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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sparrow and the Workshop

I just wanted to share a band with you guys: Sparrow and the Workshop. The band, made up of Jill O’Sullivan (vocals/guitar/violin), Nick Packer (guitar/bass) and Gregor Donaldson (drums/vocals), might be folk but there's certainly nothing traditional about them. They are clearly making music that reminds listeners of another era, yet it never feels dated. Instead, it actually makes it hard to put a finger on what exactly the band sounds like.

Sparrow and the Workshop released their debut album Crystals Fall on April 19th. Ten of the tracks have appeared on previous EPs, but three of them are brand new. I am definitely feeling the new tracks though, what with their boy-girl vocals, slide guitar, and rustic drums. All of the tracks have been reworked and remixed.

I am really loving their track "The Gun" – the tappity-tap of the percussion and the gentle guitar are as simple but lovely. There are a lot of times when the acoustic guitar seems to be doing the job of the rhythm section and the drums have actually take the lead. And the lead singer's voice is amazing - I like how airy it is.

"The Gun" by Sparrow and the Workshop

Crystal Falls is certainly an impressive debut. Sometimes it’s very crunchy folk-rock while sometimes there’s a big country feel. The band's eccentric mix of styles has already won them acclaim from various sources. The Guardian say they are "ethereal and electric", the Sunday Times, Word, Pitchfork have all vouched for their retro-sounding country and bluesy folk sounds which conjures up comparisons to Fleet Foxes, Fairport Convention, and Nancy Sinatra, though O'Sullivan swears "nothing is contrived or planned to sound like anything in particular."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Music Tuesday: The Mynabirds

Ah, it's the last release of April, and May is right around the corner! (Check out all th releases for this April here, at Hello April!)

But today, you should really check out the newest release from The Mynabirds: What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood.

Laura Burhenn, the woman behind The Mynabirds, has realized an amazing debut album! She succesfully blurs the lines between rock, blues and soul to create a sound with some wonderful texture.

This is just the album that I needed for my awful week! Listen to "Let the Record Go" and you'll see why. It's got a great back beat, , a roaring piano, bluesy riffs, and soulful vocals. It'll make your toes tap and your head bob, that's for sure!

"Let the Record Go" by The Mynabirds

You can stream the entire album from Saddle Creek.

What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood Tracklist:
01 What We Gained in the Fire
02 Let the Record Go
03 Numbers Don't Lie
04 Give It Time
05 Ways of Looking
06 LA Rain
07 Wash It Out
08 We Made a Mountain
09 Right Place
10 Good Heart

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stream The National's Entire New Album!

Head over to the New York Times Magazine right now to stream The National's new album!

Since this morning at 8:30AM EST, The New York Times Magazine has been streaming The National's new album, High Violet, in it entirety! And what could make it even better? Why, that they will be streaming the entire album until April 27th.

High Violet won't be released until May 11th (in the U.S.), so I am looking forward to the stream!

Go figure, the album has already leaked online, but that's why the band is having the entire album streaming, revealed the album artwork, and shown the track-listing, as well as given away a free MP3 single.

"Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National

Hey, as long as you're going to hear it anyway, I think it's great that the National is at least making it so that fans can hear High Violet in high quality. I'm sure that their fans are certainly thankful.

High Violet Tracklist:
01 Terrible Love
02 Sorrow
03 Anyone's Ghost
04 Little Faith
05 Afraid of Everyone
06 Bloodbuzz Ohio
07 Lemonworld
08 Runaway
09 Conversation 16
10 England
11 Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Apples in Stereo Music Video

Well this is just another reason to love Elijah Wood!

Apples in Stereo - "Dance Floor"

Oh, and I guess Apples in Stereo too :) Plus, if you got to their official website you can get a free download of "Dance Floor."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Music Tuesday: Blunt Mechanic

If I had to give you one CD to check out today, it would definitely be World Record by Blunt Mechanic. (Feel free to check out the list of a bunch of CDs coming out this April in "Hello April!," but if you're a fan of Kind of Like Spitting, well read on.)

Ben Barnett, who has released eight albums, six singles, and five splits as Kind of Like Spitting over the past decade, has a new band: Blunt Mechanic.

And Ruined By MTV has an exclusive! You can download "Aluminum and Light" below for a taste of the new album.

"Aluminum and Light by Blunt Mechanic

The song certainly is full of charming guitar hooks, heart-wrenching vocals, and brilliant turns of phrase and vocal/instrumental interplay that collectively define the new album.

World Record Tracklist:
01 Gear Check
02 Thrown Out at Third
03 Proof
04 Aluminum and Light
05 Is or Isn't ALl the Same
06 Our First Brains
07 Pop Song
08 "Getting It"
09 Why Can't This be Canada?
10 Enough
11 Song 4
12 Get Home Safe

Can I just comment that I love how "Song 4" is actually track 11...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Exclusive: New Pearly Gate Music

Pearly Gate Music is a Seatle Band that plays wonderful indie folk heavily influenced by traditional American music and country.

Pearly Gate Music won't be releasing the self-titled new album till May 18th, but till then Ruined By MTV has an exclusive download of the first single, "The Big Escape."

"Big Escape" by Pearly Gate Music

Zach Tillman, the man behind the band, writes perfectly lovely songs: he's got the charming solo-folk-musician-thing down pat. "Big Escape" is upbeat with pop sensibility, and Tillman layers his echoing voice brilliantly.

Pearly Gate Music has been busy recently, tearing up SXSW at day parties for Brooklyn Vegan and Daytrotter before doing a couple dates with Xiu Xiu and tUnE yArDs. Now, they’ve been added to the Daytrotter Barnstormers tour this spring (with Ra Ra Riot, Delta Spirit, Nathaniel Rateliff and Free Energy).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We Got You Covered: Hit 'Em Up Style

I don't know what to do with this cover. I just know that I love it!

"Hit 'Em Up Style" (Blu Cantrell cover) by Carolina Chocolate Drops

Friday, April 16, 2010

War Tapes

Do you ever just need to get up and dance?

Well, War Tapes might not be exactly the first band that comes to mind (especially a group that is self-described as "doom-pop") but I think there's something that might change your mind.

That's when LAZRtag comes into the picture.

"Mind is Ugly" (LAZRtag remix) by War Tapes

It's deliciously trashy, and lately it's been keeping me awake for my late night studying. Unfortunately I can't seem to find out too much on this duo except that they're from LA and they have some awesome mixes up on their Myspace, including artists like Passion Pit and the Ting Tings.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jason Collett

I felt like I needed to share this new music video from Jason Collett. "Love is a Dirty Word" comes from the Toronto singer-songwriter's 5th solo album, Rat a Tat Tat (out last month).

I mean, how can you not love those doo-wop backing vocals and the fact that the instrumentation is a blend of light folkloric guitars and an odd mechanical piano mixed with dirty rhythmic guitar. It’s an oddly danceable beat, that's for sure!

Collett's solo work has always run in stark contrast to his other job (oh yeah, he's one of those guitarists from a little band called Broken Social Scene); whereas Broken Social Scene is full of experimental post rock, his solo work has had a slave-like devotion to the traditional rock ‘n roll pedigree.

Whatever, no matter what, I will always love you, Jason Collett. (Especially when you wear top hats.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Breaking Artist: Hesta Prynn

Mark my words: this dance-punk diva is going to take over the scene this summer.

Formerly of the hip-hop group Northern State, Hesta Prynn is putting the final touches on her first solo album, due out later this year.

She almost evokes the spirit and sound of those classy yet hardcore dance-rock girls of NYC’s past. With a sound that is equal parts rock and electro, the music is a combination of euphoric beats and distorted basslines with layered punk guitar riffs.

Check out here first single, “Can We Go Wrong”, below.

"Can We Go Wrong" by Hesta Prynn

I just love the addictive synth beats and her vocals that clearly recall The Knife, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Kills. It's hard to not be intrigued!

On a closing note, Sophie Harris did a bit on Hesta Prynn for Time Out NY about what she learned at SXSW this year. I thought it was too good not to share:
- lone star > bud lite
- the length of your hair is in direct proportion to how many boys harass you on 6th street
- the size of the stage is in direct proportion to how many of the microphones will go out during your set
- the four seasons > my friend andrea’s couch
- if i don’t make it to the salt lick this year, life will go on
- 2010 is MMX in roman numerals (see also: my new tattoo)
- drunk texting < drunk twittering

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Music Tuesday: Kaki King

Kaki King is an American guitarist and singer from Atlanta, Georgia.

