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Monday, January 31, 2011

La Blogotheque posts Spoon playing a 'Take Away Show'

In my list of best albums of 2010, Spoon stole the #2 spot with Transference. Watch the band perform 3 songs from la Blogotheque below. Quite a performance.

Spoon | The ghost of you lingers / Got Nuffin | A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Spoon | Black Like Me | A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

New Fleet Foxes Gets Release Date, Cover Art, Title, First Track

On May 3rd, Fleet Foxes will release Helplessness Blues, the follow-up to 2008's critically adored, self-titled album. To build excitement, posted below is a take away show, shot by Vincent Moon-- one of the best of the la Blogtheque series. Also posted below is the title track from their new record.

Look for Helplessness Blues in stores May 3rd via Sub Pop/Bella Union

Fleet Foxes - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues by subpop

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hear New Bright Eyes - 'The People's Key'... Now

Bright Eyes' latest, The People's Key, is slotted for release February 15th, but for those of you who can't wait any longer (I mean, it's been four years...), then head over to NPR, now, to hear it in its entirety. Click here to do just that.

I'm halfway through and already, it is unmistakably a Bright Eyes record-- more reflective of Digital Ash than any of their other material. Can't wait to sit down and listen with a lyrics booklet.

Thanks NPR. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

New Release Date for Panda Bear's 'Tomboy'

One disc that I'm especially excited to see released is Panda Bear's follow up to 2007's Person Pitch. I previously listed the release date for his latest Tomboy as April 19th, but the date has been pushed. We'll now be able to get our hands on the record April 12th. The release was pushed primarily so that it could be purchased during Record Store Day, April 16th. Cover art has also been set for the record, an original piece by Noah Lennox's collaborator Scott Mou. Check it out below.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tennis - 'Cape Dory'

Fat Possum; 2011

Our take - 6.5

I like what Pitchfork writer Mark Richardson said in his review of Tennis' debut album Cape Dory, "In May 2010, when homemade indie pop of every stripe was deep in the throes of its baffling obsession with the beach, a new band was taking the music to the next logical place: the open sea." I often like to ignore backing stories when critiquing an album, but with a band like Tennis, the story is almost as good as the tunes themselves.

Tennis are a husband and wife duo hailing from Denver, CO, that graduated from college, pawned their possessions, bought a sailboat and took off for the Eastern Seaboard. Cape Dory reflects their travels; open sea and open air imagery saturate the album as do themes of romance and nostalgia. The album would sound right at home with some of the girl-pop groups from the 60's or 80's and the recording is appropriately lo-fi. Alaina Moore's voice is their most powerful instrument, her enunciation is particularly interesting and she has a good tune and understanding of how a pop song should function.

The individual songs are simple, short, catchy and sweet, but listening to the whole album is somewhat of a drag. Cape Dory clocks in at less than 30 minutes, but seems much longer. Interesting story, interesting album concept, interesting nostalgic take, fairly run of the mill album.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Smith Westerns - 'Dye It Blonde'

Fat Possum; 2011

Solid - 7.0

There is something special about the youthful exuberance that Smith Westerns' pack into their music (band members range in age from 18 to 20); borrowed and reworked sounds of the 60's, garage fuzz, headbanging riffs and a slightly psychedelic tilt-- Dye It Blonde has it all.

On first listen however, they sounded a lot like many of the other next-hot-thing bands shaking up the blogosphere (not that it is necessarily a bad thing). In particular, I could here Girls, Tame Impala and Somebody Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin in their music; Girls with the recycling of 60's sounds, vocals comparable to Tame Impala, and the pure pop prowess in a similar vein as SSLYBY. Frankly, bands like these aren't terrible to be compared to, that said, the record isn't just a borrowing of sounds from the past or a likeness to the bands contemporaries. It is a fun album filled with soaring choruses, hooky guitar, and moments of extreme catharsis.

It isn't a flawless record, "Weekend" sets the bar high, and after 5 or 6 spins, it is still the song I find myself playing the most. The guitars start to slur at points, solos sound similar from track to track and the tone is almost unanimously constant. This sometimes adds to an albums cohesion, but with this record, it makes the songs drag into one another. Regardless, it is a fun album largely without filler.

