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.

The Morning Benders Prep New Album

Some lovely news this week from camp Morning Benders. The band is set to release their second full length titled ‘Big Echo.’  The album was recorded after the brief winter tour this year with Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. ‘Wow’ to say the least. Though there is no official release date for the record, we are sure it will be out on +1 Records by the end of the year, by early next year (according to singer Chris Chu). The Morning Benders are also taking their show on the road for the first time to Europe this summer along with a handful of shows in the West Coast (even one with Beach House). The band will be playing a few festivals in the UK with Lily Allen, Wilco and Grizzly Bear, a lineup not to be missed!

Check out The Morning Benders track titled ‘Hand Me Downs’  on their MYSPACE

Tour Dates:

UK/Europe Dates:
Aug 11 2009   8:00P
Dublin Castle 
London

Aug 12 2009  8:00P
Old Blue Last 
London

Aug 13 2009  8:00P
The Boogaloo 
London

Aug 14 2009  12:00P
Way Out West 
Göteborg, Sweden
http://www.wayoutwest.se/

Aug 15 2009  12:00P
Oya Festival (John Dee) 
Oslo, Norway
http://oyafestivalen.com/

Aug 30 2009  12:00P
SF Outside Lands 
San Francisco, CA

Sep 19 2009  8:00P
MusicfestNW Berbati’s Pan (w/ Beach House!) 
Portland, Oregon

Music Video Friday

There is an over abundance of great music videos that have hit the web recently, and we feel it’s our duty to share them with you. Here are our favorite videos of the week. Yes they seem to vary in sound but hell, we would have it no other way. Let’s mix it up on this Friday afternoon.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘Heads Will Roll’
The second video off of the new album is particulary brilliant. Would you expect any less frorm them?

Bat For Lashes ‘Pearl’s Dream’

Patrick Wolf  ‘Hard Times’

Peter Bjorn & John ‘It Don’t Move Me’

Metric ‘Sick Muse’

REPRISE: GRIZZLY BEAR ‘TWO WEEKS’
C’mon, we just HAD to!

Happy Grizzly Bear Day!

We’re not sure if there is any other way to say it, but Happy Grizzly Bear Day! Really, has anyone talked about anything else all day besides the release of ‘Veckatimest’?  We haven’t been able to have a conversation all day without someone mentioning it. 

‘Veckatimest’ is an album that is rich with one impressive song after another.  It gets better with every listen and truly takes you on a musical journey. This is by far Grizzly Bear’s best album yet, and is definitely the year’s most anticipated indie record. Not to call early shots just yet, but this is sure to be headed to many ‘Top Albums Lists of 2009’. 

Check out ‘Veckatimest’ on Grizzly Bear’s MYSPACE

Watch Grizzly Bear’s New Video for ‘Two Weeks’

The band is also on an extensive tour (with 3 New York stops!)

May 26 Vancouver, BC Commodore (w/ Foreign Born)  
May 28 New York, NY SOLD OUT: Town Hall (w/ Here We Go Magic)
May 29 New York, NY SOLD OUT: Town Hall (w/ Here We Go Magic)
May 31 Brooklyn, NY SOLD OUT:Music Hall of Williamsburg (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 01 Washington, DC SOLD OUT: 9:30 Club (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 02 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 03 Boston, MA Berklee Performance Center (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 04 Montréal, QC Le National (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 05 Toronto, ON SOLD OUT: Phoenix (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 07 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 08 Milwaukee, WI Pabst Theatre (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 09 Bloomington, IN Buskirk-Chumley (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 11 Carrboro, NC Cats Cradle (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 12 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo
Jun 13 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle (with TV on the Radio)
Jun 15 Dallas, TX Granada (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 16 Austin, TX SOLD OUT: The Parish (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 18 Tucson, AZ Centennial Hall (w/ Wilco)
Jun 19 Los Angeles, CA Wiltern (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jun 21 San Francisco, CA Fillmore (w/ Here We Go Magic)
Jul 19 Chicago, IL Pitchfork Music Festival
Aug 07 Osaka, Japan Summer Sonic
Aug 09 Osaka, Japan Summer Sonic
Aug 13 Olso, Norway Øya Festival
Aug 14 Göteborg, Sweden Way Out West Festival
Aug 15 Rees-Haldern, Germany Haldern Pop Festival  
Aug 16 St. Malo, France La Route du RockFestival
Aug 18 London, UK Koko  
Aug 20 Hasselt, Belgium Pukkelpop
Aug 21 Biddinghuizen, Netherlands Lowlands Paradise
Aug 22 Glanusk, UK Green Man Festival
Oct 02 Austin, TX Austin City Limits Festival

Grizzly Bear Announce New Album, Tour Dates

It seems to have been so long ago since Grizzly Bear released ‘Yellow House’ but the band is back in full form with their newest record,  ‘Veckatimest’ which will be out on May 26th on Warped Records. It seems that the new record is actually more brilliant than the  last according to sources (Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold has called it “the album of the 00s.”) Who knew they could really top it? Of course the album has already been leaked, and though Grizzly Bear really isn’t too keen on that happening, they have learned to accept it.

The band wrote on their blog this week:

Hey all,

So yeah, we are kind of bummed this leaked so early. We know it’s not the 90’s anymore and times have changed, and we’re super grateful for all the support people have shown us on the blogs and internet, but we were kind of hoping it wouldn’t happen this soon.

Ultimately we feel like we put out a great album and hope people enjoy it, and we really hope people take the time to pre-order and support the good one-and-a-half years it took to write and record it.

I promise you the album art for both CD and vinyl is going to be gorgeous. And a bonus: all vinyl people will get a high quality download coupon with their purchase.

Leaking is a tricky subject; as we all know, I’ve had my run ins with the law O__o (Hi, Mr. Sheriff!) I have conflicting opinions about it, as it’s really complicated, but ultimately it saddens me that a bummer-quality version of Veckatimest is going around. Please consider putting your energies into a pre-order or into waiting till May 26 for the album the way we intend it to be presented.

Not to get all mushy, but we definitely put a lot of love and work into this one and are just excited to hit the road and tour it again.

Ok, there! Got that off my chest.
Warm regards.

Its kind of a hard situation since the album isn’t due out for another 3 months, but is not the first time.

Grizzly Bear will also be hitting the road this Spring so be sure to check them out on tour.

05/24 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theatre
05/25 – George, WA @ Sasquatch Festival
05/26 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore
05/28 – NYC @ Town Hall
05/29 – NYC @ Town Hall
06/01 – Washington DC @ 930 Club
06/02 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
06/03 – Boston, MA @ Berkley Performance Center
06/04 – Montreal, QUE @ Le National
06/05 – Toronto ON @ Phoenix
06/07 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
06/08 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theatre
06/09 – Bloomington, IN @ Buskirk- Chumley
06/11 – Carrboro, NC @ Cats Cradle
06/12 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo
06/13 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle (With TV On The Radio)
06/15 – Dallas, TX @ Grenada
06/16 – Austin, TX @ The Parish
06/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern
06/21 – San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore

Check out Grizzly Bear on Myspace

Watch ‘Ready, Able’ (A new song) that Grizzly Bear performed with the Philharmonic this weekend.