Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Leaving the technicolor dancefloors of "Sleepyhead" and "The Reeling" behind, "Moth's Wings" ebbs and flows as one of Passion Pit's most impressive works to date. A step in a more mature direction for the band, "Moth's Wings" displays a more restrained vocal from Michael Angelakos in place of the off-the-wall shrieks and wails found on Chunk of Change (not that we didn't love those, mind you). Leading in with ephemeral dulcimer loops and pristine keys, oceansized synths rise up and wash across the mix as the song shimmers and flutters like the diamond rings and moths wings referenced within. It's perhaps the group's most timeless pop offering to date and a resounding wake up call for anyone hastily rushing to cast aside Passion Pit as nothing more than another indie dance act. Haters beware, Manners is the real deal.

MP3: "Moth's Wings" - Passion Pit

Friday, April 24, 2009


To be perfectly honest, we don't love "The Reeling", the lead single off of Passion Pit's forthcoming Manners, but that's really only because we've been spoiled by the rest of the tracks compiled on their amazing debut full length. The recently unveiled video, on the other hand, is most definitely something to write home about. Perhaps the finest music video we've seen all year, the clip was directed by the Humble collective and filmed at the Delancey, also known as the LES home to our infamous (not really) Neon Gold parties. The video finds the band flanked by girls way too hot for them to feasibly be hanging out with and immersed in a world of distressed, animated paper as Michael belts out the chorus of his most vulnerable anthem from behind a mask of paper mache and torn up gig flyers. Deep, bro.

Regardless of your stance on "The Reeling" you should probably go ahead and start getting extremely excited about the otherworldly pleasures in store for you on their debut LP, out on Frenchkiss Records and Columbia UK next month. Let's just put it this way, if "Little Secrets" doesn't light up the airwaves as this summer's "Electric Feel", then frankly we don't know what will. Here's a hot-shit remix the dudes dropped for touring pals Ra Ra Riot to ease the wait.

MP3: "Ghost Under Rocks" (Passion Pit Mix) - Ra Ra Riot

// Humble //

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


We're not sure if even now - a few months on since we first alluded to its jaw dropping brilliance in our hot tips for '09 - the unwashed masses are quite prepared for it, but it's time to draw back the curtain on Ellie Goulding's "Starry Eyed". Quite possibly our favorite song of the year thus far, "Starry Eyed" establishes Goulding as a force to be reckoned with in 2009's crowded female pop scene and Starsmith as one of the most exciting new producers in the game. This is a masterful pop accomplishment through and through, from Ellie's soaring vocals to those immense bass surges in the chorus, and you'd be wise to get all up on this shit as soon as humanly possible. All aboard the Ellie Goulding train. Next stop: the stars.

MP3: "Starry Eyed" - Ellie Goulding [exclusive]

Our other favorite lady of 2009 also has some fine new sounds for your ears. "Jealousy" is the latest gem out of the Marina & The Diamonds camp and it's sounding like one of her biggest tracks yet. Check the demo at her myspace and keep an eye on this space for some rather fucking exciting Neon Diamonds news later this week.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


File under: Next level shit. Mouths have been wired shut about Discovery for a minute now, but our friends at Transparent have gone and let the cat out of the bag and it's time for the world to know. As if Vampire Weekend hadn't conquered the world hard enough already with the world's most universally likable brand of catchy guitar pop, keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij just had to go and craft his response to the Postal Service's genre-defining Give Up LP, the hypothetical follow up to which may well be one of the most anticipated albums of all time to never actually materialize.

Batmanglij teams up with Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles on Discovery, and the result sounds like a synthed-out Vampire Weekend doing their best to one up the Postal Service and R. Kelly at the same time, all shimmering electro-pop melodies replete with references to technology and Japan underpinned by a lead vocal from Miles that manages to artfully walk the line between Ben Gibbard and Hot 97 with a delicate grace. A full length from the duo will be out this summer, but for now feast your ears on a first taste with "Orange Shirt" below. An additional song is available on their myspace here, but rest assured these tracks are just the tip of the iceberg, with far more earth-shattering material to be unveiled in the months to come (just wait for "So Insane"). Get ready for a whole new takeover.

MP3: "Orange Shirt" - Discovery

Remember "I Wish"? Don't worry, we almost forgot it was the best song ever too.

// Surfstation //

Monday, April 13, 2009


It's a beautiful-ass day in the neighborhood and Wave Machines done hooked it up with the perfect soundtrack. The Liverpool quartet have been kicking it for a minute now - their Chess Club debut "I Go I Go I Go" was one of the elite tracks of last spring - but they somehow seem to remain criminally underrated. They were one of the best bands we saw at SXSW and the breezy lo-fi disco of "Keep The Lights On", the lead single off their forthcoming debut LP Wave If You're Really There, just might be their finest work to date. Last month we spent a groggy SXSW morning in Austin with the Chess Club bros unanimously declaring "Lights" the best song ever and while that may be a slight understatement, it shimmers and shines as one of our sonic highlights of 2009. Welcome to summer.

