ferocious

Mogwai – Simon Ferocious

There’s nothing particularly unique about this video – a plane carrying skydivers takes off and they jump out and float through the air. In a post-Felix Baumgartner world, a jump video with no gimmicks or tricks should feel boring, but something about the combination of the jumpers’ slow descent and Mogwai‘s fuzzed-out soundtrack leads to the same serenity people report feeling while looking at Mark Rothko’s paintings.

i will sing as your canary bird

The Head and The Heart – Summertime

The Head and The Heart get a little looser and more creative on “Summertime,” so it’s only appropriate that Sub Pop label-mate/intriguing weirdo Chad VanGaalen was tapped to animate and direct the song’s video. Let the synthesizers wash over you as you explore the neat little world these acts made together, full of flora, adorable guide books, and flesh-eating butterflies (it can’t all be sunshine and lollipops, guys).

picture another version of yourself

Dum Dum Girls – Are You Okay?

The Dum Dum Girls have opted to put out a Bret Easton Ellis-penned/Brewer-directed short film in lieu of a traditional music video for their latest single, “Are You Okay?,” and the result is as beautifully unsettling as one would expect. Blurring the line between real and imagined, the viewer is left questioning which of the characters, if any, are who they appear to be.

favorites of 2012: albums

We’ve been just terrible the last few years about getting out a favorites list to you (2011’s is still sitting half-finished in our drafts, sad but true). There’s been a ton of good music this year, and we here at M|H hope to eventually crank out a complete list, but for now we give you what we know in our hearts: our top three albums of the year.

***

Father John Misty – Fear Fun
Sub Pop – 05.01.12 

Usually we don’t rank our favorites, but Fear Fun is hands-down our favorite album of the year and near the top of the list for our all-time best. It’s musically compelling, the lyrics are funny and smart, and the entire Misty persona drips with charisma. We can’t say enough good things about this record or Josh Tillman so just trust us and listen to the record if you haven’t become irrevocably obsessed with it already.

Our review: I’ve Got Smoke in My Lungs and a Past Life in My Trunk

***

Zulu Pearls – No Heroes No Honeymoons
Cantora Records – 09.18.12

We rarely get to spend the amount of time with an album as we’d like, but No Heroes No Honeymoons is one that found itself on repeat. There’s a cool confidence and ease that comes to Zulu Pearls and listening to the record is the easiest way to get close to that. There’s something very real about what Zulu Pearls is doing; these songs would be playing in the car, on the jukebox, soundtracking your life. 

Our review: I Like the Feel of Silver, But Now I Want the Gold

***

Reptar – Body Faucet
Vagrant Records – 05.01.12

If you’ve ever wondered what unadulterated happiness feels like, go see Reptar live. It’s impossible for us to divorce the live show from the album and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Reptar is a weird, weird band but the joy they exude while making music endows them with relatability. Body Faucet‘s quirky tunes will dance their way into your heart and mind and you’ll never stop wanting to move.

Our review: Edge of Low Verses, They Blew My Mind

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 ain’t missing you at all – active child, washed out, mogwai

Active Child – You Are All I See – 08.23.11

Cavernous choir-like touches and Pat Grossi’s clear, pure vocals make for a somewhat otherworldly feeling on Active Child’s first full-length, You Are All I See. A perfect album for quiet introspection, Active Child breaks free a bit when pairing up with Tom Krell of How To Dress Well for the excellent “Playing House”. Click here to download the track.

Washed Out – Within and Without – 07.12.11

The first full-length album from Washed Out (aka Atlanta’s Ernest Greene) is a mix of ultra-chill tracks, love letters to disco and 90s dance music, and a smattering of truly beautiful tracks – “Eyes Be Closed”, “Far Away”, and single “Amor Fati”. While gaining pop-culture clout by having his song “Feel It All Around” featured in the Portlandia opening credits, Greene shows he’s more than just a blip on the radar with Within and Without. Click to download “Amor Fati” and “Eyes Be Closed“.

Mogwai – Earth Division EP – 09.13.11

On the Earth Division EP, the normally expansive Mogwai does an excellent job hemming themselves in to create a lovely and restrained album that reflects the nature of the medium. Reminiscent of their work with Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet for The Fountain, the band has employed strings and piano to soften their sound a bit, culminating with the stunning “Hound of Winter”. Mogwai doesn’t completely depart from their signature sound, though – “Drunk and Crazy” starts cold and mechanical, loud and razor-edged. In a moment of calm reflection strings and piano enter, connecting it to the rest of the EP, then reincorporates the electronic elements as uncertainty takes hold again.