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It’s been a long time (long time), I shouldn’t have left you (left you), without a dope beat to step to. Freaky freaky! A’ight folks, these are reviews I’ve been meaning to do for a LONG freakin’ time. I mean it. Some of them I’ve been wanting to get out since March. Damn my laziness! I’ll be doing a super quick opinion piece of bands that are getting lots of attention like Passion Pit, Miike, Snow, Neon Indian, Bell Orchestre, the Prodigy, and a few others. Not that “mainstream” isn’t cool, well to hipsters it’s probably not ’cause it’s SO last year Vampire Weekend HYUK HYUK!, but I wanna cover artists that are less mainstream in the blogosphere like Zee Avi, Ebrahim, Flunk, Trickform, and a few others so that they get a bit more exposure…that’s what we’re all here for, right!?! But let’s hope it’s not too much at once so that we can avoid a Wavves disaster. More after the jump!

Zee Avi, Not A Bitter Heart

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Zee AviZee Avi (2009): As I’ve previously mentioned, Zee Avi is also known as Koko Kaina. She was born in Malaysia and recently got signed to Brushfire Records, which is partly owned by Jack Johnson and is home to artists such as Rogue Wave and Matt Costa. I saw her “Bitter Heart” video and immediately checked her out and got her album a week later. She has one of those unique voices that you can never forget, a voice that is soothing and comes straight from the soul. She sings high, she sings low, and she makes your heart melt when she falters just a bit, as if she wants you to catch her in her moment of vulnerability. Her self titled album is simply amazing and one of the years best so far. If you like Jack Johnson but with a bit of jazz ukele soul then this is for you. If you’re a fan of talented female vocalists with the folky saccharine flare of Jenn Grant, Julie Doiron, Sarah Slean, or Regina Spektor, you will fall in love. If you like none of these artists, this is STILL for you. Zee Avi offers not necessarily a versatility in her album as it doesn’t stray far from those folk pop songs that we’re all secretly in love with, but a flavor that is unforgettably satiatating. She swings from upbeat love songs like “Bitter Heart”,  “Monte”, “Kantoi”, and “Poppy”, to cutesy folk rhythms, tellings tales of heart break and love in songs like “Just You and Me” and my personal favorite, “First of the Gang to Die”.

A++++++++++++++++++++ (♥)

MP3: Zee Avi – Honey Bee

MP3: Zee Avi – First Of The Gang To Die

Buy her album here!



TrickformTrickform (2009): He goes by the name of Martin Enke and was born in Dresden, Germany but now lives in Leipzig. Yet another German DJ that I’ve fallen in love with! His recently released self titled album that is filled with ambient techno that is reminiscent of Telefon Tel Aviv except with more experimental gadgetry. The entire album runs smooth like water and it’s finished before you realise that 40 minutes have gone by.


MP3: Trickform – Grain Plek

MP3: Trickform – After All

He is self-releasing his album and each comes with a handmade sewn clothe! Awww how nice! Go to his myspace for the purchase!



FlunkThis Is What You Get (2009): Flunk consists of four band members. Ulf Nygaard does some of the vocals and founded Flunk back in 2000. Jo Baake and Erik Rudd take care of percussion, guitar, bass and more. And finally the last member, Anja Vister, is responsible for the vocals of this album, and carries the quintessence of Björk vocals. A voice you cannot help but give all your attention to. A voice that is light and airy, full of synth like approximations but Anja never lets you forget that she is human as her heart shines through her lyrics. With gems like “Common Sense”, “Cigarette Burns”, and her Radiohead cover of “Karma Police”, This Is What You Get is full of pop goodness. Even better is that this album has such a wide range. Not only dipping into the pop genre but experimental as well with songs like “Dying to See You” and “Shoreline”. The entire album encompasses ambient, chill, trip-hop, dubstep, and electronic. Overall, it’s such a fantastic listen and definitely one of my favorites for this year.


MP3: Flunk – Dying to See You

MP3: Flunk – Cigarette Burns

Buy their album here.

E to the. B to the. R A H I M.


EbrahimGoldrush (2007): This is an album I’ve had for a few months now and it’s been repeating pretty consistently ever since I saw this video. He even sent me a signed postcard with the CD! Thanks Ebrahim, you’re great! This is one of the best R’n’B, soul, pop albums I’ve heard in a long long time. Like Mary J. Blige long time. I guess these three genres have kind of taken the back burner as hip-hop and electronic makes it’s rise with artists like Lil’ Wayne, Kanye, Asher Roth, Passion Pit, or MGMT taking a percentage of the spotlight for a while. Goldrush is filled with fantastic beats, hooks, funky rhythms and soulful lyrics. Torontonian Ebrahim sings about family, relationships, love, life, experience, you know, real life situations. He doesn’t have a crazy hiSTORY. Like he says himself, “I don’t have any sob stories of how my musical journey came to fruition or some long list of accolades to my name nor am I this multi-dynamic, ultra-diverse musician with 12 instruments perfected under my belt. To be honest there really isn’t a whole lot to me. I was always told things like “you got to have some story to create a demand.” People would even ask me sh*t like “what’s your niche?”. Story?! Niche?! What if I’m just some ordinary dude who happens to love music? What if I just want to bang some pots and pans together to create some music that I dig? Ya dig?”

