True fans of music spend countless hours searching for that next great song, album or artist, whether it be online or in a local record shop. The beautiful thing about music in today's age is that technology has created an infinite supply of great music that is available to us at the click of a mouse. How perfect is that? We can discover a brand new artist on the opposite side of the globe in seconds without a radio or a music television channel. It only makes sense that a website so dedicated to this gorgeous universe of music would want to celebrate the greatness and share it with anyone who is looking.
My name is Eric (Connecticutter), and I am your host of Straight from the Teet, where I will delve into 7 new albums per week and let you know which tracks I loved from the albums I listened to. I hope that my exploration through this never-ending sea of music will help satisfy that hunger for the brand new tracks you have been seeking.
The 7 albums I listened to last week:
MONDAY: School Of Seven Bells - Ghostory
TUESDAY: The New Law - The Fifty Year Storm
WEDNESDAY: Grimes - Visions
THURSDAY: Flow Trio - Tidal
FRIDAY: Milo - Milo Takes Baths
SATURDAY: My Best Friend - In Ghostlike Fading
SUNDAY: First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
School Of Seven Bells - Ghostory:
After releasing Disconnect From Desire in 2010, School Of Seven Bells quietly became one of my favorite bands of the current time. The band just had these terrific combinations of shoegaze, dream pop, post rock and not to mention these celestial vocals from Alejandra Deheza. How could you not like a band that's named after a mythical school located in South America that teaches it's students pick pocketing? The band formed in 2007 with guitarist and electronics musician Benjamin Curtis at the helm while twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza added a specific kind of quality that separated them from other dream pop bands. Claudia though, left the band in late 2010 because of "personal reasons" and the band was forced to continue as just a duo. On their brand new LP Ghostory, the dyad doesn't seem to be greatly effected by the loss of their third member. Their music has shifted a bit however to almost a more devolved sound unfortunately. In the past, the band used lots of guitars, drums, pianos, and tons of distortion to create a really dreamy, airy sound but on Ghostory, electronics really take over to the point where they almost don't even sound like the same band. Don't get me wrong, I love electronic music as it continues to grow each year but when a band has a certain type of sound that truly works, I see no reason to change it. On some portions of the new record, I feel like I am listening to an electronic, power pop group as obnoxious, electronic drums take the forefront. There are some standout tracks such as "The Night", "Scavenger", "Show Me Love", and the ambient "Reappear". These tracks showed a unique ability to combine their old sound with their new one to create a really complex atmosphere of music. The shape-shifting going on here isn't totally bad though, it's just a bit of an unwanted surprise I guess. I feel pretty average about the album as a whole to be honest, but I think in the end, this record ends up being very catchy and very abstract so if you're into indie music, this should without a doubt be listened to. It's very possible this album is a grower!
The New Law - The Fifty Year Storm:
The New Law is a Seattle based, trip hop group composed of producers Adam Straney and Justin Neff. Together they have created a very organic trip hop sound that is indicative of old, western style themes along with jazz undertones. Over the course of the 13 track record entitled The Fifty Year Storm, we hear lots of South American guitar, contemporary saxophone, and modern hip hop fusions. It's a very distinct sound, even for trip hop which normally is never original. So many producers who compose trip hop music just give you the generic beats over and over again and they never seem to thrive. The New Law creates a flourishing sound though because of terrific additions of so many different types of instruments. We're given a wide array of sounds that all come together so uniquely and it's a sound to be treasured. Although the sound is terrific, the album, like many other electronic records, comes in at an unflattering 1+ hours. I might be alone in this, but isn't that too long for an instrumental record? I for one, love instrumental music from the post rock epics of Godspeed You! Black Emperor to the electronic arrangements of Four Tet but the best of the best never outstay their welcome. I hate using the word "arrogance" but I feel when an artist releases an album that is this long it just has to be said. This is a very strong album for the trip hop community of listeners even though the length ends up making the record a bit repetitive. This is categorically one of the coolest albums I've heard this year with admirable, cinematic soundscapes. The clement sounds of orchestral arrangements and the blistering electronics just fit so well together and "Get Your Gun" is one of my favorite tracks so far this year, but in the end, I just wish the LP were to come in a bit shorter.
