Category Archives: passion pit

ALBUM REVIEW: Passion Pit – Kindred (2015)

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This article first appeared on The Daily Listening.

It doesn’t feel that long since Gossamer hit the waves, but three years definitely feels like too long. It’s something that not a lot of bands possess, longevity. I guess you could chalk it up to consistent albums that brandished so many infectious individual singles. Either that or they’ve just gone unnoticed, but I’d find that hard to believe. It’s a trend that Brooklynites Passion Pit continued as they busted back onto the scene in a huge way earlier this year to lead up to the grand opening of their third studio album Kindred, which hit the stores this week.

Kindred opens up with old school Passion Pit circa Manners era, with the wholly traditional and hugely impressive “Lifted Up (1985)”. It’s a beautiful, uplifting tune that sparks curiosity and happiness while still holding an obvious serious message within the depths of the lyrics. The vocals are more defined, more appropriate and all-round just spot on. It’s the first true sign that Passion Pit are back in a way that could transport you back to those glory days when they first graced your ears.

“Whole Life Story” shows off a deeper register in the vocals, peeking its head through a funky vibe that spruiks positivity to a happy-go-lucky beat. At this point, we’re starting to piece together the clues that indicate we’re back those old-school memories of the act, but that’s flipped all over the place by the third track “Where The Sky Hangs”. There’s a tinge of new age eighties and funk intertwined with this strange that points to the influence of perhaps a range of different Australian acts like Miami Horror or Cut Copy.

Now we’re starting to get a real feel for Kindred, and “Five Foot Ten (I)” delivers more absolute pop brilliance. It’s one of the easier to swallow tracks on the album, smashing through static synth and samples with memorable pop melodies lain cleverly over the top. Putting it real simply, this one a is a fucking fun tune.

We get all touchy-feely as we hit the song “Dancing On The Grave”, with childlike chimes and melancholic lyrics. Aptly named for a ballad, this one rips the party atmosphere of the last track away before you’ve had a chance to catch your breath. It’s not the best single on the album, and will surely be overlooked by most. But it’s a decent little number if you’re feeling sad, so I say wait for the right moment before you crack in the earbuds on this one.

“Until We Can’t (Let Go)” is the latest single to be put forward in line with the album and it’s obvious why they chose this one as one of the headliners to give way to the album releases big bang. It’s catchy, unique and bloody powerful. You can imagine this being pumped live at a festival like Coachella, kids with their arms in the air while they dominate the crowd with the lyrics “let’s go ‘til we can’t anymore”. It’s a truly inspiring piece of musical work.

“My Brother Taught Me How To Swim” and the auto-tune infused “Ten Feet Tall (II)” are the appropriate way to leave behind Kindred. Two tracks that have a lot of heart. But really, it’s a repeated notion. The whole album has a shit-tonne of heart. It’s filled to the brim with dance, with pop and with inspiring, first-class music on the whole.

Now that I’ve heard Kindred, I’ll be honest. I’m going to miss Passion Pit for the next three years. But while I’m being honest, what they’ve really executed with this album is one more faithful believer that will happily sit on these awesome tracks for another three years until they’re ready to feed me with more awesomeness. Well played Passion Pit, well played.

*****

8.9 / 10

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Passion Pit – Lifted Up (1985)

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When I first got into Passion Pit I was working as a cleaner at a ski resort in Canada. I listened to “Little Secrets” and “To Kingdom Come” from their debut album Manners while vacuuming hallways for wealthy Calgarians, I snowboarded day in and day out in the most unbelievable part of the world while “Sleepyhead” blasted through my helmet headphones. When their follow up Gossamer came out I was just about to finish University, I jammed out to “Carried Away” while nutting out those last few paragraphs of my last few assignments at 4AM. My life changed completely every time one of their albums came out, whether it was because of the album or not, Passion Pit is a band that I’ll always remember, and this song takes me back.

Their brand spanking new track, “Lifted Up (1985)” is getting back to their roots. It’s a beautiful, uplifting tune that sparks curiosity and happiness while still holding an obvious serious message within the depths of the lyrics. The vocals are more defined, more appropriate and all-round just spot on. It just seriously gets me excited. Passion Pit are back in a way that transports me back to those pow-days, carving tracks through unique landscapes and completely switching off from real life. If I can leave this post with one thought, it’s that when their new album comes out, you need it in your life.

