Future Islands | ‘On The Water’
If there’s one thing that’s always deeply satisfying to stumble across, it’s the fabled sleeper album; the one that slips past listener radar and across the reviews without perking up ears attuned to seeking that which deserves second and third listens, landing in your lap like it was gold wrapped in tinfoil. Open the wrapper, and you’ll see that what you’ve got is precious, but often that process itself can be time consuming, at best.
This is where we find the latest release from Future Islands, titled On The Water (Thrill Jockey). It’s one of the few truly solid indie rock albums to come out this year (Destroyer’s Kaputt and PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake being the two best examples of this year’s output thus far), and yet somehow, despite decent reviews across the board, failed to make any substantial waves. Perhaps this is due to the fact that their sound seems to fall into the greater realm of music derivative of 80’s post-punk and no wave that lately has been growing exponentially in quantity—though this album is far better in its approach, it’s easy to imagine how easily it might get lost in the din of similar imitators. The thing is, Future Islands appear to have nailed a deeply satisfying-to-hear subtlety to their composition structure that doesn’t beat you over the head, but sounds refreshing in its authenticity and unpretentiousness. Style-wise—since this is most definitely derivative in style—these guys sound like The The meets Roxy Music meets New Order (those basslines are especially reminiscent of Peter Hook’s unmistakeable style), and they toe the line between past and present like champs. In other words, if you spent a great deal of your youth listening to Morrissey, or you like Destroyer, the Radio Dept., or Metronomy, this is definitely an album worth grabbing.
You can purchase (and hear) the album over at Thrill Jockey, or check out the samples below of the stunning The The throwback “Before the Bridge” (think “This Is The Day”) and the happy-go-lucky “Balance” (which sounds too similar to Rod Stewart’s lone synth pop hit “Young Turks” not to be mentioned).
Toro y Moi | ‘Freaking Out’ EP
The new EP from Toro y Moi, titled Freaking Out, is finally out this week on Carpark Records, and sees the vehicle for songwriter Chaz Bundick reaching into much more upbeat, funky territory than ever before. (Think indie rock meets Jamiroquai, here.) The first single, “Saturday Love” (a cover of the Alexander O’Neal & Cherelle tune from 1985) pulls in a great deal of dream pop influence, but retains the original’s infectious, happy bounce, while the title track, “Freaking Out”, is one hell of a daytime in the sunshine jam. Expect this one to give you a spring in your step, for sure. You can check out those two tracks below, and be sure to peep the free download link for the EP’s first track, “All Alone”, which is arguably the most danceable jam on this release. Finally, you can grab it now at Insound, where they’ve currently got a limited supply of Toro y Moi keychains, too.
NPR Music First Listen | Beirut | ‘The Rip Tide’
This year has been particularly dry when it comes to good new indie rock; given how saturated last year’s listening market was, it seems only fair, right? Tell that to Beirut, whose upcoming album, The Rip Tide is bringing us all a welcome bit of excitement in this musical lull. Thanks to NPR Music, that lull ends right now, as you can listen to a full-length preview of the album already—because August 30 is just too far off! So, what does it sound like to us here? We’re going with victory.
Stream the New Memory Tapes on the Quietus
Today’s good get goes to the folks at The Quietus, who’ve managed to snag us all a streaming preview of Player Piano, the new album by Memory Tapes, due out on July 4/5. After all the doom and gloom that comprised the vast majority of releases from late Spring, this is one hell of a pick-me-up, and for Memory Tapes in particular, it’s been a long time coming. The release of 2009’s Seek Magic fell largely on deaf ears, buried like many other deconstructed-sounding indierock albums under the never-ending din of praise for Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion. Looking back now, such an oversight was perhaps a boon to Tape’s Dayve Hawk; what little press he received was overwhelmingly positive, but there was ultimately very little pressure on him to step into the foreground. Now here we are two years later, however, with the natural evolution of Hawk’s music sounding tighter than ever, still quite deserving of all its amassed praise, and little to distract attention away from what amounts to an outstanding sophomore release. This is an album that’s pretty much built of sound in the color of Summertimes past, present, and who knows, maybe even future. Give the album a listen—and have a look at Hawk’s own guide, song-by-song—here. Also, check out the video for the album’s first single, “Yes I Know” below.
Free Track from Twin Shadow | “Slow”
We love Twin Shadow, from the way he turns a phrase, to his nostalgia-evoking instrumentation, to the way every song feels effortless in its construction. It’s a hard formula to beat, but perhaps some artists are made to outdo themselves once in a while, as today he’s giving away a free download of the truly beautiful song, “Slow”, as a gift for joining his email list. If you’re uncertain whether his album Forget is worth your time, this track makes an excellent introduction (and quite a Morrissey-esque one, at that); give ‘er a listen below.
In the meantime, Mr. Lewis will be making the final leg of his tour this Fall, so if you haven’t gotten a chance to see him yet, here’s your chance. Peep the info and purchase tickets for the Clean Cuts Tour here. And by the way, each ticket comes with a custom t-shirt and button, specific to each show, featuring, you guessed it, a new hairdo.
Check out the new video from Warp artist Battles, directed by the brilliant Spanish film collective, Canada. The song, “Ice Cream”, features Kompakt mainstay Matias Aguayo, and is quite the teaser for their upcoming album, Gloss Drop, coming out on the June 6/7. Also, you can already preorder the album via Bleep, and get an immediate download of the “Ice Cream” single now!
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE BIG SUR SHOW MOVED TO SANTA CRUZ
Apparently the rainy season in Northern California has been harsh enough to justify some of the complaints from ever-sunny Californians this year, or so the news from Animal Collective's camp would have you hear. According to their Facebook page, they’ve had to cancel their April 14 appearance in Big Sur, due to the closure of Highway 1 through the area.
The good news is, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and the band have rescheduled their performance at the Catalyst Nightclub in Santa Cruz. What does this mean for you? Well, at noon tomorrow, April 7, another 650 tickets will be going on sale. Meanwhile, all Big Sur tickets will be honored at the door (and you’ll even be given a refund for the cost difference). You can find more information about this at FolkYeah.