Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now

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Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: Michael James Murray, founder of The Calcutta Blog.

 

The Morning Benders – Big Echo

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These California natives have been around for a little while but are just starting to get the recognition they deserve. The turning point came when Pitchfork posted a video for their song "Excuses," which pictured a tiny studio crammed with twenty-some people collectively singing and playing to the track. Big Echo reflects Grizzly Bear (Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear produced) and Department of Eagles, with swooning vocal harmonies and reverberated guitar tones.

Tracks: "Excuses," "Promises," "Mason Jar."

 

The House Floor – Warship

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The House Floor is an up-and-coming Brooklyn-based four-piece with one of the more interesting and complex songwriting styles I've heard in a while. From Blacksburg, Virginia, where all but one member attended Virginia Tech, the band makes music that's unique both lyrically and instrumentally, with each member contributing insight and intricacy. Alex Tschan's lyrics explore the daunting complexities of human nature, from the banalities of everyday to the uncertainties of the future.

Tracks: "Christian Friends," "All Aboard," "Play Doctor."

Listen on their website.

 

Local Natives – Gorilla Manor

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Local Natives are a tight band with an ear for heavy rhythms and catchy lead lines that get you humming the hook as soon as you hear it. I had a chance to see them perform at SXSW in Austin this year, and they were definite contenders for best performance of the whole festival. They're one of the best live shows to see in 2010. As they tour in support of Gorilla Manor, check out the album, then do yourself a favor and and get out to one of their shows!

Tracks: "Camera Talk," "Shape Shifter," "Sun Hands."

 

St. Vincent – Actor

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St. Vincent frontwoman Annie Clark is a charming personality and a dark songwriter with an affinity for long melody and pulsing beats. Her vocals evoke a dream-like daze, but her sharp guitar rhythms wake you back up. Song to song, Actor ranges pretty extensively in style, but it comes together nicely as a whole. I saw Annie and her band this past winter in the sanctuary of an old Unitarian church, and the show immediately made my all-time top five.

Tracks: "The Strangers," "The Party," "Just The Same But Brand New."

 

Broken Bells – Broken Bells

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Shins frontman James Mercer and super-producer Brian Burton (a.k.a. Danger Mouse, of Gnarls Barkley, Black Keys, Beck) are at the top of the game with this release. Burton's drumming mixes perfectly with Mercer's quick guitar and soothing vocals. Initially, you might be skeptical about how well Burton could fit a voice like Mercer's, but as both a producer and musician in this duo, he continues to impress with his ear for rhythm and songwriting.

Tracks: "The High Road," "Sailing to Nowhere," and "October."

FIVE ALBUMS TO LOOK FORWARD TO: Tokyo Police Club – Champ, Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record, The Black Keys – Brothers, Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame, Ra Ra Riot – TBA

FIND MORE
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Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now: Linda Park of SXSW
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Commentarium (32 Comments)

Apr 14 10 - 5:00am
Umm

That's strange... I typed in nerve.com but somehow ended up on the Pitchfork Media reviews page. Hmm... must be a mistake, I'll try again...

Apr 14 10 - 9:24am
@Umm

Actually, you typed in Nerve.com, then clicked on the link for an article clearly containing music reviews, and then you were for some reason surprised to find some music reviews! Just thought I'd clear that up for you.

Apr 14 10 - 9:44am
TwL

Dig it...completely. I need to get St. Vincent.

Apr 14 10 - 10:03am
Dave

God, the music selections in this feature are so god damn boring. It's all music to cross your arms and nod your head to. Play some fucking foghat.

Apr 14 10 - 10:19am
TwL

I always look forward to this feature because people get more heated than a conversation about abortion. Bring it! Can't anyone respect a man's taste these days?

Apr 14 10 - 10:48am
Goliath

I just noticed none o these bands rock. I don't mean like rock critics definition of rock, that is, to sound like a toned down version of Al Green with an electronic beat. I mean rock. Like Foghat.

