music video

JAPANESE WALLPAPER EMERGES FROM ITS COCOON
October 27, 2016 9:28 am

When I was 17 years old, I was doing what most other 17 year old teenagers do; playing sports, doing homework, driving a car for fun, I was even playing guitar a lot by most standards. But I was creating nothing like Gab Strum did in his seventeenth year.

He started the electronic pop project Japanese Wallpaper and released his first single “Waves” back in 2014. Even at this early stage in his career, the sounds he created were nearly on the same level as ambient titans Tycho and Boards of Canada. The ethereal, jovial tunes started drawing attention from some pretty well-known folks in the industry such as fellow Australian, Chet Faker. Also in Gab’s seventeenth year, he won Triple J’s Unearthed High competition. Oh, and his track “Breathe In” was also featured on the soundtrack for Zach Braff’’s follow-up to Garden State, Wish I Was Here. Seventeen! I think this goes to show how the state of modern music equipment has altered the music scene. If a high school kid fifty years ago wanted to make music with more than a guitar, he would find it incredibly difficult to do so. The tools to do so weren’t easily available yet. Now we can download software on our laptops and create magic.

Gab did his first tour of Australia back in 2014 with great success. He has since been putting out EP’s with some fantastic remixes in the last couple years. Most recently this year he released the single “Cocoon.” Earlier this year, he released a deluxe edition of his self-titled EP that came out in 2015 with a slew of new remixes. The remix of Between Friends” by Sable is a noteworthy track from the record. The single “Forces” featuring Airling is a smash. I think it’s safe to say that Japanese Wallpaper has a promising future ahead of him. He has a few tour dates left in 2016 if you happen to live in a major Australian city. I imagine he’ll make his leap over to the states soon enough and I for one will be right there in the crowd grooving along to these incredible tunes.

TWIN ATLANTIC TAKES EUROPE
October 17, 2016 9:00 am

Twin Atlantic seem to be celebrating the release of their album GLA by tearing Europe to shreds. After a summer spent playing festivals including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, and T in the Park, the band is taking the show on the road with dates in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and a whole ton of other places.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS exchanged some transatlantic emails with drummer Craig Kneale and got the scoop on the creation of GLA, and the finer points of living in Glasgow.

I was in Glasgow over the summer, and did a number of things that are probably considered “touristy”. What do you think visitors to Glasgow generally miss?
Glasgow has a thriving arts scene, and I suppose you would miss that if you didn’t dig a little deeper below the surface. The four compass points of the city (East/West/South/North) are all so different from each other too – you won’t get the full picture unless you experience a little bit of each of them.

King Tut’s is a pretty well-known music venue in Glasgow. What others do you like for seeing live music?
Well, not being biased – but Barrowlands is one of the greatest venues in the world. I’ve never seen a bad show there – there’s something in that room that creates an electric atmosphere between the performer and the crowd that’s really special.

You’ve performed at a number of music festivals, as well as some smaller venues. Do you prefer one over the other?
I think you can’t really appreciate one without the other. I suppose that our own shows are always more special to us – but it’s great getting to spend the summer playing festivals when the pressure is off a little. When it’s your own show and people have paid to see you, there’s more at stake as you don’t want to let people down.

Are there any bands/musicians in Glasgow you feel deserve more attention?
I’m a little out of the loop on music in Glasgow at the moment, but I really like Holy Esque. I think they’re already on their way up, but even the biggest bands in the world could do with more attention I guess.

GLA, your new album, has a much heavier sound than your previous releases. Did something make you want to create a less pop-sounding album?
It kind of naturally happened when the album was being written. Perhaps subconsciously the songs turn out heavier as there were moments on the last album where we weren’t all fully attached to the songs. GLA seemed to be much easier to record than the previous album – so perhaps it’s a more natural sound for us.

What music are you listening to currently?
I’m currently listening to a lot of Parquet Courts + Mac DeMarco. And I got the new Local Natives album this week which I really like.

You recorded GLA in Los Angeles, which is obviously very different from Glasgow. Is there anything you miss from your time there that you can’t do at home?
Well, the sun is out constantly so you don’t have to plan to do things dependent on weather like you do in Glasgow. Being able to drive to a beach and look at the ocean is something I don’t think I would get bored of either.

What advice would you give a band who are just entering the music business?
Just throw everything at it and always go with your instinct.

Is there anything you were surprised by when Twin Atlantic was first starting out?
Hmmm, not really. Everything at the start of this band was a learning curve for the 4 of us so we kind of tackled everything together. We started right at the very bottom so we were kind of prepared for most steps by the time we got to them.