MP3: "Keep The Lights On" - Wave Machines

Elsewhere, Yes Giantess are celebrating the upcoming release of their debut single on Neon Gold (preorders going fast!) with a new track on their myspace. "Demons" is without a doubt the fiercest beat the guys have dropped since "Tuff N Stuff", showing off a darker new sound for the band and a taste of the amazing things to come from the Boston pop maestros.

// Scott Waterman //

Thursday, April 9, 2009


The XX are a new breed of bright young things. The South London teenagers pen dark, atmospheric compositions that demonstrate a natural songwriting ability far beyond their collective years, crafting songs that stay with you long after they've run their course. Introductory single "Crystalised" is one of the more breathtaking debuts we've heard in this or any other year, its spacious production and minimal arrangement giving way to the male-female vocal interplay that takes center stage as our subjects trade verses back and forth, stepping on one another's lines with a calculated grace to brilliant effect. The XX recently finished recording their debut album in the brand new one room studio at XL Recordings' Notting Hill headquarters and its currently being readied for release through Young Turks this September. XL have gambled (and lost?) on teenage bands before, but if "Crystalised" is any indication they're onto a surefire winner here.

MP3: "Crystalised" - The XX

In other news, everyone's favorite song from SXSW is now up for free download over at Domino Records. Don't sleep.

Monday, April 6, 2009


New name, same great taste. We've been alluding to our involvement with Giantess for a while now, but now it's time to make it official. Next up from Neon Gold will be the Boston pop behemoths' "Tuff N Stuff" and "You Were Young" in what is yet another double A-side release for the ages. Due to some copyright issues stemming from a previously existing Giantess in Canada, we've had to change the name to Yes Giantess, but worry not - the tunes are still as massive as ever.

Following in the footsteps of Passion Pit with an even more synthed-out electro sound, Yes Giantess are the next great hope for electronic pop in the US. Produced by Passion Pit's own Ayad Al-Adhamy at his Bo Flex Music studio, they're unleashing some of the biggest pop jams you'll hear all year. "Tuff 'n Stuff" is their masterwork, leading you in with a deceptively plaintive intro before dropkicking you in the jaw with a metric ton of Ratatat-sized synths and huge pop choruses. "You Were Young" stuns on the AA-side, all spiraling synths, infectious hooks and a seriously ill bridge that sounds like Daft Punk on a sugar high. Yeah, they're pretty much the sonic equivalent of flying down the yellow brick road while its raining ecstasy and skittles, and yeah, you're gonna want to taste this rainbow.

Limited to 500 copies and pressed on sexy white vinyl, the record is available for preorder now in the US from the Neon Gold Shop and in the UK exclusively from Puregroove, due to ship out on April 20th (and here you already couldn't wait for 4/20). "Tuff N Stuff" and "You Were Young" have already been kicking around the blogs for a minute now, but here's a shit-hot exclusive remix of the lead track courtesy of Boston DJ crew Pirate Stereo to tide you over.

MP3: "Tuff N Stuff" (Pirate Stereo Remix) - Yes Giantess [exclusive]

Friday, April 3, 2009


Of the hotly tipped bands at SXSW '09 only Local Natives and New Villager were both unsigned and previously unproven in the presence of industry types, and A&R's from New York and London packed out venues all week to see the much hyped West Coast acts for the first time. New Villager succumbed to poor sound systems and a heavy dependence on backing tracks, but Local Natives flourished in the spotlight, consistently dropping jaws all week long. Their forthcoming debut album, Gorilla Manor, walks the line between The Dodos and Cold War Kids with rollicking percussion and melodies to die for, and if the response so far is any indication the Silverlake five-piece are going to have A&R's crawling all over one another trying to lock them down them in the months to come.

MP3: "Airplanes" - Local Natives

// NAVIS //

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We fully expected Theophilus London to be the breakout star of SXSW 2009, and while we still think a lot of A&R's are sleeping on the Brooklyn sensation-in-waiting, he delivered in spades in Austin. Saturday saw him taking on the Fader Fort with Solange Knowles in tow to sing the chorus on "Sandcastles" and he followed it up with what was quite possibly his best performance to date at the Rolling Stone party at Peckerheads that evening. The old songs still slay and new ones are fresh to death, including his "Hum Drum" remix of Futurecop!, excerpted from This Charming Mixtape and available for download below.

MP3: "Hum Drum" - Theophilus London

// That Kid Texas //