You thought R&B was so 90's. You put it on the shelf with your oversized flannels and your Angela Chase crush from "My So Called Life". But let's pause for a minute to absorb the very real fact that R&B is back with a vengeance, influencing everyone from pop to electronic artists to guitar bands. And all of a sudden there you are in a flannel with Claire Danes back in your life thanks to your weekly obsession with Showtime's "Homeland". It's almost 2013 and you're still winning.   

Obviously things heated up with the release of certain risqué mix tapes by "The Weeknd" and when Channy Casselle dropped an R&B tinged debut album in January with her new project "Polica". SInce then, nothing really makes sense without a few current, and extremely relevant R&B tracks in your life. 
 
 
Remember when The xx made their debut in 2009? Romey Madley-Croft's whispering voice captivated the beejeezus out of everyone then and we wondered if she would be able to ensnare us quite so completely ever again. Well, the time has come to find out. 

"Angels" was just released from the second album, "Coexist" which is due September 11. It is a tortured love song, with the same pregnant pauses and distant guitars of the band's evocative past, but somehow even more intimate, despite the addition of some new percussions. In "Angels" Madley-Croft sings about finding love and losing it:
"and the end comes too soon
 like dreaming of angels
 and leaving without them" 
For me, the song is more about falling in love with The xx all over again.
The xx have 2 live shows lined up in Hollywood this October!!

Here is the ticket info:
The Hollywood Palladium 
Oct. 12 (on sale Friday, July 20 at 10am via LiveNation)
6215 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 962-7600

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Oct. 13 (on sale Friday, July 20 at 12pm noon via Ticketfly
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard  Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 469-1181

>>>There is a PRESALE available at the following link today, Thursday July 19<<<
Password is MICROPHONE. 

Exciting news is that all these tickets come with a digital copy of the new album. 
 
 
If you're a fan of The Strokes or Ramones, it's about time you heard The Vaccines. This British rock band formed in London in 2010 and have already toured and opened for seriously awesome bands like The Walkmen, Arctic Monkeys, and Arcade Fire. 

Their second studio album, The Vaccines Come of Age, will be out Sept 4, but in the meantime they have released this romantic, black and white music video for their single "No Hope". The song talks about the difficulties of coming of age, with a very hot Justin Young singing funny lyrics like, "I know I am so self-obsessed" and "I don't really care about anybody else when I haven't got my own life figured out" to a totally boppy melody. 
"If You Wanna" is from their 2011 debut album titled, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? and is one of their most popular songs to date.
"Tiger Blood" is one of those rad songs with a big sound, and the band released this music video with a special surprise at the 1:37 mark. 
The Vaccines are playing an intimate show in Los Angeles at the Troubador on Sept 13th. This is amazing news for anyone keen on The Vaccines !!

Troubador 
9081 Santa Monica Boulevard 
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 276-1158
 
 
Metric released their 5th album "Synthetica" last week and as always, the highlight is Emily Haine's breathy vocals. I might be getting tired of the same tight, digital beats but I do like the sugary synths and I certainly have found a couple songs I like on the new album. 

"Dreams So Real" achieves that whirring, subtle build up, and the lyrics are especially cool, too.
"Lost Kitten" has Haines singing in a high falsetto and opens with her coyly singing :

"Don't say yes if you can't say no
victim of the system, say it isn't so" 

and other funny, semi sarcastic lyrics like:

"Tell me one thing you would never do 
I was looking for a hooker when I found you" 
There are 11 tracks on the album, and Lou Reed appears on the track titled, "Wanderlust". It just happens to be a not-so-compelling combination, and the song is over produced. But Metric has a lot of really solid songs in their repertoire, ("Gimme Sympathy" and "Gold Gun Girls") and these 2 are definitely going to be a good addition to their live shows. Metric is coming to the Greek on October 9th!
 
 
Swedish singer/songwriter Jonna Lee has had lots of fun playing the mystery games surrounding her project and it's all paying off. 

In 2009 she forwarded her music from an anonymous email account to music journalists and blogs everywhere. With the name iamamiwhoami and visually distorted videos of herself, the project had tons of people guessing her identity. She was speculated to be Lady Gaga, Goldfrapp, Bjork, Trent Reznor and Christina Aguilera. Soon, fans guessed who she was. 

To keep us guessing and maintain her secret garden, Jonna has been releasing videos with mysterious names and codes. With the posting of the video "kin 20120611," it became clear that the name stood for the date June 11, 2012. Co-Operative Music Italy confirmed this when they tweeted that her first audio-visual album, Kin, would release on that day. That day has arrived, and the 9-track electronic album is living up to it's praise. 

The Swedish Grammis named the project "Best Innovator of the Year" and BBC Radio named it "Best Tease of the Past 12 Months". Iamamiwhoami beat out Lana Del Ray for that title. And now MTV O Music Awards has nominated it for "Digital Genius". 

Here is my favorite track and video from the album Kin, called "Goods". And her dance moves are pretty great. 
Another awesome track for you, "Kill"
Welcome to the secret world of iamamiwhoami. 
 
 
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image via mtv.com
Passion Pit won a thousand hearts in 2008 with the hit song, "Sleepyhead" and the name, well, Passion Pit. Of course, the pretty little fact that it all began as a one-man project by Michael Angelakos who wanted to produce a Valentine's Day gift for his girlfriend doesn't hurt either.
Le sigh.  

