vampire weekend

MIIKE SNOW: POP BEATS MODERN MUSIC NEEDS
September 22, 2016 6:05 pm

Miike Snow is the indelible, organic, pop hook-laden band consisting of the production team of Bloodshy & Avant, coupled with singer Andrew Wyatt. The group has been releasing albums of danceable, heavy, somewhat macabre music since 2009. Three albums to be exact, Miike Snow, Happy to You, and iii, all distinct in their own right, but inherently easily recognizable as Miike Snow.

Prior to forming Miike Snow, the production team of Bloodshy & Avant, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, were sought after producers and songwriters by some of the biggest names in pop music. Karlsson was a member of the Swedish hip-hop group Goldmine and toured with The Fugees. Under the moniker of Bloodshy & Avant, the duo produced singles for Madonna, Kylie Minogue, and Britney Spears, eventually going on to win a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording for Spears’s 2004 hit “Toxic”. Bloodshy & Avant was introduced to classical and jazz educated Andrew Wyatt through a mutual friend and took the name Miike Snow. The name was also a play on Japanese film director, Takashi Miike, when they added an extra “i” for their eponymous debut in 2009.

Their music has been described as “A-Ha meets Animal Collective” by The Guardian, which is a great description of the groups deep, rich production beats, and Wyatt’s soft baritone and strong range. The group has gone onto win some awards of their own, and has developed a deep respect from a multitude of artists including: Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon, and Vampire Weekend, through their remix collaborations. Miike Snow released their latest record iii in March of 2016 with tracks “Heart is Full”, and “Genghis Khan” accompanied by full-length feature videos to great fanfare. Miike Snow played a string of 2016 summer festivals including Coachella, The Governor’s Ball, and Lollapalooza, and continues their North American concluding with the Austin City Limits Music Festival on October 9th in Austin, TX. If you find them near you, you need to see him and get get addicted to their amazing music.

RA RA DIET
December 1, 2015 11:11 pm

No, this is not about any holiday diets you’d like me to suggest for you. Just keep eating pie and candy ’til your swollen little heart gives out. It’s delicious and worth it.

This is about about Ra Ra Riot. Yeahhh you forgot about them didn’t you? Maybe you didn’t, I don’t know. If you did, well you shouldn’t have. They’re excellent, and poised to have a big impact on your 2016. So pay attention!

This is “Water.” (I think, right? I can’t actually read.) Ra Ra Riot and Rostam Batmanglij (of Vampire Weekend) released it in November, another in a series of Riot/Weekend collaborations. Remember Discovery? Did you know Wes Miles and Ezra Koenig have been friends since childhood? Yeah, I googled it. (And I can’t even read!) These two groups are peas in a pod, thick as thieves, closer than kittens. You’re not jealous, are you?

“Water” is just a little taste of Need Your Light, Ra Ra Riot’s upcoming album, out February 19th. Yes, I know that’s a long way away. No, I don’t like lyric videos. (All that reading, amirite?!) But this one is pretty good, made superb by the righteous tunage. That it’s a gem is no surprise–remember “Boy?” “Can You Tell?” They have tons of gnarly jams and quality vibes. Totally rad. Check ’em out!

RRRRwater

What are you doing down here? Go back up and click on those links! What, you think I have more to say? No way, Jose! The point here is to go listen to the music, not waste your time with an illiterate like me. Go away!

BREAKING DAY WITH MOON TAXI’S DAYBREAKER
October 27, 2015 5:33 pm

It took me a moment but once I heard a couple songs I realized that I had heard Moon Taxi before.  This band from Nashville who started in 2006 will blow your mind with the musical vastness they accomplish. They’ve had their music featured in numerous commercials, late night shows and festivals. The band released two previous records before their latest and greatest Daybreaker.  They have all the elements of a light indie pop/alternative rock group, with a  darker tinge of garage rock injected into the mix.

Daybreaker was just released October 2nd, just a few weeks ago and has everyone falling head over heals. Most of the songs on the album sound like a mix of Interpol with droning guitar riffs and sound similar to Kings of Leon vocally.  It’s reminiscent of something Danger Mouse might produce save for the grunge here and there throughout the record.  It was actually a pleasant surprise to hear the different sounds they are capable of making as I’m not generally a fan of more fluid indie rock.  But I was thoroughly impressed with how they produced this album and all of its dynamic.

You can really feel their performance, and how every single part of each song melts together in the perfect sequence while appropriately placed. This is the type of band you want to see live because you know they have it down to a science.  All of the songs, including the single “Year Zero” have a slight Vampire Weekend sound with milder vocals and more full sounding instrumentals.  I’d highly advise you to check out their album Daybreaker! If you’re ever in the mood to dance this album will be your best friend.  Check out the Jazzy tune “Make your mind up”  from the new album right here and watch these bad asses focused and rocking live at Lollapalooza.  The Beasts approve and beyond!

From EP to Album: What can we expect from HIGHS?
June 17, 2015 3:18 pm

The central image of Highs’ music video for “Mango” is of a girl joyfully jumping up and down on her bed, and this couldn’t be a more fitting scene. It’s hard to listen to Highs’ music without imagining the whole band bouncing around enthusiastically as they play.

A wave of positivity has hit the young Canadian band ever since its formation in 2012. What started out as a one-man show recording demos in his bedroom has now grown into an energetic five piece band. The positive reviews only increased after the release of their first EP in the summer of 2013, and it is no surprise there’s already an album in the making. Bright, dense and upbeat, every song on their self-titled EP sports a cluster of catchy guitar riffs and restless afro-beat inspired drum patterns in which the drummer, Kevin Ledlow, seems to hit every part of his set except the actual drums themselves. What’s more, Doug’s and Karrie’s spot on harmonized singing makes it hard to get the songs out of your head. All six songs on the EP are uplifting and satisfying right from the first listen.

Highs’ music has numerously been compared to that of Vampire Weekend. This is a hard act to follow to say the least, but I would like to hold off on properly comparing the two bands until I’ve heard what their full length album has to offer. It would be great to see their songs become a bit more diverse. The tracks on the EP all sound great, but their similarity in tone and structure easily make them melt into one. I’ve listened to the EP quite a few times now, and I still have difficulty pinning the right song name to the right guitar riff.

Judging from a fairly recent promotional video on YouTube, some more diversity is exactly what we will be getting from the upcoming album: “The EP is pretty positive all of the time, but we wanted to include (…) some more emotionally heavy stuff; a whole different realm of human emotion we hadn’t explored on the EP.” I am a bit of a skeptic, however, seeing as they also say that this supposed ‘new realm of emotion’ will mainly stem from the lyrics as opposed to the sound of the songs themselves. I’m all for having some darker tinted lyrics, but if the music remains this upbeat, it won’t have much of an impact on how we experience the songs emotionally.

Still, I can’t help but be enthusiastic. I could definitely do with some more of Highs’ positive catchiness, and if anything we can be sure that this is what they will deliver: “When you hear [the album], you’ll think: ‘That’s a Highs record for sure’.”

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