Best New Music

No Coast by Rollie Agado

Citizens of Earth...

Hi there...

It's been a while huh?

I feel like I sorta owe you an explanation...   I kinda lost my mind a few weeks ago.   I entered the month of June, knowing that it would be impossible to continue my album a day journal and complete a work assignment that nearly sent me to a therapist.

I know I have a flair for being over dramatic...  but I'm seriously not fucking around.  My work assignment seriously sent me over the edge and I've been slowly cycling down the past two weeks as I ease back into a normalized work/life balance.

I want to quickly thank my family, mentors, friends and especially the people I reached out to in the past couple of weeks as I acclimate back to being "Rollie" again.

I've been thinking a lot about my new years resolution and the Album A Day Project I began earlier this year.   I feel compelled to catch up and see it through...  I mean - I knocked out 5 complete months of daily reviews.   I learned a lot about myself in the process and at the same time I learned that there's something very exhausting about constantly looking the next new thing to listen to.   The past 40 or so days have allowed me to revisit a number of records I've really enjoyed in 2014...   It was nice to not squeeze in 50 minutes to purposely listen to an album and then spend another 30 minutes thinking about what that record made me feel.

I've come to the realization that I really want to push myself to share stories and thoughts on this site... If they happen to touch on music/film/lit/life/love... so fucking be it.  I don't want to confine myself to a box anymore...

Maybe I'll write 2,000 words about a quote from a movie I saw the other night (Francis Ha) tomorrow....  Perhaps I'll vaguely pen 1,000 words about a certain someone that has my head and heart in a pretzel.

What I do know, is that I'm going to keep it 300 - here on out through 2014.   If you've enjoyed what I've scribbled thus far, I guess you're going to be in for a treat because from here on out - I'm going to approach this like Braid approached their latest album.  

No knock on music within.  I'm not really a fan of the sleeve work.

No Coast

What, you thought I wouldn't weigh in on my favorite band releasing their first album in 16 years this week? Are you fucking mental?   Did I pre-order the album a number of months ago?  YES.  Did I lose my shit when NPR made the album available online for streaming? YES.  Did I redeem my MP3 download from TopShelfRecords on midnight July 8th? THRICE YES.

Before I share my initial thoughts on the new Braid album...   I want you to understand that I have an irrational love for this band.  I vividly remember the first time I heard their music.  I've seen them numerous times live in my lifetime and I've seriously considered flying to a city in the near future to catch them perform on the first leg of the No Coast tour.

I'm in the tank for this band.   Possibly more so than any other band in my musical library.

A couple of years ago, the band put out 4 song EP entitled Closer to Closed - the release consisted of 3 new tracks and a cover.  It sorta provided a trajectory of where the band was heading as a collective group of friends (in their 30s) who above all enjoy recording and performing music together.

Roughly a year or so ago, Braid released 2 songs (which are on No Coast) on a split EP (entitled SPLIT) with Balance and Composure.  It took a number of listens... but I sorta cobbled the two releases and I came to grips with what Braid was going to sound like 16 years after Frame and Canvas.

When I listened to the opening track Bang - I kinda settled into setting my expectations for the record.  I've always championed Chris Broach songs over Nana ones so I was really stoked to hear him reins on the second track of the album - East End Hollows.

The album is freakishly balanced in that respect...  Nana and Broach are equally represented on this album.  The song No Coast (a play on Chicago being in the midwest and the band not wanting to coast through the recording of this album) - equally features the two trading vocal duties.  It's possibly the song I'm most excited to hear them perform live...  

I'm slowly starting to explore and get a lot more familiar with the later tracks of the album now.  Two stand out tracks: Put Some Wings On That Kid  and Life Crisis - are interesting and cryptic in way that only Nana can deliver.  In a recent interview Nana opened up about his documenting habit and recently meeting his real parents (he's an adoptee). 

All in all - I think the album is great. 10 of the 12 songs were new to me and my favorite band has released 15 new tracks over the past 3 years.  

If you get a chance to watch Killing A Camera (re-shot in 2004) you can begin to see that these guys never wanted to really break up.  This is the sound of 4 friends truly not compromising their friendships or artistic visions.

There's something nice about loving a band that isn't intending to break through in terms of fan base recognition.  They just continue to effect those who stop long enough to listen. 

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Days Abandon by Rollie Agado

Earlier this year, I read that the Pains of Being Pure at Heart - were releasing an album... I learned it was going to be released some time in May and I totally forgot about it.

While flying over to Seattle the other day, I made it a point to download the record so that I could give it a proper listen and I was quite surprised to hear an album so heavily influenced by danceable beats and Johnny Marr (the Smiths).

I've been listening to this band for several years now because of earlier releases on Slumberland records...  this album has a very polished sound.  

I just read that the band also features a new vocalist from another band called - A Sunny Day in Glasgow.   Her voice is quite angelic.  

