It’s hard to believe but it’s been over two years since HCK!’s first offering. We’ve come a long way, the growth is apparent, looking back at those first posts is a rad experience realizing just how tangible of a difference between then and now there is and how many people have helped to make this one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This also marks the 100th post for HCK! making today’s mix all that more important for me to get right. Continue reading →
So it’s down to the 10 best songs of 2011. Here is what made life better, got me through tough times, made me nostalgic, got me to think optimistically, and at the end of the day helped it all make sense.
Baby Monster’s “The Fear Of Charlie Sunrise” was probably the strongest opening track on a debut album this year (or any album for that matter). There’s a subtle undercurrent of hope filled disparity and sadness of that “I’m not okay, you’re not okay, but we’re okay” vibe which carries this song from being merely a solid effort from an electronic duo to a different place completely that resembles the vacant space within our hearts.
The way the ambient undertones swell in the song until it builds to a point we never realized we had climbed to is haunting. More so is the way it leaves you with an unresolved feeling of empty longing that makes this solid effort from Baby Monster worth loving.
What puts “The Fear Of Charlie Sunrise” into the top 10 though is how there’s such a dual experience when listening between those vacant abysmal-hope feelings and the up front aspect of this being a call out to open your arms and take a chance, both to someone else and to ourselves.
“If you’re so fearless take your hand off your heart” is probably the best delivered line in a song of 2011 and that should not go without mention.
Certain songs just end up tagging along with you, making it on every cruise, each mixtape, into the background at parties, the soundtrack to five AM conversations, you’re cleaning with it on, singing along in the shower, searching for it on jukebox’s, telling everyone who’ll listen about it… In 2009 it was Animal Collective‘s “Girls,” last year it was “Rivers And Roads” by The Head And The Heart and Foals “This Orient,” this year it was “Sandcastle“.
Beverlay is the side-project of Matt Raudsepp (Honheehonhee) and Nico Ormiston (Winter Gloves). Their album Boardwalk was one of the best EP’s to drop in 2011 but outside of giving us the incredible release they have remained almost completely unseen. HonheeHonhee had a fairly successful year so I’m sure a lot of the inactivity stems from focus in that direction.
I really hope to hear more from Beverlay in the future, the duo’s combined effort has a strength to it that thousands of songs I heard this year attempted but few even came close to.
The first time I heard “Shut-Up” it was four-thirty in the morning and I was falling asleep at my computer. I have never heard a song that got me as stoked to hear it as this one did. I must have sent this link out to fifty people before the sun came up that day. This is a song that NEEDS to be heard. If I were making a list of 100 songs that impressed me this year “Shut-Up” would without a doubt be my number one.
Jhameel is spreading around the internet like herpes at Ball State. Only you’re actually thankful to have him in your life. Everything about the guy screams talent and potential that no one else this year has come close to displaying. World meet Jhameel… your new addiction.
I love when people tell me they don’t “Get Into” depressing music. BULLSHIT! I’m calling you out. You may prefer to avoid your feelings but don’t lie to me. I can understand if you were to say you prefer to not listen to sad music. But if I play “252” for you and you tell me something like “I just don’t get into this” you shouldn’t be surprised by my no longer taking anything you say about music for having any amount of substance whatsoever.
You don’t get into “252” it gets into you. It shakes away facades and the self-told lies and leaves you in the healthiest of positions… open and vulnerable. Music with these sad undertones is the most important thing art has to offer. Happy art has no spine, there’s no passion, it’s passive and meant for mass appeal which will have about as much relevance in twenty years as a copy of NOW7.
I guarantee if you hear this song and it connects with a place you’re at inside you will remember it for the rest of your life.
There was a time when I thought depressing music was a waste, there was also a time when I thought baggy jeans and polo shirts looked good, We all grow up, we all see the light, or for your salvation I sure hope so.
The most important songs ever written have come in the midst of social crisis. Folk and Blues were driven by political/social discomfort without a voice. Despite your feelings towards the “Occupy Wallstreet” movement, from an outside standpoint, I hope everyone at least respects the fact that there are thousands of people who feel strongly enough about an issue to make a conscious effort towards change, something they feel so passionate about that they are willing to do more than randomly rant about it through social networks but instead move in visible active ways towards some form of transformation.
I caught a few tracks from Howth over the summer which I thought were full of potential, still I must have underestimated them because I never imagined they would ever create something close to what they’ve given us with “Belly Of The Beast“.
They wrote the song after hearing Professor Gayatri Spivak‘s speech in Washington Square Park on October 15th, they released this song four days later.
The lyrics are on point and delivered in such an incredibly relaxed fashion alongside guitars breathing sullen life the entire way edging in and out of the backdrop of echos and emotion. Even taking the message away from the equation this song has an incredible sound that draws emotion out of the listener from the moment it begins to play.
