With Winter firmly in the rear-view and the weather thawing out, it’s the time of the year where all of the summer jams come out to play and Steve Sobs‘ “Ugh” is a surefire contender. The Brooklyn based bedroom pop of Eric Littmann finds the pitch perfect balance between breezy springy melodies and the unmistakable forward plod of any halfway decent pop song. “Ugh” is a tune with relatively no sense of urgency; chill and casual in its delivery with a dose of nostalgia for good measure. That’s not just due to Littmann’s memory combing lyrics but “Ugh” recalls in the faintest sense College’s “Real Hero” in theory more than in practice. There’s an instant feeling of timelessness virtually from the get go, as the subtle interplay between acoustic guitar and electronics offer up the bulk of the track’s dynamism. Littman’s vocals are notably understated, draining the emotive resonance out of a tale of old love. Where that might be a point of criticism in any other case, there’s never the feeling like they’re unintentionally lacking and Littmann allows the instrumentals to pick up the slack and deliver a heaping helping of the feels in spite of the distance the vocals suggest.
Steve Sobs’ upcoming full length Heavy Heart is out May 13th on Waaga Records.
During SXSW nothing matters more than finding the next great band, free drink, or comfy
chair curb to rest your feet for a few minutes. Yet, afterward it’s hard to remember much of anything that happened in the blur that was a week of music, TexMex, wristbands, sunburn, and margs. We had some video cameras at Floating Fest this year so you could relive your week of debauchery in full glory.
As you may remember, IGIF joined forces with Hype Machine to host the 8th annual Floating Fest at the Hype Hotel, presented by Taco Bell’s Feed The Beat. With their help, we’ve got live performances from Mutual Benefit, Sylvan Esso, Young & Sick, and Bipolar Sunshine for you to peep. We also had Chromeo and SOHN perform too but they were camera shy that night. You can check out even more videos from Hype Hotel right here.
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It’s the hallmark of the creatively foolhardy or the artistically brave to release an album hot on the heels of the one that proceeded it. Luckily, Brooklyn based pop darling Alexandra Stewart happens to be the latter and her upcoming I Grow EP, the follow up to last year’s WÀBÀ, might prove to be just as enchanting as the last. On “I Grow”, Stewart shines like never before. More stripped back than “Pow Wow”, Stewart remains the primary focus but rather than acting as the figurehead while the band swoops and whirls around her it’s far more enjoyable with Stewart former a larger part of the equation. A notably more somber affair than really any of the last EP’s tracks, “I Grow” isn’t without its fair share of action. As Stewart flexes her vocal chops, her band rise up to meet her in wonderfully arresting flourishes before Stewart and her band join forces for the inevitable sprint towards the finish line. But it’s a well earned trek, a carefully maintained ebb and flow that makes every second worth it while also defying all expectations. On “I Grow” Stewart’s stellar musicianship is displayed more impressively than ever before. Her vocals are stunning while dazzling with its simplicity.
It’s the mark of an exceptionally talented musician, much less an electronic based one, to be able to instantly transport you to far off places. San Fransciso’s Yalls happens to be such a musician as his latest single “DC” from the upcoming debut full length United demonstrates. “DC” is all fair weather chill, smooth and lush but not without a telltale gaze into its production – a breath of forward motion not only shakes “DC” free from its carefree luxuriation but through sending it barreling forward from it sun-soaked reverie exposes, for the better, the various nuts and bolts of Dan Casey’s operation. It’s not a jarring glance but one that clearly establishes Casey’s full control of what happens here – the illusion of an infinite lounge pop gem broken opens “DC” is a whole plethora of options as Casey isn’t afraid to tinker with the track’s building blocks, warping and bending his vocals as well as other previously occuring bits while also managing to maintain the track’s clean-cut cool.
Yalls’ first full length United is out May 6th on Gold Robot Records on clear vinyl and is available for pre-order here.
There’s a certain honor that comes from being a hand-selected show opener – while clearly demonstrating the headliner’s sense of taste, it also should serve to illustrate that the openers are serious business. Enter Palm. Opening for Buke & Gase‘s most recent show at BSP Kingston with Celestial Shore, the foursome were exactly the sort of band you’d expect the genre-dodging innovative duo to champion while still remaining very much a complete and absolute surprise.
Palm, for lack of a more apt description of what they do, play the sort of mathematical experimental rock that downright enchants. Their live set is the musical equivalent of watching a high wire act; never quite sure what to expect or when/if the foursome’s synchronized complexity will lead them to stagger and fall at any moment. That’s not to say you’re waiting for the quartet to fail – rather watching them weave intricate patterns in real time was downright mesmerizing and yet, the band never quite loses sight that there’s an audience to cater to. “No Tribute” from their three song Into the Bulk EP released late last year is perhaps the best example of what you can/should expect from Palm. There’s an accessibility deeply ingrained in it despite the band’s various spinning plates form of music making. It’s not always at the forefront but it does keep the band’s obvious musicianship from developing into an exclusionary geek out. Palm might not make music for everyone but at the very least they do provide a necessary window into their complexly layered tumult.