Backstreet Boys > N*Sync
I don’t know about you, but I was a BSB girl back in the day (N*Sync who?). Millennium was the first album I ever owned (sorry Britney), and if last.fm scrobbling and the Internet had existed back then, you best believe the Backstreet Boys would be the #1 top scrobbled artist on my charts.
Clearly Ryan Hemsworth knows what’s up. (90s throwbacks, boy bands, remixes, and Amanda “I’m suing everyone” Bynes.) Chopping up BSB’s 1999 hit, “Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely,” amidst stuttering electronic beats and the ever-classic “Amanda please!”, the Halifax, Nova Scotia native gets the nostalgia levels pumpin’ so well that I’m almost left wanting to hear more of the original chorus. But really, it’s the feel good boy band harmonies and flamenco guitar juxtaposed against blitz claps, warped synths, and quick start-stops that makes for bumpin’-thumpin’-fist-pumpin’ good time.
Hello 1999, how nice of the self-professed Remix Ryan Gosling to usher you into the sample-heavy, nostalgia-infused 21st century. #Backstreetsbackalright!
You can download the track here by tweeting (just close the pop-up window and download away if you don’t have twitter) or by clicking the link above!
I used to have a serious aversion to remixes (“ORIGINAL 4EVER”), but I’ve now chalked that up to being young and very very confused. (Never) quit playing (remix) games with my heart, Hemsworth.
For fans of: Twin Sister, Oberhofer, Cults, Summer Camp
Sounds like: hearing your neighbor’s noisy 90s party through the wall and not getting mad because you know they’re all probably wearing neon windbreakers and spandex over there
I downloaded Pandercakes‘ debut EP Paint By Numbers last week and finally got around to listening to it on this beautifully sunny and abnormally warm day, and I’ve got to say–how fitting! The Columbia, South Carolina 4-piece surprised me with the diversity on this record. They describe their music as “fogpop,” and I guess it makes sense: their sound is bright, upbeat, intricate, and definitively pop under a layer of reverb and noise. Thing is, their bouncy melodies mask the rather grim ‘oh-so-this-is-life’ type lyrics. It’s in an interesting contrast. Also, who can resist boy-girl vocals (god knows I can’t)?!
You’re telling me when a tiny pin can break the skin so easily, that your soul will never die. I’d like to see all the evidence behind your arrogance. (“Fogwalk”)
“André Breton” is the only track where they really rein in their sunshine fogpop (is that an oxymoron?), but it’s a nice slowed-down departure to end off Paint By Numbers. It’s like a sunshower! (Y’know, when it rains while the sun is still shining.)
Overall, something about their melodies just makes me think college–but more so the riding-in-cars-during-the-summertime-in-between-college-semesters kind of college picture than beer pong or all nighters. CHEER! SMILES! SUN! OPTIMISM! (Along with a healthy dose of “but, hi– this is reality, don’t forget” lyrics). It’s a nice counter to Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness.”
Listen and download the EP for *free* below!
Thanks to Coma Cinema for this recommendation, and thank you, Internet, for everything else.
If you know me (I’ll assume you don’t), you’ll know that I’m not much for belt-y, powerhouse vocals; I’m more keen on whisper-sweet serenades that require you to almost lean in (even if you’ve got headphones on).
Priscilla Ahn more than checked off that box for me when I first came across her sparse ‘girl with a guitar and a loop and sometimes a harmonica’ easy listening tunes. I caught her at the Drake back in 2009, and sitting cross-legged on the floor with everyone else in tiny venue, there was a collective hush over the crowd and everyone was actually leaning in.
Now she’s back with Sweet Hearts, a duo project with fellow musician Charlie Wadhams, and they’ve just released their mellow, mushy, and blush-worthy self-titled EP for free download just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Or if you’re a single lady (“all the single ladies, all the single ladies, all the single ladies, now put your hands up!”), why not celebrate Galentine’s Day à la Leslie Knope?
