LISTEN: GRMLN Covers Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time"

GRMLN has released a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” that will appear on his upcoming album.

The cover has stripped the original ballad and shrouded it in heavy guitar and hallows vocals. It adds a new dimension to the 1983 hit by removing the pop-vibe and adding in GRMLN’s own vintage pop-punk sound, that when combined with the over-processed, garbled quality of production makes this piece differ greatly from the original.

GRMLN is the brain-child of Yoodoo Park, a 21-year-old guitarist and vocalist who is set to release his second studio album, Soon Away, on  September 16 via Carpark Records.

On this album, GRMLN’s stays consistent with guitar-driven tracks. However the songs have become heavier as he tackles the emotional issues of letting go and saying goodbye. The intensely emotional lead-track, “Jaded,” can be streamed on soundcloud.

If “Time After Time” and “Jaded” are a good indication, the full album should be an raw  look into the ever-changing mess that we call life.


Music in Review: Fruit Bats' EDJ Goes Solo to Release an Album that is Cool as Folk

EDJ or Eric D Johnson—known mainly as the lead singer of the recently dissolved folk band Fruit Bats,  his collaborations with The Shinsand for his contributions to the score of several movies, including "Our Idiot Brother"—has stepped out on his own with a self-titled album, which is to be released on August 5 through the Easysound label.

Unlike so many artists that break off on their own, EDJ has successfully carried on the chill, folksy vibe of his band, while preserving an individualism that sets his solo album apart.

EDJ set out to write an album's worth of songs in only a few weeks while traveling from his home in Portland down the west coast. He did not just succeed in completing an album in a few weeks, but exceeded even his own expectations. In a press release, he explained songwriting takes him quite a while but these pieces each came from a part of his life. "These new songs each mean something from my life and from my brain," EDJ said.

This is not what could be described as a “happy go lucky” album. There aren't any major cords or typical drumming that pops along to an upbeat tempo, but what he has managed to do is capture fragments of a human experience. He emulates a down-to-earth energy that, combined with his echoed tonality, creates something refreshing and innovative.

The song "Odd Love" is a standout piece on the ten-track album. It is a love song for the realist couple who surpassed the honeymoon phase and are well into the comfortable, stay in on Fridays, granny-panty phase. A simple melody and marching tempo underscore the lyrics describing an old, odd love shared between two people. "Odd Love" is just one example of EDJ’s way of capturing a snapshot of life and realistically capturing the magic of the day-to-day.

Suspended chords throughout the album produce an ethereal feeling that take the listener away to a time when they could get higher, fall deeper in love and become, what EDJ calls, a child in the wild. The songs reflects on the pieces of everyday life and explores the idea that there is always a balance between the magical and the mundane.

Whether you are in love, moving somewhere or just looking for connection, EDJ’s album  serves as a reminder that we are not alone on this crazy blue marble, but we in fact each going through the human experience together.

You can preview the entire album here.

Track List:
1. For The Boy Who Moved Away
2. Lose It All, All The Time
3. Odd Love
4. Minor Miracles
5. The Magical Parking Lot
6. Salt Licorice
7. A West County Girl
8. Mostly Just Fantasies
9. For Joy
10. Child In The Wind
11. The Mountains On Fire (In The Rearview)


LISTEN: "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" The Smiths Cover by Cloud Boat

London-based duo, Cloud Boat has done the impossible: made a cover of a Smith’s song that goes beyond capturing the heart-breaking sadness of the original, taking the song to new depths of despair, but in a good way!

The atmospheric cover of “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” replaces the Smith’s classic acoustic sound with spacey synthesizer behind guitar and the quaveringly somber, yet passionate vocal stylings of Tom Clarke.

Minimalist harmonies punctuate the drowsy, surreal vibe, giving it true emotional depth. On the whole, the cover works well to embrace the sadness of the Smith’s original.

The bearded production duo’s sophomore album, "Model of Youwill be released this summer and will include their recent single “Carmine.”


What's On Our Summer Playlist: Wavves, Walk The Moon, The Neighbourhood and More

 

What's On Our Summer Playlist Wavves, Walk The Moon, The Neighbourhood And More

This eclectic mix of summer tunes will keep you guessing, because summer music should be like the season itself: warm, fun and totally spontaneous. So before hitting the beach, pool or lakeside, add these songs to your tanning playlist to ensure you never tire of the run-of-the- mill summer track list.

King Of The Beach By Wavves
King of the Beach by Wavves

This song has the vintage sound reminiscent of the old beach flicks where Bob Cummings and some bikini clad girls win a surfing contest and have a bonfire on the beach.

