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Archive | January, 2014

Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

January 31, 2014

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January is always such a hopeful time in music.  We have an entire year ahead of us to dissect new releases, make expectations and demands of artists, and not care about the Grammy’s.  I’m looking forward to a lot of things this year, some new albums from old artists, some debuts, and the progress of my own appreciation of this genre. There are also a couple things I have in the works in hip-hop that I’d like to get you all in on: I’m a media sponsor through my radio show of Austin Mic Exchange (every Tuesday at Spider House Ballroom at 11PM) and we’re working on an expansion plan to San Antonio and Houston.  I’m also working with an amazing group of folks on ending the insidious practice of pay-2-play in Austin, and you can be a part of it by attending the City of Austin Music Commission meeting on Monday.  I’m also doing a DJ set for this very blog at Holy Mountain on Valentine’s Day for all you lovers and non-lovers out there to get out and shake it while everyone else is eating overpriced steak.

SONG OF THE MONTH:

Danny Brown wasn’t nominated for a Grammy, but he made number one on my best of 2013 list, and this song, that sticks to the ribs is a lot of the reason why:

:Danny Brown – Red 2 Go:

JANUARY MIX:

:DJ Skarface – My Geek Folder (MadDILLAiny):
:Schoolboy Q – Break the Bank:
:Childish Gambino – IV. Sweatpants:
:Teflon – Get Mine (Gummy Soul Remix):
:Flying Lotus – Adventure Sound (Featuring The Underachievers):
:Magna Carda – Shoes $ Money:
:Run The Jewels – Pew Pew Pew:
:Step Brothers – Byron G (Featuring Genesis And The Whooliganz):
:PacBoiTank – Leaders Life Forever:
:Crew54 – Freedom (Featuring Showtyme):
:Action Bronson And Party Supplies – Rolling Thunder:
:KOOL A.D. – Insane Computer Raps (Featuring Alim):
:Busta Rhymes – Thank You (Featuring Q-Tip):
:Johnson And Jonson – Hold On John:
:Talib Kweli And Hi-Tek – Just Begun (Featuring Jay Electronica, J. Cole, And Mos Def):
:Quantic And Ana Tijou – Doo Wop (That Thing):

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Stream This

January 31, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Robert Ellis – The Lights From The Chemical Plant

Holy Wave – Relax
Young Girls – Self Titled EP
Borzoi – Dogs Of The Matriarchy EP
North Americans – NO_NO
Jerome LOL – Deleted/Fool
Xiu Xiu – Angel Guts: Red Classroom
Willis Earl Beal – A Place That Doesn’t Exist
Broken Bells – After The Disco
Actress – Ghettoville
Wax Fang – The Astronaut
Cymbals – The Age Of Fracture
Plus/Minus – Jumping The Tracks
Marissa Nadler – July
CEO – Wonderland
Disco Doom – Numerals
Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain (30th Anniversary Reissue)
Be Forest – Earthbeat
Drowners – Self Titled
Nicole Atkins – Slow Phaser

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
St. Vincent

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The Suffers (Video Premiere)

January 30, 2014

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I could ramble all day about the various new bands that Austin’s Free Week delivered this year, but instead of doing that I’ll just tell you the one that stood out the most – The Suffers. Hailing from Houston, the band is made up of current and former members of Los Skarnales, Heptic Skeptic, The Handsomes and others, and their sound is thoroughly soul-enthused.  I love it, and I can’t wait to see them at SXSW.

Below you’ll find the premiere of The Suffers doing a song called Giver live.  If you can watch it and not find singer Kam Franklin’s voice stunning on all fronts, then there’s something wrong with your insides.

By the way, you can hit up The Suffers’ Bandcamp for some extra tunes.

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Burnt Ones (Noah)

January 30, 2014

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As much of a fan as I was of Burnt Ones first album, the amazing Black Tongues & Golden Tongues, I sort of just stopped listening to them after a while. I don’t know if it was a glut of Burnt One shows or just a general burnout on San Francisco’s garage scene, but they released a second record and I talked about it but then spent ten seconds with it before dismissing it. I’m happy to say though that Mark Tester and crew are on the verge of releasing a third album, Gift, on Castleface Records and it’s a totally different beast. The band recently took a break from touring to pull themselves away from the haunts of their performing personas, and the first single, Spell Breakers speaks to that. This isn’t the T. Rex homage band from five years ago, this is something new, spacey and almost eerie in the atmospheric waves that spills of it. This is a new step, the next evolution of Burnt Ones, and it’s a step in softer, stranger direction, and I for one am very, very impressed.

