Victoria Abraham defines one up and coming artist each week so you can impress your friends with your musical brilliance. This week, she tackles Capital Cities, an electro pop band from Los Angeles, California.
Capital Cities is the awesome result of two talented singers and multi-instrumentalists finding each other through Craigslist and realizing that they can make something great. Fortunately for all of us, their realization was an accurate one, which means more fun to dance to songs in our futures, and countless opportunities to marvel at Sebu’s ferociously badasss beard. Their debut album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery is due to be released on June 11, 2013.
Origins: Los Angeles, California
Band members: Ryan Merchant (frontman), Sebu Simonian (frontman), Nick Merwin (guitarist), Manny Quintero (bassist), Spencer Ludwig (trumpeter), Channing Holmes (drummer)
Known for: Capital Cities is known for expertly crafted melodies and Ryan and Sebu’s voices singing in unison
Used in a sentence: Capital Cities make the perfect music to dance to, whether you’re at the beach, at a bar, or whipping up dinner in your kitchen
File next to: The Mirrors, Goldfrapp
Download now: “Safe and Sound”
Five fun facts:
1. Ryan and Sebu met on Craigslist
2. They have performed with Chromeo, LP, Asher Roth, Jane’s Addiction and Theophilus London
3. Ryan is originally from San Francisco and Sebu was born in Syria
Lana Del Rey joins the likes of Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Florence and the Machine on the already legendary soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming flick, The Great Gatsby. Del Rey’s contribution, “Young and the Beautiful,” is one of the first to surface.
The song seems to be reflective of the movie’s themes, and as most Del Rey songs do, has a great unique sound.
The lyrics, “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful / Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul / I know you will, I know you will / I know that you will,” are reminiscent of Gatsby’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) relationship with Daisy Buchanan (Carrie Mulligan). Between this and Beyonce’s Back to Black cover, it seems like this soundtrack may just be the soundtrack of the year.
The soundtrack for The Great Gatsby will be released three days before the films release, on May 7. Del Rey’s track is already available on iTunes.
LISTEN TO “YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL” BY LANA DEL REY HERE:
Paramore has just released the music video for “Still Into You,” and it’s just as amazing as their previous hits.
For a song thats about someone still being into their ex, this music video is very pink and peppy. Don’t get me wrong, peppy music videos are always more enjoyable to watch than angst filled music videos about heartbreak. Someone needs to tell Hayley Williams to stop being so perfect, and to leave some for the rest of us.
The lead singer tweeted about the single and it’s position on iTunes charts.
Dear @jtimberlake I’m sorry our album had to bump you down to #2 for a bit. You are still #1 in my heart. Thx for sharing the top spot. YAY!
— Hayley from Paramore (@yelyahwilliams) April 9, 2013
I woke up and thought it was all going to be a dream but we have the #1 album on @itunesmusic in a ton of countries & I am fully awake!!
— Hayley from Paramore (@yelyahwilliams) April 9, 2013
“Still Into You” is the second single from their self-titled album.
Walk Off The Earth’s Mike Taylor speaks on camera for what is possibly the first time ever in this ANDPOP exclusive.
Known as the “beard guy” to countless YouTube commenters, Taylor plays a round of ping pong against ANDPOP’s host Simon Mohos before he and the rest of the band embark on their world tour.
Walk Off The Earth exploded onto the scene after the band’s 5 people 1 instrument cover of Gotye’s “Somebody I Used To Know” went viral. The band have since gained over 300 million video views on YouTube alone and over a million subscribers.
For Taylor, “R.E.V.O.” (Realize Every Victory Outright) is more than just an album title—it’s how the band leads their own lives. He says he wants to inspire their fans to “shoot for the stars, stay positive, don’t let anything get in your way and realize your goals.”
“Do something you’ll believe in that’s fresh, a little different,” he said.
As Taylor spills the secrets on how to live a happy life to Simon, Simon returns the favour by teaching him how to say the Hungarian equivalent to “F—k, yeah!” It’s a skill we’re sure will come in handy when the band lands in Budapest, Hungary during their world tour.
