Thursday, January 26, 2012

Introducing: Big Deal

Those of you looking for an album to soundtrack your gloomy winter, look no further than, Big Deal. The London duo released their debut album Lights Out, on Tuesday and will perform a few shows in the US this spring, including a showcase at SXSW. To say their sound is "stripped-down" would be an understatement.

Armed only with guitars and intimate lyrics, Alice Costelloe and Kacey Underwood, turn simple confessions into indie-pop gems. The innocence of Homework is a prime example that turns the intensity of new love into a debilitating disease, "Can't do my homework, can't concentrate/ It's ruining my grades, I can't think straight." While most of us have felt this anxiety at one time or another, very few could describe it in 2 and half minutes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Justice - On' n' On Video

French duo Justice, released their video for On'n'On over the weekend. The latest single from last year's Audio, Video, Disco, is also getting remixed by a handful of artists for an EP out January 30th. Another remix out now exclusively through Beatport is Brodinski's remix with some serious vocal effects. So far no Chicago dates for Justice, which more than likely means a spot at this year's Lollapalooza. Check out the video and remix below.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Most Anticipated Albums of 2012

Time to look forward and get excited for some major releases scheduled (or rumored) for 2012. Each artist is incredibly talented and in some cases have let their fans wait way too long for new music. By the end of the year will we be talking about how good these albums are, disappointed, or even worse, still waiting?

#10. Black Star - Aretha
The duo of Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and Talib Kweli are rumored to release a mixtape inspired by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. With production from Madlib and little to no material since their debut over 10 years ago, I'm sure a bunch of people are hyped for this. I posted You Already Knew back in November, here's another single, Fix Up.

#9. Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth
I still find it unbelievable that there are people on this earth that only know the Sammy Hagar version on Van Halen. Before they sold Pepsi and blanketed the globe with Right Now, they were the definition of Rock and Roll. David Lee Roth has returned and the band is scheduled to release their first album together since 1984! Sadly, the new single Tattoo is a bit uninspired. But, the tour with two stops in Chicago is a gathering momentum.

Van Halen - Tattoo from Van Halen on Vimeo.

#8. Ben Kweller - Go Fly A Kite
Ben Kweller has been releasing music since his teens and shows no sign of stopping. His fifth studio album will be released on his brand new label The Noise Company, February 7th. Spin debuted the first single this morning titled Mean to Me, head over there for a free DL. Pre-order the album now for a chance to win a "golden laminate" that will give you free access to any future Ben Kweller show.

#7. Duck Sauce - TBD
It seems the duo of Armand Van Helden and A-Trak are finally set to release a full-length album, following a string of hit singles. I doubt anything will happen before this year's Winter Music Conference, so let's hope for a summer release to soundtrack your next barbeque. Check out their latest video for Big Bad Wolf, easily the video of the year.

#6. Fiona Apple - TBD
This one is purely speculation with the recent news that her album has in fact been complete for over a year. However, given her track record with her label Sony, and the labored released of 2005's Extraordinary Machine, I wouldn't hold my breath.

#5. The Shins - Port of Morrow
Despite James Mercer being the only founding member currently in the band, it seems very little has changed. The first single, Simple Song has been well-received and a slot at this year's Coachella means they should be playing most of the major festivals.

#4. Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
It's hard to believe that Andrew Bird has released 12 albums. Even more remarkable is that they keep getting better. I thought 2007's Armchair Apocrypha was the best he could do, only to have 2009's Noble Beast blow me away. After catching him at last summer's Hideout Block Party and hearing a bit of the new material, I am counting down the days until March 6th.

Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself from Mom+Pop on Vimeo.

#3. Queens of the Stone Age - TBD
Josh Homme has recently went on record saying the album is complete. So until then we just wait, and wait, and wait...

#2. Phoenix - TBD
If you were to go to Phoenix's website, you would see nothing but an image of a studio. No release date, no single, no information at all. Two years since the release of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, an album that lead to global stardom, should be more than enough time to record a proper follow up. A lot is riding on this one.

