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September 2014
Seagulls
"Great Pine
"
mp3
With spindly strings horning in the opening instrumental, “Dragoon” awakens Seagulls' debut LP Great Pine, seamlessly transitioning into “Swimmin’,” a song that is initially given a steady-footed beat around which a more intricate and illuminating composition is built generating a peaceful yet purposeful layered sound, setting the tone for what lies ahead. “You and Me” plays like a surf-folk love letter, developing a warm, earnest vocal confession, while fitting nicely with the tug and pull groove of the scratching guitar and persistent bass. The vocal harmonies provide a sweetness accompanied by reserved bursts of trumpet and accordion-like effects offer a tease of nostalgia.
 
“Love, Give” follows a similar theme as vocals, strings, and snap-percussion set a pleasant, pensive, strolling pace as echoing harmonies and backing vocals reinforce, “Love give your hands to me, for someday I’ll be on bended knee.” “Old Habits” maintains an up close lo-fi aesthetic and underlying 8-bit accents, but the perspective has changed, shining a light on the dark side of relationships and a groove that has a somewhat worn and dusty ascetic, enhancing the lyrics meaning - “Old habits, die hard or they never do/so keep lying til they all catch up to you.” A well-placed take on Big Star’s “Thirteen” incorporates the honest-loving sentiments of adolescence, falling neatly inline with the group’s heartfelt vocal honesty, while simultaneously acknowledging one of their potential influences.
 
The record’s title-track “Great Pine” serves as a breath-catching ambiance builder before the turbulent “Holy Smokes” emerges. Enlisting peaks of aggressive kick-in-the-door instrumentation - particularly percussion between smooth stretches of vocally dominant valleys - in essence, layering pieces of clear skies between moments of violent storms.
 
“Distracted” concludes Great Pine with an uplifting blanket of vocals, allowing the guitar to stretch its sea legs as the backend force steers the musical ship; holding the course. This album starts on the shore, and while there are moments where it seems destined to searchingly drift out there, Seagulls appropriately demonstrate an ability to reel it in, taking a beautiful inaugural voyage. - Michael Colavita

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City States

Last week saw the release of the debut full-length album from City States, Geography. City States is primarily the work of Joel Ebner who has been toiling away as City States since 2008. The 10 tracks on Geography were masterfully mixed by John McEntire (Tortoise, Sea And Cake).

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Netherfriends "Flying Friends"

Netherfriends (aka Shawn Rosenblatt) released a new track today called "Flying Friends" which features Jams Dean, Chandler London, and Rich Jones. The track was created live in Logan Square by sampling a few Flying Lotus beats.

Shawn also just released a mini-documentary filmed by Cole Bennett for Lyrical Lemonade which gives you a sense of a day in the life of Netherfriends.

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Nones

Hozac Records released the latest from Nones, Midwestern Family Values, this week. You can grab it digitally here or order the gold vinyl edition here. Below is the wonderfully frightening track "Ugly Head".

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Walking Bicycles “Impending Doom”

Walking Bicycles have released the first single, "Impending Doom", from their forthcoming LP To Him That Wills The Way. The new album, the band's first since 2009, will be released on August 12th through the local label Highwheel Records.

You can catch Walking Bicycles on June 20th at The Hideout and on August 11th for the record release show at The Empty Bottle.

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Dawn Golden

The new album, Still Life, from Dawn Golden (aka Dexter Tortoriello of Houses) was released this week by Downtown Records. As Dawn Golden Dexter delves further in the downtempo electro-soul world than with Houses.

You can currently stream Still Life over at Hype Machine. Below is the Diplo remix of "All I Want".

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Twin Peaks "Flavor"

Twin Peaks have released the first single from their forthcoming album, Wild Onion. The track is called "Flavor" and the new album is available for preorder.

Twin Peaks will be performing next in Chicago on July 19th at Pitchfork Music Festival.

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Umbra & the Volcan Siege "Stick It"

Umbra & the Volcan Siege released their latest album Somedays Coming Soon this week. The new album features the track "Stick It" which was also turned into the amazing video below.

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Collages "Windy City Mirage"

Collages are the musical experimentations of Jesse Bustamante. Earlier this Spring he released song called Windy City Mirage. The tracks have a washed out and patchwork sound but underneath there is a very present musicality and beauty. There are so many contrast elements that the sound is heard to define, but like in the track "Way of the Wind" the result is wonderful Dream Pop.

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