At Best Cuckold
Embarking upon a sophomore effort can be a daunting task for any young upstart, and there’s no denying Avi Buffalo’s own bar was set quite high with 2010’s celebrated eponymous debut. Fear not, dear fans/family/friends/friends of friends/newcomers, there’s nothing in this tale about The Second Album—a.k.a. "At Best Cuckold", that even remotely resembles a slump; in fact, it would be entirely appropriate to say that this Long Beach, California, enterprise is getting better with age.
Ah, yes, age—much was made of it when Avi Buffalo’s first album hit the ground running, and for good reason: While their Millikan High School classmates were preoccupied with quaint and youthful pursuits, the musicians behind Avi Buffalo were busy making an off-kilter pop gem that eventually bowled over NME, The AV Club,Pitchfork, the BBC, and numerous other outlets on both sides of the Atlantic whose tastes are respected by the general public. Like a lot of kids their age, the Buffaloes celebrated the end of high school in Europe, but instead of visiting the Louvre and Buckingham Palace, their overseas journeys took them to the festival stages of Reading, Leeds, Glastonbury, the Pavement-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties in Minehead, and beyond.
At the ripe old age of 23, Avi Buffalo is ready to take on the world (again), armed with all of the experience he’s compiled over the past few years. And he’s made sure the second time around will be just as memorable as the first.
Listen: "So What"
Last year, Johnny Marr enjoyed a monumental start to his solo career with an abundance of critical acclaim (including the honor of being named NME's 'Godlike Genius') for his Top 10 debut solo album "The Messenger". Meanwhile, the legendary guitarist for The Smiths' shows were celebrated on Both sides of the pond for his ability to combine the best of his new material with select highlights from The Smiths and the rest of the his extensive back catalog with other artists.
Listen: "EASY MONEY" (radio edit)
Newark is a small city in Delaware, home to a little more than 30,000 people, a university and a burgeoning music scene. Most notably, though, it’s the birthplace of Fiancé, a four-piece experimental pop group who are bringing their local vibe to a grander level. The band’s members have been friends since grade school, always playing in and out of bands together over the years as they grew up. In January of 2013, Andrew, Jeff and Tyler got together and started a new project they dubbed Fiancé. The idea behind the group was vague, with the only goal to make music together that they all enjoyed.
The house also doubles as Fiancé’s recording studio. The musicians wrote the five tracks on their debut, titled "EP 1", over the course of last summer and fall. Produced by Andrew and engineered by friend Ryan Williams, the entire EP was recorded to quarter inch tape on a Tascam 388 tape machine. The tape adds to the gauzy, fuzzed out aesthetic that threads throughout the songs.
“Recording in our house gave us the opportunity to experiment with the ways different rooms can effect the sound of a record,” Tyler says. “We have used the design of our house to hone in on our sounds for years and you can hear it on the EP.”
The EP opens with the group’s first single, “Era,” a layered, shimmering pop song Andrew and Jeff had initially written for a possible solo project before Fiancé started. “It wasn’t quite finished,” Jeff says. “And the other band members just made it so much better. We’re really proud of it.” “Climb The Stairs,” is a moody rocker that showcases the glimmer of darkness and melancholy in the group’s sensibility. “The songs are ultimately about change,” Andrew says, “Those moments when you realize that what seemed like such a strong connection to something, has become so fragmented that it may not be mendable.”
The group is currently translating the aesthetic on their EP into a full-length album. For them, the EP is an apt hint at where Fiancé will go next, but not necessarily a complete indication. “Our goal is to write songs that are meaningful to us,” Jeff says. “If our songs can impact other people in a positive way, then that’s great. But our true goals are more selfish than that. We want to write songs that are more honest then anything we’ve done before, ones that resonate with ourselves.”
"A matrimonial mix of Diiv's billowy shoegaze and Delorean's effervescent dreamwave, FIANCÉ might well be the most exciting band to emerge from Delaware in, well, ever."--NME
Listen: "Era" (radio edit)
Owen Pallett's "In Conflict" is full of love songs - more specifically, songs about liminal states and our loved ones locked in battle with them.
"a torrential swirl of strings and percussion that, on first pass, stands among Pallett's finest compositions"--Stereogum (on "The Riverbed")
Listen: "The Riverbed"
It's a little mind-blowing that the first music FKA twigs ever put out came just 18 months ago. Called simply "EP1", those four self-released tracks were so arresting that almost overnight the internet seemed consumed with trying to work out from where and whom these tracks had come.
The 26 year old twigs is about to release one of the year's most anticipated debuts. Called "LP1". It's a testament to her talents as a producer, songwriter and vocalist and it also, she says, marks the exorcising of many of her artistic insecurities. Every melody and every lyric is hers, as they always have been, and she's particularly proud of the minute attention she brought to sonic details.
