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.
To give you readers a more convenient way of discovering new music, a group of your favorite writers here on EARMILK.com will, together, host this brand new format of Straight from the Teet. 7 different writers will delve into 7 new albums per week and let you know which tracks we loved from each record. We hope that our exploration through this never-ending sea of music will help satisfy that hunger for the brand new tracks you have been seeking.
MONDAY: Wixel - Revox Tapes
TUESDAY: The-Dream - IV Play
WEDNESDAY: Trophy Wife - Trophy Wife
THURSDAY: Camera Obscura - Desire Lines
FRIDAY: Jon Hopkins - Immunity
SATURDAY: Disclosure - Settle
SUNDAY: The Boxer Rebellion - Promises
- May 14, 2013
Wixel is, unfortunately, somewhat of an unknown name in the music realm. Having been releasing music since 2002, Wim Maesschalck has never garnered the attention that he so rightfully deserves. It's not altogether surprising however, as his music is mostly a highly atmospheric ambient string and there just isn't a big enough market for this type of genre. There should be. Maesschalck is a brilliant composer whose music has always been this very subtle, experimental style of stringed ambient compositions that usually are led by guitar arrangements. In 2009, he did the unthinkable and released 12 records over the course of the year. Each album would correspond with each month and the story was filled with layers of mystical prowess and pure elegance. That project, in my opinion, really pushed Wixel to the very top of the ambient music dynamic.
Revox Tapes is the newest record by Wixel and his first since the string of albums released in 2009. The 4 year departure from solo records didn't surprise me and the break seems to have given Maesschalck a storm of ideas. This album's story revolves around an old revox tape recorder that his wife had come across by pure chance. With Maesschalck's overwhelming brilliance in the form of music composing, his ideas ran wild with this discovery. He began recording a record specifically using this tape recorder but after a short time, the recorder actually caught fire and was destroyed. After some time to grieve over the loss, Maesschalck quickly continued the same project he had begun with the recorder and his focus on the songwriting remained in direct attention to the old, dusty tape recorder. Each of the songs off this album are these incredibly delicate and dense structures that wash over you as a listener. The chiming guitar picking and washed out reverb that harmonizes together so beautifully and uniquely, end up sounding angelic. Wixel has always had this type of beauty in every one of his records but on Revox Tapes, the layered ensembles tell this magnificent story, even without the use of any type of vocalization. The tape, in essence, speaks for itself on this release and Wixel continues to be, in my opinion, one of the greatest ambient musicians of this decade.
- Def Jam
- May 28, 2013
Terius Nash, better known to the music world as The-Dream, has been behind some of the biggest tracks in today’s music charts. Whether you knew it or not, you have probably listened to a track co-written by The-Dream himself. Some of the songs on his impressive résumé include Beyoncè’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”, Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and more recently Jay Z & Kanye West’s “No Church In The Wild”. He also won Grammy Awards for his work on both “Put A Ring On It” and “No Church In The Wild”, whilst also picking up another Grammy for his work on Kanye’s “All Of The Lights”. Alongside the success he’s had co-writing some of the biggest hits in the past 5 years, The-Dream has also released 4 studio albums, all of which have accomplished high chart positions in the Billboard 200.
Like the majority of Dream records, the main themes running through IV Play are love, sex and relationships. The-Dream carries these themes off in his own unique style, with his crooning vocals gliding over the top of every beat he sings upon. Which brings me on to my favorite part of IV Play, the production. It’s the first thing that stood out and grabbed my attention. Each beat sounds like it’s had the utmost care and attention paid to every inch of it. The drums are smooth and deep, whereas individual synths and instruments stand out over the top of the drum patterns beneath them. One of the best examples of this is the track “Too Early”, which has those really smooth R&B drums underlying a soulful and mellow electric guitar riff, which finishes with a flurry of harmonies, making this one of my favorite tracks on the album. As with the majority of current records, there are a few guest features on IV Play. The likes of Jay Z, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz throw in their two cents with their verses, whilst The-Dream enlisted the singing talents of Beyoncè and Kelly Rowland to accompany him on two of the songs on this album. All of these features work on their respective songs, and none of them feel out of place in my opinion. In fact I was quite surprised at how well the Kelly Rowland collaboration worked out, whereas my favorite verse came from Jay Z on “High Art”, the first single to come from IV Play. In my opinion, The-Dream has cemented his place in today’s R&B music scene, or at least as one of the more recognizable figures. The record shows that The-Dream is more than just an R&B artist, and that he can pull together a whole host of musical influences and fuse them into his music and make a record that will sit well with both new and existing fans.
- May 20, 2013
Trophy Wife is an indie band representing the city of Oxford. They are a relatively new band, only releasing their debut album Trophy Wife on May 20. The eleven-song album is made up of a dominating indie-aspect with an underlying electronic mood that fills the voids. The electronic effects, at first, reel you into the songs building up an anticipation of some sort of energetic and powerful anthem. Unfortunately, you are frequently misled by an under-handed toss. The vocalist’s style can be best described as Morrissey’s style, using a moderately monotonous tone to convey that certain vibe. The monotonous style can easily fall into the trap of a mostly linear path into a non-dynamic brick wall. The few times that the vocalist reaches out, grabs the falsettos, and breaks trail makes the song that more intriguing and engaging. As far as the instrumentals and production goes, it is actually quite appealing. More often than not, the listener will be moved more by the wide variety of tempos and styles Trophy Wife utilizes. From straight up indie to ambient, they show a little skin of what they’re capable of. The album Trophy Wife as a whole seems to be missing a key stone or an adhesive that ties everything together to really exemplify what Trophy Wife is, which is pretty important to establish in any band’s debut album. In most cases, I find myself hitting the skip button before the end of each song, though each has this unorthodox element that draws me in for at least the initial minute.
