Sunday, April 29, 2007
Browsing Brooklyn Vegan yesterday led me to a young chap by the name of Dan Deacon, as you can see from the video above he's out of his fucking mind and writes music that is the soundtrack to tea parties on the ceiling. He hangs out with the dudes of Ecstatic Sunshine in that Baltimore crowd.
He has a new album coming out this year on May 8 called Spiderman of the Rings. It's like Tamborello from Dntel decided to eat a bunch of crazy berries off the awesome bush. The lyrics make less sense than a meat loaf sandwich.
here's "Wham City" which is indeed long but worth the listen at least for the absurdly catchy middle part.
and here's Crystal Cat the closest thing to a dance track on the album.
gonna get my pants suit on?
Friday, April 27, 2007
Let me say this and let me say this real fast so that all you stupid people with pipes through your Broca's area will get it: I hated The Arcade fire. *GASP* what? How could anyone hate The Arcade Fire? Thats like hating America. or *GULP* loving terrorism!
Cool your rocket-skates there, Ashcroft, and look at me with both eyes. I will now, readers, stoop to all of your vomitous, poor tastes at tell you that, yes, I am a convert to the church of the Neon Bible. Now, before you pull out the bathing suits and streamers and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil filled kiddie pools, I must tell you that I still dislike The Arcade Fire's first album Funeral and wish it were dead.
I'm not one of those assholes who dislikes something based on overhype. If anything I'd be the first to jump into that pit of rabid Tyra Bankses if someone told me it was cool. But the first Arcade Fire album, to me, sounds like a very very fat man blocking one of those moving sidewalks in an airport. Multiply that by ten songs and add Win Butler's stupid warble and you've got something that I find exceedingly more mediocre that people give it credit for.
Actually, that I find the songs mediocre even though I find them overbearing really attests to the arrangements themselves. I must give AF my commendations on penning songs whose forefingers are all pointing in the same direction. Truly, though, the new album changes directions ever so slightly enough, that I find myself enjoying their sounds.
The songs on Neon Bible sound either like a flick of the wrist or a full bombardment but never, in my opinion, sound like they're slapping me in the face with their "indyness." Neon Bible sounds more like they're juggling on a unicyle on a tightrope to me, a good thing. Theres a tautness about it that I find more appealing that Funeral's un-tautness. and a dark, monastic, cloistered feel to it. Theres more storm. The windows are a little more tinted this time around. and Win Butler's voice is lower in the mix, less'n he sings like Springsteen. Thats just fine with me:
Theres more uncertainty here I feel, because each song is more timid in approaching an answer than their last album. The cathartic and sublime (and predictable) endings in Funeral are replaced in Neon Bible by an obscuring deepness of sound most visible, I think, in (Antichrist Television Blues).
and of course intervention, the single, punches you in the face first thing with a fucking full organ. This song fulfills every tenet I've laid down for this album. It really couldn't possibly be a member of Funeral's repertoire, its far too tinted to allow us any sort of relief from it's bombardment, which I find much more appealing than the heart-on-the-coffee-table sounds of Funeral.
unfortunately this crapfest comes after it:
yes, I dislike the first half of this song, but get through the first two minutes of the festival of crap and the end finds itself as the darkest and most revealing Butler allows himself to get on Neon Bible.
"Theres a great black wave in the middle of the sea."
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Its so funny how easy it is to forget about certain things.
This week has been The Dismemberment Plan in all of their iterations. Yesterday consisted of me listening to a couple D Plan albums on repeat. D Plan is not a huge thing in NYC which is so strange coming from Virginia because, well, if you don't like D Plan in Virginia you're pretty much banished.
Truth is it took me a while to get used to the idiosyncrasies in The D Plan's music. Its funny to watch those idiosyncrasies through D Plan's career, from "!" through "Is Terrified" and "Emergency and I" one can really hear each individual member's personal style coagulating from the hit you with a frying pan sound of "!" into the subtle weirdness of Emergency and I. Seriously check it out:
"!" is a pretty mediocre album that is telling of what the D Plan would become. but upon first listen its easy to notice how low the vocals are in the mix and how much the bass sounds like a fucking howitzer. Mixing must have been such a difficult task for D Plan througout their career since each member is fighting each other member for singularity of style but thats what makes the sound work so well. They're a unit that consistently sounds about to explode and the more subtle they were able to make that explosion sound, the better their albums were.
so anyhow here's the first song off of D Plan's first album called Survey Says:
now check out Is Terrified when they started to figure something out about their DC roots or something, and Travis Morrison found out about falsetto. Actually the song is pretty standard guitar rock during the chorus, but check out the synth and drums verses and post chorus.
And then of course Emergency and I when they managed to hone their sound to as sharp as it would ever be. I suppose The City is a bad example but its just such a great song that I can't pass up putting it on here.
and then maybe a little after that comes the Juno/D Plan split where the D plan released their biggest booty shakin' song, "The D ismemberment Plan Gets Rich" that I feel magnificently condenses their raucous premergency and I sound with the sharpness but ultimately too condensed sounds of Change.
god that song is so fucking great. shook my ass to that song on stage w/ D Plan at their last show (not their post-breakup last shows).
Friday, April 20, 2007
Chuck Brown is to Go-Go music as the 4th duke of sandwich is to modern eating trends. What is Go-Go music you ask? Well Go-Go is a variation of Funk music developed in Washington DC by none other than Mr. Chuck Brown. The beats are typically laid back in a 4/4 signature with conga percussion beside a regular drum set. Sometimes it verges on a reggae-like or calypso percussion because of the syncopation. Also! The songs tend to bleed into one another so as to keep people shakin' they asses. Shows run very long because the artists work an element of jazz in there too, noodling around whatever foundation the song has laid down. Lyrics are sparse too, smidgeoned between keyboards and horns they are typically ad-libbed, call and response or just a repeated phrase.
Interestingly, because the music focuses on the live it seems like there are a lot of references to popular culture thrown in for almost no reason at all. For example when I saw Chuck Brown last night at Joe's Pub he worked in the Godfather theme as well as the Woody Woodpecker theme. and it was clear that the band and he had practiced it and worked it in beforehand because the three brass and two keyboardists all flowed through it perfectly. An intriguing bit of post-modern appropriation if you ask me. I would imagine theres a little bit of re-appropriation in the genre as well, but none of the songs last night "sampled", if you will, any tunes that could be poignantly deconstructed and I'm not familiar enough with live performances of Go-Go to say one way or the other.
Or this is just the last vestiges of my academic self, having crystallized into a kidney stone like obstruction, being pissed out onto this webpage. How many licks to the center of self-deprecation? one. Ah ta-hooo. Ah Three. The world may never know.
Brown basically just took his funk band in the 70s and completely and decisively created a new genre that people could dance to for a solid two hours straight. Thats right, fuck Pilates and swishy, neon track suits (okay, those can stay). Head to the 9:30 Club in DC which he apparently plays on a semi-regular basis and you'll see what I'm talking about.
He also has a new album coming out soon which apparently has some hip-hop influences on it. (he did have his daughter come on stage and do a little rappin' which sounded great) All in all imagine Go-Go as a kind of Funk paella that you can put anything delicious in and it'll taste just fine.
Heres Chuck Brown's big hit "bustin' Loose" from the album of the same title.
and another Go-Go band called Rare Essence for your listening pleasure
Also: get a load of Chuck Brown he is AMAZING!!!!
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Well, this is my 100th post. huzzah.
Anyhow lets get back to the crux of the music here. I recently found my old copies of Black Eyes self-titled and "Cough" Black Eyes were an awesome post-hardcore band on Dischord that Mother nature herself prevented me from seeing. Q And Not U was all like "we'll play at your school" and Black Eyes was touring with them and everyone got psyched because it had been a good year for music at University of Mary Washington (Rilo Kiley, Schatzi, Denali [actually they sucked]), but damn!!!!!!! it snowed. Of course I had many a time to see Q and Not U in the following years (as they became one of my fave bands) but Black Eyes eluded me and eventually essploded into a mess of instruments; the players shed from their musical coils and into record labels and perhaps even (shudder) retail jobs.
No matter. They made some yummy music in their time.
This is Pack of Wolves from their self titled debut on Dischord. Sometimes listening to it kind of feels like swallowing a full grown undeclawed cat, but you'll get over it once the digestive juices kick in. They've got two drum sets, two basses, two singers and they're joined at the hip by one guitar.
See what I mean? Pack of Wolves is a big fucking shrilly mess and its great.
I mean, they're not exactly Engelbert Humperdinck which is a crime. I mean it should be a crime that everybody is not Engelbert Humperdinck. Heh, Humperdinck.
Black Eyes, like I said, essploded into a gigantic mess right before their second and final album called "Cough" which is a combination of seventies no-wave, free-jazz, post-hardcore and noise. What a mess. I rushed out to buy this album at the local (and now essploded as well) independent record store in Fredericksburg,VA. I made sure to listen first and was so perturbed and disgusted by Black Eyes' new sound that I listened to the whole album. Sitting there amidst the Pavement, Bjork and Sonic Youth posters and kitschy seventies Humperdinck lamps I heard an album so distraught with a bands collapse that I consciously thought to myself "Self! this album is a level above you. You're not ready for it yet." (I wish I had that kind of foresight when I tried to read Chaucer again the other night).
Well I don't know what has happened to me since then. Perhaps I got bored of how music sounds and started expanding the borders of my musical country into uncharted territory. My compass has lost its magnetism, my maps tattered scrolls exhumed from the vaults of Wikipedia, my metaphorical supplies running low. Perhaps I've bathed my veynes in swich licour a little too much, because now I feel comfortable in territories I was uncomfortable in some time ago. Maybe I feel comfortable in a band clapping and screaming into a microphone, sliding their guitars up and around and down through the pits of aural heck, and calling that a song.
Regardless, here is "drums" arguably the most songy of the songs on "Cough" by Black Eyes.
Of course, I prefer Fathers of Daughters for its visceral slap to the face and samba whistles? Yes, it hurts so beautiful. but for some reason I can't get imeem to accept it so I'll just post Eternal Life instead. Another crushing blow to melody.
anyway, pick up a copy at Dischord
also make sure to check out the stycast for six degrees #6 which is going up on Wednesday around two or three.
Friday, April 13, 2007
This is the third installment for my Harry Nilsson shrine, bewreathed and candled as if I were the celebrant raising this cup of youtube above my head and offering it to you, my readers. This is the part of the service where the kids are getting antsy, the blessing is nearly done:
"Take. Eat. This is my youtube which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Nilsson."
Unfortunately! The videos are craptacular. Oh well, at least it gets the point across (seriously, no pun intended there. I'm not even that lame)
So, anyhow, this song is called Life Line and its probably the prettiest song on the album with descending harp plucks, a lilting melody that is echoed by a bunch of Nilssons and flutes that sound sampled but I'm not so sure about that one.
I'm particularly impressed with the simplicity of the vocal dynamics versus the harmonies, not so much in the album version but this alternate take from the 2002 remastered album. One can really appreciate the writing process when Nilsson plays the song solo on the piano with only a couple of backing vocalists and an organ in there too.
The video is strange and takes place in the narrative immediately before Oblio and Arrow (the boy and his dog) begin walking through a forest of not so subtle vaginal openings disguised to look like some kind of weird foliage. This is particularly interesting because the vaginal imagery begins when this song plays, and its pretty easy to spot. I wasn't entirely sold on the notion that the giant pit Oblio looks into is vaginal until I saw the two droplets of white "tears" fall into the pit. Am I insane? let me know if I'm insane, cause I don't really see the video in any other way now.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Critical Metrics is a new website that I've been visiting. Check it out herre. You might as well add this to your bookmarks folder or sidebar on your blog because this shit is going to blow the fuck up (and if it doesn't I think there is something seriously wrong with the internet).
You'll figure it out as soon as you get there because the website design is impeccably um designed but I'll tell you what it does anyway. Essentially the site is a music review aggregator. They'll take small snips of articles from a bunch of important music websites (and unimportant ones [blender, eugghh]) that positively describe recent individual songs. One can listen to the songs themselves and put them on a playlist. So basically its like the hype machine except it doesn't completely remove all importance from the writing and actually supports the binary between positive and negative reviews (ew, I just used the word binary and was okay with it. it really has been a year since school ended) which is a good thing.
On another note everyone should check out the new Bright Eyes single (which I have embedded below, hee hee). And I'm serious about everyone because the single is fantastic, even if you're a naysayer from his past albums. Okay, maybe he is a teensy bit heavy handed, and okay maybe his voice is kinda shitty, and okay maybe he is really really really heavy handed sometimes. but goddamn the boy can write a song!
so check these bad boys out
Cassadaga - Four Winds
Lifted or the story is in the soil, so keep your ear to the groud - False Advertising
Lifted or the story is in the soil, so keep your ear to the groud - Lets Not Shit Ourselvs (To Love and be Loved)
I'm Wide Awake Its Morning - Poison Oak
I'm Wide Awake its Morning - At The Bottom Of Everything
Fevers And Mirrors - Something Vague
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
Last night I went to studio B to catch Lesbians on Ecstasy. It was a pretty mediocre evening for music all around in my opinion, but then again, I'm not a tiny little hipster lesbian. For you see the lesbians arrived in droves, stepping from their handsomely designed hipster pads overlooking McCarren par, crawling from the slime and muck of the gutters, springing forth from the goddess Diana's hunting lodge in the sky.
Now now now, my knowledge of little tiny lesbians is not simply tugboated along by The L Word or any other such nonsense. Nay I was tugboated along by an entourage of tiny little lesbians myself to catch a show and wait for more tiny little lesbians. All in all I'd call the evening "gay." and it was a very fun evening filled with laughter, emotions, danger, and too much dancing (and you thought that was impossible).
