Even the most spontaneous and/or tolerant of audiophiles need a quieting anchor in times of auditory overload. In modern life, anyone rational will have his or her slim gadgets unobtrusively tucked away in a pocket somewhere, earbuds dangling out and ready to go for those inevitable trips to the supermarket whose assistant manager insists on playing Top 40 (or worse, the Nickelback and 3 Doors Down channel) on a constant loop. It's not hard to imagine Club 8 flowing out of those earphones to remove the lo-fi lover from the overwhelming and the sensational of daily life. Half comprised of Acid House Kings member Johan AngergÄrd and with a discography including "Spring Came, Rain Fell" that makes love songs capable of being not irritating without resorting to lyrical irony, Club 8 serves as the savior from Scandinavia. Yes, it's possible to be sincere about love. Maybe it's something the Swedes would like to keep a national secret.

 

For the duration of their 7-year career, CocoRosie have been criticized and loved with equal fervor. To some, everything about the sisterly duo reeks of art school pretension, from their lyrics to the images they conjure of feathered hairpieces and child-like watercolor paintings. To others, it takes true wordsmiths, visual pioneers, and experimentally-curious individuals to craft music like CocoRosie's in the first place.

If critics and lovers are ever to converge on an opinion about CocoRosie, the duo's latest album, Grey Oceans, might be the starting point. It is a synthesis of their alienating experimentation with more traditional textures and melodies. This time around, CocoRosie seem to place a much larger focus on percussion and creating an overall rich, comforting ambiance. Noises now hide beneath core instrumentation rather than dominating the landscape, and Grey Oceans simply feels much more pedestrian than the sisters' previous works. Only the two closing tracks, "Fairy Paradise" and "Here I Come," stand out as especially disjointed; they break down into odd trance beats and utilize lethargic vocals, respectively.

 

ALBUM REVIEW CONTINUED BELOW Listen to "Lemonade" - DOWNLOAD MP3

Damien Jurado's new record, Saint Bartlett, is refreshingly pleasant for two reasons: the first is that is sounds like something from the past that you have known and loved. This is not to say that it is derivative necessarily, but that it draws from many sources in the best possible way. The second is that the soothing voice of lead singer and songwriter Jurado makes everything sound beautiful, calm, and at peace. These two are intertwined; some say that Damien Jurado is reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright, M. Ward, or even Will Oldham, with a bit of Neil Young-style songwriting mixed in. He is all of that, it is true, but has own his unfaltering take on what it is to be a singer-songwriter-performer.

 

Jurado's personal musical style has been perfected through time and experience in the music industry. This is his ninth full length, and his fifth for the midwestern Label Secretly Canadian. It is also happens to be my personal favorite. Nothing of Jurado's I have listened to in the past has had much of an impact, and even revisiting his previous albums doesn't do much for me. Saint Bartlett, however, was gripping upon first listen. This might perhaps be due to the welcome musical addition of the Saint Bartlett Band (an eight member orchestra comprised of members from Kay Kay And His Weathered Underground) to flesh out Jurado's sometimes stark sound.

Listen to "Arkansas" - DOWNLOAD MP3

Sometimes with music, especially when you're listening to a genre that's not a personal favorite, an album just needs time to grow on you. You may give it a few listens and walk away without much, if anything, to say. When you return a second...

Who doesn't love some Kinks? I'm a little buggered by the idea that The Onion actually takes music coverage seriously, but this is an interesting series. Basically, a list of songs are chosen and bands are invited to cover songs from that list. Once a...

There are times when animation-meets-real-life videos can take a turn for the worse (see here), but The Happy Hollows and director Ryan Reichenfeld have done alright for themselves. In this case, the psychedelic cartoon world matches the music. Download track for free at: http://thehappyhollows.bandcamp.com Ω...

You, my friends, can download Bear Hands' recent The Rumpus Session at bearhandsband.com. Once you sign up you will receive a Bear Hands // Rumpus Room digital bundle containing the full video session and an MP3 of the live session mixed + mastered audio. Cantora...

Chicago artists JT And The Clouds make a brand of folk and Americana-influenced indie rock that really hits sometimes. They recently released a live video of them performing "Low July", and everything about it is fantastic -- the cinematography, the sound, the expressions...

"It's hard having fun," say Yeasayer in "O.N.E.", and on their most recent tour, they lived up to that line. Although musically they were excellent, they proved the point that it's hard having fun; they barely looked like they were enjoying themselves at all, with...

With GAYNGS' first composition, "The Gaudy Side Of Town," record producer Ryan Olson crafted what would later be the album opener for GAYNGS' first release, entitled Relayted. This early track was so impressive that it reeled in collaborations from members of Megafaun, Bon Iver, The Rosebuds, and Lookbook. Relayted became almost like a songwriting challenge, given its intense collaboration and the fact that every track on this album shares a common 69 BPM's.

 

As the album's first single, "The Gaudy Side Of Town" is a brilliant example of soul influences in modern indie rock. Jazzing up traditional R&B songwriting structures, beats, and vocal stylings with psychedelic guitarwork, the first two tracks of Relayted give off a relaxed vibe like one conjured up by freak folkers, Woods. But when a cover of Godley & Creme's "Cry" appears, the album veers strangely into alt-country territory. Yet, it is not so far removed from the previous tracks that it's a huge shocker; perhaps "Cry" is just a stylistic anomaly, and that seems true when "No Sweat" steers the album back into R&B territory