“Time Travel” by Blouse // Blouse (2011)
Blouse has been batting a thousand as of late with a stream of brilliant, gorgeous digital singles. Each one seemingly more dreamy and lush than the last. This time around, they return with a track off of their forthcoming self-titled album, and it’s a darker, more menacing cut that fits firmly in the season. In fact, there’s such an ominous synth line running throughout that this track would be an excellent addition to any Halloween mixtape. If this is evidence of the excellence that awaits the full length then we are in store for a potential late year entry into the album of the year race. This is stunning post-punk tinged dream pop for a chilly season.
(release) Blouse - S/T (November 1st, via Captured Tracks)
“Host” by Young Again // I Woke Up Smiling (2011)
Atlanta shoegazers, Young Again have posted a gorgeous new blast of ethereal sound up on their bandcamp page (thank you Danceyrselfclean for pointing me in their direction). The new EP, I Woke Up Smiling, is available for free and contains four excellent displays of control over waves of sound. They never push for the ear rattling distortion of the more post-punk side of the shoegaze sound - they lean firmly on the bewitching dream pop side of things. The track, “Host”, in particular is a shimmering wave of guitars and vocal harmonies that would sound at home on a Film School or Pale Saints album, and that’s a very good thing.
(Source: perfectmidnightworld / pmwtumblr)
—Here, In Heaven (Elite Gymnastics cover)
“Here, In Heaven” by How to Dress Well (Originally by Elite Gymnastics) // Ruin 3 (2011)
If i’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Tom Krell’s How To Dress Well is one of the best new artists of the past few years and everything he touches is absolutely gold. Here HTDW contributes a cover of Elite Gymnastics’s “Here, In Heaven” that will be featured on a collection of re-interpretations of EG songs from previous EPs. In the hands of How to Dress Well it becomes a heartbreaking hymn with an abstract r&b lean, and holy hell is it ever a wonder to hear. Grab it for free right now from Pitchfork.
This is so great I don’t know even know what I feel when I listen to it.
—Give Us The Wind
“Give Us The Wind” by Future Islands // On The Water (2011)
There is so much to love within the catalog of Future Islands, but I was unprepared for how much I was going to fall in love with the more subtle moments displayed on the new album, On The Water. Sure, I adore the post-wave rave-ups and the unbeatable synth pop of their more upbeat jams, but holy shit are the quiet moments ever gorgeous. This is one of those moments. Highest possible recommendation.
(pre-order) Future Islands - On the Water
—The White Season
“The White Season” by Still Corners // Creatures of an Hour (2011)
This late in the year, I always tend to fall into a sense of complacency that everything that’s worth hearing has already been heard, but I’m always dead wrong. This new track from Still Corners fell into my lap today and it’s an absolute gem. There have been a lot of bands stretching into the dream pop realm as of late, but Still Corners makes it look easy, and makes it sound perfect. It’s short, sweet and layered with dreamy atmospherics that make it impossible not to listen to on repeat.
“Araby” by Minks // Araby (2011)
By the Hedge by Minks was one of my favorite albums of last year, and they’re returning with a new single in anticipation of a new album release next year sometime. It comes in the form of this wonderful little gem that sounds like a vintage post punk / dream pop jam from the early 80’s. Those tinny guitars and whirring synths are just the right kind of vibe for these autumn months. Give it a listen and then download it for free.
(download) “Araby” by Minks (via Pitchfork)
“Deep Witness” by Tammar // Visits (2011)
Without question, “The Last Line” by Indiana’s Tammar is one of my favorite songs of the year. I’ve been waiting to hear the new album for the past few months and i’m very happy to say that for me, it doesn’t disappoint in the least. It’s got a throwback quality to old school modern rock/ alternative (before it became a catch-all phrase), but at the same time it’s loaded with these exciting new sounds that make it feel completely new and interesting. A friend of mine said that they sounded like an American mash up of the National and The Horrors, but i think that’s only because of the strong rhythm section (The National) and the vocals (frontman Dave Walters sometimes sounds a bit like Faris Badwan), but those comparisons are not fair. Tammar has a big, broad space-rock sound that reminds me of some of my favorite bands (Spiritualized, Grandaddy, etc…) but at the same time, like the best of those bands, their music feels relatable and as intimate as it does infinite. Get this album.
(buy/stream) Tammar’s “Visits” (via Bandcamp/Suicide Squeeze)
“Never Mine” by Big Troubles // Romantic Comedy (2011)
Big Troubles seem like they might be incapable of producing something that will disappoint (me). I’m absolutely in love with everything that I’ve heard from them and this track, “Never Mine”, might be my favorite of them all. It’s a shoegaze-y, indie pop gem that’s packing a vocal melody that will embed itself into your brain for ages, and when those jangly lead guitars, shimmering rhythm guitars, and choral backing vocals kick in, it’s like everything that I love in a great song aligning to give me my jam of the Autumn (especially the string section at the end - i mean, fuck!). I’m going to be playing the living hell out of this for the foreseeable future. Absolute highest recommendation.
(bandcamp) Big Troubles - Romantic Comedy
This is so good.
“Wait” by M83 // Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (2011)
After multiple listens, I’m really starting to come to the conclusion that M83’s new album is exactly the album that I’ve been waiting for all summer. It’s a perfect autumn album loaded with dreamy, airy synth pop tracks and straight up dance anthems, then there are some of those tracks that just float in and blow the rest away. “Wait” is one of those tracks. It’s a gorgeous sci-fi lullaby played against a simple guitar strum that swells into beautiful strings and choral vocals. It’s a stunner in an album loaded with prime cuts. This is going to be getting all sorts of play from me over the next few months. I’m in love with this album.
I cannot get over this song. Gaaaah.
—Oh Sister / Ferris Wheel On Fire
“Oh Sister // Ferris Wheel on Fire” by Neutral Milk Hotel // Ferris Wheel on Fire 10” (1995/2011 re-issue)
Walking Wall of Words premiered a previously unreleased track from the forthcoming Neutral Milk Hotel box-set, and it does not disappoint. At this point everyone knows what to expect from Jeff Mangum’s world, so I won’t bother trying to describe it in words that will surely pale in comparison to simply pressing play.
(listen, order, see) The Walking Wall of Words // NMH Tours, Store, and Charity Info
“Nosferatu” by Wise Blood // These Wings EP (2011)
Another new Wise Blood track from the forthcoming These Wings EP and it actually sounds quite a bit different than I’ve come to expect, and that’s not a bad thing. Gone are the fun time, warped beats and in their place are shimmering guitars, cascading cymbal crashes, and choral backing vocals. Interesting change up for sure and still very fucking good.
(download) Wise Blood - Nosferatu (via Pitchfork)
“Driving” by Oupa // Forget (2011)
Daniel Blumberg is already behind one of the best albums of the year with Yuck’s self titled album, but now he’s released his solo side-project, Oupa, and it’s a straight up gem. Like the title track that was released back in March, “Driving” is a somber, lo-fi, piano ballad but it showcases Blumberg’s incredible gift for melody. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaker of a song, and after a few more listens, I might find myself with Oupa’s release high up on my best of the year. Highest Recommendation.
(Source: perfectmidnightworld / pmwtumblr)
“Quiet America” by Memoryhouse // The Years EP (re-issue) (2011)
Memoryhouse has grown into a full on dream (pop) machine. The new material from the Sub Pop re-issued EP, The Years, has been nothing short of gorgeous. This is one of two new tracks recorded for the re-release and it’s a short, but sweet, ethereal beauty. It’s one of those songs that just sounds better in the moonlight. I’m finding myself more and more excited for a full length of all new goodness. Definitely worth a listen and if you like what you’re hearing, grab the mp3 for free from Pretty Much Amazing.
Oh christ, it’s about time, Memoryhouse.
“Can’t Ignore My Heart” by Gross Magic // Teen Jamz EP (2011)
This being the third track that I’ve heard from Gross Magic, it’s safe to say that Sam McGarrigle, the man behind the music, is influenced by a wild variety of bands. The first two tracks wore early grunge and 70’s classic rock experimentation (respectively) firmly on their sleeve and this time around it’s right there back in the present lo-fi indie craze of bringing out the (borderline cheesy) old 80’s synths and strapping them onto a guitar rock track (think a more accessible Ariel Pink). Truth be told, I think this is his most successful track thus far. As varying as the influences are, they might make for an uneven listen on the EP as a whole, but taken as stand alone tracks, they all kick major ass. Definitely worth a listen.
(Get the Teen Jamz EP @ Bandcamp)
Couldn’t get into this guy’s stuff before, but this song is AWESOME. Really digging the vocals.