Monday, June 28, 2010

Mickey Mickey Rourke - MMR

LA's Miller Rodrigeuz, aka Mickey Mickey Rourke, just released his second full length - MMR - and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the free download he's offering; you won't regret it.

I recently blogged about his previous album, Festive Bummer, utterly floored by Miller's impressive ability to craft ambient music as delicate, dreamy, and beautiful as Ducktails, Universal Studios Florida, or even Sigur Rós. I must admit, however, that he's outdone himself with MMR.

The album hosts a gorgeous mix of instruments and stylings, which plays out like one long, wild - albeit cohesive - head trip. In theory, Miller's artistic scope seems overly ambitious; one might assume, in other words, that the musical twists and turns throughout MMR couldn't work. However, Rodrigeuz proves that he knows what he's doing and that such disparate sounds can sound amazing, even magical.

Download the album and soundtrack your summer with one of 2010's most pleasing offerings.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cosmic Sound - VHS Vision

If you enjoyed the the artist I raved about in my last post - New Jersey's Com Truise - then you're in luck; your foray into the 80s isn't over yet.

Fortunately, Houston's Cosmic Sound also records overtly retro tunes - songs that are drenched in 80s-inspired synths, beats, and blips. And his appropriately titled, self-released album, VHS Vision, is available now for free download.

Also like Com Truise, though, Cosmic Sound doesn't allow his attraction to the 80s to limit or entirely define his sound. The influence is there, of course, but he blends that nostalgic sound into arrangements that are contemporary and unpredictable - ones that are all his own. One of his songs can mix, for instance, what could be 80s film score material and tropical dance bliss; likewise, another song could just as easily explore both ambient and house stylings.

This is an exciting release, people. Download this album and Com Truise's Cyanide Sisters ASAP.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Com Truise - Cyanide Sisters EP

New Jersey's Com Truise has generated a lot of blog buzz lately, and I'm eagerly joining the bandwagon. You see, the awesome folks at AMDISCS just released Com Truise's EP - Cyanide Sisters - as a free download on their site; consequently, Truise has already left an indelible impression on the blogosphere.

In short, the EP is immediately impressive. Though relatively new to the industry, Com Truise offers a collection of electronic music that is comparable to some of the genre's heaviest hitters (i.e., Kavinsky, Tobacco, or Crystal Castles, for example). The EP remains grounded and is perhaps more engaging, though, with its nod to indie music's recent attraction to retro-soaked electropop, in the same vein as Neon Indian or Toro Y Moi.

With such a promising start, it should be interesting to see what's next for Com Truise. In the meantime, I encourage you to download the EP and "feel the sunshine of 1985 now."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thunder Bunny - "(When You're Here)"

What's summer without a little shitgaze? It seems like Things as They Are has featured quite a few alternative acts lately (i.e., Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk, Katrina Stonehart, and Vehicles Blues, for example), and I'm extremely excited about this trend. Though dream-pop and electronic artists will always resonate with me - in a big way - I'm pleased to see rock take the reigns in 2010.

That's why I'm happy to feature another interesting rock outfit - Thunder Bunny. Like Times New Viking or Eat Skull, New Jersey's Thunder Bunny record a type of psychedelic rock that, with its harsh guitars and crescendoed arrangements, manages to vacillate, successfully, between brutal and beautiful.

In other words, on "(When You're Here)," featured on their forthcoming EP "...There Is a Gate" through Workerbee, Thunder Bunny illustrate that their raw brand of shoegaze is underlined by an unmistakable pop sensibility. The droning fuzz is complemented, in other words, by effective hooks; whether through light and airy vocals or the well placed murmurs of sleigh bells, Thunder Bunny suggest that loud can be accessible.

Turn up the volume and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vehicle Blues - Changer

Earlier this month I wrote about Katrina Stonehart, an intriguing noise-pop act whose cassette single is out now on AMDISCS. And I also mentioned that Stonehart will release a split with Vehicle Blues later this summer.

Though I'm sure the split will be amazing, Vehicles Blues have their own release, Changer, out on Bridgetown that seems promising.

