win a 7″ made of ice from the shout out louds

Merge Records and the Shout Out Louds are giving away one of ten limited-edition kits for making a 7″ out of ice to celebrate the release of the band’s new track “Blue Ice”.

Everything about this project is crazy and we love it. It’s insanely easy to enter:

1. Send an email to
2. Make the subject of your email “Blue Ice Giveaway”
3. In the body enter your mailing address

A full-length from the Shout Out Louds will be available next year, but for now you can listen to “Blue Ice” below.

she’s a knife in the water

Divine Fits may be an indie supergroup, but they sound a lot less like their other bands than one would expect. Comprising Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs), and Sam Brown (The New Bomb Turks), there is some unavoidable familiarity (both Daniel and Boeckner have fairly identifiable voices), but overall A Thing Called Divine Fits treads ground not explored by their individual projects.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is the album’s overarching synth-filled 80s vibe. Lead track/single “My Love Is Real” did an excellent job of raising the flag to this fact, but expectations got in the way of realizing this would be the band’s modus operandi. Album favorites “Baby Get Worse” and “For Your Heart” further typify the sound – “Baby Get Worse” is diggable with its thick shimmy and danceable yet sullen “For Your Heart” is perfectly capped with a lovely guitar line at its end.

Despite the overall likability of A Thing Called Divine Fits, it’s got its imperfections. “Shivers” quickly becomes boring as it becomes clear that the song never really goes anywhere. “Like Ice Cream” takes a small step up by using vocals as part of the rhythm section, but it too seems out of place after the largely electronic-influenced rest of the album.

The good does far outweigh the boring, though, and there’s no doubt that the live pedigree of Daniel’s and Boeckner’s bands will make for an electric live show. What makes you shoulder shimmy in your seat on record will surely make you get up and dance in person.

A Thing Called Divine Fits drops 08.28.12.
Find out more by visiting the official Divine Fits website.

put up a fight, watch what you say

Imperial Teen’s fifth release, Feel the Sound, may be the best English pop-rock album to not actually come from the UK. Organs, clapping, and vocal harmonies all salute the Union Jack of yesteryear, despite the band’s being from San Francisco and having been formed in the mid-90s.

The songs are immediately infectious. The shake and shimmy and boy-girl vocals make for a ray of sunshine. A few songs on the album dip in and out of the shadows (“Over His Head” and the sublime “Out From Inside”), but closer “Overtaken” erases any darkness.

Feel the Sound dropped 01.31.12.
Check out the Imperial Teen website.
Download “Runaway” here.

november mp3 roundup


Evan Voytas – Can’t Let Anybody Know Who You Are
Natureboy – Pariah
Archers of Loaf – Harnessed in Slums (Remastered)
Dean & Britta – I’ll Keep It With Mine (Scott Hardkiss Electric Remix) (Bob Dylan cover)
Active Child – Diamond Heart (Man Without Country Remix)
Delta Spirit – I Think I’ve Found It EP
Various Artists – Merge Records Winter Sampler

i ain’t missing you at all – wild flag, blitzen trapper, happy people

Wild Flag – Wild Flag – 09.13.11

Trans-continental girl band Wild Flag (Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss, Rebecca Cole, Mary Timony) released their self-titled debut album this fall and it’s all kinds of fun and bad-ass, which comes as surprise to just about no one. The slow churn of the undertow on “Something Came Over Me” is an incredible interplay between guitar and drums and makes it one of the best tracks on the album. Single “Electric Band” has a nice dark vibe – these ladies are probably going to rough you up against the wall a bit should you ever meet in back alley. Preview the album with this beautifully shot & edited album trailer.

Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing – 09.13.11

Blitzen Trapper is a band that consistently puts out good, solid albums. As such, it’s hard to point to a song or two to draw attention to – just take the time to enjoy American Goldwing as a complete work. Sometimes nodding to 60s folk-rock, mostly sounding like it was plucked straight from the 70s, and occasionally veering into territory that’s straight country, the band’s sixth release is perfect Sunday morning music. Click to stream American Goldwing in its entirety and see exactly what we’re talking about.

Happy People – HP EP – 2011

The HP EP from New Jersey’s Happy People has a big enough sound that it was surprising to find the band consists of only two people – Jeff Widner and Steve Ortega. Apparent influences range from 90s indie-alternative, The Walkmen, and, on “Triplets”, the vocal stylings of Jeff Buckley and his sweet, haunting croon. While there’s not a lot of innovation at play in the duo’s songwriting, the songs are still the kind you want to hear. Stream or download the album at the HP website.

i still keep my baby teeth in the bedside table with my jewelry

On their latest release, Civilian, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have let go in every sense of word. The lyrics reflect the notion, the music wanders beautifully, and for the first time the band ceded the album’s engineering to an outside party. In letting go, Wye Oak has created their best work yet.

Much of the album calls to mind a less brash incarnation of early-2000s alt-rock; Civilian is the chilled-out child of Elliott and Rainer Maria. The guitars are hypnotic, there are tinges of the psychedelic, and Wasner’s loose diction plays into her oft-floating vocals.

Must-listen tracks include the nicely partitioned “Dog Eyes” and the album’s title track which lets loose at the end with a squealing guitar and snapping percussion.

Civilian dropped 03.08.11.
Find out more about Wye Oak here.

it’s a chemical reaction based upon attraction

For Telekinesis’s second full-length release, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, frontman Michael Benjamin Lerner has again teamed up with producer Chris Walla for another stellar album. Where a long-distance relationship and quick production inspired Telekinesis!, 12 Desperate Straight Lines was borne of separation and discontent. Don’t let the surrounding circumstances scare you off, though – the album is highly listenable and has all the catchy hooks of its predecessor.

In addition to reuniting with Walla, Lerner brought back the players from interim EP Parallel Seismic Conspiracies – Cody Votolato [Blood Brothers] and Jason Narducy [Robert Pollard Band]. The songs are still recorded to tape, but the sound is a little richer, namely due to Lerner’s new love of fuzz-heavy bass.

12 Desperate Straight Lines is an all-around solid album, weaving lovable lyrics through the changing sounds, threading together beachy distortion (imagine Nirvana had been cast in a 60s-beach-party-movie remake for “Palm of Your Hand”) with ethereal, echoing “Patterns” and the aggressive “Fever Chill”. The first three songs, though, are the ones you won’t be able to stop listening to on repeat.

“You Turn Clear in the Sun” starts off with just Lerner’s voice and an acoustic guitar, but things quickly pick up with fuzzy bass, drums, bells and other sonic flourishes. Lerner is quick to air the dirty laundry – “I never loved you, I’ve never loved anyone,”  but despite the bummer the relationship turned out to be it’s an upper of a song. Telekinesis channels The Cure with track two’s guitars, and before long you’ll be dancing like the orange-shirted Peanuts kid and reveling in the sentiment of “you’ve got the salt / and I’ve got the wound / but all you got to do is ask.” Topping out the first quarter of the album is “50 Ways”, one of the best songs to emerge of late. Nodding to Paul Simon, Lerner calls him out by name and Telekinesis mimics Simon’s track in structure, but takes things in a darker direction. The interplay of plucked guitar and the grungy grind of the chorus is perfectly balanced and leaves listeners happy to wallow in their own obsessions of lovers who left – “I try to focus on anything else, but I keep on hearing your name.”

12 Desperate Straight Lines drops 02.15.11.
Get more info on Telekinesis here.
Download “Car Crash“.