As part of my morning routine, I passively listen to my massive music blog feed (of about 90 music blogs) while getting ready for work. Occasionally I’ll discover something I dig, and in between blow drying my hair and eating breakfast, I’ll tuck it away into a “favorites” file.
Today, however, my ears perked up immediately upon hearing the most refreshing, glorious and beautiful dream-pop. “Who could this be?!” I exclaimed – A thought that sparks joyous panic for a new music scourer on the hunt for a sparkling diamond in the rough sands of millions of bands. I dropped the hair dryer and ran over to the computer. There they were: Hush Pup… A new duo out of Victoria, British Columbia, who had been featured on the excellent and eccentric music blog, Weird Canada.
After frantically searching for more Hush Pup sounds, I discovered that this amazing new music wasn’t actually (brand spanking) new? The definition of “new” is relative, of course. Little to my knowledge, the dreamy duo had released a 3-track EP via Legwarmer Records in 2013 titled, Darlene. Yes, the EP/band had been given shout outs late last year on a couple of music blogs like Silent Shout or Aux.tv, but I’m only seeing this now.
Where was I when this all went down, or should I say up? Where were any of us? The band only has 300+ followers on Facebook and less than 30 “hearts” on Hype Machine? How’d these sweet sounds slip through my/our eager ears? Some people were certainly on the bandwagon, but I’d say not nearly enough. So without further adieu, I gladly present you: Hush Pup, ‘cus better late than never! And I’m happy to announce that according to their Facebook, we can expect new music real soon (as in, this summer) – I’m not missing it this time, and neither should you! Find ’em on Facebook and Bandcamp, too.
Oh, Tom Krell, you’re simply 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
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
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.
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
Sylvan Esso – Coffee
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
You 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
Damn, 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
The 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.”