Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts

XOV

Dark pop from Stockholm, Sweden and described by MTV Buzzworthy as a “…superstar in the making, surrounded by dark, gloomy synthesizers … recalling a cross between Lorde, Robyn and The Weeknd.” XOV, the moniker of Damian Ardestani, makes his US debut with the track “Animal,” featured on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. Lorde, who got in touch with him via a Twitter direct message, curated it. He plans to release his debut EP in early 2015 under the Sony Music label.

X Suns

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 9.12.35 AMYou don’t have to be from Chicago to remember post-rock. Back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, a small population of Windy City indie bands simultaneously shared a love for the electric guitar distortion and delay pedal-tweaking of shoegazing – as well as the heady arrangements of prog (but they insisted on calling it math-rock instead of prog). The post-rock subgenre earned its name because these bands implemented the use of rock instrumentation (guitars, bass, drums) to create non-rocking textures and soundscapes. Many of these musicians felt that it was more important to have a durable winter jacket than a lead singer, hence the then popularity of parka-clad instrumental bands like Tortoise. X Suns aren’t from Chicago. They’re from Seattle. They specialize in putting the rock back in post-rock. In most cases, this might bring it back to just rock, save X Suns’ labyrinthine changes, gorgeously layered guitar textures and songs sans singers. They are also prone to jamming on jazzy outbursts and Hawkwind inspired space-rock freak-outs.
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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts

Smashing Satellites

Smashing Satellites are a Canadian electro-rock project featuring the former lead guitarist and vocalist Salvatore Costa of rock band My Darkest Days. They’ve recently introduced their debut single “Hounds,” the opening track of their first EP release, A-Side (SonicAluzion). Founded by Costa, who has been described as having one of the most powerful and unique vocal timbres in music, “Hounds” combines ‘80s style funky drums, synths and pure fun.

Barry Rothbart

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 8.02.54 PMBicoastal comedian Barry Rothbart is capping off a busy couple of years with his debut album, Streets of Fire. After being named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch in 2013,” he also appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street later that year. Rothbart made his late night television debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, followed by appearances on Conan, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Adam Devine’s House Party. On his release from ASpecialThing Records, Rothbart smoothly delivers the funny as he ponders the weird confidence of little kids, points out that all advice sounds exactly the same, wishes Liam Neeson was his dad and recounts his adventures in making a fool of himself at the Burger King drive-thru. His loose, improvisational crowd work is a rarity on any comedy album and establishes him as a unique new voice in the genre. Be sure to keep your ears open for the delightfully bizarre bonus track.
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Inside The Collection: Weekly Curator Picks

Artist Debuts 

Zella Day

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 9.20.06 AMZella Day is an up-and-coming indie pop artist based out of Los Angeles who has been described as the “happier version of Lana Del Rey.” She came to attention in 2011 with her haunting, stripped-back cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” which lead her to playing six shows at SXSW this year. With influences ranging from Mason Jennings, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, old western films and her Arizona mountain town upbringing; her eponymous debut EP showcases just that – with the addition of drum machines and electronics.

Didrick

At only 18-years-old Swedish-born Didrick is a triple threat: DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He’s done official remixes for Cazzette and Avicii & Nicky Romero, but he is also well known for remixing 78 tracks released by Monstercat Records into a single song, performed live. The track features a string quartet, swingin’ horns and a guitar solo even Slash would love. He’s definitely not your average electro house banger. If you breathe, sleep and eat EDM; Didrick should be your next course.

The Aquadolls

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 9.21.45 AMSelf-proclaimed “perma-teenage mermaids,” buzzing two girl, two guy Orange County band The Aquadolls are currently a hot item in the Burger Records scene. They combine highly energetic garage pop melodies with sixties surf-guitar riffs in the vein of Shannon & The Clams, Best Coast and Black Lips. Wade into tracks like “Wander” and “We Are Free” off their upcoming album Stoked On You and get stoked for sunny Southern Californian sounds this winter.
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Inside Song: The Balancing Act of Rhymes

filteredsongwritingAs I’m sure you’re aware, most song lyrics have rhyming words at the end of each line. It’s so pervasive in Western popular music that you might struggle to think of a song without rhyming lyrics. Rhymes provide a linguistic resolution, or a kind of verbal downbeat. They feel solid and grounding and can almost magically add weight to the meaning of the lyrics if done right.

In most cases, maybe even in an ideal situation, song rhymes are nearly transparent; they provide the pleasant feeling of a balanced, solved syntactical equation and supply extra heft and authority to the meaning without drawing much attention to themselves.

When rhymes stand out, you want them to do so for the right reasons. First and foremost, it’s an impressive feat to say something truly meaningful in rhyme, given the limited options we’ve got in the English language, the finite number of words that rhyme.

If you can go beyond that by using a familiar rhyme in a novel way or finding a new, unique rhyme, and still be able to serve the lyrical meaning, then it’s a virtuosic act.
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