Diplo and Major Lazer were also there, but I’m not even gonna get into that. One Icelandic guy did turn to me and say, “Fuck Diplo, I don’t listen to that mainstream shit!” He also compared Major Lazer’s music to that of a “Donkey boner in your face.”

I missed a lot of bands ‘cus I was busy doing things like looking into the sky for a glimpse of the Northern Lights. I also kicked myself for missing When Saints Go Machine, but it was still a fabulous festival full new music discoveries. Here are my highlights:

Berndsen was my favorite dance inducing performance from a local at the fest. David Berndsen, the iconic, bearded synth-pop figure and frontman of the Icelandic group had plastered his face with blue stars and danced up and down the stage, occasionally jumping into selfies taken by fans near the stage. He was accompanied by two swaying twin-like long-haired synth masters including Hermigervill, one of Iceland’s “most notable producers” and an unimpressed bass player – A hilarious site to sweat up a storm to. Berndsen has released two albums, “Lover in the Dark” and “Planet Earth,” which he produced in collaboration with Hermigervill.

Berndsen – Planet Earth

To put it frankly, (Anders) Trentemøller is a badass, and so is each member of his band. The man isn’t Icelandic, but damn, the Danish producer’s got major presence. His show was dark, powerful and entrancing, though it certainly wasn’t over the top. He didn’t need gimmicks or dancers, or a giant clear ball to roll around in (ahem, Diplo) to captivate his audience. Trentemøller’s been in the music scene since the 90s, then emerged as an electro producer in 2006 with his debut album. He’s since expanded his band to about 7 people, has extensively toured the world playing all major music festivals including his own sold out tour. His 2013 album release, Lost is a whirlwind of musical influences, as well as large collaborative effort featuring Jonny Pierce from The Drums, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, Jana Hunter of Lower Dens, and Sune Wagner of The RaveonettesTrentemøller continues to pleasantly surprise fans and audiences with his ever-changing and evolving music. As Vice stated, “Much like its predecessor, ‘Lost’ serves not only as a logical continuation of his work, but also as yet another fuck-you to whatever genre you thought you had him boxed into.“

Trentemøller – Gravity

 
Hjaltalín is a large 7 piece and beloved Reykjavik-based group with a genre of music that no one can quite pinpoint. They formed in 2004 as part of a high school song writing competition, and today they’ve won multiple, “Best Album of the Year” awards and recently scored the silent film “Days of Gray,” which premiered at the Reykjavík International Film Festival (they also won album of the year for this soundtrack!). The group was unlike any of the other artists we had the pleasure to see. They were slow, intense, emotionally driven and magnetic. They clearly had a dedicated fan following who were front and center fixated on Högni Egilsson’s long flowing blond locks, entranced by Sigríður Thorlacius’s powerful voice and taken in and away by the beautiful violin music. They released their third album, Enter 4 in December of 2012, which of course, won Album of the Year by The Reykjavík Grapevine: “Not only have they made the best Icelandic album of 2012 by a country mile, they’ve gone and  created a record that’s probably one of the most searingly bleak and honest record from an Icelandic group in what feels like…forever?”

Hjaltalín – Myself

ELOQ isn’t Icelandic, but we’ll give him a break ‘cus his sounds and visuals were simply addictive. ELOQ aka August Fenger Janson is a young “Danish wunderkind” who apparently already has gold AND platinum records in Denmark. He played to a giant crowd, was extremely grateful to be there, and was easily my favorite of the larger scale producers on the main stage due to his hypnotic “joytrap” jams.

 MØ – Glass (ELOQ Remix)

FM Belfast is a catchy electro-pop Icelandic band known for their quirky performances and colorful antics. They vary from 3-8 members. At Sonar, there were about 6 of them, two I’m honestly not sure what they did aside dance, but everyone loved it anyway. They were extremely charismatic and energetic and their cult following got up and down as often as possible. Their soon-to-be-released third album, Brighter Days is due out April 22nd via Record Records.

FM Belfast – Everything (from their forthcoming album Brighter Days)

Tanya & Marlon are eclectic, ambient Icelandic cousins and BFFs with an affinity for blue hair, bunny masks and heart hand symbols. They were playing in a room with stadium seating, which is hard when trying to get a crowd rowdy, but after their first few beats, people began to pile onto the stage and dance around them, which they gladly welcomed. They released their first album in Iceland via Möller Records.

Tanya & Marlon – ISIS

Must-See + Hear Bands at SXSW 2014

sxsw 2014

Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

Ah, South by Southwest – What a glorious, messy, magical music festival. It’s held in Austin, Texas, but don’t let the big T deter you (sorry, Tejas). Austin is a funky town full of friendly folks, tattooed cyclists, glorious BBQ, breakfast tacos, a plethora of music fests, and a lot of innovative startups. Austin is a strange cross between Portland and San Francisco, with some hot sauce on top.

I attended my very first SXSW last year (not ashamed to admit I hadn’t been up until then; you gotta start somewhere), and while people love to exclaim that it’s “not what it used to be,” that it’s become “too corporate,” and it’s “way too big now,” all of these points are probably very valid, it has been around since 1987, after all. However, you can still have a good time. Why? Because more than 2,000+ bands flock to the city to play for everyone, each other, and everywhere. Plus, there are usually free tacos and beer. No complaints! You can also rock out to a Finnish goth band in a burger joint, see your guilty pleasure Danish bubblegum pop princess perform in laundry mat, mosh your way around a bridge at 3 am to the most hype-worthy of punk bands and meet a lot of interesting people. I did all of the above last year and it was perfect, despite the moans of what SXSW “used” to be.

