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Archive for March, 2011

Arctic Monkeys Reveal New Single

“Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair” will be the first single from the Arctic Monkeys‘ forthcoming album Suck It And See.

You can check out the release dates and different formats that will be available below.

April 11:
Single Digital Download Release
1. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair

April 16:
Record Store Day 7″(RUG406)
1. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
2. Brick by Brick

May 30:
1. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
2. I.D.S.T

10″(RUG406T)/Digital Download(RUG406DI)
1. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
2. The Blond-O-Sonic Shimmer Trap
3. I.D.S.T

Lost In The Sound Sessions: The Great Valley – “Dirty Work”

Today we are very excited to bring you an exclusive Lost In The Sound Session with The Great Valley, who performed their new single “Dirty Work” acoustically. Their new album Ruthless was released independently on March 1, 2011 and can be purchased from iTunes here.

Film Credit: Matt Reamer

Review: Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine

Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine

Released: February 22, 2011
Label: Carpark Records
Purchase: iTunes | Insound | Amazon

Lovely album art, isn’t it? They say that one should never judge a book by its cover, and while it wouldn’t be entirely correct to dismiss Toro Y Moi’s Underneath the Pine on its cover alone, it is actually nice visual representation for the music: dated, a failed attempt at artistry, and generally ugly.

Quickly opening the case and popping in the CD (or eschewing the visual assault altogether with a digital copy), the listener is greeted with the aptly titled intro, “Intro/Chi Chi”. The opening fuzzy synthesizers are nearly as hideous as the album art, but after a minute, drums and bass reminiscent of Twin Shadow kick in, providing some hope for what lies ahead. Unfortunately, despite a few bright spots, much of this hope is in vain.

Pine is very much an acquired taste, and unless one already has an affinity for the muddled, retro sound that Chazwick Bundick, the man behind it all, is trying to convey, there isn’t much to like. It isn’t that he can’t write music; his creative decisions are very intentional and have a particular audience, but the end result will likely sound off to the average listener.

Much of the blame for this sound lies in two sources: the vocals and the synths. Bundick’s high pitched vocals, while unique, have an airiness that makes him sound in near-perpetual falsetto. Needless to say, this only has a limited amount of utility. Instead of clearly defined vocal lines, the singing occasionally comes off more as an off-putting, calculated series of moans (see “Before I’m Done” or “Good Hold”). As mentioned above, there is obviously a stylistic method to his madness, but that doesn’t make the result any less mad.

The biggest problem with the synths isn’t excess, but irresponsibility. Many songs contain background synths which don’t serve much purpose but to outline the current chord. However, in most cases in which they are used, the distortion gives them a very dreary sound, which, combined with the vocals, often drags the entire song down. While it is usually just a case of sounding generally muddy, the background instrument in “Good Hold,” actually a piano in this case, just plays terrible notes that don’t blend with the sound at all.

All of that being said, however, there are a few good songs on the album, and that’s not even a qualified statement of “good compared to the rest of the album.” It is no coincidence that these songs happen to be the singles, the songs that are naturally going to be most accessible. “New Beat” is fairly infectious, vocal weakness aside, with a synth line seemingly torn straight from a Sega Genesis. “Got Blinded” is a fun, vaguely 60s song with wonderfully layered synths, piano, and bass, and a rarity on the album, it even has a memorable chorus. “Still Sound” starts with a strong bass line and three well-blended synths, and the bouncing singing actually has personality. These are fun, memorable songs that are likely the only to warrant repeat listens.

The rest of the songs never seem to rise above the hindering synths and vocals. There are rarely moments that even stick out and make the song overcome the mire of mediocrity. In fact, individual moments in the song may even make things worse. “Good Hold” (notice how many times this song has been negatively mentioned?) may perhaps be most notable for its extreme shift of all sound to the left speaker, which I personally found physically uncomfortable in headphones.

Not even the lyrics can save the songs. Not only are they often drowned out by the music, they are difficult to understand, again due to the vocals. Those that I could make out, with the exception of “Still Sound,” rarely rose above the simple level of typical relationship songs.

