Saturday, 28 January 2012

Album of the Week: Chairlift - Something

Something may not be the most innovative album you hear this year, but Chairlift's second LP manages to find its own feet in the as-of-recent large crowd of indie music's 80's pop revivalist-sounding records. It's one of those albums that contains little to no weak songs; the singles "Amanaemonesia", "Sidewalk Safari", "Met Before" and "I Belong in Your Arms" stand strongly on their own, but there are arguably even better tracks found deeper into the album. The seasoned production team of Alan Moulder and Dan Carey ensure Something has one of the most important assets for an album of this nature: accessible, catchy indie-pop tunes that don't comromise on their lyrical content or attenion to detail. For someone who doesn't remember "Bruises" all that well, I may very well return to these songs throughout the year.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Single of the Week: Daniel Rossen - "Saint Nothing"

In March Daniel Rossen will release his debut solo EP Silent Hour / Golden Mile for Warp Records, which will surely be an appetising taster for the next full length album from his main band Grizzly Bear, the recording of which is reported to be underway.The first track to be released from the new EP is "Saint Nothing", a dark and meticulous piano ballad which combines the unique songwriting approach of Grizzly Bear's most recent records with the lo-fi recording style and adventurous soundscaping of Rossen's previous project, Department of Eagles. These elements give the track a quiet and intimate if unsettling feel: the horn-assisted undertones and Rossen's easily identifiable pale voice only coerce the listener deeper into its strange haven. A nice change of pace, and hopefully the whole EP and Grizzly Bear album bring more of the same in 2012.

Daniel Rossen - "Saint Nothing"

Similar tracks:
Bon Iver - "Holocene"
Radiohead - "Give Up the Ghost"
Oneohtrix Point Never - "Replica"

Friday, 20 January 2012

Album of the Week: Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

The second Cloud Nothings album can be called a successor to the band's self-titled debut in name only. By working together with legendary punk and hardcore 'engineer' Steve Albini, Dylan Baldi and crew completely overhauled their previously 'jangly' sound found on last year's Cloud Nothings in favour of a reverb-free 90's lo-fi indie aesthetic for Attack on Memory. In doing so they've created the first great album of 2012: during a 34 minute set Cloud Nothings wade their way through heavy, sludgy tracks ("No Sentiment", the Slint-like opener "No Future/No Past") and still make way for a few short poppier numbers along the way. Baldi's voice ranges between Rivers Cuomo and Kurt Cobain accordingly. All eight tracks feel immediate and catchy, and never come across as similar or repetitive. Stream the album and download three tracks below:

Cloud Nothings - *"No Future/No Past"
Cloud Nothings - *"Stay Useless"
Cloud Nothings - *"No Sentiment"

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Single of the Week: The Shins - "Simple Song"

"Simple Song" comes as the first single to accompany the new album from indie rock heavyweights the Shins, Port of Morrow, set for release in March. Considering they've been officially away since 2007's Wincing the Night Away (frontman James Mercer found time to do Broken Bells with Danger Mouse), this new track sounds both fresh and impressively huge. After a Girls-like Hammond organ intro, "Simple Song" becomes a colourful anthem of guitar jangle and heartfelt vocals, recalling both Big Star and more recent established giants Arcade Fire. The layered guitars give the track its heroic quality: complex watery undertones backdrop huge power chords, and lead melodies find space between the vocals for additional delights. Nothing that hasn't been done before of course, but when a modern track sounds this good, it pays to be reminded all over again.

Similar tracks:
Girls - "Honey Bunny"
Real Estate - "Green Aisles"
Atlas Sound - "Mona Lisa"

Friday, 13 January 2012

on-Tenori-on's Most Anticipated Albums of 2012

Instead of Album of the Week, I'm listing my most anticipated albums and official mixtapes confirmed for release in 2012, in alphabetical order:

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - A Death in Hollywood
Best Coast - TBA
Big K.R.I.T. - Live from the Underground / 4Eva and a Day
Black Dice - Mr. Impossible
Black Star - Black Star Aretha
Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
Lana Del Rey - Born to Die
Dirty Projectors - TBA
Dirty Three - Toward the Low Sun
The Flaming Lips - TBA
Gonjasufi - MU.ZZ.LE
Grimes - Visions
Grizzly Bear - TBA
Guided By Voices - Class Clown Spots a UFO
Heems - Nehru Jackets
Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid in a Mad City
Lindstrøm - Six Cups of Rebel
Loops of Your Heart - And Never Ending Nights
Of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks
Major Lazer - TBA
Lee Ranaldo - Between the Times & the Tides
The Shins - Port of Morrow
Spiritualised  - Sweet Home Sweet Light
John Talabot - fIN
The xx - TBA
Zammuto - TBA

Tell me how good they were in 12 months.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Single of the Week: Grimes - "Genesis"

A return to the status quo, Single of the Week is back every Tuesday from now on, and Album of the Week will start again from a week on Friday. 
There have been a number of great tracks released during this first week of 2012, but following the announcement that Montreal's Grimes will be releasing her new album Visions on 4AD "Genesis" is the track I haven't been able to stop playing. Looking back at the dark electro-pop project of Claire Boucher so far there have been a number of releases under the name Grimes already: 2010 saw two album releases on the Canadian label Arbutus, as well as a split EP with d'Eon released last year ("Vanessa" alone makes my Tracks of 2011 list obselete already). Following this trajectory Grimes's songwriting has become much clearer and immediate, so if "Genesis" and previously released track *"Oblivion" are anything to go by, Visions going to be a very rewarding listen. Very excited for this one.

Similar tracks:
Austra - "Beat and the Pulse"
Zola Jesus - *"Vessel"
Purity Ring - "Belispeak"