This year? I opted to travel to Iceland and London instead and had merely 3 hours of vacation left by the time SXSW planning came about (a good 4-6 months in advance). Alas, it just wasn’t gonna happen. Am I moping? A bit, but that doesn’t mean I can’t jump on the SXSW bandwagon and write about the latest and greatest bands I hope those who are attending, have the chance to see. If you haven’t seen your Facebook and Twitter feeds blow up with SXSW updates yet, you will soon. The music portion of the fest is going on now (March 11-16th). So, whether you’re in the thick of the madness or listening from the sidelines, here are some of this year’s SXSW 2014 must-see (or listen to) bands.

p.s. Did you know that Coco Stereo is on da radio? You do now! “Cuckoo for Coco’s Pop Underground” airs on BFF.fm every Sunday, 11 am – noon PST. I played a special SXSW must-see bands edition last week. Here it is in all its gloriousness + a handful more I couldn’t cram in one hour.

Tracklist:
Tei Shi - M&Ms
Black Atlass - Blossom
Cherry Glazerr - All My Friends
Quilt - Arctic Shark
Chance The Rapper - Cocoa Butter Kisses (ft. Vic Mensa & Twista)
Mutual Benefit - Golden Wake
FKA Twigs - Water Me
Glass Animals - Gooey

Sophie – Bipp (*update* It’s been discovered at South By that Sophie is a HE. Ah, the joys of SXSW)
Speedy Ortiz - Everything’s Bigger
Wet - Bad Idea
Cate Le Bon - Are You with Me Now?
Diane Coffee - Hymn
Hundred Waters - Cavity
Ex Hex - Hot and Cold

Must-See SXSW Bands Pt. 2:

Angel Olsen – High & Wild
Trust – Joyland
St. Vincent - Prince Johnny
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
Banks – Brain
Warpaint – Biggy
Julie Byrne – Young Wife
Kelela – Do it Again
No Joy – Hare Tarot Lies
Phox – Slow Motion

Hundred Waters Album Announced + Listen to 2 New Captivating Tracks: Cavity & Down from the Rafters

Hundred WatersYou know that late 80s jam, “Nothing Compares 2 U” written by Prince and sung by Sinéad O’Connor? Well, it perfectly conveys how I feel about Hundred Waters. Nothing compares to them. Their undeniable talent, riveting live performances and eclectic sound is unlike any other: Hauntingly beautiful, captivating, goose bump-inducing, and lead singer Nicole Miglis’s fragile voice is seemingly out of this world.

The Gainesville, Florida-hailing group, whose name is a play off of, and an ode to the influential European painter, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, started playing music together while students at the University of Florida. In October of 2011, they officially became Hundred Waters. Since then, the group has seen a whirlwind of success, and rightly so. After initially releasing their debut, self-titled album in February of 2012 via Elestial Sound, the group’s stunning and unique music wowed and wooed many. They were immediately picked up and signed to Skrillex’s label, OWSLA, who then re-released their album in September of 2012. They’ve since played festivals including CMJ, South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and have toured with the likes of Julia Holter, Grimes, Braids, The xx, etc.

In all of Hundred Water‘s glorious success, they’ve also still managed to continue writing and producing magnificence, as they announced today their forthcoming sophomore album is due out May 27th. And luckily, Hundred Waters hasn’t left us crying alone in a fancy restaurant along with Sinéad O’Connor. They’ve given us two brand new tracks: “Down from the Rafters” and “Cavity,” both of which are as captivating as ever. In an interview with NPR, Nicole Miglis stated that, “‘Cavity’ is like watering a field but so much it becomes muddy, or filling a bathtub with so much water it just floods the house.” Even their track descriptions are ethereal. Nothing compares to you, Hundred Waters. Enjoy:

Hundred Waters – Down from the Rafters

Hundred Waters – Cavity

Listen to New Slammin’ Scandinavian Electro-Pop Artist: Kill J

Kill JDamn, Denmark, you’ve done it again. There must be something in the water, ‘cus Copenhagen continuously and consistently pumps out ferociously catchy alt/electro-pop artists. This is where Kill J comes in. She’s a new Danish act who excited the ears of many back in June of 2013 with her debut and hypnotic jam, “Phoenix.” Luckily, Kill J has surfaced once again in full force with a slammin’ new single, “Bullet.” On the semi-mysterious artist’s Soundcloud page, she’s fiercely stated that “Bullet” is…

“…dedicated to the victims of other peoples bullshit convictions. People who act sinful, hateful and ungodly in the name of their God.”

Kill J – Bullet

Kill J – Phoenix 

Obsessed! Meet New Hype-Worthy Group: Mt. Royal

Mt RoyalThe moment Mt. Royal‘s jam, “Missing Reward” hit my ears, I immediately became obsessed. Since then, I’ve repeatedly listened to the group during my commute, while at work in between editing sessions, and I find any excuse to pop my headphones in for one more listen.

Who is Mt. Royal? They’re a new “vintage psychedelia” pop 5-piece out of Baltimore, Maryland (who took their name from a street in their hometown) fronted by the magnetic and soulful, Katrina Ford of Celebration. The group released their self-titled debut EP on January 27th via Bella Union and have hopes for an album release this spring/summer.

Though no tours are listed for Mt. Royal, aside from a show here and there listed in Brooklyn, keep your eyes and ears open. In the mean time, listen to Mt. Royal on Spotify (you can find the full EP here), give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter, and watch their glittery, glamorous video for “Missing Reward.”