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[new]: Guards – Ready To Go

By Will Oliver, January 10th 2013

Guards - Ready To Go

Guards already released two great cuts (“Coming True” & “Silver Lining”) from their debut album In Guards We Trust.

They have another one for us: “Ready To Go.” Just like the previous two songs, “Ready To Go” succumbs to a big chorus that lifts the band up to the clouds. Guards know a thing or two about writing sweeping chorus’, that’s for sure.

In Guards We Trust comes out February 5 via Black Bell Records. Pre-order options are available here.

[new]: Guards – Coming True

By Will Oliver, November 13th 2012 — with 1 comment

Guards are at it again with “Coming True” the 2nd single from their full-length debut, In Guards We Trust. It had to be a good one to contend with the first single “Silver Lining”.

Guards love their buildups, and their agenda is in tact on “Coming True”. A thunderous wailing guitar leads the way, as the song builds and builds, higher, and higher with a little help from Richie Follin’s vocal work.

In Guards We Trust may be the pick-me=up album of 2013. It’s out February 5 via Black Bell.

[mp3]: Guards – Coming True

Catch the music video for “Silver Lining” after the jump.
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[new]: Guards – Silver Lining

By Will Oliver, September 25th 2012

Guards are back with new single “Silver Lining” that continues the excellent vibes that last year’s “Do It Again” left us with (it was one of my favorite songs of the year). Both songs are taken from their debut album In Guards We Trust, which will come out next February 5, via Black Bell and Velvet Vision.

“Silver Lining” is feel good-guitar rock,  faithfully capturing every sense of the phrase. The band sound unstoppable, unable to be contained. This is a good song to help you procrastinate the fact that summer is gone. It can be your very own silver lining.

Stream it below and download it for free all from the band’s soundcloud widget below.

[new]: Guards – Do It Again

By Will Oliver, December 5th 2011 — with 1 comment

Guards new single “Do It Again” is straight up rock goodness. It hits hard with crunchy guitars that just scream summer fun. Sure, it’s December but why get rid of such a feel good aesthetic? It features a simple chorus of “Do It Again” that just sounds so…damn…good.

It’s being released through White Iris Records as a blue vinyl. Download it below.

[mp3]: Guards – Do It Again

[New EP] Guards – Resolution Of One

By Will Oliver, April 24th 2011 — with 1 comment

Guards will release their new Resolution Of One [EP] on May 9th via Kitsuné. It will feature “Resolution Of One”, one of the main songs from their debut release, along with two new songs: “Hear You Call” and “Swimming After Dark”.

If you somehow still haven’t downloaded their incredible Guards EP/mini album, you should really get on that. Stream it below or download it here.

Guards just tweeted that they have a new free EP on bandcamp. It’s a digital 7″, 3 song EP consisting of covers that the band did. The songs that they covered are: Metallica’s “Motorbreath”, Vampire Weekends “Taxi Cab” and M.I.A.’s “Born Free”. Quite an eclectic group of covers.

Stream it below, or download the whole thing via bandcamp. I posted a mp3 of the “Taxi Cab” Cover, as well

[mp3]: Guards – Taxi Cab (Vampire Weekend Cover)

Guards – Resolution of One 7″ (SPR001)

By Will Oliver, October 5th 2010

Small Plates Records is the new record label run by the always fantastic music blogs, I Guess I’m Still Floating & YVYNYL. Both are fantastic blogs, and one can only imagine the great releases that will be on the way.

Their first release is already impressing me a great deal. It’s a 7″ featuring three songs from guards debut ep. You hopefully remember guards, as I liked them a great deal. The 7″ will feature ”Resolution of One” as the a-side, and the double b-side has “Crystal Truth” and “Long Time”.

The 7″ will be on limited to 500 copies on what they describe as “gorgeous multicolored vinyl”.

Pre-Order their first release right here. It’s due out on October 19th.

A EP You Must Download: Guards EP

By Will Oliver, July 22nd 2010 — with 5 comments

So a lot of my favorite music blogs have been buzzing about the Guards EP. I have had it downloaded and ready to go, but I put it aside so I could try and ignore all the hype and give it a fair listen. I finally played it, and wow, this is quite a debut EP.

Guards first hit the spotlight after Cults posted a tweet on their twitter saying that they contributed a song for the guards ep. It linked to a bandcamp page, which is the only place you can find Guards related stuff. On their is the 7 song self titled debut EP, up for free download.

