Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tunezday!...aka New Music Tuesday!

This is your weekly source of info on the anticipated album releases of the week and where you can stream each in its entirety!

POP: Fanfarlo released their debut album, Reservoir, three years ago, and this week they finally return to the scene with their second LP, Rooms Filled with Light.  This time around, Fanfarlo seems to have dropped the softer, folkier elements of their previous sound, and instead have amped up the orchestral crescendos, heavy brass melodies, and mysterious synths.  Rooms Filled with Light boasts a bigger, more complex sound than we’ve heard from Fanfarlo, and while it isn’t as immediately accessible as Reservoir, when given a little time it proves itself to be a stronger and more satisfying listen. 

FOLK: Middlebury College alum Anaïs Mitchell releases her fourth full-length album, Young Man in America, today on her brand new independent label, Wilderland Records. Mitchell has always been known for her musical storytelling and this is no less true on her new album, whose title character she describes as “a restless character on a feverish hunt for pleasure and success.”  Unlike her previous albums, Young Man in America features two percussionists, who add the heaviness necessary to create Mitchell’s part-modern, part-mythical world.  Because this album is not as concept oriented as her last release, the epic folk-opera Hadestown, each song on Young Man in America seems more individually accessible, while still cohering beautifully into an album worthy of listening to from start to finish.

ELECTRONIC: Mouse on Mars is known as perhaps one of the most prolific bands in electronic music.  I don’t think I can even try to explain them better than they did on their own website so, for fear of failing, here is how they describe themselves (in the third person): “Mouse on Mars is one of the few electronic bands to stand the test of time. Constantly reinventing themselves, they have taken electronica to new heights with a unique blend of sound annihilation, fragmented melodies and an impassioned hatred of conformity. For nearly two deacades, Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner have sweated over burning consoles to create a new musical language, only to twist it again into thousands of myriad distortions.”  Now, after an uncharacteristic six-year break, Mouse on Mars is releasing their 10th LP, Parastrophic.  The album is 46 minutes of pulsating synths, looping vocals, and heavy, but not overpowering bass all brought together and presented seamlessly such that you barely have time to process what you are hearing. 

Stream a few more of this week’s best new releases here:

Willis Earl Beal: Wants To Be The Black Tom Waits

And the bits and pieces of his story over the past couple of years make him seem cool enough to maybe pull it off. For one, Beal will sing to you if you call him (773-295-2135), or at least that was the case before Pitchfork recently posted an interview with him, as he was relatively unknown. The feature on Pitchfork probably changed the game for Willis Earl Beal, perhaps forcing him to leave his identity as a truly 'outsider artist' in the past to some extent, but the attention was deserved. 

Check out Pitchfork's feature and some of his songs here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Virtual Virtuosos: Daniela Andrade

Hello and welcome to "Virtual Virtuosos," a weekly column devoted to up-and-coming Internet musicians.

This week's featured artist is Daniela Andrade. This 19-year-old singer/songwriter hails from Canada, and has one of the most soothing voices I've ever heard. Seriously, check it out:

Daniela recently won $10,000 in the WhoInspiresU.ca video contest and used the prize money on new recording equipment and a trip to San Diego to record her first EP, "Things We've Said." No release date for the album so far, but hopefully it'll be within the next couple of months.

If you want to see more of Daniela, you can find her on YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr. You can also stream all of her music for free here.

That's it for this week. See you next Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Santi's Back

Okay, so maybe that's not news, but it's definitely worth mentioning. Santigold, the artist formerly known as Santogold, broke out in '08 with her debut album that included major hits "L.E.S. Artistes", "Creator", and "Lights Out". She was basically absent from the music scene for the following 3 years until last year when she came out with "Go" featuring Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. She also recently appeared on a new Amadou & Miriam track titled "Dougou Badia". Now she's officially back and with a slew of new singles. She released "Big Mouth" earlier this month and "Disparate Youth" just a few days ago, and it's literally all I've been listening to. Her long-awaited second album,
Master of My Make-Believe, is reported to be out on May 1st via Downtown/Atlantic. Listen to the new single here. (That's a command.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GRIMES takes over GVB!

Hey DJs and blog readers --

Yesterday, underground pop star au moment, Montreal's Grimes, "took over" esteemed music blog Gorilla vs. Bear all day long. Check out the links, videos, tracks, etc. she posted during the takeover to discover some new music and hear a brand-new track from Grimes herself, entitled "Angel." That song is available on the bonus-track version of her brand-new, absolutely INCREDIBLE new album, Visions. Follow that link and listen to the album in its entirety if it's the last thing you do -- it's a keeper to be sure, a fever dream of creepy, trippy, self-described "post-internet," rigorously anti-nostalgic (thank god) electronic pop that, in true postmodern fashion, is influenced by everyone from Cocteau Twins to Gang Gang Dance to Salem to Mariah Carey to Aphex Twin. It's not to be missed.

And while we're on the subject, here's an interview with her via Pitchfork; here's "the best thing you'll read all day" (just do it); here's a new track by Canadian rapper and music journalist Cadence Weapon that samples/was produced by Grimes via I Guess I'm Floating; and below you can watch a video for her single "Crystal Ball," off last year's also excellent Darkbloom EP:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stream the new Sleigh Bells

It's what you've all been waiting for. Sleigh Bells' forthcoming sophomore album Reign of Terror is streaming now at the NYTimes.com. The band had the near impossible task of following up their phenomenal debut Treats, but I think they've exceeded expectations. Go ahead and read the full article while giving the album that first listen. (Alexis Krauss chose Sleigh Bells over a Rhodes scholarship!) Also, watch the band make their network TV debut on SNL last night via Pitchfork. Reign of Terror is due on February 21. What better way to kick off spring semester?