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Singles 2: You Play That Acoustic Guitar However You Want

October 22, 2014

You Play That Acoustic Guitar However You Want

1. “Old Hope” – Angelo de Augustine. It’s like Elliott Smith is alive. Maybe there’s some Joshua Radin and Nick Drake in there, but mostly the whispered vocals and style of acoustic guitar remind me of Smith.

2. “Amarillo” – Anna Vogelzang. Combine the charm of Ingrid Michaelson with the full arrangements of Laura Stevenson, and you’ve got a little bit of an idea of Vogelzang’s talent. She’s one to watch.

3. “Red River” – Tyler Sjöström. Fans of Mumford and Sons will love this theatrical, finger-picked folk-pop tune.

4. “Forever Gone” – Andrew Marica. The morose romanticism of Damien Rice + the distant reverb-heavy atmospherics of Bon Iver create this downtempo ballad.

5. “Delilah” – Tony Lucca. This one’s pretty boss: Wide-open, sneering, engaging full-band country-rock with an eye toward Coldplay-style, radio-friendly vocal melodies. Also, there’s some awesome saloon-style piano playing.

6. “Angel Tonight” – Peter Galperin. Musical adventurer Galperin moves from his bossa nova experiments towards ’80s country-flavored classic rock. There’s some Springsteen, some Paul Simon, and more all combined here.

7. “Time” – Night Windows. Acoustic-based indie-pop a la David Bazan that teeters on the edge between twee and melancholy.

8. “I Got Creepy When Lou Reed Died” – Red Sammy. The husky, gravel-throated country of Red Sammy gets an electric makeover for this tribute tune. The title a weird thing to chant, but you’ll probably want to sing along repeatedly to the mantra-esque chorus.

Singles 1: 9 p.m. Friday Dance-away-your-week Tunes

October 21, 2014

9 p.m. Friday Dance-away-your-week Tunes

1. “Lighthouse” – The Burgeoning. One of the most intriguing singles I’ve heard all year, this track combines the ambient uppers of chillwave with the melodic structures of Vampire Weekend and the frantic fury (and guitar noise) of a punk band. It’s a fresh, amazing combination. I’m looking forward to hear more from The Burgeoning.

2. “The Next Morning” – The Drafts. The energy and enthusiastic guitars of The Vaccines meet a reserved, pensive vocalist for a charming, infectious tune that you’ll want to hear multiple times.

3. “Where I Go” – Pistol Shrimp. If Passion Pit, MGMT, and Anamanaguchi had a basement dance party, this bangin’ tune would be the result. Pop gold, right here.

4. “Heartracer” – Cosby. Synth-laden, big-pop ’80s revivalism is going great this year. This fits right up there with Challenger for the best of the bunch.

5. “Recurring Dreams” – Shivery Shakes. The carefree nature of whistling in a ’60s surf-pop influenced tune gets me every time. You like The Drums? You’ll love this.

6. “Promises” – Barreracudas. If you make a metaphor that includes arcade games (specifically Donkey Kong), I will be immediately more endeared to you. Fun, poppy garage-rock here.

7. “Speed Date Yr Way to Fame” – Sweet Deals on Surgery. Starts off a thrashy, screamed, frantic punk song before taking a momentary break in pop. Then in blasts off again.

8. “Name on a Matchbook” – Springtime Carnivore. ’60s girl pop gets a slight sonic update, but the soul of this tune really begs for an -ettes suffix.

9. “Head Down” – The Ocean Party. Jangly ’80s indie-rock meets airy ’80s synth-pop. The peppy, fun results are less ’80s and more ’00s than you’d think.

September MP3s 4: Warm Breath

October 14, 2014

Warm Breath

1. “When You Think of Me” – Little Cinema. I was enjoying the Generationals-style pop AND THEN A WICKED SAX SOLO APPEARED OUT OF NOWHERE.

