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.
You 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.
Comedian and actress Kim Coles has released her first comedy mixtape, #FiftyFunnyFine. The In Living Color and Living Single veteran mines laughs from her relationships with former costars, being recognized in a North Carolina Wal-Mart, her super-tough Brooklyn Girl Scout troop and meeting international hunk Idris Elba. Coles doesn’t shy away from addressing the joys and perils of aging as she lays out the “Seven Dwarves of Menopause,” the way the contents of women’s handbags change as they get older and surprising new uses for Bengay. Her upbeat delivery and savvy dissection of the entertainment industry make this debut from Comedy Dynamics worth a listen.
Not new actually, but new to Pandora, the 1997 sophomore release (and at the time, major label debut) from this Tennessee power-trio, kicks up a serious (and seriously kick ass) “crunch-pop” ruckus. It’s very reminiscent of that classic Twin/Tone Records sound (Soul Asylum, The Replacements, Poster Children) and channels the energy of sonic forebears Husker Du, as well as more recent practitioners of a sonically similar, super-charged indie rock (Superdrag comes to mind for sure). A gloriously rough around the edges collection of punky noise-pop, 30 Amp Fuse is equal parts ramshackle riffage, ragged, heartfelt vox, loose drumming, lots of amp buzz and hooks galore!
Cole Swindell – Down Home Sessions
Although a relative newcomer to the country music scene, singer-songwriter Cole Swindell has already made a name for himself earning a CMA Awards New Artist of the Year nomination. He also boasts the highest selling debut country album of 2014, Cole Swindell, along with radio hits “Chillin’ It” and “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight.” His latest five-song EP Down Home Sessions features new tracks that didn’t make it on to his first album – it’s been released to coincide with his Down Home Crew fan club tour.
ABBA – Live At Wembley
Notoriously picky about their performances, ABBA has never released a proper live album before. The so-called ABBA Live from 1986, heavily “touched up” in the studio, was released without band input after they had split. So it was with great excitement that fans received news of a full concert being released as part of the group’s 40th anniversary celebrations this year. And wow does it deliver! Live At Wembley is a complete show as originally performed by the band highlighting their fantastic musical prowess and covering everything from massive hits like “Dancing Queen” to epic deep cuts like “Eagle” and even the previously unreleased “I’m Still Alive.” Not to be missed!
TV On The Radio – Seeds
The sixth release from the Brooklyn five-piece indie rock band, the emotionally charged, celebratory Seeds was recorded after the early death of their bassist Gerald Smith. More experimental pop than indie rock, the first track “Quartz” features a sample recorded on guitarist David Sitek’s iPhone and, according to singer Tunde Adebimpe, heavily inspired by the album Tracks and Traces by Harmonia & Eno ‘76. They recently appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman, performing the album’s lead single “Happy Idiot.”
This station seeks to highlight the depth and artistry of Latin American songwriting in the 21st century. Stellar lyricism and musicianship, coupled with boundless creativity and vision, characterizes the body of work included herein. Intimate, revealing and endlessly engaging; artists like Carla Morrison, Jorge Drexler and Ximena Sarinana are creating a space for profound innovation within the genre.
Compiling some of the most iconic output from Cuba, Puerto Rico and New York like Perez Prado, Celia Cruz and Mongo Santamaria during a period when Afro-Caribbean rhythms and artists were changing the trajectory of popular music on a global scale. Spanning the late ’40s to the mid ’60s, these are the artists who cemented their place in the pantheon of Latin music, influencing countless torchbearers for decades to come.