Album Review: Twin Shadow- “Forget”

To say that everything that producer and Grizzly Bear bassist Chris Taylor touches turns to gold would be a misstatement. It’s more like everything he touches turns into a hazy rainbow of indie genius. This is apparent on one of his record label’s latest releases, Twin Shadow’s Forget.

Twin Shadow is George Wilson, Jr., a gifted singer with a strange past and a penchant for constructing nostalgic, very danceable songs that some classify as chillwave. References to ‘80s new wave are easy to make while listening to his debut album, Forget, and Wilson is clearly a product of the modern indie scene. But that does not obscure how good this album is from start to finish.

Each song is infused with a mixture of synthesizers, shimmering guitars, drum machine beats, and catchy bass lines that are layered together to a precise, almost mathematical perfection. Chris Taylor stretches out the tunes, giving them depth and detailed flourishes that invite repeated listening. Every verse flows effortlessly into its chorus, and each song flows into the next. In this way, Forget achieves a feat that is rare these days: its can be listened to from beginning to end, and yet its songs are also effective individually. Lewis does borrow some sounds from the likes of Beach House and Grizzly Bear, from the drenched keyboards that threaten to fall out of tune on “When We’re Dancing” to the trippy picked guitar on the title track. But overall, Lewis has already found his own unique sound that usually takes some bands several records to find.

He does not falter as a lyricist either, even though, ironically enough, at times he sounds uncannily like Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste. He draws on his aforementioned past to create poetic and at times romantic narratives that are not boring or overly abstract. In the funky “At My Heels,” he croons “I can’t come up with any reason why/A ghost is following me.” At times, there is a lot of the standard talk about heartbreak and former lovers, but it matches the ‘80’s dance pace and style, and most of the time the music is so good that we don’t care what he is saying.

But for all of the serious, meticulous song writing that went into this album, there is a certain simple playfulness about it. Lewis has a mature sense of melody, and he knows how to loosen up and let a hook dominate a song. He is committed to making accessible songs that beckon all types of listeners to the dance floor. Album highlight “I Can’t Wait” is flat out fun, and its chorus sounds a bit like Don Henley’s classic “The Boys of Summer.” During the catchy chorus he sings, “I cannot wait for summer/I cannot wait for June.” Don’t we all feel this way? If there is one thing that indie music could use a little more of today is the universality of modern pop music. Twin Shadow proves that, prior to common belief, this can go hand in hand with complex, intelligent song writing.

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Album Review: Teen Daze – Beach Dreams EP


Whether you call it Chill-wave, Beach Rock, or Surf Music, the influence of The Beach Boys continues to play a huge role in the world of Indie Rock. Not only do present day musicians have an incredible reverence for the tight harmonies and nostalgic feel of the era when The Beach Boys ruled the charts, Brian Wilson continues to provide a point of inspiration, as evidenced in his critically lauded 2004 album, Smile. In the time of a double-dip recession, government bailouts, global terrorism, and now the WikiLeaks meltdown, who can blame musicians for wanting to encapsulate a hazy and warm day at the beach into a four-minute pop song?

Teen Daze has done just that on his latest EP, Beach Dreams. A short collection of just four songs, spanning nearly 15 minutes in length, the Vancouver artist works to transport the listener out of his chilly December environment, making us long for the warm days of Summers past. The good news is that Teen Daze excels in creating this warm, sunny world—the bad news is that they don’t do it in a consistently interesting fashion.

Opening track “Let’s Fall Asleep Together” gets the album off to an animated start, using plenty of drums and bass to get the rhythm moving at an energetic speed. Vocal harmonies float above the motor, much like a surfer already in motion as they first come into view. The lyrics are precious, as the lead singer gently sings, “The sun was set in the sky, a fragment, a piece of a memory that you used to think about me.” A sense of nostalgia is woven right into the song itself; even as these characters are lying in the sun, their thoughts are turned to the past as well.

Unfortunately, the rest of the EP doesn’t always match the magic of the propulsive opening track. “Water” essentially captures the same rhythm as “Let’s Fall Asleep Together,” but the lyrics and harmonies above don’t have the same sense of sincerity involved. The amount of reverb applied to the vocals makes the fragmentary lyrics just that much harder to understand. “Cliff Jump Love Song” tries to resuscitate the energy, making more use of bright guitars and percussion. It’s a great effect, leaving the listener hoping there is a dance floor located somewhere close on the boardwalk. The closing title track does little to keep this momentum moving for the last minutes of the EP, once again using more languid and hazy material, which comes across with a certain level of sweetness, but without energetic interest.