2. “Carriages” – Li Xi. Fuzzed-out riffs get shoved under perky vocals, triumphant synths, and a shuffling beat, creating a memorably odd, dreamy indie-pop tune.

3. “Give a Little Love” – Lunchbox. Quirky, cheery, eccentric Elephant 6-style pop somehow morphs into a Burt Bacharach string arrangement and lounge vibes, which is an impressive trick.

4. “Drench You in the Sun” – The Watanabes. Not as sunshiny as you might think; way smoother than you probably guessed. Some real nice indie-pop with horns here.

5. “Sleep” – Summer Heart. Was the phrase hypnagogic pop a non-starter? If so, then here’s some great, peppy chillwave. Great melodies and vibes throughout.

6. “Age of Isolation” – Mystery Pills. Twee meets chiptune. SIGN ME UP.

7. “Worth Your While” – Wonderful Humans. Somewhere, Vangelis is rejoicing that his style is alive and well. Vintage ’80s synth-pop matched up with modern indie vocal lines and melodies. Awesome.

8. “Jack and the Giant” – A Love Like Pi. You know that lovely feeling when you’re about to drift off to sleep in the arms of someone you love, and all seems right in the world even if just for a moment? This is what that sounds like.

8. “Safety” – Jasia. Starts out as not much: spare clicks and pops meeting some keening falsetto. But Jasia molds, shapes, and crafts the parts into a booming, M83-like track by the end. Whoa.

9. “Wyn” – Ashan. Do you need eight minutes of ethereal ahs over clicky chillwave-inspired electro? Of course you do. I can see myself both chilling out to this and getting my dance on in a real hip club.

September MP3s 3: Twirling Arms

October 13, 2014

Twirling Arms

1. “The Balance” – Royal Tongues. Sometimes the RIYL is absolutely perfect. I got told this one was like Smallpools and Passion Pit. BY JOVE IT IS! EVERYBODY DANCE!

2. “Desole Pt. II” – The Gromble. This is like if the enthusiasm of Passion Pit met the restraint of The Naked and the Famous. You can dance to it and think heavy musical thoughts about post-punk to it!

3. “I Feel Sorry For You” – Bullybones. Always space in my heart for voice-shredding, garage-crushin’, surf-rockin’ tunes.

4. “Lisa Loeb Probably Never Pierced Her Ears” – Field Guides. Surf-rock meets indie-pop in a vastly enjoyable, really impressive way.

5. “I Told You So” – The March Divide. Early ’00s emo/punk is back, and that’s a really great thing. Let it emote, men. Let it jangle and emote.

6. “Black White Fuzz” – Coastgaard. Yacht rock + The Strokes? Why not? *head bobs frantically*

7. “Little Surfer Girl” – The Yetis. Do you love the Beach Boys? If yes, you love the Yetis.

8. “It Don’t Even” – ET Anderson. When you mix rubbery bass higher in the mix that crunchy guitars, you’ve got a very specific vision for your sound. ET Anderson’s vibe here is strong and impressive, like a slackery Spoon or something. I’m intrigued.

9. “Trouble” – Micah Olsan and the Many. Funk, indie-rock and shades of Hendrix psychedelia come together to make a pulsing, groove-heavy track.

10. “photograph” – crashfaster. Jamiroquai in outer space! Anamanaguchi at the bottom of the sea! Dance-rock with serious sci-fi vibes!

11. “Old Enough to Know Better” – Youth Mass. ’90s Brit rock vibes infused into dance-rock. I’m all about it.

SVALL, pt 4

Brook Pridemore’s “Oh, E!” clip is a humorous clip involving a literal house party and a metaphorical party that Pridemore wasn’t invited to. The noisy, literate acoustic-punk is a ton of fun too.

Jenny and Tyler have released a touching video for their tender, moving “In Everything You Do.” I don’t think there’s been a thing in the last three years that I haven’t enjoyed by J&T.

The Gray Havens’ “Far Kingdom” performance clip shows off a pristine guy/girl folk-pop tune. Their new album (Jan 2015!) is going to be great.

