Recipe for Crunch: add Sleigh Bells

Alexis Krauss has a rather poppy background, having once been part of the teen group Rubyblue and appearing on a Nickelodeon Magazine commercial when she was young.

Derek Miller was a waiter.

Who knew that the pop artist and the waiter could make crunchy, lo-fi noise pop?

Here’s a sample. Listen for the last 40 second “kick.” I imagine you’ll want more.


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Grizzly Bears, though hardly grizzly

Genre: Psych-folk, neo-psychedelia, lo-fi, experimental rock, indie rock

Album: Veckatimest, 2009.

I finally started listening to them this summer, having already been acquainted with their single “Two Weeks” but not with the album “Veckatimest” it came from.

Well, it’s been too long. Two years too long. When you hear an amazing song, you really should give the artist his/her/their due: spend time with the rest of their work. Otherwise it’s like asking for a cigarette and then walking off to smoke it with someone other than the person you bummed from.

I suppose this makes me guilty of some kind of artistic negligence.

And speaking of “artistic”…

Grizzly Bear is very strange. But strangely wonderful. Their music is complex and often discordant, moving into sequences that jar you like being slapped in the face with a pillow, or keeping you awake with a soft but unnerving noise. It makes for interesting, preferentially evening, listening.

Two of their songs, however, besides their single “Two Weeks”, really stand out as wonderful/wonderful, not just strange/wonderful. Check out “All We Ask” and “About Face”. These two numbers are slightly more accessible, without losing any of their flavor.

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The Foals are out

I came across these fellows by accident. Another example of minimalist math rock, but with a groove and an edge. They’ve already cut out a second album, but I recommend giving their Antidotes a try before moving on to the new stuff. In terms of accessibility, the first album is more “harmonically pleasing” than the second.

This is math rock that you can dance to. Even if it’s in a room with drawn shades so that no one can watch.

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“Summertime music” records and playlists were probably being lifted out of milk crates and slumbering iPod memories in April when that first sunny day happened, at least in the northern states. If so, then this post is obselete.

Unless, of course, you’re sitting in the air-conditioning and you stopped listening to your music because it became boring after 20 replays.

In which case, put down the iced coffee and head outside. Or better yet, drive a ’94 Chevy van to the coast. Whatever you do, do it to this:

The Drums are a good addition to your summer repetoire: cool, catchy listening. And it’s repetitive, which makes learning the words easier than typing “blue.”

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Bon Iver’s album “For Emma, Forever Ago” is nothing new. It was released in 2007, but there is such a thing as aftertaste. In this context, I’m referring to my own appreciation for the album’s beauty (it is winter crystallized), which began savoring Bon Iver’s richness in 2009.

This is Bon Iver’s perspective on his audience. Simple, beautiful, moving, much like their album. Happy aftertasting, if you’re new to this.

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This Town Needs Guns

Oxford college is renowned for its heritage as an esteemed place of learning, its ivy-matted halls, and its bands, apparently. Besides Radiohead, another band has emerged from the campus of Oxford into the indie music scene: This Town Needs Guns.

I discovered these fellows by accident while briefly glancing at one day. Different, technical, talented, and unique are all good adjectives that could describe This Town Needs Guns. The band has a vague Minus the Bear aura around them, yet, where the Bear pulls stops and sometimes grooves, This Town Needs Guns tends to flow consistently, rippling and skating beneath the vocals of Stuart Smith. Tim Collis plays the guitar with the precision of a machine, backed by the sharp and elusive guidance of the drums, played by his brother, Chris. Providing the muscle, and keeping the band against the earth so as to  prevent them from soaring into the starry sky, is the agile bass, played by Dan Adams.

If you like Minus the Bear but also have a taste in music that can embellish a background such as your room or car, you will like This Town Needs Guns. Each song has its own twists and turns, while remaining true to the band’s sound. Smith’s meditative, and often pained lyrics provide an interesting layer to the music. It’s almost as if the Collis brothers and Adams wrote the music in one room, while Stuart composed his melodies and lyrics in another. At times there is a disconnect between the vocal lines and the guitars, but it is subtle, and even flavorful. Perhaps Smith’s vocals aren’t needed…but then, would This Town Needs Guns produce such beautiful songs as “Crocodile” or “If I Sit Still, Maybe I’ll Get Out of Here?” Doubtful.

Look up their debut album, “Animals.” Only $5.99 on iTunes, it also contains two bonus tracks, “26 Is Dancier than 4” and “If I Sit Still Maybe I’ll Make It Out Of Here.” It’s a good driving album, and also just good for easy listening.

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Of Montreal in all their oddity…

…but enjoyable nonetheless.

The more I listen to them, the more I get into them. Still they are pretty weird.

Speaking of weird.

You may need to rub your eyes and lie down after Rafter’s music video:

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