A trio of interesting things arrived in my mailbox today. Tomorrow will see the return of CD reviews with an IC fave, but today is about the quick hitters.
Kris Orlowski, whose songwriting I praised as on the horizon earlier this year, has made good on his potential with “Way You Are” off his upcoming release Warsaw. Imagine the emotional, earthy qualities of Joseph Arthur mixed with the stark beauty of High Violet-era The National. Needless to say, your ears are in for a treat:
On the far opposite end of the spectrum, the perky indie-pop-rock of Cub Scouts’ “Evie” has more in common with the effervescent energy of Givers (check those steel drums!) and Phoenix than mopey indie-rockers. If you need a pick-me-up after that last tune, these Aussies will provide.
And because one set of Australians is never enough, here’s the clever and hilarious video for Teleprompter’s “Dinobot,” off the band’s self-titled EP that I loved. If you’re a fan of Bloc Party and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, your day is about to be made. And it’s going to be uber-made if you like Godzilla-esque town-destroying and/or charmingly low-fi sets.
So I somehow ended up on this incredible Australian PR list, and I’ve been receiving all sorts of crazy music from our friends down under: Teleprompter, New Manic Spree, and now Founds.
Founds’ latest single “Holograms” is the sort of lush indie-pop/rock that I’m coming to covet. Rave Magazine already beat me to the Jonsi comparisons, but they’re accurate: breathy, wide-eyed wonder is set atop (and contrasted against) jaunty rhythms and a immaculately recorded instruments in “Holograms.”
It starts off with a gentle guitar and cooed female vocals, then ratchets the intensity from there all the way up. In that way it’s a sort of optimistic post-rock, only crammed full of pop touches. That combination causes the song to exude a unique vibe, drawing me to it repeatedly; it’s not anything I’ve heard before in exactly this way. There’s no “chorus,” per se, but it doesn’t need one, based on the way the song flows.
This makes me want more Founds as quickly as possible. Let’s make this happen, people. Get the track for free here.
Two of my all-time faves are Bloc Party and LCD Soundsystem. Both are currently not in existence (although BP is supposedly coming back!), which is a depressing state of affairs. But Teleprompter made my day as soon as I pulled up their self-titled EP, as the band sounds almost exactly like Silent Alarm-era Bloc Party. And I love them for it.
When I say exactly, I mean down to the guitar tone. The vocals are higher in pitch than Kele Okereke’s, but other than that, these songs could be outtakes from BP’s masterful debut. Again, this is nothing but a compliment: the reason these could be outtakes is because the songs are the same quality as the A-sides these are aping. And if you cry foul, I dare you to listen and discredit. These songs are legit.
From the guitar storm at the end of “Dinobot” to the herky-jerky riffs and dance-rock drums of “Banshee” to the chiming melodic patterns of “Lung-Tied,” these songs evoke all the best parts of early ’00s indie-rock. But then there’s a hard right midway through “Lung-tied” and into “Lambda”; the band starts showing off its post-hardcore elements as opposed to its post-punk forebears. MeWithoutYou fans, eat your heart out: the vocalist starts hollering like Aaron Weiss, and the band drops into a groove that wouldn’t be out of place on Catch For Us the Foxes. Did I mention that one of the first bands that got me into serious music was MeWithoutYou?
Is Teleprompter’s self-titled EP stuff you’ve heard before? Yes. But it’s stuff that you can’t get anymore; MeWithoutYou and Bloc Party have long since shed these personas. Teleprompter shows a lot of promise to grow into something fantastic; they’re definitely on my top newcomers of the year based on the strength of this five-song EP (There’s a clubtastic remix of an old tune tacked on the end; it’s fun but not indicative of their future).
And if they don’t change at all? I’ll still love ’em.
Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.