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Issue Eleven: Christmas & New Years Edition

‘Tis the season to be fucking glad that most of us finally have time off to sleep in. Amidst all the parties and binge drinking that I’m sure will be filling up this happy season there’s always one in every group that insists on blasting Christmas tunes to get into the spirit. Problem is, Christmas tunes are traditionally boring. Not many new “classics” have arisen on the charts since the 1930’s so they tend to become a bit repetitive and reminiscent of a poorly crafted school song written by honestly talented musicians out of obligation, making abundantly clear that what they lack in passion they make up for in uniformity.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because they don’t get much coverage doesn’t mean there aren’t awesome Christmas tunes out there, although you can’t escape the presence of sleigh bells in almost all of them. I’ve put together Issue Eleven as a triumphant seasonal cacophony so that your end of year festivities might be that tiny bit more enjoyable.

10. The Maine – Ho Ho Hopefully

The Maine released a pretty sweet little Christmas EP a year or so ago with some actually decent original songs (although their cover of George Michael’s Last Christmas sucked). I particularly like this one and I hope you do too.

9. Motion City Soundtrack – Together We’ll Ring In The New Year

This is an absolute classic. I don’t think it was meant as a seasonal tune but came off their second album as one of the stand-out tracks. Not that we like listening to sad songs on New Years.
8. Hot Hot Heat – Christmas Day In The Sun

Hot Hot Heat admittedly isn’t for everyone. That being said, they’re one of my favourite bands and I’ve had to fight friends to get them to listen in return for a constant slew of mixed reviews. But hey, it’s Christmas so give them a chance.
7. Ohbijou – New Years

I know absolutely nothing about this band but stumbled across them in my search for seasonal greatness. They definitely impressed and this song, although once again not particularly festive in nature, impressed so much that I bumped it to seven in spite of other songs I have loved for years.
6. Passion Pit – All These Trees

Not really sure how I feel about this song but it’s Passion Pit and it’s a Christmas song. So simply on that merit I’m jumping it to number six on my Santa list. It’s actually not bad towards the end. The best part about it is it sounds very much like something off their first album.
5. Snow In Mexico – You & My Winter

Now the top five is where we start getting into the really impressive take on Christmas and New Years. This one is particularly awesome in the fact that not only is it an original song but it somehow manages to pull at your heartstrings without even being able to audibly hear most of the lyrics. It’s quite a dark vibe from these guys during a lovely time of the year but it’s OK because the song itself is one that will last all through the year.
4. Matt Pond PA – Holiday Road

What would holiday memories be without at some point in your life watching National Lampoon’s Vacation. Those cheeky Griswold’s getting up to all kinds of mischief all across America. This was the theme song from the movie (or at least one of the movies) and was one of my favourite tracks around this time of year. Matt Pond PA’s version is quite different but a wicked take on a funky track originally written by Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac.
3. Death Cab For Cutie – Merry Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything new from Death Cab that I’ve really stuck with. They used to be one of my favourite acts and I guess still are. This semi-merry Christmas track is a classic, re-tuned to the sombre key that Death Cab are so wickedly famous for. It’s the second best re-make in this here list.
2. The Wombats – Is This Christmas?

I know by this time in the list, everyone is probably thinking, “Now there’s nothing very Christmas like about this list, most of the songs are sad, anti-festive pseudo-jubilations”. To be honest, What kind of association do we have with ANY of the traditional Christmas songs? We don’t have snow for one and that’s included in like 90% of songs on the standard roster. Just enjoy the brilliance of The Wombats. It’s good music like this that makes me happy on Christmas Day.
1. Jimmy Eat World – Last Christmas

Now this is the absolute best Christmas cover I’ve ever heard. Mr. James E. World just demolished George Michael’s version of this Christmas classic in the same way they always do. It’s something special to take a song like this and add such an obvious touch of you’re own signature sound. It almost doesn’t sound like a cover. Perfect way to finish up the list. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone! See you in 2013.

Issue Two

Although my first post was purely for a bit of fun, I’m pleased to report a lot of good feedback so far. As history would have it the sequel is usually not as good as the original but let’s hope this week pleases, cause to be honest these ten songs have pleased the hell out of me over the past two weeks (that sounded weird but whatever).

You’ll find a couple of songs in here this week that have been around for a while (one over two years old) but you can’t argue with playlist stats and as I’m heading to NZ this week to catch up with old buddies from my time in the Canadian snow, I’ve gotten a bit nostalgic about some of the songs I used to ride to.

So without further adue, here are this weeks top ten songs as judged by my ears.


