Having just wrapped a global tour, Australian trio DMA'S return with the First Taste off their Soon to be announced debut album--the "Lay Down" single.
DMA'S took North America by storm this sumer playing shows and festivals. The band hit Governor's Ball, Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Lollapalooza and Osheaga as well as their own headline tour.
DMA'S formed a couple of years ago when three friends started writing and recording music together above a hairdresser on a busy street in Newton, Australia. They'd known each other casually for awhile and had all been in other bands previously, but hadn't found their own individual voices or the proper outlet for the songs percolating in their heads.
The product of three distinct musical personalities, DMA'S songs crackle with classic melodies and a sweet, youthful energy. You'll hear elements of 90s Britpop and shoegaze and American alternative guitar rock woven through arena-ready fist pumpers.
"brought Manchester, U.K., to Manchester, Tennessee...delivering Glastonbury-worthy hooks powered by a three-guitar assault."--Rolling Stone (at Bonnaroo)
"intertwines jangly, dreamy shoegaze with uncompromising noise....DMA'S channel the very best of the Stone Roses' transcendent melodies; there's an obvious Ian Brown (and even Damon Albarn-esque) swagger apparent in the vocals."--Stereogum (on "Lay Down")
Listen: "Lay Down"
The Austria-bred, and now Mannheim, Germany-based trio AudioDamn! comes blazing out of the gate via the frenetic and firey first single "Lights Out" now at radio and with their full length on the horizon coming first part of 2016.
Singer Oliver "Oli" Wimmer, guitarist Ali Grumeth and drummer Daniel "Mudi" Mudrack share a passion for defying expectation and blurring genre.
"To us all that matters is good songs," Grumeth notes. "We listen to hip-hop and folk and punk and jazz; the style of music doesn't mean anything to us."
Not only a major factor in the vitality of their sound, that sense of adventurousness feeds right into AudioDamn!'s creative process. "When we're making something we usually say to ourselves, 'What should we probably be doing here? Okay, let's do the opposite of that,'" continues Grumeth. "We love the challenge of doing things in a new and different way. There's a lot of fun in that challenge."
Listen: "Lights Out" (clean radio edit)
Hippo Campus' "South" is not only the New single but also the title track off their newly released EP. Bolder, more confident and nuanced this round, "South" is an anthem, building on the indie pop of the prior EP while subtly pushing the limits of the band's sound.
In the just 10 months since Minneapolis' Hippo Campus released its debut EP "Bashful Creatures", the band has earned Best Newcomer nods from Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly, made their TV debut on Conan, toured with Modest Mouse and My Morning Jacket, played Lollapalooza and Made In America festivals and seen their last single "Suicide Saturday" skip across the Satellite, Alternative and Non-Comm radio dial!
Listen: "South" (radio edit)
Pick Me Up
Glassnote's latest/greatest signing is Mansionair, a Sydney three-piece you've no doubt Already been hearing rumblings about. The Aussies deliver their New single "Speak Easy" this week and in advance of the anticipated Pick Me Up EP, coming out 10/2! The single debuted Just Last Night "back home" on influential radio Triple J.
Since dropping debut single "Hold Me Down" in 2014, Australia's Mansionair (Jack Froggatt, Lachlan Bostock and Alex Nicholls) has gained widespread praise for their mesmerizing and genre-defying sound from tastemakers including NME, The Guardian, Stereogum, BBC Radio 1 and Pigeons and Planes, who declared the band an "Act to Watch", helped propel "Hold Me Down" to a staggering 10 million-plus combined streams.
Along the way they caught the attention of CHVRCHES who released the band's Hold Me Down EP late last year on their own Goodbye Records imprint.
"know how to spin a web of sticky, glistening whisper-pop."--Stereogum
"Classy stuff that points to a bright future"--NME
"... A mesmerizing, meandering journey that never finds a home in one particular genre"--Pigeons and Planes
Listen: "Speak Easy"
Teens Of Style
Car Seat Headrest signs to Matador having already crafted an 11-album catalog of staggering depth, all self-released on Bandcamp, which has gained him an obsessive following and over 25K in downloads--all without the muscle of a manager, label, agent or publicist--until now.
After relocating from hometown Leesburg, VA to Seattle in 2014, Toledo assembled a proper band to flesh out his bedroom masterpieces. Taking material from the first three years of the band's existence, he's reworked the material to generate his most realized arrangements to date into an enthralling collection of songs destined for wide acclaim.
