It’s been a long time since I’ve connected with live music the way I did recently at The Civil Wars’ show. You may already know The Civil Wars from their song “Poison & Wine” being featured on Grey’s Anatomy — but if you don’t know them yet, you soon will. The Civil Wars are the power-duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White. The artistic intimacy between these two artists is shown through their songs and their musicality is an amazing experience to see live.
Between the amazing vocals and complete emotional experience that The Civil Wars provide, it is hard to pick out their best songs. I personally enjoy “Tip of my Tongue”, “Poison & Wine” and their cover of “Dance Me to the End of Love”.
The Civil Wars are currently heading back to the studio to finalize their first full length album which should hopefully be out this summer. In the meantime you can purchase their EP Poison & Wine on iTunes. You can also download their “Live at Eddie’s Attic” album for free (and legally) at http://www.noisetrade.com/thecivilwars
Big Light is an Indie Rock band from San Francisco, California. Forming in 2007, the band has seen its share of lineup changes, but that hasn’t held them back. With their members in place, Big Light quickly grew within the San Francisco music scene. They began headlining The Independent and soon supporting acts at the legendary Fillmore. In a short time they’ve shared bills with Spoon, Broken Social Scene, and Dead Confederate.
Big Light released their first full-length LP Animals In Bloom earlier this month.
Coming out of LA, Local Natives released their debut album, Gorilla Manor, this month. The indie rock group started building hype in 2009 with their early album release in the UK and a nine show event at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.
Each track seamlessly leads into the next, making the album an easy listen front to back. The up tempo beats aren’t too intense and somewhat melodic, spotlighting the perfect three-part harmonies. The youthful rock of Wild News and Sun Hands are energetic and fun while songs like Who Knows Who Cares and Cubism Dream brings the album back to a lighter pop sound.
This album has no soft spots…
- Wild News
- Sun Hands
- Camera Talk
Coming out of Los Angeles, vocalist/guitarist Solon Bixler from 30 Seconds to Mars, drummer Davey Latter, and vocalist/keyboardist Rachel Stolte make up the Indie/Alternative group Great Northern. Their debut album “Trading Twilight For Daylight”, was recorded at the “Donner & Blitzen” studio and produced by Mathias Schneeberger in 2007. Their follow-up album, Remind Me Where The Light Is was released April of ‘09.
Each album demands a bit of patience. A quick listen wouldn’t do the music justice and would definitley leave the listener unfulfilled. Each album holds a few gems making the listen well worth the time. Bixler and Stolte’s voices comlpiment each other and are beautifully showcased in song’s like 33, where the lyrics dance and tangle right to the edge of the album.
Thomas Dybdahl is a Norwegian singer/songwriter. His music is often downhearted and expressive in a signature low-key style. Starting as the guitarist for the Quadraphonics, Thomas went solo and quickly released four critically acclaimed albums. His latest self-titled album, Thomas Dybdahl, was released September 15, 2009.
- From Grace
- Be A Part
- I Need Love Baby, Love, Not Trouble
Coming from all corners of the globe, Their Hearts Were Full of Spring came together to create top notch Indie Pop music. Named after a Beach Boys song selected on shuffle, THWFS is a mouthful even when abbreviated. Their lively instrumentals mix with Markus’ somber vocals to create an intriguing blend of music.
- A Question of Trust
- St. Cecilia
- Take Your Own Good Advice
Bear Hands is an experimental, indie rock group that formed in Brooklyn, New York. The band consists of frontman Dylan Rau, Ted Feldman on guitar, bassist Val Loper and TJ Orscher on the drums. The band released a 4 song EP called Golden. Tracks include Long and Lean Queen, Sickly Brunette, Golden, and Bad Blood. As recently as June of 2009, they have gotten back in the studio and started recording a new album.
- Long Lean Queen
- What a Drag
Afterlives is the name William Barrett has given his latest project. Barrett’s latest record is an introduction to a new stage in the evolution of music, which you may appreciate. The sound is what being an independent artist is all about: traditional rock distorted through a cracked lens of experimental and mysterious arrangements. Although somewhat sinister and murky on the surface, the music emerges as deeply empowering with its bottomless background percussion, hypnotic riffs, and unfocused vocals. Barrett’s voice toes the line with muffled screams accentuated by distant weeps and poetic subtleties.
