2000 is the new EP from Washington DC dreampop band Western Affairs. The six tracks deliver some of the best music I have heard so far this year. Atmospheric, with lush vocals wrapped in beautiful harmonies, 2000 stands as a testament to the genre. Lush synths, reverby guitars and powerful drums, coupled with crisp production, set the mood for the tracks. This EP is a must have. Stream and by 2000 at the link below.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The Summer EP is the debut from Vancouver garage band Sightlines. The seven tracks are lo-fi and driving. If you like Ty Segall or Jay Reatard the you will like Sightlines. The Summer EP is full of fuzzy guitars and obscure vocals perfect for outside fun. Nothing fancy or pretencious here, just straight ahead pop punk in the best tradition of the genre. Stream and download the Summer EP for free at the link below.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
From the San Francisco Bay Area we have the self-titled debut album from synthpop band The Seshen. The eleven tracks show a broad range of influences that span from Philly soul, to Beach House, to Animal Collective. Deep soulful vocals, tasteful beats and imaginative instrumentals abound on this LP. The Seshen offer a unique and beautiful take on electronic music. Stream and buy The Seshen at the link below.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Washinton DC band The Sea Life have come with their self-titled sophomore EP. The six tracks are fuzzy lo-fi gems of teenage angst and shoegaze apathy. Light and dreamy, with heavy touches, The Sea Life glisten in the sun and make for perfect summer music. The EP is well played, well produced and a must listen for indie rock aficionados. Stream and download The Sea Life EP for free at the link below.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Los Angeles post-hardcore band Aeges has released their new album The Bridge. The music of Aeges stands in stark contrast to the poppy, surfy, dreamy music that has become so prevalent from SoCal. The ten tracks on The Bridge inhabit a space where alternative radio rock crashes into metal, with a bit of post-punk dripping in from above. What results is a lo-fi assault that wrests one from their complacency with straight ahead in your face rock. Stream and buy The Bridge at the link below.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
1 is the debut album from Seattle post-punk band Absolute Monarchs. If a knife is considered edgy then Absolute Monarchs are a Samurai sword. The ten tracks on 1 are poweful, expertly executed odes to an epoch where post-punk has risen to the heights of arena rock. This an absolutely great record...period. Stream and buy 1 at the link below.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Los Angeles electronic artist Continues, aka Dan Gatto, has released his self-titled debut full length. The ten tracks are stunning explorations into a darkish synthpop realm. There is a compelling feel to the tracks, like something profound is being communicated. This mood is set both vocally and instrumentally. The trascks also make one yearn to hear the material live as it has a vibe that draws one in. Stream and buy Continues at the link below.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Rich American White Kidz is the new EP from Fitchburg, MA band Sun Sister. Lo-fi and shoegazy, the four tracks are anthems of teenage angst. Sun Sister shows what can come of a dreampop band having the stones to rock. Cool guitar, heavy drums and great vocals, serve it up right. This could be the future of the genre. Stream and buy Rich American White Kidz at the link below.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Slow Motion Clarity is the new EP from Pretoria, South Africa artist The Watermark High, aka Paul van der Walt. The five tracks are full of fine instrumental shoegaze. Propelled by melodic guitars and drones, with prominent beats, Slow Motion Clarity is atmospheric and dreamy. Imagine Real Estate or Beach House as an instrumental artist and you have a pretty good idea of where The Watermark High is coming from. Crisp production and suberb musicianship frame the EP nicely. Stream and download the Slow Motion Clarity EP at the link below.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Heights and Abysses is the latest album from Brazilian ambient artist Gimu. This collection of four tracks takes one on a vivid ride through tonal poem imagery. Experimental and atmospheric, the sound will evoke different potentials with each listen. Heights and Abysses lends itself to a deeply personal experience where dreams become actualized through the layers of synth drones. Stream and download Heights and Abysses at the link below.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Dying Life is the debut album from Arkansas electronic artist Espermachine, aka James Esper. Blending elements of dubstep, house and industrial, with Joy Divisionesque vocals, Dying Life is a darker take on EBM. Prominent beats and driving synths yield ten rave ready danceable tracks that are immaginative and melodic. Stream and buy Dying Life at the link below.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Chicago dreampop band Panda Riot will come with their sophomore release, the Serious Radical Girls 7" on June 5th. The two tracks and a remix are super strong examples of all that is good with dreampop. Fuzzy, lo-fi and reverby, with melodic instrumentals and the standout vocals of Rebecca Scott. The Serious Radical Girls 7" is a record from a band coming of age. Their craft honed, one can only hope that a full length album release is not far off. Stream and pre-order the limited edition Serious Radical Girls 7" at the link below.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The blogosphere has been lit up recently with discussion of authenticity, credibility and selling out. This then begs the question of what does indie credibility really mean. Opinions abound...for Carles at Hipster Runoff it's all about being true to some undefined hipster credo and not becoming "lamestream." I'm sure most people into indie music have some opinion on this question, I certainly have mine, which I will share in this editorial.
