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Phosphorescent – Song for Zula

Phosphorescent and its main creative engine songwriter Matthew Houck, who last released an LP in 2010 with the alt-country-laced Here’s To Taking It Easy, return to realize a true breakout moment with the beautifully honest and understated paean “Song for Zula”. The band’s latest LP Muchado is due later this year.

Phosphorescent – Song for Zula

Phosphorescent newyork (Facebook)

Rating 9.0

reviewed by
01-29-13

Maribou State & Pedestrian – Mask

LDN production duo Maribou State has rapidly become a favorite around b3. The group’s more spacious, more glacial take on future bass/garage is top class. Here MS link up with frequent collaborators Pedestrian for an otherworldly new pop track, “Mask”.

Maribou State (Soundcloud)

Rating 8.4

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01-29-13

Rare Monk – Drumhead

Portland band Rare Monk announce debut album Sleep/Attack and debut single, the crunchy riff-heavy hook-heavy “Drumhead”. “Drumhead” sounds a bit, at least melodically, of the Jack White school of writing. The comparison and similarity ends there, though, as there’s a definite uniqueness about the mix of sounds and palette of influences Rare Monk employs. Under a different instrumentation “Drumhead” could be an indie pop song, it’s not difficult to picture the track’s chorus on top a Cults or Sleigh Bells track. Give the excellent “Drumhead” your ears below and look for Sleep/Attack February 26th.

Rare Monk oregon (Bandcamp)

Rating 8.4

reviewed by
01-29-13

Chlöe Howl – Rumour

The great Chlöe Howl, who’s breakout “No Strings” killed the blogosphere at the end of last year, returns with a track that arguably surpasses her breakthrough track in quality. “Rumour” turns up the drama, tension & minor keys for an expertly crafted and paced (and we don’t claim this lightly) nearly perfect pop song. Do not miss.

Chloe Howl (Soundcloud)

Rating 8.7

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01-29-13

Giraffage – Close 2 Me

“Close 2 Me” is the latest release from b3 fave Giraffage from the SF CA producer’s upcoming Needs LP and also marks (we think) Cathy Dennis’ debut appearance on b3sci.

Giraffage (Facebook)

Rating 8.3

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01-29-13

The ACB’s – Record Store

Little Leaves will be the second LP from KC indie guitar band The ACB’s. The melodic buzzsaw that is second single “Record Store” is a definite must listen. Each of the song’s component melodies (verse, prechorus, chorus) could each be a really great chorus on three really great different songs; but meld and combine the three as The ACB’s have so brilliant done here and you’re faced with a juggernaut of a track that will render your faculty to resist toe tapping, humming along, and nodding your head completely useless.

The ACB’s – Record Store

The ACB’s missouri (Bandcamp)

Rating 8.2

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01-29-13

Dear Blanca – Havana Tonight

Anytime a band can mix in harmonica with a “Besame Mucho” reference as South Carolina band Dear Blanca do on new track “Havana Tonight”, they’re going to (at the very least) have our attention. The Columbia, SC band dial up the grit, rawness, and soul and do indeed “Dance to Besame Mucho” in the track’s irreverent singalong-inviting hook. Dear Blanca have a new album due in a couple weeks called Talker and you can count the b3 team as among the psyched. Spin “Havana Tonight” below.

Dear Blanca (Facebook)

Rating 8.4

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01-29-13

Interview w/ The New Division

We recently had the chance to catch up The New Division frontman John Kunkel to chat about the band’s inception, 80s influence on a new generation, their album and more! Check out this fresh overview of the buzzing LA based 4 piece below.

B3SCI: Tell us a little background on The New Division and how the band came to be?

The New Division: It started off originally as a one-man project back in 2005 that later turned into a full band. Janzie, and I (John) met each other in college, and about a year later we ran into Brock (guitars) who was shortly thereafter added to our roster. We went through about 2 or 3 drummers before we decided that they weren’t good fits. About a year later we met Mark at a show we were playing. At the time he was just a fan, but we had a really good conversation on the night we met him and asked him to join the band about 2 days later.

B3SCI: The band definitely has some stadium ready anthems on your recent Night Escape release. Is there ever a big picture in mind when you write?

The New Division: I think with New Division our songs always aim at being a bit epic. We try to approach each song with that type of mindset.

B3SCI: There also seems a bit of a hybrid of both traditional rock band and electro collective. To you, what constitutes that perfect balance between rock and electronic pop music?

The New Division: I think having a lot of the main arrangements be electronic, and then adding a guitar sounds perfect. It’s not done as much as I’d like it in today’s music, but I think its going to become more and more popular.

B3SCI: Let’s talk about the 80s. U2, New Order, Depeche Mode…Joy Division, etc. How do you see The New Division in relation to this iconic pop sound?

The New Division: I think we’ll always be connected in one way or another to our early influences, whether in the songwriting process, or in the production of the sound we’re aiming for, but we don’t focus on trying to be like them. Whenever you write, the influences will show their way into the songwriting process, and depending on the song style.

B3SCI: How do you feel the internet and blogosphere has contributed to the evolution of the band and its unique sound? Do they add anything to the iconic style of 80s music for a new generation?

