All posts filed under: Download Now

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Review: Melvins – “The Bulls & The Bees”/”Electroretard” (Re-issue)

So, here it is: the new Melvins record is actually a duo of Melvins records that already was. It’s interesting to see what the juxtaposition of the two documents, released herein by Ipecac, tells us about the group’s trajectory and “career” pangs. And, oh yeah, of course, full disclosure: it’s worth hearing it if you haven’t, like you needed that to be said. The Bulls & The Bees, released first about three years ago as a Scion giveaway download of all things, is a fine slice of A Senile Animal-era quartet fun. (I’ll leave it to you to debate whether you want to call these B-sides. I’m 50/50 most the time.) There’s well-timed Codey/Crover percussive thrust, fuzzy bass plumbage, and more than enough front-man fanaticism from Buzzo. Plain as day: songs like “War on Wisdom” rock, “National Hamster” grooves, and “A Really Long Wait,” though maybe intended as a semi-goof, is as somber, operatic and downright tragic as the group has ever sounded. (Is that goddamn cello? Downright effective stuff.) Verdict: for the most part, it will kick you in …

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Review: Jim O’Rourke – “Simple Songs”

Jim O’Rourke can resemble a complicated musical chameleon. Since the late 80s, he has blended a patchwork career in the avant-garde with explorations into cinema, post-, folk- and alt-rock, and membership with acoustic-chamber heroes Gastr del Sol and “punk” purveyors Sonic Youth. In his recent years, as he’s retired to Japan, he’s been more off than on. But he’s always been clear about his forays into POP. It’s candy. Or, more specifically, it’s an exercise purely of the simple, sensory variety. There is sometimes some cerebral urgency to it; you can here the way he toys with idol John Fahey’s tenets of rhythm and gradual expansion and repetition, like a sponge slowly growing in water with each passing tide, on “Women of the World,” off the excellent Eureka. But, more often than not, he is dressing the windows or, if cover art is any indication, inviting us to watch him pleasure himself. On Simple Songs, his first POP outing in a decade, available now on Drag City, he wastes little time reminding us of our …

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Review: Elephant Rifle – “Ivory”

This record begins with the uncontrolled wailing of guitar feedback and squalor, later joined by the gasps of a dying piano. And that’s a good place to start. Because, then, it kicks you in the goddamn teeth. Turn it up! Turn it up! “Bone Voyage,” Elephant Rifle’s entry in Noise-Punk Single of the Year, explodes like so many nail-tinged grenades in every direction, the guitar and drums barbed-wired together in rapid-fire syncopation before the former breaks into a screeching hellfire roar. Then, the singer starts to let loose, some bark reminiscent of early 80s hardcore, maybe, and, for a second, you could swear he’s harmonizing … with the Fucking. Distorted. Electric. Guitar. This band is not messing around, folks. On Ivory, the Reno, NV band’s latest offering, out this month via Humaniterrorist, the hits and bruises keep mounting from there. “Red Shirts” seems like an exercise in tom rolls and muddy vocals, until the cacophony drops a dime halfway through the proceedings and then suddenly stops Stops STOPS on the damn thing again Again AGAIN …

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Review: Rachel Grimes – “The Clearing”

There is a whisper, a scattering of whispers, a whole orchestrated evening of whispers – a subdued kind of wonder and majesty to it all. But even though only her name appears on the product these days, she never walks these woods alone. Temporary Residence Records yesterday released The Clearing, Louisville-based composer/pianist Rachel Grimes’ second full-length solo record. And The Clearing is, without pause or hesitation, an early contender for your and critics’ Best of the Year lists and easily the most enchanting and complete piece of work Grimes has produced since Rachel’s, her avant-chamber group, dissipated in the late-aughts after recording the gems that book-ended its discography, 1995’s Handwriting and 2003’s Systems/Layers. The Clearing is nothing if not a brilliant quilt, a patchwork, a genesis of collaboration. In the hands of a craftsman less adept than Grimes, this would leave the audience gawking at uneven seams. Not so. Here, instead, we are left to gaze lovingly at the subtle differences and similarities in tone and texture. The way guest Loscil’s breathy atmospherics in “The …

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Review: Faith No More – “Sol Invictus”