The lo-fi vibe of their debut is mostly left behind-- the tracks on Dye It Blonde are more polished without sounding "grown up". A greater budget and classier studio production account for the more mature sound, but without doubt, this is the same group of kids we first heard in 2009, ones that are excited to be playing music, and above all, excited to be alive.

Time for just one?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Cut Copy from Zonoscope

Cut Copy fans are eagerly awaiting Zonoscope's February 8th release. The band has suggested a big change in sound from their last record-- 2008's brilliantly energetic and perfectly peppy In Ghost Colours. According to Cut Copy the new record would be both "rhythmic [and] hypnotic". Check out the first three tracks from Zonoscope below. Their first official single is "Take Me Over".

The Strokes Reveal Tracklist & Single for 'Angles'

Word about the Strokes new album has been circling the web for a while now, but details have been pretty hush. I had a chance to see the Strokes play at Lollapalooza over the summer and without a doubt it was one of the best shows I have seen. The crowd was ecstatic, the instrumentation was tight and the band carried themselves like true rockstars. The Strokes seem to have their momentum and swagger back after being inactive for so long. The release of this year's Angles will be one of the most touted of the year and a test for the band.

Not to sound desperate, but the music world needs another release from the Strokes on par with 2001's Is This It?. It is time for the Strokes to take their crown back.

We've now got an album title, Angles, a release date, March 22nd via RCA and a tracklist. First single "Under Cover of Darkness" will be released some time next month.

The Strokes - Angles

01 Machu Picchu
02 Under Cover of Darkness
03 Two Kinds of Happiness
04 You're So Right
05 Taken for a Fool
06 Games
07 Call Me Back
08 Gratisfaction
09 Metabolism
10 Life Is Simple in the Moonlight

Monday, January 24, 2011

Get Excited for 2011-- 25 Promising Albums + Speculation

Maybe what sets a true music lover apart from a casual listener is that to the serious listener-- each and every year seems to be the end all year of music. 2009 was owned by Animal Collective; I was worried that what followed in 2010 would simply be post Merriweather Post Pavillion, but that was before LCD Soundsystem dropped This Is Happening, before Gorillaz gifted us Plastic Beach. All of a sudden, 2010 became "the year in music". I won't claim to say that 2011 is shaping up to be an "end all" year, because frankly, good music will continue to be released perennially, but hey, 2011, you sure are looking hot from here. Here are 25 albums that I am most excited to hear and to share with you, ordered by day of release.

1)The Decemberists - The King Is Dead via Capitol, Jan. 11
2)The Modern Skirts- Gramahawk, Unsigned, Jan. 18th
3)Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde via Fat Possum, Jan. 18th
4)Tennis – Cape Dory via Fat Possum, Jan. 18th
5)Cold War Kids - Mine Is Yours via Downtown Music, Jan. 25th
6)Iron and Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean via Warner Bros. Records, Jan 25th
7)Destroyer – Kaputt via Merge Records, Jan. 25th
8)James Blake – James Blake via Atlas/A&M, Feb. 7th
9)Cut Copy - Zonoscope via Modular, February 8th
10)PJ Harvey – Let England Shake via Island, Feb. 15th
11)Bright Eyes - The People's Key via Saddle Creek, February 18th
12)Toro Y Moi – Underneath The Pine via Car Park, Feb. 22nd
13)Lupe Fiasco - Lasers via Atlantic, March 8th
14)R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now via Warner Bros., March 8th
15)The Strokes - Angles via RCA, March 22nd
16)The Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck via Merge, March 29th
17)Panda Bear - Tomboy via Paw Tracks, April 19th
18)Lady Gaga - Born This Way via Interscope, May 23rd
19)Kanye West & Jay-Z – Watch The Throne via Def Jam, TBA
20)Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys via Atlantic, TBA
21)Dr. Dre - Detox via Aftermath/Interscope, TBA
22)Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 via Capitol, TBA
23)Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What, TBA
24)Fleet Foxes- LP2 via Sub Pop, TBA
25)The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong via Slumberland, TBA

