Young Yeller- War
This song will mesmerize you. This song glides like honey along a constant stream of sound that seems to resonate just below the surface of the earth. The deep mystical melody drifts like a ghost through walls and envelopes you, pulling you along with it. Young Yeller, the percussive alter-ego of current Chrome Sparks member, Jesse Brickel, owns a sound that is nothing short of magical.
Little Comets- Little Italy
Ah, the innocence of not knowing. ‘Slowly… no more water… wooohhhh…’ that’s about the extent to which I understand what the heck these guys are singing about. Thirst? The Apocalypse? who knows. What this band has managed to do, however, is create a track that does not suffer from its lack of enunciation. In fact, by combining those ‘English boys making sounds’ vocals that indie lovers can’t seem to get enough of and a somewhat tropical instrumentation, Little Comets succeeds in satisfying the ear without requiring a story. The indie rock trio have received relatively positive reviews over the years, but with the release of this new track, ‘Little Italy,’ I expect to be hearing a bit more about these guys in the not-too-distant future. Who knows, perhaps ignorance really is bliss.
Tippi, the real-life ‘Mowgli’ girl.
Born in Namibia, Tippi Degre grew up the only child of wildlife photographers, Sylvie Robert and Alain Degre. Moving around Africa up until the age of 10, the young girl found true friends and a home among creatures so many of us have been raised to fear or dislike. Now 23, Tippi’s remarkable upbringing is memorialized through countless pictures, such as the ones shown above, in the book, “Tippi of Africa.”
Indie music is becoming consistently more muddled with unnecessary bleeps and bloops and seems to me to be straying from its simplicity of purpose. Contemporary indie music allows artists to express themselves without the constraints set by genres past. Too many artists are misinterpreting this gift-of-the-modern-age as a ‘challenge’ to create the most novel and strange and catchy tunes by smashing together sounds that have been deemed adequately ‘cool’ by the all-so-powerful hipster generation. What so many of us are forgetting though, is the subtly that underlies gosh-darn-good indie music and the fact that sometimes we like music because it’s genuine and… we just like it, okay? I don’t know much about Cathedrals aside from the fact that they are a San Francisco based, indie duo whose name has yet to expand beyond the blogosphere. Their music isn’t shocking or foot-stomping or anything new, really. What it is, however, is a shining light amidst a sea of desperately confused indie hopefuls, granting us a much needed reminder about how ‘good music’ needs no justification.
Incan Abraham- Tuolumne
Ahh, the relaxing effects of lo-fi surf pop-rock is incomparable. A tame fusion of Fleet Foxes’ atmospheric vocal harmonies and Miike Snow-esque eclectic rhythms, “Tuolumne” is a breezy tune made for moody, introspective chilling. Los Angeles based Incan Abraham’s sound recalls the humid days of summer when your face is dewy with sweat and it’s as if you are gazing at the world through a dream-filter. The group benefits greatly from working closely with contemporary innovators, Clinton Welander (Jimmy Cliff), and Lewis Pesacov (Fool’s Gold, Foreign Born) on this new polyrhythmic single. The quartet’s synthetic percussion and jangling guitar melodies evident in this track from their up-coming full-length album promise a uniquely phsych-pop slow-jam sound steeped in dark nostalgia.
If you’re in the mood to be confused and slightly disturbed, check out their newly released music video for this track on Vimeo.
Holychild- Happy With Me
This Reggae infused sugary morsel of a song is bound to give you the mid-day pick-me-up that this ever-chillier Fall weather is demanding. L.A. based, Holychild, delivers sun-soaked pop that is brimming with energy. Originally hailing from the Nation’s capitol, the duo has garnered quite a following by performing lively and exciting shows in small venues around the area. Although they are yet to be signed to a label, “Happy With Me” is a single off of their independently released EP and it’s just a matter of time before the industry realizes what it’s missing. Skip that Redbull or ‘go-go juice-of-choice’ you were about gulp down and turn up the volume… this track is all you’ll need.
Molly Drake- I Remember
"I had thought that we were we, but we were you and me."
Nick Drake is arguably one of the most influential artists on the evolution of sound that makes up so much of today’s indie music. Despite the cult-following that Nick Drake’s poignant music has attracted over the past two decades, the English musician’s life remains a mystery due to his untimely death in 1974 at the age of 26. In addition, there is hardly a shred of physical legacy available, such as interviews or video footage, which is most likely due to his almost agoraphobic approach to life. His songs are steeped in emotion that is richly communicated through intricate and deeply plaintive poetry. The discovery of musical recordings made by his late mother, Molly Drake, earlier this year may shed light on what may have influenced such a remarkable artist. More importantly, however, her music, in its own right, is truly a marvel in many of the same aspects for which her son is so admired. These recordings, produced on tapes made in her home, possess a sincerity of spirit that transcends the beauty exemplified by her exquisite vocal skill. I can honestly say that this track, ‘I Remember,’ is one of the most enchanting songs I have ever heard. In addition, the fact that these are intimate recordings made for personal use, make her songs evoke the feeling of undisturbed purity and depth of emotion. Listen to her words carefully as they speak irreproachable truths that it seems only music can convey.
