Best New Releases – Crystal Stilts, Los Campesinos, Sigur Ros, Carter Tanton, Pterodactyl, Whalers, Matty Sorono, New Division

This week’s Best New Releases includes a bounty of new singles from bands we never heard of before, but are so glad we have. First, we start off with the most obvious lead singles from new albums by Crystal Stilts and Los Campesinos. Although Crystal Stilts released their CD and MP3 version of their new EP, Radiant Door, last week, this week marks the release of their vinyl EP release. Plus, we have an additional track – the title track – from the EP that we didn’t feature last week.

“Radiant Door”Crystal Stilts from Radiant Door EP

“Dark Eyes”Crystal Stilts from Radiant Door EP

Other top tracks from new albums include the incredibly enthusiastic popper, “School Glue,” from Pterodactyl, the equally upbeat bliss of Carter Tanton‘s “Horrorscope,” and the riveting Races‘ track, “Big Broom.” While those five tracks make a sah-weet mini-mix of this week’s best new releases all by themselves, there are other releases highlighted in today’s mix that we think you’ll enjoy as much as we have.

“By Your Hand”Los Campesinos! from Hello Sadness


“Horrorscope”Carter Tanton from Freeclouds

“School Glue”Pterodactyl from Spills Out

“Big Broom”Races from Big Broom EP

sigurrosinniNew Albums from Sigur Ros, The Do, Ex-Norweigan, Blackout Beach and Ice Choir

This week Sigur Ros‘ new live album, Inni, was released. The live album is more than just a collection of great Sigur Ros songs from live shows, it’s also a movie (see trailer below). The 105-minute double live album is also a 75-minute film that captures the band’s tour from three years ago, in November 2008.  Fans can get a special deal on purchasing the album and the film via iTunes (buy now).

“Ný Batterí “Sigur Ros from Inni

The new live album and film are a follow-up to the band’s 2007 live film, Heima (watch the film in HD here), which was filmed in the band’s home country of Iceland.The film was directed over two nights at the Alexandra Palace director Vincent Morisset, best known for directing Arcade Fire‘s Miroir NoirThe double LP features 15 tracks, with songs taken from all five of Sigur Rós’ studio albums, plus there is also a bonus of an unreleased studio track of “Lúppulagið’.” Also, check out fresh tracks from new releases by The Do, Ex-Norweigan, Blackout Beach, and Ice Choir.

“Slippery Slope”The Dø from Both Ways Open Jaws

“Be Forewarned, The Night has Come “Blackout Beach from Fuck Death

“Upper Hand”Ex Norwegian from Sketch (self-released)

“Two Rings”Ice Choir from Two Rings


Boston’s DIY Artist Matty Sorono and Austin Band Whalers

Now, let’s turn to DIY and unsigned bands we like a lot who released new albums in the past week. Of all the unsigned, DIY artists that we never heard of before with new releases out this week, perhaps our favorite is Boston musician Matty Sorono. While he did not provide us very much information at all, what we do know is that Sorono started recording his own material about three years ago. By that time, he already had more than a decade of piano playing to draw from.

“All my songs start out on an acoustic piano,” Sorono told IRC. “I begin by brainstorming melodic, harmonic or rhythmic ideas around until I find something substantial. Then i start coming up with vocal ideas to fit over the top. Usually I have a rough idea of at least some part of the melody before I step back from the keyboard and really work out some lyrics. I like lyrics that are fun to say and pleasing to listen to. When it comes time to produce the song, I strive to create a unified track with musical direction by layering sounds that add depth to the sound.”

No doubt when you listen to the two singles released on Saturday, November 12, that Sorono’s music is influenced by his mentors The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Animal Collective. If you’re still loving the hazy, lo-fi, “chillwave” sound, than Sorono may be one of the latest artists to earn a place on that list, perhaps even more. We shall see.

