If you wondered why the indie rock outfit sound like the illegitimate child of The Pixies and Beach Fossils, it’s because band founder Z. Cole Smith wields the guitar chops in the latter. It’s always been difficult for me to make connections between eras of music; the way I see it is that somehow the entire musical timeline works in phases that borrow little bits of earlier phases, sort of like collection raindrops off the edges of an umbrella (decent attempt at imagery, no?) . But with DIIV, it just seemed so apparent to me, and I understood immediately their grunge influences, tied in with the modern lo-fi dream pop movement. It’s a beautiful thing eh? To do the math and not come up short.
Here’s a live version of my favourite track off Oshin, “Doused” (absolutely obsessed). I seriously can’t get enough of the Joy Division-esque bass line and that thumping, circulating guitar line.
DIIV’s debut LP, Oshin, is definitely worth a listen. Head over here to stream.
Everyone goes through that awkward phase when we listen to too much emo music, although some of our guilty indulgences were more embarrassing (Simple Plan) than others (Sum 41 were cool before the guy married Avril Lavigne right?).
You guys can forget it if you think I’m going to reveal my closet emo/psuedo-punk faves, but one band that I’m not embarrassed to admit that I listen to is Brand New.
Maybe I’m being a little unfair here, because they are musically and lyrically leagues above the aforementioned guilty parties. But I remember Samuel giving me the side eye once after my wistful confession of being a Brand New fan. Since then, let’s just say I’m not about to shout it on the mountaintops.
My Brand New fandom was anchored on three songs, all of which I heard on VH1 radio, back when VH1 wasn’t too preoccupied with filming piss of the earth programmes like Keys to the VIP (which I, of course, watched, because I can’t help myself).
“The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot”
Remember how when we used song lyrics as instant messenger names? Those were the days. POP ETC were still The Morning Benders - yeah that wasn’t too long ago, but I’m still bitter - and depending on how old you were, Jack White either had zero, one, two or three bands.
Back on point. The mind is really going a-wandering today, eh. That line “you are the smell before rain/ you are the blood in my veins” was always my go-to until a too-inquisitive friend would ask “who? who?” and I’d take it down. Yeah so what if the lyrics are cliche; there’s so much delicateness in the setting that is astoundingly heartbreaking for a young heart.
Here’s one of those karaoke-style videos in case any of you need inspiration for your Facebook status:
“Sowing Season (Yeah)”
This song reminds me of the older brother of Blur’s “Song 2”, less meticulous, yet more calculated and much more angry. “Sowing Season” happened somewhere between my transition from Incubus to Alice in Chains, and aided in many a sweaty gym session.
“Soco Amaretto Lime”
Excessively singalong-able - each one of the multiple vocal lines are irresistible - and straightforward lyrics that my tiny 17-year-old heart could manage. I venture that “Soco Amaretto Lime” is one of the best pop songs ever written. It sticks in your head for weeks at a time. My only complaint is the weird rewind sound thing at the end. Hate that. Love everything else. Listen below:
I have photographic proof of Jens Lekman and myself touching heads. He leaned in and his head touched mine. I thought I’d just come right out and tell you, because my love for this man is genuine. It’s not because he plays beautiful songs which could turn a cold hearted bastard into a hopeless romantic. Neither is it because he is a gifted storyteller, crafting the most amazingly vivid anecdotes in his songs. I am in love with him because he played “Into Eternity” for me, and then his head touched mine.
Okay but enough with the bragging/public declaration of love. Jens’ new LP drops very soon, and the full stream just hit the Internet via The Quietus. Head over here to listen to I Know What Love Isn’t in its entirety.
Everything you’ve come to know and love about Jens is in there. LP #4 is a collection of catchy pop tunes, quirky instrumentation, sing-a-longs and Jens’ singing straight to your heart. To cut to the chase, here is the title track and first single:
Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum is back with his sophomore LP, Nocturne. I’ve been waiting for this one since his debut Gemini blew my mind, defining the era of shoegaze for me, and landing on our favourites of 2010 list.
The same swirling guitar riffs surround Jack’s vocals for maximum side body sway potential, but this time, the newly-minted Brooklyn resident takes a tip from the recent rehashing of 80’s influence in indie music for a bolder, more danceable sound.
Nocturne doesn’t quite make me tingle in my toes like Gemini did, but I reckon the sophomore tracks will sound better live; they sound similar to how the earlier tracks were live, and so I’m guessing they will translate with much more impact when Wild Nothing hits the stage.
Listen to one of the standout tracks, “Paradise”, by hitting the snazzy orange play button below, or stream the entire shebang thanks to Dazed Digital.
In somewhat related news, we sunny island folks will have the pleasure of watching Jack’s buddy Dustin and his band Beach Fossils - obsessed! - live. This happens 21 October at Home Club. Deets are here (The band’s self-titled is also on our 2010 fave list).
Come high five us at the show! We wanna high five you!
After months of listening almost exclusively to music from Youth Lagoon and The National, my music tastes took on the form of one of those black ghost orb things commonly depicted on Celebrity Ghost Stories - a sort of hovering, depressed energy.
So, this week, with a new spring in my step and Hype Machine at my command, I set forth for greener pastures of happier, more carefree music. Here’s what I found:
Of Monsters and Men - “Little Talks”
The Icelandic six-piece are the new Edward Sharpe. They sing to your ears and play to your eyes, but dance with you in your heart, holding your hand and playfully nudging your elbow.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Passion Pit, with 70% of my judgment a result of “Sleepyhead”, and the other 30 from what I heard when I saw them a couple of years ago. But man does their lead single off the upcoming album make me want to take a walk in the park (and staying in the park theme: Beach House - “Walk in the Park” Live on Pitchfork TV).
Seeing as how I’m no Passion Pit expert, I was surprised that the theme of the song was so mature - it is about a family doing their best in times of turmoil. Good job guys!
Milo Greene - “1957”
Milo Greene came to my attention through the Deskless performance series, run by the NPR Music interns. They are my favourite new band, and their brand of fuss-free folk pop is immensely inclusive; sing along and you’ll feel like part of the gang. They’ve got such extraordinary pop sensibilities that snippets could pass off as a Backstreet Boys song (oh yes, that’s a compliment).