Guys, you can follow suit. And then on the 14th, cozy up with a glass of wine, some cheese, a mirror, and celebrate a little good, healthy narcissism. Celebrate you! (It’ll be like your birthday except better because you’re not a year older!)
Oh sweetheart, when I see you again, you’re never gonna let me go. That’s right, you’ll always be my dearest friend. My, my, I’ll love you till the day I die.
Put on Sweet Hearts’ EP, gaze into your own eyes (that’s what the mirror’s for) and pretend all the lyrics are about you. It’s the new affirmation nation.
[Download]: Sweet Hearts’ EP here by entering your email address!
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for Guelph, Ontario dream-pop duo Memoryhouse. Having just self-releasing their digital EP The Years the year before (2010), Sub Pop quickly snatched them up in them in 2011, remastered the EP, added a couple of new tracks, and re-released it–this time with a full-fledged physical release (cd and vinyl).
Their debut full-length, entitled The Slideshow Effect, is due out February 28. “Walk With Me,” the second single from the album, dropped today and is available for the price of an email address (so basically, it’s free)! The cuts that we’ve heard from the new LP thus far are little more uptempo than their predecessors, slightly more sonically optimistic, and much easier to sing along to–which is actually quite fitting since it’s still relatively early into new year and we’re (maybe) still stickin’ to our resolutions and laughably idealistic notions.
The lead single “The Kids Were Wrong” is also available below for less than a penny. With all the controversy surrounding SOPA and PIPA, you really begin to appreciate the exchange of an email address for a track. Commodity exchange for the new age. Oh the beauty of free (or is it “free”?) legal downloads!
The recent couple years have seen an uprising of lo-fi bedroom musicians (see: Youth Lagoon, Coma Cinema) and when Brad Oberhofer appeared on the scene in 2010 unsigned and with a free EP for download, he was no different.
“Heart,” the first single from Oberhofer’s debut LP Time Capsules II (out March 27), is a departure from the reverb-laden fuzz-filled soundscape that we’ve come to identify with him. From the crisp and clear opening notes of a solitude piano to the addition of orchestral strings towards the end, it’s immediately clear that Oberhofer (now signed to Glassnote) is heading in a new, bigger direction. I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical at first upon hearing that he was going polish up his sound for his full-length, because I worried that it might lose the youthful fervor and frenetic energy of the o0Oo0Oo EP that really caught my attention.
Everything’s a little more pristine and little more calculated and thought out, but the youthful energy (albeit a little more mature) is still there bubbling under the surface, so I think I’m coming around to it. After all, we all have to grow up some time, right? Besides, that signature throaty Oberhofer yelp embedded in mix at the 30-second mark of “Heart” gave me my sigh of relief and kind of sort of won me over.
[MP3]: Oberhofer – “HEART”
They say the best things in life are free, and in the case of Coma Cinema, that saying holds up.
Mat Cothran, the guy behind this gem of a music find, equates music to something like oxygen, saying that it would be ridiculous to charge for the air we breathe so why charge for something as vital as music?
Accordingly, all three of Coma Cinema’s full-length records are available for free download on
the official band website (he recently retired that .org, so now you can download all the albums on his bandcamp). What sets Cothran apart from other musicians who do the pay-what-you-want thing (which is effectively a “free” download since the majority opt not to pay) is that he doesn’t even accept donations, stating on his page that “If you feel the need to compensate us, we only ask that you share the music with others.”
I don’t know what it was about this song that made me stop and focus into it as I mindlessly went through Coma Cinema’s catalog while studying for exams. Maybe it was the simplicity of the instrumentation with its lowly guitar picking or maybe it was the barely above a whisper talk-singing or maybe it was just the fact that it was a mere minute and a half long and thus able to keep my short attention span.
Or it could have been the fact that he said, “I am not afraid…even my fear’s in love with you,” and I thought it was simple and mundane yet startlingly beautiful and incredibly profound all at once.