“Sunside Trails”Matty Sorono from single release

“Skydream”Matty Sorono from single release

Sorono is also a member of the Boston band Fork, which will release their debut EP, Fenway Winds, on December 8th. Here’s an advanced track:

“I See You”Fork from Fenway Winds

Before we get back to the other previously unknown In Dee Mail releases, we first want to present Austin’s under-rated indie band Whalers, who dropped their second EP, Paddle Easy. Among the best songs on the album are “Cheat On Each Other,” an infectious ode to surf rock from the landlocked Texans, and “Pixel Your Picture,” a perfectly poplicious track that should be an ‘indie hit’ song, and reminds us of The Walkmen. While it was difficult to pick which songs to present from the newest EP – because there are so many great tracks – we’re also including the melodic, dreamy duet, “Lighthouse,” featuring Whaler’s lead singer, Kyle Rother, together with White Dress vocalist Arum Rae Valkonen.

Of all the artists in this In Dee Mail feature, the Whalers are the best known. In fact, even though they’ve only been together for two years, they have a loyal and growing fan base in Austin, and increasingly, around the nation, with profile spots on Daytrotter and Rollo Grady “Artist to Watch.” The band’s debut EP, How The Ship Goes Down, was mixed by My Morning Jacket’s sound engineer, Kevin Ratterman, and mastered at Jim Eno’s (Spoon) Austin studio, Public Hi-Fi.

“Pixel Your Picture”Whalers from Paddle Easy

Double-shot: “Cheat On Each Other”Whalers from Paddle Easy

Bonus Track: “Lighthouse” Whalers from Paddle Easy


Another artist that dropped a new release on 11-11-11 is the unsigned electro-pop/new wave band, The New Division, from Riverside, California. Their new album, The Rookie, demonstrates the band’s admiration for groups like New Order and Depeche Mode, and more recently, Cut Copy. The New Division have received some note-worthy press, but they still have yet to get the recognition we think they deserve. See what you think of these two synth-laden tracks from The Rookie, “Starfield” and “Festival.”

“Starfield”The New Division from The Rookie

“Festival”The New Division from The Rookie


Narrow Sparrow, Caveman, Churches, Korallreven and Others

We have even more impressive lead tracks from other artists with new albums and EPs out this week, including Caveman, Annie Williams, Churches, Korallreven, as well as lesser tracks by Rah Rah and Poor Boy’s Soul. The track “Shenandoah,” is a very tranquil, but not new age, instrumental that simply paints a picture of a serene and beautiful place within the natural world. A perfect close to this week’s top releases. But first up, is the catchy, acoustic-electro pop track “Joe Meek’s Dream” from Narrow Sparrow‘s DIY album, Synthworks.

“Joe Meek’s Dream”Narrow Sparrow from Synthworks (self-released)

“Thankful”Caveman from CoCo Beware

“Roll on Hills”Annie Williams from This Mountain EP (self-released)

“Save Me”Churches from “Save Me” single (self-released)

“Sa Sa Samoa (ft Julianna Barwick)”Korallreven from An Album By Korallreven

“Parkade”Rah Rah from Breaking Hearts

“Burn Down”Poor Boy’s Soul from Poor Boy’s Soul

“Shenandoah”Goldmund from All Will Prosper

In Dee Mail Releases This Week: Big Lake, Sissy Menai, Gene Wildest and Noel Carlon

One of the longest running playlist series on IRC, In Dee Mail, highlights only artists and bands that send us their new releases directly. Thankfully, it has also been one of the most popular playlist series, probably because the songs we choose for the In Dee Mail mixes are from DIY and unsigned artists. Lately, we’ve been calling out new releases that In Dee Mail by creating a separate section in the weekly Best New Releases.

It’s a great feeling to know that over the years, we’ve helped to launch relatively unknown artists into the spotlight, with some even telling us that IRC was their first big break. But the credit there really goes to our readers/listeners, because it is all of you who ultimately drive what music makes it onto the site, and more importantly, what music becomes the most popular. This is evident by the weekly Top Ten Songs mixtapes (based on number of listens/downloads a song gets), and more recently, the Best Songs of 2011 mixtape series.

Big Lake is an indie/shoegaze band from Jersey City, New Jersey, led by New York City musician Lysa Opfer. The band’s debut EP, Do You Love Me? Yes/No?, officially dropped this week via Evil Island Fortress Records. Opfer sent us a couple of tracks from the EP to share with IRC. Just some of the many bands that Big Lake are influenced by include Broken Social Scene, Local Natives, Album Leaf, Maps, Arcade Fire, Battles, Beach House, My Bloody Valentine, The Ramones, Joy Division and The Walkmen.

