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Heavy Rotation Highlights

Richard Murphy, Jack Fitzpatrick, Julia D'Amico, Katie Cheyne, Tori Tropiano

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HAPPY FRIDAY! Check out these five favorite artists on the rack reviewed by the ballin’ music staff. Of course we’ve got a look inside Sam Smith’s EDM soul, static from Montreal’s Solids, darkness from NOTHING, “mahogany vocals” from Ane Brun and Snowmine with indie perfection.

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Sam Smith ‰ÛÒ Sampler (Capitol)

Heartfelt storytelling on his own terms

Primarily known from his work with Disclosure, Sam Smith and his blossoming solo career only feature a handful of tracks at the moment; however, his most recent release leaves listeners yearning for a debut album schedule to drop Summer 2014. This EP holds tracks, “Money on My Mind‰” and “Nirvana,‰” that stress the quality and range of his voice while delivering powerful, emotion-filled lyrics. Standing out was the EP‰’s second track, “Together‰” featuring Nile Rogers and Disclosure. The track presented funky guitar lines and captivating electronic sounds from the featured artists. Two acoustic songs including “Latch,‰” a Disclosure track Smith originally was featured on, concluded the EP. Smith is someone to keep an eye on with his unique and memorable musical style.
-Jack Fitzpatrick
RIYL: Disclosure, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, How to Dress Well
Recommended: 2,3,4

Solids – Blame Confusion (Fat Possum)

Reverbed guitar goodness.

This duo rising out of Montreal could eventually create as much hype as our beloved Japandroids, but they have quite a ways to go. Xavier Germain-Poitras‰’ reverbed and distorted guitar playing pounds away constantly in all ten songs. Although we all love the fuzziness of a solid noise rock tune, it seems to backfire a bit in this album. The vocals can at times become lost, as the tempo stays consistently fast failing to give the listeners any sort of break or diversity. The first two tracks of the album are a little dull, but don‰’t give up on the album until you give “Traces‰” and “Haze Away‰” a listen. “Haze Away‰” is a beacon of hope, which can keep us optimistic about this young band‰’s future. Where the vocals may be lacking in other songs, they are made up for in this track. As they sing, “take this haze away,‰” it feels as though the droning and static guitar riffs are collapsing all around them. Once the vocals fade out, there are harmonized solos vibrating from the strings of the guitar, capitalizing the vocals. There are a lot of really great moments in this album, if you can find them though the fuzz.
-Katie Cheyne
RIYL: Japandroids, Cloud Nothings, No Age
Recommended Tracks: 3, 4, 6, 7

Nothing – Guilty of Everything (Relapse)

A shoegaze record that separates itself from the pack

Nothing may be a shoegaze band, but don‰’t lump them in with just every other group of twenty-somethings who‰’ve listened to Loveless a few too many times. With their roots in hardcore and punk music, Nothing bring a bit of a welcome edge to a genre currently crowded by a mob of similar sounding mopey kids. Everything you want from a shoegaze band is here, from the flood of guitars to the dripping reverb to the barely whispered, lyric-less vocals. They‰’re all here, but with the edition of furious drumming, fuzzed out guitars, and power-chord progressions that would satisfy any self-respecting “punk‰Û. The finest moments on Guilty of Everything come when they fully embrace their heritage, emphasizing the sheer weight of the music as on “Bent Nail‰Û, which begins as a fairly standard garage-punk song and devolves beautifully into a wash of noise approximately half way through. There are times where they don‰’t go quite as far as they could to make Guilty of Everything a truly incredible record, and the vocals could use a bit more “bite‰” to distinguish themselves from other bands in the same vein, but Nothing are developing a style on this record that could serve them well far into the future.
-Richard Murphy
RIYL: Swervdriver, Whirr, Cloud Nothings, Pity Sex
Recommended Tracks: 2, 3, 6, 9

Ane Brun – Songs 2003-2013 (V2 Records)

Maturity and confidence, like your lonely interesting talented aunt who can sing.

Ane Brun compiled the best of her work since 2003, re-recording five of her top songs, and unveiling some unreleased tracks in a 32 track album. The compilation is everything you would expect from a mature artist and song writer: originality, simplicity, and depth. Her mahogany vocals push and pull over the top of quiet but certain plucking and easy strumming, beautifully orchestrated together into what a singer song writer should strive for. Her lyrics are far from contrived, and she draws from her jazz roots on tracks like “Song. No 6.” While the style might not be your cup of tea, you have to respect such a coherent and comprehensive collection of tunes.
-Julia D‰’Amico
RIYL: Anna Ternheim, Nina Kinert, Rebekka Karijord
Recommended: 3, 5, 13, 29

Snowmine – Dialects

Be Proud To Love This “Indie” Band

Brooklyn quintet Snowmine has found indie-pop perfection with their sophomore album Dialects. Subtle yet effective use of fluttering flutes and pianos can be traced throughout the album, most notably on opener “To Hold an Ocean‰” and “Rome‰Û. “Glide‰” is a slow burn that flows into both “Plans‰” and “Courts‰” perfectly. Personal favorite, “Silver Sieve‰” layers vocals with instrumentals in a seamless balance, no part overpowering the other. In Dialects, Snowmine embraces indie-pop for all its weirdness and manages to create something both delicate and incredibly powerful. Much more elegant than your standard indie-pop album, Dialects creates a sound not soon forgotten in an overflowing genre.
-Tori Tropiano
RIYL: Blood Orange, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Cant
Recommend: 1, 2, 5,6,7, 10

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