Thursday, July 31, 2014

Newest High Ends Single: "Intoxicated"

Although High Ends' album release date was pushed back a few months, it hasn't seemed to put a wrench in things - because Jeffrey Innes (Yukon Blonde's front man) and his new crew are still set on dropping these retro rock anthems to keep things sunny in the mean time.

With the new tune “Intoxicated,” layers of Innes’ recognizable croon soar over thumping percussion and free-spirited guitar riffs, again, perpetuating the Canadian aritst’s new brand of likable power rock.

Listen to the cool new single below, and keep an eye out for High Ends’ debut album on October 7, via Dine Alone Records.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

J Mascis & Cat Power Together on "Wide Awake"

Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis has released "Wide Awake," the second single from his upcoming solo album, and thanks to its fluttering strums and Cat Power's soft vocals - it's predictably gorgeous.

Tied To A Star follows his equally reflective previous solo album, Several Shades Of Why, and will drop on August 26 via Sub Pop. 

Check out the pretty tune below.

img via

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New OK Go: "Writing's On The Wall"

I've always been aboard the OK Go train - whether it's their choreographed treadmill videos or the power pop that first captivated me when I was a wee teen. But when I recently stumbled upon the latest viral choreography that accompanied their newest single, "Writing's On The Wall," I hardly even had time to notice the goofy concept after being immediately enamoured with the glittery, 80s rock balladry of the actual tune. Following on a very Noah & The Whale retro-rock trail, the Chicago-bred boys have nailed that sweet-sounding spin on Cure or Tears for Fears-reminiscent melodic new wave, and it sounds kind of anthemic.

Sure, the video's inevitably cute - but I'll pass on the visuals any day for another single like this one.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Karen O's debut solo single: "Rapt"

Written over a decade ago during a particularly lovelorn period in Karen O's twenties, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman's forthcoming collection of solo singles already promise to be delicate, raw and, as expected, beautiful.

Her debut single "Rapt" was released yesterday along with a video of the leading lady submerged in pool water, conveying the feeling of being a little lost through both the visuals and lyrics like "Love's a f**king b**ch/ Do I really need another habit like you? I really need/ Do you need me too?"

Although seemingly dark in description (it comes across as more honest than anything else, trust me), the song itself is gentle and mellow, resembling the likes of early Cat Power bedroom rock. Amidst her ability to write stadium-ready anthems, Karen O has also always had a knack for penning these low-fi lullabies that double as deep think-pieces.

Look out for Crush Songs on September 9, via Julian Casablancas' Cult Records.

Friday, July 25, 2014

TGIF: Flume's "Insane" ft. Kanye West (White Panda Vocal Edit)

Trust me, everything about this song is worth your while. And worth a major spot on your weekend playlist. If you like Kanye's "Can't Tell Me Nothing" (what sane person doesn't), Flume's progressive synth work and those breathy Moon Holiday vocals - I think I've found the mixed bag of mash-up magic for you.

Released just last week, White Panda took it upon themselves to blend the Ye classic with Flume's hit single "Insane" - resulting in this chill-turns-amped banger.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Philly Moves: "Fuxwitchu"

It's not so often that you get to see an artist grow from semi-infancy to a whole other city, sound, level. I've had this privilege with a few different acts, but this week, I've noticed it mostly with Ottawa-bred hip-hop crew Philly Moves, who I've had the pleasure for knowing and watching for a handful of years.

Now based out of Toronto, Philly Moves have been on the grind since they got here - juggling mini tours, other jobs, networking, and, apparently, recording their best material yet.

It's never been a charity appreciation situation with Philly Moves - a duo that consists of MC Tragic and Jonny Rockwell - they're actually incredibly talented. But with their latest single, "Fuxwitchu," they've hit the note I hope they keep exploring. This single's production is on-point and polished; skittering effects and Tynan's sharp lyrics speed up the verses, before slowing down for memorable hooks that show off Rockwell's falsetto and that gorgeous piano backing. Although MC Tragic's rhymes are rapid in the spotlight, he cools down to weave in and out of Rockwell's croon with punchy rhymes that toast the fast life and his girl.

"Fuxwitchu" will be a part of their forthcoming LP, Olga, which drops August 26. Do yourself a favour and hop on board their train; I did years ago, but it looks like their ride's only beginning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Spoon Single: "Inside Out"

If I've said this once, I've said this 50 times - the new Spoon album is going to be their best yet. While their previous releases have floated in and out of classic, memorable territory - every single bit of the forthcoming August release They Want My Soul has so far blown my mind.

"Inside Out," the third single from the band's eighth (!) LP, is, as expected, the makings of another dream track. This glittery slow-burner is gorgeous, but by no means the uppity rock mastered by the Texas crew. Over a smacking beat and melodic piano pulse, Britt Daniel's smoky voice growls perfectly, at one point pausing to allow some fluttering, fantasy sequence harp to take the spotlight. I know I said this with "Do You?", but this might be my favourite Spoon song yet.

