Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Five

There's plenty of new music to cover, so let's get right to it:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll
Could this be my favourite Yeah Yeah Yeahs song yet? Yup, it sure is. The New York City band will release their third album, It's Blitz!, on April 13th. The album's first official single 'Zero' can be heard on their MySpace page.

The Thermals - Now We Can See
I properly fell in love with The Thermals following their 2006 release The Body, The Blood, The Machine so when they recently revealed that their fourth album will be available on April 7th I became feverishly excited. Now We Can See will be the band's first release with Sub Pop and the title track is no disappointment. Sure, it's a bit more pop music than their previous fare but it's still got those trademark scathing lyrics and ludicrously catchy guitar parts.

Beirut - No Dice
Beirut goes electronic? Strangely enough, it works. Those familiar with Gulag Orkestar or The Flying Cup Club will be in for a pleasant surprise. This track is taken from a set of double EPs released last month; March of the Zapotec is straight-up Beirut, but Holland is pure electro bliss.

A.C. Newman - Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer
When not acting as captain of supergroup The New Pornographers Carl Newman records some pretty solid indie rock as A.C. Newman. His second album Get Guilty hit shelves last month and has been well received; this track in particular brings to mind The New Pornographers circa Twin Cinema.

Blackout Beach - Astoria, Menthol Lite, Hilltop, Wave of Evil, 1982
Like his pals from Wolf Parade, Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes and Swan Lake fame has a penchant for multiple musical projects. Mercer released Skin of Evil, the second album under his Blackout Beach moniker, last month and although it's not all to my taste this track currently has me hooked, perhaps due to its weirdness.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Walking On A Dream

The Sydney duo that makes up Empire of the Sun is not to be confused with it's 1987 movie counterpart of the same name. Which oddly enough I am watching on TV as I write this post. Ben Stiller's in it..but he's not very funny so far. And so is Batman! Anyways, Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore have created one of the most impressive debut albums I have heard as of late. The production is fantastic with the highlight being the oh so crisp vocals. The ten track album starts off strong with instantly loveable tracks like Walking on a Dream, and We are the People. There is little filler here as each of the other tracks have grown on me with each listen. I think it's safe to say that fans of MGMT, which at this point would seem to be everyone, will thoroughly enjoy this album, which in fact is meant to be a concept album based around the cult film 'The Holy Mountain'. The singles have been all over Australian radio for months and are currently featured downloads on itunes UK, but I'm not even sure if this album has seen a North American release yet. If the Star Wars / Dali-esque album art is'nt enough to peak your interest. Perhaps the video will.

Empire of the Sun - We are the People

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nous Non Plus!

I've had a crush on Nous Non Plus ever since I heard their super catchy ditty "French Teacher". This ahem, 'francophone' band from NY is almost painfully kitsch, with cheesy videos, silly lyrics and even more ridiculous pseudonyms (Céline Dijon and François Hardonne, to name only a few).

While they might seem to be crafting some kind of parody, they are in fact a bona fide band, complete with a messy history (check out their former ensemble, Les Sans Culottes) and multi-talented band members. You can sample their latest album, Ménagerie (2009), right here.

Check out this video for Loli.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Loney, Animated

Loney, Dear (aka Emil Svanängen) is a Swedish musical genius whose latest album Loney, Noir is receiving a ton of buzz. What's even more fantastic than his sound is this sweet animated video for his single "I am John". It was created by fellow Swede Andreas Nilson, whose video for The Knife (below) is also worth your while. Enjoy!

Loney, Dear - I am John

The Knife - N.Y. Hotel

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Inbox Wednesday: The Withering Pines

BTA was very lucky to receive a physical copy of The Withering Pines first release Into Corners for this edition of Inbox Wednesday, I guess that makes it mailbox Wednesday?  Nevertheless, Ottawa's  established and well-respected musician Eric Vieweg and friends have skillfully wrapped-up some soul-filled rock numbers in the first release for The Withering Pines.
What is so refreshing about this album is how the emotion permeates through every inch moment of the album.  The songs are raw, yet calculated; this allows each song to stand alone.  Highlights of the album include "Lines Upon Our Skin" where I reached for the volume to hear the energetic guitar tear into the verse, then hush everything to hear Vieweg's lamenting retrospect.  
My hands down favourite track is "Whisper in the Night", where the patient chorus echoes the overall atmosphere of the album.  Call it rock, folk rock, roots's a rock album.  Simply.
The Withering Pines didn't rush, this album assembled intricately by some of Ottawa greatest artists and it shows.   The liner notes include J.J. Ipsen, Matt Ouimet, Anders Drerup, and Matt Aston.
The Withering Pines are celebrating the release of Into Corners Saturday February 21st at The Elmdale Tavern.

Here's a pretty entertaining Beatles cover by The Withering Pines at Ottawa's 2008 Bluesfest.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tribute Tuesday - Blossom Dearie

Tribute Tuesday is not a regular segment on BTA, but I felt that I should give recognition where it's due.  Blossom Dearie passed away of natural causes on February 7th, 2009 at the age of 82.  She'll be remembered for her jazz vocal inspiration and her piano-boop sound.  There isn't a song that won't put a smile on your face.  The above photo is dated 2007; At the age of 80, Dearie maitained a regular stints in New York and London.
Maybe it's because of the Grammys, but sad news went virtually unnoticed.   For those who are familiar, we'll play her music in remembrance and those who aren't, it's never to late to experience.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Remix S-Monday

Just before heading out to check Kid Sister, A-Trak and subsequently, Shaun White of snowboarding fame I came across this dope remix of Sebastien Tellier by A-Trak.