Faith No More, after an 18-year recorded absence, is back today with a new CD, Sol Invictus, and the band sounds as finely tuned and ferocious as ever, even if the act of reuniting for a formal recording after a few years on the touring circuit brings with it some thornier issues. The record, clocking in at 39 minutes, is tightly wound and resilient, seemingly the work of younger men. When vocalist/carnival-barker Mike Patton croons “lee–ee–ader of men” over multiple iterations of himself on “Superhero,” an album-opener after the mood-setting title track, you get a sense of how carefully and methodically this thing was recorded. Or, second example, when the band echoes its “Easy” cover roots on the loungish “Sunny Side Up.” Or, third example, when a nearly unrecognizable Patton deadpans and deliciously cusses on the Record Store Day special “Motherfucker.” Or, fourth example, one of the record’s best tracks, the angular and throttling “Matador,” where Patton roars about the killing floor – whew, chills. Anyway, come to think of it, this whole thing is pretty damn …

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Review: Calexico – Edge of the Sun

For the latest chapter in the ongoing saga that is la telanovela Calexico — Edge of the Sun, out now on Anti- Records – let us begin at the finale and work our way backward. Album-closer “Follow The River” begins with the most familiar of sounds: Joey Burns’ shuffling acoustic guitar, John Convertino’s careful and inventive percussion, upright bass, a weeping pedal steel. A line or two creeps into the frame, “Shadows are calling, and I’ve been down all day/ The city’s asleep but my mind keeps running astray/ I dream of you in the falling rain.” Then, Burn goes for the gut. “Oooh, woo, oooh,” he coos in an empty chamber, simply, almost like an owl lost in the night, calling out for a companion. “Oooh, woo, oooh.” And that’s it. He goes back into verses and returns to that motif. He’s got you. And he goddamn knows it. “Oooh, woo, oooh.” The song runs for four minutes but could run for 10 for all I care. It’s ghostly and it’s packed with one of …

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Welcome To Pittsburgh #4: Meeting of Important People – “All Rode Off Together”

Welcome to Popdose‘s latest installment of Welcome to Pittsburgh, part of your balanced, nutritious breakfast. It seems spring has sprung, though it snowed here on Earth Day — Mother Nature keeping us on our toes. There’s always lots going on in Pittsburgh so let’s get right down to the arn. Today, we will dissect brotherhood, or sisterhood, if that’s how your gender cuts. The organisms under our microscopes? Meeting of Important People, a three-piece that recently signed to impresario Jeff Betten’s fine ‘Burgh-based label Wild Kindness Records and released the flexi-disc single/download “All Rode Off Together” on Record Store Day/April 18. They also gave out free copies of said single at a kick-ass show at the Warhol, for those just tuning in. Huzzah! First things first, if there’s not a wide, orange-slice smile on your face and/or across the wounded surface of your heart after listening to this thing, you need to up your Wellbutrin or Prozac dosage, buddy. This is pop as the Good Lord intended, pop that – brother/sisterhood in mind – brings us together …

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Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress

Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress, the latest Constellation offering from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the second full-length since its much anticipated 2010 reformation, hits all the right notes and is a fine addition to the Montreal collective’s canon, even if, at same deeper level, it grapples with issues early GYBE recordings never had to address. The record, the group’s shortest to date, is essentially two slabs of rollicking Godspeed, an opener and a closer, separated by two textural drones. The transitions between respective parts work well – the group clearly worked the piece into precision live under the sobriquet “Behemoth,” as the spreading story goes – but the drones, as good as they are, feel like 15 minutes of muted moments between two mountains. That’s a tall order to fill, even at their brightest. The view from the mountains, as they are, is pretty goddamn majestic, this being Godspeed You! Black Emperor and all. Opener “Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’” is more subtle (though not subdued), offering some more unexpected asides, like a skittering …

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Hot LP Roundup: The Fall, Echosmith, Local H, Jimmy Somerville and More

On Record  Store Day, do you really want to stand in line for hours at the crack of dawn to get your mitts on a bunch of half baked rarities before they wind up on eBay? No? Well then, here are some truly worthy new and recent albums that you can pick up any damn time you please. Jimmy Somerville • Homage When Jimmy Somerville announced he was doing a pure disco album,  I think most of us thought — wait, when was Jimmy Somerville ever NOT disco? He remade disco classics like ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ and ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ for the new wave generation and the 12-inch singles for originals like ‘Smalltown Boy’ shoulda come packed with a glitter ball. By the time Jimmy started promoting Homage, he was getting downright cocky: ““A homage to disco is something I always wanted to do. I never really thought I could pull it off but I did, and it’s a really brilliant album to be perfectly honest”. Well boogie to the boogie to be if he didn’t …

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Welcome To Pittsburgh #3: The Gotobeds Sign To Sub Pop