"it's easy to relate to their channeled aggression. Toledo's howls and screeching guitars are totally teenage style and worth embracing wholeheartedly."--Consequence Of Sound
"a tight piece of fully fledged, guitar-driven power pop."--Noisey/VICE
"a blown-out, four-on-the-floor power-pop song that races with an anxious heart waiting to explode."--NPR
"If the Strokes left the garage and entered the bedroom, if Built To Spill collaborated with Grandaddy, or if Radiohead reverted back to their Pablo Honey era--all in the form of one person."--SPIN (Sept 5 Artists To Watch)
"Toledo uses his music as a way to cope, a way to contextualize current emotions into something digestible. And he hopes that translates to the listener, as a way to feel some catharsis and relief. It works."--Stereogum
"Toledo's lyrics luxuriate in their angst--but they're also written in the way of depressed people who know they should know better. It's such a big sound for what would be a small range of emotions were he unable to evoke them so convincingly."--Pitchfork
Listen: "Something Soon" (radio edit)
Moving Panoramas' singer/guitarist Leslie Sisson (of The Wooden Birds) and drummer Karen Skloss (of Black Forest Fire) go way back. They met in film school and continued on to grad school together. Some years later, Karen called upon Leslie to fill-in on bass at the last minute for a Black Forest Fire tour. They realized they not only made great film buds, but also great bandmates.
Meanwhile, Leslie was teaching at School of Rock where she met bassist Rozie Castoe, who was in an 80's show that Leslie directed. The stars aligned when the three girls' main projects had each run their course, so they decided to combine forces. Sharing influential sounds from gazey roots inspired audial expansion into something spacey but not alienating, rocky yet still dreamy... open, encompassing, airy, moving... panoramic... and thus... Moving Panoramas were born.
"I don't think I'll see a better band tonight."--Steve Lamacq/BBC Radio 6 (during SXSW)
"Similar to the hooky, gentle power pop of Dum Dum Girls, Best Coast...Moving Panoramas waste no time creating a niche for themselves within that style on their debut album."--PopMatters
"Dislocation and communication are the main lyrical concerns on One, only enhanced by the band's timeless merging of '60s girl-group sweetness with '80s chillness."--KUTX
Savage Hills Ballroom
Trevor Powers, the Idaho musician known as Youth Lagoon, has found what used to be destructive is now what gives him life. "I've never felt truly comfortable. It's this feeling of uneasiness that follows me everywhere I go because my thoughts never shut up," says Powers. "It used to exhaust me, but I've learned discomfort is invaluable. Safety makes us numb. It's when we find ourselves in territories we're unfamiliar with that we can really grow."
While on tour throughout Europe, Powers received a phone call from home informing him that one of his closest friends had drowned in the local river. After canceling the tour and flying home for the funeral, the following months marked a defining shift in Powers' approach to songwriting. "Just how entwined we are never truly hit me before that," claims Powers. "We are all connected. Even strangers. Our existence is one dazzling pattern that repeats itself endlessly. What makes us distinct is our flaws. In our defects lies something great."
Youth Lagoon's third album "Savage Hills Ballroom" is rooted in discomfort, rather than avoiding it. Influenced by society's desire to exude a flawless existence, the album's musical direction and visual aspects were conceived on Powers' late-night walks through Idaho's suburbs. "When I see rows and rows of seemingly ideal houses, I can't help but think that humanity has an innate craving to look perfect. And usually the better someone's life seems from the outside, the more they're hiding," states Powers. "I've had a lot of barriers for a long time that I haven't let people past, and I've gotten really sick of playing pretend."
Listen: "Highway Patrol Stun Gun"
Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Mixing witty, often hilarious, occasionally even heartbreaking observations with devastating self-assessment, Courtney Barnett's debut album, "Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit", cements her standing as one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in indie rock. These songs reveal not only an assured songwriter and guitar player, but also an artist who in just a few years has already proved highly influential.
Fuelled by the nimble crunch of her guitar and the loose groove of the rhythm section, Courtney Barnett's songs are wild and shaggy and wordy, her lyrics plainspoken and delivered like she's making them up on the spot. The music is rooted in the slack jangle of the late 1980s and the early 1990s, which has prompted the adjective "slacker" from journalists and critics around the world. That word is fitting for tunes that sound like they only just roused themselves out of bed. As a description of Barnett's work ethic and musical influence, however, "slacker" is all wrong.
