June 28, 2013

Odesza

If You Like: Washed Out, M83, Neon Indian

When weather gets crappy, music can make you feel like it's nice out all year round. Odesza, a production duo made of Catacombkid and BeachesBeaches, has perfected the formula. Their sunny, bright chillwave tracks instantly put the listener on the beach and under the sun's rays. Incorporating smooth synths, chopped up vocals, and a keen sense of melody, the duo stands out in the crowded relaxing electronica field. As if it couldn't get any better, you can download their debut for free below! Even though their album is called Summer's Gone, it feels like it will never leave. 



June 27, 2013

Little Comets - "Jennifer"

If You Like: Maps & Atlases, Two Door Cinema Club


With summer in full swing, the sunny songs of the year are beginning to come out of the woodwork. UK indie-poppers Little Comets have now tossed in their submission with their latest single "Jennifer". The track takes quickly plucked guitar, intricate lyrics (how often do you hear the word 'taciturn' in a song?), and some good old doo-doo-doos and wraps them up in a clean, catchy, cute little package, making for one of the liveliest summer tunes yet. Enjoy!

June 26, 2013

Jordan Ruiz

If You Like: James Vincent McMorrow, Ben Howard, Bon Iver

For those rainy nights when you're relaxing at home and need a woodsy singer/songwriter to lull you into a meditative state, you now have a new artist to add to your playlists. Jordan Ruiz has a voice almost exactly like James Vincent McMorrow, and what a compliment that is! His recent Sundial Heart EP is a collection of heart wrenching folk tracks. Perfect for walking through a forest and napping beside a campfire. Beautiful stuff.

You can download his Sundial Heart EP for free at Noisetrade here or listen and download below.

June 25, 2013

Sarah Blacker

If You Like: Regina Spektor, Sarah Bareilles

Bostonian Sarah Blacker's music isn't normally what I gravitate towards. It is poppy, as sweet as high fructose corn syrup, and extremely easy to like. But her music and charming delivery instantly brought to mind Regina Spektor, making her tunes intriguing and very concisely and carefully crafted. They are short little gems of pop songwriting that are also catchy as hell! While you may not catch me blasting this in my car, it is a wonderful example of how pop music doesn't have to be dumbed down for it to be enjoyable. 

Check out Sarah's tour dates after the jump




June 24, 2013

Prides - "Out Of The Blue"

If You Like: CHVRCHES, Tanlines


It is the beginning of Summer. And that means you need songs to blast in your car with the top down, driving along the coast with the sun in your hair. "Out Of The Blue" is one of those songs. Scottish electro-poppers Prides combine buzzy synths with pounding drums, thick accents and a perfect sing-along chorus. Summer tracks this solid don't come around every day so put your foot on the gas and enjoy this one!

June 21, 2013

Mother Falcon

If You Like: Hey Marseilles, Arcade Fire

I have always been a fan of indie music that incorporates orchestral instruments (See Hey Marseilles and the Songza playlist I made of this stuff!). Mother Falcon are not only a member of that category, but they encapsulate the ways in which modern indie folk songwriting and a huge backing orchestra can benefit each other. Neither half takes the foreground, but they manage to work off each other, finding the perfect balance between the grandiosity of an orchestra and the intimacy of folk music.

They just recently released You Knew, their third full length album, and (at least I think so) the work that will get them lauded for their inventive musical approach. They deserve it!
 

June 19, 2013

Write To The Beat: The Summer Tape

Album Art by Brian Holmes

Ladies and gentlemen! It is summertime! For the first time ever, I have created a mixtape of Summer jams for all you kind folk to listen to this season. These tracks will help you drive along the coast, relax on the beach, get ready for a fun night out, and everything else the season may throw at you. Enjoy!