Yes, the rumors are true, Mr. and Ms. Column Follower. Local Pittsburgh indie-rock superheroes The Gotobeds have signed to Sub Pop Records. Everyone’s people have dotted the dotted line and announced it to everyone else’s people in much-anticipated press releases shot around the Interwebs a few hours ago in a parlance that used to be called “hot off the presses.” (Kind of a dusty term now, inn’it?) It is, as they say, official. The ink is drying. Et cetera. For those just joining the program, The Gotobeds are anything anybody in the Rust Belt underground has been able to talk about since the group released Poor People Are Revolting, a winningly titled, Gerard Cosloy-backed full-length debut, in September 2014. Go to Mad Mex near Chatham University in Squirrel Hill, and the waiter taking your Big Azz Margarita order is saying how “New York’s Alright” is an “East Coast anthem with Wire-style electricity burning a hole in your goddamn ear.” Get some ink at Pittsburgh Tattoo Company Downtown and the girl Shannon’s inking is running her …

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Hot New Tracks: Muse, Charli XCX, Christine Martucci, Jessica Domingo, X&Y, Vinyette

In honor of Net Neutrality, there is just about something for everyone in this week’s round-up of hot new tracks: MUSE • Dead Inside After getting their Queens of the Stone Age on with ‘Psycho‘, the first release from their upcoming concept album, Drones, MUSE scales it back a notch with follow-up ‘Dead Inside’. This trippier, more logical follow-up to the dubsteppy feel of their last album, still sizzles. The video borrows a bit much from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Give it Away’, but so long as Marvin Gaye’s family doesn’t detect a trace of ‘Sexual Healing’, Muse will be fine. Two singles in as many weeks, pace yourself Warner Brothers, Drones (co-produced by Muse and Robert John “Mutt” Lange) ain’t out til June 9. Charli XCX • Famous What’s that sinking feeling? The inexplicable underperformance of Charli XCX’s sophomore LP, Sucker. it debuted shockingly low (#28 on the Billboard 200) for a major label album with such a massive promotional push. It quickly fell off the 200, but that’s not stopping her from releasing new videos. The …

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REVIEW: Mylets – “Arizona”

Now, that is what the fuck I’m talking about. From the first grungy, then vaguely pixelated, guitar chords of album-opener “Trembling Hands,” Arizona, the second record proper by loop-rock “band” Mylets, just grabs you by the ears and controls you. It will not let go. Unlike last year’s predecessor, Retcon, a hit-and-miss affair that showed some great ambition but as many great gaps in songwriting cred, Arizona is an incredible, enlightening, engaging, wonderful record, made all the more beautiful and accomplished by the fact that it is the product of one man and one man alone, post-Tween uber-guitar-structuralist Henry Kohen. Now, let it be read into the record: Kohen always has had guitar chops. Anybody who ever has watched the guy on YouTube (Click here and here) or wondered how he stirs that brand of magic and mysticism from a series of whiz-bang sound-effects pedals knows this as drop-dead fact. But Arizona reveals him to be a songwriter of emotion beyond his years and also of surprising depth. Songs are ruminations more than collections of verses …

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Bangles, “Ladies And Gentlemen… The Bangles” (download only)

Having been a fan of The Bangles from the moment I first heard “The Real World” sometime in late ’82, I was always curious-to-irritated as to why the five song E.P., which was originally released by Faulty Products, then re-issued by I.R.S. Records (the parent label) was never put on CD – never included in any Bangles compilations and so on.  Certainly, “The Real World” was an instant classic and to me, the track that put The Bangles on the map.  So since the advent of compact discs and then digital, those five songs from their earlier, more garage/”Paisley Underground”-era have been missing in action – that period when the delightful Annette Zilinskas played bass and The Bangles were on the road with the likes of The English Beat and R.E.M. Happy to say that The (re-formed) Bangles have seen fit to finally issue those five great songs, along with some other gems and lost treasures on a new download compilation, Lades And Gentlemen…  The Bangles, through their own resurrected DownKiddie imprint.  This “album” includes …

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REVIEW: Bonnie “Prince” Billy – “Mindlessness” / “Blindlessness”

