If you’re into the local Columbus music scene you’ve most definitely moved and grooved to the sweet sounds of Way Yes by now. If you’re not I promise it won’t be long til these dudes enter your music radar. Way Yes produces an incredibly unique and cheerful sound that would be the perfect soundtrack if hipsters were into Hawaiian luaus. Having recently just signed with Neon Indian’s label “Lefse”, Way Yes is about to drop it like it’s hot (in March when their full length album debuts). In the meantime we have this super fun single “Orajundio” which you can snag now on iTunes. The single features a song called “Automail”, is it a good time? Way Yes!
The video displays an intense frog race (which is kind of ironic since everyone says the band’s vocals sound like Kermit the Frog is singing). The footage and song demonstrate the band’s goofy and joyful personality that will always leave you with a smirk on your face and dancing shoes on your feet. Look for their first full length album to drop later this year and catch them play later this month at Carabar Jan 28th.
In this new RadCulture feature I will be showcasing some of the hottest artists to check out on the Hype Machine. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a neato site that aggregates the top songs being blogged. It’s essentially Pandora organized by popularity, except like being lame like Pandora which just has itunes copies, Hypem has really awesome remixes and rarities.
RAC is Andre Allen Anjos from Portland, OR who started his remixing career by doing a series of “Nintendo vs. Sega” remixes. Turns out video games can get you laid and famous. RAC has created some of the most fun remixes I’ve ever heard. It’s like he takes your favorite songs by popular indie artists and gives them a 5 hour energy shot so they are ready to party. He’s used his magic remix finger on some of my favorite groups including: Bloc Party, Tokyo Police Club, Ra Ra Riot, Chromeo, Delorean, The Temper Trap, Washed Out, and Phoenix. . Listen to his Hypem playlist and let me know how long is takes til you’re shakin’ your tush.
2011 was no doubt the best year of my life and there’s no way in hell I’m not going out dancing. Australian electro pop band, Cut Copy, have come quite a long way since their last album in 2008 In Ghost Colours. If you haven’t heard that album, then I definitely suggest you add it to your new years resolution list because it’s hands down one of the best electronic albums I’ve ever heard and the golden child of the genre. Fast-forward to 2011 and the band releases it’s mega anticipated 3rd LP Zonoscope.
Making Pitchfork’s best new music and recently nominated for a Grammy for best dance/ectronica album, Zonoscope most certainly quenches my Cut Copy electro-thirst. It would be hard to compete with the triumph that was In Ghost Clouors, so to avoid that Cut Copy moves to a more poppy sound, which with the fame the band has garnered in the past few years makes sense.
The album as a whole really shines, with each song having it’s own theme, depth, and rhythm. Each song has so much to offer that it will give you something new to find every time you listen. It’s like the whole thing is one big dance party, with each song being it’s own move, and by the time the dance is over you can do nothing except have a sweaty shirt and big smirk on your face.
Songs like “Take Me Over” are just a good time with fun lyrics and electro beats that will have you arm swaying and butt bumping with the person next to you. “Need You Now” is the bands more epic moment where it uses the first 4 minutes to build to one of the best dance breaks I’ve heard this year.
Another thing Zonoscope does exceptionally well is its placement of choruses. “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution” and “This Is All We’ve Got”s choruses may take a couple minutes but it’s no question they are worth the wait.
Zonoscope may show Cut Copy’s more trendy side, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t forgotten their roots. “Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat” sounds like it was picked off In Ghost Colours and the experimental 15 minute “Sun God” is as epic as the album cover itself.
Since ’07 Cut Copy has always had a name for itself but it’s 2011 that reintroduces these guys and sets the stage for them to reach new heights in the electronic genre.
Are you pissed that I picked this is my number one album of 2011? Well, before you start kicking and screaming listen to “Need You Now” at midnight. When the song breaks at 3:24 tell me you don’t feel like doing a backflip as the ball drops.
Thank god for that bitch Emma dumping Justin Vernon or we wouldn’t have the Bon Iver we know and love today. Bon Iver, meaning having a “good winter”, is one of the best names symbolizing a band’s origin that I can think of. After the breakup of his previous band and full of heartache, Vernon secluded himself in a cabin in northern Wisconsin for 3 months and purged all his pain into song. Out popped one of the most emotional albums of the decade, For Emma, Forever Ago.
Knowing all this background, Bon Iver’s second album was a tad anticipated for me. I think the self-titled Bon Iver is an appropriate progression for Vernon. Now that he has had time to heal all his wounds, it was time for us to get to know Bon Iver on a good day, and Bon Iver does just that. One thing you will quickly notice is the lack of the heart wrenching emotion in Vernon’s voice. However, while the vocals may not be dripping with sorrow like before, they make up in sound and production quality.
The various instruments flow like water in a stream alongside Vernon’s smooth voice creating an experience that is as surreal as is relaxing. Or in Rosie O’Donnell’s case “good for cooking.” More interesting are the song titles on Bon Iver. Each Is a place so by the time we’re ready to slow dance to the 80’s beats of “Beth/Rest” we can reflect on the journey we just took.
The songs themselves allow you to provide your own vivid imagery, however Bon Iver thought he would help us out and provide it for us. In November Vernon released a deluxe version of Bon Iver, which included video accompaniments for each song. They are beautifully shot, each having their own theme and choreographed to the beat.
“Wash.”s video shows the perspective of someone’s visit to the beach. With the waves dancing around the sand perfectly in tune with the song’s entrancing piano notes and captivating violin.
The videos really shine for the album’s best song: “Holocene”. The video is Bon Iver’s tip of his hat. It harps back to his winter roots and reminds us why we fell in love with this grizzly looking dude to begin with.
What I love about Vernon as an artist is his interest on being an excellent music writer without any interest in fame. After several Grammy nominations (which there’s no doubt he will win many), while most artists would be doing backflips, Vernon didn’t see what the big deal was about. When he was alone in his log cabin I’m sure his fame today would be beyond his imagination, but I’m also sure he wouldn’t care either.
“…at once I knew I was not magnificent
Hulled far from the highway aisle
Jagged vacance, thick with ice
I could see for miles, miles, miles”
Now that we have gotten to know Vernon’s happy side I’m very much looking forward to what he has planned next…other than his upcoming work out video. (LOL!) After Justin Vernon’s interview is anyone else thinking “this is the dude who created Bon Iver???”
Sorry for the delay on today’s post and the site being down for a little while. Radculture.com was undergoing some maintenance to make it more rad.
Back in 2008 Fleet Foxes showed me folk could be cool thanks to their self-titled album. “White Winter Hymnal” allowed hipster men to show women their “sensitive side”, and to this day is my personal musical reminder that it’s the holiday season. Robin Pecknold’s voice is incredibly unique in that it creates vocal harmonies that almost sound like it is its own instrument. It’s super smooth and has an ability to be really loud without overpowering the background sounds.
The sound that Fleet Foxes creates is unlike anything I’ve heard before. Let’s just say if hipster were into LARPing they would have a ball with this stuff. Helplessness Blues is the perfect maturation for the band’s sound. The album is a tad slower and maybe a little less catchy than their previous self-titled, but where it lacks some of those more upbeat moments, it makes up with immense polish and refined vocals.
One thing Fleet Foxes does well it their lyrical messages match perfectly well with the tone of the songs. Lyrics concerning nature’s finer moments and what it means to be human accompany the instrumentals with immense fluidity. The albums self-titled song “Helplessness Blues” is the albums most complex, and also the most emotional. The song has this amazing slow intro that finishes with Pecknold’s smooth, loud bellows. In the songs 2nd half offers its own experience and message fits perfectly within Fleet Fox’s complex. “If I had an orchard, I’d work til I’m sore.”
“Lorelai” is another great moment for the album. I feel like this song would fit well with laying on a hammock overlooking some grand lake, swaying perfectly in tune to the songs lofty guitar and vocals.
The albums best song: “Grown Ocean” on first listen instantaneously made me think what a perfect companion it would be to some out west road trip. The song came full circle for me this past summer when I was in Israel. We were driving in the Northern Golan Heights. I woke up from my nap coincidently when this song came on, I looked out my window and saw the endless sprawling mountains of Israel. The smirk that came upon my face is one that I will never forget. It’s music like Fleet Foxes that carries that special sound that allows each moment to work as well as a time capsule reminder as much as a song when it’s heard again.
Albums like Take Care serve as a reminder of why I still care about rap. I struggle to find the proper times in my life that I actually want to listen to recent rap songs these days other than bumping and grinding in the Cantina dance cave. However, once in a while an album that bleeds creativity like Take Care come along. I think the biggest problem with rappers today is their need to over-release music, but Drake has established that when it’s time for something to say, the world will stop to listen. His last album Thank Me Later informed us that Drake is special (other than being a Jewish Canadian rapper who played a disabled character on Degrassi) and has set a new class standard for modern rappers.
Songs like “Over my Dead Body” quickly highlight the level of class, fluidity and production value that Take Care has to offer. Similar to Kanye’s abilities, Drake samples beats that separate his music from most generic rap. His lyrics also highlight this new rap standard. Songs like “Make Me Proud” featuring Nikki Minaj serve as a modern day anthem for support of independent woman. Drake may have money, but like most people, cares more about human connection, something that Take Care highlights with perfection.
The album also serves as a passing of the torch for Young Money Records where Drake has finally shown he doesn’t need his Weezy training wheels anymore. Not that I don’t like Lil Wayne’s contribution to the album, I felt the songs with him brought down the classiness that Take Care offers. Instead, I’m more excited about the future collaborations between Drake and The Weeknd that Take Care establishes. If Twitter had 2011 awards for “Tweet Best Friends of the Year”, @theweekndxo and drizzy@drake would def win.
Take Care also says a lot as Drake as an artist. The album leaked a week early and all Drake cared about is if people liked it. He was more concerned with the experience than the iTunes sales. Like many rap albums, Drake’s focus on Take Care is on how he has so much money he doesn’t know how to spend it, but the difference is this time we care. I am eager to hear what the next step for “the underground king” will be now that he has clearly taken the throne.