I DO dig. He starts off the album with “E to the…” where he claims that what we’re about to “experience has not been influenced by corporations or suits. This work is pure, unfiltered musical goodness. If you’re prepared to take such a journey sit back”. Not once did he go back on his introduction. Songs like “Family Tree”, “I’m Free”, and “Be Alright” are so representative of exactly who Ebrahim is. Just a regular guy, grateful to be surrounded by the people who give him strength and weary of what big corps, suits, and institutions in life, and especially in the music industry, can affect ones life. He’s not disingenuous nor one of those try hards that sell their music and represent themselves as “pure and unfiltered”. He’s honest and he is it. Like it it. Not to mention, he has a voice that can make D’angelo fans open their ears and hearts in awe. AND AND, he is just so cute. Too cute. Watch out Ebrahim! I WILL hug you when I see you live! He’s sold 5000+ copies and got nominated for a Juno and you know what? It’s just the beginning.


MP3: Ebrahim – In the Water

MP3: Ebrahim – Be Alright

Buy his album here!

Who Doesn’t love Zach Condon?


BeirutRealpeople Holland (2009): With releases like Gulag Orkestar (2006), The Flying Club Cup (2007), and two EP releases this year, Realpeople Holland and Beirut March of the Zapotec, the name Beirut and the mastermind behind it, Zach Condon, has become one of the most beloved and blogged about artists in the past few years. Armed with a melancholic voice and tuba, Zach Condon has released consistently well orchestrated albums that are willed with the not oft heard tuba layered with Condon’s heart wrenching voice mercilessly singing words that never fail to make us question. I want to speak specifically about Realpeople Holland, an EP that takes a major turn in his inventiveness in song production. A new creativity I feel, that parallels Andrew Bird’s most recent album, Noble Beast. Beirut’s new EP is a bit more experimental, technological, and the added waves and synths are very complimentary to Condon’s voice (though I don’t think his voice would fail with ANY musical genre because it is just that wonderful). I am SO excited to see Beirut at Montréal’s Jazz Festival!!!


MP3: Beirut – My Wife, Lost In The Wild

Buy Beirut’s work here.

Bell Orchestre

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Bell OrchestreAs Seen Through Windows (2009): Apparently, this six piece Montéal band is ridiculously crazy live. They are also going to be at the Montréal Jazz Festival!!! Their most recent album is a great listen if you want something like Beirut but more orchestrated, crazy, and technical. It’s like the Junior Boys of string music. It’s pretty great.


MP3: Bell Orchestre – Bucephalus Bouncing Ball

MP3: Bell Orchestre – Icicles-Bicycles

Buy their music here!

Smack My @$%^# UP!

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The ProdigyInvaders Must Die (2009): Hoo hrrrrm haaah. The Prodigy aren’t what they used to be. I think we can all agree on this. And so, when their most recent album Invaders Must Die dropped a while back, most people weren’t surprised at the lack of awesome that Prodigy was back in the 90s. I didn’t have the nerve to listen to this album, just like how Chinese Democracy and Relapse remain unplayed. I can’t and don’t want to ruin the music that I know, that I understand, that I have put on repeat countless and countless of times. But I finally broke my scaredy cat ways and gave this album a try and just as I had thought. Not that great. The only good song is “Omen”, IMO, and it just so happens that that was their second single probably ’cause it’s the only one worth listening to. Regardless, they are on tour right now and remain one of the bands I have yet to cross off my endless list.


MP3: The Prodigy – Omen

Buy their work here!


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Passion PitManners (2009): This band blew up like peanut allergy, right in your face and all over the place. Like MGMT and Vampire Weekend, the amount og blogosphere attention–namely Pitchfork and Stereogum–gave this four member band the biggest jolts of their unintentional careers. The dude made their first EP (I think) as a mixtape for his girlfriend. Then it went around and around and what do you know!? They are signed, have a record deal, are now on tour, and are getting the praise as measured by the amount of remixes going around. Errrbody is going apeshit over their latest release Manners and to be honest, I think it’s half hype that’s clouding our judgment. Is it a great album? Sure. Does it deserve to be on the year end lists? Sure. But it’s nothing ridiculous, lets calm down people! I must admit, that Angelakos’ voice is infectiously catchy, with a demeanor that wills our feet to the dancefloor but, Manners is no Bromst, Begone Dull Care,or Behave Decently (wow they all started with B’s) in terms of electronic inventiveness, or even Oracular Spectacular, an album comparable in the indie electronic pop genre, in terms of consistency. I must also admit that “Sleepyhead”, the song and the video, is definitely one of the most fantastic songs of this year. BUT. Ah, the but. Is the entire album worth putting on repeat? Eh, I think not. I do wanna share some of my favorites though. Enjoy!


MP3: Passion Pit – To Kingdom Come

MP3: Passion Pit – Swimming In the Flood

Buy their work here!

There’s No I in Miike Snow

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Miike SnowMiike Snow (2009): This group is named after the controversial Japanese film director, Takashi Miike, who according to wiki, is notorious for depicting scenes of extreme violence and sexual perversions. It’s interesting that they name themselves after Miike because as far as I can tell, their music does not idealize the concepts that Miike does in his films. Miike Snow is part of Downtown Records. This alone, should already give you a conception of what to expect from this trio. Downtown Records is home to incredible artists such as Spank Rock, Amanda Blank, Santigold, Justice, Gnarls Barkley, and Asa (♥ ♥ ♥). Their self titled album which was just recently released is filled with poppy hooks and masterful vocals. Their hits like “Animal” and “Burial” got them in the blogosphere this year, and they are now being remixed by some pretty reputable people, including French producer DJ Mehdi! I know the grade seems a bit low with what I just said above, but like Manners, the songs just aren’t consistent enough to warrant full repeats. Some of the songs, like “Silvia” are just so amazing though, and that’s why it’s a B+. But since it is a summer album, my mind might change in a few months.


MP3: Miike Snow – Silvia

Buy their album here!

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