“Belly Of The Beast” is a song which encapsulates the voice of an entire generation overflowing with discontent… I truly hope someone is listening. - (Via)
” … And if your still breathing you’re the lucky ones cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs setting fire to our insides for fun collecting the names of the lovers that went wrong. We are the reckless we are the wild youth chasing visions of our futures. One day we will reveal the truth that one will die before he gets there, and if you’re still bleeding you’re the lucky one cause most of our feelings they are dead and they are gone. We’re setting fire to our insides for fun collecting pictures from the flood that wrecked our home, it was a flood that wrecked this home… and you caused it.”
“Youth” gave me a whole new respect for Elena Tonra‘s songwriting abilities which were already impressive. This song just felt like she finally had gotten to the heart of what she’d been signing around for so long.
In what’s felt like one of the more positive years for me this was the only song to actually cause me to shed a tear.
I couldn’t take this song off of repeat the first time I heard it. My brother’s my best friend and I’ve spent the last six months waiting for the first opportunity to move out of this place so there’s something in “Always Gold” that resonates more than most songs do with me.
Radical Face creates music that sounds like a friends voice and he brings his songs from a place that most artists lack the courage to pull from.
Radical Face is personal, and courageous, and aprreciated.
Upon first listen I slid “Make That Call” into my best songs ever written playlist. At the time I was in what felt like a rather solid relationship so the personal connection wasn’t even there and still it floored me.
You can hear Andrew Boze dealing with his own emotions in this track, this is his release and it’s nothing short of monumental.
Fast forward seven months since and “Make That Call” has taken on a whole new place in my life. My relationship of two years ended at the end of summer, this song has helped calm a lot of emotions that might have enveloped me had I not had it as a companion.
2011 has been Trevor Powers‘ year. Going from some practically unknown kid screwing around in his bedroom to having Year Of Hibernation on top of everyone’s best albums of 2011 lists. The dude’s from Idaho! How unreal is life for this guy right now?
When I downloaded the July/Cannons split release I couldn’t upload them fast enough. I must have included one of the two tracks on six posts in two weeks between both sites and the response was overwhelming, I’m still getting emails about the guy.Youth Lagoon is no one’s secret anymore and he without a doubt earned it.
“Wilderness Eyes” is only three listens behindShiv Hurrah’s “All My Teeth” for the most played song in my library, and for good reason; I look for every chance possible to play this song and no matter what the situation it feels fitting.
It was not an easy decision on my part for what song should be number one but as I was shifting songs around and things began taking form I knew that if I were going to post this list with any sort of confidence that “Wilderness Eyes” deserved it the most.
This incredible song embodies everything I hope Heycoolkid! to be about, from how each line feels like a sing-alongable hook to the lyrics encapsulating the feelings of our entire restless generation, all the way down to the confidence displayed in this song yet remaining unpretentious and lacking all forms of arrogance. What’s not to love?
Up in the mountains the light will grow and surround us til we hardly know our friends from the animals
Out on the shoreline we beat our drums and we sing all of our parents songs but the words don’t mean the same no more
Take to the streets with a shriek and a howl bare our teeth with a grin and a growl we wear our faults like crowns
We’re wild When we hit the streets Wild In the packs we lead
Back in our homes they will cage us in try to wash all of our painted skin but their hands cant feed what they don’t own
So we run to the woods where we hid the fear that we’ve wasted all our golden years my friends we’re losing all we know
All Songs are for promotional purposes only. If you or an artist you represent would like content removed email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t been downright impressed with the overflow of incredible genre crossing music this year you are either a huge Nickleback fan or you are Amish, there’s no other logical excuse to complain about the status of music.
Last year when I put the “Best Albums” list together it was one of the first Heycoolkid! posts ever and with all honesty I was ill-prepared. This year I’m putting these albums up with complete confidence. Sure there’s an album or two that should have the made the cut and somehow was overlooked but all excuses aside here are the albums which I thought were the best of 2011:
The third installment in the “Waves” series is the slightly minimalistic title track. Again we see the key elements of what is now becoming the Jhameel “Sound” slightly shifted. This one sways a bit closer to “White Lies” than with “Collision” just a bit more stripped down to the basics. Everything fantastic remains intact just sparingly.
I had a chance to talk with Jhameel a few weeks ago just before the “Waves” release and he mentioned that an acoustic “Dylan-esc” track was going to be one of the five songs to be released which is what I”m really looking forward to about this series since “The Soldier’s Daughter” was my second favorite song on “The Human Condition” (of course “Shut-Up” is number one!).
So I sat down last week with Jhameel (Via Skype) and had my first official Heycoolkid! interview.
For those of you who may not follow the website closely Jhameel has become a steady HCK! favorite since he put out “The Human Condition” earlier this year. I originally planned to put this up on Tuesday to coincide with his first release from his new project “Waves“. I made a last second decision to run with the new track over on Listen Before You Buy and slated this to come out today since I get the most hits on Fridays and Sundays and really want to get this guy the most exposure possible.
I will say before getting into the interview that I think this novel approach at releasing an album could quite possibly end up being a new model that many artists emulate in the future. It’s a brilliant way to keep people focused on a project and remain motivated about new music from a specific artist.
I truly hope that if you haven’t given Jhameel a chance that you allow yourself a few minutes to get to know the most promising new face in indie-pop.
HCK!- So how has everything been going?
Jhameel- Oh it’s good. Just been preparing for the release next week, and everything’s basically prepared I’m just doing little mixing things here and there to yeah know perfect it.
HCK!- So you’re still working on the songs as they are coming out?
J- Well everything’s completed, I’ve just got a little extra time so I’m just mixing here and there making it a tiny bit better.
HCK!- So you are recording this yourself like you did the last album?
HCK! – Awesome, I like that. The last one turned out really well so I’m exited to see you keep going in that direction.
J – I can show you a little bit if you want
HCK! – Yeah, I’d love to hear it.
[ this is where Jhameel played two incredible samples from the upcoming release]
HCK!- [the second track] is like taking “Bernal Heights” a step forward, reminds me a lot of that song
J- Yeah I learned a lot from that song in particular, that one was really popular so I studied what made it so good and tried to get the best parts of everything into five songs ya know
HCK! – On the last album it seemed like each song had a different vibe to it like each one was distinct, there are very few artist I get that from. Where usually you get just one solid sound throughout the album that’s something I really dug about ["The Human Condition"] EP where I got into “Shut-Up” early on and then as I started listening to the other stuff rather than hearing five more tracks like that each one was different. is that something you go in trying to do or is that just how it came out, is that more of a subconscious thing?
J- Not a lot of people heard my first album but on my first album it wasn’t something I was trying to do. I think what it is, is if you look around my room I have like every instrument just lying around; I’ve got a cello, a guitar, a trumpet, a ukelele, a piano right here, synth, it’s kind of everything at my disposal I’ve been, I’m lucky to have a voice that I can do different shit
HCK! – Right
J – So it comes out that way because I’ve got so many resources I have then I try in a diverse way try to do different things. When I hear an album I don’t wanna here the same slow album. Like in this day and age where we have free music… we have every song we ever created at our finger tips I listen to different stuff all the time. Why not create an album that is completely different every time cause if I won’t listen to it other people won’t listen to it. What I’m trying to do with this series is try to make it a little more diverse in the sense that each one represents a different type of music so one song is like 70’s disco, another is like nineties hip-hop and then I’ve got like a 2000 electro-pop kind of thing and then a metal/eighties prince kind of thing, I’ve got like an acoustic 60’s Bob Dylan-esc song.
HCK! – Nice, You’re still unsigned right?
J- Yeah, there’s been interest but my team and I haven’t had any reason to sign yet
HCK! – Outside of being a performer is sound engineering something you see yourself pursuing down the road, is that something you really enjoy doing or is that just a labor of love for yourself ?
J- Its something that’s a labor of love for myself. So much of the style comes through in production, I feel a huge advantage in there being no communicating between me and a producer. I can make it sound exactly how I want
HCK!- Now do you think that will affect you in the future if you ever have to work with somebody. Do you think that could be an issue maybe, having a vision in your head of it and dealing with the barriers in translation?
J- You know my management is trying to set me up with sound producers,it didn’t really work out because my vision was too specific. I can see myself collaborating with someone on a side project and in a context outside of my own major releases I’m totally open to trying different things. It’s just for the beta releases I want to convey my specific vision but outside of that I can imagine myself collaborating easily with any good producer .
HCK! – Tell me what’s different now as opposed to a year ago before you put out the last album.
J- Okay so the last album I was still figuring it out from all the angles, I was figuring out good music structures that could keep your attention I was very much figuring out the best way to present lyrics, still figuring out the sound engineering portion, it took me a while to like get it perfect in an album. It was a very stressful situation. With this time around it’s like very systemized, I think I’m a much better writer now, better sound engineer, and I got the presentation down. So now I’m free to just be creative with the music. So all the base foundation things are set up so now I can just branch out. I’m really free.
HCK!- What about the time period, have you felt more pressure to put this album out than you did with the last one? I feel like before the last one came out you probably had all the time in the world to create it or did you set a deadline for that one as well?
J- Um yeah the last one I had all the time in the world, and that was kind of stressful cause it means I wouldn’t be happy with myself unless it weren’t absolutely perfect. This time around I did have a deadline but I created it for myself and I new it would completely manifold to be completely happy with the final product,cause so many of the instances that were time consuming are now automated, if that makes sense.
HCK!-it makes complete sense. What are the shows like now as opposed to before, are people starting to come out ?