“People always ask how I got my nice things
Take my crown to the grave, I’m an underground king”
Columbus may have Jeni’s Ice Cream, but it’s also lucky enough to have local folk band, Saintseneca. Brought together, according to the band, by chance and friendship…Saintsenca is a heartfelt musical experience that is filled with incredible talent. The instrumental arrangements blend so well that the guitars, drums, stomps, and handclaps are as close as the band themselves. Lead singer Zac Little’s voice is as unique as it is contagious, leaving every song on Last with much to explore.
Last stands for more than the band’s first full length album, but a culmination of their journey thus far as a band and friends. It is also serves as farewell and musical diary to the members of the band whose longtime involvement ends with Last.
In interview found on Saintseneca’s Tumblr, Lead Singer Zac Little discusses the purpose of Last and the band’s steps forward:
“We wanted to make something that would in some way encapsulate the investment of friendship we all have in this. The record is a memento. Last as end, and endure. The band is by no means over, but we’ve definitely opened up to a new chapter.”
And of course when asked where else the band would live, he of course responds with:
“Somewhere with better weather that Ohio.” …Sigh
“What if I move to some other city
Some place that’s far, far away and strange
I’d never know you, I’d never knew you
That’s what I’m doing, grow up and embrace the change”
Must Listen: “Last”
#6. Washed Out- Within and Without
Washed Out is the 2nd chill wave album on our countdown, but a completely different experience than Neon Indian. Within and Without is a captivating and soothing experience that’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Lead singer, Ernest Greene, has this voice that weaves in and out of his beats incredibly smoothly, resulting in immensely tranquil musical arrangements.
It’s like the whole thing is just an ongoing epic, electronic montage thats sole purpose is to soundtrack all of our best 2011 moments. The video for “Amor Fati” is the perfect opportunity to whisk you away from a crappy place to an awesome one (for example the basement of the OSU Dental School). Every time I watch it, I feel a wave of nostalgia that reminds me of of road trips and spontaneous adventures that just give you that “feel good” sensation.
“Inside your voice resounds,
Your thoughts realign
Your words recall to mind
Your short sweet life”
Must Listen: “Amor Fati”
P.S. Happy Holidays!
Sorry for the delay on today’s post, but even Jews have stuff to do on Christmas. To apologize and celebrate some holiday cheer I have a present for everyone…Jonsi’s (from Sigur Ros) new music video “Gathering Stories.” Made for that movie with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson “We Bought a Zoo,” the video has incredible animation and shows the epic journey of a bad ass explorer who travels from ice, to sea, to sky. Oh and he makes some cool animal friends along the way and the song is fantastic.
What happens when the band who pretty much branded chillwave comes out with a 2nd album? Well, they redefine it. Their last album Psychic Chasms was an incredibly unique experience, but sometimes felt a little too chaotic for its own good. Era Extraña takes everything I liked about Neon Indian, and creates an entirely fresh, polished chillwave experience.
Incredibly catchy beats and choruses carry chillwave to a new level and made Era Extraña one of the most delectable albums of the Fall. Songs like “Polish Girl” are instant classics with it’s pumping electrobeats. “Hex Girlfriend” could easily be remembered in history as the first chillwave sing-a-long with a chorus so contagious your hipster-hating friend who just listen to The Red Hot Chili Peppers may even join. I think what I appreciate most about this album is its level of creativity. Songs like “Arcade Blues” sample classic video game bits, which may initially sound super weird, but works, and the whispering chorus of “Halogen (I Could Be A Shadow)” is as ominous as it is comforting.
Even more interesting is when I had the chance to see these guys play at the Ohio Hipster Headquarters: the Grog Shop in Cleveland. Dancing to this stuff should have its own name because it’s the perfect balance of fist pumping and bouncing that you just can’t do to any other type of music. I really am not sure I have heard anything quite like Era Extraña before, but I am bobbing in my seat just thinking about about future releases in the new genre of tunes it just unleashed.
I don’t think the definition of “indie pop” can get any clearer than with NYC based band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Another fantastic example of an amazing sophomore album, whenever I want to be in an exceptionally happy mood I put on Belong. Catchy guitar and lead vocals from Kip Berman about the pains of relationships provide an extremely fun-filled experience than is sure to have you tapping your foot. If Pitchfork had it’s own version of TRL, I can promise you this band’s music videos would be making hipster tweens swoon until it retired on the countdown.
Music videos don’t get any better than what the band did for “Heart in Your Heartbreak.” The guitar store owner doesn’t let them practice so they kidnap him, tape him to a chair, and have an epic concert and dance party around him. The asian girl in the glasses with the duct tape is def my new best friend.
I had the chance to see these guys at The Basement back in February and they were a blast. An incredible stage presence plus a massive dance party are enough to cure any heart pains. I had the chance to chat and have drinks with Kip after the show. His chill, super friendly personality and immense fan appreciation reminded me why I got into this genre to begin with.