I rarely say this when listening to music, but Pine is a largely unpleasant experience. It’s hard to define exactly, but it feels like in some sense, it just lacks “music.” While I normally write it off as not my taste, I can see few people actually getting into this music, with the exception of the singles. Too much of it sounds dreary without justification, and listening to it simply becomes a drag. Bundick clearly put effort into his music, but it nonetheless has very limited appeal.


Standout Tracks: “New Beat”, “Got Blinded”, and “Still Sound”

Muse To Play ‘Origin Of Symmetry’ In Full

Matt Bellamy has announced via his Twitter page that Muse will be playing 2001’s Origin Of Symmetry in full during their headlining slots at the Reading and Leeds Festivals this summer on August 26-28.

The band wants to mark the ten-year anniversary of Origin Of Symmetry by playing the album in full for the last time. “It’s probably the last time some of these songs will ever be played live again,” he said, explaining that the performances would include the band “drawing a line under one phase of our career”.

Review: Hailey, It Happens – Aurora

Hailey, It Happens – Aurora

Released: April 5, 2011
Label: Self-released
Purchase: iTunes | Amazon

Some of the best things in life just happen – you stumble upon them unknowingly, with absolutely no idea how important they will be to you in the future. But later, after the fact, everything sinks in and the waves of emotion hit. At this point in time, a personal importance is assigned and we’re left clutching at thin wisps of memories. These are the moments when we realize just how lucky we are and what we have run into. Things happen.

Life happens. The other day I stumbled upon electronic pop duo Hailey, It Happens and, for better or for worse, decided to give their debut album a listen. Now, after the fact, I’m certainly glad I did. Their debut albumAurora is pop in the vein of Owl City and Ben Gibbard’s The Postal Service fused with the songwriting talents of Andrew McMahon (Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate). Picture a less poppy, more capable Owl City and you have Hailey, It Happens.

“I Gave Her My Heart, She Gave Me a Pen” opens the album with a combination of drums, piano, and synth. Vocalist Chris Cleary’s superb range is highlighted through the chorus – the noticeably high quality mixing by Paul Levitt complements the band’s sound quite nicely, allowing Chris’s voice to really shine. His honest and endearing delivery takes center stage on Aurora. On “Invincible”, Cleary sings, “…and this is where I spent my nights with the king of pop and the piano man”, a warm memory that should be easy for many to relate to.

Holistically speaking, the overall sound of Aurora could be characterized by the natural phenomena itself. The album includes numerous breath-taking moments of sonic brilliance – the music is fun, catchy, and poppy enough to hook you in, but once you’ve been pulled in, the honest, passionate lyrics keep you around for more.

But that isn’t where Aurora shines brightest – the intricacies of the album are what really make it great. It might be a backing synth line from Bobby DiBari on one track or an echoed “woah” on another, but on each song, there’s something unique and inherently beautiful hidden underneath the basic makeup of their music. This is what makes Aurora so good.

Aurora isn’t without its flaws, though, as the duo provide very little variety throughout the course of the eight-track album. For the most part, the songs are all pretty similar sounding with similar song structure and composition. Closing track “Hurricane” is a bit more toned down and is certainly more reserved than the rest of the album, ending the album on a different (and welcomed!) note.

Great things may in fact be better when they are least expected. Things happen. Life happens. I may not know who Hailey is, but Hailey, it happens. Life happens. We’re all just here for the ride.


Standout Tracks: “Brighter”, “Aurora”, and “Hurricane”

The Morning Benders Release New EP for Japan

To help raise money for the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund, The Morning Benders have released Japan Echo EP featuring remixes from Star SlingerWild Nothing, and more. 100% of proceeds will be donated. Download and donate here.

“Last week we were scheduled to go to Tokyo to play our first show ever in Japan. It was going to be a very special trip for us, and for me in particular. I had always dreamt of going back to Japan to play music. Not many people know this, but I was actually born in Japan, and although I only lived there for a couple of years, I’ve always had a deep love for the country and its people. I cannot express how sad and helpless I’ve felt reading about everything that is happening there right now, and even though we couldn’t be there, we wanted to do everything we could to help.
We love you Japan.

Check out the track listing below.

