Caddywhompus - Remainder

Since the blog has turned over a new leaf in terms of download sharing, I’d like to have my first post in this new era be a post that has a free album download. As Brian mentioned a few posts ago, we get our fair share of submitted music into our inboxes, and most of this free music gets a listen, but few of these get a second listen. In this case, self proclaimed “noise-pop” duo Caddywhompus sent me a link to their new release Remainder, and it had a free download link attached. While the term “noise-pop” had my cringing a bit at first, the music itself was not as cringe inducing. Although some of the song titles are. Well, maybe just “balloon knot.” Anyways, on to the music. Imagine the singer from Band of Horses, hanging out with the guys from Animal Collective and Lightning Bolt, but right before they head into the studio they go to the circus and a carnival…and have loads of cotton candy and jolt cola. The result is a truly fun album that keeps the energy up while not sacrificing on musicality. This is surprisingly organic for something labeled as “noise-pop” and while there is a great deal of synth work on the album it boils down to a classic guitar based rock band with a great sense of fun and an attention to the craft of “noise-pop.” And yes there is one. How do you add distortion, a few little sounds here and there, and not want the listener to just hit “next” on their ipod? Caddywhompus seem to have that pegged.

The album was relased by Community Records and is available for free here.

Dave

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I suppose I should get this out of the way: I’m a huge Sigur Rós fanboy. I believed Jónsi to be one of the best singers of our generation before I even took a listen to this album. It goes a long way to affirm this belief, and a new one I found; that he is an excellent songwriter on his own. Go takes the poppy aesthetic of Með Suð… and the massive, bombastic style of their more poignant works, combining them into a, well, massive, bombastic pop record. It’s still Jónsi of course; you can tell that from the first spout of glitchy vocal melody to the first impassioned, falsetto “YOOOOOOO.” It’s still inherently artsy and original and heartfelt. Here, Jónsi just turns the happy dial up to 11. His vocal hooks skitter up in the upper ranges with breathless ease, they float about the mix, holding it together and carrying it along to the most cinematic heights. Flutes, warm synths, plaintive pianos and raggedy percussion create an air of the unreal that is still very grounded, still very here. The criticism I always leveled at my high school friends who didn’t get Sigur Rós always went something like, “Fuck, man, If this doesn’t make you wanna cry, you have no heart.” If Go doesn’t make you wanna smile and get up dance, you have neither a mouth nor feet.

Buy

– Brian S.




If you haven’t heard of this band yet, don’t worry: I have a feeling soon everyone will have. I’m usually drawn more toward late-bloomers, simmering albums that take a while. But I’m pretty sure I fell in love with this one at first play. Fang Island is massive and happy music: part punk, part pop, part math rock, part part-hard shredfest. I was figuring that I’d be hard-pressed to describe anything so electric guitar-based fresh in 2010, but they’ve proved me wrong. Whether it’s skittering tremolos or joyous walls of power chord progressions or huge, bombastic melodies, the guitar carries every song in a way that satisfies a hunger I didn’t know I still had. The same thing happens with every gang vocal chorus, every hook; I’m drawn into a sense of happiness, community, partyness that makes me unashamedly giddy. I’d compare the experience to Passion Pit’s Manners last year, and Sigur Rós’ Með suð before that. There are moments I could point out that I really love (the chorus of Daisy, the huge tremolo breakout at the end of Sideswiper, the OOO OO WHOA OH in Davey Crockett) but I’m sure you’ll find your own. They’re there.

Buy

Brian S.

So I was jamming to some top 40 radio yesterday, as I often do (haters to the left) and heard the wonderful new Juelz Santana/Chris Brown collabo ‘Back To The Crib’. The hook was immaculate, and upon further listening I realized it was in the same key as Baths’ incredible track ‘Aminals’. I wanted to know what they would sound like hand in hand, so I mixed up this fun little track. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s alright. Tell me what you think in the comments!

Brian B.

All I have to say is pop music from Seattle at it’s finest.

Standout Tracks: “La La La Lisa”, “Darling, Please Come Home”, “April Showers”

For Fans Of: Belle & Sebastian, Tullycraft, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Miracle Fortress, The Shins, Oh No Oh My, The New Pornographers, The Lucksmiths, Phoenix

Buy

-Steve

Snowglobe

Snowglobe is a fantastic mix of pop, psych, and Americana out of Memphis, TN.  Reading their myspace, it seems like the band has been together for a while and gets some of its influence from the Elephant 6 Collective.  They started by playing shows in Athens, GA with the likes of Of Montreal and Olivia Tremor Control.  I would also say they must get a handful of ideas from bands like The Flaming Lips and The Byrds. This  7 song EP is a fun mix of folk-inspired indie pop.  I really liked this record from the first time I listened to it, and it gets a little better with each spin.