Speculation-- Let's hope that we hear at least a few LP's from the artists below in 2011.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - TBA
Damon Albarn/Flea/Tony Allen Project - TBA
Gorillaz - TBA
Portishead - TBA
Radiohead - TBA
The White Stripes - TBA
The Shins - TBA
Wilco - TBA
My Morning Jacket - TBA
The Lonely Island - TBA
M83 - TBA
How to Destroy Angels - TBA
Neon Indian - TBA
Bon Iver - TBA
Beck - TBA
Tenacious D - TBA
Kanye West - TBA
Aphex Twin - TBA
The Cars - TBA
Mister Heavenly - TBA
The Ting Tings - TBA

Missing anything you think will make 2011 a better year for music? Let us know.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Danielle and I had the chance to get together to work on the layout of the site. Let us know what you think.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Modern Skirts- Gramahawk

Unsigned (Really?); 2011

Ebb'd and Flow'd & Top Tune'd-- 8.3

I first ran into the Modern Skirts a few years back when Paste was still issuing a physical version of their magazine. Those times were brilliant, flipping through and earmarking the pages of the magazine, discovering new tunes and artists, and most of all, getting lost in the monthly sampler cd. Out of the many samplers I wore out, there is one in particular that I remember above all others-- not because it was as a collective, better than the rest, not because it turned me on to the most bands I'd never heard of, no, it was because of the inclusion of Modern Skirts' "Soft Pedals". David Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker said, "On 'Soft Pedals' they hit all twelve tones in the scale, yet the song is as accessible as anything Brian Wilson ever wrote." You know, Brian Wilson, from The Beach Boys... This was and is a special song, and while I was slightly disappointed with the rest of the album, All Of Us In Our Night, it was only because "Soft Pedals" set the bar ridiculously high. Despite the fact, All Of Us In Our Night was without question one of my favorite albums of 2008.

In between then and now the Modern Skirts have toured extensively, even opening for R.E.M. twice on their European tour (Mike Mills, guitarist for R.E.M. has cited Modern Skirts as his favorite Athens, GA band-- R.E.M. happens to call Athens home just as the Modern Skirts do), but have struggled in finding a direction for a follow up album. Too many comparisons to Ben Folds and somewhat watered down lyrics on their last seemed to frustrate the band. However, they seemed to strike gold in the bedroom recordings of frontman Jay Gulley. The best demos became templates for what eventually became Gramahawk. Gramahawk is a stylistic shift for the Modern Skirts, the recordings while not lo-fi, sound that way in contrast to their past work. The songs are more intimate, less immediately accessible, but much more rewarding as a whole.

Gramahawk is a dark, oddly twisted, mildly hilarious journey through Gulley's mind,“a mariachi band and me removing your top” (“Ship Shape”), and it is absolutely worthwhile. The band does well to turn his bedroom tapes into full band songs that are sophisticated and mature while maintaining accessibility. Reverbnation describes the record as, "Gleeful and twisted pop evil," a precise description of a record filled with sugary sweet hooks, rompy synths, and harmonies reminiscent of The Beach Boys. Gramahawk will not be the Modern Skirts definitive album, but their shift in aesthetic is a turn in the right direction for a band sure to have a definitive album. Gramahawk seems more honest than their last discs, more intimate, more confident, and much more fun. And while it took me a few more spins to fully appreciate, I can guarantee it won't be too far out of my 2011 playlist.

Opening track from Gramahalk, "Jane Child"

Jane Child

Modern Skirts | Myspace Music Videos

Acoustic/ outdoor performance of "Soft Pedals" from All Of Us In Our Night.

Ardent Sessions live show including tracks from both Gramahawk and 2008's All Of Us In Our Night

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Decemberists- The King Is Dead

Rough Trade/Capitol Records; 2011

Ebb'd and Flow'd-- 7.5

The Decemberists are a nerdy band; the same things that turn some people on to them steer others in the opposite direction-- Colin Meloy's unmistakable croon, story driven, verbose poetics, and a certain drive for absolute sincerity in unique subject matter.

With 2009's The Hazards of Love, the Decemberists released their "experimental" album, a folky prog rock opera filled with forest fantasy and true love loosely based on work done by British folk singer Anne Briggs. The album received mixed reviews; it was praised for its ambition, but it is safe to say that not many fans got in to the Decemberists for their take on prog rock. Nonetheless, and despite my initial hesitation, I enjoyed the album after a few spins and I aligned myself on the side of the supporters. It was especially impressive to see them perform it live in sequential order without pause between tracks.

