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death cab for cutie

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Listen: Sincerely, Grizzly – “Us; or Optimism”

Sincerely, Grizzly - Press Shot #1

Three piece literature rock outfit, Sincerely, Grizzly from Adelaide, Australia have just released the first single titled Us; or Optimism off of their debut record “Halves”. Literature rock is a hybrid of both art and math rock, combining time signature changes and intricate guitar and percussion work. The forthcoming album “Halves” is the bands’ attempt to understand and reconcile musical, personal and philosophical dichotomies. Us; or Optimism was recorded in Melbourne with Jez Giddings at Hot House, mixed by Brad Wood (Sunny Day Real Estate, Smashing Pumpkins, Placebo) and mastered by Emily Lazar (Brand New, Death Cab For Cutie, Wu Tang).

Sincerely, Grizzly this year alone have supported the band responsible for their musical existence, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead as well as embarking on two national tours of their own and sharing the stage with artists such as JAPANDROIDS and The Presidents of The United States of America. You can stream their new single below and follow the band on Facebook for more information. They embark on a national tour of Australia tomorrow so if you’re from there check out the dates here.

Watch: Air Marshal Landing – “Little Town”


Air Marshal Landing’s debut record You Used To Be Me is set to be released on the 4th of June. In preparation for the release, the track Little Town is available to download on a “Name Your Price” basis from their Bandcamp page, alongside  a music video which you can watch below. The video was directed by Michael Schmidt and includes, “one of us dressed in drag, one of us twirling an evil moustache, and one of us failing to be a hero.” Little Town, an indie number, contains a mention to Death Cab For Cutie’s Summer Skin alongside incorporating the surprising use of a melodica at the beginning. The electric guitar riffs accompanied by synchronised percussion give off The Strokes vibes and make you want to “dance back to where you came from!”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7At526aLco]

Listen: Lake Michigan – “Self-Titled”

Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan, lo-fi acoustic solo project equipped with disarmingly honest lyrics have released their debut self-titled album. Chris Marks, inspired by the hushed and melodic sounds of Death Cab For Cutie and American Football, recorded, mixed, and mastered this release by himself. This collection of nine slow and sad tracks accurately touches on the themes of adolescent ontology. The album is available to purchase from Wolf Town DIY as a CD and also you can stream it below from Bandcamp.

A message from Marks about the release, “You have no idea how much I would appreciate all of you who are reading this listening/buying a CD from Wolf Town/showing your friends/assisting me in getting this out there as much as possible.”

Watch: Azealia Banks – “1991”

Rising New York hip-hop artist Azealia Banks has just released the music video for “1991”. The 1991 EP was released earlier this year and has received overall good reviews for the singles “212” and “Liquorice”. Justin Mitchell, who has previously worked with KiD CuDi and Death Cab for Cutie, directed the music video that you can view below. In the music video, you can see Azealia Banks simply being Azealia Banks posing and dancing in this simplistic music video. Her debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, has again been delayed to a further release date. So far the expected release date is February 12, 2013, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it was delayed again.

Live Review: Death Cab For Cutie @ Shanghai, China’s Yunfeng Theatre (03/09)

Band: Death Cab For Cutie
Location: Shanghai, China’s Yunfeng Theatre
Date: March 9, 2012

“Hello, we’re Death Cab For Cutie from Seattle,” Ben Gibbard timidly introduced his band after playing the concluding notes to “A Lack of Color”. But just as abruptly as the band began their set at Yunfeng Theatre, Ben’s introduction was suddenly overwhelmed by a wave of cheers from the adoring crowd that was seeing them play for the first time.  Earlier this month, Death Cab played their first ever show in China and for a city so hungry for international acts, Death Cab’s inclusion into the JUE Festival was a perfect way to follow-up Shanghai’s recent visits from Mogwai and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. And while the crowd wasn’t entirely that energetic throughout most of the show – perhaps influenced by the nontraditional rock venue, a smallish theatre that limited excessive jumping and dancing – it was clear that they were definitely into the show and the music being played.

From that point on, it was obvious that the band had settled into a comfort zone of sorts, launching into their more well-known tracks like “You Are a Tourist” and even a solo performance of “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” that had the crowd singing and swaying along. Although the tracklist was heavy with songs from 2003’s Transatlanticism (a total of six songs!), the band rounded out the evening by including songs from Narrow Stairs, We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes, and The Photo Album.

