Dum Dum Girls are releasing a new EP, End of Daze, this fall. The group’s last album, Only in Dreams, cleaned up their lo-fi garage rock, and “Lord Knows,” the first single from End of Daze, pushes the transformation even further.
“Lord Knows” is vastly different than early singles like “Jail La La” or “Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout.” Lead singer Dee Dee sounds like Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval or Beach House‘s Victoria Legrand on the slowed-down and dreamy track. While she used to rely on energy and speed to bolster her simple garage-pop songs, as her songs get more complex, the slower tempos work beautifully.
End of Daze is out September 25 via Sub Pop.
Portland duo the Helio Sequence are releasing their fifth album, Negotiations, this fall. Though the band is small in number, the album’s first single, “October,” sounds huge.
The two come together sounding like arena-filling indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie or My Morning Jacket, but those groups have at least double the manpower to create their big sounds. Both members multitask to bulk up the music. Guitarist Brandon Summers sings a bit like Ben Gibbard or Jim James (or maybe Band of Horses‘ Ben Bridwell), while Benjamin Weikel pulls double duty on keys and drums.
The band has gone a bit under the radar, but “October” is a great introduction if you haven’t been paying attention to the Helio Sequence yet.
Negotiations is out September 11 via Sub Pop.
Beach House released the vinyl version of “Lazuli,” their first single from Bloom, on Record Store Day. If you weren’t lucky enough to pick up the 7″, you can stream the single’s b-side, “Equal Mind,” below.
Bloom is out May 15 on Sub Pop.
Beach House has a formula, and the Baltimore-based band isn’t doing anything to wander from it. Released yesterday as the second single from Bloom, “Lazuli” fits the mold.
The ingredients of a Beach House song:
- A dash of solo drum loops
- A layer of dreamy synths
- A few breathy “huh, huh, huh’s”
- Four minutes of Victoria Legrand’s smoky vocals
- 32 bars of slide guitar
- A gentle fade
Begin with a simple loop, either drums or a melodic pattern, and add it in increments of four bars. Once the meter and the mood are set, spread on the synths, toning down any percussiveness the loop had set. Blend in some vocals, not too high in the mix, but enough to add another layer to the song. This is the base. Gently fold in a lyrical melody and more guitar. Make sure neither flavor is emphasized too much. When you are content with the sound, begin to fade out. You may begin to fade as early as two minutes before the song ends.
“Lazuli” doesn’t stray far from this recipe. The beginning loop sounds like an ’80s video game and kind of vulnerable and transparent. Once drums and keyboards get involved, it fits right in.
Although a Beach House track might be predictable, the band has no reason to change their format. With three acclaimed studio albums under their belt, and another highly anticipated one on its way, why should they? Something must be working.
So would you mind passing another Beach House track this way, please?
Sub Pop will release “Lazuli” on 7″ blue vinyl on Record Store Day, April 21, and Bloom comes out May 15.
Emilee Lindner blogs at Summer in the City.
Jaill is getting ready to release their third album, Traps, on Sub Pop this June. The album’s first single, “Waste a Lot of Things,” is is a cheery surf-pop number that fits right in with the band’s summery catalog.
Take a listen to “Waste a Lot of Things” on Sub Pop.
15. The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart
Seattle’s The Head and the Heart self-released their debut album last year. It gained the attention of Sub Pop Records, who re-released The Head and the Heart this year.
Before you question the album’s placement on this list, the Sub Pop release was completely remastered and features a re-recorded version of “Sounds like Hallelujah” and the addition of “Rivers and Roads.” These aren’t bonus tracks, tacked on to the end, they’re integral to the album. The album was also released for the first time on vinyl this year.
The folk-rock band has gone from selling CD-Rs at open mic nights to opening for The Decemberists and My Morning Jacket on the strength of this album. “Lost in My Mind” and “Down in the Valley” are two of the album’s many near-perfect songs.
The release date is irrelevant. The Head and the Heart is one of the year’s best.