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Archive for January, 2012

I’ve been a fan of White Rabbits since their 2007 album Fort Nightly. They took a step forward with their sound on their sophomore album It’s Frightening. This teaser track, from their forthcoming album Milk Famous, available March 6 on TBD Records. The first official single, “Temporary,” will be released around the release of the album. Look for the band on tour in the US this fall.

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Coachella Releases Official Lineup

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How awesome is this lineup?!

Friday April 13 & 20
The Black Keys, Swedish House Mafia, Pulp, Refused, Arctic Monkeys, Mazzy Star, Afrojack, Explosions In the Sky, M83, Amon Tobin, Cat Power, Madness, Jimmy Cliff, Tim Armstrong, GIRLS, the Rapture, Madeon, M. Ward, the Horrors, Frank Ocean, James, Alesso, SebastiAn, Datsik, Yuck, Neon Indian, Dawes, the Black Angels, Death Grips, WU LYF, Breakbot, Atari Teenage Riot, Feed Me, GIVERS, Other Lives, Band of Skulls, R3hab, Wolf Gang, the Midnight Beast, EMA, Ximena Sariñana, Kendrick Lamar, the Dear Hunter, honeyhoney, Hello Seahorse!, the Sheepdogs, LA Riots

Saturday April 14 & 21
Radiohead, Bon Iver, the Shins, David Guetta, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Circus, Kaskade, Miike Snow, Jeff Magnum, Sebastian Ingrosse, Andrew Bird, Feist, fIREHOSE, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, St. Vincent, Martin Solveig, Sub Focus, SBTRKT, Flying Lotus, Manchester Orchestra, Kasabian, AWOLNATION, Azealia Banks, Squeeze, A$AP Rocky, Buzzcocks, Kaiser Chiefs, Destroyer, the Head and the Heart, Laura Marling, tUnE yArDs, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Black Lips, the Big Pink, Childish Gambino, the Vaccines, Zeds Dead, Grouplove, Jacques Lu Cont, We Were Promised Jet Packs, Gary Clark Jr., Borgore, Dragonette, We Are Augstines, Mt Eden, Destructo, Suedehead, Keep Shelley In Athens, Pure Filth Sound

Sunday April 15 & 22
Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog, At the Drive-In, Justice, Florence + the Machine, AVICII, La Roux, Beirut, the Weeknd, Girl Talk, the Hives, DJ Shadow, Calvin Harris, Nero, Wild Flag, Modeselektor, Dada Life, Porter Robinson, Santigold, Flux Pavilion, Dr. P, Gotye, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Beats Antique, Fitz and the Tantrums, araabMUZIK, Company Flow, Real Estate, Zedd, Le Bucherettes, Greg Ginn, the Growlers, NOISIA, Morgan Page, the Gaslamp Killer, First Aid Kit, Oberhofer, Lissie, Thunder Cat, Metronomy, Wild Beasts, Housse de Racket, Fanfarlo, Spector, Gardess & Villa, Airplane Boys, Sleeper Agent

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Goldenvoice, the folks behind the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, began dropping artists for this year’s festival(s) last week. Two Three more artists were “announced” this weekend. With the full lineup set to be announced this week (and rumors having it set to be announced Tuesday), these are likely the last ones before we get the whole thing. Enjoy.

Breakbot is a French DJ who has found success in recent years with the singles released through Ed Banger Records. Especially the one above, “Baby I’m Yours.” This guy is fantastic, and I hope there isn’t a conflict that I have to decided upon.

Housse de Racket, another French group, was also announced this weekend. They toured the US in the fall with fellow Frenchie Yelle, and they’re coming back this spring for Coachella.

The Weeknd has been one of the breakthrough artists of 2011, with no official album released. He has, however, released three unofficial “mixtapes” that are absolutely brilliant. This artist, more than any other announced to date, is the most exciting part of Coachella this year. So stoked!

So far the confirmed lineup includes:

Atari Teenage Riot
Azealia Banks
araabMUZIK
Jimmy Cliff
Breakbot
Housse de Racket
The Weeknd

I’ll let you know as more artists are announced for this year’s festival.

