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 as well as 1 randomly chosen throwback record 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.
MONDAY: Young Man – Vol. 1
TUESDAY: DIIV – Oshin
WEDNESDAY: Echo Lake – Wild Peace
THURSDAY: Kyte – Love To Be Lost
FRIDAY: Dom McLennon – LIVN
SATURDAY: Summer Heart – About A Feeling
THROWBACK: Rogue Valley – False Floors
7.2 / 10
That feeling after you graduate college and realize that the rest of your life is ahead of you but you have no idea where to start. You have no solid career yet and everything seems to be at your disadvantage rather than helping you. I think just about every one of us have to go through this ugly phase and Colin Caulfield, otherwise known as Young Man, is using songwriting as a device to unleash these thoughts that have been boiling up inside his mind. Vol. 1, the second album in a series of 3, is a door into Colin's mind and we are presented with the average thoughts of a young adult who literally has no clue what to do with the rest of his life. The album really reminds me of being in the shoes of Benjamin Braddock but without the excitement of Mrs. Robinson unfortunately. Colin really shows off some incredible talents with his songwriting as each song shows a unique delicacy behind the male image which normally isn't so emotional in the first place. Colin just isn't afraid to let go of his own emotional outcry and Vol. 1 really benefits from this. This album is a very strong indie pop record that gives us all insight into the male psyche and breaks down those cliché male-toughness barriers that usually protect that same outlook. Young Man is probably the next big thing in indie pop music.
7.6 / 10
DIIV, formerly known as simply Dive, is an indie dream pop band that was created as a solo outlet for Zachary Cole Smith, guitarist of the band Beach Fossils. Smith first began this project in 2011 and it quickly garnered enough attention for him to bring in friends as full-time band members. Unlike Beach Fossils, DIIV is a bit more melodic and experimental with their sound influences. According to Smith, he was mostly inspired by Malian guitar players and their forms of melody. Upon listening to the band's debut record Oshin, the jangly pop melodies that Smith was originally going for are incredibly infectious. The tracks employ very subtle guitar variations and a beach driven sound that is very breezy and atmospheric. Smith never leaves his roots though, implementing plenty of reverb on just about every track but it never takes away from the ethereal pop nature that Oshin has to offer. This is a terrific summer record and will most likely be playing on my stereo until the face melting days of July are over and done with.
6.1 / 10
The last few months have been a roller coaster for the emotional well being of Echo Lake, a brand new 5-piece dream pop band from Landon. On June 21 of this year, 25-year-old drummer Pete Hayes past away in the hospital just 5 days shy of the band's debut LP release, Wild Peace. The news was incredibly disheartening for even people who had yet to even hear the band play. Any time a young person passes on at such a young age, it's a tragedy, especially when that person has as much potential as Hayes did. The band posted a beautifully written letter about the incident in Hayes' memory on their website, and then were somehow strong enough to push through with the release of Wild Peace less than a week later. You've got to respect a band like this who can go through such a horrible tragedy and still get their business done and I give them my personal condolences for the loss of their terrific drummer and friend. Wild Peace is basically your average dream pop album with a huge sense of lo-fi structures. Production on this album is terribly gritty, creating a very garage worthy sound but I really enjoy the rawness of it. It shows a young band that is struggling to make it and the passion oozes out of each track. The combination of this and female vocals from Linda Jarvis really form a nice, rounded out theme of sound structure. Jarvis, who undeniably has the brightest spotlight of all aspects of these recordings, does seem to go a bit overboard with her thick brush of overdubbed vocals. You end up getting a bit lost in the maze of each layer she incorporates and it tends to sound a bit out of whack as the notes sort of eliminate one another. Other times too, the music behind her vocals tends to drift off and become a bit lonesome in the process. These are pretty rare issues with an album going after that shoegaze styled dream pop, but Echo Lake seem to have fallen into that trap unfortunately.
3.2 / 10
Over the last 5 years or so, there have been very few dreamy, post-rock bands that have grasped my interest more so then Kyte has. The band hails from the United Kingdom but have had the biggest following in Japan. In a way it sort of makes sense as their music is a combination of electronic, pop music with swaying post-rock ambiance and I feel like a culture of people who are so technologically centered in Japan would really show a great deal of interest. I became a fan of Kyte back in 2009 when I came across their Japan-only release, Science For The Living. The album was an astonishing find as it showed a very complex musical out-pour while sticking to a minimal vocal concept. Nick Moon, the frontman for the band, isn't your average singer but when he lets the music overshadow his whispering vocals it becomes this gorgeously angelic thing. That album really set the bar high for Kyte and they weren't able to top it with their 2010 release, Dead Waves, which actually blended in songs from their first two records oddly enough. Love To Be Lost is really the band's first entirely original release since Science For The Living but unfortunately, it shows a totally different and more commercial side of the band. For one, they employed John Goodmanson to produce the record and it is terribly obvious. As Goodmanson is most famous for producing records by bands like Death Cab For Cutie and Owl City, Love To Be Lost was destined to use much more commercial pop sounds rather than the atmospheric philosophies they incorporated prior to this release. The album really doesn't have a single piece of complex, well thought out post-rock whatsoever and instead, the pop music just totally floods the record. It ends up being possibly the cheesiest record of the year, right next to self-titled POP ETC. release a few months ago. I have to say that this was probably the most disappointing album I have heard all year and with a year full of personal disappointment, that's a pure shame.