The major question following their 2009 release was what direction the band would take next?. With The King Is Dead the Decemberists took a step back, left the electronics at home, and dusted off the acoutics. Attempting to once again nail an epic record or increase in scale might have signaled disaster; instead the group headed to the Pendarvis Farm in Oregon, converted an uninhabited barn to a music and recording space and came out with an album fitting for a relaxing afternoon stroll through the pine trees.

The King Is Dead combines Meloy and co.'s love for British Folk and Americana, and they do their best to combine the two to create a rustic album, rich in imagery and lyrical introspection-- without the overarching concept, a far cry from their last record.

The homage aspect of the record is immediately apparent on first listen and becomes more apparent when taking into account the collaborators recruited for the project; R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck plays on three tracks and Gillian Welch sings background on seven. Other unmistakable influences include Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and early Wilco.

Despite being an enjoyable listen and a well-crafted album, it suffers during moments of scripted twang. The Decemberists have never been a particularly spontaneous or loose band, and this shows on the record. The looseness, improvisation and heavy sentiment usually heard and felt with Americana are lacking, but regardless, the Decemberists are a band hard not to enjoy. The King Is Dead is a nice turn for the band, and it is nice to hear them unbutton their starched 3 pieces and let loose a little, even if it is, just a little.

Only time for one track?

"Don't Carry It All"

Coachella 2011

And it all starts with Coachella; the first major festival of the summer released their lineup today, and it includes a few names you might recognize-- Arcade Fire, Duran Duran, Kanye West, the Strokes, Kings of Leon, just to name a few. The festival, nestled in Indio, California, has become home to one of the more elegant summer festivals that continues to prove itself a benchmark against all others.

Below is a video from the 2010 festival that shows a glimpse of the scenery you can expect to see if you are able to head over to Coachella this April the 15-17. For pricing and other information and a complete list of artists, head over to--

You can expect further coverage on Coachella and other festivals as the summer season draws nearer.

Happy festival season everybody!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Introducing Our New Assiociate Editor of Art and Design!

I mentioned in an earlier post, "A Year In Review", that 2011 is going to big bring changes to the site. One that I'm most excited to share is the addition of Danielle Hill to the Ebbz and Flowzzzz team. She's an artist who is well versed in web design and other mediums, a college soccer player, and has some solid musical chops to boot. I'm really excited to see how she can can help take this site further. She'll be influential both in the design of the site and in the music department

Here is a little bit about her in her own words--

Considering this is my blog debut, I figure I’ll introduce myself. I’m a Visual Communications major and plan on graduating this May. I’m hoping to bring some of my own brand of artistic flare, both visually and musically to the site. I’ve been a music junkie for as long as I can remember. I played a few instruments here and there growing up, including piano, then graduated to percussion and a drums in middle school. But the man got me down as a musician (I can’t stand being graded in performance, though I guess the whole art major thing may be a tad contradictory) so I settled as a fan. I was a manager/marketer for my high school class’ popular garage band, which was fun while it lasted, but even that took some of the magic away from the purity of the final product: a quality song. So I’m excited to try this new endeavor in music critique. I figure I can plug in some new tunes and share the love with all you other music fans out there since I critique new music every day. No more greedy music hoarding from me! Music to the people!

Current fixes--

The Black Keys
Maximum Balloon
White Denim
Local Natives

All time favorites--

Led Zeppelin
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Black Keys

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cluster 1

So the big Consequence of Sound news is... Cluster1! Basically, an interactive visual arts and music hub. To me, it seems reminiscent of Pitchfork TV with a few slight differences, check it out at--



Cluster 1 does differentiate itself from Pitchfork TV by focusing not just on music but also the visual arts.

Let me know what you guys think.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Apparently, "It's all happening" tomorrow 1.11.2011. A mysterious post popped up on Consequence of Sound a few days ago concerning the day in question. No idea what it means or what exactly will happen tomorrow, but the post is worth looking at. Check it out over at Consequence of Sound.

The news has been contained to CoS to this point, and I couldn't even begin to guess what 1.11.2011 will bring us. There are some pretty interesting comments and theories from followers at the bottom of the page that are almost as interesting as the post itself. Let's hope 1.11.2011 brings us something special (Radiohead please).