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mxdwn’s Top 40 Songs of 2011

December 17th, 2011

Some these songs helped make our favorite albums the triumphs that they were. Some of them succeeded on their own. Together, they make up MXDWN’s favorite songs of 2011.

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By Robert Huff Posted in Features

mxdwn’s Top 40 Albums of 2011

December 16th, 2011

2011 was another great year for both music and MXDWN alike. The sheer wealth and variety of albums and artists that came across our desk this year made picking favorites a near impossible challenge. In fact, no writer’s number one album was the same. A testament to a memorable year if ever there was one. Fortunately, after some hard work, thought and compromise, we are able to proudly present you our Top 40 Albums of 2011. Read on. Listen. Learn. Love.

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By Robert Huff Posted in Features , , ,

Keep Shelly in Athens Live in New York, 11/18/2011

November 22nd, 2011

Pseudo-anonymous blog faves Keep Shelly in Athens concluded their first string of North American performances with a stop at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom. Following a pair of perky warm-up sets from Abadaba (remixed on the duo’s recent Our Own Dream EP) and New York’s own Body Language, the Grecian twosome arrived on stage flanked by a guitarist and drummer to deliver a hourlong set of their sexy, slithery electropop. Read more…

By Robert Huff Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews

Keep Shelly in Athens – Our Own Dream EP

November 22nd, 2011

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More Songs to Cheer You Up and Chill You Out

Mysterious Grecian duo Keep Shelly in Athens have built a sizable reputation for themselves given their comparatively spare output over the past year. Their debut EP In Love With Dusk became a 2010 blog favorite, with its languid tempos, lush textures and sultry female vocals evoking early ’90s dance pop and late ’00s chillwave in equal measure. Now we have Our Own Dream, another six song stretch that finds Keep Shelly comfortably spreading themselves in to darker, dreamier territories. Read more…

By Robert Huff Posted in Reviews

Portishead Live in New York 10/5/2011

October 7th, 2011

It seemed miraculous three years ago when Portishead re-emerged from the ether after an eleven year absence with their appropriately titled Third album, even more so that it not only lived up to its 90’s predecessors but in many ways transcended them. In typical Portishead fashion, the band went relatively quiet again almost immediately after all the hubbub around their return, barring some well-received festival performances and a pretty good single released in 2009 for the Amnesty International charity. Flash forward to now, and Geoff Barrow, Adrian Utley and Beth Gibbons are making up for lost time and then some. After curating and headlining All Tomorrow’s Parties in Asbury Park, New Jersey, the trio kicked off their first North American Tour in well over a decade with a two-night residency at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Even though some may have clamored for a return to Roseland Ballroom for old time’s sake (their legendary PNYC performance took place there in ‘98), their return to the Big Apple was well worth the wait. Read more…

By Robert Huff Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews

The Ten Things that Popped Most at Popped! Music Festival [Yuck, Panda Bear, Zee Avi, Titus Andronicus, Rakim, Cults and More]

October 3rd, 2011

You have to give the organizers of the Popped! Music Festival points for chutzpah. Despite all of the divine efforts to kill yet another attempt at bringing a big music festival to Philadelphia–torrential downpours and underwhelming ticket sales–they scrambled to salvage some semblance of what they worked undoubtedly very hard to put together. The problem is, the scrambling never stopped. Credit is due for finding a replacement venue at all mere days before the gates were set to open, but the migration from FDR Park to the Liacouras Center at Temple University screamed last resort in every possible way. The number of stages was cut from three to one by the move, resulting in all of the acts marathoning back to back into all hours of the night, many in twenty minutes or less. In addition to stages, several other Popped! perks were sacrificed. Read more…

By Robert Huff Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , , , , , ,

Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact

May 10th, 2011

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It’s Everything Time

In interviews leading up to the release of Gang Gang Dance’s magnetic and majestic new album Eye Contact, Brian DeGraw stated that the title signified a more “wide-eyed approach” to making music and an effort to better connect with the band’s listeners. It’s also fitting foreshadowing as it seems to predict what for many of those listeners will be a game-changing, revelatory and yes, eye-opening aural experience. Read more…

By Robert Huff Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Glasser – Ring

April 10th, 2011

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Round and Round and Round

Those of you who long ago gave up on the idea of Bjork ever coming back down to Earth (assuming she was ever there to begin with) are in luck. Meet Cameron Mesirow, a.k.a. Glasser. A year after making a splash on the taste-making blogs with her self-produced GarageBand demos of tribal electro-pop, she arrives with a little extra help courtesy of Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid, and a lot more songs via her enchanting debut album Ring. Read more…

By Robert Huff Posted in Reviews

Cut Copy – Zonoscope

February 8th, 2011

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Warmer Colours

One of the best things about Cut Copy’s breakthrough 2008 masterpiece In Ghost Colours was its unwavering warmth. Each glimmering, gargantuan club anthem sported real sincerity under its synth riffs. You could wrap yourself in their beats and beauty on many a cold night. Three years later, at the time of year when those coldest of nights are yet again upon us, the Aussie quartet (recently expanded from a trio) have returned like another early Spring with the sprawling, sparkling Zonoscope. Read more…

By Robert Huff Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Baths – Cerulean

January 7th, 2011

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Warm and bubbly, just the way I like ‘em

Diving head first into Los Angeles’ already over-saturated “glitch-hop” scene (not that we’re complaining: see Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing) is 21-year-old Will Weisenfeld, aka Baths. Considerably more pop and vocal based than his beat driven predecessors, he has crafted a splendidly spontaneous debut album in Cerulean that’s every bit as soothing and enveloping as his name would imply. Read more…

By Robert Huff Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews