Dirt Dress -“Skin Diving”

Let’s get back to it. Not often do I dabble in the post-punk genre, but I recently stumbled upon this driving, passive-aggressive throwback from Dirt Dress, an LA band, who has a penchant for sounding loose, when in fact the pieces are very deliberately placed that way. Looking forward to what project is next in store.

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The Arcs – “Stay in My Corner”

Taking a page from the seductive bluesy vibes of Alabama Shakes, Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach is working with a cohort of musicians under the name The Arcs, releasing this track via NPR’s website a day ago. The empty rhythmic swing was the first thing that my ear targeted, and if you pay close attention, you can notice the creative and intricate turns of the bass player, Nick Movshine, who is most famous for his work with Amy Winehouse and was heavily featured in the sensationally catchy “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars.

The Helio Sequence – “Red Shifting” & “Leave or Be Yours”

A description about The Helio Sequence’s new creative adjustment on their new self-titled sixth album (out today, May 12th) can be found here at Sub Pop’s website. In summary, the group forced themselves to write these songs within a strict set of time instead of laboring towards perfection over a elongated period of time. This new approach forced the group into “…taking the good with the bad, of letting creativity push past constraint, of simply making music in the moment.” This can be seen throughout the album, as the songs have a much more natural flow than in the previous album Negotiations (2012). The formats of these songs are not as intricately woven, and I think it helps The Helio Sequence’s sound become more inviting, and less dependent on electronic manipulation. Check out the song “Red Shifting” below and the romance-themed “Leave or Be Yours:”

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Soft Sleep – “Unravel”

“Unravel” is filled with a late 90’s “Goo Goo Dolls”-like romanticism, pairing acoustic guitar strums against soft approachable melodies. “Unravel” is slow, but doesn’t drag. The chorus accelerates the pacing, and the verses retract that energy.  Make sure you keep an eye out for the release of this Seattle Band’s self-titled EP in May 2015 on Rocket Heart Records.

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The National- “Sunshine on my Back”

Like My Morning Jacket, The National has solidified their sound, but that does not mean there isn’t more room for introspection. On the recent track, “Sunshine on my Back,” the chorus resembles the words Matt Berninger breathes: there are splashes of sunlight (major chords) and spots of shade (minor, lead in chords). It’s modest, selective, and a perfect remedy for your day. The song features vocals from Sharon Van Etten, and it was recorded during the sessions for Trouble Will Find Me back in 2011, but didn’t make the cut. RunTheMill is psyched to see these guys alongside Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver at the first Eaux Claire Festival July 17th-18th, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Coverage to follow.

My Morning Jacket- “Spring (Among the Living)”

Among the living again
Out in the light of day’s warm embrace again

The members of My Morning Jacket are veterans of songwriting, and it seems the band’s not quiet through trying to figure things out. On May 5th, 2015, MMJ will release its 7th album marking its 17th year as a band (some members have come and gone). That sense of time, change and adaptation shines through on their early released tracks. “Spring (Among the Living)” is an unrelenting, evolving jam. Eerie echoes begin the build, a deep bass enters, and then we hear an idea: a flat guitar melody, a snappy snare hit, and then the verse begins. The beat is straight, insistent that it’s here to stay. The listener craves a change, but the song doesn’t provide it to you. At the 1:34 mark, Jim James gives you a classic rock countdown, but instead of rising in volume, the beat disappears, and the song has to rebuild again from the ground floor. The song continues to dissatisfy us, as we never reach that pop resolution. MMJ is done hibernating, but conscious that this spring’s light of day will soon move on. Welcome festival season MMJ.