For Fans of: Elephant 6 Collective, Smog, Absentee, Starlight Mint

Standout Tracks: “Ms. June”, “Seems Like”

Buy

– Steve

National LightsThis album is one of my favorite “undiscovered” gems.  Filled with sweet and melancholy instrumentation and vocals with a concept that is not sweet at all.  This concept album about a girl being murdered somewhere in the midwest is beautiful and so easy to listen to.  I would suggest this album for anyone looking for something quick and easy to throw on and sing to.  It can also be for someone looking to dissect what is the true premise of  The National Lights’ conceptual idea.  I have listened to this album over 50 times, and every time I blare it I sing, sing, sing.  Great refrains, simple acoustic guitar, female harmonies, and simplicity working best.  I can’t say enough about this record, and hope The National Lights release something new soon to feed my hunger.

For Fans of: Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams, Death Cab For Cutie, Nick Drake

Standout Tracks: “Mess Around”
” Swimming in the Swamp”

From Last.Fm:

The National Lights is the primary song-writing project of Jacob Thomas Berns. Assisted by the arrangements Ernest Christian Kiehne Jr. (The Bland Allisons, Sonya Cotton), Jacob Thomas sets out on his full-length debut, The Dead Will Walk, Dear, to forgive the past while compounding its wrongs. Stirred by the fiction of the American Gothic, The Dead Will Walk, Dear roughly documents the passions, trials and regrets of a Midwestern murder.

Buy

-Steve

The Blue TreesOne of the very first bands to strike a chord with me not only musically but also emotionally was Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.  The Welsh band was like nothing else I had ever heard.  Songs would rotate between English and Welsh and the instrumentation was mesmerizing.  I started to judge my whole CD collection by Gorky’s.  I would turn a page and think to myself, “can this even be near my Gorky’s albums?” I ended up throwing away burnt CDs and actual albums based off of Gorky’s.  I remember the day I first heard this album, “The Blue Trees,”  I was on a road trip with some friends in college and most of them weren’t into indie music.  I threw on the album and instantly was asking everyone else in the car, “Isn’t this amazing?” I was blown away by the happiness and sunshine flowing through the speakers.  Most of their melodies leading up to this point had been behind a wall of slight distortion and this record was raw and inviting.  I still to this day throw this record on in the summer to make the sun shine a little brighter, or to break the gloom of winter when it has set in.  Beautiful melodies, pretty acoustic guitar and strings, whisper-sweet vocals,  great percussion, subtle bass, and catchy refrains fill this record to the brim.  Most people don’t necessarily know Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and it makes me extremely sad.  When bands like Belle & Sebastian, The Strokes, and others were blaring on indie radio, Gorky’s was playing half-full venues here in the states.  Wales always hailed them for their music, when we here across the ocean letting them get pushed under the rug.  Please listen to this record and enjoy the intimate moments with me.

Standout Tracks: “This Summer Has Been Good From the Start” “Fresher Than the Sweetness in Water”

‘What good is the sun if you haven’t got love” – “Lady Fair”

“Just as a light shines what’s up ahead, I heard it all in what you said, cause what you got is sweeter than water” – “Fresher Than the Sweetness in Water”

For Fans Of: Belle & Sebastian, Mojave 3, Nick Drake, Super Furry Animals, The Zombies

Buy

-Steve

Sleigh Bells

11.05.2009

DAMN. Despite their meek sounding name, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss drop some insanely heavy artillery for two people. I’ve been sitting here now for about 10 minutes, listening to the same three tracks over and over trying to think of how to describe the music. Alice Glass fronting Lightning Bolt with Swizz Beatz replacing Brian Chippendale? That was the best I could come up with. Who cares. Sleigh Bells play really, really loud, the beats are really, really huge,  and they are an insane amount of fun. Someone sign these two and force them to release large quantities of music.

>> Here are five songs by them. Enjoy.

I just want to get two things out of the way; I think this band’s name and the cover art for this album are lame. Despite this, the debut from this Scandanavian pop group contains some mighty addicting ear candy. Not surprising, considering how 2/3rds of the group cut their teeth producing multi-platinum pop hits for megastars such as Britney Spears and Madonna. Yeah, these are the dudes who wrote ‘Toxic’.

Miike Snow take a slightly more grown-up, reserved approach with their new project, but you can definitely hear traces of their high-budget pop past. Lead single ‘Animal’ starts thigs with a light, Peter Gabriel influeced bounce. Cuts like ‘Black & Blue’ and ‘Cult Logic’ show the band’s ability to craft some absolutely deadly choruses that will stay lodged in your brain for awhile.

This is nothing too crazy, just some well-crafted, immaculate sounding pop music that can brighten up a cold, gray October.