Monthly Archives: August 2014

Why Wild Beasts’ “Present Tense” is still a work of art

present tense

Although Wild Beasts’ latest album, “Present Tense,” was released in February — eons ago in the music business– it still stands as one of the strongest of the year.

If you haven’t listened to Wild Beasts in a while, it’s time to fall in love with their gorgeous melodies all over again.

The sound created by the British techno-electric mood band is elegant and lush. The band seems to possess an utterly original world view, mixing politics and love like smoky 1940s film noir. It’s emotionally heavy but classically spare.
Hayden Thorpe, Tom Fleming and Benny Little share vocals, which can range from a deep baritone to notes in an elegant, much higher register.
Their strong voices marry perfectly with the songs’ pretty piano melodies.

There are singular qualities about each song that make the album, and band, one of the best in synth-pop today.

“Wanderlust” is quietly defiant. “Mecca” and “Palace” are almost classical in quality yet still an emotional rise. “Past perfect,” while bright, is also deeply engrossing. “Pregnant Pause” is solemnly muted, while the single “Simple Beautiful Truth” is simply a standout.

On the melancholy “Dogs Life,” the drum that seems to continuously drop on a floor is an Emily Dickinson poem for the 21st century.
Besides the band’s precise technical ability and talent to experiment, Wild Beasts’ lyrics are a work of English art.

Deliberate phrases like “Tender hands do heal the hurt,” “Every man deserve his dignity” and words like “zeal,” “voluptuous” and “quenched” recall a dusty yet rich Shakespearean tome which is easier to understand.

There’s nothing extraneous on “Present Tense”– songs are all full to the brim. If Wild Beasts don’t see themselves as perfectionists by now, they should.

With each listen to “Present Tense,” it’s more and more apparent the members of Wild Beasts are in sync with one another and what they want to achieve in music.

Watch the videos for “A Simple Beautiful Truth,” “Sweet Spot” and “Mecca.”
Dig It or Ditch It: Dig It for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

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Filed under Electronic, Indie, Review, Synth pop

Kimbra’s “Golden Echo” streaming on NPR

Kimbra Golden Echo

You can thank us later. Kimbra’s new album “The Golden Echo” is now streaming on NPR First Listen. The album is a shot in the arm by the singer as she pays homage to her different influences over the 70s, 80s and 90s. It’s a giant leap forward for her — although she can effectively left her Gotye days behind long ago.

“Golden Echo” is due Aug. 19  via Warner Bros.

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Filed under Electronic, New Music, Retro Soul, Soul, Synth pop, Techno

Lil Silva, BANKS shine on “Don’t You Love”

British producer Lil Silva’s gotten some impressive feedback from his latest EP “Mabel” and rightly so.

The single “Don’t You Love” from Lil Silva features a techno-soul beat with a deep bass that cuts cleanly across the music.
The song begins with a cerebral Asian-flavoured sound that gyrates like a rubber elastic and forms the melody and backbone of the song. If you hear that strange sound and this is your first exposure to Lil Silva — just keep listening.
The singer BANKS adds a trance-like sultry layer that beckons you in further.
“Don’t You Love,” on Soundcloud, contains a house-techno remix of the song that’s even more mysterious.
“Mabel” was released Aug. 5 on True Panther in North America, and Good Years in the UK.
The track listing for “Mabel,” which you can stream here, is:

01. First Mark

02. Kimmy

03. Don’t You Love (feat. BANKS)

04. Mabel

05. Right For You (feat. BANKS)

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Filed under Electronic, Retro Soul, Techno

Echosmith to join American Authors on fall tour


Alt-pop rockers Echosmith, fresh off their success on the Vans Warped tour, will join American Authors on the Honda Civic Tour that kicks off Oct. 1 in Reno.

While the band has room to grow, they’ve already impressed the masses with “Cool Kids,” and have been named an artist to watch by MTV. Their debut album “Talking Dreams” has also been called a breakout album.

Starting Nov. 12, the tour will hit major cities such as Chicago and New York, as well as smaller venues like Boise and South Burlington, Vt., so everyone can get a chance to catch this LA favorite.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m.

Watch Echosmith’s performance on “Conan,” from June 5,  as they performed their mellow hit, “Cool Kids.” For more, visit


10/01   Knitting Factory – Reno, NV*

10/02   House of Blues – San Diego, CA*

10/03   The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA*

10/04   Club Nokia – Los Angeles, CA*

10/05   The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA*

10/07   Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR*

10/09   Showbox at the Market – Seattle, WA*

10/10   Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA*

10/11    Knitting Factory – Boise, ID*

10/13   The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT*

10/14   Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO*

10/17   Granada Theatre – Dallas, TX*

10/18   Warehouse Live – Houston, TX*

10/19   Mohawk – Austin, TX*

11/12    Jammin Java – Vienna, VA

11/13    The Barbary – Philadelphia, PA

11/14    The Studio at Webster Hall – New York, NY

11/15    Higher Ground – S. Burlington, VT

11/16    The Middle East Upstairs – Cambridge, MA

11/19    Schuba’s Tavern – Chicago, IL

* Honda Civic Tour w/ American Authors

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Filed under alternative pop, VIdeos

Vaselines release acoustic version of “One Lost Year”

The Vaselines: "V For Vaselines."

The Vaselines: “V For Vaselines.”

The Vaselines have released another shade of their single, “One Lost Year,” in which a sense of desperation and hope can be detected in the brisk dual-acoustic version. Songwriters Eugene Kelly and Francis McKee sound as strong as ever.

“Got one year, one year of losing it” is sung on repeat. But it doesn’t get old; it just sounds right. 

The Vaselines have kept in touch in some form since their formation in Glasgow 1987. According to a press release, the band broke up the same week as their debut album, “Dum Dum” was released in June 1989.
Nirvana brought the band into the alternative-rock mainstream, smartly covering Vaselines songs like “Molly’s Lips” and “Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam.” Early singles by the band were released by Sub Pop in 1992.
After a 2008 reunion, their second album, “Sex With an X,” was released in 2010 on Sub Pop. 
“V For Vaseline” their third album.

the vaselines


The Vaselines credit a Ramones cover band Kelly found in Glasgow as part of the inspiration for this new album.
“After that, I just wanted to write some really short punk-rock songs, just get into people’s ear really straight away, and then get out of there really quickly,” said Kelly in a press release.

The album was recorded in Glasgow at Mogwai’s Castle of Doom studio; a place bands like Belle & Sebastien and Dirty Pretty Things have set foot.

The Vaselines have three upcoming shows: Sept. 29 in Edinburgh at Caves, Sept. 30 in Leeds at  Brudenell Social Club, and Oct. 1 in London at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen.

“V for Vaselines” is set for release Oct. 7 in the U.S. through Rosary Music.

Listen to “One Lost Year.”

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