Listen: "Two Weeks" (radio edit)
Wonder Where We Land
Don't bother asking Twin Peaks about the deeper meaning of their band name. They simply thought it sounded cool, which explains why their second album "Wild Onion" (out August 5th) isn't as spooky or surreal as David Lynch's short-lived TV show. It's more like a modern day Nuggets, with Black Lips, Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall curating instead of Lenny Kaye. Not literally, of course. But the spirit of those garage demigods is alive and well alongside subtle nods to everything from the Pixies and Tame Impala to the godfathers of guitar-guided pop music, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.
+ "...a quartet of young Chicago dudes with great taste in band names whose combination of psychedelic jangle and slacker punk grease makes a persuasive argument for the continued relevance of guitar rock." -- Esquire
Jungle want to take you on an infinite holiday, a place called bliss, a great escape from the grey and the everyday – because, as aesthetes from Oscar Wilde to Pharrell Williams knew, there is nothing so serious as fun and nothing as subversive as happiness.
Listen: "Busy Earnin"
When I Was Younger
Colony House, a trio from Nashville, TN will release their first full- length album "When I Was Younger" via Descendant Records (The Lone Bellow) on July 22nd. A.V. Club provided a first taste of the album in the single “Silhouettes".
Guitarist and principal songwriter Chapman writes effortlessly infectious tunes that resonate with personal experience and emotional depth. The songs' messages of hope and perseverance are matched by the organic musical rapport of Caleb and his bandmates, brother Will Chapman on drums and Scott Mills on lead guitar and harmony vocals.
Resilient and hard hitting rock n’ roll outfit, White Lung have just released their third album "Deep Fantasy". The band is every bit as confrontational as before, but they’ve managed to open their sound up just enough to draw listeners in before kicking them in the face. In a good way.
After a year plus of near constant touring behind their last album "Sorry" - which won raves from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and Interview - White Lung slimmed to a trio in the studio; vocalist Mish Way, drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and guitarist Kenneth William. "Deep Fantasy" was made primarily in Vancouver with producer Jesse Gander (who also did both "Sorry" and their 2010 debut "It’s The Evil") in just two, ten day-long sessions at the end of last year and the start of this one. William handled bass duties on "Deep Fantasy" while Wax Idols’ Hether Fortune will take up bass and backing vocal duties on tour for the foreseeable future.
Way is more provocative and melodic than ever on "Deep Fantasy", lyrically surveying addiction (“Drown With the Monster”), body dysmorphia (“Snake Jaw”) and sexual dynamics (“Down It Goes,”) amongst other dinner table topics. William, a devotee of Johnny Marr “plays with the speed of an 80s hardcore dude” whirled in Vassiliou’s relentless and seemingly effortless approach to drumming.
"Punk rock battling the patriarchy while doling out melody under the table. Mish Way is one of the smartest and fiercest singers in the underground..."--Rolling Stone
Listen: "Face Down"
Half The City
Grit, elemental rhythm, tight-as-a-drumhead playing, and a profound depth of feeling: these are the promises of a great soul band. And St. Paul & The Broken Bones deliver on those promises.
"Half The City" is the compelling full-length Single Lock/Thirty Tigers debut of the Birmingham, Alabama-based sextet, who have already created a maelstrom of interest with their roof-raising live shows and self-released four-song 2012 EP. Produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes, and recorded and mixed in the storied R&B mecca of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album harkens back to the region’s classic soul roots while extending the form with electrifying potency.
Front man Paul Janeway’s handle “St. Paul” is a wry allusion to the vocalist’s grounding in the church. Like many a legendary soul singer, Janeway, a native of the small town of Chelsea, Alabama, was raised on the gospel side, in a non-denominational, Pentecostal-leaning local church. Virtually no non-religious music could be heard in his devout household. Janeway says, “The only secular music that I heard at all was a ‘70s group called the Stylistics, and Sam Cooke. That was about it. The rest of it was all gospel music. When I was about 10 years old, I was groomed to be a minister. My goal in life until I was about 18 years old was to be a preacher.”
He adds, “My pastor was the reason that I learned to play guitar. They would let me play guitar and sing in church. What was weird was that he would never let me sing lead – I’d sing background vocals. I always thought, ‘Well, maybe I’m just a good background vocalist.’ So I never thought I could really, really sing, at all. I never thought it would be a living, ever.”