#1. Pearl Jam - TBD
Last year was all about celebrating the first 20 years, this year is about moving on. With a UK tour already booked for early summer and a reported 25-30 songs to sharpen and form, it's not if, rather when. I'd expect a late summer release and hopefully a US tour. The boys were kind enough to give a new song away for free a couple months ago. Here comes Ole!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

LCD Soundsystem - Shut Up And Play The Hits Trailer

LCD Soundsystem have released the trailer for their documentary, Shut Up And Play The Hits, scheduled to premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film follows lead singer James Murphy for 48 hours, with amazing footage from their farewell show at Madison Square Garden and the immediate aftermath of calling it quits.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Shins - Simple Song

One of my most anticipated releases of 2012 is The Shins' Port of Morrow, available March 20th. 5 years after the release of Wincing Away The Night, James Mercer is back from his foray with Danger Mouse and Broken Bells, with the lead single, Simple Song. Among the many options for preorder is a reel-to-reel package that includes the album on tape. Not sure how many people will be able to play that, but it definitely is a new way to package an album. iTunes will also have a preorder starting tomorrow with a bonus b-side.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Star Slinger - Chain Dumbin' (ft. Juicy J, Project Pat & Reggie B)

Earlier this morning Star Slinger sent out a message from his twitter account (@starslingeruk) that said, "Spent last night mixing something that's dropping real soon! Features 2 infamous southern MC's, hold tight". 2 hours ago we got Chain Dumbin', another free track from Green Label Sound. Not exactly a remix of his single Dumbin', but built on the same foundation. To quote the man himself, "I made a new production to it, and I guess it became a whole new track rather than a remix". Whatever you want to call it, the inclusion of Juicy J and Project Pat takes this to a whole different level.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top 10 Albums of 2011

A funny thing happened when I was thinking of this list... Everyone, and I do mean everyone jumped on the new Black Keys album, adding it to their lists despite it being out for about a week. In an attempt to listen to that album and consider it, another one fell into my lap and so we had a bit of a delay. It was worth the wait, I promise.

#10. Wye Oak - Civilian [Merge Records]
The Baltimore duo of Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner released their 3rd album in March and it was played all year long. Combining elements of Indie, Alternative, Folk and Dreampop, the album seems to grow and mutate with every listen.

#9. Common - The Dreamer/The Believer [Think Common Music]
This album was released on December 20th, I had a copy on the 14th and there is no way you can miss this album. After a few missteps, he gets back to his Chicago roots with the help of producer No ID. It's better than his classic Be, seriously.
Celebrate was played a few times on NYE.

#8. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire [Pax-Am Records]
In 2009 Ryan Adams announced an indefinite hiatus due to disease that has permanently affected his hearing. The chances of us ever getting another Rock N Roll are slim at best, thankfully he can still strum an acoustic guitar. Ashes & Fire might be this generation's Harvest. A little help from Benmont Tench, Norah Jones & Glyn Johns doesn't hurt either. Don't believe me? Listen to the ENTIRE album below.
Ashes and Fire by ryanadams

#7. Arms - Summer Skills [Arms Inc]
This band found its way into 3 posts this year, so you hopefully already have their amazing album. No Chicago dates yet, but I'm sure they're coming. 2012 is going to be their year, I can feel it.

#6. SBTRKT - SBTRKT [Young Turks]
Beginning to end, it just flows. Not a single bad track. Wildfire was everywhere this year, but Pharaohs was just a good.

#5. Bright Eyes - The People's Key [Saddle Creek]
What was rumored to be a farewell to fans quickly turned into a rebirth. The boys from Omaha put out an album that seemed familiar and progressive at the same time. A personal highlight for me this year was flying to New York to catch them at Radio City Music Hall. Another full album for you guys...

#4. Childish Gambino - Camp [Glassnote]
The development from his early EPs to this album is insane. Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino stepped his game up and Backpackers is a beast. Sold out show at the Riviera in March with another killer, Danny Brown.

#3. Eddie Vedder - Ukulele Songs [Monkeywrench]
Every now and then I find an album that reminds me how emotional music can be. Some artists can elaborate the ups and downs of love so remarkably it gives you comfort. Ukelele Songs joins the long list of albums that help people close a chapter in their life and start something new.

#2. Tune-Yards - WHOKILL [4AD]
The first time I head this album I was confused and a little dizzy. It felt like so many things were coming at me from every direction. A lot of artists talk about taking the harder path, Merrill Garbus actually does it. A challenging record that is well worth the reward.

#1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver [Jagjaguwar]
From the moment I heard Calgary, I knew this album would be amazing. 3 concerts later, I am still in awe.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver by boniver