There is a moment on Tame Impala’s sophomore album, Lonerism, when I realized that I was listening to one of the best psychedelic rock albums of the year. When the fourth track, “Mind Mischief”, transitions from a catchy guitar groove to full-on harmonic bliss at the two-minute mark, I also realized that this one of 2012’s best albums of any genre. Lonerism is stuffed to the brim with transcendent moments such as this; crammed with imaginative details exploding off of warmly fuzzed-out guitars, bouncing bass lines, and heavily reverberating vocals. An important difference between this effort and Tame Impala’s debut, Innerspeaker, is the dominance of synthesizer and keyboards throughout. While Innerspeaker used keyboards to accent and surround many of the songs in a haze, Lonerism is happy to utilize them side by side with the guitars, in many cases completely taking the lead as the driving force.
It’s easy to peg a band many classify as “psychedelic rock” as entrenched in the past. This is simply not the case with Tame Impala. The songs here are based off of elements I could identify as “psych” or “prog”, but at no point could I picture this music coming from decades prior. Something about this band is completely modern and fresh sounding. Much could be said about this album’s lyrical content being laser-focused on themes of loneliness, isolation, and general outsider tendencies. The vocals, while quite catchy, also seem to have a lazily bittersweet current coursing through them. However, the music is so inviting and huge that it is nearly impossible to come away without a smile after finishing the record’s 52 minutes. Lonerism is one of the year’s most essential pop albums, and one that sounds destined for classic status.
Listen to stand out tracks “Apocalypse Dreams” and “Elephant” below.
Watch this amazing cover of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” by the PS22 Chorus from NYC. This displays the pop brilliance of these songs.
Hey guys, here is the latest mix from Penguin Prison to help you forget that summer has come and gone. Give it a listen and make sure to head down to Ella Lounge next Wednesday, September 12th to catch a very intimate DJ set from Penguin Prison. Advance tickets have already SOLD OUT, but there will be a limited number of tickets available at the door the night of the show.
Wild Nothing is the dream pop project conceived by Jack Tatum in his college dorm room about 3 years ago. What began as a solo project, and remains in terms of songwriting and recording, has been fleshed out with a full live band. They have just released their second full length album, Nocturne, slightly over a week ago through the indie label Captured Tracks.
The style that Tatum has perfected over the last few years draws from the C86 mixtape style that NME created as a way to classify a group of UK bands in 1986 and in turn promote the readership of their magazine through the “discovery of a new genre”. The genre stemmed from the post-punk and new wave of the late 70s/early 80s and is obviously indebted to shoegaze which puts the former genres through walls of reverb and other effects, with heavy padding from cheap synthesizers. Tatum and the band have mastered the pop side of this genre, wearing their influences, like their hearts, on their sleeves. The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Echo and the Bunnymen and Cocteau Twins would be great starting points to see where this style came from.
I am off to see the band tonight at the Great American Music Hall here in San Francisco. If you’re interested in seeing them live, take a look at their tour dates here, where you can also sample some of their older material.
Stream the entire new album, Nocturne, below. Stand out tracks include, “Shadow”, “Nocturne”, “Paradise” and “The Blue Dress”.
Snakadaktal are young band from Melbourne, Australia that has yet to really make a big splash here in the US. They are a self described Pop band, but there is so much more going on that it’s hard to believe there all still in high school. Give a listen to their single “Chimera” below.
For the last three months, I haven’t been able to get these girls out of my memory. Once again, I’m a little late to post, since they released their first official video for the single “Forever” a month ago. With a guitar riff that calls to memory Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”, this song should definitely be in the discussion for song of the summer. Many critics have likened the band to a cross between Fleetwood Mac and En Vogue, but I’m getting more of a cross between MJ and The Pretenders. Watch the video below, and make sure to check out my previous posts about Haim, here and here.
Ed Sheeran is easily the most talented Singer/Songwriter I’ve heard in many years. His soulful voice and knack for wordplay are so striking that his songs have an immediate effect. I’m sure we’ll all be hearing plenty from this 21 year old Brit as his meteoric rise has really just begun. Listen to “The A Team” below.