Though his time in the church exposed Janeway to key influences in gospel music – the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Alex Bradford, Clay Evans – he began moving away from his youthful path in his late teens. He began attending open mic nights in Birmingham’s clubs and diversified his listening, excited by some decidedly left-of-center talents. “Tom Waits and Nick Cave were the really big attractions,” he says. “They have that passion. They’ve built this aura. They’re showmen to the teeth. And that’s what got me – it’s like going to church, in a weird way. At about the same time, I began listening to the great soul singers like Otis Redding, James Carr, and O.V. Wright. I was trying to find something that made my earbuds tingle.”
All six members of the Broken Bones share writing credit on 10 of the songs on "Half The City", with Janeway contributing lyrics. “We firmly believe in a shared, communal writing process,” the singer says. “These guys are extremely talented. The drummer wrote horn parts. Browan threw something in. It’s very collective. We just get in a room. Sometimes we’ll have the scales for a song, or sometimes we’ll have this little riff. That’s how we do it.”
In Tanner -- who logged time at Muscle Shoals’ aptly named FAME Studios, where scores of memorable soul records were cut -- St. Paul and the Broken Bones found a like-minded producer and label boss. "Half The City" is among the first releases on Single Lock Records, the imprint co-founded by Tanner, John Paul White of the Civil Wars, and Will Trapp
Reaching back nearly 50 years to methods employed the great epoch of deep Southern soul, Tanner and the group eschewed studio trickery for an in-the-moment approach during sessions at the Nutthouse in Muscle Shoals, AL. Fittingly, the album was mixed at FAME. Janeway explains, “We said, ‘We’re doing this as old-school as we can.’ We did it to tape. We did it live. What you hear is taken from about three takes, and we took the best take. I love it. It’s raw. You hear all the scrapes.” Special guests include Al Gamble on piano, organ and wurlitzer, Daniel Stoddard on pedal steel, Jamie Harper on baritone sax and Tanner on piano, organ and background vocals.
"Half The City" – vital, direct, emotionally affecting – presents the same engaged, high-voltage, in-the-pocket sound that St. Paul & The Broken Bones produce at their live dates, where Janeway’s extroverted performing style enraptures his audiences.
“I’m going to be dancing, getting in the aisles, climbing on tables,” he says. “That’s just the way we do it. It really takes me back to church. There’s not a lot of difference. When I get on stage, it’s, ‘All right, it’s time to pour it on.’”
Listen: "Call Me"
Grimes is back with a new track, her first in almost two years. Being gifted to fans, 'Go' features Blood Diamonds and was first heard when she played it out live at Governor's Ball in New York a few weeks back.
Grimes is currently working on her follow-up to 2012's Visions.
“It’s our summer jam so we figured we should put it out cuz I am very bored of waiting to finish my album b4 releasing new music haha."--Grimes
"it’s a fascinating example of what happens when Grimes pushes her spectral, strobing pop style into a more readily digestible direction. Its gigantic globs of crowd-pleasing bass don’t distract from its straight-up beauty at all, and if this is Grimes’ new direction, I am all for it."--Stereogum
Blood Stutter EP
In February 2013 songwriter Tim Noyes found himself faced with a rather serious decision: Make a down payment on a suburban Massachusetts condo and return to teaching High School English or continue his stagnant folk music career where on a good night he'd be lucky to sleep on a Facebook friend's floor.
After the realtor declined his application due to lack of credit history, Noyes made a decision to give music one last shot and if this was to be his swan song, he was going to do things entirely on his own terms. Sick of the I-95 corridor, he went to Color Study Studios in rural Goshen, VT (pop. 164) to make a record. Across six months there, with the help of two producers, Noyes created a set of songs through a process that ended up more a cathartic recollection then a last shot at success.
The introspection and reflection lead Noyes far away from his world of indie-folk. Instead of tracking live with a band, at Color Study he began each song by simply choosing a tempo and laying down a lead vocal. After that, anything was fair game. A mixture of electronic beats and synths soon surrounded his deliberate lyrics and Y2K-R&B-tinged melodies. He pushed himself vocally to a higher register and for the first time added effects like auto-tune, delay, distortion or whatever the song seemed to call for. The result, a friend remarked, "sounds like a Handsome Ghost."
“I don't know which came first, “Blood Stutter” or Handsome Ghost” says Noyes. “I have always had a secret, complicated love for electronic music, but I had only ever tried to write folk songs. It wasn't until I sat down in my apartment and sang the first few lines to “Blood Stutter” that I realized I was ready to make something very, very different. If Handsome Ghost was part of me from the start, this is the song that woke me up to it.”
