Monday, 2 November 2015

Track of the Day: Frog - Rubbernecking

2015 has been quite a year for Frog, with the Queens-based two-piece already earning a swath of new fans with their captivating debut full length 'Kind of Blah' which was released to considerable and thoroughly deserved acclaim on the every-brilliant Audio Antihero label (read my full review of the album here).

However, prior to this LP the duo showcased their fuzzy guitar pop on a self-titled mini-album in 2013 on the now defunct Brooklyn imprint Monkfish Records. Though the release made few waves at the time (besides DiS proclaiming it "the best American guitar record of the year"), Audio Antihero saw what a rough diamond it was and off the back of the band's new cult following and upcoming UK tour decided it was well deserving of a re-release - which includes limited edition run of 50 brilliant green tapes.

Taken from this mini-album is today's Track of the Day;  the brilliantly macabre and infectiously catchy 'Rubbernecking'.

You can buy it on tape with a lossless digital download for £3 here

"Backed up down the country lane
the ambulance screams out of frame

The scent of death, it beckons as you drive away
fuck with baby just don’t tell me your name
shhh a second won’t you tell me where you came from
just a second
just a second.

The scent of death it beckons as you drive away
last night i fucking killed a man
last night i fucking killed a man
and you know it didn’t change shit
and you know it didn’t change anything.

Theres a fire in the minivan
and the gasoline stains on your little hands
its just rubbernecking, failure beckons
you go to work, and iron your shirt
and count the seconds where all your records
don’t do dirt and hike your skirt up.

It's an old black tone coming through this microphone
the melody man, i don't know the truth be told, it might be thousands of years old."

Monday, 20 July 2015

Track of the Day: Max Jury - Great American Novel

There is an utterly timeless quality to Max Jury’s songwriting; a pairing of delicate vocals, narrative story-telling and outstanding ability to construct tender melodies which would sit beautifully at any point in the past 6 decades.

 “Great American Novel” is yet another example of his talents, and another stunning step in the exciting career of the young Iowa-based singer-songwriter. His debut album (which he is currently working on) is set to be one of my most hotly anticipated in recent years.

Great American Novel Lyrics: 

There’s a story in your voice
And in the way you say goodnight
Leaves me wanting more 
It lingers in my mind 
Lingers in my mind 

It was the golden age
Of being lost in love 
You wrote the perfect page 
Then you ripped it 
You ripped it up 

Now I’m waiting for a train
From New York to Boston 
It’s not supposed to be this way 
It’s not supposed to be this way 

It’s the price I have to pay 
Throw roses at the rich girls 
And I start to feel ok 
When I start to feel ok 

There’s a song inside my head
It plays on constantly 
Loud enough to wake the dead 
It’s a song for you and me 
It’s a song for you and me 

Those were the sleepless nights
Learning to make love 
And all the sunken eyes 
Of being too far apart 
Too far gone 

Now I’m waiting for a train
From New York to Boston 
It’s not supposed to be this way 
It’s not supposed to be this way 

It’s the price I have to pay 
Throw roses at the rich girls 
And I start to feel ok 
And I start to feel ok 
I start to feel ok 
It’s the price I have to pay

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Track of the Day: Frog - Judy Garland

The debut full length record Kind of Blah from New York duo Frog is one of my favorite of 2015 so far (read my full review of it for London in Stereo). It was a brilliantly rough-around-the-edges exercise in catharsis and nostalgia.

This is characterised perfectly in the stunning and sentimental song and video for 'Judy Garland'. "When she died it broke the last vestige of the 1940s America that everyone deep down still loved" explained Bateman of the vaudevillian icon.

Watch the touching music video from Portland director Alex Coppola.

"excuse me darlin' to disturb you 
could you spare a bit of what the lord's left for you 
bless your solemn unending virtue 
lest your savior up desert you."

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Track of the Day: AURORA - Running With The Wolves

With her debut EP yet to be released Aurora Aksnes is one of the most exciting talents currently in pop music. At only 18 years old, the prodigious songwriter has once more crafted something hugely sophisticated and accomplished; complete with lush synths and driving beats.

'Running With The Wolves' is Aksnes' second single and is the title track from the EP due for release on May 4th on Decca Records.

Following-up from the widely acclaimed lead single 'Runaway', this is a masterclass in electronic pop, showcasing the Norwegian's natural instinct for writing expansive hooks. //

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Track of the Day: Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love - Burrows

Photo courtesy of Annie-Marie Arpin

Having made music together for over a decade in various forms, Kelly and Ellis Dyson's (aka Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love) have decided to call time on  their musical endeavors.

The band's size swelled to a six-piece on 2009’s 'Feels, Feathers, Bog & Bees', however, for their final Swan song they have stripped things back to basics, with just the duo remaining; though their new fuzzy, lo-fi style acts as a third character in the mix; adding a hazy nostalgia to their lush melodies.