Junior is King's fifth studio album, but fans will find that she moved away from the acoustic/instrumental songs that marked her last albums. Junior was actually specifically made with only three musicians in mind. Although the album abandons her fret-tapping ways in favor of alt. rock and angsty tales of espionage, it's certainly growing on me.

"Communist Friends" by Kaki King

From the tracks that I've heard, Kaki King's new album provides the perfect balance between upbeat, jarring and soothing.

And even though this isn't from her new album, check out the video for "Playing With Pink Noise" below. It's from her Legs to Make Us Longer album from back in 2004, and it'll give you an idea of just how talented she is.

Kaki King - "Playing With Pink Noise"

Junior Tracklisting:
01 The Betrayer
02 Spit It Back in My Mouth
03 Everything Has an End, Even Sadness
04 Falling Day
05 The Hoopers of Hudspeth
06 My Nerves that Committed Suicide
07 Communist Friends
08 Hallucinations from My Poisonous German Streets
09 Death Head
10 Sloan Shore
11 Sunnyside

Monday, April 12, 2010

Playlist: Busy Busy Bee! (2)

Woah woah woah! Have no worries, I have not forgotten good ol' Ruined By MTV. My hectic schedule is like deja vu really...But yes, the busier I am, the less I post. Go figure, today's the 12th of April, and Ihave had one other April post. I'm working on it.

So with that I bring you a playlist full of songs that make me think of my busy schedule: not sleeping, working, and to just not stop till it's done (what other choice do I have anyway).

"This Boy is Exhausted" by The Wrens
"Time Bomb" by The Format
"Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)" by The Rakes
"Burn You Up" by Thao
"Never Stops" by Deerhunter
"Gloomy Monday Morning" by The Black Hollies
"Good Fight FIghting" by The Very Most
"We're Gonna Make It" by The Orange Peels
"Things Work Out" by The Kickdrums
"Under Pressure" by Queen

But here's the good news: hopefully I'll be back to a regular posting schedule. Huzzah!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hello April!

Eh, so it's a day late, but better late than never (or at least that's what I hear). Here's to another great month of music!

Note: Unless noted, the release dates are all for the U.S.

April 6th
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim - Here Lies Love
Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame
Future Islands -In The Fall
Hypernova - Through The Chaos
Jakob Dylan - Women And Country
Jonsi - Go
Lali Puna - Our Inventions
Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
Melissa Auf der Maur - Out Of Our Minds
Murder By Death - Good Morning, Magpie
Peter Wolf - Midnight Souvenirs
Red Sparowes - The Fear Is Excruciating
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 - Propeller Time
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - I Learned The Hard Way
The John Butler Trio - April Uprising
Tunng - ...And Then We Saw Land

April 13th
Coheed and Cambria - Year Of the Black Rainbow
Dosh - Tommy
Justin Nozuka - You I Wind Land And Sea
Kaki King - Junior
Matt Pond PA - The Dark Leaves
MGMT - Congratulations
Natalie Merchant - Leave Your Sleep
The Tallest Man On Earth - Wild Hunt

April 20th
Airbourne - No Guts, No Glory
Aqualung - Magnetic North
Blunt Mechanic - World Record
Caribou - Swim
Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise
Cornershop - Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast
Earl Greyhound - Suspicious Package
King Britt - Intricate Beauty
Kate Nash - My Best Friend Is You
Lou Rhodes - One Good Thing
Ozomatli - Fire Away
Plants And Animals - La La Land
Rufus Wainwright - All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu
The Apples In Stereo - Travellers In Space and Time
The Kissaway Trail - Sleep Mountain
Trans Am - Thing
V.V. Brown - Travelling Like The Light

April 27th
Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle
Hole - Nobody's Daughter
Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Ages Of Miracles
Melissa Etheridge - Fearless Love
My Education - Sunrise
Nathaniel Rateliff - In Memory Of Loss
The Mynabirds - What We Lose In The Fire We Gain In The Flood
White Fence - White Fence
Wounded Lion -Wounded Lion