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: Kishi Bashi – 151a
TUESDAY: Purity Ring – Shrines
WEDNESDAY: DWNTWN – Cowboys EP
THURSDAY: Digital Daggers – The Devil Within
FRIDAY: The Neighbourhood – I'm Sorry
SATURDAY: The End Of The Ocean – In Excelsis
SUNDAY: Seaworthy – Bellows And Breath
7.1 / 10
Kishi Bashi is the stage name for K Ishibashi, a founding member of Jupiter One and also a touring member for indie gods, Of Montreal. Growing up in Virginia, Ishibashi learned how to play an assortment of different instruments and although violin was his most primary, he didn't fail to learn guitar, keyboards and electronic programming to name a few. His multi-instrumental style of pop infused rock music has been a truly exciting thing to hear and follow over the last few years. 151a is Ishibashi's debut LP and it is remarkably soaked in confidence. The songs all follow basic pop concepts but are really built up with such tiny, complex intricacies to color itself unique. Upon a first listen, I'm generally thinking a lot about Jonsi's debut LP, Go. The styles are quite similar as string sections and choirs fill up this massive pop sound and although the concepts are sort of frail, the experimental edge that borders each track is truly inspiring. Ishibashi has garnered lots of comparison to other acts such as Andrew Bird for his experimental beat making and abnormal style of pop music and even though I really enjoy this interesting formula he has made for himself, I tend to get a bit disinterested in all of it by side B. Some of the pop songs by the second half of this record tend to lose the flare that made the first half so fun and exciting. I also find it disengaging that we are left with only a 35 minute LP which is almost the bare minimum in length. Expect huge things from Ishibashi in the future but 151a doesn't quite rally all of his potential just yet.
7.3 / 10
Purity Ring does for electronic music what Sleigh Bells has done for noise rock. Both bands share many similarities as a unit and both are going after an inspired pop sound that flirts with other creative outlets. The band is made up of Megan James and Corin Roddick, both of whom were raised in Canada. After being a part of a 4 piece band known as Gobble Gobble, Roddick began focusing his career on more R&B beats through electronic functioning. Being friends with James, Roddick invited her to sing on his debut track entitled "Ungirthed" which was released in early 2011. From there, the duo were signed to 4AD and everything was pretty much jump started. Shrines is the duo's debut LP and it focuses on some very downtempo electronic beats with a key pop element due to James' angelic vocals. I was never really sold on what Sleigh Bells had to present but Purity Ring is a much more decisive and ambitious band. The electronic programming is by far the most interesting thing going on here as Roddick is like a curious kid in a candy land, trying to add as much elements to each beat as humanly possible. From here, you can really tell that he is still very much learning the craft of electronic beat making but he is able to pull it off. Megan James adds the significant quality of swift, effortless vocals that really hover over each beat. Lyrically, this band doesn't have all that much to say but their musical prowess is above most debut records for a young band.
5.1 / 10
Earlier this year, I received an email from Robert Cepeda, the multi-instrumentalist who is the primary beat maker for DWNTWN. Cepeda was trying to promote his new project which is an electronic, pop duo formed with Jamie Leffler as vocalist. The first track I had received was a house version of their song "Believe Me". Dance music really isn't my thing so I wasn't altogether that excited about it but I was in love with Leffler's vocals. I thought the combination was a bit odd but was looking forward to more from the duo. Last week, the band released their debut EP which is the first in a series of 2, Cowboys. The album shows a pretty significant change in sound dynamic as the beats are no longer dance driven and stuffed with house music filler. Instead, this EP sets out to accomplish what a band like Crystal Castles does. The electronic music is blended with guitars and bass and for the most part, Leffler sings terrifically over them. "Believe Me" is mixed very differently on this EP as Leffler comes in much louder and stronger and the beat is dimmed down just right. It still has a dance friendly flow but I no longer feel like I have to be in a rave club to have it on. The other tracks aren't as strong for me as the beats seem a bit too simple and aren't quite maintained as well. Especially on a track like "Pioneer Square" where Leffler is left to sing over some lo-fi guitar and a traditional electronic drums sample, I'm left wishing there was more to it. This drum sample just seems extremely low quality and not well thought out. You can really tell this band has a decent amount of ability but I think they are left running into road blocks that they themselves have set up. Look for their follow-up EP entitled Indians in September.
7.9 / 10
After being signed by EMI Records to pen song lyrics for a variety of different pop artists, Andrea Wasse and Jason Smith (otherwise known as Space), became a pretty tight-knit team. Their bonding eventually would lead to the formation of Digital Daggers, a trip hop styled alternative band whose sound is a dark and ominous one. Their debut LP is The Devil Within and shows veteran song crafting with a very eerie punchline. Space, although known primarily as a guitarist, comes out of his shell on this album as he manages to add piano, electronics, and even some strings to his repertoire. The trip-hop influence really shines on as the ambient atmospheres created by Space are quite terrific and moody, leaving Wasse with a gorgeous landscape to add her beautiful vocals. Her lower range of notes adds this hauntingly gorgeous essence to the atmospheric nature of Space's instrumentals. The mixture of influences on this album are pretty clear as the duo creates this electronic landscape similar to what Massive Attack might have been going for but they also generate some alternative textures similar to something like Nine Inch Nails in their heyday. There are a few tracks off this record that seem way too generic but for the most part, this subtle blending of trip hop and alternative really works nicely. The dark atmosphere on this album really creates this chilled out landscape and it ends up being a pretty great debut record from these two.
