Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Take Care Of You

I'm listening to this song on repeat while doing my best to find some kind of background on the producers.  Apparently, it’s a duo comprised of Mazego and Vitesse, two Parisian fellows with a few remixes to their respective names.  Combine them and you get Saje, the moniker under which this song was released.  The Saje Soundcloud dates back 6 months, while Mazego the solo artist seems to have been on the Facebook game since 2011. Despite this short timeline, the sounds these two are churning out are far from novice. With two songs to Saje’s credit, they’ve already been able to create a unique, recognizable sound in a musical climate of copycat-regurgitation.
To try and describe their music is to study the constant redefinition and meshing of electronic music genres.  Deep-Electro-Trap-Chill-Dream-Step, if I may.  Take Care of You is a hybrid of Tom Misch’s guitar-centric beats, with Odesza’s lingering synths and massive drops.  Saje is now 2/2 with an uncredited male vocalist, whom I can assume is either one of the two, or simply an unnamed, golden vocal vessel.  Regardless of genre definitions or background story, these guys are damn good.  It’s refreshing to see two relative newcomers coming out with completely original material, while providing surprising well-written and appropriately themed vocals.  I’m sold, and methinks you will be as well.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wicked Waters

High—maybe number one—on my list of “new artists you should know” is Benjamin Booker. Baby, he’s a firework. A force of nature. Fantastic.

The Florida native purveys a mishmash of blues, soul, and garage rock with sprinkles of punk on top. His sound harkens to a point in musical history when rhythm & blues connoted heavy kicks and jazzy guitar licks, before it morphed into the watered-down, vocal-run driven R&B we hear on the radio today. But while his influences are firmly rooted in the past, his delivery is wholly 21st-century. Booker’s inflection reminds me of a harder-rocking Connor Oberst: angry and angsty, spitting across story lines about starting families and skipping town. Like Oberst, his voice can hardly be called beautiful, and many of his lyrics are spoken on-key rather than truly sung. But like Oberst, the garbled timbre of his voice allows him to effortlessly translate raw emotion into song. When he really wants to drive a point home, he wails—as though he’s moments away from bursting into angry tears. It’s grating; it’s glorious.

The roughness of Booker’s voice and overall sound is what makes him such a delight. This isn’t one of those “revivalist” records meticulously crafted in a Nashville studio….looking at you Auerbach. It’s the kind that could have been hurriedly taped in the back of a car for a next-day release. (Indeed, Booker recently told Aquarium Drunkard that he cut his latest cover on an iPhone in a hotel bathroom.) Take the rollicking Wicked Waters as a shining example. A plugging organ crafts a vintage feel, but the frantic, relentless rhythm guitars lend the song a tightness that’s decidedly more rock n’ roll than blues ditty. It’s raw and urgent, and that urgency is what makes Booker’s music indispensable. So when he howls “I am what I am, I’ll make it on this run,” I’m quite inclined to believe him.

Booker is currently on a world tour, fresh off a string of dates opening for Jack White. I skipped his set when he opened for White in Chicago. I’m the worst. Don’t be me. Don’t be the worst. Catch Booker when he comes to a city near you, before he blows up and starts playing mainstages at every music festival from here to Australia. Listen to Wicked Waters below and BUY or stream his debut self-titled album NOW.

Wicked Waters - Benjamin Booker

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Human Sadness

One of my most-hated music ticks is when people insist that a song/album “gets better with repeat listenings.” 99% of the time it just means the song is objectively terrible. That said, I'm going to take my foot out of my mouth and tell you that this song genuinely begs more than one listen, if only in order to fully wrap your head around its sonic surfeit.

At 11 minutes long, Julian Casablancas & The Voidz' aspirational Human Sadness certainly reads like an exercise in rock excess. But if you can learn to anticipate the jolting, distorted scream at 2:40, you might just grow to love it (seriously though that thing made me jump out of my skin no less than three times). It won't click for most people at first. It's too weird, too meandering, too "wait this is The Strokes' Casablancas?" But sit with it for a couple days and come back to me—I promise the payoff is worth it.