The third single from Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s Singer’s Grave A Sea of Tongues, out on Drag City and available on iTunes this week, is a deceptive study in mirrors and reverse images, of expectations from performers, and of dialogues both spoken and unspoken. It also happens to be one of the most subtly spoken commentaries on the state of the A/B-sided single, in form concrete, since Bedhead’s “Lepidoptera”/”Leper” 10-inch EP hit stores some 17 years ago. You see, there’s two songs and two definitive sides on Will Oldham’s new record and, like Singer’s Grave was, in a way, a “second look” at Wolfroy, we are led to believe, if through the title and lyrical content alone that “Mindlessness” and “Blindlessness” are related. They very well might be. What unites them most beautifully, however, is what distinguishes one from the other. “Mindlessness” starts with a stilted drum roll, an electric guitar and accompanying rhythm section quickly running through Eastern scales and then Oldham, over strummed acoustics, invoking “What was I saying / where do I stand?” …

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POPDOSE Premieres: Epic New Tracks By Duke Evers, Charli XCX, Hayley Reinhart

I just poured through the Fall Movie and TV previews and beyond Key and Peele, there’s not much to get excited about. Music on the other hand? Based on the power of these new releases, this Fall will be one for the record books. The Popdose Ultra Mega World Premiere Uber Exclusive: Duke Evers ‘Lions’ It has been way too long since we did a good power pop round-up, which makes this hot new track all the more exciting. If you want piles of guitars, monster hooks, thundering drums and vocals straight outta the 90’s alt rock heyday, then the new single off Duke Evers’ upcoming EP, Handful of Pennies (out 9/23) is for you. The Seattle-based duo of Kyle Veazey (drums) and Josh Starkel (guitar/vocals) met through a roommate wanted ad and soon ditched their day job bands when a few living room jam sessions spun some serious audio gold. Well received gigs at the Tractor Tavern and Crocodile club in Seattle set the stage for bigger gigs at the Capitol Hill Block Party, CMJ 2013 and …

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The POPDOSE Premiere: Lilly Wolf ‘Burn With You’

Charli XCX is taking forever and a day to release her second LP. Lady Gaga is moving on from her Artflop with a promising jazz duets album with Tony Bennett. So what’s a boy to do who is craving a dark, lush and gothy synth pop track in the vein of M83, Goldfrapp and the aforementioned dark divas? Enter Ms. Lilly Wolf. I’m usually not one to repeat publicist correspondence verbatim, but this damn near poetic piece of press prose describes the song way better than I can: Verses float spare, haunting vocals over a Dirty South beat with a boomy kick, 808 snare, and glitchy hi-hats. Choruses open up into the big-indie feel of a Naked & Famous or M83 track, with melodically expansive vocals (similar to Lorde or Purity Ring) over a menacing low end. The bridge folds back down, settling into a major lift before building into the final chorus. The song is intentionally cinematic, tracking the tension, explosiveness, and calm in a cycle of violence. I would have merely said, “With one keyboard-playing hand in …

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The Popdose Premiere: Philip Labes – Hero

If the ongoing misadventures of Justin Bieber have you believing that children are indeed NOT the future — and by children, I mean anyone under 30 — and by future, I mean capable of putting a decent song on the radio — and by radio, I mean iPod, Spotify, YouTube or whatever the hell floats your boat — wait, where was I? Oh yeah — the future’s gonna be just fine if it keeps minting promising pop acts like Philip Labes. I get tens of hundreds of indie, and by that I mean self produced, songs and videos in the POPDOSE inbox every week and this little gem truly stands out — and the video, set on the beautiful USC campus, is pretty damn fun as well. ‘Hero’ is a great summer earworm to combat the side effects of playing (Someone who will never have a solo hit)’s ‘Fancy featuring Charli XCX‘ on constant rotation. It is the lead single from a five track EP that you can pick up for yourself today. Labes is a 21 year-old USC …

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Blue Monday: Verre Vs. Bloom Twins (A Steamy Summer Song Death Match)

Summer is officially here, so things are about to get hot. This past week, two spicy songs with azure nomenclature landed in my inbox. Which one best gets your knickers in a twist? Let’s see which way you swing… Verre • Blu Verre, the Southern California quintet that scored my best single of 2013 award with the lush and sensual, ‘Mad’, return this week with an uptempo number called ‘Blu’. The mysterious lineup of Alice (Vocals), Brandon (Drums & Piano), Chris (Guitar), Kristina (Bass) and Mike (Guitar) return, with Mike and Chris getting a bit more sonic action this time around. Their sound could perhaps be dubbed ‘TripRotica’ due to their mixture of Trip/Hop, electronic, soul and arousing ambient soundscapes. “I grew up listening to a lot of R&B,” Alice told POPDOSE via a group chat on Facebook. “Aaliyah was one of the first artists who inspired me to sing. Her natural soul and talent has always been a huge influence.” “Alice is strongly influenced by Hip Hop and R&B, while the rest of us listen to a lot of ambient, …