Even just a few years into a solo career, she has already proved herself an idiosyncratic and boundary-smashing artist and a passionate advocate for the arts who is changing the face of indie rock in her native Australia and around the world. After leaving art-school in Hobart, Tasmania, Barnett moved to Melbourne and became a mainstay of the local scene. She paid her dues and honed her chops in short-lived garage outfits before playing lead guitar in the twang-psych band Immigrant Union (which featured Bob Harrow and the Dandy Warhols' Brent DeBoer).
When she went solo, Barnett launched her own label, which she dubbed Milk! Records, to release her own material as well as music by some of Melbourne's finest singers and songwriters. With the 2013 release of "The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas" (which combined her first two self-released EPs), she embarked on an almost never-ending tour that took her to North America and Europe, barely stopping long enough to record her first true album.
Her songs may not sound tightly coiled, but they are carefully and exactingly structured. Her lyrics may ramble, but each word is carefully chosen. She is, however, no perfectionist. In fact, she may be an imperfectionist: Barnett strives to fine-tune her songs as much as possible, but she knows that their flaws—a missed note here, a flubbed line there—can make the music sound more human, more relatable, more sympathetic. "My songs follow me as a normal human with normal emotions," she explains, "so there are great highs and great lows. They span everything in my life."
Barnett and her band—which includes Dan Luscombe on guitar and the surprisingly nimble rhythm section of Bones Sloane on bass and Dave Mudie on drums—recorded the album at Head Gap Studio in Melbourne during the fall of 2014. "We'd start midday and work until quite early in the morning," she says. "Of course, half the time is sitting around waiting for the engineer to get a mic into place or something like that." The band used the downtime to take these songs apart and put them back together again. Nothing was taken on faith; every note and every word was parsed.
"We didn't just go in and bang it out. We mucked around with it. There was the panic of not having the songs prepared, but I think that energy works for the album. And we were drinking a lot of coffee." (The process was documented by photographer Tajette O'Halloran, whose images are included in the liner notes.)
Writing these songs can be a drawn-out and nerve-wracking process, especially when she finds herself recording a song that she hasn't written yet, but it pays off beautifully on "Sometimes I Sit and Think...". It's a beguiling collection of songs that reveals her as an ambitious songwriter with an ear for clever turns of phrase and an eye for story-song details that are literate without being pretentious. Barnett even did the artwork and hand lettering for the liner notes, showcasing a whimsical style similar to indie comics or the sketches of Eric Chase Anderson (who does most of the sketches for his brother Wes' films).
Now that these songs are on record, she will not stop tweaking and perfecting them. The more she lives with them—the more she plays them out, the more fans react to them—the more alive they sound to her, often disclosing new meanings and direr implications. "They keep revealing themselves," she says. "They change from touring and recording. They morph and change form and can end up sounding completely different. I hope it's like that forever."
Listen: "Nobody Really Cares If
Potty Mouth EP
Originating from the hometown of guitar rock predecessors Dinosaur Jr., Western, MA-based trio Potty Mouth release their new self-titled EP on August 21st and under their own imprint, Planet Whatever Records.
Produced by John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill) at London Bridge Studios in Seattle, the new Potty Mouth EP is a refreshingly candid one, as singer-guitarist Abby Weems weaves sarcasm and melancholia into a passionate performance held together by drummer Victoria Mandanas and bassist Ally Einbinder's solid foundation.
The crisper direction emphasizes the work Potty Mouth has put in since 2013's acclaimed "Hell Bent" (Old Flame), with more vocal harmonies and bigger production and is recommended if you dig The Breeders, Sleater-Kinney and Veruca Salt.
"At times the guitars weave like early ramshackle post-punk, but Potty Mouth's upbeat surf fuzz could be likened to any number of fast, barebones 70s and 90s punk bands who were learning as they went. You could imagine them covering Buzzcocks, Jawbreaker, or maybe Excuse 17."--Pitchfork
"bent strings, loose grooves, and sour vocals--alt-rock excellence, in other words."--SPIN
"revels in the sheer volume and eager, youthful enthusiasm of punk."--NPR
"Band To Watch"--Stereogum
"gum-chewing drawls, sticky grunge guitars and lyrics about people being sh*theads."--CMJ
Listen: "Cherry Picking"
The Story Of Sunny Boy Slim
"The Story of Sonny Boy Slim" (out 9/11) is the uncanny evolution of Gary Clark Jr. embracing his roots with a rarified grace, style, and an inextinguishable passion which reflects his vision as a songwriter, groove master, and the vocal force of nature he has become, while his guitar virtuosity already speaks (quite voluminously) for itself.