:Burnt Ones – Spell Breakers:

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The Villas, Young Girls (Jennifer)

January 29, 2014

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Austin quartet The Villas are kicking off the new year with another upbeat, catchy guitar pop tune, Natural Selection.  It has jangly yet crunchy guitar riffs combined with soaring, falsetto harmonies tinged with a bit of longing and melancholy. They’re strongly influenced by 90s Britpop-era bands such as Ash, who they will actually be opening for on Stubb’s indoor stage on February 5.

Ash were one of the biggest and most consistent bands of the 90s Britpop era and they’re still going strong. They’re also a top notch, charismatic live act. They’re on a brief US tour before they set sail to be part of the Weezer Cruise. On a side note, if 90s Britpop (as well as current British indie bands) make you swoon, the Villas’ lead singer/guitarist Jonathan Berry also hosts/DJs events in Austin under the moniker of Sobscene Indie Disco.

:The Villas – Natural Selection:

I fell for the sound of Houston band Young Girls a few years ago, and I’ve been anticipating this new EP for what seems like ages. This four song effort was released this week on vinyl (only 500 copies) by our fellow blog friends over at Austin Town Hall.

Fronted by brothers Pete and Charlie Tijerina, the band crafts an irresistible blend of pop – they take a little bit of surf, throw in some garage rock, and yet it still feels fresh and modern. It’s like The Beach Boys fronting The Strokes but cooler.

:Young Girls – Vigilante:

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Genuine Leather (Single Premiere)

January 28, 2014

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If you’ve been paying even just a minimal amount of attention to me over the last few months, then you’ve probably noticed that I really like Genuine Leather.  The band, which is fronted by Chris Galis of the Gorgeous Hands, has quickly become one of my favorite pop acts in Austin, and I’m really excited to be premiering their effortlessly appealing new single today.  Expect to dig it if you’ve ever liked anything that’s worth singing-a-long to.  Enjoy.

:Genuine Leather – The Enemy:

By the way, I highly recommend that you check out some of Genuine Leather’s other tracks over at Soundcloud.

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Raised Eyebrows: How I Learned To Love The Grateful Dead (Randy)

January 27, 2014

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I read a bumper sticker recently that said, “Change is Inevitable. Growth is Optional.” That resonated with me. The sentiment I gathered from that Toyota bumper can be applied to my love for The Grateful Dead. Being the hypocrite that I am, I once criticized The Dead and blamed them for the birth of bands like Phish and Widespread Panic. My view of Deadheads consisted of bro dudes, hippies, and that guy who played guitar on the quad. Little did I know that one day I would become someone who discussed what the best version of Sugaree is, or where my favorite Wall of Sound show was performed.

The point being, growth is a good thing. Driving in my car with my fleece pullover and baseball cap on, blasting Live/Dead with my son in the backseat is kinda awesome. Is it what I thought my life would look like? I don’t know. I honestly never thought I’d get this far.

Below are six of my favorite Dead recordings/performances. Each of them offers some explanation as to how I came around to The Grateful Dead.

By the way, an online mix of all 6 performances can be heard here.

Photo courtesy of posternutbag540.tumblr.com

1)  Jerry Garcia Band – 10/17/75, Concord Pavilion: Concord, CA

It all starts here. This was my turning point with Jerry Garcia. The playing here is expressive throughout and the pacing is fairly slow. Jerry was known for loving a slow, sad song, and here he and his killer band (Nicky Hopkins/Rolling Stones, Ron Tutt/TCB Band, John Kahn) settle in for a melancholy set. The show still has Garcia and crew familiarly reaching and improvising, but without the space jams and rave ups. Hearing Garcia out of the context of The Dead helped alleviate the preconceived notions I had about the music.  It was the perfect introduction for me.

2)  Jerry Garcia – Garcia

This studio solo album by Garcia took me that extra step past the JGB. Bird Song, Deal, Loser, The Wheel, and of course Sugaree remain big jams for me. Finding out all of these songs were staples in GD sets furthered my descent into the maelstrom. This album got me hooked.

