Saturday, December 31

Tracks of the Year!

10. Glass Candy - Warm in the Winter
This song proves that all a great song needs is four great chords to hook you in. Taking you on a much needed vacation to (insert tropical local here), Glass Candy leaves you feeling hopeful, excited, and yes, a little warm, too. Layering synth tracks is nothing new to Anthony Jewel, but never has he so successfully created a feeling of serenity than has with Warm in the Winter. It's not trying to be uberly sexy like tracks on "Night Drive" and "Beat Box" were, its sound is fresh and wholesome. Beach Sounds can't wait to hear this whole album when it comes out in 2012.

9. The Antlers - No Widows
What? No ethereal or surf references? No dancey interludes? That's about all the negatives we could mentions about The Antlers dark album Burst Apart. This song, however cold and eerie, is too infectious to ignore. Peter Silbermans sweet, if haunting, voice leaves you with goosebumps and your finger on the repeat button.
The Antlers, No Widows (Daytrotter Session 11/23/11) by Danceyrselfcleaner

8. The Rapture - How Deep is Your Love?

After a hiatus that lasted a few years too long, it was reassuring to finally hear the first single off the Rapture's latest LP, and even more so, it was great to hear how fresh it sounded! In a time when the few remaining dance-punk acts around have taken more to punk than dance, it's great to hear "In the Grace of Your Love" loaded with danceable tracks. How Deep is Your Love? is a song like nothing they've done before, yet it's still characterized by everything their known for: blazing sax solos, free flowing bass rifts and Luke Jenner's distinctive Falsetto. In an album that's missing their x-bassist's irresistibly dancey bass rifts, How Deep is Your Love? proves that bands can come back from the dead, and apparently dance their way into heaven while doing so.

7. Beirut - East Harlem
Who doesn't love a good swoon? It's nice to take a moment out of the our busy city lives to feel foolishly in love. And when you need something to spark that heavy hopeless sigh, Zach Condon and the talented members of Beirut arrives to help. Off their recently released "The Rip Tide", Beirut's single East Harlem captivates listeners with a short story of a distant love, followed by long drawn trumpet blows that invokes at the very least a little sway in the body from any hopeless romantic.

6. The Decemberists - This Is Why We Fight
Let's all take a moment to remember the band's preceding album Hazards of Love.
Now that our recollection's brought on shudders of disappointment, we can all feel all the more appreciative of the solid work on "The King is Dead." We chose This is Why We Fight for a number of reasons. One is it's undeniably American folk influences that makes you feel like you've joined the ranks with muskets in hand to ward off the English Parliament. But Meloy's combination of strong lyrics and stronger strumming is what truly won us over. It was enough to make one us fans again.

5. Cold Cave - The Great Pan is Dead
If the four horsemen had an intro song, this would be it. Kicking you down before you even got up, Cold Cave intro their sophomore LP, "Cherish the Light Years", with one hell of a song. It's fast, it's epic, and it's just startling enough to make you play it again. Laying the foundation for one of Beach Sound's favorite albums this year, The Great Pan is Dead is just a piece of the story. The brilliance of this song isn't based on it trying too hard to create a new sound, it's based on Wesley Eisold's abilitiy to dig deep into his musical past and find inspiration in his previous hardcore bands. 
The Great Pan Is Dead by BitCandy

4. Lana Del Ray - Born to Die
Blending the soul of Hip Hop with the poise of a movie soundtrack, Lana Del Rey knows exactly how to create a truly satisfying sound. Born to Die has everything you could possibly want from a song: an ethereal string arrangement, a subtle yet sweet hip hop drum beat, and tender lyrics fronted by music's newest bad ass. Check it out.
3. Phantogram - Don't Move
A definite progression from their previous LP, the New York duo resurfaced with a Beach Sounds favorite. The track begins with an indistinguishable voice meshed with synth that's sure to satisfy anyone's electro-pop cravings. Sarah Barthel then enters with her almost whispering voice, though her lyrics are fare from timid. Take a listen below, and we dare you not to move.

dont move // phantogram by sexmusic

 2. Tune Yards - Bizness
This bay area native knows how important it is to stay connected with her community. Her first single Bizness was just a taste of how she tries to amplify how those around her feel. Kicking off the track with loop machine beats that she always records live (sup Beach House?), Merril Garbus commands listeners to pay attention with her loud and powerful vocals on the first verse. 

