It’s hard for me to describe Har Mar Superstar in any sort of succinct manner. He’s a chubby, long-haired dude from Minnesota who likes to take off his clothes during shows and sing R&B. But there’s so much more than that. Har Mar (aka Sean Tillman) has one of the most powerful R&B (or music in general) voices I’ve heard in a very long time. He’s got the retro sound down pat and he knows how to have fun with it. But it’s the voice that really gets to me. From the first heart-wrenching scream of “Lady you shot me!” at the beginning of the song, through the up tempo beats and back to the sultry sound of heartbreak, Har Mar Superstar wipes away all the goofy gimmicks and really lives up to the last word of his alias. For a truly powerful taste of R&B with a hint of soul, check out his latest album Bye Bye 17, which came out last month and listen to the single above.
…And we’re back. There have been lots of travels and adventure in the last week or so, but now we’re here and we’ve picked up some new music along the way. One such band is Secret Colours. Combining a retro psychedelic sound with a twist of 90s rock, this band knows how to make a slick single. A simple riff and a quiet voice turn into a sort of mantra that travels throughout the song, keeping it grounded throughout its electronic twists and turns and chill drumbeats. It’s not often a song can take the heavy sounds of the 60s and slide them into a dark velvety package but “Blackhole” is just that. Check out the strange and retro video for the single above, and look for their sophomore album, Peach May 28th.
Two years ago, Vows released a beautiful debut album Winter’s Grave. Now as summer approaches, they release an album for a new season: Stranger Things. Vows have been honing their sound while they were away. What used to be more often quiet and mellow than not has become bright and clear. One of my favorites “The Golden Hour” is the perfect example. Synths hum in the background and guitar after guitar barrage rays of sunshine through their amps. It’s still the same great harmonies and the same great style, just taken up a notch, and they’re all the better for it. Check out the new album on their bandcamp and listen to the single below.
Vows – The Golden Hour
I originally wasn’t going to post this song because it was released over three years ago (Intuition’s Girls Like Me) and I don’t know much about Intuition but I’ve had it on repeat for months now so it’s going on the blog. The song centers around the idea that once you’ve achieved fame, and become numb to it, you can never recapture your old magic. Kind of like sex on ecstacy, or so I’ve heard. The infectious hook and soothing guitar are too nice. Intuition comes through with some witty self-deprecating lines and Slug does what Slug does: rap about struggles with music, substances, and women. Overall it is a great song which actually has a feel-good vibe despite its message. Check it out!
Vampire Weekend have slowly been leaking out songs from their fast-approaching third album, Modern Vampires of the City. Where “Diane Young” took on a sort of 50s rock n’ roll doo-wop blend and “Step” was beautiful and delicate, “Ya Hey” is a triumphant march into the sunset. Upbeat drums, lively piano and choral backing vocals push the song forward proudly, the beat for that isolated yet ever-optimistic vagabond, traveling with no purpose but to be and to love. The group stretches their classic sound on this one with the vocal distortions and overall it feels like they’ve crossed a boundary into newer and more interesting territory than even. Check out the lyrics video accompanied by a montage of people opening champagne.
Well this is a pleasant surprise. The legendary MF DOOM has shed the MF and linked up with super-producer Clams Casino on this new track. Clams’ style is much different from the traditional Madlib soundscape that has become inextricably linked with MF DOOM, but this song just flat out works. DOOM’s flow is almost non existent, but it pairs nicely with the spacey production and his lyrics are on point.
Bravestation released an amazing album last summer, but it looks like they’ve been busy at work sine then. Today, they released their new single “All We Have is Us” off of their upcoming EP IV. In typical Bravestation fashion, the song moves to the beat of electric drum kits and steel drums. Like some tropical paradise from the past under a moonlit sky, “All We Have is Us” moves with a swift passion. In the few months since their album, it even seems like they’ve evolved. Their sound used to be a launching from the shore, reaching for distant lands, but his new song is that arrival from the waters into this strange paradise. Look for the EP May 15th, download here, and listen below
Bravestation – All We Have is Us