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Much like they did last year, the folks behind the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival are dropping one video each day as they build up to the release of the full lineup. Last year they posted six videos before giving us the full lineup; they’ve already dropped three this year. One of which has me excited for a new up-and-coming artist that is sure to make a splash in 2012.

The first of the videos to be posted, Azealia Banks is set to have a real impact on music in 2012. This song is a JAM, and reminds me of the ethos of Lil Kim or Nicki Minaj, but listenable. Warning: Put on your headphones, the lyrics are NSFW.

I’m no proponent of dubstep, but araabMUZIK is ridiculous with his drum machine. I bet he killed on the NES back in the day. Also, he’s already better than Skrillex because he actually plays his music live rather than just hitting play on his laptop and having a drink while people try to dance.

The third video to posted is from reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, Cliff is credited as one of the artists responsible for making reggae a worldwide phenomenon.

Who do you want to see on the poster when Coachella releases the full lineup?

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I could have easily done a top 30 or even 40 albums of 2011. There was a lot of really great music this year, but I held myself to just 20. There are so many albums left off this list! The ones included here are the kreme de la kreme of 2011, as compiled by yours truly. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the albums selected, click the Amazon, iTunes, or Spotify links to check it out. As always, your comments are appreciated. Here’s to a wonderful 2012!

Mona - Mona20. Mona Mona - This album is set to be released in the US in January, but Europe got it in May of this year. I first heard the band after reading about their song “Lines In the Sand” in SPIN magazine’s “Songs You Must Hear Now.” I immediately fell in love with the band’s gritty, mid-western take on Kings of Leon-esque Southern rock. The band first formed in Dayton, Ohio and now calls Nashville, Tennessee home. It is interesting to note that, like fellow Ohio band Cage the Elephant, Mona became popular first in the UK before getting any real attention here in the US. They appeared on Later…With Jools Holland before the release of their album, and only about a month after releasing their first single. The band is set to have a huge 2012 as they’ll see the US release of their album, and no doubt a lot of promotion from their label behind it. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

Gypsy & the Cat - Gilgamesh19. Gypsy & the Cat Gilgamesh - I discovered this band when I was going through the Coachella lineup and giving each band a listen. The group consists of Australian DJs Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers. The group is a perfect-storm mishmash of indie rock, indie pop, shoegaze, and 80s new wave. Obvious influences from artists like Hall & Oates, the Pixies, Paul Simon and New Order can sometimes be heard in the same song. The album opens strong with “Time To Wonder” and keeps the bar for the entirety of the 12 tracks. They are expected to release their followup mid-2012. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

Hooray For Earth - True Loves18. Hooray for Earth True Loves - Brooklyn-based via Boston, this project is mostly the creation of singer and multi-instrumentalist Noel Heroux. The fullness of the sound gives it an epic feeling and gives the feeling the songs were written for an arena stage. “Bring Us Closer Together” is an example, complete with a hand-clap ready breakdown. With the success of bands like The Naked & The Famous and Foster the People, along with less club friendly acts like Young the Giant, I can see Hooray For Earth having a place on Alternative radio in America. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

17. Cut Copy Zonoscope - Another Australian group makes the list with this synth-heavy group. They had a big year with the release of their third album, a massive performance at Coachella, and piles of accolades. Another example of how 80s music is far more influential today than 90s music, Zonoscope is heavily influenced by 80s pop and new wave. Cut Copy has a better dynamic range than most electronic bands, and that really helps to create a sound that stands apart. With their Depeche Mode and Duran Duran influence sewn on to their sleeves, they unapologetically serve a fun and energetic sound that forces a party atmosphere wherever it is heard. Don’t believe me? Drop some Cut Copy at the next party you crash and see what happens. Trust me, it will be a good thing. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