J- Yeah every single time it’s more and more coming out to see me and ya know the live show is a lot better than it use to be, I got a backing band and we practice all the time, we have a lot of fun and try to just bring out all the passion I wanna put on a vibrant consuming performance. My team and I think the live show is very very important.
HCK!- I feel like of any time live performance is probably more important now than ever if your trying to build a career. Anyone can put out one good song and everyone notices it but if they come to town and you don’t see them deliver it’s so easy to just throw them aside cause there’s so much music out there
J- it’s like the fans put faith in you when you have good recordings and then when you have a bad live performance they lose faith, like i recently saw the godfather, everybody judges me for this,but I recently saw the Godfather for the first time and I remember the scene where the families are all together and the godfather, the original godfather, is like “you all know that I’m a man of my word” right and that was like his enemies believing his word that was like him being dedicated to being a man of his word. So I feel, especially at this early stage, I have a responsibility to not let the hype get bigger than it actually is. There’s a lot of hype but I feel like I can live up to it, but the live show, if I don’t put on a good live show people will lose faith, people will be like well he makes fake shit on production or something to make it sound good.
HCK!- That seems to be the Achilles heal for guys like you who do all instruments and everything, once you get live and you see it you just write it off as well he’s a good producer, he knows what he’s doing, but… Tell me about maybe one bad show that stands out in your mind cause I’m sure that getting to this vibrant live performance it took a lot of work. Is there maybe one experience that stands out in your mind that you keep with you?
J- well uh I use to do a loop station show, I think there’s videos on the internet, it was cool but it didn’t let me express emotion it was… it was kind of pretentious.
HKC! – Really? That’s the way that it appeared to other people or the way it felt to you?
J- The way it felt to me. It was more of an intellectual show than an amusing passionate emotional show. I feel like music is just pathos you know, but to everyone it’s different, but to me I think it should be mostly pathos presented in a good way so as soon as I switched to a band i tried different people out. Now I’ve got a set band it’s just a lot better, but yeah we’ve had terrible shows and but the key is we learn from those shows we’re honest with ourselves, if it’s bad we know it’s bad it makes us try twice as hard and that’s my philosophy with every front; if you make something bad as mistake except it as a mistake immediately, learn from it, study it, force yourself to watch it… we video tape our shows and force ourselves to look at the failures.
HCK!- I think that’s great, there’s a lot of bands I’ve wished would do that. Are you touring now or what’s that looking like in the near future?
J- The plan is to tour over the summer. So we had a showcase, my team and I had a showcase two weeks ago in LA and some of the big booking agencies were there, well they said I wasn’t ready yet so… I think what they’re waiting for is for me to get big enough so they don’t have to work to promote me. which is not smart because then I could just hire someone else.So what we’re going to do is my manager Ryan, he’s going to book a summer tour. He does all the publicity he’s an incredibly smart business man, he’s going to be able to do it, so we’re planning a summer tour no matter what.
HCK!- Hopefully you can make it through Indiana. So let’s get into the new album, originally you planned on releasing it as a one unit and now… explain how that’s going to go over the next few weeks
J- Alright I guess I should tell the story. I originally planned on releasing a ten song album over January. and then it all happened a little less than a week ago, me and my manager, Ryan, we were discussing well is the album still relevant today in the internet world and what we thought about was that I can’t pay attention, when an artist releases an album usually I like two/three songs and then I forget about the rest, like i don’t want to but it happens, and then we thought about well a lot of the good ones get lost in the shuffle so I had this four song demo already out for the industry people, we realized these four songs flow really well I just needed one more which i finished yesterday.
HCK! – Yeah when [Ryan] sent the email over it said you were still working on the songs, since you’ve already set that five week date I thought that was kind of crazy
J- They come together fast. That’s one of the reasons we’re doing it in a five week series. Partly a series because it’s once a week and at the end of the five weeks it turns out to be a cohesive thing. and it’s just five songs which I think is perfect because it’s manageable, there’s no overwhelmingness for you not to listen to the entire thing, it doesn’t get in the way of your life with one song a week. Each song has it’s own artwork which each of the pictures are very appropriate I’m very happy with how they turned out.
HCK! Yeah that’s awesome. What’s one aspect of music you’ve discovered in the last year that maybe frustrates you or upsets you ?
J- Frustrates me? It’s that the music industry hasn’t adapted to the internet yet completely. What frustrates me is that there’s no unifying network. like Ryan has worked really hard for people and blogs to get them to pay attention, he’s done it really well, he’s organized his network in very efficient manner, he talks to every person individually, he’s very personable, so it’s been a lot of hard work it’s been a beautiful challenge and a lot of fun but I think in the coming years we need to figure out, people in the music industry need to figure out, that we need to change immediately like the next step is streaming. We need to accept that people get music for free,
HCK! – It’s almost impossible to go forward without excepting that
J- Impossible. So like streaming is the next step, like Spotify is one, itunes is going to go streaming, I’ve been reading stuff about that too. The frustrating thing is that Ryan and I ,as a team, and Cyndi is also my LA manager, we all as a team want to be progressive but we need to figure out a way to do that without upsetting tradition, it’s a balance between trying to do new things but also having industry people understand. If that makes sense.
HCK! -yeah it makes complete sense
I’ve cut a little from the interview in respect to length and the realization that most of us have a fifteen second attention span. It’s worth noting though that Jhameel did tell me that all the pictures for the upcoming track releases and promotions were shot in his living room.
Here’s the first track “Collision,” it should help you understand why I’m so stoked about this guys music and why his taking the time to sit down and have a conversation for Heycoolkid! meant so much to me.
I’m starting to believe I may have the plague; 30 hrs straight in bed with no end in sight. At least I know who the douche was to give me this little gift of death, if someone sees that Shane Sweeting punch him in the face.
Most people load themselves up on Nyquil and vitamin C, I on the the other hand take advantage of my situation. So far today I’ve nearly drank three pots of coffee and have downloaded two gigs of music:) if my internet goes down then I’ll start complaining.
Hopefully by the middle of next week I’ll have the coveted Fall Playlist up. I’ve got the songs gathered I’ve just got to find a way of narrowing the four hundred songs in my own personal fall mix down to twenty-five to pass along. It’s coming I promise.
So here are the download worthy songs I’ve compiled this week:
By now it’s not much of secret how impressed I have been by “Shut-Up.” I’m not sure what else I could do to promote that track (Heycoolkid.net, Listen Before You Buy) but I’m trying. “The Human Condition,” the title track off of Jhameel’s self-released EP, shows again how well he uses his vocals to carry and shift the rhythm of a song. His range is incredible, I can’t remember ever even caring about someone’s “range” that’s how much he impresses me, it has something to do with how his vocals are merely part of the song rather than the focal point. How everything blends so well amongst itself is what capture me the most about this track. That and we get a vibe from the song that is quite askew from what should be given off if we were only to take in the content of the lyrics. If you want more head over to his website and pick the EP up for free yourself.
It’s taken me a minute but I’m adjusting to Gobble Gobble’s new name. I still prefer the original and think that the change wasn’t necessary. They make great music though so it really doesn’t make much of a difference, Born Gold just seems so pretentious. This is the single they’re pushing off of the upcoming Bodysongs album coming out on Sept 9 which will include Heycoolkid! favorites Lawn Knives and Boring Horror, I’m yet to find if the re-release will be new versions or not, I do know that they are working on the Lawn Knives Video as I type which I am stoked about so you can be sure I’ll put it up on the facebook page the second it touches the internet.
This is my favorite track from Sound Kapital. The day where simple yet embracing lyrics like “I feel alone, I feel Alright” don’t connect will probably be the end of my love for music and the things it helps me get through. Handsome Furs just continue doing what they do best, which is prove why I hate Canadian music…because it’s so damn good.
Pat Grossi first came onto the scene last year with his highly praised “Curtis Lane EP” that bloggers couldn’t get enough of, myself included. Active Child’s debut album “You Are All I See” came out on Monday and perpetuates what he started a year ago. This is how good Chillwave can be and indie at it’s finest.
I’ve had this song slated to add on a playlist for weeks but have been waiting for the video to go viral before doing so. They started leaking photos from the shoot and two things immediately hit me; one this video could be amazing and two I’ve never been annoyed more by a slow leak. So today the “America’s Son” video has officially been released and I’m instantly in love. I didn’t think it would hold up to my own hype but it exceeds it. Honestly it makes the song better and that is a rare thing indeed. The video actually chokes me up, i could try to explain why but I think once you’ve watched it yourself you’ll completely understand and if not it probably wouldn’t be worth the effort to try.
Audio milk described the Youth Lagoon debut album as “…lush arrangements that travel through his nostalgia while capturing a deep sense of yearning…” which is completely fitting (I think I want something similar as my epitaph). “Montana” drifts and drifts and draws you in slowly then explodes into an unresolved mass of emotion. Hope you dig it as much as I do.
I stumbled upon The Traveling Band a few weeks ago when I caught a live video of them performing “Sundial.”I’ve been getting more and more into them each day since. This is my second favorite song thus far, sundial still remaining numero uno for the time being.
Conrad Plymouth put out an EP earlier today of b-sides that didn’t make the upcoming album. Really? If these songs aren’t good enough to make the cut how incredible is the LP going to be? It’s a name your price thing so if you want it for free you can have it for that but if you want to show how much the songs are truly worth you may have to hold a kickstarter to raise the funds. Once again this was brought to my attention by Tim Showalter on his Strand Of Oaks page who refuses let anything Conrad Plymouth go unnoticed. That dude is nearly as good at noticing great bands before everyone else does as he is at creating music.