SVALL, pt 3

October 11, 2014

Tetherball’s post-Prince pop is fun on its own, but this hilariously fun video makes it a blast.

Gorgeous animation here from Pistol Shrimp. The MGMT-esque song is also lovely.

More modern dance, more surreality, more enjoyable music from Smoke Season.

September MP3s 2: Quiet Heart

October 10, 2014

Quiet Heart

1. “New World” – Grammar. What if the Postal Service had been thought up by a woman instead of a man? Here’s a loose, flexible, smooth take on electro-pop that made me ponder the question.

2. “Gum Wrapper Rings” – Kind Cousin. I love to hear sentimental-yet-complex songwriting, and Kind Cousin delivers. Fans of Laura Stevenson will rejoice in the amalgam of wistful indie-rock guitars, ’50s girl pop vocals, and noisy drumming.

3. “Hold On Tight” – Ed Prosek. Radio-friendly, catchy folk-pop that’s a cross between Ed Sheeran and Phillip Phillips. Yes, that’s a pretty strong litmus test, I know. But it’s true.

4. “White Pine Way” – More than Skies. This impressive track falls somewhere between noisy punk/emo and slicker indie-rock bands like Interpol and Silversun Pickups. Lots of great melodies, but without hitting you over the head with them. Great work here.

5. “Black River” – Wild Leaves. Lush harmonies and ’70s-style production make Laurel Canyon the spiritual home of this track. Fleetwood Mac can come too.

6. “Tulsa Springs” – White White Wolf. Here’s an ominous, mysterious, rugged cabin-folk tune that’s high on atmosphere. (Also, +1 for anything with the name of my hometown in it.)

7. Ne Brini Za Mene – Neverdays. The Serbian response to Jason Molina, complete with mournful cello.

8. Even I – Grant Valdes. Valdes found a trove of hymns written by Haden Laas (1899-1918), an American soldier in WWI. They didn’t have scores, just words–so Valdes is setting each of the 44 hymns to music. This initial offering is a plaintive, yearning, piano-led tune. I’m super-excited to see where this goes.

SVALL, pt 2

Trebuchet’s “The End” is a magnificent song: a synthesis of everything we’ve learned from The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, and The Head and the Heart. Instead of being derivative, it feels like they’ve finally unlocked the pattern. The video is fun too.

The Wild Reeds’ “Blind and Brave” is a love letter to Los Angeles in song and video. Their female-fronted folk sound starts in pristine First Aid Kit mode, but swells to a lovely, full conclusion.

Brian Lopez’s “Persephone” video is the sort where I started watching and forgot that the song was playing. It’s a visually interesting piece that tells a good story, and also is accompanied by some great folky music.

Matthew Fowler walks down a city street, strumming and singing. He happens to come across his trumpet player. Great things ensue. His calm, composed songwriting makes me think of Damien Rice’s quietest moments or Rocky Votolato.

THE (not so timely) NEWS

October 9, 2014

I’m not very good at telling the news on this blog, but here are some things that happened and/or are happening.

  • Hi-res audio’s time seems to have come, what with Pono breaking huge. Hi Res Audio Central wants to be your one-stop shop for all things HRA. Jump on it, if applicable!
  • NWCZRadio.com is running a Kickstarter to get new gear to keep growing their indie-focused radio station. Three days left!
  • IC faves The Trouble Starts, Kye Alfred Hillig, and Cloud Person are all part of the initial offering of The Good Pack, which is a system that lets you download (excellent) albums for free, with all donations for that music going to a youth shelter in Seattle. Good music, good cause! LET’S DO IT!
  • And, finally, it’s time for fall, and that means cooler weather, and that means more running for me. That means RUNHUNDRED. See below. -Stephen Carradini

The Top 10 Workout Songs for October 2014

Fort Wayne, IN – September 30, 2014 – Pop rules in this month’s workout music recap. First off, you have the lingering effects of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Collaborations pairing Ariana Grande with Zedd and Iggy Azalea with Rita Ora both received a significant boost in popularity following performances on this year’s broadcast. Moreover, the show is where Taylor Swift debuted the first single from her new album. “Shake It Off” was the most popular, workout song in our monthly poll. Moreover, at 160 beats per minute (BPM), it’s the best song in the list for running.