The thing is, Human Sadness is just a couple steps away from genius. And I mean genius. Not really good or the song of the year, but transcendent. The caveat, however, is that it’s not quite there. (Though honestly had Ariel Pink released this, Pitchfork probably would have hailed it an art-rock triumph.) It wanders, dropping a theme before its had a chance to fully establish itself. It undermines absolutely riveting progressions with distracting, Nintendo-esque bleeps. But through the haze of noise-for-noise's-sake are prolonged moments of brilliance: rays of a discernible melody peeking out through clouds of distortion. It's a track that wants you to love it for what's inside and not what's on the surface. Which, in this Max Martin era of music, is quite a rare bird.

Listen to the track below once, then come back to it in half an hour and listen to it again. Just trust me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pre Game Chillout

As summer winds to a close, we’re all struggling to find a way to hold onto the dream. Suff Daddy makes it a little easier with this little number, Pre Game Chillout.

The Berlin native captures the sound of 90s West Coast rap oh-so-perfectly A straightforward beat, simple synth melodies and jazzy bassline makes a man want to cruise around in his 6-4. The guitar riffs only add to mixture, a throwback to a simpler time when a producer only needed a few instrumental tracks to cook up something special. It’s refreshing to hear such a minimalist approach to beat making, and it goes hand in hand with the song’s title: chill out.

Check out more of Suff Daddy’s instrumental hip-hop on his Souncloud.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shine A Light

Hello again. After a three year hiatus from LL, I’d like to re-introduce myself via an indispensable track.

As LL’s primary purpose is to promote Goldroom and Flight Facilities, I thought I’d maintain the status quo by promoting the upcoming Flight Facilities album. Doing this without reposting Two Bodies for the millionth time proved to be difficult, however, so I thought I’d delve into one of my personal favorites from Oz, their remix of the C90’s Shine A Light

It’s hard to believe three years have passed since this gem was released. While it was ultimately lost in the buzz surrounding Crave You and Foreign Language, I would argue this as the quintessential FF track. No matter what’s happening in my life, this is one of those tracks that makes my problems melt away. Beautiful lyrics, a catchy chorus, and an introduction that grabs you in with cascading synths and simple, steering piano.

Kudos to Grand Theft Auto V for featuring this song in-game… during a mission where your character takes acid and jumps out of a plane. Well played.

Photo Via

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Righteous One

We’ve all been there: Girl meets boy. Boy likes band. Girl forces herself to like band. It’s a tale as old as high school. Except sometimes it can happen in your mid-twenties. That’s how I—rather appropriately—discovered The Orwells.

Early this year, a guy I was really into told me I should listen to The Orwells. He sold them as “The new Strokes.” I listened. They weren’t. But I was really really into this guy, so despite their inability to fill the gaping Julian Casablancas-sized void **OMG PUN INTENDED** in my music library, I gave them another chance. And another. And then another. But they didn’t click. Their scuzzy, simplistic garage rock was catchy enough, but it lacked that certain something that I could either relate to or revere. Eventually, the guy and I had a falling out and I no longer had anything to prove, so I gave up on The Orwells. I chalked them up as one of those indie things I would never “get”, like Grimes. Or almond milk.

But then by happenstance, I started following The Orwells on Twitter. And suddenly: I got it.

I don’t often let musicians’ internet personas dictate my opinion of their artistic output, but in this case it made all the difference. I’d read profiles on the band, I knew their general backstory and style, but it wasn’t until I saw them referencing my old stomping grounds that I began to understand their point of view. You see, The Orwells and I have a lot in common. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, not 20 minutes from their hometown of Elmhurst. I too felt completely smothered by the suburban tedium surrounding me, misunderstood and maligned and totally claustrophobic. We both used music as an escape—The Orwells formed a band and toured the world, I shipped myself off to boarding school to study opera. It’s the same thing, really.

Their Twitter’s plucky, cynical commentary on pop culture, the music industry, and this suburban world I know so well resonates: they echo many of the sentiments and frustrations I’d had when I was their age. (Though fortunately, when I was their age we had AIM status updates in lieu of Twitter; I could have gotten into a world of trouble as a teen on Twitter.) And when I began to understand their teenage ethos, and to remember my own, I began to connect to their music. A night of hiding in your car to drink underage, followed by puking on the bathroom floor? Been there. Lamenting a town where everything closes at midnight? Done that. The Orwells are angsty suburban kids, and though I’d like to believe I’ve transcended, inside I’m probably still just an angsty suburban kid.

