Saturday, May 21, 2011

Future Islands - In Evening Air

So I've been meaning to write about this album for a while and finally got around to it. For the last couple months I have been listening to this album like a Christian rocker listens to Creed.

As classified by the all-knowing Wikipedia machine, Future Islands is a Post-Wave band. I think Post-Wave is pretty spot on, but if I were to describe them in a little more depth I would say that Future Islands reminds me of the Postal Service's "Give Up" without Ben Gibbard's whining vocals and replacing them with Tom Waits. The trio is led by front-man Sam Herring, with J. Gerrit Welmers and William Cashion behind him.

The album is all about breaking-up and that is what helps make this an amazing album. In many of the songs Herring starts of in a soft tone, letting the rhythm of the base and drum kit and the melody of the synthesizer build the song until his vocals suddenly explode with emotion. The first song I ever heard from Future Islands was "Tin Man", and it was certainly one of those moments where I wonder what the hell is wrong with the music industry. While "Boom Boom Pow" is everywhere to be heard, I had to navigate through the deep catacombs of blog tombs to find this treasure.

After listening to "Tin Man" 20 times I decided to try there other songs and was not disappointed. "In Evening Air" holds three more gems in the opening track "Walking Through That Door", "Long Flight", and my favorite "Vireo's Eye". Enjoy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oddisee - Traveling Man

Much of the new music I come across is is thanks to online streaming sites such as MOG and Pandora. Finding Oddisee via MOG was no exception. Hailing from Washington D.C. Oddisee already has quite a few albums and mixes under his belt and is starting to work with artists all over the world to expand his production capabilities. Needless to say that he is a fresh take on hip-hop production bringing in a new era of hip-hop similar to how J-Dilla did last decade.

His album Traveling Man is a collection of instrumental tracks that stand alone as being incredible to listen to. Sounds weird having an instrumental hip-hop album that would be fun to listen to since lyrics are and integral part of hip-hop music, but Oddisee does an incredible job of keeping the listener occupied and entertained throughout the 24 track album. Most of the tracks are short coming in at less than 2 minutes, but this doesn't matter because the album flows together quite nicely and is meant to be listened to from start to finish.

Interesting interview to see how Oddisee views the music industry and where he is going from here.

I would almost consider it blasphemy to give only a few tracks from the album since the entire thing is spectacular, but I'm going to choose a few of my favorites to show examples of how varied and different the songs are.

Just do yourself a favor and get it.


Miami - Oddisee - Traveling Man by ak27

Oddisee: Inglewood by rufus_k

San Fran - Oddisee - Traveling Man by ak27

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thecontrollersphere - of Montreal

Usually seen as being ultra progressive and avant-guarde of Montreal takes it to another level on their recent EP Thecontrollersphere. Made up of songs that were written and recorded for False Priest, but eventually left out Thecontrollersphere fits easily in place with its predecessor. Chiming in at only five tracks it still is a force, with tracks ranging from classic of Montreal dance tunes such as "L'age D'or" to straight eerie dark tunes as the opening track "Black Lion Massacre."

My absolute favorite track on the entire EP though is the lengthy tune "Holiday Call." Religious and sexual metaphors lace the entire song as is usual for many of of Montreal's tracks. Thumping bass and highly sampled dance drum machines are ever present driving the song from start to finish. Some of the other bizarre parts throughout the song would include the strange bridge occurring about halfway through, which contains a riveting Middle Eastern breakdown complete with a vibrant string section and psychedelic lyrics. "Holiday Call" ends with a very soothing piano coda, which ends the stress and brings closure to the entire song.

I've always loved of Montreal for their ability to push the limits of what is considered Pop music. Having commercial success it would be easy for of Montreal to put out conservative records that could appeal to larger audiences, but as most of Montreal fans know this isn't their style. Instead they choose to go the Frank Zappa and David Bowie route in pushing the envelope for what is tasteful and appropriate in music, where in a modern day auto-tune and simplicity rule. 

of Montreal - "L'age D'or" from "thecontrollersphere" by YiN Magazine

Of Montreal - Holiday Call by miojoindie

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Addition to SFDownbeat: The Bear

Okay. I am the new member of the SFDownbeat and hereby making this blog a team effort. This being my first post I just want to share a few songs that I am currently listening to. For our two followers, and anyone else who stumbles onto this page, I hope you enjoy.

The first track is by a band that I am very fond of at the moment, Future Islands. I will probably write a post about their album, In Evening Air in my next post.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tuesday Night Boogaloo at Madrone's Art Bar

Seriously, this is the best thing on Tuesday nights. Only $2 for hours of high level entertainment. All the players are top notch and it's a dance party all night! Be there!


Julian Casablancas or better known as the mastermind behind the ultra hit band "The Strokes" has finally decided to loosen his grip on the creative design of their new album "Angles." Casablancas has been known as a perfectionist and for this reason their first three albums sound more or less similar, this is not the same for Angles.

Their first three albums were critically acclaimed for defining a sound to a new generation of indie artists, though their third album "First Impressions of Earth" was not so popular amongst critics. Casablancas was known for writing and insisting on certain ways passages were played ala Prince. Casablancas deciding to let the musicians assist in writing the parts the album gives the album a different feel though it still sounds like The Strokes. Drum machines and synthesizers gives Angles a more produced and tight feel as opposed to the pure raw garage sound of their earlier albums.

Fans of The Strokes might not see it as a pure Strokes album, but non-the-less will still enjoy the songs and feel a sense of satisfaction. For people who have been under a rock for the last 10 years this is a great introduction to the band.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Instant Vintage

Much can already be said about Raphael Saadiq even before he decided to release his first solo record in 2004. Principle songwriter and musician of Tony! Toni! Toné! Saadiq already enjoyed mainstream success in the popular new jack swing genre of the early 90's, which combined elements of pop, funk, swing and soul. After the parting of Tony! Toni! Toné! Saadiq wrote for different artists such as D'Angelo, John Legend, TLC and Joss Stone. Paving the way for up and coming genre of Neo-Soul.

Instant Vintage hits on a more gospel dance sound, featuring heavy hits where he uses over emphasized bass lines along with heavy drum beats. A couple of the stand out tracks include "Body Parts" and "Doing What I can" featuring Angie Stone.