Are you planning any shows in New York?
I really hope so. It’s one of our favorite cities, and one we’d love to come to more. I think there are plans to get over early next year, so hopefully it all works out.

AGE OF YOUNG EMPIRES
October 5, 2016 2:33 pm

Upcoming band alert!  Winston Churchill once said, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” If this is the case then Canadian band Young Empires is on their way to taking over the world. While I’m honestly not a huge fan of electronic music, Young Empires mixes indie rock and electro in a way that is not overbearing and just feels damn good.

The trio from Toronto that formed in 2009 is made up of Matthew Vlahovich, Jacob Palahnuk, and Taylor Hill.  The band experienced major hype after their debut EP, Wake All My Youth, was released in 2012 and high demand for tours took over before they were able to spend a solid amount of time working on their first full-length album, The Gates, which was released last fall.

As empires go, they have been gaining ground internationally and conquering media outlets left and right.  NME compared them to The Killers, Arcade Fire, Yeasayer, and Foals. Quite the compliment from a magazine who gives out “Worst Band” awards.

To me they sound like a blend between Cut Copy and Two Door Cinema Club.  It’s energetically electronic while still being ear-otically pleasing.  You can and may very well want to dance to it, but hey, you can chillax to it too. And it is this very precise balance on which they are building their empire. Their lyrics are quite the balancing act as well. Gospel-like lyrics contain omens of both despair and hope.  For example, their song “The Gates” sings, “No I won’t lose hope, no I won’t lose sight, but heaven is a place I just can’t find” and features a music video that includes haunting scenes of religion displaced with images of humanity, beauty, and destruction. The video recently was names one of Vimeo‘s staff picks and you can watch it here.

LINDSEY STIRLING: BRAVERY IS ENOUGH
September 1, 2016 6:35 pm

 

Lindsey Stirling was a sensation and novelty act years ago, with dancing, dubstep and epic violin solos she broke the mold. Being one part of EDM dubstep, one part classical and one part pop, Lindsey has no fear to be who she truly is. However, like most impressive and creative acts, they can be one hit wonders and terribly repetitive after awhile, lacking creativity or diversity.

I am happy to say, Lindsey Stirling is not like those others and she shows her powerful ability and innovation in her new album Brave Enough.

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I actually saw Lindsey Stirling years ago in a quiet auditorium in at the Visitors Center of the Mormon Temple in Washington DC. She played Shatter Me with such beauty and grace being only accompanied by a man with a drum box and a piano. Her passion was unreal and the whole audience was in awe afterwards. If you ever get the chance to see her, I absolutely recommend it.

Brave Enough is a beautiful and strong example of her abilities to collaborate with others while still emphasizing the special talents of each artist. From Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) to Christina Perri and ZZ Ward to Lecare, Brave Enough is so packed full of artists it’s almost hard to keep track of them all. It is great to see her fame being put to good use bringing them all together in one cohesive piece.

Her strongest point in her music is also a bit of a weakness though. Fast paced violin work mixed with dubstep and drums is a wonderful mix and I love it even more in this album, the songs sound clear and individual, never repetitive. The only thing I would want from her would be some more relaxed and slower song. “Gavi’s Song” is fantastic, and I would love to hear more of this style. but it is only a minor complaint, the album and each track is honestly very good and totally deserves your time and money.

I am happy to see this album exceed my expectations. I thought it would be a set of familiar sounding songs that featured some mediocre singing here and there, but I was wrong. It is a variety in writing and collaborations make a wonderful album filled with enough energy to fuel your night drives, video game marathons or morning workouts. Check it out and love every moment of it.

BLOOD ORANGE’S FREETOWN SOUND
August 23, 2016 11:26 am

 

Blood Orange is fucking awesome. Like his namesake citrus, Dev Hynes’ newest album Freetown Sound is a delicious mix of sweet and sour, oscillating between phat beats/enduring hooks and raw frustration/societal truth.

Dev Hynes began his musical career as a member of The Test Icicles, after moving to London from his home in Edinburgh, Scotland to attend art school. He released his first Blood Orange album, Coastal Grooves, in 2011 and has since worked as a songwriter for an increasingly impressive series of artists: Theophilus London, Florence + The Machine, Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, Foals, and Britney Spears, to name a few. His chillwave core has taken on 80’s and 90’s influences over time, and his message has become decidedly more political.

Sometimes refreshingly calm, sometimes painfully poignant, Freetown Sound has struck a keen balance between what people today want to hear and what they need to hear. It’s smooth, angry, sexy and frustrated, but never ambivalent or verbose. It’s cool and clear, crisp and modern, but also intense and passionate and vivid and timeless. It’s about racism. It’s about sexism. It’s about religion. It doesn’t mince words addressing these sensitive issues truly and directly, and it couldn’t possibly be more relevant to the modern zeitgeist. This is what we need to be talking about, and Blood Orange is doing it’s damnedest to get the conversation moving. All you have to do is go listen to the music.

