Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I like covers, and I am not ashamed.
It's like refreshing your Arnold Palmer with a handful of crushed ice on July 27th. It is like and unlike itself. Still got the flavor, still got the juice. Only now the texture is different - you can chew on it a bit. Reconsider it. Maybe you'll make the switch for good? Probably not, crushed ice isn't easily found at most watering holes. But when you happen upon it again, you're going to very much enjoy it.
Jónsi, the ethereal falsetto and guitarist of Sigur Rós, makes MGMT's sexdrugsmushroom fueled breakthrough track downright desolate in it's hedonism. Luckily the Icelandic accented English keeps you from throwing yourself from a moving car. Give his sweeping, majestic, elfin-pop Go a, erm...go. When you can go.
And Peter Gabriel, well, he's Peter Gabriel for chrissake. Swapping songs with the prolific Justin Vernon, who must be extremely exhausted with all the collaborations going on, he's doing the damn Gabriel thing and gettin' all up in your eyes.
If you don't get that cheesy integration,
and that's not one of your all time favorite songs,
we might need to take a break from each other for a few days.
"Flume" warms it's hands by the brass fire, but doesn't lose the sparseness that made you start listening to For Emma, forever ago.
Jónsi // Time to Pretend
Peter Gabriel // Flume
Monday, June 28, 2010
It's suckers, not Suckers, ok?
suckers, and not the kind from the bank that get all holey and cut your tongue. Though I bet banks don't even give those out anymore, do they? Some kid probably gag-yarfed on a lollipop stick and ruined it for everyone. What a brat.
From what I can tell, this Brooklyn quartet are a lot smarter than that. They've based their sound, fully debuting on the June 8 release Wild Smile, to spring from synthily verdant bass and percussion. Unfurling vines of dew-laden guitars twine around group chants and harmonies. Produced by the mystic Anand Wilder(yeasayer) and Chris Moore(tvotr), it gets your body movin', it gets you singin' along.
Pair that with a fash that lifts from a MGMT center spread - just look at this pic. You kinda want to punch them in the neck, you kinda want to link arms with your fellows in a Brooklyn's warehouse commune aesthetic. Sway to the beat of poly-pop shakers. Leaning against each others' 25/25/50'd chest, pounding out 5-word refrains. Swinging and sloshing heady growlers of PBR till the bridge subsides. Just BE there, already!
suckers // Black Sheep
Thursday, June 24, 2010
When The Roots signed on to be Jimmy Fallon's house band, I'll admit I pouted a bit. How could these bamf hip-hop positive poets with sick style & mad beats go to latenight TV?
I'll tell you why.
When you're the houseband, the booking agent becomes your bestie. You hookup with all the live acts who moonlight for their 5 minute sets. Then when you want to make another record, you just mass text Yim Yames, Joanna Newsom, Patty Crash, and some of the chickiebabies from Dirty Projectors. They'll swing by the studio, lend their vocals or maybe remix some of their own tracks. Then they'll skip out into the smokey dusk with a little more street cred. Ain't no thang.
How I Got Over, The Roots Crew's ninth album, keeps their socio-political style while stretching their limbs. Black Thought's flinty, profound lyrics are augmented and approachable by Over's contributors. It makes for a softer album than Rising Down, but Questlove's tight production keeps their message wrapped up tight. In moments of tragedy, realism and cynicism - the groove is hopeful.
We should shine a light on. A light on.
The Roots f. Joanna Newsom // Right On
Monday, June 21, 2010
To the esteemed Mr. Ernest Greene,
Mr. Greene - I'm writing to let you know that I am a m*th*f*ck*n fan. Ever since you came out with the Life of Leisure EP, you've made me wish I had been a little older to do more than drool and ask for a binkie in '84. Those music beds you've built with late '70s-80's sampling is an excellent choice.
Even better than highfructosecornsyrup sampling is the minimal lyricism modus operandi. Paired with your homemade bedroom-synth, it's like pb&J. Smooth or chunky, grape or strawberry - if you make that sandwich, you better believe people are gonna 'nom.
The fact you got me to say 'nom is ridiculous. But when you're dropping singles on Adult Swim, only one of the best visual assaults on the planet, that's what happens.
keep it stanky,
p.s. Caroline Polachek sounds positively dreamy on this track. Maybe I'll buy the last Chairlift record to hold me over since you're taking your sweet-ass time with this late Fall release.
p.p.s. Did you seriously create the Chillwave genre? C'mon bro - that's pushing it.