The New Division: It’s been a major blessing for us, we probably wouldn’t be anywhere without the support of the dedicated blogs and websites who take the time to write about our music. I think its great that we can find about new artists via the Internet and it allows for a resurgence of stuff we may have missed, or never been able to find 30 years ago.

B3SCI: Night Escape showcases some of your strongest work to date. How would you best explain the evolution of The New Division on Night Escape from your earlier releases and debut LP, Shadows?

The New Division: After releasing Shadows there was a period of time where nothing was happening, and then all the sudden songs were being written again. By the time we started writing for Night Escape, a year or so had gone by and we had actually thrown away a large batch of songs, all because they sounded too much like they belonged on Shadows. The plan wasn’t to write a new EP originally, but since we’d just gotten rid of what could’ve been the follow up to our debut LP we decided it was appropriate to write a batch of songs of that would help transition and showcase a new sound, a new direction. Those songs later turned into Night Escape.

B3SCI: Is there a particular track on Night Escape that you feel especially proud of as a band? Something that you feel could hint at future directions and inspirations for The New Division?

The New Division: I was really proud of “Night Escape”, the track. It wasn’t the song that got the most praise, but I felt it was a huge achievement. In terms of a hint of our future direction, “Kids” is probably the track that sounds more like our new material.

B3SCI: How has the formation of your own independent label, Division 87 Records, affected the bands approach to music? Has it contributed any to your growth musically and professionally?

The New Division: It hasn’t really affected that too much from what I can tell. We still have to finish our album! Maybe then we’ll find out. So far its been exciting to see the support we’ve received from our close friends and contacts that are helping make this dream come true.

B3SCI: Given a history of both original tracks and remix projects from The New Division, what is it about a New Division project that consistently defines it as something undeniably yours?

The New Division: Probably the blend of the 80s nostalgia with a modern edge!

B3SCI: When the members of New Division aren’t making music, how do they bide their time? Also how do the member’s projects contribute to the musical growth of the band?

The New Division: We all work full time day jobs, so it’s really not the ideal band picture where you see four guys making music in a studio 12 hours a day. It’s more like we work from 9-5 and any chance our schedules align we get together. Other than playing shows, its hard to get us all in the same room. Brock’s a bar tender, Mark works with the elderly, Janzie juggles about 3 jobs, and as for myself, I work doing PR for a nonprofit. Other than that, we’re all prolific writers so the way I see it, the more we write for other projects, the better for The New Division when we get together. The only thing that’s allowed us to progress over the years has been practicing and practicing writing songs.

B3SCI: You have a couple shows on the books for early 2013, when can fans expect The New Division to be performing in a city near them?

The New Division: It’s hard to say considering we’re a “poor” band. We have to really build up our fan base in 2013 before we can even think about touring. Hopefully though in 2014!

B3SCI: What does 2013 hold for New Division?

The New Division: We are prepping up to release the follow-up to Shadows, which we’re really excited about. That’s really our main focus for 2013.

B3SCI: What are you heading for the next time you enter a record store?

The New Division: I’ve really been wanting to buy Interpol’s 10th year anniversary of TOTBL.

B3SCI: We’re hooking you up with a free ride on our B3SCI time machine. Where are you guys going?

The New Division: Probably to the 1920s, seems like they had some good times.

The New Division – Pride

The New Division california (Facebook)

Rating 8.5

reviewed by
01-28-13

Laura Stevenson – Runner

“Runner” is new from Long Island songwriter Laura Stevenson. The bouncy jittering indie pop track will appear on both Stevenson’s upcoming April-due debut LP Wheel as well as a three-song 7″ out next month. “Runner” earns its bread on its giant, singalong-inviting chorus “This summer hurts! This summer hurts!”; expect that refrain to eat your heart, brain, and eardrums out (in that order) with each repeated listen.

Laura Stevenson – Runner

Laura Stevenson (Official)

Rating 8.0

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01-28-13

Crash and the Coots – Don’t Kill Bugs

Here’s a free download from the young and enthusiastic Crash And The ‘Coots taken from their forthcoming EP Hill Rise – named after a housing estate where their dad grew up and recorded in a bedroom at their mums house. “Don’t Kill Bugs” sounds like they’ve borrowed Scroobious Pip’s moral compass and vocal delivery and altogether exudes an array of flamboyant childhood influences. Hill Rise EP will be available from 25th March on One Upon A Time. By Nathan Hetherington

Crash and the Coots – Don’t Kill Bugs

Crash & The ‘Coots (Facebook)

Rating 8.3

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reviewed by
01-28-13

Pixel Fix – Rosa

Oxford’s Pixel Fix mark a strong debut with blissed-out ambient pop of “Rosa”. The guts of “Rosa” are squarely sunsplashed and dreamy but underneath (and what makes the track especially interesting and re-listenable) is that track’s sharp rhythm track and hooks; atmosphere and cinema with a pop consciousness.

Pixel Fix – Rosa

Pixel Fix (Facebook)

Rating 8.4

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01-28-13

Tegan and Sara – Closer (The Knocks Remix)

Previewed below is the latest mix from The Knocks, a bright, uptempo, killer electropop rework of Tegan & Sara’s “Closer” single. Look out for The Knocks debut full length later this year.

The Knocks (Facebook)

Rating 8.1

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reviewed by
01-28-13