7.0 / 10
Dom McLennon is a founding member of the internet phenomenon that is AliveSinceForever! This young, hip-hop collaboration has been exploding at lightning fast speed over the course of the last few months as 17-year-old Sage put out his chilled out single, "Oh Well" and the rest of the group has just continued to follow suit. Speaking with Dom through Facebook chat has really been a pleasure as he and his crew are the most respectable rappers I have ever spoken with. They are all young kids but show a great maturity level that I think most rappers plainly do not have. This maturity is all over Dom's LP, LIVN. The album is a colorful mix of downtempo hip-hop music that reminds me a lot of rap's heyday in the 1990's. Dom's flow is quite possibly the strongest I have heard from a rap artist all year as his rhymes are so natural and stream right out of his brain. It almost seems effortless yet you can tell the passion is 100% there and that all of his hard work is really paying off. When listening to any of the collaborators in ASF!, what really catches my attention is their use of samples. All rappers use samples, yes, but only a few of them truly master the art of being able to blend in new verses with old song renditions. Dom and his producers have really edged the competition with some terrific samples and that is where these kids really shine. Take, for example, the sample of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know". Although this track is not on LIVN, it's probably one of the best hip-hop tracks I have heard all year and the LP shows signs of that track's brilliance throughout.
5.8 / 10
Chillwave music has really become a major hit or miss genre for me. A few years ago, it skyrocketed off with releases from Washed Out and Teen Daze but has since leveled itself off. So many musicians are trying to encapsulate that exact electronic style of chilled out music but so few really are able to do it that well. Summer Heart is a solo project by David Alexander, a Swedish born multi instrumentalist whose main style focuses on electronics and programming. About A Feeling is Alexander's debut LP and it is exactly what you might expect from an ordinary chillwave record. The tracks are all created with very basic beats and then complimented with some airy vocals and ethereal guitar fills. His main influence seems to be hot summer days as he is trying to create something to go along with the season, but to me it feels less like a summer album and more like something I might listen to on a cold, fall night. There are a few times over the course of this album where I was quite impressed with Alexander's ability to distort genres and create something unique but most of the time, the music here doesn't do anything new or interesting. Most of the tracks basically just start and then end without bringing any creative ideas to the mix. What saves this album are those few times where Alexanders is able to fuse his ideas of dream pop together with electronic downtempo beats. The finished product on those few tracks was genuinely great but like I said, Alexander leaves the canvas too often for this album to stay interesting throughout.
6.8 / 10
Dirty Projectors have been one of the most experimental art pop bands since 2000 and their albums have always benefited from frontman Dave Longstreth’s constant attention to every last detail. The band were always left out of the limelight as most of their records weren’t really playing for the general public but that shifted with their 2009 release, the critically acclaimed Bitte Orca. On that album, the band adopted a much more accessible sound which enabled them to grasp the attention of a wider variety of people. Although their sound complexity changed, they were still the same old, experimental band that few other bands even compared to creatively. The band’s latest release, Swing Lo Magellan, is their first LP since 2009 and it continues to show a much more accessible sound structure compared to their earlier records. Longstreth is still employing some incredibly creative ideas on here, using vocals as extra instruments and intertwining notes to bring out gorgeous melodies. This record is much more acoustic then Bitte Orca and I think some of the fun qualities that record had are almost totally lost on Swing Lo Magellan. I was also a bit bummed that there isn't more vocals from Amber Coffman, who kind of stole the show on Bitte Orca. On this record, the band seems like that oddball kid in 6th grade who is creeping around with the cool kids and trying as hard as he could to fit in but it just never works. Dirty Projectors aren’t built to be accessible so this longing to be that is odd to me. On top of that, this is by far and away the worst album art I've seen in years. As artistic as Longstreth is, you'd think he would find an interesting visual component to go along with his music but he always fails at this for some reason.
8.6 / 10
The final album in a series of 4, Rogue Valley's False Floors is the best record the band have released to date. Like it's brother records, False Floors was written around a season of the year, this one being Winter. This album all starts with the songwriting and I have to say, frontman Chris Koza has never been better. Each track on this record carries a beautiful sense of isolation and chilling lonesomeness that is just a part of the dark winter season. Rogue Valley just does a perfect job of creating their music based on these emotions that it makes you feel like you are stuck out in the icy wilderness during a January blizzard. Of all the records this band has produced in such a short period of time, False Floors is just the most complete and distinguished piece of work yet. The blending of pop music and folk aspirations in such a subtle, dark way, is a warming feeling even with the cold themes the lyrics discuss. False Floors is like a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup while the temperature outside is 20 below and it's all because of the fabulous songwriting. This is just a perfect Winter album and I really look forward to more records from this underrated folk-pop band.
After another interesting week of album listens, I am more than ready to start another. If anyone is interested in purchasing or simply hearing any of these albums online, I have linked them for you at the top of this page 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. Please leave comments here at the bottom and let me know what you liked or didn't like from this week's lineup. Have a great week and please support these terrific bands!