"The Story of Sonny Boy Slim" was written, produced, arranged by Clark, who also plays most of the instruments, with assistance from his long-time live soundman, Bharath "Cheex" Ramanat and Jason Sciba. Backing vocals are provided by his sisters Shawn and Savannah Clark. The album was recorded by Ramanath and Sciba.
Listen: "The Healing" (radio edit)
FIDLAR are Back and Just In Time to save our ears and eyes from boredom! The upcoming "Too" (out 9/4) showcases a band that's on the forefront of modern punk!
Since forming in 2009, FIDLAR quickly became one of the LA music scene's most celebrated live acts thanks to their raucous live shows, which often concluded with the majority of audience members joint the band on stage.
Since formation, the band has toured the world and played with The Pixies, The Orwells, The Hives, Black Lips, OFF!, Jeff The Brotherhood, Wavves and more.
FIDLAR's self-titled debut album was released January 2013 and debuted #5 Billboard Heatseekers Chart, #2 Alt New Artist Chart, was the #1 Most Added release at CMJ and spent multiple Top 5 weeks in a row on the national new music specialty show charts.
FIDLAR's Zac Carper on the accompanying video: "In the late 90s and early 2000s, music videos were such a huge deal. We decided that instead of making one overly slick music video, we would nod to 15 of our favorite music videos that we grew up with. Everyone in the band threw in their ideas."
"the '40oz On Repeat' video is an easy contender for one of the best videos of the year."--Consequence Of Sound
"FIDLAR is back with a badass new song and video to go along with it."--Stereogum
"FIDLAR unleash every goofball trick in the book in '40oz On Repeat' video"--SPIN
"LA skate punks FIDLAR are out with a new video, and it will scratch your nostalgia itch so hard and good you won't need that tattoo choker anymore."--MTV News
Listen: "West Coast"
The five gentlemen who bring Fort Lean to life met a decade ago at the famously freewheeling site of institutional discovery called Wesleyan University. Jake, Sam and Zach formed a band on the first day of class and were joined a few years later by Keenan and Will. The "P.C.U." school's hyper-social climate and bevy of battling bands set the tone for the real world beyond its progressive quad. After graduating, the group's members relocated to New York to start fresh, playing music in other outfits and holding down jobs. A few years later the quintet reconvened as Fort Lean.
Fort Lean projects itself into the vague physical space suggested by its name. Here they have forged an identity and established roles that sidestep the hierarchy of traditional bands. Jake, on bass, is the visionary technician; Zach, on guitar, is the big-picture conceptualizer; Sam is that rare drummer with compositional knack; Keenan, the singer, is the guiding soul of the group; Will, on keys, is the finisher, the closer, the icing. But while these roles do exist, it's never quite clear who is doing what
"It's a warped normalcy," says Keenan. "There are elements in our music that you might think you've heard before but they translate to something different when the parts come together." Layers of sound interweave, blending the familiar and unfamiliar. In their words, it's like a bootleg vacation, the idea of an escape that is compromised or somehow undercut; a kid on holiday with his parents, free but for the hotel walls.
Fort Lean released two early EPs, earning glowing reviews in The New York Times and shows with HAIM, Future Islands, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Now comes "Quiet Day", the debut LP on Ooh La La Records. The album is a collision of moods and tones, approachable and ambitious but delivered with a sideways subtlety. The collective songwriting is cohesive yet contains the disparate perspectives of its five writers. This is versatile stuff, appropriate for a crowd at a party or for the introspective headphoner.
"What we're trying to explore sonically is something true to life, where there are moments of pleasure and peace that coexist with moments of surprise and chaos, " says Zach.
"It's aspirational," says Keenan. "We're trying to build a world."
Welcome to Fort Lean.
Return To The Moon
EL VY (rhymes with 'hell pie') is the musical collaboration between Matt Berninger, vocalist and lyricist of The National, and Brent Knopf, the Portland musician and producer best known for his work in Menomena and his more recent band, Ramona Falls. Their debut album "Return To The Moon" will be released on October 30th.