-Everlong (Foo Fighters Cover)
-Ever The Optimist
As Indie music makes its push as a major industry segment, some bands are leading the charge. The Temper Trap is a group definitely considered to be a serious force in this movement. With big guitars, fluctuating cadence, and a variety of intricate sounds, their music has found a way to appeal to a larger audience. The band,originally from Melbourne, Australia, are set to release their latest album, Conditions, in the UK on August 10, 2009.
-Science of Fear
Although front man Dave Longstreth is the only perpetual piece of the band Dirty Projectors, their latest album is consistently quality. He is supported by a rotating arrangement of members, which gives each song a sense of individualism. Refusing to abide by the natural laws of tempo, many of the tracks are almost uncomfortable on first listen. The speed of a song can change, back and forth, within seconds, almost reminiscent of a subway ride on acid. Don’t believe me? Listen to Temecula Sunrise in headphones and get back to me. After first listen, this song’s value shines through and becomes a steady play. Although not on the latest album, Knotty Pine, which features David Byrne, has infiltrated my latest playlist. A good friend once told me “If David Byrne approves, it’s definitely worth a listen.” So true. The song is upbeat, heavy with acoustic guitar and dancing vocals. A duet, Byrne’s pipes are matched by a beautiful female voice.
-Stillness Is The Move
This American Indie Rock band from Brooklyn was born in 2006 after some wild years of college. Making what some might call happy music; the upbeat drum machine, raw guitar, and occasional background horns combine to make some pretty unique music. The production quality is excellent on their latest album, Technicolor Health. Having everyone in the band participate in the vocals allows for some refreshing depth, but the lead singer, Lexy Benaim, naturally stands out with his eccentric pipes.
-Red Right Hands
The Indie Pop group from Scotland have traveled here from music’s past. Their lo-fi sound is straight out of the 60’s, with hints of motown and orchestral pop. They are nothing new to the industry, having started up in 1996. The latest album, “My Maudlin Career”, encompasses a range of emotion, able to satisfy the unhappy, the angry, and most of all, the in love. Lead singer, Tracyanne Campbell has the ability to make her music ageless and beautiful. The lyrics are a bit gushy, but never excessive. On first listen, one may categorize this with the latest efforts of Amy Winehouse and Duffy, but I think that may be a crude observation.
From the first percussive pounds of French Navy, the album comes out of the gates at full speed. This song is infectious, with its uptempo chorus and aged composure. Campbell’s vocal ability really shines, with her innocently cute delivery.
Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles of Ra Ra Riot teamed up on a space mission to a different level of music. The duo, branded Discovery, have released their LP this month and it’s just in time for the summer. A fusion of sounds, reminiscent of slot machines, old school video games, and anything else we never thought musical, the design is anything but usual. The combination of synthesized happiness and pop vocals make for a fun LP containing quite a few keepers.
“Orange Skirt”, the first track, starts the LP off very strong. The contagious hook and speaker-bumping beat make this one an easy favorite. Everything about this song screams summer standout. “Osaka Loop” is more MGMT than desired, but the unordinary arrangement and sparkling tones make it somewhat unforgettable. Putting their glamourish touch on The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” isn’t the disaster I was expecting. It’s basically a futuristic touch to the historic dance piece, like two times colliding.
There’s always something refreshing about rock in its purest form. Beyond the pressure to become popular by conforming like mainstream sellouts of the past, these guys are taking the rocky road. On first listen “Save Me” is hypnotizing. I found myself entranced by the melodic tones and whining lead guitar. The vocals are soft, almost standing in as just another instrument. Pink Floyd would be proud.
“Sheriff” is a bit more substantial, telling the tale of a western law enforcer. The story is actually quite brilliant and the way its told is just as good. The song is well composed and the instrumentals tell a story of their own. Using jam breaks to enforce the action, this song might just be my new favorite. Reminiscent of Dispatch’s “The General”, the song keeps up this high quality of storytelling through song.
This will not be our last time featuring these guys on this site, I promise you that.