How it has happened I’m not sure but this is the first time I’ve featured a song from Pomegranates. I caught these guys at Locals Only a few years ago and have kept my ear in their direction ever since. They were so subtle live and passive, letting the songs breathe and be themselves so each song came across immensely impressive. This song showed up on My Old Kentucky Blog last week and reminded me how I’ve neglected one of my Midwestern favorites.
I’m rather new to Mad Atlantic. Kaelin Bougneit obviously has been influenced by Ben Gibbard and probably the whole year of 2005 and some neutral milk or more likely some band that was influenced by neutral milk. What I’m getting at is there are underlying influences that come across on “Take A Minute And Just Dance” that are far from obvious yet familiar enough that you know instantly whether it’s something you enjoy or not, i definitely enjoy it.
If this song touches radio, which inevitably it will, each and every one of us promoting Lana Del Rey are going to regret how great this song is. If you want to enjoy this song with like-minded people who appreciate music for the artistic aspect you better get to an LDR show soon because next year expect to hear conversations about “America’s Next Top Model” and “Jersey Shore” being shouted over her other songs and then watch those same kids go nuts when this one comes on. It’s a horrible tangent about great music like this, it’s so good we can’t keep it to ourselves and eventually we have to either leave it or appear amongst mainstream followers. I’m going to enjoy it while I can.
This is me attempting to make up for being late to the party with Stornoway. There isn’t a single song from them that I haven’t fallen in love with. Not a single one! If you haven’t given them a chance I can’t help but ask why not.
I’m closing this weeks’ playlist by letting the song speak for itself. IMR make great emotion driven music, “hollis” is a good example. I’ll leave it at that.
All songs are for promotion purposes only. If you like what you hear make the effort to get a physical copy or at least go to see the band when they are in town which is even more important. If you are/represent an artist on this page and would like it removed, all you have to do is ask. I honestly believe the art is more important than the artists and will make sure to let everyone know that you disagree with that philosophy.
.What a great week it’s been for music in Indy. Bright Eyes on Thursday, the Head and the heart on Friday (both in-store at Luna and then an impromptu show at The Earth House after the decemberists cancelled) and then My Morning Jacked at white river on sunday. Unfortunately, my card reader has decided to be of no use whatsoever to me and stopped working completely so it’s going to be a minute until i post pictures and reviews from said shows, i’ll try to get motivated and pick one up early in the week. Until then here’s what i’ve found worth listening to lately:
YES! This is the the first song i can ever remember instantly wanting at the same time to both dance and destroy everything within arms reach. Could the vocals possibly get any dirtier? I’ve downloaded the rest of the album but have yet to check it out, if it’s half this good go ahead and count my vote for album of the year. How many genre’s can one person combine in a song? i count four. If you can’t tell i’m impressed and that doesn’t happen often. Like an intense Fyfe Dangerfield mixed with a more pop sensible Gobble Gobble this guy has confidence and craft just sweating from the speakers… i can’t imagine how someone could not instantly dig this song. Get the album free here.
I’ve shifted this playlist around twenty times and there’s just no way to smoothly follow jhameel, not without pulling something that’s years old and sitting on a shelf somewhere, so rather than force it i’m just going to keep moving forward. Icona Pop have that pop (no pun intended) driven chorus hook typical of Swedish artists,instantly catchy, works in any upbeat mix and always feels good.
We’re heading into my favorite time of year…fall. When night drives, hooded sweatshirts and solid lyric driven laid back songs are a mainstay. This song helps me look forward to it because it’s an obvious choice to listen on the way to any late-night relaxed excursion. It’s also well fitting when making up a mix for a new crush to slip I think i’ll call you mine onto the later parts of the playlist.
There is something that stands out about Dayve Hawk created tracks which i have a high respect for. He seems to have a clear vision of how to create a piece of art that has a highly complex dynamic without them ever feeling cluttered or rushed. Comparisons are inevitable to washed out but i don’t see that as being an overshadowing tangent. Memory Tapes has it’s own (well earned) place in the annals of chillwave and i’m glad to see the music popping up more and more around the scene.
The imagery Phil Marsalona uses throughout this song is vivid and personal. I’ve gotten down on The City’s Face since the very first listen. I feel this would be a strong fit for a well directed indie film, it’s just got that sort of vibe to it. Get the ep for free here.
It’s not much of a secret how in love i am with Sun Airway. At first listen SA tracks sound like they are merely solid electronic tracks but when you take the time to catch what’s being said it’s immediately clear that Sun Airway have true depth and creative brilliance when it comes to writing. I honestly cannot get enough of this album and am looking forward to all things that this duo have to offer us in the future.