Japan Echo EP (日本・エコー) Tracklisting:
1. Cold War (Star Slinger Remix)
2. Better In Blue
3. Hand Me Downs (Wild Nothing Remix)
4. Excuses (RAC Remix)
5. Mason Jar (Twin Sister Remix)
6. Wet Cement (Aislyn Remix)
7. Little Riot
8. Promises (Star Slinger Remix)

Hawthorne Heights Announce Tour and Contest

On their upcoming tour, Hawthorne Heights will be hosting a Meet & Greet contest, allowing the winners to meet and hang out with the band before the show, as well as a limited edition out of print Saying Sorry 7″ UK single on either pink or blue vinyl. More information about the contest can be found here.

Check out the tour dates below.

United Scenes of America Tour Dates:

Mar 31, Louisville, OH @ The Carriage House
Apr 1st, Westland, MI @ The Token Lounge
Apr 2, Steger, IL @ Another Hole In The Wall
Apr 3, Toledo, OH @ Frankies Inner City
Apr 4, Pittsburgh, PA @ Diesel
Apr 5, Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock
Apr 6, Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
Apr 7, Albany, NY @ Bogies
Apr 9, Manchester, NH @ Rocko’s Rock Club
Apr 10, Providence, RI @ The Ruins
Apr 12, Hamden, CT @ The Space
Apr 13, New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Apr 14, South Hackensack, NJ @ School Of Rock
Apr 15, Vineland, NJ @ Hangar 84
Apr 16, North East, MD @ North East Fire Hall
Apr 17, Towson, MD @ Recher Theater
Apr 19, Charlotte, NC @ Treemont Music Hall
Apr 20, Jacksonville, NC @ Hooligan Music Hall
Apr 21, Fayetteville, NC @ The Rock Shop
Apr 22, Marietta, GA @ Swayze’s
Apr 23, Johnson City, TN @ Spring Street Music Hall
Apr 25, Cedar Falls, IA @ The Wheelhouse
Apr 26, Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
Apr 27, Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
Apr 28, Iowa City @ The Blue Moose
Apr 29, Terre Haute, IN @ The Venue
Apr 30, Bloomington, IN @ Rhino’s
May 1, Kalamazoo, MI @ The Strutt
May 3, Parkersburg, WV @ Rader’s Music Venue
May 5, Nashville, TN @ The Exit/In
May 6, Indianapolis, IN @ Rock House Cafe
May 7, Lebanon, OH @ Venue 42

The Flaming Lips and Neon Indian Collab

The Flaming Lips and Neon Indian have recently just collaborated for a new song called “Is David Bowie Dying?”. You can listen to the collaboration here.

Interview: Valencia

We recently had the chance to chat with Brendan Walter, guitarist of Valencia, discussing the band’s new tour, their most recent album Dancing With a Ghost, their return to I Surrender, and their plans for the rest of the year. Check out the interview after the break.

LitS: First off, how are you guys doing?

Valencia: We’re doing great!

LitS: You guys just began a tour with A Rocket To The Moon, Anarbor, Runner Runner, and Go Radio. How excited are you?

Valencia: So excited. Everything has been going swimmingly and the shows have been insane (all sold our so far – 1 week in). We couldn’t ask for a better tour.

LitS: Which shows are you looking forward to most on this tour?

Valencia: I’m really looking forward to the Anaheim show. Chain Reaction is always such a crazy place to play. Kids are just so excited to see and experience music there and all of the positive vibes really make for a good time. (more…)

Goblin Track Listing

Tyler, the Creator of OFWGKTA has just revealed the track listing for his new album, Goblin. Tyler, the Creator hasproduced every song on the album, with the exception of “Transylvania”, which was produced by Left Brain. Everybody from Odd Future will be featured on the album, except for Tyler, the Creator’s “younger brother,” Earl Sweatshirt. The album art of Goblin is a picture of American soldier and showman, Buffalo Bill. Goblin will be released on May 10 and will be available on vinyl.

01 Goblin
02 Yonkers
03 Radicals
04 She
05 Transylvania
06 Nightmare
07 Tron Cat
08 Her
09 Sandwitches
10 Fish
11 Analog
12 BSD
13 Window
14 AU79
15 Golden