Washed Out // You and I
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
I'll admit, this image is a little outdated. It was taken a few years back when a fellow fan - dear, darling to my heart - and I went to the Devotchka show at Hat Factory, only we weren't really there for Devotchka. Love the band of gypsies, don't doubt it for a minute. But we were REALLY there for a flaxen-haired Canadian woodsprite who sings like you should go to church and consider yo'self in this world - because even when she's not singing gospel she might as well be. That's how much truth rings out in Bulat's vibrato-laden voice as she claps, stomps, strums and sways - oft with autoharp in arms.
But I was THERE, man! From the beginning! Her debut followup, Heart of My Own, benefits from a little bomb-pow courtesy of Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire's familiar). The mountains of instrumentation can sometimes overwhelm, but if you get out breath, make it to "Hush."
Listen and confess your sins. If you have to. Or maybe just listen.
Basia Bulat // Heart of My Own
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
There's something endearing and mildly eyebrow-raising that LA kids think Son House Jr. is the shit. But we're a culture with hipsters snubbing any apparel post '81. Betty Draper is majorly hot, and we suffer rochambeau tourneys to vie for PopPop's retired Tart Arnels, (regardless the fact nobody's remotely farsighted. LASIK, hellooo).
The Dough Rollers ensemble are currently Malcolm Ford (vocals, mandolin), Jack Byrne (guitars, vocals), Julia Tepper (fiddle, vocals) and Andrew Barrett (washboard, jug, kazoo and piano) - that's right, jug. what of it. True disciples dedicated to ragtime revival, they lean in to each other in dens, on rooftops, in opera houses. Follow each others toe taps and finger picks, with Malcolm's raspy yowls wading us through the Mississippi Delta.
You thought Jack White has some overamplified guitars? Pffft.
You think pomade is too sticky to be edgy? Slick those bangs back, bro.
The "devil's music, accused of inciting violence and other poor behavior." is making a comeback.
The Dough Rollers // Where Shall I Be?
Go here if you can't abide speaker recordings.
Monday, June 7, 2010
I'll preface this with two things - 1. no beards here 2. I'm clearly on a vintage folk kick, or whatever this new genre is trying to salvage nearly-forgotten bluegrass, gospel and country. Just gonna fully embrace it this mon.wed.fri. I swear I'll post some really misogynistic, Cristal-tittie-soaking hardcore rap next week to keep things fresh.
Till then, I'll encourage you to put up your pin curls to these harmonies. Mountain Man is Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath - hailing from the hills of Vermont. Made the Harbor is all tarnished silver, barnacle-crusted dock pilings and Granny's peach preserves from last summer's harvest. The sirens, recently signed to bellaunion (edited 6.08.10, holler) are on tour to select cities, good luck withstanding temptation to fall into the sea and follow their calls.
Mountain Man // Soft Skin
Friday, June 4, 2010
You're thinking Maine or Rhode Island, right?
Nor'easter boys who ran among conifers, found guitars with partially rotted soundboards. Violins with sprung catguts and cast-off splintery drumsticks.
They busted out from obligatory tea times on Martha's Vineyards; throwing bowties on the ground and taking up their misfit instruments.
Instinctively following their fingers to colorful, eccentric, grassroots sounds and easy harmonies while looking out over the grey Atlantic.
Well - sorry charlie, they started in a field in Ohio and really just happen to like the tome of Moby Dick. But dream what you want to dream, I'm not going to tell you you're ridiculous until it's entirely necessary.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler // Under Mountain, Under Ground
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
She could be 20 or 200. A real girl or hazy ghost. Bra-burning feminist or romantic Victorian. Mooning over Edward Cullen or Mr. Darcy. Betwixt between, one thing or another - Laura Marling's latest release I Speak Because I Can is both old soul and present-day pixie.
The singer/songwriter has been a frequent in the UK indie-folk scene since her days of backup vocals for Noah & the Whale. Marling's first release at 17 was already way beyond her years - lost loves, failed poets and tear-stained blouses. At that age I was journaling about the thrills of going to a field party or hanging out in someone's garage until it was past curfew. So much for my self-believed romanticsim.
Speak tells tales of responsibility, particularly belonging to women, that bolster her seemingly fragile facade. Backed by beloved Mumford & Sons, it's like having the vastly talented rugby team putting their best girl up on their shoulders. The largely acoustic instrumentation and alto supporting vocals are as lush and rich as the peat moss on the heath (on which she likely stands, singing into the wind, right hand on her guitar strings, left hand resting on a unicorn and scoring an A+ in calculus. whatta betch)
Laura Marling // Alpha Shallows