Real Far East is the sophomore EP from Ohio indie rock group Saturn Batteries. The band of Brad Gibson, Justin Sheldon, Brad Rutledge and Archie Niebuhr make rich indie rock, with the same stylistic vibe as Of Montreal, Woods and Real Estate. The five tracks, take a more laid back approach to their music, utilizing melody rather than distortion as the driving force in the songs. Sterling instrumental work, nice dynamics, thought provoking lyrics and everything in fine balance is the mark of this EP. This is a band to get to know. Stream and download Real Far East at the link below.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Still is the debut album from Little Rock, Arkansas band Nouns. The twelve tracks are a trip down that old emo lane. Nouns are retro pop-punk band in the classic sense of Fall Out Boy or Panic At The Disco. The album has a lo-fi production feel, but sticks to pretty much formula sounding, alt rock infused commercial radio music. If you like that old emo sound then Nouns is the band for you. Stream and download Still at the link below.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Eastern Europe has been the haven of real punk music in recent years, with FZB finding great punk bands in Poland the Czech Republic and Russia among others. Now comes Phooey!, the punk project of a Ukraine DIY artist named Nikita O. All we know about Phooey is what exists on record. The prolific artist marks his 10th release with the Hello, Doubt EP. The six tracks share the sonic ground with the likes of Jay Reatard and Public Image Ltd, taking a more melodically constructed, but no less raw approach to the punk idiom. The EP has a compelling sound that definitely needs to be heard. Stream and download Hello, Doubt at the link below.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Isle of Man duo Postcode return with their third album Zebratronic. Marie Reynolds and Mikie Daugherty make music that rolls through moods like the seasons. This album is haunting post-punk with some spritely electronic touches. The 14 tracks have a darker vibe, with the only comparison that comes to mind being How To Destroy Angels meets Patty Smith. Postcode has a heavier raw edge to their tracks. This is an album with its own character that needs to be experienced and gets better every time one hears it. Stream and download Zebratronic at the link below.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Here at FZB we present emerging music from all over the world. Every region has it's own character and influences. The depth of the music we find is stunning. Today, we have South Africa based French artist/producer Mr Kito, aka Eric Michot. His new EP, Where Are The Lizards, sees release today. The six tracks represent some of the most original music out there. Mr Kito channels new wave influences, with both rock and pop shadings, ranging from heavy guitar to ethereal synths, framing crisp vocals and intricate harmonies. The songs themselves have a quirky character that can be both sweet and enticing, as well as sinister. Stylistically, Mr Kito is equally hard to pin down. Our best take is think early Talking Heads and Television paired with Serge Gainsberg. A definite must have. Stream and buy Where Are The Lizards at the link below.
Friday, February 21, 2014
The Lawman 7" is the latest 2 track offering from Ireland based punkers Girl Band. The tracks Lawman and Heckle the Frames, are stark, assaultive and perfect. We are consumed by live and raucous bricks, leaving no place to run, fulfilling the promise of any truly great punk record not to allow the listener respite. The 7" vinyl limited edition of 300 is sold out, but you can stream and download the virtual 7" for free at the link below.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Bon Voyage is the sophomore album from Lyon, France based rockers Sport. The 11 tracks grab you with a heavy emo/altrock/punk hybrid that is full of energy. The album gets much of that energy from the instruments being recorded live in the studio. What this yielded is an album that is a force to be reckoned with. In the same vein as The Used and My Chemical Romance, Sport serve up a powerful album of angst and radio ready pop-punk. Stream and buy Bon Voyage at the link below.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
FZB favorite Goodman is back with his sophomore LP Isn't It Sad. Produced by Oliver Ignatius at the Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen collective in NYC, Imagine the album as done by a young hip Todd Rundgren loose in NYC now, doing a post-punk grand vision while channeling everything ever written in the 60's. Stylistically varied and a masterpiece of class, Goodman continues to mature as a writer and performer. This is a must have. Stream and buy Isn't It Sad at the link below.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
February, 18 will go down as a special day musically for our friends at Stars and Letters Records in Brooklyn. Today sees the release of Guilt Mirrors and the return of Shocking Pinks, aka Nick Harte. Harte is an enigmatic artist showing flashes of brilliance over his career. Guilt Mirrors is his triptych dreampop masterpiece. Dark, poppy, minimal, dense, contradictions that wander beautifully through the album. This is an important piece for one's collection. Stream three tracks and buy the complete 33 track digital album at the link below, with the a limited edition 12" vinyl available as well, but act fast as only 63 of the 500 to be pressed are still available.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Today marks the release of Tides, a massive 21 track album from Minneapolis indie rock duo Loop Line. Rarely have we heard an album where so many different influences mixed together, yielded such original sound. Led by lush vocals and harmonies, with music that has personality and is unafraid to let some progressive chops do serious work on dreampop leaning tracks. The album is also unafraid to be huge. 21 solid tracks is a daunting task in anybody's book. The one minor imperfection, is that the album could have more sonic impact if it had been mastered a bit more aggressively. Regardless, this is a must have. Stream and buy Tides at the link below.