AERS Debuts Haunting Single, “Blue Tempest”

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AERS is Tasha Abbott and Zack Nestel-Patt, currently based out of Brooklyn, New York. Their stunning arrangements liken the sounds of Grizzly Bear and Sigur Ros, channeling both as influences. The group has just premiered the dreamy, lustworthy track, “Blue Tempest,” via Redefine Magazine.

“Blue Tempest,” is a gracious first glimpse into AERS’ upcoming record due out later this Fall. The debut EP release, Blue Tempest, sets the scenery for the band’s haunting  tones that grace the record throughout. On “Blue Tempest,” Abbott’s voice lingers with dreamy lyrics, which paints a bold and sultry soundscape. Powerful yet graceful, her voice captivates delving deeper into the track. Nestel-Patt helps to build the song with layers of dark textures, bringing the piece to fruition. The sound of AERS will stop you dead in your tracks; be prepared to fall in love with every listen.

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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.

Class Actress Confirms Headlining Tour & SXSW Performances

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Brooklyn synth-pop duo Class Actress (Elizabeth Harper & Company) is in the midst of preparing for their headlining tour with MillionYoung in support of their debut release, Journal of Ardency EP, available now on Terrible Records- the brainchild label of Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor and Ethan Silverman. The coast-to-coast trek follows Class Actress’ successful North American tour this past fall with Small Black, Delorean, and Matthew Dear. The tour kicks off next week in Atlanta, with the band now confirming a full set of SXSW 2011 performances in Austin from March 16-19.

Stay tuned for Class Actress’ debut LP this summer, with further details to be announced soon. Complete list of dates and venues below:

Mar 9 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Mar 10 Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover
Mar 11 Miami, FL @ The Vagabond
Mar 12 Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
Mar 13 Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
Mar 14 New Orleans, LA @ Republic
Mar 15 Pharr, TX @ Jagz w/Nite Jewel
Mar 16 SXSW @ Lipstick 24 (Flavorpill Party) – 3:30pm
Mar 17 SXSW @ Club 1808 (Piano’s Party w/Das Racist, Still Corners, etc.)
Mar 18 SXSW @ East Side Drive In (Pitchfork Party) – 12:45pm
Mar 18 SXSW @ Friends (Warp Magazine Showcase) – 11pm
Mar 19 SXSW @ Space 12 (Parafora Party) – 7pm
Mar 20 Dallas, TX @ Bro Fest 2011 @ Club Dada
Mar 21 Little Rock, AR @ Arkansas Community Arts Co-Op
Mar 22 Kansas City, MO @ Crosstown Station
Mar 23 Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s
Mar 24 St. Louis, MO @ Old Rockhouse
Mar 25 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall w/Miami Horror
Mar 29 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge w/Miami Horror

4AD and The Red Hot Organization Donate $1,000,000 Thanks To The Album Dark Was The Night

As World AIDS Day on December 1st reminded us that AIDS is still a threat and continues to kill, good news came to us from the folks of 4AD and the Red Hot Foundation. In February 2009, 4AD released Dark Was The Night, a musical collaboration conceived and produced by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, and Red Hot founder John Carlin, and its sales have now raised $1,000,000 for charity!

The compilation is made up of 32 exclusive tracks by Arcade Fire, Blonde Redhead, Bon Iver, Cat Power, The Decemberists, Dirty Projectors + David Byrne, Grizzly Bear, The New Pornographers, Spoon, and Sufjan Stevens… the list goes on. Each band has recommended a charity to which the funds raised will be donated. This is the 20th album put out by The Red Hot Foundation, which has been working to help fight AIDS since 1989. You can still purchase it HERE.

Here is the list of the charities chosen to receive Red Hot grants:
Advocates For Youth (recommended by The National)
After Hours Project, Inc (recommended by Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings)
AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (recommended by Bon Iver)
A Loving Spoonful (recommended by New Pornographers)
Bronx AIDS Services (recommended by The National)
Camp Amerikids (recommended by The National)
Casey House (recommended by Kevin Drew/Broken Social Scene)
Central City Concern (recommended by Decemberists)
Citta (recommended by David Byne)
Housing Works (recommended by Dirty Projectors)
Nebraska Aids Project (recommended by Conor Oberst)
Out Youth (recommended by Iron & Wine)
Partners In Health (recommended by Arcade Fire)
San Francisco AIDS Foundation (recommended by Kronos Quartet)
Tamasha (recommended by Sufjan Stevens)
In addition to Terrence Higgins Trust, PSI/YouthAIDS, and CHAI.

Neon Indian Heads West (Mostly)

Upon the release of last year’s Psychic Chasms heard the indie world over, Neon Indian is setting out on a tour in support of the slew of remasters and remixes that further champion his original effort.  Chasms is being released as a newly mastered deluxe CD and double vinyl edition on September 28th, including remixes and covers from Toro Y Moi, Bibio, Javelin, and YACHT. 

Fret not on the lack of new tunes, though, as Neon Indian just released the single, “Sleep Paralysist” on Green Label Sound.  Look forward to hearing the new track, which was produced by Palomo and Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, on these dates:

Neon Indian Tour Dates
09/21 San Diego, CA – SDSU Open Air Theater *
09/22 Las Vegas, NV – Pearl Concert Theater *
09/23 Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue *
09/25 Columbia, MD – Virgin Mobile Freefest
09/26 Vancouver, BC – PNE Forum *
09/26 Vancouver, BC – Shine Nightclub (DJ Set)
09/27 Seattle, WA – Showbox @
09/28 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom @
09/30 San Francisco, CA – Mezzanine @
10/01 Los Angeles, CA – Henry Fonda @
10/05 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater @
10/06 Houston, TX – Argentum @
10/07 Austin, TX – La Zona Rosa @
10/08 Baton Rouge, – LA Spanish Moon @
10/09 Athens, GA – 40 Watt @
10/10 Newport, KY – Southgate House @
10/11 Chicago, IL – Metro @
10/12 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace @
10/14 Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues

* = w/ Phoenix
@ = w/ Prefuse 73 & Miniature Tigers