The album is a project Berninger and Knopf have been thinking about for years. Their friendship spans nearly a decade, starting back when The National and Menomena played small half-empty clubs along America's west coast. Feeling an immediate musical kinship, the pair kept in touch, Brent sending Matt occasional rough sketches of music and Matt responding with melodies and lyrics. Finally, in the winter and spring of 2014-15, they actually got together to make an album.
"Return To The Moon" sounds exactly like you'd hope a collaboration between these artists would: Berninger's darkly funny, lyrical storytelling and his immediately identifiable sense of melody, offset by Knopf's playful, architectural arrangements and inventive production. Knopf explains, "I never worried about sending Matt something unfinished. He's able to imagine where it can go. He can grab the four bars that will become the core of the track and develop them into something amazing."
The National and Ramona Falls are both currently preparing upcoming releases, so EL VY is not a replacement or side project, but a glimpse into an alternate musical universe: a universe in which Berninger never left Cincinnati, and Midwestern punk Mecca the Jockey Club never closed. A universe in which Mike Watt and the late D. Boon on the punk band Minutemen are every bit as iconic as Mick and Keith, and a teenager's sense of rebellion is fed by the dark social politics of middle America.
Listen: "Return To The Moon" (radio edit)
Since self-releasing their first two albums, The Lighthouse And The Whaler has made a name for itself internationally, moving from coffee shop tours to renowned venues. In the process, the band has grown from a folk-leaning group into a fully-realized band that blurs genres and continues to reinvent. The results of this tireless pavement-pounding and soul-searching speak for themselves: millions of streams for the then-unsigned band's songs "Pioneers" and "Venice," and tours with artists like Jukebox The Ghost, Ra Ra Riot and Matt Pond PA.
Recording the upcoming "Mont Royal" only reinforced this sense that TLATW were on the verge of something big. The band spent six weeks in Montreal fleshing out these songs with producer and engineer Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, Stars, Local Natives).
"It's in our spirit, as people in this band, to push the boundaries of who we are," says the band's Michael LoPresti. "We had played a lot in the U.S. over the past five years and when an opportunity came to go abroad to record this new record, it felt natural to take that step. There is a whole new level of inspiration that comes from being outside where you're comfortable, it was the turning of a page for us."
"the climactic moment when the strings and distorted guitars crash toward the end feels exceptionally vibrant and full of life."--Consequence Of Sound (on first single "I Want To Feel Alive")
Listen: "I Want To Feel Alive"
Chicago's AyOH (pronounced "A-O") is the sound of traveling the length of the Windy City--by cab, by train or by foot, on a drizzly, desperate evening. With shining guitars, hovering keys, propulsive rhythms and impassioned vocals, "Dangerous Questions" is the new self-released EP (produced by Steven Gillis of Filter).
AyOH have been crafting their unique brand of sweaty, blue-eyed soul since 2011 and are one of the most currently buzzed about (and rightly so!) bands in Chicago!
"'Lion To The Lamb' is about the choices people face everyday," frontman Avi Dell says. "Within each of us is a character to be played in the narrative of life. Every morning we choose which role to embody: winner or loser, aggressor or victor, actor or bystander, Lion or Lamb. What starts out as a song seemingly about relationships blossoms into a tale of self discovery."
Listen: "Lion To The Lamb" (radio edit)
7th Direction EP
Anthemic New York City trio theSHIFT rock with vibrant depth and a forceful punch on their newly released "7th Direction" EP.
While the members of theSHIFT are sought-after studio and touring musicians (from Ben Harper and Lauren Hill to Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick), Many will have actually perhaps already heard guitarist/vocalist John Shannon on the hit Louis C.K. series "Louie", which he writes the music for. Now in it's 5th season, Shannon was brought in during the early days of the TV show by pal Reggie Watts.
Despite being in demand for session work, the trio has made theSHIFT their primary focus, determined to inject rock with the rebellious boldness they believe to be lacking in today's climate.
"When you just play a song perfectly from start to finish, there's no danger there," explains Shannon. "When you choose to open it up in a way that's in touch with the moment and the audience, then you can get into some real danger, real transcendence. Our lyrics don't question the government, they question the nature of your reality."
theSHIFT's "7th Direction" was recorded at Brooklyn's Mission Sound and Manhattan's JRock Studios and co-produced by Jamie Siegel (Taking Back Sunday, Smashing Pumpkins).
Listen: "Dreams" (radio edit)