Photo courtesy of dead.net

3)  Grateful Dead – Mission in the Rain, 6/12/76, Boston Music Hall: Boston, MA

I first got into Mission In the Rain through JGB ‘s Don’t Let Go. Interestingly, the JGB set from the Orpheum Theatre was recorded less than a month earlier, on 5/21/76. Regardless, the song stood out for me, especially once I heard The Dead’s version. It starts off with a slow riff similar to I’ll Take A Melody, then perks up a bit at the second verse and just steamrolls from there.

Photo courtesy of lostlivedead.blogspot.com

4)  Grateful Dead – St. Stephen, 10/12/68,  Avalon Ballroom:  San Francisco, CA

I got seriously obsessed with the song St. Stephen. The studio version drew me in with all those good timing hollers and that oddball bridge. I am convinced St. Stephen is THE preface to many works by Steve Malkmus & the Jicks, Wilco, and I’d even go as far as to say Television. The 10/12/68 performance of St. Stephen is the ultimate rendition for me. The entire band, and especially Jerry, bring the HEAT! Despite many faults, I never fail to get a rush at the resolve of the second verse, and you get the added bonus of hearing Weir drop out at the bridge due to technical difficulties. Solid gold.

5)  Grateful Dead – Morning Dew (Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack), 10/18/74, Winterland Ballroom: San Francisco, CA

Lesh sold me on this one. The opening riff helped. Phil really digs in after the third verse, and the build between Garcia and Lesh before the end jam is pretty epic. If you can get past the dancing hippies, you’ll find a truly powerful performance by one of the best live bands ever.

6)  Grateful Dead – Cumberland Blues (Europe ’72), 4/8/72, Wembley Empire Pool: Wembley, London, England, UK

This performance is a perfect example of John Fogerty’s term “chooglin’.” Fogerty‘s lyrics are clear on Keep On Chooglin: “You got to ball and have a good time and that’s what I call chooglin’,” and  that is exactly what happens here. Lesh’s beginning bass notes lay the foundation for a toe tappin’ good time. Overdubbed or not, the vocals at the end of the first verse are glorious and the song as a whole is played with rollicking precision. It was here that I realized “Oh fuck, I’m listening to The Dead and it rules!”

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Quickdraw: The Hold Steady, The Coathangers, Mac DeMarco, Sylvan Esso, Magna Carda

January 27, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:The Hold Steady – I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You:  After a few years of other projects and such, the Hold Steady are back together.  Guitarist Steve Selvidge (he toured with them in 2010) is now an official member of the band, and his presence seems to have given them a meatier sound.  I like it.  You’ll be able to get Teeth Dreams on March 25 via the band’s own Positive Jams imprint.

:The Coathangers – Follow Me:  Here in the next couple of weeks I’m going to scribble out a to-do list for SXSW, and near the top of it will definitely be to finally see The Coathangers play.  I bet it’s a show that just dominates you.  Suicide Squeeze Records will release Suck My Shirt on March 18.

:Mac DeMarco – Passing Out Pieces:  I really love this whimsical number from Mac DeMarco.  Makes me wonder why I’ve never really spent a lot of time listening to his albums.  Salad Days is all set to be released on April 1 via Captured Tracks.  DeMarco will play the Mohawk on April 13.

:Sylvan Esso – Coffee:  In case you missed my recommendation of Sylvan Esso last year, it’s a project from Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) and Nick Sanborn (Megafaun).  I think they’re doing some really interesting stuff.  The Coffee/Dress 12″ is due out March 25 on Partisan Records.

:Magna Carda – Geaux:  These days every time I turn around someone is asking about Austin’s Magna Carda, and I think that’s a very good thing.  Not only are they worthy of the attention, but maybe it will make people (and I’m including myself here) pay more attention to the local hip hop scene.  You can get the group’s new mixtape, Van Geaux, for free over at Bandcamp.

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Weekly Movie News Rundown

January 25, 2014

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Time for your weekly movie news update!  Below you’ll find a slew of sentences meant to provide a brief glimpse of what’s been going on over the past week in movieland.  If something leaves you desperate for more info, then my advice is to do a little extra research on one or all of the following fantastic sites:  Latino Review, Dark Horizons, Ain’t It Cool News, CHUD and/or JoBlo.  Read on!

Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) may direct the adaptation of the game Assassin’s Creed.

Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman deal with Warner Bros. is reportedly for three films.

Garrett Hedlund will play Hook and Hugh Jackman will portray Blackbeard in Joe Wright’s currently untitled Peter Pan film.

Sacha Baron Cohen is in talks to play the villain in Through The Looking Glass (aka Alice In Wonderland 2).

Quentin Tarantino recently noted that The Hateful Eight will no longer be his next film. He apparently was very unhappy about his script being leaked.

Rupert Sanders (Snow White And The Huntsman) is all set to direct a live action version of Ghost In The Shell.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star in Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of Philippe Petit’s memoirs, To Reach The Clouds.  Petit was the focus of 2008′s Man On Wire.

Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) is set to portray Dan Aykroyd in the John Belushi biopic.

Bruce Willis and Ambyr Childers are set to star in the sci-fi thriller Vice.  The movie is said to follow a synthetic being that becomes self aware.

Tom Hardy and Takashi Miike have dropped out of The Outsider due to scheduling issues.

This Week’s Notable Trailers

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Sad Bastard Music: Jaded January (John Gross)

January 24, 2014

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Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands, of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” – Rob Gordon//High Fidelity

Preach it brother Rob!!!

Welcome to the inaugural monthly column of a currated Sad Bastard Music that will most certainly change the landscape of internet music blogs as we know it. For the past 7 months I’ve thrown a night at the Volstead here in Austin Texas called No Dancing: Sad Bastard Music that focuses on nothing but songs of heartbreak, misery and generally no good, very bad days. It’s a blast! Getting people together to wallow in a sea of whiskey, beer and Hank Williams is a special thing and I’m flattered to be here on your computer screen right now to tell you more about it. I pledge to bring you a reasonably depressing mix of the best in Sad Bastard Music pulling from soul, pop, country and Kleenex-core* (*patent pending) to highlight an audio blend of perfect mopeyness.

This month’s melancholia starts off with the Man In Black and ends with later day Chubby Checker from his lesser known 1971 psychedelic record Chequered which is a giant leap from his well known Twist steez. Along the way we’ll visit Blake Schwarzenbach’s softer side from his JTB moniker, Boston’s Modern Lover and 1 of the great 69 love songs. Sprinkled in there is my favorite Cat Power song lately and a holiday song from Tom Waits that is ideal to cringe in it’s tragedy any ol’ time of the year. Enjoy these Sad Bastard toonz!

Jaded January Mix:

:Johnny Cash – On The Evening Train:
:Del Shannon – World Without Love:
:Jets to Brazil – Further North:
:Jonathan Richman – True Love Is Not Nice:
:The Magnetic Fields – Meaningless:
:Cat Power – Good Woman:
:Tom Waits – Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis:
:Chubby Checker – Goodbye Victoria:

Song Of The Month:

Also, I’ll be featuring a newish Song of the Month here in this space. Tim Kasher is the man that brought up classic sad bastard jams with his Cursive and the Good Life projects and also recently released his second solo record entitled Adult Film. Kasher is a tortured soul that can craft a tortured rock song no doubt about it, with A Raincloud Is A Raincloud he achieves one of the harder things to do while working with sad song devices, which is, to make it poppy and upbeat. Here, we’ve got tambourines, synthesizers and a catchy sing-along chorus … which so just happens to center around the inevitable demise of relationships. The self-reflexive mixed metaphors carry both the heavy “why bother” and the “what if” messages which climaxes with the wink wink to the fact that the character has lost an child. OUCH! But, you know what – why bother being bummed about it? Let’s tap our feet and singalong because a raincloud is a raincloud.

:Tim Kasher – A Raincloud Is A Raincloud:

“Like” NO DANCING on Facebook HERE! Come out to the next installment in REAL LIFE on February 11 at the Volstead!

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Stream This

January 24, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Dum Dum Girls – Too True

Jess Williamson – Native State
Hospitality – Trouble
Supreme Cuts – Divine Ecstasy
Snowbird – Moon
Cities Aviv – Come To Life
Johann Johannsson – McCanick
Peggy Sue – Choir Of Echoes
Quilt – Held In Splendor
Doug Tuttle – Self Titled
Morgan Delt – Self Titled

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
EMA

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White Hinterland

January 23, 2014

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While it seems like just yesterday that I was humming along to the overly catchy Dreaming Of The Plum Trees, in reality that was six years ago and White Hinterland (aka Casey Dienel) has evolved quite a bit as an artist since then.  You’ll see what I mean when you hit play on her new single, which is a big, confident pop song with plenty of interesting sounds to dig through.  Enjoy.

:White Hinterland – Ring The Bell:

Baby is expected out on April 1 via Dead Oceans.

Bonus Video:

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Abram Shook, Growl (Jennifer)

January 22, 2014

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I was introduced to the sounds of Abram Shook early last year when I saw him perform as a member of Austin’s Feverbones.  Since then I’ve been eagerly waiting for his solo album to be released. Well, now it’s here!  The effort is titled Sun Marquee and is available through Western Vinyl.

The songs on his solo debut LP offer the perfect remedy for the winter blues. The sound and atmosphere on these songs is a bright, dreamy slice of tropical infused pop. As a songwriter, he offers a soulful, effervescent vibe with groovy organ swirls, bubbling bass lines, and seductive, falsetto vocals. Like a tropical getaway during the winter, the album is finished before you know it and you’re ready to relive those warm, sunny memories again and again.

There will be an album release party this Friday at The Mohawk.  Two of my favorite Austin bands, Good Field and Royal Forest, make this bill a triple pop treat.

Another favorite discovery of mine from last year is the Austin indie pop/rock quartet Growl. This Saturday they are releasing the No Years EP, which is the follow-up to their infectious 2013 EP Gallery.  Their music is fun and energetic combined with a wry sense of humor and a good heart.

The release party will be held at Holy Mountain; it’s a packed local lineup featuring The Laughing, Milezo, and Young Mammals (from Houston). I highly recommend catching them perform live; one show is all it takes – I promise you’ll be hooked. It’s a busy 2014 so far for the band as they’ve also been selected for this year’s KUTX MapJam and SXSW.

:Growl – Review:

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The Wolf, Jesus Sons (Dan)

January 22, 2014

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I prefer my 60’s inspired garage rock more drunk than stoned. Nonetheless I was drawn in by the psych rock stylings of both The Wolf and Jesus Sons. While Jesus Sons are new to me, I’ve been a fan Austin’s own The Wolf for a while.

The band recently followed up their 2013 debut album Strange Flowers with a new EP titled Ride. The EP is a natural progression for the band and their best work to date. The tracks have a smoky haze of noise thanks to layers of guitar and reverb. Tied By The Roots is an especially fantastic tune that finishes with a flurry of distortion and pulsing rhythms. Baby Jew is another standout that begins with a sloppy yet hypnotic vibe before transitioning to a bass/guitar/drums freak out. Brilliant stuff.

Check out the entire EP on Bandcamp where it can be purchase for just $5!

:The Wolf – Tied By The Roots:

Garage rock has been thriving in Northern California for a while but the scene seems to be shifting down to Los Angeles. Ty Segall and John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees recently moved from San Francisco to LA which instantly gives the City of Angels new cred. Adding to that is a newish band called Jesus Sons.

They mainline 60’s psych rock and rhythm and blues to create their vintage sound. Add in some tambourines and harmonica and you have a cool Dylan meets The Velvet Underground feel. The band is generating a lot of buzz in California and beyond as they ready their first LP for release.

The self-titled album will be available on January 28th via Mock Records.

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Quickdraw: Pillar Point, Eternal Summers, Evil Arrows, Elephant, Real Estate

January 21, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Pillar Point – Eyeballs:  It’s so very nice to hear Scott Reitherman’s voice again.  The former Throw Me The Statue frontman was born to do indie pop and should not be gone for extended amounts of time.  Polyvinyl will release Pillar Point’s self titled effort on March 3.

:Eternal Summers – Gouge:  I wouldn’t have guessed that Eternal Summers had some shoegaze in them, but here they are doing it and doing it well.  I could listen to more of this.  The Drop Beneath is expected out on March 4 via Kanine.

:Evil Arrows – Jennifer Kills The Giant (Once A Week):  Evil Arrows is a new project from SOTO fav Bryan Scary.  It’s not as elaborate and wild as what he usually churns out, but I like it.  The pop act will be putting out a slew of EPs this year, and you’ll be able to get the first one tomorrow.

:Elephant – Elusive Youth:  There’s an almost seductive quality to this track that I just adore.  On a related note, I’d love to know how it took me until now to notice how great Amelia Rivas’ voice is.  Elephant will release the Elusive Youth single on January 28 via Memphis Industries.  A full length is expected in the Spring.

:Real Estate – Talking Backwards:  As always, here’s Real Estate sounding impeccable.  The band just isn’t capable of making a pop song that isn’t a total ear-pleaser.  Look out for Atlas everywhere on March 4 via Domino.

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