Track of the Day..."1977" Ana Tijoux

Ana Tijoux
From 1977
Nacional Records 2010

Listen to “1977” MP3

After a great showing at this year’s SXSW, Ana Tijoux seems poised to launch large into the US market. The Santiago, Chile native is no newbie though. She proves it on the title track to her North American debut 1977.

The track has a hypnotic glare that features Tijoux’s monotone yet sensual flow over a cascade of latin bullfight horns and staccato guitar blasts. What she hides behind this near flawless bit of cool is a strong message that makes her stand out above peers. It’s definitely a track to party to that will open your mind.


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

The Acorn
No Ghost
Paper Bag Records (Canada) / Bella Union Records (US / Europe)
 Listen to “No Ghost” MP3

The Acorn initially began back in the summer of 2002 as the solo project of Ottowa’s Rolf Klausener.  The coming years saw the band’s membership grow to become a collective, releasing the 2008 Polaris Award nominated Glory Hope Mountain.  The band is no stranger to touring, having hit the road to play with the likes of Calexico, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Elbow.
Work on The Acorn’s third full-length album No Ghost (to be released in June) began in the summer of 2009 when the band retreated to a secluded cabin in Northern Quebec.  Tracks came together out of improvisation and an assured experimentation with both acoustic and electronic sounds.  The Acorn then headed to Montreal to complete work on the album, leaving the cool wooded comfort to record in the midst of an urban heat wave – the result being a truly adventurous and rewarding release with staying power.
No Ghost deftly conveys a vivid folk / rock landscape, guided by the subtlest and most effective use of multi-instrumentation and modern / traditional contrasts, both sonically and lyrically.  The album opens with the guitar feedback driven “Cobbled From Dust” and moves into indie folk / rock territory with “Restoration”, a beautiful track with struts along at an excited clip (listen to the Four Tet dreamy take on this track on the Bella Union website).  “Misplaced” is tenderly exposed, along with the intimate “On The Line” and “Almanac”.  “I Made The Law” jolts along on a blend of folk / country / rock guitars while “Bobcat Goldwraith” is an excellent track buoyed by eclectic instrumentation.  The title track revs on frantic guitars and building rhythms and backward guitars and strings.  The album closer “Kindling To Cremation” is one of our favorite tracks from No Ghost, a track that encapsulates The Acorn’s sound – the use of subtle effects and instrumentation and visual lyrics including the wonderfully curious line “I can hear the wrinkles whisper in your dress.”

The album will be available in the US and Canada digitally on 6/1.
Be sure to catch The Acorn in London on 3 June and the following day in Paris at La Flèche d’Or.  Check the band’s website for complete tour details.
Official | MySpace | Paper Bag Records | Bella Union

Track of the Day..."Sleep Paralysist" from Neon Indian

Neon Indian
“Sleep Paralysist”
Green Label Sound 2010

Listen to "Sleep Paralysist" MP3

We first heard rumblings from Alan Palomo while working as alter-ego Vega and with the band GhostHustler but its with new band Neon Indian that he has started to roar.

Formed in Denton, Texas in 2008, Neon Indian garnered a cart full of accolades with their debut LP Psychic Chasms. The fuzzed-out, electronica and melancholy vocals in such songs as “Should Have Taken Acid With You" and “Deadbeat Summer” were surprise indie hits in 2009.

With the release of their new single “Sleep Paralysist”, Palomo has continued his blend of tripped-out, bleeped up, psychedelic electronic that is both cool and accessible. If this is the future for Neon Indian, we like what we see in the cards!

Make sure to check out Neon Indian in NYC at The Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 17th.

Twitter | MySpace

What's On The Hi-Fi...LCD Soundsystem Album Review

LCD Soundsytem
This Is Happening
DFA 2010

Beginning with his 2002 single “Losing My Edge” production guru James Murphy has hit the bohemian hipster target dead center. As the chief progenitor of the disco-punk sound Murphy’s alter-ego LCD Soundsystem has become the godfather to a generation of anarchic beat-makers.

His now seminal Sound of Silver was one of the breakthrough albums of 2007 and took the idea of dance music to a new place. The album represented a folk sensibility to the lyrics. Murphy spoke of loneliness, aging, and the ever changing socio-cultural world around him backed by the best dance beats of the decade

On This is Happening LCD Soundsystem continues this winning paradigm and expands on it in earnest. The nine tracks on the album seamlessly blend organic and synthetic sounds and doesn’t stray from the beats that are his bread and butter. “Dance Yrself Clean” begins with tip-toeing drum beat that bursts into a rocking electronic bit of synth mayhem.

One can definitely hear Bowie’s mid to late 70’s Berlin sounds as influence on the album. That persuasion is apparent on “All I Want”. The track is a synthed-out and sped up, modern “Heroes” for a new crises generation.

All this is not to say that there isn’t any easy fun to be had beyond the beats on the album. On “Drunk Girls” and especially in its accompanying video Murphy shakes loose any agendas and orders a keg for a few friends of the fairer sex.

If you missed Sound of Silver on its initial release don’t make the same mistake on This Is Happening. Your hi-fi might never forgive you!

Official | MySpace

Track of the Day..."To The Forest" from The Forest & The Trees

The Forest & The Trees
Ill Fit Recordings (2010)

Listen to "To The Forest! ( I Need Some Peace)" MP3

The Forest & The Trees is Joel and Linnea Edin, a husband and wife team based outside of Stockholm.  Their debut self-tiled release is an infectious combination of the joyous and slightly melancholy side of indie pop music.  The tracks brim with romanticism, often casting a nostalgic and hook-laden gaze back at days and loves past.  The duo’s harmonies will provide a perfect companion to your laziest and least cynical days of summer.
One of the standout tracks is “To The Forest! (I Need Some Peace)” with its building chorus and rumbling call of bass and drums (featuring David Lindvall and Ola Hultgren from Loney, Dear).  Check out the retro SE Asian video created by Jamie Harley.
Other favorities include the slightly bittersweet and quietly assuring “In The Summer”, the woozy “Circus Lonely Hearts”, the propelling and imploring duet of “Run”, and the skipping folky harmonies of “Escape”.
You can stream the new album in its entirety on the band’s website.  But pick up a copy via the band’s website, iTunes, other digital download merchants and Rough Trade Shops.
The Forest and The Trees is the debut release from Ill Fit Recordings, a digital label venture from Rich Thane of and Something In Construction.  We are already looking forward to seeing what these guys have up their sleeve for their next release.
“To The Forest! (I Need Some Peace)”
“The Barber”
“Bohemian Boy”
“In The Summer”
“Circus Lonely Hearts”
“Hold Me Close, Hold Me In Your Arms”
“By The Trees”
Official | Ill Fit Recordings

What's On The Hi-Fi Interview with Team Ghost

Team Ghost is the new project fronted by Nicolas Fromageau, co-founder of M83 with Anthony Gonzales.  The two co-wrote M83's first two releases M83 and Dead Cities, Red Sea and Lost Ghosts.  Before the release of M83's third album, Nicolas and Anthony parted ways, seeing Nicolas moving to Paris from the South of France.  It was there that he formed Team Ghost, joined by multi-instrumentalist Christophe Guérin and producer / manager Jean-Philippe Talaga (founder of Gooom Disques).  Nicolas and Christophe also formed a production team called Kiss Me First.
Against this backdrop, Team Ghost has released their first EP You Never Did Anything Wrong To Me next month on the UK's Sonic Cathedral Records.  Along with being available as a digital download, the release is also be available as a limited edition black and white 10-inch vinyl.
We caught up with Nicolas who shares with What’s On The Hi-Fi a bit about how Team Ghost came together, making a move to Paris, the decision to release You Never Did Anything Wrong To Me as an EP, and late night bedroom listening sessions.
Listen to "A Glorious Time" MP3