Make sure to watch the video below to not only hear him speak but to see who comes out victorious in the most vicious and exciting sudden death ping pong match you’ll ever see.
By Evan Ross
Happy 2013, ANDPOP readers! I have no doubt that more than a few of you made resolutions regarding the person you hope to be in 2013: A better athlete, a A+ student, a better eater, a professional One Direction stalker. This playlist is made up of my personal resolutions and the songs I will use to force myself to stick with them until 2014 (or at least until February). I hope they inspire you too!
1) Save money/shop less: “Price Tag (Rizzle Kicks vs. Rural Remix)” – Rizzle Kicks & Jessie J
In 2012 I almost completely overhauled my wardrobe which, unfortunately for my bank account, was not free. This habit quickly became a shopping addiction as I bought so many things I didn’t need (Dharma Initiative necklace, anyone?). This song reminds me that pleasure need not lie in the swipe of my credit card but can be found in nice everyday things. Perfect for: Either convincing yourself to stop shopping or convincing yourself to buy more things because it’s not about the price tag.
2) Eat better: “The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack” – Liars
I’m adding this song more for the title than anything else. This track has come up on my iPod on more than one occasion after a binge at McDonald’s and never fails to make me want to reach for the nearest piece of celery. If you need to be shamed into picking up some real grapes instead of grape flavoured candy than this is the song for you. Perfect for: Reminding you of the consequences of getting a breakfast sandwich with sausage AND bacon (see also: “Fat Bottomed Girls” – Queen).
3) Spend less time on social media: “Outside Inside” – The Streets
I can easily say that in 2012 my love of Twitter developed into an addiction. It’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I check before I got to bed. It’s my goal in the new year to curb this habit before my iPhone Claw becomes a permanent affliction (I already have a serious case of texting thumb), and to stop spending three plus hours looking at gifs on Tumblr. This track on Mike Skinner’s final album reminds us that while all the info about outside is available on the Internet, it’s important to actually go outside and experience it once and while.
4) Read more: “Origin of Love” – Hedwig and the Angry Inch Read more…
By Evan Ross
While some cheerios relish holiday shopping and stringing garlic around their Douglas Fir trees, Christmas isn’t a merry time of year for everyone. In fact, according to the Evan Ross Institute of Science, Christmas comes second only to Valentines Day in the list of holidays that remind you how crushingly alone you are.
Music is a great way to replenish your spirits, whether it’s on at a Secret Santa mixer or a quiet Wednesday night. I know! Christmas songs can be super repetitive — sometimes repeating three times in an hour on the radio.
Here’s a list of pleasant Yuletide alternatives (and alternative covers) that won’t make you want to lose it on the person in front of you at Old Navy. (Disclaimer: you may still lose it, but it will be because of the hell of the holiday retail scene, rather than the music.)
“Donna and Blitzen” by Badly Drawn Boy
This is my favourite Christmas song ever. I first discovered it when I fell asleep during About A Boy during the credits. (Aside: is it just me or are Hugh Grant movies a recurring theme in this column?) The melody is infectious, and it heavily features sleigh bells, which is always a bonus. The lyrics are sweet without being cheesy, as they tell the story of two reindeer (magic, of course) who fall in love and take their first flight together. If it sounds familiar to you, that may be because it was featured in a Sears commercial few years ago, which totally did not make me tear up… nope, not at all.
Perfect for: Romantic skating/a cute Christmas shopping date.
“Christmas Day” by She & Him
What could be more perfect than Zooey Deschanel and Christmas music? Zooey is adorable (if you disagree, I will fight you) and this song is nearly as cute as she is. She & Him celebrate those of us, young and old, who will always be excited that a fat guy in a red suit is breaking into our house to give us presents. If you get up at 6 am every year just to tear into your gifts, this song is for you.
Perfect for: Opening presents while the log channel plays in the background.