Like Stonehart, Vehicle Blues craft catchy and dreamy shoegaze tunes that are as retro as they are contemporary. Title track "Changer," for instance, bounces with fuzzed-out melodies and hushed vocals, echoing similar artists like the Jesus and Mary Chain or the Raveonettes.

If you're like me, you'll appreciate this group not only because the songs are just that good - but also because their sound both celebrates and reinvents the 80s/90s alternative rock aesthetic.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk - "Last Night Sucked"

The summer months lend themselves well to breezy, tropical-infused pop music. There's something about the warm weather and long days that makes acts like Washed Out, Tanlines, or Ducktails seem even more enjoyable than usual.

Nevertheless, I would argue that other sounds are perfectly appropriate for June's balmy weather. Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk, for instance, are making music that is perfectly suited for summer (or any season, that is); their tunes highlight the organic shift from the dismal winter months to summer's more vibrant landscape. In other words, they remind listeners that it's okay to let go and and connect with music that grooves with intensity.

"Last Night Sucked," from their forthcoming release Skeletor & Me on Solid Melts (cassette) and Worker Bee (CD), gets my vote for summer of 2010's song with the most "windows-down-at-night" potential. Its constant hooks and layered, soaring vocals make it surprisingly poppy and accessible, at least to a point, but the song's underlying, driving force is gritty and wonderful; that is, "Last Night Sucked" seems to take subtle cues from noise-pop acts like HEALTH and Wavves, alternative rock disciples Surfer Blood, and even shoegaze outfits like Deerhunter

Download this song and take it with you on your next summer drive.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Raw Moans

I've fallen victim to one of indie music's goofiest sub-genres. Whether you want to call it witch house, haunted house, drag, or simply use a triangle or an inverted cross, this dark brand of electronic music (i.e., oOoOO, White Ring, and GR†LLGR†LL, for example) is catching on like a bad rash - but it's actually quite good. Despite its novelty, "witch house" is becoming more intriguing and satisfying.

Perhaps it's the thrill of experiencing something completely new in an industry where every genre gets recycled again and again. Or maybe the gothic beats and throbbing drones really are that endearing. Regardless, witch house label Disaro is pumping out some of 2010's most promising acts.

Case in point: California's Raw Moans. I think they deserve special attention because they are - from what I've heard at least - a unique group to emerge from Disaro's haunted house. In other words, they're a more accessible group, one that has potential for outlasting the witch house craze (or is there even an end in sight?). Not quite as dark as their contemporaries but still delightfully eerie, Raw Moans prove that drag/haunted house can incorporate disparate and engaging elements like r&b, pop, and even dance. In many ways they're like the love child of How to Dress Well and Toro Y Moi but manage to retain their own distinct voice.

I just hope you're ready for them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mickey Brown

Skillfully blending tropical with psychedelic, Mickey Brown forward a kind of music that is both familiar and wholly unique.

That is, Mickey Brown - a collaboration between artists Mickey Mickey Rourke and Lester Brown - produce tracks that recall what is most endearing about lo-fi, tropical music, in the same vein as Ducktails or Sun Araw, but conceive their sound like pioneers; MMR and LB, with their idiosyncratic yet paralleled visions, give their brand of music ethereal, dreamy, and ultimately engaging qualities in a way that is unlike many of their contemporaries. Each droning melody asks listeners to get lost and enjoy.

Expect an official release from Mickey Brown in the near future.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Katrina Stonehart

The nefarious redhead from Pound Puppies? Not quite. Although a slew of self-proclaimed chillwavers and tropical revivalists overtly draw inspiration from retro cartoons and other bits of childhood nostalgia, Katrina Stonehart has little in common with Neon Indian or Universal Studios Florida.

Rather, Katrina's cassette single - out on AMDISCS - is a raw, lo-fi foray into noise pop of the purest and most infectious kind (ala Wavves or Beach Fossils, for example). It's only two songs, but expect more releases from this promising artist later this summer: check out splits with Vehicle Blues and House Paint in July and August and a 7" from AMDISCS.