Accompanied by waves of flashing lights, Ben even took a turn on an extra set of drums for an extended, heavily instrumental rendition of “We Looked Like Giants” where the band launched into a five-minute jam session. For the rest of the night, Ben alternated between playing the keyboard and the guitar, but of course, he was at his best behind the microphone, with the acoustics of the theatre and the diligence of the sound crew making his voice sound even better than on record. Those who weren’t awestruck by Ben’s stage presence and his vocal skills happily sang along, giving the theatre an extremely warm and intimate atmosphere that really complemented the music being played.

After going through 21 songs in just under two hours, Ben graciously thanked the adoring crowd and the band headed off surrounded by cheers from the packed theatre that just wasn’t ready to leave yet.

A Lack of Color
I Will Possess Your Heart
Crooked Teeth
We Laugh Indoors
Doors Unlocked and Open
Long Division
Grapevine Fires
Codes and Keys
Different Names For The Same Thing
I Will Follow You Into The Dark
Title and Registration
You Are a Tourist
The New Year
Company Calls
Company Calls Epilogue
Soul Meets Body
We Looked Like Giants
The Sound of Settling

Underneath The Sycamore
A Movie Script Ending

Review: City and Colour – Little Hell

City and Colour – Little Hell

Released: June 7, 2011
Label: Dine Alone Records
Purchase: iTunes | Insound | Amazon

Recorded to tape in a church sans-computers and fancy recording booths is Dallas Green’s third studio album “Little Hell”, a beautiful record that changes up Green’s pure man-and-guitar sound, yet still maintains the unique City and Colour feel that listeners have grown to love.

Since his debut, the singer-songwriter has grown both musically and creatively. Little Hell is a true indicator of said growth; mixing up the track list with full band rock songs, trademark acoustic songs, and introducing synths and strings to diversify the instrumentals. It’s difficult to describe Little Hell accurately, as it doesn’t fit into one specific genre like Bring Me Your Love may have; however, each song is sung sincerely, and crafted with the utmost care.

The signature minimalist acoustic sound is not all lost in Little Hell, as “Silver and Gold” and “Northern Wind” primarily consist of just the man and his guitar, with the latter being a heart-on-sleeve song taking roots fromBring Me Your Love’s “The Girl”.

“Whether a natural disaster ripped it from it’s foundation
Or an economic tragedy tore apart it’s family
They’re all empty.”

“Natural Disaster” is a full band song that tackles the problems in our world, created by “natural disaster(s)” and “economic traged(ies)”. Given the subject, it’s surprising this song does not drip with melancholy. Regardless, this imagery-ridden track is one of Little Hell’s standouts.

Title track “Little Hell” begins with a riff bearing slight resemblance to those of Death Cab for Cutie. “Will we get out of this little hell?” is a stunning end to the song with Green’s smooth, effortless vocals and slow tempo band instrumental.

“Weightless” is a departure from Green’s more acoustic tracks, introducing an indie rock feel driven by the drumbeat rather than guitar. Interestingly, it works. Green’s distinct voice does not lose its clarity when singing loudly and contrasts unusually well with the dirty, flange-y guitar riffs.

Little Hell is by all means an emotional ride. “Hope For Now” concludes the record, beginning with a soft acoustic sound before the lyrics crescendo the song into a full band, deep guitar blasting second half with Green replying to “If I could sing one song and it could save someone’s life”, chanting “Then I would sing, all that I could sing”. This is a song that you truly feel.

Little Hell is not quite a complete transformation of one-man band City and Colour, but it is a work that reflects the change Dallas Green has gone through in his life since Sometimes. The fact Little Hell did not inherit an acoustic sound may disappoint some; however, Green is at a new stage in his career, in his life, and it is no surprise that his music changes accordingly. What hasn’t changed though, is Green’s second-to-none voice and musical talent that merits him to being one of the best singer-songwriters alive.


Standout Tracks: “Hope For Now”, “Little Hell”, “Natural Disaster”, and “The Grand Optimist”

Stream New Death Cab For Cutie and Cults

Two of this month’s most highly anticipated releases are now available for streaming on NPR’s First Listen series. This week includes full album streams of Death Cab For Cutie‘s Codes and Keys (artwork is featured to the right) and Brooklyn duo Cults‘ self-titled debut album.