Winter Villains are a band that has yet to define itself in any set way. They haven’t even released an actual album, as a matter of fact outside of their being from south Whales nothing else is clear about them.So here’s your chance at getting to know a band early on. I expect big things from Winter Villains in the coming months, they truly have something to offer with an undercurrent of longing and calm self-realization similar to bon iver and fleet foxes which is something i can’t get enough of and it’s hard to imagine i’m the only one who feels that way.
This song is an example of why this mix is one of my favorites in recent months for its lyrical content. The guitar work in this may be the best on this weeks collective as well with it’s catchy upbeatness that keeps Puddle Jumpers from falling into a simple song of sad contentment. The instrumentation nearly says as much as the lyrics do and both are honest and nothing short of complete. This one will be getting alot of use on my ipod.
M. Ward may quite possibly be the most underrated artist in music today. I would have thought that his work with Monsters of Folk would have helped finally elevate him beyond the subtle niche he fits so nicely into but his place seems to be constantly unchanging. This is good for those of us who like when our favorite artist keep that feeling of being our own little secret yet at the same time i can’t remember another artist who has maintained that status while steadily creating better and better music as they go along. I think ideally most people who feel passionate about the art they create kind of set out with a goal of being where M. Ward consistently is, i just feel like with music this good he deserves more.
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have made one of the most sing-alongable songs with Girls, Gather Round. This one shows what strengths these two troubadours are working with. A tinge of classic bluegrass that makes you want to swing a mug and belt along with the chorus and what’s even better is that such a full sound is created by two guys playing live.
“]The Temper Trap meets Los Campesinos in the most infectious way imaginable. This is probably the strongest showing from the band thus far and is just another example of the range of genre’s Oh No! Yoko are capable of covering.
What i like most about Library Voices is that they’ve found a way of channeling that resurfacing 60’s surf rock sound without the Low-fi angle other bands are annoyingly hiding behind. I think it’s obvious that i’m not anti-low-fi but i’m getting more and more irritated as bands come out with that being their only strength which just adds fuel to the argument i hear regularly that less talented bands are hiding behind it to cover up their own short comings. Library Voices remain uninhibited by that crutch and instead have allowed their own indie touch to a throwback sound. Whereas so many other bands can only be described by using the influences they choose to channel LV are much harder to do anything other than give a vague description of my own impression of there music ending in the ultimate suggestion that really one should just listen to them for yourself and get a first hand opinion.
Gary Clark Jr. is the first artist i can think of in my lifetime that has actually gotten the blues right. He has something to offer rather than just choosing some rote format to follow. Using common references he falls between Jimmy Hendrix and The Black Keys and has really made me reevaluate my own misconceptions about blues music in general. When i was much younger i was immersed in the blues and then one day the light just went out. Gary Clark Jr. didn’t just get the light to flicker back on he has the kicked the door open and let natural light blind me as he said with cold steel confidence “your going to know my name.”
I can’t get enough of Stefanie Franciotti’s laid back yet full on orchestral songs. For as subtle and passive as this song in-particle presents itself it pulls itself out of the ether most chillwave/electronic songs float in and rises directly into focus. To throw any Sleep ∞ Over song onto a mix meant to be played only as background music is a huge mistake, this is great art which is much better than the vast majority of music Sleep ∞ Over share a genre with.
As a lifelong fan of Dashboard Confessional and a fan of this Cory Branan song i can’t be more content with a cover. I have caught sh*t for years that DC is tied for my all-time favorite band. Many people have misconceptions about Chris Carrabba, and the music he creates, they just can’t shake. It’s their loss and i’m over defending myself. I know great music when i experience it, I know perfectly written highly personal lyrics when i hear them and as far as my love for music goes that is all that matters. Maybe this cover might sway some people to hear something other than what they are so quick to label as “emo”.
As i continue to lose respect for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti I’m gaining more and more of it for John Maus and his abilities not only as an artist but also as a producer. Some musicians just cannot record themselves without things sounding too forced and constricted yet on the other end of the spectrum those who can do it successfully end up with songs such as this one where that additional time to focus per track turns into a full sound of layer upon layer of well placed instrumentation.
For those handful of people who follow the usual make up of my playlists you may be surprised to see a song like Everything is Dancing closing the mix out. Typically i like to open things up with energy and rather than try to sustain that energy i design playlists with the ideal situation of a late night drive where i would be listening to it deep into the night in mind, so i usually save the more relaxed acoustic based tracks to close out the night. When i first heard this song from Fair Ohs I knew this was the kind of song i would love to be the last i hear before calling it a night. Where in most cases i could put into words why that feeling comes across for me this is an exception. It just works. This is also one song i am really excited to see get played live, i have a feeling this one has an energy in-person that’s hard to contain. Hopefully i’ll get to find out first hand in the near future whether that holds true or not.
my unnecessary rant:
One of the more irritating things to happen in conversation is talking to someone with taste that reflect only the scene they are a part of. I get that you and the twenty kids who show up at the same places are passionate about “music” (really the majority of the group are merely passionate about getting wasted, looking cool, and sleeping with someone new ( i am not above this)) but how many new bands are accepted into this little circle of pretension you are in? I’m always amazed how these kids hold so tight to five shitty bands and refuse (REFUSE) to believe that there are actually other good bands outside of what they have already experienced and allowed onto their list of “scene approved” bands.