Apr 14 10 - 1:07pm
Craigs

Foghat 4 ever

Apr 14 10 - 1:48pm
JW

When I hear the phrase "titans of the mediasphere", I think, CNN, Rolling Stone, and hell....even Perez Hilton! What the deuce is The Calcutta Blog and who the hell is this guy with EXACT SAME TASTE IN MUSIC AS EVERY OTHER REVIEWER ON HERE! I don't have a problem with the dude's taste in music, that's his deal and I can respect that. But Nerve - c'mon! Step it up and pick a reviewer you know has some freakin diversity!

Apr 14 10 - 3:01pm
md

Foghat... fuck yeah.

Apr 14 10 - 4:38pm
CB

ARGHH! MY MUSIC TASTE IS SO ECLECTIC. HOW BORING FOR A REVIEWER TO NAME SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN LIKED BY OTHERS BEFORE. HOW DARE HE! *INSERT UNKNOWN AND IRRELEVANT BAND HERE.

Apr 14 10 - 5:47pm
TwL

Good God! It's a giant conspiracy to indoctrinate Nerve readers into a taste for indie! Quick! Everyone take cover and loop the most accessible Right Said Fred album!

Apr 14 10 - 7:41pm
joe

broken bells. fuck yeah.

Apr 14 10 - 7:53pm
Umm

Wowww... sorry I poked a joke at your precious indie music. I thought hipsters weren't supposed to care about anything. My mistake. :|

Apr 14 10 - 9:30pm
battleangel

more douche-y hipster music. Hipsters are not cool or special

Apr 14 10 - 11:41pm
RWL

I saw St. Vincent in concert and she ruled. There is nothing better than a beautiful woman wailing on a guitar.

Apr 15 10 - 12:02am
908

all yalls music taste sux. newjerze4life.

Apr 15 10 - 9:01am
Slow Ride

Where da Foghat at?

Apr 15 10 - 11:52am
Fuckin' Foghat

Needs more Foghat.

Apr 15 10 - 3:02pm
Abby

I actually like his picks - Morning Benders are great!

Apr 15 10 - 4:04pm
Tuvya

I checked out the House Floor and they do rock and don't seem like hipsters. Maybe you should actually listen to the music and not just bash everyone before you even listen.

Apr 15 10 - 5:55pm
Hat of Fog

These bands are all just fools from the city. Play some real music!

Apr 15 10 - 6:19pm
ar

st vincent rocks so hard, actually. morning benders are great as are local natives. my big problem with the list is it is a bit dated. actor came out early last year i think. cater to my need for new stuff!

Apr 16 10 - 1:40am
richardpryor

st. vincent was obviously a throw back choice of the bunch. an oldie but a goodie as they say. these choices were also all first wave of 2010, true, but they still hold it down. i think the second wave is coming now, with foghat leading the way.

Apr 16 10 - 6:03pm
The Dude

I checked out all of these - Local Natives are pretty damn good.

Apr 17 10 - 1:37pm
buddy bill

the house floor has an interesting sound going for them!

Apr 18 10 - 1:21am
yeah

everyone just complains about the list but no one really gives any solid suggestions or strong opinions of their own about what music we should actually be listening to right now.

Apr 18 10 - 3:03pm
re: yeah

yes, thank you. nothing wrong with disliking the list but at least offer some backing explanation or other suggestions.

Apr 18 10 - 8:34pm
locifer

What's wrong with chilling out sometimes? Punk rock is nice on Saturday night but Broken Bells is perfect rainy, stoney, Sunday music.

Apr 18 10 - 11:32pm
Ricochet

Foghat?? Really??? They rock like grandmaz. Try Pat Travers, early Pretenders(porcelain-killz as rock) or if you want to go back to the foghat era, try the James Gang. Foghat. Lame.

Apr 19 10 - 1:07am
re: ricochet

james gang and pretenders - great choices. foghat is quite shit. funk #49 all the way.

Apr 20 10 - 3:00am
Intermixer

Entire load of shit.. all of it!

Apr 27 10 - 7:17pm
foghat

Ok, maybe not the most eclectic mix... Maybe foghat does rock... maybe if you're the type of person to pass strong, yet vague, judgement upon a skim of a listen to a band you've already determined to be full of "hipsters" then you might be a version of one yourself. Making shallow judgements void of your own experience and pretentiously gloating your opinion in an imposing manner.... Sound familiar? btw, the house floor's album is for free at their website. Foghat tries to sell wine from their myspace page.