Friday, August 30, 2013

Listening Habits 06-08.13: The Summer Collection

We’re expecting quite a few highly anticipated new releases between now and September (from Factory Floor, Julia Holter, Julie Ruin, Sebadoh, to name a few names), but before we start dealing with the exciting proposals of early fall, let’s have a look and another listen to the best albums and songs that made the summer months just a bit cooler. 

"More Light", Primal Scream’s tenth studio album, comes five years after their last effort (2008’s "Beautiful Future") and it is undoubtedly their most accomplished work since the early '00s period, when the band hit a creative peak with "XTRMNTR" and "Evil Heat". The long gestation period gave Primal Scream the chance to regroup and replenish their creative energy, giving "More Light" an urgency and passion that is truly remarkable. Three decades down the road, this Primal Scream sounds louder and more necessary than ever - a voice of dissent for all of us, the 21st century slaves!

"Trouble Will Find Me", The National’s follow up to "High Violet", their top work in my opinion, might lack the highs of their previous effort (no new song has the immediate punch of "Bloodbuzz Ohio", for example), but, given time, it proves to be just as addictive, creating a melancholic atmosphere that slowly but surely draws you in and keeps you under its spell. I’m expecting it to be an even better listen for the autumn months ahead.

Our summer Top 5 also includes "Cerulean Salt", Katie Crutchfield’s sophomore work as Waxahatchee, a lo-fi gem that follows in the footsteps of '90s songwriters like Liz Phair or Cat Power,  "Personal Record", the excellent second solo effort by Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces, who goes even further back, to her '70s pop idols, to find inspiration, and "Wakin' On A Pretty Daze", the melodic guitar epic by Kurt Vile. Here are the lists with all of our favorites for this summer:

Top 16 Albums

1.   More Light - PRIMAL SCREAM
2.   Trouble Will Find Me - THE NATIONAL
3.   Cerulean Salt - WAXAHATCHEE
4.   Personal Record - ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER
5.   Wakin On A Pretty Daze - KURT VILE
6.   Ghost On Ghost - IRON AND WINE
7.   Strange Pleasures - STILL CORNERS
8.   Desire Lines - CAMERA OBSCURA
9.   …Like Clockwork - QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
10. Modern Vampires Of The City - VAMPIRE WEEKEND
11. Vanishing Point - MUDHONEY
12. Run The Jewels - RUN THE JEWELS
13. Yeezus - KANYE WEST
14. Olympia - AUSTRA
15. Monomania - DEERHUNTER
16. Hard Coming Down - GUN OUTFIT

Top 20 Tracks

1.   Culturecide - PRIMAL SCREAM
2.   Stare at the Sun - ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER
3.   Coast to Coast - WAXAHATCHEE
4.   Tiger Tank - SPEEDY ORTIZ
5.   Don’t Swallow the Cap - THE NATIONAL
6.   The Trip - STILL CORNERS
7.   Do It Again - CAMERA OBSCURA
8.   Diane Young - VAMPIRE WEEKEND
9.   My God Is the Sun - QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
10. Black Skinhead - KANYE WEST
11. Home - AUSTRA
12. Low Light Buddy of Mine - IRON AND WINE
13. Wakin On a Pretty Day - KURT VILE
14. The Missing - DEERHUNTER
15. Family - HANNI EL KHATIB
16. I Like It Small - MUDHONEY
17. Flyin Low, Maria - GUN OUTFIT
18. Dreambuilding - GOAT
20. Astral Projection - LAWRENCE LINDELL

Primal Scream - Culturecide (studio session)

mp3 links via KEXP blog, Stereogum and Sub Pop (right click to download). You can get a free download of the Run The Jewels album, a collaboration between EL-P and Killer Mike, via the Fool's Gold site.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Killer Tracks... Now & Then edition: Speedy Ortiz vs. Helium

I don't know why, but it seems that most of the exciting, new music I'm discovering lately shares a strong bond with some of my '90s obsessions. So, after our recent Waxahatchee vs. Liz Phair friendly "showdown", here's another one: Speedy Ortiz vs. Helium!

Northampton, Massachusetts indie rockers Speedy Ortiz have been recently gaining rave reviews for their debut album "Major Arcana", and rightly so. Their sound brings together some of the finer elements of '80s and '90s guitar rock, drawing inspiration from the likes of Pavement, Sebadoh, Liz Phair and, of course, fellow Massachusetts rockers Helium, whose beloved 1995 single "Pat's Trick" was one of the first tunes to pop into my head while listening to Speedy Ortiz's excellent "Tiger Tank", the first single off their album.

You can download a free mp3 of "Tiger Tank" here, while below we have the official videos for the two singles that may have an 18 year gap between them, but they do share the same adventurous, noise-pop spirit:

Speedy Ortiz - Tiger Tank

Helium - Pat's Trick

For a deeper insight into Speedy Ortiz's influences, here's a tribute mixtape they've made to the Massachusetts scene, with songs ranging from 1966 to 2012 from their local heroes that include Folk Implosion, Sebadoh, Swirlies, Come, Blake Babies, Helium and many more (including Bell Biv Devoe!):

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Jams

After a necessary summer break, it's time to restart our engines and get back into the groove of new music. Although it's been a month since our last post here, we've been transmitting our latest findings via our Facebook page and twitter feed, but I think it's useful to collect the best of them in our first post for August. So, scroll down, hit play and enjoy eleven of Cool Music Central's favorite new jams and videos for Summer 2013:

Eleanor Friedberger - Stare at the Sun

Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces is back with her excellent second "Personal Record" and "Stare at the Sun" is a perfect pop tune for the summer, or any season really.

The Julie Ruin - Oh Come On

Great news to hear that Kathleen Hanna is in fine health and back in action with The Julie Ruin. The new album "Run Fast" is out at the beginning of September.

Sebadoh - I Will

'90s indie rock continues to strike back and finally, after 14 years, Sebadoh have a brand new record out on September 16; "Defend Yourself" is its title and "I Will" the first single.

Frankie Rose - Sorrow

A beautiful new tune from Frankie Rose and her forthcoming LP "Herein Wild", out September 24. September is looking good to me already!

Julia Holter - In The Green Wild

This one will be out much sooner, though... "Loud City Song", the new album by Julia Holter, is out next week and "In The Green Wild" is one of her best songs yet; Kate Bush meets Laurie Anderson in the Garden of Pop Delights!

Factory Floor - Turn It Up

Highly anticipated is an understatement in this case. The self-titled Factory Floor LP is finally coming out September 9 and suffice to say everything we've heard so far sounds amazing. So "Turn It Up" and just wait a few more weeks...

AlunaGeorge - You Know You Like It

"Body Music", the debut album by AlunaGeorge, delivers some of the best pop tunes of the year and "You Know You Like It" is most certainly one of them.

Yo La Tengo - Is That Enough

And here is something for music and math equation fans... 

Psychic Ills - See You There

They live among us, indeed. Here's the Psychic Ills' testimony...

Pop. 1280 - Human Probe

Frightening new stuff by Pop. 1280, available to listen and download as a free mp3. Their sophomore record "Imps of Perversion" (out now) is produced by Martin Bisi whose credits include Sonic Youth and Swans.

Major Leagues - Endless Drain

I don't know if the Brisbane, Australia, garage pop four-piece Major Leagues took its name from the excellent Pavement tune (I'd like to think so), but their very summery new single "Endless Drain" is so fine that I could certainly imagine a new band, a few years from now, naming themselves after this track. Let's just wait and see...

And finally, as a "bonus track", stream below one of the albums of the month (and, undoubtedly, the year), No Age's "An Object":