August 5th, hurry yourself up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Dance-Pop: Mansions on the Moon

If you were all over MGMT in 2007 and couldn’t get enough of Empire of the Sun in 2009, then you’ll be excited to check out the 2014 self-titled debut from electro-pop outfit Mansions on the Moon. With similar disco grooves and airy harmonies, this California crew have nailed the catchy and psychedelic production that skyrocketed the eccentric forefathers of mainstream electro oddities like these.

If you’re planning on bopping around the hot city today, "Don't Tell" is the song for you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

TGIF: SZA's "Julia / (Tender)"

I wrote about R&B artist SZA a little over a year ago, calling her a "breakout" star. And, although the recognition might have been slightly delayed, everything about that statement rings true today.

Born Solana Rowe, SZA is the first lady (/R&B artist) signed to Top Dawg Entertainment - the boys' club label made famous by stars like Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. Her 10-song EP titled Z is a unique mix of soulful, racy and dream-like R&B melodies and beats - each feeling like they're capable of both gathering acclaim and turning up a night downtown. Better late than never, I can now say I feel a little vindicated after the prestigious industry connections and praise this girl has scooped in recent months.

This time next year, it will feel silly not to know this one's name. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New ODESZA: "Memories That You Call" feat. Monsoonsiren

Seattle production duo ODESZA releasing a new single, along with the announcement of a new album titled In Return, would be exciting enough news for anyone who's a fan of their mesmerizing electronic sounds.  But, the fact that this track is one of the most magical things I've heard in some time - clearly designed to transport each listener on an awe-inspiring four-minute journey - takes this release to a whole other level.

Starting slow, before building into a wave of jubilant chants, sunny synth and Bengaluru-based singer Monsoonsiren's soothing vocals, the upbeat "Memories That You Call" is the key to feeling like your life could not be any better. If you thought summertime was pretty swell so far, be prepared to have that notion kicked up 100 notches with this glorious anthem. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Big Data: "Dangerous" (feat. Joywave)

Somehow, I only stumbled upon this soulful dance track last week, despite the fact that it's just peaked at #4 on the July 2014 Billboard charts and is anything but news to the blogosphere. Big Data is an electronic project spearheaded by Alan Wilkis, and with "Dangerous," he's summoned the help of Joywave's front men to add some sexy vocal embellishment to the growling clap and bass-filled beat.

Sounding a little bit like Scissor Sisters-meets-Broken Bells, I predict even more airplay for these guys when they drop more than an EP. This song is off the hook.

Friday, July 11, 2014

TGIF: Mysterious Dream-Pop from Mt.Si.

Mt. Si. Where do I begin? You know you're good when you release absolutely no information about yourself, yet people eat you up anyway.

Honestly, I don't know anything about this band. Nor does anyone else, it appears. It's hard to say a little about the mysterious dream-pop crew, other than the fact some some high rollers (RAC, Classixx) follow them on Soundcloud, and they appear to only have two songs, nestled in the most bare bones bandcamp I've seen. Ever. Oh, and they also have a link to their corrupt hard drive up for sale - hoping someone will purchase it, fix it and recover more of their supposedly lost recordings.

One blog (as in, one of the two that have written about them), say that Mt. Si. are a Californian three-piece electronic crew. Maybe it's the dreamy beats or that angelic Lauren Mayberry-reminiscent female lead - but I can definitely envision a coastal vibe. Either way, I can't get enough of "Oh."

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Interpol Debut "All The Rage Back Home"

A month after seeing Interpol set fire to the Field Trip stage here in a Toronto, I've revisited their entire discography (and my high school soundtrack) with huge enthusiasm. Watching Paul Banks and the rest of the dapper indie-rock vets shred their dark hits flawlessly was a fan-girl dream come true, and now my thirst for more Interpol has happily been quenched with the studio release of the lead track from their forthcoming album El Pintor, due out September 9.

On "All The Rage Back Home," handsome front man Paul Banks introduces a seemingly haunting track, before it picks up into perfectly recognizable Interpol rock territory. A few minutes of Paul Banks' moody croon and their hurried, lush chord play, and you'll have no doubt (and no problem with the fact that) this is most definitely a new Interpol song. And, with a coined vibe like Interpol's - I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

PS. Remember this Interpol song? Game changer. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Jenny Lewis Releases Heartbreaker "The Voyager"

I'm very lucky that my job entails spending most of the day looking for feel-good new music to send to the masses. During my daily search yesterday, I came across Rilo Kiley lead singer Jenny Lewis' new single "The Voyager" from off her forthcoming album of the same name and was absolutely blown away.  Although it's not necessarily what I would broadcast to people young and old as the upbeat new summer jam, I would safely recommend it as one of the most soothing, classic-sounding singles this leading lady has ever released.

