Damn, I simply can’t get enough Honeyblood. The Glasgow based two-piece made up of Shona McVicar and Stina Tweeddale, call themselves “noisy Scottish girls” and say they’re “making songs about things they really hate, and things that are okay.” With lyrics like, “I don’t think he would hurt me, I know he would. It’s in his blood,” It’s certainly working in their favor.
The foxy rockers refer to their genre of music as, “garage rock, crunch pop,” and it results in some incredibly catchy rock jams tinted with just a hint of sweetness. The name Honeyblood suits them perfectly. The duo is currently on tour with Courtney Barnett, which is an excellent combination of rockin’ girls on guitars who sing about intriguing things. Today, they’ve released a video for “Killer Bangs” which can be found on their debut album due out July 15th via FatCat Records. Enjoy Honeyblood – Choker Honeyblood – Bud
I 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
There’s an interesting contest and event called the Oaktown Music Festival which showcases and celebrates musical talent hailing from the other side of the Bay Bridge. San Francisco always seems to steal the Bay Area music spotlight, so it’s refreshing and exciting to see some Oakland representation.
The contest is put on by local Oakland venue, Awaken Cafe and entertainment production company, Oaktown Indie Mayhem. The first round of the contest began with an online song and video contest in which bands were nominated and voted upon by judges and the public. This year, there were supposedly 2,100 submissions and 30 band finalists selected. The final round of winners (see below) were selected by a jury (musicians, writers, marketers, producers, etc.) and have been given the title: “Best of Oakland.” The winners will be headlining the Winners’ Party/Concert on November 15th & 16th at Awaken Cafe, and are also given recording time at Fantasy Studios, along with other perks.
Below are hand-picked, highlighted (and alphabetized) winners and finalists – Some beloved, some newfound joys, and a couple of wacky gems ranging from groovy funk, whimsical folk, surf/punk/psych-rock and “chill pop.” I’ve included commentary on any of the bands I’ve actually seen live; hopefully more so in the future.
My boyfriend, an Oakland resident, (does this mean I get some Oakland street cred?) introduced me to Bells Atlas. We saw them play an insane debut album release show back in June at The New Parish in Oakland. They have a huge and loving Oakland/Berkeley fan following, which was easy to hear and see why. They’re an extremely talented, vibrant, groovy, funky group.
Bells Atlas – Loving Your Down (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Video)
Emily Moldy – My Own One (Won: Best in Show – People’s Choice)
Fever Charm – Magazine
Minute is 4-piece of good lookin’ boys and their good lookin’ musical toys. I saw them play a packed show at The Stork Club in Oakland and it was a sweaty good time. Occasionally a trombone was thrown into the mix and people commenced to dance up a storm. They also did a cover of Keyboard Cat just for kicks and I nearly went insane with excitement. This is one of their dreamier, psych-inspired slow jams:
Minute – Adrift
This year I saw Shannon and the Clams play at Burger Records’ Burger Bugaloo Music Festival in Oakland, and as an opener for Sonny & The Sunsets in SF. They’re one of my favorite Bay Area acts to see live and they always steal the show! The rippin’ three piece look and sound like something out of the movie Hairspray, and their jams are so damn catchy. I obsessively listened to their latest LP, Dreams in the Rat House, for a good three weeks.
Shannon and the Clams – Rip Van Winkle (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
The Tambo Rays – Take That (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
Tin Cup Serenade – Sunny Oakland Day (Won: Honorable Mention for Best Song)
We Became Owls – Suitcase (Won: Runner Up for Best Song)
The Holidays is a 4-piece indie-rock group hailing from the depths of Sydney, OZ. The group released their debut album, Post Paradise, in 2010, which thrust them into the indie-rock limelight, donning them with a plethora of positive reviews, nominations and awards. However, the second time around, frontman Simon Jones didn’t want to write another record containing the same sound as their successful debut. In an attempt to write The Holidays‘ second album, (due out sometime in early 2014) Jones told the Herald Sun, “I nearly went mad, I went to Tokyo to recalibrate and find a new sound,” he says. “I loved the sound of the Lost in Translation soundtrack, that’s why I went there. It was a mass of humanity and I was amongst millions of people I couldn’t really speak to. That helped with finding the new sound.”
