Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Delorean - "Stay Close"

The time has come. Delorean, the Spanish dance-pop group who released the excellent Ayrton Senna EP last summer, have announed that their first LP - Subiza - will be be available on June 8th. In the meantime, though, fans can enjoy "Stay Close" - the album's first single (see the gorgeous video below).

Much like their True Panther label mates Lemonade or Tanlines, Delorean are masters at delivering breezy, house-inspired synthpop. On "Stay Close," however, they go a bit farther. It is a hyper, unrelenting, four and a half minute dance track that manages to stay undeniably poppy while sampling a disparate combination of sounds; imagine the music of an early 90s catwalk juxtaposed with Animal Collective's "Brother Sport" or Memory Tapes' "Bicycle."

Could this be the future of pop?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coma Cinema - "Flower Pills"

For your consideration: South Carolina's Coma Cinema. Emerging from Columbia's presumably growing music scene (i.e., Toro Y Moi, Washed Out, etc.), Coma Cinema is a band to watch in 2010. As seen and heard in their skillful and beautiful video for "Flower Pills," for instance (see embedded video below) , their sound suggests an edge that is absent from some of the more popular indie musicians. That is, they seem to privilege a darker, more introspective approach to song structure - reminiscent of Yo La Tengo, Beulah, or Beck at their moodiest - while many of their contemporaries continue to exploit the less and less ironic retro, lo-fi craze. And as you wait for this band to inevitably explode, download their music for free at their website.

Coma Cinema - Flower Pills from Mat Cothran on Vimeo.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Toro Y Moi - Causers of This

Upon a first listen, it is arguably difficult to describe what transpires throughout Toro Y Moi’s debut LP Causers of This. Chaz Bundick – under the playfully convoluted moniker Toro Y Moi – offers a set of dream-pop songs similar to those of fellow South Carolinian Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out, but there are striking differences. At times the album even sounds a lot like Neon Indian’s superbly chillwave Psychic Chasms, but that’s not entirely true either. The answer, then, does not lie in comparisons. Causers of This is unique, and that is what makes it great, at least to a large extent.

Bundick explores many sounds, experiments with various genres, and makes interesting and disparate stylistic choices. What results is an involved and sometimes dense album that sounds more like a collection of remixes than anything else. That is, Bundick seems to operate like a DJ or producer in Causers of This – in the same vein as artists like Pictureplane, Gold Panda, or Universal Studios Florida .

Such an approach produces mostly positive effects, but the album is not perfect. Rather, his complex and sometimes tedious arrangements cause it to vacillate from excellent to misguided. For example, it is often hard to distinguish one track from the next, an effect that makes the album feel longer than it actually is and ultimately creates distance. His ability to make each song flow so coherently, however, is also remarkable and mostly engaging. Furthermore, Bundick’s production-based tendencies allow him to masterfully exploit and manipulate dance music from the 80s and 90s – as evident in “Lissoms” and “Causers of This” - but in doing so he ignores one of his best instruments – his voice. He is by no means the most skilled vocalist, but tracks like “Blessa,” “Minors,” and “Low Shoulders” suggest that Bundick can use his voice in subtly engrossing and clever ways when he wants to.

As I suggested earlier, Causers of This is, for the most part, a great album. It is difficult to describe and even harder to compare; those characteristics alone set it apart from many albums being produced by his many contemporaries. Still, Bundick’s overly involved production leanings – though completely appropriate and effective at times – keep the album from reaching its full potential. Something tells me, though, that it won’t be long until he finds his niche.


jj - jj nº 3

I realize that jj are, among other things, mysterious: few pictures of the band exist, and little information about the members has been released, especially when compared to their Secretly Canadian label mates. With their prolific yet surprisingly short foray into the indie music scene, however, it seems that the Balearic-loving Swedes are losing their mystique; their sound is becoming more and more predictable. Their new LP – naturally titled jj nº 3 – proves that predictability can be positive.

In other words, jj nº 3 continues the sound they established on their previous record, jj nº 2, but the result isn’t boring; each track reinforces why jj are one of the most interesting bands making music today, a considerable feat considering the wealth of similar artists. Tracks like “And Now,” “Into the Light,” and the exceptionally fun “Voi Parlate, lo Gioco,” for example, forward jj’s signature, unique blend of Balearic-style beats, beautiful vocals, and breezy, almost twee arrangements. Unlike similar groups like The Tough Alliance, Windsurf, or Air France, whose styles seem more ambient or dance or production oriented, jj show through like tracks like these and more – namely album highlight “You Know” – that they are ultimately masters at producing solid, accessible pop songs.

While many tracks do help to finally define this seemingly enigmatic band, it is important to note that jj nº3 also indicates subtle signs of change. That is, on a number of tracks jj explore a more serious style. For instance, songs like “Light,” “No Escapin’ This,” and first single “Let Go,” while still evocative of jj’s idiosyncratic approach to pop, are moodier and perhaps deeper than anything on jj nº 2. Similarly, one of the most interesting tracks, “Golden Virginia,” would be right at home on an early Patrick Wolf album with its brooding tone and gorgeous, surprising use of what sounds like pan flute. Even album opener “My Life” – an unusual and clever nod to hip hop in typical jj fashion – is still more earnest and delicate than “Ecstasy” or the like.

jj nº 2 is an arguably tough act to follow. Fans will likely be inclined to compare the two albums, and many will probably be disappointed that jj nº 3 is, for the most part, simply more of the same. I encourage those listeners to postpone such hasty judgments. Although some tracks hint at stylistic growth, the record is, as its title implies, a continuation of the former. For me, though, that’s a good thing.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Goldfrapp - "Rocket"

Get your glitter and wrist warmers - Goldfrapp finally revealed a track from their forthcoming album Head First, and it's an homage to 80s pop in a big way (see the video below). If you were looking for another Seventh Tree, look again. Really, though - who wanted another album like that?

If the rest of Head First sounds like "Rocket," this is going to be a fun record.


GOLDFRAPP | MySpace Music Videos