“Sleigh Bells” — Karmin
There’s always that one Grinchy person who absolutely hates Christmas. You know the type; someone who frowns every time they see a caroler and makes the Burger Meister look cheerful (if you didn’t get that Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town reference than I don’t even want to know you). This song will definitely make them cheerier, and if it doesn’t, run in the other direction.
Perfect for: Pleasing the complete bummer in your life/rockin’ out.
“Just Like Christmas” by Low Read more…
For such an epic song, I envisioned the music video for Imagine Dragons‘ “Radioactive” to be a little different than the one we got. The guys are locked up in the basement dungeon of some criminal mastermind running a fighting ring. But instead of pitbulls, the fighters are stuffed animals.
A mysterious woman brings a scraggly pink bear to fight against a nasty horned moster, hoping he dominates the ring and rescues the trapped rockers.
The track is from Imagine Dragons’ debut album Night Visions. I imagined something a little more post-apocalyptic, like survivors conquering zombies in a destroyed city. Still, it’s an interesting, if slightly kitschy storyline. Do you think it fits the song?
Watch it here
Xanthofficial have created a really beautiful cover of MGMT’s “Kids,” which is a really electronic-driven song. In the cover, the guitarist named Sam uses a technique called “slap guitar” to cover the song. Basically, it consists of a lot of percussion-esque moves on the guitar that end up creating a beautiful beat. Sam also has a pretty angelic voice, which only adds to the swoons I am having from the cover.
Victoria Abraham defines one up and coming artist each week so you can impress your friends with your musical brilliance. This week, she tackles Of Monsters and Men, an indie folk band from Iceland.
Six-piece band Of Monsters and Men have provided our ears with a seductive mix of slightly dark lyrics set to music that is fun to sing along to. Their songs remain fantastical, while drawing inspiration from random stories the band members have read. With shows all over the world from Brazil and Chile to Germany, Of Monsters and Men are definitely carving a niche for themselves. Now they just need to come out with a “how-to” guide for the pronunciation of their names.
Origins: Garour, Iceland
Band members: Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir (co-lead vocals, guitar), Ragnar Þórhallsson (co-lead vocals, guitar, melodica, glockenspiel), Brynjar Leifsson (guitar, melodica, backing vocals), Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson (drums, percussion, melodica, glockenspiel, backing vocals), Kristján Páll Kristjánsson (bass, backing vocals), Árni Guðjónsson (accordion/keys, backing vocals)
Known for: They are known for their delicious folksy sound and Nanna’s unique voice.
Used in a sentence: Listening to Of Monsters and Men, it’s hard to know if you’re meant to be happy or sad, but the ambiguity is kind of nice.
File next to: Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Download now: “Little Talks”
Five fun facts:
1. Before Of Monsters and Men, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir had her own solo project called Songbird.
2. Their song “Six Weeks” is inspired by the true story of American frontiersman Hugh Glass who was thought dead after a bear attack
While Of Monsters and Men had musical aspirations, they never dreamed they’d be full time musicians.
“I always wanted to do it but it just felt silly to say it because it’s just so unrealistic,” said vocalist and guitarist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir.
The six piece indie folk band experienced swift success after winning a national battle of the bands competition in Iceland back in 2010. Since then their single “Little Talks” from their debut studio album My Head Is An Animal has topped Billboard’s alternative chart.
The group performed a live acoustic session of “Mountain Sound” for Making Waves. They told ANDPOP they never intended to make an album at first — they just wanted to write songs and word quickly spread.
They also had some apt advice for musicians. While many artists throw off romantic affirmations like “follow your dreams,” vocalist and guitarist Ragnar Þórhallsson is a little more practical: “Do it because you want to do it and make music that you yourself like and not that you think everyone else will like,” he said. “Like my dad always says, just keep on keeping on.”
Watch it here
Florence + the Machine’s dark new video for “Lover To Lover” chronicles a fading housewife living in a shabby old home trying to repair a damaged relationship with a verbally abusive lover.
Her intimidating gent is played by Ben Mendelsohn, who kind of looks like a Wild West cowboy with his untamed moustache. After a seemingly endless cycle of fighting and making up, Flo burns their possessions and dives into the freezing cold ocean in a bleak but powerful final gesture.