'Burrows' is the lead single from Last the band's fourth and final album which will be out on February 16th. It's available to download for free on their Bandcamp, and they will say their final goodbye live at The Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston (with support from superb Audio Antihero label-mates Superman Revenge Squad) - get your ticket here.

Friday, 2 January 2015

The Evening's Empire's Top Track's of 2014: 10 - 1

There were some truly brilliant tracks in the previous part (if you missed it you can catch up here), but we're now we're down to the top ten. So much talent lies within the songs below.

10. Sykes - Gold Dust

I've been following this London-based three-piece since I first heard 'Gold Dust' on the 6 Music Podcast at the back end of summer - instantly being attracted to their hugely infectious synth-pop stylings. This track stands tall as the band's most triumphant moment; littered with soaring hooks, glittering guitars licks and Julia's stylish, yet emotive, vocal work.

9. We Came From Wolves - Paradise Place

My tastes have mellowed significantly over the past few years, partly due to personal preferences, but partly due to the prevalence of music built around computers and synths over that of guitars. It is bands like We Came From Wolves, and songs like 'Paradise Place', that remind me why I fell in love with that music in the first place. Angular guitars, offbeat rhythms and playful vocal interplay all make this a truly exceptional track from the Scottish four piece.

8. Sivu - Love Lives In This House

To anyone who frequents this blog often it will be of no surprise to see James Page aka Sivu amoungst my favorite tracks of the year; his debut single 'Better Man Than He' topped the chart last year, and I even interviewed him in the lead up to the release his debut album Something on High back in September. The album is stunning piece of work, and 'Love Lives in this House' is one of it's finest moments. Page's delicate falsetto hangs ominously above brooding guitars and crunching percussion, to create a dark and atmospheric masterpiece.

7. Lewis & Leigh - What Is There To Do

Brilliantly channeling the sound of contemporaries such as Ryan Adams and Caitlin Rose, Al Lewis and Alva Leigh come together to bring us lush Americana on 'What Is There To Do'. Hailing from Wales and Mississippi respectively, their Night Drives EP was a remarkable collection on songs, showcasing a sound which is often overlooked in the UK. A bright 2015 lays ahead for this talented duo.

6. Paul Thomas Saunders - Starless State Of The Moonless Barrow

If there is any justice in the world Paul Thomas Saunders will be huge. The kind of huge reserved for indie royalty like Arcade Fire and The National. His record Beautiful Desolation was one of the finest debut albums in recent memory; an astral themed record, rich with vast soundscapes complemented by the young artist's lush melodies. 'Starless State Of The Moonless Barrow' is one of the record's many highlights; an intelligent pop gem.

5. Dancing Years - Places We've Roamed

Dancing Years are a band I'm expecting to explode in 2015. Without an album to their name this Leeds five-piece has gained an impressive following; round off the year with a headline show at Oslo last month illustrating what a formidable live force they are. The band manage to consistently craft tracks which demonstrate impressive maturity and subtlety, with refined guitar and percussive work and articulate lyrics. 'Places We've Roamed' is the band at their best; melancholic, yet passionate.

4. Fickle Friends - Swim

Released last New Year's day, 'Swim' caught the entire blogosphere half asleep and fully hungover. However, such is the track's infectious energy and instant likability that it was causing waves within hours. This is what Fickle Friends have done all year - they write tracks which demand attention - and it seems to have worked, as they were the 6th Most-Blogged Artist of 2014 according to BBC 6 Music. One listen to the below will show you exactly why.

3. Ryan Adams - My Wrecking Ball

What superlatives can I give this man which I haven't already..... simply put, he is the greatest songwriter of our generation. His self-titled 14th album which was released earlier this year was a brilliant change of pace; channeling 80's synths and rockier tones into his already formidable musical arsenal. However, it was an archetypal Ryan Adams track that really blew me away. 'My Wrecking Ball' is everything that makes this man brilliant - understated songwriting, emotive lyrics and a truly stunning voice.

2. Max Jury - All I Want

Max Jury is without doubt one of my favorite musical discoveries this year. Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, there's an utterly timeless quality to his songwriting; spinning wistful naratives of blue-collar America. All I Want is a stunning track; romantic, full of wry humour, gorgeous sepia piano and George Harrison-esque solos. There's an intangible quality to everything the 21 year-old songwriter puts his hand too, and I can see in Jury the early signs of a true American great.

1. Small Wonder - Until I Open My Wings

When I saw Goldflakepaint waxing lyrical about an obscure Brooklyn artist called Small Wonder, I though I'd give it a quick listen to see what the fuss was about - I certainly did not expect to find my favorite track and EP of the year behind this mysterious moniker - however, like so many times this year they had discovered a diamond in the rough. Henry Crawford aka Small Wonder created something so human, so flawed and oh so beautiful with his Wendy EP. This is illustrated so perfectly on 'Until I Open My Wings' - my favorite track of the year because it is one which has stuck with me throughout it; continuously affecting me with every play.

"I am the moss
that grows on stones
and I am the rocks
that pave your roads
and when you inhale

I fill your lungs
and when you exhale
don't let me out into the world."