I Feel It All

Feist - The Reminder
Feist – The Reminder

Leslie Feist has a voice that is somehow powerful and fragile all at once. On “I Feel It All”, the second track of her upcoming full-length, it lulls and soothes, yet at times simultaneously drives and carries the song to soaring heights. The song opens as a kind of glockenspiel driven stomp, with hard strummed guitar that seems to demand you tap your toes. It’s quick to hush itself however, framing Feist’s almost-whispers with only drum kicks, tambourine, and muted guitar. The song fluctuates between the delicate and the driving, building upon itself until it’s nearly explosive.

Though I’m a bit wary of early proclamations… I can’t see how this song could be considered anything but one of the greatest pop songs of the year. It’ll certainly be one of my favorites.

Listen:

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Download: Feist – I Feel It All
Buy:
Pre-order The Reminder at Insound

Monarch, Minus the A&R

Pharoahe Monch

Pharoahe Monch

Pharoahe Monch is a hip-hop legend. One-half of the influential (and sadly defunct) Organized Konfusion, he is finally poised to release a new album, more than seven years after Internal Affairs. “Desire”, the title-track from his upcoming sophomore release, feels like Pharoahe’s triumphant reclamation of hip-hop… a taunt, a challenge, a battle cry. He has remarked that this record will be a more soulful effort and this song certainly fits that mold — from the dramatic, melancholic strings to the passionate chorus. However, what really shines on this track is Pharoahe’s trademark flow. It’s all there: the wordplay, the charisma, the raw power. Desire comes out on May 1st and if this song is any indication, it’s gonna be a banger.

Listen:

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Download: Pharoahe Monch – Desire
Buy: Pre-order Desire at CD Universe

Wet and Rusting

Menomena - Friend and Foe

Menomena – Friend and Foe

I’ve been sitting on this album for a few months now; up until the other day it had been essentially lost in the shuffle. And perhaps it still is, I haven’t really listened to it in it’s entirety. However, I have been listening to it sporadically while at home and “Wet and Rusting” has been getting put on repeat over the past few days. The song lulls you with hollowed vocals, scattered piano keys, muted blips and beeps, and a low drone. A glimpse of acoustic guitar and sweet-sounding glockenspiel hits before the sunken drone returns, only to give way to a methodical wave of drums. The energy carries through the rest of the song… nostalgic, regretful, yet anthemic. Awesome stuff.

I also recommend checking out the music video over at MTV2’s Subterranean Blog. Directed by Lance Bangs, it reminds me a bit of a Unicorns video… pretty funny.

Listen:

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Download: Menomena – Wet and Rusting

Buy Friend and Foe at Insound.

The WolfPack: Bitch, I’m Shinin’

The Pack

The Pack (formerly known as The WolfPack) is a young hyphy group hailing from Berkley, CA. These guys hit the big time fairly recently, getting discovered by Bay Area legend Too $hort for Jive Records. Their first single “Vans” exploded into the mainstream when it was released, and they’ve now followed that up with “I’m Shinin'”. Both tracks exemplify a prevailing trend in hip-hop these days: the rise of minimalism. And boy is it sweet. When you hear these tracks you’ll probably think, “Okay… these lyrics aren’t great”. In fact, “Vans” serves as kind of an extended advertisement… though it does hold an interesting component of Nike-bashing, seemingly in the name of rejecting conformity and exorbitant prices. However, this message gets a bit lost on “I’m Shinin'”, which primarily consists of them bragging about their diamonds.

Though the MCs are competent, it’s ultimately the production on these tracks that carries them from “alright” to “pretty damn sweet”. Unfortunately, The Pack seems to drop the ball a bit on the rest of their debut EP, in which the topics vary from having sex, bragging about their ice again, and having sex. Then again, these guys are still teenagers and are being mentored by Too $hort. What should we expect?

Listen:

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Download: The Pack – Vans

Listen:

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Download: The Pack – I’m Shinin’

Buy the Skateboards 2 Scrapers EP at Amazon or CD Universe.

Brian Wilson meets Shoji Yamashiro?

Here it is…. my first post. Things will be a little abbreviated for now, school is hittin’ me hard. But, I just wanted to start sharing some things with you all… I’ll incorporate more detail as we go.

Panda Bear - Person Pitch

Panda Bear – Person Pitch

Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), one quarter of the acclaimed Animal Collective, has completed his latest, devastating full-length. The first track, “Comfy in Nautica”, recalls the haunting chorus chants of Akira, all the while channeling the echoed vocals and sparse instrumentation of Brian Wilson. Person Pitch comes out on March 20th, be sure to check it out.

Listen:

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Download: Panda Bear – Comfy in Nautica

Buy Person Pitch at Insound.