July 30, 2013

Bird

If You Like: DJ Shadow, Pretty Lights, RJD2

It seems that the more mysterious an artist is, the more people want to know about them. This is where the producer who goes by the name Bird excels. First of all, his name is nearly impossible to Google. But after wading through ornithologist websites and mentions of Andrew Bird, I stumbled across www.whoisbird.com. Finally, some information.

The Bird-man is a Canadian producer, fresh off the release of his debut album, La Notte, which you can stream below. The album is a fascinating collection of dark, gangster-tinged beats. This record is incredibly cinematic, sounding like it came straight from a 1920's black and white film. The instrumental tracks soothe, and the songs with raps over them bring the music out of its shell. This little mystery is pretty enjoyable.

July 29, 2013

BASECAMP - "Emmanuel"

If You Like: Disclosure, Rhye, James Blake

Normally, the Nashville sound involves guitars and a whole lot of twang. BASECAMP, however, are not being constrained by their city's musical history. Their latest track "Emmanuel" has a distinctly seductive R&B vibe and a super memorable hook. The large bass presence floats in the background as clinks of percussion keep the beat going. After getting quite a bit of attention for this track, they are preparing the release an EP in the coming months. Get ready.

July 26, 2013

Jaymes Young - Fragments

If You Like: Mikky Ekko, The xx, Woodkid

Jaymes Young has been awfully hard to categorize. He has a poppy, soulful voice, but his tracks have so far ranged from smooth R&B croon, to dubby electronica, to poppy guitar-laden anthem. His latest hit is a chill, bass-heavy blanket of beautiful sadness. As he sings about a failed relationship, the musical backing  enhances the laid-back mood but keeps things intense with the exciting instrumentation. His eagerly-anticipated debut mixtape will be released on August 20th.

July 25, 2013

Bombadil

If You Like: Hey Marseilles, Langhorne Slim, The Avett Brothers

Tom Bombadil was a minor character in The Lord Of The Rings, but his last name has lived on to take on another meaning: this band's name. Bombadil is cute and quirky, with music combining folky influences with lush harmonies and simple songwriting. Their newest record, Metrics of Affection, will be released on July 23 and expect them to make some waves. The North Carolina group has been slowly building a strong following with their energetic live shows and charmingly fun three previous albums. Listen to a track and download a free "Pocket Guide" to the band via Noisetrade below.


July 23, 2013

Mettro - "You"


I recently struck up a conversation with Steffen Paust, a writer over at Sound of Aarhus, a great blog that focuses on local music from the lovely Danish city. We decided to exchange some music, and in the shuffle, out came Mettro.



Writer: Steffen Paust

The young boys have previously visited major festivals like Skive Festival, Bork Music Festival, DMF festival, Den Grimmeste Festival and Samsø Festival, and Their fans include prominent names such as Mattias Kolstrup - lead singer of Dúné!

"I believe that there will soon be a new Skive-based band with potential" Mattias earlier said to Fyns Amts Avis.

Mettro is not an entirely new phenomenon in the Danish underground scene in Skive, where they have played countless times. They also provided top entertainment, in places like Train in Aarhus and Band Battle where they both won the competition and the Radio Skive price. In addition to this they also won Gym spot in 2012 where they received laudatory words from the many judges, which was not a second of doubt about their choice.

Last month the band released their new single “YOU," featured above.

July 22, 2013

Kodaline

If You Like: Passenger, Dry The River, Frightened Rabbit

I'm not sure why - maybe it's the rain - but musicians from the UK or Ireland seem to have a different kind of melancholy than us Americans. It is rusty, dull, and never-ending, like a brick wall slowly pushing you backwards for eternity. The folks from that area of the world also have an uncanny ability to turn that sadness into gorgeous music (See bands mentioned above). 

The latest band to do so is Kodaline, a group of Irishmen who topped the charts in their home country with their debut album, In A Perfect World. Nearly every song on the record has a stadium-ready hook and tears at your heartstrings with a deep emotional sadness. If that wasn't enough to make this band your go-to for breakup jams, they make beautifully filmed videos to go along with their finest tracks. Both videos below are as emotionally stirring as any I have seen. Get your tissues ready. 

