NXNE Announces 2011 Line Up

North By Northeast (NXNE) recently announced the second wave of bands for the 17th edition of the festival, taking over Toronto June 13-19, 2011. Now confirmed for the event are Devo, Descendents, Stars, The Pharcyde, Men Without Hats, Digable Planets, Twin Shadow, OFF!, Art Brut, Shad, Land of Talk, Chad VanGaalen, and Cults. They join previously announced acts that include The Dodos, Deerhoof, Hot Water Music, The Bouncing Souls, and Anti-Flag, Dum Dum Girls and others.

All NXNE Festival passes and wristbands are now on sale, available at www.nxne.com. Early-bird pricing for NXNE Priority Passes is available through April 25. And, the complete NXNE Music line-up and schedule, NXNE Film schedule and additional NXNE Interactive programming will be announced over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

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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.

Celebrate Winter With The 1st Annual Snow Ball Festival

Next weekend, Vail Valley, Colorado will play host to the first ever Snow Ball Festival. The festival, for which pass/ski lift combo packages and music only passes are being sold now, will take place outdoors.  And, while organizers admit it won’t exactly be tropical temperatures outside, they believe the snowflakes, surrounding mountains, and wintery vibes will make for a nice change from standard music festival experiences.

Among the artists stated to appear are Twin Shadow, Miami Horror, Lord Huron, Parisian producer Onra, Gauntlet Hair, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and The Flaming Lips. For more information on the festival, visit the festival’s website HERE.

Brahms Premiere New Single, Head On Tour

Brahms have only been an official band for less than a year, they are continuing to make themselves heard in the indie world. Side A of their upcoming 7″ single, “Add It Up,” just premiered as a free download on Stereogum, the same blog which named them one of their “Bands To Watch” in May 2010. “Add It Up” is a strong and dark synth-based dance song with haunting vocals and only promises good things for the band’s debut LP, expected later this year. Get the song HERE.

Meanwhile, the trio left the confines of Brooklyn on January 12th for the next few months to tour the US (and a couple of Canadian cities) alongside Twin shadow and later, Asobi Seksu. Be sure to check if they’re coming anywhere near you.

Here are their upcoming tour dates:

1.14 – Schubas – Chicago, IL (with Twin Shadow)

1.15 – MOTR Pub – Cincinnati, OH (with Twin Shadow)

1.16 – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH(with Twin Shadow)

2.22 – Single Release Party At Glasslands – Brooklyn, NY

2.25 – Brighton Music Hall – Allston, MA (with Asobi Seksu)

2.26 – Cas del Popolo – Montreal, QC (with Asobi Seksu)

2.27 – Horseshow Tavern – Toronto, ON(with Asobi Seksu)

2.28 – Empty Bottle – Chicago IL (with Asobi Seksu)

3.1 – 7th Street Entry – Minneaplois, MN (with Asobi Seksu)

3.3 – The Palace Lounge – Missoula, MO (with Asobi Seksu)

3.4 – Chop Suey – Seattle, WA (with Asobi Seksu)

3.5 – The Biltmore Cabaret – Vancovuer, BC (with Asobi Seksu)

3.6 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR(with Asobi Seksu)

3.8 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA (with Asobi Seksu)

3.9 – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA (with Asobi Seksu)

Wool Recordings Announces Limited Edition Franklin 7″

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With a new album on the horizon, Wool Recordings has announced plans to release a limited edition 7″ single from New Jersey DJ artist, Franklin. The vinyl single will be released in February, with two new tracks and a remix from Com Truise (otherwise known as Seth Haley). Franklin, the latest side project of Franck Rabeyrolles, relishes 80s old-school synth and bass lines that transcend the standard “chill wave” moniker, creating a sound world that is much more personal, and a lot more tasty. Franklin’s recent remixes for the likes of Neon Indian and Twin Shadow have already brought him wide acclaim from Lowdown Magazine, Dublab, and The Organ– making the anticipation surrounding his new album all the more unbearable.

Gordon Voidwell To Play Some Shows, Offer Remix Contest

Since releasing The Voided Checks Mixtape things have been going swimmingly for Gordon Voidwell. He’s received national acclaim for his original material AND tracks he’s produced for others (including Das Racist and a remix of Twin Shadows).

Now Voidwell has announced he will be playing a couple of New York shows later this year. Along with live performances, Voidwell wants to see how well you can remix. He’s teaming with Indaba to challenge all of you to remix his song “Ivy League Circus”. There are even prizes! (Click here for what you can win).

If you haven’t heard “Ivy League Circus” yet, you can catch the 80’s-inspired video right here.

Gordon Voidwell // “Ivy League Circus” from Cantora Records on Vimeo.

If you’re in the New York area, catch Gordon Voidwell right here:

12/01: New York, NY @ Wired Pop-up Store, 626 Broadway (Girlie Action Holiday Party)
12/18: Brooklyn, NY @ Southpaw