10. Little Comets – Bridge Burn
Don’t worry, I’m not re-hashing all the same bands from last week (it’s why the repeat offenders are coming in early). You’ll understand why this had to be here after you take a listen. You already know I love Little Comets and this is another sterling track off their “Jennifer and Other Short Stories EP”. These guys usually blend up to sound like a cross between the blues-tinged folk style of some of The Kooks softer stuff and the dancy, pop infused hits of The Wombats. Those facts aside, this track is one of their own; making you appreciate musical talent in its simplicity.


9. Kyle Andrews – Polar Bear

Another song from an artist that was in last weeks top ten, but seriously how can you not listen to this album for over a month? This is heaps more relaxed than the track that came in number one last week and it shows exactly why the album is such a decent mix of everything that is good about music. Kyle Andrews is a relatively new find for me which is why he comes in again this week with another track. Once again, you can check out his stuff at kyleandrews.bandcamp.com


8. Tycho – Coastal Brake

Funny thing is I literally started listening to this band in the middle of writing this blog and decided on the spot that I want to chuck them in. I think these guys only do electro instrumental stuff but its so easy to get lost in this song. It is purely coincidence that I put a semi-instrumental song in at number 8 last week. With a brand new album out called “Dive”, you can Check out their other stuff at tycho.bandcamp.com.



7. Fenech-Soler – Golden Sun

This is one of those almost two years old songs that I was talking about. These guys are absolutely great. As a two piece electro outfit originating from the UK, they got pretty well known pretty fast and you’ll understand why when you listen to this catchy number. Everytime I play this song in front of someone they always ask “Who is this?” followed by me later hearing it blasting in their cars. Hopefully it has the same effect on whoever reads this blog.



6. Reptar – Houseboat Babies

Remember that fictional show that the kids from Rugrats used to love? Yeah, that’s where you’ve heard the name Reptar. But these guys have way better songs than that (albiet awesome) theme song with the burps from the Nickelodeon classic. The vocals take a bit of getting used to but I love them, and this is my top ten so suck it. These guys played at SXSW this year by the way, and this song is really cool. The album is unreal too. Check it out on iTunes it’s called “Body Faucets”.

5. Gold Fields – Treehouse
This is another one from at least two years back. I recently checked my iTunes for which song on my entire library had the most plays since owning a computer, and it was this song by a whopping 87 plays. It’s impossible not to get addicted to this song which may be one of the reasons why it was the 5th most played song on Triple J in 2011. Sadly (and surprisingly) it didn’t make it into the hottest 100 this year. It might not be the number one song for this week but it is definitely at number one for the last year. Oh and new album coming soon by these guys too.

4. Late of the Pier – Best in the Class

I feel this song actually has really inspiring lyrics for the type of song that it is. These guys are like prog rock/electro/brit pop and just pure craziness. Late of the Pier have been absent from the music world for a while now and this was their last single. It wasn’t released on any particular album but it was a sweet little tune. Their only album “Fantasy Black Channel” is absolutely nuts and I highly recommend that everybody go and check it out.

3. Passion Pit – Carried Away
As this is a top ten of music in my iTunes, it’d be stupid to not include this band. Most of you would already know them from the song “Little Secrets” or perhaps just know them because they’re last record was completely awesome from top to bottom. I started listening to Passion Pit whilst overseas so their sound brings back great memories for me. I bought the new album “Gossamer” this week and have had a few songs on repeat. This just happens to be my favourite from the new album.

2. Twin Shadow – Beg for the Night

These guys were a surprise for me. With a new album out called “Confess” I’d heard a few songs but nothing really stuck. I put this one in the list of maybes and within a day it has jumped to being on repeat pretty much all day today. This being said, it probably requires a bunch of listens before you really get into it. Twin Shadow have that little 80’s feel mixed with electro/indie stylings and I guess if I keep doing these blogs you’ll come to understand how much I do love the 80’s and anything that reminds me of my favourite bands from the 80’s. Get ready to replay the chorus over and over.

1. Van She – Tears
Damn I have been waiting a bloody long time for these guys to bring out a new album. I even resorted to listening to every single Van She Technologic Remix ever created just to get my fix until it was dropped. I bought this album the other day alongside Passion Pit’s newy and got caught onto this song faster than anything ever. Since then its plagued any room I can hook music up to. Easily my favourite on the album and easily the number one choice for this weeks Issue. Enjoy.

Well that’s it for the second run. Hope you enjoyed and feel free to follow the blog via Twitter or comment on any of the posts with your own stuff that you think I should check out. Issue three in a week or two. Whenever I feel like it.