For me the question of authenticity has no meaning. How can one begin to define authentic? By what criteria? Does it even matter? Are rural people the only ones that can do folk, does one have to grow up in the inner city to do rap, do you have to be a disadvantaged youth to do punk. For me the answer is in the music. Good music in any genre can be considered as authentic.
So, for me, the question of indie credibility comes down to one of huge corporate machines vs small labels, collectives and DIY ventures. Over the years the major labels have come to view the exploitation of indie as a way to further their stranglehold on radio and the consumer market. One need look no farther than the Lana Del Ray charade to see this. Foisted on the world as the next great indie chantuse, LDR was no more than a complete sham, created by managers and Interscope ( the world's largest major label) to suck at the teat of indie. This was a scheme worthy of Bush and Cheney. LDR was never indie and should have never been allowed to exploit the indie market. But the major blogs and indie radio fell prey to the siren song and we are all that much worse for it.
So this brings up the question, does success itself make one lose indie credibility. Again for me the answer is yes. Some indie labels are now almost as big as the majors (the four largest label groups). Should these no longer be considered indie, I would say yes. Does a band's success make them no longer indie, again I would say yes. I love Arcade Fire, but headlining arenas is mainstream, not indie. I love The Decemberists, but being on Capitol Records is not indie.
Selling out is also not indie. Again, for me, being indie denotes a certain set of ideals, none of which include enriching "The Man." Recently Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast announced her new signature clothing line for Urban Outfitters. Now Urban Outfitters have cool cloths, they have a cool section that sells the hippest indie vinyl records...they are also a corporation whose CEO is one of the most extreme right wing despots and one of the biggest supporters of Rick Santorum's failed bid to be dictator of America. I love Best Coast, but doing a clothing line for a corporation that exploits everything indie only to support the religious right is, for me, the very definition of selling out. Shame on you Bethany for sitting back with your ganja, to naive to see that this is wrong...and if it's the money being offered rather than naivety...well again, I think we have hit upon the definition of selling out.
So there are some of my thoughts on the issue of indie cred. I would like to know yours. Send comments to russianwinterrecords (at) gmail (dot) com.
So there are some of my thoughts on the issue of indie cred. I would like to know yours. Send comments to russianwinterrecords (at) gmail (dot) com.
Mexico City artist/producer and FZB favorite Ritualz is back with the first of a series of new EP's, Outworld Music I. With these four tracks, Ritualz is branching out from witch house into new musical realms. Outworld Music I explores influences from new age, world and trance to deliver some very exciting instrumental electronic music. Ritualz is showing his depth and is set to become a serious force in electronic music. Stream and buy Outworld Music I at the link below.
Monday, May 14, 2012
German dark ambient group and FZB favorites Vortex Rikers have released their latest EP, Short Stories. The EP continues Vortex Rikers journey combining post-dubstep, minimalism and a strong thematic sense to create dark, yet highly melodic, electronic music. The Short Stories EP blends eerie beats, with nice bell like piano tones overlaying lush, droning synth pads to create a compelling listening experience. Stream and download the Short Stories EP for free at the link below.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Regular readers of this blog know that, in addition to blogging and running indie label Russian Winter Records, I am also the artist Prevrat. Here's is a new video for the track Choose from my album Intelligent Discontent. This video is definately NSFW. The video is adapted from the short film High Broad Field by Sieben. Watch for a new video for one of the album tracks here each Friday through the summer.