1. M83 - Midnight City
And just like wine, Anthony Gonzalez seems to only get better with time. Setting the bar to a new standard with Midnight City, the first single off "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming", Anthony left you feeling nostalgic for an unremembered past, he left you excited for what was going to play next, and most importantly, he left you dancing while doing so. Grabbing your attention with one hell of a synth loop, Midnight City proves that even the Track of the Year doesn't have to make sense (what is he saying again?). It's 1 part 90's rave and 2 parts 80's arena rock. Midnight City is fresh, compelling, engaging, and yes, it's a little epic, too. It'll get you through this year and send you off to the next. Enjoy.

Honorable Mentions:
Active Child- "Hanging On"
Britney Spears feat Nicki Minaj & Ke$ha- "Till The World Ends" Remix
Chad Valley- "Now That I'm Real"
Cut Copy- "Need You Now"
Destroyer- "Kaputt"
Drake feat Rihanna- "Take Care"
Fleet Foxes- "Helplessness Blues"
Fool's Gold- "Wild Window"
Fucked Up- "The Other Shoe"
The Horrors- "Still Life"
Kisses- "Kisses"
Lykke Li- "Get Some"
M83- "Steve McQueen"
Mountain Goats- "High Hawk Season"
Nicki Minaj- "Super Bass"
The Oh Sees- "The Dream"
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart- "Heart in Your Heartbreak"
St. Vincent- "Cruel"
The War On Drugs- "Baby Missles"
Wild Beasts:- "Bed of Nails"

Friday, December 30

Shows of the Year SF

Rx Bandits Farewell Show @ The Regency Ballroom

Farewell shows are tough. Of course everyone's psyched to be a part of the band's last hurrah before they call it quits, but the indefinite mood shift towards the final song is never easy to digest. That is, unless the band happens to be Long Beach shred savants Rx Bandits. Where is there room to feel sad when four strapping men tear away at their instruments to produce political ska gone alternative gone jam band with a touch of prog rock? Hecklers found time in between songs to say their goodbyes and the band got noticeably morose, but as Matthew Embree concluded, "What can you do except play on?"

Sleigh Bells/ Neon Indian @ The Independent
Starting the night off on a low key, Neon Indian dazed the crowd with their bedroom pop and left everyone just wanting to dance. Too bad since once Sleigh Bells took the floor they had remind everyone that this was a rock show.  Their set started with Black Sabbath and encapsulated everything from Treats, it's safe to say that there was a lot of head banging that night. Testing the amount of distortion that could possibly come out of 4 stacks of Marshall Amps, Derek Miller left everyone's ears buzzing for days.        

Cut Copy/ Holy Ghost @ The Regency Ballroom
Leave it to Cut Copy to turn a night that started out as a 9 into a 15 . Openers Holy Ghost proved that their sexy time new wave sound could not only iterate into an entertaining show, but also leave a crowd wanting me. Wanting to show that their sound isn't stuck in the '80s, they even pulled out their ole' trusty iPad to play a synth loop. Niftey!
But enough of the openers, when Cut Copy took the floor they were ready to command the stage. And command they did. With the help of a glowing door and the most satisfying version of "Saturday" I've ever heard, they made you dance like it was your first time.

Outside Lands
I've seen people try to work a loop machine. Merril Garbus worked the loop machine like she invented it. A still body was seldom found among the pools of swaying, jumping and interpretive dancing that ensued as Garbus called out with lyrics beckoning for togetherness and wanting to be a "gangsta."