Outside By Mac Miller
Outside by 3oh!3

Ever just relax outside with good friends, stretch out in the sun, and pass the peace pipe and think life could not be any better? That is the moment this song will take you too—every time.

Double Vision By 3oh!3

Double Vision by 3oh!3

A sweet dance beat and a chorus of “Hey nah nah nah” is all that is needed for a perfect summer dance jam, from the masters of creating songs that are catchy as hell, 3oh!3.

Tete A Tete By Walk The Moon
Tete-A-tete by Walk The Moon

A little off the beaten path, this funky track will be a refreshing change from the stifling amount of generic hits that will shuffle through your itunes recommendations this year.

Over And Over By Smallpools
Over and Over by Smallpools

Aren’t all summer nights ones that we want to live over and over again?

High You Are By What So Not
High You Are by What so not

A synth-pop-meets-dance-pop hit is intoxicating and addicting. Don’t be alarmed if you feel the need to compulsively listen to this song on repeat.

Summerboy By Lady Gaga
Summerboy by Lady Gaga

An underrated hit from Lady GaGa’s "The Fame," this song will have you strutting your stuff as you walk down the beach in a new high-waisted bikini, turning the heads of many potential Summerboys.

Fall In Love By Phanogram
Fall In Love by Phanogram

Immerse yourself in the liquid texture of this song and let the new wave hit wash over you and cool you off like a dip in the pool.

Sweater Weather By Neighbourhood
Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood

Maybe it’s the line about high-waisted shorts, or the simple melody, but this song just gives the feeling of  walking across a cool beach at night in cut-offs and a cute boy’s oversized sweater.


Penn Badgley's Brooklyn-Based Band, Mother, Is Making Rad Music

We all know him as Dan Humphrey,  Blake Lively's love interest from the now defunct CW show "Gossip Girl."  And now that the show has ended,  Penn Badgley is stepping away from television and making sweet music as the front man for the indie rock group, Mother.

Audiences were first exposed to Badgley's impressive musical chops in his role as Jeff Buckley in the film “Greetings from Tim Buckley” (2012).

Penn Badgley
Photo: @motherband/instagram

Mother captures a new wave, synth sound with jazz undertones -- and paired with Badgley’s relaxed, often drifting voice, they create a wholly new sound of their own--one that we can't get enough of.

We're certainly not the only ones oohing and ahhing over this Brooklyn-based band. After releasing their single "Easy" on Soundcloud, the band quickly got over 200,000 plays.

"Easy" is cool and smooth,  yet it's an intricate piece peppered with funk-influenced guitar over synth tones. Be sure to watch their just-released video, which unfortunately does not show the band, but you can watch a model casually singing to the song  while striking cool girl poses.

Although the group is fairly new, with only two singles under their belt so far,  they've already proven themselves to be a major contender in the indie rock genre.

Well played, Lonely Boy...well played.


LISTEN: "Eye of a Needle" by Sia

 

Australian singer/songwriter Sia has released a taste, a track entitled “Eye of a Needle,” from her forthcoming album, "1000 Forms of Fear," which is scheduled to drop in July.

Her new track is a moving piece drenched in soulful emotion and tender lyrics that show  raw  vulnerability. Unlike most of her dance beat songs, this track shows a more reserved, melancholy side of Sia.

This album, nor this song, would have never been made had Sia retired like she had planned to do in 2010 when she dissapeared and refused to do any press tours.

According to Billboard magazine, Sia had a temporary burn out phase, telling the publication,  "I get to sit at home with the dogs on the sofa, record in a closet in the office, send them off and, if I'm lucky, make a million dollars."

Thankfully, that phase is over and Sia is back with a new album after a four year hiatus.

It is clear when listening to “Eye of a Needle” why no one, but Sia, could have sung the song with the same honesty. She has a passionate tone, uncommon for many recording artists today. Her musical expression displayed in this song transcends beautiful lyricism, creating a piece in which the song is not tailored to a particular voice but the voice has given life to the song.


Listen: "Sunbathing Animal" by Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts  just released the title track off their new album, "Sunbathing Animal," and we're fully invested in its fast-paced, relentless tempo and energy.

“Sunbathing Animal” has a hyped- up sound, different from the tracks found on their 2012 EP, "Light up Gold." In this song, the group has captured the overwhelming pace of Black Flag and the ironic angst of the Beastie Boys. The purposeful and harsh tonality are all part of the band's message on their new album as they employ “schizoid blues rants, shrill guitar leads, purposefully lengthy repetition and controlled explosions, reaching their peak on the blistering title track.”

