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Everyone likes to dance, and as such, there will always be a call for fresh sounds from the underground. Vancouver, BC based Ian Bevis, Kyle Statham, and Kenji Rodriguez have heeded this call with their sophomore album “XO,” a six song showcase of shimmering synths and synchronized beats. Released in August of 2011, the album has garnered some high praise, with the sole criticism being aimed at how short the album is—clocking in beneath the half hour mark.
Starting off in the bedroom, as a good amount of electronically charged projects do, Bevis and Statham’s approach has been to keep the music honest. Fusing programmed drum loops, synth leads and live instrumentation, “XO” keeps the listener’s ears engaged via clever hooks and sophisticated sonic treats. Each song retains the spirit of the dancehall vibe, urging the listener to get their feet moving, but at the same time, the album is quite enjoyable to just listen to.
As to not rely on the same old tired beats and tricks, Bear Mountain employ a gang of various rhythms and techniques to keep each track fresh. The more straightforward “Two Step” leads off the album, weaving from disco-laden tracks to soul-driven moments as the album progresses. “See You Through” starts off with a creative R&B-laced intro layered along side an arpeggiated synth lead and soulful vocal hook. With comparisons being made to groups like Passion Pit and Cut Copy, Bear Mountain are in good company and poised to see their star rise. ANDREW POHL
MAN WITHOUT COUNTRYWhen Ryan James and Tomas Greenhalf decided to embrace the latest programming technologies to produce their music, it freed them to explore a virtually limitless array of sounds and sonic textures. Laden with lush waves of synth, the debut album, “Foe,” sets a calming mood with the listener but also gets the feet tapping. Lyrically, the album is host to darker themes, which is accentuated by their minimalist approach to their live show. Produced and mixed almost entirely in Tomas’s bedroom, the album showcases the duo’s approach to layering and mood manipulation. ANDREW POHL
SIR SLYHaving an air of mystery around your musical project seems to have had a positive effect on the trio Sir Sly. Many of the blogs that have written about the group were not sure whom the band was comprised of. Landon Jacobs, Hayden Coplen, and Jason Suwito came together in the summer of 2012 and began blending crafty Electro-R&B cuts. Their new 7” single, “Ghost,” is self-produced and being released in the U.S. through Neon Gold, and in the UK on National Anthem. ANDREW POHL