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Roland is the latest album from Michigan rockers Minutes. Bringing a solid post-punk ethos, the twelve tracks bristle with dynamic changes and sonic variety. The twelve songs are personal and intimate, sharing influences with Weezer at their best and also an unmistakable grunge vibe. The band of Chafe Hensley, Mark Larmee, Ike Turner and Ryan Nelson have crafted an album that has a sense of the troubadour wrapped in a pop-punk package. Stream and buy Roland at the link below.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Northern California dreampop artist Blum, aka Nathan Blum, has released his DIY self-titled debut EP. Heavy doses of reverb and jangley guitars embrace the listener. Taking a page from artists like Youth Lagoon and Gem Club, Blum creates music that is laid back but yet driving, blending rocker influences with the sinuous texture of chill pop music. Blum debuts as a talent to be reckoned with and delivers a must have EP. Stream and download the Blum EP at the link below.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Something Wicked is the debut album from Chicago garage rockers North By North. The band of Nate Girard, Kendra Blank and Dylan Andrews entice us with a massive 18 tracks of hard edged blues based garage rock. Reminiscent of the Black Keys, North By North are a no holds barred group and the album brims over with energy. A slight lo-fi vibe and a live feel abound, though not at the expense of a fully produced record. This is a definite must have. Stream and buy Something Wicked at the link below.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Brooklyn's Rhino House Band have just released their debut EP, Golden Summer. The five tracks are pop-pupower-pop in the vein of Weezer and similar groups. The band of Ricky Demetro, Joey Vergara and Steven Bartashev serve up melodic, fun and solid songs. Unfortunately, what is lacking is any real energy or edge. The record feels like the performances are overly sanitized and the production doesn't help this. The songs are there, the band just needs to let loose a bit and let them find a life with some energy. All in all a good EP, but one that feels like there could be much more. Stream and download Golden Summer at the link below.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Healer is the debut EP from L.A. ambient artist/producer Jack Taylor. The four tracks take ua through Taylor's sonic vision of dense layers of synth pads and textures of resonance built like an abstract oil painting. Dark tonal choices are contrasted with ringing melodic tones to good effect. The artist created this work in homage to the ocean and one can imagine being deep in the habitat with the pulse of power and life all around you. Stream and download Healer at the link below.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Melbourne based synthpop artist/producer Colourwaves, aka Ryan Dodson, has released a new album titled World Warp. The seven tracks are a blend of ambient textures, reverby vocals and lush synthesizers. Taking influences from artists like Washed Out and Small Black, Dodson's latest work is still firmly in the chillwave vein. While most of the music press has pronounced the genre dead and artists like Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi have moved on stylistically, new music lingers. Washed Out has stayed true to the genre and so does Colourwaves. For us, chillwave was a tag made up by Carles at Hipster Runoff, to describe a new "chill" direction in synthpop. It doesn't make much sense to get hung up in the chillwave tag and whether it's alive or dead. It's about the music and Colourwaves delivers an album that works on every level. It is hugely satisfying synthpop. Stream and download World Warp at the link below.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
After two EP's, LH is the debut full length from Berlin band La Horse. The ten tracks are a psychedelic walk through a myriad of styles, that the band crafts into a cohesive and original album. The album has a definite 60's underbelly, but what you hear is all in the now. This album has it all, great songs, excellent execution and flawless production. La Horse have made a record that is a definite must have. Drop some acid and trip back and forward at the same time. Stream and buy LH at the link below.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Vancouver based dreampop artists Mu have just released the self-titled debut EP. The duo of Francesca Belcourt and Brittney Rand make delicate, minimalist pop music. The four tracks give us a glimpse at stunning vocals, imaginative synth pads and, as the duo describes it, "adventures in the tragedies of youth." Crisp production and engaging songwriting make this a must have debut work. Stream and download Mu at the link below.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
EP1 is the sophomore release from Zurich based garage band Borderline Symphony. The 5 tracks have a retro feel within a modern sound and channel influences from old Ariel Pink to everything from the UK in the 60's. That however is not the real story here. The real story here is about the band having those obvious influences, while managing to sound completely original. This EP is melodic, has nice heavy patches and the songs are built as musical novellas. This is definitely one to get. Stream and download EP1 at the link below.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Seattle alt-rock band VibraGun have released their self-titled debut full length album. The eight tracks sound like one would expect a Seattle band to, showing homage to the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the rest of the grunge movement. That's not to say this is an entirely retro album, it's not, but what is to say is that there is also nothing new here. The band's sound has been heard before and the song styling and record production all take a well worn sonic path. VibraGun make good alt-rock, that is a bit too derivative. Stream and buy Vibragun at the link below.