Glad to see someone as awesome as he is addressing what really matters in the world today.

FOR YOUR LOWS, CHECK OUT HIGH HIGHS
August 22, 2016 11:43 am

 

As  great new bands go, High Highs definitely have to be one of my all time favorites. Their sweet melodic instrumentals are mixed with soft melancholy vocals that evoke a sense of depressing hope. Now if that doesn’t make sense to you, then you obviously haven’t heard them.

The band, based off New York “via Sydney”, is one of the few who is able to capture this feeling of hope that is not altogether what it seems to be. They’ve got a peculiar sound reminiscent of The Shins, flashbacks to sad Xavier in high school days commence, it is a sound that is not only pleasing to the ear but one that stirs up a sense of real feelings.

Cascades, their latest album and their single of the same name, is one that’s particularly pleasing. While still keeping the same tone of their previous albums, the new track seems to have more upbeat sounds while still keeping lyrics that continue to have you grounded in a beautifully surreal existential crisis. In a good way, if that makes sense.

High Highs also put out a new video in July for their song “London, After the Rain“, whose subject matter seems to match its form. The video, which depicts naked bodies being painted, mirrors its artfully skilled song that gets sung as the brush strokes the bodies in an effortlessly mellow way. A visual as relaxing as the sounds of “London, After the Rain”.

While High Highs has been around for a while, it is a crime that they don’t seem to have the following that they deserve. Next time you are having a breakdown, thinking about a lost love, or are feeling overall melancholy (me, always), consider High Highs as the soundtrack to your soothing sadness.

SUICIDE SQUAD ALBUM REVIEW: RUN, DO NOT WALK TO THE WILD SIDE
August 17, 2016 6:37 pm

 

Whether you loved the colorful action or hated the bland villains and plot, Suicide Squad is out and strong opinions are flying everywhere. Rotten Tomatoes is famous for in depth/no shame ratings of movies, their Critic Score stands at an abysmal 26% rating while the fans score is at 69%. This split on the movie either being horrible or mostly good is everywhere. But with all this controversy over the film, nobody can deny that the soundtrack is amazing. This magic mixtape of artists and styles is impressive, creative and in reality is far better than the movie.

I would describe the attitude of the album as heroically rough around the edges. Just like the villains gone hero in the movie, the songs have a dark intensity while being oddly uplifting and easy to relate to. The album is basically split into two song types: reflective and slow or fast and powerful.

Starting with Skrillex’s and Rick Ross’s Purple Lamborghini could not have been a better choice. This song seemed underwhelming at first for me, but the more I listened the more I saw their subtle teamwork to make a brutal dubstep/hip-hop/rap song. “Wreak Havoc” by Skylar Grey is the perfect punch to the face pop song and Grimes brings her electronic magic right after it. The second to last track is Panic! At The Disco’s cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which is obviously not better than the original, but comes close in reality. From the similarity in the voice to the modernized rock section with added emphasis in the orchestra parts, Panic! At The Disco does it incredibly.

As for the mellow side of the album, “Sucker For Pain” slows it down with a more personal song that speaks the the darker sides of people, but in a good way. With Imagine Dragons, Logic, Lil Wayne, X Ambassadors, Ty Dolla $ign and Wiz Khalifa all packed into this song, I was genuinely surprised how good it turned out. Twenty One Pilots continues the slower and deeper reflection tones from movie with the odd and beautiful “Heathens”. “Gangsta” and “Know Better” by Kehlani and Kevin Gates respectively are the weakest songs on the album, but they’re not bad, just not up to par with the others. The last track is “I Started a Joke” by ConfidentialMX featuring Becky Hanson, and this song is not that complex when it comes to instruments or vocals, but that’s the best part of it. It starts slightly innocent sounding and then gets darker and more grim as it goes, a true black rose: dauntingly beautiful.

This album is awesome, but there are flaws for sure. Some songs are sound like filler or too geared toward pop culture appeal, but overall it’s worth your time. Being a compilation album with so many artists, I’m impressed that it turned out to be so good. To summarize all this, I would honestly recommend skipping the movie and watching it when it comes out on Netflix or RedBox and then using that ticket money to go buy this album, totally worth it.

