The Ceremonies - Land of Gathering

The three dapper chaps up top are the Cook Brothers and you’re about to hear a sampling of their exciting blend of ’80s new wave and alt rock. They are currently working on their debut album but until then they’ve already released a fantastic EP with each song better than the last. Family bands seem to harbor the best harmonies and the brother’s similar vibratos really influence that truism (the matching vibratos are very evident in the drum-driven “Ballroom Bones”). 

All three are painters but it obviously extends past the brush as the songs are crafted with fantastic artistry. If you want to learn more about them head on over to their website which also links to their Tumblr (which is a bit of an art lover’s paradise). “Land of Gathering” was the first single and I’m sure there will be plenty more to come.

-Zach

B.o.B. - Headband ft. 2 Chainz (Coucheron Remix)

Today feels like the end of summer which honestly is my favorite part of the season. That being said, I’m sure there are some oppressive days left in this year’s temperature reservoir so for them I’m prescribing this song, my last song of the summer (even though it’s a 2013 release). I love the pop sensibilities Coucheron imparts on this otherwise sparse whistle-driven DJ Mustard production. While I prefer the remix to the original (worth a watch just for the leg wipe transitions), both of them have the same really bad jokes that made me love it in the first place. 

Sure it’s not B.o.B.’s best work but sometimes songs are about when you hear them. Well I guess you have to hear all songs don’t you? Uhhh, Illuminati. Out.

-Zach

Porter Robinson - Flicker

I’m not sure if I’m growing more prone to EDM or if it’s just getting better (you’d hope that’s the case, right?). I mean I still like to call out the new Skrillex remixes whenever a police car zooms past with sirens blaring but it takes an artist like Porter Robinson to make me actually appreciate what you can do with a seemingly overgrown genre of builds and drops.

"Flicker" is Porter’s fourth and last single release before he’s dropping the full album Worlds on August 12th. The song features a chopped up text-to-speech voice reciting “Watashi wa choudo nani ga jyuuyou ka mitsukeyou to shiteiru” which translates to “I’m trying to find just what’s really important to me”. That sounds like a mission statement to me as Robinson has been quoted saying he just wants to write music that he thinks is cool without compromise. My excitement for the album is getting to see what other worlds he’s created in sound. You’re bound to get hyped as well if you check out his particular fusion of Portal, Netsky, Sonic, and, yes, even some of those build and drops we all seem to love.

This is EDM for the house not house music for the club.

-Zach

P.S. I live for that laugh.

Wild Cub - Thunder Clatter

Here tonight with a little bit of that infectious indie pop. Wild Cub feel so very standard fare indie with their use of “80s-inspired synth” and plenty of great guitar hooks, builds and beats. The lyrics are catchy and well-written but the vocals while not falling flat are like another instrument with limited range. It’s the same way The National can only sing in melancholy; that kind of mix works perfectly for Wild Cub because you really appreciate how well the instrumentals are crafted and how well the voice ebbs in and out of the driving tracks.

All in all their current/reissued album Youth is a full album I’d like to recommend. It’s certainly been helping me through the grind. Thunder Clatter has been their most successful track to date but my other favorites are Colour and WIld Light. I also have a feeling Max would dig the Phil Collins vibe of Wishing Well.

-Zach

Top Album Covers Week

When The Mamas and the Papas had their debut album, they had to cover up the toilet in their album cover because it was deemed indecent. Then Andy Warhol pushed the boundaries with an album cover that had a banana sticker that could be peeled off to reveal a pink banana. While that was seen as extremely provocative at the time, our sense of shock value has certainly diminished. Album covers still get censored (such as the pixelation of Kanye being straddled by a phoenix) but there are still plenty of people trying to see how far they can push the boundaries. While I love albums with backstories, I wanted my top albums to be about the aesthetics. Album art is such a special part of seeing a bands sound rather than just hearing it. The Magritte-esque Mars Volta album, the Soviet propaganda styling of The Space Project, the plein air watercolors of Poolside or the digital feel of the Discover LP all seem to lend themselves to exactly what you’re about to hear. These covers stand alone as art but are even better when combined with the sound of a band you love.

-Zach

LP - Into the Wild

After being on the music scene for ten years, releasing two commercially unsuccessful independent albums, co-writing/being featured in tracks with artists like Rihanna, Christina Aguilera and Madonna and then releasing an EP in 2012, Laura Pergolizzi (LP) finally released a full length album this past June called Forever For Now and I have to say it has completely captured my attention. The most obvious thing to mention is her incredible voice that sets her apart from any artist I’ve heard in the last decade. Not only can she sing but she can also break into an operatic wail as featured in the title track, “Forever For Now" (it’s also the one that starts off like an audition for the soundtrack to Kill Bill Vol. 3). From start to finish, ukelele to drum beat, the songs crafted by LP and enhanced by Rob Cavallo’s artistic direction have been providing me continuous enjoyment. 

While “Night Like This" was the first song that made me fall in love, "Into The Wild" has quickly become my favorite track. Not only does it have the perfect amount of whistling but it truly captures a sense of freedom that comes from a longing to escape. Whether you’re jumping into the wild, the city, or a new stage of your life, this song perfectly captures that rush you feel as you take the jump when there’s nothing left to hold you back.

-Zach

Crown - All Hail Now

A couple months ago at work I was “pushed” into pyro design as if I needed to be forced to choreograph explosions. My only gripe so far is making the soundtracks. Whenever someone wants a patriotic show it’s the same damn songs. You got your American Boy, your American Girl, your American Woman, you can be Born in the U.S.A. and grow up to be Young Americans then while you’re Living in America in some Pink Houses you do your best to avoid becoming another American Idiot. Oh and it would be a sin on this most holy of middle finger holidays if there wasn’t a Party in the U.S.A. I was also told clients would not appreciate it if I started the pyro soundtracks with “America, Fuck Yeah”.

Now, I wanted to be a little patriotic but at this point I really don’t want to hear another song with America in it. Enter “All Hail Now”, a great party anthem that samples the presidential march song “Hail to the Chief”. The song just dropped this past Tuesday after being teased in a New Amsterdam commercial last week.

Hope everyone gets their fill of American Pie this weekend, and if you’re not American just have some regular pie, it’ll probably taste better (just make sure it wasn’t made in a bomb factory).

-Zach

(Source: Spotify)

Vacationer - The Wild Life

Here’s a little summer tune to get stuck in your head. Kenny Vasoli has come rather far from his The Starting Line days. Since 2010, he’s been creating indie beach resort music with Vacationer and it’s just as easy to listen to as you could imagine a genre like “nu-hula” to be. I can see the indie beach resort now: mustache lotion, solar powered record players and all. “The Wild Life” was the first single off the new album, Relief, which released this past Tuesday.

It’s a very aptly named album as the chords from the guitar produce visions of sun through the waves or swaying palm trees while you’re fading out in a beach chair to the therapeutic rhythms. I think it’s called “Relief” and not “Relaxation” because as soon as the album’s over the beach is gone and you realize that wasn’t mustache lotion. I should probably warn you though, constant listening may result in a sock tan.

-Zach