Wake Up – Forever Home

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For folks who were raised on 90s lo-fi, alt-indie-rock, the fuzzy rhythm guitar and jangly lead on Wake Up’s “Forever Home” are like a warm nostalgia blanket recalling flannel shirts, cassette tapes and navel gazing. Even the softly sung, atonal vocals and the lightly tapped snares and cymbals evoke the period. Bands are doing a lot of delving into past styles these days, from roots Americana to soul to 80s synth, and while there’s great stuff to be had in all of those acts, it’s folks like this Florida four-piece that are playing with the mid-90s Matador Records sound that most pull my ear. Stephen Malkmus himself would be proud. Stream “Forever Home” below.

Wake Up’s “Forever Home” is the first track off the band’s four-track 7″ of the same name, out now.

STREAM: Wake Up – “Forever Home”

The Horrors – So Now You Know

About a month after we were first treated to the seven minute psychedelic epic “I See You,” the Horrors returned today with an excellent new single, “So Now You Know.” While the track is more upbeat and accessible than most work from Britain’s finest modern shoegaze act, “So Now You Know” is vintage Horrors, providing the bridge between 2011’s Skying and “I See You.” Complete with lead singer Faris Badwan’s trademark deep croon and a great synth riff from Tom Cowan, “So Now You Know” sounds like the lovechild of “You Said” from Skying and “How Soon is Now?” by the Smiths. The new single is danceable and almost fun, showing us a different side to the seemingly eternally depressed quintet.

While we had to wait three long years for a new album from the Horrors, the wait is almost over as Luminous comes out on May 5th via XL. If “I See You” and “So Now You Know” are any indication, Luminous will not be one to miss. Check out “So Now You Know” above.

Mac DeMarco – Brother

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Mac DeMarco is back with another single from his forthcoming album Salad Days. This one’s called “Brother” and it’s a slower take on the winning DeMarco formula. “Take it slowly, brother / Let it go now, brother,” Mac sings calmly over intricate, warm guitarwork and a funky bassline. It’s often on the slower songs that he is able to say some surprisingly insightful things. In this case it’s offering advice for the dreamers out there to not get lost in a 9 to 5 world. Mac DeMarco is not a 9 to 5 kind of guy — if that wasn’t obvious — and how can we resist? His goofy charm oozes out of the song whether it’s the expletive that opens it (an exasperated “Shit”) or the unabashedly loopy falsetto that ends it. If all work and no play makes Mac a dull boy, then no one needs to worry, slacking has never sounded better.

Listen to “Brother” below, and look out for Mac DeMarco’s Salad Daysout April 1st on Captured Tracks.

STREAM: Mac DeMarco – “Brother”

Real Estate – Crime

In their cheeky new video for “Crime,” Real Estate literally demonstrate how to play it. We are given a close-up of Matthew Mondanile and Martin Courtney’s guitars, as a strumming pattern with finger positions for each of their parts of the song goes by. It’s a fun, simple visual, and one that perfectly demonstrates the band’s commitment to playing solid, no-frills rock music. There’s no magic here, the notes are right in front of us, but the song is another earworm to add to their growing list. It’s fitting that Courtney and Mondanile should get their chance to shine alone here, as their intricate guitar work and warm tones have long been the heart and soul of the New Jersey jangle rock outfit. Watch the video for “Crime” above.

Real Estate’s new album Atlas will be available March 4th via Domino Records.

 

Spiritualized – Always Forgetting With You (The Bridge Song)

Spiritualized in Space

When I come across a track with a really expansive sound, laden with echo and a bit of fuzz that moves in large, sweeping, deliberate steps, I often condense all that into one word: spacey. Feeling empty and yet weighty at the same time; hollow yet infinite. All of that is certainly true of this track from the Brits in Spiritualized, but that’s not necessarily what I mean when I describe the song as spacey. I mean it’s using sounds that are actually from space.

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Introducing: Gold Spectacles

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Something is amiss, interwebs. Despite all the NSA snooping technology at our disposal, we just can’t figure out the identities of the two individuals behind Gold Spectacles. Their latest track “Steal You Away” begins with a delightful staccato-picked acoustic guitar riff and funky bass line, both of which lead into the sweet melodic vocals of some anonymous crooner. It’s pleasant to the point of hypnotism, giving you the same feeling you get when staring out a train window at the passing countryside. Give “Steal You Away” a listen below.

STREAM: Gold Spectacles – “Steal You Away”

Youth Lagoon – Worms

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Having avoided a sophomore slump with Wondrous Bughouse, Youth Lagoon seem poised for even more success going forward. New track “Worms” comes from an upcoming compilation on Lefse Records, and it provides a nice taste of what Trevor Powers might have in store for us. The song seems slightly darker in tone than many of their previous works, with the warped vocals and actual recordings from outer space giving it a psych-pop MGMT vibe. Distorted guitars and synths and a skipping drum beat provide support for a beautiful piano melody. It’s a definite evolution for the band as they manage to keep the important parts of their sound and still add elements that we haven’t heard before. It’s only January and Youth Lagoon are already impressing after a big 2013.

Check out “Worms” below and watch out for the Lefse Records Space Project compilation

STREAM: Youth Lagoon – “Worms”

Bibio – Down To The Sound

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English producer Bibio has cut his teeth on experimental compositions that tend towards the electronic. With “Down To The Sound,” he shows his proclivity for acoustic work as well. Make no mistake, the complexity is still present as the guitars layer and swirl in alternating staccato. Wilkinson sings a gentle melody over the strums that is at once calming and sad. This track is atmospheric and moody, but its emotional weight isn’t overwhelming. Bibio demonstrates his versatility with this lovely short piece, proving that he is just as adept at small statements as he is at grand ones.

Check out the song below and look for The Green EP, out January 27th.

STREAM: Bibio – “Down To The Sound”

Blood Cultures – Mercury Child

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It’s been four months since mysterious New Jersey based Blood Cultures released his (their?) debut track “Indian Summer.” For anyone who heard that sleek, booming production, it’s been four months of distinct anticipation. New song “Mercury Child” is along the same lines; it’s awash in synths humming and jumping over a heavy drumbeat and thick bassline. The vocals are dreamy and delicate, recalling Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo, or maybe Jai Paul.

It’s difficult to find things with the power to surprise anymore, let alone to stay secret for more than a few months. This is pure musicianship. It doesn’t get much purer than a musician with no Facebook, no prior reputation and even no face giving us songs when he feels like it. If you found “Indian Summer” to be a delightful earworm, then “Mercury Child” will be another morsel to tide you over until his next release. Check it out below.

STREAM: Blood Cultures – “Mercury Child”

Introducing: Yon Yonson

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I compel you to listen to Yon Yonson‘s Hypomantra all in one go. This not a collection of singles; it is a collection of brief and astounding sounds snatched greedily off the shelves of music history and hastily, but deliberately, stitched together. The resulting pastiche mends the gaps between the duo’s disparate influences (which they attribute to “the internet” more than a specific genre) to form a Frankenstein that is very much alive.

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