While the album is not yet available in the States, you can import a copy or download their EP here


July 19, 2013

Joseph Childress - "Whispering Tide"

If You Like: The Tallest Man On Earth, Maps & Atlases, Bob Dylan

Sometimes a pretty voice is not what music needs. Occasionally, a rough, worn, emotional voice can be the best thing for a song. San Francisco singer-songwriter Joseph Childress caught my attention by sounding like one of my favorite singers, Kristian Mattson aka The Tallest Man On Earth. Childress' quick fingerpicking and quietly rustic voice blend together wonderfully, creating perfect wood cabin music. 

His debut album, The Rebirths, will be released on August 20th. But until then, take a listen to the first single, "Whispering Tide."

July 18, 2013

Reviewed: Hudson Mohawke

Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA

This kid is the future. The lanky Scotsman who most people know as HudMo has been making quite a name for himself lately. Last night, he brought his testosterone-filled beats to Cambridge to wow an enthusiastic crowd with the biggest, brashest noises in music these days.

The slightly grimy basement venue was the perfect match for his simple, drop-focused beats. Without saying a word, HudMo packed his set to the brim with his original beats, copious amounts of new Kanye tracks, and hard-hitting material from his TNGHT EP with Lunice. The crowd seemed to know quite a bit of his material and production work, going the craziest at the drops of Kanye's "Blood On The Leaves," and TNGHT's "Higher Ground" and "Bugg'n." He also featured a few tracks that have only been heard live or on his radio mixtapes, like personal favorite "Chimes."

There is something spectacular about hearing this tracks live. Even though they are not being made on the spot, the sheer wall of sound that comes at you when one of his songs drops is unparalleled. This is the kind of music that makes you want to run through brick walls, and makes you feel like you can. In a live setting, the force is just that much stronger.

July 17, 2013

GEMS - "Sinking Stone"

If You Like: Indians, The xx, M83

Swelling synths, cooing vocals, and echoey guitar plucks. Washington D.C. duo GEMS keeps things calm, but never sleepy. Their latest track, "Sinking Stone," starts off with a fascinating beat that draws you in. It is simple, but not immediately decipherable. The track gently builds from there, transforming itself into a love anthem that brings to mind The xx (times 100). This song is truly epic minimalism.

July 16, 2013

Smallpools

If You Like: Passion Pit, NONONO, Grouplove

LA crew Smallpools may have a claim on the catchiest song of the year. Their debut single "Dreaming" is a slice of perfect electro-pop that will force even the most stubborn of your friends to sing along. Luckily, the rest of the EP (released today) is more of the same: four tracks of danceable, easy to love, synth-filled deliciousness. If you like Passion Pit but get annoyed by the high vocals, this is for you. Currently on tour with Australians San Cisco, try to catch these guys before the wave of fans that are sure to come.


July 15, 2013

Songs For A Midnight Sun: The Scandinavian Mixtape

Album Art by Brian Holmes

For decades, Scandinavia has produced some of the catchiest, most interesting, exciting music in the world. Think ABBA, Björk, Ace of Base, and more recently, The Tallest Man On Earth, The Knife, or  Swedish House Mafia. The music created in the chilly nations in Northern Europe has a distinct minimalist quality to it, and is often able to capture melody like no other music can. As you read this, the Scandinavian music scene is stronger than ever, and filled to the brim with exciting new artists. Consider this mixtape a little primer on the most promising music from the region.

P.S. I know Iceland technically isn't part of Scandinavia, but I put it in anyways. They know their stuff!

Tracklist
1. Highasakite - "Indian Summer"
2. MØ - "Pilgrim"
3. Kill J - "Phoenix"
4. Kate Boy - "The Way We Are"
5. Tove Lo - "Habits"
6. NONONO - "Pumpin' Blood"
7. jj - "Fågelsången"
8. Indians - "I Am Haunted"
9. Åsgeir Trausti - "King And Cross"
10. Little Dragon - "Twice"
11. Broken Twin - "Out Of Air"
12. Joppe - "Orbit"
13. Mettro - "You"
14. Fallulah - "Out Of It"
15. Béatrice Eli - "It's Over"
16. When Saints Go Machine - "Infinity Killer"
17. Sailor & I - "Tough Love"
18. Pascal Pinon - "Årstíðir"

Download the whole mixtape here!

If that link does not work, try this one.

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.