This one has slipped into my growing list of must buy new albums.  If you get a chance to listen to this album from beginning to end, I highly recommend that you do.

Standout Tracks


Paws - Youth Culture Forever by Rollie Agado

Memorial Day, 2014 and I'm on a return flight from Seattle to San Antonio.

paws.jpg

Saved a special record for today's entry...  it's an album (Youth Culture Forever) by a band called Paws.

It doesn't get formally released for sale until June 3rd I think... but I've been streaming it for weeks now.

I fucking LOVE the production on this album.   It kinda reminds me a little bit of the Detachment Kit... only because the tracks can go from a gentle strum to a roaring buzz in a heartbeat.

I can't stress how great the drums and guitars sound on this album... they laid the vocals down really nicely behind the fuzz too.

I've been trying to find more time in the day to really listen to the lyrical content of the album.  There's a lot of interesting heart break themes that can kinda get lost in sound of the album.

On some tracks like: Owls Talons Clenching My Heart - one can really get lost into the heartbreak mood it sets off..  then they turn around and play something really catchy like the song Give Up.

I can't wait to see these guys live. 

Standout Tracks:


Cheap Girls - Famous Graves by Rollie Agado

Just got back from a successful software drill in one of our warehouses outside of Seattle.

I have about an hour and a half to kick back and relax before meeting up with the team for dinner at Elliot's Oyster House.

Just learned this past Thursday that the new Cheap Girls album got released this week and I've listened to it about 8 or so times since.

I'm so in the tank for their throwback - college sound.   I really don't want to compare them to the Hold Steady, because they midwestern/Michigan groove of their own.

I just saw them a few months ago, open up for Against Me! and I think they played a few tracks from this album at that show but I can't really recollect which.

This album might be the first recording that I think really captures the open guitar feed and soaring vocals that make this band so incredible to see live.

One of the stand out tracks on this album is called: Knocked Me Over

It's a fine example of how this band sorta takes root into a box of chords and notes that 88% find themselves in - but it doesn't matter because its so fucking good.

I really need to take a nap...  I managed to work through a hangover and if I don't get some serious sleep soon - I'm going to crack.

If you have a few minutes to spare - take some time to listen to the track - Amazing Grace

I think its some of the best stuff they've ever put out.

Standout Tracks:

 

 

Weatherbox - Flies in All Directions by Rollie Agado

Got pretty drunk today and before I plug in to record a Late Night Conversations podcast, I want to quickly pen together some thoughts on an album I've been streaming all week.

It's by a band called Weatherbox that I've been into now for a couple of years.  It wasn't until the other day that Fin reminded me that we saw them open up for Look Mexico a couple of years ago and they were kinda dickish on stage.

I totally remember thinking that an opening band performed that night who appeared to not be in the mood to perform - but I didn't know it was the same band tho'.

Anyhoo --  this new album - Flies in All Directions - is an absolute keeper.  It kinda fits in nicely with a number of albums I've been listening to a lot this year (The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, You Blew It!, Everyone Everywhere, Cloud Nothings, Manchester Orchestra, Nothing, Modern Baseball)

I know there's an "emo revival" of sorts that has gone through a rather odd progression.  One could actually track the roots back for  2007 or so and technically  this band has been at the fore-front.

I really don't want to think about what sound or genre to classify this band into.  They've put out a great album along with a number of other bands who are putting out some incredible shit right now.

Can't wait to pick this up on vinyl and add it to my 2014 purchases.

Standout Tracks:

Stone Cold Fox - Memory Palace by Rollie Agado

Citizens of Earth... 

Rollie, transmitting again from his work station in New Braunfels, TX.   Total hours spent in this office over the weekend nearly 23 and counting.

I think that number will crawl over 27 by the time I climb into my car and drive back for an abbreviated night of rest.

Moral is a little low at the moment...  we have a number of programing obstacles to clear and they're time consuming.  One of my co-workers has crossed the threshold of feeling sick and is 'full-blown' sick...   I'm fairly certain that I will catch something before hoping on a plane for the Pacific Northwest at the end of the week.

The best thing to come out of May 18th, 2014 - was my introduction to a band by the name of: Stone Cold Fox.

A band from (um... unconfirmed)  that sorta remind me of: The Walkmen, Voxtrot, a pinch of Phoenix and the Generationals.

I haven't really given the album a "critical" listen, but after 3 listens over the weekend - I plunked down 12 bucks on the pre-release (June 3rd) and will soon add it to my 2014 collection pile of Best New Music.

Stand out tracks:

Artists: Stone Cold Fox
Album: Memory Palace
Producer: ?
Label: ?
Recorded: ?

Seahaven - Reverie Lagoon: Music for Escapism Only by Rollie Agado

Of all the new bands I've discovered in recent months, I am really falling hard for a California band called Seahaven.   A dreamy-indie-pop record that is really great to listen to on rainy grey days... 

