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 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.
MONDAY: Air Review – Low Wishes
TUESDAY: Local Natives – Hummingbird
WEDNESDAY: This Town Needs Guns – 22.214.171.124.0
THURSDAY: Torres – Torres
FRIDAY: The Ruby Suns – Christopher
SATURDAY: Indians – Somewhere Else
SUNDAY: Widowspeak – Almanac
- Velvet Blue Music / Spune
- January 29, 2013
The quintet known as Air Review is a relatively young project that started in a band member's garage in Dallas, Texas. That was just 2008 and now, only 5 years later, the band has released a couple records that have received a great deal of attention within the indie community. The band's debut album Landmarks was released in 2009 and although it received tons of air play within their hometown area, it wasn't able to reach a mass audience. The band was forced to rethink their sound as a whole and it was back to the drawing board the following year. Low Wishes is the band's sophomore LP and although their sound has changed greatly since its inception a half decade ago, it's all very reminiscent of the ideas proposed on the debut. The short 9 track record doesn't have a chance to stand out in the blossoming world of indie music as Air Review decide to go back to the basics. Acoustic guitars, drums, some obvious bass rhythms, a few dashes of electric guitar, and some slight additions of synthesizers/organs are what the album comes down to. Each track just revolves around a very melodic, low key type of theme as lead vocalist Douglas Hale subtly whispers each lyric over a fluent and less creative instrumental section. The songs end up sounding too similar to each other to truly represent differing ideas and in the end, the album comes across as more of an ode to the band's favorite indie bands of the early 2000s. Although the record was utterly boring most of the time, I do think they have a good ability to make melodic pop music and with the right type of influence, I think this band can do something more intriguing in the future.
- Frenchkiss Records
- January 29, 2013
In 2009, Local Natives basically burst onto the scene out of nowhere with the release of their debut album Gorilla Manor. The album, named after the home the band rented out to live in while they recorded the record after college, received tons of critical acclaim and was recognized by many as one of the best indie rock records of the entire year. Immediately following the release and a subsequent tour, the band drew lots of comparisons to other indie bands, especially Grizzly Bear. The psychedelic folk sound that Local Natives use so frequently in their songs is what garnered this comparison and although neither band really shares much else in common, I think it's very acceptable. Since the debut album, Local Natives have kept busy with touring and finally recording their follow-up LP entitled Hummingbird. On this record, the band sounds much more in tune with their influences and ideas. The high quality production work, which wasn't present on Gorilla Manor, has a lot to do with the more focused and well harnessed sound, but really, it comes down to growth. Since 2009, the band has been through 4 years of maturation and they've also dropped bassist Andy Hamm to portray the sound differently overall. One thing I notice about Hummingbird is that the album doesn't have any true highlight tracks but there also aren't any bad tracks. In fact, this album is one of the most consistent indie rock records I've heard since 2011 as every song carries a tremendous amount of melody and creative technique. Although this album feels terribly familiar from start to finish, it is extremely welcomed.
This Town Needs Guns
- Sargent House
- January 21, 2013
After a brutal year of gun violence in the United States, gun control has finally become a serious political issue. Although This Town Needs Guns is a UK band from a town whose police officers don't even carry guns themselves (hence the ironic band name), the band has decided that they needed to move on from their name in order to escape any negative perceptions some people might have. This Town Needs Guns hasn't really so much changed their name though they have officially decided to make their name simply TTNG. 126.96.36.199.0 will be the final piece of work the band will have done under their former name and their second full length record overall. After a very decent debut release with Animals, the band has sort of played it safe with their follow-up here. The ideas are still the same, in the vein of that punk styled math rock. Although this isn't going to be the most intricate math rock style I have heard, the song structures are still very interesting with plenty of angular melodies and dissonant time signatures. The guitar is the obvious spotlight here as it is on most math rock albums but it never goes out of its way to rule the tracks. Instead, the guitar plays a primary role in creating a fluid melody that enchants the style rather than overpowers it. In that vein, 188.8.131.52.0 becomes a bit pop oriented which actually ends up being kind of ethereal. I wasn't a huge fan of some of the odd electronic traps put forth on a few of the tracks but when this band is at their best, they are making some very good material that most indie fans are sure to enjoy.