Remixers also racked up three big tunes this month. Zedd makes his second appearance in the the list with an uptempo version of the summertime smash “Rude.” OneRepublic also find their latest release reworked for the club. Though both of those tracks are geared for the dancefloor, they’d be equally great for a jogging or walking. For a lower rep routine—like kettlebells or Pilates—you might check out the Surkin remix of Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap.” At 93 BPM, it’s on the slower side of things, but it’s lives up to its title with thunderous production that’ll power you through your next session.

On the whole, Top 40 tracks dominate this month’s list. But, there should also be enough alternate versions—plus some crossover hits from upstarts like Kongos and Echosmith—to keep things interesting. So, if you’re looking for something new to freshen up your gym playlist, you’ll find 10 great places to start below.

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.

Echosmith – Cool Kids – 130 BPM

Magic – Rude (Zedd Remix) – 130 BPM

Kiesza – Hideaway – 123 BPM

Demi Lovato & Cher Lloyd – Really Don’t Care – 121 BPM

Iggy Azalea & Rita Ora – Black Widow – 82 BPM

Charli XCX – Boom Clap (Surkin Remix) – 93 BPM

Kongos – Come With Me Now – 104 BPM

Ariana Grande & Zedd – Break Free – 130 BPM

OneRepublic – Love Runs Out (Grabbitz Remix) – 124 BPM

Taylor Swift – Shake It Off – 160 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine. -Chris Lawhorn

September MP3s 1: Shining Eyes

The next four MP3 posts are going to have impressionistic names, because I’m out of descriptive words after writing this many song reviews.

Shining Eyes

1. “Comin’ for Ya North Georgia Blues” – Eliot Bronson. Upbeat in a way that isn’t cloying, folky in that old-school Bob Dylan way, hooky as if it were folk pop (but it’s not). “Comin’ for Ya” is one of my favorite singles in a while. Bronson, it should go without saying, should be on your watch list.

2. “White Circles” – Stephen Ward. Got that traveling itch? The insistent acoustic strumming and yearning vocals here will make you want to hit the open road.

3. “Scaffolding” – Emilyn Brodsky. I can’t resist ukulele-led indie-pop, especially when sung with such disarmingly mature and comforting lyrics as these. Even though the ukulele leads, this never devolves into cuteness for cute’s sake.

4. “Said and Done” – Joe Con. Joe Con has a quiet assuredness in his vocal tone that gives his back-porch acoustic-pop/hip-hop (a la Mat Kearney, G. Love, and early Mraz) an immediately undeniable quality. This is a slick, slick tune.

5. “Ride It Out” – Elijah Ocean. There’s just something about an acoustic guitar, a piano, and a brush-hit snare that snags my heartstrings. Ocean’s world-weary yet hopeful voice just seals the deal.

6. “Lecimy” – Tara Fuki. Two women’s voices and two cellos comprise the base of this track. It’s a fresh, light, and unique track.

7. “Tapes” – Andrew St. James. The ragged passion of Joe Pug, the vocal swagger of Justin Townes Earle, and an x factor all his own.

8. “In Our Galaxy” – Andrew Foster. Like a Lovely Few song, Foster builds this song from a delicate guitar melody to a fully-realized tune that sings of the mystic, beautiful qualities of outer space.

9. “Balloon” – ErelPilo. Remember the twee, romantic charms of Chairlift? ErelPilo have that sort of doe-eyed, guy/girl romantic pop going on, but with an acoustic guitar instead of a synthesizer. The quirk is still there, though!

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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