Teen Daze is at his best when writing up-tempo numbers and these songs certainly make for the best use of points of inspiration he culled from the 1960s California rock scene. For only his second release, this artist is moving in the right direction, and growing as a songwriter. Only future music will be able to show whether or not Teen Daze can stand alongside groups like The Drums or The Shins when it comes to recreating the beach, even in the dead of winter.

Neon Indian Reissues “Psychic Chasms”

Though it’s not completely necessary to do such a thing, Neon Indian fans are pretty excited right now. Myself included. Neon Indian will be releasing, well, re-releasing Psychic Chasms as Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms Possessed.

The record will be released as remastered deluxe edition on CD and for you vinyl heads, on double Vinyl on September 28th. The album will be out digitally on August 31 on the FADER Label / Static Tongues. The new record contains nine bonus tracks which has exclusive remixes and cover versions by Toro Y Moi, DNTEL, Bibio, Javelin, YACHT and more. Talk about a Chillwave fest.

Neon Indian will be emarking on another tour this Fall with Prefuse 73 and Modern Mystery favorites, Miniature Tigers, in addition to their previously announced tour dates they will be headlining with Chromeo and Phoenix.

Singer/songwriter Jesse Woods has also recently done a highly acclaimed cover of Neon Indian’s “Mind, Drip,” which you can listen to below, as well as the original.

Neon Indian Tour Dates
07/30/2010 House of Blues, Boston, MA *
07/31/2010 Metropolis, Montreal, QC *
08/14/2010 The Beach @ Governors Island, New York, NY
09/19/2010 Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, CA #
09/21/2010 SDSU Open Air Theatre, San Diego, CA #
09/22/2010 The Pearl Concert Theater, Las Vegas, NV #
09/23/2010 The Rail Event Center, Salt Lake City, UT #
09/25/2010 Virgin Mobile FreeFest, Columbia, MO
09/26/2010 PNE Forum, Vancouver, BC #
09/27/2010 Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA !
09/28/2010 Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR !
09/30/2010 Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA !
10/01/2010 Music Box at the Henry Fonda Theater, Los Angeles, CA !
10/02/2010 Club Congress, Tucson, AZ !
10/03/2010 Black Market, El Paso, TX !
10/05/2010 Granada Theater, Dallas, TX !
10/06/2010 Argentum (Formerly The Engine Room), Houston, TX !
10/08/2010 Spanish Moon, Baton Rouge, LA !
10/09/2010 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA !
10/10/2010 Southgate House, Newport, KY !
10/11/2010 Metro, Chicago, IL !
10/12/2010 Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ONT !
10/14/2010 House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV *

* = w/ Chromeo
# = w/ Phoenix
! = w/ Prefuse 73 & Miniature Tigers

Neon indian – “Mind, Drips” by ModernMysteryBlog

Jesse Woods – “Mind Drips” by ModernMysteryBlog

Toro y Moi @ Glasslands, Brooklyn, NY -7/1/2010


I don’t know what’s to be said on a band’s live performance compared
to their album itself. It’s all personal preference, and I guess varies
from group to group. Toro y Moi played two shows in New York on July 1st and 2nd. One at the Glasslands Gallery in Williamsburg, and the other at the Whitney Museum in Manhattan.

I was able to catch the Glasslands show, and it was the first time I got to see Toro Y Moi as a three piece band. They opened with “Blessa,” and while the crowd was ecstatic, the
tempo seemed awkwardly fast compared to the record. Even Chaz Bundick,the lead singer, bobbed like a human metronome to keep the beat. Every song was played at this accelerated pace that I was not expecting, and I’m assuming it was just a decision by the band. It did not live up to the “Chill wave” moniker this type of music has be labeled with, although when I had a brief chance to talk with the bassist and drummer they told me the name was a joke.

When they began to play “You Hid,” what I believe to be the chill anthem (there’s no better phrasing for it sorry) of the year, even that had a disappointingly fast beat to it.

That all being said, the venue was jam packed, and I still had a great
time. The music was still miles above most of what’s out there, and I’m
glad I got to see them before they headed off to Europe.

The band, for some reason, asked me not to talk about their clothes so
I’m gonna honor that.

Finally, on an awesome note, one of the band member’s parents were
there, and the mother informed me that she and her husband met through an ad in the Village voice. I thought that was cool.

-Joe Paolucci