Last time we caught up with Portland folk-ramblers Alameda, they were a trio. Now a quintet bearing a new LP, they have truly evolved their brand of heartfelt Americana, deepening the lushness and musicality that accompanies their hardscrabble vocals. True to its name, “Slow Beginnings” has a somber start that unfolds into a humble orchestra of piano keys, backing songstresses and nimble guitars. Let it move you here, and on Procession, out September 15.
Conveyor, a Brooklyn-by-way-of-Gainesville art-pop quartet, threw their bid into the ring for glee-stricken act of the year with their debut earlier this summer. But with the aid of Cineplexx, there can be no denying them the title. Originally a bloopy, strummy jaunt into the sunshine, “Woolgatherer” is now also massaged into a locomotive-leaning jam that capitalizes on the good vibes already within. Android refrains, chirpy loops and a host of slinky sounds are so abundant, we’re actually grinning as we type. Pick up your gratis pick-me-ups here, before hopping onto Paper Garden for more.
DJs sure have it rough these days, don’t they? What with the proclamations that they save our lives (last night), keep playin’ our song (all night) and a myriad of other demanding requests. Here, Stockholm’s Niki & The Dove implores the DJ, whoever he may be, to ease their aching spirit (probably tonight) with an assist by Twin Shadow. A plaintive mix of spot lit vocals, caressing riffs and ultimately a crescendo of mournful synths turns “DJ Ease My Mind” into one of the most genial pleas we’ve ever encountered on this cold floor called life. Short, pretty and lonesome, this rework could melt the iciest deck dude to jump off the stage and mend any broken heart and mind in need. Niki & The Dove’s newest is on Sub Pop, while Twin Shadow’s is on 4AD.
Throw Tame Impala’s “Elephant” into your mom’s old blender (Oyster brand preferred), a half-cup of badly drained mushroom tea (blue preferred), reverb-cut organs, slinky space church samples and a gallon of squealing bass’n’drum blend. Pureé, then top with a multi-textured foam (soy, kale and sunflower seed preferred). Only then might you have seminal prog-rocker Todd Rundgren’s recipe for reworking an already-great jam into…well, what we have here.
With newly leaked tracks with Pusha T, RZA and Memoryhouse, Colin Munroe doesn’t even need me to write about him. He’s got a record on Capitol come 2013, he’s got his Unsung Hero mixtape out September 4 with Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Cassie and K. Flay, he sounds like an alt-rock Justin Timberlake and looks like a Top Shop model. But that’s precisely why I pine for him: he doesn’t even need me (this is how girls work, fyi). Also, his R&B-infused stutter pop is a genre all its own: laden with crunchy bass bits, street samples, mainstream sing-a-longs and everything else in the kitchen sink that makes a great club grind.
The Men is a good name for an anthemic rock band. We like it. Especially the inherent specificity and exclusivity within the article preceding the noun. It’s “the” men, not men in general, or those men, or some random slice of the men or even all of the men. The Men. The only ones that matter. “Candy” is perhaps not as good a name for an anthemic rock song, invoking saccharine pop or worse, nu-rave accessories. Though The Men are allotted a wide berth after getting their own moniker so right, and also, we suppose, because “Candy” doesn’t sound sugary in the slightest. It’s dusty, homespun and a bit scratchy. Lo-fi, top-heavy and easygoing. But to The Men, perhaps this is what candy is. Not the dyed and artificial bagged stuff we’re used to. More like the last piece of overly chewy ginger from Grandma’s glass jar. Which, come to think of it, would surely be the only candy The Men would ever eat. Okay. We endorse.
Teens: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t discover new drugs or find cool sneakers without ‘em. At least with TEEN, the new project of ex-Here We Go Magic member Teeny Lieberson and her sisters and friends, there are no such absolutes. Only dense lo-fi, angelic yawls and a totally unstructured swim into pop and new world waters. Shiver into tambourines, twinkles and a pocketful of crystal vibes on “Unable,” with more to come on debut In Limbo on August 28 through the shamans of Carpark.
Mere mortals, behold! Maryland sons, forest kings and godly dream-whispers Animal Collective are streaming their new album Centipede Hz right here, and each track adjoins a tricked out visual by Abby Portner (sister of band member David Portner bka Avey Tare). And those tracks themselves are trippy indeed; at times you’re in a sweat lodge, others you’re spelunking through harmonious stalagmites and discordant stalactites, others you’re witness to a Christmas choir conducted by Brian Wilson. Breathe into the holy spirit of the magical world these guys inhabit, all you can, until the album officially arrives on Domino on September 4.
The second track we're featuring from ERAAS finds the group's chilly mystique growing deeper and spookier. Here, there's a floor tomb assault, ghostly vocals in the mist and even a field recording of rain. If "Briar Path" is an actual path, I would like a friend that's good at fighting to accompany me while walking. Hear more October 2 when their album drops on felte.
Songs from The xx's upcoming Coexist (out September 11 on Young Turks) are beginning to flow in a slow stream on par with the pensiveness that these Londoners employ onstage. Here, the second such track, "Chained," takes it time out of the gate with singers Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim exchanging whispery vocals. As it plods, Jamie Smith drops in an austere, ambient dubstep-nodding beat to usher the tune toward its conclusion.