Tracking

"Get By" - Diane Coffee

"Get By" - Diane Coffee

Sounds Like:

Elton John meets the E Street Band

Why You Should Care:

Aside from being a very charismatic lead singer, Shaun Fleming has an ear for retro-pop earworms. Fleming, now two albums removed from his days as the drummer for Foxygen, still carries the retro flag high. The uplifting saxophones, saloon-like piano lines, and 60s-pop vocals that permeate this song were originally slated for Diane Coffee’s third full-length album. But at some point, “the concept and direction of the album changed” according to Fleming in a press release. “I was suddenly left with several tracks that I loved but no longer fit the project."

Given the musical connections between his previous album and Peel, his latest two-track EP, it signals that while we can and should enjoy Diane Coffee’s musical niche that he has carved, one that channels the best of Bowie and Elton John, we should also be getting ready for what’s next. For now, though, you can enjoy Diane Coffee and Fleming’s captivating on-stage antics at DC9 on Tuesday, November 7. Peel is out now through Polyvinyl Records.


"Come Tumblin' Down" - Colin Hay

"Come Tumblin' Down" - Colin Hay

For a few years in the early 1980s, Colin Hay and his band Men At Work ruled the pop music charts, with a string of hits that brought the "land down under" to the imagination of the world. The band unfortunately fell apart during the recording and release of their third album Two Hearts in 1985 and it was never promoted properly, which lead to its commercial failure. The most popular songs still remain at the heart of numerous 80s playlists, but what all but the most dedicated fans may not even realize is that Hay began a solo career almost immediately after the band split with the release of his record Looking For Jack in 1987, and has continued on non-stop since.


"Solar Pilgrim" - Twain

"Solar Pilgrim" - Twain

Sounds Like:

A indie-folk tune for lonely folk

Why You Should Care:

Twain is the solo project of Spirit Family Reunion and The Low Anthem guitarist Matt Davidson. With a move from NYC to Richmond, VA, Davidson has taken a DIY approach to his solo releases, putting music out on Bandcamp. Now on Austin label Keeled Scales, Twain is set to release his album Rare Feeling on October 20.


"Aquarian" - Seneca B

"Aquarian" - Seneca B

Sounds Like:

A lofi hip-hop waterfall

Why You Should Care:

Hailing from Boston, MA, Seneca B is creating instrumentals that you should add to your hiking/travelling/otherwise wandering soundtrack. MF DOOM take notice...Seneca B is making the soundtrack to your next album.

With flowers adorning the cover art, “Aquarian” sounds smooth and silky with its melodic guitar and soul-singing sample. If Continuum-era John Mayer were to record music for a New York rap cypher, that would be this track. A perfect beat to deliver a mindful freestyle to, Seneca B shows that her calm and collected style flows with fluidity over an 808. Releasing Soundcloud and Bandcamp singles over the past few months, “Aquarian” is Seneca B’s most recent drop, so hopefully she is preparing for something big.

In the meantime, add “Aquarian” to whatever playlist you listen to when you’re staring at the stars on a summer night.


"in a library, in the summer (when I read I fall asleep)" - Faunaphor

"in a library, in the summer (when I read I fall asleep)" - Faunaphor

Sounds Like:

A markedly more serene Louis Weeks and Noah Berman

Why You Should Care:

DC-based keyboardist Louis Weeks and guitarist Noah Berman have been creating music side by side for a few years now, but today, they are debuting music under a new moniker – Faunaphor. The vintage synths and sparse percussion paired with dissonant piano chords making their presence at any given moment makes this a slight departure from the pair’s previous work, but Weeks’s vocals are as calm and assured as ever here. Faunaphor’s debut album And There I Was is due later this year.


"Big Fish" - Vince Staples

"Big Fish" - Vince Staples

Sounds Like:

If Calvin Harris met Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in the early ‘90s.

Why You Should Care:

Vince Staples’ new album Big Fish Theory is here and his latest single “Big Fish,” is a somewhat-pop-take on the tribulations of growing up in Long Beach, CA. In true Vince fashion, the song plays on the themes of water and fish through its video and lyrics:

“Swimming upstream while I'm tryna keep my bread
From the sharks make me wanna put the hammer to my head.”


"Playground Love" - Air

"Playground Love" - Air

Sounds Like:

Loungy European electronica with a retro vibe.

Why You Should Care:

French duo Air celebrates two decades of laid-back electronica this year with the release of the aptly-named Twentyyears, a three-disc compilation of tracks spanning from across their career.  Here in the US, many listeners first became aware of the band with their soundtrack for the movie The Virgin Suicides, released in 2000.  "Playground Love," which features Gordon Tracks (the pseudonym of Phoenix singer Thomas Mars) guesting on vocals, opened the album and served as its musical centerpiece.

The band last toured the US in 2010 for their album Love 2, but they're set to make their return this weekend at Governor's Ball in NYC, followed by a brief run of dates.  They'll be in the DC area on Tuesday, June 6th at the Strathmore in Bethesda, for which tickets are still available.