This song begs comparison to early '80s LA-originating hardcore —it finds a loud voice in its own simplicity, and manages to never lose energy or give up on the message. It gives the feeling of the beginning of a treadmill session, despite every protest from your body the track moves you forward until you have no choice but give in and try and catch your breath until the end.

Take a listen!


Miley Cyrus Covers Arctic Monkeys' “Why’d You Only Call me When You’re High?”

Last week, pop-princess Miley Cyrus was featured on the MTV series Unplugged and, shockingly, her performance was tame in comparison to what audiences have grown accustomed to. There was, of course, the obligatory twerking on a giant plush horse, mass amounts of gyrating and some uncomfortably erotic grinding on Madonna, but otherwise, nothing out of the ordinary.

Miley's Bangerz tour is scheduled to start this year, and in her Unplugged set, Cyrus performed some of her new songs for the first time live, including fan-favorite “Drive.”

But, what audiences may have missed was when Miley took a step away from her usual balancing act of semi-pop and pseudo-country music and instead performed a cover of Arctic Monkeys' “Why’d You Only Call me When You’re High?” Her performance of the cover did not make the on-air cut...and we can kind of see why.

Miley’s voice mumbled and twanged around the angsty lyrics over a clunky piano that replaced the sauntering guitar melody heard in the original song. Although Miley did not quite reach the impressive high notes at the end of the song, she did give the piece her own signature with some solid crotch patting and an edgy rock-out session in the bridge.

It is no secret that Miley can sing, as we have seen in her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” but just like the sparkly, torn, over-sized denim shirt Miley wore on MTV, one-size voice does not fit all.


LISTEN: “Seasons (Waiting on You)” by Future Islands

Seasons (Waiting on You)” by Future Island

Baltimore-based synth-pop group, Future Islands, just released “Seasons (Waiting on You),” the new single off their recently announced fourth studio album titled, “Singles.”

Representing a fresh, new sound for the group, the track features an upbeat synthesizer that feels like young love, while their lyrics express that time can heal almost anything. Although the song is a bit repetitive, the perky beat and pleasing backtrack make it a simple and fun listen.

“It is simply a song about the human experience,” said vocalist Samuel T. Herring in a press release.

Their accompanying music video shows a snapshot of the modern cowboy’s life. Directed by filmmaker Jay Buim, who shot in a documentarian style, the video follows the small town story of a young parents’ love for each other and their young son.

If this track serves as a sample of the quality to be found in upcoming album, “Singles,” it is unlikely any Future Islands fan will be disappointed.


The Art Issue: Songs for the Creative Soul

Songs For The Creative Sould

We've all been there before: the dreadful creative block.

No matter what you’re trying to create—that way past due art school project, writing a short story, or painting something just for the hell of it—getting into the creative mindset can sometimes prove to be nearly impossible.

If even after trying all of your usual fool-proof methods, like staring at a blank sheet of paper and waiting for a big idea to suddenly come to you, or indulging in your self-prescribed Glaucoma “medication,” and still nothing comes to you—give these songs a try to unleash your creative spirit!

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ENERGIZE

If you’re creating something physical like a sculpture or bust, or even imagining your next dance choreography, you’ll need songs that will energize and inspire! Give these invigorating songs a listen to get your mojo flowing.

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Kimbra

Come Into My Head
Kimbra
This song perfectly captures the manic and intensity of how frustrating a creative brain block can be. The general awesomeness of this piece will definitely call forward your hidden creative side.

Animal Collective

Today’s Supernatural
Animal Collective
A slightly obscure song that will make you want to nail some stuff together. Furniture making, anyone?

[/column]

Smallpools

No Story Time
Smallpools

Lift your sculptor’s block blues and throw some fun back into your creative process with this catchy little ditty.
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PAINT

For you paint-nerds, illustrators and sketch-artists, these songs are perfect for creating your next fine art masterpiece.

[column]

Walk The Moon

Quesadilla
Walk The Moon
Plug in your best headphones and crank up this song while sitting at your drafting table. By the end of the song,
your hand will have drawn something that will surprise even you.

Sam Cooke

Trouble Blues
Sam Cooke
If this smooth-like-butta song won’t make you want to light a cigarette and create something beautiful and sexy, we just don’t know what will.