A-Trak pumps up the slow burn feel of Tellier's original while adding some Rasputin-inspired strings and that bass funk he does so well.

Check it.

Sebastien Tellier - Kilometer (A-Trak remix)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A-Trak, Kid Sister, Team Canada in Vancouver

Just a quick note for any Vancouver readers that A-Trak, Kid Sister, and Team Canada will all be hitting the stage this weekend at the LG Mountain Festival in West Vancouver. The event will span over 3 days, starting tomorrow and includes a snowboard comp and some snazzy fashion stuff. More importantly are the three previously mentioned heavy hitters that will all be performing on Saturday. And the best part of it's free. Team Canada kick things off at 4:00 pm on Saturday. Check the website for all the info. See you there!

FREEking Formidable!

I've been meaning to post about The Joy Formidable ever since I caught a section of their BBC Introducing set at this year's Reading Festival but they never quite reached the upper echelons of my to do list. Now they've decided to give their debut LP "A Balloon Called Moaning" away for free I can no longer justify my procrastination.

In the fields of Berkshire, the initial attraction was to Ritzy Bryan's vocals which held an instantly enviable nature of appearing simulataneously pure, jagged and imbued with character. This is even more evident on record and fits perfectly when layered over the shoegazing guitars and illusory melodies. The album is urgent, exhillirating, challenging and is already one of my highlights of the year.

Have a listen to "Cradle",

then cut and paste this link to download the full album:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I think they're on a boat . . .

Musical pranksters the The Lonely Island released their highly anticipated album Incredibad today. Fans will be plenty familiar with SNL/internet hits such as 'Dick in a Box', 'Jizz in My Pants' and 'I'm On A Boat'; they're all there, alongside collaborations with Julian Casablancas, Natalie Portman and Jack Black, among others. The video for the 'I'm On A Boat' (see below) featuring T-Pain was made available on YouTube a few days ago and is absolutely hilarious. Folks have began touting TLI as the internet generation's answer to the Beastie Boys, and Incredibad's slick production and celebrity cameos seem to indicate that the album will do very, very well indeed.

The Lonely Island - I'm On A Boat

Monday, February 09, 2009

(Kinda) New Music Monday: Late of The Pier

BTA has mentionned Late of The Pier before (thanks G.R.O), but I think they deserve a little bit of individual attention. I KNOW, this album is not from 2009, and it is therefore passé. But it's SO good.

To summarize: they're British, their sound is infectious, synth-laced electro-punk and their lyrics address issues such as unrequited love and, um, radiation suits.

...Ok, so they're not making any radical political statements or producing the cleverest of poetry, but sometimes, you need a break from all that thinking, no? In any regards, Fantasy Black Channel (2008) is a brilliant compilation of sounds and is a hell of a good time from start to finish.

Here are a few tastes:

Late of The Pier - Broken
Late of The Pier - The Bears Are Coming

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Five

Here it is, your Friday Five:

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Young Adult Friction
My new favourite band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart released their self titled debut on Tuesday and are now ardently loved by everybody and his dog. New York City's latest indie rock offering will be in Toronto on February 12th and Montreal the following night. Canadians, please don't miss them.

Andrew Bird - Tenuousness
Andrew Bird has returned, warbling and whistling his way through a strong follow up to 2007's Armchair Apocrypha. New album Noble Beast has received much critical acclaim and currently sits at number 12 in the Billboard 200. It's well worth a listen.

Freeway - Bank Rollz
During the month of December Philly rapper Freeway released a new track for free download every day as his 'Month of Madness' project. You'd think that 32 free hip-hop tracks (31 plus the "Month of Madness" intro) would amount to a pile of crap, but you'd be wrong. The compilation exudes quality and the production is top-notch, as are Freeway's flawless rhymes.

Éléphantine - En attente d'un moment présent
Éléphantine are from Montreal and create intricately layered electronic-infused indie rock of the highest calibre. My first listen to "En attente d'un moment présent" brought to mind a francophone Radiohead circa OK Computer. Their only release thus far is last year's 6 track EP Sous le règne des lampadaires but the band is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on their debut album which is scheduled to drop on May 5th. Anglophones, don't let the exclusively French lyrics put you off. These guys are brilliant.

Black Hat Brigade - Swords
Another talented Canadian group, this time five guys from Toronto (Brampton, actually) creating post rock goodness under the name Black Hat Brigade. This track is from their first EP which was released last year and drew a plethora of Wolf Parade comparisons. A new EP is tentatively set to be completed for March. Torontonians can catch them at the Horseshoe Tavern on March 13th with Handsome Furs.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Overlooked in '08: Zombie-Zombie

Zombie-Zombie consists of two French guys who possess a large array of electronic noisemaking gadgetry and an unbridled love for vintage horror film soundtracks. Sounds familiar, you say? Their beats will, too. But the duo's 2008 debut A Land For Renegades is of a high enough standard and treads enough new ground that comparisons to Justice and the rest of the Ed Banger crew are simply sonic references rather than marginalisations. Tracks like 'Before Night Falls' and the epic opener 'Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free' are essential listening for anyone who even remotely enjoys electronic music. The video for the latter track also features the best GI Joe stop-motion animation this writer has ever seen:

Zombie-Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free