Archive for May, 2009

31
May
09

Do It Again – Hit The Repeat Button That Is!

If you want it done right, in everyday things or more importantly, in the studio, we’ve seen over and over again, one should do it themselves. The one-man-jam returns, again. Nick Webber, who assumes the moniker Archangel, has really caught my ear. Take some Hawksley Workman, add some of Spoon‘s back and forth piano melody, and throw the driving force of Arcade Fire together for an irresistible combination. “Do It Again” begins at a frantic pace, brings you down for a sizzling breakdown, and closes with hysterics. On repeat…

No one trick pony either. Enjoy more edgy pop goodness to lose yourself in over on Archangel’s MySpace.
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30
May
09

Millionaire Is In The House, Yeah!

…The Crabs are in the house/Kyuss is in the house, yeah/The Mud Hang’s in the house/Thin Lizzy/The Breeders/Millionaire….

When you bite, it’s only right to pay homage to those originators. Or, maybe acts who are bringing fresh elements to the table – they deserve props, too. Ours, yours, everyone’s favorite Belgian duo, Soulwax, kindly pay their respects to over 40 forward thinking musicians on “Teachers” – which originally appeared on Daft Punk’s Homework.

One of those many acts, happen to be Millionaire – who are fellow countrymen of Soulwax. On 2001’s Outside of the Simian Flock, this quintet, formed by ex-dEUS guitarist Tim Vanhamel, concocted “Come With You”. This track bustles with a funky Prince meets Matt Mahaffey playing toys vibe, while lyrics convey a sense of freedom and willingness to come alive. Just as Mahaffey, this blog’s ultimate teacher, wears his mentors prominently on his sleeve, Soulwax aren’t hesitant to confess a few people who led them onto greatness…

With this, I’ll bring the fire, and I’ll burn us down….tonight.

Millionaire :: Come With You

Soulwax :: Teachers (Live at Fabric)

29
May
09

This Is Kinda Like a Big Deal…

Picture 2It’s Friday and you best be up to something. Thanks to the Hood Internet – and MiS, of course – you scored some Ghost; you can’t stop hitting repeat on Tiga’s “Shoes” either. Let’s add a little something to that arsenal of summertime jams…

French, electro virtuoso Yuksek, who is classically trained in the one art we care a lot about, dropped Away From the Sea some months back. It’s dirty and catchy enough for me to return to frequently. And Clipse, the snow slanging MCs outta Virginia, have been preppin’ their 3rd full length for some time now. Their first single, “Kinda Like a Big Deal”, featuring once Chicago MC and always gay fish, Kanye West. Jungle chaos lurks inside of the beat. What’s the correlation between France and Virgina you ask? Our favorite mixmasters, the Hood Internet, decided they’d blend well together. They’re right. Start the weekend right…

ABX :: Kinda Like a Big Break

29
May
09

Dog Day? Not With Concentration

I should be going to Halifax in a matter of weeks, but, ever behind in my work, I’ve set an embargo on all academic travel (at least until 2010, I must be reasonable).  I’ve always wanted to visit Halifax for its apparent splendor, and since it’s home to many of my earliest indie pop music loves (hell, I chose my MA program in Athens, GA in part for its music scene).  My Halifax favorites include The Flashing Lights, The Super Friendz, and, of course, the Beatles of Canada–Sloan!  A nice overview of the “Halifax Pop Explosion” can be found here.   In light of my absence from Halifax, even though there’s a panel basically devoted to my dissertation topic on popular music policy, it’s really quite nice to lose myself in a new album straight out of Halifax, Dog Day’s Concentration.

In a year proving to be my favorite for Canadian music in ages, Dog Day’s new album is an amalgamation of many of my favorite pop music attributes: jangly guitars, well-done (not over-done) synth work, boy-girl vocals, hooks galore, and enough atmospheric elements to remind one of the The Smiths or The Stone Roses.  There’s a bit of Dunedin in this Halifax too.  Along with the sophomore effort by Finnish band Cats on Fire (see  video for “Tears In Your Cup“), my retro-ish tastes for still  fresh pop are well alive in 2009, amid the monotonous, Pitchforkian Monolith announcements I must continue to endure.

“Happiness” is the first single, and somewhat unique in that its vocals are led by Seth Smith (husband to female vocalist, Nancy Urich, who usually takes the lead).

28
May
09

Get Creepy with Grizzly Bear

It’s hard to avoid Grizzly Bear these days.  Whether your reading material of choice is Pitchfork, The New York Times, or one of the first negatives reviews from the Chicago Sun-TimesDrowned in Sound has declared it Grizzly Bear Week.  Alas, there are many others, including:

About.com- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 4.5/5
Allmusic- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 4/5
Gigwise- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 4/5
MusicOMH- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 4.5/5
NME- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 8/10
Q- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 4/5
Reax- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 5/5
Slant- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 4/5
Spin- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 4/5
Uncut- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 4/5
Under the Rader- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: 9/10

The first single, “Two Weeks” is pretty nice chamber pop, quite reminiscent of Cardinal and The Heavy Blinkers, although nothing touches Cardinal’s greatness quite yet that I’ve heard.  It’s nice to see essentially a chamber pop album getting such attention though, even if it’s all a tad hyperbolic.  The new video, released this week of “Two Weeks,” is equally memorable, if merely for its stark creep factor.

UPDATE:  The Irish Times on Grizzly Bear, the so-called Pitchfork effect, and the changing popular music landscape.   One point about the opening assertion by Jim Carroll of Grizzly Bear; twenty years ago such bands did exist and enjoy careers.  The year was 1989, and I will let Scott Miller continue from there.  I understand his point, but it’s foolhardy, and way too technologically deterministic,  to think independent bands are only just now having careers.  If anything, there’s often not enough discourse today because of the said Pitchfork effect–a gatekeeper of merely a different sort.

28
May
09

SP Continue To Swoon Me…

Picture 1

It’s the raucous, dreamy fuzz; the ability to bring back that ‘90’s sound; and pure energy in a live setting that make me do a repeat of 2006endlessly spin the latest from the Los Angeles quartet Silversun Pickups. Back in early ’06, while at the 400 capacity Schubas, within 30 seconds of SP ripping into their set, the girl in front of me, wails, “This is way too loud! I’ll be outside!” All I could do was smile and experience their booming sound…..

Recently, the quartet stopped by The Interface and Yahoo’s The New Now to bring their updated 90’s sound to your computer’s screen. Each site offers its own renditions of various texturized fuzzy rock. “Growing Old Is Getting Old” lurks below…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

27
May
09

Lost Angeles Needs an A Capella

WAW
A Capella; a time honored tradition university-wide across the United States and beyond.  The bare-bones format has had a recent resurgence with the unexpected popularity of a Christmas album issued by Indiana University group Straight No Chaser last winter, along with the Ben Folds tribute released in April.

Off the Beat, a self-described modern rock co-ed a capella group from the University of Pennsylvania have thrown a hat in the indie ring with their take on Lost Angeles by Wired All Wrong.  Step to the blurry video below…




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