7.0 / 10
The Neighbourhood are a band on the rise and for good reason. The 5-piece indie band formed in Los Angeles after former actor / hip hop artist Jesse James Rutherford decided to pick up a guitar instead. I'm Sorry is the band's debut album and what's really interesting, is how this band has managed to stay so secretive for so long. Although this album was released in May, the band have had 2 singles released prior to that with "Sweater Weather" and "Female Robbery", both of which had had Twitter feeds buzzing around the indie community for months. Even so, this band continues to shade themselves from any serious publicity. The EP here, plays out like a debut record but it also holds on to some creativity that you might not expect from a brand new band built up by 20 year-olds. The band comes in confidently on the intro track "Female Robbery" as a banging bass pattern makes up this hard rocking flavor and guitars just fill in the gaps. Meanwhile, drums just hit every note and keep everything in a really interesting rhythm. Rutherford sings his heart out on just about each track, leaking his emotions into the context of song lyrics and even though I normally find self-indulged lyrics a bit shitty, these lyrics are quite the opposite. They hit home with anyone who is a normal 20-year-old man and you can really feel the emotions coming out into the musical airwaves. This is a very strong effort for a new band and if it had a bit more character then just a 5 song indie anthem record, I would be much more inclined to give this a higher score. I guess I'll have to wait for the debut LP.
7.2 / 10
For those of you who are movies fans, you know that emotional kick you get when you watch a film like Friday Night Lights because of that incredible post-rock score? Obviously that movie is pretty well done otherwise but it's because of Explosions In The Sky that that movie tugs at your heart-strings as much as it does. This is what post-rock always sets out to do and without lyrics, it's incredibly difficult to draw out specific emotions. The End Of The Ocean are a 5-piece post-rock band from Ohio whose nostalgic presence is quite moving. Their debut album, Pacific/Atlantic, was released last year to some overwhelmingly good reviews from just about everybody in the post-rock scene. These guys rock out hard but they are storytellers with their instruments. The songs, specifically on In Excelsis, are very personable and force you as a listener to take a journey through your own mind. This spiritual quest is musically scored by The End Of The Ocean and we experience all the highs and lows of the action as songs rock out hard and at other times slow down into a more moody nature. This is only the band's second album and they are already establishing themselves as one of the few amazing post-rock bands in the world. If you enjoy this genre and haven't heard them, head on over to iTunes and download this album right away. The experience is worth it.
6.5 / 10
Seaworthy is an Australian, 3-piece band that is the brain child of Cameron Webb. The trio formed in 2000 when Webb wanted to experiment with melodies and the sounds of nature. Outside of music, Webb is an environmental researcher whose main love is to enjoy the quiet wilderness and study it to the last detail. Almost every influence he has for Seaworthy comes from the sounds of nature and many of his field recordings have been used as loops in his music. Webb also incorporates a lot of acoustic styled guitar, sort of like Wixel does as guitar notes end up creating these really sleepy lullabies behind an isolated paradise. I'm constantly reminded of the most gorgeous, natural environments I have ever seen every time I sit down and listen to any Seaworthy record and it's quite majestic in that regard. Bellows And Breath is the newest release by the band from Sydney and their first since 2009's amazing 1897. As a follow-up, Bellows And Breath is basically using the same type of formula but on this record, we are given much more droning sounds and encompassing breezes of swift melodies. 1897 had a much more acoustic base to it and although it played with these ideas of nature, they weren't in as prominent a role as they are on this new record. For the most part, this album is a true beauty with lots of sunny dreamscapes and also some foggy wetland themes. The picture that this album paints in your mind is really an interesting feature but I think as far as albums go, this one tended to be a little less distinguished than the rest of their catalogue. I'm left wondering if the same track had just played for 38 minutes instead of pressing the album repeat button. Ambient music is always prone to this type of issue but lucky for Seaworthy, they are just far too talented a band for me to give them any less than a score like this.
8.5 / 10
Reverie Sound Revue broke out into the indie scene in late 2003 when they self-released their debut, self-titled EP. The band was formed around the indie goddess, Lisa Lobsinger, a vocalist whose soft, blue note vocals got her noticed with Broken Social Scene when she became the band's front woman in place of singers like Leslie Feist and Emily Haines. As a songwriter, Lobsinger shows tremendous skills and is confident enough to share personal details with us. Although I have never been a fan of Broken Social Scene, I because a huge fan of her project Reverie Sound Revue which she created alongside Pat Walls, Marc DePape, Bryce Gracey, and John de Waal. The band is a totally different dynamic than their sister band, playing songs in awkward time signatures with overdubbed notes all over the place. They fuse together pop music with a strong sense of math rock and the final product ends up being beautiful, especially with Lobsinger at the microphone. Her incredibly relaxing voice just steals the show but the band does everything in their power to help keep the spotlight where it should be, on her. The odd thing about Reverie Sound Revue is that it's a long distance relationship. With Lobsinger being in Broken Social Scene and the rest of the band working on their side projects, they have had very little time to do much of anything together. Both this record and their self-titled LP in 2009 were recorded without being in the same room which is amazing to me. This debut EP came out in 2003 and we had to wait 6 years for the band's debut LP, also self-titled. With Broken Social Scene on an indefinite hiatus, I'm really hoping to hear more material from this underrated band in the near future.
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!