Either way, I’ve been listening to it on repeat.
[MP3]: Coma Cinema – “Daffodils” (from Baby Prayers)
“Daffodils” hooked me in after a second listen. It didn’t stop my in my tracks like “Monica,” but I’ll chalk it up to my absentminded listening habits. The collage of sounds–especially the contrast of the clean guitar picking layered over the gritty feedback noise (?)–creates an intriguing backstory to the muffled vocals.
Coma Cinema’s tracks are catchy and only last an average of about 2 minutes or so, so I can guarantee that you’ll be listening to each record on repeat, wishing they were longer. (I know I have!) Cothran’s DIY mentality (not so much his music) reminds me a little of Oberhofer, if comparisons had to be made.
The vocals aren’t perfect and the recordings are hazy with noise and the drums are reminiscent of garage jamming, but I think that’s the point. It’s music for the sake of music, not for profit or anything else; it music made out of necessity because it’s begging to come out.
[DOWNLOAD]: Head on over to comacinema.bandcamp.com!
Fleet Foxes’ highly regarded sophomore album, Helplessness Blues, was released May 3, but that isn’t stopping Sub Pop from giving away another freebie: “Grown Ocean.“
[MP3]: Fleet Foxes – “Grown Ocean” (right-click, save as)
If you haven’t already, you can also grab the lead single and title track that was given away as a teaser to the band’s second LP.
Fleet Foxes’ frontman Robin Pecknold also took to twitter a while ago to showcase 3 tracks he’d previously recorded in California while on a break, one of which features Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste.
The moment I saw that We Are Trees had a song entitled “Dear Chan Marshall,” I was all ‘hell yeah, I’m up for the ride.’ (I’m a huge Cat Power fan and any reference to her will get me giddy.) That fact alone, for me, warranted them a listen–and I was not disappointed. (more…)
[LISTEN]: Russian Red – “I Hate You But I Love You”
Last time I spoke with Russian Red (Lourdes Hernandez) back in the 2010, she mentioned that she was hoping to start recording the new record this year. Since then, she has played a couple of shows in the States and released “I Hate You But I Love You”–the first single off her highly anticipated sophomore record. Here debut, I Love Your Glasses, came out in 2008, so it’s been long while, and I’m incredibly excited to hear her new material.
Fuerteventura is the name of her forthcoming album, slated for release in Spring 2011 (according to her website, vinyl ships out on May 11, 2011). Below is a little preview or behind-the-scenes of the making of the album. To be honest, I had no idea what she was saying (Spanish, duh), but I watched the whole thing anyway to get a sneak peek of some of her new songs.
[LISTEN]: Russian Red – “Fuerteventura”
Russian Red just recently announced via her Facebook that you can download the second single and the album’s namesake “Fuerteventura” for the price of an email (it’s basically free) FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY over here in English or Spanish. Enjoy!
I’m in the middle of writing an essay, but I just couldn’t wait any longer to share Angel Olsen with everyone. I’m a little late to the party on this one as she released her debut cassette (yes, cassette–you read right) Strange Cacti via Bathetic Records last year, but I don’t even care; I’m just happy I found her.
“Creator, you destroy me. You know my hunger well and yet you starve me until I’m begging on my knees.”
Sometimes you just feel it–a connection, an emotion, a surprisingly familiarity–when you listen to a new musician for the first time. I felt it when I heard Angel Olsen. It was something I felt when I first listened to Joni Mitchell (the two are nothing are alike, but still), Sharon Van Etten, and Marissa Nadler. There’s this innate and immediate understanding, and it’s ever so beautiful.
Her sound is lo-fi and organic and effortlessly sincere; everything’s raw. There’s a throwback feel almost as if these recordings were made in the 60s and resurrected. “Some Things Cosmic” sounds like something your grandparents might have listened to.
BUY: STRANGE CACTI 12″