Latest News: Codes and Keys

Vitamin String Quartet to Release Modern Rock Hits 2011

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Check out Vitamin String Quartet’s line-up on their latest album due out this summer, Modern Rock Hits 2011 and school yourself on the stories behind these hottest tracks of the year (so far). Just Stay Here Tonight: This plaintive jam from San Diego rock quartet Augustana emotes a solid Springsteen-style, pop-rock ethos and was used in a recent episode of the television show Private Practice. Augustana has toured with bands including Maroon 5, The Fray and Snow Patrol.

Under Cover of Darkness: This lead single from The Strokes’ fourth LP Angles is the band’s first single release in five years. That’s how long it’s been since the New York City band released an album. Call it a return to form, but Julian Casablanca’s note-bending caterwaul sounds just like it did on “Last Night.” It makes sense then when he sings, “I've been all around this town/Everybody's been singing the same song for 10 years.”

Rope: The first single from the Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light was written two years ago after sessions for the band’s last album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. Although the Foos typically release a more radio friendly song as their first single, frontman Dave Grohl insisted the band use this Butch Vig produced track as the lead off from Wasting Light, because he thought it best captured the mood of the album’s recording sessions. It must have been pretty loud in there.

You Are a Tourist: “When there’s a doubt in your mind/’Cos you think it all the time/Framin’ rights into wrongs/Move along,” is what Ben Gibbard croons on the uplifting single from Death Cab for Cutie’s forthcoming Codes and Keys. Whether or not Gibbard’s outlook on life has been a bit brighter since landing Zooey Deschanel as his wife, he did tell the audience during a VH1 “Storytellers” taping that the lyrics in the song were "a series of affirmations in an otherwise dark and cruel world."

The Cave: The London folk quartet, Mumford and Sons, stole the show at this year’s Grammy awards with a rousing rendition of “The Cave,” which they performed before jamming on “Maggie’s Farm” with none other than Bob Dylan. “I got out of bed and ran outside and jumped around like a madman,” says singer Marcus Mumford, upon hearing the news that the group would be playing with the rock legend. “You can imagine the reaction of someone who probably wouldn't be playing music at all if it wasn't for Dylan.”

Helplessness Blues: The lead single from Fleet Foxes’ sophomore LP focuses more on singer Robin Pecknold’s quavering falsetto than any tracks on the band’s mega-hit debut ever did. However, the rest of the band joins in on this track’s second half to contribute to the intricate harmonies that have become the Foxes oh-so-pretty trademark.

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Best Upcoming Summer Releases

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Summer is almost upon us and many of VSQ’s favorite artists are releasing albums just in time to make our backyeard BBQ playlists. Here are the best of early summer’s album releases. Raphael Saadiq, Stone Rollin’ – May 10 Saadiq’s follow up to his excellent 2008 release The Way I See It promises to be a bit harder and slightly less funky than its predecessor, as Saadiq says that he’s “moved out of the Motown thing” and created an album with “edge.” Stone Rollin’s release date was pushed back several times last year, but Saadiq promises that the album’s May 10 drop is the real deal this time. You can stream the album in its entirety, courtesy of NPR. Lady Gaga – Born This Way, May 23 Much of Gaga’s third studio LP was written during her 2009/10 Monster Ball tour, and Gaga says the album is “much more vocally up to par with what I’ve always been capable of. It’s more electronic, but I have married a very theatrical vocal to it. It’s like a giant musical-opus theater piece.” We totally feel that. For proof, check the eponymous lead single/video here. My Morning Jacket, Circuital – May 31 “Holdin’ On to Black Metal,” the lead single from MMJ’s forthcoming release heavily features a children’s choir. It seems safe to assume then that Circuital will be as experimental as MMJ’s 2008 release Evil Urges, which only took us 15 listens to really fall in love with. Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys, May 31 Death Cab worked their way up the west coast for Codes and Keys, recording in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. So it makes sense that the album explores the concept of home and displacement. (Check out the lead single “You Are a Tourist”). Still, the band says the album is more “fun” than 2008’s weepy Narrow Stairs. Expect more synth, strings and experimental electronic action than we’re used to from Death Cab. Bon Iver, Bon Iver – June 21 Finally! It feels like we’ve been waiting for the follow-up to Bon Iver’s debut LP For Emma, Forever Ago…well, forever. It’s actually been four years, which has been enough time to raise the levels of anticipation for this release as high as singer Justin Vernon’s haunting falsetto. Tracks from the self-titled sophomore release include "Calgary", "Perth" and "Michicant". The album was recorded in Vernon’s home state of Wisconsin, three miles from the house he grew up in. Be Sure to Check Out: VSQ Performs Lady Gaga Available now at iTunes and Amazon The String Quartet Tribute to Death Cab for Cutie Available at iTunes and Amazon

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