Something to Watch/Listen To: “Latin Boys”

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I, uh… I don’t know what to make of this.

This new music video comes straight out of Panda Bear’s upcoming album Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. The video for “Boys Latin” is definitely an awesome one, combining CGI animation with a mild cel-shading technique and a watercolor-like color pallet. It’s also pretty weird, in a good way. Take a look!

Once I sit through the whole thing, it looks to me like a neat visual interpretation of finding a soul-mate and starting a family. I’ve also seen others interpret the infecting plant life as a traumatic event that one must emotionally deal with. Either way, making sense of this one requires a fair amount of interpretive thinking, and that’s pretty cool.

The music is also a joy to listen to. A hypnotic beat plays background to some wonderful synths and haunting vocals. I haven’t yet listened to much of Panda Bear or his group, Animal Collective, but this has definitely made me interested.

You can pre-order Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper on itunes here. 

Something to Listen To: “Ghostly Swim”

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Last week, Wired reported that indie record label Ghostly International and comedy network Adult Swim would once again team-up to release Ghostly Swim 2 on December 23rd. I figured this would be a great time to talk about the 2009 original, Ghostly Swim.

Ghostly Swim‘s lineup consists of some of the key artists from Ghostly’s catalog of artists. In the video above, you’ll hear Michna’s ambient yet bouncy beat, “Triple Chrome Dipped” followed by Mux Mool’s electric trip, “Night Court”. Through the rest of the album, you can hear label co-founder Matthew Dear perform a bone-chilling yet prideful tune in “R + S”, while School of Seven Bells provides a suitably melancholy song in “Chain”. The Chap is represented with their wonderfully quirky track “Carlos Walter Wendy Stanley”, while Deastro takes us on a simultaneously intense and cheerful ride in “Light Powered”.

But, if I have to pick a favorite out of the album, I’d go with Tycho’s “Cascade”. It’s a beautifully composed piece that brings to my mind a fallout from an emotionally traumatic event. It makes me think of watching the sunrise, but with a feeling in my heart that I’ve just said goodbye and have to figure out how to move on. Well… that’s my take, anyway.

This compilation album is what introduced me to Ghostly International and ultimately pushed me into exploring the world of underground music. Best of all, it’s free to download. So if you haven’t had the chance to listen to this one, I highly recommend that you do.

You can download Ghostly Swim for free at Adult Swim’s official site, here.

Jingle Things: “Home for the Holidays, Vol. 2”

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So, remember when I said that song “Holiday” led me to a whole compilation album? Well, today I’d like to talk about that. Om Records is a record label that focuses on electronic, dance and hip-hop music. In the years of 2010 and 2011, the label collected a number of their more winter-centric releases into a compilation album, titled Home for the Holidays. Of the two volumes, I’ve gotten a chance to listen to the second one and I highly recommend it.

As I said before, the high-energy romp “Holiday” by Body Language (which I talked about last week,) is included on the album. Joining it is a collection of lounge-ready electronic and jazz fusion tracks all fitted with elements of the holiday season. From Montesco’s mesmerizing rendition of a classic in “O Holy Night”, to the beautifully relaxing “Dreaming of Santa” by The Electronic Tabernacle Symphony, the feels of Christmas are pretty well explored.

It’s all makes for some wonderful music to throw on as you’re chilling during these winter nights, and the number of styles on display here adds some nice variety. Above all, it’s just nice to hear Christmas music that sounds a little different than what you may be used to hearing. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, then I recommend you seek out Home for the Holidays, Vol 2.

You can find and download Home for the Holidays, Vol 2 on iTunes and Amazon.

Jingle Things: “Holiday” Music Video

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The holiday season is here! Every Wednesday leading up to Christmas, I’ll be highlighting an interesting something-or-other for you to enjoy as you deck the halls. This week, I want to show you a music video that was released a couple of years ago, but that I just recently discovered.

Set to the song “Holiday” by Body Language, the stop-motion music video tells the tale of two stuffed animals falling in love and attempting to escape a toy factory. It’s got everything! Action, romance, dancing and, uh… suggestive scenes… Ahem.

Anyhow, it’s a joy to watch and works great with the song it’s promoting. Speaking of the song, if you’re having trouble making out the lyrics, don’t worry. You’re not alone. But it’s still extremely catchy and combines that techno-pop sound I love so much with the sounds of the holiday season. Have a look-see!

Here’s a fun fact: that video was animated by Starburns Industries, who have done work for [adult swim] shows such as Moral OrelMark Shelly’s Frankenhole and Rick and Morty. Imagine that! Of course, that video led me to discover a whole compilation album. But that’s a story for another post.

If you like the song “Holiday” by Body Language, you can find it on iTunes here.

Something to Listen To: “Ghostly Essentials: Music for Makers”

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A wise man once said: “The best things in life are free.” Indie record label Ghostly International knows the value of this very well. As I’ve discussed before, you can already find a number of free compilation albums collecting music from all over the label’s catalog. Well, now they’ve just added to that collection.

Released as a companion to the contest Ghostly is currently running in partnership with 3D-printer producer MakerBot Industries, Ghostly Essentials: Music for Makers collects ten tracks that have been “specially curated to help soundtrack your creative process”. The compilation include works from Ghostly favorites such as Matthew Dear, Beacon, Solvent and Lusine among others.

As I quoted above, the product description promises this album to be the perfect soundtrack for creative work. And I have to admit, these atmospheric, electronic tracks have been doing a good job of keeping me engaged as I write this very post, but they also make for a really cool listen on their own. On top of that, most of these tracks have been released over the past year. So if you’re looking for a guide to what the label has been up to recently, this is a good place to start.

But again, it’s free! If this sounds interesting, go ahead and download it and see for yourself. I’ve got to hand it Ghostly for once again providing a free and easy way to explore and discover the music of some great artists.

You can download Ghostly Essentials: Music for Makers here. And for more information of the related contest, follow this link.

Something to Listen To: “Now There is We”

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I’ve noticed lately that my musical tastes are starting to drift towards jazz sensibilities, so I’ve been looking around for cool indie music in that genre. It’s a pleasure, then, that one of the first things I’ve come across is this wonderful single from the Berlin-based group Jazzanova. “Now There Is We” is an uplifting piece with some wonderful vocals from Paul Randolph and a solid groove stringing it all together.

But instead of just sitting here telling you about it, why don’t I show you? The official music video is embedded below. Take a listen!

You can download “Now There Is We” on iTunes and Bleep. To learn more about Jazzanova, you can visit their official site.

Something to Watch/Listen to: “All I’m Saying” Music Video

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’m a sucker for cool and interesting animated clips. So it’s no surprise, then, that I took a liking to this music video, which just made it onto Vimeo’s Staff Picks. The video is for the song “All I’m Saying” by alternative rock band James, and it’s skillfully animated by Péter Vácz. Take a look!

The tale of a masked man searching for the spirit of his lost love is brought to life in a wonderful way. It’s honestly been a while since I’ve seen stop-motion animation quite like this. The two characters have a cool marionette puppet look, and the video uses ordinary objects in cool ways. Tin foil representing water, light cotton strands used for fog, etc.

Oh, and the song’s really cool, too.

You can find more about the director of this video at petervacz.com, and you can check out the band behind this song at wearejames.com.