In case readers weren't aware, the bloggers at Beach Sounds love Beirut. So we missed them the last time they were in the city (damn you work!). We were thankfully able to watch them at this year's Outside Lands, and were pleasantly delighted with their performance as well as song choices. From heart wrenching favorites like "Postcards From Italy" to surprising additions like "The Concubine" and the solo encore performance with "The Penalty," Condon and crew know how to keep their fans dreamily happy with warm vocals and harmonizing horns.

Erykah Badu
Wherever Erykah goes, her A game is sure to follow. This time it was closing the Sutro stage in Golden Gate park. Showing up more than 30 minutes late (thanks to Big Boi's catastrophe), Erykah played a set that proved just how talented and relevant she still is. Delving heavily into Baduizm, her 1997 debut, Erykah satisfied everyone's inner soul diva that night. But Misses "Afro Girl of the Digital World" was just half the story, it was her backing band, The Cannabinoids, that demanded to be heard. Their on key, neo-jazz, sucka-free sound definitely enabled more than a few smoke clouds that night.

Tuesday, August 9

The Mixtape

It's the middle of the week and here over at Beach Sounds we thought it was only fitting to give you all a new batch of songs to munch on till Friday. Enjoy.

Lana Del Rey - Video Game 
    Possibly playing as the understudy for the song at the funeral home, it's safe to say that this new track from Lana Del Rey is pretty creepy, but in a good way. It's haunting and minimal yet elegant and
catchy. Video Games will definitely remind you of Nancy Sinatra or Chan Marshal, but overall, it has a life of it's own. Give it a listen to.

 M83 - Midnight City
    Anthony Gonzalez is back and he allegedly brings two LP's worth of  of epic, post-rock tunes with him. Giving us just a glimpse of what LP 6 will sound like, Midnight City is a ferociously danceable track that satisfies all of the right cravings. With a title like Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, we're excited to see what Mr. M83 has in store for us. 

Midnight City by M83

Chad Valley - Now That I'm Real
    Chad Valley is man who seems to be doing all of the spring cleaning on chillwave. With nothing innovative or unique coming out of the genre since it's inception, this family friendly gives us another chance to Feel It All Around without feeling old or washed out.
Chad Valley - Now That I'm Real (How Does It Feel) by Posh Magazine

EMA - California
    It's hard to not want to hear every word EMA has to say on California. With a backing tract of

Saturday, August 6

While You Were Out, Part 1

A beloved friend of the Beach Sounds team left the city for Paris, and returned to all kinds of gossip and gab. Of course, much of the news delivered was music related so we've decided to dedicate this post to her (and others who might have trouble keeping up with music updates). We'll provide our top 10 headlines to prevent overwhelmed readers.

1. Beirut released their new album, The Rip Tide and can be found (legally) on iTunes. This was placed at headline number one for a reason.

2. A hearty "Arrrgh!" to the Treasure Island folks who released their lineup for October's TI Music Festival. Acts such as Death Cab, St. Vincent, Chromeo, and Explosions in the Sky have graced their schedule. Click HERE to see the full list. Jens Lekman was announced to perform TIMF's Nightlife show at the Academy of Sciences for only $12!

3. Feist has released the name, cover art, and tour dates for her new album, Metals. At long, long, long last. The album will available October fourth. Wine and a listening party anyone?

 4.Kings of Leon have regrettably announced they are cancelling their U.S. tour due to "vocal issues and exhaustion." We would all believe this, if Kings singer Caleb Followill's drinking problem wasn't revealed to the world at one of their last shows in Dallas.

5. Best Coast released a music video for "Our Deal," a heart wrenching love story directed by Drew Barrymore. The video features actresses you'd find on Nickelodeon, Arrested Development, and Kick Ass. Watch it below, and grab a tissue.

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Tuesday, August 2

Outside Lands!

It's festival time! With the Bay area's premier music festival around the corner, it's time to pull a schedule out of nothing and make it something. Lucky for us the folks over at Another Planet happened to release the official set times today, so let's get on it!

Day 1: Kicking off to a sleepy start, Friday is sure to pick up... eventually. New up and comers, Foster the People, or chillwave vet, Toro y Moi? Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah or MGMT or Elle Goulding?  Whoever you choose it's no doubt that Phis' epic 3 and a half hour set closing the night is sure to separate the dead heads from... well, everyone else. But if your looking for something else than you've got two decisions to make: newly reunited alt-dance outfit, Big Audio Dynamite, or pop aficionado, Big Boi; and last but not least, The Shins, Erykah Badu, or Best Coast. Decisions, decisions!

Day 2: Do you rock out with the Arctic Monkeys, the Black Keys and Muse or rave with Starfucker and Girl Talk? Saturday is less about conflicts than about coming to terms with whichever scene you happen to brake for.

Day 3: With no real heartbreaking conflicts, we can all rest easy on Sunday. If you want to dance then head over to the Twin Peaks stage, you'll get !!!, Major Lazer, STS9, and Deadmau5: for everything else the mainstage is sure to tickle your fancy: The Decemberists and Arcade with a slight intermission to see Beirut at the Sutro stage.

Thursday, July 14

Christmas in July

It's no surprise that music junkies love to out-geek each other with their latest music finds. Friendly ones will even share some of their treasures with others in hopes that they fall in love with what they hear. So what happens when the Beach Sounds duo spends the afternoon arguing over their favorite albums of 2011 (so far)? Here it is, eager readers:

Starting the summer off on all the right notes, Cults gets you in the mood for picnics at the park, balcony bbqs and bike rides with actual sunlight! Blending the surf from the Beach Boys, the sass from Best Coast, and the heartache from Girls, Cults comes across as eclectic, to say the least. It's relatable, enticing and exciting, each song leaves you wanting to hear the next and the simple melody leaves you singing it in the shower. Jordy Kasko of The Tune put it best, "If not Album Of The Year, it's at least Album Of The Summer."

2. Gang Gang Dance
   Eye Contact
With their fifth effort, Gang Gang Dance releases a delightful symphony of blips and beats that is too irresistible to pass up. It starts with an 11+ minute opus of woozie, discordant synth leads that build up to form an entrancing, cohesive melody, an idea that seems to foreshadow the feelings on the rest of the album. At moments it's unpredictable, like a roller coaster, and other times its structured and melodic like a pop song.  Although it may feel like an extension of their '08 release Saint Dyphna, Eye Contact is fresh enough to stick around with you and leave you wanting more, in a good way.

3. Foster the People
When's the last time a talented, no-gimmick pop band made it big in L.A.? Who knows. All we know is the strapping boys in Foster have undeniably swept away pop lovers everywhere with their infectious debut album. They initially found success upon their release of a three-track EP, a feat few can say they've accomplished. If you're looking for the perfect blend of synth, tambourines, multiple percussion sets, and fun falsetto, pick up this delightful album.

4. Patrick Wolf
 It's sweet, sincere, catchy and the perfect summer album. Trading in the dirty synth beats of The Bachelor for more symphonic, melodic instruments, Lupercalia is proof of Wolf's artistic evolution. Speaking of love,  loss and even San Francisco (!),  this record has something for every bleeding heart romantic in the Bay Area.

5.  The Antlers 
    Burst Apart
Named one Spinner's Top 10 Albums of 2011 and Best Music by Pitchfork, this New York based band has won me over once more upon their release of the dark and haunting Burst Apart. I'd seen them open for Editors back in 2009 and I couldn't help thinking their sound was incredibly intimate and unfit for an impersonal venue like the Warfield. To my surprise then and later at the Sasquatch Music Festival, Peter Silberman and company swept the audience away with harrowing, empty hallway vocals and at times heavy guitar entwined with ethereal dream sounds.

6. Destroyer
It's 7 something, you're driving in a convertible with the wind tossing your hair everywhere, the ocean is to your left and the sun's just about to set, where are you? Your listening to Destroyer's new album, in your room, with the lights off! Destroyer has a strange ability to take it's listener on a voyage. With their 9th release, they seem to have grown more complex and tasteful with age. Adding even more complexity to the increasingly prevalent Canadian music seem (Bieber fever!), Kaputt is definitely worth your attention, and then some.

7. The Decemberists
    The King is Dead 
Sure, the folky, forest-fumed genre is beginning to lose it's appeal. The Decemberists show those scruffy rookies how it's done with a solid and powerful folk album from beginning to end. It gets honky tonky, it gets whimsically acoustic, and Colin Meloy's effortless talent in storytelling shines throughout.

8. Cold Cave
    Cherish The Light Years
Sophomore slump? Don't think so. Cold Cave's second LP, Cherish the Light Years, has everything their first effort was missing: it's hard, edgy, powerful, and above all else, apologetically dancey! Taking a few cards from lead singer Wesley Eisold's former hardcore outfit, Give Up the Ghost, Cherish jumps right into the action and never looks back. But unfortunately just like their former release, Cherish often feels more like New Order than an original dance album.

9. Fucked Up
    David Comes To Life
It's time to fuck shit up, who brought the beer? Fucked Up has a special place in my heart, being one of, if not the only credible and recognizable hardcore outfits in the indie community, they have a knack of turning skeptics into believers. It's hard to get respect when most of your listeners are pubescent boys, that's a given, but Fucked Up manage to inject a sense of sophistication into David. It's smart, upbeat and meticulously crafted, all descriptions unanimously absent from modern hardcore.

10. The Rosebuds
      Loud Planes Fly Low
Imagine how aggressive and rage fueled a divorce album might sound like. That's not what this is. Using their personal life as a positive platform for their new album, Loud Planes is a far cry from bitter and is better described as cathartic, heartfelt, and true to their progressive need to improve their music.

11. Fitz and The Tantrums
      Pickin Up the Pieces
      Beach music, folk, indie, reinvented hardcore, what's next? How about some gold old fashioned funk and soul? Don't try looking for their hipster cred on Pitchfork-- While those folks are busy looking for the incredibly inaccessible, Fitz works hard to bring listeners young and old with endless tours and festival appearances. Listen below, and feel free to unleash your funky self.


Monday, July 4

Summer Shows in SF

It's that time of the year again, the time when our instincts kick in that compel us to seek refuge in the sun. Whether its by relaxing at Dolores with some two-buck-chuck or by venturing out to Ocean Beach, we want the summer and everything it has to offer. But the summer weather in SF is often a mixed bag (What's the saying? I forgot.): giving us fog when we want sun kisses, and clear skies when we're working or out of town. But all's not lost, there are lots of shows to keep us busy when the climate is sour! Here are a few exciting events coming our way.

Washed Out - July 9th
The Great American Music Hall

The Mars Volta - July 21st
Bill Gram Civic Center
 $60 + Ticketmaster fees

Cults - July 24th/25th
The Clift Hotel/ Bottom of the Hill 
Free with RSVP/ $12 (SOLD OUT)

Fucked Up - July 25th
The Independent

Cold Cave/ Austra - July 25th
Great American Music Hall

A Perfect Circle - July 30th
The Greek in Berkeley
$45 + Ticketmaster fees

DNTEL - August 3rd
The Rickshaw Stop

Diplo - August 4th
Ruby Skye

Hard Summer Tour w/ Digitalism - August 5th
The Fox Theatre in Oakland
$30 + Ticketmaster fees

Crystal Castles - August 6th
The Regency
$35/$60 + Ticketmaster fees

The Beach Boys - August 7th
The Mountain Winery in Saratoga
$35-$90 + Ticketmaster fees

Outside Lands Music Festival - August 12th-14th
w/ Arcade Fire, Muse, The Shins, Major Lazer! + more
Golden Gate Park

Rock The Bells - August 27th
w/ Erykah Badu, Common, Black Star + more
$55-$131 + Ticketmaster fees

Anything I forgot? Comment us!

Wednesday, June 8

Surf With Us

The best music, sex, and drugs along the coast. Two of the most vibrant music scenes in one blog. Here's to the California scene, literate music lovers, and good beer.