The Strokes - Angles16. The Strokes Angles - When word of this album first started leaking it quickly became the most anticipated album for yours truly. And when the album arrived I listened to it nonstop for a day or two, maybe longer. The first half of Angles is brilliant; not a bad song to be found. The second half is a step down from the first half, but is still a good set of songs, they suffer for the comparisons to the songs before them. More than ever before, the band shared songwriting duties. With Julian Casablancas out on tour supporting his solo album, the rest of the band was left to tinker with new songs, sending them to Casablancas for vocal treatment. The separation worked surprisingly well, as the band released their first album in five years, and they are already working on their followup. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

deadmau5 - 4x4=1215. deadmau5 4×4=12 - The opening notes of “Some Chords” set a tone for this album from which deadmau5, aka Joel Zimmerman, never strays very far. One of the leaders of the electro-house movement has been gaining popularity the last few years, deadmau5 delivers a unique mix that infuses flashes of other genres, and does it without seeming trite, or insincere. His collaboration with Wolfgang Gartner (whose own album, Weekend In America, narily missed inclusion on this list), “Animal Rights,” is perhaps the best track on the album, featuring two heavyweights of today’s DJ scene. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

Peter Bjorn & John - Gimme Some14. Peter Bjorn and John Gimme Some - The band’s sixth studio album may be their most complete, not to mention a real change from the thankfully one-off dark sound of 2009′s Living Thing. While Writer’s Block was a great breakthrough album, it is finally with Gimme Some that PB&J are realizing their potential. Intricately crafted pop songs that have a depth not seen in many other bands today (or ever). Both “Dig a Little Deeper” and “Breaker Breaker” are absolutely amazing songs that stand out not just on this album, but among all the songs on all the albums on this list. They are both must listens. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

Metronomy - The English Riviera13. Metronomy The English Riviera - I was turned on to Metronomy by my good friend Gary Gorman. After previewing this album on Spotify I downloaded the bands entire discography. I don’t know how I missed on this group before, but I’m glad I finally got to the party. Metronomy is a bit darker than the other electronic bands on this list. While still unabashedly influenced by the 80s, Metronomy tends to lean toward Joy Division rather than the lighter side bands of the new wave sound. Though the album still has its very upbeat moments. Moste notably “The Bay,” a bouncing tune that would make the dead boogie, shows the band’s ability to leave the Joy Division behind and populate a dance floor. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

Grouplove - Never Trust a Happy Song12. Grouplove Never Trust a Happy Song - This band, and their music, is unapologetically positive. The story of how they came together is the stuff of legends, and to-date it hasn’t had an any negative affect. They’re touring relentlessly, and plan to begin work on their sophomore album this summer. Until then, you’ll have to enjoy the indie-pop sensibilities on this album. Story telling like Arcade Fire with the uplifting polish of pop music. Building on the ideas of bands like Vampire Weekend and Modest Mouse, and improving the formula, Grouplove makes an album chock full of irresistibly blissful tunes. Thumpers like “Colors,” soaring arena-pap jams like “Tongue Tied,” slow jams like the sarcastically titled “Slow,” and barn burners like “Chloe” keep this album flowing and without a dull moment to be found. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

11. White Lies Ritual - In the last decade several bands that are obviously inspired by Joy Division have garnered attention. Interpol, She Wants Revenge, and others. White Lies are one of these bands, and they are perhaps the best at it. This band manages to combine the darkness of Joy Division shoegaze with the slick attitude of Franz Ferdinand-style pop, and it works quite well; in particular with songs like “The Power & the Glory” and “Is Love.” This London group managed to eschew the sophomore slump with Ritual, which builds on the sound of their previous release, To Lose My Life. Here the group finds themselves more mature, and more sonically together. Creating a more comprehensive sound that continues to show potential beyond what we’ve already seen. The future is no doubt bright for White Lies. Find on Amazon Find on iTunes Find on Spotify

Continue reading for the Top 10

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The Codi Jordan Band is a group from Salt Lake City who play very Sublime-esque reggae and punk music. This is their latest video, posted today on the band’s Facebook page. The first time I saw these guys live was about a year ago when they opened for fellow Utah band Neon Trees to open Sundance in Park City. Since then I’ve had the pleasure to see the band a couple more times, and their show never fails to get the crowd dancing.

I really like the way this video was shot; the camera angles and use of colors is really well done. I do not like how this video was edited, especially the über-cheesy layering of the band over the sunset. I would have liked it a bit better had the band members not been transparent in those parts. However, those are very minor critiques, and the video as a whole is quite good.

The CJB has some shows coming up in Idaho, Wyoming and Arizona. If you’re in those states then check ‘em out. You won’t be disappointed.

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