Grimes - Visions:
I hate that feeling that you get before you put an album on where all these trendy music review sites have been totally laying out the golden carpet for some band you already know deep down that you are going to really hate. Visions has been spreading around the indie fan base like herpes for the last 2-3 weeks and nobody can shut up about it. I remember when I first heard the name Grimes and then first saw the album cover, I was terribly excited. I was quick to find it streaming online somewhere but when I finally got their, I was almost repulsed. See, I hate this. I just said last week how much I hate bashing albums and it's not really because I'm some gentle dude who has trouble expressing his true feelings, it's because I respect all artists and I think any effort you put into making a piece of art should never be taken for granted. Also, being a very open minded music fan, most of the people I talk to about music on a day to day basis can't stand my feelings towards popular artists. I usually am the one generating arguments about what music is good and what is bad when in reality, this is an impossible decision to make. Good music comes in all shapes and sizes and in all different sounds and experiments so for me to sit here and type about why I think Grimes' new album is shit would seem to be a bit pretentious... Fuck it, I'll do it anyways. This album was a headache in disguise from track 1 to track 13 for me. Claire Boucher, a young Canadian artist, experiments with lots of booming electronics and tons of loops while she sings ever so poorly in these high pitched, almost non English lyrics. Her voice mainly sounds like a tiny child who just keeps whining in your backseat as you drive 4 hours south to your parent's house. The electronics crash over you, making you feel a bit claustrophobic in the process as you try to keep your composure for some melody, but it never comes. Instead, you're basically left with some amateurish "pop wannabee" songs that disguise themselves behind a sloppy mess of electronic drums and keyboards. I know that some of you will end up being fans of this record and I totally respect that, but I just cannot seem to understand how this record shows any sign of genuine talent. To me, this just seems like another Pitchfork.com "we'll give this album a high score and everyone will agree muahahaha" type of record. Now that I have presented myself to be an asshole I need to make myself clear. I respect Grimes and regardless of how I personally feel about her material, everyone should give it a shot. After all, I'm just another music fan and I can hardly know everything. Phew, it's nice to speak my mind about an album I dislike so much. Even so, here's a track I found decently interesting.
Flow Trio - Tidal:
You know that atmosphere when you walk into an upscale nightclub, where all the lights are a really soft purple or blue and everybody is sipping down dirty martini's while dressed in designer clothing? It's like there isn't a more chill place to be as everything kind of moves in this really slow motion and you end up being the coolest person in the building somehow. Well if that is something you are familiar with then Flow Trio is your band. The band consists of Evan Kiehel, Phil Morris, and Ian Poor and they don't believe in genres. That is, they dislike being associated into any one genre and I respect that fully. It's nice to see bands who can explore multiple genres and still flash great composition our way musically. On their new album Tidal, the band does just that. At heart, it's a downtempo record. It's your chilled out, soothing nightcap album when you want to just relax with your strong drink and lay down on the couch. It may not be terribly exciting but it's purpose is done serious justice. The mixture of jazz and progressive elctronics is just about dead on. It just makes you feel so divine in a sense as funky electric guitar chords are played so subtly under rangy piano chords and some excellent drum tracks that remind me a lot of latter Steely Dan in way. The album does exactly what it intended to do and the record just flows out like a glass of delicate, red wine.
