Friday, May 29, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
When you buy a box of Jelly Belly’s in assorted flavors, you better be prepared for a variety of tastes. Sure, you’ll get watermelon and lime, but you’re also going to taste an occasional popcorn-flavored bean. It’s the same way with Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear’s third full length. The album is a mish-mosh of dramatic mood swings, with each song leaving a new and different taste in your mouth. “Southern Point” hurtles forward with dramatic stringed crescendos, “All We Ask” haunts with its ghost-like vocal harmonies, and “I Live With You” bursts into a violent, tragic fit that would be appropriate in a dark horror scene. Grizzly Bear, one of the indie scene’s biggest buzz bands, has impeccable attention to detail. Each note and every element is handpicked for the exact moment in which it’s played. Songs on Veckatimest build on 2006’s critically acclaimed Yellow House, adding a fourth dimension with layered vocals, hints of dreamlike ambient guitar, and swelling choruses. “Two Weeks” finds the four-member band at its best; frontman Ed Droste’s voice floats over bright, sparkling piano like a honey-sweet Jens Lekman, while the rest of the band sings along in a “whoa-woah” harmony.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
"Two Weeks" - whoa-wo-ah-wo-ah on repeat, Ed Droste sounds like a honey-sweet version of Jens Lekman, saccharine piano clattering, harmonies like the Beach Boys' Smile, each piece of the song seems simple, but it's layered into a complex web of puzzle pieces, like the threads of a spiderweb, crossing and crisscrossing – each string on its own doesn’t make sense, but together, they create a miraculously glue, trapping the listener.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
A.C. Newman is a genius on his own. Many will know him as one of the lead singers of the New Pornographers. I just know him as... well, him.
It might have something to do with the fact that I heard his solo work before I ever heard anything by the New Pornographers. It seems to be a weird quirk of human nature to like whatever version of something you hear first. Whatever it is, though, makes me in constantly in love with his solo album, The Slow Wonder.
I find myself singing along to “Miracle Drug,” and whistling along to “Drink to Me, Babe, Then” (even though my whistling sounds like a dog crying, at best). I like the fact that there are inappropriate commas in the middle of the title almost as much as I like the song. As you can tell, really, I like commas in the middle of a sentence. As annoying as they may be to read.
Thank you, ACRN. One of my first discoveries through this wonderful radio station was A.C. Newman. I picked up one of ACRN’s “Best Of...” mix CDs at some sort of orientation freshman year. Before I even knew what ACRN was, it was turning me on to good music.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Today, I put on the Amelie soundtrack, thinking about how beautiful it is. And I was almost immediately overcome with anxiety. In a panicked state, I just kind of dropped what I was doing to think about what was happening to me.
I think this is why. I used to listen to this soundtrack almost every day when I was studying abroad in Spain. I was really homesick and it really helped me get through the days. But to this day, I tie this soundtrack to a feeling that reaches down to the pit of my stomach, a fear and sadness that almost brings tears to my eyes.
I suppose I have my usual anxieties about the changes to my lifestyle. For some reason I have some sort of endless terror when it comes to the people and places I have to leave behind - even when it is temporary. Graduating college in a month = big change.
In the meantime, you take a listen to “Les Jours Tristes” by Yann Tiersen from Amelie. It’s gorgeous.
some notable favorites from past albums include “Solid Gold,” which is an amazing take on what i think you should get when you match jangly bluegrass guitar with futuristic egg shakers and syncopation. (plus, the first lyrics you hear are “sweat. work it out, baby.” this reminds me of Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” in the best possible way.) also, “I Only Want You,” a straight rocker that gets right to the point.
their newest album, Heart On, keeps the ultra-fun ethos going with the same sorts of funky instruments and playful beats. some are saying that the new stuff isn’t as ridiculous or humorous as past material. really? i didn’t notice. the mood is still there.
“Wannabe in LA” starts off with Indian chanting, a Rolling Stones guitar line, tambourine shaking, and a weird effect that makes the bass sound like an instrumental version of how Steve Urkel talks (it’s kinda nerdy and nasal-y, if you can even imagine that in guitar terms).
“Secret Plans” reminds me of a less-experimental version of a Wolf Parade track.
“Heart On” (play on words, much?) has a rattlesnake hidden in one of the mics (listen to that sizzle!), fuzzy fuzzy guitar chorus, and the lovely falsetto lyrics that EODM are known for (or at least should be known for).
Overall, it’s the same plain ol’ fun. Get your groove on, and get this new album.
Rather, I’m referring to Portland-based Mikhaela Yvonne Maricich, a brilliant musician. Jona Bechtolt used to be in The Blow also, but he has since departed to do some solo work under the name YACHT.
Anyway, back to my point. Some mornings, there’s no better way to wake up than to the entire paper television album. It is fabuloso.
I’ll name my top 5 reasons why:
1. TRACK 2 - “Parentheses” - Nobody could create a spooning song better than this. I mean, c’mon, she’s comparing a cuddling position to grammatical symbols. It’s so damn adorable and poppy that it makes me want to hug a kitten. And i don’t really even like kittens that much. Pitchfork also thinks this song rules (check number 55).
2. TRACK 4 - “The Long List of Girls” - These drums are so high school marching band. I really want to be in a parade when I hear this song.
3. TRACK 5 - “Bonjour Jeune Fille” - She sings in French, too?! Killer. I like the simple video game electo-pop here. I feel like I’m Mario, jumping on mushroom heads.
4. TRACK 6 - “Babay (Eat a Critter, Feel Its Wrath)” - Ok, the first time I heard this song, I was kinda confused. Whose point of view is it from? Upon second listen, I realized the lyrics are coming from the brain of an animal that was eaten and then got pooped out in the toilet. If it wasn’t so twee and cute, this song would be absolutely sick. Weirdly, Maricich makes it ok to sing about the unspoken “bowel” topics.
5. TRACK 10 - “True Affection” - The intro makes me want to do the oompa loompa dance. You know, the one where you get a group of people to squat and stand back up alternately so it looks like a big weird group of odd alien creatures. Anyway, it gets me every time.
That’s why I love The Blow’s Paper Television. I hope you love it too, now.
URN is a radio program that only plays artists on independent (or no!) labels. so every month, i get to find three new indie artists that almost nobody has heard of. this week i had a couple good finds, one of which this post is about.
the vision of a dying world. sounds like a pretty grim name. makes me think of, well, winter, the country under mccain’s control, and mummy’s taking over the planet. all fun stuff, i assure you. anyway, the music is nothing near as dim. it feels playful with bouncy bass, great, clean guitar riffs (ok, maybe a little distortion), and some ritzy sax.
i can’t get this song out of my head. it’s called “skelephone call.” what the hell is a skelephone call anyway?
They rock in more ways than I ever would have imagined. I first met the guys when a friend suggested I interview them on the radio, and they were sweet as can be. Their music has always been good, kinda relaxed folky stuff. Well, not always relaxed - Tim Race, Jack Martin, and Zach Inscho put more aggression into a trio of guitar, cello, and drums than you would think.
Their newer material is more raw, more unchanneled, more... well... exciting. It feels kinda post-punky, in the best way possible. Kinda Joy Division.
I love the beautiful touch that the cello adds to their music, but the guitar riffs on every new song blow my mind. Each one seems so simple and unfussy, and at the same time, each hooks you in. Check out the new stuff on their myspace.