by kevin diamond

In Honor of our 11th Hype Filter, we’ve got 11 tracks that have been floating around in the ether for the last month. As always, we sift through the hype and filter out the crap so you don’t have to.

First up is “Absolutely Anything” by Brilliant Colors, another San Fran band that’s solidifying the city’s reputation as the West Coast’s Brooklyn. They’re on one of my favorite labels, Slumberland, and this tune’s fuzzy, reverb-drenched vocals fit right at home with labelmates like Crystal Stilts and Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

Artist: Brilliant Colors
Song: Absolutely Anything

Matias Aguayo’s “Rollerskate” is an exercise in how catchy a simple, repetitive hook can be. Out on Kompakt, this tune is a body-moving beast, a dance floor hit at heart with a chill-out backbone. Fans of El Guincho or LCD Soundsystem will dig this track.

Artist: Matias Aguayo
Song: Rollerskate

Letting Up Despite Great Faults’ “In Steps” is gentle, electronic IDM that may have been more at home four or five years ago in the wake of the Postal Service explosion. Unlike the despicably blatant Postal Service rip-off band Owl City, LUDGF has a sense of self: though their music may overlap that of other IDM artists, it’s not a clear, derivative copy of any sound. To boot, the tune is well produced and well written.

Artist: Letting Up Despite Great Faults
Song: In Steps

Toro y Moi is getting known as a kingpin of the Chillwave movement. I’m not sure how I feel about the name Chillwave; like most made-up genres, there’s a bit of reductionist element to lumping these artists together. Toro y Moi’s beats are more akin to something like The Avalanches, spliced together from disparate parts.

Artist: Toro y Moi
Song: Talamak

Liam the Younger’s tunes are beautiful, sparse, elegent; his voice reminiscent of Adam Green from the Moldy Peaches. But his songs are more earnest, more serious. Country Wide’s yearning melody spans the width of our nation.

Artist: Liam the Younger
Song: Country Wide

Ganglians bring us Blood In The Sand, a poppy, lo-fi masterpiece of reverb riffs and big drums, with great moments of tension and release..

Artist: Ganglians
Song: Blood in the Sand

Mountain Man give Liam The Younger a run for his money with this banjo-and-vocals choral masterpiece. With harmonies that would make Bon Iver blush, and a sense of restraint that’s to die for, this tune moves deliberately yet forcefully, with moments of suspense and glory.

Artist: Mountain Man
Song: Animal Tracks

Another Chillwave doosy. Viernes starts Swimmer’s Ear off with the sound of a tape recorder picking up the wind. The modulated keyboard part that enters next gets the ball rolling. And when the distant drums and vocals begin, this song fully takes flight. This song is cinematic and sweeping in it’s scope.

Artist: Viernes
Song: Swimmer’s Ear

Byrds of Paradise are a local Brooklyn garage rock band with the anger and energy to prove themselves. With a sound that is masculine and strong, sloppy while still being tight, this is what you expect when you think of a Brooklyn lo-fi band.

Artist: Byrds of Paradise
Song: Rowena

Family Portrait is run by Underwater Peoples mastermind Evan Brody. What shines through on this track, as with most of Family Portrait’s songs, is an appreciation for great songwriting. It’s understandable why UP can have such a stellar roster of artists; if your label head makes music this good, you know he’s got impeccable taste. IN particular, the drumming really stands out to me on this track. Tasteful and restrained, with brilliantly executed fills dominating the end of every musical phrase, yet never becoming overpowering. It allows the simple melody of this song to rise above everything else and still fill anchored down.

Artist: Family Portrait
Song: Mega Secrets

Your special 11th track is Harlem’s South of France. One of the most blogged-about bands of CMJ, Harlem have a way to go to distinguish themselves from a slew of other bands seeking to fill the same niche as them. South of France goes a long way towards accomplishing this. Propelled by squeaky vocals and clean guitar strumming, the bridge is where the song really comes to life, with it’s speak-sing lyrics and a sense of urgency that is palpable.

Artist: Harlem
Song: South of France

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