Unfortunately the first two acts seemed to have a hard time imagining the audience in their underwear. The first act was called Telepathe from the big BK, they were actually pretty cool deriving a lot of beat oriented material from, of all places, Liars. Check out Sinister Militia on their myspace and you'll see what I mean.
Now I love me some liars and what Liars makes up for in just-okay melodies they make up for in some really interesting sounds and song construction. Seemed to be the same case for Telepathe. Unfortunately for Telepathe it looked like their music was a little too underperformed by last night to have really won me over. Not that they have no shot in hell, at least I know about them now. And their drummer is cute (but alas, she didn't appear to like the boys). and their guitarist asked me for some "blow" in the bathroom. That's charisma that could win any erstwhile music critic over in a second.
The second act was a woman from England called No Bra. A tall skinny lady with, um, no brazierre on and, um, no shirt. Pretty good. She was petrified to be in New York for the first time and you could see the fear in the backs of her eyes. Some crazy electro shit.
once Lesbians on Ecstacy got on I probably wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between them and Girls on Crack, or from freakin' Celine Dion. Yes, I had a couple pairs of beer goggles on last night. I woke up this morning and my head felt like the screams of thousands of forlorn lottery losers crying out at once. My mouth tasted like a fifth grade Cafetorium floor. My stomach, a geyser.
but thank god for The Field and their amazing new album "From Here We Go Sublime." Imagine listening to drum'n'bass from inside of your mother's womb, thats what this album sounds like. Beautiful.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Here is a bit more of Nilsson's "The Point."
now now. Bear with me. Indulge Me. Turn your brain off. You see, I must expunge this psychadelia my parents left simmering in the crock pot of my soul. Think of this as a potluck of my body (its kinda like an acid doused Eucharist). Put your keys in the bowl (that part comes later, Mary Magdalene). We ain't going nowheres till I burn these images into your mind. Also! don't worry, there's only one more installment.
And hey it might do you some good to actually read what I'm saying once in a while.
So this is my favorite song on the album. Its called "Think About Your Troubles"<-- thats the mp3 - Unfortunately the recording of this song on youtube looks and sounds like a snuff film. A bad one at that. (I know my snuff films)
Anyhow, it starts with a delicious beat, beaten on a cowbell. Nilsson floats in with an orchestra of Andrew Birdesque pizzicato strings, a piccolo, and a clone who moans and adds pseudo-commentary over his shoulder. (Nilsson: "and soon this salty water" Nilsson's Clone: "not too good for drinkin" uh, thanks?)
The song is beautiful, but more important here is the imagery that accompanies it. Its about as strange as the imagery gets in the movie (and that includes the pointed village/castle, the purple and orange triangular citizens of the city, the pointed forest's blatant use of sexual imagery, the three flying fat ladies, the list goes on) Watch for the Uncle Sam reference, the Phallic reference, the Lite Brite reference. (props to Kitsch and Emily for the idears)
Perhaps because I'm in a house of scholars we decided that it would be a great idea to deconstruct the movie's imagery/themes etc. while we were watching it. Turns out that the movie is pretty fascinating when one considers all of the intersections of race/gender/class going on here. This movie has it all: the "magical negro," the intersexed child, the bourgeoisie elite. Its obvious that the boys club surrounding The Beatles was a bit misogynist, but watching this video makes it all too apparent that the early seventies were - lets put it this way - a period of transition.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
Harry Nilsson, protege of Los Beatles and John Lennon's carousing partner while in LA, was a little bit of an acid tripping crazy pants. But, hey, who gives a care right?
The Point! was a record that he created in 1971 and later a movie narrated by Dustin Hoffman for ABC. Interesting though, later on the recorded version something legal happened and Ringo Starr added his voice as the narrator instead.
"I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it.'" -- Harry Nilsson
I mean, this quote pretty much explains the album as well as the movie. Trippy, awesome and out of it's mind. Of course everyone remembers the song "Me and My Arrow" if not directly then from Blackalicious' sampling of it in their song Blazing Arrow.
I'm amazed because nobody seems to have ever heard this album, and thats a crime, I love this album. Particularly because the movie was such a huge part of my childhood (I don't understand why, it must have been the closest thing to acid one could ever give to one's kids)
The songs are all fantastic, unfortunately the narrative of the album kind of gets annoying after a while. I can't imagine that I'd have the patience to listen to this on record when it first came out, which is most likely why this album wasn't very popular. But good god, its such a damn good album! The arrangements for a full string section, the beautiful arrangements for vocals surpass everything I've heard from Nilsson frankly and the songwriting doesn't really involve in a dialog with the plot at all and are simply love songs or break up songs ("and if we wake up just to break up/I'll carry on, oh yes I will" about his dog? I think not.)