Writing a sophomore album is a tricky prospect, especially when a band has received a massive amount of buzz and critical praise in relation to their relatively short lifespan. Groups crumble all the time under the weight of these expectations “ whether from themselves or from the media “ and often are unable to recapture the magic of their first major release: the one that they had their entire lives to conjure, instead of just a few months between tours and promotion. The rapid pace of the blogosphere has magnified the effect of this pressure, churning out new acts by the day that are effective sonic replacements for any formerly beloved group that has failed to pass muster on a new release. Add in the democratic and anonymous nature of the Internet, which emboldens the opinionated to release the type of caustic criticism that most would hide in person, and it is understandable why many bands today would have some trepidation regarding the release of new material.
Local Natives seem like they may be aware of, if not certainly reactive to, these perils. In part, because their second release Hummingbird does not stray far stylistically from Gorilla Manor, the debut album that put the Los Angeles group on the map in 2010. The band’s chiming guitar parts and multi-part harmonies remain, as do their intricate percussion lines that often form the focal points of their studio compositions and their energetic live shows. For some bands, the re-creation of a uniform sonic profile reminiscent of a past release could be interpreted as an insurance against loss, a way to satisfy those listeners who are expecting more of the same from a band they already enjoy. For other groups, the preservation of the same style could simply signify their love of that particular sound, and their desire to wring it dry for all of its latent value.
In 1991 the Gulf War was raging, the youth of America were draped in flannel, and Irish indie rockers My Bloody Valentine had just released their second studio album Loveless, setting the bar almost impossibly high for future shoegaze records. Now, more than 20 years later, the band has finally released a new studio album entitled mbv, only their third in nearly three decades of existence.
Of course, the musical landscape has changed dramatically since the band was last in the studio. In keeping with modern times, My Bloody Valentine have embraced the multiplicity of formats currently available, albeit with somewhat head-scratching results. Even though My Bloody Valentine have posted all of their new songs on YouTube, they have also released the album with a tiered pay structure that may seem strange to many listeners. For $30, fans can grab the vinyl, CD, and digital download of the album. The band is also offering the CD and download for $22, and the download by itself for $16. While these high prices may seem strange for an indie band that has already put all of the songs on YouTube and is promoting the album with no label backing, the digital downloads are all available at exceptionally high quality as 24 bit, 96kHz WAV files, which is certainly not the norm for digital releases. Not sure if you want to drop the cash on the new release just yet? Check out the new tunes on the band’s YouTube channel first.
Check out OurStage members Foxtailsomersault if you’re into My Bloody Valentine.
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In 2001, the romance of technology was still lighthearted. For Daft Punk, erstwhile pioneers in the world of mainstream electronica, the technologies that propelled their “Digital Love” single to success in the new millennium “ the soft synths and sampled wurlitzers “ still weren’t at odds with human affection, human love, human communication. They were an addendum, a side note to human intimacy, which still had supremacy even in an age of gradually encroaching machines that would slowly command more time, love, and money than many interpersonal relationships. That time was still to come, though. At the turn of the millennium, America was reeling from other wounds, and the crush of technology was really not a concern. (more…)
There’s never a dull moment for The Flaming Lips. Whether they’re filming NSFW videos with Amanda Palmer, beating Jay-Z’s record for most live concerts played in 24 hours, releasing music inside of gummy skulls, or rolling around in giant plastic balls at their live shows, Wayne Coyne and company are always on the lookout for their next thrill. So of course, the announcement of the April 2 release of their album The Terror wasn’t complete without an additional surprise out of left field; this Super Bowl Sunday, they will be performing a new song, “Sun Blows Up Today,” in a Hyundai commercial during the big game. The 60-second spot, an advertisement for the Hyundai Santa Fe, will feature the band hanging out on a suburban rooftop playing the new tune, which will be available for 100,000 free downloads from the Hyundai website and as a bonus track on the digital album.