- June 3, 2013
There are some days when you just need a fix of straight-up pop bliss. Desire Lines, the fifth album from the Scottish indie-pop group Camera Obscura, will fulfill this desire and have you singing along the whole time. Front-woman Tracyanne Campbell, whose heartfelt songwriting has always revolved around broken hearts and disastrous breakups, has changed her overall style. Campbell sings more confidently then ever before and most of the depressing concepts have almost entirely vanished. Her vocals provide a warm and comforting tone that fans have grown to love but her songwriting adapts to a more positive nature. The excellent instrumentation and production of these tracks allows Campbell’s vocals to shine. The up-tempo track “Troublemaker” is filled with layered and catchy guitar riffs that complement the vocal melody so well. Ultimately, it’s the balance between upbeat and slower songs that allows this album to remain fresh. Softer songs like “New Year’s Resolution” and “Fifth in Line to the Thrown” are loaded with emotion that leaves the listener reflecting of life, loss and love. The mixture of jangly guitar and warm keyboards, along with Camera Obscura’s undeniable ability to write a great chorus, provides the perfect soundtrack to a lazy summer day. However, the instrumentation on this album didn't always work out positively for me. While tracks like “Cri Du Coeur” and “I Missed Your Party” had some interesting mixes of strings, guitar and horns, the vocal melodies never really catch on. Overall this is a solid album for those who just appreciate a good pop song but I cannot say that it outdoes some of Camera Obscura's former records.
- June 4, 2013
From the opening seconds of acclaimed electronic producer Jon Hopkins’ new collection of songs Immunity, it is obvious of what draws attention to his unique style. Reworking elements of electronic music with organic textures, Hopkins' music can take on many different emotions, engulfing the listener. Hopkins is known for his work with Brian Eno and a Mercury Prize nomination in 2011, which has lead to a sound that is not far off from Burial, or Four Tet.
Throughout, his music can take on a pulse, as it grows as if it were a lifelike entity before imploding on itself to transition from soothing experimental nodes into borderline techno. The technique that he has mastered can create an experience not far off from a live show where sounds are triggered in succession and locked into a groove. Immunity causes a listener to be swept out to sea, only to drown in melodic piano chords before letting up in order to catch a breath before a slowly evolving tidal wave pushes everything in its path back to the coast. It is hard to single out any song on Immunity, as it is best experienced in a full listen from start to finish, sound-tracking a reflective thought, or bridging the gap between reality and allowing oneself to let go. In all, Hopkins succeeded in capturing
- Universal Island
- May 31, 2013
Hailed as a face for a wave of rising dance producers coming out of the UK, Disclosure released their fresh debut album titled, Settle today via PMR Records (for those in the U.S. it comes out on the 4th via Cherrytree/Interscope). Comprised of two brothers, Guy and Howard Lawrence, Disclosure has slowly built up anticipation for Settle with multiple hit singles including "Latch", "White Noise", and "You & Me" leading the way. And with an infectious energy emanating from the speakers from the get go, you'll easily find yourself dancing in your chair, tapping your feet, and grooving like it was the 70's. Let me be the first to say that I've quite enjoyed the aforementioned tracks yet hearing the compilation straight through, I quickly realize that the album was over. One could argue that this is a sign of enjoyment; that I was so enveloped by the tracks that I just blew right through it. Yet, I'd argue that the songs, new and old, seemed to blend together, ultimately leaving me underwhelmed.
The Boxer Rebellion
- Absentee Recordings
- May 14, 2013
Promises is the fourth full length release by the London based indie band The Boxer Rebellion. Over the course of their recent career, the band has seen the highest ups and the lowest lows. By the time they produced their sophomore release Union, the band had very little money and no record deal. Without a true producer or subsequent cash flow, the band recorded the record and released it in true indie fashion. Since then, the band has quickly become a household name not just in indie terms but also in mainstream music. Having gotten their songs in countless romantic comedies the last three years, their music has gotten to a much wider audience.
On the band’s newest album, The Boxer Rebellion have somewhat changed their overall dynamic of sound. Whereas they use to mainly focus on melodic guitar anthems and indie pop rhythms, Promises actually contains a wider use of different instrumentation. This was somewhat of a surprise to me as a fan but unfortunately, this style of production has yet to be perfected by a long shot. The electronic elements, although decently subtle, tend to be almost utterly opposite of ambitious even though the band wanted to try something new. The songs that truly stand out on this record are the ones where The Boxer Rebellion do what they do best, create melodic, indie anthems. Songs such as the album opener “Diamonds” and “Keep Moving” share that certain atmospheric quality that seemed to make the band’s music so easily distinguished from the rest of the pack. By combining the crisp vocal harmonies of frontman Nathan Nicholson with chiming guitar sections by Todd Howe as well as the landscape of drum beats by Piers Hewitt, the band are able to make beautiful indie pop tunes. Unfortunately, this album seems far less focused then their previous records. Songs come up dry of any true expertise while the band’s creative instincts seem to have been lost. This album is surely a downgrade from their previous records but with a few tracks keeping it afloat, I think it’s worth the listen.
After another good week of album listens, we are more than ready to start another. If anyone is interested in purchasing or simply hearing any of these albums online, we have linked them for you at the top of this page to make it simple. we hope you have enjoyed reading this week's edition of Straight From The Teet and we look forward to bringing you a new group of records next week. Please leave comments here at the bottom and let us know what you liked or didn't like from this week's lineup. Have a great week and please support these terrific bands!