OUTSIDE THE HEARD - JULY 2011

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The Black Rabbits
Hypno Switch
Rock Ridge
 
The Black Rabbits formed on a hot winters night in Orlando by brothers Jetson & Skyler Black. Little did they know at the time that what they were creating would take on the essence of that warm winter night. "Our music is a bit of an oxymoron," says lead vocalist Jetson. "It's loud yet soft, edgy yet pure, it has retro elements and modern ones, it's both serious and playful at the same time." Consisting of the two brothers along with bassist Yuki Tong and organist Kim Drake The Black Rabbits mix classic and alternative indie rock with a sound that embraces The Who, The Pixies, The White Stripes, and The Doors. And, like those bands, Hypno Switch is anthemic, sexy, stripped to its barest essentials and maybe just a little weird (and / or drunk). This is slinky, danceable fun.
 
The Japanese Popstars
Controlling Your Allegiance
Astralwerks
 
The Japanese Popstars actually hail from Northern Ireland, where they have fast become a proud fixture of the UK's vibrant nu-electro scene, earning praise from legendary British dance authority MixMag who called them "The most exciting new electronic act on the planet". The band (Gary Curran, Declan 'Decky Headrock' McLaughlin and Gareth Donoghue) plays an alternatively aggressive and ethereal, darkly humorous, highly addictive brand of dance music that recalls the “electronica” heyday of The Chemical Brothers, Underworld and The Prodigy, while keeping step with contemporaries like Justice, Digitalism and Crystal Castles. "Controlling Your Allegiance", their sophomore album, features a stellar cast of guest vocalists including Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion), Robert Smith (The Cure), Tom Smith (The Editors), Lisa Hangman, Morgan Kibby (M83) and more. Get in on the get down.
Attack Attack UK
The Latest Fashion
Rock Ridge

 
ATTACK! ATTACK! is the latest act from the UK blowing away audiences with their anthemic rock sound. formed in 2007 and comprising of various members of disbanding groups, ATTACK! ATTACK! wasted no time hitting the road and turning heads with their brand of anthemic rock. 2010 saw the release of the bands second album Latest Fashion to rave reviews from both industry and fans alike being hailed as the British flag bearers for post-hardcore movement… And now its finally available for U.S. rockers to enjoy – presuming, of course, you haven't purchased it illegally.
 
   
 
 
The best and brightest in the acoustic world move the music forward with an awareness of what came before them; that is certainly true of Sarah Jarosz. On Follow Me Down, she pays homage to her musical roots while pushing beyond those (sometimes) limited boundaries, taking us on a journey both dark and mystical. For this, Jarosz has a simple yet telling explanation: "I'm influenced by the older, and the contemporary, and the new." Her approach to acoustic music is invigorating; she gives equal attention to playing, singing, and writing, choosing songs that embrace both old timey and modern sounds. "What's most important," she emphasizes, "is just trying to stay true to myself as an artist and be as original as I can." On Follow Me Down she has done exactly that. Guests include Bela Fleck and The Punch Brothers (who contribute to an excellent cover of Radiohead's "The Tourist.").

Sarah Jarosz -
Follow Me Down

Sugar Hill
W H O K I L L is the sophomore album by Merrill Garbus' tUnE-yArDs. Transplanting herself from Montreal to sunny Oakland, California, while touring almost non-stop for over two years, Merrill has stripped tUnE-yArDs away to a more precise, concentrated and vivid sound. W H O K I L L retains the honesty of the lonely bedroom confessional characteristic of her early work, but with the addition of the fangs, claws and dented metal of its new surroundings. As before, tUnE-yArDs grounds its sound in tangible, instantly gratifying techniques. Neither digital magic trickery nor auto-tuned dazzle need be applied; tUnE-yArDs' music is made by human hands and possessed of a distinctly human touch. This is music created piecemeal, smashed apart wholly, then reassembled tenderly, gaining complexity as the layers stack up. Applying the tUnE-yArDs live approach to her studio work for the first time in W H O K I L L, her tools have not changed. Rather, she's added more buttons and joints to those already being used - one essential new joint is dexterous bass member Nate Brenner, who co-wrote a few songs. The opportunities exploited are evident in W H O K I L L's dynamic range, as it matches Garbus' creative strides. You need this.

tUnE-yArDs -
W H O K I L L

4AD
Kurt Vile has a way of tying time in knots. You can hear it on his new album Smoke Ring For My Halo from the get-go – the pinwheeling guitars and reaching atmospheres of "Baby's Arms" are as strange as they are familiar: A demonstration of how Kurt can put worn methods and sounds through himself and end up with something that isn't emotionally or sonically obvious. Instead we're left with a record that contains traces of the past but doesn't waste precious time in the now being reverent. This is the fourth time Kurt Vile has put an album's worth of songs together and stuck a name on it, but in a sense Smoke Ring For My Halo is his first real album. It seems weird saying this given the amount of ground he's covered already, but Smoke Ring For My Halo is the perfect way into the music Kurt Vile makes. It's tender and evocative, elusive but companionable, tough in the gut and the arm but swollen in the chest and giddy in the head. It's a record that is perfect for any given day during whatever season, to satisfy all moods in every possible scenario – be that first thing in the morning or last thing at night; today, tomorrow or five years from now.

Kurt Vile -
Smoke Ring For My Halo

Matador
moremusic

The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) is a group of some of the best independent music stores in America. CIMS was founded in 1995; its current membership is made up of 29 accounts that handle 47 stores in 21 states. Many of the accounts have been recognized by the music industry and their local communities for their outstanding dedication to customer service and developing artist support.

Each member is bound by its shared love of music, a reputation for great selection and customer service in its community, yet each CIMS account is as unique as the market it represents. Most importantly, CIMS member stores continually seek to challenge the jaded, color-by-numbers advertising and marketing of other retailers.

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