While her first single, "Just One of the Guys," had the helping hand of Beck - this ditty (and the rest of the album) is co-produced by my main man Ryan Adams,  and deals with deeper subjects like the death of her estranged father. Battling themes ranging from insomnia to questions of the afterlife, Lewis' sweet croon has never sounded more pristine with the help of a little acoustic guitar, strings and charming xylophone embellishment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Spoon's Huge Comeback Single: "Do You"

Two weekends ago, I was lucky enough to catch Spoon, one of my most idolized rock bands, live at a small venue as part of a secret 2am NXNE set. I was in complete shock as I stood in a crowd of less than 150 people watching my beloved Britt Daniel shake across the stage in front of me. I was so close - I could have easily thrown my gum at him (although I wouldn’t do that).

After this spellbinding experience, I’m even more infatuated with Spoon than I’ve ever been – craving new songs and Britt Daniel rasp to fill my headphones. This is one of the reasons why I was so excited to see that last week, the band released a new single called “Do You” – a bouncy Brit-rock track that, although late to the game, is easily going to be one of my most played summer songs. Although melodic and sweet, Daniel's growl brings an edge to the song that balances the pop of Spoon with his grungier Divine Fits habits.

This is one of the best Spoon songs I’ve heard - up there with the best of them. Look out for They Want My Soul on August 15.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Alt-J Release Bluesy New Single "Left Hand Free"

Well, this is different and great. Alt-J, the famed experimental Brit rockers who captivated audiences with 2012's An Awesome Wave before scoring the Mercury Prize, are known for almost every unique sound outside of what you hear on this new single. The new track, titled "Left Hand Free" is a blues-meets-garage White Stripes-reminiscent groove that will appear on the band's highly anticipated new album.

Showcasing Joe Newman's grungier vocals and some awesomely gritty guitar, this psychedelic stomp is no doubt an unexpected twist in their trickle of new tunes - but a welcome one. Keep your eye out for This Is All Yours on September 22 via Warner Music.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Hip-Hop Single Not Enough People Talked About

I had a fantastic weekend with old best friends recently. This crew (all boys) are usually the ones I bat around hip-hop suggestions with - passing our phones back and forth to be plugged into the sound system for louder air time. While we were doing our usual recommendation game over pizza and beer, I was reminded the genius of one song; reminded of a standout gem, from an otherwise decent album, that I certainly didn't talk about enough when I first heard it last winter.

I'll start by saying that I can usually handle Rick Ross in select situations: having a few upbeat drinks, a goofy moment on the dance floor or in a cameo on another favourite rapper's song. I listened to his most recent release, Mastermind, once through when it came out and noticed a track that's so typically Rick Ross in so many ways (mention of money, grilled cheese and fellatio), yet has three other crucial elements that push it into classic territory. "Sanctified," the easily identified golden track from this release, features the powerful gospel of singer Betty Wright, the confessions of Kanye and one gorgeous underlying piano loop. I was reminded of those three classic ingredients last weekend, and realized I've wasted months of not having this track on repeat due to a Rick Ross-biased oversight. This thing is the real deal, and nearly six months later, I now can't get enough.

PS. Watch Kanye sprint on stage and surprise the audience during the Arsenio Hall appearance. Bananas.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Roadtrip Anthem: Jamestown Revival's "California"

I've got a jam-packed foreseeable future, so I definitely don't have any road trips planned - but, as summer ticks on, this song keeps screaming louder and louder for a chance on the open road. Jamestown Revival, a handsome folk-rock pair of childhood best friends who assembled in Texas before jetting to LA to pursue the dream, have every bit of studio and live substance to run away with this free-spirited Americana they're churning.

This ramblin' tale from their debut Utah: A Collection of Recorded Moments From the Wasatch Mountains is made for a stretch of highway in the dead of summer, thanks to its anthemic stomp and those charming, boyish harmonies. It rises to a timeless place pretty fast.

Take it out for a spin.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Canada Day!

When I think of Canadian bands, Canadian classics and songs that just remind me of how proud I am to be Canadian, a few (hundred) come to mind. I was saying only the other day that, all bias aside, Canadian music hasn't been this good since the mid-1990s, and almost everything I listen to is, inadvertently,  Canadian. We're back in a golden age of Canadian music and music unity.

In particular, and something that goes without saying, is the glory of this Canadian rock collective. Based right here in Toronto (I watched one band member walk his dog past my condo this morning), Broken Social Scene are some of the biggest advocates for Canadian, and Torontonian, art. They wear this unabashed pride that becomes infectious, after enough years of being around the rotating crew.

"Superconnected", in particular, is one of my all-time favourite proud, loud and anthemic rock songs. I listen to it year round, never failing to feel so enamored with Canadian music while doing so - but, it sounds extra special on a day like today. 

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday.