Category Archives: Cool Band/Song Alert

Awesome New Album: Melted by Ty Segall

Ty Segall

There’s been plenty of talk on NYRM about Ty Segall.  I’ve had a lot of admiration for the San Franciscan rocker for quite some time, digging a lot of his scuzzy garage songs, though not particularly blown away by him at SXSW.  I liked Lemons last year, but it didn’t make my end of year lists.  Still, it always seemed like there was something special about him- you could sense it there- but nothing was quite separating him from his musical peers.

This album though, this album feels like he’s really truly and finally arrived to where he ought to be.  Melted isn’t all that different from past Segall releases, but it works wonderfully as a set of songs, some of which are incredibly memorable.  It’s an album, album.  It feels good listening to it as a whole, like a little treasure you get to keep for yourself, the way albums used to feel before Internet singles ruined them.  One tangible difference on Melted is that Segall has perfected the old school jam-out.  Two of the stand-out tracks, “Casesar,” and “Sad Fuzz” melt into nostalgic jams on pre-punk 70s riffs.  There’s something comfortingly classic rock to this album, much in the same vein as Alex Bleeker tunes.  For all the punk and post-punk worshipping we’ve done over the past decade or so, it’s good to hear bands going back a few years further and combining the old with the even older.  There’s a lot of blues in the guitar solos, which also unites it with a late 60s rock and roll vibe in the most enchanting way.  These songs are like a bowl of rock and roll chicken soup, but with an exciting, new spice added in.

There’s also a fair share of weirdo songs on Melted.  “Mike D’s Coke” is a chanty tangent that serves to further endear you to the album through its vaguely carnivalesque strangeness.  On the other hand, many of the songs are about about girls and love and more girls.  Segall is a figure that people can really get behind- a hard-working songwriter who’s been around the block without having ever garnered too much success.  Now we’ve finally got an album to really rally around him with.  Sure, it’s another garage record for the history pages, but Segall proves with Melted that working at something a lot for a long time really does make you better at it.

MP3: “Caesar” – Ty Segall

MP3: “Sad Fuzz” – Ty Segall


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Cool New (Old?) Band: King Tuff

I’ve been pretty vocal about my love of Happy Birthday’s self-titled debut album lately.  Last week I was working at my internship for the company that handles Happy Birthday’s booking.  They’re always listening to good tunes in the office, and something really, really good came on that I didn’t recognize.  It was vintage grungy punk with some modern pop twists, with a singer that sounded so familiar in an inexplicable way, and also in a way that sometimes sounded like Television’s Tom Verlaine.  It was love at first listen.

When I asked what it was, I wasn’t all too surprised to hear that it was King Tuff, Kyle from Happy Birthday’s original project.  It’s definitely its own thing- more classic and derivative than Happy Birthday- but it still has that very playful, classically self-deprecating vibe that Happy Birthday gives off.  I’ve attached a few tracks to this post.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

MP3: “Sun Medallion” – King Tuff

MP3: “Freak When I’m Dead” – King Tuff

MP3: “Connection” – King Tuff

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MP3 Roundup: White Wires, Mutual Benefit, Buffalo Moon, and Eric Copeland

I haven’t been this excited about new music since I’ve been doing this blog.  There’s a lot of heavy hitters putting out amazing albums, a refreshing and diverse change of pace after 2009’s Animal Collective/Grizzly Bear/Dirty Projectors monopoly.  The National, The Hold Steady, Joanna Newsom, Dum Dum Girls, and Broken Social Scene have obviously all been on heavy rotation lately.  Plus, I’m already itching for new records from Beach Fossils, Wavves, The Books, Cloud Nothings, Best Coast, oh my goodness, too many to name.  But you already know about most of those guys.  The National are everyone and the album is good and you certainly don’t need me to tell you that.  I’ve been a little slack this week about posting (good shows have been lite – everyone seems to be out on tour), but here are four notable songs that have caught my attention in the past month or so.  All very different, and a little more obscure for you, just in case you do end up getting tired of putting High Violet on repeat.

I found out about White Wires from a brief post by Bill Pearis on BrooklynVegan.  They’re from Canada, and Pearis describes them as “seriously awesome.”  Apparently the live show is full of energy, which makes sense because this rock and roll track makes me want to dance.  “Pretty Girl” would be a great song for the scene in the movie where it’s finally the big high school dance, maybe a contemporary movie that’s set in the 60s.  It won’t blow your mind or anything, but it’s a great rocker to throw on a party playlist or jam out to in the party-filled summer days that are fast approaching.

Mutual Benefit I found through Microphone Memory Emotion.  “Here” is almost entirely just vocals and guitar, though it does get a bit more complicated in the end.  It’s small and precious and beautiful.  It inhabits a really tiny space; the song is comforting in the way that sometimes your bed is when you wake up and for some reason it’s extra comfy that day.  A really private, small thing, but beautiful nonetheless.  That’s what this song feels like.  You can download a few more of Mutual Benefit’s songs here for free (the EP artwork is pictured above).

If White Wires could be in a 60s teen movie, then Buffalo Moon could be on the soundtrack for a 50s surf film.  “Beach Boy” starts off with some borderline whiny vocals, lovely backing organ, and a very familiar chord progression.  The song plays on the same musical tropes that a song like “Teen Angel” from Grease does.  Two thirds of the way through the song, though, there’s a truly wonderful and unexpected break with woodwinds and a few other instruments, and the song becomes quite a lot more than I had anticipated.  Plus, the voice settles into itself and actually becomes a bit addictive.  I’ve listened to this song a bunch of times in the same way that I listened to Best Coast constantly when I first heard the group.  I think you’ll either love or hate this track, and if you hate it, give it a few listens to grow on you.

Last but not least is Eric Copeland with “Fun Dink Death.”  Copeland is part of Black Dice, a wonderful, fun experimental group that I really love but have never posted about on this blog before for fear that they might be a bit inaccessible for some.  There’s a wonderful sense of play to their songs, and I think that carried over perfectly to this solo track from Copeland.  Anyone will like this track, especially if you’re into bands like Garotas Suecas or even Panda Bear.  It’s a lot of fun and is another great track to add to your summer dinner party playlist.

MP3: “Pretty Girl” – White Wires

MP3: “Here” – Mutual Benefit

MP3: “Beach Boy” – Buffalo Moon

MP3: “Fun Dink Death” – Eric Copeland

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Cool New Festival: Mountain Man Fest

Mountain Man Fest is a brand new DIY festival slated to take place on Saturday, July 24th in upstate New York, right near Skidmore- about a three hour drive from the city.  Some of NYRM’s favorite bands will be on the bill including Islands, Real Estate, Woods, Pill Wonder, Family Portrait, Julian Lynch, Cults, and Eternal Summers.  It’s very exciting and innovative and just exactly the type of thing that makes me rethink this whole “little fish in a big pond” thing that New York City has going on.  Basically, these two guys graduated from college last year and got decent day jobs, but then decided that they wanted to put on a totally epic music festival.  They had big ideas, but no money.  So they decided to talk to a bunch of bands and Underwater Peoples to see if they would agree to play the festival without any upfront agreed-upon pay.  Instead, the bands would sign on to the fest and then they would raise the money through ticket sales and donations on Kickstarter.  They need $65,000 to pull the whole thing off.  An ambitious, exciting, and seemingly pretty good idea.

Unfortunately, they have eight days left and only $6,332 pledged so far.  While their love of music and DIY spirit is admirable, I think there’s a few flaws in the plan.  Mostly, that the fest is only one day long and three hours away from any city.  I would TOTALLY donate more than the ticket price to this cause, but I am extremely broke and I’m not sure I’ll be able to drive three hours to see these bands and then drive three hours home.  I’m leery to give my precious money to something that seems like it may or may not happen.  Still, if it DID happen, I probably would end up going.  And having a great time.

I see the impracticalities in my own donation hesitations, but I so desperately want this to happen.  It’s a really, really cool effort and I hope it inspires more genuine things in its wake.  I’m curious to see what will happen next week if they don’t manage to raise $59,000.  Hopefully, it will still go on.  Hopefully, a few people can swoop in and make it happen.  Either way, it’s very cool food for thought.  Check out the Kickstarter page, including a video explaining everything, right here.

MP3: “Disarming The Car Bomb” – Islands


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Cool New Video: Real Estate’s “Suburban Dogs”

In the past year, Real Estate has quietly become one of my favorite bands.  I find myself thinking, “Budweiser, Sprite, do you feel alright?” pretty frequently, and now that the weather is getting warm again, I can’t get enough of their tunes again.  I came across this video via someone’s Twitter feed yesterday, and I thought I’d share it.  It captures a lot of funny things: the juxtaposition of the guys in the band with the people at the office, along with the unreality of the clips from what seem like an idealized New Jersey adolescence.  Mostly, I just like it because it makes me think about all the bands I wanted to start in high school.  A cool video for a sunny Friday afternoon.

MP3: “Suburban Dogs” – Real Estate

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MP3 Roundup: Future Islands, Hombres Nombres, Girlfriends, Yellow Ostrich, and Weekends

It’s been far too long since I’ve done one of these posts, but I always get really nervous about them and put it off.  I’m afraid that the bands will either be too obvious or be too small and not be good enough, and no one will like the MP3s and everyone will stop reading my blog.  I also put such a large emphasis on seeing music live that I feel weird posting about bands I’ve never seen.  Then it turns out to be even longer between each post, which makes me more nervous because when I do a new one, it will seem like the bands are a bigger deal than maybe I want them to be.  Anyways, here’s another MP3 roundup.  Simply, these are a few MP3s/bands I’ve been digging lately, officially endorsed by me.

First and foremost, check out the amazing Future Islands video above for their song “Tin Man.”  The video is fantastic, and the song in and of itself is stunning.  Wavering steel-drum background with that voice!  Oh that voice!  When their LP comes out, I predict there will be a full-blown fervor over this band.  Thanks to Melissa P., for booking them all those years ago at Olde Club.  It’s so nice to see how a good band has grown into what might turn out to be a great one.

Hombres Nombres are from Brooklyn and will play their first-ever show at Cake Shop next week.  They sent me an e-mail, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear an album that sounds a little like The Beets crossed with Wavves.  Their song, “Dead City,” is an amalgam of so many current melodies.  I hear snippets of other lo-fi garage songs en vogue right now in their tunes, but I can’t place any of them.  It’s a nice summary point for what the scene’s been like lately, plus the song really has a killer hook.  Just guitar, drums, and weirdly distorted “woo-ooo’s.”  They describe their debut EP, UGLY FETUS as “about a man who loses his job, leaves his wife and son, and travels to the fictional mountain town of Dead City, Mexico, where he takes peyote and meets the devil.”  I dig ’em.

I don’t normally post covers, but thought I’d make an exception for this one.  The band is Girlfriends from Boston, the Song is “The Day I Was A Horse,” a Vaselines cover.  I found this one on the excellent blog The Decibel Tolls, and figured any band savvy enough to cover such a cool song was definitely worth a listen.  It’s not going to blow your mind; it’s just jangly guy-girl rock.  But it’s got that 90s alt-rock feel I love with enough modern lo-fi (ha) twists that I can’t stop listening to these guys.  Another good garage outfit to add to your list of go-to cool music.

The next song up is “Whale” by Yellow Ostrich.  Build.  This one is created around dramatic build.  Drums, “oh oh” vocal layer, basic strings, eerily succinct melody.  The song is about taking a ride on a whale, and they use the word as a meeting point in their song, propelling the melody into its next phrase.  It’s an extremely satisfying and well-crafted song, and doesn’t sound like a whole lot else going on right now.  Definitely give this one a listen all the way through.  Thanks to the I Guess I’m Floating guys for posting.

I heard about Baltimore artist Weekends from Weekly Tape Deck.  The song “Raingirls,” starts with a squiggling guitar line and moves into striving, goal-reaching vocal lines.  This song makes me feel like I’m trying really, really hard to reach a goal, and I’m closer than I ever thought would be possible.  Yes.  That’s exactly what it sounds like to me and I don’t want to qualify it any other way.  Listen.  I think you’ll like it.

MP3: “Dead City” – Hombres Nombres

MP3: “The Day I Was A Horse” – Girlfriends

MP3: “Whale” – Yellow Ostrich

MP3: “Raingirls” – Weekends

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Recommended Monday Show (and Cool New MP3): City Center at Death By Audio

(photo by Amber Fellows)

The last time I wrote about City Center was back in September, when I caught them at Cake Shop and thoroughly enjoyed their mix of loops, noise, and pop sensibility.  As I said then, Fred Thomas is an excellent songwriter, and this new track that’s been circulating around the Internet is as beautiful as ever.  Heavy with the nostalgia and existential angst that characterizes a lot of Thomas’ music for me, it’s another good MP3 to check off in your collection from this musician.  Check them out at Death By Audio tonight.

MP3: “Teardrop Children” – City Center

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