The Kitchen Sink
Hey WHUS, it’s your faithful Assistant Music Director here wanting to fill you in on some hot tracks that you might have missed in these first two weeks of 2013. I’m planning on doing something like this every week/every two weeks of 2013, since great music can sometimes slip through the cracks of time and be forgotten forever! Not on my watch, WHUS. You can trust me with this one. So, to start off this new series, I have a few tracks that I’ve been bumping lately that I think you might like! Let’s check em out!
Anamanaguchi – Meow
Do you like to party? Do you like video games? Do you like radical riffage? Do you like cats? Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions, this song might be something for you. This song by the New York four-piece band Anamanaguchi is PACKED with insanely catchy chiptune infused riffs. Chiptune is a style of music made with retro gaming equipment to emulate the sounds made on the old consoles for nostalgic effect as well as sounding really cool. The song is action packed, filled with an ultra-melodic chorus, thundering drums, sugared up guitars and the overwhelming feeling of FUN. Check it out!
Beach Fossils – Crashed Out
This jangly, dream pop band is set to release their second full length album, “Clash the Truth” this year, and I’m pretty sure they’re looking forward to some bigger buzz surrounding this project. Last year, a side project off of Beach Fossils, a band called DIIV, became one of the biggest bands of 2012 with their extremely catchy hooks and bleary production. This album by Beach Fossils follows that same blueprint as their friends DIIV, which includes repetitive melodies, simple guitar melodies, driving melodies, washed out vocals and a sense of carelessness. If you enjoyed DIIV last year, you’re going to enjoy Beach Fossils this year!
ECO VIRTUAL – Cumulus Fractus
This instrumental piece of music by the “weatherwave” artist ECO VIRTUAL is off of their debut album, VIRTUAL?????. Now if you’re confused about the song title, the album name and artist moniker, don’t be alarmed. I am as well. ECO VIRTUAL is an artist that has been part of the recent trend of “vaporwave” or in this case “weatherwave” music, which is thought to be a parody on the massive consumer culture of the world and the obsession with rising forms of technology. The music itself usually consists of slowed down RnB songs from the 90’s, paired with cloudy instrumentals that sound like they would be included in an infomercial or in some “executive lounge.” It’s a strange concept indeed but it’s an interesting one to think about.
This album, however, is more focused on music that is usually set to radar views of weather, which is music that we hear almost every day but we don’t really think about. It’s relaxing, carefree, and made to make your morning as bright as the sky. The music usually consists of slowed down saxophones, a nice synthesized beat, and some stitched in vocal samples. This song, Cumulus Fractus, is my favorite off the album since it has the most interesting sounding beat as well as being the “grooviest” off of the album. Sure it’s a weird idea but it’s a pretty luxurious listen if you get into it.
Foxygen – Oh No 2
This song by the hot, up and coming group Foxygen, is the closing track on their upcoming LP “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic” and it effectively wraps up the style that the LP was going for in around 5:30. The band follows the sound of legendary groups and singer-songwriters from the 60’s and 70’s. Listening to this group definitely brings to mind Dylan, The Velvet Underground and at times Elton John. But newer groups also come to mind as well, MGMT (Congratulations era) and sometimes Portugal the Man vibes come off. Needless to say after all those comparisons, but this song is SWEET. There’s a HUGE build up with strings and rollicking piano while the singer chants “OH NO,” which really reminds me of old rock from artists I previously mentioned. The other songs on the album have a more Dylan/VU sense to them and they’re definitely worth checking out.
Grouper – Living Room
Grouper is the moniker of singer-songwriter Liz Harris, who makes dark, at times ambient music that usually is pretty bleak musically and lyrically. On this song, her voice and guitar echo off into space, making the soundscape for the song literally endless. The song is comprised of Harris’ lonely, plucked guitar, her melancholy voice and a dusting, drone of static, probably to emulate rain or rustling leaves. It’d be something else if it were just her voice and guitar but the addition of that lo-fi noise puts a whole new spin on the track, making it starker and more lifeless, even though the vocals and guitar may be beautiful. Her album she put out this year, “The Man That Died In His Boat” is probably my favorite of this year so far, and so I highly recommend listening to this.
Merchandise – Anxiety’s Door
Merchandise is a band I’ve been pretty hyped about for the past few months and I feel like I have pretty good reason to be. They’re all parts of hardcore outfits from the Tampa, FL area and they make stellar new wave/post punk music that’s soaked with romanticism and fleeting nostalgia. This song in particular is one of the bands greatest, keeping the listener interested for it’s almost seven minute length by supplying them with a catchy guitar line, an anthemic chorus, a guitar solo, and an really sweet melody. If you like Merchandise’s record they released last year, “Children of Desire,” you’ll love this.
Toro Y Moi – Say That
Chillwave pioneer Toro Y Moi has a new album coming out soon called “Anything in Return” where he makes “music his girlfriend would like to listen to.” This would be Top 40 pop music, he later elaborated, which gave me an uneasy feeling about how this album would turn out. However, my quells were put to rest after I heard this song, since it’s a brilliant blend of chillwave styles and Top 40 dance sensibilities. The beat takes a lot of strains from Chaz Bundick’s instrumental side project, Les Sins, in that it’s ultra groovy and danceable. It’s poppy but not totally self-indulgent like most Top 40 pop radio music is. Excellent!
Yo La Tengo – Ohm
Some indie rock legends have returned to the scene with a new album for 2012 entitled “Fade,” which should be added to the library in the next few weeks. This song is catchy, simple and classic Yo La Tengo. Laidback and chilled out but with a sweet guitar solo in the middle.
Youth Lagoon – Dropla
Youth Lagoon’s 2011 debut album “Hibernation” was one of my all-time favorites of that year and it’s still resonating with me today. The whole album was filled with this sense of innocent wonder that was created by Trevor Powers’ unique, reverbed voice with plinking pianos sounded like a soundtrack to a little kid climbing through the wilderness discovery the pure beauty of nature. This first song he’s put out this year from his upcoming LP fittingly titled “Wondrous Bughouse” is in the same vein as his previous works, only it does sound like Powers has matured- his voice is no longer floating in a massive soundscape and there’s a more defined percussion section. It’s a great song that’s wracked with emotion and strangely inspiring. There’s woozy keyboard, a driving melody and percussion and strings. It’s quaint yet epic at the same time. How about that!