17-year old UK Singer/Songwriter Birdy has released the official video for her new single “Wings”. The singer’s first original full-length album “Fire Within” will be released September of this year. Birdy rose to the spotlight in 2012 after her self-titled cover album appeared on numerous TV shows and movies, the most famous cover being “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver. She also collaborated with Mumford and Sons for “Learn Me Right” on the Brave Soundtrack. This young singer has potential and the years to grow into a well rounded musician. I guarantee you will be hearing more from Birdy later this year once her album drops. Until that time, watch her new video and listen to her self-titled cover album on Spotify.
I realize how incredibly late I am with this post, time got away from me, but now that I have a bit of free time I felt like I should finish this. I’ve compiled a list and a few short summaries of bands I found at SXSW and bands I knew previously that simply blew me away. Enjoy.
Robert Delong was fairly interesting and entirely random find from this years SXSW journey. I was standing in line waiting to pick up my wristband for the Spotify House when I heard a band playing in the backyard. I was far back enough in line to make out the band on stage and I noticed it was just one dude with a keyboard, drumset, gaming controllers, and facepaint. The second he started I was transfixed. DeLong made it a point to use every instrument on stage for every song. He jumped genres mid song ranging from what seemed like an emo powerpop track to Moobaton in seconds. My favorite part of the set was his use of analog gaming controls. DeLong uses a Wiimote and a joystick to distort his tracks, physically dropping the bass as he swings the Wiimote up and down. I was lucky enough to have seen Two Door Cinema Club a few weeks ago with a friend of mine and Robert DeLong was the opener for that show and this time I got to see him perform on a big stage with a longer set time. My friend pointed out DeLong’s professional drum training and I pointed out his just overall talent as a musician.
A few months ago I was browsing through Hype Machine checking out what new songs people were buzzing about. The number one track that week, and proceded to be for the month, was “The Mother We Share” by a band called Chvrches. From the second I hit play I was in love, the sound just felt so fresh and new to me. There is something just so clean about this band that I can’t get over. Crystal clear vocals, perfectly placed snares, and a melody far more complex than it leads on. Chvrches will be the buzz band of this years SXSW and I think it’s well deserved. The band is playing tons of parties but don’t let that fool you, these shows are bound to be packed.
Charli XCX made some nice waves at last year’s festival but she seems to be on top of the world this time around. A lot of the major parties I’ve been RSVPing to are featuring Charli XCX and she’s pretty high up on the list. Charli perfects pop music in my opinion and if you read my past post about her you know I can’t promote her enough. Charli XCX is playing free parties and SXSW showcases galore, you couldn’t miss her if you tried, which you shouldn’t.
I honestly just discovered this band this morning and instantly fell in love with the sound. The band is playing a free show with Passion Pit this year, it’s being put on by Taco Bell at the Hype Hotel so the show will definitely be packed (If you’re interested here’s the party RSVP). There is something oddly therapeutic about this, a feeling I often get when listening to Passion Pit on repeat. Wildcat! Wildcat! only has two songs (but isn’t that what makes them cool?) but I can tell their album could be great. They remind me of a nice mix between Passion Pit and Foster The People so hipsters beware, you may have found your new favorite band.
The Thermals are not in anyway a new or “buzz” band, they’ve been steadily rocking since 2003, but the band is playing a ton of shows at SXSW in preparation for their new album “Desperate Ground” releasing later this year. The first real social network/blogging site I used was a little site called Xanga, remember that gem, one of the first friends I met on that site introduced me to “How We Know” by The Thermals. The band has strong roots in punk rock but have that pleasant indie rock tone we all know and love so much.
The band is playing a free show with CHVRCHES at Red 7 this year, you won’t want to miss that show.
More people need to listen to this band! The Coathangers are an all girl punk band out of Atlanta Georgia. Their energy and power on stage is incredible. The type of show the band puts on is incredibly fun and I don’t think I could reccommend their live shows more. GO SEE THEM. They’re playing quite a few shows this year so check them out!
Caitlin Rose is one of my many Daytrotter discovers and she has yet to steer me wrong. I don’t listen to a lot of country music but Rose really hits a chord with me. Her songs are deeply personal and she doesn’t take shit, from anyone. Whether you’re a country fan or not give Rose a listen and make sure not to miss her at this years SXSW.
Check out her fantastic cover of Arctic Monkey’s “Piledriver Waltz”. This was released as an exclusive 7′ on Record Store Day last year.