You can download the Intelligent Discontent album for free at my Bandcamp page: http://prevrat.bandcamp.com
Ghosts & Friends is the new album from French electronic artist Dog Bless You, aka Ricciuti Samuel. The thirteen track are much more tha the usual glitchy electronica. Ranging from ambient to synthpop, Dog Bless You weaves genres into some of the best electropop I've heard. What one finds on Ghosts & Friends is imaginative synth pads and beats, soulful vocals that draw you into the message of the tracks like a good book and flawless production that blends crisp and clean parts with lo-fi textures. This album is a must listen. Stream and buy Ghosts & Friends at the link below.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Philadelphia artist/producer and FZB favorite Tours, aka Dylan Sieh, has a new single Grand Lux b/w Drift About. Sieh takes elements of shoegaze and chillwave and blends them into glitchy synthpop instrumentals that are made for summer listening. Musical influences from the halcyon days of Philly soul are present as well, giving Tours' music an interesting depth. Stream and download the Grand Lux single for free at the link below.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Virginia shoegaze artist and FZB favorite Evenings, aka Nathan Broaddus, is back with a new EP titled Unreleased Collection. According to the artist, the EP is comprised of "tracks that were around, but never made it anywhere." The six tracks are inventive shoegaze, with plenty of lo-fi textures, reverby guitars and glitchy beats. In some ways the tracks sound like bits and pieces, but yet stand on their own as works of merit and add to the depth of Evenings previous two releases Lately and North Dorm (both reviewed on FZB, do a search to see). I always appreciate when artists give insight into their creative process and this is what one has with Unreleased Collection. Stream and buy the EP for just $2 at the link below.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
S/T/ is the debut album from folky shoegaze duo Brother Sun, Sister Moon. This collaborative project of Alicia Merz (Birds of Passage) and Gareth Munday (Roof Light), weaves a dark, atmospheric and lo-fi aesthetic around expertly crafted dreampop tracks. The songs come at you like distant dream, barely remembered, but never forgotten. Beautiful instrumentation perfectly accents the whispery vocals to meld the music into the listener's consciousness. Stream and buy S/T at the link below.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Hallucination of Beauty is the new album from Denmark shoegaze band Tales of Murder and Dust. The eight tracks are a heady mix of influences spanning from indian music, to psychedelic, to post-rock. The album has a darkish, atmospheric vibe, that is highlighted by excellent mucisianship, compelling vocals and flawless production. There really is no adequate way to describe the strength or depth of this album. One must simply experience it to understand. Stream and download Hallucinations of Beauty at the link below.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Taken Apart is the latest EP from Bay Area synthpop trio The Swerve, aka Mikael Johnston, Jana Hanavan and D1. The four tracks on Taken Apart range from 80's influenced beats, to indie/classical fusion, to intimate and alluring featuring Hanavan's lush vocals. With flawless musicianship and sterling production (as one would expect from accomplished producers Johnston and D1), The Swerve deliver an EP that is perfectly placed to expand the path trodden by shoegaze. This is a band that will leave an important mark and need to be part of one's consciousness. Stream Taken Apart and download the track The Beach for free at the link below.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Boston based electronic artist Fleeta has just released his debut full length, Zoo. Blending elements of down-tempo, chill and dubstep, Zoo delivers ten tracks of catchy electronica. More than just the usual layering of lush synth pads, Fleeta builds beats that have their own unique life. Glitchy and darkish in spots, Zoo spans an emotional range musically, which heightens the overall listening experience. Stream and buy Zoo at the link below.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Toronto surf rocker and FZB favorite Art Imperial is back with a new album, Cult Of Love. The eight tracks are full of retro goodness, R&B influences and enough reverby twang to make Kelly Slater blush. (I'm sorry, but if you don't know who Slater is, you are not allowed to listen to surf music.) Art Imperial makes the 60's come alive on Cult of Love, with his usual deft touch. Don't get caught out in the lineup, stream and download Cult Of Love at the link below.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Here's a cool video for The Rest track Always On My Mind, from their new album SEESAW, which I review below. The band invited friends to thier rehearsal space to make the video which according to the band is " is the work of 30 people in one continuous take. Lots of singers,some animal costumes (courtesy of the Toronto Santa Clause Parade), a couplechalk illustrators, and a modest helping of beer."
After a long wait, Hamilton, Ontario shoegazers and FZB favorites, The Rest, are releasing their new album SEESAW in June. They are putting an album track up for stream and free download each week untill the album's release (3 tracks now up). The band has shared the entire album with FZB and the wait was definately worth it. The ten tracks are a testament to the bad's growth. The album is chock full of post-punk greatness, with a mild lo-fi vibe and an epic quality reminiscent of U2. Start streaming and downloading SEESAW for free at the link below.