If you listen carefully enough, you are able to hear a charming moment at the very very end, when a male voice (the pianist?) seems to say, “I think that was pretty good.”
Laura Mvula- Like the Morning Dew
What is this? Oh, I love it when I can ask that about a track. It means it’s something original and weird and complex, all three of which are nearly impossible to achieve in this day and age. Laura Mvula’s done it, though, and I’m not quite sure what to say. It’s a little bit orchestral, a little bit a cappella, a little bit soul, a little bit jazz, a little bit pop, a little bit black and white, and a little bit technicolor. It’s definitely not easy listening. Mvula composes all of the sounds herself and creates something that is complex and impossibly layered and totally ambitious and I dare you to try and define it. After the release of her most recent album, ‘Sing to the Moon,’ Laura has the musical world head-scratching and starry-eyed. The Guardian coined the term, “gospeldelia,” describing it as an entirely new musical genre. From receptionist, writing songs on her laptop, to musical pioneer, she’s climbing the international billboards and is bound to become a musical icon in years to come.
Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line- Travelin’ On
Fill your lungs with sweet country air.
It’s refreshing to here a song so sincerely pure and unadorned amongst all of the amped-up, layered, computer music of today. This track is like a firefly in a mason jar- so pure, so beautiful, so rustic, so fragile, so frozen in time. The golden sincerity of Nora Jane Struthers voice and poetry yearns to be free, yet brings up within the listener the desire to somehow protect it from becoming tainted by the ‘evils of the world’. This bluegrass, down-home country sound conjures up romanticized visions of a time long past when happiness was simple and innocence remained true. After a relatively successful 2010 debut, the Nashville native hopes to “craft vignettes, and in some cases more developed narratives, about imaginary people’s lives,” with her more recent April 2013 release of her album ‘Carnival.’ Nora Jane Struthers humbly calms the spirit with her music and stands out as a truly remarkable addition to the Americana community of today. Let’s move to the country, breath the clean air, kiss by the light of a harvest moon, sleep in a hayloft, and worry no longer.
Another notable track is ‘Carnival.’
Joywave- Tongues ft. KOPPS
There has been a heck of a lot of 80s up in the indie electronic scene of 2013 thus far. I dig the 70s revival that is evident in today’s lo-fi funk scene, but frankly, I think the era of sequin-covered-late-disco is good and done. I may have been converted, however, by this tricky-cool track from Joywave ft. KOPPS. I came across ‘Tongues’ as I was delving into the infectious-indie-pop archive on my iTunes, and wondered why in the world I never posted about it. It’s just so dang good! Off of the Rochester band’s latest album, ‘88888’ (released April 2013), this track is an impressive re-imagination of a song from their debut EP, ‘Koda Vista.’ Frontman Daniel Armbruster, in fact, shapes the entire album around this concept of musical evolution and reintroduces earlier tracks with of-the-moment boppin’ hip hop, soulful horn interludes and electronic beats. This is dance floor music from start to finish, so shed that end of summer blues and proudly shake those hips.
George Ezra- Budapest
Sweet and Simple.
Sometimes we all just need to take a step back, refine our priorities and get back to basics. That is exactly what fresh-faced, toe-headed, 19-year-old, George Ezra has done with his music. He says he looks forward to one day playing with a band, but for now is just as comfortable with his guitar and a mic. Hailing from Bristol, England, Ezra has been making waves both locally and abroad. His voice is so strikingly powerful that it really does seem to have the effect of sweeping one off of their feet, and for the past year he has only released videos of himself playing live, rather than touched-up mp3s. His music is simple with recognizable guitar melodies that harken back to the golden age of Bob Dylan or Paul Simon, but that is also what makes his sound so comforting. His husky voice allows for an elevated sound that embellishes an unpretentious musical perfection. This music breathes emotion. This music envelopes the soul. This music is the epitome of four-piece, formulaic, musical refinement that satisfies the human spirit as it has since the dawn of creation.
Alt-J- Breezeblocks (RZA remix)
Tickle those drums
After all the noise that Alt-J has been making with their eclectic indie electro tunes, it’s about time someone made a remix of their music that matches their ingenuity. Who better to remix it than someone totally out-of-the-freakin’-blue, like Wu-Tang leader, RZA. He strips the shining-success-of-a-tune, “Breezeblocks,” of its richly layered cinematic instrumentals and replaces it with twitching, skeletal and frenetic drum beats. He makes the remix what a remix should be, which is original and fresh and respectful of the song’s earnest beginnings. It’s hard to imagine that this already strange and multifaceted love ballad could become even more bizarre without crossing over into superfluous freakish noise, but it does… and I like it.