The Holidays‘ latest and recently released track, “Voices Drifting” is indicative and a first glimpse into the group’s new groove – one that’s already creating big buzz amongst the blogosphere. “It’s a combination of disparate elements, blankets of fuzz, really ethereal pretty sounds, choir voices, angelic female voices, it’s heavy but it’s not,” says Jones. “It would have been too easy to do another summery bongos record. I like making life hard.”
Luckily for us, The Holidays also just released their official video for the addictive rock song, “Voices Drifting,” one in which Jones nearly drowned in an attempt to make the video in one take. “The idea was that I would perform the song underwater in one breath, but if I couldn’t last the duration the concept kinda falls apart – so the pressure was on. I spent weeks practicing by slowing down my heart rate and singing the song with my head in a bucket of water. We shot about 15 aborted takes and it was getting very frustrating for everybody, in the end I resolved to stay under even if I ran out of breath, you might be able to see this happens at the end of the 2nd verse… it was extremely uncomfortable but I didn’t drown, we got one full take and that’s the clip!” says Jones. Enjoy!
What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?- High Fidelity
Clare Maguire, the young British singer-songwriter with a voice reminiscent of Stevie Nicks has released a new single, “Paper Thin.” It’s a brooding, somber, soulful and beautiful gem laced with keys and Maguire’s delicate, enchanting sound – An excellent track if your misery needs company:
Clare Maguire – Paper Thin
The LA-based sisters that make up Haim have done it again – Released yet another ridiculously catchy pop song you just can’t hate. I’m still debating what the lyrics actually mean. Did she cheat on him? Regardless, the “new” single (the track has been around for a while, but they finally created a fine-tuned studio version) is already blowing up blogosphere, and it’s well-deserving. the The trio have yet to release a full-length album, but each new single creates even more hype than the last. Enjoy:
Haim – The Wire
UK dance quartet Rudimental has been giving electro-pop brothers, Disclosure a healthy dose of competition. The group released their album, Home in the UK earlier this year and it’ll soon be hitting US streets in August via Big Beat Records. According to BrooklynVegan, Rudimental has collaborated with “choice vocalists like Sinead Harnett, and even more interestingly, Angel Haze, they’ve also got a track with Internet Explorer commercial soundtracking dude Alex Clare,” and of course Ella Eyre as heard below in the upbeat and infectious track, “Waiting All Night.” Have a listen …and tell me that you want me:
Rudimental – Waiting All Night ft. Ella Eyre
Judson Claiborne is an indie-rock-pop-folk band hailing from Chicago. They’ve been compared to Beck, Rufus Wainwright, and on last.fm someone tagged their music: “makes good goddamn hibiscus rose hip tea.” So, you know, it’s gotta be good. “Neo-Pagan Lovesong” is a romantic new number that can be found on their recently released LP, We have Not Doors You Need Not Keys.
Judson Claiborne – Neo-Pagan Lovesong
GEMS, the Washington D.C. based couple who’ve been taking the dream-pop spotlight by storm (and filling the hole in your heart you have reserved for ‘old’ Beach House sounds) has released yet another “gem.” “Sinking Stone” is a dreamy and nostalgic track, one in which front woman Lindsay Pitts delicately and somberly coos the chorus, “Could you ever love me again? I need to know…” successfully crushing your heart.
GEMS – Sinking Stone
This week, I pleasantly stumbled upon “slacker pop” rocker chicks: The Courtneys, (thanks, Weird Canada!). The group, hailing from British Columbia, is made up of: Classic Courtney, Cute Courtney and Crazy Courtney, of course. The trio’s sound is, as self-proclaimed: “Sun drenched flying nun influenced pop with sweet licks that’ll stick with you for days.” Their influences also include: “Keanu, cheese ramen, going to the YMCA, cruising, slurpees.” What’s not to love?
The Courtneys produced a rockin’ debut track, “90210” last year, as well as an “ALL BANGERS” 6-track cassette tape, K.C. Reeves (via Green Burrito), which you can buy here. Luckily for us, they’re coming out with a full length album, The Courtneys, due out June 7th on vinyl and cassette. And, if you’re interested, they put together a workout video, which is “really good for fighting off groupies.” – Something we all have to deal with on a daily basis. Smart thinkin’ ladiez!
The Courtneys – Nu Sundae
The Courtneys – 90210
HAERTS, the hype-worthy Brooklyn-based group with a unique blend of pop, folk, and beauty has made some seriously impressive waves for a band with just one jam. The group consists of Nini Fabi, Ben Gebert, Garrett Ienner, Derek McWilliams, and Jonathan Schmidt – All who hail from the likes of Germany, England and the US. The collaboration makes for a timeless sound and HAERTS‘s first single, “Wings,” is proof of just that. “Wings” was such a strong debut for the group, it even landed them a slot at PORTALS‘s Hype Hotel SXSW showcase this year.
Now, the band has a nostalgia-inducing video to accompany “Wings” which premiered on Gorilla vs. Bear today. The video was directed by Emily Kai Bock, who’s certainly making the rounds, as she just produced Majical Cloudz‘ latest video release for “Childhood’s End.” The video for “Wings” takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, and if you grew up in suburbia, specifically somewhere “unglamorous,” it’ll spark the remnants and simplicities of childhood. Bock’s work for HAERTS is playful, moving and quite beautiful, especially when things take flight. Enjoy:
Cat Power may have graced our ears with her latest LP, Sun back in September, but today, she’s gifted us with an airy, playful music video for the beautiful, hypnotic and slightly somber track, “Manhattan,” (my personal favorite from Sun).
In a stunning, brisk urban scene, Chan Marshall aka Cat Power is seen traversing and dancing (backwards) through the beautiful NYC cityscape, participating in playful subway antics, and kickin’ it with the people who make NYC so magical.
The video was directed by Greg Hunt and Chan Marshall herself. Enjoy:
I’m convinced that great things, especially garage/rock/pop ‘n’ roll, begin with “thee” and Thee Rain Cats fall perfectly into that theory. Caleb Palomo, Miguel Gomez, Nelson Rodriguez and Patrick Palomo who make up Thee Rain Cats are a bunch of OC boys currently residing on the outskirts of Disneyland. They’ve joined the Burger Records family, like to produce insanely addictive dreamy pop “technicolor rock” gems like “Kenyah” and have just released a 7-track EP (on cassette).
Thee Rain Cats – Kenyah
Thee Rain Cats – OJ Krush
Want something to be thoroughly addicted to? Meet: Jackson Scott. He’s a “scrappy indie-pop” 4-track recording, guitar jammin’ singer/songwriter hailing from Asheville, North Carolina. He reminds me of a child-like Elliott Smith meets Mac DeMarco meets Atlas Sound – An amazing trifecta of sound all rolled into one. I also get a hint of Daniel Johnston… maybe it’s the basement home recording and creepy kid piano tones.
When looking for info about Jackson Scott, there’s not much to go off of except a simple Tumblr, containing all of one photo, and a SoundCloud page donning three tracks: “Evie,” “That Awful Sound,” and “Sandy.” According to this post and convo Scott had with PORTALS, we at least know he’s a (kind of ) a college student: “I haven’t been going to college since last spring because my parents wanted me to take a year off and work and get in state residence in NC, but I’ve basically been spending my college funds on avoiding getting a job, thinking about music, writing songs and other things…” Either way, he’s also apparently already made it into Pitchfork’s “best new music” section within a flash – Impressive, but it’s easy to hear why:
Jackson Scott – That Awful Sound