Both albums are set for release on May 31. Codes and Keys will be available via Atlantic Records, while Cults will be available via In The Name Of / Columbia Records. Check out the albums and others here and the tracklistings below.

Cults Tracklist:
01. Abducted
02. Go Outside
03. You Know What I Mean
04. Most Wanted
05. Walk At Night
06. Never Heal Myself
07. Oh My God
08. Never Saw The Point
09. Bad Things
10. Bumper
11. Rave On

Codes and Keys Tracklist:
01. Home Is A Fire
02. Codes And Keys
03. Some Boys
04. Doors Unlocked And Open
05. You Are A Tourist
06. Unobstructed Views
07. Monday Morning
08. Portable Television
09. Underneath The Sycamore
10. St “Peter’s Cathedral
11. Stay Young, Go Dancing

12 Good Looking Album Artworks (Post-2000)

Album artwork made its first appearance in 1938, when Alex Steinweiss introduced artwork over the previously, plainly labeled covers. This “invention” provided every album with its own unique identity and images that fans could associate their music with. When we think of an album, the first thing that often comes to mind is the cover; it’s become a peripheral of music that no album, EP, or single can do without, remaining with us even in the digital format.

The following twelve album artworks are not ranked in any particular order.

Fall Out BoyInfinity On High

The flying sheep and dream-like atmosphere are this cover’s best features. The artwork has depth and gives you plenty to look at, especially the various contrasts that coexist (moon/wall and crow/wall with light and dark values, closet interior/wall with temperature values). The artwork just has a unique dream feel.

Brand NewDeja Entendu

I have no idea why the astronaut is there, but this cover just looks, to put it simply, cool. Contrasting temperatures result in an odd feel that absolutely fits Brand New’s distinct rock sound. This feel is further expressed by the textures of the water and sky.

Death Cab For CutieNarrow Stairs

No stairs here to reflect the album title, but the cover looks fantastic nonetheless. The multi-hued red, green and blue colored strips of paper being layered have great visual texture and the fact that no two strips share the same tone (more or less) gives this cover a lot of interest.

Radiohead – In Rainbows

This pop art styled cover designed by Stanley Donwood, who has done every Radiohead artwork since 1994, looks like something created digitally when in fact it (surprisingly) isn’t. It features a galaxy photograph layered with paint and interesting type that looks simple and fits Radiohead’s style of experimental music. The variety of color also serves to reflect the album title itself.

MGMT – Congratulations

‘Psychedelic’ just about sums up this cover. Odd colors, an i-don’t-know-what’s-going-on scene, and the cartoony style makes the cover seem like it’s something you’d see in a weird dream or trip (drugs are bad for you, kids).

Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3

Clean cover, with something other than the generic rapper’s face or body photograph. From a distance, the red bars have strong dominance and clearly indicate the cover is of the 3rd installation of Jay-Z’s ‘Blueprint’ records. Closer up you notice the objects piled up which adds complexity and depth.

Delphic – Acolyte

The artwork is absolutely amazing. Great photo-manipulation of the band members and the smoke they fade into. It’s something you definitely won’t mind looking at on your ipod.The background may be a tad simple when the complex photomanip is placed on top, but the Delphic typeface works to ease the  combination.

Jimmy Eat World – Chase This Light

Beautiful photograph with vibrant colors, giving insight to what the music itself is like. Nothing really much to say, just a wonderful looking cover.

The Killers – Hot Fuss

Smoooth. A soft blue dominates the cover (plus hints of red), and gives off a fuzzy, mellow feel. The Killers’ logo typeface fits well too, although I’m not sure I can say the same for the buildings lining the bottom…

Kanye West – Graduation

The cartoon style of this artwork by Takashi Murakami is great and the colors are extremely eye-catching. The illustration features West in a teddy-bear form (known as “Dropout Bear”, referencing an earlier record) being shot out of a colorful, vectorized who-knows-what. This is one creative rap album cover that sets it apart from nearly every other.

Passion Pit – Manners

Green paint, white text. What else do you really need?