And so I realized I’d been approaching The Orwells all wrong. The Orwells are not The new Strokes by any stretch. The Strokes weren’t relatable—they were iconic. No one listened to Is This It and thought, “Oh yeah this describes my life.” The Strokes were cool: they lived in the cultural epicenter of America; they went to elite boarding schools in different countries; they had absent parents; they undoubtedly had access to the most incredible drugs. The Orwells, on the other hand, are not cool by cool’s standards: they grew up in the Midwest; they went to public school; their parents probably drove them to soccer practice; and—speaking from experience—the weed out here is shit. The Orwells make garage rock for people who know what it’s like to have an attached garage. The Orwells are one of us. I get it. I totally get it.

It’s fitting that I came upon The Orwells by rather immature means, as they seem to inspire the younger, rawer me. What other band could get me to show up to a 12:45 set at a music festival? Literally, none. I’ve never done that. But I’m so glad I did, or I would have missed the best moment of Chicago's Riot Fest, when frontman Mario Cuomo brazenly proclaimed ”WE’RE FROM THE SUBURBS” before launching the band into a song about the mall. It was punk as fuck. And for a moment, I was a little jealous of the teenage girls in the front row.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Red Eyes

I’m seeing The War On Drugs this weekend.
I needed to get that out first and foremost, because I’m so stupid excited about it. You know who else is excited about it? My dad. Yes, my dad and I are going to see The War On Drugs together this weekend, and that’s amazing.

It should be noted that this isn’t a common occurrence. At least, it hasn’t been for a decade. In the early 2000s my dad came to concerts with me — I needed a ride, and he thought it kept him hip. (He still pats himself on the back when he recognizes an Interpol song.) But I grew up, moved away, and could drive myself, so my dad and I haven’t had reason to see a concert together in ages. But The War On Drugs are special. Really, really special.

You’ve probably heard at least some of Lost In The Dream—the band’s marvelous third album—by now. If we’re friends, you better have. It is the rock album of the year. (And yes, I’ve already listened to the new DFA1979 album.) You’ve heard of a road movie, right? Well, this is a seminal ‘road album’ if I’ve ever heard one. It’s the musical equivalent of Easy Rider for the millennial set, with the heartbreak to match. Adam Granduciel has woven the ultimate soundscape of disappointment and longing, at once expansive and deeply personal.

Granduciel hasn’t set out to reinvent the wheel; he’s polished it. Indeed, this album could have been released any time over the last four decades and would have held up just as well. Granduciel has spent a lot of time absorbing the influences of his idols, from Dylan to Springsteen to Stewart, and it shows. While he pays tribute, he exalts himself to their level by doing it just as well. That’s what makes this album so special, and why it translates across generations. Many artists play homage to their influences; few are able to capture their essence so completely that they could be counted as contemporaries. This is an example of stylistic mastery—take note.

But anyway, dads should love this shit. Mine does, at least. You know who else will love it? You will. I promise. Just listen to the single Red Eyes. Or go a little deeper, and listen to the album's 9 minute-long opening track, Under The Pressure. You'll get it.

The War On Drugs play the AV Festival this Saturday in Chicago (with a slew of other great acts including Valerie June, Empires, and Mac DeMarco). Look for me; I’ll be the adult woman rocking out with her dad.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Not Your Mom's BBQ

This week’s post was supposed to be a little thinkpiece on Chicago’s suburbia / a love letter to The Orwells, but I got really caught up in making a playlist, so you’re getting that instead. Plus, it’s a holiday weekend, and who wants to read anything of substance over a holiday weekend? Not I. We’ll tackle suburbia next week. In the meantime, here’s a playlist meant to soundtrack your long, lazy weekend. Not Your Mom’s BBQ compliments the type of Labor Day that involves a small group of friends, grilled meats, and a lot of weed.

