BlackBook Tracks #28: I Resolve To Come Up With Better Titles For These

Local Natives – “Heavy Feet”

After getting back in the game with “Breakers,” the LA band has released “Heavy Feet.” It’s an understatedly lovely cut from their forthcoming second album Hummingbird.

AlunaGeorge – “Diver”

In “people who are doing pop music their own way” news, AlunaGeorge are still on track to be this year’s darlings. “Diver” piles glitchy layers and crystalline vocals over a bass-heavy foundation.

Vampire Weekend – “Unbelievers”

The press cycle for Vampire Weekend’s third album is just beginning, so enjoy it before it turns into people getting angry about sweaters for no reason. Here’s the only song the band has publicly unveiled so far, hopefully with more to come soon.

Miles Kane – “Give Up”

British rocker Miles Kane knows how to pack a punch, and he nails it on the short and snarling “Give Up.” As a bonus, this song appears to center around the same basic principle as the classic 30 Rock episode “The Bubble.”

Free Energy – “Girls Want Rock”

It’s usually a bad idea to make assumptions about half of the earth’s population, but I’m pretty sure girls actually do want rock, so Philadelphia’s Free Energy are in the clear.

Total Warr – “Where Is My Mind”

For the forthcoming Loisy EP, this electro-pop duo has remade the Pixies classic with a French accent.

HAIM – “Don’t Save Me”

The LA band just won the BBC Sound of 2013 poll, so get ready to hear more of them if you haven’t already. Guitar pop’s new golden girls are set to make 2013 their year.

NZCA/Lines – “Airlock”

Electro/R&B crooner Michael Lovett opens this track with the line, “Baby, you look so cold.” I’m going to pretend he’s singing about me when I trudge down 14th Street wearing a neon green puffer coat and a displeased expression.

Peter Bjorn and John – “Eyes”

I’m going to keep reminding myself that there are places where it’s even colder, like Sweden.

Follow Katie Chow on Twitter

Lessons Learned From CMJ Music Marathon

Ah, the CMJ Music Marathon. Ahead of the circus of buzzbands, open bars, and impractical swag that took over NYC last week, I made a list of goals for myself that included things like “no puking,” “no crying,” and “no professions of love or hate.” (I like planning on having dramatic public meltdowns so that I Murphy’s Law my way out of them actually happening.) I’m proud to announce that I did not do any of these things, despite the stress induced by three different good bands playing at the same time in far-flung locations and having only consumed caffeinated beverages all day (#musicbloggerproblems). In between hating Pianos and mourning the closure of Brooklyn DIY venue Delinquency, I saw everything from Philadelphia rockers Free Energy to British YouTube comedians the Midnight Beast.

Five days spent away from being hunched over my laptop and interacting with the music industry in real life meant putting a microscope on what it is, exactly, that I do. I finally met a band that I’ve written about after seeing them for the fifth time in three months, and one of them said that he was aware of me “as an internet presence.” Several days later, I still have absolutely no idea of what this means, but if I’m memorable on the internet, that theoretically means I have some distinct viability as a blogger, right? For both of our sakes, let’s hope so.

In meeting so many new people, there’s also the pressure to qualify what you like and why you like it. I’ve taken to boiling my taste down to “French dance music and internet rappers,” though obviously I listen to music that goes beyond that. I’m trying to pin down why I’m so excited about Team Spirit when I thought my garage rock phase ended years ago; they have a higher production value and stronger pop sensibilities than some of their peers, and nothing can replace genuine good energy. That being said, it was also a pleasure to catch Gallic electro-poppers like Yan Wagner, Owlle, and Housse de Racket.

Other highlights included Citizens!, Avan Lava, We Were Evergreen, Conveyor, and the amount of grievously unhealthy food that I justified consuming. Gold Fields must be a very special band, because I stayed conscious for their 2:30 a.m. set on the last night of the festival. As much fun as CMJ is, it’s also pretty exhausting, so I’m going to keep working on recovering.

Anyways, here’s to the pursuit of vibes. Maybe you’ll catch me vomiting on Ludlow Street next year.

Miscellaneous other notes:

– Why did so many people ask me if I saw Skaters? (I wasn’t able to, though they were one of my picks for the week.)
– I also did not see Foxygen, one of the more hotly tipped acts of the festival. Based on their name, I’m going to keep assuming that they’re sort of glam rock and wear a lot of neon.
– Seeing Le1f at The Westway while it was packed with drunk bros was the second most uncomfortable I have ever been at a rap show.
– If someone figures out how I can join Icona Pop if I’m not Swedish and can’t sing, please let me know.
– Spotted so many dudes with great eyebrows. Keep up the good work, boys!

 

Follow Katie Chow on Twitter and Tumblr.

Free Energy Return With ‘Electric Fever’

Rock revivalists Free Energy are the best Badfinger tribute band since Badfinger, so it’s nice to hear they’re still skilled at their old tricks. New song "Electric Fever," off their upcoming sophomore release Love Sign, is a master class in power pop tropes: high-spirited harmonies, lyrics about dancing all night long to your favorite songs, jangly little guitar bits beneath that walloping riff, and plenty of cowbell. Listen to it after the click via the band’s SoundCloud.

Love Sign doesn’t have a release date yet, but this song is a nice welcome back. Produced by veteran John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., The Hold Steady), it’s sure to be full of all the indie rock we can handle.