Could you tell us a bit about how Team Ghost came into being and how you all met up (Nicolas, Christophe and Jean-Philippe)?
Christophe and I created Team Ghost in 2007, we are friends since we were 15, and it's a pleasure to play music with him, as he's such a great musician.  Jean-Philippe used to be the manager of M83 and, as I've been working with him for years, I trust him so much!  His advice is always so helpful -- he's a great producer!!
You relocated to Paris from the south of France.  Looking back on this now, what do you make of the move?
Oh, I really enjoy living in Paris -- it's a great city!  In France, it's easier for a band to find gigs or a label when living in Paris.  Of course, I miss my friends and my family, but I love big cities.  Paris is quite a perfect place for living.
How did the production team Kiss Me First come together?
When we started recording for the EP, we had no label yet, so the three of us needed to create Kiss Me First.
Your EP You Never Did Anything Wrong To Me is out now.  Could you tell us about the decision to make the release an EP (as opposed to a long player)?
Oh, we wanted to start with an EP, even if we already had many songs.  It's cheaper to release and, for me, it's a good start.  Now we are working on an LP!
"A Glorious Time" is one of our favorite tracks from the new EP.  The track seems to speak of a certain nostalgia, a feeling which (to us) also appears to run through other tracks.  Is this off the mark?
That's true.  This song is about nostalgia, and about leaving the people you love when you move from your hometown.  Most of my lyrics are about melancholy, feeling lonely, missing someone, etc.  But I'm quite a funny guy in real life (well, I hope so)!
When you close your eyes, where do you imagine your music being listened to?
In a bedroom, at night, with your (boy/girl) friend.  Oh, and with a big joint, it's perfect.
What do you get most out of playing live? Any cities that you particularly enjoy playing?
I love playing live!  No matter where in fact.  When we do a good gig, it's always a perfect moment for me, I love it!
Is there any artist who you see as creating particularly creative and innovative music?
Superpitcher!  He's my hero, and I want him to remix one of my songs someday.  His song "Irre" changed my life, and now I'm really into German minimal house music.
What is on your hi-fi at the moment?
Slowdive Slowdive Slowdive Slowdive Slowdive Slowdive Slowdive!  Oh, and the new LP of Crystal Castles, some tracks are incredible!  Joy Division and, well it's kinda weird, but I'm into punk rock these days like The Clash's early recordings, Ramones' "Rocket to Russia", The Damned's first LP, and The Stranglers.
MySpace | Sonic Cathedral Records 

Track of the Day..."Let Go" from JJ

“Let Go”
From jj nº 3
Secretly Canadian (2010)

Listen to “Let Go” MP3

jj are the duo of Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden (taking their name from Truffaut's 1962 film Jules et Jim). Following up on last year's beautiful debut jj n° 2, the pair is back with the handily named jj n° 3, the band's first album to get a broader release with the help of Secretly Canadian.

This new release sees jj honing the often R&B and dubbed-out Balearic sound of their previous releases. The album kicks off with a soulful and simple, piano-backed track borrowing Lil Wayne's chorus from The Game's "My Life''. Several tracks such as "And Now", "Voi Parlate, Lo Gioco", "You Know" and "No Escapin' This" swagger along on an infectious and warmly crystalline tip. "into The Light" explores electronic synths, beats and washes, punctuated by snipits of excited latin football commentary. One of the standouts is the single "Let Go", building from a solo harmonica, adding blurring and icy beats and synths over Kastlander's sublime vocals.

As an aside, lest we forget that jj also brought us their take on the theme song to the TV series Welcome Back, Kotter.

jj have just wraped up playing a few dates with The xx in the US and are heading to Europe for several dates, including Paris on 21 May, Berlin on 23 May and Amsterdam on 26 May.

"My Life"
"And Now"
"Let Go"
"Into the Light"
"Voi Parlate, lo Gioco"
"Golden Virginia"
"You Know"
"No Escapin' This"

Make sure to check out the video for “Let Go” as it just makes you think this duo has more than a few avant-garde ideas going through their heads. This is definitely a twosome to watch.

Secretly Canadian | Sincerely Yours  

Track of the Day…"Icarus” from White Hinterland

White Hinterland
From Kairos
Dead Oceans (2010)

Listen to “Icarus” MP3

White Hinterland is the project of Portland-based Casey Dienel, who is joined by Shawn Creeden on the new release Kairos.  This atmospheric album has the classically trained Casey leaving former territory behind, eschewing acoustic instruments for electronic instrumentation and effects, percussion and washes of sound.  The result is an ambitious collection of off-kilter pop that shines in being just that bit different.

Casey said that making the album was like swimming in a cave, trusting only the instinct to just keep swimming. This is also a particularly fitting description of the single “Icarus”, a chilly swing propelled into the vastness on echoing minimal percussion and looping calls.

Check out the beautiful animated video for the release “Amsterdam” (featuring mystical gherkins no less) created by Michaela Copikova.

Kairos is out now on Dead Oceans.  White Hinterland is on tour now in the US with stops planned in Europe in May and June (21 May, London / 2 and 3 June, Paris).

White Hinterland (Official) | MySpace | Dead Oceans