Track of the Day…"Spirited" from Laura Gibson

Laura Gibson
From Beasts of Seasons
Hush Records (2009)

Listen to "Spirited" MP3

Before we speed too far into 2010, we wanted to take a quick look back at the year that has been and see if there were any gems which we may have overlooked. Beasts of Seasons from Laura Gibson is just one of those albums which we regret not having discovered sooner.

As the title suggests, "Spirited" is a track which speaks to grabbing at a moment before it slips away. For this track, Laura was inspired by summer nights spent with friends around the dappled light of a fading fire, smoldering away in a rusty old washtub. Indeed. A beautiful track, from a wonderfully reflective album.

Listen to Laura Gibson's session with Daytrotter from last December (includes additional tracks such as "Funeral Song" (a favorite), "Glory" and "O Frailty").

MySpace | Hush Records

Track of the Day..."Bright Red Cords" from Loomis & The Lust

Loomis & The Lust
"Bright Red Cords"
From (EP) Nagasha
Kings of Spain (2009)

Listen to "Bright Red Chords" MP3

Formed in 2008, Santa Barbara rockers Loomis & the Lust spin an infectious, groove filled coat of forgotten early 80's styled R&B rock (think Tommy Tutone or The Greg Kihn Band). On "Bright Red Chords", the band provide a jolt of needed rock and roll good times into the overly indulgent landscape of Gaga-era glam ram. We are looking for big things from this band as they have already garnered spots as a selection for Urban Outfitters, MTV and are working with hot producer Brandon Mason.

Watch the video for "Bright Red Chords".

MySpace | Official | Twitter

What's On The Hi-Fi...Podcast Seven

While you listen to the podcast click here or on the image above to go to our podcast artist gallery to find out descriptions, links and more.

Listen to "Podcast 7" MP3

Artist - Track Names
1) Beach House - "Norway"
2) Real Estate - "Beach Comber"
3) Museum of Bella Artes - "Who Do You Love"
4) Owen Pallett - "Lewis Takes Actions"
5) Banjo Or Freakout - "Leave It Alone"
6) The Mary Onettes - "Puzzles"
7) Ramona Falls - "Bellyfulla"
8) Fear of Tigers - "Sirkka"
9) Warpaint - "Krimson"
10) The Ruby Suns - "Cranberry"


What's On The Hi-Fi Interview with Beach House

Baltimore, Maryland indie rock group Beach House has lived a charmed existence. For singer/organist Victoria Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally, it is a much-deserved success.

After just one year of playing together, the duo’s first single “Apple Orchard” caught fire when they were included on Pitchfork’s Infinite Mixtape in August 2006, and their subsequent full-length release Beach House garnered enthusiastic praise from alternative music fans and media alike.

When their second album Devotion was released in February of 2008 on Sub Pop Records, Beach House grew in popularity and acclaim, but more importantly, the band made new strides in their song development adding more expansive organ material and guitar.

Now with the release of their third album, Teen Dream, the group seems poised to breakout onto a new playing field and are even toying with a subtle pop sound on their fantastic new single “Norway”.

Victoria Legrand spoke to the Hi-Fi about Beach House’s upcoming release Teen Dream (released on January 26th), Baltimore and her love of Bobs.

Listen to "Norway" MP3

Victoria Legrand spoke to the Hi-Fi about Beach House’s upcoming release on January 26th, Baltimore and her love of Bobs.

How has the sound on Teen Dream developed from your first album Beach House and your second effort Devotion?
V: Beach House self-titled was recorded in two days and Devotion was recorded in little under three weeks. We had a lot more time to concentrate for Teen Dream. Devotion was written in gaps between tours; Teen Dream was written almost entirely once we had ended touring for 2009. The energy and the conviction behind Teen Dream reminds me alot of the feelings we had while writing the first Beach House record. I'd say Teen Dream has more of a hi-fi sound than the previous records.

Could you tell us about your single “Norway”? What is the song about? We noticed the lyric “in the season of the sun”. Is that a reference to Jacques Brel’s “Le Moribund” (also a 1974 hit by Terry Jacks)?
V: "NORWAY" is a song we started writing in Norway. It's probably the pop-iest perhaps. A lot of the visuals in the song are inspired by the landscapes of the country but then I abstracted them of course. To me it's a song of fantasy and longing. There is an icy imaginative quality to it. I didn't know the Jacques Brel reference, oh la la.

We predicted Baltimore would be a place to watch in 2010. Wye Oak, Ponytail, Animal Collective, Yeasayers and yourselves are just a few of the marquee indie groups to come out of the “charm city”. What’s going on in Baltimore? Is there a scene going on there that people are missing out on?
V: There are alot of bands in Baltimore and there are some bands that say they're from Baltimore but they don't live there anymore. It's a very supportive community, laid back and free. For how small the music community is, there is a really healthy variety of stuff. I don't think people are missing out on the scene in Baltimore because it's always going to be there. That's because there are no threats to the quality and purity of the energy going on in the community. Baltimore isn't a flashy destination for hordes of people to move to so I think and hope the community will retain its sincerity and innocence.

You are going to visit Paris on your 2010 tour. (Victoria lived in Paris before the band got started) Is there anything particular you look forward to when you play the city of lights? How are the fans different from the UK and the US?
V: I just love being in Paris. It always feels surreal to me because of how beautiful it is. I did live there before I moved to Baltimore. Someone once said that in the US, you can get alot of fans quickly but then they'll drop you and that in Europe, it takes a while to get fans but when you do, they last forever. I don't think that's true for us. I feel our US fans are wonderful and energetic and we're really just starting to uncover the wonders of European fans.

If push came to shove, how would you describe one another?
V: I don't know. I guess he's a push, and I'm a shove.

What’s on your hi-fi at the moment?
V: Bob Marley's "Reggae on Broadway" and Bob Dylan's "Day of the Locusts". I'm just Bob-crazy.

Official | MySpace | Subpop Records | Bella Union

What's On The Hi-Fi...Delphic Album Review


Polydor (2010)

Delphic have been on the receiving end of heaps of rather excited hype over the past few months, setting the bar rather high for the Mancunians' debut release Acolyte. What a welcome relief to see that there is more than just a flustered little man tugging at random levers behind a curtain (sorry for the analogy -- Christmas season TV to blame).

The band originally formed to energize the local music scene, melding indie guitar riffs with 90's dance / electronica, creating an energetic and intoxicating smash-up. Looking no further than the inevitable and numerous New Order comparisons would do a serious disservice to the band -- Acolyte stands on its own and provides a refreshing and forward looking kick off to 2010.

Acolyte includes two tracks which were released last year including the driving standout "Counterpoint" (April 2009 on the Belgian label R&S) and the swelling "This Momentary" (August 2009 on Kitsuné). The third radio-ready single "Doubt" (video from Later with Jools Holland) was released earlier this month (and for which there is already a flood of remixes). One of our favorites is the infectious "Red Lights", a track which could fit neatly into the catalog of Swedish label Service. "Clarion Call" provides a building staccato intro to the album, and tracks like "Remain" provide a nod to chilly electro-pop, while tracks like "Submission" and "Halcyon" follow a more guitar-heavy tip.

Ewan Pearson (Tracey Thorn, M83, The Rapture) has leant his production talents to Acolyte.

The band which has in the past supported acts such as Orbital, (to whom the band points as an influence) Bloc Party and Kasabian, is now moving into the limelight and heading out on a water-testing tour through Europe. They put on an excellent live show and one not to be missed. Check them out at Nouveau Casino (Paris) on 16 February. A full list of shows is available on the band's website.


Track of the Day..."Beach Comber" from Real Estate

Real Estate
"Beach Comber"
From Real Estate
Woodsist Records (2010)

Listen to "Beach Comber" MP3

In the midst of this icy cold winter we thought we would give you a little peak through the snow to the summer ahead. New Jersey quartet Real Estate serve up smooth, chiming, staccato guitars that are reminiscent of the sun soaked sounds of West Coast surf pop of years past. On "Beach Combers" the group finds a welcome balance of psychedelia and heartfelt harmony that will make you get out that swimsuit and dance around in your apartment as the snowflakes peer in the window from outside. Warning: Avoid mirrors if dancing in your trunks or bikini…at least until you get tan.