The EP is solid from top to bottom. It opens with the memorable “resolution of one”, then sees Charlift’s very own Caroline Polachek contributing on “trophy queen”. Cults contributed on a song called “sail it slow”, and it’s as great as you’d expect.

Guards came out of no where but surely impressed everyone that downloaded this EP. All of the songs are memorable slices of sunny retro pop. The songs may be called lo-fi, but these guys have the mindset of songs that would fair very well with good production.

One thing’s for sure: The person/s behind Guards are no amateurs. These guys know damn well how to play.

Do yourself a favor and download the entire EP over at their bandcamp right now. If you want a quick taste before you are sold, posted below are my favorite cuts:

[mp3]: guards – resolution of one
[mp3]: guards – sail it slow (feat. CULTS)
[mp3]: guards – long time

Saint Etienne

Not too long ago Taylor Swift made the news when she pulled all of her music from Spotify as a protest for the way music was being distributed without adequate compensation for the musician. As she rightly pointed out, musicians need to have the ability to support themselves and the only way for that to happen in a digital age is if safeguards are put in place to ensure the expectation for a fair wage is firmly established. It would seem as though this is a contemporary issue but financial sovereignty has been an issue in the arts for as long as there have been artists.

The History of Copyright Ownership

In the 1800s a composer named Guiseppe Verdi asserted his right to manage the international distribution of some of his most famous operas. It may seem unusual to think of the composers of some of the most well-known musical pieces from more than one hundred years ago being concerned with the way in which their music was distributed, but the need to maintain artistic control and to receive monetary reimbursement for their work is an ongoing struggle.

In many instances, these types of exchanges are not part of the common history and only come to light when historical autographs for sale and other historic documents become available to consumers from private collections. Without an extensive media presence and the ability to instantly inform fans about what is going on via social media, the information was only available to the parties directly involved.

A more recent example that people may be more familiar with involves the rights to the music produced and written by Prince. He was famously intolerant of having his music distributed by methods which were out of his control. It wasn’t until his death that his musical portfolio began to be available for digital download. A quick search of his songs on YouTube will make it obvious he took unauthorized redistribution seriously, as there are very few songs available even there.

Modern Concerns

One of the reasons artists have become so concerned with the issue of musical distribution in recent decades is the ease with which it can be copied and redistributed through piracy. This represented a major concern for musicians when digital tracks first began showing up but that concern has begun to diminish with streaming services that allow people to pay only for what they listen to.

Unfortunately, the streaming services have caused some artists such as Swift, Beyoncé, Adele, and Garth Brooks to have concerns about the scalability of the economic model for their own careers and the careers of less well-known artists. Because the amount an artist receives is tied to how many times their songs are played, it means those who are not in heavy rotation or who are less well known are less likely to make a substantial amount of money with this format.

The Future of Music

While it is a valid concern that an artist will not receive fair compensation for their work if people are able to freely access it, the reality is shaking out much differently than it originally seemed it would. Instead of being a cataclysmic transformation which destroyed careers, it seems to have leveled the musical playing field and given artists a greater level of control than they have ever experienced before.

Artists no longer have to compete with those who are seen as appealing to a large commercial segment. The only game in town is no longer the radio and television airways. It isn’t necessary to have a sound that is so similar as to be indistinguishable from everything else which is being played. Artists are free to innovate and break any rules and to be as authentically themselves as they care to be. Then they can find their tribe and sell directly to those people who most resonate with their music.

Instead of limiting the number of people who can make a living, the digital revolution is giving a greater number of people to make music their career. While it may limit the number of people who are able to rise to astronomical career levels by being the only option, ultimately it is giving musicians more control of their finances and their art.

 

 

 

CRX and Hideout at Mercury Lounge (August 24, 2016)

By Will Oliver, November 16th 2016 — with 1 comment

1_crx_mercury-lounge

On August 24, CRX, the new solo project led by The Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi (also featuring Guards’ Richie Follin, along with Jon Safley, Ralph Alexander and Darian Zahedi), made their Manhattan live debut, with their “proper” New York debut coming a few days earlier at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn.

The group ran through tracks from their upcoming debut album New Skin, which was released in October via Columbia Records. It was unusual to see Valensi taking the center-stage role, after so many years of seeing him playing guitar with The Strokes. Stylistically, there were elements of The Strokes in his songs, but they also were varied and dove into other genres.
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