A few months ago I was browsing through Hype Machine checking out what new songs people were buzzing about. The number one track that week, and proceded to be for the month, was “The Mother We Share” by an band called Chvrches. From the second I hit play I was in love, the sound just felt so fresh and new to me. There is something just so clean about this band that I can’t get over. Crystal clear vocals, perfectly placed snares, and a melody far more complex than it leads on.
Chvrches is an electro pop trio from Glasgow, Scotland. The band has garnered significant buzz without the help of any official release. BBC Radio 1 featured Chvrches on their Sound of 2013 segment, the band performed live in their studio playing three new tracks “The Mother We Share”, “Lies”, and “We Sink In”.
This morning Chvrches released the newest single off their up coming EP “Recover”. The song is absolutely beautiful and lives up to the hype this band has been drawing. Keep an eye out for the band’s debut record “Recover” 03/26/13 via Glassnote.
I put a lot of effort into this list and I think it really represents what I felt was a pretty great year for music. I tend to be a bit long winded in my posts I know but I just have so much to say! I chose these albums based on their composition as a whole, certain songs may have been better but these albums are perfect as a whole, and the amount I have listened to them. If you’re looking for new music or just curious about what was released this year I think this list summarizes it pretty well.
1. Kimbra – Vows
I’m not even sure where to begin. Like most people I first heard Kimbra when she sang guest vocals in Gotye’s “Somebody That I Use To Know”. I didn’t think much about it until early this year when “Vows” was released in the US. The album cover was cool and I remembered her from the song so I decided to give her record a shot. I was absolutely blown away, one song after the next, I loved it all. Her charisma and passion burst through every song giving them a life of their own. Vows is a collection of soul influenced pop songs with lyrics that draw from a very real and vulnerable place. “Withdraw” is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, it literally gave me chills at one point. In a very short time Kimbra has become one of my favorite musicians ever. This record can not be recommended enough, I honestly had to refrain from including any Kimbra songs in my “Best Songs” list or she would have filled the first three. “Vows” is hands down my absolute favorite, and most listened to, record of the year. Still not convinced? Watch This.
2. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Japandroids are a two piece indie rock band from Vancouver, B.C, Canada. The band’s latest release “Celebration Rock” sounds like an album Japandroids wrote specifically for their friends. It’s a compilation of rock songs written about good times, places they love, people they’ve known and is still completely relatable to your own life. “Younger Us” is my absolute favorite track off the album because it reminds me of my friends and the fun times I’ve had with them in my life, parties, triumphs, heartbreak and all. Another track I love on this album is “The House That Heaven Built”, the song just reminds me of my home in Houston where my friends and I spent countless hours in the backyard having the times of our lives just being in each other’s company. Celebration Rock is a powerhouse of a record with rock anthem after rock anthem, loud and in your face while still preaching a positive and relatable message. Celebration Rock snagged the number two spot because of it’s simplicity and the connection I feel with my own life.
3. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
SPIN Magazine’s album of the year, and a favorite of my own. It may be a big statement but I can honestly say that Frank Ocean is one of the greatest songwriter’s alive today. Every once in a way an artist comes along that just “gets it”. “Channel Orange” is a beautiful record that can evoke real emotion as Ocean takes you on a guide tour of his mind and heart. With angelic vocals and beats Kanye wishes he used on 808’s and heartbreaks, Channel Orange takes the number 3 spot.
4. Lifeformed – Dustforce OST
It’s not normal for a game soundtrack to make it’s way on to a best of list but this record is truly magical. On my study abroad in France this summer I had some trouble getting to sleep at night from what I assume were nerves of being in such an unfamiliar place. I would listen to Lifeformed’s “Fastfall” every night before I went to sleep. The record is just so relaxing and puts me in a calm state of mind where all stress and nerves just seem to wash away. The beauty of game soundtracks is that it is their job to whisk you away to another world and Fastfall does just that. Fastfall is a completely instrumental soundtrack created to back the game “Dustforce” a small indie platformer. Fastfall is a stand alone soundtrack that really exemplifies the beauty of electronic music and that is why it secures it’s spot as number 4.
5. Purity Ring – Shrines
6. Grimes – Visions
I’m not really sure what it is about Grimes but something just draws me to her music. Visions is not really the kind of album I would find myself enjoying but I do, again and again. There is something so dark yet angelic about her sound. I have trouble describing Grimes sound to people so I’ll leave the listening up to you. The reason I put Visions so high up on my list is because this is one of the few albums this year that actually lived up to its hype. A lot of times when a band gets as much press as Grimes did before their first release they album is a let down and the band falls to obscurity. The opposite happened to Grimes, Visions is everything it’s suppose to be and more. Grimes popularity sky rocketed this year it’s almost unbelievable. I saw her play a very small and very intimate show, probably 50 people could fit, at Lamberts in February this year, I saw her again this october at Emo’s East with over 10,000 other people. This is really a great album and if you’ve managed to miss the Grimes bandwagon I’d say now is a good of time as any.