There are always three waves that go with these inclusive lists; you have the new bands, these are rarely local but lets say if you were to look at the dynamic of four bands that would be named dropped two will be from the region, one will be from brooklyn, and the other either austin or oregon, as far as the Indy kids go, recent bands to be included onto this list are pomegranates, white denim, harlem, and sleeping bag (all are decent bands but hardly ground breaking). The second type is the “band that was never that cool which makes them cool” section which are the easiest to spot seeing how only one, occasionally two but never three, make it into the general zeitgeist of a scene, two obvious examples would be the talking heads as well as Hall and Oats which get way more credit than they deserve and sure they made good music but there has been so much great music in the last, i don’t know, fifty years why only those precise ones? And the third wave, which is the one i always find irritating, is the one that get’s brought up in a sentence like ” i can’t stand anything mainstream but i can’t help but like…” here are where the most awful, image mongering, self-righteous, completely mediocre pieces of wasted disc space who cause my throat to burn with the taste of my own vomit fit into any conversation i’d rather not be in… obvious mentions on this list are lady gaga and kanye west ( when someone does this i try to say something like “oh i totally understand, i’m the same way about 3 doors down” and rarely does anyone get my sarcasm which i love even more).
Now i’m fine with all of these things, it’s easy to understand why at 20 years old you have limited musical knowledge. The fact that you’re making the effort to even be at shows and care about something other than what’s popular with ninety five percent of the soulless, flavorless, luke warm people around us is novel in itself. The only time i have a problem with it is when you name drop a band like it gives you street cred and then go and get all republican on me when i, with a fair amount of knowledge about the band we are speaking, disagree with you. my opinions may not be any more important than yours (and i firmly believe they are not) but what you arrogantly seem not to consider is that they are not any less important either.
The recent conversation that has brought about this stream of anti-scene-kid criticism happened outside of the Bright Eyes concert where i was doing my best to smoke and look cool when some girl was talking shit about conor oberst and his musical relevance. I was biting my tongue for maybe two minutes as her friend, who had obviously paid for both their tickets, kept attempting to contribute his opinion to the conversation as she continued with her never ending rant and wouldn’t let him get a word in. Finally i turned and very quiet and calmly asked her “so you obviously feel a negative conviction about Bright Eyes which bands do you feel positive about?” she looked at me shocked for a second ( i know…. who am i to butt into her loud conversation she is having two feet from me?) then she said with complete condescension “well i guess the most obvious bands would be destroyer and portugal, the man.” If this girl does not work for pitchfork i think i will have a fucking heart attack. Of all the bands in the world you are going to mention as being more relevant than Bright Eyes those are the two you say out loud? She must have panicked right? i mean there’s no way real thought could have gone into that statement. Portugal the man? I initially did a “hmmm” thing, took a drag from my american spirit (just kidding they were camel lights), and really couldn’t help myself when i said ” portugal, the man. They’re definitely talented guys, i just wish they’d spend more time writing music than standing in front of the mirror, i firmly believe they could give us one of the best albums of our generation but i’m still holding out for a relevant one,” a heated little conversation ensued but i felt good about myself.
Arguing over music is like arguing with someone who digs fox news it’s pointless, opinions never change, and the other side will always have a bitter taste towards the artist you are defending as a result. But that’s kind of the point. I don’t want to be standing at the concert listening to you mention tweeting seventy five times in two minutes and then rip on the band that i’ve paid to go see. If you and your friends would like to talk shit about bright eyes while watching jersey shore later on in the night that’s fine and fitting but destroyer and portugal the man? those are the best examples you can come up? heycoolkid-1 scene girl-0
All songs are for promotional purposes to help the artists involved find new fans that they may not have been presented to before. I understand that in order to continue making music those bands have a need to make some sort of compensation for the art they create. One of the goals in the general ethos of heycoolkid! is that through the free distribution of these songs the bands will inevitably spark interest in the listener that will cause them not only to want more songs from the bands but also get them motivated to check these bands out live when they come to play in there own city. If you or an artist you represent has a song on this page that you would like removed i understand and will take it down upon request. Just know that i will no longer recommend that music in a positive light and will make the same amount of effort in the future to get people not to like the music as i did before in promoting them.
If there’s any music i’m missing or missing the point of let me know.