Pendulum – Immersion

The feel of this cover is great. This artwork by Polish artist Valp is mysterious and just seems to fit the sound of Immersion. The colors are great, using a majority of cool green and blue while adding hints of warmer purple and red to increase interest. There is just so much going on here that some may not notice all the subtle elements of the art from a quick glance or from their music player screens.

Death Cab For Cutie Album Finished, Details Announced

Chris Walla, the guitarist and producer of Death Cab For Cutie, has announced via his Twitter account that the band’s new album, Codes and Keys, is finished.Codes and Keys will be released on May 31, 2011.

You can check out the tracklisting below.

Codes and Keys Tracklisting:

1. “Home Is a Fire”
2. “Codes and Keys”
3. “Some Boys”
4. “Doors Unlocked and Open”
5. “You Are a Tourist”
6. “Unobstructed Views”
7. “Monday Morning”
8. “Portable Television”
9. “Underneath the Sycamore”
10. “St “Peter’s Cathedral”
11. “Stay Young, Go Dancing”

Review: Starfucker – Reptilians

Starfucker – Reptilians

Released: March 8, 2011
Label: Polyvinyl Record Co.
Purchase: iTunes | Insound | Amazon

What’s in a name? Unfortunately, a lot; something Portland indie-eletronic rockers Starfucker can certainly attest to. Since forming under the moniker Starfucker, the band has rotated between the more appropriate STRFKR, PYRAMID, and finally, Pyramiddd. What do all of these names have in common? Not very much to be honest, and for that reason, the incredibly erratic name changes have confused fans hoping to catch the band’s stunning live shows. Perhaps on yet another whim, the band finally decided to change back to the notorious Starfucker, keeping STRFKR reserved for all-age venues.

As we all know, there is more to a band than their name, but the hype and notoriety surrounding Starfucker’s choice of names can certainly be accredited as catalysts in the band’s three short and promising years of existence. Reptilians is a capable, ambitious effort to meet the hype and match the expectations of fans after a slightly disappointing debut. Where the self-titled Starfucker was highly inconsistent and spotty, Reptilians is a conscious effort by the band to produce the solid pop songs that they always had the potential to.

Opening track “Born” blurs genres, beginning the journey that is Reptilians. Straying somewhere between acoustic and electronic, “Born” feels like a meeting between Death Cab For Cutie and Passion Pit – a very fruitful meeting at that. “Julius” keeps up the pace, featuring layers and layers of instrumentation. Underneath it all is a simple, throbbing bass line, covered with glittering synth lines and finally, Joshua Hodge’s distinctive, spacey falsetto.

Much of the album is built with a similar blueprint in mind. Reptilians engulfs the listener with its waves of fast-paced, driving melodies and sweeping synth riffs. There is something inherently fun about a solid, chipper synth tune and Starfucker certainly knows this; for the most part, they excel at creating ridiculously catchy dance tunes. “Mystery Cloud”, the second single from the album, is centered on a dancy, repetitive riff, carrying the tune from start to finish.

Further down the tracklisting lies “The White Of Noon”, one of the best songs on the album, but could also be described as the only song on the album or even worse, the band’s entire discography. As Reptilians drags on, the sounds begin to merge together, with no real distinguishing factor between them. Over the course of the album, the mishaps on their self-titled album begin to rear their heads again. While Reptilians is more consistent than the former, the band still seems to struggle to pull together an entire album of solid music.

This is not to say, however, that Reptilians is a bad album or that Starfucker is not creative enough to create a good album – both of these opinions lie on polar ends of the spectrum. Instead, Starfucker lies somewhere in between “an instant classic” and “average”. When considered individually, many songs from Reptilians, such as “The White Of Noon”, debut single “Julius”, and the more relaxed “Mona Vegas”, provide brilliant lapses into a jaunty, atmospheric escape of sound.

For the most part, there is nothing intrinsically new on this album that hasn’t been already done. Starfucker, ironically, find themselves trapped in a genre they helped to father, surrounded by the similar-soundingPassion Pit and MGMT. I, however, am not complaining. This is catchy, spacey, and overly fun synth rock. This is party music to live your life to. Or, if you are more of a partier, this is lively music to party to. Either way, you’ll have a good time.


Standout Tracks: “Julius”, “Death as a Fetish”, “The White Of Noon”, and “Mona Vegas”