[/column]

Moon Hooch

Number 9
Moon Hooch

If Jackson Pollock were alive today, this song would be his artistic anthem. No other song is more perfect for going crazy and rubbing some colors on a canvas while dancing in your underwear. Divider

Feist

RELAX AND FOCUS

Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix)
Feist
The remix is 3 parts dance beats, 3 parts synthpop, 4 parts magical and all parts awesome. You’ll have your creative juices flowing in no time!

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WRITE

Writer's block is a daily struggle for anyone trying to make a living off the written word. No matter what you are trying to write, turn up these tunes to get you in the zone.

[column]

Washed Out

It All Feels Right
Washed Out
This psychedelic song will stimulate you and promise to take your mind off your work long enough to let a stroke of genius make its way into your mind.

Alt J

Fitzpleasure
Alt-J
The frequent changes in the song make it complicated, yet not hard to follow, but still full of loops, twists and turns, just like any great story. [/column]

Modest Mouse

Fly Trapped in a Jar
Modest Mouse

This song is just fast-paced enough to throw some energy into your writing and liven up the most rigorous creative process: getting started.

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Halloween Playlist: Kickin' It Old-ghoul

Kicking It Old Ghoul Halloween Playlidt

Halloween is a time to celebrate all things dead and gone. Zombies and ghosts finally have their time to shine and all the dark and scary things can come out from your closet, including that ugly sweater you bought months ago for your cat-lady costume.

And just like  your questionable costume, we went way, way back to dig up some long-dead spooky tunes to get you in the undead kind of mood.

Here are a few  vintage-sounding songs that are best when paired with candy corn, hard apple-cider and your favorite Hitchcock film.

Halloween - Siouxsie & the Banshees

Released in 1981—this English post-punk group wrote a song that perfectly embodies the chaotic, exciting and spooky energy that fills the air this time of year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS1EWhswwcM

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Skatanic - Reel Big Fish

The song is upbeat with scary pseudo- scream vocals to make it the ultimate song to pick up the energy of your Halloween party.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hjVtbnglEY

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Hell - Squirrel Nut Zippers

These modern swingers released this track in 1996—but it has the energy and style of a much older piece. The old-time jazzy feeling brings up memories of the boogie man from "The Nightmare Before Christmas," making it an automatic Halloween necessity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBVYjTWm6S0
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Superstition - Big Fat Cats

The Big Fat Cats's take on the Stevie Wonder classic with their own twist is a Halloween must. By creating a duet between a female and male vocalists and adding their own jazzy-twist on the classic, they create a cover that is anything but scary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HxFKzMIuu8
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Black and gold- Sam Sparro

Although this song is technically a dance-pop hit, it has always felt like a vintage number. Perhaps it's something about the melody and the smooth vocals that seem to creep up on you, or maybe it's just the repeated references to night-time, but this song always makes it to our Halloween playlist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHuebHTD-lY
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I Put a Spell on You - She and Him

Zooey Deschanel’s haunting take of a traditionally hooky, overplayed track turns it into something mysterious and fresh—and just obscure enough to land itself a spot on our vintage-Halloween playlist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpiyNxLfWAo
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Helter Skelter- The Beatles

What is it about this song that is so creepy? Oh yeah, it’s probably because Charles Manson later adopted the phrase “Helter Skelter” as a mantra for his family/cult to justify murder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjtGWWXTyQk
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Spooky Madness - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy produced a vintage, New Orleans-style swing tune that will make you want to grab the nearest ghoul and cut a rug.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W2O1WzwhNU
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Martian Hop - The Ran-Dells

The 1969 hit embodies the essence of everything there is to love about Halloween—it’s silly, fun and just a little weird. The songs tells a goofy story about aliens coming to Earth, all sung to a sock-hop style beat. Although it’s less well-known that than monster mash, it has the same lovable feeling and is sure to get you in the true spirit of Halloween.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRqg3M4ZJg8
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#MUSIC: Deconstructing Yuck's 'Glow and Behold'

Yuck - Glow And Behold

After their first self-named album, Yuck became the band to watch in the indie-music world. However, it was unclear if the band would soldier on after lead singer, Daniel Blumberg, left the group.  And as hoped, Yuck did not let a small thing, like losing their front man, stop them from producing.  Thankfully, Yuck guitarist, Max Bloom, stepped up to the mic  just in time for their latest album release, 'Glow and Behold.'

Overall, 'Glow and Behold,' seems to display the Yuck heard in “Suicidal Policeman,” instead of the expected and energetic “Georgia” style Yuck, proving that  the evolution of the band did not progress how many fans thought it would.  This album displays a calmer, more astute group.