MySpace | Woodsist Records

Track of the Day …"Who Do You Love" from Museum of Bella Artes

Museum of Bella Artes
"Who Do You Love"
Force Majeure (2009)

Listen to "Who Do You Love" MP3

With friends moving abroad and Stockholm feeling emptier, friends Leo, Alice and Joanna got together to form a music project called Museum of Bella Artes (after the site in Valencia). As an initial target, the group set their sights on updating the 1964 hit "Who Do You Love" from Philadelphia's The Sapphires. The result moves away from the classic Motown sound of the original and re-imagines the track with a simple crunchy electro beat accompanied by dreamy and naively catchy vocals, seemingly betraying the anguish of the lyrics.

Look for Museum of Bella Artes to release new material with Force Majeure (also home to Bandjo and Nhessingtons) later this year. We will post release dates when available.


MySpace | Force Majeure

What's On The Hi-Fi...Owen Pallett Album Review

Owen Pallett
Domino Records (2010)

Listen to "Lewis Takes Action" MP3

In a time when new releases often seem to focus on a single track or two, it is refreshing to come across a release which is conceived as a singular whole. Heartland from Owen Pallett (formerly Final Fantasy) is just such a release, featuring storytelling on a wonderfully off-kilter and cinematic scale. On his third release, the Ontario native tells the tale of a young and violent farmer and explores the universal phases of relationships, from the initial flutters of excitement to a disappointing end (and regardless of the cause, an end which seems to leave you a little winded and blinking into the sun).

On Heartland, Owen looked to such diverse sources of inspiration as 19th century military music to various synth-pop of the 70's, ducking among them on this release with the collaborative help of drummer Jeremy Gara of Arcade Fire and mixer Rusty Santos (who worked on Panda Bear's Person Pitch). And no stranger to composing modern string arrangements (including for Beirut's The Flying Cup and Arcade Fire's Neon Bible), on this release, this multi-instrumentalist continues his exploration of layers and the parameters of orchestration (provided by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra).

Spend some time with this release, and you won't be disappointed.

Be sure to catch Owen's excellent live shows, including in Paris at La Maroquinerie on 24 January (we will be there)!

Official | Twitter | Domino Records

Track of the Day …"Left It Alone" from Banjo or Freakout

Banjo or Freakout

"Left It Alone"
Half Machine (2009)

Listen to "Left It Alone" MP3

Banjo or Freakout is the moniker of Allessio Natalizia, an Italian "bedroom artist" now living in London. Allessio creates sample-heavy, shoe-gazing tracks, each carefully wrapped in a downy cocoon. Check out the dreamy guitar wash and lyrics of déjà vu on "Let It Alone", out now on a 7" (transparent vinyl) with the track "Breathe Out".

Watch "Left It Alone" here.

Allessio is also behind some excellent remixes including "All of the King's Men" from Wild Beasts (accompanied by an intriguing video of vintage performance art clips here).

Free Banjo or Freakout downloads are available at Hush Records.

Also, if you still have a bit of the holiday spirit left in you, check out the free download from Allessio of his recordings of some Christmas classics here.

Official | MySpace | Twitter: banjoorfreakout

Track of the Day..."Puzzles" from The Mary Onettes

The Mary Onettes

From Islands
Labrador (2009)

Listen to "Puzzles" MP3

The Mary Onettes are an indie rock band formed in the town of Jönköping, Sweden in 2000. After some unfortunate major label dealings, the group eventually landed squarely on their feet with November’s release of Island on Labrador Records. The sound is reminiscent of early Echo and the Bunnymen and demonstrates the integral swell and abandon to innocence present in 80’s British pop music. This heartfelt, romantic sound is most evident on the tracks “Puzzles” and “Dare” both of which glisten with Cure-like guitar riffs and synth hooks. Get out the eyeliner and your creepers and enjoy.

The Mary Onettes | MySpace