Pay special attention to the Angel Olsen track Forgiven/Forgotten, which I think encapsulates that atmosphere perfectly (and whose lyrics really spoke to me this week). Her latest album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, strikes me as a kind of working girl’s stoner rock: atmospheric but contained, raw yet pointed. With clever, often devastating lyrics, she has just the right amount of girl power without being campy. A better Best Coast, if you will. Check out and download the song, and stream it in the context of the playlist on Spotify, below.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Till Sunrise

It’s pouring outside, my power is out, and today I saw three cars stuck in a flash flood (which I narrowly escaped). It’s the last weekend of summer and I was ready for some Blue Hawaii vibes, but things are shaping up to be way more Sharknado 2. Thank goodness for Goldroom. His latest track, Till Sunrise, will have you, me, and everyone we know feeling tip top tropical til long after summer ends.

Unfamiliar with Goldroom? Shame on you. Someone once commented to me that LOOSE L!PS' primary purpose seems to be promoting the music of Goldroom and Flight Facilities. That’s not the case, but it's not too far off. Anyway, if you’re going to make reading the hallowed pages of this blog a regular occurrence, you best acquaint yourself with one of our favorite artists, stat.

Photo Via

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Somewhere Else Tonight

Before I begin, I want to qualify this by saying that it’s been a LONG time since I genuinely enjoyed a new “banger.” I’ve been way too wrapped up in repeat—nonstop—listenings of The Strokes discography. Sure, there are still club hitz I hold dear to my heart (ALL of Tiesto’s Kaleidescope — not ashamed), but that’s more or less because they elicit ecstasy flashbacks, not because they’re what I’m actively pulling up on Spotify. But when Mansions On The Moon sends me a new track, I listen. I listen good.

Ok. So. Somewhere Else Tonight is kind of a banger. One thing is for sure: it isn’t the MOTM I first met. It’s actually a far cry from the type of music that drew me to the band years ago. While they’ve always had electro sensibilities — even their earliest tracks included some heavy synth work — the initial incarnation of the band was markedly more tepid, characterized by a whole lot of falsetto and feelings. Somewhere Else Tonight sees them retain the lilting, melodic vocal lines that initially attracted me to the band, and undercuts it with a bass so booming I can Feel It In My Bones. (Yeah that was another Tiesto reference. Fuck with me.) There’s even a breakdown of sorts. But you know what? It works. It’s great. And after working with the likes of N.E.R.D., Diplo, and Mac Miller, who can blame them for leaning more towards a radio-friendly sound? And after all, there’s a reason the teens are into bangers. Bangers can be glorious.
As for this? This is pretty glorious.

Somewhere Else Tonight will be released on Mansions On The Moon’s debut album, due out in October. You can pre-order it here.

Photo Credit

Monday, July 28, 2014


Ennui has come a long way. What was once a criminally underappreciated four-piece recently morphed into a criminally underappreciated solo project, and with that lineup change has come a sort of renaissance. A loss in member quantity hasn’t proven detrimental to music quality, and in fact Jim Doutrich’s solo transformation has rendered Ennui’s already shimmering soundscapes grander, the atmospheric loops even dreamier. Ennui may have shrunk in stature, but sonically speaking it is soaring to new heights.

While Doutrich’s wistful, often aching vocal lines continue to serve as the cornerstone of Ennui’s output, you’ll notice a marked difference in accompaniment: The fuzzy guitars and a sparse drum kit present on 2011’s (excellent) Formation Of Tides have been traded in for an endless procession of lush synths. It’s an interesting progression, given that this is Ennui’s third album. Typically, synth-driven projects incorporate more traditional instruments later in their discography, as though making a push towards becoming a *real band* through the introduction of a full-piece live show. Here Doutrich has done the opposite, paring down a tighter, more manageable package. In doing so, the album feels almost like a half-decade throwback—the style harkens to the Hipster Runoff-christened “chillwave” movement. I loathe to categorize it was such, given that Doutrich’s musicality far surpasses any given 19 year old bedroom producer, but if you’re looking for that golden oldie sound of 2009 cultivated by the likes of Washed Out and Toro Y Moi, well, look no further. Anyone in need of a soundtrack to a day at the beach should have Telepathic Beat (due out in September on Mush) at the top of their list.