Milo - Milo Takes Baths:
There's not much known about Milo. What we do know is that he's a sophomore in college and that he doesn't take much seriously. Through his music, one can come to the conclusion that this guy is probably the most down to earth, rambunctious dude in the rap world today. Most of his songs contain intelligent jokes but also deal with issues that are actually worth discussing. On his second mixtape Milo Takes Baths, the future college grad borrows the head bobbing beats of Baths and remixes them with his own hip hop verses. You can tell that Milo is just your average guy who likes to voice his opinion and be in the spotlight as he's quick to make jokes about Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and even the amazing Bon Iver (Justin Vernon to be exact). On the other hand though, this album draws a lot on a canvas full of personal issues and confidence. Much of it revolves around Milo being confused with the world around him and while his jokes might help him feel more comfortable, his true feelings don't change. Milo misses his deceased brother Rob while also questioning the music industry and the image that most rappers have to represent to be successful. These themes are represented on a majority of the tracks. For me, this is what truly separates Milo from most other hip hop artists in today's day and age. Rap has become an image driven genre over the course of the last 15-20 years and it's too bad. Rap was started as a cultural way to speak out and get significant things said against issues within our inner cities and also politics. In popular rap music though, it's all about "bitches" and "hoes", "glocks" and "blood", and "drugs". I can't speak for all rappers of course as there are many out in the industry who serve a great purpose with their lyrics, but it's easy to notice the ignorant ones right? Milo is just a kid who is passionate about his culture and where his influences have come from. He wants his voice heard but he's not interested in being your bullet proof vest wearing thug who drives around in a hummer all day looking for girls to molest. For all I know he's probably driving a 1998 Honda Civic with a headlight that has been out for months. I like to think his lyrics "I don't have a hip hop career, I have a hobby" is a perfect way to sum himself up. Conforming is the last thing this dude is interested in, for sure.
My Best Fiend - In Ghostlike Fading:
The beauty of a record like In Ghostlike Fading is that it's just so unlike everything else in a musical sense. I mean, yeah it's shoegaze and yes it's an alternative, psychedelic cocktail but somehow it just carries a certain uniqueness. It really is a sound that just doesn't fit one, single idea. I've read that a lot of people are comparing the sound to the likes of The Velvet Underground but I think that would be saying a little too much. My Best Fiend does have a very classic, psychedelic sound though, almost like something out of the LSD, 1970's period. The sound is all about really slow tempo drums, reverbed guitars, and also lots of pretty acoustics. The record is very dynamic in a sense, as the music is tossed and turned within these complex, orchestral sections but without the orchestra. In other words, this five member band is able to splash around without their swimmies on, experimenting with the simplistic instruments they have to build reverent, atmospheric ballads and epic, dreamlike sequences that are so brilliantly loud. The guitars have never been better for My Best Fiend, with some very stand out chord progressions and guitar fills that really give them their identity. Although the vocals aren't quite my cup of tea, I have to say that they are basically dead on perfect for a band that goes after that early 70's, psychedelic feel. The way that their sound just surrounds you with all these flourishing soundscapes just makes this album so genuinely pretty.
First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar:
This album is so long overdue for a publishing but better late then never. Sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg are from Sweden. They are quiet, shy, and basically just cute as can be. Their debut album a few years ago was exactly that. Basically just folk/pop ballads that rounded off the record, The Big Black And The Blue was a very decent debut for the duo who hailed from a far away land. First Aid Kit quickly took on the role of little sister to one of their greatest influences, Fleet Foxes. Their acoustic natured sound with lots of harmonized vocals and fluttering, pop ambiance really does generate this comparative sound to their brother band and it's obviously inescapable at this point. The girls have now released their sophomore LP, The Lion's Roar and they have seemed to outgrow their roots a bit. They've also seemed to break out of their bashful, yielding lyrical makeup. Lots of the lyrics on The Lion's Roar are much more conceptual and adventurous. They explore lots of dark derivations as well such as on the opening track, "The Lion's Roar where the sisters speak out against biblical concepts and religion in general. Speaking of God as the "lion", the girls argue that the church has given them the wrong answers to the questions they have asked. I would disagree that this record is anti-religion entirely but I do think religion is being questioned on many of the tracks off the record, which gives this album a set of balls. Any time an artist can sway against religion, it's easy for the public to take shelter against the lyrical concepts and ultimately decide to dislike it. Even in today's day and age, the majority of the world's public relies on religion. I am a believer of Scientology myself, so I love it when music can delve into the beliefs against the church but not in a violent way of course. I think First Aid Kit is just a quickly evolving folk duo who are starting to get things off their shoulders. Their lyrics have brought them into a different light, and although their sound hasn't totally shifted, their new album is still a great big step in a growing direction.
Probably the most exciting week of album listens so far this year is behind me and I am ready for another week as I look forward to getting back to all of you readers next Monday. If anyone is interested in purchasing or simply hearing any of these albums online, I have linked them for you to make it simple. I hope you have enjoyed reading this weeks edition of Straight From The Teet and I look forward to bringing you a new group of records next week.