'Glow and Behold' opens with 'Sunrise in Maple Shade,' an instrumental piece that boasts an organic, repetitive melody with a surprisingly pleasant sprinkling of brass instruments towards the end. This piece, while very beautiful,  failed to deliver the spark of energy we are used to from Yuck.

Tracks 'Lose my Breath' and “Middle Sea” serve to punctuate the toned-down album with some energy and pizazz.

'Lose My Breath' is a plucky and catchy track, with one of those choruses you will find yourself humming unconsciously. The cautiously upbeat tune is the first we hear of a vocally confident Max Bloom.

What makes this piece stand out from the rest of the album is the chorus. Bloom channels a similar energy and vintage sound as Robbie Grey of Modern English circa 'Melt with You.' By moving away from the typical lazy sound we hear in the rest of the album and were accustomed to from Daniel Blumberg, Bloom stamps his own unique vocal style.

Tile track “Glow and Behold” is the “aha!” moment of the album, in which everything seems to come together for Yuck. After listening to this track, concerned fans and critical skeptics should put their worrying on the shelf - Max Bloom seems to have finally found a vocal style that suits him.

The final track itself incorporates the energy of the old Yuck, mixed with a dash of vintage flare, a few trumpets and a pop-punk-esque minute-long guitar solo to finish it off—all combining to create a novel group and a good-as-new sound.

There is no use mourning over the loss of Daniel Blumberg. Yuck is here to stay with Max Bloom center stage leading them into a new era of thoughtful expression and musicality.

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STREAM ALBUM

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#MUSIC: Deconstructing Ty Segall's 'Sleeper' Album

Ty Segall Sleeper

Ty Segall has never been an artist easily pigeon-holed into one rock category; we see his manic energy as he jumps from band to band to solo project, living in a perpetual state of creation. But 2013 has been a quiet year for Segall, and with the release in August of his latest album, "Sleeper," it is clear why.

Sleeper is something new, something calm and simple compared to his previous sound: a healthy mix of MGMT, Deerhunter and The Animals—all thrown in a blender with a handful of nails. Although the album is softer, it is not devout of the raw emotion we are accustomed to from Segall. It is just perhaps a quieter display of anger, loss and confusion.

The album is described by Segall as a “purge” after an emotionally trying year. Following the death of his adopted father, he had a subsequent falling out with his mom. The song “Crazy” seems to describe the melancholy brand of rage that only grief can evoke. The melody feels almost upbeat but the occasional sour note brings an organic emotional presence to the piece.

“That take was basically when I wrote that song,” Segall said in an interview with NPR, “There wasn't an intention.”

Segall decided to stick with what he knows when recording this album and laid each track on tape.[pullquote] This method may seem unnecessarily difficult to devotees of the digital era, but it gives "Sleeper" a raw, vintage feel and somehow makes the emotion of the music feel genuine and unguarded. [/pullquote]It is a rarity to enjoy the work of an artist who opens his wounds to his audience through unsullied expression.

By deconstructing a hyper and complicated style to a simple acoustic guitar, voice and strings, the 10-track album displays Segall’s lyricism and melodic prowess in a way that hasn't been produced in the past.

Although “She Don’t Care” does not open or close the album, it sticks in the mind long after you’re finished listening. The track neatly begins with a count-off  and then jumps into the first verse with no instrumental intro. The chorus is a sweet and harmonic combination of upper pitched vocals floating along a breezy melody, underscored by violin and guitar.

This creates a classical sound that weaves seamlessly into the vintage style, evocative of The Byrds circa 1969. Through the merging of these contrasting styles, Ty Seagall leads listeners on an exhilarating step off the beaten garage-rock path.

In the final song of the album, “The West,” Segall asks “Where do I go home?”

And I hope he has found home, or at least a place where he will artistically spend some time.

"Sleeper" shows a new Ty Seagall: uncomplicated but still managing to express so much complex feeling, while upholding an effortless tone and unguarded openness that makes Segall the true artist that he is.


#MUSIC: Dissecting Jacco Gardener's "Cabinet of Curiosities"

Jacco Gardner's Cabinet Of Curiosities

Jacco Gardner gained notice after releasing "Cabinet of Curiosities" earlier this year and his much-awaited North American tour is taking place this fall. His packed line-up includes 22 shows in the month of October in cities throughout America and Canada.

His debut album has served as his introduction into the American-music scene, and this 24-year-old baroque artist is nothing if not innovative. The use of minor chords and spiraling melodies give his signature new-age-style tunes a rustic feel, while still managing to be completely fresh.