Tracklist
1. Magic Man - "Nova Scotia"
2. Vampire Weekend - "Diane Young"
3. Coasts - "Oceans"
4. Prides - "Out Of The Blue"
5. The Apache Relay - "Power Hungry Animals"
6. Lauren Mann & The Fairly Odd Folk - "I Lost Myself"
7. ODESZA - "Don't Stop"
8. Dan Croll - "Compliment Your Soul"
9. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - "Better Days"
10. Cayucas - "Cayucos"
11. Said The Whale - "I Love You"
12. Jake Bugg - "Lightning Bolt"
13. Robert DeLong - "Happy"
14. CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"
15. Fall 2000 And Something - "So Many Details"
16. Admiral Fallow - "Guest Of The Government"

Download the whole mixtape here!

If that link isn't working, try going here.


If any artist would like their song removed from the mixtape, please email me at jonah@writetothebeat.com and the song will be promptly removed.

June 18, 2013

Kill J - "Phoenix"

If You Like: Purity Ring, MØ, The Knife

Denmark has seen a recent influx of mysterious pop singers. It seems like every week there is a new Soundcloud hit, released by a Scandinavian songtress that nobody knows anything about. The latest is Kill J, who posted the hypnotizing "Phoenix" the other day. Her bird-like voice quivers and yelps over pulsating synths. Her mysterious persona is matched perfectly by the dark tone of the track. Can't stop listening. 

June 17, 2013

Reviewed: The Lone Bellow, Swear & Shake, Ballroom Thieves

The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Photo by Alexandre de Veiga
The other night at The Sinclair, the folk music revival was on full display. Three bands, all acoustically focused, jammed their hearts out and gave us their unique takes on the lively folk music that has been slowly taking over the world. 

First up: The Ballroom Thieves. A local group, the band knew how awesome it was to get this opening slot. The room was packed early as everyone had the pleasure of seeing undoubtedly one of the most exciting Boston bands yet to break out of the local scene. The trio seemed to fit in a niche between The Lumineers and City and Colour, meshing rootsy fun with a tattooed, slightly more rocking style that didn't come off as fake. 

Next: Swear & Shake. Undoubtedly the least unique of the groups, that doesn't mean they weren't a bunch of fun! Very similar to Ivan & Alyosha, the dapper quartet threw in some fiery electric guitar licks on top of their twangy folky jams. Frontwoman Kari Spieler gave the show her all, coming out from behind her huge hair to let loose a powerful voice that was unexpected from such an innocent face. 

Finally: The Lone Bellow. What everyone had been waiting for. The trio, backed on bass and drums, wows consistently with their confessional lyrics, superb chemistry, and unreal harmonies. Luckily they managed to play my favorites: "You Never Need Nobody" and guitarist Brian Elmquist's track "Watch Over Us". A moment of hilarity came when they started a new song; all the members started differently. "Sorry, we have too many songs that sound the same," frontman Zach Williams quipped. It's true, they have an easily identifiable sound. But their career has just begun, and I am eager to see how they evolve musically. There seemed to be no debate in the crowd where these guys are headed. It will be hard to see them for a mere $15 ever again. 

June 13, 2013

Kimberly Anne - "Bury It There"

If You Like: Ingrid Michaelson, Ed Sheeran, Passenger

London-born singer/songwriter Kimberly Anne came to my attention from the fantastic British folk label Communion, and she fits right in with the artists there. Her gentle pop tunes set her apart thanks to her entrancing voice, catchy songwriting, and DIY aesthetic. Her lead single, "Bury It There," is a perfect introduction to her distinctive folk pop style that could easily fit in on radio stations of every genre. Look out for her sound to make it across the pond any day now. 

June 10, 2013

Sasquatch 2013: The Good and The Bad


THE GOOD

Once Again, The Acoustic Tent
For the third year in a row, the intimate acoustic tent situated in the middle of the festival grounds, proved its worth. While large festivals rarely offer chances to see your favorite artists up close and personal, Sasquatch sets itself apart with the acoustic tent. If you spin a wheel and win day passes to the tent (you can spin it as many times as you want until tickets run out), you gain entrance into mini-sets performed by some awesome acts! This year, Vampire Weekend, The Tallest Man On Earth, Edward Sharpe, CHVRCHES, and Alt-J all stopped in to give their fans a special experience.