I have a tendency to try and find a bands earlier material when I discover a recent release, but I've opted to focus (obsess) on this album instead.   I just confirmed this morning that they're going to be coming to San Antonio at the end of May.  Looking incredibly forward to seeing them live and not have to drive out to Austin to do so.

It's really hard to describe this album because I haven't fully charted my emotions on the record just yet.  There's a number of very soft numbers on the album all lasting under 2:00 minutes that sorta weave the record in and out as if you were listening to a Doves album, without really having a "DOVES" sound?

I kinda liken the listening experience to floating on your back in a secluded pool of water.   You're not exactly alone with your thoughts long enough because you're kinda focusing on breathing right to not down - but you're totally calm at the same time?   

Stand out tracks:

Artists: Seahaven
Album: Reverie Lagoon: Music for Escapism Only
Producer: Kyle Soto
Label: Run For Cover Records
Recorded: ARC Studio

Future Islands - Singles by Rollie Agado

In 2011, I discovered a small band that by the name of Future Islands and listed their album On the Water as my favorite release of the year.

I had heard some rumors at the end of 2013 that their new album "Singles" would be something to keep an eye out for.   The album dropped a few weeks ago and it's been a staple of sorts in my listening rotation.

I fucking love this album cover

I managed to somehow get their upcoming Austin Show (Mohawk, April 23rd) confused with another show that I'm catching on the 22nd (Manchester Orchestra/Kevin Devine) and I passed up on getting tickets.

Fast forward a few weeks... they have a monstrous performance on Letterman and they killed it at Coachella last weekend.  They're now *the band* to catch live and I'm seriously considering paying 80 dollars on Stubhub to see them perform on Wednesday.

I spent a good part of my morning looking at #futureisland tags on Instagram and all I want to do right now is listen to this album between now and Wednesday and be in attendance for what I think will be one of the best shows of 2014.

But enough about the show on Wednesday, the thing that has surprised me most about the album Singles is how freakishly danceable it is.  That and the lead vocalist is so freakishly emotive that I can't have this album on in the background and not give it my full attention.  

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of 2014.  Please seek it out!

Stand Out Tracks

Artists: Future Islands
Album: Singles
Producer: Chris Coady
Label: 4AD
Recorded: Dreamland Studios

Cloud Nothings - Here and No Where Else by Rollie Agado

A couple of years ago, I discovered Cloud Nothings and ranked Attack on Memories my #7 album of 2012. I sorta knew that they were going to be putting something out in 2014, I just didn't know that they released something this week.   When I went to the record store on Tuesday to pick up my copy of COPE by Manchester Orchestra, I actually saw this on a shelf and put it back when I realized it wasn't the black and white album cover I was looking for.

couldnada.jpg

It wasn't until later that day when I realized that the album I had in my hands was intact the new Cloud Nothings album.   I stopped into the shop earlier today to remedy that mistake.

I can't stress how much I dig this album.   Weighing in at 31 minutes with only 8 tracks, Here and Nowhere Else - makes an incredible impression and doesn't overstay its welcome.

Stand out tracks:

Artists: Cloud Nothings
Album: Here and Nowhere Else
Producer: John Congleton
Label: Carpark Records
Recorded: Water Music

Manchester Orchestra - Cope by Rollie Agado

Picked up my copy of Manchester Orchestra's latest offering "Cope" over lunch today.  I've listened to it about 3 times and I can safely say that it's a recommended buy for those of you who are familiar with this band or the band Bad Books.

I'm sorta struggling with whom to compare this band to...  there's a ground swell of indie acts right now and Manchester Orchestra are on the end that is releasing thoughtful and beautifully produced albums.

I read this morning that the album Cope was recorded in the city of Atlanta in a house that the band members used to live in at some point.  They sound proofed the place and made it a recording studio.  I don't know what it costs to do that in 2014...  I'm pretty sure it isn't as cost prohibitive as it once was, but what I'm trying to get at is that bands typically produce some really memorable material when they decide to hole themselves up in a unique space to record music.

There's a very specific sound and tone to this record...  If you don't care for the opening track "Top Notch" - you can pretty much turn your back on this record.   The album leans incredibly forward on whatever guitar fuzz pedal they've decided to leave on for the entire record.   It sorta reminds me of the sound that's on the Weezer GREEN album and Jimmy Eat Worlds - Bleed American.   Not the "fuzz" but there's a very specific tone to those records and they pretty much take their cue from the opening tracks.

I'm looking insanely forward to seeing them play live in Austin in 2 weeks...  

Stand out tracks:

Artists: Manchester Orchestra
Album: Cope
Producer: Dan Hannon, Manchester Orchestra
Label: Loma Vista Recordings, Favorite Gentlemen, Republic Records
Recorded: In a House In Atlanta