The Shins

BRAVE BABY BECOMES OUR NEW ELECTRIC FRIENDS
October 18, 2016 9:41 am

Brave Baby are a band from Charleston, South Carolina that currently carries the torch for the niche genre of southern indie rock. That title is normally reserved for bands that have at least one banjo, or cracklin’ piano, not synthesizers, 60’s-style organs, nor lead singer Keon Masters breathy delivery. The 5-piece is an eclectic mix of tender melodies, upbeat, danceable, radio ready singles, and southern charm.
They released their debut record Forty Bells on Charleston indie rock label Hearts and Plugs in 2013 that bring a DIY ethos, self-producing that record in their storage unit turned recording studio. The band released their follow up, Electric Friends, in 2015 to critical acclaim taking a giant step forward in terms of songwriting, and musicianship. The band’s multi-layered, synth-pop approach falls right in line with the millennial culture. Songs like “Daisy Child”, “Ancients”, and “Larry on the Weekend” have poured on comparisons to Arcade Fire, The Shins, and Death Cab for Cutie. The band is at once delicate, needing great care and undivided attention, yet ready for the long road-trip, with too many friends, crammed in the backseat of a Toyota Corolla.

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.

TEN SECOND SONGS: 20 DIFFERENT STYLES IN 1 DIZZYING BURST
July 6, 2016 11:44 am

Cover songs can be both a wonderful and cringe-worthy affair. They allow contemporary artists to dust off forgotten gems and repackage them for a new generation. Occasionally, a cover will manage to even improve on the original, though often they fall short. The Carpenters or Sonic Youth; Otis Redding or The Rolling Stones or Devo; The Postal Service or The Shins? Al Green or Talking Heads?—this go-to conversation fodder can quickly escalate into heated debates.  Youtuber Anthony Vincent gives covers to you 20 different ways in one dizzying burst.

Ten Second Songs doesn’t particularly befit a YouTube channel dedicated to the Jim Carey of pop music impersonators—for whatever reason, the title automatically reminded me of this classic AskReddit thread instead. Nonetheless, Anthony Vincent’s goofball concoctions are a total gas. If you you’re in need of a quick and hardy laugh, he’s got you covered.

Vincent’s main attraction is the 20 Style Cover Series, in which he sings through a selected track—often voted for anonymously by his loyal subscribers—and redubs the song in the style of a random interchanging array of musical guises, from Frank Sinatra to Nirvana and RunDMC to Daddy Yankee. Sure, it’s a touch on the gimmicky side, but that’s totally the point–the pure belly-laugh value is undeniable as Vincent mashes up some often hysterical combinations. Make sure to check out his HUGE variety of covers here. This is one of our favorites, enjoy!

DEEP SEA DIVER SHARES THEIR SECRETS
April 12, 2016 1:13 pm

Though the band Deep Sea Diver has only been around for a few years, writer and multi-instrumentalist Jessica Dobson has been on the scene for much longer. Signed to Atlantic Records at 19, Dobson recorded two albums that were ultimately shelved before moving on to collaborating with bands including The Shins, Beck, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Older and wiser, Dobson then went on to form Deep Sea Diver, with this past February seeing the release of their second LP, Secrets.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS had the privilege of speaking with Dobson to get her take on the new album, touring, and life as a seasoned musician.

timewilltell2

Photo by Brian S. Snider

Congratulations on your album release! Are there any new songs that you’re especially fond of playing live?

JD: Thank you! I really love playing “Wide Awake,” “Notice Me” and “Body on the Tracks” because I get to really step out on guitar on those ones and I think the fans really love that. There a lot of sweet guitar solos and pedals to play around with. It makes it even more exciting for me to do something different every night, especially with “Wide Awake.”

When you tour, how do you prepare to hit the road? What do you do to pass the time while traveling?

We basically start rehearsing about a month ahead and try to get the songs so deeply ingrained in our muscle memory so that by the time we hit the road, we feel totally free playing the songs. Its all about energy and vibe for us at shows, so we want to be emotionally as present as possible, not worried about whether or not we are ready to play the songs. In the van, its easy to tune out and go on your phone for hours on end, I try to read a few books at a time, and keep a journal about whatever I’m experiencing on the road and at shows.

Do you have any places you look forward to visiting when you tour?

New York is always a highlight for us. There’s a distinct energy in the city and we always see it as an adventure when we get to bounce around the different boroughs and eat the best food and stay out way too late.

Seattle might still be best known as the birthplace of the grunge movement. Has any of that culture remained popular in Seattle? Has it come back since the resurgence in popularity of 90s music?

Thankfully grunge has not made another comeback yet, but I think that music business people in Seattle wish that there was another resurgence of a scene that popular (insert $ signs). The music scene in Seattle is thankfully much more broad now and hopefully it will continue on that trajectory.

You’ve been a part of the music industry for about 10 years. What advice can you give to someone looking to break into the field? What do you think the biggest misconception about the industry is?

Music business is basically 99% smoke and mirrors and if you elevate the business end above the creative end, you will most likely be sorely disappointed. There is absolutely zero stability in the music industry and sometimes good art gets noticed, sometimes it doesn’t. You have to do everything you can to keep creating from an honest place and make the best art you possibly can. That is much more fulfilling than trying to pander to music business people and to fleeting musical trends.

What’s it like working with your spouse? Is it difficult to leave the workday behind once you get home?

Yeah its almost impossible to stop our minds from thinking about new songs, record label plans (we started a record label, High Beam Records) and what the next step is for Deep Sea Diver. We fight about silly things like who’s chorus ideas are better, but when we aren’t being immature, it’s the most fun to create with the person you love most.

Are you working on anything with The Shins at the moment?

Nope! I had to give Deep Sea Diver my full attention in order to get this new record out and to promote it as much as possible. I believe they are working on some new songs and I can’t wait to hear what comes of it!

You’ve also worked with Beck. Do you feel more pressure to perform well when you’re working on your own projects, or other people’s?

Performing live is one of my favorite aspects about being a musician and I treat any project or show like its the last thing I’ll ever do. I love the kind of healthy “pressure” that comes with performing, and it causes me to keep pushing my limits live. With that said, if a show of Deep Sea Diver’s gets a bad review or goes poorly, yeah, it stings a bit more because we wrote these songs and they are much more personal to us.

Is there anything you’d like your fans to know before listening to your new album?

If you can tell me who I’m singing about in the song “Secrets” I’ll somehow find a million dollars to give you.

GLITTERBOX’S MAIDEN AUNTS
February 9, 2016 11:08 am

Glitterbox released a song on Friday and it is something else, in the best possible way.

“Maiden Aunts” starts off like a classic rock song, something reminiscent of Led Zeppelin. The vocals lend it this feeling with their short bellows that are guided by a guitar that sporadically riffs in the most proficient way.

The song goes from a rock anthem to an indie hit with an unexpected fluency. It drifts in and out of those two genres in what I can only describe as a structurally unstructured momentum. It swims from Zeppelin to The Shins, real quick.

I know that might sound a little complicated and convoluted but it isn’t, these transitions happen in a manner that is so effortless, its like spreading peanut butter and jelly on a waffle. At first you don’t think it’ll work, but you slowly realize that it is easy and absolutely delicious.

What more can you expect from a band that describes themselves as “a band fine-tuned to this cosmic ambivalence.” Cosmic ambivalence aside, this band seems to be also in tuned with a psyche that lends itself a level of authenticity that is not commonplace. Let’s wish for more bands to be like Glitterbox, the Beasts are rooting for it!