Shovels & Rope
These rambunctious South Carolinians wowed me instantly with their twangy sound that fits somewhere between The Civil Wars and Mumford & Sons, with a healthy dose of barnstorming fun thrown in. The duo sounded like helluva lot more than two people and provided fun for thousands who gathered at the tiny Yeti Stage to catch a peek of indie-twang's newest stars.


Vampire Weekend
I may be late to the party, but I was never particularly excited by the New York prepsters' first two albums. They were pleasant enough, but they didn't capture my attention like their third record has. With their new material, the Vamps mature their sound, leaning more towards rock 'n' roll as opposed to light prep-pop. Along with the recorded improvement in their sound, their live show is now a well-oiled machine of entertainment. They have now proven themselves as one of the premier indie acts of the decade and have a live show to back it up.


Father John Misty
I went into his performance not enthralled with his music, but simply interested. Seeing his hilarious on stage antics led me to believe that Mr. Tillman was truly born in the wrong decade. Aside from the people watching the show through their iPhones, there was nothing to say that this performance did not happen in the 70's. He had all the style and casual charm of a crooner from a bygone era and I couldn't stop smiling.


Robert DeLong
Mr. Delong got the dancing going early on Saturday, enthralling listeners as a truly one-man band. Switching between drum pads, singing, synths, and live drums, he simultaneously looped his own voice and manipulated it using a Wii controller. I was as amazed by the inventive use of technology as by the catchy melodies and infectious beats.


CHVRCHES
My latest musical crush: Lauren Mayberry. The lead singer of this up-and-coming Scottish trio sings honey-sweet tunes over hard-hitting grimy synths and has an adorable accent! She also has the ability to seamlessly transition between The Knife-style weirdness, 80's synth ballads, and Rage Against The Machine covers. What's not to love?


P.O.S.
Going back a few years, P.O.S. was in fact the first act I ever saw at a music festival. And sadly, I was underwhelmed. But this past weekend, the Minnesota rapper earned back my devotion. Mostly running through tracks from his recent We Don't Even Live Here, he spent as much time in the crowd, interacting with the fans as he did on stage. Chatting with the audience (hilariously by the way) showed that Mr. Alexander is perhaps one of the most personable rappers out there. Not even a slippery wet stage and a painful-looking fall could stop everyone from having a great time.

THE NOT SO GOOD



Baths
Baths' debut album Cerulean caught me by surprise, exploring glitchy, ethereal soundscapes that were able to maintain my attention. Unfortunately, with his followup, Obsidian, Will Wiesenfeld, turned a corner and began to focus more on his vocals, often whiny and too straight-forward. At his Sasquatch show, thousands of beat junkies turned up to hopefully hear some of the soothing, intricate tunes he is known for. Little did we know, we would have to wait until about halfway through his set to hear a single track from his heyday. While he was trying hard to plug his new album, fans were streaming out towards something more interesting.


Four Color Zack
I'm not sure what the Sasquatch organizers were trying to do with this one. The Seattle DJ recently won a Red Bull DJ contest catapulting his fame upwards in a matter of days. Maybe it was a deal made with festival sponsor Red Bull, but giving this guy a 2.5 hour set in the Chupacabra tent was far too generous. Sure, maybe he did do well at the contest that he won, but he was clearly not prepared for this, sounding as if a random festival-goer won the chance to open the festival.


Rusko
I'm a big fan of Rusko's music and was eager to hear him close out the weekend in style. Unfortunately, he would turn his bangin' beats down every 30 seconds or so to yell the always important "Let's Go Sasquatch!!" This could have helped pump up the crowd every 10 minutes or so. Instead, his constant commentary only interrupted his flow.

The Food
Other festivals have caught on. Why not you Sasquatch? $13 for a beer? $9 for a frozen chicken wrap? I understand the urge to jack up prices, but can't the food at least be good? Dozens of festivals invite local food trucks and restauranteurs to set up shop for a weekend, and I have no doubt that Seattle has tons of chefs who would be willing to trek out to The Gorge to feed 30,000 hungry fans. I appreciate the addition of the lone food truck: fish 'n' chips and tacos. Hopefully that was a test that proved successful.