“Homecoming Game”Big Lake from Do You Love Me? Yes/No

“The Longest Day”Big Lake from Do You Love Me? Yes/No

Sissy Menai is a three-piece DIY Chicago-based indie rock/shoegaze band who, like many of the In Dee Mail artists, have never opened for another band (yet), but we think show some promise thanks to their engaging and explosively driven songs, like “Soon Speeding Gear,” and the more pop-oriented title track from their new debut LP, Record Machine. Their 2009 EP, Young Girl, received some positive press from Chicago bloggers and sites like Timeout Chicago, as well as outside of Chicago, including a thumbs up in the popular blog, The Onion.

“Soon Speeding Gear”Sissy Menai from Record Machine

“Record Machine”Sissy Menai from Record Machine

Gene Wildest is an unsigned Philadelphia band headed by songwriter and musician Brian Corbett, who were recently profiled in The Signal and Philadelphia Weekly, among other write ups. In fact, the band has previously opened for Titus Andronicus, Guerilla Funk, Human Sounds, and Axis. Gene Wildest recorded all the tracks from the new album, self-titled debut LP in Corbett’s apartment.

The first track we received is the Ben Folds-sounding piano-dominant track, “George Carillo,” followed by the quirky track, “Weird Guy at a Bar in Bethlehem, PA.” The band’s biggest influences include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Parliament Funkadelic, Electric Six, Pearl Jam, and The Smiths.

“George Carillo”Gene Wildest from Gene Wildest

“Weird Guy at a Bar in Bethlehem, PA”Gene Wildest from Gene Wildest

After a year and a half in the making, Los Angeles singer/songwriter Noel Carlon completed and released his debut album, Lonely Stranger. Carlon’s songs weave tales of despair, broken dreams, longing, love, and loneliness. It is a heartfelt debut told through the words of a working man in a city where hopes and dreams rarely come to fruition.

“Insecure”Noel Carlon from Lonely Stranger

“Dreams are Cruel”Noel Carlon from Lonely Stranger

Noel Carlon is the former lead singer of Delarosa and Noel Carlon and the Dead Poets. New band mates include fellow friends Joel Herr (guitars, backup vox), Joseph Yabao (Drums), Nikko Menichini (guitars), and Rosco Bustillo (Keys, Backup Vox).

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  1. I’m really looking forward to seeing that Sigur Ros project–so cool! Kind of like what Arcade Fire did with Spike Jonze (which I still haven’t seen).

    1. Thanks Ania. Please have the band see our About page for submission information. We are currently backlogged by thousands, but it’s worth a try!!

  2. Just a heads up. I’ve had The New Division Rookie EP since January of 2011 and they just released a new Full length titled ‘Shadows’ that was released Sept. 2011. Are you guys located somewhere that you get release dates different than the U.S.? Also I tried looking up Sissy Menai and was corrected by iTunes. It’s Sissy Mena not Menai. I love the page and refer to it weekly. Thank you guys!

    1. Hey Craig: Sometimes what happens – actually often, esp. with new bands – is that record companies re-release an album, then there are the different dates for CD, MP3 and vinyl releases, not to mention international release dates that are different – and so you can see how challenging it gets to track them all down. We use either the release date that is provided to us or the Amazon or iTunes release dates when we can’t find a verifiable release date. We really try to highlight singles/albums by the best release date available – but sometimes we get it wrong. As you probably know, we publish hundreds of releases a month. Thanks for pointing that out and for being a regular. it sounds corny, but we really do this (because god knows it doesn’t pay) to highlight artists we like and share what we think is great, or promising, artists and their music, 99.99% of them who will never be on the American Music Awards – and that’s good because that (AMA) yearly embarrassment to all the truly gifted artists and bands, producers and engineers, etc., and music in general, is a reminder to us why we need to keep doing this, and encouragement from folks like you, helps a lot. We only wish we could do more, but simply don’t have the resources. Have a great day.

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