Florence Welch told Nowness: ”The waves were enormous, it was freezing cold and four in the morning — I was weeping all the way in I was so scared.”
“Lover To Lover” is the latest track from the group’s sophomore album Ceremonials. The video was directed by Vincent Haycock.
Watch it here
Fresh off touring the U.S. with Passion Pit, Hollerado released a new energetic track called “Pick Me Up.” The JUNO-nominated Canadian rockers add some female backing vocals to the upbeat song in the chorus: ”If I fall back down, you pick me up.”
Three of the four band members grew up on the same street in an Ottawa suburb and quickly became a band to watch after recording in Montreal. The track is the debut single off their second full-length album White Paint, which drops in February. If it’s anything like “Pick Me Up” then it’s one to watch for!
Listen to it here
When we last heard from Lana Del Rey, she was killing dudes in the middle of no where for her “Ride” video. Now, her new video for “Bel Air” shows an angelic Del Rey standing in the midst of candy-coloured clouds. It’s a drastic contrast, but I really like it. The artistic video shows a rather sad looking Lana glancing up at the camera, paired with slow-mo hair flips. It sounds really boring, but something tells me the video is a bit more symbolic then it comes off at first.
Though Lana is doing next to nothing in the video, the colour changes definitely mean something. After several clips of yellows, blues, greens, and pinks, Del Rey is seen in black and white. The artsy part of my soul is sounding the alarm here. Whatever the video means, it’s very pretty. I’m also digging the fact that she’s totally channeling Wendy Darling from “Peter Pan” in that white nightgown. Maybe I’m reading in to the video too much.
Watch “Bel Air” here:
The countdown for The Weeknd’s next album Trilogy is still going strong, with only five days left until it’s released. Although the album will feature mostly old stuff (and by stuff I mean beautiful, lyrical genius type of deals), the singer is also adding three new tracks to the mix. The Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye) made an appearance on BBC Radio 1 to debut one of these news songs, “Twenty Eight.” It literally sounds like heartbreak and magic all wrapped into one mp3 file. But what else can we expect from the master of heart wrenching lyrics?
In “Twenty Eight,” the singer’s soothing voice is accompanied by the constant beat of a piano. Usually a heart breaker himself, The Weeknd seems to reverse roles in this song. The singer opens the song with the words, “this is house is not a home to you/but you decide to go ahead and lay down, lay down.” Hmm, to me that sounds like a lover taking some serious advantage of The Weeknd and all that he has to offer. Poor guy. At least his heartbreak results in some awesome music. (Sad but true).
Listen to a snippet of “Twenty Eight” here:
“Rum and Raybans” – Sean Kingston ft. Cher Lloyd
One again, Sean Kingston has a hit on his hands with “Rum and Raybans,” the new single off his latest album Back 2 Life. The premise of the song is simple: All Mr. Kingston needs to have fun on the dance floor is a glass of rum in his hand and Raybans on his face (you know, to protect his eyes from all the bright lights and such). And all I need to have fun is this song pounding on the speakers…and some rum would be nice too. There’s a ton of synth, a robot voice, hard beat, Kingston’s signature reggae type vocals, and the one and only Cher Lloyd lending her sauciness to the mix. If you’re looking for some new party tracks I definitely recommend this one.
“How” – Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor gets dark and emotional in her new single “How.” The somber track is about breaking up and wondering how she can ever live without her ex-beau. It’s all quite heartbreaking and Spektor’s powerful pipes will give you chills. The beauty of the song shines through the video, which is shot with a combination of animation and live action. Directed by Margo Weathers, Spektor is impeccably styled with quirky violin-inspired makeup, feathers, and butterfly wings. Spektor’s new album What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is out now.