 

BRIANA MARELA: SWEET ELECTRO LULLABIES
August 15, 2016 9:43 am

 

Briana Marela makes moody, ethereal music. Layered vocals pierce through rhythmic ambiance, washy and compressed, like an ice queen in a steel canyon. Marela self-released two albums before getting signed by Jagjaguwar records, who sent her to Reykjavik, Iceland to work with Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers. The result is All Around Us, a collection of emotionally charged, heavily processed, ambient electro-crooning that put me right to sleep upon my first listen.

And of course I mean that in the best possible way. I was quite content to doze off to her dulcet love songs, whisked away by the aforementioned ice queen to slumber in peace atop her steely canyon of sound. I picture myself melting in a vat of butter, only the butter is covered in ice crystals and I’m made entirely of liquid nitrogen, which is poisonous when consumed so don’t even think about it. Excellent music to nap to, or to study to or to do anything mindless that can be accompanied by ambient music. Not great for long car rides or roller coasters or to be playing from an ice cream truck. But hey, that’s just me.

Briana Marela continues to live in Seattle and perform throughout the Pacific Northwest.

JUMP THE GUN WITH HOCKEY DAD
August 1, 2016 6:33 pm

After a long week of work, who can’t appreciate a nice beach trip. Windows rolled down and music blasting with your friends cracking jokes, this is the best way to relax during the summer. Two Australian men, Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming, and their passion for music and beach trips have crafted the perfect music for these beach trips inside their simple and beautiful band, Hockey Dad.

Dreamin’ was their first EP which was warmly welcomed among the alternative and indie communities in 2014. A great sound for their first EP: fully of energy, bright guitars and gritty drums. After touring and a few singles during the past years, their new album Boronia is due to arrive August 12th.

In the spirit of summer time fun, they’ve already released a few singles and just yesterday a new music video for their newest single from the upcoming album which is appropriately called Jump The Gun. The track starts with an addicting string of notes from the guitar as the bass and drums hop in a bit after. Just like the video showing Stephenson and Fleming jumping in the glistening water to surf, the song brings the feeling of diving into the cool ocean water to you wherever you are. A perfect song that is as timeless as a sweet summer sunset. With such a relaxing and enveloping music video, it will make us all say to our daily responsibilities the lines of the chorus, “I don’t want to go home, I’m having too much fun…I don’t want to go home, so leave me alone.”

A superb addition to the repertoire of Hockey Dad’s summer surf songs that makes me all that more excited for Boronia later this month.

FLUME GETS UNDER YOUR SKIN
July 22, 2016 4:20 pm

Electronica, Dubstep, Trap, House and Dance are some of your standard groupings for modern EDM. Flume seems to achieve a transcendence of all this while mixing in some profoundly experimental sounds and strong hip-hop elements. His newest album Skin is this great achievement. Suffering from a handful of small issues throughout the album, Flume still brings new life to the genre.

Born in Australia, Harley Streten began making music with a basic production disc found inside his cereal box at 13 years old. At the age of 21, his first album, self-titled Flume, was put out through Future Classic and the next year, 2013, it had a strong US release. With songs like Some Minds that came out in 2015, tours and popular remixes, Streten has been one active young man.

This brings us to Skin. I’ll be upfront, it isn’t my favorite of all his music, but this does not mean that it doesn’t have some seriously impressive tracks that will find their ways to my personal playlists.

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From the beginning of Skin, songs like “Helix” and “Numb & Getting Colder” really show off his deep dedication to EDM and the art of music. He throws out the standard formula of builds and drops on many tracks for progressive pieces that feature very unique sounds and samples. Just like Skrillex and Daft Punk have explored what sounds can be made inside of software programs, Streten brings some surprisingly new sounds to the world. Listen to “Lose It”, “Free” and “Innocence” to better understand this impressive creative nature he has deep in him.

This is the main strength of the album, the ability to meld different sounds and use various samples in odd and interesting ways you’ve never imagined would work so well together. Flume is also a master of bass, seriously, your subwoofer probably hasn’t worked this hard in a long time. With pounds of drums and ambient bass lines, I haven’t heard songs with beautiful bass lines like this since Deadmau5’s 4×4=12.   

He also mixes in a lot more hip-hop than I expected and it makes his music even more appealing and more addictive. You Know is such a progressive hip-hop/rap dedicated piece, if it weren’t for the other similar songs, you wouldn’t believe it was actually on Skin. My favorite on the album is Smoke and Retribution featuring Vince Staples and Kučka, its rhythm is so strong and the pauses with light synth parts is downright powerful.

Skin takes some dedicated time to understand and appreciate. It does something that I haven’t seen anywhere else using very different tones and genre melding tracks even including the infamous Beck. It is a hit and miss though, some tracks are great and appeal to everyone, but others might be only attractive to a select few. But if you like any kind of EDM, you’ll find a new favorite song from Flume.