July 12, 2013

Macklemore - "Sneaking In The Show"


Most people know Macklemore thanks to his ubiquitous hits "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us," tracks that are seemingly everywhere these days. What you might not know, however, is that the Mack came out with a stellar record in 2005, called Language Of My World, before Ryan Lewis jumped in the mix. Recently, a track from those early years was unearthed. "Sneaking In The Show (feat. Ricky Pharoe)" definitely does sound like old Macklemore and showcases his storytelling abilities, bringing to mind a personal favorite, "Fake ID." The subject this time: Getting past strict bouncers. It doesn't seem like he will be needing to do that anymore. "Thrift Shop" is the fastest selling song in the first six months of any year. Ever. Wow, he's come a long way.

July 11, 2013

NONONO - "Pumpin' Blood"

If You Like: Icona Pop, Lykke Li, Beatrice Eli

In case there hasn't been enough awesomely catchy indie-pop coming out of Scandinavia, NONONO will fix that. The Swedish trio has perfected a loud, chanting sort of catchiness, complete with whistling, thumping drums, and bright synths. I know I already made my Summer Mixtape, but this track would fit well on it. While pumping blood might not seem like the most glamorous thing to sing about, this song about the functions of the heart might change your mind. 

July 09, 2013

Branches - "Halo"


If You Like: Old Crow Medicine Show, Fiction Family, Seryn

Beyonce's "Halo" has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while but now, I like it in a whole new way. Branches, an indie-folk crew from Los Angeles gave the track their own spin and turned it into a brooding, twangy jam with banjo, harmonium, and some sugar-sweet harmonies. Filmed in a lovely country-side yard, this cover really shows a new side of the song and shows me once again how truly lovely it is.

Also, their song "Helicopter." So so good.

You can check out some of their other songs and covers here. Hint: Watch the "Skinny Love" and "Seven Nation Army" covers. You won't regret it.

July 08, 2013

San Fermin - "Sonsick"

If You Like: Lucius, Sufjan Stevens

If this song sounds familiar, take a look at the singers of the Brooklyn crew, fronted by composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone. The two gals who front Lucius, are featured on this track as well, intertwining their voices together to yet again form an entrancing sound. Their debut single, "Sonsick," shows a new side to the girls' voices that is not present in their work with Lucius. The swing and old-school doo-wop feel is replaced with an urgent, tense, burgeoning passion. Backed by a brass section, piano and drums, the girls let their voices loose, alternating lines in the chorus, harmonizing and complementing each other perfectly. 

July 03, 2013

Seryn - "Ivory Black"

If You Like: Hey Marseilles, The Head & The Heart, Farewell Milwaukee

Seryn, hailing from Denton, Texas, caught my attention with their debut single "We Will All Be Changed," a cheerful folk tune that placed the group clearly in the league of The Head & The Heart and at the forefront of the current folk revolution. But then, for about a year and a half, I heard nothing about the group as they laid dormant, or so I thought. They have recently returned with a brand new single, "Ivory Black." And it was worth the wait. The track begins meekly with a ukulele strum and builds to the group's signature style of chanting, sing-along climax. Enjoy this gem and keep an eye out. 


July 02, 2013

Ásgeir Trausti

If You Like: Lay Low, Pascal Pinon, Of Monsters And Men

Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson looks and sounds wise beyond his years. In testament to the fact that Europeans grow up faster than Americans, the Icelandic Einarsson, who sometimes goes by just Ásgeir, is only 20 years old. His soothing, beautiful folk music is unlike anything I have heard from an artist his age. The calm sense of perspective in his lyrics is moving, and his warbly voice is reminiscent of a more-accessible Jónsi. This past year, his debut album, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, was nominated for a Nordic Music Prize, and is filled with ethereal but memorable melodies. You can download his three-song Toe Rag Sessions EP for free at his Bandcamp page. It's starting to look like this guy may be the next great Icelandic export. 



July 01, 2013

Dustin Tebbutt

If You Like: Bon Iver, Ben Howard

Justin Vernon fans: Listen up! Australian Dustin Tebbutt may be the next falsetto voice to become a household name around the world. After relocating to Stockholm for two years, Tebbutt returned to his homeland armed with stunningly beautiful folk tunes that speak to the sparse, minimalistic, Scandinavian outlook on design. The first track to see the light of day, "The Breach," It takes you in, making you feel like a bearded man, huddled under a blanket and drinking hot tea in a lonely cabin in the woods. And I mean that in the best way possible. His echoey voice rings out above crunchy drums and delicate guitar work to form the closest thing to Bon Iver since, well. . ., the Vernon himself.