In my opinion, three of 2007's very best and most memorable albums were Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, Panda Bear's Person Pitch and Klaxons Myths of the near Future. All three generated absolutely massive hype, and harvested top scores from record reviewers and/or prizes. Since then, however, it's been been quiet around these three artists. (Well, in Panda Bear's case it's just been the 'Panda Bear project' that's been quiet, as his band Animal Collective have almost constantly been in the spotlight, and enjoyed endless amounts of attention)

Now, the follow-up albums are finally on their way! I got my hands on leaked tracks by all three artists this week, and they're all very promising sounding. I think it's going to be a great autumn for alternative music!

//// New Arcade Fire: The Suburbs and Month of May

mp3: Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

mp3: Arcade Fire - Month of May

While Funeral balanced between the down-to-earth and the loud and pompous, Neon Bible mostly stayed within the latter style, filled to the brim with dramatic church organs and anthemic choruses. If these first two tracks are anything to go by, The Suburbs takes a step down again: 'The Suburbs' is slow, unpretentious and beautiful, while 'Month of May' in my opinion sounds like the most straight-forward rock and roll track Arcade Fire have ever recorded - in a good way!

The Suburbs is out August 2 in Europe and August 3 in the US.

//// New Klaxons: Flashover

Klaxons - Flashover (alternate link)

This sounds like the darker moments of Myths of the Near Future, and I love it. Nothing very unusual or surprising here, but it doesn't sound old either. What is really unusual and rare, is that the four young sophisticated Brits didn't name the song something that's a literary reference! Announcing their return as "here comes the flashover" is pretty badass/cute, though. Good to have you back, guys!

Surfing the void will be out sometimes this fall.

//// New Panda Bear: Tomboy

mp3: Panda Bear - Tomboy

Person Pitch was a dreamy sounding piece of sample patchwork, and it sounds like Panda Bear is continuing the same trend in this year's release. He's been playing a couple of solo shows the last month, presenting a lot of new material. Unfortunaly there are no studio versions available yet, but I'm sure they'll start surfacing soon, with the album only four months away from release. For now, enjoy this live version of the album's title track!

Tomboy is out September 2010.
May 21, 2010

Janelle Monáe feat. of Montreal - Make The Bus

mp3: Janelle Monáe feat. of Montreal - Make The Bus

On Tuesday, Georgia-based soul/indie-pop singer Janelle Monáe released her debut album The ArchAndroid, and the same day she performed the album's first single, Tightrope, on Letterman. The single is a collaboration with fellow Georgia musician Big Boi (of OutKast fame), and is some of the most fresh and funky sounding stuff I've heard since Hey Ya hit the world almost a decade ago.

Her artsy and eccentric persona really shone on her first television performance ever. My favorite song of hers right now, however, is definitely Make The Bus – another collaboration with a fellow Georgia star: of Montreal's equally eccentric and artsy Kevin Barnes. It's arguably more of an of Montreal song than a Janelle Monáe song, but as a big fan of Barnes, I just love what he does in this song.

In Barnes' earlier albums, he made quirky, modest and introverted lo-fi music heavily inspired by the Beatles and 60s psychedelia, but in 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? he introduced his new alter ego 'Georgie Fruit' on the latter half of the album, and while in this character, he explores a loud, extroverted, funky, shrieking falsetto side of himself that showcases his more recent and different influences, such as Prince. On 2008's Skeletal Lamping, the Fruit character dominated most of the album, but he still never let that side of him completely loose - until he collaborated with Monáe. This is going to be one of my favorite tracks for this summer, for sure!

For an example of one of the songs on Skeletal Lamping that sounds close to this, check out Id Engager and its lovely video.
May 20, 2010

En vill hest (Prince Thomas remix)

mp3: Casiokids - En Vill Hest (Prince Thomas Remix)

Two months ago I wrote about Norwegian electropoppers Casiokids, who since have released their sophomore album Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar. These days I'm hooked to fellow Norwegian Prince Thomas' remix of one track off the album, En Vill Hest. So atmospheric and lush, and I love the way he uses the acoustic guitar samples. Try it for yourself, and have a great and sunny May week!
May 6, 2010

Beardy men

Yesterday, I was riding the tram through the city, and when it passed a small sushi place I noticed that all of its three costumers had big beards.

It looked like they were a band or something. A 'beardy men indie-folk' band.

... like Bon Iver

... or Fleet Foxes

What happened to beardy men indie-folk? Neither Bon Iver nor Fleet Foxes have released any new LPs in two years now. I can't believe it's already been two years. Apparently Fleet Foxes are working on a new album that's going to be released in the fall, though! I'm pretty excited about it, after their very strong debut effort. To be fair, Bon Iver at least did an EP a year ago. Hope they start work on a new LP soon! I wonder how long Fleet Foxes' and Bon Ivers' beards have grown by now.
(their beards pretty small at the start of their tours in 2008, but quite long and manly looking by the end of 2008).
May 4, 2010

Remixed Beach

Speaking of taking the cheerful and bright 'Beach' by Mew and turning it into something sinister and dark, that is exactly what Danish electronic artist Trentemøller has done in his great remix of the song. I've been addicted to this song for about a week now:

mp3: Mew - Beach (Trentemøller Remix)

I haven't been this hooked to a remix of a song with the word 'beach' in its name since my favorite DJs, Brazilian The Twelves, remixed 'Beaches and Friends' (possibly their catchiest and most danceable remix to date):

mp3: Database vs. French Horn Rebellion - Beaches and Friends (The Twelves Remix)

Enjoy, and I hope you'll have the chance to take a trip down to the beach this week and soak up some nice May sun. Where I live, it suddenly snowed today - for the first time in weeks - so my chances are looking pretty bad.