[Indie] Youth Lagoon – Mute

Even though it’s been a few years since Youth Lagoon‘s debut The Year Of Hibernation came out, it’s still a staple album on my playlist, and, naturally, I’ve been anxiously awaiting his new material. We got a taste of his sophomore album, Wondrous Bughouse, with the quirky “Dropla” not too long ago, and now we have another new song. “Mute” shows us his signature warmth and dreaminess, but also points to his exploration of other sounds and textures. Rather than just showering us with “instantly gratifying” melodies, he takes his time and flexes some complexity here and there. I think it’s safe to say we’re more than ready for the challenge. Listen in below.

Youth Lagoon Mute

Wondrous Bughouse comes out March 5th via Fat Possum Records.

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[Indie] Shout Out Louds – Illusions

On Shout Out Louds’ latest track “Illusions”, we’re given a blissful, icy breath of Swedish indie pop sounds. The song, so dreamy at times that you wonder if it is indeed an “illusion” (sorry, had to go there), features bits of an underlying grooving bass, brawny yet calming vocals, and some airy falsetto work in the chorus. It all comes together nicely — and seamlessly too — and should make getting through the last few days of the week a little easier.

Shout Out Louds new album Optica comes out February 26th via Merge Records.

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Banks – Before I Ever Met You

We will soon be like before I ever met you

The sultry vocals of LA based vocalist BANKS have never felt so honest than with her latest single ‘Before I Met You”. Submergence below a sea of crushing emotions of love lost, the cathartic melodies only enhance her potent but still delicate vocals. In lines with the production of the likes of Grimes and Purity Ring, we should expect an EP on IAMSOUND/Good Years very soon.

Before I Ever Met You
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[Live Review] Ski Lodge, Urban Cone – Mercury Lounge, NYC

Last week, I braved one of winter’s most brutal weeks here in New York City to see Brooklyn’s indie rock band Ski Lodge and Sweden’s electro-pop outfit Urban Cone. Despite the frostbitten face and temporary use of my numbed out-limbs, the little trek to the Mercury Lounge was worth it. So kudos to all involved! It’s not everyday you get a quality bill at an early show during the middle of the week.

Ski Lodge opened the night with a handful of tracks off their self-titled EP, a collection of breezy lo-fi pop. These songs possess hints of afro-pop bounce, as well as just something that hints at jangly, old school guitar-driven surf rock; overall, absolutely nostalgic, fun and feel-good, especially on a night when all I craved was some warm vibes. Interspersed between their older material were some newer songs that the band’s been working on over the last few months. As much as I love their aforementioned EP, the new stuff sounds very promising. It’s a bit more intricate and unpredictable, in a good way, and the vocals are more pronounced and in focus. It doesn’t necessarily grab at you immediately hook-wise like their previous tunes, but that’s not a bad thing. It shows that the group is poking and prodding in different directions, trying out different arrangements and ways of basically building their songs — it’s a great sign. And, despite playing this new material, the group (who added a new drummer not too long ago) sounded tight and totally comfortable with the set. Now I’m anxiously awaiting their debut full-length…

A Game

I Would Die To Be

That evening Urban Cone celebrated their NYC debut and their energy and aura throughout the entire set reflected that. I’m always amazed and so pleased when I witness a band just shamelessly enjoying performing. Live music is meant to be an experience, and a wholly unique one at that. It’s live; it’s not a record, it’s not Spotify, it’s not the radio. There should be a palpable feeling of gusto and enthusiasm during any performance. Urban Cone brought it all, pouring every emotion — joy, despair, nervousness, anxiety, exuberance — onto the stage. Their songs vary from perky synth-pop to more slick dance-y songs, but one thing remains constant: the total believability in each of their hooks. When the chorus approaches, the band takes full advantage of the build-up, running with it as long as they can as they pounce on their keyboards and trickle their fingers up and down their guitars. During the actual big moment choruses, you know it. Their songs are so well-built for these highly saccharine moments; they grip you and hold you there for a few blissful minutes, but really, the feeling stays with you even songs afterwards. They aren’t so much breaking new grounds in the electro-pop field in terms of sound, but their execution and, as I mentioned, general sincerity about it, could really separate them from their peers.

Urban Cone
We Should Go To France

Urban Cone
Black Ocean

Urban Cone
Kings & Queens
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[Video] Swim Deep – The Sea

swim deep

A little while back, we posted the smile-inducing infectious indie rock tune from Birmingham quartet, Swim Deep. Well the feel good popsters have released their video directed by Dan Brereton. The fun, dancy tune has been given a 1990′s feel in this interpretation. This may age us by saying this, but we often yearn for the days spent traversing our local mall. Well, Swim Deep has brought back those adolescent memories with this entertaining video.

If you get a chance, make sure to catch these guys with Two Door Cinema Club before heading out on their own tour, and landing at SXSW. “The Sea” is out March 4th on Chess Club / RCA Victor.

The Sea
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[Indie] BETS – Rooftop Lover

The often quirky, retro, lo-fi vocals of BETS are anything but conventional. With that being said, this lazy and wandering indie rock tune is rather infectious. At first listen, this track from the bicoastal singer songwriter made us grin a little. Then after a few times over, her unique tone and catchy hooks had us craving more. Now, we just simply can’t help but listen to this track over and over again.

This self-titled debut EP is now available for purchase. Click the song below, then head over to itunes when you’re ready to buy.

Rooftop Lover
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Wildlife Control – Different

Wildlife Control make their 2013 debut introducing a palpable and exciting new sound. Part of the reason that makes the Brooklyn/San Francisco duo so attractive is their genuine attention for instrumental harmony often wrapped around softer vocals and even delicate and somber productions. However, their latest single “Different” provides a stark contrast to what we have heard to date, instilling aggressive Sleigh Bells-like drumming with a backdrop of hazy and surreal vocals.

Whether the single is a new direction for Wildlife Control or just a playful anomaly, it proofs the bands maturity and unwillingness to be tied down to a specific sound.

Wildlife Control

‘Different’ was released 1/29 and can be purchased on iTunes

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