“The Boys” – Nicki Minaj ft. Cassie
All righty people. If you’re at work right now I would suggest turning your laptop away so your boss can’t see you computer screen because things are about to get pretty raunchy. But what else can you expect from a collaboration with bombshells Nicki Minaj and Cassie right? The track itself is catchy as hell alternating between fast rapping from Nicki and then slowing it down with an acoustic guitar and slow singing from Cassie. The ladies strut their stuff in leotards, hang out in a very pink barbershop, and pretty much just remind everyone that they’re sexy and they know it. Then things get a little weird and Nicki kills everyone. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
“F**kin’ Problem” – A$AP Rocky ft. Drake, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar Read more…
The main characters in
Bonnie Bears Bon Iver’s new video “Beth/Rest” kind of remind me of those cheesy, other-world inspired figurines you’d find sitting on a senior citizen’s fireplace beside fine china and doilies.
In the video, a forest-dwelling couple’s love literally shines as they go tromp through the woods. They float around a hot air balloon and collect eggs, before returning to their treehouse to cuddle in Snuggies. Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon roams among the trees, playing a colourful keyboard.
The whole video is awesomely ’80s and kind of looks like it was inspired by the director of Touched By and Angel (it was actually directed by Dan Huiting and Vernon himself). The song is from his album sophomore album Bon Iver, Bon Iver, which came out nearly a year and a half ago.
Watch it here:
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Woodley takes stop motion to a whole new level with his Lego-fied version of Foster the People’s “Houdini” music video. Woodley is from Insomnia Animation and re-created the video entirely with Lego bricks over several hundred hours.
In Woodley’s version the tuxedoed SWAT team who engineer robot versions of the band members to perform become chirpy trumpet players. The sequences are pretty seamless and well detailed. We can tell this guy is going places!
The Black Key’s new music video for “Little Black Submarines” captures their intimate performance at Nashville’s Springwater Supper Club, a former speakeasy. The Danny Clinch-directed video is a fairly simple concept but their passionate performance and the gritty cinematography is enough to keep me watching.
Singer Dan Auerbach described the building to Rolling Stone: ”It’s been there forever. It’s got a lot of history. It’s one of three or four different little small dive bars in town. It’s special because it’s so old.”
The track is the fourth single taken from their album El Camino.
Watch it here:
Indie rock trio Two Door Cinema Club’s newest album Beacon is the perfect upbeat playlist to put on when you’re chilling with friends next weekend. Though the album doesn’t officially come out until Sept. 4, you can stream it online, below. This is the second EP from the guys, who hail from Northern Ireland. It includes the lead single “Sleep Alone.”
Fun, albeit unconfirmed tidbit: Barack Obama is apparently a huge fan. While the guys denied rumors to BBC that he bought an entire stadium worth of seats for a show in Washington DC, we certainly wouldn’t blame him if he did!
Listen to Beacon here:
Victoria Abraham defines one up and coming artist each week so you can impress your friends with your musical brilliance. This week, she tackles Dead Man’s Bones, a folk-rock duo from Los Angeles. We haven’t heard much from Dead Man’s Bones lately, so this is a bit of a throwback post AND a plea for them to make more music.
There are two particularly awesome things about Dead Man’s Bones. One: their folk-rock sound. Two: RYAN GOSLING. Yup, Ryan Gosling is in a band. So just in case your crush on him was wavering, he decided to become even more awesome. But, unlike other actors-turned-rockstar situations, Dead Man’s Bones is actually genuine, different and worth your ear time.
Band members: Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields. Gosling performs under the alias “Baby Goose.”
Known for: Dead Man’s Bones are known for their dark lyrics and imperfectly perfect songs..
Used in a sentence: “Dead Man’s Bones is like accidentally discovering those two cute guys from high school have a morbid fascination with zombies and horror movies, yet you’re still totally into them.”
File next to: Flight of the Conchords
Download now: “My Body’s a Zombie for You”
Fun facts: Gosling met Shields when The Notebook star was dating Rachel McAdams. Shields was dating her sister at the time. They bonded over their mutual love of horror movies and music. So they decided to create a scary musical.
Eventually they decided to just focus on the music. The band has a personal rule of not doing any more than three takes for any song, embracing the imperfections that occur. They also play all the instruments themselves.
Timeline: Read more…