Ennui’s new work might feel somewhat nostalgic, but Doutrich is clearly looking ahead. On the album’s first single, Circles, he laments “I’m wasting away my years”, before launching into a credo of sorts, ”Turn away don’t give up / All the lines that you’ve crossed…Turn away, drift apart / Don’t go back to the start.” Given the history of the band, and Doutrich now embarking solo, it almost seems as a call to action; a self-motivating rallying cry. Change is hard, but Ennui is doing it for the better. Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time (And Time Again)


1. Shroud yourselves in “mystery”
2.Release music videos starring other people—namely, black dance crews—causing the media to jump to the conclusion that the stars of the video are in fact you, despite the fact that you have never stated such. Not to mention, loads of music videos star actors or dancers rather than band members.
3. Release single artwork featuring aforementioned dancers that aren’t you.

4. Let the media assume you really know what you’re doing, genre-wise, because you are a POC.
5. Design sweet bomber jackets emblazoned with your super sweet logo; put them up for sale months before your full-length LP is even a whisper.
6. Start playing shows. As yourselves.
7. Have media realize you are actually skinny, pale, white guys.
8. Let them be chuffed about it. Chuckle at all the ‘cultural appropriation’ grumbling
9. Start giving interviews as yourselves. Suffer through a billion “WHY” questions about your identity and initial presentation.
10. Have it all not matter because your music is really, actually, completely awesome.

I present you: Jungle, with the sounds of summer 2014. Stream their debut album.
Or just make one yourself; you now know all it takes.

Wish they would have released this as their first video so the media assumed they were grandpas.

Monday, July 14, 2014

All The Rage Back Home

Interpol have released a new single and it is better than it has any right to be.
No, wait, I'm serious. Hear me out.

Interpol was my favorite band for the better part of a decade, but I was ready to admit that the era of my melancholy magnates was over. First there was the departure of enigmatic bassist Carlos D, the Interpol brand’s masthead and only redeeming element of their live show. Then came that disaster of a self-titled 2010 album—a plodding, uninspired lesson in tedium. The end was spelled: they were out of new tricks and the old formulas had begun to fall flat. So I bought the TOTBL 10th Anniversary deluxe pressing and resigned myself to the reality of a world where the only Interpol we heard from was the one that catches terrorists.

But then Interpol went and released All The Rage Back Home last week. The first single off of September’s El Pintor is alarmingly good, even excellent. It marks a return to form, but a more important return to function. That is, Interpol have stopped trying to sound like Interpol, instead achieving a sort of musical self-actualization. All the pieces of are here—from from interwoven guitars to a ruthless rhythm section, even a respectable bassline now provided by Paul Banks—but the band has managed to capture an intensity and honesty not seen since 2004’s Antics. The lyrics, which in any given Interpol song typically tow the line between completely genius and totally crazy (You’re so cute when you’re frustrated, dear/You’re so cute when you’re sedated, dear.), are inoffensively ear worm-worthy. Interpol have cut through the doom & gloom and done the improbable: they made a damn good rock song, by any measure. In A minor!

All The Rage Back Home - Interpol

Photo Credit

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trainwreck 1979

Hi. This is weird; I thought I was more or less done here. But I’ve been thinking a lot recently, and I might still have it in me. I just needed a motivator. It’s like when Brett Favre retired and then un-retired. Sure, Favre had millions of dollars as his motivator, but the real moral was that he loved the game too much to stay away. There’s some deep metaphor here with me being Brett Favre and football being music, but I’ll spare you that allegorical clusterfuck.

I will tell you about the motivator, though. If there’s one thing I could come out of retirement for, it’s Death From Above 1979. If you don’t know my DFA1979 saga, you can read through these old posts and learn all about it. But if you have a life and value your time, I’ll just sum up: I LOVE THEM MORE THAN MY OWN FAMILY. Soundtrack to my teenage angst, kind of thing. They released their first new track in a decade yesterday (a precursor to their first new album in a decade, out 9/9), and so in a gesture of “if they can do it, so can I,” I present you with Trainwreck 1979. It has the same raw power that made them so appealing 10 years ago, but sees that sound tightened and polished. As Asian Dan remarked, “This is what the Black Keys would sound like if they were good.” Touché.

Have a listen: