Brooklyn band Friends burst onto the scene in 2011 with 7” singles “Friend Crush” along with “I’m His Girl” and immediately demanded the attention of the greater indie-sphere. With their upbeat poppy beats and Samantha Urbani’s unique vocals leading the way, the only thing missing was a debut LP. The wait is no longer. Manifest! drops on June 5th via Fat Possum. Below you can listen to the first single off the album, a nu-disco funky treat named “Mind Control”. In case you missed out on our previous coverage of Friends, you check out my review of their live show in Cincinnati the past December featuring a video of their fab cover of the 90’s R&B classic “My Boo
Written by Greg Dahman
10. Craft Spells – “After the Moment“
Catchy. Pop. Music. It’s a song that truly understands and encompasses that perfect night with someone else. We’ve all been there, and we all can listen to this jam and remember the past moments, live the present ones, and hope for more to come.
9. Twin Sister – “Bad Street“
A song with some serious vibe and sex appeal. Not to mention a funky beat. “Feel it with you, in you feel it. Feel it with you, feel it in you. I want it bad!” Really, enough said, this song brings some funk, pop, and a great voice all together perfectly.
8. Smith Westerns – “All Die Young”
Probably cliché to say, but when I hear this song I get some serious Beatles vibe going on. From the wailing guitar to the boisterous chorus, it’s a big project from a young band. And they pull it off.
7. The Antlers – “I Don’t Want Love“
My initial favorite off this album was “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”, but as the year went on, this song stuck out more and more. The falsetto vocals bring so much feeling, and heartbreak, that for me, this song hits me right where it counts. Add in the haunting wail at the end, and this fits in right behind” Two” as my second favorite Antlers song.
6. Cults – “You Know What I Mean“
Two people. A girl singing like it’s 1965. A guy playing guitar. And perhaps the best chorus of 2011. Feel that drum beat and say it, “Cause I am afraid of the light, yeah you know what I mean.”
5. Bon Iver – “Beth / Rest“
Simply put, this song makes me want to cry. It reminds me of listening to 1980’s songs on the radio on Sunday nights courtesy of my Mom while growing up. From the lyrics, to the guitar solo, it’s my favorite track off Bon Iver’s self -titled masterpiece.
4. Friends – “Friend Crush”
A newcomer to the scene in 2011, this song struck me the first time I heard it. I couldn’t get it out of my head, and I don’t think I ever want to. It says everything about wanting to feel connected to someone else.
3. Real Estate – “Out of Tune”
I know this song was released in 2010. I don’t care, because I didn’t hear it then. It’s my favorite song off an unbelievable album. An album about getting lost in life in the suburbs, this song is its anthem.
2. Holy Ghost – “Jam for Jerry“
This is an ironic song for me. While it’s a tribute to their late drummer Jerry Fuchs, it’s the song of 2011 that brings me the most happiness whenever I hear it. As soon as those first words come out, “You set the tempo, set the pace”, a smile hits my face and life is good again.
1. M83 – “Midnight City“
Well Anthony, the city is indeed my church. And this is the song of the year. Why? Well, you only need to listen to it to understand:
Written by Greg Dahman
I’m not a writer or a music critic, although I’d like to be. So what I lack in literary talent, I will attempt to make up for with strength of content on Thought on Tracks. As Rob has graciously allowed me to put my thoughts on his blog, I will do my best to cover my own musical interests along with the music scene from Cincinnati, Ohio.
The latest 2011 buzz band to hail from Brooklyn, Friends, has made a name for themselves over the past few months releasing stellar pop tunes. The quintet is lead by Samantha Urbani on vocals and features Lesley Hann (bass, percussion, backing vocals), Nikki Shapiro (guitar, keyboards, percussion), Matthew Molnar (keyboards, percussion, bass), and Oliver Duncan (drums). While the band has yet to release an LP, infectious dance pop singles “Friends Crush” and “I’m His Girl” show the promise of what is to come.
Opening up for Friends at Mayday was Ganglians, a four-piece psychadelic pop band from Sacramento, California. While I haven’t heard all their albums, I was delighted with their sound. Highlighted by catchy guitar riffs and loud drums, these guys put on a fun show. The two songs that stood out as their best include “Jungle” and “Hair”. With each, take that volume knob and turn it up. Listen and download “Jungle”:
Friends hit the stage after and did not disappoint the hype. I love pop music because it invokes feeling, be it happiness or misery. Samantha’s vocals have a certain darkness to them, like she is longing for something(one) in every word she sings:
I wanna be your friend . I wanna ask your advice on a weekday. I wanna plan something nice for the weekend.
We all can relate to wanting friendship and interaction with another and the excitement that comes with meeting someone new. The angst and longing to learn more, to reach the core of that person’s soul. “Friends Crush” puts this feeling front and center.
The stories in your hair that you carry all around . I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wanna hear ‘em now . The stories in your hair that you carry all around . I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wanna tear it out.
In all, I came away extremely impressed with Friends. While their set was short, all their material gets your feet moving and it left me with the post-show euphoria any concertgoer can relate to. They engaged the audience with Samantha even venturing out to dance in the crowd. And if you aren’t convinced Friends is a band worth listening to yet, they finished off their set covering Ghost Town DJ’s 90’s hit “My Boo”. Can you really ask for anything more? Look for their first LP to drop in March of 2012.
Written by Greg Dahman