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Music, Music Commentary, Music News

Debut Album Awareness: 'Hale & Hearty' by Heyward Howkins

June 25, 2012

Conjuring allusions to Smokey Robinson, Kid Congo Powers, David Lovering, and Fred Myrow, Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Heyward Howkins is set to unleash his poignantly baroque The Hale & Hearty, an evocative amalgam of “British tweed (see Nick Drake)” and “dusty American flannel (see Bon Iver).”  Personally, it’s quite like nothing I’ve heard before (lyrically or musically), flaunting unusual yet powerful all-analog arrangements, guided by Howkins’ unique, rustically thespian vocals.  A smattering of the tunes gives off the husky Americana of Grizzly Bear (although not as dark), while others recall the raw textures (and horns) of Neutral Milk Hotel.

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Music, Music News

Collab Spotlight: Norah Jones and Danger Mouse

May 25, 2012

Last year, when hip producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse teamed up with gorgeous chanteuse Norah Jones on the ballyhooed Rome project (which also involved Jack White and Daniele Luppi), not many could have foreseen the continued interest the Mouse and Jones would have in each other’s sound.  Luckily for our unsuspecting ears and aesthetic tastes, their new full-length, …Little Broken Hearts is rapidly make puree of our expectations.

In short, forget what Norah Jones sounded like before; this is the odd couple done right.  Her unique vocal style never sounded more textured than it does now, thanks to the Mouse’s signature production suite.  A stream of one of their tracks, “Happy Pills,” is embedded below.

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Music, Music News, Original Sounds

Shameless Self-Promo: "2012 Pop Robot (Summer Mix)" by Panda Sanchez

May 22, 2012

As some of our readers may know, Panda Sanchez is the budding music project of In Harsh Light editor Richard Sanchez and writer/musician Tayne Kim. We’ve been hard at work crafting our dilettante, freshman EP to accompany our nosedive into DC’s live performance scene (see below for show dates). In particular, we’re opening for the up-and-coming metal/post-punk band Gracias, Pero No Gracias at the Velvet Lounge in DC on July 25th, 2012.  Wish us luck — and, if God willing, attend, kick back with a beer (or five), and enjoy some local indie music.

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Music, Music News

Track Awareness: "Without You" by White Blush

May 17, 2012

As a musician, I’m often taken aback by the raw talent of budding artists that sprout their butterfly wings into the collective digital consciousness of the Web.  And as intimidating as newcomer recording artist Carol Rhyu’s work may be, I’m thrilled that she contacted me with the release of her debut single, “Without You” (produced by John Ho) — embedded below for your melancholic listening pleasure (’cause every Thursday afternoon needs a somber listening experience curated by someone that’s admittedly “read too much Nietzsche and Schopenhauer in college”).

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Music, Music Commentary, Music Reviews

Review // Beach House: Bloom

May 14, 2012

Review | Beach House: Bloom

In a recent interview with Pitchfork‘s Jenn Pelly, Beach House multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally revealed his frustration with the changing ways in which we listen to music:

“A lot of people listening to music now don’t listen to the songs or lyrics at all. They just go, “Good tones…” and that’s it. But we’re obsessed with songs. Sometimes, I feel like people aren’t listening to our songs, they’re just listening to the sound. “

Scally’s chagrin can be viewed as a gripe with twenty-first century music as a whole. In an age where music is both easily accessible and easily dismissed, the dual arts of album structure and song writing have been lost amongst many artists.  Taking this into consideration, Beach House, a Baltimore-based dream pop duo, can be seen as traditionalists in the world of modern indie music. Over the course of four albums, including 2010’s sonic opus Teen Dream, the Beach House sound has remained steady, slowly improving with thoughtful refinements.

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Music, Music News

Video Spotlight: "Postcard From 1952" by Explosions in the Sky

May 11, 2012

Explosions in the Sky fans,

Take a break from the workaday humdrum to espy your favorite quartet’s new music video for “Postcard From 1952,” shot by Annie Gunn and Pete Simonite.  For the uninitiated, “Postcard” is a track from Explosion’s latest album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, released by Temporary Residence in April 2011.  Wistful, gorgeous and lulling, it is not to be missed.

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Music News

Video Spotlight: Sprawl II Goes Acoustic

May 4, 2012

As a frequent visitor to the internet, I consider myself a bit of quasi-expert on online video.  So, as I was watching Trampled By Turtles‘ excellent bluegrass/folk cover of Arcade Fire’s Rebellion (Lies)  for The Onion AV Club’s consistently satisfying Undercover 2012 series, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another excellent Arcade Fire cover. In late March, Hey Ocean! (a Vancouver based folk-pop trio) and Aidan Knight (a Victoria singer-songwriter and musician) teamed up to create what has quickly become one of my favourite covers of all time.

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