With the release of their newest single, "Take a Walk" last month in promotion of their new album, "Gossamer" (set to release July 24) followed by yesterday's leak of the track "I'll Be Alright" there is some serious effing excitement boiling up from under electro-pop fan's lids of anticipation. 
See for yourself what all the hoopla is about. 

Here is the expansive, synth heavy single, "Take a Walk".


And be sure to CHECK OUT the super awesome, rapid-fire leak of "I'll be Alright"

Sorry for the not-so-perfect sound quality.
Can't wait to hear what the rest of the album has to offer! 
And for the show they will play with Hot Chip at the Hollywood Bowl on September 8! 
Keep the good things coming, guys. 
 
 
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Whenever he parts his lips, K'naan has something real to share. Whether it be in the name of charity and politics, or love and heartbreak, it always seems to come straight from the heart. 

K'naan's music displays his gentle strength, and with his new song he shares his vulnerability. 

Check out the new single "Hurt Me Tomorrow" that he performed last night on Jimmy Kimmel. I love the clown nose he wore during the show, a testament to how some love stories can make the best of us feel foolish every once in a while. 
If you don't know it, the song "Take a Minute" is a favorite of mine from the older album. The lyrics are insightful and poetic and encourage us to appreciate and spread the good in our lives, amidst the imperfections.

The new album is scheduled to be out this summer and will no doubt be something substantial. K'naan has a collaboration in the works with "Foster the People" as well as songs obviously influenced by Bob Dylan's legendary croon. 

A fitting comparison for a poetic songwriter and musician looking to inspire peace in the world. 
 
 
Silversun Pickups had one of the best albums of the year in 2009 with the critically acclaimed "Swoon" featuring instant hits like "Panic Switch", "Little Lovers So Polite" and "Lazy Eye". They sent goosebumps down the arms of music lovers everywhere who couldn't help but notice the Smashing Pumpkins comparison. With the same sound of distorted guitars, their newest album, "Neck of The Woods" is sure to get your heart racing again with stand-out track, "Bloody Mary". Just released this Tuesday, May 8, I already know it's going to be the soundtrack to my summer. 

The band played "Bloody Mary" on Jimmy Kimmel last night and ROCKED THE HOUSE.
Here is the official video to "Lazy Eye" in case you need to jog that aging, drug addled memory.
And "Panic Switch"
And "Little Lovers So Polite", still my all-time fave!!!
 
 
Japandroids is an extremely energetic rock & roll duo from Vancouver who blew me away all those years ago with their incredibly awesome song ''Younger Us" and those nostalgic, punk-rock lyrics:
  
"remember when we had them all on the run
and the night we saw midnight sun
remember saying things like "we'll sleep when we're dead"
and thinking this feeling was never gonna end
remember that night you were already in bed, said "fuck it" got up to drink with me instead!

gimme that naked new skin rush
give me younger us
gimme that you and me in a grave trust
give me younger us
gimme that girls love running wild and free
give me younger us
gimme that boys out swimmin through the streets

gimme that night you were already in bed, said fuck it got up to drink with me instead"


Comprised of Brian King and David Prowse, these boys describe themselves as "maximal - a two piece band trying to sound like its a five piece band."  With their one guitar, one set of drums and two vocalizers, their second album, 'Celebration Rock' (due out in the US on June 5) should be,
 "a little more cruising down the highway, and a little less doing crystal meth on New Year's…". 

Having struggled to expand their sound, they have come up with 8 new tracks on their upcoming album. Here's the single titled "The House That Heaven Built" and it sounds like that perfectly grandiose road-trip music we all need once in a while. Go ahead, take a listen, and if you close your eyes you might feel the wind in your hair...slapping you in the face.

The band hits LA's Echoplex on June 15 and you can purchase tickets here. 

And here is the song "Crazy Forever" from their debut album with Polyvinyl Records, Post-Nothing. This one has more of a garage-band-romance feel and it's pretty great. 
 
 
 
With what Pitchfork has called the "much anticipated release" of I Love You, It's Cool last month, it's no surprise that I was pretty stoked to check out psychedelic, synth-pop band 'Bear in Heaven' play the Echo on Thursday night. 

Bear in Heaven's Beast Rest Forth Mouth garnered a lot of attention a couple years back and now it seems the pulse of a generation thumps in the new tracks. The album captures that feeling we know all too well of being eager only to later find ourselves underwhelmed. 

They combine New Wave elements of pop and complexity of sound into tracks that are actually a pretty slow burn. Listening to I Love You, It's Cool, you feel the songs fill the space around you before they reach you directly. Slow burn or not, seeing them play at the Echo was hot. True to their Brooklyn roots, the band put on a fun show and brought in a hip crowd.  

Frontman Jon Philpot was just the right amount of quirky meets enthusiastic, and his moves and eccentric dancing made his lyrics feel that much more genuine. He definitely adds an endearing vulnerability to the stage while maintaining high energy.
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image via pitchfork.com
Here is a dancey track from the new album that I like. 
And here is the song that made me fall for Bear in Heaven in the first place. 
So glad I got to see these Brooklynites live and in an intimate setting. Love the mix they bring of disco, synth and rock. Thanks for a super fun LA show Bear in Heaven.