"Only Us" - Paperwhite

"Only Us" - Paperwhite

Sounds like:

Great Good Fine Ok, Savoir Adore, the synth-pop song of the summer

Why you should care:

Paperwhite, the brother-and-sister duo of Ben & Katie Marshall, are two of the most reliably productive musicians in the synth-pop world. They have been putting out new songs on a monthly basis lately, and that streak continues with their latest single, “Only Us”.


“Say My Name” - Tove Styrke

“Say My Name” - Tove Styrke

Sounds like:

A song sauntering along in the summer sun

Why you should care:

Tove Styrke’s album Kiddo was widely regarded as one of the better pop albums of 2015. Full of radio-ready pop hooks that still allowed her to carve her own niche in the music landscape, songs like “Borderline” and “Ego” found sizeable audiences around the world, especially in her native Sweden.


"Summatime" - Goldlink

"Summatime" - Goldlink

Sounds like:

What would happen if DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince turned the edge up a few notches on their “Summertime”

Why you should care:

Two of D.C. rap’s brightest stars—the promising Goldlink and the stalwart Wale—link up on this West Coast-tinged beat on At What Cost, Goldlink’s debut album. On an album with a few great cuts, “Summatime” is a clear standout.


"Everything Goes" - Poolside

"Everything Goes" - Poolside

Sounds like:

The end to a perfect day spent with all your friends, complete with dancing, laughing and a glorious sunset

Why you should care:

With their 2012 debut “Pacific Standard Time”, Poolside made ‘‘daytime disco’’ - something that can best be described as music you can jam out to on a sunny day - a thing, . Artists like Goldroom and Viceroy have carried the genre forward into 2017, but the time is right for Poolside to take back the mantle and expand on it in a big way.


"Shelter" - darkDARK 

"Shelter" - darkDARK 

Sounds like:

Something straight out of the Upside Down

Why you should care:

Because you’re still a bit obsessed with the 80s, admit it

Production duo darkDARK is set to make their debut with the EP Heathered, which they’re releasing independently on February 24. But to tide us over, the group has released “Shelter”, a song that comes from the dark electronic depths that also brought us musicians like S U R V I V E and Zola Jesus.


“Empty Room (feat. Yuna)” - Big Wild

“Empty Room (feat. Yuna)” - Big Wild

Sounds Like:

ODESZA on the beach; an electronic dance jam you don’t feel guilty listening to.

Why you should care:

Jackson Stell, producer and DJ behind the groovy, electronic dance project Big Wild, dropped the second single off his upcoming EP Invincible yesterday and it promises to make waves.


"Blackened Cities" - Mélanie De Biasio

"Blackened Cities" - Mélanie De Biasio

Sounds Like

The undercurrent of dread that permeates your every waking moment; late period Talk Talk; a jazz-ambient cover of the “It Follows” soundtrack.

Why You Should Care

At this point in 2017, do you have much choice? The answer, of course, is no, because free will is an illusion, joy is but a fleeting gif, and the only way out of the pain is through it. Which is why Mélanie De Biasio’s Blackened Cities, released last May, is such a revelation.


"Aphasia" (Live) - Pinegrove

"Aphasia" (Live) - Pinegrove

Sounds Like

Acoustic seeds of revolution; alternative rock under the guise of folk.

Why You Should Care

This socially conscious New Jersey band released their sophomore studio album Cardinal in June 2016, and the polite, energetic alternative rock was quickly ranked one of the best albums of the year by Pitchfork, NPR, and Stereogum.


Best Albums Of 2016

Best Albums Of 2016

2016 will go down in history as the year that we lost an inordinate amount our friends and maybe even lost ourselves, but through it all we had music. 

We've talked enough this year, so here's our Top 25 Album Of 2016 as determined by science. 

For the quick fix hit the list to the right. For a more in depth take, links to listen, and links to interviews with many of the artists, please enjoy the gallery below. 

We'll see you in 2017 everyone. We love you. 

- Kevin, Paul, Carrie, Patrick, Eduardo, Matt, Mauricio...and Gus. 


Best of 2016: Kevin's Take

Best of 2016: Kevin's Take

One of my favorite quotes of all time can be attributed to one Hunter S. Thompson:

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Fear and Loathing at the Superbowl, Rolling Stone #155

The simple wisdom of that rallying cry has driven myself and so many other creative people I know for as long as I can remember, but never so much as in 2016, because, let me tell ya: SHIT. GOT. WEIRD.

From the death of David Bowie right out of the gate right up to the potential death of our democracy and all of the outrageous pit-stops along the way, 2016 delivered chaos in a way that no other year has in my forty-four years of existence.

It also delivered music.

So much legitimately great music in fact that it's almost pointless to parse any of this into a list when all of it struck to the core of different parts of what makes us human, and did so in a way that we haven't seen before, and likely won't see again for years to come.

Would I trade any of this awesome for maybe a little less chaos? Not a chance. But man alive, do we have great GREAT music to chew on for the next few decades now.

So here you go. A little order to the chaos. It's ultimately as meaningless as anything else I suppose, but to me, these are the things that meant everything in 2016.