Daniel Gallen is a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park pursuing a journalism degree in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He is also a senior staff writer for The Diamondback, the university’s independent, student-run newspaper. Gallen is currently covering Maryland women’s basketball and also covered Maryland men’s soccer’s run to the College Cup in December 2012.
I’ve written extensively about my friend Jeff’s Lean Horse Marathon project, but I’ve unfortunately never had a chance to really dive into his band Sea Patterns that he’s in with Kevin and Chris from Baltimore. The first track by them to really pop onto my radar was “Battle Royale,” which sounds like a more punk Surfer Blood in my mind. But now the three piece with no bass drum returns with “Cape,” a more laid-back track with a great melody. The opening lead guitar melody is just an earworm. From the first notes, you know this pop yet rock track is good. Cop it below and more Sea Patterns stuff over at their Soundcloud.
School starts tomorrow for me. It’s been a really good, albeit nearly blogless, summer and tomorrow morning will feel like a new awakening. In the above video teaser for “Sacrifice Hat,” the centerpiece of Lean Horse Marathon’s Reflections, light starts piercing through the dark. Slowly but surely the lights get brighter and the noise gets louder, just like they will tomorrow morning when I have to pry myself out of bed. It’s an awakening, just like “Sacrifice Hat.”
Lean Horse Marathon is Baltimore’s Jeff Koplovitz, an 18-year-old with a great ear and chops to boot. You can stream Reflections via Only For Us for the time being and buy it on iTunes. Facebook rumors lead towards the possibility of a cassette in the future.
Since I downloaded the new Big Troubles track “Sad Girls” this afternoon, it’s been on repeat in my room. Until I stumbled upon this split cassette from the awesome Abadabad and the sick Stoner Showers (alliteration, yes). I knew this release had been on its way from Chill Mega Chill and that it’s been on my wishlist for a bit (fingers crossed the tapes last until next week), but I hadn’t heard any of it outside of Abadabad’s “Park Slope” and “California Birds.” That changed today on the Chill Mega Chill bandcamp, where Makeout Beach is available digitally for $1 or via a MediaFire link in the album information.
Abadabad’s music holds up well, as the space in “Park Slope” is makes it a summer favorite for me. The coolest part about the Abadabad side of the split is the remix of “Park Slope” from Yalls. I’m usually not a big fan of remixes, but Yalls expands on “Park Slope” and makes it that much better. Check out the bandcamp stream of that at the bottom.
Stoner Showers was completely new to me, but it instantly brought me in with its electronic and reverb-drenched atmospheres. You could almost call it chillwave. “Welcome Home” opens the side of the cassette, and like the name implies, makes you feel like you never left a familiar place. The highlight of this side for me is “I Want U 2 Know,” streaming below, which reminds me of the first time I heard Neon Indian, except slightly dark. The synth sound is so full and the beat is just schizophrenic enough to make it fun to dance to. Plus, the vocals are up front, adding a new dimension to the track.
The NJ shoegazers return with the lead single off their upcoming album Romantic Comedy titled “Sad Girls.” In it we hear Alex Craig singing about, well, sad girls. The studio production again highlights the guitars and allows the bass to pop out in the songs more. It brings us one step closer to Romantic Comedy, with “Misery” being posted last month. The only question I have so far on Romantic Comedy is where are all Ian Drennan’s songs? It’s just making me look forward to that album even more.
Last year’s Sports from Weekend was a great, if a bit underrated release, at least in my conversational circles. But repeated listens reveal awesome melodic basslines under all the scuzz.
“Hazel,” from the upcoming Red EP on Slumberland, builds on Sports, but with a poppier and more addictive sound. The bass chords drive the song, providing a great rhythmic backbone for the shoegaze sound the band is known for to build on. The vocals are clear on these tracks and provide the repeated hooks of “Eyes like mine” and “Hazel”, letting the bass and guitar be complementary pieces, something that suits this band well.
Red is due out Sept. 20 on Slumberland. Weekend plays DC9 on September 7.
We’ve seen LCD Soundsystem rock out as Muppets not once, but twice over the years, but James Murphy, Nancy Whang and Pat Mahoney get the LEGO treatment in the above video for the killer “All My Friends,” undoubtedly one of the most emotional songs in the LCD catalog. Check out its resemblance to the original, here.
Just take a look at the track list for this: Frankie Rose, Peter, Bjorn & John, Heems, Deradoorian, Real Estate, Owen Pallett. It’s amazing artists covering an amazing album, and it is done fantastically. Is This It is one of the seminal albums of the 2000s, an album that inspired a generation and sticks with a generation. Seeing The Strokes open their set at the Sweetlife Festival in May with “Is This It” reminded me of the first time I ever heard the track on a CD somewhere. It had the same lasting effect, something that carried over to the entire album.
This tribute to Is This It showcases many songs in many different styles, but each style works. Frankie Rose’s “Soma” pulls back a little bit on the original, taking a little bit of the edge off the track. One of the coolest covers on the tribute is Owen Pallett’s magnificent orchestral take on “Hard To Explain,” a track that lends itself to his style perfectly. Of course, Pallett’s cover is right before Heems of Das Racist’s cover of “New York City Cops,” which invokes Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.”
My favorite take on The Strokes comes from New Jersey’s Real Estate, who take on “Barely Legal.” The boys pull the tempo back a little bit, allowing Martin Courtney’s vocals to waft over the shimmering guitars. It makes the song feel much, much more contemplative, like they are looking back over the 10 years of Is This It as opposed to just throwing down a cover at a party. The mp3 is down below, via Pitchfork.
Overall, STROKED is a must-have for anyone that had the Strokes play a part in their musical life, with a great variety of cool covers. Also, it doesn’t suck like the Nevermind tribute that SPIN put together.
Widowspeak is slowly emerging as a band-to-watch this fall after a series of highly successful New York-area gigs, and this taste of band’s upcoming self-titled debut full-length, confirms that hype. Following two successful 7″ singles, “Nightcrawlers” uses haunting vocals and gritty guitars to create an atmosphere that pulls the listener in and keeps them there.
You have to admit that you knew this track was destined for a music video the first time you heard it. The dialogue between Vivian Girls‘ Cassie Ramone and Katy Goodman was just too good to pass up. And, what do you know, they did in this Travis Peterson-directed clip.
“Take It As It Comes” is the seventh track off of Share The Joy, the 2011 release from Vivian Girls on Polyvinyl.