The upbeat tack “Clear the Air” opens the album on a cheery note, while boldly displaying a unique style many listeners will not be expecting. In the chorus Gardner, who usually employs a light tonality, shows off his chestier sound as he proclaims, “I just want to clear the air/ It’s not fair.”

The album as a whole follows no linear pattern melodically. The 12-tracks vary in intensity and complexity to showcase Gardener’s artistic diversity and retro-psychedelic style. The soft in nature “Lullaby” reminiscent of the Zombies, is preceded by energetic track  “The Riddle” which takes on a similar style of King Charles.  

Gardner’s unadulterated talent takes form especially in the instrumental title-track, “Cabinet of Curiosities.” This song opens with a baby laughing; the laughter is used as a reoccurring landmark throughout the song. It seems the laughter is used to punctuate the child-like whimsy felt in the melody on the keyboard.

Lyrics written with dramatic imagery fill the album with moments of simplistic wonder and awe at nature, dreams, and human relationships—underscored by a vague feeling of disappointment. This style of lyric is used in “Watching the Moon” which depicts the simple pleasure of observing a night-sky. The songs bobs along to a waltz tempo, and the combination of harpsichord, keyboard and glockenspiel creates a deliciously spooky aural scene of a lonely night and two people watching the moon trying to “forget why I am asking why.”

[pullquote]The music wraps around listeners like a soft knitted scarf; it is warm, cozy and easy to wear, but still manages to be interesting with a complicated basic structure.[/pullquote] Echoing vocals weave between various sounds of keyboard, guitar, bass, drums and harpsichord. The seemingly idiosyncratic choice of harpsichord proves to be an adhesive in many songs holding a tight sound in place.

The cohesive sound and instrumental agreement can be credited to the fact that Gardner recorded each instrument--with exception to the drums which were  played by Jos van Tol--throughout the album.

It is clear the album as whole, as well as the individual songs, are driven by the singular and irrepressible creative vision of Jacco Gardener.


NEW MUSIC: Reviewing Celestial Shore's '10x' Album

10x By Celestial Shores Album Review

Brooklyn-based group Celestial Shore’s debut album, '10x,' which features vocals from Empress Of’s Lorely Rodregez, is set to be released on September 3.

Excitement built around this group after their 'California Eden' EP was released in 2011. Earlier this year, Celestial Shore released singles “Valarie” and “Hour Minute,” and after much anticipation, their full album will finally be released.

In the tracks included on their latest album effort, the art-rock group takes you on an aural journey--for a ride in their car, to the beach, down a rabbit hole and all over the emotional spectrum--through life in New York City.

Each song tells a story through poetic lyrics as well as through the thoughtful composition and creative use of the ensemble. There are times all the elements together are chaotic, but when the layers of sound mesh together perfectly, it’s magic.

The first four beats of “Hour Minute” demands the attention of the listener with a rare, understated measure of simple guitar followed by a striking “ding” of a triangle. Unfortunately, this is not heard again until the end of the song.

The first song on the album is a solid act that's tough to follow, but the perseverant listener will find the song is filled with fascinating syncopation and continuous change-ups in the guitar line. Although Sam Owens’s vapor-like vocals tend to get lost, the lyrics do deserve special attention.

In the song “Valerie,” Owens’s voice drifts up and down like a yawn, seemingly overplayed to show the mutual boredom the subject of the song and the vocalist share with their dead relationship. The tonality of the song fits with the temperament of the main character, a girl who claims to be too bored to stay around. The piece simultaneously exemplifies the universal emotions of heartbreak and anger while personifying Valerie herself. [pullquote]The connection of music to emotion makes “Valerie” a highlight of this album.[/pullquote]

Another favorite is “Car Car,” which gives us a glimpse into the band’s jazz roots. Lorely Rodregez’s accompanying “ahs” float along the top of the melody in a pattern reminiscent of a scat line.  The song offers an intriguing sound that never lets you get comfortable by perpetually shifting rhythmic guitar, bass and drum patterns.

Although the album on the whole can be manic, the change in pace is exciting and properly mimics true human emotion—ever changing and always circling.

Celestial Shore’s music is complicated; it takes a few listens to give each piece the attention it deserves.

Throughout the album, light and airy vocals are continually buried underneath the tumultuous sounds created by the collaboration of three talented musicians. The twists and turns that are initially overwhelming are what make 10x thought-provoking and uncomfortably smart.

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10x will release on September 3rd, 2013. To pre-order, click here

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