Jack White really impressed me with solo debut “Blunderbuss”. I have always liked and respected Jack White as a musician and I think The White Stripes were a defining band of our generation. My doubt strings from his work in previous side projects like The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. I thought the bands singles were great but I never really connected with anything past that. In my opinion “Blunderbuss” is some of the greatest work White’s ever done. The record is heavily influenced by his work in The White Stripes and adorned by the skills he’s picked up over the years. The first half of the record could all be single if he so well chooses, I’m sure he will, It’s a fantastic record that I think any rock fan would enjoy.
8. The Shins – Port Of Morrow
It’s the Shins. What more can I say.
9. Reptar – Body Faucet
Reptar was quite possibly one of the best finds ever. My old roommate and I were walking around ACL aimlessly one morning and stumbled upon this show. They completely blew me away and I hope they do the same for you.
10. Sleigh Bells – Reign Of Terror
Alexis Krauss is the girl of my dreams. Just incase you still don’t know, the dynamic duo is comprised of singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist (ex-Poison The Well) Derek Miller. The two met at a diner in July 2008, Miller was working at the diner actively searching for a female vocalist for his new project. After hearing about his project Krauss’s mother quickly volunteered her. I’ve been a huge fan of Sleigh Bells since I first heard Treats a years ago. Their sound was so new and so raw I couldn’t get enough. Sleigh Bells are an interesting mix of Rock rifts and Poppy dream vocals, taking noise pop to a stadium size level. This album doesn’t quite live up to the hype of Treats but that is by no means a bad thing. Sleigh Bells are one of the most fun bands in the industry right now and their live show is no to be missed.
11. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon
12. Dum Dum Girls – End Of Daze
13. The Weeknd – The Trilogy
14. Best Coast – The Only Place
15. The Lumineers – The Lumineers
16. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist
This record took me by, pleasant, surprise this year. I remember first hearing Macklemore YEARS ago back on MySpace when he made the song “Welcome To MySpace”. As awful as that song was I did really like the way he rapped. The Heist was released this year with a lot of hype and when I realized who it was I almost laughed out loud. I couldn’t have been more wrong about it, this album is fantastic. Macklemore has been through a lot since 2004 and that is reflected in his music, some songs are fun and dumb while others are truly from the heart. If you haven’t heard this album yet I suggest giving it a shot. Macklemore’s vocals tied in with Ryan Lewis’ beats make for a duo not to be messed with.
17. Chairlift – Something
18. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
19. Passion Pit – Gossamer
20. Crystal Castle – (III)
Crystal Castles are an acquired taste. The band is defined as experimental electronic and it’s plain to see why, the noises are loud gut wrenching at points but just full of so much energy. I had the chance to see them perform at this years Austin City Limits Music Festival and the energy Alice Glass has on stage is unmatched. I can see why a lot of people would not like this but if you like crystal castles you love crystal castles. This album is the weakest album they’ve done to date but considering it still made my list shows how much I like this band.
Honorable Mention: Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
Even though I didn’t include it in the list I had to at least mention this fantastic album. I didn’t include it in the list because I only just started listening to it. I haven’t had the same amount of time with this record as I have with the others. If I were to judge this record after a week of listening my opinion would be distorted so I decided to not count it in the running. That being said, THIS ALBUM IS GREAT. This is the first time I’ve listened to Kendrick Lamar, after constant recommendations, and I can’t get enough. Good Kid MAAD City is a concept album about what I assume is Kendrick’s life growing up in Compton. There is just something really different about this record that I like. The songs are all different styles but still keep a constant theme. Good Kid MAAD City is a fresh record in the ever staling rap industry. Check it out.
It’s that time of year again when all the music sites post their favorite albums of the year. I missed posting a list last year out of sheer laziness and ended up regretting it. I love music and I started this blog to share with people what I like and what I think people would enjoy. I will be posting my top albums of 2012 list laster on tonight but I wanted to share my favorite songs of the year first. A list of the best songs is really critical because sometimes an album may not make the charts but that one hit is on constant repeat. Another problem that arises is a lot of these bands may not have a full length out yet. I put some thought into these choice so I hope you enjoy.
1. Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built
2. Star Slinger – Chain Dumbin’ (Feat. Juicy J, Project Pat, & Reggie B)