- January 22, 2013
Mackenzie Scott is a young, 22 year old singer/songwriter from "music city". As Nashville has almost totally faded from the musical spotlight, young Scott has emerged under the name Torres along with her lone electric guitar and superb lyrical concepts. Her self titled debut record has been a huge buzz maker for its delicate songwriting and emotional touches that are sure to tug at your heart strings. It's quite amazing to know that this album all started with a Gibson 335 that her family had all pitched in to buy her as a Christmas gift. The instrument was exactly what Scott needed to reach that ultimate sound she had been seeking as the acoustic guitar just didn't quite fulfill her plans. With this slight change of sound, we actually get a much darker and gritty record that ties in with the saddened lyrics. As Scott pours her heart out, the electric guitar chords also do the same and the idea of this under produced sound really hits home. this raw style of singer/songwriter music ends up being quite haunting and incredibly sincere. It's almost as if this poor woman just sat in her darkened bedroom and played her guitar over some dark poetry in the back section of her personal diary. It's all very gripping and perfect for anyone going through a rough patch in their lives. The angst ridden album is sure to capture the minds of most youths and I almost wish I had heard this album 8 or 9 years ago so I could have a better chance of fully connecting with each lyric. As this album plays out, each song really captures Scott's voice and ideas as more instruments come into the fray and her singing gets more and more confident. There's no telling where Scott goes from here but with songwriting as good as this, there's no rough for her possibilities.
The Ruby Suns
- Sub Pop Records
- January 29, 2013
The Ruby Suns, although officially a trio now, is primarily all the work of singer/songwriter Ryan McPhun, a pop musician from New Zealand. The band has gone through a pretty large transformation since their sophomore record Sea Lion, as McPhun has decided to go more into the direction of synth pop rather than a more traditional band pop sound. This switch to a more electronic influence has shaped the band into almost something entirely new. Christopher is the culmination of this change in style as all instruments have been almost totally replaced by synthesizers and programming. The electronic bedroom pop structures present on this album try very hard to be dance friendly but in the end, they come off as less focused, boredom pop. The songs aren't well organized and it's very evident that although McPhun tries to compare to Animal Collective, he has literally no chance. His abilities as a composer aren't far off from a 16 year old amateur working with a basic synth bought at Wal-Mart. The beats and rhythms go absolutely nowhere and vocally, McPhun doesn't have any range. The album is very characteristic of one of those '80s dance pop albums that came and went quicker then the snap of a finger and although I couldn't believe this possible, this album was far worse than their former record. It's obvious that not everyone should be making electronic music.
- January 25, 2013
Indians is the brand new solo project for Søren Løkke Juul, a Danish singer/songwriter. His debut record entitled Somewhere Else is a record that envelopes an atmospheric journey through sprawling, dark landscapes. Although this album is considered a psychedelic folk record, it relies heavily on the musical atmospheres put forth for direction on where to go. The ambiance that builds up each track is this very dreary yet vivacious portrait that sends chills down your spine. As you listen to Juul sing out these ethereal vocals, you can't help but picture him in the fog of some kind of post war moment as the gun smoke litters the fresh air. It's as if the bodies of hundreds lay lifeless as the cannons steam up into the freezing cold air and not a sound stirs aside from the circling vultures in the morning sky. Guitars come in subtly to embrace these dreary moments and bring in some sort of warmth driven by keyboard but the power of each haunting lyric just overpowers each acoustic chord. It's incredibly vivid and the experimental song structures just grasp onto your interest without letting go. I really enjoy how experimental and confident Juul sounds on his debut effort as if he has somehow mastered his sound before even getting into it.
- Captured Tracks
- January 22, 2013
Widowspeak is the dream pop duo of Molly Hamilton & Robert Earl Thomas. After the release of their self-titled, debut album in 2011, their were tons of comparisons made to bands such as Mazzy Star and Elysian Fields and I think in the long run, these resemblances did nothing to truly help Widowspeak succeed. For me, that album felt more like a rehashing of dream pop songs from the mid '90s than an original record and the darkness of the album didn't really help either. Almanac is the first piece of work since and the band has really polished off their sound. Although the influences of Hope Sandoval still stir around wide open, nature filled song structures, Molly Hamilton is really able to separate herself as a vocalist. Her voice comes in stronger and more identifiable this go around and Thomas' more alternative rock structured guitar parts are more derived from his own influences rather than the dreary dream pop styles. You can tell that Widowspeak has really found their sound and although they might not be fully there just yet, they are obviously heading in the right direction. This album is far less just a traditional dream pop record and more in the abundance of country folk and southern blues. I like these instrumental ideas that the pair played with here especially as Thomas brings brand new structures to the forefront for Hamilton to whisper over.
Albums To Look Forward To Next Week:
- Emancipator – Dusk To Dawn
My Bloody Valentine – m b v
Eels – Wonderful, Glorious
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
Ex Cops – True Hallucinations
Ducktails – The Flower Lane
After another good 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 week's 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!