According to Coyne, the “great, very strange, beautiful, emotional record” was written between sessions for the band’s previous 2012 release The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. You can find the official track list for The Terror, as well as a still from the upcoming commercial, below the jump.
Since 1998, Matt Pond has been releasing perfectly crafted indie rock albums under the moniker Matt Pond PA, but with his most recent release The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand, Pond has dropped the “PA,” indicating a definite shift in tone. We caught up with Pond to chat about the songwriting for the new record, what he loves about being on the road, and the allure of a career in academia “ were he not to be in a relentlessly touring rock band.
OS: The loss of the PA from your name signals some type of change in mentality or style. How would you compare your upcoming album to [2010’s] The Dark Leaves?
Matt Pond: I finish every album with some kind of staggering realization. It’s not the objective, but it always happens. As we worked on the album, each member slipped away. So that by the end, it was just me and Chris Hansen. Incidentally, Chris is my best friend and the best musician I’ve ever played with. And that’s not hyperbole. I guess The Dark Leaves was about acceptance and The Lives is about defiance. Because of this, I couldn’t hold onto the “PA” anymore. I don’t know if I was fired or promoted, but I definitely feel different. (more…)
With the return of hipster favorites Ra Ra Riot, Toro y Moi, and The Joy Formidable, this is an especially fertile week for indie rock releases. Also on the menu are new offerings from classic punk stalwarts Bad Religion and OurStage’s own rising star Tyler Bryant.
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown “ Wild Child
We’ve been fans of Tyler Bryant’s barn-burning blues guitar skills for years, and now, with the release of Wild Child, Bryant and his band are poised to take the national scene by storm. Their new album has enough plaintive slide guitar, ripping solos, boot stomping and gang vocals to last you a lifetime. Or at least until their next release comes out.
By the way, the single “Say A Prayer” is currently iTunes’ Free Single Of The Week.
Ra Ra Riot “ Beta Love
Ra Ra Riot are back with an album of danceable minimalist synth pop that also manages to incorporate more organic sounds from swelling string arrangements. Strong echoes of David Byrne are still recognizable in frontman Wes Miles‘ voice, but he generally sounds much more self-assured and in reach of a true personal vocal style this time around.
Following her stunning win on the most recent season of The Voice, Cassadee Pope has wasted no time in capitalizing on her success, signing with Universal Republic Nashville. I am so excited to be joining the very talented Republic Nashville family. I am so passionate about my music and I couldn’t be more excited to have this amazing team to back me as I embark on this next chapter in my career,” reads Pope’s statement. While fans might be saddened by the impact that Pope’s burgeoning solo career has had on her band Hey Monday, who are currently on hiatus, they needn’t worry about missing the singer herself in 2013. She will reportedly be working on a project that is supposedly a “edgier, less country” version of Taylor Swift.
While you’re waiting for Cassadee’s album, check out OurStage artist Aubrey Wood.
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Phoenix have just posted the mysterious image on the left to their Facebook Page in a possible nod towards the upcoming release of their new album in April 2013. Daniel Glass, the head of the band’s label, Glassnote, indicated at a Spotify event in early December that the band had finished recording the follow-up to their 2009 indie smash Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in Paris. The link to Phoenix’ website currently leads visitors into a flashing multicolor version of the image that is not recommended if you are prone to seizures. If you’re willing to brave the madness, though, you can hear what sounds like a clip from a possible new Phoenix track.
If you’re into Phoenix, check out OurStage act City City.
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From all accounts, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs new album, Mosquito, is going to be as weird as possible. To squash any doubts, the band has just revealed the bizarre album art, which features a terrifying purple mosquito preparing to impale a naked baby that has apparently been eating green goo. We’re not sure what the concept behind that one is, but “mosquito” seems to be the word of the day for the New York indie rockers, as their recent album trailer also features an oversized mosquito-headed musician. The album will drop on April 16, but you can already hear two new songs that the band premiered at the Glass House in Pomona, California this past weekend. Read below the jump for the new tunes.
If you’re into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, check out OurStage artist Love Darling!