Listen: "Blood Stutter"
The Apache Relay
Michael Ford Jr. was a music business major when he met The Apache Relay in a Belmont University dorm. They were already deep into “a very Americana, very rootsy” sound, and before long the band was backing up Ford around campus, and soon everywhere else. Ford Jr. dropped out of college, and the group gigged relentlessly behind their 2009 debut "1988" and 2011’s breakthrough "American Nomad". Midway through their touring in support of "American Nomad" Ford, Jr’s brother joined the band rounding out the group’s line up and sound.
While touring in support of the album The Apache Relay found themselves opening for Mumford & Sons and hitting such festivals as Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Firefly Music Festival, Voodoo Music Experience, among others.
The writing sessions for their new album, "The Apache Relay", were the first time the Nashville-based group stopped to catch their breath in years. Inspired by Shelby Lynne and Richard Swift, and working with producer Kevin Augunas (Cold War Kids, Edward Sharpe) at Fairfax Recordings, formerly known as the famous California studio Sound City, The Apache Relay shows a band eager to push past their boundaries, and commitment to always evolving their sound.
"They've got kind of an Arcade Fire meets boys raised on gospel and Bruce Springsteen approach to what they do."--Huffington Post
"Glorious vocals and an infectious melody make for a thoroughly charming pop-rock outing from this Nashville outfit."--USA Today
"On 'Katie Queen Of Tennessee'...the Nashville band [moves] beyond folk-rock with Wall of Sound-style production."--Rolling Stone
Listen: "Katie Queen Of Tennessee"
Interpol will release their first album in four years, "El Pintor," September 9th. Recorded at Electric Lady Studios and Atomic Sound in New York City, the ten tracks on "El Pintor," - taut and epic in equal measure - find the band completely reinvigorated after a two and a half year break from touring.
All songs on "El Pintor"were written and produced by Interpol, with Daniel Kessler playing guitar and piano, Samuel Fogarino on drums, and Paul Banks on vocals, guitars, and taking over bass duties for the first time. The album also features Brandon Curtis (The Secret Machines) playing keyboards on nine songs, Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (Beck) playing keyboards on “Tidal Wave,” and Rob Moose (Bon Iver) playing violin and viola on "Twice as Hard.”
"El Pintor" was mixed by Alan Moulder, and mastered by Greg Calbi and the band premiered songs from the upcoming album in March while headlining the NME Awards tour in the UK. The Guardian praised their set at London’s Brixton Academy as "lean and powerful.”
Speaking of shows, Interpol are touring all summer on the festival circuit including performances at Lollapalooza, FYF Fest, Austin City Limits as well as Governors Ball, Roskilde and Glastonbury just past, and then will tour coast to coast this Fall with dates to be announced soon!
Listen: "All The Rage (Back Home)"
The Griswolds who hail from Sydney, Australia just put the finishing touches on their highly anticipated debut album with Tony Hoffer (M83, Phoenix, Beck). The band have announced that their first single will be “Beware The Dog.” About the song, singer Christopher Whitehall said, “This is the first song Dan and I ever wrote together. It’s about losing someone we were really close with to heavy drug use. ‘Beware the Dog’ is about that journey - the good and the bad times.”
Last year The Griswolds released their infectious four-song "Heart of a Lion EP" and upon the release of its first single, “Heart of a Lion,” it was immediately added into high rotation in Australia on triple j radio and was one of the station’s most played tracks of the year. The international airwaves were quick to take notice with the song attracting airplay in over 20 countries worldwide and it also reached #3 on the radio airplay charts in The Netherlands via tastemaker station 3FM and was an iTunes single of the week in the region. Stateside, the release had critics and fans buzzing alike not only with the songs themselves but with their creative videos which all had noteworthy premieres via the likes of MTV Buzzworthy, CMJ and Noisey/VICE to name a few.
The Griswolds just wrapped a tour in Australia with St. Lucia which had one of Australia’s leading music blogs, Tone Deaf boasting that they, “…put on an incredible support set that could have easily been redefined as a co-headline spot. The quintet oozed tropical flamboyance and Aussie ambience, and brought with them a euphoric lasso that hooked audiences from the get-go…‘Beware Of The Dog’, showcased the band’s impressive harmonies and raw heavy percussion, giving the song an infectious live presence that, in hindsight, rivaled many of the headliner’s moments.” They also came off some great shows at SXSW to packed houses and rave reviews including making many best of lists such as, The Huffington Post naming them as “30 SXSW Acts About to Break,” The Atlantic “18 Bands to Check Out From South by Southwest 2014,” Buzzfeed “50 Acts You Need To Hear,” AU Review naming the band as “Best Australian Artist at SXSW: The Griswolds” and Reverb naming them in their “The best shows at SXSW 2014” list. The Griswolds will be playing shows throughout the rest of the year including Bonnaroo and Firefly as well as select dates with Gemini Club. More dates will be announced soon.
Listen: "Beware The Dog"